Odd Day Out



It was barely an hour past dusk, a hint of sunlight dying the horizon in pastels, as close to direct sunlight as Spike ever really wanted to see.  Who needed a bloody sunset, anyway?  Telly showed it just fine, and there were always movies if the craving was too bad.

Not that he craved sunlight.

“Spike?  Do you not want to do this?”

“I’m here with my geeky, loser, no‑special‑powers human boyfriend, on a Friday night, with a horde of giggling teens clustered around, driving me fruitier than Dru ever was by either fawning after me or goin’ after you, an’ if that red‑headed tart pushes her tits at you one more time, I’m gonna rip ’em off.  Don’t care she claims to be six‑bloody‑teen, she’s a tart and you best not be lookin’.”  Spike glared as pink clouds melted and bled into a more fuschia color, melted wax and the kool‑aid Red had once given him as a blood substitute.  Like he wouldn’t have known the difference.  “Also, I’m mini‑golfing.  On a Friday night.”

“Okay, that tells me what ‘this’ is, something I knew since, you know, I.’m standing here with you.  And I’m not looking at Amanda, promise.”

Wasn’t supposed to be here, was he.  No Dru, but that wasn’t really that unusual, before Prague.  Sometimes got to be too much, always taking care of her, especially when she wasn’t that badly off and could take care of herself.  So every once in a while, she’d tell him the stars saw him across the country, or he’d just take off unprompted, wreak some havoc on his own.  Killed the second slayer on one of those jaunts—what brought Dru back to him, actually.  Though there’d be something to get them back together, always was.

Not this time, though.  This time he was stuck in suburban Hell, with a gaggle of teenage girls making cow‑eyes at him.  And a dark‑haired mortal boy trying not to laugh while Spike decided between smirking back, and risking the Wrath Of The Chaperons, or just giving it up for lost and running away.  Insolent little brat wasn’t helping either, and—bloody hell, that Amanda chit was back again!

“Xander, can you help me?  The strings of my shirt came undone.”  Big green eyes blinked coquettishly and Spike realized he was growling and about to shift, something that would definitely get him in trouble—and just why the hell was he worried about trouble, anyway?  He was William the fucking Bloody, Slayer of sodding Slayers, and if he wanted to go all growly and grr over some tubby harlot that was chatting up his mortal pet, than he bloody well was going to!  He wasn’t scared of nothing human or demon, and certainly not the microchip in his skull that’d rip him into tiny pieces if he put an ounce of real menace into the glare!

But instead he just stood there while Xander did up the girl’s top, pointedly touching her as little as possible and actually moving away when she tried to rub up against him.  “Thank you, Xander,” the girl purred, stone‑blind and stupid, apparently, since she wasn’t picking up on the brush‑off.  Xander gave her a tight smile, taking a few more steps away until she pouted and flounced over to the rest of her friends.  Spike could see Dawn offering sharp commentary to her friend, arms folded under tiny breasts and looking as hellaciously pissed as the Slayer on a bad hair day.

Watching Dawn berate her friend for going after someone clearly off‑limits made Spike feel a bit better. She understood how hard this was for him, and knowing she was on his side always gave him a warm fuzzy feeling he didn’t like to examine too closely.  Until one of the boys that’d been invited—over Spike’s loud objections—sidled up and distracted her.  Spike could feel the metal of the golf club bend as he watched a pimply‑faced git try and act suave, offering to help Dawn work on her swing, arm already around her waist.

“Whoa, there,” Xander cautioned, hand on his arm with enough pressure to tell Spike he was serious.  “Spike, what’s wrong?  Do you want to leave?  We’re not really doing much anyway, I don’t think Buffy would mind.”

“If he doesn’t take his arm off her—”  He heard Xander’s sigh, but didn’t realize it was heralding a hard shove into some brightly‑colored representation of something cheesy he didn’t care to identify.  “Ow!  What the hell are you—”

Xander cut him off with a hand over his mouth.  “Before I have to pay for a new set of putters, Spike, you’re going to tell me what the hell is wrong.  I know you like miniature golfing.”

Nice that vampires couldn’t flush, since yeah, he did like mini‑golf, and often suggested it for him and the boy if there was nothin’ better to do.  But that wasn’t the point, and he was self‑aware enough to recognize it.  “Nothing,” he muttered sullenly.  “C’mon, queue’s building.”

“Huh?  And don’t change the subject, because something is wrong.”

Normally he liked it when Xander got all grr and possessive like he was now, but not just then.  Not when every warm puff of air, laden with the smell of cotton candy and popcorn and Xander, rubbed over his skin like sandpaper, exposing raw nerves and bloody veins to yet more torment.  Every shout of laughter was rusty spikes into his mind, calling up memories he really didn’t need, not when he was surrounded by happy, cheerful humans that were absolutely, perfectly, and not just cause the Slayer was there, safe.

“Look, it’s nothin’, all right?  Now, c’mon.”  He almost successfully pushed free of Xander’s hold, surprised when he was yanked back with such force his head smacked into the plastic.

“Spike, you’re almost as bad as Amanda sometimes.”

“Oi!  Don’t have tits near as big as hers, the painted trollop.”

Xander rolled his eyes, backing off since he knew Spike wouldn’t move again.  Didn’t help his mood any, since he wouldn’t move, couldn’t even make himself bluster like the cock he’d been a scant few years before.  And when had time slowed down so that he was thinking in months and year, instead of decades?  He was a sodding vampire, immortal and powerful and Xander was kissing him.

Sweet and innocent, and an undercurrent of sex and heat like vanilla ice cream ribboned with caramel and dots of copper‑tanged chocolate.  Spike let himself be kissed, not twisted up enough to argue with blood‑warmed lips on his own and a slick tongue counting his teeth.  But he didn’t do much more than hang in Xander’s grip, either.

“Spike, Spike, Spike,” Xander muttered into Spike’s mouth, amused and exasperated.  Spike opened his eyes to see a grin crinkling the corner of Xander’s, brown iris’ flecked with hints of gold that had nothing to do with otherworldly parasites.  “You’re very stupid, you know that?”

Yeah, he did, though he wasn’t sure Xander was going on about.  So he wasn’t ecstatic to be playing watch‑dog on a group of teenagers, not like that was something hard to deduce.

“Do you remember what happened last year, today?”  Xander had an arm around his waist, the other toying with the hair at the nape of his neck.  Giggled comments at the edge of his perception meant that they had an audience, but it wasn’t worth caring about it, not when he was being looked at like that.  “You got drunk and smashed up a car.  I had to bail you out of jail before the sun rose.  And the year before that you trashed two bars before Buffy hauled you back to the crypt and babysat you until you passed out.”

All true and some good times there.  “So?  Vampire.  Like destruction.”

“So I did some research,” Xander continued without acknowledging the interruption, “and I figured out just why this day is so. . . important for you.”

Spike froze.  No way.  No fucking way in hell.  “Yeah?  What, some Watcher’s book reveal all its secrets?”

“Nope, that’d be a phone call to Angel.”

Oh, holy fucking hell.

Xander leaned forward for another deep kiss.  “If you manage to relax and have fun for the next hour or so, I’ll take you home and give you your death‑day present.”  Then he walked away.

He—he had—and Angel had—and—what the—

There’d been a damned good reason he hadn’t told anyone about this day, cause it wasn’t exactly a happy one, despite how proud he was to be a vampire.  Hadn’t been a good one in years, not since Dru buggered off and he’d been stuck here with a chip on his shoulder and in his head, not even after he’d hooked up with Xander.  Because if Xander knew about it, honored it the way he honored every important date in their life, then this would all be real.  William the Domesticated and Pathetic.  As close to mortal as a vamp could possibly be without a soul and much better hair.

Xander wiggled slightly as he lined up his next shot and Spike’s rant dissolved as he coupled that arse with the word ‘presents’.  Because Xander gave good presents, the kind that kept them sweaty and happy for days on end, until Xander’s boss called to complain and Buffy started threatening bodily harm if Xander wasn’t let out for at least a night, while Dawn and Willow giggled in the background.

Dawn handed him his slightly‑dented putter with a gleam in her eye that said that she knew and was incredibly amused.  “So, if you do the last three holes in one?  I promise you three Buffy‑free days and I’ll never let Amanda near you again.”  Then she kissed him on the cheek and bounced away, without waiting for his answer.

Probably because it was written on his face.