A tag-story by
Xander woke to the feeling of cool fingers brushing the hair off of his forehead. His body felt heavy, like he’d been sleeping for a long, long time. He raised one arm and tried to roll over. The hand left his forehead and pressed down on his shoulder.
“Stay down.” The voice was familiar, too familiar. Spike.
Xander opened his eyes and looked at the figure leaning over him. Yep. Spike. Wait a second. Eyes. He raised his hands to his face and felt around, then deliberately poked himself in his left eye.
“Ow,” he said.
“Leave off, moron,” Spike said. He handed Xander a glass of what looked like water. “It’s water. Drink it.”
Xander realized he was horribly thirsty, so he gulped down the water. “Spike, why do I have two eyes?” he asked, totally shocked.
“I dunno,” Spike answered. “Why are we on a spaceship?”
Spike reflected that that hadn’t probably his best attempt at subtlety. Oh, well. He took the glass over to a machine and dropped it in. He pressed his thumb against a scanner and waited. Three seconds later, a glass of blood appeared on the machine’s flat top. He never got tired of that Star Trek shit, never.
He placed his empty glass into the machine and turned back to Xander. Xander fucking Harris. Of all the people to get stuck with, he had to get stuck with Xander fucking Harris. Oh, well, coulda been worse; coulda been Angel.
Spike reached out and smoothed Xander’s hair back. It was really long, past his shoulders. Spike pondered that, trying to decide if it had grown that long before the world had gone pear-shaped or if it was some sort of effect of the stasis. The kid didn’t appear to have Howard Hughes-style fingernails, so Spike assumed he’d started out that way. Xander didn’t react, so Spike slapped his cheek lightly.
“I’m up,” Xander muttered, opening his eyes.
Spike slipped a hand under his shoulders and helped him to sit up. Leaning his back against the coffin-shaped pod-thing he was inside.
“Yes, you have two eyes; yes, we’re on a spaceship,” Spike said. “Don’t faint again. It’s getting old.”
“OK,” Xander said. “I really need to pee.”
Spike helped him off the bed and walked him over to a bathroom.
“Anything I should know? Any fancy controls?” he asked.
“Fuck if I know,” Spike replied. “I don’t do that stuff.”
A few minutes later he was back, and Spike gestured him toward the food dispenser panel. “Put your thumb here – you’re gonna love this,” he said.
Xander did as he was told, and, within a minute a bowl of soup and a glass of milk appeared.
“Milk?” Xander complained.
“Near as I can figure, it analyzes you and figures out what you need, then gives it to you.”
Xander took the bowl and glass and walked to a nearby desk to sit and eat. “How do I convince it I need a Twinkie?” he grumbled. He tasted his soup. “Hey – this is pretty good. What does it give you?”
“Duh,” Spike said. “It gives me blood.”
Xander boggled at him. “What kind of blood?”
“Human, or a damn good synthetic,” Spike explained. “It tastes like human, works like human. I think it’s synthetic, though – I don’t think the machine is draining off the cargo to feed me.”
Xander’s spoon clattered into the bowl. “Cargo?” he said, his voice rising. “Cargo? What the fuck is going on here, Spike?”
They were stacked up to the ceiling, and the ceiling was very far away. Rows upon rows of pods like the one Xander had awakened in, all connected to ports on the walls, all humming quietly.
“Holy fucking Matrix,” Xander whispered. This was the third such cargo bay they had visited.
“No shit,” Spike said. “There are 52 bays with about 3000 pods each.”
“That’s…” Xander frowned, trying to do the math.
“156,000 people,” Spike supplied.
“And one vampire?” Xander asked.
“Yep. I’m the one and only representative of the demon-American population.” Spike rubbed a hand over his hair, and the motion caught Xander’s eye.
“Hey, your hair isn’t bleached,” Xander said, taking in the close-cropped, light brown hair. Spike grimaced and waited for the lightbulb to turn on. When it did, Xander sagged against the wall. “Oh, crap – I’ve been asleep a long time, haven’t I?”
Spike took his arm and helped him to sit on the floor. “Don’t faint,” he instructed. “Get some new schtick.”
“I only did it once,” Xander said. “And you have to admit that a magically reappearing eyeball is pretty faint-worthy. How long?”
“A little over four years since I woke up, which was about a year after we were shipped off.” Spike waited for the freak out.
“No wonder I feel so well-rested,” Xander quipped. “I’ve been asleep for five years. God, I have the weirdest life.” He paused, rubbing his eyes. “Wait. It took you four years to wake me up?”
“It took me about fifteen minutes to wake you up – it took me four years to figure out how. I think I have the equivalent of a Master’s degree in electrical engineering now.” Spike looked smug.
“Who woke you up?” Xander asked.
Spike shrugged. “Beats me. I just woke up. I was in a little room about a quarter mile from here – no pod. I woke up and started looking around; started figuring stuff out – trial and error, lots of error.”
“Why did you wake me?’ Xander asked.
“I don’t like being alone,” Spike admitted, “and yours was the only name I recognized from the manifest.”
“What kind of cosmic bad luck has to be at play here for the two of us to get stuck together on a spaceship?” Xander said.
“The kind that has an obnoxious sense of humor?” Spike replied with a grin.
“What’s the last thing you remember?” Spike asked.
Xander thought for a moment. “I was – uh – in Africa. Building a hospital. I had just sent a new Slayer back to Cleveland and I was waiting on Willow to point me toward the next one. I remember starting the roof. That’s it. You?”
“Big hoodoo with Angel and his crowd – usual bull with the Senior Partners and being on the wrong side; there was a meeting. That’s it ‘til I woke up here.”
They sat quietly for a long while.
“Space alien colony ship?” Xander said.
“Looks like,” Spike answered. “Should have taken that SETI shit more seriously, I guess.”
Xander, in addition to being incredibly freaked out, was getting tired. Spike led him to yet another identical corridor and stopped in front of a plain door, gesturing at a scan pad. Xander pressed his thumb to it, Spike pushed a couple of buttons, and the door slid open.
“It’s keyed to you now,” he explained. “This ship’s smarter than a box of Watchers.”
Xander stepped forward into a medium sized room that was set up as a combination living room/dining room. Spike pointed to another doorway. “Bedroom’s in there, bathroom past that; no kitchen, but there’s a food station in the corner.”
“Bathroom?” Xander said, perking up. “Like with a shower?”
“Cool,” Xander said. “What about clothes?” He looked down at the simple pants and tunic he was wearing, both dark blue. He registered that Spike was dressed similarly.
“There’s a room just full of these; I stuck some in your closet.” He made as if to leave.
“Where are you going?” Xander asked, mildly panicked.
“I thought you wanted a shower?”
“I do… but… I…” He stopped speaking and flushed dark red.
“It’s OK,” Spike said quietly. “I get it; don’t want to be alone.” He walked over to the desk in the corner and sat down, flipping up a panel in the center of it. “I’ll just be over here.”
Xander turned back toward the bathroom, but stopped in the doorway. He waited until Spike looked up at him. “Thanks,” he said softly. “Thanks, Spike.”
It took Xander a moment to figure out the shower, but once he got it going he just slumped there in the hot water, eyes closed. God, he was tired. And freaked.
What the hell? Colony ship, prison ship, experiment? And why SPIKE? Why a vampire at all? The water abruptly cut off and fans kicked on, sucking the water out of the narrow cabinet and drying him and Xander scowled.
"Hey! Damnit, I wasn't done!" He poked around and got the water to cycle on again, and this time he looked around and saw a soap dispenser and quickly lathered himself up. There didn't seem to be a separate dispenser for shampoo or anything else so he used the soap on his hair and rinsed, and this time he was ready when the dry cycle kicked in. Just like the Fluff'n'Fold. Must be some sort of...water conservation thing. Or something. He stepped out and grabbed a towel from the cabinet by the sink and noticed with relief a toothbrush in a plastic sleeve, toothpaste and a comb.
Well, apparently people still brush their teeth, that's good. People still have teeth...and hair... Okay, 'nuff of that. He brushed his teeth, staring at himself in the mirror. At his eyes. Then he spent a few minutes working the tangles out of his hair, slicking it straight back from his forehead. He'd grown it long in Africa - it had just seemed the thing to do, out there. He closed his eyes Jesus. EYES. for just a moment and remembered it. The twilights that seemed to last forever, the rich, red earth, thick as blood. The limitless horizon and the ever-changing rafts of clouds that flowed and formed and disappeared across the sky. The peculiar, heady scent of the people and the land - peppery, musky and edged with woodsmoke. The workers who'd greeted him every morning on the site, 'Jambo, Xan!', always smiling, always teasing him. He wondered what they'd thought, when he didn't show up one day or - had he just disappeared in front of them?
Who knows? God... Right, okay. Not what I need to be worrying about. That was all...five years ago. They're over it by now. Unless...oh shit! What if they aren't there anymore? What if this is like...that show, that Ark II? Everybody's dead or - In a moment of panic, Xander burst out of the bathroom and stumbled wildly towards Spike, who jumped up, startled.
"Harris, what -?"
"Spike! What if they're all dead? What if we're all that's left and Earth's a big - a big ball of dust or something?"
"Earth is a big ball of dust. Calm down, Xander." Spike's glance flicked over him and Xander took a deep breath - realized he was only in a towel, and it wasn't really covering much. He groped for the ends and twisted them together in his hand.
"Uh, yeah, sorry. But - is it still there? Is Earth still there and - and everybody?" He felt a lump in his throat - panic and a sudden, fierce homesickness and Spike shook his head, walking over to him.
"I dunno, Xander. I can't find any kind of...records or anything. It doesn't - say." Spike looked at him for a moment - reached out and gently touched his shoulder - squeezed it. "I think it's still there, it's just us that are gone." Xander stared at him, taking another deep breath and letting it out in a shaky sigh.
"Yeah. Yeah, okay. I just - I just got a little freaked, is all... Okay, I'm gonna - " Xander rubbed vaguely at his chin, noticing absently that he had only a little stubble. He hadn't seen a razor, though.
"Why don't you go lie down for a while? Probably feel better if you sleep a bit." Spike squeezed his shoulder again and Xander nodded.
"Okay, I'll...do that. Will you - will you stay here?" Xander knew his voice sounded...a little high, a little desperate. But the freaked-out feeling wasn't going away and he didn't want to wake up alone.
"Sure, I'll stay. Just reading, an' I can do that here same as my room"
"Yeah. Thanks, Spike." Spike nodded, and his hand dropped away and Xander wandered over to the bed. The covers were soft, dark blue like the clothes, and he pulled them back - sat on the edge of the bed, fiddling with the towel.
"Hey, Spike?" he called softly, and Spike glanced up from his reading.
"Is there - can we see out? See where we're going or - anything?" Spike grinned - leaned forward and touched something on the desk.
"Look there - next to the bed. Touch that green square." Xander looked at the surface of the table-top that projected out from the wall next to the bed. A small green square was blinking on the right-hand edge and he touched it hesitantly. A panel unfolded, just like the one at the desk, and a moment later it flickered and then showed - something... Blackness and pin-points of fire as thick as snowflakes. And a shadow, a shape...
"What is it?"
"It's the ship. Look -" Spike got up and came over - leaned next to him. "Here's the edge of it, see? And here it goes forward, as far as I can tell, to the helm. Like the prow of a sailing ship." Spike touched another square on the panel edge and the view shifted. "That's the back view." Xander studied the ship - the dark metal that was lit here and there with white-blue running lights. The ship was massive, stocky - nothing like the Enterprise or the Millennium Falcon. It was - a work horse.
Like the Sulaco. God, please don't let there be face-hugging aliens with acid for blood!
"As far as I can tell, this ship isn't meant to land anywhere, not like the shuttle or anything. I looked around and there's a hatch near the helm, and the camera there shows something like a boom and tube. Like - it could dock somewhere and put out a sort of - gangplank? But it's not going to land on a planet or anything."
"Huh. So - maybe that means we're going to a - a space station?"
"Maybe. Or maybe it means we're just gonna be flying out here for a while. I dunno." Spike touched the green square again and the panel folded away. "You can talk on this, too, like an intercom, and read - all kinds of stuff. Just - nothing about what we're doing."
"Cool," Xander said, and yawned. "Don't let me sleep too long, okay? I just need to close my eyes for half an hour."
"Sure," Spike said, and went back to the desk, settling into the padded chair, intent on the screen again. Xander slid under the covers and pushed the towel out onto the floor - curled himself around the pillow and sighed. He watched Spike for a minute through half-shut eyes. The vampire looked so different, and so familiar. Smaller, without his duster and his bleached hair and his smokes. But so - calm.
Been alone for four fucking years. God. I'd have gone crazy. Wonder what else he found out? Wonder what you do for fun around here... Glad someone was here that I knew...glad he's here. Sleep stole up and took him down into limbo, and the last thing he saw was Spike, glancing up at him and smiling.
Spike tried to concentrate on the computer screen. Four years on this ship and he still hadn't figured out where they were going and why. Finding out the answers had become an obsession, something to do, to get him through the days and nights. He glanced at the sleeping Xander and smiled. At least he had company now. Even in sleep the boy made noise. His heartbeat was a welcome addition to Spike's unlife after four years of endless silence.
He'd been stuck here for around four years and the loneliness just about drove him crazy. Waking up had been a disorientating experience. Even the air smelled different and the deafening silence had confused and unsettled him. He'd gradually learned to pick up little engine sounds, he'd needed them to break the silence a little. He smiled at Xander again. He didn't need them anymore.
The first time he spotted Xander's name, a year had passed since he'd woken up and he had been tempted to just open the pod and get him out. Common sense thankfully took over and instead of rushing into things Spike sat in front of the computer for hours on end, trying to figure out a way to get him out safely. This was too important to rush into.
Spike had spent a lot of time sitting in front of Xander's pod, talking to him, speaking his thoughts out loud. Even before he woke up, Xander was a sort of company for Spike. Three years later he'd finally had it. Oddly enough it was a fairly simple procedure, press a couple of buttons and pull a little lever and it was done. He smiled at Xander once again and thanked every deity he could think of that he'd finally got it right and Xander was awake now.
Spike forced himself to stop staring at the sleeping human and turned back to the screen. He was sure there was something he was missing, something that would help him understand the why and the how of this ship. Maybe a fresh pair of eyes would help, he thought, looking at Xander again.
Xander was sleeping hard – the way that little kids did. Mouth slightly open, deep breaths, arms and legs wrapped around the pillow. It was weird, seeing him like that. Through the clear plexiglass window in the pod, Spike had been able to see Xander’s face – if he wanted to loom over him to do so. He’d still done it sometimes, though. Seemed rude to talk to a bloke for four years without looking at him. In the pod, Xander’s expression had been neutral, peaceful, slack. In a word, lifeless. Also moderately creepy. But, any port in a storm, and Spike had spent a fair amount of time looking, just to have something to do.
In the pod, Xander had also sounded different. His heartbeat had been slowed to only once ever three minutes and forty-five seconds. Exactly. Everything else had slowed, too – bloodflow, breathing, all the normal noises a human’s body made. Without even trying, Spike could hear Xander’s heart thudding, could hear his lungs working and his blood moving and his gut making little noises as it worked on the soup. Listening a little harder, he could hear the heartbeat speed up. He glanced over at Xander and saw that his face was screwed up in a grimace and he was hunching over the pillow. Bad dream, he thought, rising and moving to the side of the bed.
Xander was a little right of center in the bed, so Spike sat down on the unoccupied side and tentatively laid a hand on his shoulder. Xander moved into the touch without waking, but his expression didn’t change. He pushed back toward Spike and made small, annoyed noises. Spike lifted his hand and ran his fingers lightly, soothingly through Xander’s hair. It was as soft and silky as it looked, with just a hint of cool dampness from the shower remaining, and it slipped through Spike’s fingers as delicately as Dru’s had, as Buffy’s had, all those years ago. Xander quieted under his touch, and Spike shifted to pull his feet onto the bed and lean against the headboard, never taking his hand out of Xander’s hair.
Xander shifted around until he was facing Spike’s side, relinquishing his hold on the pillow to curl closer, but still not quite touching. Spike continued stroking, concentrating on the cool silkiness of Xander’s hair and the warm scalp underneath, leaning in slightly to take in the subtle soapy scent coming off of Xander’s skin, mixing with the crisp cottony smell of the sheets and the flat, sterile air. He closed his eyes and just enjoyed the simple pleasure of touching another person. The four years alone had been tough, but one of the worst parts had been his inability to touch anyone. It reminded him strongly of the time he’d been incorporeal, and it had been a major driving force behind his near-obsessive study of the cargo manifests and his tireless research to discover how to wake Xander once he’d found him.
Spike roused with a start and realized two things. One, he’d fallen asleep, and two, Xander was looking at him.
“Hey,” Xander said, his voice gravelly with sleep. “Whatcha doin’?”
“Um,” Spike said, taking his hand out of Xander’s hair to smooth over his own self-consciously. “You were having a bad dream, I was just…”
“S’okay, Spike,” Xander said, yawning and stretching. He settled onto his back and crossed his hands behind his head. “I guess you were pretty lonely, huh?”
Spike goggled at Xander, then shrugged and scooted down on the bed to mirror his position. “Yeah. I’m not very big on being alone.”
“Well,” Xander said, closing his eyes again. “Lucky you. Looks like you’ve got a friend. I’m thinking you might live to regret cracking me out of the tin can.”
What do you say to someone who's been alone for four years trying to figure out how to wake you up? Somehow Xander figured ‘How bout those Dodgers?’ wouldn’t work so well.
“So what do we do now?”
“Dunno. I’ve been trying to figure out where this bloody ship’s been going for years now. I’ll show you what I know; maybe you can make heads or tails of it. My logic isn’t working on it, might as well try your odd version.”
They sat in silence, and Xander found himself looking at Spike. He was so different without the bleached hair and black clothes. He looked almost human. He’d seen the vampire smile more since he woke up the first time than he could ever remember seeing him smile back in Sunnydale.
Before long, though, his mind went back to the cargo hold, to seeing all those people stacked up like cordwood. He couldn’t help but wonder who had done this and why.
“Hey Spike, I just had an idea. Are there any cargo holds with animals?”
The vampire looked at him as if he’d lost it. “Not sure, been mostly trying to wake your arse up for the past couple of years. Why?”
“Well, if there are animals that goes with the colony or ark theory, but if there aren't then it’s more than likely we’re being used as Lunchables, all refrigerated and ready to eat like in that 80’s movie 'V' where the aliens kidnapped people to take back home for dinner. So I’m really hoping there are animals on this thing right now.”
Spike cocked his head to the side and arched an eyebrow. “Been explorin’ this ship for four years, and I still get turned around and lost outside certain sections. There’re parts of this bloody big bitch I haven’t even figured out how to get to yet. Just 'cause I haven't found animals doesn't mean there aren't any.”
Xander struggled to his feet from the sleeping platform and began pacing the perimeter of the cabin. He ran a finger along a surface here, tested the density of a material there. “Who do you think made this ship Spike? Humans didn’t have space ships like this in 2004 you know. Have we been abducted by aliens? Have we time traveled? Maybe Mulder was right and there are aliens and this is a government conspiracy to …”
Spike watched Xander pace and shook his head. He was working himself into a frenzy asking questions and throwing out wild theories. His gestures grew bigger, wilder, and when Spike saw a flash of panic in his eyes, he smoothly stepped into his path and laid a hand on each shoulder. “Like I told you before, I’ve mostly been trying to wake you up.” Spike smiled at Xander and squeezed his shoulders gently. “Now that I have, we can do all sorts of things. Think you were on a good train of thought earlier, looking for animals and maybe a botanical hold should probably be the next step, we can maybe make a map of the ship while we’re at it.”
Xander nodded and ran his hands over his face, marveled again at the lack of eye-patch. “Bet you wish it’d been somebody other than me you knew from that manifest huh? Somebody who could be of use, like Willow maybe or Giles.”
"Don't be a git," was all Spike said, but oddly, it cheered Xander up no end.
"Okay. Right. Non-git-ness here. So - what do you know about the ship so far?" Spike's hands slipped off his shoulders and Xander though that it had felt kind of nice to have them there, just like Spike's fingers in his hair had felt nice. Whoa. Weird. Not as weird as a spaceship, but weird.
"Look here -" Spike brought the screen out of the table-top again and tapped in something on the little, lighted buttons that ran around the edge. "This shows a schematic of the ship, but a real basic one. It's not quite the same as this one. It's like - a basic teaching tool for learning the ship but since then they've made changes. I think this ship is really old."
Spike, Xander realized with a start, sounded a bit like Giles. Still less formal in his pronunciation, but there wasn't as much slang. Guess he got out of the habit, all by himself, Xander thought. Because he had heard Spike talk exactly like Giles once or twice, mocking the Watcher. So now Xander was uncertain which accent was 'real'.
"Why do you think it's old?" Xander asked, and there was a little spark of something in Spike's expression - like he'd been expecting Xander to brush off his ideas, or ignore them.
"Well, there's a lot of places look like something happened - some kind of damage or fire - and they fixed it. And - some stuff looks like they used whatever they had at hand to make a patch, you know? And things are...worn. It just seems old. Hard-used."
"Do you think we're in danger? I mean, do you think it'll...spring a leak or something?" Xander felt a chill at the thought - visions of them being sucked out into space - but Spike laughed.
"Nah. I think we're safe. The whole place is compartmentalized. Look here." The wire-frame sketch of the ship - and the ship was a chunky, tubular kind of thing, with stubby fins that seemed more for show than anything else - altered. Now it was like a cross-section view Spike leaned in a little closer, pulling on Xander's wrist until he got close, too.
"See - there's seven levels or...decks. We're here - deck three. And all this space here - that's the engine rooms, as far as I can tell. It's not really separated into decks back there. There's all these massive doors, like in a submarine? So if something happens I think they'd just close - contain any damage or...fire or anything." Spike's finger moved, tapping the display and his shoulder bumped Xander's. He didn't move away from it.
"And here's the - pod rooms. Five decks. And here's were we are - all the levels right next to the pod rooms have these living quarters, like everyone's gonna wake up and move in. The lowest deck - seven - it's all...shut down. The seal-doors are locked and when I got one open...uh...two years ago I shut it pretty quick."
"Why's that?" Xander asked, and Spike realized his voice was soft - a little scared. Still in panic-mode, I guess, he thought, and bumped Xander with his shoulder deliberately.
"It's just powered down. Like - some kind of energy saving or something. Like the default in the shower - it was short, wasn't it? Water conservation. I figured out a way around it, though - I like long showers." He grinned and Xander grinned back.
"Yeah, it was way too short. You'll have to fix mine. So - that's all powered down? Why didn't you explore?"
"'Cause it was fuckin' freezin' in there. Ice on the floor and everything. Too cold for me. That might be where they've got animals stored or something."
"Yeah...maybe like - DNA or something and they'll just start - hatching animals in a lab when we get - wherever!" Xander sounded excited again, and Spike started feeling that way himself. It had been so long, and the ache of loneliness had gotten so very, very bad.
"Yeah, maybe." Spike tapped the display, changing the view again. "Up here's the helm, like I said, and bigger rooms, like - like maybe for schooling or training - I dunno. Something that looks like it might be a hospital, labs, things like that. It's all stripped down, though." Xander was nodding, his eyes fixed on Spike rather than the screen and Spike felt a warm rush of pleasure. It was nice to have someone looking back - someone listening after four years of talkin' to himself more than Dru ever did.
"Okay, cool. So - why don't you show me? I mean...my inner geek is dying to see the engine room and - and the captain's chair! Except..." Xander frowned. "There's no captain, huh? It's all on - autopilot or something?"
"Near as I can tell." Spike turned the screen off and looked at Xander again and suddenly he was laughing - laughing so hard it hurt, and god, he hadn't done that in years and Xander was looking at him, puzzled expression going to maybe just a tiny bit hurt.
"Spike - what the hell?"
"Sorry, mate, sorry - I - it's just -" Spike dragged in a hard breath and wiped the tears off his cheeks - looked at Xander and stifled a giggle. "You might want to get dressed first, Xander."
Xander looked down and tried to figure out exactly how long he’d been naked. OK, pretty much the whole time. Pacing and everything with his… everything… waving in the wind. Oh, God.
“Oh, God,” he groaned, turning back to the bed for his towel. Which was on the floor. Which was down low. Which meant he’d have to bend over to get it. Which was out of the question.
“Sorry, Spike,” he said. “Didn’t mean to give you a floor show.” He walked over to the closet and grabbed a pair of the blue pants. He decided that standing sideways to Spike was the least exposed he was going to be, so he got them on quickly. He knew he was blushing, but Spike just seemed amused. Wildly amused.
“It’s OK,” Spike said, still wiping his eyes. “It was just funny that neither of us noticed.”
“Yeah,” Xander said, pulling on a tunic. “About that – should I be offended?”
Spike’s mouth fell open and it was Xander’s turn to laugh. He rooted around on the floor of the closet and came up with some weird shoe-like things and put them on. He smoothed his hair back as best he could and figured he was as presentable as he was going to be. He gestured toward the door.
“Time for the tour?” Xander asked.
Spike closed his mouth and nodded, leading him out into the hallway.
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