kimalis (kimalis) wrote in bloodclaim,
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kimalis
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FIC : Family Bonds chapter 33WIP

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

Beta thanks to kitty_alex

 CHAPTER 33

Xander pulled up outside Buffy’s house, suddenly realising he hadn’t checked if she would be there. He hoped to god she wouldn’t, too much explaining to do. He sat in the car for a moment, staring at the house. One week ago his life was normal, but one week was a long time on the Hellmouth. And now here he was, about to go find out if the vampire he was falling in love with was affected by a spell on him that was also attracting demons and turning his best friend into a psycho loony. Xander glanced at his cell phone and wondered wryly if he should put Springer on speed dial. No point delaying anymore. He couldn’t take much more of the uncertainty. Xander climbed out of the car with a heavy heart.

 

When he knocked on the door, Tara let him in, assuring him Buffy was out and would be for the remainder of the day. She’d gone to train with Giles and see to some day-dwelling demons. Tara motioned him through to the kitchen where she had set up at the table.

“Sit down Xander.” Tara sat opposite him. “I am surprised you’re up and around. More surprised that Spike isn’t with you. How are you feeling?”

“Ah, yeah, well, I feel great.” Xander looked sad and a little uncomfortable. “I told Spike I was going to see Anya. By the way, do you know how she is?”

“I haven’t heard yet but she’ll be home soon. Willow is picking her up.” Tara began mixing ingredients.

Xander sighed. “God I hope she’s okay. I should call her.” Call her? He should be there, helping her, looking after her. Another one of his friends hurt because of him. He reached for his phone.

“Xander just hold off okay? You can talk to her later; she’s coming here. Willow and I are going to help her till she’s ready to go home.”

Xander blanched. “She’s that bad she needs help? Oh Jesus, this is so wrong.”

“No! She just needs to take it easy for a few days while the pain eases. Seeing it’s the weekend, if she stays here then we can cook for her, you know.”

“So Willow is picking her up now?”

“Not yet. An order came in and she’s gone to collect it. It’s the ingredients we were waiting for Xander.”

Xander’s stomach lurched. “Oh. Well its all happening today isn’t it?”

“It could be,” she smiled. “So you’re feeling great you said? No headaches? Are you sure?”

Xander nodded, looking serious. “None at all, no bruises, no aches, no pains, not even an extra freckle.”

“How did that happen? You had a concussion, that demon threw you a good hundred feet onto your head. You must have a bump or something.” Tara got out of her seat and came around to him.

“Nope, look for yourself.” He pointed to the back of his head. “Nothing.”

Tara gently ran her hand over his head. “Xander that can’t be right. What did you do?”

“I took a shower, I slept, I woke up and ah, I um, was awake for a while then I slept and that’s it. Maybe a couple of Tylenol last night.”

“No magic?”

“No, course not. Who would do it? You’re my magical go-to gal.”

Tara laughed at him. “Don’t let Willow hear you say that.”

“All my friends have their own thing. Yours is the magic stuff, Willow’s is the best friend stuff. Ah, oh, not that I don’t think you’re a friend too, oh, I’ll shut up.”

“Its okay I know what you mean.” She sat down again. “Do you want to get started?”

Xander sighed and slumped in his seat. “Please. I don’t think I can put on a happy face much longer.”

“Xander you don’t have to pretend, not with me. Not with any of your friends.” She reached out and squeezed his hand. “I’m sure you’ll find this all works out okay.”

“But what if Buffy was right? All the demons seem to be drawn to me because of this damn spell. Well, I assume that’s why. Whatever reason, I’m pulling them in. Even Buffy is getting a dose of it. So if the other demons are affected, why not Spike?”

“Xander I saw your aura when you were with Spike. It looked real. Those colors don’t just appear, they were strong and vibrant and they showed a connection between you that was deep and potentially long term and it-” Tara stopped suddenly and frowned.

Xander looked panicked. “What? What? Long term and?”

“Um, its nothing, just the colors for that connection. I might need to check something later when we do that other spell. Don’t worry now though, lets get this one out of the way first.”

“Sure, first things first. What do I need to do?”

“Did you bring something of Spike’s?”

Xander reached into his pocket for Spike’s lighter. He held it in his hand wondering if he was doing the right thing. “Tara, I don’t know now. I really don’t want to be doing magic on Spike.”

“Oh, its not on Spike, it’s totally on you. Spike’s possession is just the catalyst.”

Satisfied, he placed the lighter on the table. Tara smiled as she picked it up. “Oh good choice, he’s had this a long time hasn’t he? It will work beautifully.”

“So how do we do this?” Xander looked around at the things laid out on the table. A bowl of liquid, not the swirly, silvery potion of fairy tales, but a dark thick mixture with pieces of various herbs floating in it and a book, open at a page of text that Xander couldn’t read.

“You put one hand in the bowl, the other holds the lighter. I read the text and if Spike is being drawn to you as a result of magic then you’ll see a ribbon of purple light connecting your potion hand to the hand with the lighter. That shows you are having a magical effect on Spike. No light, no effect.”

“That simple?”

“This is a fairly standard spell, you can alter the ingredients and it shows all kinds of connections.”

“Alright lets do it.”

Tara tipped a few dried herbs into the bowl and stirred it with a bundle of sage. “Ok, dip your finger in there and wipe a drop on the lighter.”

This was it. Xander was torn. In just minutes he would have his answer and if it went the way he expected he had no idea what he would do. If he didn’t do this, he could go back home, get into bed with Spike and forget it. Or try to.

Tara sensed his hesitation. “Xander, you need to do this. If you don’t you’ll always be wondering.”

Xander looked at her with such despondency that she put down the volume and took his hands. “Xander I’ll be here for you, Willow too. No matter how it turns out, you won’t be alone.”

“Lets just get it done quickly.” Xander dipped his finger and placed a drop of the cold slimy potion onto the silver lighter.

Tara directed him to put his hand in the bowl and he sunk it under the liquid, his other hand holding out the lighter. Tara chanted the words that Xander didn’t recognise and the liquid in the bowl began to ripple. Xander watched as rough peaks began to form and the potion slopped around in the bowl. Oh god it was going to do it. The potion was active and the light was going to come next. Xander held his breath and waited. His hand grew cold, the potion stilled and again became smooth surfaced.

Tara was beaming at him. Xander looked from the lighter to the potion to Tara with a questioning look on his face. “That’s it? That’s all?”

“Yes. That’s it. Nothing happened. There’s no spell attracting Spike to you. You did that all by yourself.” She smiled happily at him, blushing at the same time.

“He really wants me? Really?” Xander was having trouble taking it in. He’d been so sure, so prepared to lose Spike this day, he’d given little thought to how he would react if it was negative. He didn’t expect the sudden swelling in his chest, the tears that sprang, burning his eyes. “Oh, god. Sorry. I was just so sure.”

“Its okay. You must be relieved.”

“You have no idea.” Xander reached up to wipe his eyes on his sleeve. As he pulled his hand out of the bowl, he bumped the side, tipping it over and sending the potion running out across the table.

Xander’s other hand was wet, the lighter covered with the slimy mess. He tried to put it down on the clean part of the table but the lighter wouldn’t move from his hand.

“Ah, Tara? Is this meant to happen?” His eyes grew wider as a thin line of red light snaked from the lighter, across the table and connected with Xander’s other hand. It didn’t burn, didn’t hurt, but it tingled. He could feel a tiny charge running from hand to hand; up his arm, behind his neck and down to his other hand. The light burned brighter for a moment and Xander was anticipating a stronger charge in his body but the light flickered once then was gone. The lighter dropped from his hand and splashed into a puddle of dark slime.

“What the hell was that?” Xander stared at the lighter and at his other hand, then at Tara. “What happened? Did that mean something?”

Tara flipped back several pages in her text and ran her finger down the page. Her hand stopped and she read through the passage. Tara looked at him with confusion. “Yes, it means something. You are having no effect on Spike, I mean your spell is not influencing him in any way. But that red, and going from his lighter to you? That means there is some connection between you and it’s originating from him.”

“What kind of connection?”

“I mean he’s having some kind of influence on you, there is a deeper link forming between you, not magical, but, um, mystical, related to the vampire in him.”

“Spike’s doing something to me?” Xander asked, the happy feelings he had beginning to fray.

“No, not consciously. Or maybe even not at all. This could be your spell taking something from him, forging some kind of connection between you. Whatever it is though, its not magical, it’s just something that’s part of Spike.”

“Vampire stuff you mean?”

“I think so yeah. Do you know anything about the mystical side of vampires?”

Xander shook his head. “No, but it couldn’t be too hard to find out. Giles must have plenty of books.”

“I can call Willow and ask her to bring some home?” When Xander nodded, Tara went and called Willow, briefly explaining what had happened and asked her to stop at the shop for the books.

Tara put the phone down and thought carefully for a moment. “Xander, didn’t Spike get hurt last night too?”

“Yeah, he had a cut on his head, but it was nothing much and it was healed when he woke up.”

“It’s healed? Like your concussion and bruises?”

“Yeah just like- Oh.” Xander looked stunned.

“Bit of a coincidence isn’t it?”

“Too much,” he agreed. “What does it mean?”

“No idea yet. Let’s wait and see what we can turn up later.”

Xander stood and helped Tara clean up the mess on the table. Could the world possibly throw anything else at him? A split second to rejoice at the negative response to the first spell and he was dropped dead in the middle of a whole new issue. But they knew nothing about this and so far the only indicator was a distinct lack of pain. Could it be all bad? So far it was evenly balanced. Or truth be told, in Xander’s mind tilted towards the happy.

Xander stopped dead in his cleaning efforts as the findings of the first spell finally sunk in. Spike was not influenced by anything. Spike wanted Xander. A master vampire, wanted him, just for him. Xander couldn’t help himself. He grabbed Tara and swung her around, planting a huge kiss on her cheek and setting her down again.

“Thankyou.”

“You are very welcome. I’m glad to see you so happy.”

“Well, happier, that’s one less thing to worry about. Actually one really big thing I was worried about.”

“We’ll get the rest sorted Xander, just as soon as Willow gets back.”

They sat and chatted and ate until Willow came home in the late afternoon. Xander had thought about going home in the meantime, but decided he wanted to wait for Willow and get the next stage taken care of as soon as possible. He was on a high, and had that invincible feeling that everything else would be okay. It lasted until he heard the front door open.

 

“We’re back.” Willow’s voice called from the front of the house. “Xander I know you’re there, I saw your car, come help.”

Xander and Tara followed the sound of Willow’s voice and found her standing just inside the front door with Anya leaning heavily on her.

Xander’s heart nearly broke at the sight. She had large bruises over her face, a black eye and, from what he could see of her arms and legs, more bruises there too. She was hunched over, one arm wrapped protectively around her ribs. He rushed over and carefully hugged her, kissing her cheek where he could find a normal piece of skin.

“God, Ahn, I’m so sorry. You shouldn’t have been hurt because of me.”

“Oh Xander,” Anya patted his back. “You’re so stupid. Did you throw me? Did you hit me in the face? No. Now help me sit down. I’m sure this process of mending bones involves a great deal of fawning over me. And cookies.”

Xander scooped her up and carried her to the couch, laying her down carefully. He spread a blanket over her legs and kissed her forehead as he stood up. “I’m sorry anyway.”

“Cookies. And remote,” she said waving her fingers at him but giving him a soft smile.  

Willow rolled her eyes and went into the kitchen to fetch a plate of cookies. Xander sat down on the coffee table. “Are you okay? Really?”

“My body hurts. My face is hideous. When I breathe it feels like I am being stabbed by a Wregole demon.” She lay back on the couch and sighed. “Humans have some very simply rectified design flaws.”

Xander tried to laugh but could only muster up a half hearted chuckle. Look at the state she was in. All this pain because she had to fight something that was after him. It could have been any one of them. Willow, Tara, Giles. Spike had been injured, Buffy had been dragged away before she could do something worse; all avoidable, if only he didn’t have this damn spell.

“Stop it.” Anya’s voice came short and sharp.

Xander looked up at her in surprise.

“Stop it Xander. I know what you’re doing in there,” she pointed a finger at his head. “You’re blaming yourself for every little thing that happened to every other person around you. Well stop it. Just how important and influential do you think you are?”

“This time? Pretty and very.”

“And in saying that you are assuming that no one else has a free choice, no one else can make a decision about whether or not they participate. Well isn’t that conveniently ignoring your major issue with Buffy this week?”

Xander just stared at her with his mouth hanging open.

“And close your mouth. You’re only going to say something silly and make me crazy. Where are my cookies?” She looked around him and smiled, holding out her hands when Willow came back with a full plate then disappeared to the kitchen with a furtive look at Xander.

He watched her munch on a cookie, taking tiny bites as though each one directly correlated to an inch on her hips. “You’re a hard woman, Ahn. Pull no punches kind of gal.”

“Well who else is going to tell it like it is Xander? Willow? Tara? Giles? Crazy Buffy? Or how about Spike? You think he’s going to give you a good shaking and say wake up to yourself Harris and accept your friends are adults too? And if they choose to fight by your side its not your damn fault?”

“If demons weren’t coming after me then you wouldn’t be hurt. Ergo, fault guy.”

“And if they hadn’t been after you then something else would have been after us. It’s the Hellmouth remember?”

“You can’t know that.”

“Neither can you. Now we’re finished. Stop being a martyr and go do a spell. See if you really have something to complain about.”

Xander was trying very hard to control his temper. “You know you really piss me off Anya?”

“And isn’t pissed off better than guilt ridden?” she asked with a smile.

Anya shooed him away with half eaten cookie in her hand. A stunned Xander headed for the kitchen.

 

 

Willow and Tara were unpacking the bag of ingredients when he walked in and dropped himself into a seat at the table. What the hell had that been? A one woman intervention? Well, lesson learned. Xander would keep his worries, his guilt, his anything, all to himself. Put on the happy face, the one that seemed to keep the status quo among his friends, and sort out the issues himself. He quickly stood again, ran his hands through his hair, pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and excused himself, heading for the back door.

Outside he sat on the back stairs and dialled home tapping his foot while he listened to the phone ring out and the answering machine kick in and beep. Just a quick hello, to touch base, contact would be better, but any port in a storm. Xander prepared himself for Spike to call him nancy, ponce; any of those strange English words that meant Spike was calling him a big girl.

“Spike its me pick up if you’re still there.” He waited, knowing that if Spike were still there that he would hear the message no matter which room he was in. He was about to flip his phone closed when he heard it click.

Spike’s voice came hard and cold. “I’m still here, where the fuck are you?”

“Spike what-”

“Where. The fuck. Are. You?”

“I’m at Buffy’s with Willow and Tara. What’s wrong?”

“You fucking lied to me.”

“No, no, I-”

“Save it. The doctor called asking why you didn’t go. Giles called asking if you were okay and letting you know your ex was going home. You said you weren’t driving, so where the hell is your car?”

“I felt okay so I drove, Anya came back here so I just saw her then. Spike, I’m sorry I should have told you what I was doing.”

Spike was silent, Xander could hear him shuffling around in the kitchen, his voice muffled, “Where’s my fucking lighter?”

“Spike?”

“Why didn’t you go to the doctor?”

“I felt better, I didn’t want to bother with it.”

“What the fuck? You had a concussion. You had your brain banging around inside your skull and you couldn’t be bothered?”

“But I really felt fine.”

Spike’s voice came slowly and with deceiving calm. “You lied to me. I can hear your heartbeat now and your voice and you are still lying to me. If you are going to keep lying to me for whatever reason I’ve no time for you.”

“What do you mean?” Xander tried to keep his voice steady, to not let the beginnings of panic through.

“What do you think?”

“Spike I’m sorry, I had to do something, and I knew you would try to stop me, or try to talk me out of it. I was planning on coming home to tell you later.”

“You think that maybe if I was going to stop you then it was something you shouldn’t have been doing? What was so fucking important that you lied to my face?”

“Spike just let me come home and tell-”

“You will tell me now.”

Xander heard the back door open and Willow poked her head out. He waved her away with a frown.

“Spike please?”

The door shut behind him and silence met his words from the other end.

“God. Okay. Last night, when Buffy and I were fighting she said some things, I wanted to have Tara do a spell and check it out.”

There was a pause before Spike said, “Not good enough.”

“Spike please not on the phone.”

Xander was met with more silence. He sighed and began again. “Buffy got too close to me, she said you only wanted me because of the spell and you would leave as soon as Tara removed it. I asked Tara to find out if you were influenced by my spell. That’s all.”

Xander heard something heavy crash in his kitchen. “That’s all? That’s all is it? You sneak out of here to do magic on me because of what the fucking slayer said when she was out of her mind? Don’t tell me you believed her? Christ Xander, you did didn’t you?”

“Spike she could have been right. If you were affected by my spell like Buffy and the other demons then none of this would be real and no matter what you said it would all be the spell talking. I had to know, I needed to know if it was real. And it is.”

“What do you mean?”

Tara did the spell, it was negative, my spell is having no effect on you.”

“I could have told you that.” Spike’s voice held considerably less harshness.

“Spike come on,  how could I be sure? I mean if you were spelled you wouldn’t know and you would just think it was all okay. I needed Tara to show me for sure, without a doubt.”

“So you just did a spell on me, didn’t tell me or anything?”

“No! It was a spell on me not you. I just needed your lighter to give us an answer.”

“You took my bloody lighter too?” Xander heard him sigh. “Harris you were worried about this all night and you didn’t say anything to me. That’s just not right mate.”
“Spike I really am sorry. I wanted to talk to you about it but please understand. I just didn’t want to have to argue with you if you were affected, it wouldn’t have got us anywhere. Besides if it turned out Buffy was right then I didn’t want to waste the time fighting with you, I just wanted to be with you without that hanging over us.”

“Damn it Harris, this doesn’t happen again do you get it? That is not how it’s going to be.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Yeah mate I know. Stop saying it. What are you going to do now?”

Willow and Tara have the ingredients for the next spell, we’re going to try that soon. I’ll let you know what happens as soon as I see you. Will you be there when I get home?”

“Don’t know. I’m going to head out. Need to beat the shit out of something. Many somethings.”

 “Spike I’m so-”

“Don’t. Just don’t do anything else you need to apologise for yeah? And make sure you bring my soddin’ lighter back.”

“Okay. I’ll see you later then?”

“Yeah, maybe later mate.”

Xander shut his phone and dropped his head into his hands. Not what he’d expected. He’d called Spike for a bit of reassurance before he tackled the next problem. Xander called himself all kinds of fool for keeping all this from Spike. He could have told him and then insisted they go to Tara together. He could have just trusted that it was all really okay. He’d screwed up. Big time.

 

The door opened again and Willow came out, sitting beside him. She wrapped her arms around him, resting her head on his back.

“He’ll be okay Xander. Give him a bit of time.”

“Sure.” He smiled, standing up and holding out his hand. “Come on, we’ve got more magic to do.”

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