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Auld Acquaintance - a Spander ficlet 
15th-Mar-2010 11:22 am
Loki
A challenge was issued that I had no intention of accepting -- but then, I don't rule here, my muse does. So here you have it -- my first ever Spander piece. A short little ficlet I hope you enjoy.  This is my first time posting a fiction piece here, so I hope I've done it properly.


Title:  Auld Acquaintance
Chapter: 1 of 1
Pairing:  Spike/Xander
Rating:  NC17, some language, implied slash
Disclaimer:  I don't own these guys.  They remain the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, UPN, and anyone else who has a stake in them.  No money is being made.  I'm doing this for kicks and kudos.
Summary:  Two friends meet again after a long time separated.
Beta:  The lovely LadyMerlin
Photo Manip:  Me
Distribution:  Ask, I'll probably say yes.

Story and photo found under the cut.

     Xander sat at the bar, a beautifully carved walking stick propped next to him. He sipped a lukewarm beer and wondered how his life had gotten so far out of kilter. After the fall of Sunnydale, he’d drifted. First in Africa, searching for slayers. Later, to no real purpose. He’d become used to living on the road, and couldn’t seem to settle down. Not like I was the poster boy for normalcy before, but this is ridiculous. Ever since I found out... He cut off that line of thought and lifted the glass to his lips.

     The bartender wandered over, leaned against the polished surface, and lifted an eyebrow at Xander. “You okay, buddy? Look a little down.”

     “Seen better days. Seen worse, too. Guess it balances out, but right now – you couldn’t prove it by me.” He shrugged. “As they say, this too shall pass.”

     A spotlight lit the stage at the back of the bar and a man’s voice boomed through the speaker system. “Good evening. I know why you’re here, and so do you. And I won’t make you wait. Folks, get those tips ready for Rex.” Music started and a young man, dressed as a Roman gladiator, strutted onto the stage.

     Xander chuckled. “Oh, wow, this brings back memories.”

     The bartender grinned. “You used to work the stage, huh? What was your name? Maybe I heard of you.”

     “Doubt it. It was in Oxnard, California – and it was many moons ago, my friend. When I was younger, more desperate, and way better-looking than I am now.”

     An older man, silver showing in his dark hair, sat next to Xander. “You’re not exactly hard on the eyes.” He held out his hand, and Xander automatically shook it. “Name’s Arthur Gentry. This is my place. You wouldn’t be looking for work, would you? Could always use another dancer.”

     Xander frowned. “Wouldn’t think there’d be a huge market for one-eyed, older, scarred strippers. Your humor – if that’s what it is – isn’t appreciated, Mr. Gentry.”

     The older man smiled. “The name of this place is Warrior’s, and if you stick around for the full show, you’ll see it’s appropriate. My clientele isn’t solely interested in perfection. We value the male form in all its glory – and if that glory includes battle scars, we don’t complain.” He placed a thick binder on the bar. “Take a look – we get retired military, former cops, ex-cons – if they have a good body, dance well, and can stay out of trouble, they’ve probably been up on that stage.”

     Xander shot him a quick glance and opened the binder. He flipped rapidly through the pages, eye widening at some of the pictures. He closed the book and returned his gaze to Gentry. “You do realize that not all of your dancers are, uh... That is...”

     “They aren’t all human. Yes, I’m aware of that. They are, however, all non-violent. Just looking to make their way in this world. I’m surprised you noticed that, however. Most of them pass quite well. Where are you from?”

     “Lately, all over. Originally, Sunnydale.”

     Gentry nodded. “That would explain it. Please, no violence here. My dancers and customers mean no harm.”

     Xander flapped a hand at him. “Not looking to start anything. Not looking to work, either. Just passing through. Stopped in because... Well, today’s an anniversary, sort of. Wanted to have a beer in memory of a friend.”

     “In that case, let me buy you one. No warrior should fall without a tribute.”

     Xander nodded. “Thanks.”

     Gentry returned the nod and rose from his stool, walking through the bar. He chatted with customers, checked to make sure everyone was happy, and in general acted like what he was – a man who wanted to keep his business humming happily along, and knew just how to do that.

     The bartender turned back to Xander. “If you tell me your friend’s name, we’ll ring the bell for him next break.”

     “Ring the bell?”

     The bartender nodded. “It’s something we do for fallen warriors. We ring the bell, say their name, and the whole house toasts them.”

     Xander thought it through and then smiled. “He’d like that. Always did enjoy being the center of attention, the egotistical bastard.” He slipped his fingers under the patch’s band and rubbed at the red indentation left by the elastic. “He was possibly the most irritating, arrogant, and deadly son of a bitch I’ve ever met. He was ... my best friend, my lover, my everything. And oh my god, it’s true – people will say anything to a bartender. Shit, sorry to dump that on you.” He took a deep breath. “His name was Spike. So, yeah – ring the damn bell, and let’s drink to him.”

     Two hours later, and well after sunset, Xander exited the bar, walking stick firmly in hand. He’d had only two beers – these days he couldn’t afford to get drunk – although they’d rung the bell for Spike four times. Once for each death, and once for him as Xander’s lost love. He sighed as he made his way down the sidewalk, intent on getting to his room and falling into bed. Maybe tonight he’d actually sleep.

     He stopped at the corner, waiting for the light to change, and felt the hair rise on the back of his neck. He shifted his stick into a two-handed grip, looked around, and gasped. Across the street, under a light, was a motorcycle. Leaning against it was a dead man.

     Xander crossed the street in a daze, stopping in the pool of light. It couldn’t be, but it was. Spike. No one else had that cocky, sexy look. No one else had cheekbones sharp enough to wound. No one else had those incredibly blue eyes. “Spike? How... When... Why?”

     “Hallo, pet.”

     “Are you ... real?”

     “Real as you, luv. Was drifting along, then I heard a voice saying a warrior needed me. Popped up in the conference room at the Watcher’s Council. Set them all atwitter, trying to sort themselves out.”

     Xander’s brain latched onto one word. “Warrior? Who?”

     “Didn’t actually give a shite about that. Asked Rupes where you were. Told me you’d done a runner after a bad fight. Git. You’ve never run – wouldn’t know how. So I had Red locate you and transport me here. Along with my ride, o’course.” A scarred eyebrow rose. “Been a lot of years, Xan – you don’t look much older. Got a story there, yeah?”

      “You could say that. Um ... the bad fight was really bad. I died. And then I was alive. Turns out, I’m an Immortal. Can only die if someone chops off my head. So I travel around, hunting demons. The ones most hunters don’t want to take on.”

      Spike smiled – the warm, sunny smile only few ever saw. “Well then, looks like you’re my Warrior. And we’ve got forever, yeah?”

     Xander uttered a shaky laugh. “Looks like.” He leaned closer and pressed his lips to Spike’s.

       Spike hauled him in, wrapping strong arms around him. When their lips parted, he smiled again. “Let’s get to your place, pet. Time to start on that forever.”


Auld Acquaintance
Comments 
15th-Mar-2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
Very nice! Love the ringing the bell for the lost warrior thing. A very nice touch. (This is really your first Spander??? *is boggled*) Great work! And love that pic of Spike. :D
15th-Mar-2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
Oh my ... thank you so much. Compliments from one of my favorite authors? My grin is too big for reality. :D

Um, a small confession -- yes, this is my first Spander, although I'm nearly done with a full-length Spander story. But my first story? Well, no. Just my first piece of fanfiction.

And again ... thank you. :)
15th-Mar-2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
Very sweet story. I've always loved Buffy/Highlander crossovers.

But I really think I hate you for that picture. *L* I've been trying to figure out how to use that shot and make it believable for Spike (not James) for a very long time but nothing I've tried has turned out half so well as this. Beautiful work.
15th-Mar-2010 05:03 pm (UTC)
*Blush* Thank you ... I love writing, and my second love is photography. So the graphic manipulation just came naturally from that. The most difficult part was finding a bike front end to morph onto the photo ... the original pic is chopped off at the forks.

Thanks again -- it's wonderful to get such lovely feedback first time out. :)
15th-Mar-2010 05:23 pm (UTC)
That picture is fantastic as is the ficlet. ~Hugs~ x
15th-Mar-2010 05:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks, hon. As my beta -- well, you rock. As a friend and reader, even more so. So compliments from you? Icing on my cake. :)
15th-Mar-2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
You scared me! I thought Spike was dead and gone. Amazing story thansk for sharing =)
15th-Mar-2010 07:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Sorry to scare you -- but it wouldn't be much of a story if Spike were truly gone. :)

I'm glad you enjoyed it.
15th-Mar-2010 06:30 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful and congrats on your first posting.
15th-Mar-2010 07:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much ... for the compliment and the congrats. I used to post a lot more fiction (er, not Spander, original) and I'm so glad I've gotten back to that. All the lovely feedback is energizing. :)
(Deleted comment)
15th-Mar-2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. I've been writing for a long time (longer than I care to admit!) and the photo manipulation grew from my hobby of photography.

I'm so glad you enjoyed this. :)
15th-Mar-2010 07:09 pm (UTC)
Hell's Bells!!
Great fic!! Great pic!!
And where is the sequel??? I searched for it but wasn't able to find it? Why did you hide it? I want to read it. Please????
15th-Mar-2010 07:57 pm (UTC)
LOL! Thank you so much. Ahh, you want a sequel? Well, that will have to wait until I finish the longish Spander fic I've been working on for over two months.

But yes, my muse is already thinking this little ficlet needs more. And since she rules the roost ... well, it's probably a foregone conclusion.

Again, thanks, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
15th-Mar-2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
This was bittersweet (my favorite!) and really enjoyable. And the art is gorgeous as well.
15th-Mar-2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
Oh thank you! Another of my favorite authors with kudos. My smile is threatening to blot out the sun. :) (Oh wait, it's raining here. Sun-blotting not an option. Snicker.)

Thank you again ... and I'm anxiously awaiting each and every chapter of The Unveiling. :)
15th-Mar-2010 08:54 pm (UTC)
Nice!

Good standalone, but if you want to do further adventures - I'd be happy to read them.

Looking forward to your full length!
15th-Mar-2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you -- I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

I may well do a follow-up to this, but I'm really hoping to have time first to finish the longer fic. The editing of my book is in a holding-pattern at the moment, so if I work hard, I just might get the longer story done before this month is over. :)
16th-Mar-2010 12:47 am (UTC)
I like this. Thanks:)
16th-Mar-2010 02:12 am (UTC)
I'm glad you did ... thank you for saying so. :)
16th-Mar-2010 03:37 am (UTC)
Nicely done! Liked the whole concept of the bar and the bell ringing. You slipped the Immortal thing in there beautifully, very subtle and I so didn't see it coming.
16th-Mar-2010 04:37 am (UTC)
Thank you so much -- I'm glad such a talented writer as yourself enjoyed this. The ringing of the bell is something you might actually find in a bar owned by, and frequented by, retired military personnel. I felt the demon/human community would do no less to honor their fallen comrades.

Thanks again. :)
16th-Mar-2010 10:29 am (UTC)
Very nice story, well done. Lovely manip.
16th-Mar-2010 02:02 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked the story and the manip -- thank you so much for saying so. :)
17th-Mar-2010 05:38 am (UTC)
Lovely work!
17th-Mar-2010 06:40 am (UTC)
Thank you -- I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
18th-Mar-2010 08:40 am (UTC)
That was lovely! And you've done an incredible job with that photo, it's so much better now. And you say on my chatbox that's it's okay for me to archive it at Spander Files, thank you very much. What name do you prefer me to use, WmGeorge or wrtr_aka_wmgrg? And can I use that photo manip too? Credit given of course. :)
18th-Mar-2010 02:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'm so glad you liked it. Yes, of course, both the photo and the story can be archived there. Use the photo as you wish ... I certainly don't mind. I'd be thrilled, in fact. :) Just use WmGeorge --- much easier that way. And I think everyone will figure out that's me. :)
18th-Mar-2010 12:42 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this! Looking forward to your next work!
18th-Mar-2010 02:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. :) Hopefully, my next work will be the long story I'm desperately trying to finish, if my muse would quit adding stuff.

I'm glad you enjoyed this, and appreciate you letting me know. :)
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