A Son of Cain A Daughter of Lilith
Emerge from the Chrysalis
Angel, Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn and Spike try to pull Spike's Pet out of her retreat within her mind. Her name used to be Xander.
She wasn't too sure who she was now. Nor did she know where she was. What's more, she didn't care. She didn't even want to think about it. And she didn't have to if she didn't want to.
That was the whole point of this... place. Or non place as the case may be.
She was surrounded by a vague shapeless void. Adrift in a vast nothing. No thought or emotion could pierce the veil of her sense of non-being, of nothingness. At least, not for any real length of time. Everything was muted and hazy. Blunted and padded and unreal. Just like she was.
Her eyes stared out at foggy grey space. Every now and then a misty and dull colored object would appear before her and she would sense it's presence in an unrelated sort of way. Tables, park benches, food, clothing, blonde hair... It fluttered before her eyes and then it would drift away again. It didn't matter because she refused to allow these various things to have any importance to her. If she cared about something... then she would hurt. And the pain was too intense.
Usually she didn't feel anything but slightly numb and the air seemed thick and sluggish. However, sometimes she caught impressions of warm material, cold stone or even soft skin over strong lean muscles, but as with the things that she sometimes recalled seeing, she ignored it all. It was easier this way.
There were sounds too. Sometimes there was a sharp blast from a car horn or the rough bark of a dog. She could recall various voices screaming or pleading for mercy and sometimes there was loud pounding music. However, the sound that she heard most often was a softly spoken low voice with an oddly comforting accent. She rarely paid attention to the individual words. Words could hurt, so she avoided those, but she did find the rolling tones and staccato inflections a calming distraction from herself. She found that she missed that voice when it was absent from her emotionless and thoughtless misty nothingness.
Lost in her internal void, she was vaguely aware that she was being guided to stand up and to move forward through space. Unresisting, she followed. She felt the sensation of motion and her limbs working in tandem, but she didn't focus on that. The non-stop murmur whispered in her ears and she was not even slightly curious as to the meaning being imparted to her, she merely allowed the sounds to pour over her and through her, leaving behind a wash of calm. Sluggish air swirled around her and still she followed after the cool gentle hands that led her onwards. It was at that point that a sharp horrified voice that she knew all too well yelled loudly enough to pull her out of the void and slam her frighteningly and intensely into the real world once again.
"HOLY HELL!!! THAT'S XANDER!"
"Yes you bloody wanker! That's Xander! I told you that Anya turned him into a female you great dolt! What? Didn't you believe me?"
With painfully crystal clear awareness, Xander stared up into the face of the man he had spent the better part of his high school years tormenting and insulting. Angel was staring at her as if she was a gory and violent car wreak on the side of the road. The kind you didn't want to look at, but you just couldn't help yourself. His expression was a mix of outraged horror and creeped-out fascination. Xander felt herself become overwhelmed with intense emotions that she was just not prepared to deal with.
She had treated Angel so horribly and now here she was, at the lowest and most embarrassing point in her entire life. Not even a man anymore. Not even a person anymore. Her sense of self ripped away to leave nothing behind except self-loathing and pain.
Everything that she had ever loved and cared for had been torn from her with a ruthless and mindless savagery. Her very soul was left shattered and bleeding in the dirt and all Angel could do was stare in shock. What's more, Xander was angry with herself. For not hating Anya. In spite of everything Anya had done to her and to her friends, some small insane part of Xander still loved her. Still wanted her.
Fear that Anya would come back and create more havoc and also a strange fear that Anya would forget about her and stay far away. She became afraid of Angel and what the dark vampire would do to her, with her. Would he pity her and yet still be glad that the man she used to be was no longer around to torment him. Would he turn her away to try and fight for her survival on the streets. Would he accuse her of the pain that Anya had unleashed upon the entire Scooby Gang? Would he laugh?
It was too much. Too much pain and hurt and fear. She couldn't deal with it and she shrank back against Spike. She clutched at his hand tightly and tried in vain to hide behind him. She could feel tremors and quakes begin to shake her body and a nearly soundless whimper escaped her throat. Just as she felt tears start to swim in her eyes and blur her vision, bright blue eyes in a pale face turned to gaze at her and she focused on the blonde vampire she had been gifted to.
"S-Spike? I... I'm scared..."
And then, as if something inside of her head had reached maximum overload, she switched off again. Sliding back down into her velvety grey nothingness. She watched as Spike's pale face became fuzzy and indistinct and she could hear him talking to her, but the words were once again meaningless and it was only the pure tones that she could understand. The world faded away and with it fled all of her pain and anguish and heartache. Buoyed on a sea of non-thought she found comfort in pure mindless escape.
Angel sat down on the edge of his bed and tried to pull his scattered thoughts into some semblance of order. He didn't think he could be blamed for his distraction however, no matter how inconvenient it might be. He thought that he had reached the point where he could no longer be shocked, but when his Childe Spike and his mortal charge Xander had wandered in an hour or so before the dawn, he had been proven wrong.
The endlessly annoying yet impressively brave young boy he remembered from Sunnydale was nowhere in evidence inside the shell of that broken and lost young woman. He knew that he shouldn't have been surprised, Spike had warned him after all, but hearing about it and witnessing it were two entirely different things. And it had rocked his world on many levels.
For one thing, Xander's new body was incredibly beautiful. She was tall, lean and had a soft full figure that could best be described as lush. Even crammed into clothing that was obviously the wrong size for her. Her hair was a silky veil of long midnight curls and her skin was pale and soft. She was a strange mixture of irresistibly erotic and mindnumblingly revolting.
However, it was her dark liquid eyes that had struck the deepest chord in Angel. One minute they were expressing such unbearable pain and sorrow that it almost broke his undead heart just looking into their endless depths and the next, they were empty and blank. No longer windows to the soul, but mirrors that reflected the world back on itself. It was enough to make him shudder.
And Spike? He had been so gentle and protective. So calm and soothing. He had treated her with the same sensitive caring and patience when she was lost inside her own mind as he did when she was aware and trembling in fear. Angel had been stunned. At first he had thought that Anya must have bespelled his Childe to care for Xander even though his reaction to the mortal had been hauntingly familiar. Then it had hit him, and once it did, it was so obvious that he wondered how he had missed it before.
That was how Spike had always treated Dru. The lovely dark haired and hopelessly insane vampire that he had Sired as a companion for them both. He himself had often grown bored and impatient with Dru and her wandering from reality, but Spike never had. He'd always been tender and soft spoken to her, treating her as if she were a delicate flower that needed constant care and devotion.
And that was how Spike was treating Xander.
Idly, Angel wondered if his Childe had a thing for all dark haired and helplessly dependant women, if it was because Xander reminded him specifically of Dru, or if it was, as Spike claimed, his fear of Anya's anger and vengeance. Spike himself probably didn't even know the answer to that question. In any case, it was painfully obvious that Xander was safe with Spike.
With a quirk of his lips, Angel acknowledged that, not only was Spike being overprotective, he was being possessive as well. When Angel had finally shown them upstairs, Spike had thrown a hissy-fit because Angel had planned on them having separate rooms in the rambling old hotel.
"Bloody hell Pouf! She's spent the last three weeks sleeping next to me on top of a marble tomb inside my crypt. I don't think sharing a bedroom will be too traumatic for her. However, waking up alone might. So bugger off!"
And that had been that.
He shook his head and erased the vision of his indignant and overprotective Childe from his mind's eye and tied off the laces on his shoes. It was time to get started on his evening. He had already warned Cordelia of Xander's condition and she was to meet up with her ex-boyfriend today. There was a list of things that he knew Cordy wanted to do with and for Xander. He just hoped that it turned out okay. He didn't think Xander would deal with another shock well.
Spike turned to face the door at the sound of the faint knocks.
"Hello? Spike? I want to come in, but you have to promise not to bite me. You try to bite and I'll be forced to stake. Then Angel will be sad. Deal?"
Spike grinned. Walking across the room, he opened the door to stand face to face with a well dressed and equally well armed Cordelia. She wore a soft pale blue shirt with sparkling white trim and she held a loaded crossbow in her arms. It was aimed directly at his heart and she didn't smell of fear. Only confidence in her ability to turn him into a billowing cloud of ashe. His grin widened.
"'S a deal luv. I won't bite, you don't shoot me with the crossbow."
He stepped back and gestured further into the main sitting room to where Xander was sitting on a dark green velvet divan. With one last searching look into his face to see if he was lying, Cordelia stepped into the room and walked over to the silent woman who used to be her boyfriend at one time.
"Hey Xan... Um, I don't mean to be rude or anything, but that is truly a horrible outfit you're wearing. What possessed you to make you wear that? Not only is it ugly, but it doesn't even fit right."
Spike blinked in shock. He hadn't know what to expect from the cheerleader when she got her first look at the new Xander, but a fashion critique wasn't it. He wandered over to them to come to Xander's defense when he noticed Cordelia getting visibly upset.
"Look. I'll admit that wasn't the nicest thing I could have said, but hey, this is weird for me too, ya know. Still, that's no reason to just ignore me."
The actress leaned forward and snapped her fingers in front of Xander's face twice. Rolling his blue eyes, Spike reached out and gently touched her arm to get her attention.
"Hey Prom Queen! Xander isn't ignoring you, so don't take it personally. This is just... how she is now. The lights are on, but nobody's home, ya know?"
Cordelia stood back up and a variety of emotions flickered across her lovely face too fast for Spike to identify them and then her features settled into one that seemed to be cheerful and friendly, but her eyes were concerned and worried. She took a deep breath and gathered herself together, then turned to face Spike.
"Okay. Let me see if I've got this right. Xander was turned into a female and then just got... quiet? No talking, no joking, no 'hey! i'm pissed off!' action going on at all?"
Spike nodded and gestured to the brunette sitting on the old fashion sofa and staring blankly out into space.
"Nope. She just seems to stare a lot. Every now and then she comes 'round for a moment or two and twice she actually spoke, but mostly she's like that. As for her clothes... well, you can't blame them on Xander. They belonged to Anya. All of Xander's things were burnt up in the fire that killed her parents."
Cordelia's nose crinkled up at the thought of Xander not owning any of her own clothes. Spike could almost see the wheel in her perky little head turning.
"Well. First things first. New clothes. Ones that fit. She'll be more comfortable physically and nothing cheers me up faster than knowing I look good. It'll probably work for Xander too."
Spike stared at her as if she had grown a third eye and wondered if the cheerleader had gone soft in the head from over exposure to Angel's lack of personality.
"Pet. I appreciate the thought, but she can't exactly go off to the mall to try on outfits, now can she? Not only will you get no opinions from her, but she can't get dressed and undressed by herself."
Cordelia waved his concerns aside and flashed him a wide grin.
"That's okay. I'm a champion shopper. I can go and pick her up a few outfits and the essentials for now. Once she's feeling better, she can always expand her wardrobe then. Um... what size does she wear?"
Spike rolled his eyes and sighed.
"How the bloody hell should I know? She didn't come with a set of bleedin' instructions as if she was a stereo."
Cordelia rolled her own eyes and began to mutter under her breath about men in general and Spike in specific. She turned on her heel and stomped towards the door. She called out one last demand before walking out of their rooms.
"Help Xander get undressed to her foundation garments. I'll go get a measuring tape and figure out her size. Then I'll go out and buy her some clothes."
Spike ran a hand up over his face in exasperation and reminded himself once again that he was putting up with all of this crap for Xander. She needed it and he was the first to admit that he had no clue how to take care of a helpless mortal. Dru had been different. She, at least, could somewhat function and do a few things for herself. Xander, on the other hand, looked like sex on legs and acted like a mute infant. It was a frustrating and disconcerting combination.
Finally, he managed to calm himself enough after Cordy's little visit to try and do what the prom queen had asked. He walked over to Xander and knelt down on the floor in front of her. He reached out and gently brushed a stray lock of hair out of her sweet face.
"Pet? We need to get you down to your skivvies, okay? Cordelia will come back in a few minutes to measure you and she needs you to be undressed. It won't hurt, but if you get cold you have to tell me, okay? Can you tell me if you get cold?"
He waited a moment, but Xander didn't answer. She just continued to stare right through him. He petted her cheek tenderly.
"That's okay luv. You think about it while we get you ready."
Moving slowly, he reached down and lifted one of her feet. Being careful not to hurt her, he removed her sneaker and the little ankle sock. That done, he lifted her other foot and repeated the process, cooing to her the entire time. Once she was barefoot, he stood up and reached down to grab her by the arms. Gently, he pulled her to a standing position.
"Come on pet. Time to stand up. That's it. Good. Now, turn around so I can reach the zipper."
Directing her motion, Spike turned her to face the back on the room. Careful not to pinch her skin with it's metal teeth, he lowered the zipper on the back of the dress she was wearing. Using slow motions so he didn't startle her, Spike pushed the lemon yellow dress off of Xander's shoulders.
"Oh my God. Why isn't she wearing a bra?"
Spike turned his head to glare at Cordelia. His Sire's secretary was standing in the doorway staring.
"Because she doesn't own any, that's why. Anya's didn't fit her. Why? What's the big deal?"
Cordy rolled her eyes and strolled into the room once again.
"Well, duh. Xander is too big chested to go without a bra. It's probably painful if she moves too fast. I'll make sure to pick up a couple pairs for her."
She turned and shoved a pen and a clipboard in Spike's hands. Then, with a flick of her wrist, she unrolled a long measuring tape.
"Here. Record down the measurements as I read them off. I'll convert them into clothing sizes when I'm done."
It had been a week and a half since his wayward Childe and the now female Xander had shown up on his doorstep begging for shelter and help. And he was willing to admit that at first, he wasn't sure if there was anything that they could do to help Xander. The young woman had retreated into her own mind and then had barricaded the door.
But now, looking back, he could see a difference. Granted, it wasn't a whole lot, but it was there. And all of the progress Xander had made was the direct result of Spike's never ending attention and concern and Cordelia's refusal to stop trying to regain her friend.
Cordelia had walked into Spike and Xander's suite of rooms and had taken charge with a swift efficiency and a surprisingly gentle demeanor. He had always known that Cordy had a huge heart and a wellspring of compassion, but she rarely wore her feelings on her sleeve. She hid her finer and softer emotions behind a well designed armor of cutting remarks and a beguilingly lovely face. Most people didn't bother to take the time to look beneath her surface and he felt that caused them to miss out on a lot. Now Spike could also see the same qualities in her. With their mutual need to care for Xander, they had built a strange relationship that consisted of trading advice, women's fashion arguments and flying insults and teasing banter.
Within days, Cordy had used his own money to supply Xander with a bunch of new clothes. He winced at the bill, but the look of delight on her face and the pleasure that Spike got out of dressing up his mortal doll had made him hold his tongue. Then, his erstwhile secretary had begun to try and teach Spike about women. It had been... hilarious. Occasionally, Spike's indignant anger at her remarks had to be diffused by him leaving the hotel for an hour or two, but he had never hit or bit her. For that he was proud. His boy had learned a lot of restraint during the time he had suffered with the Initiative's chip implant.
As for Xander herself, well, she seemed to spend a lot more time being... aware of her surroundings now. She only seemed to come up out of herself in moments when things were extremely peaceful or when she was literally frightened out of her mind.
So far Angel had only heard her speak once. That had been the night they arrived and she had admitted to being afraid of him. However, both Spike and Cordy had claimed that she had spoken to them. Cordy said she had whispered that she needed to use the bathroom while Cordy had been giving her a manicure. Spike said that the past three days she had woken up and talked for a full five minutes, at least, before shutting the world out again.
Even if she didn't talk to him, Angel had been witness to certain changes personally. He noticed that Xander would actually look at Spike and sometimes at Cordelia. Not look through them, but at them. He also noticed that even when she was aware and mentally in reality, Xander would not look at him. She looked away, to the wall, the floor, at another person. Anywhere but at him. That was... distressing.
Spike had warned him about brooding in front of Xander. Apparently, he didn't want the confused young woman to think that Angel was angry at her. So, he tried to be friendly and cheerful, but that wasn't easy for him.
However, he wanted to do more to help than just being falsely cheerful or brooding while locked away in his room. He wanted to contribute more than just the money to pay for the clothes she wore and the food she ate, but he wasn't sure what he could do that wouldn't scare her.
That was the question that burned in his mind, what could he do to help?
Spike held Xander in his arms as the young woman slowly drifted awake. He was laying on his back in the large soft bed and Xander was snuggled up tight against his side, with her head on his chest and one leg flung up over his hip. It was a wonderfully intimate and sexy way to start the evening.
This was quickly becoming Spike's favorite part of the day. In the early evening when they first woke up, Xander was aware and focused and sometimes she even spoke. And for the past week and a half that she had been doing this, her bouts of reality focused awareness were lasting longer and longer. Now, it wasn't until something upset her enough to send her spiraling back into her own mind that Spike lost the opportunity to chat up his delicate mortal. Unfortunately, it was usually something inside her own thoughts that frightened her and thus, Spike couldn't protect her from it.
He had great hopes that today she'd stay in the here and now even longer than yesterday which was her personal best; forty-five minutes in a row.
He began rubbing soft soothing circles on her back as he listened to her heart-rate slowly speed up and her breathing pattern changed. She shifted slightly in his arms, snuggling closer and rubbing her cheek against his bare chest. Her gentle wriggling against his body sent an involuntary rumbling purr up and out of his throat and he felt her smile where it pressed into his skin.
"G' evening Pet. How are you feeling this lovely night?"
Xander lifted her head and dark liquid eyes looked at him. He couldn't suppress the smile that erupted on his face whenever she actually focused on him instead of staring through him as if he wasn't there. He slowly reached out with his other hand and ran one finger along her pale cheek. She offered him a tiny half smile and he could have sworn his undead heart fluttered in his chest.
"I'm... okay. Cordy wants me to do aerobics with her tonight. She said it will help me understand this... body I have. Is that okay?"
Spike nodded his head and indulged himself in his new-found enjoyment of running his fingers through her midnight hair. She arched into the soothing touch.
"I think that's a good idea luv. You've lost a bit of muscle-tone from sitting too much. As annoying as the cheerleader can be, she's right about that being a good thing to try. It'll probably help you out with your problem with your center of balance, if nothing else."
Xander smiled shyly at him once again and Spike felt as if he were falling into those lovely dark eyes with all of her hurt and pain shinning in them. A tingle of excitement sizzled through him and he wondered if he should tell her how he felt about her. How his feelings were slowly changing. How he had come to delight in her every nuance.
He never got to finish what he'd been about to confess, however. Xander raised up one hand sharply and held it towards him palm out.
"No. I'm... I'm not Xander. Not... anymore. I'm just... some girl Anya created with her magic. I may have all of Xander's memories... but I'm not him anymore. He... he died that night too. Hell Spike, I can't even use my old I.D., I mean, look at me. I look like I could be Xander's twin sister, but not him."
Spike looked deeply into her tear-filled eyes and knew that he was going to lose her soon. She was reaching the point where the pain in her heart and mind was too great. She would be retreating into that non-place she went to in order to escape her own thoughts. He cringed internally, but he had to ask.
"Well pet, if you're not Xander, then who are you?"
Her face expressed loss and sorrow and pain so eloquently that he almost felt as if he could share her suffering with her. In response, he tightened his arms around her, pulling her body even closer to his own.
"I... I don't know. I'm not sure who I am. Spike? Who do you think I should be?"
Spike's mind became frantic at the desperately asked question. She was very confused and adrift in the world. He could understand why she felt so lost and lonely, but how was he supposed to answer that? What could he say that would calm her rising panic and keep her from slipping away from him once again?
"I'm not sure luv. Not really. I mean, I do know some of it. For one, you're mine. Mine to protect and take care of. Mine to cherish and hold. As for the rest, that's up to you really.
I think you need to consider what you want to do with your life. After all, you have a clean slate to work with, don't you? A fresh start, a second chance. Whatever you decide, I'll support you in it. You do know that, don't you?
What's more, if you don't want to be called Xander anymore, than that's fine too. Just... pick a name that you like and I'll use my contacts to set you up with a whole new identity. We'll get you a driver's license, birth certificate, the works. Okay?"
An odd look came over her face then. It wasn't the one that signaled that she was about to go into a catatonic state, but her thoughts were definitely focused inward. Spike found himself holding a breath that he didn't need as he waited to see what she thought of his little improvised speech. When she spoke, it wasn't to Spike himself, but more to herself. Almost as if she were trying her thoughts out loud to hear how they sounded.
"Who am I? Well... I'm Spike's. I belong to Spike. William's girl."
Then, those dark intense eyes focused outward once again and he was relieved to find that the anguish and pain in them had lessened below the danger point once more.
"It's not much of an identity. It's more like being an addition to your identity than actually having one of my own. But... it's a start. Right?"
Spike smiled softly at her and once again began rubbing soothing circles on her back.
"Yeah pet. It's a start. A bloody good start, if you ask me. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being my girl."
She offered him another shy smile and then rested her head back against his chest. Spike continued to rub her back and he found himself purring once again.
Cordelia watched as the dark haired woman who was her ex-boyfriend worked at alphabetizing and then shelving Wesley's collection of books in the large room of the hotel which Angel had decided to turn into a library. She was a good helper, what with her experience in helping Giles with research, both in and out of the high school library. She could even recognize several esoteric languages on sight even if she couldn't read a word of it.
What's more, she was eager to help in any way. Cordy personally thought it was because she somehow knew that she needed some type of soothing external distraction to keep from slipping back into her own mind. So far, she had gone two whole days without fading away into mental la-la land, but it was a fragile hold on reality at best. The young woman had many pressing issues that she was trying to deal with and without something to occupy her swirling thoughts, she would regress.
One of those issues bothered Cordy greatly. The girl had no name. About a week or so ago, she had decided that she didn't want to use her old name anymore. Cordy could understand that. Boy's name, bad memories. Enough said. However, she hadn't picked a new one yet. It was as if she were waiting for one to drop out of the sky and land in her lap. When Cordy had confronted her about it, she had just shrugged and said that when she knew who she was then she would choose a name. Whatever that meant. So... for the sake of everyone else's sanity they simply called her Pet. Short for Spike's pet. She didn't seem to mind, even if Cordy thought the nick-name was way medieval.
Shaking herself out of her increasingly cynical thoughts, Cordy grabbed a stack of books from the open box in front of her and carried them over to her friend.
"Here you go Pet. I swear, Wesley sure has a lot of these things. And as soon as we're done with his, I'd lay money on Angel asking us to shelf his book collection as well. And it's just as big, if not bigger."
Pet offered up a shy smile and shrugged. Cordelia grinned back and crossed her eyes at the quiet girl.
"I know, I know... you like doing this kind of stuff. Well, I wouldn't mind it either if books weren't so, so... dusty."
Cordy brushed her hands together as if to illustrate her point. Sharing another smile with her friend, she started to turn and walk back for a second stack of books when Pet's soft halting voice stopped her.
"Cordy? Um... I... I wanted to... talk to you about something. Something... um, well... personal."
Cordy turned back and gave her an encouraging smile. She was used to this by now. Xander, or rather, not Xander any more, was slowly discovering little details about being female that she wasn't sure how to handle. So, she brought her questions to Cordelia when they were alone. If it was a major thing, then she would go to Spike afterwards and warn him about what to expect. They had used this pattern of information exchange to help Pet when she got her period, when she was learning how to dress herself in woman's clothing, especially those garments that she'd had no experience with, like bras. They had had quite a few talks about how females act and react in certain situations that just basically differ from men and they talked fashion and exercise and even about some of Cordy's relationships. From the look on her friends face though, this topic was going to be another doozy. Cordelia braced herself.
"Okay, what is it?"
"Um... I... I like Spike."
"Well, that's a good thing since he literally owns you. I personally think he's a bit of a jerk, but even I've got to admit that he treats you good. Better than good actually."
Pet shook her head slightly and her eyes grew slightly frightened.
"No. I mean, that I... I like him. You know... that way. The way a girl likes a guy. You know? But... I mean, I've... I've never liked guys before. Only girls."
Cordelia blinked again. She was... shocked. She had not been expecting this, but now that she thought about it, she figured that she should have. It was obvious to anyone with eyes that Spike had a thing for his delicate mortal pet, but she had never shown any indication of returning those feelings. Cordy had just assumed, probably like everyone else, that Pet would still like women. That she would be a lesbian. Cordelia sucked in a deep breath and spoke her mind.
"Okay. A few questions first and then we'll figure out what to do. One, do you still like girls? Two, do you find all men attractive or three, is it only Spike?"
Pet got this far away look in her eyes and for a second Cordy began to fear that the girl was slipping away from reality again, but then she turned her big dark eyes back to reality again.
"Um... both I think. I mean, I like both guys and girls. But... it's different with Spike. I don't know... stronger, I guess. I look at him and get all tingly and warm and I feel as if I should have an erection, but I don't, I just..."
The girl broke off and blushed deep red as a look of extreme embarrassment washed over her face. As blunt spoken as ever, Cordy finished her thought for her.
"You just get turned on and wet between the thighs?"
Pet averted her eyes by glancing down at the ancient book cradled in her arms and nodded shyly.
"Have you had sex with him?"
Another deep blush, but this one accompanied by a negative head shake.
"But you want to?"
A tiny nod yes.
Cordelia squealed with delight and impulsively embraced her friend. Her mind fluttered with excitement at the thought of playing match-maker.
"Oooo... This is soooo exciting. Okay. This is what we'll do. First, we need to come up with a real name for you. Spike will need something to shout out in ecstasy, after all. Then, we'll..."
It had been a week since her talk with Cordelia about Spike. In that time she'd only slipped into her own mind three times. Twice from Angel mentioning Buffy's name in her hearing and once after she and Spike had been attacked by a stupid kid that had tried to mug them while they were out so that Spike could hunt. It wasn't the fact that he'd killed the fool that so upset her. She had gone hunting with Spike every single night since his chip had been removed by Anya. She had grown used to the idea that he killed. What's more, he had promised her from the very beginning that he'd never kill any of her friends. They both knew that her mind would not survive it. Not after what Anya had done. No, Spike only hunted criminals, for her sake.
What had upset her was that the man had grabbed her and then had ripped her away from her blonde protector. For a few horrifying moments she had feared that he would kill her before Spike could reach them. That hadn't happened of course. Spike had lunged at them, yanked the man in close, tore his throat open with razor sharp vampire teeth and then dropped the quickly cooling corpse at her feet like a gruesome trophy of war. She could clearly remember saying "I'm glad he's dead." and then things had gone... blank. She'd come back to reality cleaned up, dressed in her night clothes and snuggled up against Spike in their bed.
It was, ironically enough, that incident which had pushed her into action. She was now ready to take Cordy's advice and get on with her life. Her new life. She didn't want to end up dead in some alley as a Jane Doe. She wanted to be somebody before death had the opportunity to steal her second chance away.
She had thought long and hard about who she was and what she wanted out of life. And in doing so, she had discovered a few things about herself.
For one thing, she still wanted to help fight evil. That sounded odd considering that she had been literally given to a vampire by a vengeance demon for safe keeping, but it was true. She still had the wiggins whenever she was too close to Angel, but she got on great with Cordy, and Wesley wasn't too bad to be around either. She could already help with research and she wanted to learn how to fight with this new body as well.
Another thing she had figured out was that she could be a female in L.A. Nobody here expected her to be anything else. Except for her odd little family at Angel Investigations, no one had any clue that she had at one time been a man. That made her feel better. She didn't feel as if she were some sort of demon cursed freak at all times. The only stares she got from people were appreciative ones, not stares of shock or horror like back in Sunnydale.
And most importantly, she realized that she enjoyed being such a huge part of Spike's life. The main part of her self-identity was wrapped up in him. He had been there from the start and it was he who had sheltered her and held her through the worst of her... disassociation. He understood and oddly enough, he cared. She belonged to him... and she wanted the world to know it. What's more, she wanted Spike to know it too.
Hence, the situation she now found herself in.
Cordelia had dressed her. Granted, the fashion queen could make anyone look good if she was given full reign of the make-over process, but she had out done herself tonight. A soft crushed velvet top in midnight blue that left her pale neck exposed to Spike's eyes and a long ankle length skirt in multiple shades of blues and silvers. Open-toed sandals on her feet. Dark hair pulled up in a twist only to spill down the left side of her head and neck. She felt... pretty.
Nervously twisting her hands, she took one last breath to steady her nerves and then she walked over to where Spike was sitting on a low backed couch flipping through a magazine. He looked up at her as she drew near and his face crinkled up in the smile that was reserved just for her.
"Hello Pet. You look particularly lovely this evening."
He reached up with one hand and guided her around until she could sit on the cushion next to him. He rubbed at the back of her wrist with his thumb out of long standing habit.
"Um... Spike? I... I wanted to talk to you. About something, ah, important."
Spike grinned and pulled her over and up onto his lap. She leaned her head down on his shoulder and cuddled against him. It was one of her favorite places to be. She always felt loved and safe in his arms.
"I... I've thought of a name for myself and I wanted to know what you thought of it."
Spike leaned back and shifted his hold on her so that he could clearly see her face. He held his features carefully neutral, but he couldn't hide the excitement shinning in his bright blue eyes. Not from her.
"Well Pet, I'm all ears. Let's hear it."
She felt herself begin to blush lightly and firmly pushed down her nervousness. She honestly didn't care what anyone else thought of what she wanted as her new name, but this was Spike. His opinion meant the world to her and she honestly thought she would die if he didn't approve. She found that she had to clear her throat just to speak.
"Well... my old name, Xander, it was a short form of my real name. Alexander. I started asking my friends to call me that because my parents called me by the full name and... well, it had bad memories associated with it. And since the Xander part of Alexander is officially dead then I figured I should chose another short form. One that was... well, feminine."
Spike nodded his head.
"That makes perfect sense luv. How do you plan to feminize it?"
She wriggled a little bit on his lap so that she could see his face easier.
"Um... I was thinking of using Alexa. You know, go with the first half of it instead of the last half. It is a form of my birth name, and it does sound like a girls name and... well... I think it's pretty."
She could feel herself blush again. Spike smiled gently at her.
"It's smashing Pet. Absolutely lovely. Just like you. But what about a last name? I've noticed that you mortals usually have more than one name. Not like us demons as can go around with only one. You still plan to use Harris?"
Alexa felt her nerves begin to act up again. This was the hard part. She had known that Spike wouldn't have any complaints about her choice of a first name. It made sense and was easy to remember. Besides, she thought she looked like an Alexa. However, he might not like what she wanted to use as her last name. If he didn't like it, she wouldn't use it.
"Um... no. I... I don't want to use Harris. The Harris's are dead. I don't want any ties to them. Especially to my father. I... I know that sounds pretty harsh, but... I don't want to carry that symbol of his ownership anymore. I don't belong to him... I belong to... you."
She wriggled on his lap again. This time from pure nerves.
"I don't want the world to associate me with him. I want the world to know I'm yours. That's why... that's why I want to call myself Willspet."
Spike blinked in confusion.
"Willspet? I don't get it."
Alexa grinned shyly and looked down in her lap.
"Willspet. Um... if you break it up, it's two words. Will's and Pet. That's what I am, you know. Your pet. Everyone's been calling me that for weeks now. Pet. So... I want it to be official. I'm Alexa, Will's pet."
When she glanced up at Spike to see his reaction to her announcement she saw that he had a stunned expression plastered on his face. Total shock. When he caught her eyes however, that shock morphed into a look of pure pleasure and happiness. He wore a wide toothy smile and his blue eyes sparkled with hints of gold.
"Hello Alexa Willspet. It's lovely to meet you."
Alexa smiled. Relief coursed through her in a huge wave as she realized that Spike wasn't upset by her desire to use his name as her own. In fact, he seemed to be happy about it. She wasn't sure what she would have done if he had told her "no, pick another one" and now she could feel the tension just drain out of her. She felt almost giddy.
She was about to suggest that they celebrate when Spike did something that she didn't expect, but none the less had been dreaming about for days now.
Reaching out with one hand, he brushed cool fingertips along her skin, gently tilting her face towards his. Moving slowly so as not to startle her, he leaned forward and lightly brushed his soft lips against hers. She gasped lightly at the mild tingle that surged through her at the contact. Tenderly, he deepened the kiss a tiny bit, running the tip of his tongue along her lips, leaving a light trail of moisture behind. Then, he softly suckled on her bottom lip with his own.
She tingled all over her body and warm arousal rushed along her skin. A soft throaty moan whispered in her ears and she realized that it was her own. She leaned into his touch slightly and found herself caught between the desire to let her new found passion finally awaken and the need to run and hide.
Just as suddenly as he'd initiated it, Spike broke the kiss and ran his hands through the spill of dark curls along her neck. His eyes reflected a bit more gold in them now, but he was still smiling gently at her.
"Come on Alexa Willspet. Let's go celebrate you finally having a name."
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