“You have a wound in your right calf, as well as your forearm. You should not be driving if you can neither turn the wheel properly, nor apply the gas or the brake without causing yourself pain.” Giles’ snippy voice was no less annoying when spoken in a semi-whisper.
The chances were high that whichever demon Giles was trying to avoid alerting with that half-assed whisper, had good enough hearing that keeping his voice down would do them absolutely no good. Spike considered telling him so, but he couldn’t be arsed. He sighed heavily, and Xander looked over at him worriedly. He hated sewers at the best of times, and now was definitely not the best of times.
“And what about you?” Kendra asked from her position bringing up the rear.
On their six, Xander called it. Herc’s odd, occasional forays into military jargon puzzled Spike, but he’d never asked about it. He’d have to remember to do that.
“You have a head injury,” the Slayer reminded Giles. “You should not be driving until we’ve been able to establish whether or not you have a concussion.”
“I’m very well versed with head injuries, thank you. I would know if I had a concussion, and I am certain that I do not.”
Spike rolled his eyes before he realized that Xander couldn’t see him, so the gesture went unrecognized. He thanked every god in the pantheon that he could see a light up ahead.
“Shut up, both of you.” He hadn’t meant to sound so harsh. Well, maybe he had. They were being extremely annoying. They all splashed to a stop in the cold, ankle deep water. He pulled them all closer so he could speak quietly.
“The manhole cover is fifty feet ahead of us. I don’t hear anything ahead, but just in case, let’s be as quiet as possible, shall we?”
They all nodded in the dim, flickering witch light that was all that Tara could raise at the moment. He squeezed her hand. “Don’t worry, Glinda, we’ll be out of here soon, and you’ll be able to drop that light, all right?”
She nodded, smiling shakily at him. He understood her exhaustion, he felt it himself. If he hadn’t been needed up at the front as Xander’s eyes in this gloom, he’d have gladly joined Tara and Clem in the protected spot in the middle this time. His reserves were definitely running low. Clem put his arm around Tara, and they started off again, much more quietly this time.
In the end, Clem solved the problem of who was driving by stealing the keys right out of Giles’ hand and announcing that since he was the only one without any injuries, he’d be driving the car. Spike couldn’t care less who drove, as long as they got far away from here as soon as possible. They shoved all the weapons in the back, with Tara’s witchy supplies on top. Spike settled into the back seat with Foxy Brown and Herc, who had refused to part with Death Song, although he was willing to take her off his belt for the ride. Glinda sat in front, between the Watcher and Clem. As exhausted as he was, Spike still managed a smirk as the cold water from the sewers leaked out of his shoes to settle in puddles on the SUV's floor. There goes the Watcher's carpeting.
Clem was in a good mood, humming some song under his breath that Spike couldn’t make out even after Xander started humming along. Then Xander started singing these absolutely ridiculous lyrics in some smarmy voice, Clem singing right along with him.
Nothing but Star Wars
Give me those Star Wars
Don’t let them end
Spike finally recognized the song as the one that Xander had been singing when he was trying to distract Dru from working her portal spell. The thought of Dru about put Spike under, it hit him so hard, but with Foxy and Glinda laughing their arses off at the lyrics it was hard to concentrate properly on his pain.
Oh, Star Wars
If they should bar wars
Please let these Star Wars
Unfortunately, neither Xander nor Clem could claim to sing even half-way well, so in exchange for the pain in his heart, they offered him a pain in both his ears and his arse.
How ‘bout that nutty Star Wars bar
Can you forget all the creatures in there?
Giles tried talking over the two of them, but although they didn’t know the lyrics, both Tara and the Slayer were humming along, and they totally drowned the Watcher out.
Darth Vader in that black and evil mask
Did he scare you as much as he scared me?
By the awkward end of the song, Spike finally got that they were imitating some sleazy entertainer-type, but he had no idea what all that meant, only that it seemed to raise the spirits of everyone in the car, aside from Giles, of course. Well, every cloud has its silver lining, right?
Those here in Bar Wars
My 7th Winter up here!!
“This, I take it, is the song you two were singing in that demon language earlier?” The Watcher’s distaste of the lyrics was as obvious as his curiosity about "that demon language."
“Clem was singing it too?” Spike asked.
Foxy Brown frowned at Giles. “When did they do that?”
“You wouldn’t have noticed, Kendra, you were engaged in a fight to the death with the Master of the Hellmouth.” Giles’ satisfaction with his Slayer’s performance was obvious, but Foxy frowned unhappily.
“I would never have dusted him if not for the wounds Xander gave him earlier.”
The Watcher opened his mouth to disagree, but Herc jumped in, grabbing the Slayer’s hand and squeezing. “I helped, that’s true. But you did a considerable amount of damage on your own. You should be proud of that kill. You earned it.”
Spike wasn’t so sure, but he had no problem letting her take the credit, if Herc wanted her to have it. She had done her share, but Herc had definitely softened him up for her. It was her Hellmouth, though. Spike supposed it was probably for the best that someone who would be here long after he and Herc were gone could claim that they’d killed the Master.
“That was a good piece of work there, Foxy.”
She beamed at them both. “Thank you.”
“Yes. Well done,” Giles agreed. “That double-fisted technique worked very well for you. Perhaps we should teach it to Faith when she and Wesley come back.”
“Yes, I think so,” Kendra agreed. “Faith already does something similar with a knife and a stake, but this technique involves a different range, so the moves are quite different than in knife fighting.”
Foxy was so pleased that Spike hesitated a moment or two before rubbing it in Giles’ face. “I guess we earned our keep with that one, wouldn’t you say, Watcher?”
Spike winked at Foxy as he said it, to take away any sting she might feel from being reminded that the move was not originally her own, but she just grinned wider, as if she knew what he was doing.
“If it weren’t for the two of you, none of us would have been in that situation in the first place,” Giles replied snippily. “I believe that mitigates any gratitude that might be necessary on our part.”
“Ouch!” Clem murmured softly. He hissed and pulled one set of taloned fingers off the wheel for a moment, clawing at the air.
Tara giggled, and nudged him in the ribs. “Now you stop that.”
The Watcher glared daggers at Clem, but didn’t say anything, turning back to the front and crossing his arms over his seat belt.
“I’ve caught you out, you know. I see exactly what you’re trying to do. You’ve been evading my question since the fight first ended, but I see through your distractions, and I won’t be circumvented.”
Spike glanced at both Xander and Foxy, but both of them had the same puzzled look Spike expected was on his own face. Clem pulled up in front of the lair, and put the car in park before turning around to see if the back seat knew more than the front did about what the Watcher was talking about.
“What question was that, Giles?” Xander asked.
Giles sighed heavily, as if greatly put upon. “In what demon language were you singing, Xander, and why do you both know how to sing the same obnoxious song in it?”
Both Xander and Clem burst out laughing at that, and Spike was glad that Clem had already stopped the car, because he was practically doubled over with laughter, his shiny, bald head hitting the steering wheel as his shoulders shook. Xander started singing again, this time in that odd language, and Clem joined in as they all climbed out of the SUV and squelched around to the back, dripping water as they went.
Giles threw up his hands in disgust as they ignored his questions yet again. Kendra pulled their weapons out of Xander’s duffel, and Tara grabbed her mojo bag.
Spike listened carefully as they sang, shaking his head. “I don’t think it is a demon language, Watcher. It’s definitely not one I’ve ever heard.”
The song ended, and Clem let out a strange warbling cry that Spike recognized as the cry of that really tall, furry creature that had hung out with that Solo bloke in the movies. He couldn’t remember the thing’s name, despite how many times Dru had insisted they see them. She loved movie theatres; he’d taken her to all three Star Wars films more than once. He understood there was a new one, but without Dru around, he hadn’t had any interest in seeing it.
The Slayer didn’t have any trouble remembering tall and furry’s name. “Chewbacca!”
Clem grinned at her. “That’s me!”
Xander hefted the weapons bag, and put his hand on Spike’s shoulder. “C’mon, Princess Leia, let’s go home.”
“Oi!” Spike protested. “I am not a princess!” He’d have to hurt Herc for that. The image of Xander over Spike’s knee, his bare bum waving in the air, made Spike smile evilly. That was better. He was so busy imagining that fine arse of Herc’s with Spike’s red hand prints all over it that he stumbled over the curb. Clem grabbed his arm, and helped him up the walk.
“Don’t worry, Spike, I figured you for Han Solo, the loveable rogue.” It was obvious that Clem had put some time into figuring this out.
“You’re starkers. The whole lot of you.” He wondered how many kittens it would take to keep Clem’s trap shut, so Herc would forget all about this princess shite.
Spike forced his heavy feet up the stairs to the front door, relieved that they were finally home. He turned back to see where Xander had taken off to. He and Clem were murmuring softly to each other at the bottom of the steps. Spike leaned against the door frame, not paying a bit of attention to what they were saying. He was too busy trying to stay vertical. He rubbed his shoulder where the dust pile formerly known as Puffy had stabbed him. It still hurt like hell, but he’d survived the day, so he’d had the last laugh, now hadn’t he?
He raised his hand when Foxy and Glinda waved goodbye from the car, and in deference to the fact that the bastard had actually come along on the rescue, Spike held himself back from flashing two fingers at the Watcher.
Finally, Xander clapped Clem on the arm. “Thanks, man.” He sounded weary, but that wasn’t surprising. It was close to dawn; it had been a hell of a long day.
“See ya later, guys!”
Clem headed back to the car, a bounce in his step. Spike realized he needed to say something in response to his heroic efforts tonight, so he called after the big lug. “Good job, Chewy.”
Clem turned and waved back at him, a huge grin splitting his wrinkled face. “Thanks, Spike!” He jumped back in the SUV, and it pulled away.
“C’mon, Spike. Let’s get some blood in you and get you to bed.”
Spike leered as Xander tucked his arm around Spike’s waist, “Is that a proposition, Xander?”
Xander laughed as the two of them dragged their sorry arses into the kitchen. “As if either of us is in any shape to do more than pass out. But I can definitely pencil you in for later in the week…”
Spike barely remembered the blood Xander poured down his throat. He had no idea how many bags he’d emptied. He knew that at one point, Herc pulled some of their emergency supply down from the freezer, but he wasn’t sure how much went in Spike and how much went into the refrigerator for tomorrow. He remembered insisting that Xander eat something when his stomach started growling, and Xander admitted that he’d been too upset yesterday to keep anything down.
The next thing Spike knew he was stripped down and lying in his bed, with Xander tucking the blanket up around him. Herc straightened up and fiddled with the hem of his untucked shirt.
“Ummm…if you need anything, I’ll be right next door,” he said hesitantly.
“You will?” Spike looked at the big, king-sized bed he’d taken for his own. “What’s wrong with in here?”
“Oh. Ummm. Well, I didn’t want to bother you or anything.” Xander bit his lip. “I mean…”
Spike didn’t have the energy for subtle. “Stupid blighter. Get in the bloody bed.”
Xander laughed and started stripping off his clothes. “I’ll never believe that romance is dead as long as you’re around, Spike.”
He was having a tiny flush of energy, even though he knew it wouldn’t last. With all that human blood rushing through his system, the healing process had already started, but his damaged body needed sleep as well, and his limbs felt weighted down with fatigue. However, he thought he might have enough vigor in him for a good snog before he passed out. He watched Xander strip, his clothes falling where he stood except for Death Song and Buddy, who were both carefully laid on the armchair by the door.
Spike laughed as he took in Xander’s superhero festooned boxer shorts. “And you’re worried about my ideas of romance?”
Xander grinned self-consciously. “Hey, I had no idea that by the end of the day I would be climbing into bed with some handsome ‘romantic’.”
Spike huffed. “I’ll show you romance.” He crooked his finger, drawing Xander to him. Xander stood next to the bed, and Spike motioned again. He bent over, bracing his arms on either side of Spike’s face. Spike motioned one more time, and Xander obliged, until his face was just inches from Spike’s.
“Are you ready for romance?” Spike asked. Xander nodded, his face flushed.
Spike looked up into his eyes, and Xander’s breathing came faster as their eyes locked. Spike slid one hand over his shoulder and around the back of his neck, while the other held his upper arm.
“Now get in the bloody bed!” he shouted.
Xander’s eyes grew comically wide when Spike flipped him over onto the middle of the bed, his body bouncing as the breath was driven right out of him. It sounded like Xander was hiccupping, but the grin on his face let Spike know that he was trying to laugh. Unfortunately, with no breath, he couldn’t manage more than a shaking of his shoulders. The laughter in Xander’s eyes was worth the effort, even if it had taken every ounce of energy Spike had left.
Xander rolled on top of Spike, grinning from ear to ear, and kissed him hard and fast before rolling off and wiggling around until he was under the blankets next to Spike. Spike pulled him close, and Xander curled around him, his head on Spike’s shoulder. A face-splitting yawn took him, and Spike smoothed the hair off Xander’s face with his free hand.
“Did I thank you for coming to my rescue, yet?”
Xander shook his head. “You don’t need to. I know you’d have done the same for me.”
“Yes, I would have, but that’s not the point. The question was have I thanked you for coming to my rescue?”
Xander finally caught on. “Why no, Spike, I don’t think you have.”
“I didn’t think so.”
They lay there for a while. Spike was enjoying the warmth that seeped into his body from Xander’s. It felt good on his various aches and bruises. His eyes drifted closed.
“Well?” Xander asked.
Spike forced his mind to focus, but his eyes refused to open. “Well, what, Herc?”
Xander levered himself off Spike’s chest far enough to look into his face. “Are you going to thank me?”
Spike shook his head, and said “No,” in a matter of fact voice.
He opened his eyes, so he could look into Xander’s. “I don’t know why you’re surprised. I am evil, after all.”
Xander rolled his eyes before his head dropped down onto Spike’s chest once more. He must have learned that exasperated sigh from the Watcher. Spike grinned, knowing that Xander couldn’t see it from his position on Spike’s chest. After a moment, he spoke again.
“Good night, Xander.”
The reply was slurred. Xander’d be asleep soon, and so would Spike. He’d take care of the ‘thank you’ he owed Xander when he was up to full strength again. It would be tough coming up with something as special as Xander deserved, but he’d figure out something. Spike had an excellent imagination.