Listening and Lies


Part Three

“That’s your brilliant plan?”

“More or less, yeah. Got a problem, Spikey?”

"Oh, no. Go ahead. Take your time. I don't mind waiting around for my bones to heal. By the time they do, the Slayer still won't be dead, and I'll have a chance at her again myself."

"You've never been very patient, boy."

"This endearing lack of patience quality that I have is why two Slayers are dead by my hands."

"Buffy's different."

"Of course, this Slayer's different. Makes it that much more fun."

"Fun, Special-Needs-Boy? Didn't know you were having fun rolling around in the middle of the night hoping some young innocent will just walk up to you, sit in your lap, and expose her neck."

"It's the fight that's fun, you git! How do you not enjoy it? Why on earth would you want to slap her down so hard before you even get a chance to start the dance?"

Angelus backed out of Spike's face, strutted over to the factory's central table and sat cross legged in the middle of it.

Lovely, Spike thought, the Great Forehead is about to get smug.

"If I recall correctly," Angelus smirked, "you weren't so eager to 'dance' last Halloween. Didn't you go after Buffy when she was at her weakest?"

Spike shrugged. "Thought I'd try it your way once. Didn't work though, did it?" He snarled at the figures in front of him. Dru had been laying on the table watching her hands move in front of her face. Angelus was now sitting next to her legs, running his fingers lightly up her thighs and under her skirt.

Dru started giggling and purring. Anger was boiling inside Spike, and he realized he was gripping the wheels of his chair so hard that his fingers were cutting into the spokes. He tried to keep the conversation going so as to put off as long as possible another searing rendition of Dru and Angelus' Public Performance of Pleasure and Pain.

"I fully admit the Slayer has smacked me down a couple times, but there's a reason we get a new one every few years. We're better than her. It's simple. Vampire. Slayer. Vampire kills Slayer. Dru and I have lasted over a hundred years and you for almost two and half centuries. The Slayer has speed and power, but in the end, we always win. Always. So in the mean time, we dance. We fight. That's what keeps us alive inside. The blood pumping. You want to bring her down to an innocent level and pick her off like any other random kill. You plan to leave her little prezzies in her bed and kill her friends one by one, which is your MO, fine. But this time, it's not going to work. You were right - this Slayer is different, which means that you're not going to drive her mad, you're just going to piss her off."

Angelus had stopped listening. If he ever was. He had pushed Drusilla's skirt all the way up to bunch around her waist, and oh, that's why she coos…

No thanks, didn't buy tickets to this show.
With fingers dripping blood from the cuts from the metal on his wheelchair, Spike propelled himself out the door as quickly as he could.


Xander was sitting in the dark kitchen eating Fruit Loops and drinking chocolate milk. It was another crappy day at school. Most of the guys had stopped pestering him, but the girls, mostly Cordelia's connected-at-the-hip band of Cordettes, had made it their game-of-the-day to make fun of him at every turn of the corner. All, of course, with Cordy standing right there in the mix. Usually not saying anything, but also not stopping it or coming to Xander's defense in any way. Not that he expected her to, but… well, every once in a while he would see that look on her face. The one that he remembered seeing on those quiet nights in the back seat of her daddy's car. And he wondered…was there a chance I was right? Is there something special about Cordy that only I can see?

The most important thing right now was to erase the last two days from his brain. Concentrate on school and slayage research and not worry about the fact that his friends are a little too wrapped up in their own lives to think that he might be hurting a little here. Okay. Point was to not think about that. Not think about the fact that Willow started to show a slight interest in his life when she asked him how he was doing at his locker today only to be immediately distracted when Oz sauntered up and Xander never even got to answer the question. Nope. Definitely don't think about that.

Just eat Fruit Loops. Eat yummy cereal, drink yummy thick chock-full-o-vitamins-goodness-that-is-only-chocolate-milk, and not think about the dark kitchen with the burned out light bulb and no spares anywhere in the house. Mmm. Cereal good.

Xander looked up from his bowl and let his gaze settle on the street outside the window, not being able to stop the flow of thought no matter how hard he tried. He was tired. He thought that talking it out last night would make him feel better, but it somehow made him feel a little more incomplete. Okay, yeah, he was able to get some Cordy things off his chest. And that was good, and maybe there were even more things he had to say, but damn it! why did he have to say them all to an annoying crippled vampire who wasn't really listening to him anyway.

What a sad little vampire Spike was nowadays. Trying so hard to be menacing, but just coming across as angry and bitter. And maybe that original thought of him being heartbroken wasn't really so bizarre. I mean, here I am, King of Anguish, and yet something must have happened in this person's life, or nonperson's unlife, to cause him to have a look of such desperation and sadness. And then later, when the vampire had zoned out, the look had changed and it seemed like Spike was anywhere but there. It was as if he had found some private place. Someplace that had all the things he wanted with no need to rely on anyone else while he was there. Xander longed for such a place. And wanted desperately for Spike to show him how to get there.

It upset him to think that Spike had something that Xander didn't. And it was something he wanted. Some kind of peace of mind, perhaps. A secret knowledge that it was all going to be ok.

And, now, why did it not surprise him to suddenly see Spike across the street rolling down the sidewalk? The darkness inside the room allowed for a clear view into the darkness outside. And there was the platinum blonde, turning the wheels of his chair fairly quickly, and he looked up at the house once, just a glance, but Xander knew that Spike had seen him, sitting at the table next to the kitchen window. The vampire kept moving, without breaking pace; kept heading east, down the sidewalk and then out of sight.

Xander couldn't break his stare from the window. Ok, WonderBoy, three options. A - get up, go to your room, lay down, stare at the ceiling, try not to think (even though you know you will), and fall asleep only out of pure exhaustion after a few hours. Option B - get up, throw caution to the wind, follow Spike to the graveyard, and…what? Talk? Listen? Where exactly would that particular course of action lead you? Okay. Option C - get up, throw caution to the wind, follow Spike to the graveyard, and get really really killed by Angel because this is so obviously a set up and you are an incredible moron for thinking otherwise.

Fine. Option A - sucks. Option B - workable only if Option C didn't exist. However, if Option C existed, then Option A wouldn't be a problem because, hey, life wouldn't suck if you're dead. Oh, great reasoning, Xand.

Xander slowly got up and put his dirty dishes into the already overflowing sink. He shuffled down the hallway to his bedroom and squinted at the brightness when he turned on the light. He looked at his unmade bed for a moment, then grabbed his jacket, cross and stake, flicked off the light and walked back down the hall.

Moron, he told himself as he left the house.


Spike was trying to get his symphony back. This was the show he did buy tickets to, yet he couldn't get the curtain to go up. All the sounds were there, but it was like the orchestra was constantly tuning its instruments, and the music wouldn't start.

So he sat there on the same headstone in the same graveyard racking his brain to figure out what was missing. He searched all the pockets of his leather duster and his jeans looking for a pack of fags before remembering that he smoked the last one yesterday and forgot to steal more. He found his lighter in his front jeans pocket and started flicking the lid open and closed. Without thinking about it, his mouth found the barely closed wounds on the fingers of his other hand, and he tongued the cuts just enough to open them again.

Tasting his own blood trickle across his tongue, he began to wonder where this oral fixation came from. It could just be the vampire thing, but he had a vague memory of always having something in his mouth back when he was human. He somehow recalled that it was usually the tip of a pen which caused a near permanent ink spot on his lip. That spot didn't truly fade away until after he died, at which point the ink was replaced with blood. Maybe that's why he was the most vicious of everyone in his little family back then. Being a creature of the night, he didn't have the need or desire to write poetry like his human-self did, so he no longer carried pen and ink with him at all times. But he needed something in his mouth and sinking his teeth into the closest random person seemed like a handy and tasty alternative.

Okay, maybe this wasn't such a good idea. All this nonmusical quiet was causing him to think way too much. Who cared why he was a brutal ruthless killer? He just was. That was that. Needed a better distraction than sucking on fingers. Oh, is that Harris? Smells more like chocolate than sweat and soap this time, but, yeah, that's definitely the kid. Good. Good? Why, good? Why is he back here anyway?

"Bloody hell. The Bronze would be more private. Why do you keep showing up?" Spike tapped his dripping fingers on the headstone and continued to flick the lighter with his left hand, keeping a stern eye on the boy who was settling onto the headstone direclty opposite him. Same as last night.

"You don't want me around, Spike, maybe you shouldn't keep picking the same spot every night. By the way, you seemed to be getting pretty good at getting in and out of that chair. No more humpty-dumpty moments since the first time I saw ya?"

The whelp was really enjoying this, wasn't he? Spike scowled and started sucking on a cut on one of his fingers again. They both sat there in silence for a short time, and soon Spike started to zone out. He realized that the sucking on his finger was getting rhythmic and slowly his symphony started coming into tune. After a few minutes, though, there was no more blood coming from the wound and he suddenly felt very self-conscious and silly with his finger in his mouth. He removed it quickly with an unfortunate pop sound and saw Harris looking at him with reserved amusement.

"How'd you cut your finger?" Spike was surprisingly relieved that the kid noticed the blood and wasn't assuming he had reverted to some child-like state of thumb-sucking. He quickly formulated a snarky response, but instead what came out was -

"Metal spokes on wheel." He nodded down toward the chair to his left and Harris nodded in response. Okay…he's still sitting there, not asking anything else. This is an odd kid. "Something pissed me off and I was gripping pretty hard." Now, why am I explaining this? Boy's just looking at me. This is supposed to be the talkative one. The one that always has some smartass thing to say that causes the Slayer to roll her eyes at him half the time. Say something, whelp! Kid was just sitting there looking at him. Unnerving, somehow. He found himself talking -

"Fucking ponce struts around like he's still the head of the family! We were perfectly happy without him. Then your Slayer spreads her dainty knees for him and bam! he's back in our unlives and I don't even really think he's the same. That disgusting soul was creepin' around under his skin for too long. There's something…off about him. We used to…"

Spike focused his eyes on Harris again and was dumbfounded by what had been coming out of his own mouth. But the kid continued to sit there. Like he was listening or something. He didn't feel like saying anything more though. Couldn't believe he said what he did. So he sat there, too, and pretty soon the noises started to become music again. This time, though, the concert included that beautiful drum beat from last night, and Spike realized why he was glad to see the kid earlier. Bump-bump, pause, bump-bump, pause, bump-bump…

"'We used to...' what?" Harris' question penetrated Spike's ears and thankfully did not interrupt the concert. The music faded slightly, but the percussion was still there. Still strong.

"We used to be a family. The four of us. Technically, Darla was the head, but Angelus was much better in the role. He kept us together. And as much as I strayed from his rules and plans, it was always the place to go home to." Bump-bump, pause, bump-bump… "Even when we didn't have a home, as long as we were all together it felt like we could take over the world. Now he's back and it's not about family anymore. It's only about him getting his rocks off either with Dru or with the Slayer. And I'm suddenly the sidekick. The wacky neighbor to take a few jabs at then dismiss like some minion or human. It was better when it was me and Dru." Bump-bump, pause, bump-bump… "Now, it's the Dru and Angelus show - shagging every bleedin' second of every bleedin' day and night. He waltzed in and took over. She's a puddle around him."

"I always knew Angel was an asshole," Harris offered. "So…what? He just took Drusilla from you? Weren't you guys together for, like, ever?"

"My entire unlife, yeah, but don't say it like that. We're not over. It's just…his turn."

"His turn? That's disgusting! Doesn't she have any pride? Oh, wait, she's crazy."

"Crazy, yeah. Pride, yeah, she's got that. But you gotta understand the way things are with us. Vampires, I mean. Once you become a member of a family then sex is part of it. He's her sire, just like she's mine." Bump-bump, pause, bump-bump… "But, with me and Dru, there was more. Angelus just wants her because she's his childe, but I want her because she's…." It occurred to Spike that this chocolate-smelling whelp couldn't possibly understand the true nature of his love for Dru. "Never mind."

"Oh, no - you got me all interested, now. You want her because - what? Do you love her? You must. I mean, a hundred plus years. Man. I can't even get a relationship to last three months. Of course, Drusilla's a complete loon. And there really is no accounting for taste."

"Hey!" Bump-bump, pause, bump-bump…

"Well, tell me what you mean, then. You want her because…?"

Spike shook his head. He really couldn't believe that he was having a conversation, this conversation, with Xander Harris, the token loser of the Slayer's merry band of Slayerettes. He had to admit, though, he liked listening to that heartbeat. It wasn't just that it was slow and calm and steady. There was something else inviting. It was strong, powerful…infinite. That's it. It is infinite. Spike had no immediate plan to kill this guy. Perhaps later, when there could be a chase, but for now, the kid knew that he was in no immediate danger (which was still really annoying).

Spike closed his eyes. He couldn't hunt. Therefore couldn't feed on anything that wasn't brought to him. He couldn't have Dru, for now. He could barely stand to be at the factory for any length of time. But he had this. The sounds in this graveyard accompanied by the soft pounding of blood, reminding him that he had a future. There was blood in his future. He just had to learn to be as calm and patient as that heartbeat. He could do that. Yeah. Bump-bump, pause, bump-bump… He opened his eyes.

"I want her because she's my destiny. She picked me. Dru saved me from a life of endless tedium and rejection. She gave me strength and immortality and desire. A desire for power and blood and violence. She showed me the world. A place where I could have anything I wanted. I just had to take." Bump-bump, pause, bump-bump, pause, bump-bump… "Dru's heart may be still, but it is more full of life than anyone I've ever met, living or dead. She doesn't have two stones rolling around in that head of hers, yet she is capable of profound insight and theory. She is delicate and soft, but she's one of the most brutal killers of the last two hundred years. You could fill an ocean with the amount of blood she's spilled." Bump-bump, pause, bump-bump… "She's a child, yet she's an adventurous lover who can still surprise me with what she's capable of in the bedroom. Yeah. I love her. More than you could possibly imagine."

"But, now... it's his turn?"

Spike felt his demon rise quickly and his eyes start to glow gold. "Yeah. His turn…"

Part Four

It had been a very disturbing couple of days. Buffy was more wigged out than he had ever seen her. Even more so than when she found out she was destined to die last year. Of course, it was Angel who was doing it. Leaving little hints that he had been in her house. The fucker had even been in Willow's room. Killed her fish. And then tonight he got to Buffy's mom and told her about their fateful little rendezvous. Poor Buffy. At least they were able to do the invitation reversal spell. Certainly hope they'll both think twice about letting a strange, tall, brooding vampire-passing-as-a-man into their homes.

Maybe Xander shouldn't be one to judge, though. He had spent the last four nights in a graveyard having what amounts to a very normal conversation with an odd, small, pining manlike-creature-trying-hard-to-still-be-a-vampire. And maybe it had only been a few days, but he was actually beginning to rely on these little encounters. Spike would let him talk about random things, asking questions every now and then, but mostly just letting him talk. He found out that Cordy wasn't the only thing he had needed to get off of his chest. Spike's talk of family prompted Xander to start reflecting on his own home life, and he was able to regale to the vampire some his own tales of parental woes. The vamp seemed to enjoy hearing about his failures and disappointments. Evil little bastard. It was somehow okay, though. It was the talking that kept him going back. Being able to have someone, even an evil dead someone, let him just talk. It calmed him. No matter what had happened at school that day, or how bad he was teased by the Cordettes, or how self-involved his best friends were (even if they did have the right to be), he was able to just loose himself in that graveyard, talking to Spike. Buffy would never understand.

Plus, Xander was learning some pretty fun and disturbing facts about vampire-life (unlife, that is). Spike told him mostly about the adventures he and that bizarre Drusilla had together. Places they'd been, people they'd killed, even some unexpected sex stories that he was able to lock away in a file only to be opened when he had met just the right women with a very big open mind (and that would happen any day now, right?).

Tonight as he was walking to Pleasant Fields, he was in good spirits. An early patrol with Buffy had been fruitful. She dusted one vamp and only after Xander had jumped on its back and distracted it (WonderBoy moment!). Now, his ladies were safe in their homes with the knowledge that no nasty vamp could come in uninvited. Xander entered the cemetery whistling and swinging his stake in his hand. When he saw Spike, though, he instantly knew something was wrong.

The blonde was still sitting in his chair, hands on the wheels and rocking it back and forth causing two tiny strips of grass to disintegrate leaving only dirt. His head was down and he was softly mumbling and cussing, very much like he had been the first time Xander found him here. He slowly walked up to him and stood much closer than he would have felt comfortable just a week before.

"Spike?" Xander reached out and put a hand on his shoulder stopping the chair.

The vampire whipped his head up at Xander in full game face. He was growling and practically hyperventilating. Xander didn’t think vampires breathed, but sure enough, Spike was taking in and exhaling quick shallow breaths like his unlife depended on it. His gold eyes were shimmering brighter than he had ever seen. Xander took a step back quickly with both hands raised defensively in the air.

"What the hell, Spike!" The vampire growled at Xander, causing him to take another step away. He tried to remain calm. "You gonna tell me what's going on, or do I stake you right now and save me and rest of the globe a world of hurt?"

Spike's breathing steadied slightly, but he kept his game face on. "A century. He took a century from me. They forgot. They both completely forgot. And he'll pay. He'll suffer. Then they'll remember. They'll remember who I am. I haven't changed and they'll remember."

Xander took a step closer again, and squatted down next to Spike. He put a hand on one of the wheelchair's arms.

"Okay, I get that something is going on with Angel and Drusilla, but we already knew this. Did something specific happen tonight?" Even through the vampire's wrinkled brow and gold eyes, Xander could see all the anger and confusion. He knew that this was ridiculous. He knew that he should back away and let Spike rant about whatever was up with him, but this was what Xander did best. This is what he knew how to do. He helped. Maybe it was all he knew how to do.

Spike started rocking the chair back and forth again, almost running over Xander's toes if he hadn't staggered back about a foot. He stayed squatted, his eyes rooted on Spike, determined to show the vampire that he wasn't going anywhere.


"Stupid kid," Spike growled. And through the rage boiling inside of him and the hurt that was taking over no matter how much he tried to turn it into anger, he heard it. The heartbeat. And he wanted it to calm him. He knew he needed it. But he couldn't suppress the hurt. And this other thing that came with the hurt. He could smell the fear coming off his own body and that's why the rage. Through the beautiful heartbeat he couldn't get rid of the hurt and fear and anger and he wanted to get lost and he wanted to fall under the water, but he couldn't. He started to shake from it all and this heartbeat that sat in front of him was looking at him with big brown eyes. He wanted to help. Could he help?


Spike had stopped rocking again, but Xander saw that the vampire was visibly shaking now. This bothered him more than he expected it to.

"Tell me," Xander coaxed quietly.

"They're leaving. Both of them. Together. Didn't even tell me. I overheard it. The plans are made. After Dru had her vision and they found out what the lady was going to do, they disappeared to another room. I was just going to leave again, then I heard them talking instead of shagging and they're leaving. Tomorrow night. With no mention of me. South America or some such place," Spike's demon fell away and he looked at Xander as a man. And all Xand could see in those ocean blue eyes was sadness. "Dru wants to see the jungles. She never told me that."

Xander stood up and leaned against the headstone that was normally Spike's seat. He crossed his arms and tried to find a way to make it better. He needed more info.

"What triggered this? You said Drusilla had some sort of a vision? What lady is going to do what?"

Spike's breathing had stopped. He gave Xander a look that he couldn't read. "The teacher chit. The one who teaches computers."

"Miss Calendar? Drusilla had a vision about Miss Calendar? Well, that's all sorts of badness. What was the vision?"

"Something about bringing Angel back."

"Angel? You mean…what do you mean?

"Restore his soul, you git. Curse him again."

"Wait. Miss Calendar can do that? She said she couldn't. So, that means that Angel would be good again. Well, that's….I don't really know how I feel about that. I enjoy hating him so much."

"Don't fret over it too much, kid. Angelus will kill her before she can complete the spell."

"What?!" Xander stepped over to Spike. He leaned down, gripped the arms of the wheelchair and put his face in Spike's. "What?! He's gonna kill her? When?"

Spike made no attempt to back away. "Well, tonight, I suppose. Since they're leaving tomorrow. Probably right now."

"Mother fucker!" Xander pushed back on the chair and sent Spike rolling backwards before he grabbed the wheels to stop himself.

Xander turned and ran.


He was out of the cemetery before he realized that he had no idea where he was going. He didn't know Miss Calendar's phone number to warn her and didn't know her address to intervene. But Giles would know. Xander turned north and ran toward the school, only a half mile away.

When he approached the double doors closest to the library, he had to stop and fumble in his pockets for the key. Giles had given all the Scoobies a key to the school for comings and goings involving late night research parties. He finally found the correct one on his key chain (what the hell do I have all these keys for? only need two), threw open the doors, and ran down the hall and into the library.

The phone was on the checkout desk. He picked it up and pressed *2, the speed dial for Giles. It rang twice.

"Giles here."

"Giles! Listen - Angel is on his way to kill Miss Calendar. Right now! We need to get Buffy."

"Xander? What? Jenny? He's going to kill Jenny? Are you sure? How do you know?"

"No time to explain. I'm very sure."

"Well, I assume she's at home, and he can't get in unless invited. I'm sure she's safe."

"Giles, he'll find a way. God, just trust me on this! We need to get to her. Where does she live?"

"Oh, yes, of course. Um…1214 Bayberry Court. Number 5."

"Go there now. Call Buffy - I'll be there as soon as I can!” He slammed the phone down and ran into the library cage. He flung open the doors of the metal weapons cabinet and grabbed a small battle axe and the crossbow and arrows. Taking a moment to load one arrow into the crossbow, he ran out of the library.

He was almost to the exit, when a noise near the student lounge stopped him. He looked to his left, up the staircase, and there was Angel, standing on the mezzanine landing of the stairs. The vampire was in full game face and looking up toward the top of the stairway and suddenly, there was Miss Calendar. She stumbled down the stairs quickly and screamed when she landed in Angel's arms.

"Sorry, Jenny. This is where you get off," Angel put a hand on her chin and one on the back of the teacher's head.

Now, now, now! Xander's brain was screaming at him. With shaking hands, he lifted the crossbow toward the two on the stairs. He aimed, and fired.

It was the luckiest shot he had ever made. Xander barely saw the wooden arrow fly and, instantly, there it was, sticking out of the vampire's chest. Angel turned his head and looked down the stairs. His eyes momentarily got wide, then quickly narrowed.

"You?" was the startled question, then Angel exploded into dust.

There was a load clatter as the arrow fell to the ground. Then a soft moan as Miss Calendar did the same.


He pulled up to the apartment building in Miss Calendar's car. She was curled up in the passenger's seat and hadn't said much after she had woken up on the stairs at the school. Xander found a parking space near the front door and helped his teacher out of the car. He kept a hand around her waist as they entered the lobby of the building, past a front door that was easy to open due to a destroyed lock.

They made their way to her apartment on the second floor, finding the door kicked in. Buffy and Giles were inside looking panic stricken. When Miss Calendar saw Giles, she fell into his arms and began sobbing. The younger two watched as Giles guided the woman into her bedroom and shut the door behind them.

Buffy turned to Xander and laid a hand gently on his arm.

"Angel?" she asked. The look of fear on her face caused a spark of anger to flare through Xander's body. He made a small attempt to suppress it, but couldn't.

"Dust," he told her, then instantly regretted using that word instead of something a little gentler. He was tired of seeing sadness in his friends' eyes. He was supposed to be the one who made everyone smile. Made them laugh. It was his job to protect the people around him. And in order to save Miss Calendar, he had killed his best friend's true love. He had no idea if she would ever forgive him.

A/N for those who have read my fic Backfire: I know, I know. I have a thing for killing Angelus. Can't help it. He's an evil fuck. I like my men to have a little mystery to them. And Angelus, he was obvious. Not worth too much time in my stories. I actually don't purposely start a story to kill him, just happens. Oh well.

Continued in

Part Two

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