The room is stuffy, dark, small.
Electricity's extra and Xander was mugged in Mojkovac so he takes what he can get.
And what he can get is a bed wide enough for one and Spike on top of him and a floor sturdy enough to keep them from falling through into the lobby below and Xander's a guy who never got this far in life not knowing what's important.
And what's important, right now, is, "Stop and I will so stake you!"
"I look like I'm planning to stop?" Spike's panting and Xander guesses old reflexes die hard.
"Dunno. Can't see you - oh god." Xander's panting too but that probably has more to do with the elevation and relative exertion than any kind of reflexes. Threatening Spike though? That's all reflex. "Stop and I'll worse than stake you!"
"Didn't remember you talking this much."
"Hey, buddy. It takes two to have a conversation." Or tango. Or have the kind of sexual encounter in a stuffy, dark, small hostel room in Zabljak that'll leave him sated and grinning all the way back to London.
He's not sure what Spike'll do on the way back to L.A. or even if Spike's going directly back to L.A. after this. He's got better things to think about.
Like the way Spike's mouthing Xander's ankle, panting moist air over his arch and curling over him with a hand behind his neck which is about as close as they can get to kissing in this position without dislocating a few vertebrae. Which means they keep talking. "You call this conversation?"
"I call this sex. Talky sex."
"Christ," says the vampire of few words and definite opinions about the state of the American school system when it comes to vocabulary.
"Enthusiastic talky sex?"
Really enthusiastic and wet and the talk barely covers up the kinds of squelchy and grunty and wet sounds that'd just be embarrassing in the dark and the silence if it didn't feel so good making them. And the talk covers up even less when it gets to that point where it's all about making more of those sounds and coming messily on each other in a stuffy, dark, small room in Zabljak with a new slayer two rooms over and a mystical artifact under the bed.
Spike collapses inelegantly onto Xander's chest, an elbow digging into his hip, a knee into his calf and Xander drops a sweaty palm into Spike's hair and rubs.
Spike's voice rumbles against his ribs. "Stay another night. We'll have more of it."
"Can't. I've got a jeep waiting in Pljevlja."
"Bloody Pljevlja," Spike says with deep conviction.
Xander's willing to agree.
They settle on more enthusiastic talky sex that night and Xander sleeps in the jeep all the way to Butmir.
The room is stuffy, dark, small.
And smelly. Smelly as in feet.
Really stinky feet. Of the ‘someone died in here’ feet smell. Which is less feety and more corpsey.
Since Xander already has one dead guy’s arm slung over his chest and knee poking him in the back he’s not checking under the bed to see if he should raise the dead guy population to two.
Besides it’s never a good idea to look under the bed.
It’s one of the things Xander learned post-Sunnydale trekking the world, recruiting slayers. Okay, so it was a good policy in Sunnydale too but that was a demon thing. But giant cockroaches and rodents of unusual sizes? Just as scary as demons. Sometimes more so.
Besides, he’s not so much into moving as he is into moving Spike’s knee, so he can enjoy some well-earned post-sex sleep.
Despite the blissed out bonelessness he’s got going on, sleep doesn’t come. Instead he stares at the cracks in the ceiling ominously forming a circle above his head and suggesting imminent ceiling collapse.
But since it didn’t collapse during their sex, Xander decides not to worry. Besides, he’s already moved on to wondering ‘How many unpaved runways does the Khovd airport make?’
He’s counted ten such airports that he’s flown in or out of when he realizes he was wrong about the smell earlier. It’s not feet or corpses. It’s rotting fruit.
“Great, I couldn’t have been here during watermelon season?” he says it out loud and doesn’t care that he’s talking to himself. Guy’s gotta keep sane somehow.
And sometimes he’s not talking to himself. “Sodding waste of fruit.”
“What do you have against watermelons?”
“Seeds get stuck in my teeth.” Said teeth bite Xander’s shoulder not too hard but hard enough that a shiver goes through him.
“They have seedless ones now, you know.”
“Not in Khovd they don’t.”
“You’ve been here before?” Sure Spike’s been around for a while, but it’s hard to imagine he’s been somewhere that’s considered remote even by Mongolian standards.
The only answer he gets is another bite, in the same spot. Harder this time.
And that’s more than okay ’cause he’s not up for sharing either. Not up for sharing why he’s here – or that he failed. Telling Giles will be bad enough. Besides it’s not like Spike asked anyway.
Not that Xander asked Spike why he’s here in the middle of fucking nowhere in fucking Mongolia. Or what’s making that odd bulging shape in Spike’s bag – which was rattling while they fucked.
But when the fucking’s so good that Xander’s gasping and scrambling to grip onto something and coming so hard he may have blacked out, who cares about anything else?
He’s willing to turn a blind eye – which is good since he has one – to Spike’s evil enterprises.
“You’re lucky it’s not summer,” Spike says into Xander’s ear as he flips him over. “Worse than Phoenix.”
“Nothing’s worse than Phoenix,” Xander says with the conviction of someone who’s never going back there again, even if it would save the world.
Spike presses Xander’s shoulders down and looks him the eye. “Do you ever shut up?”
Not really. But Spike doesn’t really seem to mind the talky sex.
It's two months, one week and four days of riding a mule through the Andes since Xander last saw Spike so it seems perfectly natural the first thing he says to him across a table at the Tampu should be: "I've been riding a mule for months, Spike. I'm not bottoming."
And just as natural Spike might answer, "Does that mean a blow job's out of the question?"
For either of them.
And the sex isn't so much talky in Machu Picchu because he learned fast there's enough air either to fuck or to talk - not both - and Xander's a guy who knows where his priorities lie.
He's not sure what Spike's excuse is - being the guy who doesn't need air - but he's as disinclined to ask as Spike is disinclined to say.
In fact, it occurs to him later, while they're lying there in a nice bed in the Sanctuary Lodge listening to Xander pant for breath, that aside from asking for a blow job, Spike's been pretty quiet this time.
It also occurs to him there's no bag with a bulge in it, no funny smells, sounds or auras.
He might even go so far as to say Spike seems subdued.
It's a subdue Xander's paid his own dues to.
He's on a first name basis with it.
And it has a way of getting under a guy's skin.
So if it has anything to do with the way Xander rolls Spike over, straddles his hips and rubs his back until Spike falls asleep - or whatever passes for it with vampires - neither of them have much to say about that.
Machu Picchu's not so much a talky place.
There was a time when Xander thought he knew scary. He’s had the secret handshake down for years. But if there's one thing looking for Slayers has done, it's introduced him to whole genuses and species of scary. Afghanistan is one of them.
It's a shot at, blown up, diving for cover kind of scary that takes scary to a scary adrenaline-pumping level he didn’t know was possible without demons.
And Xander knows from completely demonless human scary. You don’t go slayer recruiting without learning firsthand just how fucked up the world is.
Kabul has them all beat. It’s the Olympic gold medal winner of scary.
Because here it's personal.
Whichever it is, it's all the time and he's not cut out for looking at everyone twice playing who's got the bomb belt guessing games.
He starts to think that saying ‘scary’ this much is just making him paranoid. He should be thinking ‘hugs, sunshine, rainbows’ or…
Spike pulling a move that says 'I am not guilty and I am not hiding anything from you behind my back,' in at least six different languages. Spike is fluent in guilty moves. But he just says, “Harris.” He looks like he wants a cigarette.
Xander wants a cigarette. And a shower. Because it's impossible to see a guy blown up at way too close range without wanting a shower. And a cigarette. "What do you think – Afghanistan for scary on a scale of one to ten – eleven?"
“Nah. Give it an eight at most.” Spike hooks a chair with his leg, pulls it behind him and flops down, all casual-like, like it's something normal people do in the last functioning hotel in Kabul on the whole other side of the world from sanity. Except that he’s still strategically blocking something but Xander thinks he's actually too tired and wigged to care. “Now, Kandahar? Makes the hellmouth look like a petting zoo."
"With blood sucking baby llamas and goats who hold ritual sacrifices at the communal feeding trough in the dead of night." Xander collapses down – no fancy chair wrangling for him – and closes his eye. “God, I could use a drink. A very very hard drink.” Without opening his eye, he can tell Spike raises an eyebrow at ‘hard.’ “And don’t go getting any funny ideas.”
It’s been a long month and a half since Machu Picchu.
Xander opens his eye, meets Spike’s two. “Okay, do.”
“Good.” Spike tosses him a key. “’S upstairs. Go ahead. Just need to take care of something.”
And Xander should care about what Spike has to take care of. He should be worried that Spike is taking advantage of a country in turmoil. But as long as Evil’s room has a bed, four walls and a ceiling – hard to find around here – he’s not gonna care.
And he doesn’t have to care. Besides, he’ll need that for tomorrow’s slayer search.
He becomes one with the bed. In a very unsexy undignified fully clothed sprawl.
It’s easier not to care that they’re still doing the no questions, no answers, no lies routine when strong, cool hands slide under his shirt.
He keeps his eye closed when he shifts up so Spike can peel his shirt off him.
The hands are back and he focuses on the rubbing.
Pretends that’s all there is.
Skin against skin. Touch.
He jolts up to the sounds of gunfire in the distance. Blinks and looks down at Spike asleep beside him. Still clothed.
Did he fall asleep before they…?
The answer’s a very pathetic ‘yes.’
He lies back down, presses his body along Spike’s and decides to go with pathetic.
It's a small world.
It really is.
Complete with singing and dancing animatronic children and a lap bar.
All together, he's pretty sure it's evil but the line was short and he's never had the stomach for the Matterhorn.
So it shouldn't surprise him at all when Spike's waiting for him outside the exit with a bulge in his shoulder bag and half his face blistered and singed. They're only possibly not related.
"I knew evil was behind Disneyland but I didn't know it liked to hang out here too."
Spike looks like he wants to light up a cigarette but apparently even he's cowed by the Disney security team. "I keep telling you, Harris. We're not the evil ones."
"And we are?"
"Only one of us kidnaps little girls and sends them to disciplinarian old men in England."
"You make it sound so kinky."
Spike kinks an eyebrow. "Wouldn't have to if you lot didn't make it so easy. Didn't think you'd stoop so low as to steal one from Disneyland."
"I'm not stealing anybody, buddy."
And if it's toward the smell of cotton candy and french fries, Spike doesn't object.
"Just fancied some time with Mickey, that it?"
"Believe me when I say no." It's surprisingly hard to kill time at Disneyland when even the Peter Pan ride makes him queasy but Spike doesn't need to know that. Xander decides discretion is the better part of valor and says instead, "Though the guy they've got dressed up as Prince Charming is pretty hot."
Spike actually stops and stares.
"What? It's been a long dry spell." Xander doesn't stop and eventually, Spike catches up with him again.
"Almost three months," Spike concedes.
"But who's counting?"
They keep walking. Eventually, Spike asks, "So why Disneyland?"
"She named her price. Giles tried to haggle her down to a one day pass. They compromised on a two."
Even in his peripheral vision, Spike looks horrified.
"A Slayer loose in Disneyland," Xander agrees, and then offers: "So I've got a room in the hotel."
"What about her?"
"She's got her own room."
"What're you waiting for then?"
"Engraved invitation." Xander's already walking fast toward the nearest monorail station.
As wild rides go, Spike's a lot more appealing than Mr. Toad.
The line's shorter too.
It’s a small world.
A really freakin’ small world.
Xander looks around to check that he hasn’t been magically teleported back to Disneyland which is something that Willow could totally pull off, so it’s not an insane thought.
Nope. No singing and dancing animatronic children. No Mickey Mouse.
And thank god because big Mickeys creep him out.
Nope, it’s just him and trees. And more trees. He’s starting to think that Canada is all wilderness. Pretty wilderness, but still wilderness nonetheless.
Good thing it’s not a scary wilderness, Xander’s happy for the break from the scary.
In fact, it’s kinda tame by wilderness standards, even at night.
They have fast food.
Not that Xander’s complaining. He’s very happy with his A&W’s Old Fashioned Root Beer and poutine thank you very much.
And of course there’s also Spike.
Sauntering in from the great outdoors like he's not out of place here in the land of men in work boots and plaid shirts and the women with big hair and tight jeans – tighter than Spike’s.
He slides into the booth and steals one of Xander’s fries like it hasn’t been three weeks since Disneyland and like they’d agreed to meet here.
Xander could say ‘this is getting ridiculous’ but instead goes with, “It’s hard to resist isn’t it? Marathon: built on paper, laced with gold.”
“Sound like a bloody brochure.”
He shrugs. “I do my research.”
“Geek.” Another fry is stolen. For an undead guy who doesn’t need to eat, he’s sure into the human food.
Xander bats Spike’s hand away before more of his meal is taken. “You’re telling me you don’t do any research?”
“Not for the U.S.”
“We’re in Canada.”
Spike waves a hand in a way that says ‘same thing’ or ‘I don’t care’ or possibly ‘I’m too cool to care.’
Spike’s hand says a lot.
Not that Xander’s up for dissecting the meaning. Not when his eye is following the movement of Spike’s hand and all his brain can do is remember what that hand did to him three weeks ago.
His brain helpfully supplies vivid memories of exactly how good Spike is with his hands.
A flush spreads over Xander’s cheeks.
A grin spreads over Spike’s face.
Xander’s brain helpfully supplies vivid memories of Spike’s mouth. And how oh my god, so good he is with it.
A&W is suddenly way too stifling and way too bright.
Xander pushes his tray away and stands up. “Want to get out of here?”
“Thought you’d never ask.”
At sixteen, Xander had hoped that by twenty-six he’d be in control of his hormones and not ready to drop his pants at the first hint of sex.
If his current situation – pants down, gripping a spruce tree for support as Spike’s tongue really gets to know Xander’s ass – is any indication, he has no complaints about his lack of hormone control.
And a slick finger replacing the tongue? Definitely no complaints.
Xander’s brain has officially shut down.
And he’s okay with that.
A one-eyed guy walks into a bar in Lhasa.
And the bartender says: "All right. Who's stalking whom here?"
The point is, "You're tending bar in Lhasa."
"Yeah," Spike says but he means 'duh.' It's a fine inflection. Xander catches it.
"What are you doing tending bar in Lhasa?"
Spike looks like a guy with a million answers but the one he gives is, "Mu."
"You've been in Lhasa too long."
"What'll you have?"
"Oh yeah, that's an original line around here." Spike pulls him a beer and slides it across the bar. "Where's your Slayer?"
Xander takes a long drink because he did want beer. And he's been a long time beer-free on this trip. It tends to weigh down the pack yaks. "This is a Slayer-free mission."
"Yeah?" This time, Spike means 'I don't believe you but yeah, okay.' Xander's getting good with the inflections. He pulls himself a beer too and leans on his elbow to drink it. "What're you doing here?"
"Apparently, drinking beer with the enemy."
Spike snorts and drinks a long drink. "I told you, mate. I'm not the enemy. You're the enemy. We're the good guys."
"For a given value of good that actually means evil," Xander agrees and holds up his beer.
Their beers clink together. "What're you doing in Lhasa?"
"Apparently, serving beer to idiot tourists." He pauses and squints into the foamy amber depths of his mug. "It's good beer, mind. And the tips aren't bad."
Xander takes a casual drink like a guy with no agenda. A guy who might be in a hurry - who knows - he could have places to be, people to see. And asks, "So, are you going to be in Lhasa long?"
"Long enough, I suppose." Spike sees his casual and raises him infinite disinterest.
Xander's been to the post office. There's a really particular prayer wheel in the mail to London. But mail's slow out of Lhasa. "I've got a week."
Spike looks like a guy considering a lot of things. He also looks like a guy who's been stuck in Lhasa too long. "Yeah, all right." He pauses to pour a double whiskey and slide it to a woman down the bar who can probably give Spike a run for his money in the age department.
"So - your place or mine?" Xander asks. "Not that I've exactly got a place. But it could happen."
Spike considers. "You mind yaks?"
Xander doesn't. He doesn't mind non sequiturs either. He says so.
"Right. No problems then. I'm just up the street." Spike hands him a key, points. "Third door on the left. Mind the chickens. Meet you there in an hour."
Xander doesn't ask.
As a strategy, it works for him.
A man, a hammock and cold beer.
This is the life.
And that’s before Xander factors in the blue sky, swaying palm tress and endless empty beach.
It’s almost unbelievable that he’s in an island paradise straight off a tourism poster.
Almost being the key word.
Easier to believe after the lack of fun he had in Papette. What with the yelling and crying, and that was before the newly recruited slayer got to battle her first demon. Demon in the plural to be exact.
Oh yeah, he deserves this.
Peace and quiet.
Clouds drift by.
His eye closes, the beer slips from his hand and it’s way too much effort to pick up.
Xander wakes to rattling ice and the clink of beer bottles.
“Bloody hell, all you’ve got is beer.”
“I like beer,” he responds without opening his eye.
A bottle cap twists off. “Should have rum.” Trust Spike to complain while stealing Xander’s beer.
“That’s if you’re in the Caribbean – we’re not.” Xander opens an eye to pick up his dropped beer bottle and peer inside before deciding it’s safe to drink. “You’re no Johnny Depp and I sure as hell don’t want to be Keira Knightley.”
“I’ll give you that – you’re not that womanly.” Spike tilts his head, looks Xander up and down from his sprawl on the nearby sand. Shrugs. “If you wanted, 'm sure the rae raes could help you out. Birds of paradise, that lot.”
Xander decides the best answer is more beer. It’s a manly answer. An answer that folds its arms and thinks to itself Spike would have met the local rae raes. They were probably pretty impressed with him too. Not that Xander's jealous.
“Taking a risk out here alone at night, love.”
It’s not that risky when you know – thanks to the chatty locals – that you’re not far from the hut of the pale rude British guy. But all Xander says is: “I can handle it.”
“That’s right, you’re all big and manly.” It’s hard to tell if he’s joking or serious, it’s a fine line and Spike walks it well.
Xander points a beer at him. “Don’t you forget it.”
“Could use a reminder.”
Xander rolls an eye at the leer but still rolls his way down beside Spike.
His brain unhelpfully interrupts his sex now thoughts. “Won’t sex on the beach be sandy?”
Not that it doesn’t have a point.
“What do you think the duster’s for?”
Spike has a point too. A better point.
Xander’s brain admits defeat. It’s a good kind of defeat.
“If I get pinched by a coconut crab this is your –”
“Shut up, Harris.” Spike bites his neck. “Don’t ruin the moment.”
“Ruin the…?” He decides to go with the shutting up.
Apparently they're guys who have moments now.
"Right. You can't blame this one on me, Harris."
Xander doesn't glance up from the computer screen behind the desk of the Hollywood Boulevard Weingart Youth Center. "You're not youth. If you're looking for the walk-in HIV testing, it's half a block that way."
There's affronted silence. Silence that obviously wants to blurt it's a bloody vampire and bloody vampires don't bloody get sodding HIV. And would blurt it, too, if not for all the human kids sitting around the lobby in shabby trendy clothes.
As silences go, it's pretty ranty.
Eventually, Xander sneaks a glance at Spike. His expression's pretty ranty too. "Hey, Spike."
Spike throws himself into the visitors' chair and folds his arms. "Pillock."
Spike looks around the run-down lobby with more disdain than a body that small should contain. He spares an extra dirty look for the cross behind the counter. "Picked a hell of a place for it."
"Well - you know - when you're looking for a runaway. I'm at the Griffith Youth Center every morning until noon."
"What's she running away from?"
Xander drums his fingers on the keyboard, gives the ethical dilemma a mental shrug. "You guys."
This time, the rant's out loud. "I never laid a finger on her!"
"Well - no - that's true. Which is why I'm not using my masculine wiles to trick you into waiting for me in my hotel room."
"Masculine wiles, my arse."
Xander's of two minds about that comment - and one agrees and the other disagrees - so he waves it off and Spike moves on.
"You're not wrong."
"What's he doing beating up on Slayers anyway?"
"Trying to convert her as far as we can tell. But you know how it is. Street smart little city girl. Big hulking bruiser lurking in shadows and following her around." Xander hits 'save' and tosses a kid a key. "You know the rules. Put the balls away, rack the cues."
The kid mumbles something that could be 'thanks' or could be 'whatever' but that's life undercover at a youth center like this one.
Xander turns back to the vampire at hand. "The point is, Angel's really lucky Buffy was a naive upper middle class child of the shopping mall."
"Always did wonder why she didn't kick him in the nads and run," Spike admits.
"He was cute." Xander swivels his chair. "Or so I've been told."
"Cute." Spike's tone says it all.
All having been said, Xander changes the subject. "I'm off at 8:30."
"Angel'd have a fit if he knew you were here."
"Which is why you're gonna tell him the day after I leave?"
"Bloody right. Not going to stop him tracking down the Slayer, mind." Spike shrugs and sprawls impossibly wider, an undead starfish in black leather. "If he's got his mind wrapped around it, not much I could do. And 's about time we had a slayer of our own, you stingy bastards."
"Hmm. Let's see. When the choice is me or her creepy stalker - I'm thinking...that's not gonna change any time soon."
"You don't mind stalkers."
"No - but you're not exactly creepy."
"Can be when I want to," Spike sulks.
"What're you doing at the Weingart?"
It's hard to sulk while looking shifty. The sulk loses.
"Oh that is so cheating for Angel to send you and your - your cheekbones and your duster and your undeniable disreputable charm after a Slayer."
"I'm the secret weapon."
Xander can't deny that part. "So what you're saying is it's just me and you looking for her now."
Xander looks at his watch. Looks at the clock. "What do you say to a twelve hour truce? My hotel's on Sunset."
They call a truce.
They have noisy sex that has both Xander's neighbors banging on the wall.
To be fair, one neighbor bangs on the wall and asks if they want company.
But the guy on the other side does.
Spike stays for breakfast from Julia's Mini Market next door.
Eventually, Xander calls Spike from LAX. Around noon. "Hey, Spike."
"Did I wake you up?"
A grunt answers in the affirmative. A very English grunt.
"Chela says hi. Apparently, she's a lesbian."
There's the sound of Spike collecting his dignity. "Right, then."
It’s not a surprise.
Not even a little one.
Of course Spike is standing underneath a lamppost across the street from Xander’s London flat.
Of course it’s only been three days since they saw each other in L.A.
Now, what is a surprise is that he knows Xander’s here.
’Cause here isn’t even technically Xander’s flat.
Not even close to technically what with it being Giles’ and all. Xander crashes here when he’s in town.
Xander had never credited Spike and Angel with much brains between them – bookishness doesn’t fit with the brooding and/or violent vamp image – but he is impressed they found him this quickly.
Someone they work with knows how to research anyway.
He files that under ‘details of Spike's evil plans I don't need to think about right now,’ and opens the window and calls out, “'I think we're kind of past the stalking phase in this relationship. So are you going to come inside?”
There’s a shrug. A cigarette is tossed away.
Xander interprets that as ‘yes’. Possibly a reluctant ‘yes’ with a side of ‘still sulking.’ He’s just happy to break the single white maling behavior.
Spike breezes in like he lives here. Apparently vamp rules aren’t too sticklery about how an invite is given.
Xander files that under ‘remember for later, it could save your life.’
“Beer?” He tries the hosting thing.
Spike rejects the hosting thing. “Not when Giles has the good stuff.” He roots around the cupboards until emerging with an expensive looking bottle (hidden behind the pots, no wonder Xander didn’t know it was there) and a triumphant smile.
He ponders objecting, just for appearances, but can’t be bothered.
Xander sticks with beer and lets Spike work on polishing off alcohol that Giles has likely saved for a special occasion.
And that’s enough guilt for one night. Xander switches off his brain and switches on the TV.
They watch twins juggle on Britain’s Got Talent.
The silence between them stretches filled with the occasional polite applause.
The longer it goes, the more Xander finds that his words have wandered off somewhere that’s far from here.
It’s weird. They’ve never watched TV together or done anything remotely this close to domestic. Plus, he’s dying to know why Spike’s here, what he’s up to.
But he doesn’t have the guts to actually suck it up and ask.
At least that’s par for the no-ask-no-tell course.
Or maybe he just needs more alcohol.
When he gets up for another beer, Spike’s head jerks to face the TV.
When he flops down, Xander angles himself so that he can see Spike better. Aha! Spike is studying him. And frowning. Xander’s not sure what to make of any of this.
He doesn’t get the chance.
Spike is right in front of him, his face close enough that the smell of scotch is strong. His eyes dart over Xander’s face, his hands cup Xander’s chin.
Xander feels surrounded.
And unsure. Also confused. Add in a little perplexed too. Stir and let simmer.
Maybe Spike’s feeling that way too ’cause he gives a small shrug.
And now Xander can say with confidence that Spike definitely knows what he wants. The yanking up of Xander, turning him around and bracing his hands on the couch is a clue.
The hard dick against his ass? Also a clue.
A good clue.
As Spike shoves down Xander’s pants he thinks, Do I want to have sex on Giles’ couch?
“Maybe we should –”
“Shut up,” Spike says. More like commands in a harsh voice.
Somehow that just turns Xander on more.
He decides to go with the brain off approach.
Go with the fucking on Giles’ couch.
’Cause the fucking is definitely something they do.
And do well. Very well.
A man sits next to another man on a stone bench overlooking the Wilmington river.
It is a martini. With an olive.
Shaken, not stirred.
"It figures you read the book too," Xander says but he takes the martini. This isn't the kind of place where a man refuses hospitality.
"Don't know what you're talking about," Spike answers, pours himself the other martini and puts the shaker back in the picnic basket. They lean back side by side.
Only one of them coughs. "Eugh." But the last few years have taught Xander nothing if they haven't taught him to take the alcohol where it comes. He tosses back the rest and clears his throat until his eye stops watering. "Thank you. That was disgusting."
"Oh, I dunno. Kind of like the olive." Spike's sipping. Of course he's sipping. "Gives it a little kick."
There's little sandwiches in the basket too. Xander leans down and helps himself to one without asking. They have egg in them - unlike the martini, they're pretty good. "How'd you know I was here?"
"Town like this?" Spike waves. Could be indicating Savannah. Could just be indicating the cemetery around them. With Spike, you never know. "Word gets around."
"You so read the book," Xander accuses. But it's hard to be that accusatory with a mouthful of really good sandwich.
"Haven't the faintest notion what you're talking about." Spike sips his martini; it smells like turpentine and olives. "Might want to avoid the Six Pence Pub, mind."
The martini is working its alcoholic magic so Xander just stretches his feet toward the headstone and says, "That's pretty much what I'm doing here, yeah."
Because it's not every day a new slayer's waiting for you at the airport.
Plays tour guide.
Drops you off at a little bed and breakfast with a room waiting.
Xander's invited to stay in town as long as he likes.
She's not going back to England with him but - well - nice of him to visit.
And her daddy runs the Six Pence Pub.
Xander doesn't argue.
"Haven't figured out what to tell the Watcher yet?" Spike asks the river. He's almost down to the olive but in no apparent hurry to get there.
Xander has another sandwich. "Not really, no."
They watch a boat glide by from their cemetery vantage point.
"Planning to get eaten as an alternative?"
Xander sneaks a glance at Spike. He's doing obscene things to the olive.
It disappears into his mouth with a pop.
"Was that an offer?"
"Might've been," Spike says to the tombstone. "Truce for the night?"
"Seems like the right place for it," Xander agrees.
Neither of them's said anything about London or L.A.
It occurs to Xander that's because there's nothing that needs saying.
And when Spike offers an arm, Xander takes it.
Savannah is that kind of place.
An old green Packard coasts past the cemetery gates.
"You so read the book," Xander accuses.
Spike pretends not to hear him.
End note: This scene took place in the Bonaventure cemetery, famously featured in the book 'Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil' - more specifically, on the tomb of Conrad Aiken. The book Xander keeps referring to is - of course - Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil. Which Spike did so read.
This is not where Xander thought he’d see Spike next.
It didn’t even make the top ten.
A gondola in Venice. Under the glittering lights of a Paris boulevard. A beach with the moonlight reflecting off the Mediterranean.
Those would have been nice.
Clichéd and a sign that Xander socializes with way too many women who introduced him to too many cheesy movies, but still, nice.
The Minneapolis airport has no character. So little that he’d checked the signs to ensure he was here and not in Detroit.
It’s not its fault. Airports just aren’t that exciting, especially when Xander has a five hour layover and finished his book on the plane and all the books that look interesting in the bookstore are ones he’s already read. Because he buys all his books at airports.
And there’s no way he’s buying The Secret.
He knows enough secrets to last ten lifetimes.
So does the guy flipping through the newest Stephen King. And he actually has that many lifetimes and more.
“Let's see, the last time we met...”
Spike cocks an eyebrow. “Was Savannah.”
“How nice, you remembered. But of course, that was the day the Germans marched into Paris.”
Spike rolls his eyes. “Harris.” The ‘stop being an idiot’ is clear.
“C’mon, don’t try and pretend you haven’t seen that movie.”
“I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue,” Spike says with a sigh in his voice. “Now can we go get drunk?”
It’s the best idea Xander’s heard in ages.
They end up at a TGIFridays drinking beers and scarfing nachos. Okay, Xander does most of the scarfing but Spike evens it out by tossing the beers back like they’re otter blood.
It’s actually kinda nice.
It’s not Savannah but it’ll do.
And it’s not till Xander’s back in the air and Spike’s boarded his now refueled jet that Xander realizes they didn’t have sex.
It should be a bad thing. His libido should be frustrated.
Xander decides not to let weird be weird. He eases his chair back and closes his eye, a smile on his face.
End note: The movie they're referring to (and quoting from) is Casablanca.
There's something about being confronted with a butt plug and complimentary tube of slick on the pillow where a mint should be that makes Xander strangely shy.
It doesn't make Spike shy.
And thank god.
Because an un-shy Spike is a naked Spike.
A naked Spike on all fours on the bed, arching his back and growling and working himself back on the butt plug Xander's holding in hands that're suddenly shaking too hard and have forgotten how to move.
Much like the rest of him.
And the whole world's slowly disappearing along with the plug. Into a Spike who's sighing and stretching and pulling away from Xander to roll over and stroke his cock and spread his legs and give Xander the 'I know what you're thinking' look.
Xander's look would answer 'duh' because it's not exactly a challenge.
But Xander's too busy looking to bother with communicating.
It's quite a show.
"Planning to sit there all night?" The look asks. Unless it was the show asking. Xander's lost track of the metaphor.
He's also lost track of basic voluntary motor skills. "Uhh."
Because it's always good to know a guy's lover can still short-circuit his brain.
And even better when said lover's the kind who's got a patient smile on his face while he's tipping a guy over and tugging him out of his clothes and breathing, "Oh, yeah," and going down on a guy's cock in the middle of a sex hotel room so lurid it makes the Vegas Experience look classy.
They know how to do it right here.
And so does Spike. Doing it right and growling because Xander's grabbing his hair and Spike likes it and Xander likes the way Spike's working his hips back and forth and deep throating Xander's cock and there's not a lot to say because in Xander's memoir this whole evening's going to be summarized as:
Verbs and nouns and adjectives - another thing Xander's lost track of in Tokyo.
Along with his luggage and a slayer but that's okay because - butt plug.
Verbs and nouns and adjectives - long gone.
But Xander's got exclamations covered.
They eat convenience store onigiri outside a rail station sitting between a group of girls with blue lipstick and big skirts and a couple who're making a great case for grunge staying out of style. And Xander chokes on his Calpis when Spike casually mentions he's still wearing the plug.
"Bloody brilliant," Spike adds, leans back, puts his foot on the bench and licks rice off his thumb.
Xander's got to agree.
Someone snaps their picture and Xander's blinded by the flash. "Ever been to Kyoto?"
Xander can't say he has.
Later, he can.
He's owed vacation time.