What a Miserable Saturday Night
My mates have gone and left me, gone off to a gig.
I'm down on my luck, but they don't give a fig.
I'm stuck at home here, sick as a pig.
What a miserable Saturday night.
It was ten o'clock on a Saturday, so Spike had expected to have the basement to himself. Mum and Dad Harris were playing at Punch and Judy in the living room, and the vampire was thrilled that he never had to deal with them. Didn't know how Xander had done it so long without going mad. Well, madder. He opened the door to the basement and froze. The lights were on. Spike stopped at the top of the stairs, holding his shopping and listening to the sounds coming from the basement. Put upon sigh, squeak of the sofa springs, familiar heartbeat - it was definitely the boy. What the hell was he doing, in at this hour? With a shrug, Spike clattered down the stairs, certain that all he'd have to do to find out was let Xander yammer at him for a few minutes. He aimed a casual nod in Xander's direction and turned to set his bag down on the counter.
"Hi, Spike," Xander said. Spike waited for the questions to follow, waited for the tales about his day at work and his evening with the Slayer and her crew, but they never started. Spike looked at him questioningly.
"Felt like a night in tonight?" he asked.
Xander snorted. "Yeah, that sounds likely. I was just hankering after a night of smelling the mildew and enjoying the vicarious battles over who forgot to pay the phone bill." He cast a bitter look at the ceiling.
Spike waited for more, but Xander had subsided into a quiet sulk. Spike shook his head. Of course the one time he was curious, the boy would decide not to talk. "Why are you here, then?" he asked slowly.
Instead of answering, Xander grabbed hold of the left leg of his jeans and hoisted his ankle into view. It was swathed in bandages. "Behold the incredible, breakable Xander," he said. "Able to sprain small but important joints with a single bound." He lowered his leg carefully. "Not that I was bounding," he added.
Spike refused to ask what had happened. He opened the cupboard and started pulling down glasses and mugs. He snuck a glance at Xander, but the human was glaring at his ankle and clearly not preparing to tell Spike how he'd hurt himself. Fine. Spike didn't care anyway. He opened the shopping bag and began rooting through it.
"Whatchya got?" Xander asked, craning his neck to see what Spike was doing. For a brief moment, the vampire was tempted to refuse to tell him out of spite. Then Xander said, "It's not a human head, is it? 'Cause I don't want that messing up my food, and it won't fit in the vegetable crisper." It was such an absurd thing to say that Spike almost grinned.
"It's not a head," he replied. "Not this time anyway." He held up a little bag of limes, a tiny flask of vanilla extract, and a bottle of Tabasco sauce. "Getting tired of pig's blood. It tastes like shite. Thought I'd try to spice it up some." He really wanted to chuck the whole lot of it and get human, but he couldn't afford the upgrade. Not that he was going to admit that.
Xander looked interested. "Bring it over here," he said, gesturing at the coffee table. "I'm not bad at mixing drinks. I'll play mad scientist, and you can tell me how it tastes."
Spike thought the idea of a Slayerette mixing blood cocktails for a vampire was hilarious, but he hid his amusement and ferried the glasses, his bag of shopping, and a tub of blood over to the table. Xander approached the experiment seriously, examining the ingredients Spike had brought and asking him questions about his favourite flavours. His eyebrows drew down when he concentrated, and he caught the tip of his tongue between his teeth whenever he measured anything. It made him look young and earnest.
"I tripped over a power cord at work," Xander said suddenly, staring at the pale stream of hazelnut syrup he was pouring into a small glass of blood. Spike blinked at him. "I just tripped and fell, and poof! Sprained ankle. It was no big deal. They just put me on light duty for a while. Hell, they were glad I wasn't going to try and file workman's comp." He added a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Spike hadn't had to buy that; the boy stockpiled the stuff. "But then I went by Giles' to see what was up, and everybody acted like I was about to fall apart. Sent me home to 'rest.'" His mouth twisted wryly.
"Can't see that you'd be much help, hopping along on patrol," Spike said. "Can't play bait if you can't get out of the way." Xander flushed and looked away, and Spike suddenly felt guilty. Then he felt irritated. Mocking Xander was one of his chief entertainments. He was going to be very put out if he lost the pleasure just because he felt sorry for the boy. He covered his confusion by picking up the glass and sipping at the sweet concoction. He tasted it thoughtfully. It needed a shot of alcohol, but it wasn't bad.
Xander sighed. "I know I couldn't patrol, and I know they were just worried about me. I just ... it sucks to be the one who always has to be worried about, you know?" Spike didn't know. He couldn't think of a time since he'd been turned when others had urged caution lest he get hurt and actually meant it. Though Angelus had been a right git about giving him warnings with a smirk to let Spike know just how much his grandsire really wanted him to get hurt.
Spike didn't want to think about that, and it looked like Xander wasn't enjoying it much, either. Spike drained his glass and said, "Well, no use crying over spilt milk and all that." He waggled the empty cup at Xander. "Let's try a spicy one, eh? You get good enough at this, you could work part time at Willy's."
"Like that's gonna happen," Xander said. But there was a smile on his face when he said it, and he reached for the blood willingly. Spike turned on the telly while Xander poured. They sat together on the sofa, trying out different flavour combinations - though Xander adamantly refused to taste them - and watching a marathon of some dreadful science fiction show. Xander claimed to enjoy it, though even he occasionally groaned at the special effects or a particularly bad plot device.
"That's so lame!" Xander exclaimed, gesturing at the screen. "'I was evolved into an amphibian at the time, so it doesn't matter that I mated with you and bore your children. Back to business as usual,'" he mimicked.
Spike shook his head with a sigh. "If I had a shilling for every time I heard that," he said sadly. Xander started to smile, then froze, peering uncertainly at Spike's woebegone expression. The vampire let his eyes go large and mournful. "It's always the spawn that get hurt by it," he said. Xander gaped at him until Spike couldn't bear it anymore. He burst out laughing, nearly falling off the sofa. "You should have seen the look on your face," he gasped out. Xander stared at him, then smacked him on the shoulder.
"Jerk!" Xander accused. Spike hid his face in his hands and muffled his laughter. He peeked out, and Xander was laughing, too. His face was bright, and his eyes crinkled happily, all thoughts of his fragile status wiped away.
When he finally got himself back under control, Spike sprawled back against the cushions. "You are the most gullible sot I've ever known," he said. He felt good. He couldn't think of the last time he'd just laughed like that. Certainly not since the chip, possibly not since Prague.
"Hey, I grew up on the Hellmouth!" Xander protested. "Anything is possible." He sank back next to Spike, propping his foot up on the coffee table amongst the dirty glasses and flavouring ingredients.
"S'pose anything is possible," Spike agreed. And in that spirit, he leaned over and kissed Xander. It wasn't like the first time, which had been fueled at least half by exasperation. This was ... comfortable. A warm, yielding mouth under his, a thumb stroking his cheekbone, a giggle as Xander pulled away.
"Not a fan of the Tabasco," the boy said, smiling. He lay his head on Spike's shoulder, and they watched bad science fiction for the rest of the night.
:o) All schmoopiness is entirely intentional.