This one is for Cindy. She requested a trip to the mall. (NC17)

Window Dressing



"No way am I going to the mall with you, Spike."

Time to turn on the you don't love me anymore pout. Not to be confused with the lesser, I'm trying to get my way pout. "Why not? I went bowling with you."

"Yeah, and look how that turned out. I'm still paying that off in installments. Not to mention the guys never ask me to come and play league anymore."

"But, pet."


Thought he was being final, Xan did. Well, that just wouldn't fly. Spike needed leather conditioner. And new laces for his Docs. Only place he could get those (that were good enough for him anyway) was at the swank leather goods place at the mall. And going by himself just wasn't any fun. Everything was better with Xander.

"I'll be good. Promise."

"That's what you said about the grocery store. I understand Mrs. Litman is still in a catatonic state. And the checker guy? Left town to join a survivalist colony, convinced the end is near. So, the answer is still no."

Well, now he really had to pull out all the stops, didn't he? Exchanging his pout for a full-on lecherous grin, Spike moved in and draped his arms around Xander's neck. "But luv, I need to get leather conditioner. So I can clean up my coat. You can watch me rub it in. Takes a lot of rubbing to get it nice and soft again. Rubbing and kneading and petting and..."

"Gah." Xander's eyes snapped back into focus and he stepped away. "Evil, undead, leather wearing fiend."

"Well, yeah. C'mon, pet. I'll buy you an ice cream sundae at Fridays."

Ding. After calculating a hundred different sets of circumstances, you might hit on the right one. "Okay. But you behave. And I eat. And, well, nothing that will get us arrested, please?"

Sounded so plaintive, his boy did. Sometimes Spike thought Xander was ashamed to be seen in public with him. But he'd won, so he wouldn't push it. "Nothing to get us arrested and or attacked. Promise. Let's go."

Still looked like Xan was doing it against his better judgment, but twenty minutes later they were at the mall and Spike headed for the ice cream place right off. Had plans for his Xander that involved heavy exertion; he needed to eat first, so he could digest a little before they played. All of his good intentions about said digestion almost went right out the window when he sat and watched Xander suck hot fudge off his spoon, but he managed to hold himself in check. And now that he thought about it, the happy little noises Xander made while eating ice cream sounded just like the ones he made... oh Hell! Wood. This whole waiting bit was really going to test his patience. But it was working, lulling Xander into a false sense of security. So it was worth the trade off.

"You're staring at me."

So he was. "So I am. So?"

"So stop it, Spike. You're making me."

"Hot?" Spike cut in. "Horny?" Lowering his voice to a throaty purr, and trying not to laugh at the look on Xander's face, Spike continued. "Sex-crazed? Or just making you feel like you want me to crawl under the table and suck you as hard as you did that spoon."

"Yes?" It came out as a squeak, and Spike sat back in his chair, satisfied with his opening salvo. It would wear off soon, and Xander would get all snippy and they'd trade insults, which was foreplay in its own right, and that would be good too. Right now it was time to just sit back and enjoy the deep flush of color the image he'd painted brought to Xander's face.

Then Xander cleared his throat and yep, the 8:15 snippy, right on schedule. "You know, I thought you said you would behave."

"No, luv. Said I'd be good. And I would. You know how good I can be at that. With not having to breathe and all." Ah, but Xan had to breathe and those breaths were coming much faster for some reason.

Springing to his feet, Xander made a quick, unobtrusive adjustment and picked up the bill. "Didn't you say something about leather. I mean leather stuff! To put on the leather. Shopping. Ties. I mean laces! For your boots. Come on, bleach-head. Let's go."

Spike thought briefly about reminding Xander that he was supposed to pay for the ice cream, but decided against it. Let the boy be distracted. Misdirection and all. He'd pay him back later in other ways. He followed slowly enough that Xander had to watch him catch up while standing at the cash wrap waiting for change. And he put on his best "I'm too sexy for my blood" walk while he did. Gratifying, the way his Xan watched him. His Xan. His. So responsive to Spike's mood that he was already incredibly turned on, just from a little teasing. So damned hot the way he eyed Spike's hips and licked his lower lip just a bit, like there was still ice cream on it.

Deliberately brushing against Xander as he went past, Spike sauntered back out into the mall and headed for the leather goods shop, which was just off the food court. When Xander caught up with him he was at the PooPoo Palace Chinese place, where he stopped, looking around pointedly and shouting, "Here, kitty kitty!" Xander grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and hauled him off, muttering darkly about never setting foot out with him again unless it involved cemeteries, where the people were already dead.

Leather shops always smelled so damned good. Kinda like catnip for vampires. There was something arousing about it. Maybe it was because things like belts and whips and razor strops were made out of it. Maybe it was because you had to kill something to make it, and it always had the lingering odor of slaughter. (Not that he would ever tell Xander that.) Whatever the reason, Spike loved them, and the first thing he did was stop right inside the door and take a deep sniff.


"Am not."

"Are too."


"Too. Ow! Shouldn't that set off your chip?"

Poor baby rubbed his head like that actually hurt. Ha. Not even a bit of steam behind that thwap. "Nah. Obviously the army made allowances for annoying boyfriends."

"Spike. This is probably not the place to announce our sexual preferences."

Probably not, Spike agreed silently, looking about at the large, leather-clad bricklayer types, who stared back at him with deep suspicion. He could almost hear them thinking, "Anything with hair that color has to be queer." 'Course, that just made him want to grab Xander and do a Gone With the Wind, but he managed to tamp down the impulse.

For all of about five seconds. Then Spike grabbed Xander by the waistband of his jeans and dragged him up so he could push him up to the counter. "My boy here needs some good stuff so he can polish up my boots. And my coat. And some new laces, yeah?"

Oh, lovely. Couldn't have been better if he pulled out a stink bomb and set it off right on top of the glass case. The guy behind the cash register backed away, his face a study in Oh my God. The other guy, much bigger and hairier, frowned deeply, mouth moving like he was replaying Spike's words. And Xander made indignant noises and tried to wiggle out of his grasp.

"Don't listen to him. He's a little crazed from the cabbage fumes at the PooPoo Palace. And leather affects his brain in a detrimental way." Finally free, Xander turned a dour glare on Spike. "We just need some saddle soap and some boot polish, black, and some of that conditioner. And two pairs of those bootlaces." Pointing here and there, Xander managed to distract the cashier, who looked relieved to talk to someone who sounded sane. Damn.

Tipping his head back like a hound scenting the wind, Spike took another long sniff of the mixed scents of leather, sweat, and Xander-anger. Mmm. Turning to the big guy, he asked, "What do you think? For him I mean? The short cat there or the riding crop?"

Still scowling, the guy looked Xander over slowly. "That your bitch?"

Spike almost choked to a second death at the look on Xander's face as he whirled around so fast he almost killed himself tripping over his own feet. Good thing he wasn't human or he'd have a bleeding stroke holding in the absolutely hysterical laughter that wanted to bust out. And if he was human he would've certainly wet himself when Xander advanced on the leatherman and poked him right in the middle of his brawny chest.

"No. He's my bitch. I don't let him out very often. Usually I keep him chained to the bed. Or hanging from the ceiling." Here Xander emphasized his speech with another poke. "But when I do let him out it amuses him to pretend he's the top, which he knows will get him punished later. Now, did I give you permission to speak to him?" Poke, poke.

"Uh, no." The guy looked impressed. Spike couldn't blame him. "But if that's the way it is, you should definitely get the cat 'o nine."

"I think I will." Brave little toaster, indeed, Spike thought, as Xander waved in his direction. "Add it to the bill. And he's paying."

They got out of the leather store without further mishap. Spike paid the frightened looking clerk, and Xander had a whispered conversation with the other man that Spike pretended not to hear. They left, Xander striding a good five feet in front of him, hands in his pockets, shoulders scrunched. Every time he tried to catch up Xander outdistanced him, so he figured his pet might be a bit miffed. Maybe. Just a bit. He walked faster.


"No, Spike. We are not talking. I am not talking to you. No communication. None."



They kept walking, and Xander was heading for the entrance they had parked by, and Spike had to stop him. Wasn't ready to go home yet. Had a plan, didn't he? Well, of a sort. Mostly the plan could be summed up as "shag Xander standing up" but that qualified as a strategic idea. Standing up meant not in the car, or not at home in bed, so they couldn't leave yet. Desperate measures were obviously called for. "M'sorry."

The screeching halt Xander came to almost overbalanced him. "What?"

"Said I'm sorry."

Turning back, Xander looked at him consideringly. "For what?" He sounded only mildly curious. That was bad.

"For embarrassing you."

"Uh huh. Are you sorry because you did it, or sorry I got mad?"


What little softening there might have been in Xander's expression disappeared, and he snorted. "Whatever."

"Wait. Xan. Let me make it up to you. We'll go to that department store you like and get you a lime green shirt to make up for the one I ripped last week."

Incredulous was a good word for Xander's look. "You must really be sorry. You're offering to buy me clothes in my colors, not yours."

"Yeah, well, love you, love your... oh Hell, I hate your clothes. But I'll buy the bloody things."

"My hero. Okay, Spike, you're forgiven. Let's go shop."

By the time they got to the dressing room at Xander's favorite department store, they had a veritable rainbow of clothes Spike wouldn't normally let Xander touch with a ten foot pole. Completely over his snit, Xander babbled away about the print on this shirt or the stripe on that one, and Spike just nodded and smiled and had evil thoughts about really expensive bonfires. Was worth it, though, to know that the distraction was a thorough one, and that his plan was no longer jeopardized. He could hardly wait.

Steering Xander to the biggest dressing room, way at the back, took no effort at all and since it was only about a half hour before closing there was no one else in there. While Xander hung his try-ons on a hook, Spike made sure the door latched securely, and checked the tensile strength of the towel bar type hanger attached to it. A surprised, "Whoa! That's just weird" made him turn toward the back of the room. The entire back wall, and parts of each side wall, were made out of mirrors. Really big ones, meant for seeing all of oneself at the same time. Xander was there, under the harsh light, and so were his clothes, hanging from a side hook. But Spike wasn't. Sometimes that still surprised him. This time he thought it was a good thing.

"Which one do you want to try on first, luv?"

"The orange one."

Yeow. Toxic. "Right. Hold your arms up."

Like any six year old given that command only to get tickled, Xander obediently stuck his arms in the air and waited. Moving as quickly as he could, which was too quick for Xander to even yelp, Spike whipped out a set of bootlaces and wrapped them around Xander's wrists, then twirled the boy around better than any ballroom dancer could and attached his bound wrists to the hanger bar on the door. If he wasn't so pleased with himself he might feel a little sorry for his poor, confused Xan who craned his neck down from the awkward stretch the position pushed him into and blinked at him.



"Am I going to get mad at you again?"

"Only for a little while, pet. Then you'll be very happy with me."

"Oh. Okay. So long as there's happy to be had."

"Oh, now. Have I ever let you down in the happy department?"

"Well, there was that time in the backseat of Giles' car."

"No fair bringing up past failures at this particular point. Besides that was an isolated incident."

"True. Pyrul demon slime will wilt even the most stalwart..."

"Shut up, Xander."

"Sorry, shutting up."

Now, about those clothes. Really was too much of an impatient bugger, because if he'd had half a brain he'd have waited for Xander to strip off a bit before tying him up. 'Course, then he would've lost the element of surprise, so six of one, half dozen of another. The shirt he left hanging from Xander's wrists. No way was he going to untie the boy to take it off. The jeans and shoes came off, though, along with the shorts. Hated to leave the socks on porno style, but who knew what was on the floor in these places?

"Ooooh, pet. Look at you." Spike was surrounded by naked Xanders. The one in front of him was the real deal, the warm, living, breathing, in the flesh Xander. But behind him and on either side the mirrors reflected that smooth skinned body back at him, and Spike thought it might just overheat his poor overworked brain. The way Xander avoided looking into any of the mirrors bothered him, though. Made him itchy and snarly. That look was there, the one that was half baffled and a lot embarrassed, and Spike wanted to show him how pretty he was, how proud he should be of that body.

The muscles in Xander's arms stood out in sharp relief thanks to the pull of his weight, and Spike nipped at one, punishingly. "Look, will you? That's part of the game."

"Yeah? Well, gee, Spike. I'd look if it was you. But it's not. It's me. And I see that in the mirror every day when I shave. I don't hafta look at it now if I don't want to."

"But you don't see it the way I do." Slipping in between Xander and the door, Spike reached for the leather goods bag and brought out the short, multi-tailed whip Xander had picked out. Time for a little demonstration. "This is the part where you get mad at me for a bit. Then the happy."


"Trust me."

"Go kick a tire, Mr. Used Car Man."

"Just look at the mirror, pet."

"Okay. I'm looking."

"So, what do you see? Tell me, then I'll tell you what I see."

"I see me, Spike. Without you. And if that's some sort of crystal ball prediction of the future, I don't like it."

That left Spike speechless for long moments. The little game they played immediately took a backseat to the implication in Xander's flat words. Leaning his forehead against Xander's back, Spike contemplated the best way to answer, but no pat speech was going to work, he could tell. With a few quick motions he untied Xander's hands and eased him down onto the small bench tucked against one wall. What clothes they could salvage Spike handed over, and Xander got dressed. His shirt was a goner, though, so Spike picked out a putrid green one and tore the tags off so Xander could wear it home, which got him a ghost of a grin. Once Xander was fully clothed, Spike offered him a hand up and, without speaking, they made their way to the cash register to pay for the shirt, along with a few other things Xander would really like. Xander looked impressed. The security guard that followed them looked suspicious.

The absolute lack of babble was worrisome. No bad jokes. No nervous blathering. Xander was subdued and silent. They were back at the car before either of them spoke at all.

"Sorry I ruined the great seduction scheme."

Oh that made him mad, to see Xander trying to be all small, curled in on himself in the passenger seat. "I'm not leaving any time soon, pet."

"Sooner or later I'm going to screw up, Spike."

"Would that be before or after I do? And besides, it's just as well. Think they were about to kick us out anyway."


More quiet, the kind that was louder than screaming or Spike's favorite music. "Can't make any promises."

Shaking his head, Xander looked out the window. "I know that. But you don't have to rub my nose in it. That's not what you were doing, not consciously. I get that. But every time you make me look in the mirror and not see you with me you make me see how different we are. How alone I'm going to be when you're gone. How big and goofy and dumb I am. And I hate that."

Slamming on the brakes, Spike pulled over to the shoulder and threw the car into park. Reached out and grabbed Xander. Shook him. Hard. "Stop it. That was about us feeling good. Not about you feeling bad. Got it?"

A low sound came from deep in Xander's chest and he lunged for Spike.

"I'm a slow learner. Convince me."

Convincing Xander took kissing him so hard that their teeth cracked together. It meant pulling Xander close, as close as they could get in the car, which wasn't close enough because Xander's hands were between them, fumbling at Spike's belt. When he took the belt away and wrapped it around Xander's wrists it wasn't about some grand plan for public sex. Wasn't about fun, and making Xander mad. It was about making him see how serious Spike was. About making him stop grasping and groping so he'd have to concentrate on the desperation in Spike's hands. So he could read the language of Spike's touch.

Looping the long end of the belt around the rearview mirror got Xander's hands out of the way. Got Xander to twist and turn trying to get right there on his lap and there went another ugly shirt, because Spike had to see. Had to see the pulse that beat in Xander's throat and put his mouth over it and remind the boy that he was alive and that he should be, and that if anyone should leave it should be Xander, because Spike was the dead one. And the flush that stained Xander's chest when he got hot this way, so hot and needy that he was begging. Babbling, like he did when he was really into it, yes, please Spike, now. Had to taste those hard little nipples that only he got to touch because he made damned sure Xander didn't need anyone else.

Scrabbling at Xander's jeans now, baring him to Spike's eyes and hands and if he could reach, his mouth. Mouth watered at the thought but he couldn't bend that way, not with Xander's weight on him and it didn't matter, because there was no talking, just kissing and his hands moved on Xander's hard flesh, telling him the same things his tongue said while pushing into Xander's mouth and he would never be able to say these crazy, love you things out loud. Only like this.

When Xander came it locked up every muscle in his body, and he arched against Spike, shaking and shouting and the mirror came away from the windshield with a tiny plink, hitting Spike on his right shoulder. Didn't matter, he didn't feel it, just felt the liquid heat of Xander's come and smelled the hot musk of release and relief and came himself in one, long ecstatic spasm.

When he began to recover, Spike laughed a bit because somehow Xander's bound hands had dropped around his neck, and his face was in the curve of Xander's shoulder, just like they were going to go to bed and sleep.

"That bring you around?" he asked, words muffled by Xander's damp skin.

But Xander understood, because he nodded against the top of Spike's head. "Much more convincing than the whole mirror thing. You still managed to get me to have sex in public, though."

Very seriously, Spike pulled back and looked Xander in the eye. "Yeah. But you know what's really important now, right? Not the scene, or the plan, or anything..."

"But you and me. Yeah. I get it. This is the important thing. The rest is just window dressing."

The End

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