BtVS Season 7. Shortly after “Dirty Girls”
Spike & Xander
Rated G
Twaser: Xander is learning to cope with the loss of an eye. Spike helps

Some time ago (Dec. 17, 04) I asked for some inspiration items.
[info]xandervampsgirl gave me: An object from childhood: Tinker toys, A smell: Cookie smell, A color:Blue.

Lord Nelson


Xander sat alone at the big kitchen table. His pain medication had evened out the throbbing from the socket where his eye had once been, he’d managed to grab three full slices of pizza for himself, and he was reasonably content. As a bonus, the smell of cookies baking hung in the air. In an attempt to block out the chaos and too many breasts of the young girls crowding the Summer’s home, he was working on his depth perception. The doctor had recommended handling small objects, so he was painstakingly stacking the six sided dice from his Dungeons & Dragons gear.

He had just captured his seventh one and balanced it on the top of the stack, when one of the blondes came out of the kitchen hotly perused by one of the black haired girls. Something was said about the last soda, and one of them bumped the table, sending his carefully constructed stack tumbling.

“That’s it!” Xander exploded. “I can’t even find a quiet corner to… to… to do anything!” He stood and glared at the girls who froze at the rare ire from normally quiet and supportive Xander.

“We’re sorry,” the blonde ventured. More girls and Giles appeared in the doorway.

“Honestly, Xander. Delicate… work like that can’t be…” Giles started.

“Playing. Delicate playing. Go ahead and say it. Silly Xander never does anything helpful.”

“I wasn’t about to…” Giles started when Willow burst in to the room.

“Okay! Now, Xander. I’ve got an idea. There’s a perfectly good table in the basement and Spike’s not likely to bump it, okay?” As she spoke, Willow swept the dice into their Crown Royal bag and pressed it into Xander’s hands. “Go on down and I will personally fight to save you both some cookies, okay?

Before he could protest, Xander found himself shoved through the basement door and it closed behind him. With a sigh, he took firm hold of the railing and felt his way down a careful step at a time.

“Harris, what brings you to the dark depths?” Spike asked from where he lounged under blue sheets, half his pale, bare chest visible. Xander glanced over at his several-times roommate and hoped the vampire was dressed under those sheets, then turned his attention to the table.

He sat down on the rough bench and dumped out his dice once again. To calm himself, he sorted them by color and number of sides. He picked up the transparent blue twenty sider and fondly thought of many long nights gaming, or just goofing off, with Willow and Jessie. With a sigh, he started his stack. In the calm and relative silence of the basement, after several tries he was able to stack up to eight before they tumbled. He jumped when the door opened and the scent of cookies proceeded Willow down.

“There’s no more soda, but I found a couple of root beers.” She carefully sat down the drinks and the half-dozen cookies. She waggled her fingers at Spike who uncoiled himself from the cot to reveal himself to be merely shirtless.

“Thanks Red.” He took a brown bottle and twisted off the cap. As Xander reached for the other one, his sleeve brushed the tower, bringing it down.

A babble of voices broke out upstairs and Willow rolled her eyes. “I have to play den mother again. I can’t promise any more cookies, but I’ll see what I can do. I had to threaten to make one of the girl’s hair fall out to claim these.” With a determined sigh, Willow left them alone. Her stern voice floated down from upstairs.

Spike chuckled and sat on the other bench from Xander who only hooked a finger on the plate and dragged it closer to himself. Eating a fresh cookie with one hand, he began to stack again. He was aware of Spike watching him, but refused to acknowledge his company.

“You ever hear of Nelson?” Spike said after two towers had been built and tumbled and two cookies eaten.

“Sure. He was stranded on the Satellite of Love and forced to watch bad movies,” Xander answered, not looking at Spike.

“Not Mike Nelson, Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson.”

Xander shrugged. “There’s a statue of him up high somewhere in London, isn’t there?”

“Right. That’s all that’s important about him. Trafalgar Square.” Spike sighed. “Lord Nelson was a navel hero. He lost the sight in his right eye in battle. He continued to serve and go up in rank. As a commander at the Battle of Copenhagen he ignored orders to cease action by putting his telescope to his blind eye and claiming he couldn't see the signal. In 1798, he destroyed Napoleon's fleet and bid for an overland trade route to India.”

Xander peered up at Spike. “That’s pretty cool.” He slid the cookie plate toward Spike and started a new stack.

“Working on depth perception?” Xander nodded.  “You’re good at that,” Spike observed.

“Spent hours doing it while playing D & D.” He added another cube. “You know a lot about Nelson.”

“He was my favorite,” Spike mumbled.

“Favorite what?”

“Hey! I know something good for depth perception!” Spike hopped up from the table and dashed over to a set of metal shelves. After rummaging for a few minutes, he returned with a battered blue and red cylinder. “These are perfect!”

Xander pushed the dice aside and opened the tube. “Tinkertoys? Spike, how did you know there were Tinkertoys down here? And why are they down here?” Xander dumped out the collection of red wheels and worn sticks. “Wow. Wood ones!”

Spike picked up a wheel and turned it over and over. “I think they were Joyce’s. And, well, I’ve spent a lot of time in this basement. Over the summer when I was watching Niblet and stayed some days here. There’s not a box I’ve not gone through.”

Xander had to grin at Spike. “Doesn’t seem like wooden sticks would be a good thing for a vampire to play with.”

“These aren’t sharp, and well, you get bored, you know.”

Xander nodded and said softly, “Yeah, I know.” He picked up a wheel and a stick and put them together after a moment’s try. “This is good, Spike. Thank you.”

Spike shrugged. “Joyce would have liked it.”

After a few minutes, Xander looked at Spike, pointing to the unbandaged side of his face. “Thanks for saving this, too.”

“How could you look out for me if you couldn’t see at all, huh?” Spike reached out for another cookie, only to have Xander pull the plate away.

“I’m not that grateful, dead guy.”

Spike chucked and tried his own hand at stacking dice.

“Favorite what?” Xander asked after a while.

“Toy,” Spike mumbled.

“Boy?” Xander asked, having heard Spike perfectly.

“T. Toy. Lead soldiers. I had a whole fleet of ships and little lead figures for the crew. I read all about Nelson.”

Xander had a mental image of a little, skinny boy with long curly hair and wearing lace. He snickered. “You must have been a beautiful baby. What happened?”

“Ha, ha, Harris. That’s the problem these days, no respect for the past.”

Xander smiled and pushed the remaining cookie toward Spike. “Hey, I respect you.”

Spike grabbed the cookie before Xander could change his mind. “No, you don’t.”

The humor was gone from his voice. “I do, Spike.” The vampire looked into the tired brown of Xander’s remaining eye. “For all your horrible past. You keep your word. You’re a strong fighter who is on our side. Once you decide you like someone, you protect them as best you can. Hell, you’ve got loads of smarts. Had to in order to stay alive so long, didn’t you?” Xander looked back to his toys. “I respect you, Spike.”

Spike studied the dark head and strong hands for a minute. “I respect you, too, Xander.”

Xander’s grin wasn’t completely hidden. “Shut up and eat that cookie before I take it back, Fangy.”

The two played with the toys and shared stories until the sun set and the battle was on again.

The End

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