Colour Me Blind


"You know you look ridiculous, yeah?"

Spike and Xander were walking the deserted streets of Sunnydale, Spike keeping a pace and a half in front at all times. It had nothing to do with chivalry or taking up position in the van to safeguard the more vulnerable human.

"Because whatever you think, it's neither cool nor funny."

Spike continued to ignore his companion along with his jigging little hops to catch up.
Anyone watching their antics would never notice the way Spike constantly maintained that short gap between them - he managed it so fluidly, so effortlessly. Xander was only too conscious of it, however, and the more his attempts to overtake were frustrated, the more agitated he became.

"How long you gonna keep this up, Spike? You're gonna have to face me sometime. This is only going to become a major relationship-problem thing if you let it. It's no big, OK? Hell, if you can't look me in the face any more what hope have we got? I can't believe you'd react like this. Seen-it-all, done-them-all-then-eaten-them vamp. And just a tiny little kink like this and suddenly…"

The vampire abruptly stopped only to grunt as Xander ran into the back of him, still talking, "… years of sophistication and…"

"Harris, shut the fuck up. There's something over there." Taking advantage of Spike's half-turn, Xander moved to step in front of him, only to be frustrated yet again as Spike smoothly turned in the opposite direction - the direction from which his attention had actually been caught.

"Don't add stupidity to idiocy. If that's what I think it is, there's no way you want to be exposed to it: a nasty like that could leave you in the sort of 'orrible mess even a mother couldn't love. Oh, sorry, Luv, nothing personal there, of course."

Xander itched to smack that smirk off the unearthly beautiful face. He still couldn't see the face but he knew it too well not to know when that smirk was in residence.

He stepped closer to the leather-clad irritant that called itself his lover and tried to peer over its shoulder to catch a glimpse of their latest nemesis. As he did, Spike threw his arms up in a theatrical gesture, catching hold, with one hand, of the back of Xander's head and pulling his face protectively into his own leather-soft, muscle-hard shoulder. "God, Xan, don't. There's stuff that I never joke about and 'm'not joking now. " His voiced trembled with emotion, "Couldn't bear to see you damaged, Xan, just cos I didn't protect you properly. Please! Let me protect you, there'd be no forgivness for me, else."

"No arguments, here, Spikey. If it's that bad, let's get out of here. Sides, I think you passed the audition for ham-pire." Xander grabbed for Spike's hand and a felt flush of contentment and security as the strong pale fingers wrapped around his own. Spike set them a punishing pace, towing his young lover out of danger, off the main street and down an adjacent residential avenue. Unable to resist a last look back, Xander strained to see what had got the Big Bad so worried but, apart from the usual array of streetlights, billboards, and shop-fronts nothing of danger was apparent.

Twenty minutes later they were making their final approach to the Magic Box. Xander was still arguing and Spike was still refusing to look at him. "So, are you seriously going to keep this up all night? What happens when we get home?"

"Do what I always do when we get home, luv. Rip off your clothes and shag you into the mattress."

"Jeez, feeling a bit used here, Spike. You keep your back turned on me all night, parade around wearing *those*, despite the fact that *is* night - and why the hell did you ever get them anyway? When did you get them? Hardly standard vampire requirement, here. And then you expect me to just turn over and open up for you?"

"Always worked for me in the past, Petal." Xander could hear the smirk again.

"Yeah, well just for the record, 'Petal', there's always a first time and I think you just won the 'no way in hell' prize as far as getting laid goes tonight. I'm just not in the mood, so there." Xander huffed to himself as he saw Spike's shoulders shake; there was no way the vampire's reaction was silent sobbing.

"I mean, what is it? Some sort of Hollywood movie star wanna-be image? So doesn't work on you. Now Angel could carry it off. All that dark, handsome broody bit he's got going. He could do it but not you."

For the first time that night Spike almost turned around in response to Xander's constant barrage of jibes.

"Hollywood fuckin' movie star? That tub of lard? Listen, love, there's nothing special about the way that poof looks, let me tell you. That look's a dime a dozen - nothing Hollywood about him. Basic Port Talbot steelworker-look he's got. A local pub, on a Friday night, you'd think he'd got home at last."

"Steelworker? Well, yes, I can see the rippling muscles and sweaty chest and stuff. But who the hell's this Talbot and why does Angel look like him? They related or something?"

"Not who, you ignoramus - it's a place, in South Wales - that's the southern part of Wales, the country next to England, on the left. Used to be one of the biggest steel towns around. Course, I remember the Dowlais Top in the 1800s."

"Umm, Spike, again, I say, who the hell is this dollars top guy? Some sex-dom porn god you never got around to telling me about yet?"

"And they try to tell you that just because you never get to *look* older there's no generation gap to worry about. 'M just saying that Broody would look like just one of the boys over there - OK, he'd be taller than most of them but his looks wouldn't make him stand out none. Common as muck that dark, Celtic look there. And it's Dowlais, rhymes with cow and rice, not bloody dollars. And again it's a place. The greatest-ever steel production town in history. Tiny little place, with the richest and poorest people on God's earth, it was."

"So, um, how come you know so much about steel production? Never had you down as an manufacturing/economics guru."

"Had family there. One of my uncles lived in this god-awful neo-gothic monstrosity of a castle coupla miles outside Port Talbot. Still got relations there, matter of fact. Of course," the smirk was back, "some of 'em actually did become Hollywood movie stars. Not to mention the whole knighthood from the Queen bit."

Xander paused for a moment, head bent, pondering these strange new revelations from someone whose history he thought he knew pretty well. Not from the bleached wonder himself, of course, but from the tomes on William the Bloody that Giles had tried to keep hidden so unsuccessfully.

"So, you mean that…" he looked up to see a growing gap between himself and his lover and ran to catch up. "So you're trying to tell me that not only do you know about some of your living relatives but that I should probably know of them, too, and that you've got Sirs in your family, right?"

"Not *trying* to tell you anything, love, just making conversation about the old country."

Xander frowned. It wasn't that he found such stories from Spike difficult to believe, just that… Hell, now he came to think about it was very easy to find it difficult to believe them. He decided to push his luck, "So it shouldn't be too hard to know who this mysterious person is, then, should it? After all, he'd have the same name as you, so…."

~ Shit, that wouldn't work ~

"What the hell is your surname, anyway, Mr the Bloody I-don't-really-think-so?"

Spike waved a disdainful hand over his shoulder, "Crawshay-Bevan but that wouldn't mean anything cos my sister changed her name when she married, idiot. But I gotta give it to him, the guy's got good taste in movie roles." There was a definite snigger about that last remark.

"But. And. I thought your family was from London, I mean the accent and all."

"My god, you yanks really need educating, don't you? If you knew anything at all about Londoners you'd realise full well I'm not one of 'em. Support Manchester United, don't I? Hanging offence amongst all the Arsenal and Millwall supporters, that. Was just living there after I came down."

~ Pause, think, explain:

"From Oxford."

~ Further pause:

"I moved to London when I finished college."

Halting in front of the shop, Spike finally took off his shades. He grimaced in pain as he cast his unprotected gaze over the shirt. Xander's favourite, old, multi-coloured, almost-luminescent, shirt. The last survivor of Xander's old wardrobe. Spike had thought he had finally renounced such monstrosities a couple of years ago and felt annoyed that he hadn't found it himself, first, and destroyed it before it was too late. 'Wouldn't need to burn the bloody thing - leave it out in the sun for a minute, it would self-combust. And if I ever get my hands on the pillock who went on national television and informed a witless git like Harris that bright colours are *good* for you…'

"Hey, guys, good, you're back. Any problems out there tonight?" Willow's chattering broke into Spike's introspection.

"There was this one, real, nasty Bad. Didn't get to see it but Super Vamp here was worried, so perhaps we should…"

"Nah, quiet as the proverbial, love. Not a dickybird. Getting a bit bloody boring if you ask me. Could have done with something to beat up, 'specially as you won't let me beat him up for wearing the vomiter's-Saturday-night-special, instead of a shirt."

"Huh? Spike, you practically pulled me off my feet getting me away from the whatever-it-was on Main Street! You were talking about never forgiving yourself if you let it capture me…"

"Um, never said anything about forgiving *myself*, love," Spike delicately pointed out.

Willow grinned and gave Spike a mischievously conspiratorial look. "On Main Street, huh? Something new in town was it?"

Xander glared in outrage as the other two chuckled at some unknown-to-him, private joke.

"Oh, yeah, wasn't there last night. Caught it this afternoon did you, Red?"

This was getting ridiculous. Spike was shaking and Willow was breathing in that any-moment-now-if-I-don't-laugh-properly-I'm-going-to-get-hiccups way of hers.

"Thanks for looking out for us, Spike. I saw it arriving and I was hoping to warn you before you went on patrol but I just missed you. Because, you know, now in one of his seriously colorful moods, if it had caught him, it could do seriously squicky things to his mind..."

Spike was laughing, "Yeah, fuckin' monster, ten feet tall and eighteen feet wide; lethal, it is."

Buffy had come over to join them and her look of angry bewilderment, along with Xander's expression of hurt bafflement nearly did for the co-conspirators. Tara just sat there, smiling softly as her more developed empathy clued her in to what was going on.

"Look, you two, if there's something out there that's a threat to Xander, I really don't see what so funny. If it's that dangerous we ought to do something about it. I so don't expect anything of you, Spike but if you expect us to believe Xander is important to you I do expect you to not just run away from something that's threatening him and then laugh about it. And as for you, Willow…"

"Slayer, try breathing then shut the fuck up. Trust me, it's not something that… It's just that…." Spike wheezed to a halt, torn between inappropriate giggles and the usual reaction of wanting to tear the whining, sanctimonious slot a new one whenever she got on her moral-bloody-high-horse.

Buffy, for once did shut up, finally realising that this was not something that required the Slayer brand of resolving a situation. She still had no idea what was going on but was confident that if it didn't need her then it wasn't of any consequence.

Spike tried again, "Those Bloody Benneton people just don't know how much damage can be caused by the mention of one little word like colour! An' we're the poor sods gotta live with the result."

Xander stared in disgust as his lover sank to the floor, still chuckling. Whatever cutting retort was incubating in the boy's outraged mind was beaten to the post by the Slayer's next remark.

"Benneton? You mean that all this, " she gestured helplessly at the vampire and her best friend who had now joined him, giggling fit to bust, on the floor. "All this is down to the new billboard? But why? I mean, Xander's taste in clothing," she wrinkled her nose, "has taken a step backward that is so definitely of the bad but Benneton don't sell stuff like his. It's only a slogan."

Spike and Willow did not dare look at each other - laughter like this was more infectious than yawning. They both also knew that it was a concept that Buffy could not understand. 'Only a couple of years ago…' thought Willow sadly. 'But not any more.'

In the meantime, Xander was still standing in front of the two most important people in his world, assuming an expression he fondly believed was one of mature, if slightly offended, tolerance. Those same two people who were in agonies of childish hysteria at his expense. 'Not that that's anything new - but am I the only one with a modicum of grown-up, here?'

Spike and Willow gathered the remnants of dignity; carefully avoiding looking at anyone - and especially the Slayer or his annoyed lover - Spike rose gracefully and, sometimes the perfect gentleman, extended a hand to Willow and helped her to her feet. Tara was also careful not to look at Willow. She knew her woman: once the giggle gremlins had caught a hold of the redhead she was vulnerable to the slightest provocation.

"Right then, sorry about that, Mate." Spike drew Xander into his arms and bravely stroked his back - the hideously-clashing-coloured back - while depositing a sloppy, demonstrative kiss on the still-frowning brow.

"Hah, long way to go yet, Bleach Boy. Not gonna get around me that easily." Unfortunately, as he felt Spike's tongue dive into his mouth, he also felt that his resolve lasting as long at it took Spike to get him alone. He snickered to himself even as his tongue willingly danced with his lover's, 'Of course, the Evil Undead doesn't know about those old jammies I found with this shirt. Wonder what he'll make of those when we go to bed tonight?'

"Come on then, Spikey. On the getting-the-Xand-man-to-love-me-againometer, you need to score high with pizza, chocolate and a couple of good films. And talking of films - taste in film roles - I'm thinking that…"

Spike interrupted him with another kiss and a general invitation to the Scooby throng.

"Good idea, Love. What do you say, people? The food's on Xander - an' I know what you're about to say, Red, just don't - the beer and the videos're on me.

"An' you're quite right, Xan love, if a bit slow." Spike looked proudly at the young man he'd taken to his heart, "So let's make it a real family night, eh? Gotta a strange hankering for a bit of ol' Hannibal."

The End

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