Pairing:X/S sort of
Rating: R - NC17
Feedback: Is a good thing!
Disclaimer: Still not mine. ::Pouts::
Summary: Thirty years in the future, two old enemies meet again.
WARNING: If you haven't seen season six, don't read this!
Archive: http://www.buffysmut.com/adultfanfiction/story.php?no=300
Dedication: To the lovely ladies at the batcave ::snirk:: for all the great fb.





Vengeance


by
Jameschick



Prologue

Cold. So cold. And dark. Not quiet though, there is a radio on and two people are talking. He hates waking up in the morgue. He wonders what time it is? Hopefully he won't have to spend all day in here. As soon as the staff head out for the night he will get out of the drawer and leave. He never should have come here but morbid curiosity compelled him. After thirty years it's still vamp city. Why is he waking up in a morgue you ask? That's simple, he died. Again. Want to hear his story? It's a real doozy.

It all started about thirty-six years ago. That's the day Buffy Summers came into his life. Not that he thinks this is Buffy's fault, he doesn't. But things changed after she came. He learned about all the nasties, vampires, demons, giant snake things that used to be Mayor. He lost his best friend Jesse to vampires and had to stake him. Willow, his other best bud...she became a witch. That's where things get interesting.

He became involved with an ex-demon, they were to be married but he left her at the alter, cold feet. Their reluctant vampire friend, Spike was his name, slept with Buffy. After she threw him over he slept with his ex. On the table at her work. While he watched it on streaming video via Willow's laptop. Why was it being broadcast you ask? Warren.

Warren was this creepy robotics specialist, he built himself a girlfriend who went a little nuts after he dumped her without telling her. Incidentally he also made a 'Buffybot' for Spike. Of course he eventually got the real thing but soo not going there. So Warren and his two creepy little minions, Jonathan and Andrew were watching Buffy. They had cameras everywhere, that was how they managed to catch 'the boinking demon show'. It's not real important to the story, just a bit of a lead in on Warren and what happened next.

Buffy managed to thwart Warren's every evil scheme so he went after her the old fashioned way, with a gun. Xander was in the yard with the Buffster, they were making nice after the 'my ex the demon slept with your ex the demon' episode. Warren fired the gun, Buffy got shot. What they didn't know at the time was that he fired a bullet at the upstairs window. Willow and Tara were in their room, Tara was at the window. The bullet hit her in the chest, she died right away.

Willow went nuts after that. She drained the magic from all of Giles' books. The dark books. The ones that were off limits to everyone but himself. Xander was at the hospital with Buffy, he didn't know about Tara. Willow saved Buffy, she came to the hospital and levitated the bullet right out of Buffy's chest and then healed the wound as good as new. Then the three of them went after Warren. He thought they were all on the same page, justice. Willow just wanted revenge.

She killed Warren, skinned him like a cat. Then poof. No more Warren. She went after his minions next. Xander, Anya and Buffy helped them escape. She drained Rack, he was the resident 'evil warlock'. Then she went after Dawn. Dawn was spared thanks to Buffy, but Giles wasn't so fortunate. She drained him of all the magic he had been impowered with. Some coven in England knew what was happening and sent him back to stop it.

By the time Xander caught up with Willow she was in the process of destroying the world. He stopped her. At least he thought it was him. Turned out all he did was stall her long enough for the magic she stole from Giles to take effect. No one knows exactly what happened, whether her magic was lost or just bound so she was unable to use it. It doesn't matter. The point was it was over, Wills would be okay and the world was safe. Tara was still dead though.

Giles stayed in Sunnydale to help Willow overcome her grief and her magic addiction. Buffy and Dawn grew closer because of everything, Spike was missing but no one really cared. Except Dawn, she actually liked him. Anya left afterwards. She decided to embrace her job as a vengence demon again. Giles took over the shop again and everything was returning to normal. Willow was on the road to recovery, or so they thought.

It was three weeks to the day that Tara died. Willow had gone missing the day before, and no one knew where she was. She wasn't in Sunnydale, Giles had cast a locator spell for the town and she wasn't there. They called everywhere they could think of, her parents were in San Fransico for the summer, they tracked them down but they hadn't heard from her. Xander even called deadboy out in L A, there was no answer, he tried several times but nothing. He called Cordy's house. Nothing there either. He figured they were probably on a case. Everyone was gathered at Buffy's, what was left of them anyway. Xander, Giles, Dawn and Buffy. That's when Willow showed up. She had changed.

Everyone assumed after the 'my will be done' fiasco that Willow had gotten rid of the talisman that D'Hoffryn had given her. They assumed wrong. It seemed that Willow had decided that they weren't good friends to her, that Buffy had failed to protect Tara from Warren and that being a vengence demon was a good career choice. Anya had the whole 'woman scorned' thing going on and Halfreck was working for ignored children. So Wills decided to specialize in friendships gone awry. She made a side deal with D'Hoffryn to be able to seek vengence on her own behalf as her final test. And boy did she.

Buffy was stripped of her slayer power, left pretty much defenseless on the mouth of hell. Giles lost the thing he valued most, next to Buffy that is. His knowledge. He was no longer the warlock, the watcher, the bearer of knowledge. He didn't even remember that vampires were real. Dawn, God poor Dawn, she was released from the monks' spell. What was once a beautiful young girl became a swirling blob of green light, and then slowly disapeared. Since Glory had been destroyed, the spell was the only thing keeping the key in existance. Without the spell she ceased to be. And Xander? He got the worst curse of all.

Willow, his best friend since they were five, the girl who crushed on him all through elementary school and junior high, right up until Oz and even a little afterwards. The girl who knew all his secrets and never told. The only person in the whole world he trusted completely. She cursed him with immortality. He can never die, never forget, never escape the memories of what happened. Always drawn to seek company, to make and keep friends, over and over just to watch them die time and again. That was her curse on him.

He didn't know it at the time. She just smiled at him and then left. He thought he had been spared, that somewhere, deep down inside she was still his best friend, his Wills. That she would never hurt him. He was wrong.

Buffy was a mess after losing Dawn. She insisted on patrolling even without her slayer powers. She didn't know how else to deal with her grief so she threw herself into slaying just like she did after Joyce died. Only this time, she didn't survive it. A goup of fledges got to her the very first night. Xander tried to help her but he wasn't fast enough, wasn't strong enough. They drained her and left her to rot. He was next. He fought them off, went down kicking and screaming. They killed him too. Only thing was, the next morning he woke up on the ground in the cemetary, Buffy's body not twenty feet from him. That's when he knew. He screamed out for Willow, for her to stop this, to make things right.

He crawled over to Buffy and pulled her lifeless corpse into his arms and cried. He cried for a long time. When he opened his eyes, Willow was there. He begged her to fix it, to make everything right. Told her to kill him instead, just let the others live. Give Buffy back her life, her power. Bring Dawnie back. Make Giles whole. She laughed at him. Then she explained the extent of his curse. Never to die, never to forget, never to stand being alone.

He buried Buffy beside Joyce. He had a headstone erected for Dawnie as well. She deserved to be remembered. He stayed in Sunnydale, tried to help Giles, teach him about the scary things that go bump in the night. He wouldn't listen, didn't even know who Xander was. He died later that week. He took a walk through the park after sunset. Xander was contacted to identify his body. His will hadn't been changed since the curse and as the only remaining survivor of the group, Xander inherited everything. The shop, the condo, his bank accounts and life insurance. He had Giles buried next to Buffy.

He sold the shop, the condo, the furniture, and all his possessions. He had all of Buffy and Dawn's things put in storage and sold their house as well. He left Sunnydale as soon as he could. He went to San Diego for a while, and then travelled around aimlessly. He ran into the new slayer one night in Chicago. He was attacked by a couple of vampires walking back to his hotel. This tiny brunette girl, reminded him of Dawn, came flying out of no where and dusted them both. He looked at her, smiled, said 'thanks slayer' and walked away. She followed him back to his room and they talked.

He told her about Buffy, about Sunnydale, the hellmouth, and everything else. She had only been on active duty for a couple months and her watcher was in the hospital after being skewered by a demon. He trained with her, helped her research. He fell in love with her eventually. She was younger than he, she was only seventeen when they met. By her eighteenth birthday they were lovers. She died in her nineteenth year. He had only two years with her, he didn't regret them but he vowed to himself to refrain from getting involved with anymore slayers, they died too damned young. He went back to wandering after that, never stayed in one place too long. He saw the world over the next thirty years. He made a few friends, had a few lovers. He learned at one point that while he was immortal he was still fertile. One of the girls he was with became pregnant. She miscarried but it got him thinking. If he had to watch his own children grow up and die before his very eyes it would kill him.... emotionally at least. He never bedded another woman after that.

Xander had always found men to be somewhat attractive in a 'if I were gay I would go for him' sort of way. He admitted once, to Willow, about being curious about gay sex. He decided that eternity was along time to go without sex so he started to look into that side of himself a little deeper. He's had a few male lovers since then. And at first he was still very nervous and somewhat frightened about the fact that yes, he was attracted to men, and that he was very much enjoying the sex. He got over it. He is now very accepting of the fact that he is a bisexual man who leans heavily to the gay side.

He's died a handfull of times. He was drained by vamps, hit by a car, struck by lightning believe or not, and choked to death on a piece of steak, embarrassing that one. He drowned once, fell asleep in the tub. There have been a few other deaths, who knew how accident prone he really was? He had woken up in the morgue on a few occassions, often enough to learn a little magic, like how to open doors from the inside. It tends to freak people out when you jump naked out of a body bag and run like hell. After the first time he vowed never again, so....magic.

Xander started to wonder what ever happened to Spike. He took off before Tara's death, and no one had seen him by the time Willow cursed them all. He wondered if he ever came back to Sunnydale. After much consideration and soul searching, he decided to look him up. So here he was, back in good old Sunnyhell California. Two hours in town and he was dead already. He didn't even see the vampire until he was biting him. The place really hadn't changed much. As soon as he gets out of here, he's headed to Spike's crypt. Take a look around, see if there's any sign of life, unlife, whatever. He hopes it's almost dusk, it's fucking cold in there!





Part One

Five minutes after the staff at Sunnydale General left the morgue - no one worked the nightshift in this town - Alex Lavelle, formerly known as Xander Harris, slipped out of his drawer and searched for his clothes. Within ten minutes he was standing outside of the hospital lighting a cigarette - he started smoking ten years ago - and taking in the familiar sight of Sunnydale General after dark. He had logged a lot of hours in the emergency room of this hospital when he was still mortal. Whether it be from slaying duties or drunken relatives, he knew all the staff on a first name basis.

After tying his almost waist-length, wavy, chestnut coloured hair into a ponytail and combing his fingers through his beard, he headed out in the direction of Spike's old crypt. He was pretty sure that Spike wouldn't be there, it had been thirty years and even if Spike had come back to Sunnydale what were the chances he'd still be here, and living in the same place? But Alex had nowhere else to start from so that's where he headed.

Alex made one stop before heading to Spike's crypt, he went to see Buffy, Joyce, Dawn and Giles. He hadn't been back to pay his respects since he'd left thirty years before. It was high time he stopped in to talk.

Upon reaching the group of headstones he noticed there were fresh flowers placed on the graves of the girls, and even a single bloom was left for Giles. Alex sat for a moment, longing for his lost friends, his family. He didn't have any words for them, so he just sat in silence as the tears slid down his face. He hoped that Buffy and her mother were together, and that maybe, if there was any justice at all, that Dawn had found her way to them as well. The very thought of her just blinking into nothingness left a cold ache in his heart. She was the little sister he never had, just as Giles was the father he always wanted. Giles would have found Buffy on the other side, he was sure of it.

Alex wasn't sure how long he sat staring at the graves and silently weeping. He noticed that he wasn't alone as a small group of vampires crept closer. Outnumbered and practically unarmed, Alex stood, wiped his face on his shirt and withdrew the single stake he had from his back pocket. The vampires attacked. Oh well thought Alex, at least I'll go down fighting this time.

Alex managed to stake two of the five vamps before one of them got a good hold on him. The other two soon grabbed on as well. He felt fangs pierce his flesh on both wrists and his neck, then they were only in his wrists and then nothing at all. He fell to the ground, dizzy from the blood loss. When he rolled over to see what had happened to his attackers he was met by the curious gaze of a man with sandy blonde hair that was hanging around his face in lose curls wearing glasses and holding a stake.

Alex groaned and tried to sit up. The man grabbed his elbow and assisted him. "I say, are you quite alright?" Alex nodded wordlessly and braced himself on Buffy's headstone. "I'm fine, thanks," he answered somewhat gruffly. His throat was sore from weeping and the vampire bite didn't help any. The blonde looked at Alex and then shrugged his shoulders. "You really shouldn't be out at night, this town is most....unpleasant after dark." Alex chuckled and said, "Yeah but the vampires seem to like it. I was on my way to see an old aquantaince, thanks for your help. I'll just shove off now."

Alex got back on his way toward the back end of the cemetary and Spike's crypt. The blonde haired man, stunned by the reference to vampires watched him walk away. When he saw that he was going further into the cemetary he decided to follow. "Bloody fool is going to get himself killed."

"Sir. Sir, wait up." The blonde jogged after Alex to catch up to him. "Yes, can I help you?" Alex stopped and faced the man who had helped him. "It's just, if you know what lurks in the dark in this town, wouldn't you deem it safer to pay your respects during the day?" Alex considered this. He hadn't really given it much thought but this stranger was right. Just because Spike may not be living in his crypt, it didn't mean someone or something else wasn't.

"You're right. This was stupid of me. It's just that I haven't been here for a long time, I guess I sort of forgot how dangerous Sunnyhell can be."

The man nodded and turned to go, but then stopped. "How did you know about the nightlife here? Most people are blind to what they don't want to believe."

Alex chuckled. "I grew up here, to tell the truth I never knew what went on here at night either...until my best friend was turned into a vampire. Long boring story there, let's just say I woke up to what was happening around me."

"Have you been away long?"

Alex smiled. You have no idea, he thought. "A few years. I never asked your name, it would be nice to know who rescued me." The blonde smiled. "My name is Wil. And you are?"

"Alex. It's nice to meet you Wil." They shook hands and then headed toward the cemetary gates.

"So, Wil. What were you doing walking through a cemetary at night?" For a brief moment a sad look crossed Wil's face. "I uh, I was going to pay my respects to some old friends. It's not far from the gates and I know what to look out for." Alex understood that, he was doing the same thing tonight at Buffy's grave. "I could use a drink, join me?"

Wil looked at the strange man in front of him, it had been along time since anyone had asked him to do anything sociable. He spent most of his time here alone, working, watching out for others, lurking in the dark. Alex seemed to genuinely want to spend time with him. "Sure mate, where to?" Alex stopped and thought about it. "I have no idea, as I said I haven't been home for a while, you lead I'll follow."

The two men talked as they walked through the dark streets. They weren't bothered by anything on their way to where the Bronze once stood. It was now called 'Maxells', it was nice. They sat at the bar and Will got them drinks. "So Wil, what do you do here in town?"

"I own a shop on main street. I work there most days. You? I mean what do you do for a living Alex?"

Alex wondered what he should tell him, truth was he didn't do a lot. He invested the money he'd gotten from the sale of the shop, condo, and Buffy's house as well as what he got from selling his own things and the insurance money. He lived just fine off the interest and picked up odd jobs here and there. He decided on the truth, or part of it at least. "I do odd jobs here and there, I travel a lot. Before that, when I lived here, I was in Building constuction."

"I can't help but think there's more to your story than you're letting on, I won't pry. We all have our secrets, I have a past that I'm not exactly proud of myself."

Alex smiled. "I'm not ashamed of my past, I had a good life here....good friends. I just left that life behind when I moved on. I guess you could say I died here and reinvented myself on the road." That was as close to the truth as he'd ever told anyone. There was just something about Wil that made him feel comfortable. Perhaps it was the gentle English accent, reminded him of Giles. "Where abouts in England are you from? You sound like an old friend, very cultured."

Wil laughed. It was a very pleasant sound. "I'm originally from London, but I travelled around Europe quite a bit."

Alex nodded. "I spent some time there myself the past couple of years. I didn't stay long in France though, it was too....."

"French?"

"Yeah." The two men shared a laugh and ordered more drinks.

As they were leaving, Wil got up the courage to ask Alex a question he had been wanting to most of the evening. "Alex, how long are you in town for?"

"I'm not sure Will. I came to pay my respects to some old friends and look up an old aquaintance. I could be here a few days or a few months. Why?"

Alex could practically feel Wil blush in the dark street. "I...I was hoping I could see you again. If..if you want to that is."

Alex smiled at Wil. "I'd like that, very much. Perhaps I'll stop by your shop tomorrow after I'm done at the cemetary. Where exactly is it?"

Wil smiled shyly at Alex and pulled a business card from his pocket and handed it to Alex. "I hope to see you tomorrow Alex, I really enjoyed spending time with you tonight."

"Me too. Walk me to my hotel? Be my saviour again?" Wil blushed but nodded.

When they reached the Motorlodge, Alex stopped outside his door and turned to Wil. "Thank you for tonight. For the rescue and the company."

He leaned in slowly and gently kissed Wil goodnight. "I'll come by tomorrow, that is if you still want me too?" Wil smiled at Alex and nodded. "Then I'll see you tomorrow Wil. Be careful on your way home." Wil nodded again and walked away. He had a goofy grin plastered on his face.





Part Two

The next morning Alex woke late, had a large breakfast at the local Denny's and then headed to Spike's old crypt. He was better prepared than the night before. He had packed a few stakes, some holy water, crosses, a silver blade, an iron spike and a cell phone just in case he ran into nasties of the human variety.

As he walked through the cemetary, Alex couldn't help but think about Wil, the man seemed so shy and sweet, it was refreshing actually. Alex remembered the feel of his soft lips as he kissed him the night before. He wanted to see him again. Badly. He was planning on stopping by Wil's store after he was done poking around Spike's old place.

Alex stopped briefly at his friend's graves. He noticed the flowers from last night were still there. He wondered once again who had left them, perhaps Angel came by regularly. Alex had never contacted anyone in the L A group other than to write them a letter warning them about Willow's demon status and to not make any wishes around her should she show up there. He didn't want to watch as Cordy grew old and lost her looks, he didn't want to be around deadboy period, and he barely knew Wesley and had never met that Gunn fellow or Fred.

Alex said a brief prayer for the group of people whose graves he was standing over and then headed on toward Spike's crypt. Wil was right about one thing, it was much safer doing this during the day.

As he entered the old crypt, Alex noticed that the door was stuck, like it hadn't been opened in some time. He peered into the dark gloomy tomb and then entered. The place hadn't changed much. There was alot more dust and the TV was gone, but other than that it looked the same as the last time he had seen it. He went down into the cavern underneath. It still looked a mess from when Buffy and Riley had blown the place up. The old bed was still in the far corner, sagged and rotting with age, there were a few CD's scattered about, and an old unopened package of cigarettes. Alex pocketed these items as momentos of his former life.

Deciding that Spike must not have come back to Sunnydale at all or if he had he hadn't gone back to the crypt, Alex left. He figured he'd check by the mansion and Angel's old apartment before going to see Wil. He didn't want to look desperate after all, and he had come to Sunnydale to find Spike.

The mansion was a bust. It was condemned and was in worse shape than the crypt. The apartment hadn't turned out any better, it was ocupied but not by anyone he wanted to know. The thing that answered the door was truely horrific. It was purple, big white teeth, long tail and a funny voice. It was Barney on speed, Alex was almost positive. When it started to sing, Alex....ran!

Wil had gotten up and opened the shop like he did everyday. Only today wasn't like the last twenty-eight years in this town. Today he had a.... date? Meeting? Rendevous? With Alex. The handsome young man who had kissed him last night. He was still in shock over that fact, after spending so long alone, he'd finally found someone who he was interested in. The fact that it was a man was a surprise, he personally had never been with a man before. But Alex was so great, he knew about vampires, they had spent the evening talking and then he'd called him his saviour. And the kiss while not passionate was.....genuine.

Wil had been alone for as long as he could remember. As a man he had fallen in love with a girl who had spurned his affections, belittled his writing, and broken his heart. If not for her, Wil would have likely led a long full life, eventually marrying and perhaps having a family. As it was, he had run out into the night and met his fate at the teeth of a dark-haired woman. He died that night, only to be brought back to life over a century later in the demon-possessed body of the man he once was. He spent a couple of years of wandering alone, living a horrid existance while he reacclimated to the world. He had the memories of the demon to help with this, and while usefull they were far from comforting. Spike, as the demon called himself had been a horrible monster for all but the last few years of his existance. In the end he had fallen deeply in love with a beautiful young woman, a slayer of all things, who spurned his affections.

Wil had been lucky in the fact that Cecily had never given him cause to hope she would love him in return. Spike had not been so lucky, Buffy had not only lain with the demon, but she entrusted him with her secrets, her friendship, and the life of her friends and family. When she broke up with him he was devastated and acted rashly, he tried to force her to see that they were good together. It went too far. He scared himself as much as he had scared her. So he left, went to Africa to have his chip removed. Figured if he couldn't be the man she wanted and have her love, then he would be the demon she accused him of being and have her hatred. Anything was better than her pity.

Wil woke up on the damp floor of a cave with a horrible looking demon standing over him. He remembered the last minutes of his human life, being bitten, having his blood drawn from his body and then a coppery taste in his mouth as he died. He screamed. The demon laughed. When Wil had screamed himself out he heard the demon speak. 'The slayer shall receive what she deserves.' The demon then left and Wil sat huddled, scared and alone in the cave.

The memories didn't come right away, Wil left the cave that night and wandered off into the night. He came across a lone man walking and before he knew what he was doing he had bitten him. He pushed the man away from him and ran as fast as he could. When he was sure he was alone, he stopped. That's when the memories of the demon hit him. Vampire. Undead. Killer. The pain washed through him as he realized what he now was. He was undead, a vampire. But he would not be a killer! He knew he could survive on the blood of animals, the demon-Spike had done so for years now. He made up his mind to stay away from people, to survive on his own.

The demon kept him constant company in his head. Pushing him to go home, to go back to Sunnydale. With the chip out of order it wanted to make good on its threats. Eventually Wil did go back, he didn't want to leave Dawn worried about Spike. She had always been kind to the demon and it had loved her as well. She was the only one it planned to spare. Wil would never let Spike out to play, he was the stronger of the two and he made the decisions.

It had been almost two years since the night Spike had left that Wil had returned. The town looked the same as the demon remembered it, only perhaps a little darker? More dangerous? He went by the crypt that the demon had called home. There was nothing there that he wanted, so he left. That first night he did nothing but wander the town, getting himself familiar with things. He stayed in an abandoned building that night, he refused to stay in a crypt.

The next night Wil went in search of the tomb where the demon had found the ring of Amara. It was easy enough to find with Spike's memories, and the treasure was still there. He loaded it up into sacks and trunks and transported it to the old building he had spent the night in. After that he went in search of Buffy and her friends. He wanted to explain what had happened to Spike. He wanted to make sure that the demon hadn't hurt any of them by disappearing that way. Even though they had parted on bad terms, Wil was sure that Buffy was at least a bit concerned for the demon, and Dawn would have most likely been beside herself with worry.

The magic shop had been the first place he visited. Perhaps Anyanka would be there if not the rest of them, it was closed however so he started toward Revello Drive. He noticed more than one vampire wandering the streets on his way over, but no slayer. Curious, he walked a little faster. When he reached the slayer's house it was different. The house had been remodelled and painted, flowers adorned the front lawn and a name plate was hung on the front door. It read: The Winter Residence. Wil knocked on the door and when an older woman answered he had asked about the previous owner. Unfortunately, the old woman couldn't tell him anything.

Wil could feel the demon's trepidation, something was wrong here. He stopped the next vampire he saw and questioned him about the slayer. That was when he found out she was dead, buried in the same cemetary as his demon's crypt. He went there immediately to verify the alegation. What he saw made his demon howl. Not only was Buffy dead, but the girl - Dawn - was gone as well. He saw the headstone for the watcher, the dates were separate by a few days, he pieced together what he could. Dawn had gone first, Buffy in her grief had gotten herself killed most likely and with no slayer to protect the town it was only a matter of time before the watcher would become a target. He didn't see any graves for the witches or Xander, he figured they probably fled town after the slayer's death. They were brave but they weren't stupid.

Wil hadn't heard from his demon after that night. It was as if it were broken by the death of the slayer and her sister. Wil went on about his business, he sold the treasure, bought a small book store with an apartment overhead and set up shop. He specialized in the occult - books on witchcraft, demonology, pagan ritual, etc. He made a life for himself here in Sunnydale, he worked, he patrolled to keep the streets safer, he conversed with his customers, but he'd never made any friends, never took any lovers. He wasn't human, and anyone he became involved with would not only learn of what he was, they would eventually die even if they did accept him.

Wil would leave flowers on the graves on a weekly basis. He never knew if the demon took any solace in his actions but it seemed the proper thing to do. He eventually decided that he was never going to be happy all by himself, and that if he ever did find someone he wanted to share his life with, be they friend or lover, he would allow himself to take whatever happiness they offered to him for as long as he could. He hadn't actively pursued anyone. He had almost given up on ever finding someone who he could love, then by a twist of fate he met Alex.

It was early in the evening by the time Alex got to Wil's shop. It had taken him longer to scout around town for signs of Spike then he thought it would. He was looking forward to seeing Wil, in fact he had thought of little else all day. He noticed from Wil's busines card that he ran an occult shop, Alex was curious to find out if Wil was a practitioner of magic or if he just knew a good business to be in, in this town.

Wil looked up from the register when Alex entered. He was in the process of ringing up a sale so he merely smiled at him and went back to work. Alex took the opportunity to browse around the store a bit. There were no other customers in the store at the moment so Wil went over to see his new friend as soon the last patron left the shop.

"Hello."

"Hey. Nice store, you have a great selection of demonolgy texts. I haven't seen such a broad selection in years."

"Thank you. Do you practice magics?"

"Not much. An old friend used to, she got hooked. It ended badly."

"I'm sorry. Did you find who you were looking for?"

"Nope. No clues in any of his old haunts. Ran into the scariest demon you'd ever want to meet though."

"Really? How so?"

"It looked like Barney. You know that big purple dinosaur from the children's show thirty or so years ago?"

" I remember that show, repeats and all that. I never actually watched it."

"Hey, never thought you did. No need to get offended."

Alex and Wil shared a smile.

"You do know that the character on that show was actually a demon don't you? Their species feeds on the annoyance of adults, what better way to do that than star in a children's television show?"

"Ha! I knew it! I told them all he was evil. But did they believe me? Nooooo."

"Told who Alex?"

"Oh, just some old friends. They're all dead. Tragic incident."

"Aren't they all, here on the hellmouth?"

"True."

"If you don't mind me asking, how long have you been away from Sunnydale? It's just that I've been here quite a few years myself and I feel like I should know you from somewhere. Like we've met before."

"A long time. It's a long story, and not a happy one. I'd rather we not discuss it if you don't mind."

"Certainly. I wasn't tying to pry. I hope you understand." Wil felt rather bad that he had brought up such painful memories for Alex. He only hoped that he wouldn't fault him for being curious. Alex smiled at Wil and looked at his watch. "What time do you close?"

"About ten more minutes."

"Join me for dinner? My treat."

"Sounds lovely Alex. Thank you."

Alex and Wil had decided on Chinese food for dinner and had walked to the 'Jade Dragon', Wil swore it was the best Chinese food restaurant in Sunnydale. They were seated at a small table in the far corner, it was somewhat of a romatic set-up. After they had ordered, Wil had asked Alex about his life, did he enjoy travelling? What were his favorite places? That sort of thing.

Throughout dinner they continued to discuss world travel, various things that they had in common, and were getting into conversation that was a bit more personal.

"Alex, I don't mean to pry but would you tell me what happened to you to make you leave Sunnydale? It's just that I feel that I've gotten to know you, and I'd like to know a lot more about you. I ah, I like you."

"Okay. It's not a nice story though. How about we take a walk and I'll tell you all about it."

"Alright.

The bill was paid and the two men walked out into the night. They were walking toward the park when Alex began his tale.

"As I said before, I grew up here in Sunnydale. Born and raised on the hellmouth and didn't have a clue. I was in highschool when my best bud Jesse was turned into a vampire. By a sheer twist of fate I accidentally staked him one night at the local club. My life was irrevocably changed from then on. I knew what really went on in this town and I helped to fight against it. My other best friend, she began practising magic. She got very powerful, like scary powerful, and she got addicted to it. She rehabed, got better for a while. I fell in love with the strangest girl, we were going to get married but at the last minute I chickened out and ran. She didn't take it well. Then again they never do, do they?

A good friend of ours, my highschool crush, was shot in her backyard. I was there when it happened. The guy who did it took off, I waited for the ambulance and then drove to the hospital. I didn't know that my best friend had been upstairs with her girlfriend, and that she had been standing at the window. A stray bullet had hit Tara and it killed her."

Wil was begining to get a strange tingley feeling in the pit of his stomache. This all seemed familiar to him, not the shooting but the rest of it. He motioned for Alex to continue as they sat on a bench in the park.

"That's when everything changed. While I was at the hospital, Wills was turning to the dark arts. She sucked all the magic out of the books at the magic shop. She wanted revenge on the guy who killed Tara. Long story short....she killed him. Skinned him alive and then incinerated him. She tried to kill our friends and destroy the world. I stopped her, or at least slowed her down enough to let a counter spell bind her.

We really thought she was getting better after that. Then she disappeared, came back as a vengence demon. She destroyed us all. My friends all died, and I was cursed. I left after that, I never came back once, not until a couple nights ago. And I've never told this story to anyone."

Wil was sure he knew why it seemed familiar, his demon had memories of similar experiences. It wasn't possible that Alex and his demon knew of each other. It had been too long ago. But still....

"Alex? What were your friends names?"

"Well, the witch turned demon was Wills, Willow. Tara, her girlfriend was also a witch, G-man or Giles as the others called him was the owner of the magic shop, Anya - that was the girl I was to marry, and then Buffy and Dawn. Buffy was..."

"The slayer, and Dawn was the key. It's not possible. It can't be."

Wil got up and started to pace. Alex watched him with shock and bewilderment. How did Wil know about Buffy and Dawn? No one knew about Dawn.

"How? Wil how do you know about Buffy and Dawn?"

Wil stopped pacing. He looked at Alex.

"Is Alex your real name?"

"No. I changed it. I was going to change it to Heywood Jablowme but strangely enough it was already taken. So I went with Alex La Velle. Why? And what does this have to do with Buffy and Dawn?"

"Alex La Velle? Oh my...Alexander Lavelle Harris. Xander Harris. It is you! How? It can't be, you should be old."

"Wil, you're starting to freak me out here. How do you know me? I haven't gone by Xander Harris in thirty years."

"It's a long story, you won't like it and when I finish telling you....well, you'll probably hate me. But first let me show you something that you might recognize."

With that said, Wil took off his glasses, lifted his hair off his forehead and showed Alex his scarred eyebrow. Alex paled and reached out to touch it.

"Spike?"

"William. I havn't been Spike in thirty years, the demon has receeded completely, he doesn't even talk to me anymore. I'm sorry Alex, I didn't recognize you from its memories, you look so different and you're still young."

"How? How did this happen, did Spike get cursed with a soul? Oh God! Willow! She did this to him didn't she!"

"No, actually he did it to himself. As I said it's a long story. I understand if you wish to leave, to not see me anymore. I know how you feel about vampires and the one that inhabited this body in particular."

"No, I'd like to hear what happened. I came here looking for Spike actually, I'd like to know what happened to him."

Wil told Alex about the last night Spike spent in Sunnydale, how he had attacked Buffy and then ran scared. How he went to Africa to have his chip removed. About being gifted with a soul, not cursed. He told Alex how he had woken scared and alone in a dank cave with a demon looking down on him. He told him of his years wandering, hunting animals for survival. About how he came back here to find Buffy and Dawn, to explain to them about his demon.

"And when I saw the graves, it was like something broke inside of me. The demon - Spike - howled in rage and loss, it went on for hours. I went home just before dawn and slept. When I awoke that evening Spike was silent. I havn't heard from the demon since. He is broken, damaged. It-he truely did love the slayer, it just didn't know how to love her the way she needed."

Alex sat in silence for a long time. He had come here to find Spike and he had....sort of. He really liked Wil, he was seriously thinking of staying in town for some time just to be with him. But now, it was strange, different. Wil was William, before 'the bloody' he was a gentle soul residing in Spike's body. Or was it his body? He had it first after all. It was confusing.

"Can you still....grrr?"

"Grrr? Oh you mean change faces. Yes I can."

"Would you? I mean...I'd like to see."

Wil removed his glasses once again and bowed his head, when he looked back up at Alex it was with the demon's face. Alex reached out and ran his fingertips gently across the brow ridges and down to the sharp fangs protruding from Wils' mouth.

Wil held perfectly still while Alex touched his demon face. It was a strange sensation. He had never had anyone touch him like this, it was...nice. He felt slight vibrations rumbling through his chest, then he began to hear a sound. Alex must have heard it too for he withdrew his hand and smiled.

"I made you purr. Wow!"

Wil ducked his head in embarassment and shifted back to his human face. Alex put a finger under Wils' chin and lifted his face to meet him.

"Hey, don't be embarrassed. I'm flattered. I always wanted to make a vampire purr."

"You what? But you hate vampires!"

"Nah, not all of them. I like some, I've met a few since leaving Sunnydale that I haven't wanted to stake. Never kissed one before though. You were my first."

Wil spluttered and blushed, Alex chuckled at him and smiled.





Part Three

Alex took a good look at the vampire in front of him, he could now see the resemblence between Wil and Spike. He wondered how he had missed it before. The eyes were a dead give away. Everything else was different though. The hair, while still blonde was a darker shade and it was longer, and curly. The accent and the glasses were pure William, Spike was too cocky and arrogant to wear glasses or show how well educated he was. It was strange, looking into Wils' eyes and seeing Spike there as well.

Alex could now admit to himself that he had always found Spike to be somewhat attractive, not that he would have ever, under any circumstances, wanted to have any sort of relationship with him. Spike was not his type. Too callous, and hello? Evil. But Wil wasn't Spike, was he?

"So Spike is gone?"

"Not gone persay, dormant. He is lost to me, I cannot reach him but he is still there."

"Does it bother you that he seems to be .... damaged?"

"Very much so. He was all I had for the first couple years. His memories were what allowed me to function in this strange new world. I grew to understand him, his existance, why he was the way he was. A lot of it was due to my influence on him."

"How?"

"When the demon possesses the body, the memories and personality of the host body are integrated into its being. That is how the demon has knowledge, the ability to pass for human, to read, write, drive a car, etc. Spike remembered being gentle, walked all over, scorned and hurt. I was a bit pathetic when I was alive. A 'wanker' as he called me. Angelus took great pleasure in reminding him how weak he was because of the man I had been. Spike became hard, cruel, a monster in order to survive Angelus. Also to prove his worth, that he was worthy of his Sire's attentions. Dru was the world to him. All he wanted was to prove he was better than Angelus, so she would look at him the way she looked at Angelus. He never got what he wanted from her, he was always second best even after Angelus got cursed. He thought he'd gotten his second chance with Buffy, that she would chose him over Angel."

"That's harsh. No wonder he was such a bastard."

"Yes, well. When we learned of her death, he knew it was over for him. He would never be found worthy of love from anyone. His Sire had abandoned him, Buffy had spurned him, he'd left town a broken and bitter demon. He wanted the chip out so he could bury his pain under anger, it was the only real way for him to cope with rejection. He asked the demon to make him the man he once was. He should have known better, demons can rarely be trusted. He had to endure a series of tests, a fight to the death with a flame-fisted humanoid, another fight with a two-headed demon, and then a swarm of beetles invading this body. He passed out, and then I Woke up."

"And you have no memories of what happened between the time you died and when you woke in that cave?"

"No, at first I thought I was in hell. I remembered the demon - Drusilla - draining my blood, and then this heavy feeling. The next thing I know I'm in a dark damp place with a very large, very ugly demon staring down at me."

"What did you do?"

"What else? I screamed my bloody head off!"

Will smiled at Alex and they both cracked up laughing. It was good, they needed a tension breaker.

"So, what did you do before coming to Sunnydale?"

"I wandered. I hunted animals, great fun that was! Ever try to catch a wild boar? Not easy."

"Nope, but I ate a live pig once, it was in a cage. I was possessed at the time."

"You'll have to tell about that sometime. I bet it's an interesting story."

"You have no idea. Buffy didn't find it so interesting though. But that can wait, I want to hear about you and Spike."

"Alright. Where was I then? Oh right, wandering. Well, I spent about two years wandering around. I stayed in Africa for the first year, then Spike convinced me to go to the states. It made sense, I could get blood a lot easier here. He tried to talk me into going to Angel, but I refused. There was no way I was takilng any chances on Angelus knowing of my existence. As I understand it, his soul isn't permanent and he has already lost it twice. Is this correct?"

"Big yep on that one. Angelus is soooo not someone I want to meet up with again. Especially in my current condition."

"About that, I was wondering what exactly Willow cursed you with. If you don't mind me asking."

"Not at all. You keep my secret and I'll keep yours, deal?"

"Deal."

"I can't die. Well yeah, I can. I can't stay dead is more apropriate. I have, embarrassingly, died quite a few times. I just keep waking up. I also have the gift of terrible lonliness, I'm forced to seek company, make friends. Then, I get to watch them die. Lucky me huh?"

Wil didn't know what to say. He was stunned by this, all of the demon's memories of Willow were of a sweet, shy girl who was extremely protective of her friends. He knew about her magic addiction but never thought she had it in her to be cruel. It was very distressing. He felt awful for Alex. He could understand why he wouldn't want Angelus to know of his condition, he would be most likely tortured and killed every night for eternity. Angelus was a sick bastard.

"I'm sorry Alex. I didn't mean to...hurt you?"

"It's okay. At least you're sort of in the same boat. Being immortal and all."

"I guess I am at that.

"So, there's no clause to your soul? You won't be lost if you ah...get a happy?"

"No, no clause. As I said, Spike was gifted with a soul - me - not cursed. I'm here to stay."

"Good to know. Not that I'm glad Spike is gone, I will miss him, I guess. But I'm glad that I have a chance to get to know you, Wil. I really like you, a lot."

Alex placed his palm on the side of Wils' face and then slowly brought their mouths together in a soft sweet kiss. Wils' hand came up and cupped the back of Alex' head and deepened the kiss slightly. When they parted, Alex smiled at Wil and stood up. He offered his hand to the shy vampire and grinned when he took it. They began walking toward Wils' shop.




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