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Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot. I bend to Joss Whedon's will and try my best not to murder his characters.
Series Summary: Spike has gotten himself a soul by accident. The Powers That Be want him to go to Sunnydale and deliver a message about the upcoming Harvest. He just wants to get in and get out, but will he be able to stick to his plans?
Chapter Summary: The Scoobies are being haunted by nightmares. What happens when the nightmares become real?
Previous Chapter: The Puppet Show
Warnings: Souled!Spike and AU
Notes: I'd like to thank kimalis for helping me out with Spike's slang and bringing detail to me jumbled mind. Then I'd like to thank Buffyworld for episode guides. I hope this one is okay. It's a bit jumpy since it's flashes of nightmares.
Spike was sprawled out on his bed watching late night telly. Buffy had canceled patrolling to get ready for when her dad came to visit her for the weekend. He drank his beer and heard the basement door squeak open.
“Jessica?” He called out.
“No,” a hoarse voice called out.
Xander came down the stairs. His eyes were puffy and blood shot. His hair was tussled and he was still in his boxer shorts and wife beater. He shakily got into bed with Spike and nuzzled up against him. Spike’s eyes widened.
“I had a horrible nightmare,” Xander almost sobbed.
“You left! Then everything went back to the way it used to be. My mom was crying in the kitchen. The stove was on fire and she was drunk. She wasn’t doing anything about it. Just sitting there drunk and crying. I tried to put the fire out but my dad came… He stopped me and threw me down the basement stairs. Then it was like a maze. I was looking for you and looking for you, but you just weren’t there!”
“Shhhhh… I’m here now, aren’t I? It was just a nightmare. I don’t plan on going anywhere.”
Spike stroked Xander’s hair. The telly was still on, but Xander had situated himself so Spike couldn’t get up. The boy reminded him of all the times Dru had woken up in the middle of the night sobbing over her parents or one of the many things Angelus did to her. Sometimes she sobbed for the stars, those were the worst fits. Xander repositioned himself so he was using Spike’s lap as a pillow and fell asleep. Spike sighed when he looked at Xander’s neck. His bite mark was still there. He stroked his mark. He had bitten hundreds of people over the years and left his mark on many. He couldn’t understand why this mark affected him so much.
He closed his eyes and settled to get more comfortable. The telly continued to make noise in the background, but he didn’t mind. Sleep drifted to him like a spell and dragged him down with weighted chains.
“You both woke up screaming?” Jesse asked Xander.
“Yeah, he was screaming something about chains while I was screaming about fire .It was creepy. The nightmare I had felt so real. Like my house really was on fire.”
They stepped into the library. Xander furrowed his brow and looked ahead of him. Spike was bound and gagged, sinking into the floor; his eyes closed and seemed to be muttering something through the gag. Xander stared. His mind clouded as he watched Spike disappear further into the floor. If Xander stood around any longer, he would sink into the floor entirely. Xander’s mind snapped into action at losing Spike. Jesse’s mind seemed to be on the same wavelength as they rushed over together and tugged on him. Xander was panicking. He didn’t get what was going on. He knew the Hellmouth made the school weird, but quick sand in the library was just too out of the ordinary. They felt floor beneath them become soft and they were sinking too. With one big tug, they pulled Spike out and rolled themselves back away from the sinking floor. Xander took off Spike’s gag while Jesse undid the binds. He was relieved to see that the vampire was unharmed and just a little shaken. Xander let out a small sigh and inspected the floor. It was solid again. He went back to Spike.
“What are you doing here?” Xander asked him. “I thought you were going to sleep at home.”
“I was sleeping at home! Next thing I know, I’m here and sinking into the floor.”
“This is creepy.” Jesse said.
It was. Xander didn’t exactly get it though. Why being dragged down in the library? If Spike had been home, shouldn’t he have been dragged down there? Why the teleportation? Xander shivered when he remembered the spiders during history class. Those seemed to appear like Spike had. One minute they were crawling out of nowhere from Wendell’s history book and the next they had vanished like the spiders weren’t even there to begin with.
Buffy came into the library and yawned, “Have you seen Giles?”
“No! But the floor tried to eat Spike?”
She rubbed her eyes, “Good for him.”
“Is everything okay?” Xander asked.
“I had this really bad nightmare. It kept me up most of the night.”
“The frogs!” Willow rushed in. “Are they still after me?”
She twirled around and everyone looked at her.
“Uh, no frogs that I can see,” Xander said.
“Hey! Where’d Spike go?” Jesse exclaimed.
Xander looked to see that Spike was missing from the floor. Xander searched around. He had just been there awhile ago. He couldn’t have just walked off without him noticing.
“Spike wasn’t here when I walked in,” Buffy said.
Giles came out of the stacks frightened and sweaty, “There is a lion in the stacks!”
“Well, this doesn’t have Hellmouth written all over it,” Xander said.
Giles straightened himself up, “Well, then. We should get to the bottom of this. Maybe talk to Wendell. He also had a real nightmare.”
“Right, we’re on it.” Buffy said fighting a yawn.
Xander, Jesse, and Willow walked away from their interview with Wendell. He had been having nightmares about his pet spiders attacking him after his brother killed them when Wendell went away for camp that summer.
“Well, that was helpful.” Jesse said. “I’ll never look at Wendell and his spiders the same way again.”
“Yeah, that was creepy. But he was having nightmares about it.” Willow said. “It’s all fitting together.”
Xander was ignoring them. He didn’t want to think about Wendell and his spiders anymore. Xander was tired and just wanted to go back to bed. He rubbed his eyes and looked down the corridor. A sandy-haired man was motioning for Xander to follow. Xander wouldn’t have recognized him except for his eyes. There was no way Xander would ever mistake those eyes. It was Spike, except it wasn’t Spike. He made his way over to Spike and gave him a questioning look.
“He is coming,” Spike said in a proper English accent. “He will be here if we don’t hurry.”
Spike moved down the halls at a quickened pace. Xander was trying hard to follow behind him. This was all too confusing for Xander. When had Spike changed his hair? He wouldn’t have had time to dye it and grow it to shoulder length. Then his clothes were different. It wasn’t Spike’s usual duster, black jeans, black shirt, same red silk top. This Spike was wearing simple blue jeans and a grey pullover. Somehow, he seemed younger than the Spike he knew. It confused him and the exhaustion wasn’t helping him figure things out.
“HIM!” Spike stopped in the empty cafeteria.
How they ended up in the cafeteria, Xander would never know. They just seemed to be in the hallway then the next minute they were in the cafeteria. It was dark, but Xander could hear growling. He squinted against the darkness to see someone else was in the room with them.
“Comin’ for you, Harris,” the figure said. “Comin’ real soon, whelp. You put these things, these feelings inside me. Had no other choice, love. Look what you’ve made me do.”
“You had no other choice?” He listened. He felt his chest. There wasn’t a heartbeat. “You made me a vampire.” He searched for an emotion, nothing came. “Shouldn’t I care that you made me a vampire?”
The lights came on and Spike was standing just a distance away. His hair was its usual bleached blonde. He looked at the sandy-haired blonde standing next to him. How could there be two Spikes? The bleached Spike was moving towards him. He vamped out and blood was on his fangs. Xander knew he should be scared by the bloodied fangs, but instead he was excited about them. He wanted to run his tongue over Spike’s fangs and lap up all the blood. Xander felt his face change too.
“No!” The sandy-haired Spike cried. “I did not want you to do that! I did not mean forever in that way!”
The bleached Spike ignored him and bared his neck to Xander. Blood lust and need overcame Xander. He dug his fangs into Spike’s neck and drank. The blood shot right to his cock. He released Spike’s neck and moaned deep in his throat.
“Oh my God!” Cordelia yelled, pointing at a nude Xander in front of the class. “Harris forgot his clothes and he has an erection! Could he be any more perverted?”
Xander yelped and grabbed Cordelia’s math book off her desk to cover his privates. He looked around wildly. There wasn’t any sign of either Spike. He felt his face then his chest. No ridges and a heartbeat, good he wasn’t a vampire. He blushed. Everyone was staring at him. He had to make a run for it. The teacher didn’t seem to notice his complete nudity. He hoped she’d let him leave class.
“Can I be excused?”
“Did you finish problem four?”
“Then you can go.”
Xander grabbed a folder to cover his ass and ran out the hallway towards the locker room. He took a few deep sighs and started to change into his gym uniform. He sat down on the bench between the lockers and felt the scar on his neck. Again with the good biting. Why did Spike make biting feel so good? If these were nightmares, then he must have been in someone else’s nightmare. If it was his own nightmare he wouldn’t have liked biting Spike. Was it Spike’s nightmare? Was he afraid he’d turn Xander? Also, what was with the sandy-haired Spike?
Xander walked into the library trying to ignore everyone’s stares. He sat down proudly in his gym uniform as if he was wearing normal clothing.
“So, do we know what’s causing this?”
“Some boy,” Giles was sorting through papers. “If I could find the article, I’d show you.”
Willow got up and started to look through the newspapers with Giles. Jesse got up and began to help. He looked at Giles and pulled the paper from his hands.
“Giles, it was in your hands the entire time.”
“Oh, well. I’m afraid I’ve lost the ability to read.”
Xander stared at them; he seemed to have lost the ability to speak. Spike was behind them. He was full vamp face. He was staring at Xander and smiling. He brought his fangs down within an inch of Giles neck, then moved away. He did the same with Willow and Jesse.
“So this comatose boy is causing all the disturbances?” Willow asked after reading the article.
Spike moved in to bite her.
“NO!” Xander yelled.
They all looked at him and Spike disappeared.
“No?” Giles asked. “Do you have a different theory?”
“Oh. I just remembered I forgot my history homework and I’m going to be in trouble.”
“We already had history,” Willow said.
“Which is why I’m so upset I forgot it,” he laughed nervously.
“You seem off,” Jesse said.
Xander noticed the sandy-haired Spike was back. He felt himself shifting into Spike’s nightmare. He knew it wasn’t his own. He never feared Spike turning him. Also, he seemed to turn into a vampire whenever the sandy-haired vampire showed up. Xander didn’t understand why Spike feared that he’d turn him. Didn’t Spike trust himself?
“Run,” Xander muttered.
Willow took a step towards him, “Why would you…?”
Xander vamped out, “I said RUN!”
Xander snarled at her. He was trying to restrain himself, but the nightmare version of himself was taking over. They ran out the door and Xander gripped the table. The bleached blonde Spike came up to him and ran a hand along his cheek.
“Don’t fight it, love. It’s everything we want and everything he doesn’t want. This is why you keep giving me a taste, isn’t it? Addicted to it. Let go, pet. Give into the nightmare.”
The sandy-haired Spike rocked nervously, “You are strong, Xander. Just fight it. You do not want to do anything you will regret.” His eyes flicked over to the bleached blonde Spike. “Trust me on this.”
He didn’t want to be turned. That wasn’t why he was sneaking his blood into Spike’s. He just wanted that feeling, the passionate feeling of completion. He remembered himself pouring into Spike when he had bitten Xander the first time. He let go of the table with a moan. This was what he wanted. He wanted to give in and be complete. He bounded out the doors and towards his prey. They were far down the hall but he was faster now. Giles escaped outside and Willow closed herself into the auditorium. Jesse was still running forward in a panic though. Xander tackled Jesse to the ground.
“Well wasn’t that fun,” Xander said. “Don’t worry. This won’t hurt a bit. Well, that’s a lie, it will hurt a lot. I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m not.”
He widened his jaw and prepared to bite the struggling teen under him when he smelt it. He got off Jesse and looked around. He was sure he smelt it. He grinned and picked a bar off the floor. It was chocolate! He opened it up and bit into it, noting the normal teeth.
Jesse was gone. Xander had slipped into another nightmare. He took another bite and saw another candy bar. He had watched the cartoons and knew what was coming, but he couldn’t stop himself from bending over and picking it up. He kept picking one candy bar up after the other. He figured there was nothing scarier than vampires and being a vampire, so he continued onward, following the trail of ‘breadcrumbs’. He finally got to the last bar and picked it up.
“Hey! I haven’t had one of these since my sixth birthday party!”
It dawned on him that was the year of Mr. Chuckles. The clown had shown up drunker than his parents. He remembered Willow had cried when he swore at her. The clown then chased Xander while he screamed until Xander had to be sent to his room. He shrugged, how scary could one clown be? Mr. Chuckles jumped out at him with a knife. Pretty scary. He closed his eyes and prayed he still had his vampire powers. He felt his face shift and grinned.
“Looks like the party is over, Mr. Chuckles.” Xander cracked his neck. “Time to get real.”
He slammed his fist into Mr. Chuckles and laughed. It felt good. He hit the clown again. The son of bitch wouldn’t be haunting his dreams anymore. He was about to hit the clown again when the scene shifted. He was now standing in a cemetery. Buffy and a kid were standing next to a grave with a bat-like vampire. Xander’s senses told him that was the Master. Buffy seemed startled and the kid disappeared.
“Ah, here comes one of my faithful vampires now,” the Master said pointing to him.
Xander rolled his eyes and walked forward, “You aren’t my sire. Just because we’re in the same bloodline doesn’t make you my sire.”
“William’s attitude has been rubbing off on you.”
“Xander? Xander this isn’t real. Spike really isn’t your sire.”
“But, it’s what William fears.”The Master made a hand movement towards Xander. “So your ‘Xander’ here, has become a vampire. What a lovely vampire too. He’s given into the nightmare. Why can’t you, slayer?”
Xander grinned at being called ‘a lovely vampire’ by the Master. Buffy frowned at Xander and went to speak. But, the Master grabbed her by the neck and threw her into the grave.
“Xander! Help me!”
He didn’t. He picked up a shovel and began burying her. He hummed and watched as the sandy-haired vampire appeared. The bleached blonde Spike came next. The bleached blonde Spike picked up a shovel and began to help Xander as the sandy-haired one paced and shook his head. He grabbed for Xander’s shovel to stop him, but his hands went right through. They put down their shovels and the Master disappeared. Xander snaked his way over to Spike and put his arms around him.
“Xander!” Willow called. “What are you doing?”
Xander grinned, “Waiting for sister.”
“What?” Giles said as he approached with Jesse.
“He’s still a vampire!” Jesse gasped. “Xander! This isn’t you! This isn’t real! Fight it!”
“Don’t listen to them, love.” Spike said almost purring. “This is you. This is what you want. It feels good, doesn’t it? Why fight it. Just let it control you.”
“Xander, please.” The sandy-haired Spike said. “Listen to reason. I do not want this for you. I love you. I write poems for you. You waken my very depths and make me fight. Fight for me too. Please!”
Xander pushed the bleached blonde Spike back and stared at the sandy-haired one. In the hallway, the sandy-haired vampire had looked young. He seemed ancient and out of place now. He smiled at Xander. Xander felt confused. That wasn’t Spike yet it was him. Was he getting a look at William?
Xander yelped as Buffy came clawing her way out of the ground. Spike and William had disappeared and a very angry vamped out Buffy was staring down Xander. He gave her a small little wave and hoped she wasn’t mad.
“YOU BURIED ME!”
She was mad.
“I didn’t mean to! Master ordered it!”
Buffy snarled at him. Xander couldn’t help but snarl back. He crouched and growled. He was ready to attack the newly risen vampire.
“Please!” Giles shouted. “We need to stop this nightmare and wake the boy. If you two can just keep your composure until then, it will all be fixed and you’ll both be human again.”
Buffy snorted, “Fine, but we better hurry. I’m getting hungry.”
“New vamps. You always think with your stomach. No control.”
“Can I feed off him?” Xander asked pointing to the doctor with crippled hands running down the hospital hallway.
“No!” Buffy said. “If anything, I get to eat him.”
“No one gets to eat anyone,” Giles said pushing them into the boy’s room.
They entered and the boy was sitting on his bed watching over his unconscious body. He looked at them with sad eyes. Xander thought they reminded him of his eyes when he was little. He had spent so much time looking in the mirror that he knew them by heart.
“Kid, who hurts you?” Xander said.
The kid started and refused to look at Xander. Xander moved next to the boy’s bed and looked at his body. He bit his lip and looked at the bruises.
“He never hit me hard enough to leave bruises. It still hurt. I remember being scared to come home sometimes and I’d hide out at my friends’ houses just so I wouldn’t have to go home. He was my monster for a long time. Not anymore though,” he thought of Spike who had tamed the monster in his closet. “So, who is your monster?”
“I can’t say!” The boy cried. “He’ll hurt again!”
“Who-“ Xander was interrupted as he was knocked over by an ugly man.
“Lucky nineteen,” the ugly man said.
Xander snarled, “Now that just wasn’t nice.”
He rose to his feet. Buffy moved to his feet, but he growled at her. The fledgling backed away. Good, she knew her place. Xander launched himself at the ugly man. Whoever this guy was, he was the one that had hurt the boy. Xander knocked the man back into the wall. He hit his head and fell unconscious. He felt like ripping the man’s head off, but he refrained. He motioned for the boy to come over and look at the unconscious body on the floor.
“Is he dead?” The boy asked.
“No.” Xander said staring at the body still. “You have to take off the mask and see the man behind the monster.”
The boy reached down and tugged on the man’s face. Xander felt himself tingle and the beating of his heart. He looked down to see his regular clothes had returned. He let out a cheer of joy and looked at Buffy. She was still mad at him. There was a groan. Everyone looked at the small boy moving in bed. Xander smiled, he was waking up.
A man came through the door, “Oh, you know Billy? I’m his little league coach. I’ve been coming here everyday so I can be here when he wakes up. He’s my lucky number nineteen.”
“You!” Xander rounded on him. “You’re the one that put him in here.”
Buffy nodded, “You blamed him for losing the game. Then you caught up with him afterwards, didn’t you!”
“You have no proof of any of that,” the man said with a hint of fear in his voice.
“It wasn’t my fault we lost the game. There are eight other players on the team. I’m telling.”
The man tried to run, but Xander caught him. The man looked nervously up at Xander.
“You heard him, he’s telling.”
Xander put his book bag down by the door and went straight for the basement door. His hand stopped on the handle. What if Spike wasn’t down there? What if it really had been him in the nightmare just split? William and Spike. The human and the demon. Xander tried to wrap his brain around it. It seemed impossible for them to be separate yet the same entity. He twisted the knob and headed down the stairs. The lights were off and the covered windows didn’t help. Xander stubbed his toe on the last step and released a yelp. Spike’s bedside lamp flew on and Spike was looking around as if he was under attack.
“Hey, it’s only me,” Xander said.
“Here to cry on my shoulder again?” Spike asked stiffly.
“I was half-asleep and seeking comfort. You can’t blame me for cuddling just a tiny bit.”
“Whatever helps you sleep at night.”
Xander frowned, “You know, you might be trying to play this game where you pretend you don’t care, but I know you do. I heard you say you loved me today and I’m not going to forget it. So, pretend all you want, Mr. Badass-Vampire. I’ll be waiting for you get over yourself.”
Xander made his way back up the stairs.
“I said what?” Spike called after him confused. “I didn’t say that! I’ve been asleep all day!”
Xander slammed the door behind him. Spike was utterly confused.