Rating: R for language mostly.
Pairing: Spike/Xander (Pre-slash)
Spoilers: Season Five, The Gift, after that it’s all AU.
Summery: Spike and Xander let down their masks and actually talk.
Distribute: Let me know if you want this.
Disclaimer: I hardly own this computer I’m writing on, much less the wonderful town of Sunnydale and all those within. Joss Whedon, UPN, WB and other people who aren’t me own Buffy and all of her friends.
Author’s Notes: Dawn was never cut, so the Rift did not open so Buffy didn’t die. This fic takes place about a month after. I’ll be switching POV between our lovely boys.
Thanks to some lovely people, Dulin from the GWFan list and Tabaqui from the Excessent list for encouraging me to actually write. They are really great authors in their own right; you should check out their work!
This is my very first fan fiction, so all comments are welcome as long as they are constructive. This is a story with a tentative beginning male/male relationship; so if you have a problem with that, please don’t read any further.
Behind the Masks
:: Spike's POV::
Bloody hell could my un-life get any crappier? Here I am, trying to find something to beat the shite out of to improve my mood, and all I can find is the Slayer’s white knight sitting on a park bench. Stupid git, he knows better than anyone about being out alone at night. The boy is already a demon magnet, and now he might as well have a neon sign saying come and get it!
It was late one Saturday night, and Spike had found himself walking through the town looking for fledglings or some demons to kill and take his frustrations out on, after the others had gone home from patrol. For a summer night that was rather nice, the town was relativly deserted; all he had found was the whelp, sitting on a park bench.
Spike sighed. Normally he’d try to scare the boy, wind him up a bit, and then they would proceed to snark at each other. Normally it was a wonderful way to blow off steam, but he just didn’t feel like it tonight. Besides, from his scent, seems the boy won’t be up to much either. Wonder what’s got him up in a snit? He’s been on cloud nine ever since he and the demon-bint got engaged the night before we beat Glory.
Xander smelled of grief, misery, and sadness. Spike stood there trying to figure out what was going on. He’d been avoiding the Magic Box and the others for the past week. He had to get away from Buffy; her latest rejection had hurt way too much.
“Hey, Fangless. Drop by to kick a Scooby while he’s down?”
:: Xander’s POV::
God, my life sucks! Xander had gone to the Magic Box to help the rest of the gang. Problem was, no one seemed to care if he was there or not. Oh, Dawn cared, but she was his little sis; she would always care. She was even worried about Fangless, how he hadn’t been around for the last couple of meetings. He knew why. Spike, no matter how much of an annoying ass he was, really did care, in a twisted way, about Buffy, and Buffy just wouldn’t listen to him at all, not even to turn him down nicely. Maybe it's because of Anya, but I can’t help but feel sorry for him. I mean he did protect and save Dawn from that freaky-tongue guy. Who knows what would have happened if he hadn't been there?
God, things just get weirder and weirder. Here it is, Saturday night, I’m all alone and depressed enough to sympathize with the Biteless Wonder. The smell of smoke and leather reached him just then. And speak of the devil and he shall appear. Figures, the first vamp I see all night, and I can’t even stake him! Spike’s scent was unmistakable.
“Hey, Fangless. Drop by to kick a Scooby while he’s down?”
“No, Whelp, was feeling up to a bit of violence. Thought I’d find you, and that being the demon magnet that you are, you’d have a queue waiting to suck you dry and I could be all heroic and noble again. All that rot.” Hmm, that didn’t have its usual snark in it.
Spike walked no stalked and sat down beside him, lit a cigarette with a silver lighter and looked at Xander expectantly.
“Nope, no demons - present company excluded. No fledges to dust, no pixies to smack, not even a freaking smurf for me to stomp flat. I’d say this town was dead, but I wouldn’t want to tempt fate into making it happen.” Spike looks just as frustrated and depressed as I am tonight. Wonder why? Wonder why I care? Oh yeah - misery loves company and all that crap.
He watched as the demon blew smoke into the night air. “What’s up with you, boy? Figure a nice night like this you’d be all romantic and lovey-dovey with your intended demon-girl, picnic and shagging and all that crap.”
“Oh that’s right, you weren’t around so you didn’t get to see the latest episode of Your Life Sucks, Xander Harris. It’s a wonderful drama; everyone just loves to watch and laugh at the star. You can tune in each week and watch as I get the crap beaten outta me by this week’s guest demon, or poke fun when my friends ignore me, or watch the high-jinks that my love life. There was a cliffhanger this season: after accepting the star’s proposal, the leading lady turned from a lady into a shrew. Ended with a big fight in an empty Magic Box after closing, where Anya threw her ring at me, screamed obscenities, and left. And I do mean left; she’s not even in town anymore as far as I can tell. I’m sure I got good ratings, at least. I don’t know whether to be sad or not. Maybe being canceled for next season is better than having to go through another fun-filled year of the crap that is my life.”
Xander sat dejectedly on the park bench, his shoulders slumped. He looked broken; hell he felt broken. He didn’t even try to insult his favorite target, he was that lost in self-pity. “So what has you out looking for things to hurt? Buffy reject you again?” This wasn’t said as a joke or a snipe; he really was interested. For once, Spike and Xander had something in common - the women in their lives refusing to even listen or notice them.
The vampire looked shocked for a moment, and when he answered, it was in the same way. No irony in his tone, only genuine pain. “Yeah, Harris, tried to talk to her Highness the other night after your weekly coffee klatch. I figured since Niblet goes with the witches Thursday nights, I’d have a shot to talk to her alone, all serious-like. Thought that if I showed that I wanted a real relationship, was willing to do what she wanted, I’d have a chance. Should’ve known better; she didn’t even let me in, had Red re-do that un-invite spell even. She’s never going to listen; all she sees is the monster and not the man.” If possible, the blond looked as hurt as Xander. “So, whelp, what got the demon-bint’s panties in a twist?”
:: Spike's POV::
Spike was surprised, both at the news of the boy’s girl leaving, and at the fact that Xander didn’t seem like he was going to insult or poke fun. His story seemed to flow from his lips without him consciously noticing. Still, if anyone - demon or human - would understand, it’s the Whelp. Life has smacked him down more often than not. Must have hurt, thinking he finally got his girl then having her leaving like that. Spike figured it was something big, to make the demon-girl give up. Wonder what it was? Maybe I can use it against him at some point in the future. At least, that was the reason he gave himself for asking about what happened.
Xander took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “See, ever since Joyce died, she’s been freaking out about her mortality, which I totally get. I mean she’s been around for over 1100 years and then all of a sudden she’s only got like 60 or 70 more, give or take. That’s if she doesn’t get into a car accident, or hit by lightning or any one of a million things that happen to us mere mortals. And I get it, I really do. I understood when she started telling me what I could or couldn’t eat; I mean, she wanted me to live long and eat healthy and I get that. I understood the physicals she had us both get, and I loved the walks she had us going on for our heart health. That was fun and romantic.”
Spike watched as the boy stared off into space. He could tell the boy was remembering things, trying to get his thoughts in order. Only for a moment did he think that it was odd, that the two of them would open up to each other like this. Then the moment passed as Xander continued.
“Then the fight with Glory, where Anya was hurt. I was surprised. I mean a wall fell on her and she only had a concussion. But the way she acted, you would have thought she had a near-death experience. What makes it worse is that I could understand it. I mean for all those years she couldn’t be hurt and this was so new to her. After we announced our engagement, she started planning. Not just planning the wedding, but our future. An started worrying about either of us dying. I understood, and tried to explain that there wasn’t any guarantee. That I could die crossing the street just as easily as if some fledge got lucky one night. We started fighting.”
Xander fidgeted on the bench. The stake that he usually carried had been lying beside him. Now Spike watched as he picked it up and flipped it end over end.
“Then... then came the big issue. Bigger than money, if you can believe it,” Xander snorted. “Gods, I still can’t believe it. Anya decided, without talking to me, that immediately after we got married, we’d move; leave the Hellmouth and everyone behind. One night last week all the shit just hit the fan.” Brown eyes looked pained before they closed for a moment as the boy took another deep breath.
He looks so tired; I bet he hasn’t slept at all. I know I had it hard with Buffy, but we never even got that far. Spike took in the circles under Xander’s eyes, the wrinkled-looking t-shirt and khaki shorts. You can tell the boy isn’t taking care of himself; he’s a right mess.
:: Xander’s POV ::
I don’t believe I’m telling Spike, of all people - well people and vampires. Yet Xander couldn’t deny that it felt good telling someone that didn’t try to sympathize, judge, or even worse, pity him. Willow and the others didn’t quite understand why he couldn’t give in to Anya’s demands. Why he had to stay. The vampire didn’t look at him like he was a project to be worked on, like some men look at a house and see all the different things they could do to improve it. Curiosity, yes, and some sympathy, but he didn’t feel like a bug being examined. Hell, of course he knows how it feels to be left by his girlfriend. He and Dru had over a century together; if anyone knows how I feel right now, it would be him. The girls kept on saying that he could change to make Anya happy, but they didn’t get it; he didn’t want to change.
“I came home from patrol last Friday. You noticed how she stopped, after Glory. Anyhow, she had a romantic night planned, all ready to be carried out. Candles, dinner, chocolate, but before anything, she said we had to talk.” He still shuddered even now just thinking of that dreadful phrase. ‘We need to talk’ always signaled an upcoming apocalypse in any relationship, and the wrapping she put on it was a portent of how big of an apocalypse it would be.
“She had everything planned out; we’d marry in Vegas, save some money, and move to somewhere out in the middle of nowheresville in Utah or something like that. She’d let me be a foreman in construction, but nothing else, and she didn’t want me working on high rises. She had everything figured out, up to and including the fact that I wouldn’t be allowed, ALLOWED, to patrol anymore. Not here and not wherever the hell it was in Bumfuck. Nowhere. I mean I know I ain’t up there with the super-powers; I haven’t got yours or Buffy’s strength, Giles’ brain, or the magicks like the witches, but I always thought I had a part at least, that I did something worthwhile.”
:: Spike’s POV ::
Spike watched as the boy no, man tried to get his thoughts together. It was kind of sad; the Whelp had been helping to save the town for the past five years. He’d never backed down, even when he knew it was wiser to do so. He might joke that he was a coward, but he wasn’t. I still remember that night when the Poofter was walking around un-souled. Came back from trying to stalk Her Highness at the hospital and he’d been stopped. What was it Angelus called him, “The Slayer’s White Knight.” It fits, whether Buffy knows it or not. I wonder if she realizes that he saved her that night? He saved her before. The Slayer seems to have a problem with her memory, people saving her and then forgetting later, though.
“So no more leaping over tall buildings for you, eh? I take it you refused?” Xander looked at him and smiled a sad sort of smile.
“Yeah, there was much yelling and ugliness. I left the apartment and she left town the next day. The others, they don’t get it. Buffy just had to mention how they could get along without me, and Wills said it would be like having a second chance, a chance to be normal. They’re kinda upset that I let her go, that I’m not trying to follow her, beg her to take me back and agree to everything. They just want me to walk away from it all and act like nothing is out there. I just can’t, Spike; I’ve seen too much. Every time I would look in the paper I’d wonder if a demon got that girl, or if the lady that died from a heart attack was scared to death by something first and if I could have stopped it. I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror. I loved Anya, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think I loved her enough to give up me.”
Spike looked at his friend not friend really, not even companion. Maybe that’s why he can talk to me - we’re not close enough. “ I don’t think it's you that didn’t love her enough, Whelp. I tend to think it’s the bird didn’t love you enough.” Xander looked confused. “Huh?”
Spike lit another cigarette and rolled his eyes. “Okay, it's like this, Harris, she met you when you were a white hat, she dated you while you were a white hat, and she agreed to marry you when you were a white hat. It's not like it’s a surprise to her. It’s like marrying an ER doc and then being surprised when he gets called out at all times to patch people up. Not you mate, it's her. She freaked about her humanity and you just weren’t what she needed. So she tried to change you. Tell the truth now, pet, can you see yourself married with the house and the car and the picket fence, 2.5 kids and all that rot?”
Xander leaned back. “No, not right now at least. Who knows in five or ten years, but not right now. I did think I was ready to get married, but Anya proved me wrong. I just knew that if I did what she wanted, I’d hate myself, and her for changing me. Try telling that to the others, though. The way they’ve been acting, you'd think that I was the one giving Anya an ultimatum. I just wish I could be enough for someone just once in my life. That I was needed and appreciated for who I am.”
:: Xander’s POV::
It always came back to that. Being wanted, needed by someone, anyone. His parents never even wanted him; he was an inconvenience at the best of times and a punching bag at the worst. None of his ex-girlfriends or lovers needed him, not like he wanted them to. With Anya, I thought I was finally enough. I realized I could never make enough money for her; then again, Bill Gates probably couldn’t either. I thought she needed me though, to show her how to survive being human, to live and love. I so wanted forever with her, I thought I found a home finally.
They sat in silence, mortal and vampire. Both seeming so different, yet basically the same. “You know, Spike, I get why you were into Buffy and I don’t blame you.”
“Yeah, what was it then, whelp? I sure as hell don’t know. I mean, I get it, vampire and slayer, it just doesn’t mix. I still had to go and feel all warm and mushy about her though. All she sees is the monster and not the man.” Xander watched as Spike lit a new cigarette off the remains of the old one.
“Well you wanted an equal. Someone to hunt with maybe, someone that you didn’t have to hide who you are from. I get that; maybe it’s the hyena that’s still in me or something, but I get the need to have a mate that is as strong as you.” Xander shifted, he was getting tired of sitting on the park bench, but he didn’t really want to stop the conversation or whatever it was with Spike. He was getting to see the person behind the Big Bad routine, and that person was… nice. As nice as a soulless person can get, anywhoo.
“Yeah, Whelp, that makes as much sense as anything. I mean with Dru, she needed me, but she always had power over me, being my sire. Angelus, well the less said the better. Harmony was an idiot, and I could control her. So, what you're saying seems about right. By the way, what the hell are you doing with a hyena in you?’’ The last part was said with some irony, and Xander couldn’t help but laugh.
“Come on, Fangless, my ass is tired of sitting here. Lets go by the Stop-n-Shop, get a couple of cases of beer and some JD, and we’ll go home and get smashed while I tell you the tale of my time as Hyena-boy. Ate the school mascot and attacked Buffy. It was wild. I’m sure you’ll have fun laughing at it.” Xander stood with a grin, the first real smile he’d had in the past few days.
:: Spike’s POV::
Spike looked at the boy. The slight breeze in the air stirred the boy’s hair. He’s smiling now at least. No wonder half the demon women in Sunnyhell come after him, with a smile like that. Can’t say no to him now, be like kicking a puppy. Not like I have anything better to do anyway. No one else wants me around. “Sure, why not, whelp. Get enough alcohol into us, we’ll forget we’ve been sitting out here discussing our feelings like Nancy-boys and brooding like my poofter of a grandsire. Plus we can always blame it for us being decent to each other for a change. I warn you though, I won’t drink that American piss you call beer. That shit tastes like a wraclon demon was paid to piss in a bottle.”
He stood and walked with the boy down the street. Xander was laughing under his breath. “Oi! What’s so funny, Whelp?”
“I was just thinking about the others. How they would think I was possessed if they knew we were going to be hanging out drinking tonight. And don’t knock American beer; some of that English crap you drink is so strong it can stand without a glass! And you drink it warm! Egh! Nasty!” Spike just shook his head and started arguing the finer points of a good pint of stout. The arguing was comforting because it was familiar, yet it was a bit different. This wasn’t about hurting or getting Xander’s feathers ruffled. Seen a bit of the real Xander Harris tonight, I think. The one who’s a bit like me, wanting to be needed, useful and loved. Behind all that Zeppo mentality he’s not that bad. Too bad the boy’s self-confidence is so low he doesn’t let it show more. Maybe I can help with that. We may never be chums, but maybe we can call a truce at least. With that in mind, Spike couldn’t help but think of the irony. That the first person in a long time that looked at him for what he really was, besides Dawn, was a former enemy.
Maybe, just maybe this will be the start of something different for the both of us. “Come on, whelp; you're payin’!” The two of them walked down the street, shoulders barely touching.
2 Boys and Their Toys
“So what’s your dream car Spike?”
“One with tinted windows so I can drive anytime and goes 0 to 200 in less than a minuet”
“Ha ha. See me laughing. Like that would happen. The speed that is, I think I can get the tinting pretty damn dark, depends on what’s legal. Do you know if you can get insurance against demon attacks on your car?”
Spike had to laugh at the boy. If Harris has spent as much time on schoolwork as he was studying Consumer Reports while buying a new car, he would have had top honors. “Don’t rightly know, one car broke down, I’d steal another. No problem.”
“Okay, I’m so not going with the Grand Theft Auto, so I guess I’ll have to ask around. Maybe Giles will know.”
Spike put his feet up on the boy’s coffee table and sat back, smoking. They’d become almost friends, drowning their sorrows together at first, and slowly they were becoming friends. It was weird but nice having someone to talk to besides Dawn. Plus getting to watch a good telly was fun too.
Not that he didn’t love his Niblet, he did, but he did try to tone down the death and destruction of his past just a bit. Not a lot because his Niblet has a morbid streak and loves to hear it.
But Harris had seen it; he knew exactly what he was. And here he was, in the boy’s living room smoking while Harris was looking into a new car. His Unlife just kept getting weirder.
“What was your first car Spike?”
“Well, I can’t remember the model or anything like that, most likely the Model T. Didn’t really get into cars and the like till after the 1930’s.”
“Okay what was your favorite one from those days? What was the first one to grab your eye and itchy fingers?”
“Nope, not gonna tell.”
“Spike! I already told you my most embarrassing moment from 11th grade, you can tell me this!”
“Eating a pig and trying to kill the Slayer is not embarrassing Harris, it was brilliant, the Slayer thing at any rate. Not the pig. Besides who said I was embarrassed?”
“The fact that you don’t want to say is clue enough that you’re embarrassed, and I so don’t want to consider what you think of my days of Xander the hyena boy if not embarrassing and squicky. Now quit trying to distract me and give it up.”
Spike narrowed his eyes and looked at the boy, smoke escaping from his lips to float around his head. Finally he sighed a put upon sigh, and confessed.
“Well, it was around the summer of 1941. I’d seen other cars, used them too, but never really cared one way or the other. Me and Dru, we were in Europe, near Monte Carlo, good class of people there to drain. Very popular area for the Undead Set. This jumped up Master brought around his new toy one night, a new street coupe. Kinda looked like an elongated VW Bug, but a hellava lot nicer. Black, even the chrome bumper and the grill in front was painted black, and he’d had some guy do a special paint job, customizing you’d call it now, so that it looked like it had blood covering the front and running in drips down the sides, as if it was blown by the wind.”
Spike sighed. “Looking back, it was almost a stereotypical car, something out of the bleeding Munsters or something for chrissake. But it was the first one I just had to drive, just for fun and how I’d look in it.”
“So how long was it before you killed the other vamp and take the car?”
“Bout three hours, give or take. Looked damned good in it too, or so Dru used to say. She called it our Chariot of Blood. We kept it for a couple years before having to abandon it to go across the pond. How this helps you choose though, I have no bloody clue!”
“Doesn’t help me choose a car, but it does help me understand you a bit. Still you’re right, it didn’t help with the choosing.”
“Should get something big, that way you can haul bodies around, that sort of thing.”
“Okay this just proves how weird my life is that I not only know what you’re talking about but agree. Still I’d hate to get demon blood on new upholstery, and some of those carcasses stink! Think Buffy would pay me for taking away the evidence of her slayings that don’t go poof?”
Spike couldn’t help but agree silently to himself about the strangeness of the situation. Drinking beer, watching the telly, talking about cars, killing and hiding bodies with one of the slayer’s best friends, a girl who at one point both men were hopelessly in love with.
Male bonding over body removal and cars. Who would have thought it?
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