My late contribution to the Spander Valentine ficathon run by [info]reremouse. It is, in fact, the story requested by [info]reremouse
1370 unbeta'd words of Spike/Xander, rated PG-13 for language. Request follows the fic.

Language of Love


Xander learned early on how to yell “Help!” in any number of languages. Also, “Behind you!”, “I’m a friend!”, and “Don’t hit me!”

He’ll admit his pronunciation is sometimes a little off, but these phrases coupled with some frantic hand waving usually buy him enough time to start explaining – as best one can explain “Hi, you’re a Slayer, I’m a Watcher, or sort of anyway, save me and then we’ll talk?”

It’s therefore particularly galling to be ignored and knocked out in England. Where, presumably, they speak English.

He even tries out the Welsh he’d stumbled through for Myfanwy – which had sort of worked, although Xander hadn’t actually intended to disable her through laughter – but he doesn’t get past the second set of double “ll”s before meeting a brick wall headfirst.

When he regains consciousness, he almost wishes he hadn’t. There’s rain dripping in his face, though they’re apparently indoors, and the faded paisley velvet wallpaper that greets his eye makes his head hurt even more. His tiny ginger-haired assailant is tied to a rickety wooden chair, looking mutinous. Spike is way too close and blowing smoke in his face.

“Get off me,” Xander mumbles. Spike ignores him and prods at a spot behind his ear. It hurts. Xander yelps and swats at him.

“Hold still, you berk. Christ, can’t trust you on your own for an hour, can I?”

“I was doing fine! And quit – ow! – poking me!”

“Hardly call a fractured skull fine.” Spike splits a glare between Xander and Ginger. “Bloody bitch.”

“I’m okay,” Xander says, pushing himself up on one elbow. The room tilts and spins; he does his best to ignore it and the resultant psychedelic patterns in the wallpaper. “You didn’t hurt her, did you?”

“She threw you into a wall. Then jumped on you.”

“You didn’t answer my question… hey!” Xander grumbles as Spike shoves him back down against an extremely uncomfortable sofa. There’s a spring jabbing the small of his back. “Where are we?”

“England.” Spike frowns. “How many fingers am I holding up?”

“One,” Xander says, “and of course it’s that one. I know we’re in England, I just don’t recognize this particularly hideous bit of England. Seriously, did you do her any damage? You know what Giles said after you broke Kanayo’s arm.”

“Wouldn’t have had to if she hadn’t had a knife to your throat,” Spike says indignantly.

Xander tries to glare, but it hurts his eye, so he elects to close it instead. “That Japanese phrasebook really sucked. She still won’t speak to me.”

“’Course not,” Spike says. “You suggested lewd things about her grandmother and a pig.”

“I did my best,” Xander says plaintively. “And you could have just twisted it. You didn’t have to break it.”

Spike snorts, and begins running his hands up and down Xander’s legs. Xander’s legs are not as appreciative as usual; his left knee hurts like hell. “Ow. Leave it, Spike. I’m pretty sure nothing’s broken. Let’s just sort her out and get out of this dump.”

“Not going anywhere. You need to recover a bit. ‘S why I broke us into this house. You could thank me, you know.”

Spike can produce almost anything from the inside pockets of his duster. Alcohol, lube, dead mice, crowbars… and now, a roll of elastic bandage he begins wrapping around Xander’s knee. Xander has simply accepted this. Andrew persists in speculating about extra-dimensional spells and portable holes.

One of these days, Andrew is likely to end up stuffed in a pocket.

“I’d recover faster at our place,” Xander says. “Our place, which has a functional roof. I think this sofa is giving me more bruises than Ginger there.”

“Fine,” Spike says. “Next time you get yourself half-killed, you can stay in the rain and rot.” The floor creaks ominously as he moves away. Xander cracks open his eye to see Spike crouching in front of Ginger.

Their eyes are almost exactly the same shade of blue. He wouldn’t put money on who’d blink first.

A siren suddenly screams just outside, horribly high and piercing. Xander jumps, causing a cloud of dust to rise and settle around him. Even Spike startles.

Ginger doesn’t so much as bat an eyelash.

Spike frowns. He moves around behind her and says loudly, “Tell me your name or I break your neck right now.”

She doesn’t react. The siren fades in the distance.

Spike extracts something from yet another pocket and warns, “Cover your ears.”

Even with fingers stuffed in place, Xander winces at the whistle blast.

Ginger is craning her neck, distrusting what Spike’s up to behind her, but the noise doesn’t seem to faze her.

“Deaf,” Spike says incredulously. “That’s why she didn’t listen to you.”

“Really?!” Xander sits up – too fast; the sofa emits another cloud of dust as he falls back down. Spike darts around Ginger’s chair towards the sofa, eyes fixed on Xander.

She sticks out a foot. Spike starts to go down, turns with catlike speed and grabs her leg. They crash to the floor together. The chair splinters. Ginger does some complicated maneuver with speed matching Spike’s and ends up with her hands in front of her, still tied together, but now wielding an impressively pointy piece of chair. Spike snarls.

Xander staggers to his feet, yells, realizes this is pointless, and begins jumping up and down. The floor shakes. Xander nearly falls over, but it has the desired effect: Ginger’s head whips round. She takes a step back so she can keep them both in view, hands out, feet shifting, eyes darting from Xander to Spike and back.

“What. The hell.” Spike says.

Xander’s tongue is sticking out of the corner of his mouth, as his recently abused brain tries to recall everything Willow insisted he learn in the days after the Gentlemen came to town.

“You look like you’re trying to shove a currant bun up a duck’s ass, mate.”

Xander ignores the annoying vampire and continues gesturing as best he can.

“Could be a cinnamon bun, mind.”

There is a strangled sort of sound. Ginger is turning red. She’s either choking with laughter or extremely pissed off. Possibly both.

“Think you just managed to insult her grandmother too,” Spike says. “Do you have the faintest clue what you’re doing?”

Xander concludes and looks at her beseechingly.

She looks back and forth from Xander to Spike a few times, then walks over to sit on the sofa. A few seconds later, she grimaces and stands up again. Her arms are extended; she shakes her bound wrists and raises an eyebrow at Xander.

“Don’t you dare,” says Spike.

“She can’t talk otherwise,” Xander points out, plucking the makeshift stake from her hand and throwing it in a corner, “and I’m in charge of this mission.”

“She can’t talk at all,” Spike corrects him.

“She can, too,” Xander says. “ASL is a perfectly valid language. Did you have to tie this so tight? Give me a hand.”

Spike rolls his eyes but comes over and undoes the knots.

Ginger promptly puts a hand on his chest and shoves him away, making a universally acknowledged rude gesture. Spike counters with one of his own.

“Shut up,” Xander says.

“Didn’t say anything.”

“Oh, for…” Xander throws up his hands. “I could have just gone with the picture book. If someone hadn’t set it on fire.”

Ginger starts signing rapidly at Xander. He blinks and shakes his head. She slows down.

“Me… scissors? Or no, people… guide? Watch… time… argh!” Xander shakes his head again, then clutches it and wobbles.

“Told you to stay down,” Spike says, but the strong arms wrapping around Xander take any sting from his words.

“Got a pencil?” Xander says, once the room stops moving.

Spike does. Also a notebook. Also a KitKat bar. He could probably materialize an elephant, if Xander wanted one.

Xander takes a bite of the KitKat and starts writing. A moment later, the notebook and pencil are gently but firmly removed from his hands. Ginger scribbles for a moment, then passes it back.

You and your vampire are idiots, but at least you’re cute idiots. Where are we going?

Request was for Spike/Xander expressing their love indirectly, occasionally loudly, in ways that don't really sound like love to the casual observer; post-Buffy, no comics; three Slayers who speak no English; and a dilapidated house in bad weather.

The End

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