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Basket Case

Do you have the time
To listen to me whine
About nothing and everything all at once
I am one of those
Melodramatic fools
Neurotic to the bone no doubt about it

Sometimes I give myself the creeps
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
It all keeps adding up
I think I'm cracking up
Am I just paranoid?

~ Lyrics by Green Day

“So what do you want to do? Do you want to try the group thing?” Spike asked him as they lay side by side on the roof, touching from shoulder to foot.

“I don’t know. It’s just…it seems weird. They’ll all know…”

“Yeah. But you’ll know about them, too. The doc said they’ve all been through the same, remember?”

“I guess. It’s just…at the same time, they’ve all got their issues, you know? Do they really want to hear me whine about mine?”

Spike leaned over and kissed Xander’s cheek. “I think it’ll be good for you, Xan. I want you to feel like you’re not the only person in the world that’s had to do this. I can’t…I can’t truly understand, not like they could, you know?”

Xander snuggled closer into Spike’s side. “I…do you think they’d let you come in with me?”

“Can ask,” Spike replied, putting his arm around Xander. He squeezed the younger man’s shoulder comfortingly.

The door to the roof suddenly burst open. Angel skidded to a halt as he saw Spike and Xander. He felt bad for interrupting them, but he’d been told by Spike that in no uncertain terms was he to leave to kill things without asking the blonde vampire along.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt, but there’s a Garlak demon terrorizing people in Davis Park. I’m going to go kill it. Spike? Are you coming?”

Spike sat up and gave Xander the most pleading, pitiful puppy dog eyes in the world. Xander burst out laughing.

“Don’t give me the puppy eyes. I invented the puppy eyes. Go. Kill things.”

Spike gave Xander a grateful, hard kiss on the mouth, and jumped up to run after his grandsire.

“Xander seems like he’s doing better,” Angel commented as they drove in his car.

Spike nodded grimly. “Some days, yeah. He has episodes, though. I want those to go away, very much.”

“We all do. But he’s making progress. After only a couple of weeks, that’s pretty impressive.”

“My Xan’s stronger than anyone ever gave him credit for,” Spike said proudly, with a fond smile on his face.

“He is that,” Angel agreed.

They reached Davis Park, and left the car to search for the demon. They stealthily made their way through the park’s foliage, on the alert for any big, slimy, purple mucous-sensitive demons. They each had a sword, and were ready for battle.

“Remember…if you get into trouble, just, you know, spit on it. It’ll back off and give us time to regroup.”

“Yeah, yeah. You ever see one of these?”

“No,” Angel admitted. “But they can’t be hard to see.”

“Right. Big purple thing with eight eyes and tentacles. My favorite kind.”

Angel suddenly stopped, putting a hand out to the side to stop Spike. He used his chin to point ahead of him, where the Garlak was beating the crap out of a helpless park bench.

Spike shook his head slightly, allowing his features to shift into those of a demon. He grinned evilly, running his tongue along his teeth in anticipation. Angel rolled his eyes.

“Oh, go kill him. You need to kill something more than I do,” he said. Spike let out an ecstatic war whoop and ran out of the bush, straight at the demon. It turned and growled, bearing what looked like a million razor sharp teeth at him. Spike didn’t even flinch; he simply leapt into the air and started hacking at the 30 tentacles that went after him as he landed on the creature’s slippery back. He held his footing for all of five seconds before he started to slip off, so he changed tactics and flipped onto the ground, attacking the creature from behind with his very large battle axe.

He sliced off five tentacles before the demon could even prepare itself for a fight, but losing those limbs had angered it, and it counterattacked with a violent vengeance.

Spike dodged whipping appendages, taunting the creature as he avoided being knocked to the side. His axe kept swinging wildly, catching the creature more often than not.

“Whatsa matter? All those arms and you still can’t get a piece of old Spike? Bloody right you can’t, I’m-“ Spike was cut off as two tentacles came at him at once, one catching him around the waist, the other around his throat. They immediately started squeezing, and Spike’s eyes bugged out. It felt like the slimy demon was going to pop his head right off.

“That’s what you get for being distracted!” Angel shouted at him, running forward. “Spit on him!”

Spike rolled his tongue in his mouth, pursed his lips, and spat as hard as he could, catching the creature right on one of his eyes.

The thing let out a howling shriek, dropping Spike immediately as it’s tentacles flung up to its face in pain.

“Hah! Don’t be messing with Spike! You’ll never be as bad as-“ Spike was cut off again when the Garlak suddenly exploded, sending slime, blood, and entrails in every direction. One chunk of the demon hit Angel right on the forehead, and he recoiled in disgust. He looked up to see Spike covered from head to toe in Garlak entrails.

“You said he would back off,” Spike growled calmly from behind clenched teeth. “You didn’t say he would fucking explode!!” The last words were screamed, and Spike charged at Angel, axe raised.

Angel took off the other way, headed for the car.

“Now, Spike, calm down! I didn’t know that was going to happen! Honest!” Spike just kept running after him, wiping demon gunk from his hair as he went.

“Bloody hell, this is disgusting!” Spike said, trying to shake a bit of Garlak demon from his hand.

Angel stopped running as Spike stopped to try and wipe off some of the debris. He glowered at Angel, who did his best not to laugh.

When they arrived back at the hotel, Spike went directly to shower, still glowering at everything in site. Xander saw him go into the bathroom, covered in some kind of goo, and chuckled, heading to ask Angel what had happened.

“He spit on a Garlak demon and it exploded on him,” Angel said. Xander burst out laughing. Angel smiled. “It was pretty disgusting. I mean, I’ve seen a lot of things in my life, but nothing ever that bad.”

Xander kept laughing.

“You should have seen his face. It was priceless.”

“I can imagine,” Xander said between chortles. Spike came down the stairs, dressed in fresh clothes, glowering at them both.

“Laugh it up, soulboys. We’ll see how funny it is when I put that goop in your hairgel, Peaches.”

Xander laughed again.

Spike kissed him, spontaneously. Xander smiled with a questioning look.

“What’s that for?” he asked.

“Love you.”

“Oh, well, okay then,” Xander said, leaning in to kiss Spike again. It was brief, but it held the meaning Xander wanted to convey, which was that the love was well-returned.

“So, you think about that group thing anymore?” Spike asked as he helped himself to some blood.”

“Yeah. I’ll call Marge in the morning, see if you can come along. I don’t want to do it if you’re not there with me,” Xander said, sitting down at the table.

“All right, pet,” Spike said, kissing Xander’s head before drinking the blood from the mug he was holding. “Now, you get up to bed. You need some rest.”

“Kay,” Xander replied. He stood, kissed Spike again, grimacing at the tangy taste of the blood on Spike’s lips, and headed up the stairs, leaving Spike and Angel in the kitchen.

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