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Disclaimer: Don’t own any of the characters, etc.
Warnings/Squicks: Rape, non-con S/Aus, illusions to child abuse, M/M
Summary: Spike and Xander, with life not easy for either, the two bumpy paths cross and lead to an unlikely friendship and more.
Notes: Set in season two during the Angelus phase.
Notes 2: Thanks once again to my fantastic and ever hard working beta sublimatedangel and to 50ftqueenie for the making the process smoother and all the support.
Xander winced as someone bumped into his back in the hallway. He’d gotten in late last night and his dad had caught him. Luckily, he’d been too drunk to do more that toss him to the floor and lay in a few well placed kicks before staggering off to find his wife passed out in front of the T.V, opening another beer, and joining her in drunken slumber.
It had been two weeks since the first time he had stopped and helped Spike. He tried to visit the vampire every couple of days and he was amazed at how well they got on.
Xander almost felt comfortable in his presence. He didn’t need to put up his goofy front and they talked about all sorts of stuff.
Places Spike had been, what he had seen, just never the people. Xander didn’t really want to know the carnage Spike had caused. After one little incident where Spike had got a bit too into the story and Xander had gone green and left quickly, Spike seemed to get that.
Now out of bed, but still in the wheelchair, Spike often came to the window when Xander knocked quietly and took the rucksack before moving back to allow Xander to enter.
Last night they had talked about Thailand and the Silk Road and the battles of early history; the conversation carrying on into the night, hence his late arrival back home.
Xander smiled to himself. ‘For a bloodthirsty fiend, Spike is good company.’ The small part of his brain that meant hyena to him rumbled a purring reply of contentment; the solider just whispered words of caution about betrayal and not letting his guard down. Xander pushed him firmly back into the distance, shutting him up.
Suddenly pushed against the locker beside him, Xander winced as the padlock pressed into his sore ribs.
“Hi Xander,” Buffy grated out with false cheerfulness. “Where you been? You haven’t made patrol in awhile.”
Slightly shocked by the firmness of Buffy’s shove, Xander panicked slightly. “Umm… Buff... less of the slayer strength pushin’ and shovin’... only human here, remember?!”
“Where’ve you been?” she replied, not easing up.
“Buffy, you're hurting Xander, let him go,” Willow spoke up, hugging her next class books, looking uncomfortable.
Buffy released Xander reluctantly, still pushing her body into his personal space.
“Xander, we were worried about you,” Willow continued. “You haven’t been around in the last few weeks and we missed you.”
Saved from answering by the bell, Xander relaxed as they moved off to class. Willow still looked worried, but her mind had obviously drifted on to other things, like the math he hadn’t studied for homework.
Xander moaned, “Crap,” looking down at the test paper in front of him. ‘Another spectacular Xanman failure coming up!’
Slipping away after the last class, losing himself in the push and shove of the crowd exiting the high school steps, Xander watched as his best friend and Buffy wandered off chatting about anything and nothing.
Mentally pulling himself together, he walked off, heading home. Pausing along the way to pet Mrs Troutman’s Pekinese and to help the old lady up her porch with the large bags she was struggling with, coming away with six home baked chocolate chip cookies and an offer of yard work for cash if he wanted some.
Munching happily on one of the cookies, he entered his street and paused to survey his house. No car. ‘Guess dad’s out for the day.’ Walking more confidently up to the porch, he pushed open the door. His mother lay on the sofa, not opening her eyes as she spoke.
“Yes Mom?” Sometimes Xander wondered if she really knew who he was or if it was just good guess work.
“Mommy’s feeling poorly today, so you need to be quiet.”
Xander winced. She rarely hit him these days, and it did little but sting when she did, but those words had followed him through childhood. Even at age five and six, they were enough to calm him even at his most hyperactive.
“Okay, Mom. I’ll be good.” He slipped quietly upstairs and sat on his bed. Pulling out his hidden teddy - ‘cause big boys don’t need toys’ - he rested his head on its soft almost plush-less ears.
Xander rarely felt sorry for himself; nobody cared, so it didn’t do a lot of good. You just got on with life, coping with whatever it threw at you and moving on, hoping one day you’d be free. Live in a nice house, never having to worry about who was around and what mood they were in.
Shrugging, he pulled his thoughts away from the pipe dreams and considered Spike. What was the attraction? You couldn’t say they were really friends; the vamp talked to him, sure, and they laughed together, Spike’s dry British humour complimenting his own natural wit. But there was always that inequality; humans were food to vamps, pets at most; Spike had tried to explain a bit about how vampire hierarchy worked.
“See pet, the thing is... I might not like it and never willingly admit it, but he owns me. Made me, trained me, owns me.”
“But nobody should own anybody.” Xander had replied in his naivety.
Spike had sighed and thought for a moment.
“Your folks,” he said, hesitating a bit, not wanting to upset the boy, so carefully wording the sentence as a statement not a question. “They're not the best in the world.”
At Xander's brief nod, more than he had admitted to anyone, ever, Spike continued.
“Yet you stay? Put up with it? Cos it's family and you aren’t old enough or big enough to stop it. It’s kinda like that.”
Xander had been confused. “But you’re strong, big enough, old enough to look after yourself.” And after a pause, “Family?”
They had spent an hour talking and by the end Xander had kinda gotten it; the hyena helped, pushing thoughts of pack and what it meant forward, pecking orders and alphas.
The sound of a car grinding its way unhealthily over the gravel in the front of the house pulled him from his reverie. The front door pulled from the frame, sticking the few vital seconds so that the door handle hit the wall.
“Fucking home, woman, where’s my dinner?” Surly tones made lethargic and coarse by alcohol.
Xander shut out the sounds of his mother crying out and the fighting below.
Rubbing the soft head of his teddy, he decided. ‘Spike, I'll go see him again. I know I only saw him yesterday, but I don’t think he’ll mind.’
Chapter six on Friday :~}