Pairings: Spander (eventually)
Appropriate Ratings: NC17 overall but this chapter... PG13-ish
Warnings: Well, he talks a little more about what used to happen, so possibly triggering to anyone who's gone through it.
Disclaimers: Not my characters. I make no money off this, I'm just playing. I promise to give them a bath and thorough cleaning when I’m done! Joss Whedon is my lord and Master. All hail Joss Whedon.
Short Summary: About five years post NFA, Xander needs a job, like, NOW! And runs into someone he knows where he'd least expect it.
Word Count: 2280 (As per MS Word Count)
X-posted to: perverted_pages, bloodclaim, btvs_lightsout, btvs_slash, btvsatsdotcom, darker_spike, spike_fics, sxandviolence, spanderslash, darker_vault, sickchicks, spike_xander, xander_slash, i_need_a_parrot, all_fics_btvs, nekid_spike
Archived Outside LJ At: adultfanfiction.net, I Need A Parrot and The Spander Files
Comments keep my muse well fed.
Xander got numbly to his feet and moved to the sink to splash some water on his face.
Way to go Xan-man, make a huge scene in front of the ex-vampire. I bet the whole restaurant heard, they all know, everyone knows. I can’t go out there again, I can’t. A soft knock at the door shook him from his thoughts.
“Xander? I’m comin’ in.” Xander didn’t look up from splashing his face at the sink but felt Spike’s hand rest on his shoulder. It was a warm comforting touch but Xander still flinched and shied away. Spike dropped his hand.
“Locked the door; no one can get in here. Told the waitress you’d just found out your dad kicked it an’ was sick in the bathroom. They gave me the only key t’ get in here. It’s alright. It’s gonna to be alright.” Spike tried to keep his voice even and calm, even though he felt anything but. Right now any show of anger or disgust would easily be construed to be against Xander, instead of his parents. So instead of punching the stall door or kicking the urinal off the wall, he took every emotion he was feeling and crammed it into a box deep inside to be kept and dealt with later.
Spike backed off and sat on the toilet, resting his head in his hands. “Xander…”
Xander dried his face on a paper towel and turned, sitting on the edge of the counter, spigot pushing into his tail bone. He wiggled forward slightly to get more comfortable but couldn’t bring himself to look at Spike, keeping his eyes locked on the dark brown tiles between the blonde’s feet.
“Once upon a time I’d ‘ave said something like… I won’t let that happen to you again, that I’d protect you. But I’m bloody human now Xan, can’t promise that anymore, but I can promise t’ listen to you an’ try t’ help you out.” He wondered why he was so suddenly drawn to protect and aid the boy who had not that long ago despised everything about him. Suddenly the boy was vulnerable, open, defenseless and all he could think about was how to help him, protect him.
It was just the fact that Xander was exactly where he’d been before, that’s all, he decided. It was like looking in a darkly tinted mirror and there he was, broke, hungry, in desperate need of a friend, a job, a helping hand, he’d gotten it from Steve. Now it was his turn to help someone, now that he could. It was left over white hat instincts, nothing else. Just help the helpless, save the humans, just… with less apocalypticness. It wasn’t anything else. It couldn’t be anything else.
“Yeah, right, you’da said that to me before you turned human,” Xander tried to smile, but had to consciously remember to unclench his jaw to make it look even remotely believable. He did appreciate the kind words, even if he didn’t believe them. He was used to lies said in kindness.
“Sure I would ‘ave! After I got the soul I’d ‘ave said it an’ even kept my word on it,” Spike’s face softened, “You’re a good person, Xan. You deserved better, you still do.”
“Turning human really made you… human Spike,” Xander chuckled softly, lips curling slightly at the edges. He turned his face, looking away from Spike, still feeling open, flayed, bared to Spike with a level of intimacy he’d never explored with anyone… and it felt like too much.
Thankfully, Spike clearly saw the signs and understood what he was going through, and snorted, “What can I say mate? I relearned a whole bunch o’ life lessons since I got brought over t’ your side of the sunset. An’ without the demon a lotta my biting commentary an’ snarky comments are easier t’ hold back. But I meant it Xan, us Sunnydale survivors gotta stick together. You an’ me may ‘ave started out on opposite sides of the battle but we’re pretty much all we have at the moment… an’ I don’t mind in the least that it’s you an’ not anyone else.” That was all it was, a need to connect, a need to not have to say… anything and still have someone understand, that’s it, nothing else. Nothing else…
Xander looked up at Spike, and tried to smile.
Xander picked at his pasta, surprised to find them warm. Spike wrinkled his nose after he bit down on a fry.
“Warmin’ lamps may keep it warm, but it don’t keep chips crispy. Your’s alright?” Spike motioned to his plate with his fork.
“Yeah, just a little less runny sauce. That’s okay, was a pretty runny sauce to begin with. If your food is ruined… you don’t have to eat it. You can order something else if you want.” Xander looked down at his hands as he fiddled with his fork. He’d ruined the whole night with his freak out, only made sense Spike would want to be compensated with a new, fresh plate of food. Spike replied by taking a big bite of his cheeseburger, chewing contentedly and swallowing.
“It’s fine pet. Can deal with soggy chips for a day, burger’s fine anyways, so’s the salad.” He emphasized it by taking a crunchy mouthful.
“So what do you think of food, now that you need it to survive?” Xander tried to change the subject, tried to shift the topic from his shame to something mundane.
Spike thought for a minute, and shrugged. “Still tastes the same just… a little more real. Also? Flavors are more there. Tasted horridly bland before, hence the spicy and sharply flavored foods I at as a vamp.” He took a hearty big bite of his burger, making happy noises, and squirming in his seat, making Xander smile.
“More real?” Xander asked around a mouthful of fettuccini Alfredo.
“Yeah, it’s like… it matters more now. I dunno, I don’t know how else t’ describe it.” Xander nodded to himself.
“Is that why you couldn’t do it?” Spike couldn’t let it drop, he just had to know, had to understand. Maybe he could still somehow help Xander, who had become his friend. His only friend. The only person on the entire planet that actually knew his past, knew he was still alive, and understood to an extent what had happened to him. Spike felt that oddly protective emotion again and he wondered if it was the ghost of the demon demanding he protect what he considered his. Why the demon would consider Xander his was beyond Spike, but he shrugged to himself, it didn’t matter. He’d still protect the boy as best he could.
Xander flinched, he’d hoped he’d changed the subject enough to keep it from coming back to him for a while, but he should have known better. Spike was worse than a dog with a bone when he got an idea in his head, or found a puzzle to be solved; he had to see it through to the end.
“Yeah. I just… it all just… brings it back.” Xander shuddered visibly, unable to even pretend to be hungry anymore. That’s alright, pasta always tastes better the next day, after the sauce has been given a chance to settle. I’ll just reheat it later. He was almost done with his salad anyways so it would be alright.
“But you were able to dance with me. Why was that okay?” Spike was unconsciously holding his breath, holding unnaturally still, fork plunged into his salad and held unwaveringly. He didn’t know why this answer was so important to him, but it was. He could feel his control start to slip as his hands started to tremble. He slid them unnoticed under the table, twining his fingers together, clenching his hands tightly together. He couldn’t understand why this question was important to him, why the answer was something he seemed to fear. Thankfully Xander was so lost in his own world, he didn’t even notice.
Xander snorted loudly. “Because it was just an act Spike. You didn’t actually want me, you wouldn’t actually have taken advantage of me. You were safe.” He was so lost in his own memories that he missed the confused look and Spike opening his mouth to interject a comment. Spike quickly slammed his mouth closed and smoothed over his expression, fighting to keep it neutral. He still hadn’t gotten the full answer... and the pain he felt stabbing him in the gut he blamed on indigestion.
“Those other guys… I … they would… they would have wanted me, and I couldn’t… I didn’t trust them to take no for an answer. I still don’t. Every time they would touch me it would be like before, I wouldn’t have a choice, who or when or how, and the worst part woulda been…” Xander swallowed and furiously blinked back his tears, “woulda been like I was getting paid to do it. That’s how… that’s how my dad made me earn my keep, earn my allowance. When I moved to the basement he made me pay rent… and if I was… late, or or or couldn’t, for some reason, he’d still… he’d make me pay in other ways… so no matter what I’d still earn my keep, and I couldn’t… do that again.” Xander fiddled with his fork.
Spike tapped the back of his hand with the fingertips of his own, squelching the urge to wrap his hand around Xander’s, Just for comfort, nothing else, making Xander look up to his face. Spike held his breath for a moment before coming to an apparent decision, “You’ll always be safe ‘round me, pet. I’d never make you take on more than you can handle, know how to respect limits… now. Listen carefully, pet. I don’t want you t’ say anything ‘til I’m done, yeah?” Spike looked expectantly at Xander, waiting till his sable head bounced in a nod before he continued.
“I had two reasons t’ come see you. One, to give you your share o’ last night’s earnings and two… to convince you t’ come back.” He held up his hand when he saw Xander take in a breath to argue. Xander sighed, and waved Spike onwards.
“Now before you get all worried ‘bout what happened an’ imagining the worst, let me tell you, yeah? You were a hit. The blokes loved you, they don’t throw tips like that if they don’t really really like you, trust me. Even ‘ave a couple o’ notes someone clipped t’ the biggest bills, all about you. You did perfectly.” Spike kept his voice even and calm, trying his best to let Xander know how serious and honest he was. He continued before Xander thought he was done, almost rushing to get the words out.
“The owner’s a fair bloke an’ he knows a good thing when he sees it. When he realized what happened he right away said you don’t have to wait tables, just dance a few times a week with me. Only me. Now, before you get any daft ideas, no this ain’t charity, he wants you back just t’ dance with me, he’s very very happy with that. Alright? You don’t even have t’ do any o’ those little dances, an’ only a couple o’ shows on Friday nights or somethin’. Saw yourself the kind o’ money you can pull in an’ you know I’d keep ya safe from anyone prying into your life. I’d be a boss extremely intent on keepin’ you below the radar as much as I am.”
Xander frowned and thought it over, taking a sip from the water glass dripping perspiration onto the table. He doodled aimlessly in the puddle of moisture and nodded to himself when he came to a decision. He’d proven he could do it, the money was good and easy enough to earn, Spike would keep him safe and he didn’t miss the odd twist of fate that made him feel safer with Spike than being alone. And maybe he’d be able to go around for a round waiting tables eventually… and he’d keep looking for another job and if he found anything that paid the same or more he’d go do it… not that he likely would, but he could find something small and keep working at the club on weekends to make ends meet. It’d be okay, it’d work out.
“Only if I get to share your dressing room. I don’t think I could deal with the big communal one everyone else is supposed to use.”
Spike laughed and slapped his thigh. “No problem pet, it’ll just add to your innocence an’ allure. Just be prepared for tokens of affection. Sometimes people’s favorites get little gifties, like flowers or teddy bears or costume bits they’d like to see you in, that kind of thing.” He smirked playfully and waggled his eyebrows.
“I think I can deal with some pressies,” Xander chuckled and nodded, knowing he’d never get anything. He knew everything would go to Spike, he was just the newest prop for the main act. Hopefully he’d be able to put together a nest egg while that fresh allure was still potent because once that was over they’d likely just get bored and ignore him. He was used to it, it’s what always happened.
“Then welcome to the team Sexy Lexy. Priape’s Temple has a new idol to worship.” Spike clinked his glass against Xander’s and saluted him, toasting the new beginnings that had been started that evening and acknowledged the hard work that was still ahead of them.
Previous parts found here.