Pairing: Spike/Xander
Rating: hard R
Feedback: Suit yourself, just no permanent damage, k.
Disclaimer: Just playing with the pretty kittens. Unfortunately, they are not mine, but I will gladly groom and bathe them before sending them back home to Daddy (aka Joss/Mutant Enemy/et al).
Warnings/Squicks: slight BDSM, lots of graphically implied boy sex, some ppl might find the initial encounter offensive- it’s nothing bad, merely questionable
Summary: A variation on the old ’boys dreaming about each other’ theme- honestly, it started life as a PWP, but then Mys’ muse decided to wake up and stick a vague plot/storyline in there, hmph!

AN1: I started writing this expecting it to be a short little one-off, PWP-type thing. It grew, and as it grew I realized it was going to need a proper title- something about dreaming and the future. Of course, my weird little brain went straight to my favourite line from what, in my opinion, is still the best of the B5 novels (and the first commissioned to be canon):
“…it is said that to dream in the City of Sorrows, is to dream of a better future.” Babylon 5, Book #9: To Dream in the City of Sorrows by Kathryn M. Drennan
AN2: This is set somewhere around S5- a VERY AU S5 that lasts much, much longer than the original S5
- Anya’s around, but not with Xander.
- Spike’s not obsessing over Slutty Buffy.
- Joyce is alive and kickin’, I’ll let you guys decide whether she got better or just never got sick (or, if you are determined to kill her off, just hasn’t gotten sick yet).
- Giles hasn’t run off either.
- They know Dawn is the Key, but Glory’s not really an issue- Mys leans towards the ‘Glory was dealt with without the obligatory loss of life’ method- if only to save her muse the headache, lol.
AN3: Yes, I pestered the wonderful peeps at [info]bloodclaim so I know that the Sunnydale hospital is called ‘Sunnydale Hospital’ not ‘Sunnydale General’, but during that conversation it was also agreed that ‘Sunnydale General’ sounded better.





To Dream in the City of Slayers


by
Cobalt Mystic



1 Dreaming 101A: An Introduction to Dreaming


Parts of the dream were always the same.
He was blindfolded, bare chested, and virtually naked- skin-tight, crotchless leather ‘shorts’ his only concession to clothing. He knelt with heels to buttocks, hands at the small of his back- the slow burn in his shoulders and arms gave voice to his leather bound wrists. The air around him was cool, chilled even, causing his exposed nipples to pucker and harden. Where he knelt was surprisingly comfortable, soft and plush.

Straining to hear, he could make out the faint sounds of footsteps. As the sound grew louder, the steps drew nearer with a gentle swish of heavy fabric. A few feet away, the footsteps momentarily stopped and noises he couldn’t identify emanated from the spot. He shuddered and tensed as he felt the air shift and his companion circled around him like a tiger circling it’s prey.

…this is where the variations began.

The first time, his counterpart stopped directly in front of him, speaking one word, “Open.”

As if unable to disobey, he did as he was told. The next thing he knew a length of hard male flesh was sliding into his moist, gaping mouth. Hands went to either side of his head, both petting and holding. Tentatively, he flicked his tongue along the ridged flesh, receiving a pleasured moan from the man above him. Uncertain what was expected of him, but curious in a terrified-dream-like-way he began to lick and suck, eliciting more moans and pets from his… lover… captor… Master… The latter term sent a warm tingle down his spine and straight to his surprisingly attentive groin. Suddenly, the hands tightened in his hair and his mouth was being fucked wantonly. Still, when his ‘Master’ came, he dutifully swallowed and cleaned every trace of cum from the waning hard-on.

That had been the first dream.

Sometimes the man would touch him, exploring his body with gentle touches, kisses, and licks. Sometimes he would be placed on the bed, hands bound above his head as the man rubbed himself to completion against Xander’s body.

There were two final constants to the dreams- Xander was never allowed to see his Master’s face and he always awoke with a cooling, damp, sticky crotch and belly.

As the dreams continued, Xander tried to focus his sense to learn what he could about his surroundings and the man he shared them with.


~*~*~*~*~


It was another of the dreams. He still wasn’t sure how he could identify them even before they properly started, he just could. Though it might have something to do with the fact that he was having them so often now- they were virtually a nightly occurrence.

At least the frequency gave him ample opportunity to learn his surroundings, among other things. He now knew that where he knelt was some sort of mat or cushion. He knew the bed was a four-poster canopy king made of hardwood with flannel sheets and a velvet and satin comforter. He knew that the leather that bound his wrists were some form of bracers, about 3-4 inches long with some sort of symbols on them, but he could never quite make out what they were. He knew that the man he was with was slighter then he was. He knew that his Master was all firm, taut muscle and baby soft skin. He knew his touch was powerful and tender at the same time. He knew he trusted his Master implicitly.

And he knew his Master loved him completely. That was made clear the first time he was seriously injured on patrol. That night in the dream his Master unbound his wrists and laid him on the bed. As Xander waited for instructions, he could hear the soft rustle of fabric and the rapid tic-tic-tic of a zipper; then the bed dipped and his Master was laying next to him, pulling Xander into his arms, holding him. “Sleep now.”


~*~*~*~*~


The feel of the dream was off- something was wrong ,he just couldn’t identify what, yet.

Longer time than usual passed before Master came to him. The first thing Xander noticed was that his Master was limping- he could just make out the sluggish slip and heavy thump of his feet. Panic gripped the young man. Something had happened to his Master.

For the first time since the dreams started he cursed his bound hands and covered eyes. He wanted nothing more than to run to his Master, hold him close, and whisper soothing words to him.

His Master’s broken footsteps drew nearer, until they stopped in front of him. A cool hand cupped his face, and Xander turned his head to nuzzle into it. A moment later he heard his Master’s voice, “Not tonight.” With that simple statement Master pulled his hand back and turned to walk away.

Xander’s heart was trying to beat out of his chest, Master couldn’t leave, he was hurt, and Xander had to know he would be okay. “Master,” he called, hoping against hope his voice didn’t sound as desperate as he felt.

However his voice came out, he got the desired effect. He heard his Master’s footsteps halt and the swish of fabric as he turned. The man returned to where Xander was kneeling beside the bed. That cool touch ran down Xander’s bound arms, as his Master sighed, “I can’t.”

Xander was scared, he’d never heard his Master like this. “Please, Master. Stay.”

His plea was met with silence, but the hand on his arm continued it’s gentle stroking.

“Master?” His voice was hesitant, “You’re hurt. I can hear when you walk.” Gulping down air he ploughed on, “When I was hurt, you held me. Please Master, let me do the same for you.”

His Master’s voice sounded hoarse in his ears, almost frail, when he finally responded, “Why?”

Without hesitation, Xander replied, “Because I love you.”

The young man heard a heavy thump as the man beside him collapsed on the bed. “You can’t… NO!”

It was hard to tell whether the words were a command or a subdued plea. Xander raised his head as if his blindfolded eyes could see. “Stay with me, let me know you’re okay. Please.” The boy surprised himself with the strength and emotion in his words.

His companion trailed his hand down Xander’s bare back to his bound arms. Expertly, his Master released his bonds.

“Thank you,” he sighed as he turned, still on his knees to face his Master. His hands went to the soft fabric covering his eyes, but before he could remove the blindfold, strong cool hands grabbed his and his Master’s voice cried, “No!” Then more softly, “That stays.”

Unwilling to press the matter, (Master was staying, that was all that mattered) Xander nodded and lowered his hands. Silently, Xander ran his larger workman’s hands up his Master’s chest and over his shoulders, sliding off Master’s leather coat. As the coat slipped from slim shoulders, Xander sought his Master’s mouth for a chaste kiss before proceeding to strip him and search out his injuries.

The warm hands ghosted over Master’s arms, down to where they rested on denim clad thighs. Then up and past those incredible, muscular thighs to gently tug at the t-shirt covering Master’s firm chest. Slowly, tenderly, and methodically Xander removed the remainder of his Master’s clothes.

As he lay the smaller man out on the bed and wrapped his larger frame around him, he felt the cool trails against his lover’s skin. Gingerly, Xander darted out his tongue to taste the moisture. As he had feared, it was salty and bitter- his Master was crying.





2 Dreaming 101B: An Introduction to Dreaming

He remembered the first dream; it was over a year ago, but it felt like yesterday. He was walking through a warehouse-like building when a familiar scent wafted to his nose. Following it, he came to a large room in the far corner of which stood a bed- beautifully adorned with an intricately designed deep burgundy canopy and matching bedding. As ornate and sumptuous as it was, the bed held nothing to the astonishing beauty kneeling complaisantly beside it. Spike stopped a few feet before the gorgeous creature, entranced by the play of muscles under the perfectly tanned skin of the boy’s back and shoulders. My gods, he’s beautiful. No wonder demon-girl wanted him. How’d I miss that!?!
The vamp removed his ever-present duster, tossing it over a convenient chair, before approaching the boy for a closer inspection. Gods the boy was hot- blindfolded and bound, ready and waiting just for him. Spike had to fight back the possessive growl that threatened to erupt, instead he uttered a single word, “Open.”

When the boy did as he instructed, he wasted no time in releasing and presenting his already straining erection. The only thing that surprised the vampire more than the young Scooby’s compliance was the overwhelming intensity of the boy’s fiery mouth as it wrapped around him.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike wasn’t sure when the lust he felt for the boy turned into something more, but he knew when he realized it had.

They’d split up for patrol. He’d been sent off with the witches, while Xander and the Slayer paired up. It was an odd feeling, not having the Whelp there to rile up and trade insults with. The witches were good company and all; it just wasn’t the same. A fact driven home when, after he dusted a group of fledges, he turned expecting a blinding smile and snide remark only to be greeted by Red and Glinda chatting excitedly about some new spell they’d discovered earlier that day.

He had to face it- he missed the Whelp. Well, he’d just have to see to it that he and the boy didn’t get split up anymore. Simple enough solution, problem solved. Now, if he could only figure out how to get Her Buffyness to go along with it.

The trip back to the Magic Box was blessedly uneventful (apart from the obviously agitated, chain-smoking vamp). That changed however as they approached the door to the shop. A sheet of paper with Willow’s name was taped to the door. Involuntarily, Spike growled- this couldn’t be good news.

“Umm, Spike… y-you’re growling.”

Spike’s stern features softened, he really didn’t want to scare the witches. He liked them. “Sorry, ducks, jus’ not likin’ the looks.”

The blonde witch laid her hand on Spike’s arm, but before she could speak, Willow gasped, drawing both blondes’ attention.

Spike was silent the entire way to the hospital. His mind was too busy reeling. Xander was hurt. His Xander was hurt- how could he be expected to think or speak until he knew his pet would be alright. When they entered the busy ER of Sunnydale General, Willow peeled away from them to find out where Xander and the others were.

Once her girlfriend was out of view, Tara turned her attention to the oddly quiet vampire at her side. “Spike?” Her hand gently rested on his upper arm. “He’ll be fine’”

“Yeah,” the vamp sounded frighteningly distant.

Squeezing and slightly shaking his arm the young witch tried again, “Spike!”

“What!?!” The vampire snapped, his eyes flashing their demonic yellow.

Tara quickly recoiled from the snarling demon.

“Bloody hell, didn’ mean to scare ya.” The vampire ran a hand over his hair as he berated himself for worrying so much about a boy who hated him.

Tentatively, Tara moved back to the vamp’s side and when his ice blue eyes turned to her she offered him a wan smile, “You truly do care about him.”

Spike couldn’t answer, didn’t know how to answer. All he could do was drop his gaze and feel more exposed than he had since Dru left.

“Xander’s strong, he’ll be just fine.”

The pair shared a small smile- it felt good that someone noticed and cared (not that he’d ever admit it). And she was right, the Whelp always bounced back!

“Thanks, Tara.” He barely had time to register Tara’s shocked expression before Willow came scurrying back. “’ow’s the Whelp? We get to sublet ‘is apartment or what?”

Tara tried to hide her giggle behind a ‘cough’. If Spike needed to be the Big Bad right now, who was she to get in his way.

Willow on the other hand simply rolled her eyes. Ignoring the snarky, insensitive vamp, “Xan’s fine, they’re keeping him here overnight though.”

The air around the vampire physically relaxed, the pent up frustration radiating from him dissipating as the news sunk in.

Ever the observant one, Tara felt the change in atmosphere and a quick look at Spike confirmed her earlier suspicion. “That’s great, sweety. Can we s-see him?”

The redheaded witch shook her head, “Doctors say he’s out, but we can see him first thing in the morning.”

“What about Buffy and Giles?”

“Yeah, and just what the hells happened? She’s the bloody Slayer, can’t she even protect her own?”

Willow’s eyes sparked at the vamp’s tone and obvious insult to her friend. “They’re finishing up with the doctors. Then Giles is taking us home, and coming back here to stay with Xan. …and since when do you care Spike?”

“Never said I did- jus’ figured the Slayer’d take better care of her toys.”

She grit her teeth, “Don’t talk about Xander like that!”

Spike visibly flinched at the vehemence of Willow’s words, but quickly regained his composure. “Bloody hell Red, wasn’t insulting the Whelp.”

“Oh.”

Muttering, “Was insultin’ the Slayer.”

That earned him an indignant glare, but nothing more. Though she’d never admit it to the peroxide blonde in front of her, her mind was travelling that same path- it was a routine patrol, so how’d Xander wind up so badly hurt?

“What’s he doing here?”

“Oi, jus’ seein’ the witches didn’ get eaten on the way over ‘s all.”

“Right, outta the goodness of your heart. Oh, that’s right, soulless dead thing doesn’t have one. Silly me.”

“Think what you will, Slayer. Red and her bird ‘ave always been good to me; wasn’t gonna let them suffer ‘cause you couldn’t protect the Whelp.” With a dramatic swish of his duster the vampire headed out into what remained of the night.

He surprised himself when he arrived at his crypt. He wasn’t surprised by where he was, but how he got there- or rather that he didn’t remember how he got there. This was not good. The boy was driving him to distraction. And distraction wasn’t something he could afford, not with his… ‘status’ in the demon community. He needed to deal with this infatuation of his before it got him dusted! …but not tonight. Tonight, he was going to climb into his empty bed and hope for one of the dreams- if he couldn’t hold and protect the boy in the hospital, he could at least hold and protect the boy in his dreams.

As his dream-self caressed and held the injured mortal close, he knew- he’d fallen for the dark boy and fallen hard.


~*~*~*~*~


Now, he was the one bruised and broken and the Powers That Be must have it out for him because this dream Xander was caring for him and declaring his love. It was too much. For the first time since Dru left, he allowed himself to cry.





3 Reality 201: When the Real World Crashes In

Spike was exhausted; he hadn’t slept in close to a week. His normally sharp features were gaunt and hollow, and his ivory skin held the grey pallor of death, but still he refused to sleep. Sleep meant dreaming. Dreaming meant Xander. Xander meant heartache and pain.

The vamp spent his nights avoiding the Slayer and her groupies, and his days doing ANYTHING that would keep sleep elusive. The floor of the crypt was littered with the remnants of coffee, caffeine pills, and enough pure dextrose confections to open a Seven-Eleven. Unfortunately, the crypt also contained one very bitchy Slayer.

“Where the hell have you been Spike? You’ve missed three patrols and nice as the abundance of your absence has been, Dawn’s worried about you! She wouldn’t shut up until I promised to drag your chipped undead ass back with me.”

“Tell the Niblet you couldn’t find me,” he croaked without favouring her with so much as a glance.

“Love to, but no. See, if I tell her that she’s just gong to come here herself to find you.”

Spike’s voice was soft but firm, “No, Slayer. Can’t let her do that.”

The concern and fear in the vamp’s voice caused her breath to catch and she spoke barely above a whisper, “Spike? What’s going on? You know you’re not exactly my favourite person, but you love Dawn and she loves you, which makes you one of us.” Slowly, Buffy walked over to the broken sounding vamp. Laying a hand on his shoulder, “She’s not the only one worried about you.”

Whether it was the admission or the gentle touch, he couldn’t say, but it startled the vamp into finally facing his visitor.

Buffy gasped at the sight that greeted her, “My gods Spike! Have you been feeding? Are you okay? What happened!?! No. Nevermind. Get up, you’re coming home with me! Dawn was right to send me. Come on, you can explain when we get there.”

“’s nothing. Haven’t been sleeping ’s all.”

Looking pointedly at the detritus on the floor, she scowled, “I’m thinking the caffeine intake isn’t helping.”

“Damn-it Slayer, said I wasn’t sleepin’ not that I couldn’t!”

“Okay, this is getting too weird. Spike, you have two choices. You can come with me like a good little vamp or I can beat you senseless- considering how you look, I shouldn’t even break a sweat- and you come with me anyway.” Buffy smiled triumphantly at her logic. “Your choice.”

Gods he wasn’t up for this. It would be nice to see the Bit though. And if Joyce was around maybe he could talk to her. She always seemed to help him see things more clearly. “Fine. Jus’ give us a mo’.”


~*~*~*~*~


“Dawn, got a delivery for you!” Buffy called out cheerily when they arrived at the Summers’ residence. Turning to the vamp, “Come on in, Spike.”

The vampire crossed the threshold to the sound of a stampeding teenage whirlwind, only to be pushed right back out the door when said whirlwind collided with him full force. “You came,” the teen declared to the vampire’s chest.

“’course I did Lil’ Bit,” he hugged the small girl, relishing her freely given affection.

Finally, Dawn release her death-grip on the vamp, pulling back to look at him. She cocked her head and glared, “You look like crap.”

The blonde laughed at the girl’s bluntness. “Haven’t been feeling the greatest, have I. Nothing’ to worry your sweet self over, alright.” Spike fixed her with a playful stern look causing her to smile.

Grabbing his hand, “Come on, Mom just made cookies,” Dawn dragged her undead companion to the kitchen, followed by a smirking Buffy.


~*~*~*~*~


Buffy hung up the phone and wandered back into the kitchen where, not for the first time, her mother was consoling a distraught William the Bloody. Shaking her head, she leaned on the counter, “Giles got some blood for you, but I need to pick it up.”

The vampire’s face fell slightly, he’d been hoping to talk to Joyce, but the Niblit had just been ushered to bed and now he was expected to go traipsing after the Slayer, “Right.” Turning to the elder Summers, “Thanks for… everything, mum.” Spike stood and headed out the door, “Ready, Slayer?”

Joyce Summers was a mother. And like all good mothers, she had a sixth sense about her children- even when they weren’t ‘her’ children and were old enough to be her great-great-great-grandfather. So it shouldn’t have come as any surprise that she knew Spike needed to talk. “Buffy, why doesn’t Spike stay here?”

“Mother!”

“What? You’re just going to Mr. Giles’ and back here anyway.”

“Mom, vampire, bloodsucking evil undead, remember?”

Joyce rolled her eyes and flapped her hand dismissively, “You think I could forget that?” Walking over to her daughter, she placed her hands on either shoulder, “Buffy, I know what Spike is, but Dawn and I trust him. Can you trust me?”

Sheepishly, “Of course I can.”

Smiling, “Good. Now go get Spike’s blood.”

The Slayer obliged her mother, grabbing her jacket and a couple spare stakes, she headed out the backdoor. Just as she expected the Peroxide One was lounging on the steps, smoking. “Hey,” kicking the vamp’s arm as she spoke, “Mom wants you to stay.”

Smoke curled out of his mouth as he spoke, “Heard.”

“Try anything and…”

“Yeah, I know, use me for a practice dummy, fillet me like a fish, make Angelus look like a bleeding teddy bear, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, sweep me up with a dustpan. ‘bout cover it?”

“Think so,” she chirped as she headed out into the Sunnydale night.

No sooner was she out of sight then a steaming mug of cocoa (complete with mini-marshmallows) was pressed into his hand. He smiled into Joyce’s kind eyes as she sat next to him with her own cup. “Wanna tell me about it?”

Right to the point, he loved that about the Summers women- you always knew where you stood with them. “’s gonna sound crazy.”

Joyce’s laugh was effervescent, “ Spike, I have one daughter made entirely of energy. The other is the chosen protector of mankind. And I’m having a heart to heart with a hundred and fifty year old dead man. I think I can handle crazy.”

Sighing heavily, “I think I’ve fallen for someone.”

“That’s wonderful.” Taking in the vampire’s sulky look, she added, “Isn’t it?”

“There’s the thing. At best they don’t know I exist, and at worst they despise me.”

“Oh, Spike, I doubt that. They probably just don’t know you like we do.”

“Ha! ‘m pretty sure they do.”

She laid a hand on his, “This why you look so sick?” The vamp nodded and fought back a yawn. “You need rest.”

Spike’s head snapped up and his eyes were wide, “No!”

“Spike?”

Shit. He was tired and alone and this was Joyce and before he knew it he was talking. Telling her about the dreams (not the details, Joyce was like his surrogate mum and somethings you just don’t share), about how the real-life person made him feel, and how he hadn’t slept since the dream version declared their love.

Standing, Joyce beckoned the vamp inside, “The first thing you’re going to do is get some sleep. This is not doing anyone any good. Finish your cocoa, I’ll make the sofa.”

“No need for that Mrs. S, can always head back to my crypt.”

The elder Summers folded her arms and glared at the vamp, looking every bit as menacing as her daughter, “If you think for one minute you are going to leave this house in the state you’re in, you have another think coming!”

Knowing better than to go up against a Summers when they were that determined, “Least let me help.”


~*~*~*~*~


Xander sat in the living room of the Summers’ house staring at the sleeping vamp across from him. He figured it must have been his own exhaustion causing him to get lost in the distinct, yet soft, contours of Spike’s face. He was beginning to worry about himself. Every night he went to sleep silently begging for one of the dreams, his need for them was almost physical. He’d always adored his downtime, but this was extreme; he was trying to nap at every opportunity. More and more he found himself wishing the dreams were his reality and he would never have to wake and leave his Master.

Master was safe… Master was love… Master was his!

He choked back a laughing sob. Here he was, friend of the Slayer, all around good guy, and supposed White Hat obsessing over a phantom- a man who only existed in his dreams. And now he was marvelling at the Evil Undead… He remembered the last time Master came to him in his dreams; how he’d caressed his face as he slept, trying to form a picture from touch. It should have giving him major wiggins that the image his mind created was eerily similar to the vampire, but somehow it only comforted him. Chuckling to himself, he wondered when the Bleached Menace became soothing rather than threatening.

The young man stifled a yawn as he watched a strange play of emotions cross the dead man’s face. Slowly, Xander drifted to sleep puzzling over what could make a century and a half old vampire look so lost.


~*~*~*~*~


Dawn knelt by the coffee table, chin resting on arms folded over the tabletop, a sappy grin on her face as she watched her two favourite men sleep. She wasn’t sure how much time passed before the whimpers began. At first she wasn’t even sure which man they came from, though she suspected Xander- if only because she couldn’t imagine the Big Bad whimpering. Quietly, she moved over to the dark haired mortal, a self-satisfied smirk crossed her face as he moaned in his sleep. Just as she was about to brush the hair from Xander’s face, a pained keening came from the sofa. Jumping, she turned to see glistening tears trailing down perfect cheekbones.

Dawn gasped as she realized the heart wrenching sounds were coming in tandem from both men. “Oh… This is bad. This is very, very bad,” she muttered under her breath as she backed away from the sleeping figures and towards the hopefully still sane, erm, sane-ish members of her family.





4 Dreaming 301/Reality 301: A Blurring of the Lines

Xander knelt on his carpet, hands bound and eyes covered as usual. The thrill he used to feel as the dreams began was quickly giving way to dread. Master hadn’t come to him since the night Xander convinced his Master to stay with him. With every dream that Master didn’t appear, Xander’s heart broke a little further. The last few days his dream-self had even cried himself to sleep, and when Xander awoke in the morning his pillow was still damp with tears.

This time Xander simply curled up and cried. It didn’t matter- he’d driven Master away and what did that say about him? That he was unlovable. That he always screwed up a good thing. That even his dream-lover abandoned him. Xander’s body was so wracked with sobs that he missed the soft footsteps approaching, the light thud of a heavy jacket being tossed aside, and even the scared gasp of his Master upon seeing his precious boy so distraught. Without hesitating Spike scooped the boy into his arms, quickly releasing his wrists and seating them both on the bed.

Warm arms closed around him and broken words drowned in tears were uttered. Spike held the boy in his lap, crooning tunelessly, trying to comfort him- and possibly himself.


~*~*~*~*~


Five women entered the Summers’ living room, four of them trying to understand what had the fifth and youngest, so upset. It didn’t take long to figure it out.

Instinctively, Willow rushed to Xander’s side- Tara on her heels, while Joyce moved to check on the troubled vampire.

“I knew it wasn’t right. Gods, Buffy, they both sounded so miserable,” the teen wailed.

“It’ll be okay Dawn, let Willow and Tara check them out. Then if we need to, we’ll get Giles and make with the research.” Under her breath she added, “And when we find out it was all Spike’s doing, he’ll finally have that one on one with Mr. Pointy I’ve been promising him.”

“Uh, Buffy, I don’t think Spike did this,” the small redhead piped up.

Looking slightly abashed, Buffy leaned toward Willow, “Did I say that that loud?”

Concerned as she was about her boys, Dawn laid a hand on her big sister’s shoulder, “Nope, but we all know how you think- vamp-bad-Slayer-dust.” Patting Buffy’s shoulder she added apologetically, “It’s genetic.”

Buffy turned, preparing to chastise the younger Summers when a frightful wail brought her attention back to the men in her living room. Not half a beat after Xander’s outcry, Spike began emitting incoherent sounds, but sounds which were undoubtedly supposed to be comforting- including a low soothing purr.

“I’m calling Giles.”

Buffy’s declaration was met with a chorus of eager nods.


~*~*~*~*~


Eventually, his love stopped shaking and the flow of tears ebbed. Kissing Xander’s dark head, Spike carefully stood and, holding his boy tightly, managed to turn down the bed (a feat he owed to vampiric dexterity and a century of caring for Dru).

It wasn’t until he laid Xander down and released him in order to remove his own clothes that the human reacted. Xander screamed, not a scream of terror or pain, but of loss and sadness; then whimpered, “No! Sorry, Master. Sorry. I’ll be good. Don’t go. Don’t go!”

Spike had the boy back in his arms after the first sound of his pitiful cry, “Shh, shh, ‘m right here.” Stroking the boy’s hair as he rocked him, “Not going anywhere, Xander. Love you too much,” then ever so quietly, “even though you’d kill me before you loved me.”

Xander’s keening subsided as he was lulled by Spike’s touch and the calming purr radiating from his Master’s chest.

As Spike lay soothing his beloved boy, he berated himself for the mockery his unlife had become. Not two years ago, he was the Big Bad out to add another Slayer to his belt and possibly take over the Hellmouth in the process. Now, he was biteless, a polyps on the demon community, and helplessly in love with one of the Slayer’s minions.

Right. This had to stop. No matter how much it hurt, he needed to tell his boy (at least the dream version) the truth. After all, this was only a dream, and, well, if it put a stop to the dreams then maybe he could salvage the ‘real’ world. Decision made, Spike kissed and held his boy; etching every detail into his memory.

Somewhere in his exhausted, sleep deprived brain Xander wondered what Master had meant- there was nothing (short of discovering Master was actually Deadboy) that could make Xander reject him. Xander quickly went through the most likely possibilities: -evil, mass-murdering psychopath- wouldn’t be the first time -flesh eating ghoul- doubtful he would’ve ‘survived’ this long without missing some flesh -a male Cordelia Chase- okay, some things just didn’t bear considering -Deadboy- nope, too slight… Spike maybe -a right-winged pigeon from outer space- erm… okay, definitely got the Bleached One on the brain

That’s it, no more thinking for the Xan-man, he was going to relax and sleep on Master’s rhythmically purring chest and he was ignoring that, outside of the possibility of cat-demons, he knew of only one human-esque creature that purred. Xander just shoved that tidbit in his mental lockbox along with Master’s lack of heartbeat, sporadic (at best) breath, and his always low body temperature. Xander’s dream-self was every bit as capable of navigating the waters of DeNile as his conscious-self was.


~*~*~*~*~


By the time Giles arrived, the men were sleeping peacefully, apart from Spike’s continued purring, and the women were in varying states of cooing, care giving, researching, and freaking.

“Giles, thank god!”

“Buffy,” the ex-librarian acknowledged. “How are they?”

Buffy snorted and rolled her eyes.

“Better now. Once Spike started with the purring Xan calmed down and they’ve been like this,” the young witch gesticulated towards the men, “for the last half-hour or so.”

Giles took a moment to study the sleeping forms. “From what little you’ve told me, it would appear they were in some form of shared dream state.”

“That’s what we thought,” Willow bounced excitedly. “We started researching what we could find on-line, but there’re just too many variables.”

“Naturally,” a sardonic edge to the man’s voice. “I suggest we attempt to put together a timeline and possibly a list of, well, symptoms, I suppose.”

“Oh, well, I know Xan’s been exhausted for close to a week now. I told him Tara could make him a sleep tonic, but he said no- something about sleeping wasn’t the problem, resting was.”

“Pfft,” Buffy huffed, “Figures, Xan’s having trouble sleeping, and Bleach for Brains has been downing enough caffeine to keep half the population of L.A. awake.” Five pairs of eyes gaped at the blonde. “Okay, what’s with the eyes- seriously giving me the wiggins here.”

“Oh, it’s nothing. It’s good. Really good. In a not-so-good-actually-kind-of-bad-means-this’s-been-going-on-for-at-least-a-week-type-way.” Willow gave her friend a sad little smile. “It does give us someplace to start. We should try to identify anything they both came in contact with prior to last week.”

The girls instantly started trying to reconstruct the past weeks and Joyce caught Giles’ eye and nodded him towards the kitchen.

“I hate to rain on your parade, but I think we’ll need to look farther back,” Joyce smiled apologetically, then set about explaining to the Watcher the highlights of her talk with the blonde vamp.




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