Apocalypse, Please Part Two

Title: Transitions From Blindness: After the Start

Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series—AU from Tabula Rasa onward.

Pairing: Spike/Xander

Genre: AU, Romance, Angst

Content Warning: M or MA

Warnings: past canonical child abuse/neglect, None planned, but I’ll update as things occur.

Word Count Goal: 30,000 minimum

AU Note: In case it’s confusing I’m posting parts of chapters within the whole story as I write, so “Apocalypse, Please” is Chapter one and this is part two. Total drama and revelations I wasn’t planning on in this one, but hey I’m going with it.

**********

He waited a moment as everything stopped. Even Anya and Harry had paused for a moment, though Anya at least looked a bit peeved at the interruption. And still they were apocalypse-less. Damn it.

He looked at Spike, who had just settled back into his chair in that “I’m relaxed and ready to dive from the line of fire” way. Yeah, Xander knew that look. He’d gotten a black eye from a fledgling last time Spike wore that lazy grin with the relaxed shoulders that Xander wasn’t staring at because they looked rather nice in the thin, shiny, button-down shirt. At least not right now while he had this to deal with. Later though, staring might be on the menu. Much, much later. Like when Buffy and Willow were gone and Willow wasn’t giving him the betrayal eyes of doom. And what did Willow have to feel betrayed about anyway? She’s the one who had been ignoring him.

“Well?” Buffy said, drawing out the word. She stood there, hands on her hips and a scowl on her face, which may have been nice if it had been in his defence, but no, she’d directed the scowly-impatient face at him as if he had done something wrong. And that right there made him sit up and stare right back at her because he had done nothing wrong.

“Anya and I broke up. I introduced her to my neighbor, Harry. They’re happy and I’m glad Harry lives two floors below me.” He looked over at the pair. Anya wore a malicious grin and he just knew what she planned to say.

“We had sex for three hours yesterday. We almost made it to four, but the neighbor called the police on us for being too loud. She’s human.” She wrinkled her nose and frowned.

Spike nodded. “Right prudes, most humans are.”

Anya tapped her chin and eyed Spike. “Xander’s not, but maybe that’s why the cop ran away when I invited him to join us. He did look rather horrified, which was rude. Wasn’t it Harry?”

“Quite rude. There we were offering him a tumble and before we even got to the good part, he’d turned tail and run.” Harry pressed a kiss to Anya’s brow. “I made it up to you though, didn’t I?”

“Yes. I loved my new toy. It was so big and you were even better than Xander.” She kissed him and then turned back to Buffy and Willow, “The neighbor plans to move out at the end of the week. Apparently they can’t get any sleep. I think she’s just jealous that we didn’t invite her to play.”

Harry laughed and Xander found himself grinning too because, really. He’d missed out. Xander swore he saw Gile’s mouth twitch in what may have been a smirk. Harry and Ahn had already been here when he arrived and they had looked rather tousled, but Xander had thought they’d just grabbed a quickie in the bathroom…. Huh. Who knew his pre-thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner would have turned into that? Xander caught Anya’s eye and nodded in Giles direction. She just smiled. Huh. He’d think on that later. Like tomorrow later.

Xander turned back to Buffy and Willow, catching sight of Tara out of the corner of his eye. She was tucked down in her chair, hands held over her mouth as she shook with what had to be laughter since he couldn’t see any tears.

That reminded him of the youngest member of their group and just to be sure he leaned forward to look around Spike. Dawnie was… not paying the slightest bit of attention to the drama of the moment. She had a plate full of mashed potatoes and creamed corn that she was currently adding gravy and stuffing to make a mash that looked rather good. He’d have to try it. And yeah. Food. Distracting. But Buffy and Willow. Important. He sighed. This was so not turning into the semi-happy little gathering he’d imagined. What else was new.

Buffy had lost her “I’m Queen” stance and looked kinda lost. Anya knew how to bust the wind right of someone’s sails.

Willow… Willow just looked ready to cry, what with the wobbly lip and teary eyes.

She tugged at the hem of her shirt as she looked at him. “Is this why you’ve been mad, Xander?”

That made him sit back like he’d been slapped, because no, no that was not why he’d been pissed. The whole not having a memory because she’d fucked with his brain and he was not doing this, not today, except apparently he was. And then suddenly he wasn’t.

“I’m pretty sure the lack of sex doesn’t really have anything to do with the fact he’s been ignoring ya. The fact you scrambled his brains with a spell….” Spike tapped his chin before turning to Xander, one eyebrow raised in question. “Pretty sure that’s it, idn’t it, pet?”

Xander eyed Spike, wondering what was up with the vampire. First there’d been the kitten poker (which he was never doing again because three cats were more than enough trouble, thank you very much.), then the scathing, but helpful commentary about his fighting ability, and now this. He’d take it though and figure it out later. Damn he had a long list of things to figure out later.

“Spike’s pretty much got it right, Willow. The brain scrambling? Big no-no.” Willow started to speak and he cut her off before she could do more than squeak. “And no, I don’t want it fixed. Ahn and I are better off this way and Ahn’s happier with Harry than she ever was with me. Right, Ahn?” Silence. He turned and caught sight of them necking again. He waved at the pair. “So, yeah. As you can see, she’s much happier.”

Buffy seemed to lose the awkwardness and replace it with indignant constipation. Kinda like a two-year old he’d seen once upon a time at the park on the rare day he actually went there. So not helpful, but he was going to be the bigger person and not roll over and say ”Hi! Carpet here. Walk all over me, please.” Or was that the smaller person? Didn’t the bigger person forgive?

“Look,” he said. “I’m not fighting with you because there’s nothing to fight about. I’m not taking the blame either because I didn’t do the magic and scramble everyone’s brains. All I did was say that sorry wasn’t enough. And that, that is not a reason to get pissed off with me and declare me persona non grata, which you both did.” He paused and looked them over. They hadn’t heard a word he’d said, well they’d heard it, but they’d heard their interpretation of it, which meant his whole speech had been pretty much worthless. He sighed and looked away only to find himself caught in Spike’s considering gaze. Spike gave him a nod that could almost be considered encouraging and he kinda liked that so maybe things weren’t totally hopeless.  Just weird. Really, really weird.

A heavy hand settled on his shoulder and he looked up to find Giles standing behind him.

Giles cleared his throat. Buffy and Willow looked towards him hopefully. “Xander does have a valid point. Your spellwork was substandard as well as ill done, Willow. That is neither here nor there, for this is to be a family meal despite the lack of blood ties between many of us, but since the topic has been broached, I do have an announcement to make.”

Xander waited for the glasses cleaning to start since the pause kept getting longer and longer, but it never did. Then the pause ended with a whoosh as the tension broke.

“I will not be returning to England at this time.” Buffy rushed forward to hug him or something, but Giles simply held up his hand and she stepped back, confused. “I have resigned as Buffy’s Watcher. Instead, I will be undertaking the re-training and restraint of a rogue magic-user.”

Buffy stepped forward, clenching her hands into fists as she drew her shoulders back, ready for a fight. “Is Ethan back? What’s he up to this time?”

Giles regarded her calmly before switching his gaze to Willow. “Ethan is of no concern. My charge is Willow Rosenberg.”

Xander tensed, ready to protest that, but Giles’s hand was still on his shoulder and he could feel the man’s tension even if he couldn’t see it. It was enough to make him stop and think and when he did, he paled because this was bigger than just standing up for his best friend or even himself. This was doing the right thing… even when it sucked demon balls. And this, this really did because he couldn’t say Willow wasn’t a threat. He couldn’t call it a onetime mistake because it was simply the last in a long line of not-so-much-mistakes as abusive addiction. And Xander knew addiction. He’d lived with an abusive asshole of an addict and been his punching bag for years. He bit his lip, hard, drawing blood to the surface. He’d almost been Willow’s magic punching bag and that right there shook him to the core.

He looked into Willow’s pale face and met her shocked gaze. “Giles is right. You need help. Before someone gets hurt.”

He closed his eyes and slumped back in his chair. He didn’t need to see the betrayal to know it was there. Being an adult sucked. He so wanted a chocolate dipped twinkie. Like now. Doing the right thing wasn’t supposed to mean betraying a friend.

A cold hand landed on his knee, cold enough he could feel it through his shorts and he opened his eyes to find Spike watching him with a grim sort of approval, maybe. He didn’t know what to do with that, so he turned away and checked on Giles only to find him looking at Xander with pride?

This…. He was the cut-up. Willow was the one people were proud of. Buffy was the one people approved of. He just looked from Giles to Spike and back again, but it didn’t change and when it did, all he got from Spike was an eye roll and Giles just patted his shoulder before asking Buffy to bring the turkey to the table and directing her and Willow to open chairs, silencing their protests by saying they’d discuss it after dinner.

Apocalypse, Please Part 1

Title: Transitions From Blindness: After the Start

Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series—AU from Tabula Rasa onward.

Pairing: Spike/Xander

Genre: AU, Romance, Angst

Content Warning: M or MA

Warnings: past canonical child abuse/neglect, None planned, but I’ll update as things occur.

Word Count Goal: 30,000 minimum

Xander dug the edge of the green scrub pad into the corner of the pan.  Giles had used the good dishes to cook the turkey and it’d been worth it. The turkey had been perfect. The mashed potatoes were slightly over-salted, but Giles had fixed that with a quick splash of milk.

The same application was apparently useful with a number of different demons, but then the oddest things seemed to be useful when it came to dealing with Demons. Look at Spike. Some decent beer and a friendly round of pool or poker had cut the death threats to the minimum. It was rather nice not being threatened with bodily mutilation as well.

He was almost as creative as Anya.

Anya. Yeah. It’d started there.

Or maybe everything had started to go downhill when he’d seen the cookies. His stomach had certainly turned on him and not in the, “So good. So good. I want those” way. No. It’d been a punch to the gut because they weren’t just delectable pastries with chunks of gooey chocolate spread throughout. They were a trap. Take the cookies and it’d be back to the way things had been for years. Forgive and forget, especially forget, one more time. It’d be Tabula fucking Rasa all over again, except this time there’d be no spell. Just habit. Yeah, it was definitely the cookies.

He’d known Willow was coming. She’d said she would come. Tara had said she’d join them a bit later when he’d asked after she’d arrived and picked a seat at the table as far from Anya and Harry’s barely contained makeout session as she could get. He just hadn’t expected the cookies, which was maybe a bit dumb of him, but there it was.

Xander should’ve told her it’d been cancelled. He should’ve shut the door and walked away, but this was Willow, his best friend. The last of his first friends, so he didn’t. Instead, he’d dredged up a smile, waved her in and told her he’d be at the table with the others.

At least he didn’t take the cookies.

She’d noticed that. How he hadn’t even commented about them, and he’d seen the hitch in her step and the way her smile trembled for a moment, but he wasn’t breaking. He wasn’t giving in this time and he wasn’t letting her off easy because of green crayons and nights spent hiding at her house when Tony was looking for a bit of sport. Instead, he’d walked away and joined the others in the living room.

Harry and Anya didn’t bother looking up from where they were kissing… again. Or maybe they’d never stopped since they’d been at it before he’d gotten up to answer the door. Giles was ignoring them, having given up fussing at them. He had his back to the room as he stood at the counter hole-in-the-wall thing and focused on cutting the turkey into perfect slices. Spike and Tara though, had looked up when he stepped into the living room, breaking off their conversation about something called Victorian flower language. Apparently Spike knew it and Tara was a big fan.

“Willow’s here.” He offered Tara a brief smile that in no way mimicked a grimace at her wince and shrugged. “We’re just waiting on Buffy and Dawn.” He headed towards his seat between Spike and the seat at the head of the table Giles had laid claim to.

A teenage tornado streaked in front of him and tackled the open seat next to Spike as if she expected someone to fight her for it.

“Or not.” Xander grinned. “Hey, Dawnie. How ya doing?” How in hell had he missed her and Buffy? Because where Dawn went, Buffy was sure to follow.

“Hungry.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder and stared hard at the food. “Buffy cooked breakfast.”

Xander nodded as he flopped down in his seat, batting away Spike’s helpful hand that would have tipped it backwards. Spike called it awareness training. Xander called it annoying, but he preferred it over threats of evisceration. Especially at the dinner table and why did he feel like he’d forgotten something important. There were drinks. Food. No alcohol. Plates. Silverware that was actually in the right order. Dessert was in the kitchen oven. Giles would join them as soon as Harry and Anya broke it off—

“What the hell, Xander? Who is that and since when has Anya had more than one boyfriend because that, that is not friendly-friendly. That is decidedly sexy-friendly. ”

Oh yeah. The whole not talking to Willow and Buffy because he had not jumped on the forgiveness cookie wagon meant he hadn’t told them about that yet. Or about the fact he’d hooked Anya up with his downstairs neighbor and co-worker, Harry the friendly sexed up Satyr. Or that he’d changed apartments. Or anything really. Well…  fuck. An apocalypse might be useful right about now. Just a little one. An afternoon distraction. Really, it wasn’t like he wanted the world to end. He just needed to hit pause for a moment. Please?

Project File: Transitions from Blindness: After the Start

Title: Transitions From Blindness: After the Start (Title subject to change)

Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series

Pairing: Spike/Xander

Genre: AU, Romance, Angst

Content Warning: M or MA

Warnings: past canonical child abuse/neglect, None planned, but I’ll update as things occur.

Word Count Goal: 30,000 minimum

Brief overview: AU after the episode “Tabula Rasa.” Once, a couple Christmases ago, I started a universe called “Transitions from Blindness.” The first little story in it was fun and there were plans and then I forgot it, so I’ve resurrected the universe and decided to attempt to finish it. Or at least part of it. I’m essentially going to be spending my free time in March re-watching Season 6 on in Buffy because I don’t remember what happened all that well anymore. Then in April I’ll be ready to take on this universe again. After I finish writing in April, I’ll go back and edit the first story so my writing styles aren’t completely different. It makes a nice little introduction to everything since this story picks up where that one stopped.

 

Summary:  Xander finds that he can’t look at things the same way as before Willow’s magic episode. Cookies don’t solve everything and forgiveness is something he finds himself tired of using to cover up hurts and wrongs that are still there. Love, he’s got plenty of that to give, but now he finds he wants more than a brush-off apology before things go right back to the way they were before. In fact, he doesn’t want things to go back to the way they were before. Life  has changed, but it isn’t half-bad. Spike and him are even getting along despite past attempts at mutual homicide. In fact, Spike is currently better company than his two best friends.

Spike sees an in for himself. The perfect trio of friendship isn’t quite so shiny anymore, but instead of the slayer catching his attention, it’s the whelp who’s surprising him with a backbone Spike hadn’t expected. Xander is changing how he does things, changing how he lives, and he’s allowed Spike a niche in his new life. That little handhold is all Spike needs to dig his way in deeper and make sure it’ll be a pain shoving him back out. He rather likes it here, somewhat cozy and a bit domestic with Xander, but still having some fun taking out the nightly nasties.

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