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 , Part 5
Xander was up early the next day, Spike stirring immediately the human started to move.
Xander’s first act was to sit up, scratch his rather messy bed hair and bare chest then lean over the side of the bed to meet a pair of loving blue eyes. “Hey buddy, sleep OK?”
Spike had almost forgotten the scarred skin where Xander’s left eye should have been, the brown patch he had wore during the day almost passing as an accessory. He still regretted not having barreled that bastard before he could mar the handsome face, now all the better for the goatee and slimmer more mature features. That aside he wanted to show his gratitude, so pushed up to sitting, lifted a front paw onto the bed and rested his furry chin within reaching distance of Xander. He looked up with as much love and adoration as he could get into his baby blues and thumped his tail on the plushy material that covered the round futon he had slept on.
“That good huh? Well… guess that’ll have to be your night time spot from now on…” Xander stroked the fur between Spike’s ears and absently tugged and caressed the baby soft ear closest to him, “You’re so different to Mace you know… he was a Rottweiler-cross, all bounce and no brains… never could get him to settle inside… or listen to me for long. He was only four when… still miss him though. Guess it’s OK to do that…” The hand began to caress his other ear and Xander scooted down the bed a little so access was easier.
Spike still hadn’t moved but reached a little further forward with his paw now Xander was closer, and managed to touch the former Scoobie’s foot.
“It’s like you sort of know what I’m saying even… The real Spike was intelligent too, I mean he was really educated – Dawn once told me that he had a book collection and had read all the classics… And I guess being around that long would give you an edge on the book reading and the travel and… His hand writing was amazing. When he was living in my place – after the soul, he wrote a shopping list one time – OK not so much shopping list as a ‘by the way you need’ note. Even the way he wrote Wheetabix looked cool… Anyway enough of old times – you wouldn’t even have been a puppy in your daddy’s eye back then I’ll bet and here’s me boring you to tears again.
Come on… It’s Saturday, time for a run, some washing, then a bit of a shop for food, and if you’re real good we can hang out in the hardware store, then you can help me with the patio – what do you say?” With that Xander ruffled the fur behind Spike’s ears, shifted back and swung off the bed.
Spike was still a bit caught up with the ear petting and processing Xander’s reminiscing, but stood immediately and wagged his tail enthusiastically as Xander hitched up his navy blue boxer shorts and headed for the bathroom. Spike was about to follow but then thought better of it. He was thirsty but really needed to relieve himself more than anything, so sat by the door of the bedroom in preparation for a bit of a wait.
Xander saw him out of the corner of his eye and twigged the probable cause of the longing look toward the hallway, “Ah geez… sorry buddy. Here, come with me, now if I let you out the back to do your business, you gotta promise not to run away OK?” Spike nuzzled Xander’s hand then followed him to the back door and was let outside as Xander returned to the bathroom to perform his morning ablutions.
Xander was right, the garden was a mess, but an organized mess with a purpose obviously. Builder’s materials, mounds of sand and scoria, piles of various sized planks for the deck and pergola, circular saw and a variety of tools neatly lined up along the back wall of the house – plus another pile of what was obviously rubbish in the back left-hand corner. Spike decided on that as his toilet spot and acted accordingly, scraping some loose dirt over his doings with his back legs after he had finished – it was the least he could do.
He decided to investigate the yard a little more. Xander had not been exaggerating; there was certainly room for improvement, once all the construction was finished. Apart from anything else there were no trees to speak of, just one rather tired looking holly and a gnarled old lemon tree that seriously needed attention. There were the remnants of a vegetable patch and a couple of edges indicating there may have been flower beds down the side at some stage, but the old shed, chicken coop, whatever, in the far right corner had long been covered by ivy and various other creepers, and would have to go.
Eventually he returned to the back door ready to wait, but noted that it was not quite closed, so nudged it fully open and padded inside. Knowing better than to invade Xander’s privacy when showering (and hadn’t that been a hoot that one time when they were living in the basement – the Scoobie jacking off under the hot spray only to turn and find Spike smirking at him from the doorway… resulting in more hours of the tortuous ‘comfy chair’). Instead Spike lay down by the stove in the kitchen.
A few minutes later Xander wandered in still rubbing his hair dry, another towel wrapped toga-like around his hips. Spike sat up and enjoyed the view. The boy was in his late twenties now and a fine example of manhood. Construction work was good for him but the idea that he also ran and kept himself fit was something Spike had not contemplated when living with the Twinkie eating youth.
Obviously used to having the house to himself, Xander almost jumped out of his skin when the towel cleared his face and he saw the dog head cocked slightly to one side staring at him with what could be interpreted as mild amusement. “Geez Spike! How’d you get in here?”
If Spike could have rolled his eyes he would have. Instead he made his point by walking past Xander to the back door, casually pushed it shut, then returned to his spot in front of the stove.
“OK, OK. Seems like I’m the one who must have grown up in the tent… Next you’ll want me getting you your own key. Hey… how about we have a bit of a drink then take that run – I really can’t have breakfast then go – makes me all queasy.” With that he served himself a juice and downed a couple of multivitamins chased by half a glass of water. He then found a large porcelain soup bowl and poured some fresh milk into it – belatedly thinking to crush a Wheatabix into it, “The real Spike used to do that with his blood you know… said it added texture.” Spike would have kissed him if he could have.
Both finished their respective drinks with relish, Xander dressed quickly and they headed off in the direction of the parkland along the river/stream nearby. Xander also thinking to bring a tennis ball and Spikes lead, which was just as well. Technically Spike should have been attached to the lead but it was still early and the weekend, so there were few people around to worry as he loped along easily keeping pace as Xander did his usual five mile run. This time for Xander, however, it was to be the first of many accompanied by his four-legged companion. Mace had been far to boisterous and ‘silly’ to let go of, but for some reason Xander just knew that wasn’t the case with this still slender new friend. The ball was thrown occasionally, Spike retrieving it and catching up to Xander with ease.
By the time they were both home Xander was sweaty again. He filled Spike’s bowl with water and went for a second shower, changing in the bedroom before he came out this time, and immediately busying himself making a cooked breakfast – a luxury not available on the frantic weekday mornings. He pulled out a second bowl for Spike and served him two pieces of crispy bacon after he had piled his own plate high with toast, fried eggs, bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms.
Xander sat at the table and tugged the plastic wrap from newspaper he had picked up from the front lawn as they finished their run and proceeded to eat and read the headlines in silence. Spike was amazed – not a hint of sugary cereal in sight and a huge bowl of fruit on the table indicating that much had changed.
The brewing coffee aroma mixed with the medley of delicious smells already in the kitchen and Spike was thrilled when a rather loud belch was followed by, “Gahh I’m full, you want the rest of my last egg? Shame to waste it…”, after which the delicious morsel was delivered to his plate. Xander delivered his plate and the pan to the sink, ran water over them, poured himself a coffee then sat back down to relax, read the sports pages and do the Saduko puzzle on the back of the paper. The Sunnydale boy who failed math at school certainly had grown up, and in a strange sort of a way Spike felt a sting of pride.
Eventually they did venture to the shops, Spike waiting patiently in the truck while Xander bought food and various items they *both* needed for the week ahead. They made a run back home with the bags before heading out again. This time Spike was allowed to sit at the front of the hardware store – submitting to being tied to a post and told to wait as Xander went inside the huge building. Several people patted him on the way past and one small child even gave him a lick of her ice-cream before her mother noticed her proximity to the large dog and dragged the child away.
The afternoon was spent with a shirtless Xander sawing the decking into the right lengths and nailing then (using nail gun) to the joists he already had in place. The sweaty male body glistening in the sun was a sight, and Spike could do little to help, so simply relaxed down on the grass and enjoyed the view. Around four in the afternoon the top of the deck was finished and Xander sat heavily on his handy work, the safety goggles around his neck, and used his checked flannel shirt to rub away some of the sweat dirt and sawdust. “Geez I could do with a beer right now…”
Spike could see the fatigue and sidled up to Xander, leapt onto the deck and licked Xander’s sweaty right forearm once then pushed the back door, managed to open the fridge with a firm push of his paw and grabbed a Heineken from the door compartment in his teeth.
He delivered it to a flabbergasted Xander then returned and repeated the exercise before padding back inside, clasping his bowl gently between his teeth and placing it too beside Xander, then sat sphinx-like with a twinkle in his eye and the look of “Well? Where's mine?!”
Xander laughed aloud, ruffled his fur and emptied the rest of his half drunk first bottle into the dogs bowl before cracking open the second, “I swear you have been human in a past life! Wait ‘til the boys at work hear about this… I’m cutting you off at one though – last thing I need is a drunken doggy howling his wows all night.” He could have sworn he heard Spike give a good humored snort, but discounted it as the two sat quietly together and enjoyed the afternoon sun.
Some time a half hour or so later, Xander pushed himself up with a bit of a groan, put away most of the tools and plugged in the circular sander finishing off the edges of the deck, then packing up as the chill of the evening began to kick in. Spike picked up the end of the extension cord in his teeth and carried it over to Xander as the human covered the circular saw and various other power tools with a weather proof tarp. Xander was so preoccupied he didn’t hear Spike’s approach and just about jumped out of his skin when he turn to find the dog directly in front of him, cord at his feet.
“And I say Gahhh again today! Geez Spike sneak up much!” The dog looked unrepentant. “I swear you must be related to your namesake somehow! If you start wearing leather and painting your claws black, I swear…” Spike heard some genuine annoyance but knew now how to veto it with ease. He dropped to the ground and gave his best hurt puppy look up to Xander.
“Oh come on you! I’m not really mad, just tired. How about we grab something from the Noodle House and watch TV tonight – I really don’t feel like cooking… ‘Course yours is easy… Here you silly mutt…” Xander squatted down and ruffled Spike’s fur with both hands with affectionate roughness, “Feel like I’ve known you for much longer than a couple of days you know? We’re gonna make a good team you ‘n I – so long as I don’t have a heart attack first from too many surprises!”
The night was spent in front of the television watching some mindless action movie on it’s forth sequel and third repeat. The real entertainment was Spike discovering that if Xander threw up a piece of popcorn, he rarely missed catching it, much to the amusement of both of them.
Eventually bed seemed more sensible than worrying about the end of the rather predictable plot. Spike felt the blanket thrown over him again and snuggled down. It hadn’t been such a bad day after all.