A New Deal
The scent of tacos roused Xander from slumber. He lifted his hand without opening his eyes behind his protective, mirrored sunglasses. A wrapped taco fitted into his palm and he hummed appreciatively.
He listed to Spike settle in as he unwrapped and munched the taco. Bits of tortilla, meat, and sauce dripped on Xander’s chin as he lifted his head to eat. He was too tired to sit up properly. Spike opened a can of something, and there was a rustling as he went through the take out bag. Xander’s nose smelled cinnamon Churros.
They ate in comfortable silence, just like any other day at any other place. Except that it wasn’t just like any other day, Xander knew, and so did Spike.
“I told them you’re enthralled to me,” Xander began when the garbage was all that was left from dinner. He cleaned off the mess he made of himself before shifting into a cross-legged position on the bedroll. The sun was starting to set behind the trees. “That okay?”
“Fine by me,” Spike answered, lighting up a cigarette. He’d already known that, but he wasn’t planning on telling Xander he’d been around for part of the conversation.
“I figured it was none of their business, why you’re really with me.” Truthfulness had taken a back seat for Xander with his old friends. It should’ve felt wrong, but it didn’t. “Wills said she’d look into the whole curse thing. If she’s still like she was, she’ll have an answer by lunch tomorrow.”
Spike hummed non-committedly. Smoke curled from his nose as he exhaled.
“After that, you can head on back down to L.A., or go wherever,” Xander said, doing his best to keep his tone nonchalant. “Your unlife will be your own again.”
Spike snorted. “You think it’s that easy, eh? Red waves her magick wand and bob’s yer uncle, I’m free?”
“Who’s going to take care of you after a storm, you gormless git?”
“I didn’t have anyone taking care of me before you came along. It’s not like I don’t know how to deal,” Xander said. He looked sideways at Spike. “You’re not responsible for me.”
Spike pinched his lips. “That’s the kicker, ain’t it? I want to be.”
Spike had the time to think while he’d been waiting to stop glowing. Time to think about what Xander had said before the Slayer and her chums invaded. Xander had been right: spend so long with a person and things change. Xander was more than a long-term patient or a charge, and was definitely more than a friend. Brothers or lovers, Xander had said. Spike knew it to be true. He also knew which one Xander wanted.
Spike turned to Xander and, though he knew it would hurt, he reached out and removed Xander’s sunglasses. Xander winced and squinted in the light. “Hey! Stabbing pain here!”
“Shut yer gob a second. I can’t say this with your blinders on.” Spike met Xander’s naked gaze squarely and with seriousness. “Once the chit un-curses me, if it don’t change how I feel, we’ll open the subject up again, alright?”
A slow, seductive smile spread across Xander’s lips. “I can’t wait.”
Willow had, as predicted, found a way to break the curse by lunch the next day. At midnight, Spike was cured. By morning, Xander had learned Spike was a very, very good lover, indeed.
Spike had chosen not to go anywhere. He wanted to see where this thing with Xander would lead. He always had been a glutton for punishment. He would miss the sun, anyway.
A century later, Angel smirked at the couple when they arrived on his doorstep in the middle of a bright, summer day. “Back again?”
“What can we say, Peaches? Your beds are soft and your company’s tolerated.”
“And someone missed his 'Daddy'.” Xander exchanged an electric grin with Spike and, together, they stepped inside.