Chapter 9

Xander sat in a deep, warm bath, nestled against the firm, muscled chest of the man behind him. Eyes closed, he inhaled the scented steam and relaxed under the long fingers that were massaging his scalp. He moaned as, once more, Spike attempted to take his hands away. "Xan, if I keep on shampooing you, your hair's going to fall out from the friction."

"Nooohh, feels good. Takes headache away. Nice an' soothing," Xander managed to mumble. "Don't stop, 's nice."

"Is your head still hurting?" Spike asked, a little concerned. "No, feels good now, don't stop. Soothing." Spike frowned dubiously and gave Xander, or at least the back of his head, a hard look before shrugging and reaching out for the mug of blood. Draining it, he dipped it in the bath water and poured the contents over Xander's head.

"Fghgshwhaw. Ugh, you could drown someone like that!"

"Easier and more reliable ways to drown you than that," remarked Spike, delivering another mugful of water and running his free hand across Xander's hair, pushing the remaining lather out. "By the way, what were you going to say?"

Xander tensed, "Say? When was I what going to say?"

Spike rolled his eyes. {now what's rattled his cage?} "Xan, the individual words are all English, well done. But it's usual to put them in a special sort of order, so that you form a proper sentence. Can you manage a sentence for me? Come on, start again: just before you came in here you yelled out that you had something to tell me. What was it?"

"Um, that I had some blood for you?"

"Knew that already. Try again."

Xander fidgeted, running his hands up and down the legs wrapped around him. "Ah, hell. I was going to tell you that I couldn't do this… I changed my mind and I couldn't do it."

"Right…" said Spike hesitantly, pondering the ambiguous past participle Xander had used. "So, does that mean you've changed your mind and don't want this, or you changed your mind about not wanting this?"

"Mmm, something like that." Xander thought back to a short while ago when he had decided he was too panicked to take what he thought he had wanted.

He carried the mug of blood to Spike in the bathroom, resolved to tell him that he just was not ready to continue with… what they had been doing. Instead, he had been confounded by the sight of a naked Spike, the blood showered off him, sinking beneath steaming water that was scented with lime and mint. A strong, white hand snaked out and grabbed him and he found all resolution crumbling under the power of Spike's firm grip. Putting down the mug, he sank to his knees and, as Spike rose back up, he pressed his face against the hard, muscular chest: kissing, nibbling and licking away drops of water as they fell from Spike's hair. The wound that had so worried him when they arrived home had already started to heal and bending down farther, Xander tenderly followed its track with his tongue.

"C'mon, get your clothes off and come in here with me." Spike was already pulling his shirt off him and Xander hastened to get rid of the rest. Standing, Spike picked up Xander, as he had earlier, and lifted him effortlessly in to the bath gathering him close for a slow, deep kiss. Pulling away, he turned Xander around and sat them both down, Spike positioned behind Xander, legs wrapped possessively around him, his feet between Xander's thighs. Xander sighed and leaned back, flexing his shoulder muscles hard against Spike's chest and pressing into Spike's groin. He groaned as he felt Spike's hands wandering across his stomach and down along his legs and relaxed in to the embrace.

"'Sright Luv, just lie back and breathe deep; this steam and smelly stuff'll help your head."

<so, what happened to 'can't do this'?> By the time Spike reached for the shampoo, Xander's body was a battlefield: relaxing muscles warring against leaping nerve endings. On the cusp of sleep, his body had never felt so awake in his life…

"Something like what?" "Wha…?" Xander was brought back to the present by Spike's terse question. Continuing to run his hands up down Spike's legs, he realised just how tense the other man had become. "I was panicking out there," he offered in explanation. "I felt I was in way over my head and decided that I just couldn't deal and then I came in to tell you and well, you just happened to me again and I knew I was wrong. Knew I could deal with this." He twisted his head round to look at Spike and could see the doubt and anger in the vampire's expression starting to fade. "Knew I wanted this, wanted you." He pulled Spike's head down and kissed him, tentatively at first, then more confidently as Spike relaxed under Xander's warm, plaintive caress. "We're all allowed first-night nerves, aren't we?" he whispered against Spike's lips. "As long as the show goes on, Luv, you can have whatever type of nerves you want." Pulling Xander up and around to kneel in front of him, Spike cupped his face in one hand as he ran gentle fingers across cheeks and brow, tracing the half-open lips with his thumb. "Come here," he said gruffly, pulling Xander down on top of him. One groan echoed the other as twin erections bumped and rubbed against each other in the slippery bath. Tongues fought as hips ground and hands grasped at flesh. Spike held Xander tightly, one hand stroking and kneading the firm silk of his behind, the other cradling his jaw as he forcefully tongued Xander's gasping mouth. Xander desperately ran his hands over Spike's chiselled chest and shoulders and finally settled his hands on the vampire's hips as he sought more satisfying friction beneath the surface of the water. "Time to move this elsewhere." Xander moaned in reply as Spike shifted him again. Out of the water, Xander's skin chilled and he shivered, even as Spike wrapped a towel around his shoulders and drew him close for another kiss. This time it was Spike who nibbled and kissed his way down Xander's chest, licking his way down towards the hardened length that was aching for his touch. Xander shuddered as he felt Spike's tongue very softly lick the tip before he straightened up to gaze into Xander's darkening eyes. Spike's whisper was soft but clear, "Bedroom, now." The cool breath against his ear made Xander shiver again but this time he knew that it was desire, not denial, that was making him tremble.

Chapter 8
Chapter 10