Spike never met a wager he didn’t like. He’d never been accused of having a gambling problem—until he’d been dating Harris for a month and the whelp had had the nerve to point out that that was only because he’d bet Spike he wouldn’t kiss him.
The little shit was too smug by half, but he wasn’t a bad shag and it got under the Slayer’s skin something awful.
Chalk that one up as a win, then. But the whelp had a point. He had a gambling problem. For Spike, rock bottom was a rickety ladder, a fist full of crepe paper and a small, ginger witch barking orders at him between the giraffe enclosure and the zebra paddock.
Two weeks earlier:
Xander was washing dishes and Spike was drying as he expounded on his latest moneymaking venture.
“An’ ya see, Willy knows I’m good for the money but this bloody Y’valnish bastard is still sore from the last time I beat him at cards—as if it’s my fault his ruddy great tentacles waving about are a sure tell—”
Xander leveled a look at him. Spike cut to the chase.
“So anyway, me’n Clem figure there’s probably enough folks tired of getting yanked around by Willy that we could make a pretty good turn selling blood or what-have-you on the side. Maybe enough to really cut into his bottom-line—get into lending. Reasonable rate of interest, of course,” he qualified seeing Xander’s dubious expression.
“Of course,” Xander echoed, facetiously.
Spike set the plate he was drying aside and glared. “An’ just what is that supposed to mean?”
Xander hung his head and sighed, dropping the dishrag onto the counter. He clapped one hand on Spike’s shoulder. “Only that you have many, many fine qualities. I just think maybe you need to think your future in loan sharking through a little, that’s all.”
“Think it through,” Spike repeated, pointedly.
Xander resumed washing the dishes.
“You don’t think I can do it,” he realized.
Xander looked heavenward. “I didn’t say I didn’t think you could do it.”
“Not exactly a strong show of support, neither.” Spike cornered Xander against the kitchen counter.
“Spike, honestly? If you were any good at making a plan and sticking to it, would I even be standing here right now?” Xander asked, sounding exasperated.
Spike resented that. “Just because I’ve bollocksed up a few plots to kill Buffy don’t mean I can’t stick to a plan!”
Xander looked bored. “You have no follow through.”
“I have no follow through? I’ll show you bloody follow through!” Spike grabbed the back of Xander’s head and pulled him into a ferocious kiss.
Then Spike showed Xander his follow through.
Twenty Minutes Later:
“Wow,” Xander panted out, naked and flushed from stern to keel.
Spike grinned and slumped further against the counter. “Right then. So you bet me that I can’t stick to a plan and follow it through—”
“That is not what I said—” Xander protested.
Spike ignored him. “So if I win, you…clean and sharpen my blades…”
“Oh, for God’s sake.”
“…for a month.”
“A month?” Xander repeated, incredulously. “And what the hell do I get if I win this “bet” of yours?” he asked with obnoxious little air-quotes.
Spike shrugged. “The honor of being the lover of the most powerful and attractive vamp in Sunnydale?”
Xander glared. “Try again.”
“I’ll take you to Vegas,” he mumbled, grudgingly.
Xander gasped. “And?”
“We can do that—thing you wanted.”
Xander let out a very undignified shriek and started bouncing around the kitchen starkers. “I have to call Willow! She needs to know this! She can be witness to the bet and oh my god I can’t believe you said yes!”
Xander ran back into the bedroom to get the phone. “Oi, that’s only if you win, remember!” Spike called after him, but Xander wasn’t listening.
Xander was over the bloody moon.
Once Xander had gone to bed, Spike sat watching an infomercial with a beer and tried to come up with a brilliant and impressive plan. Unfortunately he was drawing a complete blank. The trouble of it was, Xander was right. He really was rubbish at sticking to a plan and without a doubt the more complicated the plan he came up with the more humiliating it was going to be to watch it come crashing down around his ears.
Spike smirked. “Didn’t say it had to be an evil plan. Didn’t say it had to be big, neither.”
Xander’s birthday was in two weeks.
Spike pulled out his phone and dialed Willow. “Red, yeah, it’s me. Yeah, I know, I was there, wasn’t I? Right, I’ve got a plan, only you can’t tell Xander, it’s a surprise.”
Two weeks later:
It had taken calling in nearly every favor he was owed, but he’d managed to get the Sunnydale Zoo for the night of Xan’s birthday.
He’d hung miles of crepe paper streamers, there were drinks and nibbles and a cake, and all Xander’s little pals were gathered, lying in wait for the guest of honor to arrive.
And when Xander did arrive, Spike had to admit that he almost forgot about the bet entirely, as happy as the boy was. After collecting his birthday wishes from his friends, Xander found his way over with a suspicious grin.
“So this was the big plan, huh? Throwing me a surprise party?”
Spike preened. “I’m willing to wait until the end of the week to collect, seeing as how it’s your birthday, and all.”
Xander rolled his eyes and pecked Spike on the lips. “Night’s not over yet, Spike. I wouldn’t get too cocky.”
Spike ignored him.
The evening was perfect. Everyone was having a lovely time. Xander was lubricated enough to grab his hand and dance with him and everyone else was lubricated enough not to give a toss. Tara took advantage of his preoccupation to switch out his Rolling Stones retrospective in the CD player and the sound of Pink Martini began to waft through the night air.
“Je ne veux pas travailler
Je ne veux pas déjeuner
Je veux seulement l'oublier
Et puis je fume”
He leaned close to Xander’s ear. “So, do you forfeit?” he asked, softly.
Xander held him closer as they danced. A zebra gave an approving whinny. “Is the night over?” he replied playfully.
Spike chuckled and executed a fairly complex move. Xander laughed.
It was fairly romantic, Spike thought, dipping Xander teasingly over the paddock fence.
Then, like all his plans, it was inexplicably bollocksed up.
They were suddenly plunged into darkness. Xander startled and Spike momentarily lost his grip on Xander who overbalanced and dropped backwards over the edge.
“Xander!” he shouted into the enclosure.
“Ow,” Xander echoed back.
Spike spun around, desperate for some kind of handle on the situation when Willow smacked his shoulder. “You scheduled his party during a rolling blackout?”
Spike growled and vaulted over the paddock fence. Xander was lying in the dirt clutching his ankle and hissing in pain.
“Just a sprain, I think,” he said.
Spike threw Xander’s arm around his shoulder. “Come on. Has to be a door out of here somewhere about.”
Xander limped pathetically along beside him. “Spike?”
“It was a nice party.”
Spike sighed. “Thanks, Xan.”
Spike wrapped the ace bandage around his left ankle and yanked it taut, making Xander wince.
“Still human here,” he bit out through clenched teeth.
Spike frowned, but loosened the wrap slightly before fastening the butterfly clips. “Sorry,” he muttered as he stood.
Xander leaned forward and pointedly straightened the display of travel brochures fanned out over the coffee table, careful to keep his sprained ankle elevated on the stack of phonebooks and throw pillows propping it up.
“Are you sure you’ll be all right here on your own? You know I wouldn’t go, except that Vorash demon Clem wanted me to talk to is in town and—”
Xander rolled his eyes. “I’ll be fine. Go. Be a creature of the night. Cause mayhem.”
Spike beamed and pecked his cheek before hurriedly shrugging on his duster and throwing open their front door. “Oh, and, um, if a bloke comes by here with a delivery—tall drink of water, scales—d’ya mind signing for me?”
Xander sat up. “What kind of delivery?”
Spike looked carefully nonchalant. “Oh, nothing much, just a few things for the business, y’know.”
“What few things? I thought you were running this enterprise out of the crypt?”
“An’ we are, but m’not going to be on that side of town and the stuff has to get delivered tonight. Don’t worry, I’ll get it out of here just as soon as I’m back.” Spike began to leave.
“Spike, crutches!” Xander called after him.
Spike turned in the doorway and picked up the crutches leaning against the kitchen island and placed them within Xander’s reach. “Right love, I’m off then.” And with that, Spike bolted out the door.
Xander stared after him in disapproval and suspicion. Spike was obviously up to something and Xander was obviously not going to approve.
He sighed. At least there was a Stargate marathon without Spike’s commentary to look forward to. “Looks like it’s just you and me again, Major Carter,” he said, reaching for the remote beside him. His hand came up empty and he looked around for a minute before spotting it on top of the TV.
Xander frowned. “He is so making this up to me,” he muttered darkly, reaching for his crutches.
Twenty minutes later Xander was breathless and aching but finally mollified by the sight of his second favorite plucky blond heroine when the door buzzer rang.
“Son of a bitch,” he said feelingly, turning off the TV and grabbing for his crutches. “Just a minute!” he called out.
His ankle protested the rough treatment as he hobbled over to the door, but he didn’t want tall and scaly standing on his stoop longer than was strictly necessary.
The buzzer rang again.
Xander glared. “Yeah, yeah, keep your shirt on,” he said, throwing open the front door and seeing—
Whoever had left them there was long gone, but stacked just outside his doorway were what looked like six crates of live, noisy, smelly, chickens. “What the fuck, Spike!” He railed at his absent lover.
Xander looked up and down the hallway, but there was no sign of the delivery demon or, thankfully, his neighbors. Xander whimpered. “Seriously?” he whined.
The chickens continued their racket, oblivious to his misery. With a frustrated growl, Xander tested the weight of the nearest crate and found it wasn’t too heavy. He couldn’t leave the damn things in the hallway, but he didn’t see a dolly anywhere. Fuck it.
Xander threw down his crutches and hoisted up the crate, and hopped, backwards, on one foot through the doorway. By sheer force of will he managed to get the damn thing set down inside the apartment before he was forced to grab for the wall to keep his balance.
It wasn’t graceful. He thought he might have pulled his shoulder all out of whack and the hopping made the chickens squawk like crazy, but he got five crates inside and stacked against the wall. He was at his limit though, and there was one more crate to go.
Xander stared down at the last crate with dread. Bracing himself against the doorjamb he leaned down on one leg and grabbed the crate. With a mighty heave he hoisted the crate up but overcompensated with too much force and started to lose his balance. He flew back through the doorway trying to right himself but—
“Oh shit…” Xander went down, the crate broke open, the chickens scattered and he took all his weight on his right wrist, hearing the bone crack sickeningly.
After a few moments trying to breathe normally through the pain, Xander managed to drag himself over to the table. His coat was draped over the back of a chair, his cell phone in its pocket. He fumbled it out with his left hand and awkwardly managed to dial it.
“Xan?” Spike answered.
“Spike, get your ass back here right now!” he bellowed, voice anguished.
Ten minutes later Spike burst through the door, Clem at his heels, and took in the sight of Xander, sitting on the floor surrounded by chicken shit, clutching his wrist, while four birds pecked at the remains of the crate. “I’m going to kill you,” he said.
Spike’s open-mouthed stare coalesced into a nod of understanding. “Fair enough,” he said, his wide gaze taking in the devastation. “Clem, you get the birds back to the crypt,” he directed. As Clem attempted to herd the chickens, Spike knelt down beside Xander and reached gently for Xander’s wrist.
He turned it over in his hand, and Xander hissed as Spike brushed against the swelling with his finger and palpated the bone. “Oh, yeah, it’s broken,” Xander confirmed.
Spike looked up from his wrist, eyes lost and searching. “What happened?” he asked.
Xander smirked and took Spike’s hand with his remaining whole one. “It’s my own fault trying to bring the damn things in on one leg.”
Spike froze, his expression narrowed. “Whadaya mean you brought ‘em in?”
Xander shrugged. Oh yeah, this was going to be worth cash money in Vegas. “I opened the door and found six crates of poultry. I wasn’t going to give the neighbors one more reason to complain to the super.”
“But Vern shoulda been there. I bloody told the bastard he had to get them in the apartment!”
Xander shook his head pathetically, milking it. “I’d just managed to get the TV on when the doorbell rang. I’ve been dealing with our feathered friends ever since.”
“Son of a…” Spike trailed off angrily.
Xander decided to ask the obvious question. “Spike, why are there chickens in my apartment?”
Clem answered. “Blood, mostly. I’m also developing a hot wing sauce for demons.”
“Oh,” Xander said. “That’s not a bad idea.”
Spike beamed and unfurled somewhat. “Yeah?”
Xander nodded, tried to smile, but it came out more like a wince. “Yeah. I guess I thought you guys might be opening a sideline in animal sacrifice. Demon snack bar didn’t really occur to me.”
Spike grimaced self-deprecatingly. “Figure I’d better start small before I go attempting to cut into your capitalist ex’s bottom line,” he said, carefully helping Xander up. “Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but my plans seem to go tits up more often than not,” he added, wryly.
Xander snorted and let Spike guide him toward the door. “Y’know, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that.”
“Double or nothing.”
“You have a problem.”
“So am I. Seek professional help. Ow!” Xander flinched as the nurse bumped into his ankle in her efforts to set and immobilize his wrist.
“Careful!” Spike barked at her. She jumped and Xander winced as his arm was jostled.
Xander pursed his lips and glared at Spike. “Fine. Double or nothing? Manage things for a week while my ankle heals and you win. I’ll spit polish anything you put in front of me.”
There was a loud clatter as the nurse knocked over the plastic container housing the bandages.
“An’ if you win?” Spike prompted, “Not that I expect you to.”
Xander grinned lecherously. “Oh, you know what I want.”
Spike grimaced, ignoring the blushing nurse excusing herself from the exam room. “Already giving you up on your day off to those friends of yours…” he grumbled.
Xander rolled his eyes. “It’s three hours at the waterslide park. You’ll cope. They wanted to cheer me up.”
“I want to cheer you up.”
“You are the reason I’m sitting here listening to Rod Stewart’s greatest Muzak hits in a fiberglass cast,” he pointed out, though seeing Spike’s stricken expression, amended, “Not that you’d be any different from anyone else in that regard since I know Buffy to be responsible for nine out of my last ten hospital visits—” Spike growled slightly at the reminder and Xander smiled bemusedly. “I’ll let you make it up to me tonight,” he promised.
“Could make it up to you now,” Spike pouted in the way Xander typically found irresistible. Xander wound a finger in the belt loop of Spike’s jeans and pulled him closer.
“I know you could. But we don’t have a waterslide in our apartment.”
“You can’t go on any bleedin’ waterslides in a cast, anyway.”
“Fine. We don’t have Amy Yip in our apartment.”
“I could wear a red Speedo and give you the kiss of life.”
Xander had to pause to appreciate that image. “Do you have one?”
“Could get one.”
Xander nodded thoughtfully. “Would you wear a whistle?”
“Even cover my nose in zinc oxide.”
Xander shivered as a wave of arousal trickled down his spine and pooled in his groin. “I have a lifeguard fetish,” he realized. “And we will be exploring this further. Tonight. When I get back from the waterslide park.”
Spike sighed the sigh of a long-suffering vampire. “Suppose you’ll be wanting me to do the cooking and washing up when you get home.”
Xander beamed. “Well, I do need to eat. And if you want me to take care of the Fyarl mucous you let petrify your weapons chest—”
“Just ‘cause I’ve got better things to do—”
“—since you can’t seem to figure out you don’t have minions anymore to do your scutwork—”
“—than nance around with a feather duster—”
“I mean, would it kill you to hang up your wet towels? We’re going to get silverfish!”
Spike snorted. “Ponce.”
“I’m not the one who watches the history channel with a jar of Vaseline.” Xander threw out with smug satisfaction.
“One time, you git! Just got a little worked up ‘cause one of the reenactments reminded me of Dru,” Spike blustered in defense.
Their scandalized nurse interrupted Xander’s perfectly good gloat to release them from their sterile beige cell. Spike, humbled by the reminder of Xander’s predicament stoically took the ream of papers she handed them on the care and feeding of a fiberglass cast and, with slightly malicious glee, the prescription for painkillers only slightly less potent then the average elephant tranquilizer, noting with undisguised joy the scrawled allowance for four refills. Xander just sighed and watched Spike’s wheels turn as he helped him hobble to the car, hoping the hamster didn’t give out before he discovered that it was Xander’s goolies on the line if Spike sold off the remaining pills.
Amy Yip, with her olive skin and bright red suit sat high and statuesque above the Lazy River like some kind of goddess idol that invited worship. Xander, however, passed beneath her station for the third time in his innertube, unaware and deep in contemplation. Somewhere in the maze of tube slides overhead, he heard Willow scream in delight. He would have smiled, but he was worried he was taking advantage of Spike’s idiocy for his own selfish gain. He felt too guilty to even muster a lewd thought for the subject of nearly every pervy thought from age twelve to fifteen.
Buffy floated up along side him. “The non-verbal I expect. But usually there’s more drool,” she observed.
Xander frowned. “I think I’m being a douche.”
“I think Spike can handle losing you to an afternoon of sunny fun every once in a while. Besides, he likes you tan.”
“It’s not that. It’s this bet. He’s not going to win. He was never going to win. I mean, I want Vegas but—”
“But you want him to take you because he wants to and not because he was too stupid to turn down a bet.”
“Exactly! –Wait, when did Spike tell you he likes me tan? And more to the point, when did you and Spike become talking buddies?”
Buffy trailed a thoughtful hand in the water. “We’re not talking buddies,” she reassured him. “But we talk. Or, he insults me and I kick him and then we sort of have an insulting/kicking understanding.”
“No coffee klatch, then?”
“No. But I did paint his nails for him last week.”
Xander nodded, impressed. “You do good work.”
“Thank you. Anyway, he didn’t really tell me he likes you tan. He said something like, ‘I won’t turn your precious donut boy. If all I wanted was a pasty bit of fluff to get a leg over, I’d have stuck with Harmony.’”
Xander grinned warmly. “See? And that’s why I stick with the bleached menace. If you read between the lines—”
Buffy smiled reluctantly, “—it’s kind of sweet. I know. Anyway, don’t worry. He’s completely head over heals for you. Any time spent with you will be of the good.”
“You think so?”
Xander nodded, feeling much more relaxed.
“You’re going to clean the snot off his swords anyway, aren’t you.”
Xander was nearly bonelessly relaxed by the time Buffy and Willow dropped him off at home. He felt serene, at one with the universe, satisfied with his lot in life and on the sixth lap past the lifeguard tower, Amy decided to apply sunscreen.
He arrived home with a half-on, curious to see what Spike had cobbled together for dinner. Even cold cereal sounded appealing as long as he could share it with his vampire.
Man, he had it bad.
The low tide smell started in the stairwell and became stronger and more rank, overlaid with the suggestion of a refinery, the closer he got to his apartment. For a moment, he thought he was hallucinating the whisps of smoke curling out the bottom of his door—until he heard Spike cursing and stomping around the apartment and the smoke alarm meeting a violent and untimely death as it’s screams were abruptly silenced.
He pushed open the door and was assaulted by the stench and smoke, coughing, he pushed through the haze to find the kitchen. Smoke was pouring out of the oven. Xander noted it was heated to 400°. Impressed, he turned it off.
Taking the mitts, he took a fortifying breath of soot before opening the oven door and pulling out the charred remains of a box of fishsticks. Box included.
He dumped the smoking cardboard carcass in the sink and turned on the cold water.
“Honey. I’m home.”
Spike stood just behind him, leaning against the counter, eyes dejectedly trained on the linoleum.
“Hey,” He began lightly, reaching for Spike. Spike pulled his arm out of Xander’s grasp roughly. Xander frowned, concerned and tried again more gently. “Hey.”
Spike didn’t say anything but he allowed Xander to pull him close. After a few minutes of comfort and reassurance non-verbally given and received, Xander pulled out his phone and dialed his boss.
“Hey Jake, can I speak to Ryan? Ryan? This is Xander. Yeah, you heard about that huh? Yeah, well I was thinking about taking my vacation time. Yeah? Great. See you then.” Xander flipped his phone shut. “So here’s what’s going to happen,” he told Spike. “We’re going to open every window, we’re going to get in the car, drop the apartment keys off with Buffy and we’re going to drive to Vegas. We’re going to order room service and have a lot of sex.”
“You sure you trust me in Vegas?” Spike muttered, and the amount of self-hatred in his voice brought Xander up short.
“I trust you with my money. I trust you with my friends, my home, my life.”
“Idiot,” Spike said, pressing his forehead to Xander’s tenderly.
Xander shook his head and ran a hand up and down Spike’s back, “You take risks. It’s one of the best things about you. Helping Buffy is risky. Shacking up with me is risky. If you played it safe, we wouldn’t even be here, so if you want to blow my savings take it. If you want to bet the apartment, the car, whatever—I’m okay with that. I’ll be pissed if you lose, but not as pissed as I’d be if you woke up tomorrow morning and stopped taking risks, came to your senses and left me for a normal vampire girlfriend and a normal vamp lair and a normal vamp life. Get it?”
“Got it,” Spike said, voice a little hoarse with smoke or emotion.
Xander smiled. “Good. And just to show I’m not a sore winner, I’ll get started on the crusty arsenal when we get back.”
Spike snickered. “You said crusty arse.”
Xander wagged his eyebrows and grinned, slapping his keys into Spike’s hand “You drive.”
Xander lay naked and stretched out on the bed in their graciously appointed suite surrounded by the trappings of the 24th century. A gorgeous lover and a week at the Star Trek Hilton. It was his every geeky dream come true. Spike’s lilting voice hollered out from behind the bathroom door.
“I’m not coming out, I look stupid.”
“You wanted to go double or nothing.”
“Do I have to say this twaddle?”
“Yes! Now get your ass out here!”
The bathroom door swung open and Spike appeared in all his naked glory, though with the addition of a pair of distinctly pointed ears. Xander and his now rampant erection sat up with interest.
With a dramatic sigh of defeat, Spike drew breath to speak.
“It is the time of Pon Farr and I must mate or I will die,” he delivered in a disinterested monotone.
It was the most beautiful thing Xander had ever heard.
“Think that’s your cue, love,” Spike prompted.
Xander leaped off the bed and in one swift move dropped his shoulder and hoisted Spike into a fireman’s carry. Spike made a startled noise.
“Fuck the script,” Xander pronounced.
“What about the wager?” Spike protested.
Xander dropped Spike on the bed. “Fuck the wager.”
Spike grinned lecherously up at him. “Really got you hot, didn’t I? Gonna give it to me hard, eh?”
Xander trailed a worshipful finger from the tip of a pointed ear to the base of Spike’s cock, heart and soul burning with desire for the man laid out like a feast before him. With a wicked grin he leaned over and flicked his tongue against the shell of Spike’s ear, feeling Spike’s sharp intake of useless breath where their chests met and huskily whispered his response.
“Bet on it.”
|Feed the Author|
|Home||Categories||New Stories||Non Spander|