Another Fine Mess

~ Co-written by Mad Poetess [website]

"Y'know, this would be a little easier if you weren't breathing down my neck here, Spike."

"Wasn't me -- don't breathe." There was a pause, then in an accusatory tone, "Who the bloody hell is breathing on your neck, then?"

"The closet monster?" Xander answered peevishly. "All I know is I can't get this damn door unstuck. You wanna try your O-So-Skilled hand at it?"

"You said I couldn't break it."

"*You* said you could pick locks, once upon a time. Like that Artful Dodgem guy."

"Artful Dodger, and when are you going to actually finish a novel? They aren't cheap, you know. Well, wouldn't be if I paid for 'em. And I *can* pick locks, but not when I'm on the bloody inside of the closet, and anything even remotely useful as a pick is on the outside."

Silence from Xander, then, and a giggle, finally.

"Oh, fine -- you laugh. Who was it got us in here in the first place?"

Even in the dark, it was easy to guess the expression on the vampire's face -- barely suppressing giggles, himself.

"I wasn't laughing at *you*," Xander answered. "Just... y'know. Closet. Locked in. Moment of uber-clarity."

There was a pause, then Spike did laugh, once. "Good for us, then, everyone already knows."

"Yeah, well. I think even Joyce couldn't ignore walking into her living room to find your tongue -- um -- *there*."

"Xander, if I can do it, you can say it," he said in patient tones.

"I can't even say Saska... Saskatchewan without tripping over my tongue. Now you want me to trip over yours, too?" Xander answered nervously.

"You just need more practice," Spike said encouragingly, moving slightly closer to Xander -- not that he wasn't already practically plastered up against him, squished together in the tiny closet as they were. "Tell you what," he added with an audible leer, "You do it, and I'll say it."

"Ummm--" Xander said helpfully.

"Don't you *want* to?" Spike rubbed his groin slightly back and forth against Xander. "Where are we going, anyway?"

"*There*, apparently," Xander replied, leaning back against the confining walls. "Since when does *Spike* ask the Sally Jessy questions?"

There was silence for a moment, then Spike said, "Meant, since we aren't getting out of this closet anytime soon before someone comes to rescue us -- might as well do something fun."

"Oh -- fun. Well-- " Xander, relieved, slid down the wall against which his back had been pressed so tightly. "Why don't I start with this," he added, reaching for where he guessed the zipper on Spike's jeans might be, "and you tell me where we're going. Since you're feeling so talkative."

Spike shifted, pushing his zipper towards Xander's questing fingers as he said blithely, "I think we ought to be looking for a place with more room. For the children."

"Or we could just buy 'em a bigger tank, Spike." Xander tugged at the stubborn bit of metal, acutely aware that there was now a broom handle poking him in the side. At least he hoped it was a broom handle. "And a new bubbly diver. They ate him again. Why couldn't you buy goldfish, like I asked?"

Spike muttered something Xander couldn't quite make out.

"If you just said 'The piranha were cheaper,' you're a lying bastard," Xander commented. There. Zipper. That obnoxious little copper-plated button at the top. And-- "Since when did you start wearing underwear???!"

"Since somebody bloody well tore a hole in my jeans! You think I wanna flash myself to everybody in the world? And I *said* I bloody well kill goldfish."

"I thought you meant you did it for fun. It tends to run in your family. And I didn't tear the damn hole in your jeans." Xander tugged at the waistband of said jeans, and they slipped slowly down. Slowly, because the prick purposely bought them a size too small to show off the stuff he allegedly didn't want to flash to the whole world. Followed by the unexpected shorts -- might as well get everything out of the way...

"You made me tear 'em -- jumping off my perfectly comfortable headstone to come save your arse from being bitten by something not me. Tore a right bloody hole in them, and what thanks did I get? Um, other than the...uh.... And I didn't kill 'em for fun. They just--" Spike's head fell back, thumping loudly on the wall as his rational thought processes screeched to a halt.

"They just what," Xander asked cruelly after a moment, removing his mouth from its appointed task with no warning. "Jumped out of the bowl and landed neatly on your plate?"

"I didn't eat the goldfish!" Spike protested loudly. "What sort of soulless demon do you take me for?" He pressed his hand to the back of Xander's head, encouraging him to return to his previous occupation. "Fed 'em to Kitty Fantastico. *After* they died."

Xander, or rather, Xander's teeth, let him know exactly what Xander thought of *that* story.

Spike yelped -- then yelped again in real pain. "Fuck! Fuck, fuck..."

"Well, I did say you were supposed to tell me where we're going, but I was thinking of some more detailed driving directions," Xander said thoughtfully, removing his mouth again and backing away. All of two inches away, of course, since that was all the room there was.

Spike ignored him -- a tiny bit -- as he tried to hold his tongue out. Then he realized his fangs had actually drawn blood, and he pulled his tongue back in and swallowed.

"Waiting here, Spike..." Xander said after he got no answer for a bit too long, and he made some vague tongue-clicking sounds of his own, to amuse himself during the long decades before his answer arrived.

"What are you doing?" Spike accused. What the heck was there in here that Xander could suck on besides *him* ? "And don't I get any sympathy up here?" His tongue was practically healed by now, but there was still enough residual soreness to whine about it.

"Waiting," Xander said patiently. "Like I said. For you to tell me where we're going. Unless 'Fuck, Fuck, Fuck' really is as creative as you can get. I thought you were the master of dirty talk, here."

"I bit my fucking tongue, all right?" he snapped. "I wasn't trying to-- you *really* want me to talk about where we're going?" His tone was one of amazement. Gentle, though, as if he'd just realized he'd been missing something important. "What were you sucking on?" he added.

"You," Xander answered, confused. "And... yeah. Maybe. Maybe I do."

"Not then, the other--" Spike stopped, and thought for a moment. "Can I turn you and curse you right off? Before you get old and wrinkled, that is. Not that I won't still love you when you're 64."

There was silence for a very long moment.

"Meaning you...um..." Xander finally said. He'd only meant he wanted a little 'Do this now, oh yeah, now there, that's good.' Hadn't he?

Spike tilted his head down, as if he could have seen Xander's face. "Can I?" There was no hint of anything in his voice besides sincerity. Although he did sound a little boyish, like he did when he asked for a second pizza.

"Can you...what? Love me? Turn me? Make me wonder when I lost my mind?" Xander said very quietly.

"Yes, yes, two years ago." Spike paused, then continued, "Do you? If you don't want to...I understand. Living forever isn't all it's made out to be." There was a longing in Spike's voice which Xander couldn't ignore. Living forever without someone you...loved?

"You'd have to turn the kids, too," he pointed out a little hysterically, not sure what he was answering. Not sure what he was asking, either.

"Vampire piranha? Well...couldn't we get something else to turn? A dog, or a ferret or something." Spike wrinkled his nose. "Fish blood...." He shuddered. One hand fell to Xander's cheek and caressed it lightly.

"You're really asking me if I want to spend the rest of... whatever there's a rest of, with you," Xander asked, his breath coming in shallower gasps than it ever had when they were doing things that Joyce Summers might possibly walk in on.

Which, actually, had just been Spike's tongue in Xander's ear. But the way Xander had been moaning had made it perfectly clear that Joyce should have announced her presence sooner.

"If you want to," Spike said in a suddenly diffident tone.

Xander sat down suddenly, with a thump that knocked aside both the -- and yes it was -- broom handle, and a metal bucket as well. There was enough room, just, for Spike to slide to the floor too, because he did, but didn't say a word.

Spike moved his feet a bit, so he could place his legs on either side of Xander's. They sat silently for a moment before Spike asked, "Does it bother you? Can pretend I was joking if you want."

"I know the difference," Xander answered at last. "When you're joking, your eyes are blue. And don't tell me I can't see your eyes. I don't need to." Because if he pretended, he'd just be doing the same thing he'd done for years, and a chance at honesty between the two of them, even in a broom closet, was something he wasn't going to let go.

"What colour are they when I'm not joking?" It wasn't like Spike didn't know. Wasn't like he was surprised Xander had noticed. But the alternative was to ask the other question again.

"Whatever colour they are now," Xander answered, not playing his own game. A clear, steely gunmetal gray, that's what they were, a colour he could feel staring out at him, and he leaned forward. Rested his forehead against Spike's bare knee.

Spike put his hand on Xander's head. "They're stunning," he said lightly. "Well..." and Xander didn't move, and he could feel his own breath bouncing back at him. "I'm stunned, anyway."

He heard a soft sigh, then, "Sorry."

But there was nothing, really, to be sorry about, was there? The question had been asked, and it hung in the air like... a big thing that hangs in the air. He'd have said 'like a bat' but he was really trying not to be cutesy around the vampire. Even in his head. Not more than twice an hour, anyhow, and he was so already over his limit.

Spike tapped his finger on Xander's cheek lightly. Then again. Twice more, then Xander realized he could pick out a rhythm.

"Copacabana?" he asked in wonder.

"Huh?" Spike sounded startled, and he moved his hand away quickly.

"Manilow," Xander groaned, and then lifted his head, looking straight across at Spike. Knowing Spike saw better in the dark than he did. Maybe Spike *could* see his face. "I have to spend eternity with a closet Manilow fan?"

"Hey!" Spike protested. "S'not my fault! I'd like to see you spend hours on the phone with the Poof and not get the damn songs stuck in *your* head!"

Xander counted down the moments on his fingers until it sunk through to Spike's tiny, tiny brain. Tick, tick, tick, tick...

Then, "Er, what?" Spike's fingers stilled, then latched onto Xander's hair. Briefly, then they moved down to his hand. Clutched, let go. "You said--"

Xander reached for Spike's hand again. Found it, miraculously, considering the number of other interesting things he brushed against on his search. "Well, who the hell else would put up with you?"

There was no immediate answer. Then Xander felt Spike moving, and before he knew it he had his arms and lap full of vampire. "Really?" Spike asked after a moment. "Even if I sing her name was Lola, she was a show girl..." he began singing.

"I might have to ask Willow to re-tune that chip of yours again," Xander said sternly, kissing the top of Spike's head. "So you get a headache every time you even *think* about singing..."

He could see the pout, even in the darkened closet. "Hey, it's not as if I *can't* sing. Unlike some I could name but won't because they've got ahold of my short and curlies."

"These?" Xander asked, moving his fingers, very lightly. "These right here?"

"Yes. Those. And--er...eep." Spike managed to make it sound dignified.

"Yeah," said Xander. "That's what I thought. And since I have your attention, *who's* going to remember to clean the fishbowl once a week for the foreseeable future?"

"Eep. Er, Cordelia."

Xander tightened his grip, just a little. "You're planning on turning Cordy, too? Think carefully about this..."

"No, no! I mean 'Cordelia' as in--"

Then the door was being unlocked, and Cordelia's voice made Spike's explanation unnecessary.

"I think it's still in here!" she was calling out to someone.

Ulp. Fingers-- didn't want to move. Locked in place. Hey, muscles-- brain is sending you signals... I hope... Xander's brain, however, was singing loudly. At the Copa, Copacabana... the hottest spot north of Havana....

Then the door was being opened, and Spike was draping something over himself and Xander's hand. As the door swung fully open, the light spilled in and Xander could see -- they made a truly ridiculous sight.

Crumpled on the floor of the broom closet, Spike in his lap, Spike's jeans and--God help them all--Pokemon boxer shorts tangled in a heap around Spike's left leg... And then there was the cleaning rag Spike had chosen to cover himself with -- very obviously torn from one of Cordelia's disused dresses, with a light strip of purple tulle around the bottom.

Cordelia looked at them, blinked once, then turned her head and called out, "I can't find it, Angel!" Then she looked at them again, head cocked to one side.

And swung the door closed again.

"Click..." echoed into the silence, and Xander blinked several times.

"Y'know..." he said finally, "Maybe we should wait until *after* we get out of here before you turn me? 'Cause at this rate..."

"At this rate we'll be in here for all freakin' eternity before *she* opens that door again. If I turn you, we can feed off each other." There was a pause. "Or you could let me knock the door down. After you finish what you were doing?"

Xander grinned. "If I do it right, you'll knock the door down anyway." And he tugged the cleaning cloth away, putting his fingers back in its place. "Now aren't you glad I said yes? I mean, you get these hands for the rest of forever..."

There was a click, and the door swung open again, revealing Angel looking down at them.

"Um..." Angel said intelligently. Then-- "What exactly are you two doing in here?"

Xander rolled his eyes. "Contemplating eternity. Do you mind?" He made sure, this time, to stick one foot in the doorjamb, though.

Angel focused in on Xander's hand, and seemed about to say something. Maybe it was Spike's growl that did it. Angel shrugged and shut the door without further comment.

"Eternity? I always just called it Little Spike..."

Xander looked at him, then squeezed. "Wouldn't you say the definition of eternity is that it goes on forever?"

Then he moved his hand again.

Spike yelped.