Old Blood


9 Tub, Sweet Tub?

Spike banged his head rhythmically on the edge of the tub. He’d sworn never again, but here he was, back in the watcher’s bathtub. He hated this tub with a passion, but he had to admit, it was roomier than Xander’s down in that damned basement. And cleaner, too. Small blessings, he knew, but he took what he could get these days.

He’d had such high hopes for Xander, but now it looked as if they were about to be crushed before his eyes. They’d had a good run of it, though. A good deal of fun had been had in the short time they’d been together, and lots of good memories made. He had no hopes for a future. As soon as they figured out what had happened, they’d find a way to fix it, and old Spike would be out on his ear. Xander – the boy – had a good heart, and would probably be able to forgive Spike for taking advantage of him, but things would never be the same again.

He sighed heavily. He’d heard them working on Xander earlier, trying to get him to spill everything, but The Bastard was standing firm, or sitting, as the case may be. They’d had him tied up in a chair in the watcher’s bedroom for a good long time before they realized he was speaking to Spike every time they left the room. They’d bundled Xander downstairs after that, and although he could still hear sounds from down there, nothing was very clear.

He was most worried about the scents; it seemed they were working spells, if the scent of incense and sage was anything to go by. He doubted they’d been able to break Xander’s spell, but they were doing some kind of mojo, and that was not a good sign. Spike perked up when he heard footsteps on the stairs. The watcher and his slayer, from the sound of things. Well, they wouldn’t get anywhere with him. There hadn’t been that many people who’d stood up for Spike the way Xander had tonight. He wouldn’t be the one to betray that trust.

The scent of pig’s blood preceded them into the room. He grimaced; as if he’d be tempted by that rank slop. Xander had been feeding him human for weeks; he was healthier now than he’d been since his time with the Initiative. He could easily go for two or three days before hunger began to be a problem.

“Hey, Spike.” She stopped inside the door, her watcher behind her in the doorway, holding a mug.


“Hungry? Giles said you haven’t been over for blood in several days. He’s got a refrigerator full that he’s hoping you’ll want to take off his hands when you leave.”

“Planning to let me go, are you?” He held his chained hands out to her. “Ta much, Ducks. I’ll just be on my way, then.”

She walked over and sat on the edge of the tub, shaking her head. “Well, not quite yet.” He dropped his hands, a disappointed pout on his face. “There’s still the matter of the spell you cast on Xander to deal with.”

Spike laughed out loud. “I cast? Are you barkers? I’m capable of a lot of things, Slayer, but magic is not one of them.”

“Who did, then?” Giles set the cup on the cabinet at the end of the tub and leaned his hip against the sink.

“What makes you think there’s a spell in the first place? Xander’s not capable of making up his own mind? Is that it? Oh, wait, I get it. He’s just not allowed to want something you don’t think is in his best interests.”

Giles made an exasperated noise. “If that were the case, he’d never have dated Anya. No, we don’t control what or who he does with his life, but his rapid change of personality has us more than a little concerned.”

“Change of personality? Boy’s growing up on you is he? Becoming more assertive as he becomes a man? Maybe he’s a bit more aggressive these days, but don’t you think that might have to do with being involved with a vampire?” He smiled lecherously at Buffy, licking his lips. “We like our sex a bit rough, you know. Every time you hit me, Slayer, I get hard.”

Buffy jumped off the tub, putting plenty of distance between them. “Giles, the vampire is creeping me out!”

Spike leered at them both. He inhaled deeply and quite loudly, eyebrows rising when he got a hit of two different sets of pheromones. He wasn’t surprised. He’d spent enough time here in his flat to know where the watcher’s interests lay.

The watcher knew what he was doing, even if his slayer looked confused. He interrupted the moment, derailing Spike’s casual thought of seducing one or the other in order to free himself and Xander.

“We performed a detection spell tonight, Spike. We know perfectly well that there is a spell on both of you.”

Both of us?” That was disturbing to Spike. He hadn’t realized he’d been spelled, as well. Not that he’d have objected to Xander’s initiation of sex between them, he was pretty sure of that, but still, it bothered him to know the spell had extended to him.

“Ah. You thought the spell was only on Xander?”

The gleam in Giles’ eyes as he picked up on that slip made Spike curse. Blast. He’d have to be more careful than that. It wasn’t much, but it was a place for them to start digging, and that was never a good thing.

“So you knew?” Buffy stalked to the tub and grabbed Spike by the collar of his shirt. “Dammit, Spike, I’ll get the truth out of you, if I have to beat it out.”

Spike pulled himself back together in a hurry. “Oh, yes, Slayer,” he purred seductively, “I’d like that.” She dropped him like a hot rock, and he stretched languidly in the space available to him, smiling at them smugly.

“He’s doing it again, Giles. Make him stop!”

“Blood hell, woman!” Spike clenched his teeth against the high-pitched tone of her voice, doing his best to cover his ears with his wrists chained to his ankles the way they were. “The sound of your whine is enough to make any self-respecting vampire flee in terror. You’re more than safe from me, I promise you.”

“Oh!” That brightened her up considerably. “Okay, I’ll just whine at you until you ‘fes up.” She propped her fists on her hips and stared at him determinedly. “You know what happened to Xander, and we’re going to find out, so why don’t you do us all a favor, and save us the trouble of getting it out of you the hard way.”

Spike jutted out his chin. She’s not the only one who could do determined. “You’ll get nothing from me.”

“Forget it, Buffy. We’ve no time for that.”

“What? Giles, this is Xander’s life we’re talking about.” Spike froze; she couldn’t mean that literally, could she? “We can’t just give up, we’ve barely gotten started.”

“What do you mean, Xander’s life?” Spike demanded.

“What do you care, Spike?” Buffy asked spitefully. “It’s not as if it can kill you, you’re already dead.”

“I care a lot!” Spike pulled at the chains, shouting in frustration. “Tell me what you mean!

“Listen, fangless…”

“Buffy.” Giles put his hand on her arm, shaking his head. She fell back against the doorjamb, obviously frustrated. Giles ignored her, concentrating on Spike. “You do care, don’t you?”

Spike growled at him. “Of course I do. You heard Demon Girl; we’ve been mates for months now.” He tried to pour all his sincerity into his words, it was important that the watcher understand him. “He’s my friend, Rupert. Now what do you mean? How is the spell is hurting Xander?”

He must have got through, because Giles relaxed slightly, pulling his glasses off as he spoke. “I’m surprised you haven’t noticed, Spike. His health is deteriorating.”

Icy cold fear clenched at his stomach. “How?”

“Anya noticed it first. He’s lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time.” Spike thought back, remembering Xander joking that he was working so hard that he was losing weight, cinching his belt a notch tighter as he spoke. “And his hands shake.”

Spike looked up at that. “Not all the time, they don’t.”

“Don’t they?” Slipping his glasses back on, he focused on Spike’s words seriously, clearly wishing he had a pen and paper, so he could take notes. “When do they not shake, then?”

Shrugging, Spike thought back. “When he’s one or the other.”

“What does that mean?” Spike sighed. Apparently the smart gene had skipped a generation at the Summer’s house.

“Well, there’s The Boy and The Bastard, right? Then there’s the times between, when he’s not entirely either one. That’s when he’s weakest.” He glanced to the watcher for confirmation. “Am I right?”

The watcher was nodding as if that made sense. “So there’s a definite separation between the two, a clearly defined line?”

“Not always. But yeah, a lot of the time there is.”

“And when he’s not our Xander or the other one, is when he’s sickest?” It looked like the slayer was finally catching on.

“I didn’t realize that’s what was going on, but yeah, I think so.” As he thought back, he could see it all more clearly. “I just thought he was tired of the two parts fighting each other, is all.”

“The two parts of his personality fight for ascendancy?” Giles looked up sharply at that. “Well, that would make sense. What happens when…”

“No.” Spike shook his head. He’d said more than he should have already. “No more. I won’t say anything else until I talk to him. See for myself that he’s really ill. I won’t betray his trust like that.”

“Forget it. You’re not going anywhere until you answer all our questions.”

Spike shut his mouth, tipping his head back until he was looking at the ceiling. “Oh, look, Watcher. Time to grout the tile, I see,” he said in a casually conversational tone.


“Not now, Buffy.” The watcher interrupted her. “Let’s talk downstairs.”

She didn’t look at all happy, but after another glare, she grabbed the mug of blood, and left, followed by her watcher, who shut the door behind him.

Damn. This thing was getting more and more complicated all the time.

10 Lock Picking for Fun and Profit

Xander stood by the entrance to the alley, far back enough to be out of the line of sight, but still close enough to see trouble before it saw him. A few yards behind him Spike knelt in the alley, carefully working his picks into one of the locks on the back door of the Magic Box. Xander was anxious to get moving, but he knew better than to interrupt Spike while he was listening for the clicks that would help him unlock the door. After Spike had killed the clerk at the shop a couple of years earlier, the owners had installed a complex system of locks, but for some reason, hadn’t bothered with an alarm.

Xander suspected there was magic involved, but Spike seemed to think it was just stupidity, and who was he to doubt it? He’d lived in Sunnydale his entire life, he knew that collective blindness was a way of life here on the Hellmouth. He glanced back down the alley in time to see Spike stand up, pocketing his lock pick kit. If they made it out of this mess alive, Xander was determined to get Spike to teach him that trick. They’d still be trapped at the watcher’s apartment if Spike hadn’t been able to pick a lock with a paperclip.

He could feel the regret the Child Xander had at the necessity of knocking Anya out, but they’d had no choice. They’d needed to get out before the rest came back. He had no concerns about the wild goose chase he’d sent the slayer on; she’d have no luck finding anything at the house on Blackthorn Lane. Spike had even kept the glass shard Xander had cut himself with that night. He told Xander there was no sense leaving behind something as valuable to a magic user as blood, and Xander agreed, it had been a serious slip on his part. But Xander thought there was more to it than that; it was a souvenir of a memorable night. Who would have thought that William the Bloody was a sentimental fool? The only thing they’d left in that house was the magnet on the refrigerator. If the slayer found that, she was welcome to it.

The red head, on the other hand, was more dangerous. Giles had accompanied Willow and Tara back to Willow's dorm room for a spell book that might have a solution for finding the source of the spell that held Spike and Xander in its grip. Any time now they’d figure out that he and Spike were missing. They needed to have some sort of magical protection in place before Willow and Tara could use a spell to track them down. Spike was confident this was the place to find what they needed. Hopefully, the charm Spike had seen the last time he was here was still inside. Or something similar, at least. Spike was confident he’d be able to find something, and Xander had no choice but to trust him.

“Right,” Spike murmured softly. “I’ll do better on my own inside. No need to create a light that way.”

Xander nodded, he’d thought as much himself. Besides, Spike seemed to know what he was looking for. Xander would only be in the way. “I’ll keep a watch out. You hear my voice, you’ll know something is up.” He made sure he caught Spike’s eye; this part wasn’t likely to go over well. “If it’s Buffy, or any of her crew, I want you to run like hell. Get as far away from her as possible.”

“Bloody hell. Now who’s sidelining who?” Spike spoke softly, but as expected, he was not happy at Xander’s orders.

“I need to know you’re free, Spike. They won’t hurt me, and you know it. You on the other hand have no such guarantee. I won’t see you hurt. I made you a promise, and I intend to keep it.”

“Not hurt? What the hell are you thinking, man? If they can figure out a way, they’ll wipe you clean out of Xander’s mind.”

“I know that. Which is why you have to get to the Chapman crypt and get that board out of there.” Xander’s tone of voice brooked no argument, and Spike growled softly, but Xander could tell Spike understood where he was going with this. “You need to hide it safely, and wait for me.” Spike opened his mouth to speak, but Xander didn’t give him a chance.

“For as long as necessary. Eventually, they’ll relax their guard, and you can get me back. Even if they’ve managed to break the spell, you can try it again. You know what it took: blood and sex magic are strong. You can get me back. I know it.”

Spike searched Xander’s eyes. “You’d wait for me that long?”

“You’d wait that long for me.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement of fact.

Shrugging, Spike crossed his arms, his reluctant pout making Xander smile. “I get bored easily, you know.”

Xander stepped closer, until they were only inches apart and whispered, “You’d wait for me.”

Spike arched one elegant eyebrow. “Awfully sure of yourself, aren’t you?”

His smile grew. “I’m worth it.” He tilted his head, indicating the inside of the store. “Now get busy. We don’t have much time.”

Heading into the store, Xander heard Spike mutter, “Bloody motherfucking tease.” Xander turned back to the alley, and focused his eyes on the end of the street. This was no time to be caught napping; there was still a lot left to do before the night ended.


Xander stared at the cracked ceiling of the abandoned office building Clem called home. It wasn’t bad as such places went, but still, it was an abandoned building – there wasn’t much in the way of earthly comforts. His basement was better than this. Well, it would be if it weren’t for that nasty, musty smell. And the washer and dryer chugging and banging while he was trying to sleep. And the on-again-off-again microwave, and the parental units fighting upstairs, and the water heater capable of holding about three minutes worth of hot water… Okay, maybe Clem’s place was better. But at least his basement had cable. Clem didn’t even have a TV, and what the hell was up with that? How did anyone live without TV?

He rolled over onto his side, and stared at Spike sleeping beside him. Clem’s apartment had Spike, though. That was what was important, because Spike saw Xander in a way nobody else ever had. Except maybe Anya – a little bit. He hated that they’d had to hurt her last night, but she wouldn’t let them leave, so he’d had to do something, and conking her on the head had been about the only alternative at that moment. They couldn’t stay. The whole time they had Xander tied up, all they’d talked about was turning him back into what he used to be. They wanted their old Xander back. The problem was that it was too late for that.

He remembered the story Willow had told him and Jessie when they were younger, about Pandora and her box. It was too late for him to go back to what he’d been; he couldn’t be that boy anymore. He hadn’t really been that boy for a while now; he’d been growing and changing even before all this had happened. He wouldn’t go back to how he’d been in High School, even if he could. He didn’t like all the things his alter ego did, but he felt better, more capable than he ever had before, and he knew where a lot of that had come from. His ‘other half’ believed in himself in ways that the old Xander never had. His alter ego was strong.

It hadn’t been quite a month since The Bastard, as Spike called him, had shown up. His boss had called him into his office last week, and told Xander how well he’d been coming along. He’d said that Xander was catching on fast, and that recently he’d shown real progress at work, and was displaying leadership potential. He was on the fast track for a position as a foreman, and Xander knew his newfound confidence was at least in part due to his shadow-half. He grinned at that – it was like having a super power, which was pretty damn cool.

He only wished that his power was a force for good, like Buffy’s, or at least a neutral one like being a witch, with the ability to chose to do good or bad. His shadow-half was definitely evil, he knew that. The things he did with Spike frightened him, despite the fact that he knew Spike loved it. They just seemed wrong, and it hurt him to know that something that felt so damn good could be evil. If he could shove the bad stuff into a box in the back of his mind and still hang on to the good, everything would be perfect. He’d be like Pandora, only he’d put a lock on that damn box, and lose the goddamned key. Maybe three or four locks, and a bunch of chains for good measure.

Maybe he could be like Nick Fury, who was human with no super powers (well, except for the really slow aging thing), but with a human’s conscience. If he could figure out a way to meld with his alter ego, and get the positive things he had to offer, and still maintain his humanity and his belief in right vs. wrong, he could be a force for good in Sunnydale. Be a back up for Buffy, and make a real difference in the world. That wouldn’t be so bad. And if he had Spike at his side, well, no one could stop them. He just had to figure out a way to keep Buffy from killing Spike long enough to get her to see reason.

He grinned at that. Oh, right. That would be a breeze. He touched the protection and concealment charms around Spike’s neck, then their twins, which were tied around his own. They must be working, since there’d been no pissy slayers or indignant witches bursting into the apartment this morning. He glanced over at the blanket covering Clem’s bedroom window, the glow of a setting sun leaking orange and red around the ragged edges. Make that early evening. They’d slept later than he’d planned, they needed to get up, finalize their plans and get the hell out of Dodge as soon as the sun set.

He wondered if Clem had managed to get all their supplies together while they slept. They’d set him a difficult task, but he’d been happy to oblige, especially when Spike offered up his crypt as an incentive. Clem was thrilled; according to him it was prime real estate in demon terms. And it had a TV.

Xander rolled onto his back and stretched. It had been a long night. They’d dragged into Clem’s place not too long before dawn, after wrapping the board from the Chapman crypt up in several blankets and hiding it in the labyrinth of tunnels that existed under Sunnydale. They’d left it there, buried in rubble, with half a dozen different charms and amulets, and even a confusion spell that Spike said would keep anyone from paying too much attention to the entire area it was located in. He was glad that Spike had that kind of knowledge; it made him resent Drusilla a little less, knowing that without spending so much time around her, Spike would never have learned as much as he knew about such things.


Spike’s gravelly voice rumbled sleepily, and Xander couldn’t help but grin happily as he turned back onto his side. “Good morning!”

Spike raised one lazy eyebrow. “Well, The Sadistic Bastard isn’t really a morning person, is he? It’s almost always you I wake up to.”

Xander chuckled before leaning forward and kissing him. Spike wrapped his hand around the back of Xander’s head and held on, their kiss getting deeper and more passionate as they moved together, hands touching, their cocks rubbing against each other through the cloth of their pants. It was only the thought of their clothes that brought Xander back to his senses. They were dressed because they were in Clem’s bed, in all the clothing they had to their names. They couldn’t get them dirty until they knew Clem had gotten them new stuff.

Xander pulled back reluctantly. “Come on. Clem said he had Twinkies for breakfast!” He rolled out of bed before Spike could tempt him into another kiss and stretched again. He could use another hour or two of sleep, but he felt okay. Nothing like Giles and Willow were saying – he wasn’t getting weak or anything. He felt fine.

Spike moaned from the bed. “Twinkies? I’m in hell.” He crawled out of bed, hunting for his shirt. “You need to start eating better. Clem had better have got those vitamins I told him about or he’s in a world of trouble.”

“Vitamins? You told him to get me vitamins?” Xander stopped with one hand on the doorknob. “Don’t tell me you’re taking Willow and Giles seriously. I am not wasting away here.” He thumped his chest with his free hand. “Solid as a rock. That was bullshit they made up to convince us to let them ‘fix’ me. It ain’t gonna happen, bud. I won’t be their little donut boy anymore. This is the new me, and there’s not a damn thing anyone is going to do to change it.”


“Ah ah ah!” Xander shook his head. He refused to discuss it. “The subject is closed, and that is all there is to it.” He walked out the door into Clem’s living room/kitchen area, smiling at Clem, who sat at the kitchen table sorting through a bunch of grocery bags, his saggy skin flopping comically as he turned back and forth between bags.

“Clem,” he said cheerfully, “what was that you said last night about Twinkies?”

“Hey, Xander. Oh, sure! Help yourself to anything. They’re in the cabinet next to the stove. On the right.”

Xander went to the cabinet, opening it to find a mostly full box of Twinkies, along with a myriad of other tasty confections of the food group known as snack foods. “Excellent!” He grabbed the box, and a bag of Doritos, and set them on the counter next to an already open two-liter bottle of soda. He unwrapped a Twinkie and shoved half of it in his mouth in one go.

Xander clapped Clem on the shoulder, sensing a true snack food aficionado, and recognizing the bond between them. “Clem. I have a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”