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BtVS - Late 4th season. Spike is chipped and has moved into a crypt of his own.
At a talk at Dragoncon, James Marsters said Spike was not intelligent enough to play the trickster. I like to cast him in that role, anyway.
Spike & Xander
Xander dragged his army-issue duffle bag into the Sunnydale Sud ‘N Soak. Pausing just inside the door, he blinked around at the over-lit interior. A few machines tumbled to themselves and a lone figure was slumped behind a paperback in the corner.
Seeing no demons or immediate dangers worse than the basement bedroom and drunken parents he had escaped, he dragged his load to the far side of the room from the man and stuffed his blanket and sleeping bag into a big washer. After feeding in quarters and some purloined soap, Xander sat down in one of the designed-to-be-uncomfortable orange plastic chairs and bemoaned his lack of reading material. He resigned himself to watching bits of lint waltz in the exhaust from the washer when a chuckle came from the figure across the room. His head rose in recognition. The chuckle sounded again, and Xander moved across the room to investigate.
As the man came in view from behind the wall of dryers, Xander first saw a pair of battered black military boots, crossed at the ankles. Long legs were stretched out and the man’s head rested against the back of the chair. It’s him. But the legs were clad in faded yellow sweats with blue paint splotches down one leg. It’s not him. Xander’s eyes traveled up to where long fingers tipped with chipped black polish held a coverless paperback in front of his face. A shock of bleached hair was visible over the top. It is him.
“Hello, Wanker,” Spike said without lowering his book.
“Well, isn’t this domestic?” cracked Xander, glad for something to do.
“I thought you could do laundry in your bedroom.” Still the book went unlowered.
“Well, blankets not so much so. The soap never all comes out. Besides, it would have made me miss this happy meeting.”
Spike lowered his book enough to glower up at Xander. “Happy for who? Didn’t your comic books come in today?”
“No… what are you reading that is so funny?”
“Anne Rice. Cuddly vampires. I’d love to give her something new to write about.”
“Who took your cover?”
“I nicked it out of the dumpster behind Waldenbooks. It’s the best place to get reading materials. All kinds of magazines and paperbacks without covers. Break off the lock often enough and they give up.”
Spike went back to his reading, chuckling again.
“Do they throw out comics, too? Of course without the covers they’ll never be worth anything, but I could read them.”
“Yeah, if I liked you. Do your own dumpster diving.”
“Hey, you owe me. I kept you for a while.” Xander remembered with a wince.
“In fine tied-to-the-chair laundry room luxury.” Spike attempted to loose himself in his book again.
“Why are you here, Spike? Did they throw you out of Willy’s bar?”
“I’m composing a symphony. What do you think I’m doing, you pillock? I’m doing laundry. Of course, in the old days, I could always grab a bite to eat at the same time, but not any more.” He took a squint at Xander. “I bet I could take you without hurting you. I’ve been meaning to work on my technique.”
Xander leaned against a nearby washer, used to Spike’s threats. “Chip still keeping you harmless, huh? Vampire on a leash.”
A dryer buzzed it’s flat tone and Spike launched out of his chair, dropping the broken-spine book onto it. Xander flinched from the sudden movement, thinking Spike may have a go at him despite the pain his chip would cause him. Then he saw the vampire’s full outfit. In addition to the too-short yellow sweats, Spike was wearing an oversize t-shirt, which was the pink of white washed with red, and Tweety bird chirped a greeting on it’s front. Xander burst out laughing.
“What?” Spike scowled at him as he dropped an armload of black clothing into a cart.
Spike looked down at himself as if he had forgotten what he was wearing. “I’d ask if you had laundry-day clothing, but from the looks of you, I’d say it’s all you own.”
“Hey!” Xander stared at Spike as he shook out two changes of black clothing and a red shirt. “I guess you don’t own much, do you?”
“Life on the move.”
“Where’d you dig up that outfit?”
“Lost and found box. There was nothing worth stealing this time. It’s a system. Things get too ripe, I find a Laundromat, steal or claim some threads, change out of my clothes, and wash what I’ve got.”
“Have to keep smelling like a rose, huh?’
“You try traveling in the sewers and stay clean. Besides, if my clothes pick up too many odors, I can’t smell anything else.”
“I, for one, am grateful for your hygiene habits.”
“You should try them one day,” Spike sniped.
“You’ve seen where I live. I’m as clean a boy as one could want.”
“Sorry, I forgot. You’re a nummy treat.” Spike rolled the cart into the corner where he was sitting away from the windows. He grabbed the tail of his purloined t-shirt and peeled it off over his head.
“What are you doing?” Xander started to ask, then wheeled around when Spike grinned and hooked his thumbs in the waist of the sweatpants. “Whoa!” Xander barely missed being greeted by Full Monty Spike.
“Why the blushing eyes, Xander?” Spike asked in a sing-song high pitched voice. “Didn’t our time together mean anything?”
“Shut up, Spike,” Xander retorted, though he couldn’t help smiling. In a small basement, there was no getting away from his evil dead guest and his pestering. In some ways, Xander had liked the company. “So, they throw out comic books, too?”
“What? Yeah. Playboys, too.” Xander heard the jingle of a belt as Spike threaded it through the loops on his jeans. “If you’re into that sort of thing.”
Xander wheeled around. “Of course I am.” Spike was pulling on his battered boots and doing up the many buckles. “What’s the best day to... um… dive?”
“Thursdays are good.” Spike wadded up the borrowed clothes and sunk a shot into the lost and found box where it sat on a table. He tore off several yard sale and lost dog notices from the bulletin board above it in the process. He folded the remaining clothes into a small duffle bag and swirled into his long leather coat. Adjusting the collar and grabbing the duffle, he strode for the door. “Smell you later, nummy treat.”
“Spike. You forgot your book.”
The vamp shrugged without turning around or pausing. “I’ve read it before, you can have it.”
In the fluorescent lit emptiness of the Laundromat, Xander picked up the book for lack of anything else to do. From the break in the spine, it was apparently open to the spot Spike was reading. He read to find Lestat was dancing with the corpse of a woman who has been dead of the plague for some time. Xander dropped the book with a shudder and sat down to watch the twirling lint.
Two weeks later Xander awoke and slapped for the alarm clock. Instead, his hand came down on something that wasn’t there when he went to sleep. He found the clock and shut off its shrill cry before examining it. The small cardboard box looked to be the right size to hold a five-inch stack of magazines. The flaps were folded in together to keep it closed, a bright yellow/green sticker proclaims that it contains, or once contained, “WEEKLIES,” and a Fed-Ex shipping label bore the address of the local Waldenbooks.
“Wait, wait,” he said to himself. “This was probably left here by Spike. I have got to get Willow to uninvite him. Let’s wake up and deal with this in a cautious way.” Xander got up, made the trek upstairs, showered, and returned more awake.
After dressing, he sat on the edge of his sofa bed and confronted the box. He looked all around it for signs of trips or traps. Seeing none, he picked it up a few inches and put it back down. It felt the right weight to be comics. He crossed the room, picked up a broom and nudged the box off the table into the floor, leaping away as it fell. “This is Spike, there has to be something wrong.” Using the broom handle, Xander coaxed open the box. Brightly printed paper lay within the cardboard.
Still being careful, Xander sat on the floor beside the box and pulled out the first coverless comic. “Archie! Damn him!” Sonic the Hedgehog, Betty and Veronica, and Casper followed. “He’s a tease, that’s what he is. Wait a minute, X-Men, Wolverine, Nightwing. That’s not so bad.” Xander sorted the comics into piles he would read and those he might read when he has nothing else to do.
He added a Superman to the read pile and pulled out a Playgirl. “Yuck!” Xander cried and dropped it like it was a handful of spiders. An over-muscled, naked – worse, aroused – man smirked up at him from the glossy paper. He was ready to kick it away when a line of neat, copperplate script caught his eye. Someone had added comments to the pictures. Amused despite himself, Xander realized he had never seen Spike’s handwriting before. Obscene comments were neatly inscribed here and there. Xander did his best to read them without looking at the pictures.
One buff guy, parading his erection had a caption of “Isn’t this your type?” Another said, “Pffft. I’m bigger than that!” Other comments included, “Nummy treat!” “Uncut rules!” “Not as Moist and Delicious as you.” An ad for dildos bore the note “I’ll get you one for Christmas. What color do you want?”
With a smile, Xander carefully put the magazine aside and sorted the rest of the comics, finding no more surprises.
Later that week, Xander went to the Magic Box. Buffy, Anya, Willow, Giles and (oh good) Spike were hanging around. “Hello, all. What evil lurks tonight?”
Giles answered from the counter. “Not much. Spike here offered to share another tidbit of information on the commando guys, but so far he’s given us nothing new.”
Xander sat down across the table from where Spike was lounging with his chair tipped back and his fingers laced behind his head. “I’ve not been so inclined as yet. You need a mini fridge in here to keep your blood in, you know.”
Giles looked over his glasses at the vamp. “We do not need to keep blood here, Spike.”
Spike turned to Xander, his eyes raised. “Did you get your… package?”
“Yeah, thanks. Spike was nice enough to share his dumpster diving bounty and brought me some comic books.” Xander answered his friends’ puzzled looks.
“I’m trying to do some community service and help little Xander learn to read.” Spike put in.
Xander turned to his red-headed friend. “Willow, how about swinging around to cast one of those uninvitey spells”
Spike snorted. “Like your basement room is somewhere I want to go anyway.”
“You didn’t have a problem with coming in while I was asleep to leave that box. Did you miss me?”
“No, ya wanker. I wanted to scare you.”
“Ooooh, mysteriously appearing box! By the way,” Xander reached into his backpack and tossed the Playgirl down in front of Spike. “You left one of your magazines in with my comics.”
“I picked that up for you.” Spike said, looking nervous, but not moving from where he was leaning back in his chair.
“It looks like you studied it pretty closely to add all those notes.”
Buffy squealed and snatched up the magazine before Spike could and danced out of his reach to open it. Willow and Anya hurried over to join her. “Spike! If you’re bigger than him, no wonder you are hungry all the time,” Buffy giggled.
Anya looked at a page, then at Spike. “I agree, Spike, this guy is a nummy treat.”
“It was a joke!” Spike protested. “A joke on the boy!”
Willow looked up from another page. “You’ve got a turtleneck? Of course, it goes with your pretty Victorian handwriting.”
Giles was wearing one of his rare wide grins. “Looks like the joke’s on you, Spike.”
“Oh, for…” Spike flung himself out of his chair and headed for the door to the basement tunnel access. “If you need me for anything, I won’t be around.” He shot a look at Xander who basked in the glow of got-you-last.
“Wait, Spike!” Buffy called. “You didn’t ask us what color dildos we want for Christmas!” Scooby gang laughter followed him as he ran down the steps and out into the tunnels.
Thanks, Donovan for the Beta!
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