Repossession by Lazuli Kat



Chapter 8

Three days of relative calm followed and everything felt better – whether it actually was better was something that continually affected Xander’s peace of mind.  He spoke to Giles, talked about Spike’s lack of healing; it was great to talk to his father-figure, and the conversation drifted far from the subject at hand as five years of catching up happened, but he came away no wiser as to helping his vampire.  He spoke to Patrick, asked him to find out about the renovation work that had disturbed Spike so much when they were at home.  Patrick did as he was asked and Xander discovered he had another week to kill – not that staying with Willow had proved difficult, but it wasn’t home.  Even with the support here, Spike and he were happier alone together, and the moment Patrick phoned to confirm the noise had stopped they’d be in the Merc and heading back.

On the evening of the fourth day Xander finally got an answer to the question that plagued him.  It proved the adage that ignorance is bliss.

The atmosphere was light and positively fluffy, the girls regaling Xander with some of the things Spike had got up to in his absence (although he mentally noted that the first year of their separation was never mentioned).  The two-month battle against a species of demon who melted and reformed when injured, making them like a villainous strain of Jell-O, and Spike’s ultimately successful way of dealing with them by stamping around in them like they were puddles, apparently the result of a fit of pique as opposed to careful thought, but it had worked and they’d been destroyed.  The plague of vampire frogs he’d created as a result of him meddling with a spell of Willows she’d ‘carelessly’ left locked, double-locked, treble-locked away but dangerously in the proximity of the nosy vampire.  The time he’d received a standing ovation at the local karaoke bar with a suitably raucous punk version of I Will Survive, and no, he didn’t pick the song himself, Dawn reassured Xander with a wicked grin.

Spike had been, as usual, stretched out on the sheepskin with his books, and Xander noticed the continual flexing of his left hand.  Eventually Spike had sat up, shaking and scratching at the bothersome appendage before coming to Xander and offering it to him.

“What’s wrong?”  Xander took a look but saw nothing.  “Sore?”  Nod.  “Like the other sore places?”  Shake.  Spike jabbed a finger at Xander’s arm.  “Sharp?”  Nod.

Willow brought a stronger light and they studied Spike’s hand, Xander running his fingers lightly over the area indicated until he felt the tiniest point.

“Have you found something?”

“Yes, but…”  He looked at Spike.  “This is going to hurt.”  Nod.

Xander pressed hard at the area surrounding the point, and gradually a splinter broke through the skin in a bead of blood.

“I’ve got some tweezers,” Buffy offered.

“Don’t worry, I’ve taken hundreds of these out of my own hands,” Xander said before he brought Spike’s hand to his mouth, fastening over the heel, cheeks caving in and jaw working as he sucked and chewed the offending object out.

The women watched as Spike folded his hand around Xander’s face, touching him lovingly despite the discomfort he was creating.  Eventually Xander’s head came up and he removed the shard of wood from his tongue with finger and thumb, dropping it into Willow’s waiting palm, letting her take it and study it.

“Where the hell did you pick that up?” Xander asked as he stared around the room where Spike spent virtually every waking hour.  There was no unfinished wood; Xander sent Dawn to check the kitchen and she soon came back with a shake of the head.

“This is old wood,” Willow said slowly.  “It isn’t a fresh splinter he got here.  It’s been…”

“In him?  It’s been inside him?  All this time?  That’s…that’s…”

“Incredibly dangerous for a vampire, yes.  Xander, stay calm.”

Willow gestured to Spike with her head and Xander played at being calm.

“That would stop him healing, wouldn’t it?” Buffy asked.

“Maybe.  And if there were more—

There was a sudden shock of silence.  Xander reminded himself to breathe before he began to run his hands over Spike’s arms, ignoring the vampire’s look of surprise, pressing hard, finding a second splinter in the centre of a scar just below the right elbow and repeating his earlier actions until he drew his head back with a long wooden sliver between his teeth.  This time Spike flinched in pain and Xander spat the wood away, leaning down and kissing the damaged skin, mindlessly licking the blood away.  Buffy deliberately turned her back and wandered to her seat.

Willow stared suspiciously at the scrap of wood in her hand, knowing she’d have to test it: old watcher trick, wood soaked in holy water.  Humans were so good at causing pain.

“Xander, if he’s full of splinters…” Dawn began nervously.

“One could get to his heart, I know,” Xander murmured against the cool skin.  “What do we do?”

“I think we have to let them work their own way out,” Willow said decisively.

“What if they work in not out?”  Xander’s head came up and he refocused on Spike’s hand, lifting it to kiss better for his vampire.  There was no possible way to answer that kindly, so Willow didn’t even try, just went back to her armchair and drained her wineglass.  Dawn followed, and the women sat in silence, processing the new information, trying not to watch where Spike had leant forward to rest his brow against Xander’s bowed head, the expression of love on his face echoed on Xander’s.  They didn’t attempt to fool themselves: if a splinter killed Spike, the very same scrap of wood would destroy Xander.

Xander was up with Spike for most of that night.  He spent the time single-mindedly searching for splinters, finding many, face becoming bloody as he burrowed around wounds to remove them.  It came to a point when Spike was so sore he had to stop the human, shaking his head continuously as Xander tried to explain why this had to be done, and why now.  At four-ten Xander was kneeling by the tub and cursing himself for his heavy-handedness as Spike disappeared under milky water to ease his pain and wash away too much blood.

The people who had taken Spike, the people who had brutalised him, destroyed his mind, had always intended to kill him, and they’d chosen a slow and agonising method.  Were they watching?  Had they released and followed him?  Xander had to know, and he believed only one person could tell him.  Leaving Spike he went and found Willow’s address book, looking for a cell phone number.




“Xander?”  Xander found himself speechless, but the simple words of the vampire pressed the right buttons.  “You’re upset about Spike.  Talk to me.”

And Xander did: talked, ranted, sobbed his way through everything that had happened, hating yet needing the sympathetic murmurings and the right noises that Angel was so good at making.  But even Angel didn’t have an appropriate platitude for the splinters.

“He must be in such pain,” he said, his voice faint and shocked.

“I know, I know,” Xander wept.  “What do I do, Angel?  How do I help him?”

“I think you’re doing it.”

“There must be more.”

“Why?  Why do you believe you’re getting this wrong?”

“Because I’m Xander, I’ve always been the stupid one, the worthless one, I’m still the fucking Zeppo, I get everything wrong.”

“No!” Angel thundered, and Xander actually took a step away from the presence on the phone.  “No, Xander,” Angel continued, lightly now.  “No.”

“I…I…  Okay,” Xander replied breathlessly.

“Now, listen…  Do you want me there?”




“What difference will it make?”



“Doing what needs to be done.”

“I guess.”

“We don’t guess, we know.  We also know that you’re not being watched and that no-one followed Spike when he was released.”

“We do?”

“We do.”

“And they’re all…the rogue watchers, the Initiative…”

“The few that are left are powerless.  But I’ll be keeping an eye on them.”


“You don’t have to thank me.”

“I feel like I’m going crazy.  What happens to Spike if I go crazy?”

“That’s when Spike will look after you.  He’s good with crazy people.”

“God, it has to get this bad for you to crack a joke,” Xander half-laughed, half-cried.

“Talk to me again, Xander.  I’ll always be here for you.  You’re family.”

“I – I…”

“Go back to him now.  Goodnight.”

Xander was left staring at the phone in amazement.  Family?  Did Angel…  Family?  What had Spike said to his grand-sire about him?  Spike!

Xander clumsily hung up the receiver and took the stairs three at a time, hurtling into the bathroom to find Spike a happy mass of shampoo suds.  Vampire pavlova bizarrely crossed his mind and he shook it away.

“Need a hand with that?”  The heap of frothy white nodded and Xander laughed, scooping handfuls of foam and rinsing them away.  “You better lie down again.”  Spike slid under the water and Xander cleared the suds to the other end of the tub before touching a shoulder to bring the vampire back up.  He carefully checked Spike’s wounds, accepting it had been ridiculous to hope that there’d be some spurt of healing now that a handful of splinters were removed.

“I hurt you earlier.  I’m sorry.  I…”  Spike caught his hand and pressed his brow to it.  “I’m glad you understand why.  I promise I’m gonna be calmer from now on.  I promise.”

Xander did feel calmer.  Was it talking to Angel in particular?  Or simply having the chance to unguardedly pour out his anguish?  Was it this peculiar feeling of not being so alone?  Family.  He’d turned his frequently beaten back on his own flesh and blood, but apparently had family on Spike’s side.  More family.  He thought of Patrick, Rafe and Jake and smiled.  He thought of Drusilla and shivered.  Oh, great.  Family.