Repossession by Lazuli Kat



Chapter 11

“…and he said I shouldn’t use it because of the danger of sealing the splinters in…”

“Willow, Willow…” Xander tried to break into the longest sentence he’d ever heard that contained no break for punctuation or breath.

“…and that would be worse than keeping him well fed and letting him bleed out…”


Willow gave a good impression of Spike’s cartoon blink.


“It’s okay, the bleeding has virtually stopped.”


“A little.  I think.”

“That’s wonderful.  It must be where the splinters are coming out.  One day they’ll all be out, Xander, and…”

“I’ll have a healthy vampire with no mind.”  Fairly horrible pause.  “I shouldn’t have said that, why did I say that?  He’s learning all the time, he’s growing, he’s…  He’s just not Spike.”

“For now.  One day it’ll all be back and you’ll miss the quiet time.”

“Wouldn’t that be great?  Missing the quiet time?  Putting up with the whinging and grouching and bitching and brutal sarcasm?  I cannot express how much I want to miss the quiet time.”

They turned to the doorway as Spike came into the kitchen, preparing his own blood and cocking his head to one side, listening to the radio in the living room as he did so.

“You want to give him more painkillers?”

That caught Spike’s attention; he looked at them and shook his head.

“There’s your answer.”  Xander smiled at the affection on the vampire’s face as he gazed in his direction, and opened his arms to him.  “Hey, love of my life, how you doing?”  Spike was in those arms in a second, leaning in and nuzzling Xander’s neck.

“You called him sweetheart the other night,” Willow reminded Xander with a grin.  “Should have seen Buffy’s face when it sank in.  She did the outraged huffy-puffy thing and wanted to know if the two of you were…getting biblical.”

“Hope you said yes just to screw with her head.”

“I remained enigmatically silent,” Willow announced proudly before taking the warm blood from the microwave and pouring it into Spike’s mug.

“You ever seriously think we were?”

“I didn’t know, before you left.  I mean, the way you’d look at each other sometimes.”


“Really.  It was pretty…hot.”

“Hot.  Right,” Xander accepted somewhat uncomfortably.

“But not this time around.”

“Think the long-time demon magnet’s lost it?”

“I know you, Xander.  You’d never take advantage of anyone, especially someone you love.”

Willow turned to offer the mug to Spike, grinning at the sight of Xander attempting to untangle the vampire’s fingers from his hair.

“You want your food?  You’re going to need this hand.”

“Here you go, Spike.  Yummy breakfast,” Willow bribed.

Spike reluctantly left Xander to claim his blood, sitting carefully at the table as his back twinged.  Xander and Willow brought their own breakfast and sat with him.

“Not tonight.”


“We won’t be leaving tonight.  Maybe tomorrow night.  I want to give him a chance to get over the worst of the pain before he has to cope with that long drive.”

Willow took a deep breath.


“Uh-oh.  This sounds bad.”

“No.  Depends.  I want you to meet with Buffy…”

“You gotta be joking!”

“Please, Xander.  For me.  For everything we’ve all been through together.  I feel…  I feel that if you don’t resolve what’s wrong between you two the Scoobies are finished for good.  You’ll drive away and never come back.”

Xander stared down at his toast, appetite lost; he pushed it toward Spike, who took it to dunk.

“For you?”

“And Dawn.”

“I don’t think I can.”

“She deserves the chance to put it right.”

“She doesn’t want to…”

“Give her a chance.  I’m sorry if this is blackmail but do it for me.  Please, Xander.”

I can say no.  I’m nearly thirty years-old for God’s sake, I can say no if I want to.  I can say no to Willow.  I’m gonna say no.  I can say no.  If I don’t look at her.  I’m saying no.  This is me, Alexander Harris, saying no.

“I’ll do it for you.  Not here though.  She doesn’t get in a room – a building – with Spike again.”

“Not here.”

Xander brooded and sighed.



Which is why, after a relaxed day of dozing on the sofa, constant radio, Willow-read stories and muted one- sided discussions on ‘What we’ll do when we get home’, the atmosphere intensified as the evening progressed, right up until the knock on the door at a little before ten.  Buffy.

“Can Xander come out to play?”

Willow went through the motions of asking Xander who went through the motions of asking Spike, who, in all honesty, did not look impressed.

“You’ll be safe here with Willow, and you can go up to bed if you get tired, or if you want to be by yourself.  I really need to talk to Buffy.  But I won’t go if you want me to stay.”

Spike visibly wavered.

“Is it because you’re scared Xander won’t be safe with Buffy?”  Nod.

“I’ll be fine with Buffy.  And when I come back I’ll be happier.  See, I need to get some bad stuff out of my system, and…”  Nod.  When it was for Xander’s well-being then there was only one answer.  “Thanks.  I promise I’ll be careful, and I’ll be back soon.”

Xander got his coat from the rack in the hall and shrugged into it, accepting Willow’s offer of a couple of stakes and sliding them into a pocket.  When it came to walking out of the door he hesitated, glancing back to where Spike watched, all big-eyed concern.

“We’ll be fine,” Willow smiled as she physically ejected him from her home.  He came face-to-face with Buffy on the porch and there was definite surge of resentment before he forced himself to behave and gave her a subdued smile.  “Play nicely,” the watcher instructed, and the door was shut on them.

They walked in silence for a few minutes before Xander sighed and offered Buffy his arm; she took it with a grateful smile, and they strolled along the evening streets like any other normal couple, providing it was overlooked that she slayed vampires as per her vocation and he seemed to be fostering one.  Buffy scrunched a hand into the material of the coat.

“This shouts money.  Who were you shouting at?”

“It’s just a coat.”

“Eleven…twelve-hundred dollars?”

“I didn’t look at the price,” Xander said, hoping it didn’t sound arrogant when it was purely the truth.  “I liked it, I bought it.”

“Good.   That’s good.”  Half a street of silence followed.  “You’ve changed.”

“I know.”

“Willow warned me.  She said you’d been cold.  Very hard on yourself.  On us.”  Xander just nodded.  “I have to say I’m still a bit shocked.  So, Alex, what happened to the real Xander Harris?”

Xander smiled.

“Y’know, Buffy, that was always the problem.  I had no idea of who the real Xander Harris was.  I knew what I was supposed to be for the people around me, but…  The day I stopped and asked myself what I wanted rather than what was expected of me was the day I knew I had to get out.”

“What was the answer?  To what you wanted.”

“You don’t want to know what was at the top of the list.”

“Don’t I?”

“At number two was a good job that would challenge me.  I’d felt like a failure for so long I couldn’t shake off the mentality, even when I was doing okay, so I needed to prove something to myself.”

“And at number three?”

“Knock-on from number two.  Respect.  I wanted respect.”

“We always…”

“Don’t finish that because we’ll fight over it,” Xander snapped, harsher than he’d intended.  He regretted his tone instantly.  “I’m sorry, I don’t have the right to speak to you like that.”

“I think you might,” Buffy conceded quietly, squeezing his arm tighter and snuggling closer.  “Number four?”

“It got pretty basic then.  You know: the security of having money in the bank, a car that didn’t break down every forty miles, nice home, better class of rats.”

“What about someone to share it all with?”  Xander remained silent.  “Or is that back to number one on the list?”  Buffy looked up at her friend expectantly; Xander shook his head.  “Gloves off, Xander.  He’s going to bust us apart so can we be honest?”

“What do you want me to say?”

They came to a halt and faced one another.

“The truth.”

“Something on the lines of…Buffy Summers is a manipulative bitch who’s forgotten that who, or what she is doesn’t give her the right to treat anyone as expendable?”

Buffy swallowed hard.

“Something like that.”

“And that we’re not her minions, we’re her friends.  At least some of us thought we were.”

Xander walked away and Buffy caught up in a few steps.

“There was no other way, Xander, we spent a lot of time going through the options.”

“Don’t give me fucking options,” Xander snarled, turning on her.  “You and Angel, you’re transparent.”

“To defeat the Srumanteshtak we needed the – the…”


“We needed the blood of the living dead, and we needed Spike’s strength.”

“So…living dead, vampiric strength…  Here’s a thought: why didn’t Angel volunteer?”

“The…sacrifice had to be ‘unknowing’.  Angel knew about the demon, and he was needed to help perform the spell.”

“Which was kinda convenient seeing as you wanted him kept out of danger.”

“And why shouldn’t I?”

“Uh-uh.   Why should you?  Why did he warrant special treatment?”

“Because Angel is a lot different from Spike.”

“Less of the ‘is’.  We’re talking six years ago, which would be not so long after the Angelus sequel.  Or are you conveniently forgetting that?”

“That wasn’t his fault.”

“Sure.   And, hey, maybe you’re right.  Angel was a lot different from Spike.  I never had to make up excuses as to why Spike’d had a bad spell day and turned into a fucking monster.”

“Can we keep to the point?”

“When Spike walked back into our lives he made a considered decision to help us; no tricks, no gimmicks, no reliability-challenged soul.”

“It was the chip.”

“The chip took away his bite, not his brains.  He could have manipulated or terrorised the demon community into making our lives hell – pun intended – if he’d wanted to.  That chip didn’t bring him over to our side or give him a conscience.  It didn’t make him save Dawn time and again, and it certainly didn’t make him stick around to put up with the crap you threw at him.”

“And you think it was what?  Altruism?”

“Belonging.   The need to be accepted.”

“Not simply that he wanted to fuck you?”

“Well, could be he’s more like Angel than I thought, ‘cause there’s a definite vampire-fucking-human pattern emerging here.”

“Angel is different,” Buffy persisted.  “He loves me.“

“And what?  Spike doesn’t love me?  Are you going to have the balls to say that?”  For the first time in her life, Buffy felt threatened by Xander, sweet, devoted, un-possessed, puppy-dog Xander, with an edge to his voice that chilled her to the bone.  “Spike doesn’t love me?”

“I – I – just…  Probably, I don’t know, I never found a way to trust anything he said, anything he showed.”

“He loved you too.  Once upon a time.”

“We’ve been through this, it was…”

“Genuine when he felt it.  You knew that but you just kept on screwing him over until you had the chance to kill him off and make it look legitimate.  Once Angel was back on the scene Spike became a major embarrassment to the both of you and…”


“You want me to shut up?  Maybe I’ve spent too long shutting up to make you feel better.”

“Please, Xander!”  Buffy sounded quite desperate and Xander couldn’t help but respond to the tone.  “Please.  Xander.”



Buffy held up her hands and they both took a calming breath.

“This is so not going where I wanted it to.”  She took another breath.  “What I wanted to say tonight was that I was wrong.  Inasmuch as you weren’t told.  We did have to use Spike to defeat the demon, but we underestimated its power and over-estimated our own.  Spike was hurt much more badly than I ever dreamt he would be.  And I – we – were sorry.  I am sorry, Xander.  I am truly sorry.”

“You’re apologising to the wrong person.”

“I don’t think I am.”  Buffy took Xander’s arm again.  “Spike had the chance to let his anger at us out.  You’ve kept yours inside and its eating you alive.  I may not always have appreciated how important you were to me, but I never wanted to cause you a moment’s pain.”


At Buffy’s urging they began to walk again; this time the silence between them was protracted, and it didn’t end until Buffy’s voice brought Xander from his inner ponderings.

“Hope you’re up for this, Xander.”

Xander glanced around and found they were at the cemetery in time to see several fledgling vampires clawing their way from fresh graves.

“You better believe it.”

The fight was over in fifteen minutes, leaving multiple piles of dust, a satisfied slayer, and a retired slayerette who had forgotten just how good it felt to release some pent-up frustration with a little mindless violence.  Despite having her own vampires to deal with, Buffy had kept a close eye on Xander – after all it had been six years since he’d patrolled with her and she had no idea how sharp his reflexes were.  But he had surprised her.  Stunned her.  He was in good shape, he had incredible stamina, he was fast and accurate, and boy, was he vicious.  She strolled to him as he casually shook the remains of the last fledgling off his coat.

“Feel better for that?”

“Yup,” Xander answered without hesitation.

“You’ve been training.”

“Like I said, there’s a gym in my building.”

“How many Arts have you learnt?”

“A few.”

“And will any of your gym buddies fight you anymore?”

Now Xander did pause.  Then he grinned at her, and the years slid away.


She returned the grin and gestured him on with her hands.

“Come on then.”

“I don’t think…”

“Come on.”

Xander pretended to consider the offer then slowly nodded his acquiescence, sliding out of his coat and draping it over the cemetery wall.  He picked up the piece of metal railing that one of the recently-dusted vampires had found to fight with and weighed it in his hand before giving it an approving nod.  As he approached Buffy the expression on his face hardened as he focused: a glimpse of the predator reminding her of the hyena; clinical calmness reflecting the soldier; not least of all, there was a tangible undercurrent of violence that exposed Spike’s unconscious influence from the year when he and Xander patrolled and fought together exclusively.  She took up a fighting stance: this was not going to be easy.

Quarter-to-one in the morning and they were wandering back to Willow’s, slightly battered and the worse for wear, but a few of the cracks in their friendship had been cemented over and a foundation for mutual respect had been hammered into place.

“So…” Xander grinned.  “He really kicked your ass?”

“I let him.”


“It wasn’t exactly planned.  The three of us got together to talk and he lost it.  He was a mad, bad, dangerous to know Spike that day.  Threw his unbeating heart and non-existent soul totally into it.  I knew he was building up to something and you know how it went?  And this – whack – is for – wallop – upsetting – crash – my – thud – Xander – thump, thump, thump.”


“It was your hurt that he cared about, not his own.  Xander, I’d be a total ass if I didn’t admit it: he loved you.  Loves you.”

“It’s mutual, I promise.”

“I can’t stop being the slayer long enough to give him the benefit of the doubt.”

“You never could.  Guess that’s the nature of being the slayer.  You can’t deny your instincts any more than he can.”

“But he can, he does.  What does that say about me?”

Xander shrugged.

“That you never had me to come home to?”

“That was my big mistake, huh?”

“No.  If you had’ve come home to me, sooner or later I’d have turned you over to be with Spike.  Screwy as it sounds, he’s the one.”

“But…  Know what makes this harder?  You hated him.”

“You’re absolutely right.  I hated him as passionately as I came to love him.  Don’t ask me to make sense of it.  I can’t.  It makes no sense at all.”

“What about now?  The way he is?”

“Just have to wait and hope.  I can’t give up on him.”

“I want him to be better, Xander.  I want you to be happy.”  Xander gave a non-committal nod.  “And I wouldn’t have done it.  When you offered me that stake.  I wouldn’t have.  I just felt – feel – so powerless.  I don’t do powerless well.  I overreacted.  But I wouldn’t have hurt him.”

Xander gave an amused snort.

“Buffy…   I wouldn’t have let you.”

Buffy gave him a long look and eventually smiled.

“I like that.  And I like this Xander, this Alex.”

Xander didn’t question it, he simply smiled back.  Magnanimity kicked in.

“What happened last night: I know it was an accident.”

“You really believe that?  Or is Willow holding Spike hostage until you say it?”

“He believes it, she believes it.  What makes my judgement better than theirs?”

He believes it?”

“Oh, yeah.  He’s a damn sight smarter than you and me put together.  Wouldn’t catch him doing the, ‘my boyfriend is less of a homicidal maniac than your boyfriend’ routine.”

They found themselves on Willow’s doorstep and there was a minute’s awkwardness until Xander spoke.

“Coming in?”

Buffy shook her head.

“I don’t think Spike should have to cope with me.  I don’t think you should have to cope with us together.”

His eyes looked haunted for a moment, then he quickly blinked away any trace of emotion.  It was about Spike, Buffy knew, it was all about Spike.  The idea of Spike and her together still had different connotations for Xander.  Maybe the fact that the vampire had pledged his love for her in words that should have waited for a more deserving recipient.  Buffy reached up and hugged Xander hard, feeling his strong arms close about her and return the renewed affection.

“He played with being good for me,” she whispered.  “He truly did it for you.  I guess that makes you his soul.”

The hug tightened, leaving Buffy grateful for her slayer strength as Xander’s response threatened to crack a rib.  She eventually pulled back, gave him a quick kiss and a smile, and walked off in the direction of her car.


Xander let himself into the house and was met by an overzealous vampire racing into his embrace.

“Miss me, huh?  Yeah, well, I missed you too.”

“Xander!   What happened to you?”

“Sunnydale stuff, not a problem.”

“So…you and Buffy?”

“We’re okay.  You know how it is: fighting, dusting, bonding.”

Yes, Willow knew exactly how it was, and she smiled to herself, negotiating the possessive vampire with some difficulty to take Xander’s coat.

“We had a good evening.  Mr Sedated finally got over the drugs an hour ago and became Mr Unbearably Perky.  He’s been fretting and pacing and sulking, and in no way have I got to the point where I’m desperate to hand him back to you and lock myself in my bedroom until you leave.”

“Going to bed then?”

“At speed.  Goodnight, Xander.”  Willow circumnavigated Spike and kissed Xander, then risked doing the same with Spike.  She kissed his cheek, and he regarded her with absolute wonder.  “Goodnight, Spike.”  He tried to take her hand and bring it to his brow but Willow took a step back, tapping her face with a finger.  The vampire cautiously approached and self-consciously pressed his lips to her cheek.  “Thank you,” she whispered with a satisfied smile.  “Thank you.”

With Spike asleep and safe, draped across his chest, one hand beneath Xander’s t-shirt and rising, falling with the rhythm of his breathing, Xander had time for reflection.

The list.  Despite what Buffy thought, number one was nothing to do with Spike.  Xander knew when he made the list that he couldn’t have Spike and stay sane.  So, to his deep, bitter and unending regret, Spike was filed away under ‘loved and lost’.  Number one on the list was simple: get away from Buffy Summers.  Should I have told her?  Hurt her?  Because it would have hurt.  There was the nasty smile.  I’d’ve made sure it hurt.  Spike gave a jolt; Xander lost his train of thought as he focused on the vampire and gently rocked him.

“Hey, sweetheart.  Don’t dream.  Xander’s here and the bad guys can’t get you.  Don’t dream.”

Thirty seconds of broken purring indicated Spike rising from and drifting back into sleep.

What was I…?  Oh, right.  For Xander, the realisation that he’d not only fought Buffy, but with skill and dexterity she’d felt a need to comment favourably upon filled him with satisfaction.  She was always going to be better than him – in all honesty the Scooby in him wouldn’t have wanted it any other way – but the fact that she hadn’t patronised him by taking it easy had pleased him, and he enjoyed the aches that remained.  He didn’t even mind the incredibly sore jaw that was the result of ducking when he should have been diving.  The chance to vent, followed by her apology for her treatment of Spike had been the first few tentative steps in Xander letting go of his resentment, but it didn’t work half as well as the feel of his fist connecting with her face.  God, she was so surprised.  Almost two thousand hours of training in four years just to punch a little respect into the slayer.  Worth it?  You bet ya.  No wonder Spike had been prepared to forgive after taking on both her and Angel.  He wished he’d seen it.  Spike fighting was a positive joy to behold: lithe, sensual, powerful, ferocious.  To see the vampire fight with the savagery and grace that was so unique to him, then to have him turn to Xander and ask, ‘All right, pet?’ with understated concern but darting eyes that checked every inch of Xander for damage, used to fuel fantasies that—  Xander pulled away from that thought as if   he’d been stung: he had no doubt that Spike’s senses were functioning well enough to detect any sign of arousal and that was one conversation he didn’t want to have with a dozy vampire who’d been woken by an intoxicating new scent.  Work would do the trick; Xander mentally began to walk through the first site he’d be handling when he went home and was asleep before he got to the foundations.