This is for my dearest kitty_poker1 on the anniversary of her birth.
Additional Warnings: Mention of a few body functions.
The Course of True Love
"The course of true love never did run smooth."
--From A Midsummer Night's Dream (I, i, 134)
Xander sighed and wondered when his dick had fallen off. He was pretty sure it was there the last time he'd taken a piss but for some reason Buffy and Willow thought it was AWOL or something. “Buffy, this is the third time during Scooby Movie Night you've picked sappy chick flicks... Couldn’t you have spared me and Riley the torture of it for once?”
Buffy threw her boyfriend a flirty grin and gave her hair a toss. Xander thought he might puke.
“Riley doesn't mind, do you, Riley?” Buffy said.
Riley came up behind Buffy and snuggled her close. “I'm good to watch whatever you want to watch, sweetheart.”
In the back of Xander's mind was a voice, that sounded a lot like Spike's, calling Riley names. Hen pecked and pussy whipped were two of the more polite terms. Xander couldn't say them out loud, but sometimes they were right. He glanced at where Willow and Tara were snuggled up together. “Come on, Wills...Love Story? Could you people get a more sad and depressing film without resorting to the foreign language section?”
Willow blinked at him. “It's not sad! It's....it's a beautiful love story. I mean that's the title and yes she dies but they go through so much just to be together!! It's beautiful and romantic!”
“She dies. It's depressing. Besides it was Sabrina last week and Sleepless in Seattle the time before that. I'm getting cavities from the sap and if I watch one more chick flick I'm going to go on a testosterone filled rage and start shooting people.”
Buffy frowned. “Can you even shoot a gun?”
Xander sighed. “So not the point, Buff. Can't we watch something like Matrix or Men in Black?”
Tara at least seemed to be on his side; she was giving him a sympathetic smile from under her curtain of hair. Then again, Tara still got sort of shy around them so he didn't count on her backing him up. Riley looked like he might want to agree but when Buffy gave him a squeeze and rubbed up against him, his eyes glazed.
Defiantly pussy whipped.
“Next week, promise, Xander. Barring apocalypses, of course. We've already got the DVD rented and everything. Come on, it's not so bad...”
All three females were giving him looks now, but for once Xander didn't cave in. “Sorry, ladies, but I'm bailing. It's been a long week at work and I need to veg out to something mindless that won't leave me wanting to slice my wrists at the end.”
It took Xander a few minutes to disengage. There were puppy eyes and pleadings but in the end Xander made a break for freedom, away from the two couples who would cuddle up and watch the movie and the girls who would cry and then declare it the most sweetest thing ever.
Finally though, Xander was standing outside of the house, alone but safe in his masculinity. His feeling of triumph lasted less than five seconds, however. It was a hot, sultry night and his basement had no air conditioning. In this heat it would smell, too, of mold and old cardboard. Not only that but it was a Friday night and just about everyone he knew was coupled off and being all blissfully happy.
It was enough to make a single guy sick.
Xander sighed and turned to walk down the street, the opposite way to where the Basement of Doom was. A few more weeks and he'd have enough money saved up to move. He would have had it already, but for his construction job he’d had to buy his own tools, which cost and arm and a leg. Then of course he needed a car to haul his tools around in. All his co-workers made fun of his little Suzuki but his tool box fit neatly into the little hatchback and he could get away with filling up at the gas station twice a month for ten bucks.
Still, one day in the future, he was looking forward to being able to put first and last month's rent down for something other than an efficiency apartment with people living so close to him he could hear them burp. He had that now, thank you very much.
Instead, he walked the other way, towards the cemetery where Spike's crypt was located. This was one of the many things the girls didn't seem to get about him; he actually sort of liked the blonde vampire in a “he's really annoying but Xander kinda got along with him” sort of way.
Then again, Buffy and Willow always looked at him oddly when he talked to Anya, too. In their limited experience, break ups were painful things that consisted of weeks of sobbing, chocolate ice cream and the guy not only never talking to the girl again but moving out of town. Guys should not remain good enough friends with their exes to hang out with at least twice a week like he did with Anya.
If they knew he'd mended fences with Cordy right after prom enough to still call her once every two weeks, they would probably have a litter of kittens right in the middle of Giles's floor.
When he reached Spike's crypt he pretty much just let himself in. Spike was in the lower level though, and Xander didn't feel free enough with the vampire's courtesy to just barge into his bedroom, so he dusted off one of the sarcophagi and pulled himself up to sit on it.
A few moments later, Spike popped out of the trap door in the floor, which sort of made him look like an evil gopher with curly hair. But Xander liked living so he kept quiet.
“Why are you here? Weren’t you supposed to be off playing with the bints, or something?”
Xander snorted. “Yeah, well, they must think I'm a girl. I mean, I know every once in a while I may let out a less than manly shriek every once in a while...” He ignored Spike's returned snort. “But I am not a female. They're watching Love Story for god's sake!”
Spike was poking around the upper level of his crypt looking for his lighter. He made a face when he heard the name of the movie. “Fuck. That's the soppiest movie ever. 'Love means never having to say you're sorry.' Bunch of bullshit, if you ask me. Over a hundred years with Drusilla and I can tell you I had to say “I'm sorry” more times than I remember.”
Xander winced. “Hey, I dated Cordelia AND Anyanka. If there's anyone who knows about apologizing when you don't know what the hell you did wrong, it's me.”
Spike chuckled and let it drop. “So, are you buying tonight? Or do we have to go hunt down a few fledges and go through their pockets for drinking money?”
Xander watched Spike put on his duster. It always fascinated him how the vampire could put a coat on and then seem a few inches taller. “I'll buy the first round but let's see if we can shake down some vamps for more cash on the way. I feel like getting drunk tonight. Totally shit-faced.”
“And this has nothing to do with you feeling all sorry for yourself, of course. Wanker.”
“Shut up, Spike. You dated Harmony; that's like, new levels of desperation.”
Spike groaned. “Don't fucking remind me. Why I thought doing her would be better than wanking off, I'll never know. At least my hand doesn't bloody well chatter on for hours about boy bands.”
They left the crypt and Xander sighed and stuck his hands in the pocket of his jacket. “Why is it that men are always supposed to pay attention to what women say but women totally ignore us if we go off about something important, like sports.”
“For the same reason blokes have to shell out a hundred or so pounds for chocolate and jewelry for Valentine's and we don't get shit. Life isn't fair.”
Xander groaned. “Don't even talk to me about Valentine's Day. Cordy dumped me on Valentine's and I went and did the crazy love spell thing that backfired. Valentine's Day sucks.”
“Life sucks. And then you either die or become undead.” A fledge suddenly popped his hand through the dirt about five feet away and Xander jumped. Spike just laughed at him. “Git. Come on, let's go beat something up.”
Xander nodded and pulled the stake from out of his pocket. “Anything to keep from getting so depressed about my love life.” Hopefully they could kill a few things before getting drunk. Not only would it help him get his frustrations out, but hopefully violence would get all the girl cooties off of him.
“And another thing...what's wrong with a little farting? I mean, it's not like women don't fart. I know they have to; it's like science. Females fart and burp and sweat just like males do, but they try not to do it. I think that was what made Cordy so uptight, holding her farts in. If she would have let go she would have been a much easier person to be around.”
“Fucking Christ. You are the sorriest drunk I've ever heard in all my life and that includes when Angelus would get all maudlin over Darla leaving him and his mullet in the dust.”
Xander ignored Spike for the moment. Instead, he paid more attention to his shoes, which seemed to be moving without him. “Do you think Riley knows Buffy farts? ‘Cause she can cut some bad ones. That's what happens when you're the best friend instead of the boy friend; you go to Taco Bell together and find out more than you want to know. And they try to put green goop on your face and braid your hair. Not that I have hair to braid. Do you think Buffy tried to braid Angel's hair?”
“I think that you're fucking well drunk off your ass and it's not a pretty sight. I'm gonna need to get drunk myself after listening to your bleedin' thought processes.”
Xander giggled and lost his coordination as he was dragged down what should have been a familiar pathway. “You should've gotten drunk with me, Spike, then we could have been drunk together.” He hiccupped a time or two and then laughed. “Although why you're hanging out with me I'll never know. I mean, yeah I'm all dateless and stuff but you shouldn't be. You're all hot and romantic and all that shit.” His feet came to a stop.
“Fucking hell, stake me now. Why can't you just pass out?”
“I'll have you know I'm a very good drunk. I come from a long line of drunks and at least I'm not being abusive or anything like that. And I haven't even started singing, which is a possibility once I get in the shower.” Suddenly there were stairs and they were going down and his feet seemed to be following them. It was odd, watching his feet move without any influence over them, almost as if they'd developed a consciousness of their own and had decided to take his brain with them against their will.
“Here, sit before you fall on your bloody arse.”
Xander giggled. Spike sounded funny. “Oooh, couch. This is my couch, isn't it? It's got what looks to be my butt print on it.”
“Bloody fucking hell! The Slayer so owes me for not letting you get dead. I'm talking a huge amount of payback, here, maybe even enough to get the witches to turn off this bloody chip.”
Xander sighed happily and settled into the couch. “Is there dip?”
Xander laid down, halfway curled up on the couch. It felt nice, like he was floating. “For the chips. Cordy use to be the dip for us but now she's Angel's dip.”
There was a chuckle from somewhere near his feet and his shoes decided to take themselves off for the night. “I'll make sure Peaches knows that she's his dip the next time he comes to town to moon over the Slayer. Git. Now you just rest there like a good little boy and have a nap. You'll feel much worse in the morning, I'm sure.”
“Mmm, kay. Will you hold my long, flowing hair out of my face if I puke?”
“Bloody idiot. You don't have long hair.”
Xander sighed. “Too bad. True love is holding someone's hair out of their face while they puke.” He had only a few minutes to wonder how a blanket appeared out of nowhere and then Xander was asleep.
Xander woke up slowly, feeling every muscle in his body ache. An entire drum section was playing in his head and his mouth tasted as if a family of refugees had washed out their dirty underwear and socks in it. All in all he was a miserable excuse for a human being.
After a while, he finally got the energy to open his eyes and move his head a little. Of course that caused the nausea and he wished he hadn't. When the room stopped swirling, though, he was surprised. On his side table were bottles of juice and water as well as a packet of Tylenol. The waste can had been emptied and put by the side of the bed as well.
If his face hadn't hurt so much, Xander would have smiled. Yes, Spike was a remorseless killer but he wasn't nearly as bad as Angelus and if he counted you as a friend he could actually be thoughtful.
Later, after the puking and coffee and a shower had stopped the migraine and Xander was able to think about the night before, his thought processes came to a shuddering halt.
Spike had taken care of him last night, when he was drunk. Had helped him get drunk, in fact. They had spent the night playing pool and just talking and being together and stealing each other's snack foods. And while Spike might not have stayed around for the puking, he had provided for Xander's comfort. The small coffee pot in the basement had even been ready to turn on.
If he'd been out with a female, Xander would have called that a date. Well, he wouldn't have gotten drunk then but still, date. And Spike had thought about him so that meant that Spike liked him, if only a little bit.
Spike liked him, liked him.
Sitting on the same couch that Spike had tucked him into the night before, Xander picked up the pillow and thought about smothering himself.
Because if you took gender out of the equation, Spike was just his type. Domineering, sarcastic, and slightly evil. He wasn't totally bad. Oh, he'd kill without a care but Spike wasn't the End The World Type evil. If that ever happened Spike would bitch and whine for the rest of his life about the lack of Passions and punk rock and Sid whoever.
Xander got up and found some decent clothes and got dressed; he couldn't stay in the basement a minute longer. He knew that about Spike, just like he knew Spike still sort of loved Drusilla, in a way, even though he'd never go back to her now. And he knew other stuff about Spike too, stuff that no male knew about someone he was just friends with.
Which meant that he liked liked Spike too.
“Anya!!” Xander pounded on her front door. “Anya, it's almost two in the afternoon on a Saturday, I know you're home!”
The door swung open. “For god's sake, Xander, what’s got your shorts in a twist? I was going through my closet; is that all right with you?”
Xander threw himself in one of Anya's chairs. “I am so screwed, Anya, totally and completely screwed. I am seriously messed up, here.“
Anya stood in front of him, her hands on her hips. “Out with it, then. I'm leaving for LA in an hour and if I'm going to have to hold your hand through a nervous breakdown I'd like to get it over with.”
“Yes, Cordelia and I are going shopping, if you must know. Her sense of style is much better than Buffy's. And there's the fact that Cordelia actually likes me while Buffy and Willow are still waiting for me to turn you into something slimy. Plus, I think Angel was giving her a difficult time and she needs a friendly ear.”
“Huh.” The whole idea of Cordy and Anya teaming up was frightening and strangely logical all at once. “You know, I still think you should move there. Not that I wouldn't miss you because I would, but I can't help but think you and Angel are meant for each other. Deadboy likes to punish himself and you like to punish men. It’s a match made in heaven. “
Anya glared at him and sat on the end of her couch. “Cordy is the one with the crush on the guy and that's why he's being an ass. You men are stupid when it comes to relationships, you know? How the human race got to be a majority on this planet, I'll never know. So what's got you upset?”
Xander blushed and suddenly he didn't know what to say. “I think I like Spike and that he likes me and I have no idea what to do about it.”
Evidently his mouth knew what to say as long as it didn't engage his brain.
Anya just sat that looking at him. Finally, she sighed. “And? You're just figuring this out now?”
“Xander!” It was said in a tone of voice that implied just how stupid he really was. “This was why I broke up with you, remember? We decided that I didn't have what you needed in a relationship.”
Xander found his arms flailing around. “I thought you meant emotionally!”
“No, I meant that I don't have a penis! For god's sake, Xander, how are you just now figuring this out? I thought you hadn't made a move on Spike because you were afraid of what your little Scooby friends would say.”
“Well I'm sorry if I didn't have my personal identity shift quickly enough for you!” Xander winced and realized he was yelling. He sat back in his chair and put his face in his hands. “I just don't understand, when Larry came on to me I ran the other way so quickly I probably left skid marks. Why am I just now turning gay?”
Anya leaned forward and gave him what he was sure was supposed to be a comforting pat on his knee but just felt awkward. “Xander, honey, you hang out with women for the most part. And despite the whole lack of fashion and the obsession with explosions, you come across as pretty gay. I mean, straight men don't look at Spike's ass the way you do.”
“What?! I've been looking at Spike's ass? When?”
“Whenever he takes off that ratty old duster. Really, Xander, this is quite sad. It's one thing to keep your gayness from friends when you think they won't understand but you've closeted yourself from yourself. This is an entire week's worth of Jerry Springer Show messed up.”
Xander groaned and covered his face again. “Tell me something I don't know.”
In the end, Xander went back home to his basement that stank and his parents who continued to yell above him. Even if he hadn't had his freak out today, he probably wouldn't have gone out in search of company. He was still too hung over and too tired and the girls would both be on dates and he'd just be the third wheel.
What made it worse was that he knew for a fact that Anya would be talking to Cordelia about his old/new gayness, and his two exes would be comparing notes and figuring out all the clues that pointed to the fact that Xander was gay and how he never knew it. Hopefully he’d die of spontaneous human combustion soon, or terminal embarrassment. Because really, he was not looking forward to what they were planning for him. Cordy and Anya enjoyed projects and he could feel a make over coming on a mile away.
What was even worse was the fact that Anya left him her laptop, and bookmarked a few sites that she thought he'd find interesting. Now he was curious and horrified all at once. With Anya it could be anything from pictures of male models to full-on porn and he really didn't want to know. But he did, because now he was curious to know if he was just gay for Spike or gay all around. And if he decided that he wanted to do something about it, well he'd have to know what to do, wouldn't he?
Xander looked for something wooden to smash his head against. “Oh, I am so going to one of the hell dimensions.”
In the end, though, after only two hours of indecision, Xander finally pulled Anya's laptop over to him and powered it up.
By the next day, when Anya picked up her computer, Xander was thoroughly embarrassed and desperately horny. He couldn't even bring himself to look his friend in the eye for more than a minute. Anya just rolled her eyes, grabbed the laptop and shoved a brown paper bag in his hand. “Stop being such an idiot, Xander, it's only sex! Oh, and that's from Cordy; she said she hoped you enjoy it.”
Then Anya was gone and Xander was left alone in his basement again. He opened the bag cautiously, as if it had a snake in it. It was Cordelia and Anya, he figured he couldn't be too careful.
What he found inside was a twelve ounce bottle of lube. Xander yelped and shoved the bag away from him. It was a good thing he was turning out gay because females were evil.
Xander had thought carefully and made a plan. He'd avoid Spike for a few days, then wait until Friday and go over and talk to the man and see if just maybe Spike really did have feelings for him. It was perfect, all he had to do was get through the work week and if he ended up humiliating himself he'd have the weekend to huddle in his basement and mope.
His plan didn't take into account the fact that once he started really thinking about Spike and telling him, well, he got nervous. Really nervous. Nearly cut off his own hand during work nervous. When his boss asked, he claimed he wasn't feeling too well and was given the day off. Xander knew that he had to resolve his issue with Spike before he could come back and work safely. Otherwise he'd end up hammering himself in the balls or something.
In the end Xander decided to blunder through his confession like he did just about everything else. He waited until sunset and then barged into Spike's crypt. “Spike, we need to talk.”
Spike had been sitting in the ratty armchair he kept in the corner and was throwing playing cards at an old shoe. “What? No hello? No how are you? Not even gonna knock? Bloody well rude is what you are.”
“Yeah, yeah. Just let me talk and then you can throw me out afterwards.” Xander took a deep breath and rubbed his sweaty palms on the thighs of his jeans. “See, the other night when you dragged my drunken ass home, and thank you for that by the way, I realized something. You know how we had been talking about romance and crap? Well, what you did for me, not just getting me home safe but leaving the stuff by my bed for my hangover, that was the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me.”
Xander figured he was doing okay since Spike wasn't getting up and yelling or anything like that, so he continued. “And once I'd thought about it, I liked it. And I figured out I'd kinda like to do stuff like that for you. If you, well, if you wanted.”
The crypt was quiet and Xander seriously thought about crawling outside when Spike finally spoke. “You do. Already. I mean, I use your shower and your washing machine all the time.”
Xander laughed. “Not to mention the fact that I buy half of your alcohol and smokes...so I take it this isn't a new idea for you since you're not throwing things at me and then clutching at your brain where the chip has zapped you?”
Spike gave a snort. “Yeah, you could say that.” He puffed on a cigarette, the smoke circling around his head. “You do realize if we don’t do something about this we're gonna drive each other barmy in no time, don't you?”
“Tell me something I don't know. We'll fight and argue and call each other names.” He grinned. “Then again, I did that with Cordy and we ended up making out in the storage closets back in the old high school, so maybe that isn't anything different for me.”
Spike leered at him. “Guess that means you get off on snark and Pine Sol then, eh?”
“Something like that.” Xander blushed. He was not going to admit that for a while there bleach did have certain aphrodisiac qualities. “So...I'm feeling oddly speechless which is really strange for me. I don't know what to say.”
Spike stood up and stalked over to him, and Xander could feel himself start to harden. “Wanna fuck usually works for me,” Spike said.
Xander rolled his eyes. “How romantic.” Then he grinned. “Actually, that works for me.”
“Good, 'cause I'm not the type of vamp to send a bloke flowers.”
“Who cares? Flowers die. And I know you, if you even think about getting me chocolate it'll be stolen and you'd have eaten half of it.”
Spike was so close Xander could feel him standing there almost as if they were touching. But they weren't, at least not yet. “Got to make sure it's up to snuff, don't I? Don't wanna give my beau low quality chocolate.”
“Well hopefully your beau will be me and I'll take chocolate any way I can get it.” Xander steeled himself for rejection but Spike raised his hand and caressed him along his jaw line and Xander couldn't help but lean into it.
“And you know any relationship we have isn't gonna end like one of those bloody movies the chits were watching, don't you?”
Spike's voice was soft as if he was afraid too and that made Xander relax for some reason. “You know, I read the book The Princess Bride was based on. It was a long time ago but I remember that it didn't end with them kissing and then riding off into the sunrise. Wesley relapsed since they didn't wait the full fifteen minutes for Miracle Max's pill to work and he was bedridden and Buttercup got tired of living on a pirate ship and they fought all the time. And the great love story that was Speed was over by the time Speed 2 was made. Romeo and Juliet both died pointless deaths. I'm not looking for happy ever after Spike, but I'd love to have happy right now.”
Suddenly Spike's mouth was on his, hard and demanding and oh so good. Well, it was good after the nose bumping got out of the way. Spike's tongue could do amazing things and Xander's knees turned to jelly after the first minute. It was the kind of kiss that was messy and rude and made him want to have sex on the floor of a crypt even though it was kinda creepy.
Finally, they had to stop. Xander was gasping for breath just a bit and he was kind of dizzy in a bad way. When he finally got enough air he couldn't help but laugh. “You taste like pig's blood.”
Spike snarled. “'S not like I have a bloody bathroom in this place, is it? Can't be minty fresh when you don't have a toothbrush. ‘Sides, I hadn't been expecting you to just come in here and seduce me. You could have freshened up some yourself; you're not so Sure anymore.”
Xander winced. “I can't help it! I get all sweaty when I'm nervous.” He hit Spike on the arm. “And what's with trying to make me pass out, anyway?”
“What? Supposed to make you swoon with a first kiss, aren't I?”
“Okay, swooning is for the bimbos on the covers of those romance books and it doesn't include oxygen deprivation.” Then he grinned. “But it was a damn good kiss!”
Spike was acting way too smug for his own good. “Was, wasn't it?”
“Come on, grab some stuff and we'll go to my place for the night. I can wash my pits and you can brush your teeth and we can see about getting to second base or something.”
“Or something? Don't you know what happens next?” Spike was shuffling around and getting his duster and giving Xander the eye.
“In theory, but I figure you'll show me. I gotta tell you, though, from what I've read on line I think most gay males have to stretch or something before having sex. I really can't see me holding my legs up around my ears without giving myself a serious leg cramp.”
Spike looked at him and burst out laughing and Xander couldn't help but join it.
It might not be happy ever after or true love, but Xander thought it was pretty damn good all the same.
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