A Week in the (Un)Life Of…
On Mondays, Xander sets his alarm clock to go off fifteen minutes earlier than it will do for the rest of the week. He has a vampire to handle.
Until Spike moved in, Xander had no idea that there was a twenty-four hour punk rock station close enough to be picked up by his radio alarm. He does now.
It doesn't seem to matter how many times he retunes the radio before he falls asleep - he always wakes to someone screaming in his ear about anarchy or pigs or drugs or sex, or a combination thereof. The morning he wakes to a song about sex with pigs is the day he'll be switching to a plain old ring-a-ding bell. Until then, he figures, it's a small price to pay for sharing a bed with the evil undead.
Presently he's sharing his bed, and most of his breathing space, with the evil undead version of an octopus. Arms and legs like bands of steel wrap tight around him the moment he's woken by the not-so-dulcet tones of someone screaming about, yes, killing the pigs.
He wrestles an arm free and hits the snooze button and the bands of steel relax from 'hard to breathe' to 'you're not leaving this bed without a fight'. It's a start.
"Spike, baby, I have to go to work."
The arms around Xander's chest tighten incrementally as Spike squirms even closer, draping himself along Xander's side from shoulder to ankle.
"Not a baby, daft git."
The words are muffled. Spike's buried deep beneath the mound of fluffy quilt and sheet and electric blanket he demands they always use. Xander's had to get used to sleeping with the AC on all night. Again, it's a small enough price.
All that's visible of Spike is a riot of bleached white curls that are so much softer and prettier than they have any right to be. Xander buries his nose in them and draws in a breath rich with baby shampoo and a hint of whisky. It's the best smell in the world. He presses a kiss through the curls to the sleep-warmed scalp beneath.
"Spike, I gotta go. Now, let me up before I pee the bed, okay?"
The ability to move is returned to him slowly, reluctantly, limb by limb and joint by joint. Spike burrows out from under the covers wearing a rumpled, sleepy pout, and Xander falls in love again.
Xander eases to his feet and then hesitates, like every other morning, at about this time.
"You'll be here when I get back?"
And just as he does every other morning, at about this time, Spike rolls his eyes and snuggles down into the warm hollow left by Xander's now-absent body.
"Pick me up a carton of fags on the way home, yeah? And a bottle of Jack, we're nearly out."
That 'we' keeps Xander smiling all the way to work, and gets him ribbed for 'getting lucky' on the weekend. He doesn't try to deny the charge - he knows his luck has never been this good. He hopes it lasts.
Tuesday night is kitten poker night. Xander usually comes home from work, showers and spends a frenzied hour or so between the sheets with his horny vampire and then it's Spike's turn to shower before he strides out for an evening of alcohol, cards and baby felines. It's not exactly normal, but it works for them.
This Tuesday is different.
Xander unlocks the apartment and slips inside, then closes the door behind him and leans back in stunned confusion. Spike is vacuuming.
"Please tell me Drusilla hasn't decided to pay a maternal visit. I don't handle parental disapproval all that well."
Spike scowls and keeps on vacuuming.
"Ah… Spike? Want to clue me in here, buddy? If Queen Crazy isn't about to descend on us, trailing dolls and ribbons - why are you cleaning?"
The majority of Spike's muttered reply is lost beneath the electrical whine of over-stressed machinery, but Xander manages to decipher what he thinks is 'kitten poker'.
"Did someone cancel your boys' night out? Did the Pound confiscate the pot? Have you had some kind of psychotic break?"
More muttering floats his way as Spike kicks the vacuum into sullen silence and lugs it back to its closet in the hall.
With his primary source of entertainment temporarily absent, Xander finally notices the dinner table and its new baize cloth. And the cards and chips stacked neatly in the centre.
An unusually defensive-looking Spike materializes at his shoulder and Xander's eyes are drawn to the balcony doors to check for alien, bodysnatching pods.
"'S just for tonight, Xander. O'Halloran's got closed down for… health violations." Spike blinks at the expression on Xander's face and then continues. "Okay, so there might have been a tiny misunderstanding about who was supposed to clean up after the kittens - and Knurl - but he says he'll let us back in once we've paid for the breakages and the steam cleaning bill."
While talking, Spike absently shreds and fieldstrips a cigarette, dusting the toes of his boots with dark curls of tobacco. Xander gives the balcony another quick check.
"Your name's on the lease right next to mine, Spike. This is your home too. The only thing I ask is that you clean up after. Will this Knurl guy be coming? Do we need to put down plastic sheeting?"
Like Xander's flicked an invisible switch Spike is once again bouncing on his toes, as brash and confident as ever.
"Knurl isn't a problem any more, love. The mess at O'Halloran's wasn't because of Knurl, it was Knurl. And I've got litter trays set up under the table, for after I've won. I've got a good feeling about tonight."
The gleam in Spike's eyes was scary. It gave Xander the shivers, in a good a way.
Wednesday night is 'Girls' Night In' - so named over Spike's loud and repeated protests. Xander's pretty sure that Spike only protests so loudly and so often to see Dawn reduced to mindless fits of giggles. He approves.
Dawn's presence is the most important one - for Spike and Xander - though open invitations stand for Willow and Buffy, who usually drops in once she's finished patrolling.
Tonight's movie is 'Alexander', chosen by Dawn as something they can all enjoy. Everyone likes to drool over good-looking men in tiny leather skirts, right?
Spike holds his peace until Jared Leto appears on screen, and then he chuckles evilly.
"If Hephaistion looked like that, it's no wonder Alexander batted for the other team. Such a pretty little boy."
Heaving a put-upon sigh, Spike sets down his beer and over-enthusiastically pats Xander's nearest thigh.
"You know I prefer my man - my Alexander - with more meat on his bones and a few extra inches where it counts."
At Xander's scandalised gasp and Dawn's muffled snickers, Spike elucidates.
"You're taller than all of them, you daft git. And you," - Spike waves a black-tipped finger in Dawn's direction, still damp from her careful application of fresh polish - "shouldn't be thinking about Xander's bits at all, young lady. They're nobody's business but mine - and yours, of course, luv."
Surprisingly, Spike behaves himself - if you ignore the wandering fingers, and Xander does - until Bagoas appears.
"And here's the boytoy, even prettier than Hephaistion by all accounts. A lot younger too. Not that Alexander stopped shagging Hephaistion, he just - shared the wealth. They didn't call him Alexander the Great for nothing. Great warrior, great king, great lover. Great poofter too, but not much of a husband to his actual wife. Bet you didn’t know his mother was so worried she wouldn't have grandkids, she talked his dad into hiring a courtesan to try and get him straightened out - literally."
"What? If you bloody humans weren't so uptight and prissy, all this stuff would be in the history books they make you read at school. Instead, they edit out all the sex and violence and you're left with a bunch of boring facts and figures. What's the point of that?"
As she does every week, Dawn mentally tunes out the movie to watch the real show - The Spike and Xander Show - playing to a grateful audience of one. She spends a long time each week deciding which movie they should watch, calculating Spike's outrageousness and Xander's horrified big brother reaction, but she's almost certain she could choose a Disney cartoon and still end up with an eye-opening education. Spike somehow manages to add sex and drama to everything. She's especially glad he's added them to Xander's life.
Every fourth Thursday night is club night, when Xander and Spike take turns at being on the studded end of their favourite leash.
It's a local club - just fifteen minutes walk away, a leisurely stroll by all accounts. Not that Xander would ever actually walk there - dressed in leathers and silks, in PVC and fine mesh - no matter which end of the leash he's on. So, every week they take a cab.
"You know that cabby goes home and tells his missus all about the pair of poofs he took to Ebden's, right? Not walking there doesn't make the gossip stop, it just shifts it somewhere else instead."
Xander rolls his eyes and doesn't bother answering - any response just makes Spike try harder. Instead, he turns the heat up a little and checks his notes.
"C'mon, luv, you've got to admit it's a bit daft. The bloody cab's usually at least half an hour late. We'd be in and at the bar by the time he got here if we only walked."
There's an extended moment of silence and Xander braces for Spike's next assault.
"Are you ashamed to be seen with me like that?"
The pout is practiced, as is the slight wobble in Spike's voice, but Xander breaks anyway.
He turns back from the countertop and glares across the table to where Spike is sitting, complete with cocky smirk.
"Dammit, Spike. I just don't want everyone to know our business. I don't want the people who smile at me on the street when I go to work every morning making bets on who's the top this week and would we like to come to their leather and lube party?" He holds up a hand before Spike can even ask. "And no, I'm not telling you who that was, or where or when. But that's the point, Spike. I'm not happy when our neighbours try to invite themselves into our bed. It's none of their business."
Turning back to the oven as the timer pings, Xander slips on a pair of oven gloves, opens the door and pulls out his latest creation.
"Toad in the Hole!"
Spike studies the solid, almost blackened, sheet of batter.
"You did remember to put the toads in the hole, right, Xan?"
The only reply is a hollow sounding thunk-thunk-crack as Xander chisels his way through the crispy carapace.
Triumphant, Xander jabs a fork into the roasting tin and pulls out a worryingly limp pink sausage. The skin is peeling off towards one end in a way that looks disturbing and rather phallic.
"I'm sorry, luv, but that's just too much like Angelus' dick for my peace of mind. Shall I order Indian?"
Toad in the hole, new roasting tin and all, disappears into the kitchen bin, and Xander shrugs, unperturbed.
"There's a new Thai place opened up a couple of blocks away. I grabbed a menu on my way back from the market, just in case."
See, on the Thursdays that aren't club nights, Xander's learning to cook real British cuisine.
On Fridays, Xander takes a break from his Monday through Thursday role as big brother/comfortador/Mr Fixit to the latest horde of proto-Slayers.
Growing up in Sunnydale he never imagined there would come a time when he would consider a day doing paperwork as 'a break' from the stresses of his everyday life. But then, he never imagined setting up house in England with his insatiable male vampire lover either, and look how that turned out. He's not complaining.
When the phone on his desk - and the fact that he has a desk, complete with computer, phone and intercom manages to wig him out on a regular basis (he's still trying to pretend the filing cabinets don't exist) - rings, he instinctively looks at the clock.
Wow. That time already?
Settling back in his executive office chair, he scoops up the receiver.
"Hey, Baby, whatcha wearing?"
There's a quiet, disapproving sniff and then, "It's your three o'clock call, Mr Harris. Shall I put him through?"
And that would be the bane of his life, the unbending Ms Carr - always trying to catch him off guard and usually succeeding. He spent the first six months at the Council trying to get her to call him Xander, but she ended up winning that particular battle of wills. Still, he feels he won the war over 'Don't come into the office unless I actually say your name,' after she sailed in on the heels of a particularly loud 'Oh, gods, yes!' to find him bent over his desk being nailed by Spike in pre-orgasmic gameface.
That little incident had taught them both a valuable lesson. Xander now tries to make sure Spike locks the door when he drops in for one of his 'Bored now, let's shag!' visits, and Ms Carr can only be lured into his office by the clearly enunciated sound of her own name.
"Yeah, put him through, and, uh, make sure I'm not disturbed until I buzz you, okay?"
His only answer is a click, a moment of telephonic static, and then the sound of Spike's voice telling him exactly what he plans to do with Xander once he gets home.
Xander reaches down and unbuckles his belt. He loves Friday afternoons.
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