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, no Season 6 Spuffy.
Disclaimer: not mine, all belongs to Joss and Co. Damn them. And bless them.
A/N: Computer or Firefox or something is begin a big cow and not letting me make links. If you're looking for previous chaps they're lurking in my memories.
PS: I know there's two cuts but if I have to try to edit this thing one more time I am going to drop kick my laptop.
Resigned to the fact that he would neither have control of the remote, nor enjoy the lazy afternoon he’d planned, Xander lay on one couch, rolling his eyes at Spike, who was sprawled out across the other. “Spike if we have them here we can make it as short as we like,” he said, for what felt like the tenth time.
Spike spoke slowly and distinctly, as though to an especially slow child. “If we have them here then they won’t be at the shop, they’ll actually be inside the bloody apartment won’t they?”
Xander ignored the tone. “And?”
“Well then I have to be nice don’t I? Be a gracious host and all. Not threaten to garrotte or disembowel anyone. It’s like a soddin’ nightmare.”
Xander couldn’t help the short, sharp laugh that burst from him. “Bleachie I don’t think anyone would ever mistake you to for a gracious host. Or expect you to be nice.”
Spike sneered at him. “Oh, now that’s bloody lovely isn’t it? And why do you immediately assume I wouldn’t be nice or gracious. ”
Xander clutched a cushion over his face and slowly counted to ten. “Okay, for a start you’re lamenting the fact that you can’t intimidate my friends with threats of various gruesome and bloody murders.”
“Love, I am an evil vampire. I’m not going to make them cookies am I?”
Xander’s eyes widened. “Now you mention it-.”
“Oh sod off you git. If I’m not cooking meals for you, I’m not bloody baking for those twats.”
“That’s a no?”
“Big fucking no in point of fact.”
“So let me get this straight. You want to kill my friends in numerous ways. You want them to stay at the shop so you don’t have to have them here. They are all twats that you don’t want to feed. Yet you are annoyed that people don’t find you nice or gracious.” Xander’s voice was still a little muffled by the cushion over his head. “That about it?”
After a pause, Spike’s irritated voice came. “Yeah.”
Xander snorted. “And you call me an idiot.”
“Fuck off Harris.”
“Spike c’mere.” Xander waved his arm vaguely.
“Fuck off not simple enough for you?”
Xander waved again. “C’mere you grouch.”
“I’m comfortable here,” Spike said. “Why should I get up and go all the way over there?”
“Cause I want you to bite me.”
“Well why didn’t you bloody say so?” Spike was off his couch in an instant.
Xander smiled and held out his arm, offering the vein. Spike lowered himself to the floor, leaning back against the couch and pulled Xander’s arm around him. His teeth slid in easily and Xander gasped at the sudden pain as the sharp fangs broke through. It stung for a moment, but then the slow burning heat began to spread through him. He watched with fascination as Spike drew on the puncture gently, just a few times, then licked the wound clean and pulled away, leaning his head back against Xander’s chest, with a satisfied sigh.
“Feel better now?” Xander asked, stroking his fingers over Spike’s throat.
“Felt fine before.”
Xander shook his head. “No, you were bitching and moaning so much, I was about to drag you off to the bathtub and drown you.”
“I don’t breathe love.”
Xander’s fingers unconsciously found their way to the scar on Spike’s neck. Not as large nor as clear as his own, but still as sensitive. He felt the rush of contentment from Spike as his fingers brushed back and forth over the claim. “I know, but the attempt would have been very satisfying for me.”
“Charming sentiment.” Spike laughed and climbed onto the couch, settling comfortably against Xander’s side. “You’ll call them then and have them over here instead?”
“Only if you’re okay with it.”
“It’s your apartment love.”
“No! No it isn’t. Its our apartment. And if you would rather they didn’t come then I won’t ask them.”
Spike lifted himself over Xander and kissed him slowly, one of those ‘who needs words when I can kiss you like this’ ones that made Xander wish he could breath through his ears so it wouldn’t end. “I love you mate. Invite your friends over.”
Several hours later, Xander had a calming hand on Spike’s back as Buffy and Willow, followed by a reluctant Giles filed in through the door.
“Where’s Anya?” Xander asked.
“Out with Simon,” Buffy said. “She said to tell you she knows, she doesn’t care and that offers from family members can be more important than pride and grudges. Do you know what she meant?”
Xander exchanged a look of surprise with Spike. When would they learn not to underestimate his ex? He shook his head no. “Well it’s Anya. Does anyone ever really know?”
“Seldom if ever,” Giles muttered.
Xander followed them all into the living room. “Geez, you all look like you’re coming here for a funeral or something,” he said. “Why the long faces?”
Willow just threw him a sad look as they all sat down on in the living room. “Xander, Giles told us what was happening yesterday.”
Xander pulled one of the dining chairs over and sat down. Spike stood directly behind him, possessive hands on his shoulders. “Well he’s done a pretty bad job of it if it left you all like this,” he said, looking at Giles with a frown. “What exactly did you tell them G-man?”
“Xander, don’t-.” Giles belatedly recognised the bait but refused to be drawn in. “I explained to the girls that you and Spike are more closely linked than they thought. That the death of Spike seals your fate as well.”
“And seeing as Spike intends on hanging around a few more years yet, there is no problem,” Xander said. “Right Bleachie?”
“That’s my plan love.”
“But Xander, any day he could go out and pick a fight with someone and get staked,” Willow said with fear in her voice.
“Red, I’ve picked hundreds, maybe thousands of fights and I’m still here a century on. You lot go out picking fights with demons on a regular basis don’t you? You’re all still here.”
“Guys look, I’m not having a long drawn out discussion over this. Yes, if Spike dies, I might die too. I’m okay with that because its not likely to happen for a long time yet and I used to plan on dying in sixty, maybe seventy years anyway. Well, now that I think about it, living on the Hellmouth it was probably a little optimistic wasn’t it?”
“Xander how you can so blithely discuss your death, I’ve no idea,” Giles said, a look of concern creasing his forehead.
“So what is it you expect me to do Giles? Yes, when Spike dies, I die. We are planning on having a long life together and if and when the time comes, we’ll deal with it then. Same as you and your own death.”
“It’s more the fact that he lives so dangerously that he could be staked any day,” Buffy said.
“True, but he’s just that little but safer now isn’t he Buff?” Xander caught her eye and held her gaze. “He doesn’t have a slayer on his tail anymore does he? You stake him, you kill me too.”
Xander watched as Buffy mulled that over and heard Spike’s soft chuckle as the realisation showed on her face, accompanied by no small measure of disgust.
“I might feel the need to kick his arrogant, undead ass every now and then, but I won’t try to stake him and if you think I’m going to be his protector you can think again.”
“Giles,” Willow interrupted. “We can’t let Spike go out on patrols like we used to. We can’t just go sending him after anything and everything anymore.”
“Oi! You are not letting me do anything. I work for you ungrateful people. I choose what I do.”
“Willow, Buffy, Spike is quite capable of deciding these things,” Giles said. “Surely you aren’t suggesting that he would continue to be reckless and endanger himself when Xander’s very life is so dependent on him? I think you give him too little credit and disrespect the bond between master and consort.”
While Spike stood stunned, Xander gave Giles a genuine smile. “Thankyou Giles.”
Giles nodded back, without a smile. “It in no way benefits us to pretend your relationship is not as serious as it is. We need to recognise the nature of the connection between you and whether or not we think it is incredibly ill-advised, we must respect the choice you have both made.”
“Well thanks anyway Giles,” Xander said, wondering if the comment was intended to be quite as backhanded as it had felt.
“But Xander what if something happens to Spike tomorrow or next week, you know? Have you accepted that? Cause I think I’m all with the not accepting of that. I’m not ready to lose you so soon.” Willow said, the beginnings of tears in her eyes.
Xander crossed the room and kneeled in front of Willow taking her hands. “Will, if that happens there is a plan too,” Xander said. “Not a plan I actually like in any way, shape or form, but it’s an option for me.”
Giles looked over at Spike. “You’ve made the arrangements you spoke of then?”
“But Xander is obviously unhappy with it,” Giles said.
Xander kept hold of Willow’s hands, but turned and spoke to Giles. “I accept that it’s how it has to be. It’s a choice for me that Spike wanted me to have. When the time comes I’ll make a decision, but for now its something I’d rather not dwell on too much cause honestly, can I just say, it just creeps me out a bit right now.”
“And this arrangement Spike? Are we to be told?” Giles asked.
Xander got up and sat next to Willow on the couch. He met Spike’s eyes and gave him a small nod.
“Alright Watcher,” Spike said, flicking his cautious gaze briefly to Buffy. “But you might want to keep an eye on your slayer there.”
Giles sighed. “Spike do stop being overly dramatic and explain yourself.”
Spike moved across the room and sat on the arm of the couch next to Xander, putting an arm around his shoulders and more distance between himself and the slayer. “If I get dusted, you need to make sure Xander gets to LA. Angel will look after him, take over my claim.”
Their reaction was not as extreme as Xander had expected. While Giles appeared to understand immediately, Willow’s small voice gave away her dawning realisations.
“Oh-. Ohhh -. But then Angel would-. And he’d have to-. And he could-. Oh boy.” She glanced sidelong at Xander and blushed. “Xander, you’d umm, you know, with Angel?”
Xander gave her hand a squeeze but kept his eyes on Buffy. She had listened to him, then to Willow’s faltering thoughts and had come to the same conclusion. Xander saw her shoulders slump and a sadness come over her. Before he could say anything to either of them, Spike jumped in.
“Angelus is my sire. He is fully entitled to take over my claim. If he does, then my boy here won’t die, he’ll belong to the poof, just like he belongs to me now. Angelus can save him. The three of us, we’re family after all. If it’s what he wants at the time, you people need to get him to LA within a few days and give him over to Angel.”
Xander saw how Buffy was reacting to this. “How about you let me Bleachie huh?” Xander said softly and laid a hand on Spike’s leg. Spike shrugged but waved a hand for Xander to take over. “Buff, Willow, its just an option okay? I don’t know if I want it but the choice is there.”
“So Xan, you’d be Angel’s um, you and Angel would be um, oh.” Willow gave up trying to put a name to it. “What exactly would you and Angel be?”
“Claimed Will.” Xander said softly. “He would have to claim me, like Spike did.” Xander saw Buffy flinch as though she’d been slapped. “Okay, not exactly like Spike, Angel and I would have to bite each other but I wouldn’t have to-, you know.”
Buffy still didn’t speak and Giles was looking at her apprehensively as she stared at Xander. “Ah, Spike, would that then entitle Angel to claim some sort of rights over Xander?”
“Yes it would and no he wouldn’t claim them. Harris here would belong to him but they wouldn’t be mated, not unless that’s what they wanted-.” Spike stopped and shook his head, Xander seeing that he battled to keep his eyes blue and his face smooth.
Xander let go of Willow’s hand and twisted towards Spike. “I don’t. Spike you know I so don’t want that.”
Spike’s eyes still flickered. “Yeah mate I know that, I know he wouldn’t either. It’s just the demon in me that’s none too happy about the possibility.”
Xander completely understood how the demon was feeling. It still made him sick to his stomach to think of begin claimed by anyone else, multiply that by a hundred for the idea of mating with Angel as well. Xander tried to pull together and share his feelings of devotion to Spike and loyalty to the demon. Spike must have noticed as his eyes settled back on blue and he gave Xander a small smile of appreciation.
“You’re a consort to be proud of love,” he said and leaned over to kiss Xander softly.
“Yes well, perhaps you could save that for after we’ve left,” Giles said. “Spike, you have my word that if the situation ever arises, I will ensure Xander is taken to Angel if it is what you decide.”
Xander smiled and nodded his thanks at Giles. Buffy was still silent and Xander knew how hard it would be for her to deal with the fact that he might end up with a closer relationship with Angel than she could ever have. “Buff you okay?” he asked.
She gave him a tiny smile. “As far as bombshells go, I think you slammed that one down pretty hard.”
“It’s almost nothing really,” Xander said. “It could be as simple as one bite each and then I don’t have to see him again.”
“Or he could decide to mate with you and claim full rights, like Spike said he could.”
“Oh come on now Slayer.” Spike scoffed. “You know the great ponce as well as we do, can you see him wanting to claim Harris? No offense love.”
Xander stifled a chuckle. “None taken.” In his round about way, Spike was trying to appease Buffy and Xander loved him for it. Natural enemies, slayer and vampire, but Spike recognised that Buffy would be feeling just as territorial as they both were. Xander also knew that in Spike’s mind, scoring points with the consort couldn’t hurt either.
“And just in case I’m wrong, you best stop trying to stake me and we’ll never have to find out right?” Spike smirked at her.
Buffy stared him down for a moment before she cracked a smile. “All about you again isn’t it Spike?”
“Too bloody right it is Slayer. You keep me safe and your mate here doesn’t have to do the deed with your ex. Plain and simple.”
“Spike even for a vampire you can be exceedingly coarse and tactless,” Giles sighed.
“Yeah, it’s why I’m special,” Spike agreed. “So special I have my very own slayer bodyguard. Right pet?”
“Spike never call me that. Ever,” Buffy told him with an impatient look. “And no. I am not your very own slayer. You deliberately annoy me and I will kick your ass any chance I get. I’m not taking responsibility for your safety, you’re a big boy and you can do that yourself. I promised I won’t stake you and that’s as good as it gets. I’m not putting everyone else in danger and going out of my way in a fight to protect you. Xander, no one wants you to die, but Spike has to take responsibility for that himself now.”
“Very efficient and well said Slayer. I would have been worried about you if you suddenly dropped everything and became my security guard. Nothing personal-, actually yeah its very personal, cause I don’t like you at all- but I really don’t want or need you defending me. I can look after my consort well enough thankyou very much.”
“Right so we have that straightened out then?” Xander said firmly. “Buffy hates Spike. Spike hates Buffy. Buffy won’t stake Spike and Spike won’t antagonise Buffy because she can’t stake Spike. Spike will not mention Angel again and Buffy knows that Angel is not, and never will be, interested in doing unspeakable deeds with me. Yes? Good. Agreed. We’re done?”
“But Xan if Buffy can’t stake Spike, what’s to stop Spike going out now and getting all grrr killing all the munchable people he can find?” Willow asked.
“I’m stopping me Red,” Spike said. “I’m not biting humans. Promise to the consort, no other details forthcoming.”
“And we’re to take your word Spike? Giles asked doubtfully.
“Yes Watcher, you are.”
“Might I enquire as to how you’re feeding then?”
“You might but it’s bloody unlikely I’m going to discuss that with you,” Spike snorted. “Not really your business is it now? Nor yours Slayer, before you go jumping in all slap happy.”
“Spike I think it might be our business if we have concerns about how you’re feeding now your chip is gone,” Buffy told him.
“Your concerns are your issue. I’ve told you I’m not biting humans and that’s all I’m prepared to tell you. Any other problems you have, bloody well deal with them yourself slayer.”
Xander sighed. “Buff I have to agree here. You need to take Spike’s word for it. And no, I’m not going to tell you any more than he is, like we’ve said before, some things are too private.”
Willow took hold of Xander’s arm and touched the healed over puncture marks. “Is this why?”
Xander snatched his arm back from her. “Like I said Will. Nobody’s business but ours.”
Buffy jumped out of her seat and was halfway across the room but Spike was also up and between her and Xander, letting out a low warning growl. “Xander he’s feeding off you? Is that was those marks on your arm are?”
“What are you going to do slayer? Stake me? Kill your mate here?”
“Alright that will be quite enough,” Giles raised voice stopped them. “Buffy return to your seat.” Giles waited until everyone was calm again. “Buffy, Willow, we have said on numerous occasions that the relationship between Xander and Spike is something that we can’t hope to understand all the nuances of. You need to bear that in mind as you learn new aspects of their bond.”
“But Xan, biting for, ah, well, fun is one thing, which I kind of understand, but you’re food now?” Willow said. “I don’t get that.”
“Sorry Will, its just how it is,” Xander shrugged.
“Willow, Xander is obviously healthy and quite clearly he is happy. He is making decisions that we need to respect and we can’t be calling his every personal detail into question just because we might not understand it or agree with it. Goodness knows you’ve all made some spectacularly bad decisions but we overlook them do we not?”
“Oh fucking hell.” Spike stood and walked off to the kitchen, returning immediately with an unopened bag of blood and waved it in Buffy’s direction. “Bags. Fresh o-pos. Okay? End of conversation people.”
“There’s bags?” Willow said. “Oh, you meant it then. You aren’t biting the population.”
“Told you didn’t I?” Spike curled his lip and put the bag back. “Don’t bother believing the vampire though will you? Bloody humans.”
Xander stood and looked around at his friends. “So. Anything else you aren’t happy about or can we just move on now? Only I think I might like a night out. Maybe a bit of Bronze, maybe a beer, maybe a dance or two with my girls if they stop mothering me long enough. And I think I would really like a game of pool with my vampire. Anyone else in or should I go without you and leave you here discussing the finer points of my personal life?”
“Are you gonna do anything else creepy and weird Xan?” Willow asked.
“Well I might put ketchup on my buffalo wings but that’s about it. Think you can handle that zany madness?”
“I don’t know, that’s pretty out there,” Willow said, smiling as she got up.
“Yeah Xan you always did have strange tastes,” Buffy waved a hand in Spike’s direction. “Case in point.”
“Oi! Enough of that slayer.”
Xander recognised the gentle jibe from Buffy as the apology that it was. Enough with the dissections and explanations of his life, he was ready to get out and do some serious relaxing. Xander looked over at Spike. “What do you say Bleachie? Want to go shoot a bit of pool? I’ll buy you imported beer?”
“Am I going to be subjected to bloody stupid insults all night?”
Xander looked questioningly at Buffy and Willow. They both shook their heads. “Sure?” he asked. “Cause I think we’ve both had enough for one night.”
“Sure,” Willow said with conviction.
“Can’t guarantee anything,” Buffy said. “He is kind of a pain.”
“Close enough!” Xander said. “Let’s get out of here then. Coming Giles?”
“Oh, as much as it might pain me to have to turn you down, I will actually do so with great joy for not having to listen to the endless-.”
“A simple no would do it G-man.”
“No,” he said drily.
“Right then, lets go.” Xander grabbed Spike’s coat and thrust it into his hands. He kept his voice soft and low so that no one else would pick up on it. “Come on quick before they think of something else to complain about.”
Spike smirked as Giles and the girls headed down the stairs. “It’s their natural state love. You might want to get used to it.”
“Hey, no raining on my parade.” Xander pushed Spike out of the apartment, determined not to dwell on issues that had no bearing on his immediate life. A mindless night of loud music, bad dancing and a grope in a dark corner was calling to him.