And Ice For Your Wounded Heart - part two
"So, have you thought about it some more?"† Voice out of the blackness and Harris spun, weapon up and ready.† A soft chuckle, and the flare of a lighter, and a pale, sharp-boned face appeared in the gloom.† Cigarette lit, the person moved forward into the streetlight.
"Thought about what?† Don't come closer - I won't hesitate to shoot."
"About our conversation...ohhh!† This is all part of it, isn't it?"† The man seemed amused and stood at his ease, slowly smoking, just watching him.†
*That girl said the monsters were really children.† He's no child...*††† †"Do I know you?" Harris asked, and then jerked, gasping, as the man moved faster than thought and was behind him, cold white fingers easily holding the barrel and stock of his rifle - holding it so tight against Harris' chest he couldn't quite draw breath.
"You don't remember me, but we had a little talk about...what's inside the monster.†† Is this what's inside you, little cuckoo?"† Harris held very, very still, shivering against the cold leather of the man's long black coat.††† There was something sharp at this throat, and he couldn't begin to imagine what it was, since the man seemed to be putting his face there - cool lips and the tip of his nose and the needle-prickle of...†
*Fuck - teeth?† Are those - he's one of them!*††† "Fuck!" he gasped out, as the prickle became a stab and the man's mouth fastened onto his throat, tongue slicking his skin and -†† "What are you - you doing?† Jesus..."† Harris struggled but the man held him effortlessly, the barrel and trigger mechanism of his rifle pressed hard across his chest, digging in sharply at pectoral and ribs, making him wince.
"You taste good, cuckoo," the man murmured, tongue licking and stinging across his neck.† And then the man was jerking the gun away, spinning Harris around.† He looked the rifle over for a moment and then slid the ammo clip out and into a pocket.† He aimed the weapon carelessly and discharged the round in the breech and then handed the rifle back.† "You keep that, yeah?† Now c'mon - Dru wanted to meet you while the night's all - topsy-turvy."
Towed by the arm as if he were six was fairly humiliating, but the grip on his wrist was like a steel manacle, and Harris was just confused enough - and freaked out enough - to not really care.† The other monsters seemed to be running wild; growling and snarling and attacking anything that moved.† This monster - had a plan.† And a human face and Harris wondered if that was all it took, for him - dress the monster up all pretty and he would be okay?†
*Fuck, he is pretty, isn't he?† Too pretty for 'don't ask, don't tell'...*†† It was something to think about as they strode through the chaos.† Harris wondered briefly if the red-headed girl would be okay, but then - she'd been a ghost, so the monsters probably couldn't touch her.
They made their way over several blocks, the man? ignoring the chaos, Harris wishing he could have his ammo clip back.††† They went into a park and a woman ran past screaming, being chased by several monsters.† The man made no move to help - he just flicked the butt of his cigarette into the sand-pit and dragged Harris on, towards the swing-sets.††† A woman was swinging on the center one, her long white dress flaring and floating around her, her hair just sweeping the ground as she leaned back and pumped up , going impossibly high.
"Spike!† Watch, Spike!† Oh, watch!"
"I'm watching, poppet!†† Touch the moon, you will," the man - Spike - called, settling against the side of a slide and watching the woman.† She swung higher and higher and then suddenly she was flying.† Harris flinched, but she'd simply leapt off the swing.† She landed gracefully and twirled once or twice, then made her way over to them.† She seemed to glide - to dance - as if she didn't quite touch the ground and Harris thought that she looked like a Fairy queen.† She got up close to them and reached out to trace one finger lightly down the barrel of the rifle.†
*Dru.† He called her Dru.*
"Oh, is this the cuckoo?† But he's so fierce now!† Like a bulldog."† Dru made a little growling noise, snapping her teeth and Harris had to smile.††† "You see, Spike?† He smiles.† I told you - hatch this egg and you'll get something so special.† Something to rival the stars."† Dru looked up at the night sky, her arms out, revolving slowly.† "Something to rival...me."† She stopped dead, lowering her head and looking at him and Harris stopped smiling.† She looked....
"Now pet, no one will ever rival you.†† We're destined to be together forever, love."† Spike sounded faintly worried and the woman didn't move - and suddenly she did and her face was warped all out of true and Harris was slammed back hard into the ladder of the slide, head ringing and a sharp pain shooting through his back and elbow and head where it had connected.† Her hands were on his shoulders, her nails digging in painfully.
*What is she?† God, she - fangs - is he the same?† Oh shit.*
"No, no, not so, Spike...† Oh, take him away?† Why would you take him away?"† Dru's inhuman face snarled, baring sharp fangs and Harris looked wildly for Spike, panting.† God, she was strong, so strong.
"Dru, sweet, I'm not going anywhere -"
"I promise - promise I don't want to take - take him anywhere -"†
"Quiet, cuckoo, no-one wants to hear you sing."†† She glared at him, then abruptly her face smoothed out - went back to the narrow, pretty human features and she stepped back, a sly smile twisting up the corners of her mouth.††† "The red witch.† She'll poison you - she'll make it all better."† She turned away, her hands going out to stroke Spike's arm.††† "Spike - where's daddy?† You said we'd go find him tonight."† Dismissed from her attention as if turned off, Harris sagged back against the ladder, barely noticing Spike's hand on his wrist, hauling away again.
"He's round about somewhere, love."† Spike started walking, back out of the park.† "Got the Slayer to protect, doesn't he?† Like you said - she's weak tonight."†
"She's dreaming she's a princess tonight, but she hasn't got a fur slipper to her name.† Or a pea," Dru added, nodding seriously, and Spike took her hand in his and gave Harris' arm a jerk.†
"Keep up, Yossarian.† People to kill, mayhem to commit."
"It's Harris," he muttered, hitching his rifle up onto his shoulder.† If he got out of this in one piece he was going to request a transfer.
"See, Spike?† He's not on the side of the devils, anymore, he's on the side of the angels.† Grandmamma should have chosen a different name."† Dru was looking unhappy, twisting a fold of her skirt in her fingers and Harris shifted uneasily, not liking the press of Spike's body all down his back, or the iron-hard arm that circled his ribs.
"Suppose she should have, pet."† Cool mouth brushing over his ear - cool, smoke-tinged breath.†† "Now, see there?†† He should be taking that bint out, not....cozening her," Spike murmured, and Harris wondered what 'cozening' meant.† They were watching a big, dark-haired guy fight off several kid-monsters while a girl in a 'princess' dress and one in a cat-suit cowered against a wall.† The cat-suit girl had a piece of pipe that she'd found somewhere and was brandishing it in shaking arms.† The princess crouched beside her, looking faint.† The red-headed ghost girl *Glad to see she's okay!* was flitting around through the monsters and trying to distract them.† The big guy took a bad hit and fell to one knee, his forehead bleeding and all of a sudden the princess stood up and flung off her wig and joined the fight and -
*Oh my god!† Buffy - Willow!*†† Xander tried to run to them but an arm - *Fuck!† Spike and...and Dru!*† was squeezing the air out of his lungs and a cold, smooth hand had clamped across his mouth.† He heard his plastic-again gun clatter to the ground but Buffy and Angel were doing their best to console seven hysterical trick-or-treaters and Cordy was complaining loudly about a tear in her costume and none of them noticed.†† Willow had disappeared.
"Now he comes back to himself.† Shall we take him home and give him tea, Spike?† Cakes and tea and water-cress sandwiches, just like Mummy made for when the vicar came by...† Daddy smashed all her pretty tea-cups."† Dru shot a smoldering look of hate at Angel and Spike tugged Xander back further into the shadows, pulling him backwards down the alley and away from the warehouse.
"I think we'll have to give him tea another time.† Did you see, Dru?† Angel's gone over.† We'll have to get him away from the Slayer before we can make you well."† Spike finally let go his crushing hold and dropped his hand and Xander gasped, hand to his ribs.† Drusilla was examining the moon's reflection in a pane of broken glass, her eyes wide.
"Fuckin' tryin' to kill me or what?" he wheezed, and Spike smirked at him.
"Better ways to do it than that, cuckoo.† Is that all Angelus does these days?† Follow the Slayer around like a little whipped dog?"
"Well, that and lurk in the shadows.† Look - I didn't tell anybody where you were staying; can't you just - just grab him and get out of town?"† Spike reached over and pulled him close, arm around him again but this time caressing instead of squeezing, and Xander shivered.† He felt the slow kindling of arousal start in his groin; heat spreading out and making him sweat - making him go very, very still.
"Why don't you come with us, pet?† I think you'd like the vampire life.† Could show you all kinds of things..."
"No!† No.† I - I don't think -"
"Don't need to think," Spike purred, and his cool hands slipped inside Xander's jacket and under his tank top, sliding slowly up and down his ribs and over his belly.† Making him shudder, making him feel...cold.† Cold and hot and tingling, like that peppermint soap Willow liked, and Xander let his head fall slowly forward until it was resting on Spike's shoulder.† "Just feel, love.† Feel this..."† Spike's thigh, slipping between his and Spike's cock, hard through his jeans, pressing against Xander's.††† Xander pushed into him unthinkingly - gripped the slick leather of the duster in his fists and took a ragged breath of the mingled scents of leather and iron, earth and smoke and something musky and sweet, like incense.
"Why would you want me to come with you?† You don't like me...† Giles says -"
"How do you know what I like?† And Giles...†† Your Giles doesn't know anything.† Not like my Dru.† Isn't that right, poodle?"
"Never look into a mirror after midnight, cuckoo," Drusilla said, very close - too close - and Xander flinched away from her hand on the back of his neck, petting the getting-long hair there.
"Why shouldn't I?" Xander whispered, and Dru laughed, soft.
"You'll see things you don't want to see, little pretty."† Abruptly her voice changed tone, to wheedling child.† "I want to go home, Spike.† Walk me home?"
"Of course, darling," Spike said.† His fingers found Xander's chin and tipped his head up - kissed him slow and deep.† An owning sort of kiss, and Xander bucked helplessly into the grind of Spike's body against his.† "Could have hunted your Slayer down, tonight," Spike murmured, pulling away and trailing soft little nibbles along Xander's jaw.† "Could have had my third Slayer easy as that.† But you kept your word, and I kept mine.† Just like someone with a soul, yeah?"† Xander could hear the laughter in Spike's voice but then sharp teeth - like icicles - were prickling over his throat as Spike mouthed the point of Xander's thundering pulse and Xander forgot all about the laughter.† Forgot that Dru's hand was still there, absently caressing the nape of his neck like you would a dog.
"Would you get your soul back, if you could?" Xander asked, and Spike pulled back and looked at him, his eyes gleaming in the moon light, the slopes and shadows of his cheeks and the sharply angled brows making him look like a pen-and-ink sketch brought to life.
"Don't need it now, do I, cuckoo?† I've got my lovely dark Princess, and we love each other like no mortal does...† I don't need a soul to love, and I donít need a soul to do this..."† Another kiss, and then Spike was pulling away - letting him go - and Dru was trailing her thumb lightly over Xander's lower lip.† And then they were walking away, her arm tucked in his, his bright head bent down to her dark one, soft laughter floating back.† It didn't actually feel like they were laughing at him, and Xander wanted to chase after them.†† But he didn't.
Going to find Giles or Buffy seemed pointless now and anti-climactic, so he headed home.†† He idly kicked a shattered jack-o'-lantern into the gutter, hands shoved deep into his pockets, head down.†† He really had wanted to go after the vampires, but now he wasn't sure why.† It just seemed...easier.† Spike - could take care of him, like he took care of Dru.† *But who says he would?†† He's just trying to...get to Angel and hasn't figured out yet that I'm not...anybody*†† But god, Spike's hands, and his mouth...his voice that told him things...things he wanted to hear.†† *Things nobody else says, except...*
"Willow, hey!"††† Xander jogged across the street to a funky, zebra-striped van that Willow was standing next to - a Willow in a short skirt and shorter top and wow.† "Willow, you look - hot!"†† Willow ducked her head, smiling, and the guy in the van smiled, too.†† *Oz, that's that guy Oz.† Cordelia's been hanging out with his friend...† He's like...cool.*†† "Hey, uh, Oz."†† The guy just bobbed his head, spikey red-gold hair and a ladder of black leather thongs - bracelets - up his arms.
"Xander, are you okay?†† What happened?† You ran off and I had to get Giles and Angel had to rescue Buffy and Cordelia, my god, did you see what she was wearing?† And - and it was that guy at the costume store, Ethan!† Giles said he knew him and -"†† Willow paused as Oz put his hand out of the open van window and on to her arm.
"Hey, Willow, I think Xander's okay," he said, crooked little smile and a lift of dark brows.
"Yeah, I'm okay.† Are you okay?"† Xander touched her shoulder too - felt the shiver that went through her and the quick, nervous glance she darted at Oz.
"I'm good.† I'm really good.† I was going to - Oz was going to -"
"I'm giving Willow a ride home," Oz said, pulling his hand back.† "Want a ride?"
"Oh, I - ummmm, no, I'm okay, Iím almost home.† Thanks, though."† Willow frowned at him - home was at least eight blocks or more away - but he smiled, and did a little salute, clicking his heels together.† "Good night, Ma'am!" he barked, and Willow giggled.
"Yeah, Halloween, it's - it'll be okay, now that, I mean -"
"Now that the spell on the costumes is gone," Oz said, laughter in his voice, and Willow relaxed marginally.
"Yeah.† Xander - you sure?† It's no trouble."
"I'm sure, Wills.† I just feel like walking.† All those crazy soldier things are still kinda...in here.† I wanna just...think a little."†† They were in there, but they felt natural - felt like they'd always been there, and he was pretty sure he wouldn't have to really think about them much.† But for some reason he didn't want to get in the van.† Didn't want to intrude on the little vibe Willow and Oz seemed to have going.† He walked Willow around to the other door and opened it for her - put out his hand to help her up and she grabbed him in a tight hug.
"Are you sure you're okay?" she whispered, and he hugged her back.
"I'm sure.† Don't stay out too late," he added, grinning, and Willow blushed and climbed up - tugged her skirt down and smiled over at Oz.
"'Night, Xander," Willow said, and Xander waved as the van pulled away, some kind of music starting up with the engine, plinking guitar.† The walk home seemed to take forever.
He stood in the driveway, looking at his house.† The porch light was on and there was a mostly-empty bowl of candy on the top step.† His dad wouldn't allow any actual trick-or-treating - he said the doorbell buzzing all night gave him a headache - but his mom had always put some candy out.† More to keep the house from getting egged, he was sure, than any real wish to get into the spirit of things.† They were shouting in there -his dad's hoarse bellow and his mom's shrill whine, rise and fall with the thud of angry feet and the occasional crash of a thrown object.† He climbed up and sat on the top step, looking down at his hand.† There was a dark mark in the middle of his palm where he'd cut it on that stake.† The stake that had killed Jesse.† Jesse's dust had gotten into the wound and it had healed with a smudge of ashy black, like candle-soot.† *Like a stigmata.† Right there....that's where nails would go.*†† Xander's mom read the Enquirer and the Globe and he'd seen smeary pictures of insipid 'saints' with maybe-real stigmata all his life.†† *Should be on my forehead.† Mark of Cain.† Brother-killer...*†† He shook his head, rubbing slowly at the mark with his thumb.† He was pretty sure Spike and Dru didn't have any guilt over things like that.† He was pretty sure guilt was a soul-thing.† They sure didn't seem to have any problem with killing Angel, who - from what Giles had said - had made Drusilla.† *That's why she calls him Daddy all the time.*
There was a particularly nasty thud from inside, and his mother's voice rose to a wail and Xander hunched a little, closing his eyes.†† Remembering Spike's kiss, and the pressure of those silver-needle fangs.† *Didn't do it, though.† Wonder...what it would be like...*† He ended up climbing the long-denuded trellis in the back yard to his bedroom window, and spent the rest of the night in a state of restless half sleep.† In the morning, he helped his mother sweep up the broken glass and didn't say a word.