Summary: Spike's boredom threshold is gathering a dangerous head of steam - and Xander just happens to be there.

Rating: NC13



Chairman of the Bored


by
Mwrgana


Spike and Xander both felt that they had drawn the short straw when they were paired off, yet again, to patrol.

The irritation they harboured against one another was at one of its peaks tonight; both had problems to deal with and both felt the other's bad mood was a personal insult to their own, finer, sensibilities.

Xander shot a sidelong look at the disgruntled vampire who was, surely, pacing in a deliberately annoying manner, silent apart from the occasional heavy sigh which, in Xander's view, was pure affectation considering that Spike had no need to breathe. Unconsciously, Xander echoed the sigh and trudged on, head bent, looking to kick whatever taunting stones threw themselves into his path.

Anya had left only a few days ago and, regardless of blame, Xander was confident that he had been wronged and was resentful that his companion was showing no interest in his welfare now that he was alone and lonely. No: "How you doing today, Xan?" not even a: "Still pining, Whelp? Lady know what's best for her, eh?" and forget a civilised sort of suggestion such as: "A beer and some pool will do you good, come on, I'm buying." The thought of Spike's offering to pay for anything made Xander snort in derision and the look this got him put him in an even fouler mood.

Spike was also in a bad mood. Apart from the all the usual shit that made up his life: no money; no woman; no decent home; no hunting, there was something else bothering him. Because of this, he was dangerous; chip or no bloody chip, he was a disaster waiting to happen.

Spike was Bored.

And a bored Spike was a dangerous Spike.

Without the usual ways to relieve frustration, the tension was building in him and he was close to exploding. If there had been any demon-killing to be done over the last few weeks things would have been different.

Things might have been different.

Truth was, Spike had seasons of boredom in the way that others had seasons of jam-making or skiing or fishing. They were not part of a regular cycle: it was not possible to predict the arrival of the next one and it would develop with complete disregard to how full or empty his life was. Until the last few years, of course, his life had been pretty full and now that he was but a shadow of his former self the season of boredom was building a head of steam never previously acquired.

As he stalked along, Spike considered metaphors for the emotions building in him and into his mind came the image of the Severn Bore which he saw once. Only a small wave of water it appeared but, rolling up from a 4 mile-wide channel and continuing up the narrowing estuary to a river only yards wide, the compressed power was stunning. {a bore of boredom} He snarled at the idea.

"What?" he snapped. The withering look that Xander had just given him finally broke their silence and he was so tempted, chip or no, just to grab the aggravating child up by his heels and, using his fool head as a paintbrush, apply the cause-and-effect school of art. First: shatter skull with article to be painted; second: use skull's self-supplying pigment and texture to create pictures at will.

"You growled?" asked Xander in mock courtesy.

Spike stopped dead and stared straight ahead, tapping his foot for a count of 10, before turning slowly, with the utmost calm and control. "You spoke?" he said, with no hint of courtesy, genuine or feigned.

"Apparently so can you. Was thinking you'd regressed to just growls and soul-searching sighs."

"Regressed? Now that's a big word for a little Valley boy. Used in context, too, so you must know what it means. You never cease to amaze me, Harris, and I wish you'd bloody stop trying, cos I'm just not bloody int… Hang on, what d'you mean soulful sighs? I've never soulfully sighed in my life."

"And you remember that far back, do you, Deadboy junior? Well let me tell you, you've been puffing and panting like your whole 'bloody' world was about to end at any minute and I'm thinking: 'Hey, that would really be of the good, right now'. You see, your pissy attitude is really hacking me off. I've got enough worries of my own and having to listen to your breathy little attempts to get attention is getting me real pissed."

The distance between them was less than ten feet but might just as well have been an ocean: the one that's got nuclear warheads bristling on either shore.

Spike closed the gap.

"So, you think that your petty problems with Demon Girl are the be-all and end-all do you?" Spike trod slowly and deliberately towards the young human, fists clenched at his side and eyes glittering.

Xander counted on his fingers, "Let me see, one aborted wedding, a very mad family…" Spike barked out an ironic laugh at that "… a very 'angry' family, an ex-demon who is now just a demon and one who is looking to get horrible things done to me and my most intimate parts. And... what else was it? Oh yeah: me. Who just happens to be heartbroken. Cos whatever happened I still love her and want to be with her and take care of her."

Spike had stopped within touching distance and their stance was that of prize fighters just before they shook hands - or perhaps that of little boys in the playground not sure who was going to throw the first punch.

"So what are your woes, Spike? Oh, I remember: you can't kill people. And that's bad because?" Xander moved right up close to Spike and glared at him, almost nose to nose.

"You know, you little arse wipe, it might just be worth the pain to pull your fuckin' limbs off one by one. You'd look good with your foot hanging out your mouth cos I'd shoved your leg up through your arse."

"Yeah, well I'd like to see you try it!" Xander shoved at the vampire's shoulder and rocked back when he didn't as much as move.

"Oh, I've done it before," came the smug reply, "stick around and you'll get a ringside seat for the next performance."

"And when will this be, O Fangless One? No, don't tell me, 'When Oi get this bladdy chip art'." Xander's attempt at Spike's accent didn't impress.

"So what you going to do in the meantime, Dick-van-soddin'-Dyke me to death? Spank my bum with your old bamboo?"

"Hey, you two, found any meanies to whomp?" The arrival of Willow and Tara did little to relieve the stand-off but at least prevented bloodshed. Although it did not prevent Xander from capitalising on a certain vampire's familiarity with a certain film.

"Nah, it's as empty of demons here as Harris's cerebral cortex is of neuron activity." Spike's gaze never broke away from Xander's.

"Umm, are you two OK?" Willow peered anxiously from one to the other. "Only we were thinking that, as it's like so dead with the dead things we'd all go back and have some movies and…" She stopped, aware that neither of the men were listening to her. "Yeah, well, that's the idea. The idea of movies. So if you'd like to be, like, 'Hey! Catch some movies, you guys!' then this will be the place to be. Or not here, this place, obviously, but you know, back at ours."

"Yeah, might check in later, Wills. Get a copy of Mary Poppins. It seems to be someone's favourite." Xander did not take his eyes off Spike.

Tara sighed as she took hold of Willow's hand and pulled her away, casting a rueful glance back as they went. She sometimes despaired at her girlfriend's lack of intuition. The testosterone was already knee-deep and Willow was asking the two pissing-war opponents if they wanted to watch movies! Tara didn't like to guess at the reason for the ruckus between the two men but, going by previous encounters, she felt it better to leave them to it as quickly as possible. "Do you think we could pick up some of that pistachio ice cream on the way home?" she asked.

"Hey, Sweetie, of course we can, and some of the mocha-double-choc-fudge-cream. And, hey, have you seen? They've got this really neat new…"

As Willow's voice faded off in to the distance, the two protagonists were still only inches apart and glaring. The worst of their tension had been broken by the women's interruption, though, and both were beginning to look a little sheepish.

Xander was the first to break away, turning and walking a short way down the path, kicking stones, again, as he went. Stopping and turning a little he said, "Reckon a beer and some pool might cheer us up? I'm buying."

"Bloody hell, Harris, thought you'd never ask." Slinging a comradely arm over Xander's shoulder, a beaming Spike marched them briskly towards the Bronze.


 

Spike stood idly by, gracefully leaning on his cue, as he watched Xander walking around the table lining up his shot. "Hurricane Harris you'll never be."

"Huh?" Xander didn't lift his head from his intense study of the table.

"Brilliant Irish snooker player in the 70s, Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins, would pot three balls in the time it took most of 'em to scratch. Went from stardom to total rock-bottom; booze and such got to him - bloody waste. Come on, Harris, take your shot I want to get the next round in."

This made Xander look up in disbelief. "You, get in a round of drinks?"

"Yup."

"And, like, pay for them - yourself - with your own money? Not just go and collect them and expect me to pay with my money?"

"Paying with my very own dosh, honest." Spike looked smug and Xander looked worried.

"Uh, yeah, okay, but why do I have to hurry? Why can't you just go and get them in now, while I take my shot?"

"Because, Dolt, I need to wait for you to miss your bloody shot so that I can clear the table and take the ten you'll owe me for winning so as I can buy the drinks!" Spike sighed at the other man's open-mouthed look of shock. {yes, here it comes: one, two, three…}

"Bu… but. You… how can you say...? Your money? You said... and ... but... when all the time it's so mine!"

Spike smiled placidly, "So many words, so little sense. But I'm guessing you take exception to my considering my winnings as my money."

"Oh, take the prize, Mr Guessing-the-right-answer Man. And then, like, having the nerve to suggest you're doing me a favour by using it to buy the drinks!"

"'Course I am. It will be my money, can spend it how I want. I'm being very generous, buying you a drink with it.
"Take the bloody shot, Harris, I'm spitting feathers here."

"You're what? No, I don't think I want to know. And you haven't got the money yet." He stomped around to the far side of the table and took his shot.

"Harris! Way to go: a perfect pot.
" Shame it was the white."

Spike repositioned the cue ball and, as he promised, cleared the table in seven successive shots. Straightening up, he scanned the crowd out of habit and flicked his fingers at his companion. Still looking around the room, he grabbed the proffered note and thrust his cue into Xander's hand. "Set 'em up again. But remember it's your round next. I don't intend to keep buying the beer all night." Neatly sidestepping the cue, which he couldn't possibly have seen, that Xander aimed at the back of his head, Spike grinned to himself and walked to the bar.

It was a busy night and the thirsty revellers were packed three deep waiting to be served. Although he was unable to utilise an efficient means of egress - such as stamping on feet, kicking ankles and punching kidneys - Spike's eyes lit up at the chance to cause some chaos. "Um, excuse me," he called. "There's a couple of really weird looking guys at the back there. They've got these yellow eyes and big teeth…." He held his fingers crooked in to claws next to his face, "Does anyone know…?"

Holding his own against the stampede, he waited for the area to clear and sauntered up to the bar. "Two Buds, Pal. And make it the real stuff not that lite shite." Somehow, Spike managed to pronounce the misspelling.

He leaned back, hooking his elbows on the bar, to wait for the beers. He saw Xander looking around cautiously at the departing throng and gave him a cheery wave when he caught his eye.

Xander relaxed; he hadn't really thought anything much was amiss. The arrival of an impatient Spike at the busy bar and the immediate exit of half the club's patrons was too much of a coincidence to put down to an invasion of Hellmouth nasties (present nasty excluded). And if there were any, they probably would have been killed in the rush by now. He slouched over the table, idly rolling the cue ball around under his splayed palm. Not having eyes in the back of his head, as Spike seemed to, he didn't catch the strange expression that flittered across the vampire's face only to be chased away by an evil smirk.

Walking up to the dejected-looking youth, bottles dangling from one hand, Spike slapped him painfully on the backside. He held out one of the beers as Xander leapt around to face him, "Here you go. Long and cold, just like I know you want it."

"Hu-hu-hu-huh? I mean, huh?"

{how can even Harris babble just one word?}

"That hurt, Spike. So why no rolling about making quality time with the migraines? Whoah, it's stopped working! Um, not really willing to keep company with the evil un-chipped, here!" Xander held his hands out in front of him and started to back away.

"Don't get your knickers in a twist," interrupted the amused vampire. "The bloody thing's not psychic. It's wired up to block my aggression drives, not the playful, fun bits."

"That was supposed to playful? And fun? And so not wanting to know why you would associate my ass and playful. And I've got my suspicions about what you just said." Xander scowled at the vampire, not wholly reassured by Spike's explanation. {so if I'm not sure, why aren't I running?}

"Well, you see, the brain is separated into…"

"Not that! What you said when you gave me the beer. That was one of your British double things, wasn't it?"

" 'British double things'," Spike echoed mockingly. " It's French, actually, if you mean 'doobl ontondruh'." He stressed the French pronunciation.

"Yeah, that's it , one of them."

"And was it?" Spike looked with wide, blue, choirboy-innocent eyes at the flushed youth.

Xander frowned back, "Huh? Was it what, what?"

"Well that's the catch, see." Spike lifted the bottle to his lips and leant his head back to drain half of it. Taking longer than necessary to pull the bottle from his mouth, and running his tongue over the rim to catch any drips, he studied the lad in front of him. "You have to decide yourself whether a remark was a double entendre - or if it was all in your own dirty imagination."

Watching Spike lazily run three fingers up and down the bottle and licking the drops of condensation from his fingertips, Xander's just-out-of-his-teens hormones gave him a nudge and he swallowed and moaned slightly.

Spike lifted an ironic eyebrow but didn't reply directly. "Balls ready to go off, Mate?"

Having just taken a mouthful of beer to try to hide his discomforture, Xander started to choke. Spike considerately hit him on his back as he gasped for breath. Then did so again, several times, proving to his own satisfaction that proffering emergency medical asistance - even if over-enthusiastically - did not constitute agression.

"That's enough, Spike," ~Xander wheezed~ "breaking my ribs," ~he coughed hoarsely~ "not a way to help, here."

Eventually managing some deeper, slower breaths, Xander leant on the the table, bracing himself on shaking arms. He stretched out-spread legs behind him and dropped his head between his shoulders. His gasps slowed and the easy breaths came more frequently.

Spike stood a little to one side, quite entranced by the figure before him. {bloody hell, the kid hasn't got a clue has he? If he knew how tempting he looks, slumped and vulnerable like that...}

When Xander finally lifted his head he glared at the cause, so he felt, of his affliction. "You did that on purpose, you... you... sneaky… " ~gasp, cough, gasp~

Spreading his hands in a perfect gesture of bewilderment Spike asked, "Did what? I never touched you."

"You waited until I was drinking and then did a French thing to make me choke. What, are you crazy? You could have killed me."

"Hmmm, I know a few French things that might get you choking but nothing to do with pouring beer down your neck. Perhaps.... I don't suppose you'd... no, maybe not. Shame, though."

Xander stared back, disgust, horror and curiosity warring across his face. "TMI, Spike, I so don't want to go there. And just leave balls out the conversation from now on, huh?"

Spike cast a mild look at the pool table and back at Xander, "What ever you say, Pet, but we are playing…"

"And quit calling me that, I'm not a fluffy puppy and I'm not your pet."

Spike grinned wolfishly at that, " You wouldn't survive. But that was what you were doing when I went for the drinks, wasn't it?"

An open-mouthed, blank-looking Xander looked back at Spike.

"The balls, Pe…Harris: you were setting up the balls."

"Uh? Oh!" Xander's frown deepened, even as he flushed, and he stared suspiciously at the blond. "Yeah, well, of course, I knew that. Just that you…. Aagh!" Spinning on his heels, he waved a hand in the air as if to dismiss the previous few minutes, and took up position at the triangle. "Me to break, huh?"

"Yep, mugs away."

Xander shot another suspicious look at his incomprehensible companion and concentrated on breaking up the grouped balls in front of him.

"Well done, young Xan. Whose side are you on anyway?" mocked Spike as he took up position, only to pot four ideally placed balls. Missing the fifth, he straightened up and waved Xander over to take his place. "You've got spots."

"Okay, Spike, that's just plain childish. Geez, we were using that old gag when we had our kiddies table in play school."  Standing upright, he frowned again and looked at Spike.  " You know, I've often wondered about that. I mean, do you think it's right for five year-olds to be playing with dangerous thinks like pool cues? Any of us could have put an eye out. Little kids shouldn't be allowed sharp bits of wood to play with… hey, do you reckon it's all part of the subliminal stuff that goes on around the Hellmouth? Willow's got this theory that, although people don't seem to be consciously aware of what's going on around them, most of the time they..."

"Harris, we're not here to discuss the semantics of life on the Hellmouth. I'm here to drink and to win money from you. You're here to lose games and give money to me. Stop bloody wittering and take your shot - unless you'd like to concede?"

Xander scowled and dutifully played a shot, missed, and stood back for Spike. The set of his lips, though, indicated that he was still giving deep thought as to why infants would be encouraged to play with dangerous game-equipment. Lost in his cogitations, he was startled when Spike hissed in his ear.

"Harrissss, your go."

Spike jerked his head at Xander's hands. "Are you chalking that cue or bringing it off?" he asked with interest.

"Spike! Mind in the gutter, much? Will you knock it off with all the sex remarks," snapped an increasingly irritated Xander.

Spike raised in eyebrows in amazement. "First thing I've said that's remotely sex-related all night!"

He was beginning to enjoy himself immensely. The boredom was lapping up his subtle teasing of the young man and was preparing to don its slippers, put its feet up and sit back for a while to enjoy the show. {it's so easy with kids of this age. They'll see ejaculation when they pour a glass of milk.} At an equally childish thought, an evil grin hovered around his lips. {wonder if they've got champagne in this dump?}

"Hey, come on, Mister, 'fess up. I don't like that smile at all - what are you thinking about?" An alarmed-looking Xander was shaking Spike's arm and the vampire shrugged him off.

"Oh, nothing to worry your pretty little head about. I was just considering the qualities and adaptability of fine wines."

Xander gaped, lost for words at this complete non sequitur.

"Come on, Pup, this place is fucking me off now. Let's go raid your video collection. We'll consider I've already won this game, you can pay up what you owe me, then you can get some more beer on the way home."

"Home? Hey, whose… and I can get….?"

By the time Xander had found his voice, Spike was disappearing in a swirl of black leather. Rushing to catch up with him, Xander assured himself that it was only because he felt safer when he could actually see what the vampire was up to. Also, Spike had an unrescinded invitation to Xander's apartment and no way was he giving him a chance to spend time alone there while he was in this mood.

As Spike strode down the street and Xander hurried alongside him, the expressions on the men's faces were a picture of contrast. Spike's face was full of barely repressed glee and his eyes sparkled as he considered his options for increasing the entertainment that night. Xander, in comparison, was wearing an expression of doom and resignation to his fate.

Not that he knew what fate and a certain blond vampire had in store for him.



"Punch!"

"Who? What?"

"Punch."

Xander looked around the quiet store. "There's no-one in here but us, Spike. You want me to punch you?"

Spike was madly re-arranging the painstaking work that some poor minimum-wage slave had done to make the shelving displays more attractive to the impulse buyer. Xander grinned; boy, the vampire would be annoyed should he realise that in fact he was helping to keep someone in a job. {job-creation schemes by William the Bloody. I'll have to remember to tell him about that when I need some fresh ammunition}

"No, you twat-head. Punch for drinking. Fruit punch - cool 'n refreshing, ideal for long hot summer nights."

{now we've got advertising slogans? I'm thinking: really getting worried, here}


 

Several hours later, and Xander was giving grave thought to what Spike had been saying half an hour previously .

"No, now, no, you see, Sprike, 's where you're wrong. It's no' tha 't all. It'ch because… yeah…"

Spike opened one eye and frowned at the youth sprawled next to him. What the hell was he talking about?  "Harris, thought you'd gone to sleep there, Mate. What am I wrong about?"

Struggling to pull himself up, Xander wobbled on shaky hands that seemed wrongly attached to shaky arms. He concentrated hard. His stare chased multiple eyes, which jigged across the vampire's dual faces, before deciding on one or two that seemed worthy of address. " 'Swot you said, b'fore. You see, you're wrong."

Punctuating these words of wisdom with a wagging finger, Xander canted alarmingly. The vampire watched his swaying with interest as it became so unstable that he toppled gently over. His head landed on Spike's shoulder, then slid slowly down to nestle in a black-denim-clad lap.

Spreading his arms out across the back of the sofa, Spike looked down, a lascivious grin playing across his face. "Nice move, Harris. Gotta admire the technique: been wondering how to get you there, all night. So, seein' as how you finally dived down there all on your own accord... "

Spike's only reply was an insensible mutter as the dark head nudged harder against him and settled itself in cosily for the night.

Feeling that it was only fair to join in, Spike moved his hips back and forth a little, watching for any response from the near-comatose Xander. As the lad's face circled in automatic counter-point to his own movements, Spike grimaced and reached into his jeans, straightening himself out more comfortably.

He ran his fingertips across the serenely relaxed face nested so enticingly against him and traced full, soft lips gentled and slightly parted in sleep.




The End




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