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 Thanks also to catsim for (unintentionally) saving the chapter before my beta got hold of it and smacked me for being an idiot and forgetting something relatively important.
How long do we have?” Giles asked Spike.
“Couple of minutes, no more. We ran but they were right behind us. If we keep running we can get some more time, they won’t stop now but we can stall.”
“Okay everyone move.” They all launched into a run, heading away from the demons. Buffy turned to her watcher. “Giles. Stats. What are we up against?”
Giles breathlessly explained as he ran. “The Erhijii sages are the, ah, mystical leaders of the Erhij, ah, similar to a priest in a way. They are very sensitive to magic, but have none of their own. They absorb spells from others, which, ah, kills the victim.” Giles stopped talking to try and catch some breath to continue.
They ran as far as the centre of the cemetery, here there was a large open grassed space, as good a place as any to meet the demons.
“Okay we stop here,” Buffy told them, backing away from Xander. “Get your breath, get yourselves ready. Giles how about killing them?”
“I believe the horn is the source of its life force, if it can be separated from their body at the connecting point then the demon will die. But it may be that we don’t need to kill them.”
Xander shook his head. “Giles they did some majorly weird mojo on me, some hypno-thrall deal. I doubt they were doing that to make me dance like a chicken.”
“You were attracted to their light? Ah.” Giles looked at Xander with some concern.
“Ah? You say ah? Ah is Giles-speak for holy crap. What ah?”
“They want your spell Xander.”
“Like the other demon that tracked me?”
“No. That one was after your altered aura. The Ehrijji sages are attracted to you because they can sense your spell itself.”
“No pet,” Spike said. “You and your girl are safe. Pure magic’s too strong for them, they just want the spells.”
“Giles, we need the basics, will they fight and how will they fight?” Buffy demanded.
“They will only fight those who they consider are obstructing them from getting the spell. Xander, for goodness sake, do not look directly at the horn when it’s glowing.”
Xander’s gut lurched. Again it was him. They were preparing to fight because of him. It had been the same since Friday when Spike had been hurt trying to help him. But now it was all of them. All his friends were in danger. He knew he had no way to protect himself against six demons. A thought began to take hold.
“You all need to go. They only want me, you can’t all stay and get in a fight because of me.”
His friends voices erupted all at once; all telling him the same basic thing that Spike was currently shouting in his face.
“You bloody idiot. You think I would just leave you here?” Spike scowled at him and shook his head.
“No Xander,” Giles said firmly. “Now, misled nobility aside,
They all stood, weapons ready, Spike squeezed Xander’s hand briefly before joining Buffy in front of their group, Xander made sure he was far enough away from Buffy but still within the group. Xander looked around at his friends. This confrontation was solely to protect him. He should have a good feeling inside because his friends all stuck with him, but it was immensely watered down by his worry and guilt over their involvement. A short distance away they saw the Erhijji emerging from the trees.
“And why are we just standing here waiting for the bad guys?” Anya asked “Why aren’t we getting in our cars and running away?”
“Woman, these things have seen Harris, they won’t stop now,” Spike told her. “If we lead them back to the Magic Box, they can collect who knows how much magic along the way, then blast the fuck out of your little shop with it. Great idea.”
“Here we go guys.” Buffy said and took a few steps forward as the clan of sages approached.
The sages remained in their line, their horns glowing brighter at they neared. Their eyes scanned the group and their weapons and quickly located Xander. Breaking their line, the sages surrounded the other group. Before anyone could react, their arms shot out and Tara,
Buffy and Spike attacked, the demons in front of them holding their thick arms up to defend their heads. Axes and swords swung, demons dodged and hit out. Spike tried to fight while watching where Xander was and caught a blow to the head.
Buffy connected with one demon, her sword slicing the horn from its head. The demon crumpled and fell to the ground dead, streams of light gushing from the hole in its head.
“One down!” she shouted and turned to see Xander struggling, trying to fend off two demons while avoiding eye contact. Spike was rolling away from another two, Giles battled with one of his own and the other girls tried to pick themselves up from the ground some distance away.
Spike was trying desperately to get away from the two demons on him and get to Xander’s side. He blocked their swings and kicks, managed to lop the horn off one but was sent flying by a powerful hit from the other.
Giles was holding his own,
Spike was getting back to his feet, a hand wiping at the blood pouring from a gash on his forehead. His vision was slightly blurred, but he could see well enough to launch another attack.
Xander and Anya were still fighting off two Erhijji and Buffy ran in to help, swinging her sword. Too late though as the demon Anya was paired with swung its arms and connected with her in a roundhouse blow, thumping against the side of her head. She flew through the air, arms and legs flailing and landed against a concrete bench seat on the far side of the clearing.
“Anya!” Xander cried and made to run to her.
“Focus Xan,” Buffy shouted.
Xander ducked and swerved as the demon tried to knock him down. The light from its horn was nearly blinding. He and Buffy manoeuvred themselves back to back to face the pair of demons, they and everyone too caught up in the battle to notice the lack of distance between them.
Xander and Buffy circled, their backs pressed together swinging at the Erhijji. Every now and then the demon facing Xander would lunge forward, trying to stab him with the tip of its horn.
Xander heard a loud growl and looked up in time to see Spike again flying through the air and landing heavily.
“No! Spike,” he tried to dodge away from the demon and run but was blocked at both sides. “Spike! Get up.”
From behind him he heard Buffy’s harsh laugh. “Ooh, the vamp’s down. He’s dead meat now.”
Xander swung again at the sage in front of him, missing considerably as his eyes were focused on it mid chest “He’ll be okay, he’ll get up.”
Buffy grunted as she kicked out at her demon, trying to stop it reaching Xander. “No great loss if he doesn’t though. It’s only Spike.”
Xander chanced a look and saw Spike slowly get back to his feet and charge the demon.
“See he’s fine. He’s okay.” Xander said with relief, then focused again on his own fight.
“Don’t know why you care anyway, it’s just a demon,” Buffy said in an offhand way, bringing her sword crashing down against the demons head. She stepped back as it fell and turned to help Xander, shaking her head and rubbing at her temples.
Giles was running towards them calling out, “Move, one of you move, Xander, your spell.”
Xander heard nothing but Buffy’s next words as together they attacked. “You know Xander, he’s probably affected by your spell too. I bet that’s why he’s hanging around you so much now. He just thinks he likes you.”
Casual words, punctuated by heavy breaths and grunts as she swung her sword, but spoken in such a matter of fact tone.
“As soon as we get that spell off you, he’ll be gone. Why else would he be sticking around?”
Xander stopped fighting, dropped his axe and stared at her. He felt the demon snatch at him but paid no attention as his eyes moved over to Spike. Spike standing next to a fallen and looking at him with such concern. Spike’s face that of his demon, glowing yellow eyes, fangs bared. A demon. The demons were all drawn to Xander. There was something about this spell on him and the demons were all drawn to him. Xander felt his heart heavier in his chest than it had ever been before. No, she had to be wrong. Why else would Spike be running over here now calling his name? Xander looked around and his eyes were caught by the light.
It was such a beautiful light, warm and comforting. He wanted to touch the light, let the light touch him. Yes that was a good idea. He leaned closer. He was trying to concentrate on the glow but through a thick fog he could hear his name. The voice was familiar but it was trying to stop him looking. Ignore the voice.
Xander felt himself being pushed and pulled as both the demon and Buffy fought over him. Suddenly he was free and falling through the air, not down but sideways. How do you fall sideways? Oh, flying, cool! His flight was cut short as his head connected solidly with the ground. There was a blinding light nearby, a crumple of fabric and then Spike was there.
Xander. Spike only said Xander when he was really worried or really naked. Xander giggled. He liked really naked Spike. Oh, don’t laugh, that hurts. Xander could see Spike wasn’t naked so he must be worried. Why? Flashes came to him. Pain, flying, more pain. Demons, fight. Anya!
Xander struggled against Spike’s hold to get up. He had to find Anya. The demon had hit her so hard, so far; she couldn’t be okay. He heard a far off voice calling.
“Its okay, I’ve got him Rupert,” Spike’s voice shouted back. “Xander, lie down. Stop fighting me. Please mate.”
Please? Spike doesn’t say please. Xander lay down and tried to focus on Spike. There, blue eyes, blonde hair, not so fuzzy now. If he concentrated he thought he might be able to make some words.
“Spike. Anya.” His voice came out slurred and slow.
“The witches are with her, they’ll look after her for now.”
Xander looked closer at Spike and noticed for the first time the blood covering his face. He reached up to gingerly touch Spike’s forehead. “No, not again. My fault again.”
“Ssh, no mate.” Spike took his hand. “Not your fault alright? I just didn’t duck in time. It’s nothing.”
“Spike I’m sorry.”
Spike leaned down and kissed him lightly. “Shut up about it okay? No one is blaming you for anything. And I won’t go down that path with you again mate. You understand?”
Xander tried to nod but winced with the pain. When he opened his eyes he again saw the flecks of gold sparking in Spike’s eyes. His demon. Buffy. Xander shut his eyes again and groaned. They hadn’t even thought. It was such second nature to fight together that in the confusion it had not even crossed his mind. They had been back to back for quite a while. This time he knew as soon as she had spoken what had happened. Oh god, what she’d said. Xander tried his best to push it from his mind. Deny everything seemed a fairly attractive option. It wouldn’t go. How could he see Spike and not think of it? Spike was looking at him with such caring and concern, Xander couldn’t stand it if she was right.
The damp grass was soaking into his clothes and Xander shivered. Why was he on the ground? Oh yeah, demon.
“Spike I want to get up, I’m cold.”
“Alright, but slow mate, yeah?” Spike slipped an arm under his shoulders and pulled Xander upright.
Xander’s head pounded. As soon as he was up he groaned, twisted away from Spike and vomited into the grass.
“Easy,” Spike got in behind him and pulled Xander back to lean against his chest. He ran his hand over Xander’s hair, frowning when it came away sticky with blood.
“Dizzy.” Xander mumbled.
“You’re concussed. We’ll get you to the hospital.”
“No, its okay, let’s just go home.”
“No chance mate. It looks like we’re taking your ex, so we’ll already be there.” Spike glanced around at the others. Giles was carrying Anya away towards the gates, Buffy was walking with
“Anya needs a doctor? Is she okay? Who else is hurt?”
“No one mate. Just you and her.”
“And you again,” Xander sighed and relaxed more against Spike.
“Xan, are you okay? My God, that thing threw you so far. Have you broken anything?”
“Red, he’s got a bit of a concussion, the rest seems to be fine,” not exactly spoken kindly, but with less animosity than usual in deference to her worry. “We’ll get the doc to look him over when we get there.”
“Let’s go then, I’ll drive, you’ll look after Xan right?”
“Course I bloody will.” Spike shifted to Xander’s side and went to lift him.
“No Spike, I can walk. Don’t want you to carry me.”
Spike looked at him sceptically. “We’ll get you on your feet and then I’ll decide if you walk or not, yeah?”
He helped Xander get to his feet and held him while he tried to get his balance. Xander wrapped his arm around Spike’s shoulders and held on tight, swaying slightly. He took a couple of wobbly steps, then leaned over suddenly and vomited again, clutching his head.
“Right that’s it.” Spike easily swung Xander up into his arms and headed for the front gates.
“I’ll go on ahead and get the car started
“No! Just cause we’re done for the night doesn’t mean its safe out there. Stay with me Red,” Spike warned her.
They made it back to the car in minutes.
“Alright mate?” he asked quietly.
“Yeah, well that’s gonna happen if you try to fly Harris.” Spike held him tighter. “We’ll be there soon mate, you’ll be fine.”
Spike helped Xander sit down then wheeled him through the automatic doors. Giles had been relieved of Anya and she was being wheeled away on a bed.
Spike and Xander were directed to the waiting area until a doctor was available. Buffy sat on the far side of the room with
“Won’t be long mate, you okay there?”
Xander’s voice was tired and full of pain. “Yeah.”
Spike snorted softly. “Yeah sure y’are.”
Xander gave him a small smile and closed his eyes. Aside from the pain in his head, the nausea in his stomach and the spinning room, he couldn’t look at Spike without thinking about Buffy’s accusations. How could this be fake? Magic induced? There was such feeling in Spike’s face when he looked at Xander. Spike held his hand so gently, stroking over his fingers, Xander wanted to believe this was real, but Buffy’s words niggled at him. He sighed and tried to ignore the thoughts, his head hurt too much and he was still a little dazed. Deal later, just accept Spike’s presence now; it was calming, soothing and very welcome.
Xander dozed until they called him through.
It turned out to be a small gash on his head, no stitches needed, just a dressing. Xander had a mild concussion, but would need no hospital treatment, just some bed rest, ice and Tylenol for his head and another check up in a day or so. The doctor told them he would be in pain for some time due to the bruising on his head and limbs from the impact. Xander was discharged and Spike wheeled him back out to the waiting room.
Giles came over immediately to check on Xander, a happy look of relief on his face.
“How’s Anya?” Xander asked him.
“Ah. It would appear she has some broken ribs from the bench she landed on and some bruising to her head where the demon hit her.”
“She’s okay though?”
“Yes, Xander. They’ll keep her tonight for observation because she lost consciousness for a few minutes but we can pick her up tomorrow.”
“She got knocked out?” Xander looked worriedly at Giles.
“Now mate, enough of that. She’ll be fine. You’ve got to worry about yourself now yeah?” Spike laid a hand on his shoulder.
“That’s right Xander, you need to go home to rest.”
Xander carefully nodded his thanks and glanced over at Buffy. He could find no reassuring smile for her this time even though he could see how distraught she was. He looked up at Spike. “Let’s go.”