"Hi! Welcome to Wal-Mart! Would you like a cart?"
Spike back-peddled into Xander when the Wal-Mart greeter popped up in front of them, large grin
on his wrinkled face. Xander automatically put his hands on Spike's hips, pulling Spike
against him in order to regain both of their balances.
The instant their bodies connected, Xander became hyper-aware of the fact that Spike fit against him
like a jigsaw puzzle piece. Xander's chin rested on Spike's shoulder without having to duck his
head at all, and Spike's buttocks nestled perfectly in the cradle of Xander's hips. [If only he was
naked...,] Xander thought, and immediately felt his cheeks burning, even as another part of him
Xander released Spike quickly, taking a step back himself. Although his body had decided he
definitely wanted Spike, Xander's mind knew he had to take it slow. [Waaaaay slow. Baby steps,
remember?] Pushing his hard-on against Spike's ass was in no way 'taking it slow.'
On the ride to the store, Xander had found himself in the company of the Spike he knew and hated.
The bashful vampire had vanished almost entirely, making Xander wonder if Spike should change
his name to Sybil. If Xander hadn't seen Spike still holding the key to the new apartment, he
would've thought Spike's shyness really had been an act.
Xander wondered if perhaps Spike's return to his usual sociopathic self was because he was happy.
[And another case of Angelus Syndrome crops up in the 'Dale.] It was understandable, though.
When depression hit Xander, so did melancholy and long bouts of country music, things that weren't
of the norm for him. So why couldn't Spike's depression manifest itself in shyness?
"Yeah, we'll take a cart," Xander answered the Wal-Mart greeter. Forty years working at least
forty hours a week and having a ton of Social Security taken from his paycheck, and the elderly
greeter still had to work in order to make ends meet after retiring. Xander dreaded the day he'd be
forced to put on a blue vest decorated with yellow smiley-face stickers. [Reason number five for
becoming a vampire -- no worries about retirement.]
The cart didn't squeal or squeak or wobble unsteadily as Xander pushed it past the greeter and into
the store. Xander was instantly on edge. There was no such thing as a silent, steady shopping cart.
Something bad was going to happen. Something really bad. Somethi--
Screeeeech. Kerthunk... kerthunk... kerthunk... kerthunk... kerthunk...
The front left wheel on the cart rotated and began making a racket when Xander turned down an
aisle. Xander slumped in relief. Things had been going so well, with the new job, new
apartment, and new Mr. Smithers. At some point, everything was going to go to pot -- Murphy
wouldn't let an opportunity pass him up -- but Xander wouldn't mind if it was later, rather than
"Alright, Mr. Barstow," Xander said cheerfully, earning a glare from Spike. "Jeans first, then we'll
continue around the store in an anal-retentive fashion, ending at the registers."
Xander led the way into the Men's Department, heading for the cubicle wall where the jeans
were stacked. [Made only in the good ol' U-S-of-A, by illegal immigrants in sweatshops for $2.50
an hour without benefits. What a country.] "Let me guess, you want black ones," Xander said,
squeezing the cart between the racks of clothing.
"Don't mind blue," Spike said. "But black doesn't show the dirt and blood."
"You know your life is seriously whacked when comments like that make perfect sense," Xander
commented. He stopped in front of the tall row of black jeans, each cubicle divided by size. [Why
do they put the short and skinny people's sizes on the highest shelf?] "What size are you?"
"Thirty-two twice," Spike replied. He pulled a pair from the shelf, checked the size, and tossed the
jeans into the cart.
"Is that before or after you got chipped?" Xander asked.
"Because I have a feeling you're not that big anymore," Xander said bluntly, looking at Spike's
[crotch -- bad me!] waist. The duster hid most of Spike's body shape from view, but the
bunched material of the borrowed blue jeans he wore, cinched tight by his belt, was telling. "You'd
better try them on."
Spike looked away from Xander, shifted, and pulled the edges of his coat shut. "M'not any smaller,
whelp. And I'm not trying anything on like a soddin' woman."
"Then you'll be stuck wearing my jeans indefinitely, because I'm not paying for a new pair unless
you try them on," Xander stated, grabbing a pair of 30-32's and 31-32's. He took the pair from the
cart and held all three out towards Spike. "Trying to return something here at Wally World is
scarier than seeing Anya first thing in the morning. And no," Xander said firmly when Spike went
to speak, "you aren't going to steal a pair. The store security people are humans, and they
'vigorously prosecute shoplifters.' A hottie like you won't last a minute in city lockup. So, try on,
Spike's upper lip curled in a snarl, but he snatched the pile of jeans from Xander and stomped to the
fitting room. Xander followed more quietly -- well, as quietly as the kerthunking cart would allow.
He parked the cart and took a position leaning against the fitting room doorway. He could see Spike
in the first doorless stall from where he stood and smirked when he saw Spike childishly throw
his boots after removing them. The smirk vanished when Spike pushed down his borrowed jeans.
Spike wasn't wearing any underwear.
White, white legs, made whiter by the harsh fluorescent lighting, went from the floor alllll the way
up to his waist. Defined calve and thigh muscles flexed and corded as he stepped out of the blue
jeans; full moon in full view and a glimpse of the orbiting planets as he bent to pick up the black
denims to try on.
A tiny part of Xander's brain that was still functioning made note not to try on clothes in that
particular stall. Prudish, maybe, but his manly parts weren't for any-old-body to ogle, like he was
ogling Spike. [I think I may need new jeans, too, because these certainly don't fit anymore.]
As the first shock from Spike's partial nakedness wore off [although my hard-on is never going to
go away,] Xander realized that Michaelangelo's David Spike was definitely not. First off, Spike
was too, too thin. His waist was obscenely small and his hip bones looked sharp enough to cut
Xander's palms if he touched them. Xander would also bet there was less muscle in the vampire's
legs than there once was and his ankles looked like toothpicks.
Like Xander had sadly guessed, the 32-32's were too big on Spike. Xander caught sight of a
flash of pain skittering across Spike's face before he set his jaw and tried on another pair.
[Don't worry, bashful. We'll fatten you up again,] Xander promised silently.
Although he didn't want to, Xander dropped his gaze to the stained grey carpeting to give Spike a
little post-ogle privacy. A few minutes later, a black pair of jeans was shoved under his nose,
accompanied by a bitter: "Here." Spike brushed none-too-gently past him and out of the fitting
room. Xander glanced at the label on the denims and sighed unhappily. [A whole two sizes. Very
The brunette dropped the jeans into the cart, jogged back to get another pair, then pushed the cart to
where a sullen Spike was waiting. "Do you need any other clothes?" Xander asked. "Tee-shirts or
boxers?" He grinned and pointed across the aisle. "Bras?"
"Eh?" Spike glanced to where Xander pointed and rolled his eyes. "Too hilarious, pet."
"Okay, Victoria's Secret it's not," Xander said, glad to see Spike shake off his self-disgust. "Really,
though, go ahead and grab what you want, clothing-wise. I'll meet you back in the Furnishings
Spike studied him for a moment, before asking, "Seriously?"
[Heaven save him from adorably insecure vampires.] A corner of Xander's mouth turned up.
"Seriously. If you're running around naked, I want it to be because I undressed you and not because
you lack clothing." The instant the words passed his lips, he felt his face turn red. [Oh my God, I
cannot believe I just said that. What ever happened to baby steps?]
Spike's eyes had grown huge and he took a step back. Pale hands fluttered nervously before
latching onto the edges of his duster and twisting the material. He gave Xander an awkward half-smile and, without a word, quickly skirted around Xander and disappeared into Menswear.
Xander dropped his head and groaned. "Smooth, Xan. Real smooth. Way to scare the shyness back
into the vampire."
Having said what he did, though, seemed to answer the question as to where Spike's shyness
stemmed from. [I say something blatantly sexually suggestive and Spike freaks; ergo, he's not used to
either males, or possibly humans, flirting with him. Either that, or I'm repulsive and he's trying to
be polite.] After all, politeness and vampires went hand-in-fang.
Xander started towards the Furnishings Department in the back of the store. Somehow, he was
going to find out if it was the Y-chromosome factor or the heartbeat that flustered Spike. Plus,
Spike now knew Xander was interested, and it would be nice to know if that interest was returned or
not. If it wasn't, Xander would have to shift into friend-mode, like he did once upon a time with
Buffy. It'd be difficult, especially in light of the fact that Spike seemed to bring out his protective
streak, but it could be done. He no longer lusted [that much] after Buffy anymore.
For the time being, however, Xander was just going to shop. If the opportunity presented itself, he'd
try and subtly ask where Spike's interest lay. He'd rather not embarrass the Shy One any further if
it could be avoided. Why, Xander didn't know.
[Liiiiar,] a little voice sang in his head.
"Quiet, you," Xander told the voice, even though it was right. Xander liked his women bossy,
but he liked his men more timid. Shy. [Snort.] Submissive was a bad word, but it was close. He
liked being the more aggressive one with another man, liked seeing the blushes and the
innocuousness. Virgins were the best. [And I'm not making myself any less horny, am I?]
With a shake of his head, Xander parked the cart and went to look at the Ready-To-Assemble bunk
beds. He immediately thought of what he'd said to Spike earlier that night. Added to what he saw
of Spike in the fitting room and it was a wonder he didn't have a stroke in the middle of the
The squeak of a cart-wheel caused Xander to turn and he saw Spike dumping an armful of pre-packaged garments into the buggy. An air of wariness surrounded Spike, but he wore an
expression of confusion. "Are you really getting bunk beds?"
"We," Xander corrected. "And yep. There's only one bedroom and it's too small for two twins, so
bunk beds it be."
"The couch is--"
"Out of the question," Xander interrupted. "First of all, it's impractical, since we tend to sleep at
different times. Secondly, if you're going to stay, you get your own bed, just like any other
roommate would have."
A somewhat stunned expression, followed by a tiny smile in response from Spike, and Xander
turned into a puddle of goo. Then, the smile became broad and mischievous, and the puddle of
Xandergoo sizzled in lust.
"If we're to share a flat and all," Spike began, "I'd best warn you that I tend to kill people in my
"Sleep-murdering," Xandergoo panted. "I'll remember that." He cleared his throat and turned to
the tall boxes of disassembled bunk beds. He pointed to one. "That one has a bottom double bed
that doubles as a couch."
"That's a good idea, pet." Spike stepped forward and ran his hand over the picture on the box. [Oh,
to be that box,] Xander thought. "How are we going to get it in the cart?" Spike asked.
"We aren't," Xander said in a remarkably clear voice. "I'll have Buffy come with me tomorrow to
get it. I know, between the two of us, we can probably carry it ourselves, but what good is having
friends if you can't abuse them?"
Spike chuckled,and the sound rolled through Xander until it lodged in the area between his legs.
How anything else fit in there was beyond him.
Turning on his heel, Xander walked stiffly back to the cart and put it between himself and Spike.
"We need a least two lamps, a closet organizer, and one of those cardboard dressers for socks and
stuff," the brunette said. "We'll do a 'wait-and-see' for the other stuff."
"Right. Let's get on with it, then," Spike said cheerfully, practically bouncing as he walked down
Xander followed more slowly, wondering where he could find the book 'A Guide To Vampires With
Multiple Personalities.' He had a feeling he was going to need it.
The cart was full to bursting by the time Xander and Spike had reached the last leg of the Wal-Mart
Shopping Extravaganza. Xander shared equal blame for the cart's contents because of his lack of
willpower. Most of the shopping spree had been spent trying to say no to Perky Spike [Multiple
Personality No. 4, and counting], chuckling helplessly when he failed. It didn't help matters any
that Spike mocked every person they came upon, to the point that Xander was literally falling-down
"Oh, hey," Xander turned the card down an aisle in the pharmacy section, "goggles."
"Goggles?" Spike said confusedly, trailing after the brunette.
"Yeah. Reading glasses, remember?" Xander said. He parked the cart and gestured to the glasses
display along the wall by the pharmacist's counter. "Unless you have a really strong prescription,
one of these should do ya."
Spike gave him an incredulous look. "You can't be serious."
"Why not?" Xander said. "It's not like you need to wear them all the time. And this way, if you're
bored and nothing's on the tube, you can read."
"I look like a soddin' nancy in glasses," Spike complained, even as he stepped over to the display.
Xander hid his amused smile. "I'll be the only one laughing at you, so no worries."
Spike sent him a non-angry scowl before returning his focus to the neat rows of multi-strength reading glasses. After a moment, he sighed and reached out to finger a pair. "How do I
know which to get?"
"Uh..." Xander looked around and found a stack of pamphlets about what his pharmacist could do
for him. He passed one to Spike. "Here's something to read. The rest is trial and error, I guess."
Spike gave him a warning growl as he took the pamphlet. "Make fun of me and I'll poke out your
eyeballs and eat them."
"Not a word," Xander promised, though, with the chip, Spike's threat was just words.
So as not to make Spike self-conscious [despite how cute he would get,] Xander wandered
partway down an adjoining aisle, idly scanning the items on the shelves. [Foot powder... corn pads...
shoe inserts... pregnancy tests... condoms...]
A flashy sticker tacked onto one of the condom price signs caught his attention. "FDA Approved
Glow-In-The-Dark condoms," he read. Grabbing a box, he looked at the back and chuckled. [Oh
man, talk about kinky.] He would have to purchase a box to see if they really glowed in the dark.
Not that he had a current test partner. Unless...
[Wait, do vampires even use condoms?] Xander wondered, heading back up the aisle. With all the
bloodsucking vampires did, worrying about STDs probably wasn't a concern. If a vamp was going
to catch something, it would be through a bite. Somehow Xander couldn't picture condoms that fit
over a vampire's fangs. [Now, that's a fun mental image.]
Still, he was curious. "Hey, Spike," he said, studying the back of the condom box again. "Vampire
physiology question: do you need condoms?"
There was clatter, and Xander lifted his eyes to see Spike crouched and picking up a couple pairs of
specs from the tile floor. [Oh my goodness, I think Spike's blushing. Snerk.] Well, Xander had
wanted to find out Spike's history. Now seemed as good of a time as any. "Spike?"
"Um... ah... n-no," Spike stammered, fiddling with the glasses in his hand as he straightened.
"Vampires don't produce living... um... so we can't get a girl preggers."
Xander looked at the condom box and tossed it into the cart. "What about when you have sex with
guys? Any worries about STDs?"
Another loud clatter and Xander had to hide his grin. He sneaked a glance at Spike, who had
dropped the glasses again. [Alright, Xander, behave. You don't want to scare Spike off.]
Spike crouched a second time, picked up the glasses, cleared his throat and mumbled, "Don't know.
Never been with another guy."
[Bingo! Ca-ching! Three cherries on the virgin slot machine.] "Really?" Xander said, playing it
cool. It wouldn't do to pounce on the Cherry Boy in the middle of Wal-Mart, despite what Mr.
Happy Hard-On in his jeans wanted. "I thought that you and Angel--"
"Fuck no!" Spike exclaimed emphatically, shooting up to his feet. He shuddered. "That'd be like
shagging my brother! Soddin' hell, I may be a vampire, but I'm not a bloody redneck."
"Check," Xander laughed. "No Angel nookie."
"But you can't expect me to believe that you've never done it with another male," Xander pressed,
baiting him. "Especially since you're how old and have had how many thousand partners?"
A brief moment of silence as Spike turned away from Xander. Then, a very quiet: "Four."
[Woah.] Xander was surprised and a lot impressed. "Four thousand?"
"No," Spike shook his head, and Xander caught a glimpse of Spiderman-Underoos-face. "Four."
Slooooooow blink. "Four. As in, one, two, three, four?" Xander said in disbelief. "Not four, as in,
vampire slang for four dozen, or four score?" [And seven years ago. Bibble.]
Spike nodded, still half-turned away from Xander, and briefly held up four fingers before shoving
his hand into his duster pocket.
"That's just..." Xander tried to comprehend [four?!?!] but couldn't. "I've had more than that in one
day. Hell, I've had more than that at one time."
Spike shrugged, and Xander had a new Spike-expression to add to the growing catalog:
complete and utter embarrassment. [Great going, zilch-for-brains. Embarrass the shy-boy so he
totally clams up. Oh, and don't forget to stomp on his male ego while you're at it.]
Then, Xander thought of something. "Holy Shite Muslim in a half-shell, does that mean you were
monogamous for the billions of years you were with Drusilla?"
Spike nodded again. Xander whistled. "Man, that is innnn-tense. How did you do it?"
Spike turned to him, finally, and arched a scarred brow. Xander realized what his question
implicated and burst into girly giggles. "Not what I meant," he said.
"Do you need me to draw a diagram, Xander?" Spike asked patronizingly.
"I learn better by hands-on demonstration," Xander replied with a wink. Flustered Spike returned
instantly, Spike shifting his weight, his head down. [So adorably cute.]
Xander stepped closer to Spike, took this chin and lifted it. Startled, wary [pretty] blue eyes
met Xander's. "Truth: I think it takes a real man to stay monogamous for so long," Xander
said, then covered Spike's mouth with his own.
Short, sweet, and wholly innocent, the kiss ended almost as soon as it began. Xander smiled softly at
Spike, who stared owlishly up at him. [I wonder, would he look at me like this when I entered him
the first time?]
"So," Xander said thickly, taking a quick step back and shoving his hands in his too tight pockets
before he ravished Spike then and there. "Did you find a pair?"
"Of glasses," Xander clarified, moving even further away from the super-adorable, befuddled
vampire. [Warning! Warning! Danger, Xander Robinson. It's too soon to fall in love.] Love? Eep.
And eep, and eep once more. Maybe even a gah or two. [Not gonna do it. You can't make me,
"Er... uh..." Spike turned to the glasses display and stared blankly at it. "Uh..."
"Slurpee!" Xander exclaimed abruptly. Spike jumped, startled, and spun to face him. "We have to
get a Slurpee on our way out."
Spike studied him a moment before asking warily, "What's a Slurpee?"
"You never had a Slurpee?" Xander tisked, glad he was able to defuse the somewhat charged post-smoochie atmosphere. "Then you are in for a treat, roommate-o-mine. Grab the specs and let's
check-out so you can have a taste of frosty heaven."
Spike still looked a bit fershimmled as he ran a hand through his hair, turned to the glasses
display again, and chose a pair of frameless, square half-glasses, strength: +2.50.
Check-out was a bore, although Xander's eyes bugged when he saw the final total. [Looks like
Ramen noodles for the next, oh, year or so.] He wheeled the blue bag-filled cart past the Wal-Mart
greeter and into the little concession area. Gesturing for Spike to join him at the counter, he
addressed the girl behind it. "Two Slurpees, por favor. I'll have a cherry. Spike, what flavor do
Spike frowned. "Flavor?"
Xander put his hand on Spike's lower back and pointed across the counter. "Those are your
choices. Coke, root-beer, cherry, lemonade, grape, raspberry, and orange."
Spike glanced at Xander, and that addictive, tiny smile flitted across his lips. He shifted
closer to Xander, relaxed into the touch, and tentatively answered, "Maybe grape?"
[Gah. Gah. Gah. Eep. Eep. Gah.]