Title: Backwards is sometimes the best way forward
Pairing: Xander/Spike (eventually)
Overall Rating: NC17
Chapter Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: No money, not mine.
Xander sat, sipping his coffee as he watched a jumpy redhead bustle around his house, a jar of newts’ eyes in one hand and rosemary in the other. Shaking his head at the weirdness that was his life, he smiled slightly. Dawn was almost as hyped up as the witch, checking and double checking everything, running upstairs every five minutes to make sure the bedroom Xander had finished preparing yesterday was up to her standards.
The vampire himself was startlingly quiet, watching everybody move about the house as though Xander’s couch was his usual perch. As the brunet watched, slim fingers twitched, the constantly moving vampire obviously not used to this casual study of his surroundings. For some reason that made him feel better, made him feel like he wasn’t the only one going quietly insane in his own head while he tried to think of any outcome they hadn’t thought about.
Hearing a knock at the door Xander steadied himself. He’d decided not to tell Spike about Angel’s help until the last possible minute, knowing he’d be in for an argument the second he mentioned it.
Blue eyes fixed on him before he’d even had a chance to move towards the door, “Wanna tell me what Peaches is doing here, whelp?”
He’d expected expletives, hurled objects, dramatics of some kind, not that quietly questioning voice that sounded vaguely curious as best.
“Watcher’s diaries said that Sire’s blood will heal you faster than anything else.” Again with blunt honesty, it was getting to be a disturbing habit of his.
He didn’t wait for the blond's response, hightailing to the door and letting the other vampire in. Again he was surprised, expecting something - anything - but a silent nod between the two once-maybe-still rivals. Xander knew Angel wasn’t here for Dawn, or Spike, certainly not for him. They were all aware - even the teen - that Angel was here for somebody he hadn’t been able to save, somebody already cold and gone. But if helping Spike help Dawn was the closest he could get to saving her, then the other vampire would drain every ounce of blood in his body to do so. So they kept a slightly uneasy silence while Willow tinkered about the room, setting up god knows what.
The spell itself was a quiet affair, Spike sitting almost completely passive in a protective circle while the witch focused on him with a quiet determination Xander hadn’t seen from her in far too long. Even the brunet man - magically inept as he was - was able to feel the pressure of serious magic as the spell reached it’s climax.
He was the first to move when Willow slumped, tired but triumphant. Lifting her almost completely off her feet Xander led her to the couch, making sure she was comfortable before moving to do his part. His gaze flickered to the too quiet vampire sitting cross legged in the circle before raising his eyebrows in silent question. When he got a slight nod in reply he tried to push back his sudden fear, trying desperately to convince himself that this was a good idea. Surprisingly it wasn’t the thought of deactivating the chip for good that had him hesitating, it was the idea that he was about to do some pretty serious damage to Dawn’s lifeline - and he had no doubt that’s exactly what Spike was to the teen sitting so nervously beside Willow.
He waited until Spike was lying down within the circle before moving over to the odd contraption Willow had assured him packed all the punch they needed. Taking another breath to steady himself his hand hovered over the inconspicuous looking switch.
“Bloody hell, Harris, just -” The rest of the sentence was cut off as an inhuman scream forced its way out of pale lips.
Xander watched the scene in front of him with the same fascinated horror he’d watch a car accident, oblivious to anything else happening in the house. That pale body contorted, arching up in pain as scream after scream tumbled out of a gasping mouth. Just as the brunet was about to turn the machine off, the noise stopped, everything stopped, and the body in the circle lay completely still.
Dawn was there before any of them could stop her, breaking the markings around the circle with a toe before rushing to the vampire’s side. Looking at her stricken face, part of Xander wished he’d pulled the guardian card and forced her to wait upstairs, the rest of him knew if he’d done that she never would have forgiven him. But right at that moment everything in him screamed that he hadn’t done enough to prevent that stricken look in her eyes.
Gathering her up in his arms he nodded to Angel as the other vampire moved without asking, gathering the blond and moving him to the already prepared bedroom. Rocking the distraught teen Xander mumbled assurances in her ear.
“Dawnie, Dawn listen to me. What happens to vampires when they die?” The question was obviously just confusing enough to make the small girl huddled in his lap pay attention.
“They turn to dust.” Absolute certainty in the answer, that was good.
“Right. Now was Spike dust?” He coached gently, without patronization, trying to help her reach the correct answer on her own.
“No…” Pause while a terrified brain put the pieces together. “Spike’s still alive.”
“Yeah, he is, Dawnie. We knew this’d happen remember? Willow’s spell could stop most of the damage but not all of it. That’s why Angel’s here. He just needs time to heal and he’ll be back to being the bleached menace in no time.” Xander didn’t know whether that last sentence was for the girl in his lap or himself.
He wasn’t sure when it happened, but Spike had become one of the people Xander looked out for - cared for. Granted his caring for the blond was generally limited to grumbling as he went on a blood run because the teen in his arms pleaded with wide hazel eyes that Spike stay for their movie night, but care he did.
Putting the girl down he brushed hair out of her face. “Need you to help Willow out down here for me, I’m going to go check on Wonder Brood and make sure he has everything set up alright, ok?”
The nod was hesitant at best, but when he paused there was a second head tilt, this one far more decisive. Making his way to the spare bedroom, Xander paused in the doorway, watching as Angel moved with infinite care, tucking a blanket around the motionless body with one hand, his other arm being held as still as possible while the catheter in his arm fed his blood into the vein of his childe - the blonde too far into his comatose state to even bite.
Waving the vampire into a seat Xander finished tucking Spike in himself, handing over the mug of blood he’d detoured into the kitchen to get. He watched Angel take it with a grateful look, turning away slightly to drink. After having Spike around, seeing a vampire try to hide his game face made laughter bubble up in his throat.
He knew the laughter wasn’t completely gone when he spoke, “Angel, Spike has spent the last who-knows-how long here. I’m pretty used to the whole vamp-face-when-chugging-down-o-neg thing now.”
It took him a moment to place the shocked look on the vampire’s face and when he finally did he realized he must have done more growing up than he knew. Yup, he was Xander, mature man, calling soul having avengers by their name not any of the million nicknames available to him.
He kept his thoughts to himself however, simply taking the blood smeared mug when it was offered to him and making his way back downstairs to get a refill. He had no idea how long the older vampire could keep up the transfusion, but he figured it might last a bit longer if he was feeding at the same time.
Taking the mug back upstairs after the microwave dinged - and he had no idea when he’d learnt just how long it took to heat blood to the right temperature - he handed the cup over, watching the tubes connecting Sire and childe. He sat down in a nearby chair to keep watch, and say 'uncle', when that already pale face turned too white.
Shaking his head, he once again wondered how strange his life had become. Removing a chip the government had put in the head of a notorious serial killer so he could keep his daughter/sister/once mystical Key/whatever safe. Then allowing an even more infamous, but now souled, serial killer in to make the younger serial killer, who was kind of his child - in that vampire way - get better again. Oh what a wacky world.