Rating: Mature, adults only
Spoilers: Season 7 of BtVS, Episodes "Conversations with Dead People" and "Sleeper".
Warnings: Dark!fic, manipulation, insane!Spike, and character death.
Summary: Buffy decides that Spike will be safer staying with Xander than in the school basement. Xander discovers something odd about Spike and his sleeping habits.
Word Count: 5,033
Author's Note: My re-write of the episode "Sleeper", with a nasty, dark twist. Some dialogue taken directly from "Conversations with Dead People" and "Sleeper".
Xander argued with Buffy as they walked up the steps of Xander's apartment building. He didn't like the idea of housing an insane, ensouled vampire, but Buffy had begged with the pouty lip and the soulful green eyes and Xander just couldn't say no.
But still, he didn't have to like it.
He quickly unlocked the door and let Buffy in before muttering a quick invite to Spike as he threw his keys on the table by the door.
"You're going to live in that small room over there," Xander threw over his shoulder at the passive vampire. "I know it looks like a closet, but it's a room now."
When Spike failed to respond, Xander looked pleadingly at the Slayer. "And I hate this plan. I just don't understand when his problems became our problems – more specifically, mine."
Xander could see the pain and confusion in his friend's green eyes. "The school basement is driving him crazy," Buffy whispered. "We can't just leave him there. It's just – things are different now – he has a soul."
As he watched Buffy follow after Spike to make sure his "room" was sufficient, Xander wanted to ask what difference that made, why they should care. Spike was evil, end of story. And now Xander had invited that evil into his home.
After they had spent the better part of an hour making Spike's "room" habitable, Xander decided to lay the ground rules. He stood in the doorway as Spike sat on the pathetic mattress on the floor.
"Ok, you're going to be staying here, against all my better judgment. I understand the whole "Creature of the night" thing, but if you're going to go out, don't make me come looking for you. Be back before dawn because I'm not giving you a key."
Spike's only response was a single silent nod.
Xander decided to continue.
"Don't mess up my place. I know you don't have much regard in the whole "clean up after yourself" thing, but I'd appreciate it if you didn't leave congealed blood in the bottom of my cups or soggy towels on my bathroom floor. Just leave my stuff alone and don't cause any trouble and we're cool."
When he didn't receive any type of response, he pressed harder. "Right, Spike?"
The blond head slowly lifted and sad, azure eyes met hard hazel. "Got it, Xander. Stay quiet. Quiet as a mouse and don't cause trouble like a good little tame vampire. Vampire with no teeth. Can't bite, can't write."
Xander stared at the vampire babbling insane nonsense until he couldn't take anymore.
"Ok, Spike, as long as you've got it. Look, I've got to work early tomorrow so I'm going to hit the shower and then go to bed, alright?"
When he received no answer, Xander turned to leave, shutting the door behind him. Just before the door closed, he heard his name whispered in the saddest voice he had ever heard. Unable to simply walk away, he poked his head back in the closet.
"Spike? Did you call me?"
"Yeah," the blond vampire answered quietly. "If you don't mind, can we talk?"
Xander bodily forced down the desire to roll his eyes as he sighed heavily and walked into the small "room". He sat down heavily on the mattress, making sure to leave plenty of room between him and his enemy.
"What do you want to talk about?"
Spike rocked slightly, causing the worn mattress to creak beneath him. He was curled in a little ball, his arms wrapped around his bent knees, as if to make himself as insignificant as possible. His eyes darted back and forth, as if some unseen predator might jump out at any second. Finally, he blurted out, "I think I need to apologize to you."
"You think?" Xander practically shouted back. "After all you've done; trying to kill us, setting us up with Adam, trying to rap...hurt Buffy, sleeping with Anya, you think you need to apologize? That's just great. So what is this? Like some sort of 'vampire-with-a-soul' A A thing? Step number nine: apologize to the people you tried to kill?!"
By the end of his tirade, Xander was shouting at the top of his lungs and he was panting with restrained rage. He looked over at Spike, only to see a scared boy huddled up in a ball. Rubbing his hands over his face, Xander tried again.
"Look, I get that this is hard on you – the whole soul thing. But you gotta understand that this is not easy on us either. Buffy might be willing to give you a break and all, but I don't know if I can."
Spike looked up, his eyes suddenly hard. "Because you've never done anything bad, nothing you need forgiveness for, right?"
Xander was been aback, feeling the words like a physical blow. "I never said I was perfect, Spike. It's just that you've been the thorn in our side for so long. It's hard to let that go."
Spike smiled then and Xander wasn't sure whether to be comforted by that or not. "Sure," Spike drawled. "I know how you feel. It was hard for me to understand Angelus, you know? Like the soul couldn't change him, because all I'd known was his demon. I didn't realize..."
Spike's head dropped to his knees and Xander could have sworn he was crying. Guy code made him want to stand, to leave. He really didn't want to watch Spike have a breakdown, but the vampire seemed to need to confide in him and Xander figured he deserved…something. Reaching over, Xander softly began to pet the blond head. The hair was surprisingly soft, considering the abuse Spike obviously put it through.
They stayed like that for a long while, Spike silently sobbing as Xander stroking the light curls. Xander began to think that Spike had fallen asleep when he quietly heard, "Buffy once told me about your little hyena episode. I'm sorry I missed that. I'll bet you were brilliant."
Xander chuckled darkly at the memories. "It was awful," he explained. "I was awful; to Buffy, to Willow, to that poor little pig. To this day, I still can't eat pork. Gods, I don't know how they forgave me. I called Willow 'pasty' and laughed at her like she was nothing. And Buffy, oh man, she was mad at me. I attacked her in a classroom. Who knows what I would have done if she hadn't knocked me out with a desk. It was awful. I couldn't believe that was in me."
"But they forgave you." Xander couldn't decide if Spike meant it as a question or a statement, but he answered it anyway.
"Yeah, they forgave me."
"Because it wasn't you. It was the demon."
"Hyena spirit," Xander corrected, before tentatively pushing forward. "But yeah, it wasn't me."
"But you still had your soul, right?" Spike asked.
Xander watched as Spike began to unfold himself, emboldened by the conversation.
"So, you can be forgiven when you tried to rape Buffy even though you still had your soul, but I can't when I didn't? When my body was ruled by a demon? When I was sure I was in love and that she loved me and all she needed was a push? Why you?! Why you and not me!?!"
Spike was in Xander's face, screaming the words as the tears poured down his face. Xander reached out, grabbing the vampire by the worn black shirt and slamming his back against the wall of the closet.
"Because," Xander shouted, "It wasn't me!"
"It was you," Spike said evenly. "It was and you can't deny it to me."
Xander stared into the clear, steady azure eyes. "You're right," he finally admitted. "Part of it was me. Some deep, dark scary part I never want to see again. I didn't deserve her forgiveness, but she gave it freely. It was wrong, of me and you. She forgave both of us because she's a better person than either of us, I guess."
"There's something we can agree on," Spike whispered, quiet and low.
Xander smiled lightly and was pleased when he saw an answering smile from Spike. Slowly, he disentangled his fingers from the shirt in his hands and straightened the wrinkled fabric. He watched as the vampire closed his eyes and smiled at the attention. Spike, it seemed, was as tactile as he was.
"I'd probably better get ready for bed," Xander said quietly as he stood to leave. Spike simply nodded and sat about straightening his new living quarters. "You planning on going out tonight?"
Spike looked up from the books he was organizing. "Nah, rather figured I'd stay in tonight. Check out the new digs and all."
"All right," Xander replied quietly. Satisfied with the new understanding between them, Xander left the closet to prepare for a long, hot shower.
Stepping from the shower, Xander was a little shocked to see Spike emerging from his room, fully dressed and pulling on a denim jacket. The vampire turned to consider the still damp man clutching the towel wrapped around his waist.
"So?" Xander asked when he regained use of his voice. "Changed your mind about going out?"
Spike looked confused for a moment before the familiar smirk slid over Spike's features. "Yeah, you could say that."
They stood, staring at each other for several long minutes before Spike took two stalking steps forward. "That's a good look for you, Harris. Put on a few, but you're still a nummy treat, aren't you, pet?"
Xander took a step back, surprised at the leer on the vampire's face and purr in his voice. He also noticed that Spike had stopped calling him 'Xander' and had reverted to his old ways. This wasn't the contrite, mournful vampire he'd left in the closet. No, this was Spike as Xander had always known and hated him. The boy watched as Spike pulled out a cigarette and made as if to light it. Xander quickly breeched the distance between them and pulled it from between Spike's lips before he could put the flame to it.
"Not in my place, Spike," Xander growled as he handed the cigarette back to the smirking vampire. "You know better than that. What the hell is wrong with you?"
"Not a thing," Spike purred as he stepped in closer, invading Xander personal space. "Got you over here in a flash, though, didn't it?"
Xander stepped back quickly, suddenly feeling like prey. "Go on, Spike. Go out and do your vampire thing."
"That's right," Spike said in that silky soft baritone. "Place to go. People to eat."
"Ha ha, very funny, Mr. Chip-in-my-head. Don't forget, be back before dawn or you'll be in a world of hurt."
Spike waved half-heartedly and mumbled something as he strode out the door. Xander just shook his head before entering his bedroom to head to sleep. He said he'd never again be living with a crazy vampire and here he was with an ensouled evil creature that apparently has multiple personalities.
Xander stumbled around the kitchen, trying to wake himself up as he made a cup of coffee and set about fixing some breakfast.
He hated these early morning meetings, but most of the construction companies started work as soon as the sun rose to make the most of the daylight, so meetings had to start before then. Still, Xander hated having to be up and moving that early.
He was just taking the first sips of the strong brew when the front door swung open, revealing a smug looking Spike.
"It's about time," Xander grumbled. "I was beginning to wonder if you were going to make it in before dawn. I'd hate to have to explain to Buffy that you'd dusted yourself by not coming home."
When the vampire didn't rise to the bait, Xander stepped closer, still sipping the hot liquid. "What's the matter, Spike? Long night of creaturing and you're too tired to talk. Not like you at all."
Teasingly, Xander punched Spike's shoulder, a friendly guy punch that should have meant nothing at all. It apparently meant something to Spike as he turned around in full game face and began to growl at the surprised human. Xander backed up as much as the small kitchen would allow, raising one hand and one steaming coffee mug in surrender.
"Whoa, whoa, back off big fella," Xander teased in as calm and soothing tones as he could muster. "Teasing here. Xander remember? Joke-guy? Didn't mean to hit you or anything. No harm, no foul, right?"
As Xander back-pedaled, Spike stalked forward, moving like liquid steel or a graceful panther stalking its prey. The blond vampire never said a word, just growled as he continued to move ever closer. Xander knew he shouldn't be worried, a part of his brain was screaming at him that Spike had the chip, that he couldn't hurt him, but that didn't calm the trembling of his body.
He brain fought for something, anything he could think of to bring Spike back to his senses. "Come on, Spike. This isn't funny. You need to knock this off now if you want to stay here." Not seeming to have any effect, Xander began to grasp at straws. He began to babble as Spike pressed in close. Somewhere in the deep recesses of his brain, he remembered something he thought might help.
"William," he said quietly. When that did not have an effect, he tried louder. "William, that's enough. William!"
Spike stopped and shook his head, as if he was shaking off the effects of some terrible dream. "What...Xander? What's going on?"
"Spike?" Xander asked, not sure whether or not to trust the vampire before him. "You ok now?"
"I don't...I don't know," the vampire whispered as he slowly moved away from the shaken boy. "I think I'd better get to bed."
Xander watched, still slightly dazed, as Spike disappeared into his room. The vampire's odd behavior somehow seemed familiar, but he couldn't place what it was. Maybe after his meeting, he'd try to figure out what it could be.
As Xander left the apartment, he wondered if he should call someone to watch Spike while he was gone, but Spike would be sleeping during the day. What harm could he do?
Xander slipped into his apartment near the end of the afternoon. The one big benefit of going in to work early was that he got to leave work early. First thing he did after taking off his jacket and tie, was check on Spike. The vampire was sleeping soundly, the thin, white sheet barely covering the thin, pale and obviously naked body.
Finally tearing his eyes away from beautiful body before him, Xander closed the door to the closet and retreated to the living room. Standing before the telephone, Xander stared at the receiver, wondering if this call was a good idea. After several long moments, he stabbed the number into the phone and waited for the other end to pick up.
"Angel Investigations," the irritated voice on the other answered. "We help the hopeless."
"Deadboy," Xander greeted amiably. "Just the vampire I wanted to talk to."
"Xander?" Angel asked, obviously not amused. "Is something up? Is Buffy in trouble?"
"No, nothing like that," Xander answered. "I just have a question for you."
"Oh, really? How can I help you?"
"I was wondering...did Spike ever walk in his sleep?"
There was silence on the other end for several long minutes before Angel finally spoke again. "Why do you want to know about Spike? I thought you hated him."
Xander sighed and rubbed his forehead before answering. "I do still hate him, but something is going on here and I think it might have something to do with Spike sleepwalking." The boy considered telling the other about Spike having his soul, but decided against it. It was Spike's story to tell and Xander would stay out of it for now. "Spike's been staying with me and he's acting weird."
Angel snorted on the other end but Xander continued on. "Ok, weirder than usual. I couldn't quite place it until I was at work today and it hit me. Spike's acting like my friend Jesse. Jesse used to sleepwalk. He'd get up, walk around and talk to you just like he was awake, but he wouldn't remember it the next day. It was pretty creepy. His parents had to put special locks on the doors so he wouldn't sneak out of the house at night."
At the heavy sigh, he continued to move on. "Spike's been going out at night. This morning when he came back, he was all…growly and feral-like. I thought he was going to bite me."
"But he can't!" Angel jumped in. "He has the chip! He still has the chip, right? Xander, tell me he has the chip."
"Calm down, big guy," Xander chuckled. "Yes, he still has the chip, but he really was acting like he could, you know. That's what leads me to the sleepwalking thing. You know how you can be the person you want in your dreams? Maybe he's dreaming that he's the Big Bad again. I'd hate to think he could hurt himself or someone else like that."
"Well, how did you get him to snap out of it?"
"I called him William."
Xander waited through the silence on the other end. Finally, Angel asked, "What made you think of that?"
"I don't really know," Xander explained. "It just sort of came to me in my panic."
"Well, it was a good plan," Angel grudgingly complemented. "William was Spike's given name. I'm sure he hasn't heard it in years."
"So, the sleepwalking thing?" Xander pressed.
"I don't know for sure, Xander," the vampire on the other end explained. "Dru was his sire and he spent most of his time with her. Although I do remember he had a bad fit of nightmares after his mother died."
"Yeah, he..." Angel paused as if he were unsure about telling Xander more. "He killed her. If it was anything like how I killed my family, it was brutal. It surprised me that he did it, though. He always talked about her like she was a saint. Then he comes home one day and said she was dead, killed by his hand. The nightmares started after that."
"But he never walked in his sleep, as far as you know?"
"Not that I can remember."
"Ok," Xander sighed, rubbing his tired eyes. "Well, thanks Angel. If anything comes up, I'll be sure to call you, alright? And hey, tell Cordy I said hi. I sure do miss her."
"Yeah," Angel whispered. Xander couldn't tell if it was a growl or a sigh, but he knew it was odd, even for Angel. "Next time I see her, I'll be sure to tell her. And Xander, be careful."
"Thanks, Angel," and how weird was that to say? "I will. Bye."
Xander ended the call and stood silent for several long minutes wondering about the strangeness of the conversation. His life was certainly taking a turn, and definitely not for the better. He looked up to see Spike watching him from the closet doorway.
"Hey, Spike," Xander greeted. It sounded forced and false, even to own ears. "Sleep well?"
"Yeah, I guess," Spike mumbled. "Who were you talking to?"
Xander took a moment to look the sleepy vampire over. Spike was clad only in his transitional black jeans with the top button suspiciously open. His feet were bare and his hair was sticking up in several different directions. He smiled as Spike rubbed his eyes like a little boy. The vampire was, in a word, adorable when he first woke up.
"I called LA," Xander explained. He wasn't lying, not exactly. "Checking up on Cordy. I try to make sure she's alright in the big city."
"That's nice of you," Spike said quietly as he pushed himself off the doorframe before slowly padding toward the kitchen. "We got blood in the kitchen?"
"Yeah," Xander answered as he followed the vampire, noting how the denim clung to the vampire's curves. "Buffy brought some over when she was here yesterday. You want me to heat some up for you?"
"That'd be great, Xan. Thanks."
Xander smiled at the nickname, glad that the quiet, slightly sane Spike was back in the house. He grabbed the mug and, once it was filled, placed it in the microwave. As he was pushing some buttons, he heard the vampire humming a quiet, lilting tune.
"That's nice, Spike. What is it?"
When Xander turned around, Spike was directly in front of him, staring at him, through him. The young man shuddered as the blond vampire leaned in to take a long sniff of his neck.
"Spike?" Xander tried tentatively. "What are you doing?"
"I remember you," Spike purred, his lips so close to Xander's neck that the skin nearly vibrated.
"Of course you remember me, Spike. I'm Xander, roommate and Scooby extraordinaire."
Spike continued as if he hadn't heard him. "You're the pretty pet my sire gave me. You smelled of fear and lust and innocence. Wanted to taste you so bad but Angelus never was one to share."
Xander tried to pull away as Spike's nimble hands began to rub against the soft fabric of this work shirt, but the vampire had him pinned against the counter. "Spike," he tried to protest, but the greedy hands only worked faster, working buttons free and exposing Xander's flesh to his gaze.
"Pets don't talk," Spike chided Xander as he tweaked the small, peaked nipples. He smirked at the answering gasp. "Pets do as they are told."
Xander squirmed and tried to get away, but Spike was suddenly doing very wicked things with his mouth and fingers and it had been so long and Xander was so lonely. It wasn't until long cool fingers slid around his naked cock that Xander finally came back to himself.
"Spike!" Xander shouted. "Stop it! This is me saying no, Spike."
"Don't know the meaning of 'no', pet," Spike purred as he squeezed Xander's length tighter.
Finally, summoning up all his strength, Xander pushed Spike away and shouted, "No, William! I said no!!"
Spike stumbled back, shaking his head as he slammed into the counter behind him. His eyes cleared and focused on the boy before him. Xander watched as the azure eyes opened wide with shock before Spike bolted from the room, nearly in tears. He tried to follow, but decided to right his clothes first.
By the time he left the kitchen, the vampire was dressed and running out the front door.
"Fuck!" Xander cursed before grabbing his jacket and his keys and following the vampire out into the dusky night.
The vampire moved fast, weaving in and out of the crowd gathered in downtown Sunnydale. The nighttime faire was in full swing and Xander had to be a little rude at times to keep Spike in his sights. He watched as Spike turned the corner toward the residential area of town.
Xander cursed as he pushed through a group of teenagers, afraid that he had lost Spike for good. But as he came rushing around the corner, he saw the unmistakable blond head beneath a glowing streetlight. Slowly, he approached the vampire, realizing that Spike was staring at the house before him.
Before Xander could say anything, Spike began to speak.
"I've been remembering things," Spike whispered, almost too quietly to hear. "This house. I – I think I killed the lady who lived here. And there might be others."
"Oh my god," Xander whispered.
Slowly, Spike began to walk toward the house. Xander watched as he entered easily, without an invitation. He quickly followed to see the blond vampire heading downstairs toward the basement.
"Great," Xander groaned. "I hate basements."
When he reached the bottom of the stairs, Xander saw Spike pacing over the dirt floor.
"Here," Spike said, obviously irritated and frustrated. "I – I think I buried them here."
"Well, I don't know now, do I?" he snapped at Xander, his blue eyes wide and wild. "I don't even know how. Shouldn't be able..."
Spike suddenly collapsed to his knees and Xander quickly made his way over to the crumpled vampire, wrapping his arms around the broken creature. "Spike!" Xander shouted. "What's happening?"
"Don't know, pet," the vampire purred as he raised his head, his game face shining in its full glory. "But I think we're about to find out."
Just as Spike jumped up and out of the circle of Xander's arms, a hand shot up out of the ground and latched onto Xander's ankle. The boy yelled and tried to pull free. Suddenly, another hand popped out of the dirt and began to claw at the human's legs.
All around him, vampires were emerging, exploding from the earth, ready to devour him. He turned and shouted, "Spike! Please help me!"
The blond vampire watched from his perch against the stairs, watching the excitement, a small smirk gracing his calm face.
Xander began to panic. He had no stake, no knife, nothing to defend himself. He'd left the apartment too quickly to remember his normal weapons. There were at least five vampires nearly completely free of the earth and more coming. In desperation, he turned toward Spike. Quietly, he began to plead, "William, please. Don't let this happen. Save me, William. Please."
He saw the confusion and pain cross Spike's pale features and he wondered if he had gotten through to him. Suddenly, the blond vampire stepped forward, snapping the handle of the shovel before him, the very shovel that Xander figured Spike had used to bury all these people. In an amazing display, Spike kicked up the broken handle and quickly jumped into the fray, dusting the very vampires he had sired.
Xander watched in awe until he was grabbed from behind by a female vampire that had just risen.
"William!" he shouted and before he knew it, he was covered in dust.
Spike spun and ran around the room, finishing off the last of the vampires, some still buried beneath the ground.
Unable to keep himself upright any longer, Xander collapsed to his knees, panting hard. Spike was instantly at his side.
"Xan, are you ok? I – I can't believe I almost…"
"You didn't, Spike," Xander whispered as he wiped away a spot of blood from Spike's cheek. "You saved me."
A small smile spread over Spike's face. He leaned in, slow and tentative. Xander waited, gasping lightly when the vampire's cool lips softly pressed against his own. The kiss was sweet and tender and nothing Xander expected, but everything he wanted. He sighed when Spike moved to deepen the kiss, opening for the vampire despite the tiny voice in his head that was screaming at him to run, to flee.
Spike's silky smooth lips began to move, traveling over the stubbled jaw and down to the tender neck. Xander sighed at the cool, wet tongue that licked and teased. It all felt so good that Xander almost didn't feel the prick of fangs piercing his skin. At the feeling of the pull of his blood from his neck and into the vampire's mouth, Xander began to struggle.
The vampire continued to feed, sucking greedily on Xander's neck.
"Please, don't do this, Spike. William. Please, William. Don't. Don't, William, please. Please, William. Please..."
Xander's cries slowly died as he was drained on the dirt floor.
"Dude, that is so cool," the young vampire crowed as he watched Spike feeding on his former best friend. "I so wanted to do that, but I got staked. You have so got to tell me about it later. I'll bet he tastes like chocolate and soda, right?"
Spike continued to drink, to drain, to feast on his friend, soon to be his childe.
"Ah ah, watch it, Spike," The First chided. "Don't want to drain him too much. We want a pretty little childe to present to the Slayer, right? Oh man, this is going to be so cool. She's going to totally freak out!"
The image of Jesse stood over the pair, watching intently as the vampire began to feed the boy his blood. Xander gulped and swallowed greedily and they both knew he was going to make a glorious childe.
Once the feeding was complete, Spike laid the still body on the ground. The two creatures stood side by side, staring at the body before him.
"Better get to it," The First whispered. "You've got a lot of work to do, not to mention coming up with a story for Xander's disappearance."
Spike turned to look at the image of the boy vampire.
The First continued. "Well, you broke your shovel. Get to work."
Spike knelt beside his soon to be childe and began to dig into the earth with his hands, singing all the while.
"Early one morning, just as the sun was rising, I heard the fair maid sing in the valley down below. Oh, don't deceive me. Oh, never leave me. How could you use a poor maid so?"