The following is a backup fic for the Spander Inquisition. Sorry I didn't get it finished sooner, but I just took the assignment on Wednesday and the creative process takes me a few days. :)
This is for jadelennox who requested: Positive relationship with the other Scoobies/AtS folks; Geekiness (eg. comics, d&d). She did NOT want darkness (character death, non-con, bloodplay, etc. angst is fine).
It's definitely not dark. I hope it's funny. Some may find it a bit sappy. You've been warned.
Title: A Teeth and Claws Bloke
Written for: jadelennox
Beta: Many thanks to silvertedy for her telling me all about the X-Men. I love you, sweetie. You're my number one geek.
A Teeth and Claws Bloke
“I can't believe they killed her--no point in making a third movie now.”
“You do know she comes back as the Phoenix, right?”
“It's from a comic book, Spike. Dr. Grey dies then she comes back as the Phoenix. Well actually, she doesn’t really die. See there was this primal energy force called the “phoenix force” that existed long before Grey. It was long believed that Grey died aboard the space shuttle but became linked with the "phoenix-force" which recreated and reentered her body.... And that’s more than you really care to know, isn’t it?”
Spike stared at Xander. “Huh... So you think they'll use the same actress? She's really hot.”
“Yeah, her. Hot.”
“I think they did. It's out on DVD in a few weeks.”
“Well, we'll just have to get it and see then.” Spike paused for a beat as a thought struck him. “You didn't see it already?”
Xander shook his head. “Africa.”
“Right. Well, we'll definitely get it then. Gotta see if they use the same girl.”
“Yeah, she's not bad... Hugh Jackman, though...” Xander trailed off with a smile.
Spike lifted an eyebrow.
Xander blushed and shrugged.
“Wolverine, eh?” Spike teased. “Wouldn’t have figured you for a teeth and claws bloke, right off, but ….”
“Hey. I'm secure in my masculinity. I can admit when a man is attractive.”
“Right.” Nod. “I guess he's handsome enough. Not as handsome as me, though.”
“No, not as handsome as you.”
Spike waited for the punchline, the sarcastic follow-up, but none came. They continued walking to Xander's apartment. Spike always walked Xander home when they'd hung out his place for the evening. Angel would dust him if he let anything happen to the newest employee of the recently reorganized Angel Investigations.
They reached Xander's building and he pulled out his key. “Thanks for the escort, Spike. You know I can take care of myself, right?”
“Yeah. But I like walking you home. More time to chat and all. 'Sides, Angel'd hold me responsible if anything happened to you.”
“What's with that anyway? I thought he pretty much hated me.”
“Things change, pet. He's changed.” Spike shrugged, hands in pockets. “Hell, we've all changed.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” He opened his door. “See you tomorrow?”
“Yeah. Bright and early, we've got that nest to clean out over on Fifth.”
Xander nodded. “Right. Well... good night, Spike.”
As Spike turned and shuffled away, Xander stood in his doorway watching. Tomorrow, he thought with a sigh. Tomorrow was not a day he was looking forward to.
“I'm gonna grab a quick shower and get this slime off of me. How is it that you managed to fight the same evil as me and you don't even have a hair out of place? Me? I'm covered in all kinds of ... god, I hope this is just slime.”
“Experience,” Spike grinned.
While Xander was in the shower, Spike poked around. This place was so different from when he'd lived with Xander in Sunnydale--both the apartment and the basement of his parent's house. Back then Xander's place was littered with comic books and sci-fi movies and collectibles. Now the décor was spare and spartan with few personal things.
Spike knew that Xander's things were at the bottom of the Hellmouth, but in the five years since the destruction of Sunnydale, the guy had replaced almost nothing. Xander's apartment reminded Spike of a crypt. Spike's flat had a big-screen TV, tons of movies, CDs, and video games--the only thing in Xander’s was a few shelves of books.
Aside from comic books, Spike couldn't remember ever seeing Xander read anything. Traveling the world looking for Slayers, however, had turned Xander into a bookworm. Spike guessed that it made sense. Books don't require electricity. He scanned Xander's bookcase, not for the first time. The presence of classic literature, poetry, and recent Pulitzer winners still amazed him. If you'd asked him five years ago what kind of books he'd find in Xander's flat, he would’ve laughed and said none. If pressed, he would have said joke books … maybe some mass-market crap. Never would he have guessed Philip Roth, Billy Collins, or -- and this one always knocked him for a loop -- Jane Austen. But they were all there--along with Chaucer, Dickens, Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters. Boy’s spent too much bloody time in England. Need to introduce him to some stuff from other parts of the world.
As Spike looked at the titles and the bare apartment, he wondered if he'd made a mistake. He certainly hoped not, but they'd find out soon enough.
Xander stood in the shower wondering if he should say anything. He hadn't expected anyone else at AI to know it was his birthday, but he'd thought Spike might remember. Willow and Buffy--had called him early that morning (very early, considering that most of them were living where it was already tomorrow), but no one else had said anything to him about it all day. Perhaps it was better this way. He still felt odd celebrating life after everything that had been lost. So he'd go out to the bars tonight with Spike, have a few beers, play some pool, and pretend it was just another night out with the guy who'd become his best friend over the last few months.
Spike spun around to find Xander cleaned up and ready to go. He'd been so lost in thought he hadn't even noticed the water turning off or Xander walking into the room. “Uh... yeah, all set.”
“So, where we heading to tonight?”
“I thought we'd borrow Angel's convertible and drive out to this place I know just south of here. On the beach. Thought it’d be nice--top down, wind in our hair. Change of pace. All right with you?”
When Spike and Xander arrived at the Hyperion to pick up Angel's car, they were greeted with shouts from the entire crew. Confetti and balloons rained down. Spike turned and grinned. “Happy Birthday, Xan.”
Xander stood, silent, uncertain exactly how to respond. He'd already accepted that no one had remembered or known what day it was. But someone had obviously told them. He looked at Spike, “Did you--”
“You're not mad, are you?” Spike looked genuinely concerned.
“No. Of course not.” He wasn't. He was just shocked. He looked around at the smiling group. “Thanks, guys.”
Xander thought about the party as Spike walked him home. It had been great fun -- everyone was relaxed for a change. Instead of fighting evil, they'd had a few drinks, some great food, a bit of dancing. Xander had bribed Angel with several shots of whiskey and promises to work extra hours, in exchange for getting him on the dance floor. He hadn't laughed so hard in years. Angel's dancing was not much better than his singing. Two left feet was a compliment.
No question that the most surprising part of the night, though, had been the gifts. Star Trek DVDs, a couple robots from Gunn, a set of Babylon 5 collector plates, and some old comic books that must have cost Angel a fortune. He knew that all the gift ideas had to have come from Spike. No one else really knew about his life before, not even Angel. Now, with several bags of loot clutched in one hand, he smiled. It would be nice to be that young Xander again sometimes. But all this stuff was going to look a bit odd stacked next to his current library.
From Spike he'd received an autographed photo of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. He'd looked at it and cracked up, but there had been more than just amusement in the look he'd shared with Spike. He was pretty sure everyone else had noticed too, because Angel had quickly suggested more dancing.
Xander had thought long and hard about his feelings for Spike. He'd actually known for a while how he felt about him. After tonight he felt pretty confident that he wasn't alone.
“Are you ever gonna kiss me? We’ve practically been dating for months now.”
Spike choked. “Dating?”
“Well, what would you call it? We go out for dinner and a movie. You take me to the pool hall and we down some beers. You walk me home. We sneak glances. People invite us places as a unit. Are Spike and Xander coming? We’re not seeing other people.”
Spike stopped, causing Xander to stop and turn back.
“We’re pretty much a couple, Spike.”
“You think of us as a couple?” Spike seemed genuinely surprised.
“Well, yeah. I do.” Xander’s brow creased and he frowned. “I guess... I thought from the way you look at me sometimes... the way you look after me... I guess I misunderstood.” Xander turned back toward his place, feet dragging.
Xander stopped but didn't turn around.
“Do you...” Spike trailed off. Xander turned and saw him wipe his palms on his jeans. He smiled at the reflex, knowing that Spike’s palms didn’t actually sweat.
“Do I what, Spike?” Xander’s voice was gentle, inviting.
Spike met his gaze. “Do you want us to be a couple?”
Xander moved closer and cupped Spike’s cheek. “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have asked you to kiss me.” He leaned in and brushed Spike’s lips with his own. “I should have done this sooner. Waiting for you to make the first move….” He pressed his lips to Spike’s again, this time with more force. Spike opened his mouth and returned the kiss.
“You still think I look better than Wolverine?”
Spike tried to keep a straight face, but seeing the gleam in his eye, Xander decided to have a little fun. “No. I was just being nice. Didn't want to hurt your feelings.”
Xander cut him off with another kiss. “Kidding, Spike. You're the most amazing guy in the whole world. Now take me home. Please?”
Spike nodded. As the two began walking again, their shoulders brushed and their fingertips grazed. Both were silent the rest of the way, lost in thought. When they reached his building, Xander took Spike's hand in his own. “Stay?”
Xander's question was so quiet Spike barely heard. He looked at Xander, questioning. “You sure?”
Xander nodded and the two entered the apartment. As soon as the door closed behind them, Xander pressed Spike against the wall with his entire body. “You know what I wished for when I blew out the candles earlier?”
Spike swallowed and shook his head.
“I wished for you...” Kiss. “Here...” Kiss. “Tonight... with me.” Xander bit Spike's lower lip. “Tell me you want that too, Spike.”
Spike's hands gripped Xander's hips and he pulled the birthday boy hard against him. “I want to make all your wishes come true, luv.”
Feed the Author
The Author's Livejournal