A Lifetime in a Minute
Xander was dreaming, he knew it had to be a dream, because he was smiling...Spike was, God he was beautiful. Dark blond hair hanging haphazardly over icy blue eyes. Eyes that danced when he smiled.
“I love you Alex,” those lips, begging to be kissed.
“William, I've loved you forever.”
A master sculptor would be put to shame by the chiselled beauty of that face. Like marble in motion. Laugh lines fading away.
“Don't leave me Alex.” Lips frowning, eyes growing sad, and still beautiful.
“Never William.” But as always in this dream, the pain doubles him over, and he screams. Reaching out a hand for his lover.
“WILLIAM!” He screams one last time before falling to his knees. As his knees hit the floor, he wakes up tears still running down his face. Hand still reaching for a phantom.
Where am I? Oh yeah...Giles' house. Scoobie Meeting
He looks around to see if anyone noticed his actions. He met Spike’s gaze. Something of his dream must've shown on his face because Spike looked stunned. He looked away quickly. Willow was at his side.
“Xander what is it, you OK?” She asked quietly.
She and Spike must have been the only ones to notice...probably thought I was calling for her
“Yeah Will. Bad dream,” his voice was shaky, still trying to brush off the anguish of the dream.
He was the only one to notice as Spike left, head bowed in thought.
It hasn't even happened yet and he's dreamin' about it. God, how much longer must I take this? Shouldn't be too much longer, he looks the same. He acts the same, well sometimes. Everything is in place. He's the man I fell in love with
Mind racing, haunted by Xander’s outburst, and everything he hadn't said. Spike paced in his crypt.
Xander knocked on Willow and Tara's door. Going over and over in his head what he wanted to say. He needed some answers, or at least some one to share the questions with. He almost chickened out but Willow answered the door a second too soon.
“Umm...Wills. Hi umm...you busy?” He finally managed.
“Xander come in. No not busy at all.” She knew he only stuttered like this when it was important, and after the Adam fiasco if her friend needed her she would be there. Even if she were busy. She stepped back and opened the door wider to let him in, calling out to Tara. “Tara, Xander's here.”
He sat on the chair, leg jumping, trying not to be up pacing. Gathering his thoughts, he sighed deeply and decided to just blurt out his question.
“Wills, do you believe in reincarnation?”
“Umm...not really why?”
“Oh.” He looked up into Willow’s soft eyes, trying not to look too disappointed.
Then looked back up in surprise as he heard Tara's soft voice.
“Xander, why? What's going on?” Willow asked softly. She knew Xander. Knew he had a reason for asking.
“Ok, it's kinda complicated. So just listen 'k. I don't think I can manage this twice.” He pleaded with his eyes.
“Ok, Xan.” Willow and Tara settled on their bed, holding hands.
“For a couple of years now I've been having these dreams. I am in this room, I don't recognize. There's candlelight. The room looks sorta old, not like falling apart old, more like antique old. Mostly there is this intense feeling of love and sadness and there is this guy. My l-lover...I-I think. He...he asks me not to leave him and I tell him never. But then there is this pain. I-I don't know...I think...I leave him. I reach out for him-- call out his name. That...that's when I wake up.” Xander wiped at the tears wetting his face.
“That's what happened last night isn't it?” Willow asked hesitantly. “You were calling out for him. Not me.” It wasn't a question. “His name is Will?”
Xander looked up at her misery clearly written on his face. “Yeah...William the Bloody.”
“All it says is that he disappeared for a few years. It doesn't say why.” Tara said, looking up from her book. It was Willow's idea to look into Spike's past. The watcher's journals made it quick work. Getting them from Giles' was a bit harder, but they had finally managed it last night. Xander looked up from the musty book he was scanning at her comment.
“Hmm that's what this one said too. How could they have lost him like this? Why would he disappear and then let himself be caught up with again later? Why not stay lost?” Too many new questions and not enough answers.
“Xan, can I ask you something?” Willow asked slowly, breaking the silence. Xander was afraid he knew what she was going to ask.
“Yeah, Wills you know you can.”
“So umm...” She chewed the inside of her lip. “Are you attracted to Spike? I mean, are you gay?” Both girls stared at him waiting.
“Well...I...that is...” He gulped for breath. “Spike *is* awfully cute. And I....” Deep sigh. “Yeah. I guess I am attracted to him,” Xander gave a sheepish grin, ducked his head, and then looked back into Willows unflinching gaze. “But I...he...I mean it's Spike.” He finished.
“Yeah...” both girls said dreamily. “Maybe you should ask him about those missing years. Maybe get a clue where to look.” Tara suggested. She blinked as both pairs of eyes stared at her.
“What? He might tell Xander. I mean...if he is the reincarnation of this other guy they have a connection. Right?” Xander realized she hadn't stuttered once in her speech, he leaned back lost in thought.
“Maybe,” he said absently, thinking, planning. Suddenly he surged to his feet. “I'm going to go think about this,” he wiped his sweaty palms against his jeans absently. “I just gotta think…” he muttered his way out the door, leaving the sympathetic girls staring after him.
Several days later, after waking to the dream again, Xander had made up his mind. He would confront Spike about his suspicions. After his shower, Xander took great care with his hair getting every unruly lock in place. He shaved carefully, making sure not to nick himself. After-shave, the good stuff he only used for special occasions. Picked out his tightest black jeans, and a tight cream T-shirt that moulded to his chest and arm muscles nicely. His construction job had toned his chest and made his biceps bulge. The T-shirt was tight enough that sleeves rolled up when he moved his arms. Black belt and shoes completed the look. He felt sexy. Not like the zeppo/donut boy.
Trying not to think about what he was about too, he left his apartment and headed towards Spikes crypt.
He took a deep breath and prepared to knock on Spike's crypt, when he heard a sound behind him. Grabbing the stake from his back pocket, he spun around.
“Whoa, Xander, what are you doing here?”
Buffy, great just what I didn't need
“You know, just going to annoy the resident vamp. You?” He responded a touch annoyed at having to explain anything to her. She had been treating him like an annoying child recently. Well...since the whole Dracula thing. And then Anya had left him for that big troll guy, now Buffy acted like she was his newly appointed keeper.
“New demon in town; thought I'd get the skinny from Spike.” Buffy said pulling him from his dark thoughts.
“Right.” He said as he reached out and knocked on the door. They waited a second but heard nothing from inside.
“Move. I'll just bust in,” Buffy said trying to push past him.
“No, Buffy. We aren't going to bust in if we want his help.” Buffy looked at him strangely.
Shit. Great Xanman She was looking him up and down, just noticing how he was dressed.
“What did you say you were doing here Xan?” She asked as he knocked again.
“I was...” his answer was cut off by the heavy wooden door swinging open.
“Wot?” Spike asked from the shadows behind the door, trying to hide from the late evening sun. Xander had to step back as Buffy rushed forward.
“Spike, I need info on a...” Xander stopped listening as he stepped in and closed the door behind them. When he turned back his mouth went dry as he caught a glimpse of a nearly nude Spike.
Spike wrapped the sheet around his waist at the second knock on his door, muttering to himself as he made his way across the cold stone floor of the crypt.
“Damn, people can't you let a bloke sleep.”
He heard two voices as he swung the door open.
Great He thought as Buffy entered with out so much as a by your leave. It isn't fair, I have to have an invitation Her whining voice pulled him out of his dark thoughts.
“...need information about a big lizard demon, sorta like a Faryal but not...” He tuned her out again as the scent of arousal hit him.
What the hell? He looked back towards the door, the second voice...Xander...his Xander.
The smell was coming from Xander. Xander was staring at him. Spike filled his lungs with the smell of Xander and groaned inwardly.
Buffy was forgotten as their eyes met and held then Spike took a step closer. However, his attention was pulled back as Buffy grabbed him roughly, throwing him against the wall. He growled involuntarily and snapped at her.
Xander was stunned at the look he had seen in Spike's eyes. Then Buffy was there, throwing Spike against the wall. Xander reached them as she pressed a stake against Spike's chest. He reached between them and grabbed the stake from her hand before he had time to think about his actions.
“Buffy, why don't you try just asking?” He growled as he threw the stake on the floor.
“Xander, what the hell is wrong with you?” She shouted as she turned on him. “You never did tell me what you were really doing here.”
“None of your business.” He stated simply. Turning back to Spike, as if he were unconcerned with her. While in truth he felt hyper-aware of exactly where she was. The soldier in him recognized her as the threat and wasn't going to be surprised if she attacked. Spike could see the calculation on Xander's face, as the boy turned toward him. He was truly stunned by the move.
Didn't think my pet had it in him to go against the bint. At least not yet
“So, Spike do you know any thing about this new demon of Buffy's?” Xander asked.
Spike noted that Xander did not include himself with the Slayer. At the same time he noted the tone Xander had directed at him. It said 'please tell her so she'll go away'! It was all he could do not to crow in her face. He glanced from Xander to Buffy, who was still quietly fuming.
“Describe it again.” He demanded.
“Come on Xander, lets go” Buffy said trying to drag him out of Spike's crypt. Spike had given her the name of the demon and now all she wanted was to get out of here. Find out what the hell was wrong with Xander, kill the demon, and go to bed.
“Xander, lets go.” She demanded again, as she tried to pull him by the arm out the door.
What the hell? She wondered as she felt Xander resist her grip.
“No, Buffy I'm staying here,” he drawled out.
“Xander, it's time for some serious research, I need you to hit the books.” She tried to reason with him.
“No. Non-college guy here. You need to hit the books. I'm staying here.” Xander said again.
“Fine, stay here with the not so 'Big Bad'. I'm going to find the bad guy.” She said, trying to imply Spike was no longer a concern in the evil department. Spike, a by-stander in the battle of will 'til now, just snorted.
“I'll be by later, if you still need help, I'll be in.” Xander finally relented.
“Don't forget to call Willow.” he called out as she closed the door in his face.
He leaned his forehead against the door, reluctant now to turn and face Spike. A still nearly naked Spike. He could hear him moving around, then a zipper being pulled.
Good at least he’s getting dressed
Then the strike of a match, the acrid smell of cigarette smoke, and his wait was over.
“Well, is it any of my business pet?”
“Huh.” Xander's brain seemed to be replaying the sound of that zipper and suddenly wishing it was the sound of the thing going down instead of up.
“You told Bitchy it wasn't her business, so why are you here?” Xander shuddered as he heard Spike's voice grow nearer. He was right behind him, as he turned Spike stepped even closer, nearly touching him.
“Y-You...” He was struck by the sight of Spike's face illuminated by candlelight only. Almost his dream, light blond hair non-withstanding it was his dream. His heart skipped a beat as Spike spoke.
Xander unconsciously leaned into the vampire. When Spike stepped back he almost fell.
“So...Your here for me...are you?” Spike laughed softly.
Xander could feel his face flush, but the rest of his blood seemed to head further south, at the thoughts those words brought to mind.
“N...no, umm... yes, well just to talk.” He stammered out.
“Talk, pet?” Spike sat on his bed, bouncing lightly. “You sure that's all you want?”
Xander was plastered to the door, couldn't move. Even though the invitation was obvious. He couldn't make his lungs work right. Couldn't make anything work right.
Spike decided to take mercy on the boy.
“Oh for fucks sake boy...breathe.” He sneered as he got up and put on a shirt.
“Better?” He asked cocking his head to the side. Trying to understand what had Xander so captured. “Lets go for a walk. Should be dark enough now.”
“Let's go for a walk, should be dark enough by now.” Spike had to practically pick the boy up and move him. Xander followed the blond, blindly. As soon as they were outside, away from the candlelight, his brain began to function. They walked for a few minutes before Spike stopped and turned back to him.
“Better pet?” He asked again softly.
Xander took a deep breath, “Yea, thanks.”
Spike elbowed him gently then sat down, back against a headstone. He lit another cigarette and waited for the boy to collect his thoughts and begin.
“Right, Ok...” Xander began, settling on a spot in front of Spike. Trying not to sit on a grave.
“I wanted to ask what you thought about reincarnation.” He said quickly, deciding to just take the plunge.
“You know, have you ever met anyone you thought you knew from...before?”
Spike was stunned, he hadn't thought of that, a hundred possible reasons for Xander to be there had crossed his brain, but this wasn't one of them.
“No pet, don't believe I have ever met someone I thought was reincarnated,” he choose his words carefully. This was dangerous territory and he knew it. “Why do you ask?”
“Wait, second question then I'll answer.”
“What happened to you during those missing years from the watchers books?” Xander asked him softly.
I should've known Spike sighed. I saw the boy wake up from that dream
“Ahh...Xan.” His mind raced.
What do I say
“Why do ya want to know 'bout that?”
To Xander it sounded like whatever it had been, it made the blond very gloomy. He scooted over beside the vampire, legs touching.
“I'm sorry Spike, I shouldn't have asked. I just,” he sighed. “It’s complicated and I don't really understand it myself.”
They sat silent for a while before Xander began again.
“Spike, have you ever had a dream that was so real...so intense it haunted you when you were awake?”
The damn dream
“Ye whelp. All the time,” he responded, lighting another smoke. “Xander, maybe you should talk to the watcher about this, you know this dream thing. He does it for the Slayer all the time,” Spike said softly. He had to stop this line of conversation. He couldn't take thinking about those years, not with Xander sitting right here next to him.
“You need to go help Slutty with that research anyway.” Suddenly a thought struck him. And he looked...really looked at Xander.
Shit, why didn't I see it sooner?
“Let’s go whelp, the bint can't handle that demon on her own.” Xander felt the shift in the vampire's mood and knew it wasn't pretence to get away from the uncomfortable topic. At least not just that.
“Ok, let's go.” He stood resigned to spending the rest of the night with his face buried in a book. He noticed how nervous Spike was acting on the walk to Giles' shop. Spike kept shooting worried glances at him. It was making him nervous as well. Xander was shocked, pleasantly so, when Spike grabbed him just outside the door. Pulling him into a quick embrace, lips brushing the base of his neck, sending a shiver down his spine, Spike seemed to inhale his scent. Then as quickly as the embrace started it was over.
“Right luv, better go.” Then he was gone, leaving Xander aching and confused.
As Xander entered the shop all eyes turned his way, but he only had eyes for Spike. Who was nowhere to be seen. It was Willow's hug and whispered, “He’s in the back.” That broke through his haze.
“Hey Wills, where's Tara?” He said out loud, giving her an extra squeeze, to show he had heard her words.
“She went back to the apartment to get one of our books.” She answered moving away.
“Wow, you look yummy!” Willow said as she gave him an appreciative look.
“Thanks,” his face blossomed red.
Buffy it seemed had not forgiven him his earlier conduct, as she was busy ignoring him. As he settled down at the table in the middle of the room, Giles thrust a book into his hands.
“Inktharak demon,” he said. “Anything you can find.”
Spike paced in the back room nervously.
God that was stupid. What the hell were you thinkin'?
Ok, just calm down if it is time, then that tiny hug won't really matter
Now what should I do?
Call Peaches, he'll know what to do
Spike snorted indignantly at the thought that he needed any thing from his pouf of a sire. Even as he reached out for the phone.
“Angel Investigations, we help the hopeless.” Wesley answered.
“Get me m'Sire,” Spike growled. He heard the ex-watcher sigh and hand the phone over to Angel.
“I think it's time.”
“Time for X-X-Xand--” Spike was cut off by Angel.
“What? How do you know?” Angel felt the floor drop out from under him. “Are you sure?” He was half afraid to hope his childe was right, half afraid he was wrong.
“It's the clothes, sire. Do you remember? That tight cream shirt? Do you remember it and what happened to it?” Spike was losing himself in the past. Forcing himself to remember the bad as well as the good.
“I remember, William,” Angel growled softly, feeling his past sins weigh heavily on his shoulders.
“Do you need me there?” He asked breaking the silence that threatened to drown them.
“Yes, I think h...he might like that.” Spike was, even now unwilling or unable to admit his need for his sire's presence.
“I'll leave right now. Tell Buffy I'm coming to help with the demon.” Angel thought that would be better than the truth, at least until it was over.
“I still don't see why we're going back to Sunnydale.” Cordelia whined from the back seat. They rode with the top down, Gunn beside her, dozing lightly. Wesley was in the front beside Angel, stating her taste in music as the reason, but she knew he just liked to be beside their boss. Not that she minded, Gunn was proving to be a great snuggle bunny.
“Because they need us.” Wesley said over the sound of rushing wind. He didn't say anything abut his doubts. He alone knew it was Spike that had caused this sudden trip.
“Oh, Right, I forgot.” She lied easily.
“How much longer?” Angel sighed. A bored Cordelia was almost as bad as a bored Spike. Almost.
“We're almost there.” He said as they passed the 'Welcome to Sunnydale' sign that had been painted over to read 'SunnyHell'. No one spoke again until he put the car in park, in front of the Magic Box.
“OK, so how bad is this Icky demon thing again?” Gunn asked, waking from his nap.
When Spike hung up the phone; he walked into the shop proper.
“The Pouf’s on his way,” he announced.
The room erupted, all except for Xander, who didn't even look up from his book. Giles was the only person Spike answered though.
“Is this demon bad enough to warrant Angel coming back?”
“Yes, and No.”
“What do you mean, and why didn't you tell me this sooner? Like when I asked.” Buffy said as she advanced on Spike.
“Maybe because you were threatening him with a stake at the time.” Xander threw out without looking up. Willow hid her smile behind her hand. Giles just ducked his head.
“Right. Well at any rate, Angel is coming here to help.” Giles tried to change the subject to avoid a fight.
“No, Giles I want to know what Spike means. Yes and no what?”
“Slayer, the Inktharak demon itself isn' hard to defeat.” Spike said as he took a seat opposite Xander, “But you gotta know how to kill it.” Xander looked up, frustration at the whole night written plainly on his face.
“Spike, can't you just quit being cryptic for just one night. Please...” He sighed. It was the please that got to Spike.
What is it about this mortal and that word that makes me cave every time?
Spike lowered his eyes, and then looked back up at the watcher. “You gotta use a spell from a book that no one has seen in a hundred years.” He announced then sat back and waited for the explosion.
Several hours later he was still sitting in the same spot, staring at a now sleeping Xander. Lost in his own thoughts, as Angel walked in the door followed by the rest of the L.A. crew. Everyone was gathered in the danger room, to allow a sleeping Xander and Willow more rest. Giles, Angel, and Wesley were trying to come up with a conjuring spell to find the book. Spike snorted lost in thought.
The pouf knows it's no use, why is he tryin' to keep up the pretence? Unless he's attempting to change...NO, I won't allow thatSpike growled.
“Peaches...” he hissed.
Angel glanced up, then seemed to realize what he was saying and sighed a bone-deep weary sigh. Nodding his head to Spike, he turned back to the others.
“Giles. Wes. I don't think this is going to work. There are too many variables.”
“What do you mean, Angel? You said you saw the book in that store. So, we know where it was and when.” Wes drew back, a bit confused at this change.
“Yes, but drawing it to the future will be hard. It's not exact. We could pull anything around it within three meters. We could do this for months and still never get the book.”
“What do you suggest then?” Giles asked. Angel could hear the exasperation in the man's voice.
“Sending someone back would be best but unless you can time travel that is out of the question.” Giles threw out. Angel just stared at the other man, blinking.
“Oh God,” Wesley whispered “That's what you're suggesting isn't it?”
The group moved back into the shop, waking Willow to let her know about the spell she would be helping with. As she moved about the shop gathering ingredients, it hit her. Xander's dream. He would be the one going back. Somehow...she just knew her friend was about to face his dream for real. She looked over her shoulder at her still sleeping friend.
Goddess protect him She prayed.
Angel and Spike were standing a few feet from the table, when they heard Xander's heartbeat quicken. When he whimpered in his sleep, they were by his side instantly. As he slid off his chair and reached out his hand, Spike kept him from falling and clasped his hand.
“Will,” the younger man cried out softly.
“Shh pet I'm here.” Spike whispered the words he'd been longing to say. Angel was amazed. Xander was dreaming about a memory that hadn't happened yet. He stood back to give the two men privacy, and watched his childe hug the mortal to him, pressing a kiss against the dark shaggy hair. Then watched as Spike moved away quickly, before Xander could wake up fully. He glanced away from the pain in the young vampire's eyes and saw Willow staring at them with a sad little smile on her face. He offered back one of his own.
She knows. Somehow she knows. She's put it together. Perceptive chit He thought, before he was called into the back.
Xander sat stunned. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. Not only were they about to send someone back in time, but they thought it should be him, not Buffy. The worst part was that Willow had suggested it. He needed to talk to her alone.
“Willow.” He said softly and nodded toward the door. She nodded back and followed him. The others just watched, except for Buffy, who was still whining about why it should be her going back. Angel and Wes were bent over drawing symbols on the floor. Giles was reading the spell and readying the ingredients in a small cauldron.
Xander turned to Willow when the door closed behind them. He took a deep breath, hoping for the best.
“Xander, I don't think you are a reincarnation of someone Spike loved.” She stared up at the pre-dawn sky.
“How can that be, Wills? How can I dream about something that hasn't happened yet?”
“That's the paradox of time travel, Xan. That's why it's done so rarely. Because it has happened. Spike remembers it. I can tell. You, yourself read about it. All those missing years.” She smiled at his confusion.
“Wait, Willow. They said it would just be a few days. A few days there, a few minutes here.”
“I don't know, Xander. Maybe something goes, went, wrong, maybe they read the spell wrong. I don't know. But I know...I feel you should go.”
They hugged for a while, Xander's mind was racing. Go back, into the past. A past he knew next to nothing about, to a place that was as foreign as the surface of the moon.
But you get to be with Spike...without Buffy around to muck it up Came the unbidden thought.
He remembered the love he felt in that dream, and knew he would risk anything to make it real. Xander kissed Willow's forehead softly before letting go.
“OK Willow. I'd better get you back to that cute girlfriend of yours, before she sends out a search party.” He joked. As always trying to cover his real feelings with humour. But Willow knew.
“I love you too!” She said as she released her friend. Again offering up a silent prayer.
Goddess protect him
When they finally returned to the back room, where the spell was going to take place, everything was ready. Everything that is except for Xander. Giles approached him first, a backpack in his hands.
“I've put everything in here you should need. We don't know where exactly you will a-appear, but the map should cover it. And it shows where the book store is.” Giles broke off, rubbing his glasses on his shirt-front absently.
“The way the spell works is that as soon as we finish the first chant, we begin the second. It should only take a few minutes. We believe that will be a few days for you, I am sorry Xander we don't know how many. Just get the book and lay low. Angel had some money; I put that in there as well. A-A bit of food and water, just in case.” Giles trailed off, handed the pack over then just stood back at a loss. Xander hugged the man he thought of as a father, so much better than his own, until he heard Wes clear his throat.
“It's time.” When the round of hugs was nearly done, it was dawn. Xander took a deep breath and turned toward the last two well-wishers.
“Dead boy.” He said as he held out a hand to Angel. Angel grinned a little and pulled a stunned Xander into a quick hug, then released him.
“Xander, take care, and be careful.” Xander thought he was done, but the vampire spoke again. “I'll be here when you get back.” There was a message there, but Xander wasn't sure he understood it. Xander stared at him for another moment then nodded and turned to the last man. He had saved Spike for last on purpose knowing it would be difficult, but when he saw the dancing blue eyes he knew he needn't have worried.
“Whelp, see ya when you get back!” Spike leered. Xander couldn't help himself, he grinned back.
“Yeah, Spike see you in a few, maybe then you can finish what you started.” He leered right back at the master vampire. Spike's rich laughter filled the room.
“Bet on it, luv.” Xander turned then, not wanting to risk touching the vampire. He walked to the centre of the circle on the floor.
Giles, Wesley, Tara, and Willow took their places around him. Buffy, Cordelia, and Gunn formed a semi circle behind Willow, facing him. There was a moment of silence before the chant began. Xander could feel Spike's eyes on his back, glad he didn't have to face him. As the circle filled with thick smoke, pain drove him to his knees...
He just left. I know it has only been a few seconds here, but then and there I already love him.
The alley was filthy. Much worse than Sunnydale, the smells were what woke him. Urine, rotting food and he didn't want to know what else. As he looked around he noticed everything was coated with a thin black slimy film. The cobblestone street beneath his feet was the worst, almost too slippery to stand. Xander made his way to the mouth of the alley slowly, careful not to trip into any of the many piles of trash lining the walls. It was just past dawn and the city was just beginning to wake. He could see boys walking down the street putting out the lamps, store owners bustling to their shops. He looking left down the street then right.
Which way to go? It looks the same
He took the map Giles had given him out of his back pack.
Ok, now where the hell am I?
Xander took off down the road, walking briskly, to fight off the panic, and the chill. His pants were wet from the fall in the alley, and the weather was damp and cold. All in all Alexander Harris was not in a good mood. As the sun finally rose high enough to burn off the morning dew, Xander finally recognized a street name. Giving a small whoop he hurried to the book shop, just a few streets over. A bell rang out as he pushed the door open.
“'ello, be right with you.” The little man behind the counter called out. Xander nodded and started looking around, already feeling more at ease. The smell of old books and English tea reminding him of the safety of Giles' house. As he looked at the books he began to frown, all of these books were normal, old yes, even for these days but still normal. No magic or occult books anywhere to be seen.
Maybe he keeps them in the back like Giles does…but how do I find out?
“Sir, are you looking for anything in particular?” The bookish man asked, as the previous customer left.
“Mm...Actually yes,” Xander paused “but I might be in the wrong place.”
The man's eyes narrowed as he took in Xander's strange clothing. He nodded once then turned slightly and opened the door behind him.
“Perhaps you'd like to see my back room.” As Xander entered the small room, packed from floor to ceiling with old, rare books, he instantly felt the last of his unease fade, and he began to grin.
“Yes,” the man said at Xander's grin. “This is what you were looking for, yes?” More of a statement than a question.
“Yes.” Xander responded. “Do you have the Forwythe Codex?” He asked, as he thumbed through a book he had read only last night.
Last night…Gods feels like a life time already
“Why yes, I do.” The man nodded happy that he could help this striking young man. "I received it just last week.” As the proprietor began rummaging through different stacks of books, as if he didn't know right where it was, he began asking questions. His natural curiosity getting the best of him.
“So young man, where are you from? I say those clothes are different, and that accent, my, my, can't quite place that either.”
“The states, um California really.” Xander answered. Beginning to like the man who reminded him of Giles.
Only gone one stinking day, literally because that alley, eww, and already homesick. God I'm pathetic
“Really…how fascinating,” the man turned to him eyes wide. “My name is Tucker, and you must tell me all about the colonies.” He was getting eager.
“We get so few magic users, well anyone really who knows of magic, from the states but I've heard from some demon friends that it's safer for them there. Is that true? You know I only ask because I myself am planning on going there one day.” On and on the little man talked. Xander couldn't help but get caught up in his enthusiasm, but couldn't get a word in to answer Tucker's many questions. He stayed until just after sundown when Tucker closed up for the day. The two men had talked of the codex, of demons and slayers, and of the vampires who ruled the night here in London. By the time Xander found the 'Horns and Hooves' an inn Tucker had recommended, he was exhausted. As he entered the pub area of the inn he quickly drew in a breath. Demons. It was a demon bar.
Well if Tucker said it was ok then maybe humans were unexpected but welcome! Besides I've been in Willy's a few times…course that was always with Buffy but still…ok just act normal…
He went to the bar and ordered a drink, paying for it with some of the paper money Tucker had given him in exchange for the gold Angel had given to the cause. After he rented the room and found a table to eat his dinner he began to look at the demons around him, and found to his surprise, that he recognized most of them. They were tough to fight, he was glad he was welcome. When the music started he lost himself in thought.
Well, o.k. I'm going to be here for a few days. All I have to do is lay low. Right? Then what about the dream? I was sure I would see Spike when I got here. Of course it’s only just turned fully dark…left corner…right corner…nope, no Spike...Well I'll just play it by ear then
The next couple of weeks flew by for Xander. He spent his days at the bookstore with Tucker, reading and talking to the man who was quickly becoming a good friend. He had started to tell him on several occasions that he was from the future but thought better of it each time. The whole thing with Cordelia wishing Buffy had never come to Sunnydale scared him silent. It wasn't until he had to pay for yet another week at the inn that it hit him, how long he had been in the past. Three weeks.
Wow, three weeks
“Hey, Tucker. How long have I been here? Has it really been three weeks?!” Xander asked as he shelved the new shipment of books. Tucker glanced up from his stack of invoices blinking rapidly to clear the numbers from his mind. He looked at Xander for a moment and then responded.
“Y-yes I believe it has been three weeks.”
“Yeah, that's what I thought. So Tuck-man you needing any hired help?” Xander asked only half jokingly.
Xander sat in his regular booth at the 'Horns and Hooves' slowly sipping his ale. Still slightly shocked at how the day had turned out. He was now employed and resigned to his new life. He sighed deeply and glanced at the now familiar crowd. His gaze racked over the crowded common room, a familiar shape caught his attention.
NO, YES. Oh my God it is. Spike, NO William. That is William. My William
Xander looked around for Angel or Dru but saw only Spike. He was sitting in the opposite corner, reading a book and sipping something dark. Xander shuddered when he thought of what the liquid could be, just then William looked up and their gazes caught only for a moment but for them time stood still. William closed his book. Human. He sniffed the air…human and not afraid. William was intrigued.
He's awfully cuteAs he rose to cross the room, he thought the night just might be looking up. Xander was in awe. It was hard to think of the creature walking towards him as Spike. In the dream he had called him Will, and yes, it fit him, now, in this time. The same way that 'Spike' fit him in the future. And God help him he loved them both.
How? How can I love him? I don't even know him, especially not this him
But it didn't matter what his brain said, as William sat down next to him, his heart said it was love. Xander glanced down at the red liquid in the flask next to his, and then back up at William.
“O positive or cow, William?” He asked casually, getting the desired effect of a very surprised vampire.
“How do you know me?” came the reply. Xander noted the cultured almost Giles like accent, not the gutter speak of 'Spike'. He smiled brightly; he loved being the one to keep the other off balance. He took a long drink before speaking again.
“So, how is our dark princess?” He asked, ignoring the question. When he heard the soft 'She left me' he regretted the rash need to tease. Xander looked into Will's eyes and tried to reassure him.
“You know she'll be back. She'll always come back to you.” William's eyes widened.
“Are you psychic then?”
“No, I just know things.”
“Right, you never did say how you know me.” William almost pouted. He was enjoying the looks the younger man was giving him, and decided to play with him a bit. No use wasting the opportunity if the brunette was interested.
“Well,” Xander drew out. “You are a part of the Scourge of Europe, are you not? How could I not know you?”
“Do you know Angelus too?” Will asked. Xander did not want to lie, Spike had always been able to tell when he lied.
“We have never been formally introduced, no but I know who he is.” They sat and talked all night. Flirting shamelessly, until Xander couldn't keep his eyes open any longer.
“Ah...William I hate to cut this night short but I still sleep at night, and work during the day. I don't know how long I'll be here, but I had to get a job today, so work begins tomorrow.”
“Don't know how long…you planning a trip then?”
“I...um...actually this is the trip.” God how do I explain, without explaining, Xander thought. “I was sort of teleported in, you know with magic. And I was supposed to just bounce back after a few days, but something must've gone wrong, because I'm still here.”
That sounded good, right? right?
“Magic,” came the typical Spike sneer. “Well luvs, if you don’t know how long you’ll be here then I guess I need to make your time count then.” William leaned in close to him. “Tell me Alex...What would you like to do tomorrow night?”
Oh God, he called me Alex
He ignored the undercurrent of the question and simply replied, “I'd like to see London, with you.” He wanted to say 'with you, anything' but could not quite commit to what that might mean.
“Right then, 'til tomorrow then.” Soft lips, soft kiss then he was gone. Xander sat back, stunned. A slow grin spread across his face. Right then, tomorrow.
The next few months were a blur for Xander as he and William grew closer. His days were full with his new job at Tucker's book store, finding him easy company and the work a subject he knew. The nights though, the nights were what he lived for. William took him to all the hot night spots, not like clubs back home but with Spike they were the best. Some nights they just walked the street, talking quietly about nothing in particular or simply not talking, just enjoying the other's presence.
It was during one of these walks that Xander found he was as dispassionate about William's feeding habits as he was passionate about Spike's lack of. He never helped Will feed, but he didn't help his victims either. It was just a part of the vampire, and he was coming to love everything about him. One night after a walk through the park as they sat on a bench William turned to him and asked. “Alex, can I kiss you?” He had asked so quietly Xander almost hadn't heard. Oh yes, he thought as he sank into the embrace. Cool lips met warm in a tentative exploration, both afraid of breaking the spell their tongues wove. Xander moaned as the kiss deepened.
For Xander the moment was not as weird as he thought it should've been. Here he was kissing a guy, a dead guy. A dead guy who didn't really like him in the future and he couldn't think of a single place he would rather be! When they finally broke away it was William who broke the silence.
“Alex, I've wanted to do that for weeks now.” He petted Xander's face unwilling to break all contact.
“The first time I saw you, in the pub, I felt like I had known you forever. I think I'm falling in love with you.” Xander was speechless. He had been having dreams about this man for years and now here he was...His for the taking and all he could think of was, he had to tell him the truth.
“William, I need to tell you something. But first I should tell you that I love you. I've loved you for so long that I...I can't remember not loving you.” Xander pulled away, needing space to make his confession.
“How can that be Alex? You've known me for…well less than a year.” William was confused and getting scared at his human's reaction to his declaration. Xander took a deep breath and began is tale. He held nothing back, he told of Angelus and his soul, of Drusilla and Prague, and Darla and the Master in Sunnydale. William was stunned, but held him through his confession of killing Jessie. Finally he told him about the chip and his deal with the slayer. Will was too lost in his own thoughts of what all of this meant. Too lost to notice as the first rays of sun light broke through the sky. It was Xander who grabbed him up and pushed him into a run.
“Run damn it.” As Xander glanced over his shoulder, dread set in. They were not going to make it.
“Will, where do we go? My room is too far away.” Will's brain began to function as he started to smoke.
“The sewers, follow me.” Xander followed the vampire down an alley then down into the sewers. Will ran until he felt safe. It must've been a place he came often, though Xander knew he didn't live here. Xan sat on an over turned crate that had obviously been used for this purpose before, and watched as Will paced.
“So, you tellin' me you’re from the future, a future where I'm the pet of a Slayer?” He was pissed; he was ready to kill something.
“Spike, it isn't like that.” Xander said. Unconsciously calling him by the nickname, he looked every bit the part of the Big Bad now.
“Don't call me that. Not here, not now. To you I'm William.” He was upset but his feelings for Alex were real.
“William, please understand. You're an ally of Buffy's, not her pet. We, all of us, work together guarding the hellmouth.”
“What the hell would I do that for? I'm evil; I say open the damn thing. I'll bathe in blood for eternity.”
“No,” Xander said “you'd starve, for eternity. Think about it, hell on earth, no human could survive it. What would you eat?”
Will slumped down on some old rags and sighed deeply.
“It's too late isn't it?” He looked up into soft brown eyes that stared down at him with love. “To save Angelus. That's what was wrong with him, last time he was here. Right?”
Xander nodded, he moved to sit next to Will to offer whatever comfort the vampire would take.
“We can't change anything Will. If we do, we might never meet. I only told you because I love you.” Xander sighed. “I do. I tried not to in…in the future…but being with you now, all this time. I can't deny it any more.” They sat in silence, wrapped in each other's arms, the rest of the day. That night after they both had a meal, they went to the park again, to listen to the musicians. They talked as they walked around the city, deciding to take their relationship slowly. By this time Xander had realized he would probably be here a few years, Spike's missing years from the journals. The rest of the year settled into a routine of slow seduction. Xander stayed at Will's just a little longer each day. Until one day he didn't leave, until time for work.
Angel moved to stand next to his childe. He could smell the turmoil Spike was in. Xander had only been gone for a few seconds, but he knew the part he played in their history was long since over. He watched as a tear fell down Spike's pale chiselled features. Angel rested a hand on Spike's shoulder until it was shrugged off, more by habit than animosity.
The first Christmas they spent together was great as far as Xander was concerned. He had been in bed with his lover, not out in his parent's backyard. They spent the night talking of the past year. Reliving their first time together.
Flashback several months before
It was a day like so many others for Xander. Spent at the bookstore reading through magical texts and helping the occasional customer with the occult section of the store. The night however was spent moving him from the 'Horns and Hooves Inn' into Spike's rented flat. Xander couldn't believe he had gathered up so much stuff. When it was finally all done, they sat down and just looked at each other with big sappy grins on their faces.
Xander was tired but he was also wired, the thought of living with Spike was exhilarating. Under that though was the nervousness. He knew tonight would be the night Spike would claim him. Oh they had fooled around a little, he had given his first blow-job weeks go, but they had not gone all the way yet. They had both decided that they would wait. William was a romantic and Xander lived with William, not Spike. Sometimes he even thought of him that way, although mostly he could not forget Spike. It was weird but he loved them both. Almost as if they were two different people but, not.
So they waited until Spike felt it was the perfect time. He said he would know when it felt right. Then two days ago Xander had been attacked going home from work. Spike had been in a rage. That was the end of his living alone. Spike had told him of the claim and how it worked, saying that, yes Xander would change but only for the better. And that no it didn't mean Xan would turn into a vampire. The changes would be in that he would heal a little faster and possible see a little better, that was about all Spike would say. Xander had the feeling that that was all Spike knew, but he didn't say any thing. The protection he would gain from other demons seemed to out weigh the risks.
Now he understood that they didn't have to have sex for the claim to work but Spike had said that not only would he claim Xander as under his protection but if done while having sex it would also claim him as mate. Blood would be exchanged and Xander would have a scar on his shoulder. He felt that he should probably be grossed out by the thought of drinking Spike's blood but he wasn't, after all he was the one who ate a live pig.
It started on the sofa, with Spike kissing him, when the petting became heavy and their clothes melted off, Spike carried him to the bedroom and laid him gently on the bed.
“You are so beautiful Alex.” Spike whispered over and over as he kissed every inch of skin.
“Mine, acres and acres of skin and it's all mine!” “Beautiful.” “Gorgeous.”
Over and over until Xander started believing him. No one had ever made Xander feel so loved and worshipped before. When Spike entered him slowly there was only a little pain, over shadowed by the love and desire he could see in his lover's eyes. As he sank deeper Xander thought he had never felt so possessed. He knew he would never be the same no matter what the future held. His entire being belonged to this man. Xander thought his world was crashing around him when he felt Spike start to withdraw and he whimpered.
“Hush luv. It's ok not leavin' you.” Spike said through clenched teeth, then pushed back in slowly. This slow pace was killing him. He hadn't had a human lover since he had been turned and the heat of it was driving his self control out the window.
“God Alex, pet. You’re so hot, so tight,” he leaned forward to kiss the younger man, when he shifted he hit Xander's prostate for the first time.
Xander saw stars and screamed. Bucking wildly and pushing Spike even deeper inside of him. Spike groaned as his demon surged forward, self control gone. He was pounding into Xander, barely managing to hold back enough to not do any permanent damage.
Spike's hand found Xander's cock and began pumping it rhythmically keeping with the pace their hips set, his left hand clutched Xander's right hand, fingers entwined.
“William, I'm going to cum. Please do it now.” Xander whimpered out.
Spike brought his own forearm to his lips and bit deeply, then held it to Xander's lips. He pulled Xander to him and quickly sank his fangs into his lover's shoulder. He bit down again, needing the mark to scar. Wanting this human to carry his claim forever.
Xander drank deeply; his lips tingled with the taste of magic in the vampire blood.
Spike pulled almost all the way out of Xander and timing his last bite with the thrust of his hips, he plunged both in deeply at the same time. Both men came as one, one howl and one scream filled the night as they collapsed back onto the bed.
They had fed from each other often since then. Xander was the consort of a demon, and loving it. The way the blood made his body better, Spike's love and care made him better, more confident and self assured.
Spike thought he was growing from a devil-may-care boy into a self aware man. Xander carried himself taller, looking you in the eye as he spoke. He loved the changes in his lover.
Life was perfect. Until he showed up. Angelus.
Spike and Xander were in the small kitchen, fixing dinner when the door opened without a knock. Both men turned expecting to see Tucker, who sometimes burst through their door with a demon on his tail. But it wasn't their friend who stood there, it was Angelus.
Xander was dressed in his black jeans and much washed and worn cream T-shirt. His most comforting clothes he wore often when he felt home sick.
Angel eyed him warily. “William, playin' with your food again?” He asked, never taking his eyes off Xander. Wanting to gauge the other mans reaction to his words. He was surprised to see not fear but anger, reflected back at him.
“Peaches,” Xander exclaimed, still fuming but wanting to defuse the situation. He could feel his lover's distress. “What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be off brooding somewhere?”
Spike turned toward him. “Alex, I don't think you should bait him like that.”
“Don't worry Will. It's Peaches, not Angelus,” Xander turned to glance at Spike.
“Its in the eyes, you” he almost got out the rest when he realized his mistake.
He could bait the Angel he knew but this man was not him. He had a soul, yes, but he was still very close to his demon side.
Angel had Xander by the throat, slammed against the wall, when a scent reached his nose. He turned back to a growling Spike.
“You've claimed him? Did I not teach you anything boy?” Angel growled out
“I love him. I claimed him. He's mine.” Spike growled back. “Let him go.” His face rippled to its true demon visage.
Angel dropped Xander as his own demon came forth. “Will it isn't safe, not for him. You have to let him go.”
“Never, he's Mine.”
“I know the danger. I'm here voluntarily.” Xander threw in.
“Shut-up.” Came two voices.
“Alex, stay out of this, it’s between me and my Sire.” He sneered the last word.
“Sire, I shouldn't even call you that anymore. Dru sired me. You just stole me from her.”
“I did it for your own good. The same way I'm going to take this one from you, for his own good.” Angel replied. “I claim Sire's Right.”
“Over my dust.” Spikes voice trembled. He didn't want to face the future without Alex, and he knew he couldn't beat Angel in a fair fight.
“So be it.”
Then Angel lunged knocking over the table as he grabbed Spike and threw him into the living room.
To Xander the fight lasted forever, it was brutal and bloody. Watching his lover get pummelled by the bigger and obviously stronger vampire in his defence, was breaking his heart. He couldn't let Angel win but was at a loss as to how to stop it.
When he saw the stake appear in the larger man's hand he knew what he had to do.
Xander lunged into the fight, trying desperately to grab the wood and wrestle it from the grip that held it firm. It was his own desperation that drove him between his lover and the stake just as it was being plunged downward.
“No.” Spike screamed, as he grabbed the falling human.
It seemed to remind Angel of his soul and the older vampire slid back to his human guise crying out, “What have I done?!”
All Xander could think about was that Spike/William the man he loved was safe. The stake had missed his heart but was sticking out of his side. The pain was terrible but he only felt Spike's arms around him holding him tightly. “Love You.” He croaked through dry lips.
“I love you too, Alex”
Then Xander passed out.
Spike looked up at Angel. “What have you done?”
The anguish dripping from his lips stunned Angel.
“I…I didn't realize you meant it. I thought you were just playing with him.” Tears fell down Angel's face. “How bad is it?”
“He'll live. You'd better hope he lives because if he doesn't you'll regret you ever made me William the Bloody.” Spike vowed.
Angel stayed in London until Xander had healed enough to get around. It was touch and go for a while, when infection set in, but all in all he did heal faster than if his lover had been human.
It was their second Christmas spent in bed, that Xander filed away in his heart forever. Spike had made it a special surprise, the entire flat was filled with holiday cheer. They celebrated the twelve days of Christmas like everyday was Christmas day. Xander had been so sick that he hadn't gotten Spike a gift, but Spike simply replied that Xander was the best gift he had ever gotten. All in all it was the perfect end to the year.
It's almost over, Spike thought. It wasn't long enough, so much more we could've done. The others were drifting towards the front room. He alone stood with the chanters, never moving from his spot. His eyes were glued on the circle filled with smoke but his mind drifted to the past.
They had been to Paris, Madrid, Moscow – all over Europe – and now they were headed home. London. Xander wondered when he had started thinking of London as home.
Was it when William made love to me for the first time? Probably
He only knew that he did. As he walked down the dirty streets he thought that London just didn't change. They had been gone almost five years, on their trip around the world. They weren't really supposed to be back yet but somehow Xander knew he didn't have much longer. Soon he would be going home. Last month he started hearing the chanting. Xander had left the book with Tucker so he had to get the book before all of the voices joined in together. So far he could hear three voices; there was only one more to go. He knew it would be soon. He needed to get the book and get back to his lover. He didn't want to get pulled back into the future without letting William know he was leaving. Xander had told him the night before that he could hear the chanting but he didn't tell him how soon he thought it would be. Their time together had been so short.
Seven years, wow!
They had used the time well too! Not letting themselves become too settled. They wanted to live a full life in whatever time they were allowed. To Spike, as he was calling himself now that his rift with Angel was complete, a human’s life was short enough even if Alex never went back to the future. He couldn't make him a vampire so his time with his mate would eventually be over, he would grow old and die. Spike could already see the age lines on Alex's face. They looked good on him but only reminded him of death.
“Tucker. We're back,” he called out as he entered the book shop.
“Alexander, how lovely to see you. You must tell me everything of your trip! How is your William?” Tucker had put on a few pounds and his round face was beaming with a huge smile. A very nice welcome, Xander thought.
“Paris was lovely. I would've liked to have stayed there but it was so…”
“French?” Tucker supplied.
“Yeah. You know filled with…”
“French people?!” Tucker finished again. Both men burst into laughter.
“Exactly.” Xander cried out. When they had calmed down, Tucker make some tea and they sat in the back room, front door locked, and talked about Xander’s adventures.
“Oh it was grand; we saw nothing but hotel rooms! We made love in every hotel in Paris that was our mission!”
Tucker blushed at the thought, but was happy that his friend was so in love.
“You mean you went to Paris and didn't see the sites? Are you daft Alexander?” He couldn’t help but tease.
“Of course I am. I’m in love with a vampire. Isn't that proof enough!” Xander laughed.
“Besides...I'm going home soon.” He got serious and silent.
“What! Alexander why! What about William?” Tucker asked hesitantly. Xander took a deep breath.
“He wants to be called Spike now.” More silence, then. “My teacher is calling me back. I've already stayed longer than expected, so I'll need to take the book home with me tonight.” Tucker sat back in his seat then got up and ran to the safe, calling out as he ran.
“The book, Oh Alexander we were broke into the other night. I hope it's still here.” Thirty minutes later they had catalogued all the books that Tuck kept in the safe.
“Isn't that funny, they only took the book on gypsy curses. I bet he didn't see this one on how to break or modify them.” Xander sat up straight. It must've been Angel. That was how he knew where the codex had been.
“Can I see that one?” Tucker handed the large book across the table. Xander couldn’t believe it. There it was...the modifying spell to bind Angel’s soul to him forever. If he took this it might tear him and Spike apart forever, but not in the future. In the future Spike didn't really like Angel without his soul.
“Tuck, I need this book. But I don't have any gold left. How much is it?!” Tucker sat back again with a sigh.
“If it was anyone else...for you Alexander, let’s call it a going away present.”
“I couldn't! Tucker it's too much.”
“I insist, you and Wil...Spike have been good friends. You take that book.” Tucker smiled sadly, he would indeed miss his unusual friends. That was when Xander heard the chanting again. He shot to his feet, face ashen.
“I've got to go,” he quickly hugged the portly man. “I'll never forget you.”
Then he was gone.
Out the door racing the wind back to their flat. The sun was just setting when Xander burst through the door.
“Spike,” he yelled. Giles' voice, the last one, joined the others chanting.
“William.” He called out again. He looked around the room. Candles everywhere. Spike rarely used the electric lights, saying it wasn't natural.
“Will, I think this is it.” He clutched his books tightly to his chest.
“Spike!” He called, desperate now. Spike came out of the bed room half awake.
“What is it luv!”
“I think I'm leaving. I think it's time.” Xander watched as blue eyes filled with love and fear. Spike watched as fog began to swirl around Xander’s feet.
“I love you Alex.” He whispered. Xander knew his line and began to cry.
“William, I've loved you forever.”
“Don't leave me Alex.” Spike nearly begged. Xander's heart broke.
Then the pain drove him to his knees, and he screamed, calling out for his lover.
I don't know what I'm going to say. He's coming back. The scream....I can hear it echoing back through time. I'm here. I'm waiting luv.
The room erupted into chaos when a scream shattered the silence. Every one turned back to the circle. Cordelia and Gunn stood beside Angel, worried about his pensive expression. Spike still stood in the corner, separate from the others. More worried than the others. As Xander materialized screaming, Buffy put her hands over her ears.
“God he sounds like he's in so much pain.” The still figure reached and cried out once more.
“William” then fell silent.
The room was hushed, no one could move. Xander had passed out after his last scream. Willow and Giles opened the circle. Willow checked him out, he was breathing. She sighed in relief. His clothes were different but other than that he was the same, Spike noted. Young again, he thought wondering if his mark remained. The full impact of what that might mean hit him and he sank to his knees, eyes never leaving the still boy. Angel was by his side in an instant.
“Will, it's over now. He's here...he's fine,” he whispered.
“But he looks the same,” Spike said just as quietly. “What of my claim? With this damn chip.” He left the rest unspoken. As Giles helped Willow roll Xander over he saw the two books held firmly to Xander's chest.
“Angel, you'd better come look at this.” He called out. His voice woke Xander up. As Xander heard Giles call out for Angel he sat up and noticed what book Giles was holding.
“No.” He said then snatched the book away before Angel saw it. Xander's head hurt, but otherwise he felt fine. All but the need to see Spike forgotten.
He stood a little away from Giles as he shoved the codex into the stunned man’s hands.
“Here. This is the one you sent me after, yes?” Everyone was shocked by the slight English inflection to his words. Everyone except Spike. Who Xander still had not seen. Xander turned to Willow. His grin was brilliant but as he hugged her neck he asked.
“In the corner still, you OK?” She whispered back.
“I don't know yet.” He sighed deeply then stood up straight. Slowly he turned to the corner of the room and there hidden in the shadows he picked out the still form of his lover. He had to stop himself from running. Walk, he told himself, no use freaking everyone out. Finally he made it to Spike. They just stared at each other for the longest time. Xander was trying to find his William in those icy blue eyes. He stared until he found him, and then smiled. When Spike saw the smile he thought his heart was going to start beating again.
He still wants me! He reached up to touch that face, the one that haunted his dreams. To caress that familiar cheek.
Gods I want to kiss him. It's been so long
As if Xander had read his mind he lowered his head. Their lips touched in the lightest of kisses…that told of a lifetime of love.
“I love you William…Spike…whatever you want me to call you. If you still want me after all this time. I'm yours.” Xander whispered against parted lips. Then leaned his neck to the side, in a loving gesture of trust.
“Go on Will. Remember the chip only works if you cause me pain, and I love it when you claim me.”
Spike stared at him with all the wonder and love his poor eyes could manage then he licked Xander's neck. Felt that his mark had remained through the trip forward in time and gently sank his fangs over the scar he'd made so long ago. Heaven, he thought, this is as close to heaven as a damned vampire like me can get. The heady taste of living human, his human, blood was an aphrodisiac to Spike. The two men clung together. Unconsciously rubbing their erections against each other through their clothes. They broke apart when Angel shouted.
Xander had been anticipating such an attack however and spun around quickly. Shoving Spike behind him.
“No, Buffy. He still has his chip. He wasn't hurting me.”
“Xander, move. I don't know what's wrong with you today, but his ass is dust.” Buffy grated out. Xander looked to Angel for a moment then back to Buffy.
“Buff, ask Angel. If you want Spike you have to stake him through me.” Spike had been standing meekly behind Xander till then, but at Xander’s words he growled.
“We don't need Peaches involved whelp. You can take her now. All those fighting lessons I paid for. You'd better be able to take her.” It was an old argument, designed to break the tension either of them felt, and Xander was not immune. He burst out laughing.
“You paid for. I'm the one who slaved all day. Did you have a job? Oh no not Mr. Big Bad!” Spike rolled his eyes.
“Slaved all day? You can't really call what you did work you know!”
“Hey! Putting up with Tucker was work...I'll have you know. 'Alexander, tell me about California. Alexander what are the Colonies like?'” He imitated the nasal whine and English accent perfectly.
The Scoobies were all stunned but this time the tension breaker came from an unexpected source.
“I thought you said they hated each other.” Gunn said to Cordy.
“Two minutes ago, they did.” Giles answered.
“Xander, why don't you tell us about your trip.” Wesley requested softly, glancing at Giles with a sinking feeling in his gut. Xander looked at Spike with an apology on his face, and then moved away back towards the centre of the room. He put the book of gypsy curse breakers on the floor, then sat on top of it. No one missed the significance of his actions more than Angel, who had only spied the title of the book earlier.
“You guys read the spell a little wrong.” Xander began. “I've been in the past with Spike,” he glanced at the vampire and smiled, “for about seven years.” He met Giles' wide shocked eyes.
“Dear Lord. Xander, it's only been about a minute here.” Giles was truly shocked, if he had known he would never have sent Xander back.
“Wait a minute. What do you mean with Spike?” Buffy asked. “And how come the smoochies?”
“Yeah, cause eww.” Cordy chimed in then looked at Spike. “I mean that in a good way of course.” Spike only snorted and turned back to Xander, eager to hear his explanation.
“Buffy, I really don't think it's any of your business. You aren't my mother and even if you were, I still wouldn't feel the need to tell you about my private life. I'm over age.” Xander took a deep breath then continued.
“However, Giles....because I know that you are genuinely concerned about me and not the state of my private life, I will tell you. I had been in the past for a few weeks already. I knew something had gone wrong with the spell and one night I met William 'Spike' in a bar. Long story short...I love him, he loves me. Not a day has gone by in the last six years of my life that I didn't spend in bed with him.” Xander looked back to Buffy. “Is that plain enough for you? Or do I need to spell it out some more? And one more thing Buffy, before you get some stupid idea in your head about him forcing me, I will thank you to remember what happened in his crypt before I left.”
Xander shrugged deeply, rubbed his eyes and said “Now if you will excuse me…I'm tired. And I think I need to make up some lost time with my lover.” He turned to Willow.
“Spike and I will be at my flat…apartment if you want to come by later.”
After they had made love for the third time. And they had reaffirmed their love many times more, Spike finally asked.
“So pet, what's the book?”
“Oh, I almost forgot. Tucker gave it to me before I left. It's a present for you.” He said as he handed Spike the book.
“Xander...Alex why do I need a book of gypsy curses?” Spike asked. He was familiar with the way Xander's mind worked. But it had been a while since he had been subjected to Alex's quick wit.
“Is this some joke?”
Xander giggled delighted that he had stumped the vampire. “No silly. It isn't a book of curses.” Xander quit laughing. The next part of his explanation would be difficult for Spike. “It…it's a book on how to change them or just get rid of them. I know how you felt about Angelus. I know you love him, and well when I saw this I didn't know how you would feel about me in the future…now…I thought if I could give you Angelus back…Well, it’s up to you. Give him the book or don't. I'm giving you the choice. That's why I didn't want Giles to give it to him.”
Spike was stunned. “You stupid idiot,” he said softly. “I love you. You know that. Angelus is dead to me. When Angel lost his soul…that Angelus is not the original, that Angelus was insane. Even if I could have the original one back, I’m in love with you. I'm bound to Angel in a way but it isn't really voluntary. I'm with you because I want to be with you.” Xander let out the breath he'd been holding.
“Then we'll give him the book and let him do the binding spell. Make the soul his for good.”
A little while later they were in the kitchen, Xander was idly fingering his new bite marks and watching Spike cook him breakfast. (The only meal Spike cooked!) Even though it was nearly sundown. When someone knocked on the door.
“Bag of blood says it's Willow.”
Xander snickered. “Nah…blow-job says its Peaches!”
“Ha! You're on fangless!”
As Xander grabbed the door to pull it open Spike called out, “Might want to put your pants on luv!”
They were both right, in that it was Angel and Willow! Xander ate his food as Willow grilled Spike on those years. Now that it had happened he didn't care if the watchers knew. Angel just sat and stared at him as if trying to figure something out.
Probably wondering how mad I am at him
Good let him wonder
He joined them in his living room after he ate. Willow started in on him.
“Xander, what was it like? Was it cool?” She attacked as soon as he entered the room.
“Willow it was – I dunno, normal.” He made his way over next to Spike and sat close. For him it had only been a day since those times in their flat together. However, for Spike it had been decades. Willow giggled at the look on Spike's face as Xander snuggled in next to him. At first he was stunned. He still expected Xander to be the smart-ass. Then his smile returned and his eyes sparkled as he pulled the young man closer. The biggest reaction came from Angel.
“Xander. I just need to say I'm sorry again. I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions.” Xander waved him off.
“Whatever, Dead boy. It was a long time ago.”
“What was?” Willow asked.
“Not for you.” Angel said. Unable to let go of the guilt.
“Um...actually it was about five years.” Xander ignored Willow's question. Willow looked to Spike for an explanation; he saw the look and shrugged.
“Later.” Then her attention was pulled back to Xander as he spoke again.
“I mean I've been around the world since then so…” He was cut off by Willow's squeal.
“Around the world! What did you see?”
“I saw a lot of hotels!” He replied as he and Spike burst out laughing. Willow sputtered.
“You didn't see anything?” She sounded disappointed. Angel simply rolled his eyes. He had heard in great detail all about those hotel rooms. Spike had been inconsolable when Xander had left. Angel just happened to drop by several days after Xander's disappearing act, to find his childe crying and hungry. He hadn't moved in days, just seemed to crumble in the spot he had last seen Alex. Angel had fed him and kept him from meeting the dawn. He had listened as the younger vampire would rage about the unfairness of it all then lapse into memories. He had left out no detail about their trip. Much to Angel's regret, he now had visions of Xander in some very compromising, if not amusing situations. But Willow’s innocent comment made the couple laugh all the harder.
“No Willow. I saw plenty,” Xander laughed and wiggled his brows, “of William!” He finished.
As the men calmed down, they saw their enthusiasm was not shared. Willow was pouting and Angel just looked at them. One of those parental looks that says ‘I'm amused but not going to laugh.'
“Oh Willow don't be mad please. I just wanted there to be something for us to see when we go back. And we are going back? Right, Spike? You did promise.” Xander elbowed Spike.
“What? I did not promise!”
“Right after I made you scream for the fourth time in that hotel in Madrid. You remember…the one that overlooked that place. Where the men…” Angel stopped him then with a quiet hiss of ‘Xander’ in a warning tone and a glance at Willow.
“Fine. We'll go back to Paris.” Spike pouted. “But you do know it is still French right?” Xander laughed again remembering his last conversation with Tucker.
“I'll miss Tucker. What happened to him?” Xander asked his lover. Spike thought for a moment then spoke again.
“Well the last I heard he had made it to California and took up with some Gul-nor demon. Got rich off all those lovely demons and retired to his books.”
“What? Wait you aren't talking about Marcus Tucker are you?” Willow asked.
“How did you know his name?” Xander asked in a hushed voice.
“Hello! Xander did you grow up in Sunnydale at all?” Willow tried sarcasm occasionally, but it never worked. “Marcus Tucker only founded the library and dedicated it to…Oh my God! You! His unusual friend Alexander!” Willow clapped. “Wow. You knew someone famous.” Xander was stunned and just a little scared.
“Willow, when I left a man named Milton founded the library.” Xander felt defeated. He slumped down next to Spike and hung his head. He had tried so hard. He hadn't mentioned anything about the future to anyone but Spike and still he’d changed it. Angel seemed to know how he was feeling.
“Xander, you didn't do it on purpose. It wasn't your fault.”
“He's right luv. I know how badly you wanted to tell Tucker, but you didn't. You didn't even mention Sunnydale. It was just fate luv.” Spike reassured him. After a while Xander finally accepted his role in Sunnydale’s past. He only hoped he hadn't changed things too badly.
As Xander and Spike entered the Magic Box, hand in hand a few weeks later, Buffy commented, “That's going to take a long time to get used to.” She motioned towards their hands. Xander just grinned and held on tighter. He was in too good of a mood to let Buffy's closed mind get him down. They were leaving. He and Spike were going to Paris. It would take a while but they weren't chasing a clock this time. First they would take a cruise, then another, then another, the same as they had done before. Xander had already told Willow. He was here to tell Giles. Buffy just happening to be there was a bonus.
“Hey Giles,” Xander called out. He leaned on the counter and began going through his speech in his head until Spike spoke up.
“Oh for goodness sakes, Alex. Just tell him and lets go.” Spike spoke up.
“Tell me what, Xander?” Giles stopped sorting the jars that he had carried from the back.
“We're leaving. Umm…that is Spike and I…to Paris…err…eventually.” Giles looked to Spike who had rolled his eyes at Xander’s discomfort.
“Would you care to translate that?” He asked.
“Sometimes I don't see how you lived to be twenty seven years old,” Spike said to Xander before answering Giles. He was the only one who expected Xander to be twenty seven. The others seemed to forget his jumbled age. “I'm taking 'im on holiday. Extended holiday eventually we will end up in Paris.” His eyes warmed with the memory.
“He liked Paris the best.” Giles was stunned. He turned to Xander “Even with all of the…”
“French people?” Xander laughed.
“Well I was gong to say language barriers. But yes, French speaking people.”
“Nah. They're not that bad once you get used to it.” Xander replied.
“How long will you be gone?” Buffy asked.
“I don't know.” Xander shrugged.
“Took five years last time,” Spike said thoughtfully. “And this time you said you want to leave the room. So hmm...might take twice as long!” Giles blushed and looked away.
“Yes. Well in that case, you might want to drop in on Angel on your way.”
“Why? The pouf need a spanking?” Spike laughed. Giles glared at the vampire.
“No but he does have the Ring of Amara and you might be able to persuade him into loaning it out”
As Spike and Xander walked down the streets of LA, Xander thought his life was finally looking good, even to him. Visions of Paris with Spike in the sunlight filled his mind. As the two men held hands, fingers entwined the large gold ring held firmly in place; the last call to board the ship was heard.
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