Warnings: Will appear on chapters if needed – some M/M relations
Summary: Spike survived the Black Thorn but only because one of the Senior Partners had heard Illyria refer to him as suitable for her pet and decided to amuse themselves with devastating results
Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4
The trip from Kamloops to Calgary was not all that far but certainly a very windy road. Spike was stretched out relaxed, the padding of the seat and quiet cabin absolute luxury, and the knowledge that he was now officially registered as owned by Xander Harris was just… wonderful in one sense, unbelievable in another… didn’t even cover it. The pickup hummed along and the nausea he had experienced in the bus did not even feature as he gave in to a relieved sleep.
They stopped at Banff and Spike woke with a jerk, rather disorientated as to where he was, but relaxed as the back door was opened and an old friend’s hand gave him a quick pet between his ears.
“Come on… Geez Jerry, I’ll have to give him a name – can’t just call him ‘Dog’.”
As the relieved canine jumped down from his the truck onto the stones of a carpark in front of a municipal park, and looked up at Xander with crystal blue eyes trying to convey, as much as he could, his relief, gratitude and genuine affection for a colleague of old. Xander’s breath hitched and he felt quite teary.
Jerry noted the odd mood, “’Sup buddy?”
Xander replied in a rather emotion affected voice, “Just that those eyes remind me of an old friend… died a while back in that Sunnydale collapse, you know before I met you guys. Saved me more times than I can count… you know in fights and… other stuff… name was Spike.”
“That was his name?’
“Nickname – real name was William th… William. Guess Spike just fitted his tough guy image. He always had hair peroxide blonde, and crystal blue eyes just like this one. He was slim, handsome, wore black mostly, had that bad boy thing going, but he was really a pretty good guy when it came down to it. Could really be a softy and loyal to a fault when protecting those he loved.” Xander’s voice had dropped almost to a whisper.
Spike sat back hard on his haunches stunned by the admission, the name, the… everything.
Jerry grinned and tried to lighten the mood, “Well then, Spike it is. See if he answers to it, you know… ‘cause you can’t expect him to just understand first time.”
With that Xander moved away from their parked car twenty or so meters into the park. “Hey Spike… Come to me… come on Spike.”
Before he had time to realize what had happen, a blonde and black streak flew forward bowled him over onto his back, and began licking his face enthusiastically, tail almost wagging at light speed.
Xander sat up surprised but laughing and pushed the dog away with firm affection, “Blaagh! Doggie breath!”
Spike flopped down beside the now seated Xander, put his head on his paws and looked up with the saddest, most apologetic eyes he could manage. He really hadn’t meant to push Xander over, but it was all to much with the events of the last months and the rescue and the admission and he *so* wanted to tell Xander… what he wasn’t sure. So he waited submissively.
Jerry yelled across laughing , “Yup seems he answers to that alright.”
Xander ruffled Spike’s fur between his ears then put a hand either side of Spike’s muzzle and lifted his head until they were Xander’s chocolate eye to Spike’s blue pair. “You’re not in trouble buddy, just no lickin’ of the Xanman’s face OK? No licking of faces. Now come on let’s all have a bit of a stretch of the ol’ legs – still a fair way to go, and man I need a Coke or something and food… food is of the good. C’mon let’s get Jerry.”
The next half hour was spent with Jerry and Xander playing catch and Spike – not one for sport (other than fighting, or of the TV variety) delighting in beating either one of them to the tennis ball if the catch was missed. The first few times he dropped it at Xander’s feet, but later in the game, refused to give it up. Instead, ball in mouth, he dodged between the two men, came close enough for them to pounce then swerved sideways and sprinted away to flop down and drop the ball between his paws – apparently exhausted. When Xander and Jerry tried to ambush him from that position, he grabbed his prize and ran once more. Finally the game ended as his owner flopped to the ground and conceded defeat, Jerry joined him. Spike sauntered up wagging his tail and triumphantly dropped the ball in front of the two then sat panting with what could only be described as a smile on his face.
Xander was breathing hard but grinned at the dog, “Yeah, right-o smart ass! Just because you’ve got four legs and can turn full pelt on a dime! Hey Jerr, you up for a Coke or something?”
“Mate after that, anything wet and cold with bubbles would be great. C’mon let’s drive into town – we’ll need to get him something too I reckon… Beef jerky and water shouldn’t upset his stomach too much – we’ve still got a fair bit of winding to do before we’re on the flat – I‘m sure he can hang out for food ‘til you get home.”
And so it was hamburgers and Cokes to go for the men and *bottled* water and beef jerky for Spike – a far cry from licking filthy drain water but weeks ago.
The trip started with Spike again lying down but as the really windy sections began, so did his nausea. He pushed up to sitting then remembered other times, trips at sea or in lurching closed carriages when the only thing that seemed to relieve it was fresh air – and now he didn’t even have to worry that it was daytime! He pawed at the window a little and gave the tiniest squeak of a whimper.
Xander was driving for the second leg and guessed the problem as he remembered being car sick once or twice as a child. He hit the controls for the automatic window on the right hand rear, and Spike immediately stuck his head out into the chilled mountain air in absolute relief. It felt wonderful. His ears were pressed back with the rush of the air and thick fur blew flat against his face. He closed his eyes as the cold and the speed of the wind made them water something fierce, but he felt instantly better. He could smell the fresh mountain air, various shrubs and trees, and yet also registered that he was also comfortably seated in the back of his owner, Xander’s car, and they were going ‘home’.
Big enough to rest his cheek on the window sill, Spike let himself simply enjoy for a time, until his ears began to ache slightly with the cold. He pulled his head inside, but sat up in the middle of the back seat rather than lying down, belatedly noting that he was able to see through the windscreen between the two front seats, that too reduced the feeling of motion sickness.
Xander noticed the dog’s more perky nature and put the window up. Jerry was sleeping with his head resting on an old sweater against his window so Xander had time to think at last. For some reason he could not stop staring at the beautiful blonde chest and dark markings, and those eyes! The dog would no doubt fill out a little with good food, exercise and a lot of love.
Spike took his eyes off the road in front looking into the rear vision mirror instead as Xander began to talk, almost to himself, bemused that his newest companion Spike’s ears were pricked and his head cocked slightly to one side, blue eyes meeting his one brown with an intensity and strange familiarity that was a little unnerving.
“You and I will have to, you know, muck in a bit for a while – I’m still doing my place up so the back yard’s a bit of a mess, you know builder’s stuff… well OK it’s all a bit of a mess – but it’s getting there. I was lucky to get it too… mate of Jerry’s was moving to Saskatchewan and was happy to sell, and the company had sponsored me here so I’m good to stay. Poor Mace, he never got to see it… ::sigh:: Guess Jerry is right though, one door closes another opens… “ Xander seemed to drift off into his own world for a time leaving Spike to wonder exactly where Xander had been in the interim years since the Sunnydale Hellmouth implosion.
Spike had intended to lean forward a little to try to hear the rest of the monologue but at the last moment decided that it was perhaps better left as information for another day. Besides they were on the open plain and he decided to lie down again and enjoy a snooze until they arrived in Calgary.
It was late dusk as Jerry was dropped off, promising to visit Xander on the morrow and congratulating them both on their successful business trip and Xander’s new companion. Jerry’s twin ten year old boys were well impressed by the ‘sled dog’ in the back of the car and each gave Spike a quick pat before being hurried inside so Xander could get home.
They had to go a little across town to get to Xander’s house, a rather typical Canadian house for the area, but apparently needed ‘a lot’ of work when he first moved in six months previously. With shingles that needed replacing on the external walls, paint and wallpaper tired and peeling inside and plumbing almost irredeemable, Xander had set to on his time off and transformed the unloved, unoccupied for three years building into a quite pretty home – at least from the outside. The internal walls were all painted off white with one feature wall highlighting the faux fireplace that burned ‘gas logs’. There was ducted heating also, and the musty basement had been upgraded to a pool/chill out room, gym area and a large partitioned area for ‘stuff’ – though Xander still had yet to accumulate a great deal.
Xander fumbled a little with his keys but eventually levered the front door open – the trick was the knee in just the right spot then turn. Spike sat on the small porch behind him waiting patiently. Old habits died hard and it wasn’t until Xander was inside and called to him, “Well… come in Spike… this is your place too now. Better get used to it.” Xander threw his duffle bag in the archway of the lounge and indicated for Spike to follow.
67 Sunnyvale Boulevard, Calgary SE was a far cry from the cramped basement of Sunnydale – and even from the rented airy apartment that he had shared with Xander post Spike’s ensouling. There were three bedrooms and a study, cozy lounge, open plan kitchen/family/dining room, a large bathroom, an en-suite for the main bedroom, and a laundry.
The open plan area was obviously newly renovated and Xander proudly explained a number of the features he and ‘the guys’ had included. “… and in the morning I’ll show you around the outside, I’ve nearly finished the decking under the pergola and the only other thing to do is install the Jacuzzi, do some paving and landscape…”
Spike didn’t really mean to look bored but could not hide the wide doggy yawn.
“OK, OK! I know…I’m turning into one of those boring house owners who gets excited when the hardware store has a sale on coach bolts or routers and discusses the going price of ten liters of external paint or a new mixer tap!” Spike padded up and rubbed against Xander’s leg much as a cat might – a very *big* cat – grinning internally as he thought “What do you mean ‘turning into’? You were always like that!” They were both tired, it had been a long day.
“C’mon you… let’s find you a nice spot to rest your head – so long as you don’t snore you’re welcome in my room… I’ll just…” Xander tugged open the door to the basement and emerged with an enormous round futon like cushion full of flock surrounding a dense foam core. He disappeared down the hall to their left, emerging after but a few seconds grinning like the Cheshire Cat from “Alice in Wonderland”. “Think you’ll like your bed…”
Spike waited patiently as the mug of milk turned slowly in the microwave, then waited as Xander put it in a bowl, then waited again to touch his food in the same way a Childe waited for permission of the Sire to eat.
“Well? Oh I forgot… You may drink Spike.”
A short time later, Spike was on his mat next to Xander’s queen-sized double. What surprised him the most was the soft blanket thrown over him. He and his owner both sighed in unison and promptly fell asleep.