It was wiggy.
It was wild.
It was Thelma And Louise without Brad Pitt or the gun. And without the cliff.
It was a hell of a road trip or a road trip from hell - one of those - with a punk rock soundtrack and truckers honking at them from big rigs.
Okay - at Spike.
Xander twisted around in his seat to stare at Spike behind the wheel. Sunglasses. Bright red lipstick. Hair blowing in the wind.
Oh yeah - Xander had no illusions which one of them was the plain Jane in this buddy movie and clearly he needed to spend a few hours curled up in a multiplex while things exploded on screen because there was no way no way Xander was prepared to be insecure in his femininity.
He substituted thoughts of femininity for thoughts of destination. Cartographical goodness. "Where're we going first?"
"Know a bloke in Barstow, specializes in this kind of thing. Birds to blokes, blokes to birds."
"There's a market for that?"
"Latest thing in Japan. Pop away for a holiday, come back with a fine pair of tits or a nice solid cock. Whole new life."
"You're not kidding?"
"Don't think so."
"My life is so freaking weird."
"Least you've got tits to play with." Spike reached over and flipped the CDs in the changer, sat back with a satisfied look and slinky old fashioned jazz. "Didn't even have to pay for them."
"My life?" Xander held up a hand for emphasis. "Weird."
Weird driving through foggy passes with the wind in his hair and air that couldn't decide if it was desert-dusty or sea-salty.
Even the air was confused.
There was symbolism there.
Symbolism Xander was too tired to -
"Your hand's on my thigh."
They waited, the three of them. Xander, Spike and Spike's hand which stayed where it was. "Are you this forward with all the girls?"
"You call this forward?"
Spike's hand slid up until his pinky finger rasped along the crotch seam of Xander's jeans. "Forward! Yes. That's what I'd call forward."
"That's not forward, mate. The car pulled over and you with your knees about your ears on the bonnet - that's forward."
Xander squeezed his legs closed around Spike's hand and slouched down in his seat. Spike's fingers wiggled. Xander's nerves obliged with shocks and tingles and a little bad idea - so gonna get caught! voice that left Xander clearing his throat three times before pulling it together to speak.
Once in a lifetime.
Xander's palms started to sweat and he looked down at Spike's fingers disappearing between his thighs. Looked up at Spike with one hand on the steering wheel and a cigarette clenched between his teeth.
Okay - young and foolish once in a lifetime unless you're a vampire and then -
Xander found himself intimate with the dashboard and Giles' tires lost a layer of rubber to the California highway.
There were times for reflection and this was one of them.
While he waited for Spike to come back from - wherever - on his back on a cheap motel bedspread in the dry and dusty California heartland with his arms behind his head and one leg hanging off the edge.
And his boobies lying heavy on his chest and pretty much continuing to exist.
Which was why the whole thinking thing was going on.
Except it didn't go on for long or very far because there wasn't as much to think about as he expected. It pretty much went like this: I've got a woman's body. So does Spike. We're having lots of the hot n' slippery lesbian sex.
Can a guy be a lesbian?
Which was something Xander didn't have an answer for and anyway it was hard to stay on topic after hot n' slippery lesbian sex.
He flopped and bounced onto his side, pressed his legs together and tried to look like a guy taking a nap, not a guy doing multiplication tables in his head hoping the throbbing heavy feeling goes away before Spike gets back from - wherever.
Or wondering why he's bothering with the whole resisting temptation thing.
Because it's really really nothing Spike hasn't seen before.
But there's a difference between having sex and getting caught up to the knuckles in his own cunt - a word which - it was increasingly important to point out in preparation for the day he needed to point it out to Willow because he just dropped a c-bomb into the conversation - he was not going to shy away from anymore because if he had one, he should get to choose his own word.
And in spite of the way Spike had seriously increased his vocabulary of synonyms in the last couple of weeks, all the others were too silly or way way too British unless Spike was saying them right in his ear while doing nasty (and really great) things to him at the same time.
So there was only one problem left.
'Cunt,' a voice in his head said, sounding a lot like Spike.
And Xander groaned and flipped onto his stomach and buried his head under the pillow because apparently Spike didn't have to be right there anymore to get him going.
'Who's a bad girl, getting all hot and bothered over a word like that?'
Xander mentally flipped Spike off and curled up and he was not some horny teenager who was gonna spend every free moment of his time with his hand down his pants.
'Know what happens to bad girls?'
Apparently, Xander's body did.
He threw the pillow across the room, unzipped his jeans and shoved them down, hissing because his ass was still sore from the spanking.
Everything was sore from the spanking.
Sore and tender and swollen and hot and -
All too happy to let a couple fingers slide in and his thumb rock up wetly between his folds, circle and rub and he pressed his head back into the mattress wondering whatever happened to foreplay.
Women's bodies were supposed to like foreplay.
Except his. Which apparently just wanted to fuck a lot where Spike was concerned - or maybe that was just him.
'Might as well use it while we've got it, mate. No telling when the spell could come off.'
Privately, he thought they were roaming all over inland California looking for Spike's demon buddy instead of looking for Riley because Spike was having too much fun fucking Xander stupid to stop as soon as they found Riley.
Privately, he also thought he might not actually mind.
And after he came like a shuddering, clenching, heart-pounding and stuttering wreck, he dropped his arm off the edge of the bed and went back to thinking because thinking didn't require moving.
Except there weren't any thoughts to think yet that weren't wow and what am I - sixteen again?
He turned on the TV to the ten o'clock news.
"Police are still looking for the woman involved and her traveling companion. If you see either of these women, do not approach them but call the number on the bottom of the screen."
Xander stared at the screen.
Xander stared at himself. And Spike.
The motel room door slammed open and Xander stared at the real Spike.
Who was too busy throwing their things into Xander's suitcase for any staring. "Come on. Haven't got all day. Time's wasting."
"What'd you do?"
"Wanted by the police for robbery tonight..." the TV said.
"Made a withdrawal," Spike said.
"You don't have a bank account."
And while Spike was dragging him out of the room by one arm and the TV was telling him Spike might be armed, Xander really really started to regret tempting fate with the whole Thelma and Louise analogy.
"Spike?" Xander waited till they were on the freeway with the top down and his hair whipping around his face.
"Yeah? What?" Spike drove with one hand and smoked with the other.
"If you have sex with Brad Pitt, this road trip is so over."
"Where are we?" Xander squinted at the city lights and emerged like a rumpled moth from his cocoon of stolen motel blanket.
He had no illusions about being the butterfly but he could do moth.
"Modesto." Spike flicked a cigarette over the side of the car and slowed for traffic.
Xander sat up. "Where in - no, okay. Why are we in Modesto?"
Spike swung the wheel and stopped with a jerk under the flashing lights of The Ranch Bar.
"You've gotta be kidding me."
"You want us to go in there looking like this?"
"Unless you've got a switcheroo spell in your pockets, yeah."
"Oh no. No way. That," Xander said with emphasis and a finger jabbed at the bar, "is what they call a dive. Bad things happen to nice girls in dives."
Spike was already grinning. "You don't say."
"Spike! Come back here."
"Why? Not like I'm a nice girl is it, Harris?"
"I'm a nice - " Xander bit his tongue before that one could go any further. "I look like a nice girl."
"Nice girls don't get slippery with vampires."
"Get slippery? Get slippery?"
"Might want to pipe down, Harris."
"I don't want to - " Xander stomped on that line of thought when he saw the clientèle. "Okay. Quiet, now. Still thinking this is a really bad idea, Spike."
And Xander still thought it was a bad idea when Spike realized he could get free drinks by snogging Xander for show.
It was really too bad Xander didn't think the drinks were bad ideas until they stopped seeming like a bad idea and so did pretty much everything else.
In slippery nipples, Xander trusted.
Slippery nipples and a biker named Tommy who wasn't a bad guy and owned a 1953 Chief which was a lot more interesting with a bunch of slippery nipples warming him from the inside out and making The Ranch Bar downright homey.
Homey and full of Spike kissage which Tommy really really liked - and after he picked up a bar stool and brained a couple of guys who wanted touchsies instead of looksies, Xander was feeling pretty friendly toward him.
So when Spike said, "Gonna step out for a few, pet. Got a man to see," Xander said:
"Okay," and had another slippery nipple on Tommy.
Except not on Tommy.
Because Xander might have been drunk but he wasn't feeling that friendly and without Spike around to snog, this was gonna be Xander's last slippery nipple and he wasn't letting any of it go to waste.
"Hey - what's a slippery nipple doing in a place like this?" He asked because it's was really more of a beer joint.
Beer and whiskey and maybe things with things floating in it for nights when the guys got frisky and made bets about the size of their balls.
Tommy flicked a cap off a new beer. "We don't get a lot of ladies in here and what the ladies want the ladies get."
Xander wasn't about to take the opportunity to point out he wasn't a lady so he took the opportunity to bring up something marginally less embarrassing but a lot more critical instead. "What if the lady wants the ladies' room?"
"Down the hall and to the right. It's the one without the dents in the door."
Turned out it was the one without the dents in the door and the one without the not so steady thump thump thump and fuck and god damn! going on inside that was either a couple of guys having a really great time or a really bad night.
"Yeah - that's right! Like that, don't you you bloody great brute?"
Which wasn't a guy at all.
So Xander did the stupid thing. He knocked. "Spike?"
There was another thump - and silence.
And the familiar and homey sounds of a body dropping to the floor unconscious because a guy didn't spend five years hanging out with Giles without learning to recognize that sound. Or recognize the smug look on Spike's face while he came out sucking his knuckles.
The guy on the floor had a really bad night.
And Spike had a really great time.
But Xander's quippage was drowning in butterscotch schnapps and Irish cream and really slow to catch up at the speed Spike was dragging him out the back door.
It caught up about the time he tumbled into the passenger seat. "What the fuck was that?"
"Debt collection," Spike said with a whole lot of satisfaction.
"Chip!" Xander rebutted.
"Yeah - well - " Spike looked kinda embarrassed and patted around for a cigarette.
"Chip," Xander and all eight slippery nipples accused.
"Need to have a talk 'bout that." Spike puffed on his cigarette and swerved around a pothole.
"So let me get this straight - you've been chipless and fancy free since the magical switcheroo?"
"And it might come back when you get turned back into your big bad self."
"Yeah. So what?"
"And yet - " Xander held up the fingers of forestallment, "here you are. Helping." Xander looked around the motel room that was probably nowhere near Riley. "Okay. Sort of helping. Why?"
"Wasn't gonna run off and spend the rest of my unlife as a bird was I?"
"Which explains why you're so determined to find Riley."
"Maybe I want him to suffer while we have some fun on Rupert's dime. Ever thought of that?"
Xander hadn't. He examined it.
It had a lot of potential.
"And anyway this isn't so bad, you and me. The open road. Rupert's credit card. Might even like you a bit."
"Spike - in the last few weeks, we have enacted every lesbian fantasy I ever had and a bunch I didn't even know about. You like me more than a bit." Things got quiet. Things like Xander and Spike and the slippery nipples which were a sweet and distant memory and their ugly cousin the grating hangover who was knocking at his door. "It's been good. It's been great. It's been slippery and slidey and black-outy orgasmy fun but I'm not going to look like this forever, Spike. Eventually, we're gonna find Riley and then presto-change-o, I'm a big ugly construction-working guy with five o'clock shadow and hairy balls. Get used to it." Xander rolled over and pushed his face into the pillow.
And he was pretty sure he was asleep when he heard Spike say, "Wouldn't mind."
As ways to wake up went - it was memorable.
"Just so happens," Spike was saying conversationally, conversationally like a guy not rocking his hips and seven inches of strapped on silicone between Xander's thighs in the middle of the night, "I might like blokes who work construction and have five o'clock shadow and hairy balls."
Xander's hand was gently guided down to wrap around a really familiar shape and, Oh, penis, I've missed you. Even if it wasn't his. Or - not in the attached to it by anything more than straps way and he was pretty sure he didn't say that out loud.
Or Spike didn't notice him saying it out loud.
And then there was the whole question of how - or why - Spike got Xander into a strap-on without waking him up but right then was not the time for questions.
Fortunately, Spike was way too busy wrapping his fingers around Xander's and jacking something that was probably lurid pink or purple or green and rubbing Xander just the right way between his legs to - "Imagine, yeah. My hand around your prick, sliding between your legs like this. Nudging up against those hairy balls I've had in my mouth 'till you were begging for it."
Not an idle threat - because Xander was nothing if not sold on Spike's oral talents and it was way too possible he moaned really embarrassingly because then there was another breathy, "Yeah, that's right."
Like Spike agreed with him.
And it was possible Spike did agree with him. In ways he still wasn't ready to face head-on. But a dark motel room and a pair of strap ons was about a million miles from head on so Xander just pushed back and rode the ridges rubbing back and forth, clenched his fingers on slick silicone and shuddered.
Shuddered again and kept shuddering because Spike was apparently really good at knowing when there was room for just...one more.
And when was too much - which was time to stop and be sweaty and panting together and kind of tingling and their fingers were still laced together and resting against Xander's belly. "Never minded hairy balls," Spike said conversationally, picking up where he left off - as if there was nothing weird about the statement in the context of two womanly bodies with male occupants wearing sticky strap ons in a cheap hotel bed.
Xander reviewed the thought and checked a few more lines off on his 'lesbian fantasies I never even thought of before' checklist. He cleared his throat. "What if I do?"
A wet tongue ran circles around a vertebra on Xander's neck. "Mine aren't hairy," Spike replied as if that resolved the question and then opened up a whole new one. "Bet you have a lovely prick."
One Xander didn't have any answer for except, "I've always kinda liked it."
After that, it got easier to believe Spike was actually looking for Riley and not just having the time of his unlife beating up strange men in bars and spending Giles' trust fund - or whatever it was that kept a guy like Giles in condos and mid-life crisis cars.
"What the hell would Riley be doing in McCloud? We're not dressed for McCloud!"
"Says who?" Said the man in the duster around a cigarette clenched between his teeth.
"Says my nipples."
It would've taken a stronger man than Spike to not sneak a peek at Xander's chest. It would've taken a stronger man than Xander too. They stared in silence at his accusatory nippleage.
"Suppose we're not. Should've thought about that before we left home."
"We left home in Sunnydale. Which is not in the north. And does not - may I add - get snow on a regular basis."
Spike squinted at the indigo blue and cloudless sky. "It's not going to snow," he concluded with scorn. "Don't be such a girl, Harris." Thus said, they started walking again. Or Spike started walking and Xander followed because he didn't exactly want to be left alone in a little tourist trap under the Northern Californian mountains.
"I could be insulted," Xander said. "I should be insulted. In fact, I'm going to be insulted any moment now."
Spike directed a speaking look back over his shoulder. It said all there was to be said. And added a 'poof' for good measure.
"Do you even have a plan?"
"Don't need one," Spike answered predictably as they predictably swung into a bar.
And Xander readied himself for another evening of Shirley Temples and watching Spike get shitfaced on girl drinks so of course it was that evening when Spike changed the plan.
Rolled up to the biggest woman at the bar.
Leaned on an elbow and said, "Hello, poodle. Fancy a threesome?"
Then he grabbed Riley's ass.
"You knew where he was all the time!" Xander accused.
"Well, yeah," Spike said the way most people said 'duh'.
Riley didn't say much of anything at all but being drugged unconscious and stuffed into the trunk would do that to a guy.
Then there was silence while Xander considered the potential of Carl's Jr. next exit, turn left. And then: "Okay, how did you know?"
"Demon network." Spike didn't even look at the Carl's Jr. sign.
"There's a what now?"
"Demons. Networking." Spike glanced over at Xander, eyebrows lifted. "What? You think you humans have a lock on sharing information? Not hardly. And something like this, well." Spike fumbled a cigarette out of the pack and lit it, grinned around it. "Funniest thing to happen in Sunnydale since the Slayer had a bad burrito before patrol."
Which was not a story Xander had ever heard.
Or was ever likely to hear.
He consulted his inner taste meter and decided he was pretty much okay with that.
"So we chased him from one end of California to the other - why exactly?"
Spike shrugged, dropped the hand that wasn't clenching the cigarette and the steering wheel to Xander's thigh for a squeeze. "Not every lifetime a bloke gets to experience something like this, is it? Wanted to make the most of it."
Carl's Jr.'s burgery goodness had come and gone by the time Xander said, "I might be prepared to concede that point. The whole worthwhileness of this. But only once. And never in mixed company."
The hand gave his leg a pat and retreated. "Fair enough."
A sign advertised a Shell station next exit.
"Don't suppose you want to stop for a quickie."
Whether they stopped for a quickie or not was completely beside the point and they made it back to Sunnydale just before dawn.
Back to Sunnydale and back to Giles' condo and back to Giles and Ethan in pajamas looking a whole lot more comfortable like that than Xander's brain was willing to deal with after being up all night.
It was a kick.
And a survival mechanism.
And a good excuse for leaving Riley sleeping on Giles' couch and getting out of there before his brain reminded him there's only one bed in Giles' place and the couch was obviously not in use.
Nope. The thought was nowhere near anywhere in Xander's mind. All he had on his mind was: "Home, James. And don't spare the horses."
He didn't have to look at Spike to know there was an eyebrow quirking at him. A cigarette being lit. "What? It's a perfectly respectable name for a chauffeur. Very English."
He didn't even have to open his eyes to know Spike was lifting two fingers at him.
Two fingers he was never going to be able to look at in the same way again.
Especially when Spike wiggled them.
And did that thing with his tongue.
It was also beside the point whether they had one more go for the road.
As entrances went, Xander decided a guy couldn't go wrong with: "So, who's for letting this spell be ended?"
And he didn't go wrong with it.
In fact, there was an abundance of unanimous in favorness to go around.
Well, mostly unanimous.
Unanimous but one.
"Yes, by all means, Xander, do hurry the spell along when you have absolutely no idea what it requires or what will happen to you if any of us should make even the slightest mistake."
Giles was the but one.
But he was a but one with a point.
A point Xander conceded through the raising of hands. "Go slow. Go very slow."
"Thank you, Xander."
"Don't see what you're in such a hurry for," Spike said like a guy who hadn't just been part of the unanimity. "It's been nice. Soft. Bit squishy but I wouldn't mind doing it again."
"And that was in no way way too much information." Buffy's unanimity, apparently, was undaunted. And of the hasty sort.
But there was no haste in the face of Giles' sarcasm so Xander took a seat and aimed for the small talk. "I take it your summer vacation in man-land wasn't all it was cracked up to be."
"Belive me when I say what happened in big buff boy Buffy's body stays in big buff boy Buffy's body."
"I thought it w-was interesting." Tara set a tray of hot chocolates and mugs of tea on the table and took a tea. "For a little while."
Xander gave Willow a long look that said 'interesting?' It was a look that wasn't entirely sure it wanted the details.
Willow retreated behind a hot chocolate and a blush. "No comment."
"Cowards," Spike dismissed. "All of you." And took a hot chocolate.
Did things to the whipped cream that should be illegal.
"And how's that spell coming along, Giles?"
"In its own time, Xander."
"Right. Who wants some tasty, tasty doughnuts?"
"Coward," Spike commented amiably, ambled amiably at Xander's side.
"That's right, buddy," Xander agreed just as amiably because there's nothing like a man getting his own parts back - presto change-o wardrobe malfunctions aside - to bring on the amiable. "And don't you forget it."
"There's only one cure for that, you know."
Spike snorted his opinion of that and flicked the glowing butt of his cigarette at a 'no littering' sign. "Berk."
"Is that a no?"
"Yes. Well - no. Death cures pretty much everything. I'll give you that. But it wasn't what I had in mind." Which was a lot of words and surprisingly close to complete sentences for an irritated Spike so Xander filed it away under 'Spike: general snark' for the time being and asked:
"Facing your fears."
"I'll have you know I face my fears nightly while they're flashing their fangs in my face."
"Pfft. That's not fear. It's mortality."
"Okay. So what's fear?"
"Fear," Spike said - and Xander found his back up against a chilly lamp post, Spike's thigh between his knees, hip to hip, "is the unknown."
"Faced that too," Xander said, in the manliest falsetto known to manliness.
"Tits." Spike dismissed them with a wave of his hand. The grind of his hips wasn't exactly dismissive. "Been fondling those for a few years now, mate. This," and Xander refused to acknowledge that was his hand suddenly being cupped around Spike's dick, "is fear of the unknown."
And he was going to move that hand.
Any minute now.
"Oh yeah. Make a natural out of you."
Away. He was going to move his hand away any minute now.
As soon as Spike moved his hand away.
Like a big gay game of - chicken.
"Just so we're clear - not gay."
Spike's fingers stopped moving long enough for Spike to give Xander the most disbelieving look in his impressive repertoire - and long enough for Xander to really wish they'd start moving again. "Do I look like a poof to you?"
Actually, right then, Spike looked pretty scary. "Um. No?"
"Right. So are we going to go through this denial song and dance again or are we going to fuck?"
"Out here on the street?"
"Fucking hell." Spike dropped his dick and grabbed his hand and Xander found himself caboosing along behind a disgruntled Spike. "Poof."
"Just so we're clear - ?" Xander swallowed as Spike threw him an evil eye over his shoulder without so much as slowing down. "Um - we are still going to fuck?"
"Bloody right we're going to fuck."
"And it doesn't make us gay?"
"No." Spike paused. Long enough to drag down the last of his cigarette. And apparently long enough to come up with the rest of his thought. "Liking cock might, mind."
"Hey - I was all about the boobies up until this morning, may I remind you."
"Humans." Spike flicked his cigarette butt into a planter and jogged up the stairs. "Always about the parts."
"You liked my parts."
"Still do." Xander found himself spun and pinned again. A cold tongue licking its way up from his collarbone and a hand digging into his pocket for the keys. "Now how 'bout we take them for a spin? Make sure they still work?"
Xander was pretty certain they still worked at this point.
But he had to admit it never hurt to be sure.