By Lumenara Dhahm
Slashfic for miggy, who requested Spike/Xander schmoop, post- "Chosen"
Spoilers: through "Chosen," obviously
Author's Note: I was so relieved to get my pairing, then I looked at the request again and went... wait a second... post- "Chosen"? and still schmoopy? in 1,000 words? But then it turned out the 1,000 words was not so important, and I had an idea I ran with, so it's all okay. Also? Schmoop is hard.
Currently unbeta'd; if you see any errors, please let me know so I can freak out and fix them.
Thanks to _green_, who listened to me talk my way to the idea, and ladycat777, for all her help.
Word Count: 1,318
Rated something in the vicinity of PG-13.
He had the hardest time with clearing his mind, focusing on a perfect nothingness, so he worked at it every day. It was absolutely essential to spell-casting, and if he was going to convince Giles to hire him for the new Watchers' Council, he knew he needed more to offer.
Okay, he thought, I'm awake. What else? I'm hungry. No. Dreams. Gotta sort through my dreams, put them aside. What do I remember? The usual nightmares... okay, moment of silence, apologize to Jonathon... wish Anya well... Spike... oh... that wasn't a nightmare... Aside! Put it aside! Focus!
He hadn't gotten very far when he heard Xander re-enter their room, slapping softly in bare feet across to the far side. Andrew couldn't resist-- he never could-- he cracked one eye open to see... Xander, white towel tucked tight around his waist, shower damp. Andrew slammed his eyes shut (somehow the other one had wandered open, too), then slowly opened them again, allowing his eyes to track their way up wet Xander until they caught on the patch, which always provided a healthy daily dosage of guilt. Even first thing in the morning, Xander would have the patch on; even wet from the shower, when the leather must have stuck against his skin.
Only Andrew knew he actually slept in it.
The bands were wearing red lines into the skin of Xander's face, Andrew was sure. It made him sad. Twenty-one was too young for lines like that, deep-scored sadness, raw and hurting.
His mind flipped, raw and hurting sending him bouncing back to an image of Spike's face, the way Andrew'd seen him look sometimes, when no one else was paying attention. So much sadness, he thought. I just wish things could be like they were supposed to... like Spike and Xander could be back like they were supposed to be before... and his brain flung another image at him, for thinking Spike and Xander right next to each other like that, after just having seen Xander in a towel... and whoa, was that a mental picture. Mmm, looked right to him... Damn! His eyes flew open. He'd so botched this session.
He sighed, and Xander turned to look at him, but Andrew had his eyes fixed on the floor before Xander'd made the hundred-and-eighty-degrees. He didn't want the guilt in his face to twist Xander's any further; the guy had enough problems.
"Hey, buddy, what's the problem?" Xander's voice, cheerful and friendly, startled him into looking up... and falling into concerned deep-brown eyes....
Andrew jumped to his feet. "Xander! Your eyes-- your eye! It's back! You're okay! How'd you do that? When-- where's the patch?"
"Whoa, Andrew, slow down, breathe. Maybe you should sit down. You're not having another panic attack, are you? Here, this one time, it's okay if you sit on my bed..."
Andrew's brow furrowed. That was a weird offer, when his bed was right... where'd his bed go?
There was a large double bed in the center of the room, and no sign of the two singles that'd been there a moment before.
He sat down hard on Xander’s bed, lips moving, but unable to form words. There were so many things that needed to be said right now that they’d all traffic-jammed in his head and none of them would come out.
Then an arm snaked out of the pile of blankets behind him, winding snugly round his middle and pulling him backwards.
Andrew screamed like a little girl.
By the time he stopped for breath, Xander had coaxed the arm off him and was reassuring its startled, sleep-fuddled owner: "Easy, bleachbrain, you just gave Andrew a surprise."
Spike, with bedhead, and, and naked, and.... Spike?! And he was talking, as Andrew sat there gaping.
"Well, how was I to know you’d invited the runt to our bed? Thought it was you, didn’t I?"
"I did not invite him to our bed, Spike. He was having another panic attack and he seemed a little out of it. I didn’t want him to faint again—he obviously needed to sit down somewhere, and I didn’t realize you’d gone to bed yet, either."
"Missed me, did you, lying right here in plain sight?"
"I just got out of the shower, and I hadn’t identified the heap of blankets as you yet, no. And I missed something, all right."
"Oh, yeah? What’s that, then?" Spike’s voice seemed to have gone a little husky.
Xander widened his eyes and batted his lashes outrageously. "You weren’t gonna give me a kiss before you headed off to undead-dreamland?"
Spike smirked, and leaned up. Xander leaned down, touched their lips quickly, briefly, and swooped away. Except that Spike caught him in mid-swoop, tugging him back in and pulling him close for a full, soft kiss that had Spike’s arms wrapped around Xander and Xander’s arms cradling Spike before they broke apart, Xander dropping his head into the crook of Spike’s neck and making a sound somewhere between a desperate moan and a chuckle.
Spike clucked at him, sounding richly smug. "Now, unless you want to give Junior there a free show, I suggest you get back to your sun-proofing downstairs like a good little carpenter, so I can find you durin’ the daytime without catchin’ fire."
"You mean you wouldn’t walk through fire for me?"
"Haven’t I already, luv?"
"That’s all right, then; you know I don’t want you burning anymore than necessary." And their eyes caught, and held. Xander cleared his throat, slowly pulling free of the look Spike was sending at him to send a slightly sheepish but thoroughly imploring glance Andrew’s way. "Hey, you think you could head back to your room, give us a few?"
Andrew nodded mutely, his brain providing him with nothing more than a weak sizzling noise. As he moved into the hall and shut the door behind him, he heard Spike say, chidingly, "Now, that wasn’t very nice, was it? What with him takin’ ill an’ all?"
"I’ll check on him later," Xander answered, breathlessly, and then Andrew couldn’t hear any more words.
He spun guiltily away from the door when he felt a tap on his shoulder. "I wasn’t doing any-- Oh, god, what are you?"
The tall, blue-skinned, horned demon with the oddly-tied beard regarded him placidly. "I wouldn’t recommend yelling for Buffy as you’re about to. For one thing, I’m much stronger than she is. For another, she’ll only blame you."
"Who-- who are you?"
"Ah, how incredibly rude of me. My name is D’Hoffryn. I just wanted to drop in and congratulate you for making such a terrible nuisance of yourself."
"I’ve never seen you before in my life--"
"I’m well aware of that, young man, but you’ve just managed to do more good with one accidental spell-casting than I’ve seen achieved through millennia of deliberate wish-making. I’ve given my flock a warning about you. We’d been watching you-- I thought you might have a future in the vengeance business, you see. But after what you’ve just done? I don’t think you’re worth the risk, after all. I’ve made sure they’ll steer clear of you from now on. I don’t like the gamble." He turned as if to go, then paused, looking back at Andrew, hands folded in front of him. "A bit of friendly advice, though, hmm? In future, I’d be a bit more careful with the phrasing of my conscious thoughts while inside a casting circle. It’s likely not to work out so well for any concerned, next time."
And with a puff of smoke, he was gone, leaving Andrew to slide slowly to the floor.
"Wait... I did good?"