Spike/Xander fics where they were roomies with no
sex. It was a challenge but here is my contribution, set in S7. Aaron
Davies suggested the book title used; thanks!
Xander thought that he'd heard every emotion from A to Z in Spike's voice over the years but 'panic' wasn't generally the one filed under 'P'. He found himself hurrying towards Spike's bedroom, his heart beginning to pound. He got there to see Spike staring up at the ceiling, his eyes hunted.
"What? What?" Xander said, his eyes flicking around the small room trying to spot the monster.
Spike turned and looked at him, tried to speak, failed and tried again. "Spider. There. Nearly - oh God, it was right over my head. Could've dropped on me, could have ...do something then, you useless wanker! Don't just stand there."
Xander gave him a long, level look and stalked over to the corner. The spider was a big one, yes, legs by the yard and the sort that scuttled fast but it wasn't a tarantula and -
"You lived in a crypt. Must have had dozens of them, all over the place. Why are you freaking over this one?"
Spike swallowed. "Weren't any. Had a charm up to hex them. Look, I just don't like them. Not a crime is it? Now kill it, squash it, get rid, O.K?"
Xander smirked and left the room, relishing every curse that floated out to follow him. He came back with a glass and a magazine, reached up, flicked the spider into the glass, clapped the magazine on top and left to shake the spider outside gently, still without speaking to Spike. When he'd finished he went back to the room. In defiance of all the rules Spike had lit a cigarette and was sitting on his bed visibly rebuilding his shattered image.
"Put that out, Spike. Well, well. Guess that explains why you didn't want me to rent Spiderman. Shameless travesty of a classic cartoon my ass. Now, you'd be disappointed if I didn't use this to blackmail you, so suppose you start in on cleaning the bathroom. Unless you want the Slayer to know the worst?" His smile was evil, pure evil.
Spike stared at him thoughtfully, stubbing out his cigarette in a small dish. He walked over to Xander and said gently. "I found your porn."
Xander flinched and then shrugged. "So? The girls won't care. Not exactly unusual to have -"
His voice broke off as Spike nodded his head slowly. "You're probably right. It was more the little collection of books underneath the smut that caught my eye."
"Books? Oh, those books! I never throw anything out, known for it." Xander tried a casual laugh and watched it wither in the sun of Spike's polite incredulity.
"So you don't still read them then?"
"Of course not!" Xander said, his second laugh attempting the tricky hurdle of 'unconcerned amusement' and breaking three legs at once.
"Ah. Funny how 'The Bobbsey Twins Camping Out' has a bookmark in it, that just happens to be the ticket stub from the movie you went to see last week, then."
There was a charged, brittle silence as the men studied each other's ammunition and declared an unspoken draw. Xander narrowed his eyes and went to find a box he could padlock and Spike lay back on his bed and let the trembles take him.
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