Summary: Annoyed with Spike and Xander’s constant bickering, Willow uses a spell to separate the two. But it turns out the boys need each other more than they ever thought they did.
Warnings: Sexual content, Alcoholic!Xander
Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters, and I make no profit from this story.
A/N: Takes place after Spike slept with Anya, but according to my muses, Anya left after that. Don’t know what happened to her. She’s just not in the story.
“And I have to patrol with him… why?” The Harris boy demanded, beer on his breath, fists curled in that familiar stance of aggression he’d perfected since his teenage years.
Spike’s nostrils flared, and he pressed his fingers to his temple. You smell like a dive bar… “Fine. Go on, fledge-bait. You go pretend to be useful, and I’ll stake whatever bites.”
“Spike…” Buffy began threateningly, fingers twitching toward the stake by her side.
“Hey!” But Xander took the bait, raising his voice and making the whole room-full of Slayerettes look up to watch the action. “I’m a heck of a lot more useful than you, Fangless. Last I checked, I can beat the crap out of you. Hell, Dawn can beat the crap out of you.”
The bleach-blonde scowled. He was already in a bad mood this evening, and he didn’t need Harris’ fucking mouth making it worse. His head throbbed, a byproduct of the nightmares that had made it impossible for him to sleep, and the stench of the kid and his overindulgence just made it worse. So sad. He’d smell so sweet without the booze. “Right, because donuts and smart remarks are exactly what we need to stop the next apocalypse.”
“Yeah, and smoking and doing nothing are what’s gonna get you back into Buffy’s pants—”
“Xander-!” Buffy gasped, hurt and kind of appalled.
“Worked on yer demon bint, di’nnit?” Spike snarled before he could stop himself, and with that, Xander was out of his chair, fists raised, eyes wild like he might go for his throat.
Everyone jumped, eyes flying to Willow, who’d slammed her book shut and was now glaring at the two of them, eyes full of fire. “I’m sick of this! We’re trying to save the world here, can’t you two just shut up for a minute?!”
“Wills—” Xander tried, blinking in shock, only to be cut off as she pointed to him.
“You,” She began, eyes narrowing in concentration. Then her finger snapped to Spike. “and You. Shleepta grekslitochrema eopsis!”
Spike’s eyes widened, and he opened his mouth to protest, but before he could say a word he felt his stomach fall through his body, a whirlwind of magic slamming into him like a punch to the gut. Jesus Christ, Red! He wanted to yell, but he couldn’t of course, because he was too busy being dizzied up, thrown into some kind of—
He landed on his ass, staring up at the ceiling of Xander Harris’ kitchen—a place he’d visited far too many times. Every time he didn’t feel like paying for beer, as a matter of fact.
God, it reeks of cheap beer. Pushing to his feet, he scanned the kitchen briefly, eyes landing on the line of bottles on the floor by the trash, then on the sad condition of the living room. It was littered with trash, old take-out and the remnants of a six-pack or two. I looked like hell, and he sneered, because it just proved the boy was pig enough to live in squalor. Then he grabbed the phone off the hook and dialed the Magic Box.
On the fourth ring, Giles answered. “Ah—This is the—”
“Christ, Rupert, what the hell did she do?” He growled, even as somewhere on the other end he heard Harris say, “So you didn’t vaporize him?”
“Spike.” Giles sighed, sounding half-relieved and half-pained. “It appears Willow has utilized an ancient Jockrithian defense—”
“Just fucking tell me what it is, so we can fix it.” He growled, rolling his eyes.
On the other end, Giles pulled off his glasses and began cleaning them. “It’s a separation spell. The two, ah, victims are magically transported away from each other when they come into contact. When one enters a building the other is in, the other is sent to another location. If they happen to cross paths outside, they are both sent to separate buildings. It’s really a rather fascinating—”
“Fuckin’ Hell, Rupert, how’re we gonna patrol like that?!” He growled, head throbbing as the lack of sleep and the smell of cheap American beer made his already magic-queasy stomach turn.
“W-well,” The Watcher stammered. “We’re looking for the counterspell now. Should be here somewhere…” He heard pages turning, and Harris saying “You couldn’t’ve just let me stake him?”
He growled. “I’m coming back. Find that fucking counterspell, so I can ring the kid’s neck.”
Slamming the phone back on its hook, he strode out of the apartment, down the fucking three flights of steps that led to the lobby, and out through the double-lock safety door that couldn’t keep a twelve-year-old out. Christ Almighty, was Willow out of her mind? Did she even think to consider what would happen if they ran into each other while the sun was up? Or better yet, if he bumped Xander into the middle of a nest of fledges?
Groping around for his lighter, he popped a cigarette between his lips and tried to figure out if there were any loopholes. Okay, so they couldn’t be in the same building at the same time. They couldn’t be outside, on the same street, at the same time. But the spell had thrown him to Harris’ apartment. He lit his cigarette and considered this, not really certain why it would take him there. He was still contemplating this when he reached the Box, shoving the door open before he even thought about it—
He had just enough time to see Harris whip around, protests on his lips, before the boy flashed out of view and he was locked in Buffy’s death-stare.
His eyes shifted to Willow, whose eyes had apparently lost their annoyance in favor of her “I made a boo-boo” look.
He was really starting to hate that look, actually. It usually meant they were all fucked.
It took Xander ten minutes to realize where the fuck he was.
The queasy feeling of his stomach righting itself faded, too slow for his liking, and he squinted through the darkness, trying to see. But he didn’t have vamp!vision, and he certainly didn’t have the wherewithal of someone who actually knew where the fuck they were going to end up next, so his brain took a little while to adjust to the change in scenery. I.E.: A stone wall.
Once his eyes adjusted, he could see the wall was granite. So was the floor. There was a candle in a sconce roughly nailed in, super-vamp-strength style. A cheap plastic lighter rested inside the well of melted wax, and he plucked it out, flicking it on.
It turns out a little bit of light goes a long way. The room filled with the candle’s dim yellow glow, and he turned around to assess the rest of his surroundings. Blow-up mattress on the floor. Stolen microwave. Jury-rigged TV with its guts half-torn out, probably reassembled with the hopes of achieving cable. A lot of swords, knives and axes lying around. A battery-powered radio that once belonged to Xander (but apparently didn’t anymore) perched on the remnants of a stone pedestal, probably once used to display flowers.
A surge of apprehension washed over him, raising his heart-rate and blanching his skin. But then he remembered the spell and relaxed, knowing that he couldn’t be blamed for winding up here, and even if he could, Spike wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. In fact, Spike couldn’t even step into a room with him in it. Slightly devilish glee slithered down his spine, and he slipped the lighter in his pocket, heading for the tiny minifridge where he knew he would find beer. Strong beer. Blood too, yeah, but the beer was what he was looking for.
Spike had run him dry way too often for him not to take advantage of this.
The fridge contained a half-dozen bottles of imported dragon piss. At least, that’s what it tasted like to Xander. High grade imported dragon piss, in a brown bottle. He took another sip, then squinted at the label, searching for warnings of possible long-term memory loss or blindness with excess. There were none. He swallowed.
The crypt was homey, complete with a recliner that looked about as comfortable as his own barcalounger. He went right to it, snatching the remote and turning on the TV, praying that whatever Spike did to it wouldn’t make it explode if he changed the channel. He really wasn’t in the mood for SOAPnet.
The theme song for Days Of Our Lives warbled through the background, and he kicked the blow-up mattress on the floor, feeling it give beneath his foot way too much. It needed to be pumped. If Xander was a nice friend, who liked Spike at all, he’d pull that pump over and blow it up. But because Xander’s current feelings on Spike involved a lot of pent-up rage and no little amusement with the situation at hand, he took another long gulp of beer and stepped onto the mattress, jumping up and down on it like a five year old. The beer splattered everywhere, and he didn’t care—he just kept jumping, feeling the rubber weight of the mattress crinkle and deflate beneath his sneakers with a sense of justice that stung, bitter as cold coffee. It wasn’t much, and it wasn’t going to bring Anya back, but at that moment it felt so maliciously good that he threw himself into it with all the gusto of a raging lunatic. It wasn’t staking the bastard, but he didn’t really want to stake him anyway. Just… hurt him. Make him feel what he felt. Or something.
The bed wheezed beneath him, and he stopped jumping to swallow the last of the bottle and hurl it with all his feeble human might against the nearest wall. It exploded in a glimmering brown firework, and watching it felt even better than jumping on the bed. So he went to the fridge and got the rest of the beers.
Some blonde on the screen said, “Wait—Rafe, don’t go!”. His eyes flickered to her. She was beautiful, heartwrenchingly so, and he paused for a minute to watch her chase an equally beautiful man, who was on his way out the door. Run fast, man. He encouraged mentally, ripping the cap off another beer and swallowing half of it. Blondes are hell.
Then he thought of Spike, his fucking bleach-blonde hair perfectly suited to that category. Blue eyes that were all kinds of dangerous, all kinds of killer. Including the kind that broke hearts for fun. Just to watch you die from the pain that no wound or sickness could ever hope to copy.
He smashed the bottle into the floor. It shattered, and the puddle on the stone reminded him of water balloons, and that made him laugh, so he tossed the third bottle at the wall and watched it disintegrate, splashing the doorway, scaring a spider who’d made herself at home there. The blonde on the TV screamed “Dammit, Rafe, I’m not the only one who’s made mistakes here!” And he thought, Yes, Rafe, let’s stay together so we can go on making mistakes. But then she said, “It was one time! One time with him, and you hurt me so much more—”
Fuck you, whore. His mind snarled as his hand moved, flinging a fourth beer at the screen with accuracy he could only ever achieve buzzed. Nailed her right between those pretty blue eyes, or at least he thought he did—but the bottle went through the screen, with a crash that sobered him up entirely, and an electric show that would’ve worried him had he cared all that much. Killing Spike’s deftly rigged cable TV would probably be the closest Xander would ever get to breaking his heart. At least that was satisfying.
The backpack fell from his shoulders. He hooked it over his fingers, dropping the two beers on top of his extra clothes for work, then snatching up his battery-powered radio and dropping that in too. But under the radio was a pocket-sized spiral-bound notepad. Without a second thought, he snatched that, shoving it into his jeans. Just because he could.
Finally, he grabbed the black nail polish resting on the floor beside the mattress and painted hastily onto the wall—Kilroy Was Here—not knowing why, just knowing that soldiers used to do it when they’d found a place no one else could reach. Then he turned the bottle over, and watched as ropes and ropes of ink black made designs on Spike’s pillow.
Eyes wandering over his damage, he let the last of his anger drain out of him and tossed the backpack back over his shoulder. For some reason, there was no more happiness, no more loony delight at the destruction. There was only this… emptiness. Eating away at his gut. He tried to shrug it off, tried to convince himself it was just hunger, but if it was, then it was a hunger he hadn’t felt since the third grade. When his mother had locked him in his room as punishment on a Friday, and remembered to let him out on Monday.
Fuck this. He needed to see Giles.