Thanks to Cecelia and Pet for superfast beta, and to Speedo for putting up with random paragraphs being thrust forwards in AIM.
For The Girl, damnit. Persuasive creature. ;)
Timezone: we'll leave it at pre-chip, shall we?
"Bit late, isn't it? Absurd."
That voice, faster than any other, stopped Xander in his tracks. not that he'd been making tracks per se-- more like the faint dry imprints of rubber on the damp sidewalk, but hey, you know, they were about to become tracks just as soon as his disused Anti-Vampire reflex sparked to life and his legs got the hell outa here--
Except, of course, that when a strong arm clamped securely round him from behind, when he discovered he was now breathing air tainted with the cold sweat of a familiar palm, when he felt the unmistakable warmth in the smooth cheek that nuzzled the back of his neck, it was pretty much too late to get with the survival picture.
Warm. He must've just fed. Apparently, though, there was appetite for more. Spike laughed softly into his hair, like pleasure gone septic.
"Absurd-- absurd what?" Xander asked quickly, feeling the bottom of his stomach dissolve into sickly-sweet mush. "Absurd as in, gee, this is an absurd dream I'm having right now, cause there's no way you could be back in town, cause last time I saw you you were considerably more making-a-dignified-withdrawal-into-the-night than you are now--"
"Absurd risk, I meant." The planes of Spike's body shifted, and Xander found himself turned around as easily as a well oiled-- he cut off the thought, trying hard to keep his mind neutral. Neutral, apart from abject fear. Yes. abject fear, he could do. That'd give him adrenaline to get away, right? He tried not to flinch as Spike spoke again: "I've had weeks since then."
"Yeah, yeah," Xander said, "sure, weeks of watching all your little buddies go dustwards, if you've been hanging around anywhere near here." The idea that Spike could've been in the neighbourhood, in his neighbourhood, instead of flouncing about in the safe middle-distance-- don't even go there. "Have you, uh. Been anywhere around here?" he heard himself say, and swallowed as Spike smiled.
"Not in the district as such, sweetheart."
"Um, can I say ew? with the... pet names," Xander shot back, and amusement flashed black in Spike's eyes, and Xander suddenly wanted to shake his head hard, try and clear the dizzy weight that seemed to press against him whenever Spike slunk near.
He decided to steadfastly ignore the fact that he'd just said pet names to a cold-blooded killer.
"But," he said quickly, trying to rush on without the rushage actually being conspicuous, "why come back if you were home clear? I mean, we're up ten points on the Slayer Scale this month--" which was the only reason he was out after dark, armed only with experimental plastic tabs of holy ice, but Spike didn't need to know everything.
Xander couldn't reach his pocket without being obvious, he told himself, carefully. Hence no holy icing was going on.
Spike was holding his arms at his sides, anyway.
"I don't see you shouting for your slayer right now," Spike was saying, softly, and Xander gave him a guilty ten-out-of-ten for observation. "Anyway, it was only three weeks." His teeth flashed, pleasantly. "Plenty of time to remember a morsel of unfinished business, wouldn't you say?"
"I'm not a morsel," Xander almost said, indignantly, but no, no-- "Oh," he said, and Spike's finger tilted his chin, and Xander's brain spurted to kept talking, "-- but surely a morsel, right, that's a little thing? so why risk--" eyes closing in a final attempt at pretending this absolutely wasn't happening, "--after all, with your... girl, headed off, opposite direction, right? so surely we're talking you've taken a wrong turning here, nothing more, no real motive to be here whatso... uh, whatsoever."
He stopped. He wasn't even sure what he was talking about. Felt a lot like double-speak, and Willow would know the word for it but wasn't the point right now that they were utterly alone?
And maybe he was going to die, he thought, as Spike's finger kept lifting. Just one finger, slowly, gently inexorable pressure angling his head back, felt like his neck was elongating, turning into one big ole neck banquet, all laid out and pale and pulsing, just waiting for Spike to take a bite.
"I missed you, you know," he heard Spike murmur, hand moving to cup his throat, the light prickle of teeth drawing over his skin. He hadn't vamped out yet, and it was just-- a man's mouth, a man's body shifting against him, that male voice like tarred sand in Xander's ear. And, crap, Xander thought indistinctly, because in Sunnydale that was almost more controversial; better to be savaged by the undead than let decidedly not-heterospecial situations arise, any day.
"Tease," Xander managed, trying not to let his breathing speed up, painfully aware he had the same amount of control over his blood as he had over his sex life.
He felt afraid to move, overly aware of Spike's breath on his throat-- for chrissakes, he didn't need to breathe, he was a vampire -- the undead thing? hello? -- which meant he was absolutely doing this for Xander's benefit, to make Xander feel every shift and pluck of air against his skin.
Shivers were wriggling out from his spine, reaching his palms and knees, making him icily warm under too much denim. Adrenaline wasn't clearing his head nearly as well as he'd hoped. in fact, he felt downright dizzy.
Spike's tongue touched his skin, cool and fleeting, making him shudder. "Tease, huh. Interesting choice." His fingertips started a ghosting tattoo on his neck, small circles, drawing all the shivers from the rest of his body, concentrating them like some freaky magnetism. "Not the word I'd use. Sweetheart."
Xander's jaw clenched, uncomfortably aware of the way it made his neck flex and tighten beneath Spike's mouth. "Yeah, well, I'm not exactly the walking thesaurus right now, near-death" near-sex "situations being what they are-- I mean, it wasn't a dignified withdrawal, just that I thought I'd better be polite, not bring up past traumas--"
He flinched, as the familiar silvery-hot pain told him he'd pushed it too far. Never learnt that, never which particular thoughtless phrase would trip Spike's wire and make him break into non verbal communication--
Three short, sickening thuds, and she was here. Spike was stumbling back from him with bloodied mouth and furious eyes. Xander's sweaty hand was already at his throat, fingering the neat, slippery punctures, gritting his teeth as the contact burnt and stung.
She was on her game; Spike was dispatched down the street, footfalls pounding like Xander's pulse double-time, an eerily similar scene to the one three weeks ago, and Xander was panting and grateful, yes he was, yes he was.
"You alright?" she asked, concern in her face, tension across her shoulders.
"Yes I am," he said immediately, then felt blood slipping down his palm, hot and tacky, "except for the leakage, here, that's not so hot, in fact, I'd kinda like to sit down--"
"Not here," she said, and he knew she was right, always right, very good, cause if they sat down here and she, maybe, fell asleep, that'd mean Spike could come back, come steal him away again, and that would be a bad thing, yes it would, yes it would.