Disclaimer: The boys don't belong to me... and they never will. Saddly.
Summary: Xander is changing and no one knows why. Separating himself from the Scoobies and trying to find out who he really is he finds something that he never would have expected...
Note: I want to say a big, a really big thank you to whichclothes who helped me as my muse and my beta! And thanks to warpedminded for creating the banner!
Note 2: I had to split this chapter up, so you had to read two parts.^^
Previous chapters here!
Xander stepped out of the shower after nearly half an hour. He felt somewhat less tense but he still wasn’t relaxed. The fact that Spike hadn’t returned already kept him on his toes. Throwing on a pair of sweatpants and an old T-Shirt he left his room and walked down the hall towards the stairs. He could already hear Wesley and Gunn talking to each other. They were laughing and exchanging stories about the times they went slaying together or with Angel. Xander smiled. He loved swapping stories with those two. Gunn had an interesting way of telling things.
“Hey, Wes, Gunn!” he said when he reached the two men sitting around a table in the hall.
“Hello Xander,” Wesley answered softly and quickly looked away. Gunn grinned.
“Hey Harris, I just tried to get Wesley here to admit that he is crushing on you!” the booming laughter filled the whole hall and echoed up the stairs. Wesley looked like he wanted to either crawl into a hole and die or strangle Gunn. Xander laughed quietly and sat beside the poor Watcher who blushed even more.
“Is that so?” he asked and grinned at Gunn.
“Yeah. Our little Watcher here couldn’t stop talking about how your muscles have filled out and how gorgeous you look with the longer hair and... Ow!” Wesley had kicked Gunn underneath the table.
“Thank you Charles,” he snarled and turned away sulking.
“Oh come one, Wes, don’t be a sourpuss. It is just fun!” Gunn tried again but Wesley didn’t react. Xander sighed and reached around to get the other man to look at him. He placed his fingers gently around Wes’s chin and forced his eyes to meet the deep brown.
“Don’t worry. I won’t tease you about it. I know what it is like. I had a crush on Cordelia in high school and her Cordettes were teasing me with a passion and even Cordy did it to me. You see I have experience.” A warm smile spread over his face when he remembered the times had to endure the teasing from the girls. Still Wesley was as red as a tomato and averted his gaze again. Xander sighed.
“I know it will be hard to get over this but you will. It’s not that I’m not interested because you are a man. I do feel flattered by the fact that you like me. It’s just that I have so much on my mind right now that there is no space for anything else. You are a nice guy and handsome, too. But we just don’t click, you know. But I’m sure that you will find the right man or woman to stand by your side.” Quickly leaning forward he gave Wesley a gentle kiss before he turned to Gunn and smiled. The man looked shell-shocked but still his eyes twinkled amused.
“Don’t tease him too much, okay?” he asked and waited for Gunn’s nod.
“Oh and Wes, feel free to come to me if you need to talk. We’re friends and we help each other, okay?” His soft voice seemed to calm the young Watcher’s embarrassment since he looked up again and gave him an answering smile.
“Good, now that we’ve settled that, what nasties are you lot fighting right now?” Grinning his patented Xander-grin he leaned back and looked at both men.
“Well, at the moment there isn’t much to do actually,” Gunn replied, laying his hands on the table.
“That’s true. It is quite tranquil,” confirmed Wesley.
“Other than the regular fledges we have nothing big coming. Nor do we have a prophecy or something like it.” Xander nodded.
“Yeah we have the same problem in Sunnydale actually. Nothing much to do and with boredom scratching on our nerves we pick a little fun between us.”
“That’s why you’re here?” Wesley asked still trying to get the blush from his cheeks.
“Partly, yes,” Xander nodded without giving further information. Gunn looked at him.
“Sounds like you don’t want to share that problem then,” he stated calmly.
“Sorry, but... yeah, it’s not something I like to talk about. At least not yet.” Even though he was calm on the outside Xander’s insides were a ball of anger. His traitorous mind replayed the scene from two nights ago again and again until the anger developed into rage. The tingling at the edge of his mind got stronger but still he couldn’t grasp it. It was like he tried to catch a fly with his bare hands. Every time he was sure that he got it, it slipped away like water.
“Xander?” the small voice of Wesley brought him back to the present and he looked curiously at the other one.
“Sorry,” he smiled and send another blush into the Watcher’s cheeks.
“Man, what’s up with you? You growled like a vampire!” Gunn said and gave him a suspicious glance.
“You’re still human, are you?” he demanded to know and Xander sighed. Tiredly rubbing his eyes he nodded.
“Yeah, I’m still human but I guess the last days are catching up with me. So guys, I’ll go and get the bleached one and then we’ll head to bed. I think Deadboy wants to hit the pillows, too.”
Slowly standing up Xander stretched and caught the little gasp that escaped Wesley when his shirt rode up and showed a slice of his stomach.
“Oops, sorry, Wes, didn’t mean to,” he said softly.
“Huh, oh, no it’s okay. Go and find Spike!” Wesley’s voice was still a little breathless but he caught himself and didn’t sound like a schoolgirl.
Laughing quietly Xander turned around and headed back towards the stairs. While he walked he concentrated on his surroundings. He listened and heard Wesley and Gunn teasing each other though it was more Gunn teasing Wesley. He smiled a little. When he got nearer to Angel’s office he could hear voices yelling at each other.
“Was Buffy not good enough? Didn’t you do enough to her? Do you have to play with Harris, too, now?” Angel’s voice dripped with venom.
“I said it already! I didn’t do anything to Xander! We are friends!” Spike’s voice was pained but still he had his defences up. A sharp laugh cut through the air.
“Friends! Oh, please, Will, you don’t have friends! You never had any friends, so why should I believe you?” Xander felt ill for Angel sounded more like Angelus than he should have.
“Because it’s true,” came the meek reply but even from that far away Xander could hear how unsure the vampire was. Taking a deep breath, something he had done more times than he should have in the last couple of days, Xander surged forward. His shoulders were straight and his head held high when he pushed the door open and entered the office.
Spike stood against the wall his head down softly trembling. Xander took one look at him and rushed over.
“Spike, hey,” he said softly causing the blond to look up. He hissed at the pain that shone through the soft blue. Embracing the smaller vampire he petted the rigid back until it was a little more relaxed.
“It’s fine, Spike. He won’t hurt you. I won’t let him,” he crooned softly.
“Harris,” Angel said from behind his back and Xander slowly turned his head until he could look at the older vampire.
“What has he done?” came the expected question. He let out harsh laugh that caused Spike to flinch. Xander tightened his grip and murmured a quick ‘sorry’ before he returned his attention back to Angel. He could feel the rage flooding through his body and pooling in his belly. It felt warm and cold at the same time. Wave after wave crushed into him with every tremble that ripped through Spike.
“He did nothing,” Xander spat and pulled the smaller vampire to him until he could hold him in his arms. Angel’s eyes widened a bit but his mask was still in place.
“I want to talk to you, Harris. Alone!” The implied order caused Xander to laugh slightly. He kept both arms around Spike and stared into the dark eyes of his opponent.
“I’m sure you do,” he said and started to guide the silent blond towards the door.
“And I guess I will talk to you.” Angel looked pleased for Xander made his voice compliant.
“But I will to it when I think it is okay and now is not the right time!” The harsh tone of his voice caused even Angel to take a step back while Spike buried his face in the crook of Xander’s neck.
“Harris.... Xander, it is important that I speak to you. If we don’t get to know what Spike did, which spell he cast we can’t help you!” Xander snorted.
“Did you and Buffy have the same trainer or read the same book? Because both of you try it the same way. If you don’t get it with force you try to get it with gentle words. Sorry, pal, I don’t fall for that and right now I’m going to take care of Spike and then maybe we can talk.” Xander turned around and walked out of the door ignoring the shouts of Angel and keeping Spike close to his side.
Slowly they made their way into the rooms which Cordy had shown them. When Xander tried to coax Spike into Spike’s room he was met with a stubborn tug towards his own room. Smiling slightly he caved and led the blond vampire into his room. Seating him on the bed he turned to get some of Spike’s clothes.
“Xan?” the quiet question stopped him dead in his tracks. Turning around he rushed back to the bed and sat next to the upset vampire.
“What the hell is happening to me? I mean, I’m a bloody vampire for Christ’s sake! I don’t let words get to me! Hell, I don’t let Peaches get to me but here I am crying like a stupid child over some harsh words my dumb git of a Sire said!” Xander remained silent but took Spike into his arms and started humming softly.
“What’s happening to me, Xan?” the forlorn sound of the vampire made Xander’s heart clench.
“I guess it is the overload of input that caused your emotions to go haywire. I mean, you had to take shit from Buffy and Willow even Giles sometimes. Me, too, before we became friends. Then the whole ordeal with you chip and then the soul and Buffy’s bitchiness about it. The fight two days ago, the nightmare and now Deadboy with his stupid accusations. It’s a small wonder you didn’t break down earlier!” he answered with a soft voice and a gentle touch to Spike’s cheek.
“So, you don’t think I’m a poof for sitting here bawling my eyes out?” still the voice sounded small. Xander shook his head and smiled.
“No, I think you are strong because you let your emotions out. At least when you’re with me.” Spike nodded and they sat in silence for a while. Xander’s arms around Spike and the vampire’s head in the crook of the mortal’s neck.
Finally Xander felt his muscles cramp and he pushed Spike away a little. The blond vampire was nearly asleep.
“Hey, you should go to bed, you know? Before you end up on the floor.” The blond looked at him and nodded before he kicked of his boots and climbed onto the bed. Xander smiled and lay down beside him. The second he was lying down Spike was plastered against his side, his head on Xander’s chest directly over the heartbeat.
“Sleep, Spike,” he murmured softly.
“I’ll be here when you wake up.” He felt the nod more than he saw it and a soft smile graced his lips.
After nearly an hour when he could be sure that Spike was asleep he disentangled himself from the vampire and placed his own shirt next to Spike. One night the vampire had admitted that the warm smell of him calmed him. Therefore he always had some kind of clothing with his smell ready.
When he stood next to the bed Xander looked down again. Spike seemed to be so young when he was asleep.
‘Young and alive,’ he thought and bent down to give the vampire a small kiss on the forehead.
Then he turned around and quietly left the room.
As soon as the door fell closed behind him his rage came back in full force and Xander had to steady himself for a second since his sight greyed a little around the edges. When he was sure not to fall down he started walking towards Angel’s office. With every step closer he got faster until he was nearly running. His mind was playing different scenes in front of his inner eye. Scenes and possible endings; none of it seemed fit for Xander since he struggled a little with himself.
On one hand he wanted to rip Angel’s head off for hurting his vampire. On the other hand he knew that killing the bastard would hurt Spike even more since he was all that was left of the family of Aurelius.
Growling softly he stopped in front of the wide door and calmed himself down as much as he could before he entered the room.
“Okay, Deadboy. Now we can have a little chat!”