The world had to be ending. The pounding in his head couldn’t possibly be caused by anything other than an apocalypse. He considered groaning in pain and stopped when the train of thought alone had him feeling slightly nauseous. Rolling towards the source of cooling comfort he could feel on his forehead, he cracked open one eye. And promptly shut it once he confirmed it was Spike lying beside him, one hand flung out and the other resting gently against his head.
Swallowing, he hoped he could manage the sentence, “Anyone else feel like a large, furry creature died in their mouth?”
He didn’t know how he was sure the vampire was awake, since the blond showed no obvious signs of consciousness, but he wasn’t startled when the Spike spoke.
“Not surprised. Imagine your liver is hating you with quite a vengeance right now.” The amusement was soft, pitched much like the blond’s words to slip softly between the vicious thumping in his head.
“Believe me when I say; all of me on the no more alcohol for the Xan-man band wagon.” He confirmed and attempted to sit up, groaning slightly.
Blinking, he found himself braced against a cool shoulder and two white pills held in front of his face. Taking them dry he grimaced and just about inhaled the water that found its way into his line of sight a moment later. He ignored the remarkably uncomfortable feeling covering just about every inch of his body and looked up at his house mate.
“Thanks, Spike.” He thought about trying to be more specific for a moment, before leaving the statement alone.
“Getting mates sloshed is a specialty of mine. C’mon, you’ll feel better after you brush your teeth and I’ll feel better after you take a shower.” Again that rapid fire grin and he couldn’t help but laugh, stopping suddenly when his stomach objected to the movement.
“Then we’ll get you bacon and eggs, extra grease on the side, maybe some chips too. Some toast with plenty of butter and – there you go. Feel better once you get it all out.” The last was said as Xander found himself becoming intimately familiar with the concept of praying to the porcelain god.
Again the feeling of a cool palm on his forehead as his stomach attempted to crawl out of his throat, and the now familiar feeling became a comfort. Rinsing his mouth with the water that appeared in front of him, he struggled to his feet and waved away the vampire’s help.
“Is it possible that I’m both still drunk and hung over?” He asked in the quietest voice possible.
“Mate, with you lot anything is possible. Now get that into you.” Automatically he took the glass of water that appeared in front of him, full again, and sipped at it.
The night before didn’t so much come back in pieces through the haze of ingested alcohol as it did roar through his head with the force of a freight train. This time he found himself praying to the toilet bowl for an entirely different reason and the small sips of water he’d managed felt like cold fire coming back up.
Gasping, he wished for the numbing stupor of the previous night as his stomach tried to rebel again, though there was nothing left. Turning blurry eyes to Spike he begged the demon in front of him without words for answers.
“Sorry pet, don’t know what to say. Sometimes good people do bad things – s’just as true for demons. C’mon, up with you and into the shower, you’ll feel better.”
He should be embarrassed that the vampire had to strip him and place him under the warm spray but he found himself too caught up in his internal war. While he’d known the demons he worked with were anything but human, he hadn’t expected such a… visceral reminder. How was he going to cope if there came a time he needed to watch Vincent, or Carro – or, gods forbid, Spike – die?
Shaking his head at the slightly melodramatic turn of his thoughts he decided that for the moment the tried and true method of Xander-Coping was the way to go: denial. On the heels of his new denial resolution he noticed three things. The first was that he was standing naked in the shower. The second was that he was standing naked in the shower and leaning most of his weight against Spike. The third was that he was standing naked in the shower and leaning most of his weight against Spike, who still had his jeans on, and somehow the wet denim managed to look far more obscene than if the shorter man had been naked.
Coughing and shifting his weight to try and cover his body’s reaction – and the obvious fact that he was in desperate need of a girlfriend – he stuttered slightly, “Uh, thanks Spike, I’m ok now. I’ll be out in a few.”
The blond shrugged and stepped gracefully out of the stall with black jeans clinging tight enough Xander was glad for the vampire’s sake he didn’t need the circulation. Waiting until the bathroom door closed he glared down at himself.
“What the hell are you looking at?”
Watching as the human stumbled his way into the kitchen dressed in boxers and an inside out shirt to stare vacantly at the fridge, Spike called himself seven kinds of Nancy before steering the other man to the couch and presenting him with both toast and juice. Waiting until Xander had managed to struggle most of it down he sat on the poor excuse for a coffee table and looked the other man in the eye.
"Right, here's how it's going to work. You and me, we're getting out of dodge. Now don't go fretting, we're not leaving for good, just going for a night on the town, and this hell-hole barely qualifies. There will be no talk of demons, no talk of the Slayer, or slaying. Nothing but good times, yeah?"
His tone brooked no argument and he grinned when he'd obviously gotten his way; Xander's expression hesitant but determined.
"Atta boy. It's still bloody early so you and me are going back to bed and we'll head out just after sunset. Don't bother packing anything either- your disaster of a wardrobe can stay where it can't be seen; we'll stop by a place I know on the way."
The human was still looking a bit green about the - thankfully metaphorical, and don't think he hadn't heard about that little adventure - gills. It wasn't until he was ensconced on Xander's bed in an almost identical position to what he’d been in when he woke up, that he realised he was getting just a little bit too comfortable with his situation. He considered moving, reconsidered and re-reconsidered. Eventually deciding that he was the Big Bad and if he enjoyed the heat the brunet practically radiated, then who was going to say mum about it? Besides, the boy obviously found it comforting since he was already snoring softly.
It was no surprised that he woke first, even if he had been keeping human hours lately the other man was definitely a lightweight and sleeping the sleep of the truly pissed. Raising an eyebrow at himself when he realised just how entangled he’d gotten during his nap, Spike carefully unwrapped himself from the brunet and padded to the bathroom.
He was halfway through his shower when a choked off scream had him sprinting the short distance to Xander’s bedroom. Blinking shampoo out of his eyes he looked askance at the man on the bed once he realised there was nothing that required killing.
Xander cleared his throat with a blush making its way up his neck, “Uh sorry, bad dream. I didn’t mean to uh, you know, surprise you.”
“Ah. You going to be right to sit tight while I get some kit on?” He asked and instantly knew it was the wrong question when anger flared bright in brown eyes.
“I’m not an invalid! You don’t need to –” The brunet seemed to physically swallow whatever he was about to say and Spike watched the fury replace with regret, “I’m sorry, you’ve been great and I’m being all… anti-great. Yeah, I’ll be fine, thanks.”
Rage temporarily replacing Denial!Xander, he tried to find a distraction while his head found north again – and what kind of life did he lead when he regularly had to take a moment to put his head on straight. Without thinking he looked to his housemate and realised only one thing; Spike was naked. Alright, maybe two; Spike was naked and there was a trail of shampoo suds making their way – hello denial, nice to see you again, and oh look, he needed to de-pill the corner of his blanket.
Looking anywhere but at Spike, he got up and dressed in some of his least offensive clothes; well-fitting jeans and a burgundy v-necked sweater. Firmly ensconced in DenialLand and feeling much less like his stomach had a vendetta against him, he looked askance at the vampire when the other man came back a few minutes later.
“Right, we’re off. C’mon then.”
Mildly concerned and mostly curious Xander followed the blond head, about to ask how exactly they were going to get wherever they were going when he stopped suddenly, jaw hitting the floor. Spike was standing in front of a fire-engine red Impala that looked like it came straight out of one of the glossy classic car magazines he’d only glanced at.
“Umm, Spike? Do I want to know where this came from?” He asked, heading in the general direction of concerned and leaving curious for something slightly less illegal.
“Know a guy who knows a demon. S’all right mate, hop in.”
Xander may not have ever been the sharpest crayon in the box, but he wasn’t the dullest either. He recognised the gleam in blue eyes immediately and it announced to the world that one way or another, the vampire was going to get his way. Shrugging and climbing into the cab, he couldn’t help but shake his head when Spike revved the engine up to a roar.
He was expecting them to head immediately out of Sunnydale, so he was surprised when he found them slowly to a stop in a quiet street not far from Ronnie’s. Once again following the vampire he soon found himself in a rather nice, rather exclusive looking shop.
Falling into a rhythm he was quite familiar with – having spent most of his shopping years with two female best friends – he soon found himself tugging and zipping and buttoning until Spike proclaimed him dressed. Looking down at himself he felt his eyebrows crawl under his hair line.
“You’re kidding me right? I look like a rent boy!” A black short sleeved button down shirt that was so thin he could swear it was see through the second the light hit it was tucked into jeans faded almost to white.
“Live a little, pet. Put these on.” A pair of black biker boots were thrown in his direction.
“I can’t believe you actually expect me to wear thi – whoah! no sitting down for Xander in these jeans!” Straightening up quickly to avoid crucial parts of his anatomy being removed his eyebrows climbed higher as Spike bent down and shoved his feet into the boots.
“Right, go wait in the car; I’ll just be a sec.” Saluting the vampire he made his way back to the car and stood, looking at the seats in trepidation.
By the time he’d managed to get into the car the vampire was striding towards him. He finally understood why the blond slouched all the time. It had nothing to do with looking bad ass and everything to do with keeping all his parts in working order.
Deciding he may as well say goodbye to his eyebrows forever he finally looked at Spike’s outfit. Skin-tight black shirt that looked like it was made out of something closely related to mesh flowed into just as skin-tight, blood red vinyl pants.
“Right then, mate. Onwards and upwards.”