Hormonal Overload #1
Xander's thoughts and emotions get the best of him, but according to Tara, it's not insanity - it's hormones.
It was getting late. And dark. Late and dark...two things that equaled danger in good old Sunnydale.
And Willow and Tara weren't here yet.
Granted, he knew that the two witches were aware of any and all dangers out there. Hell, they were some of the most qualified people in town to deal with confrontations with any of the demons roaming around town. They had both, Willow especially, gained a reputation in the demonic community as the most powerful spell casters and as demon hunters.
Xander, his nerves stretched taunt, stood up and began to pace in front of the picture window of his apartment's living room and worried about his friends.
It was their reputation that was part of the problem. Most of the lesser demons would be too frightened to go up against the two witches knowing that it would lose a battle of magic to the redhead and the blonde...not to mention that if the demon survived, the two women would call down the wrath of the Slayer on it's head.
But that threat wouldn't stop a more powerful demon. Instead, it would be something that the demon could use as a claim to fame. An accomplishment to build it's own reputation upon. After all, what demon wouldn't want to be known as the one who brought down the Guardian Witches of the Hellmouth as they were called in demonic circles.
Then there were the gangs of vampire minions to consider. Most were too stupid to care who they attacked. They saw humans as food and unless the minion had been someone really intelligent...or had gained enough power and experience to be considered a Master...they wouldn't even recognize the magical aura that surrounded the two women. Willow was pretty handy with a stake, but Tara was severely lacking in those skills.
So...Xander paced and worried and stole sidelong glances from the clock on the wall. Then paced some more.
"Bloody hell Xan. You've about walked a hole through that god awful carpeting, not to mention makin' me all dizzy. Sit your sexy arse down already."
Xander stopped his pacing and glared over at his "better half". His look of annoyed disdain was marred by the fact that he couldn't hide the worry in his eyes. Nor could he banish it from his head. Finally, with an exasperated sigh, he threw up his arms and stomped back over to the big window to stare out into the cool evening sky.
"It's dark Spike. Willow and Tara should have been back from the grocery store long before now. They could be...well, something could have happened. You know?"
Xander heard a soft sigh behind him and then the couch springs squeaked as Spike shifted. He could hear the soft footfalls as his lover's Doc Martin's shuffled across the "god awful" carpet. He continued to gaze out the gleaming glass, noticing that he could see a faint transparent reflection of only him...it appeared as he were all alone in his apartment. But then two strong arms wrapped around his waist and a chin pressed down on his right shoulder, a comforting cool weight.
"Xan...the witches are big girls, perfectly capable of taking care of themselves...and any random demon stupid enough to mess with them. You know this. What's really wrong? You've never been this upset over any of your mates wandering out and about after dark before."
With a soft sigh, Xander leaned back against Spike's chest, just enjoying the solid feel of the vampire's understated strength and power. It was almost calming. He still felt overly worried...but his fears seemed to lack that frantic icy edge when Spike held him close.
"Nothing's wrong beyond the normal "My life is a low-budget horror flick" type things...I'm just...concerned about them. Yeah, yeah...I know, I know. They'll be fine. Still, I...I guess I'm just...stressed or something."
Xander heard the low snort of exasperation Spike made, and even though his husband had no reflection, he was certain that the blonde had rolled his eyes.
"Look luv. If any nasty demon harms even a single hair on either of the witch's heads, I'll personally eviscerate them with my bare hands and present you with their steaming entrails on a silver platter. Okay?"
Xander felt his gag reflex kick in at the not so lovely visuals his mind supplied him with, however, after a year of dating Anya he had learned how to control his facial expression when his lover's sweet nothings involved removing internal body parts of random enemies.
"Um... Ewwww? Yet...oddly comforting."
Twenty minutes later, the two witches were at the door, laden down with brown paper bags filled with groceries. And Xander was at the razor's edge of sanity with worry over them.
When Spike opened the door and Willow walked in, imperiously ordering the blonde demon to go down to the car and gather the remaining two bags, Xander nearly swooned from the vast sense of relief that slammed into him. His shaky legs had finally given out and he collapsed onto the couch as he watched Willow and Tara head into the kitchen.
They were alive. Alive and healthy. They hadn't been eaten or torn to shreds or kidnapped by crazed baddies that wanted to drain the magic out of them. All of these things being a distinct possibility on the Hellmouth...but none of it had happened. They were safe. Fine.
And in his kitchen.
His eyes began to water with happiness and gratitude with whichever nameless faceless god had been watching over them. His hands began to tremble, so he quickly tucked them under his legs.
Then Spike walked back in, kicked the door shut with one booted foot and stomped off into the kitchen with the last of the grocery bags, yelling for Willow.
"Bloody Hell woman! What in the name of the Great Irish Poof's Hair-Gel did you buy? The entire bleedin' greengrocer's stand is my guess. Silly bints. Give 'em a bit of dosh and they come home with half the veggies on the damned Hellmouth! Hey Red! Don't suppose you remembered to pick up some fresh blood for the gorgeous and sexy vampire while you were out, did you?"
Willow's reply was muffled, overwhelmed by the sounds of cabinet drawers opening and closing, paper bags crinkling and feet shuffling along the floor.
The soft domestic sounds soothed Xander's taunt nerves for a moment or two until another thought snuck it's way into his brain. His lover, his best friend and his best friend's lover were currently in his kitchen...putting away health food for him to eat. Dizzy relief gave way to indignant anger.
How dare they storm into his house and demand that he eat...whatever it was healthy food actually consisted of. Xander wasn't too sure on what health-food entailed since his mother never really cooked anything in her life that wasn't prepackaged...but he had a vague idea that it involved trail-mix and salads. And while he liked both...he didn't want to live on nothing but trail-mix and salads.
He craved cheeseburgers and pizza and extra-spicy hot wings and... and... chocolate! He was a growing boy damnit and growing boys needed greasy, salty, high-sugar content food! Didn't they know that?
Well, this growing boy wasn't gonna put up with it, no sir-EE. He was gonna stomp over there into his kitchen and...and... What?
What was he gonna do?
With a wave of absolute despair, Xander flopped back against his couch and felt his eyes water up again. With all the self-punishing diligence of a manic-depressive, he forced his mind to catalog all of the twists and turns it had taken over the past several hours...along with the cold logic that stated exactly how unnecessary it had all been.
His emotions had flip-flopped from fear to shock, from shock to sorrow, from sorrow to confusion, from confusion to peckish anger, from peckish anger to worry, from worry to relief and from relief...all the way down to indignant rage. And there was no logical reason for any of it. Another thought hit him and shoved him into a bout of icy fear.
Was he going crazy?
Did Anya's curse finally send him over the deep end...or was it just a natural reaction to being mated to Spike? After all...Drusilla had spent a little over a century with the blonde demon and she wasn't wrapped too tightly in the head. Was that it? Could that be the reason he'd suddenly found his emotions to be flying all over the map? Was he losing what little was left of his mind?
With a silent shudder, Xander slumped down as far into the couch as he could and silently began to cry.
He wasn't sure how long he sat there, immersed in his own dark thoughts and dire predictions for his doomed sanity when he felt a gentle touch on his shoulder. He looked up into the compassionate and too-wise eyes of Tara.
"Are...are you okay? Um...I mean, it's obvious you're...um, not, but I mean...do you want me to go get Willow...or Spike?"
Xander, still a bit miffed at the evil blonde vampire and his redheaded witchy co-conspirator against all things yummy, latched onto this opportunity to spaz out on the sympathetic shoulder of the only innocent person in this whole "feed Xander healthy cardboard flavored food" debacle.
From the startled expression that broke out on Tara's soft features, Xander was sure that his reaction was probably less that sane...but then again, so was he. Right? Still, no need to scare the poor girl. He offered her up a watery and wobbly smile, reached out and gently took her hand. Pulling her down to sit next to him on the couch, he turned and gazed directly into her eyes.
"No...it's just that... Um, could I tell you something? It's...gonna sound strange, but...it's true and I...I..."
Xander trailed off, not really sure if he should just blurt it out, or lead up to his conclusion. Tara just smiled and nodded, silently encouraging him to open up and talk to her. Xander felt another wave of gratitude sweep over him. Gratitude for Tara. He still tended to think of Willow as his...his best friend, his little sister...his Willow. And after Oz had left, Xander had worried that Willow wouldn't find someone who would understand Willow's need to fight the good fight. But Tara not only understood, she actively supported and helped Willow...and Willow's friends. No matter how odd things got, she stood there with them...a friend in her own right. And somehow, it was that realization, that Tara was his friend as well as Willow's girlfriend, that allowed him to open up and spill everything out.
"Tara...I...I think I'm...I think I'm going crazy. Insane. You know? Bonkers?"
Xander watched as Tara's big big eyes slowly blinked in confusion. Her hand squeezed his slightly and she shifted closer.
"Um...what...what do you...mean. Exactly."
Xander paused a moment, caught between a strong sense of relief to be able to get this fear off of his chest and an equally strong sense of embarrassment at having to admit it out loud.
"Well... it's like I'm not myself anymore...I'm just this bundle of emotions that don't make any sense. One minute I'm all freaked out and afraid of the littlest things, then I'm all angry and mad. After that I'm all happy and just want to cuddle everyone I see. It's...like I have no say over what's going on inside my head and I think...I mean, that's not, you know, normal. For me. So..."
Xander trailed off breathlessly. Tara's smile grew a tiny bit and she patted his hand even as she seemed to be thinking furiously about what he just said.
"Uh...when...when did this...um, thing with your...emotions...start acting all wiggy?"
Xander was glad that she didn't just dismiss his concerns, not that he thought she would, but still...it helped make him feel better.
"Yesterday. Although...it's been a lot worse today."
Xander couldn't look at her anymore, so he glanced around his apartment, a look of infinite sadness on his face.
"So...I'm crazy, right? Total Xander-brain meltdown. Drusilla-ville, here I come, right?"
Tara squeezed his hand again gently and he turned back to look at her. Her face was understanding and sympathetic, but there was no pity there at all. Xander had expected pity...and was thrilled not to find any.
"No. I...I don't think you're...um, crazy. Emotional, yes. Stressed, again yes. But...I think that...you know, maybe there is a...logical explanation for you being all...weepy and...and upset."
Xander felt a sliver of hope sizzle through him at her words. He didn't want to be crazy. It was bad enough that he was...preg...preg...pregnant and married to Fangless Wonder. No...being crazy was just adding insult to injury.
"If...if I'm not going mad, then...why am I so...nuts-o?"
Tara's eyes got wide and Xander could tell she was thinking frantically, searching for an answer that made sense and was easy to except. Then, as if someone had lit a lightbulb behind her eyes, she straightened up and bounced once in excitement.
"Oh! I know! It's hormones!"
Xander blinked in confusion.
"Hormones? But...but I'm so past puberty."
Tara giggled softly and shook her head.
"No silly. Not those hormones. Pregnancy hormones. You know, from your body ad...adjusting to being pregnant. And...what with the chance that the baby is only half human, it...it could mean you also have demon hormones flooding your body too. It's...it's probably the first sym...symptom of, you know...uh, morning sickness."
Xander felt his face go pale. While it was nice to know that his insanity was only temporary, it wasn't a lovely thought to think that he not only had female hormones running through his bloodstream, but also demon female hormones as well. And...morning sickness?!?!
"M...m...morning sickness? I...I...wh...what?"
Tara patted his hand again and Xander instinctually slid over closer to her in an effort to be comforted. She seemed to understand without him saying anything, since she also moved closer and then wrapped her arm around his shoulders.
"Uh...yeah. Um, morning sickness. It's something that happens right at the beginning of a pregnancy and only lasts until your body gets used to the...uh, baby. Then...then everything, sorta goes back to...well, almost normal. So...it's okay. You're not, you know, crazy or anything like that."
Just as Xander was ready to lay his head down on her shoulder and have himself a good cry, Spike and Willow came out of the kitchen while engaging in a serious discussion about cookbooks and homemade soup. The two got halfway across the room when Spike noticed Xander looking all depressed and weepy.
"Bloody hell witch, what's wrong with my Xander! Did you hurt him or anything nasty like that?"
Tara hopped up off of the couch and away from Xander as if she'd been burned even as they both shouted out "No!" in unison. Spike didn't waste any time in sliding onto the couch where she had just been. Xander slipped over and onto his lap. Partly because he was trying to impede Spike if he went after Tara, and partly because he really did need to be comforted. Without a pause, the blonde vampire wrapped his arms around Xander and gently pulled him in close.
"Then what's he all upset for?"
Xander didn't answer, he just buried his face in the crook of Spike's neck and shoulder. It was quickly becoming his favorite place to rest his head. However, he didn't have to answer the bleached blonde, Tara did instead.
"Um...Xander's suffering from a...hormonal overload, I think. He...he just needs to sleep for a bit. He should feel better in the morning."
Spike's body tensed up a bit.
Then, with a startling and casual display of his inhuman strength, he stood up with Xander in his arms without any hesitation or problem. He called out to the witches over his shoulder even as he began to slowly walk to the bedroom.
"Right. No problem. I'll just go put him to bed, so...you two can shove off now. Get out."
Xander wasn't surprised at Spike's rudeness, but then again, the two girls probably weren't either. However, he didn't contradict the vampire, instead, he raised his head up off of Spike's shoulder to peer at them over his husband's back and waved "bye-bye" at them. They just grinned and waved back in return.
Spell of Seeking
Willow and Tara perform a spell to determine the species of Spike and Xander's unborn child.
Xander glanced up from the marble pestle and mortar that he was using to crush raw wild lemongrass.
Giles was sitting at the far end of the research table going over the translation of the spell, looking for any last minute errors or changes. It filled Xander's heart to know that the man who had been a father-figure to him for so many years was putting such effort into making sure that there wouldn't be any problems with the wording of the spell.
His "husband" sat directly across from him, a truly evil look of unholy glee on his handsome face. The blonde demon had been given the "messy" preparation. The spell called for certain ingredients that no one else really wanted to deal with...so it had been given to Spike. At first, he had grumbled about having to do anything, although Xander knew that was just for show. The vampire would joyfully set himself on fire if he thought it would make Xander happy...and everyone knew it. But, Spike had a reputation to maintain, so he pouted about it. Until he found out what the witches wanted him to do.
Now, the bleached blonde demon was happily using an old beat-up cheese grater on various dead animal parts. Two sparrow hearts to be exact. He had already finished with some type of lizard tall that had needed to be skinned.
Xander grimaced at the sight. With perfect timing, his "better half" looked up, grinned like a lunatic at him and then winked. As stomach churning as it was to watch Spike mutilate the animal corpses...at least his lover was having fun.
Looking back down at his own pile of stuff to do, Xander continued to grind up the lemongrass. As soon as he was done with that, he had to chop up the dried thyme, heather and sage. Once he had mixed those three together into one bowl, he was done.
The rest of the preparations were being made downstairs in Buffy's Training Room. She had volunteered the space as a way of apologizing for her initial freak-out and also to show her support. Xander appreciated it. Willow had assured him that Buffy wasn't angry at him for sleeping with Spike...even though at the time Spike had professed to "love" her. But it had still worried him. Buffy was far too important to him to lose her friendship...for any reason.
Right now, Buffy was in the training room helping Willow and Tara set up for the spell. The girls said that they needed the large floor space to draw the circle itself as well as a bunch of mystic symbols. While the two witches did that, Buffy was rearranging the furniture and training equipment to make room for the circle and the altar which would sit at it's center.
Finishing up with the lemongrass, Xander carefully put the crushed herb into a silver bowl that Willow had provided him. Then, he carried the pestle and mortar out to the small breakroom type area Giles had set up in the Magic Box. Placing it in the sink to be washed later, Xander returned to his seat at the big wooden table and began to chop up the dried herbs into small flakes with the special Wiccan Blessed sickle shaped knife Tara had given him for this purpose.
With a slight smile, Xander fell into the comforting routine of preparing the herbs. He had helped set up spells an uncountable number of times over the years, and even though he didn't really understand how magic worked...nor could he actually do a spell himself, he was very familiar with how to set one up. It was familiar and comforting and soothing. It was also a nice distraction for him. Chopping the herbs gave him something to focus on besides the fact that he was one sudden loud noise away from screaming like a girl and wetting himself due to his nerves being wound far too tightly.
Although, if that did happen, he didn't think anyone would hold it against him. It was pretty much a given that he'd be an emotional wreck. After all, the spell that they were going to do was supposed to tell him if his...baby would even be human. And the odds were stacked against that idea to begin with.
Then without realizing how much time had gone by as he chop-chop-chopped, Xander found that he was done. All of the dried herbs were finely diced and all he had left to do was mix them together into the red cut-crystal bowl in front of him. Trying to still the minor tremors in his hands, Xander dumped the three piles of herbs into the bowl and then used the Wiccan knife to stir them together.
Finally done, Xander glanced up to find that Giles was gone and only Spike remained with him. Spike's pile of gory innards were gone and the blonde vampire was just watching him with a look of helpless adoration and love. Xander couldn't help but smile at him. Even though his head knew that the blonde only loved him because of Anya's curse...it didn't stop his heart from fluttering madly at that expression.
"So...um, where'd everyone go?"
Spike gestured towards the back of the shop and stood up.
"Giles finished his translation and then he took my sparrow hearts and wandered off to check up on the witches. You done here?"
Xander nodded his head and stood up as well. He grabbed the silver bowl of crushed lemongrass in one hand and the crystal bowl of mixed dried herbs in the other.
"Yeah. I'm done. Let's go on back and see what Wills and Tara want me to do with this stuff."
But instead of walking towards the door to the back, Spike walked around the table towards Xander. Two strong arms wrapped around his body and he was pulled against a cool muscled chest. Two cool soft lips brushed lightly against his cheek and a low accented voice whispered in his ear.
"No worries pet. No matter what happens next...remember that I love you."
Xander stood on one side of the alter and Willow and Tara stood on the other. Static electricity filled the air and Xander could feel the hair on the back of his neck and the hair on his arms stand on end. The candles flickered wildly in a sudden breeze from nowhere and a high pitched ringing tone echoed throughout the Training Room.
Willow and Tara both chanted in unison, their voices weaving together to create a beautiful harmony...and high level magic. The red haired witch sprinkled the mixed herbs all over Xander as well as certain mystic symbols while the blonde witch carefully dumped Spike's mangled animal parts onto a burning iron brazer. The scent of burnt flesh filled the air.
The girls chanting grew louder and louder as they spoke the words faster and faster. They finally ended it with a loud ringing shout. At that very instant, the candles all flared up brightly, their flames dancing almost five inches into the air and the light breeze picked up into a strong whirling dervish.
Then a hollow echoing voice thundered through the room.
The candles all blew out and the wind storm died off at it's source. For a long moment all was silent as everyone looked around at each other, feeling the last of the magic dissipate out of the air, returning the room to a semblance of normal. Then a loud joyous shout shattered the quiet.
"YES!!!! Fucking All Right!"
All eyes tracked to Spike. The blonde vampire had a fierce look of unadulterated pleasure on his face and he was doing a scary impression of Buffy's "happy dance".
"It's W'amphrii! Did you all bloody hear that? Yes!"
At that point, the insane vampire dashed across the room, picked Xander up in his arms and spun them both around in a circle twice.
Xander was glad that Spike was so happy about this revelation...but he didn't know why.
"Um...Spike? This is a good thing why? I mean...the baby isn't human."
Spike put Xander back on his feet, but didn't let go. A wide silly grin spilt his face as he gazed adoringly up at Xander.
"Don't you get it? A W'amphrii is rare because it takes such strong mojo to help with the conception...because a w'amphrii is half human and half vampire and only super strong mojo can overcome the fact that vampire seed is dead. But it can be done...and the result is a w'amphrii."
Xander frowned, confusion still swirling in his brain.
Spike nodded his head with enthusiasm and giddiness.
"Yes pet, vampire. Don't you see? It's mine! Not Anya's brat or, or, or...some random demon she picked from somewhere around the Hellmouth that just happens to be compatible with human physiology. But mine."
And suddenly, a fear that Xander hadn't allowed himself to even acknowledge was lifted from his shoulders and he slumped against his husband in acute relief.
"Oh thank god."
Spike pulled him in tight.
"Yeah...thank him for me too pet."
"Oh thank god."
A throaty chuckle rumbled through the cool chest he was leaning against and Xander pulled back enough to gaze into Spike's blue eyes. Love and happiness and devotion stared back at him. A soft smile on his own lips, Xander leaned forward and brushed a gentle kiss on his husband's lips. The kiss didn't stay innocent for long though. Spike's mouth opened up and Xander didn't even try to resist the temptation of that wonderful tongue. Reaching out with his own, their tongues swirled together, tasting each other, giving and receiving pleasure in equal amounts.
Quickly becoming lost in each other, they were yanked apart by Buffy's confused voice as she asked a question that completely captured Xander's full attention.
"Um...Giles? It's...uh, great that the kid is Spike's and all, instead of, you know...some slime demon or something, but...what's a w'amphrii? I mean...we need details. After all...it's not of the good if the baby, ahh...drains Xander from the inside out. You know?"
All eyes tracked to Giles. The older man blinked rapidly before pulling off his glasses and polishing them.
"Yes, well...I can understand your concern...but, I assure you, the...the baby won't harm Xander. As Spike has said, w'amphrii are rare...but there's never been any documented example of any danger to the...uh, mother in...um, er...delivering the child. Just the...usual human things to worry about. Mostly."
Everyone just offered him up blank stares. He replaced his glasses onto his face and grimaced. With a vague gesture towards the front of the shop, he turned and began to shoo everyone out of the Training Room.
"Come on. We'll...clean this mess up later. Right now, let's head to the research table. I've got some books that mention w'amphrii out front. I'll pull them out and we can go through what information we have on the...subject."
"Let me get this straight. My kid is going to need to eat regular human food as well as the occasional blood bag because he'll have both a soul and a demon?"
Giles nodded his head, a serious look on his face.
The ex-Watcher turned to face the blonde Slayer. Her face had gone pale and sad, like it always did when the other vampire's name was mentioned.
"No. Not like Angel. His soul isn't natural. Instead, it's the result of a...a curse. As such, his inner demon is in constant battle for supremacy with his soul. Which ever is...dominant at the time has control over the body they share. In essence, Angel is a split personality. This is completely different."
Giles turned back to Xander and rubbed at the bridge of his nose. He suddenly looked tired and old. The weight of his years seemed to press heavily on him, but then he sighed, straightened back up and was once again the rock upon which they all leaned.
"The...baby will be 'born' with both soul and demon. There will be no...competition between the two because there will only be one personality.The soul and the demon will be...merged. One being. Capable of great acts of goodness and compassion as well as unspeakable evil. Because of the soul, the child can be taught morals...it's just up to the parents to teach those morals. So, if you teach the child to hate...it will. If you teach the child to love...it will."
Xander nodded slowly as he absorbed this information.
"So...just because the baby's half vampire doesn't necessarily mean it'll grow up to be an unholy terror?"
Giles offered up a small smile.
"Exactly. Then again, just because he'll have a soul doesn't mean he'll be good as well."
Xander could understand that. It made sense to him. Especially in light of what he'd learned about Spike. The blonde vampire was capable of amazing feats of self-sacrificing goodness...but only for those he "loved". He couldn't care less about anyone else. His morals were not based on right and wrong...but on family verses non-family. Without being taught any other morals, the baby would also develop that way. But Xander could...and would teach the baby about right and wrong.
"So...what's the scoop on the physical differences? You said that a w'amphrii was stronger than a human, but not as strong as a vampire...among other things. What's the "other things" that are also different?"
Giles blinked at him a moment and then pulled a different book over towards him. The older man spent a moment or two flipping through pages while muttering to himself. He finally stopped and pointed to a paragraph under a black and white woodcut picture.
"Ahhh, here we are. It says here that a w'amphrii shall grow and age in the manner of the human parent until he or she reaches the human equivalent of puberty. At that point, the child's vampiric nature will begin to come to the fore. That, until that time, the only real sign of it's paternity will be it's permanent fangs, golden eyes and it's need to consume blood. After puberty, it's growth rate will change."
Xander jolted with shock. Holding up one hand palm out, he stopped Giles in his tracks.
"Wait a minute here. Are you saying that my child will have a permanent gameface...like a, a, a...*minion*!?"
Giles stuttered a bit, clearly uncomfortable, but it was Spike who soothed him. The blonde vampire wrapped his arms around him and pulled him in close.
"Shhhh, pet. No. W'amphrii don't have gameface's...so to speak. No ridges or anything. The fangs don't retract, but they're not as big as a full blooded vampire's are either. And the eyes are gold colored, instead of green or blue or brown. But there is white to it...unlike a vamp in gameface."
Xander settled slightly. This information was a bit too much. He'd process it all later...and probably go slightly mad while he did it. But he'd wait till later to freak. There was more to hear now...and he had to know.
"Oh...okay. What else?"
Giles was still a bit flustered, but he cleared his throat and continued.
"Basically, when a w'amphrii reaches puberty, it's aging process slows down greatly. They age one year physically for every three calendar years. They are not immortal like their vampire parent...but they are far longer lived then their human parent."
Everyone just sort of blinked and stared, trying to absorb all of that. It was a lot. A lot of mental and emotional adjusting had to be made before they could even begin to prepare for the child physically.
But Xander himself felt mostly numb. This aloof abstracted sensation of being outside of everything, as if he were merely looking on, but not really a part of everything. A clinical part of his mind dispassionately told him that he was hovering on the edge of another little breakdown, but that didn't seem important to him at the moment. He just allowed his mind to drift aimlessly in the emotional void he had created for himself. He was certain if he stopped to actually consider any of this, he'd have hysterics all over the place.
Then Willow's sweet voice asked a question. Innocence and curiosity practically vibrated from her.
"So...does that mean that instead of the normal single decade of teenageryness, Xander's gonna have to deal with a hormonal puberty-ridden demon for three decades?"
Xander heard that question and it swirled through his suddenly panicky brain. He had just enough time to see everyone in the room turn to stare at him when blackness swept up to engulf him. The last thought that floated through his mind was that he was glad he had gotten so good at passing out during tense moments. He really didn't want to be awake any longer.
Grossing-Out the Undead
Xander tries to follow Giles "diet" advice, however, his attempts to make it "taste better" give Spike serious wiggins.
Xander carefully put the coffee mug full of warmed cow's blood down on the kitchen counter, stepped back and gave a full body shudder complete with twitching arms, stomping feet and facial expression twisted into a look of utter disgust.
"Oh god Spike! How in the name of the Hellmouth can you drink that shit?"
One last shudder and a brief bout of the dry-heaves washed over him. By the time his uncontrollable reaction was done having it's way with him, he was left grimacing at the taste in his mouth even as he glared invisible death-rays at the evil blood filled coffee mug.
Xander turned around to see a sleepy, not very much awake yet, Spike come shuffling into the kitchen. The blonde vampire's hair was sleep mused and his blue eyes blinked blearily around. He hadn't bothered to actually put on any clothes for his trek out of the bedroom, instead opting to simply wrap himself up in the fleecy red blanket from their bed. To Xander, he looked adorable...and very tempting.
With a frown and a sigh, Xander pushed the naughty thoughts out of his head and forced himself to concentrate on the problem at hand. He pointed at the blood filled coffee mug.
"I'm bitching about that. The blood."
Sleepy Spike was a cuddly creature...and not in the least bit snarky. Even with non-Xander shaped people. He was also slow to pick up on anything besides the concept of 'hold me and go back to sleep', so Xander couldn't really get mad about the look of baffled innocence that was sent his way. Nor the way Spike curled up with the fleecy blanket on one of the kitchen chairs in an attempt to get comfy.
"Why are you mad at my breakfast luv? And why is breakfast come so early today? I'll eat later. Let's go back to bed. We got soft fluffy pillows in bed..."
With a sigh and a slight grin, Xander shook his head. How did his husband manage to dissolve his anger in seconds without even trying when he spent so much effort working at being the most annoying creature on the face of the planet? It was a mystery.
However, he'd have plenty of time to ponder the complex man which was his lover later. Right now he had a problem. A gross problem.
"Uh...Spike? You do remember Giles telling me I had to start drinking at least one mug of blood a day, don't you?"
The blonde's expression was one of sleepy confusion. Big blue eyes blinked twice and then he slowly nodded his head.
"He said it'd be good for the baby. That was right before the witches and the Slayer all made those cute little "eww" faces at him. Bloody funny it was too."
Xander offered up a wry smirk. The girls had made funny faces when Giles had suggested the new addition to his diet, but even that didn't make up for the fact that he was the one expected to drink that stuff.
"Yeah, well...I just tried some. And let me tell you...nasty doesn't even come close to describing the taste."
Spike gave vent to a little amused snort. Then he closed his eyes, a look of concentration settling over his features as he inhaled deeply from his perch on the chair. When his eyes sprang open, he gazed up at Xander as if he had all of the answers to the universe tucked up his proverbial sleeve.
"Well, pet. That's cow's blood. I would have told you it sucked if you would have just asked. It's just...bland. All herbivores are. What you need is a nice cuppa O positive. That'll do you good."
Xander blanched in horror.
"Um, no. Not doing the 'eat humans' thing Spike. Not gonna happen, so just wipe that thought clean out of your head right now."
Spike gave a light shrug and grinned.
"Up to you luv. But there isn't anything you can do about it. It's like comparing cheap hamburger to a steak. Ain't happening."
Xander turned back to Spike, a retort on his lips when his mind replayed what Spike had just said. Cow's blood was 'hamburger'...but everyone knew that a hamburger tasted soooo much better if it had condiments on it. So, maybe Xander could improve the taste...if he dressed it up enough. Right?
Without saying a word, Xander turned to the cabinet next to the refrigerator and began pulling out various mugs, cups and glasses. Then, he picked up the quickly cooling mug of cow's blood and divided it up between the cups he had just gotten out. When all of the blood was as evenly divided as Xander could make it, he began to glance around the kitchen...thinking.
"Uhhhh...Xanpet? What are you doing?"
Xander flashed him a quick grin.
"Trying to find a way to make this stuff palatable. What else?"
Spike just stared back in shock.
Rifling through the refrigerator, Xander grabbed the orange juice. Squinting at it in thought for a moment, he finally shifted around and poured out a tiny bit into the first glass of cow's blood. He swirled it around to mix it up a bit and then turned to grin at Spike.
"Let's see what a little liquid sunshine does for this, hummm?"
Spike just looked faintly ill. Grinning, Xander lifted up the glass to his mouth. He had only a brief second to notice the grimace of horror on his husband's face before the orange juice/blood combination was poured into his mouth. The citrusy sweet tang of the juice battled the thick coppery taste of the blood as the mixture swirled on his tongue.
A soft chuckle from the blonde demon wrapped in the fluffy red blanket grabbed his attention, distracting him from the disgusting taste in his mouth.
"I can't say I'd argue with you on that assessment luv. I'm just impressed you had the knackers to even attempt it. Even Dru wasn't that buggered in the head."
Xander's face screwed up into a smirk as he tried to keep his laughter from bubbling up while he quickly placed the glass into the sink for washing.
"Well, thank you for that lovely visual Spike. I always wanted the mental image of your ex being skull-fucked running through my mind."
Xander turned to sort through some cabinets next while Spike's throaty chuckle filled the air.
"Naughty, naughty. Language, pet...people are going to say I'm a bad influence on you if you keep that kind of talk up."
Xander couldn't have stopped the amused snort from erupting, even if he had wanted to. Carefully, he pulled down a small brown bottle of vanilla extract and turned his head to smirk over his shoulder at his husband.
"Spike. You are a bad influence on me. Get over it."
Spike's throaty chuckle rumbled through the small kitchen and Xander's smirk melted into a genuine smile. He really enjoyed this side of Spike and he wished that he wasn't the only one who ever got to see it. The other's only ever saw nasty snarky evil Spike. The ruthless blonde demon who thirsted for blood and death and mayhem. But ever since they'd been cursed, Xander saw so very much more.
Spike was intelligent, witty, observant, loyal, thoughtful and sensitive. He had a highly developed sense of humor and a way of making even the toughest situations seem like child's play. He was brash, uninhibited, shameless and playful. He was also looking at Xander with an expression of unmitigated disgust.
"Please don't tell me you just put some vanilla in that blood?"
Xander blinked in surprise and confusion. He turned his gaze fully on his husband.
That's when Xander had the pleasure of seeing Spike do the whole 'ewww gross!' dance of wigginess. Complete with full body shudder.
"Cor! That's just...gross. What's next? Bloody melted cheese floating on top as if it were a bleedin' bowl of onion soup?"
They both shuddered at that thought.
"Look pet. If you really can't stand the taste of the cow's blood and you honestly know you won't be able to drink human blood, then the best thing for you to do would be to drink from me. S'not like I'd mind or anything...and me being the baby's father, it would be the best thing for him."
Xander blinked in shock, a little tendril of fear uncurling in his belly.
"Spike...I don't want to get turned...I'm just trying to do what Giles said to do. Besides, if you turned me, wouldn't that kill the baby too?"
Spike looked back at him, his face completely blank for a second. Then he blinked rapidly and shook his head. Xander silently wondered what that was all about.
"As lovely a vampire as you'd make, Xanpet...that's not what I meant. You won't turn if I don't drain you first. Drinking from me won't hurt you...and it won't hurt the baby either. And I know I taste better than any cow's blood."
Xander frowned in thought. The idea of drinking any blood was a wigginsy idea, but Giles insisted that it would help the baby be healthy. To be honest, he didn't think Spike's blood would really taste all that different...at least to him. Spike might be able to tell, but his vampire senses were sort of designed to be able to determine the smallest differences in blood...by taste. Humans didn't come with that nifty feature. And the fear of accidentally turning was real...but Spike wouldn't lie. Not about Xander's health and Xander knew that. So...
"How would I do that anyway? It's not like I have my own set of fangs that I can just bite you with."
Spike looked startled.
"You serious about this pet?"
Xander paused for a second, thinking through his options, before he nodded his head slowly.
"You sure this won't turn me or hurt the baby?"
"And it won't hurt you?"
"No pet. Won't hurt me at all."
Xander nodded his head more decisively.
"Then yeah. The worst that can happen then is that I still don't like the taste. Right?"
Spike stood up and smirked.
"Oh...I don't think that'll be a problem. In all my years, I've never heard of a human who didn't like the taste of vampire blood once they got some."
A sizzle of nerves and fear raced down Xander's spine at those words. He was just about to announce that he'd changed his mind when the blonde let go of one edge of the fleecy red blanket in order to reach out a hand to him. The blanket shifted to reveal silky pale flesh, the bright red a startling and exciting contrast. Xander let his eyes travel down from his husband's handsome face to his muscular chest, down to his lean waist and narrow hips to his thick penis which hung from it's nest of dark curls. And from there his eyes traveled over lean muscled legs that ended in small neat feet.
A hungry smile on his face and a stirring in his groin, Xander suddenly was interested in drinking something besides Spike's blood. His smile quickly turning into a leer, Xander reached out and grasped the hand extended to him.
"Come on pet. Let's take this discussion to the bedroom."
All thoughts of blood drinking wiped from his mind, Xander couldn't help but think that was the best idea he'd heard in a long time.
"Yeah, the bedroom..."
Spike chuckled low in his throat and turned, leading Xander out of the kitchen, through the living room and into their bedroom. Once there, the blonde vampire gently settled Xander on his back across the length of their bed. Xander reached out, ready to pull his lover against him, but Spike shifted out of the way. A pout forming on his lips at the unfairness of it, Spike just smiled mysteriously and knelt by his side.
With a wink, Spike shifted into gameface. Xander was confused. He had long since stopped being frightened by the sight of his husband with fangs, but he didn't understand why the blonde demon had brought them out. Then, with his newly elongated fingernails, Spike reached up to his own chest and sliced a line open right below his collarbone.
Xander watched, mesmerized as a thin line of blood welled up in the shallow cut. Droplets started to form into dark red beads, growing heavier as he stared.
Moving carefully, Spike shifted until he was stretched out along Xander's side. Then he reached out with one hand and gently cupped the back of Xander's head, urging him to lean over. To bring his mouth down to that cut.
At once curious and frightened, Xander leaned forward only to pause at the last second. He was fascinated...even as that very thought of drinking blood was repulsive to him. But he had to...for the baby if nothing else. And yet...the cow's blood had been horrible, what if this was the same?
Not wanting to take too much, in case it tasted disgusting, Xander slid his tongue out of his mouth and gently ran it along the length of the cut. Vaguely, Xander heard Spike moan softly, but he was too caught up in the explosion of taste across his tongue to really pay attention.
Spike's blood was like the cow's blood...yet not like it as well. It too, had a coppery taste and was thick and sweet, but that's where the similarities ended. There was something about the taste of Spike's blood that...called to him, whispered of things unknowable in a language older than time. It was...intoxicating.
Careful not to hurt his husband, Xander leaned down for more of the dark red blood. He pressed an open mouth kiss against Spike's cut flesh, laving it with his tongue, and then he sucked on it, pulling more of the thick liquid into his mouth.
There was a...darkness to the blood that was missing from the mug of cow's blood he had tried, and failed, to consume earlier. It was lush and rich, like fine brandy. Even though it was of a cool temperature, it burned him with a sudden warmth as it flowed down his throat and into his stomach.
Somewhere in the back of Xander's mind, a voice was shouting at him that he was drinking in the very essence of a demon, a creature of utter evil, but he also somehow knew that it was this very wickedness, this darkness which made Spike taste like an erotic slice of heaven, a debauched angel.
Xander sucked on the open flesh of his lover's body, pulling more of that darkness into himself, a true hunger for it burning through him like wildfire.
He was only vaguely aware that he was rocking and thrusting against Spike's body, his cock painfully hard in his boxer's. And Spike was also thrusting and pressing back against him, his own cock leaving a trail of wetness along Xander's thigh.
Once again, Xander ran his tongue along the length of the cut on Spike's chest. His husband moaned, louder this time. Then, before Xander even realized the vampire had moved, he had his boxers torn from his body and Spike was shifting them around so that their hardened lengths were pressed tightly together. Xander felt a cool hand wrap around both cocks tightly and begin pumping them in a steady rhythm.
Xander shuddered and moaned as sexual pleasure crashed through his body. He could feel his heart pounding behind his ribs and his cock throbbed against Spike's. Rich thick blood spilled across his tongue and he wasn't sure where the thought came from, but he acted on it instantly. With a low growl, Xander bit down on Spike's chest, tearing at the edges of the cut, opening it wider so that the blood ran more freely.
A large splash of erotic liquid evil poured into his mouth and down his throat even as Spike howled and trembled against him in orgasm. One last swallow of dark red blood and then Xander slammed into his own completion, throbbing and twitching in Spike's arms.
Gasping for breath, Xander could feel his hammering heart begin to calm as Spike began to purr in sated happiness. A lazy sense of contentment and safety lay over him and he slid his tongue out to lick at Spike's wound, nuzzling it gently.
After a long moment of cuddling, Spike's preternatural healing took over and the bleeding stopped even as his flesh began to repair itself. Smiling, Xander rested his head on his husband's chest, feeling the vibrations of his purring transmitting themselves to him. Finally, Spike spoke.
"Well luv...better than that nasty cow's blood?"
Xander grinned harder.
Xander's "pregger" hormones shift from "moody mode" to "morning sickness mode" and this causes Spike's paranoia to return full fledge. The Scoobies endure
"...so then I had to stand up in front of the entire lecture hall and give my speech. I'd worked real hard on it, you know that. You watched me do the research. Heck! You even let me practice reading it out loud for you. But then when I got up there in front of all those staring eyes and looked up at..."
A fledge suddenly jumped out from behind a tree in full gameface, snarling and clawing at the air. Xander didn't even let go of Spike's hand, nor did his husband even glance towards the young undead idiot. Instead, they took the opportunity of Buffy's minor distraction, and subsequent quiet, to share a quick kiss.
Out of the corner of his eye, Xander could see the slim blonde slayer spin and leap. Kick, kick, punch. Then he saw the flash of a stake. Breaking off the sweet kiss, Xander turned his head slightly and watched as Buffy slammed the pointed piece of wood into the vampire's chest. An expression of overwhelming shock flashed across it's face before it suddenly exploded into a billowing cloud of dust.
Brushing off her hands, a wide smile slowly melting into a slight frown, Buffy turned back to face him and his lover, one hand on her hip, the other waving the stake for emphasis.
"Where was I? Oh, yeah! The speech. So, anyway, I looked up to find Willow. She said to pretend that I was just reading it to her and ignore everyone else. That would've worked great, but this guy behind her kept bothering her! And then..."
Buffy trailed off and looked over at Xander, her face a mixture of confusion and concern.
"Xan are you okay? You look a little..."
Xander interrupted her question with a squeaked "Excuse me!" and then slammed one hand over his mouth and dashed off to the tree the fledge had been hiding behind. Once there, he leaned on it with one hand and puked up his guts all over its roots.
A slim tiny hand slowly rubbed soothing circles on his back. He was going to answer her, but then another shudder racked his body and his stomach clamped up tight. He gagged and choked, but there was literally nothing left in him to come back up.
"Shhh... It's almost over. Honest."
He heard water running and he glanced up to see Tara standing behind Willow. She was doing something in the bathroom sink. Suddenly, she turned and reached down and handed it, whatever it was, to Willow.
"Here. Th... this should help."
Willow tipped her head back and smiled up at her girlfriend and Tara grinned back sweetly. Xander was just absurdly glad that they were here and not Spike. When the bouts of nausea hit, the girls were both helpful, sympathetic and comforting. Spike tended to freak out and shift into super-duper overprotective mode.
Then Willow placed a cool wet washcloth against the back of his neck and all thought fled from his mind in favor of a major wave of relief. That felt so good. Willow then slowly used the cloth to wipe the sweat from his forehead and neck. All the while, her other hand kept up the soft gentle circles on his back.
Finally, he was feeling good enough to sit all the way up and flush the soiled water in the toilet away. He flashed the girls a shaky grin and then Tara leaned down and forward again. She handed him a glass of cool water.
"Here Xander. Do... do you want us to give you a... a few minutes? To clean up, I mean."
He nodded at her and slowly began to push himself up off of the tile floor.
"Yeah. That would be great. Oh... and thanks guys. I appreciate you, you know, being here for me and all."
Willow flashed him her biggest smile and gave him a gentle hug.
"Oh Xander, we enjoy being here for you. Even the un-fun parts. That's what friends are for!"
Tara stood quietly and nodded her agreement with what Willow said and Xander felt a bit better just by knowing that they were there for him. Then he had another thought.
"Um... could you guys, uh... sorta not mention this to Spike when he gets back? You know he'll just freak and then make me go to bed. Not that I'm tired, that's not the point. It's just his solution to any human illness, I guess."
Twin sly smiles greeted his statement and he wondered how long he would have before Spike realized they were hiding something and then badgered it out of them.
Xander could hardly believe it. No, that wasn't true. He could believe it. Easily. He just never wanted to actually see it. Spike was turning into a true "fuss-budget".
This recent habit of his to get nauseous at the drop of a hat had the bleached vampire extremely upset. He knew that, but there wasn't much he could do about it. He couldn't even hide it. Spike could hear him gagging even when there was nothing to come up, so he couldn't pass it off as a belch.
Once it became obvious that Xander's "stomach thing" wasn't going away and wasn't just a spot of the flu, Spike had bugged Willow about it and she had mentioned the term "Morning Sickness". So, Spike had delved into research about the phenomenum. Xander had come to the conclusion that it must have been an idiot that coined that phrase... he was sick all day, not just in the morning.
The vampire on the other hand, was totally enthralled with the concept. He had bought books at the bookstore, subscribed to a weekly magazine on pregnancy and had set the witches and the ex-watcher to looking up all references to W'amphrii in the Watcher's Journals.
So far, Xander had been subjected to Spike's experimentation with foods and drinks. The bleached blonde vampire wanted to find out just what he could eat without getting sick, so at first, he had been willing. But now? He didn't think he'd ever be able to look another cracker in the face again.
Now here was his husband, fresh from the store with three loaves of bread and a dozen different jellies and preservatives. But no crackers. So this was a good thing... at least he hoped it was.
"Hello pet! I've been thinking."
Xander groaned inwardly. It was rarely a good thing when Spike was thinking. Even his good intentions tended towards evil end results. Xander figured it was an undead thing.
Confusion washed over him and he realized that he must have missed something somewhere. And Spike was grinning at him like the cat that ate the canary... and liked it.
"What? Toast what?"
Bright blue eyes rolled up to the ceiling in fond exasperation.
"Toast for you to eat luv. Since crackers didn't work, I figured that we could see how the toast stays down. I got different toppings because I wasn't sure which ones you liked."
Xander had been able to surpress the shudder at the word "crackers" but it didn't take him very long to realize that Spike was planning on forever ruining toast for him as well. He had horrifying visions of toast and jam for every meal for a week. Toast lightly browned with strawberry preserves for breakfast, followed by dark toast with orange marmalade for lunch. And only the Hellmouth knows how Spike could turn toast into a dinner.
The beginnings of panic began to well up in him and he glanced desperately around the apartment looking for an avenue of escape.
Xander sat down for lunch break with his coworkers. A whole long line of big sweaty sawdust coated men sitting on the edge of what would eventually be the living room floor of a new residential house, their legs all hanging out through the framing. They had half an hour to eat, rest and use the restrooms before they had to go back on the clock. It was the most popular part of the day.
Barry had a thermos full of chicken noodle soup. Tom had half a turkey grinder. Steve had two slices of cold pizza. Ralph had what looked like last night's roastbeef dinner sliced onto a sourdough roll like a sandwich. Tony had a bologna and cheese sandwich and a banana. Martin, the lucky shit, had take out from the local Chinese restaurant that his girlfriend had dropped off only minutes ago.
With a sigh, Xander took out his bottle of chilled water and his two slices of cold toast.
Life was sooo unfair.
Hormonal Overload 2
Xander finally lets Spike know how he feels about his overprotectiveness. Tempers fly.
"Oh my gosh... What happened? I thought you were supposed to take Tara out to Chez Paris for a candlelit dinner to celebrate your coupleness?"
~We were all ready. The reservations were in place and everything. We were both all dressed up in our best outfits. Tara looked so beautiful, let me tell you.~
"I'm sure that she did, Wills. You've got excellent taste in women."
~Yeah, I know, but thank you anyway. I took a picture of her in her dress, I'll show it to you once it's developed. Anyway, we were heading down town, just walking hand in hand and not bothering anyone when suddenly...~
"Um, hold on a minute Wills."
Xander turned to look up into the bright blue eyes of his lover. The bleached blonde vampire was frowning slightly and a tiny wrinkle creased his forehead between his eyes. Xander recognized the expression as the one that means 'I'm worried about you and am in the mood to fuss about'. Internally, Xander groaned.
"What Spike? I'm talking to Willow on the phone here."
The vampire blinked at him and opened his mouth to speak, but then his jaws clicked shut and he shook his head. He made as if to walk away. Xander stopped him with a hand on his arm.
"What? Come on, Spike. Give. Something's bothering you."
His husband made as if to make a nasty retort, Xander could see it hovering just on the tip of his tongue, but then the vampire blinked and his expression softened.
"I was just wondering how you felt. You know, if your stomach was bothering you. I could make you some toast."
Xander tried not to blanch at the thought of eating any more toast.
"No! Uh... I mean, no thank you. I'm fine."
Xander watched for a moment as Spike grinned slightly and then turned to walk away. His lover walked back into the living room and sat down on the couch. As the blonde vampire turned on the television and began flipping through the channels, Xander turned his attention back to the phone.
"Sorry about that Wills. Spike was just wondering if that... uh, morning sickness stuff was bothering me again."
~No problem Xan. Uh... is it? Bothering you, I mean.~
"Nope. Not at all. Now... you were telling me about the Date That Was Eaten By The Hellmouth and how you and Tara survived it."
~Right. So, there we were, walking down the street. It was actually a nice walk up till that point. I mean, no demons or vampy-vamps in sight. The weather was perfect. Warm and clear with bright shining stars. And Tara was wonderful. It was the best. Then, we turned down onto Ashford Street. We figured that we would take that way as a short cut to Madison Avenue.~
"Makes perfect sense. It's faster than going all the way down to Prospect Drive. Sure, Prospect is more residential with street lights and all, whereas Ashford is all offices that would be closed at that time of night. Still, it's a lot faster. Direct route."
~Exactly what we were thinking. So, we turned down Ashford Street. We made it all the way to that Car Insurance place, you know? Where the narrow footpath runs between it and the Dry Cleaners?~
"Yeah. I know exactly where you're talking about. I've used that dry cleaners before. Mr. Wong runs it. He's excellent at getting out blood stains and demon goo. And he never asks any embarrassing questions, either."
~Well, that footpath between the two building leads to the delivery area in the back. We had just walked past it when...~
"Hold on another minute Wills."
Xander turned exasperated eyes over to his lover. The blonde vampire was standing there quietly and calmly, patiently waiting on Xander's attention. Well, he was acting patient as long as you ignored the fact that he was tapping Xander on the shoulder.
The vampire flashed him the 'concerned and fussy' look again as he made a vague gesture towards the open windows.
"Are you sure you're not too cold? I can close the windows, you know. I mean, I wouldn't want you to get a draft and then be sick."
Xander bit back the urge to snap at Spike that he wasn't cold, that what he was was talking on the phone. Instead, he took in a deep breath and reminded himself that as a member of the undead, Spike didn't feel temperature in the same way he did and as such, he didn't know if it really was warm or cold. What's more, the vampire was truly worried about Xander's health and the health of the baby.
"No, Spike. I'm fine. Not cold at all. I'm just... fine. Thanks."
The blonde vampire blinked once, twice and looked as if he were going to argue the point. Then he nodded his head, smiled sweetly and shuffled back off into the living room.
With a soft sigh, Xander lifted the phone back up to his ear again.
"Wills? Sorry about that. It was the bleached worrywart again."
~Xan! Be nice. He can't help it if he worries about you.~
"I know. Honest, I do. It's just... I'm fine. If there was a problem, I'd call him. He doesn't have to nag, you know?"
~Yeah, I do. But he can't help himself.~
"True. Anyway, enough about that. Tell me what happened after you and Tara walked passed the alleyway."
~Oh! So, we walked passed the footpath smiling and talking quietly. There was no one else on Ashford Street but us. So, it was really very quiet. That's when we heard it. This 'scree-scree' sound. It was all distorted from the echoes bouncing off the building, so we didn't know which direction it was coming from. Just this high pitched 'scree-scree' sound. Very strange and very wiggy.~
"It would sure give me the wiggins. So, did it sound like anything we've run across before?"
~No. Nothing I'd ever run across before. I wasn't sure what it was and Tara didn't know either. So we were looking all around, trying to figure out where the sound was coming from. I had my back to the footpath when all of a sudden..."
"Hold on Willow."
Xander turned to face Spike, a glare firmly fixed on his face.
His husband stepped back in confusion at the harsh tone, but he shook it off quickly.
"I was just wondering if you were thirsty. The book says that it's good for humans to keep hydrated with lots of liquids whenever they suffer from regurgitation or diarrhea."
For a brief moment Xander wondered what he'd ever done to deserve this punishment, and then he remembered. He'd cheated on Anya... with Spike. He'd made whoopee on his bed and now he had to suffer for it.
"Thank you for that news update Dr. Spike, but I'm not thirsty. If I was, I'd have asked for a glass of juice or water or something. But I'm not. So please just let me talk to Wills, okay?"
The blonde's face flashed an expression of hurt innocence as he stiffened up and stomped his feet into the living room. Xander felt a small pang of guilt, but he ruthlessly pushed it aside. He wasn't the one in the wrong here. Taking a deep sigh to relax his throat muscles so that he wouldn't end up growling at Willow, Xander brought the phone back up to his ear.
"Sorry about that Wills."
~It's okay. He's... um, how do I put this?...~
"A paranoid nag masquerading as a blonde undead demon?"
~Xan! ::giggles:: That's not nice! He means well. It's just...~
~Well, yeah... but he's a hottie!~
Xander chuckled and felt his irritation melt away again.
"That he is. Anyway, let's get back to the oogity-boogity in the alley that was making the wiggy noises at you and T."
~Oh! Oh, yeah! Well, I was looking in the other direction when suddenly Tara lets out this loud shriek and points behind me. Let me tell you, that is not how I was hoping our date would go. So I spun around to see what it was and it was so ugly. I'm talking tall, spindly legs and this sickly yellow skin. It was hard to tell in the dark, but it seemed sort of flaky... or maybe scaly.~
Xander made a disgusted noise in his throat.
"That sounds nasty. Yellow scales? Ewww... give me creamy smooth pale skin every time."
~Let's leave your kinks out of this, okay?~
Xander snorted and laughed.
"No problem. Sorry about that. Didn't mean to give you any naked mental images there, Wills."
~Ugh! Stop! Think tall yellowy demons. That smell rotten. Did I tell you about the stink? It was bad. Worse than the City Dump after a rain shower bad. I'm talking worse than your old gym socks used to get type of bad.~
"Um, Wills? Can we not go there?"
Willow laughed again.
~No problem. This is me, not going there. So, anyway. As soon as I got a look at this...thing, I let out a good scream too. There we were, two of the strongest witches on the Hellmouth, screaming our heads off like a couple of girls.~
"Hate to break it to you Wills, but you and Tara are a couple of girls. Of course, you're also girls who happen to be a couple, but that's besides the point and... I'll be quiet now."
~Oh, you! The weird thing is, I think that our voices must have given it a headache or something because it grabbed it's head and flinched back. Unfortunately, it slinked back against a trashbin and then threw the lid at us, but...~
"Hold up Wills. I think I'm gonna have to call you back to get the rest of the story. Spike has another question and I think that it's time that he and I had a little talk."
~Um... ah... okay. I,... I'll talk to you later, I guess.~
"Thanks Wills. Bye."
Xander carefully hung up the phone. He made sure that he placed the receiver gently on it's cradle since he didn't want to slam it down on Willow's ear even though he felt the need to make a lot of angry sounds right about now.
Once the phone was put away, he turned to face Spike and glared at the bleached blonde demon. Spike was looking at him with a bit of concern, a bit of confusion and a lot of enthusiasm. Somehow, that didn't make Xander feel any better. In fact, it just served to stoke the fires of his anger.
Jumping up out of his chair, Xander paced back and forth in front of it. Spike seemed even more confused.
"Pet? What's wrong? Are you okay? Are you sick? Is it the baby?"
Xander spun around and held up both hands palm out.
"Stop! Please just Shut! The! Fuck! Up!"
Xander began to pace again, this time complete with his arms waving wildly in the air.
"Spike! I can't take this any more. You have got to back off and give me some fucking breathing room! NO! I am not sick! NO! I do not need you to get me anything to eat or to drink! And most of all, NO! I do not need you to nag me every five goddamned minutes."
Xander stopped pacing and began to advance on Spike. His pointer finger on his right hand popped up and out and he used it ruthlessly to poke Spike in the chest to emphasize his points.
"You are a paranoid nag! I have not turned into a fragile piece of glass that is ready to splinter into a billion pieces. I'm the same stupid idiot that has spent the last several years getting thrown into solid walls by a variety of demons and then going back for more of the same. I am perfectly capable of announcing that I'm hungry, thirsty or cold! I'm also perfectly capable of fixing it if I become hungry, thirsty or cold and if I can't do it myself, then you will be the first one to know."
Spike's face began to take on undertones of panic.
"But Xan, I..."
Xander cut him off.
"No! I don't want to hear it Spike! I've had it! I'm tired of being carted off to bed and being tucked in without getting any sex just because you are freaked out that I'm going to break. I'm tired of not being allowed to eat anything but toast around you. I eat lots of other stuff except when you're there to rip it out of my hands. I want chocolate dammit!"
"No! I want chocolate and I want to be able to talk on the phone with Willow without being interrupted a million times about stupid little shit!"
Xander glared at his husband for a long moment, so angry that his whole body was shaking with the need to just explode. But he squashed that feeling down and clenched his jaw tight. Spinning on his heel, he stormed off towards the front door.
"I'll be at Willow's. Think about what I said Spike."
Without waiting for an answer, Xander yanked open the door and walked out, only pausing long enough to slam it closed behind him.
Xander walked quietly through the brightly lit hallway in his apartment building, his eyes heavy with the need for sleep and his mouth set in a grim line of worry. It was a lot later than he wished, but it had taken a long time for Willow and Tara to help him calm down and then the girls had told him all about the demon from the Dry Cleaners. After that, they had headed off to the Magic Box to do some research on it, but they hadn't been able to find anything. Now... now Xander had to face Spike.
In hind sight, once he'd calmed down again, Xander had realized that he had way over reacted. Tara had suggested that his moodiness was due to a swing in his hormones, but that didn't make Xander feel any better. It didn't erase the fact that he had basically screamed in Spike's face for being a caring and sensitive spouse. It didn't erase the fact that he, Xander, was a world class shit-head.
And he wasn't exactly put at ease when Buffy had so helpfully pointed out that due to Anya's curse, Spike wouldn't be able to just walk away. He'd be forced to stay and be obsessive compulsive until Xander was "happy" again. Thanks to Xander's ex-girlfriend, Spike truly was 'love's bitch'.
And Xander was pregnant with his unborn child.
With a sigh of resignation, Xander slid his key into the lock and turned it. Taking a deep breath to brace himself for whatever lay inside, he turned the knob and let himself in.
He hadn't been sure what to expect, to be honest, however a dimly lit living room with no Spike in it wasn't it. A frown of confusion forming on his face, Xander closed the door and relocked it. Then he wandered deeper into the apartment. That's when he saw it. There on the dinning room table were two brightly wrapped packages. The paper on them was Star Wars Episode I and the bigger one had a large gold bow stuck on top. The smaller one had a card tucked under it. Xander, shifted the card a bit and saw his name sprawled across it in Spike's spidery handwriting.
With a sad little smile sliding across his face, Xander opened the envelope and pulled out the card. There was a picture of a big-eyed puppy huddled in an oversized doghouse on the front. Flipping it open, Xander read what Spike had written inside.
Guess I'm really in the doghouse this time. Didn't mean to upset you, pet. Honest. I'm not real good at all these mushy-gushy feelings and this whole relationship thing. Was a lot different with Dru and I'm still learning.
I didn't mean to keep you from talking to Red, I was just trying to offer to help figure out what kind of demon set upon her and her blonde witch. If you want, just tell Red to contact me and I'll help out.
Since you're mad and all, I figured that I'd sleep in the tub. Enjoy your pressies.
Xander suddenly felt all kinds of low and rotten. Like a turd. Or possibly a slug. Something yucky and disgusting that you wouldn't want to soil your shoes on at any rate.
His heart feeling like a lump of lead in his chest, Xander picked up his first "I'm sorry" gift and slowly peeled the wrapping paper off of it. When the box came into view, he saw that it was a new telephone. One with a 'loud speaker' feature on it as well as a three-way conference call feature.
The guilt twisted inside of him.
Then, pushing it aside, Xander reached for the smaller box. He peeled the paper back and when that box came into view, he saw that it was full of assorted chocolates. Milk chocolate. Dark chocolate. Cream filled and nut filled. The good stuff.
Xander's guilt blossomed even larger in his chest until it was almost painful.
Placing the chocolate back on the table, Xander grabbed the wrapping paper and balled it up. He tossed it into the trash and then headed directly for the bathroom. Taking a deep breath, he knocked once and then opened the door. His husband was curled up in the bathtub with a pillow and the fleecy red blanket. He looked adorable in a sad and pathetic sort of way. Feeling even lower than a slug, Xander stepped over to the tub and squatted down next to it.
He reached out and ran one hand gently through the vampire's blonde hair. One blue eye popped open and peered out at him.
"Spike? I'm sorry. I... I shouldn't have yelled at you like that and I definately shouldn't have stormed off like a little kid having a hissy-fit. I should have just sat down and told you how I feel like a mature adult. I'm so sorry for being a shit."
Spike sat up and shifted around so that he was facing Xander. He seemed upset and worried and slightly confused.
"No. You were right. I was being a bit of a cow, wasn't I? But it's not easy. I worry. I mean, what do I know about taking care of a human? Know how to break 'em into little pieces is what I know, not how to care for 'em and feed 'em. I get so worried about doing something wrong and then I bollicks the works anyhow."
Xander sighed and shook his head.
"Spike, your heart's in the right place. I know that. You just have to trust me that I know how to take care of myself. And if I don't, we'll figure it out together. Okay?"
Spike looked up at him, a questioning expression on his face. Then, after a long moment, he nodded his head. Xander felt a wave of relief wash through him.
"Come on, Spike. Get out of the tub and come to bed. I'm sleepy and I don't want to have to try and fall asleep without you there."
Uncertainty flickered across Spike's face.
"You sure, pet?"
Xander smiled softly at him.
"Yeah, I'm sure. I mean, just because we had an argument doesn't mean I don't want you to sleep in bed with me. I love you, you idiot."
Spike's smile was like the sun coming out.
"Love you too, Xan."
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