Rating: R for language
Disclaimer: Not mine, no money, et cetera ad nauseum.
Spoilers: This goes AU after the 1st comic of S8; all the Scoobies are in Scotland but I didn't want to have to deal with any of the new issues or the upcoming Angel S6.
Notes: My first multi-chapter Spander. Beta'd by wildannuette. Feedback is life.
Previous chapters here.
Spike woke slowly, reveling in the fact that for once there was no one pounding on his door demanding that he get his lazy ass up. He snuggled deeper into the blankets, trying to smother the purr that wanted to emerge because of the warmth. Someone had been nice enough to put both a feather tick and an electric blanket on the bed, and he couldn’t remember the last time he'd been this comfortable. The one small window boasted actual shutters as well as heavy drapes and there was wood in the grate ready to be lit; altogether it was a room perfectly suited to a vampire smack in the middle of Slayer Central, and he wondered briefly who had been thoughtful enough to set it up.
Which naturally led him back to Xander, who last night had been so different from the boy he remembered. There had been a noticeable lack of sarcasm and pointed comments, despite the one 'fangless' that had come out of his mouth, and that could be attributed to habit more than anything. The man he met had been quiet and introspective, two things he would never have associated with Xander Harris in the past. He found himself looking forward to getting to know this new man better, and wasn't that a strange thought?
He was dozing off again when there was a timid knock on his door. Sighing, he dragged himself out of his nest and slipped on his jeans from the day before, opening the door to Willow's nervous smile. "I brought breakfast," she said, holding up a large thermos.
Spike cocked an eyebrow. "Room service?"
Willow shrugged apologetically. "You don't know where the kitchen is yet."
"Fair enough." He switched on a lamp and reached for a shirt; he wasn't usually body shy but for once he wasn’t really in the mood to show off.
"Goddess, Spike! You're so thin!" And there was the reason why.
He quickly pulled on the tee and shoved it into his jeans, futilely trying to cover his embarrassment. "Yeah, well…you'd think pig blood would be easier to get in LA," he muttered.
He looked up only to be confronted with the Resolve Face he'd always heard about from Harris. It was just as scary as described. "You're not leaving this room until you've drank that whole thing."
He quickly sat down at the small table near the fire and opened the thermos, ignoring the homey sounds of Willow straightening up the room as he guzzled the first cupful. It was warm and human and perfect, and he was finishing off his third cup when Willow sat down on the end of the bed.
"Wow, your bed is really squishy," she said, bouncing a little. "The electric blanket was Xander's idea, did you like it?"
Spike paused while lifting his fourth cup to his mouth. "Xander's idea?" he asked blankly.
The silly chit was still bouncing. "He made a good point about no body heat and Scotland in the fall. He also mentioned something about Spikecicles, but he was pretty loopy by then."
"Loopy, right." Spike was still stuck on the idea of Xander thinking about his comfort. Just another example of how the boy really had grown up, and it was starting to give him the wiggins.
No, it was not giving him the wiggins, because he didn’t say 'wiggins', dammit! Bloody Scoobies and their fucked up language skills. Two years out of Sunnydale and he still hadn't been able to escape it.
Willow was still talking. "Listen, I don't know what Xander told you about what happened. And I'm totally not asking!" she added hastily when he glowered at her. "I just…well, I don't think that it was just dusting Drusilla that's got him so upset. I've never seen him like this, but he won't talk to me at all, he just keeps saying he's fine. But he's not fine, darn it! And I don't know how to fix it," she finished sadly, staring at her hands that were twined in her lap.
Spike screwed the cap back on as he thought. He had gotten the same feeling the night before, and he suspected Willow wasn't going to get much out of her best friend yet. "I think so too, pet; but don't push it, yeah? Let him tell it in his own time."
"Yeah." She sniffled a little, then smiled at him. "Thanks for coming, Spike. I'm glad you're here."
He was saved from replying by another knock on his door, then Xander stuck his head inside. "You decent, Blondie?"
"Not for the last century, mate," he snarked automatically, smirking at Willow's giggle.
"Willow! You're in a man's bedroom? What happened to 'gay now'?"
"Oh, Xander!" she gasped melodramatically, putting her hand to her throat. "I just couldn't resist his sexy evil undeadness! Can you ever forgive me?"
"Only if you come to my room next, little lady," he replied in a deep voice, waggling his eyebrows comically at her.
Spike slowly shook his head as the humans broke into laughter. "You're both loony."
Xander just grinned. "I came by to see if you wanted the tour." He glanced at the thermos. "Have you eaten?"
Spike sighed heavily. "Yes, Dad. Christ, what is it with you people?"
"You're too skinny," they replied together.
Spike just rolled his eyes, then jumped up and grabbed his duster. "C'mon then, Harris. I know you just can't wait to show me off to the Baby Slayers."
Willow snorted behind him, giving him an innocent look when he scowled at her. "Don't forget dinner's in two hours, Xander. Are you coming?"
"Yeah, I think I just might." Xander smiled down at her, and something went a little funny in Spike's chest at the love shining on his face. "Kinda getting tired of brooding."
"Oh. Well, okay then." She gave him a quick hug and rushed off, but not before they both saw her sweep a hand across her cheek.
Spike followed Xander down the hall, wondering at the change one night's sleep seemed to have done. "So, you seem chipper today," he ventured. "Thought I was still with Broody the Wonder Git there for a while."
Xander ignored the jibe. "Yeah, last night helped a lot, thanks."
"You know we're not done talking yet."
Xander stopped and sighed. "I know, but can it wait? I can only handle so much soul bare-age at a time, you know?"
Spike thought back to a night in Sunnydale watching over Buffy as she slept in a stranger's bed, and how utterly terrified he'd been. "Yeah, I know."
* * * * * * * * * *
Spike had followed Xander around wordlessly for a while, but now they seemed to be headed out to…a barn? "Where the hell are you takin' me, Harris?"
"Don't you want to see Dawnie?" Xander asked without turning around.
"She's here?" His stomach cramped up. "Uh, maybe this isn't the best idea."
"Don't worry, man, I promise she doesn't hate you any more. She's got bigger problems."
"Yeah?" He fumbled nervously for a cigarette, lighting up just as they entered the barn and, since he really wasn't paying attention to his surroundings, almost walked into a giant shoe. Which was at the end of an enormous jean-clad leg, and his eyes slowly followed the line up to a gigantic head with Dawn's face on it.
"Niblet," he said, blinking.
"Hi, Spike," the colossal apparition said with Dawn's voice.
He took a calming drag off the cigarette. "Thricewise, eh?"
"Yeah,” she replied miserably, plucking at a spare thread on her shirt that was the size of a rope.
"Tell me about it."
"How the hell did you know that?" Xander asked incredulously.
Spike ignored him and checked his watch, which was still set to LA time. "Too early to call Peaches yet, but I bet he'll have an idea how to fix it." He looked back up at Dawn, taking a half second to wonder if he should ask the question.
Hell, of course he should. "Hope the shag was worth it, Platelet."
"Shag?! There was shagging?" Xander spluttered. "You never said there was shagging, Dawnie!"
"Dammit, Spike!" Dawn yelled, slamming her palm on the ground and shaking the building.
"What, you didn't tell them?"
"Of course not! Like I wanted to share that with my pseudo-parents!"
Spike winced; Dawn's voice hadn't gotten any less strident over the years, and bigger vocal cords didn't help much either. "Careful, 'Bit, vampire hearing."
"Oh, right. Sorry," she whispered.
"Do you really think Deadboy can fix it?" Xander asked. "'Cause let me tell ya, Giganto Girl? Not so spring fresh anymore." He oofed when a huge finger poked him in the stomach.
"Don't see why not. We managed to keep most of Wes' books, there should be something in one of them." Spike pushed down the old ache that surfaced at the thought of the ex-Watcher that had become his almost-friend for so short a time. But it must have shown on his face, because Xander was giving him a sympathetic look, which was just odd.
Xander, obviously noticing his discomfort, checked his own watch. "I promised Wills I'd show up for dinner, so I better get going. You want to go with?"
Spike looked up at Dawn and smiled at the hopeful look on her face. "Think I'll stay here for a while."
A/N: I'm not sure if it's obvious, but I put Dawn's dialogue in bold because her voice is big. 'Cuz she's big. Whatever. *g*