Length: 4000 words
Spoilers: Through BtVS 7.22 Chosen and Ats 5.11 Damage.
Summary: Xander’s next hunt takes him back to LA.
Notes: Bounty hunter!Xander; takes place about three years after Chosen. Written for fall_for_sx. (Yes, the title is taken from Ats 1.10 Parting Gifts. *g*)
Feedback: It’s ALL about the feedback (and naked Spike)! Don’t make me beg, it’s not pretty.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Written: October 2, 2007
What's A Rogue Demon?
Xander slung his carry on bag over his shoulder as he made his way out of customs. The bag was light, holding only a couple changes of clothes and toiletries, since he’d been unable to bring his usual cache of weapons with him on this particular hunt. The orders he’d received from the Indaba, now tucked safely in the inside pocket of his leather duster, had informed Xander that they’d arranged with a local outfit to supply Xander with weapons and anything else he’d need while he was in LA.
Xander checked his watch. The flight had arrived on time, so his contact should be waiting outside with a car to drive him to the hotel, and a bag full of weapons. Xander stepped outside the airport, bustling even at four a.m., and took his first breath of non-recycled air in about twelve hours. It wasn’t as bad as some of the villages Xander had spent time in, with their lack of proper waste disposal, but he’d gotten used to the clean air found in less developed regions of the world and the smog-filled air nearly made him choke.
The scent of cigarette smoke wafted in his direction, stronger even than the exhaust fumes from the string of taxis lined up along the curb. Xander lifted his head and followed the odor of smoke back to its origin, and swore under his breath.
A driver dressed all in black stood next to a white Hummer limo; he held a sign that read, ‘Harris, X’. The driver wasn’t the problem. The problem was the blond vampire that stood beside the driver, also dressed all in black, of course, cigarette dangling from between his lips.
Spike took one last drag off the cigarette and flicked it into the street, the orange tip sparking as it tumbled end over end. “So, the White Knight returns.”
“Bite me, Spike.” Xander was weary from his flight, and the retort was made on automatic reflex.
“Chop, chop, Harris. Beelzebub here turns into a bat at sunrise.”
Because he wouldn’t put it past Spike to actually be telling the truth just this once, Xander trained both his eyes on the driver, who appeared to be completely human to his vision. Xander sighed and moved towards the limo, where Spike’s backside was disappearing into the interior. Xander nodded to the driver and stepped in after Spike.
Xander waited until the limo had pulled out of the airport and into the sparse traffic of early morning LA before speaking. “You’re my contact?”
Spike paused in his hands-on perusal of the fully stocked wet bar to look at Xander. “You were hoping for the big galloping poof, maybe?”
Xander snorted and Spike went back to his search.
Spike kicked out and a bag skidded across the floor of the limo to Xander’s feet. He pushed down the urge to check it out, knowing that the Indaba would have made sure that he was provided with everything he’d asked for. Besides, the light would be better at the hotel.
Xander remained silent during the rest of the trip to the hotel, not knowing how, and not really wanting to, make small talk with Spike. He spent the rest of the ride trying to calculate how many of the little individual bottles of liquor Spike had stuffed into his pockets.
When the limo pulled round the circular drive that fronted the hotel, Xander pushed his way out of the door before the driver had time to make it around. His duffel once more hanging off his shoulder, Xander turned back to the limo to grab the weapons’ bag. Instead he was forced to step back when Spike emerged from the limo with the bag in hand. Rather than handing it to Xander, Spike turned to the driver, “Ta, mate,” then headed for the brightly lit hotel entrance, the door already held open for him by the doorman. “Get the lead out, Harris.”
Xander looked over at the driver who had shut the limo door and stood beside it, waiting for Xander to enter the hotel. His expression didn’t change, but he radiated sympathy at Xander’s plight, and a little bit of relief.
“Thanks a lot,” Xander said, and followed Spike into the hotel.
“Spike, really, I can find my own room,” Xander protested as Spike popped off the elevator and led the way down the hall.
“We’re a full service formerly-evil law firm, Harris. You wouldn’t want word to get around that we shirk our duties, would you?”
“God forbid,” Xander muttered.
They reached Xander’s room and Spike unlocked the door, then pushed his way inside, letting the door fall shut in Xander’s face. Xander caught the door before it latched and followed Spike inside just in time to see him toss the bag of weapons onto one bed and take a flying leap towards the other.
“Please, come in,” Xander said as he set his duffel on the bed beside the weapons’ bag. “Comfy?”
Spike lay on his back, legs crossed at the ankle, arms folded under his head. “Can’t complain.”
Xander counted down in his head; five, four, three, two, one . . . .
“‘Cept for the remote being all the way over there.”
“Don’t you have a television in your own apartment?”
“Sure, but I bet the poof sprang for better cable here.”
Xander grabbed the remote off the TV stand and tossed it at Spike’s head. Spike’s hand snapped up and caught it out of the air. “Ta, very much.”
“I’m gonna take a shower. Make yourself at home.” Xander infused as much sarcasm into it as he could, but Spike’s attention was already focused on the television as he clicked through channels fast enough to give Xander a headache.
Xander stayed under the hot water until he began to prune up. Most of his accommodations weren’t as nice as this, and he wasn’t too righteous to take advantage of the amenities when they were available.
Xander pulled on the sweat pants he’d brought into the bathroom with him, then opened the door to let out the steam that had built up from his shower. Cool air rushed in and gave him goosebumps. Xander finished toweling dry his hair, then padded out to the main room. Spike was still on the bed, thumb punching the remote. If not for the small opened bottles of liquor, and bags of snacks littering the bed, Xander would’ve thought Spike hadn’t moved while he was making use of the shower.
“‘Bout time. Was beginning to think you’d melted in there.”
Normally Xander would have taken offense at that, just on principle, but he was too tired to muster up a pithy reply. Instead, he indicated the detritus covering Spike’s bed. “You know they’re gonna charge that to the room.”
Spike grinned. “‘S what makes it so fun.”
“Contrary to popular opinion,” Xander said as he heaved the weapons’ bag from the bed to the coffee table, “my expense account is not unlimited.”
“Poof must owe your boss a favor. He’s putting you up at his expense.” Grinning, Spike popped another nut into his mouth.”
“In that case, I’m surprised you didn’t order room service.” No sooner had Xander spoken than a knock sounded at the door.
“They had a bloomin’ onion on the menu,” Spike explained.
“Of course they did.”
Since it didn’t look like Spike was gonna move, Xander got the door. He looked through the peephole with his left eye and asked who was there. The room service waiter appeared to be telling the truth, so Xander let him in. He rolled in the cart and placed it next to the bed at Spike’s direction. When Spike didn’t tip the waiter, Xander found his wallet and withdrew some U.S. currency the Indaba had provided him with before he’d flown out.
Xander looked at the several covered dishes sitting atop the cart. “A blooming onion?”
“They had hot wings, too,” Spike said without a hint of remorse.
Xander snagged a piece of deep fried onion despite Spike’s attempt to slap his hand away. He wiped his fingers on Spike’s jeans, ignoring his yelp of protest, then went back over to the couch. Xander unzipped the weapons’ bag and unloaded it, making sure he had everything he’d asked for. At the bottom was a folder. Xander opened it and saw that it was background info on the demon he’d been sent to collect -- home address, friends, favorite hangouts.
Xander checked his watch and decided that it was too late, or early, to read through it now. He’d wait until he’d gotten some sleep and could approach it with a fresh mind. Besides, he couldn’t hunt the demon until the sun had gone down -- Xander had learned the hard way that it was best not to attract attention as he roamed the streets, armed to the teeth -- so he had about twelve hours to kill. Sleeping through a majority of them sounded like a good idea.
Xander pulled the blankets back and crawled between the sheets. “I’m going to sleep. Don’t run up a pay-per-view tab or I’ll break your clicky finger.”
“Clicky finger?” Spike mocked.
Xander ignored him and was nearly asleep when Spike said, “So, the eye, that’s new.”
“Yeah. The Induna gave it to me.”
Spike was still dead to the world when Xander woke up the next afternoon. He felt better rested than he had in weeks, but refused to place any credit for that on the fact that he hadn’t fallen asleep alone, with no one to watch his back. Still, when he opened his eyes Xander was at first disoriented, partly due to the time change, and partly due to the fact that Spike had pulled the blackout drapes Xander hadn’t noticed the night before, so he had no idea what time it was.
Xander took another shower to wake up, because he could, then ordered breakfast. He got dressed in his usual outfit of black leather pants, black t-shirt and black boots. The leather pants had become a necessity after his second knife wound in less than a month. He’d also had the foresight to have Willow spell them to help repel weapons. It wouldn’t help if someone shot him, but it would force a blade to slide off rather than skewering him. The boots were good for kicking, and the black hid blood better. It had taken a few weeks for Xander to figure all this out, but it had been his ‘uniform’ of choice for over a year now.
It wasn’t until he sat down to go through the information in the folder that Xander thought about Spike. Despite all the food and liquor he’d consumed the night before, or maybe because of it, he’d probably be hungry when he woke. Xander found his cell phone, checked the charge, then dialed the number on the business card attached to the front of the folder, hoping that anyone but Angel would pick up.
There was a faint click, and then his call was answered. “Wolfram and Hart.”
The voice was familiar, and it gave Xander pause until he recognized it. “Wesley?”
“Yes, who . . . ? Xander?”
“Yeah, listen, uh, I need some blood. For Spike.”
“Ah. We wondered where he’d got off to.”
Xander looked over at the figure sprawled face down on the other bed. “I take it he wasn’t my contact then?”
There was a pause before Wesley said, “Yes, well, I countermanded Angel’s original order. It appears Spike countermanded mine. I’ll have to speak with him about that later.”
“Yeah, I’m sure that’ll work. So, uh, blood?”
“We, that is, Wolfram and Hart own the hotel you’re staying at; you need only have called room service.”
Why did speaking with Wesley make Xander feel as if he was in high school again? “Oh, I didn’t know, I mean, I noticed the blackout curtains, but I wasn’t sure . . . .”
“Not to worry, Xander. I’ll make the call and have the blood delivered to your room. How much do you need?”
“Uhhh, I don’t know, how much does he drink?”
“Two bags should suffice, I would think.”
“Okay, uh, two bags it is.”
“I suppose we’ll have to restock the wet bar in the limo now?”
“Yeah, and uh, the hotel room has been pretty much cleaned out as well.”
“Of course it has. Well, goodbye then. And, uh, good luck, Xander.”
“Thank you,” Xander said, but he was speaking to the dial tone.
A knock on the door signaled the arrival of his breakfast. Xander checked through the peephole, then allowed the waiter in to set up on the table. Xander read through the information on Bill, the Krakatau demon he’d been sent to capture and return to the Indaba, where it would face the demon version of a criminal trial.
“That the demon you’re hunting?” Spike asked as he reached in front of Xander and snagged a piece of french toast.
Xander jumped and grabbed his chest. “Jesus, Spike!”
Spike just grinned at him, then said, “Well, is it?”
“Yeah. Bill.” Xander handed over the file and let Spike read it, hoping, fruitlessly, that it would keep his hands too busy to snag anymore of Xander’s breakfast. “I ordered blood for you,” Xander said, hoping the knowledge would act as additional incentive for Spike to keep his hands to himself.
“Good,” Spike said from behind the folder, “I like to dip my french toast in it.”
“Thank you,” Xander said, “for that image.”
Just before the sun set, Xander buckled on his weapons belt with the thigh holster. He carried a gun that held wooden bullets. Extra clips were clipped to the belt, along with a clip of silver bullets, just in case. Xander had cleaned the gun and examined each clip just hours before. A knife sheath hung at the middle of his back and a short sword on his hip. With each implement added to his arsenal, his adrenaline rose another notch.
“You be careful with those,” Spike said as Xander attached the automated stakes to both wrists.
Xander pulled on his black leather duster, also spelled, and stuffed extra stakes into the pockets, tossing a few to Spike as he did so. They hadn’t talked about it, but Xander figured Spike had hung out for a reason, and that was probably so he’d have a chance to get a little bloodied.
“You really need all that to take out one lousy demon named Bill?” Spike scoffed as he pocketed the stakes.
“Getting in’s the easy part,” Xander said as he stuffed the paperwork into the inside pocket with his orders and the amulet. He grinned at Spike. “Getting out’s what’s hard.”
Xander pulled on a pair of gloves, having learned the hard way that abraded knuckles hurt like hell, and led the way out of the hotel room. His hands felt empty, as he usually carried a crossbow with him, as well, but he thought that might be a little too obvious if he were to be seen walking down the streets of LA carrying a crossbow over one shoulder, a brace of arrows at his back.
They started with Bill’s home address, hoping they might catch him before he went out for the night. The apartment was dark, silent, and no one answered their knock. Most of the neighbors they canvassed, despite Spike’s complaint that it was boring, hadn’t seen him that night. Five tries later Xander hit the jackpot and found out that tonight was poker night down at the demon version of the Moose Lodge.
The address was on the list of Bill’s favorite hangouts, provided by Wolfram and Hart. It was easier for Xander to credit the formerly-evil law firm, as Spike put it, than Angel. The closer they got, the more demons they passed, until the only humans in the area were prostitutes and drug dealers. Even demons weren’t immune to vice.
Xander peered in the only window that wasn’t covered with plywood and saw energy signatures of at least two dozen demons. Shit. They could probably get in and tag Bill easy enough, but they’d have to fight their way out past two dozen pissed off demons once Bill had been returned to the Indaba. If he were alone Xander would have had no choice, he’d have to go inside and get Bill, but since Spike was here . . . .
“Go inside and lure him out.”
“Get him out here so we can catch him without having to fight our way out of there.”
Spike looked disappointed at the thought that he wouldn’t get to fight, but he entered the warehouse without putting up too much of an argument. Xander listened as Spike asked for Bill, then called him names in a demon language Xander didn’t understand. Xander shook his head; he should have known better than to trust Spike.
Moments later Spike flew out of the warehouse as if two dozen demons were on his tail, which they were. Spike stood in the middle of the cracked parking lot and hurled invective at a demon that was apparently still inside the warehouse. When it stepped outside Xander recognized Bill from the photos.
Xander waited until Bill had taken a few steps away from the warehouse, then stepped out of the shadows. “Excuse me, sir?”
Bill turned to look at Xander.
“The Induna requests your presence at the next session of the Indaba.” After speaking the formal words, Xander placed the amulet on Bill’s chest. A vortex opened behind the demon, and before it had a chance to respond, had sucked it through, then closed with a loud ‘snap!’.
Xander turned to face the rest of the demons, hands held out to his side. “I’m here on official business,” he said, and heard several whispers of Indaba and demon hunter. Some of the demons retreated, though they didn’t return to the warehouse and their games of poker. They weren’t willing to fight a demon hunter, but they weren’t going to miss the entertainment if someone else was.
“What about him?” one of the demons demanded. It sniffed the air. “Vampire with a soul.”
“I’m fair game,” Spike said before Xander could reply, then punched the demon that had spoken.
Xander had just enough time to swear before the demon nearest him attacked.
Five minutes later the fight was over. The demons had been beaten back -- two were on the ground with broken bones, and a few were clutching their ribs or jaws -- and didn’t look to be interested in continuing the fight, but Xander wasn’t taking any chances. He and Spike ran for the nearest neutral zone, where they could regroup and figure out the best way out of Dodge.
At the park, catching his breath, Xander reached up and felt his split lip. “What the hell were you thinking?”
Spike grinned. “That it’d be fun.”
Xander punched Spike, who just looked at him in surprise, then stuck his tongue out and said, “What, didn’t get enough back there?”
Before Xander saw it coming, Spike slammed him up against a tree. “Is fighting what you really want?” he asked just before he kissed Xander.
Xander was breathless when Spike finally let him up for air. He was also hard as hell and clinging to Spike like he wanted to climb inside him. The thought that he was going to have sex with Spike was almost enough to calm his libido, until Spike shifted his hips and pressed in closer. “Oh, fuck.”
“Not sure we have time for that here,” Spike said, “but once we get back to the hotel I’ll give you a go.”
It should have pissed Xander off, instead the promise of it made him even harder. He was so close he nearly shot as Spike unlaced his leather pants.
“Wonder,” Spike said, tongue between his teeth as he concentrated on the laces, “if you taste as good as you smell.”
Xander whimpered and came the moment Spike wrapped his fingers around him.
Two hours later, after they’d made it back to the hotel in one piece, and Spike had given Xander the promised ‘ride of your life, pet’, they were lying in bed, sticky and sated.
In the darkness of the room, illuminated only by the flickering light of the television set, Spike said, “So, the eye, how does it work?”
Xander didn’t usually like to talk about the eye, but the afterglow must have been screwing with his head, because he said, “I see energy with it, mostly.”
“Yeah, like auras.”
“Even on demons?”
Xander nodded, his hair brushing Spike’s chest. “They’re alive, so yeah.”
“What about vampires?”
“The body they inhabit might be dead, but the demon is still alive, so, yeah, vampires, too.”
“What does it look like?”
“Depends on the person, or demon.”
“Hmm. And me? Can you see my . . . aura?”
“Yes.” Xander lifted his head, rested his chin on Spike’s chest. “Right now you’re mostly red.” He waggled his eyebrows and smiled. “Passion. There’s also some yellow. Some black.”
“Black, that’s bad, right?”
“No. I mean, not necessarily. All the colors, they have different meanings. And sometimes they change, swirl together, depending on mood, emotions. Black can mean ‘protection’.”
Spike looked pleased with himself. “Hmm. Passionate protector. I guess I can live with that.”
One shower and one round of shower sex later, they were back in bed, only this time with half a dozen trays of food to replenish their energy. As they ate, Spike continued to question Xander.
“How’d you get into this line of work, anyway?”
“They asked me.”
Spike rolled his eyes. “Okay, why’d you accept?”
Xander sighed as he remembered his first six months in Africa. “I saw a lot in Africa, made me realize that not all demons are evil. And not all humans are good. Which, you know, I knew, but it reinforced it.”
“So why the Indaba, why not the Watcher’s Council?”
“I tried. I talked to Giles, and Willow. Buffy. But they hadn’t seen the things I saw, it would have taken too long to change their attitudes, their policies. And I just . . . couldn’t do it their way anymore.”
“How long have you been doing this? Working for the Indaba, I mean. Not to rub salt in any open wounds, or anything, but this is the first I’ve heard of it.”
“Well, the Council isn’t exactly one of Angel’s biggest fans.”
“The one thing we can agree on,” Spike said, draining the last bottle of bourbon.
“Almost two years,” Xander said. Two years he’d been hunting demons, a year before that collecting baby slayers, and seven years before that fighting evil on the Hellmouth. And he’d never taken a vacation. Suddenly he felt very tired. “I think I need a break.”
“A break?” Xander nodded in response. “You mean like a vacation type of break?”
“Yeah, I really think I do.”
“Where you gonna go?”
“I don’t know, I mean, I just decided to take one. Maybe Cleveland, visit Faith.”
Spike snorted. “Only you would vacation on the Hellmouth.”
Xander grinned, because yeah, Spike was right. “Then maybe England, see Willow. Dawn.”
“How long’s it been?”
“Six months.” The last time Willow had spelled Xander’s demon hunting apparel. “Too long.”
“Yeah.” Spike sounded lonely, like he might like to take a vacation, get way from LA and Angel, but he didn’t have anyone to visit.
Xander elbowed Spike in the side. “You could go, too.”
“What, visit the baby slayers and niblet?”
“Yeah, why not? I’ll call the Induna tomorrow, tell her I’m taking some time off, then I’ll call the airport . . . .”
“No airport,” Spike said.
Spike grinned. “Wait till you see the great poof’s fleet of cars.”
“You want to drive?”
Spike’s grin deepened. “Trust me.”
Maybe it was his proximity to the remains of Sunnydale, maybe it was just Spike, but oddly, Xander found that he did.
|Feed the Author|
|Home||Categories||New Stories||Non Spander|