A week later found Spike
sprawled on Xander's couch, listlessly channel surfing and waiting for the whelp to get home from work. In the week since Spike's nightmare, they had grown a lot closer.
They laughed and joked more than they fought now, and Spike found himself enjoying the time they spent together. Xander had never mentioned that night and the conversation they had, but the next
Scooby meeting, when one of the girls had started in on teasing Spike about his supposed feelings for the boy, Xander had
firmly put a stop to it, telling the gang that a month of teasing was enough, Spike was part of the gang and deserved the
same treatment as the rest of them. That had gotten them some shocked stares,
but Xander remained firm and the gang let up on him. Spike smirked, remembering
their dismayed looks when they realized that they actually had to be nice to an Evil Vampire.
A clattering on the stairs
jerked his attention up as Xander came barreling down into the basement, grinning like a maniac. "Spike, Spike guess what?"
Spike eyed the bouncing whirlwind
in front of him and smiled in spite of himself. "What?"
"I got a promotion! And a raise! I've been working really
hard and I guess I've been doing a good job cause the foreman called me in and said I was being promoted and I'd be getting
Xander's babble finally
wound down and Spike stood up, patting the whelp on the back, "Congratulations
Whelp! Knew you could do it. We
should celebrate, just as soon as you relearn how to breathe."
Xander beamed at him and
nodded. "Right, celebrate. I'm gonna
go jump in the shower. Will you call the gang and tell them to meet us at the
Bronze in like, an hour?"
Spike grumbled at having
to be phone messenger, but relented after only a few half-hearted protests, not wanting to really spoil the boys mood. While Xander was in the shower he called Willow and told her to inform everyone else,
then set about trying to find his cleanest tee shirt and jeans.
Eventually Xander emerged, and
went to riffle through his closet. "Did you call everyone?"
Spike glanced up from the couch,
where he was polishing his boots, "Yup, everyone will be there, party hats and everything."
Xander looked surprised, "Party
Spike snorted in disgust,
"No, not really. Do you really think I'd hang out with the lot of you if you
started wearing bloody party hats?"
Xander laughed, then he
eyed Spike appraisingly and ducked back into the closet. He reemerged with a
button up shirt in a deep wine red in hand. "Here." He thrust the shirt at Spike, "Wear this over that tee shirt."
Spike took the shirt and
lifted an eyebrow in question.
Xander flushed slightly,
"Anya bought it for me, it's too small, and not my color, but I think red will look okay on you."
Before Spike could respond, Xander
had grabbed his own set of clothing and disappeared back into the bathroom.
Spike slipped the shirt
on, wishing for a minute that he could see his reflection, Must admit, the Whelps right, it does fit. And red is my color. Grinning to himself he sprawled back
out on the couch and waited for Xander to finish. Twenty minutes later Spike
was getting impatient. "Bloody 'ell Whelp!
Its a party, not your bloody wedding, get the fuck out of there!"
As Spike's voice quit echoing
about the apartment Xander finally appeared. Spike took one look at the boy and
was immediately mollified, "Where'd you get them clothes?"
Xander gestured to the form
fitting black slacks and silky plum button up he was wearing. "Do you like the
outfit? I bought it a while ago, I just haven't had the chance to wear it before
and I figured since tonight was a special occasion..." Xander trailed off, still
Spike suddenly realized
he was staring and shook himself out of it, after all that teasing from the gang, it wouldn't do to start thinking that the
whelp was actually good looking. Spike grinned at Xander, who had started to
look a little nervous, "Well, you clean up okay, I'll give you that."
Xander reached out and adjusted
the collar on Spikes shirt, "That color looks good on you. And it fits, keep
Xander met Spikes eyes and
suddenly Spike could smell the nervousness radiating off the boy, oh bollocks, what now?
"Spike, I, um, wanted to talk
to you about something."
The vampire swallowed, his mouth
suddenly inexplicably dry, "Yeah? What?"
The sound of the phone ringing
cut off whatever the boy was about to say, Xander turned and picked it up. "Hello? Yeah, we're on our way. No we don't need
a ride. Calm down already, it's my party; I'll be late if I want. Fine, see you there."
Xander smiled ruefully at
the Vampire, "Guess we had better get going, the natives are getting restless."
Spike nodded, grabbed his duster,
and followed the boy out of the basement. Whatever the boy had been about to
ask, it had made him very nervous. Spike just hoped the boy wasn't about to push
their newly found friendship too far.
They arrived at the Bronze
and the group grabbed a table. Willow offered to grab the drinks and dragged
Spike along with her, citing the need for Vampiric strength to carry everyone's order.
When everyone got settled, they began demanding to know the reason for the celebration.
Xander bounced happily in
his chair as he related his tale. "So I've been really liking this construction
crew I've been working on. Everyone is really nice. Except for this one guy, the head carpenter. He always comes
in drunk and is really mean and stuff. Anyway, one of his helpers was out sick
so I was assigned to work with him, which really sucked. We had to cut up a bunch
of wood for the day, and I noticed that he'd done the measurements wrong. I tried
to tell him it was wrong, but he kept yelling at me to just do it, and then we would have had wasted tons of wood. So anyway, finally he said he would do it himself, but he wasn't being careful with the saw and I
had to like, knock him out of the way 'cuz he almost cut his hand off. After
that he took off for a break and I went to talk to the foreman. I told him what
had happened, and some of the other guys backed me up. Well, anyway, I guess
the foreman hated the carpenter guy too 'cuz then he fired him and promoted me to head carpenter!"
Appreciative gasps followed
that announcement and Xander beamed.
"The foreman said he'd noticed
what a good job I had been doing, and that with my experience I was the best guy for the job!
I got a raise and a bonus too!"
Congratulations were offered,
and the group talked excitedly amongst themselves till Buffy finally asked the important question, "So, promotion boy, what're
you gonna do with the bonus?"
Everyone quieted down, Xander
smiled, "Well, first off I'm gonna buy everyone a drink."
Cheers followed. "Then,"
Xander took a deep breath, "Well, I've been saving for a while, thinking that someday Anya and I would get our own place. Of course you know how that turned out."
The required chorus of sympathetic
"But anyway, I really don't
want to live in the basement of doom forever, and now with this bonus I have enough for all the down payments on a new place,
plus enough to buy some furniture, you know, so I don't have to sit on the floor for a month."
Everyone started congratulating
and hugging Xander again, and Giles made a speech no one listened to about the importance of adult responsibilities.
Spike hid his face behind his
drink, trying to hide the disappointment that was surely showing in his eyes. The
whelp had learned to read him too well since they'd been roommates, and he didn't want to spoil the boy's moment. The truth was he hated the basement apartment, but had really begun to enjoy living with someone. Spike wasn't solitary by nature, and to actually have someone around again, a friend
no less, made his unlife much more tolerable. With the boy getting his own place,
he'd be on his own again, and that possibility held no appeal for him. A light
touch on his arm jerked Spike out of his brooding, Getting as bad as my bleeding Sire, and Spike looked up into the
concerned eyes of Willow. "Yah, Red, what?"
"Spike, are you okay? It...it's just you don't seemed so thrilled for Xander, and I was just wondering..." She looked really
unsure of whether it was all right for her to be concerned about his feelings. While
it would be fun to play with her a bit, Spike decided to go easy on the girl.
"Thanks Red, but I'm fine. I'm actually glad I won't have to sleep in the bloody chair anymore. Damned uncomfortable it is. I just have to get off m'lazy
arse and start looking for a new crypt to haunt."
Willow smiled an understanding
smile at him, and then gestured over to where Buffy, Dawn, Tara, and Xander had congregated on the dance floor. "Wanna dance?"
"Ta, Red, but teenybopper
music just ain't my thing."
Willow gave his arm a final
pat and headed over to join the dancers.
Spike looked down and noticed
his beer was empty, so he left the Watcher at the table and wandered over to the bar.
Drink replenished, he proceeded to wander round the club and imagine which of the hormonal idiots packing the club
he would drain if he could, and which ones were just too stupid even for food.
An hour later the group
was still dancing and Spike was ensconced in a corner playing a game of annoy the humans.
This involved tossing rolled up bits of paper at a couple that were desperately trying to neck in a dark corner. A flash of green caught his eye and he looked over to see the Slayers soldier boy
entering the club with two of his initiative buddies. Spike stifled the growl
that immediately rose in his throat and melted back further into the shadows. Riley
scanned the club and spotted Buffy and the others and the trio headed over to the dance floor.
Buffy greeted her boy toy with a kiss and an animated discussion began, complete with gestures.
As soon as the army goons showed
up Xander had shot an alarmed glance over to the table where they had been sitting, before relaxing when he realized Spike
wasn't there. Spike smiled at that, strangely pleased that they boy would worry. Spike watched as Buffy obviously explained their impromptu party, watched as Riley
nodded, then smiled, then patted Xander on the back. Riley then turned and gestured
at the two men who had accompanied him, introductions were made all around. Spike
frowned as he tried to remember the others names, oh yeah, Forrest and Graham, gits.
Riley then pulled Buffy aside to talk while Graham and Forrest talked with the others.
Riley and Buffy rejoined the others and, after more discussion, Buffy left with Riley and company, picking up Giles
on the way. Willow and Tara paired off for a slow dance and Xander made his way
back to the table. Spike headed over to join him.
"So, what did G.I. Joe want?"
"Hey Spike. Riley and his buddies ran across some demon nest and they wanted the Slayer and Watcher 'expert opinion'
on it. Her loss, less party for her."
Xander motioned a waitress
over and raised his eyebrow at Spike, the Vampire nodded, and Xander ordered them more drinks.
When they arrived, Spike took and sip then sighed, might as well get this over with. "So, Whelp, congratulations. Bloody brilliant idea. Do you good to
get out of that dump."
Xander eyed Spike warily
and Spike hoped his voice had sounded as casual as he tried to make it.
"Actually Spike, that's what I
wanted to talk to you about earlier."
Spike rushed ahead, wanting to
make it easier on Xander," It's okay Whelp, don't you worry about me. I'll start
looking for a new crypt tonight if you want. By the time you're ready to move,
I'll be gone."
Xander stared openmouthed at Spike
for a minute and then shook his head. "No."
"No? What d'ya mean, no?"
"I mean, actually, that
I wanted to ask you to move in with me. Keep being my roommate."
Now it was Spike's turn to stare
in openmouthed shock, "Y...you what?"
Xander smiled at the flabbergasted
Vampire, "I said, I want you to keep being my roommate. Only this time in an
apartment that's actually livable, with your own room and everything. We could
be, like, the odd couple. You can leave empty blood packets all over the floor
and I'll accidentally slip garlic into your bed when I get tired of yelling at you to pick them up."
Spike had to laugh at that. "I dunno whelp, I've seen the way you keep house, seems like I'd be the neat one and
you'd be the one finding spiders in your bed."
Xander alternated between shuddering
at the thought of spiders in his bed and laughing at the image of Spike as a neat freak.
The boy's laughter was infectious and it took them both several minutes to calm down.
"So what do you say Spike? As long as you can pay your share of rent,
and don't tell me where the money came from, I'd really appreciate the company."
"Don't you worry about me pet,
I'm a man of means. I can pay my own way."
"So, will you?"
Even if he had wanted to say no, which he didn't, Spike couldn't have resisted the pathetic puppy dog eyes
that he suddenly found turned on him. "Christ whelp! Turn off the eyes! Of course I'll move in with you. Where else am I gonna go?"
Xander beamed and bounced
in his chair some more, and Spike tried to ignore the feelings of pleasure coursing through him, at seeing how happy his answer
had made the boy.
Willow, Tara and Dawn wandered
over and looked questioningly at the two. "What's going on?" Dawn finally ventured.
"Spike agreed to move in
with me. We're gonna be roommates, only well have our own nice apartment, not
the crappy parents-basement apartment."
The girls smiled and hugged
the two men, offering their congratulations. Tara looked at Spike, "Does this
mean, when you find a place and get all moved in, we can have a housewarming party?"
Willow kissed her girlfriend on
the cheek, "Good thinking honey. I'm always looking for an excuse to buy Xander
"Hey!" Xander pretended to look offended, "What sort of embarrassing gifts can you give at a housewarming party?"
Willows eyes sparkled, "Lots and
lots of things. Toasters, tea cozies, fuzzy bunny slippers..."
"You're too late on that one Red,
the Whelp's already got a pair."
Xander kicked Spike under the
table, "Spiiike! You weren't supposed to tell anyone that!"
The girls joined Spike in
laughter as Xander blushed bright red, "They were a gift, from one of my insane aunts.
I kept them around 'cuz they used to scare Anya."
Spike snorted, "That demon bints
been gone for months now, and that doesn't explain why you were wearing them this morning."
The rest of the evening
passed in much the same way, with lots of lighthearted teasing and joking. The
girls even convinced Spike to dance a few times, when some not so torturous music came on.
As they left the club in the wee hours of morning, Xander grabbed a paper so he and Spike could start looking for a
place right away.
As Spike drifted off to sleep,
curled up in that bloody uncomfortable chair, he thought for once that being one of the good guys wasn't so bad after all. Then he mentally kicked himself for the thought and drifted off to sleep with a smile
on his face.