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Away From the Numbers

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The sun comes up, and Spike feels the urge to drop down deeper into sleep like he always does, even if there are blackout shades blocking out most of the light from the windows.

But this particular time Spike finds himself draped over Xander, brushing his lips over a smooth brown nipple as he moves with the steady rise and fall of a firm chest. When Xander's breathing and heartbeat edge toward wakefulness, Spike reckons he could give up the prospect of his usual daylight kip in favor of seeing what else his bedmate might have in his very adult bag of tricks.

Xander's left fingers tighten around Spike's shoulder as he begins to wake, followed by the palm of his right hand smoothing down Spike's spine to rest on the small of his back.

"Ready to go again?" Spike whispers. He hitches against Xander's leg to press his cock against that firm thigh so there can be no doubt about what he means.

"Mmmph," Xander breathes. His right hand slides lower, cupping Spike's arse for a gentle squeeze. "Part of me wants tons of coffee. But most of me wants you riding me hard."

Spike's about to put in his vote for option number two when he hears an indignant "Oh my god!" sound from the room's threshold, followed by a quick slam of the door.

"You'd think no one ever taught that girl to knock," Xander says, still groggy but already reaching for the eye-patch he'd discarded on the bedside table some time in the wee small hours.

"Daddy!" Jill shouts from the hall, muffled by the door but loud as all get out anyway. "Me and you, in the kitchen! Ten minutes!"

Xander sits up, blinking and disheveled, leaving Spike to sprawl abandoned on the sheets with an irritable groan.

"Okay. I hadn't thought I'd hear that particular one lobbed back at me again, you know, ever." When Xander runs a hand through his dark hair, his fingertips absent-mindedly trace through the attractive strands of grey coloring it and Spike wants to let loose a string of complaints about the terrible injustice of being interrupted.

Instead he only grunts and tugs Xander back down. Though he's quickly becoming alert, Xander's body still feels sleep-warmed and loose-limbed. Damned if Spike wants to lose that to some family throw-down about unexpected overnight dates.

But when Xander brushes a kiss on the top of his head and whispers, "I should check on her. I won't be long, promise," and eases away, Spike grumbles only a bit before he lets him go without more fussing.

Spike's learned plenty about this improved-with-age Xander Harris since they've gotten reacquainted, but chief among the most important facts is just how much Xander adores his children. If this were a one-night thing, then Spike wouldn't much care about that. But if Spike really wants more of where that brilliant night they just shared came from, he figures he better at least learn to pretend he's all right with sharing Xander other ways.

'Sides, Jill and Toby don't seem completely awful.

The bedroom door clicks shut, and Spike's eyelids droop closed soon after.

* * *

"So much for 'won't be long,'" Spike grumbles when he hauls himself out of a deep sleep at last to discover the sky's gone hazy with twilight. He's pulled on one of Xander's more threadbare t-shirts over his jeans and it hangs on him, exposing his collarbone on one side. From the way Xander's eye darts over his throat with keen interest, it seems like a good choice.

"I did come back," Xander says reasonably, stretching in a way that makes his t-shirt pull tight over his chest. He sets aside what seems like a stack of official invoices on the table and leans back where he sits, strong denim-clad thighs spread temptingly on the kitchen chair. "Two times, actually, in between Toby coming home and heading back out again. But you were down for the count, and I figured you might need a little more rest after last night."

His words could seem all gentlemanly solicitousness, but the grin he shoots Spike is utterly brazen. It's a good look on him, Spike decides as he strolls over to sink down astride Xander's lap and cover those smiling lips with his own.

"How did it go with the eldest?" Spike says gruffly some time later.

"Jilly?" Xander cups Spike's shoulders with strong hands and slides down a bit so that Spike's resting more of his weight on Xander's legs. "Well, I told her off for bursting into my room uninvited. And she told me off for worrying her when she couldn't reach me this AM. And I said she has to calm down and not expect me to be immediately at her beck and call when I have a guest. And she screeched I can't just go around sleeping with vampires, even ones I've known since I was a stupid jerky teenager. Then she burst into tears."

"Christ. And Toby?"

"He's generally still clueless about stuff for the most part, and we kind of like to keep him that way. But I did mention you were asleep in my room so he wouldn't head in there to rummage around for t-shirts he can wear ironically. For now it's Jill who's freaking out; Toby will cotton on some time down the road."

Spike nods, though he doesn't really understand how this sort of thing works.

"It's -- they've seen me date, and they've even met a few guys here or there when things got a little more serious." When Spike scowls at the mention of other men, Xander smiles indulgently and strokes a fond little caress up and down Spike's back. "But I think Jill is convinced after meeting you, and after what she walked in on this morning, that this thing between us could be an entirely different bag of fish. That's probably unnerving even for a big bad college sophomore like her."

Spike hasn't expected them to speak so baldly about whether what's going on between them might be serious, at least not yet. But before he can overcome his surprise and throw in anything on the subject, Xander looks thoughtful and holds up one hand.

"Hey, wait. Bag of -- nope, that's a different kettle of fish." He pauses, pulling a face. "Wow that sounds gross. Even more gross than a bag. I mean, one or two fish, great, protein and probable deliciousness. But a whole kettle, unless you're serving an entire firemen's brigade, just sounds like the makings of something stinky --"

"Who goes to firemen's brigades straight away when they're looking for examples? Should I ask about you and firemen?" Spike says, half-arch and half petulant.

Xander shrugs, looking unperturbed. "You should if you like to hear stories about exes. But otherwise, nah, probably want to leave it be for now."

Spike decides for now to avoid the question of Xander's past romps with handsome men who carry long hoses. Instead he repeats thoughtfully, "Different kettle of fish." He slides his fingers in the hair at the nape of Xander's neck and tilts his hips forward. "That only Jill's idea of the situation? Or something you're thinking as well?"

"That things might be different, maybe even more long-haul, between me and you? Could be. If we both want that." Xander gazes at him evenly.

It's so far from how Xander would have reacted as a kid -- probably with horrified stumbling and fervent denials, to begin with, surely followed by blurted defensive words that would have ended the thing between them before they'd either really considered what they wanted -- that Spike intertwines his fingers behind Xander's strong shoulders, feeling like he's the one thrown off balance.

Xander breathes in and out evenly as he smoothes the material of his own t-shirt over the bumps of Spike's spine, but his inhalations and exhalations are a little deeper than normal. It's the only outward indication that Xander's feeling the weight of the what-could-be that they're talking about and has begun bracing himself for the outcome.

As for Spike, he's been on the move for so long he hasn't let himself think about settling anywhere for good. He's let occasional messages from Gunn and Angel about quelling this monster or subduing that mayhem mark out his path, until the trajectory of his life has become nothing more than tracking a trail of baddies. It's only now here with Xander that it occurs to Spike he just might be ready to let someone else deal with the demonic drama and give himself permission to stay put for a change.

Still, he's already given too much of himself away in all of this business with Xander. By rights he ought to sit back and wait it out, see what Xander offers up as an alternative. Too bad he's never been especially good at holding back. Before he knows it he's asking straight out, "Well, one of us has to start, yeah? What's going on in that head of yours?"

Xander takes a deep breath, far more obvious than his earlier calming inhalations, before he speaks. "I get you've been on the move for the last little while, and that might be a thing you want to keep on with. So I'm not going to try to stop you if you need to go. But it does feel like -- this fits, between us." He skims his hands down Spike's ribs before resting them at his waist. "Look, I can't say I expected anything like it when we ran into each other. And yeah, bringing up future talk right now is moving kind of quick by anyone's standards. But if you want to stay for a while and see what happens here with me, I'm up for it."

"Are you?" Spike rolls his hips forward and grins. He's about to make a joke about how Xander definitely seems up for it already when Xander cradles his jaw in one hand, a calm but serious look on his face.

It takes away the breath Spike doesn't need, having Xander give him that kind of steady, intent regard. He clears his throat as he thinks of what would have been unimaginable only days ago: living in a house with a teenager like Toby, dealing with a diva like Jill, trying to make things actually work with Xander. He stills for a moment, and all at once, the realization of how much he wants to try for a life with Xander rushes through him so fast it's like an adrenaline surge.

"Could do," Spike says after a moment. "Stay for a while, that is. See how things play out."

"Good." Xander urges him closer and kisses his mouth before brushing his lips over Spike's forehead and then his closed eyelashes when Spike lets them flutter shut. "That's really good."


*~* the end *~*