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
Spike held the door open and briefly scanned the room, more to set Xander at ease than to detect anything. As always the pub contained a mix of demon and human, all coexisting well together; however as the experience with the Hokard showed, outside the pub was a different world entirely.
“Door-bitch!” The deep voice rumbled from behind the bar.
“Fuck off Thomas.” Spike flipped his finger at Tom as they walked in, but then smiled and shook his hand.
“Good to see you again, Xander.” Tom reached out one dinner plate sized hand to shake.
Xander greeted him, feeling the contained strength and relaxing as he realised how safe he actually was here with these two demons on his team. “Hi Tom, sorry it’s been a while. I meant to come by and cash you up for those deliveries.” He reached into his pocket.
“No need pal that’s been taken care of, well for the next few weeks anyway.” Tom waved a glass questioningly at Spike and Xander.
“Double Jack thanks mate,” Spike told him.
“Oh, um, just Coke for me thanks Tom.” He turned to Spike. “Did you do that? Pay for the blood?”
“I did love. Got a good payout for some extra work last week, so I invested it in my stomach. Seemed like the thing to do.” Spike hoisted himself onto a stool and motioned Xander to the next seat.
Xander shifted his stool closer to Spike’s and leaned in a little when Spike slung an arm across the back of his seat. “You know I didn’t mind taking care of it.”
“Yeah I know mate, but I minded okay?”
“Yeah I get it. Just let me know if work slacks off alright?”
“No need to worry there mate, I think this big ugly git can spot me a bag or two now and then can’t he?” Spike pointed at Tom with his glass and idly scratched at Xander’s back with his other hand.
“Oh belt up, you great twat. You want a bag, you can get off your arse and work for it.”
“Now, now Thomas. You need a bit of work done, you only have to ask.”
“Right, well I’m askin’.”
“Problems here mate?” Spike asked, sipping his drink.
“I have an idea a couple of fledges may have intercepted my last blood delivery. Was hopin’ you could sort them out. They were hangin’ around in here for a few nights lookin’ a bit dodgey but not causin’ any mischief.”
“You have any idea where they are?”
Tom shook his head. “Basically sod all mate. Thought you could use your, you know-” Tom waved his hand vaguely in the direction of Spike’s head.
“My hair dryer?” Spike snorted.
“No, smart arse. You know what I mean. Can’t you just, I don’t know, detect them or sniff them out or somethin’?”
“Course I could if you gave me a bloody starting point Thomas.”
“Nearby is all I can give you.”
Spike sighed. “Gonna take a while, but should be able to help you out.”
Xander had sat quietly and followed this exchange with increasing trepidation. “When?” he asked Spike.
Spike twisted in his seat, seeing the frown lines on Xander’s brow. “Not right away mate. When you’re ready.”
“No it’s okay, I don’t want to stop you doing stuff like this. I just wondered if you would go tonight.”
Spike slid off his stool and wrapped an arm around Xander’s shoulders. “Thomas me and my boy here are gonna go find a seat somewhere quiet. Any chance of a meal?”
Tom looked at Xander and Spike quizzically, but nodded. “Yeah course mate, I’ll let Rosie know you’re here.”
“Come on then love.”
Spike led Xander to a booth in the back of the pub. He motioned Xander in first, then slid in after him. He leaned in to Xander and pressed their lips together, holding him close with a hand behind his neck. Xander slid his hands under Spike’s coat and made a small satisfied noise when Spike’s tongue probed at his lips.
Xander opened his mouth to Spike and felt the cool tongue stroking over his. He could never tire of this. Spike always kissed him like it was the first time or the last time. Whether long and deep, or soft and light, there was always a myriad of unspoken words that underlaid his kisses. Xander felt himself relaxing, the edges of his worry dissipating.
Spike brushed a hand over Xander’s face then sat back. “Told you, tonight is just dinner and home. Not gonna go anywhere else unless you want to.”
“It’s okay, really Spike. I’ll be fine if you want to go.”
“Yeah I know you will. Maybe tomorrow then, okay?”
Xander nodded and picked up his drink, settling comfortably back in the booth, Spike’s hand in his lap, their fingers twisted together. They sat together quietly watching a pool game across the room. Xander’s mind drifted back and a small smile played over his lips. It would be two weeks tomorrow, since they’d first come and had a beer and a game. Two of the longest and most complex of his life and he wouldn’t switch a minute of them. Okay well, maybe one or two of the more bloody ones, and perhaps a couple of the insane Buffy ones. Oh and there was the-. Xander felt Spike squeeze his fingers and nudge his leg.
“Could have done without that bloody king hit to your ex as well,” Spike smiled at him, deciding to broach the subject of this new aspect of Xander’s consort status.
“Yeah that was-,” Xander began, then frowned. “What the hell Spike?”
“Part of the consort bond mate. Bit of an empathic touch I suppose you could say.” He carefully watched Xander’s reaction, but when Xander merely gave a resigned sigh and nodded, he continued. “You’ve not noticed anything different this week? Maybe a feeling or two that weren’t quite your own?”
Xander thought for a moment. “Well yeah, I guess I did, but it wasn’t really the best time to be dealing with anything else, so I kinda overlooked it.” He shook his head. “What was it?”
“My feelings, your feelings, the occasional thought,” he shrugged. “At the moment it’s only simple, but in time it could be, well, it could be anything mate, no way to tell how it will go.”
Xander looked confused. “But the spell isn’t affecting you. So how?”
“Consort bond is an open channel. Works both ways love.”
“There’s just so many things to deal with, and I bet there’s gonna be even more isn’t there?”
“Not too much more now, if anything at all. It’s just a matter of it all developing and you being able to control it.”
“Why are you taking all this so well? Aren’t you freaked? Even just a little?”
“I’ve been around the block a few times; seen things, done things. Its takes a bit more to, ah, freak me. Only thing about this that bothers me, is that it’s been so hard for you.”
Xander smiled at him. “I know its gonna get easier, it is getting easier. It’s all so huge though, its just going to take a bit of time.”
“No rush mate.”
They sipped at their drinks, watching the game and quietly talking and laughing as they shared the memories of their first night out.
“Now’s there’s a less disturbin’ sight. Good to see a smile on your ugly mugs.” Tom put two plates of shepherd’s pie down in front of them. “Our Rosie says she’ll be out in a few. Bit busy in there right now.”
Spike picked at the food for a while, not especially interested now that he had a regular high quality blood supply. Xander, however ate his with lightning speed then eyed Spike’s plate too.
“Help yourself love. No doubt you’ll need the energy later.” He smirked, then laughed as Xander kissed him with potato-covered lips then cleaned his plate too.
“Oh that was great,” Xander half groaned, leaning back in the seat and rubbing his hands over his full stomach. “You’re English, why aren’t you cooking me this stuff?”
“Love, I’ve been living in crypts, basements, warehouses and various other dank dark holes for soddin’ years. Never had much need to cook, most of our food was on tap so to speak. You want me to burn down your kitchen though, I’m willing to give it a shot.”
“Ah, no. I guess we become regulars here and Rose keeps me fed then. Pfft, Useless damn vampire, can’t even cook,” Xander mumbled under his breath knowing Spike would easily catch it.
“Oi! Cheeky bugger,” he said, kicking Xander’s ankle under the table.
“You’re just lucky I’m too full to move right now pal. If I could move those couple of inches over there I’d show you a thing or two,” Xander waved a finger at him.
Spike slid closer on the seat, slipped his hand up under Xander’s shirt and stroked it over his chest. “Show me anyway.” As was becoming the norm, their kiss became very heated very quickly, even with an overfull Xander slouched back in his seat. Spike stretched out half over him, both hands inside his shirt enjoying the warm smooth skin, while Xander’s hands found their way under the coat and down to grip Spike’s ass.
A sharp “Ahem” pulled them back to the here and now, and they turned to see Rose with a wide smile on her face. Looking across the pub, Xander saw Tom at the bar giving him the thumbs up and an enormous grin. He shook his head with a smile and sat himself up straighter, Spike moving off him but keeping one arm around his neck.
“You know there is a time and a place don’t you William?” Rose said with mock sternness. She slid into the booth and sat opposite them.
“Oh right, must be my fault.” He turned to Xander. “They never blame you, did you notice that love?”
“Yeah but I’ve weighed it up and I’m okay with that.” Xander jumped and laughed as Spike kicked him again.
“That silly Thomas must have got it all wrong. And it wouldn’t be the first time.” She looked at both of them. “He had me thinking there was something wrong. He came rushing out there and told me that you boys were upset about something.”
Xander’s smile lost a little of its lustre. “To tell you the truth Rose, it hasn’t been the greatest week.”
Between them, he and Spike managed to update Rose on all that had happened. The demons, the spell, the developing consort status. Rose listened quietly, nodding and commiserating where appropriate.
“A big week for you boys then,” she said.
“Could say that Rose,” Spike answered. “It’s not been the easiest.”
Rose reached across and took Xander’s hand. She offered him a gentle smile. “I imagine some of this isn’t sitting too well with you chooky.”
“Truth be told Rose, most of it I’m okay with. It’s just the one thing that really got to me.” He looked at Spike, who squeezed his shoulder.
“Why don’t you talk to Rose about it love. You never know. Fresh pairs of ears and all.”
Xander nodded and tried to explain how he’d been affect by the knowledge of his longevity, perhaps even immortality. Saying that word for the first time hit him hard. He’d discussed it, shouted about it and cried over it with Spike but never had he said the word. Now, he found it easier to manage than he would have thought. A week to deal with it, Spike for support and comfort and he realised the worst of it was over. Still, he felt uncomfortable, heartbroken at the potential loss of friends, but it was not as bad as it had been.
“Oh chooky of course you would be feeling like that. Anybody would. Yes, its going to be hard when it happens, but its so far away and you have William here to help you through. And you know Tom and I will do everything we can to help you.”
Xander was touched by the care this woman showed. He’d only known her for a week and already she was showing more interest and compassion than his own mother ever had. Strange how Tom and Rose felt so close and familiar so quickly. A heavy feeling settled over Xander again as the light caught the fine scales on Rose’s face when she smiled. Tom and Rose were demons. Xander was attracting demons. He gave a frustrated sigh and Spike immediately nudged him.
“I don’t need any bond to know what you’re thinking and you’re completely wrong Harris. The Joudels here are immune to magic, right Rose?”
“Well yes that’s right William.” Rose looked confused. “But what does that have to do with anything?”
“I’m sorry Rose. I just thought with you guys being demons and all, and the spell the way it is-”
“You put two and two together and came up with a great deal more than four?”
“Yeah I did,” Xander said, flushing with embarrassment.
“No problem chooky, you’re bound to wonder. But William is right, we have a little magic ourselves but magic from others? Well that’s just like water off a ducks back. So what you see is what you get with us. I hope that’s okay with you.”
Xander laughed with relief. “More than.”
“Good!” Rose gave him a bright smile. “Now back to the issue at hand. There’s no two ways about it. You will lose people you love but you’ve overlooked one of the most wonderful aspects of the whole thing.”
Xander frowned and pointed questioningly at Spike.
“No chooky, although I dare say a few lifetimes with him would be enough for anybody.” She waved off Spike’s attempt at a hurt expression. “No Xander something much more important than the fact that your friends will go before you. You will stay. When they are long gone, you will still be here.”
Xander again frowned. “Ah, yeah Rose. That’s the issue. I go on, without them.”
“What will they be leaving behind Xander? What valuable things might they themselves be losing in moving on?”
He thought. He knew she didn’t mean material possessions. So what then? He strained to think, it shouldn’t be so hard, they were closer than his own family. Oh! There it is.
Rose gave a soft smile when she all but saw the light bulb flash on for Xander. “Do you understand now?”
Spike looked from one to the other, knowing he’d missed something that might have helped Xander cope better with the problem.
“Their families,” Xander said wonderingly. “They are going to leave their families behind.”
“That’s right chooky. If they have children, grandchildren, maybe even great grandchildren, their families will go on without them. But can you imagine what a great comfort it will be for them to know that you will be there, to watch out for them, to keep the memories alive for them. And also, even before that, for your friends to know that when it is their time to go, you can be there with them to ease their way.”
Selfish again. He’d completely overlooked this in favour of indulging his own selfish feelings of loss, never thinking of what he could give to his friends.
Rose tapped Xander’s hand. “I have a feeling I’m too late, but before you go thinking you were remiss in not realising that first, then stop being silly Xander. It was a perfectly normal reaction and you’ve nothing to feel ashamed about.”
Spike gave a frustrated groan “Snap out of it mate. That guilt is oozing off you and bringing me down too; I’m not going there. You listen to Rose now. She’s not wrong.”
“I know, really I get it. It’s just one of those things you know? I wish I could think of other people first sometimes.”
“Love, you do enough of that,” Spike told him. “Your friends, they’re important, but you gotta look out for yourself too.”
Rose agreed. “It’s a big responsibility you’ll have Xander. One you might like to keep to yourself for a while if your friends haven’t worked it out already. No doubt it will be a difficult thing for them to deal with as well. And it might be best for you to wait until you are better able to cope with it yourself before attempting the explanations.”
Xander nodded his agreement. “Of course you’re right Rose. And thankyou. It might have taken me ages to get to that.”
“I’m here to help chooky. You boys are very special to Thomas and I, anything we can do for you, you just say the word.”
They sat for a while longer, talking about all the thing that had happened during the week, the things that might happen in Xander’s future and the quickly developing relationship between Spike and Xander. Rose was delighted to discover that they were doing so well and made them promise to drop by regularly so she could keep Xander well fed, leaving them with no doubt that she had little faith in their domestic abilities.
With kisses for both of them Rose excused herself and went back to work. Xander felt considerably better, much lighter in his heart having spoken with Rose and she was right. Being here for the extended families of his friends was a huge responsibility and a gift that Xander truly appreciated. Who knew where he and Spike would be then, but Xander promised himself that whenever they needed him, he would be there.
Xander shook himself out of his daze and noticed Spike watching the pool game finishing up. “Come on Bleachie, let’s go play, give me a chance to beat you and even the score.”
Spike snorted. “Never gonna happen love. But you can try.”
They played for a short time, trading insults and innuendo. Without knowing exactly how, about halfway through their game, Spike and Xander found themselves with cues and balls forgotten, arms wrapped around each other, mouths crushed together.
A tap on their shoulders a short time later and they pulled apart, both panting to see Tom standing next to them with a broad smile. “Might be time to take this outside fellas. You’re getting a bit of attention I think you’d rather do without.” He jerked his head in the direction of the bar, where Bilarl sat wide-eyed and slack-jawed on the edge of his stool. “And with the vibes you’re sending, I can only hold him back for so long.”
Spike glanced over, saw the enraptured demon and tightened his hold on Xander. His eyes flashed gold and he let out a low growl. As his forehead shifted and fangs dropped, he was distracted from his threatening glare at Bilarl by the hard length suddenly pressing into his hip. He turned his yellow gaze to Xander and saw the lust in his eyes.
Xander reached up and ran a hand over Spike’s forehead, a thumb over his long teeth. He’d seen this face many times before but this time it stirred something in Xander, he felt a deep longing, an almost painful arousal. Xander eyed Spike’s lips, moving back in with the intention of running his tongue over those long, sharp fangs when he felt himself jerked away.
“Okay now, that’s not going to make this any better mate.” Tom had them both by the arms and was now standing between them. “Off we go, lets get you two outside before I have to hose you down.”
Spike shook his demon face away. “Sorry Tom, we’ll be heading home I think. My boy here mentioned something about putting out after a date.”
Xander quickly pulled out his wallet and thrust some notes into Tom’s hand. “Yeah sorry Tom, um, thanks for dinner. We really have to go. Say bye to Rose for us.” He grabbed Spike’s hand and pulled him towards the front door, groaning as a thrill ran though him when he heard Spike’s growl as they passed Bilarl at the bar.
Outside, Xander pushed Spike up against his car and ground himself up against Spike’s own hard bulge. “Should I find that so hot? That’s gotta be all kinds of wrong doesn’t it?”
“Not for a consort love. But as much as I would love to let my demon loose on you tonight, its not gonna happen. Not when I can’t bite you.”
“But can’t we just-”
“Love if I fuck you like that I would need to bite you. The fucking chip would probably kill me if I did that. And no, the demon cannot fuck you without biting, it would be like going for hours and never coming.”
Xander sighed in frustration. “Goddamn Initiative.” He sucked in a breath as Spike slid a hand inside the front of his jeans and massaged his aching erection.
“So was it a good date? You’re still putting out right?” Spike leered at him.
“Thought masters didn’t date?”
“If it gets me shagged mate, I’ll be in anything.”
“It’s getting you shagged.”
“Right,” Spike said and bundled Xander into the car. He all but flew home, hauled Xander up the stairs and for the next few hours held him to his promise.