Nothing the Same, Book 2
Rating: PG13 - NC-17 Individual chapters will carry specific warnings.
Feedback & concrit: yes, please
Disclaimer: don't own them, never will, just playing with them
Spoilers: Anything from Season 1 on.
Summary: sequel to Nothing the Same.
WARNING: THIS CHAPTER CONTAINS EXPLICIT SEX
Previous parts here
Shaking off his concern about Balthazar’s last words for now, Spike climbed to his feet and pulled Xander up behind him. Xander was relatively unhurt, bruises and scrapes mostly, but the pent-up rage inside Spike was not mollified by that fact. His Claimed had been put in harm’s way and Balthazar’s death had left Spike without a target for revenge. Although grateful for whoever had electrocuted the demon, the out of control fury that had washed over him at the sight of Xander being held prisoner still churned inside him and needed an outlet. Deprived of his primary target, Spike settled for a secondary one.
“Watcher!” he growled, stalking towards Giles. “I left you responsible for my Claimed.” His tone left no doubt that he thought the Watcher had failed in his charge.
Xander was suddenly in front of him, blocking his way, moving so quickly that Spike nearly crashed into him before he could stop himself. When Spike tried to swerve around him, intent on reaching the Watcher, Xander put both hands out, curling his fingers around Spike’s arms, holding him and forcing Spike to look at him. “Spike, Giles tried to get them to let me go and stay behind in my place. He did everything he could.”
Spike scowled, knowing he couldn’t really blame anyone but the already dead demons but still wanting to find someone to vent his anger on. “And the other one?” he asked, flashing a yellow-eyed glare at the new Watcher, who flinched back at the naked threat.
Xander raised his eyebrows. “Did you miss the part where we were all tied up? There wasn’t much he could do.” Sliding his hands up Spike’s arms, he cupped Spike’s face between his hands, his thumbs stroking lightly over Spike’s sharply defined cheekbones, then slid his hands further back, pulling Spike in for a lingering kiss, heedless of the lethal fangs and their audience.
“I’m fine, Spike. You got here in time.”
“Gonna chain you to the bed, luv,” Spike threatened in a low, husky voice. “Bloody trouble magnet.”
“Promises, promises,” Xander mocked him lightly.
Giles pointedly clearing his throat made them break apart, Xander turning in the circle of Spike’s arms to face the librarian, leaning back into Spike, knowing his vampire needed the contact right now.
“If you two are through,” Giles began when Buffy interrupted.
“I think he’s telling you to get a room before Wesley faints from the shock of your PDA’s,” Buffy interrupted with a malicious grin in the new Watcher’s direction.
Xander’s lips twitched as he saw that Wesley was polishing his glasses fiercely, his cheeks flushed as he concentrated intently on the mundane task.
“Actually,” Giles said reprovingly, “I was going to suggest we all get out of here. It is possible, although unlikely, that there may be a few remaining Eliminati stragglers and I, for one, have seen enough of that group for one night.”
“Second that,” Xander agreed, feeling Spike’s arms tighten around him reassuringly.
“The Mayor,” Angelus said from where he stood next to Buffy.
“What about him?” Giles asked, surprised by the non-sequitor.
Spike growled low in his throat, wanting to take Xander home but knowing this could be important. “His flunky said he was performin’ some ritual tonight.”
“What kind of ritual?”
“We don’t know,” Buffy admitted. “Who was that guy anyway, Spike?”
“The Mayor’s assistant. Name’s Allan.”
“Allan Finch?” Giles questioned. “The Deputy Mayor?”
Spike shrugged. “Never bothered to learn his full name. He’s got the office next to the Mayor’s,” he added helpfully.
“He told us that the Mayor has been waiting 100 years to perform some ritual. Tonight. Said something about the Mayor making pacts,” Angelus filled Giles in quietly.
“That doesn’t sound good,” Giles observed. He took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes wearily, then glanced at his watch. “It’s nearly midnight. I suppose we could check City Hall and see if there is any sign of life, otherwise, I’m afraid I don’t have any idea of where the Mayor might be performing a ritual.”
“If it’s a time sensitive one, it may be too late already,” the new Watcher spoke for the first time. “Many rituals either start at, or must be completed by, the stroke of midnight.”
“I can go,” Angelus volunteered.
Buffy frowned. “You shouldn’t go by yourself.”
“I’ll be careful. You and Spike should get the others home.” Angelus smiled reassuringly at her. “I’ll come get you if there’s any need.”
Reluctantly, she nodded her agreement. Spike didn’t hesitate, he wouldn’t fully settle until Xander was safely in the lair, the Mayor would just have to wait. He started to lead Xander to the door, but his boy held back for just a moment.
“Buffy, Angel - thank you.” Xander smiled, gesturing helplessly with his free hand, the one not tightly held in Spike’s. “It’s not enough but, seriously - thank you.”
Angelus nodded and Buffy gave him a quick, pleased smile.
“Yes, indeed, your entrance was most timely. I’m very grateful. To all of you.” To Spike’s surprise, the new Watcher’s thanks came ungrudgingly.
“Yes, indeed,” Giles murmured. “Perhaps we should all meet tomorrow night?” he suggested. “I confess I am growing somewhat concerned about the Mayor. Perhaps we can pool our knowledge and see what we can find out.”
“We’ll be there,” Xander promised, putting an end to Spike’s vague notion of never letting his boy out of the lair again.
“Good fight, Sire, Slayer,” was all he said. Xander went with him without protest this time when Spike tugged gently on his hand, pulling him toward the entrance to begin the long walk home.
“Thanking Angelus for saving you, are you now?” Spike growled, as they entered the apartment. “Forgetting who you belong to?”
Xander gave him a look of wide-eyed innocence. “He was very helpful, cut the ropes off me and everything.” He scowled and poked Spike in the chest with an admonishing finger. “You, on the other hand, were too busy rolling around on the floor with other vampires to untie your Claimed.”
“Oi! Bloody ungrateful whelp.”
“That’s me,” Xander agreed. “I didn’t even thank you, did I? How about we do something about that?”
“’bout time,” Spike groused. “Thanked everybody in the bloody warehouse except me.”
“Aww. Poor baby.” His Claimed sounded suspiciously unrepentant.
They had made it to the bedroom by now and Xander pushed Spike backwards onto the bed, climbing after him and settling down comfortably on top of his vampire, leaning over him until their lips were almost touching. “I kind of thought you might like a private thank you,” he said huskily, his warm breath puffing over Spike’s face.
“Wot you got in mind, luv?”
“Letting you fuck me through the mattress,” Xander answered frankly and Spike felt a knot of arousal curl inside him at the blunt proposal. Before he could give voice to his enthusiastic agreement, Xander was kissing him fiercely, his mouth crushing down over Spike’s, his tongue darting across Spike’s lips and plunging inside, his teeth nipping and teasing. Spike wrapped his arms around his boy, loving the feel of the warm flesh against his own cooler body. Xander ground his hips down against Spike, their rapidly hardening erections rubbing together through the fabric of their jeans and Xander pulled back suddenly, ignoring Spike’s protest, sitting up with a decidedly wicked gleam in his eyes before reaching down to pull at Spike’s shirts.
“Off,” he ordered. “You’ve got too many clothes on.”
Spike couldn’t have agreed more. He sat up, causing Xander to gasp and grab at Spike’s shoulders for balance to keep from sliding off onto the floor as Spike chuckled and tore his jacket and shirts off, tossing them aside carelessly. Xander was shimmying out of his own shirt, writhing on Spike’s lap in a very distracting way as he did so. Xander had no sooner pulled his shirt off over his head than Spike growled fiercely and reversed their position, flipping them over until Xander’s back was against the bed and Spike was lying on top of him.
Xander’s startled yelp at the sudden move was lost in Spike’s low sultry laugh before he swooped down to capture Xander’s lips with his own, his hands stroking and caressing the smooth, bare skin of Xander’s chest before beginning to concentrate on the flat brown nipples, rubbing them teasingly, circling them with the pads of his thumbs until they crinkled into tight little buds of arousal.
Spike dropped his hands down to Xander’s waist, never losing contact with his mouth as he began tearing open his boy’s pants. Xander was squirming beneath him, fumbling with the fastening of Spike’s pants and then they were both wrestling around on the bed, frantically shoving the annoying fabric impediments aside.
Lying on top of his Claimed, feeling the heat of his body along every inch on his own, Spike wished for a moment that he could just slam himself inside his boy and take what was his. But human tissue couldn’t take that kind of abuse, so Spike rolled them over until he could reach the bedside table, fumbling blindly in the drawer for the lube they kept there even as they continued to kiss and grope one another.
Rolling them back to the center of the bed, Spike hurriedly slicked his fingers and reached down, swirling a teasing fingertip around the opening to Xander’s body. Xander spread his legs wider, opening himself fully to his lover, and Spike abandoned his lips to kiss his way down Xander’s neck, lingering there, nipping and suckling at the smell and heat of the hot blood pulsing madly just beneath surface.
Xander arched his neck back and moaned as Spike eased a finger inside, forcing himself to go slowly and let the human muscles adjust and stretch. Xander was bucking up to meet him as he added a second finger and began thrusting gently, scissoring his fingers and stretching his lover carefully.
“Now, Spike, do it, oh god, just do it,” Xander panted.
Chuckling, Spike dropped his head to nip at the tight peaks of Xander’s nipples, loving the way his boy cursed and moaned and tried with desperate hands to pull Spike closer. Unable to wait longer, he pulled his fingers free and dropped them to his own dripping, throbbing erection, slicking himself up quickly but thoroughly. He lined up at the twitching entrance and began to press inside, moving unbearably slowly and holding Xander down as his hips bucked up, trying to force Spike deeper.
“Love you, Xander.”
Spike pushed inside the rest of the way in one long, slow thrust and, in the same instant, buried his fangs in Xander’s throat, renewing his mark and tasting the arousal-spiced blood. Xander screamed at the double penetration, his body arcing back as pleasure tore through him and he came hard, semen erupting between their bodies even as Spike began to thrust hard, his own orgasm torn out of him by the feel of Xander’s tight heat clamping down around him.
Having slept half the day away after several rounds of mind-blowing sex, Spike was feeling that all was right with his world again. He dropped a kiss on top of Xander’s tousled dark hair as his Claimed stirred in his arms.
“Last night, they wanted to know who had Claimed me.”
Spike’s whole body tensed and he had to struggle not to lose control and accidentally hurt his boy at the reminder of the demons who had dared interfere with his Claimed. Xander looked up at him apologetically. “I’m sorry, it’s just that I didn’t know how to handle the situation and I wanted to ask what I should have done.”
Spike hated talking about this. Hated the idea that Xander even needed to be prepared for someone ignoring Spike’s Claim or worse intentionally targeting Xander because of Spike. Once again, Spike had to fight against the urge to keep Xander by his side, to never let him leave the lair again. Finally, he shook off his demonic features, shifting back to human visage, and sighed. “Tell me what happened.”
“The Eliminati didn’t realize I was marked at first - and, hey, why not? I thought you said that all demons could sense the mark?” Xander asked, momentarily distracted from the main point.
Spike snorted in disgust. “Those idiots couldn’t find their own arses without a map and a Sherpa guide.” Then he added, more quietly, one finger coming up to trace the renewed mark and smirking in satisfaction when Xander shivered at the touch, “I hadn’t renewed the mark in about two weeks, remember? Was worried about the muscles you tore the night the Hellmouth opened, so it was fainter than it usually is. Not surprising it took a bit longer for them to sense it.”
Xander nodded, then continued: “One of them sensed the mark and then he demanded to know who had marked me. I didn’t know if I should tell them or not. So, in the spirit of pure intellectual curiosity, because I’m sure it’s never going to happen again, what should I have done?”
“If it’s a minion, tell them immediately,” Spike answered. “They’ll be running so fast it’ll take me days to catch up with them and explain their mistake.” Reluctantly, he added, “it’s a bit more complicated when it’s a bunch of bloody fanatics like the Eliminati. Much as I hate to say it, they’ll do what their Master wants even before self-preservation. Hate that I wasn’t there to protect you, luv,” he whispered, burying his face in Xander’s neck.
“Shh, it’s ok. You got there in time,” Xander soothed him, his warm hands stroking comfortingly over Spike’s back.
When Spike had settled again, Xander said: “So, the mark is mostly to protect me from random demon attacks?”
“Any ordinary demon will give you a wide berth, luv, from the moment they sense the mark. They won’t risk messing with a Master’s property.” Spike grinned and kissed Xander quickly, knowing how much Xander hated being referred to as property. “Problem comes with stronger demons. Unfortunately, the Hellmouth has a bit more stronger demons than your average town.”
“So, with a stronger demon, do I give them your name?”
“Yeah, never be afraid to give my name and rank, luv. If they’re ignoring the mark enough to ask…”
Spike looked angry at the mere thought and Xander was sorry he’d brought up the whole subject. “It won’t ever cause you problems, will it?” he asked, knowing he should probably drop the whole subject.
“By the time anything happens to you, luv,” Spike said simply, “I won’ still be around to be bothered by problems. Die before I let anything happen to you.”
Xander shivered at the intense emotion behind the quiet promise and clung to Spike, taking comfort in his lover’s strength and praying silently that nothing ever happened to Spike. Xander wasn’t sure he’d survive without Spike either.
The knock on the apartment door late in the afternoon found them both still in bed. Xander stirred sleepily, throwing the covers back and grumbling about the disturbance, when Spike shot out a hand to stop him. Xander obediently froze as Spike sat up, stretching his senses out until he could sense the two humans waiting at the door.
Swearing quietly to himself, Spike motioned for Xander to stay put. Sitting up in alarm, Xander watched with worried eyes as Spike hurriedly dressed and went to answer the door. Spike closed the bedroom door carefully behind him, even as Xander was climbing out of bed and reaching for his clothes. Spike crossed the living room and opened the outside door to find the same two police officers the Mayor had sent to fetch him once before waiting nervously outside. Both men were standing carefully back from the door in a patch of the fading sunlight.
Spike leaned against the doorjamb with feigned casualness. “Thought we had an understanding about this, boys,” he said. “If the Mayor wants somethin’ from me, he goes through the Court.”
“Yes, sir,” the older officer said. “Begging your pardon but the Mayor said it was an emergency. He needs to see you immediately in his office.”
Spike considered telling them to sod off or, better still, just killing them and dumping their bodies on the front steps of City Hall to let the Mayor know how Spike felt about being summonsed anywhere by flunkies. But these were humans and police officers, not only would Xander object but they were in a position to cause Xander a great deal of trouble if ordered to do so by the Mayor. “Fine. Tell the Mayor not to get his knickers in a knot until I get there.” The Mayor could bloody well wait until the sun went down, Spike thought, he wasn’t venturing onto the Mayor’s turf during daylight hours.
That seemed sufficient for the officers who nodded and beat a hasty retreat down the outside steps. Closing the door, Spike turned around to see Xander standing in the bedroom doorway.
“Mayor wants to see me.”
“I heard. He’s not going to be happy about the way you treated his assistant last night,” Xander observed with vast understatement.
“Probably not. Still, may be our best chance to find out what he was up to last night, unless Angelus learned anything while he was snooping around.”
“I don’t like it.”
Not to worry, luv. Prolly just calling me in to scold me.”
“Yeah, ‘cause you take criticism so well.”
Spike grinned. “I’ll be nice.” He deliberately ignored Xander’s muttered: “that’ll be the day.”
“Mr. Spike, I am not a happy man.”
“And why is that?” Spike asked, his tone conveying his complete indifference to the Mayor’s state of happiness.
He’d sent Xander off to the school in the deSoto while it was still daylight, telling him to let the others know where he was and that he would join them shortly, then waited until the sun had set completely before heading for City Hall.
“You know, last night was a big night for me and you came close to ruining it by treating poor Allan the way you did. It wasn’t very gentlemanly behavior, Mr. Spike.”
Spike smirked at him. “Never claimed to be a gentleman.”
“I’m very disappointed in you, Mr. Spike. We’ve worked well together in the past, but I can’t work with you if you treat my employees the way you treated Allan.”
The Mayor shook his head in disapproval, then picked up a file off his desk and handed it to Spike. “I’m a man who keeps my word, it’s the reason I keep being re-elected, so here is the information I promised you.”
Spike flipped the folder open curiously as the Mayor continued.
“Loyalty, Mr. Spike. It’s something I expect from my employees.”
Spike looked up from the folder, his expression carefully blank. “Not one of your bloody employees, though, am I?” he asked, standing up. “We through here?”
The Mayor stood as well. “I don’t want us to be enemies, Mr. Spike, but that is what will happen if you interfere with one of my associates again.” He stared at Spike and Spike cocked his head, studying the Mayor in turn.
There was something subtly different about the Mayor but Spike couldn’t put his finger on what it was. The faint aftertaste his just-off-human-normal scent left in the back of Spike’s throat had deepened a little, a slightly acrid note added to his normal scent. His usual breezy confidence and utter fearlessness had turned up a notch, almost as if he was on the verge of proclaiming his not-quite-human status to the world. Coupled with the unknown ritual the Mayor had performed, it made Spike unusually cautious.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said and strode out of the office without another word, enjoying the way the Mayor’s assistant jumped out of his way as he passed through the outer office.
The file folder clutched tightly in his hand had all the information Spike needed to settle a matter left too long unattended and Spike fully intended to deal with the situation permanently immediately after the meeting tonight.
Xander had debated about whether he should say anything to Wesley all the way over to the school. He arrived early for the meeting and found only Wesley and Giles there, neither Buffy nor Angel had arrived yet. Taking that as a sign, he waited until Giles left for a quick sweep through the basement - even though they hadn’t found anything since the original bomb, it was ingrained habit now to check.
As soon as they were alone, he approached Wesley who was sitting in the office. Something in the set of his shoulders almost made it look like he was hiding out there. Considering his performance last night, Xander wouldn’t be surprised if he was hiding.
Xander moved to the office doorway, and leaned against the door jamb, subtly blocking the exit in case Wesley didn’t feel like talking. “I’d like to talk to you for a minute.”
Wesley looked up from the book his was writing in. Probably one of the Diaries that the Watcher’s Council required the Watchers to write, Xander thought, idly wondering how the Balthazar incident was going to sound when reduced to writing. “Mr. Harris,” he began formally, “this isn’t really…”
“Ok, first off, it’s Xander, not Mr. Harris. Second, this won’t take long.”
“Very well,” Wesley closed the book and stood up, his hands nervously smoothing his suit jacket. “What is it, Xander?”
“I’m sorry I kicked you.” He wasn’t sorry and would do it again in a heartbeat if necessary but it seemed like a good lead in to an awkward subject.
“Oh, ah, that’s…that’s quite alright,” Wesley stammered, looking surprised and flustered and his eyes fled from Xander’s. After a moment, he added almost inaudibly: “under the circumstances…” before his voice died away completely, red sweeping over his face. He looked humiliated and miserable standing there, like he was waiting for the ground to open up and swallow him. Xander hoped he wasn’t actually wishing for anything of the sort, this was Sunnydale after all.
Seeing Wesley’s embarrassment and shame, Xander suddenly felt very sorry for him. Wesley really was in a hopeless situation; sent here to replace Giles like he had been, and granted, he hadn’t done well in his first foray into the field, but he had ultimately kept his mouth shut and not told Balthazar anything and even Giles had taken a long time to learn to think outside the box and accept that Buffy wasn’t your typical Slayer. To accept Xander and the rest of them as part of a team effort.
Suddenly reminded of how much he’d disliked and distrusted Giles when he first met him, Xander thought that maybe, just maybe, they should give Wesley another shot. After all, none of them had exactly rolled out the welcome mat for the new guy. When he spoke, the words came out very differently than what he’d planned.
“Wesley, Buffy didn’t like Giles when she first met him. She thought he was stuffy and overbearing and resented having him as her Watcher.” His oblique approach worked, Wesley was looking at him now, puzzled and with the faint beginnings of curiosity. Ok, he might be projecting a bit, but Xander knew that Buffy had had problems with Giles at first. “She hates that Giles has been fired and the Council has forced a new Watcher on her. I know you Watcher types don’t like that Giles and she are so close but it’s a fact and you’re going to have to deal with it. If you can’t accept that she thinks of Giles as a father and work with him, she’ll never be willing to work with you. Like it or not, you’re the unwanted stepfather in this scenario.”
“What are you suggesting?” Wesley seemed to actually be listening, which was more than Xander had thought he would do.
“Lighten up? Bend just a little? Don’t be so completely by-the-book? Not to bring up a sore subject or anything, but books aren’t always right. You saw how right the books were when they said that Balthazar was dead and the Eliminati almost extinct.”
“That’s certainly true,” Wesley admitted. There was a short pause, then he said: “Thank you, Xander, I will consider your suggestion.” Wesley sighed, looking suddenly very tired. “I’m grateful for your actions last night,” he admitted in a low, troubled voice. “I confess I hadn’t anticipated quite how different the field would be from my studies.”
Xander grinned. “Welcome to Sunnydale.”
Wesley tentatively smiled back. “Xander…” he hesitated, then continued slowly: “Your relationship with Spike…” He shook his head and started again. “Having a vampire as a paramour is unbelievably dangerous…”
“Spike’s not your average vampire,” Xander interrupted, without heat. Wesley didn’t seem like he was trying to be offensive and this certainly wasn’t the first time he’d had to deal with the subject. “I appreciate the concern, but Spike won’t hurt me.”
Surprisingly, Wesley seemed to accept that. “I must say, I have never read of a Master Vampire treating a Claimed human as Spike treats you.” He added with a trace of self-mockery: “Perhaps this is another example of how the field differs from books.”
Xander chuckled and unfolded himself from the doorway. “You know, you’d be a bit less sore-thumb-like if you learn to speak the local language,” he said, unable to resist, and grinned when Wesley looked completely taken aback. “Here in California, we call them lovers, not paramours.”
He gave Wesley a little wave and went to sit down at the library table while he waited for the others. For the first time, he thought there was a chance the new Watcher might actually work out.