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 to Joss and Co. Damn them. And bless them.
Other chapters are here
Beta thanks to kitty_alex
“Signature of a spell? What do you mean? What is that?” Xander asked, confusion sounding in his voice.
“Xander, quite simply it means that you have had a spell cast on you and the gold colours that
“That’s the magical energies interacting with Xander’s natural energies?”
“That’s right. The clash shows as gold sparks. The rest of his aura will change, as does everyone’s, but the gold will remain.”
“But, wait, spell? There’s a spell on me? Tara, did you or
“Well not on purpose, but could
“It’s possible Xander, I guess.”
“Excuse me, Xander.” Maria held her hand up to stop Xander’s next question. “Tara how long have you and
“Me, just a couple of years, but
“Bear with me now. How long has
“Umm, a few years now, she started in high school.”
Xander interrupted. “Maria, I don’t mean to be rude but I’m spelled here, you need to tell me what’s going on.”
“Alright then Xander, here’s what I can tell you. Neither
“You’re sure? How?”
“I can clearly see the magic in your aura. Its old magic, it’s been there many years, too many for your friends to have cast it.”
“But who then?” Xander asked, feeling a small measure of relief that the girls had not done anything to him.
“I’m so sorry Xander I can’t tell you anything about the origin of the spell. All I can tell you is its well merged with your natural energies. It has been a part of you for a while now. It’s quite large, taking up about a square foot of your aura, just above your left shoulder. The sparks are moving so that means the spell is active. There is really nothing else I can tell you Xander. Again I’m sorry.”
“You can’t tell what it does?”
Maria shook her head sadly and got to her feet. Tara and Xander stood with her.
“Thankyou, so much Maria. Maybe
“Xander if anyone could help you further, it would be
Xander stood and shook her hand. “Thanks Maria. I appreciate you coming.”
Maria left and Xander sat back down with
Xander thanked her but put the food aside. “
“Xander you have to try not to worry too much. We have no idea what the spell could be. It might even be nothing, you know just like, oh, something to make your freckles disappear.”
“I don’t have any freckles.”
“Well there you go,”
“And when you say work, you mean more magic right? So you’re gonna fight fire with fire?”
“The magic we can do would be harmless to you. It wouldn’t even hang around once we stopped. But it might tell us how this is affecting you, whether it’s changed you. It could tell us any number of things, but we won’t know until we try.”
Xander sighed heavily. “Okay. When?”
“Give us a couple of days to get organised. We’ll need to do some reading to find the best way of tackling this and we’ll need to source some ingredients too. I’ll call you when we’re ready.”
“What if this is what Spike has been talking about? He thinks there’s something that’s been sending the demons after me. This could be it.”
“I don’t know Xander. Maria said its old magic. So if it was the spell, then you should have had demons attacking you for most of your life. You haven’t have you?”
“Not until I met Buffy. And since then it was just the odd one or two.”
“Well I doubt that’s it then. But don’t worry,
“So what do I do now?” he asked.
“Same as you did yesterday, and last week, and last year. Until we work out what’s going on there’s nothing you can do.”
“And if it turns out to be something?”
“Then I guess your friends will help you. And it looked to me like Spike will be there for you.”
Xander nodded and took out one of his sandwiches. “Tell me about what you saw last night. You know, about him.”
“Oh, um, well, it was um, pink, and as Spike so elegantly suggested, pink can indicate sexual feelings. Yours flared pink as Spike got closer; it was obviously a reaction to him.”
Xander snorted and mumbled, “Yeah there’s been a lot of reacting this week.”
“Okay, um, right,”
“How can that be? It’s only been a few days and you’re saying there’s some connection between us already?”
“Well, its more that the potential is there. Then it’s up to you two to build on it if that’s what you choose.”
Xander finished his lunch and laid back on the sheet thinking. “
“Xander I told you I’ll keep it quiet. None of this, not the spell, not Spike, or anything I see in your aura is mine to tell.”
“No I don’t care if they find out about the spell, a problem shared you know? Giles, Anya, maybe Buffy, they might all be able to help. Just don’t want to give Buffy any more ammunition right now.”
Crew were milling around and foremen were running from the scaffolding to the management building. Xander finally identified the lack of noise; none of the powered equipment was operating. All the tools were silent, all machinery stilled. Xander stopped next to one of the builders.
“Hey Danny, what’s going on?”
The man stood, hands on hips looking dumbfounded. “Power just went. The whole damn site’s out.”
“What, the whole site? That can’t be right, its all on different circuits,” Xander told him.
“Seriously, everything man. Every last circuit has had the crap blown out of it. The guys up top are climbing down with their harnesses now.”
Xander thanked him then turned and ran to the building where his, and all the other administration offices were located. The light was dim inside and Xander automatically flipped the light switch, but with no result. A strong smell of burnt out electrics filled the air and Xander began opening windows to let the slight smoke haze out.
Poking his head into other rooms, Xander found his boss and the assistant, together with most of the site’s foremen standing around the main office.
“Hey guys. Do we know what happened, Nate?” he asked.
Nathan, Xander’s boss, turned and shook his head. “No not a clue Xander. Just lost the power right across the site, no idea where it started but the guys all say everything has burned out, not just turned off mind you, but burned out.”
“So, what then? Everything’s got to be junked?”
His boss shrugged. “Some of it yeah, other things we can get repaired.”
“Geez, are we covered?”
“Yeah we are, but its really going to put the brakes on this project. I’ll get on the phone now and call the insurance company.”
“You’re gonna need to ramp up the security too Nate. No power to the alarm systems.”
“Aw, Christ. You’re right Xander, good thinking. You can get that sorted.” He waved the foremen out after advising them to supervise the crew climbing down the scaffolds, then reached for the phone, looking blankly at it for a moment. “Shit, phone system’s out too. Use your cell Xander, we’ll reimburse you.” He pulled his own phone out of his pocket and sat down to wade through the automated answering on the insurance company’s end. The assistant rushed of and began gathering up papers.
Xander headed back to his own office, finding enough light by the windows to read the security firm’s number. Extra patrols and emergency flood lighting organised, he made a couple of other calls to the head office of his construction company to explain the situation. Stakeholders informed, Xander walked back into the other office and sat opposite Nate, waiting for him to get off the phone.
Nate sighed and tossed his phone down. “Fuck. The claims guy will come out tomorrow, then they have to process the paperwork and get an evaluator out. This is going to take a while.”
“Will they cover all the wages?” Xander asked, thinking of the great number of crew that he knew had young families.
“Yep, he said that straight up. So after we get everything secured we’ll have to send all the crews home.”
“We can still work in here right?” Xander waved his hand at the office.
“No they say not. Safety issues with no lighting. They won’t cover us for any accidents. Besides, there’s no phone, no computers, no coffee.”
“Well hell, that seals it then. No coffee, then we shut it all down pal.” Xander laughed.
Nate laughed with him then groaned. “Oh God, this is a mess.”
“Well it’s why we pay our insurance isn’t it? Give the guys with the clipboards a week or so and we’ll be back on track.”
Nate and Xander closed down the offices, helped the other workers lock down the site as best they could and passed around the news of the closure. Arms full with boxes of paperwork that they could do from home, Xander and Nate headed for their cars in the lot at the far end of the site.
Xander juggled the box and his keys to open his apartment door, kicking the refilled cooler of blood inside on his way. Dropping everything down on the kitchen counter, he went through to the bedroom, dodging his shoes and coat that were still lying on the floor. The bedroom door was wide open, bed empty. He checked the bathroom and found that empty too. Spike had left. Xander felt some disappointment but none of the panic and self-doubt of last time. He knew Spike had things to do, what things though, he’d no idea.
Xander peeled off his work clothes and threw on a pair of old sweats. Retracing his steps he collected the shoes and clothes that either he or Spike had thrown last night and hung them back up. In the kitchen, he stuck the blood in the fridge and grabbed some snacks. Satisfied with his housework efforts he stretched out on the couch, noting that the blanket he kept there was gone. At least Spike had used protection when he left.
Afternoon viewing left a lot to be desired and, tired of flipping through endless sitcoms, talk shows and courtroom dramas, Xander soon began to doze. He was startled out of sleep in the afternoon, by the sharp ring of the phone. Dragging himself off the couch he grabbed it just before the machine kicked in.
He yawned into the mouthpiece. “Harris’ home for displaced workers, how can I direct your call?”
“Ah, Xander, hello.”
“G-man, how you doing?”
“Xander must you-”
“I must.” Xander chuckled at Giles sigh. “What can I do for you?”
“Well, I was rather hoping you would be attending the meeting tonight.”
“Wasn’t high on my list of torturous things to do today, no.”
“Xander surely you don’t mean that. How long were you planning on avoiding your friends.”
“How long is my friend going to be attempting to murder my, ah, other friend?”
“Xander I apologise for not keeping closer watch on Buffy. She has seemed much more reasonable this week. Perhaps you could give her another chance?”
“To do what? Aim better? Come up with more insults and accusations?”
“Xander, you are needed here. I would like you to come back. I will do my level best to ensure there is no repeat of Sunday’s behaviour.”
“Giles, I don’t know.”
“Xander I have something I’d like to discuss with you. And I hope you see fit to trust me when I tell you I will not let it happen again.”
“You can just tell me now.”
“Well no that would not be entirely appropriate.”
Xander sighed in resignation. “Geez, okay. Fine. Alright. Yes, I’ll be there.”
“Thankyou Xander. You can trust me.”
“I know Giles. I’ll see you later.”
He hung up and put his head down on the counter. It had to be dealt with sooner or later, so why not sooner? Xander trusted Giles; not so much Buffy when she was acting so strangely towards him, but he knew Giles would do his best now that he was aware of the extent of the problem. He would go but Buffy would be getting nowhere near him, or Spike if he turned up.
Xander changed into comfortable jeans and a black sweater, pulled on his boots and grabbed a heavy jacket. If he ended up out on a patrol he wanted to be prepared. The weapons were still in the trunk, so he left empty handed but for one bag of Spike’s blood. Xander considered leaving a note but figured Spike would guess where he was anyway.
He stopped on the way and picked up a few pizzas, no garlic. No point being hungry as well as anxious. He pulled the car up opposite the Magic Box and sat watching the shop windows for a time.
The sun was going down and the interior lights were on. Xander realised he was stalling, he also knew he didn’t care. He did want this awkward situation with Buffy to be over with, just didn’t know how he could go about it. Could he just forgive her for that? Spike wanted him to. And how weird was that? Maybe he could give it a shot, if Giles was true to his word.
Xander heard the passenger door click open and before he had even turned around, Spike was sitting, throwing his blanket into the back seat.
“That’s looks to me like brooding mate. Fair warning, if you’re going to turn into the over-coiffed ponce, forget it, not going there again.” Spike reached over and pulled him into a kiss. When Xander could no longer breathe, Spike let him go. “Snap out of it Harris. It won’t be that bad.”
Xander shook his head in disbelief. “She tried to kill you and you’re okay with it. I just don’t get it.”
“Harris if I had a dollar for every time sometime tried to dust me? Well, we’d be living high on the hog I can tell you. But she’s a slayer, wouldn’t be doing her job if she didn’t try every now and then. Keeps me on my toes.”
“You may be the slayer’s job but I’m not. I’ve had it with her shots at me. And I don’t know if I can stand by and watch her try to kill you again.”
“You have to give the Watcher a bit of credit mate. Now he knows what’s what he’ll keep a tighter rein on the silly bint.”
“Geez you really are marching in the Scooby pride parade, aren’t you?”
“Oi! Let’s not get personal mate.” Spike laughed. “Can’t say I like any of the buggers, but they like you and I know the Watcher will look out for you. Come on now, Harris, chin up and all that, get it over with.”
Xander sighed and rubbed his hands over his face. “Ok, how bad can it be?” He looked over at Spike, taking in the crystal blue eyes, those sharp cheekbones, his smiling mouth. “Shame you weren’t at my place earlier. I could have done with a bit of Dutch courage.”
“You don’t drink.”
“Not what I meant,” he said, lazily looking over Spike’s body.
“Course it wasn’t,” he chuckled. “Even if I’d been there you would have been at work mate.”
“No, the site was closed down for a while, we had some kind of power surge and everything is burned out. I got home a few hours ago.”
“Shit. Looks like we both missed out then yeah?”
Xander glanced over at the Magic Box. “A quick one in the car is out of the question. So, raincheck?” Xander asked.
“Count on it.” Spike smirked.
Xander leaned over to Spike’s seat and kissed him. He wrapped his tongue around Spike’s and sank into the cool, wet sensation, feeling a warm tingling spread through him.
It was Spike who broke away first, nodding to the shop with a raised eyebrow. “Not that I don’t admire your delaying tactics mate.”
“Okay, here I go, getting out of the car.” Xander threw open the door and jumped out, all in one move. He collected the pizzas from the back seat, handed Spike the blood bag he’d brought along and together, they crossed the street to the shop. Xander tucked the pizzas under his arm and reached for the door handle, his hand stopping short when Spike took it and squeezed his fingers briefly.
“You’ll be right mate.”
Xander smiled at him and opened the door. “Hi guys,” he called in a less than chirpy tone, to the small group seated around the table.
Giles, Anya and Buffy turned to look at the unusually subdued Xander as he walked in and put the pizzas down
“Look everyone its Xander, and he has his friend Spike with him. Aren’t we happy to see them?” Anya came out from behind the counter and hugged Xander. She reached awkwardly for Spike but he stepped away and held his hands up to stop her.
“None of that thanks,” he told her.
Spike walked off to warm his blood as Xander sat down at the table with Giles and Buffy. Taking a position opposite her, Xander glanced over at Buffy apprehensively. She looked tiny, scrunched into a little space next to Giles. Xander considered his friend. He’d known her long enough and was more than familiar with her moods and expressions. This one she wore now, the one that was tugging at him, he knew was genuine. It was nervousness and sorrow. Yes, she looked sorry. Buffy offered him a small smile. He considered a multitude of inappropriate responses, sticking his tongue out, flipping her off, throwing a book, yelling, screaming, accusing. Not exactly ready to forgive and forget, he nevertheless settled on the response that felt right.
“Hey Buff,” he said and smiled back at her.