Unfinished Business


Part Five

"That's interesting," said Spike, peering down at Xander's rounded…back as Harris leaned over, mopping up second-hand coffee from the kitchen floor.

"Ya think? Just looks like an unholy mess to me. No offence."

Spike raised an eyebrow. It always made him feel superior. "Well, yeah, but it got me thinking.”

"Okay, I’ll bite."

“Oi, that’s my line!”

Xander grit his teeth. “Tell me what's interesting or I may have to strangle you with your own bootlaces." He thought about that. “Though they’d probably pass straight through your jugular.”

Spike flapped a dismissive hand. “Point is, didn’t vanish through the floor in the night, did I?”

“No, but there were dangly bits… I mean, things that dangled… I mean -”

Spike grinned wickedly. “Give it up, boy. That sentence will never end well.”

Xander soldiered on. “Thing is, who knows how far you could’ve dropped? I’m not following you into the sewers, that’s for sure. There are rats down there. With big, pointy teeth.” He pulled a fangy face and shuddered. “I nearly shook you awake a dozen times, and that’s just between midnight and one.”

“So,” Spike persisted, “what does that tell you?”

“Um, that if I watch you really hard –“

“No, wally. Means that if I concentrate, no falling through the furniture,” Spike concluded triumphantly.

Xander raised an eyebrow. It always made him feel smarter. “We know that, Brainless. It’s how you got up the stairs without ending up in the basement, remember? But how in the name of Zeus can you concentrate while you’re, excuse the expression, dead to the world?”

“But I did!” Spike growled. “See, here I am, not a rat dropping in sight. You’re not thinking this through. Gotta look at the big picture, yeah?”

“Ooookay. Big-picture-looking.”

“I figure it’s a reflex thing. Once the old grey matter catches on, it aims itself at the problem and sorts it.”

They both looked down at the brown stain on the floor.

“This plan may need refining before you try drinking blood.”

Part Six

“Blood! Why aren’t I hungry? Here, gimme a taste.”

Xander leaned forward, unconsciously baring his neck, the need in Spike’s voice hypnotic…then leaned back quickly and winced as his skull bounced off a cupboard.

“Ouch! Also, you have got to be kidding!”

The gold faded into a pretty blue, and the fangs receded.

Spike pouted. “Worth trying, though. Got to admit that.”

“Admitted, oh so reluctantly, but now we have to find a way to get you fed. Oh, wait, would you be even more insanely irritating with a full belly?”

Spike sniffed. “Don’t hold back, boy. Just tell me what you really think. In the meantime…”

Xander watched in amazement as Spike discarded the shirt, the tee and the jeans.

“Er, why the naked and, more importantly, where’s the underwear?”

“Want to take a shower. ‘Sides, naked is a good look on me.”

Xander tucked a hand under his jaw to keep it from dropping to the floor. “I’d argue about that, but it’s kinda true.”

“Got that right,” Spike approved. “As for underwear? Never found a need for it. Not like there are skidmarks.”

Lowering his hand, Xander said, “May I just say, euwww?”

“No, you may not. Except, you did. It’s the opposite of euwww. Mess-free, I am. Well, apart from the massacring of innocents, which leaves nasty stains.”

Xander tried to be squicked and not look at the tight abs, the even tighter ass, but failed miserably. Instead, he tried to think – hard – about…

“You really did massacre innocents. But you still have the soul, right? Shouldn’t you feel guilty or something?”

Spike pondered. “Probably, but I have the example of the poof to not follow. He’s a miserable old git, beating himself up every minute of the day. I, on the other hand, am gaily coming back from the dead, not sure how, but enjoying every minute.”

Xander focused on one word. “Gaily?”

There was that eyebrow again. “You’ve been lonely, I can tell. Wanna snog for a bit?”

“Well, okay, but only if you promise not to hold it against me in the morning.”

Part Seven

“Join me?” Spike came close to batting his eyes but stopped, just in the nick of time.

Xander tore his eyes away from the sight before him. Heterosexual was so overrated. “Huh?”

Spike smirked. “Shower?”

Xander thought of his job, of Ernie, of sweaty socks, of his Uncle Jasmine, of the Nicks, of anything that’d beat down that bulge in his jeans. “Forward, much?”

“You just agreed to a snog. You want dinner and dancing first?”

“So, I should watch while drops of water pass through your incorporeal self, then make out with your incorporeal body. Gee, irresistible. One problem: ghost!”

“Well, if you want to be picky. We could give it a try. Go on, you know you want to. I can concentrate really hard, with the proper motivation.”

Xander frowned. “So, you think this concentrating thing is the key?”

“Well, except that this concentrating thing seems to be… Ahhhhhhhhh!"

Xander rushed downstairs and knocked on the door. “Um, hi, Mrs Ramirez. Is my friend here?”

“That sweet boy? He was here for a second and then he dropped through to the next floor. He’s such good company…”

Xander rushed down another flight of stairs and banged on the door.

“Spike! Spike! Are you –“

“Is there a reason you’re waking up the whole building?” The super didn’t look happy.

“No, sorry, sorry.” Xander cleared his throat. “Erm, have you seen a friend of mine come through here? About yay-high, blond hair, not a lot of clothes?”

“By not a lot, do you mean no clothes and a seriously hot body and forget I said that especially when you’re talking to my wife?”

“Yeah, that’s him.”

“He went thataway.” The super pointed down.

“Oh, rats.”

Part Eight

Xander kept moving, praying that Spike’s descent had stopped short of the basement. He’d been there once, and wasn’t looking forward to a repeat performance. Fine for storing crap that wouldn’t fit in his apartment, but a lousy party place. But since there was no stopping point between the ground floor and the basement, better to find him there than the alternative...

He conjured up a vision of Spike stuck between floors and snickered. Where, exactly, would he be stuck? At the waist, upper half yelling and arm-waving while the lower half kicked its legs? Tantrum, much? Shaking his head to dispel the image, he jumped down the last few stairs.

Spike was curled up in the only warmish corner of the basement, eyes half-closed, soaking up the heat of the boiler. His eyes snapped open at Xander’s approach and he stretched out, so cat-like that Xander almost scratched him behind his ears.

Not that he’d been worried. Or really wanted the promised snog. Nope, not him. The occasional kissy-face with another guy did not make for a gay Xander. Right? He worked in construction, for crying out loud! There was a law or something.

“So, Unclothed One, did the elevator to Hell stop here?”

“Not funny, nit.”

“What happened? Is there a shower down here I entirely fail to see?”

“Didn’t slip down on purpose, did I? Something pulled on my legs.” Spike looked around suspiciously, eyes narrowed.

“Yeah, right. Unseen forces do that every time a ghostly vampire turns up in my kitchen, makes me lie to my boss, takes off his clothes, disappears through the floor, and… Actually, that’s never happened before. Congratulations on a first.”

“If you’ve finished churning over that pickled walnut you fondly call your brain, can we go back upstairs now?”

Taken aback by the plaintive tone, Xander took off his shirt and slung it over Spike’s shoulders then buttoned it, hiding the impressive crown jewels.

Spike raked his eyes over Xander’s bared chest and leered. “Manual labour’s doing you good, boy. I’ve always liked firm pecs.”

“Uh uh, no smooching here. Where’s the candlelight dinner? And, boy, are you stinky. Soap and mouthwash are so underrated.”

“So’s Johnny Rotten, but you don’t hear me complaining.”

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