by Scy

He tried not to notice. Spike. Or anything about him. Not that he would- it was just that living with a vampire- made one aware of things. Certain things that he'd known for long to almost forget until they're right under your nose. Vampires don't smell like anything, not really, but if you get close enough he's always thought he smelled blood. If death had a smell, maybe he'd smell that too.

Spike bathed- regularly. He didn't like the smelly bath stuff, but whatever he used wasn't obnoxious. Cloves and orange but at least it's not girly. Nothing like what Anya used, all flowers and scent.

Of course, he wasn't sniffing the air after Spike passed. Nothing like that. He just. Noticed. Sort of how he noticed when Willow's shirt was low-cut and Buffy's jeans were maybe just little too tight. Kinda hard not to notice stuff. But he'd never connected those things with 'Spike swaggers, but not so much anymore. ' Or 'muscles, he has them. In a nice way.' Little connections that maybe could be a little bit gay but only in a modern male homophobic issues kind of way. Xander doesn't have these issues so he can see nice muscles on a guy and appreciate them on a non-gay basis. So he does. Without the issues.

Spike hasn't commented on his behavior. And he's sure that the vampire has noticed. The way that Xander stares at him. Of course, Spike avoids most conflicts these days. Leaves the room or looks away.

The fun's gone out of baiting him. The Spike-shaped creature sharing his apartment doesn't provide the same amusements that un-souled Spike did. Xander thinks he might go loony if he doesn't get some sort of response from Spike. Anything other than a hollow stare and the shuffling of the vampire's feet as he shifts away from the human annoying him.

That's better than the times when Spike won't come out of his room. Xander has heard him talking to himself- though he makes it sound like other people are there. Didn't complain either. An entire chorus of people all chiming in at random intervals and there's been more than one time when Xander heard someone familiar. People long dead or long gone. It makes him feel alternately sad and terrified.

The way he used to- not enough blood, crackers, blankets. Now he seemed satisfied with whatever was left. This was unsatisfactory. Unacceptable and really fucking boring. Times should be a-changing and dammit, Xander had to be pro-active guy. Do something to make Spike do something. Else, new, interesting.

Poking the insane vampire might not be his bestest most brilliant plan ever, but it was probably somewhere above trying to chat up insane rogue slayers. It's still a plan- and his. And it was time to put it into motion. first things first. Cleaning. Helped him think. Solidify. Gather his forces.

He scrubbed the dishes counter-clockwise, fascinated by the slide of the view through soapy water of butter on the ultramarine blue plates. The sweeping and mopping went fast and then it was later and Spike had come home. The usual greeting. Polite. He'd noticed that Spike was well-spoken- in the same way Giles tended to be. Only this Spike had none of Giles' or the old Spike's sarcasm. Xander missed that.

He responded to Spike's greeting, "Hey" and a beat later, said, "Kill anything cute tonight?"

Startled look, wide eyes that he associated with being caught somewhere without an exit.

"Ah, no."

"Ah, too bad. Bet you really miss all that great neck you used to get. Hey, maybe you could hit Buffy up for some, wait, no, she hates you for trying to rape her, right? Some vampires just have no luck." Spike ducked his head, not bashful, avoiding a blow- but the words kept coming

"Spike, you're the most boring and useless houseguest ever. You provide no entertaining banter and you don't clean up after yourself." Xander leaned his elbows into the glass table, idly playing with one of the candlesticks. Spike wasn't responding but he also wasn't leaving. Just taking it. Whenever one of them went off on the vampire, he waited until they were done before leaving. Courtesy.

Xander felt like he was kicking a puppy. He felt like he'd become his father and just the idea made his skin crawl inside-out. Twisted, but knowing he could hurt Spike as much as he wanted and never pay for it, that Spike would never hurt him back, did give him the tiniest thrill. Xander pushed his chair away from the able and stood. Walked right up to Spike. "You ever wonder if you got a happiness clause too?"

The puppy was bleeding. Not so that he could see it- but still injured. He was bigger. Always the on to be pushed around, but not with Spike anymore. The vampire was skinny. Skin draped artistically over muscle and bone. Easy to break. This was something Xander could do. He spent all day building things, creating spaces for people to exist amongst, so it made sense that breaking the undead would be a hobby.

One that he shouldn't enjoy. One that didn't make him feel bad- nope, not at all. Even that small place that still flinched when the words 'heavy drinker' were uttered. Footsteps on the stairs, better find a place out of sight. Don't make the bad men angry. they'll hurt you and you'll have earned it.

Spike's expression said all of that, and him knowing some of anything like what Xander's known- it isn't a place that he wants to go to. But he is. Without meaning to.

Xander touched Spike's shoulder lightly, wincing when the vampire recoiled from the touch. "Man, I'm not going to hurt you. I was. I was just..." Torturing you for no good reason. "Trying to make you do something other than be Mr. insane and silent. It's, uh, annoying."

"So sorry."

"Don't be sorry. Just..."

Spike stared at him, waiting.

Xander surprised himself. He didn't know Spike's lips would feel nearly warm or that Spike's tongue would dart out and touch his own. Didn't even know how a hand on the shoulder had turned into his kissing. Spike.


Shock. Spike was still, frozen, like he expected to be blamed for what Xander had done. As if he'd encouraged it.

Xander could do anything to Spike and it would be accepted. He tried holding Spike's shoulders, massaging the muscles underneath the black t-shirt. Maybe if he relaxed, he'd react. Or just kiss him back, once, and Xander would go from there. Boy kissing couldn't be much different than girl kissing.

Only it was- what with the not responding. Damn not-responding. Or delayed responding. Spike raised his hands to hold onto Xander's biceps, holding on hard enough to bruise. He managed to meet Xander's eyes and Xander thought he might be seeing hope.

So careful, one finger traced Xander's forehead, running his cheeks, and then traced his mouth. The contact made Spike shudder. Touching wasn't exactly something they thought the vampire should be getting from any of them.

What was it like- to be that detached from everyone?


Oh, he'd said the last part out loud.

"Oh." No words would make that better. He'd helped make Spike cold and that made him...ok, not feel bad. Spike was a vampire. A bad guy. No amount of pathetic neediness would make him a good person. Xander was consistent in his hatred. Spike didn't, however, really deserve to be alone. Not while they were using him.

Leniency was cool- so long as it didn't mean he had to like the guy.

He kissed the finger that touched his lips. Somehow it slipped inside. Let his teeth close gently on the digit, and Spike's mouth fell open- sound that was unplanned. a reaction, something real.

Yeah, of course the vampire liked biting. He tentatively flicked the finger with his tongue. tasted kinda salty and smelled like cigarette smoke. Oddly appealing and as Xander sucked at the end of the finger, Spike's hands squeezed harder. Little sounds like desperation. A wild animal caught in a trap, chewing his leg off to get free. or something caught between pleasure and the steady death of self. He couldn't decided which way to go- where it'd be alright- if he was allowed to do anything. Kiss him? Do naughty gay things with him he could never tell anyone about? Run into his room, lock the door, and jerk off to his Playboy magazines?

Or touch Spike.

Hey, now there's a plan. He took Spike's hand and guided him onto the couch. Spike was docile. He held onto Xander's hand, petting it softly. It felt nice. Sent little sparks up his arm. Anything but calming, but he could go along with 'awake'. Spike stretched down on the couch, arms by his sides, unmoving. Neediness defined his bones to an approximation of aristocracy.

Memories jostled his mind- Spike clubbing him with a microscope, pulling the vampire up when he was knocked down- probably gravity objected to the hideous tropical shirt he'd taken from Xander. Tying a guy who'd killed more people than he'd ever met- to a chair in his basement.

Spike was humming softly. While Xander couldn't make out the tune it sounded sad, and if it changed, he decided he'd worry.

"You're not going to kill me if you get excited, right?"

A snort. "As if I want you hanging about forever." Grateful for that small taste of a nastiness he'd missed, Xander let the retort go without a challenge.

The feeling of Spike's leather jacket that time when Deadboy tried to fake out 'his old mate.' He'd wondered about the vampires- in a purely 'how will figuring out their plan help Buffy way.' Sure, and if he repeated that enough he might be able to convince himself.

Any touch on Spike's throat set him to relaxing. The lightest touch of teeth sent long legs up to lock on Xander's hips. A bit of jerky movement and he'd found a preference.

"You like that?" he whispered, feeling less ridiculous when Spike exhaled softly and undulated against him.

A pale hand worked between their bodies and gripped his cock through cotton and expectations. It seemed that gender didn't matter, so long as the fingers were sure.

Spike had just one shirt it seemed- black, and was a soul a dampener on color in the clothing? He kind of missed the red shirt, at least then something bright stuck out on a dead man.

No flinching as Spike touched him- the chip's circuits must have taken the vampire's intentions toward Xander as only pelvic, and not arterial.

The intensity of Spike's eyes, the way that the slide of zipper seemed to burn into his ears, and then fingers on him.. Chilly expertise. Frozen all the way through to his bones. Xander wondered- if he were to cut through an arm, to the bone, would there be glass instead of muscle and blood?

Really not so difficult to be sympathetic to someone who stared at the ground with raw eyes and slink around like a beaten ghost.

Spike laughed, a raspy sound that scraped on Xander's ears- joke unvoiced and no explanation was forthcoming.

The abandon of pleasure; Spike's eyes closed and he was vulnerable, not as intimidating as when fully aware.

Gentle touch on his mouth; question, careful, sure of rejection, and then, as the contact was not rebuffed, tongue over his lips. Hands on him, a rhythm that he might not have chosen himself- softer- and it was a clumsy sort of giving. Hunger on his face, red stained teeth from a bitten lip, the catch in his breathing, like congestion that wouldn't be kicked, despite all of the animal blood they fed him.

Clinging to Spike as though he were some kind of human adhesive or-no, not going there. White out in his vision, and his brain was singing 'the vampire thinks you're a nummy treat- toldja'.

Spike was doing some wrapping of his own- ivy on the house, no the carpenter, and he'd gotten fond of a patch of skin below Xander's ear- pretty much sucking on it without breaking through.

A bit of an 'aww' moment that was worth a snicker if Xander hadn't been so..tired.


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