Not Very Sexy
"Looking a bit green there, Xander. All right?"
"I may stop reading the newspaper for good this time."
Spike sat on the coffee table, elbows on his knees, and lit up. "Right, share the misery, why don't you? What's traumatized you, pet? I find it hard to believe that a strong lad like you who's seen all you've seen could be put off that quickly."
"Yeah. It's just words after all. Right?"
Spike held up a hand. "Luv, words are powerful, and make no mistake. Go on, then. What's put you off? War? Disease? Natural disasters?"
Spike's head tilted. "Bit late to be concerned about that, pet. Don't you think?"
"Ha. Ha. Okay, listen to this. Some guy's been arrested for conducting traditional circumcisions."
"Right," Spike said.
"Where he snips, then holds a mouthful of wine around the wound until the blood stops."
"Right. That doesn't even appeal to me, and I like blood." Spike picked up another newspaper section, flicking through and pursing his lips.
"Yeah." Xander made a face at the paper. "Not very sexy."
"Here's something good. XXL Bra tips cops off to a pair of criminals."
"Aren't you the one who said that if you've seen one pair of tits, you've seen them all?"
"Yeah, well, this bloke started getting high electricity bills, right? Wondered what could be going on. Comes home one day to the dryer running when he's not been home, and finds a XXL bra and a bloody huge pair of knickers in."
"So lemme get this straight. The cops are running a man hunt for ...?"
"A rather large and knickerless lady," Spike concluded with satisfaction, dropping the newspaper and drawing deep on his cigarette.
"Still not sexy."
"Since when does the news have to be sexy? Hardly call a boiler exploding and landing on an old Chinese gentleman sexy," Spike said.
"Since reading the news usually leads to sex?" Xander tried for a teasing lilt in his voice, but it only came out tired.
"Doesn't always have to." Spike stubbed out his cigarette and shifted onto the couch. "Here. Budge up. There. Like that, then." He tipped Xander back until he rested against Spike's chest, then wrapped his arms around him. "Go on, now. Read the newspaper. Read the real news this time."
"You never read the real news." Cool breath feathered against Xander's right ear with the words. Always his right ear.
"I don't like the real news," Xander admitted, turning his head, and closing his eye, letting his cheek rest against Spike.
"Why's that, pet?"
"It's ... we're still in a war, Spike. We're always gonna be in a war. I'm supposed to be the guy with the sense of humor. The guy who makes with the jokes." Xander trailed off, the paper going limp in his hands.
"You haven't been that bloke since Sunnyhell. You don't need to be him now." Spike's arms tightened fractionally, and he nudged Xander. "Go on then, luv. Read the news. And I'll hold you and keep you safe while you do. Might not be so bad. Might not feel so cut off after."
"I know I don't say it often..." Xander trailed off awkwardly. "The love thing."
Cool lips pressed to his cheek, then smiled against his skin. "Don't need to, pet. I hear it even when you don't, whether we shag or not. Now hush, and let's see what else is going on in the world outside."