The Grass Is Greener When It's Plastic




"Oh, now that's just plain inconsiderate, is what it is!"

"What is it now?"

"This!" Spike jabbed a finger at the newspaper. "The Sunset Hills Memorial Park cemetery is giving up grass in favor of artificial turf.
Bloody California. All looks, no fucking substance."

"What's the big deal?"

"You ever tried to punch through that shite, mate? They make it of sodding

"Uh, so let me get this straight. You're upset because a California cemetery is making it more difficult for fledges to get out of the ground? You do remember that we stake fledges, don't you?"

"Only gonna make them more unstable, pet. You've never had to crawl up out of the earth, never felt those first moon rays that burned all the grit and grime out of your eyes, knuckles throbbing, never had a hunger in your belly so fierce and desperate you can't think of nothing properly. How d'you
think it'll be if they come up under bloody astroturf and have to fight through that too? Maddening, that's what."


Spike's eyes narrowed.
"What hmm? What's going through that head of yours, pet?"

"Just thinking."

"There's a novelty."

"Ha ha, Spike." Xander lunged over, thoroughly messing up Spike's freshly gelled hair before Spike could bat him away, letting Spike drag him off the couch and trap his arms at his sides.
Funny how being pinned by a vampire no longer set off the about-to-die-now centers of Xander's brain. Or maybe "funny" wasn't the right word for it, but it was something when being pinned by a vampire brought on the warm and snuggly feelings. "I was thinking how weird it is that you've got a soul, and you stake fledges, but you still feel enough sympathy for them to get pissed off at Sunset Hills Memorial Park for making unlife harder for them."

"Well, yeah. Was one once, wasn't I?
Can't help a bit of fellow feeling." Spike shifted his grip, tucking first a strand of hair out of Xander's face, then another, smoothing each one between his fingers before moving on to the next, lines of concentration deepening between his brows.


"Yeah, luv?"

"Are you
grooming me?"

"Vampires don't groom," Spike said absently, and smoothed a wave into submission, combing out the curls above Xander's nape with his fingers.

"What do you call this?" Xander tried to reach up to grab Spike's wrist, but was swatted away.

"I'm," Spike said, and stopped, lips pursed in a pout of thought. "I'm feeling you up is what."

"That's my head."

"So? Can feel up any bit of you I want. I'm a vampire. We don't do things the same way you lot do."

"Uh huh."

"And look at my sire. Barmy as they come. Some of that must've passed down.
Bound to make me a bit dodgy in the head." Spike fluttered a hand near his temple, then returned it to stroking Xander's hair. "Naturally can't be held responsible for any little quirks."

"Like grooming your human boy toy?"

"Just like that." Spike tilted his head, shifted his grip, and began to trace sections, settling comfortably back against the couch. "And it's not grooming. It's groping."


"Groping your skull."

"Uh huh," Xander said,
then sighed. "Spike?"


"Are you braiding my hair?"

An offended huff came from Spike. "Course not." Nimble fingers danced through dark waves, sense-memory taking over with the skill of a hundred years of fussing over another dark head of hair. "They're rope twists," he finally mumbled. "Bit different in the way the strands are wound."

Xander chuckled, settling back in. "Oh, well that's entirely different. Not girly at all."

"Come on, now. Seen you have little slumber parties with the girls when you were in high school."

"Hey, buddy! That's every high school guy's fantasy."

"Where all you do is sleep and do each others nails?"

"Says the guy who bought black nail polish in bulk for thirty years?"

"You had tea parties with Dawn."

"So did you."

Right." Spike returned to twisting and twirling Xander's hair, then moved on to the next section. "You drown your sorrows in ice cream!" Spike brightened. "That's pretty girly."

Xander brought out the big guns. "And you played with dolls."

"Hey! Those were Dru's. And so maybe I kept what was left of Miss Edith. Known her a while, haven't I? Bit like parting with a baby blanket, seeing her all smashed, I s'pose."

Xander scowled. "You were not supposed to know about my bink- baby blanket."

Spike smirked. "I snoop, pet. Vampire here," he said.

"Still evil," they said together.

"And don't you bloody well forget it.







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