This is another fic idea that I had that should have been stomped on as soon as it showed up,
“You’re all sure you understand?” Giles asked, making them all stop walking for a moment while he quizzed them one last time.
“Yes,” Buffy said, her voice tight. She sighed when he just looked back at her. “We’ve got to go get the Sword of Rinkydink away from these demons.” She tried to take a step forward but Giles didn’t move. Another bigger sigh, and she recited, “Angel and I go in first and stay in front, pushing the demons away until I get to the sword and pick it up. You’ll be behind us. Willow and Xander stay in the back.”
He was relegated to the back like always…but this time he had himself a big ol’ ax. Maybe he’d still be able to help. He took an experimental swing with it but stopped when that drew Giles’s glare. “We got it,” he promised. “Seriously. No need to make us write an essay on what the unnecessarily complicated plan is.”
“It kind of is,” Willow said, backing him up.
Of course it was. It was the kind of thing that could only happen on the Hellmouth. A really bad group of demons were coming to Sunnydale and they could only be defeated by a hero wielding a sword. That sword, of course, was not only guarded by another group of only slightly less bad demons, but could also only be touched by one person every hundred years. Not only did they have to fight the slightly less bads, but they had to make sure Buffy was the one to grab the sword so she could kick ass later. It was worse than geometry. Xander bet it was something about the Hellmouth that made things so convoluted…or maybe it was having a slightly pissy librarian as their planner. He wasn’t going to ask. He might have an ax but Giles was looking really peeved and he knew it would be no contest.
“So long as under all that mockery you know what to do, I suppose we’re ready.” Giles adjusted his glasses.
“We are,” Buffy assured him. She glanced over at Angel and he nodded at her.
A nod. Very manly. Kept up the strong, silent image nicely. He – Xander had to hurry to catch up with the others when they started to move, distracted by his irritation with Angel. Yeah, good he was going to be there since they were going to be fighting demons, but did he have to stand so close to Buffy? And be so tall and good-looking while he did? You’d think being a vampire would count against him but Angel just made it work.
Xander shook his head. He had to keep his mind on the ax and the demons. He could sit and obsess over Angel after he lived through this. Buffy had to get that sword or else Sunnydale wasn’t long for this world. The demons that were coming had Giles cleaning his glasses more than usual and Xander really wanted Buffy to have anything that she needed right there when they arrived.
The demons they were currently after had holed up in an underground area, hiding there with the sword of…well, Xander knew it wasn’t Rinkydink but Giles had stopped correcting them a few hours ago. Buffy and Angel led the way down into it, Giles behind them and Xander and Willow bringing up the rear. He wasn’t sure how he felt about being in the back. Granted, no super powers, but he had an ax! He could do some real damage.
It was cold and dark and it smelled worse than the basement at his house. There was some light, though, dim and sickly yellow coming from up ahead. Xander bet that was where all the demons were. He glanced over at Willow and when he caught her eye, he winked at her. That got him a smile and her holding her own ax in less of a death grip.
A few more steps and Xander saw he’d been right: they’d reached an open chamber that was full of demons, gathered around a sword on a stand, tip pointing upwards. Long and sharp, the sword seemed to glow a bit with its own inner light. Maybe it really was special.
The demons weren’t as pretty but there were more of them, all ragged clothes and glowing eyes and hands with too many fingers on them.
“Ick,” Willow said.
“Yeah,” Xander agreed.
There wasn’t time for anything else; Buffy and Angel both ignored the usual protocol of shouting insults back and forth first and moved straight on to kicking ass. Most of the demons realized they were the real threat and converged on them, but that still left Xander with more than enough to worry about. He swung his ax hard and didn’t connect with anything, but hey, it kept the demon coming at him from reaching him and he’d take that as good.
As the small chamber filled with the sounds of fighting, Xander kept the instructions Giles had given him on how to use an ax firmly in the front of his mind, while in the back he reminded himself not to touch the sword. That was Buffy’s job. He just had to kill this demon and not touch the sword. Stay alive and don’t –
Then there were two demons in front of him instead of just one and Xander mostly focused on not dropping the ax when he swung it hard at them. He caught one in the chest and it went down, but it took the ax with it and Xander’s triumph turned to despair. He grabbed at the handle, trying to pull it back but it was too late and the other demon was there. Too-large hands closed on his shoulders and Xander didn’t care if it was a girly move, he slammed his knee where he thought it would do the most damage. He wasn’t sure if these demons were built like human guys or even if they were guys, but it certainly pissed the creature off. With a strangled roar, the demon threw him aside, tossing him hard through the air. Xander braced himself to land hard on the ground or even against the wall.
He wasn’t prepared for the slicing agony of being skewered. He couldn’t even draw in enough breath to scream: he just gasped and tried to get away but moving made the pain worse. The sound of fighting was still all around him and he knew he had to open his eyes to see what had happened but he was scared to. Nothing had ever hurt like this before, not even the time he’d broken his leg. Still, if he just laid here then the demon would come over and kill him and he was more scared of dying then he was of the pain…but not by much.
He opened his eyes and looked down. He stared for a few moments, not able to understand what he was seeing: a long strip of bloody metal extending out of his chest. He’d been stabbed in the back. Christ, he’d been stabbed! This wasn’t an accidental scrape with a stake, this was bad. He felt panic start to rise up and he forced it away. He didn’t have time to panic because demons were coming to kill him. He had to get this thing out of his chest and then make for the exit. The others would take him with him when they left if they tripped over him.
Moving his arms made the pain in his chest flair to life again and he gasped at the agony. He couldn’t do it…but he didn’t want to die so he reached around behind himself and tried to find a way to pull the metal free. For a while his groping hands found nothing and he squeezed his eyes shut against the tears of pain that he couldn’t hold back. One more try and finally his fingers closed around something. At the same moment, there was a strange wavering cry and the sounds of fighting abruptly stopped. Xander knew that probably meant he had a good chance of making it to the door but first he had to stop the pain and getting whatever the hell this was out of him seemed like the only way to do it. He tugged and cried out when the pain grew impossibly worse. His ears filled with a rushing sound and he felt like he was either going to throw up or pass out and he closed his eyes tightly and tried to pray that he did neither.
“Xander? Oh, god, Xander!” Willow was by him but he couldn’t open his eyes to look at her. “What happened?”
To answer, he tried pulling on the thing inside him again. They had to get out of here. Again, the pain was too much and he whimpered. He didn’t care if he had an audience; he couldn’t do it. It hurt too much. Even Willow’s little hands on his shoulders hurt but he couldn’t pull away because that would make everything worse. He could hear her calling for Giles, could hear the others coming over and he wondered what had happened to the fighting and the demons. He cracked one eye open and his vision was filled with worried faces and his own tears. They were all there, even Angel. “Demons?” he asked.
“Gone,” Buffy said. “They all made a weird noise and then they just ran away. Don’t worry about them. Giles, we have to get him to a hospital.”
Xander tried to move again, forgetting that he was still holding on to the end of whatever it was that had hurt him. The pain was worse than ever and his vision started to go black. Willow cried out along with him and then there were hands on him, holding him still.
“Is that what I think it is?” Angel asked.
“Yes.” Giles’s voice was low, heavy. “It’s the sword.”
The words banged around Xander’s brain in meaningless circles. The sword? A sword would explain why it was so sharp and hurt so much. There was something else about the sword…stay alive and don’t touch the sword. He tightened his grip on what he was holding. The hilt of the sword, the one Buffy was supposed to touch.
He tried to speak, but a coughing jag tore through him, stealing all his breath. When he finally found breath, there was blood in his mouth. “Sorry.”
Angel thought he might be the only one who had realized and accepted what the bubbling blood on Xander’s chest meant, the only one who knew what he was seeing: Xander was dead. Getting him to a hospital wasn’t going to save him. The blade had sliced through lung and heart. Pulling it out would kill Xander…not that any of them could touch the sword.
He squeezed Buffy’s shoulders one last time, then stepped away from her. “Giles.” He called the name low, not wanting to upset the girls or Xander. “Giles.”
Giles tore his gaze away from Xander’s bloody hand. “Can you carry him?”
“Yeah. But it won’t do any good. Look at him.”
Shaking his head with automatic denial, Giles looked back over at Xander and grew still. “Damnation.”
“What do we do?”
Willow overheard. “We take him to a hospital!”
Dropping down into a crouch, Giles put his hand to Xander’s cheek. “Xander, can you look at me?”
Dark eyes slowly drifted open again. Xander started to nod, then stopped. “Ow.”
“Xander, I need you to focus for me.”
“Hard to think with this thing in me.” Xander coughed and more blood appeared on his lips. “Can Willow do it for me?”
“I need you all to listen.” Giles swept his thumb across Xander’s cheek. “I’m so sorry, Xander. There’s no way we can get you to a hospital in time. The damage….and the doctors wouldn’t be able to touch the sword.”
“Are you…of course you’re sure. You’re always sure.” Xander’s eyes started to close again.
“Giles, no!” Buffy was on her knees beside Xander now. “I could take him. Me and Angel. We could run.”
“You’d kill him before you got him out of here.” Giles’s voice was rough but his tone was firm. “There’s nothing we can do to save him.”
Angel shifted uncomfortably, not sure what to do in the face of so much pain. Willow was still weeping and Buffy was starting to cry, the stubborn set to her jaw giving way to sorrow. Giles was no better off, for all that he was resisting tears. Xander…irritating, never still Xander was far too still now. His breathing was becoming more and more shallow and the blood was starting to slow but it wasn’t going to stop, not until he was dead. Should he reach out to touch Buffy? Step back and leave them to their grief? Angel stayed still and wished he could remember what humans needed to be comforted.
“Screwed up,” Xander said softly. “Sorry.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Willow said, voice to full of tears to be scolding. “This isn’t your fault.”
“Sword,” Xander said. He opened his eyes. “Giles. Sword?”
“Yes.” Giles drew in a deep breath. “You’re the only one who can touch it for the next hundred years.” He held Xander’s gaze steadily.
Xander grew even whiter. His tongue crept out to lick at his lips and he grimaced at the taste of blood before going utterly still. His gaze moved from Giles to Angel, and then back to Giles. Both men were silent, but Giles’s hand never stopped the slow stroking over Xander’s cheek. After a few moments longer, Xander closed his eyes. “Promise you’ll…you’ll…”
“I promise. Xander, I swear it.”
“This isn’t your fault.”
Both girls moved closer to him. “Yeah?” Buffy asked softly.
“Love you. Maybe even Giles. Guy can say that when he’s dying, right?”
Buffy scrubbed at her cheeks angrily with the back of one hand. “Giles, there has to be something.”
“Nothing that will save him,” Giles said. “And only one thing that will save us.” He turned his head, looking over his shoulder at Angel.
The self-loathing in Giles’s eyes was all it took to tell Angel what he wanted. “No.”
“It’s the only way.”
“You don’t know what you’re asking.” He couldn’t. Turn Xander? Sure, he’d still be able to wield the sword but he’d be a vampire, a monster, his soul damned and his whole person completely changed. “He won’t fight for you like that.”
“We’ll cross the bridge when we come to it. Right now we have to make sure that he is available to fight. We can worry about the rest of it later.”
“You said he’s dying,” Willow said. “But-“
“No,” Buffy said flatly, her voice sounding sick. “Not that way.”
“It is the only way.” Giles didn’t sound too steady himself.
“You think I’m just going to let you make Angel make him a monster?”
Willow was shocked out of her grief for a moment by realization. “Giles! No!”
“Hey.” Xander’s voice was soft, but it cut through all their arguments and left them silent. “Still alive, here.”
“They’re not going to hurt you,” Willow promised him.
“Too late. Someone already killed me, Willow. And if I die for good, maybe you don’t do so well against the demons when they come. This will buy you some time.”
“And make you a vampire,” Buffy said.
“Yeah, I figured that part out.” He met her gaze. “Don’t like it. It’s ok. Giles’ll figure out a way to make it work.”
“Xander…” Willows voice was choked with tears again.
“Tell’em, Giles.” Xander closed his eyes.
“There’s no other way,” Giles said, his voice as close to hopeless as Angel had ever heard. “Angel, before it’s too late.”
Angel wanted to refuse. Make a vampire and then try to control it? It was almost as bad as not having the sword at all. This was going to hurt Buffy. He was going to be damning Xander to hell.
“Can you do it without hurting him to much?” Buffy asked, her tone defeated.
“I can try.” Turning him wouldn’t hurt Xander too badly; he was already in so much pain that much more wouldn’t matter. It was what would come after that would be bad: trying to beat a soulless fledge into submission and make him agree to fight for Buffy and the others that would do the damage. He wasn’t sure Buffy would be able to take seeing Xander as a vampire if she also had to hear him speak with a demon choosing his words and maybe even have to beat him down herself to keep him in line. There was no help for it, though. Fledges needed a strong hand under normal circumstances if they were going to be kept around. Xander would need ten times as much control.
Unless…Angel looked away, not wanting any hint of what he was thinking to show in his gaze. “It would be better if you left.”
“I’m not leaving him,” Willow said.
“Don’t want you to see this,” Xander said, not opening his eyes. “Go with Giles. Please?”
Willow stroked her fingers over his hair one last time. “Xander…”
“Bye, Willow. Buffy.” He drew in a deep breath and began coughing up blood as he tried to say Giles’s name.
Giles reached out and gently pulled Buffy and Willow away from him. “We’re running out of time. Angel, you can do this?”
He nodded. He didn’t want to look at the girls, faces screwed up in hurt and sorrow, but Giles was nearly as hard to face. “Leave us alone. I’ll contact you when it’s over.” He wanted to reach out to Buffy and somehow make it better, but he couldn’t. He was just going to make it worse. He watched them leave without saying anything more, then moved to kneel by Xander’s side. “Xander?”
Xander’s eyelids fluttered a little, but he didn’t get any other response.
Angel didn’t want to do this, but Giles was right. There was no other choice if they wanted to keep the sword. The whole situation was wrong…but there was one way that he could make things easier on Buffy and the others and he thought Xander would want that, even if he hated the way that it had to be done. After all, he’d just agreed to be made a vampire, hadn’t he? After agreeing to that, how could anything else seem like going too far?
Xander Harris as an Abject, as *his* Abject. He’d never thought about it before and couldn’t let himself think about it now. Any more thinking and he’d stop before he’d even begun.
“This is going to hurt. I – I’m sorry.” It wasn’t enough, but it was all he had. He waited for Xander to react, but he just lay there, breathing ever more shallowly. There was no more time to wait. Reaching around behind Xander, Angel wrapped the boy’s hand more firmly around the hilt, then used it to pull the sword out of his chest. Xander cried out, then went completely limp.
They were out of time. The sword had to come out, or else Angel wouldn’t have been able to turn him. Angel pressed his face to Xander’s neck and vamped out. It only took a little bit longer to make an Abject then a fledge. He still remembered what Dru had taught him. Resolutely not thinking about what he was doing beyond giving Buffy a chance to fight in the future, he bit down and began to drink.
Running his hands through his hair, he forced himself to sit still and think it through. The last thing he could remember was…demons. Fighting demons and getting hurt. And then Willow was crying and so was Buffy and Giles was upset but everything was all right because Angel was there. Angel had changed him and saved him.
He had to find Angel. Xander got up again, but his legs were still shaky. He felt ravenously hungry, but that was nothing compared to his need to see Angel and make sure that he was all right. What if the demons had come back? Angel would have fought them for the sword…wherever that was. All he could remember was fear and pain and that wasn’t going to get better until he found Angel. Once he was sure that Angel was all right he’d be able to think and figure out what else to do…but if Angel was all right, then that was all that really mattered. Angel would tell him what to do.
Before he could move toward the door of the unfamiliar bedroom it opened and Angel stood in the doorway.
“Sire!” The word came to Xander’s lips unbidden but it tasted sweet and right. He took a faltering step toward Angel.
Angel’s expression was blank, cold, and it matched his voice. “Get back on the bed.”
“Are you all right?” Xander wanted to go over to him and check, run his hands over Angel’s body until he was certain that his Sire was whole and happy. Still, Sire had given him an order and he had to obey. He sat back down on the bed.
“How do you feel?”
Confused and starving and strangely weak, but none of that mattered. Angel was upset. Was he hurt? “Fine. Are you ok?”
“There’s nothing wrong with me.” Angel stared at him for a moment. “Stay there.” He turned and left.
The urge to follow was so strong Xander had to fist his hands in the covers to stop himself from moving. It felt wrong to be away from Sire but he’d been told to stay and he would if that was what would please Angel. He glanced around the room, wondering if there was something inside of it that was upsetting his Sire. Bare walls, a low dresser, and the bed. That was it, except for Xander. He looked down at himself. There was a fading red mark on his chest where he knew the sword had been sticking out before, but other than that he looked fine. The pants he was wearing – the only thing he was wearing – were too large and Xander wasn’t sure what had happened to his clothes. Could that be upsetting Angel?
Angel came back and Xander was immediately distracted from his worries by the scent of blood. Hot and cloying and making it hard to think, it filled his senses almost as much as Angel did. He watched intently as Angel came closer, gaze flickering back and forth between his Sire’s face and the tall mug he held in his hand. Angel stopped a few feet away and held out the mug.
Xander took it gratefully and raised it to his lips. He took a sip before the taste hit him. “Animal!”
“Pig,” Angel agreed neutrally.
“Sire-“ He didn’t want pig. He wanted human, sweet and hot, making him strong so he could do whatever it took to please his Sire.
“Pig,” Angel said firmly. “You’ll drink it.”
Xander had to obey. He swallowed his disgust and the blood, drinking until the mug was dry and still hungry for more. “Sire-“
“Don’t call me that.” Angel looked disgusted. “And wipe your mouth.”
Dragging the back of his hand across his lips, Xander cleared away the blood that lingered. Without thinking about it, he licked his hand clean. It might not be human but it was helping with his hunger and he’d take what he could get. He looked back over at Angel but he didn’t seem pleased that Xander had cleaned himself up. There had to be something Xander could do to please him. “Sire?”
“Stop calling me that.”
Angel’s voice was harsh and Xander recoiled immediately, curling in a little on himself. He’d displeased his Sire. Stupid stupid stupid. “Sorry.” He waited for the punishment to come.
After several moments of silence Angel spoke again, his voice softer. “It’s all right, Xander. You just have to learn the rules.”
“Rules?” Xander snuck a peak at him. “Your rules?”
“My rules for you.”
Xander straightned up. He could learn the rules and follow them and that would make Sire happy. He could do that – he had to. He wanted Angel happy. “What are they?”
“Don’t call me Sire. Call me Angel.”
“But you are my Sire.” He reached out for Angel, confused and wanting the reassurance of his Sire’s touch.
Angel smacked his hand away. “Rule number one is that you call me Angel, not Sire. Rule number two is that you don’t touch me without my permission.”
Xander drew back his stinging hand, cradling it to his chest and staring at Angel in disbelief. Not to call Angel Sire was bad enough. But not to touch him? Xander’s whole body sang with tension because he wasn’t touching Angel. He needed to, needed to connect with him and please him. That was the only way to stop the tension. No blood or violence or sleep would fix it: only Angel’s touch.
Angel kept going. “Never go into your vampire face.”
Xander reached up to touch his face. Smooth…he was ok. But to never go into his other face, his real one now? How was he supposed to eat?
“Don’t ever leave this apartment without me or without my permission. You will only eat what I tell you, when I tell you. And don’t ever touch a human. Not for any reason, you hear me? If you do, I’ll douse your hands in holy water.” Angel’s voice was firm, implacable.
Each new rule pressed down on Xander like a physical weight. They were all bad, but the first two had started him reeling and were keeping him confused. Was Angel denying that he was Xander’s Sire? Casting him out? That was unthinkable, unbearable. Xander would have no choice but to walk into the sunrise…but Angel had said that Xander was to stay in the apartment with him, so he had to mean to keep him. Xander couldn’t ever remember feeling so stupid. He just wanted to please Angel but he couldn’t even figure out what was going on. So worthless…he finally forced his thoughts to stop whirling around and looked up at Angel. Sire’s…Angel’s face was still, cold. There was no pleasure in the set of his shoulders or in his eyes.
Scared to ask, terrified of revealing how unworthy he was but needing to find something to hold onto, Xander ventured, “If I obey the rules – when I stick to them – that will please you?”
If anything Angel looked unhappier, but after a moment he nodded. “Yet. It will please me…very much.”
Following the rules would please Angel. Xander clung to that thought. He wanted to please his Si – Angel. Every instinct told him to sink to his knees before Angel and offer himself up for whatever purpose would bring him pleaure. Angel didn’t want that, though. It felt strange, bad, but Xander would trust in Angel that following the rules was what would please him. “I’ll follow the rules,” he swore. “I will. You’ll see.”
Angel didn’t look any happier, but Xander knew that would change with a little bit of time. It had to. He needed Angel to be happy. He’d follow all the rules and that would please Angel and then Xander could be happy.
The way that Xander was staring at him with endless devotion was making his stomach churn. He’d known it was coming, but he hadn’t expected to be like this. Having the soul just made him more aware of how very wrong this was. Xander had never sat still or silently for as long as Angel had known him, yet there he was, unmoving in the chair Angel had told him to take, not saying a word. He just watched Angel, eyes dark and hopeful, determination to follow the rules clear in every line of his body.
Fledges often had trouble controlling the shift from human to vampire guise, many unaware of the way they changed unless they were feeding. Xander had stayed human ever since Angel had ordered him to. While eating for a second time there had been a moment where the demon almost surfaced: every instinct had been telling Xander to let his fangs drop while he drank. He’d visibly resisted the impulse and his face had remained unchanged. It had to have taken an extraordinary amount of will to make that happen, but Xander had maintained control.
No matter where Angel went, he couldn’t escape that adoring gaze. He should have expected this. He’d known better…but how else could he guarantee having control over Xander unless he made him an Abject? He’d been fascinated, at first, when Drusilla had brought Spike to him and shown him the new toys she’d created. William, as he’d still been called then, had existed for no other reason than to please her. He’d killed and captured at her command, done whatever she asked. It had been interesting, seeing a vampire with no will of his own and Angelus had demanded to know the secret of how to make one. Over time, though, William’s utter devotion to Drusilla had become irritating. He’d gotten in the way a few times too many and Angelus had been determined to find a way to put the will back into him. It had taken time and training and blood, but eventually William had become a true vampire. Angelus had decided it wasn’t worth the effort to fix and told Dru not to do it again. As Angel he’d been horrified by the idea of not only turning someone but also taking away their free will. He’d never thought that he’d make an Abject himself. He’d had too, though. There was no other way to guarantee that Xander would obey him and fight the demons as he was supposed to. He’d be too unpredictable, too likely to turn on Angel and go after Buffy and the others.
He looked up from his brooding and found Xander still watching him, just waiting for a chance to please him. He knew what Xander wanted, knew that with a word Xander would be naked and kneeling in front of him, ready to do anything it took to make his Sire happy. It was the only thing Xander wanted and while it was tempting…he was falling for Buffy and he couldn’t do that, not to her, not to Xander.
The guilt of turning him into an Abject was suddenly too much, and Angel knew he had to get out of the apartment for a while. He rose to his feet. “Stay here,” he said shortly. “Don’t leave the apartment. I’ll be back.”
Xander didn’t look happy to be told he was going to be left behind, but he brightened suddenly. “I’ll stay here,” he said, sounding like he was swearing a sacred vow…or promising to obey an order from his Sire. To an Abject, they were the same thing.
That thought was one too many and Angel barely had time to grab his coat before he left. He didn’t worry about Xander leaving the apartment while he was gone; he could no more do that than he could fly. Instead, he worried over what he was going to tell Buffy when he saw her, how he would face Willow and Giles. He was going over to the library now, knowing that they would be there. Better to go find them now then have them come looking for them and see Xander. Angel wasn’t sure if Giles knew about Abjects or not, but he wasn’t about to have that conversation, not so soon after turning Xander. It would be too much to ask them to accept, even if it was the only way. It would be easier on everyone if they just waited a while and stayed separated as long as possible.
When he reached the library, Buffy and the others were waiting for him. Buffy was on her feet and in front of him before the others could reach him. “Where’s Xander? Is he ok?”
Angel didn’t know how to answer. “He’s at my place. He’s…” He shook his head. “He’s a vampire,” he said softly.
She nodded, looking away from him. Willow came up to stand beside her, Giles only a little behind them both. “But he’s ok for a vampire, right?”
“Yeah. He’s back at my place and he’s under control. He’s not going to hurt anyone.”
“And he can hold the sword.” Bitterness sounded strange in Willow’s voice and she was blinking away tears as she spoke. “And that’s all we can ask for.”
Giles put his hand on her shoulder. “If Xander were still himself, you know that he’d want us to be able to fight the demons. He’d still want to be able to help. He did want to help – you heard him.”
“Yeah.” She didn’t sound mollified. “So what now?”
“Now I teach him how to use the sword and we wait for the demons to come.” Angel spread his hands. What else could they do?
“I want to see him.”
“Not yet,” Giles said.
“He’s my friend!”
“He was,” Giles said gently. “He’s a vampire now.” His voice was rough but steady.
Willow flinched, but it was Buffy who had tears beginning to run down her cheeks. Angel wanted to help, wanted to hold her, but Giles caught his gaze and gestured toward his office and he had no choice but to follow. He squeezed Buffy’s hand before he left, though, and as soon as he talked to Giles he’d go back to her. For the moment, though, he left the girls to comfort each other.
“We need to talk.” Giles’s expression was so grim that for a moment Angel was afraid that he’d somehow found out what he’d done to Xander. “About Xander.”
“What about him? I turned him. I’ll train him and control him.”
“About what happens after the demons are defeated.” Suddenly Giles looked weary, and sad. Looking at him, Angel didn’t think that he’d slept since they’d last seen each other. “About what happens to him. What I promised him.”
“What did you promise him?” Angel thought he knew where this was going.
“That as soon as the demons were gone and the sword’s purpose filled, I would stake him.”
“You…” Angel flashed back to the conversation Xander and Giles had had in the cave. It hadn’t made sense at the time, but now it became clear. “He wanted you to do that?”
“I think he didn’t want Buffy or Willow to have to do it.” Giles back was stiff, but no matter how much he wrapped his English pride around himself, the pain still bled through. “I don’t think he would have trusted you enough to ask for your promise. I’m the only one he had. I failed him and he was hurt, was…changed. I won’t fail him in this. It’s what he wanted. What Xander wanted.”
Angel was ashamed by how relieved he was to hear Giles say that. “You’re sure you can do it?”
“I have to,” Giles said simply. “For Xander.”
He might have had to change Xander into a monster, but at least he wouldn’t have to kill him. Angel wasn’t sure how he would have managed to drive a stake into Xander’s chest while the boy was watching him with those worshipping eyes, striving to obey him and make him happy. He had so much blood on his hands, so much guilt…at least Giles was saving him from this.
Since he was confined to the apartment, Xander decided to look around. He already knew his own bare room and this living room with its smooth leather couches and chairs. They felt good under his fingertips. He wished Angel was there; then he could push him back against the couch and the leather would feels so good to Angel’s back while Xander went to work on his front, sliding his mouth down his chest and…
Xander looked down at himself, unsurprised by the erection his thoughts had produced. After all, he had been thinking of Sire - Angel. He slid one hand down his body, but stopped just shy of touching his cock. He couldn’t do this. He didn’t want to touch himself, he wanted to touch Angel. Angel didn’t want that, though, wouldn’t let Xander make him happy. And if Angel wasn’t happy, then Xander didn’t deserve to feel this either. He’d just have to wait until Angel decided he was good enough.
His erection made walking a little awkward, but it wasn’t like there was anyone there to see and laugh so he soon relaxed. He wandered around the small apartment, looking in the bathroom, then following his nose to Angel’s bedroom. It smelled good in there, all concentrated Angel-scent. He wanted to go inside and lay down in the middle of the big bed, bury his face in the sheets and wait for Angel to come home and join him…but that wasn’t going to happen and he didn’t think Angel would like him in his room. He contented himself with looking around the room, taking in the low bookshelves with books carelessly scatter all over, the closed closet door, the way the room felt colder than the rest of the apartment.
After he finally tore himself away, Xander made his way back to the kitchen. He was still hungry; god, it felt like he’d been hungry forever and no amount of blood would ever fill him up. The blood in the fridge was animal, thin and dull on his tongue, nothing like what he craved…but he wasn’t going to touch it. That would be breaking The Rules and Xander wasn’t going to do that, no matter how much he felt like his insides were turning inside out from starving. He was going to be good. He’d never really been good before. He hadn’t been good enough for his parents to care about, or most of the kids at school, or even for Buffy, but that was all going to change. He was going to be good for Angel, good enough for Angel.
Holding that thought firmly in mind, he walked out of the kitchen. He could sit and wait in the living room for Angel to come back. That would be following The Rules. Before he could get himself settled on the couch, he heard a noise back near his bedroom. Not really afraid, he headed back there, curious to see what was happening. He froze when Spike walked out of the door, confidently swaggering like he was in his own home.
Spike stopped moving when he saw Xander in return. “What are you doing here?”
Xander didn’t know what to say. He knew who Spike was, knew what he was. How could he forget him, all lean deadly grace and cruel angular lines? He was a danger to Angel and Xander was no match for him, even as a vampire. He wanted to run out the door and find Angel, warn him that Spike could get into the apartment…but he couldn’t leave. Backing away slowly, he tried to distance himself from the other vampire.
“Asked you a question.” Quicker than thought, Spike was right in front of him, grabbing him by the shoulders. “Did the Slayer send…” His words trailed off and a slow nasty grin spread across his features. “Well, well, well. Looks like something bumped you in the night. Come here looking for Angel on your own, did you? Looking to kill him so you can have the honor of killing Slayer all to yourself?”
Xander pushed Spike away hard, indignation overcoming common sense. Kill Angel? Hurt his Sire? He’d rather walk into the sunlight, would walk into the sun itself before doing that. “No!” He spotted a stake lying on a side table and lunged for it.
Spike tackled him to the floor before he got more than a couple steps. “Stop that.”
“I won’t let you hurt him.” Xander tried to knock Spike away, tried to throw him off, but it was like Spike knew every move he could make. Nothing work and soon he was pinned face down on the ground, Spike straddling his back and holding him in place.
“You won’t let me hurt who? Angel?” Spike leaned down until he was almost nuzzling Xander’s throat. He took in a deep inhalation, and then another. “Fuck me,” he said, his voice gone low and rough with rage, hands tightening even more around Xander’s wrists. “That bastard.”
Xander cried out from the pain and Spike released him, getting up and letting him roll over onto his back. He looked furious, shifting to vampire guise and back again with his hands clenched into fists. Xander took the opportunity to scuttle backwards, further out of Spike’s reach. He couldn’t leave the apartment, but maybe he’d get another chance to get his hands on a stake, especially now that Spike seemed so distracted.
“Where’s Angel?” Spike asked, killing fury in his voice.
Xander wouldn’t have told him even if he’d known. He looked around for another weapon. He had to get rid of Spike before Angel came home. He had to protect Sire.
Spike was back in front of him before he could get back on his feet. “Where is he?” He shook Xander by the shoulders, but not hard, not hurting.
Confused, Xander was just as surprised as Spike when the front door opened and Angel walked in.