Repossession by Lazuli Kat



Chapter 9

Xander found the drawing pad and pencils, laying down on the floor with Spike, receiving the smiliest almost-smile yet as he wriggled his way onto the sheepskin with the vampire.  He took a pencil for himself and gave one to Spike, who watched with his usual interest in any and all things Xanderesque as the human wrote his name on a blank page.

“Can you do that?”  Spike thought, studied the letters, copied them in as close a hand to Xander’s scrawl as he possibly could.  “Can you write the word without copying the way it’s written?”  Frown.  “It’s just that you didn’t used to write like me.  Your writing was…elegant, refined.  More…”  Xander tried to imitate Spike’s beautiful script.  Spike tried to imitate Xander’s imitation.  Xander hid his disappointment and smiled, writing Willow’s name beneath his and Spike’s.  “Recognise that name?  Can you read that name?”  Shake.  “Okay.  Can you…” Xander began thoughtfully, “…can you draw me something?”  Xander drew a quick sketch of a chair.  Then a cat.  A flower.  He put his pencil down and nodded at Spike, who withdrew into deep thought.  Willow wandered over and peered at the pad.

“He can’t remember how to write?”


“Didn’t take any chances, did they?”


“I think it was deliberate.  Choosing Spike.  They knew he was a part of us and…and I don’t know what.”

“The whole bad dead/undead fraternisation thing?”

“Or did they do this to a Master to convey a message to the lesser vampires?”

“Whatever.  They paid,” Xander muttered grimly.

“Was that Angel you spoke to in the night?”

Xander hesitated.

“Did I wake you up?”

“Haven’t been sleeping too well anyway.”

Another hesitation.

“Yeah.  That was Angel.”

Willow nodded sagely, but surprised Xander as he braced himself for the inquisition.

“Spike could draw, you know.”  She went to the dresser and pulled out an A5 notebook, handing it to Xander as he rolled and sat up.  “I found this between the sofa cushions after he went missing.”

Xander took the notebook and slowly flicked through it.  The first few sketches were of the people around him at the time – several of Dawn and Willow, a couple of Buffy – then they went further into his memory.  Giles, Angel, Drusilla, a few faces that Xander didn’t recognise, but the majority were of Xander himself.

“These are really good.”

“If he’d tried to make a go of it as an artist as opposed to a poet he might have been quite successful.”

“You heard his poems?”

“After pride had become a charade for him.”


“When he was in a particularly silly mood one night.  He shared, we laughed until we cried.  He could be so…”  Willow shrugged sadly and walked away.

“Did he really change so much?  After I went?”

Willow stopped, pausing before she turned back.

“That’s a pretty stupid question, Xander.  Destroy a man’s foundations and expect him not to fall?”  She gave a ladylike snort, shook her head and left the room.

Yes, that was a fair assessment.  He was pretty stupid.  Vastly stupid.  Infinitely stu—  Xander had turned back to Spike, seen what was on the paper before him.  He had drawn Xander, which was almost to be expected, but – open expression, laughter in the eyes, longer hair, general lack of heartache – it was the younger Xander, the one that Spike had fallen in love with.

“Willow!  Willow!”

Willow raced back into the room.

“What?  What’s happened?”


“It’s you.  He was always going to draw you.”

Look.  That isn’t the face I see in the mirror.  I haven’t seen that Xander for years.”

“Oh, Goddess…” Willow whispered.  “He remembers you.  He remembers.”


William didn’t understand the fuss, and he kept missing the point when they tried to explain.  It was a likeness of Master which, if he was honest, did no justice to the inner goodness that shone from him but could not be captured by such primitive means and inadequate ability.  Growing tired of the constant questioning and reasoning he very deliberately put down the pencil, pushed the pad away, and turned so he could take  Master’s hand and press it to his brow.

“You want me to shut up about this?”  Nod.  “Okay.”

William slumped onto his back and stretched, ignoring the prickly feel of his wounds and the smell of blood as the tiny amount of healing was undone.  He flopped a forearm across his eyes and lost himself in the joy of listening to Master’s heartbeat.

Xander moved beside him and made himself comfortable, stretching out on his side, head leant on an extended arm, other hand resting gently on Spike’s stomach and stroking.

“It’s a start, y’know.  You’ll remember.  It’ll all come back and…”  ‘Your loss, Xander.  Fuck you!’   “It’s a   start.”

Xander heard Buffy and Dawn come into the house a little later; Spike must have heard too and the lack of reaction was satisfying.  He heard Willow regaling them with the news about the relevance of the sketch Spike had drawn, and he could discern Dawn’s enthusiastic response; nothing from Buffy at all.  Her first words were delivered as she entered and left the living room in one quick movement.

“Oh…get a room.”

Xander felt Spike tense under his hand and was so tempted to follow Buffy’s advice he was mentally packing.  But then Dawn bounced in, sinking onto the carpet beside Xander and reaching over to take the drawing pad.  She leant it on Xander’s hip and studied the portrait.

“That’s you…what?  Twenty-two, twenty-three?”

“Something like that.”

“Hi, Spike.”  No response.  Xander prodded and Spike’s fingers gave a slow wave.  “Think he’s listening?”

“I have no idea,” Xander admitted.

“Spike, this picture is really good.  Can I keep it?”  Spike raised his arm and peered at Dawn as if he couldn’t believe his ears.  “Can I?  If Xander doesn’t want it?  Do you want it, Xander?”

“No, you have it.  It just reminds me of how old I look now and how much older still I actually feel.”

“Can I see?”  That was Buffy, standing over them.  Spike gave a shiver.

“Dawnie, take it away.”  Dawn looked at Xander curiously, trying to figure out if the ‘it’ he referred to was the picture or her sister.  But she stood and guided Buffy to the sofa, where they sat and appreciated the sketch.  Xander leant in a little closer to Spike and dropped his voice so that only the vampire would hear.  “Did you want me to keep it?”  Shake.  “Good.  I don’t want to look at me and you…  Well, you have the real thing if you want to do any looking.”  The smile in Spike’s eyes died and his attention darted past Xander.

“Xander,” Buffy said, and it was obvious from the tone that it wasn’t the first time she’d tried to catch his attention.

“Buffy,” he acknowledged without looking round.

“What did Angel say?”

Xander bridled; why had Willow told her?

“About Spike?  Or were you hoping for something a little more personal?”

Mmm…the sweet sound of a slayer gritting her teeth.

“Does he think there’s any way of helping Spike?”

“He thinks I’m doing just fine.”

“Oh.  Good.”

“You sound surprised.”

“Just hoped he’d be more help.  Two-hundred-and-fifty years of experience and you’d think he’d be able to offer more than keep up the good work.”

“He did help.  He was very…supportive.”


“Supportive.  Very.”  Xander knew without seeing Buffy’s face exactly what her expression would be, and she wasn’t too impressed with his about-face over Angel.  To irritate her more he stroked Spike’s cheek with the back of his fingers.  “I think we’re going to see a reconciliation.”  It was all he could do to keep the laughter from his voice.

“Okay.  That’s…  Dawn, shall we go pick up the pizzas?”

“I thought they were delivering.”

“No, we’re collecting.”


“You can drive.”

The ultimate bribe: Dawn had the car keys in her hand and was out the door in a second.

“Where’s Dawn going?” Willow asked as she entered the living room with a tray of coffee.


“I thought…”

“No, we’re collecting.  We’ll be ten minutes.”

“Ice cream too.”

“Fifteen minutes.”

Xander listened for Buffy to leave but she walked over to him and crouched.  Spike was up and away before Xander was aware of him moving.

“That was clever,” he groused as he rolled onto his back and propped himself up on his elbows.  “I thought the idea was for you to keep your distance?”

“Xander…  Xander, we can understand if you’re lonely, but this isn’t right.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You don’t need him, Xander.

“This isn’t about me needing him, I’m taking care of him.”

“And you shouldn’t feel you have to.  Let the past go and find someone you can have a normal relationship with.  A decent, sane, uncomplicated female.  Or a decent, sane, uncomplicated male, who cares, happy is all.”

She patted his shoulder and left, Xander watching her open-mouthed yet speechless.

“Spike went up to your room,” Willow told him in her best changing-the-subject tone.

“Did you hear that?”

“I tried hard not to,” she admitted.

Xander sprang to his feet and headed for the door; Willow caught his arm and stopped him as he passed her.

“What?”  Xander heard the harshness in his voice and felt guilty for firing it at his old friend.  “I’m sorry.  What did you want to say?”

Willow ran her hand up and down Xander’s arm a few times, making contact.

“I think she’s frightened you’ll let yourself be trapped in an impossible situation.  If Spike doesn’t get better you may be taking care of him like this for the rest of your life.”


“You deserve…more.”

“You were going to say better.  I deserve better.”  He shook his head.  “No, I don’t.  What happened to Spike is my fault.”

“No, Xander, that’s ridiculous.”


“Not even indirectly.”

“I owe him.  You’ve reminded me of that time and again since I’ve been here.”

“Not to the exclusion of your own happiness.”

“You think Buffy’s right then?  I should, what?  Dump Spike on who?  Angel, maybe?  Forget him and just find this mythical decent, sane female?”

“Or male,” Willow said apologetically and adorably.  It knocked the last of the anger out of Xander, leaving him defenceless.  Deep sigh and he turned away, raking his fingers through his hair.

“I’m not gay.  I know what Buffy thinks and it’s not as clear cut as that.  I don’t think I’m anything in particular.  Truth is I’ve always been so damn needy I perk up if anyone shows me any attention.  But this thing with Spike…”  Was so hard to put into words, and Xander’s voice faded to nothing.

“Can I ask…  Have you been alone all this time?”

Xander nodded.

“It’s not like I haven’t had people interested in me – women and men – but I don’t want any part of it.  I can’t help comparing them to Spike, and when I do that…  They don’t stand a chance.  How could anyone match up to him?  And…and…”


“I…  I’ve always been…”

Willow waited for a full minute for Xander to continue before offering a gentle prod.

“You’ve been…?”


“Faithful to him?”

Xander nodded again, sad eyes exposing his vulnerability as he waited for kindly-delivered ridicule.


“Oh, no, Xander, no.”

“It’s not primarily a sexual thing, loving Spike.  But I always wanted him, and it’s tough, knowing I can never have him now.”

“This Spike…”

“No.  I’ll never have my Spike, the Spike I – I burn for.  And I do burn.  Still.  For the man I fell in love with.  Inside I burn.  Wanting him…consumes me.”

Willow could feel Xander’s misery as if it were a living thing, the depression a solid mantle pressing over him, slowly and deliberately crushing his already fragile spirit.

“Is that why you left?”

“I was so scared of how I felt.  Just a stupid kid who didn’t understand about holding onto the most precious thing in his life, frightened that if I let anything start it wouldn’t be long before he got bored with me and I couldn’t…I just couldn’t…  I couldn’t have him, then not have him.  I was obsessed with him.  I thought that if I didn’t get out then I would be lost in him forever.  Didn’t take me long to realise it was too late.  Maybe it was always going to be too late, from the minute I invited him into my apartment and him staying for a couple of weeks turned into a couple of years.  I admired him for it, for staying.  A man with such a fierce streak of independence allowing himself to be dependent.  It was…  What if it’s all gone for good?  Those amazing qualities.  The intellect, the humour, the bravado?  That wonderful sense of the absurd.  Remember his eyes?  The mischief there?  I loved…  I loved his eyes.  I used to see myself in his eyes.”  Xander paused, taking in a few sharp breaths, and when he spoke again the quiet desperation in his voice was enough to make Willow shudder.

“I’ve been lost for so long, Willow.  Pretending I was okay, that I’d got over him enough to have a life, but I’ve been lost without him, afraid to look at myself and what I’ve become: this – this…empty shell.  And now I have some insubstantial image of him to care for.  It’s like another punishment, as if the past five years haven’t been hard enough.  To have this person who is but isn’t Spike.  I don’t deny I love him, I do love him, but he’s…he’s…  He isn’t my Spike.  He isn’t the Spike I see when I close my eyes, he isn’t the Spike I loved until I went crazy with it.  He isn’t the Spike who made me light up inside when I heard his key in the lock, he isn’t the Spike who made me feel good enough, he isn’t the Spike who…who…  He loved me.  He knew me and made me good enough and he loved me.  I need him so badly, I need him and I can’t…  I’m empty without him and I can’t…”

“Xander,” Willow said, her voice full of compassion.  She reached up and touched her fingers to his face.  “You’re crying.”

“Am I?”  Willow pulled Xander to her with a strength he didn’t know she possessed, trying to hold the pieces together as he finally began to shatter.  He buried his face in her hair and released the bitterest truth.  “What am I going to do?  What do I do?  I’ve lost him forever, Wills, I’m never going to love anyone like that again.  I’ve lost him and I can’t do this and I don’t want to hurt anymore.  I’d rather be dead.”

“No,” Willow whispered, as she cradled him and cried too.  “Don’t say that, never say that.  We’ll find a way, I promise, we’ll make him well, give you your Spike back, I promise.  Please, Xander, please don’t give up.”

An uncertain touch to her shoulder made Willow jump, and she forced Xander’s head up, making him look to where Spike was standing, anxiously observing.

“Hey,” Xander croaked, wiping his face.  “Everything’s okay.  I’ve just been…”  Xander’s voice disappeared completely as the tears refused to cease, and he lowered his head again, not wanting Spike to see this, to be distressed.  But Spike showed nothing, just looked coolly at Willow until she stepped back, giving him clear access to Xander.  He took advantage of it immediately, pulling Xander into his arms with an air of possessiveness that Willow had no wish to interfere with, and she moved away to lean against the wall, emotionally drained.  Xander let himself be comforted, feeling the urgency in the vampire’s embrace as cold hands fussed and caressed, cold hands that left his skin burning wherever they touched.  He’d always loved Spike’s skin, cool and smooth, always wanted to run his fingers over it without fear or inhibition.  Turning his face he kissed Spike’s neck, and it was both wonderfully tormenting and soothing so he did it again and again, working up to his face, fighting shy of his mouth because he knew if he really kissed Spike once he wouldn’t be able to stop and he’d have to pretend and take him away and use him and fuck him until he loathed himself. He took the beautiful face in his hands and met the stunning blue eyes that were misted over in concern and sympathy for him.

“Spike…  Spike, please come back to me.  Forgive me and come back.  I want…I want you to love me.  I want you to tell me.  I want to hear you…”

A fresh wave of tears took his voice and Spike held him with such love and care, returning his kisses for the first time, lips ghosting over his temple and cheek.


So intense was the moment that no-one registered Buffy and Dawn coming back in, Buffy leading the way and dropping the pizza boxes onto the coffee table, barely glancing at Xander and Spike before tutting to herself as she turned away and took off her coat.

“Hey, Xander, think you got a little vampire there on your face.”

“Buffy!” Dawn snapped.

Buffy turned back sharply, saw in quick succession her sister’s pale face, Willow propped against the wall, shaking as she wept, and the fact that this was Spike comforting Xander.

“Xander?” Buffy whispered.

“Back off.”  The hoarse direction was given without aggression, purely with exhaustion and misery.  “Can’t you ever just back off?”

“Xander?” she said again, sounding like a lost twelve-year-old.  “What happened?  Was it me?”  No answer.  “I’m so sorry, Xander, I didn’t…”

Buffy began to cross the room, intent on making amends.  Two more steps and Dawn squeaked in surprise as Spike put himself between the slayer and Xander, shaking his head painfully as he transformed into full game face.

“Xander, he’s turned,” Willow called urgently, and Xander automatically grabbed Spike around the waist, pulling him back against his body.  At that moment Xander knew that if Spike had been on top form he’d have let him go and stood back to watch the carnage; it was as good a sign as any that he had to get out, and right now.  He clumsily pulled Spike around and rubbed the demon’s facial ridges.

“Change,” he urged, still breathless from crying.  “Change, Spike, put the face away.  C’mon, sweetheart, do it for Xander.”  Another grimace of pain and the human façade was restored.  “Right, good.  Go and get in the car.”


“No, Dawn.”

“Can I…”

“No!”  Xander pushed Spike in the direction of the door.  “Spike, car, now!” he shouted, and the vampire jerked back in surprise before acknowledging the command with a dip of the head and leaving the room.  Wiping his face on his sleeve, Xander went to Willow, squeezing her shoulder momentarily.  “Don’t wait up.”

Willow pursued Xander into the hall, watching unhappily as he grabbed his coat and the duster from the rack and sped through into the garage.  She heard the mechanism for the garage door hum into action, and thirty seconds later the virtually inaudible growl of the Mercedes’ engine took Xander away from her.  In her mind she willed him not to drive into a wall.


An hour later Xander pulled into a woodland clearing and parked up, sitting staring into the night, hands still gripping the steering wheel as he kept a firm hold on the familiar.  He’d remembered what Angel had said about Spike taking care of him when he went crazy, and it hadn’t been the joke he’d taken it as.  What he’d lost as he fell apart, Spike had found.  He’d felt the vampire’s protectiveness, and even if it was pure instinct he’d appreciated it and loved Spike even more for it.  As wary as the vampire was of the slayer vibes he’d stood up to Buffy, and at that point it had been fearlessly.

“Spike?”  The vampire turned in his seat to face him.  “It hurt when you changed, didn’t it?  When your face changed?”  Nod.  “Was it…”  How did he put this?  He held up one finger.  “Did it hurt physically?  Like the wounds on your back.”  Two fingers.  “Or did it hurt emotionally?  Inside, making you feel bad because it was something you shouldn’t do.”  Spike thought.  Held up one, then two fingers.  “Both?”  Maybe the physical was because of the splinters, the second through conditioning?  “Can you do it for me now?  Will it still hurt inside if you’re doing it because I want you to?”

There was a long pause and, just when Xander was convinced that Spike couldn’t change without the stimulus Buffy had provided, the vampire slid into game face, flinching once again at the physical pain.

“Hurt as much?”  One finger.  That was an improvement.  “Does it feel good once you’ve changed though?  Do you feel stronger?”  Shake.  “Want to change back?”  Nod.  “Well, that’s up to you, you don’t need my permission.”  The demon slipped away and Spike reached out to take Xander’s hand, bringing it to his face, wanting Xander to touch as he had at the house.  Turning to get comfortable, Xander did as he was bidden, lovingly stroking and watching Spike’s contentment, feeling the vibration of the purr rather hearing it.

“I’m sorry about…back there.  I was upset.”  Understatement of the year there, Harris.  “You were good, you helped me.  Thank you.”  Brow to hand.  “You don’t have to thank me for thanking you.”  A finger under Spike’s chin brought his face up.  “Spike…  Do you understand what death is?  Killing is?  It’s like being asleep and never waking up again.”  Panicked eyes.  “Not for you, I don’t mean for you, you’re safe, you have to trust me and believe you’re safe.”  Eventual nod.  “I want to know how you feel.  About Buffy.  Spike, would you kill Buffy?”  Spike touched Xander’s chest.  “For me?  You’d kill her for me?”  Nod.  “You know I don’t want you to, don’t you?”  Nod.  “So she’s safe with you?”  Rock.  “Providing she doesn’t hurt me?”  Reluctant nod.  Xander smiled at the vampire’s intrinsic desire to dispose of a slayer, but was glad it was controllable: despite his earlier feelings he needed to know that Buffy was safe.

It was the early hours before they re-entered Willow’s house, grateful that the lights were out and all was silent: Xander had worried about walking in to find a reception committee complete with cloying concern and the kind of hypocritical platitudes that would tempt him to unleash his temper if not his vampire.  But they were able to warm up a couple of bags of blood then creep into their room without a post-mortem of the evening.

Xander flopped onto his back, taking a deep breath and stretching out across the mattress, trying to remember why coming here had been such a great idea.  Spike stalked up from the foot of the bed on hands and knees before inelegantly collapsing on Xander’s chest.  Oh, yeah, that was it.  Vampire, noise, misery, escape.

“Home soon,” he told Spike.  “Can’t take much more of this.”  He shuddered as Spike’s chilly hand found its way under his clothes and onto his stomach.  “There are better places with bigger warmth.  Try getting into bed.”  Spike looked appealingly up at Xander.  “I know you’re comfortable there now but you’re getting into bed.  Me too.  Move.”

Xander fell asleep quickly, missing the apologetic tap on the door and the way it opened a sliver.  Spike leant up protectively over Xander.  The door opened a little further and Willow was silhouetted against the warm glow from the hallway.

“Can I come in?”

Spike reached over and switched on the bedside lamp, supplementing the dim light from the lamp on the dresser.  Xander murmured in his sleep and turned away from the sudden glare and toward the vampire, throwing his arm around the thin body and re-settling.  Spike waited a moment then nodded at Willow, who crept into the room and carefully sat on the edge of the bed, smiling at Spike.

“I used to do this sometimes when you lived here.  I’d have something on my mind, and you’d be getting in from your nightly wanderings and you’d come in here and I’d wait until you were in bed and then I’d come in and get under the covers here…”  She flipped back the bedclothes at the end of the bed.  “And we’d talk and between us we’d make things all right.”

Spike thought and gestured.  Willow impishly snuggled under the covers at Xander’s feet, a light prod encouraging him to move in Spike’s direction, which he obligingly did with another indistinguishable murmured comment.

“Was Xander okay tonight?  After you left?”  Nod.  “And you?  Are you okay?”  Nod.  “Do you have any memories of being here?  You lived here for a long time.”  Shake.  “I was really sad when you left.  Scared   too.”  Frown.  “Do you remember when you first went to…the, umm…the bad place?”  Spike tried hard for Willow but there was nothing.  Shake.  “I just wondered how they managed to…  Never mind.  You’re here, that’s good.  Even Buffy’s pleased, really, in this strange way she has.  She’s a bit over-protective of Xander, but you understand that, don’t you?  She wants to take care of Xander too.”  Nod.  Pause.  “You love him, don’t you?”  Frown.  “You know that feeling you get inside, like he’s the best thing in your life and you can’t live without him?  Love.”  Willow watched the light dawn in Spike’s eyes and realised she’d given him a name for what he was feeling.  He nodded and almost smiled before leaning down to bury his face in Xander’s hair.   “That’s good,” Willow sighed, content as she sank comfortably into the tangle of blankets.  “That’s good.”

Xander woke slowly, thick head perplexed by the messages his body was sending.  Hmm…go to bed with a single vampire, who seems to have either multiplied in the night, or become bendy enough to lie in my arms yet keep his feet warm on my ass at the same time.  Xander peeled himself away from Spike’s back and leant up to find Willow curled up at the end of the bed, half-in and half-out the covers, probably too warm because of the decidedly toasty state of her feet.  He started to giggle, trying to stifle the impulse which, naturally, only made it worse.  Willow stirred and lifted her head with a questioning if somewhat bleary look.

“Ten years ago I’d have paid for this,” Xander admitted, letting the giggles out as Willow took in this particular ménage a trois and narrowed her eyes at him.  Having figured out exactly where her feet were she dug her toes in sharply, making Xander jump and the laughter intensify, and now she joined in, trying to shush them both at the same time.

“You’ll wake Spike up.”

Too late.  At the sound of his name the vampire sat up and turned to face them, still very tired and delectably sorry for himself.

“Oh, God, not the pout!  I’m helpless against the pout!  Sorry for the noise, sorry,” Xander laughed as he put out an arm to bring the vampire back to him, happy as Spike immediately capitulated.  A few minutes of rearranging and they were all at the same end of the bed: Xander on his back, Spike sprawled over him, purring softly; Willow by her friend’s side, enjoying the rare closeness, caressing the vampire’s hand where it lay on Xander’s chest.

“This is what I came here for,” Xander admitted as he turned a contented smile on his friend.  “Thanks.”

Willow smiled back, giving him an affectionate kiss on the cheek under the watchful gaze of his vampire, before resting her head against the spare shoulder and closing her eyes.  They slept.

“So, how often did you end up in bed with my vampire, ya shameless slut?” Xander asked with a grin as they prepared breakfast at three in the afternoon.

“You know me: good-time witch who can’t say no,” Willow replied in kind.

There was a silence as Xander concentrated on the eggs as they cooked, but when he switched off the gas he inquisitively turned back to Willow.


“No, don’t even think it.”

“Okay.  Sorry.”

Willow went and linked her arm through Xander’s, speaking confidentially.

“You want the truth?  I think he was always faithful to you too.”