Lightning Storm

By Saber ShadowKitten
And Now For Something Completely Different 14

August 16,2000

Spike was wearing his "I got laid" smile when Xander met up with him late the following afternoon.

So was Xander.

"You dog," Spike clapped the boy on the shoulder after stepping out of Angel's apartment. "How'd you manage to get in the chit's knickers?"

"She didn't believe that I was a professional stripper," Xander replied as he headed out of the apartment building. Spike laughed, closed Angel's door, and fell into step beside Xander.

The afternoon was sunny and hot. Children played under water hoses outside of tiny lots in Angel's neighborhood, their shrieks of laughter in perfect harmony with a summer's day.

Earlier, Xander had awoken to a Cordelia-less apartment, removing the "Morning After Awkwardness" completely, as well as the conversation as to why the power was slowly but surely going out. He had whistled with contentment as he'd showered, dressed, and as he grabbed the note pinned to the refrigerator, which, Spike had informed him later, read that Cordelia had gone to work. He'd had a brief, one-sided conversation with a jealous Dennis before he'd ventured to Angel's after Spike's call.

Spike had been similarly alone in Angel's apartment, Angel having gone to work as well. Spike had readily followed Xander out into the day with a "let's go" gesture of the head.

Xander glanced over at Spike. "And I can't believe you slept with Angel."

"Rode him into unconsciousness, I did," Spike bragged, hitching up his trousers and swaggering.

Xander snorted. "He was probably unconscious before you screwed him."

Spike grinned. "You're point?"

"I--" Xander stopped walking and speaking abruptly and looked up. "Damn."

"What?" Spike squinted up into the sunny sky.

"Lightning storm," Xander answered, quickly casting his sunglasses-covered gaze around the area.

"Bugger," Spike swore. "How long?"

"Two minutes."

"Shit! This one came up too bloody fast!" Spike latched onto Xander's arm and hurriedly dragged the boy back towards Angel's apartment, passing several cheerful children on the way. "There's no room down here."

"I know," Xander said with a worried look at the innocent youths. If he was near them when the lightning started to strike, they might inadvertently get hit. He wouldn't be able to live with himself if another person was killed again due to his condition.

"We'll go up to Angel's roof," Spike said, practically pulling the door to the apartment building off its hinges in his rush to help Xander. "It's only ten storeys, but it should be enough."

"Should be." Xander felt the creepy-crawlies along his skin as the atoms in the air ionized, and he added under his breath, "I hope."

With the invisible clock ticking down, Spike and Xander flew up the stairs and burst through the metal door leading to the roof. Xander was panting harshly as he shoved his sunglasses at Spike then ripped his shirt off. The brightness of the summer sun painfully burned his sensitive eyes as he quickly surveyed the roof.

"Go," Xander ordered Spike as the hairs on his arms began to stand up. A black cloud was forming in the sky above the roof at an alarming rate.

Spike grabbed Xander's shirt and darted for the door. He pulled it shut behind him, slumped back against the stairwell wall, and panted needlessly. His eyelids slammed closed when he heard the first crack of lightening.

Spike hated lightening storms the most. With a thunderstorm, the smell of rain in the air usually forewarned him of what was to come. Lightning storms, on the other hand, came up out of nowhere and struck rapidly and with deadly accuracy. His only forewarning was Xander's speaking up.

In fact, Spike was beginning to believe that Xander himself was causing the lightning storms to happen. Once he'd gotten roped into helping the boy and it'd looked like he was stuck with Xander until he croaked, Spike had taken the time to study up on meteorology.

Lightening was caused by a high-tension natural electric discharge in the atmosphere. A large, dark cloud carried an electric charge that produced the lightning and its accompanying sound, thunder. There was no rain with a lightning storm, only deadly blue-white bolts of electricity.

Those lightning bolts seemed to find and hit Xander with unerring accuracy and, afterwards, his "powers" were at maximum efficiency, which lead Spike to believe that Xander caused the lightning storms himself, although not purposely. Spike thought that perhaps the boy's body had its own automatic recharging system that caused the lightning storms to occur. The storms themselves were normally brief, around ten minutes, whereas thunderstorms, complete with heavy rain, lasted anywhere from one-half hour to days.

Spike counted each crack that he heard through the metal door. After the rush of adrenaline wore off, he had opened his eyes, and now watched as thin whitish spires crept up the door as if it were a Jacob's Ladder. It gave him the willies. Lightning could fry vampires just as easily as it did humans.

The lightning storm lasted for eight minutes, but Spike didn't dare to venture out onto the roof until at least fifteen had passed after the last crack he'd heard. Xander was sprawled on the hot, tarred surface of the roof; conscious, but charred.

Spike knelt on one knee and frowned when he sunk a bit. Spike realized the heat had caused the tar paper to melt -- and that Xander would be stuck to it like a fly to flypaper -- and he quietly cursed.

"I'm auditioning to be the next Jeff Goldblum," Xander rasped, his eyes closed tightly against the reappearing sun.

"You resemble Eric Stoltz more," Spike commented as he slipped the sunglasses onto Xander's face. He then shoved as much of Xander's tank shirt into his pocket as possible before attempting to pry Xander from the roof. "Oi, you porker, you've gained a few stone."

"Well, I did eat a lot of fish last night," Xander grunted as he was peeled off the sticky tar.

"That was terrible." Spike lifted Xander in one quick jerk.

Xander wrapped his tarred arms around Spike's neck and rested his head on Spike's shoulder. He felt like a limp noodle. "Yeah," he sighed, "it was. You must be rubbing off on me."

"C'mon, precious, let's get you downstairs where you can dirty up Angel's sheets," Spike said, carefully carrying Xander off the roof. He smirked. "Well, more than they already are."

"I think I'll take the couch, instead," Xander mumbled in a tired voice.

Spike chuckled as he made his way down the stairs to Angel's apartment. Despite a teasing "Noooo" from Xander, Spike put him on Angel's mussy bed and went into the bathroom to retrieve a wet washcloth.

"Thank you, Nurse," Xander ribbed as Spike washed the charred flesh from his chest. Xander normally wasn't conscious for this part.

"Sod off," Spike grumbled without much heat He peered closely at the strike point. "I'm only doing this so you keep me fed. I'd much rather kill you."

"We could always tell Angel the truth," Xander said. He studied Spike in the low lighting of the bedroom. "He'd probably look after you out of the guiltiness of his heart."

Spike shook his head. "No. I don't fancy staying with the bog trottin' ponce. Too much gloominess, despite the great shag. I'd prolly off myself in a week."

He lightly traced a blackened area on Xander's pectoral. "Looks like you're gonna have to add another cloud."

"I'll have to take your word for it," Xander said, raising his head to glance at his body. "It looks all white to me."

Spike pressed his lips together in a frown and made another pass at Xander's chest with the washcloth. Xander dropped his head back onto the pillow and watched Spike with half-lidded eyes.

After a minute or two of silence, Xander reached out and touched Spike's wrist. Spike looked questioningly at him. Xander watched as he guided a few tendrils of electricity to wind around Spike's wrist like a fancy bracelet while he spoke.

"Honestly, Spike, if you don't want to play Alfred to me anymore, here would be the best place for you," Xander said carefully. "I got along on my own before and I can do it again."

"Forget it," Spike told him immediately. "You buggered up my head, now you're stuck with me. At least, until you piss me off and I break your scrawny neck."

"Got it," Xander said. He gave Spike a half-grin. "Not really friends still?"

"Not really friends," Spike agreed. He stood. "You up for a shower?"

"Big time." With Spike's help, Xander was peeled from the sheets and steady on his own feet beside the bed. There was a black-blobbed mess the tar had made on Angel's bed. "Great. I have to do laundry."

"No, you don't," Spike disagreed. His quickly made the bed. "Now no one will know."

"Except for Angel when he climbs in later," Xander pointed out.

"And I can't wait to see his face when he does," Spike responded with a wicked smile.