Tales to Astonish

by Saber ShadowKitten
Brass Knackers 4

Spike took a final drag from his cigarette as he rounded the side of Xander's house before flicking the butt away. There was almost a bounce to the vampire's step, as there had been for the past few weeks. Clutched in his hand was a Ziplock-bagged present that he couldn't wait to give to Xander.

It had been about a month since Spike had found a kinship with Xander after the events surrounding Dracula's visit to Sunnydale, a month of great sex and growing companionship that Spike wouldn't trade for anything. Well, except for getting the chip out of his head, but that was a given.

Xander's job at the appliance store had ended, making it trickier for Spike to visit with his newfound friend, but they found a chance to be together practically every other night. Spike didn't mind the job change because of the physical effects working construction had on Xander. The brunette was becoming more muscular and confident because he'd found something he was very good at.

Anya was still a sore point for Spike, although he kept his mouth shut about it. She kept eating into Xander's time, leaving less for the vampire to spend with him. Spike wasn't jealous, though. Really.

But Anya wasn't with Xander tonight -- Spike had run into her at the grocer's while he was knicking the Ziplocks and extracted that information from her -- which gave Spike the perfect opportunity to give Xander the prize he'd found at the dump the night the brunette had gotten zapped by the demon. Spike had felt a painful ball form in his chest when Xander had been hit, but the boy had been helped to his feet almost immediately and he looked fine. Spike had explained away the painful feeling as heartburn, despite the fact that malady couldn't happen to a vampire.

Spike descended the steps to Xander's basement "apartment" and knocked on the door. He didn't wait for an answer before turning the knob and pushing the unlocked door open. "Xander, you'll never believe what... I..."

The blond's words trailed off and he blinked several times in disbelief. The basement was empty. Not simply Xanderless, but Xander-furniture-less. There was nothing but a set of storage shelves and the washer and dryer, both of which were in use. There was no mini-fridge, no table, no orange recliner, no television casting a blue-white light on the missing worn-out pull-out sofa where Spike had spent the night with Xander half-laying on top of him. Nothing.

The air Spike didn't really need was sucked out of him, painfully tightening his chest. He took a step further into the empty basement, then another, his eyes searching for the man he expected to find. "Xander?"

A door opened, the overhead light came on and footsteps sounded on the stairs. Spike started towards the stairs. "Xander, where--"

It wasn't Xander. A bitter-looking woman in jeans and a sweatshirt stopped at the bottom of the steps and stared at him without fear. "Who the hell are you?"

"Er... I'm a friend of Xander's," Spike replied. She must be Xander's mother, he thought.

"Xander's gone," Mrs. Harris said in a gravelly alcohol-and-smoke-damaged voice. "And good riddance."

"Gone?" Spike didn't like the sound of that.

"Yeah, gone, as in not here anymore," Mrs. Harris barked. She grabbed a can of coffee off the storage shelf at the foot of the stairs. "Just like you're about to be."

Spike nodded and started for the open door. Questions raced through his mind, and he almost didn't hear what Mrs. Harris muttered as she climbed back up the stairs. Almost.

"If Xander has as many friends at his funeral as have tromped through here the last two days, I sure as hell ain't gonna have a reception afterwards."

It was as if a sledgehammer hit Spike in the chest. His knees shook on his next step, then gave out and he sunk to the cement floor. The Ziplock bag in his hand crinkled from his tightened grip.

In shock, Spike didn't register the fact that the overhead light went off and the door at the top of the stairs slammed shut. He was numb. Two words circled round and round in his head: Xander, funeral... Xander, funeral... Xander, funeral... Xander, funeral...

Unbeknownst to Spike, large, fat tears rolled down his defined cheeks as he stared sightlessly at the partially open basement door. The washing machine cycled and the dryer clunked. The vampire heard neither.

The outer door slowly opened further and a dark-haired vampire cautiously peeked inside. A puzzled expression crossed Angel's face when he spotted Spike. "Spike? What are you doing here?"

Spike didn't answer, nor did he even acknowledge there was anyone speaking to him. Angel saw the tears and a deep frown replaced the questioning look on his face. He entered the basement, having been previously invited by Xander.

Angel crouched down in front of the peroxide blond. He hadn't seen Spike since Thanksgiving, almost a year prior. He knew about the chip in the other vampire's skull, but he didn't think Spike was in good standing with Buffy or her friends.

"Spike," Angel tried quietly, studying the silently crying man before him. He reached out and touched Spike's shoulder. "Spike, what's wrong?"

Spike snapped out of his shock with a jerk. He saw Angel through his blurry eyes. His fingers crinkled the plastic bag again. "Angel?" he questioned in a thick voice.

"Spike, what's wrong?" Angel repeated.

Spike opened his mouth again to speak, but a thin, high-pitched whine came out instead as the numbness abruptly vanished and what he'd heard sunk in. The feelings he'd been denying thrust to the forefront of his mind, and his body began to tremble hard.

Xander was dead.

Spike loved him.

"Z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z," Spike attempted to speak again, but sobs had overtaken him.

Confusion and worry had Angel instantly dropping to his knees and gathering Spike to him. The object in Spike's hand was crushed between them. "Shh, shh, shh," the dark-haired vampire said softly. "I'm here. I've got you. Shh, shh..."

Spike hiccoughed repeatedly, his thin form shuddering in Angel's embrace. He pressed his face against Angel's coat, the material soaking up his freely flowing tears. Grief squeezed his heart in an excruciating vice, and he hoped that it would burst. Then he'd be dust and he wouldn't have to live with the fact that he was in love with Xander and Xander was dead.

Spike suddenly lifted his head and smashed his mouth to Angel's. He wanted to forget. He wanted to feel something other than the pain inside him.

Angel pushed Spike away, gently, but firmly. "Woah, Spike. What are you doing?"

"Just fuck me," Spike pleaded, trying to get close to Angel again.

Angel held fast to Spike, preventing him from moving. "You don't really want that."

"Yes, I do," Spike said quickly. He twisted the Ziplock bagged gift in his hands and quashed another sob that tried to escape. "I do."


"Please," Spike whispered, tears shimmering on his dark lashes as he begged Angel. "Please make it stop."

"I can't make it stop if you don't tell me what's wrong," Angel said.

Spike's vision blurred again, and it felt like a red-hot knife pierced his heart. "Xander's dead," he answered in a voice filled with devastation.

Angel frowned. "But I just saw him at his new apartment."

Spike blinked. "What?"

"I just saw him," Angel repeated, confusion marring his features. "Giles brought me over to his new place to get something I needed that Xander had borrowed. Xander told me he accidently left it here."

"But Xander's mum said he was dead," Spike said. "Why did she say he was dead if he's not dead?"

"I don't know," Angel replied. "But Xander is not dead."

"Oh." Spike's heart tripped. Xander wasn't dead. The man he was in love with wasn't dead. He wasn't dead. "Oh."

Angel looked at Spike thoughtfully. "You're in love with him, aren't you?"

Spike met Angel's eyes, saw the caring and concern in them, and knew instantly that he was, without a doubt, truly in love.

Because he didn't feel a thing for Angel.

"Yes," Spike said, clutching Xander's gift to his chest as it swelled with happiness. "Very much so."

A corner of Angel's mouth quirked. "I feel sorry for you."

Spike scowled. "Oi! That's my lover you're makin' fun of."

"Lover?" Angel's brow went up. "Since when?"

"None of your soddin' business." Spike shook off Angel's hold and stood. "Now, if you don't mind -- and I don't rightly care if you do -- I have a living, breathing, walking, talking, irritating as all hell Xander to kill."

Lifting his chin imperiously, Spike marched through the still open basement door.

Angel had just gotten to his feet when Spike returned and cleared his throat. "Uh, where's Xander's new flat?"


Xander groaned when he heard the knock at the door, the noise breaking the peacefulness of the dark apartment. He was exhausted, having spent the day unpacking his things. He hadn't realized how much crap he actually had until he had to move. All he really wanted to do now was put his feet up in his new living room and listen to the blessed parental-free silence.

The person pounding at his door had other ideas.

With a put-upon sigh, Xander stood, hitched up his ratty, old unbuttoned blue jeans and headed for the door. His bare feet were silent -- and warm! -- on the carpeted floor. He didn't bother to grab the shirt that had been tossed over the counter earlier. It was his apartment, damn it, he could dress how he wanted to in it.

A single glance out the peep-hole made Xander groan again. How the hell had Spike found his new place already? He hadn't seen the bleached moron since the gang had run into him at the garbage dump. The same night that one Xander had become two Xanders, which had been not of the fun.

"Spike, go away," Xander sighed as he opened the door. "I'm tired and Anya has already met my sex-quota for the day."

Xander expected some wheedling, or at least an insult or two about his girlfriend. Instead, Spike stood on the opposite side of the threshold, clutching a Ziplock bag to his chest and staring at Xander as if he were the last piece of chocolate on the face of the earth.

Xander's loose jeans grew a little tighter. Maybe the sex-quota wasn't met.

"Aren't you going to invite me in?" Spike asked huskily.

His voice sent a zing straight to Xander's groin. Sex-quota most definitely not met, the brunette amended as he stepped back, pulling the door further open. "Come in, Spike."

Spike's blue eyes bore into Xander's for a moment before he stepped into the apartment. Xander swallowed back the desire to jump the vampire's bones... at least until after he got the door closed.

"Nice," Spike commented, further entering the newly unpacked apartment.

"Thanks," Xander said over his shoulder. Door shut and locked. And chained because he gave Anya a key. "I'm going to have to work Satur..."

Xander lost his speech capabilities when he turned around. He knew there was a law somewhere that said men weren't allowed to be beautiful. Especially evil undead men.

But handsome didn't begin to describe the vampire standing in his living room. Moonlight filtered through the leaded windows that curved around an entire wall, casting a ethereal glow over Spike's pale features. Shadows deepened the valleys beneath his high cheekbones, making them look sharper, like they were cut from ice. His pale pink lips glistened with moisture from being licked. His white-blond hair softened, capturing the light instead of reflecting it.

He resembled a painting Xander once saw; ironically titled Uppyr -- Vampire.

It had been before Buffy's time, before Xander had learned that monsters really existed. It had been near the end of eighth grade, and he'd gone on a school field trip to some Los Angeles Art Museum. He'd sat with Willow and Jesse on the school bus, hatching plans of mischief to be carried out on their free day from classes.

The painting had been in the fourth gallery, part of a Russian collection from an artist with a name that had no vowels. Xander had glanced upon it casually as he cased the room for places to hide during the afternoon game they'd planned. But his eyes had strayed back to it and his attention caught.

The man in the painting, like Spike, had been bathed in the moonlight, and the black coat he'd worn blew in an invisible wind as he walked down a dark, desolate street. He'd been blond and blue-eyed, as well, and Xander had been drawn by his exquisite beauty.

The fifteen-year-old Xander had reacted to the painting physically and, embarrassed, he'd bolted for the next gallery and the most ugly lady painting he could find. Later, he'd learned from Willow the painting's title and what it meant.

The twenty-year-old Xander reacted to the blue-eyed blond in the living room the same way he had to the painting, but this time he wasn't embarrassed, nor did he run. Instead, he closed the distance between himself and Spike, grabbed the back of the vampire's hair, and crushed their mouths together.

Xander could hear his heavy breathing in the silence of the apartment as he hungrily kissed Spike. It was strange not having -- or needing -- the television or radio on to muffle the sounds of lovemaking from his parents.

Although, come to think of it, he'd had the radio on the past two days during Anya's many orgasms. In fact, he'd used it as a distraction to prolong his own climax to provide those multiple orgasms. He could even go as far to say that he'd never completely focused on Anya the entire time they'd christened the various rooms in the apartment.

There was no radio on now, though, and it was as if simple sounds were amplified. His breathing. The creak of leather as Spike moved his arms. The crinkle of the plastic bag in Spike's hand. The rasp of a calloused palm against skin. The soft, wet, sucking of their mouths moving against one another's.

Xander pulled away first. He took a ragged breath before opening his eyes. His thumb brushed over the back of Spike's hair as he focused on the blond.

Spike was breathing heavily, too, despite it being unnecessary. His lips were swollen and darker pink, and he looked ready to be kissed again.

But his blue eyes were framed with glistening lashes, and shimmering tear tracks ran down the contours of his face.

"Spike?" Xander questioned softly.

Spike shook his head and wiped his cheeks with the back of his hand. He dropped his eyes and cleared his throat, shifting from foot to foot. "I, uh, found something at the rubbish dump that I thought you might like to have."

Xander released him completely, but did not step back. "Oh really?"

"Here." Spike shoved the crumpled Ziplock bag at Xander.

Xander turned the plastic bag over to see the front of whatever Spike had given to him. His eyes widened and his jaw dropped. "Spike, do you... this is... holy shit."

"Sorry it's a bit crumpled," Spike apologized uncomfortably. "It's probably not worth anything, but I thought, you know...," he shrugged, "...you collect comics, and maybe you didn't have that one."

"Spike, this is Marvel's Tales to Astonish #27," Xander breathed in wonderment. "Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby. The first appearance of Ant-Man."

"Right." Spike shoved his hands in his pockets. "I guess you like it."

"Like it? I love it!" Xander stated. "I can't believe you gave this to me. Do you know how much this is worth, even in this condition?"

Spike shrugged again. "Don't know. Don't really care. It's just a piece of rubbish I picked up."

"Wow." Xander held the plastic bag reverently. "Are you sure you don't want to sell it?"

"I'm sure."

"Spike, I don't know what to say." Xander raised his eyes from the bag and met Spike's uncomfortable gaze. "Thank you."

"Whatever," Spike responded, dropping his chin to stare at the floor.

"Man, I bet someone's really pissed at their mom for throwing this out," Xander commented as he went to put it on the counter. He shook his head in amazement as he laid the bag down. "This is so wow."

"Why did your mum tell me you were dead?"

The question came so far out of left field that Xander whipped around and banged his elbow on the edge of the countertop. "Wh-ow- what?"

Spike had moved to the windows, his back to Xander as he looked out over the street. "You didn't tell me you were leaving your parents' house. I stopped by there, and your mum was talking about your funeral."

"Did she say I was dead or was she just talking about my funeral?" Xander asked.

"Funeral," Spike replied. "But either way, I..."

"You thought I was dead," Xander completed. He sighed. "Great going, mom."

Xander heard a sniff and he frowned in Spike's direction. A second sniff and quick hand movements to wipe cheeks prompted Xander to move. Was Spike crying?

"Hey," Xander said quietly, sliding his arm around Spike's shoulders as he stopped beside the blond. "Is everything okay?"

Spike tried to shrug off Xander's arm as he half-turned his back to the boy. "Everything's peaches 'n cream."

Xander knew Spike was lying through his fangs. "You know, my parents don't think I'm going to survive living on my own," the brunette said. "That's probably what my mom meant when she was talking about funeral arrangements."

Spike's laugh bordered on hysterical. He pulled away from Xander and headed for the door. "Don't fool yourself into thinking that I'd care if you were dead. I'd be the one dancing a bloody jig at your gravesite."

"You're a real jackass, you know that?" Xander folded his arms across his chest and glared at Spike's back, any and all sympathy for the vampire having flown out the proverbial window. "A Grade-A asshole."

"Fuck you very much," Spike said over his shoulder.

"I'd rather screw Angel," Xander retorted scathingly.

Spike spun around, his coattails snapping. "Don't you fucking dare."

Xander narrowed his eyes at the challenge. "I'm sure I can still catch him before he leaves town. He gave me his cellphone number..."

Spike roared, his face changing as he charged at Xander. Xander rolled his eyes and side-stepped, using the move that he'd learned from the vampire himself. Xander grabbed the back of Spike's duster before he could hit the thick windows and tossed him onto the carpeted floor.

Xander pressed his bare foot against the middle of Spike's leather-clad back, pinning the vampire to the floor. Arms crossed again, he glared down at Spike. "What the hell is your problem?"

"My problem is you!" Spike snarled. He abruptly rolled away from Xander and jumped to his feet.

Xander inhaled deeply, reining in his anger before he spoke. "You know what? I don't care," he began. "I don't have to put up with your crap. I don't even like you. You're just a good lay to me." He pointed toward the door. "There's the door. Make sure it hits you on your way out."

Spike's features melted back to human and he sneered, his blue eyes spitting fire. "Goodbye, Xander." The way he said it made the words sound more like a curse than a salutation.

Xander watched Spike stalk towards the door. An inner voice told the brunette that, once Spike walked out of the apartment, he'd never see the vampire again.


Spike was at the door, yanking on the chain.

Not good.

Xander was upon Spike instantly. He spun the blond and crushed Spike's mouth under his, forcing his tongue between surprised lips. Damn the vampire!!

Xander shoved Spike's duster off his shoulders and it fell to the floor with a shush of the material. The brunette pulled Spike's tee-shirt from his jeans and broke the kiss only long enough to remove it. Xander's jeans followed suit.

Spike's fingers dug into Xander's lower back and he ground his hips against the other man's. Xander dragged his fingernails down from Spike's shoulders over his pectorals to his nipples, leaving red welts. The brunette pinched the hard nipples, eliciting a throaty whimper from Spike.

Xander ripped his mouth from Spike's and dropped to his knees. He quickly worked the laces of Spike's Docs, then moved back up to Spike's belt as the blond toed off his boots. The buckle and buttonfly of Spike's jeans were undone in rapid succession and Xander yanked the denim down and off.

Spike's freed length wept and Xander wasted no time in licking the salty wetness away. The vampire moaned and rapped his head against the door. "Xanderrrr..."

Xander put his hands on Spike's hips and engulfed the blond's throbbing manhood. His tongue lashed the underside of the cool hardness in his mouth.

The door screeched under Spike's fingernails as he dragged them across the painted wood. "Oh hell, Xander... yes... right like that...," he babbled in a raspy voice as Xander sucked him. "Ohhhh fuck... please... Xannn..."

Blunt teeth slid across hard flesh. Saliva dripped from between stretched lips. Wet, messy sucking accompanied the accented litany of words.

"Shit, coming, coming, coming, coming...," Spike repeated over and over, his feet sliding in the puddle of clothing at his feet as he pushed up on his toes.

Xander held fast as Spike bucked against him. Lukewarm jism filled his mouth as the vampire let out a garbled cry of pleasure. Xander swallowed quickly, the bittersweet semen coating his throat as it went down his gullet. The member between his lips pulsed six times in total, shooting its thick load into his mouth.

When no more of the viscous fluid was forthcoming, Xander released Spike's cock and sat back on his heels. He hocked several times before spitting into his hand and spreading the slimy substance over his waiting erection.

"Wrap your arms around my neck," Xander murmured to Spike after he'd stood. The younger man's biceps bulged as he hoisted the vampire up, using the door for support. After a little jostling and some struggle, Xander slid home.

Xander's eyes rolled and his eyelids fluttered as he was encased in the velvety warmth of Spike's body. His breathing was ragged as he sought for control before he exploded.

"Aw, fuck it," Xander growled, bringing his hips back before thrusting back into Spike. Spike's inner muscles spasmed around Xander's cock and Xander groaned low and long.

The brunette set a quick, steady pace, his hands holding Spike's asscheeks stretched apart as he thrust in and out of the vampire. Spike's lower back thumped rhythmically against the door, the hollow sound filling the entryway and ringing up and down the outer hall.

Xander buried his face against Spike's neck, his eyes screwed shut as he fucked the blond. Spike's arms were tight around his neck and cold heels dug into his back. A low rumbling undercut the thumping, and Spike's chest vibrated with the sound.

"Nneeaaaggghhhh." Xander's world disintegrated into white shooting stars that flashed across the backs of his eyelids. He spilled himself deep inside Spike's grasping channel, his orgasm seeming to go on forever. Never had he felt anything as good -- as perfect -- as coming inside Spike. It was as if Spike was made to be filled by Xander specifically.

Xander shuddered and fell still, panting heavily against Spike's pale neck. His heart hammered in his chest and was accompanied by the deep rumbling coming from the vampire. It took a minute or five for Xander to comprehend what he was hearing. When he did, a wide smile spread across his face and he chuckled softly. Spike was purring like a motorboat.

Raising his head, Xander chuckled again at the absolute contentment expressed on Spike's face. He dropped a quick kiss on the tip of the blond's nose, pulled his softening cock free from Spike's body and lowered the vampire to his feet.

Spike blinked several times and the purring tapered off. A goofy grin replaced the contented expression. "Make-up sex is fun."

Xander threw his head back and laughed. "Gods, Spike, what am I going to do with you?" he asked after he calmed down.

"Love me?" Spike replied with a wide-eyed, childish look.

Xander pulled Spike's arms from around his neck. "I was thinking more along the lines of bathing you."

Spike stuck his lower lip out and batted his eyelashes. "Love me?" he repeated.

"And feeding you," Xander added with a knowing grin.

The childishness disappeared and a serious Spike stared intently at Xander. "Love me?"

Xander's smile faded and he blinked several times. Oh my effing god, he thought. Spike wasn't joking. "Spike, I don't even like you."

"So?" Spike said.

"So, I think you'd better leave," Xander said. He scooped up his jeans and headed into the living room to put them on.

By the time he turned around again, the door was wide open and Spike was gone.