Chapter Title: 3. Beware of the Hotel California
Warnings: a little language, a little angst, a little m/m, a little violence
Notes: I'll be posting the chapters all day. Lovely banner by zoesmith
Summary: Based on this prompt fromreremouse
: Post-Chosen Xander needs a place to live. It's Spike's turn to take Xander in. Why is he homeless? What happened? And why did he have to turn to Spike? (Extra challenge: The reason is something other than torture, captivity, slavery, abuse, or a falling out with the scoobies)
Previous chapters here.
Chapter Three—Beware of the Hotel California
There was an unintended consequence to the new job.
Oh, the benefits were plenty. The paycheck, for one. Not a huge amount, but enough that he didn’t have to worry anymore about whether he’d be able to feed himself off his dwindling savings. Spike wouldn’t let him chip in on the rent, so he bought the vampire more books and some new games for the Playstation. Every time he brought home a new gift, Spike gave him an odd, searching look, but Xander ignored it. He knew the stuff made Spike happy.
He thought about suggesting they rent a bigger apartment, but that seemed to imply a permanency to their situation that just didn’t exist. After all, Xander would be getting out of Spike’s hair as soon as the cure was complete. And Xander’s salary wasn’t really enough for him to afford his own place.
He did have enough money to add to his wardrobe. Spike threw out his old stuff—a little too gleefully, Xander thought—and gave him very specific instructions about what to buy instead. Xander could tell that Spike would have loved to come shopping with him, probably so he could make snarky comments and ensure Xander didn’t purchase anything with actual colors in it. But again, the sun interfered. Xander did fine on his own, though, returning home with tight jeans and tight white t-shirts and a couple black denim shirts and a really boss motorcycle jacket that he should be able to wear in a few weeks, when the weather cooled a little. And boots. Black shitkickers not so different from Spike’s Docs.
He liked the work, too. It was fun being menacing. His persona was Silent but Dangerous, Potentially Mentally Unstable American. The customers bought it. When Spike went to smooth out a problem, they’d look back and forth between the confident Englishman and his glowering, maimed co-worker, and they’d visibly get a hold on themselves. Xander had never thought of himself as being frightening before, and it was kind of good for his ego. Even if he knew it was all a front.
He also liked working with Spike, and talking with Vinko, and even getting handled a little by the girls who’d taken a sudden interest in him. His Croatian was improving. And despite what Spike had told him, he noticed that the vampire never did disappear into a back room with any girls. In fact, his interactions with everyone other than Vinko and Xander and Emerik the bartender never went beyond professional sociability. And that made Xander completely, irrationally, pleased.
But working with Spike meant keeping more or less the same hours as Spike. And that wasn’t a problem in and of itself, but it meant that the system they had for taking turns in bed didn’t work anymore. Oh, the futon was big enough for two. But every day that passed, Xander became more and more aware of the beautiful, naked creature inches away from him. And although Spike didn’t say anything, surely he was aware of how Xander was aware, and that was a problem. Spike didn’t seem to mind a certain amount of being lusted after, but sooner or later he was going to get tired of being the object of Xander’s desire. Not to mention which Xander was beginning to feel a whole lot of built-up sexual frustration, and he had no time alone to do anything about it. He tried the shower a couple of times, but he knew Spike was right on the other side of the wall, and between vamp hearing and vamp smelling, he could tell exactly what Xander was up to.
Libido problems aside, things were good. And of course Xander was damn lucky to even have a sex drive at all, and wouldn’t if it weren’t for Spike. In fact, if it weren’t for Spike he’d be in bed somewhere, motionless, still dying by inches. In comparison, this little issue was a walk in the park.
The fourth bite came on one of their days off. The futon was folded into a couch and they’d been watching Clint Eastwood flicks on Spike’s DVD player. Xander was in a t-shirt and boxers, Spike was wearing a pair of jeans with the top button undone.
Clint was in the middle of a shootout when Spike suddenly turned to Xander. “Hasn’t it been thirty days?”
“Shit. What’s today?” Xander had lost track.
“Yeah. Thirty days.”
Christ. Conditioned response—Xander was getting hard. He held out his hand, palm up. Spike looked at it. “Xan?”
“Maybe we could do your neck this time?”
Wow. Little Xander liked that idea just fine. “Um, okay. Sure.”
“I won’t drain you.”
Xander looked at Spike. Really looked, straight into those clear blue eyes. “I trust you,” he said.
Spike’s eyes grew wide and Xander heard him swallow.
Spike scooted a little closer and leaned into him. Xander tilted his head, his body thrumming in expectation. He wanted to reach out and clutch the vampire closer to him, to run his palms over that smooth, bare skin, but he forced his hands to remain limp at his side. Spike’s cool breath puffed against him, and Xander closed his eyes and fought for control.
Xander opened his eyes again, and now Spike’s were amber and hooded by heavy brows. His long, sharp teeth were glistening, so close to Xander’s undefended throat. But Spike was hesitating, a look of uncertainty on his demonic face.
“This is all right with you?” Spike whispered.
Spike shivered and then struck, his fangs sinking deeply into Xander’s carotid.
The pain came first. It always did. But he’d learned to ride it out, because it was soon joined by a trickle, then a wave of pure bliss, hot prickling goodness soaking through every fiber of his body, still wrapped with the ache. But he didn’t mind some pain with his pleasure, did he? Preferred it, even, maybe. Look at his bed partners—demony types every one of them. He could blame Faith if he tried—mixing sex with near-death in a way guaranteed to warp his impressionable teenaged brain. Or he could blame his parents, who’d taught him that a beating meant somebody cared enough to notice you. Or maybe the Hellmouth itself was to blame, damaging him in his mother’s womb. In the end, though, it didn’t matter where the fault lay. He was being bitten, and it was all good.
And now, Spike’s hair tickling under his jawline, his hard body pressed against Xander’s shoulder and arm and thigh, the coppery-sweet smell of him filling Xander’s nose…that was all good, too.
With a sound between a gasp and a moan, Spike tore himself away. He remained very close, though, his breathing harsh, his lips painted red with Xander’s blood. He looked down at Xander’s lap, and Xander realized that his cock was jutting through his boxer fly, red and glistening and hard enough to cut diamonds. Spike let his face shift back to human and then, without a word, he sank to his knees between Xander’s legs and took Xander’s cock in his mouth.
Xander was so shocked that for a moment his lungs stopped working, and then he had to pull in a huge, whooping breath of oxygen.
Spike’s cool mouth, the same mouth that was just biting and feeding from him, now surrounded his rigid shaft, creating wet suction while Spike’s right hand worked the base of him, adding a little rough friction.
Xander was still frozen in astonishment, but then he looked down, and the blond head was bobbing at his crotch, and Spike’s left hand was fumbling urgently with the remaining buttons on his jeans, and then Spike was fisting himself in sync with Xander.
Xander groaned. Of their own accord, because he clearly wasn’t in control of anything at the moment, his hands raised off the couch and alit on Spike’s bare shoulders, where they clutched for all they were worth. Xander’s hips thrust upwards, into that heavenly demonic mouth. Spike moved his right hand through Xander’s fly, cradling his balls, and swallowed his cock to the root.
Xander made a strangled noise. “Spike! Fuck! I’m gonna—“
And then he lost the power of speech as Spike hummed.
Explosively, Xander came. He shoved himself deep into that throat, emptying himself into it for what seemed like an eternity, and Spike only swallowed and then convulsed slightly as his own orgasm came, splashing himself and Xander with his semen.
With a slurp, Spike released Xander from his mouth. He withdrew his hand from Xander’s boxers and patted Xander’s thigh. He stood then, his long, wet cock still sticking out of his jeans. He smiled wickedly at Xander with his tongue curled around his teeth.
“Gonna go shower,” he said. Xander watched as he walked away. Spike’s jeans had settled halfway down his ass, and Xander concluded it must be some kind of special vampire magic that kept them from falling off altogether.
They didn’t talk about the blowjob.
Although Xander had been taken by surprise at the time—to say the least—he understood Spike’s motives. Even though Spike hadn’t complained about it, his presence had put a serious cramp in Spike’s sex life. If Spike was getting any at all he was being pretty fast and secretive about it, because the only time the two of them were apart was when Xander wandered the city by day, and Spike was stuck in the apartment. Besides, Xander knew quite well from his time with Dracula that for vampires, blood and sex were pretty inextricably linked. And, well, vamps liked putting things in their mouths. Spike didn’t smoke cigarettes because of the nicotine.
So Spike was horny and had just had a few swallows of demon aphrodisiac. And Little Xander had been standing up and begging for attention, hadn’t it? Under those circumstances, that nice little bout of fellatio was logical. It didn’t mean anything. Certainly didn’t mean Spike really wanted him, Xander Harris, doughnut boy and one-eyed cursed wonder.
That knowledge didn’t bother Xander. Not really. He was used to being…well, unwanted wasn’t the right word. Buffy and Willow and Giles and Dawn—even his parents—didn’t actually not want him. None of them would dance with glee if the curse worked. It’s just that none of them had any use for him in particular. They were fine with him being around, but they didn’t need him.
What did bother him, though, was that, far from reducing his sexual tension, his little episode with Spike had ramped it up about five notches. Now he could barely even look at those soft, full lips without remembering how they’d felt on him, around him. His fingers practically itched for another feel of the vampire’s cool, soft skin. In bed, Xander had to remain resolutely turned away from Spike, his hands tucked firmly under his own armpits, his body practically teetering on his edge of the bed.
So it was a little awkward between them, and Xander found himself putting as much distance between himself and Spike as was possible when they shared a small apartment and a futon and a job. For his part, Spike didn’t say anything, but sometimes Xander caught him frowning unhappily. A few times Spike actually opened his mouth and looked like he was about to make a comment, but then he shut it again. Xander was glad. He didn’t really need to hear any rejection right now. Or, well, ever.
But Xander did miss the easy camaraderie they’d been building. Sexiness aside, he’d actually been enjoying Spike’s company. He was smart and funny, and he could quote Shakespeare one minute and then laugh at South Park the next. He’d been tutoring Xander on punk music from the 70’s and, much to Xander’s surprise, he’d found himself a budding fan of the Buzzcocks and Stiff Little Fingers. Spike had watched a lot of tv over the years, too—another byproduct of the sunlight aversion—and was a veritable fount of pop culture knowledge.
Xander was falling for him. He needed to be done with the morsus necis thing and get himself far, far away.
Vinko’s place had a few demon customers. Not many, and they tended to be types that blended in pretty well with humans. Peaceful demons who just wanted a couple drinks and maybe a little dancing on weekends, when there was live music. They never caused any trouble. While they may not have been fooled by Xander’s attempts to look intimidating, they certainly recognized Spike for what he was, and went out of their way not to piss off the vampire.
It was unusual, then, when a quartet of Fyarls showed up one Friday. Xander kept a close eye on them. He noticed that Spike did, too. But the demons didn’t do anything but order some beer and tap their fingers to the music, which was currently a Croatian-accented cover of “Hotel California.” After an hour or so they left.
As Spike and Xander walked home late that night, Xander asked, “What do you think was up with those demons?”
“Dunno. Don’t get their type often around here.” Spike puffed on his cigarette. “It’s fine, as long as they keep their mucous to themselves, you know?”
“Ugh. Mucous.” He’d forgotten about that part.
“Yeah. And they’re bloody hard to kill, too. Has to be with silver.”
“Like a werewolf.”
“Nah. There are lots of ways to off a pup. You can drain them, or break their necks. Done it myself, a few times. Only the bullet has to be silver.”
Xander suddenly thought about Oz and wondered what had become of him. But Spike was still expounding on Fyarls.
“But with these buggers, you can stab ‘em, bash ‘em, set ‘em on fire if you like, but it won’t do the trick. Have to stick ‘em with silver.”
“Hopefully, these guys will behave themselves and there will be no sticking.”
Spike took a last draw and then crushed the butt under his boot. “Remember when that tosser turned the Watcher into a Fyarl? That was a good time.”
“A good time? Buffy almost killed him!”
Spike waved his hand. “Yeah, yeah. But he survived. It was funny.”
“Yeah. I’d just been chipped, you know. Wasn’t having a lot of laughs right then. But then those soldier fucks were chasing us in the Watcher’s poncy little car, and he was getting all growly, and…it was funny.”
They were silent a moment.
“What for, love?”
Xander tried to ignore the endearment, which he knew meant nothing. “I treated you like shit. I mean… after the chip and all, and that must have been really hard on you, and nobody should have people shoving things in their brains, and….” He trailed off, unable to express himself clearly.
Spike had stopped walking and was looking at him in puzzlement. “I’m a vampire, remember? No soul then. Evil. Tried to kill you more than once.”
Xander stopped, too. “Yeah. So fine, vampire tries to kill me, I try to stake him. Fair enough. But I didn’t have to be mean to you, when you were…I don’t know. Vulnerable.”
Spike blinked at him. “Huh. I can’t recall anybody apologizing to me before. Ever.”
“Well, you were evil. But still. Angel never did? For what he did when he was Angelus?”
Spike snorted. “Angel apologize to me? When Acathla flies.”
“Well, he should.”
Spike stared at him for a moment. Xander couldn’t read his expression. Then he shrugged and continued walking.
“I had him tortured with hot pokers, you know.”
Xander followed him. “Yeah. I heard. Would have done it myself, sometimes.”
“Don’t much care for Peaches, do you?”
“Why? He’s the big bloody hero, isn’t he?”
“Well, there was the part where he tortured Giles and killed Ms. Calendar and tried to end the world.”
“Right. But that was when he didn’t have his soul.”
“Sure. But when you didn’t have a soul you helped Buffy save the world. And later, you didn’t blab when Glory got you, and you took care of Dawn. And you went and got your soul on purpose. Fought for it.”
Spike was looking at him that way again, and Xander realized he’d said too much. Damnit, when was he going to learn to keep his stupid mouth shut?
By now they were home, and they trudged up the stairs in silence. Inside the apartment, Xander headed for the bathroom to piss and brush his teeth and strip off his clothes. When he came out, Spike was already lying down, the blanket pulled up to his chest. Xander crawled in beside him, and Spike reached over to flip off the light.
He was almost asleep when a cool hand fell lightly on his shoulder.
He rolled over, and he could just barely make out Spike’s eyes glistening in the bit of light that snuck in under the door.
“What you said just then…did you mean it?”
Xander took a deep breath. Fuck. “Yeah. I did.”
Spike moved his head closer and kissed him softly, almost chastely, on the lips. Then he pulled away. “Thank you,” he whispered. And he turned around and went to sleep.
The Fyarls were back the next night.
Once again, they sat in the corner, drinking and growling quietly at each other in their own language. Xander leaned against the bar, watching them, while Spike circulated among the crowd as usual. Vinko came up behind Xander.
“I don’t like these demons. I think they cause trouble.”
“Do you want us to make them leave?” The “us” being pretty much a fiction, of course, and really meaning “Spike, with Xander hovering uselessly nearby.”
“No. Just watch them close, okay?”
Vinko patted his shoulder. “You have much experience with demons, yes?”
Xander smothered a snicker. “Um, yeah. We had a lot of them where I grew up.”
“This is where you meet Spike?”
“Yeah. I met him when I was a kid.”
“He was not good vampire then, right?”
“No, not really.”
“But now you good friends.”
Xander supposed they were. In fact, Spike was practically his closest friend at the moment, and as far as he could tell, he was pretty much Spike’s only friend. He nodded at Vinko.
“This is good. He is more happy since you come here.”
Vinko patted him again and then moved away to serve some drinks. Xander stayed where he was, mulling over what the man had said. Remembering that small, sweet kiss the night before, which had somehow been more intimate than when Spike had sucked on his cock.
A small fuss at one end of the room woke him from his reverie. A girl in a yellow dress was crying, and two men at her table were arguing loudly. Spike was already there, and Xander marched over, looking as frightening as he could.
He hadn’t picked up enough Croatian yet to follow what was going on, but Spike was rubbing the girl’s shoulder and speaking rapidly but calmly to the men. Xander scowled at them, and both men relaxed a little, clearly wishing to avoid a confrontation with him.
Spike turned and looked at him. “It’s all right. These blokes are her brothers and they’re having a bit of a family disagreement about the man she’s been dating. But they’re over it now, right?” He said something in Croatian, and the men nodded nervously. The girl had stopped crying and was sniffling into a tissue, and one of the men said “Oprostite,” to her. She smiled at him and then the siblings had a group hug. Spike touched her shoulder once more and then walked toward Xander. They went to the other end of the room, and saw that the Fyarls’ table was empty.
“Nice job intimidating, Xan,” Spike said, smiling at him. “You settled those blokes right down.”
“Where did you learn to be so good at defusing situations, Spike?”
Spike laughed. “You spend a hundred years or so with Dru, you better be a good hand at talking nicely to someone who’s irrational. Not to mention a couple decades with Peaches and Darla.”
“So you were the diplomat of the Scourge of Europe?”
“When I had to be, pet.”
The rest of the evening was pretty quiet. One guy had too much to drink and got extra loud and obnoxious, and wasn’t happy when Vinko cut him off. But Xander just had to lift his eyebrows at him and he shut right up. Another guy was bugging a girl, not leaving her alone when she told him to. Spike and Xander escorted him to the door.
They stuck around to help clean up a little, and then headed home. It was chilly, and Xander was glad for his new jacket. Spike was wearing his duster. The streets were nearly deserted and their footsteps echoed between the buildings.
They were almost home when a car came screeching around the corner. This wasn’t unusual. Drivers in Zagreb tended to be pretty leadfooted, and Xander had long since learned how to leap nimbly out of the way at intersections. But then this car came to a shuddering stop right next to them and before Xander and Spike had a chance to do anything, they were surrounded by Fyarls.
Spike puffed coolly on his cigarette. “Can I help you fellows?”
One of the demons snarled something at him. Spike vamped out and snarled right back. Every muscle in Xander’s body was tense.
There was another short interchange of barking and growling, and the demons stepped closer.
“Xan, these buggers seem to have a bone to pick with me. But it’s nothing to do with you, so go. I think they’ll leave you be.” Spike’s voice was low and urgent.
“I’m not gonna just leave you here, Spike!”
“Xander! You can’t beat them. Please. Go.” Shit. Now he sounded desperate. He’d dropped the cigarette and his hands were balled at his sides.
One of the demons must have understood, because it said something to Xander and gestured at him to move away.
“Guys! Can’t we talk about this somewhere?” Xander asked.
As an answer, the demon shoved him hard.
Spike reached into his jacket and pulled out a knife, and Xander had a pretty good suspicion that it was silver.
“Xander! Get the fuck out of here!” Spike screamed, just as two of the beasts rushed him. Xander lunged towards them, but then suddenly something came at him from his blind side, hitting him hard in the head, and everything went black.