In The Beginning... Sort Of
batmanvinnie and cinderella81 (aka Becky)Fandom:
FR18, ANGST, Major Character death, and slashDisclaimer:
IWe are not Joss Whedon, we are not Mutant Enemy. We don’t own these characters and make no profit from this story.Author's Notes:
Takes place after “Buffy vs. Dracula” in season 5. According to canon, Xander worked on that one construction job in the episode “Pangs” in season four. A few episodes later he was delivering pizza, then worked fast food again, before returning to construction., but assumes Xander didn’t start working construction until sometime in season 5, before episode 3, “The Replacement.” So this may be fudging the timeline a wee bit, but please bear with us.
* * * * * * * * * * *
It was after well after sunset, and Tara, Willow, Xander, and Giles were once again settled in the Magic Box. Empty pizza boxes littered the floor as the group worked their way through the dusty tomes that covered the research table. Xander sat behind a particularly large text dressed in his Burger Barn uniform, snoring softly as he mumbled in his sleep.
"No, no Master! I’ll be good, give me the spider… ew, it’s fuzzy." Giles sighed, looking over at Xander while preparing to remove and polish his glasses. He paused when he saw the text the teen’s head rested on.
"Xander!" he barked.
"Bator!" the former minion yelped, jerking awake. Willow giggled, then bit her lower lip and raised the Random House unabridged translated fifth edition complete text of Nostradamus’ prophecies to hide behind. Her head lowered, Tara snickered behind a curtain of hair.
"Xander," Giles continued, "The next time you’re going to fall asleep pretending to research, at least do so behind a book you can actually read."
Xander frowned. "Hey, I was reading it. See ‘Flor- flurgernstruln wo-worreeera caeringa behkai ruelinnschain link-letter? Linkletter? Are they talking about Art Linkletter?"
Sighing again, Giles snatched the book away from Xander’s attempts at sounding out. "Xander, you can’t read it. It’s in Ancient Polgaran."
"Oh." Xander nodded, then paused. "Wait, if it's not in English, then why was it in the 'read' pile?"
"Because Polgaran seers are not only quite prolific, but are also usually reliable. Luckily, it seems as though we’re almost done with the primary group of books. We can move onto the secondary."
"Giles, how do you divide the books up when we don’t even know what we’re looking for?" Willow asked, her head tilted to the side.
"Oh, yes, well, I’ve divided the prophecy books into separate categories based upon the reliability, usefulness, and their relation to the Hellmouth and all things Slayer related. I feel that a thorough, occasional search through these texts is always a good preventive measure."
"Okay, I got a lot of big words meaning we didn’t have to be here on a Saturday night. Is that right?" Xander asked, suppressing a yawn.
"Okay, I vote for leaving and sleeping. I have two jobs and a slightly nuts girlfriend that I need to pacify with gifts and…" he coughed, blushing slightly. "More gifts."
Willow and Tara smiled as Giles removed his glasses and cleaned them. "Quite right."
Xander shoved his chair away from the table and stretched, pausing at Buffy’s raised voice.
"Be nice Spike! We need to figure out what to do!" she yelled, her voice muffled by the door. The Scoobies turned toward the entrance as Buffy and Spike stomped in. Xander groaned inwardly. Aside from being evil, Spike was everything he wasn't. Including attractive, although that thought had long ago been pummeled and shoved into the "Do Not Open" box in the back of his mind.
"Be nice? You’re daft! Still evil here. 'Sides, I already know what to do."
"Yeah, neutered evil," Xander clarified with a saccharine grin. Spike froze, his face blank for a split-second before it shot a glare the teen's way.
"Shut up, bug-boy."
"Quiet! Now, what is going on?" Giles asked.
"Uh, oh, did the Bleached Blunder get shown up by the Slayer… again?" Xander asked.
"At least I have a fighting chance, Droopy. Even with the chip, I could still do more damage than you, the Worthless Wonder." Spike twisted his mouth into a nasty grin. "Only a matter of time before demon girl goes looking for greener pastures. Tell me, does she usually have to take things into her own hands to get her end off?"
"Oh that’s it, Blondie!" Xander shot up from his chair, grabbed the stake from his back pocket, and began to advance on Spike. Buffy was suddenly next to him, dragging him back and shoving him down into his seat. Xander frowned and crossed his arms.
"Remind me again why can’t I kill him?" Xander whined.
"Because," Buffy pouted, "According to the demon we saw, who apparently thinks that he's Mr. T., a vampire is the only one who can kill it. Besides, if any of us get to eventually kill him, it's me. He's tried to kill me more times than the rest of you, so it's only fair."
"What sort of demon did you face?" Giles asked, suddenly interested.
"Wait!" Xander interrupted hopefully. "Does this new demon mean we can stop all the nonessential research?"
"Yes, but now we get to research the demon Buffy and Spike ran into," Willow replied, excited.
"Looks like they won’t be needing your services then, Burger Boy," Spike smirked, sitting down at the table. "You’ll need to be able to read to help with this one."
Xander again started to rise but Buffy’s iron grip immediately forced him back down.
"Listen up Fangless; the only reason I don’t stake you is because Buffy asked me not to and she’s stronger, speaking of which, ow, that is going to bruise. Otherwise, I would so be sweeping you into a dustpan right about now." To emphasize his threat, Xander grabbed his stake and twirled it in his fingers before it suddenly clattered to the ground. Spike snickered.
"Quiet! Buffy, what demon did you encounter?" Giles asked.
"Well, I want to say it’s a Grumpy Danish Demon, but I know that’s totally wrong."
Spike burst out laughing. "It’s a Grumpdanashka demon and it hunts and kills its victims by sending out electrical impulses that stops hearts, then eats the brain."
"Wait, if it stops its victim’s hearts, then the only creature that can kill it…" Willow started, trailing off as she found her answer.
"Is one that is already deceased," Giles finished. "I've read something about them before; they may not be that bright, but they do have good reflexes and fighting skills."
"Well, why don’t you run along and go fight it, Spikey. Maybe we’ll get lucky and you’ll both die," Xander said. It was at this moment that Spike’s patience snapped.
"Well it’s not like you’ll stop it. What are you gonna do? Throw burgers at it? Trip it when you fall over your own feet?" he shouted indignantly, jumping to his feet. His sudden movement sent the chair across the floor. "I'm off. I'll go find it and kill it, so don't worry your empty little head about it, Burger Bitch."
"Spike, it’s seven feet tall," Buffy pointed out, slapping her hand over Xander's mouth. "Maybe you should wait until we get some more info."
"Oh shut your mouth Slayer. I’ve been killing demons-."
"Enough!" Giles roared. The other occupants, including Spike, jumped as the room went eerily silent. "Everyone go home. Spike, if you decide you want to go into this fight half-cocked, then go ahead; it’ll save us all having to research this damn thing. But be careful. And depending on the outcome, we’ll meet tomorrow night, either to research this demon, or to continue with the research we’ve been doing. Now go home."
Silently, everyone got up and left the Magic Box until the only people left were Buffy and Giles. Buffy sighed and sat down at the research table next to Giles.
"Well that was fun," Buffy said, rolling her eyes. "I mean, yeah, Spike is still a pain, but since the whole Adam thing, he's been trying to at least prove he's reliable. He's even being nice . . . you know, for Spike."
"True, and he hasn't been demanding continual payment lately; it's become more of a monthly fee for his services. And after seeing Spike's interactions with Dawn this summer, I surmise he's started to view us as his clan."
Buffy frowned. "His clan? You think so?"
"Yes. Most vampires are communal creatures, seeking out the company of others."
"Yeah, I know."
"Through his mercenary works with us, he's been ostracized by the demon community. And without Drusilla, we're the closest thing he has to a family. Despite his complaining, he does seek us out. And in every family, there is tension."
"So that's why they're fighting like little kids?" she asked.
"Yes. I think that with Spike becoming a more permanent member of our group, they're jockeying for position. I think perhaps Xander feels threatened by Spike as he's become a member of our group. Even though we deeply care for Xander, Spike is usually more useful on patrol, which I believe deeply bothers Xander," Giles replied.
"Great. Do you think we should do something? I mean, is there anything we can do?"
"Short of magical silencing spells or lobotomies, I don’t think so. I feel it would be best to simply let them fight it out. Of course we will intercede if it comes to violence, but I’m sure they’ll eventually get past it. Hopefully. Until then, we’ll just keep an eye out and make sure they don’t kill each other."
"Right. On it. No Spike or Xander killage," Buffy sighed. Giles stood and put on his jacket before heading to the door.
"Are you ready, Buffy?" he asked, opening the front door. Buffy smiled.
"Nah. I’m still really wound up after the fight I didn’t get to have. I think I’m gonna go work out, relieve some frustration."
"Very well then. I, however, have spent the last four hours dealing with Xander’s complaining and Willow’s discussion of new computer cataloguing software; I am going home. Please do me a favor and remember to lock up for me."
"Got it. Night," Buffy said, watching Giles leave the Magic Box. She waited until he was gone before heading straight for the balcony, where Giles kept the old, powerful books he didn’t want sold to the public. Not only was the magic in them too powerful for beginners, but he didn’t fancy the idea of the spells being loose on the Hellmouth.
Reaching onto the first shelf, she pulled out a blue binder. Willow and Giles had compiled a reference list indicating which books had which spells. It made things easier since the majority of the books were in other languages.If Willow can do fancy magic, a small spell should be a snap for the Slayer,
Buffy thought. She began flipping through the pages, trying to find a spell that might help the Xander and Spike situation.Let’s see…alienation, attention… okay, banishment… genocide spells? Creepy. Growth spells, ice spells, lab- LABIA? Oh my God, I don’t want to know. Hm… machination… nose enlarger? Could have used that one on Cordelia! Oh, peace spells! Okay, great. Wow, that’s a lot of spells. Hmm… "also see spells listed under calming, harmony, order, stability, or understanding." Okay, understanding. Wow, there’s a lot of understanding spells. Damn. This is harder than it looks. Understanding spells: eye-opening, sharing… oh! Imprisonment for understanding! Nah, they’d kill each other first. Okay, so sharing. Page 793, "Rector Ut Potentia Per Cassandra,*" shelf 3.
Buffy approached the third shelf, scanning for the book. Finding it, she flipped through the book to page 793. A yellowed page fluttered to the floor; she picked it up and studied it.
"Sweet, English directions! Okay, ‘Light two yellow candles, and read the primary spell. Then say the names of those involved. Then say the phrase "scientia, vox, penitus scientia" three times, in that order.’" She smiled before jogging down the stairs and grabbing two of the yellow magic candles on sale.
Setting them on the counter, she lit the wicks before clearing her throat and reading the spell."Scientia est lucrum per intelligendo!
A vox infinitus!
Nos dico super Aradia!
Ut tribuo nos is vires!
Spike called William the Bloody, Alexander Lavelle Harris!
Scientia, vox, penitus scientia!
Scientia, vox, penitus scientia!
Scientia, vox, penitus scientia!"**
Buffy held her breath, then pouted; nothing happened. Suddenly, a breeze picked up. Gentle, but insistent, it made the flames dance in unison. First to the left, then the right, before extinguishing them both. The room quieted and Buffy looked around, unable to see the wave of magic that rolled out from the extinguished candles.
"Well, I guess it worked." She smiled before jogging upstairs to replace the book, then left. Walking home, she smiled again. She had brought peace to her friends . . . hopefully.
* * *
Xander trudged down the stairs of the basement, tired. He’d picked up construction pretty quickly, but his lack of training or experience kept him from advancing in the company. And if he was ever going to move out of the basement, he would need more money. So after hours of exhausting, crappy construction work that didn’t pay him enough, he went to the Burger Barn. Every night, he came home smelling like French-fry grease, muscles aching. He was tired and pissed off. And being around Spike always bugged the hell out of him, even more than Angel had.
"Hello Xander!" He jerked his head toward the foldout. A bedside light snapped on, and Anya sat there naked, a wide grin on her face. Suppressing a yawn, he spoke.
"What are you doing here, Ahn?" he asked, dropping into the orange chair.
"I thought since you were at work all day and you don’t like work, we could have sex. I thought that giving and receiving orgasms would make you feel better," she explained, rising to stand beside him.
Xander groaned inwardly as he stood. He knew that if he said no, she’d either yell, or plaster herself to his body, writhing and rubbing until he was aroused enough to actually want sex. Either way, he wouldn’t be sleeping for a while. Even though it was for sex (and he wholeheartedly agreed that sex was of the very good), Anya’s ignorance regarding his exhaustion or emotions was always somewhat disheartening. But in five minutes, it wouldn’t matter. Taking her in his arms, he let her take control. Thirty sweaty minutes later, he was asleep.
* * *
Spike took a final drag from his cigarette before tossing it on the ground. Tense and irritated, he was searching for violence. That last encounter with Xander had left him agitated, and sadly, aching to see more of the Scooby. After a hundred years, Spike could hide his feelings. But like any human or vampire, he couldn't change them.
Sure, he’d once hated Xander; he’d hated him with a fiery passion. Of course hate didn't preclude lust, which Spike had felt for the boy since Angel had offered him as a gift. But while tied to Xander’s chair, his abject hatred faded to annoyance. This occurred after discovering the human shared Spike's complete loathing for Angel, and that Xander had also once stood Angelus down. Then one night, weeks later, annoyance had been grudgingly changed to respect.
Spike had been patrolling with the Scoobies. It had been a fairly easy night, until they’d come across a nest of vamps. There was the usual assortment of idiot fledges, but also some older vamps who knew enough to be dangerous. Spike had been taunting one of the stronger vamps, toying with it. As he'd dusted it, Spike had looked up. Through the cloud of dust he saw a vamp charge toward Willow, knife drawn. He felt a flare of panic: Willow had been his one ally in the Scoobies and he sure as hell didn’t want her hurt. But before he could run to her aide, Xander had.
Diving in front of his best friend, Xander took the knife in his side. The vamp smirked and started to throw Xander, its yellow eyes focused on Willow. But the boy had simply clenched the vamp’s arms, refusing to give it the freedom to attack his friend. In the seconds it had taken Xander to save Willow’s life, Spike had arrived, staking the vamp without any of his usual flair.
As the dust settled, Spike sniffed; there wasn’t too much blood from the wound. But the wound was a graze on the ribs, one Spike knew would tug and ache with each breath. Hell, he could see the tension in the boy’s body as Xander tried to pretend he was okay. Yet instead of complaining or trying to gain sympathy, the kid had said nothing and brushed it off as a scratch. He’d joked about being how being a klutz had paid off, and that he had been promoted for donut boy to pin cushion. It was in that moment that respect had blossomed.
After that night, his respect, coupled with his desire, had slowly turned to infatuation; he just hadn’t known it until the night he’d caught himself checking out Xander’s ass. In an odd way, his romantic feelings for Xander made sense. While Giles was the leader, Buffy the fighter, and Willow the witch, Xander was the heart and spirit of the Scoobies. His loyalty and love emanated from him just as his body heat and pheromones. Xander was all that was good, all that Spike would never have. God, why couldn’t I have fallen for someone else, like the Slayer? He paused and shuddered. Wait, scratch that. A slayer and a vampire would never work out, just be a lot of headache. But the witch would have been easier, even if she's a lesbian. She likes me at least. But no, stupid as I am, I had to go and fall in love with the one that hates me the most. The Powers that Be: seven. Love’s Bitch: zero.
Spike was so lost in thought that he missed the musty smell of the demon coming up behind him. The Grumpdanashka launched its attack, punching him in the kidney, and then grabbing and throwing the vampire in the air. Spike landed with a grunt.
"I smell it all over you," the Grumpdanashka said. It was actually pretty funny looking: seven feet tall, bright pink skin, and one large fur-encircled horn in the middle of its forehead. It reminded Spike of one of Harmony’s stuffed unicorns. Only larger, meaner, and with strange olfactory abilities akin aura reading.
"What do you smell, ducks? Certainly not my love for you. Must be yer own stink," Spike sneered, standing.
"I smell your love and sadness. You are a traitor, consorting with the Slayer and her friends. It is a human you love, isn't it? Humans are only meant to be food. I will find this human, and it will be the first I feast after you are gone."
Spike’s demon roared in anger; he had heard enough. His game face surfaced as he lashed out with a roundhouse kick that hit the Grumpdanashka in the chin. It staggered back, but recovered quickly and punched Spike in the stomach. The vampire retaliated, throwing a flurry of punches before sweeping the demon’s feet out from beneath it. The Grumpdanashska rolled to its feet and charged, putting Spike on the defensive. The demon grabbed him by his duster and threw him, sending Spike crashing into a park bench. He got up, and ran straight into the demon, but the Grumpdanashka’s hide and muscles were so hard that Spike bounced off and then fell down. The demon knelt over him and planted a hand on Spike's chest to hold the vampire down. A dark smile split its mottled face as it spoke.
"If you were not a traitor, you would be worthy of being my pet," it growled, leaning his head down next to Spike's.
"And if you weren’t so pink, maybe you wouldn’t have been teased so much as a hatchling."
"I am not teased. I am fear-." The demon’s roar was cut off as Spike ripped the horn from the demon’s head and drove it into its chest, killing it. The demon fell back
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re a big bad demon and everyone’s scared of you. Believe me when I tell you that I’ve heard it before." Spike sneered at the demon as he struggled to its feet.
He walked the deserted streets of Sunnydale toward his crypt. He wasn’t sure how much damage his left side had sustained from the fight, but he felt at least three broken ribs and a fracture in the left femur. Once at his crypt, he made his way to his bed, dropping articles of clothing along the way. He lay down and waited for his exhaustion to take over, partially afraid and partially craving the dreams that would come. Lately, he was haunted by dreams of Xander. And the more he tried to ignore them, the more erotic and frequent they become. If I don’t do something soon, I am going to end up like Dru. I bloody well know that he doesn’t feel that way about me; he wants to dust me and he says so often enough. ‘Sides, he has that crazy bint to warm his bed. He’s straight and hates me; I don’t stand a fuckin’ chance.
Groaning, he tried to calm his thoughts. But they drifted from image to image of Xander, some from life and some from the dreams. The last thought Spike had was of Xander’s lips, and how warm they would be on his cool skin.
* * * * * * * * * *
Translated from Latin:
* Cassandra’s Guide to Political Power
**Knowledge is gained by understanding,
A power unlimited.
We call upon Aradia
To give us this strength!
Knowledge, power, insight!
Knowledge, power, insight!
Knowledge, power, insight!