It was coming.  Closer and closer, with long, spindly legs, and beady black eyes.  The gossamer strands that surrounded it, clinging and clutching and never letting go with its sticky, tensile strength.  And the hair.  The hair.  It was the hair that did it, every time.

“Kill it!”

Xander looked away from the television, blinking in surprise.  “What?”

“Kill it, kill it, kill it!”

He stabbed a black-nailed finger towards the death-marked creature and climbed a little higher onto the top of the dryer.

Xander muffled a laugh.

“Oi!  Will you just go kill the thing?”

The spider crawled a little closer, prompting Spike to squeak and look for someplace that was higher up.  Not that there were many options, unless he wanted to climb up the walls—which he wouldn’t touch.  Could be cockroaches in there.

“Awww, is Spikey scawed of da wittle spider?”

Yes, as a matter of fact.  Spike didn’t like spiders.  At all.  He made damn sure wherever he kipped was spider-free, and if he saw one of the bloody things, he used to give them to Dru.  She liked ’em.  But Xander wasn’t laughing yet, which mean Spike had about thirty seconds to get his piece out before the hysterical laughter and chances for blackmail set it. 

“I’ll fix the pipes.”

“You don’t know how to fix the pipes.”  But Xander was considering it, he could see it in the suddenly thoughtful expression.

“Do too.  I’ll fix ’em.  And I promise to be quiet for twenty minutes solid.”  The words came rapid-fire from his mouth as the spider reconsidered it’s decision to halt and pressed forward again.


“Good, now will you bloody kill this thing?”

“Spike, it’s a spider.  Just step on it, if you hate them so much.”

Grrrr.  “I can’t you git.  Can’t hurt any living creature, not even bloody buggering spiders.”

That triggered it.  Xander laughed until his face was red and tear-streaked, doubled over and clutching his stomach.  It was the most humiliating thing ever—but after a few more minutes, Xander slid a piece of paper underneath the disgusting, crawling little thing and carried it up the stairs and outside.  Not as good as killing it, but Spike was learning the value of compromise.  Particularly since he’d started living in the basement of doom.  Compromise had its rewards. . .

Spike was stretched out on the sofa bed when Xander got back, totally cool and casual.  Like he hadn’t just been climbing out of his skin to get away from a tiny little spider.

“So when do I get my quiet-time?”

For answer, Spike tugged the boy down next to him and pushed down the striped-orange boxers.  “Twenty minutes, right?  No more.”  Xander grinned happily as Spike settled down for a good long blow-job.  As always, he was amazed at how good the boy tasted.

Okay, so maybe he’d do a little bit more.