For all those so far who said that Ars made them cry.
Eine Kleine SchmoopMusik
"Ow. Watch it."
"Stop squirming, then. You're like a bloody ferret."
"Because you're bony. Could you--ow! Eye!"
"Christ, you're a whiner." Spike used the back of his wrist to wipe the soap off Xander's face. "Time was, a man stood a shampooing without all this namby-pambying."
"Time was, a man could use a loofa without anyone losing skin." Xander paused. "Okay, not this much skin."
"I was going to say." Spike pressed the pads of his thumbs gently into Xander's neck. "Happy now?"
"Happy," Spike repeated quietly, smirking. He leaned forward and kissed Xander's temple. The bath water lurched and slopped. Xander turned the hot water on with his toe, just a trickle. The steam rose up like a genie.
"She should write this all the time," Spike murmured, leaning back and letting his head fall against the edge of the tub. "Stupid bint. Don't know why she's always making us grovel like that."
"Issues. She's got issues."
"Well she can bloody have them somewhere else."
"Moved and seconded."
"Course, this isn't really going anywhere."
"It needs to go?"
There was a pause. The tap whined and started to choke; Xander knocked it up a knotch with his foot. Spike's hand ran idly through the soapy peaks of his hair.
"Nah," he said at last, and settled a little deeper in the bath. "This is just fine, right here."
Back in Black
Written for luvsbitch, who needs more happy.
Xander paused and looked around. "If you crack me with that thing, you're going to be wearing your teeth as a charm bracelet."
Spike continued to twist the wet towel, nodding thoughtfully.
"I'm serious. You're on the threshold of a world of pain, Spike."
Spike bent the towel between his hands, testing the give.
Pause. The tap dripped. Without breaking Spike's gaze, Xander dropped a hand and felt around for his belt. Spike smiled, exposing a hint of fang.
"You think that's going to discourage me?"
"I think it's going to sting."
"Just being honest, pet."
Xander stood there a minute longer, then dropped the belt in disgust. "That's a seriously unfair disadvantage, Spike."
"You actually like--"
Spike's hand blurred, and there was a crack. Xander jumped, a hand to the pink star on his ribs. "Ow! Jesus!"
Spike grinned, and there was another crack.
"Fuck! Stop that!"
Spike was winding the towel again, and Xander lunged forward. The wall came up hard behind them, and Xander got a knee in Spike's thigh, then started prying his fingers from the towel. Spike was laughing, letting him get one or two off and then clamping down with the others.
"God damn it, Spike--"
"What?" Innocent tone, blue eyes. A guy with blue eyes thought he could get away with anything.
Then Spike leaned forward, still laughing, and kissed him gently on the lips. And he could. Get away with it. The bastard.
And with that, adieu.
For marguerite_26, so that she might not commit suicide as a result of AM.
"I was thinking."
There was a metallic cracking sound, and Spike muttered "Fuck." Xander toed his boot.
"Well, send in a rag while you're at it."
Xander fished in the toolbox and came up with the remains of the flaming skull T-shirt. He put it in Spike's hand and went back to the map.
"What about South America?"
There was a pause, while Spike bashed something metal. "Where?"
"Heard you. Where?"
Xander traced a highway with his finger and flipped a page. "Chile? Penguins. Wine. Possibly simultaneously."
The rag came flying out from under the car and landed on the toe of his shoe. Spike was screwing something back into place, by the sound of it. Or taking more stuff off. There was quite a collection of parts around his boots by now, most of them rust-eaten and surly-looking.
"So?" Xander waited, then kicked Spike's sole a little harder. "Tierra del Fuego? Patagonia?"
"Nah," Spike said. Xander waited, watching while Spike's greasy left hand groped for a part. Hard to say which one.
"That's it? You're exercising veto without explanation?" Xander peered into the toolbox, and picked out a drill chuck. "You don't want to know what I can do with this."
Spike's hand grazed over a pair of screws carefully upended, fingered them, and made them disappear. "Guanacos. Look like llamas. Nasty fucking things, break both your knees as soon as look at you."
Xander palmed the chuck and sat for a minute, watching Spike's feet. Then he reached out carefully and took hold of Spike's jeans.
"Llamas," he said, and tugged gently. Spike kicked, but not enough to free himself. "Watch your face, dipshit."
"Oh, that's nice." But he was smiling, carbon and grease on his forehead, one earlobe blackened, grinning like a highwayman. Xander pulled him the rest of the way out from under the car and frowned at him.
Spike regarded him, a thousand options flicking past at warp nine. The smile widened. He looked at the drill chuck in Xander's hand, took it, studied it, and set it down next to the air filter. "For starters?"
"Ever been to Canada?"
There was a cool dirty hand sliding up the inside of his leg. Canada. Xander sighed. "I can't believe you vetoed penguins."
Final Epilogue-Type Shmoop
Actually final epilogue-type shmoop for eliade, because she's been so kind about them so far and because I spooked her earlier today. Ah, sorry about that.
Xander glanced up, then quickly back down into his glass. He was drinking hot rum with lemon on account of his cold, which was quite possibly the best thing he'd ever drunk, and if he could smell it through the concrete in his sinuses he was pretty sure he'd love it even more. Marry me, Captain Morgan. Make me your pirate bride.
"Hey." A hard finger stabbed his shoulder and he winced and looked up again. The guy was big and ugly, with a sloping forehead and a Billy Ray mullet. "Blood blister. I'm talking to you."
"Yeah." He was too tired even to do anything with the mullet, which surprised him for a moment. This thing was knocking him for a serious loop. He could imagine putting his head down on the bar, in the sticky glass-bottom circles and salt, and drifting off. Huey Lewis and the News was on the jukebox. That was fine music to die to.
The guy stared at him a second or two, while a thought stumbled unaccompanied through the strip mall behind his eyes. Xander blinked wearily and glanced in the mirror behind the bar. Of course. He was alone there, except for the Luftmensch demon drinking a strawberry daquiri three seats down. Not even the bartender showed up, swabbing glasses with a questionable rag up by the till. According to the mirror, the place was dead. Well, yeah.
"You know where you are, ground round?" The guy stepped closer, so his chest was up against Xander's forearm. Xander moved his arm.
"Friend," he said, closing his eyes and putting one hand over them, "Please. I beg you. Don't start this."
"Too late. You know what carnecitas are, dude?"
"I'm on my knees here. I just want to go--"
"You're gonna be on your knees." Well, he'd asked for that. He opened his eyes and started to try to reformulate, but the guy was already grabbing his shirt collar and hauling him to his feet. Everyone else had moved away a few seats, he noticed.
A hand came over his shoulder and settled on Mullet's. It wasn't a hard grip; it almost looked friendly.
"You're bothering my friend," Spike said. He was still sitting on the stool beside Xander's--he hadn't even stood up yet. Mullet craned his neck and sneered in disbelief.
"Who the fuck are you?"
"I'm the guy," Spike said calmly, "who's breaking your hand." And there was nothing like following up a statement like that with a few popcorny noises from someone else's knuckles.
The guy's face melted like wax and he yanked his hand away with a bellow. Spike let him do it, and dropped his own hand onto the back of Xander's neck, palm flat against his skin.
"You're hot," he said after a second, and pulled Xander back a step, between his legs, so he could transfer his hand to Xander's forehead. Mullet stood cradling his fingers, gaping in game face. "Got a fever, feels like."
"I'm okay," Xander said. "I just need to--"
Mullet lunged forward, and Spike broke the JB bottle over his head, then buried the neck in his throat. Mullet made a baffled gasping sound and sank to his knees at Xander's feet.
"Poetic really," Spike said absently, and laid the back of his hand on Xander's cheek, testing. "Let's get you to bed."
"Heard that before," Xander muttered, reaching for the last of his rum. The seats around them were starting to fill up again. Mullet was sitting with his back to the bar, his legs splayed out in front of him, palpating the glass stump in his neck with something like intellectual curiosity.
"You'll want to get that out pretty smart," Spike said to him, standing up and shrugging into the duster. "It heals over, you'll have the world's biggest tracheotomy." Mullet looked up and nodded dumbly. "Let that be a lesson to you. Man's got a cold. Leave him the fuck alone, right?"
Mullet nodded again, and Xander gave him an apologetic little wave. Then they were sallying forth, out into the dark and rain, but Spike's arm was around his shoulder and Spike's lips were on his jaw, and he'd be damned if that didn't make even the common cold seem like something he could survive.
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