Genre: With these titles, do you really have to ask?
Notes: Written for lunabee34, who made this post which prompted imaginaryimages to mention someone should write a fic based on one of the cringe worthy quotes. I was bitten by this big ass plot bunny.
Summary: Set after Sunnydale High has been blown up and the Mayor Snake has been defeated. What did happen to Xander when he got to Oxnard, anyway?
Is it Real or Non-Believe?
Hitchhike to Hicklebob
Xander was very new to the whole concept of Travel, was still trying to wrap his head around the idea that there were people who lived past the invisible line drawn by the tacky ‘Welcome to Sunnydale’ sign the PTA paid for.
He was a Travel Virgin, a newbie out of the confines of his, albeit kind of freaky, shiny Californian bubble. A battered old Datsun, a roll of money in his pocket, furry dice twisted over the rear-view mirror … he was a poor imitation of Cool and was well aware of it. However. He liked to think that though he was by no means a jaded man of the road, he wasn’t completely clueless. And besides, wasn’t there some sort of memo passed around when people added new words to the English language?
“Sugar, Hicklebob?! Come on, I don’t have all goddamn day!” the girl shouted from the window of her shuddering Winnebago, indigo hair and lipstick so dark it almost looked like she had a hole in her face instead of lips.
“Uh – sorry?” he asked, leaning against the steaming carcass of his Datsun, slightly wary now because that ‘hole in the face’ theory was crawling under his skin, uncomfortable wondering about whether the Demon Magnet thing wasn’t necessarily exclusive to the hellmouth. Sure, she couldn’t be a vampire what with the excessive light and lack of ‘poof’, but she could be anything else. The girl/Potential Yucky Thing sighed deeply and craned her head further out of the car window, waft of cold air, pot, and wave of noise blasting from her stereo.
“Hicklebob!” she repeated slowly, deliberately, shaping out the word with her thankGod lips. Xander decided that though she was no demon, she was definitely insane. “You goin’ to the concert? I’ll give you a ride if you need it – desperate for a little conversation here,” she added, impatience well and truly striking through her tone, long purple nails clicking against the metal window. Ah. Okay, not crazy then.
“Where is it?” he asked, because hey, man of the road always taking chances. Plus there was the fact that his car, Nancy, had spluttered to her death and left him without an a/c or form of transport.
“Oxnard,” slightly more cheerful now and she pointed down the road, black and silver bangles jingling merrily – Xander noted she looked vaguely like one of Santa’s wayward Elves. And really, how much trouble could a rebellious pixie-girl with a nose ring be?
“Great, thanks,” he said, grabbing his bag from the back seat, pausing for a moment to mourn the loss of his fuzzy dice and wondering if he’d look lame if he went back to scoop them up. Because they were blue and had set him back a few bucks at the first gas station he’d stopped at so maybe he wouldn’t look too lame if he …
“Coming or not?” the girl asked. Suck it up Harris, take it like a man. Fuzzy blue dice so not the issue here. He climbed in beside her and shook the offered hand.
“Iris,” she said, southern twang and sharp toothed smile.
“Xander,” he replied, all cool and understaty as he pulled the door shut and leant back in the seat, subtle scan of the car for undead beings or strange symbols. He shut his eyes for a moment, revelling in the feeling of icy cool caress across his damp skin, oasis in the form of an orange Winnebago.
“Hey, Xander, you wanna try shutting that door again?” Iris asked, faint amusement that made Xander jerk up and bang his head on the ceiling, followed by a spectacular scramble for the door handle because he’d accidentally shut the door on his own shirt sleeve. So much for cool and understaty. Iris laughed and leant over him to shut it herself, soft skin, sharp perfume and breasts (breasts!) on his knees before she drew back. “Think you can manage the safety belt?” she asked, another laugh, though not unkind. Incense in the air, White Stripes on the radio, purple fuzzy dice in the window and Xander considered that mortifying feats of Dorkdom aside, this might be fun.
“What kind of rock band call themselves Hicklebob, anyway?” Xander asked eventually, shoes kicked off, though feet not up on the dashboard because he had been sweaty when he was stuck out in the heat and wasn’t entirely confident his feet didn’t smell like Furaga pus. Which, by the way, stained like a bitch.
“Hicklebob Rock Festival. Not just one band, Sparky,” Iris said, lazy drawl that made the words slide into one another as she weaved across the empty road and confirmed her place as number 3 on Xander’s List of Bad Drivers – beneath his dad and Buffy.
“Oh,” Xander said, another flush and a metal berating for not knowing anything about anything that could be considered interesting. He was pretty sure Iris wouldn’t want to discuss Sci Fi or the merits of Twinkies, so he always came off sounding like a stupid townie. Which, admittedly, he kind of was.
“Some great bands on. Oxnard is this sleepy little place most of the year but a couple bands started a gig years ago in honour of their friend - decapitated in a freak boating accident, poor guy. So, anyway, it turned into this thing. Bad Religion, Glitterati …” excited gleam in her eyes flickered and she grinned when she caught the bewildered expression on Xander’s face. “Boy, we’re going to have to give you one hell of an education,” slightly ominous tone there and Xander was seriously beginning to doubt the intelligence of getting in a car with a stranger who had hair a colour Xander had only seen on his favourite shirts. Which prompted the thought,
“You pick up stranded guys often? Not that I’m complaining, but I could have been a psycho or a …” don’t say vampire, “Mormon. Or something equally terrifying,” saved once again by the memory of the Scary Mormon who came to the house and almost convinced his mom that Xander was the child of Satan.
“I’m a Mormon,” Iris said, hurt expression as she shifted her grip on the steering wheel. Xander’s stomach dropped and he wondered if the foot in his mouth would have to be surgically removed.
“I … uh, I didn’t mean …”
“Nah, just messing,” she giggled after a minute, transforming into raucous laughter when Xander spluttered disjointed obscenities. She snapped her gum and Xander caught a glimpse of a strawberry blonde little girl with blue eyes and a wide smile. Then she was gone. “I don’t pick up hitchhiker’s often … but honey, you looked so miserable there was no way you were anything other than lost,” she said concentrating on the car radio as she fiddled with the tracks, making Xander’s knuckles grow white as the car swerved to the left. “So,” she said, opening chords to heaving metal as she tapped the tune onto the steering wheel. Xander was just glad she was actually looking at the road again. “Where did you crawl out of to get onto the open road?” wry smile, sip of an icy Starbucks frappacino she had kept between her legs, living breathing contradiction because weren’t rocker chicks supposed to hate Starbucks and because Starbucks was The Man? Or working for The Man? Or serving yummy coffee goodness to The Man? Or … was it that they littered the environment with their un-biodegradable little cups of evil? No, that was Indie Wiccan girls, so …
“Sunnydale,” Xander said. She shot him a quizzical look, interested. It had been a very long time since anyone was interested in what he had to say, so Xander sat back in his seat and performed for his audience.
“When I said I needed to make some cash … this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind,” Xander said, trying for wry but choking on it when a man walked past in a g-string. Xander was looking at the tattoo on his shoulder, the macho manly tattoo of manly things, he wasn’t starting at the guy’s ass. At all.
“Don’t take this the wrong way Sparky, but this wasn’t what I had in mind for you anyway. Baby steps,” Iris said, grabbing his arm and leading him through the room blue and red with poor lights and a carpet that hadn’t been cleaned since it was laid – and judging by the pineapple pattern, Xander was guessing around 1974.
“I know Meg – she owns this place. Bought her that there ornament, so she’s pretty sweet on me,” Iris said, nodding towards a pink flamingo wearing a pair of sunglasses on the wall, made out of florescent lights. Xander, he of little taste, was afraid.
Meg was about 50, had short cropped black hair and so much red lipstick that if Xander was in Sunnydale, he may have reached for a stake and searched for the unfortunate victim of neck suckage. But, as he reminded himself when he started patting his pocket, he wasn’t.
“You washed dishes before?” she shouted over the warbling music, unconcerned as a man with a cowboy hat and not much else swung himself around a pole behind her, wiggling in a manner that made Xander avert his eyes.
“Yes ma’am,” he replied, lopsided grin and puppy boy eyes. He didn’t mention the fact that he’d broken most of them.
“Right. As a favour to Iris here, You have a job in my kitchens – don’t fuck up,” she said brusquely, damp dishcloth dropped into his hands. Iris leant up on her tip toes, kissed his cheek and pushed a matchbook into his pocket.
“Go to that motel and meet me around 9, ‘kay Sparky? Then we’ll further your education,” words in his ear and then she was gone, sweep of comfort leaving with her. Ten minutes later, Xander’s trousers were uncomfortably tight and he decided it was a late reaction to Iris’s attention and not the brush of the very male stripper’s hand across his ass when he walked past. No, couldn’t have been that - scrub the dishes and think of the Pledge of Allegiance, Xander, because a hard on in the work place isn’t very professional. Even if the work place was the Fabulous Ladies Nightclub.
“Get your ass to room 345 and change, because I sure as hell ain’t going to Hicklebob with you dressed like a blind hippie,” wasn’t nearly as insulting as one would have thought. Probably because Iris included a sharp slap to his behind and a throaty laugh that made him grin. At the time, her suggestions of wardrobe had seemed exotic – new Xander being born of black jeans and a white vest that he’d never worn unless it was actually beneath a shirt. Silver chain link necklace she had draped over his head, hair pulled every which way, black pencil sketching out his eyes as he looked at the ceiling and tried not to squeal like a girl or let his eyes water too much. But now? He felt weird. Like someone had stolen his skin … and thanks to Sunnydale living, that little metaphor had brought him Technicolour images of skinless ‘ew’. He suddenly realised they’d stopped walking, that he was standing in the middle of what must have been the town square and woah this was …
“… not what I expected,” he muttered, eyes drawn everywhere. Black leathered bikers stood beside girls with sparkly pink tank tops, tattoos of hearts on young skin moving against tattoos of skulls on scars. All moving, all shouting together, with each other rather than at each other.
Xander quickly found himself averting his eyes from spot to spot because of the … copulating. Outside. In the open. Okay, so not really copulating, just making out. But still. In public. Xander felt scandalized when a young couple used him as their own personal lamp post to lean on as they necked. It was exhilarating.
“Screwed!” Iris shouted over the din, pointing to the band onstage. Xander grinned at her, watched as her hand disappeared into her pocket and pulled out two white pills. Oh. Xander knew what that was – tried desperately not to remember the horror stories of E that involved blood leakage from interesting places. He was on the road to have new experiences. To discover himself. What better way than to get absolutely moronically high and watch pretty colours? Sarcastic inner voice aside, and intently ignoring the Willow-voice-of-caution-and-disapproval,
“Didn’t work,” Xander whined, frowning. Iris rolled her eyes,
“Dance!” she yelled, grabbing his hands and pulling him along so they were lost in the crowd and leaping up and down to the thrumming bass. Xander felt ridiculous, sweaty and his bones ached already from the excessive jarring caused by the aforementioned leaping. He loved it.
“’Lo, pet,” a voice said in his ear, arms like iron wrapped around his waist, “never thought I’d see you here. Can’t say ‘m not pleased,”
The shoe? The one in the air that had been paused to stamp out Xander’s ‘Forget Sunnydale Summer’ fun? The big ugly Khaki Sandal of Ooky that Xander had so wished would leave him alone? Yeah. It dropped.
He was being dragged backwards, out of the crowd and down an ally way where it was easier to talk. Though, killing didn’t tend to have much talking involved – though Spike never could resist a good few snarks and puns. “What? No kiss hello?” Spike asked, moving so he stood in front of Xander, nasty grin on his face that was … buzzing? Aha – that pill did work. Tricksy little thing it was, tricksy little pill … not unlike the hobbit.
“I like Lord of the Rings, only I wouldn’t tell you because you’re evil and would call me a dork,” he announced, quite sure he was supposed to be feeling scared at this point, supposed to feel his heart flutter in his chest in a totally non-unrequited-love way. Which was actually a kind of good thing, because unrequited love sucked the big one. “Are you going to suck the big one?” he asked seriously before his words dissolved into laughter, colours swimming and dammit, he had to pull himself together because this was Spike. Who looked really good in that leather duster.
“Typical,” Spike sighed, though he didn’t seem to be talking to Xander at all, “I find one of the slayer’s dribbling minions and he’s high as a fucking kite. Can’t even get a decent meal out of him,” he muttered, grip still tight around Xander’s waist, which was kind of impressive because the world was spinning very fast.
“Yup, that’s right. No Xander buffet tonight for he is chasing the lizard. Or possibly, the gecko,” Xander said thoughtfully. Spike did that thing Giles did when Xander made a joke – that frowning thing. Hah. Maybe it was British.
“It’s ‘chasing the dragon’. And you aren’t chasing the dragon as I don’t think it’s likely you’re on laudanum – more likely one of these shite synthetic drugs you children are handing out these days,” Spike replied amiably. He was so much nicer when he wasn’t trying to kill Xander’s friends.
“So if you aren’t going to bite me, what are you going to do?” Xander asked, curious and just a little scared.
“’Suppose I could just kill you,” Spike shrugged unenthusiastically. “Sort of lost the moment, though, you know?”
“Yeah,” Xander said, though he didn’t. He was distracted by the cat on the wall behind Spike. It was glowing. Spike’s fingers were on his chin now, wrenching his head impatiently so their faces were inches apart. “You’re short,” Xander observed. Spike gave a low growl and even through the sparkling glowy goggles over Xander’s eyes, he could tell that a good back peddling was in order. “-er. Shorter. Than me. Because I’m very tall – which is unattractive and goofy,” he babbled, hyper speed babble that he attributed to the E, though he knew it really had nothing to do with mind altering substances.
“Wouldn’t say unattractive. Gawky maybe. But not unattractive,” Spike said, tilting his head, grin that could slice. That had undertones of … oh, wait, Xander must have truly been high because that sounded like …
“Are you flirting with me?” he asked incredulously, managing to concentrate now because sure, the glowing cat was interesting, but this was more pressing.
“I don’t flirt. I fuck. Up for it?” Spike asked, shoving a thigh between Xander’s legs, heightened sensations when he dragged his nails down the side of Xander’s face. Cats were glowing, Spike said he was ‘not unattractive’, another apocalypse was undoubtedly nigh. Xander supposed he might as well go out with a bang … so to speak.
“Yeah,” he muttered, low guttural moan when there was that delicious friction against him, dirtysweet fingers and nothing but scraping, aching need. “Is this real? Or non-believe?” Xander asked, and he swore that had made sense in his head. Spike snorted.
“We’ll go with non-believe, shall we?” said onto Xander’s mouth, backing him against the wall. Skin against skin grazing across brick, pleasure, burning, and all Xander could do was moan and wonder why he wasn’t dead yet. Hands down his trousers, hands on his chest, lips on his and how many hands did Spike have? “God,” he gasped.
“Ta,” Spike groaned, lips crushing together once more as Xander felt his hand guided to … oh.
Xander hoped the apocalypse could wait a few hours.
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