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
Thanks to kitty_alex for filling plot holes
Other chapters are here
Xander was still on an adrenaline high from the fight with the demon and the argument with Spike when he burst through the door of the Magic Box. All worries over a coming confrontation forgotten for the moment, he shouted to the room in general, “Clean up in aisle 5! We just slayed us a demon.”
“And a good evening to you too. Again, that’s not my blood, cell was in the car and sorry I didn’t call, I got busy with work stuff and other things.”
Spike was following Xander into the shop, walking a little stiffly. Xander moved to help him but Spike shook his head and made it over to his usual spot on the stairs.
“Spike you look better,”
“Just about.” He answered in a tone that clearly said no more information would be offered.
Xander looked around the shop. “So where is everyone else?”
“Buffy and Giles are in the training room, Anya’s down in the basement.”
“Yeah, I told you it’s not mine. We got jumped by a demon outside. It’s still in the middle of the road, unless it went poof.” He looked hopefully at Spike who shook his head. “It’s still in the middle of the road.”
“I can go out and move it, maybe into the alley or something,”
“Spike what have you been doing with Xander to get him in two demon fights in one weekend?”
“Right, automatically my fault then is it? Harris here not capable of getting in a fight himself you think?”
“Well no, Xander doesn’t fight, you do so I just thought-”
“Will, Spike didn’t do anything. Neither did I, we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Twice apparently.”
“Three times mate.”
Xander stared at Spike with a confused expression. “There was the lady demon and the Hokard. That’s all isn’t it?”
“You’re forgetting Bilarl.”
“Oh, right. But he doesn’t count, that wasn’t a fight just a misunderstanding.” Xander brushed him off.
“Wasn’t a fight because Tom stepped in. Otherwise, who knows. Bill was smitten with you.”
“Willow its just some people I met this weekend. Yes, there were a couple of demons but it was a demon bar so I was bound to cross paths with some.”
“Xander, you’ve been getting out? Meeting people? Good for you. That sounds like much more fun than being stuck in here all day retail hell making money. No, wait. It doesn’t” Anya locked the basement door, gave Xander a quick peck on his cheek then sat herself at the table.
Xander stopped her. “Whoa Will, hold on a minute. There is no letting. What am I? Five years old?”
Spike spoke to her slowly and clearly. “We went to a pub for a drink and a chat. He didn’t ask my permission first because he is an adult and that would just be fucking stupid.”
“But why go to a demon bar?”
“Cause I’m a soddin’ demon.” Spike looked at her as though she were slow. “Not going to Willy’s cause I want to walk out not blow out on a breeze. Not going to the Bronze cause that place is full of teenagers and you little Scoobies. Went to my pub, safe place with my friends. And you don’t mention that place to the slayer got it?”
“Fine I won’t, but it’s not so much with the safe if he goes home covered in blood.”
“Red, that was my blood. He was safe because it was my blood spilled not his.”
Xander stepped in. “Don’t suppose anyone here will let me speak for myself? I’m going to anyway. Will tonight was just bad luck. We were only two blocks away having a pizza, a demon got the drop on us on our way back. It’s nobody’s fault, just the way of the Hellmouth.”
Giles voice came from the doorway behind them. “I tend to think Xander may be right. Demon activity has picked up again over the last few days. A pity really, we’d had such a peaceful week.” He collected his notebook from the counter and motioned them all to sit at the table.
Buffy came from the training room, a towel around her shoulders. “Vacation’s over guys. We have to go kick some serious demon butt.”
“Ooh, but Xander and Spike have already gotten in some good kickage,”
"Yeah? Looks like something kicked Spike back a few times too.” Buffy pointed out. “Yay them.”
Xander stared at her in astonishment. “You’ve started already? You’ve been in the room what, thirty seconds?”
“Xander, it’s just Spike. No biggie.”
“Yeah it is Buffy. This is where we started out on Friday. So what’s changed? Anything? Nothing?
“Xander I told
“You just won’t give this up will you?” Xander shook his head.
“Harris, just let it go.” Spike said in a tired sounding voice.
“I say we all let it go and get on with this meeting,” Giles said. “You can go outside later and name call and nit pick all you like, but we have a review meeting to get underway. Now if you don’t mind?”
Tara came back inside at that moment and took her seat next to
“Lovely. Now that everyone is back in their respective corners, shall we begin?” Giles looked around at everyone. When there were no more outbursts he continued. “Right. Demon activity. As I stated, it has been increasing slightly over the past few days. Nothing major of course or you all would have heard about it by now. Just more sightings, more species. None causing any specific trouble.”
Buffy’s ear pricked up at that. “He was hurt? Xander what have you been doing now?”
“No, I was not hurt, thanks to Spike. And Buffy I really don’t appreciate the way you speak to me. You’re not my mother and here we go again with the exact same thing.” Xander threw his hands up in frustration.
“Xander what’s with you?” Buffy asked. “I can’t say anything anymore without you jumping down my throat.”
“Because you can’t say anything anymore without either attacking Spike or demeaning me.”
“Can we just get back to this meeting?” Giles asked in an exasperated tone.
“Sorry G-man, I don’t want to keep coming back to this. Let’s just get it out of the way, alright?”
“Do I have a choice?” Giles left his notes on the table and went to make a cup of tea. He knew this had been a while in coming, but needed to be dealt with. He could see the changes taking place in Xander, had told Xander so just recently. But he knew that Buffy found it difficult to adjust. She had so much to cope with, it was easiest for her when her personal life followed a set routine. Sadly though, life just wasn’t that accommodating and she needed to make allowances for the fact that her friends would not always be the dependent teenagers of her past. They, and their relationship with the slayer, would grow and change. She would welcome it eventually, but now she would fight for stasis.
“Yeah Giles, you do have a choice. You catch everyone else up. I’m sure Buffy already knows what’s what and Spike can fill me in when we get home later. Buffy let’s you and me go out back and-”
Buffy cut him off. “Hold up Xander. What’s this when we get home business? Why haven’t you kicked him out yet? Spike what are you trying to pull now?”
“Damn it Buffy! Will you please try to focus here? I’m trying to save our friendship and you can’t get past Spike.”
“Xander he’s taking advantage of you and you can’t see that. He’s living in your house, can’t you see anything wrong with that?”
“So I’m just supposed to say ‘Hey Spike thanks for helping me out now go bleed somewhere else’?”
“He’s not your responsibility Xander.”
Xander smiled. “Nope, you’re right there Buffy. And he’s been trying to tell me that too. He’s not my responsibility, he’s my friend. I’m doing right by a friend; that’s my responsibility.”
Spike stuck his hand out. “Cheers, Harris.”
Xander took it and felt Spike squeeze his hand. He held on for a fraction longer than he should’ve and met Spike’s smiling eyes with his own. Spike knew what he needed and without disclosing anything to his friends, had found this small way to pass on a bit of support and comfort. Xander turned back to face Buffy.
“He’s not your friend, he’s a vampire. He’s nobody’s friend.”
“So now I’m being taken advantage of and can’t tell the difference between a friend and an enemy? That about what you’re saying Buff? Is choosing my friends going to be something else you think you have to do for me now?”
“Well maybe I am if this is the kind of decision you make.” Buffy folded her arms over her chest.
“This is getting nowhere,” Xander told her. “You keep coming back to the same thing. You have no faith in me. You said you were sorry, but you didn’t mean that at all did you?”
“I’m sorry that I said you and Anya breaking up was your fault. I talked with Anya on Friday. I know it was a mutual thing and I’m sorry I blamed you. I know I was way wrong about all that.”
“Okay thanks, I accept that. But the problem is still the overall image you have of me that made you think that. You’re treating me like an idiot and I’m not prepared to take that from you anymore.”
“Well maybe if you stopped acting like an idiot then?”
Xander waved her off. “No,
“Xander you are doing some crazy things. You can’t have Spike in your home. You can’t have a vampire for a friend.”
“But you can have one for a lover and no one can touch that?”
She rolled her eyes at him. “He was souled. It was different.”
“And Spike is chipped but even if he weren’t, it’s still not your decision to make. Yes, you are my friend and yes you can say hey Xan, are you sure about this? But when I say yes Buffy I’m sure, then that’s your cue to back the hell off. We aren’t kids anymore, look around Buffy. We’re all growing up and you are the only one trying to hold me back.”
“Xander everyone feels the same way, they just aren’t prepared to say it. But I am.” Buffy looked around the room and was met with horrified faces all round.
Giles was the one to speak up. “Buffy I rather think you are gravely mistaken. You aren’t speaking for any one of us.”
She looked bemused. “What? Why wouldn’t you all be worried about this? This isn’t our old Xander.”
“No Buffy you are quite right. This is not our old Xander. He’s changed, as have you all. I think what you are having trouble with is that Xander seems to have made some significant changes in rather a short time. As I told him on Friday, I am very proud of the man he has become. Spike is by no means someone I would choose for Xander to befriend, but I do have enough respect for him to trust that he knows his own mind.”
“Thanks Giles.” Xander patted his shoulder and looked to Buffy. “This is something you need to deal with Buff. I know you’re just worried, I worry about you too, about all of you, but at the same time I recognise those worries are generally because of my own issues. You have a problem with the choices I’m making but I don’t regret any of them so you just need to come to terms with it in whatever way suits you.”
“None of you have a problem with Xander hanging out with Spike? Not even worried about Spike getting him into demon fights?” she asked them all.
“For fuck’s sake Slayer, what do you think I’m gonna do to the lad? This soddin’ chip has me leashed like a fucking puppy.”
“Spike just shut up and stay out of it.” Buffy threw over her shoulder.
“Buffy, he’s in it. It’s me hanging out with Spike that you have the issues with and you just keep throwing up the same attitude. You think I have no idea what I’m doing, you don’t trust me and you want me to do exactly as you think I should, no questions asked.” Xander was trying to stay calm but was quickly losing patience with her. He’d known Buffy for over six years and in that time she had rarely been so obtuse. “See I think I have you figured out Buffy. As long as I do as you say, act how you think I should, basically be your yes man, then all is well. As soon as I think outside the box or try to change anything, bam! Battlestations.”
“Xander that’s just not true,” she said scornfully.
“Yes it damn well is. You don’t like Spike so there’s something wrong with me, not you. You notice no one else here is too fond of him but you are the only one blaming me for that? Wake up to yourself Buffy, you need to deal with this.”
Buffy looked at all of them one by one. Her gaze lingered on Xander the longest, but she spared a hard, hate-filled stare for Spike. “You’re right Xander. I do need to deal with this. And you’re right about no one else having a problem with this, it is just me. So like you suggested, I’m gonna deal with this the way that suits me.”
Buffy’s hand moved so fast no one realised what she intended until it was too late to stop her. She had reached into her back pocket and hurled a stake full strength at Spike. The room immediately filled with shouts and yells but for Xander it was deathly quiet. He saw Buffy’s lightning-fast movement then Spike crumpling off the stairs and onto the floor. His breath caught as he waited for the cloud to appear but it never came. Instead he was assaulted by the sound of Giles yelling and Willow, Tara and Anya making some sort of noises he couldn’t take in.
Not dust. Not dust. Not dust. He was not dust, that was always the thing to remember. If he was really gone he would be dust. Xander ran towards him. Spike was on the floor doubled over, arms wrapped around his middle. There was blood seeping through his fingers and more dripping from a wound on his arm.
“Oh, Jesus Spike. Let me see, please.” He dropped to the floor, trying to pull Spike’s arms away to find where the blood was coming from. “Spike come on you’ve got to let me look.”
“It’s not too bad, mate. She only hit my arm, but I’ve done some damage to this kidney wound when I dodged.” Spike rolled back so he was sitting on the floor, pain etched across his face, blood was dripping from his fingers to a pool on the floor.
“He’ll be fine. I missed.” Buffy said, coming over to Xander and Spike.
“You back the fuck off Buffy,” he shouted, standing and putting himself between Spike and Buffy. “Giles you get her away from us. Now.”
“It’ll heal.” She pointed to Spike’s bleeding arm. “Look it’s just a scratch.”
Her blasé attitude was the final straw. Xander grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her. “You could have killed him, do you get that? You could have dusted him.” He had lost all sense of reason and was seconds from hitting her when Spike’s voice stopped him.
“Xander don’t do it. Rupert stop him.”
Giles had already pushed himself between them and was dragging Buffy away. Willow and Tara were heading for Spike with the first aid kit and Anya was standing frozen staring from Spike to Xander a knowing expression on her face.
Xander made sure that Buffy was out of the way before he crouched down next to Spike. Giles had led her out the back to the training room and Xander could hear his angry voice coming through the closed door. He kneeled by Spike’s side and laid a hand on the back of his head, waving the girls away. “Can you get up? We’re going to Rose now, don’t you dare think of arguing with me.”
“You’ll have to help me mate, this is not too good.”
Xander got an arm around his waist and beckoned
Anya took Tara’s place at Spike’s side and they got him out the front door as
“Yeah, just don’t take the scenic route.” Spike sat back and closed his eyes, leaning in to Xander’s hand, his face tight with pain.
Anya and Tara were standing on the sidewalk waiting while Xander climbed into his side of the car, waved once and took off at top speed. He was out of sight around the corner when they turned back towards the shop and Anya whispered to