Xander turned around almost as soon as he walked into the living room and saw Spike bent over in front of the kids' tank, staring into the water. There were times - rare, nowadays, but still there were times when Xander just didn't want to have to deal with the insanity that was living with Spike.
He knew it was cowardly of him, leaving him to deal with whatever problems the piranha were causing today, but the phrase 'they're from your side of the family' kept popping into his head. Xander had only adopted them, really, and he ought to be able to duck responsibility at least once in his life, even for only ten seconds. Twelve. Maybe he could negotiate for twelve.
Or he could just sneak out of the suite right now, while Spike's back was still turned, and not have to negotiate for anything. Except the covers tonight, and the grape jelly tomorrow morning, and for Spike to stop pouting at him about it, which he hadn't started doing yet but certainly would by the time Xander returned because there was no way the vampire hadn't heard him -- smelled him -- enter the room.
Plus there was the part where Spike was bent over in front of the tank, and the chance of Xander being able to walk past that without goosing it was, well... sigh.
"What the fuck is wrong with the kids?"
Expecting Spike to give him a straight answer before Xander stopped groping his ass was probably not fair, but tough. Spike didn't turn around for a very long and worrying moment, then he looked back over his shoulder at Xander, frowning very seriously.
"They don't like the sour Skittles," Spike said, and Xander knew that Spike in no way deserved a spanking, but it was very difficult to remember why. Oh, right - he liked them.
"And?" Because not eating sour Skittles meant more for him so how would that be a bad thing?
Spike looked forlorn, however, and he stood up, turning to Xander, and sighed. "I didn't want to be the one to tell you this," he said sadly.
"Well, that's the first lie of the day, right there." Xander didn't have to know what 'this' was to know that Spike always wanted to be the one to tell him it. "Who else was gonna? Gomer?"
Spike just sighed again, emo and dramatic the way only a dorkhead vampire could be -- see Angel, because where had Spike learned it anyhow -- shoulders drooping as if this was, in fact, actual sad news that Spike didn't want to tell him. Spike looked at him, then, visibly steeling himself and said, "I don't think they're yours."
Xander waited. Then blinked, but Spike failed to make any more sense than usual. "They're not my what?"
"Yours," Spike whispered. "They don't like sour Skittles."
"You--" Oh. Ohhhhhhh. "Oh. I get it." Xander hung his head. As you do. He leaned over Spike's shoulder and stared mournfully into the tank.
Oh wait - mournful, incredulous, he kept getting those mixed up.
"I asked the wrong question." And the wrong person. He frequently did, but life with Spike was such that you only found that out when it was much, much too late. "What the fuck is wrong with your father?" Xander asked the three piranha, as he'd always been meant to.
"Bloop," replied Gomer, unhelpfully. The other two were still fighting over a pebble and ignoring them.
"That's what I was afraid you'd say." He looked at Spike, considering his options and considering if figuring out what was going on was going to actually help, in the long run. "Have you eaten all the Captain Crunch, again?"
"I swear I didn't sleep with the milkman," Spike said. "But I can't say that I've never slept with a mermaid. It was before I met you-- well, no, it was before we started shacking up together. That counts, right?"
Xander just tilted his head. "What if I promise to love them as if they were my own, and not point out that I'm a completely different species than them and always have been so I never actually thought they were my genetic offspring to begin with?"
At least he'd meant to say all of that, but as soon as he'd got to 'never actually' Spike's hand was over his mouth.
"Don't say that in front of them!"
And then there were the times he asked the question even when he knew it was stupid. "So it's okay for you to tell me you think they're not my kids in front of them, but it's not okay for me to say DUH?"
Spike opened his mouth, then looked confused, closed his mouth, thought for a moment, opened his mouth then closed it again. Finally he asked, "You want to come in again and we can start this over?"
"Can I be the one who gets groped this time?"
Spike actually looked like he was thinking it over, pondering all the variables and options and consequences, before he finally shook himself and asked, "I lost everything after you said you get groped." Then he nodded and a second later his hand was on Xander's ass where it belonged.
Xander sighed in relief. One of these days he was going to make Spike find a hobby other than 'let's mess with Xander.' But not today. Or possibly tomorrow.