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 for putting the brakes on.
“Hi Xander.” Buffy began to visibly relax a little. “How are you?”
Xander shrugged. “Okay I guess. You?”
“Well, this is in no way uncomfortable,” Anya said to Spike in a stage whisper. He gave her a harsh look and she sighed and motioned zipping her lips.
Xander looked around at Giles, Anya and Spike. “Buffy, it’s a couple of days late, but how about we go sort this out? Sorry guys, Anya’s right.”
He stood and moved to the door of the training room, holding it open for Buffy. He glanced over her head at Spike and got a smile and a nod of encouragement.
Xander shut the door behind them, knowing full well Spike would hear it all anyway, but he didn’t care, it made him feel like Spike was there, giving him support. He leaned on the wall just inside the door and watched as Buffy followed the contours of the room, running her fingers over weapons, picking up and putting down training pads, finally coming to a stop on the opposite side of the room to Xander.
“Xander, I’m really sorry. I’ve been such a bad friend to you.”
Buffy’s eyes shone and she looked at him with such confusion and sadness that he almost ran across and grabbed her in a hug right then. But no, not yet. Sorry wasn’t going to be enough. “I can see you’re sorry, but I need to know what the hell’s been going on. You called me an idiot, you said I can’t be trusted to choose my own friends. You tried to kill Spike because I’ve been hanging out with him. Why have I been singled out for the ultimate in bizarro Buffy lovin’?”
She threw her hands up in the air, “I just don’t understand myself Xan. God, the things I said to you. I can’t believe I really did those things. I’ve just felt so protective of you. You’ve been changing, it’s like I had to make you stop and see.” She took a step towards Xander, moving away again when he tensed.
Xander frowned at her. “Stop what? Growing up? Cause just between you and me, I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”
“I don’t know Xander. God this was all so clear to me before; I’ve spent hours talking it over with Giles, I had a handle on this. We had reasoned it all out and I was cool with it, I could see what I’d done to you, how I’d been treating you, I had this whole thing I wanted to say.”
“So say it Buffy,” he urged her. “You’ve been weirder than weird with me lately. You said some almost unforgivable things; I think I deserve something more than I’m sorry and I don’t know.”
“I’m trying Xan, I am but it’s just not coming out right.” She rubbed her hands over her face. “I am sorry, so sorry, I shouldn’t have made you feel useless, I should have trusted you. It’s like I couldn’t control what I was saying, I wanted to say those things to you but then when you left and Giles and I were talking I was all, what the hell? What have I done?”
“So you’re suddenly okay now with my decision making? Breaking up with Anya, having a beer or two with Spike?”
She took a couple of steps closer to Xander, staying this time when he didn’t flinch. “You know, it’s more like I suddenly don’t feel okay about it sometimes.” She shook her head as though trying to clear a fog. “But, yeah, I understand what happened with Anya. I don’t think I’ll ever like Spike but you’ve been getting all male bondy with him and seem to be fine and it’s none of my business really.”
“Buffy, we’re best friends, we’ll always be in each other’s business, just not as deep in it as you’ve been okay? Cause the way you’ve acted with me? Well, that’s just all kinds of wrong and I won’t take it from you anymore. It ends now or we’re done.”
“I promise Xan, it won’t happen again.” She closed the space between them and laid a hand on his shoulder and squeezed.
“Okay, Buffy.” He sighed and hugged her. That was a start but he still needed more. “And you’ll ease off Spike? Stop baiting him, trying to kill him?”
Buffy took a step back and pressed a hand to her temple, turning a small frown on him. “I’ll do my best to ignore him. Is that okay to start with?”
“Buffy you can’t ignore him, he fights by your side most nights, he looks out for all of us. He deserves more than your cold shoulder.”
“Geez Xan you’re really flying the flag for vampire rights aren’t you?” Buffy folded her arms across her chest defensively.
“No Buffy, just making sure all of the team get their due.”
She laughed harshly at Xander. “He’s not in the team, he’s just here for the money.”
“Come on Xander, you know he only hangs around for the cash, if Giles cut him off he’d be gone like that,” she snapped her fingers. “He’s only hanging around with you cause he’s bored and he can always get in a good demon fight when he’s with a Scooby.”
“Buffy what the hell?”
Buffy stuck her hands on her hips, her voice pitched higher. “What? Its true. He’s a vampire, he’s in it for him, that’s all. You just can’t see that, I think you need to stop trying to be bestest buddies with a moocher. He couldn’t really be your friend Xander.”
Xander looked at her with his mouth hanging open. “Buffy what is this, in one breath you tell me go, be friends with Spike, it’s cool; and in the next you’re no, no, he couldn’t possibly be a real friend, you’re being used? What happened to I promise it won’t happen again? Your promises only good for one minute now?”
“Well I didn’t realise then that you wanted me to wear the giant-sized ‘I like Spike’ button.”
“I don’t, I just want you to recognise what he does for us and leave him the hell alone.”
“He’s gotten to you somehow hasn’t he Xander? I don’t think you really understand what you’re asking.”
“Oh, now this is like one of those nightmares where everything just keeps replaying and getting worse. Or Groundhog Day, just without the funny weather man.”
Buffy gripped his arm. “Xan I think I was a little hasty.”
He closed his eyes, counted to ten, then looked at her hopefully, was vacillating Buffy gone yet?
“Perhaps it would be best if you didn’t spend so much time with Spike, not until I work out what he wants from you. I think I better go get it out of him before it’s too late.” Buffy turned away and headed for the weapons rack.
Xander watched in shocked disbelief as she considered and disregarded several small items. No, she couldn’t be doing this, not again. What was going on? Xander felt himself losing it and opened his mouth to let rip.
Outside, Giles and Anya waited at the table, while Spike sat on the stairs listening to Buffy and Xander. He was glad for Xander that Buffy seemed to have sorted her daft self out. He felt a small tingle run through him when Xander addressed the issue of Spike bashing; he called himself a sap, then smiled anyway. That boy was going to get lucky later. Then he sensed rather than heard the shift. He caught the scent of slayer aggression beginning and picked up on Xander’s confusion. Neither scent dissipated but only grew stronger as Buffy’s unreasonable argument gained ground. When he heard her comment, followed by the clicking of metal, he stood and took up a more defensive position.
“Watcher, best be on your toes, its all about to go off,” he warned Giles.
“What are you talking about Spike? Buffy’s not going to do anything. She’s come to her senses and she’s gone in there to apologise to Xander. Everything will be fine. Just sit-”
Giles was stopped by the bellow from the training room.
“BUFFY DON’T YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM HIM.”
It was the anger, confusion and panic from Xander that sent Spike running in, closely followed by Giles, then Anya. The last thing he wanted was to get in the way of a slayer with weapons, especially when he couldn’t defend himself, but he was not going to leave Xander alone to deal with this.
Spike burst through the door and tried to put himself in front of Xander but was knocked to the floor by a small blonde missile. As he rolled he heard Xander and Giles shout and when he came to a stop, Spike found himself with a slayer crouched on his chest and a small knife at his throat. At least it wasn’t a stake, so that was a vast improvement on her last attack. He had begun to raise his hands in defence when she was pulled from her seat by Giles and Xander.
Xander pushed her into Giles arms then bent to offer Spike a hand up. “You okay?” he asked.
“Course I am,” Spike said taking his hand. Not that he needed the help up mind, just wanted the boy to have the contact Spike knew he needed. While Giles dragged Buffy from the room and Anya looked to be busy collecting spilled weapons, Spike took a quick moment to help Xander calm down. He kept hold of his hand and laid the other on his cheek, stroking with his thumb. “You don’t listen to her mate. You know what she said isn’t true,” he told him in a low voice.
Xander leaned into his hand and nodded with a small smile. “I know Spike.”
A whisper behind Xander startled them both and Xander jumped back. “You two are doing it. I knew it!”
“Anya!” Xander looked at her in horror.
“I knew it!” she said again. “I know you Xander Harris, I know your face, I know your voice, and you can’t hide something like that from me.”
“Anya please,” Xander begged her. “Please just let it go.”
Anya waved him away. “Oh don’t be silly Xander, I’m not going to say anything.” She looked at Spike standing by Xander’s side and cast her gaze over him admiringly. “Can I watch your sexy man love?”
“Oh bloody hell!”
“No, Anya, no.” Xander held up his finger to her in warning. “Oh god, if you say anything about this.”
“I told you I won’t, you know I don’t lie to you.” She swatted aw ay his finger. “Are you happy, Xander?”
“I’d be a lot happier without homicidal Buffy, but yeah I am”
Anya reached up to him and kissed his cheek. “Good!” She turned to Spike and smiled, saying matter of factly, “I have many dear and powerful friends still in the vengeance industry. They don’t all deal just with wronged women. Okay?” Anya patted Spike’s head. Spike stared at her in mild surprise. “I’ll give you two a minute. I’m going to see if Buffy still wants to murder you. Stay here till I tell you its all clear.”
Anya closed the door behind her, Xander considered locking it too, but decided to give Giles the benefit of the doubt.
“Soddin’ woman might be an ex-demon, but she hasn’t lost her touch has she?”
“Nope, but that’s why she’s special.”
Spike grunted a doubting reply and opened the back door, lighting a cigarette and letting the smoke drift out in to the night. Xander watched him, smiling at how Spike always managed to look like he had arranged himself in the most visually appealing position. Xander was learning that it wasn’t always affected, that was just Spike. He was leaned back against the door frame, head tipped back watching trails of smoke floating upwards. Xander sighed. What was he doing checking Spike out, when for the second time in just a handful of days, Buffy had just attacked. This time she obviously had no intention of killing him, had said she wanted information. So she was going to do what, threaten, torture?
“Fuck!” Xander whispered to himself, feeling the rage building again. “Fuck. Fuck.”
Spike heard the change in his heartbeat and breathing immediately as well as the near silent cursing.. “Oi mate, enough of that.” Spike flicked his cigarette away and held out one arm. “C’mere.”
Xander was in front of Spike in two long strides and being pulled into a strong embrace. Spike held him tight until he felt some of the tension leaving Xander. “I heard all of it, you didn’t do anything to provoke that, she just turned. Not heard the like of it before.”
Xander breathed Spike’s scent in deep, his forehead pressed into the cool, leather-clad shoulder and relaxed into Spike’s hold, “It was going okay then bam, she was like a different person.” He stood up and leaned back against the other side of the doorway. “Could today get any more screwed up?” Xander sighed.
“Didn’t think you’d mind a few days off work. If you’ve not anything to do I can keep you busy.”
Xander realised he’d not even had a chance to tell Spike about the spell. He explained about Tara and her mentor visiting, about the spell and how it was not
“This woman wasn’t much bloody use if she couldn’t even tell you who hit you with a spell or what it soddin’ well does.”
“Well that’s not her area so I guess she told me everything she could. Tara and
“What are you waiting for? Why aren’t they doing it now? Don’t you want to know?” Spike’s voice was getting louder, more on edge.
“Spike, please. They can’t,
Spike grabbed his arms. “So you have a bleedin’ spell on you, you don’t know what it is, where it came from, who put it there, how long its been there and you don’t seem worried?”
“God Spike, of course I’m worried. I’m scared too. But I was kind of hoping you would help me hold it together until I know what’s what.”
Spike shook his head and frowned. “Yeah, right, course I will.” He relaxed his grip on Xander but didn’t let him go. “So when can they help you out mate?”
“Right. Tomorrow. That’s not too long then yeah? Pretty sure we can keep your mind of it till then can’t we?” Spike offered him a smirk.
Xander laughed. “Good to see you have your priorities straight Bleachie.”
Spike slid his arms down to Xander’s hips and pulled him closer. “Can I start distracting you now?”
“God I wish you would.” Spike drew him in and pressed their lips together. Xander opened to him instantly and Spike’s tongue stroked over his. As far as distractions went, this was right up there. Xander let his weight fall against Spike and gave himself over to the comforting but arousing sensations. His hands slid under Spike duster, up under his shirt and he let his thumbs stroke over the small hard nipples as Spike deepened their kiss. Wrong place, wrong time ran through Xander’s head but he pushed it aside, telling himself there could never be a wrong time for this.
But apparently there could. Xander’s brain gave him a rousing chorus of I told you so when the training room door was thrown open and Anya burst through, her loud gasp of surprise filling the room as she quickly shut the door behind her.
“Oh. My. God. Are you sure I can’t watch?”
“Anya, geez, you don’t knock or announce yourself or something?”
“Rarely, and you can bet your sweet ass I won’t be anymore,” she grinned at them. “Oh and Giles says you can come out. Buffy has calmed down again and she’s playing her I-don’t-know-what-came-over-me card. And
“Right then, watcher wants us back. C’mon Harris, don’t keep the man waiting.” Spike let him go and marched back out to the shop, sparing a withering glance at Anya on his way past.
“Great timing Anya,” Xander said as he followed Spike out.
“I know,” she smiled, falling in behind him. “It was just pure luck that I-. Oh that’s sarcasm isn’t it?”
Back in the shop, Giles was pacing. Buffy was sitting at the table looking down with a wet face, not meeting anyone’s eyes.
Giles stopped and looked up. “Ah, Xander, yes. We need to talk about this. Anya you can go and train with Buffy while I speak to Xander.”
“You train, I’ll provide the encouragement and moral support,” Anya said as she took Buffy’s arm and lead her away.
Xander avoided looking at her and stood well back as she passed. Giles motioned him towards the table and they both sat, Spike foregoing his usual place on the stairs to stand beside and slightly behind Xander.
“Spike why don’t you go and, ah, clean some weapons perhaps?” Giles said, waving a hand dismissively towards the weapons cache.
“Thanks all the same Rupert, but I’ll be staying put.”
Giles gave an impatient sigh. “Spike-”
“No Giles, he stays,” Xander told him firmly.
Giles looked from one to the other, small lines creasing his brow. “Of course Xander, if that’s what you want.” At Xander’s nod he acquiesced. “Sit down then Spike.”
Spike stayed exactly where he was.
“Fine. Xander I need you to explain what happened. Buffy has told me it was very similar to last Sunday.”
Xander talked him through the conversation as best he could, up to the point where they had all come in.
Giles frowned. “Yes, that’s what Buffy said. But there must be something else. Xander she has been here every day since Sunday, and I promise you she is very regretful. Genuinely regretful. I cannot understand why she has done this again.”
“Must just be me then.”
Spike snorted. “More likely to be me mate. Each time she’s attacked has been over yours truly.”
“Could be. Buffy told me she was feeling protective, but she also said she was okay with me hanging out with Spike. She mentioned though that the mother hen vibe came on all of a sudden,” Xander told them.
“Hmm. I will consult the watcher diaries and some of the more obscure slayer references. Perhaps there are some aspects of the slayer we are yet to encounter.”
“You do that Giles. Now crazy Buffy aside for the moment, what did I come down here for tonight? What’s so important you couldn’t tell me on the phone?”
“Oh yes, of course. I’m sorry Xander, what with all, ah, with all that, it slipped my mind for a moment.” Giles took out a notepad that was covered in many scribbles and two large circled phrases. “Xander,
“And you couldn’t give me a translation on the phone because?”
“Ah, well, it seems there may be a small problem.”
Xander sighed and leaned back a fraction, feeling Spike’s hand come to rest discreetly on his back. “There always is G-man.”TBC