Spike’d had just about enough.  Enough of the fighting, enough of the side-long looks, the whispers that stopped when he started, the carefully planned out speeches and jobs, all of it.  He’d known coming to work for the new Watchers came with risks—the headmaster had tried to manipulate his death, and that was after the soul.  It left a strain on working relations, that.


But this?  This was just.  Too.  Much.


“Fuck off,” he snarled.  Three pairs of arms crossed below varying sizes of breasts, glaring with unmistakable disdain.  Spike glared right back.  “I said shove the fuck off.”


“Spike, he’s injured,” Rona said, as if he hadn’t carried the unconscious body the last twenty minutes back to his flat, human blood staining his clothes.  “Let us take care of him.”


“You?”  The word was a bark of loathing.  “I’ll say this for Buffy.  Least she was never reckless with her Watcher’s life.  You know what he’s like!”


Long dreads tossed over her shoulder, Rona did the most dead-on perfect impression of Drusilla in a snit that he’d ever seen.  It didn’t improve his mood one iota.  “He needs to go to a hospital,” she repeated.


“He hates hospitals,” Willow reminded Rona, losing the gentle tone she’d used the past four repetitions.  “And really, it’s not that bad—right Spike?”


For Red, Spike normally made allowances.  This time Spike was too full of rage to care who he was lashing out at, so long as he made something sting.  “Won’t know till you three get the fuck out of here, will I?”




“No.  You don’t get to pull that card now, Willow, not when you blew him up.  Take the idiot Slayer child and your apprentice and get the hell out.  I’ll take care of him.”  Not waiting for their response, Spike shifted to game-face and snarled at Rona.  He was fanatically careful in how he acted around the new Slayers, so a blatantly aggressive move was more than just a normal threat.  She blanched and looked to Willow.


Willow studied Spike for a long time.  This wasn’t the same girl who’d left Sunnydale—either time.  The last few years in London had matured her into someone Spike barely recognized and didn’t often want to.  But she wasn’t why he stayed or didn’t stay.  So as long as their uneasy truce held—she didn’t turn on her friends, he protected their backs—everything worked out.  “Fine.  We’ll be by to check on him later,” Willow said, gathering both children and locking the apartment door after her.


Finally.  Aiming another snarl at the wood, Spike knelt beside the prone body, turning a head this way and that.  “You look like hell,” he said ruefully.


“Thanks.  Wanna explain the whole Cave-vamp routine?”


“You’re hurt.”  Heading into the kitchen, he filled a bowl with hot water and another with warm, soapy water.  Both bowls and a few scraps of cut-up towel were placed on the small end-table by the sofa.


“I have a bump on the head and scratch down my arm.”


“You were bleeding.”


Sighing, Xander wormed his good arm free to touch Spike’s shoulder.  “I won’t even need stitches, Spike, it’s just a scratch.  So what was with the ‘quick, pretend you’ve passed out’ routine?”  Xander’s British accent had not improved, even after living in London for nearly five years.  “And blaming Willow.  She didn’t blow me up, I moved too close when I knew not to.”


“Because your idiot Slayer was acting like a brat again.  I thought you’d broken her of that.”  Off came the shirt, exposing a thin line down Xander’s left arm, starting at the shoulder and ending a few inches above the elbow.  It was shallow, just needed some cleaning and a bandage and it’d be fine.


“So did I,” Xander frowned, mind back on work again.  Dammit.  “I’ll have to talk to her again, see if I can—”


“Oh, will you just shut up!”


Spike dipped and swiped in the silence that followed his outburst, totally ignoring the eye that focused on him intently.  Shouting like that was a brilliant way of accomplishing what he wanted, of course.  It’d instantly put Xander in the right frame of mind, and help Spike ease through that transition himself.  Just because Spike wanted it didn’t mean the anger rolling around in him would allow him to do it.  But waiting up on that hill with the heather whipping their ankles and the wind that smelled of a home he’d forgotten long ago, the need for it had overwhelmed him.  No more waiting and hoping, unwilling to be the first to make a move.


And then when Xander’d gotten hurt. . .


“Bleeding’s stopped,” he murmured, blotting the towel over the cut to verify that.  Bandaging it to the silence on the bed, Spike then inspected Xander’s head and pronounced him fine.  Not even a concussion, just a bump some over-the-counter pain meds could fix.


Then he started undoing Xander’s pants.


“Um, Spike?  I’m not injured there.”  Xander’s body remained lax on the sofa, however, only moving when Spike positioned him or he decided to be helpful and lift something.  “What are you doing?”


“Did I say you could talk?  No.  Shut the hell up.”  Socks removed, Spike traced the length of a dry, smooth sole.  It twitched as he approached the ball of Xander’s foot, but not enough to make Spike worry.  “You don’t even notice anymore, do you?  So bloody tense your shoulders are damned near up to your ears.  Work, work, god damned work.  Never go out with some mates anymore.  Never hook up with that bird from Chelsea, either.  The one that perfumes herself with banknotes?  You don’t do anything anymore, just train, train, and worry yourself to bits.”


Xander just looked at him.  “And that’s why I’m naked?”


“Shut up,” Spike snarled, fingers closing around the base of a thankfully already half-hard cock.  He hadn’t realized how badly he wanted to see interest there until he got it, something deep and twisted in his chest unknotting in relief.  He’d already planned out what he wanted to do, but the whole world knew how bad his planning was.  “Just ... let me.”


He hadn’t meant for it to come out so pleading, but it did.  And something shifted in Xander’s eye, his shoulders finally untensing enough to rest more firmly against he sofa-arm.  “Okay.”


Permission garnered, Spike lowered his mouth until his lips rested against the curve of his own fingers, completely engulfing head and almost half of Xander’s shaft in his mouth.  Bobbing, stroking, licking, sucking, tasting skin that was salty and sweet and made his mouth water, Spike worked to bring Xander to full hardness.  He wanted Xander to make a noise—a moan, a groan, even a breathy exclamation.  Something other than the slow, even breathing he heard.


Once Xander was fully hard, precome just starting to bead at the tip, Spike raised off him.  He caught Xander’s raised eyebrows and shook his head.  “No talking.  Less it’s sexy-talking.  That you can do.”


Reaching into his duster, Spike took out the little tube he’d put there weeks ago, on the whisper of a hope he knew he’d never truly pursue.  Well, he’d thought he wouldn’t, since obviously he was.  Slicking up his fingers till they nearly dripped, Spike massaged Xander’s balls until his breathing finally accelerated and then knelt on the sofa to help long, naked legs to raise into the air.


“I’ve never done this.”


Spike glanced up to see none of the fear or disgust he’d imagined.  Good.  Laying a kiss on the ankle near his head, Spike said, “I know.  Now close your eye.”


A flash of a pout turned into a smile.  “But I like watching you.”


“Not this time.  Close it.”  Spike waited for Xander to obey before stroking over the perineum, fingers playing over soft skin as if it were a piano, different pressure producing different responses.  “The point isn’t to watch anymore, Xander.  This time it isn’t you who waits to catch ’em before they fall.  Now’s when you get watched.  Now’s when you let go.”


Spike’s fingers dipped lower and lower, finally circling around his final goal.  He watched Xander’s reaction closely, each blip of his heart, twitch and gasp was catalogued and studied to determine if it was a good reaction or bad and if he should repeat what he’d done.  He wanted Xander gasping.  Wanted him sodden with sweat and trembling with need so that he couldn’t hunch up anymore, his body lax and loose and as boneless as a child’s.


He didn’t ask if Xander was ready, knowing that’d only shock Xander out of what he was doing.  Instead, Spike kept his touch light, almost massaging as he dipped the tip of his finger inside, wiggling it to try and loosen muscles more tense than any other.  The plan was to stack up a long line of dominos then watch them cascade down into the bliss Spike knew Xander had denied himself for a long time.  Years, probably.  It wasn’t the hedonist in him that wanted this, either, though it certainly enjoyed seeing Xander hard and naked beneath him.  His desire was more practical than he knew Xander would believe, and therefore he wouldn’t mention it.  Ever.


Adding more lube, Spike finally worked the length of his pointer inside.  Sliding it in and out until the movements became easy, Spike started hunting for the tiny nub.  Xander jerked and gasped when it was finally found, head raising with an expression that looked pained.  “Ride it out,” Spike instructed, voice low and quiet.  “That’s right.  It’ll fade, just relax a bit.  Let it go.  You have to let things go, pet.”


The noise Xander made was too close to a sob.


Easing a second finger inside, Spike waited until the muscles around him loosened before finding a rhythm that wasn’t fast, wasn’t slow, but was steady.  Relentless.  “Know what this is called?” he asked.  “Finger fucking.  Oh, I know you know what it is, experienced bloke like you.  I know you rent good porn, since I’ve watched most of it.  But the feeling. . .  You can’t stop this.  Can’t do anything but lay there, body open for me.  Feeling good.  Letting someone else make you feel good.”


Another sound like a sob and Xander brought his undamaged arm up to cover his eyes.  “Please,” he murmured.


“It’s all right.  Gonna help you now, and if you need later, you’ve only to ask.  Get you to sleep without nightmares, tonight.  Every night, if I thought you’d let me.  Keep you happy and sated.  No, don’t,” he said when Xander reached for his cock.  “Told you.  You don’t do anything but lay there and feel.  I know how hard that is for you,” he said, perfectly serious.  “But now you’re gonna let me.  Gonna let someone else help.  Pick up the slack.”


Xander was warm and fluttery around him, his breath hitching every time Spike touched the good place inside.  Cords ran along his neck, sweat beading along his temple.  It wasn’t quite the thrashing mess Spike wanted, but it was probably as close as he was going to get on the first go.  And this <i>wasn’t</I> going to be the only time he did this.  Now that he’d seen what Xander looked like wanting, tasted him, heard him need so much. . . Spike was doing this again.  As often as Xander would let him.


“Wanna come?  Think you can?”


Xander moaned again, his hips rolling against Spike’s hand.  “Please.  God, please.”


Spike twisted in a move a human couldn’t reproduce, leaning down to lick Xander from root to wet, salty head, teasing the slit there.  Noises poured from Xander’s mouth as his hips started jerking, rubbing his cock against Spike’s lips and teeth before crying out.  Spike opened his mouth, quickly covering the head as Xander emptied out months of tension.


He was beautiful, stretched out and debauched—and thoroughly asleep.  Other circumstances and Spike would be insulted at the reaction his hard work had created.  Now he could only be pleased.  Licking his lips, he removed and cleaned his fingers before gathering Xander’s body and carrying it into the bedroom.  Tucking him in, Spike leaned down and allowed himself a single concession—a gentle touch of lips to lips.


Then he left, back to the flat two floors above, content that for once, Xander would sleep out the night.  And if he didn’t, well, Spike would hear him.  Like always.