Pairing: Xander/Spike and Xander/Spike
The Other Replacement
The basement windows only dimly let in the morning light, but Xander didn’t care. He felt amazing! He was out of bed before his alarm went off, deftly sidestepping the table he regularly bruised his shin on, and humming on his way to the shower.
His head felt so clear, like he could do anything. I could take over the world, he thought and chuckled as he imagined himself making decisions with his hands clasped together, Dr. Evil-like. I’d be such a good ruler; there’d be chocolate for all and a never-ending supply of comic books!
Finished with his shower, Xander surveyed his clothing options. He smiled nostalgically at some of the shirts he used to love, reflecting that he probably should update his wardrobe. Glancing around the mostly dark basement his head was suddenly filled with tempting memories of the sunny, spacious apartment - with ceiling fans - he and Anya had looked at yesterday. I’m getting that apartment, he thought, confident that it would become a reality.
He carefully combed his hair back, and since he was Mr. Organized this morning, he decided to walk to work. If only I had my watch to avoid lateness, he thought, and as if a switch had been flipped, Xander remembered tossing his watch on top of his dresser two weeks ago. Removing the shirts he’d thrown on top of it since then he revealed the watch and an almost full package of cigarettes.
Xander stared at the cigarettes in confusion for a second before he determined that they must be Spike’s. His hand was poised over the garbage when he found himself wondering whether he should return them to Spike. It’s not like he can afford stuff, he was in the dump last night. Besides giving him the cigarettes means he won’t steal, for a while anyway.
Walking to work Xander felt buoyed by a confidence he hadn’t felt in years. It was the kind of feeling that caused him to follow some cute but scary blonde girl underground or stopped him from running away from a ticking bomb. It made him do stupid things. Brave things sure, but still stupid.
Xander’s thoughts were disrupted by a guy wearing the same shirt he’d worn yesterday. Maybe I won’t get rid of that shirt. It looks good even when it’s dirty. The enticing smell of fresh baked goods reminded Xander of his purpose: donuts.
All those philosophers should stop obsessing over the meaning of life and embrace the goodness of fresh jelly-filled donuts, he thought as he brushed bits of frosting off his shirt.
A feeling of joy overwhelmed Xander. This is the life.
By some miracle Xander’s day continued the way it had started. As he entered Spike’s cemetery, he fingered the flattened coin in his pocket and wondered if it was the source of his good luck. I hope it’s not a magic coin – you never know with the hellmouth – because that would be bad.
The prospect of signing the lease for his new apartment tomorrow was dancing around in Xander’s mind. It was a very manly dance, he reassured himself.
A vampire, looking out of place in a cemetery with his GQ style – not that Xander read GQ – blocked the path, and brought Xander back to the present like a slap to the face.
“Out for a midnight snack?” Xander asked, as he slowly backed away, trying to pull the stake casually out of his jacket pocket. “I’d recommend the steak.”
“Sounds good to me,” GQ vamp said, quickly moving forward and grabbing Xander as he was still fumbling in his pocket.
His arms trapped, Xander did the only thing he could think of. He kneed the vamp in the groin. Surprised – but sadly not in much obvious pain – GQ vamp stumbled back, loosening his grip.
Xander shoved the vampire and grabbed his stake, just in time to get punched in the face. The right eye, in matter of fact.
“Ow!” he yelped, clutching his eye, barely managing to stand upright. “That hurt, you bastard.”
Angrily, he dropped his hand from his eye and swung out, managing to connect with GQ vamp’s jaw. There was a crunching sound – Xander’s hand – but he clutched the stake in his other hand and awkwardly thrust it through the heart of the surprised vampire.
“Guess you won’t be wanting to see the dessert tray,” Xander gasped triumphantly. He leaned against a nearby tombstone and gently touched his hand, which just seemed bruised. From the throbbing pain he knew he was going to have a black eye.
“Did you just quip at a pile of dust?” Spike asked, emerging from the nearby trees.
“He’ll be remembering – and laughing at - my witty comment when he’s hanging out in hell.” Xander touched his eye and winced at the pain. “You could have helped, you know.”
“I don’t want to encourage you talking.” Spike pulled out a cigarette, flicked the lighter and inhaled sharply. He blew out the smoke and moved closer to Xander. “Besides, you didn’t look so bad out there tonight.”
“My black eye says otherwise.”
“It’ll make you look tough.”
They stood there in silence as Xander tried to decide if Spike might actually be complimenting him. Since that was a whole new level of weird, he moved his thoughts back to his original reason for being in a cemetery.
“Hey! This is all your fault,” he said, glaring at Spike.
“Are you blaming me for the general existence of vampires, or for that specific one? Because if it’s for fashion boy, I can’t make ‘em anymore, only stake ‘em.” Spike smirked at him.
“Okay, did you just rhyme? Because that’s, well – I have no words,” Xander said digging in his pocket with his good hand. “I came here to give you these.”
Xander glimpsed a flash of surprise on Spike’s face as he caught the cigarettes Xander had tossed in his direction. Spike turned the cigarettes over in his hand, his eyes briefly fixing on Xander before returning to the cigarettes. Xander decided to stop waiting for the thanks he wasn’t going to get and go with what worked: being mad at Spike.
“This,” Xander said, pointing to his already bruising eye, “is because of you. I can’t believe that I got hurt doing you a favor! See what happens when I’m nice to someone who’s evil? Karma hates me now.”
“You’re not getting punished because of me, you tosser. World doesn’t work like that. If it did we’d all be rolling in puppies and cotton candy.” Spike shuddered. “Besides I haven’t been punished and I’m the evil one.”
“Are you forgetting about my favorite Spike accessory, your chip?”
“Oh, right.” Spike grimaced and then a smile crossed his face. “The chip’s your favorite? Sure it’s not my coat or big boots that get you all hot and bothered?”
“Hey! I will have you know that you don’t get me all – uh – anything,” Xander said, feeling anger rising to contradict his statement.
“Right,” Spike said, drawling out the word. “Seem excited to me, pet.”
Spike stepped in front of him and raised an eyebrow.
Xander pulled himself up to his full height so he had to look down just slightly to meet Spike’s eyes.
“You think you can scare me?” Xander challenged.
Spike stepped closer until that they were so close that Xander could tilt his head and lick Spike’s lips. Ahh! Xander reined his thoughts back from that very bad place.
“That’s right,” Spike said softly. A hint of mocking remained in his voice. “You’re all wound up, but I don’t think you have the stones to do anything.”
“You – I – “ Xander stammered.
Spike’s lips twitched as if he was trying not to smile.
He’s mocking me! Well, fuck him. I’m not letting him win. Xander took a deep breath and unclenched his fingers from their death grip on the cold stone, ignoring the pain in his injured hand.
A triumphant smile crossed Spike’s face. “Guess I –“
Spike’s next word was muffled by Xander pressing their lips together. He briefly considered that he might have discovered the key to shutting Spike up.
The kiss started soft, with Xander brushing his lips across Spike’s, then before he could press harder, Spike bit Xander’s bottom lip causing him to gasp.
Xander pulled off slightly and looked Spike in the eye. “You were questioning my manhood?”
“Shut up, you idiot.” Spike shoved Xander so that he was pressed between a gravestone and Spike. He felt trapped, in the very best way.
This time Spike initiated the kiss and it wasn’t gentle. He thrust his tongue into Xander’s mouth, making Xander feel like his body temperature had risen 10 degrees. He gripped Spike’s shoulders and moaned.
“Stop! In the name of … my eyes.”
Spike and Xander jerked apart and stared at –
“Xander?” Spike asked.
“Of course I’m Xander,” the new Xander said stumbling out from behind Mrs. Epstein’s gravestone. “Even though that – “ he pointed at Xander – “is some sort of an evil robot or something, I don’t want anything that looks like me kissing Spike.”
“What are you talking about? I’m Xander! You’re obviously the one who stole my face,” Xander said as he tried to smooth his clothes and flatten his hair.
“Well isn’t this interesting?” Spike said taking a cigarette from the pack Xander gave him and lighting it.
“Interesting?” the new Xander asked in disbelief. “Interesting is Babylon 5, it’s not some evil robot who looks like me – only all matchy – kissing you.”
“I know what’s going on!” Xander said. “You’re Toth, and you’re impersonating a really messy version of me.”
“I’m not a demon. You are! You’re evil,” the new Xander yelled.
“Clearly you’re evil. I wouldn’t look that bad, not even in Bizarro World.”
“No way. You’re the evil one, evil-demon guy.”
“No. You’re a demon-bot.”
“No – “
“Shut up, both of you,” Spike interrupted. “Bloody hell. This is the worst evil showdown I’ve ever witnessed.”
“That’s because only one of us is evil,” the new Xander said.
“Harris,” Spike growled. “Listen, I’m actually evil and neither of you seem remotely like the big bad.”
“What?! As if – “ Xander started to say.
“I know how to solve this,” Spike said, dropping his cigarette and walking up to the new Xander.
Xander watched in interest, then horror when Spike grabbed the back of new Xander’s head and kissed him. New Xander looked startled for a moment and then one of his hands slowly wrapped around Spike’s back.
Is it wrong that I find it hot watching Spike kiss an evil version of me?
New Xander sputtered when Spike pulled away, clearly at a loss for words. He stumbled back, tripped over his own feet and would have fallen if Spike hadn’t grabbed him until he regained his balance.
Spike walked a few steps so that he was standing halfway between the two Xanders and facing both of them.
“Neither of you are evil. You’re both Xander.”
“Huh? No!” Both Xanders exclaimed simultaneously.
“How do you know?” Xander demanded, glaring at the new Xander.
“You both taste the same. This one –“ Spike indicated to new Xander “- smells like the dump, but other than that you’re the same.”
Both Xanders looked at each other, frowned and looked back at Spike.
“And – in my evil opinion – neither of you are evil.”
“Okay. If neither of us are Toth –“
“Toth!” Yelled new Xander. He ran behind Spike as the demon swept majestically – Giles had definitely been correct in his description – towards them.
“Xander, get out of the way!” Buffy yelled as she ran past him towards Toth. She did a double take and halted. “Xander? And Xander? But…” Riley flew by and landed behind a tombstone. “Right. Kill now, explain later!”
Xander was happy to watch Buffy and Riley fight the demon while casting occasional sidelong glances at Spike, who seemed content to just be a bystander. Xander wondered if the new Xander clinging to Spike’s back had anything to do with Spike’s newfound pacifism.
When Riley was tossed, like a small child rather than a well muscled, good-looking … Xander steered his brain back on track. He winced as Riley slammed to the ground.
“Ow. That looks more painful than Superman’s Floppy Freddy induced fall!” Xander said.
The new Xander gasped. “I was thinking the same thing! Hey, do you suppose we're both Xander?”
Xander left the Magic Box happy to be all in one piece, and that there was only one of him again.
It had been weird to watch himself, like an out of body experience while he was still in his own body. The Xander who had gotten a promotion and a new apartment – the Xander who had kissed Spike – had seemed like a stranger.
He reflected that macking on Spike had been the easiest thing to believe because all the other stuff was so grown up. But cheating on my girlfriend? he thought. That I’ve done.
Thinking about Anya made Xander feel like he’d just been kicked in the stomach by Buffy. Maybe I don’t need to tell her about it? It was probably just the spell. Xander shook his head at his lame attempt to make what he’d done seem okay.
A shadow moved in the alleyway as he passed. His heart started pounding.
“Good to know I can still get you all excited,” Spike said as he stepped out into view.
“Spike.” Xander groaned. “That was me worrying I was going to be attacked.”
“Who says that won’t happen?” Spike shoved Xander against the alley wall.
He leaned in towards Xander and stopped when their faces were a few inches apart. “There’s not another you around who’ll stop us again, is there?”
“Nope. I’m all of me.” Xander leaned forward and slowly ran his tongue along Spike’s upper lip.
Screw maturity. This is the life.
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