Fandom: BtVs
Pairing: Xander/Spike
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: m/m slash, violence, language, bloodplay
Notes: WIP

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One Tin Soldier


by
D'Nalia



Part One


May 20, 2012

Sgt. Jamison nodded to several people as he made his way through the maze of desks in the outer office. He quickly checked his uniform before knocking on the Major's door.

"Come."

Jamison entered the office, closing the door behind him. He stood at attention in front of the large, oak desk and waited patiently for the Major to finish what he was doing.

The older man finally pushed the paperwork aside and leaned back in his chair. "So. Sgt. Jamison, what can I do for you today?"

"Sir. We've found him, Sir. Hostile 17. The satellite picked up the trace an hour ago. And, Sir? The chip is still active and fully functional. All incoming data reads green."

The Major smiled for the first time in days. "That's good news, Jamison. I want a retrieval team in the air immediately. And, Jamison. I want you to lead the team. I want Hostile 17 treated like the General's virgin daughter. Am I clear?"

"Yes, Sir. I'll have him on base within 24 hours, Sir."

"Very well, Jamison. Dismissed."

The Sgt. saluted and quickly left the office, leaving the Major to his thoughts. The dark eyed man suddenly laughed out loud. "I'll be damned. After all these years. Spike."

Major Alexander Harris, Commander of the so-called 'Death Squad', closed his office for the day and headed to the Officer's Club. This called for a celebration.


~*~*~*~*~


July 18th, 2000

Xander trudged home, jobless once again. I must have pissed off someone in a big way for my life to be this bad. This makes, what? twelve jobs? Fifteen? I can't keep track anymore. I should call Guinness, this has to be some kind of record. Oh, and won't the 'rents be thrilled? I gotta find a new job, and fast.

Xander was only a block from his house when he met Anya coming down the sidewalk. Ah, yes. My loving girlfriend. That's what I need, another round of 'Xander, I want orgasms. Now.' Can we say nympho? If she doesn't slow down, it's going to fall off.

"Hi, Anya. Coming to visit?"

"No. I came to break up with you, but you weren't home so I left you a note. Goodbye, Xander." Anya said calmly, as she walked by.

"Huh? Anya, what are you talking about?"

The former vengeance demon stopped in her tracks and turned to face her former boyfriend. "I want more than you can give me, Xander. I deserve a boyfriend who will buy me nice things, take me to exotic places and give me all the sex I want."

Xander frowned at her, "You've been watching Oprah again, haven't you?"

"That doesn't matter. It's true. I deserve more than I can get from you. Goodbye, Xander."

Xander watched in stupified disbelief as Anya marched down the sidewalk and out of his life. His brain completely numb, he slowly made his way to his shabby basement apartment. He flopped down on his bed and stared up at the ceiling. My life sucks in such a big way. I can't keep a job. I live in my parents' basement. My girlfriend dumped me. My friends don't need me anymore. Can it possibly get any worse?

"'Ello, pet. Mind if I come to visit?"

That's a big yep. "What do you want, Spike? Can't you see I'm incredibly busy with my fascinating life?" Xander asked, sarcastically.

The vampire stared down at the one member of the Scooby gang that he actually liked. "What's wrong, pet? Have a bad day?"

"No. A bad life, Spike. Know where I can get a new one? Cheap? Since I lost my job, again?"

Spike settled down in the lone chair and smirked, "How many jobs is that now? I've never seen anyone go through jobs like you do. It must be a gift."

"More like a curse. What do you want, Spike?"

Spike tried to look pitiful, "My telly is busted and Passions is coming on. You don't mind if I watch it, do you? No? I thought not. Thanks, pet." He turned on the tv and settled in for his daily dose of 'who does who'.

He groused at the commercials, "Bloody hell. Be all you can be. There you go, pet. The army is the place for you. I've said it before, I'll say it again."

Xander threw his pillow at the vampire, "Shut up, Spike. Or you can leave."

"Touchy, touchy. Relax, mate. I'll just watch my show and be out of your hair."


~*~*~*~*~


Spike pulled his duster over his head and darted out of the sewer. He was only slightly toasty when he finally got into Xander's apartment. He looked around, but the whelp wasn't home. "Ah, well. I'll have the place to myself. Fancy that." He'd just settled into the chair when he saw the plain, white envelope on top of the tv. An envelope with his name on it.

Spike,

I took your advice, and guess what? The army actually
wants me to be all I can be. I'll be leaving for basic from the recruiter's office. It's been real, Spike. Take the tv with you. And anything else you can carry. I don't need it anymore. See ya around.

the moron

"Bloody hell, the git's gone and joined the army."


~*~*~*~*~


Xander settled into army life with an ease that amazed him and would have completely stunned his friends. He pulled up every memory of his brief stint as a private, courtesy of Ethan Rayne's Halloween spell, and somehow, found himself at the front of his company. His drill sergeants praised him and his fellow recruits came to him for help with their class work. Because he, Alexander LaVelle Harris, the boy most likely to retire at minimum wage, was acing the class. Life was good.


~*~*~*~*~


Captain Christopher Baines and Major John Marshall stood in the repelling tower, watching the latest batch of recruits run through the obstacle course. One was so far ahead of the rest, he might as well have been running it by himself. But once he crossed the finish line, he didn't stop. He immediately turned around and headed back onto the course. The two officers watch in amazement as he threatened, cajoled and bullied the rest of his squad through the course.

"Captain." the Major said, softly. "Find out who that recruit is. I think we just found the newest member of our new company."

"Yes, Sir." The Captain watched for another moment, "Sir, I recognize that kid from somewhere."

"Find out everything, Captain. I want him on the fast track. Yesterday."


~*~*~*~*~


Captain Baines spoke to the D.I.s in charge of the recruits, as well as the instructors giving the academic classes. They were all very impressed with Pvt. Harris. Baines pulled his jacket and found some interesting information. Information that led him to the archives and the tapes from the now defunct 'Initiative'.


~*~*~*~*~


"Major, I have that information you requested. And, Sir. You aren't going to believe this." Baines put a tape in the Major's vcr and hit play. Marshall frowned when he saw the end of the Initiative. "I always thought that program was an incredibly stupid idea. What has this got to do with that recruit."

"Just watch, Sir." Baines pointed to the screen, "There he is, Sir. One Alexander LaVelle Harris. He was nineteen when he helped bring down the Adam project."

Marshall watched as the teenager moved through a rampaging crowd of hostiles and confused soldiers. He never wavered. He stayed cool, collected and got his friends out alive.

"How's his academic record, Baines?"

"In high school, C average. Barely. But since he's been here, nothing but 100%, Sir. He's top in all of his classes, the best marksman the D.I.'s have seen in years and his fellow recruits would cheerfully follow him straight into Hell. He's perfect."

Marshall grunted, still watching the tape. "Get Swanson to test him. I'll get a waiver from the General. He's no good to us as an enlisted man." The Major looked at his long time friend, "Chris, how would you feel about mentoring him?"

"Honestly? I don't think I'd have a problem with that at all, Sir."

"Good."


~*~*~*~*~


Xander finished his classes for the day and was heading to the chow hall with the rest of his squad when a sergeant pulled him aside. "Harris, you're to report to building 111 at 1500. Ask for Lt. Swanson."

"Yes, Sir."

At 1500, Xander's nerves were about shot. He didn't know why he'd been ordered to come here, but he had the feeling his life was about to change again.

He asked for Lt. Swanson and was directed to an office at the end of the hall. A woman's voice answered when he knocked.

"Come."

Xander stood in front of her desk and snapped to attention. Saluting, he said, "Pvt. Harris reporting as ordered, Ma'am."

"Have a seat, Pvt. I'd like to ask you a few questions."

The next four hours were gruelling. She asked about his family, his home life, his friends. Then she suddenly switched to military history. She grilled him mercilessly. He was exhausted by the time she had finished.

The Lt. closed the file on her desk and abruptly said, "That will be all, Pvt. Please return to the outer office. Someone will be with you shortly." She returned the young man's salute and waited for the door to close behind him before snatching up her phone.

She punched in a number from memory and waited impatiently for line to be answered. "Come on, come on. Chris? This is Kelly. He aced it, Chris. No hesitation. Why the hell isn't he in OCS?"

Baines laughed, "We're working on it, Kelly. We're working on it. Is he still there?"

"He's in the outer office. The poor kid is scared to death, Chris. He thinks he's in trouble." The Lt. debated for a moment and decided to come clean. "Chris, be careful with him. I picked his brain but good. He expects things to go wrong and for him to lose. Personally, I think we should go to his home town and eliminate his parents. With extreme prejudice. They more than deserve it."

"What did he say, Kelly?" Baines asked, in a harsh voice.

"Him? Not a thing. We sent Myers to Harris' hometown to do the primary interview with his parents. Chris, those assholes didn't even know their son had enlisted. And Myers is the one who wants permission to eliminate them."

"Myers? Hell, the guy is practically a saint. I didn't think he ever got angry."

"Chris, he was so angry he cursed. A lot. I've heard drunken sailors who didn't use words like that."

"Jesus. They've got to be bad for Myers to go off. Is this going to be a problem, Kelly? Harris' upbringing I mean."

"Hell no. It just makes him more gung ho. He wants this, Chris. He wants it bad."

"Well, we're just going to have to make sure he gets it then."


~*~*~*~*~


Xander snapped to attention when the Captain walked into the office.

The Captain smiled and held out his hand, "I'm Captain Baines, Pvt. Harris. I've been looking forward to meeting you."

Xander shook the man's hand and tried to hide how nervous he was. "Nice to meet you, Sir."

Baines laughed, "Relax, Pvt. Come on, let's take a walk. There is something I'd like to speak to you about."

The Captain led the way out of the building and across the courtyard to the exercise area. It was empty at this time of day and the perfect place to hold a private conversation.

"Pvt. Harris, I work for Major John Marshall. He's heading up a new company and we'd like you to consider joining us."

"I'd be honored, Sir." Xander said, trying desperately to sound sincere. He relaxed a little when the Captain laughed again.

"Never just agree to something the Army wants without checking first, Harris. Trust me, the more intel the better."

"Yes, Sir."

"Now, this new company is something you're already familiar with. We know about what happened with the Initiative." Baines saw the young man's face turn white and hastened to reassure him. "We aren't bringing it back and you aren't in any trouble for helping to bring them down. The Major and I believe the U.S. Army has no business messing around with demons. What they tried to do with the Initiative was wrong on so many levels it boggles the mind. And, naturally, it came back to bite them in the ass. What we want to do is fight the demons and send them straight back where they belong. That's all. No labs, no experiments."

Xander decided to take a risk, "Sir, I know a lot about demons, I've been fighting them for years. Not all of them are bad. Some were born here on earth and some are even half-human. You can't just kill them all."

"You see, Harris? That's why we need you. You have the knowledge and the practical experience. Having you with us could prevent a lot of mistakes. We want you to go ahead and finish your training here. Take the time to think about this. It won't be easy. Actually, it'll be hard as hell. But, it has to be done. Demons are starting to overrun the planet. We want to stop them before it's too late."

"I'll think about it, Sir."

Baines smiled again, "That's all we ask, Harris. For now."


~*~*~*~*~


Graduation day from basic was both a good and a bad. On the one hand, he'd graduated with honors. On the other, no one was there to see his triumph. And his time had run out. Captain Baines would be waiting for his answer.


~*~*~*~*~


Captain Baines led Xander to the Major's office and introduced him to his new C.O.

"It's nice to finally meet you, Second Lieutenant Harris." The Major said, while firmly shaking Xander's hand.

"Uh, excuse me, Major, but I'm only a PFC." Xander said.

Major Marshall grinned, "Not any more, Harris. All those extra classes you've been taking? Congratulations, you've earned a degree in Military history. And by special waiver from General Reynolds, you are now officially a Second Lieutenant."

Xander's eyes bulged and a huge grin slowly grew on his face. "Thank you, Sir. Thank you very much."

"Don't thank me, Harris. You did all the work. We need people like you. It's time to take the war out of the hands of demons and run it our way. The Army way. And, just to get you people used to working together, we're going to be taking a little trip."

"Where to, Major?" Baines asked.

"Sierra Leone, Captain. I think it's time someone showed those teenage punk rebels what happens to people who chop off children's hands because they can."


~*~*~*~*~


The next six months in Xander's life were horrific. He'd seen demons, vampires and all sorts of nasties. But nothing compared to the sight of a baby with no hands. But, he followed orders, led his men and completed the objective. And all the while, he and Christopher grew closer.


~*~*~*~*~


October 15, 2004

Xander took his squad and covered the left flank, Chris had the right. The two men worked so well together, they might as well have been telepathic. The towns' people had finally called in the Army after a twelve foot tall demon had flattened half the town. Luckily, no one had been killed. Yet.

Xander caught his first sight of the demon, twelve feet was conservative. The thing had to be eighteen feet tall from it's huge, clawed feet to the top of the curved horns sprouting out of it's head. The demon was oddly beautiful, in a creepy sort of way. "Fuck, fuck, fuck." Xander got on the radio and called Chris. "Baines, tell your men not to fire. It's a Bremal demon. Bullets won't touch it. It'll just piss it off. And trust me, you don't want to do that."

"Affirmative. Leave a couple of LOP's, head back to the LZ."

"Affirmative. Jenkins, you and Reynolds stay here and keep an eye on it. Do not approach, and for God's sake, don't fire at it."

"Yes, Sir, Lt."


~*~*~*~*~


Xander met up with Chris outside the command tent and exchanged a glance.; Their time together had been infrequent in the last few months, but, starting tomorrow, they were on furlough for two weeks. Two, whole weeks. Xander wanted to get this puppy put to bed and now.

They entered the tent, side by side. Major Marshall smiled upon seeing them. Their relationship wasn't really a secret, but he didn't say anything. When fighting demons, who really cared what they did in the privacy of their own home?

"Well, Harris. What can you tell us about this 'Bremal' demon?" The Major asked, waving at them to be seated.

"Well, Major. That is one demon I never thought we'd see. Bremal's avoid humans, religiously. I can't really think of any reason why...Oh, crap. Major, I need to speak with the person who first saw the demon, I think I know what's going on."

Marshall turned to his aide, "Go invite Mr. Seitz to join us."

"Yes, Sir."

The civilian entered the tent with a smug look on his face. "Have you killed it yet?"

Xander immediately disliked the man. "Mr. Seitz, a direct hit from a nuke might knock him down, but that's about it."

Seitz turned pale, then flushed a bright red. "You're the Army! Can't you do something?"

"Yes, actually we can, Mr. Seitz. Come with me, I think I have a solution to the problem." Xander grabbed him by the arm and frog marched him back into the storage warehouse where they'd left the demon. He stopped the, by then, gibbering man just a few feet away from the demon.

The Bremal roared, lashing his huge tail from side to side.

"Well, Mr. Seitz, is there something you'd like to tell me? Something about a jewel maybe?"

Seitz stuttered for a moment, but his greed won out. "Finders keepers. What does a demon need with a jewel anyway?"

Xander laughed, "Mr. Seitz, that's not a jewel. It's his child. And from his actions, I'd say the little one is due to hatch any day now. Mr. Seitz, you do not want a hungry baby Bremal anywhere near you. Trust me."

Seitz couldn't wait to tell Xander where he'd hidden the large, glowing jewel he'd found. Xander turned Seitz over to the MP's and retrieved the jewel. He tenderly carried it back to the Bremal and raised it up so the demon could see it. The Bremal carefully took the orb and cradled it against his massive chest. He crooned softly to it and then stared down at Xander for a moment. The Bremal gravely bowed to Xander before turning to quietly leave the building and the town. Never to be seen by humans again.

Xander jumped slightly when a warm hand slapped him on the shoulder. "Good one, Xan. Not one shot fired. I could get used to battles like this."

Xander laughed and they headed for debriefing.

"Xan, would the baby demon really have eaten Seitz?"

Xander cracked up. "No. They live on crystals. Quartz and stuff. They wouldn't eat a human if they had to."

Chris looked dumb struck for a moment, then burst into laughter himself.


~*~*~*~*~


Chris managed to wait until they'd locked the door behind them before he pounced. He smiled down at the young man who'd come to mean so much to him, then proceeded to kiss him stupid.

Xan returned the kiss with equal desire, working feverishly to divest Chris of his uniform. He ran his hands down the strong back, loving the feel of strong muscles shifting under the skin.

They rolled across the floor, want and need supplanting any notion of slow, easy sex. Chris tore Xan's shirt off and managed to get his pants and briefs down to his knees when Xander thrust up against him. Chris groaned, loving the feel of Xan's skin against his own. They thrust against each other harshly, striving for completion. It was over too quickly, for both of them.

Xander laid gasping on the floor, Chris' dark hair tickling his neck where he had his head tucking into Xander's shoulder. Xander grabbed a handful of that hair and pulled Chris' face up where he could see those deep green eyes. "Love you."

"Yeah, I know." Chris smirked and rolled to his feet, running for the shower. Xander struggled to get his boots and pants off so he could give chase. Chris was just stepping under the hot water when he heard the yell.

"Dammit, Chris! I've got rug burns on my ass, again!"


~*~*~*~*~


May 21, 2012

Jamison made careful notes before he called the Major. He wanted to have the answers ready for the questions the Major was sure to ask. He had the Comms Op get the Major on the radio and gave his briefing.

"Major, we've located the site."

"Have you made the retrieval yet?"

"No, Sir. Sir, all data indicates that Hostile 17 is being held in a complex, guarded by armed men and dogs. I've located ten individual guards, twenty two cameras and several check points. I've seen no indication that this is a military site, Sir. What are your orders?"

Jamison heard cursing on the other end. "Hold position, Jamison. I'm going to check a few things out and then I'll be joining you. With the rest of the squad."

"Affirmative, Sir."


~*~*~*~*~


Xander got in to see the General immediately. Marshall always had time for him. The older man was the only thing that held him together after Chris had been killed.

"General Marshall, we have a problem."

"Have a seat, Harris. What's wrong?"

"The retrieval team just informed me that Hostile 17 is being held in a guarded compound. Do we have anything in the area?"

Marshall frowned, "I'll find out for you. Are you going on site?"

"Yes, Sir. With your permission."

"You have it. Keep me informed. I'll relay any intel on route."

"Thank you, Sir."


~*~*~*~*~


Xander relaxed into his seat and read the intel package the Comm Ops handed him. Marshall had been thorough, as usual. The complex was owned by a civilian corporation that dealt with the testing of new drugs and medicines. Two of the doctors on staff had been junior members of the Initiative. Xander turned the page to read the Presidential order giving him jurisdiction over the site and everything on it. "Hang on, Spike. I'm coming."


~*~*~*~*~


Jamison snapped to attention and saluted Major Harris as he exited his jeep. "Sir. The situ is static, Sir."

Xander returned the salute, "Very good, Jamison. Round up your team. You're going in with us."

Jamison tried not to smile, Major Harris in action was something to see. "Yes, Sir."

Xander and the 'Death Squad' rolled through the gates and subdued the guards without a shot being fired and no warning being given. It didn't take much to convince the Chief of Security to hand over the pass codes.

Xander rounded up his men, quickly giving them their orders. "I want this place locked down tight gentlemen. No one gets out. Shoot to disable, and only if necessary. I want answers and I can't get that from corpses. Head out."

The squad deployed rapidly. Each level of the complex was secured, all of the staff herded towards the main operations room, where the Major was waiting.

Xander looked over the scientists and staff, not liking what he saw. "I'm Major Alexander Harris. I have here a Presidential order giving me jurisdiction over this complex and everything in it. It seems that a missing piece of government property is located somewhere in this facility. I'd like to have it back. Now."

Dr. Jorgens, head of the facility, spoke up. "I don't know what you're talking about. You have no right to do this. We're American citizens, we have rights."

Xander stared the man down, "I'm talking about Hostile 17. We've traced his chip to this site. Either you give him to me, or I'll take this place apart until I find him. Your choice."

Jorgens didn't have time to answer. Jamison came running into the room at full speed. "Major, we found him. And a lot of others. They're locked in cells below. The pass codes don't work, Sir. Major? He doesn't look good." Jamison finished, quietly. He knew Hostile 17 was a vampire, but what he'd seen in that room made him sick.

Xander pulled Jorgens to his face and pushed him into the hall. "Lead the way, Jamison. And call for Rom to get down here. Tell him to bring the case with him."

"Yes, Sir."


~*~*~*~*~


Xander stared at Spike. Or what was left of him. He was strapped down on a table, tubes and wires covered his pale skin. He looked much, much worse than dead. He had shrunk, his skin pasty and fragile looking. The bright blue eyes were dull and the hair Spike had always been so proud of hung in whisps. Xander had his hand around the scientist's throat before he even realized he was moving.

"Open the damned door. NOW!!! Before I give in to the urge to kill you."

"I can't." Jorgens stuttered. "That creature is vicious! Even with the chip he managed to kill two people."

Xander tightened his grip, listening to the older man gasp for air. "Open it, or so help me, I'll shoot you where you stand."

Jorgens suddenly realized his life expectancy was going down hill rapidly. He typed in the key code and stepped back.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike couldn't really focus his eyes any more. He hadn't fed in so long nothing worked right. But when he saw the shape move toward him, he found the strength to move. If he was going to die, he'd die fighting. Chip or no bloody chip.


~*~*~*~*~


Xander heard the dry snap of brittle bones breaking as Spike tried desperately to free himself. He ran forward and put his hand on Spike's chest, holding him down. "Spike, calm down. You're safe. We're here to get you out. No one else will hurt you. I promise."

The sound of that voice finally broke through the state of hysteria Spike was in. It had changed some, but he still recognized it. "Xander? Is that you?"

"Yeah, Spike. The moron to the rescue. Stay still, we'll get this stuff off of you and get you out of here."

Spike laughed, or tried to. "Forget it, Harris. Kill me and get it over with. I'm too weak to move."

"We're going to take care of that, Spike. Rom?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Help me get this shit off of him." Xander said, angrily.

"Let me, Sir. I think we should leave one line in. I can push fluids straight into his body if you can get him to eat."

"Good plan, Rom. Give me a pack."

Rom opened the chest and pulled out a pack of whole blood. Human blood. He handed it off to the Major and began pushing plasma into the vampire, using one of the lines already in place.

Xander popped the valve open on the packet and held it up to Spike's face. "Come on, Spike. It's blood. Human blood. O positive. It's your favorite." Xander said, in a sing song voice.

The smell of human blood sent Spike into a frenzy. He dropped into his vampiric form and sunk his fangs into the bag. Totally ignoring the neat little hose protruding from the top. The first human blood he'd had in years slid down his throat in a slick caress. The bag was empty much too quickly and Spiked whimpered in need.

"It's okay, Spike. We brought lots of blood. We won't let you starve. Here's some more."

Spike guzzled the second bad as quickly as the first, but then he felt his eyes start to drift closed. He struggled to stay awake, but it had been so long since he felt safe...he drifted into sleep, making Rom's job much easier. And completely missing the sight of his 'Nummy Treat' pounding a human into the floor, because he had dared to hurt him.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike slid into consciousness slowly. He opened his eyes, blinking a few times, and was more than pleased when his vision was once again what it used to be.

He looked around the room he was in. No windows, only a single door. Some attention had been given to his comfort. He was in a hospital bed with an IV line running into his arm. But, he wasn't strapped down. There was a television and a small stereo across from the bed. He tensed when the door suddenly opened.

A young man, Hispanic from the look of him, stepped into the room. "Good evening, Sir. How are you feeling?" The young man asked, politely.

"Just ducky." Spike replied, rudely.

The young man smiled. "I realize that probably wasn't the most intelligent question I could have asked. Sorry. I've never had to take care of a vampire before. Would you like something to eat?"

Spike frowned, he felt much better, but he was still starving. The young man didn't force him to answer. He left the room, but returned quickly with an overly large mug in his hand. He handed it to the vampire, holding it steady until he was sure the vampire could handle it. "I put some Wheetabix in it for you. The Major said you liked that."

"The Major?"

"Yeah, Spike, Major. You know, 'Be all you can be'?" Xander said in a laughing voice from where he was leaning against the door frame. "I've got it, Rom. Thank you."

"Certainly, Major. I'll be at the desk if you need me."

Xander sat in the chair next to the bed and smiled when he saw how much Spike had improved in just a week. His hair was growing back in, brown instead of his usual blonde. He was pale, but not the pasty color he had been when they'd pulled him out of the complex. Xander had been convinced more than once that Spike wouldn't recover. He knew vampires could heal almost anything, but being starved for weeks while he was being experimented on...

"You're looking much better, Spike. And, believe it or not, I'm actually happy to see you."

Spike raised his scarred brow and Xander laughed. "I've had people looking for you for months, Spike. I'd about given up hope. How in the Hell did you end up in Texas of all places?"

Spike shrugged, "Seemed like a bloody good idea at the time, pet. The Slayer and her merry little band of annoying twats hounded me night and day. It got so I couldn't even take a nap, thinking her blondness would find me."

"Why was Buffy so hot to dust you?" Xander asked, curiously.

"Seems someone forgot to tell his friends that he'd decided to enlist. They thought I'd managed to run you off and decided I needed to go. I've been on the move ever since. At least until those bloody wankers snagged me."

Xander's face turned red in embarrassment, "Sorry, Spike. I wanted a new start, so I just took off."

Spike looked Xander over, really seeing him. The hair was short, but just as dark. The large chocolate brown eyes were older and harder than they had been back in Sunnydale. Spike took in the number of ribbons on the uniform, "Looks like you did good for yourself, Harris."

"I did, Spike. Thanks to you. If you hadn't have pissed me off so bad that day, I never would have gone to the recruiter's office. I made officer just after training. I've been with the squad ever since."

Spike finished his blood and sat the mug on the bedside table. "So, tell me, Harris. What in the Bloody Hell does the Army want with me? More experiments? You could have left me where I was. I'm sure the wankers would have been happy to share."

Spike watched in amazement as Harris' face turned cold and hard. "The 'wankers' are in jail at the moment. The government frowns on the sort of work they were doing there. Besides, we have an offer for you. One I hope you'll take."

"What kind of offer?" Spike asked, suspiciously.

"We can't take the chip out, it's fully integrated into your brain. But, we would like to offer you a job. As a, 'consultant'. My squad deals strictly with demons and other sort of supernatural nastiness. We'll make sure you have all the blood you can drink. 'Human blood.' We'll provide you with a place to live, make sure no humans can bother you and introduce you to strange, exotic demons, and let you kill them."

"What's the catch, pet?"

For a moment the old Harris was sitting there, goofy grin, laughing eyes, bouncing excitedly in his chair. "We get to be roomies again, Spike."

"Bloody Hell."






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