Title: Family Bonds
Summary: After his relationship with Anya fizzles out Xander and Spike become lovers. Xander’s insecurities lead him to seek help from
Notes: AU begins S6 replacing Hells Bells. No Dawn, Buffy didn’t die, and Season 6 Spuffy? Eewww no.
Feedback and con crit appreciated and lusted for
Disclaimer: not mine, all belongs Joss and
Other chapters are here
Xander pulled his car up a few doors away from the Magic Box. They weren’t expected at the store just yet and on the drive over, they had decided to grab the pizza Xander had been craving since Friday night. Just two blocks away was a pizzeria, so they parked and walked while Spike was feeling up to it. Both had been cooped up for most of the weekend and while neither was complaining about the company or proximity, they were glad to be out and about in the fresh air.
Xander chose a table far from the front windows where they could not be seen from the street. It was unlikely that the girls would even notice he was in here, but he was a little on edge about seeing Buffy again and wanted to spend the next hour alone with Spike fortifying himself for the coming evening. Spike went to order with instructions for something large, lots of meat, minimal vegetable matter and obviously, no garlic. Spike returned with a jug of coke and a couple of glasses.
“Never took you for a coke kind of vamp.” Xander said as Spike poured two glasses.
“I’m not,’ he said, winking as he pulled a hip flask from his back pocket. “Thomas put this in the bag with all my gear, bless him.” He tipped a shot into his coke, then offered the flask to Xander.
“No thanks, I’m fine with this.”
“Not much of a drinker then mate?”
Xander considered this for a moment before a ‘what the hell’ expression crossed his face. “Not much no. My dad makes up for it though. He started drinking a fair bit when I was young, it was never much fun when he was tanked; it was enough to put me off.”
“He was a mean drunk?”
“I guess that depends on your take on mean. He never hit us, if that’s what you’re asking. He was kinda all over the shop. Sometimes he would be angry at us, or at himself and shout, yell, scream, whatever, until Mum and I got out of his way. Other times he would be maudlin and just sit and cry. Or there was the days he’d not talk to anyone, just down glass after glass then go to bed.” Xander stopped and thought for a moment. “I guess he’s just a guy who shouldn’t pick up a drink, it never ends well.”
“Like you said mate, not much of a role model for you.”
“I guess not. I don’t mind a beer now and again, but that’s enough for me.”
“You know just cause he can’t hold his drink, doesn’t mean you’ll go the same way.”
“Yeah I know. It’s just not a risk I want to take. I don’t want my friends and family to be, well, not scared but nervous? Tense? I don’t want them to feel like that about me.”
Spike raised his glass to Xander. “Cheers mate, you’re a stronger man than I.”
“Nah, but thanks,” he said as he touched his glass to Spike’s.
The pizza arrived and they both fell silent for a time. Xander managed to demolish half the slices while Spike picked at one or two.
Xander pointed at the slice Spike was picking bits of sausage from. “Not a pizza kind of guy either?”
“No, I don’t mind pizza, I’m just full of blood. Had a couple of bags before we left so those meds of Rose’s wouldn’t knock me around too much.”
“Better than I was earlier. Still hurts like all fuck and it’s still not healing but at least I can walk by myself now.”
“Maybe we should go let Rose take another look.”
“Nope, not going to bother the Joudels. They’ve done enough.”
“Well, make sure you take it easy tonight. I have to go back to work tomorrow and I don’t want to spend the day worrying about you because you picked a fight with the slayer.”
Spike snorted at him. “Don’t be a soddin’
Xander grinned at him and laughed. “Maybe, but you know you like it.”
Spike downed his drink. “You, mate, are a smart arse.”
“Yeah, and you like that too.” Xander told him matter of factly.
“Alright before your ego gets any bigger, finish that up and let’s go. The sooner the meeting starts and finishes, the sooner we can get out of there.”
“I’m done, let’s do it.” Xander stood and shook his head at Spike’s fake hopeful smirk. “One-track vampire.”
It was only a short walk back to the Magic Box, but Xander tried to draw it out. They walked slowly, Xander telling himself that it was because Spike was still not in top shape. He couldn’t kid himself completely though and recognised it as the less than subtle delaying tactic that it was.
“You know it’ll be okay don’t you? You stand your ground, just like you did last time.” Just two doors from the pizzeria, Spike grabbed Xander’s arm and stopped him.
“Yeah I know, I just don’t like confrontation, not with my friends. You want to go home? Let’s go home.”
Spike looked around then pulled Xander back into an alcove in a store front. He gripped the boy’s shoulders and shook him gently. “Pull yourself together mate. That bloke who took no crap on Friday night? You’re letting him go. That’s a shame, I liked him, he had balls enough to tell the slayer to jam it.”
“What if that was just a fluke?”
“Nah, no chance, I’ve seen him plenty of times. Now get a grip on him and let’s go.”
Xander straightened himself up and took a deep breath. He nodded his head sharply. “Okay, getting a grip.” He reached up and put his hands on either side of Spike’s head, kissing him hard and long. “Got, it, now we can go.” He grabbed Spike by the arm and pulled him back out onto the sidewalk.
Spike smiled at him. “And he’s back.”
They’d gotten only a few feet further when Spike stopped. “Can you hear that?”
Xander listened. “No, what is it.”
Spike looked around. “Demon, somewhere close, can’t tell where, the sound’s echoing too much. I can hear it breathing though. Definitely not human breathing.”
“Ok well the shop isn’t far let’s just get inside. It’s probably nothing.”
“I’ve got a hole in my guts mate, Murphy says it’s gonna be something.” He clapped Xander on the shoulder. “But yeah, let’s get to the Box.”
They were less than a block from the Magic Box when a large brown mass dropped to the ground in front of them. It was around six foot tall, broad and thickly muscled. It had a thick pelt of tawny hair growing from its forehead and spreading down the back of its head to its waist. At first glance at its face, Xander was reminded of pug, a large, hairy pug. Its lower half was clad in roughly cut, tanned, leather leggings, its feet wrapped in something similar. It carried no weapons, but from the length and thickness of its arms and the long sharp talons, it probably didn’t have much need.
The demon didn’t move, but stood stock still, blocking their path and scenting the air, turning its nose from Spike to Xander.
“What is that?” Xander asked in a whisper.
“Can’t think of the name just now, but that is a she. No hair on the front, it’s a female.” Spike was edging himself closer to Xander and at the same time forcing Xander to move towards the street, but each time they took a step, the demon followed suit and swiped in their direction with a heavy arm. “Name’s not important, this lady is bigger than us, stronger than us but slow. And I mean slow in the head too. Not the brightest crayons in the box these demons. Those muscles are for swinging and hitting, too heavy to get any speed up. But watch those arms, she has a long reach.”
A low growl rumbled out of its chest when it caught a closer scent of Spike. It turned away from the vampire, focussing on Xander and taking a deep breath. A harsh guttural sound came with its exhalation, “Djuurahk ahl.”
“What did it say?”
“How the fuck would I know? I know Fyarl and a bit of Latin and French. She’s speaking none of the above.”
The demon growled again. “Djuurahk dohl.”
The demon still moved with them, step for step, but was also positioning itself closer to Xander, swiping vaguely at Spike in a defensive move. “Harris you can outrun her. Go, run for the shop.”
“What? No! You aren’t sidelining me again.” Xander looked at him incredulously. “We both go, or we both fight.”
“I can’t run. Not fast enough to get past her.”
The demon was keeping itself between them and the shop. Each step they took she matched, repeating the same phrase over and over. She moved no closer to them but neither did she move away. She seemed to be fixated on Xander but growled and cast an occasional wary glance at Spike.
“Spike my car is just up ahead and I have a weapons bag in the trunk. If we can get to the side of her I can run and grab something, bring you back a weapon.” Xander was nodding his head towards his car which was parked just a short distance away, between them and the shop.
“If she follows you, there’s not much I can do. I might be able to catch up to her, but I doubt I can take her down. You got your cell? We could call up the troops and get them out here.”
Xander looked at him sheepishly. “It’s in the car.”
Spike sighed and shook his head. “Git.”
They continued to inch their way up the road, mirrored every step by the demon.
“I’m going for the trunk.” Xander surreptitiously checked his pockets for his car keys. Okay, left front, easy to get out, press the remote, trunk pops, armed fun for all.
“You’ll easily outrun her. Just a matter then of whether she follows you or dismembers me.” Spike stopped and thought for a moment. “Harris when I say go, take a big slow step away from me then stop. I’m having a bit of a theory here. Okay, ready? Go.”
Spike and Xander both took long sideways steps and put a greater distance between themselves. As they moved, the demon let out a low keening wail and swayed back and forth between the two. It didn’t move its feet and appeared confused.
“And there you go,” said Spike, slowly moving back to Xander’s side. “Thick as a plank. It can’t make up its mind. Typical for a bloody wo-”
“Hey. Focus vamp. I’m going for the car, if you start moving the opposite way, and it’s still Special Ed demon, I should be able to get there, grab something sharp and heavy and get back to you before it makes a decision.”
“Alright then, on three. One, Two, three.” Xander tore off to the left while Spike, significantly more slowly, dodged to the right and began to back away.
The demon wailed again, its words shouted into the air. “Djuurahk ahl.” It swayed on the spot, just as before, scenting the air in both directions and howling and swinging again at Spike. It stood still for a moment longer, shaking its head and twisting its body towards both men alternately. Spike heard the beep as the trunk opened and heard Xander rummaging through heavy clunking metal objects. Unfortunately so did the demon and it lumbered off in his direction.
“Harris, heads up its coming.” Spike shouted and started after the demon.
Xander spun around from the back of the car, two large, heavy axes in his hands. He left the car open and ran straight for the demon, dodging around it at the last minute, well out of reach of its arms and headed for Spike, passing over a weapon. Now that they were both back together, the demon had no decision to make. It put its head down and charged.
The demon swung it massive arm, the talons protracted even further. Spike pulled back, hissing with the pain of the movement as the hand skimmed past his stomach. He hauled the axe back over his shoulder and let fly at the demon. Even with his injury, he was marginally faster than the large, heavy creature and the axe took half its hand away. Thick, foul smelling brown blood oozed from the ruined appendage drawing another wail from the demon. It didn’t slow, however, just spun and made for Xander.
Xander swung his axe at the same time the demon was reaching for him with its still-intact hand. His axe connected taking the arm off above the elbow. He cringed at the howl from the demon. “Sorry, Ma’am, but you are trying to shred our guts here.”
“Harris, down!” Spike shouted, hefting the axe in his right hand, his left pressed against the wound in that side. When he saw Xander hit the ground, he growled long and loud and swung. The axe sped in a long arc from the ground, through the air and continued on into the demon’s neck, passing out the other side. Its head and body dropped to the street, sluggish fonts of viscous fluid pumping from both cut ends of the neck.
Xander looked over the pieces of demon and saw Spike doubled over, leaning on the handle of the axe. “Spike you okay there?” He got back to his feet and hurried over to the vampire’s side, trying to prise his hand away. “Show me, let me see.”
“Don’t fuss Harris, its fine. Just hurts.” Spike pushed his hand off and shook his demon face off.
“Hey, you want the bloke who takes no crap? Well this is him. Now shut up, move your hand and let me look at this.” He shoved Spike’s hand away and lifted the edge of his shirt. “There’s no new blood, but this still isn’t healing over. You should see Rose about it.”
“Not bothering Rose again. Just give it time.” Spike pulled his shirt back down.
“You’re a vampire, you shouldn’t need any more time. This should be gone by now.” Xander waved at his side, an impatient expression on his face. “Don’t tell me you’re happy not being able to get in a decent fight. I know you well enough to know that’s not true.”
“You’re nagging me Harris. That’s not attractive.” Spike pointed a finger at Xander and headed towards Xander’s car.
“Yeah and I can see your entrails, that’s not exactly a turn on either.” Xander picked his axe up and followed Spike.
Spike was at the trunk, wiping his axe on an old towel before putting it into the bag. Xander handed him the other axe to clean and pack. “Why won’t you go to Rose?”
“Will you let it go?”
“Not any time soon, no. No crap guy here remember?”
“Fine, I’ll go see Rose tomorrow if it’s not any better. Happy?”
“Why not today?” Xander asked.
“Oh for fuck’s sake. I am not going to see Rose today. That’s it, let it be now.”
“Okay, let me think. Hmm. No. You give me a good reason or I throw you in the car and take you kicking and screaming to the Lion and you can argue with Tom.”
Spike stared at him with a dark expression. “You are pushing me boy.”
Xander held his gaze with equal anger. “First? Never call me boy like that. Second, make your fucking mind up. You want me to stand my ground or not? Or maybe you meant with everyone else but you. If I’m not taking shit, then that includes yours. Third? You are no good to me or yourself like this and you know it; that demon should have been a walk in the park for you. And you know damn well that wound is getting worse. Hell I could probably kick your ass right now.”
“Would you be saying all this if I wasn’t chipped?” Spike asked in a low voice, hints of gold flashing in his eyes.
“Yes.” Xander answered without hesitation. “Why? What would you be doing without your chip right about now? Would you bite me for telling you the truth? For caring what happens to you?”
Spike’s face softened as he considered this man. Ballsy. Doing exactly what Spike had said he should. Sticking up for himself, not backing down. Caring what happens to him. It’d been a long time since anyone cared and the one person who did, that Spike actually gave a shit about, was asking if he would be killed for calling it like it is. Nice move idiot.
“No Harris, I wouldn’t hurt you.” He shook his head. “Anyone else would be fair game though.”
“So, when are we going to see Rose?”
Spike gave a wry laugh. “And you call me one-track. Alright, we’ll go after the meeting. Okay?”
“Okay.” Xander stepped closer to Spike behind the open trunk. He laid one hand at the small of Spike’s back, the other on his cheek and kissed him lightly. He pulled away and looked Spike directly in the eyes, pleased to see they were clear blue again. “As hot as you are when you’re bad, we won’t get far if you vamp out and threaten me each time we have an issue.”
“I didn’t mean-” Spike gripped his arms, looking apologetic
“I saw your eyes, I heard what you said.” Xander told him. “It wasn’t a direct threat, but it’s no different to me waving a stake at you. And that’s something I don’t plan on resorting to.”
“Point taken Harris. But I am what I am; sometimes the demon is a reflex. You have to know what you’re getting into.”
“I’m pretty clear on that. But save the big dramatic reactions for a decent fight okay? Not when you’re just being a whiney baby who won’t see the doctor.”
Spike laughed. “If you’ll save the preaching and nagging for something more important.”
Xander held his hand out. “Deal. Shake on it?”
Spike looked at his hand in mock contempt. “Your words mate. Shaking’s for manly men. And you’re a big poof, so no, that’s not how we do it.”
“A hundred and twenty something and you resort to name calling. Real mature.”
“Still waiting for you to seal the deal, pansy arse.”
“Are you now?” Xander ran his thumb across Spike’s lips, his other hand still on Spike’s back pulled him in closer so they were pressed together, at thighs and groin. He leaned in and blew hot breath across Spike’s mouth, wrapping his hand lightly around Spike’s neck and scratching gently with his nails. “Bad luck for you, vamp.”
Xander backed off with a smirk that rivalled any of Spike’s and headed for the Magic Box. “I have a meeting to go to.”