Repossession by Lazuli Kat



Chapter 10

The next evening they attempted the loving, grooving all-together Scooby family effort again, effort being the operative word as they struggled to keep the atmosphere party-cool.  With Spike glaring or ignoring, Buffy resenting or being irritatingly chipper, Xander brooding or…well…brooding, Willow and Dawn were secretly reminiscing that they’d had more relaxing times almost dying at the claws of vicious demons.

“Maybe me and Spike should go out somewhere, give you some time…”

“No, Xander,” Dawn protested, “can’t you please stay?  I don’t feel like I’ll be seeing much of you after this visit.”  The scowl she directed at her sister spoke volumes.

“What?” Buffy demanded.  “What have I done?  Nothing.”

“If you’d stop looking at Spike like you want to stake him it might help.”

“I am not!”  Buffy was outraged after receiving the evil eye from the vampire for an hour.  “But if you want to talk about looks, you could stop him staring at me.”

“He’s reading his book!”

“Right now he is, very conveniently.”

“Can we try to keep calm?” Willow asked hopelessly.

“I’m totally calm,” Buffy announced through clenched teeth.

“Calm,” agreed Dawn.

“Xander, why don’t you show Dawn the company brochure, she was asking about your apartment and isn’t there one like yours in there?”

Nice diversionary tactic from Willow, Xander conceded, and he reached beside the sofa for his briefcase, fishing in it for the promotional brochure he’d shown Willow the previous day.  Dawn scooted up close and Xander let her browse through the glossy pages, pointing out the show apartment that his home was modelled on, enjoying her enthusiasm and admiration.  Buffy came to sit alongside them, peering over Dawn’s shoulder.  There was a good photo of the Gang of Four.

“That’s Patrick, he’s the Managing Director, basically in charge of everything, he finds the business and stops the buck.  Jake is the Financial and Legal Director: self-explanatory.  Rafe is the Company Surveyor, he figures out what materials we need and what it’s going to cost to finance projects.”

“And you’re…?”

“Contracts Manager.  I have the cool job.  I get the buildings built.”

“He looks nice,” Dawn tapped a nail on Jake.  “Tell me, in passing, conversationally, if he’s married, attached, borne down with emotional baggage…”

“Jay’s great, you’d like him.  He’s been in one of those on-off relationships for a long time but I’m pretty sure it’s off right now.  Want me to check?  You could drive to us and stay over…”

“That’d be…”

“Which is the guy you were talking about the other day?” Buffy changed the subject before she freaked at the thought of Dawn driving off by herself.

“That’d be Pat.”  Xander pointed out his boss for a second time.

“Has Spike seen this?  What does he think of the competition?”  Buffy felt every eye in the room settle on her with varying degrees of hostility or disbelief.  “Hey, it was a joke, I promise it was a joke.  Xander, you used to be able to take a joke.”

“No, Buffy, I used to be the joke.”

“Well, I didn’t mean…  And can you stop Spike staring at me like that, he’s giving me the creeps.”

“No, I can’t, because I’m damn sure the feeling is reciprocal.”

Buffy got to her feet and took a step in the vampire’s direction.  He was instantly up on one knee, eyes flashing gold.

“Spike, stay there,” Xander said firmly.  “Back off, Buffy.”

“Yes, stay there and just…just look at your pictures.”  Sitting back on the one heel, Spike continued to stare, expression calm and icily cold.  “Am I the only one who misses the days of verbal abuse from him?  Doesn’t the silent treatment get to you?” Buffy asked Xander.

“Yes.  But it’s not like he can help it.  You think he wants to be like this?”

“No, of course not.  Makes me really edgy though.”

Buffy sat down again, polishing off a glass of wine and pouring herself another.

“Ignore him,” Willow said determinedly.  “And let’s…”

“How can I ignore him!” Buffy exploded, back on her feet again, and Xander was starting to get that need-to-do-something-about-it-right-now self-preservation tingle he’d developed through living in this God-forsaken town for so long.

“We’re getting out of here,” he told Willow as he turned to Spike.

Too late.  Buffy was striding over.

“Good idea.  Will you just totally fuck off, William.”

Spike had been preparing to defend himself as she’d approached but the moment that name was thrown at him his entire world became an explosion of excruciating memories, and he flew backwards, away from the torture, away from the slayer, crashing into the edge of the period radiator under the heavily draped window.  They watched with horror as agony froze his face, and he gradually keeled forward, sinking to the floor and into the position of submission.  Not a whimper, not a moan, when most would have howled in pain.  Blood flowers bloomed and grew on his back, soaking his shirt, scarlet rivulets trickling down his body and neck, dripping onto the carpet.  Xander approached in slow motion, afraid of both the damage and the withdrawal, and when he got close and whispered the vampire’s name, Spike’s blood-stained hand rose, trembling, as it pathetically gestured not to touch.


Xander thought the sound of crying was coming from Dawn, but he turned to see Buffy with tears streaming down her face.

“Stop it,” she begged Xander.  “Stop this now.”

“What do you want?” he asked coldly, hatred thickening his voice.

“Don’t let him suffer any more.”

“You want me—   Xander hurried from the room and came back with a stake from Willow’s ever-present supply.  “You could do it?”  He offered her the stake as Dawn screamed in protest.  “You could do it?” he repeated, challenging her.  Buffy was on her feet in less than a second and reaching for the stake; Xander snatched it back, the look in his eyes murderous.  “Yeah?  You wanna come through me, Buffy?”  The stake flipped in his hand and faced the slayer.  “You wanna try?  ‘Cause you’ll be so fucking surprised at what you find.”

There was a lengthy hiatus as they glared defiantly at one another, tension level in the room soaring.  Xander was ready, waiting…  His hand tightened on the stake. hoping.  But it came to absolutely nothing.  Buffy couldn’t suppress more tears and the hostility crumbled away.

“No,” Buffy whispered.   “No, Xander.”  To Xander’s surprise she sank back onto the sofa, defeated, despairing, face in hands as she wept.  “I can’t bear this.  If it can happen to him…”

“Is that what this is about?” Willow asked kindly as she sat beside Buffy and pulled her into an embrace.  “Your own fallibility?”

“He was so strong, he kept Dawn safe even when I couldn’t, when Angel wouldn’t.  I can’t…I can’t cope with this.  Why does everything have to go this way?  I keep losing…  I need him to be Spike.  He’s not Spike.  And I can’t…”  Willow cuddled and shushed her sobbing friend, afraid to look at Xander.

For a few seconds Xander felt a remote compassion for the slayer, but it was only for seconds.  Then it was all about anger, hurt, the disturbing sense of anti-climax, the frustration of not being able to hit her so hard her head spun…  It was about Spike.

“So?” Xander demanded.  “What?  I’m supposed to feel sorry for you?  For you?  Look at him, for Christ’s sake!”

“Please.  Xander…”

“You should be ashamed of yourself, fucking ashamed.”

“I didn’t want that to happen,” Buffy shrieked through her hands.  “I didn’t want to hurt him.”

“Yeah?  Well, I guess there’s a first time for everything.”

“I just wanted him to stop.”

“Stop what?” Willow asked.

“Looking.  Looking at me like…” the words were swallowed by more weeping.

Dawn was at Xander’s side before he had a chance to fill in the blanks, her deliberate touch to his chest requesting he back off.

“Come on, Buffy.  We’re going home.”

“I have to stay and…and make sure he’s okay.”

“Go with Dawn.  ‘Cause he’s – we’re – so much more okay when you’re not around.”

“But I need to know…”

“Tell you what, Buffy,” Xander cut in, his tone low and dangerous.  “This isn’t about you.  As hard as that is to comprehend, something isn’t about you.”


“Sorry?  Then prove it.  Go away and don’t come back until we’re gone.”


Xander was left alone with Spike as Willow escorted the sisters out to their car.  The vampire hadn’t moved and Xander was getting scared.  Really scared.  As in ‘Spike is dead’ scared.  It didn’t occur to him that if Spike was dead he’d be dust.  He knelt on the floor a few feet away from the huddled form, trying to figure out how something so bad could get even badder.  My fault.  I’m a fucking moron.  I’m gonna kill him at this rate.  I’m such a fucking moron.

“Spike?  Can I help you?  Please, Spike?”  Xander waited, patient on the outside, hysterical within.  After ten hellish minutes Spike’s hand extended in his direction.  “Oh, thank God,” Xander gasped, taking hold and kissing the crimson-stained knuckles.  “Think you can move?  I want to get you upstairs and into the bath, soak the pain out of you.  Can you move?”  Tentative nod, and it stoked the inner-hysterics: Spike would still do anything for Xander, even in his present state.  At a snail-pace, Xander was able to help the vampire to his feet, guiding him towards the stairs, wondering if he should just pick him up and get this over with fast.  As he stood debating with himself Willow returned.

“Is he going to be okay?”  Xander shrugged, too sick to hazard a guess.  “Please…  Please try and understand about Buffy.  She cares more than you think and this has shaken her dreadfully.  She’s in a bad way.”

“Yeah.  So’s your carpet.”  Xander refused to live up to Willow’s expectations of him being reasonable, rejected the whole poor Buffy scenario.  “Forgive me if this hurts,” he said to Spike as he lifted him into his arms and headed up the stairs.


He gently sat the vampire down on the closed toilet seat and knelt before him, touching his face to see if he could be persuaded to open his eyes, although Xander wasn’t too sure he wanted to see what lurked in the depths.

“Spike?  My brave Spike?”  Slow, slow shake.  “No?  I think you’re brave.  I think you’re…you’re…”  Xander swallowed at the lump in his throat but it was unswallowable.  “My brave Spike,” he repeated huskily.  Eyes did not open, but Spike hesitantly reached for Xander, slipping his hands over the sturdy shoulders and letting the human move into the embrace to save himself from stretching and more pain.  Spike’s head dropped to Xander’s shoulder and the first shudder came as his self-control disintegrated, swiftly followed by the silent sobs and the uncontrollable trembling that screamed of agony.  Xander ran feather-light touches over his arms and shoulders and sides, avoiding at all costs the mutilated back that he was going to see soon, too soon, too fucking soon and he would destroy Buffy Summers if she was standing here right now.  But she wasn’t.  He whispered of his sympathy and affection, knowing that soon he would be causing more pain by picking lint and tape out of the chewed up wounds on Spike’s bloody back, wondering what to do with the new damage because he was a carpenter not a doctor and he knew what he could and couldn’t mend and he couldn’t mend this vampire however much he needed to.  The sobs gradually lessened, as did the trembling.

“I’m sorry.”  I’m such a fucking moron.  “I made you put up with Buffy, I thought it would be good to get a – a reaction, I never thought anything like this would happen, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…”  Shake.  “No?  What   no?”  Spike edged back and forced himself to look at Xander with eyes so bloodshot that little white was visible; the human struggled for composure yet again.  Still Spike shook his head.  “I don’t understand.  What’s no?”  Spike obviously thought about how to explain but it was too hard to convey, and his head sank back onto Xander’s shoulder.


“You gonna be okay in there for a while?” Xander asked as Spike prepared to slide beneath the antiseptic- laden water.  Nod and he was under.  Xander ran down the stairs and picked up the phone, ignoring a miserable Willow curled up in her favourite armchair, keying in a number he had memorised first time around.

“Xander?” the voice asked immediately.

“You gotta help me, Angel.”

“Tell me.”

Once again it was the simplest words that released the torrent of despair, and in fifteen tear-punctuated minutes Angel was brought up to date.

“What do I do?”

“You know what I’m going to say.  More of the same: Plenty of blood, plenty of rest.  There’s not some miraculous cure I’m hiding from you, Xander.  Vampires don’t usually get this kind of care when they’re badly hurt and they – we – simply die.  You can only carry on with what you’re doing and hope.  But if there comes a time when you feel it’s cruel to make him go on, you must contact me and I’ll…I’ll…”

“Can’t say the words?  Can’t say you’ll be the one to stake him?  How about that?  You’re prepared to stake your own grand-childe.  And I thought my family were mean.”

“I wouldn’t stake him, Xander.”

“Then you’d what?  Drain him?”

“I would make it very gentle.  No pain.  And he’d be leaving this existence as he came into it.”

“Not going to happen.  I’ll take him home, look after him…”


“No-one is going to kill him!” Xander insisted, just this side of screaming.

“All right, all right.  I’m not going to come bearing down with murderous intent, I just wanted you to know…  I suppose, that you’re not alone in this.  He has always been close to my heart, Xander, despite appearances.  I’d even started to hope that we could rebuild our relationship; I thought there was chance, now that we’ve both changed so much.  I don’t want to lose him any more than you but I’m sure – or at least I hope – that neither of us would want him to carry on suffering if that was all his existence had become.”

“No,” Xander agreed on a whisper as the truth hit him and he began to cry all over again, folding into himself, physically and emotionally, allowing Willow to take the receiver as he stumbled back toward the stairs, collapsing into a heap on the fourth step up.

He slumped against the wall and listened as Willow spoke to Angel in serious tones, wondering in his ruthlessly paranoid way if they were plotting to take Spike from him, put the vampire down as if he were a worthless animal.  No.  No, they couldn’t.  Spike came to him, and maybe this was why: he knew that Xander would keep him safe from the people he shouldn’t need to be kept safe from.  And he was getting better, he had remembered…  A sudden bitter realisation hit Xander, and he felt his stomach roll and roll again.

Willow soon joined him, sitting on the stair below his and rubbing his leg in an I-have-no-idea-of-how-to- comfort-you comforting gesture.

“I figured something out.”  She looked the question.  “The picture he drew, the one we were so excited about?”


“It isn’t a memory.  Well, it is, but not an old memory.  It’s from a photo of me he had with him when he came to me.  He kept it with him all the time I was away from the apartment.  It’s not identical, but that’s the me he drew.  He doesn’t remember me from before.”

Xander wasn’t sure there was a word for how much the admission hurt.

“Do you…do you want help with his back?” Willow asked after a suitably heavy pause.

“You really want to see this?”

“No.  But I’ll help if you want me to.  Do you want me to?”

Xander nodded, and they made their way upstairs.

It looked like Spike was bathing in strawberry milk, and that alone was almost enough to make Xander and Willow leave the room the second after they’d entered.  Getting as comfortable as possible around the tub, they cagily removed the sodden dressings from Spike’s back, pausing to build up courage each time it was necessary to probe deeply to remove strands of lint or tape from the extensive new gash.  Spike sat with his knees bent, legs clutched to his chest as he shuddered and twitched through the process.  When they satisfied themselves that they’d done all they could, Willow turned her back as Xander helped Spike from the bath, wrapping him in a bath towel and holding him close, burying his face in the damp hair.

“There are splinters in the water,” Willow pointed out.

“Yeah.  I find them in the bed too.”

“You ever wonder exactly how they…you know.”

“I can’t imagine.  Don’t want to.”

Willow paused awkwardly.

“I should’ve told you before now.  The splinters were…”

“Treated with holy water?  I guessed.  Because of something Giles said.”

“I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to make things worse.  But the worse doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon.”

“See?  I was right.  Payback.  Filling a vampire full of splinters isn’t about training.  It’s torture; it’s a slow death.”  Spike wriggled and Xander turned his attention to him, speaking softly.  “You okay, sweetheart?”  Unconvincing nod.

“Xander, there’s blood coming through the towel.”

“’Kay.  I’ll do the dressings myself.”

“Trying not to show too much relief here.  I’ll make hot chocolate.”

“Start heating up blood.  Plenty of blood.”  Willow nodded and made to leave.  “Willow…” Xander’s voice stopped her before she left the room with indecent haste.  “You sure there are no spells?”

“Nothing I’m prepared to risk.  Send one of those splinters the wrong way and…poof!”

“Just something to stop the bleeding?”

“I’ll check.  Y’know it’s not that I don’t want to help him, I’ve just learnt some tough lessons in the past.”

In their room, Xander quickly dealt with Spike’s feet and chest first, then laid him face-down on the bed so he could tackle his back.  It was like being transported in time to the first day, when he saw Spike’s feet and   didn’t know what to do about them other than vigorously hurl.  One thing he did know for sure was that he was dosing Spike up to the eyeballs tonight, regardless of how disorientated pain medication made the vampire it had to be better than feeling…  Yes, better than feeling, full stop.

He’d barely finished when Willow’s voice came up the stairs, calling him to the phone.


“Alex, it’s Patrick, how’re you doing?”

Wish you were here.  Make it better.  Hold me.

“Couldn’t be worse if you want the truth.”

“Ah, no.”

“It’s…  Oh, God, can’t talk about it.”


“No, really.  Hey, it’s good to hear your voice.”

Wish I was there.

“And the voice has the news you want to hear, how about that?  I just found a fax about the Heights.  The renovation work is finished – you’ve got your peace and quiet back.”


“I thought…”

“I really want to come home but we can’t travel right now.”


“He’s too ill.  Oh…fuck,” Xander sighed.

“How about an air ambulance?  I’ll pick up the tab if it’ll make things better.”

Xander was taken aback.

“You’d do that?”

“Sure.  You want me to make some calls?”

“I…umm…no.  No, it’s okay.  Two days and he’ll be up to the trip, and he’ll be happier in the car.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the offer though.”

“I’ve been worried.”

“About Spike?”

“Yes.  And about you.  Corey told me about the call.  Did you really want me to fire him?”

“At that precise moment, yes.”  Xander sighed deeply.  “But not now.”

“If it’s what you want you know I’ll do it.  You only have to say the word.”

“I appreciate that but…”  A touch to Xander’s arm made him glance around to find Spike there, looking frail and lost and in desperate need of some intensive TLC.  “Can you hold on for a second, Pat?”  Xander turned away from the phone and called.  “Willow, can you find some painkillers for Spike – the brain-numbingly strong ones would be good.”

“Is he down?”  Willow glanced into the room.  “He okay?  Spike, you okay?  Sit down and I’ll get you some hot chocolate.  Sit down, Spike.”

“Sit down, Spike.”  Spike showed no inclination to move.  “Come on then.”  Xander held his phone-free arm away from his body, allowing Spike to huddle close and wrap his arms around Xander’s waist, heaving a satisfied sigh as Xander charily held him back.  “Okay?”  Nod.  Xander returned to his call.  “Yeah, sorry, where were we?”

“We were finished.  Just needed you to know about the Heights.”

“Right, thanks.  I’ll be back to work soon.”

“There’s no rush.  Well, that’s a lie, but you already know how much we need you.”

“I’m looking forward to being back.  It’s the only thing that’s going to keep me sane.”

“Anything I can do, Alex, anything you want, you call me.  I’m serious.  Anything.”

Xander offered his profuse thanks and two men said their goodbyes.  As Xander sat down with Spike, Willow appeared with the painkillers and one of Xander’s big sweaters.

“He doesn’t like these tablets.”

“I don’t care.  Woozy has to be better than in pain.”

They managed to get the sweater on Spike without disturbing the dressings on his back, and the vampire pressed the sleeve to his nose, smelling Xander and rubbing his face against the wool.  A while later, Xander was flat on his back on the sofa, Spike laying in his arms, replete with six mugs of blood, hot chocolate and numerous painkillers, oblivious to everything but the warm body he rested on as he drifted in and out of consciousness.

“You’re going home then?”

“I think it’s best.  The noise is gone, Spike feels safe there…”

“No Buffy.”

“Yeah, no Buffy.”

“Look…I know she caused what happened, but it was an accident.”

“Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?”

“You know exactly what I mean.”

“Maybe.  I think even Spike knew.  He was trying to convey something earlier, I think it may have been that.  But – and this is a big but, Wills – she called him what I asked everyone not to call him and that was deliberate.  She’d seen the damage it did and was getting her jollies there.”

“She shouldn’t drink,” Willow sighed.

“Noticed that.”

Willow stretched wearily and fell back into her armchair.

“He didn’t deserve any of this.  He hadn’t hurt anyone who mattered for years.”

“You said he’d changed.  Tell me how he’d changed.”

Willow took a deep breath and released it slowly as she thought, trying to figure out what she could say to Xander without making everything worse.

“You mean how different he was when he was supposed to be back to normal, as opposed to…”


“Well…  He was quieter.  Preoccupied.  Self-centred, but not selfish.  He…  This is hard to explain, but it was like he was living inside himself, like he couldn’t face living out here with us.”

“All the time?”

“No, not all the time.  Days, weeks, sometimes for a few months.  When he made the effort for me or Dawn you could feel he was making an effort.  The smart-ass comments he came out with were…affected, rather than coming naturally.”  Willow remembered better times and grinned.  “He had a wacky sense of humour, didn’t he?  And the two of you together, you were so fast and clever.  I loved to listen, especially when you got past the insults and were just plain funny.”

“Long time since I was funny.”

“Umm…sorry, getting off the subject.  Changes.”  Willow paused in thought once more.  “He stopped smiling.  He got smiley living with you, not the nasty, scary smiles when you knew he was up to something bad, but just…smiley.  Happy smiley.  And then you went and he…”  Willow’s voice shook and she took a moment to recover before words tumbled out.  “He lost the will to live, Xander.  You could see it in his eyes that there was nothing left for him.  It was horrible.”

“You never told me.”

“Because you were doing what you needed to do.  I cared about Spike but I loved you and didn’t want you to be pulled back here.  Did I get it so wrong?”

“No.  No, you’ve always been great.”

“I don’t feel great.”

“I know, I‘m sorry.  I appreciate everything you’ve done.”  Spike stirred and Xander spent a few minutes whispering to him until he settled again.  “What brought him back?  From not wanting to live?”

“After the fight with Buffy and Angel he spoke to Angel.  I don’t know what was said but he started to recover.  Never fully, but enough.  He was always…missing a limb.  If you know what I mean.”

Xander knew, and he responded with a nod.  Missing a limb.  He knew that feeling intimately: he’d had five years of it.  A tear crept from the corner of his eye and he wiped it away, careful not to disturb Spike.

“Can’t stop crying,” he admitted to Willow.

“I’m not surprised,” she replied with a sympathetic smile.

They fell into a long silence, and Willow watched Xander doze off before fetching a blanket and draping it over the two men.  Spike opened his eyes for a moment, fighting the drugs, and Willow smiled at him, stroking his face and cajoling him back to sleep.

Switching off the overhead light but leaving a lamp on in case Spike woke up again, Willow headed for her study.  Needing a little support for herself she picked up the phone and hoped Giles would forgive her over the time.