by SpikenTe
August 2000

Disclaimers: If they belonged to us you wouldn't see us very often.

Spoilers: Early 4th season-ness.

Ratings Note: PG-13.

Summary: Spike and Xander hang out at the beach.

Feedback: Craved at,


Spike's body is hard almost everywhere.  His skin has that strange
firmness that vampire skin has -- smoother than skin should be and
not exactly rubbery, but more resilient than human skin feels.  Thicker
maybe.  What Xander imagines a dolphin's skin might feel like.  Cool
like a dolphin's skin might be, too.

"Can you swim?" Xander asks, running a finger down the center of
Spike's chest, feeling knobs of bone under the flesh.  They are lying on
a blanket on the beach under a fine, fat silvery moon. The tide is coming
in and the waves are all black glass with white frosted rims.

Spike's wearing blackout sunglasses that make him look like Hollywood
movie star from the 1950's,  At Xander's question he pushes them
down and peers over the top.

"Why?" he asks.  "Thinking of tossing me into some handy body of

"It wasn't on my mind, no..."

Spike nodded. "Good. 'cause I can't. Not in the ocean, at least."

Which is kind of... impressive. That he admits that. Though Spike tends
to be frank about most things, if not always completely honest, so
maybe not so impressive.

Everything is in shades of grey out here, and it kind of suits Spike, like
he's in some black and white professional 8X10, or 80X100, he guessed.

But then, Spike's dead, and as pale as a dead person should be -- he
never trusted Angel, the only vampire he ever knew who could get
*ruddy* -- so maybe this is just his proper lighting. Looking at himself,
though... Xander wonders, maybe, if he just looks a little faded.

But Spike had suggested the beach, which seemed cool, and fun, and. Also
very weird. But on the same wavelength as this thing between them,
mostly unspoken save for barbs, and small moans in his parents'

Crushing whoosh of match flare and the cherry at the end of the
cigarette is out of place. Yes, of course the man in the shades and
black jeans should be smoking, but the orange of it. Reds and yellows.
Like a cartoon bobbing around in Xander's real world and he realizes
that his mind will seize on anything, absolutely anything just now.

It's being outside. In the night, and wearing more clothes than Spike
and unsure what to do about that. When in doubt, look for a cue.

And Spike is just laid back on the blanket, staring up into the sky and
smoking. He can do that. Without the black-lunged goodness, but he
can definitely lounge.

Settles in beside Spike, lets their arms brush, then twine. Shivers at
the cool -- breeze from the ocean and the man beside him. And the
moon, he realizes, is huge. Absolutely huge, out over the ocean and
looming bright and... and dead. Cracked and pitted surface like a crude
old skull, yet bright enough to make something in Xander yearn.

Oh, he's the Metaphor King tonight. No wonder he pulled those
straight Cs in English.

And suddenly he just wants to *ask*. Say it out loud. What are we
doing? Why do you always start *there* when you touch me? And, hey,
does this mean I get a free pass when the chip comes out? Because
it will, of course. They've all just had a little bit too much fun
humiliating Spike for it to go any other way.

"You're quiet tonight, mate."

"It's the way the moonlight gleams off your shades, Spike. I'm

"And here I thought it was my cheekbones all along."

"All twelve of your ribs, like a marble xylophone..."

Spike snickered around his cigarette. "Sod off. Not my fault I died

"Vampires don't gain weight?"

"Not really, no. Maybe get bloated from overfeeding, but it doesn't

"So you're just stuck that way forever..."

"Kinda the point, that. It's why so many of the older vampires get
all poncy and flamboyant. Trying not to be the same bloody thing
every night."

"You seem to have settled right into the punk thing."

"Some looks are eternal, Xander, just trust me."

"Do you ever want to be... someone else?"

Spike flicks the butt toward the waves, gets up on his elbows. Every
line of his body screamed Deep in Thought, almost an exaggeration.
Spike has his own flamboyances, and Xander makes a note to never,
ever say that, unless the set up is just perfect.

"I'm not sure I see the point. I mean, I might go back to me natural
color one day, but for the rest of it." He shrugs, shook another
cigarette out of the pack. "Gotta go with what you know, I think."

"So you're the same person you were 200 years ago?"

"Well, I know a lot more fancy words, but essentially yes."

Silence, then, and the moon just seems weirdly closer, like in that
incredibly disturbing car ad, so he sits up straight again. Looked at
the waves. Beaches at night... always make him feel that at any given
moment the water could realize that it's more powerful than anything
else on the planet and just take over.

Led to victory by the cold, dead moon.

Which would be wearing one of those military type hats.

"You must think it would be pretty awful."

Xander turns to find Spike upright beside him, and he really hates it
when Spike does that fast vampire thing and "What?"

And Spike smiles, and it isn't a nice smile, but it also isn't quite
directed at Xander. "Being yourself forever."

"Well, I don't know, Doctor the Bloody, but it probably has a lot to
do with not being breastfed." And he knows he missed flip by about
three miles and his face heats.

But Spike doesn't react visibly. "It's not so bad, you know. Being

"Well, you've had time to get used to it."

Another smile, throwing his cheeks into even more shadow. "Exactly."