Rating: Mature/Adults Only
Pairing: Alexander/William (Spike/Xander)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon (my god), Mutant Enemy, etc. I own nothing, so please don’t sue me. I just want to play with the yummy beings that Joss created.
Spoilers: None.
Author’s Notes: Written for the Scottish Ficathon. All human AU...sort of. You'll see.

Many thanks to [info]denied_heaven and [info]celticseductres for their help as betas. I so appreciate your help and encouragement.





Unchained Memories


by
Strickensgirl



Part One


Scotland, 1613

Alexander sighed and leaned heavily on the handles of the plow imbedded deep in the earth. He was tired and sore, just like he had been every day since he had returned to the land of his birth. But it was a good sore. That kind of sore that let you know you were doing something right.

Daylight was quickly beginning to fade and Alexander knew he had to hurry if he was going to finish his work for the day. A sudden burst of warmth mid-day had surprised him and he had to stop for a few hours to give Cordy a break.

He turned and smiled at his beautiful and faithful chestnut mare. She had been a present from his then girlfriend. Cordelia had called her Queen but once the lovers parted ways, Alexander discovered just how much like the heiress his horse could be, so he renamed her. It turned out to be quite fortuitous since the horse was as stubborn and obstinate as her name sake.

Catching his breath, Alexander turned and gripped the plow, clucking his tongue at Cordy to get her moving again. They worked the earth together, bringing fresh, fragrant soil up to the surface so Alexander could prepare it for planting.

Coming here had been hard, in more ways than one. It was the land of his birth, true, but it held more bad memories than good. It was beautiful, this little patch of earth he called his home. It was merely a small valley in the Highlands, surrounded by mountains on three sides with a small loch that shone like glass in the morning light. The heather was abundant and fragrant and filled the cool night air with its comfort.

But when he had returned just a few short months ago, Alexander's heart nearly broke at the sight of his homeland. His father had not only let the home fall into disrepair, but he had seemingly taken pleasure in ruining everything around it.

Alexander had grieved when he heard the news that his parents had passed away. He had not been surprised to hear of the awful circumstances surrounding their deaths, but he knew their tendencies toward drunkenness and violence so it was less of a shock than one would imagine.

Not many of the local villagers had been pleased to see Alexander return. Most of them believed him to be what his father had always accused him of being; a lazy, lump of a man and a disrespectful son. It didn't help that the news of him fighting alongside women had traveled far and wide and the villagers had teased him mercilessly about hiding behind his friend's skirts in battle.

But Alexander never let anyone tell him what to do, especially not some small minded, pig headed drunkards who had never fought in a real battle, not like he had. He fought with women at his side, it was true, but Alexander would not have had it any other way. Willow and Buffy were some of the strongest and most amazing people he had ever known and they gave him some of their strength in everything they did.

Thinking about them brought a sadness to Alexander's heart. He missed his friends but he knew this is where he needed to be. This was to be his home, for better or worse.

Alexander was jolted to reality when he realized that Cordy had suddenly stopped. He looked and smiled, discovering that they had finished the field and just in time. The sun was preparing to dip behind hills of the highlands surrounding his land and the air had begun to chill slightly, a small breeze flowing from the locke.

He wished he'd kept his shirt close to him, but he had discarded it long ago when the heat of the day was beating down on his shoulders. So now he stood, in the cooling air, wearing only his kilt and mud-encrusted Hessian boots. His hair hung loose, flowing in near perfect ringlets near the middle of his back. It tickled his golden, sweat-slicked skin as it swayed back and forth with the sway of the breeze.

Standing with his face to the setting sun, Alexander took in the scents and sounds of his home. It gave him peace knowing that this was his, all his, and he had the power to make it perfect once again.

He was suddenly pulled from his peaceful daydream when Cordy neighed unhappily and shook her head. Alexander figured she was ready to go in for the night and he agreed. It wasn't until a moment later that he realized that his faithful mare had actually heard someone approaching long before he was able.

Alexander sighed and ran his arm across his forehead, trying to rid himself of the sweat on his brow and not realizing that he had smeared mud across his face in the process. He really didn't have the patience to talk with any of the local villagers tonight. He was tired and hungry and not in the mood to try and defend his manhood. All he wanted to do was put Cordy in for the night, eat his rabbit stew and get a good night's rest.

As he turned to greet his visitor and beg their forgiveness for his rudeness, Alexander was stunned into silence at the sight before him. The large black horse looked wild and powerful as it rode straight up to the gaping man. The rider was dressed all in black, save for the shock of platinum hair flowing in the breeze.

Skidding to a halt, the rider dismounted with an ease that Alexander envied. He landed softly on both feet, like a cat pouncing from a tree and stood staring at the half dressed boy.

Alexander catalogued the rider's clothes from his black leather boots, the black breeches with the leather ties at the fly, the black shirt that lay open at the neck, exposing a wide expanse of chest and the long black duster covering it all. As he looked up into crystal blue eyes, Alexander gasped in shock, finding himself face to face with the last person he expected to see.

"William?!"





Part Two



William rode hard into fading light. He had somewhere he needed to be and he knew if he didn't push himself and his faithful mare, he'd never get there in time. This land was new to him, uncharted territory.

As he looked around, he wondered if it were known territory at all.

The hills and valley that established this area looked wild and untamed. Maybe that was part of its appeal, but all William could think of was how much he missed marked roads and familiar surroundings.

He dug his heels in, urging his horse harder, faster. He shouldn't have headed out so late, but he was in a hurry to find the boy and do what had to be done. The villagers that had given him directions for the Harris family land had laughed at him for wanting to find the "useless molly that came home too little, too late" before warning him that the valley was haunted.

William believed no such thing and rode off in a rush despite through protestations.

Now, he wished he had checked the sun before leaving in such a rush. The light was quickly turning from bright golden yellow to deep orange to a rustic red. A wave of panic broke over William's spine at the thought of being lost in this wilderness. He knew that once night fell completely, he would never find his way to the boy or back to the village.

He had to make it to the boy. He just had to.

Finally, he rode over a steep ridge and there it was; Harris Valley.

William took a moment to look over the land before he urged his steed on. It was a small valley with lush foliage running over its gentle crests and falls. In the distance, the Englishman could see a small lake so clear; its surface appeared as glass, reflecting the setting sun on its crystal clear surface.

Suddenly, William found the one he was seeking. Standing on the only flat parcel of land was Alexander. The boy stood transfixed, his face turned up to the setting sun and his hair flowing lightly in the breeze creeping up from the loch.

It struck the Englishman as odd. This hardly seemed to be the boy he remembered from Sunnydale. Where was the boy that was carrying thirty extra pounds and was too pale from late night patrol and research sessions? In his place, William saw a man, golden and lean, with definition cut from hard manual labor. He never remembered hair so long or lush, but he never saw it hanging loose like this. The boy always kept his hair tied back with a small leather strap or in a thick braid when Dawn got to him.

William had to admit, the boy had changed. Alexander was more a man than he had ever seen, but he was now also more the boy that William had first met when they were bitter enemies.

He rode up hard and fast before screaming to a halt right in front of the young man. Dismounting quickly, William landed on his feet and waited as the boy took him in. He stood stock still until the boy looked him in the eyes, shock spreading over his golden features.

"William!?" the boy cried in astonishment.

A gentle smirk curved over the Englishman's pale face before he unleashed a harsh blow, catching Alexander's right cheek. As the boy fell into the mud, William knew this trip was well worth all his effort.


~*~*~*~*~


Alexander lay in the mud for several long minutes, testing his jaw gingerly. It didn't appear to be broken but he would be sporting an angry bruise for several days. He always did forget how volatile and strong the Englishman could be.

He looked over his shoulder to see William offering him a hand. Tentatively, he took it and the blond man pulled him up and steadied him on his feet.

"What the bloody hell was that for?" Alexander asked angrily, still rubbing his sore jaw.

"That was for leaving without saying good-bye, ya wanker," William grumbled.

Alexander simply nodded before he let out a quiet laugh. "Ya came all the way out here just to get pissy that I didn't let ya know I was leaving?"

"No," William replied almost a little too quickly, "I came up here to talk to you. Miss that sometimes, you know. Besides, being around too many women was driving me around the bend."

Alexander laughed a little at that one. He understood that all too well. He had spent more than his share of his life surrounded by females; ones that seemed to only want his friendship and support. That was alright with the young man. He loved his friends and would trade them for nothing in the world, but too much female companionship was not good for ones reputation or sanity.

He reached over and laid a hand on William's tense shoulder. "Come. I was just getting ready to put Cordy away for the night. Ya' can put yer Drusilla in the barn with her, if'n she promises to be a good girl."

William smiled and reached over to his faithful mare. "You'll be a good girl, won't you now, Drusilla."

The black mare shook her head and rubbed lovingly against her master. William chuckled and said, "She agrees, just as long as your 'Queen Cordelia' doesn't cause any problems."

Alexander laughed as he strode over to his horse, quickly releasing her from her bonds before leading her toward the small barn behind his home. William followed behind him, Drusilla at his side. The two men teased each other and laughed at the contrived jokes as they prepared their horses for the night.

Brushes were exchanged, blankets and hay were made ready, and water was put out before the men said their good nights to the females in their lives.

Alexander then led William toward his home. They apparently had a lot to talk about.





Part Three



William followed Alexander from the barn toward the small but sturdy looking house, his bags slung over his shoulder, still warm from where they rested on Drusilla's flanks. They were nearly halfway there when they heard a loud whiny, followed by the sound of stomping hooves coming from the barn.

Alexander snickered, knowing the noises were not coming from his Cordy. "Ya' know," he said, trying to control his laughter, "Yer horse really is crazy."

William smiled and nodded. "Yeah, I know. My Dru was treated real poorly before she came to me. She just needed someone who knew how to treat her. She's a might touchy still but she can be gentle when she's treated right."

Alexander nodded, smiling at the other man's admission. A small light flickered through the window and Alexander knew that the fire was still burning inside and his stew would be hot and ready to eat.

"Nice place," William said softly as they entered the small stone home.

Alexander sighed as he looked at the place he had rebuilt with his own two hands. He opened the door and ushered his unexpected guest inside.

"Ya' should'a seen it a few months ago. It took me nearly a fortnight and a half jus' ta get it livable. It seems ta be in pretty good shape now. Keeps the cold and rain out."

William chuckled lightly as he walked up to Alexander and laid a soft hand on his shoulder. "Alexander, you really need to stop putting yourself down like that. The place looks great. You did a wonderful job."

A warm flush worked its way from Alexander's neck and up into his cheeks. He wasn't used to these types of compliments and no matter how true or simple, kind words made him blush. "Thank you," he finally whispered as he followed the other man into his home.

Alexander quietly set out to prepare them both some supper, he himself feeling near starving after his long day, as William looked around his home. After dividing the stew into two bowls, he stoked the fire before handing the food to the Englishman.

"So," he said, smiling cordially, "How is everyone back in the 'Dale?"

William snorted lightly as he dug into his food. He ate slowly before answering quietly, "Everyone is well. Willow is dating that bird, Tara, cute couple they are. Buffy is…well, she's Buffy. Still fighting the good fight and getting along fine with that mick, Angel. Bloody poncy name, that. Giles is still around, although he's talking of heading for his homeland again. Oh, and before I forget, Red asked me to give this to you."

Alexander watched as the Englishman reached into his bag and pulled out a small package. Opening it slowly, the dark-haired man smiled as he began to dig through the amazing surprises he found hiding inside; an assortment of scones, cakes and biscuits, all smelling as if Willow had just removed them from the hearth, several bars of soap, lovingly made by Tara's gentle hands, smelling of sandlewood and spices and the small fighting axe that Alexander preferred when fighting at Buffy's side.

Looking down at the tiny reminders of his friends and his former life brought tears to the warm hazel eyes. Remembering his visitor, Alexander wiped at his eyes with the back of his hand before clearing his throat. "Want a biscuit?"

William chuckled lightly and took the offered morsel before punching Alexander lightly on the arm. "Miss the bints, do ya'?"

Alexander couldn't help but laugh back. "Yeah," he admitted with a smile, "I lived with the girls for so long it's hard not to miss them, ya' know?"

The blond head nodded as William continued to eat. The two men shared a companionable silence as they finished their stew and biscuits. Alexander had turned and began to stoke the fire when he heard William's quietly whispered question.

"Why didn't you tell me you were leaving?"

The waver in the other man's voice gave Alexander pause for a moment as he stared at the renewed flames. He tried to decide what to do, before he turned back and laughed as if William had told a joke.

"Ya' came all the way out to the middle a' nowhere because I didn't tell ya' goodbye?" He turned and sat down heavily in his mirth. "I didn't know I owed you that. We hardly got along. Why do you care?"

Alexander did his best to not flinch at the look of pain in the azure eyes staring at him.

"Thought we'd become friends, is all," William finally spit out, trying to look mad and failing miserably. "I know we started out bad but then..."

He didn't finish the thought before he stood quickly.

"This was a bad idea. I'll just take my leave."

Alexander leapt from his seat without thinking, grabbing a hold of the butter-soft, black leather cloak. William turned, the crystal blue eyes flashing with anger and pain, and the younger man sighed.

"Yer right," Alexander admitted. "We are friends. I did'na come to see ya' 'cause I was afraid you'd talk me in to stayin' and I needed to come home, to my homeland. This place needed me and I need it. Does that make sense?"

He waited with baited breath, not sure what his friend would do. In all his time with William, Alexander discovered that the other man's temper was almost as unpredictable and volatile as Buffy's. Slowly, the tension bled out of the other man's body before William softly smirked.

"Yeah, I suppose," William grumbled. "Rude, though, just leaving like that. Had to come all the bloody way out here just to make sure you were alright. Ungrateful brat."

Alexander smiled widely. Finally on familiar ground, the two men bickered and took shots at each other as they settled down for the evening. Eyes were averted coyly as both men began to undress as they teased and told stories. Alexander set William up on the extra bed that he had luckily fixed up several weeks before while he settled into his own not far away.

"Best get some sleep, William," Alexander teased as he pulled his blankets up to his chin and rested his clasped hands on his chest, "Now that yer here, I plan on using you ruthlessly."

There was a moment of silence before both men laughed heartily.

"G'night, William," Alexander whispered as the laughter died away and he closed his eyes.

"Good night, Alexander," William answered. Instead of following his friend in slumber, William turned on his side and watched the dark-haired man sleep by the dying embers still warm in the hearth.





Part Four

Alexander woke slowly, stretching from fingertip to toe under the warmth of his woolen blankets. The fire had died down to nearly nothing over night and the sun had yet to peek over the hills, so his home was bathed in the barest bit of light.

He sat up slowly, remembering his guest, not wanting to wake the still sleeping man. He smiled at the mass of blankets and messy blond hair in the bed across from his own. It was still hard for him to believe that William was here, sleeping in his home. Quietly, Alexander stoked the fire so the dwelling would be warm when his guest awoke before grabbing his flannel and new bar of soap.

It was chilly in the pre-dawn hours as Alexander made his way down to the loch. The water was still and smooth as crystal. The young man knew the water would be cold, the snow having melted just after his return to his homeland, but he was thrilled at the opportunity to use his present.

Normally, Alexander brought water to the house, warming it in pots to wash himself, but today he was going to have a proper bath. Just the thought made him smile.

Stripping off his clothes, the dark-haired man stepped into the water, shivering at the bite of cold against his skin. He continued walking into the cool depths of the loch until the water was lapping at his hips. Alexander took a deep breath before dropping down beneath the water's surface, submersing his entire body in one fail swoop.

The serenity of the morning was shattered by the resounding 'whoop' that came from the exhilarated man as he broke the surface of the loch. Alexander couldn't help but laugh with joy as he retrieved the rich smelling soap and began to wash up as he hummed happily to himself.

As he stood, nearly waist deep in the chilly water, Alexander watched as the sun slowly began to peek over the eastern mountain range. This was his favorite time of the day, when everything was peaceful and quiet and it felt like the sun was making an appearance just for him.

The young man was startled when he heard a quietly whispered, "Beautiful," from behind him. Turning quickly, he saw William smiling at him and Alexander smiled back.

"'Tis an amazing sight, is it not?" the wet man asked.

"That it is," William answered, his eyes never leaving the man in the water.

Alexander shivered, whether from the cold or from the intensity of the other man's stare, he didn't know. But soon William was stripping off his black clothes to reveal the perfect pale flesh hidden beneath. The dark haired man knew he should look away, it was only polite, but the more he saw, the harder it was to avert his eyes. Finally, the blond man was naked and slipping into the water. A gasped breath caught in Alexander's throat as his friend slowly made his way toward him.

William was nearly close enough for Alexander to feel the heat of him, smell the scent of dried sweat and smoke and sleep still clinging to him, see the gleam of mischief in azure eyes that sparkled wildly in the rays of the morning's first light. Then suddenly, he was tumbling into the cold water as William plucked the soap from his lax fingers and pushed him backward.

Alexander emerged from the water, gasping and sputtering for a moment before trying to glare at William. It didn't work. The other man was smiling and washing and he looked so perfect that Alexander couldn't stay mad at him. Instead, he laughed before leaping at his friend, dunking the blond head under the water and trying to escape before William could retaliate.

A wild fight ensued with both men laughing and wet. Finally, they declared a truce before slipping out of the water to dry off and fix breakfast. It was going to be a long day and they were just starting.


~*~*~*~*~


William knelt in the small garden, pulling weeds and smashing bugs while trying to protect the vegetables growing there in the process. He was tired and sweaty but he felt good. Really good, if he had to admit it himself.

He had been more than a little mad when he rode up to the Highlands to confront Alexander but now that he was here, all the fight seemed to have bled out of him.

The two men had spent the day working hard after their early morning bath. William sighed and closed his eyes just remembering the sight of Alexander in the loch. He looked like some sort of Greek god, his dark hair, long and curly, hanging down the muscular back and leaving trails of crystal water on the bronzed skin.

The early morning rays illuminated his skin made the younger man's skin glow and made him seem otherworldly, almost effulgent.

William relived the morning in his mind as he dug his hands in the dirt again, completely unaware of the shadow that had fallen over him as his mind wandered.


~*~*~*~*~


Alexander stood back and watched as William dug around in the dirt. It seemed so odd to see this man like this. Not that William was a lay about, not hardly. The two men had worked together many times back in Sunnydale, but Alexander had never witnessed the blond man participate in something so…domestic.

Maybe there was more to his friend than met the eye after all.

They had worked together all morning, first plowing the field that Alexander had been working on when William arrived. With both men and horses working, they were able to make quick work of the field that Alexander was hoping to plant in a few short weeks once the weather warmed up enough.

They had eaten together, some dried meat and bread that William had brought along, with some wine that Alexander had saved from his time in Sunnydale. Watching the water of the loch they had played in that morning, the two men talked about old times back in the 'Dale and Alexander's plans for his newly acquired lands.

Food was prepared for the evening before both men got back to work; Alexander fertilizing the newly plowed fields and William weeding the small garden that held the vegetables they enjoyed daily.

Alexander was sweaty and covered in dirt and manure, his chest bare and his boots covered in muck. He decided it was time to call it a day and walked over to see if William was in the mood for another dip in the loch before dinner.

Standing behind the blond man, Alexander watched as William absentmindedly dug his hands in the ground, pulling up handfuls of dirt before sliding it through his fingers and doing it all over again. The other man didn't move or flinch, not acknowledging Alexander's presence at all.

Finally, Alexander chuckled. This finally caught William's attention and he turned his head, his azure eyes glazed and shiny.

Alexander laughed heartily at the sight before reaching down to clap his friend on the shoulder.

"Wha's the matter, William?" the dark-haired man asked, "No' used to the early mornin' hours or have I been workin' ya' too hard?"

The smile he received was blinding and his breath caught in his throat. William's eyes danced with mirth as he glanced up at the man standing so close behind him. "Just thinking about this morning, is all," he replied, his voice practically a purr. "Was wondering how you developed all those pretty muscles and got rid of all that flab you'd been carrying around. Guess all this hard work and fresh air really did some good, eh?"

Alexander flushed at the words and seductive tone. He couldn't believe William would talk to him in such a way. That was how William would talk to Buffy or maybe Tara when he wanted to see her blush. No one spoke to Alexander that way, not in a very long time.

Deciding that the other's flirting was just silliness that was inspired by the two men being the only ones around, Alexander kicked his booted foot out, nudging his friend's backside lightly.

"If'n yer done playin' around in the dirt, I thought mayhap you'd like to have a splash in the loch. I smell like the wrong side of yer horse and I'd like to get clean before eatin' and beddin' down for the night. Comin'?"

Alexander watched the sparkle that shone in the crystal blue eyes before he turned and ran toward the calm water. He stripped off his boots and was loosening his kilt before he was tackled at the water's edge. Both men tumbled into the loch, laughing at each other and tossing hollow insults to and fro in between shy, sultry glances and surreptitious touches.

They took their time, washing and playing in the dying Highland light.




Index Next



Feed the Author

Visit the Author's Livejournal

Home Categories New Stories Non Spander