Where? When? Gah!
7 Tea, Poetry, and a Kiss
Will awoke to the sounds of dishes clattering downstairs. He didn't
hear any voices, so hoped that meant that only Mr. Giles was left in
the flat. He really didn't want to see Xander that morning, still
confused over last night's events.
He had drunk blood. Blood! And from the moment the liquid had touched his lips, he'd wanted nothing more than to keep drinking. Then he'd wanted nothing more than Xander. He'd practically thrown himself at the young man!
Oh dear lord! As he went over his memories of the previous night, he realized that the ladies had been present as well. He didn't remember them ever leaving the room. He could only conclude that they had been privy to the whole scene.
He groaned, turning his face into the pillow. Now he did more than just fervently wish that none of his visitors remained.
Eventually he forced himself to stand, then cross over to the washroom. He readied himself for the day, taking a deep breath before descending the stairs. When he entered the kitchen he was relieved to find only Mr. Giles.
"Good morning William. How are you feeling?" Giles greeted him.
"Good morning sir. I'm feeling better, thank you." He ducked his head.
"Would you like some tea?" Giles asked, pouring himself a cup.
"That would be lovely. Thank you." Will took a seat at the small circular table.
Giles could tell that Will had something on his mind. He'd have been surprised if the vamp didn't have something on his mind! The shock of learning he was a vampire, his obviously intimate relationship with Xander, and from what the children had told him of last night, he was sure that Will's mind was probably churning.
"Is there something you would like to discuss William?" Giles prompted.
"Well sir…That is…Of the people that I've met so far I'd like to say that I feel the most…well…comfortable around you. Maybe because of our shared heritage?" Will tried to explain. "And I just feel as if I am in desperate need of a spot of advice. If I might trouble you?" He focused slightly pleading eyes on the older gentleman before him.
"Of course William. We are…were…are…friends after all." Giles answered.
"Are we sir?"
"Why yes. I do admit that I was a bit flummoxed when you and Xander first got together, but over the years you've proved that you only have Xander's best interests at heart."
"So it's true then." Will once again ducked his head, taking a small sip of his tea.
"What Xander told me. About…about us." He could not force himself to look Mr. Giles in the eye.
"Yes. I can imagine how you might question it." Giles reached over, offering the embarrassed young man a biscuit.
"It's just that I never thought that I would…well…be intimate with another gentleman." Will continued to stare down at the table.
"Will look at me." Giles waited for the vampire to meet his eye before continuing. "The relationship that you and Xander share is very special. In fact it is a constant source of amazement to me. You protect one another. You love one another. And moreover you're good for one another. Being together brings out the best in you both." He smiled gently at the confused young man.
"But is it…wrong sir?" Will desperately wanted to know. Giles blinked at the incongruity of seeing the vampire's eyes slowly fill with unshed tears.
"No William. It's not wrong." Giles reached over and gave Will's shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "Love is never a thing to be ashamed of."
After a moment the two men broke apart. Giles cleared his throat and stood to take the plate of biscuits and empty teacups to the sink for washing.
"Thank you sir." William retreated back to the bedroom to mull over their conversation.
Mr. Giles had been kind enough to lend him some blank paper and a pen. He always felt that he could work out problems better if he were able to write them out. That's why his poetry was so important to him. It allowed him to vent feelings and emotions that he had no other outlet for.
On the paper he'd written out two columns under the main heading of Xander. Under the 'Things I Know' column he wrote the details of what Xander had explained of their relationship. Under the 'Things I Feel' column he'd tried to list the multitude of emotions that assaulted him whenever the boy was near.
The one thing that always came back to him was the unquestionable feeling of safety and security he felt whenever Xander was in close proximity. He could not deny that in his heart he felt the familiar sense of trust and yes, affection, toward the young man. And obviously from his actions last night, he felt a physical attraction as well. Will knew he would be blushing furiously if he could have.
Unable to come up with any definitive answer to his myriad of questions, Will decided to do the only thing that had ever soothed his soul. He wrote. He let his mind wander in different directions, writing down whatever fancied him. Until finally he grew tired and setting aside the tablet he lay down for some rest.
"Wi-" Xander broke off as soon as he spied his vamp in bed. He went over and took a seat beside him, gently laying a hand on his cheek.
He caressed the soft cool skin before pulling back. Although he was excited, he wanted to give him a few more minutes of rest. Giles thought he'd found a potion that might help Spike remember. At least it was worth a try. Giles had sent Willow out to the Magic Box to get the ingredients, so they would be able to create the mix tonight.
As he sat waiting for his vamp to awaken, Xander's eyes wandered around the room. He stopped when he caught a glimpse of the white notepad sitting on the night table. He reached over to pick it up, recognizing Spike's flowing script.
When he saw his name on the first page, he immediately put the pad down. He couldn't read that. It was like invading Will's privacy. Xander was sure that Will had never meant for anyone else to read the words he'd written.
As the minutes ticked by he continued to stare at the forbidden pad of paper. Eventually his hand began to sneak out once more. After the last few days, Xander felt that he was entitled to just a bit of snooping. Maybe he could glean some minor comfort in what Will had written. Maybe he had written down what he had already remembered.
Xander knew that his excuses were feeble, but he couldn't help sneaking a peak at the first page. What he read made his heart grow warm. It didn't seem as if Will had remembered anything specific, but at least he had vague memories of his feelings for Xander. He felt protected and he even said he felt affection! That was a start at least.
He flipped the page and his breath caught. Will had written a poem. One night after a long bout of lovemaking, Spike had shared the origin of his "Bloody" moniker. No matter how hard Xander had tried to get Spike to write him something, he'd always been refused. Now here was his chance. But how could he do it? This was worse than an invasion of privacy.
As he slipped the first page back over, and lowered the notepad to the table Will's hand snapped out to wrap around his wrist.
"I'm sorry Will." Xander looked and sounded contrite.
"Did you read it?" Will asked, eyes downcast.
"No. I couldn't. I've asked you to let me read some before but you've always said no. I couldn't go against your wishes."
Will looked up into sad brown eyes and felt a small tug at his heart. Was this the man he'd spent the last 2 years of his life with? The man that claimed to love him? Will sighed. He felt as if he were on the edge of some sort of epiphany yet it was just out of reach.
"I…uhm…if you'd like to…that is…you may…you may read it if you like." Will stumbled out.
"Really? You don't have to let me." Xander tried to be sure.
"No, I think…I think I'd like you to read it." Will turned his head away. "But I must warn you that my critics have never been very kind to me."
Xander placed a warm hand on Will's shoulder with a gentle caress. "I know Will. But I'm not one of your critics. I'm your lo-. I'm your friend." Xander reassured him.
Will only nodded.
Xander took the tablet back and flipped the page once more.
Standing at the edge I feel a cold wind blow The leaves rustle And the moonlight glows Looking through a veil Of lies and untruths I see a world below That can burn and soothe The years pass slowly As the moonlight fades I fear the dawning of light As I move to seek shade The light chases my steps As I run for safety Searching the valley below Where alone, he awaits me He reaches a hand out Drawing me near My shelter from the sun The only one I need not fear~~~ Xander could feel the liquid gathering in his eyes. Was this how Spike felt about him? Safe and loved? His shelter from the sun? Xander turned away trying to regain his control.
"They're only words." Misinterpreting Xander's gesture Will tried to apologize.
"No Will!" Xander couldn't help grasping both Will's shoulders and pulling him close. "They're more than that. They're you." He gave Will a loose hug. "And I love them."
Will pulled away, a little reluctantly. He ducked his head shyly before offering a quick, "Thank you." He couldn't remember the last time his poetry had been praised. At least by anyone other than mother.
Xander could see that Will was a little embarrassed. He changed the subject wanting to make his lover a little more comfortable.
"Well I did come up here for a reason." He began. "Giles may have found a potion that can help. It will stimulate your memory, sort of push you more into the selective amnesia stage, instead of the lost my mind from a spell stage." He gave Will a small smile.
"So you think I will be able to regain my memories?" Will asked tentatively, still unable to look Xander in the eye. By allowing him to read the poem, he'd effectively let Xander know that he did indeed have feelings for the young man.
"We hope so. Giles thinks it might be gradual. Like a regular amnesiac person I guess. We'll have to keep reminding you of things. He says that there will probably have to be some sort of major trigger for most of it, but you might start to get some flashes here and there." Xander was encouraging.
Will nodded. "Shall we rejoin the others downstairs?"
"Sure. Willow went out to the Magic Box, and the Buffster is doing a quick patrol. But Tara and Dawn should be here." Xander answered, standing up and offering Will a hand.
Will took it shyly, trying to hide his relief at not having to face the two young ladies after his display last night. "Who's Dawn?"
"Oh! You haven't met the Dawnster?" Xander forgot that Dawn had not yet been over since the night of the spell. "She's Buffy's sister. But don't worry, you won't have the same reaction to her. She's sort of special." Xander hedged.
Will grasped the hand offered and levered himself up. As he shifted his weight off the bed he lost his balance and ended up flinging himself into Xander's arms.
"Oof!" Xander caught the flailing vamp. "Are you okay?"
Will looked up embarrassed and ready to apologize. He was confronted with Xander's warm look. The feelings that he'd been exploring all afternoon came rushing back to him. Safety. Security. Affection. Lust. His eyes moved down to focus on Xander's parted lips.
Xander forced himself to stand stock still under Will's scrutiny. This was the first time, not blood-induced, that Will seemed to actually be taking an interest in him physically. When he felt the caress of Will's gaze on his lips, he had to suppress a small groan.
His eyes automatically closed in preparation for his lover's kiss. And when he felt the sweet brush of them along his own, he nearly cried out. He let Will control their meeting.
The kiss was slow and sweet. Close mouthed, the press of Will's lips was still intoxicating. Xander couldn't prevent the moan of pleasure when Will parted his lips slightly and sucked Xander's bottom lip in. He chewed on Xan's lip and then soothed it with a few licks of his tongue.
Will pulled away to see the flushed and dazed expression on Xander's face. Ashamed of his forward actions, he immediately looked down. Only to become even more embarrassed at the state of his obvious arousal.
"I'm sorry." He mumbled to his toes.
Will felt the gentle pressure of Xander's finger on his chin, forcing him to face the young man.
"Don't ever be sorry for wanting to touch me." Xander implored. "I love you."
Will nodded. He continued to remain silent as he followed his beau down the stairs.
8 Potions and Hell Goddesses
Buffy met Willow at the Magic Box. It was already dark and since
Glory had attacked both Tara and Spike, she hesitated to let any of
her friends out alone at night.
The bell jingled as she entered the shop, searching the front area for Wills. She found her behind the counter bagging what looked like several different types of herbs and labeling them.
"Hey Wills, what you got?"
"Oh! Hey Buffy. Giles found a potion that might help Spike. I'm just getting the last of the ingredients. I should be ready in a few minutes." Willow continued to tie and label little baggies as she spoke.
"So you think he'll get his memory back? Go back to his old self?" Buffy asked casually.
"I hope so. Poor Xander. I feel so bad. Do you see how hard he's taking it?" Willow answered without looking up.
"Yeah." Buffy felt slightly guilty.
"What's wrong?" Willow heard the hesitation in Buffys' reply.
"Nothing." Buffy pulled herself up so that she was sitting on the counter. "It's just that…well don't you think that Will is better, in some ways, than Spike?"
"Buffy!" Willow's brow scrunched in admonishment. "What do you mean? You don't actually want to keep Spike the way he is do you?"
"Well…He is sweeter. And way more polite. A girl could get used to that sort of thing…" Buffy's voice trailed off.
"Buffy Summers! Are you crushing on Will?!"
"Crushing? Me? No! Of course not!" Buffy's cheeks were red.
Willow just continued to stare at Buffy. Finally she broke. "Well you have to admit he's hot!" Buffy cried.
"Well, it's not like losing his memory made him any hotter! He's always been sexy." Willow retorted.
"I know. It's just that. Well, now he' doesn't seem to hate me as much. At least not verbally. Still seems like he's afraid to be near me." Buffy ended dejectedly.
"Well he's a vampire. And you're the Slayer." Willow tried to reason with her. "Besides Buffy, whether you like him more as the new improved polite Will doesn't matter. He and Xander belong together. Don't you see what this is doing to Xander? It's breaking his heart every minute that Spike can't remember loving him."
"I know." Buffy answered quietly. "It's just some wishful thinking." She sighed heavily, before jumping down from the counter.
Willow came around with her supplies in one hand, her other reaching out to pat Buffy on the back. "Don't worry Buffy. You'll meet your true love someday soon. I know it!"
They shared a small smile before walking out the door.
"Oh my god! It's true!" Dawn studied Spike carefully. Even without having spoken she could tell that there was something different about him. His normally cocky pose was replaced with a shy and almost trepidatious stance. But it was his eyes that gave him away completely. They were wide and quite innocent at the moment.
"So…you're William, right?" Dawn asked cautiously.
"Yes little miss. You must be Dawn. Xander tells me that you are Buffy's sister." Will bowed to her at the introduction.
Dawn giggled. Before she could reply the door burst open, Willow and Buffy entering at a dead run.
"Grab whatever you can and go!" Buffy screamed. She immediately went for Giles' weapon cabinet and pulled as many swords and axes as she could from the shelves.
"Buffy, what has happened?" Giles demanded.
"Glory." Buffy pulled another axe from the wall. "Willow and I were talking. Stupid! And she overheard us. She knows about Dawn." She moved to her sister's side trying to reassure her. "Don't know what stopped her. She was right behind us, but about 4 or 5 blocks away and she just disappeared."
The others were gathering supplies as Buffy spoke. "We have to get out of here." Buffy warned.
"I'll get us some transportation." Giles left the flat as fast as humanly possible.
"What's happening? What's Glory?" Will was perplexed. He could feel the tension in the room, making his own senses go haywire. He moved closer to Xander.
"She's bad news. Don't worry Will. I won't let anything happen to you." Xander promised.
"I've found us a vehicle. Let's go." Giles reentered the room and ushered everyone out.
FUCK! Xander wanted to scream. And at the same time he felt numb all over. Glory had Dawn. Ben was fucking Glory. How did they not all see that? We led her right to us! And Buffy just shut down. No one could get through to her. They'd finally returned to Buffy's place to regroup.
How were they going to get Dawn back? They couldn't fight a hell god. Xander sighed heavily before slumping down into the sofa cushions. He glanced briefly at the stairs, hoping that Willow was somehow getting through to Buffy. Without her they definitely didn't stand a chance.
He glanced to his right to see the nervous vampire. He'd been witness to all the crazy sword wielding maniacs and then Glory's kidnapping of Dawn. He was dazed and more than a little confused. Without Buffy or Spike there was no plan on earth that could save them.
He reached across the coffee table grabbing a hold of Willow's bag. Sifting through, he didn't think she'd mind the privacy invasion at the moment, he found the little bag of herbs she'd brought back from the Magic Box. Grabbing them he went in search of Giles.
He found the ex-watcher in the kitchen putting a kettle of water on the stove. In times of crisis, the G-man was always ready with some soothing tea! He cleared his throat to get the older man's attention, throwing the bag onto the counter in front of him.
"I think we should try the potion." Xander stated.
"Xander, I know that you're worried about Spike, but we do have some other more pressing matters right now." Giles tried to make him understand.
"I know that G-man! I'm not just thinking about me here. If we don't get Spike back up to fighting status we're that much more fucked than we already are."
"Oh. I see." Giles pulled his glasses off, cleaning them with his ever present handkerchief. "I supposed you're right." He nodded before picking up the bag of ingredients. "I can mix up the potion now. Since Willow is a bit busy at the moment." He sighed, turning to find a bowl to mash the herbs in.
Xander didn't answer before turning around to reenter the living room. He went to sit next to Will, grabbing his hand in squeezing.
"Will, I know it's been pretty wiggy tonight. But don't worry. Giles is mixing the potion right now. Hopefully you'll have your memory back before the end of the night. And then you won't feel so intimidated. You're a really good fighter." Xander continued to reassure him, rubbing soothing circles with his thumb across the back of Will's hand.
"What do you think is happening to the young miss?" Will was worried for the young girl he'd met that evening.
"I don't know Will." Xander looked away. "I'm hoping that nothing is happening right now. That we'll still have time to save the day, you know? That's all we can do right now."
The room was silent when Tara entered. She was carrying a mug of foul smelling liquid, which Xander assumed was the potion. "Does he have to drink the whole thing?" Xander asked, trying to mask his distaste of the smell.
"I'm af-fraid so. But I'm sure it will help him. I infused it with a p- prayer to the G-Goddess after Giles prepared it." Tara answered.
Will took the cup feeling the warmth spread through his palms. He was scared. He'd never in his life thought that he would encounter any of the things that he'd seen since awakening in Xander's arms. Hell gods, knights in armor, witches, magic - these were things out of fairy tales. And now here he was, ready to drink a magic potion blessed by a witch so that he could go out and fight a Hell god to save a mystical princess?
He turned frightened eyes to stare into warm chocolate brown ones and met only reassurance and love. He couldn't deny that no matter what else he'd learned in this place, he knew that this man would never hurt him.
Taking a deep calming breath, he brought the mug to his lips, guzzling the sticky fluid until he'd tasted the last drop.
William opened his eyes to see a dark alley in front of him. He
realized he was sitting on an old crate, but before he could stand and
brush himself off a lilting voice floated over from the dark entrance to
A dark haired, pale faced beauty walked toward him. He could see her lips moving but couldn't quite make out the words she spoke. Before he knew what was happening she had him pinned to the wall and her lips were lowering toward his neck.
He closed his eyes as he felt the sharp sting of fangs entering his skin. He cried out in pain as the dark goddess before him drained the life from his body.
When he opened his eyes again she was there. Petting him softly and gazing at him with something akin to love. Yet the look didn't give him the same feelings of security and warmth that Xander's looks often did.
The scene spun out of control, images flashing before his eyes. Hundreds, thousands of dead. Blood everywhere. Fists and Fangs. From China to Prague to Sunnydale, his mind took him on a tour of his unlife.
Will moaned and thrashed on the couch as Xander watched with a worried frown. "Are you sure that potion won't have any side effects? He doesn't look too good." Xander caressed Will's brow in comfort.
"He has got a lot of memories to recover Xander. He's probably going through a few of them right now. It probably seems like a long nightmare to him." Giles explained.
Xander continued to smooth his lover's creased brow, until the crystal blue eyes finally blinked open. "Xander?" Spike croaked out in a hoarse whisper.
"Drink some water Spike." Xander offered him the cool cup. "H-how are you feeling." He was afraid to ask what memories he'd recovered.
"I've been better luv." Spike answered after handing him back the empty cup. Xander's heart flipped over at the term, then flipped back at Spike's next statement. "Still haven't remembered everything though. My memories are still pretty muzzy after those bloody soldier bastards got a hold of me."
"Oh." His eyes were downcast. "So you still don't remember anything about…" His voice trailed off.
"'Fraid not Xan." Spike could tell Xander was hurt by his answer, but he didn't know what he could do about it. He still remembered everything that Xander had done for him while he was 'William'. He also remembered all of his feelings toward Xander as William. He would have lied, but it had felt wrong somehow. Big bloody Bad he was.
"Don't worry Xander. I'm sure that his memories will come back in time. But at least for now he has recovered his fighting prowess and can help us retrieve Dawn when the time is right." Giles glanced up the stairs where Willow had disappeared over two hours earlier.
"Too right! I'm not gonna let that bloody hell bitch touch a hair on the bit's head!" Spike was adamant. "I may not remember much, but I remember the bit. And nobody is going to hurt her."
Xander's look was crestfallen. Tara reached over and placed a soft hand over his. "Don't Xander." She whispered softly. "You know the monk's spell was powerful. That's the only reason he has those memories right now." Xander nodded and gave her a plastic smile.
It didn't matter to him why Spike could remember those things but not their relationship. It only mattered that he did. Xander knew he was being petty, but after everything that had happened he felt he had a small right to it. When was he going to get HIS Spike back?
"Until we're ready, I'm going to try to find out as much about the ritual needed by Glory as I can." Giles stood to begin the research. Giles had stopped at the Magic Box on their way back into town to grab whatever he thought they might need to get Dawn back.
"I'll help you Mr. G-Giles." Tara followed him out the door into the dining room wanting to give the two men a chance to talk alone.
Xander and Spike were left alone in the living room. Xander couldn't look at Spike. He knew the moment he did he'd start to bawl. And he really really really felt like he'd done enough of that in the past 3 days to last a lifetime!
"Please don't call me that Spike." Xander sounded defeated. "I just don't think I can take it right now."
"I'm sorry." He scooted a little closer to the dejected figure. "Can I just…" Spike ducked his head, a gesture Xander associated more with William than Spike. "I just want to say something."
"Okay." Xander started when he felt Spike's hand reach out and clasp his own.
"I do remember the last few days. The things you've said, the way - bloody hell!" Spike was frustrated that he couldn't find the right words. He ran his fingers through his curls before continuing. "The way you made me feel. You made me burn." He scooted even closer, so that their legs were flush against each other.
"Not just that. But you made me feel safe. You were the one person I felt comfortable with." Now he looked away, retracting his hand from Xander's. "Now that I've got my other memories back I don't…I mean, it's hard to see what…why you'd love me. I…I know I'm a monster."
"No Spike! I don't believe that." Xander willed Spike to believe him. This time Xander's hand reached out to clasp his.
"I know luv." Spike looked up to meet Xander's imploring gaze. "You treat me…least ways, you make me feel like a man." Spike leaned forward slowly until their lips were pressing together. He could feel Xander's warm breath on his face, and could feel his sweet lips moving against his own.
They pulled apart reluctantly. Spike's blue eyes holding Xander's brown in a warm embrace. "Thank you." The words were whispered between them.
"I think I've found something." Giles reentered the room, carrying a large dusty tome. "According to this text, the gates must be opened at precisely the proper moment. By my calculations that should be midnight tomorrow."
Spike and Xander looked up from their seats. "So we have 24 hours to prepare to fight a hell god?" Xander asked.
"Well, yes. But at least we know when the ritual needs to take place. So that means we just have to delay her long enough to pass the deadline. At least we can try to - " Giles was cutoff with the sound of feet stomping down the stairs.
Buffy and Willow entered the room. Some of the tension dissipated when they saw that Buffy was again up and around. "So we know the time. Now we just need the place." Buffy grabbed her coat, heading toward the door. "I'm going to do a quick search pattern across town. There's got to be some sign of where she's planning this shindig." And with that she was out the door.
Giles turned to Willow with a querying stare. "Is she alright?"
"I think so. Her mind was, I guess it was like a trap for her. She kept going through this loop of guilt. It all revolved around Dawn, but I think I got her to see that Dawn needed her out here. And that if she let herself get stuck in that loop, she really would be guilty of letting Dawn down." Willow shrugged. "She seemed to snap out of it. And look! Now she's all 'Let's Get 'Em'! So good. Right?"
"You did great sweetie." Tara reassured her girlfriend.
"Yes, quite." Giles quickly agreed. "Now I suggest we all get a few hours rest. We can wake early and start working out a plan to stall Glory as long as possible, once we find her."
Willow and Tara headed up to the master bedroom, Giles taking Dawn's room. That pretty much left the couch and floor downstairs, since neither Xander nor Spike wanted to take Buffy's bed in case she came home soon.
"You can take the couch Spike." Xander offered. He got up and pulled a few blankets and pillows from the hall closet.
"You sure luv?" Spike asked.
"Yeah, you're probably still not up to your bad self yet. You should take it. I'll be fine." Xander insisted.
"Okay luv." Spike agreed only because he had plans of his own. He accepted the linens from Xander, letting his hand brush over Xan's for a second or two longer than necessary. "Thanks Xan."
Xander only nodded. Damn that stupid lump in his throat! So Spike called him Xan. Big deal. The potion was obviously working. He would have his Spike back and whole any time soon. He looked away as he spread out his blanket on the floor. He just wasn't sure if he would survive until then. He bit back his sniffle as he lay down and tried to get comfy for the remainder of the night.
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