Authored by: Tisienne
Rating: Overall NC-17
Disclaimer: I am playing in Joss's sandbox without his approval.
Summary: Things went differently early in S7. See previous parts for more info.
A/N: I thought I'd posted this before, but apparently not. Hope everyone likes. O n a personal note, things are still fecked. No clue as to when I'll have time to write or post again. Sorry. :(
Previous parts can be found HERE
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It wasn’t that Spike hadn’t been paying attention during the Bit’s little charm-induced bout of spewing venom—or after it, for that matter, but… so much had happened so quickly that he’d pushed it to the back of his mind.
He still couldn’t believe that Xander—finally his Xander for real and certain true, now—had been spiking his blood with type Xan-positive for ages and he hadn’t even noticed. Couldn’t quite manage to wrap his brain around the fact that his boy hadn’t freaked or run or hated him for doing what he’d needed to, either.
And yet here he was, just two days later, and… he was completely certain that he’d never been so happy in his entire existence.
He’d be happier still when Xander got home from work, though, and how fucking not romantic was it that the bloke had even gone to work so soon after they’d…
“Soundin’ like a bloody chit, I am,” he grumbled disgustedly to himself. “Not like we ran off ta Vegas and got hitched or anythin’, but he could have taken just a few bloody days off, right? Almost soddin’ died! Should have thought that maybe I’d like ta keep him home and make sure he’s all better, shouldn’t he?”
More like keep him home and shag him through the mattress, the demon supplied, and Spike couldn’t help barking out a laugh when the soul agreed.
Still, it wouldn’t be long until the bloke got home, anyway. It was a half-day for the schools, so there was no need to meet Dawn. The Bit had told them the day before that she’d be going to her little friend’s place for some ‘girl-time’ with the chit in question, her Mum, and Kent, of all people.
Spike growled softly, still a bit angry with the redhead for giving Nibblet that sodding evil bracelet, but then again, how would the man have known? Wasn’t anything even slightly supernatural about him, aside from being a fairy—in that he was gay, not that he had little wings… which he didn’t.
“Bloody hell. Startin’ ta think like my boy, even.” And wasn’t that a frightening thing?
Well, no. Not really. Just meant the Claim had worked, didn’t it? But he needed to figure out how to block their connection a bit, and soon.
There were things rattling around in his brain that would likely scare his love, after all, and that would never do.
Like the full truth of what had happened with Dawn while his Xan had been out getting himself stabbed and nearly dead.
It was while he was growling at the very memory that the Bit’s words came back to him. The words that had bothered him so much that night… before he’d felt Xander’s pain.
‘I guess you’d have kept writing til you started getting your e-mails back as undeliverable, huh? Or at least that’s what… Willow… told me happened, before… everything,’ she’d said… and hadn’t Xan been e-mailing Red’s account since he’d gotten to Spike’s—their—place, at the very least? And yet, no returned e-mails.
His brow furrowed even as he pressed his lips together, thinking hard.
Alright. It was Red, after all. Chances were, she’d set up her account with a good chunk of change, just so she wouldn’t be bothered with monthly bills and such. That could explain it. Might could be her credit just hadn’t run out yet.
Or maybe his bloke was writing to the wrong address. He doubted Xander had e-mailed with the witch much back in the one-club town that had been, so yeah. Might have remembered it wrong or… something.
Spike hoped so, anyway, because the only other option was just too… too cruel to believe—unless you were a vampire with both a demon and a soul, and well over a hundred years of seeing human nature under your belt.
The notion of his love’s friends simply abandoning the young man and the Bit had Spike growling so low it was more of a vibration than anything else, and maybe that was why he didn’t hear Xander’s uneven and nearly shambling footsteps until the young man had actually gotten the front door open and practically fell inside.
* * * * *
“Heeeeey, Spiiiiike,” Xander drawled, only the small table near the doorway holding him up, “Whaaaaatcha doin’?”
Gold eyes bled quickly to blue, even while Spike pushed himself quickly from the couch and crossed the floor with a speed he didn’t usually need to use at home.
One arm wrapped firmly around his bloke’s waist, steadying him as the vampire took a slow breath before smiling slightly with a small dash of amusement and a good bit of hidden anger.
“Well, well,” was what he said as he nearly carried the brunette to the couch. “Looks like somebody got out of work early, don’t it? An’ decided ta have himself a game of ‘swallow th’ bottle’, too.”
Xander’s smile—though clearly booze-laden—was bitter. It shook slightly when he was deposited on the couch, then cleared as his head stopped spinning quite so quickly. “Don’t have…” he swallowed hard, feeling queasy, “work. No more work for the Xan-man, Spiiiike… b’cuz I’m dead. He told them so, right? An’… an’ if he said so, it mus’ be true b’cuz they already h-hired someone else an’…” Xander swallowed again, his gut churning. “An’ I’m go’n be sick…”
Vampiric strength and speed kept his bloke upright even while his free arm darted out to snatch the small trash can from beneath one end table.
Spike held it in front of his Claimed’s face, growling softly as the scent of sheer misery and betrayal mixed with that of too much booze forcibly expelled.
He waited until his bloke seemed to be done before even trying to speak. “Who, pet? Who was it what said you were dead?”
Because the only ones who could possibly think that were those who’d been involved with what Spike now understood had been a targeted action and not some sort of random… attack.
Two of them were dead, he knew. He’d killed them himself, after all.
The third was still in Hospital, being watched very carefully by two armed police officers, though that would stop eventually when nobody came forth to say that they—or someone they knew—had been the source of the blood on the street that hadn’t matched that bloke or either of the other two men. There was a suspicion of wrong-doing, but in the end the police would have to decide that the three gits had been the victims and had gotten a bit of payback against at least one of their attackers.
So that was the ones who’d attacked his Xan all accounted for, which meant… there was someone else. Someone who knew who Xander was. Who knew where he worked, even, and had some sort of connection that would make his employer think Xander really was dead, and…
“C’mon, luv… know you’re drunk, don’t I? But you can tell me, Xan. Not mad at you, mate… prob’ly would have done th’ same in your place, yah?” And he really wasn’t angry with his love. Oh, no… he was entirely furious, but with whoever it was who’d done it.
Xander’s head really was swimming, and not just from the drinking or the very recent bout of voiding that same booze.
No, it was also rocking and reeling from the murderous impulses he could feel flowing through his blond, and… while a part of him appreciated it and thought that the rat-bastard in question likely deserved just such an end, the rest of him wasn’t sure it was true.
He gave Spike a bleary gaze, trying to pick just one bleached blond to focus on, then let his chin drop to rest on his chest. “Doesn’t… matter, baby… so… tired…”
Blue eyes shifted slowly to gold again but Spike simply sighed when his bloke’s breathing evened out, broken only by the soft, rhythmic wheeze that might have been a snore, otherwise.
“Fine, Xan,” he whispered as he lifted his boy and carried him slowly to their bedroom, “but I’m goin’ ta find out soon enough, pet. An’ then…” His eyes glittered dangerously. “Not th’ sort ta leave a threat ta my family just runnin’ around free, am I?”
He settled his bloke on the bed then undressed him quickly and efficiently before leaning down and kissing the lax lips softly. “Rest, luv… your Spike’s goin’ ta take care of everythin’.”
And he would, too. There was about zero chance of him not dealing with someone who was a danger to the bloke he loved… and especially when the bloke loved him back so bloody completely.
He’d never had that, after all, and he’d be even more firmly damned if he let himself lose it.
“Don’t care if’n it’s th’ Slayer herself, Xan… kill whatever tried ta hurt you, I will. Forever.”
A quick ring to the Scanlon place had DeeDee agreeing that Dawn could of course stay there for the night… and then the Bit herself was on the phone and Spike was telling her that something had happened at Xander’s work and the bloke was upset and it would be best if…
“Yeah, that’s fine, Spike,” she said quickly, “just send me a change of clothes for tomorrow, okay? Bye…”
He’d have to find out what had the girl so distracted, and it had better not be that sodding Darian prat, either… but later. She was safe and with friends, and that was all Spike needed to know at the moment.
Well, that and…
He stripped himself quickly and crawled into bed, wrapping his cooler body around Xander’s too-hot one. He made sure the bedroom waste bin was close enough to grab if it was needed then relaxed completely, one hand stroking slowly—soothingly—up and down Xander’s chest.
He honestly had no idea of why he hadn’t sensed his Claimed getting upset earlier, but he hadn’t… and Xander had to have been upset because his boy didn’t drink himself drunk ordinarily. A few beers was one thing, but this…? Oh, this had all the signs of a lengthy meeting with Jack Daniels, at the very least.
“Goin’ ta be alright, luv,” he whispered against the rapidly rising and falling heated chest. “Goin’ ta make sure nobody ever hurts you again, aren’t I? ‘s what I’m here for. Ta keep you safe an’ happy… an’ mine. Nobody messes with what’s mine…”
He kept up the murmured comforting words, smiling just a bit as the tone apparently pierced the liquor-numbed state his bloke was in and Xander sighed almost happily in his sleep.
He would find out exactly who had put the hit out on his boy—as Soprano’s-ish as that sounded even to him—and he would take care of it.
There was no other possible course of action, after all.
* * * * *
Dawn sighed softly with relief as she hung up the phone.
It was only DeeDee’s questioning cough that reminded her of the older woman’s presence.
“Oh,” she answered it, blushing, “Um, it’s nothing. Just…” she thought quickly. “Spike’s got a chance to do some publicity stills for some band in town. It came up really suddenly and Xander’s gonna go with him to be all assistant-y. You know… change film and carry stuff.” She shrugged like it was a normal thing. “Usually I’d stay with Kent but he’s got a date tonight, so…”
Kent blinked before nodding hurriedly. “Yeah… it’s not really a date-date, but…”
DeeDee looked between the girl and the young man in her kitchen then smiled. “Well, that makes perfect sense, then. Dawn, why don’t you tell Bailey that you’ll be staying? I…” she looked a bit overly grateful. “I’m so glad you’re here, sweetie. Bailey’s been acting very moody for the last day or so. Maybe having her best friend stay for the night will cheer her up.”
It was sad, Dawn thought, that Mrs. Scanlon—DeeDee, she meant—didn’t seem like the type who would understand about having a Slayer in the family. She teared up just a bit as she remembered the way her own Mother had finally accepted Buffy’s position.
That didn’t change anything, though.
Buffy had been the longest-lived Slayer ever, and… and even according to Spike, who’d been trying to kill her for most of the time he’d been near them, it had been because she’d had a support system. Friends. Family. People who’d loved her and cared and had wanted to help.
And Dawn would be damned if she’d let her best friend have any less than her sister had had.
“Okay,” she said bluntly as she walked into Bailey’s room again and shut the door behind her, “first thing we need to do is find you a Watcher…”
Unfortunately, Giles had always been kind of secretive about how to reach the Council, and… the more Dawn thought about it, those had been the very people who’d hated that Buffy did have friends and family, and that left her with only one option she could think of.
It wasn’t an ideal choice, but she figured it was probably her only choice.
“Um, remember I told you about Willow, Bails?” Dawn asked, worrying her lip lightly, “Well, Willow said Cordelia said—and I’ll tell you about Cordy later… um, she dated Uncle Xander for a while before he knew he was, um… G-A-Y—um, Cordelia told W-willow that Buffy’s other watcher was in L.A…”
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