Me Xander, You Spike

~ Co-written by Mad Poetess [website]

He supposed that dropping it on Spike's head wouldn't make much of a difference in the long run. Short run, either, for that matter. He had a second tub of popcorn so it wasn't like he'd be out any more snack than he would have been otherwise.

Spike, the popcorn hog -- you'd think he wasn't the blood-drinking type.

"Spike."

"What d'you want? They're just getting to the good bit here -- where he eats the eyeballs!"

Yeah, drop it on his head, whap him, then pick up the boxes of Milk Duds. "It's the freaking *preview*. Who cares if his eyeballs get eaten?"

"Well, *I* care, obviously. It's a piece of cinematic genius! That long slow pan up the side of the jar, then the shot down the inside of the straw -- and the sucking. Oh, god, the sucking sounds. Brings back memories, you know?"

"That's it. I'm going back to the swing set and I'm taking all the snacks with me." Xander didn't mention that the description didn't turn his stomach -- didn't even faze him.

That got Spike's attention. "The hell you are! I paid for those bloody snacks with my own money that I stole from your wallet, and you're not havin' 'em." He grabbed possessively at three boxes of Milk Duds and a package of Jujubes. Of course, in so doing, he knocked the nachos all over the front seat.

Xander sighed. "OK, first, *my* money, numbskull. Second, if you put your blood on any more than your *one* and by one I mean single tub of popcorn, you are watching this movie from the hood of the car -- the car three rows back. Third, give me back my Jujubes or the Tastee Freeze bites the big one."

Spike looked carefully at the candy in his hand, and blinked. "Eew. Didn't even know I grabbed those. Gah. Have 'em and welcome -- they stick in my fangs." He tossed the Jujubes at Xander as if they were laced with holy water, and reached for his ice cream.

Xander caught the flying box of candy through long practice -- in the tub of popcorn, since he didn't have any hands free. He settled for a dirty look at the vampire who was hogging the only un-nachoed part of the front seat, then kicked the seat forward to crawl into the back. He quickly got all his snacks stashed away safely before Spike could do any more damage.

"Oh, this bit's brilliant! You've gotta see..." Spike looked back over the seat at him. "Hey-- what're you doin' back there?"

"Avoiding sitting in a puddle of cheese-like substance." Xander grabbed a handful of popcorn and slouched enough to see the screen.

Spike glanced over at the seat beside him, then ran a finger through the nacho cheese. Studied it carefully as it dripped down his finger onto his hand. "I wonder..."

Xander told himself he didn't want to know. Whatever it was, he did *not* want to know. Honest, Officer, I swear I don't even know him. Live with him? Well, yeah, OK but he sublets the right side of the bed.

"Wonder what?"

Sometimes he wished he could shoot himself before he asked questions.

"Wonder if this stuff would work like menthol if I put it in my mouth and then put *you* in my mouth," Spike said matter-of-fact-ly. For he was Spike, and subtlety was something he had only read about in ancient, crumbling texts, as far as Xander could tell.

Xander just rolled his eyes, disgusted. "If you think you're going to get anywhere near any portion of my anatomy with fake-cheese, you are sleeping on Angel's sofa for a month while I seduce Wes. At home, where you can't watch." Another handful of popcorn, and he was losing interest in really worrying about stupid things Spike might do. The previews were almost over, and very soon now Spike's entire attention would be focused forward.

His own, too, but he wasn't worried about his own misbehavior. "You never let me have any fun," Spike muttered. It was his catchphrase, really. That, and "Don't eat that, it's mine," and "I *said* don't eat that, it's mine."

If you were a drop-dead gorgeous vampire sponging off your hard-working lover, you didn't need much more in unlife than three catchphrases and a tube of hair-gel. If you were Spike, you didn't even need the hair-gel much anymore. Spike was working on Angel now, telling him there was nothing like letting your lover run his fingers through your hair.

That and Xander was pretty sure Spike didn't ever mean the 'don't eat that' thing, since technically speaking the only edible thing he owned was Xander. Everything else was paid for by said Xander, ergo, Xander's food. Try explaining that one to a pouting vampire who wanted the last Little Debbie snack cake.

Xander settled for kicking the front seat.

"Oi, behave back there," Spike had the gall to say. "I don't want to have to call the usherette on you." Regardless of the fact that there aren't any usherettes at a drive-in.

Xander kicked the seat again, smirking as the feature began and Spike was staring wide-eyed at the opening shot.

Xander kept expecting him to say something about what a lot of blood was being wasted on the sharks during the shipwreck scene, but he was unusually quiet. Scarily quiet. Quiet to the point that he jumped about six inches off the seat when Xander started to whistle the theme to Gilligan's Island as Tarzan's parents started to build their tree-house.

"What'd you want to do that for?" Spike asked, glaring at him.

"What?" Xander grinned. "I'm just enhancing the entertainment experience."

"Well, go enhance somebody else's entertainment experience! I want to see what happens." Spike looked positively righteous in his indignation, which ought to be hard for a soulless demon to do. But, no, not for Spike. Spike managed to look righteously indignant when told he couldn't have the last Hostess cherry fruit pie, much less when he was actually somewhat in the right. Possibly. Maybe.

Xander settled for kicking the seat again, and said, "Look! English Family Robinson!"

How anyone trapped in a jungle could built that fancy of a house, he didn't know. Even with the help of the animators.

Spike grrd faintly at the comment, but continued to watch the screen. His expression was identical to that of the big-eyed preschooler sitting on the roof of his parents' car across the way: rapt wonder. Xander stared at him with growing disbelief. Spike couldn't *possibly* seriously be wrapped up in this movie. He was faced with two options: continue to annoy a distracted Spike, which could be fun, or let his lover enjoy a movie he apparently wanted to watch. Huh.

Talk about tough decisions.

"You do realize human vocal cords aren't actually capable of copying gorilla speech?" He wasn't entirely sure this was true, but he thought he remembered Willow saying something like that when this movie first came out.

Spike shot a nasty look back at him. "It's artistic license, innit. Honestly, shut up. I want to see this."

Xander's mouth dropped open. He stared at the back of Spike's head. "You're really watching this, aren't you? Like we haven't seen it before three times."

Spike gave out with a big sigh, and finally turned to look at him. "I've seen it four times, and every bloody time there was somebody there to distract me."

"Oh yeah?" Not his best come-back, but Spike was beginning to un-nerve him. "What's the big deal? It's just a cartoon Tarzan."

"Yeah, and I'm beginning to think the one I saw in Brazil when it came out, on a triple date with Dru and her new boytoy, in bleedin' *Portuguese* is gonna remain the most memorable, at this rate."

"You speak Portuguese?"

"No, but it had subtitles in Fyarl. Will you belt up and let me watch this poor nipper get adopted already?" Spike looked seriously disturbed. Like, I-am-truly-emotionally-involved-with-this-film disturbed, as opposed to I-am-an-insane-vampire disturbed.

Xander relented -- for two seconds. "Why do you care if Tarzan gets adopted? I'd have thought you'd be cheering for the tiger."

"It's a leopard, and I care because *I* was adopted." And then Spike was silent, and turned his face back to the movie.

"By gorillas?"

"No..." and there was a little bit of a gritted sound to that, as if Xander had either pissed him off or he had popcorn stuck in his teeth again. "By a sodding fishmonger and his wife who found me washed up on the shore."

Xander almost dropped his Jujubes. Staring at his lover, he tried to convince himself that despite Spike's tone, he was joking. He *had* to be.

"You're serious?" he asked quietly.

"Yes, I'm serious." Spike was staring intently at the mother gorilla picking up the orphaned infant.

Xander stayed silent for a moment. Then he set his snacks carefully aside, then scooted forward and wrapped his arms around Spike, in a hug. He didn't say anything.

"In a basket made out of reeds," Spike continued quietly. "Mum was out gathering bulrushes, y'see..."

Holding himself very still, Xander asked -- in what he thought was a calm tone, "Excuse me?"

"Well, there's not all that much to do when you're a Pharoah's daughter married to a haddock salesman, y'know. So yeah, bulrushes. She used to make quilts out of 'em."

Xander slid backwards on the seat, letting go of Spike. Considered his options again. While he thought, he reached forward and whacked Spike in the head. Hard.

Spike looked around innocently. Righteous indignation and all. "What the hell was *that* for?"

"So you think it's funny to play 'poor me and my miserable childhood'?" Xander glared, and picked up his Jujubes again. He had a feeling he was going to need them.

"Beats watchin' a flick I've seen four times already, yeah."

Xander said nothing. Very, very carefully said nothing. Didn't point out that Spike had been the one to suggest the movie in the first place. Evil vampire, he reminded himself, and felt no guilt.

He opened the door and got out, carrying his Jujubes with him. He slammed the car door shut as hard as he could, and ran. He ran between the cars, around the occasional returning-with-snacks patron, heading towards the fence, holding his box of Jujubes closed so he didn't lose them along the way.

He'd almost made it ten steps into the grassy field inside the fence perimeter when he heard something gaining, behind him.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" Spike called after him without slowing, without needing to pause for breath. When he didn't answer, Spike's footfalls got faster, and there really never was any hope of outrunning him, though Xander gave it a decent try. Finally Spike was right behind, and -- very carefully -- tackled him to the soft grass.

"What," Spike repeated, "is wrong with you?"

Xander struggled free of Spike's grip, rolling onto his back and giving Spike a fierce glare. Not his usual 'you are being annoying, Spike' glare, but his 'I am *really* pissed off this time' glare. He wasn't sure if Spike had learned to tell the difference, yet.

"Well? You need a refill on popcorn, or just decide to take a brisk stroll, or what?" Apparently he hadn't. Xander scooted away from him, upping the intensity of the glare. Then he turned away and didn't even try to explain. Or argue, or even insult Spike. He pulled his knees up to his chest and wrapped one arm around them.

There was dead silence from the dead guy for a few seconds, and then Spike's hand on his shoulder. "Xan?"

Xander shook the hand off, but looked over at him, his glare softened with the expression of hurt that had appeared on his face. "You think it's funny to joke about stuff like having a rotten, 'my parents don't love me' childhood?" There was the barest quiver of the chin which Xander quickly controlled.

Spike's face lost its questioning, annoyed expression. To be replaced by none at all, as he looked back at Xander. "I didn't mean..." He trailed off, as if unsure of exactly what he didn't mean.

"Yeah, you never mean. Just go ahead and play jokes on me, and nevermind that it might not be funny." He turned his head away, staring off at the grass, the snack shack, and the angled view of the movie screen. He couldn't hear the movie, but he knew the words. Four times, feh. Try 15 -- Willow's fault, there.

He could feel Spike moving closer to him, trying to lean up against him, and he held his body as stiffly as possible, until Spike backed off again.

"I... sorry." Spike's voice was almost quieter than the cicadas that were just barely chirping out in the grass.

"Yeah. And you'll be sorry the next time." Xander waved one hand vaguely towards Spike, both indicating and dismissing him.

"I'm a stupid evil bastard. You knew that when you fell in love with me," Spike tried to tease him.

Xander didn't respond, continuing to stare morosely in the other direction.

"Xan..." Utter silence.

"Xander..." Spike was tapping his fingers against something now. The toe of his boot, it sounded like. Tap, tap tap-tap... "You wanna tell me about it?"

Xander spun his head around to glare at Spike. "Tell you about it? What, you can't put two and two together to get more than three? How many times have we talked about this?" he hissed.

Spike had that human-thing-completely-out-of-my-depth look on his face. "Which this? Your rotten childhood, or me playing with your head, or my general stupidity? They all seem to blur together sometimes." He sounded tired.

"So you figure you can just joke about it, because it's easier than remembering that some things hurt?" Xander asked.

Spike pinched the bridge of his nose, hard. Hard enough to leave a little mark when he pulled his fingers away. "Well... that's pretty much how you get through the days, innit? If you can make a joke, then you don't *have* to remember."

Xander shifted uncomfortably. It occurred to him that by now, their car had been freed of every bit of snack food and CD identifiable. Spike would bitch about it for hours. Added to that, his little mind-game revenge seemed to be tilting on its axis. Was Spike playing with him, back? Or had he fallen into the serious end of the pool? "Spike?"

"You get so good at it, sometimes it's gone before you realize. I don't even really remember what my mum looked like." Spike was still looking at him, but he was off somewhere else, too.

Xander was torn. Keep going, call it quits? Or play it safe and go back to basics? He took a deep breath and got to his knees, then rolled back to his feet.

Back to basics. He reached out and thwapped Spike on the head. "You're it."

Then he ran like hell for the car.

There was a hand on his arm before he made it halfway there. A grip like steel that didn't, quite, hurt. Because it couldn't, and because Spike wouldn't, anyway. "That was mean."

"Yeah, well, you were mean first." It sounded infantile, but it was easier than dealing with what had threatened to be a heart-to-heart at a drive-in movie. Not just any heart-to-heart, but one of *those* heart-to-hearts. The kind where you end up blubbering and wrapped in someone's arms and hearing them say 'shh'. Only he wasn't sure which of them would be doing which.

It was easier to play mind games. Which -- wasn't that Spike's point?

"Oh? Who was it didn't want to let me watch the film in peace, then? There I was, minding my own business, thinking about what a scrummy feast the sharks were gonna have after that shipwreck..."

"You were not!" Xander protested. Then he stopped himself before reminding Spike what he *had* been doing. He sighed and reached out for a hand. "Wanna go rescue our car?"

"S'pose so," Spike said a bit sulkily, but there was a cool hand in Xander's all the same. "If my popcorn's gone, you're in deep trouble, me lad."

"Why do you think I took my Jujubes with me?" Xander held up the still-mostly-full box.

"Yeah, but my popcorn had blood in it. Who the hell would take it?" Spike asked, pointing out the flaw in his own snack-worries.

"Then I guess I'm not going to be in deep trouble, am I?" Xander grinned.

"That's debatable," Spike said smugly as they reached a car completely empty of snacks, and Spike pointed to the big-*yellow*-eyed preschooler sitting on the roof of his parents' car, happily picking popcorn hulls out of his fangs.

"Spike?"

Spike folded his arms, leaned back against the car, and raised an eyebrow. "Ye-es?"

"When you're getting more popcorn, can I have another slurpee?" Then Xander jumped into the car and scrambled into the far corner of the backseat.

Spike was after him quicker than Angel had been when he found out they'd taped over his favorite Tai Chi video with Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. There was a hand on his ankle, dragging him towards the open door, and then Spike changed his mind, and got all the way in, shutting the door after himself.

Laughing, Xander twisted and wriggled onto his back, getting in Spike's way as he tried to crawl on top of him. Or tried to wrestle him onto the floorboards, Xander wasn't sure. Didn't matter, because they were both smiling and both growling and both ignoring the movie once more.

When Spike's hand reached around under him and caressed his ass, he really wasn't all that surprised, or disappointed. Until Spike removed his hand, with a triumphant "Aha!" and held up Xander's wallet.

With a quick swipe, Xander tried to retrieve it. Spike held it out of reach while holding Xander down. "You creep! You mooching, undead unworking leech!"

Spike wasn't impressed. "Uh-huh. Whatever. I'm the one with the dosh, mate."

Xander folded his arms. "That's what you think."

Suspiciously, Spike opened the wallet. Shook it over Xander, and all that fell out was a coupon for discount Piranha food, and a fortune-cookie-fortune that read 'Your loved one is an idiot. Be wary of him.'

"Nyah nyah nyah nyah," Xander sang.

"You never learn, do you?" Spike asked, shaking his head. "Let's see. Where do we start? How about... here?" And he pulled off Xander's left shoe. Shook it. Smelled it, made a face, and tossed it in the front seat. Pulled off the right one, and did exactly the same thing, including the smelling and the face. Talk about never learning...

Xander just laid there, patiently. At least they weren't likely to get thrown out of the drive-in once Spike got far enough to discover Xander *had* no cash on his person, at all.

"Y'know," Spike said, holding up one of Xander's socks, "there is something to be said for being undead. No foot odor."

"If this is your kinky way of asking me to sniff your feet -- not on your unlife." Xander wriggled his toes, glad it was a warm spring night.

Spike cocked his head, and then heaved a big sigh, as if contemplating how much of eternity he wanted to spend on this project. "Look, if I go to all the trouble of takin' your jeans off, am I gonna find anything useful in there?"

Xander 'tsked' and shook his head sadly. "They say the memory is the first to go." In a very kindly tone he asked, "Don't you remember what you found in them, yesterday?"

"Three scratch n' sniff stickers and half a stick of Juicyfruit Gum?" Spike's left hand was exploring one of the pockets anyway...

"That was in the *pockets*. I thought you meant in my jeans." Xander nudged his hips towards Spike's hand, to help him locate what wasn't actually in the pocket.

"Hmm..." Spike poked experimentally at it. "Doesn't *feel* like money..."

"Maybe you should check it closely, to be sure."

Spike's hand did a little more exploratory navigation. "Nope. Definitely not money." He pulled his hand disappointedly out of Xander's pocket, then paused. "Oh, I s'pose I should make visual confirmation. You might've wrapped it up in twenties or somethin'." He reached for the zipper.

"Wrapped it up in twenties?" Xander was about to tell Spike he had the stupidest ideas -- then kept his mouth closed. Someday he'd have to do it. A little positive reinforcement never hurt...

"Or fifties. I'm easy." Spike stared down at him. "I see no fifties. I see no twenties." Lowering his mouth, he added "You think they'd take a personal check?"

"I think they'll take what you're offering now," Xander replied, then realized Spike probably meant the snack shack.

"Mmmphph? Mppph mmhp?" Spike asked.

Xander leaned forward just enough to whap Spike on the head. He was waiting for a Xander-hand-shaped dent to appear permanently in Spike's skull. "Whatever you have in your mouth, it *isn't* what you were looking for."

"I *said*, found the Raisinettes, did you want some?"

Xander let his head fall back, onto the seat. His head hit something he didn't want to identify, and he scooted it out of his way. "How do you know they're raisins?" he asked automatically.

"Counted the legs," Spike answered. "Was that a yes or a no?"

"I don't like raisins," Xander told him for the twelve-hundredth time. Give or take a dozen.

"S'okay. I ate 'em all already."

"Then why the hell did you ask?"

"Politeness an' all. You keep whackin' me on the head when I don't ask."

Xander whacked him on the head. "Like that?"

"Yes. Very much like that. You could give me brain damage, you know." Spike rubbed his head and pouted.

Xander shook his head. "Never happen." He wondered if Spike was going to get back to doing anything interesting with his unzipped zipper, or if he should zip his jeans back up.

Spike was still pouting. "Could. Could whap me on the head one too many times, and next thing you know, I'm a vegetable. A great big sodding tomato with fangs."

Xander put on a show of thinking it over. Then, "I'll risk it." And he whapped Spike again. When the vampire tried to glare at him, he said, "You know, for someone with vampiric reflexes, you'd think you could duck a few of those. Unless you secretly enjoy it."

Spike grinned sheepishly. Then frowned. "You were s'posed to tell me a tomato's a fruit, so I could say so are you."

"But you aren't a vegetable, yet," Xander pointed out, knowing the logic would make Spike's eyes cross slightly. "I haven't hit you enough times."

"But I can do interesting things with cucumbers," Spike responded after a second, and lowered his mouth again, this time finding what he was looking for.

Xander gasped. "That's... not cash," he managed, unable to answer himself a moment later, when he wondered why he was pointing that out. Did he want Spike to stop? Was he totally insane?

Spike apparently wondered the same thing, because he lifted his head. He was, however, kind enough to put his hand where his mouth had just been. "No, not cash, but since you seem disinclined to buy me any more snacks, I figured I'd have to find my own."

"Urmmmmmaaaaaa." Xander writhed against the seat, glad his jeans were still on -- his butt had a tendency to stick to the faux leather interior. Glad he'd thought to hide the rest of his cash no where near his pockets.

Of course, Spike still had one hand, and now his mouth, free. Spike's mouth was a dangerous weapon even in the most innocent circumstances, if you could really use the words 'innocent' and 'Spike' in the same sentence. Amazingly, Spike decided to use it for Good, and pressed it over Xander's. Still left that hand free, though.

Which Xander was willing to let go un-chaperoned. Spike could search all he liked, and as long as he was kissing Xander and jerking him off at the drive-in... who was he to say no?

That was what the security guard was for. Sounded like a Nerlithian demon, by the growl that punctuated the "Ey! Stop that you two!" and the pounding on the car's top.

Spike looked up at the open window, and flipped whoever it was off. That was why he loved Spike, Xander decided. Not for his sexy cheekbones, tight ass, or questionable musical taste. No, his only reason for staying with this guy was Spike's ability to make a bad situation completely horrific.

Xander tilted his head to peer out the window. "Hey! Quillard!" He waved. Quillard leaned down, and grinned.

"Hey, Xan'er!" His huge mouth revealed more fangs than any five vampires -- all a shiny blue.

"You *know* this git?" Spike asked, pouting again.

Xander whapped Spike on the head. "Be nice." To Quillard, he said, "I didn't know you were working here. Moonlighting?"

Quillard grinned and Xander felt his Sunnydale-trained reflexes scream at him to run. "Yeah, you know. With the little ones on the way, I need some extra cash." He glanced over at Spike. "Is this... um...?"

Spike snarled a little. "*This* is Spike. Otherwise known as the imbecile he lives with, the bloke who forgot to feed the kids again, and please-Spike-kill-that-spider-for-me-eek-eek." He glanced at Xander. "Did I leave any off?"

"You forgot the 'never has any cash of his own so he has to trade for it'." Xander looked back up at Quillard. "Yeah, this is the one I was telling you about."

Quillard stared at Spike for a moment. His face jiggled a bit, then it tightened. Then he roared with laughter. Straightening up, he waved a hand. "Don't get loud," he warned them as he walked off.

Spike glared at Xander, his activity of a few moments ago apparently forgotten. "What exactly did you tell him about me, then?"

"Um." Xander didn't think the 'who, me?' defense would work. "Nothing?"

Spike's hand returned to its previous position for a second -- and then tightened. Squeezed, very gently. "Nothing?"

"Nothing more than a little bit about how maybe you sometimes walk into walls in the evening before you really wake up and how cute you are playing with the children and maybe something about the rubber duck."

"You told him about the rubber duck?" Spike's lower lip trembled. "I thought that was just for us..."

He laughed, then reached up and pulled Spike down into an embrace. "I didn't tell him about the rubber duck. I did tell him about that QVC incident, but, honestly, it isn't like everyone else doesn't already know." He gave Spike a hug, and felt the residual tension. He sighed, and admitted, "I told him that if he ever met you, he could mess with your mind by doing what he did. Just laughing."

"You're mean," Spike reiterated. "You're supposed to be a good guy, remember?"

"You rubbed off on me." He smiled, and wriggled. "Rub off, some more?"

Spike complied, and there was silence, punctuated by squeaks and groans, for a little while. Until Spike's once-again free hands found the twenty he'd stashed in the ashtray -- wasn't like Spike ever *used* the ashtray, so Xander had thought it would be perfectly safe -- and Spike gave a crow of delight.

Xander pulled himself up, propped up on his elbows, and blinked. "How'd you get up there?" Spike was sitting in the front seat, unwadding the money.

"Er... transubstantiation?" Spike studied the bill. "No, that's water into wine. Um... temporal dislocation."

"Spatial." Xander looked over the seat, to the movie screen. "Unless I passed out?"

Spike smiled cherubically, not answering. Passing the twenty slowly beneath his own nose, he sniffed appreciatively. "Ah, cash. Lovers leave, and friends will let you down, you're the only sure thing that I've found..."

"If you're going to be a mercenary asshole, you could at least not steal from the Proclaimers while you're doing it." Xander rolled his eyes and snatched the bill away. Even vampiric reflexes couldn't win *every* time.

He ignored Spike's look of outrage, and the pout which followed. He rearranged his happy nether-regions, zipped his jeans back up, and located his box of Jujubes. They'd survived the experience nicely. He opened the box and shook a few out.

Spike grunted at him. "How can you eat those things? They look like broken-off rubbers."

Xander ignored him, and ate another handful. Tuned into the movie in time to see Jane talking to gorillas. Then he looked at Spike. "How can you break a rubber off?"

Spike frowned. "You make a mistake, not that I ever do, and then you push too hard on the pencil-end, and the rubber breaks off. Which has absolutely nothing to do with why I had to fill out our tax-forms three times this year."

"*YOU* did our tax forms? I thought I paid Wesley to do it! That's it, he's a dead man and I don't care *what* Angel has to say about it. And they're called erasers. You've been in this country how long, and you still use British slang? Slang which, I might point out, didn't exist when you were actually British?"

Spike clasped his hand to his non-beating heart. "I am *mortally* offended. Alright, it's too late for mortally, but I'm offended. I may be dead, but I'm still British. A fag is a cigarette, thank you very much, and I only gave up fish and chips 'cos you said it would confuse the kids if I ate their cousins."

"So what do you do, send off for 'How To Speak English" audio tapes? Buy slang dictionaries? Watch re-runs of The Professionals?" Xander settled back in the seat, and realized they were back were they'd started.

He kicked Spike's seat.

"Like I didn't spend any time in England during the last century?" Spike turned around and grabbed Xander's still-bare foot. Tickling, which was most unfair. At a stern look from Xander, he shrugged. "Alright, I watch Are You Being Served marathons while you're at work. Happy?"

"Deliriously. Is that why I got a pledge reminder from the PBS station?" He pulled his foot, knowing he wouldn't get free, but obligated to try anyhow.

Spike didn't even have the decency to look sheepish. "I wanted the autographed Grace Brothers shopping bag." He tickled some more. "You told me I couldn't ever call QVC again. You didn't say anything about PBS."

"I don't mind if you call PBS. I don't even mind if you pledge $125 to get the autographed Grace Brothers shopping bag." He settled his leg a bit more comfortably, so Spike could keep tickling without Xander straining his knee. "But you used Cordelia's credit card to pay it."

"She told me I could."

Maybe Spike *was* getting brain damage from all the head-whapping. He could usually come up with more creative lies than *that*. Unless she actually *had*. Xander looked at Spike carefully. "What did she say, exactly?"

Spike put his hand back over his evil, undead heart. "She said, and I quote, 'Spike, you can use my credit card.' "

"Uh-huh. What else did she say? And in what context?"

Spike hummed a little tune. The words sounded suspiciously like "I am a poor boy, nobody loves me..."

"Spike, you are an evil person. Nobody is *supposed* to love you." He paused. "Except persons so noble and kind they can love anyone, no matter their faults."

Spike sniffed. "I *have* no faults."

Lalalala lalal lalala... Xander didn't look at him. If he looked, he'd have to laugh, and that, of course, was what Spike wanted. Then Spike stepped up the tickling campaign. "Spike-- credit card. Explanation. Now."

Spike didn't stop tickling. "Something about 'Spike, you can use my credit card... to pick the latch on Angel's underwear drawer...' "

Which explained not only the grumpy mood Angel had been in about the same time that pledge reminder had arrived, but also the 'die, blood-sucking-fiend's-boyfriend, die' looks he'd gotten from Cordelia a month later.

Then he lost it, and started laughing. Blamed it on the tickling, but his mind was filled with memories of Angel wandering into the hotel lobby with a pair of pink frilly panties and a confused look on his face.

Spike reached for the other foot. "Of course, she never said I had to give it back..."

Xander whimpered. For his foot as well as his bank account, when Cordelia finally figured out where her card was and made Xander pay her back. He had to roll onto his side a little to prevent Spike from pulling his foot off his leg.

He was a little surprised, though, when Spike stopped tickling and bent his head down to kiss it. "What was that for?"

Spike shrugged. "Just, y'know. You." Then he started tickling again, and humming along to the closing credits.

Xander smiled. There was a reason he didn't let anyone Spike had annoyed stake him. This wasn't the reason, but it was close to it. "Spike?"

"Hmmm?" Spike kept humming.

"Wanna stop at Hardee's on the way home? We can even get extra fries for Angel." Angel never ate the fries. They'd long ago stopped actually... telling him they'd bought him fries. Someday he was going to *find* the fries, and they'd be moving to Burma before Angel could catch them.

"Sounds good." Spike put his mouth on Xander's big toe, and kept humming.

Xander didn't mention it. He'd be hearing songs from 'Tarzan' for the next couple of weeks, less if he got Spike to watch another movie with songs in it. Maybe he could rent 'Chess' and at least listen to interesting humming. It wasn't Spike's fault he was brain damaged this way. And Xander was pretty sure it wasn't his fault.

"Spiiiiiiike."

Spike continued to hum, tickled, *and* suck on his toe.

Xander reached over the seat and grabbed Spike's sleeve, and tugged. Then he tugged harder. Finally Spike pulled his mouth off with an audible slurp.

"What? I was just gettin' to the chorus!"

"Come back here," he said, tugging again.

"Oh," said Spike with a smile. "Double feature, eh?"

"Not yet. Give me a minute, and there will be."