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 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
On Sunday afternoon Spike scraped the last of Rose’s lotion out of the jar and Xander just knew his ass was going to miss that stuff. On Sunday night, Xander presented Rose with a bunch of flowers and a hopeful expression; real food please, oh and by the way, if you just happen to have some of that cream lying around, well that would be great too. On Monday morning the regular blood delivery was accompanied by several large jars. On Monday afternoon they were changing the oily sheets again.
Just before dusk on Monday evening, Xander hauled a delectably shiny Spike into the shower and regretfully scrubbed him clean. Spike returned the favour, making sure he got all the oil off of, and also out of, Xander. The hot water had long since run out by the time they were done.
Dressed for the first time in a long time, Spike pinned and kissed Xander as they shut the apartment door. Downstairs, Xander took the opportunity to push Spike up against the car door and kiss him before he remembered to beep the locks, and neither was disappointed that they seemed to get every red light between home and the Magic Box. Spike was pretty sure Xander was timing it that way, but didn’t complain, not if getting in a good grope was the price you paid for a longer trip.
Xander ordered and paid for the obligatory Scooby meeting pizzas and hesitated only for a split second at the front door of the Magic Box. Spike held it open for him and gestured him inside with a whisper he knew Xander’s newly sensitive ears would pick up. “Love you, got your back.” The reward of Xander’s beaming smile warmed him through.
“Hey guys.” Xander dropped the pizzas in the middle of the table, deliberately ignoring Giles’ horrified noises as he quickly snatched his volumes away to safety. “I come bearing cholesterol poisoning and manufactured meat products.” He stood still and accepted
He did a quick circuit of the table, dropped a kiss on Buffy’s head then darted away to the other side to give
Xander threw himself into a seat at the table opposite Buffy, looked at
Spike stood close behind Xander, a protective hand on the back of his neck and a neutral expression on his face. Watching the interaction between these people, he was tense, on edge, waiting for one of them to attack. He knew that Xander was reasonably satisfied with how he’d dealt with them and Spike had promised to not insult, threaten or generally intimidate unless it all went to hell again. Spike would have loved nothing more than to charge in with full game face and scare the living shit out of the selfish lot of them. But a promise was a promise, well to Xander at least; anyone else could go to hell.
He wondered if maybe the lad weren’t overcompensating just a little, but decided he wasn’t when Xander looked up at him with one of those heart melting, genuine smiles of happiness. When the talk was of nothing more innocuous than pizza topping and how good the food could be even without garlic, Spike relaxed a touch and sat down next to Xander. Seeing as how these people all knew the way of things between them, and swore it was not so much an issue, he shifted an arm around Xander’s shoulders. Another happy smile from Xander, this one with a tiny side of desire, and Spike had a warm body leaning into his side and a hot hand seeming to burn its mark into his inner thigh.
Xander understood that finding a balance to his new life would not be easy but best to start trying straight away. He surreptitiously gauged the girl’s reaction to Spike’s touch and after a double take from
Pizzas demolished, small talk out of the way and the tables cleared, Giles returned the volumes and directed them to the passages they’d located on the Fewoi. Xander and Spike shared a glance and then listened with shocked surprise to Giles briefing.
“The Fewoi continues to be more of a nuisance than a threat. So far it has avoided the major substations, but shopping malls, cemeteries, traffic signals and even the hospital have been damaged in some form or other. Now Xander, I am aware that this demon is most likely tracking you, why it hasn’t got to you at home I’ve no idea, however-.”
“Wards.” Spike said, interrupting Giles and silently cursing the watcher’s careless statement. The idea that the demons might intrude on his home had not yet crossed Xander’s mind and Spike had planned to keep it that way.
“No Red, you didn’t. I had a friend take care of it last week,” Spike told her. “Someone needed to make sure he was safe.”
“I-, we-. Sorry Xander I don’t know why we didn’t think of it.”
“Don’t worry Will, none of us thought of it. It’s been a crazy time and there were just too many other things going on I guess.” Xander turned to Spike. “Tom?”
“Yeah love. Same wards he has on the Lion and my crypt.”
Xander laid a hand on Spike’s thigh and squeezed. “Thanks for thinking of it.”
Spike merely nodded, still not understanding Xander’s sudden need to thank him for things like this. Since he’d woken up Xander had found many things to thank Spike for and had made a point of saying how proud he was to be Spike’s almost-consort. Spike was just protecting his own; it’s what a man did. No thanks needed for any of it, but if Harris felt it necessary, well who was he to take the wind out of the boy’s sails. And after all, it did do a fella’s ego the world of good.
“You trust the person who did this?” Giles asked.
“Course I bloody do watcher. What sort of question is that? You think I’m going to put him at any more risk than he already is?” Spike shook his head and turned his back slightly to Giles.
“Right, yes, of course not. I apologise for ah, suggesting-.”
“Get on with it Rupert. You think there’s a Fewoi on the loose yeah?”
Giles bristled at Spike’s cold words, but was reluctant to set anything else off, so he let it go. “As I was saying, the Fewoi is tracking Xander’s movements, and I imagine it is only a matter of time before it catches up. I believe we need to now consider drawing it out and dispensing with it before it does some serious damage.”
Xander gripped Spike’s hand and met his eyes. At Spike’s nod he addressed Giles. “The Fewoi is dead.”
“What do you mean Xander? How could you know that?”
“Friday night. Spike killed it.”
There were surprised noises all around the table, a few questions about why he hadn’t said anything on Saturday but then Giles voice cut across the top of it all and stopped them.
“Then there must be another.” He waited till he had all their attention. “The blackouts were reported today in one of the less, ah, pleasant areas of Sunnydale. The western end of
Xander’s grip on Spike’s hand tightened and he tensed. He spoke quietly to Spike. “The Lion is two blocks from Nelson and we drove past the hospital last night to get home.”
“Fuck it. There’s a second one.”
Xander stood abruptly. “Spike we’re going.”
Spike pulled him back again. “No mate, we are not. We’re going to listen to what the watcher has to say and see if we can help your friends.”
“No Spike. We are not getting involved with one of those things again. Now let’s go.”
“No Spike?” He stared hard at Xander, who returned the glare with equal intensity. “Right. Excuse us. I’m going to have a quick word with my consort.” Spike stood and cocked an eyebrow at Xander, waiting while he sighed and slowly, stubbornly, got to his feet.
Giles looked from one to the other. “Ah, Spike, perhaps-.”
“Not your business watcher.” Spike held the training room door open and motioned Xander out the back door to the alley.
Xander tensed ready for Spike to let rip. He sensed a wave of arousal from Spike, but was caught unawares when Spike slammed the back door and grabbed Xander’s face in both hands and kissed him fiercely.
“Wow, that sure taught me a lesson,” he said when Spike pulled away.
“Not angry with you git.” Spike’s lip curled into a leer. “Love it when you have a bit of fire in your belly.”
“That’s it? You brought me out here cause you’re horny?”
“No! Okay well, yeah I’m a bit toey, but no. I brought you out here because I don’t want to argue with you in front of your friends. Just give them more fuel won’t it?”
Xander agreed. “Great. No problem because there is no argument Spike. We are not fighting another one of those things. Look what happened last time. No chance. Nuh. No way. The end.”
“It’s not the bleedin’ end you pillock.” Spike pointed to a stack of crates and they sat. He leaned forward with his hands on Xander’s thighs. “We know how to kill this thing. You can bet they don’t. This Fewoi is coming after you as well and I won’t have that. We know how to kill it, we will kill it. This time we’ll just make sure no one gets themselves zapped.”
“Damn it Spike I don’t want us in the way of another one. You slept through the aftermath of the last fight. I can’t keep doing that.”
“Harris I was the one cooking from the inside out and I’m prepared to go back up against it.”
“What if I’m not prepared for you to do that?” Xander asked quietly.
“I’ve said it all before; it’s what I do love. I’m going to keep doing it because that’s just me. You knew that getting into this.” Spike took his hands. “Please don’t tell me you’re backing out now.”
Xander looked horrified. “No! God no. But I don’t know how I can keep doing the bedside vigil. It’s so damn hard Spike.”
“Look mate, I hate that you have to go through that but I can’t say it won’t happen again, because it likely will. I can’t say it will get easier for you to deal with, because I seriously doubt that. All I can say is make use of your friends, let them help you out when it does happen yeah?”
“Or you could say ‘Xander I will never again get myself so badly hurt that I’m in a coma, or my insides are visible from the outside’.”
“You want me to stay home, put on an apron and bake cakes, watch the talkbacks, maybe take up knitting?”
“Would the cakes be chocolate and would you wear anything under the apron?”
Spike laughed with him. “Best I can do love is promise to not get eviscerated on purpose. How’s that?”
Spike shrugged and nodded. “For now.”
“And if we go against this second Fewoi you won’t go poking it with big metal axes?”
“With a bit of luck love, the slayer will be doing all the poking this time. We’ll just be there as back up. It’s her that’s the bloody chosen one after all.”
“Alright, damn you and your crazy vampire sense making.” Xander stood up and pulled Spike along with him. “Fine, let’s go inside. But if you get yourself fried again I am so gonna kick your comatose ass.”
“Now love, no need to rush off quite yet is there?” Spike hooked his fingers into Xander’s jeans pockets and pulled him in, rubbing their groins together.
“Oh, no.” He pushed Spike away. “Not here, you know my luck, any minute Anya will come charging out to see if I’m okay.”
“Damn woman. Fine I’ll settle for this then.” He pulled Xander back again and kissed him, laughing when Xander cut short his own enthusiastic response to again push Spike back.
“I love you Bleachie, but so not getting into this with you when we have to go back inside with the girls.”
“Rubbish Harris. If you really loved me you’d be bent over that crate waving your gorgeous arse at me.”
“No! No more visuals. Shit Spike.” Xander adjusted his pants, suddenly finding himself rather uncomfortable. “Inside. Now.” Xander held open the back door, sighing in resignation when Spike again kissed him on the way through. Xander paused before the door into the shopfront.
“Spike I don’t want to tell them about what happened last time okay?”
“Love we need to talk to them about the demon, they’ll want to know how to kill it yeah?”
“Yeah that part’s all fine, I just don’t want to talk about what happened to you, you know?”
Xander shook his head. “Not really. It wasn’t that much fun the first time around, I just don’t feel up to reliving it.”
“C’mere.” Spike reached out and pulled Xander into a crushing hug. “You bring up whatever you’re comfortable talking about and I’ll follow your lead. That sound okay?” He felt Xander’s nod against his shoulder. “Good. Love you mate. Now how about we get this all over with?”
In the store, the girls and Giles were trying to look disinterested, flipping through books and pretending not to be waiting for Spike and Xander to come back. When they did walk out, they were met with politely curious stares but no questions. They took their seats without a word, Spike again wrapping an arm around Xander.
“So, G-man. Another Fewoi. What’s your plan of attack?” Xander asked casually, laying a hand on Spike’s leg.
Giles looked from Xander to Spike and seeing no signal from either decided to just get on with it. “Right well, ah, we still have little information on the Fewoi, other than now knowing that we have, or rather had two in town. We know that while they will stalk in packs, or in this case pairs, they will never attack in pairs, which is why you encountered the single demon last week. Interestingly this demon likes to play with its vict-, target, its target, so it will stalk, confront and then toy; they are not know for a sudden attack. Now this one seems just as enamoured of Xander as the first, so is no less dangerous.”
“And we still don’t know how to kill it,” Buffy said.
Xander felt Spike’s hand tighten on his shoulder and felt the reassurance seeping into the bond. “But Spike does. We do,” he said.
“Ah yes, excellent, and we can use that information along with the plan we devised today and it should see the end of this problem.”
“You’ve devised a plan Rupert. What exactly is this plan?”
“Er, well that would involve Xander.” Giles gradually inched away, putting some distance between himself and the possibly homicidal vampire. “We need Xander to draw the demon out.”
“Bait. You want to use him as bait?” Spike said incredulously. “Unbloodylikely.”
“Spike we need to get rid of this demon.” Buffy said. “We know it’s drawn to Xander, it’s the most logical way and you know we’ll protect him.”
“Xander, we’ll all be there.”
Spike glanced at Xander and noted the calm, neutral expression. He knew it was a mask, could feel the turmoil inside, could feel the hand digging into the muscle of his leg. He ran his fingers though the back of Xander’s hair and leaned in close to whisper, his voice no more than a breath, but easy enough for Xander to hear. “Calm down love. Let’s hear them out. I’ve got your back, remember?”
Xander tilted his head against Spike’s and nodded, ignoring the look from
When neither Xander nor Spike made any comment, Giles continued. Carefully. “We were unsure where to carry this out, but if you both confronted the first demon then it may be that we should use that same location. Now I do believe we can keep Xander quite safe. As I said, the demon will not launch a surprise attack, it will stalk and then toy with its target. The significant point to remember is that it will not attack a protected target, only a solitary one.”
“We can protect you Xan, but you’ll need to look like you’re on your own.” Buffy told him.
“Spike killed it by penetrating the center of its chest, where its power comes from. It packs a punch though, so you’d need to reconsider the weapons.”
“Weapons not an issue, we have plenty, we’ll arm everyone with swords, axes-.”
Xander cut Buffy off. “No. No swords, no axes, nothing metallic. Wood. Everything needs to be wood.”
“Xander aside from the stakes, crossbow bolts and training staffs, we have no other wooden weapons.” Giles said.
“No. Crossbow bolts are too small, stakes too close range and training staffs are too weak.” He thought for a moment. “I’ll make something. I’ll get some hardwood, go to one of the sites and borrow their equipment. I can make a set of, I don’t know, spears I guess, but thicker. Sharp points, solid enough to get through the Fewoi’s hide and smash its power center.”
“Right Xander, thankyou. Ah, so then we can have Xander lure the demon to an open area, Buffy and Spike will be waiting, Willow and Tara will be tracking and hopefully if all goes to plan we will be rid of this demon,” Giles concluded confidently.
“Still one problem, watcher.” Spike said slowly. “Have any of you asked Harris here if he’s willing to put himself on the line like that? Or are you all just telling him the way of it again?”
Giles glanced at Xander’s face, which gave nothing away. “Oh, I ah thought that, well, when you said you-.” He cleared his throat. “Yes of course. Xander I apologise. If you would like some time to think about this then by all means.”
Xander turned to Spike searching his face for a clue; Spike just smiled softly. “Up to you love. Might be a good way to be rid of this bloody thing. You know I’ve got your back, always got your back. But you choose.”
Xander gave a heavy sigh. “I know I’m going to regret this. Luck has not been on my side lately, well actually it has, but totally the wrong kind of luck. Alright, let’s do it.”
Xander was met with a barrage of comforting and supportive words from the girls and Giles. He tuned all of them out and focused on Spike’s calming hand resting on the back of his neck and the clear blue eyes that met his with the only reassurances and promises that counted for him.