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 , Part 6 , Part 7 , Part 8 , Part 9 , Part 10
Xander was unsure whether he was being completely ridiculous or whether there might be something to his suspicions, but either way was utterly unsure how to begin. What does one say to your pet when you want them to what…? Type something?
He knelt down and took Spike’s furry face in his hands, and made sure the dog’s baby blue eyes were fixed firmly on his one chocolate one. “Now listen buddy, I know something is bothering you, and I am not sure but I think you can spell or read or something, and I’m not sure how and you remind me so much of an old friend, which is ridiculous I know cause he wasn’t even a well he… and it’s probably wishful thinking but I…” The babble was halted in its tracks with a solid doggy lick to the face, causing Xander to fall backwards and garnering a “Hey no licking of the Xanma…” But by that stage Spike had pushed up onto his hind legs so as to reach the keyboard.
Xander watched with incredulous fascination as the canine angled his right paw just so and the second nail slowly spelt “nochip1”.
Xander couldn’t quite believe it, then realized the difficulty the husky was having due to the height of the keyboard. “Wait… Wait! I’ll just get this down for you” promptly rearranging the computer until the keyboard was on a coffee table dragged in from the lounge. Spike could easily sit, leaning his left leg on the table and carefully typing with his right mid nail.
Xander kept staring at the dog until Spike became quite agitated and spelt slowly “wha lookin at git.” To which Xander whispered, “Only one person I know used to say that...”
Spike was trying desperately to abbreviate without losing the meaning. The next text to appear was “spel me wil thbloody”
Xander was still in shock that there was a dialogue at all but then realized what had been typed and the implications! It was followed by an utterly confused “But Spike died closing the Hellmouth!”
Spike carefully typed “no cameback”.
“Oh Ghod Spike! As a dog – instead of frying you the Powers made you into a dog?!” He immediately hugged the dog so tight that Spike realized needing to breathe really did have some drawbacks. Spike decided it was pointless at this juncture to mention the in between with Angel and… it was all too painful (not to mention bloody difficult with the typing!) But he knew that now… well… he really didn’t know anything but that at least Xander was aware of – and accepted - who was really inside the fur. Thank goodness for a Hellmouth upbringing and a sense of the anything is possible.
Xander didn’t seem to be able to let go, though Spike did manage to shuffle onto his lap a little more and be cuddled further down rather than suffer asphyxiation. They sat for many minutes, Spike finally conscious of tears wetting his fur as a gentle rocking started. He put his muzzle on Xander’s shoulder and gave in to his own grief and relief.
Xander’s backside was almost numb by the time the two disentangled. He sniffed hard and wiped his nose with the back of his hand which resulted in a rather strange moustache of dirt as he had yet to wash after work. Spike would have snorted but was too emotional to do anything but allow his friend to stand.
Nothing had really changed, but everything had. Their meal was had in silence, Xander cooking a rice dish, halving the mince portion and serving Spike the uncooked amount supplemented with the rice and vegetables.
After dinner and the clean up Xander really was at a bit of a loss, so Spike took the lead, tugging at his clothes and pulled him toward the lounge room. Xander sat on the couch but rather than join him Spike placed himself directly in front in a deliberate attempt to start a ‘conversation’. It worked.
“We need to sort out some way for you to tell me what you want, need… I don’t know… think without needing that stupid keyboard – although I’ll do a bit of ringing around tomorrow – I’m sure there’s something they use for people with disabilities to help them use the computer easily that might help. Ummm… you can nod and shake your head right? So I guess yes and no are covered.”
As though to validate the statement, Spike nodded and shook his head carefully.
“And counting is the whole paw thing I guess, you’ve got the I need to go outside all worked out too… Sad and happy are pretty obvious… so… I’m still getting used to this you know. I… have I treated you OK… I mean geez Spike I didn’t know I just..” Spike gave up on the idea of nodding and simply shuffled forward a little so he could put his paw on Xander’s knee and stared straight into the worried eye.
Xander stroked between the silky ears, “OK then. I guess it’s twenty questions time… Let’s start with the easy ones. I figure you’re not a vampire, but is the doggie diet working for you?” Spike gave a quick nod.
“Are you cool with running with Gracie’s team?” Spike gave another nod and Xander suddenly remembered some of the text Spike had written and the upset of the previous day.
“Was it the mention of chipping you that scared you?” Spike nodded vigorously and put his paw on Xander’s knee again this time in a begging gesture.
“Geez Spike, if I knew what I know now it would *never* have come up! I remember the tracer the Initiative shot into you *and* the chip. So chipping definitely of the no! But if you get lost or something I… Spike… would you agree to a tracker tag on your collar?” Spike nodded then pointedly looked at Xander’s own choker of the same design, which garnered a laugh from the brunette. “Alright I’ll get one too then! GPS linked that way we’re both safe.”
“Is it OK if I ring and tell Willow – she might be able to help… at least I’m sure she’d like to know.” Spike nodded again.
“Right enough talk… Where’s our beers? Figure work can wait tonight… How about a good, old fashioned action movie or two?” Spike nodded then padded off to do the usual then made an extra trip to the pantry and pulled down a packet of ‘home baked potato chips’ and presented them to ‘master’.
Saturday was a little surreal for both of them. They still went for their run although it was close to freezing as they took off so Xander looked quite a sight in his thermals covered by mid-length running leggings, stripy thermal top and shorter top, mittens and ski hat. Spike on the other hand, had his winter coat coming in and though the pads of his feet were a little chilly, hardly felt a thing.
Upon their return Xander’s nose was red and dripping, and his face was flushed. Spike simply had wet paws but was otherwise unflustered. The human tugged off his wet footwear at the door and belatedly pulled off his already slightly sweaty shirt and dried off the wet fur around Spike’s feet, the dog putting up with the humiliation of having his rear legs lifted in turn. He noticed a drip land on the floor from Xander’s runny nose and looked from the floor to Xander who caught his eye.
“Yeah it’s alright for you ‘Mr I’ve got my own fur coat’, and anyway, your nose is *supposed* to be cold! Come on, I need a shower.”
Xander tossed the now soiled shirt in the general direction of the laundry basket and headed for the bathroom Spike close at heel (having taken the ‘come on’ as a direct invitation). He scooted in the door before Xander even realized and sat quietly near the door, Xander so intent on removing his rather tight thermals that he didn’t notice Spike. Even after stepping into the shower and turning on the water he was not alerted to the dog’s presence. It wasn’t until he had lathered and rinsed his hair that he turned and saw the dog (head cocked to the side in typical Spike fashion) through the steamy glass. He was *sure* Spike was smirking!
His hands immediately flew to his groin, “Gahh!!! Nude Xander here! Nude private bits of Xander!” Spike used his new found communication skills and nodded, virtually grinning then decided to up the ante and wandered over to the glass door to put his wet nose on the screen. As it happened, the husky’s nose was at the exact height of Xander’s cupped hands.
Xander had to get out some time and he still had to soap down. “Right you! I’ll give you a show [as if I have a choice!] – but only if you’re over there… You know you really are an evil pervert in any incarnation!” Spike backed off, nodded again then settled back to watch the human soap down, a little disappointed when Xander faced away to do the ‘good bits’.
Xander stepped out, dried off then tucked the towel toga style around his waist and dried his hair. “Right mister, your turn!” But rather than the expected backing off of his canine friend, Spike happily jumped into the shower recess and stood expectantly. Xander groaned and resolved next time to simply be done with it and get in together in the first place.
By the time he had shampooed and rinsed Spike, he was almost as wet as if he had never dried. The only thing he did manage to do was close the glass before Spike had a chance to properly shake at the end of proceedings.
“Just stay in there for a minute – I need extra towels Mr Hairy.”
Spike did as instructed and was rewarded by a thorough rub down followed by breakfast and quiet time with Xander reading the paper while he dried by the gas ‘fireplace’ (with a little added help from a hairdryer). By the time Spike was dry his fur was so fluffy he was sure he looked more sheep than dog. Xander grinned as Spike shook one more time in disgust, “There you go all nice and poofy!” Spike growled a little then did his best to exit the room with some sense of dignity to get a drink from the kitchen while Xander ‘rang around’ various computer stores as promised.
After several fruitless attempts with the regular ‘super stores’, he rang the University Medical Centre then the huge ……….. Sports Centre and finally had some success. A young physiotherapist who specialized in remedial and rehabilitation therapy at the centre knew approximately what he was looking for and he finally tracked down a small specialty store across town that supplied all manner of aids for the physically challenged.
Three and a half hours and four hundred and ninety dollars later, they were the proud owners of a special touch/mouse pad and program designed to adapt a regular computer for individuals with no fine motor movement. The mouse came with attachments and the ability to adjust to fit a foot or the stump of an arm. According to the helpful gent who served them, Xander’s ‘brother’ was getting the very best but should consult his therapy team as it would take time and practice to master the apparatus, and could cause some initial pain. Spike didn’t care if it took tying the bloody thing to his tail if it meant ‘free speech’.
They forewent the usual trip to the grocery store in preference to racing home to set it up. Frustration followed as various cords had to be sorted and the correct angle and position of the mouse and screen was established. Eventually Xander moved the whole computer onto the coffee table and Spike found himself enjoying the feel of Xander holding his paw as they both worked out the intricacies of writing with the new tool.
It certainly was easier than his toenail solution, and Xander soon found himself leaving Spike to practice while he turned his attention to the usual weekend household duties.