Title: A Taste of Home
Characters/Pairing: Giles, Spike
Word Count: 1,657
Summary: Homesickness can bring about the strangest camaraderie.
Timeline: Summer between seasons four and five.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: My site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Betas: Angel's Kuuipo & Shannon
Author's Note: Written for troubleinchina for the Welcome to the Nancy Tribe ficathon. Assignment is at the end.
A Taste of Home
Giles' eyes cracked open. He fumbled for his clock, squinting to read the numbers without his glasses. It was just past 3am.
Setting the clock back in its proper place, he strained to hear anything else. He was just about to write the noise off as part of a dream when he heard a muttered exclamation of triumph from downstairs.
Suddenly wide awake, Giles tossed back the covers and sat up. He donned his glasses before standing and picking up his robe, pulling it on as he walked. On his way towards the staircase, he grabbed the dagger from its display stand on the bureau.
Weapon in hand, he cautiously made his way down the stairs. There were no lights on, and a quick glance at the door confirmed that it hadn't been broken down. The intruder must have picked the lock, Giles surmised.
The sound of roiling water could be heard as he neared the kitchen, and Giles' brow furrowed in confusion. It almost sounded like someone was using the electric kettle, but that would be absurd. The children didn't even know he owned one. He allowed them to believe that he was old-fashioned enough to use the stove-top kettle he left out.
The kitchen light suddenly flipped on, causing Giles to make a very un-manly sound. The sight that greeted his eyes didn't do anything to calm the racing of Giles' heart.
"No need to creep up. Could hear your heart hammering," came an all-too-familiar voice.
"Spike?" Giles asked, completely at a loss for words. "What on earth are you doing?"
Spike looked down at what was on the counter before him and then back to Giles. "What does it look like? I'm having a cuppa."
As if proving his point, Spike lifted the kettle full of boiling water and poured the contents into the teapot then added tea leaves from the container sitting beside the teapot.
"It's the middle of the night," Giles pointed out, admiring the easy way that Spike prepared the tea.
"Well, it would be a bit difficult for me to do this in the middle of the day," Spike pointed out.
"Yes, but why are you doing it here?" Giles pressed, wondering if he wasn't still in his bed dreaming. This felt surreal enough to be a dream.
"Not like I have a kettle or tea in the crypt," Spike answered. "Not the good stuff, at least. Where did you find real English tea in Sunnyhell?"
"I didn't," Giles admitted, sitting on one of the stools. "I have it shipped. After a week in this country I made arrangements for a regular delivery."
"Rightly so. Can you believe some of the dirt they try to call tea here?"
Giles harrumphed in agreement.
With a familiarity with Giles' kitchen that the man found unsettling, Spike retrieved another cup from the cabinet the tea set usually occupied, presumably for Giles. Going to the refrigerator, Spike removed the milk, and poured some in one cup. He held the bottle up, silently asking if Giles took milk, and when he nodded, Spike repeated the action before putting the milk away.
Just as Giles opened his mouth to comment that the tea was probably ready, Spike lifted the teapot and poured steaming liquid into the cups.
"Sugar?" Spike asked, handing Giles one of the cups.
"No, thank you," Giles answered.
Both men sipped from their cups, then sighed in appreciation.
"Now that's the stuff," Spike purred, taking another sip.
"I must admit, I never expected you to make such a decent cup of tea," Giles said.
"That's a bit more than decent, that is," Spike protested.
Taking another sip, Giles had to agree. "It's a bit like being home," Giles reluctantly admitted.
Spike beamed, unaccustomed to such praise. "Couldn't-a done it without you," he said, raising his cup in a salute before drinking from it.
"I'm surprised you even know how," Giles commented. "I thought you had servants as a human."
Spike shifted from foot to foot, not liking to talk about his human life. But as Giles seemed sincerely curious, he said, "Had one or two, but I liked to make Mum's tea myself. She always said I did it the best; just the way she liked it." He coughed, then added, "Drusilla also liked to have tea parties with real tea. Something about her dollies not being vampires and therefore requiring the real thing."
Giles frowned at the mention of Drusilla. He well remembered her part in Angelus' night of torture. He tried not to think about how he wasn't quite so put out by Spike having been there. Perhaps because the blond vampire hadn't actually participated in his humiliation, resigning himself to spectator and commentator instead.
Trying to steer his thoughts away from such unpleasantness, Giles said, "Should I be concerned over how you found all of my tea supplies? It's not like I keep them out in the open."
Spike snorted. "What did you think I did while you left me here all by my lonesome during those days that I was kept like some kind of pet?"
For the first time, Giles actually did wonder how Spike had occupied his time.
"I thought you were asleep. And you watched that ridiculous show on the telly," Giles said. "I guess I never really thought about it."
"Well, Passions was only on for one of those hours. And since I was already up to watch that, I had a lot of afternoon left over, didn't I? So of course I did my share of snooping. I bet I know where things are in this house that you've forgotten about."
Giles knew that was probably true, but he wasn't about to admit it.
Knowing he was right, Spike continued, "I bet you don't even know some of the classics that you've got in your record collection. You have no idea how nice it was to listen to actual records again."
"Oh, I think that I do," Giles protested. "Buffy and Xander have tried to give me CDs of some of those albums, insisting that they were better. The sound may be clearer, but in my opinion, that takes away from the true experience of the music. At least Oz understood that."
"Exactly!" Spike agreed. "Music from the seventies should always be listened to on vinyl. It's the best way to truly remember what those concerts were like."
"You went to concerts?" Giles asked, intrigued by this new bit of information.
"Are you kidding me?" Spike asked, giddy. "Concerts in the sixties and seventies were a vampire's dream come true. Did you ever go to a rock concert sober? Of course not. All those doped up people lost in the music made for the best food."
"The Council always suspected that was true, but wouldn't do anything about it," Giles said. "Not like they were going to send the Slayer to every major concert, and with that lot, they wouldn't have gone themselves."
Spike grinned. "I notice that you don't deny being at some of those concerts, high as a kite with the rest of them."
"Why should I? I'm sure you've heard about my rebellious youth. I know a lot more about the drug, sex and music culture than the children would like to believe," Giles said.
"Bet there was a strong dose of magics thrown in," Spike speculated.
"Of course," Giles agreed.
"Always knew I liked you," Spike said. There was definitely more to this man than he let on. Spike could appreciate that.
"Ta," Giles dryly commented. "Look, as much fun as this trip down memory lane has been, I really must get back to bed."
"Right. You've got that long day of nothing to do ahead of you," Spike snarkily replied.
"Shut up," Giles said, standing. "Clean up after yourself and lock up when you leave."
"Always do," Spike said, taking the dirty dishes to the sink.
That gave Giles pause. "Just how often do you do this?" he nervously asked.
Spike shrugged, facing the sink. "Not very. Once every couple of weeks, I guess. Haven't really kept track."
"How is it that I've never heard you before now?" Giles asked.
"Usually do it after you've had a big fight. Too knackered to hear little old me puttering around in the kitchen," Spike admitted. "And I always put everything back where I found it."
"Why tonight? Did you really have that big a craving for real English tea to come on a night you knew I wouldn't be dead to the world?" Giles pressed.
Spike's shoulders slumped. Very quietly, he said, "Maybe I wanted a spot of company from back home, along with the tea."
Giles could certainly understand that. It wasn't always easy being surrounded by Americans all of the time. He supposed that was true among the demon population, as well as the human one.
Clearing his throat, Giles decided to risk offering an olive branch. "I should be getting some biscuits in my next delivery. I'll let you know when it arrives and we can do this again. When I'm more awake, preferably."
"About time. I was wondering when you were gonna get more in. I polished off that last batch ages ago," Spike said.
"That was you!" Giles exclaimed. "I thought Xander had found them."
Spike grinned. "Thought you'd blame the boy."
Giles was ready to withdraw his invitation, when Spike said, "Thank you."
Giles blinked in surprise, and nodded his head in acknowledgement. "On one condition," he said.
Spike stilled, waiting for Giles' demand.
"The children never find out about this," Giles said.
"I couldn't agree more," Spike readily accepted. "Can't have them thinking we can have a civil conversation."
"I'm glad we're in agreement," Giles said. He yawned and turned towards the stairs. "Good night, Spike," he said.
Spike turned on the water and began to wash the dishes. "Good night, Rupert."
Characters: Giles & Spike! :)
What you'd like to see: Giles & Spike talking about England , strange American ways, and Buffy. Low on character bashing, but somehow I think they can "bond" over their mutual apathy towards Angel.
What you don't like to see: I'm a prude, so if there is romance between the two (I'd prefer genfic), I'd like there not to be too much hot hot sexx0rs.
Preferred rating: PG
Comics canon, yay or nay? Nay
Word Count: 1000 words minimum
Copyright© November 2008