Rating: Um, older teen for cursing and one really terrible innuendo?
Warnings: Slash, and I use the word "erection" once. Oh, and some curse words. That's about it.
Spoilers: Through season 7 of Buffy and season 5 of Angel. Oh, and the comics? Not in my universe.
Summary: Even after he got a soul, Spike stole things, but these ones were a bit different. Ended up a bit schmaltzy and angsty, but it's what came out.
Disclaimer: I hired a pack of ninjas to kidnap Joss; he was threatened with hot poker torture and chainsaws so I could meet the real him. I now own all. Thank you. *Doctor's Note: Patient exhibits delusions of grandeur and any claims of ownership are pure fantasy. No harm is meant. Seriously, it's better than her throwing rocks at people.*
Beta: The most glorious suki_blue! I love her....
Prompt: None. Written for fall_for_sx.
Everyday he saw them, the changing, blurred faces that he couldn't recognize until he pictured them covered in blood. The weight of his sins pressed down on him, memories of death and screams plaguing his sleeping and waking thoughts. But while memories of the destruction he'd caused haunted him, something else hurt more. Every minute, he could feel it, a constant ache that would turn agonizing when loneliness closed in. All his demon had ever wanted was to belong and to possess. But without his demon in control it was so easy for him to see that he'd never had anyone's love, and the voices inside told him he never would. The realization couldn't be avoided:
He was alone.
His pain was always exacerbated when he remembered the way Tara and Willow looked at each other, the way their love seemed to make all else fade in comparison. He would think on the way Xander hugged his friends, cradling them to his chest as though seeking to protect them with nothing more than his will. It was love in its purest, greatest form, something Spike had never had. He'd been able to handle that when he didn't have a soul, because while he did love Buffy, it was darker; as long as he had her, he didn't need her to love him back. But now his longing to be loved was now almost as strong as his craving for blood. The need to have someone that truly loved him, one that he could love with all his being, twisted at his heart. All he wanted was someone to look at him as though he were the center of their existence. Yet his soul showed him the truth: he was a monster, one that could never have what he so desired.
One afternoon, nightmares once again woke him up. But instead of going to watch t.v., he started searching though Xander's belongings. After all, in some ways, he was still the Spike everyone remembered. And Spike did enjoy discovering the secrets that people vainly tried to hide. So he went through Xander's drawers, looked in the closets and dug through old papers. Under the bed he found a tattered cardboard box. He pulled it out and opened it, finding old pictures of Xander and Willow, along with another boy. There were also old comic books, bits of plastic and ticket stubs, but under everything else was an old tee shirt, neatly folded. It was the tee shirt worn by the other boy in one of the pictures, now a cherished memento. Whoever this boy was, Xander had loved him, still loved him. Spike ran his fingers over the soft fabric, the screams in his head quieting.
Replacing all but the shirt, he carefully put the box back where he'd found it. Clenched in his fist, he carried the shirt into his room. With hours until sun down, Spike curled up under the blankets and stuffed the shirt under his pillow. Gently, he tugged out a small corner and pressed his nose against it. The odor was stale, old. And Spike wondered if this was what love smelled like.
Xander hadn't looked at Spike all night. The typical mild irritation and barbs were gone, replaced by angry glares and a cold, hateful silence. As they walked back to Buffy's house, Xander's anger was almost tangible. While Spike knew he'd never have Xander's friendship, they had managed to settle into a fragile peace marked by grudging tolerance. But even that had started to wear thin as tensions mounted.
"Okay, what's crawled up your arse tonight?" Spike asked, sneering. He'd calmed some since the return of his soul, but now he clung to his demonic persona, hiding behind it when he couldn't face the world. Somehow, he couldn't deal with Xander's naked anger.
"Nothing. Just the knowledge that even with a soul, you're still a bastard."
Spike stumbled and struggled to keep his face blank.
"Look, mate. I don't know what your problem is, but get over it. Got bigger things to deal with, yeah?"
"Yes, we do. And yet you still find time to steal my stuff."
"I didn't steal anything."
"You mean you didn't steal that tee shirt I found under your pillow?"
Spike froze, then started walking again.
"Sorry? You go and steal stuff just to piss me off and that's all you have to say?"
"Well what do you want me to say?"
"Nothing, I guess. I knew your soul didn't matter," Xander finished coldly. "So, how long until you try to rape Buffy again?"
Spike quickly stopped and spun around as rage burned through him. He grabbed Xander by his shirt and lifted him from the ground, shaking him.
"Don't say that! Don't ever say that again!" he roared. "I love her and would never do that again."
"You don't know what love is," Xander said.
"And you do? Because last I heard, it sure as hell isn't leaving your girl at the alter."
After a short pause, Xander spoke again, venom dripping from each word. "She'll never love you."
The fire in Spike's eyes died and he seemed to deflate. Squeezing his eyes shut, Spike took a deep breath, then lowered Xander to the ground.
"I know she doesn't," he whispered, his voice breaking. "But I wouldn't that to her, not again, and it's just one of the things I regret every day."
Spike turned away and started walking again.
Xander cursed under his breath before hurrying after Spike.
They walked in silence for several minutes. For some reason, the knowledge that Xander hated him again bothered Spike more than he could say.
"I didn't take it to hurt you," Spike said.
"I didn't take that shirt to hurt you."
"Look, Spike, I get that you still have a demon, but that shirt, it's important to me."
"Then why take it?"
"I don't know who that bloke was, but you loved him. He was your friend and he was important to you. He's been gone for a while, but you still love him. You and the others, you love each other. I don't have that, never will. I just wanted a piece of it for myself."
Xander reached out and stopped Spike with a hand on his shoulder. Spike turned and faced him, his eyes guarded.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that stuff about Buffy. I know you wouldn't do that again," Xander whispered. "I think I'm losing the rest of my marbles." He gave Spike a lop-sided grin. "You're still a jerk, but you're not who you were before." He squeezed Spike shoulder.
Spike felt his stomach clench as he saw a shadow of the caring that Xander felt for the others directed toward himself. The longing clawed up in him again, that gaping loneliness screaming out for the slightest affection. Spike surged forward and quickly pressed his mouth against Xander's. The kiss was only the barest touch of lips before Spike was shoved away. Xander's eyes were wide and dark, panicked.
"What the hell are you doing?"
Spike stepped back and squeezed his eyes shut. When he opened them again, he was almost his old self again; cocky and self assured though that arrogance didn't reach his eyes.
"Just wanted a bit for myself," Spike said. "That's all."
Spike turned and walked away into the night. Xander watched him go, his fingers tracing his lips.
There was a faint, distant ache in is his head, but for the most part, he simply floated between wakefulness and sleep on a cloud of medication. The continual, rhythmic beeping of his heart monitor was almost soothing. Each time he blinked, he'd lose hours as sleep claimed him. There was so much that needed to be done, but now he was entirely useless. And each time how woke up, someone different was visiting him, eyes filled with fear and pity. It was easier to close his eye and fall asleep.
When he woke in the middle of the night, he saw Spike sitting in the corner. As tired as he was, he was still surprised to see him.
"Hey Spike. Your turn to babysit the cyclops?" he joked.
Spike's gaze turned stricken at Xander's words.
"Too soon to joke, eh?" Xander asked. Silence reigned for several moments.
"I'm sorry," Spike finally said. His voice was rough, thick. "I should've stopped him sooner; I'm so sorry."
Xander stared, feeling as though someone had punched him in the gut at the pure anguish on Spike's face.
"Hey, I still have 99% of my body parts, so that's a check in the 'yay' column. You saved my life," he said. "Thanks."
"I should have done more," Spike said, shaking his head.
"You want to do something for me?" Xander asked. Spike nodded. "Then stop looking at me like I'm dead. I survived but everyone keeps acting like I'm dying. It's pretty hard to think positive when everyone looks at me like that."
Spike grinned half-heartedly. "Act like nothing's wrong? I can do that."
"Good. So, tell me, why do you hate Dracula?" he asked.
The talked for some time, making light of the circumstances until Xander fell asleep again. He drifted, half hearing the soothing baritone of Spike's voice, which eventually fell silent. As he fell deeper into sleep, he felt someone kissing his forehead, their lips lingering as they pressed gently.
The next morning, Xander woke to find a paper bag on his bed. Grabbing it, he quickly opened the package. At first he though it was Jesse's tee shirt, but quickly realized it was too new, the fabric too stiff. It also still had the store stickers and price on it. Unfolding it, Xander laughed at what was written in white lettering on the black fabric. It read: "Oh crap, you're going to try to cheer me up again, aren't you?"
Something had happened in those last strange months in Sunnydale. Xander didn't know why Spike had revealed his pain to him. They'd never really gotten along, and yet Spike had revealed so much to him. In truth, the loneliness that he'd revealed to Xander mirrored his own. That sense of inadequacy, the need for love, to have someone choose him. Since he'd died, Spike had begun occupying more and more of Xander's waking thoughts. One night, a few months after Sunnydale imploded, he, Giles, Buffy and Willow had gotten drunk. As they'd mourned the loss of their friends, of Jesse, Ms. Calendar, Kendra, Tara and countless others, Buffy had told them about William. She'd told them how, as a human, Spike had truly been a Scooby: awkward, loyal and kind.
And with sudden clarity, Xander knew: he was in love with Spike. Looking back, he could see William in all of Spike's actions. Spike's dark, cocky persona wasn't an act; it was a part of Spike, but it also served as his shield, much in the same way Xander hid behind humor. William was the reason Spike had been so devoted to Drusilla, why he'd cared for Dawn. Xander realized that he and Spike has always somehow recognized their shared need for acceptance and love, though neither of them wanted to acknowledge it. It was the reason they'd always known the right words to hurt each other. Five months, one week, and two days after Spike had died in the Hellmouth, Xander fell asleep crying for what could have been.
Somehow, Spike was in England. And human. He was human, standing in the Council foyer in the English sunlight. And he was the most beautiful thing Xander had ever seen. Buffy hugged Spike tightly and that was when it hit Xander: Spike was human, a real hero returned, still gorgeous while the passage of two years time had only aged Xander. Xander was thinner than he had been, but was no where near as perfect as Spike, no where near as beautiful as Buffy. And while he'd fallen in love with Spike over the past two years, Spike's feeling weren't the same. The joyous smile on Spike's face as he hugged Buffy was unlike anything Xander had ever seen on Spike's face before. Then Spike looked over and saw him, going still before hesitantly nodding at Xander. Xander smiled back, forcing it past the the crack in his heart that squeezed his chest and stole his breath. As he turned away and walked down the hall, he resigned that tiny hope he'd had to the box that held his broken dreams.
"Hey!" Xander stopped at Spike's voice. Turning, he saw Spike rushing down the hall toward him.
"Hey, Spike! Sorry to rush off, but you know, the girls here keep me pretty busy; straightening things up, repairing things that get broken, negotiating peace treaties over stolen shoes," he babbled.
"Too busy to even say 'hi?'" Spike asked quietly.
Xander's stomach plummeted to the vicinity of his knees. He was dealing with introspective Spike, not regular cool Spike. Regular cool Spike he could deal with, but introverted Spike pulled at his heart strings and made him want to say things like "I missed you" and "I love you," things Spike didn't want to hear. So instead, he settled on the one word that kept swirling through his thoughts.
"She, I mean, you're back and she's-."
"Not in love with me. And I'm not in love with her anymore."
"Oh," Xander squeaked, a blush spreading across his cheeks as he tried to tamp down on the joy blossoming in his chest.
Before his eyes, introspective Spike transformed into regular cool Spike. He prowled closer. "I've only got a minute before Giles comes to question me, and I'm human now, so I probably shouldn't waste my time, yeah?"
Xander nodded dumbly as Spike pressed against his body. He grabbed the back of Xander's neck and pulled him closer. Spike's lips were firm and soon Xander was drawn into a passionate kiss, whimpering as he tried to get closer to Spike, who didn't pull away until they needed to breathe.
"Just a little piece for yourself?" Xander asked softly. A wide smile split Spike's face.
"No; I want everything."
As Giles began calling for him, Spike reluctantly stepped away. "Later?"
Xander grinned. "Yeah, later."
Their lives had settled into a routine of sorts, becoming somewhat domestic. They shared a home, rode to work together in the morning, and rode home together at night. Granted, Spike and Xander fought demons and trained super-powered girls, but that didn't keep their lives from following a sort of pattern.It had become obvious soon after they'd begun their relationship that it didn't matter if they said they wouldn't have sex while showering. Because no matter how rushed they were, as soon as they were nude and in close proximity to one another, any restraint they supposedly had flew out the window. Even not showering together didn't guarantee restraint. Despite how long they'd known one another, regardless of how many times they'd had sex, they still couldn't get enough of each other.
Xander sat at the table drinking his coffee while eating a breakfast of toast, already showered and dressed for work. Spike soon wandered in, barefoot in jeans and an unbuttoned shirt. His hair was wet and unstyled as he poured himself a cup of tea. Since moving in together, Xander had become quite proficient in making tea, even though he didn't drink it. Although there was a meeting that morning for which they were already late, Xander couldn't bring himself to leave the table as he watched Spike move about, the sides of his shirt framing his chiseled abs. Somehow, despite eating like a regular person, Spike was still incredibly lithe and muscular. Xander supposed it had to do with Spike training the young Slayers. Xander was thankful for whatever it was that maintained Spike's physique. Spike soon joined Xander at the table and began eating his own toast. He grinned as he ate, well aware of how Xander couldn't stop staring at him.
"See something you like, pet?"
"Why do you even ask? I mean, you breathe and I'm ready for sex."
Spike chuckled, the low sound sending tremors down Xander's spine. Finishing his toast, Spike leaned back in his chair. His shirt fell open as he spread his legs.
Xander was dumbstruck as his gaze traveled down from Spike's mouth to his chest, then to his belly, before his eyes finally settled at the top of Spike's unbuttoned jeans, memories and ideas floating through his head.
"We're already late for the meeting. Any reason for us to show up?" Spike asked.
Xander jumped, startled by Spike's voice.
"Not that I can think of," he lied. Spike grinned, then stood and walked over to him. Xander pushed his chair away from the table, but before he could stand, Spike was straddling him.
"Good, 'cause I've got plans for you." Leaning down, he nipped at Xander's throat, then laved the abused skin with his tongue.
"Well," he started, running his hand down Xander's chest, "we still need to paint the guest room."
"Aw man, can I paint something else?" he asked, nudging Spike's ass with his growing erection.
Spike stilled. Looking down, he raised an eyebrow.
"Did you really just say that? As an innuendo, it doesn't even make sense," he said, laughing. Reaching out, he began undoing the buttons of Xander's shirt.
"Hey, the blood isn't heading to my brain right now; I'm doing the best I can," Xander protested, dropping his shirt to the floor before pulling Spike close.
"Then I guess it's a good thing I love you for your looks," Spike said with a put-upon sigh.
"Well, I am a looker."
Spike pressed their lips together, their mouths opening soon after. Kissing each other was common for them, but each, they became each other's sole focus, only separating for air.
"Bed? I think the bed would be good," Xander said, his voice breathy. Spike only winked at him before standing. He didn't even bother waiting for Xander to stand before he dashed off toward the bedroom. Xander quickly followed, noting Spike's shirt haphazardly tossed onto the coffee table.
The phone rang, but neither of them paid attention to anything but each other as the answering machine clicked on.
"Xander, Spike? Where are you? You're already a half-hour late. I really must insist that you try to make the meetings on time. Your house is three doors down from Council Headquarters, honestly. I really don't- what was that Dawn? What do you mean they're busy? Oh. I see. Oh good Lord."
The machine clicked off. The only sounds audible were those being made by Xander and Spike in the bedroom.
As far as Spike and Xander were concerned, they were all that mattered.