Fandom: BtVS
Title: Unfinished Business (Title by kind permission of [info]velvetwhip)
Pairing: Spike/Xander
Summary: Good question
Setting: Post-NFA
Rating: PG
Word count: 390
Disclaimer: These characters belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy and all companies associated with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They are not mine. I just have more fun with them.
Beta: [info]snowpuppies, only the best bouncer in the world, with invaluable input from [info]darkhavens and my touchstone, [info]eyezrthewindows

Happy anniversary, [info]velvetwhip!

Unfinished Business


Part One

Xander examined the padded envelope, intrigued. Hmm, no return address, no postmark. Couldn’t be porn; his last order had arrived yesterday. Maybe Giles had sent it via some kind of magical postal service.

He squeezed carefully. There was an object inside. Maybe the ex-Watcher had a job for him, an interesting job, something to break up the monotony of the endless, boring, Cleveland days. Boring had sounded like a good idea after the excitement of Sunnydale but there was a limit. Ditchwater looked like a thrill a minute compared with his current life: waking up to the alarm at a dumb time, breaking his back at DC Constructions, home at 7pm on an overtime-free day, then a meal of really, really bad pizza. Where was Domino’s when you really needed them?

Musing over, he turned his attention back to the envelope, opened it and shook.

He covered his eyes as a screaming, black mini-tornado suddenly appeared in the exact spot the amulet had dropped onto the kitchen counter.

Tentatively widening the gap between his fingers, he watched, fascinated, as the whirling dust motes - how could dust motes make so much damn noise? - coalesced to resolve into a glowing, skeletal figure which gradually fleshed out to become... Couldn't be. Spike was dead. Dead, dead. He’d died saving the world in, literally, a blaze of glory.

Xander grimaced. “And to make my nightmare complete..."

“Must be hell if Harris is here. And this does resemble a hellhole,” said Spike, looking around critically and hopping down from the pizza-cheese-encrusted counter.

“Where my aunt’s frilly knickers did you come from?”

“No idea, but good to be back, ain’t it?”

“Depends on your definition of ‘good’. Did I invite you in? I don’t remember inviting you in.”

“Here I am, though. Get over it. Got a spare bed?”

Xander cleared his throat. “As a matter of fact, remember that orange barcalounger? I got another one. Not, I hasten to add, for any fond, nostalgic memories… Hey, where are you going?”

Spike patted the barcalounger tucked in the corner of the living room proprietorially. “Mine.”


Spike plunked himself down into the hard, familiar cushions…

As Spike disappeared through the barcalounger, Xander heard a startled scream from the old lady in the apartment below.

“Why do I think this isn’t going to work?”

Part Two

Xander started down the stairs to find out what had happened to Spike and comfort his neighbour, who’d only ever been nice, baking cookies and sharing them with the building. She didn’t deserve to have a ghost land in her lap during her afternoon siesta.

He met Spike half way down, the vampire trudging up warily, carefully concentrating so he didn’t slip through the stairs.

“So, having a good day?” Xander asked brightly.

“Ha, ha. You’re a real laugh riot, Harris. Why didn’t you tell me I’m…what’s the word for this? Oh yeah, a ghost!”

“How was I to know? There you were, deader than usual, then you turned up, heck knows how, all phantomy. Did you make a deal with the Devil or something?”

“If I’d made a deal with old blue-arse, it wouldn’t be to land me here with you. With a harem of gorgeous babes and lads with six-packs, maybe…”

“Let’s not go there, please?”

Spike stared into space, the visual temporarily overtaking his situation.

He shook his head. “So, how am I supposed to get a kip?”

“Moron. You got up the stairs, so just lie down and concentrate on being there. Barcaloungers don’t go anywhere.“

“Okay. Gonna put me up for a bit, Harris?”

“I have a choice?”

Spike grinned that evil grin Xander remembered all too well. “Nope.”

Part Three

Spike continued up the stairs. The old lady downstairs would be re-visited soon, with chocolates. After the initial surprise, she hadn’t raised so much as an eyebrow while a peroxide-blond ghost sprawled on the arm of her chair, and she continued to chat away happily to Tabitha and the Phantom Fred perched at her shoulder during commercial breaks.

He walked through the door - hey, no need for a key when walking through the door was an option - and looked around, deciding where to kip. Should ghosts get sleepy? He was, so, yeah. That stripey chair looked good. From experience, the barcalounger, less good. He toed off his boots and socks, then shucked off the duster and slung it over the back of the chair. Ah, comfort.

Xander trudged up after him, no idea what was going on. “I have no idea what’s going on.”

"It’s not too tricky – I’m a ghost and I’m squatting here. If that’s a problem, get over it. Ask Angel for the rent. This is all his fault. Not sure how, but it definitely is.”

Xander shook his head. “You’re squatting? Can’t you go find Angel and give him a hard time?”

Spike snickered. “He’s already had a hard time with me.”

“Oh, fine. Make me blush, why don’t you?”

“You’re so easy…”

“Easy? I'll have you know that I'm as un-easy as they come, Fangless. And not so great as an insult, now that I think about it.”

“Try harder. I’ll be here tomorrow, and you can take that as a threat and an opportunity to think up a better insult.”

“Can’t wait. I need a beer.”

Part Four

Xander grabbed the phone before it could ring again and wake up the sleeping corpse in the barcalounger.

He blearily checked his watch and sighed. His boss was probably wondering why he was an hour late for work. He was indispensible: those planks of wood wouldn’t sand themselves. It’d probably been a bad idea to watch his phantom-y roommate until 5am. An even worse idea to do it while tossing down too many beers. But, hey, he had a right to be nervous.

The stripey chair hadn't worked out; apparently, Spike's attachment to hideous orange furniture was deep-seated. No pun intended. Spike had sunk in once or twice but always popped up again, the platinum blond head and bare feet the only things showing for several terrifying minutes at a time. His ass had scraped the floor but didn’t disappear through, at least. Old Lady might be okay with a ghost dropping through her ceiling once, but making a habit of it seemed like a really crap idea. Some things weren't easy to explain. Speaking of which...

Fumbling the phone to his ear, he coughed into the mouthpiece pathetically.


Putting on his very best croak, Xander replied, “Hi, Ernie. Sorry. I’ve been meaning to call. ‘Fraid I won’t be coming in today.” He coughed again.

His acting must’ve been Oscar-worthy because Ernie swallowed every gravelly word and told him to keep warm and come back when he was over the strep throat. He knew all that practice at bunking off school would come in handy one day.

“Not bad, boy. You have a future in lying through your teeth. And a past.”

Xander jumped and yelped. “Don’t sneak up like that! Clear your throat or something.”

“Ain’t got a throat to clear. Ghost, remember?”

“It’s not easy to forget. You want coffee? I’m a bit short of O-neg.”

At Spike’s nod, Xander made a pot, swigged down a couple of Advil with his first cup, then handed Spike a mugful. He watched in horror as the liquid sloshed straight through Spike and formed a brown puddle on the kitchen linoleum.

“Oh, fuck,” they sighed in unison.

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