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Chapter Twelve: People Not Wanting To Die
"I'll see your numbness and I'll raise you a lower back pain."-Xander
The war council ended shortly before midnight leaving the majority of those who attended with designated jobs to carry out and numb asses from all of the sitting. As it was, I doubted I would be able to get up again after being folded up on the cold hard floor so long. I was forced to growl at Buffy, who had rejoined the meeting about half way through. She'd sat next to me, leaning on her mother's legs for the rest of the time but due to Slayerness, she'd been able to bounce to her feet at the end with relatively little stiffness.
I was lucky that Spike chose to help at that moment because there was no way I was getting up by myself at that point. Every bruise and joint had begun to ache, protesting my activities of the previous night (slamming into an RV, for one,) and I was seriously considering crawling to the car. Unfortunately for me, home would have to wait for some time. We all had our orders and mine had to be carried out for the good of mankind or something.
Spike hauled me, wincing, to my feet and when my legs refused to function, he wrapped an arm around my waist and held me upright against his side. "What's up with you, pet?" He asked me, annoyed. <Why's he annoyed? He gets to snuggle up to luscious moi!> I glared at him.
"I'm a weak fragile human thing. The explosions, bleeding, stress, and now this floor have all kicked my ass." He frowned and pulled me closer.
"You'd be best at home so you can rest a bit." He decided. I rolled my eyes.
"I wish, but I've got research to do. I'm supposed to be helping with the world saving, not sleeping through it." I tried to step towards the group of witches, warlocks, and snooty educated people that I was supposed to be organizing. It was hard moving forward when a far stronger vampire was holding you in place against his side. "Either be a good vampire-crutch and take me to where I need to be, or let me go." I ordered him. He just raised an unimpressed eyebrow. The yummy scarred one that just begged to be licked. I sighed in desperation as I felt my face flush.
"Xander, are you coming?" Willow called from the group of research-bound people. I looked pointedly at Spike. The bleached wonder gave me the sort of look a mother gives her child when she lets him stay up for just five more minutes. This time when I started to walk, I was escorted.
"Alright, people, we're going to set up in the school's library." I began to relay the instructions that Giles had given me during a break in the meeting. Strange that I was put in charge of research. I mean, I've been doing the research boogie for years now, but it wasn't exactly my forte. "We're focusing on spells that effect electric energy. If you have any magical references of your own feel free to pass them around but we've got a good amount of materials already set up in there. We'll get started as soon as possible and this endless party of magic fun will go until we've gathered enough spells to be effective against our enemies." I looked at the group of eighteen attentive faces and had a nasty flashback to the briefing I gave just before the Mayor's Ascension. Like I did back then, I wondered why I was the one giving out orders.
"When you find a spell that might be big mojo against the bad guys bring it to this cute little redhead and she'll see that it's checked out in further detail." I made sure everyone could see the blushing little Willow. "Any questions?"
No one said anything so I released my grip on Spike's waist to clap my hands together. "Alright, my pretties! Let us learn what we may so we might live another day!" Several people looked at me funny and a few groaned at my horrible rhyme but they all turned and followed Wills to the library. Spike was standing behind me, his hands loose about my waist in case I needed support. He leaned forward to whisper in my ear.
"That, luv, was horrible." He told me, his lips moving against my ear. My body temperature raised a few degrees. <He's evil! He's a cruel teasing evil thing that has been taking care of me and protecting me and supporting me since Anya wigged on me and dammit.> I tried so very hard to get mad at him for teasing me and assuming that he could do as he pleased with me, but I failed miserably. He'd been a better boyfriend to me these past months then Riley had to Buffy ever and we two weren't even together!
It was pretty obvious to me then, standing with Spike's mouth inches from my throat, that I trusted him. It didn't really have anything to do with the chip either. I'd always been nervous around Spike, never knowing when he might regain his bite, worried that the chip might malfunction and we'd all be dead. I didn't feel that now. I felt safe and comfortable, if a little giddy, in his arms. He wanted me, too, which was apparent from what I felt with him wrapped around me. That didn't frighten me as much as before. I realized that he was probably the best match I'd ever find for myself in my new form.
He knew who I was, who I had been, what I'd been, and he still wanted me and cared for me. And hell, if I could have sex with a homicidal Slayer and a 1100+ year old demon, I could handle sex with a male vampire. Its not like he'd bite my head off and feed my body to his young like past prospects planned to.
While I'd been pondering so strenuously, the subject of my thoughts had turned to Joyce who'd came back over to us to say goodnight. I watched him and he smiled sweetly at her and kissed her cheek. "You be careful going home now, Joyce." He told her, his sincerity evident in his softened eyes.
Spikey had a soft spot for the woman that was nothing if not cute. To think the vampire's closest confidant was the Slayer's mother. It was unexpected and I knew that Buffy didn't understand, nor trust Spike's affection for the older Summers woman. I did though. I'd seen Spike after his visits with her over the past months and those were some of my favorite times. He'd come home smiling and a lot calmer than his usual hyperactive self and would sit and talk with me about work and such or just watch a movie with me without his snarky comments or squirming.
"Are you feeling okay, Xander?" Joyce asked me, snapping me out of my memories. I nodded and gave her Xander Goofy Grin # 4.
"I'm fine, Joyce, just a little beat from the world save-age." I told her. She nodded and smiled fondly, hugging me and then Spike. She said goodnight and drifted off to go check on Buffy. Her daughter had thrown herself into full battle mode to avoid moping about her man going off to war so I pitied Joyce her task of caring for her.
"Liar." I looked up at Spike. He was smirking at me. I frowned.
"What? I'm not tired?" I asked him, giving him an amused smile. He growled, his face suddenly dark. I blinked.
"You are, but you're also thinkin'. Don't think I don't know what goes on in that daft little head of yours, pet." He warned me. I crossed my arms and scowled at him.
"Yeah, and when I don't bring things up it means I don't want to discuss them before what's left of the world." He faced me, mirroring my stance, arms crossed, scarred brow raised. <What, does he expect me to regale Joyce with my Spike related fantasies?>
"Why do you do that?" He demanded.
"Do what? Think? Sorry, I'm not as adept at not thinking as you are." I rolled my eyes letting him eat sarcasm. He growled again and was ten feet away before I realized that he was moving. <Gah! Stupid vampire!> I stomped after him.
Following him, we rejoined the leaders of our band of People Not Wanting To Die. Giles, Wesley, Angel, and Buffy stood around an overhead projection of a world map, making notes and discussing strategy for the actual violent part of our campaign. Spike insinuated himself in a discussion of the merits of battle-axes when faced with unknown armor between Wesley and Buffy and ignored me completely. I sighed and turned to Giles.
"Hey G, Wills has the witchy people starting in the library, she'll report anything worth reporting to you or Wes. Did you need anything else, or should I go pretend like I understand their strange magic gibberish?" Giles was trying to make the world go away by fiercely scrubbing his glasses, but, alas, the world remained.
"Xander, I was hoping you'd join us." He said finally, not looking like he was hoping for anything other than a long nap. "Despite the horrors going on outside the city, there are still horrors within, would you mind terribly going on patrol for a bit? I've got a few more things I need to discuss with Buffy before I can spare her." I sighed.
"You let him patrol by himself?" Angel asked, incredulously. I scowled at him for doubting my competance, but at least he remembered that I was a he. Giles shook his head.
"She and Spike do quite well on patrol." Giles informed him. I pouted. I didn't ALWAYS go with Spike, did I? <Yes, yes you do.> I hissed at my brain to shut up. Angel's next outburst caught the other's attention.
"You let him patrol with SPIKE? Do you WANT the boy dead?!" I blinked at him. <Why's he so anti-Spike all the sudden?> I was so used to the Scoobies trusting Spike to keep me safe that it threw me when it was called into question. It threw me, and then it pissed me off. Apparently it pissed Spike, Buffy and Giles off as well. Buffy beat us to getting in Angel's face.
"Do you think I would allow my best friend on patrol with Spike if I didn't know that Spike would keep him safe?!" She huffed. "I'm not stupid, Angel! Spike may not like us very much but he would never hurt Xander or anyone else here because he knows that as soon as he steps out of line, he's dust!" The last she added on a little less vehemently than usual.
"Spike has been working with us for some time now, Angel, he has proven to be a strong ally to Buffy and a good friend to Xander." Giles informed the souled vamp just as vehemently if not louder. He turned to Spike and me without waiting for Angel to respond. "Spike, Xander. Patrol." He snapped. We were out the door in half a second, hoping to avoid Ripper ripping us a new one.
As we set out towards the cemeteries I glanced at my silent shadow. He was fuming. I thought fast. If he was feeling too "Good" right now I should start yelling at him for acting like an ass hole in order to improve his mood. However, if he was pissed about what Angel said, he would need sympathy as well as a few stupid fledges to beat on. I decided to test the waters.
"Nice that the stupid wanker was worried about me. Made me feel all warm and tingly inside." I commented dryly. Spike snarled but remained quiet. <That was a whole world of pointless.> I tried to think of something else to say. I decided to keep it simple and straightforward. <Honesty is something that people like me are supposed to advocate. Not hide from like a sissy girl.> "So are you pissed that Angel doesn't think you will keep me safe, or are you pissed because Buffy does?" I asked.
"You're bait." He snapped and vanished into the shadows. I huffed and puffed and tried to look helpless. This was an old game of ours for patrol. I walked along looking sweet, innocent, and yummy and Spike got to beat up the bad guys I attracted. Spike used to compliment me on what wonderful bait I made, and somehow that never made me feel good about myself. Must be the whole "Not insane" thing.
I walked in silence for two minutes, wondering why bad guys still fell for this act. I mean what kind of girl wandered through the graveyards after dark without protection? It took about five fledges before Spike stopped doing that angry jaw clenching thing, and two more before he moved back into step beside me. <Violence solves everything I 'spose>
"Are you going to talk to me now or are you going to snarl some more?" I asked him. I was tired, hungry, thirsty, and I wanted to know what was up with my pet vampire.
He lit a cigarette before answering. "What do you want to talk about then?" His voice was low and rough. I watched him move, wondering why he was being so cold. He was walking four feet away rather than right on top of me and he wasn't looking at me. It was very un-Spikey of him.
"Are you mad at me?" I asked him then rolled my eyes at myself. I sounded like an insecure little girl with quivering lip and anime eyes. Spike snorted but didn't look at me.
"'m just thinkin'." He said, a sharp edge to his voice. "I don't have to share every bloody thought in my head." I scowled. <Oh no, mister! No turning situations back on me!> I halted and stood glowering at him with my hands on my hips. After a few steps he turned to see why I'd stopped.
"You're still pissed at me because I didn't tell Joyce about my lusty vampire thoughts?!" <Just how old IS he? Two? He's supposed to be the grown up! I should kick him in the- Why is he looking at me like that?> He was staring at me, his expression half confused and half mad. "What?" I snapped.
"That's not it! You know bloody well why I'm mad! You always act like everything is peachy when you don't have to! Try acting like a bloody human for- You were thinking about shaggin' me, pet?" His rant lost its momentum when he registered what I'd said. I felt my face turn bright red and stared at the grave stone to my right. <I can't believe I said that out loud! I feel so stupid its like I'm back in High school! Next Spike'll publicly denounce me while we make out in broom closets....> I shivered at that thought. <Mmmmm making out with Spike-> I mentally slapped myself as was getting to be habit lately.
I saw him staring out of the corner of my eye and realized that I was supposed to answer him. <What? What do I say?! What do I say?!> I risked a real look at him. He was watching me intently, his full yummy lips curved in a small smile. "Well, duh." I managed, going with a classic. His cute little smile turned into a full on sexy grin. "Stop it?" I pled. <Stop or I may be forced to kiss you senseless?>
"I'm gonna do what any man would do about it: something damn manly."-Xander
<What the bloody hell is with him telling me to stop?!> Every time things start getting good and I'm looking into those pretty chocolate eyes of his, he starts this. What am I supposed to soddin' stop? I'm not allowed to look at him? "Stop what?!" I growled at him. <He's going to make me crazy as my!>
He was bright red now and my nose told me that he wanted me. I took an involuntarily step towards him, still wanting an answer, but not ignoring body language while waiting for it. "Stop looking at me like that!" He demanded again. I snorted. <How else do I look at you, you silly git?>
"I'll look at you however I bloody well please." I informed him, stepping forward again, toe to toe with him. He leaned toward me, annoyance evident in his eyes.
"But you're making me feel like a girl." He pouted. His little lip stuck out and I couldn't help but reach up and run my fingertips across those full lips and up his smooth cheek. "Not that I really mind being like a girl around you." His lips curved into a small smile as he leaned into my caress.
"And why would that be?" I asked him. I felt so calm at that moment. Just touching him gently as I was made both my demon and I feel like there was no reason to rush. The boy would make the first move here, I knew, and it would make everything right. There was no room for doubt or greed. Nothing to worry about for William the Bloody tonight.
"I can be a girl around you because you don't forget what I really am. That's really amazing of you, Spike, and I don't think I've ever really thanked you for keeping me sane and of the living." He answered softly and moved onto tiptoes to kiss me. For once it didn't chafe me to have someone think I was good. <I can be good for my boy.> I decided as I pulled him toward me. The demon agreed vehemently as I settled my hands around his hips.
I felt his fingers slide through the hair on the back of my head and smiled against his soft, searching lips. Another of his hands slipped around my waist to my back inside my duster and hugged me hard enough that I hardly had to hold the soft body against me to stay in contact.
Throughout the kiss, I kept it light, allowing my pet to call the shots for the moment. He never took it beyond the lips, yet somehow that light teasing contact had me just as hard as if he'd shoved his tongue down my throat. When he finally pulled back to breathe, I searched the graveyard for something solid to take him against. My lusty plan, however, was thwarted when he slithered out of my grip and grabbed my hand in his, bring my attention back to those dark, dark eyes. He smiled sweetly at me but looked a little uncertain.
"I think that we should finish our patrol and report back in to Giles." He said timidly, as if waiting for me to snap on him. I would have, too. My demon was screaming for me to throw him to the ground and shag him mercilessly, however, something in his eyes told me that now was not the time to scare him off. Scared Xander was not a horny Xander and violent brutal sex would leave me with Scared Xander and a headache rather than a case of blue balls. So I convinced myself to do the one thing I did worst. I decided to wait for the boy to come to me. <Remember, Will, be good.> I thought in desperation as Xander pulled me through the cemetery, hand in hand.
I growled in frustration as he pointed out a fresh grave, his graceful movement tightening his shirt against his chest. But then he flashed me this knowing, yet rueful smile reminding me that he knew just what I was going through and I calmed. His regretful expression showed me that he felt bad about getting me worked up but that he really needed to wait. <I can be good.> I decided firmly. I staked a fledge and took his hand again and continued on patrol.
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