Title: Family Bonds
Rating: PG for this chapter, again
Summary: After his relationship with Anya fizzles out Xander and Spike become lovers. Xander’s insecurities lead him to seek help from
Disclaimer: not mine, all belongs Joss and
SORRY, THE TEXT JUST WON'T GO BLACK.
ANOTHER DOOR OPENS
Xander had been gone for a week. His friends knew why he was gone, but that was all. Spike hadn’t realised how much time he had been spending watching the boy. Now that Xander wasn’t here, he was feeling the absence keenly. Spike was bored. A little concerned and slightly anxious, but mostly bored. During the long daylight hours what was a vamp to do? Certainly not brood, not his style. Ponder, consider, mull over the current state of his unlife, but definitely not brood. He just didn’t have the forehead for it.
Spike had watched from his various vantage points as Xander and Anya’s relationship wound down. He could easily observe the goings on of the group as they often didn’t notice he was even there. He could sit and strategise, fight beside them and walk amongst them, but more often than not he was ignored. Oh, they knew he was there but he was an accessory, not a vital part of the ensemble. Giles tolerated him for his demon languages and knowledge. Buffy used him for extra muscle. But he could up and leave at anytime and they wouldn’t flinch. So why did he stay? Why did he keep coming back to be constantly kicked in the teeth by the Slayer and her Watcher? Red and her girl were the best of a bad lot. They, at least, gave him the time of day, checked him for injuries after a group patrol and occasionally sidetracked the Slayer when she was feeling a bit stake-happy towards him.
Then there was the boy. Xander had been with Anya since Spike returned to the godforsaken town. Theirs had been a passionate relationship to begin with, but he could soon see the stress points. Not yet cracks, but it wouldn’t take much. She clung too tight. He needed someone who didn’t want to let him go but who knew when to give him some space. He needed a strong connection with an equal partner, not one who laid down the law in such a way as to make him feel useless and controlled. Strange that his demon woman couldn’t see what he needed, but then again she was relatively new to human relationships. But who was he to talk? Over one hundred years old and he’d not had a human relationship to speak of besides that with his mother. His experience consisted of Angel and Drusilla; neither the picture of sanity or healthy interactions. But part of being a Master vampire was knowing how your prey ticked. The hunt was so much more than mindless violence when you were inside your prey’s head. Angelus had taught him well, how to listen and watch, how to interpret and manipulate. Not that he played with his food often. Generally he was just too impatient. He was satisfied to just cause the pain, listen to the screams, smell the blood, feel it sliding over his tongue, rich with fear and life and impending death. Damn this chip. Still, those interpersonal skills, no matter how homicidal their origin, could be useful.
He could see that Xander and Anya were not going to last. It was just a matter of how it was going to end. Would it fizzle and die slowly like a candle burning out? Would there be anger, hate, accusations, and recriminations until they tore themselves apart in a violent rending of hearts? The demon in Spike hoped for passionate violence but the human in him hoped for a gentle parting of the ways. He remembered how he had been shattered when Drusilla left him that final time and would not wish that pain upon the boy. Spike was also very familiar with the work of vengeance demons, and hoped that Xander could avoid any unnecessary dismemberment or emasculation.
He spent long hours on his own, wondering why he cared about the results of this break up. Why was he so concerned about the many possibilities for an ugly separation? His demon wondered too. It was firmly coming down on the side of bloodshed and mayhem and Spike was fighting an ongoing internal battle against the primal desires. Spike suspected his concern stemmed from the same place as the other feelings he had been trying to suppress. More often than not lately he had found himself watching the young man, observing the way he moved, following the small gestures he made as he talked or noticing the way his hair fell over his forehead when he bent his head over a research volume. He found himself silently urging the boy to come to his senses, realise the ex-demon bint was not his soul mate and give her the boot.
His daylight hours, when not spent sleeping, were a frustrating mix of fantasy and self berating. He pictured himself in numerous scenarios where Xander would inevitably end up staring Spike down with those deep, brown eyes and admitting his feelings for the vampire. When he was not imagining the possible delights of intimacies with the dark-haired Scooby, he was tearing himself a new one over his stupidity. How on earth could he even begin to think Xander would be interested? Xander was a white hat, Spike was a relatively evil vampire, currently leashed, but still potentially deadly. Xander was famous for his anti-Angel stance and had never said or done anything to suggest he had changed his opinion of the undead portion of his inner circle. Sure, Xander’s snarks and insults had a little less bite than usual lately, but Spike had just put that down to the pressures of his relationship with Anya. Xander hated vampires, hell he had helped slaughter them as an extra-curricular activity for almost six years. He must be crazy to even entertain the idea that there could ever be anything between them.
He continued to observe Xander. This was a loyal, brave man who threw himself wholeheartedly into any situation regardless of his skill or safety. A man who would do anything for his friends, who asked for, and received, no thanks or recognition. Spike knew that if confronted by these musings, Xander would deny every one. Occasionally Spike saw a flash of the confident young man, one who would stand up to his friends or take on all comers out on patrol, but just briefly, before that man was replaced with the more familiar unappreciated, fifth wheel. Spike knew Xander’s friends cared about him, but they also took him for granted. They didn’t even notice what was happening between Xander and Anya. And Xander wouldn’t bring it up with them of course; he wouldn’t want to be seen as a failure yet again.
Spike struggled with his feelings. Yes Xander was brave and selfless and easy on the eyes, but Spike was a Master. How could he be attracted to a weak mortal? William the Bloody, who had rampaged through
Maybe he could put it down to the chip. Perhaps now that humans were off his menu he was seeing them as company rather than comfort food. After all, it wasn’t like he was very welcome with his own kind…any demon kind really. They hadn’t taken to well to the notion that Master Spike had sided with the Slayer against them. He was an outcast from his community and had turned to the Scoobies. They rejected him endlessly but he stuck around. Where else was he going to go? And now, working so closely with the group of humans he supposed it was natural that he would begin to have these feelings. Spike was a social vampire. He had never been on his own, had always belonged to someone, been with someone, whether his it was mother, the Order of Aurelius, or just him and Drusilla. He hated to be alone; he needed the closeness, the physical and emotional contact. As far as vampires went, he was the exception rather than the rule. This was why he stuck around. The little band of heroes at the Magic Box might hate him, but they tolerated his presence and needed him, in a way. Unlike the demon community, they didn’t try to kill him on sight. Too often.
Spike had watched Xander for a long time now. He knew what Xander wanted and needed and it was not that different from Spike’s own yearnings. Perhaps, when this thing with Anya had worked itself out, he might have a chance. Could he stand the rejection if he was wrong though? He certainly wouldn’t be welcome around the Magic Box anymore if they all found out that he had put the hard word on one of their own.
It was almost two weeks ago when he’d known the change was coming. When Xander and Anya were together, Xander’s heart rate would increase and Spike smelled fear and uncertainty. It was like Xander was constantly on edge, waiting for something. There was also a slight undercurrent of pheromones, signalling some degree of desire, but he had no way to tell who it was for and had to assume that it was still for Anya.
Then, one night later in the week, Xander didn’t appear at the scheduled research meeting. Anya announced to the group that she and Xander had agreed to an amicable split several days earlier. She had already found a new apartment with a view of the financial area of downtown Sunnydale and was currently keeping tabs on some young stockbrokers who had caught her eye. There were shocked faces all round and everyone began making the appropriate noises of consolation. Anya wasn’t sure why Xander wasn’t at the meeting so
Spike had stormed out of the Magic Box when Buffy and Giles began to complain long and loud about how thoughtless Xander was leaving by himself, nobody for protection and how were they meant to find him when he got himself into trouble again? Spike knew the boy could handle himself well enough and wasn’t overly concerned with his physical safety. He was more concerned about Xander’s state of mind after the break up. He seemed to be whole and alive, but still felt the need to be elsewhere. Spike wanted to see him to find out how Xander was handling it, wanted to see him just because he liked looking at the beautiful young man. But he couldn’t. So Spike paced and fretted. He did not brood. He waited impatiently, not exactly sure what he would do when Xander returned.