Xander Has Kittens
Xander opened the door with his pizza money at the ready, mouth watering at the prospect of the extra cheesy delight he had ordered to celebrate. He was rich, he was no longer overrun by kittens, and best of all, he was still alive. Most definitely not tracked down and slaughtered while he slept by the angry poker demons. Things were good, the wheels of life were turning smoothly.
What he didn't expect to see on the other side of the door was everyone's friendly neighbourhood vampire waiting expectantly, framed in a blue haze of cigarette smoke.
'Xander,' Spike greeted him with a cordial nod of his head.
'Uh, hey Spike.' Xander's brow crinkled in a frown of confusion. 'I didn't order any vampires.'
'Nooo, you probably didn't. Couldn't afford me if you did. Mind if I come in?'
Xander blinked, and found that he had to shake his head slightly to clear it before he could answer. He wondered if Spike could hear the cartoon rattle.
Spike eyed him quizzically. 'Something wrong, whelp?'
'Huh? No, I just wasn't expecting you.'
'Right, 'cause I make so many social calls 'round here. But hey, seeing as I'm here... can I come in?'
'You're still chipped, right?'
'Absolutely. But then, if I wasn't, I'd probably lie. I could punch you to find out if you like...'
'Naw, thanks. I think I'll pass.' Xander stood to one side to let Spike enter.
Spike eyed him a little strangely. 'Uh, yeah, 'bout that "walking on in" thing. I'm gonna need you to invite me. Come on, you guys should know vampire lore by now, shouldn't you? I can't believe you--'
'Spike!' Xander interrupted the vampire's rant. 'You were never un-invited.' He held out his hand to guide Spike into his house. Spike drew his head back a little in distrust of the offer, but tossed his cigarette away and walked into the house.
'Huh. No barrier.'
'I told you.'
'Pretty dumb thing to do, Droopy.' Spike strolled to the stairs and descended into the basement. 'What if I'd got the chip out in the meantime?' he called back over his shoulder.
Xander slowly closed the door. 'Well I guess you would just be obligated to suck my blood, wouldn't you?'
Spike paused, halfway down the stairs and looked up at the boy with a curious glance. 'I guess I would.'
Wondering when his pizza was going to get there, Xander followed Spike down into the basement. 'Yeah, so un-pleasantries aside, why exactly are you here?'
'I've lost something. Torn the crypt apart looking for it. Thought I might've left it here.'
Xander opened his mouth to ask what could be so important to bring Spike halfway across town and back into the home of his enemy to retrieve, when there was another knock on the door from upstairs.
'That'll be the vampires you ordered,' Spike said, already elbow-deep in Xander's threadbare couch.
Letting his mouth snap shut without replying, Xander dutifully retraced his footsteps to collect his pizza. This time the scent of garlic wafted to him before he had even opened the door.
Spike meanwhile, had spotted the antique silver lighter lying on Xander's bed. 'Hey, Xander, I didn't know you smoked,' he called.
'I don't,' came the reply as Xander reappeared at the foot of the steps.
'Didn't think so. Slayer and the witch'd have your guts for garters. Can I have this then?'
Spike held it up. 'This lighter?'
'Yeah, sure, whatever. It's all yours.'
Spike grinned, fishing the battered book of matches he had been reduced to using out of his pocket and tossed it onto Xander's rumpled bed. This had worked out quite well as far as Spike was concerned. Xander had never de-invited him. That was... nice. In a strange, he didn't really care sort of a way and bonus, this lighter was far better than the one he had lost.
He breezed back past Xander and up the steps without a backward glance.
'Yeah. See ya around,' Xander muttered to himself.
The door banged shut above him and Xander was left alone, holding the hot pizza box in his hands, wondering what the hell it was that didn't feel right since he had gone to answer the door. Something was just a little off. He felt a little panicked, almost like the prospect of a fight was in the air. Something weird, but... familiar. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, but he knew if he could just think straight for a moment that the answer would appear.
He was woken out of his daydream by the now familiar sensation of teeny tiny needlelike claws sinking playfully into his foot.
'Spike!' Xander yelled at the white kitten, who peered up at him sullenly, 'Cut that out!' He did a double take and looked back down at the kitten, who Xander was strangely certain was smirking up at him victoriously. 'Did I just call you Spike?' He squinted at the blob of white fuzz at his foot. 'I guess you do kind of look like him. And god knows you act like him.' He squatted down and speared the kitten with a knowing glare, causing it to immediate cease in its assault on his foot and gaze up at him innocently. 'Yeah, now you do the cutsey-wootsey thing. You're not fooling me, you vicious little kitten you. I think maybe we should get you a chip.'
The kitten blinked lazily at him, growing bored with the reprimand, and wandered away, going, Xander assumed, to find its chocolate brown counterpart who would probably be curled up asleep somewhere as always. As it walked by him, head held high, it rubbed along the length of Xander's foot, briefly wrapping its tail around his ankle in a fleeting fluffy embrace. Xander was appalled to find his vision blurring at the act. He stood upright again in one swift jerk to wipe a tear from his eye.
'Pizza fumes. The pizza fumes are getting to me.'
In more ways than one...
Kitten antics notwithstanding, he still felt funny. The pizza which had seemed so tempting to his empty stomach only moments ago was now thrown forgotten onto the washing machine. He stuffed his change into the back pocket of his jeans, not bothering to count it and discover that he had tipped the delivery boy too much and hadn't even noticed. He sat on the edge of his bed to try and think, but bounded to his feet almost immediately. He couldn't sit still. He needed... out. Needed to figure out what was itching at the inside of his skull and growing progressively worse.
A decision reached, Xander grabbed the first item of clothing that came to hand, a close fitting black sweater, and drew it on over the white T-shirt he had been wearing, grabbed his keys, the rest of his poker winnings and headed back up the steps.
Spike paused just outside the door to light a cigarette. The lighter Xander had given him felt comfortable in his hand as he rubbed his thumb thoughtfully over the engravings on its side. It was old. Not as old as he was, but a couple of decades at the very least. The metal felt strangely warm in his palm. He held it up to the porch-light, examining the engravings more closely. They weren't just for decoration, he realised. There were faint words carved into the metal. Words that Spike recognised, written in an ancient demon script that he had never bothered to learn fully. He did however know a few important words. One never knew when these things would come up in his walk of unlife.
'... cursed... darker... no, darkest... hunger? Ack'nar stam-bink? Ack'nar stam-stink? Oh, yeah, desire. A warning. No sleep, no eat, no... quiet? No calm?'
He sighed in annoyance. He didn't feel much like translating an ancient text at the moment. He had felt uneasy since leaving the basement. Something about Xander's matter-of-factness about his visit, and the... niceness. It was just bothering him.
'Bugger me, I hate these stupid languages. So the lighter's cursed, huh? Great. Knowing my luck it'll kill me, then all those twats who think it's so bloody funny to tell a vampire that smoking kills will have been right after all.'
With an exasperated 'tsk!' he shoved the lighter into one of his pockets and drew deeply on his cigarette. As he exhaled he looked down at the glowing butt with distaste, the mellow tobacco not as soothing to him as usual. Annoyed, and somewhat bewildered, he threw the largely unsmoked cigarette away. Still standing on the porch, he glared out into the night, his hands clenched into fists at his sides. He had been planning on heading back to the crypt for a comfortable night's television viewing, sipping at the remainder of his blood, but now this restlessness had come over him, and he didn't want to sit around doing nothing all night.
His scowl deepened.
It's that bloody lighter. He's cursed me! The little bastard cursed me. I'm fucking cursed! That's just great. With all the other joys in my life, I need this like I need a holy water enema!
Furious, he turned on his heel and reached for the door handle, but at that second the door opened inwards out of his grasp and he came face to face with a surprised Xander. The two men stood for a moment, glowering at one another, each vexed by their mutual feeling of unease, all thoughts of long walks to soothe frazzled nerves and enchanted lighters forgotten in an instant.
'No, I, ah...' Xander looked around, as though surprised to find himself standing there. 'Was just locking the door.'
Spike raised a sceptical eyebrow. 'You got dressed to lock the door?'
'Fair enough,' Spike said, not believing him for a second, but already bored with that particular line of questioning. 'Listen, mate, I'm bloody bored. You want to go... do something? Kill something?' he asked hopefully. 'Um, I dunno, drink some beer maybe?'
Xander took a moment to process this information. 'With you?'
'Well... yeah. Nothing like a nice bit of violence and death for what ails you. Or we can play pool, pick up some fit birds. Forget we're mortal enemies for the duration. That sort of rot.'
Xander looked unconvinced.
'You know? Hang out?'
Xander looked at him cynically, wondering what Spike's ulterior motive was for asking him, but not missing the always enjoyable sensation of watching Spike being both exasperated and embarrassed at the same time. In a word -- squirm.
'Yes with me,' Spike snapped. 'I'm bored, alright? You don't exactly look like you're doing much, so... just... come and entertain me.'
Xander narrowed his eyes at the vampire, pursed his lips for a moment as though deep in thought before allowing himself to grin. 'Well when you put it like that...'
'Good,' Spike said quickly, grabbing Xander's elbow and leading him away from the house at a forced march. 'First round's on you, mate. Oh, and by the way, that's a bloody nice watch.'
'No, no, no.' Xander stopped abruptly as he realised where they were heading. 'I'm not going to Willy's.'
'Why not?' asked Spike. 'He's got the best beer on tap in town plus they don't serve blood at the Bronze.'
'Well, see, I don't drink blood, and I don't wanna go to Willy's,' Xander stated firmly. Then, as an afterthought -- 'I can't.'
'Can't.' Spike tilted his head to the side curiously. 'That's an interesting word -- "can't". Why exactly can't you go to Willy's?'
Spike let out a burst of laughter. 'What's that now? You're afraid of demons? You?' he asked with disbelief. 'The only person who spends more time with demons than you is the Slayer. And even then it's a close call. Besides, I'll watch your back.'
'Not afraid of all demons. Just three demons in particular. I beat them at poker and I don't really want to-- Wait. You'll watch my back?'
'Well, yeah,' Spike answered gruffly, taken aback by the abrupt question. 'You just attract trouble... which suits me fine, by the way. Always up for a spot of violence, but that doesn't mean I want Buffy coming after me 'cause I let someone munch on you, does it? And besides, you're buying, remember?'
Xander remained unconvinced. 'Spike, listen. You wanna drink, that's fine. I'm just not really in a party mood.'
'Oh.' Spike was surprised at the disappointment he felt. He had been looking forward to kicking back and having a few drinks.
'Yeah. So how about we just pick up some beers and take them back to my place?' Xander began to walk in the opposite direction, towards town and the one liquor store that Sunnydale boasted. Spike watched him walk away, talking to himself. 'I kind of feel bad about leaving the kittens alone, too. Knowing that white one he'll have the place ripped to shreds by the time we get back.'
'Kittens?' Spike ran a few paces to catch up and fell into step beside him. 'Did you say "kittens"?'
'Yeah. Part of my poker winnings.'
'How many what?'
'Tuh. How many kittens did you win?'
'Fourteen! You won fourteen kittens at poker? That's a small fortune, mate. I'm impressed. They don't normally let humans play.'
'Is it a boy or a girl?'
'Don'be silly. You can just tell. These two are boys.'
'I can't bloody well tell that just from looking at them. Well, maybe I could, but I don't really want to look that closely.'
Xander smacked him on the shoulder. 'Noo! You look at their faces. There's a trick to it. Dawn showed me.'
'Yeah, what's that?'
'Well, I think pretty much it goes like this...' He carefully picked up the sleeping chocolate brown kitten and sat down beside Spike. 'You look at the kitten.'
They both looked at the kitten intently.
'You decide if it's a boy or a girl.'
He held the kitten closer to Spike, indicating that Spike should make a decision.
'It's a boy,' decided Spike helpfully.
''xactly.' Xander told him, boozily impressed with Spike's powers of deduction. 'Huh, they were right. It is simple.'
'I see,' Spike nodded slowly. ''Sgood that. What about the white one?'
'He's a boy, too. Definitely. I think I'm gonna call him Spike 2.'
'Willow said he looks like you.'
Spike reached down and snagged the white kitten who was happily attacking the laces of his boots and eyed it suspiciously. 'Doesn't look a thing like me.'
'No wait.' Xander reached over and ruffled the kitten's 'hair', just as Tara had done earlier, making it stick up into unruly curling spikes. 'See? Now 'syou. And plus, he attacks everything he can reach. Woke me up th'smorning with a headbutt.'
''E did?' Spike asked, looking at the struggling kitten in a whole new light.
'Uh huh.' Xander nodded solemnly.
'Huh. Maybe there's more to this pet lark than meets the eye,' Spike speculated, turning to lie on his stomach on the bed and set the kitten down in front of his face.
Then with no warning, and before the kitten had time to scamper away, Spike suddenly vamped out. The kitten sat very still, watching Spike, heedful of the potential danger. The two feline creatures glared at one another for a long moment, until the diminutive cat rose onto all fours and walked purposefully towards Spike's lowered face.
Xander was frozen, watching in fascination as the kitten advanced. Spike let out a low warning growl, which the kitten flinched away from, but didn't stop slinking its way toward him. It finally halted, barely an inch away from Spike's face, and stood there, eyeballing the vampire, shifting its insubstantial weight from paw to paw.
The tension was unbearable. The silence in the basement absolute.
Nomelon's's poor attempt at picture manipulation: check out Spike with the widdle kiddy cat
Slowly, very, very slowly, the kitten closed the space between them, until it bumped noses with Spike and rubbed its way across his cheek, nuzzling briefly into the bend of Spike's shoulder before digging its claws into his shirt and happily climbing onto his shoulder.
Xander was amazed. Spike 2 hadn't taken to anyone like that.
Spike sat up, bringing the kitten with him, and turned to the astonished Xander. 'Xander? Can I have him?'
'Depends. Are you going to eat him?'
'No, you pillock, I'm not going to eat him. Just...' Spike's fingers toyed with the soft fur of the kitten's belly, '... want him.'
Xander immediately scowled. That one was his kitten, and everybody seemed to want to take it from him, but the scowl faded as he saw the earnest look on Spike's face, and the purring kitten blithely bumping against his cheek.
'Yeah,' he agreed grudgingly. 'You can have him.'
'Nice one.' Spike answered him with a blinding grin. 'I'm not calling him "Spike", though. That'd just get confusing, and be bloody stupid. What do you think about Flick-knife? Or Beast, maybe?'
'"Flick-knife"? You really are a vampire, aren't you?'
'You know it. Be a pet and get me another beer, will ya? This one's empty already.'
Xander awoke the next day with a kitten sleeping on his chest and a dead body beside him.
He closed his eyes, counted to ten, and opened them again.
There was still a kitten sleeping on his chest, but on closer inspection the dead body turned out to simply be Spike.
Carefully manipulating the dead body, he retrieved the arm which had been trapped beneath it, and let out a quiet groan.
'What on earth did I do last night?' he asked aloud. 'And why is Spike on my bed?'
'Uughhh. Stop shaking the room. Pillock,' said a very grouchy, very British voice beside him.
The as yet unnamed chocolate brown kitten awoke, nuzzled briefly against Xander's chin, and then proceeded to go through its morning, or rather, late afternoon ritual of stretching out each leg in turn, before leaping gracefully off Xander's chest and going to find Flick-knife/Beast (Xander shuddered at the chosen names), who was preoccupied with happily shredding one of Xander's favourite socks.
Rolling off the bed, Xander got unsteadily to his feet and made his way into the bathroom, where he got into the shower and turned up the heat, resting his head on the refreshingly cold tiles. After a few long minutes soaking to wash away the 'ick' feeling of the morning after the night before, he roughly towelled himself dry and slid into his only remaining clean pair of jeans. He pushed his wet hair back from his face and headed back out into his room with only one mission in mind.
Coffee. Gallons of strong, black coffee.
Upstairs, he hunted, gathered and retrieved said coffee, bringing an extra mug for Spike in case the vamp was even more short-tempered than usual in the (Xander checked his new watch for an exact time, but it was no longer on his wrist) mid-afternoons and needed a little caffeine fix himself.
'Hey, lazybones. Get your undead ass the hell out of my bed.'
Spike sat up suddenly, like he was hinged at the waist and his spine was a spring. He blinked several times before getting his bearings and stared sleepily at Xander. The blond hair on one side of his head was sticking up in riotous spikes, and now more than ever Xander could see the resemblance to Flic-- Beas--
'Spike, pick a name,' he said, gingerly passing the steaming mug of coffee to the blinking vampire.
'The kitten. I can't keep calling him "Kitten". Pick a name.'
'Oh. Right.' Spike rubbed his eyes and managed to look about six years old. Pretty impressive for a century-old vampire when you thought about it. 'What were the choices again?'
'Flick-knife,' Xander rolled his eyes, 'or Beast.'
'Right.' Spike gulped at the too-hot coffee, swearing verbosely as he burnt his tongue.
'That was... educational,' Xander told him when the swearing had finally stopped. 'A name. Pick one.'
'Needs sugar,' Spike complained, before turning his attention to the task at hand. ''Sgotta be Beast,' he decided, looking at the kitten fondly. 'Yeah, definitely, Beast.'
The kitten paused in its methodical destruction of Xander's sock to look up, as though deep in thought. Beast, it seemed to say. Yeah, Beast. I could go for that. And then re-busied himself pulling at ragged threads.
Xander shook his head and wondered if Spike would still be so fond of the kitten when it destroyed all his socks. Then when it was a little older, it could move on to destroying his furniture. Although... he'd seen Spike's furniture. Maybe that wouldn't be such a great tragedy.
He glanced up and found that he was being scrutinised by wide blue eyes. 'What!? What are you looking at me for?'
'Huh? Oh, your neck.'
Xander's hands flew to his neck, automatically checking himself for bite marks. Spike's chuckle made him pause, and he realised that he would have seen any marks when he was in the bathroom looking in the mirror. And, plus, the chip was still fully functional. Glaring at the vampire, he asked, 'What about my neck?'
'Nothing,' Spike replied lightly. 'I'm just hungry, that's all. I can hear your blood rushing about your body. I can see it pulsing and flowing just beneath the surface. It's a vampire thing,' he shrugged. 'Your body... your blood looks good to me.'
'That's all?' Xander asked sarcastically, disgusted and desperately trying to hide the involuntary flush he felt at Spike's words.
'That's all,' Spike replied innocently, enjoying the boy's discomfort.
'That's all? My body and my blood look good to you... and that's all?'
Spike shrugged, 'I'd have thought after last night...'
Xander's stomach lurched with worry. Where the hell had this come from? Only seconds ago he'd been sipping coffee, quite happily watching acts of mass destruction on a miniature scale, and now this! Way, way too much innuendo-laden information from the world's most annoying vampire. And there was something distinctly unnerving about how Spike had just let that last statement trail off.
'What about last night?' he asked curiously.
'Oh, I get it.'
'Get what?' Xander's fear was growing by leaps and bounds.
'You're one of those drunks.'
'One of those what drunks?'
Spike sighed dramatically. 'The kind who say they can't remember anything the next morning to save themselves from anything embarrassing they might have done the night before.'
'Huh?' Xander's voice became a little squeaky as he desperately tried to remember anything he had done the evening before that would result in the evil... leer -- surely that couldn't be a leer on Spike's face? Spike only leered when he was going to do something really evil, or was thinking about something really, really evil he had already done.
Spike was leering at him. Implying that he'd done something evil to Xander. Or maybe Xander was the one who had done something evil. Why couldn't he remember? He wracked his brains trying to remember if he'd done anything he shouldn't have.
He drew a blank.
He couldn't remember doing anything that he shouldn't have, and didn't also think that he was missing out any noticeable chunks of the night. He'd only been drinking beer, not the firewater of the previous night's bender, and while he'd been good and sozzled when he fell asleep... okay, okay, when he passed out, it still wasn't a black-out-for-the-entire-evening, wake-up-in-a-pool-of-your-own-vomit, naked, somewhere-in-a-sleazy-motel-in-Vegas kind of a night.
Perhaps it was time he stopped drinking. Beer, most definitely, bad. Bad, bad beer.
Spike looked at him almost casually. 'You really don't remember?'
Xander shook his head, 'I really don't remember whatever it is you're trying to imply, but I really do remember everything that actually happened, so whatever you're trying to convince me that I did do, you should know that I know that I didn't do it.'
There. That should have cleared it up. Stupid vampire, thinks he can freak me out so easily. Well, ha! I showed him.
Spike tossed the ragged Playboy he had leafing through to the side, rose silkily off the bed and stalked slowly towards Xander, who suddenly didn't feel so superior. 'Think harder,' he drawled, unnerving Xander even further.
'But... but I didn't...'
Spike reached him, placed a hand on either side of the counter top that Xander was sitting on, and leaned in, real close. Their noses almost touching, Spike smirked at Xander's obvious discomfort.
'So,' Spike murmured, 'you don't remember a thing?'
' ... no,' was Xander's timid reply.
'You don't remember getting schnockered right here in this very basement and telling me that you wanted to go out?'
'I told you I wanted to go out with you?!'
Spike rolled his eyes. 'You told me you wanted to go out of the house. To Willy's. Something about showing those demons who was boss.'
'But you stopped me, right?' Xander asked hopefully.
Spike shook his head slowly. 'Uh uh. You couldn't be stopped. You were adamant. A man on a mission. 'Sides, who the hell am I to tell you what to do? I wasn't fussed. Wanted to get a decent pint, didn't I? Instead of that piss water you insisted on buying.'
'Hey! I like that beer.'
'Amateur,' Spike scolded.
'But... but I don't remember being in Willy's,' Xander sounded a little more sure of himself now. He was piecing together the night in his mind, and there was definitely, without a doubt, no cameo appearance by Willy in his mental re-enactment.
'Well you wouldn't, would you? We never made it that far.'
'We didn't?' Xander squeaked, now thoroughly confused. 'What happened?'
'We got jumped by a demon halfway there,' Spike informed him. 'Real nasty bugger 'e was, too.'
'What? Did we ki-- slay him?'
'Are you crazy!?' Both Spike's eyebrows raised in response to that. 'We could hardly walk straight. Nope, I told him you were the Slayer's bitch and gave him your watch to leave us alone. 'Course,' he shrugged, 'I could've taken him, but I didn't want to waste any good drinking time.'
'No,' Xander agreed, a little sarcastically, ' of course you didn't.'
'Bloody right. So anyway, that's when he invites us to this party.'
'A party?' Xander frowned, beginning to wonder if Spike was sticking exactly within the confines of the truth here.
'Yep. He was on his way there when we bumped into him. Actually, you bumped into him. Literally, you big lush,' Spike admonished. 'Anyway, a bunch of sorority birds were having apparently having a bash and had asked for his blessing to, and I quote, "Invoke the spirit of funky party weaselness" at their dorm party.'
'Hey, that's my line!' Xander cried indignantly.
'Uh huh,' Spike continued without paying this remark much attention. 'Yeah, well, it lost a little something in the translation, so when we got there,' he tutted disapprovingly, 'there were all these weasels running around.'
'Yeah, well, any fool knows you shouldn't put slang in an invocation like that. Messes everything up. Although,' he considered, 'there was no doubt it was one hell of a party, and it was pretty damn funky.'
'No doubt,' Xander agreed a little dubiously.
'This not ringing any bells, mate?'
'Uh, not really, no.'
'So you don't remember rescuing a girl from a particularly vicious weasel attack, and her and her two friends taking you into the closet to say thank you?'
'What?' Xander's eyes widened. 'I missed that part?'
'I guess so,' Spike empathised, before flashing him a wicked grin. 'Those sorority girls are right little goers, aren't they? They just couldn't get enough of my accent. I put it on real thick too, insulted them 'til I was blue in the face -- and I'm a vampire so that really takes some doing -- and they just thought I was being cute. Thick as Harmony, they were.'
'Uh huh.' Xander shook his head to try and clear it. 'This was while I was in the closet?'
'Yeah, well you weren't in there for very long. In fact, you could almost say that last night was your coming out of the closet party.'
Xander decided that Spike was having a little too much fun at his expense, and waved for a time out. 'Spike, I really don't remember any of this. Are you sure you're not just making it up to freak me out?'
Spike leaned in a little closer, sliding his hands further back on the counter top, leaving just little enough space between them to be mildly impressed when Xander didn't back away from him. 'Maybe,' he murmured, 'or maybe I was just buttering you up so you wouldn't jump ten feet in the air when I do this...'
Then Xander did jump, but not quite as far as ten feet, when he found himself being kissed by a teasing vampire with spectacular bed-head and a wicked tongue, who tasted like coffee. He would have jumped again when he felt himself tentatively kiss back, but was held in place by deceptively strong white fingers threading through his still damp hair.
All too soon the cool, teasing lips pulled away.
'Mmm, I bet you don't remember doing that, either.'
'Huh?' was all that Xander could get his mouth to say.
'I knew it.'
Xander swallowed heavily. 'Knew what?'
'I knew you'd taste as good as you looked.'
Fear merged with heat as Xander once more lost the power of rational thought.
'As I...? You... Huh?'
Spike's fingers were kneading lightly at the back of his neck, making Xander feel strangely liquid inside and roll his head unconsciously. 'Spike, we-ah, we never actually did any of that last night, did we?'
'Well... no,' Spike admitted wryly. 'We drank all the beer, taught the kittens to Cha-Cha, watched Baywatch Nights and then you passed out.'
'We drank all the beer--'
'No, no, not that.' Xander looked horrified. 'We watched Baywatch Nights? That's it. That's really it! I'm never drinking again!'
'Yeah, well maybe if you'd spring for cable down here, we could have watched the Sliders reruns on Sci Fi.'
Xander opened his mouth to argue, but was cut off by the rather distracting sensation of Spike wriggling between his thighs to kiss him again.
'You're leaving?' Xander winced at the disappointment in his voice. And his leaving is a bad thing because...?
'Uh, no. I would, but,' Spike waved his hand at the ceiling, 'daylight.'
The two men stood awkwardly staring at one another. They had spent an enjoyable morning, or rather, afternoon making out on the counter top, and then later on the bed, but Xander had skittered away like a frightened lamb the second that Spike had tried to initiate anything else.
So now here they stood, noticeably not talking about the rather enjoyable way they had spent the morning.
'Yeah. Well, I'm stuck here, but don't let me keep you. Don't you have a job to be toddling off to?'
'No. I'm amusing myself by being gainfully unemployed these days.'
'You could go to the... whatsit... the unemployment office. Look for something.'
'I would, but there's never anything good.'
Thanks for the employment tips, but hey, listen, Spike? About that kissing thing? Now -- and stop me if I'm out of line here, but -- aren't we both men? I mean, at least in the anatomical sense, because one of us also seems to be a reanimated corpse who's only walking this dusty plane because there's a demon inside his skin. Oh, and while we're on the subject, don't we hate each other?
'Huh. You'd think the Council would put you lot on the payroll or something. Looks like the pay for saving the universe isn't as high as you might think.'
Xander looked at his feet, their attempt at small talk taking an unexpected turn. 'I didn't save the universe. I research. I bring donuts. Once in a while I get a nasty concussion. I leave the universe-saving to Buffy.'
Spike made a 'pffft' sound and waved his hand dismissively. 'Don't sell yourself short. I've known you for how long now? Two years? More if you count the time I spent tryin' to kill you all, and failing miserably I might add. I've seen you get battered around by all manner of goblins, ghouls and beasties when you were tryin' to help your friends. You save their lives, they save the world, that means you had a part in it. Things happen because of you. 'Sides, saving the world isn't so hard. Any fool could do it. Right time... right place.' He sniffed modestly. 'I did it once, remember? Well, I helped. Same as you. Savin' the world's easy when you think about it. In fact, when you get right down to it, all I really did was beat the ever-loving shite out of Angel with a crowbar.' He grinned broadly at the happy memory, and perched himself on the edge of Xander's battered armchair, resting one booted foot on the cushions. ''Course, I would have done that part for free.'
Xander grinned back. 'I know what you mean.' He was caught then, sharing a smile with the vampire who sat so casually draped over his favourite chair. Inwardly he sighed, knowing that if he didn't ask this now, he never would. 'Spike? Uh, listen, about this morning.'
'Whatever. I'm a little lost here. Okay, scratch that, I'm a lot lost here. And you could maybe throw in a touch of waaay out of my depth.' He shuffled his feet.
'Is there something you'd like to get off your chest, mate?'
'Yeah,' Xander nodded. 'Firstly? I, uh, think you're a bastard.'
'Thanks, pet,' Spike deadpanned. 'Mutual.'
'Secondly?' he waved his hands around, trying to make his mouth actually say the words. 'The... the... um, the whole lips thing.'
'Oh that,' Spike replied nonchalantly. 'What about it?'
I'm freaked out. You're a monster. I'm a kid. We both happen to be guys. And there's something I promised myself I'd never do again. One time. One time with Larry. That was going to be the end of it. Never again, I said. Just once to try it out. And he was kinda gross. Larry. Way too much drool for one mouth to produce. And now I've done it again. With you, Spike. Would you like to hear how much I'm not regretting it this time? Although I'm sure I will live to regret it. Or maybe you wanna hear about that irritating itch I've been feeling all day, and how it just upped and disappeared when you were touching me?
How about the only reason I ran away from you earlier was because it was scaring me how right this felt? At how much I'm sure you couldn't give a flying fuck about Xander Harris and I'm just so tired of people not caring? At how this wasn't what I wanted for my life, but you... you... you bastard. Somehow you got in where you weren't supposed to and you know I even miss you staying here at night. I miss your stupid insults, and I miss the way you laughed at commercials, and shouted at all the shows.
I miss the way you'd do your laundry when I was out for the day and always finished by the time I got home, thinking I wouldn't notice, not wanting me to know that the Big Bad knew how to separate his colours. I miss the faint smell of whiskey and tobacco you brought here. I miss the way I could make you laugh sometimes. I even miss the gross bloodbags in the fridge, and I miss the way you would look at me sometimes, like I'd managed to surprise you. Like you didn't think I had it in me, and that I'd managed to impress you.
That I started to think that maybe, just maybe you might actually have had some redeeming qualities, and thereby turn my whole perception of right and wrong on its head. That the chip was just a way of showing you a different path, and maybe there was enough of a man left in you to be more than just a demon and make your own choices.
Then you left. As soon as you could you left me, and then you come back and you do this to me, and I can't deal with this. I just can't. I wish you'd never come back here, and I wish you hadn't touched me. Oh god, I wish you hadn't touched me, because now I only want more. I want it all.
'What about it?' Spike asked again after a moment's silence, more forcefully this time.
Come on, Xander, luv, just say the bloody word.
Xander finally met his eye. 'Wanna do it again?'
Xander awoke the next day with a kitten sleeping on his chest and a dead body beside him.
He closed his eyes, counted to ten, and opened them again.
There was still a kitten sleeping on his chest, but on closer inspection the dead body turned out to simply be Spike.
Carefully manipulating the dead body, he snuggled in closer and traced the pattern of bumps making up the dead body's spine, and let out a quiet sigh.
'What on earth did I do last night?' he asked. 'And why does my entire body hurt?'
'Don't you remember, pet?' came a muffled voice from the pillow beside him.
Xander grinned, 'Oh, I remember all right. I remember having the sex. And then having more of the sex, rounded off with a nice portion of the sex. Waiting about an hour, and then, of course, we had the SEX.'
Spike smiled against his pillow without opening his eyes. 'Sex you say? I don't seem to recall... perhaps you'd better refresh my memory.'
'I don't know,' Xander said thoughtfully, 'I could, but then we'd disturb Angel.'
'What!? Angel? What the bloody hell...' Spike's eyes snapped open and he glared up at Xander, only to be more enraged by the laughter in the boy's eyes.
Xander pointed at the kitten on his chest. 'Spike? I'd like you to meet Angel, version 2.0. Angel, this is Spike.'
The chocolate kitten opened its eyes, blinked once at Spike and then settled back in for a hard earned, post sleep nap.
'I think he likes you,' Xander said to Spike, smiling as Spike raised himself up on his elbows so that he could lean forward for a kiss without waking the slumbering Angel.
'Not bloody likely,' Spike said after kissing Xander thoroughly. 'He's yours. Just a damn pussycat. Not like my wee Beast. See?' He pointed across the room where a flying bundle of white fluff was busy attacking Xander's only suit hanging visible in the open wardrobe.
'Now there's a real hellcat. Worthy to be a vampire's pet.'
With a yell, Xander leapt out of the bed, and streaked across the room to rescue his one and only suit from grasping kitten claws. Spike deftly caught the flying Angel who had been thrown in the air following Xander's mad dash from the bed. Propping himself up on the pillows, Spike tickled Angel under the chin and settled back to watch the not unpleasant site of a naked Xander crouching down and trying to wrestle a mischievous kitten away from his suit without getting any of his vital parts scratched in the process.
'Spike?' Xander called in mid-wrestle.
'Remind me never ever to play poker again, okay?'
Spike grinned, managing to get the kitten he was holding to wake up enough to grab hold of his tickling finger with both its paws and bite him playfully.
'Sure thing, whelp, whatever you say.'
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