Spike shuffled through the long grass and sniffed the air. Ahhhh, summer. What a beautiful time of year. So much better than stupid winter, when he spent all his time curled up in a spikey ball. And boy, did those spikes hurt if you curled up the wrong way. Spike shivered and his backside clenched up at the memory.
It was a Tuesday, and Tuesday was the day he would trundle down to the river bank and chat up the frogs. Actually, he did that everyday, but Tuesday was the *official* day.
To be completely honest, the reason that he’d taken to visiting the riverbank everyday was because of one frog in particular. Xander.
This young but nicely built frog was the most beautiful frog that Spike had ever clapped eyes on. Vivid green with the most entrancing, bulging eyes that had ever graced any amphibian, Xander was a frog that any forest dwelling animal would be proud to have on their paw.
Spike parted the grass with a long wet nose and looked up. Sure enough, there was Xander, plopped on top of his usual rock next to the babbling brook, staring straight ahead. Spike sighed under his breath. What a beautiful sight to behold. He waited; a fly was buzzing nearby and Spike just knew that Xander was waiting for the kill.
He was right.
As the fly buzzed nearer, Xander snaked out an impossibly long tongue and snatched the insect right out of the air.
Spike gasped. He never got tired of watching Xander hunt like that; so graceful; so precise; so fucking hot. Two beady eyes suddenly blinked at him and Spike realised that he’d been caught staring.
“What?” Xander asked. “Never seen a frog catch a fly before?”
“Not quite as clumsily as you,” Spike quickly lied. “You need to take lessons, boy. Useless wanker. Speaking of which…” Something caught his eye and he motioned his spikey head towards it.
Xander rolled his eyes; they went all the way 'round and back again. “Oh, gods, it’s Angel. What’s he doing here?”
Spike watched from his lower position as Angel floated into view. “Bloody hell. Now there’s a duck that needs to get a life.”
“You’re telling me. And he’s such a nag. ‘Xander you hopped on my foot.’ ‘Xander, that wasn’t your lily pad. It’s wrong.’ Hey, finder’s keeper’s, that’s what I always say. He really gets on my tits. Not that I have any tits…”
“You sure? Keep swallowing too many flies and you soon will. And when did you get a gut?”
“I do not have a gut!”
“Yeah, you do. Great big one.”
Angel flapped and stepped out of the water. He shook himself, quacked and settled himself on the rock opposite Xander. “Do you two have to? This forest would be peaceful if it wasn’t for the sound of you two idiots arguing all day long.”
“We’re not idiots!” Xander protested. “Well, I’m not. He is.”
Xander stuck his tongue out.
Angel took a moment to preen himself furiously with his long, yellow beak. “Don’t you two have anything better to do?” he asked finally.
“Like what?” Xander asked. “Not exactly swinging in these parts, in case you hadn’t noticed.”
“Exactly,” Spike chipped in. “And besides, this is the place for all the best gossip.”
“Well, I wouldn’t know anything about that,” Angel said, his beak held high in the air.
A flutter of red and yellow and Cordelia landed next to Xander. “Oh. My god. I have had the most terrible morning known to butterflies.”
“What happened, Cordy?” Xander asked, slightly afraid of the answer.
“Harmony has spawned.”
“I told her to be careful where she left her eggs and now there is this great big cocoon just hanging there waiting to open up all over the place. I didn’t even know that she’d had a caterpillar! And I’m telling you, Xander, I am *not* cocoon sitting. *No* way. Absolutely not. I have better things to be doing with my time. Who else is going to get rid of all the Cabbage Whites, hmm?” Cordelia fluttered her wings with a shiver. “Urgh, can’t stand those things. Parasites. I’m telling you, there'll be a national cabbage shortage any day now.”
Spike shook his head at the cabbage story. “A kid, huh?”
“A baby Harmony?” Xander added.
Angel stared in a horrified trance. “I think I might kill myself.”
They all shuddered at the same time.
“Anyway, must fly. Lots to do and so little time to do it in. I’ll catch you losers later.”
Cordelia flew away.
“Great,” Angel muttered. “A spawn of Harmony. Yet another annoyance for me to put up with.”
“Oh, just quack off!” Spike snapped. “I really wish you’d pull your beak out of your arse for once.”
“Be quiet, Spike.”
“No. Bollocks. I won’t. You are such a miserable bastard. You need to get laid, that’s what you need.”
“No, I can’t. You know what happens when I…when I…I-I just can’t. Leave it.”
“Look, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this,” Xander said. “I know you have this…problem. And I’m sure that losing half your feathers during sex can be, erm, annoying…and a little embarrassing, but you shouldn’t let that bother you. Go on, find yourself a nice duck, or something, just as long as it’s got a pulse. It really isn’t a big deal. It isn’t like you lose your mind and go psycho or anything. It’s just a few feathers.”
Angel nodded sadly and slowly waddled away with his head held down.
“Fuck, I almost feel sorry for the git,” Spike whispered.
"Really? I thought you hated him.”
“I do. I hate you, too. But it doesn’t seem to stop me hanging out with you,” Xander reasoned with a sly smile.
Xander hopped from his rock and landed next to Spike; not on top of him, Xander was very careful about that. One wrong hop and he’d be in froggy hospital. “So, what are you doing today?”
“I was going to hop over to Willow’s and Tara’s place. They invited me to breakfast. You wanna come with? All the Swiss cheese you can eat.”
“Yeah, alright. But only because I can’t be buggered to do anything else, got it?”
“Uh-huh, got it. Loud and clear. Now, come on, ‘hog-breath, I don’t want to be late.”
Willow squeaked and rushed forward to greet her best friend. She nudged and brushed her face over Xander’s head and nuzzled him with her tiny wet nose. “Oh, my goddess, Xander, it’s been so long. How long has it been?”
“Since last night,” Xander replied.
“Oh, really? Well, it’s great that you came and…oh, I see you brought someone. Hello, Spike.”
“Red,” Spike acknowledged. “Where’s the other half?”
“Tara? Oh, she’s just getting the cheese ready. Do you like cheese, Spike?”
“It’s alright, I suppose.”
Willow ignored the patented grumpy tone and led her two friends into the kitchen.
“Are we sure they’re out?” Xander asked, slightly worried that the resident humans would discover them.
Tara scuttled over the floor carrying an armful of cheese. “One of them is asleep upstairs. He’s always home during the day, but he just sleeps,” she explained.
“What about the other one?” Spike asked.
“He’s at work. He won’t be back until after five.”
Satisfied that they wouldn’t be disturbed, the two mice, the hedgehog and the frog settled down to a tasty breakfast of milk and cheese.
When breakfast was over and Willow and Tara were clearing up the crumbs, Spike and Xander took a tour of the house.
“I’ve never been up here,” Xander explained as he hopped over to a bedroom door.
Spike peered around it. “Bloody dark in there,” he said, squinting into the blackness. A shock of blond, curly hair shifted on the pillow and Spike drew back. “Best not go in, eh?”
Xander nodded in agreement and hopped over to another room. “Wow,” he said once he was inside. “That’s a lot of books.” A sad look crossed his face and Xander’s googly eyes dropped to the floor. Not literally.
“Really, it’s nothing,” Xander said, slightly sadly.
“Bleedin’ hell, don’t go all ‘woe is me’ like that bloody wanker of a duck. Spit it out, Kermit.”
“I can’t read.”
Spike was taken aback. What a revelation!!
Erm, actually, not so much. It was quite common for frogs to be illiterate. But of course, you all already knew that, right?
But Spike had always thought Xander to be one of the more intelligent frogs, underneath the bow legs, the silly smile and his frequent mishops. There had to be a reason for this inability to read.
“Your parents never taught you, did they?”
Xander shook his head. “Actually, I don’t have any parents, not real ones.”
“They abandoned me when I was just a tadpole. Left me swimming by myself in some dirty pond in a back garden. There weren't even any goldfish to talk to. I thought I was gonna go mad at one point, what with all the swimming around and around.”
“Blimey, Xan. That’s bloody awful!”
“Yeah, I’m okay, though. I’ve got my friends.”
“It ain’t the same as parents, though, is it? Family.”
“I don’t know, I think it’s better. I chose my ‘family’ And I’ve got Giles to take care of me. He rescued me and now he lets me stay with him and Wesley.”
Spike cocked a suspicious eyebrow. “Really?” He’d met the two badgers a fair few times and he couldn’t seem to get on with them; too stuck up and *way* too tense. Spike wondered if Xander was really in the best place for a young frog. He decided he needed to find out. Another thought struck him. “Why didn’t they teach you to read?”
“They wanted to, but…I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Frogs can’t ever read, you know.”
“That ain’t true, pet. Lots of frogs can read if they put they’re minds to it, including you. You look like a daft bugger, but you’ve got a few brain cells underneath.”
Xander smiled. Had Spike just complimented him?
“Look, hop up there and pass that book down. I’ll bloody well show you how to read.”
Xander looked dubious, but he did as he was asked anyway. Spike offering to go out of his way was an event not to be missed.
Unfortunately, there was a small hopping related incident.
Xander mistimed his hop, wobbled on the edge of the shelf, grabbed at a book to steady himself, then screeched as the book came loose and followed him back down to the floor.
Spike trundled over as fast as his little legs could carry him. “Xan? Pet?! Christ, you alright?!” He lifted the book from Xander’s squashed little body. “Bloody hell!”
Xander held up a webbed foot. “I’m alright, I’m alright! Just feeling a little flat.”
Spike breathed a sigh of relief. “Crikey, pet, I thought you’d gone and croaked on me!” He gathered Xander into his paws and hugged him possessively.
“Ah, ouch, eep, spikes in all kinds of places!”
“Oh, sorry, luv. Right, we’d better get you home. Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee won't be in, will they?”
“Um, they probably will be. But, Spike, you don’t have to. I’m fine. I’m always doing things like this.”
“So I’ve noticed. Come on, climb on my back and I’ll ferry you home. You can’t hop on that leg.”
Xander looked down at his swollen leg and then at Spike’s back. “But you’re all spikey.”
Spike huffed. “So climb on carefully.”
Xander didn’t have much of a choice. “Okay, but go slow. I don’t want to slip and impale myself.”
Truth be told, Xander was more worried about getting aroused. He’d had a crush ever since the day he’d met Spike. And what a wonderful day that was. Not for Angel, though. The miserable duck hadn’t taken kindly to Spike plucking out his feathers when he wasn’t looking. Like Angel didn’t have enough problems, what with his tendency to go bald right after sex.
But Xander had really enjoyed that day. It was so great to insult someone so vigorously and be able to not only enjoy it, but have the other person enjoy it right back.
Xander climbed onto Spike’s back, mindful where he was putting his hurting legs. Spike was warm and smelt like an autumn forest, all crushed leaves and sunset skies. Xander closed his eyes and breathed it in as Spike started a slow lumber out of the study.
The deep purring voice went straight to Xander’s froggy groin and he had to fight to think un-sexy thoughts lest he got an erection. And considering the position he was currently in, a froggy boner would not be of the good.
“Fine…um, yeah, fine.”
He wasn’t so sure.
Later, much later, Spike and Xander arrived at the hollowed out tree that Xander called home. The inside was richly decorated with leaves, flowers and grass, and in the corner were two badgers shagging.
“Oh, oh, oh, Rupert, yes, yes. Give it to me hard, baby, like only you know how.”
“Oh, Wesley, you’re a big badger, aren’t you? A big *brute* of a badger. Open up for me, lover. Open up like a daisy on a fresh summer's morn.”
“Rupert, yes. I’m open for you. Ram that cock into me, my sweet. Good lord, that feels super.”
Spike coughed and the two badgers separated at once.
“Oh, erm, what the…?”
“Oh, erm, goodness, what…? Xander? Are you quite alright?”
Xander reluctantly opened one eye. He’d walked in on his adopted parents shagging at least once a day since he was a little froggy, but that didn’t mean that he liked it. Euw. “I’m okay. I had a bit of a mishop. Spike brought me home.”
Wesley wiped himself down on a leaf and moved to help Giles lift Xander from his precarious position on Spike’s back.
It was soon determined that Xander had twisted three out of his four feet and a day of rest was indeed called for. Giles carefully arranged him on a rock outside the tree so that he could enjoy the sunshine while he was recuperating.
Spike used this time to determine Xander’s living arrangements. He grilled Wesley with twenty questions and diligently wrote down the badger’s responses on a small lily pad.
“Do you feed him properly?”
“Does he have a comfortable bed?”
“Is he allowed to have his friends over?”
“Do you love him like your own son?”
“Would you consider letting him court a hedgehog?”
“Depends on the hedgehog.”
“Do you have anything that I could eat?”
“Didn’t you pack a lunch?”
“Very well, there are jam tarts in the fridge.”
Spike was confused about how the badger had jam tarts in a fridge inside a hollowed out tree. He didn’t say anything, although he did wonder what flavour the tarts were. He found out.
A couple of hours later and Spike and Xander were sitting next to each other outside the tree, stuffed to the brim with jam tarts and malt loaf. A small but perky ant wandered by.
“Buffster! Where have you been? You’ve been gone for days!”
“You know me, Xand. Always out and about. I’ve been to the back of the garden where Willow and Tara live. Some ants there needed help building their nest.”
“Oh, right, good. For a while there I thought those red ants might have come back.”
“Not a chance, Xand. They learned their lesson last time. *No-one* messes with Buffy the Insect Slayer, oh, no.”
Xander grinned at his friend. Buffy was not an ant to be trifled with. She’d saved his neck many a time. He would never forget the look on that toad, Larry’s, face when Buffy tied him up with a reed and hung him from an oak tree. Classic.
“Buffy, you know Spike, don’t you?”
“By reputation. And do you know me, Spike?”
“Good. Then we’re clear.”
Spike wasn’t, not by any stretch of the imagination.
“Xand, there a party tonight, down by the river. Are you coming?”
“Sure. Where by the river?”
“By the old tire, the Wellington boot and the rusty wheelbarrow.”
“Oh, I know! Yeah, why not. Spike?”
Spike shrugged as much as he could, considering that he was hedgehog. “Suppose. Nothing better to do.”
Xander smiled. He was starting to get to know this particular hedgehog. “Great,” he said. “It’s a date.”
Spike fell off his rock.
The party was in full swing by the time Spike carried Xander up to the river bank and deposited him on the ground. A flock of geese were honking a Spice Girls’ song and a group of foxes and feral cats were howling along. It was quite the romantic setting, and it was making Spike feel quite poncy. Luckily, Angel waddled along before Spike could do anything stupid.
“Spike. Xander,” he greeted.
“Who was that you were with just now, eh?” Spike asked with a naughty grin. “New bird?”
Angel looked over at his companion for the evening. Fred, a beautiful brown Mallard. She was quite a catch but Angel, being Angel, was very concerned about losing his feathers again.
“That’s Fred, but…”
Spike rolled his eyes and huffed. “But what? Can’t do her in case you end up looking like an army duck, buzz cut and all?”
Angel nodded. “We’ve been friends for a while. I-I think I love her. But if my feathers fall out…well, the consequences…I just can’t put you all through it again.”
“Bloody hell, Angel. Don’t be so wet. You’re the only one that cares about your sodding feathers. And if Fred loves you, she won’t care either.”
“I know that, but…what if I sulk? You know what I’m like. I’ll brood ‘til the cows come home. It would affect you all so much. I’m not sure that I could live with the guilt of that.”
“The only people that matter are you and Fred,” Xander said. “Don’t worry about the rest of us. Do whatever feels right. We can all deal later. Really. Go. Be happy.”
Angel’s beak opened and he smiled a genuine smile. “Thank you, Xander. Thank you. That was…you…I…” He shook his head and waddled away as fast as he could, determined that no-one would see him cry. Again.
Xander looked at Spike. “Was I just nice to Angel?”
“Why?” Xander asked.
“Dunno. Maybe you hit your head earlier?”
“Maybe. Huh. Spike?”
“I kept meaning to say…hang on.” Xander swished out his tongue and caught a large blue bottle; Spike’s eyes followed. “Sorry, um, I kept meaning to say thank you for…”
“Just shut up and kiss me,” Spike demanded.
“But…I…we…um…okay!” Xander jumped him. And regretted it. “OW!!! Geez!”
Xander, again, found himself wrapped in Spike’s arms, erm, legs. Soft, paddy paws soothed his prickled body and Xander found himself reaching forward to carefully place his lips against Spike’s.
“Fancy going somewhere a bit more private?” Spike asked when Xander moved away again.
Xander swallowed and croaked with excitement and anticipation. “Does a bear shit in the woods? Oh, yeah!”
Spike led them towards the patch of land outside Willow's and Tara’s house. There was a rabbit hole right up the back that would be just right for a night of passion. The hole had belonged to Jonathan and Andrew. The two hares had long ago promised the use of their abandoned warren for whatever purpose Spike wanted.
Spike was glad. He wanted to give Xander the night of his froggy life and he didn’t want to be disturbed. As they sat at the entrance to the warren and kissed slowly and gently, Spike wondered if the hole would be good enough to use as a home, for both of them. He hoped with all his heart that this was not to be a simple one night stand.
Xander stood at the window and held out a mug. “Hey, sleepy head. Tea.”
Spike climbed out of bed and gratefully accepted the hot drink. “Cheers, pet. You know me; I’m not human until I’ve had my first brew.”
“Yeah, well, human, vampire, whatever.” He joined his lover at the window and together they stared out at the moon, the stars, the trees and…
“Spike? What is that hedgehog doing to that frog?!”
Feed Suki Blue Visit Suki Blue Return to Writercon Archive Main