Repossession by Lazuli Kat



Chapter 6

William woke first, still cradled within his master’s embrace, and for a few short moments he was truly happy.  Then he remembered where he was, and he whimpered quietly as the recollection hit him.  That creature.  Buffy, he remembered.  It looked like another person, but…  Master was unaware of the intense danger, but the vampire’s senses had been overwhelmed by the knowledge and it roused something powerful within him, so much so that he’d been quite literally stunned by the uncoiling of the beast within him.  It had shocked him deeply, and he knew the reaction was wrong because Master had welcomed the creature into his presence.  William reminded himself that he was bad and stupid and didn’t understand much about anything, and he knew he would try his best not to disappoint or anger his beloved master.  The beast would be quelled.  But should the Buffy creature come too close…

A quiet knock broke into the vampire’s troubled thoughts, and he raised himself onto one elbow, protective of his sleeping master and instinctively ready to defend him against any intruder.  The door cracked open and Willow peered in, waiting a few seconds for her eyes to adjust to the gloom.  She made out the glint of blue irises, and smiled in their direction.

“It’s only me, Spike, and I’m not coming in.  Can you give Xander a shake for me?”

Spike stopped to consider.  Then he tapped Xander’s chest with the hand that had lain on it all night.


“Xander.   Xander, I’m sorry to wake you but there’s apparently some emergency at work – that’s your work not my work – and they need to speak to you.  They’ve already called twice.”

“Oh…fuck,” Xander groaned.  “I’ll be there in five, make ‘em wait.”

“Okay,” Willow agreed brightly before giving Spike another smile and silently closing the door.

“Don’t want to move.”  Xander groaned another groan and pulled Spike close for a moment, planting a kiss in his hair before prising him off.  “Gotta get up.  Sure I can remember how to do that if I try really hard.”  With a supreme effort Xander got vertical.  He groaned.  “Oh…fuck.”

The mood of grumpy bastard hung about Xander like a cloud of doom and Willow pitied whoever was on the other end of the phone.  He took the receiver and gave her one of the shoot-me-and-put-me-out-of-my- misery looks she knew so well from times past.  With a pat to his arm she withdrew.

“Alexander Harris.  Who’s that?   This had better be… …  Hold on, hold on…  Will you calm down!   For Christ’s sake, there’s not a problem.  Where’s Patrick?  Pat knows about this.   And you couldn’t have waited half-an-hour for him to get there?   Listen to me.  Shut up and listen.   Listening?   Right.  You in my office?   Okay, there’s a file on the desk marked up for the Penciatti development.  Inside the front cover there are reference numbers for the relevant blueprints.  Pull the blueprints, have them ready for Pat when he gets there, and, hey presto, no problem.    Because I know the site like the back of my hand, and I really, really wouldn’t question my judgement if I were you.   Why, yes, Corey, I am fucking mad at you, so you better back off before you make it any worse.   Calmer?   Good.  Now, this number was only for emergencies, what are you doing calling it?   No, this is not an emergency, this is an indicator that you need to get your head out of your ass.   You don’t get it, do you?  I have to be left alone.   No – it’s – not.   When I get back you will see an emergency, and it will involve the job section of the local rag and a round of farewell drinks, do you get that or do I fax you a picture?   Okay.   Say hi to Patrick for me and ask him to give you a reference because you won’t get one from me.”  Xander slammed down the phone and stood fuming.  “Fucking dickhead.”

“Pissed much,” came Dawn’s impressed voice from behind him.

Xander looked slowly around and found Dawn and Buffy at opposite ends of the sofa, under blankets that Willow had obviously thrown over them the previous night when they’d finally talked themselves into unconsciousness.

“Long time since I’ve been woken up by a rant-o-gram,” Buffy yawned.

“That was pretty mean,” Dawn said with an ill-concealed grin.

“So not in the mood.”

“Been working out?” Buffy asked casually, reminding Xander he was only in a skimpy sleeveless t and boxers.  Suddenly he felt very exposed, which was ridiculous.

“There’s a gym in the basement of my building,” he replied equally as casually, refusing to resort to babbling Xander circa 2000, telling himself he did look good and if Buffy wanted to cop an eyeful, as Spike would say, who was he to complain?  He scrubbed his hair into an unruly mess.  “Coffee.  Shower.  Is it still the middle of the night or is it me?”

“You,” Willow returned to put a mug of coffee into his right hand, a mug of blood in his left.  “It’s nearly eleven.  D’you think Spike minded me opening the door?”

“Didn’t seem to, did he?  That’s a good sign.  You think that’s a good sign?”

“I don’t know what to make of him right now, so…I don’t know.”

Xander started to leave but turned back at the door.

“Wills…there isn’t a spell or something…?”

“Too dangerous.  While we don’t know what caused him to be…like…like he is, it’s not safe to start throwing magic at him.  I asked Giles and I could hear him frantically polishing his glasses all the way from England.”

This time Xander did leave, and he grinned as Dawn’s voice drifted up the stairs behind him to the giggled shushing of the older women.

“God, he was always hot, but…”


“Spike, open the door, I’ve got my hands full.”  The bedroom door was flung back and Spike welcomed him with sheer delight.  “You never think I’m coming back, do you?”  Pause.  Reticent nod.  “That was a crap lie crappily lied.  Here, breakfast.”  Xander switched on the overhead light so he could see Spike clearly and climbed back onto the bed, propping himself up against the headboard; the vampire sat at his feet and drank.  “I want Willow to take a look at your wounds.  Is that going to be okay?  Don’t say yes because it’s what I want to hear.  Think and decide.”  Spike thought hard, brow kinked into a deep frown.  Minutes passed.  The frown dissolved and Spike nodded, attention shifting to Xander’s feet – whole, healthy, unbloody feet – and he couldn’t resist a touch, sliding his hand over the smooth skin before holding the toes in a direct copy of the way Xander held his when he checked they were working.  The toes wiggled and Spike almost smiled, looking to Xander.  The expression on the human’s face sent a buzz of warmth through his cold body and, although he had no words to put to the feelings, he knew he was loved, and that he returned love.  It was an old emotion, a trickle through the dam in his mind that held back his past, the only remnant of a previous existence strong enough to make any kind of breach.

“Finish your food before it gets cold.  Spike…”  But Spike was distracted by the feel of the skin beneath his fingers, and he traced up the foot to the ankle, enjoying the shape of the bones before moving to the sculptured calf.  Xander flexed his leg, catching Spike’s attention as the muscle turned rock hard.  “Hey, Spike,” Xander called, a little more insistently, wanting the vampire to stop exploring before the wandering hand encouraged anything else to rock hardness.  The leg bent, slid out of Spike’s hand.  “Finish your food.”  Spike blinked.  Then he nodded and did what he was told before staring mournfully into the empty mug.  “If you’re still hungry you can get more.  Willow’s in the kitchen, and she was by herself.  Want to be brave?  For me?”  Consideration then determination crossed the vampire’s face.  Nod.  He stood and went to the door, vacillating briefly before leaving the room.

Xander had only a moment’s pleasure at the bold action.  He was delighted that Spike was prepared to trust Willow this much, but Buffy had caused such an uncomfortable reaction last night and she was still downstairs.  Standing and pulling on some clothes, Xander forced himself not to hurry, after all…  His stomach clenched.  He picked up speed.

Halfway down the staircase Xander heard Dawn shriek the vampire’s name, and he leapt down the remaining stairs, racing toward the sound of the young woman’s terrified shouting.  Through the kitchen and into the back hall, he was in time to see the cause of the commotion.  Spike was an opening door and two feet away from the daylight.  Xander’s reaction came from his gut: the only way to stop Spike dead in his tracks before he was dead in the sunshine.

“William!” he screamed at the top of his voice.

Spike dropped like a stone, folding into the despised servile posture; in the immediate silence the door clicked harmlessly shut.  Xander covered his face with his hands, dragging what he hoped were calming breaths into his lungs, the biggest ‘what if’ in the world taking a hearty prod at an incipient panic attack.  The sound of scuttling and a pleading touch to his feet brought him back from the edge.  He fell to his knees and pulled Spike to his chest, hating that necessity had let his friends see Spike this way.

“Oh, God, Spike, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, but I had to stop you.”  He crushed the vampire to him and pressed his mouth to an ear, whispering a steady stream of apologies.  The women watched helplessly, Willow hugging a thoroughly traumatised Dawn.


It took a long time before they were all back in the living room, the atmosphere brittle.

“Someone want to tell me what happened?”

“It was me,” Buffy’s voice came from the farthest point of the room.  “I scared him.”

“You didn’t mean to,” Willow protested, “all you did was walk into the kitchen.”

“After last night I should have been more careful.”

“Why?” Xander spat.  “Killing vampires is what you do.  What’s one more?”

“Xander, you know I would never…”

“I thought you would never,” Xander retorted furiously, and they all knew that this wasn’t just about the events of the last two hours.

Buffy drew breath to speak but stopped herself, waiting a few silent minutes before announcing her intention of leaving.

“You don’t have to go,” her watcher insisted

“Yes, I do.  Xander already has a big problem with me and if I somehow hurt Spike he’ll never forgive me and   I’m not prepared for that.”


“I understand what’s happening here.  And I know that sometimes to keep most of what you want you have to lose a little of it.”  She met Xander’s eyes, unsurprised but deeply saddened by the hostility she witnessed.  “I didn’t mean him any harm today,” she said in a non-confrontational tone.  Xander turned his back on her, focusing entirely on Spike and cutting her dead.


Willow saw Buffy and Dawn out.

“He’ll calm down and see this wasn’t really your fault.”

“I don’t really deserve him to,” Buffy sighed.  “Ever wanted to go back in time and change things?”

“You want a spell?”

“No,” Buffy smiled.  “I want to have not screwed up so badly over that rite of Srumanteshtak.  If I’d—”


“If we’d kept Xander informed…”

“He wouldn’t have risked Spike and we’d all be dead.”

“He isn’t going to forgive me.  He – he – tolerates me.  Barely.”

“Same old ‘give it time’ line being served up here.”

“Six years, Willow.  Isn’t that time enough?”

“Have you tried saying sorry?” Dawn asked.  Buffy looked at her blankly.  “To the both of them?”

“Apologise to Spike?

“He was one of us by then, unquestionably.  He deserved better.”

“But I let him kick my ass, what more can he want?”

“Xander needs the apology.  And maybe the acknowledgment that you treated Spike like a worthless piece of shit.”


“If you’re sorry you need to tell them.  Maybe you can’t care about Spike, but do you honestly think your pride is more important than Xander?”

Dawn wandered off to the car and Buffy and Willow exchanged a troubled look.

“She’s right.  Why does she have to be right?”

“You can do this.  If you can face evil gods and defeat them you can apologise to Spike.”

“Well…”   Buffy grimaced to herself and borrowed a favourite Spikeism as she followed Dawn to the car.  “Bloody fucking hell.”

Hours later Xander was still troubled over what had occurred; Spike was, as Willow had pointed out, very accepting.  He accepted his fear of Buffy, that his attempt to escape had been potentially fatal, and that Xander was right to stop him by using that name; it boiled down to scared, run, danger, saved, Master, safe, food?  So, as Xander paced and fretted, or sat and fretted, Willow fed Spike, bag after bag of blood until Spike was shaking his head like the bolt attaching it to his neck had come loose.

“No more?”  SHAKE!  Willow smiled at the vampire and left him alone with his books, pursuing Xander around the house as he went through a bout of broody wandering.

“Willow …I’m not getting this right.  I can’t tell you how much I want to help him but I’m no good at this.”

“If you’re going to ask me to keep him here and let you go home…”

“You’re good with him, he’s taking food from you, he likes you.”

“Xander, he is your responsibility,” Willow told him in a hard voice.  “He didn’t come to me, he came to you, and this time you get to keep him.”

“Oh, shit.  Shit.  Why me?”

“How honest do you want me to be?”

Xander turned to her, anxiety level rising a few notches.

“What do you mean?”

Willow took a deep breath.

“Xander, you have to know that he was in love with you when you left.”


“Really in love – not obsessed, not infatuated, not compensating – this was the kind of deep love he had for Drusilla, the kind that lasted a century.”

“No, Wills, I…”

“And it never went away.  He was tormented by losing you, he couldn’t get over it, and that’s what made him find you when he no longer had the ability to tell himself he shouldn’t.”  Xander shook his head and tried to get away; Willow moved fast and blocked his way out of the room.  “You’re going to listen.  I had to live with this and you’re going to hear it.  You should know what he was like when you left, how miserable he was.  He was desperately unhappy without you, it was an effort for him to talk, I had to force him to feed, he didn’t leave the house for months.  He loved you, Xander, and you broke his heart.”

“I…   Did he say…  I mean, did he speak about us?”

“He would never have compromised you like that.  But the love and the pain were there, every time he asked if I’d heard from you, how you were, if I knew when you were coming back to visit.”

“He’d just disappear.  I wanted to see him, but he was never around.”

“Oh, Xander, of course he was around.  He was aching to see you, and he did, every time you visited.  But it had to be at a distance.  I just don’t think he trusted himself to be with you, to have you for a while and then lose you again without it destroying him.   He even said—”

“What?”   Willow shook her head.  “What did he say?”

“It was…  I shouldn’t have…”

“You have to tell me.  You want me to imagine God knows what to fill in the gaps?”




“After…after about six months he started to go out again.  He came in one night, so drunk he could barely stand, but he found the picture I had of you in my study and he broke it, punched it until the glass in the frame had shredded his knuckles.  I was fixing him up and he said…  He said…”

“He said?”

“That he would have turned you and kept you forever if he’d been able to.”

“Turned me?  Oh, God…”

“He took it back straight away.  He cried and cried and took it back, said he couldn’t harm you.  He kept asking me what he’d done to make you leave.  I knew the answer but I couldn’t tell him, could I?”  Xander apprehensively looked the question.  “I couldn’t tell him that he’d done nothing except be himself, that you left because you loved him too.  After all, it made no sense: you have two people who are very much in love, so why does one of them move hundreds of miles away?”

“I think I have to get out for a while,” Xander said quickly, trying to suppress the panic in his voice.

“No,” the watcher’s voice brooked no argument.  “He needs you here.  You’re not running away again.”

“An hour.”

Willow paused in thought.

“Ask Spike if you can go.”

“I’ll…I’ll ask Spike.”

Xander tried to skirt Willow but she stepped in his way.

“He never mentioned any of it once he’d sobered up.”

“No, I…  No.”

Willow stood aside to let Xander go back to Spike, following slowly and observing.

Spike was sprawled face-down on the floor, comfortable on the sheepskin, brow furrowed as he studied the book of photographs.  When Xander knelt beside him his face lit up, and the human felt the adoration like a resounding smack around the head.

“What have you found?”  London , 1900.  “Anything seem familiar?”  Spike pointed to one of the buildings.  “What?  You remember that from…  Oh, it’s the building from the other book, right.  Well remembered.”

Spike carried on flicking through the pages and Xander studied the bowed head, Willow’s words ringing through his mind.  He’d always known he was fooling himself, trying to convince himself that Spike was a fickle demon, that he couldn’t love as strongly as a human, that he’d get over Xander and move on with a minimum of upset.  He laid down beside the vampire, on his side and facing him, earning himself an almost smile.

“How can you look at me like that when I broke your heart?”  Frown.  “Never mind.”

Xander ran his fingers over Spike’s knuckles, thinking about him slicing his hand up as he battered the framed portrait.  The skin was perfect thanks to the magical qualities of vampiric healing; shame it didn’t work as well on emotional devastation.  He recognised the Spike of old in the fact that he’d taken the photograph for himself – it was a fair bet that Willow simply wondered where the hell it had gone.  Spike was looking at him again, simply unable to concentrate on the book when Xander was so close, touching.  He was beautiful.  Even now.  Spike was always beautiful.

“Are you going to ask him?” Willow ’s voice interrupted his thoughts.

“Ask him?”

“If he minds you going out?”

“Umm…no.   No.  I’m not going anywhere.”

Xander offered to cook dinner, and Willow was surprised by Spike’s interest as soon as he headed for the kitchen.

“It’s become part of the ritual,” Xander explained.  “We decide what we want, then I cook and he watches, sometimes he even helps.”

“So, he eats with you?”

“Every evening.  He has his blood but – and this seems weird – he seems to enjoy my food more.”

“Maybe it makes him feel more a part of your life.  The sharing of food has always symbolised friendship and…”

“You think he thinks that rationally?”

“I’m not saying he thinks it, just feels it.  And he obviously wants to do everything with you.”

Willow realised what she’d just said and blushed as Xander frowned at her.

“I can’t stop you thinking it but if you ask it I’m outta here.”

“I wasn’t…I mean I didn’t…  What are you going to cook?”

“Nice swerve.  Spike!”  The vampire appeared in the doorway.  “What would you like to eat?”  Spike made two definite gestures and Xander nodded his understanding.  “Okay, come and help.”

“So, what’s…” Willow repeated the gestures.

“That’s chicken risotto.  First thing I made him.  Comfort food.”

Willow smiled and made the gestures again, trying to see the obfuscated association.

“Progress has been made,” she grinned.  “Looks like he’s getting you pretty well trained.”

Xander chuckled and began to find the ingredients for the meal.

“He always asks for the same thing; I think he’d live on it if he could.  He used to be like that though, do you remember?  He’d get hooked on something and eat it until he got sick of it.”

“How much of what you say to him does he understand?”

“I’m never sure.  Unless he obviously doesn’t understand and then it’s…well, obvious.  I think he often gets the sense of what I say rather than understanding every word.  And sometimes it’s the tone of voice he responds to.  But he’s learning fast.  He does learn fast.”

“He’s always been smart,” Willow agreed with an affectionate smile that reflected her own private memories of the vampire.

Xander’s mind had side-stepped.  He needed to share what his instincts had been shouting at him for days.

“They weren’t attempting to train demons,” he said quietly.

“What then?” Willow asked with immediate and intense interest.

“They were enjoying themselves.  Payback.”

Willow opened her mouth to argue the point, but found no words.


As they ate Willow broached the difficult subject of Buffy.

“She didn’t mean to scare him.”

“I know that,” Xander sighed.  “I overreacted.  But I have to be so careful.  If he’d got that door open…”  Xander shuddered.

“Do you want her to stay away now?  Because I’ve been thinking along the lines of some reaction, better than no reaction.”

“But if it’s an adverse reaction…”

“If I were you I’d take a chance.  Maybe if she stirs him up he’ll start remembering, and once he starts remembering he’ll be a little more…Spike.”

“Yeah, I see all that, but he’s been so scared, and I came here to help him feel better not worse.”

“Can you ask him if he’d be prepared to have Buffy here?  Keep telling him she won’t hurt him, and that we’ll always be here to look after him.”  Willow saw by Xander’s face the way this was going and forestalled him.  “Think about it.  Don’t ask him now anyway, let him enjoy his food.  This is really good, by the way.”

“Swerve, swerve, swerve,” Xander murmured to himself.

“Swerve, swerve, swerve,” Willow echoed, and he glanced at her with a weary smile.


The evening was, on the surface, stress-free and pleasant.  Xander didn’t ask Spike about Buffy, but the pros and cons were constantly churning over in his mind.  Willow brought out a book of Victorian horror stories and read to them, remembering what Xander had said to her about Spike’s level of understanding and putting as much expression in her voice as possible to convey the meaning; Spike curled up to Xander on the sofa, listening intently, taking the human’s hand at the first sign of true creepiness and forgetting to let it go again when the moment had passed.  It made such a sweet picture, Willow only wished she could have witnessed it when the vampire was healthy and Xander hadn’t been made hostile and brittle and detached by the loss he’d never come to terms with.

Three stories and hot chocolate later, Xander prepared to clean Spike’s wounds and change the dressings.

“Still want me to see?” Willow asked doubtfully, chary after the warnings of what to expect.

“You don’t sound like you want to.”

“I don’t  But if I’m going to explain to Giles…”

Xander nodded at her grim face and took a deep breath as he steeled himself for the awful task.


When Xander had finished treating Spike and had helped him back into his t-shirt and slippers he went looking for Willow.  She was staring blindly at the dining room wall, face white and tense.  Xander touched her shoulder and she turned easily to him, letting herself be drawn close and held.

“Xander…   I never imagined…”

“How could you?”

“I’m so – so – so angry.  They took him from me.  Four-and-a-half years he spent in this house with me, and we got along and looked out for each other and kept each other safe and then someone came along and just – just took him away.”  Willow shrugged away from Xander and collapsed into a chair at the table.  “How long before he gave up on us rescuing him?  D’you think he knew we were trying to find him?”  Xander shrugged; Spike might’ve made plenty of noise about what the Scoobies owed him, but privately he’d expected nothing.  Willow didn’t need to hear that.  “I couldn’t tell you when he disappeared.  It was like you’d entrusted me with him and I’d let you down.  I tried to tell myself that he’d got fed up with me and left, but in my heart I knew it wasn’t as simple as that.  I have crystals under enchantment that are dedicated to each of my friends, and while they glow I know you’re on this plain.  Spike’s crystal told me he was still as alive as he ever was, but a locator spell couldn’t find him.  So, he was being shielded by other magic, and I thought that he was under protection because he’d managed to get the chip removed and didn’t want Buffy to find him because she’d always said she’d stake him.  But I never told Buffy what I suspected and we kept looking.  I knew I’d be able to protect him if we found him – protect them from each other if the chip was gone – and we kept looking.”

“These other watchers, the rogue watchers, they could have cast a spell to shield his presence?”

Willow nodded, a slow movement weighed down by remorse.

“Xander…   After…after what the Initiative did to him before, he must have been so scared.”

“Don’t,” Xander turned away, trying to evade the thought.

“He’s a fighter, a survivor, resilient physically and mentally.  How far did it go before he lost his mind?”

“I try not to think about it.”

“And I can’t stop.  Ever since you told me what happened to him I haven’t been able to stop.”

“None of this is your fault, Wills.”

“I could have done more.”  Xander put a hand on Willow’s shoulder and squeezed.  He empathised but had no words to make it better.  “I thought tonight, the three of us together, it would be okay, maybe I’d see him remember something or just be comfortable with me because – well, because it’s me.  I used to read to him.  You wouldn’t have known that, no-one else did.  I’d read to him and we’d discuss the book – he’s really well-educated, despite what he’d have us believe – and there were times we’d end up talking all night.  I wasn’t expecting anything like that tonight, but I hoped for something…  Just something, anything.  But he doesn’t know me.”

“He doesn’t know me either,” Xander reminded her.  “Not as Xander.”

Willow sank forward until her forehead rested against the table top.

“You feel old?  I feel old.  Don’t think I’m gonna get to thirty.”

“Oh, yeah.  Last couple of weeks, I’m older than Spike ever was.  Older than Deadboy, throw in Dracula, Darla, the Master, you name it and I can outstrip them all chronologically.”

“Take him up to bed.  I’ll see you in the morning.”

“If you want company…”

“No.  I think I’d prefer to be alone.”


The bedroom served as a haven and, lying in the barely-lit murk, Spike wrapped around him and rumbling away, it was possible for Xander to shut away troubled thoughts about the slayer and worries which now included Willow’s frame of mind.

“You okay, Spike?”  Nod.  “You gonna remember what I said about going outside?  Never in the light?”  Nod.  “’Cause I think we scared each other pretty well today.”  Nod.

A long moment of quiet ensued, and Spike’s purr began to fade as he drifted toward sleep.  When Xander spoke again it was in a soft tone, voice filled with painful realisation.

“I can’t live without you.”  I love you and…  “I can’t live without you.”