Authored by: Tisienne (aka tistoo)
Disclaimer: I met Joss at the grocers. He said I could have Spike and Xander. For free. *sighs* No, he really didn't, but it's a nice dream. :)
A/N 1: Spike left Sunny hell early in S7 when he knew he was a danger to the gang. Xander succeeded in getting Dawn away and 'home' became a hole in the ground. They went to Spike in Philadelphia, Xander and Spike got involved... and someone is out to kill Xander, even while they're not letting that get between them. The opposite, in point of fact. *snerk*
A/N 2: Okay, so it hasn't been as long between this part and the last as it was between the last and the one before it... so maybe that means something. Or not.
A/N 3: Please don't think tat the time between posts means I don't still love Spander. I do. *sends out big,puffy hearts for Spanderism* But I've actually had one of my all-original-character boy-porn novels accepted for e-publication, so most of my rare non-work hours are being devoted to the writing that might make me able to vacation in style. *blushes* I still have every intention of finishing this fic. But between my 65-70 hours at work a week and trying to write the other stuff,my updates will continue to be incredibly sporadic. Sorry.
Previous parts can be found HERE.
And now, on with it.
* * * * * * * * *
* * * * *
Dawn couldn’t say that the ‘talk’ she and Bailey ended up having with Spike and Xander was anything like fun, because it hadn’t been.
In fact, it had possibly been the most embarrassing, blush-inducing scolding she’d endured since she was twelve and her Mom had taken her to task for trying to bake a cake—in a metal pan—in the microwave and had destroyed cake, pan, and microwave in a shower of sparks and arcs of electricity that had had more than one fire truck at their house.
And the most frightening.
Still, as much as she hated to admit it, Dawn knew they were right, and so did Bailey.
They really shouldn’t have been going out to patrol by themselves, and especially not in a city as big as Philadelphia where they could become victims of not just vampires or other random demons, but of just plain bad humans, as well.
Sure, there had been criminal types in Sunnydale; Dawn knew that much. But it was a question of quantity, as well as quality.
Of course, it had taken Spike’s friend Rocko to make that clear…and incidentally, terrify both her and her friend.
‘You’re a couple of pretty little girls,’ the still kind of scary man ground out, his voice rough like gravel. ‘Pretty enough—and young enough—to be more than attractive to a certain kind of guy, and believe me… there are more of those kind of guys around than you’ll ever want to know about. So, you want to wander around alone all night? Go for it. As long as you know that you’re going to end up raped… and dead fast, if you’re lucky.’
She’d found herself clutching Bailey’s hand tightly when the big man had gone on, his voice so matter-of-fact that it was more frightening than Spike’s most threatening tone ever was.
‘If you’re not lucky, you’ll have at least a few weeks of blood and pain and fear to look forward to before whatever pervert snatches you decides to share you with his friends. Because they always seem to find each other, y’know? After that, you’ll be wishing for death.’
Rocko had looked thoughtful for a moment. ‘Of course, you’ll probably be kept bound and gagged whenever they don’t have other uses for your mouths, and without even a pencil to end yourselves with, so… you’ll just have to hope to lose your looks or start looking older real fast so they’ll kill you and put you out of your misery.’
He’d shrugged, his face almost expressionless. ‘I get that you girls hunt demons. I’m not saying you shouldn’t. Seems like you have a calling, the both of you. Doesn’t mean you have to be stupid about it, though. Not when you’ve got a team willing to back you up. Spike’s a vampire. And Ale… uh. Xander, I mean. Xander seems to be human, but trust me. He’s big enough and built enough to have most of the human predators walking away to find easier prey.’
Rocko’d shrugged again, clearly having said his piece. ‘Up to you two, though. Can’t say it matters to me, either way.’
It was the fact that the last statement was so obviously true that had had Dawn shivering.
After growing up in Sunnydale as Buffy’s sister, she’d been a target many a time… and even more so with being the Key… but it hadn’t really struck her before that as far as her personal safety went, she wasn’t in Sunnydale anymore and Buffy wasn’t the Slayer, and… if something happened to her, it could be entirely random!
And if that were so, then… nobody would even know where to start looking for her.
She wouldn’t be held for ransom, or kept prisoner until her sister came to rescue her.
She would be… just another girl who some sick, perverted fucker stole away… and who was never seen again.
It was an eye-opening realization.
Dawn shivered again and curled up tighter under her blankets, only the comforting pressure of Bailey’s hand on her back letting her hold her sobs in, though she knew her friend was crying, too.
* * * * *
Xander was waiting.
Waiting and staring.
Waiting and staring and doing his damnedest not to throw himself at the big, muscled, and handsome, damn it, guy Spike wasn’t cheating on him with.
It was a hard thing to do, though. Hard to keep himself standing there, nearly vibrating with the need to gouge the guy’s eyes out… or maybe rip out his tongue for saying those things to Dawny and HayBails… but he figured that was Spike’s job. The fucking asshole was Spike’s not-lover, after all.
So Xander was waiting.
Waiting for his vampire to punish the cold-hearted bastard for scaring the girls like that… for scaring Xander like that. Hell, he might never let Dawn leave the apartment again. Or Bailey, even, unless her Mom or brother were there, too.
Problem was, he was still waiting, even with a full minute having passed since the girls had rushed from the couch to Dawny’s room, slamming the door behind them.
“Well?” he demanded, his glare at the human man narrowing, “Don’t you have anything to say to your… friend, Spike?”
Oh, bloody hell. He should have known his Claimed wouldn’t understand what was going on, but he’d just been so bloody relieved when Rocko’d jumped in. He was even more relieved now, though, because as harsh as the bloke’s words might have seemed…
“Yah… yah, luv. Thanks. Was just… gatherin’ m’thoughts, I was,” Spike finally sighed.
He moved the few feet to Xander’s side, then slipped behind him and wrapped his arms tightly around his love’s waist.
He gave Rocko a short nod over Xander’s shoulder and swallowed hard.
“Thanks, mate,” he said loudly, holding the man’s eyes with his own, letting his real gratitude show. “That was likely th’ only thing anyone coulda said that’d drive it home ta them, yah? An’… think they wouldn’t have believed it if’n it was me or my bloke what said it.”
“What?” Xander struggled, trying to pull away from his vampire, but those deceptively strong arms held him tight. “Spike, he just told Dawny that she was gonna get k-kidnapped a-and r-r-raped and…” He felt sick, just thinking about it.
Another sigh left Spike’s lips and he nodded to Rocko. “Go back ta Kent’s. Need ta have a talk with my Claimed, don’t I? I’ll call about that… thing we’re doing later. Might have an idea how ta manage it. Go.”
If Xander had been able to notice anything aside from his own fury with both Spike and Spike’s not-lover, he would have seen the understanding look the former-enemy gave his vampire. As it was, though, he was only managing not to scream because he knew the girls would hear him.
* * * * *
“Calm down, luv,” Spike murmured after dragging his boy through their bedroom and across it to their bath, his arms still tight around cotton-clad struggling flesh. “Bloody hell, pet! Please! Know you don’t understand, but you’re not in any state ta listen, yah?”
Unfortunately, it seemed those words were factually true because his love didn’t seem to be hearing him.
“Right, then,” he sighed. “Sorry ta do this, beloved, but… you’ll forgive me.” And with that, he hauled his bloke off of his feet, got them both into the tub and pressed his human against the tiled wall as he released him and turned the cold water on, full blast, so quickly that he was holding Xander immobile again before the boy realized he’d been let go.
His love’s high-pitched shriek almost made Spike laugh, but he actually knew better. Bad enough that Xander was already getting pissed off about the water. It would never do to make him that much more angry because Spike was getting amusement from his boy screaming louder and higher than Dawn ever had.
“Pet… pet… need you ta listen ta me, yah? Know you’re upset, I do. Would be m’self, luv, but… can’t be. Not when th’ minion was tellin’ them th’ truth neither of us had th’ stones ta say, yah…?”
He pressed himself hard against Xander’s wet, shaking body, sharing the cold and the uncomfortable sensation of icy needles spearing his skin.
Soft pink lips found their way to the jumping pulse in Xander’s neck and Spike sucked slowly but forcefully at the skin, suction working in time with his love’s heart beat.
It wasn’t fair, Xander thought, that Spike could derail his fury so quickly and easily, and yet there it was. His vamp just… latched on and started doing that thing and Xander couldn’t hold on to his righteous indignation for more than a second… except he was cold and wet and he didn’t want to calm down. Not when that fucking Rocko bastard had said those things to Dawny and HayBails, and…
“Harder,” he groaned, his hands gripping hard at slim hips, pulling Spike closer.
It was only when the blond pulled back and chuckled that Xander realized just how distracted he’d become.
“Fuck. That’s just… not fair, baby.”
Spike shrugged, though he was feeling incredibly smug about calming and arousing his boy all at once. “Still a demon, luv,” he smirked. “Never said I played fair, did I? B’sides… who says I’m playin’?”
A soft groan answered him and while Spike would have liked nothing better than to push aside the whole situation—along with Xander’s clothes—and just fuck his boy, they needed to talk. But not under cold water.
He stepped back reluctantly, then turned the water to warm. “Strip off, luv. Need ta talk, an’ since we’re already wet an’ such… might as well enjoy at least part of it, yah?”
Brown eyes blinked quickly, even as Xander felt fingers at his shirt, pulling and tugging. There was something wrong with the logic of what Spike had said, but he couldn’t quite figure out what it was. Of course, he’d never been good at thinking when Spike was peeling his… wet, cold, heavy clothes from his… “Hey! Stop it, Spike! Again with the not fair!”
The vampire smirked and shrugged, turning his hands to his own clothes. “Right, then. Stay cold an’ wet, luv. That’ll teach me.” He shook his head sadly as he slipped out of his soaked sweat pants and dragged the t-shirt over his head. “Meanwhile, I’ll be luxuriatin’ in loads of warm, bubbly water. That’s a lesson I’ll not soon be forgettin’.”
“Damn right,” Xander agreed grumpily before his brain caught up and made its presence known with a sharp “Hey!”.
* * * * *
Kent arched one brow at the big man outside his door, then sighed and stepped back, opening the door fully. “They can’t be tired of you already, Rocky…”
Rocko wasn’t entirely sure of why, and he hadn’t been sure ever since early that morning when Spike had dropped him off at this small redheaded man’s place, but… he knew he would have been nice to the guy even if the vampire hadn’t told him to.
Maybe it was because this Kent wasn’t like anyone Rocko had known before, what with being some sort of interior designer and so very friendly.
He couldn’t quite figure out how anyone could manage to live as long as the smaller guy had and still be so… not innocent, because Kent was clearly anything but that, but so…
Hell, Rocko didn’t know what. It was like Kent knew the world wasn’t perfect and could hurt him, but he either didn’t care or had made a conscious choice not to worry about it. And Kent wasn’t big or strong or muscled… and Rocko would bet that the other man didn’t know how to fight or own a firearm. Yet Kent was so confident that he was in control of his own world, and it was… fascinating.
Rocko pretty much figured that while Kent knew bad things could happen, he’d never had any of them happen to him, so maybe that explained it.
It didn’t stop him from being intrigued, though, which was just… disturbing.
He stepped inside and closed the door behind him, latching all the deadbolts before turning and shrugging.
“I think I might have upset them,” he admitted with a small, almost nonexistent smile. “The girl and her friend have been running around after midnight on their own. Spike and I caught them last night. I told them some of what could happen to them and Xander and the girls got kind of, uh…” He shrugged. “Sorry. Guess you’re stuck with me until they, uh… chill?”
Kent took a deep breath and let it go… then took another before shaking his head slowly. “Don’t be sorry, Rocky. I’m actually between commissions right now, and since Dawny’s, um… busy, I guess I’m glad to have the company.”
And also sorry to have it because he could really use some personal time alone, with just himself and his cock, but it would be rude to say so and his Momma had raised him right, even if the ‘manly’ side of things hadn’t taken so well.
“Sit, you big lug. I doubt they fed you during the forty minutes you were making everyone cry, so find something on the boob-tube and I’ll whip us up something to eat, hmmm?”
And the surprises continued, Rocko thought with baffled appreciation, because anyone else who’d said what this Kent guy had just said would have meant it as some sort of insult or chastisement, but Kent said it like it just… was. Like he wasn’t passing judgement. It was… he didn’t know what it was, but he kind of thought he liked it.
“I… yeah. Thanks, uh… Kent.”
He deliberately ignored that he was watching the slender man walk from the room. And he didn’t ask himself why he was staring at the guy’s ass.
In fact, Rocko pretended that he was still the same guy he’d been before the Harris kid became his job, because that Rocko had never seen a vampire who was very masculine—and almost pretty—who happened to be in love with another man. That Rocko had never had to question his own values, his own willingness to do anything for money.
Hell, that Rocko would never have been here, suddenly wondering whether the reason he’d never had a relationship that worked was because there was something within him that he’d been ignoring out of fear. Something that would have freaked him out as recently as a week and a half earlier and would limit the number of other guys who’d be willing to work with him in the future if they knew. If he had a future, which he didn’t.
And that was a reminder he’d needed, he realized. He wasn’t going to be around for too much longer, so what difference did it make if he was… well, something other than what he’d always thought?
None, he told himself, and the word was like a revelation.
It didn’t matter. Not now. And maybe it shouldn’t ever have mattered but he’d never really had the balls to think about it before. Now, though… well, now…
It still didn’t matter.
He was a walking dead man, as Spike called him, and he knew it.
He didn’t have anything like the time to make a major lifestyle change, and even if he did… how did guys go about it, anyway? It couldn’t be like it was for straight people; he knew that much.
Hell, a straight guy would go to a bar—as Rocko had done more than a few times—and scope the crowd. Find whatever girl appealed and take a shot. Either win or lose.
Okay, maybe not that different, from what he’d heard.
But that wasn’t even dating, and there was no chance he’d know how to do that with a guy.
It was different with women, he was sure.
You saw a girl you thought was hot. Talked to her enough to know she wasn’t a whore or just looking for a guy with a paycheck. Asked her out, and if it went well, did it again… and again… and next thing you knew, you had a girlfriend. Sex was always welcome, of course, but it was the companionship that mattered more… or it always had been for him, which—now that he thought about it—maybe wasn’t quite normal for a straight guy, and…
But he liked sex! He did!
He liked undressing women and touching their skin… he liked the way they felt against him, their slender bodies and small breasts… their round, fleshy bottoms rubbing against his cock for those long moments before he slid into their slick, secret depths…
He figured he’d be a lot more upset if he weren’t going to die soon, but since he was, what was the point in curling in on himself and spending ages trying to come to terms with the sudden truth? And maybe, he thought, he was lucky in a way. After all, if he hadn’t known Spike was going to kill him soon, he’d probably be ignoring the way his eyes seemed to follow Kent without any direction from him.
Of course, it wasn’t likely that the redhead was single… or even remotely likely to be interested in a guy like him. Besides… Kent could do much better, even if he wasn’t seeing someone already.
Still, Rocko could look, couldn’t he?
And if he decided to ask the guy for some time alone in the shower, well… Kent didn’t need to know what he would be doing in there, did he? Or who he might be thinking about, assuming he had the nerve.
He wondered for a moment about why he hadn’t chosen Xander or Spike for his newly-gay attraction, but… they were together, and while Rocko might be any number of things that were less than good, he’d never poached; not even in his own head.
Besides, even though both of those guys were attractive, they just didn’t have that… whatever it was that Kent had. That… acceptance, Rocko thought.
Hell, he’d told Kent that he’d upset his friends, even the little girls, and Kent had just… offered to feed him!
Rocko swallowed hard.
Kent had manners. And a sort of tolerance that he’d never really known existed. And the guy was incredibly hot, too, as far as Rocko was concerned. For a guy.
And how fucked up was it that he’d not only just realized that he might be gay, but he’d also just met someone who made him want to find out for sure… and that same guy was way too good for him?
Well, pretty fucked up, Rocko figured… but also pretty appropriately fucked up.
He didn’t deserve someone of Kent’s caliber, even if there had been the slightest chance in Hell that the guy would have been interested. And single.
And that was… exactly what he deserved, Rocko admitted silently.
He sighed softly and flipped channels, not stopping until he found one of his favorite movies playing on the so-called ‘Classic Movie’ channel. “It was only the 80’s, for fuck’s sake. How does that make it a classic when this channel calls ‘Casablanca’ a classic, too?”
Kent laughed, shaking his head at the way the big man jumped.
“Couldn’t tell you, Rocky,” he answered as he strolled in from the kitchen, two plates of scrambled eggs with chorizo and hash browns in his hands. “Maybe because it’s twenty or so years old?”
Rocko snorted and stood, taking the plates from the smaller man’s hands and setting them on the coffee table. “By that reckoning, ‘Evil Dead’ is a classic, too. And this looks… really good. I… thanks, Kent. You didn’t have to…”
Kent grinned and headed back into the kitchen, emerging a moment later with cloth napkins and silverware.
“If you don’t think ‘Evil Dead’ is a classic, you need to get the hell out of my apartment, Rocky. Though I did like ‘Army of Darkness’ better. Oh, and can you tell me why we’re watching ‘Beaches’, of all things? I mean… hello? Depressing!” He smiled again. “It’s way too early for a sob-fest, but if you really want one, we’ll watch this and ‘Steel Magnolias’ later. Although I might end up crying on your shoulder. Consider yourself warned.”
Kent winked, then took the remote and flipped channels himself until he found some decent animation.
“Oh, good,” he muttered around a mouthful of eggs and sausage, “I love this one. ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ rocks!”
Rocko couldn’t manage to make himself speak. Even if he hadn’t been chewing, he’d have been silent, because…
Kent liked Evil Dead. And Army of Darkness.
Kent liked Beaches and Steel Magnolias.
And Kent liked animation.
Okay, maybe just Japan-imation, but maybe not, too, and…
And that was yet another nail in the coffin of Rocko’s straightness, he realized… or with regards to Kent, anyway.
Unfortunately, that didn’t change anything.
He was still going to die sooner than he’d suddenly like, and…
* * * * * * * * *