CATEGORY: S/X; Xander!Powers; Adventure; Slight AU;
FEEDBACK: Would be nice.
DISTRIBUTION: If you want it, take it.
SPOILERS: Set after 'Fool for Love' in the Buffverse. None of any of the following events have occured in this universe.
SUMMARY: Spike brings something out in Xander.
DISCLAIMER: They're all mine. Except when they're not. Like now.





Warrior


by
Laikokae



Part One


"So what's the plan, Oh Fangless One?"

Spike scowled at the boy. "I told you not to call me that."

"I know. I ignored you." Xander grinned at him. "So what is the plan? What exactly are we hunting? What big ole demon will fall as prey at our feet?"

Spike tried to keep his scowl firmly in place on his face, but he failed miserably. The whelp was just so damn cute when he was trying to be funny and he was looking particularly shaggable tonight with tight blue jeans fitting his thighs closely and a tight black shirt stretched across his broad shoulders.

If nothing else, his time with Spike had taught him to dress better.

Not that the boy was all that bad on the eyes to begin with: All shaggy brown locks and dark, puppy dog eyes on a well-muscled frame. Spike had noticed him as much more than just a friend of the Slayer's or a midnight snack, a long time ago.

Spike smirked at the boy. "We aren't hunting anything, pet," Spike corrected him. "You are going to stand around looking all edible and the demons will come to us."

Xander grinned again. "Because I'm a nummy treat."

He gave the boy a quick once over with his piercing blue gaze, causing Xander to shudder slightly - a reaction the boy tried to cover up. Spike snorted to himself. As if he could hide that from a vampire. Even if his sharp eyes had missed the movement, his nose was getting the message loud and clear - the boy was aroused.

"Right. Moist and delicious. I remember, pet."

Things had changed quite a bit in the last few months.

After that night Spike had spent with Buffy, reliving his past, the dynamics between them had shifted subtly. Spike was still a complete and utter arsehole to 'most anyone, but the Slayer began to treat him as more of an annoying ally, than the worst enemy.

Spike was practically a member of the Scooby Gang now.

He hadn't returned to the crypt again after that night. Since Xander had his brand new spanking apartment, he'd been nominated to take the vampire in. They'd both bitched and whined about it for hours on end, but Spike had actually been secretly pleased, and a part of him lived in hope that Xander had been too.

Out of all the scoobies, Xander had always been the one he'd liked most. Not that Spike would have ever admitted it to the boy.

Living with the boy had meant they'd started spending much more time together, and Spike's tenative respect for the boy had unwittingly grown into something more.

The boy had spirit that the others never seemed to appreciate. He had power too, Spike could feel it in him. But continual reminders from his so-called friends and the whelp's damn parents had Xander convinced he was worthless and had repressed it so deeply that Spike despaired that the boy would never actually tap into it.

And the boy always, always, kept his humour about him, which Spike could appreciate. No matter how dark and miserable his life had been or was, Xander's humour never faltered.

Despite everything, the boy enjoyed being alive.

After a few minutes of nothing, Xander broke the silence. "Okay, bored now. Where are the damn demons?"

"Don't look at me, pet, you're the bait. Why don't you try looking a wee bit tastier?"

"Hey!" Xander exclaimed, offended. "If I looked any tastier, I'd be a big, red, juicy steak. Nothing I could do could make me tastier than this."

Spike leered at him. "You could lose the shirt."

Xander snorted at him. "In your dreams, Bite-less boy."

The two had formed a strange kind of friendship. Both knew that they shouldn't like each other and that they definitely shouldn't trust each other, but they both did nevertheless. Each was comfortable with the other and they'd formed their own brand of communication - a mixture of humour, banter and often outrageous flirting.

It had gotten to the point where Xander was spending more time with Spike than with his girlfriend and the ex-demon had not taken it kindly. She'd walked out on him after he'd forgotten about his plans with her and gone demon hunting with Spike instead.

The boy had been slightly upset about the turn of events, but nowhere near devastated. And Spike, of course, had been absolutely thrilled that the wench was well out of his Xander's life. The two of them began to spend even more and more time together once the chit was gone. It became a matter of course that if they weren't at a Scooby meeting (which they attended together anyway) or Xander wasn't at work, the two of them were together.

It hadn't progressed into anything that could be deemed 'romantic' yet, but it was beginning to seem as if it was just a matter of time.

Spike suddenly straightend. A familar smell assailed his nostrils.

Xander noticed the movement and gave the vampire a look. "Demon?"

Spike nodded shortly. "Big pillock, too."

Xander grinned. "Finally some action."

Spike wordlessly dissappeared into the shadows just to the right of Xander and almost as soon as he vanished, a big, scaly, clawy hand reached around from behind and grabbed Xander. The boy struggled futilely, but he could not escape the the demon's grasp.

Xander wasn't afraid, though. He knew Spike well. This demon was going to be mincemeat for touching him. Spike always made it a little more personal when the demons actually managed to grab him. His possessiveness always sent a little thrill through Xander.

Sure enough, a moment later the demon was pulled away from Xander and thrown headfirst into a nearby tombstone. Spike drew his battle axe and stalked towards the demon. The vampire was majorly pissed. With one swift blow, the demon's head was removed and Spike was in a much better humour.

He reached out a hand to help Xander up. "Kell'hiric demon," he informed the boy. "After your liver, I'd bet. They're an iron-loving lot." Xander took the vampire's hand and pulled himself to his feet. He fluttered his eyelashes. "My hero!" he gushed.

"And don't you forget it," Spike handed him the battle axe. "Get ready, luv. They usually hunt in packs."

No sooner had the words left his mouth, then Xander caught sight of another Kell'hiric charging Spike from behind. "Spike! Look out!" he tried to warn the vampire. Spike began to spin around, only to be tackled to the ground by four hundred pounds of very pissed Kell'heric.

The demon had Spike effectively pinned to the ground in a matter of seconds. One of it's huge, scaly hands had both of Spike's hands pinned above his head and the rest of his body pinned down with the weight of the demon. Spike struggled to get away, but the demon was too strong, and he cut a great gash across Spike's side with its claws, for his trouble.

Spike knew he had lost, and as the demon prepared to sink his clawed hand into Spike's chest to ash him. He couldn't see the boy from his vantage point, but he called to him nevertheless:

"Xander, get the hell out of here!" And hoped like hell he would obey, if he hadn't already bolted when the demon had attacked Spike.

That done with, Spike closed his eyes and waited to die.

Xander, however, wasn't quite ready to let him go yet. The boy had been loosely restrained by the third Kell'hiric. The demon obviously didn't consider him much of a threat, since it hadn't even bothered to remove the battle axe from his hand. As the second Kell'hiric had prepared to kill Spike, his Kell'hiric had pulled him around so that he would have a good view of his friend being dusted - just in time for Xander to see the blond vampire silently close his eyes and wait for death.

Something in him had roared at the sight. Anger flooded his body, his head throbbed and the adrenaline pumped violently through his veins. Spike was his, damnit, his mind screamed and territorial instinct kicked in, doing what Spike had failed to get the boy to do for weeks - tap into the well of power buried deep inside of him and release it.

With a strength he didn't know he possessed, Xander broke free of the demon's grip and turned on him, raising the battle axe and brutally slashing the demon's torso. With a cry of part agony, part shock, the demon fell to his knees. Xander smirked cruelly at the demon and swung the axe wide, smoothly beheading the beast.

The demon straddling Spike had looked up in surprise when he heard his companion cry out in agony. What he saw was the ferocious grinning of what seemed like a half-mad Xander, before the man Xander had suddenly become grasped the demon around the neck and threw him into the wall of a nearby crypt. Xander gripped his battle axe tightly and stalked after the beast. Spike, who had felt the demon being tugged away from him, opened his eyes in time to see Xander raising his axe and fiercely slicing the demon into pieces, limb by limb, while the thing shrieked in agony.

When Xander ran out of limbs, he looked into the beast's eyes and raised his axe once more.

"Don't touch what's mine," he whispered, his voice shaky and hoarse with an uncontrollable rage and with one swift blow, removed the demon's head.

Dropping the axe like a hot potato, Xander turned away from the mess he'd made and his eyes sought out Spike, who'd just managed to get to his feet again. The adrenaline still pumping furiously through his veins, Xander stormed back to Spike, took the vampire by the collar and pushed him against the wall of a nearby masouleum, his body pinning down Spike's, every inch on them pressed together through the layers of clothing.

"Mine!" he hissed into the vampire's mouth, before plundering it with his own, in an angry, passion-filled kiss. His tongue thrust into Spike's mouth without hesitation. Tasting. Taking.

Owning.

Spike responded eagerly, thrusting his hands into Xander's hair and pulling his lips harder against his own. Xander eagerly obliged, pressing his whole body even harder against the blond vampire's, and thrusting his hips desperately against Spike's, rubbing their hardened members together through the layers of denim.

Spike thought he would die from longing to feel Xander against him, skin to skin, but he knew that this time it had to be this way. Xander was way too wired up and desperate for release to deal with complications such as undressing.

Spike met Xander's rhythm, grinding his hips back against Xander's with a ferocity that matched Xander's, moaning into Xander's mouth at the sensation the friction was creating. Xander was moaning back into his mouth and briefly Spike wondered how he hadn't passed out from asphyxiation already, before he found something far more important to occupy him.

All of a sudden, he was there, teetering on the precipice, and simultaneously, they pulled apart, watching each others eyes as, gasping and panting, they both bucked against each other and came within moments of each other.

Utterly exhausted, the two of them slid heavily down the wall, until they were in a sitting postion, still caught in each other's arms as they tried to catch their breath.

After a minute or so, Xander finally returned to his sense. "Oh god, oh god, oh god, what was that?" he asked of Spike.

Spike tightend his arms around the boy. He wasn't about to let the whelp run off now. Not after he'd seen what the boy was capable of - in and out of battle. "Hopefully, a prelude," Spike rumbled in his ear.

"Not that," Xander cheeks blushed a ripe red. "I'm talking about the other part - you know, where the boy, who's only defence against an ordinary vampire is to bitch-slap it, just sliced up two bad-ass demons for his dinner?"

"You bitch-slapped a vampire?" Spike asked him, trying not to laugh and failing miserably.

Xander blushed even harder. "Focus Fangless!" he interrupted the vampire's chortling. "Me chopping up demons! Stay with me here."

Spike was still snickering. "Which one?"

Xander sighed in frustration. "If I tell you, can we get back to my newly acquired dicing capabilities?"

Spike bit his lip to stop laughing and nodded his head.

"Hrmnegh," Xander mumbled.

"What was that, pet?" Spike revelled in taunting the boy. He'd stopped laughing, but he seemed as though he was only just holding it in, and Xander was sure his admission was going to send the vampire over the edge. Far, far over the edge.

"Harmony," Xander admitted finally with a frustrated little sigh.

And sure enough, Spike was off and away, laughing and rolling around on the ground and...was that a snort?

Oh great! This was probably the most significant night of Xander's life, (and for a boy who lived on the hellmouth and was best friends with the Slayer that was saying a lot), and not only was he sharing it with a master vampire who had a history of some serious mass-murder and had, in fact, tried to kill Xander himself on several occasions, but said vampire was rolling around on the ground next to him, laughing and snorting.

"Alright, alright," Xander interrupted the vampire. "You've had the fun, let's get back to the slicing and dicing."

Spike snorted again, but did finally begin to calm down. "Battle rage," he told Xander matter-of-factly.

Xander stared at him. "What and what?"

"Battle rage, pet," Spike said again as if that explained it all. "Could we possibly get back to the other 'thing' now, luv? I'm bored."

Xander was still puzzled. "What are you talking about?" he asked still not understanding what Spike meant by 'battle rage'.

Spike sighed in frustration. "I'm talking about me taking you home, getting you naked and shagging you senseless," he informed the boy bluntly. He leaned forward and gently tugged one of Xander's earlobes into his mouth, running a cool tongue over it to demonstrate his point.

Xander tried to ignore the reaction the vampire was stirring in his nether regions, and glared at the vampire. "Battle rage," he reminded Spike, pulling out of his reach. "Explain," he ordered the vampire shortly. Any more words and Xander was afraid his voice would break. The way Spike was looking at him...Hoo Boy.

Spike pouted, making his hungry expression all the more delectable.

"We can shag later," he promised Spike. Oh, when had his life gotten to the point of strangeness where he was promising sex to male vampires to get information out of them, and actually intending to go through with it? "What's a 'battle rage'?" he asked the vampire, trying to keep his mind on the matter at hand.

"Fine. Have it your way, whelp." Spike sighed testily. "A battle rage," he began. "Is a kind of high that comes over Warriors in battle. It makes them capable of things they wouldn't ordinarily be able to do, usually involves some telekin-whatsit. Which is why you've graduated from bitch-slaps to slicing and dicing."

He looked at Xander, pointedly. "Can we fuck now, pet?"

Oh God...Spike's voice...in that tone....saying those things. Focus, Xander! Focus, damnit! Xander gulped. "What's a Warrior?" he managed to get out.

Spike gave him a look. "Well, you obviously are, you jammy git," he pointed out the obvious. "Now you promised me a shag and--"

"We have to see Giles," Xander cut Spike off, picking himself up off the ground.

"I don't really think the old man swings that way anymore, pet," Spike informed him sulkily from his vantage point on the ground.

Xander stared at him. "First of all - Eww! Secondly - what do you mean anymore...no wait, don't answer that, just make that a second 'eww' and thirdly-" he reached out a hand to the vampire. "Come on."

"Fine," Spike took the boy's hand and pulled himself to his feet. He failed to release it, however, keeping his fingers twined with Xander's. "But this night better end with a good shagging, pet, or there'll be hell to pay." He glared at the boy.

Xander smirked at the vampire. "I'm terrified, Chip-boy," he mocked him. "What are you going to do? Lick me to--" Xander cut himself off, realising all of a sudden how inappropriate Giles' one liner was at this point. "Nevermind," Xander finished, taking a sudden interest in his feet.

"Let's get to Giles' place."

"Sure thing, pet," Spike replied, though Xander had a feeling he wasn't replying to the 'getting to Giles' place' bit at all.

Xander sighed and started heading off in the direction of Giles' place, his hand still in Spike's, since the vampire had apparently decided it was his property or something and had refused to let go. Though, Xander had to admit, it did feel kind of nice, holding the vampire's hand.

He snickered to himself. Xander Harris, best friend to the Slayer, wandering through a cemetary at midnight with a master vampire, holding hands like schoolkids in a playground. Only in Sunnydale.





Part Two

Getting to Giles' place took longer than Xander had intended, due to the extremely horny vampire who seemed to have permanently attached himself to Xander's hand.

Spike had made a point of pulling him into every second alleyway and shoving him up against a wall and kissing him like there was no tommorrow in an effort to reorganise the boy's priorities. After about four such occurences, Xander was looking more than a little bit ruffled and he was begining to wonder if this warrior-thing couldn't wait until morning, but then they were at Giles' and the wondering became elementary.

Xander lifted his free hand to knock, but before he had a chance, Spike had him pinned against the door, his unattached hand sunk in the boy's hair, his hips pressed against Xander's and his tongue thrust itself halfway down the boy's throat.

After a few long moments, Spike let Xander come up for air. "Sure about this, pet?" Spike asked, his voice a low rumbling growl.

Xander opened his mouth to answer that no, he wasn't sure of anything at all anymore and could Spike please just take him right here and right now and who cares what a warrior is. But he never got the chance, since Giles chose that moment to check what the noise was outside and opened the door that Spike and Xander happened to be leaning on, and the two of them tumbled into his apartment to land as an inelegant tangle at the ex-librairian's feet.

Giles took in the blood that covered them both, the fact that they had apparently collapsed on the floor and jumped to the obvious conclusion. "My God, what happened? Are you alright?" he asked them both, obviously quite panicked. Well..as panicked as an ex-librairian ever gets.

Xander disengaged himself from Spike and picked himself off the ground. He peered at Giles curiously, wondering why he was panicking, then followed his gaze and realised they were both soaked in demon's blood - amongst other things.

"Oh. Right," he grinned sheepishly at the Watcher. "Not mine - for once." He turned and reached out a hand to help Spike up. "We're both fine."

Spike took the boy's hand, but once again the vampire refused to let it go once he'd used it to help himself up. Xander blushed a bright red and casually tried to remove his hand from Spike's without looking too suspicious, but the blond vampire was determined to maintain his grip. Apparently without a collar and a leash handy, the vampire was settling with keeping a hold of his hand in order to establish ownership.

A tiny part of Xander was thrilled at the possessiveness, but the rest of him was running on blind panic. If Spike was going to insist on attatching himself to Xander every time they were in the same room, then there was no way in the world he was going to be able to keep this a secret from the others and Xander was sure that things would begin to get very, very messy.

Giles gave them both a strange look. "So..er, is there something I could...help you both with?" Giles asked, looking directly at Xander, obviously confused at the turn of events. He had that quietly frustrated expression on his face - the one he got when an ancient prophecy about the end of the world disturbed his night of tea and reading, and he was trying to be polite and not get upset about it.

"Yeah, there is," Spike cut in, before Xander had a chance to even open his mouth. "Be a good chap and tell the whelp here what a Warrior is so I can take him home and get my end away."

Xander was horrified. He had assumed that Spike would want to be as discrete about their goings-ons as he did. At the very least, he'd expected the vampire to show some kind of restraint on his behalf. He certainly hadn't expected him to discuss their (soon-to-be) sex life with the first stuffy Englishman they came across. The vampire was turning out to be even blunter than Anya.

For his part, Giles' eyes had widened considerably. He was staring at them both with his mouth agog, trying desperately to reclaim his calm facade and failing miserably.

Xander blushed even harder than before. "Uh, excuse us a second, we need to get cleaned up," he told Giles as he dragged a very sulky vampire upstairs behind him. "I'll explain in a minute," he called over his shoulder before shoving Spike into the bathroom and disappearing after him. Xander pulled the bathroom door shut behind him and turned the shower on to mask the loud argument they were about to have. He turned towards the vampire angriliy, to find Spike smirking at him smugly.

"Is something the matter, pet?" Spike drawled in amusement.

Xander glared at him. "You know exactly what's the matter!" he vented at the unrepentant vampire. "You just told Giles - that's the-Slayer's Watcher-Giles - that you were planing on having it off with one of the Slayer's best friends - namely me! Now, he's going to tell Buffy and when Buffy finds out she'll ash you in an instant and you'll never get the chance to 'get your end away'."

Xander glared even harder at the vampire, if that were even possible "That's what the fucking matter is!" he finished angrily.

Spike, who was still grinning at him and who had apparently already lost his jacket at some point, shrugged and took off his shirt.

He began to work on the fastenings of his jeans as he spoke: "If you're that concerned about whether I get a shag or not, pet," he kicked off his boots and opened his arms invitingly, "then I have to point out that we do actually have this bathroom to ourselves, and these are really nice tiles." He leered at the boy.

Oh, Xander was tempted. He was very, very, very tempted. That voice alone was sending shivers down his spine and straight to his groin. And it certainly wasn't helping that the object of his desire was standing barely a foot away from him, already half naked and swiftly losing clothing.

But this was Giles' bathroom. And he absolutely couldn't contemplate having wild sex of any kind, with his father figure downstairs waiting for him to reappear with an explanation. Xander took a step back. "Ix-nay on the sex talk around my friends, okay?" he told the vampire. "I can probably convince Giles to shut up, but Wills can't lie to save her life and if Buffy finds out..." he left the warning hanging.

"Like the old ducks downstairs would tell anyone anyway," Spike snorted, taking a step towards the boy. "He's a got a few skeletons in his closet too, y'know. I know for a fact that he--"

"Ewww!" Xander cut the vampire off before he could ruin the boy's appetite for life. "You can quit with the Ripper references too. If you want to get laid tonight, you're going to have to stop talking about my father figure and sex in the same sentence."

"Is that right, pet?" Spike smiked at him and took another step towards the boy.

They were barely an inch apart now and Spike could feel the boy's breath growing ragged on his neck. Xander had frozen up, afraid to move lest his body betray him. Spike bent his head to nuzzle his neck - his cool lips tracing patterns on the boy's skin. His tongue darted out to taste him and Xander moaned.

Abruptly, Xander stepped to the side of the vampire and out of his reach. "Later," he told him, trying to be firm, but his irregular breathing giving him away. He tossed a towel to the vampire, gestured to the running shower and turned to leave, only to find himself cornered against the door.

The blond leant in and gently pressed his lips to Xander's, moving them over his like a whisper, sliding his tongue across his lips, seeking entrance. Xander gasped, and Spike took the oppurtunity to slide his tongue into the boy's mouth.

This kiss was different from the others that they'd shared. They had been all about urgency and force, this kiss was soft, persuasive...and intensely erotic.

Spike was trying to seduce him.

And quite frankly, Xander was definitely being seduced. He forgot all about Giles being downstairs, about newly found powers, diced up demons and strange references to warriors and lost himself in the kiss. But as soon as he leant in further, eager to take things a step further, Spike pulled away.

"Sorry, luv," Spike grinned evilly at Xander, completely unrepentant. "Gotta get cleaned up and all that. Why don't you be a good chap and fetch me some clean clothes and wait downstairs?" Xander narrowed his eyes at the vampire. "Bastard," he accused and stalked out of the bathroom, slamming the door behind him.

Giles was waiting for him downstairs. He looked concerned in a fatherly way. Which, of course, made Spike's allusions to the Watcher's past surface in his mind. Xander shook off the thought with a shudder. Those thoughts were not of the good...not that Giles was hideous or anything, he was kind of cute, in a bookish kind of way....oh no, not going there.

Xander sat down opposite Giles, gingerly accepting the cup of tea, the ex-librairian offered him.

"Guess you want to know what happened, huh?" Xander asked him, hesitantly.

"Well, ah, it would certainly help to clear some things up...such as how you managed to get covered in demon's blood, without even sustaining a scratch," Giles replied. "You're not exactly known for your self-preservation skills," he went on, a little apologetically.

Xander looked down into his tea. "That's me," he muttered. "The most reliable liability."

Giles suddenly became flustered. "Xander, that's not exactly what I meant, I mean to say that--"

"No, no it's fine," Xander cut him off. "I know what you meant." He looked up from his tea.

"Which is why what makes what happened tonight so weird." With a suprisingly cool tone of voice, Xander gave him a quick blow by blow run down of the night's battle, carefully skipping the possessive claim he made of Spike to the demon and the activity afterwards.

"Spike said something about 'battle rage' and warriors or something," Xander told him once he finished his recount. "But I couldn't get him to elaborate. He got distracted and he's got one hell of a one track mind." Xander blushed furiously once he realised what he'd said and who he was talking to. "I just meant that, um..."

"We'll, uh, talk about that later," Giles cut off his embarrased stuttering. "Are you sure Spike said Warrior? Did he say anything else about it? Anything at all?"

"Just that he thought I was one," Xander told him. "And that their powers come out during battle rage through the use of telekin- something or other." He looked at Giles curiously. "Is it significant? Should I be worried?"

"Probably not," Giles fidgeted nervously. "I should be embarassed, though. If it turns out you are what Spike says you are, I should've picked it up a long time ago. You should've been trained..." he trailed off, shaking his head. "In any case, I believe that the situation is rather urgent. We should gather the others together immediately, but before we do--"

"You want to know what I'm doing with Spike?" Xander finished for him.

"Well, not the details, of course," Giles looked incredibly uncomfortable. "But you do realise he's still a vampire? He may have a chip that makes him incapable of harming humans, but he doesn't have a soul, he isn't--"

"He isn't Angel," Xander finished for him. The boy sighed wearily. "I know all this Giles. I know I should be running in the opposite direction as fast as my little legs can carry me. I know that the thought of even liking him should give me the wiggins." Xander shrugged. "But it doesn't, and I do, and I can't help it."

Giles sighed resignedly. "As long as you understand." Giles took the boy's hand and gave it a quick squeeze before releasing it. "I just don't want to see you get hurt." Xander kept his smile inside and nodded solemly. "I know."

"Also," Giles continued. "I've noticed Spike seems to be a bit.. ..demonstrative. You might want to convince him to curb those instincts around the others. Willow may understand, but Buffy never would and Spike would be dust before she had a chance to open her closed mind a little."

Xander stared at the Watcher in suprise. He had never heard Giles criticize Buffy like that ever.

Giles looked a little embarassed. "That was rather harsh, wasn't it? Well, it's true nevertheless. You will talk to Spike, won't you?"

"Yeah," Xander nodded. "I think he understands already, though. He only didn't bother with discretion with you, because of your..." Xander flushed, realising he'd blundered yet again.

"Well, because um...you know, that, ah..."

"I think what you're trying to say, luv, is because the old man here was boinking that warlock back in the day," Spike pointed out helpfully from behind him.

Xander looked up to find his (soon-to-be) lover still damp from his shower and wearing only a towel wrapped around his waist. He tried not to salivate at the sight.

"Well, ah, yes," it was Giles turn to blush. He looked at them both sternly "And don't ever think of bringing it up again," he finished frankly.

"Your turn in the shower, pet," Spike told Xander who was still busy drooling over the blond vampire. "And didn't I ask you to fetch me some clothes, or did you need me to wash your back?" He leered at Xander, who was all too willing thanks to the view he was getting. In fact, he was about to answer in the affirmative and damn the fact it was Giles' bathroom, when Giles cut in.

"I'll get you some clothes, Spike," he told the vampire firmly. "And Xander'll have to wash his own back."

Xander broke away from his staring. "Wha-? Oh. Yeah. Right," he smiled a little shyly and disappeared up the stairs and into the bathroom.

The moment he was out of sight, Giles took Spike by the ear like an errant schoolboy and flung him into the nearby armchair. He pinned him down with one knee and wrapped both hands around the vampire's throat.

Spike merely raised an eyebrow and smirked at the Watcher. "And 'ere I thought you'd grown out of your wilder days," he drawled with amusement.

Giles glared at him and tightend his hands around the vampire's throat. It wouldn't kill him, obviously, but it would begin to hurt...like hell.

"Shut up," he ordered. "And listen carefully, because I'm only going to say this once. I don't know what you think you're doing with Xander, but I'm awfully fond of that boy, so if you hurt him, if you so much as make him frown, I'm going to put you through so much agony, you're going to wish you were dust."

He pressed down even harder on the vampire's throat. "Do you understand?" he demanded. Spike nodded.

"Good," Giles said as if they'd been discussing the weather, and released him, only to find himself pinned down on the same chair as he'd pinned Spike to, with a determined blond vampire looming over him. He wasn't actually causing the Watcher any pain, because he wasn't struggling, so the chip remained silent.

"Let's get this straight," he suggested to the Watcher, pleasantly. "If anyone hurts the boy, myself included, they're mincemeat, chip or not. If someone so much as looks at him wrongly, I will personally beat them to within an inch of their life. And if he dies..." Spike left the threat hanging. "Now, do we understand each other, ducks?"

Giles nodded, looking vaguely surprised.

Spike released him and straightend his towel, running hands through his hair as if nothing had happened. "You were going to fetch me some clothes?"

"There's some clothes in the second drawer on the dresser in the bedroom," Giles told Spike shortly. "Get dressed and come back down here."

Spike smirked at him. "You really are the hostess with the mostess, Rupert," he told the Watcher and disappeared up the stairs.

Giles leant back against the chair heavily, more than a little concerned. Spike was a vampire. He had no soul. Giles had been taught at the Watcher's Academy that made him the most inhumane of creatures, and yet Spike had more than once shown evidence of love. Love of Drusilla, even of Angel, and now, Giles feared for the boy's sake, of Xander.

And if the boy did turn out to be a Warrior, things were only going to get more complicated for the boy.

Giles sighed and picked up the phone and began to systematically call the others.

They may as well get this over and done with.





Part Three

Giles lounge room actually seemed to ripling with unrelieved tension, but only Giles, Spike and Xander seemed to be aware of it. And only Giles and Xander seemed to care. Spike, for his part, appeared to have given up sulking and was now cultivating an air of boredom.

It had taken less than half an hour for the gang to show up and now they were louging around the room in various groupings.

Willow had arrived first with a very sleepy Tara in tow and the two of them had taken residency on the couch. Willow was sitting upright and Tara had curled up on the couch and rested her head in Willow's lap and now appeared to napping, blissfully unaware of anything else but Willow's hand trailing through her hair.

Buffy and Riley had come in after patrolling. Buffy had taken a seat on the end of the sofa Willow and Tara were on at Tara's feet and Riley was sitting very stiffly in one of Giles' dinning chairs - all business, as usual.

Anya had been the last one to show and she had very nervously taken a seat on one of Giles' armchairs.

Xander had taken the other armchair and Spike had sat on the floor in front of it and was lounging back against it, and by proxy, against Xander. The whole position looked entirely innocent and uncontrived - if you didn't catch Spike's hand making quick and frequent voyages across Xander's thigh. The brunette nervously swatted the hand away, but the stubborn vampire refused to let up.

Giles himself was seated in a dinning chair opposite them and kept shooting them both half concerned, half warning looks. The Watcher looked more nervous than Xander felt and considering how wound up Xander was feeling, that was quite a feat.

"So what's the sitch, Giles?" Buffy finally broke the silence. "New demon in town? Something need slaying?"

Giles looked even more nervous. "Ah, well there were a few demons involved," he began awkwardly. "Three, actually. Kell'hiric, didn't you say Xander?"

"Big scaly and as Cordy would say, in thorough need of a facial," he affirmed. He felt Spike tense at the mention of his ex and had to resist the urge to smile happily at his possessiveness and reach down and stroke the blond's hair reassuringly.

"They're nasty ones," Anya put in. "Highly dangerous. Especially to humans. Which is bad," she added as an afterthought.

Buffy frowned. "Yeuck. Liver-eaters, right?" at Giles nod, she winced. "Those are some mean ass demons. Last time I fought one, he nearly came out on top." She glanced up out of her reverie and looked back to Giles. "So we slay and all is well with the world?"

Giles looked even more uncomfortable after Buffy's admission of weakness. "Actually, er, the demons are dead," Giles told her almost apologetically.

Buffy looked surprised. "Three Kell'hiric dead? Who killed them?"

"Please don't say there's another Slayer in town," Willow chipped in. "'Cos that just leads to unplesantness."

"No Slayer," Giles answered Willow, putting a perculiar emphasis on the word. He turned back to Buffy. "Er, um, Xander killed them, actually."

Buffy hadn't even acknowledged the non-college boy was in the room. She turned now to stare at him in suprise. "Xander?"

Xander suddenly felt like he should be ashamed. "Um, well, Spike actually killed one of them...I only..um..."

"But two Kell'hiric?" Buffy was still in shock. "I don't even know if I could do that in one go. And Xander can't even fight his way out of a paper bag." She shook her head in disbelief.

"Buffy!" Willow hissed at the blond girl, but the Slayer continued anyway.

"There must be some mistake," Buffy declared, turning to Giles for an explanation.

"I'm afraid it's quite--" Giles began almost apologetically, only to be cut off by Spike.

"The only mistake is the one you and your bunch of moronic groupies made in underestimating the boy," Spike told the Slayer, his voice tinted with possessive anger. Xander surreptiously rested a hand on the vampire's shoulder to calm him, but Spike was nowhere near finished.

"If you'd taken one minute out of your busy schedule of self-involvement and paid any attention to the whelp, you would've seen the power in him," he continued, glaring at the Slayer. "But instead, thanks to you and those wankers he keeps trying to pass off as his parents, he repressed the power so deep that it's taken years for it to surface."

Spike scowled at the Slayer. "You should be bloody ashamed of yourself, Slayer. You've been friends with the boy for years. I barely know the whelp, and I saw it."

"--true," Giles finished finally.

Buffy was still staring at Spike, completely taken aback. After a moment, she swiftly drew her stake and pounced on Spike, fully preparing to dust him.

"Buffy, NO!" Willow, Giles and Xander called out in unison, all except Willow standing to stop the Slayer.

"Why not?" Buffy asked, stopping the stake, so the tip rested on the vampire's chest above his heart. "I don't have to take this from him. I'm the Slayer! He's a vampire. I'd just be doing my job."

"You can't just kill people because you don't like what they say," Willow protested. "Besides, he does sort of have a point."

Giles nodded in agreement. "Staking Spike is not going to solve the primary problem, which is that Xander has power and he needs to be trained," he tried to rationalise with her.

Buffy reluctantly relented. She took the stake away from Spike's chest, and sat back on her heels, but stayed within staking distance of Spike. Xander subtly removed his hand from Spike's shoulder, lest Buffy notice it while she was at such close quarters.

"If Xander had power, why haven't any of us noticed it before?" Buffy turned, asking Giles. "It's much more likely he's possessed or something. He's always getting into trouble like that."

"He's not possessed," Tara spoke up softly from Willow's lap. She blushed as all eyes turned on her. "His, um, aura is the same as always," she explained. "If h-h-he was p-p-possessed, there'd be differences."

"Tara would know," Willow told Buffy firmly. "She knew it wasn't you when Faith was in your body, and she'd only just met you."

"Well...it's something else then," Buffy stumbled.

"Yes," Giles cut in before Buffy could lose all her friends. "It is. I believe Xander may be one of the Asuras."

Buffy blinked. "What?"

"Warrior, luv," Spike told her smugly. "Big, strong, godlike and most likely more powerful than you."

Buffy's hackles rose instantly and she lifted the stake, ready to dust him again.

Giles lost his temper. "For godsake Buffy, put the damn stake down," he yelled at her.

Buffy stared at her Watcher in suprise, and quickly dropped the stake onto the carpet beside her. She looked at Giles in confusion. She wasn't used to being told off.

"We are not going to get anywhere," Giles continued. "If you insist on threatening the life of our primary source of information, every time he pays Xander a compliment." He kicked the stake out of the way and pulled Buffy to her feet and directed her back to the sofa. "Now sit down and listen! All of you!"

"Okay," Buffy conceded sulkily. "So what's this azure-warrior-thing, then?"

"Asuras," Giles corrected her absently, calming down and taking a seat himself. "They were..are..powerful beings. In early Vedic times they were considered a race of gods, but as they walked among man, man became afraid of their powers, labelling all who possessed them as 'demons'."

"Are they?" Willow asked in a very small voice, staring at Xander with wide eyes.

Spike snorted at the redhead's fear of her old friend, but didn't interrupt Giles' answer.

"No. Er, in fact Warriors have been proven to be quite human," the ex-librairian assured her.

"They simply possess powers which are... ..er..not. Usually the powers come out in moments of anger or protective rage, and it is believe they involve use of telekinesis. Over time, the powers can be honed and the Warrior can be trained to control and direct the powers at will."

"So Xander doesn't have control of his powers and he..what? Killed the demons by accident?" Buffy mocked the Watcher's explanation.

Xander fiddled nervously with his hands. He knew where this was going and he didn't like it one bit. He knew for a fact that the only reason he'd killed those demons was because they had hurt Spike. He had been completely out of control with protective rage.

Giles glared at her. "In a way, yes," Giles told her matter-of-factly. "Something the demons did must've aroused protective rage in Xander that caused him to tap into his Warrior power." He didn't add that if the demons had been humans, the result would've been the same, but Xander knew he was thinking it.

"Well, what did it?" Buffy asked blatantly.

Giles looked suddenly uncomfortable. Xander knew exactly how he felt. "What do you mean, what did it?" Giles asked his charge, hoping she wasn't asking what he thought she was asking.

How would Buffy react to finding out one of her best friends was protective of her worst enemy?

"What did he get all protective-y rage-y about?" Buffy extrapolated. "What was it that Xander here valued so deeply that he broke into his Warrior power to protect it. 'Cos god knows we've been in danger enough times and there hasn't been any sign of Warrior-Boy."

"Buffy," Willow warned her friend.

"No, Willow," Buffy retorted. "I want to know." She looked at Xander, deliberately putting him on the spot. "Tell me, what does it take to get into your Warriory heart?"

"Umm," Xander began, exetremely nervous. His mind was hissing at him to just lie, but he couldn't come up with anything. Eventually, he fell to the truth. "I-It was Sp--"

"A puppy," Spike chimed up, just in time to cut Xander off. "A Spaniel, am I right, whelp?"

Xander nodded wordlessly, immensely relieved.

"A puppy?" Buffy echoed skeptically.

"Yes, er, that was right, a puppy," Giles cut in. "Of course, it's completely irrelevant what sets the power off originally," Giles lied outright. "It's the time at which the power surfaces that's important. It only surfaced now, because Xander was only ready for it to, now."

"Yeah," Xander agreed, eagerly. "I felt really ready."

"He was really ready," Spike played along, his voice dripping with amusement and innuendo that only Xander was meant to catch.

"I-I-I've got a q-question," Tara stammered shyly.

"Yes, Tara?" Giles prompted her as encouragingly as possible.

"W-We-Well, if these, um, Warriors are so, um, powerful, and there's more than one of them..?" She waited for a confirmation nod from Giles and then continued. "Why is there a-a-a a Slayer?"

Buffy's jaw dropped open in realisation, but for once, she had nothing to say.

"W-Well," Giles began. "Despite the fact they are human, Warriors are quite often fighting for the..er..other side, as it were. Hence the association with demons."

Xander felt his own jaw dropping. He was evil? He was aware that Spike was grinning smugly.

"You knew!" he hissed accusingly to the blond vampire, low enough so that only he would hear. "Why didn't you tell me?" he demanded in that same soft voice.

Spike tilted his head up to meet Xander's gaze. His grin was even wider and he arched an eyebrow at the boy. "I didn't want to ruin the surprise, lover," Spike told him in a voice only he could catch. Xander smiled back at the pet name. He felt a gentle tingle at the implications therein.

Giles cleared his throat and glared at them both, cutting short their little moment. Xander quickly glanced around the room, but only Giles seemed to have noticed their little aside.

"However," Giles continued. "It isn't entirely unknown for a Warrior to take the side of good. Xander isn't necessarily a baddie, just because he has powers now. The main reason the Warriors don't take the role of the Slayer, is because their loyalty is not guaranteed."

"Well, hate to be a theory-spoiler," Willow interrupted. "But you gotta admit, the loyalty of Slayers isn't exactly a sure thing, you know."

"Hey!" Buffy exclaimed, offended. "I'm loyal! I'm as loyal-girl as they come!"

"Well except for boinking the other side and all," Spike pointed out. "And I think the chit meant the other Slayer. Moron."

"There's another reason too," Giles cut in before Buffy could jump at Spike's throat over the 'boinking the other side' comment. "Warriors have another purpose they have to fufill as well..." Giles trailed off unwilling to divulge that information, quite yet.

"Uh, could you vague that up for me?" Xander picked the Watcher up. "We are talking about me, right? Well, if I have a purpose, I think I'd like to know."

"Now is not the time to discuss it, Xander," Giles told him firmly, refusing to meet the boy's gaze. "It's all beside the point, until you are trained anyway. Our problem now, is finding you a trainer."

"Well, that's easy, right?" Willow asked Giles. "I mean, we just let our fingers do the walking and look up a Warrior trainer in the yellow pages. There are some around...right?"

"I'm afraid it's not quite that simple," Giles informed the rehead. "The existence of another Warrior beside Xander hasn't been recorded in a hundred years. The only trainers left would be long dead. No one lives for over a hundred years...." Giles suddenly jerked his head up, a realisation coming to him. He turned to look at Spike.

"Except vampires," Willow finished for him, her own eyes growing wide and turning to Spike.

"Can you do it?" Giles asked the blond vampire, desperately. "Have you trained Warriors before? Is that how you recognised it in Xander?"

Spike snorted. "Not me, ducks," he told the Watcher. He waited until Giles' face fell before he continued. "But I know someone who does and might be able to help you. That's if you can catch him between hairdressing appointments and prior brooding engagements."

"Angel!" Willow exclaimed in realisation. Buffy looked suddenly more sulky and uncomfortable than before.

"Could he do it?" Giles asked the blond vampire.

"Has done it before," Spike told him. "Course that was when he was training 'em for the other side. Probably can't convince him to train the whelp exactly like he trained our old friend, but yeah, Peaches could do it." Xander found it very interesting to note that Spike talked of vampires as the 'other side'.

"I'll call him, immediately," Giles told the others and disappeared towards a phone.

His exit seemed to break the tension that had held the occupants of the room for the last hour. Tara was awake now and she and Willow were curled up in one corner of the couch talking softly. Buffy had pulled Riley over to cuddle with her on the couch and Anya had disappeared after Giles for some reason.

With the attention taken off them, Spike's hand began to roam. "Now that that's over and done with, pet, do you think we could talk about that shag, again?" His blue eyes burned.

Xander gulped down the reaction Spike was having on him. "God, I hope so."

Spike took his hand away from Xander and Xander's body instinctively chased it. Spike chuckled. "Getting a little eager, luv?" the vampire teased.

"Hopefully, I'll be getting something a little bit more substantial than 'eager' when we finally get home," Xander replied, his voice low and growly with desire. "How long has it been since the fight? I feel like I've turned into a walking hard-on."

Spike's eyes danced with amusement..while they burned with something else. "Now, there's an interesting thought, pet," Spike mused. His hands became to roam across Xander's torso, leaving trails of fire in their wake.

Their little interlude was interrupted by Giles returning into the room, and the others re-focussing their attention. They reluctantly pulled away from each other.

"He's leaving immediately," Giles informed them. "He'll be here before sunrise. Why don't you all go home and get some sleep," he put particular emphasis on the word and looked pointedly at Spike and Xander, "and I'll see you all first thing in the morning."

Xander was only too eager to comply. He stood and prepared to leave, only to find Spike pouting at him from the floor and making no move to follow him. Xander knew exactly what the blond vampire wanted, but he wasn't about to oblige him in front of the others. Instead he waited until the others had left, before he turned back to the pouting vampire.

Xander held out a hand to help the vampire up. Spike grinned and took it, and - surprise, surprise - refused to let go. Xander wasn't complaining though. In fact, he was begining to really enjoy the feel of the vampire's hand in his.

The two of them walked to the door, hand in hand.

Giles gave them both a look, but didn't comment. He just shook his head and closed the door behind them.

Once they were outside, Spike pulled Xander into an embrace and nuzzled at his neck, placing soft butterfly kisses along the arch of it and up and along his jaw, until he reached the boy's mouth, at which point the vampire captured the boy's lips in a short, passionate kiss.

"Home, pet?" he whispered, when they broke apart.

"Oh God yes," Xander replied, still panting.

And the two of them, for the second time in the same night, wandered through Sunnydale, vampire and good guy, holding hands like two kids in a playground.




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