Second in the Fatal Promt!Verse

Fandom: BTVS; Spike/Xander
Prompt: Arcade
Warnings: Slashy, Slightly AU – Takes place post season 4
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Xander's searching for something in an condemed building in the middle of the night. Does he know what he's looking for and he will know it when he finds it?
Author's Notes: Sort of a sequel to Proof Necessary.



Magna-Save


by
StillRose

Xander stared at the boarded up windows, the graffiti pocked walls and the burned out sign of Tilt Arcade. The arcade was another victim of Sunnydale. Tilt had been dead for years but in the morning it would be finally laid to rest. Ironically, Xander would be one of those to dismember and bury it.

Memories of a different time haunted Xander. He could remember when the place had been full of lights, sounds, coins and sugar crazed pre-teens. The place was alive and it was the first test of boundaries. It was the first place to go without your parents present. It was the first place to hangout until you snuck home just a few minutes before or after curfew. It was Mountain Dew, high scores, and "oh my god when did Cordelia start wearing bras!?"

Xander smiled as he crossed the street; careful to avoid stepping too close to the night thickened shadows. He dug in his pocket for the key he'd been given. Xander had called in a favor and at the last moment it had come through. Oh yeah, experienced Scooby here walking into an abandoned build...abandoned condemned building, Xander thought,  in the middle of the night.

The key slid easily into the lock and then was reluctant to turn. Xander fought with the lock and the door while he silently acknowledged the stupidity of what he was doing but none-the-less needing to do it anyway. Just a little more noise Xan-man I'm sure the creepy crawlies haven't been alerted yet.

Finally the lock gave way and Xander opened the door. He fished out a flashlight from his pocket and stepped into the old arcade. Xander smiled.

"Who da man?" Jesse had hollered as he edged out Jonathon’s high score on Street Fighter 2.

"You da man," Xander had replied before turning to Jonathon, "and you so are da LOOOSER."

"Fine," Jonathon had muttered as he shuffled away the machine blaring a familiar and repetitive Adam's Family tune, "but I can still kick your ass at pinball."

Xander closed the door and walked further into the building. Rationally he knew he should have brought back-up with him but this was his and Jesse's place. We came here to be men; Xander proudly remembered their pre-pubescent pride. This is where we were going to score and we did!  Xander laughed. Just it was always at skeetball or X-men.

This was Xander's only chance to say goodbye. Xander needed a chance to say goodbye properly and to make peace with the passing of the old haunt.  He couldn't do it when he was swinging a wrecking ball through the walls.

I know what it's like to live without that chance, he bitterly thought. Xander swept his flash light around. He didn’t know what he was looking for but he needed something from this place.

There were odds and ends of broken furniture, shattered glass, paper and dust. There's always dust, Xander's thoughts were again bitter. Still Xander moved forward continuing his search.

A noise behind him alerted Xander to the door being opened. Quickly Xander spun around and fumbled for the stake in his back pocket.

"Oi! Get that thing outta my face!" a familiar voice snarled as Xander's flashlight beam pinned Spike squarely in the eyes.

"Spike!" Xander said as he lowered the flashlight just a little. "What are you doing here, fangless?"

"Creature of the night. Abandoned building," Spike explained as he closed the door behind him and walked over to Xander. "Question is prat, what are you doing here?"

"Uh, last minute building inspection," Xander lied.

"Right whelp, cuz inspections are always done in the dark with a mag lite?"

Spike was right up in Xander's personal space now. For a moment Xander recalled the dream he had had about Spike the night Anya left him. Ok, so not thinking about the wrong...the freaky wrong...dream starring Spike, Little Xander, and Little Xander's loyal sidekicks, the human internally panicked.

"Go home, witless wonder," Xander snapped in his desire to get rid of Spike and his dreamy memories of Spike.

Spike searched through his duster pockets for a bit and then pulled out a cigarette and lighter.  Spike pinched the cigarette between his lips and brought the lighter to his face. Briefly there was a flame which added more light and shadows between the two men. Spike inhaled and then exhaled smoke into Xander's face.

"Know what makes a good demon magnet?" Spike asked as Xander coughed and sputtered. "Stupidity. And you have got it in spades, Harris."

"Then you," Xander coughed in reply, "should be on the cover of Demon Quarterly."

Spike suppressed an urge to laugh. His boy never failed to entertain him. Still, wouldn't be good to let him see it, Spike thought.  Not at least until he's been thoroughly claimed and mastered. Spike liked his pets cheeky but within reason.

"Xander," Spike sneered, "one of these days a little piece a hardware may no longer be an issue between you and I. I'd be more careful of what words you will have ta pay for and eat."

"And when that day comes, oh big bad blond blowhard," Xander sneered right back at Spike ignoring the gold flecks in the vampire's eyes, "Buffy will be there to kick your ass."

Briefly Spike shifted into game face to hide his smile. Oh pet, Spike thought, you are a handful and you are all MINE, whether you know it or not!

Xander instinctively stepped back from Spike upon seeing the demon side of the vampire. Sunnydale instincts were survivor instincts. Then Xander remembered who he was dealing with and sighed. I really am so not up to this tonight, Xander thought. I just wanted to say goodbye to the Tilt, to younger days....to Jesse.

"Spike," Xander said quietly, "What's it going to take to get you to leave me alone?"

Spike studied his boy. The kinetic energy he associated and enjoyed about Xander seemed to suddenly evaporate. Something's not right. 

"Well," Spike moving back from Xander to give his boy a little more space. "I could use a little dosh...."

Xander began to reach for his wallet and dropped the stake in the process.

Spike held up his hand, "...but I don't think that's the point here"

"What?" Xander said wallet in hand.

"Well what would the Slayer say if I left her dougnut boy behind to be eaten or worse?" Spike asked remembering how he'd found his pet nearly the star of a Kaga wedding celebration.

Spike had given them an alternative offering other than Xander's entrails and bits. Spike smiled. He'd achieved several things that night a) saved his boy b) established his claim on the boy throughout the demon world, Kaga demons being the bloody gossips they were and c) got away with tossing his boy off good and proper while his boy thought it was all just a dream.

Xander groaned. The mooching menace has a point, he silently acknowledged.

"Ok, but just be quiet and let me do what I came here to do," Xander conceded.

Spike nodded. Xander studied Spike for a few moments who just returned Xander's stare and continued to smoke. Satisfied the vampire was settled for the moment Xander once again resumed his back and forth sweep with the flash light.

What's the daftie doing know? Spike wondered. He continued to watch Xander and his erratic sweep of the room. 

"Oi," Spike finally said unwilling to watch the bizzare behavior anymore, "What are you doing?"

"Looking for something," Xander muttered.

"For what?"

"I don't know."

Why is it I always go for the barmy ones? Spike thought as he threw down and crushed his cigarette butt.

"If you don't know what you’re searchin' for than how will you know when you find it, pet?" Spike asked quietly.

Pet? Did he just call me "pet?"  Xander paused his search stunned for a moment. Ok, not going to think about that either.

"Thought I asked you to be quiet?"

"Well if you’ve gone around the bend then what you say doesn't count does it?"

Xander looked at Spike. "What kind of logic is that?"

"Voice of experience, mate," Spike smiled.

Xander rolled his eyes.

"I'm not Dru and I'm not crazy," Xander replied.

"Then what are you doing, Xander?"

Perhaps it was the fact Spike used his name or perhaps it was just that it was in the middle of the night, Xander was tired, nostalgic and maybe under torture he might admit to being lonely but it suddenly didn't matter whether or not Spike knew what he was doing.

"I'm looking for a souvenir I guess."

"A souvenir?" Spike looked around trying to figure out what Xander could want to remember about this place.

"This used to be an arcade where my best friend Jesse and I hung when we were kids," Xander explained.

"Thought Red was your best mate," Spike said.

"Well she is and was," Xander continued, "but there was also Jesse. Willow, Jess and I were all buds but sometimes you know it was just Jess and me. And this was our place and tomorrow it gets torn down."

"I take it this Jesse isn't here anymore," Spike gently prodded.

"No," Xander choked. "He was vamped the first year Buffy came to town."

A green fire raced through Spike and he found himself moving to crowd Xander's personal space again. Xander's best mate was a vampire? Spike thought. Does he think he's going to lay claim to him? Did Xan come here to meet him? I will rip this Jesse’s bleedin head from his shoulders if he even thinks of laying a hand on my pet!

"You think this Jesse will show up here?" Spike asked in a deceptively calm tone. Xander wasn't fooled and once again instinctively backed up. What's wrong with Spike now?

"No, I accidentally dusted him," Xander spit out.

Spike blinked. He didn't know whether to laugh or to console the boy. He was pretty sure neither response would be welcome.

"That's pretty...," Spike struggled for the right words, "…pathetic, pet."

Ouch! Both men internally winced.

"Yeah, that's my life, Spike," Xander said.

"So you want a souvenir of this place....?"

"Look all that remained of Jesse was dust and tomorrow this place will be dust. I just want something...," Xander was now the one to struggle for words. "I just want something to hold on to."

Hold on to me, pet, Spike silently urged as he watched Xander fight back tears of loss and frustration. Hold on to me.

"Well then, let's have a looksie, shall we?" Spike said as he began to move around the room like the predator he was on a hunt.

Spike slid into game face. His night vision was better when he wore his demon visage. Like Xander, he didn't know what he was looking for, but Spike knew the value of sentiment and the greatest mementos were often the smallest and inconsequential of things; a scrap of lace, a torn ticket stub, or the duster off a dead Slayer.

Spike could hear Xander moving about the room as well.  Did the rest of the Scoobies know just how much hurt the boy carried inside? It frustrated Spike sometimes watching Xander and his friends. I'm a bleedin' demon and I see it! Spike thought. Why can't they?

Then Spike did see it! Well it being the perfect memento; it was a bit of glint between two floorboards. Spike bent down and pried at the boards until he worked the object loose.

"Spike," Xander called hearing the noise.

"Think I got sumthin'," Spike answered as he palmed the small object and stood up. Quickly, Xander was right there next to him shining his light down trying to see.

"What is it?"

"Hold out your hand," Spike said.

"What?"

"Hold. Out. Your. Hand."

Xander looked at Spike, sighed and then did as he was told.

Spike smiled and dropped the little treasure into Xander's palm.

"It's a token, Xander," Spike said.

Xander shined his light on his palm and saw the old token. It was stamped "Tilt Arcade." How many of these did we get when we were kids, Jess? Xander silently wondered. How many hours of fun did this buy?

Xander looked up at Spike. Once again Spike noticed tears shimmering in his boy's expressive brown eyes.

"This is....," Xander started, "Thank you, Spike."

Spike wanted his boy. He wanted this tender human who could snark, defy him and then could understand the simple treasures of the world. Spike wanted a token of his own to mark this moment; the moment where Xander had first looked at him with such openness and gratitude. However, now was not the time to claim his boy, but someday when Spike did, he vowed to make a habit of getting Xander to look at him like that.

"Now," Spike said, "about that dosh?"

Xander rolled his eyes. Shoulda figured, Xander thought. He doesn't do anything without a reason.

"You never change do you, Spike?"

"Never, pet."

"Let's get outta here," Xander sighed as he turned to leave. Spike was right behind him; all the way home.


Definition of Magna-save: A feature in pinball that allows the player to activate a magnet located just below the entrance to an outlane. A ball headed for the outlane (which will cause the loss of the ball) will be held by the magnet and diverted to the corresponding inlane instead; keeping the ball in play.


The End




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