After his relationship with Anya fizzles out Xander and Spike become lovers. Xander’s insecurities lead him to seek help from
. She discovers a secret from Xander’s past.
AU begins S6 replacing Hells Bells. No Dawn, Buffy didn’t die, and Season 6 Spuffy? Eewww no.
not mine, all belongs to Joss and Co. Damn them. And bless them.
Boring came and went, closely followed by mind-numbing tedium. That stayed. Book after useless, monotonous book, all increasing in their uselessness and monotony. Xander’s eyes glazed over and he slowly turned the pages skimming over each in a system long ago perfected to get the job done, accuracy be damned. Spike had long since given up; the Watcher looking over everyone’s shoulders soon put an end to any entertainment attempted under the table. Not one for sitting still and browsing the old volumes, he’d paced and smoked, snarked and complained until Giles had sent him out to patrol. Spike, usually loath to follow the watcher’s instruction regardless of the money involved, went without a fight. He’d managed to draw Xander outside as he left by asking for his weapons out of the trunk; that had led to some quick mutual relief in a darkened alcove a few doors down.
Xander, returned to the books with a small smile on his face, getting a smirk from Anya, which she quickly covered when he shook his head at her with a frustrated sigh. Buffy had also been sent out on patrol, albeit to a different location to Spike. Giles was sure that she was only a danger to Spike after having been too close to Xander, but was not prepared to lose a fighter, no matter how irritating, to a simple error if he were wrong.
Xander, Willow and Tara sat around the table watching Giles packing up the used books and mindlessly paging through the odd obscure text. They all jumped when Anya stood up suddenly, grabbed her bag and announced, “As fun as this all is and as much as you know I would to stay here and read dusty old books with you- I’m obviously lying by the way- I am meeting someone for coffee. I am assuming he is using coffee as a euphemism for orgasms otherwise this will be a very short and boring date.”
Xander’s head snapped around and he jumped up facing Anya. “A date? You have a date?” Who? Where?”
“Yes a date, with a stockbroker. Simon the stockbroker. At the coffee shop, then if I’m right, my place, or possibly his place, or maybe even a motel, hmm, I hope he’ll pay for that.” Anya realised what she was saying and stopped, watching Xander carefully and a little apprehensively.
Xander felt a tiny pang of jealousy, followed by a twinge of possessiveness, but then they were gone and he hugged Anya. “Have fun then, please keep the details to yourself if the coffee does turn out to be a red herring.”
When she was gone they settled back into the joyless rhythm of research. It was quiet and without Spike nearby Xander found his thoughts wandering. They wandered over Spike first and brought a smile to his face. He found himself missing the vampire, and realised that was a thought he’d never expected to have. In their almost week together, they’d gotten close; they fit together well. There was outstanding sex, good conversations, easy silences and Xander was more than happy. Thinking about Spike gave him that swelling feeling in his chest and made him want to grin like a loon; it also made him hard and horny, but those were side effects of the basic fact. His insides lurched as he recognised he was falling for Spike, falling hard and fast and had absolutely no intention of trying to catch himself. He looked at the clock. How long could a patrol take anyway? He really wanted to talk to Spike about this now.
Willow’s voice reached him through the jumble of feelings he’d lost himself in. “Xan, you look happy. It is nice that Anya has a date isn’t it. And I’m glad you’re not letting that spell get you down.”
The spell. Xander felt himself crash, and his stomach rolled again but not with the same pleasant warmth. This time it was a heavy dread. Willow had just forced his mind back to places it would rather not go. He had spent the last couple of days, trying desperately to ignore the news he’d gotten about the spell. It hadn’t been all that hard actually; he’d been kept considerably and deliciously distracted by Spike.
“Thanks Will,” he said with a touch of anger to his voice. “Cause that spell was really something I wanted to be thinking about.”
“Oh Xan I’m sorry. I thought you were okay with it.” Willow looked sadly at him. “I just assumed you weren’t too worried, you haven’t mentioned it.”
“I haven’t mentioned it because I’m trying to avoid the hell out of it. I’ve had plenty of other things on my mind this week and that was thankfully not one of the more regular thoughts.”
“Xander Harris, did you deliberately go denial-guy over this? You can’t do that.”
“That and more. Can and did. But now thanks to you I’m can’t-deny-guy.” He dropped his head down onto his folded arms. “Have you guys found anything, anything at all?”
“Oh Xander not yet.” Tara patted his shoulder. “We have a couple of incantations that might work, but we need to wait for delivery of some herbs and crystals that are a little hard to find.”
Willow came and sat next to him, wrapping her arms around his middle. “As soon as we can Xan, I promise.”
“Meantime anything could be happening. If this thing is doing stuff to me, I’d rather know sooner than later so you guys can fix it. I don’t want anymore demons hunting me down to suck my aura.” Xander closed his eyes as the image of the large hairy she-demon ran though his mind. Hot on its tail was a small bluish demon with a barb in its arm, a long stretched out demon picking its teeth with people bones and a crazy kicking demon with pus-covered shoulders. Xander sat bolt upright as his brain took over and ran with his thoughts. “Oh god, Spike could be right. If this spell is strong enough to affect the slayer and bring a demon after me from hundreds of miles away then Spike is probably right. All these other demons, they’ve all targeted me over him. What if he’s right and the spell is making me demon bait?”
“Xander we’ll find out for you just as soon as we can,” Tara said kindly. “Spike might be wrong, after all that little pig one didn’t want you at all. And Giles and Willow’s group last night met a whole bunch of demons that didn’t come after you.”
“Please,” he looked at both girls with pleading eyes. “Please find out, I need to know. Spike is so sure and I trust him. I just really want him to be wrong Will.”
Willow and Tara wrapped their arms around him and held him tight, giving him assurances that they would do everything they could the minute they were organised.
“Why isn’t Spike back yet?” Xander looked at the clock, then when he noticed Willow looking at him strangely he added, “Oh, and Buffy. Shouldn’t they both be back now?”
“You two guys have been spending a lot of time together this week.” Willow said carefully.
Xander turned his head and stared at his best friend, the girl he’d known nearly his whole life and who knew him as well, if not better than he knew himself. “Yes we have.”
Xander sometimes tried, he thought it would make things easier but he could never keep the big things from her, and he really wanted someone who was close to share this with. Anya knew, but the idea of talking to his ex about his current just didn’t sit well, especially when he had a good idea of what would be going on in her mind. Tara knew, and not that he didn’t love Tara too, they just didn’t have that kind of relationship, she was his go-to gal for the practical side of life, not the mushy emotional parts.
He’d asked Tara to keep it quiet, said he wasn’t ready for his other friends to know, but what was to be gained from keeping secrets? Out of the lot of them it was Xander who had the track record for being the least accepting. Really it was only Buffy he could foresee having a problem and then only if she got within spelling distance again. He was prepared, though, for them to be pointing out the irony. Xander, who’d made such a song and dance about Buffy and Angel, was having wild, crazy, man-sex with the vamp they all loved to hate. And the fact that they weren’t his number one fans might pose a problem too, but Xander was prepared to argue his case if necessary.
“So, you and Spike are bestest buddies now?”
“Not exactly buddies, no.” Xander thought about what he and Spike were. Not buddies, definitely not the right word. For the moment, lovers, that was nice and brought all kinds of feelings to the fore, feelings that he couldn’t easily keep hidden. He really did want to share this with her; he knew that after she got over the initial shock of the who, the fact that the who was a guy wouldn’t matter to Willow at all.
Willow’s forehead wrinkled. “Xander I’ve seen that face before. We’re talking about Spike here. Out of all of your faces is that the right one to go with thoughts of Spike?”
Xander took a deep breath. “Yep Will it is.”
Xander hated to see the expressions playing over her face. Confusion, disbelief, worry. “Willow its okay. This is a good thing. I’m happy.”
“Yeah Xan I can see that but its Spike. Spike!”
“Well not that long ago I was right there with you. But what’s a man to do? You feel what you feel right? And this is the Hellmouth, life is potentially too short to mess around with quandaries. I am quandary-free guy.”
“Xan I didn’t even know you thought about other guys like that.”
“You think you’ve cornered the market on alternative lifestyles? I tried out a few alternates and suffice to say, what happens in Oxnard, stays in Oxnard. There are some big things you just have to wait for the right time to share.”
“But Spike? He’s dangerous Xander. Sure we’re all getting used to him and I kinda don’t mind having him around, but still, he’s Spike. He’s cranky and snarky and violent and sure, maybe he dresses really cool and he has that bad boy thing working for him and he’s pretty easy to look at, and- Oh!”
“Yeah.” Xander smiled. “All of the above.”
“Oh boy, you know that its not going to be an easy thing with him right?”
“Not blind here Will. There’s all kinds of potential bad, but I don’t want to miss out on any of the good for the sake of a few ‘what ifs’.” Xander took her hands and gave them a squeeze. “It’s okay, really.”
Willow glanced at Tara who was looking at Xander with a small knowing smile. “Tara? You’re not worried?”
“No, Willow. Don’t be mad but I already knew. I found out when I read Xander’s aura the other night.”
“You knew and you never told me?” Willow looked hurt for a moment, but then shook her head and smiled. “No its ok, I know you wouldn’t tell me about what you’d seen in his aura.”
“I wouldn’t, but apart from that it just wasn’t mine to tell.”
Willow nodded her understanding, then hugged Xander to her. “I’m happy you’re happy. I’m still worried and Spike still scares the bejesus out of me sometimes, and if he hurts you I’ll probably hex him with something really bad, but you’re a big boy, I guess you know what you’re getting into.”
“I have a pretty good idea Will. I’m just gonna take it as it comes. Meanwhile I don’t think it’s the best time to tell Buffy, just in case she gets another dose of my mojo, it could all end badly.”
“Yeah true. How about Giles? Are you gonna tell him?”
Giles voice carried down to them as he negotiated the ladder stairs from the landing above. “Why you people persist in talking as though I’m not here is beyond my understanding. Am I that forgettable?”
“Nah, Giles, how could we forget you?” Xander joked half heartedly, feeling a bit apprehensive about Giles reaction.
“Quite easily it would seem.” He stopped behind Xander and laid a hand on his shoulder, smiling at the nervous look Xander was giving him. “You are an adult. You can make your own choices, however ill-advised they may be, but I trust you will think them through carefully. Just be cautious is all I can ask. Willow is right. Spike can still be dangerous regardless of his chip.”
“I know. And thanks Giles.”
After a few questions from Willow about how he and Spike had managed to get together, and Xander’s carefully edited explanation, they again picked up the few remaining books. The work was no less dull, but Xander felt much lighter within himself. He still had the knowledge of the spell hanging over him and the almost lonely feeling of begin quarantined from Buffy, but having shared the news of his new relationship with his friends had lifted the heavy oppressive feelings just a little.
Willow’s sudden shout startled him out of his reflections. “Bingo! Or possible bingo. Fewoi demon.”
Giles came from behind the counter and took the book Willow was holding out. He adjusted his glasses and frowned as he read the text. “Well, yes Willow, this may be a promising lead.” Giles sat at the table and looked more carefully at the passage. “The Fewoi generates an unusually large electrical field around its body. It can short out or even burn out electrical equipment in its proximity.”
“We’ve never seen this one before right?” Xander asked. “It’s another newbie come to try its luck on the Hellmouth.”
“Well it appears that although we are not familiar with this demon, its presence has been felt across the country. When it relocates it does so in packs and can cause substantial chaos. You might recall reading about New York City blackout about twenty five years ago? Or perhaps the North East blackout nearly forty years ago? They were explained away to the public but were in fact a result of Fewoi hoards migrating.”
“So they’re migrating to Sunnydale?” Willow asked.
Giles scanned the remainder of the article. “No I think we would be seeing blackouts on a larger scale were that the case. I would suggest, if this is in fact the correct demon, that we are dealing with only one or two at the most, not migrating just roaming.”
“And so to the meat of it, G-man. Where do we poke it with the pointy stuff?”
Xander smirked as Giles closed his eyes and sighed. Counting to ten. Probably he had to go higher than ten, or else he just counted really slowly, but his eyes were closed for a while. When he opened them again and looked at Xander they were filled with Giles’ patented impatient frustration. “It doesn’t mention any way to kill this Fewoi. And in fact we may not have to, its not harmed anyone, just caused an inconvenience by burning out the lights.”
“But maybe it wasn’t just the lights.” Xander said slowly. “My entire site was burnt out. What if the electro demon did that? We couldn’t find anything to explain what happened, but this would.” Xander dropped his head into his hands. “What if its me? Spike’s idea, you know? If that demon in the book is the thing that took out all the lights while I’m at the cemetery and there’s a mysterious power surge while I’m at the site, it just adds more fuel to his fire doesn’t it? Colour me demon bait.”
“Xander we can’t be sure-”
Xander cut Giles off. “Giles, we can’t be sure either way, but I’m beginning to see why Spike’s been pushing this agenda. There’ve been so many demons this week that have just taken it upon themselves to attack me. Not so much the people around me, just me. And now here’s another.”
“Xander you’ve been in places where the power’s gone out but there hasn’t been a zappy monster trying to attack you. And Tara was there both times too,” Willow argued.
“Will it’s all just too much of a coincidence. I think Spike might have something.”
“Why would all those demons be after you Xander?” Tara asked him.
“Oh, I don’t know. Why did that big, brown, shaggy she-beast follow me home?”
“That demon was attracted to your energy. Few demons are able to detect auras to that extent.” Giles said. “But Xander you may have a point. It bears closer examination and perhaps when Tara is fully prepared, she will find answers to this. As it stands I can see no reason for Spike’s hypothesis other than conjecture. Please, let’s suspend any further assumptions and wait for something more conclusive.”
“Geez Giles wordy much? Could you get any more syllables into that?” Willow scoffed. “You couldn’t say ‘nah, dumb idea, lets wait and see’?”
“Willow the day you hear me say that will be the day I-. Actually you will never hear me say that.” Giles stood and left them with a fatherly frown of reprimand.
Xander looked at the colour plate of the Fewoi demon; solid, grey, metallic looking and with thin blue runnels of electricity forming criss-cross patterns over its body. “Why do we never get the demon that looks like a kitten? Or the demon that looks like a teddy bear?”
“Or the happy birthday party clown demon?” Tara’s laugh was cut short by Willow and Xander’s horrified looks. “What?”
All heads turned as the bell rang and the shop door was thrown open. Spike strode in, looking dirty and ruffled, but very self-satisfied. His shirt was torn and he had something smeared across the side of his face but he was oozing still pent up energy. Their eyes met briefly across the room and Xander’s insides rolled and lurched as he easily picked up on the vibe Spike was sending. It was one that told him Spike had been working himself up fighting and killing and having a mighty fine time and tonight Xander’s ass would reap the rewards.
“Bagged me a nice lot of nasties tonight I did. Cash up Watcher.” Spike waggled his fingers at Giles. “C’mon, don’t be tight now, its that time of the week again.”
“As always Spike you are so discreet.” Giles took out an envelope from under the counter and passed it to Spike who immediately stuffed it inside his coat.
“Oi! I’m discreet, there’re things I’m especially discreet about,” he said with a brief flick of his eyes towards Xander.
“Um, Spike?” Xander said hesitantly. “There’s one less thing for you to be discreet about now. They all know. Um, about us. Well except Buffy.”
“They know?” Spike looked at him in astonishment. “Thought you wanted to keep that hushed up?”
“Yeah, well the best laid plans, you know.”
Spike took a few steps back towards the door. “Right, so am I dodging the witches’ wand or the watcher’s left hook?”
“Neither.” Giles came around the counter to stop in front of Spike. “Xander is quite capable of making serious decisions for himself and acting on them. As are we should you deliberately fail him in any way.”
“Easy now Ripper. I’m not gonna do anything to hurt the lad.”
“See that you don’t,” Giles said in a deceptive calm manner but with a hard edge to his voice.
Willow stood next to Giles. “And Spike I don’t need a wand so you won’t see it coming.”
“Okay folks, I think we get it.” Xander got up from the table and grabbed Spike’s arm, pulling him away from his protective and newly disturbing friends. “And ew, what have you been doing?” Xander looked in disgust at the now slimy hand that had touched Spike’s duster.
“Killing stuff mate. Some of those buggers don’t go down without a fight. Some of them do, but like to make a mess of you on their way down. ”
“Spike is there anything about your patrol activities that would be helpful to our research?”
Spike carefully peeled off his coat and laid it over a chair before sitting at the table and pulling Xander down next to him. He threw an arm around the broad shoulders and absently twined his fingers through the ends of Xander’s hair as he gave Giles a run down. “Yeah, more lights out. A few went while I was not too far away, couldn’t see anything though. Pizza place down the street here is blacked out as well.”
“The one we went to on Sunday? And where I got the take out last night?” Xander asked him with some concern.
“Yeah mate, that’s the one,” Spike nodded.
Giles shook his head at Xander. “Now Xander this might mean nothing, lets just wait to see what the girls can turn up before you panic.”
Spike looked from one to the other, heard Xander’s heart rate increase and tightened his arm around Xander. “What are you talking about Rupert?”
“Xander has suggested you may be right in your thought that the demons are targeting him. We found a reference to a Fewoi demon and it may be the cause of the electrical disturbances. Now, as Xander’s worksite was affected and the cemetery we patrolled, and now the shop he recently visited, it would seem that perhaps you have something.”
“So now you believe me?” he asked Xander.
“I don’t know Spike, I guess I’m just more open to it okay? The last thing I want is to be drawing demons from all over the damn place, especially if you’re gonna have to jump in to fight every time one takes a shine to me.”
“Hey, no skin off my nose mate. You know I love a good arse kicking. And you’ve been kicking your fair share too. Not like you’re standing around like the proverbial damsel now is it?”
“It’s been more than skin off your nose Spike, you can’t have forgotten that whole kidney issue have you?”
“Course not mate, but its not a new thing for me. I don’t dwell on it. And you shouldn’t either. It happens. Now if I’m right, and it looks like I might be, then we need to find out why and in the meantime you don’t go putting yourself out there okay?”
“Spike we’ll help as soon as we can. It shouldn’t be much longer,” Tara told him.
Spike nodded his thanks to her and stood up. “Right then. Research finished? No more nooks and crannies you want poked watcher?”
“None Spike, tomorrow I think we’ll undertake a major sweep and see if we can’t find this Fewoi. But for tonight we’re done.”
“Good. I know of some nooks and crannies need poking we’ll be off then.” He hauled Xander up from the table and slapped his behind.
“Spike! Oh god I am so gonna regret having told them aren’t I?” Xander turned all shades of red.
“No more than I already am.” Giles mumbled and removed his glasses for a much needed polishing.