Originally posted in the Angel/Buffy the Vampire Slayer zine

Demon’s Childe


Part One

Spike moved silently through the night, not even his boots creating a footfall.  He didn't like skulking around like some fledgling, preferring instead for everyone to know he was coming and fear him.  Since the Initiative had made him all but fangless, there was something to be said for caution.  Besides, he hadn't missed the harshly sneered words the senior Harris had directed at the whelp. The last thing he wanted was to make Xander's life any harder than it was. At least demon-girl was finally out of the picture. He didn't like competition, Angel could vouch for that. Now all he had to do was get the whelp to notice that Anya wasn't the only demon interested in him.

He knew it wasn't much of a plan to get himself re-invited into Xander's basement apartment on the basis that he’d forgotten his second favourite pair of boots in the back of the closet, but it was lame enough not to sound like an excuse.  He just had to get Xander alone and in his presence, then he could start working on the boy’s resistance.  Of course, it helped that Xander always softened up towards him when there was no one else around.

Spike was musing about what it might taste like if Xander ever let him have a sip when his boot hit something and he stumbled forward. His vampire reflexes kept him from going ass over tea kettle onto the ground and he snarled as the scent of fresh blood wafted up to him. He looked down, wondering what the poor unfortunate at his feet had had the displeasure of running into and his heart nearly leapt from his chest.

“Xander!” Spike growled, his game face flashing forward as he looked for any danger around them.

The young man was alone but there were fresh tracks leading away from the scene. It looked like several sets, but it was hard to tell in the chaos. Knowing Xander's attackers were long gone, Spike knelt down beside the boy. He was already on his back, his chest rising and falling shallowly. The boy hadn't even cried out when Spike had stumbled over him and from the heavy scent of blood in the air, Spike knew things were bad.

Bad enough, in fact, that if he left to get help, the boy wouldn’t make it.  He would draw his last breath in a matter of moments. Even if they made it to a hospital, his wounds were fatal.  Spike ran his fingers over Xander’s face and drew them back covered in blood.  “What am I gonna do with you, pet?  You can’t die on me now,” he whispered the words and then unconsciously sucked on his blood covered fingers.

"Sp-sp-spike.." Xander managed to whisper, startling the vampire. He couldn't open his eyes to make out the other man but he knew it was Spike. He cringed at the thought of Spike finding him. For whatever reason, he didn't want the vampire's last memories of him to be like this.

Spike was startled by the harsh whisper.  He needed to know one thing and he knew that Xander wouldn’t be able to speak more than a few words.  Some people would demand to know who had done this… some would even demand to know in these last moments what Xander’s true feelings were… but not Spike.  


Instead, Spike asked, “Xander, tell me if you’ll let me fix this… if you’ll let me take the pain away…”

"G-g-go ah-ahead.." Xander forced out. He was ready for the pain to end. He had no idea how long he'd lain bleeding and in pain but it felt like forever. It was nice to know that he wasn't going to die alone. Spike was with him and Spike would make sure it was as quick and painless as possible, of that he was sure.

Spike shifted back into game face in an instant.  What surprised him was that Xander didn’t flinch away, but instead lolled on his back, revealing his neck.  Spike knew there would be pain… the pain of the chip screaming at him, but he didn’t care.  His pain would stop eventually, but Xander’s heart would never beat again.

Xander shuddered slightly when he felt Spike's lips on his neck. He was fading fast but the soft kiss the vampire placed there surprised him. He opened his mouth to say something but no words would come out, then everything went grey as long incisors sank into his neck.

Part Two

Xander slowly became aware that, first of all he was alive, and secondly someone was softly stroking his hair.  He knew he was warm and that his body wasn’t in pain like it should be, like he remembered it being.  His eyes fluttered open and locked with a pair of deep golden ones.

"Welcome back," Spike said, shifting back into his human visage. "How do you feel?"

“Hungry!” Xander growled.

"I know," Spike said softly. He lifted his wrist to Xander's mouth and waited.

Xander seized Spike's wrist with his hands as if to stop the vampire from taking it away, even though Spike was smiling fondly.  Xander’s eyes shifted from brown to gold as he morphed into game face for the first time.  Driven by an instinctual hunger, he slipped his new fangs into Spike's flesh and drank deeply.

Spike shuddered and moaned as his Childe drank from him. He felt himself harden immediately, but pushed his arousal down hard. He didn't want that from Xander. Well, actually he did, but not the way Sires normally did with their Childer. He wanted Xander willingly. And for that, he knew he had to wait.

Spike was indulgent as he felt Xander drinking his fill, letting his new Childe drink much more than he’d let anyone else drink other than his own Sire.  Gently, he pushed Xander’s head away and was forced to chuckle with delight when Xander obeyed, but continued to lap at the closing wound.  “Liked that, didn't you, luv?”

"Yeah," Xander replied. "And strangely enough I don't have the urge to yack. I don't hurt anymore either. Why is that?"

Spike chuckled affectionately again and traced his thumb over Xander’s blood stained lips.  Childer were usually confused and their memories fuzzy after being turned.  So were most fledglings, but that was the difference between a regular fledgling and a cherished Childe.  Spike gave enough of a damn to be there to guide Xander through this period, making his Childe even more dependent on him.  “You’re different now, Xander.”

"You turned me," Xander said flatly. He wasn't sure if he was upset by the fact or somehow pleased. He knew he wasn't angry, though. One thing struck him almost immediately. "Am I a demon now? I don't feel like a demon."

“I’m not sure what you are,” Spike admitted, his fingers still ghosting over Xander’s face.  The boy hadn't realized he was still in game face yet.  With time, he’d be able to control the change at will.  “Your blood… wasn't completely human.”

"That should probably surprise me.. shock me even, but it doesn't. Just one more exciting facet to living on the Hellmouth." Xander turned his face away, a maelstrom of feelings swirling inside him. He was glad he wasn't dead but it was short-lived. He was a vampire. One of his best friends was the Slayer. He wasn't going to make her have to stake him. He'd catch the sunrise first.

Spike watched as the emotions washed over Xander’s face.  Xander had never been good at hiding what he felt, but as a vampire he shouldn't be feeling what he was feeling now… guilt.  “Bloody hell!  I think you somehow managed to hang onto your freakin’ soul!”

"I wouldn't know about that," Xander said. "But I don't feel the things I thought a vampire was supposed to feel. Or I guess I do feel the things that I didn't think a vampire felt after being turned. Spike.. I appreciate what you did, but you shouldn't have. I won't make Buffy stake me."

“Xander, you were more than a nummy treat for me,” Spike explained.  “You’re my Childe.  That makes me your Sire and I wouldn't let Goldilocks stake you even if you wanted that.”

"You couldn't stop her," Xander said. "The chip wouldn't let you. I don't want her to have to do that, Spike. It's cruel."

Spike decided to chalk Xander’s dramatics up to the fog of the change.  He also decided it was time to fill his new Childe in on the way things would be operating now.  “You’re not under her spell anymore.  I might not be able to fight her, but you can.  So if she tries to stake either of us, you can and will fight back.”

"I won't hurt her. I won't let her stake you, but I won't hurt her no matter what you say," Xander said defiantly. He fell silent, then gingerly asked the one thing on his mind. "Spike... why?"

“Because I couldn't lose you,” Spike answered simply.

"You did this because you didn't want to lose me?" Xander asked, surprised by Spike's response.

“Yeah,” Spike said.  “Don’t suppose you got a problem with that, do ya?”

"Not really. Just didn't think you liked me all that much," Xander shrugged. "You do realize Buffy is going to try to stake you when she finds out you turned me?"

“We'll just have to make ourselves scarce then,” Spike decided.  He always wanted to keep his Childe close by and isolated for those first few precious days.  It was important to their bond that they be alone.  Of course when he said this, he saw Xander’s brow crease with worry and he quickly amended.  “Of course, you can give the witches a call and give them some sorta excuse for now.”

"I want to tell Willow the truth," Xander said. "She won't tell Buffy. Not if I ask her not to. I don't want to lie to her, Spike. She's been my best friend since forever. Would it be alright if I called her and asked her to come here so I could explain it to her?"

Not the eyes!  The whelp was staring at him with those eyes.  He tried to remember that he was the Big Bad... master vampire… he really did try… “Later,” he grumbled.  “But only her and make her take an oath that no matter what she hears, no witchy stuff.”

"When she hears what happened... all of it... she won't hurt you," Xander promised. He didn't promise not to make Willow forgo the "witchy stuff". He had no plans to. He knew she would want revenge and he didn't mind a bit.

“And what about the other part, whelp?” Spike asked with a bit of an edge to his voice.  Lesson one, Xander had to understand he wouldn't be lied to or betrayed.  Xander had to understand the loyalty of the bloodline.

"I won't make her promise not to use her witchcraft but it won't be against you," Xander said stubbornly. "If I know Willow, she'll want revenge and I'm willing to let her exact it any way she wants to."

“Revenge against me or whoever put you here in the first place?”

"Not against you. Never against you. You saved me... the only way you could. I was dying, Spike. We both know it. You did the only thing you could. She won't hurt you for that, but don't be surprised if she hugs you really hard."

“The Big Bad doesn't do… hugs,” Spike cringed.  “And the little witch will have to understand that it isn't her right to take revenge.”

"You guys can share it," Xander said. "She was in my life long before you were so she's got rights, too. But I bet you guys could work together. That way I wouldn't have to worry about Willow getting hurt."

Spike lowered his face until it was only a few inches away from Xander’s, whose head was still resting in his lap.  “Tell me who did it,” he purred.

"My dad... a few of his friends helped... but it was mostly my dad," Xander said. "He said he wasn't going to have a faggot for a son. He said he could smell you all over me and... I tried to tell him it wasn't like that but he wouldn't listen."

Spike leaned over and started to kiss Xander gently, his tongue slipping out to play lightly with Xander’s fangs.  He didn't want to scare Xander away yet, but he couldn't control the affection he felt.  “Thank you, pet."

Xander stared up at Spike. He could still feel his lips tingling where Spike had kissed him. Other parts of him were sitting up and taking notice as well, adding to Xander's confusion. "I... what... why did you do that?"

“Because I wanted to,” Spike whispered.  His fingers traced lightly over Xander’s eyebrow ridges.

"You want me? Like that? But I've never... not with another guy..." Xander groaned, his eyes fluttering closed as he leaned into his Sire's touch. His body was on fire and he didn't understand what was going on. All he knew was that he wanted Spike to keep touching him like that.

Spike growled low with pleasure.  He’d gotten himself a virgin.  Not the fluffy nun kind some of the older vamps were prone to chase.  No, Xander hadn't ever let another man touch him, but most likely had enough experience with women to know what he liked.  “Just perfect then,” Spike whispered.

"Spike, what are you doing to me?" Xander moaned. He tipped his head back and sucked his Sire's fingers into his mouth. At the same time, he brought his hand down to squeeze his aching erection. He'd never been this hot for it. Not with Anya, not with anyone.

“I've remade you into my own image,” Spike whispered harshly.  “Can’t you feel me coursing through your veins?”

"Yesss..." Xander hissed around Spike's fingers, revelling in the sensation. "Please, Spike... please..." He wasn't sure what he was begging for, only knowing that he needed more.  He prayed Spike would understand.

“Call me Sire,” Spike demanded, pulling his fingers out of Xander’s mouth.  He noted that even though Xander was an anomaly, he had the oral fixation that most fledglings had around their Sires.

"I'll call you the fucking Pope if you just keep touching me," Xander gasped. "Please, Sire... please..."

Spike actually shivered when he heard the word slip from Xander’s mouth.  Someday maybe he would dare to ask the young man to call him Master, but not now.  “You need me,” Spike purred.  He continued to touch Xander’s face, neck and then chest, happy now that he’d removed the bloody shirt when cleaning him up.

"I... yeah, I guess I do," Xander admitted. "You... you're my friend. And now you're my... my Master.  God, Spike, please do something before I explode!"

Spike’s growls of pleasure grew when Xander called him Master.  His hand moved swiftly and tore at the buttons of Xander’s jeans, soon to reveal his aching cock.  He’d have to buy the boy a whole new wardrobe now, something with easy access, sensual but durable… leather!  But first, he had to show the younger man what sex between vampires meant.

Xander arched up into Spike's cool grip. His body was on fire, making Spike's touch seem even colder. Xander wished he could touch his Sire in return but his body was too far gone for that. He'd simply have to trust his Master to take care of him and return the favour when he could.

Spike switched into game face as he sensed how close Xander was.  “Poor Xan… neglected for too long…” Spike teased as his stroke increased.  “I won’t neglect you… you'll always have my touch to come home to.”

"Please, Master," Xander whispered again. He arched up once more and came hard in Spike's hand. It felt like his whole body was convulsing as his Sire slowly milked him. Finally, he lay panting on the bed, his eyes shut tight.

“If you keep those pretty gold eyes shut, you can’t see me do this,” Spike said as he lifted his hand to his mouth and started to lick it clean.

With a growl worthy of Spike himself, Xander surged up and flipped his Sire over onto his back. He slid down a bit and began attacking Spike's clothes, desperate to give back the pleasure he'd just been given. Before Spike could even think to stop him, Xander had his pants pushed aside and the Master vampire's erection firmly clasped in his hand.

By whatever miracle, he’d managed to keep his soul and he assumed he kept his soul because he didn't feel evil. He did, however, feel other new instincts.  He suddenly had an overwhelming need to please Spike.

"Oh yeah," Spike said, grinning widely as his Childe stroked him. "Do it, pet. Show your Sire how good you can make him feel."

“I can better than all the others,” Xander growled.  “I can be everything to you.”  He didn't know what was driving him to say this, but he just had to.

"I know," Spike said softly. He brought his hand to Xander's head, stroking the soft, dark hair. He'd always had a thing for dark-haired beauties and Xander was no exception.

Xander started to nuzzle at Spike crotch.  “You want me right?”  He was all but begging now.  “You wanted me…” No one had ever wanted him before.

"Yeah, pet, I wanted you," Spike replied. "I've wanted you for a while now. Figured you'd stake me if I let on just how I wanted you.  I could have let you die, by all accounts I should have let you die. But I didn't. I chose to turn you because I wanted you by my side. Never forget that."

Xander let out a wounded sound and swallowed down Spike’s cock.  In that moment he didn't even realize he’d morphed back into his human face.  He sucked desperately, hoping that Spike’s ever increasing moans meant he was doing something right.

"Oh bloody hell," Spike moaned. He brought both hands to Xander's head, fisting them in the boy's dark hair. He was careful not to pull too hard. He didn't want Xander to ever associate this with pain. Angelus had given him enough of a taste of that during their years together. He had no desire to do the same thing to Xander.

Xander continued to make desperate, needy noises as he sucked harder.  He was almost shocked when he felt a salty gush tinged with blood wash into his mouth.

Spike tried not to thrust too deeply as he came. He didn't want to choke the boy, especially when he was doing such wonderful things to his cock. It was obvious Xander had never done this sort of thing before and that made it all the more special for Spike.

Xander swallowed deeply, licking his lips.  The taste reminded him a little of his Sire’s blood and he had a feeling that he’d be tasting this a lot from now on.  He wasn't stupid.  He knew what went on between Sires and their Childer.  The fact that this had happened so soon, within minutes of him realizing he’d been turned, told him the truth.

"You alright, pet?" Spike asked when he could find his voice again. He felt like every drop of blood in his body had been sucked out through his cock. He couldn't remember ever feeling more sated or content. The only thing wrong with his current blissful condition was the fact that his new Childe was strangely silent. A silent Xander Harris was never a good thing.

Xander didn't answer, just hid his face against Spike’s thigh.  Everything was different now.  Xander Harris was dead.  He was replaced by this… thing he was now.  And everything he was now belonged to Spike.

"Xander? Answer me. What's wrong?"

“Nothin’,” Xander murmured.

"It's not nothing," Spike said. He pushed Xander back a bit and sat up, then pulled his new Childe into his lap once more. "Talk to me. I can't fix it if I don't know what's broken."

“I… I just need time to adjust to what I am now.”

"And what's that?" Spike asked. Ah, his Xander was having a bit of an identity crisis. He could understand that well enough. He'd had his own when Dru and Angel had first turned him.

“I don’t know!” Xander wailed.  “I can’t even do this right!  I've seen people turned and they don’t feel like this… they’re ecstatic!”

"No, you haven't. You've seen the demon be ecstatic. The people they were, they're dead and gone. You're still here. And I'll tell you a little secret.  If you hadn't kept your soul, I'd've had Red conjure it back for you. I want you. Xander Harris. Not a demon wearing your skin. And if it's the whole sex with a man bit then you can quit worrying. Vampires hit from both sides of the plate, pet. All of 'em."

“Even Angel?” Xander asked with a sharp snort.

"Pet, you don't want to know the number of times Angelus fucked me," Spike laughed. "Don't know about His Broodiness, but Angelus would fuck anything that walked."

That got Xander’s attention and his game face flickered on and off.  “He touched you that way?!”

"He was my Sire. It was his right. He could do whatever he wanted with me and he damn well did. I won't ever hurt you like that, though. I swear it," Spike said. He didn't want to go into detail. Some things were best left buried as far in the past as inhumanly possible but he wasn't going to lie to his Childe.

“I would do anything you asked,” Xander said quietly.  What he didn't know was that most Childer were equally sweet and eager to please.  It was only after their Masters had broken them, like Angelus had done to Spike, that they turned their affections away from their Sire.  If given the chance, they would forever remain devoted to the one who made them.

"I know. I was the same way with Angelus. But unlike the great pouf, I won't abuse it. I do something you don't like, you bloody well speak up. I may do it anyway if I think it's for your own good, but you still tell me. You understand?"

“I'll be good,” Xander promised, cuddling a bit closer.  “Are you sure I’m not evil?”

"I'm sure, but if it makes you feel any better you can ask Red tomorrow," Spike said. "She should be able to do a spell to tell one way or the other."

“Okay,” Xander said with a large yawn.  “Oh, Spike?”


“Can vampires still eat Twinkies?”

Part Three

Spike awoke as he usually did, just as the hated sun was dipping below the horizon. In another hour the sun would be fully set and he'd be free to move about as he wished. Not that he was going anywhere any time soon. He had a new Childe to care for and he wasn't taking any chances. He smiled as he watched the young one sleeping peacefully beside him. He'd be waking soon and he'd be hungry. Spike was glad he had a decent supply of blood on hand, and not that pig shit the Watcher so generously graced him with either.

Spike continued to watch as Xander slept and smiled affectionately when, while still half asleep, Xander moved closer to Spike.  Somehow he managed to move around until he had Spike's wrist near his mouth and started to nuzzle and lick it, whining softly as he began to wake.

"Go ahead, Childe," Spike said softly, stroking Xander's hair as he did so. "Feed from me."

Keeping his eyes closed, Xander sank into the cool flesh with a deep moan of satisfaction.  He wasn't sure how much he was supposed to take but he stopped when the edge was taken off his hunger.  Some part of his mind told him that Spike most likely hadn't fed since yesterday.

"You can take a bit more if you like," Spike encouraged. He wanted his Childe to feed from him exclusively. He needed the bond between them to be as strong as possible. Besides, the more Xander fed from him the stronger he became and strong vampires lived longer.

“When was the last time you fed?” Xander asked, licking his lips clean.

"'Bout this time yesterday," Spike replied. "Don't worry, I've got some reserves put back and I don't mean that crap the Watcher slips me every now and again. Got some of the good stuff. You ain't gonna drain me, pet."

“I was thinking more that maybe you’d… want to… take a sip of the ol’ Xander juice?” Xander said quickly.  He turned his head to the side revealing his neck.

"Oh Childe," Spike whispered as he stared at the side of the boy's throat. He leaned down and licked the cool skin, savouring the taste. Then his fangs extended and he slid them deep inside his Childe's throat, tasting him and marking him all in one.

Xander let out a startled “oh” when he felt Spike's fangs slip into his flesh.  He couldn't remember when he was turned, but this… this was like nothing else he’d ever felt.  There was pain, but there was also more.  Somehow his entire being seemed more aware of Spike.

Spike drank deeply, knowing he'd feed his Childe again soon to replace what he'd taken. He wanted Xander to feel the drain this first time and he wanted to indulge himself a bit. This was his Childe. Even the blood of a slayer paled in comparison to this.

What signalled Spike to pull away was the way Xander shuddered against him and the wet spot that was growing on the front of his jeans.  Apparently he had himself one very responsive Childe.

"Thank you, pet," Spike said as he licked the rapidly closing wound. He brought his head up to stare down into Xander's slightly glazed eyes. Ever so slowly, he leaned down, bringing his blood-tinged lips to Xander's.

Xander whimpered into the kiss and when Spike pulled away, Xander hid his eyes in shame again his Sire’s shoulder.  “Sorry, I…”

"You what?" Spike prodded, frowning.

“I couldn't control myself,” Xander mumbled.

"Most new Childer can't, though you are especially responsive," Spike explained. "There's nothing to be sorry for.  I want you to feel pleasure at my touch.  I want you to crave my bite, my blood."

“Blood…” Xander repeated.  “Guess I’d better get used to it. Does it all taste as good as yours does?”

"To you, no. Your Sire's blood will always taste like the finest ambrosia to you. Angelus' blood does to me, even now. If I had the choice between draining a slayer or sipping from my Sire, I'd choose my Sire every time. That tell you anything?"

“That I'll have to keep you away from Angel,” Xander deadpanned.

"Don't worry. Your blood is the sweetest of all to me. I've never made a Childe before. Made minions by the dozens but never a Childe. You're my first and I savour every drop of your blood."

“But I have to get used to… drinking other blood,” Xander made a face.  “Not from people, I won’t do that.  I won’t hurt anyone, but you won’t feed me forever.”

"Says you," Spike replied. "I can sustain you permanently. Most don't, but that's just because their Childer want to hunt and feed. You don't, so I'll take care of you. No drinking out of a bloody bag for my Childe."

Even the mention of drinking from Spike made Xander shiver.  “But you won’t… can’t hurt humans… right?  So I wouldn't be hurting anyone by drinking from you?”

"No, I can't hurt humans. I get my human blood in a bag from Willy's. Lots of people don't mind getting paid to donate blood. And I can drink from all the demons and vamps I want. Nobody's getting hurt when you feed, I promise."

“I'll just have to make sure you drink enough for two then,” Xander said.

"Don't worry about me. I'll feed enough for the both of us. Just means I eat a few more times a day than I do now." Spike hesitated then frowned again. He didn't want to do this but he wanted to get it over with so he could concentrate on his Childe without it hanging over his head. "Xander... you still set on talking to Red?"

“Ahhh… yeah,” Xander said.  “They'll be wondering what happened to me and I owe it to her.  She’s family.”

"Alright then. Let's get this over with. But you tell her, she doesn't go after your father without me. I'll let her help, but I'm the one that gets to show that fucker what a mistake he made."

“Do you even have a phone in this place?” Xander asked.  They hadn't moved from the bed since he’d woken up and the rest of the room was in shadows.  He didn't even know where he was.

"Yeah, I got a phone. Doesn't pay to be too cut off, what with having this bleeding chip in my head and no minions around to scuttle about for me. Anything else you want here, we can get it for you. You just let me know. But for now, let me show you where the phone is." Spike got out of bed reluctantly and held his hand out to Xander. He led his Childe over to the phone then moved away to give him some privacy.

Xander noticed one thing.  While Spike had led him over to the phone, the lights still hadn't been turned on and now that he really tried, he could see into the shadows.  “Guess night vision is one of those cool vampire super powers,” he called out to Spike.

"Oh yeah, makes it easier to hunt and such," Spike replied. "You'll get used to it. All your senses'll be sharper now. Especially smell. Go on, call the Witch. Don't want her to worry too much."

“Yeah… yeah… yeah,” Xander grumbled.  The truth was, he was stalling.  He was afraid to call and even more afraid of what Willow would think of him now.  Taking a deep breath he quickly dialled the memorized number.

"Hello?" Willow had snatched the phone up on the first ring. No one had heard from Xander all day and she was starting to get worried. She'd even called his folks but his dad had said they hadn't seen him since last night.

“Hey, Will,” Xander tried to make his voice sound as normal as possible.

"Xander! Thank the Goddess," Willow said, relief flooding her system. "I was starting to really, you know, worry. Nobody'd heard from you since yesterday and it's not like you to just disappear and well... I was worried."

“Nope, nothing to worry about here.  No ma’am,” Xander started to babble.  “I'm fit as a fiddle and still ali… alright.”

"Xander? What's wrong?" Willow asked, easily picking up the unease in her best friend's voice. "Are you in trouble or something?"

“Not exactly.”

"What is it then? I called your folks and they said they hadn't seen you since last night. Xander, where are you?"

“You talked to m-my… d-dad?” Xander choked out.

"Yeah. I was worried. Nobody could find you," Willow explained, perplexed by the tremulous way Xander had asked about his father.

“I think you should come over here… this isn't something I want to explain over the phone.”

"Come over where?" Willow asked, starting to worry. Xander sounded strange and that was never good on the Hellmouth.

“Just a second…” Xander covered the mouth piece with his hand and hissed, “Spike, where exactly are we?”

"Angel's old place," Spike said with a snort. "I would'a taken you to the factory but it's kinda fucked up and I wanted you to wake up someplace nice."

“Oh, okay,” Xander nodded stupidly and then spoke into the phone.  “Spike says we’re at Angel’s old place.” Then he’d realized he’d just said he was with Spike and slapped his forehead.

"Spike? You're with Spike? Xander, just answer yes or no, are you okay?" Willow asked. She was gripping the phone so tightly her knuckles were white.

“What? Oh no, it’s not like that. Yes… yes, I’m fine…”

"Okay," Willow said, breathing an audible sigh of relief. "Look, I'll get Buffy and the others and be there in like ten minutes."

“Willow, NO!” Xander caught the panic in his tone and tried to lower it.  “Just you.”

"Alexander Lavelle Harris, you tell me what's wrong right now," Willow demanded. She knew without a doubt that something had happened. Xander's reactions had proven that much.

“Not over the phone, Will… please?” Xander begged in a tone of voice Willow usually called his virtual puppy dog eyes.

"Alright.  I'll be there in ten minutes," she relented. "Um, do I need to bring any, uh, stuff?" She hoped Xander understood that she was referring to stuff of the vampire repelling nature.

“Definitely no stuff of any kind,” Xander said.

"Right. I'm on my way then." She hung up the phone and grabbed her purse. She scrawled a quick note for Tara, telling her that she had to run out and she'd call if she was going to be late. From the way Xander had reacted she was pretty sure he didn't want her even mentioning the phone call to Buffy and the others yet.

Xander stood there with the phone in his hand until Spike came up behind him and put it back in it’s cradle.  “This could be the end of everything…” Xander whispered.

"Not a chance," Spike assured his Childe. "Red loves you. She always has and she always will. 'Specially when she sees you still got your soul. Now me, they'll want to do all sorts of nasty things to but won't none of 'em be mad at you."

“I’m not mad at you, so I don’t see why they would be,” Xander said.  “I would've been dead with a capital D.  Well, more dead than I am now at least.  It’s kind of a Sunnydale freakish happy ever after ending that I end up undead, ya know?”

"No," Spike said, shaking his head. "What it is, is a fucking travesty. A sacrilege. But it's the best I could manage."

“Is there anything else I should know?” Xander asked.  “I got the spooky face down and the seeing in the dark, not to mention being a walking hard on for your blood.  Anything else?”

"You can smell really good, especially blood. You can smell it moving around inside people when they pass you. You can hear it gliding through their veins. All of your senses'll be better now. Better hearing... everything. And you'll be faster. At first it'll be a bit of a hindrance until you get used to it, but after that you'll be fast as the slayer, maybe even faster."

“So I’m like Super Xander “Deadboy” Harris now?” Xander snorted with laughter.  Maybe he could get used to it after all and then he remembered the big part of Vampire and the smile slipped from his face.  “And no more sun…”

"No more sun, pet. Not ever. I'm sorry about that. But the moon's real pretty. You'll start to like it." Spike wrapped his arms around Xander and held him. He knew he only had a few more minutes before Red arrived. It wouldn't do for her to walk in on them being too cozy before Xander'd had a chance to explain things a bit.

Spike kept holding Xander in silence until they heard pounding on the door.  “Xander!  Let me in!  It’s creepy out here.”

"I'll get it," Spike said. "Just take a deep breath and remember that no matter what, Red loves you." Spike left him then and hurried to the door. He let Willow inside, careful to make sure no one else was with her.

“Alright, I’m here.  Now spill,” Willow commanded.

"Will... come and sit down with me," Xander said, careful not to touch her. He knew she'd pick up on the coldness of his touch if he did. "There's a lot I have to tell you. I'm gonna just start at the beginning and go with it. If you can, let me tell you everything before you interrupt."

Willow cocked her head slightly to the side and nodded.  But first her eyes slipped over to where Spike was hovering a few feet away.  If she hadn't known any better she would have thought he was trying to guard Xander from her.

"It's okay, Wills. Spike knows everything and he's not going to hurt either of us. He's just a bit... worried at the moment. To tell you the truth, so am I."

“You didn't bring any of that hocus pocus stuff with ya, didja now, lil’ Witch?” Spike asked.  He was trying to control his possessive streak.  He didn't like anyone, even her, near his new Childe.  And secondly, he was hovering for her protection.  Any normal fledging would have drained her the minute she walked in that door, but obviously Xander was no ordinary fledgling.

"Nothing out of the ordinary," Willow said. "I've got some stuff in my purse but it's like the stuff I always carry. Is there a problem?"

Spike moved forward and stretched out his hand.  “I'll take your purse for now.”

"Give it to him, Wills," Xander said when Willow looked to him. He waited until she had handed it over before taking a deep breath and beginning his tale. "You know my home life's never been real great. Well, dad's been kinda pissed since I broke up with Anya. Last night when I came home, he... he flipped out. He said a lot of really nasty things about me. Insinuated some stuff about me and Spike, too. Then he and a few of his friends decided to teach me a lesson."

Spike listened intensely and didn't even bother to stop his game face from coming out.  There was only a certain amount he could control his rage.  He wondered how Xander's old man had even known about him when he was usually too drunk to even walk down the stairs.  He would get his revenge on Harris Senior and his cronies.  With this damned chip, now wasn't the time for pride.  He’d ask for Red’s help and maybe even some of his more nasty demon friends.

"When they finished with me they dumped me in the alley behind the house," Xander continued, his voice flat and emotionless. He didn't dare look at Willow as he spoke, knowing if he did he'd never get the words out. "They left me there to die. That's where Spike found me. By the time he stumbled over me, it was too late. I was more dead than alive. I remember... I remember being grateful that I wasn't going to die all alone, that at least I had Spike with me. He asked me if he could ease my pain.  I told him he could. At the time, I thought he meant to finish me off. As you can see now, that wasn't what he intended at all. Please believe me, Willow, when I tell you there was no other choice. If Spike hadn't turned me you'd be picking out flowers for my funeral right now."

“He turned you?!” Willow whispered in shock even as she skittered away from Xander.

Xander hung his head. Willow hated him now. Worse that that, she was afraid of him. He wondered if there was still enough sunlight left to go for a walk in. Of all of them, Willow was the most likely to understand. Without her, there was no chance of the others seeing him as anything more than a thing that had to be put down. He wasn't going to put them through that. "Spike, get her out of here," he said hollowly.

“Yes, yes! I need to get out of here,” Willow agreed quickly, stumbling as she quickly got off of the couch. “I need to get to the Magic Box… get the stuff for the binding spell. Spike… I'll need you to make sure he stays s-safe.”

"There won't be a spell, Willow," Xander said. "You're scared of me now. I don't think I can take that. But I won't make you guys stake me. I love you too much for that." This was the thing Xander feared most, losing the small cadre of friends he'd managed to acquire. They were the only decent family he'd ever really had. He wasn't prepared for a life without them.

“We’re not going to stake you,” Willow said quickly as she was trying to process everything. “Maybe tie you up so we can bind that nifty soul of yours to that body.”

"Hold up a second there, Red," Spike said to her before turning his attention to his miserable Childe. "She's not scared of you, pet. She's scared of the demon she thinks is inside you now. You knew it was gonna be a bit of a shock for her. Give her a second or two to get her wits about her."

“What do you mean thinks is inside him?” Willow hesitated.  “Tasty human plus vampire equals demon.  What am I missing here?”

"Yeah well according to Spike I wasn't exactly human to begin with," Xander said bitterly. "I guess that made a difference or something. I don't know."

Now the part of Willow that loved Xander was coming to the forefront, pushing the fear aside.  “So what, you’re like all souled up now?”

"Don't know," Xander shrugged, refusing to look anywhere near her. "Spike seems to think so. I know I don't want to hurt anybody. Doesn't really matter, though. If you freaked, I know Buffy will, not to mention Giles."

“Look at me,” Willow suddenly commanded, coming closer.  There was one way she’d know for sure and that was to look in Xander’s eyes.

It took a moment but Xander did as she asked. Everything he felt was right there for her to see. All the fear and pain and confusion. He didn't know what to do and whenever he didn't know what to do he turned to Willow. Only, he couldn't turn to Willow any more and that hurt more than anything his father and his drunken buddies had done to him.

Willow looked deep into Xander’s eyes and then a smile washed across her face.  “Okay then.  Congratulations, you have a soul.  Now we have to deal with making your father visit planet Regret.”

"I do?" Xander asked, still reeling. He reached out to hug Willow but pulled back at the last instant. He shouldn't touch her. She wouldn't want his touch now.

“Get back here,” Willow admonished.  She reached out and drew Xander into her arms.  “We’re gonna have to buy you some sweaters now.”

"Aren't you scared?" Xander asked, letting his arms slide around his childhood friend. "I mean, I'm a vampire now. You should be afraid of me. I..."

“I've seen you in your old tightie whities, Xander Harris,” Willow teased gently.  “You aren't scary to me.  You’re Xander, you’re my best friend.  Even if you are a little cold.”

"I love you, Wills," Xander said softly, holding her more tightly now. They stayed like that for a few minutes then Xander reluctantly pulled back. "A couple of things. First, no one knows but you. We will tell them, just... not right yet. Second, you don't go after my dad without Spike. He agreed to let me tell you and let you help him but he wants in on it. Okay?"

“Okay,” Willow agreed.  She noticed that Spike was pacing and watching them.  He obviously didn't like Willow touching him.  “Is he always gonna be like that now?”

"I don't know," Xander said. "Maybe. I don't think so, though. He's real protective of me right now. I mean, he only Sired me last night."

“HE is standing right over here,” Spike grumbled.  “HE is like the Big Bad.”

"Sorry," Willow said, grinning sheepishly. "I won't hurt him, you know. Anybody tries to stake Xander they're gonna have to go through me to do it and that includes the Slayer." Willow backed away from Xander and moved over to where Spike was angrily pacing. She reached out and hugged the vampire hard. No matter what else he might have done, he had saved Xander's life. She wouldn't ever forget that.

“Xander…” Spike choked.  “Didn't I tell you I don’t do hugs?”

"Sorry," Willow said again, this time smiling widely as she let go. "I won't forget what you did. Not ever. Anybody tries to mess with either one of you, you've got at least one witch you can turn to... two when you tell Tara."

“You really should be more scared of me,” Spike complained.

"I would have been before this," Willow said honestly. "But I can see how much Xander means to you. And hurting me would hurt him."

“And this makes you like Willow’s… well, I’m sure what it exactly makes you,” Xander said.  “But it makes you family.”

"Family. Been a long time since I had one of those," Spike mused. "Slayer's gonna be plenty pissed when she finds out I turned you. It won't matter what you say to her, she'll still think I could have done something else. You two need to be on your toes when she finally finds out."

"Xander, that's not true," Willow said, though she cringed inside. Buffy did take Xander for granted, even more so than she did the rest of them. Willow didn't mind so much but she could be downright cruel sometimes and not even realize it.

“We both know it’s true, Wills,” Xander argued.  “I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't want to stake me before just because she didn't want to get Mr. Pointy all bloody.”

"Hey now, pet," Spike said, coming over to stand beside Xander. "It's not like that. Slayer's got a lot on her mind what with living on the Hellmouth and all. She don't mean to slight you. I think she just sees the Xander she met when she first came here. She still sees the boy and looks right over the man."

“I’m not much of a man,” Xander mumbled again.  No one really thought of him as a man and the hateful words of his father came to mind.  His father and friends had called him a ‘dirty little faggot boy’ on a regular basis or some variation of it to the point he answered to it.

"That's your bloody father talking," Spike said. "You're a good man, or at least you were before those fools tried to take you away from us. You listen to your Sire now. I know what I'm talking about."

“It isn't just my dad,” Xander said.  “My mom… kids at school… other people…”  He couldn't believe that he was actually sniffing to keep from crying.  Vampires didn't cry.  Vampires weren't supposed to feel like a victim.

"None of them saw you, not really," Willow said. "They all saw the mask you wore, they never saw the real Xander. Only a few of us are lucky enough to get to see him."

“I like the Xander I see,” Spike added.  “And if anyone gives you trouble now, you can just snap their necks.”

"Spike," Willow said, casting a worried glance at the blond vampire. "You shouldn't encourage him to do things like that. I mean, I know he's a vampire now, but he's still Xander and Xander wouldn't want to hurt anyone."

“What?” Spike said innocently and then shrugged his shoulders.  “It’s just talk.  He’s gonna hafta learn to talk the talk if he can’t walk the walk.  He’s William the Bloody’s Childe from the line of Angelus, Scourge of Europe and he’s gotta learn to play that up.  You’d be surprised how far a big mouth will get ya.”

"Really," Willow said sarcastically, earning a smile from the two vampires. "Alright then, but don't talk like that in front of Buffy. Not at first anyway. Look, I know you're worried about telling her but you can't keep this from her for long. You know that, don't you?"

Before Xander could answer, Spike spoke, “Hey now, he’s lucky I let you near him so soon after I turned the whelp.  We need some quality alone time. Screw the Slayer.”

"I know you do," Willow replied. "You need time to bond and all that stuff, but Buffy will know if Xander's gone missing and she'll look for him. If she finds him here she'll stake first and ask questions later. Spike, it might be best if you got him out of Sunnydale until you're ready to come out."

“Come out?” Xander squeaked.

"Sorry, poor choice of words, but you know what I mean. I can tell Buffy that you went out of town suddenly... a sick aunt or something. She won't really miss Spike and even if she does, she won't know where to look. Is there someplace you can go? Just for a little while?"

“I have a few hidey holes where no one can find us unless we want to be found,” Spike said.  “And speaking of coming out, you weren't far off the mark…”

"Spike!" Xander gasped, going even paler at his Sire's words.

“What?” Spike shot back with a raised eyebrow.  “We are talkin’ to a chick chaser here.”

"Spike, please," Xander pleaded. "I already died because... because of what I am. I can't lose Willow, too."

“You’re the same thing as her,” Spike reminded him.  “So am I.  I won’t let you hide that from your friend.”

"Xander..." Willow began carefully. "Is that true? Are you really... bi?"

“Humans labels like that don’t apply to us,” Spike put in, hoping to help Xander’s inner struggle.

"I... I guess I am," Xander said. "Spike said vampires will fuck just about anything but I was like this before. I mean, I never did anything with another guy but I... I thought about it some."

“It’s okay, pet,” Spike cut Xander off before he could get anymore distressed.  “I knew it.  I could smell it… sense it.”

"Xander, look at me," Willow commanded. She waited until he was looking straight at her before continuing. "You're my best friend. Who you love doesn't matter to me. I don't care if you want to have sex with a hamster. Well, okay, I do care about that because, you know, innocent hamster and all that. But, I don't care if you're gay or bi or tri or whatever. Okay?"

“Yeah… okay,” Xander agreed.  He believed Willow would try to forgive him anything, but what if the center of his obsession was solely Spike?

"Xander, would it help if I told you I've done some research on vampires and stuff and that I have a pretty good idea of what goes on between a Sire and their Childer?" Willow asked. She wanted Xander to believe her. She could tell there was something going on between the two men and, even if there wasn't, there soon would be. It was the way things worked with vampires. She just had to trust that Spike wouldn't abuse Xander like Angelus had probably abused him.

“I really don’t want to talk about this,” Xander begged.  Talking about sex to Willow was like… well, it was just icky.  “He’s been good to me.”

"I can see that," Willow said, letting Xander off the hook. "I just want you to know that I'm still your best friend and I still love you and nothing you do with Spike is going to change that. Got it?"

“I got it,” Xander said.  He felt like he was blushing.  He didn't know if vampires could blush, but it felt like he was blushing.

"Good. Now, is there anything you two need? Do you have enough blood on hand? I can get you some if you need it, but we need to do this fast. And I need to call Buffy and the others and let them know that Xander's going to be out of town for a while." Willow stopped then and frowned. She took a deep breath and faced Spike. "I won't lie to Tara. She won't say anything to anyone but I won't lie to her."

“We could use some more human blood,” Spike said.  He reached over and ruffled Xander’s hair.  “Only the best for my Childe.”  He hoped that playing on Willow’s soft side would buy them human blood and none of that pig blood that made him consider starving to death.

"Uh, human?" Willow gulped. "I don't know where to get that, do you?"

“You can get it from Willy’s,” Spike said with a smirk.  “And don’t worry, it comes from free range humans.”

"Oh, uh, okay," Willow said. She held out her hand for her purse, understanding now why Spike had taken it. It made her feel good that he was taking such good care of Xander. She would make sure to keep her promise and not go after Xander's father without him.

Spike handed Willow her purse.  “Can you pick up a few other things for us?  I slipped some dosh in there to cover it.”

"Whatever you need, just as long as it's not illegal," Willow said quickly.

“Nothing illegal… just some Twinkies… chocolate ice cream, hot chocolate, chips, that yellow spray cheese… Wheatabix…” Spike rattled off a mixture of his and Xander’s favourite foods by heart.  “Anythin’ else you’d think he’d like.”

"Got it," Willow said,  a bit choked up at Spike wanting to stock up on all the things Xander liked.

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