Took Hold 9
Riley and Buffy showed up at around noon to help him move to the apartment, and Xander was glad to have the distraction. By the time he’d woken up, he felt a little more normal but his world-view was still quaking. He looked at the time spent with Spike as a bad dream, a fling that never should have happened. It was the only way to get over him and the impossibility of their relationship.
He felt torn in half, part of him wanting to remember every hot, sweaty detail of what occurred between him and Spike. But the other half screamed in his head, humiliated and rampaging. Xander never felt more manic-depressive, swinging from bubbly-horny to erratically violent and sullen. Either way, the human was obsessed with the sinewy blonde.
Riley and Buffy had been giving him looks like they knew something was going on, but he blamed it on the breakup with Anya. But expanses of a certain pale, muscular abdomen crowded everything from his head. The sultry voice that both purred enticingly and chuckled whole-heartedly jerked him out of his every thought even as his numbing anger took over.
He had gone all of five minutes without thinking of the blonde vampire’s naked form when Buffy said, “So, um, Xander. Did you get attacked last night? I didn’t want to say something in front of everyone, but your neck looks pretty bad.”
“Yeah, that. I ran into some vamps last night when I woke up in the dump.” His stomach leapt into his throat as he tried to answer. “And um, Spikekindasavedme.” He mumbled the last part, cheeks burning.
“What?! Did you get bitten? Why would *Spike* of all people save you? Did he hurt you, Xander--why didn’t you say anything before?” Her voice was shrill as she interrogated him, but he was expecting her to get all concerned over it. She walked over and put her hands on his shoulders, trying to get a closer look at his neck.
“I woke up in
the dump, and got surrounded by vampires. Captain Peroxide fought them and
scared them away. I was in pretty bad shape, so he helped me to the
Buffy hugged him. “I’m glad he was there, but I still don’t trust him.” They pulled apart and her hazel eyes met his. “That explains the Spike clothes though. I thought you were possessed again!” They both laughed, the movie-of-the-week moment over. Riley walked in and the packing resumed.
The low point of the day came when Anya arrived to pick up her stuff. The Slayer had gone out with some boxes and a visibly uncomfortable Riley stood across the room folding blankets. Xander walked over with the ex-demon’s box of possessions.
“Just bring it to the car.” As usual, she ordered.
“You’re a big girl, Ahn,” Xander gently told her as he handed her the box.
She huffed, “I still don’t see why we--”
The boy stopped her. “Let’s just--not, okay?” He was barely containing the conflicting emotions coursing through him as he turned away and kept packing.
After his ex-girlfriend left, they finished quickly, and Xander stood alone in his basement while Buffy and Riley drove the last load to the new apartment. He was prying the keys off his key ring and nearly fainted when a figure in a smoking blanket darted in the door. His heart dropped when the human saw Angel shrug off the tattered fabric.
“Hey, Deadboy.” //oh god, oh god, oh god// The human remembered the yellow he’d seen in the vampire’s eyes the night before.
“Just stopped by to check up on you.”
“Oh, you know...still deciding if shooting myself would have been called self-defense or suicide, but other than that--”
“I see the hickeys Spike left are healing nicely.” The predator closed in on him.
Xander backed away until he hit a wall, than his knees buckled and he slid unsteadily downward. All the air was suddenly sucked out of the room and Xander’s looked into Angel’s passive eyes. “Oh God, Angel, I don’t know how it happened! He saved me--well the part of me who wants to jump his bones anyway--and then we kissed and things got physical and now I can’t believe I did any of that with him. Are--are you going to tell the others?” His hands covered his face as he spoke, and the human could feel the heat of embarrassment creeping all the way to his ears.
Angel took the boy’s hands in his own. “I’m not telling anyone, but I do know that Spike can be very persuasive. It wasn’t you, or at least all of you, calling the shots last night. You can’t blame yourself for this.”
“But that’s just it. I never wanted to be without him right then--Jeez, Angel, what does that say about me? All the crap I gave you and Buffy--now I find out that I have a happy for vampires too? And the funny thing is that he was the only one who even noticed that I wasn’t acting normal. The *only* one, Angel. You guys saw the phony guy and weren’t even fazed! And I keep going back and forth about it. One second I hate him, and the next I don’t. What am I going to do?”
Angel helped him up and patted his back. “All I can say is give it some time to see how you really feel. But definitely let Spike know what happened.”
The two sat and talked until sunset, then Xander drove him to the new apartment so they could join the others. The human felt marginally better, but he knew it was only temporary.
Spike was grateful that he didn’t need to breathe as he fought to consciousness. A hot, heavy weight rested across his face and his alcohol-dulled reflexes were the only thing that saved the cat from a tragic fate. She scrambled to the other side of the room, distended belly almost wagging against the floor. He turned his head to spit out fur and let out a string of expletives. The vampire’s senses told him that it was after sunset, so he hurried to change clothes and light a cigarette. He planned to have a talk with his boy. //Not your boy, never was.// He paused to feed the cat as he hurried along, thinking dark thoughts. The vampire hopped in his car and the car roared to life.
As he threw the DeSoto in reverse, the vampire barely spared a glance at the battered CD case that he rifled through. Feeling in the mood for a local punk band he hadn’t heard in ages, Spike knew he’d thrown it somewhere in the back. His hands closed around it, tucked in with a few others, and he jabbed it into the stereo and set it on the fifth track. The car jerked as he slammed it into drive. As the static beat and the lilting piano started, the blonde knew he’d picked the wrong CD. Steering wide and squealing tires, he continued listening, his curiosity piqued. Some bird began to sing, and her deep, round notes filled his heart with sorrow.
“I was standing in the dark, looking for a star
To pray on or wish on, or something like that,
I was havin’ a sweet fix, of a daydream of a boy
Whose reality I knew, was a hopeless to be had--”
//Too bloody right! And I’ll stake myself if anyone catches me listening to this crap...// Spike slammed on the brakes behind a parked car and veered wildly, stomping on the accelerator.
“But then the dove of hope began its downward slope,
And I believed for a moment that,
My chances were approaching to be grabbed.
But as it came down near, so did a weary tear;
I thought it was a bird but it was just a paper bag--”
//What the hell—a paper bag? Whoever writes these lyrics should be shot...though there is something to wallowing in self pity.// Coasting over a hill, the vehicle went airborne for a second as the blonde listened to the song with fading interest.
“Hunger hurts and I want him so bad, oh it kills
Cause I know I’m a mess he don’t wanna clean up
I’ve gotta fold cause these hands are too shaky to hold,
Hunger hurts but starving works, when it costs
Too much to love.
And I went crazy again today, lookin for a strand to climb,
Lookin for a little hope--”
The CD sailed out the window...but before it had, Spike glimpsed the “Property of Willow Rosenburg” scrawled in silver marker across the top. He at last remembered her accidentally leaving it in his car last spring. Face screwed up with emotion, tears blurred his vision as he manhandled the car the rest of the way to the human’s home to confront him.
A quick check of the premises showed him that nobody was home. Spike peered into the basement window and was shocked to see an empty room. The boy had moved without telling him. Worried, he stalked back to the DeSoto and headed for the Watcher’s flat.
//What if I am thinking about this all wrong? What if Xander had met trouble on the way back home? Daylight didn’t necessarily mean the hellmouth fiends were all asleep.//
Spike grew panicked as he walked toward the old sorcerer’s door. Out of habit, he peeked in the window and was utterly relieved to see the human standing at the bar by the Watcher’s kitchen.
Without thinking, he burst in the door (which was unlocked, as usual) and rushed straight to the boy.
“You alright, pet? I went by your place when you didn’t come back. It’s been cleaned out and I thought some nasty got a hold of you...”
Grabbing his shoulders, he drank in the sight of him. It felt like years since he’d set eyes on his boy--and the moment was ruined when Xander jerked backwards out of his grip as if Spike’s hands were on fire.
Xander had been floored when the leather-clad vampire had thrown open the door and walked toward him. His mind went into slow motion, savoring the fluidity with which he moved. Then the spark as Spike’s touched him and the flurry of panic as he fought himself not to lean in and kiss him. His reaction was the opposite, to get irate.
He watched as the emotions played singularly across the vampire’s face. Unabashed affection warmed the blue depths, then blatant shock at the rejection. Xander practically watched Spike’s heart break as the icy stone settled in the blonde’s eyes and the chiseled jaw set.
broke eye contact and raked his gaze across the living room, where Buffy,
BLISS TOOK HOLD 10