… shhhh!” whispered Spike, his lips brushing against the trembling man’s ear. “Haven’t I always taken good care of you? What makes ya think I’m gonna stop now?” The blonde vampire ran his long fingered hands up and down Xander’s tanned back as he encircled the young man in a much needed hug. Every few seconds, Spike made sure to honor tradition and rub gentle circles against the sun warmed skin.
“S… Spike… you don’t understand! It… it was… hor… horrifying!” Xander choked out the words as he shivered in the strong embrace of his lover’s deathly pale embrace. “I could see it… even before it actually happened… I could see it and… the sound! Oh my God Spike… *the sound!* “
“I know love, I know.” Soothed Spike as he gently patted back the long fringe of dark hair that almost hid Xander’s even darker eyes. “I agree… it were scary. Now, can ya look at me? Look at me love… come on? Yeah, that’s it sweetmeat!”
Xander hesitantly met the steel blue gaze of his lover, a weak smile plastered over his face as he allowed Spike to continue to calm him down. It wasn’t often that Spike indulged him in such an overt display of both compassion and genuine caring so he was going to enjoy it while he could but it was just a shame that it had taken a horrific incident such as the one a few moments ago for Spike to jump to the rescue. As he thought about what had caused him to have a hysterical break down, Xander shuddered in fear at the thought of it happening again. As a tear trickled down his cheek and dripped off the tip of his nose, Xander hiccupped loudly, the sound breaking the tension in the air.
Spike chuckled in relief as he watched Xander laughed in between a bout of hiccups. He had never seen Xander so upset before and if he was honest with himself, it was all Spike’s own fault. True, he hadn’t known Xander would react quite this way to Spike’s surprise but still, Spike could only blame himself for his partner’s bout of screaming and tears. If only he had been able to differentiate between the look of shocked surprise and overwhelming horror but no, Spike had assumed Xander was speechless due to the awe inspiring scene laid out for him in the kitchen. Instead, what could only be described as a moment that would go down in history as a monumental mistake had occurred only a mere second later.
Gently turning Xander around, Spike gave him a push in the direction of the lounge room. “Go on, I’ll clean this shit up ok? No… no arguing with me boy, might be ya 30th birthday but I’m still ya elder. Got me over a hundred years on ya! So go sit down… put ya feet up an’ I’ll be there in a jiff. Ok? Good lad.”
As Xander slowly ambled out of the kitchen and off towards the two bedroom apartment’s large lounge room, Spike sighed in both frustration and disappointment. Grabbing the roll of paper towel from underneath the kitchen sink, Spike crouched down beside the brand new Ikea kitchen table and wiped up the chunks of birthday cake that was spattered all over the duck egg blue linoleum. Careful to wipe up the streaks of cream cheese frosting, Spike came across the catalyst for Xander’s meltdown and snarled quietly to himself as he picked it up. “Balloons. Who the bloody fuck woulda thought a 30 year old man would be afraid of a fuckin’ balloon popping?”
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