kimalis (kimalis) wrote in bloodclaim,
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kimalis
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FIC : Family Bonds chapter 26 WIP

Title: Family Bonds
Pairing: Spander
Rating: ADULT
Summary: After his relationship with Anya fizzles out Xander and Spike become lovers. Xander’s insecurities lead him to seek help from Tara. She discovers a secret from Xander’s past.
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

I love my beta, thanks kitty_alex

CHAPTER 26

 “What kind of problem Rupert?” Spike asked, his fingers lightly stroking Xander’s back.

“Well it seems that demon you both killed may have been after someone specific.”

Spike’s hand stilled and he sat down on the bench next to Xander, who was studiously avoiding looking at him. “Now watcher, what leads you to that conclusion?”

“Well several findings actually. Firstly the demon itself, a Mairucia, is not generally found in this area. It is from a clan several hours away near a small coastal town called Botanica Beach.”

Spike heard the sudden increase in Xander’s heart beat. “Never heard of it. You Harris?”

“Drove through it last week on the way home,” Xander mumbled. “Stopped to fill up with gas.”

“Well that’s certainly interesting; a coincidence I wonder?” Giles said and noted it down.  “Now most of the Mairucia rarely venture far from home as a rule, except for their hunter, a female.”

“The demon from Sunday was a female,” Xander said. “Spike recognised it.”

“Yes, quite right, quite right. So that female has been drawn to this area in search of prey.”

“Prey? It eats people? It was going to eat us?” Xander asked with a disgusted look on his face. “Okay, kill us, breed with us, pull our arms off, but eat us? Where do I begin with the ew?”

“No Xander,” Giles held his hand up before he could interrupt again. “This demon feeds off energies, living energies. It absorbs it and takes it back to the clan, where it is shared among the members. It is quite a delicacy.”

Xander shuddered. “So why did it come all this way. There must be plenty of people between here and there.”

“Ah yes well, that’s where it gets interesting.” Giles consulted his notes. “It only feeds on unusual, rare energies. It tracks the victim, absorbs the energy and leaves an empty shell behind.”

“All very fascinating Rupert, but what’s it got to do with Harris here?” Spike asked, still trying to catch Xander’s eye, without success.

“Oh, now, that’s where the translation comes in. Now of the two short words, one would be a transitive verb meaning-.”

“Giles just spit it out please.” Xander asked with very little patience. “Put the pieces together for me.”

“Yes, right of course. Forgive the attempted education Xander. Roughly it translates as radiant male and possess the radiance.”

“Radiance meaning what exactly Rupert.” Spike had a feeling he already knew the answer.

“Well that would refer to the energy. The demon had found someone with the unique energy it had been tracking.”

Spike nodded his understanding, but it still hadn’t clicked into place for Xander. “So how does this thing get the energy? Does it eat your brains, drink your blood?”

“No Xander, much simpler, it just immerses itself in your aura for several minutes and the energy is absorbed into its body.”

It clicked. Spike could nearly hear the sound as it happened. Xander still wouldn’t not look at him but he could detect the panic beginning, could smell it in the chemicals surrounding Xander and hear it in his chest. “Auras? But you said it ate energies, not auras.”

“Xander it is one and the same. This demon feeds on auras. Now the question is, who was the demon referring to? It attacked both of you.”

“Me. It was after me,” Xander said quietly. He turned to meet Spike’s eyes at last. “It was wasn’t it?”

“Yeah mate I think it was,” Spike agreed, reaching under the table and linking his fingers with Xander’s. Xander immediately gripped his hand.

“Now Xander, can you be sure, it may have been after Spike-”

“No chance Rupert. M’dead. No aura.”

“Right then. Well Xander we must investigate immediately to find out why this creature was after you.” Giles stood and looked up at the bookshelves, considering a starting point. “There are many information sources of course, we must determine first how reliable the demons tracking is. And it is possible that it was mistaken and wasn’t after either of you. The auras it would be attracted to would have to have something exceptionally unusual-”

“Giles stop.”

“-perhaps even mystical to entice a demon of this type to-”

Xander raised his voice a little, “Giles please stop.”

“Xander we need to find out-”

“Watcher!” Spike called in a loud sharp tone.

Giles stopped and stared daggers at Spike. “Did you just yell at me Spike?”

“Yes Rupert I did. That’s very observant of you. Now if you could use those astounding powers to actually observe the lad here?” Spike indicated Xander, who was looking more distressed every minute.

Giles sat back down at the table. “Xander what is it? If it’s the demons then not to worry, Buffy and Spike can take care of those. And I very much doubt there would be a follow up attack, the demon has ranged too far from home for the others to track. You are in no imminent danger that I can see, you would need to have an exceptionally distinctive aura for this demon to have actually been after you.”

“I do Giles,” Xander met Giles eyes with such despondence, that the Watcher was taken aback.

“You do? How is that possible Xander?”

He let go of Spike and rested his head in his hands. “Something put the whammy on me and its in my aura.”

“You have whammy in your aura?” Giles asked. “I’m afraid Xander, that as per usual, I don’t understand you.”

“There is a spell on me. The spell shows in my aura; an exceptionally distinctive colour. That’s what you said isn’t it? Exceptionally distinctive? Well that’s me. Distincto guy.”

“What on earth makes you say that? How could you possibly know something like that?” Giles appeared confused.

Tara saw it, she had her mentor check it out. I’m whammied.”

“Oh, well, ah, what does, ah, how, oh when did-”

“All good questions Watcher, but we have no answers yet. The witches are working on it.”

“So you think that’s enough to bring this demon down on me?” Xander asked.

“Yes Xander, I’m sorry, I think that is it. Obviously you’ve come to its attention when you drove nearby the den and it’s been able to track you this far.”

The front door bell clanged and Willow and Tara waved from the doorway. “Hi guys,” Willow called. “Sorry we’re a bit late, got busy with um, research.”

The girls sat down at the table and Willow looked around at everyone. “Oh what’s with the gloomy?”

“I’ve just informed Xander of the translation.” Giles told her.

“Oh! Well that’s not bad, now we can work out who the demon was really going for. Let’s get with the books.” Willow rubbed her hands together, but seeing no reactions she showed her confusion. “Um, we’re still not smiling. What did I miss?”

“Ah, Willow,” Giles began. “It would appear that the demon wanted Xander after all. He seems to have picked up a spell and that is what drew the demon to him.”

“Oh,” said Tara looking at Xander. “You’ve told them already?”

“Told them what?” Willow asked her. Tara quickly ran through what she had discovered earlier.

“So that demon was after him cause of his aura,” Willow said. “Then the demons in the cemetery last night were after his aura too?”

“Ah no, Willow,” Giles explained. “There are no other demons I know of that would attack for that reason. We can assume this was just a one-off.”

Tara and Willow nodded, Spike shook his head but didn’t say anything. “Where’s Buffy and Anya?” Tara asked.

Xander just snorted and dropped his head to the table.

“Ah, well it would seem that Buffy took it upon herself to attack Spike again tonight.” Giles told them,

“But Giles, no. She was okay with everything. What happened?” Willow looked Spike over and saw no injuries. “Where is she?”

“In the training room with Anya. Why don’t you girls come with me and talk to her, I’m sure she would appreciate it.” Giles stood and beckoned them to the door. “No doubt Anya would be more than happy to be relieved of Buffy sitting.”

Giles, Tara and Willow went into the back room and Anya soon came out shutting the door behind her and going behind the counter.  “Oh give me money and account books any day.”

 

Spike turned to Xander, “Are you alright mate?”

“I don’t know Spike,” Xander gave a heavy sigh. “There’s so much to take in. Buffy, the spell, the demon, the site, my life in general. Its never going to be normal is it?”

“And who decides normal Harris? Besides, you live on a soddin’ Hellmouth.” Spike fished out his cigarettes and lit one.

“Hey, outside with that thing buster,” Anya waved him towards the front door.

Spike gave her the fingers but went anyway and Xander followed him out to the sidewalk. Spike stopped outside the shop and Xander leaned up against his back, wrapping his arms around Spike’s waist and resting his chin on his shoulder.

“You want to go home?” Spike asked. “You’ve heard what the Watcher had to say, no reason to stick around.”

“Knife wielding Buffy aside, I wouldn’t mind spending some time with my friends. You don’t have to stay if you don’t want to.” Xander pressed his lips into Spike’s neck and kissed along the corded muscle.

Spike leaned back into him and tilted his head, stretching his neck for Xander. “No I’ll stay mate. Might end up out on patrol later.”

Xander laughed, “Don’t want to miss a good fight huh?”

Spike flicked his cigarette away and turned to face Xander. “Not if it means I miss seeing you swing that bloody big axe around again.”

“Oh you got a thing for men with axes then?”

Spike smirked at him. “Just the one man mate.”

A tap on the window drew their attention and a widely grinning Anya was beckoning them back inside. Spike quickly pulled Xander away from the windows and kissed him soundly, before steering him back to the doorway.

 

The Watcher and the girls were seated around the table, Buffy between Willow and Giles. Anya had reheated the pizzas Xander bought and was putting them on the table as he and Spike returned.

Giles was looking confused and somewhat frustrated. “No Anya I don’t agree that we should install surveillance cameras around the store.”

When Xander went to sit down at the table Giles stood and held out a hand to stop him. “Xander it’s probably best at this moment if you were to keep some distance between yourself and Buffy. It would seem that she is being affected by the magic too.”

Xander frowned at him. “What? I’m energy-sucking demon bait and now I’m a slayer toxin too? Where did this come from?”

“Xan I asked Tara to read my aura, I thought she might help me understand what I’ve been doing.”

“And so?”

Tara looked to Buffy for permission and received a short nod. “Well basically, I saw some of the magic residue dissipating from her aura. When it was gone, she was okay.”

“So what then? You’ve stopped it right? Blocked the magic from me? Done something to Buffy?”

“Xander, we can’t do anything. We don’t know what’s been done to you, we might make it worse.”

“How could it be worse? Some great hairy monstrosity follows me back from the beach and wants to suck me dry, I can’t be near my best friend without her wanting to kill Spike or psychoanalyse my life. Emphasis on the psycho there. Worse how?”

“Xander come on,” Willow went to his side. “You’ve been around magics long enough to know you can’t mess with it like that. We can’t risk you or Buffy by interfering in it to that degree.”

Anya spoke up around a mouthful of pizza. “I’ve seen some things like this go bad Xander. It’s like mixing your drinks, might be a great idea at the time but then later you throw up in your new Prada handbag and wake up next to a hairy man called Tiny, who it turns out did not have an ironic nickname.” All eyes turned to Anya. “Too much? Okay. Don’t mix magic you know with magic you don’t. Bad things happen. Better?”

“Much,” Xander told her. “But also in no way at all. We have to just put up with it? With Buffy being up and down like this?”

“Yes Xander that’s correct.” Giles answered. “Until Tara and Willow can determine anything further, then we must keep up our normal routine while ensuring the safety of everyone. I do believe at this time strength in numbers is our best course of action. There is still the matter of increased demon activity to be dealt with, and I think it can be done much more efficiently with everyone together.”

“So we go patrol just like any other day?” Xander asked.

“No Xander, not like any other day. Today you are more careful. You are not getting too close to Buffy and you are aware that there may be more demons than usual. You are paying attention to anything that may give us ideas about this spell Tara has found and you are sticking with the group.”

“Sounds like a blast.” Xander reached towards the table for pizza, scowling as he realised he couldn’t even do this and accepted the box that Willow handed over to him. “See, the fun begins already. This far enough?” he asked as he moved back to the counter.

“Xan it might not be for long okay?” Willow tried to placate him and wrapped her arms around his waist, hugging him tight.

Ah, Willow hugs, he’d sorely missed this. Xander put down his food and hugged her back, taking comfort in his friend. “Thanks Will,” he whispered.

“Now then,” Giles stood. “If everyone has finished with this ah, food, then I think it is well past time we got to work.”

As everyone rushed around, collecting coats, bags and weapons, Xander noticed Buffy hanging back watching him. She was two for two. Two visits, two attacks, but Xander could see past that now he knew where it came from. He gave her a smile and a wink, wishing he could hug her as he had Willow. “Magic huh Buff?” She offered him only a weak laugh but looked much less tense.

 

Xander filled his car with Spike, Anya and the weapons bags and followed as Giles directed the girls to the Restfield Cemetery. Anya kept up a bad attempt at nonchalant observations from the back, while Xander tried to concentrate on the road, a task he battled with as Spike was stroking his leg and getting high on every pass.

“So here we are, all alone in the car. Oh look. I’m in the back seat,” she laughed casually. “You know what they say back seats are good for don’t you?”

“They’re bloody good for laying out the bodies of recently murdered and annoying exes yeah?” Spike snarled over his shoulder then leaned forward and switched on the radio.

“Spike, play nice,” Xander chuckled, grabbing and stilling Spike’s wandering hand. “Don’t make me pull over.”

“We’re pulling over? Oh I haven’t done that in years. Of course it we called it parking back then, now I imagine its just ‘Oi Anya want to-’”

“Bloody hell woman! Would you leave off?” Spike just about climbed out of his seat to yell at her.

“Whatever,” Anya mouthed at him, and rolled her eyes settling into the corner of the car for the remainder of the trip.

When Xander pulled the car in next to Willow and Tara, Anya jumped out as soon as it stopped, with a dirty look thrown Spike’s way.

“You lived with that?” Spike asked him in disbelief. “How did you not hold a pillow over her head every soddin’ night?”

“Nah, she’s okay.” Xander laid a hand high up on Spike’s thigh and scratched his fingers over the tightly stretched fabric.  “Come on Bleachie, I have a big, long, hard, axe to swing and you have some watching to do. Hows that sound?”

Spike faced him with heavy eyes and a slow smirk. “Then we go home, mate, and I shag you till you can’t walk, how does that sound?”

“That sounds like one of your greatest plans ever.” Xander threw open the car door. “Okay people lets get this show moving, places to go, things to do.”

They unloaded the weapons from the trunk, distributed everyone’s favourite pieces and gathered on the floodlit path.

 

“Now, I have heard some reports from the caretakers of some unusual activity over the last few nights, so keep your eyes peeled. Buffy take the front, Spike take the rear. Xander make sure you keep well back from Buffy.” Giles set off into the cemetery taking point with Buffy.

Xander dropped back with Spike, keeping an eye on Buffy’s position. They all filed along the paths getting deeper into the grounds and gradually moving away from the brightly lit areas. With the exception of a small nest of vampires, easily dispatched by Spike and Buffy, the front quarter of the cemetery was silent.

As they moved off again, the girls all gathered together at the front of the procession, chatting with Buffy. Xander kept his distance, walking alongside Spike. In the dark, he let his arm press against Spike’s, occasionally tangled their fingers together, then quickly pulled away when one of the girls turned around with a comment aimed at him. He felt Spike’s hand brush over his ass every now and then and when they rounded a corner to the first of a long row of crypts, Spike pulled him from the path, into the dark and pushed him up against a cold stone wall. He had a split second to take a breath before Spike was kissing him thoroughly, his hands everywhere, and then he was gone, dragging Xander back out onto the path and walking behind the group as if nothing had happened.

 

At the next junction of the paths, they all stopped. This high ground gave them a view over the cemetery and at a quick glance it looked to be deserted.

“Don’t let that fool you Rupert, there’s all kinds of nasties lurking about tonight. Can hear them, can smell some of them, they’re just staying out of sight.”

“Do you know what they are, Spike?” Buffy asked, with an obvious attempt at minimal hostility.

“Demons mostly, can’t tell which kind,” he answered in what Xander thought was a good effort at civility considering she had not addressed him since trying to kill him several days earlier.

“Do you think perhaps we should-” Giles began, but was cut short when from back near the entrance gates large showers of sparks flew out from a floodlight, leaving the immediate area in darkness.

“Huh, I’d hate to have to climb up and change that globe in the morning,” Willow said.

“Giles you think that was just a blown light?” Buffy asked. “Maybe we should check it out.”

“Oh I doubt it needs to be investigated. I’m sure it happens often.” Giles answered.

“Yeah just like on the site today,” Xander said. “Everything blew, machinery burnt out, fuses, wiring, the whole lot.”

A look of comprehension crossed Tara’s face. “Oh Xander is that what happened? Was everyone okay?”

“Sure fine,” he said, and explained to everyone how the site had been be shut down. “So I gets me a paid vacation for a while, not counting the piles of paperwork I took home.”

“Well Xan that’s-” Willow spun around as a second light several hundred feet from the first also blew, a silvery spray of sparks falling gently to the ground. “Giles?” Willow said apprehensively.

“Ah, I imagine Xander would have more knowledge of the likelihood of that happening twice.”

“Well if they were on the same circuit, maybe, but the delay probably shouldn’t be so long.” He scanned the rest of the lights, which shone steadily. “Couldn’t hurt to go check it out, I guess.”

Weapons hoisted over their shoulders, they all began the trek back down the hill, Xander giving a friendly smile to Buffy as they both again took to opposite ends of the group.

TBC

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