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When the Dead are Your Only Friends

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Playing With the Dead... and Not So Dead". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: After a near-death experience, Xander develops a new ability. As he makes contact with old friends, broken souls and hunters, he starts learning about the mystical world and the feelings of a certain blond vampire. (Spander, DS/SW, DW/CR)

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Xander-Centered > Pairing: Other(Past Donor)vinniebatmanFR15716,63435332,15514 Feb 0710 Oct 07No

When the Dead are Your Only Friends

Title: When the Dead Are Your Only Friends
Author: batmanvinnie
Fandom: BtVS
Pairings: Spander, of course. This one is PRESLASH. Also, this will be a Supernatural crossover, but the Winchesters aren't going to be in until chapter 4 (sorry, I just couldn't get them in right away! I'm also very open to suggestions about pairings for Dean and Sam).
Rating/Warnings: This one is teen. Adult in later parts.
Prompt: Near-death experience
Disclaimer: I hired a pack of ninjas to kidnap Joss and Kripke; they were threatened with hot poker torture, chainsaws, and an exorcism. I now own all. Thank you. *Doctor's Note: Patient exhibits delusions of grandeur and any claims of ownership are pure fantasy. No harm is meant. Seriously, it's better than her throwing rocks at people.
A/N: This was written for prompts from my paranormal 25 table. Each chapter will used a different prompt.

Xander Harris was not felled by a vampire or a zombie. It wasn't even praying-mantis or the random demon du jour. Oh no, as luck would have it, Xander Harris' closest brush with death was because of a light socket. Dawn had cried upon discovering his heart had stopped and Faith had cursed while Giles had administered CPR. Xander's luck (which appeared to involve him being continually injured but alive) held out. One frantic trip to the hospital later, Xander awoke, groggy and sore. At first, Xander was confused. He remembered getting shocked, then nothing. As he opened his eyes, a genteel, Southern voice spoke.

"I've been waiting for you, Alexander." Xander snapped his head toward the corner of the hospital room, and there he saw Grandmother LaVelle. Xander's response was less than eloquent or helpful. He shrieked. Of all the ghosts to hallucinate, his great-grandmother wasn't one of the ones he'd hoped for. He'd rather see Anya or Jesse, hell, even Spike would be better. At least he could occasionally talk to Spike. And Spike was hot, whereas his Grandmother was just scary.

She'd never been happy about her granddaughter, Jessica, marrying Tony Harris. An elegant New Orleans matriarch, Annamarie LaVelle had been a proper, genteel Southern woman. But Xander had always been afraid of her. She was far too strict, far too steely for a five-year-old to understand or like. As soon as his lungs were empty, he sucked in breath, then shrieked again. The door to his private room slammed open, a gaggle of Slayers (plus one witch and one Watcher) rushing in, weapons at the ready.

"What is it? What's wrong?" Buffy demanded, prepared to fight the unseen threat. But Xander didn't look at his friends. Instead, he continued to stare at the empty chair in the corner. Slowly, the confused group lowered their weapons.

"Listen up, Boy," his grandmother had snapped at him. "You have six cousins. Jacob and Mark are useless."

"Grams, Jake's a lawyer, and Mark is an architect," he answered in a frightened whisper. Willow arched an eyebrow.

"Xander, are you okay?" she asked, coming forward. The white in her hair gave way to red as the magic she'd called up to defend her best friend faded. But Xander didn't look at her, his wide-eye never turning toward her. Fearful, Willow turned toward Buffy. "He's talking about his family. He doesn't like his family. Why's he talking about his family?"

"Bah, useless," Annamarie continued. "Sandra is a witless money changer, and Thomas is a gas-jockey."

"He owns a BMW dealership," Xander offered dumbly.

"Lenore is a flitty-brained writer, and that Abigail is a layabout hussy. And all useless, the lot of them."

"Okay, sure, I'll agree to that."

Annamarie narrowed her eyes and pinched her lips into a thin line. It was certainly time for a different approach. "I've been watching you, Alexander. I know why that crazy preacher took your eye."

"Cuz he was crazy?" he asked, the color draining from his face. Faith snorted.

"Looks like 'he' isn't the only crazy one."

"Because you are the one who sees."

Xander sat up, suddenly alert.

"Oh God, you're the First!" he whimpered, trying to squish himself further into the corner of the hospital bed.

The being that was obviously pretending to be his Grandmother glared at him while Buffy and Faith cursed.

"Where is it, Xander? Where is it? Willow, we need a spell!" Buffy yelled, panicking.

"Calm down, Boy! I am not the First evil. Do you even know what he meant by 'the one who sees?'"

Xander frowned. "No. Wait. I’m a seer?"

The slayers lowered their weapons again. "What in the hell is going on?" Rona yelled. She loved Xander like a brother, but this was just confusing.

"Oh Lord no! I'd never tell you if you were!" Annamarie laughed. "Useless, the lot of them, talking about what might be the future. Useless. No, honey. You’re what they might call a 'medium.' You see the dead." Xander blinked.

"Okay, first off, it was a Hellmouth. Everyone saw the dead. I roomed with the dead for Christssake!"

"Alexander LaVelle Harris, do not take the Lord’s name in vain!" Annamarie snapped. Xander had the presence of mind to look contrite.

"Sorry, Grandmother. Anyways, you're probably just a hallucination."

"Oh, you are so lucky I'm dead! Otherwise, I'd turn you over my knee!"

Giles sighed and perched on Xander's bed, focusing on Xander's words.

"Xander!" Faith yelled. Xander turned toward her, eye focused.

"Wait a minute Faith, I'm in the middle of something here," he said before turning back to the chair.

"Alexander, this is not an easy gift to have. I thought it had died with me. But something started to poke at my soul. I finally figured out what it was: you. You've got the gift, and that’s why I'm here."

"Okay, so why haven't I seen spirits before?"

Giles reached out and grasped Willow's hand. Willow started, before looking down at her father-figure. Giles started chanting in Latin. Willow's frown faded as she recognized the spell. Together they chanted until a faint green glow filled the chair Xander was staring at.

"Well, your Mother said that you used to have terrible nightmares and would sometimes talk to your Grandfather in your sleep. But the town you grew up in, there’s a lot of dark energy there, a lot of spirits. And they all wanted to talk to you and you saw so many of them, felt their energy. It was like plugging too many electronics into an outlet. It overloaded your brain, shorted out your gift. But when you died-," she explained.

"Died?! I died? When did I die?!" Xander yelled. "I don’t remember dying! There was no white light! Does that mean I’m going to Hell?!"

Grandmother LaVelle frowned before continuing. "When you died, only for a few moments, your brain sort of reset itself. Woke your gift up." She turned and looked at Willow before returning her eyes to her great-grandson. Her eyes softened and she smiled. "Your friend is looking mighty scared for you, Grandson. I guess you'd better explain it to them. And you look tired, so you'd best take a nap. I'll talk to you later."

"Okay," Xander said, dazed as he waved. "Bye Grandma." As his Grandmother faded away, Rona threw her axe on the ground and spoke up.

"What the hell was all of that Xander?" she asked, concerned. Xander turned toward one of his oldest friends, his eye somber.

"I see dead people."

* * * * *

Five hours later, Xander was ready to sleep again. He had been overjoyed when Willow and Giles had confirmed that a spirit had indeed been in the room. It was nice to know he wasn’t crazy. But Nurse Morris has cleared his friends out. That was followed by tests and conversations with various doctors. As he stared down at down at his hospital dinner, he contemplated calling Willow and begging for some fast food.

"That doesn't look very appetizing, mate."

Xander jumped in surprise. Looking towards the door, he saw Spike and immediately relaxed.

"Oh, hey Spike." Spike barely concealed his look of surprise. Aside for the initial surprise, the Scooby didn't seem surprised to see the vampire.

"So, what are you in for?" he asked, watching Xander frown and he prodded the green glob on his dinner tray.

"Oh, Faith and Hannah, this new slayer from Georgia, were sparring and broke a lamp. So I was fixing it, and the generator surged. While I was fixing it, someone must have plugged it back in. Apparently, my heart stopped."

"Well at least you aren't dead," Spike pointed out.

"Yeah. But I was dead for a little while, I guess. Sorry about L.A. We honestly didn't know you were there, or that you guys were taking on the Circle o' Death. We would have helped if things had been explained to us better."

"Yeah, well nothing ever seems to turn out right for me," he laughed, sitting in the chair Annamarie had previously occupied.

"So, how’s the afterlife?" Xander asked. Spike frowned.

"Fine. Took us a while to get here."

"Who's us?"

"Me, Peaches, and the Demi-God."

Xander's eye widened as he looked around the room nervously. "They aren't here, are they? I don't want to see Angel. He'll probably just end up brooding and whining to me until I die."

"Did they give you one of those brain scans, pet?"

"Yeah, why?"

"You just seem... odd. Was wondering if maybe there was some residual brain-damage."

Xander shrugged. "No. Just don't tell Deadboy I can see him, okay?" Spike nodded.

"Look, you seem pretty out of it, I'll leave you, okay?" Spike stood up and approached the bed. He leaned over and went to lower his lips to Xander's forehead, then thought better of it. Spike frowned. Just because Xander had kindly welcomed him, it didn't mean they were best friends. But he just felt kind of bad at seeing Xander in the hospital and he wanted to comfort his former roommate.

Xander's brown eye stared at him with sorrow. "Sorry, Spike. It must suck being on the 'look but don't touch' program. But hey, you're still really hot, so that has to count for something, right?" Spike's eyes widened as Xander's room phone rang. Xander turned to answer it; when he turned back, Spike was gone.


"Oh my goddess, Xander, you won't believe it!" Willow babbled. "Spike and Angel are alive. Well, dead alive, well, you know, undead alive!"


"They survived L.A.! They're here and agreed to help the Council out. It's so great. The god they have with them knows so much, and Angel stole this magic book from the Wolfram and Hart-."

"Wait, Willow, you're saying Spike is alive?"


"So he's not a ghost? Oh shit."
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