Parts: Oneshot (1/1)
Summary: Xander has dug a hole. Now it's time to fill it up.
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. I make no profit from these stories.
A/N: Happy Father's Day...?
It was only a matter of time.
At least, that was what he told himself as he stepped on the shoulder of the shovel, watching the loose Sunnydale soil vampires so loved to crawl out of give easily beneath his weight like it had a hundred times before. Loose and damp, perfect for gardening—and there was that image that popped into his head whenever he had that thought, a demon with a watering can sprinkling water over a bunch of flowers with fangs and razor-sharp leaves. He smirked softly to himself. Someday, he’ll get rid of this morbid sense of humor.
The hole was deep enough. Hell, it’d been deep enough an hour ago. Now it was roughly eight feet deep, seven feet long, and five feet wide—about right for a Griletish demon, a bit of an overkill for the adult human male. And just the fact that he could eyeball that proved he’d been living in Sunnydale way too long.
Hell, did everybody seriously think all those demon corpses disintegrated after Buff was done with the slayage? Sure, some of them did, but nine-tenths of the time somebody had to take care of the large scaly dead thing, and usually that somebody was Xander. This was his standard role. If he didn’t get too banged up in battle, he had the unspoken task of clean-up duty. The girls would head for their dorms, Spike would wander Devil-Knows-Where, and Giles would offer him a nod of thanks before taking off as well. He was pretty sure Giles was the only one who noticed he did this. It was probably better that way.
Of course, he’d gotten pretty damn good at the clean-up. So good, in fact, that he’d handled tonight’s events with the efficiency of a pro. Not one slip-up—not since the event itself—and that made him wary. This was usually when fate bit him in the ass. But fate had already done a number on him tonight, so he really didn’t know what to expect. Not that he ever did.
Digging his hands into the deep grooves he’d made for himself in the dirt walls, he hefted himself gracelessly out of the fresh grave and peered down at its emptiness, then up at the sheer boundlessness of the night sky. When he was little, he’d wanted to be an astronaut like a lot of boys his age. But unlike most boys his age, his dream was less about seeing the moon up-close and more about getting as far away from his parents as possible. Jesse had understood that. They’d made plans to go to space camp one summer, but that never happened.
Now looking at the stars was almost a guilty pleasure. He never got to see the night sky anymore. Mostly he spent nights hunting the creatures that dwelled within it. No time to watch the stars when fledges are lunging for your neck. Too tired to think logically, he let the two thoughts meld together, and they merged, and he found himself asking Why don’t they send vampires into space…? The question made him chuckle a little, until he happened to turn his head toward his night’s task and all that humor died, along with the little fantasy he’d been entertaining—that this was just the usual demon body dump.
The man was shirtless, but he still wore his usual undershirt/fake dog-tags combo. The undershirt was soaked through with blood now, a stake protruding from his chest almost comically. His eyes were open, glazed over and rolled upward toward the heavens.
Tony, you’ve never looked better.
A soft smile tugged at his lips, but he swallowed it, not wanting to smile at this. Even if it felt good. Even if just looking at that lifeless thing gave him the sweetest feeling of relief he’d ever felt.
Brushing his hands off on his jeans, he pushed to his feet and ambled over to where the body was laying, kind of sprawled beneath a few leafy branches he’d grabbed for temporary coverage. He looked small like this, like the balding, middle-aged man he was instead of the monster he pretended to be. The revelation was enough to let that smile he’d been fighting break through, and he kicked the corpse in the kidney, half-stepping back just in case. Nope, still dead. The smile turned into a grin, and he kicked it again for good measure.
Something in him, something deep and hungry in the recesses of his soul, laughed in triumph.
The rest of him shook, half in shock and half in fear. Because tonight wasn’t supposed to go like this.
He’d been stupid. He’d known what would happen when he’d offered his parents dinner on Father’s Day, but like a fucking chump, he’d made the reservation and picked them both up at seven. They’d bitched about his crap car, his crap job, his lack of girlfriend… And when they’d gotten to the restaurant they’d bitched some more, sneering at the food and drinking half the bar on his dime. Fine. Expected, even.
But he’d driven them home, dad drunk as hell, mom a little tipsy herself, and he’d followed them inside because he wanted to make sure they both wound up in bed unscathed. Then Tony had made some comment about his worthless life, and he’d rolled his eyes, not realizing that his mother was drunk enough to defend him this time.
She’d said, “Your fuckin’ son bought you dinner, you ungrateful pig! Least you could do—”
And he socked her in the jaw.
It wasn’t the first time. Hell, Tony had no qualms about using his fists to shut people up, Xander was living proof. He’d stepped in front of his mother from time to time when he was younger, sparing her like the idiot White Knight he was, and acted as the punching bag so that she wouldn’t have to. He made a good punching bag.
So, no, it wasn’t the first time—not even the first time he’d seen it—but in that second he saw red, and this surge of white-hot adrenaline took over, howling through his soul in a weirdly familiar way, and he thought This is damn well gonna be the last time. His mother ran out back. Tony reeled around, drunk and swerving, searching for something to lay his fists on, and Xander was there. With a stake in his hand; the one he always kept on him, just in case. It was the handiest thing he could grab.
It almost surprised him how easy it was. It shouldn’t have, but it did. It felt almost exactly like staking a fledge, but when the pointy end punched through the skin and muscle and organ, the body was still there.
It was only a matter of time, he told himself. He’d dusted way too many fledges for this not to be a reflex. And he’d killed way too many demons that weren’t his own.
I deserve this. He thought, crouching down to snatch the dog-tags from his neck and yank the stake from his chest with a sickening tug, before rolling the fucking monster into the pit he’d dug for him face-first. The body was heavy, but not as heavy as a Digglesnythe (not as slimy either), so it didn’t really take all that much effort to tip him into the hole. He fell the eight feet and landed with a thud that would probably have hurt pretty bad if the man could feel pain anymore.
But he couldn’t. So fuck it.
Cocking his head to the side, he peered down at the body in the hole, a sense of sweet and quiet triumph chilling his nerves. The body was splayed out, flattened like a bug, neck at a funny angle and left leg twisted to one side. Dead. And not vamp-dead, either. Actually dead. Slain. Vanquished. Like every evil thing in every fairytale he’d ever managed to read when he was little. Like every evil thing he’d crossed paths with since.
“Big hole there, Harris.”
He turned, and there was the other evil thing he hadn’t managed to kill yet, leaning against a long-dead oak fifteen feet away. No cigarette between his lips, because he was out, and Giles hadn’t yet paid him for his help with the latest slayage. No duster over his shoulders because it was hot as hell tonight, and he hated heat more than he hated Xander, which was saying something. Just a black t-shirt, a tight pair of jeans, and a stance that looked cool, but… wasn’t. Xander knew that pose. It would’ve made him wary if he wasn’t already prepared for the worst.
“Never been one to do things by halves, Spike.” He murmured, not bothering to raise his voice because he knew Spike could hear it. “If I’m digging a hole, it’s gonna be a big one.”
In that moment, Spike gave him a look that was halfway between disbelief and utter amusement, and the last of his energy slithered into his bones. Just enough to raise his shovel and spear it into the pile of dirt on his left. “Want something?”
“Bored.” The vampire answered, sounding anything but. “Thought I’d take a stroll, find somethin’ t’play with. What’s the hole for?”
His eyes dragged themselves from Spike against his will, and fell to the bloody mess in the grave. Honestly, he didn’t know why he didn’t want to look away. You’d think, given the choice between a corpse and a corpse walking, the standard unmoving variety would win every time out of sheer normalcy alone. But then, this corpse wasn’t the average corpse. And neither was Spike.
So he stared at the thing that was his father, breathing in slowly and breathing out slower, wondering if he could lull himself to sleep by slowing his breaths and counting the beats of his heart. Not that he wanted to sleep at the moment. He couldn’t. The oh-so-observant Sunnydale PD may not be bright, but if somebody fell into a pit in the middle of the woods and landed on his father’s tubby body, he was probably screwed.
“Demon.” He said flatly, not lying at all, hauling dirt from the pile and slopping it over his father’s bald spot, watching it scatter and crumble over it. The first heft of dirt always made this job feel endless, but he pressed on, tossing another heavy mound over the man’s back, trying to make him disappear.
“Yeah?” Raising his eyebrows, the bleach-blonde dropped his arms, shoving his hands into his pockets. He sounded oddly charmed, like he was speaking to a twelve-year-old boy who thought he was all grown up. “What kind? Soeplick? Heard a clan of ‘em was camped out here.”
“No.” He sighed, hefting more dirt into the hole.
“No.” Another shovelful covered his old grey socks and the white of his ankles.
“No.” And another.
“Hole’s not big enough for a Habtreklus.”
“And that would be why there’re no Habtrekluses in the hole.” Another. And another. Then a pause. “Habtrekluses? Habtrekli?”
“Good question, mate.”
“There needs to be a demon dictionary.” Another. “An accurate one.” Another. And another pause. “Not written in Fyarl.”
“Ye realize vamps can smell human blood at ninety paces, right?”
“Yup.” Another. The muscles in his arms pistoned in the motion, almost automatic now. His father was covered, mostly. His hands stretched out, clinging to nothing, pale and fat beneath the damp dirt. He was covered, but far from covered enough, so Xander kept pouring dirt into the hole, making the last of Tony Harris disappear.
He didn’t hear Spike move. Vamps were fucking sneaks like that. But, all in all, he wasn’t surprised to feel him there, his cool presence making is shoulders stiffen and his lungs empty of all their captured air. “What, Spike?” He demanded, not caring that he sounded angry, distracted, guilty—all of the above. Better than sounding like he felt nothing at all.
Bleach-blonde hair slid into the corner of his vision. He fought not to turn around. “Jus’ admirin’ the handiwork.”
“The handiwork is pretty much covered.” Xander sighed, tossing another mountain of dirt into the hole. “You can go home now.”
“Never thought I’d see the day…” Peering over his shoulder, way too close to actually touching him, Spike pressed into his carefully constructed ‘personal-space-bubble’ and popped it.
“Well, I can shove you off my balcony at nine A.M. if you really wanna see it.”
“Huh?” Spike blinked, turning his head so that his nose almost brushed Xander’s cheek. He looked like he’d just been snapped out of a trance. “What?”
“The day.” He heard himself sigh, a little humor somehow injected into his voice. “You never thought you’d see the day. You were going to finish that sentence with something snarky and emotionally disemboweling, but since you didn’t, I’m going to assume you actually meant daylight.”
“Disemboweling. Big word for a little brain.”
“Hey, my knowledge of painful ways to die has quadrupled since I met you.”
“Yeah, I can see that.” The vampire sighed, leaning even closer, making Xander step toward the hole. “So, which one’d ye choose?”
A wry half-smile strained at the corner of his mouth, and he shook his head, shoveling another mountain of dirt into the hole. “One you’d be familiar with.”
“Well, yeah,” Spike’s voice was full of snide certainty. “Invented most of ‘em, didn’t I?”
Kicking a little dirt into the hole, he finally stabbed the shovel into the pile and gave up on distracting himself. Spike was doing a fine job of that for him. “No, this one, you’d be very familiar with.”
It took a moment to click, the gears in Spike’s head turning slowly, as expected. But then his blue eyes widened, and he cut a soft, half-there laugh through his teeth, and he pulled Xander to look at him, searching his face incredulously. “Ye staked your own father? While he was still alive? Oh, that’s just--”
He whipped around eyes staring at him, so hot and angry and alive in their blackness that the vampire sucked his own words right back down his throat and stepped back a fraction of an inch.
“How did you know?” He asked, shaky, because God knows, he didn’t need Spike knowing. He thought he had it covered. Fuck, he thought he could get away with this. Stupid fucking idiot, you never get away with—
“Vamps can smell human blood at ninety paces—”
“You said that already.”
“—An’ Harris blood at a hundred.”
His breath went solid, lungs turning to stone as he met Spike’s eyes and lost all will to look away. He swallowed, trying to force himself to breathe. “Oh.”
“You lot happen to be quite moist and delicious, I hear.”
“Tony was not, in fact, moist and delicious.”
“Took a bite of him, did you?”
“Once.” He remembered vaguely, looking back down at the hole and thinking about the time in the eighth grade when his father had his belt around his neck, and he just kept choking him with it until he twisted around and sunk his teeth into his arm. “Pretty dry. Unwashed. Tasted like tar.”
There was silence. He turned his eyes to the pile of dirt and thought about going through the effort of filling up the rest of that hole. Then he turned back to the half-buried man and his jaw set.
“He hit my mom.”
Spike nodded, still eyeing him with something… something deep buried in that blue. Something deep and sure and lovely in its certainty. Grounded, sort of. Except Spike was never grounded. Spike was the original ‘sky’s the limit’. “Ye did what you had to.”
“Should’ve done it a long time ago.”
“Ye did it. S’what matters.”
“I loved it.”
A smile curled at the corners of Spike’s lips. Not a smirk. Not even one of those mean, nasty grins. An actual smile that gave Xander a chill, because it was a genuine smile at something genuinely evil.
Then he turned, took Xander by the chin and brought him so close that he could count the flecks of grey swimming in that blue. Breathing in fast, the boy held still, knowing Spike couldn’t, wouldn’t, hurt him.
“Lemme tell you somethin’, Harris.” He murmured, lips so close that the words vibrated against Xander’s mouth. “When I get this chip out—”
“Oh, yeah, here we go. ‘When I get this bloody chi—”
His little imitation was cut off before it could even get to its punchline, because the bleach-blonde vampire chose that exact moment to seal his lips over Xander’s own. For a split-second, he didn’t move. Then that tongue slid across his lower lip and pressed between his teeth, and he found himself groaning at the things he seemed to be spelling out. Spike’s thigh pressed harshly into his groin, and he sucked in a breath, his own tongue trying to keep up with someone who apparently knew everything there was to know about mixed tongue martial arts—and that so wasn’t fair. His knees went weak. His hand fisted into Spike’s shirt. By the time the fucking vamp pulled away, he’d gone from feeling absolutely nothing, to feeling every single twist and turn of even the mildest breeze.
“When I get this chip out,” Spike began again, now grinning at the suddenly not-so-talkative Xander Harris. “You are gonna make a bloody marvelous childe.”
His thigh, his body, his hands; they each slipped away, one at a time. And when they finally separated completely, the vampire turned his bleach-blonde head and meandered off into the woods again, whistling as he went, some tune he didn’t know, probably by the Sex Pistols.
“Oh.” He heard himself say, too late.
He looked down at Tony Harris’ mound, picked up the shovel, and began filling the hole again, grinning madly.