Written for spring_with_xan
Xander opened the door and entered his apartment. He turned on the light and toed off his shoes.
“Burn the jacket?” Spike asked.
“Ah! Spike,” Xander said irritably, his heart beating way too fast. “Why were you sitting in the dark?”
Spike was on the couch staring straight ahead.
“Okay,” Xander said, as he walked to his fridge and grabbed the milk out of it. “Jacket’s burned. R.J. is no longer adored by the female population of Sunnydale.”
He drank some milk from the carton. If Spike can leave towels on the floor, I don’t have to use a glass, he thought. He put the milk back in the fridge and turned towards Spike.
Spike was still staring at nothing in front of him. I really hope he’s not like a cat and can see ghosts, Xander thought. There’d better not be anything dead in my apartment - uh - other than Spike.
He walked over and sat down beside Spike.
“So what are we watching?” Xander asked.
Spike turned his head towards Xander and raised an eyebrow.
“That’s a relief. I’m not up for hosting unseen things tonight.”
Spike just continued to stare at him.
“It’s been a long night, I’m not being your entertainment,” Xander said, as he leaned over and reached for the remote on the coffee table.
His movement was stopped by Spike grasping his wrist firmly. Xander sighed and looked at Spike. I’m not in the mood for the crazy vampire routine, he thought.
Spike was looking at him intently. Without loosening his grip, Spike reached up and touched Xander’s left cheek with his other hand. Xander was so shocked by Spike’s touch that he just sat there without moving.
“You and the girl should leave town,” Spike said.
He brushed his hand down and off Xander’s cheek. Spike let go of his wrist but Xander could still feel the touch on his skin.
“It’s okay. Buffy always wins,” Xander said, trying to sound reassuring. He reached over and patted Spike’s hand awkwardly.
“It’s coming,” Spike said.
Spike got up and walked into his closet/room, shutting the door behind him.
Xander stared after him for a second. He sat on the couch trying to make sense of what Spike had said. His cheek still tingled from Spike’s touch. After a few minutes he started to feel foolish just sitting there.
He got up and turned off the light, then walked through the dark apartment and into his room, closing the door behind him.
When Xander returned from work, he was once again greeted by a darkened apartment and a silent Spike sitting on his couch, staring at nothing. The blinds were closed to keep out the remaining daylight.
Great, we’ve already got a routine. A very weird routine, but at least it’s a routine.
Xander dropped his work stuff by the door and headed to the bathroom. He quickly took off his clothes and dropped them on top of Spike’s towel. As he climbed into the shower and adjusted the temperature, Xander wondered why Spike couldn’t just hang the towel on the hook a foot away.
If leaving towels on my floor is Spike’s big I’m-such-a-rebel statement, that’s just sad.
He rubbed shampoo into his hair and then stood under the water to rinse it out. It’s weird to see Spike so still; he’s always been so full of life. Not actual life, what with the being dead and all, but he was always doing something. Now it’s like he’s a different person.
The shampoo was exchanged for soap. Maybe the soul did change him? Whoa, am I having deep thoughts in the shower?
Xander watched the soap suds slowly drain away. He stood for a minute just letting the water run over him, soaking in the warmth.
He shut off the water and stepped out of the shower. As he dried off, Xander felt a smile creep over his face. He chuckled and shook his head at himself.
Still smiling he emerged from his room with clean clothes, looking forward to seeing his favorite girls.
“I’m off to Buffy’s for the evil update and maybe some patrol thrown in, you know, for the fun,” Xander said.
There was no response from Spike, who appeared not to have moved since Xander returned home.
“So – uh – you’re alright here?” Xander asked.
This, at least, got a reaction from Spike who turned his head and gave Xander one of his ‘you are a moron’ looks. Xander knew these looks well.
“Great. Try not to burn the place down or anything,” Xander said as he opened the door. He hoped he hadn’t just put ideas into Spike’s head.
A couple of days later Xander came home exhausted from a god awful day. There was no sign of Spike.
Relieved to have the place to himself, Xander dropped his stuff at the door, grabbed a beer and collapsed on the barcalounger.
Screw it. I’m too tired to worry about dirty clothes.
He turned the TV on and gulped down about half of the beer before putting it on the table beside him. He leaned back and decided it would be okay to close his eyes for a second.
Xander woke up with a start. The apartment was dark, the TV was off and there was a blanket over him.
What am I… where’d the blanket come from?
Xander ran his hand through his hair and turned to stare at Spike’s door.
The next night, as Xander was about to enter his room, Spike exited from his. Spike stopped, his expression of surprise making it clear that he was not expecting to meet Xander.
“Don’t worry, I’m calling it a night, you won’t have to deal with me,” Xander said, leaning against his doorframe.
“I’m not avoiding you, Harris.”
“Could have fooled me. You’ve made yourself scarce the last few days.”
Spike took a step towards Xander. “It’s not like you want me around. Made that clear.”
“Since when do you care what I want?”
Spike put his hands up in the ‘don’t shoot me’ gesture. “Just trying to be helpful.”
For some reason this caused Xander to imagine Spike in a Boy Scout uniform promising to help others.
Xander started to laugh. Spike stood there for a second, then smirked. “Glad I could amuse.”
Arriving home from work the next night, Xander was greeted by the familiar sight of Spike motionless on the coach staring at the wall in the dimly lit apartment.
Sighing, he went over and sat beside Spike on the couch.
“You know who you remind me of?” Xander asked.
Spike’s head briefly turned towards him, and then quickly returned to the wall.
“Angel. You’re acting all broody, just like your and my favorite vampire.”
“I’m nothing like him,” Spike growled, eyes still fixed on the wall.
Xander felt a shiver go through him and shifted away from Spike a bit. Trying not to look idiotic, he leaned on the armrest. Oh no, this isn’t awkward at all, Xander thought. I should get Buffy to pick out all my roommates.
“Yeah, you’re right, you’re not. I hated Angel. You? I think you’re just cryptic and messy. I can live with that. Oh wait, I am,” Xander said.
There was a short barking laugh from Spike, who then sank back into the couch.
I’m so funny, I can even get crazy brooding vampires to laugh, he thought, standing up.
Spike turned his head and fixed Xander with a sharp look.
“If you’re going to sit here all morose-like, we need beer.”
A brief smile crossed Spike’s face. “Best idea you’ve had in years Harris.”
“I’ll have you know I have good ideas all the time,” Xander said, as he grabbed the remote and tossed it onto Spike’s lap. “In fact, I’m having another one now: see if there’s anything good on TV.”
“There’s never anything good on,” Spike said, picking up the remote.
When he returned with beer, Spike was staring at the screen, his hand frozen in mid-air. It was one of those shows that aired operations. There were bright lights, blood and flashes of pink.
“Turn that off. Those shows creep me out,” Xander said, sitting down and handing Spike a beer.
“There’s so much blood,” Spike said unhappily.
“Then don’t watch.” Xander grabbed the remote from Spike’s hand and changed channels quickly. “Here.”
“Star Trek?” Spike asked, clearly unimpressed.
“It’s either that or the Simpsons. One of those two shows is always on,” Xander said. “And you said there’s never anything good on TV.”
A couple of beers later Xander was starting to feel light-headed. Did I eat dinner? he wondered. At least Spike is enjoying himself. Spike seemed to be completely absorbed in the Simpsons. He wasn’t laughing but occasionally he smiled.
“Those donuts are making me hungry,” Xander said. “Just for the record, I didn’t mean that as a Seinfeld reference. I hate that show.”
“Was that the show about nothing? Never watched it.”
“At least that’s something you don’t have to feel guilty about.”
Xander stood up and walked over to his fridge. He scanned the contents. There wasn’t much besides beer, a carton of milk, moldy cheese, and some slabs of bologna. Oh yeah, and blood. Great, Spike’s not going to starve, Xander thought. He opened the freezer and was relieved to find he still had a couple of frozen dinners. And I don’t have to starve either.
Xander returned to the couch carrying two more beers and steaming microwaved pizza. This carrying isn’t going so well, he thought, as one of the beer bottles started to slip through his fingers. As Xander stood there silently panicking, Spike grabbed the beer and the pizza, taking a large swig and placing the pizza safely down on the table.
“Um, thanks,” Xander said, sitting down and grabbing half of the pizza.
Spike shrugged, his attention back on the television.
“You can have some pizza,” Xander said, in between bites. “If you want.”
“You’re offering me pizza?” Spike asked, looking at Xander like he’d never seen him before.
“It’s not like I’m promising you my first-born - if I ever have kids that is - it’s just crappy frozen pizza. Which I will eat if you don’t, so grab some now if you want it.”
Xander continued to inhale the pizza. Spike’s gaze remained fixed on him for a few moments before slowly reaching out and ripping off a small piece.
Soon the pizza was gone and Xander was feeling buzzed from the beer. It felt weirdly comfortable to be hanging out with Spike. Did I just describe being with Spike as comfortable?! I must be going crazy. No, the Xand-man isn’t crazy, even though I do sometimes refer to myself in the third person. It must just be all the time we’ve been forced to spend together over the years. It’s not like he’s my friend or something.
“You know I don’t like you, right?” Xander said.
“It warms my unbeating heart to hear you say that,” Spike said. “I don’t like you either.”
“At least we agree on something.”
“We don’t like Angel either,” Spike said, raising his beer bottle, as if he was toasting their mutual hatred of the other vampire.
“Good point. He’s an idiot.”
“Bloody right. At least I got myself a soul, instead of being cursed.”
“Hopefully you don’t have that whole happiness loophole, ‘cause that would really suck.”
Spike turned and smirked at Xander.
“Not that I’m wanting to have sex with you,” Xander hastily added.
“You don’t know what you’re missing,” Spike said, looking Xander up and down.
“Very funny Mr. I’m-a-vampire-so-I’ve-had-lots-of-sexual-p
Spike leaned back and drained his beer. Xander started peeling the label off his bottle. And we’re already at uncomfortable moment #103 of our time together as roommates.
“You must hate me,” Spike said, quietly. “It’s okay, I hate myself more.”
Xander felt like he’d been slapped in the face. Obnoxious Spike and crazy Spike he could handle, but he didn’t know how to respond to honest Spike.
“Idiot that I am, I thought the soul would solve all my problems.” Spike said. “I’d get the girl and everything would be sunshine and puppies.”
“Your plans never work, do they?”
A brief smile crossed Spike’s face.
“When you’re evil you don’t understand guilt,” Spike said. “I get it now.”
“So is that what this is about?” Xander waved his hand at Spike’s staring-wall. “You’re wallowing in guilt? ‘Cause as plans go, this may be your worst yet.”
“Thanks for the advice, Harris. I’ll be sure to take all of your non-experience as an ensouled vampire into account,” Spike said dismissively.
“I may not have gone around killing people for over a century – like some of us in the room – but I know all about guilt,” Xander responded sharply. “Welcome to what it’s like to be human: you do bad things, you feel bad about it.”
“I’d hardly call killing and torturing countless people as doing ‘bad things’.”
“Yeah well, sitting around here feeling bad won’t make up for everything you’ve done,” Xander said, draining his beer. And on to uncomfortable moment #104.
“I don’t hate you anymore. I think. I probably should but - I don’t know – I don’t. I wish I did. It would be so much easier to hate you like I did with Angel back in high school,” Xander said. Did I really just say I don’t hate Spike? What happened to my ‘I don’t like vampires’ stance? “Maybe this means I’m actually mature?”
Spike expression was as surprised as Xander felt. He was also looking directly into Xander’s eyes as if trying to assess the truth of the statement. I don’t want to become Spike’s new staring-wall. Xander shifted uncomfortably and then stood up.
“We need more beer. Okay, I need – “
Xander’s rambling was stopped by Spike’s hand on his wrist, causing Xander’s heart to pound.
“What’s with you and the grabbing of my wrists lately?” Xander asked. The room was hazy but, for some reason, he could see Spike clearly.
“I’m sorry,” Spike said, looking him directly in the eye. He let go of Xander’s wrist and looked down.
“Um,” Xander stumbled out. “That’s all I’ve got: um. I’m getting the beer.”
When he reached for the beer he rested his head against the outer wall of the fridge. This is definitely one of the weirdest Xander nights, right up there with zombies, and when Anya first got naked. Oh god, Spike better not be taking his clothes off! Xander thought, getting freaked out again, and – if he was being honest with himself - a tiny bit interested.
Deciding to risk it, he yanked the beers out and turned around to look at Spike, who wasn’t naked, but was staring back at him.
Xander took a deep breath and walked towards Spike with the beers. He handed one to Spike and sat down beside him.
“Here’s to not hating each other,” Xander said, clinking his bottle against Spike’s. “Not that this means we’re friends or anything.”
“Yeah, we wouldn’t want that.”
They sat in silence, drinking. Xander wasn’t paying attention to the flickering television and he suspected Spike wasn’t either. Now we’re both turning into brooding Angel clones. Maybe there’s a club we could join?
“I meant what I told you,” Spike said, startling Xander and causing him to splash beer on his hand. “Bad stuff – worse than I ever was – is coming.”
He put down the beer, wiped his hand on his jeans and turned to stare at Spike. Let him be the staree for once, Xander thought.
“Right, your cryptic message.” Xander sighed. “It’s nice of you to care – as weird as that is – but I’m not going anywhere. A long time ago I decided to be at Buffy’s side fighting until the end. And that’s what I intend to do.”
Spike just stared.
“Besides, I notice you came back and are showing no signs of taking the show on the road,” Xander continued.
Spike put his beer bottle on the table beside Xander’s. “I know the end is coming,” he said .
They just sat there staring at each other. Spike has the bluest eyes, Xander thought. Before he could start panicking about his thoughts, he was distracted by Spike touching his left cheek. Again. It felt nice, different – Spike’s hands are kind of cold – but nice and reassuring.
“Now you’re doing the whole –“
His inane comment was stopped by Spike brushing his lips against Xander’s. He froze. Spike’s thumb gently stroked his cheek as he kissed Xander more firmly.
Before Xander’s brain had time to form thoughts, he was kissing Spike back, his hand tentatively resting on Spike’s shoulder. Okay, this is weird and different. But not bad. I always thought kissing a guy would be bad. This is good. Kissing good. Xander leaned in closer, deepening the kiss.
Xander was feeling weirdly tingly all over, sort of like he was floating. He gripped Spike’s shoulder, his other hand resting awkwardly on his own leg. Spike shifted closer and ran his hand off Xander’s cheek, into his hair and around to the back of his head. Xander felt himself being pulled down on top of Spike and followed the movement, closing his eyes.
I’m not sure if I’m up for this, the panicky voice in Xander’s head said. I mean, I’m obviously up. But Spike? Xander’s thoughts were distracted by Spike’s other hand slipping under his shirt and slowly moving across his back.
Xander pressed against Spike, who moaned. Oh god. Xander ran his hand along Spike’s arm. His skin is so soft. I wonder if he moisturizes? Maybe vampires don’t need moisturizer. Wait, vampire.
Xander pulled away, gasping for breath. The hand on his back stilled. He opened his eyes to discover he was a few inches away from Spike’s eyes, which were focused on him. The intensity of Spike’s gaze made Xander self-conscious and he looked down at his hand, now clasped on Spike’s arm.
Spike moved his hands to Xander’s shoulders and gently pushed him up. Xander sat up and looked down at the beer on the coffee table. A small puddle of moisture was forming around each bottle. I should own coasters, he thought.
“This isn’t what you want,” Spike said.
Xander’s head jerked towards Spike.
“Okay, I may not know what to make of this, “Xander said, waving his hand between Spike and himself. “But I’m pretty sure there was want involved.”
“Well yeah, I’m hot,” Spike said. “But I could see you starting to panic.”
“I wasn’t – okay, there may have been a small bit of freaking,” he conceded.
“This isn’t a good idea and you know why,” Spike said. “Apocalypse, Anya, Buffy. Some hot snogging isn’t going to fix any of that.”
Xander sighed and looked away.
He was startled by Spike’s hand on his cheek. Again. It stayed there for a second and then was removed.
He looked over at Spike, who stood up.
“I’m calling it a night. See you tomorrow, Xander.”
“Yeah. Night,” he said, watching Spike go into his closet-room and close the door.
As if on autopilot, Xander stood up and collected the plate and beer bottles. He slowly walked to the kitchen and crammed them into the already full kitchen sink. After a quick stop at the bathroom, he turned off the lights.
Xander stopped outside of Spike’s door. I wonder if Spike’s actually asleep or if he’s just lying there regretting the whole thing. Do I regret it?
He stared at the door for a few seconds, the questions banging around his brain. Then he went into his room and shut the door.
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