Quantum Xander 2
In Wake of the Curse


by
Jameschick



Part Eleven

Instead of lunch, Xander and Buffy ended up sitting in his car while he told her everything. He told her about the curse, about the spell Willow had put on him in high school, the alternate version of Riley and what had happened to Spike. He told her about Spike, how they had fallen in love, how he had died. Buffy was shocked and saddened for her friend. She couldn't imagine having to go through what Xander had been through. She also found herself a bit worried.

"Are you and Spike - this Spike - together?"

"No. It's not like that. He loves you, Buffy. And even if he didn't, he's not the vampire I fell in love with. I do care about him, though; if he's siring people, he isn't aware of it. There's no way he could hide something like that from me."

"I believe you. But we can't ignore this, Xander. We need to talk to him about this. Soon."

"You're right. I'll pick you up after work and we'll sit down with him, try to figure this out. Ah, Buff? About what I told you… that stays between us, okay? I'm not ready to deal with Willow yet; it's too painful and I don't want to end up doing something I'd regret later."

"Okay. It stays between us, for now."

"Oh, and Spike. He knows the whole thing."

Xander was intrigued by the momentary flash of jealousy he saw in Buffy's eyes. He wasn't sure if it was because he had shared his story with Spike before her, or because it was obvious he and the vampire were close now.

Xander dropped Buffy back at the school and went back to work. He wasn't looking forward to their talk with Spike tonight. As he unlocked his trailer and stepped inside, he was startled to see Anya sitting behind his desk.

"Anya? What are you doing here?"

"Lunch. I told you we'd have lunch when we talked a few days ago. Where were you?"

"Buffy. I was with Buffy, we were going to have lunch but something came up."

"Good!"

Anya smiled and Xander watched curiously as she pulled a large picnic basket out from under the desk.

"If you didn't have lunch with Buffy, then you're hungry, right?"

"Starved. What did you bring?"

"Roast beef sandwiches, potato salad, lemonade and fudge brownies for dessert."

Anya pulled out plates and began unwrapping sandwiches. Xander sat in the chair on the other side of the desk and watched her. He really was glad they were friends; he couldn't imagine his life without Anya in it - even though she was a demon again.

"So, what was so important that you spent your lunch hour talking to Buffy and not eating?"

"There's a possibility that Spike is siring vampires again. Buffy was talking to a vamp last night..."

"New boyfriend?"

"No. And can we not start on the Buffy-dating-the-dead issue right now? As I was saying, she talked to this vamp and he told her that Spike had sired him."

"So he's killing again? Didn't see that one coming. And at some point, someone does need to address Buffy's infatuation with dead guys."

"Anya."

"Alright, alright, I'm just saying, I know all about her and zombie-Xander."

At Xander's pointed look she changed the subject.

"Well, maybe you should search his room for clues."

"Like what? Blood stains on his clothes? He's a vampire; he drinks blood and he spills it all the time."

"Well, trophies then. Killers like to keep trophies of their victims. Like teeth; maybe he has a necklace of his victims' teeth."

Xander swallowed as he remembered presenting his mate with a fine silver chain strung with Riley Finn's teeth. He shuddered at the implications of his actions. Touched by darkness - yeah he could see that.

"Oh - sorry, Xander. I forgot."

"That's okay; I'm sure a tooth necklace rates pretty low on the things you've seen - or done for that matter."

"Well, yeah. But for you, that's a big thing. It was a good present though. If I were Spike, I would have appreciated it."

"Thanks An, you always know just what to say to make me cringe."

The smile he gave her softened the criticism, and she shrugged her shoulders and passed him a plate of food. They ate quietly for a few minutes and then Xander sighed.

"Anya? Have you heard anything about a new big bad coming this way? Something from beneath?"

"No. But my contacts in the demon community aren't what they used to be. Being human has ruined my reputation. Nobody takes me seriously anymore; they all think I've gone soft. Not to mention that I helped you all with the killing and the world save-age. I have a faryl demon stalking me 'cause he thinks I killed its cousin. I mean, really, do I look like someone who would get anywhere near a faryl demon?"

"Nope. You look too smart for that."

"Exactly."

After lunch, Anya disappeared - literally - and Xander got back to work. His mind wasn't on his job though, and it showed. He had messed up the weekend reports as well as the work detail. He knew he would end up taking it home and working on it there, after the confrontation with Spike, that is. He really wasn't looking forward to it.

By the time his day was finished, he was beyond tired. The last two days were beyond stressful and he seriously just wanted to go home, have a hot shower, a cold beer, and fall into bed and stay there all weekend. Thank God it was Friday.

Buffy didn't look any happier about their task than Xander did; they barely talked on the way to his place, both of them pondering the outcome of the talk they were going to have to have with the vampire. There was one thing Xander had to make perfectly clear to Buffy though, before he let her in his apartment.

"Buffy? Before we go in I have to warn you; no matter what, I won't let you dust him."

Buffy turned and looked at Xander appraisingly. She now knew he was practising magic and had power - although he had admitted he wasn't very good at controlling it yet - but she also knew he wouldn't use it on her. She hoped it wouldn't even be an issue. She didn't want to dust Spike either, not unless she absolutely had to. She owed him too much.

"Xander, I don't think it'll come to that."

"I hope not, 'cause I really don't want to blow my apartment up."

Xander shook his head and then they both got out of the car. They walked in silence into the building and waited for the elevator. They rode up to Xander's floor without even looking at each other. By the time they reached Xander's door, Buffy was chewing on her fingernail in a nervous gesture. It reminded Xander of the girl she had been when they first met. He smiled at her and pulled her into his arms.

"Hey, it'll be okay. We'll figure this out."

"I know. It's just..."

"I know. You don't have to explain to me, Buffy."

Xander chuckled as an insane thought popped into his head. Buffy tilted her head and looked at him like he was crazy.

"Sorry. Funny thoughts."

"Well, I could use some funny. Share?"

"You probably won't see the funny."

"Xander."

"Alright. I was just thinking that we now have something to bond over. We've both slept with the male half of the Scourge of Europe. How many people can claim that and live to tell the tale?"

"Oh God. That's right! You... you and Angel, I forgot. Oh, you have to let me be there if you ever tell him. Promise me that and I'll give you anything! Even Mr. Gordo!"

"Deal. But you can keep the pig."

The pair stood for a few minutes longer just holding onto one another in the hallway outside Xander's door. Xander smiled and kissed Buffy's head. This was what he had wanted to come home for, this closeness. He was glad he had opened up to Buffy and told her everything. He had missed her.

The door opened and Spike looked at the two humans with their arms wrapped around each other. He was instantly insanely jealous. Only problem was, he wasn't sure of which one. He looked at Buffy and his inner voice cried out 'love her' then he looked at Xander and the demon raged. One word coming to mind, 'MINE'. He was torn. The demon loved Buffy, but Xander was his. He wore his mark, his claim. He had no right touching another, especially someone that Spike was in love with.

"Well, well. Isn't this cozy."

Xander and Buffy both jumped and turned to look at the glowering vampire in the doorway. They hadn't been doing anything wrong; they were friends, and friends hugged.

Xander realised he was feeling guilty and rolled his eyes. He had no reason to; he could hug Buffy if he wanted to, and he didn't have to answer to Spike, anyway. He wasn't his Spike. If anything, the vamp was Buffy's - if she'd just make up her mind one way or the other.

"Hey, Spike. We should go inside. We need to talk."





Part Twelve

Xander closed the door behind him and took a good look at the vampire in front of him. Spike was rigid; jaw clenched and muscles coiled in readiness for a fight. He wondered what had upset him so much, and then he realised that he was probably jealous about him hugging Buffy. He shook his head sadly. If those two would just open their eyes and see what was right in front of them... well he would be a little hurt by it but it would be okay.

"Spike, we need to talk to you."

Xander tried to keep the nervousness out of his voice when he spoke.

"There was this vamp that Buffy was fighting last night..."

"He said you sired him."

Xander rolled his eyes at Buffy in exasperation.

"Way to soften the blow there, Buff."

"We don't have time for soft, Xan. If he's siring vamps, I need to know."

Spike looked at her with curiosity.

"Siring? Er, you do realise I have a chip in my bleedin' skull, don't you?"

Spike turned and walked a few steps before turning back and addressing her again.

"And besides that, even if I didn't, I have a soul now. Or did you forget that? 'Cause I sure as hell haven't. Why would I want to make more vampires? This town is already chock full of 'em. If I had any use for minions, I could just round a few up and beat them into subservience. Your informant was barmy."

Buffy looked like she wanted to believe him; Xander did too. But there had been no real reason for Holden to lie to her. Other than the fact that he was an evil vampire now. But he didn't even know that she knew Spike, so she had to assume he was telling the truth. Which meant that Spike was either a very good actor - which she doubted - or he wasn't aware of doing it.

"Have you been dreaming about killing?"

Spike raised en eyebrow at her sardonically.

"Well, duh. As you lot would say. I have nightmares, yeah. Reliving past sins and that rot, all part of the soul-having experience, innit?"

"No..."

Buffy shook her head.

"...not reliving past kills, but new ones, current ones."

Xander watched with rising dread as Spike's brow wrinkled with tension. His shoulders slumped in defeat and he walked away from them. He stepped onto the balcony and lit a cigarette. Buffy and Xander stepped outside with him and waited for him to talk. After a few drags, Spike looked up and locked eyes with Xander.

"I've been blacking out. Losing track of time every now and again. I went out the other night, was talking to this bird at The Bronze, cute little blonde thing. I walked her home, think I did anyway - don't really remember much. I woke up here though, in my bed. I think... I think I dreamed about a house. A basement. There were... Oh God. Oh Xander, tell me I didn't!"

Xander stepped toward Spike and laid his hand gently on the man's shoulder. He gave it a reassuring squeeze and Spike lowered his eyes in defeat.

"What is it, Spike? What do you remember?"

"I killed her, turned her. My God, how could I forget something like that? How could I do something like that?"

Buffy felt like a voyeur. She was witnessing an obviously private moment as Xander wrapped his arms around Spike and tried to comfort him. She wondered if there was more between them then simple friendship. She had never seen Spike so open with anyone - not even her, though she supposed she hadn't exactly given him a reason to be.

"It'll be okay, Spike. We'll figure this out. I promise. Do you remember where this house is?"

"Yeah. We gotta go, Xan. They'll be rising soon."

"They? There's more than one?"

"Yes, I don't know how I could have... the chip, my soul. Xander, how'd this happen?"

Buffy cleared her throat and when the two men remembered she was there they broke apart and turned toward her. Spike couldn't bring himself to meet her eyes; he was ashamed by his behaviour. How could she ever love him when he was still just an animal? Even with a soul and a chip he was killing.

"We can figure the how of it later; right now we need to clean up the mess."

The three armed themselves with stakes and Buffy and Xander followed Spike as he led them to the house and down into the basement. Things were okay at first; as the vampires rose, Buffy began to slay. It was fine until all of a sudden Spike snarled and flew into a rage at Xander.

For one brief minute, Xander thought he was going to die. Spike had him in his grip, his head tilted to the side and his teeth on his throat. Then he just... stopped. He snarled and held Xander in a bruising grip but he didn't bite. Xander was glad he had told Spike about his mate, about the claim. It meant he no longer needed to use the masking spell. Right about now he had no doubt that it had just saved his life.

Buffy was surrounded by vampires. They were strong; being sired by a master gave them an edge over the average fledgling she was used to facing. She saw Spike attack Xander but was helpless to prevent it. She continued to fight her attackers and hoped that Xander could hold Spike off until she could get to him.

Xander felt Spike stiffen as he began snuffling into his exposed neck. He gently petted the back of the vampire's head as his cold tongue snaked out and laved over the tiny claim scar.

"Spike. Spike, it's me, Xander. You don't want to hurt me, remember?"

The vampire trembled and loosened his tight grip. Xander relaxed a bit and put his arms around Spike. He felt the vampire sag into his embrace as he continued to lick the mark. Xander had to fight with himself very hard not to allow this to arouse him. He saw that Buffy had dusted the last vampire and was watching them curiously.

"Xander?"

"Yeah, Spike. It's me."

Spike jumped back, a look of horror on his face.

"I almost killed you!"

"But you didn't."

"Only 'cause I sensed my claim. His claim."

Spike scrambled away from Xander and sank to his knees. Buffy stepped toward Xander but then stopped and went to Spike instead. She crouched down in front of him, and when he looked up at her she gasped at the tears that were running freely down his face.

"Make it quick, eh, love? No pain?"

"What are you talking about?"

"He said you'd do it; have to now - I'm a killer, aren't I?"

Buffy looked back at Xander in confusion and then turned to Spike again.

"Who, Spike? Who said I'd do it?"

"Me. He was here; he said I failed, that you'd kill me now. He was talking... singing. There was a song."

"What song? Spike, what are you talking about?"

Buffy touched his shoulder and he wrenched away from her. He turned and looked at the far corner, at something the others couldn't see.

"Make it stop! I did what you wanted; make it stop! I don't want this, don't want to remember. Make me forget."

Spike hung his head and cried in shame and defeat. Buffy looked at Xander, determination clearly visible on her face.

"There's something here. Something is playing with us, all of us."

"What is it, Buffy? And why is it doing this to Spike?"

"I don't know, Xander, but we have to help him."

Spike turned his tear-streaked face to look at the two of them.

"Will you? Will you help me?"

Buffy stepped closer to him and reached out her hand. Spike grasped it and she helped him to his feet.

"I will. We both will."

She looked at Xander who nodded his assent. The three of them turned to leave when Xander noticed a hand sticking up from the dirt floor of the basement.

"Uh, Buff?"

He pointed out the struggling vamp who couldn't seem to dig its way out of the shallow grave. Buffy walked over, pulled the elderly-lady vampire from the dirt and shrugged her shoulders.

"Sorry ma'am, it's my job."

Then she staked her and walked back to Xander who had wrapped an around Spike and was leading him up the stairs.





Part Thirteen

Xander walked into his apartment and sighed. It had been one hell of a night. After they had left the basement of that house, they had gone back to Buffy's place. She explained what had happened to Willow and Dawn and then announced that she thought it would be best if Spike stayed there - chained to a wall in the basement.

Xander had freaked. Told her that it was out of the question, that Spike wasn't some fucking animal to be put on a leash. She pointed out that Spike had attacked him, that he could have killed him. Xander argued that he hadn't, that he had stopped himself, but Buffy had only shook her head sadly and asked if he would be able to do that with any one else. Xander didn't have an answer for that. He knew it was the claim that had stopped Spike from hurting him, and that none of the others had that protection. Then Spike himself had sided with Buffy and told him that he was better off restrained where he couldn't hurt anyone.

Xander had to admit defeat. He set up the cot and drilled the holes to attach the metal rings into the wall. Then he carefully chained Spike's wrists and ankles before asking if he wanted anything from home. Spike declined the offer but tried to crack a joke about Xander owing him for the lesson in how to properly restrain a vampire. It was a good effort, but neither man felt in the mood for jokes.

Xander hadn't stayed long after that. He just wanted to go home, shower and fall into bed with a bottle of Jack and his diary. He had a lot of things to work through and desperately needed the clarity his journal provided.

After a short, lukewarm shower, Xander grabbed a bottle from the liquor cabinet and adjourned to his room. He set the booze on his night table and reached inside the drawer for his journal. He brought out Spike's instead.

For several long moments he just held it in his hand and stared at it. He was suddenly desperate to read it, to see his lover's handwriting, to read his words. He pulled out the Queen CD and put it in the player on low volume, opened the bottle of Jack and took a good swallow, and then sat back against the headboard. He opened the book and began to read.

When I made love to you - and that is what I did - it was because I wanted to, wanted you. I hope you know that it wasn't just sex, that I wasn't using you. I wouldn't; not you - not ever. I'm not ready to let you take me, but it's not because I don't want you, it's just that I'm afraid. Yeah, that's right. The Big Bad is afraid. They hurt me, love. They hurt me so badly I don't know if I'll ever recover. I hope you can understand that, and that you'll be patient.

Tears slid down his face as he read. He could hear Spike's voice, as though he were sitting next to him, reading this to him. He reached over for the bottle and drew on it once again. He was glad it was Friday night and he could sleep in tomorrow because he was sure he was going to need it.

When he got to the entry Spike wrote about the reality where he was married to the Buffy bot, he smiled, and then laughed out loud as Spike's words came to life on the page.

Oh love, where do I start? We just got back from seeing the you and me of this reality. I gotta say, the idea of you married to a robot - a sex bot of all things - just bloody well kills me!

I can understand the why of it, I mean you - or rather the alterna-you - wanted to keep Dawn safe and in Sunnydale, but it's completely fucking ludicrous, you gotta admit. How much of a wanker was I in this world? Building a shag toy? What, he wasn't capable of getting a leg over with anything real - human or demon? And how in the hell did he afford it? I mean something like that has got to cost, eh? You'd think he'd put the money to better use - like getting the buggering chip out or something. A Buffy bot. A slayer-shaped sex toy. Fuckin' hell, how pathetic.

I can see it too, him and her - it - together. Probably had her programmed to do all sorts of stupid shit like pretend to stake him and then not follow through cause she "loves" him too much. Probably had her programmed to hate Angel, too. Wanker.

I asked him, the other me, if he and the other you ever messed around with the bot. You probably don't want to hear it, but they do. Only occasionally though, when the girl is staying over at her friend's place or something.

I can't help but laugh. The very idea of you and me screwing a robot together, I mean why the hell would I want to stick my cock into that when I have you? Not to mention the possible fire hazards! Bloody hell, I'd be afraid the stupid thing would short out and crush my bits to pulp.

Could you see it? You, me, and a robot in bed, all sweaty and writhing. Things heat up a little too much and then there are sparks flying everywhere and the very combustible vampire has to hide under the bed while you put the bot out. Not on. I'll stick with the real deal, ta muchly.

Can't quite get over the way those two are with each other anyway, though. I mean, yeah, the spell was on Xander and all, but do you really think they'll work out? They just don't seem as committed as you and I. Well, Spike is. He's in love all right, but your other self doesn't get it. Hope he smartens up before he loses him. But enough of them, no point in wasting time on them when I could be spending time with you love. Love you Xander.

The tears continued to flow steadily down Xander's cheeks as he drank and read. The track on the CD changed over to something soft and slow and he hummed along as he turned the pages, lost in his lover's words. He had to stop and wipe his eyes as he looked at the page in front of him; it was the entry Spike wrote about the first time Xander had been inside him.

I watched you sleep this morning and I fell in love all over again. I even thought to myself about you being my very own sleeping beauty. Pathetic, I know, but that's what you do to me, Xander; you make the little part of William that still lives on in me come to the surface. I want to be more than a monster for you; I want to be someone worthy of you.

When you woke for me, when you heard that I needed you and instantly woke up... God. I can't tell you how it feels to know that you will always be there to make it better for me.

The way you felt as I slowly sank onto your cock was amazing. It was nothing like I thought it would be. I admit I was afraid, I never wanted to associate you with the bastards that violated me. I was afraid it would bring back a lot of unpleasantness, a lot of pain that I've tried to forget. It didn't. It felt wonderful, amazing, incredible. Making love to you is so very different from that. I should thank you for giving me back a part of myself that I'd thought was lost forever. You cleansed me, love. With your love, your body, your seed. You made me whole again.

The fact that you allow me total control of how fast and how far things go between us proves to me that you love me, that you mean it when you say you'll never hurt me. The look in your eyes... My God, Xander. What did a demon like me ever do to deserve a man like you? I have hunted and killed for over a century, love. There are those that would feel everything that Finn and his goons did to me was justified. How is it that you look at me and him and see him as the monster? Sometimes I wonder if I'm not dreaming. If I am, I never want to wake up.

By the time he got to the last page, Xander was very drunk. The bottle was nearly three-quarters empty and the CD player had turned off some time ago. He took a deep steadying breath and looked at the last words his lover had ever written.

I don't know what we're going to face tomorrow when we go looking for the Master, but I do know that with you by my side, I can face anything.

Xander wiped his eyes on the back of his hand and clutched the bottle to his chest. He couldn't help the choked off sobs that were wracking his body. He thought he was ready for this, that it would bring him closer to Spike, if only for a little while. It did - it had - but the price he had to pay was a high one. He felt his heart breaking at each word he read; each letter on the page was another rip in the fabric of his very soul. He missed his mate desperately, and now he was all alone; not even Spike was here to keep him company.

With shaky hands, Xander set down both the book and the bottle. He curled up into a ball on his side and cried himself to sleep. He only hoped he would dream of Spike, that his mate would hold him again and make every thing better.





Part Fourteen

Xander woke up with the mother of all hangovers. He dragged himself into the shower and sat on the tub floor while the water cascaded over his limp form. He would have stood up if he had had the strength. He barely managed to wash himself and crawl out onto the floor. He must have fallen asleep because he woke sometime later, naked, shivering and sore all over.

Calling himself a fool, he slowly stood and made his way back to his room. He looked at the mostly empty bottle of Jack on his nightstand and felt his stomach roll. Then he looked at the book - his mate's journal - and the memories of the night before washed over him. He ran back to the bathroom and threw up.

After brushing his teeth and getting dressed, Xander put Spike's book back in the drawer and headed out to the kitchen. He brewed a pot of extra-strong coffee and then set to work fixing the week-end reports that he had screwed up the day before.

It was almost dark when he left for Buffy's place - having put off the trip as long as he thought he could get away with. He wasn't sure why he was avoiding going there. He felt a bit upset over Spike's choosing to remain there, chained like an animal, over coming home with him but that wasn't reason enough to avoid going there.

Xander let himself in and headed for the basement. He heard voices and stopped to listen.

"Buffy, you have to kill me."

"You don't understand. When I left the room earlier, I heard you talking to someone..."

"Do you have any idea what I'm capable of?"

"I was in the cellar with you. I saw what you did."

"I'm not talking about the cellar. The people in the cellar got off easy. I'm talking about me. Buffy, you have never met the real me."

"Believe me, I'm well aware of what you're capable of."

"No, you got off easy, too. Do you know how much blood you can drink from a girl before she'll die? I do. You see, the trick is to drink only enough to know how to damage them just enough so that they'll still cry when you... 'cause it's not worth it if they don't cry."

"It's not your fault. You're not the one doing this."

"I already did it. It's already done. You wanna know what I've done to girls Dawn's age? This is me, Buffy. You've got to kill me before I get out."

"We can keep you locked up. Keep you here and we'll figure it out."

"Have you ever really asked yourself why you can't do it? Off me? After everything I've done to you, to people around you. It's not love. We both know that."

"You fought by my side. You've saved lives. You've helped... "

"Don't do that. Don't rationalise this into some noble act. We both know the truth of it. You like men who hurt you."

Xander had heard enough. He turned back toward the stairs and quietly walked away. Whatever was going on between Buffy and Spike, it was for them to work out. He wasn't going to get involved this time; he'd just hang back and be supportive of both of them - no matter what decision they came to.

Xander was startled by the appearance of Anya as she materialised right in front of him. He got over his shock enough to smile at her and she shook her head at him.

"They're coming. Get Buffy now!"

Before Xander had a chance to react, the window was smashed and the front door broke open. Figures in long, black hooded robes carrying sharp knives rushed into the house. Xander and Anya fought off their attackers as Willow and Dawn did the same. The robed figures continued to pour in through the doors and windows; some heading upstairs to the upper level of the house where Tara was last seen.

Buffy came up from the basement and saw that everyone was holding their own; Willow yelled out to her that Tara was upstairs alone and Buffy took the stairs two at a time. She got up in time to stop one of the attackers from stabbing Tara. She pulled off its hood and looked at its mutilated face - where eyes should have been, there were only scarred symbols.

"Bringers."

Buffy whispered horrified as the creature lunged past her and escaped out the upstairs hallway window. She helped Tara to her feet and escorted her back downstairs. Willow ran to her girlfriend and took her in her arms. Buffy looked around for Dawn.

"Dawn?"

"She's okay."

Xander pointed to the corner where Dawn sat on the floor holding her arm against her chest.

"Are you okay?"

"It's just a scratch. I'm fine."

Buffy nodded and watched as Xander headed for the basement. In all the excitement, she had forgotten about Spike. She followed Xander down the stairs.

"Oh God."

"They took him."

"Why? Why would they take Spike?"

"I don't know Buffy, but we'll get him back."

"How, Xander? We don't even know where they are."

"We know what they are, that's enough to start with."

Xander held Buffy while she cried into his chest. He could feel the rage building up inside himself; he would not lose Spike, not again. He needed to get out, to blow off some steam, to find the bastards that had taken Spike and make them pay.





Part Fifteen

While Xander stalked the streets of Sunnydale, the others tried to find any information on the "First" that they could. It wasn't going at all well. There was nothing written on the First, at least nothing that they could find. Buffy went off to try and call Giles; if anyone knew where to look, it would be him.

Xander was surprised to see the streets empty of demons. It wasn't normal for a Saturday night on the hellmouth; it was usually crawling with supernatural activity. He really wanted to kill something - after he beat it for information on where the Bringers were holed up. With nothing on the streets, Xander made his way to the Alibi Bar - Willy was always good for information.

The place was pretty full - various demons and quite a few vampires were scattered about the room. Xander walked directly to the bar and glared at the bartender.

"Willy."

"Hey, kid. What you brings you to my humble establishment?"

"I need some information on the First."

"The first what?"

Xander reached out with a lighting quick move and dragged the little man over the bar and right up to his face. He stared directly into his eyes and saw the man's face pale as his eyes darkened with power.

"Don't play me. I want to know where the First is hiding out - where those robed freaks took Spike. And Willy? I want to know this five minutes ago."

Willy swallowed and nodded his head. Xander let him go and he ran a hand back through his greasy, unkempt hair.

"Geez, I thought you were the token normal guy. Do all the slayer's friends have superpowers?"

"Willy, I'm getting angry. You won't like me when I'm angry."

Several of the bar's patrons quietly made their way toward the door hoping to slip out before the crazy human did anything... well, crazy. A couple of them almost made it before Xander noticed. He turned away from Willy and looked at the door. With a grin and a wave of his hand, the doorway became a solid brick wall.

"No one leaves until I find out where Spike is."

A Fyral demon who thought he was tougher than brick tried his luck at ramming through the wall. It didn't get him anything other than a headache. Xander tsked at him and then remembered his conversation with Anya.

"You wouldn't happen to be the same Fyral demon that's been stalking Anyanka, would you?"

At the demon's growled reply that she killed its cousin, Xander grinned and turned it into a kitten. Knowing full well what most of these demons did with kittens, he was prepared for the frightened reactions of the bar's patrons.

"Now, anyone want to tell me where Spike is, or do I leave Willy here with one large litterbox instead of a bar?"

A young girl - vampire if Xander guessed correctly - stepped out from behind a group of Kaliff demons and approached Xander warily. She looked up at him from beneath her eyelashes and Xander smiled at her. She couldn't have been any older than Dawn when she was turned.

"You're good, honey. If I didn't know what you really are, I would've fallen for that little innocent act of yours."

"Really? Thanks, I've been working on it."

"You just flirting here or do you know something?"

"What's it worth to you?"

"What do you want?"

"I want to walk out of here - as I am; no fur, no tail, no... soul."

"Done."

"Those robed freaks? I saw them go into the high school. They had a vamp with them - could be the one you're looking for."

"Bleached blonde, blue eyes, sexy as sin?"

"That's the one. I can see why you'd want him back."

Xander just smiled and nodded his head in thanks to her. He looked over the rest of the bar's clientele.

"Anyone want to share with the group? Anyone at all?"

When no one made any move to speak or step forward, Xander sighed and shook his head.

"That's really too bad."

Willy saw Xander's eyes darken and ducked behind the bar. There was a tremendous burst of power throughout the room and when Willy finally got up the courage to peek over the counter all he saw was Xander and the female vampire. He stood up straight and looked again. Kittens. Everywhere he looked were kittens.

"What's your name, honey?"

Xander addressed the vampiress who was staring in awe at the room full of furry animals.

"Kailey, sir."

"Kailey, I'm going to give you some advice. Get out of Sunnydale, and don't look back. You won't get a second chance; if I see you again, well, I hope you like mice."

Xander waved his hand at the brick wall and it turned back into a door. The vampire wasted no time in using it. Xander turned back to the flummoxed bartender.

"Look on the bright side. You can always sell them to the pet store and make a few bucks."

Xander turned on his heel and left. He stopped outside and pulled out his cell phone and dialled Buffy's house.

"Hey Buff. I got some information on Spike and the Bringers. Can you come pick me up? I'm at Willy's? Take my car; Anya has a spare set of keys. Oh and tell her I took care of her Fyral problem."

Xander hung up the phone and slumped against the wall. He was exhausted. He had never used that much power for anything - he wasn't even sure how he had done all that. All he had to do was think about what he wanted and then... do it. It was very cool, yet scary at the same time. He hoped he never let his temper get the better of him; he could really hurt someone.




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