Title: The End Of The Beginning
Title: What makes the world turn
Pairing: Xander/Spike (eventually)
Overall Rating: NC17
Chapter Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: Not mine.
AN: Sorry for taking so long guys.
The brunet was so absorbed in trying to stare down his budget he missed the soft sound of feet behind him. Looking up at a cool hand on his shoulder Xander tried not to flinch away from the curious expression on the vampire’s face. He kept his mouth shut, knowing that, while it wasn’t the blond’s fault, he was likely to snap if he said anything. Swatting black-lacquered fingers away from the papers, he began to gather them up, ignoring Spike’s look.
“Where exactly do you think you’re going, whelp?” There was a wary caution in the familiar drawl.
“To bed, I’m pretty tired.” His voice was still rough around the edges, and it hurt a little to talk, but he was getting better.
“What were you doing down here at this inhuman time anyway?” Xander very carefully kept his face averted from those all-seeing blue eyes.
“Just trying to get some work in,” he said lightly, flinching slightly when a snort told him he’d been caught out.
“Wasn’t work, whelp. Now what’s with the papers?” Still hoping to avoid this particular conversation with Spike of all people he gave a familiar goofy grin.
“Just bills and stuff Spike, takes me a bit longer than the average bear to get through them, math was never my strong suit,” Xander said easily, forcing his body to relax into the comment.
“Should know by now you can’t bullshit a bullshitter, Xander. Now what’s. With. The papers?” Whether it was the use of his name or the slightly dangerous glint in those cerulean eyes he sagged slightly and sighed.
“I can’t do it, Spike. I’ve twisted the numbers every way I can think of. Between Dawn needing new clothes and school books and me needing time off work and the damn landlord raising the rent again there’s just… not enough.” He didn’t even bother looking up as he waited for the snide laughter and the comment that once again Xander Harris was The Fuck-Up.
He hadn’t meant to flinch when pale hands came into his limited field of vision, but life with his parents had ingrained some things so deep he wasn’t more than peripherally aware of them. When he heard the soft curse he let his body relax, a familiar voice usually hidden in the back of his mind telling him it hurt more if he was tense. He didn’t move when cold fingers tilted his chin up, but wondered vaguely whether he should consider learning how to set a broken nose by himself.
“Harris, give me the papers.” The voice was soft, full of dawning understanding rather than anger and disappointment. It made him frown, even as he handed over the pages in his hands.
“Now go to bed, whelp. You’re exhausted.” Again he was confused by the order but followed it anyway, hearing footsteps head towards the table.
Groaning at the sound of his alarm Xander slapped at it with one hand before rolling out of bed, feeling like he had half the Sahara lodged in his eyes. After a too-short shower he trudged downstairs, heading towards the smell of coffee almost on instinct.
“Thought you didn’t need to be at work ‘til 7.” Again that familiar British drawl came from behind him and he realised he’d stopped being surprised by the blond’s ninja routine.
“Overtime,” he explained once he’d burnt his tongue on the wonderful taste of hot coffee.
“Had a look at your budget last night.” That comment was too mild to be going nowhere so he just nodded and waited for the other shoe.
“There’s no way you can keep up, whelp.” Again he nodded, since that particular shoe had kicked him about two hours before he went to bed.
“What’re you planning on doing?” Still to mild, too casual, too un-Spike.
“Get a second job. Weekend work I guess.” He said it in the same casual tone, watching carefully over the rim of his mug for that damn shoe.
“Bit barely sees you as it is.” There were many things that he could have dealt with, but a reminder that he was practically as bad as his own parents when it came to spending time with Dawn made anger hit him in the chest like a sledgehammer.
Struggling to keep his tone neutral he grit out, “I know that.”
“Don’t think she’d do well with you here even less.” Still that nothing-tone, and it was starting to seriously piss him off.
“I don’t have another option.” He had to speak between clenched teeth, every muscle in his body tight while he tried not to respond how he really wanted to - by breaking one of those too-perfect cheekbones.
“You’ve got a perfectly good house sitting around doing nothing.” Ah, there was that shoe.
“Dawn made it clear she didn’t want to stay there, I’m not going to make her.” How he’d managed to keep his voice such a reasonable pitch he didn’t know, but Xander was grateful for it.
There was silence for a moment while the blond obviously remembered the sounds of the teen currently upstairs sleeping begging them both to take her away from the memories the house contained.
“Only got one other option then.” Oh look, a third shoe, cause the first two hadn’t done enough damage. “You and the Nibblet move in with me.”
And the shoe has just turned into a bucket of what-the? poured on his head.