Quantum Xander 2
In Wake of the Curse


by
Jameschick



Part Forty-One

Hallie was almost salivating as she watched Xander think over his options. She knew he wouldn't disappoint her; he was always the noble one - putting everyone else first. He would do it this time, as well. She was sure of it.

"I've made a decision."

"All you have to do is say the words, and it will all be over."

"Go to hell. I won't wish, no way no how."

Hallie waved her arms and smiled.

"Done!"

Xander silently counted down from three and grinned as she turned and glared at him.

"What?! What do you mean you won't do it? You would let the world suffer just so you could keep fucking a vampire?"

"Yep. See, I have faith in Buffy. She'll defeat the First and the world will be fine."

"And Anyanka?"

"She knows the score. If she isn't happy with her job, she should quit. Being human isn't a bad deal, Hallie. In fact, I think you should try it."

In a move that Xander wasn't even sure how he pulled off, he ripped Halfrek's necklace from her throat and smashed it under his boot heel. Hallie screamed.

Just then, screams from inside the building brought the others toward Xander and the newly-human Halfrek. Xander didn't even spare a backward glance at her as he led the charge inside to help out his friends.

What he found inside was carnage- pure and simple. Rona's arm had been busted and two of the other girls were dead. Buffy was unconscious on the far side of the room and Spike was looking a bit worse for wear. Xander looked at his mate; Spike nodded and Xander went to help Buffy.

Faith engaged Caleb, but she was no match for his strength - none of them were. Xander knew that they had walked into a trap, and that they needed to retreat. He began pulling Buffy toward the stairs.

"Xander, get them out of here. Do it."

Xander nodded and started to gather the rest of the girls. Buffy rushed back into the fight with Caleb, trying to buy Xander enough time to get the others out. She saw what he did to Molly - one of the girls he killed and she lashed out at him in fury. Caleb sailed across the room with the force of the blow.

Spike and Xander were helping the girls to the stairs when Caleb got back up. He grabbed Xander and turned him around to face him.

"You're the one who sees everything, aren't you?"

Caleb reared his hand back in front of Xander's face.

"Well, let's see what we can do about that."

Xander could see the thumb coming towards his eye almost as if in slow motion. He heard Spike's roar of rage and turned his head to see him running toward him. He knew Spike wouldn't make it; he could see that Spike knew it too. Not even knowing how it was that he was doing it, Xander merely stepped to the side, and then time started to return to normal all around him.

"How did you..."

Caleb didn't get a chance to finish his sentence as Spike tackled him to the ground, pouring all his rage and fury out on the man who tried to hurt what was his. Xander quickly grabbed Spike and pulled him away. Buffy was still waiting for them.

"Xander, Spike. Come on!"

The trio headed outside to find the others waiting for them. They were all in bad shape - some worse than others - and they needed to get some of the girls to the hospital. Buffy pulled out her cell phone and called home. Willow said she'd be there in a few minutes with the car.

Xander looked around but didn't see Hallie anywhere. He wondered whether he did the right thing in destroying her power center. Anya had had help acclimating, she had the scoobies and she had him, Hallie was wandering around Sunnydale at night by herself. Xander didn't have time to worry about Halfrek, though; he had to help the others. They needed to get as far away from the vineyard as they could.

Spike was helping Rona; the girl was minutes away from passing out. Xander saw a couple of the other girls who looked like they would collapse any minute and headed toward them. He placed a hand on each of them and sent a small burst of energy through them. He smiled at the shocked look on their faces and headed off to see if Buffy and Faith were okay.

Willow showed up minutes later; Xander didn't want to know how fast she must have been driving to get there that quickly. They piled Rona into the front seat with Willow and a couple of the other girls into the back. Willow drove off to the hospital and Buffy turned to Xander.

"Can you and Spike take the girls back to the house? I want to make sure the others are okay."

"Sure thing, Buff."

"Thanks."

Faith shrugged her shoulders and headed after Buffy. Xander rounded up the rest of the girls and he and Spike walked them back to Buffy's. They answered Giles' questions, reassured Dawn that Buffy was fine, and then headed home.

Once inside the door, Spike grabbed Xander and pushed his back against the door before attacking his mouth. Xander yielded to his mate's desire and kissed him back just as aggressively. When Spike finally pulled away to let Xander get some much-needed oxygen, he buried his face into his neck and sucked on his claim scar.

"Spike? Not that I'm complaining, but what's this all about?"

The blonde released the patch of skin from his mouth and pulled Xander away from the door. He began leading him back toward the bedroom as he answered.

"Almost lost you tonight, pet. Scared me."

"I'm okay; not even a scratch."

"I wasn't fast enough, love. If you hadn't made with the mojo, he'd have gotten you. Blinded you, maybe even killed you. Can't lose you, Xander. Not now; I've only just found you."

Xander kissed Spike and then grabbed the hem of the vampire's t-shirt and slowly began pulling it up - exposing a smooth, flat stomach that just begged to be touched, a well defined six-pack that Xander desperately wanted to explore with his tongue.

Spike raised his arms and Xander pulled the shirt over his head and tossed it aside before slowly lowering his mouth to Spike's collarbone. He nipped it lightly and then traced all the way across to the other side of his chest, stopping in the middle to suck on the hollow in between. Spike groaned and let his eyes fall shut as he felt his mate's warm lips slowly move to his right nipple.

Xander teased the little nubbin of flesh into a hard peak and then bit down softly. Spike made a strangled keening noise and Xander soothed the small hurt by laving it with his tongue before repeating the process on the left nipple.

Spike sighed and threaded his hands through his boy's hair as he felt the tip of Xander's tongue trailing wetly across his abs. He moaned as Xander's hands trailed up the backs of his legs and then squeezed his ass firmly. He could now see why Anya had called Xander a Viking in the sack. There was just no describing what it felt like to be the focus of this man's attention. Spike had never felt so cherished or wanted as he did when Xander took his time exploring his body.

The man in question had finished his exploration of Spike's abdominals and was now contemplating his navel. He dipped his tongue inside and swirled it around, causing Spike to jump slightly and emit a tiny squeak. Xander chuckled against the firm flesh under his lips and then sucked lightly on the small indentation. Knowing that Spike's bellybutton was sensitive, he decided not to overstimulate it and kissed his way down the light dusting of hair that disappeared into the waistband of the tight, black jeans.

"Mmm. Happy trail."

Xander smiled as he remembered the confusion he had felt the first time he had heard that phrase. It had been Cordelia who had finally explained what it meant. He remembered blushing profusely when she told him.

"What was that, love?"

Xander looked up at Spike, his bangs falling into his eyes and grinned.

"Happy trail."

He licked said happy trail in explanation.

"Why do you call it that?"

Xander just grinned and popped open the button of Spike's jeans with his teeth. Spike watched as his zipper was slowly lowered the same way. Xander peeled back the open front of the vampire's jeans and was smacked in the forehead with his lover's hard cock. He shook his head fondly and moved back a bit.

Starting at Spike's navel again, he licked his way down the trail until he reached the base of his mate's cock. He looked up to see Spike watching him, a look of lust and longing on his face.

"Happy trail - 'cause when you get to the end of the trail, you get a happy."

That said, Xander swooped down and sucked Spike's penis into his mouth. He heard a soft 'Oh' from above him before the hands tightened in his hair and Spike groaned loudly.





Part Forty-Two

The next morning, Xander was awakened to a banging on his front door. He rolled out of bed and grabbed his robe on the way to answer it. Usually the only person who came around this early in the morning was Buffy, so it had to be important. Needless to say, he was stunned to see a strange man in a brown uniform standing in the hall.

"Alexander Harris?"

"Yeah."

"Sign here, please."

The man thrust a clipboard and a pen at him, and he blinked sleepily. He took the proffered items on reflex and scrawled his name on the dotted line before handing it back.

"Here you go. Have a good day, sir."

The man handed Xander a package and walked away. Xander closed the door, set the package down on the hall table and crawled back into bed. He wrapped himself around Spike's cooler body and drifted off to sleep.

He was in the park. The sun was shining and he was sitting on a chequered blanket, a picnic basket beside him. He could feel his mate's body nestled against his back and he sighed softly and rested fully against him.

"No beach this time?"

"Hey, love. Thought you might like a change of scenery."

"Mmm, Spike. Missed you. Don't care where we are, as long as you're here."

"I missed you too."

"Why haven't you come sooner? I sleep every night, you know."

Spike chuckled and kissed Xander lightly.

"I know. I wanted to give you and him some time to adjust. Things are drawing close, love. It's almost time."

"I know. I can't wait to see you again - for real."

"Me too, Xan."

"I've done things, strange things. I'm not the same as you remember."

"I know, love. I know everything that happened. I'm always with you, even when you can't see me, I can see you, feel you, hear you. I'm always with you, love. I told you I'd never leave you, and I never did."

"The whole time? You've been here - seen and heard everything?"

"Everything. Now don't go blushing. I enjoyed watching. Very much so. You have no idea how hot you are, how unbelievably sexy you can be. Watching as you kiss him, touch him, taste him... Fuck Xan, I can't tell you how hard I get. I can't wait until it's my turn again. I miss feeling you inside me. I miss filling you up, sliding into you oh-so-slowly and making you beg for more."

Xander groaned at the words being whispered so seductively into his ear. It had been far too long since he had been with this Spike, and he wanted so badly to feel him again, feel him do all of those things that he was saying.

"God, Spike. Touch me? Please."

"Always love, always.

There were no clothes to get in the way as Spike's hands came around and roamed greedily over Xander's chest. He pulled and plucked at small brown nipples until they were hard little points. One hand drifted lower to stroke lightly over his cock and balls while the other trailed tiny circles over the two small puncture scars on his throat.

"I can't wait to mark you again, love; sink my fangs into your sweet flesh and make you mine all over again. Will you scream for me, Xander, scream for me the way you did for him? I loved that; it was so fucking hot, watching him as he took you hard and fast. Wanna do that myself, plunge into you and ride you hard, taste your blood, make you scream."

"Yes. God yes! Oh fuck, Spike. Please."

The hand on his cock began to move with more purpose now and Xander bucked into the grip. He was so desperate to cum, but he wanted more. He wanted to feel his mate inside him.

"Spike, in me, please, in me. Need you; fuck, want you so bad."

"Yeah love, you beg so pretty. Turn around, Xan. Ride my cock. Let me see you."

Xander didn't need to be asked twice. He quickly spun and straddled his mate's thighs before kissing him deeply. He was so glad that he didn't need lube or stretching while in this dream state and quickly impaled himself on Spike's thick shaft.

"Fucking hell, Xander. Yeah, like that love. Ride me."

Xander was too close to take things slow, he set a brutal rhythm; riding Spike hard and fast. He watched as Spike went into game face and his yellow eyes rolled back in his head.

"Fuck, Spike. Gonna cum, can't wait, haf'ta cum now."

"Yeah love, cum for me; I wanna watch you."

Spike grabbed Xander's cock and tugged it. Xander arched and came with such force that it painted Spike's face and neck. He felt Spike release himself into his body, the cool splash of his cum coating his insides.

Spike licked his lips, tasting Xander's pleasure. He watched as Xander's eyes darkened in lust once again and chuckled at him.

"Mmm, love. You taste good."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah."

Spike pulled Xander down and kissed him deeply, sharing the flavour of his release with him. He wanted nothing more than to roll them over and pound into him again and again. He eased away from the kiss and smiled as Xander tried to capture his lips again.

"Christ, pet. I want you so bad."

"Have me, take me. Please."

"Can't love. No time. You have to wake up."

"I don't want to. Why do I have to?"

Spike shook his head fondly and sat up, taking Xander with him.

"Don't you want to know what's in that package, love?"

"Wha... Huh? Package? What package?"

"The package on the hall table, the one you signed for this morning? The one from China?"

"China? Shit! Spike! It's the gherystic! I can do the spell!"

"Yeah, Xan. You can. So, you still wanna stay here or do you want to wake up and bring me home to you?"

Xander kissed Spike quickly and hugged him tight.

"I wanna wake up now. I want to hold you in the real world."

"Good."

"Um, how exactly do I wake up?"

Spike smiled and kissed Xander again.

"You just do, love. You just do."

Xander opened his eyes and looked around his bedroom. He grinned and leapt out of bed. He didn't even bother with the robe - just ran out to the front room naked and grabbed the package off the table. He tore it open and whooped with happiness.

Spike had woken up when Xander leapt out of bed. He grabbed his jeans off the floor and pulled them up over his hips; he didn't bother to do them up. He was halfway to the living room when he heard Xander shout out loud. He peeked around the wall and saw him holding the container of dried gherystic plant. He sighed to himself, painted on a cheery smile and walked out to the front room.

"That the thing you were waiting for, love?"

"Yep! I have everything I need now."

Spike shook his head at Xander.

"Not everything, Xan. You still haven't taken my blood."

Spike held out his wrist to Xander and waited. Waited to be bled, to be cast aside, to be forgotten. Regardless of what the boy had said, Spike couldn't believe that he'd still be wanted once the other Spike was here.

Xander took Spike's hand, turned it over and placed a soft kiss on his wrist.

"I do love you, Spike. Whether you believe me or not, I'm not going to forget about you just because he's back. I promise."

"I know, pet; I believe you."

Xander shook his head sadly; he could see the misery on his mate's face, even behind the fake cheeriness. He wished that Spike could believe him, but knew that he would have to prove to him that he loved and wanted him for himself - not because he was a convenient stand-in.

"Liar. Come on, breakfast first, bloodletting second."





Part Forty-Three


"Huh. I didn't realise this spell was so involved."

"What's that, pet?"

"Oh, just reading over the spell. I never realised that it would take so much time. And I think I might need help."

Spike looked over Xander's shoulder and read.

"Hmm, does seem a bit ... involved, doesn't it?"

"Yeah."

"I'll help if you want. Can't say as I'm any good with the mojo, but I can crush herbs and mix stuff."

Xander turned and kissed Spike before smiling at him.

"Thank you. Are you sure? I mean I know you said you were okay with this, but I can see that you're not. I wish I knew how to convince you that I love you, that I will still love you, after the spell is done and he's back."

Xander stood and took Spike into his arms. He kissed him deeply and then looked into his eyes. He smiled.

"I love you. You. And if anything ever happens to you, I will work just as hard to get you back as I am to get him back. Please Spike, you have to believe that."

"I want to, love. I do, but experience tells me that this won't work, no matter how much we want it to. What if he wants me gone? What happens then, if you have to choose between me and him?"

"Won't happen. He knows, Spike. I don't know how, but he's here, all the time. He can see me, hear me. He knows everything that's happened. He's good with it. I saw him this morning - in my dreams again. He told me he enjoyed watching us together, that it got him hot."

Xander chuckled at the slightly shocked expression on the vampire's face. He knew it had to be William's influence there, 'cause Spike was never embarrassed when it came to sex.

"He... he watched us?"

"Yep. He really liked it when you took me that first night. The way you made me scream for you."

Spike leered at Xander and then licked the side of his throat before nipping it lightly.

"I liked that too, in fact I think I'd like to do that again. Now."

Spike spun Xander so that he was facing the wall and then pressed up against his back. He opened Xander's robe and let it fall to the floor before peeling off his jeans and rubbing his hardness against Xander's ass.

"Think he's watching now, love? Want to give him a show he'll never forget?"

Xander just groaned and pushed back against Spike. He knew that Spike needed this, and in all truth he did, as well.

"Yeah, Spike. Do it; make me scream."

Spike didn't waste any time. He was desperate to be inside Xander, to feel him hot and tight around him. He pinned Xander's hands above his head and nipped him on the shoulder before whispering in his ear.

"You move those and I'll stop. Got that?"

"Got it. No moving, promise. Touch me?"

"Yeah, pet. I'll touch you alright."

Spike lowered himself until he was kneeling behind Xander between his spread legs. He ran his hands reverently over the swell of his mate's ass and then gently parted his cheeks. He could hear the man's heart rate increase and smelled his arousal. He licked over the small rosette and then blew chilly air across it.

"Spike! Gods, please don't tease."

"Hush, pet. Putting on a show remember? Be a good boy now."

An evil grin crossed the vampire's face as Xander whimpered above him. If this was going to be the last time he'd have the boy all to himself, he was damn sure going to make it unforgettable.

Xander kept his arms pinned above his head as he was teased into a frenzy. Spike licked over his hole, occasionally pushing inside him and making him cry out in pleasure. It was maddening; he was so turned on, he was desperate to cum. He knew that Spike had no intention of giving him release any time soon, though. He could only push back against that maddening tongue and beg for the sweet torture to stop.

Spike was quite enjoying himself; he had Xander at his mercy - begging for him to stop teasing and just fuck him already. He had to grin though; the boy never moved his arms from where Spike had placed them. Reluctantly, he moved away from Xander's sweet ass and stood. He was too hard to wait any longer; if he wasn't inside Xander soon, he was going to embarrass himself.

"Gonna fuck you hard now, Xan. Gonna make you scream."

"Gah."

Spike chuckled and grabbed the bottle of olive oil from the cupboard. It was the only thing handy and he wasn't going all the way back to the bedroom for the lube. He poured some into his hand and smoothed it over his erection. He shuddered and stilled as that touch alone was almost his undoing. He used his still-slippery fingers to oil and stretch Xander's ass before driving into him without warning.

"Fuck!"

Xander yelped and then moaned as Spike began to piston in and out of him. He was so close, too close. He didn't want it to be over so soon.

"Spike, shit, gonna cum."

Spike grabbed Xander's cock at the base and held it firmly.

"No you're not! Not until I say so."

Xander groaned and felt himself grow incredibly harder at the command. He was glad that Spike was holding off his climax for him or he would have been done for at the sound of that voice, speaking those words, in that tone.

"Ungh. God. Feel so fucking good. Harder, please."

"You want harder, love? Beg me. Tell me what you want, Xander, what you need."

Spike stopped moving, holding himself completely still, buried balls-deep inside his mate. Xander had tears leaking from his eyes he was so desperate to cum. He couldn't believe how turned on he was by being denied.

"Please, Spike, fuck me hard. Make me scream, make me bleed. Anything, just fucking fuck me already!"

"Yeah, pet. That's nice. Squeeze me love, let me feel how desperate you are."

Xander sobbed as he clenched Spike hard and felt the vampire begin to move again. He screamed as Spike smashed into his prostate and then bit deeply in his neck. He still couldn't cum, Spike's hand having tightened its grip.

"Fuck, Xan. Feels too good. Gonna fill you with my cum, pet. Want to feel me cum inside you?"

"Yes! Fuck, Spike, let me cum! Please?"

"Not yet, love."

Spike pounded into Xander and then roared as he came. He didn't stop, though; he just kept fucking him as he remained hard inside him. He could smell Xander's tears and frustration but it was buried under such a thick haze of lust that he knew his boy was enjoying it.

"So hot, love; so tight and so good. You make me want to cum too soon, Xander. I'm so close again already. Do you want to cum with me this time? Shall I release your cock and let you cum?"

"Please, oh please. Spike, fuck! I need to, please let me cum."

"Alright, love. I'll let you cum."

Spike released his firm grip on Xander's cock and began stroking it lightly instead as he thrust himself hard and fast into Xander's tight channel. He whispered softly in his ear,

"You may cum now, pet."

And then buried his fangs deep inside his mark.

Xander screamed as he shot his climax all over the wall and Spike flooded his insides again with cool liquid. He barely heard the phone begin to ring as he passed out.

Spike pulled out and gently scooped Xander into his arms. He carried him into the bedroom and lowered him onto the bed. He cleaned him gently and then lay down beside him. He looked around the room to see if there was any sign that they were indeed being watched.

"I don't know if you're here, but if you are, know this. I won't leave him. Not for you, not for anyone. If you want me gone, you'll have to stake me. Xander's mine, as much as he is yours; I'm not giving him up."

That said, Spike kissed Xander softly and headed out to the living room to check the answering machine.





Part Forty-Four


"Xander. Xan, love. Wake up."

Xander stirred and blearily opened his eyes. He gazed up at Spike, blinked sleepily and then smiled. It was one of the most beautiful smiles Spike had ever seen, as it was full of love and directed at him.

"I have to go, pet. Rupert called, he wants me to go check a lead he has on our preacher."

Xander sat up in alarm and grabbed Spike's hand.

"By yourself? No way! I'm going with!"

"Xan, I appreciate the thought, but don't you have a spell you need to do?"

Xander was torn. He desperately wanted to bring back Spike, but he didn't want this Spike to go off on a dangerous mission without back-up. Damn, these decisions were going to kill him.

"I do, but I don't want you to be in danger."

"Hey, I can hold my own against Bringers, and thanks to you I can defend myself against any humans, as well. I'll be fine, love. Trust me."

"I do. I just worry; I love you."

"I know, and you offering to come with means a lot."

Spike kissed Xander and then backed away from the bed. He stopped in the doorway and shook his head. He couldn't believe he was actually passing up the opportunity to spend more time alone with his mate.

"I asked Red and Glinda to come by and help you out with the spell, since I won't be able to assist."

"Thanks. Oh, hey! How are you getting there?"

"Rupert's lending me 'is car. Some little shit-box rental he has."

Xander chuckled and got out of bed. He went to the closet and rummaged around in the other Spike's duster pockets. He pulled out a set of keys and tossed them to Spike.

"Take the bike. It's in the storage locker in the basement. It'll be faster than Giles' car and easier to make a hasty retreat on."

"Ta, love. 'Cept of course if it's daytime, perhaps I should take the watcher's car, just to be on the safe side."

Xander frowned at that. He was well aware that Spike could look after himself, and had been doing so for over a century but he didn't like this situation one bit. Everything about this Caleb had, so far, been trouble.

"Hang on a sec."

Xander reached back into the coat. His fingers closed around the object he was searching for and he withdrew his hand from the deep pocket. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then held out his hand to Spike.

"I wish I could let you keep it, but I can't. It was his first, and it's still his; but right now I want you to wear it. Wear it and be safe."

Spike looked at the ring in Xander's palm. It was the gem of Amara, the vampire equivalent of the holy grail. He had held it once before, worn it for almost an entire day, until he had stupidly gone after Buffy instead of hopping a flight to Aruba.

"You've had it? This whole time?"

Xander nodded sadly. He didn't know what to say to make this better. The fact that he could have let Spike wear it, that he could have spent time with him in the sun this whole time and hadn't, it was stupid of him, but he hadn't actually given it any thought until he was coming home from L.A.

"I sorta forgot I had it for awhile there, and then when I did remember, I had the spell. I didn't want to give it to you, only to have to take it away from you. It seemed... cruel. I'm sorry, I wish I had another one."

Spike inched closer to Xander; he looked at the ring and then looked at the saddened expression on his lover's face. He wasn't angry with Xander - far from it. He was shocked; amazed that Xander was giving him this wonderful gift, even if it was only on loan. He understood that Xander had kept the other Spike's things and held them somewhat sacred. He himself still had mementoes of Drusilla and Angelus that he would never part with.

"This is so fucking unfair!"

Xanders shout of frustration startled Spike back into the here and now. He watched as his lover paced the room suddenly, fists clenched at his sides.

"I love you! Both of you. I want you to be safe. How the hell can I keep you both safe with only one ring? Not to mention the problems this is going to cause after the spell. How am I ever going to enjoy being out in the day with him, while you're stuck here inside in dark? I won't, that's how!"

Spike slowly backed away from Xander as his eyes began to darken and his skin began to glow. He was torn between wanting to rush to him and protect him from whatever was happening, and fleeing in terror from the powerful mojo he could feel coming from him.

"Er, Xan? You all right there, love? You're getting kinda..."

Spike trailed off as Xander turned black eyes on him and his hair began to stand on end.

"...scary."

Spike swallowed and hedged a little farther to the door. He knew Xander wouldn't hurt him, but he had a powerful preservation instinct and right now it was screaming at him to run and hide.

"I can't do this, Spike. I won't. I won't be forced to choose!"

"Alright, love. No choosing. I'll make it simple for you, his ring - he keeps it. Alright?"

Xander closed his eyes as he felt his entire being surge with strength, he didn't register anything Spike had said. He was blind and deaf to the world around him; the only thing he was aware of, the only thing he felt was the power as it surged throughout his being.

Spike panicked as Xander began to float a good two or three feet off the floor. He had only seen and felt power like this one other time in his life and that had been when Willow took on Glory, and he was pretty sure that what he was feeling now was even stronger than that had been.

"Xan?"

There was a flash of blinding white light and Spike had to turn away under the onslaught lest he be blinded. When he turned back, Xander was lying on the floor, perfectly still. Spike rushed to him and gathered him into his arms.

"Bloody hell, love. What have you done now?"

Xander was still for several minutes while Spike carefully monitored his breathing and heart rate. He knew that the man was okay physically, and hoped it was just exhaustion that was keeping him from waking up, not something more complicated.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, Xander opened his eyes and sat up. He blinked and looked around the room before finally settling his gaze on Spike.

"Are you okay, Xan? You scared the living hell out of me."

Xander looked down at his left hand; the one that he had been holding the ring in and slowly opened it. The ring was still there. He then opened his right hand. Sitting in his palm was an exact replica of the same ring.

"Holy shit."

Xander whispered in awe.

"I did it."





Part Forty-Five

Xander was smiling and whistling a happy tune as he answered the door and let Willow and Tara into his apartment. He had just watched as Spike roared off down the street on the motorcycle in broad daylight. He had been kissed so hard his lips were bruised. It was totally worth the physical exhaustion he felt, just the look on Spike's face when he stepped out into the sunshine and then turned his face to the sky. Xander had only seen such a beautiful sight once before in his life, and that was when he'd given the same gift to his other mate.

"Xander? Are you okay?"

"I'm great Wills, never been better!"

"Good, so what do you want us to do? Spike wasn't very specific."

Xander grinned stupidly at the sound of his lover's name and led the girls into the kitchen where he had the spell and the supplies laid out on the table.

"I'm going to need some help getting everything ready, plus, I might need some extra oomph in the casting department. I kinda overexerted myself earlier. The girls both blushed and he laughed at their misconception.

"Not doing that! Geez, Wills. I did something... I'm not even sure what or how, but I made a copy of something - an exact duplicate - it drained me pretty good."

"What did you copy?"

"The gem of Amara. For Spike."

Both girls looked at Xander in awe. Tara blinked and then smiled at Willow.

"He's a born mage - wizard, warlock, whatever you want to call it, Xander is one. He was born to it, like my Grandmother was. You remember I told you about her?"

"Yeah, but Tara, you said that only women were born to the power."

"No, I said it's almost always women. I haven't heard of a man being born with the power for centuries. In fact, I think the last one was almost a thousand years ago. Xander?"

Tara turned old, knowing eyes on him and seemed to look straight into his soul.

"You do realise that this power comes with great responsibility. You have to make a choice, and soon. If you continue to use your gift, you will change; in a way, you'll ascend. Become something other than a regular human being. The power you have, it's too much for a human body to withstand. You have to decide if you are willing to accept it. If you can't, you have to stop using it."

"What happens if I can't accept the changes, I mean, if I continue to use the power but don't accept the changes?"

"It will kill you. If you're lucky."

Xander swallowed and nodded his understanding. There were a lot worse things than dying, after all. Willow looked at Xander with wide eyes and began to cry. Xander and Tara sandwiched her between then and tried to soothe her tears.

"Hey, none of that now. I'm not going to die, and I'm not going to do anything stupid, either. I'm an accepting guy, Wills. I accepted that I'm Bi, that I'm hopelessly in love with not one, but two vampires, two Spikes - of all vampires, and that I'm apparently some kick-ass warlock dude. I'm all for changes, if they bring about good. Well, so long as I don't sprout horns."

Xander raised an eyebrow and looked questioningly at Tara.

"There won't be horns, will there?"

Tara giggled.

"No, Xander. No horns."

Willow breathed a sigh of relief and the three separated. Tara winked at her lover and then turned a sly gaze on Xander's bum. Xander noticed where her eyes were and cleared his throat.

"Is there a problem?"

"No, I was checking to see if your tail was coming in yet."

At Xander's startled look, both girls burst out laughing. Xander joined them for a minute and then shook his head.

"Alright, enough of the messing around; let's get down to business ladies, I have a vampire to resurrect."

For the next hour the threesome carefully measured ingredients, crushed herbs, chanted, and double and triple checked until they were sure everything was in place. Xander retrieved the urn of ashes from his bedroom and carefully poured them out onto the floor inside the circle Tara had set up. He poured the combined blood of himself, Angel and Spike into the centre of the small mound of dust and sprinkled the crushed herb mixture over the top.

After closing the circle, he was joined by Tara on one side and Willow on the other. Xander would draw strength from the two wiccans to replenish his own so that he could cast the spell without faltering.

"You guys ready?"

Willow and Tara nodded.

"We're ready."

"Hang on to your hats then."

Xander closed his eyes, took a deep, calming breath and began to chant. It felt like he was on one of those gravity-inducing rides at the yearly carnival. His body felt unusually heavy and he had trouble forcing his lungs to work, but he pushed on. He could feel Willow and Tara's strength seeping into him and he was glad that he hadn't tried this on his own without them. After several minutes of chanting, he could barely stay on his feet; Willow squeezed his hand, letting him know that she was still there, and that he could draw more strength from her if necessary. He did so, and felt instantly better.

There was a soft gasping sound and Xander opened his eyes to see that the dust had begun to move. It filled out and slowly took on a distinctively humanoid form. Willow and Tara watched with him as it became clearer and clearer. Bone formed and then muscle covered the skeleton. Eyes filled previously empty sockets and skin started to grow.

Throughout the entire thing, Xander never faltered in his chant. His voice was a steady accompaniment to the miracle they were witnessing. Hair and nails completed the picture, and Xander watched as stunning blue eyes flew open and locked on his. The chant stopped. He held his breath. The girls blushed at the picture of a naked Spike sitting up in the circle. Xander dropped both their hands and stepped forward. He stopped at the edge of the circle and waited.

"Xander?"

"Spike."

Xander smiled and broke the circle before grabbing the naked vampire and pulling him into his arms. He held him tightly and then as two strong, pale arm came around him in return, he wept.

"Shh, love, it's alright. I'm here now, and I'll never leave you again."

Willow and Tara smiled at the dark-haired version of Spike and then gathered their things. Willow quietly got Spike's attention and motioned that she would call Xander later. Spike nodded once to let her know he would pass it along and then turned his attention back to his mate. He lifted Xander's chin and placed a soft, reverent kiss on his mouth as he heard the apartment door closing behind the two witches.

"Thank you, love."

Xander just shook his head and hugged him again; he was too overwhelmed to form words. Spike lifted him into his arms and carried him to the bed. He undressed him slowly and then crawled in beside him.

"You're exhausted, love. Sleep. I'll still be here when you wake up."

Xander nodded his head, wrapped his tired body around his mate and drifted off to sleep. Spike smiled and held Xander close. He wasn't tired, but he couldn't think of any other place he'd rather be than right where he was. In bed, surrounded by his mate.

"I love you, Xander."

He whispered to him softly and pressed a kiss to his temple.

"And when you wake up, I'm going to show you just how much."




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