Title: Osmosis

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Buffyverse, post-Angel: the series

Rating: Uh... PG13? R? I've no idea, honestly.

Pairing: Spike/Xander

Spoilers: Mentions the prophecy and sort of hints at my interpretation of what happens after the finales. Just nothing in any great detail.

Disclaimer: Joss & ME but not *me* me, much as I'd like them. So, yeah, just a fanwork, no harm intended and no money made.

Summary: Just some playing with Spike's character.

Notes: This is technically my second attempt writing them but my very first finished S/X.

Feedback: I would VERY much appreciate feedback- good & bad. 'Cause the style is kinda... and I don't quite have their voices down... and my ideas of things in my head didn't quite get out in this because I wanted it to be explained in a different fic instead so things might be confusing. So... yeah. I'd adore any/all feedback. Pretty please!!!





     Spike was not the researchy type. Not because he was a vampire, or because he couldn't be bothered, or because he'd rather be the muscle all the time. On the contrary, his abilities to calmly think through problems and to relay valuable information were, well, invaluable. He was not a stranger to a book either; even with bleach blonde hair, black nail polish and cold eyes, having a book or just a few pieces of paper in his hand seemed somehow to fit him. The real problem was that Spike's patience never lasted past a few pages.


     Back in Spike's B.S. time-- Before Soul, that is-- Spike would much rather have lounged about or prowled around to sniff out danger, related or not. And it wasn't as though a soul and a bit of humanity had made him any more patient. But for some reason, when the situation was dire and called for it, Spike could make it through whole chapters and sometimes whole books before resulting to pacing around or going out for a smoke.


     And if Xander had really bothered to think about it-- really think about it-- he would have discovered the change coincided not with Spike's partial Shanshuian-prophecized humanity but with the time he and Spike had become something of an item.


     Though Xander didn't put much thought into that particular matter, he did think about Spike frequently. When Spike was around, he could not take his eyes off him. He watched hungrily, taking in every bit. Mostly, he did it unconsciously. But sometimes, especially when Spike was doing something like researching, Xander was well aware of how he just sat and watched.


     Spike sat back in the chair, a large volume held up with both hands and tilted at a convenient angle. One leg was stretched out on the chair beside him and beneath the table, and the other was bent normally except that his foot was not flat on the floor; only the toe of his boot touched it. His eyes traveled from left to right over the lines, studying the words as intently as Xander was studying him.


     What Xander should have been studying was invisibility. A few of the slayers had run into demons who seemed to be able to weave in and out of existence. The good news was, they couldn't harm anyone or make contact with anything when invisible. The bad was that they appeared out of nowhere with their slimy antennae and pincer hands that could snap a head clean from its body in two seconds flat. Not that they'd bothered to whip out a stopwatch while fighting and retreating to time the destruction. There were all sorts of possibilities, from phasing in and out of dimensions to magically charmed objects but the only thing they'd been able to discover through research was that none of the books listed this as an ability inherent to this particular breed of demon. Which only meant dividing up the books among willing parties and doing more research at their respective residences.


     "You'd think we'd do less research now that our ranks have grown," Xander commented, trying to look interested in the biography of some long-dead barren who supposedly had been able to turn his most annoying subjects invisible at will. It seemed to have worked well for him, apart from the fact that he had a very short temper and no way to make them visible again. The whole kingdom had died out within a week and the barren had fallen on his own sword in grief. Or stupidity. Possibly both. Xander was pretty sure this wasn't the key to the whole thing and he automatically turned the page of one of the ten books scattered across the table while still gazing at the researchy Spike, all thoughtful-looking.


     After a few moments, Spike lifted his head, gazing over his own book unfocusedly. Xander cocked his head, watching curiously. Spike's eyes narrowed slightly and he bit his lower lip for a brief moment before it slipped out from between his teeth. Otherwise, he was completely immobile, his face showing concentration and intense thought.


     Xander wondered what it was Spike was thinking about. Had he found something interesting and was considering the ramifications? Was recalling some related incident of his distant past? Or was he just thinking? Xander wanted to know. He felt that if he could just reach out and touch Spike-- press his fingers to that smooth, pale skin-- he might somehow understand what was going on inside the vampire's mind.


     His expression made Xander wonder if that was how Spike had looked in his pre-vamp days, selecting words for a poem. Of course he wasn't going to ask that, as he was relatively sure Spike wouldn't want to be reminded of that. But he couldn't just let that expression go without commenting. "Spike," he said with a bit of a chuckle. "Do--"


     "Shut it," Spike said, letting go of the book and holding his hand up to quiet Xander. The hardcover volume slammed down onto the table but he didn't flinch. Not with attitude, just with insistence. He kept staring forward, unblinkingly, as seconds ticked away. Finally, he gave a sigh and shook his head with frustration. "Felt a sneeze comin' on all afternoon." He scrubbed the back of his hand and wrist against his nose while moving his mouth about forming shapes but not words as he tried to wiggle his nose into either sneezing or ceasing to tickle.


     Neither happened. "Bloody Hell!" He sniffed hard, then sighed deeply, dropping his hands into his lap and, conveniently, between his spread legs.


     Xander frowned sympathetically. "Sometimes it helps to go look at the..." He stopped himself before stupidly saying 'sun'. "At a bright light."


     "Tried that already," Spike said, eyeing him for what was very nearly suggested. The tickle in his nose was too distracting to allow him to linger on the comment, however. He lifted his hand and vigorously rubbed two fingers beneath his nose. "Tried everything but I..." His voice died off and he froze again. His eyes narrowed slightly. His nostrils flared briefly. But then his shoulders sank and his head bowed. "Bugger!" He rubbed harder at his nose as though trying to draw the sneeze out with the touch. His leg bounced up and down restlessly. He seemed stiff and tense, every move seeming overly strong and sharp.


     "Hey..." Xander said, his voice calm and soothing as he scooted his chair around the table, closer to Spike. "Calm down, okay? Flesh-eating zombies and demons' sacrifices you can handle but a sneeze gets the better of you?"


     "I can fight zombies and demons," Spike muttered. He tried pinching his nose and holding his breath. But he finally let his breath out with an agitated sigh and dropped his hands again.


     Xander decided it was time for action. He needed to do something to calm Spike down a little. Plus he had to admit Spike looked rather attractive like that, with all his energy put into concentrating on a sneeze, and with his face frozen expectantly halfway between loose and tense.


     So he laid his hand on Spike's knee to keep it from bouncing. And then it inched up the vampire's thigh. It came close to his crotch but veered away at the very last second and slid his fingers in-between Spike's. They squeezed each other's hand, and Xander took that as a sign he could move in closer. And though he wanted to go straight for Spike's lips-- so bright and lush against the pale skin-- he veered off course there as well and went for a spot just at the end of Spike's jaw and just beneath his right ear. He gave a few snuffly, nuzzly kisses, with tongue and breath and his own skin warm against the inhumanly lukewarm that was Spike.


     Then he moved his kisses upwards, lingering against those exceptionally strong cheekbones on his way to the lips. But as he went for the kiss, his mouth already open to meet Spike's parting lips, Spike pulled back and snapped his head to the side.


     "H'TChhtttttt!" Even after all the rubbing at his nose, Spike hadn't moved his hand to cover. He sneezed freely, the spray light and directed away from Xander. His whole body relaxed with relief when it was over. He rubbed a single finger beneath his nose but every movement he made seemed casual and flowing. Normal again. Or at least as normal as he ever was. Then he turned his head back and cocked it slightly, examining Xander's expression for a change.


     Xander had watched the sneeze out of the corner of his eye, but had been preoccupied. One sneeze almost always led to two. And from two it was only a short hop to twenty. Thus, Xander had scanned the room instinctively. Instead of baddies lurking in the shadows, he was in search of options. There was a box of tissues in every room, but the one in the kitchen was all the way across the room on top of the microwave. Much closer was the roll of paper towels above the sink. And closer than that, albeit rougher and rather weak, were napkins that sat in the center of the table, just beyond the books.


     "What?" Spike asked, trying to figure out what Xander was up to.


     Xander's attention returned at once. "Only one this time?"


     Spike sniffed tentatively, then shrugged. "Looks like."


     Xander relaxed. It was hardly ever just one, even though no one had yet been able to figure out why. Something about the ability to get sick and sneeze mixed with heightened senses. The point was, one Spike sneeze made Xander as jumpy as Spike had been a moment ago.


     "Harris!" Xander snapped back to attention again. "Are you going to finish or what?"


     "Finish?" Xander blinked-- or winked, technically-- and looked down at the mountain of uncracked books. "You mean the research?"


     Spike sighed in frustration. Of course he hadn't meant the research. Spike seized Xander, grabbing a fistful of his shirt and undershirt 'round the collar. "Sod the research. M'bored." He pulled Xander up and pushed him down onto the table on top of the books and papers. "'Sides, books are far more interesting like this," he insisted, pinning Xander down and kissing him good and proper while shoving his thigh in-between Xander's legs.