Well, my summer_of_spike day is finally over, and I'm ready to drop!
The First Date
Xander paced up and down the sidewalk outside the cemetery gates, trying to pluck up the courage to make his move. He knew from previous conversations that Spike would know he was there once he got within twenty feet or so of the crypt, and he wanted to get a handle on his emotions before he got that close. The last thing he needed was for Spike to pick up on his nervousness and ask why he was so wound up.
It took twenty minutes, and at least a mile of back and forth, for him to talk himself down from his incipient heart attack. He could do this. There was nothing to be scared of. There had been friendly pats on the back, and then friendly pats on the ass, and there had been flirting. He was positive those looks and touches and whispered innuendos counted as flirting, so really, there was nothing to be nervous about. He was just going to march straight up to the door of the crypt and when Spike opened it Xander was going to ask him, straight out, no messing about, just ask. It wasn't like he hadn't done this before. There was Oxnard, after all.
A snarky inner voice that sounded suspiciously like Spike pointed out that mutual hand jobs and a bare five minutes frotting hardly counted as the homosexual relationship of the century. But Xander had learned a lot about himself in that summer evening, it had just taken him a while to come to terms with who he was. And who he wanted.
Before he lost his nerve again, Xander sprinted through the gravestones and hammered on the door.
He blushed, but didn't stutter, when he asked Spike if he'd like to go to the carnival that had set up camp on the edge of town. When Spike said yes, Xander grinned, and barely managed to stop himself from punching the air and doing a victory dance. Then he had to double-check that Spike did know this was a date, right? When Spike answered yes, or words to that effect, Xander raced off home to try and find an outfit not too glaring on the eyes. He had a date!
The carnival was big and loud and colourful and packed with total strangers. It was perfect. Nobody cared if they held hands or stopped to kiss behind the fortune-teller's tent, and so they did all that and more. They shared a foot-long hot dog, cotton candy, and a greasy bag of cheesy fries they drowned in chilli sauce.
A kiss while they were waiting for the Tilt-a-Whirl to move went on so long they never noticed when it did. The laughing and the clapping when the ride slowed to a halt eventually brought them back to earth. Then they made out in the Haunted House, and nearly got arrested in the Love Boat.
Things got a little hairy in the Hall of Mirrors when they realised Spike wasn't the only vampire having fun in there. Several broken mirrors later they were brushing off the dust and trying to make a graceful exit from the gaggle of grateful teenage girls they'd saved.
They decided after that to give the other tents a miss, and settled for a ride on the Ferris Wheel. Spike got very daring and was still on Xander's lap when their car touched down and it was time to disembark. While Xander tried to catch his breath and slow his heart rate down, a whispered conversation and a swift exchange of bills had them still in their car as the wheel turned once more. Then when they reached the top it simply stopped.
When the 'problem' was finally fixed an hour later, Spike almost had to carry Xander to where they'd parked the car, and only brought him back to life by offering to drive. At that the boy had laughed and said he didn't want to die just yet, but thank you. Then he stuffed Spike into the passenger seat and drove them home as quickly as he could. He was really looking forward to his kiss goodnight...
The First Time It Mattered
Spike looked around the crypt with a critical eye. There was nothing much he could do about the lack of interior decoration, not before tonight, but maybe there was something he could do about the ambience.
Candles were always a good romantic touch, but, he realised, looking at the puddles and trails of wax on just about every flat surface, they made a bloody awful mess. With a resigned sigh he pulled a knife from his boot and began to scrape.
Almost two hours later, he stood back and looked again. He'd chiselled away the layers of wax, accumulated over the last few months, and he'd even swiped at the cobwebs in the corners of the dingy room. It wasn't much of a difference, but it was a start, and, Spike thought, maybe it was enough for now. If everything was suddenly spick and span, it might be kind of obvious that he'd made an extra-special effort, and the very last thing needed was more pressure.
Giving himself a mental kick up the arse to stop his worrying, Spike examined his meagre collection of candles and tapers. Most of them were partially melted and stubby, and would probably burn down and sputter out just at the wrong moment. He needed more, and, if he remembered correctly, that New Age shop on the high street was having a Midnight Madness sale every night this week, celebrating one pagan festival or another. The witches would probably know which one it was. Of course, it wasn't actually staying open till midnight, but they didn't lock up till nine, which meant he had time to get down there, stock up and get back before his guest was due to arrive.
The shop was doing an unusually brisk trade for this late in the evening, and Spike felt a little uncomfortable wandering around amongst the hippies and the kids and the pair of business-suited women who were poring over the crystals in one corner. Spike filled his hands with candles, tapers, and, after a mental argument, a pack of incense cones. The crypt got kind of musty when it rained, he reasoned silently. The smell of Egyptian musk had to be an improvement on that.
There was another mental argument, this one more intense, when he decided he had everything he needed. In a previous life he would have simply stuffed his pockets and walked out, and God help anyone who tried to stop him. But now, if someone grabbed him he stayed grabbed. The thought of that happening, the thought of having to call someone to bail him out, was enough to have him sidling over to the counter and digging out his wallet as he went. All he could do was hope was that no one he knew would see him handing over cash for something as embarrassing as this.
He'd spent longer than he thought picking over the merchandise to find the perfect tapers and the scentless candles that wouldn't make him regret his heightened senses, and he got home with barely half an hour to spare. One quick change later he was wearing a new sky-blue silk shirt, bought because it matched his eyes, or so the salesgirl had said. He wondered when he'd turned into such a sap.
And then he was racing round, arranging candles so they cast romantic light throughout the crypt but didn't show up the battered state of his ancient dump-found furnishings. His Zippo was playing silly buggers, and he'd barely got the last bunch of tapers lit when he heard a heartbeat pounding nervously outside the door.
The lighter was slipped into a tight jeans pocket, and Spike raised his hands and checked his hair one final time before relaxing into a supremely sexy slouch.
"I can hear you panicking, Xan. You'd best come in before you attract every demon in the cemetery to my door."
The First Time
There were candles absolutely everywhere, painting exotic shadows on the walls and floor and contents of the room, especially Spike. His cheekbones stood out in harsh relief and Xander felt an almost uncontrollable urge to run his tongue along them so see if they might split his flesh, they looked so razor sharp.
He stepped into the crypt and pushed the door closed behind him, never taking his eyes off his soon-to-be lover's face.
"I wasn't sure you'd come," Spike said, and then frowned because he hadn't meant to speak. "I thought you might have changed your mind; remembered I'm a demon after all."
Xander stood in silence, and looked him head to toe, then shook his head.
"You think I could forget that's what you are? Think I suddenly forgot you've tried to kill us all a dozen times before? I'm not that stupid, Spike. I know exactly what you are, and I'm still here. I want this, Spike. You know I do. And so do you." His confidence faltered, just a little, and Spike recognised the same uncertainties he felt. "Don't you?"
Neither knew who made the first move, but suddenly they were in each other's space. Lips touched first, then hands grabbed hold of hip, and waist, and neck, and fingers fought for purchase on slick cloth as torsos bumped and slid together.
Shirts were stripped away without the kiss once being broken, but then the feel of skin on skin made Xander gasp for air. The cool flesh against his heated chest had caught him unaware, reminding him again just what his chosen bedmate was.
A flicker of concern was pushed aside because, oh gods, it felt so good. He was tired of being alone, denying who and what he really wanted. He knew that this was right; could feel it in his bones; had felt it long before this night but he had fought it. Well, no more. He wanted Spike, Spike wanted him, and for once he wasn't going to screw things up by holding back and smothering his desires.
"Want you," he whispered, trying not to tremble when his words invoked a growl. "I've wanted you forever, I think sometimes."
"You've got me, Pet. Now hush, I've better things for that pretty mouth to do."
The First 'I Love You'
"What the hell did you think you were doing, Pet?"
"You never ever go into Willy's by yourself. You know that! I can't believe you were so bloody stupid!"
"Half the demons in there will kill you as soon as look at you, even if they do know you belong to me."
"I... Wait a minute. Belong to you? What the...?"
"'S a demon thing, Pet. Most of them can't understand why a vampire would keep company with a human, so they see it as more of an ownership thing. Like a pet... Pet."
"Hey! Hey! I'm nobody's pet! I... you call me 'Pet' all the time! Is that...?"
"Stop avoiding the subject, Xander. You went into the Alibi Bar by yourself when you know better! Why?"
"Because I love you, you stupid vampire! Willow called and told me you had a hole in your side she could put her hand through and I freaked! You finished the last of the human blood on Tuesday and Scott isn't rostered on at the blood bank until the weekend. Willy's was the only place I could think of to buy human!"
"Spike? Are you okay?"
"You... love me? Really?"
"I... Wow... I actually said that out loud, didn't I. Um... yeah, Spike. I love you. I... Is that... okay?"
"Don't be such a daft git, Xan. Of course it's okay. It's more than okay. You really love me? William the Bloody? The Big Bad? The Fangless Wonder?"
"I love you. William. The Big Bad. Even the fangy bits. I love you, Spike. All of you."
"Love you too, Xan. You know that, yeah?"
"Good. But you still shouldn't've gone into Willy's by yourself. You broke the rules, Pet, which means you have to be punished..."
"Ooh! Spank me?"
The First Snow
"Jerry said we could have the cabin for the whole week, Spike, just the two of us. Imagine it, up there, by ourselves, not a soul around for miles, apart from mine." Xander grinned and snuggled closer. "You can make me scream as loud as you want to, and there'll be no-one to call the cops on us this time." Spike growled and Xander knew he'd won the argument.
"Great! I'll call Jerry and ask him to bring the keys with him to work tomorrow. You can do the packing while I'm on the site, and we can set off for the mountains as soon as I get home and you load the SUV up. This is gonna be fun!"
And it was fun. They spent most of the first three days in bed, and by the third evening Xander was wondering if he'd have any voice left at all by the time they had to go back to Sunnydale, but he was enjoying himself too much to care.
On the fourth day the weather changed, and they spent the evening curled together on the sofa in front of a huge log fire that Spike had built under protest before stepping back to allow Xander to set it alight.
On the fifth day it snowed.
Xander didn't wake until mid-afternoon, and at first didn't notice anything different about the day. He wriggled free of Spike's hold and swung his feet out of bed. The screech he let out when his toes made contact with the bare woodwork had Spike rolling out of bed into a fighting stance before his eyes were even open.
"What the...? Xan, what's wrong? What happened? Are you...?" Belatedly, he noticed the embarrassed expression on his lover's face. "Xander? Why did you scream?"
"Um... the floor's cold?"
"The floor's freezing, Spike! I wasn't expecting it, and when I put my feet down, I..."
"You screamed, Pet. Like a girl. Loud enough to wake the undead, weren't you? I didn't realise you had that much noise left in you. Want to crawl back under the covers and see what we can do about that?"
Xander was dragging on a pair of sweatpants and a tee shirt and unearthing a pair of thick socks even as Spike asked, so he figured he wasn't going to get to make his boy scream and beg again quite yet. Resigned, Spike slipped into a pair of jeans while Xander used the bathroom, and then followed him out into the open-plan area of the cabin that served as both family room and kitchen.
The room was dim, only a faint glow managing to filter through the thick blackout curtains they had put up that first night after they had arrived, so it wasn't until Xander opened the back door to fetch more split logs in off the porch that he realised why it was so cold.
Spike set down the bowl of eggs he'd been beating for an omelette and crossed to stand beside Xander. The younger man hadn't moved, possibly hadn't even blinked, and might have remained standing there indefinitely, half in and half out of the cabin door, if Spike hadn't nudged him out of his stupor.
"Spike, it's snowing!"
"That it is, Pet. You act like you've never seen..." Spike's voice tailed off as Xander turned a wide-eyed gaze on him.
"Once, but that doesn't count." Xander shrugged at Spike's puzzled frown. "It snowed the once, on Christmas. I was sleeping in the garden to avoid the annual Harris family celebrations, and I woke up when something landed on my face. Later Buffy told me Angel had tried to dust himself in the dawn and the snow had fallen to block out all the sunlight." A look of understanding passed between them, and Xander draped an arm around Spike's shoulders, pulling him in for a loose hug. "This is the first real snow I've seen as far as I'm concerned, Spike, and I get to share it with you. It's beautiful."
"Gonna go out and play in it then?"
Xander's eyes widened again, and then he put on his version of the Rosenberg resolve face and shook his head. "Nope. Not going out there until you can come too. We'll have breakfast and rebuild the fire. The sun should be down by then. D'you think there's enough to build a snowman?"
Spike looked from the slow-falling flakes to the couple of inches of light powder on the floor and sighed inwardly.
"Maybe just a little one, Pet."
The snowman stood just under one foot tall, and for his eyes he sported two tiny lumps of charcoal, rescued from the remains of last night's fire. His nose was a plastic cap off a bottle of soda, and when they had failed to find something suitable for his mouth, Spike had sacrificed a cigarette to the cause. Xander thought it might be the cutest thing he had ever seen, except for Spike when he wakes up all fluffy haired and squinting.
His fingers and nose were practically numb, but Xander had one more thing he had to do to make this day complete. Bending down, he scraped together a meagre handful of snow and carefully compacted it, keeping a wary eye on his oblivious companion.
"Hey, Spike? Before we go in and thaw out, there's just one more thing..." Spike turned to face him, eyebrow cocked in question, and Xander let his missile fly. "Snowball fight!"
The ball hit Spike's shoulder and disintegrated without leaving much of a mark, but Spike growled and ran for the nearest patch of snow. His aim was true and he caught Xander in the centre of his back as he raced to disappear behind the corner of the cabin.
Grinning madly, Spike picked his way around the other side of the building, collecting ammunition as he went.
By the time he rounded the corner and saw Xander, back towards him, peering around the woodpile to see if he was being stalked, Spike had three impressive-looking snowballs in hand. The first one exploded against the back of Xander's head, eliciting a loud shriek when particles slid down under his collar and melted to trickle down his back. Xander spun round, and was drawing back his arm ready to throw his own weapon when the second ball hit him full in the face. Shock had him dropping his ball and gasping, hands raised to wipe the quickly melting slush from his face, and Spike took the opportunity to pounce.
Xander let himself be wrestled to the ground, enjoying the feel of his lover squirming around on top of him.
Finally, Spike had Xander pinned to his satisfaction, and sat back, kneeling astride his captive. He held the final snowball aloft and let his eyes flicker between blue and gold.
"Got you," he crooned softly; revelling in the hunger he could see growing in Xander's eyes.
"Yeah." Xander's tongue flicked out and moistened his lips, eyes moving from Spike to the snowball and back. "What you gonna do with me?"
Spike swooped down and licked the already moistened lips that were pouting at him so prettily, and then pressed inside for a ravenous kiss that left them both breathless.
"I think naughty boys who start fights they can't hope to win should be punished." And with an evil grin, Spike shoved the last remaining snowball down the front of Xander's jeans.
The First Anniversary
Xander had slipped out while Spike was sleeping, confident he'd be back before he was missed. It didn't quite work out that way, and now it was nearly dusk and he'd just got home.
He juggled bags and one large box as he tried to unlock the door, vainly hoping that his lover had decided to sleep in, just this once. His hopes, such as they were, were dashed when the apartment door was thrown open to reveal a pouting, rumpled vampire in a snit.
"I woke up and you were gone, you git. You didn't even bother to leave a note. I know you weren't at work, cos I called and checked, so, where've you been?"
"I had to go and pick... something up and it took longer than I thought. It took me two whole hours to find the... stuff I needed in Sunnydale. I thought that I'd be back before you woke up, and then I got a puncture."
As Xander spoke he nudged past Spike, who trailed him to the kitchen, darting curious looks at the packages in his arms.
"What was so bloody important you had to sneak out, Pet?"
Xander placed the box on the counter and then stepped back, keeping a firm hold on the bags.
"Happy anniversary, Spike."
He had the joy of watching blue eyes open so wide he was afraid they might tumble out, and the mouth that more often smirked or sneered was now a perfect 'O' of surprise. Xander loved being able to make Spike react like this, and gifts did it every time. His vampire needed pampering more often, he decided.
"It's... what is it, Pet?" Spike had lifted the lid and was peering down onto white enamel.
"Take it out of the box, doofus, and you'll see."
That earned him a tiny snarl but then Spike was too busy shredding the box to get at the gift inside.
"An ice cream freezer? You bought me an ice cream freezer for our first anniversary? Not exactly traditional, is it?"
Xander shrugged and sent a tiny smile Spike's way.
"Months ago you told me about having ice cream for the first time as a kid in England. You said it was nothing like the chemical crap they sell today. It had real cream and real vanilla. You could see little black dots that were vanilla seeds."
As he explained, Xander pulled eggs, sugar, milk and cream from the bags he'd been holding on to. Then he slipped a hand into his pocket and pulled out two real vanilla pods and held them out on his palm.
"I wanted to give you something special. If we were married you'd be stuck with something cotton or paper, but we're not. So, I got to choose the present and I chose something from your childhood. Well, kind of." Xander paused, and grinned. "I nearly bought one of the really old-fashioned freezers with the hand crank, but neither of us have got the patience for that, so I got an electric one instead. I printed the recipe out at the library so, if you want to be traditional about it, that can be your anniversary gift and we'll share the ice cream freezer."
Spike pounced, and then there was no breath left for talking and no mouth free to form any words. When they separated, Xander was gasping for air and clinging to Spike to keep himself upright.
"Wow. So, you like it then?"
"Git. You know I do. Just don't go telling anyone why you bought it, yeah? They'll think the Big Bad's gone soft in the head or something." Spike pressed another hard kiss against Xander's still parted lips. "But thanks, Pet. It's the sweetest thing anyone's ever done for me."
Spike reached back and dug a hand into the rear pocket of his jeans, pulling out a slightly crumpled envelope.
"I went traditional, Xan, I hope you don't mind too much."
It was Xander's turn to gape. "I didn't think you'd remembered..."
"When I woke up alone I figured you'd forgotten, or never even thought about it, and I was going to wait until the last minute so you couldn't sneak out to buy me something and then I'd give you this and you'd feel so guilty you'd promise just about anything to make it up to me." Spike grinned evilly and waggled his eyebrows, leaving Xander to conclude that his 'apology' would have had him walking funny for days. They'd have to talk more about that later, but first...
He slid a finger carefully under the flap of the envelope and teased it open, drawing out the anticipation just to see Spike bounce impatiently on his toes.
"Get on with it, y' daft git!"
The glue gave way and Xander slid the twin rectangles of card out of their paper prison. His jaw almost hit the floor.
"Angry Monkeys? You got us tickets to see the Angry Monkeys in LA? These tickets are rarer than gold dust! How did you manage to get hold of them?" Now it was Xander who was bouncing, reminding Spike of a hyperactive puppy.
"The demon who owns the club owed the Poof a favour or two. I made a call; he made a call; an envelope arrived at The Magic Box addressed to me. Simple."
Xander's expression turned from excited to stunned in a heartbeat. He looked down at the tickets in his hand and then back up at Spike.
"You called Angel?"
Spike shrugged. "I knew how much you wanted to see them play, Xan. You bought two copies of their CD so you could keep one in your car. I don't think you've listened to anything else for months. So, I made a call. The Poof owes me at least a couple of concert tickets. Oh, and he's paying for a fancy hotel suite while we're there as well." The innocent expression Spike adopted with that announcement was enough to make Xander nervous.
"Why what?" Innocence just didn't sit well on that beautiful pale face, and Xander folded his arms across his chest and glared.
"Why did Angel agree to pay for a hotel suite when he has a hotel of his own?"
"It's simple, Pet. I explained that when we get to LA we'll need a place to stay so we can enjoy the concert and then have loud, prolonged, celebratory sex all weekend. He said he'd pay us not to stay with him at the Hyperion. I told him to book us a suite somewhere fancy and promised we wouldn't darken his doorstep while we were in town."
Matching evil grins were exchanged.
"So, in other words, we go to the concert, live off room service for the weekend, then drop in on Angel and drive him crazy before we come home?"
"Got it in one, Pet. I'll make a demon of you yet."
The First House
Spike had found the house while he was out searching for a new vampire nest that Clem had mentioned the previous night at the weekly poker game. It was old and run-down, and the lot was completely overgrown, leading him to believe the place hadn't been occupied for years. But it was less than five minutes walk from the beach, and about 30 feet away from an unusually large storm drain entrance that he'd bet his poker winnings the old Mayor had had a hand in putting there.
At one point they'd nearly lost it when another buyer had made a better offer; one they just couldn't afford to better. But that deal had fallen through and the real estate office had called them to say it was theirs if they still wanted it.
And, after what seemed like almost no time at all and forever, all at once, it was theirs. Well, Xander's, technically, because Spike's name on the mortgage papers would have caused more questions than they could answer, but they knew the truth. It was theirs, their first real home together.
Xander had spent every spare minute he could find in the last three months making repairs, replacing floorboards, bracing up the porch steps, planing the doors and frames down until they no longer stuck or squeaked. And then they had gone shopping.
The credit cards in Xander's wallet may never recover, but their individual personalities were now indelibly stamped on the house. Surprisingly, there was very little leather in evidence, just the sofa and matching armchairs. The carpets were deep plush because they bother preferred wandering about with bare feet, and they had picked up floor cushions in contrasting colours because they didn't relish the idea of carpet burns.
They had spent hours poring over colour charts and fabric samples, making sure to hide all evidence from the girls so they didn't get accused of anything unmanly. But eventually everything had come together to create their perfect new home, and the time had come to take the final step...
The housewarming party had finally wound down half an hour ago and the Scoobies had sleepily piled into Giles' new car so he could drive them to their various homes. After what seemed like days of shrieks and giggles and questions about who picked the colour scheme and how much did the carpet cost per square yard and was the sofa real leather, Spike and Xander were glad to have the house to themselves again.
Shreds of brightly coloured gift-wrap littered the dark green carpet in a wide circle around the proud new homeowners who were sprawled in a tangle on the floor cushions between the sofa and the coffee table.
On the table sat a strange array of house-warming gifts. The set of three art deco tap-dancing penguin figurines had come from Dawn, who swore they were the latest thing in interior design. They loved them anyway. The small box of charmed coins was from Willow and Tara, who promised that, when placed at doorways and windows, the coins would protect the house, and its inhabitants, from bad luck and bad magicks. The cut glass decanter and glasses, along with a 40-year-old bottle of malt scotch, had come from Giles, who had also brought along a younger bottle to be shared during the party.
Buffy's gift sat inconspicuously among the others, but it was the one that both men were studying silently.
"I can't believe she gave us that, Spike. I mean... even when she explained why, I still couldn't believe she'd..."
"I know, Xan. I was shocked too, but I think she needed to prove that she accepted us being together after all the time she's spent trying to break us up, accusing you of going behind her back, and taking up with the enemy and all that. Remember, she even made Willow and Giles check to make sure I hadn't had you spelled. After all that she probably thought she needed to do something this big to make amends."
"I know, Spike, but... she gave us Mr Pointy!" The well-worn piece of wood submitted silently to their continuing stares.
"I know, Pet. She said she wouldn't feel right keeping it now she can't threaten me with it."
Xander planted a kiss on Spike's nose and nuzzled into his stiffly gelled hair.
"While you were in the kitchen getting ice she told me she loved us both, but she needed to know I would have at least one stake in the house, just in case, and she trusted Mr Pointy to do whatever was necessary."
Spike squirmed until he was sitting in Xander's lap, and then leaned in for a long, deep kiss.
"Let's leave the mess until tomorrow, eh, Pet? We've still got a lot of places to christen before this house is completely ours. We haven't shagged on these cushions yet..."
The First Hobby
Spike loved to watch Xander work in the garage. He'd often slip in from the kitchen, through the adjoining door, just to watch Xander filing, scraping, drilling, and carving as he slowly shaped the wood into something precious and unique.
Most times Xander never seemed to notice that he was being watched; he was so focussed on whatever he was creating at the time. Today, though, when Spike tiptoed in, Xander's head came up immediately, and it made Spike wonder if Xander had been waiting for him to appear.
"You don't have to watch from the door, you know. This place is yours as much as mine. Come here and see what I've been doing." Xander held out a hand, and Spike, feeling strangely shy, walked over and took it.
"Trust you to have a hobby that's hazardous to my health, Pet. One wrong step in here and you'd be sweeping me up with the sawdust."
"The only sharp and pointy things in here, Spike, are my tools. And you've never made a wrong step in your life, I'll bet."
They kissed, and then Xander turned back to his workbench and selected a tiny chair, holding it up for Spike to see.
"Ms Jacobs has decided she wants some colour in the dining set. I'm supposed to paint this chair four different shades of blue so she can decide which one she wants."
Spike looked from the chair to Xan to the chair and then he realised where this conversation was going.
"Oh no. No way. You really thing I'm going to paint some rich bitches' dolls house furniture just because you flutter your eyelashes at me like that?"
The fluttering continued and was joined by a first class pout.
"Please, Spike? You know I can't paint worth a damn. Just do this one, for me? I'm nearly finished with the English dresser but Ms Jacobs wants the chair today so she can sit and study it all weekend and decide which shade works best with the house interior. Pleeeeease, Spike?"
So now the garage was their hobby room, with two workbenches set back to back so they could pass their pieces back and forth while playing footsie underneath. When he ran out of things to paint, Spike would varnish every piece of work that Xan had finished and then look for more.
Painting dollhouse furniture might be a poofy hobby, but it was the first real hobby he'd had and Spike loved it. The fact that he got a cut of the profits was just the cherry on the cake.
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The First White Hair
Xander had fallen asleep halfway through the movie with his head in Spike's lap, and Spike had spent the last hour watching the action while one hand absently petted the mink soft hair beneath it.
When the credits rolled, Spike glanced down, and froze. There, just next to the tip of his ring finger, was a tiny thread of silver. He leaned in closer, trying to keep his fingers motionless so he didn't lose sight of what he'd hoped to never see.
With a muffled moan, Xander squirmed to get more comfortable, and the tiny silver hair was lost in the midst of its darker, younger-looking brothers. Spike spent several minutes combing gently through the waves in an attempt to find the single gray. He found three before he stopped.
He hated them with a passion, Spike thought, almost numb with fear. They were the first real signs he'd seen that Xander wasn't twenty-one any more. He knew that, realistically, it was a miracle Xander had survived this long at all, living on the Hellmouth, never mind him going gray. But now that sign of aging had arrived and Xan's mortality was staring Spike in the face.
They'd talked around the subject many times, but Xan was young; they'd had years left to decide on a solution. But time moves fast when you're not looking, and suddenly they were up against the wall.
He'd been able to ignore the tiny wrinkles at the corners of Xan's eyes. He spent his days on construction sites after all, and none of those fancy designer shades for his boy. So he squinted into the sun when he had to, and things like that were bound to leave their mark, right?
And if he sometimes, often, fell asleep before the movie ended, well, he'd been working extra hard to get the contract finished so they could take a holiday together.
These arguments had kept Spike sane but now the truth had kicked him in the teeth. His love was getting older while he'd stood by and refused to see it happening. No more. It was time they settled this.
Spike gave Xander a gentle shake.
"We need to talk, Pet. I think it's time..."
The First Family Reunion
Angel had just about given up on them when Spike and Xander finally came through the swinging doors into the dimly lit demon bar, hidden deep in the heart of downtown LA.
They crossed the room hip to hip, shoulders brushing as they leaned in to trade whispers and private smiles. Angel watched them approach, and, as happened every time he saw them together, he was envious of their closeness, their obvious love for each other. That beautiful blond demon had been his once, a very long time ago. His Wil would have done anything he asked, because he had loved Angel with all the humanity Angel had failed to beat out of him. He knew that now, and was glad that Spike had finally found someone who wanted and returned that love a hundredfold.
He'd first learnt about Spike and Xander becoming a couple when Buffy had called, furious, demanding that he come immediately to Sunnydale and do something before Xander ended up dead or worse. It had taken him several puzzled moments to establish that Spike wasn't trying to kill Xander but was in fact dating him. He'd missed several minutes of the conversation at that point, trying to wrap his head around Xander 'I Hate All Vampires' Harris getting involved with William The Bloody, chip or no, and then insisted on talking to Giles before he jumped in the car and came racing to the rescue.
Giles had explained that no, Spike didn't appear to have coerced Xander into anything, and that it had actually been Xander who had made the first move, inviting Spike out on a date. Angel had then hung up and made a call to Xander, causing them both untold embarrassment as he tried to establish that Xander really was okay with the whole undead-demon-vampire-in his-bed scenario. Once he was convinced, he had made certain that Xander knew how much trouble he would be in if he hurt the chipped vampire, before extracting a promise to never ever tell Spike what had just passed between them.
He had assumed, wrongly, that it was just another of Xander's ill-fated demon-magnet related relationships. He'd been surprised when they bought the house, and even more so when he'd heard through the demonic grapevine that Spike was actually earning an income from something related to Xander's woodworking hobby.
Things had been quiet for several years then, until the phone call that had stunned him into silence...
A squeal from the woman sitting next to him drew Angel back to the present, and he watched stoically as Dru jumped up and ran the remaining few feet to where they stood waiting.
"Spike! And you brought my Kitten just like you promised. Daddy said you wouldn't come." She pouted prettily, and accepted the kisses bestowed upon her by the smiling couple.
"It's been thirty years since we saw you Dru, but even if it hadn't been, I'd never stand you up, you know that. Might be a bit late now and again because someone..." He looked sideways at Xander who shrugged and blew him a kiss. "...Won't let me out of bed while there's still lube in the tube, but I'll always show up eventually. And no matter what the Broody one here says, he knows it." Angel growled but, as usual, was ignored by everyone. "Every time he's called we've come running. That was part of the agreement, remember? The Powers would take my bloody chip out, and make sure Xander kept his soul, and we'd keep an eye on the Cleveland Hellmouth and help out the Poof when he needed extra undead muscle."
"Yeah. And what's with that, Great Grandsire?" Xander smirked at the pained expression on Angel's face. That name was even better than the now retired 'Deadboy' for getting under Angel's skin. He used it often. "The first few years you called us every couple of months to come and haul your ass out of the fire. Now we don't hear anything from one year to the next. Anyone would think you don't love us no more." He pouted, and Dru's tinkling laugh caused heads to turn at nearby tables.
"Silly Kitten. You don't let him play so he doesn't call. But the stars say I can come home now, so we can be a proper family. I'll stay with Daddy so he won't be lonely when you visit. It will be such fun!"
Footnote1: In reference to 'The First Snow', kitty_poker1 asked if Xander never seeing snow before was canon. The truth is, I wrote this and then remembered he'd been sleeping in the garden on Christmas Eve when it snowed to save Angel in the S3 episode Amends so I added the reference to him having seen it once but that he decided it didn't count.
Why only the once? Well, Xander's California born and bred and (having just run to Google!) I know that the temperature on average doesn't get below 9C / 49F (in LA, anyway) and his parents don't seem the ski-trip holiday type, so I decided that he'd only seen it snow that once. I'm the author, I get to make these kinds of proclamations. ;o)
Footnote2: Home-made Vanilla ice cream recipe:
4 egg yolks, 1/2 pint (250ml) milk, 1/2 pint (250ml) double/heavy cream, 4 oz (100g) sugar or caster sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or according to taste - everyone's different!)*
Split the vanilla pod(s) and place them in a pan with the milk.
Bring the milk slowly up to boiling point.
In a large bowl, mix together the egg yolks and sugar until thick.
Remove the vanilla pods and slowly pour the milk into the bowl, stirring continuously.
Pour the mixture back into the pan and heat gently, stirring until it has thickened. Do NOT bring to the boil.
When a film forms over the back of the spoon it is ready to be removed from the heat.
Leave to cool.
When it is cold, stir in the cream, then put the whole mixture into the ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
*I substituted vanilla pods for the vanilla essence, because it's just not real vanilla ice cream without those little black dots.
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