Anyway, that has nothing whatsoever to do with this writing series, but I thought the word made sense. Subtleties! Ask for it by name! ...um, so to speak. You don't really need to ask for it, thanks. It's just kind of here, like blood on the floor that you can't help but slip on.
Someone shut my babblecaster off please?
Xander's lying belly-flat between Spike's legs and sucking dick, a heavy, silky roll of flesh that forces his tongue down, while its head strokes and tickles the roof of his mouth like the swab of a paintbrush. Thick, moist. He can get it some of the way in and then he always begins to choke a little. He used to be embarrassed, imagining what Spike thought of him--talentless gay boy here, who sucks at sucking--until he began to associate his own half-choking sounds with more urgent upthrusts of cock and harsher noises from the vampire's own throat, and realized that Spike liked it. Likes it, maybe identifies it as a sound of helplessness. Sick puppy.
Sometimes now Xander is even clumsy on purpose, slurpy and eager, scraping his teeth along the side--and Spike *really* likes this, rewarding Xander with anxious snarls, bursts of pre-come, thrashing and groans. It took Xander a while to trust Spike's encouragement, because--teeth--*so* not his own thing, at least not down there, like that. No, sir. But now he knows that teeth make Spike go off into his private head space. That after a while, wrists latched above him, Spike will sink into himself, sightless, no longer making words, only sounds, unless Xander stops what he's doing, drags his teeth off, and then Spike will beg over and over, rough-voiced and as mindlessly repetitive as a doll. When he's like this, Xander can tease him, say things, but whatever he says flies off target, because Spike is deaf to him, locked tight in his own need.
Spike's like that tonight, halfway there. Xander scrapes upwards with his teeth until he's tugging on the foreskin. Sucks hard enough to draw the skin over the crown and works his tongue in one spot for several moments--heavy, focused shoves. Spike shudders. "More." His voice is hoarse. Xander keeps sucking, then pushes his mouth on deeply, then draws it off again and begins chewing everywhere. He always starts off lightly but Spike takes anything he can give, up to heavy mauling. It's almost scary. Xander doesn't draw blood, but the dark skin reddens even more wherever he nips.
When Xander is working his teeth harder than usual, forcing a roll of skin up and down over the wet head, he has a sudden certain thought, a bad thought. A dark part of his mind imagines how you might torture someone--say, Angel--and thinks, you could rip the foreskin right off and it would be a fucking brutal kind of pain, like a scalping, but worse. And he knows then, without needing to ask, that this is something Angelus did to Spike, maybe more than once. Because if Xander Harris, ordinary human, can think this up, then there's no question it would be among a psychotic vampire's repertoire of tortures. He will never ask Spike. He's learned that Spike is right and there are things he doesn't want to know.
Spike isn't going to get hurt again except in the good way, for as long as Xander is around.
That's one night, one type of blow job, and Spike is a beautiful sprawl of pale dead man when Xander is done with him.
Other nights, he just lets Spike drive. Lets all that heavy flesh bump and grind its way around his mouth until Xander's whiting out in a back room of his mind and drooling, while down below his hips work on their own: small, rhythmic thrusts as he frustrates his dick against the sheets, ass clenching, thighs trembling to drive the head into a punishing groove, making it sore and wet and raw, all of him swollen with that frictiony, never-gonna-come feeling that could go on for hours--and he wants it to, wants Spike to keep him like this, hand resting on Xander's head without force but letting him know he's helpless and wouldn't be allowed to stop even if he tried--and then Xander's hips hitch, drag him painfully against the sheets--he's desperate to get off, it's too good, he's shoving harder and faster, quick and sharp and frantic, and finally comes with a relief that makes him want to cry.
Cocksucking leaves him so breathless that his face grows red and hot, and when he collapses afterwards, Spike will usually stroke his curls with gentle, lazy fingers until Xander returns to life, and massage his jaw back into working order when asked.
The longer they're together, the safer Xander feels. Barriers slide away one by one, and it seems dumb not to take full advantage of a lover this fucking sexy and perversely inventive. One night Xander hands a blank check over to Spike--a metaphorical one this time. He says he wants to do something for Spike, whatever they haven't done yet that Spike's been wanting, that turns him on. He's talking kink now, without saying the word. He can tell he's got Spike's interest.
Spike: "You know, there're some things you just can't dish out till you've learned how to take it." He gazes at Xander from under his lashes with lewd, sly fondness and his mouth is a smile.
Xander works this out. "Oh," he finally says. "Like...what?"
They don't jump right into the heavy stuff then and there. Days pass. Xander wants to uphold his offer but he has to process, and Spike doesn't push, so that accounts for some time. When Xander says he's ready, he leaves it up to Spike, and they have to arrange a night, so there's a little bit of formality which hangs Xander up somewhere between anticipation and nervousness. Because: formal sex night. He's done this with Anya, and it never went well. And it's about this time that Xander, slow to admit it to himself, realizes that he and Anya had really amazingly bad sex. At least for him. A man doesn't like to think that. And a man also doesn't want to share his suspicions with anyone else, so it can remain uncertain, unprobed. The tooth can't be bad if you don't go to the dentist. Besides, all sex is good sex, right? So he's told himself for a long time.
In the bedroom, Spike, demonstrating his always surprising practical side, has bolted a sturdy and well-made set of manacles to the wall.
Now there's some wall art you don't see every day, Xander thinks, staring at them and wondering what they'll do with them afterwards. Leave them up for guests to see? Cover the bolt-plates with artfully hung pictures? Make them into plant-holders, maybe? Something to decide later.
He trusts Spike. He's known this for a while, but it comes even clearer when he's shackled and facing the wall, naked and nervous. This is the big time. This is stuff that million-dollar industries specialize in. And he waits to feel foolish, a mental stage he always has to pass through when they're pushing the envelope: the suspicion that doom must be just around the corner. But the other shoe never drops, and eventually he relaxes. Spike strokes his shoulders, back, and neck, thumbs their lines in a way that starts the current humming through Xander's body. Stands close behind Xander and skims his hands everywhere, says reassuring things, lets them escalate into smoother, nastier things as his touch wanders down. Nips Xander's neck and nudges a hand sidelong between his legs, knuckles brushing the crease of his body, thumb flickering across his asshole, a word Xander considers not at all sexy, for an area that sure as hell shouldn't be, and yet he's thrusting back for more of the good touch. Spike spends a few minutes slicking Xander up, fingers rude. By the time he draws away Xander is hard, flushed all over with sweat. They turned the heat up before they started, and it feels good. He's beginning to get it. Get into it.
He's seen the cane, or rod, or whatever it's called. Asked questions about it to try and appear nonchalant. Spike ordered it over the net, of course. Rattan, nylon. Xander can't remember the fine points of Spike's description. It's straight and it has a handle. And Spike is teasing its length across Xander's back, getting him used to it. He's so slow and good about it, and Xander can't see him except in his mind's eye, standing behind him with his shirt off, jeans on, barefoot. He's going to be good at this, Xander tells himself. It'll be okay.
That's not an especially good word for what it is. Xander doesn't intend to tell anyone about this, so he's never going to need to describe it, and that's fine, because there'd be no way. He stands braced when Spike begins to kiss his skin with the cane, across his ass, thighs, back. It's so light at first he almost thinks Spike is mocking him--or, not mocking, but maybe as a vampire Spike's out of touch, doesn't have a sense of how much a human can take. But it's just warming him up, and Xander learns this because Spike tells him so in a low voice, steady as the strikes across his back. Sometimes he talks and sometimes he doesn't, and the braid of his tones with the blows begins to make Xander buzz everywhere. The force increases, but it's achingly slow, a tease, a cruelty, and it makes him tremble as the white wall in front of him blurs at the edges of his vision. He can hear his own breathing getting louder, ragged. The blows sting like horseflies against his slick back. He wants more force, and asks for it with a gasp.
The pain never jumps to a sudden, new level he can't take--every level is better and better, and he can see nothing but whiteness now as his body sways under the blows. His skin feels raw, a tongue licking up pain and pleasure. He wants to rub off, but can't.
Sometimes Spike stops and comes over to him, cups his ass or strokes his dick. The sudden touches make Xander cry out in shocked ecstasy. It's only then that he feels how close he is to coming and how much he needs to. But Spike pulls away with murmurs and a few kisses to his shoulders, and then he's flicking that torment across Xander again. There comes a point when Xander thinks he can't stand for it to stop. It's wave after wave of heat spreading into his bones and muscles and blood. He's making sounds he's never heard from himself before. His hair is clinging in slick tendrils around his face and his throat is rough and his dick is pressed against his belly, a single strand of pre-come ribboning its length like melted wax. He might be speaking in tongues for all he knows, and when the blows stop he breaks open and begins to cry. Spike is behind him at once, thumbing open his slick hole, thrusting inside with his own ragged sounds of need. When he's buried to his balls, the rasp of zipper and denim against Xander's ass makes him start to come in hot wet jerks, and then Spike is gripping him, helping him finish, drawing him into a dark wash of surrender.
Twenty-four hours later, Xander is still boneless. He never entirely got that word before--except in relation to a few species of demon that he tries never to remember--but he understands it now in relation to his own body, because he feels like a handful of chicken meat before you toss it on the grill. Says this to Spike, decides it sounds gross, doesn't care. He's lying on the couch with his head in Spike's lap, his entire body so relaxed he's nearly past speech. His entire day has been quieter than usual, with stretches of time where nothing needed saying, nothing needed to get out. He brought a book down to the beach around three in the afternoon and just sat with it open in his lap as he stared into the waves.
Pain lingers in his body somewhere, the softest possible pain, a sponge soaked through by a sea of endorphins.
He loves how his neck feels draped across the bulk of Spike's thighs, his head resting in that sweet groove. Spike's hands: one resting on Xander's chest, the other twined through his hair. It's enough to make him want to have sex again, but his body--the big chicken--is not boning for him any time soon.
There's something on the TV, but turning his head would be a crying shame and, besides, he thinks he'd have trouble seeing anything beyond a flicker of colorful lights, hearing anything but noise.
Xander: "I'd let you do anything to me."
Spike, quietly: "Don't say that." He's very serious.
Xander, eyes closed: "Hmmm."
When he goes to work on Monday, he's still in the zone of mellow. His entire body hums with the awareness of having had the best sex in the universe. He's a tuning fork: struck three days ago, still vibrating with gently diminishing returns. Work doesn't hold much interest. For the first time he wonders why he keeps coming back when he could take an early retirement tomorrow. He holds down a job, that's what a man does. So he's always thought. But this job?
He pauses in the middle of a hallway to stare out its window at the park across the street, and thinks: I could do anything, go anywhere. Right now. I could be one of those guys. Those boat guys. He's picturing the nifty yachts moored down at the marina, and the type of men who own them. Rich men, like him, but wearing white caps. Some are just weekend sailors; others have crossed the Pacific, sailed around the world and back.
Him, yachting? And more to the point: Spike? Well, no. That won't work.
They're researching warlocks that week, tabled together in the Magic Box most nights. Once, Xander finds himself staring from under his lashes at Willow, idly wondering whether she's ever done anything sexually adventurous. Lesbians, he thinks, and his imagination conjures up the sex toys, the...actually, his imagination exits there, because he's still looking at Willow, and it's hard to believe she'd go very far. He doesn't see Becca and Willow heading off to some dykey orgy with a bag of strap-ons.
His entire life, he's been obsessing about sex. Ever since he was three minutes old. Maybe earlier. He's owned dirty magazines and porno tapes, watched a lot of late-night cable, gotten it on with women and men and demons. He's always thought that hard-core kink is for sad bastards: a whole lifestyle of custom-made leathers and leashes, carried out in clubs and back rooms where you wanted to be careful where you stepped. Years ago there'd been a sex shop out on Pismo Avenue, Kelly's, that Xander stopped by once in while. It used to creep him out though, how he'd see the same dozen guys every time, bellied up to the video shelves, working over the skin mags, disappearing into the curtained hallway with old sandwich bags of quarters for the pussy peep-shows. When he was with Anya, he felt superior to all that.
Okay, he kind of still does.
What he gets now is that you can do serious stuff, deep and amazing and wild, that has nothing to do with some uncomfortable subculture of middle-aged swingers and lonely people and men who size you up with fixed, empty eyes as if they've got a van around the back, with mattress, knife, and rope waiting.
And oh yeah, there's this demented warlock gearing up for the big showdown. Buffy is already home from school, ready to stand with them, and planning to stay the summer at Willow's after the ass-kicking. But the epic battle of good versus evil hasn't got Xander's full attention. Things are on his mind. Sex. But also life, and Spike, and the future. It's a dangerously distracted state of mind to be in, and there comes a point when he has to snap out of it and focus.
Bad shit goes down when the face-off finally comes. It's one of those big tornado blurs of a battle, magic raging everywhere until that ozone smell hangs heavily around them. When it's all over, the warlock is banished into some hell portal, and Willow is shocky and bloodlessly pale, looking to Xander as if she shouldn't be moving, though she's keeping herself on her feet. Becca's left arm beginning just above the elbow now descends abruptly into a stump of twisted flesh, hand entirely gone. Blasted by magical blowback. Buffy doesn't have any wounds except for the look in her eyes. The warlock toyed with her: put her through hoops, danced her like a puppet. She looks as if she's seen her own helplessness against magic and hates it. This time it was Willow who got to save the world.
Xander just feels lucky, as usual, that he's not toast, so that he can help pick up the pieces. And this time some of the pieces are Spike's. Flung high into a tree by a casual sweep of hand, and that witchy bastard had obviously hoped the vampire would be dusted with a heart-blow on one of the branches. But Spike also has more than his share of luck. If you can call it that. Tornado forces can embed a straw deep into a telephone pole like it was a nail. Spike is pinned and gutted on branches, one through his shoulder, the other through his belly. By the time the fight is over, he's managed to break the limbs, drag himself off, and tumble himself like a wet sack of bones to the ground below. Blood mats the grass around him, less than there'd be if he were humanly alive, but enough to send a wave of dizzy horror through Xander.
I hate this shit, he thinks fleetingly amid the chaos, his internal tone a kind of hysteria. Year after year--there's no way their luck can hold out forever.
Call it luck. But Spike is a mess. Shredded, fucked up, filled with splinters and twigs. Some of his inside stuff on the outside. You shouldn't have to push your lover's guts back in, but Xander does, bloodying his hands in gore as Spike lies white-lipped and shut-eyed, braced against the pain. The lower branch must have missed his spine by millimeters.
Spike, weakly, confirming mobility of his legs: "Good thing. Not sure I'd be up for Roller Derby again."
It's incredible to Xander that a body can heal from that, but it does. He takes Spike home and puts him to bed, pours liters of blood down his throat for days, tries to think of ways to coddle and spoil him.
When Angel comes up to visit his convalescent offspring, Xander is one big mass of conflicting impulses that cancel out and leave him strangely passive. He stands motionless off to the side as Angel sits on the edge of the bed and talks with Spike. A few times Angel glances his way as if he's hoping Xander take the hint and leave, but Xander just stares at him with eyes like stone.
Angel to Xander in the front hallway, with inexpressive face but uncertain voice: "Are you mad at me?"
Xander: "Why would I be mad at you?" He's visualizing plunging a stake through Angel's black sweater, a collapse of dust pattering to the carpet. "Well," he allows, "centuries of torture and death, trying to end the world, killing Giles's one true love, and that time you punched me in the face that I've never really thanked you for. But that's all behind us." His mouth moves in the cold mockery of a smile. "Right?"
Angel: "You tell me."
Xander burns a gaze into Angel's, finally says: "We're family. And as a member of my family, I'm sure you won't be surprised when I tell you to get the fuck out and keep your distance for a while. When he wants to see you again, he'll call. When I want to see you, I'll call--except, oh wait. I won't."
Angel's posture changes very slightly--not straighter, not slumping further, more a twitch of his shoulders: "I guess you've been talking about the past. It's not--"
Xander: "Okay, here's a thing it'll help to understand: when I say get the fuck out of my house, I mean now. Or at this point," he glances at his watch, "twenty seconds ago. Which in unwanted guest time is about twenty years too long. It's kind of like dog years." He has no smile now, but his face feels frozen in a facade of psychotically pleasant calm. "You like dogs, don't you?"
Xander returns to the bedroom, suppressed adrenaline making him nauseous, and curls up next to Spike on the bed, piling up pillows so that he can look into his face without Spike having to turn. He's flat on his back like a big vampire pancake.
Spike: "Had a nice chat, did you?"
Xander, a conversational tone: "Any time, say the word. You want him dead, I'll do it."
Spike gives him an unreadable look, then says: "Don't go blaming Soul Boy. You off him, might as well take me out too. I've done more than my share of ills that men endure."
It sounds like a quote to Xander, but he doesn't know it. Doesn't care so much. He isn't up for this conversation now. "So I have a double standard," he says, trying to keep it light so that he is not swallowed up by utter darkness from the inside.
Spike's face changes to something gentle, dry, and indulgent, but he's still serious when he says: "Long as you understand that I've made my peace there."
Xander: "Sure." There's not much else he can say.
Spike: "'Sides. Heard you say he was family." He pauses, frowns skeptically. "Bit much, isn't it?"
Xander's mouth twitches. "Well, I figured, sire-in-law. Thanksgiving dinner is out, though. I'm just telling you now. But in return, you *do* get to shun a member of my own family." He skims a hand across Spike's chest, adds mildly: "Or, like me, you can just shun them all."
Spike: "Hmmmm." The humming sound seems amplified by his entire body, almost a purr. His eyelids are heavier as Xander strokes him with feather-light fingers in the places he's not hurt, but then there's a moment where he seems to be staring right into Xander, blue eyes and one of those smiles that make Xander's heart flip over, both overspilling more warmth than a vampire should contain. "Don't know if I've mentioned...I'm glad you're on my side."
Whatever Spike's meaning is hinges on one word, "my," and it's hard to tell if he's saying that Xander would make someone a dangerous enemy, or if he's just saying thank-you. In the good-versus-evil show that's been running in Sunnydale for the past ten years, Xander knows that his own role is small. He doesn't strike fear into the hearts of men or vampires or warlocks. He's a supporting character, the clown that distracts the bull from the real matadors.
He can't help but think briefly of all this before he lets the thought pass on. It's not important, and it doesn't matter exactly what Spike means. It all comes down to the same thing. It's a no-brainer. As if answering a child's questions before sleep, Xander runs a hand along Spike's face and says:
"You're my guy."
It's the kind of thing you just know at the end of the day.