The crypt door was pushed open and Spike glanced up to see Xander standing, irresolute and tense, in the doorway. His face was forced into blankness and his hands were in front of him, gripping a wadded up shirt so tightly that his knuckles were white.
Spike stared at him without speaking, his eyes unreadable. The silence hummed until it filled the room and Xander took one step inside, the scuff of his shoes loud against the stone floor. As he crossed the threshold Spike twisted his head away, frustration etched deeply into his face. When he turned back, Xander was already pulling his T shirt over his head.
“So what’s going to be different this time?”
Xander ignored him, tossing the T shirt aside and pulling on the shirt his hands had creased and crumpled, letting it hang open. He walked towards Spike, all hesitation gone, his steps confident, even swaggering. Holding Spike’s gaze he knelt beside the chair and leaned in to kiss him. Spike tasted salt and realised that Xander had been crying. It was that, rather than Xander’s hand on his zip, that made him return the kiss, his teeth biting down gently, his tongue sliding inside the warm, hungry lips. He cursed himself as he did it, cursed the arousal and the need that made it impossible to push Xander away. It was too late anyway. The damage was done. As Xander pulled him to his feet, their mouths still fused, Spike wondered if it would have really made much difference if he had said ‘no’.
Four days earlier.
“Harris? What’re you doing here then? Not like you to drop in and be sociable.” Spike eyed Xander with genuine surprise. Not that the lad looked in the mood to party, mind you. Spike had seen livelier corpses. Xander’s face was pale, his hair tangled and he was wearing a shirt that made Spike’s eyes ache. Xander’s choice in clothing had been a never failing source of ammunition for the pointed gibes Spike crafted lovingly and let fly, but even for him this was gaudy.
“I just did a spell,” Xander said, his voice as distant as his eyes. “It showed me –”
“What the fuck are you doing messing with magic? Leave that to the witches!”
“It wasn’t on purpose. There was a mirror in the shop...I read the words on the frame; look, it doesn’t matter. I saw...”
“Spit it out, mate. Haven’t got all day.” He had, he really had, but that was more than he was prepared to share.
“Us. I saw us.”
“Yeah? Was I dying of boredom by any chance because – God, was I dying?”
Spike looked up in swift alarm but Xander shook his head. “Not dying. Much worse.”
“If I wasn’t dust, it wasn’t worse,” Spike said firmly. He stood and walked over to Xander, taking in the flinch with a secret glee. “Tell me before I beat it – oh, can’t, can I? Never mind, tell me anyway and let’s pretend I scared you into it, just to make me happy.”
Xander gave him a look of tired loathing. “It shows you what you have to do to save your loved one from dying,” he explained. “It gives you a chance to save them. In this case, obviously, it’s Anya. The mirror showed me fucking you, Spike. Wearing this shirt. I always said I’d do anything for her but this... this is –”
“A nightmare?” Spike suggested softly.
“Worse. This is real.”
“There you go with your worsts again. Shagging me isn’t a fate worse than - oh, bloody hell, now I’m doing it! Anyway; could be fun. Think how grateful she’ll be when you tell her.”
Spike choked as Xander’s hands locked around his throat. “If you ever say a word about this, I’ll kill you.”
Spike met his eyes, refusing to struggle. “This your idea of foreplay?” Xander’s hands slackened and Spike laughed up into his face. “Because, you know, it’s working.” He took one of Xander’s unresisting hands and brought it palm-flat against his erection. Xander’s eyes went blank and then his free hand slid behind Spike’s head and pulled him close. He kissed him, ignoring Spike’s roving hands, kissed him until they were both merged into one swaying, squirming shadow on the stone walls, kissed him until it came time to do more than kiss – then shoved Spike away, sending him to his back.
“I can’t – not you –I can’t!”
Spike watched him leave, sprawled on the floor, aching and hurt, body and...well.
Spike lay against Xander, his hand tangled in the boy’s hair, memorising each scratch and bite on the tanned body. He had no illusions; now Xander had done his duty, he’d be off, but he was going to carry a message on his skin, one he could read every time he showered or dressed for the next – Spike studied them with a professional eye – week at least. Then Xander looked up at him with drowned eyes and Spike wanted to kiss each and every one of them better instead.
“Do you think it worked?” Xander whispered.
Spike shrugged. “Guess your little demon girl’s safe,” he said.
Xander looked away, silent and still. Spike frowned. “What’s wrong?”
“Not sure we did exactly what the mirror showed...”
Spike lay still. “So we might have to do this again?” Silence. “There is no mirror, is there? No fucking spell. You’re here because you wanted this and couldn’t bring yourself to – oh, get out. Get the fuck out of here.”
Xander struggled into his clothes, avoiding Spike’s scornful eyes. The gaudy shirt lay forgotten on the floor as he mumbled something that might have been an apology and fled. Spike sank down on the tumbled sheets and cursed him in a litany of loving savagery.
The door opened and Spike walked into Xander’s basement. Xander stood, his face pale. Spike threw the shirt at him. “Put it on,” he said.
“Now would be sensible.”
Xander bit his lip. Spike’s eyes were watchful and cold as a winter’s dawn, his hands shoved down deep in his pockets. No clues. Reluctantly he stripped off his top and pulled the shirt on, leaving it hanging open.
The buttons were too small for the holes, they had to be, but somehow he managed it.
Spike took one long look and then pounced, ripping the shirt from his back, drawing a cry of pain from him as the seams dug in, held, then submitted.
“Never, ever lie to me again.” The voice was cold but the eyes had melted to summer-blue sky and the hidden hands were out and touching him gently, possessively.
And he knew he never would. Even if the lies had made the mirror vision come true. Even if they’d given him his heart’s desire. He didn’t need to lie anymore.
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