All Hallow's Eve
A single, black-cloaked figure stood stiffly over a pentacle carved deeply into the soft, cemetery dirt. The night was black and cold and heavy, carrying an eerie stillness as if both the natural and the supernatural had simply deserted this corner of Sunnydale and left the darkly shrouded figure to its lonely work. The silence was only broken by a low, throbbing chant that long minutes later was accompanied by a plaintive wailing from something unseen in the mist.
Fires burn ‘neath black
It was fall again. Xander inhaled chill air scented with wood smoke as he sat on a tombstone watching Buffy easily dispatch a pair of fledgling vamps among the newly fallen leaves.
It took him back. Back to when fall had meant re-entering the musty, danger filled halls of Sunnydale High. Back to a time spent worrying about girls (constantly) and homework (occasionally) before a tiny blonde whirlwind had entered and changed his life forever.
Buffy spun and leapt and kicked, sending showers of leaves through the air around them. Xander sighed. He may, every now and again, get tired of Buffy’s different complexes, and it may annoy him once in a while that she seemed to forget about him, but he never got tired of watching her fight. It was what she was meant to do and what she was most comfortable doing. He wished he had something like that. Something truly meaningful. Just for him.
Jesus. He was practically brooding. That would never do. Xander wasn’t a brooder by nature. At least, not that he let on. Whoops. Xander was startled from his unwelcome bout of introspection by the appearance of another fledge behind him. It took some doing and it wasn’t graceful, but he took care of it.
Returning his stake to his pocket he turned back to Buffy. “Hey Buff, need any help?”
She didn’t even turn around. “No thanks, Xander, I think I can take it from here…”
Of course she could. Xander
was, as always, simply superfluous. As he turned and walked through the
rear of the cemetery on his way home he felt a strange chill, like someone
had walked over his grave. As he shuddered and rubbed his goose-bumped
arms he remembered that Halloween was only a week away. He’d always been
a bit frightened of Halloween. Something inside of him got all shrinky
and gibbery thinking about it and that was even before he’d met the Slayer
and learned that those things that go bump in the night were real. He grinned
and chuckled to himself, “Of course, nothing ever happens on Halloween.”
The next day passed with Xander unable to shake the uneasy feeling that had crept over him in the cemetery the night before. It didn’t help his mood any that Spike was acting strange as well, slinking about, snapping at everyone and looking more pale (if that were at all possible) than usual.
The Scoobies were all congregated at the Magic Box listening to Giles drone on about meaningless issues of responsibility and maturity. Willow and Tara were staring at each other with mushy expressions. Buffy merely looked glazed and generally as unresponsive as Xander felt.
He had to do something. “G-Man, Halloween is coming. Should we be looking out for anything special this year? Y’know, lively costumes, miniature fear demons in frat houses-that sort of thing?”
Giles stopped in mid drone and looked blankly at Xander for a moment. “Umm. Well. I really don’t think so, Xander. Why-?” He was cut off by Spike suddenly appearing out from the shadows of the bookcases. “C’mon, Harris.” The vampire tried to sound derisive but his voice was hoarse and cracking. “This year, Halloween’s not going to be anything to worry your empty little head about. Nope. Trust me.” Spike attempted a mix of genuine and nonchalant but the dark circles under his shifting blue eyes spoiled the effect.
“How can you be so sure?“ Buffy had taken notice of the conversation when the vamp joined in so unexpectedly and she was now looking at him and noting the signs of stress on his face, as Xander had earlier. “And what’s with you? Not getting enough sleep?”
Spike waved a hand at her. “Oh, just a feeling about Halloween. Before you know it, it will have come and gone. No crisis, no apocalypse, nobody dead.” He was looking right at Xander, whose chills had grown stronger the more Spike denied that there would be any trouble.
Buffy seemed to dismiss the issue then, choosing to go back to her inner thoughts, but Xander kept his eyes locked on Spike as the vampire gave him a weak sneer and walked out of the shop.
That night Xander had trouble sleeping. His heart was racing and he felt short of breath, as if he were deeply afraid of something but didn’t know what. When he got up to get a glass of water from the bathroom, he had that creeping sensation that you get when someone is watching you and,as he glanced in the mirror, there was a brief, terrifying second when a second face was reflected next to his own.
He gasped out a shaky scream and turned around. There was nothing and no one there but his skin was absolutely crawling. He had to get out. He didn’t feel safe in his own apartment. The streets were hardly any safer but he was willing to risk all manner of familiar threats to escape whatever was currently haunting his home.
It didn’t take long for Xander to realize where he wanted to go. The cemetery. Spike. He just couldn’t shake the suspicion that Spike was hiding something, and now was as good a time as any to figure out what.
Of course, Spike wasn’t in his crypt, which was not a welcoming place when the grumpy vampire was in residence. It was positively sinister empty. Xander was not deterred. He let himself in and set about trying to find some light. It appeared that all Spike had on hand on the upper level were some burnt down candles on the sarcophagus, which Xander promptly lit. Wait a minute. When did Spike start using black candles? Black candles with strange writing on them? And what in God's name was that noise?
There was a rhythmic, hypnotic chanting coming from all around the crypt, and in the distance Xander could hear what sounded like crying.
Cruel be the wind as it
quells my words
“Where have you been and what was with the chanting?” Xander snapped, trying to cover for his troubled emotions.
Spike looked more than a little shocked to see him, but the blond vampire merely shrugged and said, “I don’t have to account for my whereabouts to you, boy, and I have no idea what you mean about chanting.” He sniffed a little, smelling Xander’s fear. “Why’re you here, anyway, and not home safe, all snuggled in your bed?”
“Something’s in my house,” he blurted out. Lord, I sound like a fucking pansy. He’d lived on the Hellmouth all his life and now he was scared of a little haunting. “Something’s in my house and I think that you know what it is.”
Spike looked at him, slightly bemused. “No idea what you’re talking about, Harris, but if you want you can pull up a stone slab and stay the night here. I’m off to bed.” With that the vampire disappeared underground, and there was no way that Xander was going to follow him into his lair. He sank down onto the cold floor of the crypt and resigned himself to a sleepless night.
In the harsh light of day, surrounded by his friends at the Summer’s house, Xander’s fears seemed groundless. Still, Willow took him seriously when he told her that he felt that something was in his home and that something, in general, wasn’t right.
“And you think that Spike might be involved in this . . .strangeness?” Willow asked, blinking uncertainly at him.
“It’s just a feeling really, y’know, and the noises outside of his crypt last night.” Xander knew that he wasn’t very convincing but he badly needed to have his friends’ support, even if it was half-hearted. Willow turned to confer with Buffy and Xander tuned them out, letting his eyes fall half closed. He hadn’t gotten much sleep and when he had dozed he had suffered nightmares of cold and snow and men with crosses and torches. Waking up entangled in Spike’s long, cold limbs had been almost as disturbing as the sense of dislocation that had lingered from his dreams. The vampire had seemed concerned but relatively unsurprised to find Xander trying to extricate himself from their nest of blankets. He’d also had the grace not to make any snide comments to the jumpy human about their situation.
Xander jerked back to the present, wiping images of snow and sleeping vampires out of his head, as Willow was picking up her sweater from the chair back where she had been sitting,“Right. Okay dokey. Buffy and I can go take a look at the cemetery and at Spike’s old crypt and see if we can’t find the candles that you were talking about and anything else fishy or magicky, or magickally fishy, or whatever, that Spike might be doing.” Willow bounced and looked eager to be off.
Buffy just rolled her eyes and followed the redhead out into the fall afternoon.
Anya, quiet throughout the whole exchange, looked up at Xander and gave one of her shiny and patently fake smiles, “Don’t worry. I’m sure it’s nothing.”
The girls returned looking worried. It definitely wasn’t nothing.
Xander felt his stomach drop. What could Spike be doing to him? Or be planning on doing to him? “Don’t keep me waiting. What’s the bleached menace got up his sleeve, kids?”
Willow glanced quickly between him and Dawn and Anya. She took a deep breath. “Itlookslikehe’stryingtosummonaspiritorsomething.”
Anya was uncomprehending for a moment before translating in her head what Xander had heard originally. “Willow, Spike is trying to raise the dead?”
At the same time Xander muttered, “What does that have to do with me? I’m still here. Still alive.” He patted his chest and sides reassuringly.
“Urm, not trying to raise the dead, I don‘t think. It just looks like a summoning. And I don’t know, exactly, Xander, what it has to do with you.” Willow frowned.
Buffy chimed in looking grim, “But you can be sure that we’re going to find out.”
It was unfortunate for the vampire that he chose that moment to walk in. Buffy was on him in an instant, pinning him against the wall. “What do you think you’re doing, messing with magic. And with Xander,” She added, as an afterthought.
The vampire looked tired, like there wasn’t any fight in him at the moment. It was a look that Xander still wasn’t used to seeing on the snarky, hyperactive vampire. “OK, Slayer. Lay off a minute, will you? It’s not as if I wanted to hurt the lad.”
“Oh?” Xander had a bit of trouble believing that.
“It’s the truth. There’s ah . . .this vision thing.” Spike looked pleadingly at Xander, who pulled Buffy off and nodded at the table where the vampire gratefully sat. “Y’see, I get them, every fifty years maybe. Not often enough to matter. Not like Dru or Cordy. Never been a big deal.”
“What’s different this time?” Xander asked
Spike let out an unneeded breath. “You. Dead.”
Xander felt like he couldn’t breath; his vision was bleeding to black and his limbs felt numb. Spike’s words, spoken in his strangely hoarse voice had the unmistakable ring of truth to them.
For a brief moment Xander saw the shadow of a brilliant blond head and he caught the scent of heather and wool. As the fragrance enveloped him he experienced the odd sense of being elsewhere before he drifted completely into unconsciousness.
Sometime later he heard people speaking around him, murmuring, like he was under water or hiding under a pile of blankets. Slowly he began to distinguish words.
“Xander! Wake up. C’mon, whelp.” He felt a cold hand lightly slap his face and smelled leather and cigarettes. Not heather. Not wool. Why did I think that Spike should smell like heather? Was his first thought, followed closely by, how did I get on the floor? Coming back to consciousness was a slow process, with much sputtering on his part and much cursing on Spike’s, as the vampire propped him up into a sitting position.
When Xander’s vision cleared, he saw the others across the room just looking at the two of them; Xander sitting wide-eyed and cross-legged on the floor, feeling green and achy, and Spike crouched solicitously beside him.
Xander turned to the vampire and spoke the first words that came to mind before he vomited all over himself and the black-clad Spike. “Why the hell do you care if I die?” The vampire looked slightly appalled at the mess and muttered, “Be damned if I know.”
From deep in the earth
brings forth rebirth
Spike dragged a reluctant and shivering Xander though the cemetery. "Spike, once more, why are we out here? I still don’t feel like myself." Spike had woken the young man out of an uneasy sleep, filled, once again, with misty dreams of green hills and gray skies, in order to accompany the vampire out into the night.
Spike didn’t even look back at the lagging boy. "Not surprising. That you don’t feel like you, that is. But there’s someone that you have to meet." Then he did turn around and his expression was one of apprehension. "I can’t deal with this alone. Besides, it really is your responsibility."
Xander jogged a little to catch up. "What’s that supposed to mean? You’re the one messing around with dead people and having visions and stuff. I think it’s all about you, here."
Spike just shook his head and kept up his pace until they reached his old crypt. "Here we are then," he muttered, not looking any happier than Xander felt. "We shouldn’t waste any time." And he led them both in.
There was a pentagram chalked onto the floor and Spike knelt just outside of it murmuring to himself as he lit the black candles at its points.
"Uh, Spike? This is so not something that I want to do right now." Xander’s voice quavered a bit. It wasn’t as if Willow hadn’t cornered him into participating in his share of wacky black candle and circle spells, but he had never been comfortable with it. There was something inside of him that was deeply distrustful of magic, and especially of his own involvement with it.
"Gotta be done, Harris. You have to talk to him, don’t you? Tried to handle it by myself, but he insists." The last was an absentminded statement as Spike completed his murmurs and candle lighting, which really only served to make the shadows in the crypt deeper and colder.
"Who?" Xander was relatively sure that they were alone in the crypt, and that made everything just so much worse when he started putting all the pieces together.
"He asked me not to tell you." Spike stood up and dusted off his hands, looking lost for a moment before returning to Xander’s side and gently pushing him toward the pentagram. "There now. Have a seat."
Xander took a deep breath. "No."
Spike didn’t even look at him. "Hmmm? No? Well, I don’t think so, mate." The vampire slid bonelessly to his knees at one of the points of the star and closed his eyes. "You, Xander my boy, are going to die on Halloween. Didn’t I mention that before? I thought I did. Anyway, I should think that you’d want to avoid that, if at all possible, and the only way I can see you doing that is if you play along for a bit. What do you think?"
Xander stood befuddled for a moment. He wasn’t used to Spike wanting to help him. It set off every alarm he had in his head. However, he had always been very interested in staying alive. Living on the Hellmouth, one developed a very keen awareness of one’s own mortality, and Xander was no exception. Living with death (and the undead) every day had turned his perceptions of life a bit askew from those of your average twenty-something young man. He accepted death, he recognized it, but he was not at all eager to confront it without an escape scenario. He turned his attention back to Spike. "I don’t know, Spike. This is all a little much. I haven’t been feeling well; I’ve been having strange dreams and I have no idea what you’re up to. Maybe you should explain."
Spike didn’t look at up but
Xander could feel his irritation. "Explain. OK." The blond rose up on his
knees, shuffled backward, and settled back against the wall of the crypt.
"I had a vision in which I saw you, Xander Harris, dead. There were two
other men there, and both of them seemed to know me. The weirdest part
was, well, that somehow it was all connected to me. That was all I got."
He stopped for a minute and Xander thought he might not continue, but he
was only lighting a cigarette from one of the candles. "It was weeks ago,
when I was still a little buggy and livin‘ in the school basement. But,
since then, as you can see, I‘m better now. I thought things were under
control except that every time I saw you I got the funniest feeling that
I was missing something, and there were the dreams. They were all misty
and cold-like, and there was always something or someone there, just at
the edge of my vision, that I couldn’t see, y’know? Tryin’ to get my attention."
"Hence the summoning?" Xander wondered aloud. "That’s what all that chanting and stuff has been about?"
"Quite. Now, are you done with the Q&A, mate?" Spike’s answer was curt, and he looked like he was definitely hiding something. But, Xander wondered, when had Spike ever been completely honest with him?
Xander thought for a minute. He had too many questions that he knew Spike was in no mood to answer, so he gave up. "Sure, Spike, we’re done."
"Good. Now, I just want you to try and relax. I’ll do all the work here, right?"
Xander nodded. "Oh. Yeah, all right."
Spike moved back into his place at the point of the star and began his incantation, sprinkling bits of crushed aloe, pepper, vervain, saffron and tobacco leaves throughout the center of star as he chanted:
Darksome night and shining moon
Harken to my witch’s rune
East then South, West then North.
Hear! Come! I Call thee forth.
With each word the crypt grew damper, colder, more oppressive. The hair rose on the back of Xander’s neck and he knew that he and Spike were no longer alone. A misty figure had begun to form next to Spike and it took all of Xander’s willpower not to run gibbering and screaming from the crypt.
When Spike finished his chant and his companion had gained clarity and solidity Xander was, to say the very least, surprised. It was a man, and he was dressed in what looked like leather and a very large, silver fur coat. His hair was dark; long, it fell in a tangle of braids and mats about his face. Well, holy shit, Xander thought while looking more closely at the spirit’s face. His skin was dark and worn, as though from years spent in harsh weather, and there was a nasty scar that wound from his right cheekbone into his hairline, where it had silvered the dark locks. But, for all that, the strong chin, the brown eyes and the quirky smile were all devastatingly familiar. Xander could have been looking into a magic mirror.
"Oh for chrissake, Spike, who the hell is this?" Xander was vaguely pleased that his voice didn’t crack.
Spike just shrugged and looked warily at the spirit. "You tell ‘im. I don’t want nothin’ else to do with any of it."
The spirit gave the vampire a nasty glare before returning his hungry gaze to Xander. " ’Tis simple, Alexander, the bit about who I am." He paused and cocked a brow, "I’m your son."
Xander closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. Can I say ‘wiggins’? No. This defies words. Even for me. Gotta be the weirdest thing ever and that’s saying something for living your whole life on the Hellmouth. Weirder than being a hyena. Weirder than the whole mummy girl and mantis thing. Wierder than being a soldier. Weirdest. Period.
“H-how can you be that?” he stuttered. “You’re older than me!”
Spike gave an unnecessary and long-suffering sigh. “Are you blind? Look at him. Figure it out, stupid git.”
Xander just shook his head. “No. I can’t have a son that’s older than me and who looks like he just stepped out of a Conan flick.”
The vampire drew a leg up and rested his chin on his knee. “What d’you know about reincarnation?”
Seeing that Spike was serious Xander thought for a moment, not dismissing the question out of hand. “Nothing I guess, why?”
“ ‘Cause it’s the crux of the whole bloody issue, that’s why!” Spike turned to the spirit who had the temerity to look vaguely amused. “This is your show. Take it from here.”
“Nay, William, ye keep trying to avoid this. As if it weren’t about the two of you. This is not about meself and me da however touching that might be.”
Spike glared and the spirit continued, “Fair enough. Alexander. M‘athair. This canna be easy to take all at once like this, but you must. There isna much time.” The spirit ran a ghostly hand though his hair and Xander was fascinated to see the ragged strands lift and move as if still alive. “Ye can call me Robert, Robbie, if ye like,“ he said, looking at Xander with what might have been hope in his eyes. Xander just nodded and the spirit, Robert, gave a small shrug. “I’m sure that William has told you about your death? Aye?” Xander nodded again. “Good. Then it shouldn’t be too hard to prevent it this time.”
“This time?” Xander could feel his blood pressure rising again.
“Oh aye. Happens every time. Without fail. The curse was a damned good one, William, ye should be pleased.”
Now Spike looked shocked. “What the bleedin’ hell does that mean?”
Robert shook his head. “In a minute. I have to know something first. William, do you still wish Alexander to die by fire on Samhain?”
Spike made a strangled sound before replying, “God. No.”
“That’s a start.” The spirit nodded. “Now listen to me, both of ye, because I don’ want to wait around, floating about with nothing to do, for another generation until I get another chance at ye. Got it?”
Xander and Spike nodded. “Of course, me lads, it makes a great tale. All about love and murder and curses.” They just looked at him with wide eyes. “Ach. Come closer to me.” And without any protest they shuffled towards him, one on each side, until Xander swore he could smell the animal scent of the furs that his ’son’ wore. “Now, the best way to do this is to just take you back. Are ye ready?” He didn’t wait for their response before raising his hands above them and plunging the world into grey.
And now he was falling. Falling into a world of snow and smoke. Xander could sense Spike and Robert next to him, but he couldn’t see them. Then he heard Robert’s distinctive voice in his head, Feels like home, doesn’t it? Don’t worry. Yer just along for the ride. To see what ye can see. To feel what ye should feel. Look there-d’ye see? That’s yerself on that hill, looking up at the stars. Aye, and William and I are there with you.
He could see. He saw a man, wrapped in what looked like a large plaid blanket, standing on a craggy hill overlooking a black sea. It was Xander himself, with shoulder length hair, matted and tangled from the cold wind. Another man stood beside him, also looking at the sky; with his long blond hair shimmering in a starlit fall down his plaid-clad back. There was also, as Robert had pointed out, a young boy, no more than nine or ten, scampering between the two older men, chasing moon beams that reflected on patches of snow.
A feeling of deep contentment stole over Xander as he observed this domestic scene, a feeling of warmth and love for family.
William suddenly ceased his contemplation of the sky and whirled to catch the boy who had run past him. Picking up the child, he swung to face Alexander. The clean, sharp edges of his face were shadowed by the night, but Alexander could see the smile on his companion’s face as William drew him into a one-armed embrace while holding the laughing child in the other. As Alexander slipped easily into William’s arms he tilted his head down for a brief but passionate kiss.
The air was chill around them but William generated an unnatural amount of heat and Alexander basked in it and in the feel of William’s firm body pressed against him. He buried his face in William’s soft, blond locks, inhaling the scent of heather that always clung to the man. William let Robbie slide from his arms and return to his games just in time as Alexander, in a rare moment of exuberance, tumbled the smaller man to the ground. They wrestled for several minutes, ending with William pinning Alexander by straddling his wriggling hips and capturing his flailing wrists above his head in an iron grasp.
Alexander laughed. He truly laughed, gasping for breath. His heart felt light and free for a brief moment. He didn’t object when William began to nibble on his neck; he melted into the fluttery sensation that William’s lips and teeth always brought him. He continued to lie passively when William released his wrists and began to push his plaid away from his chest, leaving only his soft linen shirt as a barrier to the blond’s seeking tongue. He only roused himself long enough to call out to his son, “Robbie, lad, can ye find yer way home?”
A far off giggle accompanied Robbie’s yell of, “On my way, da.”
Satisfied that his son knew the highlands as well as any grown man, Alexander returned his attention to William. “I suppose this means that we’re done with yer bloody astrology for the night, aye? You’ve gained all the wisdom from the heavens that you need this night?” William didn’t bother to answer. He was occupied with gently thumbing Alexander’s nipples through the shirt and mouthing his neck just above the collarbone. Alexander moaned and shivered a little. William, pleased at the response, shifted his hips to align his hardened member with that of his lover’s and slowly began to thrust. Even through the barrier of yards of plaid Alexander could feel William’s heat. He burned. He burned with life and with magic and with love. Out here, among the rocks, with pounding of the sea and only the glittering stars to witness, it was all right to burn. Here, he was free to lust and to love. To love William and his magic.
Alexander threaded his fingers through heavy locks of blond hair as William slithered down his body; nimble fingers already at work on the belt that held his heavy plaid in place, pushing the woollen fabric aside as it loosened. He could no longer keep silent when he felt William touch him, tease him through the cloth.
“Please what, mo luaidh?” William asked as he continued to play his fingers lightly over Alexander’s straining member and down over his balls.
“Your mouth, love, take me . . .oh, aye. That’s it, Will. Oh, God in heaven . . .” Alexander’s breath hitched as William had ceased his teasing and took a firm hold of Alexander’s cock, pulling it deep into his mouth and swirling his tongue around the sensitive head, causing Alexander to mutter and tighten his already tangled grip on William’s hair. The blond slowly relaxed his throat while letting Alexander thrust into his mouth, enjoying his lover’s participation. The other man was rarely an active lover; this was a rare occasion.
It didn’t take long, as Alexander felt himself slide into William’s throat, for the tingling to build at the base of his spine and his balls to tighten. He let out a sharp cry and, holding William’s head steady, came with a shuddering gasp into the other man’s mouth. He felt immediate remorse and shame, as always. However, it was difficult to maintain the guilt when William crawled slowly back up his body and looked into his face with glassy blue eyes and a mouth red and swollen from Alexander’s use.
William sensed Alexander’s sudden withdrawal from him and was briefly angered at the predictability of it. He had played passive, happy to take advantage of his lover’s mood, but he was painfully aroused and he was not a man to go unsatisfied. He grasped Alexander’s cold hand and brought it to his still covered erection. Alexander was hesitant.
“I don’t know, Will, it’s getting cold an’ Robbie’s home alone. Aye?”
William shrugged and gave a languid wave of his ringed hand. The air shimmered around them and they were encased with balmy warmth. “If I’m not enough to keep ye warm then this should do until we’re done. And Robbie’s a braw lad. We’ve left him alone for days at a time before, love.”
Alexander knew he was defeated as he looked at William with his sleepy blue eyes and his tousled hair. His own arousal was creeping back. He gave William’s cock a gentle squeeze, secretly loving the solid feel of it in his hand. “I’ll take care of ye Will, I’m sorry. But then we really must get back to Robbie. We may have left him before, but these are unsettled times. It‘s not safe for us any more.”
William nodded and Alexander let himself be pulled down for a kiss. William tasted of ale and Alexander’s come. It was intoxicating. William’s tongue traced intricate patterns inside the other man’s mouth, sucking on his lips, while Alexander simply slid a questing hand underneath the other man’s plaid, not bothering with trying to unbelt it. Soon he was stroking his lover firmly, running his thumb over the head and using his other hand to caress William’s heavy balls, eliciting moans and hisses from the blond. But it was when he broke away from the kiss and latched onto William’s neck, biting delicately into the skin above the jugular, that William growled, arching tautly against him, and he could feel hot come spurt against his hand.
They lay in the grass for a time, needing to recover, running their hands over each other with William, always more comfortable in this situation, murmuring comforting words and endearments.
Alexander was the first to rise, kissing William briefly on the lips, and rearranging his clothes. “Come on then, Will.” He offered his hand to the blond, still lying sprawled on the ground.
William took his hand, and with a shake looked as if he hadn’t spent half the night rolling about in the frozen turf. He had no grass stains; no come stains and his clothes seemed dry. Alexander shook his head. “It’s things like that.”
“Things like what, love?” William asked, starting to walk down the hill, inhaling the sea air.
“The trick with y’er clothes. That’s what starts rumors about witches.” Alexander hurried to catch up. It seemed he was always a step behind the other man.
William threw a warm and dry arm around the larger man and when he spoke his tone was joking, although his eyes were serious. “But, my heart, I’m not a witch. I’m a warlock.”
Some people live in a world defined by right and wrong and black and white. Xander was one such person. He lived in a world defined by opposites, by good and evil. He was a white knight in that particular age-old battle between darkness and light and he was comfortable with that. There was no room in Xander’s world for ambiguity. He had never been comfortable with people crossing lines or with gray areas. Although he had gotten better, it was a problem that had always plagued him. Buffy, a slayer of evil things, should not have been involved with Angel, an inherently evil thing. In his devotion to that conviction, he had helped send Angel to hell. He had been even less accepting of the idea that Spike could ever be a force for the good. However, he had liked and perhaps even loved Anya as a former vengeance demon and he was perfectly comfortable with Willow’s life choices. He was a sensitive guy in that area, but that was as far into the gray as the black and white, right and wrong, Xander went. To consider the possibility that he and Spike, Spike the vampire, the Big Bad, the apparent warlock, were some sort of star-crossed lovers living out some kind of twisted destiny after four hundred years was entirely out of the realm of things that he could even comprehend, let alone begin to acknowledge.
The hard floor of the crypt and stiffness in his limbs was enough to let Xander know that he had come back to himself. He opened his eyes and met Spike’s worried look, glanced quickly away, and had to fight to suppress a rush of emotion. Not William, Xander thought to himself, but it did little good. The blue eyes were the same. The gaunt, hungry face was the same. The feeling that he had somehow disappointed the other man was, very much, the same.
Xander lurched upright to stand on numb feet. He stood for just a moment, looking down at Spike, before turning and running. He didn’t hear Spike call after him, “Dammit, Xander, no! You can’t break the circle!”
He was already gone, and only Spike and Robbie were left to see the silvery mist that swirled in the air for a second before drifting after him.
When Xander reached his apartment he was exhausted and shaking. There was nothing that he wanted more than to fall into bed and sleep for days. But he didn’t have days. Halloween was rapidly approaching and if he was going to live through it there were some nasty facts that he was going to have to face. Nevertheless, the minute that his head hit the pillow, he slept.
He did not dream, but when he awoke he had the feeling, stronger than ever, that there was a certain malevolence surrounding the apartment. He rubbed his arms beneath his blankets as if trying to brush away the oily feeling in the air.
“You feel it too, do you, mate?”
“Jesus, Spike! What are you doing?” Spike was sitting comfortably on the edge of the bed with a mug of blood in his hands.
He shrugged. “Just wanted to see how you were this morning. You left in a right hurry last night. Which, by the way, was not such a brilliant idea.”
Xander rolled onto his back. “Why not? I couldn’t stick around. I didn’t have anything to say.”
Spike rolled his eyes. “Whether or not you had anything to say, I still had to close the circle that I’d opened to summon our friend. You broke that circle by leaving. I closed it all right after you left . . .” He trailed off looking pensive.
“So, I think something got out before I finished.” Spike turned his attention back to his mug.
“Oh, you’re kidding. Like, what?” Xander’s voice was getting louder.
“ ‘Nother spirit I’d guess,” Spike said around the lip of his mug. “But that’s not the worst of it.”
“Of course not. Tell me, Fangless, hit me with it.”
“It went right after you.” Spike finally looked directly at him.
“Not right now, pet, we have work to do.” Spike gave a little smile and got up off the bed, smacking Xander’s thigh as he did.
Xander grabbed Spike’s hand. “How can you even joke about that?”
Spike looked puzzled. “Are you worried about that, Xander? ‘Cause I would think that you would be very concerned about dying about now, and that you might waste time worrying about your sexuality later.”
“Goddamn you, Spike. I’m perfectly comfortable with my heterosexuality. I just thought that-- well . . . that maybe we wouldn’t have to talk about all of this. Y‘know, just work on reversing that curse.”
Spike got wide-eyed. “And how, mate,” he leaned in close, near enough to kiss, “would you propose we do that? When this,” and he touched Xander’s cheek, “is what the curse is all about?”
Xander was mesmerized by the vampire’s proximity and the sultry tone of his voice. Oh, no. “I-I, Spike! Hey, personal space,” he managed to yelp out.
Spike backed off but the intense look on his face didn’t fade. “We were lovers a long time ago, boy, and for some reason it made me curse you to an agonizing death. You’re going to have to face that, if you want to live.” He walked out of the room.
Xander thought angrily to himself, There might have been something between us in the past. It doesn’t mean there ever will be again.
Avoiding the vampire wasn't easy, but Xander accomplished it for a good part of the day. He took a long shower, then snuck out to the Summers house to find Willow. He was going to take the plunge and ask her about the curse.
The witch sat with him on the living room couch and listened with astonishment as Xander told her an edited version of the story.
“My god, Xander. You mean to say that you and Spike knew each other sometime in the past and that Spike put some sort of curse on you that makes you die every Halloween?”
Xander nodded, relieved to get it off his chest; most of it anyway. “Yeah, that’s it in a nutshell.”
Willow sat thinking for a long minute before getting up and grabbing a large text. After flipping through the pages for a while she asked, “You don’t know exactly what the curse was or why Spike used it?”
“Uh, no.” Probably wouldn’t tell you if I did.
She nodded and flipped more pages before looking up at him with a very serious expression. “Xander, you know that I would do anything to help you, right?” Without waiting for him to respond she continued, “But I don’t think I can help you. I’m not very comfortable in my own magic right now, and I think that the curse on you is extraordinarily strong. Also, I doubt I could do anything, anyway, without knowing more about the curse itself.” She sighed. “You and Spike are going to have to work this out. You’re simply going to have to fulfil the conditions of the curse so it can be lifted; as soon as you find out what they are, that is.”
Willow left the room to a disheartened Xander. He had truly hoped to avoid having anything to do with Spike or their mutual past, now it seemed unavoidable.
“She’s right, you know.” For the second time that day the vampire had snuck up on him.
“Lurk much?” he snapped, getting up off of the couch.
“Expert at it. Perfected the art,” Spike smirked, blocking Xander’s way to the door. “But, I meant what I said about Red being right. We have to let Robbie take us back again. We have to see what happened if we’re going to save you.”
Xander shuffled his feet and stuffed his hands into his pockets. “You know, don’t you, that there is nothing in the world that I would rather do less?”
Spike was thoughtful, “Oh, I don’t think that you want to burn to death.” He moved suddenly to grip Xander’s shoulders and planted a soft kiss on the brunette’s surprised mouth. “And I don’t think that you wanted me to do that.” Spike waited but Xander gave no response beyond a blank stare. “See? There are worse things.”
Xander’s only thought was, It wasn’t that bad. The kiss. Kissing Spike.
NOTE ON GAELIC WORDS: m’athair-father, mo luaidh-my beloved, darling.
So, there they were, back in the crypt with Robbie looking both of them over appraisingly. “Yer not getting on too well, are ye? The two of ye, I mean.”
“I don’t know why it matters, Ghostboy. Oh, and there’s been something that I’ve been meaning to ask you. Why are you involved anyway?” Xander asked, feeling scared and annoyed and any number of other confusing emotions that he refused to name.
“Ach.” Robbie looked like he wanted to spit but controlled himself. “A son’s love fer his father.”
“You’re lying and being vague.” Xander wasn’t surprised. “But let’s try this one, who or what was it that came out of the circle last night after I left?”
“That‘s easier. It was another spirit; the third in your cursed, bloody little triad. The one who will find and possess a willing body in this time and this place and burn you, again.”
Xander wanted a full explanation of that statement, but judging from the closed look on Robbie’s face, knew he wasn’t going to get anything more out of the man who claimed to be his son. “Fine. Get on with it.”
Robbie looked at him for a moment, as if judging something, and then spoke. “Reach across the star and grab William’s hands.”
Xander flinched a little and Spike saw it. There was an uncomfortable second where Xander nettled with his fear of the vampire’s touch before he reached out and clasped the cold hands in his. Spike opened his eyes in mild surprise but didn’t say anything, merely rested his hands within Xander’s larger ones and waited for Robbie to work his magic on them.
The last time it had been
cold. The air had been sweet and sharp with the invigorating chill, but
not this time. Xander had never felt such bone-breaking, blood-freezing
cold. It took his breath away and left behind a tearing, burning in his
lungs. Then there was the smell, the smell of smoke and animals and humans
clinging to him and to the clothes that he wore. There was no feeling
of comfort, no feeling of safety, this time. Xander was falling into fear
Scotland, 1662. The Height
of the Witch Burnings.
Night was falling and Alexander could see his breath and that of his horse’s ghosting in the snowy air. He had had too much to drink, and with the ale in his head and the pain in his limbs it was an effort to stay astride, but he knew he had to make it home, and soon. Once there he could not rest, though. He must collect Robbie and his few possessions and ride on. North. He had family there that they could hide with, family that had not heard of his troubles. He swayed a bit and caught himself on his horse’s mane. First, he had to get home.
He knew he had been gone too long; it had been days since Thomas the Vicar, the witch hunter, had locked him in a stinking cell and set about breaking him. He had held out for perhaps a day, no longer. Thomas’ silken voice had crept into his mind through the pain of his beaten body, taunting him about his unnatural life with William. The taunts combined with harsh threats to Robbie’s life had broken him. Thomas had seen into his soul, found all of his fears and doubts, drawn them out of him and played with them like a cat before the kill. He rationalized with himself, though, even now, that he had had no choice. He had to save his son. He hadn’t been able to save his wife, sweet, innocent Anne, but he could save their son.
Thomas had known about Anne. He had known about the deep well of guilt that Alexander harbored for her death. He had known that she had killed herself because her husband, the man she loved, had loved another man, and a warlock at that. Tears flowed down Alexander’s face as he thought of Anne and William and froze there against his wind-burned skin.
The ride seemed to last forever and yet it was over all too soon, and he was staring at the dark windows of his thatched cottage. No smoke rose from the chimney, and a shiver of apprehension made its way down his spine as he tried to grasp what these signs of desertion meant. Walking into the house he felt colder than he had outside. Shaking the snow from his plaid and his hair he called for his son, “Robbie? Where are ye lad? We’ve got to go now, son.”
There was a cough behind him and Alexander whirled, snatching his knife out of his boot as he did. There, in the shadows by the cold hearth, stood the one person that he had not wanted, expected, or hoped to ever see again. The other man appeared relaxed and unaffected by the weather as he leaned against the stone of the hearth. “What are ye doin’ here, William?” Alexander’s voice was hoarse from the wind and from the drink.
“It’s no matter. It’s clear that ye weren’t expectin’ me. The real question is, though, what have you been doin’, Alex?” William’s voice was low and calm, but tension simmered just under the surface.
“I was just out. In the town. Where is my son?” Alexander backed slowly toward the door as he spoke. He wasn’t fast enough. The door slammed shut behind him with a wave of William’s hand, and he knew that he was trapped.
“Don’t worry about your boy.” William shrugged the matter aside. “I’ll ask you again, though, what have you been doin’ this night and the day before?”
“I told ye, William, I was just out. That’s all.”
William tensed. “Liar.” The cold hearth suddenly blazed with fire, illuminating William’s long blond hair and red-rimmed, blue eyes. He cocked his head suddenly, his fine features still with concentration. “D’ye hear that? The mob?” And Alexander did. He had been listening for it himself. William continued conversationally, “There’s been some trouble lately. People in the village, the vicar, they’ve been sayin’ things about us. About me in particular.” He lifted his hand in front of the fire as if to warm it before a flick of his wrist sent one of the two chairs in the room flying into the wall. Shards of wood from the chair hit Alexander’s hand, knocking the knife away. “Accusations like that can cause no end of pain to a person, Alex.”
Alexander could only nod; his throat had gone dry and his pulse pounded in his ears. He was terrified and shamefully aroused by William’s unusually blatant show of power.
William continued, never moving from beside the roaring hearth, “And while all of this is going on, while our lives, my life, hangs in the balance, you disappear. For days now.” Then he did move, stalking Alexander quietly across the small room until he was within feet of the taller man. “How much did you sell my life away for? Was it just in return for your own or did they, did Thomas, offer you something more?” His voice rose to a shout. “How much Alexander? How much is my life worth to you? My love?”
Alexander, gathering the tattered remains of his courage, stepped closer to the enraged warlock and hissed, “I never loved you, a mic an diabhoil. ”
There was dead silence in the cottage with only the dim glow in the southern sky through the open window to tell them that the mob was still on its way.
The blond seemed to glimmer, then, with energy and his eyes went from blue to black. “Ye betray me and then ye deny me.” It was said quietly but with utter finality. For several moments the warlock simply looked at his lover with an empty gaze before sniffing in disdain. “And while you’re waiting for them to come for me you spend your time rutting on some pox-ridden whore! I can smell her stench all over ye.” He turned his back on Alexander in dismissal. “It’s no matter. You‘ll never be rid of what you are. I know it, our godly vicar, Thomas, knows it.” His tone was almost conversational. “Ye didn’t think that Thomas was just going to let you go, did ye?” He paused and Alexander didn’t respond. “Oh, ye did. I see. Even after he had you tortured and threatened your son, ye thought that he’d let you go if you gave me to him. Ye didn‘t trust me to take care of the both of ye.” He shook his head, deeply saddened.
Without warning the small table lurched across the floor and hit Alexander in the gut, knocking the wind out him. As he lay across it, gasping for breath, William turned once again to face him and moved slowly to stand beside him, placing one preternaturally strong hand on the back of Alex‘s neck before intoning his curse. “For your weakness ye will suffer the fate that ye planned for me. When the mob arrives and finds me gone they will happily accept you as a substitute.” Here William’s voice hitched as if just for a moment he felt grief beneath his anger. “And it’s not just this once, Alex. Ye will burn in every one of your lives on this very night until you freely admit that you were wrong and until you truly understand what you have lost and what you have destroyed through your weakness.”
By Air and Earth
By Water and Fire
So be you bound
As I desire
Beyond death and through life
By three and by nine
Your power I bind
As I desire
To die by fire, to live in Hell
‘Till thine faith be proved
‘Till thine love run true
As I desire
Alexander gurgled under the stranglehold on his neck. He wanted to speak but it was something of a relief that William had taken that option from him; it was as it should be. He was not surprised to feel his plaid and shirt being shoved up over his back and his skin bared by William’s other hand.
William spoke and his voice resonated with power. “Be still.” He removed his hand from Alexander’s neck but the dark haired man remained immobile and unable to catch his breath. He heard the warlock pick up the knife that he had dropped earlier and then felt the warmth of the other man leaning against his trembling legs. “I seal this curse to ye with my blood…” William murmured as Alexander felt something warm begin to dribble across his back. It was William’s blood from a deep cut on his wrist. Alexander knew, he had seen this all before. It was this power of William’s, the power over life and death and nature that crossed even into the afterlife that had always left him breathless with passion and terror and it was that fear, mixed with shame for the passion, that had led him to this place.
The warlock’s touch was gentle on Alexander’s back as he traced the necessary arcane symbols in blood onto his bare skin.
The bloody hand returned to hold Alexander’s neck as the spell that bound him was released. Blood covered his face as he struggled, and trickled into his mouth, choking him. His thrashing about and coughing only lasted for a moment as he was beginning to see sparkles of light behind his closed eyelids and knew that consciousness was slipping away.
William loosened his chokehold and shook Alexander’s head, hitting it against the table. “Stay awake, love.” His voice was almost tender and Alexander responded, opening his eyes and drawing deep, painful breaths between wrenching coughs. The breathing process was interrupted once again, however, when he felt one of William’s blood soaked fingers prodding at his nether entrance.
“Sguir,” Alexander cried hoarsely. “Not like this. Never. No.”
“Not like what, mo gradh?” William’s tone was curious, belying pain and grief as he removed his fingers and pushed his bloody cock deep within the writhing man on the table.
Alex couldn’t speak any longer. The only sounds in the hut were the crackle of the fire and his rough, anguished screams as his body tore apart under the warlock’s assault.
It didn’t take long to finish. William climaxed after several brutal thrusts with a grunt and a short, sobbing cry.
When it was over the warlock stood back from the table, wiping his hands and flaccid member on Alexander’s fur coat. He left the shivering, sobbing man exposed and noted with distraction the hungry way the flames already seemed to reach for his dark lover from the hearth.
The mob was not far and William knew that he had to leave. The light from their torches had turned the low-hanging sky an angry red. As he saw the warlock turning for the door, Alexander managed to ask, in a broken, whispery voice, about his son.
William lifted one shoulder. “He’s safe already. I’ll care for him. I always have, haven’t I? Ever since Anne died. Ye were a poor excuse for a father.” The blond turned back to look at the man on the table. “You can rest easy knowing Robbie won’t meet yer fate. At least ye’ll have that.” He knelt, then, and looked in Alexander‘s swollen brown eyes, the eyes of the man who had been his friend and his lover for over a decade and who had, perhaps inevitably, become his betrayer. “I must go now, m‘annsachd, and know that I do with sadness.” There were tears at the corner of his luminescent blue eyes as he leaned forward and pressed heated lips to Alexander’s. Even beaten and facing death Alexander responded hungrily to William’s familiar, magical touch, arching into the other man’s strong, pale hands.
William lingered over him a moment, trailing kisses from his lips to each of his eyes before rising to his feet. He had nothing to say and Alexander was silenced by a sob caught in his throat. With a last touch to Alexander’s dark hair the warlock simply walked out the door and disappeared into the swirling snow leaving his one love to face his death at the stake. He didn’t hear Alexander’s whisper. “Goodbye mo airgeadach, mo chride.”
Alexander died that night, Samhain, a victim of the mob and of the vengeance of Thomas the Vicar, a man who had both feared and lusted after the dark-haired lover of the warlock, William.
In the smoky, snowy dawn, when the sun was rising and shedding light on the dismal, gray earth beneath it, William slipped into the village and took Alexander’s remains with him to be buried, on unhallowed ground, near the sea cliff where they had sat together often and spoke about life, love and the stars.
Before he began to cover the body in the fresh turned dirt, William spoke the last spell of his life, a variation of the curse that had bound Alexander to burn through all of his lives. William bound himself to Alexander, to live, unknowing, with his lover throughout eternity until they came together in love again.
As Robbie sat astride their horse and watched the warlock bury his father, he swore to himself that he would find a way to break the terrible curse that William had laid on the two of them, if it took him beyond the grave.
Be-spiderwebbed and glazed in frost
He wears death beautifully
More stunning now than in his life
On a bed of autumn leaves
Into his eyes and quite surprised
I whispered don’t you leave
Sing macabre songs and we’ll dance ‘till dawn
On All Hallows Eve
Note on Gaelic terms:
a mic an diabhoil- “You son of the Devil.”
mo gradh- “My dear”
m‘annsachd- “My best beloved”
mo airgeadach, mo chride- “My silver one, my heart.”
Authors Note: In the years between 1563 and 1736 at least 1,500 people were executed for the crime of witchcraft in Scotland. There were three intense witch-hunts during this time, the last being between the years 1660 and 1663. 300 people were executed in this three-year period. Admittedly most were women, however, there were men among that number. Documents survive that record 3 men executed in the village of Forfar.
Xander was floating and that was fine with him. Here, in his head, there was no cold, no snow and no flames. He gave a mental shudder. In this murky darkness there was no wrenching pain of separation, which Xander/Alexander had learned was worse, in many ways, than the pain of death.
Slowly, familiar feelings returned. He felt the hard floor of the crypt and smelled the damp, musty air. Ah, and there was the smell of cigarette smoke. He opened his eyes. Spike was leaning against the sarcophagus smoking, his face haggard and his eyes glassy with shock. Xander didn’t want to break the silence, didn’t want to move and draw attention to himself, but his body rebelled. He fell onto his side and dragged himself a few feet into the shadows on numb hands before vomiting. He lay there shaking for a moment before gathering the strength to get to a crouch. When he spoke his voice was barley audible. “Can I leave now? Have you finished your spell?”
Spike looked at him with empty eyes, and with a mutter to himself, blew out the candles that anchored the pentagram in the magical realm. “Go.”
Xander didn’t wait. With blurry vision, a roiling stomach and a tearing pain in his heart, he wandered off through the cemetery.
It didn’t take long; he didn’t even have feeling back in his stiff legs, when he realized that he someone was following him. He called out, “Spike, you bastard, leave me the fuck alone.” He was struck dumb when Anya stepped into the waning moonlight.
“Ahn…I haven’t seen you in weeks. What the hell are you doing out here?” He made a cautious move towards her before he noticed the rage contorting her face.
“It’s always the same, isn’t it? Ye never learn, boy.” Her lips were barely moving and the voice, ohgodno, the voice was intimately familiar. Thomas. “Look at her,” the voice commanded as Anya went rigid and her eyes closed as if in pain. “She still loves ye, just as she always did. I could feel her pain callin’ to me, askin’ me in, askin’ me to avenge her for the suffering that ye have caused her.”
Xander was backing away, stumbling in the frozen grass when he tried to reply. “Anya? Are you there? C’mon, sweetheart, wakeup. You’re Anya, remember?”
Anya jerked, opened her eyes and laughed, “Not Anya, Anne. Anne, Anne, Anne, Anne.” She danced awkwardly toward Xander, reminding him for a strange moment of Drusilla, and pulled a large knife from the waistband of her jeans.
“No, Anya!” Xander made a grab for the knife and missed Anya’s other hand coming at him. A vicious right hook connected with his face, sending him spinning off balance, blood seeping from his split lip. Taking advantage of his surprise, Anya swept his feet out from under him with a kick from a booted foot and threw herself at his unprotected chest with the knife.
The first cut burned but it was shallow. When Xander grabbed Anya’s slender wrist and tried to push her away, he discovered that the new, crazy Anya came with a strength upgrade. She was impossible to dislodge. He had just about given up when he heard the distinctive sound of ribs cracking and Anya flew off of him, screaming in pain. He lay still for a moment listening to Anya retreat, cackling and muttering to herself as she went, before turning his attention to his rescuer.
Spike stood silhouetted against the first rays of the pre-dawn sky. His expression was carefully blank. Xander struggled to his feet, swaying with dizziness, and started to walk home, pointedly ignoring the blond. He did nothing, did not even acknowledge the other’s presence even when he was sure that Spike was following him.
They made it back to the apartment minutes before sunrise and still neither of them said a word. The silence was deafening.
Xander headed toward the bathroom to clean up, determined to continue the game when Spike appeared as an immobile barrier in front of the door. “You can’t hide, Xander. I won’t let you.”
Xander snapped. He threw a careless punch at Spike, who ducked and easily dodged it. “You won’t let me? You ugly sonofabitch. How dare you?” Xander was yelling and blood was splattering Spike’s face from his split lip.
Spike stood still for a moment, blinking at the pure rage in Xander’s tone before grabbing the bigger man’s shoulders and slamming him against the wall behind them. “Shut up, Xander. Just shut the fuck up.” Xander was shocked into stillness for a moment, fear trickling down his spine. It hadn’t been too long ago, centuries, hours, since he had felt the full, brutal force of this man’s anger and knowing that the chip was gone made it all so much more real.
He whispered, “You don’t know how I feel right now. I can’t face it, not with you.” When Spike reached out a hand to Xander’s face, he recoiled, knocking his head against the wall. “Don’t touch me. Don’t ever touch me again.”
Spike narrowed his eyes and Xander could see the vampire was keeping his emotions on a tight leash. “You’re wrong, y’know. I do know how you feel.” Spike thought for a moment. “I know what it is like to love and to be hurt…” He licked his lips. “And to love to be hurt.”
Xander gasped at the unbelievable implication of Spike’s words, but the vampire was still talking, “What happened between us…well, I can’t ever be sorry enough for that. But believe me when I say that I have been punished.” He moved closer to Xander, trapping him between leather-clad arms braced on either side of his head. “You cannot imagine what living with Angelus was like. What loving him was like. What that meant. What it entailed. I have suffered for what I did to you. I have suffered for loving you through loving him.”
Xander was frozen in Spike’s gaze as if enchanted. The violence always present in the vampire was simmering just beneath the surface. The possibilities of that violence terrified Xander, not for what Spike could do to him, but for how he, Xander, would respond.
He knew, had always known, that succumbing to Spike’s darkness would mean utter loss of control, utter loss of responsibility for his actions, and utter freedom to give in to both pain and pleasure.
It would mean release.
His tired legs could no longer support him, and as tears crept slowly down his face, he slid to his knees in surrender. Spike nodded, almost to himself. “You understand then.”
Spike carried the exhausted man into the bathroom and set him gently on the toilet seat. Xander drifted in a painful, confused haze as Spike ripped his bloody t-shirt off and carefully disinfected the knife wound in his chest. He came fully awake, startled, when Spike cleansed his lip, and hovering inches from his face, placed a chaste but tingling kiss on his swollen mouth.
Xander let Spike lead him into the bedroom and was passive while Spike undressed him. Xander was jolted uncomfortably back into the present when he felt the other man slide into bed next to him. For a moment he tried to ignore the feathery touches on his back but it was impossible, his body betrayed him, shivering with arousal.
“Relax, Xander. Just get used to my hands on you, luv, O.K.? You can’t even see me back here.” Spike’s voice was low and intense.
“What is this, Spike?” Xander mumbled.
“We have until tomorrow night to break the curse. That’s not much time…we have to finish what we started.” Spike’s touch grew more insistent, demanding a response from Xander’s exhausted body.
“What if I don’t want to, Spike? I’m not gay in this life…whatever I was in the past. I don’t love you; in fact I believe I hate you. Oh, and I’m totally freaked out by the fact that you raped me.” Xander wasn’t even going to voice the more complex issues that had been raised earlier.
Spike’s hands tightened on Xander’s shoulders and he moved until his firm body was molded to Xander’s, his erection pressed against Xander‘s ass. “You’ll die if we don’t work it out, if we don‘t finish it. Thomas is already here and he has your demon ex in his thrall.” He dropped a kiss on Xander’s shining, dark head. “Xander, listen very closely to me because neither of us wants to talk about this again. We are bound together regardless of our gender, so whether or not you’re gay is beside the point.” He rested his forehead on Xander’s shoulder before continuing. “As for you hating me? Well, mate, there’s a very fine line between love and hate. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out which one is behind the passion that you feel.” He slid one hand down Xander’s side to his waist and then to his hip and let it rest there, ignoring Xander’s sudden intake of breath. “And I won’t lie to you. Even though so much time has passed, our souls, the essence of who we are, remains basically the same. I have always been, and always will be, a violent man, and you will always love me because of that. But here, in this time, things do not have to turn out the way that they did in Scotland. That’s why we are reborn. We learn from the past. I can control myself now, I will never hurt you like that again.”
Not your typical seduction, Xander thought hysterically. I love him because he’s violent? Xander wanted to scoff, wanted to run, wanted to fight. Instead he let out a groan, smothered by his own arm against his mouth and gave an involuntary shudder that drove him hard against Spike. Against all of his better judgment, Xander had begun to believe. It was the churning in his gut. It was the melting in his muscles. It was the sweaty palms and the shivers that he got while Spike was touching him. It was the heavy hard-on between his legs. But most of all it was the almost nauseating mix of arousal and terror that Spike awakened in him. It was a familiar, remembered feeling. It was natural to him, like Spike’s touch was natural and desired. It made him feel alive.
He tilted his head back and closed his eyes, letting Spike claim his mouth in a forceful kiss. The vampire’s cool hand slid from his hip to his cock and gently began to stroke him. Xander moaned into the vampire’s mouth, intoxicated by the unfamiliar taste and texture. He rolled to face Spike, hesitantly running his hands over the smooth, pale skin.
“Ohgodxander.” Spike’s voice was full of tension.
Xander stopped. “Wait. I don’t know what to do…No, I don‘t know if I can do this.”
Spike growled at him, his eyes gleaming in the watery light that filtered in through the shades. “Look at me.” Xander looked. Spike held his gaze with his own as he traced Xander’s full lips with the tip of his finger. Xander did not feel any better. His mind was in turmoil and he was terrified of the fact that he had no control over his body’s fierce response to Spike’s touch. The other man gave him no time to come to grips with the situation. He slid his finger into Xander’s mouth and squeezed his cock at the same time, eliciting a frantic, gurgling cry from Xander.
“That’s it,” Spike crooned as Xander sucked on first one, then two of his fingers. “Just like that, luv.” He nudged Xander’s legs apart and replaced his fingers with his tongue, distracting Xander while he gently prodded the tight ring of muscle between the other man’s legs with a slick digit.
Xander went completely rigid. Ohnononodon’ttouchmethere. “Shhh. S’alright.” Spike murmured as his kissed his way lightly across Xander’s chest, tonguing his nipples.
Xander was in a place he had never been before. A place of terrifying contradictions. He had never been so painfully aroused but it was a razor’s edge between fear, shame and pleasure.
He felt no relief, only intense emotions and overwhelming physical sensations when Spike finally moved from his chest to his stomach and from there to his cock. He didn’t want to look but he couldn’t turn his eyes away from the sight of the tousled blond head between his legs. He could feel his balls, heavy in Spike’s hand and he could feel Spike’s throat convulsing around him as the vampire swallowed his cock.
Xander thrust several times into Spike’s willing mouth before he exploded. “Spike…coming…ohfuck.” He almost lost consciousness but for the fearful, unwanted voice in his head chanting, nowwhatnowwhatnowwhat. What does he want now?
It was obvious. Spike was taking advantage of his pliant state to lay him on his stomach, all the while stroking him and whispering to him as if he were a frightened animal. “No worries, luv. S’ok. Not gonna hurt you. Love you.”
It was hearing that those last terrible, appalling, wonderful words coming out of Spike’s mouth that forced him to lie still in horrified anticipation.
Spike left the bed for a moment and Xander felt a sudden, sickening rush of adrenaline. Is this it? Are we gonna do it?
Spike returned seconds later and crouched between Xander’s legs, “Kneel, pet.” Xander shivered at Spike’s suddenly tender tone, and slowly got to his hands and knees. “Gonna fuck you, Xander.” The vampire hesitated with his hand on the small of Xander’s back and whispered, “You can tell me no.”
Xander thought, Sure, I can say it--but would it matter?
As if reading his mind Spike wrapped his arms around Xander’s waist and said, “I won’t if you don’t want me to.”
They both waited for a moment, the words gonna fuck you flitting through Xander’s head making his limp cock twitch in response. He was in way too deep to play any more games. Images of the vampire taking him, fucking him, hurting him, controlling him, owning him, loving and caring for him were all entangled in his mind. The ideas, the acts, were inextricable. And that was, undeniably, what he wanted. To be fucked, to be loved, to be taken care of. To have all of his choices made and to find the release and relief in the pleasure and in the pain.
“Don’t ask me. Just fuck me.” He reached behind him for Spike’s cock and grabbed it. “I want this. I want you.”
That was all the vampire needed. He had brought hand lotion from the bathroom back with him and he didn’t even bother to warm it in his hands as he rubbed it across his fingers and found Xander’s hole. Xander jerked away when felt the first gentle touch and Spike had to hold his hips still with his other hand when he began to push his index finger inside. There was burning and stretching and it felt right. It felt nearly unbearable when Spike crooked his finger and found Xander’s prostate.
Xander howled into the pillow under his head as Spike added a second finger. Then the vampire paused as if he wanted to say something but Xander’s words hung heavy in the air between them. “Don’t ask.”
When Xander felt the pressure increase he knew what it was. He knew what was about to happen and, with an effort of will, he kept the bile from choking him. Flashes of the pain from Alexander’s last hours invaded his consciousness and he battled with separating the past from the present and accepting the necessary hurt from Spike’s invasion of his body.
And that’s what it was. It was both an invasion and a completion. Spike was taking him, conquering his body, tearing him apart both physically and mentally, and then making him whole.
Spike wasn’t gentle. Xander hadn’t expected gentleness, but neither was he brutal. His thrusts were deep, strong and slow, designed to make Xander fully aware of what was being done to him and by whom, without damaging him. His moans were interspersed with cleansing sobs and when Spike’s fangs pierced his neck and the vampire cupped his hand around Xander’s cock, again fully hard, he came with breathless abandon, shoving himself back onto Spike, taking the other man as deep as he could.
When Xander came, giving himself completely to Spike, blood, body and soul, the vampire was lost. He came with his lover’s blood on his lips and his come on his hand.
There was a loosening, then.
As the two of them collapsed onto the bed it felt as if old ropes, long
knotted, were finally beginning to come loose from around them.
St. Lucifer hear me praying
For Xander, waking was a long, disorienting process of cataloging various hurts, from the burn in his neck to the persistent ache between his legs. He didn’t want to move. He didn’t want to escape from the comforting weight of Spike’s arm around his waist. He knew that once he moved, once he left the bed, there would be consequences. He had just spent the night fucking, loving, a 150 year-old vampire. There would be inescapable consequences.
He shifted slightly in the bed, not wanting to wake his exhausted lover, sinking deeper into his thoughts. This can’t work. He shut his eyes. He had convinced himself of that fact sometime before he had fallen asleep and his sentiment hadn’t changed. Spike was, undeniably, capable of love; deep, passionate, destructive love. Of this, Xander had no doubt. There was evidence. Spike had loved Drusilla; he had loved Buffy and probably still did, and, from what had been revealed the night before, he had loved Angelus, as well. Xander, on the other hand, had never experienced that kind of passion. The ‘I would die for you,’ Titanic, kind of passion. He didn’t think that he could survive the force of Spike’s love, of his emotion. But, more importantly, Xander was afraid he couldn’t survive his own need for Spike.
There was more. Xander supposed that by now he should be used to unconventional relationships, but what he really wanted, deep inside, was the happy, wholesome American family, white picket fence and all. He rubbed his eyes tiredly. That was an unattainable dream. Family? Never.
His thoughts drifted unbidden to the one place and time where he had felt most content: Scotland. For that one night, watching the stars by the sea with Robbie and William, he had felt like he truly belonged to something bigger than himself. He had been deeply and completely in love with William; and Robbie, beautiful Robbie, a boy with Xander’s own laughing dark eyes, had been playing there beside them.
That was what Xander wanted and what he knew couldn’t be recaptured. Spike may have regained his soul but he had not regained his humanity. He was immortal and Xander was, undeniably, a fragile, mortal creature. He could never live with Spike. And, sadly, he couldn’t have a family with him. He had enough common sense to know that. Buffy and Angel had realized the problems inherent in their relationship, beyond the happiness clause, and Xander knew that he was going to have to face the same issues with Spike. The beautiful vampire would remain untouched by age, as Xander grew older and older over the years. Love eternal or not, there was little that could withstand that kind of strain, and Xander would never subject a child to it.
He sighed deeply, looking at Spike’s face, relaxed in sleep. His heart hurt. If they broke the curse and he stayed, he would lose himself to the passion, the pleasure and the freedom the Spike offered. He would lose everything that was the old Xander and face an uncertain future with an assuredly unhappy ending.
The phone rang and jerked Xander out of his introspection. It was Willow. She was concerned about him. This couldn’t be any more awkward, he thought as he stumbled and stuttered through the conversation. He promised her, in the end, that he was fine and that she, Buffy and Dawn should definitely come over for an early evening movie.
Xander hung up, and without noticing that Spike’s blue eyes were open and watching him, he padded slowly, naked, to the shower.
It was late afternoon and Xander was sitting on the couch with a faraway look in his eyes. Spike, returning from the kitchen with week-old pizza and beer, was halted in his tracks by the immediate sense of Xander’s withdrawal from him. Xander had been uncharacteristically silent since he had emerged from the shower.
“Xan? Harris?” he queried softly, dropping the pizza and the beer onto the coffee table and sitting down next to the young man.
Xander didn’t respond; he merely flinched slightly at Spike’s proximity. He had nothing to say to Spike. There was nothing he could say that would make sense, or that would make anything better. Can’t work. I know it can't. I love him, I think. But how can that be? What can I say?
Suddenly, Xander felt a stinging slap. He was rudely yanked out of his reverie, and turned wounded eyes to the vampire sitting pensively beside him. “Why did you do that? I was just thinking,” he muttered, holding a hand to his burning cheek, hoping Spike didn’t sense the sudden leap in his pulse.
Spike looked serious as he contemplated Xander. “I won’t have you drifting away from me. Not now. Not yet.”
Xander wasn’t mollified. “So, is this how it’s going to be between us? I stop paying attention to you for a minute and’ya slap me around?” His eyes were wide and glassy, and both cheeks now had spots of rosy color.
Spike grunted and leaned back into the couch cushions. “Not unless that’s what you want. I just don’t want you dwelling on things, thinkin’ too hard about what’s gone on. Obsessing. You’ll go batty.” He softened his tone. “Don’t pull away from me, luv.” He didn’t wait for Xander to respond. “D’you wanna watch this movie or not? The girls are gonna be here any minute.”
Shit. Xander had invited the girls over to watch movies. Willow had been so worried about him after their talk the day before. Was it only yesterday? Xander had no feeling for how much time had passed since he had talked to Willow, died (no, that wasn’t me), and been brought to life again in the arms of a vampire.
The movie had not been one of his better ideas, but then, he was not known for his bright ideas. He was also not one to keep secrets. He needed help and he had always turned to his friends before. The Scooby gang had been through some terrible things in their time together and he figured that they, as a group, could handle this. He wouldn’t have to face anything, including Spike and his feelings, alone. If I love him then it gives us the power to break the curse. Then I can go . . .
Spike was still studying him with a worried look on his face. Xander couldn‘t bring himself to reassure the vampire that he wasn‘t losing it. There was a knot of tension permanently lodged in his stomach. He had given into some terribly base urges that morning, allowing himself to experience a terrifying loss of control. It had gone way beyond his one time with Faith, and his constant submission to Anya. This had been real. Losing yourself real. Becoming the vampire’s bitch, real.
But, Spike wasn’t so demanding now, in fact he seemed to be at a loss. Xander made a brief, half-hearted effort to comfort the blond. “Sorry I snapped at you, Spike. I do wanna watch the movie.” He grabbed a piece of pizza and stuffed it in his mouth to forestall any further attempts at conversation. He did notice, though, that Spike didn’t apologize for slapping him.
The girls arrived just in time, and Spike put on the movie. It was Buffy’s choice, Lord of the Rings. It was long but mesmerizing, and despite the number of times Xander had seen it, he found himself falling back into Tolkien’s magical world.
By the middle of the movie, Buffy was asleep on the recliner and Willow, sitting cross-legged on the floor, was enraptured. Dawn was on the computer, using the dark, Xander assumed, to hide any nefarious activities she might be up to online. He turned from Dawn, hunched over the keyboard, to Spike, whose chiseled features were accentuated by the flickering blue light of the television. When Xander glanced at the screen he saw an otherworldly Orlando Bloom peering thoughtfully over some great expanse of New Zealand terrain and had a sudden realization. He reached out a tentative hand to Spike’s porcelain cheek.
Spike held perfectly still. This was the first time that Xander had touched him without some sort of coercion and his hesitant fingers burned the vampire’s flesh.
Xander whispered wonderingly, “You look a little bit like him, so unearthly . . .so beautiful . . .” His fingers trailed across Spike’s lips and paused there. How can I think of him this way?
There was a sharp intake of breath from the floor in front of the couch. Willow was looking up at the two of them in disbelief. “What’s going on?” she hissed, alerting Dawn’s gossip-sensitive teenage ears.
The younger girl turned away from the computer. “What, Willow, what is it?”
Spike reached up and took Xander’s hand in his own, lacing their fingers together before shushing the two girls. Xander didn’t pull away, feeling a little tingly at Spike‘s proprietary gesture.
Spike was silent though, leaving the explanations to Xander. “Ur. . .well. Willow?” She nodded encouragingly. “Do you remember what we talked about yesterday? About me and Spike?” he asked.
She nodded. “Uh hmm. You told me that you thought that you and Spike had lived before, a long time ago, and that somehow you had been cursed. You thought it was pretty serious.”
Xander nodded and started to reply when he was interrupted.
“Cursed by who?” Buffy didn’t sound at all like she had been sleeping. She sounded terribly alert. “What exactly is going on, Will? Xander?”
Willow turned to her friend and shrugged. “Xander came to me yesterday and told me that he had a problem. He wasn’t very specific, he just said that he and Spike had known each other before, like past lives stuff, and that there was a curse involved. He wanted to know if I could break it, the curse I mean, but I told him that my magic was wacky and I didn’t know enough about the nature of the curse. Anything that I tried might’ve only made it worse, y’know?” She looked worried; concerned that she hadn’t tried hard enough to help her friend.
Buffy turned to the two on the couch, still holding hands. “So, Xander, why don’t you fill me in on what you didn’t tell Willow? I have a feeling that this has something to do with how strange Spike has been acting, doesn’t it?”
Xander sighed. Here goes nothin’. “Okay, Spike and I did know each other in another life, and I guess we were kindofinvolved.”
Dawn coughed and Buffy glanced over at her sister before asking, “Involved how? Like, involved how I think you mean?”
“Yeah.” Xander nodded.
Buffy sat back and narrowed her eyes. “Huh. Go on.”
“Right. Well. There was hurting and betraying and then there was cursing.” He caught his breath. “We just had to have some closure before we could break the curse.” Spike’s hand tightened on his and Xander could hear the vampire whisper, “Closure?” He pretended not to notice, studiously avoiding eye contact with Spike.
Willow touched his leg to get his attention. “Who cursed who?”
“I cursed ‘im. He dies every Halloween.” Spike spoke out loud for the first time, staring at the Slayer defiantly.
“Why?” Dawn asked, eyes wide.
Xander squeezed Spike’s hand harder than necessary before answering, “That’s personal, Dawn.” He turned to Buffy. "Do you have a problem with this? Are you gonna help or not?”
“Whoa. Take it easy, Xander. I still don’t understand. You and Spike were together in the past and now you’re together again? Like, together together?”
Both Xander and Spike nodded, and when Xander turned to look at Spike the light from the TV illuminated the side of his neck.
Willow gasped, “Oh God. He’s bitten you!”
Buffy was on her feet and next to Xander before he could move, pulling his shirt collar down and staring intently at the angry mark.
Spike pushed her gently away as Xander murmured, “It’s not like Angel never bit you.”
She didn’t say anything for a minute, just stood and stared at the two of them. When she did speak her voice was low and even. “This is something I never expected.” She shook her head. “I can’t be angry, though. I’ve accepted that Willow’s gay, so I can’t have a problem there, can I?” She tapped her lip with a pink fingernail before continuing, musing to herself. “Lord knows that I have a thing for the undead.” It felt like everyone was holding their breath, waiting for her to finish. She shrugged and slipped her hands into her pockets. "I guess what’s most important, though, is that I thought that there was enough hope for Spike that I helped him get the chip out.” There was a palpable sense of relief in the room. “So, the only question is . . .are you okay with this, Xander?” She gave him a sidelong glance.
“I don’t know,” was Xander’s strained reply.
Buffy just nodded. It was a sentiment that she could understand. “We’ll help you Xander, with whatever you need.”
Part Ten A
Later that evening, with all thoughts of Legolas and beautiful blonds banished, Xander, Spike and Buffy patrolled the cemetery where Anya/Thomas had attacked Xander the night before.
“So, Spike, you have a plan?” Buffy asked softly as they trudged through the light rain.
“Yeah. I do,” was Spike’s curt answer.
“Care to fill me in?”
“You knock ‘er out and Harris and I exorcise the bad guy.” Spike spoke without looking at her.
“Sounds good. But how did the bad guy take over Anya in the first place?” Buffy sounded nonchalant but there was an underlying tension to her words.
Spike sighed. “Didn’t you ever wonder why Anya fell in love with you so quickly?” He addressed Xander who was lagging behind.
“Uh. Yeah?” Xander was thrown off balance by the question. He had been watching the vampire brush hair, sticky with rain and gel, away from his face and it had been distracting.
“When she became human, whatever ragged, wasted little part of Anne’s spirit that was left possessed he,.” Spike contnued, oblivious to Xander’s wide-eyed gaze.
“Who is Anne?” Buffy asked as she picked her way carefully around a group of headstones.
“Alexander’s wife. Offed herself. Very messy.” Spike looked back at Buffy then, challenging her to ask for more. She just shrugged. She had encountered vengeful spirits before, ones that inhabited the first convenient body, too.
“Anyway, Xan here is, I guess you can say, fated, to hurt the poor thing. He does it every time. He has an aversion to getting married, you see, because of how badly it turned out that once . . . He makes up all kinds of excuses, but it comes down to two things: he can never love her enough to marry her and he knows that he will hurt her in some way even if he did.”
Xander had been quiet but he was listening. Never love anyone but you. Bastard.
As if Spike had heard him he spun around gracefully in the slick grass and flashed a sardonic, tooth-filled grin back at Xander.
When Xander mouthed, “fuck off” at him, he blew a kiss to the boy and turned back. “The betrayal that Anya felt when Xander left her at the altar was all that Thomas needed to feel Anne’s pain. That brings him to her.” He glanced at Buffy and continued, “Thomas killed Xander the first time with my help. Then, I made sure that he came back to kill him every lifetime since.”
Buffy looked like she wanted to say something but they were all startled by the sound of laughter. “Ach, William. That was good. I feel Anne’s pain, do I? Yes. I suppose I do.” Anya walked out of the gloom towards them, her eyes shadowed and her limbs twitching. “But I love to feel Alexander’s pain, William. He’s tormented now, just like he was then, at the thought of loving you.”
Spike growled and threw himself in Thomas/Anya’s direction with Buffy close behind. Xander stood miserably by, useless, as Buffy and Spike worked together to fight the demon possessing Anya. At one point Buffy was thrown to the side, landing awkwardly against a headstone and Xander heard the distinctive sounds of bones cracking. It wasn’t until Spike ripped a branch off of a tree and knocked Anya on the side of the head with it, that the fight came to a stop.
Buffy gathered up the unconscious Anya in her arms and held fast calling to Spike, “Whatever you’re gonna do, do it quick.”
Spike nodded and dragged Xander forward, pushing him to the ground before Buffy and Anya. He drew a wicked looking knife out from behind his back, and as he began carving the pentagram into the mud around the girls he began chanting the familiar summons. By the time he got to: “Hear! Come! I Call thee forth,” Robbie was standing beside Xander, his hand reassuringly solid on his father’s shoulder. “This is it, da. This is what ye have been waitin’ for.” Xander could only nod as Spike began to crumble herbs over his and Anya’s heads. He recognized rosemary, sage and angelica, but the others were foreign and their scent, mixed with the pungent odor of the wet earth, made him light headed.
He was surprised when Spike knelt next to him and took his hands, circling the sensitive flesh of Xander’s wrists with his thumbs. “You have to say this with me, luv, just like we talked about.” He spoke as if to a small child but Xander responded, breathing deeply, hearing the echo of the words Spike had whispered in his ear before they had left the apartment. If we break the curse, all the bonds will be broken . . .even those between you and me. Did he want that? Oh God, I don’t know. The memory of Spike loving him, owning him, was too raw in his mind and the burn in his neck too fierce for him to want freedom. But, there was no time. Spike had started to speak and Xander began to mumble with him, his voice gradually gaining strength.
By the crimson and the
Anya moaned and struggled in Buffy’s grip.
By dragon’s blood and
Anya thrashed, and Buffy yelped as the possessed girl sank her teeth into the Slayer’s arm.
Spike and Xander leaned closer to each other until their foreheads were almost touching. Their voices chanted in unison, dissolving bonds that had joined their souls together for centuries, erasing the taint of betrayal, hatred and rage from their sprits.
Robbie, standing to the side of the lovers, was starting to fade. With a ghostly touch of benediction on each of their bowed heads, he whispered, “Slan leat, mo gradh ort, athair.”
I cut the cord and unlock
There was a glitter of tears in Spike’s blue eyes as he slid one hand up Xander’s arm to cup the other man’s jaw.
With unbreakable walls
I surround myself
Xander rubbed his face against Spike’s hand and arched his head back so that the cool figures could trace over the mark on his neck.
I banish thee forever from me
Spike’s voice had lost its accent and reverted to the lilting tones of the highlands. The sound of it rose over the sounds Buffy’s struggle with Anya and Xander’s breathless whispers as Spike moved his other hand from the boy’s wrist and slid it up Xander’s leg to rest gently on his cock.
Thou shalt thyself be burned
Xander jerked and whimpered, feeling 350 year-old flames licking at his flesh. Anya shrieked in pain and cursed in Gaelic.
Xander raised his voice then, as Spike tightened his hold at Xander’s neck and between his legs.
I banish thee! I banish thee! I banish thee!
There was a scream, but it was Anya’s voice, free of Thomas’ rasp, and when Spike shouted the last words of the spell Xander felt a warm, sticky wetness soak his jeans.
I am set free.*
The night was still and cold. The moon had risen and it shed its silvery light over the four bodies in the cemetery.
Buffy was the first to recover. She gathered the mud-soaked Anya into her arms and helped her past Spike and Xander. Her gaze, when she turned toward the two, was full of sadness and compassion.
Xander, still entangled in Spike’s long limbs, muttered, “It’s done. They’re gone.” He didn’t know whether to grieve or to be relieved that it was over, that he was free.
Spike moved one hand to brush the hair out of Xander’s face and responded, “Thomas is gone. Robbie is gone. But, I don’t think it’s over between us, a chariad.”
The sound of the Gaelic endearment made Xander’s breath hitch. Spike would do that. He would lie here in freezing mud and he would be tender. No, please. I don’t understand gentleness.
Spike said nothing else; he simply slid forward and laid a painfully sweet kiss on Xander’s trembling lips.
“Spike…I.” Xander couldn’t finish. He was choking on emotion as Spike wrapped him in his arms and held him. Spike kept on kissing him, little fluttery touches on his cheeks and eyes, while Xander struggled to regain control.
When they got to their feet, Spike kept a strong arm around Xander. They headed in the general direction of Xander’s apartment. It wasn’t until they were inside and Spike was striping filthy clothes off of Xander that he spoke. “What did you want to say to me?”
Xander shrugged, mute. There was no denying that the devastating, destructive feeling in his heart was love. Whether or not he could endure it remained to be seen.
Spike started the shower running and guided Xander in, following closely behind. The blond kept his back to the spray and was starting to wash Xander’s chest when the boy sank willingly to his knees, gripped Spike’s hips, and began to lick and nibble at the flesh of his cock.
Xander began to relax and the turmoil, the restless questioning in his mind vanished as he began to choke on Spike’s erection. This is where I belong. I can be happy here, were the only thoughts swirling through his mind.
When Spike’s hands tightened in his hair, he concentrated on catching all of the vampire’s come in his mouth, and then stood, pressing his mouth to Spike’s in a frantic kiss. Spike took back what he had given to Xander, bruising him with his mouth and working a soap-slick hand between the boy’s legs.
Xander cried out at the first invasion of his sore body, arching back against the shower wall and gritting his teeth against the pain.
Spike waited for a moment before catching Xander’s chin with his free hand. “Look at me, Xander. Let go for me.”
Xander moaned and twisted his head out of Spike’s grip but he couldn’t escape the icy blue gaze.
Spike took his time, slowly thrusting and twisting his hips, eliciting incoherent whines and whimpers from Xander. When he made no effort to speed up Xander latched onto Spike’s smooth back, bared his neck, and hissed, “Finish it, you sonofbitch. Take it.”
Out of the corner of his eye he could see the vampire slide into game face and lunge for his neck. It was enough. He came without being touched, his muscles milking Spike’s second orgasm from him as the vampire drank.
Later, as both of them lay in bed damp and spent, Xander ran his fingers carefully over Spike’s mouth, still red with Xander’s blood. It was technically Halloween, and he was still alive. Spike had saved him by loving him. The curse was broken.
He knew from Buffy that something big was happening. She said that it might be the end this time. That seemed anticlimactic because, in a way, he felt like it had already ended for him. Loving Spike, violently, recklessly, and dangerously, and letting him do what he did to him, was an end in itself. It was, finally, an end to innocence, to childhood and to hope. His innocence had been a quality that persisted long after the rest of his friends had become disillusioned. He had remained hopeful and naive despite numerous life changing encounters over the years, but now, at last, he had grown up. This kind of love wasn’t for children; it was too deep, too dark, and too fraught with pain.
It would be an ending for him if he stayed and fought the good fight one last time with Buffy. It would be an ending if he chose to spend his life with an immortal vampire and forgo all desire for a family, a child like Robbie. But maybe, maybe, if he left, it could be a beginning for him. He smiled to himself. It was a Cure moment. Should he stay or should he go?
Cold is the Night in so
*Gaelic translation: Slan leat, mo gradh ort, athair - Farewell, I love you, father.
*This is my version of a banishment spell adapted from The Wicca Handbook, by Eileen Holland.
Part Ten B
Giles had come back to Sunnydale with some girls. Potential slayers, he called them. They needed protection because the First Evil was back and trying to kill the Slayer line, blah blah blah.
Xander didn‘t actually care. He was in an odd state of limbo. Spike had suddenly become very important to Buffy and the coming battle, and Xander, although somewhat grateful for the respite from Spike’s attentions, was feeling left out. He and Spike had had a series of terrible arguments in which Xander had tried to express his fears and his doubts (particularly about Spike’s relationship with Buffy), and he had ended up insulting the vampire rather than accomplishing anything. As a result, Spike had begun staying at Buffy’s, a situation that did nothing to improve Xander’s mood.
He remembered the last fight. Spike had finally drawn him out of his depression into a rage.
“What the fuck is wrong with you, Xander? This is the second night in a row that you’ve refused to come to bed with me.” Spike waited a moment but Xander ignored him and he continued undaunted, “You never leave the house, you won‘t talk to your friends, you don‘t shower, and you’re always screamin’ at me!” Spike was yelling now, his body tense and his fists clenched at his sides.
Xander turned from where he was rummaging in the refrigerator to trying to find a beer. “Did you ask me to go patrolling with you tonight? When Spike shrugged, Xander responded. “There. Why should I bother? It‘s not as if I‘m helpful.” He gripped the beer bottle tighter. “I don’t have anything to offer anyone but you, it seems, and I really don’t want my friends seeing what I’ve become.” Whore, skittered through Xander’s thoughts.
Spike opened his mouth to speak but Xander rushed on. “And besides, you don’t want to be seen with me when we go out; I’m just your fucktoy and you don’t want to remind Buffy, your true love, that you’re dickin’ me every night rather than her!”
Spike moved toward Xander, his eyes wide with confusion. “What are you talking about, Harris? I love you. I’ve loved you for lifetimes. I’m not ashamed of you, and I don‘t know why you think you‘ve changed--loving me, being with me, doesn‘t make you different from who you were.” He paused, really looking at Xander. Taking in the lost weight, the sunken eyes, and the haunted air that hung over the other man. “ All right, maybe you have changed, but not in the way that you think.” There was still no response other than an increase in the tension that radiated from Xander. “I haven’t taken you patrolling lately because it’s dangerous and you’re not up to it. Xander, luv, I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you.”
“Bullshit. That is such shit, Spike. Because, y’know why? ‘Cause, I’m gonna die before you do anyway. I’m gonna get sick, or get in a car accident, or just get fuckin’ old, and I’m gonna die. How can you love me knowing that? How can you possibly? You‘re just playing with me. Playing with my life.” He choked on a swallow of beer before continuing. “With you, I can’t have a life. I can’t have children; I can’t have happiness. All I can have is the sick shit that you do to my body, and pretty soon, when I’m old and fat, then you won’t want me for that anymore.”
Spike was still for a minute watching the enraged boy, before whispering, “Do you want me to turn you?”
“You sonofabitch.” Xander threw his beer bottle against the wall where it shattered into thousands of pieces of glass. “I don’t want you to do anything to me. Not anymore. Not ever again.”
Spike looked stunned. “I didn’t know how you felt, luv. You . . . you never said that you didn’t like what we did.” He wrapped his arms around his body and muttered. “You never said no.”
Xander’s head was pounding, and his jaw ached from grinding his teeth. “How could I say no to you? You made me want it.” And more quietly. “I did want it.” He ran his hands through his scruffy hair. “I just don’t want it now. Get out.”
Spike did leave. Back to Buffy’s, Xander thought, with only a touch of anger, as he set about gently cleaning up the broken glass. It seemed almost as if he were cleaning up the shattered pieces of his life.
After Spike left, things didn’t get any better. They got worse. Xander missed the vampire with an intolerable intensity. He missed his snarky humor and his irreverence. Surprisingly, he missed his voice; when Spike was happy he sang anything that came to mind, and he had an impressive repertoire. Xander would wake to Spike serenading him from the shower with anything from Cats to Bob Seger.
He missed Spike’s smell, the constant lingering scent of cigarettes, old leather and whiskey. He missed talking late at night about places Spike had been, and the places Spike was going to take him. The first place they‘d go, Spike always told him, was India. He thought Xander needed enlightenment.
He also missed Spike’s insatiable curiosity and his boundless energy. The vampire never tired; he was in constant motion, whether he was fighting, fucking, cooking or playing poker.
He missed Spike’s passion and his bouts of melancholy, and he missed running out of toothpaste every three days because the vampire liked the minty fresh taste.
He had also never truly believed that Spike had been an intellectual, and it had been an unexpected pleasure to learn that the vampire retained a fondness for reading, especially poetry.
He missed Spike’s touch, his taste, his bite, and his love.
But those things were gone, and all that was left were a few bags of blood and a couple of Sex Pistols CDs. Spike didn’t try to force himself back into Xander’s life, and Xander refused to admit to how much he needed, not just the physicality of their relationship, but the companionship.
No one noticed the time Xander spent at the club at the far end of town. No one noticed that he was rarely sober anymore, and Xander was willing to bet that this was another year that he was going to spend Christmas alone. That thought, coupled with anger at his own inertia (What are you still doing here, Xander?), sent him on a quest to feel better, in any possible way, three days before Christmas.
He was utterly shocked to find Spike in his apartment when he stumbled home that night, reeking of sweat and cologne.
The vampire glowed in the soft light of the string of Christmas lights that hung over the bookcase, and Xander couldn’t resist touching him. He ran his fingers slowly over Spike’s chest and down to his waist feeling little sparks of electricity shoot through his arms.
“Why’re you here, Spi- er, Spa . . . Sparkles?” Xander slurred.
“Some of the potentials wanted to party tonight and they saw you while they were out. They were concerned that you were in trouble. They came to me.” Spike leaned down to smell him and recoiled slightly. “ Th’hell?” Xander’s pheromones were almost visble to the vampire. He looked closely at Xander’s glassy eyes. “Are you on ecstasy, Xander?”
Xander could only nod. The sensation of the vampire’s firm body beneath his shirt had become enchanting to him. Must be a dream, drifted lazily though Xander’s head. If it’s a dream, there’s no harm in taking advantage of it . . .
“Dammit, Harris, I ate a candy kid a few years ago. Din’t like it at all. Developed a fascination with a traffic light and had a vague but persistent urge to brush my hair.” He gave a shudder, temporarily dislodging Xander’s stroking hands. “Stop it, Xan,” he snapped when Xander returned to clinging to him.
Xander turned liquid eyes to the vampire and began mouthing Spike’s neck, whimpering, “Want you . . .” Spike took another long sniff of Xander’s hair and, becoming angry, grabbed the boy by the arms and shook him. “What are you doing Xander? Playing the slut now? This isn‘t you.”
Xander just moaned, seeing white light emanating from Spike and engulfing him in its heat. When Spike released him he slid bonelessly into a heap on the floor, only stirring when Spike turned to leave.
“Sorry . . . need you,” he whispered, sober enough now to hate himself for saying it. When Spike halted, standing above him, he raised himself to his hands and knees, the ultimate posture of submission. “Please?” The word tasted bad in his mouth, but as he said it he felt something inside of him that had been twisted in on itself with denial, finally, release.
Spike nudged him with a booted foot. “Need it that badly, do you?”
Xander nodded, licking dry lips.
Spike sighed and shut his eyes tightly for a minute. “No, you don’t really, Xander.” He waved both of his hands in front of him. “I gave you too much, too fast. You couldn’t handle it, yeah? You aren’t ready to submit, to truly be free.”
Xander just hung his head and let his body sway to the music in his head; he knew that the vampire could read the signs.
Spike sank into a crouch next to him and, tangling his fingers in the dark hair, wrenched Xander’s head up. Xander just breathed, long, heavy breaths.
Spike went very still. “Why are you doing this, Xan? Why get fucked up and whore around at clubs?” Silence save for the rasp of Xander breathing. “Ah.” Spike sat back on his heels and let Xander’s head drop. “Maybe it was too much--but, now it’s not enough.” There was a sharp edge of anger and desire in Spike’s voice now.
And oh, Xander was grateful that he didn’t need to speak as Spike stood back up and glared down at him. “Bedroom,” the vampire hissed as he turned and stalked away.
Xander didn’t trust himself to stand so he crawled behind Spike, sinking deeper into the role with every move.
“Clothes off,” Spike ordered, sitting on the edge of the bed.
Xander complied, slowly removing his clothes, sliding his hands over his own hypersensitive skin.
“Here.” Spike pointed to the floor between his legs, his voice rough.
Xander slithered across the floor and laid his head on the vampire’s thigh. Spike took a moment to run his fingers through the boy’s hair and gently touch the old scar on his neck before guiding Xander’s head toward his crotch. “Blow me.” The unspoken ‘bitch’ hung in the air between them and Xander whimpered as he fumbled with the buttons on Spike’s fly for a moment before freeing Spike’s cock. He took it in his mouth, swallowing around it, deep in his throat. The vampire groaned and thrust hard into Xander’s mouth. “Look at me.” Xander looked up and hummed a little, hollowing his cheeks as he sucked. “Jesus. Xander, listen, do you want a safe word?”
Xander kept his glittering eyes locked on Spike’s, as he slowly shook his head no. You could kill me tonight, motherfucker, and I’d die happy.
Xander cringed as Spike’s fingers dug into his cheeks and then moved to his shoulders. He was surprised when he was pushed away from Spike, but he lay compliant where he fell and gazed questioningly up at the partially clothed blond.
Xander could see Spike’s eyes flicker from blue to gold as the human soul warred with the demon spirit over how badly to hurt him. Xander watched intently; he didn’t want love, he wanted to be savaged, he wanted the physical pain to burn the agony of the love away
He was relieved when the blue faded and the gold replaced it, and Spike’s mouth curved into a hard smile. He went limp when the vampire picked him up and flung him face down on the bed. He felt the mattress give when Spike rested his weight on it and took one quick gasp of air before Spike’s denim-clad knee came down on the back of his neck and the vampire’s hand pushed his face deep into the blanket.
He didn’t have to wait; before he began to struggle to breathe, the vampire landed a bruising blow on his bare ass, then another and another. Xander shrieked into the blanket, choking on the saliva pooling in his mouth. Spike wasn’t holding anything back; he was hitting him with nearly all of his vampiric strength.
The pain slithered through Xander’s body like quicksilver, starting in his back and gathering in his gut before spilling over into his cock which was driven harder and harder against the coarse blanket with every blow.
Xander bit at the blanket and wailed, using the last of his air. He was out of control. He was lying, sprawled naked across his bed, and Spike was hurting him and humiliating him and he was reveling in it. This was what had terrified him about Spike, and about himself. But, there was no fear now as spots began to form behind his eyelids, just hunger, just need. When Spike slid a single spit-slick finger into him and replaced his knee with is mouth, not just biting but devouring, Xander convulsed, shaking, growling and hissing as he came.
His body was completely numb. He felt nothing save for the sticky warmth on his belly and his neck as the world went black.
Xander awoke wrapped in warm blankets and strong, familiar arms. He was sober, thirsty and satiated. He was also embarrassed, and plagued by a lingering sense of futility that always came from these fierce encounters with Spike. Spike gave him intense, unimaginable pleasure, as well as the release that he craved from submission, but he still wasn’t happy. This night had been one of the most powerful, overwhelming experiences of his life. It had confirmed for him that the vampire made him whole through dominance, and that it was one of the reason‘s he loved him. Someday he was going to have to accept that; accept that the part of him that was Alexander had loved Spike for over 300 years, and that love was never going change. It was, perhaps, a timeless love. He would accept himself, he would accept Spike’s claim to him, love for him, and control over him. He would surrender, but not yet.
He stayed; content to lay with Spike without any more sex until morning, when he knew that the vampire would need to get back to the vital business of saving the world.
But, Spike noticed that he was awake and, without speaking, handed him a glass of water from the bedside table. Xander nodded his thanks and sipped gratefully. Spike studied his face while he drank and Xander didn’t look away, not ashamed for once to simply appreciate the vampire’s beauty. Spike seemed to understand the place that he had come to and nodded to himself, taking the water back. Then, Spike kissed him. Spike had been tender with him before, but this was exquisite. It was a gentle melding, a reaffirmation of the bond between them.
Spike rolled onto his back and carried Xander to lie on top of him, kissing the boy’s ears and chin. Xander let his hands drift across the firm, pale chest beneath him, teasing Spike’s nipples with light touches.
As their erections brushed together Xander moaned quietly, not wanted to break the spell, almost satisfied to remain as he was, draped over his lover, his face buried in Spike’s neck.
Spike turned his head and stroked Xander’s hair for a moment, letting the boy relax, before speaking. “Where is it?”
Xander sighed. Oh well, if Spike wanted to fuck him, it was fine. He had no doubt that he would enjoy it one last time. “Drawer.”
The body underneath his shifted slightly as Spike rummaged for the lube. When he had settled back again, though, he seemed to be in no hurry to remove Xander from his chest. Instead he just ran ticklish fingers up and down Xander’s sides, making him wiggle with delight. When Xander had had enough and tried to roll over, Spike stopped him with a gentle hand on his back. Xander stayed, confused, kneeling above the vampire as Spike picked up the lube. He watched, worried, as Spike squeezed the slick into his hand, and then jumped as he felt cold hands on his cock.
“Wha…?” Xander started, but he was shushed by Spike’s finger on his lips. Then Spike was pushing him up off of his legs so that he could spread them apart and rest them, knees bent, on either side of Xander’s thighs, leaving himself open and vulnerable to Xander’s gaze.
The look on Spike’s face said a million things. There was no need for words as Xander leaned over his lover and carefully took the hand that had been on his cock into his own, rubbing what was left of the lube onto his fingers. He never looked away from Spike’s blue eyes when he touched him for the first time, breaching the tight ring of muscle and sliding inside. Spike narrowed his gaze and thrust back onto Xander’s hand, asking silently for more. Xander was breathing hard, the only noise in the bedroom, when he added another finger, moving slowly, trying to do what he knew he liked. It must have worked because Spike’s eyes were mere slits now, and the vampire was working himself harder and harder back onto Xander’s fingers.
Xander experienced a flash of uncertainty. What now? But Spike was already reaching for him, guiding him. Xander didn’t need any more instruction than that and batted Spike’s hand away as he pulled his fingers out of his lover and grasped his hard on. He bent his head to Spike’s, meeting the vampire in an open mouthed kiss as he entered him. Spike was unbelievably tight around him and he struggled to keep his movements slow and controlled. He could feel Spike tense underneath him, and he didn’t know if it was with pain or pleasure. The only sound from his lover was a low hiss when he had fully sheathed himself.
He held still, waiting for Spike’s body to adjust around him, until Spike started to move his hips, grinding his erection against Xander’s stomach. Xander moaned, unable to keep quiet any longer and began to thrust into Spike, long, hard, claiming thrusts. Spike shut his eyes completely then and grabbed Xander’s hips, bruising them with his grip, urging Xander faster. Xander dropped his head to the vampire’s neck and sucked at the soft skin there, determined to leave his own mark, however temporary, on Spike’s flesh. He took the hand that wasn’t supporting him, sought out Spike’s weeping erection and began to stroke it in time with the rhythm of his thrusts.
When Spike felt Xander’s hand on him, he broke his silence only to whisper Xander’s name, almost like a prayer, as he came. It only took two more rough thrusts with Spike’s muscles spasming around him, and Xander came as well, crying out breathlessly, “Oh Jesus. Oh Spike, love, love…. God, love you.”
As Xander lay, incapable of movement, on top of Spike, sweat and tears stinging his eyes, he heard Spike murmur in his ear, “Oidche mhath, balak biodheach, m’annsachd.” There was a feather light touch on his brow and then, “A bheanachd.”*
He knows I‘m leaving, Xander thought, drifting toward sleep.
Spike made him breakfast that next morning, humming a song that was vaguely familiar, lodging itself in Xander’s brain.
The two didn’t speak much. Xander ate his chocolate-chip pancakes and Spike drank his blood in a comfortable silence.
When they were cleaning up, Xander touched Spike gently on the arm to get his attention and the vampire turned weary, sad blue eyes to the boy. “I‘m sorry about everything.” Xander knew that, as an apology, it was woefully inadequate, but the vampire seemed to accept it. “I didn’t mean what I said that night. I love you more than anything, more than it’s actually possible to love someone, I think.”
The vampire nodded. “I love you too, Xan, always will. Never doubt it.”
“I have to go,” Xander murmured.
Xander needed to explain, he couldn’t just leave it at that. “It’s not you, exactly, it’s this place. It’s the Hellmouth. I tried to get away once before but only got as far as Oxnard, y’know?”
“You could come with me?” Xander asked, tentatively.
The vampire smiled a little at that. “I don’t think so, luv. You can’t handle me, or the way I make you feel, when you’re right here at home. That’s what you’re really running from.” He touched Xander’s hand, still on his arm. “Besides, I’m needed here, I think.”
Tears swam in Xander’s eyes making it difficult for him to see. He took a deep breath and kissed Spike briefly on the cheek. “ ’K. I understand. The apocalypse and all that.”
Spike smiled and pulled Xander into a hug, pressing their bodies together as if trying to impress Xander’s form on his flesh as a memory.
“Just don’t be a hero,” Xander whispered in Spike’s ear before letting him go.
Later that day, as the sun was setting behind him as he drove away from Sunnydale, Xander remembered what song Spike had been humming. He laughed softly to hide his pain and began to sing.
Now I’ve lost everything
But if you wanna leave,
take good care
Oh baby, baby, it’s a
*Oidche mhath, balak biodheach, m’annsachd- Goodnight, beautiful boy, my best beloved.
A bheanachd- My blessing.
*Xander’s rendition of Cat Steven’s Wild World.