“But I can’t break into a museum!” Xander heard his voice squeak, but he couldn’t help it. Even the thought made him nervous.
“Of course not, Xander.”
Giles’ voice was calming, and his hand on Xander’s shoulder kept him from standing, and pacing across the room like he wanted to do. But then if Xander paced, he’d probably run head-first into Spike, who’d been pacing since they sorted out what they needed, and who they’d have to count on to get it.
“We wouldn’t expect you to do anything illegal,” Giles assured him.
“Yeah. That’s Spike’s job,” Buffy told him. “You’re just the getaway driver.”
“I’m not letting him drive my car.” Spike disdain was clear; he didn’t trust Xander behind the wheel.
“Like Xander would drive that pile of junk. That car is death on wheels.”
Spike stopped pacing and stared at Buffy, as if weighing the merits of her words, which Xander thought was weird, until he spoke, stroking his chin with one hand.
“Hmmm… I rather think I like that.” He smiled grimly. “Death on Wheels.”
Giles rolled his eyes, “Dear God in Heaven.” Standing, he crossed to where he hid his scotch, and pulled the bottle out from behind the heavy books. He poured himself a healthy couple of fingers. “Save us all from overly melodramatic creatures of the night.”
“Oi!” Spike protested, but didn’t bother trying to save his already tattered reputation.
Giles put the bottle back behind the huge book entitled ‘The Annals of Evil, Second Edition,’ by Brother Ezeran the Diligent. Why he continued to keep his scotch there Xander didn’t know. Spike had ferreted out the location as soon as Giles had let him out of the bathtub, and they’d all known about it in less than a week.
Maybe he thought that by letting Spike know about this hidey-hole, he wouldn’t go hunting for the good scotch, which he kept in his room, in the bottom drawer of his dresser, under his cardigans. He shouldn’t have bothered. Spike had discovered that one the same day; Giles just hadn’t realized it yet.
“Are you sure it’s a good idea to break into the Natural History Museum?” Willow’s shaky voice trembled with emotion as she spoke. “I mean, those fossils are a trust – a gift to future generations! If everyone who ever needed scrapings from an Aurouchs horn did what we’re contemplating…”
“Wills – get a grip, okay?”
Xander squeezed her hand, sharing a quick glance with Tara, hoping she’d get the idea that they needed to calm Willow down. Wills had problems dealing with authority; as in she couldn’t imagine breaking the law, but this time, there really wasn’t an alternative. Tara wrapped her arm around Willow’s shoulders, and murmured into her ear, but Xander couldn’t hear what she said.
Buffy crossed to the couch, and crouched down in front of her, putting her hands on Willow’s knees. “Willow, it’s an emergency! If we don’t stop these Souvenir demons, they’ll blow the Hellmouth wide open, everyone from their dimension will come rushing through, and that will be the end of the Earth.”
“Soovaneeth demons,” she corrected Buffy softly, rolling her eyes, and smiling for the first time all evening.
Xander got the idea that she knew Buffy had only screwed up the name like that to distract her from their upcoming thievery, but hey, as long as it worked, it was all good for Xander.
“If we don’t stop them,” Xander reminded her, “there won’t be any future generations around to discover that we cheated them out of several ounces of scrapings off the bottom of some extinct giant bull’s horns.”
“We?” Spike laughed at Xander’s comment. “You’re not doing a damn thing except sitting in the car, Junior. I’ll be the one taking all the risks, here.”
“Yeah, but this is your big chance, Spike.” Buffy’s voice was light, and teasing. She stood up, one hip cocked as she spoke. “You’re always telling us you can break into anything, anytime. Well, here’s your shot. Show us how good you are at a little B&E.”
Spike walked up to Buffy, stopping only inches away from her, smirking at her attitude, as if he knew she was playing with him. “Oh, don’t you worry, Slayer. I’ll get what I’m after. I always do.”
Xander cleared his throat, uncomfortable with how quickly the atmosphere had changed from playful to sensual. He didn’t like how close Spike was to Buffy, and he hated the way Spike licked his lips, and how Buffy’s eyes followed the tip of his tongue. He struggled to come up with a way to disrupt the suddenly charged undercurrent buzzing through the air, but his head was full of cotton, and he couldn’t come up with anything to say that wouldn’t reveal his jealousy at Spike’s flirtation.
“Yes, well, perhaps then we should go over the map that Willow procured for us, so you know exactly where the Aurochs horns are kept.” Giles’ dry voice cut through the thick tension in the room, and Xander sighed with relief as both Buffy and Spike took a step back, and turned their attention to the map on the computer.
“They’re not on display at the moment; they’re in storage with a number of fossilized bones from the same skeleton….”
Giles’ voice droned on and on, in that same boring schoolteacher voice that Xander had learned to tune out years ago. He hadn’t ever thought he’d find a use for that particular skill outside of the classroom, but then he met Giles, and learned that some skills you never stopped needing.
He had more important things to worry about, anyway. He was going to be stuck in close proximity to Spike for three days. This was so not good – it looked like his bad luck was back. Tara had given him a gem several weeks ago, and since then, the bad luck he’d been having had at least slowed down. He still had more than his share, but it hadn’t been as bad as it was before. He kept the gem in his pocket, and every once in a while he took it out, staring at the glittering colors – green, amber, red, and brown, and rubbed his thumb over the surface, thinking positive thoughts. It seemed to help.
At some point after that night that Spike had helped him home, and Xander had come to the realization that what he’d thought had been a simple minor crush on the Bleached Menace was, in fact, a head-on case of major lust, Xander had lost his nerve. He’d made plans to seduce Spike, but every chance he got to get closer to him, he chickened out. He’d had plenty of chances, too. For some strange reason, Spike was spending time with him.
After patrol the other night, he and Spike had sat around until close to dawn drinking beer and making fun of late-night reruns and infomercials. He’d been keeping on hand a couple of six packs of that imported ale Spike liked. He hadn’t mentioned it, but he got the idea that Spike appreciated it. They’d played pool at the Bronze a few times, and shared a blooming onion. But with all the time they’d had together, Xander had still not said one word, or made one advance. Not one.
And Spike – well, Spike was being Spike, and Xander couldn’t stop staring. When Spike licked his fingers clean after he’d devoured the last buffalo wing, Xander had to bite his lip to keep from moaning out loud. It had gotten to the point that he got a hard-on every single time he watched Spike fight. Last week, Spike had gotten too close to the sword of another vamp, and ended up with a four inch slice across his right hip. Spike had casually unbuttoned his jeans and pulled them down far enough to bandage the wound, but Xander’s hands had been shaking so badly that he’d been afraid he wouldn’t be able to help.
Now, Giles and Buffy wanted Xander to spend three whole days in L.A. with Spike. Three days. God help him, but he was going to explode from repressed lust. When their three days were over, Spike would have to carry him home in a suitcase, because he wasn’t going to have a single bone left. He’d be Xander, the Amazing Boneless Man. Spike would say, “Ya know, mate, I could have sworn you had a backbone at some point or other,” and Xander would just whimper, and melt even further into his puddle of bonelessness.
Maybe, if Xander was really lucky, the Soovaneeth demons would destroy the world before they left for L.A. tomorrow. He could only hope.