Pairing: Spike/Xander implied
Spoilers: Through Chosen.
Summary: Xander dies during Chosen, Spike thinks he’s found a way to change that.
Notes: Angst, dark. Written for The Batpack Challenge-Fic Fanfic Challenge 2004.
Challenge: Messing With Fate by CJ. Scenario: Spike and Xander are together near the end of season 7. Spike survived the effects of the amulet, but Xander dies in the final battle. Feeling cheated by fate, Spike contacts some of his more magical demonic allies and gets sent back in time to just before he originally came to Sunnydale. After proving to himself who he is and when he's from, Spike convinces himself that Dru will betray him, but his chance for happiness waits in Sunnydale. The only thing he'll need to claim that happiness can only be gotten from a certain demon in Africa. He then leaves his past self with instructions to make sure he keeps his new mate safe. What happens when Spike returns to the present?
Feedback: It’s ALL about the feedback (and naked Spike)! Don’t make me beg, it’s not pretty.
Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters, just borrowing them for awhile. Everything belongs to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui Enterprises, Grr Argh, the WB, UPN and whomever else they really belong to, although I wouldn’t mind having a Spike of my own. Who would? The story is mine, though.
Thanks: To Tammy, for the most excellent beta! You are a gem among—uh—other shiny stuff.
Messing With Fate
Two months had passed since Xander died helping to save the world from The First. Two months that Spike had spent angry and drunk as he raged against fate and blamed himself for not protecting his boy better. Every night was bad, but the nights he woke after dreaming that Xander was still alive and that they’d slept in each others arms were the worst.
Three days after he’d eavesdropped on a Pahkloch demon speaking in low tones about a time-shifting demon who, for a price, could send you back in time to right a wrong—which was how long it took him to finally remember the overheard conversation—was the first day he didn’t spend with a bottle in his hand every minute. Spike sobered up and began his search for the time-shifting demon, starting with the Pahklock he’d overheard speaking about it.
Arlo, the Pahklock, didn’t know much. He’d just been repeating something he’d heard elsewhere. For three weeks Spike followed every lead, every rumor, every bit of hearsay, no matter how unlikely, and called in every marker until he finally located the time-shifting demon in a shack in New Zealand. Spike told the Selkzhar what he wanted—needed—and asked how much it would cost.
"The cost can only be determined when the deed has been accomplished. Only then will the price you must pay be known," the Selkzhar replied.
"What in hell does that mean?"
The hairless, blue-skinned demon stared back at Spike with equanimity, unmoved by his outburst.
Spike didn’t care about the cost. He knew what it felt like to be with Xander, and what it felt like to be without him. He’d spent too much time buried in the bottle, trying to dull the pain of his lover’s loss, of his own failure to keep him alive, and invested too much hope in the dream of getting him back, to care what price the demon exacted from him, or what his cryptic message meant.
"Set it up," he demanded. "I’ll pay whatever the cost."
The demon merely bowed his head in acquiescence.
Spike had thought long and hard about everything he needed to tell his past self. From the Selkzhar’s instructions, he knew he wouldn’t have much time to convince him who he was, much less explain everything he wanted to about Xander. But the time for thought was over, and the time for action had arrived. The demon had drawn a circle on the floor and lit candles. Spike lay inside the circle while the demon chanted over him and sprinkled glittering sand onto him.
The room around him dimmed, and then dissolved, and Spike found himself standing in a park at night. A quick reconnaissance of his surroundings allowed Spike to determine that he was in the town he and Dru had spent a couple nights in just before they reached Sunnydale. Now he just needed to determine when he was there.
A few blocks from the park, Spike recognized the All-Nite Diner where he remembered finding the pretty busboy. After getting the date and time from a passing drunk, Spike found a shadowed spot to sit. While waiting for his past self to appear, Spike let his mind drift back. After leaving the diner, he’d wandered the town, eventually heading down to the docks where he’d found a 13-year old runaway for Dru.
They’d managed to keep her alive for three days while Dru, unable to eat much even when her mind didn’t wander, fed from her. He shuddered now as he recalled the young girl pleading for them to let her go until she was too weak to speak, and the intoxicating scent of her fear that even now thrilled him at the same time it turned his stomach. Spike wished he could do something to save her, but knew he had very little time to spend in the past and could do nothing for her.
Moments later his past self emerged from the diner, where he had just snacked on the brown-haired, brown-eyed busboy after bending him over the sink in the small, dirty bathroom. His demon flashed as he remembered the feel of the boy’s virgin ass around him while he drank lust-laced blood, fucking and feeding them both to orgasm before dropping the boy’s lifeless body to the filthy floor.
He needed to confront his past self before he found the runaway, or he’d never get his full attention. This would be hard enough without the distraction of him having found a meal for Dru. Spike ran through his memorized speech once more, making sure he wasn’t leaving anything out, and then allowed himself to get lost in thoughts of Xander, the reason he was here, and lost sight of his past self. "Bloody...!" He went down under a vicious attack before he could finish the curse.
His past self would normally not be a match for Spike in a fight, but it had been nearly three months since Spike had been in a brawl that wasn’t fueled by drink, and even those had sent him home bruised and bloodied to heal too slowly because he was spending his blood money on booze.
"Who in the bloody hell are you?" his past self growled when they’d fought to a stand off.
"I’m you, in six years," Spike told him flat out.
His past self looked him over critically, and frowned. "You’ve got to be kidding."
Spike squelched the urge to strangle himself. "It’s been a rough couple o’ months," he said instead. "I just lost the most important person in my life, and I..."
"...came back to... No, not Dru! Look I came back to tell you."
"Tell me what?"
"That a chance for real happiness waits for you in Sunnydale."
"Happiness? You can’t be bloody serious! Is this some kind of joke?"
"No, it’s not a joke. It’s important that you listen." It was a real struggle for him keep his temper reined in. "Angelus is in Sunnydale. He can help heal Dru, but you... No!" Spike felt himself being pulled back. It was too soon. "She’ll betray you. In five years you’ll need to go to Africa," he said, rushing his words.
"Betray me? Dru?" his past self scoffed. "And Africa? Why in bloody hell would I go to soddin’ Africa?"
"Just... Just do it! Don’t forget. And whatever you do... No, not yet!" he yelled at the night sky. He stared intently at his past self. "Protect him. The boy, don’t let anything happen to him!" he cried as the world around him disappeared.
When Spike woke up he was back in his own bed. Memories of his trip to the past came to him and he rolled over, expecting to find Xander there beside him. The other side of the bed was empty and unrumpled, as if it hadn’t been slept in. Spike screamed and grabbed his head in pain as new memories slid in beside the old. His trip to the past had changed things, he realized, but he hadn’t managed to save Xander, who had been killed by Angelus during his reign of terror one night when he and Dru had come upon the boy wandering around outside, alone. Dru had cried for days over the loss of her ‘kitten’.
Spike went back to the Selkzhar and demanded he be allowed to try again. This time when everything went dark, he found his past self at the mansion, sitting outside in his wheelchair.
"You were supposed to protect him!" Spike snarled angrily.
Spike swallowed hard. "Xander."
"The Slayer’s lapdog? Why...?"
"Don’t... Just, don’t call him that. He-he’s special. You need him. And fucking hell, I told you to protect him!"
His past self held his hands out, indicating the wheelchair. "And how do you suggest I was supposed to do that? Besides, I find it hard to believe the boy was important for anything more than a quick snack." Spike roared his frustration, but his past self ignored him. "What I need is to get rid of that wanker Angelus!" he growled.
"No, listen! He’s your chance at true happiness!" Spike fumed and raged, and then tried to explain to his past self how important Xander had been to him.
"You’re pitiful," his past self mocked.
"I’m you, you bleedin’ ponce! Now, you’re gonna get another chance, don’t screw it up!"
Spike woke up alone once more and the wrongness of it was like a blade to his heart. That ache was soon overshadowed by a sharp pain in his head as his mind was flooded with new memories. He held his head and wept at the memory of Xander and Anya’s wedding.
Sent back once more, Spike landed on his back in an alley a couple blocks away from The Bronze. Outside The Bronze the sounds of a struggle reached his ears and he followed them. He stood back in the shadows, observing his past self as he spied on Buffy while she battled the Annoying One’s minion he’d set her up with to see how well this slayer fought. He watched as his past self made his presence known, wincing at the overblown melodrama he’d loved so much then.
He couldn’t help staring at that Xander, the younger version of his lover, wondering how he could have been so blind back then. Blinded by his own reputation as the Big Bad, by his desire to cure Dru, by his hatred for Angelus... When the scene had played out, he followed his past self until they were safely away from Buffy’s slayer senses before approaching him.
When Spike woke, time had reset itself once again, and he found himself wrapped around his boy. He felt a surge of joy that this time his past self had succeeded, and pulled Xander closer to him. It took him a second to realize that he didn’t hear a heartbeat, or smell the delicious scent of Xander’s blood. His memories shifted again, and once more Spike screamed in pain. When the pain receded he roared his rage, and then buried his head in his hands.
Xander jerked upright, growling and looking around the room before turning amber eyes on Spike. "Spike, Sire, what’s wrong?" he demanded around elongated fangs.
Tears filled Spike’s eyes as he remembered the night he and Buffy had been late for patrol because she’d stopped by the crypt to scratch an itch, and they’d nearly destroyed the place. By the time they’d caught up with Willow and Xander, the witch was desperately kicking, and punching, and floating sticks into the vamps that had surrounded them. Xander was down, a gash in his head bleeding freely, a vampire attached to his neck.
Spike had turned him after dusting the fledge who’d nearly drained him. Willow had anchored Xander’s soul, but with old and new memories existing side-by-side, Spike knew it wasn’t the same. This Xander wasn’t his Xander.
Spike’s eyes opened and he looked up at the unfamiliar ceiling of the shack. The Selkzhar leaned over him. "What in hell was that?" he croaked, his throat dry from screaming.
The blue demon handed him a glass of water. "That," it said, "was the price."
Spike gulped the water, wishing it was whiskey. "The price?" Spike asked. "I don’t understand. I brought money..."
"I do not accept payment for my gift," the demon softly replied.
"But, the cost," Spike said, confused. "You said there was a cost."
"Yes," the demon replied with a sad smile, as if he was pleased Spike at last understood. "And you have seen it."
"Seen it?" Spike repeated. He closed his eyes and remembered the possible changes to the past he’d witnessed, dreamed. Caused. Xander dead, married to Anya, or turned into a vampire. The cost. The price he might be required to pay. That the Xander he got, if he got one at all, wouldn’t be his Xander.
"Are you willing to pay it?" the demon asked, fingers dipping into his pocket.
Was he? Spike wondered.
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