All I Need
It wasn’t until he walked into the bar that he noticed the scent… that wonderful, thick, rich scent from the night before. The scent that even now had him wanting nothing more than to roll around in it, cover himself from head to toe and nearly drown in it.
He stopped, standing entirely still but for the subtle flaring of his nostrils as he tried to place it, or baring that, trace it to its source.
Long, tanned fingers flexed at his sides without conscious direction and he growled low and deep in his chest as that blissful aroma washed over him, coming from one direction more than any other and he growled again, a little bit louder, when his eyes followed and found only one being, one form that it could be coming from.
‘Spike,’ the spirit within him nearly purred.
‘Not Spike,” he answered silently, ‘Something else but not Spike.’ And how would the damned hyena know, anyway? It had been long gone by the time the vampire had set foot in Sunnydale.
He wasn’t entirely sure of how long he’d been standing there staring but apparently it had been long enough that the oh-so-familiar head cocked in a dearly recalled way, cool blue eyes staring at him from beneath arched brows.
“Fuck. Bloody buggering fuck,” Xander sighed, finally uncurling his fingers and slowly moving towards the blond.
“Hey,” he said quickly by way of greeting, “Sorry about that. You just… looked familiar for a second there.”
He’d watched the not-human shape that mimicked his friend enter the bar. Watched as it suddenly became more still than Xander Harris had ever managed even while asleep or knocked out, and he would know… watched the creature filter the smells around it and there was no question in his mind. Whatever it was, wherever it had come from, it was not his Xan. Of course, no one who knew Xander would think it was. The clothing alone screamed… wrong.
“Not many blonds in these parts,” he finally replied, fingers clenching tightly around the bottle in his hand. “Guess it’d be easy ta see one an’ think it was someone ya knew. Cheers, mate.”
Xander swallowed hard. The impostor even had the voice right. It was… amazing.
“Uh, Alexander Harris,” he said quickly, “From California.” He’d be damned if he let this thing call him Xander. Hell, he thought it might… hurt to hear his name coming from what appeared to be his old friend but clearly wasn’t.
“William Sangriento. Will. English.” He said with a slight nod at the stool beside his, “But I’ve spent a bit of time in LA.”
“Yeah. Well, obviously with the English, right? Um, Sangriento? That’s… Spanish, right? You don’t really look… never mind. None of my business, right? And genetics? Does all kinds of weird stuff anyway. I don’t think anyone really understands it, but… okay, stopping now.”
Xander felt himself blushing and raised a hand to the bartender, nodding at the beer tap a few feet away. Fuck. Less than five minutes with something that just looked like Spike and he was making a fool of himself. William? What the fuck. And how not subtle was that last name? Sangriento. Like that wasn’t Spanish for ‘bloody’. Whatever it was sitting beside him, it wasn’t as smart as the vampire it was pretending to be.
His nostrils flared slightly as the wonderful scent from earlier became suddenly bitter but no less amazing. What the hell?
The fact that it had almost given him a Xander-babble pissed him off no end. Of course, he couldn’t let this demon or whatever it was know that, so Spike forced himself to smile and not rip the thing’s head off on general principles.
“Yah. Genetics,” was all he said, sipping his beer and signaling for another. This was going to be harder than he’d thought. ‘It’s not Xander,’ he reminded himself quickly. ‘No matter what it looks like, it’s not him. It doesn’t even know that he calls himself Xander, for fuck’s sake.’
“So,” the brunette said after sipping the beer that was placed before him, “What brings you to beautiful northwest Uganda? Gorillas? The falls?” And that wasn’t fucking awkward. “Or did you just want to get away from it all, whatever ‘it all’ is…” Lamer and lamer, damn it.
Another snort. “Somethin’ like that, Alex. It’s Alex, yah? Or do ya prefer th’ full-on formal Alexander, mate?” Bloody hell, he couldn’t do this. He hated it. Sitting here talking to this thing that wasn’t his friend… but somehow almost was. It was eerie, spooky, and any number of other things that shouldn’t be bothering him what with the whole vampires being spooky thing, but bloody fucking hell, he didn’t like it.
“So, bloke. How ‘bout you? What’s brought ya ta the ends of soddin’ civilization, then?”
“I like the beer,” Xander deadpanned, taking another sip of the mentioned substance. “Best beer in the world and you can only find it here.”
Blue eyes rolled. “Must be from a special keg, then. Tried it last week. Tasted like yak urine.”
A high-pitched almost nervous sounding laugh came from the brunette before being swallowed back with the next sip.
“Do I even want to know how you know what yak piss tastes like? Because I gotta say…” Xander blinked then shook his head. “I was gonna say gross, but then again, I’ve probably had worse things in my mouth during the last two years alone so never mind.”
Fuck. The bloody thing did know his Xan. Had to because that had been a completely Xander thing to say. Even the way the words came out. It was… fucking infuriating.
“Doubt it,” the vampire said, trying to sound calm even while soul and demon both were itching for a piece of the fucking prick. “Ya don’t look like you’ve lived rough much, mate. Not in that eight hundred dollar suit of yours, anyway.” And he would know. He had one just like it in his closet back in LA. Angel had insisted that he have something ‘nice’ in case he ever had to meet with clients.
The hyena growled softly, so much so that it was barely a vibration. “Yeah, well you know what they say, Will. Looks can be deceiving.” It took a huge effort but somehow he managed not to shoot an accusing glare at the blond.
Spike released one irritated breath and nodded. “Ya got that right… Alex,” he said, tone matching the other man’s perfectly. “Generally if it looks to good ta be true, it is.” And that definitely included the not-human, not-Xander thing beside him.
“Right. Well. Looks like my friends are here, so I’ll just…”
“Wait,” the blond sighed and lied like a cheap rug. “Sorry, mate. ‘s not you. Just had a bloody frustrating day an’ I’m guessin’ you did too. What say we try this again, ‘ey?” And hopefully the demon-whatever would take the supposed olive branch because he really did need to find out what had happened to the real Xander Harris.
A slow, considering nod later, Xander held out his hand. “I’m Alex. From California originally but I’ve been living here in Africa for a couple years. Uh, not usually anywhere as nice as this, though.” And thank God the Spike-alike had stopped him because he’d been about to fuck himself and Spike over by walking away from this thing that was using his friend’s face and burning the bridge behind him.
“Will,” Spike answered, shaking the hand gingerly to keep himself from crushing it and demanding answers. “Outta London an’ lately Los Angeles. City of Angel…s. Angels.”
And at least it was a start.
* * * * * * * * *
He wouldn’t say it was comfortable, but not because the impostor had it all wrong. In fact, he’d found himself taking to the blond as though he really was the vampire he looked like a few times. And then of course, he’d remember that he—it—wasn’t and his heart would feel crushed for just a second.
It would have been so easy to believe, but one thing Xander had given up since he’d first stepped off the plane after Sunnydale had collapsed was lying to himself and while he desperately craved the comfort of believing, he couldn’t allow himself the luxury. It got harder with each drink, though.
He found himself focusing almost entirely on the full, pink lips, too pale to truly be called red, watching the curve and the divot in the top one as the blond formed words. Spike had always had a beautiful mouth although he’d never told the vampire that, afraid he’d be accused of lusting after him or something… especially after they’d watched ‘Deliverance’ that time. ’You got a real purty mouth…’ He almost laughed. Yeah, Spike would have said he was lusting.
And maybe he had been, in his own way, but it hardly mattered these days. Life had been different back then. He had been different. More innocent but also more… uptight.
He’d had the so-called ‘benefit’ or watching whole villages die since then, seeing disease sweep like wildfire through hundreds, leaving only the truly strong behind. He’d seem people he considered friends reduced to small reddish smears with not even a solid fragment of bone remaining after an elephant stampede, watched unbearably young girls die trying to bring their own children into the world, and…
And he’d learned to take comfort where he found it, to take whatever small pleasures came his way without worrying beyond making sure condoms were in evidence. And ultimately, he’d found himself.
Looking at this version of the vampire he’d known, he silently admitted that if this were the true Spike, he might have made some sort of a move. Hell, he would have had to.
But it wasn’t, and he didn’t, and he talked and tried to act natural and did his damnedest not to seem like he hated the creature who’d stolen his friend’s face and body and now flaunted them like a particularly vicious taunt.
He smiled and he joked and inside he just felt… sick. And lost. And like a traitor because he so desperately wanted to believe.
‘Not Spike, not Spike, not Spike,’ he chanted silently, even the spirit of the beast joining in although he could sense that it didn’t understand why it shouldn’t want the creature it was drawn to just as much as Xander was drawn to Spike… the real Spike. The Spike who was nothing more than a memory and a few flecks of dust beneath millions of tons of rubble that had once been a town.
He was crying inside, dying inside, but he’d never let anyone see. Not ever. It wasn’t as though anything could be done about it, after all, and… it had been easier without that face staring so intently into his own. Easier to… not forget, but step back. Not feel it so clearly.
He wondered for a moment how Spike would have felt if their positions were reversed, then pushed the thought away. Spike would have let it go about five minutes after Xander died, he was sure. The vampire had always been a ‘live in the moment’ kind of guy.
Xander still envied him that.
Three days. Or rather three nights.
Nights spent meeting up with Alex in the bar and just… hanging about chatting.
He almost felt like he was betraying Xander. But of course he would feel that way. It was what he got for actually enjoying the creature’s company, wasn’t it?
He wasn’t any closer to finding out what had happened to the human the being was aping, though, and maybe that was why it felt like betrayal.
Hell, he could almost believe it really was the young man, aside from the extra eye and that not-right smell… and the clothes. He couldn’t forget the clothes that constantly reminded him that he’d never truly appreciated the young man’s appeal.
Still, Spike found himself doubting that whatever it was he’d been spending time with would have hurt the man. Not that it didn’t have the ability to cause grievous bodily injury because he could tell the creature wasn’t the sort to be shy about doing what needed to be done, but…
He shrugged to himself and sipped his drink.
There was just something about Alex that made him believe that he’d never unnecessarily harm another being. Not even the human whose face and body it had stolen.
He had moments when he wondered whether Giles was right and if Alex really was Xander Harris, but… he couldn’t get past the eye and the smell.
One more night, he figured. One more night of faux friendship and one more day of cruising the internet demon sites until he felt like his eyes were going to explode gobbets of blood and tissue onto the screen and he’d do it.
He’d do the one thing he’d promised himself he’d never do.
He’d call Angel for help and see whether the vast resources of Wolfram and Hart could find out what he couldn’t on his own.
He sipped again, ignoring the fact that it was a good twenty minutes past the time the bloke—or whatever—usually met him, just as he ignored the fact that his eyes had been locked on the doorway for that entire time.
“Where the bloody fuck is he?” he growled, ignoring his concern as well.
* * * * *
Xander was running late. He knew he was. Hell, he’d been running late all day and between trying to catch up with himself and still needing to do ordinary things like eat, bathe, dress and so on, his original five minutes behind had turned into a half an hour.
Not that he had anywhere he specifically need to be, he reminded himself as he pulled the slightly sparkly copper shirt over his head and tucked it into the tight black trousers he’d chosen to wear, but… he’d made his own internal schedule before turning in the night before and he hated to have it as screwed up as it was right then.
He blamed it on the unintentional nap he’d ended up taking out by the pool earlier.
His feet stomped almost desperately into the shoes he had ready and with a quick grab he found his room key and was out the door. Tonight was the night, he figured.
Tonight he’d find out what the surprisingly not-evil Spike-alike was up to.
Hell, he’d spent enough time with it to have a fair idea of its intentions and he couldn’t believe that it was up to anything that would make the original owner of its face and body cringe… even after the soul.
He spared a quick glance for the watch on his wrist and growled softly, choosing the stairs for speed yet again.
How was it that he was always rushing around for Spi… Will, he wondered before pushing the thought away and striding across the lobby to the bar.
His slight sense of worry evaporated completely as he saw the blond in their usual spot, obviously unconcerned by his tardiness.
“Just goes to show,” he whispered to himself, “You’re getting way too invested here. He couldn’t care less.”
Still, he plastered a smile on his face as he went to his bar stool, taking a sip of the beer the bartender set down as he sat.
“So… have a good day, Will?” he asked quickly, followed immediately by “Dozed off in the sun for a while. Sorry I’m late.”
* * * * *
Spike shrugged, not entirely sure about why his body suddenly felt more relaxed than it had mere moments earlier. “Not bad, ta tell ya true… an’ ya do look like ya got a bit more sun than usual.”
A frown. “Oh, sorry. I forgot about your uh… allergy. Didn’t mean to rub it in.” Xander sighed, shaking his head. “Hey, I saw this brochure today. The hotel does moonlight tours of the falls. I… well, I thought it might be the kind of thing you’d like, y’know? Uh, unless you have some business or something, there’s one tomorrow night…” Subtle, he congratulated himself. Good way to find out what ‘Will’ was up to.
One dark brow arched suddenly. “Business? Nah, mate. No ‘business’. On bloody holiday, aren’t I?” And in no way was he going to interpret the brunette’s words as asking him out. If it had been the real Xander, he might have considered it, but… that Xander was straight. Hell, that Xander would have been too busy giving him grief for coming to a place with so much sun on purpose to even bother looking for something they could do together after dark.
“An’ isn’t that a couples sorta thing, mate? Unless we’re datin’ an’ ya didn’t bother tellin’ me.” Spike smirked, keeping his tone teasing and light, entirely unprepared for the sudden burst of musky scent that tickled his nose. Well, well… the impostor wanted him. Hardly surprising but… “Bloody hell.”
And why was his heart tripping a mile a minute, Xander wondered. He didn’t want the not-Spike. He didn’t! He might—possibly—want the real Spike, but since he was dead it didn’t much matter, right? Right, he answered himself. Besides, even when he’d been alive, Spike hadn’t been interested. Not that he’d have taken him up on it even if he had been, but still.
“Dating? Who’s dating?” He looked around as though he was trying to figure out who Will was talking about then shrugged, blushing slightly when he smelled his own interest in the air. “Damn, that girl’s hot,” he added, trying to salvage the situation just in case he wasn’t the only one who’d noticed his scent.
Spike frowned, following the brown gaze to a petite and curvy redhead who was swaying languidly at the far edge of the dance floor. Right. Alex wanted someone but it for damned sure wasn’t him. “Yah,” he finally allowed, wondering why he was suddenly so… disappointed. “Not bad at all, mate.”
* * * * *
Two hours later and Spike was facing away from the bar, the edge digging slightly into his back as he prepared himself for a good laugh. That same stunning chit from earlier had finally approached and asked Alex to dance. Should be amusing, he figured, eyes locked on the young couple as the next song began.
“Bloody hell… Nine Inch Nails. Love this one,” he murmured, softly singing along You let me violate you….
And if he’d truly harbored any doubts about the dark haired man’s identity, seeing him dance would have eliminated them. The bloke was slick and sleek, his body shifting ever-so-subtly with the music to create a seamless, sensuous picture. He moved with the girl, brushed against her, hands skimming over far too much exposed and tanned skin…
Bloody hell, the thing was coming as close to having sex in public as could be managed while fully clothed and upright.
Spike growled low and deep in his chest, fingers tightening around his beer bottle until he felt more than heard the small crackling of stress fractures in the glass just under the music.
He turned slightly, setting the abused bottle on the bar before going back to watching the creature who’d stolen his Xan’s face, the same hand clenching tightly as he realized it wasn’t just the bloke and the bloody slut now… another bloke had joined the mix and this one…
Tall, also dark-haired, less toned than the Harris-thing but not bad… wearing t-shirt and jeans and… pressing up against the mock-human’s back.
He waited a moment, fist clenching harder, wondering how badly the whatever was going to hurt the man for horning in on his dance, and that was when he got yet another bit of proof that the being he was watching was definitely not the man it pretended to be because…
Xander Harris would never simply look over his shoulder at an unknown bloke and laugh. He’d never give a dark and inviting smile to a strange man practically humping his back. And he’d for bloody damned sure never pull the chit in front of him closer while he pressed back against the guy behind him.
The vampire snarled, barely managing to keep the demon suppressed. ‘Not our Xan,’ he told it quietly, aware that talking to himself might well be a sign of insanity, ‘not who it looks like.’
It was the sense of ‘don’t care, want’ that had him blinking and swallowing hard.
He was lucky that the soul disagreed, or disagreed enough, anyway, even if it was giving off a similar sense of want although directed at the true Harris and wasn’t that a kick in the jewels?
Had he wanted Xander all this time? He couldn’t have. He would have… would have known, wouldn’t he?
Well, maybe not, he realized. Not when he’d come back from this same continent, his mind a shambles and filled with images of the Slayer and his own past… full of the First and urges he’d been fighting to the best of his ability. And then… everything had been so rushed, too much going on, everything too immediate and panicked under the surface for all of them.
He’d hated watching that bastard take the boy’s eye; he remembered that… and he’d been so bloody… awestruck by the way the bloke had handled it, pushing it aside and moving on, not letting it stop him from doing what needed to be done even when his friends would have pushed him out of harm’s way…
And maybe that was the beginning, he realized. Maybe that was when his admittedly odd affection for the boy had started to become admiration and perhaps… desire, although he hadn’t realized it then.
Of course, the figure he was watching on the dance floor wasn’t the bloke in question, so… he could afford to think about what the sudden hardness in his jeans implied. And maybe it was just the increasing arousal rolling from the Xander-thing. He’d always been sensitive to other peoples’ excitement, after all, although rarely to the point of becoming excited himself.
“Bloody hell. I really am goin’ ta have ta call my Sire… fuck!”
He adjusted himself quickly and stood, catching wide, wicked brown eyes as the threesome still dancing turned. One hand rose, pointing at himself then to the door of the bar and he strode off at the nod he received.
They’d catch up the following night, he knew… and maybe by then Angel would have told him something useful. Like what the thing was and why he was suddenly responding to it so strongly.
* * * * *
Dancing. Dancing was good. Or it was now that he actually knew how. It was a seduction carried out in full view he’d learned, and somehow that idea appealed to him.
Hell, it had been ages since the last time he’d danced… and even longer since he’d enjoyed the actions it imitated. And the Spike-alike was gone, strolling off to God knew where for God knew what reason and that meant he was on his own.
Or not really, he acknowledged as large, strong hands came to rest on his hips, holding him hard against the suggestively moving hips of the man behind him.
He growled softly, still staring deep into the redheaded woman’s eyes, but when the guy leaned in and issued an invitation into his ear, he groaned and nodded. “Another time,” he directed to the woman, “and thanks for the dance.”
He watched her grin, shrug, and move off to find another partner and it was only moments later that he left the bar as well, not following a bleached blond this time but being followed by a tall brunette. And if a part of him that was hidden even from himself wished that same brunette were a certain snarky and truly dead vampire, well, who would know the difference?
Almost to the elevator, Spike stopped in his tracks.
Fine, Alex was busy. Not really an issue, was it?
But what if… what if the bloke got his groove on with one or both of his dancing partners and later those same people ran into the real Xander?
The human would be mortified, Spike knew… not to mention baffled. Especially if the creature ended up shagging the bloke… or being shagged.
Hell, that would make Xander cringe and hide.
And the thought alone had him turning back, wanting nothing more than to save his friend’s reputation.
Of course, that was when he saw the bloke in question leaving the bar with the other bloke and they looked bloody well cozy, at that.
He barely suppressed his growl, forcing his eyes to remain blue, his teeth to remain blunt, his forehead to remain smooth and un-blemished by ridges and dips.
The impostor might be hankering for a lay but that didn’t mean Spike was going to let that happen. Not when it was wearing his Xan’s face.
So he followed them.
Followed them out the back door of the hotel—the one that lead to the pool—then followed more, trailing them to a large boulder beyond the public areas.
He was almost ready to make his move and pull the lip-locked couple apart when he heard the familiar voice speaking as opposed to moaning softly the way it had been doing mere moment before.
* * * * *
The guy was fucking amazing, Xander admitted, pressing the long, lean body roughly against the side of the huge rock he’d hidden behind a few days earlier while spying on Will. His lips were soft, hot, supple… talented, even, and he couldn’t help wondering how they’d feel wrapped around his cock.
His own lips moved harshly, devouring the offered soft wetness with glee until…
He couldn’t do this.
Fuck, even though it had been ages since he’d had the chance to wrap himself in and around anyone at all, he couldn’t quite manage it without feeling an overwhelming sense of wrongness.
It was Will’s fault, he realized.
Even though the thing wasn’t actually Spike, he couldn’t help wishing that it were. And wishing that it were a Spike that wanted him.
All his earlier and years-long denial was swept away in the fast, hard kisses he was sharing with the guy he’d just met, and… Jesus fuck! He wanted Spike! Maybe he always had.
Of course, he told himself consolingly, his lips and tongue still moving wickedly with the other man’s, when Spike had been alive, he-- Xander—had been too tightly wound to even consider being with a man, and once he’d discovered the truth about himself and his sexual… ambiguity… the vampire had been long dead in the permanent sense, but…
“I’m sorry,” he choked out on a gasp, dragging his mouth from the demanding lips, pushing away until he no longer felt the obviously thick and ready cock pressing against his own. “I… you…”
The man blinked and took a few deep breaths. “Not the blond gent you’ve been making time with, right?” he finally said, sighing so softly that it was barely audible. “No worries, mate,” he continued, adjusting himself in his pants with a frown. “Wish you’d said so before, though.”
Xander sighed as his ‘date’ strolled back towards the hotel.
“What the fuck is my problem?” he murmured to himself, watching the man’s ass as he walked away. “Good looking, killer accent, a mouth almost to die for, and I shove him away? I really am a loser.”
And that was when he heard it.
Rustling leaves, feet scrambling against dirt… soft, wheezing breaths as something tried to escape whatever was after it.
His eyes glazed slightly, body tensing as he listened.
Something was being hunted in the trees. Something was panicking, losing ground… and something—some predator—was winning.
A soft, fast shimmer crossed his eyes, casting a subtle green glow against the boulder in front of him and when he smiled again it was sly and a good bit wicked.
‘Hunt,’ the spirit within him demanded quickly, wanting nothing more than to be set loose for once, and on something its host wouldn’t quibble about. ‘Feed.’
“Hunt and feed,” Xander agreed out loud, feet already carrying him towards the tree-line beyond the large clearing the Lodge was centered within. “Yessss…”
* * * * *
What the bloody fuck was Alex up to now? Spike wondered, watching the bloke stalk across carefully tended grass towards the tree line. One minute he’d been snogging the strange git up against a rock and virtually the next, he was apparently on a mission.
Still, it was odd behavior and maybe it would give him a clue about what exactly it was pretending to be his Xan… or so he kept telling himself as he followed the brunette at a distance, frowning as the odd scent of him changed, intensified, became sharper.
He deliberately disregarded the words he’d overheard, except for the last bit. There was no way the creature wanted him, no matter what the fucking poacher thought.
No, he was more fascinated by the ‘hunt and feed’ Alex had murmured as though to someone there but invisible.
Hunt and feed… but the bloke wasn’t a vampire obviously, and most of the demonic types that did those things showed very clear outward signs of their clans, so…
He shrugged, slipping into the trees. One brow arched at the small pile of carefully folded clothes he found a few feet in, placed safely on a fallen tree and held down with Alex’s shoes and an assortment of small rocks. Wouldn’t keep the gorillas from them but then again, Spike figured the bloke’s smell would do that all on its own.
Eyes closing, he held himself entirely still, taking slow breaths for Alex’s scent, ears trained to the trees. ‘That way,’ the demon told him, giving a subtle mental push.
Yeah, that was it, Spike realized, hearing the nearly silent swishing of foliage as something large, strong and fast ghosted through it.
A moment later, his own feet were skimming over covered ground, body ducking, weaving, sliding past all obstacles. He was on a mission, after all, and…
He would find out what it was he was following, see what it was up to. At least then he’d have a better idea of whether his Xander truly was safe somewhere. Yeah.
* * * * *
His heart pounded wildly but pleasantly as he ran, nostrils flaring constantly now as he filtered the scents of the forest, finding and discarding any number of possible prey-scents before fastening on one particular odor. “Tassssty,” he murmured, his lips twisting into a hungry smirk.
His direction shifted, feet deliberately making more noise as he dashed over loose stones, fallen leaves and branches, growling threateningly into the night. It was the best way to get his chosen prey to move in the dark, after all.
And there it was, the spirit within him crowed, catching a glimpse of short, brownish hair-covered hide fleeing along a barely-there path.
His smirk became wider, anticipation singing through every molecule of his body as he gave chase, a high-pitched cackling laugh of pure pleasure springing from his lips. He felt the beast rising, knew it would be satisfied with the meal they pursued, and gave it free rein, experiencing the hunt in fast, sharp flashes and an overwhelming sense of freedom.
flash! leaves and branches, slapping naked skin as they ran, ran, darted, chased…
flash! fear-escape-danger scent, driving him on…
flash! loud, shrieking squeal as he leapt, driving the Cob to the ground, teeth finding and piercing struggling flesh, hot, thick blood pouring into and out of his mouth, covering furless skin, coating his front even as fingers ripped at collapsed, barely twitching flesh, teeth working roughly at gobbets of steaming, rich meat…
Xander wasn’t sure of how long he’d slept after the spirit receded, still rumbling happily within him, but it couldn’t have been long. The small tinge of moonlight that made it through the canopy of leaves and branches above him this close to the resort had barely changed in strength or angle, after all.
He sat up, still feeling pleasantly full and he stretched, working the small twinges of abused muscle to nothing with that one motion.
He supposed he should be feeling some sort of guilt at hunting down the poor animal that way but he just… didn’t. At least this way, the other predators in the forest would consume what he’d left and he couldn’t say the same for the steaks he’d bought in butcher shops for years. The Cob, small deer that it was, was natural prey for the lions, leopards and other hunters in these parts, anyway.
One hand roamed over the still slightly sticky blood covering his chest and he felt the hyena rise again. ‘Good hunt, good prey,’ it whispered in the back of his mind, ‘want more…’.
“Later,” he told it, licking his lips slowly. “We’re full now. Fed.”
The beast started to agree then tensed, and Xander found himself suddenly on his feet, back to a rock formation as another predator approached. Another unnatural predator, they realized, growling low and warningly as the unexpected threat stepped into view.
Well, well… and hadn’t that been interesting… not to mention enlightening.
Whatever Alex was, he was definitely vicious. Had a real bloodlust buried under the Xander-face and body.
He’d followed the bloke once he’d caught up with him, watching as he’d ducked and slipped through the forest as though it was something he’d been doing all his life. And maybe he had, Spike realized.
The mock-human had been stunning, though; he had to admit that much. Fast, obviously dangerous, sleek and smooth… and the way he’d taken that animal down had been… awe-inspiring.
Spike shivered in admiration at the memory. Dark, thick blood smelling of shock and fear coating tanned skin, running in buckets over toned, flexing muscles… long, strong fingers tearing at steaming flesh, teeth and lips covered in it, chin dripping as chunks of meat were shoveled into that mouth and swallowed down with lustful abandon…
His demon was smitten, he knew, delighted and impressed by the vicious ravaging he’d witnessed. Even his soul had admitted to a certain degree of fascination, something about the sheer pleasure rolling from Alex in palpable waves announcing that the bloke wasn’t evil but was simply doing what his kind—whatever that was—did.
He’d watched the feeding, followed when the creature slinked off to rest, and he’d still watched, eyes unable to stop roaming the red-streaked skin while Alex lay insensible for almost an hour.
He’d tried to ignore his own desire, tried to pretend the demon wasn’t begging to possess this wild, dangerous being, although with little success. Bad enough that he’d realized his desire for Xander, but here was this thing looking just like him for the most part and it was strong enough, wild enough, to hold its own with an amorous vampire and…
“Bloody fuckin’ hell,” Spike whispered to himself as the sleeping figure twitched, turned, sat and stretched, the long, lean muscles shifting and flexing under blood-soaked skin.
He didn’t even realize that he’d stepped from cover until he found his eyes caught and held by green-sheened brown and heard the low, deep growl that had all of him shuddering wantonly.
“A-alex… fancy meetin’ ya here, mate…” he said, swallowing hard at the sudden, strong scent of arousal that filled the air between them.
* * * * *
‘Ours,’ the beast snarled silently, clenching and unclenching fingers quickly. ‘Hunt, feed, sleep… now fuck…’
Christ, he couldn’t even figure out why that was wrong. Not with the hyena still awake and wanting rather than semi-dormant as it usually was.
‘Not Spike,’ he tried reminding it, ‘Will. Not ours…’
‘Ours!’ his other half insisted, snarling out loud this time. ‘Want… take… have…’
It was the mind-swallowing wave of lust-smell matching his own that pushed Xander’s conscience to the back of his head and under a rather large rock, apparently. ‘Ours tonight,’ he finally agreed, unable to keep fighting when such a large part of him wanted exactly what his beast did. Will wasn’t Spike but at the moment, he just… didn’t care.
“Well met by moonlight,” he answered finally, voice thick with need, eyes raking the too-clothed shape only a leap and a dive away.
“What are you doing here, Will?” Yes… keep him off balance, don’t let him run. If Will ran he’d be prey and God knew Xander didn’t want to hurt the blond… much.
* * * * *
So the bloke was still in there. Good. He’d wondered, what with the growling and such, but if Alex could still string words together in a way that made sense, then whatever part of his breed it was that had sent him out to bring down that deer was capable of thought and that meant that maybe Spike could get some answers.
He shifted his feet, cock throbbing uncomfortably in his too-tight jeans. “Saw you leavin’,” he answered quickly. “Figured I’d been hasty turnin’ down that tour you mentioned…”
Xander slipped closer, body moving with the fluidity he’d become accustomed to in the last few months. “Yeah?” he murmured darkly, head tilted down as he stared into wide blue eyes from under half-hooded brown, lips quirked into a wicked and knowing grin. “Sure that’s not too much like a date for you, Will?”
The vampire blinked. When had Alex gotten so close? And why was he looking at him like… He forced himself to drag his gaze from the non-human’s, eyes widening even more as he found them drawn down, down over defined and perfectly shaped pecs, sleek torso, hard, tight abs…
It was the moment of distraction the blond showed that had him flowing forward, taking advantage of it to push the being back a few feet, forcing him roughly against a tree. Eyes gleamed in the darkness.
“It would have been a date, Will,” he growled quietly, licking his lips helplessly before closing the scant inch between them and licking the other man’s lips as well. “Just looking at you before, smelling you… fuck, I was so turned on. Hard. Hell, Will, I was almost fucking begging for it. But this is good, too…”
This wasn’t the Alex he knew from the Lodge. Spike wasn’t sure of much else, but he knew that much. No, this Alex was… bloody hell, this Alex was a sodding demanding prat. Unfortunately, his demon seemed to like that. Then again, after all those years as Angelus’s bitch-boy, he supposed it was hardly surprising, but if the bloke thought Spike was going to just spread for him, he had another think coming.
He forced himself to relax within the brunette’s hold, letting his lips open to the lapping tongue. As soon as the bloke bought it, he’d have him on his ass and they’d just see who would be playing bottom here.
Of course, he hadn’t figured on the way the bloke kissed because once his mouth opened, that slick, hot tongue, still flavored with the blood of the deer, drove roughly, deeply between his teeth, caressing, exploring, exploiting, nearly branding his own tongue with the rampant desire that was clearly reflected by the naked, hard cock thrusting against his groin through the denim.
‘Yesssss… ours,’ was a sense Xander had to agree with, fully on board with his beast yet again. His chest pressed hard against the slightly smaller blond’s, pinning him to the tree as his hands moved swiftly downwards, shoving the tails of the button down shirt out of the way to yank and tug at the waist of the jeans, growling into the mouth he was plundering until button and zip were released and fabric was pushed down.
The sensation of hot, hard cock against his own cooler one was… shocking somehow. Shocking and amazing and sudden and wonderful among a whole host of other things. The demon flexed within him, rocking hips roughly and repeatedly into the answering thrusts, hands finding solid, perfectly fleshed hip bones with a sharp cry that was swallowed by the devouring mouth sealed to his own. His following growl was swallowed as well and the intensified rocking and thrusting against him only convinced Spike that whatever Alex was, he liked the fact that he wasn’t the only demon in town.
And then that cock was slamming harder against him, dueling with his own roughly and desperately, and he couldn’t think, couldn’t do anything but ravage the tongue in his mouth with suddenly sharp teeth, dig fingers deeper into hot, tanned skin and snap his own hips forward harder, each collision of sensitive flesh on hot, thick shaft pulling sounds from him. A whimper, a moan, a hitched gasp… all eaten, drank deeply of by the thick, delving muscle between his lips.
His beast was nearly purring, basking in the wanton noises and even more desirous actions of the body pinned between it and the tree and Xander was fine with that. Will was cool against his heated flesh, soothingly so although he wasn’t ready to be soothed yet. He pressed himself more roughly against the blond, smelling dead blood as what had dried on his chest began to flake off against the cotton shirt and he jabbed his cock harder against the matching erection he felt before him, his sac drawing up just a bit as dark, wild pleasure built in belly and balls.
His hands moved, forcing their way between the pistoning ass and the tree back, a small, pleased hiss slipping into Will’s mouth as his tongue thrust, twisted, possessed, when he felt that same bark digging deep scratches into his knuckles. Fingers flexed, gripping handfuls of tight, toned ass and he pulled the blond’s groin hard against his own, a howl flying from him as his head dropped back and he exploded harsh spurts of hot, viscous cum between them, howling again as cooler but no less thick fluids joined his own.
No bottom, no top, just the two of them, him and Alex, rutting against each other more violently than any human could have stood. Spike was actually glad of that. It felt less like a betrayal of his Xander than a full-on actual shagging would have. That wasn’t to say it wasn’t brilliant, though.
His eyes closed for a moment, wide and gold when he opened them again, and when the hands on his ass dug deep, pulling his hips forward with a force he wouldn’t have believed, he growled. He was already wound tighter than tight, hobbled by the jeans around his knees and when he felt that battering cock swelling further, felt the first pulse of cum smelling like blood and life and something wicked, he threw his head back, shouting his own release for a moment before skull met tree and blackness swarmed over his vision.
He tried to hold on, to fight the wave of dizziness even as he convulsed again, the next hard impact against the tree--wood he realized in his last moment of lucidity that night—bringing that wave crashing down over him, consciousness fading in an instant.
‘Ours,’ the spirit purred happily, not quite registering the limpness of the form in Xander’s arms. ‘Ours…?’ it whimpered, its host’s sudden frantic worry finally registering.
Xander gasped loudly, carefully lowering Will to the ground, hands releasing the still body to check for damage. He’d heard the blond’s head hitting the tree, after all.
He almost panicked when he found no pulse, no signs of life, but then he remembered Will’s coolness, his ability to follow him, to find him in the dark after a hunt, and…
Okay, he still didn’t know exactly what Will was, but odds were he wasn’t dead. Or not in the permanent sense. A lot of demons showed no signs of life when they slept or passed out... or knocked themselves out, which was apparently what Will had just done.
The brunette heaved a huge sigh of relief and tugged the jeans back into place, fastening them carefully before grabbing the still form under the arms and lifting it. He ducked down, draping the slightly smaller shape over one shoulder, then started through the forest for the place where he’d left his clothes. He needed to clean up a bit, possibly in the stream he smelled not too far off, then he’d get dressed, get Will back to the Lodge, get him into the right room, and…
He didn’t know what he’d do after that other than probably brood over the fact that he’d just experienced the most intense orgasm of his life with someone he wished was the demon he resembled so exactly… and maybe try to figure out if there was any possible way of apologizing for more or less attacking the guy.
‘My animal spirit made me do it’ was probably not an excuse the blond would buy, after all, even if that had been entirely true... which it wasn’t.
His head was throbbing. That was the first thing he noticed when he struggled to wakefulness.
His head was throbbing and he was… out of the trees.
One bleary eye cracked, closing again when he saw that he was somehow back in his room.
Right… Alex must have done that. Brought him back and gotten him under cover after he’d… knocked himself out like a great bloody ponce.
The bloke had apparently even closed the curtains over the door to the balcony, or had he done that himself the night before?
He didn’t know. Didn’t care, if the truth be known. He hadn’t burst into flames while out and that was the important thing.
Well, that and the fact that he and Alex had… what?
Spike groaned and rolled over, burying his face in the pillow as he remembered.
“Bloody fuckin’ hell!” he screamed into the soft bag of feathers, fist slamming against the mattress harshly.
He hit it again, just on general principles, although it didn’t help much. It had been a rough couple days, after all. He’d realized he wanted Xander—the real Xander—and had immediately gone off and…
“Sod all, against a tree?” he snarled, turning fitfully onto his back, one forearm landing across his eyes, “An’ not even with th’ bloke himself but some bleedin’ impostor?”
Just his luck, he figured. Finally getting a clue of what he really wanted and he had to go and fuck it up, first thing. Hell, even if he somehow managed to find Harris now he’d be too bloody ashamed of himself to ever give the bloke more than a friendly glance. His soul would see to that.
Of course, the real Harris was straight as a fucking arrow, so maybe it didn’t matter a whit and at least that thought, while depressing in and of itself, made him feel a bit better.
Yeah, in the end he’d lost nothing and had gained at least some dream-fodder for later. He could imagine his Xan would be that wild, that… strong. And since he’d never know for real, it would do.
Of course, that left him with the question of what to say to Alex when he ran into the bloke again. “Thanks for the almost-shag, won’t be doing that again’ didn’t seem like the sort of thing the creature would appreciate.
Hell, his demon didn’t appreciate it either. It wanted nothing more than to go find the bloke, toss him down and…
Spike groaned again, the sound holding less pain and more unwilling arousal than anything else.
He didn’t want to desire Alex, but… parts of him did.
Maybe he’d just hide in his room and sneak off at sunset. It was an idea, after all.
Unfortunately, it was an idea that he couldn’t really live with. He might be a lot of things, but ‘coward’ wasn’t one of them.
That decision made, he struggled up from the bed and grabbed a few bags of blood from the cooler and set them in the bathroom sink, running warm water over them to take the chill off. He’d need to get more later, he was almost out.
* * * * *
He’d slept long and hard once he’d gotten back to his own room and woken—unsurprisingly—sporting a demanding erection. Then again, he thought maybe the beast was to blame for that. He could feel it coiled deep inside him, dreaming about Will and the night before and while Xander had to admit that the way the blond had reacted to his advances had been pretty damned hot, he still couldn’t get past the fact that it was Will, not Spike, and…
He sighed, padding quickly into the bathroom. Did it really matter, anyway? Spike was dead.
Fingers that remembered gripping tight, hard butt cheeks turned knobs, starting hot water flowing from the shower head as a soft growl left his lips.
Spike was dead, he told himself again, ignoring the odd emptiness the admission created in the pit of his stomach, and even if he weren’t, well… they might have been friends once, or almost friends, but the vampire never would have wanted him. Not the zeppo, the donut buy, the loser. Christ, he’d never even seen a single sign of Spike being interested in guys sexually, no matter what Giles’ books had said about him and Angelus, back in the day.
So ultimately, Xander realized, Spike wasn’t a part of the equation and if last night were any indication, Will definitely was… both interested and available, really. Assuming the way he’d attacked him hadn’t completely put him off.
He was sure that had been the last thing the… whatever he was… had expected when he’d followed him into the trees. Still…
He could spend time with the blond, get to know him better, maybe see where whatever they’d started was going… because as much as he hated to admit it, there was something there, and not just as far as the hyena was concerned.
He sighed deeply, hot water pounding down on his head, stinging against his skin. He could do those things, but he wouldn’t. It was just too… strange. Will looked exactly like Spike and there was no way he could stop expecting the blond to be Spike and… that wasn’t fair to either one of them, was it?
No, it would never work. Not even close.
“Shit,” he sighed, turning off the water and stepping from the tub.
He wrapped a towel around his hips and wandered into the main room, mind turning over all the things he could possibly say to Will. He still needed to get him to stop wearing that face, after all, and… but maybe the guy wasn’t too attached to it. Maybe he wouldn’t mind finding another to wear.
“Shit,” Xander said again, wishing for just a moment that he was the smart one. Willow would have known exactly what to do, after all.
* * * * *
Call the bloke.
Yeah, Spike could picture that conversation. ‘Hey, Alex mate… still want ta do that tour thing? Or would ya rather just get with th’ shaggin’?’ He snorted. No. No shagging the look-alike.
Even better, ‘Look, bloke. Had fun last night but ya need ta stop lookin’ like bloody Xander Harris, yah? Nah, think it looks a treat on ya but th’ real bloke wouldn’t appreciate it.’
“Right. An’ then he finds out I know he’s not my Xan an’ he… what? Runs away? Changes his face? Not bloody likely. More likely ta try killin’ me ta protect himself.”
He spared a quick glance at the clock, frowning slightly. Almost half an hour past the time he usually met Alex down in the bar and he still didn’t know what to say, but… wouldn’t do to give the bloke the idea that he was avoiding him… no matter how much he wanted to do just that.
He frowned again, deeper, and left his room. He’d figure out what to say when he saw the git.
He hoped so, anyway.
* * * * *
As it turned out, all his worrying and trying to find the right words to explain the need to look like someone not-Xander was for nothing because the prat wasn’t even there yet, and wasn’t that a blow to the old ego?
He’d thought their night in the trees had been good for the both of them but apparently Alex didn’t want to see him at all.
His brow was slightly furrowed as he nodded to the bartender for his usual, only to furrow more when the beer was joined on the bar by a white envelope. “What’s this, then?”
The man shrugged. “Your friend asked me to give that to you if you came in tonight. I didn’t ask questions.”
Spike sipped his beer slowly, turning the envelope over and over in his hand. Hell, that Alex was really good. He’d even mastered the sloppy and slightly jagged handwriting of the original Xander on the envelope.
He wasn’t entirely sure of why he felt nervous, but he did. He stared at the envelope for a while longer, finishing his first beer and starting on another before finally shaking his head and slipping one finger under the flap, ripping paper carefully to get to what was inside.
Dear Will, he read,
I was going to do this in person but somehow I just can’t. I don’t want to see the look on your face when you hear this. I really, really don’t.
Spike snorted, stomach clenching as he read on.
I’m sorry, Will. I know we. Well, last night. I mean.
Remember that first night we met? I said something about you looking familiar and I know you probably think it was a line or something but it wasn’t. And it wasn’t just the hair.
You do look familiar. You are familiar.
You look like someone I used to know and I don’t mean just kind of, okay? You’re him, right down to that little freckle-mole thing on your cheek. You even share some of his traits. Like the snarkiness, for instance, and the sarcasm.
He was my friend, Will, and he died and I don’t have any idea of why you’re walking around looking just like him.
I came here to find out. That was my job. My last job for the people I’ve been working for.
Guess I failed, huh? Because I still have no idea of why you stole Spike’s face.
“Spike?” he gasped, setting his bottle down before he could shatter it, “He said… Spike?”
He felt that clenching in his stomach become a sharp, deep pain that spread quickly throughout the rest of him, eyes still locked on the paper in his hand.
Look, Will, I don’t think you’re a bad… whatever you are. I doubt that you’re going to do anything really evil while you look like him, but like I said, he was my friend and after last night I guess you know there were some other, unresolved emotions there too.
Of course, I didn’t know that until a few days ago myself, so…. Anyway. You look like Spike. Kind of act like him too.
But Spike died in Sunnydale. He died a hero, okay? And that deserves some respect.
I know I don’t have any right to ask you for favors, but please, please stop looking like Spike. It’s upsetting to more people than you know and…
Shit, I really suck at this. How sad is it that this is the tenth time I’ve tried to write this?
“Pretty bloody sad,” Spike whispered, “Pathetic, even…”
Look, Will. I like you. I do. Last night never would have happened if I didn’t, no matter what you looked like. And maybe if we run into each other again we can see whether we suit each other.
What do you really look like? I guess it doesn’t matter, right? Maybe you’ll surprise me someday.
It was nice knowing you. Nice getting to know you as much as I did.
Take care of yourself, Will. And please… change your face. For me, but also for you. Spike might be a dangerous guy to look like in some parts.
The vampire blinked, starting at the beginning of the letter again as he tried to grasp exactly how things could have gone so horribly wrong and how Alex could be Xander and have two eyes and smell like… wilderness and animal and strength and sex… always sex, though he’d just realized that part the night before.
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