by Te
November 2000

Disclaimers: If they were mine, I'd be useless.

Spoilers: General S5 Buffy.

Summary: Xander catches Riley in the act.

Ratings Note: NC-17

Author's Note: I had the urge, and Spike was kind enough to point
me in the right direction.

Acknowledgments: For my We, because I think maybe we needed this.

Feedback: Yes, please. teland793@sbcglobal.net


Daddy793: Maybe I can try to write. Something. *snerk*
Skweezyxx: maybe Riley/Xander?
Daddy793: Maybe maybe
Skweezyxx: like if Xander happened to catch Riley letting himself
get bit.

Daddy793: And maybe it's one of those things that don't need any
explanation beyond the actual circumstance. He, Xander, was Anya-free
for the evening, given that a new shipment of hoodoo had arrived (at
night? do they have to make *everything* about magic creepy?) at
Giles' shop, and Anya was needed for assorted rampantly capitalist

Rampantly. Ravishingly. Rapaciously. Rapaciously? Yeah, that would
describe the gleam in her eyes at the thought of deciding what to
charge people. All the market will bear. Some depressing history lesson
threw that phrase at him, and he worried at it for a while.

What sort of market was Sunnydale, anyway?

Sure, the demand was huge, but was that any reason to take advantage
of the populace? What about the poor Wiccans out there?

Were there Wiccan Communists? Did they summon up the spirit of Karl
Marx to chat?

Or was that socialism?

Entirely different history lesson, this one apparently doomed to
remain unremembered. And what was that about? Shouldn't he remember
everything now?

Wave of feeling, not really nameable beyond Bad. It would not be a
good thing, maybe, to remember everything. At least not clearly.

And with one thing and another he was in his own little section of
Sunnydale. Or rather, his former section of Sunnydale. Apparently, his
feet still believed home still lied thataway.

Xander entertains the idea of popping in on the 'rents for exactly long
enough to remember that he's not insane, but doesn't turn around. He's
a little restless, to be honest. Maybe horny. Too much Big Stud Man
hormone running around in his body, thanks to that last kiss.

Clearly meant to be a peck but he'd gone back for another, and Anya had
gone back for another, and it turned into one of those five minute long
*sessions* where the kisses are never as deep as you need and you just
get higher and higher until... well, until Anya suddenly broke off with a nip
to his lip and skipped on back to Giles.

Horny and rhyming. Not never ever a good sign.

And he's shaking his head at himself, reflexively checking for his stake
and Holy Water, when he sees him.

Riley and the latest in an exciting array of Leathervamps. This one
actually has some sort of spiked leather *headband* to complete his
ensemble. And Riley's hand is in the right place -- right over where
Xander *knows* his stake is hidden -- but he's not moving. Or even

Just... leaning back against the wall and holy shit offering his throat
and Xander's *own* throat closes right the hell up so he somehow
manages to not make a sound before driving his own stake right through
the bastard's Hell's Angels insignia.

And Riley looks at Xander. Swallows.

Rests his palms against the wall behind him for a moment before pushing
off and. Walking away.

Just walking away from the scene of the crime like nothing whatsoever
had just happened, and Xander himself was just another shadow,
conveniently equipped with wooden weaponry and Xander's doing that
silent babble thing again but he can't really help himself.

Because the only 'thrall' in place is whatever fucked up headspace
Riley had gotten himself into, which obviously looked one fuck of a lot
like I'll-Make-Them-Sorry fantasy number 15 (a). Suicide by vampire,
narrowly averted by suddenly caring Friend.

He even has the Walk Away With Stoic Sadness thing going on, and
Xander supposes this was his cue to start crying, throw him against a
different wall, and give him a blowjob.

Or... something. The suicide fantasies didn't start getting elaborate
until the late 30s, early 40s and Riley is rapidly disappearing down the
street and Xander runs to catch up.

Grabs Riley's shoulder and gets thrown over to a wall for his trouble.
And suddenly it's just too funny. "No, you idiot, *you're* the one that's
supposed to be slammed into a wall."

"Just don't... what?"

Irritation and that It Is A Puzzlement face and Xander just laughs.

Terrified to close his eyes lest Riley keep on walking right out of sight
and he starts tearing a little and he knows he looks like a freak and
he's wondering if this counts as irony. Maybe it does.

Finally swallows up the laughter and straightens up a little. Looks
Riley square in the eye and waits for the wisdom to droppeth like honey
from his mouth: "All right, shithead, is this where I give you that

And that shakes the look a little. Iowa is now expressing both anger and
confusion. "Xander, I don't know what the hell this is supposed to be
about --"

"But you just tried to kill yourself."

"I did *not* try to kill myself."

"Oh, so you just decided to go out and feed the hungry vampires? Not
enough community service available to you without the military? Don't
even *try* this with me, Riley. I *know* how this goes."

Closes him right up. "You don't know a damned thing."

Xander pushes off the wall and gets in Riley's face and "come off it,
Riley. Please? We can skip the pressure on you to come up with bullshit
to explain why you were offering it up to a vamp, OK?"

"I wasn't --" And Riley abruptly closes his eyes. Exhales sharply. "I
wanted to know what it felt like."


More anger. "Getting bitten."

"You know, there's a tame vampire in L.A. you can try that on, but I
don't think Buff would appreciate the new kink."

"It's not a new *kink* -- Jesus, Xander. Could you let me go home

"Um, no, Deathwish Boy, sorry. Can't do that."

"Will you stop harping on that. I'm not suicidal, all right? I just... I
just wanted to understand."

And the idea is... pretty fucking horrible, but it just wasn't cool enough
outside for turtlenecks yet. Not even at night and he reaches before
Riley can stop him. Tugs the collar down and Riley tenses for a heartbeat
before... relaxing.

"Guess you're kinda used to that move by now, hunh?"

Overlapping scars on Riley's throat, moving down to the shoulders and
Xander just looks at him. Keeps his hand there and waits to be
acknowledged and when he is...

Like a caricature of defiance. All square-jawed tough except for the
ugly-bright thing in Riley's eyes.

"So... what's left to understand, big guy?" Riley's pulse is strong, Riley's
skin is warm but it's suddenly just *necessary* not to move his hand.
Because the scars. Are livid, tough under his fingers. "Tell me, OK?

Long shudder, flex and shift of muscle under Xander's hand. "Why she
doesn't love me. Why she needs." Gestures at his scars. "This."

"Are you *insane*? She needs another vampire boyfriend like she needs a
limp stake. *Riley*, man, have you at least tried *talking* to her?"

"I ran my thumbs over her. Her scars once. While we were making love
and she. Ah. Immediately."

"Dammit, that's just -- Look, when I..." Runs his thumb over the scars,
back and forth and he doesn't know what he expected but it wasn't a
moan and he jumps back. Stares.

Riley half turns, and is obviously adjusting himself and OK, well, that.
Didn't help. Or maybe it did. "So, what is it, Riley, now you want to go
out and get bitten again? Maybe it's just a... some kind of aphrodisiac,
all right? So your girlfriend has an extra erogenous zone. Doesn't mean
she's not thinking of you --"

"Anyone could touch her there and make her want. Nothing I do...
everything I do just comes behind everything else and there's nothing
*special* about my connection to her and just. Fuck. Good night. We'll
talk about this. Never, actually."

And Xander's actually just standing there watching him go right up until
he isn't. "Riley, I swear, if you take one more step I'm going to kick your

"Xander --"

"How can you be so goddamned *selfish*? Jesus Christ, you idiot, you.
Could. Have. Gotten. Killed. And what would you get out of that? You'd
feel better with Buffy loving your corpse? Or maybe just letting her
stake you?"

"I had my stake right there."

"You had a *vampire* right there and. Jesus. Riley. What the fuck makes
you think you deserve to put a *mark* on Buffy?"

"That isn't what I'm talking about."

"That's *exactly* what you're talking about. Something special. You just
want proof of fucking ownership. Why not just get a nice hot poker and
brand your name on her ass, hunh? See if she comes if --"

"Don't you *dare* talk about her like that." Riley moving in, now, and Xander
has no idea why his nose isn't broken yet, but he can't stop now.

"Oh, fuck *you*, Riley. One of us has to be honest here, and frankly you're
kind of sucking at it. So you think she doesn't love you. Fine. Every
fucking guy in this town has dealt with *that* one once or twice. You think
putting a collar on her is gonna do either of you any good?"

And that's it, right there. Grabbed by *his* collar and yanked close and
Xander almost wants it. That rage. Just one solid emotion for Riley
instead of that brittle kaleidoscope shuffle going on and just. Damn.
"If it would make you feel any better, you could hit me." And it doesn't
come out remotely jokingly and he's watching Riley *crumble* and it
isn't any good at *all*.

"I love her so. So *god* damned much."

"Easy, easy, any more cursing out of you and you'll never make Eagle

Hands moving now, bracing Xander's arms, and Riley's face buried
against Xander's throat, and, OK, hugs are good. He could do a hug. If he
could get free. Which he can't. So he'll just stand here and be the
hugging post. Infinitely less popular cat toy. Something.

No way in hell he should be seeing this. Getting *away* with seeing

"Riley, man, c'mon. Say it with me. It's all gonna be all right. One way
or another."

Hard squeeze and wetness on Xander's throat and Riley's hoarse
whisper. "I've never needed anything, anyone like I need her. She makes
me... something *more*."

And here's the big philosophy moment, complete with more things than
Xander ever wanted to know and still not enough to give him any clue
what to say, beyond: "You'll still be you. No matter what."

Harsh little laugh and Riley looks up again. Reddened eyes and spit on his
lip and "you know what the worst part of this is, Xander? Do you?"

"Tell me."

"You've never once tried to reassure me. Not once. Not even lip service."

"Aw, fuck, *Riley*... I'm not her, OK? I don't know."

"You knew she was in love with Angel."

"People in *New Jersey* knew she was in love with Angel, Riley, she's
just not the same person she was then. No one is."

"Then do it. Tell me it's gonna be OK. That Buffy really is in love me.
Tell me that, and I'll believe you and this will all... it won't matter. It
won't. So tell me that. C'mon, Xander."

And all Xander can do is look at him, because they both know that he
can't say a word, but Riley has so much desperate *hope* in his eyes until
he just doesn't.

Crooked little smile, nothing like a Riley smile.

Weak little chuckles.

And Riley lets go.

Backs away a step or two, and simply stands there for a long moment.
"Graham said I had no mission anymore. What he meant is that I had no

"He obviously doesn't really know you, then."

"We were friends for years, Xander. Hell, we did boot camp together. And
we were so damned different when it all started out but in the end we
were all the same. And our backbones were *green*, OK? The U. S. Army.

"And when... after the Initiative fell apart... there wasn't anything I was
a part of except for my relationship with Buffy."

"Riley, you've got *friends*, you fuck."

"You really think that? You think we're friends?"

"Are you saying we're not?"

"In grade school, yeah, I had the Scouts. In high school I had the team.
After that I had the Army."

"So, what? Do we all need to wear uniforms for you to fucking relax?
How programmed *are* you?"

"I had..." Humorless laugh. "Pre-packaged life."

"It doesn't *work* that way --"

"I don't know how, Xander. To do it without the whole setup."

Reaches out for Riley's shoulder again. Both shoulders this time and
Xander has to wonder if Riley is still hard. Still thinking of the bites and
shakes it off. "You're doing it right now."

"Well, *that* makes the prospect a lot more attractive, thanks."

"I try."

"Look, Riley... just. Give us a chance, OK? All of us. We can even go
camping if that would make you feel better. I've still got one of your
uniforms somewhere. We can play soldiers and beat up Spike a lot. It'll
be fine."

"We can beat up on Spike?"

"We'll tie him to the roof rack for convenience."

"On a sunny day?"

"Over too fast. A half-overcast day, so he just sort of smolders while
we drive."

"God, that sounds wonderful, Xander."

"Xander Harris, Hellmouth Travel Coordinator, at your service."

The smile he gets this time is genuine, followed by a laugh that jogs
Xander's grip a little. Rubbing palm and sweater against the scars and
Xander can *see* Riley's knees wobble, and suddenly, it's complication
time. Big, square Riley, losing it a little for a touch before snapping
nearly to attention. Too much.

Xander wrestles down the urge to press a little harder and stroke
before moving his hand to a safer spot.


"Huh? Yeah. Ah. Yeah. OK..." Risks a look and regrets it immediately.
Desperate hunger and depression and more of that so awful hope. Yeah,
just *how* friendly was he with Graham, again? "Hey, Riley, let's ah.
We can get something to eat --"

Riley suddenly, crazily on his knees, right in the middle of the requisite
dark alley, looking up at Xander for one more overlong moment.

"Don't --"

Riley mouthing Xander's cock, clumsy incredible search for the head,
and Xander is reaching for, something, anything to brace himself and
reaching down deep for the good, competent guy he's supposed to be and
finding nothing but a sort of helpless need. To help, to touch, to be able
to push him away --

Short-sharp bite and Xander is suddenly crouching over Riley, hands back
on those barn-beam shoulders and he wants to talk, wants to say Riley,
please, I'm just a guy, please don't and all that comes out is a helpless
moan and the inability to ignore the fact that he's push-pushing his hips
against that greedy mouth.

Sound of his zipper too too loud in the night, damning rustle of cloth and
Riley nuzzling him. Cool, dry cheek and hot, wet mouth and Riley's hands on
Xander's hips, moving back and down a little, cupping and holding his ass.
Pulling him in closer and Xander can't keep it down, can't fight.

Won't fight because yeah, deep down, this is the way it goes. Somehow.
Brief flash of Riley giving head to every Scoobie he can track down,
past and present. Hey, let's be friends and chuckling makes him gasp and
Riley's fingers groping and clutching and seeking and this is too fucked
up, and hating himself won't even be a question and maybe worth it if
Riley... if he feels...

Perfect fucking altruist Xander. Yeah right. Greedy. Just like everybody
else and Riley swallows him down in a sudden gulp, spit running freely out
of his mouth, eyes closed and expression slack. Rapturous and it's just
one more wrong fucking turn and yeah, he'd been stupid enough to believe
he was cured and his thrusts are jagged, helpless, half-controlled by Riley's
big, strong hands and Riley's throat is the hottest, wettest, most beautiful

And he doesn't know if he's angry when he flicks his bitten thumbnail over
the scars, or just wanting to reciprocate, but Riley jerks and groans and
Xander knows he's just come.

Xander lets himself loose at last, thrusting hard into that mouth and gasping
out his need and coming right down Riley's throat.

And then all he can do is drop to *his* knees. Grab Riley and hold him.
Try to figure out if maybe it was easier to be the guy who'd have been
too scared and sick of himself to even *get* in this situation and can't
follow that thought anywhere.

Riley only holds on much too tight.

Xander knows they won't be moving for a while, and he knows that's exactly
the limit of what he can handle -- making them just slightly safer, if only
for a little while.

Xander wants to kiss him.