slammed his apartment door behind him, heard it bounce against the door jam and turned and slammed it again. That felt really
good, so he jerked it open and slammed it one more time. From across the hall he heard faintly, “Knock it off, asshole!”
yourself off, asshole,” he answered back to his empty apartment, and then looked around nervously, as if the
empty pizza boxes, beer bottles and piles of dirty white socks were going to mock his passive aggressive comebacks.
leaned over and ripped at the laces on his work boots, yanking them off and tossing them and the latest in a long line of
grimey socks into a pile with their brethren. He quickly tore at his t-shirt, tossing it to land over a lamp, as he started
clawing at his chest. God, he felt like he’d stripped naked and rolled in insulation, not just hauled rolls of it around
all day. Hell, even his ass itched, and he didn’t remember utilizing it in any of the grunt work he’d volunteered
to do today. He tried to remember that he was paid really well for that grunt work, but that didn’t seem to matter when
he felt like ripping his skin off to stop the itchy burning.
He shouldn’t have stopped by to see the girls first.
He should have just come home and scratched, and maybe it wouldn’t have gotten this bad. But he knew if he didn’t
tell Willow that he was going to wait until tomorrow morning to mow, she’d be standing on the porch watching for him
for hours and then doing that freaky telepathy shit to get into his head, and it would probably be right at the moment he
was groaning the name of the Evil Undead in the shower and then there would be mental blushing and stammering and ye gods,
He shoved his jeans off and his boxers went the way of the t-shirt, casting the room into a gloom that fit
his mood and made the shriveled pizza slices and puddles of beer look somehow artsy. He felt a little better without anything
next to his skin, and indulged in a full body scratch that had him throwing his head back and moaning a little at the feeling.
You’d think after Anya left, his penis would have decided to take a well deserved vacation, but it seemed to
have found new inspiration. And we’re not thinking about that inspiration, he said to himself as he went to turn
the shower on and jumped beneath the spray, not waiting for it to heat up. This one was about cleanliness, not getting stickier.
He groaned a little, his eyelashes fluttering in relief as he felt the gritty itchiness wash off.
He used extra shower
gel, getting a good lather going and then frowning as the traitor between his legs tried to make its agenda known. “No,”
he said sternly and then rinsed, wondering if the definition of insanity wasn’t dumping your beautiful, sexy girlfriend
or fantasizing about the person who headed up your own personal shit list, but talking to your own genitals. Well, that’s
one I won’t be going to Willow with, he thought, grabbing a towel and giving himself a cursory drying.
now he was just going to enjoy being home and making the most of what was left of a spectacularly shitty day. He slipped into
a pair of drawstring pants and headed back into the living room. At least he was clean, a feeling he’d found himself
enjoying more and more lately. It seemed all he’d done in the past week was work, shower, eat, shower, sleep, shower.
And too much of this, he thought, looking down at the beer he unthinkingly pulled out of the refrigerator. One or two
a couple of nights a week after work was one thing, yeah, but…he looked around the apartment, realizing he’d begun
building a virtual Stonehenge of beer bottles.
He set the bottle, unopened, on the end table and dropped down on the
couch. Okay. So no fizzy beverages. Food would be good, but the thought of ordering pizza or Chinese again made his stomach
roll. Why didn’t McDonald’s deliver? They were missing out on a goldmine.
He ran his fingers through
his hair and was considering how big of a pain in the ass it would be to run grab some tacos, when he saw it. He turned his
head slightly, looking out onto the darkened balcony. At first he couldn’t see anything but darkness and his own reflection
in the glass, and then there it was – a red glow that brightened momentarily and then dimmed.
up from the couch, his bare feet landing squarely in the open pizza box peeking out from under the coffee table. He stumbled
over it and jerked open the patio door, the street lights illuminating the leather clad back leaning against the railing,
a waft of smoke rising above an unnaturally blond head.
“Spike,” Xander said, letting all of his frustration,
ashamed excitement and disgust at feeling a dried black olive stuck between his toes color the word.
lover,” Spike said, turning with a sultry head tilt. He watched Xander stare back at him, the edges of the boy’s
full lips twitching. “What?” Spike asked, frowning, the mood thrown.
“I’m sorry,” Xander
said, spreading his hands. “Lov-ah. I don’t know whether to punch you or point and laugh.”
pitched his cigarette over the balcony railing and started toward Xander, his head lowered and fists clenched. Momentarily
thrown by the dangerous vibe Spike was giving off, Xander jumped back into the apartment, grasping the doorframe to steady
himself as the beyond pissed off vampire stopped just short of the barrier.
Seeing Spike stop just in time to avoid
being humiliated by an invisible smack down, Xander snickered. “Well, this could be fun.” He reached a
hand through the doorway, poking Spike in the middle of the chest and then jerking his arm back. Spike lunged for him, slapped
his hand against the barrier and jumped back with a curse, causing Xander to laugh harder.
“Oh, yeah, this has
all kinds of possibilities,” he said, his eyes gleaming with an evil joy. He was just getting ready to see if he could
mess up Spike’s hair without sending the vampire into chip-overload, when Spike was suddenly against the barrier, so
close their lips were almost brushing, but separated by something Xander couldn’t see or feel.
try it, Harris.” The voice was a low growl, and the eyes said he was way beyond kidding.
The laughter left Xander’s
face and he looked at Spike for a moment, putting more space between them. “Then go home, Spike.”
Xander’s eyes widened, and then he laughed again, shaking his head. “Uh, no.”
“Because I didn’t wake up stupid this morning.”
Whole new world, was it?”
Xander backed up, closing the door in Spike’s face. “Say goodnight, Spike.”
– fuck. Xander, you’re bloody brilliant, alright? Christ.” Spike sighed, reaching a hand up to stop in front
of the closing door. “Look, I just want to talk for a bit, and then I’ll leave.”
what?” Xander asked, the door half-closed so that he could just make out the pale gleam of Spike’s hair and one
deceptively innocent blue eye.
“Well, for starters, how about you explain what that power trip in the cemetery
was all about.”
Xander kept the door cracked and gave Spike a weary look. “Okay, obsessive, much? That
was like a week ago. Move on, Spike.”
“We kissed, Xander,” Spike’s voice was low, and his
eye never left Xander’s face. “Well, you kissed me, anyway. I was just trying to keep from biting your sodding
tongue off. Didn’t think it was worth the headache.”
“Right. And that was your stake I felt
grinding into my crotch? Oh, wait, it could have been your lighter…”
Spike thumped against the barrier
again, sputtering. “My lighter…? Oh, you poncy little bastard.” Spike stopped, dropping his head
against the barrier. “Harris. Invite me in.” He looked up, his eyes meeting Xander’s. “Please.”
Xander opened the door, looking back at him. “If you make me regret this, Spike…”
looked up hopefully, grinning slightly as Xander sighed hugely, stepping back. “Come in, Fangless.”
was halfway through the doorway before he looked back, glaring at the laws of mystical whos-its accepting that name.
right, Spike,” Xander said, walking back toward the couch. “I’ve had a shitty day, I’m hungry, I’m
tired and kind of itchy. So say what you’ve got to say and get out.”
Spiked smiled slowly, rubbing his
thumb against his lower lip. “Yeah, I uh, really enjoyed the floor show.”
Xander turned, seeing the pile
of pink fuzzed clothes on the floor behind him. He groaned and looked back at the smirking vampire. “You sick fuck,”
he sighed, dropping back down on the couch.
“So,” Spike said, clapping his hands together and grinning
at Xander. “What would you like to talk about first? How much you’re dying to see a floor show of your own, or
how you want to handle my stepping into old Rupert’s shoes as headmaster of the Scoobies?”
up at him, his mind in the place of the naked Spike show, but his mouth still working independently of it. “You? Leader
of the Scoobies? How the hell did you arrive at that?”
“Well, it’s obvious, innit?”
Spike said, crossing his arms and looking down at Xander. “Red’s too unstable to do it, what with the occasionally
wonky magic, and her pretty little bird couldn’t lead a litter of puppies and the Bit’s too young. And you’ve
got that whole Sybil thing going on right now, so naturally I figured…”
Xander got to his feet,
crossing his own arms and suddenly remembering that he was shirtless. He crossed his arms tighter and sneered, “Spike,
we wouldn’t follow you if you suddenly walked on water.”
Spike dropped his arms, stepping closer to Xander
as his eyes narrowed and his voice lowered. “Well, I think you’ll change your mind, mate, the first time something
comes up that your little witches can’t chant away. Trust me, there’ll come the day that you’ll wish I was
riding shotgun on your ass when you feel fangs jabbing into that hot little neck.”
“Why the hell are you
even still here, Spike?” Xander said, his voice rising even as Spike’s had lowered. “She’s
gone. She can’t see this…hero shit you’re trying to pull. What, you can’t be the Big Bad, so you’re
gonna try for Chosen One? It doesn’t work like that, you arrogant ass. I’m not going to put the few people I have
left in the hands of a self-involved, delusional vampire who wants to play the good guy.”
not doin’ this for you or her,” Spike said, his voice still low, steely, dangerous, as he moved ever closer,
eyeing Xander’s defensive stance. “If you’d just stop and think for one fucking minute, you’d see
you’re putting all of you in greater danger by not letting me -"
“Sell us out? Screw us over? Or get bored
and get us killed?” Xander said, his arms rising to ward Spike off, even as he moved a little closer to the glaring
vampire bearing down on him. “I don’t know what we’re going to do now, Spike, but I’ll be damned if
“Oh for fuck’s sake, Xander,” Spike said, his agitated breathing kicking in as
Xander’s hair brushed his forehead. “Shut your gob and kiss me.”
“Fuck you,” Xander
muttered as his hand jerked out and pulled Spike to him, his lips grinding down hotly onto a cool mouth as frighteningly strong
hands gripped his arms and jerked him even closer. Xander flicked his tongue across Spike’s lips, earning him a gasp
that allowed him to deepen the kiss, moaning as Spike’s hand left his arm and reached up to bury itself in his hair.
bare chest was crushed against warm leather, and one leg thrust between Spike’s, rubbing against the growing hardness
there as they both opened their mouths wider, demanding more from each other. Xander pulled back slightly, sucking Spike’s bottom
lip into his mouth and nipping it lightly with his teeth. He took a shaky breath, leaning forward to rest his forehead against
Spike’s, feeling the vampire shuddering against him.
“This is still a really bad idea,” Xander said
quietly, his eyes closed.
Spike ran his hands down Xander’s bare back, bringing them together tightly as he slid
his fingers into the waistband of Xander’s pants. “It’s about to get a whole lot worse,” he said,
lowering his lips to Xander’s chest.