Pairing: Spike/Xander, Dean/Castiel
Rating: R
Spoilers (SPN): let’s just call it S4 and be done with it, yeah
Feedback: Just play nice, and try not to do any permanent damage, k.
Disclaimer: Just playing with the pretty kittens. If they were mine, Cas and Dean would be going at it in front of the camera and Sammy would have stayed dead, so yeah… Unfortunately, neither set are mine, but I will gladly groom and bathe them before sending them back home to their Daddys (aka Joss/Mutant Enemy/et al, Kripke/McG/et al, and a bunch of other corporate-type ppl, who are, in other words, not me).
Beta: My beautiful [info]kitty_alex who loves to correct my mistakes, and not only planted the seeds of Dean/Cas but continues to feed the fire, AND has the guts to tell me when my writing sucks!
Warnings/Squicks: boy touching, schmangst, further abuse of Robert Frost poetry
Summary: Dean’s back, Seals are breaking, angels are angsting, and Spike is the voice of reason- why yes, it is the Apocalypse!!!!!

AN1: This is a sequel to Miles to Go a Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supernatural crossover. With the exception of vampires assume that the SPN laws of demonology and spooks apply.
AN2: Useful information…
On BtVS/AtS
- Comics? What comics? We don’t need no stinkin’ comics!
- This verse went AU during AtS S5 @ Damage - this means (among other things) none of the Blackthorn arc has happened and there is no Illyria.
On SPN
- John Winchester is alive.
- Sammy stayed in law school; never got picked up by Dean.
On the Frost!Verse
- Spike and Xander were formally Mated @ a year and a half- two years before this fic takes place
- Spike’s nickname for Dean is a reference to Vampire Hunter D and not a simple shortening of Dean.
AN3: Takes place roughly 5 yrs after Miles to Go, in other words current SPN timeline.
AN4: I have messed about with the order of some Seal related events from SPN- this was intentional.
AN5: Title and chapter headings are taken from Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken





Roads


by
Cobalt Mystic



Prologue

A chipped black lacquered nail drew lazy circles over Xander’s tanned and muscled back. The feather light touch like a trail of electric shocks painting pictures on the man’s back. Lazily, Xander opened his rich chocolate eye to see the smiling face of his lover.

“’s nice,” he whispered, a bright smile playing over his lips. “You’re up early.”

The vampire’s smile faltered, “I think he needs you,” he said, cocking his head towards the adjoining room.

Throwing off the covers, Xander slipped on his patch and his pants. “Nightmare?” he queried his lover, already knowing the answer. Dean had been back for nearly three weeks, not one night of which passed peacefully.

Spike merely inclined his head in acknowledgement.

By the time Xander had entered his friend’s room, Dean Winchester was stepping out of a steam filled bathroom.

“Hey, DM,” the hazel-eyed hunter tried to sound jovial, “you and Penfold have a spat?”

Xander toed an empty black labelled whiskey bottle out of his way as he went to sit on the bed, ignoring the other man’s question. “You okay?”

“Of course I am, why wouldn’t I be.”

Xander’s dark eye scanned the room’s dishevelled state before he raised his eyebrow at his friend.

Dean knew better than to argue; they’d been hunting partners for almost five years, and partners learnt to read each other. Shrugging he tried to play it off instead, “Sometimes they’re more vivid.”

“Maybe we oughta go back to twin rooms for a while? Just ‘til things calm down,” Xander suggested. He was already concerned over their friend’s insistence on being alone after his ordeal. His own past had taught him the kind of baggage that follows you after dying- let alone returning from Hell.

“Ha. Yeah, right. Think the sight of you and Penfold goin’ at it might be worse than the flashbacks,” Dean snarked.

“Could always join in,” filtered from the doorway joining the two rooms.

“Spike!” Xander blushed at his vamp’s suggestion.

Dean, on the other hand, laughed- a full belly laugh- before catching his breath enough to say, “Penfold- shush!”





1 Bent in the Undergrowth

Spike was beyond furious. He was angry at himself for not being there. Angry with the Great Poof for needing his help- bastard had an entire demonic law firm at his disposal, but still needed his help. Admittedly, the situation had been Dru and if it wasn’t for his Dark Princess and her ramblings about ‘kittens and hunters trapped between worlds, while Death hung in the balance’ Spike wouldn’t have known his boy was in trouble. The blonde vampire growled. Most of all, though, most of all he was livid with the blasted angels and their blasted games!
Alright so they may have saved the Seal, but the price had been high, almost too high. If he hadn’t found them when he did- it didn’t bear thinking about. As it was they had lost Pamela. It had been hard enough when she’d lost her eyes because of them. Xander had taken it especially hard; it triggering nightmares of the Vineyard that were more vivid and real then they had been in years. Now Pamela was dead- as with Xander all those years ago, Spike hadn’t been fast enough.

“There was nothing more you could have done.” Castiel’s quiet matter-of-fact voice bore through Spike’s ruminations.

Without missing a beat the blonde turned on the angel, “Then you should have done something!”

The blue-eyed angel cocked his head back, giving the vampire a side-long glance- a look somewhere between anger and annoyance at the blonde demon‘s insolence.

Spike simply glared back, unphased.

“William,” Castiel growled warningly.

Ignoring him, “Make sure they sleep,” Spike indicated the two sleeping mortals. “We need to talk.”

Wordlessly, Castiel brushed Dean and Xander’s foreheads, insuring they would remain asleep.

The act complete, Spike slammed into the angel. “What in the hells are you playing at?”

“We are not playing at anything,” Castiel replied in his infuriatingly calm tone.

“The hells you aren’t,” the blonde snarled even as he released the angel. Both men understanding the show of force for what it was- not a power struggle, but establishing that, to the vampire, these men were worth fighting for.

Standing, Castiel straightened his coat, “I assure you, Armageddon isn’t a game to Him,” his eyes shot upwards for emphasis.

“Fine, then tell me what’s to gain from nearly getting them killed?”

“Dean is our Warrior. He needs to know that; to believe.”

Spike snarled, “And you think he’ll believe if you try to kill him often enough?”

Castiel cocked his head, a look of confusion marring his hard features.

Like being hit with the proverbial lightning bolt, Spike suddenly understood. “That is what you’re trying to do.” The vampire turned his face to the sky and screamed, “You son-of-a-bitch!”

“William.” The command in Castiel’s voice was almost frightening.

“No,” he snarled, game face to the fore. “You and I both know more happened than Dean’s telling us. You don’t become a Champion by fightin’ the good fight. You become one by losing a part of yourself and finding another.”

“That is true,” Castiel’s steely eyes turned a softer shade of blue as he examined the creature before him, intrigued. “Dean must find his will.”

“Hmph,” the blonde gave a wry chuckle, “got news for you, Clarence, killing him isn’t how you’re gonna do it.”
Spike shook his head and went to grab a blood bag from the cheap fridge.
“Want some advice?”

Castiel nodded slowly.

The vamp tossed the bag in the microwave, “Doesn’t matter what your God does, Dean’s only gonna believe in himself when someone who knows all of him- the parts he fears most and the parts he thinks matter to us- shows faith in him and lets him see he’s accepted for him.”

Confused, “The Lord knows Dean’s past- He accepts Dean and has faith.”

“Cas, two major problems with that. You’re expecting a man who has had no reason to believe in ‘God’, any god, for the majority of his life to take that at face value. And you want him to believe that a God who accepts everyone and loves everyone equally and unconditionally, has special plans for him. Talking out both sides of ‘his’ mouth on that one.”
Spike poured his heated blood into a mug and took a large swallow, “’s not something you can make happen by saving his life or telling him ‘God’ believes in him.”

Spike quietly sipped his blood while Cas seemed to contemplate the vampire’s words.

Finishing his snack, the vamp clapped the angel’s shoulder companionably. “They gonna come outta that on their own?” Spike nodded toward the two double beds and more specifically the men on them.

“Yes,” the deep primal sound as much an assurance as the word itself. Castiel’s eyes shone a little clearer with a sparkle of what may have been a smile in their blue depths. “They should be well rested as well.”

The vampire smirked playfully, a silent ‘thank you’ to the angel, and went to join his lover in sleep.


~*~*~*~*~


“Hey sexy,” Xander chirped.

The vampire groaned, his lover was entirely too chipper for this time of day- whatever time of day it was. Pulling a pillow over his head, Spike thought about the conversation he’d had with Castiel the night before. Spike peered out from beneath the pillow, “Where’s D?”

“He went to get sustenance. I took it as a good sign his breakfast wasn’t coming from a bottle.”

“Huh, angel came through,” the vamp muttered.

“Hmm, Angel?”

Chuckling, the blonde explained, “Had a chat with D’s angel last night.”

“Wow, and there wasn’t smiting or bloodshed? I’m impressed.”

“Very funny.”

Xander moved to sit next to his vampire on the bed, “So what did the Evil Undead and the Holy Tax Accountant have to talk about?”

The vampire’s entire being took on a serious edge, “Dean. Apparently, he’s God’s Champion, or will be if the bastards don’t succeed in killing him first.”

The dark mortal raised a questioning eyebrow.

“All these stunts they’ve been pullin’, hunts they’ve been sending us on. They’re trying to prove to D that he is their chosen warrior. Misguided attempts at givin’ ‘im faith in himself.”

“You’ve got to be kidding?” Xander asked in utter disbelief.

“Pfft, wish I were. Told Clarence it was the wrong way to get to him.”

Xander lay down next to his vamp, heaving a heavy sigh. “What are we gonna do?”

“He’s family, we stand by him and help him through this- bloody angels can sod off.”


~*~*~*~*~


For several days now, Castiel had spent what time he could observing his charge and contemplating the vampire’s words. He recalled his initial physical encounter with the young hunter, how Dean truly believed he didn’t deserve to be saved. The angel had thought letting Dean know that God, Himself, had work for him would be enough to prove his worth. But now, seeing the self-loathing and anguish Dean tried so valiantly to hide, Castiel knew the vampire was right, Dean wouldn’t believe until he was ready. Castiel knew time wasn’t on their side, either, but he also knew as stubborn as Dean Winchester was that rushing him was not an option.

Today, the angel was an unseen observer as Xander sat on the edge of his bed watching Dean’s restless sleep. If events went true to course, Dean would wake soon and reach for his flask.
Only today, he wouldn’t find it.

Xander understood better than most pain and guilt; more to the point, he understood the appeal of anything that would dull the memories and numb the pain. Whatever had happened while Dean was ‘away’, Xander couldn’t watch the man, who was like a brother to him, do this to himself.

As the chocolate-eyed mortal had expected, Dean woke with a sharp flinch and a gasp. His eyes shooting open, flashing sadness and terror, before seeming to realize where he was, or rather wasn’t. His hand darted under the pillow beside his head, grasping desperately for the burning liquid he’d left there.

“Looking for this?” Xander asked softly, letting the booze slosh audibly in the flask.

Dean sat up, eyeing his friend. “Thanks,” he said, reaching out for the flask.

To his surprise, Xander handed it over without protest.

“Not gonna lecture me on the evils of alcohol and the futility of drowning my sorrows?”

The dark man shrugged. “No need. You already know whatever I could say.”

Dean stared at the silver bottle in his hands. “I’m not gonna turn into him,” he said, referring to his best-friend’s drunkard excuse for a father.

Xander heard the unspoken question in those words, the hesitant fear that he was, in fact that same bastard. He smiled, placing a reassuring hand on Dean’s shoulder, “I know. You’re a good man, Dean. Don’t ever doubt that.”

Dean chortled humourlessly, “You have no idea.”

“Dean, I’m the Mate of William the Bloody, part of the Scourge of Europe, and one of the bloodiest demons who has ever lived… or unlived…,” Xander shook his head, “…anyway- there isn’t much I haven’t heard or can’t imagine. Trust me, you are a good man, whatever happened doesn’t change that.”

Uncertain eyes sparkled with dampness, marvelling at the smiling man before him. Xander had lost so much; he’d watched while everyone he cared for pendulum from one extreme to another before finding their equilibrium and he’d stayed by them, a constant.
Dean found himself smiling as he realized Xander was a constant for him, too. “Thanks, DM,” he said, feeling the slightest bit lighter than he had in years.

“Anytime, man. We’re always here for you.”

Castiel watched in quiet awe as the words of one mortal man did more to restore Dean’s faith and self-worth then any acts of the Host.
And as Dean finally began to heal, Castiel began to understand.





2 Way Leads on to Way

A girl, no more than fifteen-if that, advanced on Spike. Her dark auburn hair tied back in a neat ponytail held by a hot pink schrunchy. She was angry- a face that young shouldn’t hold that much hate. “You did this to me,” she snarled. “You let it happen.”

The vampire’s already below normal blood ran cold as he recognized the young girl- a Potential. One who’d died at the Vineyard, the same night Caleb had taken Xander’s eye.
This was all too familiar.
But he’d been there when the First had been defeated. He’d died a fiery, painful death in the process. The chilled blood in his veins began to boil; he was not a puppet, the First was gone, and whatever this was, would not lead him down that path.
Snarling Spike slipped into his gameface, he couldn’t be sure the girl was solid, but he wasn’t taking any chances. “Not this time, bitch.” The vamp delivered a roundhouse kick to the apparition’s head- it barely moved. “Bollocks.”
The blonde ducked the girl’s swing, “Come on princess, taught you better than that.” Pulling a knife from his duster as he rose, “Moves like that no wonder you didn‘t make it. Probably best for the survivors you bought it when you did.”

“Monster,” she screamed as she charged the vampire, only to dissipate into smoky wisps as she impaled herself on Spike’s salt treated knife.

It didn’t matter how often he saw that, it unnerved him- a body shouldn’t exist then not, even a ghostly one. He only had a moment to think about it before a more important thought hit him- “Xander.”
Spike took off for the room they shared with Dean.
Just as Spike rounded the corner towards their room, his cell began to ring. “What?!” he barked, still at a dead run, aiming for the reassuring outline of the Impala parked in front of their room.

“Spike? You okay?” Xander asked, concerned by his vamp’s sharp tone.

“Will be in ‘bout five seconds.”

“Wha?”

Xander’s answer came in the form of a white topped, black blur barrelling through the door and into him, knocking him onto the bed.

“Uh, you two want some privacy? I can wait in the car,” Dean offered, clearly amused at the display.

Coming up from his exploration of his lover’s mouth, Spike fixed Dean with a fierce stare and an accusatory finger. “No, you’re staying right there,” the blonde commanded.

“O-kay, you do remember the whole voyeurism gig’s not for me, right?”

“Yeah, Spike, can we not traumatize Dean anymore than possible? Or me for that matter?”

Seeing the two men truly were alright, Spike teased, “Wankers. Don’t let a vamp have any fun.”

The two mortals laughed, breaking what little tension remained.

“Seriously, Penfold, what was with the grand entrance?”

“Ghostie,” Spike shuddered. “Got jumped by an irate former Potential.”

Dean and Xander shared a look.

Spike’s ice blue eyes darted between the two men, “Somebody wanna let me in on what the bloody hells is goin’ on,” he demanded.

“You talk; I’ll pack.”

Nodding once, Xander began to explain, “John called. Seems there’s been a rash of hunter deaths. Violent and angry deaths.”

“Like a dead Potential blaming you for her death?”

“Yeah, that could do it,” the dark man agreed, “but why would a Potential go after hunters?”

“Maybe there’s more than one ghostie,” the vampire offered.

“Same conclusion Dad and Bobby came to,” Dean interjected, grabbing the last of their bags. “You two make a last sweep, I’ll check us out.”

As the door closed behind the hunter, Xander turned to his vampire, “You okay?”

“’ course I am, pet. Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Uh, maybe because you know as well as I do, when and where that girl died. And I know you, my bloodthirsty bad ass, well enough to know you still blame yourself for everything that happened with Caleb.”

Spike smiled sweetly at his lover, the man who knew him so well, better than he knew himself sometimes. “Yeah, nothing seeing you and D in one piece didn’t cure.” Giving his boy a quick kiss, “Let’s get out of here, see what the others have come up with and beat this thing.”


~*~*~*~*~


When they arrived at the junkyard, John and Bobby were already ensconced in Bobby’s anti-just-about-everything panic room up to their necks in research.

“You boys alright?” Bobby asked as the three men piled into the small room.

“Well, we’re still here- all body parts accounted for,” Dean assured the elder hunter.

“That’s good to hear.”

Dean turned toward the warm familiar tone of his father’s voice to see a proud smile covering John Winchester’s face. The younger hunter quickly turned away from the sight as the now commonplace feelings of shame and self-disgust began to wash over him. He couldn’t bear for his father to look at him like that- not after all he’d done and the pain he’d caused.

“Dean,” John squeezed his son’s shoulder, “…”

Whatever else the elder Winchester may have planned to say was cut-off by the matter-of-fact inquiry of the blonde vampire. “So, what’re we up against and how the hells do we kill it?”

With a soft snort Bobby began to explain what they’d discovered so far. He told them about the scar both, he and John, had seen on the ghosts they’d encountered and that it marked those conjured as part of the Rise of the Witnesses- yet another Seal that had been broken.

Eventually, with the five of them working together, comparing notes and ideas, they were able to identify and perform the rite to quiet the raised spirits.




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