Spoilers: Through ‘The Gift’, AU thereafter.
Summary: Xander experiences loss & finds love.
Notes: ‘Lost’ was written for the Spander Inquisition for snowpuppies who requested angst and character death, NC17, no apocalypse. ‘Found’ was written after receiving feedback for ‘Lost’ and dedicated to all of us who wanted a ‘happier’ ending for the boys.
Feedback: It’s ALL about the feedback (and naked Spike)! Don’t make me beg, it’s not pretty.
Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters, just borrowing them for awhile. Everything belongs to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui Enterprises, Grr Argh, the WB, UPN and whomever else they really belong to, although I wouldn’t mind having a Spike of my own. Who would? The story is mine, though.
Thanks: To Tammy, for the most excellent beta on ‘Lost’! You are a gem among—uh—other shiny stuff.
Written: April 8, 2004 & May 8, 2004
Lost and Found
Part One ~ Lost
Xander sat slumped at the bar, his head resting in one hand, the fingers of the other curved around his fifth tumbler of scotch. He downed the drink and waited for the effects of the alcohol to kick in, to dull the stabbing ache in his chest, blunt the images that burned into his brain even when his eyes were wide open. It wasn’t working. He could still see...he could still hear...he could still feel. He could still remember.
Spike had been seriously injured by his fall from the tower during the battle with Glory when he attempted to save Dawn, but his recovery had been hampered by his emotional anguish over Buffy’s death. Since Xander was also going through an emotional crisis after losing both his best friend and his fiance to the battle with the Hell god, he didn’t notice right away.
When his own pain started to recede he realized that Spike wasn’t taking care of himself. The vampire wasn’t eating or sleeping, his injuries hadn’t healed well, and he spent most of his waking hours making sure that Dawn was all right. Xander, because he needed something to take his mind off the loss of Buffy and Anya, started taking care of Spike.
He began slow, not wanting to raise suspicion. He made sure there was plenty of blood on hand, often getting old human that the Red Cross was going to throw out, and that he was available to stay with Dawn on occasion so Spike could rest. By the time he noticed a change in Spike’s physical appearance and mental outlook, Xander was aware of his own transformation.
Rather than merely helping Spike to assuage his own loss, Xander found that he actually enjoyed spending time with the vampire. To his surprise, they gradually became friends, babysitting Dawn, patrolling, watching movies, and playing pool together. One night, about six months into their friendship, they talked about Buffy and Anya, got drunk and toasted them, and woke up the next morning naked in Xander’s bed.
Instead of freaking, Xander allowed the memories of what he and Spike had done the night before to flood him. The way Spike looked, smelled, the way he felt against him, in him, and the way he sounded, panting and snarling as they rubbed and thrust, and came. Soon he was hard and aching. He rolled over onto the sleeping vampire’s back and slid into his tight, still-slicked hole. Spike’s first words of the day were more of a sleepy growl as he commanded Xander to oh, yeah, fuck him.
Xander dug his fingers into Spike’s shoulders, closed his teeth on the vampire’s neck, and obeyed, slamming his hips forward as he drove into him. His drowsy vampire woke and turned wild faster than Xander would have believed, pulling his legs up and shoving himself back onto Xander’s cock, arching his neck and howling as Xander bit hard enough to draw blood.
When Xander woke for the second time that morning, he was being held in Spike’s arms, his head resting on the vampire’s chest as Spike gently rubbed his back. At Spike’s soft enquiry, Xander had assured him that he was more than all right, and then hesitantly asked, “You?”
Spike had laughed and tightened his grip on Xander. “More than, pet,” he repeated Xander’s words back at him. “More than.”
Months went by and Xander was happier than he could ever remember being, if not more tired. Turns out Spike liked sex as much as, if not more than, Anya had. All Spike had to do was look up at him through his lashes with that little pout and a hint of tongue and Xander was a goner. Spike knew it, too, and the vampire was shameless when he wanted Xander kneeling before him, or on his back, or buried deep inside him. And Xander was always happy to oblige him.
His happiness was shattered when he arrived home early that afternoon from work, planning to surprise Spike, and found the vampire in bed with someone else. In his bed—their bed—sleeping with someone else. Not that they were actually sleeping. In fact, from the noises they were both making, Xander was surprised the neighbors hadn’t already called the police.
Unable to pull his eyes away from the nightmare in front of him, Xander had sagged against the door frame until blue eyes locked onto brown and opened wide. Xander turned and stumbled out of the apartment. He’d wandered around, numb, before finally emerging from the haze that enveloped his mind to find himself seated at the bar.
He closed his eyes as a single tear escaped and ran down his cheek, unable to stem the deluge of memories that ate at him. The sound of Spike’s pleading voice as he begged Xander to fuck him, the growl when he told Xander how hard he was going to pound into him, and the look on his face when he came all merged with the sounds and sights that had greeted Xander when he arrived home unexpectedly that afternoon.
The memories swirled around in his mind until Xander wasn’t sure what was real. Whether any of it had been real. Spike had told him that he loved him. Hadn’t he? Yes, yes, he had. But he obviously hadn’t meant it. Not if what Xander had walked in on was any indication.
Xander finished his drink and checked his watch. It was long after sunset, and Spike had probably left the apartment, so it was clear for Xander to return. Subconsciously he reached down and rubbed the straps wrapped tight around his right wrist. Yeah, it would be best if Spike had left. The last thing he wanted was to start a fight that got out of hand.
Dropping enough bills onto the bar top to pay for his tab, Xander slid off the stool and headed for the door. Outside, he stood still for a moment and let the cool night air wash over him as he tried to calm his emotions. Turning towards his apartment, Xander began the walk home, his head down, hands tucked into his pockets. It wasn’t the best defensive posture, but he didn’t really care at the moment. He just wanted to get home where he could fall apart in private.
A couple blocks from his apartment, Xander’s luck ran out as two vampires blocked his path. He slowly lifted his head, and then gave a bitter laugh. He’d been hoping for something to give him oblivion, but instead was confronted with the cause of his pain. Just his luck.
“Xander,” Spike said his name softly, sounding embarrassed and sorrowful.
He wasn’t sure what he’d expected, but this wasn’t it. Where was the smirk, the laugh that would tell him that this had been the plan all along? Screw Xander Harris over, literally and figuratively. Tear his heart out and watch him bleed to death. And then he looked behind Spike, where Angel stood, one hand clamped possessively over the smaller vampire’s shoulder.
“Xander,” Angel said, and there was the smirk he’d been expecting.
Xander didn’t reply. He knew he’d hated Angel for a reason, all those years ago. He looked back at Spike. “Why?” he asked, pressing his lips together to keep them from trembling.
Angel wrapped his arms around Spike from behind and laid his chin against the side of Spike’s head. “Doesn’t every little boy miss their daddy?” he asked, giving Xander a knowing look.
Xander refused to rise to the bait and kept his eyes trained on Spike.
“He’s my sire,” Spike said, his eyes skittering, looking anywhere but at Xander.
“He’s your sire,” Xander repeated. “Meaning...what, exactly?”
“I have to obey him,” Spike replied.
“Mmm,” Angel wordlessly agreed. “Spike’s promised to be so good for me, haven’t you, my boy?” Angel asked, one hand sliding down Spike’s body until it cupped the vampire’s groin.
Xander wanted to scream. “You have to obey him?” he asked in disbelief. “What brought on this change of heart? Were you obeying him when you brought Drusilla here and tried to kill him? Were you obeying him when you went to LA and shoved hot pokers through him?” He was breathing hard and his voice had risen.
“Just acting out, weren’t you, boy?” Angel asked, his voice muffled against Spike’s neck.
Xander tilted his head. “Angelus?” he asked, suddenly worried.
Angel threw his head back and laughed. “No. I just decided that helping the hopeless was...too much effort.”
“Did you?” Xander asked. “You know,” he said with a little laugh, “I thought it would feel better than this to be proven right.”
“Xander,” Spike said his name again.
“You want to be with him?” Xander asked.
“I don’t have a choice,” Spike ground out.
“You sounded pretty...happy...with the way things worked out,” Xander said, remembering.
Spike didn’t reply, and Xander stepped forward until his face was inches from the blond’s. He gently placed both hands on the side of Spike’s face, leaned in, and kissed him goodbye. Spike closed his eyes, only opening them after Xander drew back.
“Do you want to kill me?” he asked, almost hopefully.
“No.” Xander shook his head, letting his hands slide down Spike’s face and neck to rest on his shoulders. “I want you to know how much it hurts to be alone. To have lost...everything.”
“I already do,” Spike said sadly.
“Not yet,” Xander replied, and then flicked his wrist.
It was his turn to smirk up at Angel as the stake slid home, the spring action driving it through the vampire’s chest and out his back. Angel looked at him in surprise, and then dusted. Xander pulled away from Spike.
“Now you do,” he said, stepping around him and continuing on to his apartment. Alone. Lost.
Part Two ~ Found
Spike grabbed his arm before he made it past him. “No, Xander, wait,” he pleaded.
Xander looked down at the hand on his arm, and then into Spike’s eyes. “Let go of me,” he ground out.
“Please, just let me explain,” Spike said.
Xander raised an eyebrow. “What, no tears for your lover?” he asked sarcastically.
“He wasn’t my lover,” Spike replied.
“Could have fooled me,” Xander said with a sneer. “He seemed to have you moaning pretty good when your legs were up around your ears.”
Spike ground his teeth together. “I had to do that,” he explained slowly.
“Riiiight,” Xander said. “‘Cause he’s your sire...” He glanced at the bit of dust on the sidewalk. “...was your sire.”
“No,” Spike said, “that’s not why.”
“You lied?” Xander asked. “Color me surprised.” He pulled his arm out of Spike’s grasp. “Whatever your reason, I don’t want sloppy seconds.” He began to turn away.
“He said he’d kill you!” Spike cried out quickly. “I couldn’t let him do that,” he added gravely.
Xander sighed. Really, he just wanted to go home, get drunk, throw up, get drunk again...was that too much to ask? He turned back to Spike. “He said he’d kill me, so you just, what? Rolled over and let him fuck you in our bed?” he screamed as hot tears stung his eyes.
“No, Xander, no,” Spike said. “It wasn’t like that. I fought him, I swear. In fact...” He gave Xander an apologetic grimace. “...the apartment’s kind of a mess, sorry ‘bout that. You had to have seen that, luv,” he added at Xander’s confused look.
“Don’t call me that,” Xander automatically replied as he thought back. He couldn’t remember. He hadn’t paid too much attention to the apartment itself, not with the noises drawing him straight to the bedroom.
“Xander, please, I know it looks bad, but you have to believe me. I love you.”
“I thought you did,” Xander replied distractedly.
“I did. I do. I hate that bloody bastard!” Spike yelled, angrily scuffing a booted foot through the dust on the sidewalk, the move making him grunt in pain.
“What’s wrong?” Xander asked automatically.
“Nothin’,” Spike said, trying to downplay his injury.
“Don’t fucking lie to me!” Xander yelled. “I hate it when you lie to me!” He blinked back angry tears.
“I’ve never...recently...’til today...lied to you,” Spike responded slowly, as if his words could calm Xander down. “It’s just...the bruises were healing too fast, so he broke some bones,” he said with an attempt at casual and a no-big-deal shrug that brought another grimace of pain to his face.
“Let me see,” Xander demanded worriedly.
“It’ll be fi—”
“Let...me...see,” he repeated.
“My ribs,” Spike said resignedly, lifting his t-shirt so Xander could run gentle hands over his torso. “I think my collarbone’s still broken, and my wrist.”
Xander took care examining each injury as Spike pointed it out, noticing the injuries he didn’t mention—the cuts and bruises that hadn’t had time to heal, and wondered how badly he’d been hurt before vampire healing had taken care of the others.
“Spike,” Xander said in a pitifully soft voice.
“I’m sorry, Xander,” Spike said. “I’m sorry he ruined... I’m sorry I let him, but I didn’t know what else to do. I couldn’t let him hurt you, and I’d do anything for you. Even... Anything.”
Xander didn’t answer, just continued to stare at Spike’s wrist. “This needs to be set,” he said. “It’s healing crooked. It might...” He swallowed hard. “It might need to be re-broken.”
“Do it,” Spike urged.
“Do it now,” Spike said, giving his arm a little jerk, “while you’re still mad at me.”
“I don’t...I don’t think I’m that mad,” Xander said, still not looking at him.
“Yes, you are,” Spike assured him.
“There’s no one else, Xander,” Spike said brokenly. “There’s no one else.”
“I believe you,” Xander said softly, and then twisted Spike’s wrist.
“Bloody fucking...! Give a bloke some warning, why don’t you?” Spike yelled at the unexpected pain. Xander gave the wrist another tug, straightening the broken bones, and Spike hissed.
“There,” Xander said, “it should heal right now.”
“Thanks,” Spike said.
Xander let go of Spike’s wrist, and the two of them just stood there. Xander was afraid to move or speak. He didn’t want to break the spell. It almost felt like he was in the eye of the storm, and the worst was yet to come. But if they stood here, just like this, nothing would happen, no decisions would have to be made. He really wished it could be like that.
“What do you want, Spike?” he asked sadly.
“I want you to believe me,” Spike said immediately. “And I want you to forgive me. I want you to take me back.”
Xander slowly nodded his head. Spike had just said exactly what he’d expected. But how could he forgive Spike for sleeping with Angel? He hated Angel. Had always hated Angel, but hated him a lot more now. He’d threatened Xander and hurt Spike. But, if he believed that Angel had threatened to kill him and Spike was only doing what he had to do to save him, then how could he not forgive him?
“I don’t want to go back to the apartment,” he said out-of-the-blue.
“Where do you want to go?” Spike ask, his voice low.
“It’s been soiled,” Xander said. “I’m gonna burn the bed.”
“We can do that,” Spike said hopefully. “We can paint and redecorate, it’ll be like a whole new place.”
A tear ran down Xander’s cheek. “I want the old place back.”
“Me, too,” Spike said, reaching for Xander’s hand. Xander let him take it. “But maybe the new place’ll be better. All shiny and new.”
Xander looked up at Spike. “I liked the old place,” he said dejectedly.
“I liked it, too,” Spike said. “But it’s just a place. I’d go anywhere as long as you were there.”
“I don’t know...I don’t know if I can. Be there, I mean. It hurts, Spike. Knowing you were with him. It kills me to think...”
“Then don’t!” Spike broke in. “Don’t, because that’s exactly what he wanted. He knew it would. He didn’t want me. He never wanted me. But he loved to hurt me. And if he could hurt you, too, well...bonus. A banner day for Angelus.” Xander didn’t respond right away, and Spike grew desperate. “I swear, Xander, being with him was only for you. I did it for you. I was thinking about you. And I know you don’t want to hear this, but I’d do it again, if it would protect you. I’d let him beat me, and fuck me, because no matter what he did to me out here...” He indicated his physical form. “...he couldn’t touch me in here.” He made a fist and tapped it on his chest directly over his heart. “That’s just for you.”
“I can’t stand that he touched you. That he had what was mine. That he hurt you,” Xander cried.
“But he didn’t touch it all. He couldn’t,” Spike said, pulling Xander into his arms.
Xander resisted briefly, and then couldn’t remember why it was so important to do so, and melted against Spike’s chest. It was where he wanted to be, after all. Where he needed to be. “I wish he wasn’t dead,” he whispered into Spike’s neck, “so I could kill him again. Do you hate me for that?”
“No,” Spike assured him. “No, Xander, I don’t hate you. Not for that, not for anything. I couldn’t.”
“Are you sure...?” he began, but Spike didn’t let him finish. The vampire tilted Xander’s head back and kissed him, effectively shutting him up. The kiss was hard and rough, a claiming and a promise. Spike’s tongue invaded his mouth, and Xander stiffened, but he didn’t taste like Angel, he just tasted like Spike. Heartened, Xander returned the kiss.
When they finally broke apart, Xander was panting, and his lips were hot and swollen. He licked them, his heart lightening when Spike’s eyes hungrily followed the path of his tongue. There was no trace of a vampire aching at the loss of his sire, neither in his eyes nor his bearing, just the look of a man in love. In love with him, Xander Harris.
Maybe all was not lost. He couldn’t believe how close he’d come to losing everything. Perhaps he should thank Angel. After all, he’d never have known the true depth of the love he’d found in Spike if not for the other vampire’s interference.
“Let’s go home,” he said. “I have an air mattress and some sleeping bags...unless the hall closet’s been destroyed.”
“I think the hall closet’s still standing,” Spike said with a small smile. “Home sounds good.”
They walked in nervous silence for a couple blocks, and then Xander said, “I’ll have to call Cordy. Let her know what’s happened.”
“What are you going to tell her?” Spike asked softly.
“The truth,” Xander said. “That I staked Angel...” He paused and swallowed hard. “...because he tried to take something that belonged to me. Something I hold very dear.”
Xander glanced sideways to see Spike staring at him. The vampire’s eyes looked a little glassy. “Always,” he said. “I...I’m sorry for what we almost lost tonight,” Spike added softly.
Xander squeezed his hand. “I’m glad for what we found.”
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