Author: Thea Zara aka 50ftqueenie
Warnings/Squicks: None really
Summary: Xander comes back from the past with a secret.
Author's note: This can stand on its own as a ficlet, but honestly I know there's more to this story. That's why I'm opening this up to anyone who wants to write more to it; before, after, or both. Eventually I might revisit and do my own version, but either way I'd love to see where other people take it.
Xander stepped out of the portal and looked around the room. The lights held a surprising fascination for him. He'd spent a little under three years in the past without a single electric light, or radio, or Twinkie. It was like culture shock to see the girls wearing less than a metric ton of fabric, or hear the low mellow listening station Giles played softly in the store during business hours. The biggest change was Spike himself.
Xander had spent more than two years with a softer Spike. One with playful curls and a shy smile. He rubbed the mark on his neck nervously, without thinking, and his knees nearly gave out when he heard the vampire groan too softly for the others to hear.
Spike was now glaring at Xander suspiciously. With as much force of will as he could manage, Xander opened wide innocent eyes to look back at his mate, even if the vampire didn't recognize that fact yet. Once he did, Xander was certain he'd break the claim, damn the consequences to either of them, not that Xander blamed him. When push had come to shove his brilliant plan had obviously failed spectacularly.
He handed the book to Giles, and then tried to remain calm while the girls fussed over him. They all wanted details. He just wanted to find a quiet place to cry.
"Oye, Red, Glinda, you two gonna undo the memory mojo or what?" Spike asked. His tone was belligerent to the casual observer, but Xander could hear the underlying tension and fear in his voice. Wil hated magic thanks to Dru's lunatic attempts at it. His time on the Hellmouth, and as a sort of Scooby had probably only made him even more opposed, thanks to Willow's magical blunderings.
Tara dropped a blood red crystal onto the table and then calmly pulled a hammer from Xander's tool box and smashed it. A red haze fell across Spike's eyes for a second or two then disappeared. The remaining shards of crystal were now clear quartz. Tara calmly swept the pieces up and poured them into a small jar which she tucked away in her bag.
Spike stood stock still for a minute or two, then his hand slowly creeped up his body, until he was touching a spot on his shoulder. He held a look of wonder in his eyes for all of five seconds, then it seeped into pure rage and he hauled off and punched Xander before turning and storming out of the Magic Box and into the night.
The girls were in a righteous tizzy pulling Xander to his feet and checking him over. He let them, his mind swirling in misery and a sense of horrible loss. Buffy suddenly went silent and Xander knew what was coming as surely as he knew his own name.
"His chip must have stopped working." She said quietly.
Xander would almost swear she sounded sad about it. He'd fully expected a raring to go 'slay'em if you got'em' Buffy on his hands, and he felt even worse for thinking so poorly of his friend. She looked infinitely sad, but determined and turned towards the door. She froze, however, when Xander spoke.
"The chip isn't malfunctioning, Buffy. I'm not completely human anymore."
She whirled on him, stake at the ready. "What do you mean?"
"I mean I'm not a full blooded human. I haven't been for two years, my time."
"So wh-what are y-y-ou?" Tara asked.
"I am Alexander Harris, Consort and Mate to William the Bloody, Childe of Drusilla. I guess you could say I got hitched while I was 'away'." He pulled his collar open to show the silvery claim scar.
"What does that mean? Giles what does he mean? Why does that make you not human? Does that mean anyone who survives a bite isn't human?"
"No, Buffy, there's more of a ritual to it than just biting. A little spell, sharing of the blood, and a bit of the wild and nasty. Then you're bonded."
"That's not the entire of it, is it Xander?" Giles said quietly. "You left out the part about both parties needing to truly be in love. Otherwise the vampire in question simply gains a rather obedient minion."
"Yeah there is that part. Not really relevant here, G-man. So very not a minion. I might smell like the ass end of an onion what with the time between hot baths while on the road, but definitely not a minion."
"Funny how Spike doesn't seem to be sharing your intense love at the moment? You know what with the punching and the leaving." Giles said quietly.
"Yeah well you try finding out you're basically married to someone you can't stand, for the second time I might add, and see how well you take it." Xander said forcefully. "He has every right to be pissed at me. I made a promise and I didn't keep it. I tried, but my general loserness apparently strikes again. Only this time it's Wil who got to pay for it."
"Me?" Willow squeaked.
"No, sorry, Spike. He didn't really go by that back then, so I called him Wil." He knew he wouldn't be able to hold back tears any longer. "Look, guys, I love you all, and I really missed you, but I need time right now to deal, ok? I gotta go."
Before anyone could argue, he was out the door and gone. He wandered the streets until he came to the nearest cemetery. He walked along until he found a small stone bench. He sat down and looked up at the stars, trying to organize his jumbled thoughts. Instead, he let the tears fall and thought of his Wil, while he cursed his own incompetence and Dru's interference.