Rating: R for language in this chapter
Disclaimer: Not mine, no money, et cetera ad nauseum.
Spoilers: This goes AU after the 1st comic of S8; all the Scoobies are in Scotland but I didn't want to have to deal with any of the new issues or the upcoming Angel S6.
Notes: My first multi-chapter Spander. Betad by the lovely wildannuette, which is ironic since she's the one that introduced me to Spander in the first place. Feedback is life.
Notes 2: I couldn't have finished this chapter without this site. Who knew someone had actually gotten around to writing a British-American dictionary? *g*
WC 1497 – see, I am capable of writing a chapter over 1000 words! *snicker*
Previous chapters here.
Spike nervously wiped eternally dry palms down the front of his pants, a habit left over from his life that he'd never been able to get rid of; he had been standing in front of Xander's door for five minutes trying to work up the courage to knock, and it was driving him up the sodding wall.
Playing the Big Bad downstairs with the others had been harder than he'd thought it would be. Pretending everything was fine, not showing any weakness in front of slayers and watchers and witches with too much power. Drusilla's death had almost taken more out of him than he had left, and he was so damn tired. And since when did the idea of talking to fucking Donut Boy Harris give him the shakes? Since he dusted your Sire, you ponce, now knock on the fucking door! He knocked quickly before he could lose his nerve again, obeying the quiet voice that invited him in and shutting the door behind him.
The room was dark except for the fire in the grate and the moonlight shining through the window. A tall figure stood there with his back turned, staring out into the night. "Hey, Spike," that familiar tenor voice said, sounding as tired as he felt.
"Harris." Spike groped for something to say. "Got your note."
"Yeah, I figured." Xander turned around, all slumped shoulders and disarrayed hair; Spike could faintly see a bandage poking up above the neck of his tee shirt. "Glad you came."
Spike shrugged, feeling more and more uncomfortable. This didn't seem much like the Xander he remembered. He was a hell of a lot thinner, for one thing. "Think we can get some more light in here?" he asked without thinking.
"Oh! Sorry." Xander snapped on the lamp behind the sofa and blinked. "I haven't really been in the mood for much light lately." He gave Spike a glimpse of that old self-deprecating half-smile, and suddenly Spike felt much more relaxed.
There was a large, comfortable looking chair next to the grate that obviously saw a lot of use, and Spike unceremoniously dropped into it. "So, how do you want to do this?"
Xander scowled at him, clearly annoyed that his favorite chair had been commandeered, and for a moment Spike could see the stroppy git of a boy he used to despise. Then Xander snorted lightly, shook his head and sat on the couch opposite, and the world-weary man was back. "Don't ask me, man. You know I've never been all that great with the sharing. This might help, though." Reaching under the coffee table, he pulled out a black-labeled bottle and a couple of glasses. "I dug into Giles' stash when Faith called to tell us you were on your way."
Spike barked a surprised laugh. "Since when does the Watcher drink JD?"
"I think he keeps it around for medicinal purposes so he won't have to waste the good scotch." He filled up both glasses and pushed the bottle closer to Spike, who slammed his back and immediately went for a refill.
"Why don't we start with you punching Giles? Never took you for the violent type, mate."
Xander gave an explosive sigh, raking his fingers through overly-long hair, and Spike realized for the first time that he wasn't wearing the eye patch. "He said something that pissed me off, is all."
Spike stared at him incredulously. "Riiight. Now why don't you tell me the truth? Think you owe me that much, at least."
Xander sighed. "I owe you a lot more than that, Spike. But let me start at the beginning, or I'll just get confused and we'll be here all night." He narrowed his eyes a little at the smirk on the vampire's face, but kept going.
"We take squads into the city once a week, and we almost always include one of the older, more experienced girls for support. But last week both Rona and Vi were busy, so my squad was short one. It's been pretty slow lately though, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to do a sweep anyway, especially since it was Amanda's first time in the field, and she was so excited…"
"God, this is boring!" Amanda whined, kicking at a rock. "We haven't seen a vamp all freakin' night. How'm I supposed to learn anything?"
"Don't worry, they'll show," Rayna spoke from her lofty position of two weeks more experience. "You'll be wishing you were home in bed pretty soon, trust me."
Xander shivered, shoving his hands deeper into his pockets. "Alright, ladies, enough. Let's do one more sweep of Grassmarket, then call it a night. I hear the sweet sounds of hot chocolate calling my name."
Suddenly both slayers froze. "Mr. Harris," Amanda whispered, "I think there's several vamps close by."
"Behind you!" Rayna yelled, then there was nothing but chaos as they were attacked.
Xander managed to dust one immediately and turned to the others. Amanda was holding her own against two fledges, while Rayna was fighting off three more. Xander hesitated, waiting for an opening, when a voice spoke softly behind him.
"Looky looky, if it isn't my little kitten. You're a long way from home, kitty."
Xander's heart stopped.
"Your mummy should have put butter on your paws to keep you from wandering, little kitty. Can I bring you home and be your new mummy? I'll take ever such good care of you." Drusilla drifted around until she was between him and the girls, where she stood swaying slightly.
"Hello, Drusilla," he said hoarsely, swallowing against the sudden dryness in his throat.
"Oh!" she gasped, putting her hand to her mouth. "Miss Edith didn't tell me your poem was ruined! I'll have to punish her. Such a lovely poem it was, too. Shall I punish the one that made you bleed, kitten?"
"Mr. Harris?" Rayna called out. "What's going on?"
"Stay back!" he yelled. "Make sure Amanda's okay."
"Nasty slayers," Drusilla hissed, changing from dreamy girl to angry vampire in a split second. "They're everywhere now, like fleas. Horrid little fleas that bite. Do you have fleas, my lovely?"
"Drusilla, please, don't do this," Xander begged. "If you kill me, the Council will come after you. I know how much Spike loved you and I don't want to see you dusted."
He had been keeping half an ear on the fight going on behind Dru; there was choked cry, then Rayna began to sob. "Amanda's dead!"
Drusilla giggled. "Poor little slayer, gone away home. Nasty slayer took away my sweet William, my Spike, my knight. He swallowed the spark and burned. Backwards and forwards, always burning. Burning, burning," she sang. She stepped closer and he lifted his stake desperately, well aware he had no chance against her if she attacked.
Well, if he was gonna go down anyway, he might as well do it in classic Xander style. "Hey lady, you left him. He kept Buffy from dusting you, and all you could do was whine about Daddy and spread your legs for the first slime-ball that came along." Drusilla growled and vamped out, but now Xander was pissed off. "So he comes back to kill the slayer for you and gets a fucking chip stuck in his head, and where were you for your 'sweet William' then?"
"Wait a minute," Spike interrupted. "You actually defended me? And to Dru of all people?"
Xander shrugged defensively. "Yeah, well…I've had a lot of time to think about things."
Spike waited for more, but Xander just looked at him. "What, that's it?"
"You want me to finish this story or not?"
"Yeah, fine, go ahead."
"The slayer was all over him, inside him, infecting him," she snarled. "He wasn't my knight any longer. Miss Edith didn't tell me about filthy metal spiders crawling in his brain, spiders that brought lightning and screams."
"And now he's gone, and Angelus doesn't want you either, does he?" Xander taunted her. A little voice in his head was asking him hysterically what he thought he was doing, but he was too spitting mad to listen. "Go ahead and kill me if you want to, but don't you dare talk about Spike. You gave up that right when you abandoned him. He got himself a soul and saved the world with it, and now you're aaaaall alone. And that just burns you up, doesn't it?"
Drusilla shrieked and lunged; Xander felt sharp teeth pierce his neck as he collapsed onto his back, the vampire attached like a limpet. His eyesight graying out in shock, he instinctively brought his arms up to grab his attacker.
And realized the stake was still in his hand.
Xander sent up a quick prayer in hope that Spike was somewhere listening for Scoobies in trouble, then plunged the stake into Drusilla's back. She looked up from his neck in shock, then he was breathing in the dust that was settling over his coat.