Summary: He was Xander Harris; butt monkey to the entire freaking universe.
Xander was pretty sure the fates hated him with a passion. Not the normal levels of “let’s screw with the little mortal’s head” dislike either. Oh no, he couldn’t be that lucky. Instead, he got the “what new cruel and unusual punishment can we use today to truly fuck with the Scooby’s life” treatment, complete with maniacal laugh. He was sick (sniffly nose and fever thoughtfully included), he’d just been fired from a job he didn’t want to begin with but had to keep to pay the rent on his dingy basement - which he didn’t particularly want either but it’s not like he had anywhere else to go - and a certain bleached head had just appeared at the bottom of the stairs for another round of mental “kick the human”, going unerringly for the letter he was really damn sure he hid under his mattress yesterday. He was Xander Harris; butt monkey to the entire freaking universe.
“Spike, I thought the whole point of you getting your own - and I use the term loosely - place, was for you to make with the not coming around any more.” He sniffled the words more than spoke them, but he was fairly certainly the vampire got the general idea.
“You’d miss me if I did that, ducks.” The other man smirked as he flopped down on the couch and swung booted feet up to rest right on top of the letter Xander was definitely not looking at.
Talking with Spike was a bit like defusing a bomb. One wrong word and all the things he didn’t want the blond to know would somehow come tumbling out of his mouth without ever having to actually say a word. Thankfully, he was getting rather proficient at defusing Spike.
Flicking a vaguely irritated glance at the booted feet, he sighed, “Would you get your boots off the table, you’re getting dirt everywhere.”
“Wouldn’t want to spoil the otherwise pristine decor, would we?” The words were snarled, but then, Xander was pretty used to the hostile tone and took no notice.
“It may not be the Taj Mahal, but it’s all I’ve got. Go trash your own place if you’re looking for something to do. What are you doing here, anyway?” He asked, moving out of the kitchenette with the cup of soup clenched between his hands like a lifeline.
“Been a couple of days since I’ve seen you pet, figured you’d be missing my bloody stunning self by now.” Which was Spike-speak for duck and swerve the question.
Xander was too tired, and too sick to bother playing the verbal sparring games, “So, who’d you piss off?”
The mumbled response sounded something like “sunday fudge demons” and he had to work hard to keep the amused smile off his face. Few things were certain in life; the earth’s rotation, taxes, and Spike’s innate ability to piss off anything with a brain - and a few things without.
“Mmm, and you’re here because...” He asked, lifting his eyebrows in question as he took a sip of the soup.
“Figured a white hat such as yourself wouldn’t be averse to helpin’ a guy out.” The guileless expression on the blond’s face would have worked if it wasn’t for the almost pornographic splay of his legs.
“You need a place to crash.” Xander observed with a wet sounding chuckle, followed almost immediately by a cough.
“And, of course, your Scooby heart is inclined to oblige.” Spike said by way of an answer.
The last two sentences cinched it; the vampire was in a bind. Piece 126 of the bomb that was Spike; when the other man started using words that made his previous education show and his oh-so-carefully affected accent started softening just the slightest touch, it was a sign that something really was worrying him. Xander wondered if it was possible to kick the part of his mind that had decided liking the man in front of him was a good idea.
“Fine, but you’re not sleeping in the bed.” He said, shooing Spike off the couch so he could pull it out.
“Have a heart, Harris!”
“Fine, you can sleep in the bed if you like, but don’t blame me if I sneeze on you in my sleep. Hell, given the amount of gunk my body feels like it’s filled with at the moment, it’s possible it’ll start oozing out of my pores soon.”
“You humans are disgusting. Wouldn’t get in the bed if you paid me, whelp.”
Yet another win for Xander and his knowledge of the Spike-bomb. Subtly swiping the letters off the coffee table, he shoved them in a draw as he grabbed sleep pants. Crawling under the blanket he sat up long enough to finish his soup, not quite making it to the lying down stage before exhaustion demanded sleep.
Waking up he felt no better than he had the night before, and he knew even before opening his eyes that his only-semi-unwanted houseguest had left some time earlier. Cracking open an eyelid he found water and two plain white pills on the side table. It was only when he heard the crinkle of paper that he realised his elbow was leaning on something, and wasn’t really all that surprised to find the letters.
The pills went down like sandpaper, even with the water, and he grimaced before noticing something different about the familiar pieces of paper. Unfolding them he found words typed from a typewriter below the bottom of each letter. Beginning at the first letter he found his eyebrows creeping towards his hairline.
There was a man who prayed to his God. Every night and morning he knelt; “Please, God, I know I am not the most devout of your followers, nor the most virtuous, but please, let me win the lottery. My need is great, and I can see no other way. Please God.”
Flipping to the second letter Xander kept reading, unsure what to think.
He prayed for days, for months. Each night and morning without fail. Eventually his faith began to waiver and he began to question his God, but still he prayed. He prayed until the leaves turned and fell, and his anger turned into a festering wound in the pit of his stomach. One day he refused to pray, instead staring at the effigy of his God with questions and condemnation in his eyes.
His God gave the statue life then, and it spoke with command;
“Buy a ticket.”
AN: I'm not normally a big one on religious metaphors and please don't take this to be a "convert to my faith" thing (since I'm not actually Christian, which is where the tale comes from) but I thought it too appropriate not to use.