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
As hard as he tried, Xander couldn’t suppress his thoughts and they niggled at him all the way to Buffy’s house. Had he done the right thing in accepting Spike’s claim and making one of his own? Definitely. No question. But he had no idea how he was going to reconcile the fact that he was bound to someone whose base instinct was to kill; whose staple diet was human. He’d known, he’d said he accepted, but now faced with the hard evidence he was baulking. He hated himself for it.
Smoke, whiskey, blood. Definitely blood. He loved the smoke and whiskey taste of his vampire. It was hard and masculine and combined with Spike’s own unique flavours was both comforting and arousing. But last night there had been an unexpected taste added to the mix. One he’d recognised well, because of course Spike had been feeding on bagged human blood at home and of course it had been on his breath and lingering in his mouth.
The first time Xander had kissed him and tasted blood, he’d almost recoiled but the irresistible draw of his lover had soon put paid to that and he’d gotten quite used to it. But it was something he associated with home. Spike fed from the bags only at home and for the last two nights, while establishing and revisiting the claim, he had also fed off Xander, although to a lesser extent. The taste of his own blood in Spike’s mouth was more than erotic, but the taste of fresh blood, from a completely unknown source was just plain disconcerting.
Spike had stopped for a few drinks with Clem, so the blood had to have been mostly washed away and yet Xander was still able to detect it. So it was more than he usually had and then he hadn’t eaten when they’d gotten home, obviously didn’t need to. It could have been demon blood, but Xander was pretty sure he would notice the difference and doubted that a chip free Spike would bother to feed off demons when there were humans wandering around just ripe for the picking.
And he’d known all this. He knew Spike was a vampire, knew it when they’d first gotten together, knew it when they’d first made love, knew it when they had become master and consort. Knew and acknowledged and perhaps by default, if not condoned, at least accepted. He felt as though he didn’t have a leg to stand on. Spike was what he was and Xander was vampire’s consort. How could he then go to Spike and insist on a change to what was basically Spike’s nature? He couldn’t; and if he was honest with himself he didn’t want to try, just wanted to be able to bear it. The idea of Spike biting a human, feeding from a human felt like cheating. Spike may as well have slept with someone; this felt much similar. It hurt just the same.
Pulling up outside Buffy’s house, Xander shut off the car and rested his head back against the seat to collect himself. This was absolutely not a concern he wanted to share with the girls. Particularly not with the slayer. He would work out how to bring it up with Spike later. For now he needed to focus on the spell
The spell went much the same as it had last time. Xander immersed his hands in the bowl, wrinkling his nose at the strong smell that the girls didn’t seem to pick up on. Tara added extra ingredients while
“Okay Xander, I have something,”
They all sat around the table and waited for
“Xander you were right, the spell is not active anymore, in fact it is almost gone entirely.”
“Almost? Not completely? Are you sure you mean almost?” Xander asked, keeping a lid on his panic.
“Yes I do mean almost, sorry.” And Xander could see she really was. “There are a couple of elements still active. One is just a minute trace of magic that says you are completely bonded. Now that could be separate from the original spell and might just be a detection of Spike’s claim, I can’t tell. Either way that part is harmless, just kind of like a faded ‘sold’ sticker on a house.”
“Okay, that I can deal with,” he nodded confidently. “What else? You said there was something else.”
“The other residual element seems to be a locator. Um, for want of a better explanation it’s a bit like a homing beacon. It seems to be inactive.”
“Alright, feeling less happy with that. What does that mean?”
“I’m guessing a bit of it, but it seems that it’s a way for the demons who put the original spell on you to be able to find you at some stage. But, like I said, it’s inactive at the moment and there’s no way to tell if or when it will be activated.”
“So they can find me anytime they want?”
“Sorry, Xan. I think that’s right. But you know, maybe now that you’re bonded to Spike they might not want you anymore. They can’t complete the bond so you’re pretty much useless to them. It might be that they can’t even detect you anymore because the bond has been completed.”
“That’s a lot of maybes and ifs and a few too many variables.”
“Maybe. I’d have to look into it. There was no way we could interfere with the original spell without risking Xander, I just don’t know about this part of it.”
“We can look though Xan,”
Xander nodded. Not exactly the result he was looking for but hopefully
Buffy took his hand. “Xan, if those things ever turn up, you know they’ll have to come through me right? Through all of us.”
“Yeah I know. But I’m just going with
“Well that’s true, it’s not the brightest move a demon could make.”
“Ooh, a date? You have a date?”
“Ah, not exactly Will. I kinda think we’re past the dating stage now.”
“Yeah I guess you’re pretty much married aren’t you?” Buffy asked.
“Oh bad word there Buff,” Xander cringed. “I don’t know a better one off the top of my head and that might explain it well enough, but married? Sounds a bit domestic to me. Spike would hate it.”
“Well what then?”
“Does it have to have a label?” he asked. “I’m his consort, won’t that do?”
Buffy grinned at him and poorly muffled the word “Husband,” in an appallingly fake cough.
“And on that note and before it degenerates into any more needless name calling, I’m out of here.” Xander headed straight for the door, smiling at the happy feeling of closeness he’d gotten from the visit. He turned to hug the girls before he left. “Group patrol tomorrow? It’s been a while.”
“Now that’s a date!”
Xander laughed and waved back to them as he jogged out to the car. Nice day.
He pulled the car up a few doors away from the Bear and Lion and locked up. As he approached the door a smile spread across his face when he realised he could feel Spike inside the pub. Just a light, warm feeling in his chest and stomach but it was one that he knew came from only one source. He shoved his way through the doors, confused when he couldn’t immediately see Spike. Tom at the bar caught his eye and waved him over.
“Xander! Good to see you again mate.” Xander took the hand that Tom held out over the bar. “Everythin’ okay?”
“Couldn’t be any better Tom. Why do you ask?”
“Misery guts over there,” he said jerking his thumb over his shoulder.
Xander leaned around and saw Spike sitting at the booth they often used. There was a row of empty shot glasses and a half a bottle of whiskey in front of him and he was slumped, staring at nothing.
Xander frowned and tried to tune himself into Spike’s mood. It was a little fuzzy but he caught some regret, resignation and a touch of anger. “How long has he been here?” he asked Tom.
“Not too long,” Tom sighed. “He just waltzed in, threw a handful of cash over the bar and asked me to keep the shots comin’. I eventually just gave him the bottle. Couldn’t get anythin’ out of him though. Even our Rosie had a go but he’s clammed right up.”
“I don’t think he’s hurt, I can’t feel that, but something’s wrong.” He picked up the beer Tom put on the bar. “Thanks, I’ll go see what’s up.”
As Xander stepped away from the bar, Spike looked up and held his gaze as Xander walked to the table, and slid into the booth. Xander kissed him, noting Spike’s almost mechanical response and took his hands. “What’s happened, what’s wrong?”
“I love you,” Spike said simply as though it explained everything.
“Yeah Spike, I know. But what’s wrong?”
“That’s what’s wrong. If I didn’t love you I’d be normal.”
Xander felt his stomach lurch, all the happiness he’d been feeling gone in an instant. “Okay, Spike. What’s going on? What do you mean normal?”
He pulled away and spoke harshly. “I mean me. I’m not normal, we’re not normal. This isn’t normal. Vampires aren’t meant to be with humans. This shouldn’t even be a soddin’ issue.”
“Spike you need to tell me what happened, cause I am so not liking the sound of anything you’re saying.”
Spike didn’t answer, just poured the amber liquid into the row of empty glasses and downed another three shots.
Xander snatched the glass out of his hand and slammed it down on the table. “Damn it Spike. Stop drinking and tell me. You’re saying there’s something wrong with us? What is it?”
“The watcher was right. There’s too much human in
“And still the mud is no clearer. Will you just tell me? Please?”
“And that’s just more proof isn’t it? All you have to do is look at me like that and say please and I’m doing anything you ask. I don’t even have a bloody soul as an excuse, not like the poof. I’m all demon, but what self respecting demon bends to a human? Claims a human?”
Xander dreaded the answer but needed to ask anyway. “Do you regret the claim now Spike? You want me gone?”
Spike glanced at him with frustrated anger then focused on a puddle of whiskey. “No. No, I do not regret it and no I do not want you gone. I should regret it, I should be thinking what the fuck have I done taking a human consort? But I’m not and therein lies the problem.”
Xander again tried to pick up on Spike’s feelings but he was met with a wall of nothing. Spike had more control over their bond and despite his mood and the amount of alcohol he’d imbibed, he was able to close himself off. Xander gripped Spike’s chin and forced his head up till they were looking into each other’s eyes; Xander’s determined, Spike’s blank. “Spike, I love you but this isn’t you, this self pity. I want you to tell me exactly what happened today to make you think like this. No more fucking around now Spike. You tell me what I want to know and you tell me now.”
The blankness was gone in a flash and anger replaced it. Spike’s eyes glowed yellow but his face held. “I tried to be me. Yesterday. Last night. I went out I tortured demons, I taunted vamps, set some on fire and tore the others apart. I enjoyed every minute of it.”
“Spike I know that’s what you do. That’s what you’ve been doing for a long time now. What’s the problem?” Xander was confused; none of that was news to him.
“It wasn’t enough. The cemetery was empty so I went into the town. There were so many humans. A movie had just let out and it was so easy. You separate the weakest ones from the pack. I wondered if I would still know how, but I suppose a hundred years of habit isn’t lost so quickly.” Spike stopped for a drink and Xander waited patiently, horrified that he knew exactly where this was going. “They were so scared, I could almost taste the fear. She was so simple. She didn’t even fight and that was disappointing, but she was hot and fresh.” He met Xander’s eyes, almost daring him to make a comment. “The blood pumps into your mouth, at first you don’t even need to suck, it just shoots right in and you swallow it down.”
Xander sat very still, not wanting to hear it but needing to listen to Spike. He had no words to respond to what Spike was telling him. It was confirmation of what he’d been thinking all day, but he didn’t know if he would have been better off just left wondering. Would he want the blow by blow account of it if Spike had fucked someone else? Jesus no, but Spike needed to let this out and so Xander would listen no matter how it felt.
“They all taste different you know. I can’t tell the blood types apart, but there’s a difference. Like whiskey,” he fingered his glass. “The bloke, he was a bit more of a challenge. He didn’t run, but when it was his turn he tried to put up a fight. Not like he could do anything but I let him try. Spices up the blood with adrenaline, gives you a nice rush. He’d been drinking too, so he was like a cocktail. I’d forgotten. I knew what it was like, but I’d forgotten.” Spike reached out to stroke Xander’s cheek. “Xander it was incredible. You have no idea how much that fucking chip was holding me back. I didn’t want to stop. I left their bodies where I drained them and found two more. I wasn’t even hungry, wasn’t even thinking, it was just for the sake of it, because finally I could.” Spike smiled sadly at him. “Look at you. You’re so disappointed with me. And you know what’s fucking with my head the most? How much that bothers me. I don’t have a soul, I shouldn’t care if I disappoint you, but I do. I care so bloody much.”
“Spike I’m not-.”
“Yes you are love. It’s okay.” Spike downed a few more of his shots. “I was happy last night. My demon was happy. It was so bloody intoxicating. I went back to the cemetery again to try and pick a fight with something, just to burn off the energy before I came home. I bumped into Clem, we packed up my gear, had a few drinks then I left, killed a few more fledges and came back to you. I needed you love. I was so wired, then you were happy to see me, the sex was fucking amazing and the bites-.” Spike’s eyes returned to clear blue and he smiled, all anger and pain gone. “Bloody hell Xander, there is nothing else like that. And I mean it, love. Nothing.” He rubbed his fingers over the scar on Xander’s neck, the smile slowly fading to be replaced with a frown. “And that’s the crux of it isn’t it? There is nothing better.”
Xander pushed aside the feelings of hurt he felt at Spike’s admissions and searched his face for some clue, some hint about what the hell was going on. It was significant, everything Spike was telling him; the fact that he was ‘Xander’ more often than not was a telling sign in itself, but nothing made sense. Somewhere in Spike’s mind there was an answer, but Xander was going to have to wait until Spike worked his way around to it. Xander sighed and hooked a hand behind Spike’s neck, pulling him in to touch their lips softly together. Spike barely responded but neither did he pull away. “Spike, I want to understand, but help me out here.”
“I went out again today. The Zeeum gave me a list, mostly demons, some humans. All idiots who thought they didn’t have to pay for his services. I saw to them. All of them. Got most of his money back, got a nice payout myself.”
Xander’s heart leapt as he thought about what that might mean. Human defaulters; all seen to. Spike had killed four people last night; fed from four people and selfishly that hurt more than the killing. Now there might be more? Xander did his best to ignore that and concentrate on helping Spike sort out whatever had gotten to him.
“You’ve blocked me so I can’t tell what you’re feeling but I can guess what you’re thinking. I told you it was just a shake down and I kept my word to you. But after that I went out again. Last night it was so fucking incredible. I was satisfied, the demon was satisfied, it’s been so long I just wanted to feel that again. I found a woman, she was walking by herself, taking a shortcut through the park just after the sun went down. Stupid bint should know better in a town like this. She was terrified, almost paralysed at first. I played with her for a little while, letting her run just far enough that she’d thought she got away, but you know she couldn’t have. Once upon a time I would have had her first, didn’t want to touch her like that though, not any of them, not anymore.”
Thank heavens for small mercies. Spike hadn’t raped, just fed and murdered but still Xander was feeling as though Spike had cheated on him. He nodded his acknowledgement, toyed with his drink, then pushed it away. He braced himself to hear more.
“I bit her Xander. She cried and thrashed about for a while, begged like they all do. But then I let her go. I fucking let a human go because it was just all wrong.” His golden eyes were back and his face rippled before settling back down again. “I bit her, I fed off her and it was so wrong, both the bite and her blood. It wasn’t you and it wasn’t your blood and I couldn’t stand it. I spat it out and I let her go.”
“You really let her go?” Xander asked.
Xander was struck dumb. Not that he’d been remotely able to think of a single thing to say before this but now he was completely at a loss. Feelings he had plenty of. Words? None. He told Spike as much.
“You don’t have to say anything love. I hardly know what to say about it myself. Well no that’s not true or I wouldn’t have been prattling on for so long. I just don’t know what to think next. I’m a vampire, I’m supposed to bite and kill and not care. I shouldn’t be feeling like this.”
“You should feel however you feel Spike. Who makes the rules? Is there a set of instructions you have to follow? Will you have your vampire licence revoked? You’ve taken a human consort, surely any rules are null and void now.”
“If there were rules then it would be the fairly basic ones I fucked up. Vampires eat humans, vampires don’t give a shit about killing humans. What kind of vampire am I if I don’t even want to do that anymore and regret the ones I fed from last night?”
“But you aren’t just any vampire Spike, you never have been. You know that, I know it, hell even Giles knows. You’re unique, one of a kind and if, for some reason, you don’t act like every other half witted vampire then that’s just you being consistently inconsistent and thumbing your nose at the world. You’ve told me time and again you make your own decisions, this is another.”
“It’s not so much a decision love. It’s not like I have a choice here. I felt so unfaithful to you. Like I was cheating on you. There’s no way I would do that to either of us.”
Xander nodded. “Yesterday I tasted the blood on you. This afternoon all I could think about was how I felt like you’d been with someone else. I thought about that time here when Rose told me how big a deal it was for you to take my blood then I wondered how you could do it with a stranger.”
“Turns out I can’t love. Last night was different, it was such a rush, I lost my head. But tonight was all so wrong.” Spike ran his hand through Xander’s hair. “If you felt like that too, why didn’t you say something? Why leave me to fuck things up like that?”
“Spike, I would never ask you to be less than you are. I wanted to find a way for me to deal with the fact that it was just what you did and I knew that going into this.”
“It’s not what I do anymore love. Maybe this is how it’s meant to be between master and consort. To keep the bond alive we have to exchange blood, we knew that. But maybe that’s all I’m meant to have. Maybe that’s always going to be enough.”
“Spike, I’ve never been a consort, you’ve never had a consort. I bet there’s going to be more things we discover along the way that need a bit of compromise or adjustment from both of us. I can’t imagine anything bigger than this though. So maybe we have the hard stuff out of the way.”
“Maybe we do love. I hope you’re right. This one threw me for a loop. I wanted to be free of that bloody chip and then I find I just don’t want that part of the freedom anymore. It means I’m not who I thought I was and now I have to adjust to that. I don’t like what I did and I hate how it made you feel, but I can guarantee you it won’t happen again.”
“Spike if you had said you had no regrets about it then I would have had a problem. But here we are, we’re both dealing with the same feelings and there’s no way I can hold it against you when neither of us knew what effect it would have.” Xander pulled his shirt aside and tilted his head so Spike could clearly see the scar. “From now on, you want to bite someone, you bite me. You want fresh blood, you have mine.”
“Love I won’t have you be my food.”
“No, it’s not like that is it? You bite me because you love me. I’m not your food, think about when you bite me, how you bite me, this is nothing like feeding is it?”
Spike thought about it for a while, threw back a few more shots then nodded. “It’s all tied up with the sex now for me. That’s what’s done it.” He tapped his head. “Up here, us, I can’t separate the bite from the love and the sex. It’s the same for you now isn’t it?” Xander nodded and Spike sighed. “Fuck it, Rupert was right wasn’t he? I am different. I suppose from here on out we make out own bloody rules about what kind of vampire I am.”
“How about no rules and you just be what you want? Keep the watchers guessing.”
“Fuck with their heads a bit? God knows I’m done fucking with ours.”
“You didn’t fuck with ours, neither of us knew how this claiming business would affect things, now we do we can deal with it.”
Spike sat back in the booth and visibly relaxed for the first time since Xander had arrived. Xander picked up his beer and took a long swallow. Spike’s actions had hurt, but no one was to blame. He’d done what he was built for and, as it turned out, that had all changed when they claimed each other. The feelings of betrayal were fading as Spike opened himself back up to Xander and his love and regret flowed through.