Bruises Like Badges




Spike stops just before dawn and checks into a crappy motel. He pays with the cash he'd nicked from Xander's wallet and rolls the stolen motorcycle into the room. He throws all his worldly possessions onto the bed: smokes, lighter, roll of duct tape, bottle of Jack. The tape secures the cheap curtains just as the sun creeps over the horizon. Spike strips off his clothes and props himself up on the scratchy bedspread.

He lights a cigarette with the orange plastic lighter and smiles.


"You have to go. She'll be here in less than an hour." Xander digs around in the dresser for a clean shirt and Spike sprawls on the bed, naked and sticky, admiring his handiwork.

The back of Xander's neck bears a rectangular bruise, and Spike remembers holding that tender nape in his hand while shoving his cock into Xander's mouth; remembers the muffled sounds of joy and pain, the frantic sounds of Xander breathing desperately through his nose while sucking like a pro, tears streaming down his face.

Xander's shoulders are broad and heavy, the muscles there marked with scratches and bruises - bruises that would match up exactly with the spread of Spike's fingers, if Xander would bear his touch. But no, not in the light of day, not with her on the way. He'll pass the marks off as patrol injuries; keep the lights low so she won't see them clearly. Probably bandage the wrist that bears the worst of the rope burns.

Spike's been a dirty little secret before, will be again. Doesn't mean he likes it. This has been going on for a while now - weeks turning into months and Spike loves it. Loves every second of turning this boy inside out, of perverting his innocence and finding the sleepy beast beneath. Xander's got a mean streak under all that good-natured bullshit. It's beautiful to behold, prettier to break.

He breaks like windscreen glass. The shattering's all inside, like a spider's web preserved between two sheets of steel. He takes everything Spike has to give, then gives back the gift of his surrender. When he finally submits, when his will finally caves in, Spike sees heaven and hell together.

They don't talk about it. Their only words are night words - dark and soft and urgent. They're words that hurt and words that soothe. Spike's a master at words. He can make Xander cry, make him scream, make him come - can make him do them all at the same time with only words. Xander listens. With intent. He hears the words, drinks them down like a man in a desert.

There's need there. And it's not one-sided. Spike needs Xander just as much. He keeps coming back, keeps watching the apartment. Sometimes Anya's not even out of the driveway before he's scaling the wall to the balcony. Sometimes Xander meets him there, his hand already at his belt, eyes wild.

What they have is primal. They face off. They draw blood. They fuck. They carry out a war waged on a mattress, on the floor, against walls. And, just like in war, nobody really wins - not all the way.

Spike knows that he's losing. Time's getting short and he's going to lose.

Spike hates to lose.

"Get your shower," he says from the bed. "I'll change the sheets."

Xander's look is suspicious and grateful at the same time.

When he hears Xander enter the shower, Spike gets up from the bed. He stretches just to feel the delicious ache in his shoulders, hips, ass. He's got his own set of bruises, dark blooms that'll mark his skin until he feeds - they're reason enough to wait. He gathers the sheets and can't help burying his face in them. Smelling tears and blood and sweat and spunk. Desperation and release.

He carries them to the bathroom to shove them in the hamper. Xander's outlined against the curtains, head down as he scrubs his hair. Spike fights the urge to join him in the shower, to push him down hard and bruise his knees and see that angry look turn into lust and submission.

Instead, he returns to the bedroom and tidies the bed to the state that passes for made in Xander's house - clean but sloppy, like it was left from the morning. Spike dresses in last night's clothes and tucks his cigarettes into his pocket. He holds his lighter for a long moment, the metal cool in his hand, thinking. By the time Xander returns from the shower, Spike is gone.


Spike finds the pay-per-view porn using the remote bolted to the nightstand. He crushes out his cigarette and lights a new one with the orange lighter. He misses the weight of the Zippo, but figures he'll get it back tomorrow.




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