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Ghost in the Machine # 14

Title: Ghost in the Machine

Author: josie_h

Pairing: Xander/Spike
Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes later on - ie M/M
Summary: Post Black Thorn and final AtS - The PtBs screw with Spike yet again.
Spoilers: Canon is Post S7 BtVS and S5 AtS.
Warnings: M/M – if you don’t like boys together, don’t play here!
Author’s Note: Don’t own the characters nor make any money from stories etc, and bow down to their original creators
Joss, et al., plus all the wonderful online writers who continue to give the Buffy/Angel verse characters life.
Previous parts here




With thanks to the lovely petxnd for the wonderful banner



Part 14

Domestic sounds again dominated Spike’s day but this time muted a little by the soft patter of constant rain. Spike found himself recalling a visit to the country as a boy when he and his young cousin Edward were allowed to ‘sleep rough’ in the hay loft of the stables, though not much sleeping was done the first night as the two pretended to be pirates on the run from the Royal Navy.

Spike hadn’t thought of Edward for years but now remembered the experience with great fondness. It had been a joyous week of good company and innocent fun with the boys being given an unusual amount of freedom interrupted only when Edward’s governess insisted they come inside to eat their meals in the nursery.

He remembered his mother smiling a lot, and his mother and father holding hands in the carriage on the way home, an unusually public sign of affection on his father’s part.

The following year he’d been sent away to school, and the year after that Edward had died of rheumatic fever, two years on his father succumbed to typhoid leaving the sensitive young William and his mother to struggle on.

Spike spent most of the day deliberately trying to remember his early life in the finest possible detail, and uninterrupted, successfully recalled specific happy events like birthdays, his first day at boarding school, his favourite tutor at University presenting him a literature prize at the end of first year, and the quiet walks on the promenade in the days before his mother fell ill.

It was an odd experience to ponder such things after so many years, and a rather unexpectedly pleasant one. So caught up in his ruminations was he, that time passed surprisingly quickly, and as a consequence he was quite unprepared for the “Hi honey I’m home” from Xander as the man returned for the evening.

Xander’s routine was similar to the previous evening although the oiling was far more matter of fact and accompanied by a bit of a commentary about the day, Xander’s plans for the new collection and some fun anecdotes regarding his two young female protégé’s and their first lesson in woodwork. Once again there was careful attention paid to Spike’s private parts, face, fingers and toes before Xander took himself off for his customary after oiling shower (and Spike liked to think… wank).

Spike was a little surprised when Willow and Yollanda arrived while Xander was still finishing off his dinner but soon realized the purpose as he was carefully eased from his leaning post and carried in to Xander’s bedroom to be positioned gently on a towel on the bed. Candles were lit, the room filled with the soft scent of lavender essence and quiet background music switched on before Xander joined him with Willow’s encouragement.

The room was colder than the library but the Mistress Yollanda encouraged Xander to strip to his boxers then covered both he and the statue with Xander’s warm duvet. Xander was instructed to keep skin to wood contact before the quiet chanting began.

Xander was almost immediately on ‘their beach’ and this time, happily, could truly feel Spike next to him.

A smiling Spike rolled toward him and said, “So… missed me?”

“Oh Spike! I kind of thought when you said something last time…”

“T’was me alright. Least this way I don’t have to put up with all the tingles.”

“Tingles?”

“Bloody annoyin’. All but had spasms in me none to moveables last couple o’ nights.”

Xander had the decency to blush even in his relaxed state. “I um… well I had to oil everywhere Spike… and… um… sorry.”

“Aught to be sorry ‘bout. Lovely havin’ me privates petted by a friend… Just maybe give that webcam a whirl when you have your shower tomorrow evenin’. Could do with a show.”

Xander groaned a little then added, “Not much to see really, just a lonely guy, steam and a lot of soap.”

“Anyway was talkin’ ‘bout after that… when you were communin’ with the ladies.”

“You felt that?”

“Tingles the first night in me hand, then last night pretty much all over.”

“Oh… ‘cause I did touch you… here in the where ever we are now.”

“And a mighty nice touch it was too. This is better though, 'can really feel you, heart beat 'n all. Anyway you wanted to chat… so what’s the topic?”

"Well I guess... um... Just can you tell me what it's like... you know in the day when you're um...?"

"C'n see, within reason, hear, smell... 'n feel, feel everythin' - breeze, warmth, touch... and the sun. Never thought I'd say that again... Felt the sun on skin, well sort of skin I suppose." Spike paused for a moment and looked down at his own nude form.
"Gotta say Harris, done a mighty fine job o' me various bits, just like I remember, better even."

Xander blushed again and tentatively reached over to stroke down Spike's outstretched arm. "I um... Is this OK? I mean you kind of don't have a choice when I have to oil you, but..."

"No need for Mr Coy... Soon as I'm back for real I fully intend to thank you good 'n proper. Like I said online, you need some educatin' in the bein' thanked department 'n I figure I'm the one to do it. So... keep the pettin' up and let's have a bit of a talk 'bout the more general yeah? How's about we start with the financials?"

What ensued was a to the point frank disussion of Spike's investments, a go ahead of the purchase of a hotel in the east of Phuket, Thailand and another in the upper region of Jaipur, India, and instructions to seek a similar property in Shanghai. Spike then gave Xander a few tips regards his own investments before matters turned to more personal issues.

"Is there anything you need Spike? I mean I know you don't eat or anything... but..."

"Like you to do me a favour, pet. Stand a chap in the sun for a day would you? I mean, I know it's been cold of late, but..."

"Oh! Of course... I'll get Matti to help tomorrow if it's fine."

"And let me stay here the night... you know after this little sojourn into semi-real... Just while you sleep... Like to feel you... hear you breathe... I um..." Spike paused for a moment and stared out to 'sea' from their beach before looking back at Xander with a touch of sadness and longing, then added quietly, "That's if you don't mind."

Xander reached up and stroked down the chiseled cheek and jawline then leaned over and kissed Spike chastly on the lips whispering, "Anything... I guess I'd better go now though... Willow and the Mistress will want to head off and I need to tell them... well that we've made real progress."

"Yeah luv, you do that... and Xan?"

Xander pushed up on one arm and looked directly into Spike's eyes, "Hmm?"

"Thank you." Spike leaned up and returned the soft kiss of moments ago.

Xander reluctantly left his state of rest and came to full consciousness in his bedroom, once again next to his inanimate friend. He came with a sense of immense calm and a smiling Willow and Yollanda waiting patiently for some sort of feedback.

"He's OK Wills... well sort of... as well as you can be in... We talked and... He's Spike."

Yollanda was the first to respond, "Then it is well. We will keep contact as we have today and as you become more adept at the meditation you will find the connection becomes easier, more complete. This augers well for the final transition. You are a good student and a good soul Xander. You have done well."

Xander moved to sit up but felt an overwhelming sense of fatigue, observed immediately by Willow who pushed him gently down onto the bed once more. "Relax Xan. If you are comfortable, just stay. We'll let ourselves out, as long as..."

Xander fell back onto the pillow and looked across at his long time firend, "Thanks...Spike said he wanted to stay here for the night, you know, just be... so yeah. And..." Yawn. "Sleep of the good. Thanks."

As promised, lights were turned out as the two wiccans let themselves out quietly with no more said.

..............

Spike had felt Xander all night, the warmth, the soft touch, the breathing, the waking call of birds in the morning, and the joy of lying on a soft surface with the pulse of Xander's heart providing a steady rhythm to mark out the hours of rest before the coming day, and Spike felt... content. He had a means of communication, he had the comfort of a friend touching him, and he had hope. Hope for what he was still unsure of, but hope for... and he hadn't let himself think that far ahead before, but now it was for... what the future *might* hold, or even just the status quo.

The following fine morning Spike returned to full awareness as Xander and Matti's strong arms lifted him from Xander's bed and placed him against his tree trunk in full sun on the paved area outside the south-eastern wall of Xander's cottage. It was glorious. He could now put sounds to sights and people,and was admired by all who passed as 'Xander's latest creation'.

He watched as the postman came and went, the children of coven members sought out their peers and younger outsiders arrived for the day. Now he could see the chickens and ducks grazing in the closest paddock and spied the odd sheep or three in the distance, and he felt the warm. The mild sunshine of a pretty autumn day heated first his legs, then crept up his torso, onto his arms and the left side of his face.

As the day waned, he watched the reversal of the proceedings of the morning. The air took on a chill and the wind picked up indicating rain so he was relieved when Xander and company collected him and placed the precious carving inside.

Xander was in an odd mood when he returned to the cabin and began oiling the statue. "This is the last time I have to... you know... do your bits with oil... I... Spike tomorrow we have someone coming to photograph, you know... you..."

Spike was somewhat saddened to note Xander's apparent lack of usual interest as the oiling proceded. He worried it was something he had said or done the previous evening during their time on 'Xander's beach', but was unable to do anything beyond resolve to ask directly when given the chance.

He watched silently as Xander invested in the two hotels as instructed and was pleased to see the man push some of his own money into the oil stocks he knew were moving forward.

And then the ladies arrived as they had the night before but this time seemed particularly excited.

Willow was hardly in the door before she began to speak at pace, "Illyria made contact today, Xan. Before we get going we have to talk."

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