Pairing: Spike/Xander
Rating: FRT / FRM?
Feedback: yes, please
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Joss Whedon. What a pity, I would be filthy rich by now and there would have been better fitting pairings in the series
Summary: This little story is based on a plot bunny from Amejisuto. Xander has always been a demon magnet...and always attracted strong people to protect him. What if Dawn was just Buffy's little sister? Always has been there. And it's Xander who was the Key? I loved the idea and it stuck in my head. This is what came out of it. Sorry, no Dawn!
Beta: the wonderful Yin, thanks again for the great help!



Spike heard light footsteps coming toward the door after his second, harder knock. It opened and revealed Buffy, who looked like she was on her way out.

“Spike!” She stared at him for a moment and then opened the door further. “Come in, Spike.” she said.

He stepped over the threshold with a half smile and Buffy led him into the living room. “He doesn’t know,” she confided in a loud whisper. “We thought it would be better, especially since it looked like you didn’t want him to know that you’re back. Andrew told me, but I had to protect him. He was devastated when you died in the hellmouth.” Buffy’s face showed that she, too, had carried her share of devastation from that day.

Spike sighed and looked down at his hands; telling this story hadn’t gotten any easier over time. “When I came back in Angel’s office at Wolfram and Hart I was incorporeal – kept finding myself walking through doors or standing halfway through the furniture.” He laughed, but there was no humor in it. “Then I thought it would be better for him, you know? A life in the sun without demons.” Spike paused, then looked up to meet Buffy’s concerned eyes. “Being normal, like you wanted to - not everything all over again.”

“Sometimes you’re really dumb, Spike.” Buffy flipped her hair back over her shoulder in a gesture Spike remembered fondly. “You always saw the truth - told us the truth even when we didn’t want to hear it. But you can’t see what’s right in front of you.” Buffy’s hands settled on her hips, her petite body drawing up to her full height, making her look commanding. “He isn’t normal; he never will be. He is the twin brother of the… of a slayer; he’s made up of some kind of mystical green energy. And don’t forget, he’s in love with a vampire! This is so not a recipe for normal.”

Spike watched as she took a calming breath, and when she looked back at him, a little smile appeared on her face “I have a date and I’m already late. Xander’s room is the last on the left.” She smiled a soft smile that had always been exclusive to her twin. “He said he was tired, so he may be asleep. You need to figure out what you want. Either stay for good or leave without seeing him, Spike. Don’t hurt him any more!” Buffy turned and walked out.

Spike watched her go and a real smile lit his face. He had made his decision three days previously, standing in a rain-swept alley in Los Angeles, carnage all around. He silently made his way to Xander’s door and opened it quietly.

His eyes settled on the sleeping form in the bed in front of him and his smile deepened. The even breaths and slow heart rate indicated that Xander was indeed asleep.

While Spike watched Xander, memories flashed through his mind.

He remembered the first time he had laid his eyes on Xander - shortly before his and Buffy’s mom Joyce had hit him with the axe. He knew this memory was false, but for him it was the moment his fate was sealed.

He remembered the night he had helped Xander break into the magic shop; the night they had found out he was a mystical key, a being of energy that the monks had made human; had made Buffy’s brother so that she would protect him.

He remembered an evening in Spike’s crypt, spending hours together while he had told Xander tales of his life as a vampire.

He especially remembered the day he had been tortured by Glory, remembered that all he could think of, all he could see, was deep brown eyes and a sweet, wide smile. He had known then that he would rather die than let Xander get hurt. That was the moment he had admitted to himself that he had fallen in love.

He remembered afterwards, back in his crypt.

“Did you tell her?” Xander had asked, looking intensely at him.

“No, I could… I could never let her hurt you like this, let her have you,” His voice had broken with the pain, but he hoped, prayed that Xander could hear the truth in it.

“Thank you, Spike!” Xander said. And then he had kissed him. It was a short but sweet kiss, but it had meant the world.

He remembered the night he had failed Xander and Buffy. The night she had had to pay the price; the night she had given her life to save herbrother. They had all been crushed, and Xander had sobbed next to her body. Spike hadn’t dared to go near him because of his failure.

After Buffy’s death he had kept patrolling, had watched over Xander. It had been bad for him, but for Xander it was worse.

“It’s all my fault, I should be dead. I’m not even real. Now I’ve nothing left.” Xander had sobbed, sitting in his room in the dark, hopeless and heartbroken.

“Don’t say that,” Spike had answered angrily. “You are a part of her. Buffy could never have let you die. I would have gladly died to save you both, if I could have. Never forget that you still have all your memories of her. As long as you remember, a part of her will always be alive.”

They had slowly grown closer, had played pool, even gone to the movies with Willow and Tara sometimes.

One night, Spike found Xander waiting for him in his crypt after patrol.

“I need to tell you something.” Xander said, voice wavering. He looked straight at Spike, brave and afraid at the same time. “I love you, Spike – I’m in love with you. I know you don’t love me back, but I needed to tell you. I hope you’ll stay my friend.” Xander had ended in a whisper, turning to leave the crypt.

Spike couldn’t let him go. “I love you, too,” he said quietly. “I don’t know for how long, but I realized it when Glory had me.”

They were together from that night forward.

When Willow brought Buffy back, Xander had been ecstatic to be reunited with his twin, even though she had come back… different. Sadder, colder and so detached from her brother and the world.

Spike remembered Xander’s horror when Buffy revealed she had been in heaven; he remembered Willow’s disastrous memory-losing spell. He remembered the first time he and Xander had made love. He knew in that moment the truth behind Glory’s words, the pureness of the key. For a second, Spike had felt like he was tainting Xander; like he was sullying something sacred with his demon.

The urge to claim Xander as his had become stronger and stronger until the demon finally took over. Spike’s heart twisted as he remembered nearly violating Xander. He’d fled the house, horrified at himself.

He remembered the demon trials and the overwhelming pain when he hadgotten his soul back.

Spike had no memory of returning to Sunnydale and the time immediately afterwards was blurry. He knew he had told Xander about the soul and the reasons he’d gone to get it. He had felt that he deserved the pain the guilt caused, deserved far worse for his sins.

He remembered the haunting and the torture of the First, the house full ofannoying slayers-in-training with their never ending chatter and their endless presence.

When he hadn’t been needed, Spike had stayed in the basement. He and Xander had started to rebuild their shattered relationship there. They had

talked a lot about what they would do after defeating the First Evil.

As soon as he saw it, Spike knew that the amulet, brought by Angel, would kill him.

Spike remembered their last night together. They had made love and held each other the whole night. “You remember what I told you after Buffy’s death. As long as you remember a part of the other will be alive, be with you always.” Spike had whispered. Xander had looked at him “You will not die on me. You won’t let me alone.”

Spike remembered the minutes before he had been burned to ashes. “Take care of Xander, promise me. Tell him, I love him,” he’d begged Buffy.

“We still have time, come with me,” Buffy had pleaded.

Spike had given her a small, sad smile.“We both know I have to finish this. Now, go, protect him for me, slayer.”

Spike remembered all that while he looked at the sleeping Xander.

”I knew you would come back, eventually.” Xander’s voice was quiet, drifting through the room like a gentle breeze. “I made Andrew tell me when he came back from LA. Was it bad?”

“Yeah, pretty bad. We wouldn’t have survived if the slayers hadn’t shown up,” Spike replied.

“You could have let me know you were back, Spike. I missed you so much.” Spike could hear the grief in Xander’s voice, and it made his chest hurt.

“I’m sorry, love. I thought you’d be better off without me. Thought I could live without you, if it was for your own good. I was wrong. God, I missed you too, every day.”

Xander drew back the covers “Come to bed. If you’re lucky I’ll let you start making it up to me right now.”

A bright smile settled on Spike’s face and he began to undress.

The End

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