Pairing: Spike/Xander(/Xander...)
Rating: PG
Word count: ~1400
Setting: a Spander ‘The Replacement’. Yes, it’s Toth: The Revenge!
A/N: Written for [info]electricalgwen as part of [info]reremouse’s Spander Valentine ficathon. Prompt at end.



Two and Out


by
Bruttimabuoni


“So, let me get this straight. And even as I say that, I realise the inappropriateness but let’s move on.”

“Yes, Slayer, let’s. Gotta be elsewhere. See a demon about… well, another demon, as it happens.” Spike twitched impatiently towards the crypt door, fiddling with his lighter.

“Shuddup Spike. So not the focus here. That would be me. Both of me.” Buffy turned definitively towards the gloomy tones of the Xander doppelgangers perched on the side of Spike’s sleeping-sarcophagus.

“Right. We have plural Xanders. And one of them is, apparently, gay, which is…new. Any ideas how this happened?”

Spike snorted. “I’d wager the big greenish spell-throwing demon with the magic stick had a thing or two to do with it, yeah. Been lookin’ into it, actually, ever since Gemini here turned up and threw a fit in my crypt yesterday.”

“And believe me, I’m wondering why you headed to Spike in this hour of need.” Buffy raised a questioning brow at the Xanders.

Klutzy-mess Xander went puce (bad, bad visual with the Hawaiian shirt). “He’s, like, demonic-guy and…I…” His stutters sputtered out.

Cool, together (also, newly gay) Xander grinned at Buffy, quite unflustered. “What my not-so-evil twin is trying to say is that Spike’s been useful recently when we have these little deathly-embarrassing supernatural issues. And if you pay him enough, he doesn’t always gossip. Well, usually. But it was worth a shot.” His alter-ego grinned and nodded vigorously. To a close observer, his expression might have looked like relief. This faded as Together-Xander added, “Besides, Spike’s gorgeous. Why wouldn’t I come visit?”

Spike grinned. “Yeah, and not to go on about it but I have actually identified the problem and the cure, so Harris isn’t such a moron as you seem to think. No need for Watcher’s massive research machine. If you hadn’t’ve barged in, skirts aflurry fretting over your missing lad, he’d have got away with it.”

Buffy rolled a sceptical eye. “Really? Oh Great Spike, what is the solution?”

“Find demon. Get demon’s magic stick. Break stick. Find a witch (think I might manage that?). Reverse spell now magic stick not working.” Spike sarcastically ticked off his five-point plan on his broken-down-polished fingers, finishing with a cocked-head “Capisce?”

Buffy moved to join Spike at the crypt door, suppressing for once the urge to pop him one for the snotty attitude. “Okay, I’m on it.”

“No need. This one’s on me.” The short speech was accompanied by an odd head-bobbing near-bow in the Xanders’ direction, and with that, Spike swirled out of the crypt.


~*~*~*~*~


The silence Spike left behind was broken only by the vampire’s disgusted parting shout, “Bugger. It’s pissing down out here. My hair‘s gonna go all fluffy.”

“Guess umbrellas don’t really go with vampire cool, huh?” Together-Xander grinned at Buffy, still open-mouthed by the crypt entrance.

“Uh…no. Guess not. Xander… uh, Xanders…why is Spike running off to save the day? I mean, great news about your new work promotion and all, but he doesn’t usually move that fast for anything but big bucks, which I’m guessing you don’t have available?”

“Nope. Just a guy thing. I, uh, appealed to his better nature.” Klutzy-Xander turned another awful purple shade as he spoke this obvious lie, and his smoother doppelganger took over before things got too painful. “We got to know each other a little lately. He’s not all bad. Uh, well, evil, obviously. But good company for a depressed guy who’s just lost his ex-demon girlfriend and has a career unworthy of the name. The constant bourbon was especially helpful. You know, while you and the others did your study thing.”

“You were lonely? And Spike was the best company you could find? God, Xander, I’m so sorry.”

Two simultaneous headshakes stopped Buffy’s guilty flow. “Naw, it’s okay. I get that you have college-type things to do. I’m glad it’s working out for you. Just, I need to find my future too. Some stuff for me. Work’s getting good, but I can‘t just be hanging out with college kids.” Together-Xander finished with a sly grin which took the sting out of that line.

“Okay, so you hang with a vampire and then you get buzzed by a freaky demon that morphs you into…what? Gay!Xander? Seems kinda sitcom for a demon. And is this,” Buffy gestured towards Klutzy-Xander with disdain, “Supposed to be Super!Hetero!Xander? Cuz…not exactly my idea of Alpha Maleness.”

“Buffy, hold on. You’re getting it all tangled up. Spike asked around, found out a bit about random demon #352 Mr Green and Sticky. He’s called Toth. And the stick is a personality divider. He splits personalities into strong and weak. He doesn’t give new traits, no wacky sexuality-messing chaos.”

“So, what, you’re deep-down secretly bisexual and he split you into straight and gay halves? Sounds like a freaky re-education project. Demons aren’t on the religious right are they?”

“Uh, not really, Buff. I think we got divided into one Xander who’s kind of untogether and lacks self-esteem. And the other who’s confident and feels okay about himself. And who maybe doesn’t have to pretend any more.” Together-Xander was speaking quietly, but his look at Buffy was very direct. The message was unmissable.

“Oh…Oh! Uh…so, not so much bisexual as…oh…” Buffy’s jaw kept moving, but no meaningful words came out.

“Articulate as ever.” Together-Xander grinned at her stunned face. “Yeah. Not so much bisexual as gay all over. I know, it’s new. But it feels really good to say it, so maybe I should be thanking Toth for outing me with his evil magicks?”

Buffy pulled herself together enough to ask, “And, um, Spike? I’m guessing he has something to do with this, what with the new willingness to help out?”

“Yeah. The whole babysitting gig last year kinda got us thinking about … stuff.” Klutzy-Xander, now the deep secret was out, managed to rejoin the conversation. Albeit not all that coherently. “We…talked… And stuff.”

Okay,” Buffy was hasty. “I don’t need to hear about the stuff. Really not. Right to privacy, totally behind that. But, guys, evil vampire love? Been there. Didn’t go so well.”

“I know. I’m sorry. It just happened. I think it‘s gonna keep on happening. It was pretty casual to begin, but this summer we’ve had a lot of time together. It’s been…good. And Spike‘s changed. Not killing things; it’s made him different. Look at today - he‘s helping. For free. And I think, I hope, it‘s maybe partly because of us. Us meaning ‘him and me together’, not us meaning ‘freaky double-Xander-spell day’. Just to be clear.”

“Gotcha. Relationship of the good. Probably. Well…good.” Buffy was still obviously pretty overwhelmed, but acceptance was jostling with shock over the various revelations.

The two Xanders and Buffy sat quietly for a while. There was some chatter. Some silliness. Some supportive hugging. Some silent processing of how life changes while you’re not paying attention.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike entered the crypt, dripping copious rainwater but bearing the promised staff of Toth, and gripping a puzzled-looking Willow with his other hand.

“Okay. All set, lads. We’ll fix you right up.”

Together-Xander nudged his alter-ego forward. “Go on.”

“Uh, Spike. We’ve got something to say.” Magenta-faced, but persevering this time, Klutzy-Xander stood firm before his startled audience. “We’re sorry about pretending this wasn’t happening. We were kinda scared by the life-changey-ness. But we’ve had a really, really good time these past months and we’d like it to go on. We, uh, we kinda love you.” Blush, look at feet, hasty afterthought. “Though obviously you’re still evil and that’s gotta be a major issue to address for the future. But I guess we all need to change, huh?”

Together-Xander grinned, moving in on Spike himself. “So say we all. Also, thanks for, y’know, sorting all this out.” An expansive hand gesture took in magic stick, boggling witch and the invisible but presumably epic defeat of random demon #352 which Spike had accomplished in the past ninety minutes.

“Yeah, you’re, like, our hero,” chimed in the Hawaiian-clad one.

The vampire grabbed both Xanders in an awkward half-hug. “Damn right, lads. Who needs a Slayer when you’ve got Super-Spike? And you have, by the way. Got me.” The half-hug became a whole-hug, and somewhere in the midst of it Willow quietly broke the staff and merged the two Xanders back into a single complete being. And then there was Spike and Whole-Xander kissing.

And lo, Buffy saw that Spike had changed. It was indeed of the good.

This is a rather sideways take on the prompt, but I hope it satisfies. There is definitely fluff, but I was aiming to keep it within tolerable limits!
Prompt:
How Spike and Xander express their love: One goes on a quest/mission to save the other (rescue mission; get something needed to heal; whatever). This is unexpected, i.e. it's not an established relationship.
Who else (if anyone) is involved: Buffy (please, no major bashing)
What else (if anything) is involved: Rain
Up to three things you don't want: Character death, D/s (including daddy!kink), excessive sappy fluff




The End



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