Xander looked between his double and the smirking blonde vampire. He gaped at his vampire and then turned back to Xander.
"Wife? You're married?"
Spike chuckled from a few feet away and Xander sighed.
"Look, come by Buffy's house tonight after sunset. We'll talk then, okay? I need to get Spike into the trunk and head home."
Xander nodded dumbly and watched as his double walked away, catching up to and then smacking a still-chuckling blonde vampire. He turned to look at his Spike and noticed the way he was watching the retreating couple.
"He doesn't treat him very well."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"They're together; I can smell them all over each other, but he acts like he hates me - him."
Xander was shocked. Not because of the him-and-Spike thing going on in this world, but because the him of this reality was married. That was one thing he had sworn he would never do. If he ever got married, he swore he would never cheat, never turn into his father.
"B - but he's married. He can't..."
"He is, he does. The nose doesn't lie, pet. They're shaggin', no doubt about it."
"Well, I guess we'll find out what's going on tonight; come on, we weren't finished shopping. Still need some CD's after all."
"Fine, but can we go to a music store? They don't carry The Pistols at Wal Mart."
Xander chuckled and picked up his bags; Spike grabbed the others and followed behind his human. So far, of all the Xanders he'd met, he liked his the most.
The music store wasn't empty, but it wasn't over crowded either. Most likely due to the fact that it was a school day and not yet lunch break. With any luck, they could get what they came for and be gone before teenagers overran the place.
Spike grinned as he came up behind Xander with a handful of punk CD's. He looked over his lover's shoulder and grimaced at the music he was looking at. Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, N'Sync.
"You've got to be bloody kidding me. You don't actually listen to that crap do you?"
"Oh and I suppose what you have is any better? What do you have, anyway?"
"Pistols, Queen, The Clash, Ramones. You know, music."
Xander chuckled at Spike and put his apparently crappy CD's down. He held out his hand and Spike handed over his stack. Xander flipped through them, turning them over and reading the play lists. He shrugged his shoulders and handed them back to Spike.
"Okay, we done here? 'Cause I'm starved and I'd like to hit the pizza place before it's invaded by hungry teenagers."
"Sure thing. Then I guess we should see about a place to stay. Don't think the Motor Lodge is a good idea this time."
Grinning, the two made their way to the register before heading out into the mall so Xander could eat.
The Holiday Inn was more expensive than the Motor Lodge, but Xander figured they could afford at least one night here; maybe tomorrow they could see about going back to the Motor Lodge. Spike parked the bike and they went inside.
After unpacking and bespelling their new purchases, Spike reluctantly shed his dark clothes and pulled on a pair of blue jeans and one of the button down shirts. He wished for once that he had a reflection. He knew he looked like a git, he could tell by the way the other Spike had looked at him. But if it kept his identity concealed, it would be worth it.
"So, we have hours to waste before heading to Buffy's, what do you want to do?"
Spike leered at Xander and then crawled onto the bed with him.
"I seem to remember someone making all sorts of interesting promises to me if I behaved and bought some sneakers. So, you tell me, pet. What shall we do?"
Xander batted his eyelashes at Spike and put on his best innocent face. He ducked his head slightly and looked at Spike through his thick lashes.
"Um, well you could teach me... stuff? I don't really know a lot about sex with guys since you're my first."
Xander had to suppress a wicked smirk as Spike's eyes bled from blue to yellow and then back again. Oh yeah, reminding him that he gets to corrupt the innocent young human was a good idea. A very good idea.
Spike stood and looked at Xander as if he were trying to decide what to teach him first. He then smiled, a true smile, and crooked his finger at the young man on the bed.
"Come here, luv."
Once Xander was standing in front of him, Spike pulled him close and kissed him softly before whispering in his ear.
Xander swallowed and then took two steps back from the vampire before pulling at his clothes. Spike chuckled and told him to slow down. Once Xander was naked, he looked at Spike and waited for his next command.
"Undress me, slowly, I want to enjoy it."
Xander started on the buttons of Spike's shirt. One by one he slowly unfastened them, taking time to caress the smooth silky skin of Spike's chest as it was slowly revealed. He had to congratulate himself; this had been a good idea on his part.
"Take it off of me."
Xander slid the shirt down over Spike's shoulders, letting it slip from his arms to land on the floor. He ran his fingers lightly from Spike's collarbone down his chest and stomach to stop at the waistband of his jeans. He gave Spike a wicked grin and then dropped to his knees.
Spike watched as Xander lowered himself to his knees and then groaned as his boy rubbed his face against his crotch before tugging the top button of his jeans open with his teeth. He hadn't expected Xander to be so inventive, not this early on in their relationship. He wasn't about to complain though, not when he could feel the hot breath of his lover ghosting across his skin.
"Yeah, that's nice pet. Keep going."
Xander moved on to the next button and tugged it open as well. He nuzzled his face into the opening of Spike's jeans and licked at the skin he found there; he felt the wiry hair tickle his chin and pulled back to open the next button.
Another button opened and Xander could see the thick shaft of the vampire's cock. He licked it and then placed small biting kisses along the exposed side. Spike sucked in a breath and let out a low moan.
"God, pet. Get me out, use your hands."
Xander made short work of the remaining buttons and pulled the jeans down Spike's legs. He looked at the hard, leaking cock in front of him and waited to be told what to do next. He didn't have to wait long.
The feel of warm, wet suction nearly did him in. Spike allowed his demon to come forth in a bid for control. He didn't want to shoot his load so quickly. He was enjoying this, having control, teaching Xander exactly how to pleasure him. Made him feel strong again, like a proper vampire.
"Oh fuck, yeah pet that's it, take me in. Suck me Xander, fuck you're so good."
Xander bobbed his head up and down the vampire's shaft; he looked up to see that Spike was in game face and felt his own cock swell to painful proportions. This was the Spike he remembered from home, in control, dominant, and holy fuck; sexy as hell.
Xander moaned piteously as Spike pushed him away from his treat. He tried to get it back but found himself picked up and tossed onto the bed. Spike slithered onto the bed and sat with his back against the headboard. He reached down for the bag on the floor and came back up with a bottle of lube.
"Get yerself ready for me luv, I want to watch you."
Xander took the bottle and squirted some of the slick gel onto his fingers and cautiously inserted one finger into himself. He looked up at Spike and blushed at the look of concentration on his face.
Xander added another finger and began stretching himself. He felt sort of... dirty touching himself like this, but at the same time it was such a turn-on, knowing that Spike was getting off on this. He waited until he was told before adding a third finger.
Spike watched fascinated as his boy did everything he said. He was sure he would be met with blushes and stammers and embarrassment when he told him to prepare himself. He was pleasantly surprised by Xander's acquiescence.
"Enough. Come here, luv. I want you to ride me."
Xander looked up and Spike saw the rush of arousal spread across his features. He helped to settle Xander on his lap and then let him take over. Slowly, excruciatingly slowly, Xander lowered himself onto Spike's cock.
Spike hissed as his erection was slowly encased in burning heat. He dug his fingernails painfully into his palms to keep from grabbing Xander and thrusting up into him. Once Xander's ass was flush against his thighs, Spike opened yellow eyes and waited for the boy to move.
The first tentative movements made Spike's eyes roll back in his head. Eventually Xander found a comfortable rhythm and began to ride him with enthusiasm. Once Spike was sure he could control himself, he let his demon face fall away and leaned in to kiss Xander without the threat of fangs.
In this position, Xander was able to angle himself so that his prostate was stroked on every thrust. He knew he wasn't going to last long, especially once Spike had begun fisting his cock as well. He couldn't help but speed up until he was fucking himself with abandon on his lover's thick shaft. He screamed into Spike's mouth as he shot his cum all over the vampire's hand and chest. He felt Spike stiffen beneath him as his bowels were loaded with cool fluid.
"Bloody hell, Xander. If that's what you can do the first time, you'll be the final death of me once you've gotten in some practice."
Xander just chuckled and melted against his chest. Spike lifted Xander off of him and then carried him into the bathroom. He turned on the faucet in the tub and then lowered them both into the water. A nice hot soak was a perfect finale to an exceptionally good shag.
"Mmm, water feels nice. Thanks Spike."
"You're welcome luv. Rest now, we'll go see the others once the sun sets."
Standing outside the Summers' house, Xander held Spike to him tightly. He knew this wasn't going to be easy on his lover, being inside the home of the slayer. He could only hope that in this reality, Riley wasn't around. He could have kicked himself for not asking beforehand.
"Do you want me to go in first? Check things out?"
"Yes, but I'm not letting you go in there alone. I'll deal."
"Say the word and we turn around and leave. We don't have to do this."
Spike sighed and burrowed deeper into Xander's arms. He really did want to leave, but at the same time he was tired of always being afraid. He wanted his life back, and to get it he had to start facing his fears. This place was as good as any to start.
"I'll let you know if it gets to be too much. Come on, luv. Let's not keep them waiting; 'sides I want to meet your wife."
Xander rolled his eyes and watched as Spike removed his ring and shoved it deep into his pants pocket. Xander raised an eyebrow in question.
"I had my hand in my pocket earlier, I don't think they saw it. Think I'd like to keep it that way. For now at least."
"Okay, but if things start looking bad, you put it on. No arguments."
Xander went up the steps, Spike beside him, and rang the bell. As he waited for someone to answer the door, he felt nervous; he didn't know what was going on in this world, but he didn't like the implications. He was married, apparently, and involved with Spike.
"Oh my God! It's true! There really are two of you!"
Spike stepped back from the squealing teenager and Xander just smiled. Dawn was still very much Dawn in this world, something Xander was grateful for. He had missed her.
"Hey, Dawnie. Is Xander here? And wow does that ever sound weird."
Dawn smiled and stepped back from the door. Xander cleared his throat and inclined his head toward Spike.
"He needs an invite."
"Oh. I just thought, you know, since he's Spike that he could come in."
Xander looked at his vampire and got a shrug in response. This was something they hadn't had to deal with before. Spike reached out and put his hand through the doorway - no barrier.
"See? I was right."
Dawn crossed her arms over her chest and smirked at them. Xander could see Spike's influence on the girl and grinned. It was just like back home. He took Spike's hand and together they walked into the house. Dawn looked at their joined hands and smiled.
"Xander is still in the shower, but Spike is in the kitchen. I'll get him."
Xander pulled his Spike down onto the sofa beside him and they waited for Dawn to come back with Spike. Xander could see that Spike was making an effort not to simply get up and leave. He appreciated it, but he wished his lover had told him that he was this uncomfortable.
"You okay? Wanna leave?"
"M'fine Xan, just a bit unsettled."
Xander pulled Spike close and kissed him. It was a kiss full of love and reassurance. Spike moaned softly into Xander's mouth and pulled him closer. This was exactly what he needed. For some reason, Xander's presence calmed him like nothing else. They broke apart at the sound of a cleared throat followed by a girlish squeal. Xander and Spike both looked up to see a grinning teenager and a slightly amused blonde vampire.
"Oh my God! You guys are like so hot together."
Dawn spun around and slapped the blonde Spike on the arm.
"How come you and Xander aren't together? Look at them, don't they make a cute couple?"
"I'm not soddin' cute."
The brunette Spike grumbled from his position on the couch. Xander had to disagree with that statement, especially at the moment, seeing as Spike was pouting. That full bottom lip pushed out in such a way that it was taking all his considerable willpower to refrain from sucking it into his mouth and biting down on it. His distress must have been obvious, for Spike turned and leered at him before sucking his lip into his own mouth and making Xander groan in frustration.
"You two need to be alone?"
Blonde Spike, infuriatingly smug. Or jealous - it was hard to tell, but Xander was pretty sure there was some resentment going on there. Maybe it was just as well that Spike had put his ring away. This Spike didn't seem overly taken with the idea of them being here.
"Nah, we're good."
"Mmm, yes. You were very good, pet."
Brunette Spike leered at his lover, while surreptitiously watching his blonde counterpart out of the corner of his eye. Yep, definitely some resentment there.
"I'll go see what's keeping Xander. Bit? You should haul your arse if you're gonna make that movie with Janice."
"Yeah, yeah. You guys just wanna get rid of me so you can have 'grown-up talk' with these two."
"I'm going! Sheesh, you'd think I was five or something by the way you guys treat me. You're worse than mom was."
Spike growled and Dawn headed for the door. She picked up her purse and keys and then left. Spike watched from the doorway until she was safely across the street at Janice's house. Then he went upstairs to see what was taking Xander so long.
Spike found Xander in the guest room. He watched as he moved around the room, adjusting the curtains and plugging in the battery charger. He waited until Xander flipped the switch on and turned around to leave before speaking.
"Wifey all settled in for the night then? Good. Our doppelgangers are downstairs in the living room. You plan on telling them about us or you wanna play the 'I just tolerate him for Dawn's sake' card here, too?"
Xander turned off the light and sighed as he left the room. He reached out for Spike but the vampire stepped back out of reach. Xander ran his fingers through his hair, stopping to pull on it in his frustration.
"Fuck, Spike! Why do you have to be like this? Isn't it enough that I want to be with you? Do we have to tell everyone?"
Spike hissed out between clenched teeth. He was tired of being a dirty little secret, if they were going to be together, he wanted the boy's friends to know.
"Bloody hell, Xander. Why are you so friggin' ashamed of me?"
"I'm not! God, can we please not do this right now? We'll talk later, I promise. After they've left, okay?"
Spike wasn't happy but he nodded his head. He even stayed put this time as Xander came toward him. He promised himself he was not going to kiss back, not this time. He couldn't help it though, the moment those soft, warm lips touched his, he was lost. He was love's bitch, might as well act the part.
Xander held Spike in his arms for a brief moment before letting him go. He licked his lips - tasting Spike - and then headed for the stairs. He wasn't looking forward to this; he honestly didn't understand why he'd even invited their doubles over tonight. They had done nothing but stir up trouble for him. Xander looked back to see if Spike was following him.
"Shall we get this over then?"
"Yeah, you go in first though, I've already interrupted them snoggin' once. Dawn thinks they make a cute couple."
Now Xander understood. That was why Spike was in a mood, Dawn knew about their doubles being together and was okay with it. More reason for Spike to push about coming out to their friends.
Xander warily entered the front room. He was pleased to find both Spike and his double sitting on the sofa, holding hands but thankfully, not kissing.
Xander looked up at his double and smiled somewhat ruefully. Sure he was curious about the whole being- married-yet-boinking-Spike aspect of this version of himself, but he was now wondering if he shouldn't have just blown this off and stayed in the room with Spike - learning things.
Spike snorted from behind Xander and strolled into the room. He flopped down in the chair next to the sofa and gave his double a good going-over. He still couldn't believe that his double looked so poncy. Where was the blonde hair? The tight black clothes? The leather and Doc's? Bloody hell, he looked pathetic.
"It's camouflage, ya wanker! Stop looking at me like I'm Angel, fer Chrissakes!"
"I would if ya didn't look like such a bleedin' poof!"
Spike had had enough; he stood up and snarled at his double. Blonde Spike stood as well. Both Xanders waited, ready to interfere if necessary, but not willing to interrupt just yet.
"Just who the hell do you think you are? Calling me a poof? I happen to know that you and the boy there are shaggin' each other, so isn't that a bit hypocritical of you, mate?"
"Not what I meant, and you soddin' well know it! Leave me and Xander out of this; this is about you looking like him."
Both Xanders exchanged a confused look. Oh they both knew that they were talking about William, they just couldn't understand why it upset blonde Spike so much.
"We are him."
"No! I'm not! William was a bleedin' ponce. He was weak and soppy; let everyone walk all over him. I. Am. Not. Him."
"Yes he was all that. But he was more, he was a good man, he loved, he had friends, family. The only thing he ever wanted was to be loved in return. If that isn't you, than we are nothing alike."
It was like watching a car wreck. Spike - blonde Spike - seemed to cave in on himself, like everything he had been, was suddenly torn away. He looked at his double's Xander, standing behind him, one hand on his shoulder in a comforting manner. Then he looked at his Xander - closed off, face like stone, purposely keeping any and all emotion carefully locked away. He knew at that moment that he was William, always had been and always would be.
He wanted what his double had. If it meant changing his hair and dark clothes, he'd do it in an instant. He couldn't understand how it was that this Xander loved his double so openly and his Xander wouldn't even touch him in public. It hurt. A lot.
"Maybe we should go. We didn't come for this, I'm sorry."
Xander began tugging Spike toward the door. He didn't care about his questions now. For all he cared, this Xander could boff half of Sunnydale while his wife stayed home and made cookies. He wanted to go back to the hotel and just hold his vampire close. The look of raw pain on the other Spike's face made him ache in sympathy. His double was a fool.
Before they made it to the door, Spike stopped Xander and whispered in his ear. He reminded him of the spell that Willow had cast on him, and asked if that was a possibility here. He honestly didn't like seeing himself in such pain, it was obvious - to him at least - that his double was very much in love with the stubborn human.
"Oh God! I never even thought. I'm such an idiot."
Xander rested his head on Spike's shoulder as the vampire wrapped him in his arms. He laid a soft kiss to Spike's neck and then stepped back enough to turn and face his double.
"We need to talk. Alone. Now."
While the Xanders headed for the kitchen, Spike sat back down on the sofa and watched as his double paced and pulled out a cigarette. He reached for one himself and lit up. He didn't smoke a lot anymore, not since he'd taken up with Xander; he didn't want to make his lover sick after all.
"You love him, don't you?"
Spike stopped pacing and with a sigh he fell onto the couch beside his double.
"That obvious? Pillock doesn't see it, he thinks this is just goods times for both of us."
"Why are you here then? I mean, he's a married man."
Spike snorted. Then he cracked a smile. Then he laughed out loud. He looked at his double's dumbfounded expression and totally lost it. He had tears streaming down his face by the time he got himself under control.
"Thanks for that, mate. Needed a good laugh, I did. Let me tell you a little story about Xander's wife."
In the kitchen, Xander watched his double pace back and forth. He had just told him about Willow and the spell, how he had been happier these last few weeks than he had ever been.
"But why? I mean, why would she do that? She's my friend. And gay, she's a lesbian for God's sake."
"Was she gay in high school? Or was she in love with you at the time? 'Cause my Wills was in love with me in high school; she didn't like girls until she met Tara."
Xander sighed. He didn't want to believe what his double was saying, but he knew that Willow was capable of this, he'd seen what she did to Tara, to all of them with her Tabula Rasa spell.
"How do I break the spell? If I am under a spell, I want it gone."
"Well, you could ask Willow to remove it. Or you could ask Tara; personally I'd go with Tara. She would understand what you're going through. I wanted to ask you though, how did you end up with Spike? I never thought about him that way until after the spell was removed."
Xander sighed. He didn't understand it either. Some days, he still didn't feel attracted to Spike that way, but others... it was all he could do to keep his hands to himself when they weren't alone.
"After Buffy and Anya died, Spike and I spent a lot of time together looking after Dawn. After a particularly rough patrol one night we went back to his place and got wasted; the girls were keeping Dawn at the dorm for the night so we drank ourselves stupid. Woke up the next morning, hung over, sore all over, and naked in bed with Spike. Naked Spike."
Xander snorted as he remembered what happened next.
"I beat him to a pulp. Accused him of taking advantage of me, damn near staked him."
"What stopped you?"
"One word - chip. I realised as soon as Spike said it that he was right. He couldn't have done anything to me without my wanting it. I grabbed my gear and ran out. I threw up outside the crypt, Christ I felt like shit. I couldn't believe what I'd done. You know, Dad always said I was a fag, and then I beat the shit out of my lover. Living up to the old Harris name."
"Then what? I mean obviously something happened, or you wouldn't be together now."
Xander laughed, it was a pain-filled, self-loathing kind of laugh.
"I got married. After the reception - joke that it was - I found Spike and apologised. He was really good about it, didn't blame me for anything. Said he probably would have done the same in my place. He forgave me. Then I kissed him. It's been on and off ever since. Some days I think I love him, but other days, other days I don't understand why I'm with him. I look at him and I see Spike - vampire, man, possibly friend, but he does nothing for me below the belt, you know?"
Xander nodded. He could understand that. It sounded like the spell was breaking down on its own. Maybe this Willow wasn't as powerful as his; either that or she was doing this, taking the spell off slowly so no one would notice anything.
"About your wife? Does she know what's going on?"
"No. It's not what you think. My marriage is a sham. Hell, my wife isn't even a real person. She's a Stepford wife"
"Stepford wife? Explain please."
In the living room, Spike was staring at his double in shock. He couldn't believe what he'd just heard.
"A robot? You're telling me, you had a sex bot built that looked like the slayer, and now the boy is married to it?"
"Yep. That about covers it."
"Bloody hell. And you said I was pathetic? You built a shag toy. You fell in love with a slayer. You, mate, take the top prize in the pathetic category."
Spike snorted and then shrugged his shoulders. It was probably true. Brunette Spike got a nasty look in his eyes and then asked.
"So, is he shaggin' the bot?"
In the kitchen, Xander was just about on the floor he was laughing so hard.
"You married the Buffy-bot? Oh God! You married Spike's sex toy. What the hell did you do that for?"
Xander glared at his laughing doppelganger. It wasn't like he had wanted to.
"Dawn. I did it for Dawn. So that the CFS wouldn't take her away. This way, she has two guardians, one with a stable job and a good income. I did it so that we could keep her here in Sunnydale."
That sobered Xander up quite a bit. It wasn't something they had even considered back home. Then again, Anya wasn't dead back home either. He giggled as a thought occurred to him.
"So... did you and the bot ever... "
Xander laughed again at the look of shock and embarrassment on his twin's face.
Hmm. where to start. Well, we've been here for three days now. This world has a Spike/Xander couple as well, only they're a mess. Xander was under the same spell I was, only it was wearing off. Poor Spike, he got the worst of it; Xander couldn't make up his mind if he wanted him or not.
Tara removed the spell, after that she left. She couldn't stay in Sunnydale any longer, not knowing that Willow was capable of causing such damage to her best friend. She just couldn't trust her after that. I feel bad for Tara; she deserves so much more than she has. After that whole memory spell, she really thought Willow had changed.
My double here is married to the Buffy-bot. I laughed my ass off when I found out. He and Spike have something in common there. Spike shagged her and Xander married her. It's not nice to make fun, but it's funny as hell. I mean, he's married to a robot.
Things seem to be getting better between Xander and Spike; they told Dawn that they were together and she squealed and hugged them both. I think that did a lot for Spike's fragile ego. He didn't like being kept a secret, especially from Dawn. So now she knows. The only other person to tell is Willow, but I don't know that Xander even wants to speak to her right now. She doesn't know about Tara removing the spell. Xander wasn't ready to face her on that yet. Can't say as I blame him. I still don't know what to say to my Wills.
We're back at the Motor Lodge; we spent one night at the Holiday Inn but for financial reasons we moved back to the Lodge. Besides, this place feels like home now. Spike has been careful to keep his ring hidden; he doesn't trust the Spike of this world not to try and take it, so we spend most days inside. Not that I'm complaining, I'm happy to have him to myself.
Turns out Xander talked Willow out of bringing back Buffy. He told Spike what she was planning and blondie told him that they were being stupid. That there was no way that a slayer, especially one as good as Buffy, would be in a hell dimension. Xander believed him and talked Willow out of bringing her back. I told them about Buffy - my Buffy - and they were glad they didn't do that to theirs.
I'm sorta hoping to leave this place soon. Not that I hate it here or anything, it's just... well I feel like I've done all I can here, helped to get Xander and Spike straightened out, told Tara about what Wills had done, what's left?
I know it sounds stupid, but I'm starting to feel like there might be a purpose to this journey, I mean look at Spike. I saved him from a fate worse than death, that's a good enough reason to go through this, but maybe there is more? Or am I just trying to rationalise this 'cause I don't want to believe that Anya could do something like this to me for no apparent reason?
Xander put his journal away and turned on the TV. As usual there wasn't much on other than Jerry Springer or soap operas. This was why he worked during the day; TV sucked. He looked over at his vampire and smiled. Spike was reading through a copy of Rolling Stone and listening to the CD player. He was singing along softly to some old Queen song.
Xander smiled and turned off the TV, he'd rather listen to Spike sing over Jerry's guests' bitching and moaning any day. Surprisingly, Spike had a really nice singing voice. He sounded good - when he wasn't screeching along to Sid Vicious. If Xander had any say, Spike would listen to Queen more often; they had some good songs, and he liked to hear Spike sing.
There was a knock at the door and Xander got up to answer it. Xander and Spike were the only ones who knew they were here so he wasn't worried. He swung the door open and gasped at what he saw.
"Dawn! Jesus Christ! What happened?"
Xander pulled Dawn into the room and Spike stood up and came over to join them.
"Willow, she went crazy. She found out about Xander and Spike and about Tara... Why didn't you guys tell me? Anyway, she flipped out. She tried to stake Spike, Xander stopped her and Spike took off, but she's looking for him, probably you guys too."
Spike fished his ring out of his jeans and put it on. He wasn't taking any chances - not with a crazy witch on the loose. He went to the bathroom and got Dawn a glass of water while Xander settled her into a chair and tried to calm her down.
"Where is Xander? And why are you here?"
"He went after Willow; he told me to come to you, that he trusted you to watch out for me."
Spike handed Dawn the glass and she thanked him. She sipped the water and waited. Eventually, Xander must have come to a decision because he stood up and headed for his jacket.
"Where did they go?"
"Tara said she had a cousin in L.A., she told Xander she would be there until she could get transferred to UCLA."
"Stay here. Don't open the door for anyone but me or Spike. Either version."
Dawn nodded and then realised what was happening.
"You're going after her. What about Spike? It's still daytime?"
Spike gave her a gentle smile. She was a good kid, and he could see why his other self and both Xanders loved her.
"Don't worry 'bout me pet. My Xander takes real good care of me, he does. Made me sunproof, he did."
Spike winked at her before opening the door and stepping outside. Dawn gaped in shock before turning on Xander.
"It's a secret, and it has to stay that way. At least until we're gone. Let's just say one version of me was a warlock, and he did me a few favours."
"We will. If I don't see you again before we leave, it was nice spending time with you, I have really missed you."
Dawn hugged Xander goodbye and then watched from the window as he climbed on the motorbike behind Spike and they drove away. She was still scared about what Willow might do, that was why she picked up the phone and dialed Giles in England.
Halfway to L.A. they pulled into a rest stop to get gas and use the bathroom - at least Xander used the bathroom. Just before heading back out onto the highway, Spike asked Xander if he had any idea where to start looking for Tara in L.A.
"Nope. Figured we'd pop in on Angel. He's 'The Great Mousse Detective' these days. See if he can find her."
"Yeah, if he don't try to stake me first. This version of me don't get on too well with the poof."
"Yeah well, Deadboy tries anything, he'll be in an ashtray."
Xander kissed Spike and then they headed back out. They'd be in L.A. in just over an hour, maybe less the way Spike drove. He had to wonder why the hell he was getting involved in this. If not for the fact that he was the one to bring up the possible spell use in the first place, he'd have just looked after Dawn and left the rest up to Xander. He wondered if the other Spike was on his way to L.A. as well.
Just as they pulled up in front of the Hyperion and were getting off the bike, they heard a car squeal around the corner before it pulled up alongside them. Xander and Spike both groaned in realisation - Spike. There was no mistaking the DeSoto; the blacked out windows were a dead give away.
"So much for keeping my secret, eh luv?"
"No matter, he'll have to go through me to get it. You he can hurt, me... not so much."
The passenger side window rolled down about an inch, and over the sound of The Sex Pistols they distinctly heard Spike holler.
"One of you bleedin' gits want to get the bloody door? Don't fancy catching fire, ta very much."
Xander shook his head and he and Spike headed for the front door of the hotel. They held it open and watched as Spike - duster over his head - flew past them and into the lobby of the hotel.
"Well, that settles the problem of trying to stake you."
Xander - followed by Spike, entered the hotel and were not at all surprised to see Spike standing in the lobby with both Cordy and Wesley pointing crossbows at him. This was the reception they were expecting. Spike was too, by the look on his face.
"Fer Christ's sake, princess! Just get the poof, would ya?"
Xander looked from Cordy to Spike to Wesley, back to Spike, and then cleared his throat.
"Er, hi guys. Angel around?"
"And that is why we're here."
Xander had just finished explaining - for the second time - why he was here in L.A., with two Spikes. Cordy wouldn't even get Angel until Xander explained it to her and Wesley first. Meanwhile, blonde Spike was slowly going out of his mind.
"So Willow is crazy? And here in L.A.?"
"Basically, yeah. She's let the magic overcome her; she wants Tara back and she won't stop until she has her. The other me is here somewhere already, but we don't know where Tara's cousin lives - that's where you come in."
Angel sighed and nodded his head. Having Willow here in L.A. - in this condition - was not good. No doubt Wolfram and Hart would just love to get a hold of someone as powerful as she.
"Cordy, get on the net and see what you can find. Wes, start looking for a spell or something to bind her or drain her powers - something. I'll go ask around if anyone matching her description has been seen in L.A. Spike... er, blonde Spike, you're with me. Xander? You and... Spike... wait here."
Angel could be heard muttering about the redemption points he should be earning having two Spikes in his hotel as he walked away. Xander and brunette Spike smiled at each other and than went to see if they could do anything to help.
After being glared at by Cordelia, they decided Wes was a better option and offered to research the books with him. After he got over the initial shock of being offered help by William the Bloody, he was thankful for the assistance.
After about an hour of searching through musty old books, the front door of the hotel burst open and Xander and Tara walked into the lobby. Wesley couldn't help but be intrigued by the similarities and differences of the two Xanders; other than their clothing and the length of their hair, they looked exactly the same. Cordy just rolled her eyes.
"Great. I suppose Willow the wicked witch will be coming here now. Thanks Xan, I haven't been in a life-threatening situation all week. I was beginning to actually feel safe here in L.A. What was I thinking?"
"He took Spike out to shake down some informants. The other two of you, are helping Wesley research."
No sooner did Cordy finish speaking then all hell broke loose. Angel and Spike came back in through the kitchen just as the front doors blew off their hinges and a very pissed off Willow floated through the entryway. Xander grabbed his Spike and they ducked under the table. Wesley began chanting a spell, only to have Willow fling her magic at him and knock him across the room.
"This isn't looking promising, pet." "No kidding."
Xander heard Cordelia yell 'Giles! Thank God!' just before the world began to spin.
When Xander next opened his eyes, he knew that he and Spike had shifted again. Not only was it quiet, but the hotel was dark and empty. He wondered if anyone even lived here in this reality.
"This place is empty."
Spike cocked his head and listened. He sniffed the air and then looked around. With a frown on his face he stood up and then reached for Xander. After pulling him to his feet he held him still and leaned in to whisper in his ear.
"Angel is here, luv. I can sense him. No one else though, no human scents in the building at all. Not fresh ones anyhow."
"You think he's Angelus again?"
"Don't rightly know; don't care to find out either. Let's grab our gear and get the hell out of this place, yeah?"
They were just about to the door when Xander was tackled by a snarling, vamped-out Angel. He barely had time to register the attack before Spike grabbed the other vampire and flung him away. The two vampires stood growling at each other and then Angel's demon face melted away to reveal a shocked expression.
"William? How... It can't be. Am I hallucinating?"
Spike let his game face subside as well, but he stood his ground in front of Angel, keeping Xander behind him and out of reach. Xander slowly got to his feet and put his hand on Spike's shoulder.
"Angel or Angelus?"
He whispered into Spike's ear. Spike shrugged his shoulders and then repeated the question to his Sire.
"I'm not evil, Wil. How is it you? Are you from the past?"
Spike laughed, a short, bitter sound.
"Hardly, mate. But I'm not from your world either. What's the idea attacking my Xander if you're not evil?"
Angel stepped back in shock, his eyes widened almost comically.
Xander peeked over Spike's shoulder at Angel and gave him a weak smile. He still didn't trust him not to attack him again.
"You're alive! Really alive, not a vampire, not dust. How?"
"Um, long story. Really long story."
Before anyone could answer, there was an ear-splitting wail from the upper level of the hotel. Angel took off at a run toward it and left Spike and Xander standing slack-jawed in the lobby. They both recognised the sound of the voice - Spike.
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