From Out of Nowhere


by
Sukiblue



Part 6
The Reflex

Xander sat on the window sill sipping coffee that was way too hot.  But he barely even noticed the burning sting as the black liquid scorched his mouth and throat.  He had more important things on his mind.  No, scrap that.  He had a million more important things on his mind.

He was looking out of the window for two reasons.  

Reason number one: It was beautiful outside. A light breeze was moving through the trees, making them seem like they were moving of their own accord.  And a light rain pattered down gently onto the ground, making everything glisten elegantly in the bright morning sunshine.  It was very rarely that Xander got to see such a glorious morning, not now that he was operating on vampire time.  He took a moment to think about Spike and he deeply wished that he could take his lover’s hand and lead him into the sunshine. He wondered if Spike still missed the warmth of daylight.

Reason number two:  He was on the look-out.  Xander was positive that his friends were going to come storming down the driveway any second.  Actually, he was almost puzzled as to why they hadn’t shown already.  The sun had been up for nearly an hour now.  They must surely be chomping at the bit already.  

Xander pondered what his friends would tackle first.  Would they come screaming at him and Spike about the chip? Or would the claiming be top of the list?  He guessed it would depend on who got there first, Buffy or Giles.  What was Willow going to say? What would she think?  Surprisingly, it was this that worried him the most. Willow.  She was his best friend, yet he had kept so much from her.  He wasn’t even sure why.  Out of everyone, Willow was the one that he was sure would understand.  So why did he continue to shut her out? Habit, he thought bitterly.  Always hiding something.

Tara had called about half an hour ago.  She and Willow were apparently heading out on some two day witchy workshop.  Tara had said that Willow wanted to talk, but she needed to do it face to face.  Phone talk just wasn’t going to cut it.  They would phone again when they got back and arrange to meet for coffee.  Xander had to admit that he was hurt that Willow wouldn’t come to the phone, but he did understand.

“Hey, is that a snake in your lap or are you just happy to see me?”

Xander jumped slightly and turned to face a smiling Doyle. He tried to smile back, but found that it was too difficult.

“Um, no.  Just a snake.”  Xander held up the said serpent and spoke to it. “Isis, I want you to meet Doyle. He’s a....friend of Angel’s, so be nice and no biting.” He passed the snake to Doyle, who took it with trepidation.

“Isis, eh? Strange name for a snake.”

“Oh, she’s not a snake.”

Doyle looked thoroughly confused.

“I mean, yeah she’s a snake, but she’s not.  I found her...well, maybe she found me, anyway. She’s an actual Egyptian Goddess.”

“This snake is an Egyptian Goddess?”

“Noo, the Goddess is inside the snake…sort of.  You’d better ask Angel, he’s much better at explaining things than I am.”

“I’ll be sure to do that.”

Doyle stroked the snake and noticed that she was staring at him. The gaze was almost mesmerizing and he had trouble tearing his attention away and back to the boy, who was speaking to him again.

“How is Angel?”

“He’s sleeping now.”

“Has he remembered?”

“Yeah, about an hour ago.”

“And? How’s he taking it?”

“Not too bad.  He’s just real quiet.  Won’t talk about it.”

Xander nodded. “Well, that sounds like our Angel.  What can we do?”

“I think he just needs to sort his thoughts out.  The restoration spell really knocked him for six.  I reckon he’ll be better after a good day’s kip.”

Neither man believed that last statement.  Angel wasn’t one to brush things aside that easily.  It was going to be a rocky road, for all of them. Gods, what were the scoobies going to say about this?  Xander hadn’t even considered that they might start on Angel.  But now he thought about it… shit, I can just hear it now. Angel’s a danger to us all.  Angel performed the claiming ritual, how could he have been so stupid?  You slept with Angel? Xander, what have you become? Ooooh, and then we go back to Spike.  And you let this happen, Spike? You let Angel touch and bite Xander? How could you?

“You still in there, kid?”

“Oh, yeah, I was just whirling.”

“Huh?”

“Never mind, it’s something Spike says.  You hungry?”

“Is the Pope Catholic?”

Xander pretended to think about it. “Shouldn’t it be ‘does the Pope shit in the woods?’ Oh no, that’s bears.  Anyway, I take it that was a definite yes?”

“Oh, yes indeed.  Haven’t eaten for several hours, think my stomach’s corroding.”

Xander laughed and led the way to the kitchen. “I know the feeling,” he said, automatically pouring a coffee for Doyle before topping his own up from the pot.

“Okay, so welcome to Xan’s breakfast paradise.  What will it be? Nothing too complicated though, I’m half asleep and am known to start kitchen fires even on an awake day.”

“Hm, okay.  Don’t want to fight any flames today.  What can you do safely?”

Xander counted on his fingers. “Um, cereal…oh, that’s about it.”

Doyle chuckled into his coffee. “I can go with cereal...”

Xander interrupted and rummaged through a cupboard. “Ooh, hang on...yup, I thought so.”  He pulled out several small boxes and displayed them proudly on the counter. “I give you Poptarts.  We have strawberry, chocolate or, errr, blue with weirdo icing.”

“I’ll have the blue with weirdo icing please,” Doyle said through an amused grin “Are you sure about this?  It is going to involve an appliance that heats up and has the potential to burn a perfectly good house all the way to the ground.”

“True.  But you’ll supervise, right?”

Doyle saluted. “Right.  Consider me officially on toaster duty.”

Doyle paused to sip his coffee and change the subject.  “You think they’re gonna be pissed at him?”

“I’m not sure.  I hope not.  It’s not like he did anything.  It was Angelus.  Angel didn’t ask for it to happen.”

“Bloody right.”

Spike stepped through the doorway and stretched.

Xander couldn’t help himself.  He had to stare.  For a few moments he forgot about their house guest and concentrated on soaking up every square inch of Spike.  Soft pale skin, strong slender arms and legs, ruffled hair.  He was the picture of a sleepy innocent.

Spike yawned and rubbed at his eyes, an action that Xander thought was less Mmmm and more Auww.  Spike approached and coiled welcoming arms around him from behind.

“So this is where you got to.  Missed you.”

“Sorry, Spike.  I couldn’t sleep.”

Spike placed a gentle kiss on Xander’s neck. “Guessed that, pet.  You should have woken me.  I could’ve found plenty of ways to keep you occupied.”

“Mmmm ‘kay.”

“Err, pet.”

“Mmm?”

“You got sommit in the toaster, luv?”

“Yeah?”

“I think it’s done.”

Xander calmly looked over at the toaster. “Oh shit!!” Xander shot forward and pressed the button to ping up the toast tray.  Black smoke poured from the appliance and Xander tried, ineffectually, to waft it away.

“Bloody hell, pet.  You’re making it worse.”

Xander coughed and spluttered as the smoke hit his lungs.

“Christ, luv.”

Spike ripped the plug from the wall, picked up the toaster, opened a window and threw it out.

“Spike! You can’t do that! What if it catches fire?!”

“Won’t catch fire.  Threw it in a puddle.”

“Well, that’s okay, then,” Xander said sarcastically.  “So how are we supposed to cook more Poptarts?”

Spike held up one finger in the air. “Ahhh, funny you should ask.”  He turned and rummaged around in a low cupboard, his ass sticking up high in the air.

Xander looked at Doyle, who had a bemused expression on his face. “Sorry about him.”

Spike stood back up before Doyle could speak, and plonked a shiny new toaster onto the counter. “There you go, pet.  This one has an automatic cut off.  So hopefully we’ll have no more attempted arson.”

“Uh, not that I’m not grateful.  But why did you buy a toaster when we already had one?”

“Cos you trashed the last three, that’s why. I wanted to be prepared this time.”

“Oh.”

“S’okay, pet.  Not to worry. I’m pretty confident that this one is totally Xan-proof.”

Xander beamed and reached back to grab the Poptart boxes.  “Great! Doyle and me are starving. I’ll put some more Poptarts in...”

“No! I mean, don’t worry luv, I’ll do it.  Toast a great Poptart, I do.  Why don’t you go back to bed?  I’ll bring a couple up in a minute.”

Xander didn’t really feel like sleeping, but hopefully Spike had other things on his mind. “Okay, but don’t be long.  Doyle?”

The Irish man waved him away. “Yeah, go, go. I’ll just wait for my tart, then I’m going back to bed too.”

Spike watched Xander nod and walk away.  He pulled out a tray and began to prepare it to take upstairs. “So, how is Angel?  And don’t gimme any of that ‘He just won’t talk’ bullshit that you gave Xan.  He don’t buy it and I’m bloody sure I don’t.”

“You heard us?”

“I hear a lot of things.  Not too many secrets in this house.  C’mon Irish boy, this is my Sire we’re talking about.  What’s the deal?”

“Well, I didn’t lie to Xander.  He really isn’t saying much.  I’m not sure what to think.  He just has this blank look, like he’s gone someplace else.  I just don’t know what I should say to him.”

Doyle had a desperate glint in his eye and Spike was unsure how to reassure him. “Look, you know Angel, he broods for his country.  Let him think things over, but keep him real too.  Don’t let him sink himself.  Maybe I could talk to him?”

“Yeah. Would you? I mean, you were there.  So you know.”

“Yeah.  I’ll talk to him tonight.”  

With lightening reactions, Spike caught two tarts as they popped into the air and placed them on a plate for Xander.  He picked out the other two and gave them to Doyle. “Now that is a perfectly toasted Poptart.”

Doyle peered at the tarts.  “Agreed.”

“About my boy.  When it comes to cooking, he is a danger to us all.  So if you ever catch him in here making anything apart from coffee, then you come and get me, understand?” Spike fixed Doyle with a stern gaze.

“Understood.  I’m gonna take this upstairs. See if Angel wants to share; he might be hungry.”

Spike forgot himself and laughed sharply “I doubt that, mate…Sorry.”

Doyle sighed “It’s okay. Goodnight, or morning."

Spike shrugged.  “Whatever,” he said, his words not unkind.

Spike added coffee, juice and a large cookie to his breakfast tray and carried it from the kitchen.  He was tired; he really needed to sleep, rest his body and his mind before both went completely up the creek.  But his pet was obviously wide awake and needing to talk.  Not that Spike really minded.  If his boy needed a little TLC then so be it.  He was more than willing to oblige.

Spike climbed the stairs and balanced the tray on one arm as he opened the bedroom door with the other.  He stared at the sight before him and he wasn’t sure if he was annoyed or relieved.  Xander, the little shit, had curled up in a small ball in the centre of the bed and gone straight to sleep.

Spike quietly placed the tray on the dresser and walked over to the bed to look at his lover.  He looked so peaceful and so content, a small smile playing at the corner of his lips.  Spike wondered if Xander was having a nice dream.  

Spike hated to see his lover upset or worried. Xander had a happy face, a face that should always be glowing with joy, and it troubled Spike whenever Xander wore his sad face.  It wasn’t surprising that Xander was unhappy at the moment, considering what had happened over the last few days and also considering the likely fallout that was approaching like a black cloak of doom.

Spike carefully climbed onto the bed and spooned around his lover, wrapping a comforting arm around Xander’s waist.  He whispered softly into his ear. “That’s it, luv. Sleep. Gonna be okay.  I’ll make sure of it.”

Spike closed his eyes and drifted off.


~*~*~*~*~


Xander and Spike were jerked out of a dreamless sleep and they both sat bolt upright in shock.

“What’s that?!”

“Front door, pet.”

“Fuck. What are they trying to do? Cave it in?”

Spike sighed and ran his fingers through his scruffy blond hair. “No.  Just trying to wake the dead.  Worked a bloody treat.”

Xander glanced hurriedly at the bedside clock as he struggled out of his sweats and into something more appropriate. “Shit, Spike. It’s gone six.  I wanted to be up and ready.  Who do you think it is?” Xander attempted to answer his own question. “Giles. It’s Giles.  He’s gonna go nuts about this claiming thing...”

“Naah, pet. Sounds more like Buffy.  No-one can batter a door down like a Slayer.”

“Gods, you’re right. The chip. You stay here...”

“Oi, I ain’t hiding behind you.”

“Firstly, thanks for that and secondly, I’m not asking you to hide.  I’m asking you to give me a minute with one of my best friends.”

“Sorry, luv. I didn’t mean anything...”

“I know you didn’t, Spike.” Xander leant over the bed and kissed Spike’s temple.  The door banged again and both lovers jumped. “Stay here,” Xander commanded as he rushed through the bedroom door and down the stairs.

Xander took a deep breath, smoothed his bed head down and opened the door.  There stood a small blond Slayer wearing a sling on her arm and a look of death and betrayal on her face.

“Hey, Buff...”

“Don’t ‘hey Buff’ me,” Buffy growled as she stormed past her friend and into the house.

Xander chased her down the hall and into the living room. “Buffy, please don’t get upset.  We can talk about this.”

Buffy stared coldly at her friend.  “Can we? I’m not sure there's anything to talk about.  You clearly made your choices.  I just want to know why.”

“Yeah, I did have choices.  My choices.  And I didn’t take any of them lightly...”

“Is that so?” Buffy sneered.  “So you tossed and turned before you stabbed me in the back? Oh, well that’s okay then.  I feel so much better.”

“What do you mean ‘stabbed you in the back’? This isn’t about you.  It’s about Spike. And it’s about me not wanting him dusted.”

Buffy stepped back, a disgusted look flashing across her face.  “God.  You make me sick. You all do.  But you especially.  You were supposed to be my friend.”

“I am your friend.  But I love Spike. I couldn’t risk you hurting him, that’s why I didn’t tell you.”

“XANDER!  Just shut your fucking mouth about Spike for five minutes.  This isn’t about Spike.”

Xander was confused.  “It isn’t?”

“Of course it isn’t.  C’mon, Xan-man. Try and use the few brain cells that you actually have.”

“This isn’t about the chip?”

“No! I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the fucking chip. I’m talking about Angel. I am talking about why YOU FUCKED MY EX-BOYFRIEND BEHIND MY BACK!”

Xander staggered back, completely speechless.  He was totally taken aback by Buffy’s words.  The chip, she should be thinking of the chip.  This is the Slayer after all.  Did she really have that much trust in Spike, not to bother even worrying about his bite? Or was she just being extra selfish Buffy with a side order of bitchiness?

“Well, say something then. Or are you going to just stand there like the loser you are?”

“What’s your problem?  You’re not even with Angel anymore.”

“That’s not the point, Xander and you know it.”

“No, I don’t know it. What is the point?”

“Angel was mine.  What we had was sacred.  You've ruined that.”

“How!? How have I ruined that? You and Angel were in the past. This is now. You don’t love him any...” Xander stopped as Buffy burst into tears. “You still love him.”

“Of course I do, you idiot.  I always have. And you have ruined any chance of us getting back together.”

That was it.  He was tired of being called stupid, tired of getting the blame when things went wrong.  He was just tired. “You are being completely ridiculous and you are being totally unfair…”

“Oh, I think you're the one who’s…”

“Shut up, Buffy. Just shut up and let me finish. You and Angel broke up for whatever reasons and that had nothing to do with me.  And the reason why you are not together now? He. Doesn’t. Love. You. Not my fault. Yes, I slept with him, but it was part of a ritual, a ritual to bind me and Spike together.  That is the only reason why it happened. Did I enjoy it? Yeah. It was fucking good.  Did he enjoy it? Well, I didn’t hear any complaints.”

“Xander…”

“Hey! Lips still moving here! And I’m not the only one.  He’s fucking Doyle, too.”

“You bastard.  Why are you doing this to me?”

Xander felt like growling and it took all of his power to hold back. “Not always about you.”

“I really hate you, Xander.  You’ve changed.  What happened to my friend that was always there for me?”

“He moved on. Grew up, found a life of his own and stopped being your doughnut boy.”

“But, Xan, you were so good at it.”

“That’s it. I’ve had enough. Get out. GET OUT!”

“Hey! I’m the one that’s supposed to be pissed, you know.”

“You know what? I couldn’t give a rat’s ass how you feel.  This is my home and I’m not gonna let you just waltz in here and insult me. So just get out before I really lose my temper.”

“Yeah? What are you going to do? Hit me? Little Xander thinks he’s a big boy now.”

“Fuck. Off.”

“You’re a loser, you know that, right?”

A warning growl came from the door. “Buffy, I think you need to leave.”

“Angel...”

Angel put a hand in the air and shook his head. “Not now, Buffy. You need to go home and calm down.”

“But Angel…”

“GO! Leave! I won’t have you speaking to Xander this way, he doesn’t deserve it. Now, he told you to leave, so either you do what he says or I’ll remove you myself.”

“Fine. I’ll go. I’ll just leave you to your sick little orgasm party or whatever it is you two have going on here. I’ll see myself out.”

The door slammed behind Buffy and Xander threw himself onto the couch, sighing and flinging an arm over his eyes. “Why does everything have to be so complicated?”

The sofa dipped as Angel sat down and Xander turned to face him. “Gods, sorry man.  I shouldn’t be whining at you about my problems.  You’ve got enough of your own.”

Angel nodded. “Maybe I have.  But they're the kind of problems that you just have to swallow and move on.  It’s not like there's anything I can do about it.  It happened. I can’t change it.”

“No, you can’t change it.  But you don’t have to just swallow it.  Just remember we’re here.  Me and Spike.  If you need to talk, then just talk.  I realise it goes against everything you believe in, but it really can help.”

Angel smiled, but it never reached his eyes.  He changed the subject. “Just leave Buffy to cool down.”

Xander caught the abrupt change of subject but let it go. “Or to simmer, you mean.”

Xander put on his glum face and he and Angel leaned back against the sofa, shoulder to shoulder.  They sighed together.

“Bleedin’ hell.  It’s like a bloody morgue in here.”

“Did you hear what Buffy said?”

“Think the whole bloody street did, luv.”

“Great.”

“Look on the bright side, pet.  At least she didn’t throw a fit about the chip.”

“Yeah, I know.  Still can’t quite believe it, though.”

Spike snorted. “I can. Always thinks of herself first.  Selfish bitch.”

“Spike!”

“Wot!? I heard the way she spoke to you.  I’m not ‘aving it.  She had no right.  What happened between us three is our business, s’nothing to do with her.”

Xander blushed brightly, the realisation of what they were talking about finally kicking in.

Angel spotted Xander’s discomfort and went for another change of subject.

“Damage control,” he said.

“Huh?”

“Damage control, Xander.  Why don’t we see what we can do to minimise the damage before things get completely out of control?”

“What you got in mind, Peaches?”

“We need to go and see Giles.”

“You’ve got to be joking!”

“No, Angel’s right.  We should go and see Giles.  Before he comes to see us, right?”

Angel nodded. “Exactly.  Let’s go to him and lay all our cards on the table. I say we tell him everything.”

Spike huffed. “Sodding hell.”


~*~*~*~*~


“Ah, yes, do come in.”

Spike, Xander and Angel entered the house and made their way silently to the sofa.

“I wondered how long it would take for you three to come crawling…”

“Oi.” Spike stood and pointed at Giles. “We ain’t crawling!”

“No? Then why are you here?”

Angel waved his grumbling Childe back into a sitting position. “We are here because we want to explain things to you, about the claiming.”

“Don’t you think I deserved to have things explained earlier?”

“No,” Angel said firmly. “No, I don’t.  The claiming was a private act.  If Spike and Xander wanted to keep it to themselves, then that was their business.”

“Nonsense.  Xander is nineteen years old.  He’s still a child...”

“Hey!”

“You are, Xander.  You’re barely out of school, you’re not even old enough to drink and here you are binding your life to a vampire.  Do you know what it means? Do you know what you have done?”

“Of course I do. Contrary to the views of others, I’m not stupid.  I know exactly what I’ve done.”

“Is that so? Well then, you’ll be quite aware that this claiming will change you? You’ll be aware that it could make you different? You’ll also be aware that you are now bound to Spike forever? So when this silly little teenage crush ends, you are fully aware that you will be unable to walk away? That Spike will not let you go? God, Xander, how could you be so stupid?”

Xander felt tears sting at his eyes, but he refused to let them fall. “First, this is not a teenage crush.  I love Spike and he loves me.  I’ll never walk away from him, he’s mine.  And secondly, Spike and Angel explained everything to me.  I went into this with my eyes wide open.  There is nothing you could tell me that I don’t already know.”

“Did you know that if either you or Spike dies then, then the other will shortly follow?”

“Except that.”

“Wot are you talking about, Watcher? I’ve never heard nothing like that.”

“I have to agree with Spike, Giles.  I’ve never heard anything like it.”

Xander looked confusedly between Giles and the two vampires.

Giles walked over to a book case and pulled out a thin volume. “Then I suggest that you all read this. It describes a young man who in the nineteen seventies bound himself to a vampire. The boy died in a horrific motorcycle accident. Three weeks later his vampire lover was found.  The vampire was just bones, his flesh rotted away. It is said that he died again of a broken heart. But it is actually believed that the death of the boy broke their bond.  The vampire was unable to survive without it.  He died in agony, a slow painful death that aged him beyond any human comprehension.”

Angel took the book and flicked through. “This is one account and it doesn’t prove…”

Spike interrupted. “Doesn’t matter anyway.” He looked lovingly at his consort. “When Xan goes, I’m going too. Don’t wanna live without him.”

“But Spike, don’t you see? It’s quite probable that it works the other way around too.  If anything happens to you, then it will affect Xander. If you get dusted, Spike, Xander will die.”


~*~*~*~*~


Xander heaved a heavy sigh and carelessly swung his axe by his side as he walked through the cemetery.  Buffy had been deemed unfit to patrol due to her broken arm, so it had been decided that the rest of the scoobies would take up the slack.  Tonight it was Spike and Xander’s turn. They didn’t mind; it was enough to temporarily satisfy the Watcher, although they were certain that they hadn’t heard the end of Giles’ nagging and chiding.

“Watch where you’re swinging that thing, pet.”

“Huh? Oh, sorry.”

Silence descended and Spike played with an assortment of words in his head, jumbling them 'round to make some sort of meaningful sentence. He gave up. “Sorry, pet.  I really didn’t know.”

“Huh?”

“See? You’ve gone all whirly on me.  You’re thinking about it, about what Giles said.  You have to believe me, I really didn’t know.”

Xander stopped them and placed a warm hand on Spike’s cheek. “Spike, it’s okay.  I believe you. And I’m not worried.  You’ve already told me that you won’t go on without me and I believe you.  And you know that I feel the same. We just have to be careful not to buy the farm too early on.  Got lots of stuff to do yet.”

Spike smiled and kissed his lover, pausing time for just a few moments while he tasted and consumed Xander’s sweet sunshine scent. “Would that include kinky stuff?”

“Most definitely.  Other stuff too, though.”

Spike pulled Xander closer and buried his nose into his neck, nuzzling at the soft, warm skin. “Like what, sweetheart?”

“You know, normal stuff.  Spike?”

Spike nuzzled some more and kissed along Xander’s jaw.  “Mmmm?”

“When Buffy can patrol again…can we?...could we?...um.”

Spike pulled back and fixed Xander with an amused stare. “C’mon, luv.  Spit it out.  I won’t bite…yet.”

Spike grinned happily and he was pleased when Xander grinned back with equal glee.

“Could we go on vacation? I haven’t been on a trip in ages, years even. It would be nice to just get away, you know, just the two of us. We don’t have to go far, not if you don’t want to, or we don’t have to go at all.  It was a silly idea.  I shouldn’t have asked. Just forget…”

“Would you just shut that wind-trap for a second?”  Spike leaned in and dazed Xander with a powerful kiss to ensure the silence. “Right. That’s better. Now. Vacation. I’d love to, pet.  We’ll wait ‘til Buffy’s back on the case and we’ll clear off for a week.”

Xander smiled.  It was big and toothy. “Really? A whole week?”

“Yeah, it’ll be fun.  Maybe we could go somewhere completely new.  Somewhere neither of us has ever been before.  But I have one condition.”

Xander looked suspiciously at Spike, half expecting his condition to involve a butt plug, some rope and half a jar of honey. “What condition?”

“Tell me what’s bothering you.”

“Everything, you know that.”

“Yeah, but there’s more.  I know you too well, Alexander Harris.  What else is it?”

“It’s Giles.”

“No big surprise there.”

“No, I guess not.  I guess I’m just pissed that he knew something that we didn’t.  He made us look a bit stupid.  I just wish we knew something he didn’t.”

“We do.”

Xander bounced slightly and looked hopefully at Spike. “Yeah? What?”

“Err, dunno, pet.  Let me think on it for a while.”

Xander sighed again. “Spike? You’re an idiot.”

“So are you, luv.”

“See? Meant for each other.”

“Yup. Now grip that axe a little tighter.  Let's go flush out some more fledges.”

“Will you let me kill one this time?”

“'Course.”

Xander didn’t believe him.


~*~*~*~*~


Graham watched from a good distance, careful to keep his thumping heartbeat well away from the vampire’s ultra-sensitive senses.  He stared through his night-vision binoculars and swore.  Xander was in the cemetery, in the arms of Hostile 17.  Graham lowered the binoculars.  Why was this happening?  Why was Xander still with this vampire? Graham thought about it.  When they had run into them on the road, when two of his colleagues had died, he had tried to get Xander to come with him, tried to offer him a way out.  Xander had not gone with him, had completely refused his help and Graham was trying to figure out why.  

There was no way that Xander could be in a willing relationship with a vampire.  After all, a vampire and a human? It was almost unheard of.  

Graham realised what he needed to do.  He needed to somehow get Xander on his own and talk to him, show him that he was here to help.  Show Xander that he could keep him safe from this vile vampire.

Graham glanced through the goggles again and noticed that the Xander and the hostile had moved away.  Graham picked up his bag and followed.


~*~*~*~*~


The fledgling rushed at Xander and bared its teeth, snarling and growling while it stretched its arms out ready to grab him and feast on his blood.

Xander saw the creature turn and look at him and it came as no surprise when it rushed him.  Xander stared it down.  He didn’t run or just swing his weapon randomly at it like he normally would.  Instead he just stared at it, a look of mischief pasted on his face and a feeling of calm and confidence in his head.

When the vampire was but a cat's whisker away, he smoothly side-stepped it, grabbed the creature’s head and twisted it.  There was a sharp snap and the vampire fell to the floor, screaming.  Xander pulled a stake from his jacket, kicked the vampire onto its back and plunged the stake into its heart.  The only thing that spoiled the smoothness of the kill was Xander’s slight spluttering when a cloud of vamp dust hit him in the face.

“Nice, pet.”

Spike stalked across a couple of graves and raked his eyes over his lover. “Very nice.  Couldn’t have done better myself.”

“That was weird, Spike. I almost didn’t feel like me.”

“Well, you sure looked like you.”

Spike closed the gap between them and placed his hands onto Xander’s hips, pulling them further together. “Made me hard, watching you. Watching you slay that fledge.  Fought like a vamp, you did.  Precise, confident, powerful.”

Xander stayed silent as he fixated on Spike’s deep voice and his moistened lips, and he felt himself grow hard as Spike gripped his hips and began to grind steadily into him.

“Mmm, pet.  Want you.  I’m so fucking hard for you.  I know you want me too.  I can feel it, hell, I can smell it.”

Xander whimpered and ground himself hard into Spike.

“Yeah, that’s it, luv.  You want it.”

“Yesss.” Xander pulled back and grappled with the fastenings of Spike’s jeans.  Two cool hands came down and clamped around his wrists, pulling them away.

“Oh no you don’t, pet.  No touching for you.  All for me. Gonna have some fun.  You up for it?”

Xander wasn’t sure what “it” was, but he definitely wanted to be a part of it.  He nodded quickly.

“You gotta surrender to me, babe.  Surrender everything.  Can you do that?”

“Gods, yes.”

Spike kept a firm grip of Xander’s wrists and slowly he backed him across the cemetery. “Good.  Gonna make you beg.  Gonna make you scream.”

Xander swallowed hard and felt his back connect with a tree.  His body started to tremble and his knees felt decidedly weak.  Spike drew his wrists up above his head and crossed them.  Pinning them in place with one hand, Spike trailed his other hand slowly down Xander face and neck, stopping to apply pressure around his throat, not enough to hurt but enough to play.

Xander’s heart thumped harder when Spike’s hand gripped his throat; his eyes darkened and he felt his arousal increase beyond even his own imagined limits.  He was suddenly so hungry to feel Spike bury his cock deep inside him.  He moaned and twisted in Spike’s one armed grip, struggling to make more contact with Spike’s body.

Spike held onto his treasure tightly. “Shhh, patience, my love. Soon.  Wanna play first.  Relax, baby.  Let me do all the work.”

Spike released Xander’s neck and trailed his fingers down his chest.  

“Want me to touch you, pet, hmm?”

“Please.”

“Ask me.”

“Touch me, Spike.  Please.”

Spike kept a firm grip of Xander’s wrists and with his free hand he undid the fastenings of Xander’s jeans.

“Seeing as you asked so nicely.”

Spike slid his hand inside Xander’s jeans and stroked once at the hard flesh inside.  Xander gasped, tipping his head back and straining against the iron grip around his wrists.

“Good, pet?”

“Ahhhh.”

Spike slowly rubbed at Xander’s leaking cock “Want more?”

“Mmm, yesss.”

“Then tell me, luv.  What is it you want?” Spike continued to stroke in a broken, uneven rhythm, teasing Xander with a silent suggestion of more.

“Anything.”

Spike removed his hand. “Wrong answer, pet.  I asked you to tell me what you want.  If you don’t tell me then I can’t do it, can I?  So I’ll ask you again.  What is it you want?”

Xander trembled under Spike’s teasing gaze.  The vampire, his vampire would do anything that he wanted.  He only had to ask.

“Suck me? Please…”

Spike pressed his lips against Xander’s and took them in slow, deep kiss. He dropped both hands to the waistband of Xander’s jeans and slowly eased them down.  Releasing Xander’s lips, Spike dropped to his knees and looked back up at his lover.

“Now, remember, no touching.  Keep your hands to yourself ‘till I say or I’ll stop.  Got it, luv?”

Xander nodded and watched with hungry eyes as Spike engulfed his leaking cock and sucked.

“Mmm, god, Spike…”

Spike slid his lips to the end of Xander’s shaft and lapped at the throbbing head, teasing the damp slit with a skilful tongue.

Xander struggled to control himself.  He so desperately wanted to touch his lover, grip his blond curls and hold his head steady while he thrust into Spike’s cool mouth, but he knew he couldn’t.  Spike was the one in control; this was a game and Xander was the toy.  He lifted his arms back up above his head and tried to find purchase on the uneven bark behind him.  The further his hands were away from Spike the better, the temptation to try and touch and control was just too much.

Spike looked up at Xander.  He could see him struggling, needing to touch, hold and stroke.  A long pleading moan floated through the night air to his ears and Spike decided that he needed to hear more.  He gripped Xander’s hips and swallowed him down to the root.

As Spike's throat closed around his length, Xander closed his eyes and cried out, his warm seed spurting into Spike’s mouth.

“SPIKE! YES!”

Spike lapped up every drop of cum before he rose to his feet and kissed Xander until they both saw stars.

“Sorry.”

“Huh?”

“I wanted us to cum together...”

“And we will.” Spike wrapped his hand around Xander’s hard cock. “Got plenty of life left in it yet.”

Xander looked down and smiled. “I love this consort thing.”

Spike chuckled and started slowly fisting the hard shaft. “Me too, luv.”

“Mmmm, Spike?”

Spike kissed Xander’s neck. “Mmm? Want something, pet?”

“Oh, Yeah, mmmm, yeah, want you to fuck me.  Fuck me hard, Spike.”

“You got it.”

Spike turned Xander around and undid his own jeans.  He pulled out his cock and coated it with Xander’s cum.  Positioning the head at Xander’s opening, he silently requested entrance.

“Yes, Spike. Do it, please.  Need this.  Need you.”

Spike heard the urgency in his lover’s voice and he slid inside with one strong push.

Xander gasped and cried out, partly with pain from lack of preparation and partly with gratitude that Spike was filling and completing him.  He felt Spike sliding steadily in and out and he felt himself nearly melting into the man behind him. But he wanted more.

“Mmm, Spike. More, god, more.”

Xander braced himself against the tree and thrust himself back onto Spike’s cock in a demanding gesture. He needed Spike to fuck his brains well and truly out.

Spike gripped Xander’s hips tightly and placed a single, gentle kiss onto his shoulder.

“Love you, Xan.”

“Love you too, Spike.”

Spike smiled for just a moment before he started to thrust forcefully into Xander’s willing body.  Xander gripped tightly to the tree as though it were a lifeline and he met each of Spike’s hard thrusts with one of his own.  Grunts and wails of pleasure and pain filled the air.  Any fledges that might have come close for a sneaky look would have been scared off by the howling of a Master Vampire claiming his consort’s body.

Spike tensed and wrapped his one arm around Xander’s waist as he stroked his lover to completion, following by just a second.

Xander would have fallen to the ground and slept where he fell, but Spike caught him and held him firmly against the tree.

“You, okay, pet? Didn’t hurt you, did I?”

Xander slapped him lightly on the arm. “'Course, not. Don’t be dumb vamp.”

“Not being dumb.  I just worry.”

“Yeah, I know. Can you worry at home, though? Cos my stomach thinks that it hasn’t eaten in at least a week and I’m thinking only hot doughnuts will satisfy it.”

“Hot doughnuts and home?”

“And some more sex.”

“Hot doughnuts, home and sex? Think we can manage that, pet. Now c’mon, trousers up, don’t want the rest of Sunnydale getting an eyeful.”

Xander chuckled and allowed Spike to rearrange his clothes.


~*~*~*~*~


From the distance, the eager eyes of Graham watched as Xander and his vampire lover kissed, touched and fucked each other.  He dropped his hand down to his pants and unzipped them, pulling out his hard leaking length and stoking it firmly in time with the thrusting lovers.  As he stroked, he closed his eyes and listened to the sounds of Xander’s pleasure-filled voice, imagining that it was he who was causing those sounds and not the hostile that was brutally burying himself in the young man’s body.  As Xander and the hostile climaxed, so did he, and he struggled to keep his voice down to a muffled grunt as he pictured Xander with his hand wrapped tightly around his cock, milking every last drop of his cum.

Panting lightly, he put himself away and watched as Xander chatted and laughed with the hostile before they began to move away.  Where were they going? Home? Graham wiped his hand on the grass and picked up his bag.  He wanted to know exactly where home was.


~*~*~*~*~


Another pair of eyes watched.  Watched as Xander and the hostile fucked and watched as Graham tossed himself off and wiped his hand in the grass.

Riley was hard himself, but he ignored it.  He watched intently as the hostile pounded into the human’s ass.  Was that a human?  So hard to tell these days.

Riley made up his mind; that was definitely Hostile 17, it had to be.  But what to do about it?  He could strike now? No. That would be stupid.  This was a Master Vampire.  A Master Vampire that had evaded them for god knows how long.  Just how had he managed that? Riley had a pretty good idea how and it was time to report back and do something about it.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike closed the front door and glanced up the stairs.  Suspicious groaning and panting noises were filling the first floor and Spike threw an amused expression at Xander. “I guess Peaches is doing okay, then.”

Xander nodded, slightly embarrassed. “I guess so.  Um, doughnuts now?”

“Yeah, but eat ‘em quick, pet, we got more sex that needs to be had.” Spike winked at Xander and passed over the box of doughnuts.

“Okey dokey, you’re the boss.  Or should I say Master?”

“If you say Master again, you can forget the fucking doughnuts.  I’m just gonna bend you straight over the couch.”

“Um, okay, I am actually really hungry, so I am gonna eat the doughnuts and then I’ll give you a nudge after, ‘kay?”

“You got it, pet.”

A door slammed upstairs and Angel rushed across to the bathroom.  Spike and Xander exchanged confused glances. “That was abrupt, even for Peaches.”

“Mm. C’mon Spike, come help me with the doughnuts.”

“Actually, mind if I take a rain check?  I wanna go do sommit.”

“I will only accept that if you tell me what the ‘sommit’ is.”

Spike rolled his eyes and looked defiantly at Xander. “Just wanna take care of some business.”

“Business? Explain please?”

“Bloody ‘ell. Alright, mum. I’m gonna call on the Slayer, get things straightened out about Angel.  Peaches don’t need the grief about this ritual thing.  I wanna sort it.”

“Okay, then, I’ll come with you.”

“No can do. You have got fresh doughnuts to eat and I wanna talk to Buffy alone.”

“Are you totally sure that’s sensible? What if she freaks out on you? What if she mentions the chip? What if she tries to stake you? What if…?”

“Whoa. Take a breath, pet. It’ll be fine. I won’t be long. Please stay put?”

“Yeah, alright,” Xander said sulkily. “Promise not to get staked?”

“Cross my heart and hope to, errr, well, you get the gist.”

“Uh-huh.”

Xander leaned in and caught Spike’s bottom lip for a teasing suck. “Just so you know, it’s in your interests to come back quicker.”

Spike smiled and backed away towards the front door. “You got it, pet. Back in a flash.”

Spike pelted out the door and Xander grinned, satisfied that Spike was coming back real fast to finish that kiss.  As Xander turned back towards the stairs, Angel flew down them in a flustered rage.

“Hey, um, doughnuts?”

“No.”

Angel stormed passed and Xander had to hop out of the way before he was squashed flat by the angry vampire.

Following Angel through to the kitchen, Xander was careful to keep a safe distance.  Angel was radiating anger, frustration and misery and Xander wondered what had kicked him off so suddenly.  Only a few moments ago Angel and Doyle had sounded like they were having so much fun.

“Um, Angel? Are you alright?”

Angel placed both his hands on the kitchen counter and bowed his head, refusing to meet Xander’s questioning stare. “Does it look like I’m alright?” he growled.

“Well, no.  What happened?”

Angel laughed.  The sound was hollow and bitter.

“Angel…?”

“Just leave it, Xander.”

Xander thought about leaving it.  It was, after all, the most sensible thing to do.  'Course, Xander’s mouth never obeyed Xander’s brain. “I can help…”

Angel straightened up and fixed Xander with a hateful glare. “Is that so? You can help, can you? Tell me, how exactly can you help?”

“I…I…”

“I thought as much.  You can’t help me. How could you? You’re useless...”

Xander didn’t hear the rest.  His mind and his heart settled on the ‘useless’ part and refused to let go.  A thousand not so distant memories flashed through his mind and body and Xander felt his anger boil over.

“Who do you think you are? Okay, so I might not be the sharpest tool in the box, and I might not have Slayer strength or vampire constitution, but I do have a lot to offer.  I am not useless.  I know that you’re going through something that I can’t possibly understand, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t help.”

“Go on then, help me, go on, what you gonna do? Gonna say something profound and comforting? Gonna offer me a shoulder to cry on? Well, fuck me, I should have come to you sooner.”

Xander approached Angel, all thoughts of caution thrown completely out the window.

“Why are you being like this? What’s your damn problem!?” Xander was screaming now, his rage spinning out of control.

“My problem is idiots like you! Why can’t you just leave me alone? Why do you have to pester me when all I want is to be left to my thoughts? Why can’t you just disappear?”  Angel’s voice shrank to a spiteful growl “No wonder your parents hated you.”

Xander felt a tear glide down his cheek as his heart cracked in two. “I hate you, Angel.  I wish Angelus was here instead.”

Angel flew at Xander and slammed his back into the wall, his large hands held firmly around the boy’s neck.

“Really? Is this what you want, then? IS IT?!”

Xander struggled to speak and he squirmed violently in Angel’s vicious grip. An idea suddenly came to him and he kicked out and caught Angel in the groin with his leg.  The vampire quickly let go and fell to his knees, guarding his wounded genitals with a shaking hand.

“Hey! What the hell is…? Angel? Fuck, man, are you okay?”

Doyle rushed over and crouched next to his lover.  Angel didn’t answer him and he couldn’t look at him, either.  Doyle looked up at Xander, hell bent on asking the boy what the hell was going on, but the distress on Xander’s face made him soften. “Xander? Please tell me what’s happened.”

Xander shook his head and backed out of the door. “Ask him.”

Angel began to sob and Xander turned tail and ran, not stopping until he reached the safety of the bedroom.  He pulled the dresser across the door to block it and climbed onto the bed.  The urge to hide under it was almost overwhelming.  Instead he sat, waited and hoped that Spike would be coming back real soon.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike held Buffy upside down by one leg and slammed her against the wall.

“Don’t you ever treat Xander like that again.  He’s meant to be your bloody friend!”

Buffy staggered to her feet and clutched at her head. “I just can’t believe that you’re defending him like this.  He fucked Angel! How can you stand it? Xander in bed with your Sire?!”

“It weren’t like that! Don’t you ever bloody listen?”

Buffy huffed and tried to fold her arms in annoyance. It was a little difficult with one arm in a sling, but she gave it a good go before she finally gave up and settled for tapping her foot.

“It was a ritual.  Hell, do you think I would let Xander within a mile of Angel, if it hadn’t been for a purpose? You know what I’m like? If I thought for a moment that they were gonna get it on, do you think I’d be standing here now?”

“No.”

“Well, then.  Please don’t take this out on Xander.  He’s had it rough these last couple of days, please just cut him some slack.”

“I just can’t believe that you all went behind my back.”

“Didn’t. Okay, we did.  But it’s not like we singled you out. We went behind everyone’s back.”

Buffy snorted. “Is that supposed to make me feel better? Cos, I’m telling you, it’s. Not. Working.”

“I’m not trying to make you feel better.  I’m trying to make you understand.  Xander and I wanted to be together.  I wanted to claim him. I love him, and that’s what vampires do when they're in love.  They claim. Don’t happen much with humans, admittedly, but it does still happen.  How was I supposed to tell you about the claiming without telling you that the chip wasn’t working? Oh, and while we’re on that subject, why haven’t you freaked out about that yet.”

Buffy looked suitably guilty. Ahh, the chip.  Ooopsie, forgot about that. She recovered well.

“You should have told us everything.  We are your friends.  You shouldn’t hide things from us.”

“Yeah, in hindsight, you’re probably right. But…c’mon, the suspense alone is going to dust me. What about the sodding chip? It’s out. Gone. Not working…ARE YOU GONNA STAKE ME OR NOT?”  

Buffy chewed on a nail and let Spike sweat it out for a few more seconds. “No…”

“NO WHAT?!”

“There’s no need to shout, Spike.  I’m not deaf.”

“SO TELL ME?!”

“Spike, honey, I’m not bothered about the chip.  You’ve proved yourself to us a hundred times over.  I’m confident that you wouldn’t kill again.”

Spike put on his cocky face and tried to push his luck.  He just couldn’t help himself. “And what makes you think that, ducks, hm?”

“Oh, 'cos Xander’s got you whipped.”

“Eh?!”

“If you tried to go back to your old ways, Xander would be sooo mad at you.  You’d never hear the end of it.  He’d have you doing the dishes until the end. Of. Time.”

“He already does,” Spike muttered under his breath

Buffy sighed, plopped heavily into the couch and pushed her face into her hand. “Oh, Spike, what have I done.  I’ve been a complete idiot.  I didn’t mean to lay into Xander like that, he didn’t deserve it.”

“Too bloody right, he didn’t.”

“What should I do?”

“Apologising would be a good start.”

“He hates me.”

“No. He doesn’t like you very much right now.  But he could never hate you.”

Buffy stared at the wall and nodded. “I hope you’re right.”

“I’m always right.  Look, we understand why you reacted the way you did.  And we know that you can’t help the way you feel about Angel.  But, please, don’t punish your friend because of those feelings.”

“You’re right.”

“I know.”

Buffy hit Spike’s arm in a playful manner. “Think we can go to your place now? I’d like to get things straightened out soon as.”

“No problem, Slayer.  Get your clogs on.”

“Um, Spike, I think I might need help with my laces.”

“Bleedin’ hell.”


~*~*~*~*~


Doyle stood nose to nose with Angel and screamed at him. “I don’t care what you’re going through, you had no right to treat Xander like that!”

“What the fuck is going on here?”

Doyle and Angel turned to face an angry Spike and a confused Buffy.  Neither man particularly wanted to explain what they were arguing about.  Spike was going to blow a gasket when he found out what had happened and that was not an experience that anyone wanted to witness.

“I said, what the fuck is going on? No takers? I’ll just ask Xander then, shall I?”

Angel bowed his head, his expression suddenly stricken and guilty.  Spike caught the look and pointed at his Sire.

“If you’ve hurt ‘im…I’ll fucking kill you.”

Spike backed away and headed upstairs, following the scent of misery into the main bedroom.  Finding resistance at the door, Spike leaned his full weight on it and scraped the door open far enough to squeeze through and manoeuvre around the dresser.

“Xander?”

Spike stood opened mouthed and took a couple of moments to register the scene before him.  The room was a wreck.  Furniture turned over, ornaments broken and shattered, books ripped and thrown to the four corners and clothes scattered, covering nearly every inch of floor.  In the middle of the torn-apart room, stood Xander. His eyes were swollen and red from a long bout of crying and his whole body shook with sobbing convulsions as he shoved random items of clothing into a small duffle bag.

“Bloody hell, Xander! What the fuck happened?”

Xander wiped at his nose with his sleeve and sobbed out a broken reply. “Can’t stay...won’t...can’t do this…It’s not fair.”

Spike approached his lover cautiously. “What’s going on, pet? What’s not fair?” he asked, careful to keep his voice low and calm.

“I can’t…do this again. No fucking way. I can’t go through this…again. I have to go.”

Spike’s eyes widened and he rushed forward, seizing Xander by the tops of his arms. “Go? No. Why?”

“Let go, Spike. You can’t stop me.”

“I’m not trying to stop you.  I just wanna know what’s going on. Please talk to me.”

“I don’t want to talk. I’ve just got to get out. I promised myself, never again and, fuck, I meant it.”

“Never again?”

It didn’t take long for Spike to figure out the reference. He growled low in his throat.

“Was…has…did Angel do something to you?”

Xander tried to turn away but Spike caught his chin and turned his face back towards him.

“Tell me, luv.”

Xander debated not telling Spike anything, but logic told him that Spike needed to be told now, before he raced downstairs and beat it out of Doyle or Angel. Not that Angel didn’t deserve it.

“Angel…He...I only wanted to help. But…he was angry and he said all this stuff to me about how useless I was and how he knew why my parents hated me.  Then I said stuff too. I said that I hated him and I wished he was Angelus again. He just flipped and he grabbed me.  I didn’t know what he was going to do. I was scared, so I kicked him.”

Xander broke down completely and Spike made a grab for him as he fell to the floor, sobbing.  Spike wrapped his arms around Xander’s shoulders and pulled him into a comforting embrace, making shushing sounds and petting Xander’s shaggy hair.

Basic vampire instinct was screaming at Spike to run downstairs to confront his Sire and defend his consort.  But his lover’s instinct insisted that he needed to stay with Xander to comfort and calm him.

“Sssh. S’okay, pet, S’okay.”

“It’s not okay.  I can’t live like this, afraid that he’ll...turn on me, just like…just like my father.”

“Sweetheart, no.  He’s not like your father.  I don’t know why he did this, but it ain’t gonna happen again.  I’ll sort it.”

“How?”

“Dunno, but I will.  Gonna kick ‘im out for starters.”

“Spike, I don’t want any trouble.”

Spike ran a soothing hand up and down Xander’s back and whispered softly to him. “No trouble, pet.  He just needs to leave.  This is our house, and if it’s between you and him, then there’s no question, he’s gone.”

Xander nodded and wiped at his eyes.  “’kay.”

“Stay here, luv.  Unpack that duffle, curl up on the bed, whatever you want.”

Xander attempted a shaky smile.  Things always seemed better when Spike was around. “Don’t be long.”

“Two shakes of a lamb’s tail.”

Satisfied that Xander wasn’t going to jump out of the window or bolt for the front door, Spike got to his feet and headed downstairs.  He had no idea what Angel was playing at, but he was going to pay for putting Xander in such a state. However, it seemed that someone else was thinking the same thing.  By the time Spike got downstairs, Buffy had thrown Angel to the floor and had him held in a one armed head lock. Not bad for a Slayer with a broken arm.

“What did you do to my friend?”

“Let him up, Slayer.”

“But...”

“Do it.”

Buffy released Angel and stepped back.  Spike looked pissed as hell and she wasn’t keen to get in the middle of it.  She still loved Angel, she couldn’t deny it any longer, but Angel had done something to hurt one of her friends and that was not acceptable.

“Spike…”

“Shut it. I wanna speak.”

Angel complied.

“Firstly, I just wanna inform you that if you ever behave like that towards Xander again, if you ever hurt him, if you ever so much as raise your voice to him, then it's over.  You’ll not be my Sire.  I’ll not be you’re Childe. And you’d better fucking run, 'cos I’ll be coming for you and I won’t stop ‘til you’re a pile of dust under my feet. You have no excuse for what you did, for what you said.  You have your soul again, yet you acted like Angelus, worse than Angelus.  I don’t want to hear your excuses.  I just want you to get the fuck out of my house.”

Angel stared back at his simmering Childe.  The choice was easy as there was only one option. He had to leave.  This was not the time for explanations.  There was no way Spike was going to listen to him, and why should he? For the last few days he had terrorised his Childe's consort under the guise of Angelus, and now, even with his soul firmly tacked back on, nothing had changed.  He had stepped way over the line and continued to abuse Xander. And why? Because the consort was weaker, because he didn’t have the confidence and strength to fight back, because Angel needed to vent the darkness that had taken up residence inside his soul, tainted from the few days that Angelus had reigned.  Habit was a funny thing to break.

Angel nodded silently and walked out of the house.  Doyle hesitated, unsure whether to follow or to stay behind and try to calm things.  Spike gestured towards the door with his head and spoke in a tone that was not unkind.

“Go on. You’d better go too.  No offence, Irish boy, but it needs to be just me and Xan.  Need some space, yeah?”

“Yeah. I get that.  I’ll go.  Sorry.”

Doyle followed Angel’s silent path and closed the front door behind him.

“Sooo, no ripping off of major limbs.  No jugular removals and no insides on the outside.  Spike, are you feeling okay?  I mean, you look like your normal self…”

“Not the time, Slayer.  Xander’s in a real state.  He needs comfort, not violence.”

Buffy shook her head slowly. “I never thought I would ever hear you say something like that.”

“Well, don’t get used to it.  Soon as Xan’s out of earshot I’m gonna tear my Sire's great big fat head off.  He had no excuse for what he did…”

“What exactly did he do?  I know he did something to Xan, but…”

Spike heard a soft bang from upstairs and decided it was time to chuck out their last remaining guest and batten down the hatches. “We’ll discuss it later. Get out.  Gotta see to my boy.”

“Sure. Spike? Tell Xander that I came round.  Tell him that I’m sorry about what happened earlier.”

“Will do.  I know he’ll appreciate it.  We’ll call you, ducks.”

“You’d better, blondie.”

“Get out.”

“Going.”


~*~*~*~*~


“Xan?”

Spike glanced around the room and spotted Xander crouched down on the other side of the bed, folding clothes and carefully putting them back in the bottom drawer of the rearranged dresser. Spike stepped forward cautiously and called his lover’s name again. “Xander?”

Xander looked up and tried to smile. “Gone?”

“Gone.  Just us, babe.”

“Good.”

Xander put the last shirt away, closed the drawer and stood up. “Cos…I really need to talk to you.  I need to tell you stuff, about my past, about my parents.  I need to explain stuff.  I hope that’s okay.”

“'Course it's okay.  I want you to tell me.  I’ve been waiting.”

“I know and I’m sorry.  I don’t want to keep secrets from you, but I just didn’t want to talk about it because that would mean having to think about it and I hate thinking about it, I thought enough about it when I was younger and I don’t want to think about it now, and I realise that I’m babbling now, but…”

Spike coiled comforting arms around his lover and held him tightly. “Luv.  You don’t have to explain.  I know you're uncomfortable talking about it.  I don’t think any less of you for that.  The important thing is that you're telling me now.”

“Thanks.”

“C’mon, pet.  Let’s snuggle in bed.  You can tell me everything and anything that you want to.”

Both lovers climbed onto the bed.  Spike pulled up the comforter and wrapped it around them like a protective, blankety refuge. “Go on, luv. Tell me, my sweet.  I’m here, remember.”

“Um…Shit, Spike.  I don’t even know where to begin.”

“Don’t get upset, pet. How about if I ask a question to start you off?”

“Okay.”

“Your Dad beat you, yeah?”

“…Yeah.”

“When did it start, pet?”

“I’m not sure.  I was really young.  My first memory of it happening is really sketchy.  I don’t know what I was doing, I think I was playing.  All I remember was this great big fist coming at me and then I was crying and my Mom was holding me and she was yelling at my dad.  I don’t remember much more about it, but I think that was the first time.”

Spike squeezed Xander a little tighter. “Did it happen a lot?”

“Not at first.  Not that I remember.  He hit me a few times when I was really bad, like if I was making too much noise or if I didn’t come inside when I was called.”

“And you call that really bad?”

“Yeah, well I know that what he did was uncalled for, but I didn’t then. I thought I deserved it.  Anyway, I’m pretty sure that he only did it a few times, when I was really small.  Things got worse when I got older.  When I was ten, my Dad lost his job.  He was a construction foreman.  There was this accident at his site.  Three people were killed.  They said it was due to his negligence.  I don’t know if it was true, I was never told the details, and I didn’t want to know either, but they fired him.  It ruined him, Spike.  No-one would hire him and construction was all he knew.  So that’s when he started drinking.”

“I take it that was when things got worse.”

“Jesus, that would be an understatement.  That’s when he started hitting my Mom, or at least that was when he started hitting her in front of me.  And he would hit her for absolutely no reason, like if she got home from work late, or if the dinner wasn’t ready on time, you know, stuff like that.”

“What about you, pet.  What did he do to you?”

“He hit me loads more but it wasn’t like before, it was so much worse. He would punch me and kick me, and sometimes he wouldn’t stop until I was nearly unconscious.”

Spike caressed Xander’s arms with a hand that shook slightly. “Bloody hell.  As evil as I am, I just can’t understand how anyone could do something like that to a child.”

“Maybe it was me.”

“Crikey! Don’t you dare give me that bullshit.  You know it ain’t true.  What could you, a child, have possibly done to make him do that shit to you? Nothin’, that’s what.  Please don’t tell me that you actually believe that you did something wrong.”

“No…well, maybe, yeah.”

“Like what, eh?  Gimme just one acceptable circumstance in which a grown man can beat a child unconscious…Well? I’m waiting…Still waiting, pet.”

“Yeah, alright, I see your point.”

“So why am I still getting a ‘I totally blame myself’ vibe?”

“Spike, the said vibe has been drummed, beaten and kicked into me over a period of many years.  I can’t drop it just like that.  And I can’t get over it just like that either, just in case that was where you were going next.”

“Hey, sssh, pet.  Not where I was going. Sorry.  I just can’t bear the thought of you blaming yourself for something that you couldn’t have controlled, couldn’t have stopped…Tell me more, luv.  What else did he do?”

“Well, that was pretty much it.  Not much more to tell.”

“You’re lying.  Please tell me darlin’, please.”

Xander took a deep breath.  It was now or never. “He…he…raped me.”

Spike buried his face into Xander’s hair.  He knew it.  He knew it all along.  He slipped into his gameface and growled.

“Spike, it’s okay.  It only happened a few times and I was older then…”

Spike shifted around on the bed and held Xander in front of him, his hands clasped tightly to his lover’s jaw, forcing him to meet his commanding gaze.

“No, Xan.  It’s far from okay.  It doesn’t make a difference how old you were, it should not have happened.  I’ll tell you this, though, if I’d been around then he wouldn’t have got anywhere near you.”

Xander didn’t know why he said it, he probably never would know why.  But he said it anyway. “You were around.”

“Wha…?  What?...WHAT?”

“I’m sorry, Spike.  I shouldn’t have said that.”

“Just...tell me when.”

“About a month before we got together, a month before the whole Talzar thing.”

A month? Spike was reeling.  A month?  But they had been friends then.  They had hung out together.  They had watched films and eaten pizza together.  How could this have happened right under his nose?  He had spent all this time cursing Xander’s friends for not noticing his plight, when all along it was him that had failed.  At that time, Xander wasn’t hanging out with his friends all that much.  Xander had been hanging out with him.  He should have noticed.  He should have intervened.  He should have saved him.

As the first tear slipped down his cheek, Spike felt his insides crumble and give way.  He couldn’t bear to look at his lover’s face, knowing that he had let him down so badly.  He turned away and buried his face in his hands.

“Spike? I shouldn’t have told you that.  I’m sorry.”

“No, no, NO! You have nothing to be sorry for.  It’s the rest of us that should be bloody sorry.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your father, he should be, and will be, real sorry for what he did.  And your friends for not noticing…And me.  I’m the worst.  I should have noticed.  I should have seen.  And I should have protected you.”

“Spike, we weren’t even together then...”

“Makes no odds, does it?  That last time…that he…I was in your life.  I was your friend, and what did I do? Nothing! That’s what.”

“Spike, please don’t do this to yourself.  I hid it.  I always hid it.  And I was really good at it.  You could never have known.   Please believe me.”

Spike heard his lover’s words and he knew that they were words of truth.  Xander had had years to practice his covering up skills.  And as Xander had said, he was very good at it.  But it still didn’t ease the pain that was ripping through his un-dead heart.

“Spike, please speak to me.  Please say something, anything, please.”

Spike sobbed and rocked in Xander’s arms. “He did…can’t believe…how could?...Should’ve stopped it…could’ve stopped it…He’ll pay…make him see…fucker…fucking monster…”

“Spike, please stop this. You’re scaring me.”

Spike stopped the rocking and crying instantly.  He turned back around and grabbed at his lover. “Xander.  Never scare you.  Never hurt you.  Always here, my love.  Always protect you.  He’ll never touch you again.  I’ll kill him.”

“No! No, you can’t kill him!”

“Why not?”

“Because it would be murder.”

“Hate to break it to you, luv, but I’ve murdered thousands.  One more ain’t gonna make much difference.”

“It would make a difference.  You can’t kill someone.  That’s not who you are anymore.  If you did it now it would change you, just like it would change me.  And besides, it would make us no better than him.  After all he’s done, at least I can say I was the innocent one.  You said yourself that I didn’t deserve it, but if I kill him or allow you to kill him, then that would make me evil.  Maybe he deserves to die.  Maybe he deserves an eternity burning in some hell dimension, but that’s not for me or you to decide.”

Xander began to cry again and Spike held him tightly and cried with him.

“No more, though, Xan. Yeah? If he so much as looks at you wrong, I want you to tell me.  And I mean it.  You bump into him, and even if nothing happens, I want to know.”

Xander smiled though the tears and nodded. “’kay”

“And if he ever hurts you, ever, then I get to at least cripple him.”

“You got it.”

“Love you, Xan.  Ever and always.”

“Love you too, Spike.  Always and ever.”


~*~*~*~*~


That night, their lovemaking had been slow and tender, each seeking to reassure the other that everything was fine.  Soft promises were whispered and pledges of protection and trust were exchanged with soothing gentle hands and loving lips.

Spike and Xander laid together, face to face, arm and legs entwined and lips meeting for brief kisses.

“Spike?”

Spike kissed soft warm lips before he answered. “That’s my name.”

Xander chuckled and shuffled closer, burying his face in Spike’s neck.

“About Angel…I’m sorry I freaked out so much.  It was just, you know, memories flooding back blah, blah.  I didn’t mean to cause any trouble.”

“Would you just shut that bloody tunnel you call a mouth and actually listen to me?  You got nothin’ to be sorry for.  Angel was bang out of order and he’s got to be told.”

“I do listen to you, Spike.”

The vampire snorted.

“I do! Look, I know Angel is going though stuff.  It can’t be easy for him, knowing that he killed all those people.  It must be awful to think that a simple spell could take his soul away and turn him into a monster.”

“Yeah, I feel for him too.  He's my bloody Sire, so I ain’t got much choice.  But I got priorities, luv.”

“Is that the category that I come under? Priority,” Xander said, with a smile that was hidden in Spike’s shoulder.

Spike heard the humour and poked his lover in the ribs with a pointy finger. “Yeah, and you also come under the ‘warm pillow’ category and ‘chief toast burner’ category.” He poked Xander again and got a playful kick in return. “Anyway, what was I jabbering about?”

“Priorities.”

“Oh, yeah.  My point was that, no matter what he’s going through, he can’t treat people, treat you, like he did.  I’m gonna go and see him tonight…”

“Spike…”

“Don’t fret, luv.  I’m just gonna explain a few things.”

Xander frowned, knowing that Spike’s version of ‘explaining’ things was comparable to a butcher hacking up a dead cow with a bloody large knife.

Spike continued. “I reckon it’s probably best if he goes back L.A., yeah, pet?”

“If he hasn’t gone already.”

“No.  He hasn’t gone.  He wouldn’t, not without talking to me.”

“I don’t want him to just go.  I don’t want bad feelings lingering about.  It’ll just get us all down.”

Spike squeezed Xander tightly and rolled him onto his back, draping his own body across his lover’s.

“Told you, luv.  Don’t fret.  Sexy Spike’ll fix it.”

“Sexy? You sure about that?”

“As sure as I know where every single one of your ticklish spots are.”

“Oh.  I see your point.  Sexy it is, then.”

“Pet?”

“Mm.”

“What category am I in, then?”

“Um, right now? ‘Pain in the ass vampire that’s cutting off the circulation in my legs’ category.

“You’re a brat.”

“So you keep saying.”


~*~*~*~*~


The next night Spike made his way across town to Willy’s.  Doyle had called just after he and Xander had woken up and had arranged a meeting for Angel.  Seems the pouf didn’t have the guts to call himself and bloody right too.  He should be severely ashamed of himself, and, if he wasn’t, then he bloody soon would be.

Spike pushed open the door and stalked inside.  Going straight to the bar, he ordered himself a single shot of JD and a beer.  He downed the shot immediately then sipped at the beer, grimacing at the cheap taste.  He was definitely going to tell Willy to get some decent British stuff in.  Boddingtons would do for a start and perhaps Cobra….okay, so technically Cobra was an Indian beer, but hey, it tasted great with a nice hot madras, with a saag aloo and a stuffed paratha.

Spike turned around, leant back on the bar and surveyed the rest of the room.  It was always a good idea to know who else was in a demon bar with you.  Luckily there were only a couple of R’ytha demons in the back playing what looked like a game of Crazy Eights and a lone bol’ist’flop at a table in the centre.  The bol’ist’flop was muttering into a fizzling green beverage that looked like it could be fermented nuclear waste and every so often he stopped his muttering to indulge in a little light sobbing.  Okay, so best sit far away from that one.

Spike ordered another beer for Angel and headed over to a side booth to wait for his Sire.  He had been toying all the way to Willy’s about what he should say to Angel.  But now he tried to clear his mind; when Angel arrived, his demon would know exactly what to say.

Right on cue, Angel walked into the bar and scanned the room.  Spotting Spike at the side with two drinks, he walked straight over.

“Spike.”

Spike chose not to answer.  Instead he just stared angrily into his drink, his demon simmering from the inside.

Angel sat down and slid along towards the wall until he was opposite his Childe. “William.”

Spike laughed into his beer. “You think that calling me by my real name is going to help you?”  

“I didn’t think anything.”

“So go on.  Let's hear the excuse of the century.”

“I’m not going to give you an excuse.”

“Really? What no, ‘My hand slipped and Xander just somehow ended up being shoved against a wall and held by his throat’?”

“No.”

“You sure? You’re telling me that you didn’t accidentally scare the shit out of my consort?”

“No.”

“Huh.  So you’re not gonna tell me that you really didn’t mean to make Xander feel like he was just a piece of shit on your shoe.”

“I meant everything I did and said at the time.”

Spike seemed, on the surface, to take this well.  “Hm, dandy.”

“But I don’t mean it now.  I don’t know what happened to me…”

Spike banged his fist on the table hard enough to scoot the two beers along the surface. “I don’t give a buggery bollocks what happened to you, fuck wit.  You had no bloody right to do what you did!”

“I know.  And I know that you won’t want to hear this, but I truly am sorry.”

“Don’t bother.  Save your apology for Xander.  You know he’ll accept it in a flash.” Spike pondered for a moment before continuing. “You know that's what really gets up my nose.  You people treat Xander however the fuck you like.  You take your problems out on him because you know he will just forgive you.” Spike snapped his fingers. “Just like that, he’d forgive virtually anyone for anything.  I bet even if that bastard of a father apologised, Xander would forgive him in a second.  And you, you made him feel like his father was back in his life.”

“That wasn’t why I turned on him, you have to believe that.”

“Do I?”

Spike’s voice had turned cold and icy.

“Then tell me why.”

“He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time…”

Spike’s temper flared and he stood and yanked Angel from his seat, tossing him to the side. “You hurt Xander, my consort, one of your own blood claims, because he was in the wrong place?”

“You don’t understand…”

Spike shoved Angel with two powerful hands, sending him stumbling backwards. “Too fucking right I don’t!  Xander’s put up with abuse his whole life and you, one of the people he trusts most in the world, treat him like that.  I understood when it was Angelus that was in control, but you? How could you do it?”

“I lost control, Spike.  The guilt over what I’d done, it was too much to bear, and Doyle and I had this big row, but then we made up.  But when I tried to make love to him…I couldn’t.  And it made me so mad, I just couldn’t understand the point of anything.  Then Xander was all concerned and caring and I just couldn’t stomach it.  I asked him to back off, I really did, but he wouldn’t.  I just lost it.”

Spike could see that his Sire was in turmoil, wrapped in guilt and shame.  But he still had to pay for what he’d done.  Everything had consequences. “Nice explanation.  We’ll deal with it in a moment.  But first, this is for Xander.”

Spike swiped up a half empty bottle of vodka that the R’ytha demons had been swigging and brought it down hard over Angel’s head.

Although Angel saw the bottle way before Spike had even swung it, he didn’t try to avoid it.  He deserved it and he knew it.  No matter what he was feeling inside, he should not have taken it out on someone else.

The bottle connected with the side of his head, and Angel felt himself slide to the floor.  Boy, he had forgotten how hard his Childe could hit.  A fist collided with his cheek and Angel felt his bones crack from the blow.  The fist continued to pound, but Angel made no attempt to fight back or even defend himself.  He knew that he deserved this. Blood streamed over and into one eye.  Through the blood, Angel was surprised to see an open palm being extended in his direction.

“Sire.  I am here for you.  I can help you.  You just have to talk to me.  But if you hurt Xander again, in any way, I will cut out your tongue and shove it up your ass.”

Angel took a chance and smiled.  Accepting the offered hand, he allowed himself to be pulled to his feet.

“Thank you, Childe.”

“Despite anything that I may have said earlier, you actually really do need to apologise to Xan.  I’ll call him now, make sure he’s okay about you coming back to the house.” Spike suddenly realised that he needed to clarify something. “You can’t stay, though.  Xan and I need time for ourselves…”

“You don’t have to explain.”

Spike nodded. “Good.  I’ll call him, then.”

“Good idea.  Or you could just turn round and ask him.”

“Huh?”

Angel turned his Childe to face the door and Spike’s eyes widened as he spotted his panting lover racing across the bar towards him.

“Xan? Luv? What are you doing here?”

“Spike! Why didn’t you answer your phone? I’ve been calling for ages!”

Spike patted down his pockets and shrugged. “I didn’t answer it because I lost it…apparently.”

Xander glanced at Angel only briefly before shuffling slightly closer to his lover. “Spike, you gotta come back home.  Something really weird is going on.”




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