e x c o r i a t e

Willow's face is buried between the legs of her lover, her tiny elfin nose nestled in the soft wiry comfort of feminine pubic hair. Curves, crevices, and intricate folds rise up in need at the touch of Willow's tongue, slick with saliva and liquid sweeter than honey.

Willow's been speaking the language of unspoken love for only a few months, but Tara has noticed a change recently, something for the better. No longer insecure, doubting her identity, her status, even her ability. Willow has learned how to make Tara shudder into little deaths, multiple times even, and she is smug with the knowledge as it happens again, raising her head and kissing Tara's belly with a smile.

Tara melts into the Indian print bedspread with a soft sigh, and Willow moves to the edge of the bed, kissing Tara's forehead tenderly before standing up and grabbing her shirt, smoothing it over her breasts before tucking it into her skirt.

Tara frowns as she watches Willow dress. "You're leaving?" she asks softly.

Willow smiles sadly as she nods. "I have to go see a professor about my paper..." She leans in and kisses Tara tenderly, her lips still tasting of lower lips and spent passion. "I love you," Willow says, stroking Tara's cheek. "You know that, right?"

Tara smiles like a cat, drowsy, content, and nods. "I love you too..."

Willow smiles that sweet smile of hers and walks out the door.

Xander Harris looks down at the remnants of his life, stuffed into a cardboard box with his name scribbled across the top. His mother's attempt, yet again, to make him pay rent for a place that isn't even an apartment. She takes the things she thinks she can sell and stuffs everything else into a box, for a day, at least, until Xander hands her money. Or a bottle of cheap hard liquor. Whatever she's decided she needs that particular day.

Xander pulls a bottle of grocery store bourbon and sets it on on the top step of the basement, preparing for the confrontation with his mother, drunken exhausted swearing and the occasional broken glass, then slowly walks down and unpacks the box. A few scattered clothes, pictures, and his lone book, an anthology of beat poetry, the spine cracked open to Allan Ginsburg, not that Xander would admit to ever feeling any connection with the old chickenhawk...or ever wishing that he had ever met the (fucked the?) man when he was alive.

Xander sets the single book on his table with reverance, then hears the sound of the bottle being moved. He looks up resignedly, expecting trouble, maybe a slap across the face with the nails scraping against his cheek, then brightens when he sees who has come to see him. "Willow!"

Willow smiles the way she used to, before Tara, before Oz, before Buffy even. "Xander," she says sweetly, like a housecat right before it pounces. She looks down at the bottle and sheepishly smiles. "I'm sorry..." she says softly. "Your mother?"

Xander simply nods, not needing to say a word. Willow's spent the past fifteen years of her white bread life slowly learning about his pumpernickel with butter life. And she knows the routine of momentary solemnity replaced by complete comedic distraction.

He's mildly surprised, then, when she walks down the stairs and takes his hand in comfort, her eyes wide and earnest as she says "I'm so sorry, Xander. I'm sorry I wasn't ever here for you..."

Xander frowns and looks away, unable to look into the eyes of the person who suddenly became the Willow he remembered, as if the past two years, the cheating, the bisexuality and the classism of college vs. local had never occurred. But Willow's hand is still on his, and he still remembers when they were closer than siblings, and the feeling of her lips on his and he can't help himself, he's looking at her, into her hypnotic green eyes.

She's speaking again, her voice soft and deeply earnest. "I just feel awful, because you've been ignored by everyone, you know, and with Buffy still off doing...things with Riley and Giles off at that conference, I just...I felt really awful, because no one was around to talk to you." She shrugs. "So I'm here. To...talk. And stuff."

"Oh..." Xander says. He pauses for a moment, staring at the ground before daring to speak again, daring to open his mouth and ruin it all over again. "Do you...um..." He gestures vaguely towards the chair.

She smiles that Colgate no-cavities-ever smile, the smile of all things perfect and innocent, and then, with a single movement, shatters the image. "Actually, I'd..." She gestures towards the bed.

Xander feels light-headed and he can't quite tell if the blood went to his stomach or his cock, but it's Homecoming all over again, or is it a masturbatory fantasy? As she walks up to him and leaves little tender kisses up and down his chest, he realizes the true answer is that he just doesn't care.

And even though he doesn't care if this is real or not, he has to ask, he has to know, and he lifts up her head and looks at the pixie face, the impish smile, and those big green eyes. "Tara?" he asks.

And she smiles a bit wider, sliding her hands against him, and says in a perfect innocent voice -- fuck, this has to be a dream -- "She understands...friendship...what you do for friends...especially when their girlfriends have left town..."

Xander sighs, remembering Anya's car packed high as she got the hell out of Dodge, and Xander's life, for good, and looks back down at Willow. "I don't know, Will...this is all too much for me...I mean, you just don't show up and offer sexual favours to your best friend..." Willow's hands creep across his skin as he speaks, sliding against his heated flesh in ways Anya never could, despite "The Joy of Sex" and Harlequin novels. "I...ohh..." He loses track of his words as delicate fingers slide under his waistband, tracing over the coarse line of hair trailing down from his belly button.

"Xander...I just want you to be happy..." she says sweetly as she unzips, pulling down his beat-up khakis and faded boxers, freeing his quickly hardening cock for just a second before dropping to her knees and taking him into her mouth.

Xander's head falls back on his shoulders as he groans, the only thought reaching his mind is "She's getting her knee socks dirty." But then he doesn't care, because it's Willow sucking him off, and she's good.

He's young, he's stupid, it's all like a jerk-off session, but far too real and despite his wants, despite the thoughts about baseball and books and vampires and even the bottle of bourbon on the stairs and his mother, he comes too quick, far too quick, off like a rocket, Xander Harris goes off to the moon while his best friend swallows his come. And just like that moon trip, Xander's left with the debris crashing down on Earth. It slams against his stomach and he doesn't know whether or not to puke or kiss her. She stands, and he kisses her, because it seems better than puking, and the taste of himself on her lips is more arousing than it ever should be.

She pulls away. "See?" she says with a grin. "I knew you'd feel better." She looks as though she would say more, but a quick glance at his Coors waterfall clock (another present from Uncle Rory) makes her eyes widen in fear. "Oh no...I have to go...I promised Tara, I'd..."

Xander nods. "Yeah..." he says, unable to come up with anything more coherent. She wraps her arms around him and he complies, hugging her tightly. He feels something brush against his leg, not her thigh and not her skirt, something alien and almost...but before he can place the tactile memory, she's stepped back, scampering up the steps with a wave, leaving him in a post-orgasmic haze of nothing.

Willow unlocks the door of her dorm room, knowing that Buffy will be out for most of the night, possibly the entire weekend, wrapped in the arms of Midwestern comfort, and moves towards the light switch.

"Leave them off," a voice says in the near darkness. Thin slats of light peek through the blinds and Willow can see a person in the room, her height, but male, and eerily still.

She stares at the man -- a boy, really -- then nods slowly. "Of course." She walks over to her bed and sits upon it, her eyes still staring at the man sitting in her desk chair.

"So did they...?" he asks, his voice still low.

She smiles sweetly. "Of course. Just like I said." She pats the empty space on the bed next to her. "But it got me thinking all sorts of things, you know..."

He sits down next to her, a slat of sunlight glimmering through his red hair. "Oh really?" he asks as he wraps an arm around her tenderly.

"Mm-hmm..." She rests her head on his shoulder and tenderly strokes his thigh. "Make love to me...please?" Her voice grows almost pleading. "Please? Oz?"

It's the whisper of his name that sets the boy in motion, tilting Willow's head slightly to kiss her, sweetly, lovingly, sliding her body down onto the bed, as he runs his hands over her. She giggles and matches him caress for caress, unbuttoning buttons and unzipping zippers, pulling clothing off of him as they continue their slow sweet kisses. He lies there, naked, as she kneels above him, fully clothed. She pulls away from his lips and laughs, a tender, loving laugh.

"You're still dressed," he says as he reaches for the buttons on her still-pristine, albeit wrinkled, white shirt, slowly revealing creamy skin with every undoing. The shirt is pulled away, and Oz's hands cup her lace-covered breasts, perfect for his finely callused hands. The nipples press against his palms and he laughs, almost a full laugh, but close to a chuckle, as he holds her in his hands, as she presses against his skin in pleasure.

He slowly rolls her onto her back, kissing the fine skin of her neck as he does so, trailing his erection against her thigh. He unzips the back of her skirt, pulling it free of her legs, then traces over the thin satin-like panties. "You know...Willow..." he says, his voice verging on bemused. He rubs against her as he whispers in her ear. "I'd rather appreciate it..." Fingers hook the waistband of her panties, slowly moving them lower and lower. "...If you'd fuck me instead..."

The panties are kicked free of Willow's legs, leaving her as bare as the day she was created, her fiery red hair shining in the dim light, her pale breasts heaving as he strokes her, as he has a hand around her, around her thick cock, growing harder with every stroke, every squeeze, every sweet, loving caress.

The door slowly opens on the lovers on the bed, caught up in the singular dance of passion. The scene is bathed in half light, giving the entire affair the appearance of antiquity, like a sepia-toned photograph of olden days. But this particular photograph would never be seen in public, passed around, instead, by particular men, in particular clubs, with particular fetishes.

The boy lies on his back, his head pressing into the mattress, his eyes closed, but open just far enough for the glimmering shine of lust to peek through. His legs are lifted, pushed back as far as they can go, held in place by well-manicured hands, pale pink nail polish glinting in the half-light. There's just the hint of tension along the base of his legs, a roughness, as if the skin was about to tear open. He's hard, of course, painfully purple, lifting his hips to rub against soft feminine belly flesh. His thin hands, fingertips callused and torn at the edges, wrap around his lover's breasts, kneading the tender flesh as he lifts his hips in time with her thrusts.

She, for it is she, from the tips of her toes to the top of her flippant red hair, save that piece of skin removed in the middle to let other flesh through, laughs as he grabs at her breasts in lust, and thrusts deeper, astroglide slickening her way as she penetrates him, deep in as she can be. She feels his cock rubbing against her stomach, the sticky wetness of passion to erupt, and laughs again, leaning down just a bit further to run her tongue over his lips, and he groans, a low growling groan as he shoots over their bodies, sparkling pearlesence sliding over their young, supple, borrowed skins.

It's too much for his lover, and she thrusts even faster, her breasts bouncing as she rocks inside of him, crying out loudly as she comes, pressing into him for a few more quick shallow spending thrusts. She rests against him for just a second, then slowly slips out of him, pulling his legs down before curling up next to him, leaving tender exhausted kisses up and down his chest.

There's a sound from the doorway, a muffled gasp, possibly the sound of a gag reaction being barely held back. The couple lifts their heads, still in the sexual synchronicity. The boy smiles slowly and says, syrupily slow and sweet, "Hello, Xander....care to join us?"

Xander stares at the sprawled couple, his mind screaming in shock, screeching in denial. "No...this is not happening..." he says, woodenly, staring at the couple, at their thin bodies entwined together, their pale stomachs, and the raw red jarring line directly above their hair, and their--

Xander takes another deep breath, restraining his gag reaction as he sees their penises, for Willow has one now, and it's this, above all else, that sends all rational thought into thick black nothingness, almost to the point of passing out, but he can't look away. "This is not real..."

Oz -- or was it Oz anymore? Xander wasn't sure, but he was guessing it wasn't -- speaks slowly, condescendingly, and it doesn't even really sound like Oz anymore, maybe Oz if he was 25 years older and smoking a pack a day, scarred vocal cords and just the hint of a British accent. "My boy, surely you didn't think Willow would act that way around you, did you?"

Xander's eyes, still wide with denial, turn accusingly towards the redhead with the dark brown pubic hair, wet with lubricant and semen, penis resting limply upon a slender thigh. "I..." Xander gulps for air, his mind still unable to process what's before him. "I..."

"Xander..." Willow says, her eyes wide with tears and her voice trembly, the usual routine of childhood again, as if she had broken his GI Joe. "Xander, look at me..."

Xander looks, then turns away in disgust, gagging at the sight of what he instinctively realizes is his best friend's corpse, mutilated and desecrated, a million times worse than piss on a tombstone, and much much worse than the time he had seen her as a vampire. Willow is dead, and something -- someone -- is wearing her skin. He sobs, just once, harsh, raw, grating on his vocal cords, then turns back to the couple. "Who are you?" he asks, detached, trying to cope with what has occurred. "What have you done to Willow and Oz?"

And Oz smiles slowly again, standing up. "Call it...a conquering of sorts. They were young and foolish, and we...took over." He shrugs, and Xander could swear he hears dry skin moving against skin, like scabs rubbing against scabs, or old leather pants. "It was survival of the fittest, dear boy. They were stupid and we..." Oz turns back to Willow and smiles. "We were smarter."

Xander screams, his eyes closed tightly as he attacks Oz, covering the thin nude body with his own heavy body, pushing the smaller man down just far enough, and there's a flash of silver, a flash of fire across Oz's throat --

The skin tugs, pulls free, revealing the older, wrinkled skin underneath, fresh and clean for just a second, a split second before it's ripped open, imitating the still smug smile on Oz's lips before it begins to bleed over the two layers of skin.

Xander lets go as soon as he can, as soon as he feels the body collapse underneath him. He's covered in blood and shit, stinking and raw, and he turns, vomiting several nights' worth of dinner all over the floor, vomiting up all the rage and grief he can, until there's absolutely nothing left. He gasps for breath, stomach muscles aching, throat burning with bile, trying desperately to ignore what has occurred.

"Xander..." Oh God, Willow's speaking again. And the voice is different this time, no longer the sound of a congested toddler, baby talk in a husky groan, but deeper, resonant, unmistakably male. "Xander, please look at me..."

Xander recognizes that voice, and he can't help but look, his eyes filling with tears, his spirit nearly broken in this last revelation. He swallows back down bile, unable to vomit any longer and says, stutteringly, "G-Giles?"

"Xander," the voice says, incongruous with those pale pink feminine lips, oh what lips these lips have kissed. Willow's body rises, Giles' eyes, sparkling with age-old wisdom of masculinity, solitary and torturous, staring at him almost -- wantingly? Xander swallows again, but this time it isn't to prevent himself from vomiting, but to wet his suddenly parched throat.

Giles -- Willow -- whoever (whatever) the creature is before him -- walks up to Xander, stepping delicately over the corpse of whoever owned Oz, and looks up at him with wide, wistful eyes. "Xander," Giles says softly. "Xander, look at me..."

Xander looks down into the eyes of the man he thought he knew, encased in the body of the woman he once loved, and the tears prickling at the edges of his eyes stream down his face. "Why?" he asks Giles in between sobs, his voice small and child-like. "How could you?"

"I had to..." A delicate feminine hand reaches up to caress his cheek, and, surprising even himself, Xander doesn't turn from it. "Ethan was...very persuasive..."

"But why her?" Xander begs, grabbing the shoulders, thin soft shoulders, smelling lightly of cheap raspberry and apple perfume, just like how Xander remembered. The memory makes Xander grab the shoulders harder, until finally feel the bones underneath, the bones he knows are of an older man, and he knows he can break them. "Why not me?" he shouts. "Why couldn't you have killed me?"

"I need you." Giles' voice is soft, low, and so obviously wanting that Xander recoils back, a mixture of horror and desire, unresolved after all these years, crashing through his body. Xander feels as though he's going to faint, fade into blissful unconsciousness, wish it all away, wish this monstrosity of middle-aged manliness wearing the skin of teenage lust into the cornfield, it was a mistake, he never wanted it here, he never wanted this...

But he reaches out for the creature in front of him. Reaches out for the perfect mix of all his secret wishes and wants, reaches for Giles-in-Willow, and leans down to kiss it as his arms encircle his...her...their body.

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