By Shakespeare's Girl

A/N: Another piece I found in the back of my filing cabinet (well, okay, I don't have a filing cabinet, but you get the idea). Set during the Buffy episode "Doomed" with minor spoilers, although I guess anyone who's reading this has probably already seen the show, so spoiler warnings are just a big bother. Blatant Spander pre-slash. Enter here, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I shall give thee slash! (I apologize for my horrendous and sacrilegious misquotation of the Bible.)

"Soddin' sleeping chair is bloody--sodden," Spike complained, not for the first time. Xander sighed. Spike had been complaining about things since before the earthquake. Only now, he actually had something worth complaining about. Quietly, Xander slid a pan underneath the leaky pipe to capture the water.

"The quake just knocked a couple of pipes lose," he explained patiently. "There's a wrench hanging up over there by the work bench. Try tightening the coupling."

Xander put down the damp rags he'd been sopping up water with and grabbed his Pizza 'Spress shirt, shaking it out and hoping that the mildew scent was just his imagination. It had been too long between construction jobs--plus mystical syphilis didn't make for a good resume--so Xander had taken up the old odd-job habit again, until he could convince someone to take a chance on the guy who randomly disappeared without calling in sick.

"Do I look like a plumber to you?" Spike demanded, and at the sound of his voice, the way he was so obviously hoping for a handout, a quick-fix, someone to do his bidding while he figured out how to be evil again, Xander finally snapped.

"No," Xander answered. "You look like a big mooch that doesn't lift a finger around here." He could feel Spike's eyes on him, feel the anger broiling inside the vampire, and he turned around and slammed the smaller body into the wall. Spike's eyes went wide, variants of shock, hope, lust, and fear swimming through them, and Xander realized something very important. If he did this right, he could have a vampire under his control before noon tomorrow. Slowly, Xander backed off. "But I have to get to work."

Spike straightened himself out, stepping away from the wall and sniffing, "Yeah, delivering melted cheese on bread, doing your part to keep America constipated."

Xander whirled again, and Spike found himself back against the wall, Xander's forearm cutting into his windpipe. "Mock not," Xander warned, using familiar, silly phrasing, even though the intent was anything but silly. This was deadly serious, and they both knew it. "Remember who pays for the plasma around here, pal." Xander reached to the side, and Spike thought the human was going to snap his neck, or at least show him that he could. Instead, he found a cold, metal wrench pressed into his stomach, cutting into the tender flesh around his belly and making him shiver. Xander's voice was close to his ear when he murmured, "You earn your keep or you don't get kept." Spike wanted to scream at those words, the tone one he knew well--he'd used it often enough--but never one he thought he'd hear directed at himself. In that same soft voice, wrench still pressing into Spike's belly, Xander continued listing tasks for the vampire to do while he was gone. "When you're done fixing that leak, try cleaning up thismess. And doing a little laundry for once, wouldn't kill you . . . unfortunately." Xander backed away, and slipped the wrench into Spike's belt, letting it slide down his front and into his pants. Spike jumped as the cool metal touched his sudden, inexplicable erection, and grabbed the tool, pulling it away from his skin.

Xander headed up the stairs, and Spike watched him, panting heavily and trying to figure out what had just happened. He'd just relinquished. To a human. Not even another vampire. And the human had not only acknowledged his sudden power, but taken advantage of it. And Spike hadn't done a thing to stop him.

This was bad, Spike decided. Very, very bad. He was thinking about obeying a human--Xander Harris of all people. And it felt good.