Author: Mrs Muir
Summary: Xander turns to Spike when his home life falls apart and in a moment of desperate loneliness they cross the boundaries of friendship. Together and apart they travel a rocky path to manhood and to the truth of their hearts.
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Fox and whoever else can lay claim to them. This story is for entertainment purposes only.
Previous chapters can be found here
The cell phone rang, startling them as they lay on the couch. A movie was playing but none of them were watching. It was totally forgotten about as they stared at the instrument lying on her coffee table. Another loud trill danced in the air. Buffy froze, scared of who it might be. And worst of all of who she wanted it to be.
“It’s Xander’s house,” Willow said, leaning over to read the display. “Answer it.”
“What if it’s Mr. Harris?” Buffy asked, delaying the moment so she could register the disappointment that it wasn’t someone else and curtail the nervousness of what she’d set into motion earlier.
“You’ll hang up,” Spike said, opening the phone so Buffy didn’t have a choice. “Take it,” he mouthed, handing it to her.
“Hello,” Buffy answered, turning away from her friends. The whole situation was taking on a surreal aspect which was leaving her unsure. She wanted it to be Angel calling her, not Xander, not a pretend relationship for her friends. Closing her eyes, and calling on whoever would listen, she asked for strength. “Hello,” she questioned when there wasn’t a reply to her first inquiry.
“You…you,” he cleared his throat before giving a nervous chuckle. “You told my father that you wanted me to call…to set up a study date?”
“Hey, I can’t help it you’re a stud muffin.” Buffy tried to project as much sarcastic teasing into the words as possible
“Yeah whatever,” Xander’s voice came through as much more relaxed. “Seriously, what’s up?”
“Free to speak?”
“It would be great to see you,” Xander said.
Buffy sighed. Mr. Harris had to be hovering to make sure his son went through with setting up the date. “Are you free after dinner? I could come over and we could study.”
“Tell her you want to go over some French lessons,” Mr. Harris said in the background. “Go on…”
“Dad stop, please, she wants to come over after dinner.”
“Don’t make her wait…tell her to come on.”
“I heard Xan,” Buffy said. “I’ll be there around seven. We’ll talk. Unless he wants to watch us make out or something.”
“Don’t need any help with that, Buffy. I’ll see you later.”
With that Xander hung up. She stared down at her phone for a moment before clicking it shut. This whole day wasn’t surreal, it was down right weird.
“You okay, lamb?” Spike asked, slipping his arms around her from behind. He buried his face in her shoulder. “I’m sorry you got in the middle of this. You don’t have to do this, you know? I’ll understand.”
“No,” Buffy declared, turning in his arms so she could see him. There was so much confusion in his eyes that it hurt. “I want to do this. You’re my friend, so is Xander, and I want you two to be happy.”
Spike’s hands slid to her shoulders. “Promise me something?”
“If at any point you’re scared, get the hell out of there,” Spike said. “Scream, kick, do what you have to do, but get out.”
Buffy laughed. “You sound like my mother before I go on a date. I’ll be fine. Xander may take his father’s crap, but I believe in him enough to know that he wouldn’t let his father do anything to me. Okay?”
“Yeah,” Spike said, shaking his head. “I know. It’s just everything has changed.”
Willow stood to join them. “It’s like falling through the rabbit hole.” She hugged them and the three stood in the comfort of each other’s arms.
“Maybe everything’s changed, but it will be for the better,” Willow continued. “It’s us, so it’s got to turn out all right.”
“Our optimist,” Buffy said. She leaned further into their embrace, not wanting them to read anything on her face. She didn’t believe in happy endings. Not anymore. She hoped for the best for Spike and Xander, but it wouldn’t come easily. Real love didn’t. Knowing that maybe they would be the only ones who would ever understand, Buffy didn’t stop the sob that came from deep within her.
The doorbell rang. It broke through the tangled, angry, hurt emotions that hung thick in the living room. Xander was scared. His father was involved with another fantasy of his own making. Like the job that would solve all their problems, the promises to stop drinking, and the lies he told to his mother to keep her under his foot. Xander never believed any of them, but his father did or wanted to believe them so when they went bust as always, it was Xander or his mother who paid for reality bursting the elusive bubble.
Once his father realized that Buffy and his son weren’t really a couple or even a potential couple then there would be bruises. He didn’t understand why Buffy had started this whole thing in motion. She should have known better, but then again she never lived in constant fear like he did.
“Go get her, tiger,” his father said, with a grin and a light punch to Xander’s upper arm. “She’s waiting for you.” Mr. Harris grabbed the gin bottle and his glass, swayed on his feet before stumbling from the room. “You have a good time,” he added with a wink. Then he was gone. Or at least no longer in sight.
Xander wiped his hands on his jeans, pushed his hair off his face as he made his way to the door. The bell rang again. “All right, all right,” he mumbled, and yanked the door open. “Hey Buffy.”
Damn she was a beautiful girl. Her blonde hair tumbled around her shoulders in waves framing the flawless perfection of her face. A knot formed in his stomach as he wondered why he just couldn’t be straight. Maybe his father was right and he just needed to try. This was his chance, but then blue eyes replaced green, and he knew he never could. He loved Spike.
Always had and always would.
“You going to invite me in?”
“Yeah, yeah, sorry,” Xander said, stepping back. He waved a hand toward the living room. “Do you want something to drink…maybe some pie? My mom made some for dessert.”
“No, I’m fine,” Buffy said. Taking a step closer to him, she mouthed the question, “Is your dad around?”
He nodded, biting his lip. “Come in.” He rocked back on his heels, shoving his hands into his back pockets. “Thank you for bringing my homework to me.”
“It wasn’t a problem.” Buffy strode into his home with her chin up. Xander smiled. She was scared, too. He wasn’t alone. After putting her books on the coffee table, she took a seat on the sofa. “Come sit, Xander.” A perfectly manicured hand patted the seat next to her.
Hating the deception, wishing this was real, wishing it was Spike, wishing he was dead, Xander sat. He stiffened when Buffy snuggled into his side.
“Now which subject did you need help in?” Buffy asked, laying a hand on this thigh.
He was going to be sick. He wanted to push her away, when she bit his ear before whispering, “Your father is in the hallway. Relax. I won’t bite again.” She patted his leg. “Talk to me.”
“Uh, it’s um, fren…math,” Xander stuttered. This whole situation was a nightmare. If only he could be the son his father wanted, maybe his life would be different. “Yeah, it’s algebra.”
“Great,” Buffy muttered, leaning forward to grab the book. “You had to pick the one subject I really suck at.”
A vision of Buffy sucking him off crossed Xander’s mind. His dick stirred as a yearning tightened in him. No, not this, not now, he wanted to cry. Men didn’t cry. Rage flooded him at the injustice of his life. For a second he wanted to grab Buffy by the hair to force her to give him what he was fantasizing about. No, he wouldn’t be like his father. God, he couldn’t. Oh yeah, God didn’t exist. He was all alone. It seemed he might be the same kind of bastard his father was, and he stood.
“You need to go,” Xander demanded. He danced in the same spot. Why was everything so confusing?
Buffy stood. She cared. It was only because she didn’t know what he was thinking. Her arms wrapped around him, rocking them like they were dancing. Her body trembled. He pulled her closer, burying his face in her neck.
“I love you, Xander,” Buffy said. “I need you in my life just like I need Spike.”
“You don’t know what I was thinking…I’m not who you think I am.” He wanted her to go away. She shouldn’t be walking in his hell.
“You know sometimes I get so lonely I wish that you or Spike would make a move on me,” Buffy whispered. “I wish I wasn’t a virgin. This whole growing up business is just messed up, Xander. Let me do this for you.”
“Do what?” He was confused. Did she want him to make a move? No, she couldn’t want him to take her virginity. No, she wouldn’t.
Giggling, she pulled back so she could look up at him. “Let me help you and Spike.” He could barely hear the end of the sentence, her voice was so slow. “I understand the rules of the game.”
“I don’t want to hurt you. This is going to get all muddled up.”
“No,” Xander said. “I can’t let you do this. This is my problem and it’s not a game.” Nothing was a game where his father was concerned.
“Leave…go.” She didn’t move. “Get the hell out of here. I don’t need your help.”
Her face went pale. He’d hurt her. A lot. He reached for her hand, but she was already running for the door. Everything was fucked up. He was a fuck up. The slamming of the door vibrated through the house like a death knoll. It took only a second for his father to show up at the door.
Maybe tonight it would finally be over.
A tapping at the French doors sent Willow running across her room. She looked over her shoulder to make sure her bedroom door was closed. It was. Things should be safe from her parents prying eyes. She turned the knob to fling open the door leading to the small terrace. Buffy stood on the other side with her face twisted in pain.
“I’ve been waiting for you to call,” Willow said, stumbling over her words as she stepped back. “What happened? Did Mr. Harris do something? If he did, I’ll kill…”
“It’s not that,” Buffy said, crumpling on the bed. “I failed. Xander told me to go away.”
“Oh, I don’t think it was you,” Willow said, sitting on the bed. She patted Buffy’s shoulder. “Xander has a lot going on. Maybe he just didn’t need another complication.”
“He flat out rejected me. I’m ugly, aren’t I?”
Willow couldn’t help but to laugh. It was a ridiculous question. It was her that always questioned if she was even a tad bit attractive with her bright red hair, flat chest and chicken legs. A long time ago she’d learned to live in the shadow of her good looking friends.
“Stop it,” Buffy sniffled. “It’s not funny. If I’m as beautiful as everyone keeps saying why won’t Angel look at me twice?” She flung her arms out. “Now even Xander rejects me. I should look into Convents.”
“Xander is gay. So he doesn’t count.”
“Whatever. Spike is gay, too, and he always makes me feel pretty. It’s me.”
Willow shook her head. “It isn’t you. You’re getting obsessed with this whole Angel thing.” In her opinion, Buffy was already too emotional about the handsome football quarterback. The guy was playing games. Willow was sure that Angel was playing hard to get so Buffy would finally give in to him, but telling Buffy that would only help Angel in his cause to conquer more than Buffy’s heart. “He’s a jerk if he won’t go out with you, which makes you better off without him.”
Buffy flopped with her usual dramatic flair onto her back. She stared up at the ceiling. After a second she snapped her fingers before sitting back up. “I know what I can do.” She jumped to her feet. “You can help me.”
“Help you do what?” Willow didn’t like the look on Buffy’s face. This particular mix of mischievousness and determination usual meant trouble. A lot of it.
“I’m going to give myself a makeover,” Buffy announced. She ran her hand through the air from her head to her feet, ending up in a low bow, before popping back up with a grin. “Angel doesn’t want to deal with a virgin so I’m going to let him see that I know the score.”
“No, you’re not,” Willow said. She stood to place her hands on Buffy’s shoulders as if to bring her back to earth. “You are not Sandra Dee or Cher and a makeover will not solve your problems.”
“Well it can’t hurt.”
“It can,” Willow said. “What if you’re prancing around with the appearance of some kind of slut and your Prince Charming is watching. No,” she shook her head. She pointed at her face. “See my resolve face. I won’t let you do it.”
Buffy giggled. She threw her arms around Willow. “We’ll give you a makeover too.”
“Oh lord, we’re in trouble.”
The house was quiet. Most of the lights were off. Only a few were still shining brightly, one or two upstairs and the one in the cellar. Spike grinned, dropping to a squat before duck walking between the big oak tree and the window low to the ground. He congratulated himself on being so sneaky that he figured out a way to use Mr. Harris’ stupid idea so that he and Xander could be together.
Giving one last look around, he laid down to peek in the window. Xander was sitting on the sofa, watching some ancient television set. He looked relaxed. Must mean that Daddy had gone to bed or at least upstairs to leave Xander in some much needed privacy. Without knocking, Spike shimmied through the window to drop into the sink. Using the edge as a springboard, he landed on his feet.
“Hello,” Spike said. Faced with all of his desires and hopes, he was suddenly nervous. More than nervous, he was scared to death. He knew what happened between Buffy and Xander. He tried to reassure himself that Xander loved him so much he couldn’t bear to pretend to care about someone else. Now, he wasn’t so sure of anything except the yearning that screamed inside of him.
Xander’s mouth gaped open as he stood. He looked nervously up the stairs before pressing a finger to his lips. “What are you doing here?” Xander asked in a whispered rush.
“Here to see you,” Spike hurriedly took the two or three steps it would take to be in Xander’s arms. He met his friend with a huge hug.
Xander didn’t hold him in return. For a moment it seemed like he would, but he stiffened. “Don’t Spike.”
“What do you mean? Your Da doesn’t know I’m here.” He pressed a kiss to Xander’s jaw. “We can still see each other. We just have to be sneaky about it.”
“No, we can’t,” Xander said, stepping back. He pushed back his hair as he stared at some spot behind Spike. “Look,” he swallowed, “this was a mistake. I don’t want to see you…not like that.”
“If you mean it then look at me when you tell me.”
Wanting to pinch himself, Spike stared at Xander in disbelief. This couldn’t be happening.
“Spike, my Dad was upset about me telling Buffy to leave.”
“Did he hurt you again?” Spike growled. He reached for Xander to check for bruises, but his hand was pushed away.
“No,” Xander chuckled, but it came out as more of a moan. “Not tonight. Guess I drew a lucky card, but…but I just can’t do this…you.”
“You don’t have to do this,” Spike said, relieved Xander wasn’t carrying any new bruises. “Not by yourself. We’ll do it together. I’ll take care of you.” Before he could be stopped Spike kissed Xander, holding the other boy tight as he put all of his need into the pressure of his lips. If only Xander would give one gesture of returning this kiss then Spike would walk through fire to keep them together. He didn’t though. “Don’t do this, Xan, please?”
For a moment Xander laid his forehead against Spike’s and he could have sworn that he felt a weakening, but it wasn’t to be.
“I have to. This is all wrong. I’m wrong,” Xander pleaded. Yet there weren’t any tears to back any regret in the words. He looked Spike in the eye. “I don’t want you. It was a sick idea from a couple of stupid kids with nothing better to do.” Giving a nervous laugh, Xander looked away.
“No, it wasn’t,” Spike spat out. “This is you and me…”
“Stop it,” Xander said. “Can you tell me you even thought about this two days ago?” He paused. “I didn’t think so. Now get back to your life and leave me to mine.”
“Not even going to be friends?”
Fury raced through Spike. He pushed hard against Xander’s shoulders. “You bloody arse…how could you do this to me? Yeah, I never thought about this two days ago. Now you’ve come and twisted everything. Can’t even be friends?” He raised his hands to run through his hair, but he froze when he saw Xander flinch. Son of a bitch. He squeezed his eyes shut, hoping the tears would vanish. No such luck. “We could have done this.”
Without waiting for a reply, Spike left, climbing back out the window and wishing he could have done it with a little dignity. Nothing about this day was right. He fished around for his cigarettes, lighting one before he started his car. It was time to tie one on so he headed for his favorite bar.
to be continued…