Saturation - Chapter 5
written by Jane Davitt & WesleysGirl

Xander was cooking dinner and trying not to laugh at Spike, who was sitting at the table doing some translating work for Giles with his face about four inches from the paper. He gave the pasta sauce another stir -- spaghetti was about as far as his kitchen talents went, thank you very much -- and glanced over at Spike again. "Sit up, would you?" he suggested, like he'd done the night before when the extent of his meal preparation had been picking up the phone and calling for take-away. "You're gonna go blind with your eyes that close to the page." He frowned, mostly at himself. "Wait, maybe that's the TV."

"Did you hear me asking for your advice?" Spike grumbled, but he did sit up and then lean back in the chair, rubbing at his forehead.

"See? You're just asking for a headache." Xander checked the pot of water on the back burner, but it wasn't boiling yet. He heard the front door open and close.

It had to be Giles, but Xander hadn't been expecting him for another half an hour at least. With it being Friday, they'd planned to go out, and Xander was looking forward to a movie, jumbo-sized everything, and Giles beside him in the darkness, not enjoying himself at all, most likely, as there were no sub-titles and far too many explosions, but still there. And, yeah, he planned on seeing how much groping he could get away with. Watching Giles' jaw clench as Xander ran his hand slowly up Giles' thigh was worth the price of admission all by itself.

One look at Giles' face as he came through the door, and Xander was resigning himself to a quiet night in.

"Giles? You're back early, but I'm not seeing a TGIF smile on your face," Xander said.

Giles dropped a heavy briefcase on the table, nodded at Spike, and crossed over to Xander, giving him the brief kiss that was all Xander got when Spike was around and an even briefer hug. "I'm leaving for Munich tonight instead of next Tuesday," he said gloomily. "It seems something's come up and the only time Herr Graustein can join us is at the weekend. Without him, there is no meeting and so -" He shrugged, rubbing his hand across his face. "The car's coming to pick me up in an hour; I'd better go and pack."


What Xander wanted to do was sulk, but he wasn't a kid anymore, so he wasn't going to let himself do that. Much. At least, not until Giles had left. "I'll help you pack," he said instead. "Spike, when the water boils, throw the pasta in? And I don't mean that literally."

Spike grunted something that sounded affirmative, so Xander followed Giles upstairs, trying to think of something to say that would be supportive without making Giles feel guilty, but not managing to come up with anything.

"We were supposed to be going out, weren't we?" Giles said, hauling a suitcase from under the bed. He dropped it onto the bed and flipped it open. "I'm sorry."

He gave Xander an apologetic look, and then came over to him, kissing him almost hesitantly, which made Xander wonder just how pissed-off he was looking. "I really am sorry," he murmured against Xander's lips. "I'll be back late on Sunday afternoon though, so we'll have Sunday night at least."

"Contrary to some of my behavior, I'm actually a grown-up," Xander said, feeling guilty now for making Giles worry. "Don't worry about it, okay? I know you don't want to go." He did know that, he told himself firmly. Sometimes work had to come first. The fact that it seemed to come first more and more often wasn't anyone's fault, it was just... one of those things.

"I wish you could come with me," Giles said, moving over to the chest of drawers and starting to take out what he'd need in the way of socks, shorts and ties. "But there's Spike to consider -- I know he's been fairly well-behaved recently, but even so -- and I'll be in meetings most of the time anyway." He started to fit the clothes into the suitcase. "You can still go out though, can't you? I know you were looking forward to it."

"Yeah, I guess." Xander managed to keep from pointing out that half the fun was going with Giles. "Maybe I'll see if Spike wants to go." He didn't mean it, of course, because the thought of voluntarily spending extra time with Spike was still on his list of things to avoid, even if Spike had been a lot more tolerable the past few weeks.

Giles looked a little surprised, but then he smiled. "Well, he'd probably enjoy it more than me -- the film that is, not your company. And you wouldn't have to sit up waiting for him to come in plastered. It's a good idea." He crossed over to the wardrobe and took out some shirts. "Just make him pay for his own popcorn. He got paid for that last translation yesterday, so don't let him tell you that he's penniless."

Xander sat down on the bed next to the suitcase. "Yeah, I know. He was making a big deal about how he can smoke as much as he wants now that he's got money in his pocket again." He rolled his eyes. Then, trying to sound casual, he asked, "So, what are the chances that back on Sunday afternoon actually means back on Sunday afternoon?"

"Good," Giles said instantly. "Very good. Unless there's a delay at the airport, road works or -- well, I won't borrow trouble." He gave Xander a small smile. "Did you have any ideas about what we could do when I get back? I think you'll find me willing to make amends for leaving you like this." He pushed the suitcase aside and sat down next to Xander, slipping an arm around Xander's waist. "More than willing," he said softly, leaving Xander wishing it were Sunday.

"I'm pretty sure I can think of something," Xander said, but he found himself turning into Giles' embrace and holding on a little bit more tightly than he probably should have. It wasn't that he couldn't deal with Giles being away, it was just that it was so sudden. Or at least that was what he was telling himself.

He felt Giles' hand stroking his hair and then coming down to cup his face, tilting it so that Giles could kiss him, his mouth warm and hungry. "It's two days, that's all," Giles said, sounding as if he was trying to convince himself as much as Xander. "No time at all, really." He rolled his eyes, giving up the attempt to console them. "And two nights, which are going to feel endless."

Xander smiled. "They're going to feel even more endless if Spike drives me nuts and I call you every ten minutes to complain," he said. He kissed Giles again, quickly, and then swatted the part of Giles' ass he could reach when Giles was sitting down. "Come on. Back to work."

Giles twisted his hand so that he could look at his watch. "Yes," he said unenthusiastically. "I suppose I should get on with my packing. And although I won't have time to eat any, perhaps you'd better go down and rescue your supper. I don't imagine al dente means much to an ex-vampire."

"True. Although he has to eat, too, so if he screws it up I'll make him buy me pizza." Slightly cheered up at the thought, Xander stood and walked over to the doorway, half an ear cocked for the sound of the smoke alarm going off in the kitchen.

"Oh -- the people I had investigating Spike's prophecy finally reported back to me today," Giles said, making Xander pause and look back at him enquiringly. Giles shrugged. "It seems it's as he said. No tricks, no sting in the tail... he's human and he's going to stay that way. Which means we don't need to keep an eye on him in case he's about to become a soulless fiend or something." He moved over to a small bookcase in the corner and bent down to study the titles. "Possibly you could encourage him to do some house hunting over the weekend?"

"Absolutely," Xander said. "On the other side of London, right? How far away could we get him and still have him be in London?" The humor was a little bit forced, though. Pretending that he hated Spike that much wasn't as easy as it used to be when he actually hated him. When it hadn't been pretending.

Giles pulled out something that looked like a doorstop and was probably light reading for the plane. "Well, that's up to Spike, isn't it? But I think he'd prefer to be a little closer than that. We're the only people he doesn't need to hide his past from, and that has to be a comfort, although I doubt he'd admit it." He straightened and gave Xander one of his patented Giles-sees-all looks. "I thought you two were getting along a little better?"

Xander shrugged sheepishly. "Yeah, we are."

"I'm finding him better company than I expected, too," Giles said, making Xander feel like they were both confessing a sin or something. Getting along with Spike: did that rank higher or lower than coveting asses?

Giles walked back to the bed and placed the book beside his suitcase, ready to go in his carry-on bag. "And please don't make him feel that he's outworn his welcome. I'm not expecting to find him gone when I get back by any means. It's just -" He shot Xander an appealing look. "I miss being able to do or say anything I want, whenever I want."

Xander nodded, remembering the night when Giles had given him a blow job in the kitchen halfway through dinner. Not much chance of stuff like that happening with Spike around. "Maybe while you're gone he and I can at least look at some places. It'd give us something to do, anyway."

"Right," said Giles, sounding a bit distracted and checking his watch again. "I'm going to have a quick shower and get changed, I think."

"Okay." It was pretty clear to Xander that he didn't fit into any of that, so he sighed and went back downstairs to where Spike had dropped dried pasta all over the stovetop, and some of it was quickly turning black under the gas burner.


"No," Xander said, trying to stop giggling, because giggling was definitely not manly. It was Saturday night, and they were walking -- okay, more like staggering -- home from the local pub, which Spike assured him was not the one he'd gotten shitfaced in on Monday night. "The best part's when the rabbit attacks them!"

"Run away! Run away!" Spike bellowed, managing a brief sprint before he went back to walking. "Yeah, I liked the rabbit, too. Got to admire a bunny with attitude and fangs, right?"

"Until he starts biting you, anyway," Xander agreed easily. It was weird, how things with Spike were so different now that he was human. Admittedly, Spike was also a lot less annoying now. They'd had a surprisingly good time at the movies the night before, so when Spike had asked him if he'd like to go out for a few beers, Xander had said yes without hesitation.

And a few had turned into a lot. Neither of them were so far gone that they'd spend Sunday shuffling around wincing at loud noises like milk pouring onto cereal, but they were well into finding sensible things silly and silly things really worth celebrating.

He'd always known a geek lurked beneath Spike's too cool for school exterior. Just not how much of a one.

"I miss the biting," Spike said thoughtfully. "Not the killing, so don't start lecturing me. But the biting... " He turned to Xander, his face intent. "You ever had sex when you're buried deep in someone, body and mind, and you can't tell where you stop and they start, you're that close? It's like that." His mouth twisted. "But I can't remember just how it was. It's fading."

Taken aback, Xander swallowed and firmly told his body that it was not to respond to the word-pictures Spike had just painted. "Doesn't sound like it's fading," he said. Then, "Wait, fading how? Like, how it felt? Or how to do it?" It was interesting to think that Spike's sense-memories might have been tied to his being a vampire, and that he could lose them.

"How it felt," Spike said sounding distracted, as if his thoughts were occupying all of his attention. "How it tasted... Can't imagine doing it now. Drinking, I mean. Hot blood pumping out, trickling and spurting and filling my mouth -" It seemed to Xander that Spike didn't need to imagine it when he could recall it that vividly. "Makes me feel like throwing up... but it shouldn't -" He turned to Xander, his eyes glittering. "Because it felt good, and they liked it, too." He ran his tongue across his lips. "All those years in Sunnydale and you never got bitten, did you? Ever come close, Xander?"

Spike stepped closer and put his hand flat on Xander's chest, pushing him gently back, until Xander felt a wall behind him.

"Ever get this close?" Spike whispered, sliding his hand up into Xander's hair and tugging down, still with that odd gentleness, so that Xander's head tilted to the side and he felt the warm night air -- or was that Spike's breath? -- ghost across his exposed, taut neck.

Xander told himself not to freak out -- it wasn't like Spike could really bite him, and Xander wasn't convinced he would even if he could have. But that didn't stop his body from reacting; he could feel his heart pounding, his breathing speeding up. "What do you mean, they liked it?" he asked, trying to ignore the little squeak in his voice.

"What do you think?" Spike said, lifting his head and staring straight at Xander, his body somehow managing not to brush against Xander's even though he was so close now it felt as if they were sharing the air they were breathing. "You think it hurts? Yeah, I suppose it does, but trust me, you're not caring about that by then. You want that pain, because when it goes away so do you." His free hand lifted and Xander felt the tip of a finger stroke along the curve of his neck, making him shiver. "And it's the kind of pain that has your body screaming for more, but your mouth isn't screaming. It's making these little, soft whimpering noises. It's saying 'please' and 'stop' and I'm loving every one of them."

Spike's mouth fastened onto his neck, teeth and tongue working at the flesh he'd captured between his lips.

Frozen, Xander did make a sound like a whimper. He was suddenly, painfully hard inside his jeans, his body straining toward Spike's, wanting more contact because Spike's mouth felt so good.

Then reality came slamming over him, and Xander pushed Spike away. They both stood there, breathing hard, staring at each other. There was a wary expression on Spike's face.

"Sorry," Spike said. He brought his hands up to his face, scrubbing them over it as if he was trying to wake up, and then shoving them deep in his jean pockets. He gave Xander an awkward smile. "Yeah. Drunk aren't I? Sorry. Won't happen again."

"It's okay," Xander said. "Me, too." They started walking again, with Xander glancing sideways at Spike every thirty seconds or so. "You're not gonna be sick again, are you? Because I don't know what happened to that bucket."

"Nah," Spike said, giving him a quick smile and relaxing, as if he'd been waiting for Xander to hit him or something. Which probably would've been the right thing to do, because Spike had been way out of line with the talking and the touching and the mouth on Xander's throat-- God, he had to stop thinking about it right there or he'd be walking into a well-lit room with a hard-on in about three minutes time. "You don't taste that bad, Harris."

"Fuck off," Xander said, grinning and reaching out to give Spike a shove that made both of them stagger. Strange how he could go from embarrassed to comfortable again in the blink of an eye. Although maybe all the beer had helped with that.

He managed to get the front door unlocked on the second try, and they went in. Leaning down to untie his shoes was an experiment in balance, but Xander persevered and emerged triumphant, looking up to see Spike leaning against the wall. "Are you sure you're not going to throw up again?" Xander asked.

"Might if you keep going on about it," Spike said. "What about something to settle my stomach? Giles still keep a few bottles of the good stuff around?" He took off his jacket and tossed it so that it landed over the stair rail, something Giles would've given him hell about, and then slid slowly down the wall, giggling as his ass hit the floor. "Ow. Yeah, really could use some medicinal whiskey." He leaned forward and began to untie his boots, frowning in concentration.

Already really damned close to sitting on the floor himself, Xander went the rest of the way down and crawled over to Spike, working at untying Spike's other boot. It wasn't that he was all that drunk, really; it was just that his fingers didn't want to work.

Okay, maybe he was that drunk.

"I'm starting to think we're lucky we made it home," he said.

Spike leaned his head back against the wall, looking quite happy to have Xander waiting on him. "Home for you. Not for me. I'm just the bloody lodger."

"Uh, I think you actually have to pay rent to get called -"

"You're bloody lucky, you know that?" Spike said fiercely. "I've seen the way he looks at you. Like you're sunshine and stars."

Xander was really sure Giles didn't. Did he?

"Like he wants to eat you up," Spike said.

Well, that, yeah...

"Like he loves you."

And whoa. So not discussing that with Spike. Xander hauled Spike's boots off and sent them flying down the hall to thump against the wall.

"Come on," Xander said, struggling to his feet and holding out a hand to Spike to help pull him up. "Let's get you into bed before you start quoting cheesy song lyrics."

"Wouldn't," Spike muttered, but he took Xander's hand willingly enough. He didn't weigh much -- Xander had forgotten about that. Together, they walked back to Spike's room, where Spike, swaying, surveyed his messily made bed with what looked like dismay.

Xander went over and yanked the covers into something resembling order. "Here you go," he said. "Oh, and hey, here's that bucket just in case." It occurred to him that he probably ought to feel guilty for not only letting Spike get drunk again, but for actively participating in said drunk-getting, but at that moment he was really just tired.

"Will you shut the fuck up about the bucket?" Spike said. He stripped his T-shirt off, getting it stuck somehow on his ears so that as he fought to free it, Xander, who'd begun to snicker, found himself staring instead at Spike's chest and stomach, all flat muscles and smooth, bare skin.

Then the shirt came free, and Xander looked up quickly and met Spike's eyes, which held a half-puzzled, half-knowing expression.

"Still early," Spike said abruptly, sitting down on his bed and shifting over so that there was room for Xander. He leaned back against his pillows. "Want to play cards, maybe? There's a pack in my bag somewhere."

"That would require functioning brain cells," Xander said, sitting down on the edge of the bed, and then almost immediately falling over, the side of his face meeting the mattress with enough force that he made a little sound like oof. "Lying down," he said. "Lying down good." Of course, he was facing the wrong way, so that when he opened his eyes he was looking at Spike's feet, but that was okay.

Spike's socks were unnaturally white.

"Your socks are unnaturally white," Xander said.

Spike wiggled his toes in reply, which went off the cute-o-meter as far as Xander was concerned. He giggled -- he really had to stop doing that -- and reached out to tweak them.

"This little piggie -"

"Watch it," Spike growled without managing to sound remotely scary. "I'm ticklish. Might lash out without meaning to and break your nose with the piggie who had none or the one who cried all the way home."

Not wanting to chance it, Xander pulled his hand back. "Giles'd be pissed off if you broke my nose," he said. Then, reasonably, he added, "So would I."

There was a minor earthquake or something, and Xander shut his eyes. When the bed stopped heaving up and down, he opened them. Spike's face was next to his instead of his socks. "Do you really think I would? Break bits of you?" Spike blinked slowly, and then reached out and ran his finger down Xander's nose. Xander went cross-eyed trying to watch it. "Wouldn't do that, Xander. Wouldn't hurt you. Wouldn't hurt Giles."

"I know," Xander said. And he did know that, really. Which was maybe why Spike had been annoying him so much less over the past couple of weeks. Once he'd gotten past the whole mad-because-he-was-scared thing, Spike had been... well, kind of fun. Almost like a friend. Of course, it could be the beer talking. But Xander wasn't sure it was.

"Should go up to bed if you're tired," Spike said, watching him.

"Mm. Good idea." Xander didn't want to move. "In a minute."

"Yeah," said Spike, going up onto his knees and managing to reach the light switch. The room went dark and Xander's eyes closed automatically. "No rush."

He thought the bed shifted again and he felt something soft get pushed under his head, but they were sensations that belonged to the waking world and he was leaving that world behind, rushing towards dreams.

Read: Chapter 6