Authors: whichclothes and emelye_miller
Chapter: 4 of ?
Disclaimer: We're not Joss
Summary: Set in mid-season 4. The Scoobies bet who can go longest without having sex..
Author's Notes: magixa gave us the plot bunny and we'll see what we can do with it!
Previous Parts: Right over here.
Xander’s journey of self-exploration began and ended in Oxnard. But what it lacked in poetry it made up for in recreational drug use, morally questionable behavior and sex with an exotic dancer named Chad.
Kerouac probably never had to pay rent to live in his parent’s basement because he stayed on the road. He was free.
At the end of the summer, he and Chad shared a joint and hand job on the beach. Chad invited him to stay. He could almost picture himself finding a job in town, sleeping at Chad’s apartment above the Laundromat. Someday Chad would go back to community college and Xander would move into management. They’d get a townhouse and spend the weekends tubing or grilling out with Chad’s friends from school or Xander’s co-workers. He could get a nice truck. Maybe someday they’d have a dog.
He didn’t stay though. Maybe all that would have been enough for him once upon a time. But once you’ve saved the world a time or two, it’s hard to imagine life in middle management without feeling like an underachiever, lackluster as his accomplishments may have seemed compared to his friends.
Xander wasn’t Kerouac. Xander had responsibilities. He kissed Chad goodbye and left him in Oxnard.
He didn’t tell Spike that, though. All he said was, “Being eighteen sucks.” Spike nodded sympathetically and slid him another beer, prying the first empty from his fingers.
“Christ, Harris, never pegged you for a maudlin drunk.”
Xander snorted and gave him a slightly bleary smile. “I’m a lover, not a fighter.”
Spike looked like he wanted to laugh. “Not presently, you aren’t.”
“Oh, yeah,” he conceded, suddenly wondering what he was going to do about Chad being lodged in his brain and no Anya to lose himself in.
Spike took a swig of his beer and gestured with the bottle. “Need a good fight. Get your blood up, get your mind off things.”
“Y’know, maybe it’s the beer—and seriously, does Willy ever card?” Spike shook his head, no. Xander frowned at his bottle. “Does it help? Really?” He asked, adding, “Fighting,” for clarification.
Spike grinned devilishly. “Yeah.”
Xander nodded, deciding that whatever Spike meant to get him into, he’d likely get him out as well. With that in mind, he carefully dismounted from his bar stool, squared his shoulders, picked up the bar stool, and brought it down over the head of the large, brown spiny demon to his left. The stool shattered and Xander felt the impact jar his shoulders and elbows, but his heart was racing and something like a grin was forming around the corners of his mouth for the first time in weeks.
Until he looked at Spike who was looking between them in abject horror. “Fight?” he asked, weakly.
“Not with a Ha’murn demon, Xander,” Spike replied gravely as the demon in question shrugged off the splintered bits of stool with a low growl of irritation. “Oh, bollocks.”
The demon drew himself up off his stool. Xander had a hard time gauging it’s height since it had to stoop slightly to fit under the ceiling of the bar, but all six eyes were trained on him and he had a strong feeling the increasing volume of the low, nearly subsonic growl wasn’t a good sign.
Xander shrugged, drew back and aimed a punch for somewhere around the mid-thorax.
“Xander!” Spike shrieked as Xander’s fist connected with the solid body, likely cracking a couple of knuckles in the process. Xander frowned down at his fist. “Look,” Spike addressed the demon, “He’s had too much to drink, I’ll just take him out of here, yeah?”
The demon growled again and the remaining bar patrons made for the door. Xander took advantage of the demon’s distraction and kicked it in the nearest appendage. The demon grunted and Xander bounced a little, pleased that he’d engendered a response that time. He turned back to Spike. “You’re right! This is fun!” He announced, gleefully.
Unfortunately, he was looking the wrong way when the Ha’murn raised his third or fourth pincer and swatted Xander hard enough to launch him airborne over the bar. Xander crashed into the bar mirror and crumpled to the sticky floor. Momentarily stunned, he missed Spike’s look of anger. “Not playing fair, mate, takin’ a shot at a bloke when his back is turned.”
Xander struggled, shakily to his feet. “You tell him, Spike.”
“Shut up, Xander.”
“Okay.” Xander slid back down to the comfortingly solid floor.
The demon swung again at Spike who dodged out of the way. “Look, we can walk out of here right now, an’ no one needs to get hurt.”
The Ha’murn responded by picking Spike up, pincer digging into his torso. Spike let out an agonized yell as the demon threw him against the far wall. Xander was on his feet before Spike hit the floor. He tried to break a bottle on the bar and only succeeded in jarring his elbow again. The noise distracted the demon, though. Xander popped the cap off the dusty 40 and sprayed the Ha’murn with malt liquor. The bug shrieked, temporarily blinded, pincers flailing. Xander pumped his fist in triumph and climbed onto the bar, ready to throw himself bodily onto the back of the demon when he felt strong arms around his waist, hauling him down.
“Well done, Harris, now let’s get the hell out of here!” Spike didn’t give him a chance to protest, dragging him out of the bar and fishing Xander’s keys from his jacket pocket.
“I had him on the ropes! Lemme go back in there!” He demanded as Spike turned over the reluctant engine of Xander’s four-banger.
Spike laughed, then grunted in pain, clutching his stomach. “Yeah, you had ‘im, Harris. Call this a catch and release, eh?”
“What’s the matter?” Xander asked.
Spike shook his head. “Scratch.”
Xander frowned but let it go. “Thanks.”
Spike looked over at him. “Feel better?”
“Yeah, I do.”
Back at the homestead, Xander was sobering up as Spike limped down the basement steps, enough to offer a hand as he clutched at his obviously blood-soaked and shredded side. Spike made for the fridge, but Xander wordlessly steered him onto the couch instead. “I’ll get it.” Spike nodded and sank back onto the cushions, eyes closing wearily.
While the Christmas novelty mug spun in the microwave, Xander got some gauze and tape from the bathroom. “Can you get your shirt off?” He asked.
Spike nodded, grunting in pain as he pealed the fabric off his body, tugging harder where it stuck to the wound.
Xander frowned and grabbed a rag from the sink, wiping the blood off his side as Spike hissed in pain before slapping some gauze over the worst of it and taping it in place. “Ribs need taping?” he asked. Spike nodded again reluctantly and Spike held out his arms while Xander wrapped.
“You can have the bed tonight,” Xander offered, handing Spike his mug. Spike looked up at him in surprise. “It’s my fault you got bisected by that mutant ant.”
Spike looked him over appraisingly. Xander tried not to blush until Spike said, “Reckon you’re going to be sore come morning. I wasn’t the only one getting tossed around in there.”
“Could share,” Spike offered casually.
Xander frowned, tempted for all the wrong reasons. And just like that the sweet release he’d found in the fight was gone in an instant.
“M’not a bleedin’ leper, Harris, don’t have to look at me like that.”
“I don’t think that. It’s just not a good idea,” Xander told him, quietly correcting his assumption.
Spike looked up, eyes wide. “Oh.”
Xander pulled out the bed and settled into the Barcalounger, already feeling his neck aching in protest. He didn’t wait for Spike to get settled before turning out the light and hiding under cover of dark and a scratchy wool blanket. He heard Spike’s quiet, “Night, Xander.”
Xander pretended sleep and didn’t answer.