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Chapter Nine: That Accursed Feeling



"Arrr! Careful, me mateys! These be fireflies spat from a volcano off the coast of Katmandu. Arr!" -Xander

"Xander?" No Mom go away I don't wanna run to the liquor store! Owwwwwwwww. What's going on with all this pain? I blinked my eyes open and stared at the arm that was my pillow. Hey, I guess arms have gained the ability to speak, what else is new and wacky on the hellmouth? The whisper came again. "Xander? Are you awake?" The hand didn't move and the noise seemed to come from behind me. I sighed. I really wanted to see a talking arm, too.

I decided to extend my investigation beyond the arm, not quite ready to turn all the way over. There was a hand. A pretty big man-sized hand. With chipped black nail-polish. Huh. That's odd. Beyond that was a wall. Okay I wore out that side of my resting place. Time to turn and face the now insistent whispering. I shifted oh-so-slowly onto my back and looked up at the ceiling. Oh hey, I'm still in an RV. I shifted again, careful not to move my chest from whence the biggest pain came. Oh look! Spike! I blinked. He was on his side facing me, providing the previously mentioned arm and hand. After a moment's groggy consideration I decided that since Spike was asleep, he couldn't possibly be saying my name so I looked past him and saw Buffy leaning toward me, concern on her face.

"Xander?" I nodded and gave her my best 'What the hell do you want can't you see I'm snoozing with my pet vampire' face. "Oh good, you're awake, we're at the hospital, Gunn and his crew are stopping here before heading to the RV park that Giles found. You want to get patched up inside or just go on to your apartment?" I blinked and looked down at the bandaged wound on my chest. I managed to form a few coherent thoughts.

"Take us home. I have some nice super-strength pain-murderer at the apartment. Spike needs blood too." I looked down at the dust covering Spike and me and grinned dryly. "And a shower..damn I need a shower." I smelled like several different flavors of dirt with a little chemicalness on the side from my bandage.

"Okay, I'll wake you when we get there." She agreed, vanishing from my vision again. While I was awake I took the opportunity to study Spikey where he lay on the RV's bed. We were in the empty bedroom compartment in the very back of the rig with the gray curtains and door shut to block out sunlight.

Through the dim light I inspected his chest wound, carefully peeling back the bandage. I was prepared to see disgusting goryness but I was pleasantly surprised to see it had healed to half it's original size. Must be nice to be undead. I smoothed the bandage back in place and glance up to see his sharp blue eyes watching me, eye-lids only half-open.

Once again I was reduced to simplistic thoughts by his blue, blue, blue eyes. <Der-her..purty.> He was pretty. Handsome didn't really cut it as a descriptive word when applied to Spike. He was beautiful. I'd acknowledged that he was good-looking when I was a totally straight normal man, and forgot it when faced with his extremely irritating attitude. Now, though, he was different. I was different. The world was friggin' different. And Spike is beautiful, dammit. Even when covered in a layer of gray concrete dust. It just served to make him look like a perfectly detailed sculpture.

As I studied him, forgetting that it wasn't normal Xander behavior to stare in awe at injure vampires, I started getting that cursed feeling again. The feeling that caused me no end of annoyance. The pressure began to build in my chest in such a good yet evil way until I was left with no choice. Giggle or go 'Awwwww'. I was forced to attempt the 'Awwwww' without remembering to open my mouth so somehow it came out as something akin to puppies whine.

His perfect full lips quirked to the side in his trademark smirk and the feeling came back for round two. It was stronger to. I whined again and buried my face in the nearest surface, which just happened to be his taught, washboard abs, thank you very much. I felt his muscles jerk with silent laughter. <I am such a friggin dork! Why did I just say "Hi Spike!"? Noooo I had to go and get all giggly about how fucking pretty he is!> Deeeeeeep breath. I looked up at his amused expression and turned bright red. "Hi Spike!"


"I'm supposed to be treading on the dark side."-Spike

<Well, Spike, old chap, now's the time to make a move while he's giggling.> I studied the whelps red face. He seemed so ready to offer himself up as a sacrifice to the dignity gods. He was giving me this pathetic "Please don't kick me repeatedly while singing 'God Save the Queen', Spike?" expression. I sighed. He was such a pretty woman. Dark dark brown eyes always big and expressive. Even covered in dust and wounded he managed to exude such an air of pure goodness that I wondered if my demon was going to complain, but it didn't. It wanted instead.

I gave him my most non-evil smile and dragged him forward and against me so he was stretched along my side, his pretty head nestled on my chest. I held him there until he relaxed and started to pet his filthy hair. "Just sleep, kitten, think later." I ordered him. I felt him sigh and settle down further. Not too long after he was sleeping peacefully. I, however, was stuck wide awake and plagued by thoughts.

<Did I really take a piece of soddin metal through the chest for the boy?> I shook my head, incredulous. Obviously I was losing my bloody mind. The demon too. It was him that was in control when the blast hit. It was the demon that threw himself over the whelp. <I saved his life and I don't have a soul like the poofter. I don't think I'm in love. I'm definitely in lust with the lad, but love?> I looked down at the sleeping body tucked around mine. <Well maybe the demon's in love with him. I like him but I'm not quite that far gone yet.> I thought about that for a while.

<Okay so if my demon is in love with the whelp, why am I, the other part of me, helping the boy?> Where did this need to protect him and care for him come from? I knew that I'd started acting like a ponce about two months before the demon took any real interest in the boy beyond the licking adventures which were just chipped versions of a claiming bite. I frowned. <So if I really do love him then does that mean that I'll start acting like I have a soul?> I took a deep breath. <My soddin' head hurts.>

Too avoid any further high-intensity thinking I decided to re-live past Passions episodes to promote mindlessness.

When we finally reached the underground garage to our apartment I had to watch in complete paranoia as the Slayer carried my unconscious Xan inside and to his bedroom. My left arm had refused to lift anything other than itself. Once I shooed the Slayer out and sent her to report to the Watcher, I heated up two bags of blood and settled on the couch.

I turned the telly on to the news and kept it low so I could keep an ear on my boy while he slept. I watched a little stunned as some daft chit kept on about the aliens in front of a real shoddy view of a saucer. What got me wasn't the stupid bint on the camera, it was the words scrolling across the bottom.

Apparently every major city in the bloody world was now dust and the giant flying saucer that destroyed L.A.? Yeah, the thing had friends. I stared at the scrolling casualty reports and wondered if maybe I could get a few demon buddies to hide me and Xander and maybe Willow in another dimension for a while. The idea was lent merit when the screen flickered to a shot of the rubble that was once the Vatican. A smaller saucer hovered above the rubble as the enemy marched onto the Earth's soil. The cameraman was moving quickly away from the beings that seemed to glow a cold blue. I nearly flinched when the cameraman died a painful death on screen.


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