Paring: Primarily S/X with a very minor S/OCs.
Rating: NC17 Adult Reading
Disclaimer: The Bee has no claim on any of the characters or
products named in this story and receives no profit from anything.
Warnings: Adult language, Prostitution, Violence, strong sexual
content. NOTE: All the boys working in Hope House are over
the age of 18. The Bee does not do underage!
Summary: Long after the final battle of Sunnydale, Xander is
alone, his life in shambles. Is there anywhere he can go and anyone
who can give him hope? There just might be.
As always, kudos to Petxnd for the wonderful banner.
Xander was so incensed at being ditched that it took him a moment to realize
that he was alone. Completely alone. Totally alone in a strange, huge, dark,
spooky and ubercreepy mansionlike hotel. The silence that engulfed him was deep
and heavy, like a midnight fog sweeping over the coast line.
All the boys were out doing what ever they did and Spike had hurried off on
his unnamed business venture. Mrs. Gessel had disappeared and Xander
wasn't even certain she was still in the house. For all he knew, it was her night
off and she had also forgotten that he even existed.
Ergo, he was alone.
After squelching an oncoming panic attack, Xander forced himself to look at the
situation rationally. He told himself that he was feeling a bit claustrophobic because
he had been sleeping outside for so long, but he knew that excuse was bull shit.
He had never felt safe out in the open.
So, what was it? What had his heart racing and his lungs fluttering for air?
When his brain finally put a name to the fear, Xander choked. Haunted?
Xander was afraid he was stuck in a haunted house? He snorted.
The sound of his own voice stomping on the silence gave him strength and
grounded him. He reminded himself of who he was. He was Xander Harris.
Demon dater and end of the world stopper. He would NOT be afraid.
He stood in the center of the converted lobby and he looked all around. Even with
the lights turned on, it was such a large space that it seemed dim as though the light
from the strategically placed lamps were unable to reach into the corners and cubby
holes and illuminate the very places where the boogiemen would hide.
The looky see Spike had given him two days ago was brief. They had zipped through
as Spike pointed out the areas that Xander was already familiar with. The kitchen,
the clinic, Spikes rooms, and he indicated the boys slept upstairs, although the tour
didn't include that.
Luckily, Xander reminded himself, he was no ordinary human. He had seen and
defeated the worst of the worst and the things that go bump in the night held no sway
over him. So, with his fear all but defeated, Xander was growing intrigued and his
curiosity about the place had overtaken his trepidation. This, he decided, was the
perfect opportunity to do a bit of snooping.
Starting with the lobby, Xander checked out all the electronics. He was a bit
surprised by the amount of porn, but dismissed it as young hormones. He had
to commend Spike for allowing it. Wandering to the far side of the room, he noticed
a short, nearly hidden door under the grand staircase. Opening it just a crack, he
saw that it led straight down into a dark, dank, "Basement".
After his experiences in Sunnydale, Xander realized, full well, that no basement
ever held anything good and he quickly shut the door. He knew the rest of the
ground level held the kitchen, the clinic, and Spike's set of rooms. It sadly occurred
to him that he didn't think, 'Spike and my rooms', but he shook it off and moved on.
Standing at the bottom of the expansive stairway, Xander looked upward. He
was certain the boys had their rooms on the second floor so, if Xander were to
stay, he might have a space of his own up there. Conclusion, no one should mind if he
took a look around.
With his conscience eased, Xander bounded the steps, two at a time, till he reached
the landing at the top. There, he turned to the right and peered down the long, dim
hallway. The carpet was old and worn and Xander pegged it for 1940's or 50s era
and realized it was probably the same carpet that had welcomed guests when this
place was an elegant hotel.
Slowly, he stepped off the landing and started down the hall. The rooms still had the
numbers on the sides and all the doors were closed. Before he could check himself,
Xander opened the first door and stuck his head in.
The room was clean, stark, and sparsely appointed. It had a bed, a dresser and a
night stand. There were no personal mementos, no pictures, no posters on the walls
and no clutter that would make a room a comfy nest.
Xander pulled the door shut and moved on. After checking two more, it became
evident that all the rooms were exactly the same. Apparently, the Master of the
house insisted that cleanliness is next to vampireness. Xander chuckled as he
imagined Spike yelling and telling the boys to go clean their rooms and pick up their
At the end of the hallway was a window that overlooked the back courtyard.
Xander stared down into the darkness at the eerie marble statues that glowed
in the illumination of the full moon and a sudden chill ran up his spine that left
him shuddering. When he was small, his mother used to say that when that happened,
someone was walking over your grave. Xander smiled sadly at the thought of her,
wondering for the millionth time where she was and if she ever thought of him.
He leaned forward, his palms and forehead resting against the cool glass of the
window and he closed his eyes. But he only allowed himself a moment. Then,
before he could get bogged down in maudlin emotions, Xander turned to face
the stairway that led up to the third level and he hurried up. At the top of the
steps he found an identical hallway to the one on the second floor.
This time, however, when he peered in, the rooms were more business oriented.
Two were storage areas for supplies, cleaning, kitchen and even small automotive
parts. Two rooms were stacked floor to ceiling with antique furniture that had
probably decorated the hotel when the guests were wealthy and important rather
than young and homeless. On room held broken chairs, dirty, rolled carpet runners
and huge oil paintings with gilded frames.
Just as Xander was about to flip off the light switch, he heard a sound and he
froze, straining to focus and identify it. Quickly, his brain found the word.
Apparently, Xander was not as alone as he had thought.
Embarrassed and slightly concerned at being caught snooping, Xander ducked
back into the store room. He pulled the door closed, leaving only a small
crack just big enough to see through and he held his breath as the steps continued.
He could hear them clomping heavily down from an upper stairway. Knowing the
hotel had only two main floors, Xander realized that whoever that was, was in an attic.
He waited, his heart pounding in his chest and his hands sweating as the person
He jumped when the first foot landed firmly on the second floor hallway and his
knuckles turned white as he gripped the door frame. Closer. Closer.
The person was almost within sight and Xander couldn't understand why he was
so terrified of being caught. Still, his instincts had been finely honed on the
hellmouth and he trusted them implicitly.
Within seconds, Mrs. Gessel passed by him and he blew out the breath he had
been holding. He dropped his face, smiled in relief and shook his head at his
own foolishness. His thoughts swam with relief.
'Mrs. Gessel. It was only Mrs. Gessel.'
As his brain continued, the smile fell slowly from his lips and his brow wrinkled.
'Mrs. Gessel was coming from the attic. Mrs. Gessel was carrying a food tray.'
Against his better judgement, Xander waited till he heard her sensible shoes
continue down and fade away before he slipped from his hiding spot. He
quietly tip toed down the threadbare oriental carpet till he came to the end.
When he reached the small, wooden doorway with the black metal latch handle,
he stopped. His mind bubbled with 'Don't do it! Don't do it! Don't.....'
Xander lifted the latch.