Nothing the Same, Book 4
Pairing: S/X, established relationship
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: Primarily season 5, but anything from Season 1 on.
WARNING: THIS CHAPTER CONTAINS EXPLICIT SEX
Summary: sequel to Nothing the Same , Books 1 - 3
Previous parts here
“Run that by me again,” Xander ordered. He had to have heard that wrong.
Spike obliged with obvious enjoyment. “Captain Cardboard himself. Big as life. Bit of a new look for him,” he said judiciously, “what with the two-bit whore attached to his arm his arm an’ all. Damn shame I didn’t have a camera. Would have made a nice 8x10 glossy for the Slayer, don’t you think?”
“Don’t even joke about that,” Xander said with a shudder. That was all they needed: Buffy having another agonizing break-up with an unfaithful boyfriend. She’d been a basket case for weeks last year over that jerk whatshisname and she’d only spent one night with the guy. Finding out that Riley was cheating on her with a prostitute - and a vampire prostitute at that…
Spike had to be mistaken. There was no way that Riley Finn, highly-trained, gung-ho member of the former Initiative, would let his guard down around a demon like that. The man could barely manage to be civil to peaceful demons that had been vouched for and accepted as allies. Oh, Riley managed to not say anything - barely, but Xander knew the soldier thought he was crazy to be with Spike - and it wasn’t because they were both guys. “Riley hates demons,” he protested, “especially vampires. Why would he go to a vampire whore house?”
“Dunno, some of you humans seem to like what we have to offer,” Spike leered at him, pulling him back down under the covers. He’d sat up in shock at Spike’s casual announcement that Riley Finn, all-American boy, had been a regular customer at a vamp brothel. And saying it again in his head didn’t make any more sense than it had the first time. His brain was obviously not going to be wrapping itself around the concept any time soon.
He let himself be tugged back down under the covers. Spike hated it when he left the bed in the morning and took his warmth and scent with him. Sneaking a quick peek at the clock, Xander decided he wouldn’t get fired if he spent another 15 minutes in bed. He helped Spike pull the covers up around their shoulders, cocooning them together in a nest of sheets as he shifted so that he was lying on top of Spike.
As much as Spike loved his human warmth, Xander adored the cool silk over hard muscle that was Spike’s body. Unlike humans, vampires had no internal source of heat, so their bodies tended to be room temperature. As a result, Spike’s flesh was always cooler than Xander’s and, while he might jokingly grumble about Spike treating him like a living hot water bottle, there was nothing like snuggling up with a partner who never sweated and whose body was a cool oasis on hot summer nights.
Spike’s hands were roving - big surprise - but Xander’s brain was still stuck on Riley and the suck house and that meant arousal was non-existent right now. He gave Spike an apologetic smile, knowing his vampire had assumed Xander was caving in to Spike’s regular morning request for a quick hard fuck before Xander left for work.
Not surprising, given that Spike talked him into it at least once a week. If Xander wasn’t perpetually turned on by his sexy lover and hadn’t perfected the art of the 60-second shower, he would have long since gotten a reputation for tardiness at work that so far he had avoided by the skin of his teeth. But there was no way his usual instant response to Spike’s touch was happening after Spike’s description of Riley and the blood whore.
With an apologetic smile, he evaded Spike’s attempt to kiss him. “Spike,” he began, and his lover’s hands stilled at the seriousness in his voice. “Why would someone go to a place like that? Why don’t the vampires just kill them?” He’d never heard of a suck house before. It sounded like Riley had just wandered into a vamp nest and offered himself as a snack to the residents.
“Humans get off on the bite.” Spike traced a finger over Xander’s Claim Mark and Xander shivered. The Claim scar was an intensely erogenous spot for him and had been since the day Spike had first bitten him. “If it’s done right, can make a human come just from bein’ bitten.” Despite the fact that he was answering seriously, his lips quirked up and he smirked at Xander knowingly, still pressing his fingers against the Claim scar.
Xander wasn’t going to let that one pass. He ducked his head and bit Spike’s nipple sharply, feeling the shiver in response and the way Spike’s cock twitched. He lifted his head again, staring mockingly into the blue eyes. “Humans aren’t the only ones, oh great Master Vampire. This particular human has made you scream like a girl and come in your pants like an over-eager teenager just from biting you.”
Before he could blink, Xander found himself flipped over and pinned by a yellow-eyed demon. He laughed up into Spike’s outraged face, arching upwards and rubbing against Spike’s burgeoning erection teasingly. “Truth a bit much for you?” he taunted, feeling his own cock stirring with interest.
Spike growled and swooped down, taking his lips in a savage kiss, his mouth plundering Xander’s, Xander pulled against the hands pinning his wrists down, wanting to wrap his arms around Spike and Spike obligingly released him, burying his hands in Xander’s hair instead as the kiss went on and on.
Xander dug his hands into the lean muscles of Spike’s back, spreading his legs and wrapping them around the slender hips which were grinding down into his own. All thoughts of Riley fled before the onslaught of desire and his head flung back, the sound of his panting breaths filling the air as Spike abandoned his lips to tease and torment his Claim scar, tonguing and nipping at the sensitive mark.
It was quick and hot and utterly arousing as their cocks slid against each other, the friction bringing them rapidly to completion and Xander let out a low, harsh cry as Spike sank needle sharp teeth into his Claim Mark, renewing it and sending Xander over the edge into orgasm.
His shot his release between them and his seed was joined by Spike’s as the vampire growled triumphantly, jerking his hips against Xander as he pulsed out his own orgasm between their entwined bodies.
He made it to work on time but only just. Usually he walked to work, but today, he’d grabbed Spike’s keys off the dresser and run out the door, Spike’s laugh chasing down the stairs, the vision of his naked lover, lying in the nest of rumpled sheets, yellow eyes glowing with sated passion as Spike watched him frantically yank his clothes on, was enough to make him wish he could just call in sick.
Driving with almost Spike levels of disregard for traffic laws and gravity, he made it to the site with one minute to spare. He endured the good-natured laughter of the guys who’d seen him sprinting in from the parking lot and headed for his work area. His team was shifting finished woodwork into place and fitting it together, tasks that could be done on auto-pilot, for which he was grateful. He needed to think about what Spike had said.
Despite having allowed himself to be distracted - Xander let a self-satisfied smirk cross his lips - very distracted - he had heard enough to know that Riley was putting himself and everyone around him in danger. And he wasn’t going to allow that to happen. He just didn’t know what he was going to do about it yet.
“It’s good to see you, Sergeant.”
Sgt. Morgan smiled. “Always a pleasure to see you as well, Xander. How’ve you been?” He shook Xander’s hand warmly and gestured for him to enter his office.
“Mostly good. A little more than the usual Hellmouthy stuff recently, but you know about that already.”
“Yes. Anything new on this Glorificus?”
He shook his head. “Not so far. Giles is deep in piles of books and Mr. Okolo is checking with his sources, so hopefully someone will find something to tell us what the real story is. I’m just glad she seems to take a lot of time off between making with the mischief.” He was still hoping that the report that she was a god was grossly exaggerated but so far Giles had come up empty. Which had to be a good thing. I mean, you’d expect a god to merit at least a mention in Top 100 Evils of all Time. Not that Giles actually had a book called that but so far he hadn’t found a single mention of anything going by the name of Glorificus.
“True. But, I suspect that isn’t why you’re here.” Sgt. Morgan gave him a searching glance and Xander pulled his thoughts back to the present.
“I’m afraid not.” Xander had had a couple hours to practice but hadn’t come up with a good segue so he just jumped right in. “Have you ever heard of something called a suck house?”
Sgt. Morgan stilled. He sat back in his chair and regarded Xander thoughtfully. “Yes, I have,” he said after a moment. “Sunnydale has one?”
“We did. Spike cleaned it out last night.” Spike had filled him in on the details of his purge of the suck house, even if his ideas of ‘details’ had tended to run along the lines of: vamps dust, humans fled, problem solved.
“Why bring it to me? So far, it seems like Master Spike’s problem and one he’s handled quite nicely.”
“Riley Finn was a customer.”
The silence that followed was deafening.
“He apparently went enough times that word got around,” Xander continued when it looked like the other man wasn’t going to comment. “That’s how Spike learned about it. He was there last night, just before Spike cleaned it out.”
“Was he now,” Sgt. Morgan said grimly and Xander almost flinched at the quiet tone that promised worlds of punishment for a disobedient recruit. Not for the first time, he wondered just how scared recruits were of Sgt. Morgan. He knew how loyal the older soldiers were to the long-time drill sergeant, but Xander suspected he terrified the soldiers when they first met him.
“Buffy doesn’t know yet,” he said in response to the unspoken question. “I figure she’s got enough on her plate right now - with her mom still recovering from surgery and all,” he explained hastily. Sgt. Morgan shot him a curious look but didn’t say anything, and Xander felt like smacking himself. He really needed to get better about remembering who knew what before opening his mouth. “Anyway, I know I’m probably messing with the chain of command, but is there any way we can get him transferred out of town - like to Siberia or somewhere?” He met the older man’s eyes unflinchingly. “Riley’s never been a friend,” he admitted candidly, “but this isn’t personal. I know I’m not the most unbiased person when it comes to dealing with him, but going to that place put Buffy and her family in danger. I know the house is closed, but…” he shrugged. If Riley was addicted to the bite, like Spike had suggested, well, one thing Sunnydale wasn’t short on was that particular drug.
Dark eyes studied him for a minute, then Sgt. Morgan nodded, apparently satisfied. “I agree. If Finn is so far gone he’s going to blood whores, he’s a liability.” He shook his head slowly. “I regret to say I’ve seen this before and it frequently ends badly.” He chewed on his lip thoughtfully for a moment. “I believe I can arrange things and the sooner the better. Would you like me to inform Buffy?”
Xander shook his head. “I’ll tell her. You shouldn’t take the heat for something I’ve done.”
Sgt. Morgan raised his eyebrows. “You haven’t done anything,” he pointed out. “You just brought the situation to my attention. I’m going to see that Finn is transferred out of town before the buzz from last night’s high fades.” Xander had never heard Sgt. Morgan speak with such savage disapproval. He held Xander’s eyes with his own. “This isn’t just a soldier going to a whore house on leave, Xander. To reach the point of going to a suck house, Finn must be deep into addiction to the bite. That endangers everyone around him, not just Buffy and her family. Every soldier who works with him has been in danger of being killed or turned, if things went wrong at the suck house.” His grim assessment matched Xander’s: that Riley had recklessly risked the lives of everyone he knew by going to that place.
“He disgraced the uniform by going there, Xander,” Sergeant Morgan finished quietly. “That’s something I don’t tolerate from anyone.”
Xander didn’t really understand that kind of patriotism but he knew the words weren’t just empty platitudes to the other man. He couldn’t help wondering how Riley felt about Sergeant Morgan. After the battle in the Initiative, Buffy had told Riley about Sergeant Morgan, with the sergeant’s permission. Riley had seemed to accept it, but Xander couldn’t help wondering if he really had. If he understood that Sergeant Morgan was deeply committed to the U.S. Army, that he’d dedicated his whole life to the service, or if Riley had clung to the suspicion that a demon couldn’t really be a real soldier because he wasn’t fully human.
Either way, he suspected it didn’t really matter any more.
He got to his feet. “Thank you,” he said quietly. “I didn’t know if I was overreacting or not.”
Sgt. Morgan stood with him and extended his hand, clasping Xander’s in a strong grip. “You’re protecting the people you love. And Finn as well - even if he might not appreciate that right now. That’s never overreacting.” He waved a hand. “Now clear off. I have calls to make.”
Closing the door behind him, Xander heard the sergeant’s deep voice growling into the phone: “Tell Major Finn I’d like to see him in my office right away.”
Spike was not pleased. Oh, Xander had arranged for the Slayer’s toy soldier to be transferred out of town and out of their hair neatly enough, but a quick, quiet transfer wasn’t particularly satisfying. He might respect Buffy and even regard her as a worthy opponent, even in an almost friendly way but that didn’t mean he had to give up the fun of torturing her over her bad taste in men. He was still evil.
“Alright,” he agreed ungraciously, scowling at Xander. “But I still get to tell her about the suck house. It’s something she needs to know as the Slayer - just how addictive the bite is,” he finished with a flash of brilliant inspiration, smiling innocently at his lover.
“You can’t tell Buffy that!” Xander objected immediately. “I mean, first off she’d be devastated. Second, she be freaked and angsting and not focusing on her job.” He lowered his voice as he continued, until Spike could barely hear him. “She’s supposed to be telling Joyce about Dawn this weekend and you know she’s going to put it off if she gets half an excuse, because she’s freaked out even worse than I was about telling her mom that Dawn is… adopted.”
Spike narrowed his eyes at Xander’s quick counter. Dammit, his boy was right. Buffy would seize on the excuse to not tell Joyce about Dawn being the Key, and that was the first step towards telling Dawn. He agreed with Xander on that. Joyce would get the majority of the fallout if Dawn fell apart and, being raised human - at least for the last six months or so - she was bound to be upset when she learned the truth. Humans put up so much fuss when they found out they weren’t quite what they’d thought they were. Dru’s family had reacted like terrified children when they discovered she had the Sight, and that was a bloody useful ability, one any sensible demon would have been delighted to learn they possessed.
In the interest of protecting Dawn, he’d give up tormenting Buffy. It was only a matter of time before Dawn found out the truth. Spike had too much experience not to know that these kinds of things always came to light. And usually in the most inconvenient way. He didn’t want little Bit to find out the hard way that she wasn’t “normal”. Seeing the way first Xander, then Buffy had reacted, Spike rather thought that Dawn wasn’t going to take the news well either. Better to come from the people she thought of as family than through circumstance.
“Fine. But if the Slayer doesn’t get off her arse and tell her mum, I’m doing it.”
“Agreed. Joyce is strong enough now. She’s been back to work for over a week and hasn’t had any headaches or anything.” Xander smiled widely at that.
They’d all been anxious about Joyce returning to work full time, but everything had gone well. She hadn’t been overtired or in pain and seemed fully recovered and back to normal. Her hair had even grown enough that she no longer had to wear the scarves she’d been sporting. Her new, shorter hairstyle looked smart and elegant, her daughters having taken her to a good hairdresser who’d evened out the long and short hair and Joyce had seemed full of her old energy this past week. She could handle the news about Dawn and then she and Buffy could sit down and talk to Dawn.
“Still wish I’d had a camera,” he grumbled for form’s sake.
Xander just laughed. “Like I want to see photos of a half-naked Riley anyway.”
“Should think not,” Spike snorted. “Nothing work looking at on that one.”
The door swung open in response to his knock and Riley’s big frame filled the half-open space, blocking his view into the room. For a long moment, the soldier just stood there, staring at him expressionlessly.
“Can I come in?” Xander asked finally, when it became obvious the other man wasn’t going to say anything.
“It’s a free country.” Riley turned away, retreating back into the room, leaving the door half open. Xander hesitated, then pushed the door wide and entered.
There was a suitcase on the bed and Riley was in the middle of packing, an activity he’d already returned to, folding clothes with neat precise movements.
“Sorry if I’m not being sociable,” Riley said bitterly, his back to Xander, “but I’m on a bit of a tight schedule.”
“I know. I came here to tell you why I called Sergeant Morgan.”
“You don’t need to explain.”
“Riley, it wasn’t because…”
Riley set down the shirt he’d been folding and turned to face him. “Xander, you did the right thing.” His voice was filled with self-loathing. “I lost control. I was endangering myself and others.” He sat down suddenly, elbows resting limply on his knees, eyes on the far wall where a lighter patch in the old paint marked the spot where a picture had recently hung.
“I don’t know what the hell I thought I was doing,” he said after a minute. “Buffy was pulling away from me, and I felt useless and unwanted, and the vampires - it was like they needed me. Buffy doesn’t you know.” He slid a quick at Xander before returning his gaze to the wall. “Not the way I want her to. She loves me, but she doesn’t need me. A lot of the time, she forgets about me completely.”
Riley interrupted him, talking right over his half-hearted protest. “I kept telling myself, every time, that it would be the last time. That I wouldn’t go again. That I’d stake the vampire right after it drank from me… but that’s no excuse.”
Xander didn’t know what to say. He’d expected anger and recriminations, not acceptance. He’d come prepared to justify what he’d done, hoping that Riley wouldn’t take his anger out on Buffy. He hadn’t expected to find himself sympathizing with the other man, who it seemed had finally understood he had a problem.
“They’re sending me home to Iowa.” Riley’s mouth twisted with bitter humor. “A vacation in middle America to get the Hellmouth out of my system. Dusk to dawn curfew for a while.”
“Sounds like a good idea,” Xander told him quietly.
“Maybe.” Riley didn’t sound convinced. “Will you do me a favor?”
“If I can.” Xander wasn’t about to commit himself.
Riley fished an envelope out of his pocket. “Will you take this to Buffy? I can’t talk to her, but I don’t want to just walk out on her without even a word of explanation.”
Xander took it hesitantly and Riley gave him a humorless smile. “Don’t worry, I didn’t tell her about the suck house. Just that the army is transferring me until I get my head on straight.” He looked at Xander, meeting his eyes squarely for the first time since he entered the room. Xander was surprised by the regret and bitter acceptance in his eyes. “I told her not to wait for me. That I don’t know if I’m coming back.”
“There’s a lot of good you can do in this world that doesn’t have anything to do with demons,” Xander said, when the silence had stretched out to an uncomfortable length. He wanted to add something about Riley being a good person, but he didn’t want to sound condescending. According to Buffy, Riley was a good man. It was just the Hellmouth and Maggie Walsh that had messed with head and made him act like an idiot, and a dangerous one at that. A good man in over his head. Xander suspected there was a lot of truth in that.
Riley’s jaw tightened. “I can’t exactly say thank you, but I expect that in the long run this will be for the best.”
“I hope so.”
Riley turned back to his packing and Xander hesitated awkwardly, then just slipped out the door quietly without saying anything. He was glad that Riley had decided against talking to Buffy. Given her track record with relationships, that would have just turned into a big scene, and Buffy was going to be dealing with enough already just learning that her relationship was over and her boyfriend was leaving town. An ugly breakup on top of that was to be avoided at all costs and he appreciated that Riley was going to be straight but not brutal about it. The last thing that Buffy needed to know was that Riley had cheated on her with vampires before breaking it off.