Wrong Way

Wrong Way

Wrong Way

Chapter 18:

Xander spent most of the day in the library, everyone scouring over books looking for any information on the Florentina clan that could possible help them with this war. He’d looked too, just as hard as everyone else, but he’d come up with nothing.

He was too anxious for Spike to come back. He had a sinking feeling that Spike was going to leave him soon, danger averted or not, out of some weird sense of honor or something. Xander got it. He understood why Spike was acting the way he was, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.

He certainly didn’t like Spike spending unmonitored time with Angel. Spike said he was different, but Xander could never be too sure with vampires. He understood their traditions, most of them pretty easy and instinctive for anyone to understand, but there were intricacies that went far beyond Xander’s understanding.

Xander wasn’t sure he wanted to think on any of it too much, didn’t want to think about Spike’s thinly veiled comment about Angel and Buffy or what that meant. They all seemed smart and Angel seemed like a good guy for a vampire. And Xander trusted Spike to make the right move here.


Xander looked up and saw Willow pushing a mug under his nose and he smiled.

“Sure, thanks.”

“Oh it’s nothing. Giles makes big pots of the stuff whenever we’re doing something Scooby related.”

Xander smiled at her, taking the mug from her hands and watched as she sat down in the chair next to him.

He really wished he hadn’t had to stop being her friend. He wondered what life would have been like if he would have stayed friends with her, tried to balance everything and he knew that he wasn’t strong enough for that.

He couldn’t have lied to her face like that and he definitely couldn’t have risked Buffy finding out about his night life. She would have just made things worse, for everyone involved.

Still, he had missed Willow, her soft smiles and her optimistic attitude and the way she didn’t let anything get her down. He had missed her cheerfulness and her warmth and the way she smiled at him in that encouraging way.

He missed her and he didn’t know if they could possibly rebuild the bridges that they broke, but he wanted to. Wanted to really badly.

“You can stop staring at me.” Xander said.

“Oh, sorry, didn’t realize I was staring at you.” She said in a flustered tone.

“It’s okay. I guess… with everything…”

“Oh, don’t… don’t feel bad about that. I… I get why you had to do it. I just don’t understand why you didn’t come to us.”

“It would have been bad, Willow. Things… it would have made things now look like… it just would have been bad. I didn’t want to get you involved with that. I didn’t… I didn’t think you needed to be involved with that.”

“We could have done something.”

“Hindsight. I’m fine now.” He said squeezing her hand.

“Are you really?” She whispered.

He frowned at her, eyebrows furrowing together and he didn’t get what she was asking.

“It’s just… with this Spike guy…”

“Willow, he’s… he’s a good guy.”

“He’s a vampire.”

“I know, kind of hard to miss considering how we met each other.”

“Has he hurt you?”

“Nothing I didn’t want.”

Her eyes go wide and her cheeks flush a bit and he couldn’t help smiling at her a bit. She was still so innocent and Xander wanted her to stay that way.

“Look, he treats me good. Better than anyone ever has and… I love him.”


“Yeah, he’s not like other vampires. Trust me, I’ve met enough in my time to know. There are some like him, the ones that just want to be human again or could never shake off the human side fully. I… it’s rare, probably seen as a bad thing, but… not everything’s as black and white as people would like you to believe.”

“He seems like a nice guy. I don’t know him.” Willow said.

Xander smiled at her.

“Maybe you’ll get to know him.”

She smiled back.

“I think I might like that.”

“They’re in there. Kind of open isn’t it?” Spike asked.

They’d had to wait until sunset to make their move, quiet throughout the whole day, Angel reading and Spike trying to sleep. He hadn’t been too successful on that front.

Angel’s words had played over and over again in his head as he tried to sleep. He thought it had been for the best, for him to leave Xander to a better life, but Angel thought differently. Thought it would be better if Spike was around to keep Xander safe and Spike knew that Angel knew things about him that Spike hadn’t ever really been able to figure out.

As Angelus, Angel had been ruthless, had tried to stomp out any human part in Spike when he was a fledgling and it had worked, for the most part. On the surface, Spike was a ruthless killer, slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people without a second thought and that had made Angelus happy.

At least he had pretended to be happy.

Spike remembered looks, inquiring looks whenever Spike had made a kill. He didn’t make it an art form, not like Angelus. There was just the blood lust, no desire to make it hurt, to make it twist into his victims and Angelus had always seen that.

It was hard to admit that someone else might know his own mind better than he did, but Spike had long ago learned that he didn’t know himself quite as well as he would like to think.

“Yeah, it is, but it’s where all the research information is.” Angel said.

“You don’t like it anymore than I do.”

“No, but they haven’t been attacked here yet.”

“Better knock on some bloody wood after saying something like that.” Spike mumbled as he pushed through the library swing doors.

The people inside looked up and acknowledged their entrance before turning back to their books.

“Anything?” Buffy asked.

Angel folded his hands in front of himself and shook his head.

“From what we gathered, they bought it. Although Willy the snitch wasn’t as forth coming with his information as he usually is.” Angel said.

“Even paid the bugger cool cash and he was still twitchy about it. He knows something.” Spike said.

He watched as the Slayer, his mortal enemy, at least used to be, looked at him in an assessing manner.

“You didn’t try and beat it out of him?” She asked.

“Too uncivilized for my tastes. Besides, got the money to spare.” Spike said.

He eased his way over to where Xander was sitting and was rewarded with one of those bright Xander smiles he loved so much and Xander’s hand creeping to squeeze his own.

“You should have beat it out of him. Willy’s more talkative to a good punch.” She said.

“I’ll remember that for next time.” Spike said.

“No, it seemed like he knew something.”

“About these Florentina guys?” Jesse asked.

“No, about something different.” Angel said, eyes averting.

“You mean we gotta deal with more crap?” Jesse said.

“In a manner of speaking.” Angel said looking over at Spike.

Subtlety was not Angel’s strong suit.

“Could you vague that up a little more. I think the people in the studio audience would appreciate it.” Jesse said.

“Does this have something to do with Joe?” Xander asked.

Spike sighed.

“I ever tell you that you’re a bright one?” Spike asked jokingly.


“Yes, it had something to do with Joe, alright.” Spike said.

“What about him?” Willow asked.

Spike took a deep unneeded breath and shook his head.

“Joe’s bosses sold him out to the Anointed One. Apparently they’d get a better deal aligning themselves up with the minions than to keep their own people safe.” Spike said.

“And what did that want, the Anointed One and his minions?” Xander asked.

His eyes were big, begging Spike to tell him that it wasn’t his fault. Spike knew it wasn’t, knew that it was his fault, not Xander’s, but Xander would take it that way anyway.

“Spike, tell me. What did they want?”

“They wanted you.”

The Senior Partners weren’t the least bit pissed.

Lindsey would have thought they would have been, pissed by everything that happened. They didn’t have Joe as a client anymore, they’d lost the kid and the Anointed One had managed to get himself and a bunch of his minion dusted.

He had thought for sure that the Senior Partners would have been furious, but instead they had Holland invite Lindsey for a drink to explain why this was all for the best. There was a war a brewing, but, with any lucky, it would be avoided in California and the Hellmouth.

The kid was an unfortunate loss, but it hadn’t looked like they were going to get him anyway. The money had come in right before the vampires made their little trip to Joe’s place of employment so that was paid for.

They had gotten money for losing Joe and now they didn’t have to swear allegiance to what was looking like the losing side. It was good all around.

But Lindsey still had to make the trip to Sunnydale to take care of Joe’s estate. A messy business sure and the kid was liable to go crazy on him. Lindsey had no doubt his vampire had already been able to figure out that the Senior Partners had sold Joe up the creek.

It had to be done though, it was all legally binding and since Lindsey had been dealing with things since Lilah had refused, it was his job.

He was a bit interested to see what all the fuss was about with the kid.

He walked into the library knowing that’s where they would be, they had pretty extensive tails on them all, the Slayer, her Watcher, her friends, the one they called Angel. Lindsey had all their histories and files memorized.

There they sat, all looking confused and flustered and he spotted the kid, sitting next to what must have been this Spike vamp that was giving the Anointed One all this trouble. Lindsey could almost spot a Master.

“Forgive my intrusion. I’ve got a little business to square away with… Alexander, is it.” Lindsey said as formally as possible.

“What do you want?” Spike asked, teeth showing a bit as he practically growled at Lindsey.

“Just to take wills with him, here. Joe left him quite a lot of money.” Lindsey said.

“You’re… you’re the lawyer. The liaison to Joe’s bosses.” The kid said.

“That would be me.”

He didn’t notice, it had happened so fast. One minute he’s standing there, charming smile on his face and the next he’s holding said face after being punched.

By a mean right hook.

“How dare you! How dare you come in here and act… act like nothing happened. You got him killed.” The kid said, voice shaking with anger.

“No, that would be your little vampire friend there.” Lindsey said holding his face.

He straightened up and licked his lips, tasting blood on them and he smiled. Stared at the kid and his vampire and they were both glaring at him as well as everyone else in the room.

“Well, not literally anyway. Just by being there. Though, I guess things would have gotten pretty nasty in the war. They usually do.” Lindsey said.

“Spike didn’t get Joe killed. You and your bosses did.”

“He may not have done it directly, but by not being able to keep it in his pants, he set off a chain reaction of events. Though I could see why he wouldn’t be able to resist. He’s pretty good looking.” Lindsey said.

He just couldn’t resist and then the vampire was in his face, growling and showing a bit of teeth.

“Look at him like that again and a bleeding lip will be the least of your problems.”

It was pretty scary and Lindsey would have been intimidated if he hadn’t dealt with stuff like that everyday.

“What’s your business here?”

Lindsey turned at the sound of the voice and saw the Watcher, Rupert Giles, staring at him, eyes cold and menacing.

“Just thought I should tell Alex here that he’s come into a substantial amount of money due to Joe Mercer’s unfortunate passing.” Lindsey said.

“What?” The kid said.

“Joe, left everything to you. Being a Wolfram and Hart employee… that’s nothing to scoff at. Just under 2.5 million dollars.”

He watched as the kid’s eyes went wide, as all of their eyes went wide and he smiled again.

“I don’t want it.” The kid said.

“What?” They all yelled.

“It’s… it’s blood money. I’d only have it because you got Joe killed. Because you left him out to dry for money or position or whatever and… I couldn’t live with it.” The kid said.

“You’re more of a white hat than Joe made you out to be.” Lindsey said.

“Xander, man, maybe you should think about this for a second. This… this is a lot of money. Money that could change anyone’s life.” One of the other kids said.

“It’s… it’s not right.”

“They owe you, Xander. After everything… they owe.” The red-head said.

“I… I can’t… I…”

Lindsey watched as he turned to the vampire, looked at him pleadingly for a bit before the vampire’s jaw squared and he looked at Lindsey.

“Any of it not dirty?” He asked.

“There’s a few hundred thousand he set aside for a retirement plan. Told us he was planning to give some of it to the kid anyway.” Lindsey said.

“Take that, pet. Burn the rest of it if you want to, but at least take that. Joe would have wanted you to have it.”

“I don’t like the idea of taking any of it.”

“They’re right… they owe you this much.”

The kid looked torn for a second before shaking his head.

“Fine. What do I need to do?”

Xander felt a bit drained.

There had been so much paperwork to sign and resign and more paperwork to fill out because Xander decided to give the money away to whoever. The lawyer guy had named a few charities that Xander seriously hoped were real and not just his way of giving the money back to himself.

Xander didn’t care. They could have it if they wanted it that bad.

He’d kept some, everyone and Spike telling he deserved it, but Xander didn’t feel that way. That money felt wrong, but Joe had left it to him, Joe had wanted him to have it and in the end, that was what mattered.

They’d parted ways after that, Xander not being able to look through anymore books and the rest of the gang couldn’t really blame him for that.

“Do… you think you could come to Giles’s place? Just for a little while?” Xander asked Spike when the rest of the gang except for Giles was gone.

Spike looked a bit torn for an answer, but Xander pulled him close, hands on his face and he leaned up until he was kissing Spike, soft and sweet and tentative and he’d missed this all day, missed Spike’s solid strength and he wanted more of it.

“Please. Just for a little while.” Xander said against his lips.

And when Spike nodded, Xander kissed him again.

Chapter 19

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