Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-
Pairings: Spike and Xander, but only in building a friendship way.
Spoiler Alert: The Adam storyline from season 4. There are some tidbits from other past episodes.
Notes: Second story in the Spanderverse-universe, following “After 314”. Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.
People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.
Finally, thanks to the authors of Fanfiction wherever you may post. It’s probable that I’ve read at least one of your stories somewhere. I apologize for recycling concepts inadvertently from the plentitude of stories I’ve read.
Chapter 1 – Returns
The late July summer night was muggy despite the weatherman’s assurances earlier in the evening that a cool and comforting breeze would be coming through the area from the sea several miles to the west of
He strode down the street breathing deeply of the night air. Not for the oxygen of course; another benefit of being an animated corpse, but just for the smells that carried on the air. It had rained a little bit earlier in the day and the earth was still damp. It tingled and teased Spike’s senses and made him feel as if he might almost be alive.
His footsteps carried him to Willy’s dive bar where he stood outside for a few minutes enjoying a smoke. Inside he could here the jukebox playing some country western music. One of the old timers… Cash maybe. The old jukebox in Willy’s didn’t really get much of a workout, being that the bar was almost exclusively a demon-haunt; especially after dark. Maybe some vampire folks were sitting at the bar tonight. Usually they’d be the only ones looking to listen to some music, a remnant of whoever they used to be. Spike himself, sometimes still liked listening to a solitary violin sing; his own remnant of William. The William who was… before that fateful night on the street when his dark goddess found the weepy mortal crying over that stupid bint, Cecily.
He shook his head clear.
Getting lost down memory lane there, Will.
Dru was gone; there was nothing for it but to move on. It was alright, of course. He and Dru both would be around for hundreds of years, barring a lucky stake. There would be plenty of time for her to come to her senses and return to him. Spike grinned to himself and turned to enter Willy’s.
The interior of the shabby bar was quiet, but for the jukebox playing. He saw Willy nod to him from behind the old and scarred bar as he entered. Moving straight to an open stool, Spike took a quick look around the place.
He’d been right; all the attendees in the place tonight were fellow vamps. In total there were only eight. It was definitely another slow Friday night. Since the debacle within the Initiative, the demons of Sunnydale had been pretty low key. They had found another master to follow, and now that he’d been destroyed, it would be awhile before they found their collective footing again. Spike nodded to Willy as the slight human walked toward him.
“Hey, Spikey. What’s shakin’? Can I get you a mug? I got some A-negative delivered yesterday afternoon.”
“Nah, just set me up with a beer. I’ve ate, thanks,” he replied. He’d never really liked Willy, but this was the only place in town that Buffy and her pals usually left alone. He had no doubt that somebody, probably the Watcher, was keeping tabs on what went on here. Probably made sure that the blood Willy served wasn’t coming from any non-cooperative sources, but they didn’t regularly burst into the place looking to dust everybody. So, Spike basically let by-gones be by-gones as far as that whole leading-Buffy-right-to-him thing went when he tried to heal Dru using Angel. He’d have been less forgiving if she wasn’t nearly totally healed, but the ritual had worked for the most part. Angel having dusted would have been a bonus, but he could let that go.
And again with the past. Wonder why Drusilla is taking up so much of my thoughts these days. Wonder if she’s thinkin’ about me, too. Assuming she’s not still with that antlered putz.
Spike glanced up from his reverie to see that Willy had placed a mug of beer in front of him while he’d been wool-gathering. He looked down the bar to wave a ‘thanks’ but the weasely bartender was busy serving up a glass of blood to another customer. He was a vampire that Spike had seen down in the 314 labs and he wondered idly if he’d been chipped too. Maybe he was here drowning his sorrows the way he was. He’d briefly considered sliding down the bar to chat with the guy, see what technological magic the Initiative had visited upon his head, but then didn’t. Truth was; Spike really didn’t care.
He was tired. Well, more to the point, he was weary down to his bones. After the big battle, the Scooby gang had taken off leaving him to fend for himself in the chaos. Not that he could exactly blame them. After all, he’d pretty much betrayed them to a nasty death and possibly even nastier afterlife just for the promise of getting the bleeding chip out of his head. The fact that he’d stopped a wooly mammoth of a demon from ripping Giles,
Spike took a huge swallow of the bitter brew from the chilled mug. He sighed to himself, Or maybe, I’d just leave well enough alone for once, he thought. I kinda like
That was turning into a problem, as far as Spike was concerned. Being the Slayer, and with him being a vampire, his natural instincts were to kill her as soon as he was able again. But there was another part of him, maybe the William echo that the chip seemed to bring out at odd times, that didn’t want to see her hurt. Sure, he’d gone along with Adam’s plan that would’ve ended with Buffy and all of her friend’s deaths, but that didn’t have much to do with him. He wouldn’t be killing her, himself. It was a strange and unsettling realization that he really didn’t want to kill his mortal enemy anymore.
It’s Joyce. That’s who I want to protect. I can imagine the look on her face if Buffy was killed. What she’d think knowing I did it. You’re getting too soft Spike. Way too soft. Spike laughed an ironic laugh at himself.
Leaving a small tip for Willy, he got up off the stool after draining the remaining beer.
“Good night, there, Willy,” he called out to the barkeep, definitely not feeling like himself tonight.
Then he was out in that magical night air again, still chuckling at his own expense. Somewhere along the line, he’d become close to Joyce Summers. Where there was no doubt if he’d have met her a few years ago, she’d have been just another meal, or maybe a bonus dessert seeing as she was the Slayer’s mum. Nowadays, he enjoyed visiting her and sharing a pot of coffee or having a cuppa while they talked about her gallery or Spike’s newest angst. He found Joyce to be warm and funny. The part of William who still rattled around in his head, despite being dead and gone to the great wherever in the sky, recognized Joyce’s spirit. Perhaps she reminded Spike of his (you mean Will’s!) mortal mum.
Whatever the reason, he didn’t think he’d ever be able to harm the woman. She seemed to believe that was so as well. No matter how many times Buffy and he fought, Joyce would always open the door to her home for Spike. For that, and just for her lending an ear whenever he’d had need, he felt he owed her something. He didn’t want to be the one to place that shadow in her eyes if she ever had to bury her only daughter. He’d never tell Buffy that, of course. It was much more fun for him if she was always looking over her shoulder, wondering about what he’d do next. The fact that he still wasn’t staked made him feel confident he could continue to push her and still remain intact. There was little to do otherwise these days when he wanted to have a spot of fun.
Spike was so caught up in his own thoughts; he nearly missed the sounds of quiet footfalls rapidly approaching from behind him. Spinning around he saw a group of four vampires approaching him fast. He quirked an eyebrow in their direction. The group of them was all in wearing their demon faces and had some makeshift clubs. They were all growling in his direction, quietly, but more than loud enough for him to hear.
“So, then children, fun and games tonight is it?” He could feel his own features shift into fighting mode. The Scooby gang referred to his natural features as the ‘game face’.
The gang of vampires was laughably young, being barely more than fledglings. The only one who appeared to have any gravitas about them at all was the leader.
Even he doesn’t have as many years under his belt as I’ve got, measured Spike.
“We don’t like traitors, Spike! You should learn to stay away from where you’re not wanted,” spat the lead vampire. He was patting the end of the club into his free palm.
Spike laughed now, a full and throaty sound echoing off of the buildings on the empty block. It was hilarious to him that this wanker and the crew of newbies thought that they could tell anyone, especially one-fourth of the Scourge of
He grinned even wider, a mischievous and violent light in his eyes. This was exactly what he needed to drive away the thoughts that had been plaguing him all night. A spot of violence would help get him back in touch with who he really was and, hopefully, allow him to put a muzzle on William in his head for the night.
As the lead vampire grabbed one of the fledges and threw the poor guy into Spike’s personal space, he was already drawing out a stake. The poor kid didn’t have time to know what hit him as Spike easily dusted him and turned his attention back to his lead opponent.
The leader, obviously desperate to be some sort of Master, immediately ordered the other two to grab Spike. As they rushed forward, he executed a flying roundhouse which caught both fledglings in the jaws and dropped them to the pavement. The ‘master’ by that time had also closed the distance and swung his club towards Spike’s head. It was a clumsy swing, and he easily avoided it, taking the opportunity to punch his foe in the face.
As the ‘master’ fell back, the two fledglings had recovered and circled in toward Spike. He waited patiently until they made their move, trying to get him into a pincer maneuver. As they both swung outward with their clubs to bash at him, he did a neat back flip out of their reach, his black leather coat billowing behind him. Raising his fists, he smiled that smirky grin he excelled at and waited for their next move.
“Oh, come on, then. Surely you big, bad, vampires can at least get a touch in on poor, helpless me,” Spike taunted.
The ‘master’ rushed forward with a loud growl, which may have impressed Spike if he hadn’t spent so much time hanging around Angelus once upon a time. As it was, he simply laughed in the monster’s face, and then gave him another love tap to his jaw. The lead vampire was becoming more incensed by the moment, while Spike continued to have fun dancing around his opponent. He was having so much fun teasing them, he wasn’t really paying attention to where he was stepping.
He felt a sudden pain in his left ankle as his foot was forced into an awkward angle, having caught on the street curb. As Spike tried to right himself, the other vampires rushed forward to take advantage of their sudden turn of luck. He felt a blunt, hard blow to his head as one of the fledglings nailed him with his club. He then fell to the street as blows rained down upon his upper arms and abdomen and he tried to shield his head and face. One club blow caught his wrist, immediately sending needles of pain shooting up his arm, his grip on the stake in his hand failing. Spike then tried to roll away from the clubbed blows pounding at him, but every way he turned, the clubs were there. Mercilessly the pathetic group of toughs was beating him into the pavement.
He was just moving from embarrassed to worried, when the blows suddenly stopped. There was the sound in quick succession of two vampires turning into dust and then the sounds of sneakers slapping on pavement.
Slayer, Spike questioned.
From his position rolled into a defensive ball, he raised his head from the protection of his wrapped arms. In front of him he saw a pair of loose fitting corduroy jeans, brown and a pair of dark boots.
Spike cringed inwardly, Not the Slayer, but I’d know those legs anywhere.
“Oh, it’s you,” Xander Harris said, his voice dripping with acid, “If I had known I wasn’t riding to the rescue of someone that actually deserved it, I’d have kept walking.”
“Yeah, well mate. Ta, anyway. Of course, you ruined my fun. I was just about to…”
“…choke them with your ashy remains?”
Spike rolled completely over onto his back; then looked up at the boy-wonder of the Scooby gang. Placing the smirk on his face that was guaranteed to annoy the young man, he stared up into Xander’s dark brown eyes.
“So, then. You gonna do me?” He added a false bravado, his eyes pointedly staring at the stake Xander held. You never knew with Harris and after the whole Adam thing, he may just take Spike up on it.
“You got any money,” Xander returned, in an apparent non-sequitor.
He stared up at the human then, trying to catch up with the conversation. “Money? Uh, why? Jesus, Harris, are you trying to pat me down? You really that hard up for cash?!”
Xander leaned forward; stretching his hand down to grab one of Spike’s wrists. Pulling at him, helping him up to his feet, he said in that jokey tone that Spike had always secretly liked, “No doofus. I’m thinking you owe me a beer or three.”
He returned the jokey tone, falling into his and Xander’s usual insult/joke/drink pattern like a duck to water. “I suppose if I don’t buy you the beer, I’ll never hear the end of it. How you rushed to my rescue like I was some damsel in distress waiting for a white knight. Oh, the humiliation of that getting around.”
“Oh, that’s just for saving your hide. You’re also buying me chili cheese fries to make up for joining with Adam against us.”
Spike grimaced. That was the reason he had kept a low profile for the last few months. He had been trying to avoid the Scooby gang exactly because of the whole Adam thing. He had thought long and often about getting out of Sunnydale altogether; it was the sensible thing to do after all. He wasn’t an idiot; he knew he’d blown it pretty badly by turning Buffy’s friends against her. Not to mention nearly getting Riley changed into a Borg. The trouble was he had no other place to go. His family was for all intents and purposes gone: Angel couldn’t stand him (and the feelings are right mutual), Darla was dead (and they’d never really got on anyway), and his Dru was busy sharing in the passion that only a guy who covers you in thick slime can give. The closest thing he had to any family at all anymore was Joyce. The pathetic-ness of that fact didn’t escape him. It did keep him from cutting out and running though. He’d always been someone who needed to be needed and appreciated. Whether mortal poet or immortal killer, that was a basic component of his own personality. He recognized and accepted it, but at times like the present, he didn’t really like it much.
As Xander led him toward the Bronze, the hangout in this one Starbuck’s town still, he tried to find a way to smooth over what had happened in May. He made a few false starts, opening his mouth, but then closing it again, unable to decide what to say. It appeared that it didn’t get by Xander, even though Spike thought he wasn’t looking.
“You look like a goldfish trying to breathe.”
“Hmmm. Just trying to find a way,” Spike took a deep, unnecessary breath, “To apologize. For turning you on your friends, like that. Teaming up with Adam… just, the whole thing, y’know?”
“S’not your fault. Not completely. We were all hiding little resentments from each other. If there wasn’t so much stuff we weren’t talking about, you wouldn’t have been able to stir up all that trouble. As for the Adam thing, that… well, that was really shitty Spike. I mean I get why you did it. Being a vampire who can’t fang people must be a real bitch, but I had… never mind.”
“No, c’mon Harris. As long as I’m going to be buying, we might as well talk things out, mate.”
Spike led the way into the Bronze. As Xander was scanning the dance floor and band area, he saw a table opened. With it being unusual for a Friday night to be able to find a table this quickly, he didn’t want to lose it. He grabbed Xander by the arm and made a dash for a table that was behind the stairs to the mezzanine, eliciting an indignant protest from the human.
“Table! Hurry up,” Spike said, but released his grip. Grabbing the table just as he saw a giggling gang (herd? gaggle? flock?) of five girls who had also seen the table. Getting there first, he parked his butt in one of the seats and smiled sweetly at them when they began making ‘hey!’ noises in his direction. Xander was a dozen footsteps behind him.
“I see you're working on expanding your fan club,” he said as he sat down opposite Spike.
“Was fair and square, it was. I got here first. Now where is that bloody waitress at?” Spike craned his neck until he finally saw a young waiter. “He’ll do.” He waved him over and ordered four beers (‘so we don’t have to try flagging him down again in a few, yeah?’) and an order of chili cheese fries for Xander and spicy chicken wings for himself.
“So you were saying,” Spike continued the conversation from outside.
“It wasn’t important, Spike. I’m sure it’ll give you a good laugh though, so here it is: I thought that maybe we had formed some sorta friendship. You know, I didn’t think we’d be talking about girls or hanging out in the mall on the weekends, but I thought you at least respected me just a little bit. There, told you it’d be a laugh riot.”
Actually, it wasn’t all that funny to him. He realized now that he had actually missed Xander. His bluntness was refreshing, and his humor sometimes struck Spike’s funny bone. In fact, he’d missed showing up at the basement pad with a six pack and a cheap b-grade monster movie to laugh at.
The waiter arrived and set down their order. After he had left, Spike watched Xander sip at his beer. That cost him to admit, he thought, and now he’s embarrassed. He shouldn’t be either. Well, if he can be a man about things, I guess I can too.
He swallowed his usually brash pride, “Listen, mate. If you share this with anyone else, I’ll deny ever saying it. But, yeah, I do respect you more’n’a bit. You’ve got the courage of a lion, you’re funny as all. Witty, yeah, that’s it. And you’ve managed to survive on a Hellmouth fighting alongside the Slayer. That takes some brass knackers. So, yeah, I, uh… yeah.” Xander was looking at him like he’d just grown a second head, so he hid his own self consciousness by taking a healthy quaff of his own brew. When the mortal had finally looked away from him and took another drink of his beer, Spike set his own down.
There was an uncomfortable silence between them. Xander was the one to finally break it, “So, Anya and Mr. Bogarty are doing inventory after the magic shop she’s working in now closes tomorrow. Maybe you’d like to come by with a movie and a few beers?”
Spike smiled across the table. It was nice to know he wasn’t the only one who missed movie nights. “Yeah, mate. I can’t think of anything more pressing I need to do tomorrow night. You provide the snacks, I’ll bring the six pack and something cheap and tawdry to watch.”
The two shared a laugh and spent the rest of the evening in companionable chit chat. By the time he walked Xander back home to make sure he made it, they were both a bit buzzed and he was nearly broke.
And so the rest of summer passed. August came and went with Xander and Spike spending more and more time together. They patrolled, sometimes with Anya, sometimes while she was at the magic shop. They also made it got to get together on Saturday nights and watch bad movies with plenty of libation to make the films less painful. Anya rarely shared in these pastimes as she didn’t understand the point of watching the movies, just to insult them throughout. She rarely made any big fuss about them, however, and when she did, Spike would make an early night of it.
As September arrived, Buffy finally found out that Spike was spending a lot of time with Xander. Anya had been complaining about the amount of time they’d been spending together. There was some short lived drama, but since Xander insisted that Spike’s chip was in place so he wasn’t a threat to them, she’d let it drop.
When the big secret of Spike’s return to the fold came out,
Very slowly, Buffy stopped making a big point of threatening him. She never invited him over, but he would still stop by when he knew she was out patrolling. He’d sit with Joyce while she awaited her daughter’s return and they’d read poetry or art books about pieces that Joyce was trying to get into her gallery in town.
He was mostly content. He didn’t understand how that could be, when he still couldn’t go out killing and maiming. But he’d learned in the last century plus of un-living that life was more than passing strange.
He would take it as it came, like he always had.
Next Story: Spanderverse: Dracula