Reindeer Games

~ Co-written by Mad Poetess [website]

"Please? Pleeeease?" Xander made a move as if he were about to go down on his knees -- normally a favorite position for him, but at the moment, not. Then Xander did the big-anime-eyes thing. "*Please*?!?"

"I said no," Spike answered, but the eyes were getting to him, and he knew Xander knew it. Secret bloody weapon, those. Sure enough, there they went. Just a tiny bit wider, and the hint of a pitiful look creeping into them.

As if Spike wouldn't have bloody well done it, anyhow, had Xander just asked earlier. Before he'd made himself comfortable.

"Oh, hell. You owe me..." Spike paused for thought. "Two batches of chocolate chip cookies and a really good backrub."

"A *backrub*? A *backrub* for one measly little 48 hours of Superman?"

"48 hours? You're out of your ever-lovin'! For 48 hours of that twaddle, plus me getting up to turn on the telly in the first place, you'd have to be three Swedish masseuses named Inge, Helga, and... oh, somethin' else busty and Nordic. I thought you meant *one* episode."

The pout and pleading faded slowly from Xander's face, and Spike watched, worried. But Xander didn't say anything.

"Two episodes?" Spike bargained. Oh, but no. He couldn't get that lucky. He was going to get blankface, lalalala, I'm going to go wander about the flat until I find a nice corner to hide in, and commune with the sodding dustbunnies. "Three?"

But Xander just looked at him like Spike had just said he hated Boo-Berry cereal. "Three Swedish masseuses?" he said in a small voice. "Oh, for the sake of fluffy puppies and neutered kittens! Xander, you've known me for how long now?"

Xander kept looking at him. Big eyes, no longer pleading. Any second now, and -- yep, there it went. The chin. Xander said, "You'd rather have three trained professionals, pretty ones. No, I get it." He waved a hand, dismissively.

"Have you *ever* seen me look twice at a blonde, professional or otherwise?"

"Four or five. Buffy, Harmony, Clarice, Marc..."

"Marc wasn't a real blonde," Spike pointed out, before deciding that was probably not the most politic of replies.

Xander's face fell a little more. Then he shrugged. "I guess if I give you three blonde masseuses you'll be too busy to notice me watching the marathon."

"I've got no bleedin' interest in three blonde anythings, Xander," Spike said, trying to figure out where he'd lost control of his unlife.

"But then how am I gonna get to watch Superman all weekend?"

"Four episodes, and I'll rent the first two flicks?" He wasn't bad at wheedling himself, but he knew he was on the losing end of whatever game they were playing here.

"They're only half-hour episodes," Xander pointed out. "Re-negotiate."

"Do I still get my backrub?" Because Spike, of course, had to live dangerously. "I mean... eight episodes, and do I still get my backrub?'

Xander narrowed his eyes. "Fine. I'll hire your masseuses," he snapped.

Spike wondered briefly if you could return cracked lovers for a full refund, or if they only gave you store credit. He glanced appraisingly at Xander, slumped on the couch, and decided for the millionth time that it was too late. Probably past the sell-by date anyhow.

"I don't suppose we could *tape* the bloody marathon and do something a little more grown-up for 48 hours?"

Xander sighed. "I already bought the blank tapes," he said reasonably. Then in a helpful tone he added, "You're supposed to say you don't want a professional backrub, you want one from *me*."

"Well, of course I bloody want one from you. What d'you think I moved in with you for-- your culinary skills?" Spike inched closer to Xander, and tried his own version of the anime eyes. Never worked quite as well for him, somehow, but he was holding the eyelash-fluttering in reserve.

Unfortunately Xander turned the anime-eyes right back at him. "You don't like my cooking?"

Oi! And also oi, and possibly oi. "I dunno. When's the last time you cooked anything that didn't involve pressing buttons and hearing the little bing! sound? Not counting Angel's bloody birthday cake."

His shoulders slumped as Xander turned away. "I never see you offering to help cook, either. And I notice you didn't say you *didn't* want a professional massage. Only that you *also* wanted one from me. Maybe I should hire you a chef, too."

Warning! Danger, Will Robinson. Er... Will the Bloody. Coming painfully close to losing all snuggling privileges for at least 48 hours... Re-think this approach, then. If indeed it *was* an approach, and not a head-over-heels spill downhill into big trouble for Little Spike. "It was a good idea. Puttin' blood in the cake. Really."

There was a spark. "You really think so? Even though he didn't eat it and you're trying to think of something to say to get yourself out of the Piranha house?"

"Well, yeah. I mean, *I* liked it. Cordelia liked it. Before she knew what was in it, anyhow."

*After* she knew what was in it, she'd taken after both of them with a large Scythian hunting axe. Hefted it over her shoulder and chased them up and down the corridors of the hotel singing "Kill the wampire, kill the wampire..." It wasn't an experience Spike cared to repeat.

Xander, on the other hand, had been laughing so hard he'd barely been able to run away. Spike had had to drag him along behind, yelling back at her that if she killed either of them she'd have to clean the blood and ash out of the carpet.

But none of that mattered because Xander was smiling at him, sincerely. "You really liked it?"

"Yes, I really liked it. And..." Bing! went the microwave timer in Spike's head, which usually meant his goose was cooked. "I s'pose you want *me* to make the chocolate chip cookies, then?"

"You're making me cookies?" Xander grinned happily, and Spike was beginning to wonder if the whole game hadn't been just about that. Or the more general 'make the vampire grovel' which was only fun when it resulted in someone getting spanked.

"Yeah, I suppose. *After* the backrub?" Headshake. Vampire puppy wags his tail. "Ok, fine. Before the backrub." Headshake again. Ooh. And who said cooking couldn't be fun? "*During* the backrub?"

Xander smiled slowly. All pouting and anime-eyes completely gone from his expression, replaced by the one Spike usually saw right before he ended up losing his jeans -- literally. He'd found them once on top of the fridge.

Spike crawled across the couch towards him. "You realize I've never in a hundred and twenty-mumble years dated anybody named Clarice..."

"I never said you dated her." Xander waited for him, not moving. Clarice... Clarice... Lying with his head in Xander's lap, staring up at him, and *somebody* wasn't gonna tell, of course. Brat. Who the bloody hell was Clarice, then? The only Clarice he could think of was...

"Rudolph the Bloody Red-Nosed Reindeer's girlfriend? She's not a blonde-- Fireball was the blonde! Besides which, they're both bloody cartoon animals!"

"Fireball, then, and you *are* the one who taped the thing and replayed it for three weeks. I admit, it was fun to see Angel run out of here every time you started the VCR when he was here." Then Xander's eyes narrowed. "But I think singing "There's Always Tomorrow" in the shower was taking things too far."

Spike knew how to pout too. Xander had learned from the master, after all. Or at least he liked to *believe* it was Xander who had learned from him. "Well, you deserved it. You've gotta have more Christmas spirit, Spike. Watch me do the Snoopy Dance, Spike. Watch me do the Snoopy Dance naked, Spike." Pause. "Sorry, what was the question again? Oh, Rudolph. I liked his little nose. S'cute."

"We weren't talking about Rudolph." Xander shifted a bit, so Spike could crawl onto him. "We were talking about your unnatural-even-for-a-vampire fascination for Clarice. His girlfriend."

"She's got a cute 'lil nose too. And a cute 'lil tail. Like somebody else I know."

And the glare returned so fast Spike froze. "Tail?" Xander asked. "Whose cute tail have you been looking at, Spike?"

"The sodding Easter Bunny's. Yours, wanker." Spike rolled his eyes.

Xander looked at him, then sighed and shook his head. "This isn't working. You won't stay guilty and I can't think of anything else to get mad at you about. We're gonna have to make something up to fight about so we can do the make-up sex."

Rock. Spike. Hard place. If he picked the wrong thing, he risked spending the night with the piranhas for real. If he picked the right one... "What is it with you an' Superman? I mean, the man can't even dress himself. Wears 'is knickers on the outside of his costume."

Xander's eyes darkened a little, but he reached out and pulled Spike closer, snuggling. When he had the vampire settled on top, he said, "He could fly, you know?"

"Well, yeah. But could he do this?" Spike twitched a bit, and then gnashed his fangs at Xander, snapping a scant centimeter away from his nose. Xander didn't even blink.

"Could if he wanted to," Xander said in his best school-yard taunt.

"Could not."

"Could."

"Could not times infinity..."

"Oh that was so cheating!" Xander glared, then the glare deepened. "You rotter. Cheater."

"Rotter? Cripes, I *am* rubbing off on you." Which sounded like a good idea. Spike tried that one out, and lost his concentration for a moment. "Um... where was I... oh yeah. Am not!"

"You did cheat and you *bloody* well know it!" There was a hint of a smile as their argument got into full swing.

"S'a naughty word, pet," Spike purred. "Lil' human boys aren't supposed to use it."

"Then lil human *guys* shouldn't hang out with evil undead *pricks*, should they?" Xander countered.

"Mmm?" Spike grinned. An evil, undead grin. "I seem to recall somebody quite liking my evil, undead prick."

"Yeah, you." Xander stopped, shook his head. "No, no, fight, not trade insults."

"Fight like roll about on the floor an' smash your head into the furniture?" Spike asked confusedly. "Here luv, Red just fixed the chip so's I could beat up *bad* humans. Only thing you're bad at is singin'. And Yahtzee."

"No!" Xander sighed. The only thing worse than Spike's predilection for being annoying was his apparently non-existent attention-span. "Remember, we wanted to have hot and heavy make- up sex? But first we had to fight, so we could make up...?"

"Yeah, I got that bit. But if we ain't tradin' insults or smashin' coffee tables, what d'you mean by 'fight'?"

"Lord, Spike, it's a wonder you survived this long. A *fight*. Where I point out that you did something stupid and annoying, you deny it, I start listing all the times you *have* done it, we degenerate into some insensible yelling, then you apologize and take me to bed."

Spike rubbed his hand through his hair. If only he could look in the mirror and actually *see* the number of grey hairs Xander had undoubtedly put among the blond... "Y'know, I'm all for cunning plans, pet, but couldn't we just eliminate the middleman and shag already?"

"No!" Xander yelled. "You stupid vampire, we have to do this right or it doesn't work!"

"*I'm* stupid?" Spike shouted right back at him. "*You're* the one who needs a bloody map to find his way to the laundry room and back!"

Xander blinked, tried for a moment to place the origin of Spike's claim, then just shouted back. "Just because you're the one who can't give directions! You probably tore down the sign, too!"

"Xander, it's downstairs, directly beneath us! If I pushed you out the window, you'd land in the exhaust vent from the dryer!"

"I didn't know that!" he shouted back, forgetting for a moment his purpose in starting this. "By the time I got to the elevator -- carrying all of my and *your* stuff, Mr. Vampiric Strength Can't Be Bothered -- I didn't know which way to turn!"

"*My* stuff? Y'know, that's all your fault too. Once upon a time, I used to own two pairs of jeans, a t-shirt, and a button down. Who was it said 'Spike, you've gotta expand your wardrobe? Spike, you'd look so cute in a bleedin' sweatshirt'?"

"That was Cordelia. You think *I* would take you shopping? Even if you do look cute in a sweatshirt, and that blue sweater she made you get."

Spike looked down at the sweatshirt he was currently wearing, which had a fake college seal on the front and the words 'Drunken State' emblazoned beneath that. "Really? I look cute? I mean... I'm a vampire, dammit. I'm not cute. I'm big an' scary."

"Spike, you're wearing green fluffy socks." Xander pointed. "*Nobody* is scary while wearing green fluffy socks. Except maybe Ethan." He shuddered at the mental image.

Spike growled. "When have you seen that chaos wanker in green fluffy socks, then?"

"I haven't! I just think he'd be the only one who could manage to be scary while wearing green socks." He paused, then saw that Spike wasn't getting it. "Only wearing green socks. Nothing else."

"So you've been *thinkin'* about him wearing only green socks? I dunno whether to be jealous or disgusted!"

"I have not!" Xander fairly shrieked. "I just -- unlike some -- have an imagination! Besides which, it was YOUR TURN TO DO THE LAUNDRY!"

"Was not. Traded it for perpetual fishbowl cleaning, remember?"

"You--" Xander stopped, and realized Spike was right. He started to yell about who'd bought the laundry soap last, and stopped again. "Spike?"

"Yeah, what?" Spike answered sulkily.

"This isn't working. This isn't any different than our discussions over breakfast."

Oh yeah. They weren't really fighting. Makeup sex. Right. Spike still wasn't entirely sure it was worth all this hoo-hah just to be allowed to put lipstick and eyeshadow on Xander, but if it was what Xander wanted, he'd at least give it a try. "Er... what d'you suggest, then?"

Pouting, Xander said, "I just want to have sex with you doing everything in order to apologize to me for whatever evil thing you'd done... er, recently." He looked down at his shoe, the very picture of dejection.

Spike blinked. "Oh! *That's* what you meant by makeup sex!"

"You mean... Spike! You moron, what did you think I-- no. Don't tell me!"

"So... what you actually want is for me to do.. for instance... this?" And Spike unbuttoned the top button of Xander's shirt with his teeth. "And er... sorry, right?" And then the next. "So... very, very..." Lips against throat... "Sorry..."

"Um, yeah," Xander replied, vaguely aware that they'd skipped a step, somewhere. "I think--" Except he couldn't think of what it was. Not with his brain telling him to ask Spike to please kiss him right *here* and, oh heck, we'll ask him ourselves. "Spike? Earlobe?"

Xander's brain had some fine ideas, so he decided to shut up and let it talk for a while. His brain opted for a loud groan when Spike went for his earlobe. One of these days Spike was going to pierce it, and Xander would have to give in and wear the gold hoop. For now, though, it was just intense sucking and a bit of a pinprick.

Spike's mouth slipped off Xander's ear with a loud STHUP sound. "Er... Xan, did you set the VCR?"

"Huh?"

"For your whatshisface thing. Underwear-on-outside-of-costume-man."

"What? Oh! Yeah, I've had it recording now since noon. Second tape -- the marathon started at 6am."

Spike tsked sternly at him. "It's not nice to manipulate the defenseless vampire, y'know. Are you *sure* you have a soul?"

"Since when are you defenseless?" Xander asked as he moved his head back into a position where Spike would have little choice but to bite his ear again.

"Mmphph... attacked by giant... mpphh... irresistible earlobe demons..." Spike muttered. "No defense..." And then there was much nibbling, and very little thinking on Spike's part.

Which Xander didn't mind -- as long as there were no-- "Hey! No new holes!" He whapped Spike on the back of the head.

Spike lifted his head up and rubbed it grumpily. "Who needs a sodding chip? They should've just given me you a long time ago. Anyways, you liked the *last* new hole..."

"Yeah, but I already had a ring for it. Well, you did. Unless you have something *other* than that garish red thing to put in it, no holes." Xander was impressed at his ability to sound stern, when Spike's fingers were doing some walking.

"Fine, no bloody holes. Gordon Bennett, you could take the fun out of a 3-car pileup with multiple fatalities."

Xander blinked. "And that's *bad*? Who is Gordon Bennett and who told you to stop?"

"He's... er..." Spike returned to what he'd been doing with renewed fervor, and hoped Xander never managed to figure out that he had no bloody idea. It was just an expression. Didn't actually *mean* anything. Like 'Speed Limit 65 mph' or 'Spike, don't touch that.'

Xander grabbed Spike by the arms, waited until he had thoroughly nibbled the hell out of Xander's earlobe, then pushed him away."Spike."

"Yes, Xander..." Showing an incredible amount of patience for somebody who'd just been dragged away from an extremely nummy treat.

"Do you remember our having a talk about putting the cover back on the children's tank after they get fed?"

Hmm. Earlobe. Fluffy green socks. Earlobe. Reindeer. Back-rub, still pending. Earlobe. No, didn't seem to be anything in Spike's memory about tank covers. "I'm going to be in trouble whether I say yes, or no, right?" Spike guessed.

"Depends on how attached you are to..." Xander peered. Scared himself when he was able to identify it. "Gomer. If he doesn't get put back in the tank, I'm guessing he's going to asphyxiate."

"Oh, hell," Spike groaned, sliding off his most comfortable body-pillow and onto the floor. Grabbing for the flopping fish, he finally succeeded in catching hold. Or rather, Gomer did.

"Shit! Bugger-all, mother-fu..." And more of the same. Xander just watched, calmly.

At last Spike managed to shake the toothy little bugger off his finger and back into the tank. Turning on Xander, he shook said finger right in Xander's face. "Do you see what your son did to me?"

"Why is he always *my* son when he pisses you off? But every time he eats the bubbly diver, he's *your* son?"

"Cos he's *cute* when he eats the bubbly diver. And everybody knows I'm the cute one. Even *Buffy* thinks I'm the cute one."

Xander laughed. "Buffy thinks you're the insane one. Er, no, that was me. The psychotic one." Xander shook his head at Spike, and asked, "Do you want to know why Buffy grins at you whenever you talk about your son, Gomer?"

"No, Oh-Father-Of-The-Year," Spike sulked, sucking on his finger. "Enlighten me."

"Willow made me promise not to tell you unless she was around to see your face... but Gomer's a girl."

Spike sat back down on the couch, a look of utter disbelief on his face. Xander really wished he had a camera, for Willow's sake. "A... girl?" Spike stared hard at the tank. "An... I was gonna teach 'im to play rugby... and... and... how to pick up women in bars."

Xander reached over and patted Spike on the shoulder. "You still can, you know. In many species, the female is deadlier than the male -- she'll be a great rugby player. As for girls in bars...." He shrugged, then with a look of outrage, smacked Spike on the head.

Spike grinned in spite of his pain, and grabbed both of Xander's hands, pinning them above his head. "I s'pose Willow can teach her how to pick up girls in bars. As I'm gonna be a bit busy for the foreseeable future..."

Xander narrowed his eyes. "Busy doing what?" There was no trace of the earlier lust, in his voice.

Oops. Time for a little strategic groveling. "Er... baking chocolate chip cookies?"

"And?"

"Um... and... cleaning the fishbowl?" From the growl of impatience, Spike guessed he still wasn't quite getting it. "Polishin' your boots?"

"No. Well, yes, all those too."

Spike waited, then asked, "What, then?" He was about to lose his own patience with Xander's head games. For the next half hour, at any rate.

With a sudden expression of glee, Xander threw himself across Spike's lap. Spike wasn't exactly one to not take advantage of an opportunity, but he had the feeling he'd missed something here. "Sorry?"

Xander looked over his shoulder and made a passable attempt at looking apologetic. "Since I made you miss E!'s special on Passions an hour ago..."

Spike fingered the belt loop at the back of Xander's jeans. "The anniversary show?!!" Xander was looking less apologetic by the second as he nodded enthusiastically. "And you've been what-- trying to distract me from figuring that out?"

"Obviously I need to be punished," Xander said, cheerfully.

Spike looked down at him. "Obviously you need to be... yeah. You do. " He hauled Xander up bodily, and firmly pushed him back into an upright position. Then he threw *himself* across Xander's lap.

"We'll start with this..."