Into Each Life




Xander loves rainy days. Being from California, it would follow that rain would be a hated oddity, a break in the blue-skied beauty of his home state. Not so much. Part of the reason they'd left Sunnydale was to get away from the sun. Also a very angry Slayer who couldn't understand the complicated relationship between her loyal sidekick and her sworn enemy - that just made the move happen...faster.

Minneapolis has sunshine - plenty of it - enough to keep Xander tanned for at least part of the year. But it also has gray days, with rain and drizzle and cloud cover thick enough for a vampire to cross a parking lot at three in the afternoon with nary a sizzle. It's a perk.

The parking lot is enormous. Which makes sense, because it's the parking lot for the Mall of America. Spike and Xander both love the mall. It turns them into big kids - a state they're never very far from anyway, really. They find endless amusements inside this Temple of Consumerism, and they've only been thrown out twice for "inappropriate behavior". This year.

They pick a wing and wander, but Xander has a list, one he keeps chanting under his breath. Spike could tell him that he's got a photographic memory, but that would spoil the fun of watching those mobile lips move and that dark brow furrow so adorably. Plus - evil.

They split up in the drug store and find each other again at the register. Xander has one of those new quad-blade razors, and Spike laughs as he rubs a hand over his own jaw, which requires shaving no more than once a week to Xander's once a day - twice if they're going out at night. Xander also has chocolate and the muscle balm he likes to have Spike rub on his aching back after a hard day's work. Spike has a bleach kit and a new black eyeliner. They both have lube - same size (economy), same brand (Slip). They laugh, but buy both tubes.

At Sears, Spike watches Xander study the merits of various socket sets for an hour before buying nothing, and at Williams-Sonoma, Xander blushes while watching Spike slap hand-carved olive-wood spoons into his palm before selecting a handful. They both stand rapt at the pet-shop window and watch two puppies play-fight. They wander again, stopping for pretzels and sodas and to watch little kids toss pennies into the fountains. It's Sunday, and they've got nowhere to be. Somewhere outside, there's trouble and evil and friends who really mean well but don't understand, but for Spike and Xander it's just another rainy day, and they're glad they saved each other for it.




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