The 2005 Spander Christmas Album
As the snow continued falling from the sky, he looked out the window watching it, mesmerized as if it were the first snowfall he had seen. He chuckled at that, how ludicrous a thought, this being his first snow. Not even close. But it did hold one new thing, the slight hope he could no longer deny of a possible new love. He still couldn't completely believe it himself. The only thing stopping him from giving up and turning tail like usual when things really mattered, was the truce-like friendship that just started before he was burned from the inside out. Course, it would help if the one he wanted even knew he was back. Part of him wanted so badly to tell him, tell them all he was back. But he just couldn't. He finally got to be the hero for them, now what he could say? Although they were all mostly friends before he 'died', would they really be happy he was back? Would they once again find something to keep him out of their 'Scooby pack'?
This was not getting him anywhere, he kept thinking all the horrible ways it could go wrong if he tried to seek them out again. God he hated it here with Angel, not that the dozy bastard didn't try, but he couldn't tell him what he wanted to know and, like the big oaf he was, Angel simply wouldn't listen when he said he didn't know why, or how or anything about being back. Now that was truly terrifying. What a joke, William the Bloody lived through the big bad 'Master', the 'Angelus', Darla, his own sire Dru turning on him and walking away after close to a century together, that hell bitch Glory, even falling for the Slayer, after all of which he finally got up, brushed himself off and got on with it. But what happened after he burned up, the loneliness, the solitude, he knew now without question it was being alone he feared more then anything. Now, he did whatever he could to make sure one or more people were always in the room with him.
What a way for a vampire to unlive, afraid to be alone, afraid to find the one he really wanted to see, and desperate to talk to someone. Not to mention those damn dreams. He thought they would have gone away by now, they'd been bothering him long enough, ever since back in Sunnyhell. Bollocks, enough of this shite, he turned back to the bar, ordering the hardest stuff they had, swallowing it in one swig and god it burned, as he tossed money on the bar and made his way to the exit. It had to end and soon, he couldn't keep Angel and Wesley off his case, they knew he had dreams, he screamed most every night now. Always a different ending, always one that made him wish he'd stayed burned ashes. All about a man with dark brown hair and eyes, and a general aversion to vampires.
Some nights, he simply got so piss drunk, he hoped he would sleep like the real dead, other nights he tried to stay awake using every method he'd ever heard of, other nights he simply laid on his bed and cried like a little boy over the man he lost every night. Again, it seemed no matter what he tried he kept failing him, even worse then anytime in Sunnyhell, cause in his dreams it wasn't just an eye he lost or some cut he got, he died, horrible, painful, excruciating each time and Spike could only watch screaming and crying, trying so hard to reach him and save him, or turn him, or do something to stop it. It was now 4 days to frigging Xmas and he hadn't slept in 10. Even a vampire had to sleep at some point, and today he only made it by asking Angel to fight him, truly honestly take him on in a true use all their abilities fight, and they both had so many bruises, cuts, scrapes, and a few broken bones after it would take them both several days to heal completely. Both on the mend, so he couldn't ask again tomorrow. He had to find a solution tonight, and as his heart simultaneously filled with such joy and dread of equal measure, he knew he needed to find a phone.
He had the number in his pocket, the numbers were singed into his brain, the paper meant nothing except something solid to hold on to. It was 'his' number, he was told the only other person who knew this number was Willow herself, so how he got it, he had no idea, but the day Angel said he found something for him, he took it without asking, it was better that way. Angel knew enough and heard enough to know it involved his dark haired beauty, and the witch since he couldn't tell them it was just 'him'. His beauty, what a laugh, he wished he was his, at least he thought he did. Then he would begin thinking what if he was? What would he do to protect him? He would never forcibly claim him or turn him, he could never do that to someone he loved. God, what a laugh, he loved him, he knew he did, finally admitted it to himself, and that took long enough. How in the world could he ever tell him, his dark beauty, the one and only Xander Harris.
He wanted to talk, needed to talk to someone who would at least listen if nothing more. Telling Angel, oh god that’s a laugh, he'd die laughing at him. Old bookworm Wesley seemed to be interested, but what was the point? He didn't know him well enough to bother putting that much energy into a conversation with his stuffiness. God Dru, where the hell are you when I need you? Unconsciously reaching up to run his fingers over the tiny silver bell hanging on the short chain around his neck, the visions in his latest dream came to him full force, knocking him on his ass. Fallen there, ass first in the snow, he screamed again, caught in the terror that had him awake for 10 days.
They sat together on the couch, cuddled together, kissing each other. He looked into those brown eyes smiling at him, as Xander stood up, moving to the box so well hidden under the near by table. The same every time, he knows that box like the back of his hand, Xander tells him he carved it for him, again and its the same damn box every time. So small barely enough room for anything inside, but he knows what is in there, he knows and he dreads seeing it, just as his fingers itch to touch it. The bell, somehow, the same silver bell around his neck is in there, no bigger than a ring, it sits on a black silk liner. Mocking him with those inscribed words "Forever, if you'll have me. Xander". When he 'woke' up in the empty, lonely place that bell was around his neck, he never knew why or how, but the dream which was originally just him failing Xander, turned into so much more. He woke up and the dreams changed, starting with kissing and the box and the bell. But why did he have the bell? And how? And why now? And what the bleeding hell did it all mean? From there, the dream went back to something happening and he failed Xander every time, and he died. By far, this last one was the worst, now he couldn't close his eyes without seeing it.
The scream reached his ears first, always, before he could see him. God, he had to stop them, they couldn't do that to his mate, he would save him and make all of them pay, for centuries if he had anything to say about it. Just as he stepped out into the clearing, he could see it all happening so slowly and almost like it was in high definition, he ran as fast as he could, but he never even made it half way to his side. There in the middle of some fucking god awful ritual stone lay Xander, tied down with chains, arms and legs splayed out as far as they could be, stripped naked, bleeding everywhere, and holy christ he still had his other eye, the one he didn't save. Legs turned at odd angles covered in bruises making it obvious they were broken, arms pulled so tight they are barely holding on, and his neck, god his neck was covered in some fucking dark green ooze as his screams began sounding more like gurgles. As he raced closer, he began to notice the ooze must be some kind of acid or like it he could see bubbles and blood and tissue, it was eating through his neck. Faster and faster he ran, as they began circling Xander again, moving three at a time to straddle him and he wasn't sure but it looked as though they were trying to suck something out of him through his cock and his mouth, and if the wails were any indication, Xander was not enjoying their attention.
'Leave him alone you bitches, leave my mate alone' he screamed. Putting his arms out trying to grab whichever one he could and tear them apart. Just as he saw the fucking same gold robed figure he saw every time, holding the sword and stepping up to Xander, raising the sword. 'No god no, not again, kill me, take me, please let him be, I don't care what you do to me, just let him go. Stop, stop, don't do this, not again' Running harder, faster, grabbing at them all, trying to reach him again, not making it once again, he hears it, the same sickening sound he'll never get out of his head and he has to look away, he will not look at that scene again, can't.
'Sir, do you need some help up? Sir? Can you get up sir? Are you hurt?' the voice breaks the vision and he looks up into the eyes of a thirty something lady looking afraid but concerned and he realizes she is speaking to him. 'Sir, do you need some help to get up?' He shakes himself off. "Oh no, no I'm fine, sorry, just fine, move along now" stands up, and turns briskly away, walking as quick as his legs will move, trying to hide the tears from anyone who might see them. He needed to find a phone, now, he couldn't do this anymore. God, even if Xander would just remain his friend, or hell even if he went back to hating him, he had to know he was safe. Had to find some way to save him from whatever was trying to hurt him. He ran by a shop and he heard the music playing as he went by, "All seem to say, throw cares away, Christmas is here, bringing good cheer". God, he wished that meant someone could spare him some too. He rounded the corner and came face to face with his dilemma.
There, under a lone streetlight looking like an angel and a curse, the silent payphone beckoned him, calling like some demented siren you can't resist. He moved to the phone, just as some other git reached for it. "Shove off tosser, I need this here phone, find your own mate" He practically screamed at the poor drunk fool stupid enough to try to use a phone near a vampire. He ran off down the street, and Spike reached for the receiver. Now or never, gotta do this, gotta stop them damn dreams, gotta make sure he's safe. Gathering all the nerve he can find, he dials quickly, pulling his hand away before he can hang up, it rings. Rings again. And Again. Finally the fourth ring, and that voice, the one he would do anything including die for answers. "Willow, where are you? You have to get here now, you have to help me. This crazy dream keeps coming to me. I can't make it go away. Wills, he’s alive in my dreams, oh god he’s alive. What am I gonna do? Wills? Come on, answer me, please. Hey wills, come on say something. Wills....... hey, wait a second, this isn't.............. Oh my god. Who is this? I don't know this number, who are you?...............S....Sp......it can't be.......Spike?"
At hearing his voice, it takes all Spike has not to burst into tears or start screaming hallelujah. He quickly starts clearing his throat getting ready to speak, just as he hears....
"Spike? Is that you? Please tell me you’re back, tell me you’re safe, where are you, are you hurt? Spike, please say something."
" 'Ello Xander, yeah its me, are you safe, is there some new baddy after you all? Did we not get The First? What nightmares then? I'm back and...."
Xander excitedly cuts him off before he can say more, practically screaming into the phone now "Spike, oh thank goodness, Spike, its you, you’re back, are you safe? Where are you? Why didn't you tell us you were back? And hey, wh..."
"Hi, no wait, yes it’s Spike. … I don't know… … Well, if you’d let me finish, I was about to ask… … Okay listen, no just wait, I'm trying, if you'll just shut up, okay then, fine. … I'll let you know as soon as I find out. … Shut up already. Okay then."
Spike is listening to Xander continue speaking to someone who must've just joined him in the room and his nerve quickly dies. He wants to tell Xander he loves him, wants to ask if he can come see him, wants to strangle whoever is there taking his beauty's attention away from him, but more than anything, he feels the weight of the situation now. He has heard he is safe, and his mind is quickly filling with all the horrible things Xander will say if he tells him he loves him. He can't do it, he really is love's bitch, and apparently still too chicken for this. Before he even realizes what he's doing, he moves the phone away, slams the receiver down, standing there shocked and feeling like shit.
There he was, he heard his voice finally. Goddess it felt great, and it almost sounded like Xander was happy to hear from him. Now he knew he really needed to sleep, definitely up too long if he is thinking Xander would ever want to talk to him. Continuing to berate himself as he stumbles back to the Hyperion and his sorry excuse of a grandsire, he is so lost in his thoughts, he does not even notice as Angel comes out to meet him, yelling about Willow just calling him and yelling, and something about being turned into some mutant frog with bad hair and pimples. He finally registers he is not alone and looks up, seeing Angel glowering at him. He knows that look, and it always means trouble.
Meanwhile, back somewhere in London, Willow has just arrived at Xander's.
"Sorry about that Spike, what I was trying to ask is why haven't you gotten a hold of us sooner to let us know you were back. … Spike? … Hello? Shit, I think my phone just died or something. Damn it, now he's gonna think I hung up on him or something. Damn. Willow, what am I supposed to do? I can't just call him back, I don't know where he is, or how long he's gonna be there. He was asking if we were all okay, that's gotta be a good sign right? Hey, Willow? Are you listening to me."
"Xander, stop talking, and let me get this right. You mean Spike called you? You mean Spike as in burnt to a crisp back in the hole once known as Sunnydale was just on the phone with you? And on your personal unlisted cell phone, that only you and I have the number to? Spike the vampire who tried to kill us all, slept with your friend and your ex, that Spike is who you thought just called you? Xander are you feeling all right, do you need to go lay down?"
Xander is looking over towards the kitchen where his closest friend since childhood's voice is coming from. "I am not insane Wills, I know his voice, it was Spike, I don't know why he's calling out of the blue, I don't know why no one told us he was back, but I swear it was Spike. And I thought we were all over the many past incidents, its not like we never tried to kill him, and as for sleeping with friends and ex's I don't think any of us have any room for throwing stones."
Willow came back in carrying two full mugs of coffee; it was late in the evening, but they both had taken to meeting one another and trying to stay up all night lately, both plagued with horrible nightmares, neither willing to share what about yet. "Okay, you’re right, and I am so very glad to hear he is not dust too, Xander, but you know I had to make sure you knew what you were doing first." She grinned at her long time friend, handing him one mug and moving to his couch, sitting down, blowing on her own mug, cooling its contents. "You know, now that I think of it, I might have an idea of how he was able to call you, can I use your phone for a minute?"
"Yeah, of course, here, and you better tell me what's going on." Xander's mind was racing as he handed Willow the phone. To say he was shocked would be so very inadequate. He felt like someone had just slipped something in his drink and sent him to lalaland where the Smurfs were green, unicorns had one foot and four horns, and fairies all had giant noses instead of wings. What did this mean? How did he feel about it? Was there some coincidence between this call and his dreams? And oh crap, how was Buffy going to take it? He felt strangely concerned about her response, not that she would be upset, but he found himself more and more upset at the idea of her being happy to hear this news and wanting to find Spike to talk to him.
"Hey Cordy, yeah, its me. … Look I don't have time, let me speak to Angel. … No, it can't wait. … Look, just get him, now please. Cordelia now. Thanks. … Hello, Angel? Yes, its Willow. … No, I believe everyone is fine, no there’s not another apocalypse, I wanted to ask you something. … Yeah, about the call a few months ago. … Yes, I really do need to know. … Angel, I really need to know, just tell me who. … Why? Well, I am not at liberty to say. … Yes, he's right here, no, he doesn't want to talk. Just tell me, is Spike back? … Really? For how long? … Why the hell didn't anyone tell us? How did you know? … What? You mean you knew all this time and you never bothered? I can't believe you would do that. Angel, so help me, you better tell me and tell me now, did you give him Xander's number? … Well, if you don't, I will be more then happy to turn you into a tiny little slimy frog with bad unmanageable hair and pimples! … That's better. Okay, thanks. I gotta go, Bye."
As Willow hangs up, Xander finally notices she is trying to get his attention. "Xander, hey Earth to Xander, I found out the why's and the how's, so we have a little more to go on now. According to Angel, Spike has been back for almost a year now and somehow he came back right there at Angel's. He says he doesn't know why, or how, or anything really. Just that Spike has been nothing but a pain since he came back. Going on about you and me and Sunnydale and needing to save someone. He said they knew right away he was having nightmares, and has been avoiding sleep for almost two months now. Angel said he thinks he hasn't been sleeping at all in several days now. He found out we had something to do with it, so he called and tried to find us, that’s when I talked to him last and gave him your number. He said he wanted to make amends for the past and blah blah blah, so I figured I would let him try. Uhmm, are you mad, Xander? please don't be mad."
Xander turns back to Willow, smiling, having just decided he is very happy to hear Spike is not dust and will worry about exactly how happy he is later. "I'm not mad Willow, well, not at you that is, but Deadboy… Well, he should have told us Spike was back, at least one of us, but I'm not gonna waste my thoughts on him. I guess it’s a good thing you gave him my number, since without it, Spike couldn't have called. Now we just gotta figure out how to get a hold of him, so he doesn't think I hung up on him, and so we know he's okay."
"Well, Angel did say he has been staying at his hotel since he came back. So we could just call for him there I guess. I'm gonna guess Spike didn't call from there though, since Angel did not know he had called, so he's probably not there yet. I wonder how much Angel pays for his long distance calls. And where would Spike have called from? And What are you gonna say when you call him back, Xander? And why is Spike just now getting a hold of us? Oh Goddess Xander, what are Buffy and Dawn gonna say? Should we call them first?"
"Woah, woah, Willow, slow down, we don't even know anything yet, other than he isn't dust. Let's just keep things quiet for now till we know more and have something to tell them, not to mention we decide what to do about trying to get back in touch with Spike. Come on Wills, lets watch our movies, veg and we can worry about all this tomorrow. I doubt Spike will disappear since he did contact us first, we have time to think this through and make a plan. Now, should we watch Saw II or start on season four of Queer as Folk? I know I can't wait to see what happens with Ted and Emmett, so I vote QAF."
They quickly decide to turn on the first disc of season four of QAF, and although Xander really does want to know what happens, his mind is quickly drifting to thoughts of Spike. He had been thinking about him since the nightmares started. Which would not have been so bad, but the nights the nightmares didn't come really had him reeling. On those nights, he was tortured in a much harsher fashion, as visions of Spike and himself together as lovers filled his dreams. Like a mirage of images, these nights showed them together in mundane daily life simply sharing time, and also as lovers, taking pleasure in each other’s bodies. Those moments stuck in his mind, and he could not shake them. He would never have denied noticing how hot Spike is, you'd have to be really dead or blind not to, and after all he was a very healthy and fairly adjusted bisexual guy, so of course he noticed.
It had taken him a few years to admit it to himself, but once there, he announced to the gang immediately he was bisexual and left it at that. No talking, no intervening, he could admit it, so he felt they should be able to accept it. Willow only smiled her knowing smile, Giles proceeded to clean his glasses, and Buffy made that little fish face she does and Dawn just wanted to ask tons of embarrassing questions. All in all, it went much better than he imagined. Since then he had dated several people, most of them men, as in his words he has some 'catching up to do'. Now he remembered missing Spike right after The First had been fought, and, of course, missing Anya. That had been well over four years ago, five next month. Now, all of sudden, Spike was back, or actually back a year ago, but only now back to them.
He caught a glimpse of the show on the TV, Brian and Justin dancing, that made him smile. He remembered when he first started watching QAF, and how it made him wish he had something more serious with someone too. He missed the long looks, tight embraces, constant touching, and, of course, the sex. But most of all, he missed someone being there to talk to at the end of the day, someone to hold him when he wanted to simply forget the world for a few short moments, someone to cuddle with that didn't make him even hotter. How he hated that, it seemed any of his lovers who did not mind cuddling, were always too warm, he could not stay cuddling for too long. He had never noticed that until now. You know, the more he thought of it, he did seem to have a fetish of his own, when he bothered to think about it. That guy he was seeing there a while back, Blake or Blane whatever, he always wore black and smoked. Jack was extremely pale and British. And who could ever forget Eric who was blond, very fair skinned, smoked, and wore mostly black with a little fetish of his own. Eric liked to play, mostly bondage games but the occasional S+M games too, and he talked Xander into finally getting the tattoo he had wanted.
Mainly only the tattoo was different, he was still the same old goofy Xander, with the occasional more confidence, and a few nicer outfits. He would never totally change his wardrobe, it being a part of what made him him, but now he had a few things he could wear if he felt the need or desire to dress up. He mentally tried to make a tally of the many things that had changed since Spike had been gone. Dawn had graduated and was at college, Willow and Kennedy did not last too long after The First, and not surprising to any of them, Oz showed up shortly after. They were living together now, currently discussing bringing a girl they both knew socially into their relationship. She was just like Tara. It made Xander smile whenever he thought of them, since they were so happy. About five months after The First, Giles made the first move and kissed Buffy. They had been together since, and were pretty happy. And there was Xander himself, having the occasional lover or date, but no one for longer than a month. Every time it got too serious, the dreams would start and he had to break it off. Those dreams made even less sense, filled with so much longing it made him ache, blond hair, and this beautiful box he was inspired to carve after the hundredth time he had it, and a tiny silver bell.
These dreams morphed into sexual ones, and that’s when he finally got to see his lover’s face, well mostly, his eyes anyway. And he knew those eyes, would know them if he were blind. Ice blue. Spike’s. As the dreams continued, he started getting so addicted to them, he found even when he did take a lover he could not find completion without thinking of those eyes. Closing his own and finding that image in his mind, always those eyes sent him over the edge. It took him a few moments, but his mind finally caught up to all the evidence: he wanted Spike. Once you added up all the things he seemed to want in his partners, wearing black, being fair skinned or pale, platinum blond locks, a British accent, and a smoker. How had he never seen this before? His arm wrapped around Willow, looking at the TV, but only seeing how messed up this all was. For years, his subconscious had been trying to tell him who he wanted, and now finally it was all clear, and he was back. What the hell did it all mean? What was he gonna do about it? Should he call Spike? Or wait for him to call again? Finally making his mind shut down for now, he settled back to finish watching the show, he would have to give this more thought later.
They finished watching disc 1, both tired and ready to give sleep a try, Willow agreeing to call if she had any trouble and making plans to get together tomorrow if they had no plans to watch more, before she left. As Xander cleaned up, his mind wandered back to Spike and he quickly found himself heading to the shower. Stripping as he went, mind in turmoil, he reached inside the stall to get the water started, nice and hot. Stepping under the spray, it didn’t take long for his body to take over and arousal to set in, as it usually did whenever he thought of Spike. He decided to relax and enjoy his shower, letting the heat soak into his muscles as he stretched and began caressing himself. His mind easily brought up all the images he had of the real Spike, a few barely covered or naked Spike, and some of the images his mind made up of them together. As his hand made its way down to his cock, he moaned and hissed, wishing that hand was much cooler and belonged to much paler skin. Somewhere between torture and exquisite pleasure, Xander found himself turning the water colder as he grew even closer to his orgasm. Keening and wailing to himself, trying to get that last stimulation to set him off, he stepped back to take a look for something more, and instantly got a sharp bite into his shoulder, and that did it. Screaming Spike’s name as he came, he knew what he wanted to do. After rinsing off, he turned to see what bit him, shutting off the shower and stepping out of the stall, an idea flooded him instantly, he knew what he was going to do.
Grabbing the old chain on the rack in the shower, he took a closer look at the fangs pendant, which now had several drops of blood on it. It belonged to an ex, whom he wasn't sure, but as he tossed it in the garbage, the decision was cemented in his mind and his heart. He thought he had all of the revelations he was going to when he admitted he was bi, but now it seemed there was more to it. Now he had to admit he wanted Spike. Vampire Spike. Was he ready to tell everyone he wanted to be with Spike? Would Spike even be interested or take him seriously when he tried to tell him how he felt? Did he really want to settle down with one partner finally? If he decided to give this a shot, it meant lots of changes, and getting used to new things. Not just the vampire aspect, but simply Spike himself, and what being with him would mean. Spike seemed to be rather possessive, and would no doubt be wanting something long term, which Xander didn't mind now that he knew why those others had never caught his eye for a longer time. But was he willing to give Spike his all? Would he be willing to presumably either be turned or be claimed? Before the question was even totally acknowledged, he knew the answer. It was a resounding, hell yes! The more he thought on it, the more he knew he would be more than happy to give anything Spike had in mind a chance.
Spike’s thoughts were interrupted by Angel shaking him and going on about some damn frog with bad hair and pimples. How exactly does a frog get hair, where on earth would it be? Yuck, that was even too disturbing for Spike to think of. He stood there for a moment letting Angel have his fit and as Angel got caught up in his own complaints, he simply slipped passed him into the hotel, up to his room. Incredibly he was very tired and he thought he might actually be able to sleep tonight, after all he heard his beauty's voice and he knew he was safe. As Spike stripped and sauntered to the bed, his thoughts were all caught up in Xander, wondering how he was doing now, who he was doing now, how he felt about Spike calling him and what tomorrow would bring. It was all a bit too much and as he laid back, his eyes slid shut, quieting his brain as he began falling asleep, to hopefully no nightmares. As sleep over took him, Spike snuggled further into the blankets, wrapping himself around the extra pillow, sighing his name "Hmm ..... Xander".
Xander made his way to his bed, climbed in, and got comfy, his decision made about Spike, he promised himself to decide what to do tomorrow. He turned over onto his side, cuddling the cooler side of the bed, just as a small sparkling of glitter could be seen in the room under his bed side table. That was where he kept the tiny box he had carved. Unknown to anyone except the soul moving things about, a tiny bell had just popped inside the box. The same bell that just moments before disappeared from around a sleeping figures neck. The only thing different now, was the inscription had disappeared as it popped into the box. No matter, the soul thought, this should make it nicer for Xander to do it himself. My goodness, it has certainly taken them long enough, she thought to herself. She had been trying for years now to get Xander to notice what she had been trying to tell him. Since she knew Spike was not truly gone, and would return, the same as he was before he was burned: a vampire, with a soul. And she had such a time with Spike, helping him admit what he felt too. Although, he had realized it quicker, it took him forever to admit how much he wanted it, enough to bring him back. Now, though they didn't know it they both slept, dreaming thoughts of each other, both sleeping in separate beds in different places, but turned towards one another all the same. Yes, tomorrow will be a good day, she decided. Peeking in on them both one last time, and kissing Xander on his cheek as she went, she wished them all the happiness they deserved and turned to continue on with the night, looking up once, saying a silent thank you for letting her help bring them together, Anya smiled knowing they would both wake up tomorrow ready to take that first step.
~ Carol of the Bells ~