Pairing: X/S Rating: NC 17 eventually Summary: Set at the end of season five. Xander and Spike get sucked into a portal during the battle with Glory. Disclaimer: Not mine. Don't sue. Feedback: Makes me write faster. A/N: Happy Birthday Meleesa! A/N 2: Thanks to Alex, my woderful Beta! You rock!

A World of Their Own


Part One

Dawn stands at the end of the platform; she can see the battle taking place below her but is helpless to do anything to stop it. She hears someone approach and looks up. It's Doc. "You. You can help me. Untie me. Please. Help me, she's coming!"

Doc continues to walk towards her, "Well, it seems she's running a bit late, is the thing. And, uh, if her Splendidness can't be here in time to bleed you... " Dawn realises that he isn't going to help her when he pulls out a knife.

Down below, Willow separates the mob of crazy people and Spike darts through. He quickly begins to ascend the stairs to save Dawn.

Up top, Doc produces a pocket watch and looks at it. "Well. What do you know? It's just about that time." Dawn sees Spike come up the stairs and calls his name. Then Doc spins around as Spike slowly strides toward him.

"Doesn't a fella stay dead when ya kill him?"

Spikes lunges forward, Doc sidesteps him and grabs him by the neck. He thrusts his knife into Spike’s back. Spike gasps in pain. Dawn gasps in sympathy. Doc looks at Spike appraisingly. "I don't smell a soul anywhere on you. Why do you even care?" Spike replies, "I made a promise to a lady."

Doc shoots his tongue out at Spike. Spike ducks and the two grapple on the floor. Doc pins Spike’s arms and tells him "Then I'll send the lady your regrets," before throwing Spike off the tower.

Dawn screams and reaches out for Spike as he falls. She loses her balance and falls over the edge of the platform. Her dress catches on an extended piece of a metal girder and she hangs there, suspended above the ground. Her arm is cut badly from the fall and is bleeding slowly.

Down below, the group looks on in horror as Spike plummets to the ground. Willow takes control, issuing orders to those around her. "Xander, get Spike. Anya, take care of Tara. I'm going after Dawn." The others do as they are told and Xander kisses Anya quickly before leaving her to care for Tara while he runs to collect the injured vampire.

Buffy gets to the top of the tower and sees Doc standing at the end of the platform looking down. He turns around when he hears her approach. "Oh, this should be interesting." He smiles at the slayer who just pushes him off the side of the platform and drops down to look over the edge.

"Dawn. Are you okay?" Dawn looks up at Buffy and tries to smile. "I'm okay, but I'm scared. Buffy, please get me out of here." Buffy swings her legs over the edge and begins climbing down to her sister just as the blood begins to drip off her fingertips and into the night air.

Xander gathers Spike up into his arms and starts to carry him back toward Anya and Tara when he hears the noise. It sounds like an airplane engine it's so loud. A strong wind begins to whip around him and he feels himself being pulled upward. He frantically looks around; his eyes lock with Anya's as he and Spike are sucked into a portal.

Buffy pulls Dawn back to the top of the platform just as the portal begins to open. "Buffy it's started." Dawn looks at her sister and makes a decision. "I have to stop it, only when my blood stops flowing will the portal close." Buffy shakes her head. She leans in and whispers to Dawn before hugging her tight. "I love you, Dawn." Buffy then turns and leaps off the tower, throwing herself into the portal.

Giles killed Ben. He knew that if he didn't, Glory would come back and make his slayer pay for sparing her life. He had to make the hard choices, it was Ben or Dawn; he knew he had chosen correctly. He looked up when he heard the noise and saw the portal open. He left Ben's lifeless body and headed back toward the others. He was too late to see Xander and Spike disappear, but he was just in time to see his slayer jump.

Anya screamed and ran toward the portal after Xander disappeared. She didn't want to live without him; if he was gone she had no reason for being. Tara grabbed her and held her back, she couldn't allow Anya to throw her life away. Besides, it was a portal that meant it had to lead to somewhere. Maybe there was a way to bring Xander and Spike back.

Willow saw Buffy pull Dawn back up to the top of the tower. She was just about to head back to Tara when she heard the noise. She looked over and saw Xander and Spike get pulled into the portal, she heard Anya scream and saw her rush out into the open. She was glad that Tara had stopped her, but she understood. Part of her felt like jumping in after Xander, as well.

Willow noticed that everyone was looking at the portal and staring. She looked up and saw Buffy, suspended in the centre of the portal. "Buffy, no!" Willow felt hot tears run down her face. In the span of seconds, she had lost the two people who had made up her world for the past five years. It wasn't fair. She had just gotten Tara back and now she'd lost her two best friends in one horrifying minute.

Dawn stepped off the last stair and walked over to the fallen body of her sister. Her sister who had told her to live - for her. She reached out to touch her but pulled away before making contact. Tara was beside her in an instant, pulling her into a warm safe embrace and stroking her hands over her hair. "Hey, lets get you away from here, okay?"

Giles called the ambulance while the others piled into his car. They had lost too much in one night. He had lost his slayer, a young woman who meant the world to him, and Xander who he thought of as the son he never had. Willow had lost her best friends, both of them. But Dawn, Dawn had lost not only her sister - and therefore the only real family she had, but she had lost the man she had been not so secretly crushing on for years, and the vampire that she called her friend. She had lost the most.


Xander struggled to sit up, but a solid weight on his chest was keeping him from moving. He opened his eyes and blinked at the bright sunlight. He groaned in pain and tried to push the heavy object off his chest. The object moaned in protest and Xander yelped. He began to struggle to free himself when he heard a very distinct British "Bloody hell!" emanate from the lump on his chest. The lump that - now that he could see clearly - had a white/blonde head and was wearing black leather.

"Shit! Spike!" Xander pushed the vampire off of him and began to frantically look around for shelter. He needed to get Spike out of the sunlight, now. He turned in a circle but all he could see was grass and weeds, trees and plants. And of course debris, a lot of debris from the building site.

Spike pushed himself up to his hands and knees and then flopped over on his back. He was in agony from the fall. He wasn't sure if his arm was broken, but it hurt like hell. He had a knife wound in his back and his face felt hot. He opened his eyes and screamed. "Fuck! Shit, cover me fer Christ’s sake before I catch fire!"

Spike rolled onto his front and curled up under his duster. Xander ripped his jacket off and threw in on the vampire as well. After a few minutes, when Spike didn't start to smoke or catch fire, Xander had a thought. "Hey, Spike?" A muffled "What?" came from under the jackets. Xander chuckled.

"Shouldn't you be on fire by now? I mean, you were laying out here in the sunlight for God knows how long before we woke up, and no vampire flambé. Why is that?" Spike mumbled something that sounded like "Dunno mate," and Xander watched as one pale hand crept out from under the leather.

Spike waited for the inevitable pain of his hand catching on fire. When it didn't come, he stuck his other hand out as well. Still no pain. With a smile on his face he rolled back over and let the heat of the sun warm him in a way he hadn't felt in over a century. He didn't care that his arm might possibly be broken, or that his back was bleeding. He was in the sunlight! Him, a vampire, in the light of day and not frying to a crisp. This was like heaven.

Xander chuckled at Spike and then took a good look around him. Now that he wasn't so concerned about Spike's safety, he wanted to know where exactly they were. "Hey Spike, where the hell do you think we are?" He spun back around when he heard Spike chuckle.

"Not hell, Shaggy, feels like heaven to me. But to answer your question, I don't have a clue." Spike continued to enjoy the sun, he stripped off his jacket and his t-shirt, letting the warmth soak into his chest. He considered stripping his jeans off as well but figured he'd better not, he wasn't so sure how Xander would take it, him being in the full monty and all.

"I'm going to take a look around, don't wander off." Xander shook his head fondly and then left Spike to his sunbathing while he headed off in the direction of a stand of trees. They were farther than they looked and by the time Xander got close, he could hear running water. He figured that was a good sign, he would need water pretty soon.

As he got closer to the trees he saw a slow moving river winding through them. There was a small waterfall - about eight feet in height, a lot of plants along the far side and the water looked crystal clean. He stopped at the bank and knelt down. After cupping his hand and bringing some water to his face, he sniffed at it before tasting it. It tasted pure and it was cold and refreshing. He drank a few mouthfuls and carefully made his way across the river to the other side by stepping on some rocks.

On the other side of the river, Xander examined the plants and shrubbery. He found some wild strawberries and raspberry bushes, but the others didn't look familiar. He took off his shirt and used it to carry the fruit as he made his way back across the river and toward Spike. He wasn't sure how long they would be stuck here before Willow, Tara, and Giles found a way to rescue them and he didn't want to starve while waiting.

Spike waited until he knew Xander was gone before skinning out of his jeans, boxers and boots to lie naked in the sun. His arm, while definitely sore was not broken. The wound on his back was healing up and he felt great. He wished Buffy were here so he could see her in the sunlight. He tried to imagine how she would look with the sunlight glinting off her hair.

Spike, while not the most educated demon when it came to mojo, knew that the chances of them getting out of this place were slim to none. If anyone could find a way to rescue them, it would be Red, but it could take a bloody long time for her to do it. He wasn't as upset at the idea of being stuck here as he should be. Probably had something to do with the fact that he was lying naked in the sun. He wondered if he had time to toss off before Xander got back.

Part Two

By the time Xander returned, Spike was back in his jeans and boots and smoking a cigarette. He looked surprisingly relaxed for someone who had been dragged through a vortex and dumped in a strange dimension. Xander just shrugged his shoulders; he'd long ago given up on ever trying to figure out Spike.

"I found a river and some food, no vamp-chow though. How long can you go without eating?" Xander was surprised to note that he was actually concerned about Spike and how he was going to eat here. Spike shrugged his shoulders and took a drag off his cigarette. He blew the smoke out through his nose and looked at Xander speculatively.

"You really want to know?" He was somewhat surprised by the question. He didn't figure Xander would even think about his needs. "A few days, a week at most. ‘Course that was back when I was feeding properly; with what I eat these days, I'll be lucky to go three days before trying to eat my own arms."

Xander shuddered at the mental picture that provided. "Okay, and can I say ewww?" Xander stood and began to pace, being stuck with a snarky, arrogant vampire was one thing - he was used to that. But being stuck here with a half-starved, likely crazy, demon was not sounding like a good idea. "Can you hunt? Animals I mean?"

Spike looked at him like he was nuts. "Of course I can bloody hunt, pillock! Just not sure if I can kill the soddin’ things. Chip, remember?" Xander’s eyes grew comically wide at that statement. "You mean, you might not be able to kill like, a rabbit or anything? Wow, that's harsh. And, hey? How come you never tested it before now?"

"Spike shrugged his shoulders, he wasn't about to admit that he had in fact tried to catch a rabbit one night when he was out carousing but it got away. "Why should I? You lot were always good for a bag or two if things got too bad." It was true, as much as he hated to admit it; they did always feed him if he asked.

Spike suddenly got a wicked grin on his face and stood up. He stalked closer to Xander and shifted into his demon face. He watched as Xander’s eyes grew big and he smiled around his fangs. "Of course, there is a chance it doesn't even work here; the sun don't affect me, maybe my chip is buggered too."

Xander didn't seem to be listening to him, and Spike couldn't smell even a hint of fear coming from the boy. He was disappointed. He wasn't actually going to bite him - even if he could - Spike was a sociable demon after all, and the idea of eternity here with no one to talk to would make him as barmy as Dru. "Soddin’ hell, Xan. You could at least pretend to be scared of me."

Spike flinched back as Xander’s hand darted out toward his face. He was startled to feel the boy’s fingers trail across his forehead. "What the bloody hell are you doing, Harris?"

Xander withdrew his hand and let out a shaky laugh. "No lumpies. Spike? Did you just go all grrr? Like completely grrr?" Spike was confused, not about the 'grrr' - he understood what that meant; he just wasn't sure why Xander would ask, he had eyes didn't he? "Er, yeah mate. What of it?"

Xander started to giggle and then he pointed at Spike’s face. Spike reached up to touch his ridges and yelped when he felt smooth skin. Not a single bump. "Bloody hell!"

"You look like an Anne Rice vampire! Oh my God, maybe you're impotent now too!" Xander’s giggles had escalated into full-blown laughter. Spike just smirked at him and shook his head. "Nope, not impotent. Already tested the equipment while you were off picking berries." Spike couldn't help but laugh as Xander shot up off the grass and looked around frantically.

"Don't worry pet, you're not sitting in it or nothing." Xander sighed, and Spike debated on whether or not he should tell him how he had cleaned up his 'mess'. He licked his lips and thought better of it.

"Alright, since you're the glorified bricklayer, you can find us some sort of shelter." Xander looked at Spike sceptically. "And what prey tell are you going to be doing while I do this?" Spike snapped his fangs at the boy and said "Hunting."


While Spike was off on his 'hunt', Xander sorted through the debris from the tower site. There were quite a few useful things among the rubbish, one being the weapons bag. Along with that there were a couple of heavy canvas tarps, a steel drum, three hammers, four boxes of nails, some sheet metal, a crowbar, and three glass jars amongst other various things. Most of it was junk, but Xander thought some of it might come in handy.

Xander was thinking of using the tarps and some of the various bits of metal to fashion a tent for the time being. He wasn't sure how long they would be stuck there, but he figured it wouldn't be too long. Willow would find a way to bring him home, he was sure of it.

Spike tracked his prey through the trees that lined the river’s edge. He could hear the beating of its heart, smell the blood in its veins. He almost laughed when he realised how much he was enjoying this. He hadn't hunted for food in far too long, no matter that his prey was animal instead of human.

Spike waited for the perfect moment to strike. Just as his victim was approaching the water’s edge to drink, he attacked. It was quick, painless - for him at least, and efficient. His fangs sunk deep into the throat of the young deer and he swallowed mouthful after mouthful of hot salty blood. Next to stale, bagged, pigs blood this was ambrosia. The deer fell dead and Spike licked his lips before hefting the carcass over his shoulder and heading back to Xander.

Xander took one look at the dead animal that Spike had dropped at his feet and jumped back. "What the hell!" Spike chuckled at him and nudged the fawn with his boot. "Dinner. You do need to eat ya know."

Xander screwed up his face and shuddered. He was so not eating something Spike had been sucking on. "I realise it's been a long time since you were human, but as a rule, we usually prefer our meat cooked. I don't see a stove around here, so get rid of it."

Spike rolled his eyes and fished around in his duster pocket. He drew out his lighter and tossed it to Xander. "Make a fire, git. I'll skin it for ya." He smirked when Xander shuddered again. Well, the boy needed to get used to the idea that they could be here for awhile. Besides, he'd lived with him, he knew a few berries weren't going to hold him over for long.


They had been there for four days. Xander had found a cave not more than a half mile from where they had woken up and they had moved into it, after Spike had eaten the previous occupant. Spike spent all day, everyday lying in the sun. Xander didn't blame him, he knew that once they got home Spike would miss it. They hadn't talked much about home, Xander was grateful. He knew there was a possibility that they were all dead. Glory had opened the portal; otherwise they wouldn't be here. If they did survive, if everything was okay, it could still take a long time for them to find him.

Xander and Spike had emptied their pockets to see if they had anything useful in them. Other than the lighter, Spike had a flask of cheap whiskey, a deck of cards, two knives, a straight razor - which Xander had appropriated for himself to shave with, and two battered packages of cigarettes. In Xander’s pockets there were keys, a cell phone - Spike put on a big production of trying to call for help - it had actually made Xander smile - two Twinkies - which Xander had eaten immediately, Anya’s ring - which Xander kept to himself, and his work schedule for next week. Nothing of any real use, other than the razor, lighter, and the playing cards.

Xander spent his days wandering along the river, fishing, gathering fruit, and thinking. He was bored. He had run out of things to occupy himself with. He needed a project, something to keep his hands busy. That was how he found himself picking reeds from the river and weaving them into mats. They would be more comfortable to sleep on than the folded-up tarp he was currently using.

Spike snorted in amusement as Xander weaved. He was doing a decent job of it but it wasn't tight enough to hold for long. He'd bet money on the thing falling apart in a week. Xander sighed in frustration as he tried to tighten the mat he was working on. "Hey, Spike? Anywhere but here."

Spike looked over at him, confusion clearly written on his face. "What the hell are you going on about?" Xander chuckled. "It's a game, bleach head. We used to play it back in high school when Giles had us cataloguing his stuffy old books. I say 'anywhere but here' and you tell me where you would rather be and why. Get it?"

Spike thought for a minute, he really couldn't think of any place he would rather be; this place suited him just fine. He just wished that he had better company. "Can't think of anywhere. I like it just fine here, I get to lay about in the sun all day, the blood is hot and fresh, even if it is animal. And I get to hunt. Ask me again, when I've gotten tired of the sunlight, say in a hundred years or so. What about you?"

There was only one place Xander wanted to be; back home in the basement of the Magic Box hearing Anya accept his marriage proposal. "The Magic Box, in the basement about an hour before we went after Glory." Spike had expected him to say something along the lines of 'the food court at the mall' or 'the locker room of the Laker Girls', not the Magic Box. "How come? What's so special about the shop's basement?"

Xander dug into his pocket and brought out the ring box, he opened it and just stared at it for a while. "I proposed to Anya there, right before we were going to leave." He chuckled. "She hit me. Said I was only asking because we were going to die and I wouldn't have to go through with it. I told her I was asking because I knew we were going make it; she said yes. She told me to give this to her after we made it." He showed Spike the ring and then put it away.

Spike didn't know what to say. Yeah, he loved Buffy but he was smart enough to know she would never see him as anything more than a demon. Xander had a real chance at a happy ending; at least he did before all this happened. "Something to look forward to then, eh mate? You figure she'll kiss you before or after she slaps you for getting yourself sucked into a portal?" Xander couldn't help but smile. Anya most likely would hit him first.

"We're going to be stuck here for a long time aren't we, Spike?" Xander picked up his mat and started weaving again. Spike rolled over to face him and sighed. "Yeah, pet. I think we are." There was really nothing else to say so they sat there in silence absorbing the fact that this place was going to be home from now on.

Part Three

It had been six months since the day Xander woke up in this strange place with Spike still passed out on his chest. Six months of no electricity, no junk food, no television, no hot water, and no Anya. To say he was a little tense was an understatement. He needed to keep busy and he was tired of living in a cave like a Flintstone, so he decided to build a cabin.

The construction was slow but it was coming along. It kept him busy and the hard work made him so tired that he didn't really have time to think, which was definitely a good thing as far as he was concerned. Surprisingly, Spike was a lot of help. He helped him cut down trees, trim off the branches, carry the logs, and on the odd occasion he would swing a hammer as well; as long as Xander told him what it was that needed to be done.

For the most part, Spike did the hunting. Xander had trapped the occasional rabbit and fished in the river but since Spike needed to feed anyway, Xander left that job up to him. He himself had started a vegetable garden with some of the wild plants he'd found here and there. So far he had carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, and turnips. Of course he still picked berries when he went down to the river as well. He was hoping to find some corn and maybe some peppers eventually.

Today had been especially hard work. The cabin walls were getting high enough now that he needed to reach up to place the logs, his back was hurting, and he stunk something fierce from sweating all day. As soon as Spike left to hunt, Xander headed for the river to wash up. He really missed soap and deodorant. But he did enjoy standing under the waterfall. If he closed his eyes and concentrated really hard, he could pretend he was back home taking a shower after Anya had used all the hot water.

Spike had spent the day helping Xander work on the cabin. It wasn't an easy job and he had to admit that the boy certainly knew what he was doing - not that he would ever tell him that. When he got back from hunting, the sun was just starting to set. He didn't see Xander anywhere nearby so he wandered off toward the river to see if he was there. As he neared the water he could just make out the sound of Xander’s voice - singing. Spike chuckled and picked up the pace, he figured he could tease the boy about his lousy singing voice. If nothing else, it might be worth a few laughs. What he saw when he got close was enough to wipe the smile off his face, replacing it with a look of shocked awe.

Xander stood just under the waterfall, his head thrown back and his eyes closed. He ran his hands through his hair, pushing the sodden locks back from his face. His well-tanned, muscular frame was practically glowing in the light of the waning sun, and for some reason, Spike couldn't help but wonder if his skin felt as smooth as it looked. He watched as the water poured down, over broad shoulders, to a well-defined chest. His gaze lingered on the now sculpted abdominals before lowering to the flaccid - yet still impressive piece of flesh nestled in dark curly hair between well-muscled thighs.

The water was slightly cold, making his nipples hard little nubs. Xander moaned softly as he accidentally grazed one with his fingernail. He had been celibate far too long if something that innocent was making him hard - and it was. He turned around under the water and scrubbed at his face.

Spike watched as Xander turned around, presenting him with a clear view of his well-muscled back and firm ass. All the work they'd been doing building the cabin had done wonderful things for Xander’s body. Gone were the layers of baby fat that had accumulated since he'd become foreman. He muscles were lean, and well defined. He had the body of an Adonis. A body that Spike was starting to look at in a whole new light. He'd never been much of a man’s man, preferring ladies if given the choice, but here and now, Xander was looking imminently shaggable.

Xander tried to will away his erection, not knowing how long he might have before Spike came back with dinner. It wasn't working. The two of them spent almost every waking minute together either working on the cabin, playing poker, weaving mats to sleep on or just talking. So it left them little or no time to be alone. Xander decided to take advantage of this rare opportunity and relieve himself.

Spike groaned as he realised what Xander was going to do. He watched as the other man stepped out from under the falls and walked over to the far riverbank. As Xander stretched out comfortably in the shallow water, Spike unconsciously began undoing his pants.

Xander took a quick look around to make sure Spike wasn't around before wrapping a fist around his shaft. He stroked himself slowly, enjoying the feel of his work-calloused hand on his hard length. He was a bit disappointed that it would be over so quickly as it felt incredibly good and he wished he could keep it up for hours instead of the few minutes that he would be lucky to last.

Spike realised that he had taken himself out and was mirroring Xander’s movements stroke for stroke. He hadn't tossed off to a live show in longer than he could remember and decided to enjoy it while he could. All too soon he felt the familiar tingling start at the base of his spine. He looked over to see that Xander had his eyes clenched shut, his fist moving furiously over his cock as he strained toward completion. He felt his orgasm overtake him at the same instant Xander shot his milky emissions all over his chest.

Spike chuckled ruefully as he cleaned up and put himself away. "I've been here too bloody long if Harris is starting to look good!" Spike backed away and went back to their cave. He needed to distance himself from what had just happened. He would not start thinking about the boy that way. They were bound to be here a long time and they were starting to become friends. Spike didn't want to screw that up just because he was horny. It wasn't worth it.

By the time Xander came back, Spike had skinned and gutted the two rabbits he'd fed off of and had them cooking over a fire. One thing was certain, with all the trees they'd been cutting down, they wouldn't be hurting for firewood any time soon. "Hope yer in the mood for rabbit, Xander. I couldn't find anything else."

Xander shrugged his shoulders and hung his wet jeans and t-shirt out to dry. He didn't mind rabbit; it tasted like chicken actually. Although, the one time that Spike had found and fed off a wild boar had been nice. He missed spare ribs. "Rabbit's good. I can watch these if you want to wash up. The water's not too bad today, it's almost warm."

A sudden image of Xander standing under the falls all wet and glowing had Spike half-hard and heading for the river. "Ta pet, back in a few." Xander watched Spike walk away and grinned. It was amazing how human the vampire was starting to look with his hair un-gelled and the natural colour growing back in, not to mention the tan he'd gotten. He looked like one of the surfer boys that spend all their free time at the beach. If Buffy could see him now, she might just change her opinion of him; he was way better looking than Angel.

Not that Xander thought Angel was good looking, or Spike for that matter. Sure Angel was buff, and Spike had that compact, well-muscled look going for him but just because he noticed didn't mean anything. Nope, it didn't mean a thing.

Spike came back a while later in his boxers; he hung his wet clothes out to dry as well before joining Xander by the fire. "You were right, the water wasn't bad. Of course I don't feel the cold the same as you do." Spike was trying not to think about the fact that he had just wanked off - again - to the image of Xander naked. He needed to erase the image from his mind or it would drive him batty.

"So, Barney. What do you wanna do tonight? Poker?" Spike looked at Xander with comically big eyes and a pout on his face. Xander thought he looked almost cute. "Why do you keep calling me Barney? And you better tell me this time or I won't bring you dinner again!" Xander chuckled, he'd been calling Spike 'Barney' for a couple days now, it was fun to confuse him for a while but he figured he'd better explain himself. He wasn't that fond of fish, and he wanted Spike to bring him dinner.

"You know, Barney. Rubble? From the Flinstones cartoon?" At Spike's continued silence Xander went on. "Short, blonde, caveman. Come on! You have to know who I'm talking about." Spike was still getting past the short remark. He knew who Barney Rubble was, he just wasn't happy about being compared to him. "I'm not short!"

Xander laughed and handed him a rabbit. There was no point in arguing with Spike. If he said he wasn't short, then so be it. "Hey, does this mean I can call you Fred then? You do have yer own bowling shoes after all." Xander almost choked on the mouthful of food he was swallowing. He hadn't expected Spike to remember that. "Sure Barney, whatever makes you happy."

Part Four

A few days had gone by since the river incident. Spike was being more annoying than usual and Xander was at his wits’ end. The blonde wouldn't help with the cabin, which was slowing him down considerably; he was short-tempered and spent all his time hunting in the woods or laying in the sun - naked. That in itself was enough to keep Xander away from him. It was almost as bad as the week after Spike had run out of cigarettes. How a vampire could go through nicotine withdrawal, Xander wasn't sure, but Spike had been no fun whatsoever that week.

"Stupid, stubborn vampire. I mean what the hell crawled up his ass and died? It's not like I don't have bad moods, but do I take it out on him? Nooooo. I just put my anger into my work; why can't he? It would get done faster." Xander continued to mutter to himself as he hacked away at the tree he was cutting down. He wondered what Giles would say if he knew that he was using his fighting axe to cut down trees. It didn't matter. He would likely never see Giles again.

He'd probably grow old here and die, having to depend on Spike to care for him in his old age. Just the thought of Spike taking care of him made him snicker. "Not likely; he'd probably find a way to eat me just to get out of it."

Xander dragged the log back to the building site and finished prepping it. He would have liked the help with this now that the walls were tall enough to need a ladder, but he refused to let Spike’s bad mood slow up his work. He wanted a home, damn it. He was tired of sleeping in a damp cave.

It took almost an hour but after a lot of cursing, and a few minor scrapes and bruises, Xander had the log in position. He jumped down and headed for the river to wash up. He was thirsty, dirty, and hungry enough to eat a horse. He hoped Spike brought something back for dinner, he really didn't want to eat raw carrots and strawberries for dinner - again.

They had gotten in a routine of washing their boxers in the river every morning and leaving them there to dry, forcing them to go commando in their jeans all day, but it left them with something clean to wear while their clothes dried so it worked. Xander stripped out of his jeans and shirt and waded into the deeper part of the river. He ducked under the water and scrubbed at his hair. He found that using the sand on the river bottom to scrub with left him cleaner than just using water.

After he was clean, he washed out his clothes on some rocks and then lay out in the sun to dry before donning his boxers and heading up toward the waterfall. He filled the three glass jars with water and then headed back home. He was not in a good mood; he just wanted to eat and go to sleep.

Spike had been in a foul mood since the river episode. The last thing he needed was to start lusting after Xander. It was bound to happen; a demon had certain needs after all, and Xander was the only other body available. If that was all it was, it wouldn't be bothering him, but no, he had to develop feelings for the boy. They were friends and friends did not entertain lusty thoughts about each other. Not to mention that Xander was not into guys, or vampires for that matter. Bug people, mummies, and vengeance demons were okay but not vampires. He wondered if that had anything to do with Angel; there had to be a story behind that somewhere.

He had been spending as much time away from Xander as possible - hunting, walking, swimming in a pond he had found a few miles away, and of course wanking off. He fantasised about every woman he had ever had the hots for, and every woman he had slept with - all four of them, if he included the Buffy bot.

It was ridiculous really; a vampire of his age having only bedded three actual women and one robot woman, but that was Dru for you. She didn't mind sharing him with Darla after Angelus took off, but that was it. He was forbidden to touch another woman, not that he had much interest at the time. He was happy enough with his princess, and Darla was no shy virgin before she was turned; he'd learned a lot from her.

Then there was Harmony, not too bright - but a pretty face, and Spike needed someone. He had never been a solo vampire before and he was lonely. Then there was his burgeoning obsession with the slayer that resulted in the bot. He still had to chuckle at himself for that brilliant plan, ‘cause nothing says 'I love you' like having a sex bot designed after your intended. He was lucky Buffy hadn't staked him.

There had been a few guys over the years, Angelus obviously, Penn - when he came home the odd time, and a few minions here and there, but that had been after Drusilla's accident. She was far too weak for intimacy, but she still refused to allow him to take another woman to bed; therefore he made do with a couple of the more attractive male minions he had sired.

But now, this thing with Xander was getting out of hand. He couldn't help but look at him; they both paraded around in nothing but their boxers at night, and Xander had filled out nicely - much better than any of the men he had shagged in the past. Plus there was the human factor. Spike had never shagged a warm body; the bot was the closest thing he'd ever had to human. He had been turned a virgin, so he didn't even have memories of warm flesh to relive.

Last night Spike had stayed away until he was sure Xander would be asleep, and then he left again as soon as he woke up this morning. He felt guilty for leaving the boy without dinner last night so he made sure to kill something on the way back to the cave tonight. A family of boars was close enough for Spike to grab one of the little ones; he knew the boy had enjoyed the last one he'd brought home. It was a peace offering of sorts, ‘cause Spike was sure he would be difficult to live with until he got past this.

Xander got back to the cave and saw Spike roasting a pig over the campfire. His stomach rumbled its approval of his choice of meal. He wished he had a cooking pot, he'd love a stew sometime soon. Roasted meat and vegetables were good, but he was quickly tiring of them after this long. Variety would be nice. Then again, he'd give his left nut for a pizza about now.

"Hey Spike, how was your day?" Xander didn't wait for the blonde to reply he just continued to talk, as he’d been doing all day since he was alone. "Me? I had a great time! I dragged trees around all by myself, then I worked on the cabin, you know the cabin that we are going to live in - again by myself. I've got the cuts and bruises to prove it. I hope you didn't work too hard today, you know, strain yourself or anything." Xander hung his wet clothes out and drank the water from one of the jars. He re-stacked the pile of firewood that had begun to look like a beaver’s dam, and then sat down near the fire to wait for dinner.

Spike took a good look at Xander; he did have a few cuts and bruises. It wasn't anything serious, but he still felt guilty. He should have been helping the guy. As he had pointed out, it was for the both of them, so he shouldn't leave all the work to Xander, especially now that it was getting harder. It was definitely a two-man job; the roof would be going up soon, and there was no way Xander could do that alone. He'd likely kill himself.

Dinner was eaten in silence, Xander had obviously decided he had nothing else to say to Spike, and Spike didn't want to say anything to set the boy off so he remained silent as well. Eventually, the meal was finished, the bones were buried - so as not to attract predators, and the skins had been stretched out to dry. Spike was acquiring quite a large sum of furs and leathers. He didn't know if this world would get snow, but he wanted to be prepared, and eventually the clothes they had would wear away and they'd be left naked. Not something he was willing to think about right now.

"Look Xander, before you go off to bed all pissy with me, I'm sorry. All right? I've been a complete wanker these past couple of days." Spike had to snort at his choice of names for himself, truth was he had wanked himself silly trying to get over thoughts of Xander.

Xander snorted and gave Spike a black look; he wasn't buying an apology this easily. He had no idea what set the blonde off in the first place, and he wanted an explanation. "You're sorry? And what? I'm supposed to say 'that's okay Spike. Feel free to treat me like shit, ignore me, and leave me to do all the work on our home. I don't mind.' Is that it? ‘Cause it won't work. I want to know what the hell crawled up your ass and died!"

Spike thought about replying 'Angelus, but technically he was dead before he crawled up my arse' but then he thought better of it. That was the last thing he needed to get the boy started on. "Look pet, I've just had some things on my mind. I'll find a way to deal with it that doesn't interfere with the work on the house, alright?" Xander rolled his eyes in frustration; this wasn't working. "I thought we were friends now, Spike? Are we, or has the last six months been all in my head?"

"We are friends, pet. What does that have to do with this?" Xander stood and began to pace. "Then why won't you tell me what's bothering you? Is it me? Did I do something, ‘cause if I did you have to tell me what it was so I don't do it again." Spike shook his head. How was he supposed to answer this? The truth? Not likely! 'Yes pet, it was you, I saw you having a wank in the river the other day and since then I've wanted to shag you silly.' Yeah, he could see that going over well. Not.

"It's not you, it's me." That was as far as Spike got in his explanation before Xander burst out laughing. "God, Spike. You sound like you’re breaking up with me." Xander put one hand on his chest - over his heart, and the other on his brow. Then he replied in a high falsetto voice "Please, Spike. Don't leave me! What ever shall I do without you."

Then he batted his eyelashes at him and stepped closer to the blonde. He grabbed Spike and pulled him close, so that their noses were almost touching before he continued in a low husky voice. "Isn't there something I can do to make you stay."

Spike pulled abruptly away and turned his back. He could still feel Xander’s warm hands on his skin, his hot breath on his face, and he was going to have a hell of a time explaining the erection he was sporting if Xander noticed. "Ha bloody ha, Harris." Xander chuckled and put his hand on Spike's bare shoulder. "Look, whatever it is, we can deal with it, okay? I want to help."

"Fine. Whatever, Spike. I'm going to bed. You going to be here in the morning? Can you stand being around me or am I going to have to work alone again?"

Spike was getting angry. He hadn't wanted to fight with the boy, that was why he had been avoiding him so much.

"Damn it Xander! I told you, it's not you!" Xander spun around to face Spike, a look of hurt and anger on his face. "Of course not. It's you, right? Come on Spike! You've been avoiding me, sneaking out first thing in the morning, not coming back until I'm asleep, you don't talk to me, and you don't even look at me. If it's not me, then what the hell is it?!" By this point, Xander was right in Spike’s face, his hands clenched into fists at his side. He was breathing hard and shaking in anger. Spike just wanted to either run like hell or kiss the man silly. He should have run.

Xander was shocked when Spike sunk his hands into his hair and pulled his face down to kiss him. It was a good kiss and he found himself automatically responding to it. Of course once he realised who it was he was kissing, he pushed away and stared at the vampire with a mix of confusion and sorrow. Spike didn't stick around to see what Xander would do, he ran off into the night.

Xander crawled into his makeshift bed and touched his kiss-swollen mouth. He was still in shock over being kissed. He was sure he would freak out once the situation had sunk in. Spike had kissed him. Why Spike had kissed him was the question. "Is that why he's been so moody? He likes me? Apparently the demon magnet is still working." Xander lay down to sleep, he would just ignore this, hopefully it would all go away.

Part Five

It had been two weeks. Two weeks since Buffy died saving the world. Two weeks since Xander and Spike disappeared into a portal. Two weeks since Anya had locked herself inside her and Xander’s apartment and refused to come out or let anyone in. Two weeks since Dawn had lost the only real family she had left in the world. Two weeks since Giles had been sober. He'd crawled into a bottle scotch and hadn't come up for air once yet. Two weeks that Willow had spent every spare minute she had looking for a spell to bring Xander home.

It had been one week since the funeral. One week since Willow and Tara held a sobbing Dawn between them as she grieved. One week since they had finally tracked down Dawn's father and told him the news. One week since they learned that he would be arriving today to take Dawn back to L.A. with him. One week since they had contacted the council to come and take Giles home to England. They had sent a plane ticket; Giles would be leaving tomorrow.

Willow and Tara had done everything they could. They packed Giles’ things for him and arranged to have them sent overseas. They had helped Dawn to pack and to gather the things of Buffy's that she wanted to take with her. They had gone by Xander's apartment everyday and tried to get Anya to come out. She wouldn't, but sometimes she would talk to them through the door. She would ask if they'd found him yet. It broke Willow's heart every time she had to say no.

"Dawn, hurry up and get your things, sweetie. Your Dad will be here any minute." Willow tried her best to sound cheerful but she knew she was failing miserably. In one way, it would be a relief when Dawn was gone. She deserved a better life than she had here on the hellmouth. Also, everywhere she looked there were reminders of Buffy. On the other hand, Willow didn't want her to go. She was all they had left of Buffy, and Willow wanted to protect and care for her the way Buffy would have. In the end, the decision was taken from her when Hank Summers said he was coming back to take Dawn home with him.

"I'm coming. I just don't want to forget anything, you know?" Dawn was both happy and sad to be leaving. She remembered her father even though in truth she had never met the man. She remembered how much he loved her and the fun they had together before her parents split up. She wanted that, again - for real this time. But she would miss Willow and Tara so much. They had been so good to her; they treated her like she was more than just Buffy's little sister. When she talked, they actually listened to her. Just like Spike did.

That was another reason she was glad her Dad was coming. Spike and Xander were gone, and she felt like it was her fault. Willow and Tara told her it wasn't, but she didn't believe them - really. It was her blood that had opened the portal, her blood that had caused them to be sucked into some, most likely hellish dimension. Having to watch Willow frantically search for a way to bring them back was tearing her up inside.

Willow pulled Dawn into her arms and held her. "Hey, don't worry, Tara and I will be here until school starts up in the fall. If you think of anything you forgot, just call us and we'll send it to you. Okay?" Dawn nodded her head and sniffled slightly. She could smell rosemary. Willow always smelled of rosemary, it made her smile.

Tara came in from the kitchen at that moment carrying a basket. "I made you something to eat on the drive. I, I hope it isn't too much?" Dawn took the basket from her and smiled. "I'm sure it'll be fine. Thank you." A lone tear slid down Tara's face and Dawn flew into her arms.

"Oh God, I'm going to miss you guys so much." Dawn sobbed against Tara's chest and she felt Willow come up behind her. By the time Hank showed up the three girls were clinging to each other and crying in earnest.

Reluctantly, Dawn pulled away and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. "I, I guess this is goodbye then." Tara and Willow nodded solemnly, and Hank thanked them for being such loyal friends to Buffy and for taking such good care of Dawn. The girls promised to stay in touch and to call often. Then the car pulled away, and Willow and Tara watched it drive down the street until it was just a speck in the distance.

"Goddess, Tara. That was so hard. How are we ever going to get through this again tomorrow when Giles leaves?"

Tara held Willow and did her best to comfort her lover. "I don't know sweetie, but we will. We have to."

The apartment was a mess. It looked as though a hurricane had torn through it. One had. Hurricane Anya to be precise. Clothes were scattered throughout the apartment, cupboards and drawers had been emptied of their contents, and the linen closet had been emptied from one end of the apartment to the other. And Anya still didn't have what she was looking for. She knew it wasn't here; he had it with him when he was sucked through the portal.

The ring. Her ring. Her engagement ring. The symbol of Xander's love for her. She wanted it. She needed to have it, to prove to herself that he had really asked her to marry him, that she had really said yes. She told him to give it to her when the world didn't end. Well, the world was still in one piece, and she wanted her ring.

She kept hoping that this would be the day Willow and Tara had good news when they stopped by, that this was the day they would tell her that they had found a way to bring him home. It never was. Every time she asked, the answer was the same. Which meant still no Xander and still no ring. Why had she told him to wait? She should have taken the ring. At least she would then have proof that it wasn't all a dream. That Xander really did love her enough to want to spend the rest of his life with her.

For a demon that had spent over a thousand years torturing and maiming men, that was a rare gift. One that had been cruelly taken from her by the fates. Well no more. She was Anyanka, damn it! She handed out the pain, she caused the universe to open up and suck people into oblivion, and she did not sit by and let the fates crap on her head. Not any more anyway. Xander was gone, the only good thing her humanity had given her had been savagely torn from her life and she would suffer for it no longer!

"D'Hoffryn! I call you. Hear my plea." There was a bright flash of light and then D'Hoffryn stood before her. He took in the mess surrounding her, the rumpled filthy clothing she wore, the unwashed state of her body and made a face of disgust. "Anyanka, what have you allowed yourself to become?"

"I want vengeance. I want the world to feel my pain. Take me back, please. I promise to do a good job for you from now on. Please, just take this pain away from me." Anya fell to her knees and sobbed brokenly into her hands. D'Hoffryn looked down at her with softened eyes. "Stand my child, all will be restored."

In an instant Anya was transformed once again into the demon Anyanka. All the humanity that had been thrust upon her had fled and she cried no more. She smiled beatifically at her mentor and they disappeared in flash of blue light. Rupert Giles had many regrets in his life. He regretted his foolish youth and the repercussions it caused. He regretted never having children now that he knew what joy they could bring him. He regretted that he hadn't made the effort to understand his father better before he had passed away, and he regretted never telling Buffy how very much she meant to him.

His slayer was gone. He had failed her. In the end she had given her life to save the world. He always knew she had it in her, even when she was nothing more than a whiny sixteen-year-old girl who wanted to blow off her destiny for a date on Friday night. She had potential then, and he had done his best to bring it out of her, to mould her into the best slayer she could be. But somewhere along the lines, he fell in love with her. If he hadn't, if he had done what any other watcher would have done - destroyed the key, she would still be here and the world would still be spinning.

Not only did Buffy suffer for his ineptitude, but Xander had as well. Heavens knew where the boy had wound up and his only company was a chipped vampire that he could barely tolerate. Giles felt no remorse for the loss of the vampire, he was a demon after all - the thing he was trained to abhor, to help his slayer annihilate.

It was his love for Buffy that kept him from doing what he knew in his heart was the right thing. He allowed himself to believe that everything would work out, that no one would be hurt. He was wrong, and the world would pay for his mistake. That was why he had climbed into a bottle of scotch and hadn't looked back. He couldn't stand to look at himself or the children. Let Mr. Summers come and take Dawn to L.A. Let the girls ship him back to the Mother country. Nothing mattered anymore. His reason for living was buried in Restfield Cemetery.


It had been two days since Willow and Tara took Giles to the airport and said goodbye. He had managed to get on the plane without causing a scene. After the plane had taken off, they went back to the Summers’ house and began the unpleasant task of boxing up the rest of Buffy's things. In exchange for their work, Hank was letting them stay on in the house until they could get a dorm room come fall. Besides that, neither woman liked the idea of strangers going through Buffy's things; there would be a lot of things to explain.

Tara screamed when a bright light flashed in the room. Willow ran into the bedroom just in time to see Anya hand Tara a bunch of papers and a key ring. Then she disappeared again. "Baby? What's all that stuff?" Willow walked to her girlfriend who was still trembling slightly. The sight of Anya's demon face had startled her quite badly.

"I, I think it's the papers for the Magic Box, and some keys. She's a demon again isn't she?" Willow gathered her lover into her arms and rocked her gently. "Yeah, sweetie. She is." There really wasn't any more to say. Anya had obviously given up on Xander. She had made her choice. Willow would not follow her lead, however. She would find a way to bring Xander home if it was the last thing she ever did.

"Come on, let's take a break for a while, huh? I have some new spell books I want to look through." Tara nodded and allowed her girlfriend to lead her downstairs. They made a pot of tea and sat at the counter poring over the texts. She knew that if there were any way to get Xander and Spike back home, Willow would find it. Her determination was just one of the things she loved about her so much. Her compassion was another.

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