kimalis (kimalis) wrote in bloodclaim,
kimalis
kimalis
bloodclaim

FIC : Family Bonds chapter 42 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 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 42

Xander’s dreams were a mixed bag. Violent and horrifying images of Spike burning from the inside out gave way to passionate awakenings. Several times during the night Xander woke, still pressed against Spike, an unmoving, non-responsive Spike. Each time he woke, Xander glanced over the body, relieved that the burns continued to fade at a steady pace. This knowledge tempered his dreams, pushing away the nightmares. Just before dawn he woke again, looked Spike over, smiled at the nearly clear skin. A kiss to his lips again and, “I love you Spike, wake up soon,” then he was back into a deep sleep, his head resting on Spike’s chest.

A muffled thumping dragged Xander out of his dreams. Regular thumping. Xander registered the stolen warmth and the solid muscles beneath his ear and knew he was still on Spike’s chest. Thumping? Spike’s chest? Xander bolted upright, still in a sleep haze, and pressed his hands to Spike’s ribcage. Nothing. But the thumping continued and as his fog cleared Xander realised it was his apartment door. A quick glance at the clock told him it was mid morning. He groaned. No prizes for guessing who would be at his door.

Xander guessed that before too long, whichever of the girls was banging would most likely let themselves in and he would much rather not be pantsless when that happened. A kiss, his mantra, “I love you, wake up soon,” and he was out of bed, pulling on a pair of sweatpants and striding out to the door.

 

“Alright!” he shouted as the banging got louder. He paused with his hand on the lock. What if he just ignored them? Went back to bed and waited with Spike? If they were here to convince him to leave Spike then he would gladly show them the door. If they were here to apologise, then he would probably show them the door. Maybe.

Twisting the locks Xander pulled the door open, battling to show no reaction when he saw the group in the corridor. He didn’t move to unblock the doorway, just held the door open a crack and stared expressionlessly at them. Willow, Tara, Buffy, Anya. Xander looked over their heads. No Giles.

“Intervention?” he asked in a deadpan voice.

“Discussion? Apologies?” Willow ventured.

“Food,” Anya said, holding up a large bag with a smile.

Xander didn’t move, just scanned over their hopeful faces.  “Not interested.” He began to shut the door, fully intending on locking it and getting back into bed.

“Xander please?” Willow. Damn. Willow could always get to him. He heard the heartbreak in her voice, sighed with frustration and held the door open.

“Let me go and get dressed.” He didn’t wait for a response, just turned and headed back into the bedroom, leaving the girls standing in the doorway. 

 

Shutting the door, he threw himself on the bed and crawled over to Spike, burying his face in Spike’s neck and twining their fingers together. “Joke’s over now, Bleachie, wake up. They’re all here. What do I do?” Xander waited, expecting nothing and receiving it. “You’d tell me to go and talk to them wouldn’t you? Tell me to stop being a git and go and sort it out. You know what they said? What they wanted us to do? I’m not leaving you, never going to happen.” Xander pulled back and focused on Spike, searching for the smallest twitch. Finding still nothing, he placed his hands on Spike’s face, thumbs stroking over the cheekbones. “I love you. I need you to come back. Please come back.” A kiss, not enough, but it would have to be for now.

Xander reluctantly, very reluctantly climbed off the bed and dressed in jeans and T-shirt. He checked the temperature of the electric blanket, pulled the covers back to Spike’s chin to hold in the heat, not covering his head. Xander knew Spike loved to be completely under the covers but he could not bring himself to do that. Too funereal. A kiss to his forehead and Xander slowly made his way back out to the living room.

 

The girls had laid out a late breakfast on the coffee table and were sitting around the couches. Anya was in the kitchen brewing coffee. Xander recalled her efforts on his behalf of the night before, remembered how she was still in pain and went to her in the kitchen.

“Ahn.” He pulled her carefully into his arms and hugged her as tight as he could without hurting her ribs, deliberately ignoring the crawling feeling of wrongness. “Thanks for trying.”

“Give them a chance Xander,” she whispered. “They might be thoughtless idiots but they’re still your best friends. Let them fix it.”

“Don’t know if they can.”

“Course they can, but you have to let them.” Anya pulled away from him, put a set of coffee mugs in his hands and pushed him gently towards the living room.

 

There were spaces on the couches for him, but Xander set the cups down then chose to perch on the edge of a small corner table, well away from them, especially well away from Buffy. He didn’t speak, just waited. Seemed that was his thing, waiting. He eyed the food on the table. Any other day he would have been all over it, today though, the thought made his stomach turn.

“Xander aren’t you going to say anything?” Willow timidly asked.

“Why didn’t you just use your keys?”

“My-? Oh, I didn’t know if you were, um, if Spike would-.” Willow flushed. “I didn’t want to intrude. Um, where is Spike?”

He looked longingly at the corridor to the bedroom. Xander was not exactly sure why, but he was unwilling to share the news of Spike’s state. Probably because in the back of his mind he knew that least one person in the room would be more than happy to finish him off.  “Sleeping.”

“Oh. Well, we’ve been calling you, we left messages,” Willow said, pointing at his answering machine and noticing the absence of the message light. “Everyone was so worried. Why didn’t you call us back?”

Xander shrugged, no need to mention he hadn’t listened to them. “To say what Willow? Were you listening to the same verbal barrage that I was last night?”

“Just to tell us you were alright.”

“Well I wasn’t alright. Nothing last night was alright and it still isn’t. I wasn’t about to call and tell you that though cause it’s not what you wanted to hear.”

Buffy leaned forward to catch his eye. “Xander last night, we got it wrong. I got it wrong.”

Xander met her eyes with a hard stare, not putting any kindness in it at all. “I know.”

“I’m saying sorry Xander.”

“No Buffy, you aren’t. You’re just telling me something I already knew.”

“You aren’t going to make this easy for us are you?” she smiled.

Was she even taking this seriously? What the hell did she think he was going to do? Hug her, pat her back and tell her it was all okay, just a big misunderstanding? Leave Spike? Sure what a great idea; stake him too? Well why the hell not! Not a chance. He forced himself to calm. He really had no idea how the consort bond worked and didn’t want to be accidentally sending any bad vibes to Spike while he was mending.

“No,” he told her. “And failing to see why I should be making anything easier for you.”

Anya brought a coffee pot from the kitchen and stood beside Xander, a supportive hand on his shoulder. “Give ‘em hell Xan, make them work for it.” She put the pot down and sat beside Buffy on the couch, ignoring her incredulous stare.

Tara and Willow sat together on a couch, Tara silent, just lending her supportive presence to Willow, ready to help but only if her friends couldn’t not work this out easily between themselves. Willow tightened her grip on Tara’s hand. “Xander, last night it sounded like a solution. Stop you becoming this, this, different person. Get you back to normal. But then you said-, and, and Spike was all-, and Xander we know we made a huge mistake but-.” Willow’s brow wrinkled. “What?”

At the mention of Spike’s name, Willow had Xander’s full attention. “Spike was what? What happened with Spike last night? Was he there?”

Willow nodded. “Spike was, well, Spike was Spike. Big Bad Spike. He was scary, Xander. Like we haven’t seen for a long time. His face and his axe, well Tara took his axe, but still, with his face and the growling. He was, um, furious isn’t a big enough word.”

“So you’re telling me Spike knows what you said to me?” All four girls nodded. “And he threatened you?” Buffy raised a hand. When Spike woke up this may well be an issue to deal with. Xander considered this. Best to have the air cleared before Spike came back, that might help with the not killing of the Scoobies. “You’re lucky he didn’t kill you,” he told Buffy honestly.

“Spike said he promised you he wouldn’t and besides, there’s the chip,” Willow said.

“Yeah he did promise, and I trust him but you must have pushed him so far to get that reaction. I’m not surprised he threatened to kill you, despite the chip.”

Buffy looked shocked. “And you don’t have a problem with that Xander?”

“Oh for-,” he tried to conceal the disgust at her inference. “Of course I have a problem with that. I’m just saying it wouldn’t be a surprise to me if it happened. Things have changed.”

Willow’s voice was sad. “Yeah things really have. I can’t even touch you anymore Xan.”

He sighed. “That’s the consort bond working itself out. Those strong points of Spike’s that the spell is taking, I have them all. The consort bond is a result of that. That’s something that will settle down eventually.”

“Xander, when you say you have all Spike’s strengths, do you mean-.”

“All,” he said calmly, cutting Buffy off.

“Oh, but, Xander, with the teeth and the blood?” Willow barely covered the way her lip curled up.

“No. No teeth, no blood.” Xander was still reluctant to have them here, still not sure about this whole discussion and so decided against giving them details they hadn’t yet asked for.

Buffy waved her hand, encouraging him to expand. He ignored it.

“Buffy we aren’t okay here. This isn’t a big sharing session where I spill everything to you.” He held his fingers an inch apart. “I am this close to pointing you towards the door. This close.”

“But Xander, we both apologised,” Willow said.

Take a deep breath first. Count to ten. Make it twenty. Okay. “Ah, no. You haven’t. All I’ve heard so far is excuses.”

Willow looked at Tara, who just nodded her agreement with Xander. She turned back to Xander and with shining eyes sat on the floor in front of him, she reached out to take his hands but pulled away with a sad face. “Xander I am so sorry. It was something we never should have suggested. We didn’t listen to you. I just didn’t get it. I didn’t understand exactly what was between you and Spike.”

“Can we pretend I’m there too?  The spell.”  Buffy indicated the space between them. “Look we know now, we get it. It was fast and it’s just, well, really freaking me out, because you were so anti-vampire guy. But Xan, this thing with you two, we understand now how it is and I am really sorry for what I suggested last night. I never would have if I really had a clue about it.”

“Might have had a clue, if you listened. I tried to tell you.” He indicated Tara and Anya, both sitting quietly on the couches. “Or if you listened to them. They could have told you.”

Anya laughed. “Oh don’t worry Xander, we did. Well I did. Tara just explained things nicely, she has this thing about not yelling and telling people they’re fools. And it didn’t hurt that Spike was ready to explode. That kind of makes a girl sit up and listen. And a watcher too.”

“So, Anya and Tara tell you how it is. Spike threatens to kill a few people. That’s all it takes for you to finally have some faith in me?” Xander gave a wry laugh. “Simple huh.? Should have thought of that sooner. God forbid you should take my word.”

 

Leaving the girls staring after him, Xander stood abruptly and strode off to the kitchen, taking a bottle of water from the fridge and leaning back against the counter. He was desperately trying to hang on to his temper, hoping to find a resolution for these issues but unwilling to just forgive and forget. One too many times they had overlooked him. Petty maybe, but how much was he supposed to take from them? Sure, it was a hard thing for them to get their minds around. God knows it had been just as hard for him. But they didn’t make it any easier on him or themselves but refusing to take on board his point of view. Xander threw his empty bottle into the sink. He skirted the living room, glancing over his shoulder at the girls. “Getting a sweater,” he told them as he tried not to run to the bedroom.

He threw open the door and slammed it behind him, in two long steps he was kneeling beside the bed, his head on Spike’s stomach. He picked up Spike’s slack hand and draped it over his own cheek, linking their fingers and trying for some level of comfort. It helped, marginally. “Spike, I have to do it don’t I? I have to just get past what they did and let them try to make it up. Meet them halfway I guess.” He held Spike’s hand to his lips. “Okay, Bleachie, this is me, making amends, putting it right, giving an inch. Delaying. Avoiding. Procrastinating.” He shuffled further up the bed and stroked his hand over Spike’s hair with a heavy sigh. “You’re right, I’m going. Wake up soon, Bleachie.” He laid a path of kisses across Spike’s cheeks to his lips. “Love you.”

Xander avoided looking at the empty side of the bed, knowing how easily he would be tempted to just throw the covers over his head and wish the girls away. The understanding that then Spike would kick his ass when he woke up kept him moving. Resisting the urge to look back again, he shut the door behind him.

 

In the living room, Anya was pouring coffee and the others were sitting on the floor around the coffee table, picking at plates of danishes and muffin tops. To Xander it looked for all the world like a normal visit from his girls and for just a moment he got back the old feeling of how it used to be. Just for a moment, until Willow caught his eye and her expression was so hurt, so unhappy, that he realised it was not going to be the same again. It couldn’t be. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t do his part to get them back on track.

He took a deep breath. The girls turned to him expectantly. “Okay, just let me say this and you can have your turn at the end. Spike and I are together. It’s not just a short term thing. We are both in it for the long haul and we both said that before we knew anything about the damn spell. Not meaning any offence Ahn, but this is it for me. This is what I wanted and what I need.”

He chanced a look at Anya and was met with a happy, understanding grin which he acknowledged with a grateful nod. “I feel like I’ve had to justify myself so many times lately and I really shouldn’t have to at all. This is how it is. Spike and I won’t separate. Spike is not manipulating me, setting me up or devising ways to hurt me. He is genuine.”

Turning now, he focused his attention on Buffy. “I won’t take anymore attacks. On either of us. Whether it’s with a stake, a sword or your opinions. If you don’t like Spike, then find another way to deal with it, because one more shot at him and we both leave. It’d break my heart, but I will leave.”

“Xander would you really do that?” Willow asked.

“How would you feel if it was Tara?” he threw back. “It’s way past time that you all listened and stopped trying to second guess me. This is non negotiable. Spike and I are a package deal. If there’s any problems we need to sort them out now before he, ah, before he wakes up.”

“No problems here Xan,” Willow told him firmly. “If you’re sure it’s what you want and you’re happy, then, well, go you. But you know it’s going to take some time to get used to. Not the gay thing, and so not even the vampire thing cause pfft, that’s been done; but the Spike thing? That’s all shiny new and just a little unexpected. You know?” She seemed almost afraid to look at him and Xander knew he couldn’t let that happen.

“I get that Will. But you just need to take my word okay?” She nodded and Xander waited while Buffy collected her thoughts.

“Xan, I just didn’t understand-,” she offered him an apologetic smile. “I just didn’t want to listen, when you told us how it is. And yeah, I have a problem with Spike, he’s an annoying-, um, he annoys me, but that’s as far as it goes.” Her smile faded. “You know last week, when I did those things to him, said things to you it was because of the spell, I would never-, not now.”

Xander sat in the corner of one of the couches, the furthest from the girls. Spike’s scent was strong here, this was one of their favourite spots over the last week to- . No, focus thoughts away from that, just take the comfort of Spike’s scent He knew they were all waiting for him to say something, he could feel the tension in the room, see it etched on their anxious faces. He’d missed them. As much as he wanted to give every minute of himself to Spike, he missed and needed his friends too.

“You guys need to understand how strong this is. Me and Spike. I know it was fast and a big shock for everybody, us included. But it is what it is and I need him now.” Big step now, get past it all. “I need you guys though. I want my friends. And if you’re all on the page as me now, then we could be okay.”

“Same page, same page,” Willow said, her voice cracking.

 

Xander noticed Willow move as though to stand, then that flash of sad in her eyes and she sat down again. The thought of what he needed and wanted to do made him twitch but he bit it back and held out his hand to her. She gave a grateful smile and launched herself off the floor and into his arms. He held her while she sniffled and apologised against his shoulder, the contact with her prickling his skin and leaving him with the urge to push her away, but he held tight to his best friend despite that.

He had little doubt that there would be problems down the track. You couldn’t just go rocking the boat with something as big as a relationship with Spike and expect everything to go smoothly. There was the slayer/vampire dynamic to work around, although Buffy managed that okay when the vampire was a little taller and broodier. There was the fact that Spike unashamedly loved baiting her. Xander might have this sorted out now, but as soon as Spike woke up there were so many more variables that he shuddered to think how it might go.

He let Willow go and watched with unease as she filled a plate for him; his stomach less than thrilled at the idea. Issues dealt with, or at least the start of dealing, he wanted nothing more than to get back under the sheets and hold onto his vampire until Spike woke up. Battling against the possessive and territorial feelings that he knew were a result of the new bond, feelings that compelled him to push them all out the door, he sat back in the couch and forced down the food Willow presented him with.

Pasting on what he trusted was a convincing smile, Xander sat back and listened to the catch up tales of their various patrols over the last week, hoping they didn’t notice how often he glanced at the clock or the desperate, yearning looks he cast towards the bedroom.

tbc

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