“Never fear, Xander is here!”
“Xander!” Willow grinned at him from the doorway, eyes twinkling. Good. It was about time she finally got over Oz, stupid werewolf-deserter. “You’re such a goofball. Come on, the arguing hasn’t even started yet.”
“No arguing? Dang! And I so wanted to come in mid-shout!” Xander almost tripped when he realized what he’d said. He could feel Spike smirking behind him and hoped no one noticed he was blushing. I’m amazed I have enough blood for—no, remember? We made ourselves a promise. Ourself, we are not going to think about Spike, sex, or the past twenty four hours while with Giles and the girls. Oh, and Riley.
“What happened to Riley?” Xander flung himself onto the sofa, waving hello to Buffy and Giles on the way. Spike slid into the chair behind him. He hasn’t made a single comment yet. I should be worried?
Buffy glowered at the white bandage around her boyfriend’s upper arm. “Something took a chunk out of him last night. I’m going to find it and kill it.”
“And nothing says ‘I’m a sociopath’ like nonchalant threats to kill.”
The insanely neutral look that Buffy sometimes got disappeared in favor of a big grin. “Xander! I am not!”
“No, you were just totally determined to rip the stuffing out of anything that hurt your boytoy, right?” I can do this, I have to do this. We have practice with this, remember? Acting like everything is perfectly fine and focusing on Buffy and Willow. See? No problem.
He felt cool air brush the back of his neck and knew it was Spike’s breath. I can’t do this! At least before my problems stayed away from the rest of my life!
“Of course,” Buffy was saying, turning to share a puzzled look with Willow. “That’s what a good Slayer does for her boyfriend. Kills whatever hurt him.” She leaned over to give Riley a kiss, smiling coquettishly at him. “Aw, c’mon, Riley. You’re mine and I’m not letting a creepy-crawly even look at you funny.” Another kiss and Buffy turned back to her book.
Xander breathed deeply, allowing Willow’s familiar babble about whatever had attacked Riley to wash over him. Sometimes, although not in the last week, Xander was very grateful to the soldier and the hyena that lived in his head. They showed him things that he wasn’t sure he would have seen, if he’d been just plain old Xander.
Like the flash of pain on broad, corn-fed features that had nothing to do with physical injuries, the anger and resentment that clouded it, and the absolute dismissal of Buffy’s possessiveness.
No, he realized, he would have seen those things. But he needed his two alter-ego’s to put it into to terms he could express. They didn’t trust Riley. The soldier appreciated his loyalty to his unit and the confident military swagger it missed, but even it could see that the swagger was mostly bluster. Riley didn’t understand the world he was inhabiting, depending on orders from people who had no respect for it. Without understanding or respect, he couldn’t really handle the insanity of the Hellmouth. The Scoobies all knew not to expect too much; the minute you tried to prepare for one thing, something totally unexpected happened. Riley was still totally confident that his military training and high-tech goodies were more than enough to take care of anything they might see.
He still believes that, even with his arm in a sling. Riley was talking now, obviously repeating that all this research was unnecessary and the Initiative was working on it. They’d fix it. Which brought up the hyena’s point.
Buffy was pack-leader. She would share her position as alpha with a mate, make alliances with others she couldn’t control as pack, but she would never give up her authority. She didn’t know how, and wasn’t supposed to. She was a fighter and a leader and would not submit to anyone.
Riley already had a pack, and enough alpha-traits to have high standing. He wanted Buffy in his pack—but to work her way from the bottom up. It wasn’t that he wanted to be more dominant than she was—although that was part of it—it was that he was unsure of his place in her pack. He wanted her to be part of his, where he knew how to relate with more dominant alpha’s. So when Buffy declared herself pack-leader, and Riley part of her pack, he rejected the claim.
One or all of those things was going to create trouble. If Riley was lucky, he’d be the only one to get hurt—even killed. If he wasn’t. . .
Shaking his head, Xander tried to concentrate on the debate swirling around him. Willow was pretty sure it was a snarath demon—it looked like a walking snake, according to one of the books. It wasn’t a great fighter, but it was smarter than most demons and it used magic.
Riley pulled a face—and then grew thoughtful. “What’s that around it’s neck?”
“It’s their clan-stone,” Willow said after skimming the text. “They all wear one, and this book thinks that maybe it’s where their power comes from. You can’t just cut it off—ew, people have tried—it takes work, but once it is off, it says that the demon is much easier to kill.”
“Is that what the Initiative was after? This necklace?”
“Yeah, maybe. They told us to look for a bright orange stone like that.”
Buffy gave her boyfriend a long look. “They knew this thing had magic, but didn’t warn you? God, the Initiative can be so stupid sometimes! They just. . . they don’t understand what they’re doing!” Riley’s annoyed expression said they’d had this particular fight before. Given Maggie Walsh had tried to kill Buffy, it wasn’t surprising. “They just mess with the natural order of things!”
“Natural order?” Riley yelled. “You want to talk about natural order? You’re supposed to be a vampire slayer! So why is he here?” Riley’s good arm flung out to point towards Spike, who raised his eyebrows in a silent ‘who me?’ expression.
Xander closed his eyes briefly, struggling not to say or do anything stupid. My pack, the hyena was snarling. My pack-leader!
“We talked about this, Riley,” Buffy ground out. “I told you. He came to me for help, and I’ll give it to him. And no, I will not stake him! I’m not a murderer!”
“He’s a hostile! It’s not murder, it’s getting rid of a killer! It’s saving innocents, isn’t that your mission statement?”
“God, Riley, you just don’t get it! He’s chipped and can’t hurt anything, and that makes it murder!”
“He can hurt things!”
“I what?” Spike’s voice was electric in the sudden silence, hope and desperation making him lean forward to fix a steely look on the sheepish young man. “I can hurt things? What kind of things? Answer me, white bread!”
“Yes, Riley, we were given to understand that the chip prevented him from causing any living thing ahrm.” Giles cast a nervous look towards Spike, who hadn’t moved from his seat, before turning back to Riley. “This is frightfully important, you do realize that? Can he hurt people?”
“Not people. But—”
“But what, Riley.” Buffy lost some of her aggression, although not all, placing her hand on his good arm. “Please, we have to know.”
“He can’t hurt the living,” Riley said finally. “And you don’t need to know more than that. It’s classified. You’ve made it clear that you won’t stake him or throw him out, but I am not telling you everything.” My pack, not yours. . .
Xander blinked, the phrasing of Riley’s answer smacking him suddenly. He caught Spike’s appraising glance, but shook his head. Spike tilted his head, studying him, and then nodded. Then he glanced at the clock and winked.
I hate him, he thought, squirming uncomfortably around the thing he’d tried to forget about.
“Riley,” Buffy was saying, “we—”
“Buffy, I believe that between Willow and myself we can cast a spell to show us where this snake-demon is. Or where he should be, at least. Once we have that, I suggest you patrol, see if you can find it. There are fairly extensive weaknesses listed here, and it shouldn’t be very difficult to kill.”
Xander hid a snicker, wishing he could take a picture of Riley’s face. They all knew that Giles was neither helpless nor fainthearted, but it was easy for people like Riley to forget what else he did, beside act as nursemaid and retired librarian. Being told by the genteel, older Englishman that it wouldn’t be ‘difficult to kill’ was a hit to Riley’s ego.
Good, he thought smugly. Riley needed to become more aware of the realities—and he doesn’t go after Spike. Not anymore. And wow, go Buffy sticking up for the bleached menace. I know he said she would, but I didn’t expect to see it!
Xander muffled a sigh when he felt himself poked in the shoulder. Nodding to Willow, who was the only one paying even remote attention to him, he got up and went into the bathroom.
Slowly unzipping his jeans, Xander tried hard to ignore the fact that he was getting hard—and that hurt. Pulling off his boxers, he looked down and winced. His penis was red and raw looking, half-hard as arousal warred with pain, bruises turning the skin purple from his and Spike’s hands pulling on it too hard.
Ow. Whatever Spike was going to do with him later, Xander hoped it didn’t involve orgasms for him. And what nineteen year old guy ever thinks something like that? His life was insane. There was really no other way to look at it.
Xander braced his shoulder against the wall, bent forward slightly, and spread his legs as far as he could. Reaching around, he swallowed when he felt cool plastic instead of warm flesh. Don’t think, he instructed desperately. Don’t think, just do it.
So why was he pushing it forward, just a bit, trying to find that place inside him that made sparks in his vision and turned his body to jelly? He didn’t find it, but the movement itself felt. . . good. So he repeated it. Two more times and—oh, god, there. Right there. . . oh, Spike, please. . .
He bit his own forearm, stifling the deep moan that tried to crawl out. He thrust his hips in counterpoint to his hand, playing with different angles. Tears squeezed from tightly closed eyes, pain sending white hot bolts from his waving, overused dick to sizzle along his skin. He fucked himself harder, pain and pleasure melding, burning through his skin.
Please let me cum, please, Spike, I need to cum, god, it hurts so much, so good, please Spike, please let me cum, please let me cum, please please please please please—
“You need my permission, boy?”
Xander raised unfocused eyes to see Spike leaning against the closed door. “Wha. . .oh, gotta—please, I. . . please. . .”
“Wondered what was takin’ so long,” Spike said. He stalked forward, every inch the predator as he lasciviously watched his prey. “Then I smelled it, smelled you, pet, hard and hurting and so desperate.” Spike licked his lips, causing Xander to shudder. “You want it so bad, don’t you luv,” he whispered, husky voice traveling right to Xander’s insides. “You need it, need me. That’s me inside you, takin’ you, pushin’ in so deep while you shake and moan, lettin’ me split you apart, fill you up, usin’ your tight, hot little body. . .”
The tiny, tiny part of Xander’s brain that was still rational didn’t know how Spike got in the bathroom unobserved, didn’t know why the others didn’t hear him gasping and panting, didn’t know why Spike’s voice was making his hand move faster, pounding into himself over and over and over. . .
Please, Spike, please, let me cum, oh, god, Spike. . .
Xander’s eyes pleaded and begged since his vocal cords seemed to have stopped working. Spike smirked at him, looking intensely pleased at whatever he saw in those liquid brown depths. “Take it out, boy. All the way.”
He almost cried when his traitorous body obeyed, pulling the plug completely out of his ass. Nooo, he wailed in his head. Empty, fill it up, please, Spike don’t leave me so empty and alone, hate being alone, can’t be alone, pleeeeeeease—
He could feel himself spasming, searching for something to fill what had previously been full. The aching emptiness made him shake, barely holding himself upright against the wall.
“Shhh, pet, don’t worry,” Spike whispered, pressing his own body up close. Spike slid one hand down his back, the other stroking his stomach the way he had—no, don’t think, gotta cum, please let me cum, Spike, it hurts, it’s sooo good, please—
Two fingers pushed inside, the stretched ring of muscles immediately clamping down. Xander swallowed more of his arm, trying to stifle the deep groan of pleasure. “Follow me,” Spike whispered, pulling Xander away from the wall and supporting him over towards the far wall. When Spike touched his cock Xander almost screamed, the pain and pleasure blackening his vision.
Xander bit his arm hard, nearly sobbing with the force of his release. Through the rushing in his ears, Xander could hear a soft tinkling sound of something landing in water and realized what Spike had done. Weird, was all he could think as his body unclenched and began relaxing. He did moan quietly when Spike pulled out and petted him.
“In you, pet, I’m in you an’ on you. You need that, don’t you, boy? Need me to make it feel so good. My touch on your skin, my body in yours. . .” Cool breath tickled his ear and he would have fallen if not for Spike’s strong grip around his waist. “Yes, you know it now. Standing there, pretendin’ it was me up inside you, waitin’ for me, for my touch an’ my words to give you release. My boy. My pretty little toy.”
In a few moments that strong arm unwound itself and Xander found he could stand on his own two feet. “Clean up before you leave here.”
“Wh—what about you?” How did you get in here, when I know I locked the door? Why aren’t I upset? How the hell can I have coherent thoughts when my brains just came out my dick? “What’ll they think you doing?”
“Gettin’ myself a bit o’ blood an’ whatever else I damned please. Watcher don’t control me.”
Xander nodded, knowing that Giles would accept that explanation. He’d wonder just what exactly Spike had done to his things, but he wouldn’t pry. Spike gave him a cheeky smirk before heading towards the kitchen.
Cleaning was easy, especially since the messiest part was flushable. Spike, being nice. . . again. He’s been very nice to me, this whole time. I don’t get this. I don’t, and that scares me more than—than what happened before.
Yellow eyes flashing, voice low and guttural, the level of annoyance and anger outweighing the more expected hate, the bone-chilling fear of again and I didn’t mean to and I’m sorry crowding in his throat until he felt like he was choking on it.
He expected blows, pain, and humiliation. He was used to that. Except Spike gave him soft touches, kind words, and the offer of safety. The evil, soulles vampire gave me what—what I never had before. Willow and Jesse had been all he had through childhood. Highschool and Buffy had given him more, but never the kind of closeness he always craved, bodies offering comfort instead of pain.
Even the sex doesn’t hurt. I mean, well, it does, he thought with a rueful glance downward. He’s controlling. . . masterful—okay, shivering is bad—he’s dominant, but he isn’t hurting me. Xander had always known he was submissive, sexually. He was used to being seen as a tool for his partner’s pleasure—he actually had more personality and interaction with Spike than he did with any of the others.
Cordy and I were too young to do more than fumble around. Faith treated me like a living piece of plastic. Bug-lady and Mummy-girl had other agendas. Anya. . . Ahn wants me to enjoy it, but. . . It wasn’t about sharing, it was strictly about orgasms—hers.
And Spike? Spike appreciated his attempts at creativity, and seemed to want Xander to enjoy it as much as Spike did. The vampire’s pleasure was first and foremost, but the things he said, the way he breathed and moaned, it gave Xander a sense of power and pleasure that Anya never inspired in him.
Oh, shit! Big, black, and very shiny, four inches of plastic stared back at him from the counter. Where to put it, where to—Xander sent a quick prayer that his pants really were baggy enough. He could always claim it was his keys or something—right?
“Just a minute, Wills.”
“Are you okay? You’ve been in there for a while, now.”
“Just a sec.” It didn’t look too bulgy, and. . . right, he’d deal. He could hear her shifting by the door, could picture that hesitantly curious and hopeful face. The one he’d always turned to since he was four years old.
“I’m here, I’m here! We gotta plan?” Open the door, shut the door, move away from the bathroom, sit down on the sofa, ignore Spike drinking blood in the corner, watching Buffy and Riley argue quietly in their corner.
“Giles is getting supplies now. We’re gonna cast a spell!” She bounced, big happy Willow-grin crinkling up at him. Just a little bit of this, and whatever his problem, it all just disappeared. Then the smile faltered and she gave him her Concerned Face—not quite as fierce as Resolve Face, but still pretty darn scary. “Are you okay, though, Xander? You’ve been so quiet tonight.”
He shrugged, giving her a goofy smile. “Just tired, that’s all.”
Not really, and won’t that be fun when she comes back. “Yeah, I guess. Mostly it’s work.”
She who went to college made a sympathetic face, trying to look like she understood. She didn’t. It was impossible to understand the horror of doing scut-jobs for scut-wages, no hope or end in sight without actually having worked one. “Poor Xander. Don’t worry, you’ll find something you like.”
Cold, salty, with a hint of cream and copper—oh, my god, not with Willow!
“Oh, he makes me so mad sometimes!” Buffy huffed her way over to the sofa, while Riley stomped out of the apartment. “Sorry, Xander,” she smiled, “didn’t mean to ignore all night. Stupid boyfriend. So, how was work yesterday?”
Xander relaxed, talking about his coworkers—idiots, all of them—and listening as the girls talked about school. This was what he would always come back for, why he would put up with the hassle of being the only real male scooby and a useless one at that.
He loved to hear them laugh.
They talked for an hour, as carefree as they had been nearly three years ago when they had been two girls and a guy dealing with a normal life. “Oh, god, Xander! Tell me you didn’t!”
“He reminded me of our tenth grade math teacher, Mr. Oaks. You better believe I did!”
Willow was convulsing beside him, laughing too hard to make words. “You—bad Xander!” she gasped out after a moment or two. Buffy looked like she was ready to do this same. Xander just grinned, happy in their happiness. The jerk had deserved getting told off like that, too. Fortunately, the boss of the grocery store agreed with Xander and he wasn’t getting fired for bitching out another employee like he had.
“Right in the frozen foods?” Buffy asked.
“He split a bag of frozen french fries, he was clutching it so hard. So then, the manager comes by, and I am sure that I’m about to get fired, and—”
“Buffy? Sorry, Xander, I’ll return her in a minute.” Riley gave him an apologetic grin, which Xander didn’t feel like returning. He’d just gotten them to relax a bit, too.
“Willow, if you’re ready, we can begin the preparations now.”
“One sec, Giles.” Turning to Xander, she gave a twisted-smile. “Sorry, duty calls.”
“It’s okay, I’m on Spike-patrol, I know.”
“Riley, hang on.” Buffy frowned prettily at him, hazel eyes very serious. “He’s been behaving, right? I mean, he’s not messing with you? Cause he is not allowed to mess with you.”
“He’s—oddly well behaved.” He’s training me to be his sex-slave, but otherwise. . . “Don’t worry, Buffster. He can’t hurt me—”
“The chip won’t stop him from setting the place on fire, Xander.” Buffy crossed her arms, shooting a glance at Riley like it was his fault that the chip wasn’t more powerful.
“Yes, because vampires are so flame-retardant. It’s okay, Buffy. Right now, he can’t even bite the hand that feeds him.”
Another moment of narrowed eyes and a glare at Spike. He, in turn, raised one eyebrow. “Come off it, Slayer,” he groused. “I’m chipped, can’t do a damned thing to anyone now. Least you lot feed me, and the whelp is lookin’ t’ get cable.”
“Ah, because it’s never wise to come between a vampire and his creature comforts. Willow, if you please, the sooner we get this spell cast the sooner you lot can start hunting for this demon and leave my apartment. It’s nearly nine thirty.”
Willow leaned forward. “Are we expecting something to happen a little later?”
Xander coughed, suddenly. Giles was blushing! “G-man! You gotta hot date?”
“I’ve asked you repeatedly not to call me that. And Olivia is due to return sometime after ten, so I’d appreciate it if you were all not here when she does arrive.”
Buffy, Willow, and Xander all exchanged looks. “Sure, Giles!” they chorused merrily.
“Oh, bloody hell.” Except Giles was smiling while he cursed them. God, I love this pack.