Improv Slash
by the Webrain
July 2000

Disclaimers: If they belonged to us, we would slather them
in peach juice and watch them stick to each other.

Summary: Three words and inspiration.


Daddy793: But Whose Line... you give me three things, I try to
fit them into something no longer than a page. Then we switch. <g>
debitchan: Oh man.
debitchan: You're asking me to be clever. *g*
Daddy793: Or psychotic. <g>
debitchan: Oh, well.  That I can do. <laugh>  <thinking>
Daddy793: <settling in>
debitchan: How would you feel about Joe and Billy, in a hotel room,
watching porno?
debitchan: Or does that not qualify?
Daddy793: Too specific. <g>
Daddy793: Joe, Billy, porno.... that works. <g>
debitchan: Well then. <laugh>
Daddy793: <thinking>
debitchan: <rubbing your brain>
Daddy793: mmmmm
Daddy793: There's something really fucking satisfying about cheap
and degrading when it isn't -- necessarily -- your life.

And it isn't. The Logo's riding high for the time being. We could afford
better than this vibro-mattress that may be giving me fleas right now.
Better than the house special amateur porn on the TV.

Billy is... rapt. Spun out some shit about the green walls and orange shag
and the way the whole little porno world seems to vibrate to the same
rhythm as the star's gently sagging tits.

Something. I don't worry about focusing on Billy-boy right away, never
do. Too much to sift there. Take it in, swallow in all his bullshit, spit it
back out the way he never could. Nice and angry and tasteless.

I'm penning it out now, in my head. On his back.

Ballpoint pen. I live for the tiny grimaces, the ones that tear his
attention a little away from what's going on onscreen. It's a fucked up
hobby, but it's mine.

Done this before, won't break the skin.

Just the words. Just what I heard, Billy, right there. In two hours we'll
be onstage and you'll spin around and dance and fuck your guitar. Our
very own big screen Billy. Punk for the hearing impaired.

When I forget the lyrics I'll hold you right out in front of me. Pin you
there for their curses and the grabby ones just trying to get a sweaty
rag to pin to their walls. I'll hold you right there and I'll *read* you.

Right there in front of everybody, and they'll check out the bruises on
your neck, your arms, your chest. They'll watch me reading you and

Even if you don't.


Daddy793: Wanna try it?
debitchan: <gulp>  Yes?
Daddy793: Yayy!
Daddy793: Oz, kin, desire.
debitchan: Eeep!  I mean, okay.
Daddy793: Go, Deb, go!
debitchan: Hee!
debitchan: Oz always finds himself circling back to Sunnydale.

It is, technically, still his home.  There's a room in his parent's house
filled with things that supposedly belong to him.  But sometimes, he
wonders if it's the other way around, if he belongs to the things.

There were nights when he'd be halfway across the country and suddenly
would be consumed with the desire to be there, in that room,
surrounded by all the things that formed who he was.  The baseball card
collection, a motley mix of his cards and Devon's cards and none of them
worth anything to anybody but them.  His first guitar, a beat up no name
acoustic with broken neck his mom had picked up at Goodwill.  The
posters on the walls, Floyd and Bowie and The Who, faded by sun and time
and ragged at the edges.

Just things.  And he'd never understood the allure of memorabilia before
now.  After all, he could effortlessly recall just about any memory he
cared to whenever he wanted to.  But sometimes, when he gets too far, he
swears can feel the cards and the posters and the guitar call to him,
sweetly imploring him to come home, to be, well, himself again.

And he can't.

Because if he belongs to the beat up icons of his childhood, he also
belongs to the moon now.  To the beast.

Veruca had been right about that, at least.

And the beast resented the thoughts of home, the sentimental hooks that
pulled him back when he wandered too far. When he was brutally honest
and when the moon was close to full, he and the beast were in accord.
They wanted freedom.  To hunt, to run, to eat, to fuck and then sleep.

These things and his secret desire for them, kept him away from his kin,
away from the belongings and the people that owned the part of him the
beast hadn't laid claim to.

And so he circled Sunnydale, simultaneously attracted and repelled,
owning nothing, owned by everything.


debitchan: Spike, deserted beach and the moon.
Daddy793: Mmmmm, wow. wow. OK
Daddy793: *thinking*
debitchan: <snuggling>
Daddy793: The beach is silver and black in the moonlight, gleaming
here and there. Spike's never found it particularly cheerful. It
doesn't replace sunlight. Nothing ever could. It had seemed as though
he was only giving up a few glimpses when the wind cleared away some
of the coal muck and the streets were empty enough that a bloke could
look up, bare his throat with no worries.

Seemed like nothing at all.

Not like Drusilla, pale and black in the moonlight herself, flimsy silk
mules barely showing silver through the muck. The hem of her dress was
spattered here and there, the rest of her absolutely pristine. Rich
merchant's daughter, maybe even a back country lady, rich and
provincial. Even gutter trash like him could tell a woods accent from a
city one.

Her voice was clear as a bell, like she'd never breathed a lungful of
coal dust in her life.

And she hadn't, of course.

All he knew was that he'd wanted her. Her money, her life, her easy,
easy stride. In the middle of the empty streets, staring up at the moon
like it was a book in her bloody study and the fire was high. Some other
piece of dirt rushing past him, trying to be the first at her and

Not Spike, good old Will who he never really left had grabbed him by
the collar and spun the unhappy git right back on his knife.

Spike remembered the hot blood gushing out over his hands and wrists,
staining his second shirt -- the other off for mending with Too-Quick
Fanny -- and the blink of time between brushing off the body and the
lady, yes, had to be lady, such eyes. Bright and blank at the same time.

Grabbed his arm in a grip of iron and licked him clean. Sucked at the
fabric of his shirt while William could do nothing but watch and fear.

"Pretty baby thing... so *sharp*..." And she'd plucked the knife from
nerveless fingers, tossed it away. "But I'm *sharper*..." Broadly,
innocently happy and when she changed... when she changed she went
from merely lovely to inevitable.

And William had stared at the moon, and surrendered.

The Rand was still burning behind him, but guttering now. Ash and
sparks on the wind, demon in the back of his mind, screaming and
screaming and screaming. Spike ignored it, smirked at himself when
he realized he was already walking west, toward Sunnydale.

Drusilla was dead, and so was her moon.

A spark hit his cheek, sizzled and burrowed and burned before winking
out. Spike grinned and lit a cigarette, shuddering a little at the pull
of healing skin on his face.

Xander still owed him a month.


Xander, pack, hard-metal summer sunlight

debitchan: The car is nothing but a dusty glimmer behind him now.

Xander's been walking for what feels like days, but according to his
watch has really only been an hour.  Even so, the pack, clumsily stuffed
with clothes and snack food, has already rubbed his left shoulder blade
raw.  Sweat trickled down his back, making the raw spot shudder and
twitch.  His feet felt like they wanted to swell out of his shoes.

And he should have known the car would break down.  Uncle Rory's cars
had two things in common.  Amusing names.  This one had been a '77
Chevy Nova dubbed the  Fossil Fuel Flyer.  And then there was the bad
to indifferent maintenance.   The Flyer had made several interesting
noises when he pushed it past fifty.  At sixty, the engine had separated
from the engine mounts and tried to come at him through the windshield.

The sensible course of action would be to turn back.

Walk back into town, take the gibes and the ribbing and see *it* in
everyone's eyes.  The assumption that he probably hadn't been serious
anyway.  Just another little Xander plan that had gone awry, like
they always did.

And it pissed him off that as he'd stood by the car, already sweating
in the heat yet shivering with reaction, that his mouth was already
curving into that familiar smile, the one that invited the pokes and
jabs, the one that pretended he was being laughed *with*.

Without really pausing to think about it, Xander grabbed a change of
clothes from his battered suitcase, dumped the books from his
backpack and shoved the clothes in along with some crackers and
couple bottles of water.

He checked his back pocket, made sure his wallet hadn't slipped out.

The road stretched on before him, a hot, black ribbon under a hard blue
sky with a hot coin of a sun.

And he started walking.


debitchan: Still wanting to play?
debitchan: Or should we hunt down Spike?
Daddy793: I'm thinking... one more.
debitchan: Giles, cigarettes and a book.
Daddy793: He could form a circle in his sleep. All the lies, the
half-truths of what he'd known and forgotten... crumbled. There is no
reason to lie anymore, and even something like desire to tell all. No
catharsis here, just the chance to make the children-who-aren't
friends, or push them fully away, once and for all.

Limbo was... tiring.

This, however, was not.

Giles leaned back on the sofa, fingered the as-yet-unopened pack of Du
Mauriers on the arm. The book was open in his lap, the letters almost,
almost rising to meet his fingertips. The book had lain unused for many
years, and the magic was... eager. Some spells simply wanted to be
cast... Giles smiled. It could have been simple projection.

The herbs burned without his help, twisting in on themselves, black and
dying. Small vegetative life force for the larger spell. The sacrifice, a
scarred old tom, as likely to bite as press into your palm. Giles had
searched long and hard for the perfect animal. Strays didn't live long in
Sunnydale, but this one...

An old survivor, lean and tough as old leather.

The slim bamboo poles kept him perfectly spread, heart's blood slowly
sweating out of the shaved place on its chest. The drugs worked
beautifully, only the occasional mew escaping. Giles' door was locked

The herbs had been grown with the rest, soaked in sunlight from his
kitchen sill, raised on the whispers of the chant, the one chant, day
after day. He didn't think the thyme and oregano were adversely
affected, but he decided he'd throw the whole box away, anyway. It
probably wasn't... safe. The cellophane was warm and lovely beneath
his fingertip.

The words spoke themselves with each twist of burning.

An hour passed, another. Giles remained still. This was... to have made
this decision was too monumental to taint it with petty discomforts.
He'd made a *choice*, and oh, it felt... it felt like flying and it felt
like falling.

And when the cat was merely a slumped husk of itself, the poles fell
to four angles, tearing the thing apart at last. Every candle came alight.

And Ethan climbed out of the large, shallow wooden bowl, slipping easily
through the wood, coated entirely with the drying blood of the cat.
There was no hesitation, no hint of surprise. Ethan had clearly felt the
spell being cast.

Naked, lean and slicked. Favoring his right side, just a little.

"I would've thought you would have escaped Nevada long since. The
Initiative is dead."

"Really? Do tell them that when you get a chance, won't you?"

And Ethan merely stood there, head cocked. Dripping on his floor and
waiting. He would make no move so long as Giles held the book.

"I want a truce, Ethan."

"I want you."

Giles tossed him the pack, caught easily in long, slick-sticky fingers.
Ethan's hair was beginning to dry in gory spikes.

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

"I'm yours."


 spike: Te:  nail polish, dust, cherries
 Te: rarr

Xander sneezes three times, light-hard ones, dizzying but not too
offensive. They've never even given lip service to the idea of dusting,
and Xander hopes they never really do.

It maybe wouldn't be the same room without the dust, and the way the
late afternoon sunlight plays with dancing motes. Out of time here, a
little place. The white cherries are Larry's favorite, but Xander isn't
sure about them. The flavor is... elusive.

He has to chase it for even a hint, chew it slow, suck on the pulp of it
to know what it is.

Moreso with the dust flying and the sinus-killing stink of nail polish.
Heat of Larry's groin, covered only by a thin layer of boxers, against
the bottom of his feet. Held still there, Larry's huge hands careful and

Xander has no idea why this is so serious for Larry, doesn't particularly
want to explore. His brain keeps heading toward words like feminization
and modification and ation after ation that all feel to Xander like maybe
Larry wants to change him.

Flash on the way Larry sometimes loses the thread of their long talks,
stopping to just look at him, run one thick, callused finger over his cheek.
More than just friendship up here, much more in Larry's eyes, Larry's
touch. Pressing back on him all over, kneading other words in. Beautiful,
beloved, so glad, so glad...

And right then Xander wants that touch on more than just his ankle. His
ankle has had quite enough love for one day, and has to learn to share and
Xander is about to say something to that effect, is, in fact, up off the
pillows and onto his elbows and he has a spectacular view of the top of
Larry's head.

Blond, growing in thicker than it is at the tips. Larry's in a good place.

Larry's also painting his toenails... clear.


Larry looks up immediately, grins with something like wicked innocence.
Easy, open face, easy-ing eyes, pinning Xander right there and all he can
do is grin back, knowing exactly how goofy he looks.

(with thanks and apologies to Nonny)

 debchan: Spike: painting, sea shells and envelope.

spike: -Hey, B,- she begins -- blue ballpoint on white, lined, 3-hole paper.
-This is therapy.-

But then she stops.  She didn't really have anything planned.  There
was nothing really to say besides, well, everything.  Which was way east
of impossible and nothing to fuck with.  Something that someday she
would maybe have the chance to whisper right into Buffy's seashell ear,
follow with her tongue.  But not here and not for show.

This was otherwise.  The opposite of therapy.  Learning to hide.
Better.  And writing wants more than just her hand in motion.  Which is
all, really that she wants.  Needs right now.

She should try her hand at finger-painting maybe -- over there with the
'tards and screamers.  Thick smears of blood and black and yellow onto
orange construction paper, licking on the paints.  but then again she
doesn't have any great desire to be a Thorazine queen when the shrinks
take her happy monster-killing pictures for symbolism.

God she hates this part.  Yeah, it's all the good road.  Yeah, she's got
to follow.  Yeah fucking yeah yeah yeah, she knows that.  And prison on
its own is... a little tame, maybe, but pretty good:

almost enough sex; not quite enough violence and there are people in
here who are definitely friends in what she has discovered is not just
the prison way but what had been her way all along.    The only part that
has to wait is the healing.  The real deal.

That's you, B.  She smiles and doesn't write.   'Why don't you write her
a letter, Faith.  Tell her how you feel.'  Oh yeah.  That works.  But,
hey, I was thinking of getting out of here someday, y'know?

Pretty fucking funny, ain't it, B? she thinks.  How I'm here in the good
and still coming this close to honesty could fuck me so bad?  Oh and by
the by, how much lying do *you* do these days?

Lots and lots, she guesses or maybe none.  Who knows how deep the lucky
horseshoe's lodged up that pretty pink little ass.  Just one more thing
I'll have to check in the big by and by... But she doesn't write that

Just sits in the barred sunshine coming down on her face in the arts
and crafts room and smiles.  Writing wasn't a bad choice after all.
She'll get her hand in motion later.  And just as the bell rings she
scribbles what she really feels -- as close to it as she can show:

Having a great time, B.  Wish you were here.

Love 4Evah,



Te: Deb: Racing, water, latex

The rain on the roof of the van makes Devon feel like he's inside a steel
drum, crazy Jamaican rhythm beating all around them.  And maybe he's
just extremely high, but the water racing down the windshield looks like
it's dancing, veering off in random, yet predestined patterns, each
stream parting then rejoining before streaming over the snubbed hood.

No tunes tonight beyond the rain and the distant drum roll of thunder,
and that's okay with Devon.  No conversation either, which is also okay
with Devon.  He thinks maybe he and Oz got all of the extraneous
conversation out of the way when they were still kids.

He inhales deeply from the joint, leans down and gives Oz a shotgun
kiss, lets Oz suck the smoke and his tongue into Oz's clever little
mouth.  Feels his cock stir a little when Oz gives a throaty little
cough before pulling back just far enough to exhale.  Just a little stir
in the sticky latex sheath and he thinks he should pull it off before it
falls off and one of them steps in it later.

Maybe when they get dressed.  For now all he wants is the post fuck
haze and the warm, familiar weight of Oz leaning against him, the sound
of the rain.

And he laughs a little into Oz's mouth, feels Oz's ribcage rumble with
laughter too and takes another drag, gives him another smoky kiss.  And
watches the rain fall.

spike: Te: wet fingers, tiger, smoke

Indifferently easy.

Looks at me as I pull my fingers out of his mouth, as I run slick spit
over his chin, one over-bitten nipple. His body shudders for me, his
mind ostentatiously closed.

Douglas wants to call this rape.

Laid out on the soft, huge, four poster bed prepared for him by Joseph,
or perhaps Mei Ling. My flower -- his flower -- is half-crushed. Not
so much held as placed careful on his still palm.

He is naked again, as he should be. Tiger-striped in moonlight through
the shutters. All healed and ready to go. In truth, Moreau has all he
needs of this man. We could hustle him off with no secrets lost, save
him or throw him in the deep. But Moreau has always allowed me my
pets, and this one...

I knew every inch of him long before he regained consciousness. I'd
tasted his blood before he knew my name. He knows it now, of course.
Montgomery. Offers it simple and quiet, and offer between two
reasonable men.

He offered it, that is. He's beginning to know I'm not reasonable.

His cock is a lean, dark beauty, arching up toward his belly as I touch
him, scratch him.

His eyes flare dangerously when I slap him, so I do it again and again
until he grabs my wrists with his soft, elegant diplomat's hands.
There now. So easy. I press to him, my cock against his own. His eyes
are wide now. This close he stinks of fear and a paradoxical impotence.

Peacemaker, demanding compromise.

"Then flip over, Douglas. No one has to see the marks there."

When I back away, he complies immediately. My gift to him: he can
bury his face in the pillow.

Slapping Douglas... it's like it's own release. Better by far than the
animals, the cubs that never really understood enough to feel anything
other than hurt. Too little shame among the field stock, and the house
stock was off-limits.

The sounds he makes are piteous. Heart wrenching.

He understands how hard this makes me, and it makes him feel dirty. In
the slump of his shoulders, in his drooling cock.

Inside him with short, brutal thrusts. It's the only way -- too slow and
the subject becomes easy within itself again. Like this... the sweat is
rank and needful. The heat he gives off, like resting in the smoke over a
bonfire. It works itself into my pores and it will stay there.

His stink all over me.

Gathering him in, lean thighs that could have been a lazy runner's fan
over mine. He's crying as he moans, now. As he fucks himself back and
down on my cock, screwing me in hard while I force myself to pause. His
arms are bent back between us. His shoulders strain.

And when he begs for more, harder, *please*.... I acquiesce.


Deb: Spike: thirteen, myth, light

Thirteen years old and already different enough that the other boys
keep their distance.

Give him furtive looks, whisper, yeah, he don't even mind that, right?
*Likes* the feeling of their eyes on him, in a black kind of way.   Likes
the dizzy feel of walking home from school knowing they're out there,
pacing him.  Following.

Likes it best of all when they jump him,  hands pinch and skitter to get
a grip, catch in his shirt; heads knock, feet tangle in his feet and his
blue and yellow Braelorn tie gets yanked so tight around his throat.
Likes that *right* up.   Funny how they stopped that.  He smiles the
smile that even makes the headmaster look away.

Used to be the other way round, that was.  Wasn't it?  Used to be him
that couldn't meet eyes.  That cowered all the time.  Begged and
whined.  'Cept that never stopped 'em, did it.  Just made 'em harder
handed.  Sharper-toothed.   He could see what they wanted --  what
everyone wanted.   Same smell, same look in his ma's eyes when she
was snapping the back of a rat.  Yeh.

Woulda got to that too, that day they caught him just after dark
down near the train tracks.  That would have been the day maybe, beat
him so bad he could smell his own blood on the air, could feel himself
floating loose insde his scrawny little skin like a handful of old,
broken bone.  Julian Fry'd had a rock in his hand.  And that rock...  So
old, glint of old red light when Julian raised it for what he knew was

And everything had stopped.

There'd been a tug, a tearing inside him, painless and sweet like an
old paper sack splitting open and he'd heard a voice like rock grinding

"Child of mine," the voice had said inside Ethan's ringing head.
"Command me."


No hesitation.   No surprise.  He'd heard 'Demon-child' flung his way
for so long he'd simply taken it as truth.  Hell?  Damnation?  His soul
at stake?  He had to fucking give it the grin.   He wasn't sure he
actually had one to begin with but if it was anything of light, of God,
of the myth of goodness, they could fucking have it back.  And this.

"I want..." and he'd had no words for it but he could *think* it and oh
yes, Chaos understood.  And oh it was lovely to watch them drown in
their own terror and stink and hear their screams and screams.

And better still to find them back at school the next day, remembering
nothing *clearly* but looking at him so... puzzled-like.  Whisper as he
passed, and still follow him but at a distance.  It had been fun for a
while to hunt them now, himself as prey, throw himself cringing down on
their mercy, and when it was denied, rise up and fall on them again.

But now they had stopped even that.  And that was okay, he had a whole
lifetime to spend thinking of other ways to thank them for their gift.
And the will to do just that.  And Chaos for his guide.


spike:  Te: contentment, glove, creaking

The leathers creaks abominably as Wesley moves. He's thought a number
of times of wearing them when out with Angel -- certainly harder to
stain than linen, but everytime he comes down to it...

They remind him too much of yet another embarrassing moment, of being
taken in and found not only wanting but rather pathetic. Rogue Demon
Hunter. Even the thought makes him blush, a little.

And he knows the moment has passed, almost knows that these, his
co-workers, his *friends* don't hold it against him. Perhaps have
glossed over any number of his weaknesses and inanities with everything
he's showed them hence.

Wesley almost knows he's done well, almost knows he will do well again,
and again. Stand against the darkness far better than the book-chained
worm the Watcher's Council produced.

He almost knows he doesn't have to be that man.

The gloves go on last, and are his favorite. He would and will wear these
even as the rest of this outfit slowly crumbles in his tiny closet. The
gloves were a gift, hand made and sized for him. His former tailor knew
a man, and so on. In the past they've fit perfectly, molded to him. His
hands were made new, dark and deadly. Weapons fit easily in the grip of
the glove.

Pencils, pens... impossible and irrelevant.

It's a tearing darkness when he discovers they no longer fit, open
coldness somewhere deep, the thought of money he could have if he only
crawled back to Daddy and the Council for forgiveness.

If he only surrendered every secret, broke every promise. Again.

And then... and then it fades. Puzzling, but it does. It takes long
moments in the silent garage to discover why.

Studies his hands under the harsh, fluorescent lights. The scarred
knuckles, the growing callouses. The marks he can't quite remember all
the origins to all over the meat of his palm. And it's fascinating to
look at them, to try to tease the long, scholar's delicacy out of... this.

A perfectly functional hand, capable of any amount of study, research.

Wesley grinned, laughed a little and the echo made him want to check
over his shoulder. He did so, of course -- paranoia was only caution in
Angel's employ.

Slipped the gloves on anyway and flexed and flexed. Stretched and
flexed his hole body, reaching up to the cement beams and crouching low.
The leather creaked and screamed. It would never return to it's old
shape. Not ever. Wesley grinned again and threw his leg over the bike.

It was going to be a fine ride.


spike: Deb: gum, retreat, shadows of leaves

Wolf's always hungry here.   He's used to work and walking, yes.  The
herd always wanders.  But he's also used to having food whenever his
stomach wants it.

It doesn't do any good to tell this to Jack.  He already knows and is
probably just as hungry.  And doesn't the Good Book of Farming say, "An
empty belly makes an empty brain full"?  Jack would think of something.

Jack, as Wolf well knows, is very clever. The last mess wasn't Jack's
fault at all.  It was Wolf's.  He never meant to attract any God
pounding attention, but somehow he managed to anyway.

And the last time had been bad, really bad.  Wolf didn't even know what
he'd done wrong.  Jack had smelled particularly bad that day, a high reek
of nervous sweat as they approached the town.

Everyone they passed looked at them with suspicion and some with fear
so strong Wolf could smell it.  He didn't understand, even after Jack
had explained, using words like "transients" and "bums".  *He* would
never hurt anyone.  Couldn't they tell by his smell?  But he knew better
that to question it, or to try to smile at the people who feared him.
And Jack's smell grew progressively more distressed with each hostile

So he'd edged closer to Jack, hooked a finger through a belt loop and
nuzzled the back of his neck, the way his mother did to him when he
was frightened pup.

Before they knew it, a crowd of angry men, their sweat sour and
smelling of beer, had circled them and forced them to beat a hasty
retreat back into the safety of the woods, under the shadows of the

And so they kept to the trees and Wolf was happier there, even though
he was hungrier than he could ever remember.  His stomach rumbled and
Jack, who'd been walking fast with his head down, stopped and looked
at him.

"Sorry," Wolf mumbled and rubbed his stomach, silently telling it to be

"I'm hungry too," Jack said, his voice low and weary.  "If I had
anything..."  His voice trailed off and he absently searched his pockets,
then grinned.  Pulled out a flat stick wrapped in paper and tore it in
half.  Offered the larger piece to Wolf, who took it and smelled it.

Mint and a chemical smell.  But mostly mint.  His mouth watered.

"Go on," Jack said, busily peeling the paper back.  "You chew it.  It's
gum.  Won't fill you up, but better than nothing I guess."

Wolf removed the paper, sniffed it, then licked it before popping the
stick in his mouth.  It was odd, but the minty taste made his mouth
happy and fooled his stomach into being quiet.


debchan: Te: chess, collar, grapes

The tableau is as follows: Small, rectangular kitchen with half-tiled
white walls. The kitchen table is an oval slightly too large for the
room, the chairs are somewhat rickety. The stove is scrubbed pristine,
but rust shows through in places.

The curtains are a fluffy white over the tiny window looking out on
nothing but the next building over. Parker remembers the unease that
would come over him whenever his mama took the curtains down to
wash them. The bald darkness that would fall over the room, possibly
even the entire apartment.

Sid has left the curtains there, for him. For a moment the fluff
becomes almost frothy before settling back into normality. Everything
is so perfectly realized it makes Parker's mind hurt, an ache right
through the center of him now, because Parker is dreaming, and Sid is
being clever.

Two hundred serial killers, many, many of whom thought themselves
artists. Many of whom thought themselves in love with Parker, their
enemy, their Nemesis, though most of them had died before Parker
was born. Sid stopped being merely the sum of them, the SID, long
before he'd stepped out into the world.

This arrangement they have has it's quirks. In truth, Sid is now
nothing more than the parasite growing and creeping and breeding
nanoscopically along the pathways of his brain. Feeding on the tiny
chip L.A. County and the state of California had left there, and the
metals Parker has begun to allow into his system again. Iron and
sodium, potassium and magnesium and zinc.

He'd resisted at first, but now often found it hard to remember

Parker doesn't remember what it's like to be alone.

He pulls out a chair, sits down and the items appear: a chessboard, a
bowl of washed white grapes, and a thick black leather collar. The
grapes begin to rot immediately. The wind moves the curtain and
Parker obligingly looks away. What's left is wine, dry white. The only
kind Parker had ever been able to stomach.

"I already know you love me, Sid."
No response from anything, not even a shimmer.

Parker reaches for the collar next, and rich, buttery leather scent
fills the room for a heart-stopping moment before the collar begins
to move. He watches this time, as the collar thins and lengthens
itself to a cord, then a snake, then a simple coil of nothing, moving
up around his false left arm like smoke.

Settling in cold enough it hurts.

He uses his other hand to tug the chessboard close, settles it exactly
parallel to his chest. Pressure and a pull and his left arm has crawled
away, settling opposite him, poised above an achingly realized queen.
His dead wife, his Lisa. She is weeping.

Sid fills himself in across from him, first becoming Parker's
reflection -- had he become so hard? -- before slipping through a
dizzying array of SID, before becoming Sid.

"You still have to fight, even within me?"

"You know that isn't what you want to ask." Husk of a voice, elusive
as a brush of velvet against skin.

And Parker pauses, tests for waking in ways he already knows will be
futile. Stands and stretches and feels the air parting for him, the
ache of his shoulderseam, the comfortably warped kitchen tile beneath
his feet. Sid doesn't rise with him, simply watches.

Still curious even... even though.

"What is my body doing right now, Sid?"

"Hunting. It's been... a long time."

Parker nods, wills every ache away, his shoulder, his heart, his mind.


Beautiful child of killers. "Yes?"

"When the time comes... will you help me?"

"To hide from those who hunt you?"

"To *live*."

And Parker shudders, holds himself with two strong, human arms.
"I will."


Xander is feeling very kingly, somehow.  He has the bed to himself and
it's the biggest, nicest, kingliest bed he's ever been in and he can
spread his toes just to the edges and the big duvet thing is all fluffed
up in front of him and it's just... nice.  Land of Counter Top kind of
thing that Willow used to read him in her neverending attempts to give
him a normal childhood.   Not entirely futile, he decides.  Willow, at
five, made a damn fine mom.  Bandaids, therapeutic boo-boo kisses,
strict bedtime rituals, spinach-eating and all.

He wonders how weird it would be to send her a Mother's Day card and
thanks.  Thanks for making me the what I am.  Hmm.  Maybe not that.
Maybe just thanks for being there.  Maybe he shouldn't wait til Mother's
Day.  Just call her up and tell her now.

Or possibly wait until he's not naked in Giles' bed.

Because that would be wierd, wouldn't it? He wonders what Giles would

Giles of course is up.  Up and robed and showered an hour ago,
apparently lacking the American stamina to slack indefinately despite a
promising hour long and deeply mindless cuddle.  He's settled down since
though, and its heartening to Xander to hear him downstairs at the
kitchen table sipping tea and making crosswordy rustles with the paper
and nothing else.

It's Sunday morning after all.  All is right.  But the Willow thing is
bugging him.  What *would* be wrong with calling her from here.  It's
not like she would know he was naked or that the person he'd been naked
with was Giles, who had also been naked -- so very very naked under
Xander, his eyes going so *soft* and oh...  He's made a tent.

"Xander?"  Giles voice has that slightly sharp, Mr. Librarian thing
going on in it and that makes Xander feel a little pleasantly bad-boy.
Sleeping with the teacher and all-ness.  The tent is looking fine.

"What's up, G-baby?"   Which earns him a truly epically weighty pause
that only makes him grin harder.   Wider.

"Did I leave my glasses on the bedside table?"

"Hmmm," says Xander, frowning speculatively at the round, slightly
smudgy specs glinting owlishly from the table top.  He loves the way
Giles looks glassesless.  Like some kind of aging British rock star.
"Why don't you come on up and wink wink, nudge nudge -- take a look?"

"Right.  *Thank* you..."  More paper rattling, which Xander knows only
means it will take a minute or two before Giles feels the point is made
and he can come running up to tiger-pounce him.  Wrestle him into easy,
sleazy submission. And it occurs to him that he can use those two
minutes to his advantage, get a different perspective on the Willow
thing and he picks the glasses up, plunks them on his nose.

Surprisingly heavy.  Unnervingly clearer and sharper in his left eye
than without, although the right is reassuringly fuzzed.  The world as
Giles sees it.

Unh-hunh.  Well, that explains absolutely nothing at all but Xander
finds his answer anyway.  He will call Willow, naked as a naked guy can
be, and from right here in Giles' bed and he will thank her for all the
mom-ness and for whatever parts of him she thinks are good.  And he will
do it today.  But maybe -- and he can already hear the rustle and thump,
thump, thump of Tiger-pouncing Giles coming up the stairs for him --
just maybe in a little while from now.


Continue to Improv II: The Revenge.