(The characters are not ours, they're Whedon's, we're just playing with them
(Story co-written with Nashmaveric)
Spike pressed his nose up against the smooth glass of the jar and watched the big huge lump on the bed. The sun was up and shining, and it was time for Boy to wake up. If he didn't, then there would be shouting and screaming and bad things would happen. C'mon Boy, wake up.
He backed up as far as he could, then flew hard up against the side of the jar, trying to knock it over. His shoulder hurt, but the jar only moved a little. Boy was still sleeping. Fluttering his wings, Spike tried not to be nervous for him. Why wasn't that alarm thing ringing? Why wasn't Boy waking up!
Xander wriggled a bit, trying to snuggle down even more in the warmth of the bed. He loved this early morning time, before They woke up, when he could pretend everything was fine. He tried to relax a little more, waiting for the alarm to ring. He was completely unprepared for what happened next. Just as his mother had come to wake him up with glass of orange juice and a hug, the door slammed open and Xander was lifted off the bed and thrown against the wall.
Harris loomed over his son. "I've had enough of this shit, Xander. You're not six years old anymore, I told you at your birthday that you'd better clean up your act. Get up!" Reaching down, he dragged his cowering son to his feet and shoved him toward the dresser. "If you're not dressed and at breakfast in twenty minutes, I'll be back with my belt."
Spike's wings fluttered faster and faster, as he sat at the bottom of the jar, looking through the gaps between the fingers of his hands covering his eyes. Boy was in trouble. And Big One mentioned the belt. Belt was bad. Worse than Big One.
Xander stayed carefully still until his father had walked out, then scrambled to get dressed. He'd learned at an early age that his father didn't issue empty threats. Throwing worried glances at the clock, Xander managed to get himself ready within the allotted time. He climbed on the chair and reached for the jar he'd carefully hidden on the shelf over his desk.
"Sorry you had to see that. Don't worry, he won't come back. I'll be good all day and then we'll be able to play when I come back." He smiled at his treasure and put the jar back in its place, carefull not to move it too suddenly, then ran out to breakfast.
Once his wings stopped beating, he unfurled them and stood up. The room was empty and quiet. Boy was gone. Why wouldn't he take him to that place he called school? The only time he took him outside was after school and before Big One came back from work. Spike hated Big One. He hated Mom too, but Xander seemed to like her a little.
He eyed the clock and wished there was a way to make it go faster. All day long, he'd wait. It was so boring without Boy to talk to him and tell him stories. A slight pout forming on his mouth, he lay on his stomach and rested his chin on his knuckles.
Xander hugged Willow one more time before leaving her to go home. She was his best friend in the whole wide world but after that incident with his drunken father singing "Thank Heavens, for little girls" and leering at her, her mom wouldn't let her anywhere near him. They only ever saw each other at school now. He walked home alone, practically running in his haste to get there. Before he found Spike, Xander would walk as slowly as he could, not wanting to go home to yet another afternoon of nothing to do and no one to do it with. His father had managed to scare away any friend Xander ever made and he'd been so lonely before.
Shaking his head to clear all the bad thoughts, Xander grinned as he ran faster. It didn't matter what he was before, he had Spike now and his dad wouldn't scare him away. He slowed down as he reached the house, checking for his dad's car before he went in. When he was gone, Xander's mom would make him sandwiches and sometimes she'd even kiss him on the cheek before she sent him upstairs.
Xander's smile grew even wider when he saw that his dad's car was missing. He bounced into the kitchen and yes! There was big huge sandwich all ready for him.
"Take it upstairs with you Xander, your father should be home soon," his mom offered him a tired smile before she dropped a kiss on his forehead. "Get something to drink from the fridge as well, I think I'll lie down for a moment."
Xander nodded, watching silently as she left the room with a big bottle of whiskey in her hand. He knew not to smile or say anything until she left, sometimes she would change and scream at him when he spoke. This way he could get his kiss and go upstairs with nothing spoiling his mood.
"Hey Spike, I'm back," he whispered as he put the plate and soft drink down on his desk. He went back to close the door, careful not to make any noise. His mom was resting and he wasn't supposed to bother her. "We got a sandwich today, want some?" he asked, more normally, smiling up at Spike.
Spike was already tapping the top of the jar with both fists, wanting out. The minute the top was unscrewed, he flew circles around Boy's head, enjoying his freedom. Well, semi-freedom since the windows and door were tightly closed. But he didn't care, he didn't have anywhere to go. And Boy was fun when the Big One and Mom weren't around.
After he expended some of his energy, he landed on Boy's shoulder. "Sandwhich... and coke, you have coke? The bubbles make me sneeze. You smell like Red Hair. Did she share her crayons again?"
"She broke the yellow one," Xander replied swallowing hastily, "but it was okay cause I stole one from the next table over so she didn't have to tell the teacher." He cut off a bit of the sandwich and poured some coke in a thimble he'd taken from the classrom. "Here you go. Wanna play race cars after we eat?"
Spike had his face in the thimble and was lapping up the bubbly drink as if there weren't at least a hundred more thimbles full in Boy's glass. "Achoo... achoo...achoo..." He wiped his nose with his sleeve. "First one to get the red car gets to play with it!" Course he'd hidden the red car last time they'd played. A little smirk broke over his face as he tore a bit of bread and ate it. One thing about Mom, she was a great cook. This peanutbutter stuff she made always came out great! She hadn't burned it even once.
Xander couldn't keep the smile off his face as he babbled on to Spike about his day. He hadn't told anyone about Spike because he never wanted to share him. He knew that was bad and selfish because the teacher had said they were supposed to share with the other kids but he didn't care. Spike was the only friend he had other than Willow and he wasn't letting him go.
Not even to share.
"We can only play a little though because Willow said she'd check my homework for me so I have to do it. She's even more strict than Ms Harrison!" Xander pouted, pretending that he hated Willow taking care of him.
Swallowing more of the delicious peanutbutter and washing it down with bubbles, Spike called out. "Start now, then. Get your car Boy - Xan-der." He remembered Boy preferred to be called that. Grinning as Boy went in the wrong direction, he flew to the chest of drawers, landed near its legs and walked under. A second later, he was pushing his red car out. "Look ... look... mine!"
They played for a few hours. Sometimes it was a tug of war, with Xander wanting his turn with the red car, and Spike insisting under his rules it was his car. Boy was kind, not like Big One. He could have torn the red car from him, but he let him have it. Even if he whined about it.
Later, Spike curled up on Xander's shoulder, watching the careful stroke's of Boy's pencil. Learning with him, but staying quiet. He loved the smell of Boy's bubble gum. Once, he'd found a piece stuck on the nightstand. It had been a mistake trying to pull some off. Boy had laughed for hours about him getting stuck, and then poured smelly alcohol on him... to get it off his wings. He was never going to try gum again, but sniffing it was good.
Xander worked through his homework, trying hard not to make any mistakes. He'd promised Willow he'd do his best and he hated breaking promises. He'd just about finished when he heard tires screech outside his window.
"Dad's home!" He exclaimed and frantically tried to put away his homework and tidy up his room before his dad had a chance to see it. Too fast, he heard footsteps climbing the stairs. "Spike, you have to hide, get back in the jar, hurry!" Xander could hear his heart beating frantically in his chest, as the steps went past his door and into his mother's room. He knew it wouldn't be long before his dad remembered him. He always did after he yelled at his mom a little.
"When I get big I'm going to... well I'm not sure what type of fairy I am but ... Don't put me away!" It was too late, he was shoved inside the jar and the top was closing. His frantic efforts to lift the lid were wasted as Boy shoved the jar up onto the shelf. Spike shivered, keeping pace with his beating wings. The Big One was being loud again. The wall shook. Mom screamed.
Face pressed against the glass, Spike saw water come out of Boy's eyes. That made water come out of his own eyes. This was wrong. Why didn't anyone stop Big One?
Then it was quiet. Too quiet. Something was going to explode.
The door was thrown open, smashing loudly against the wall. Spike screamed and slammed his hands against the see through barrier as Boy was grabbed by the hair. His soft brown hair... Big One was going to tear it off! "Drop him... let him go..." Why did Boy lock him in, he could help. He could bite Big One. He could blind him.
More water poured from Spike's eyes. Boy was bleeding. From his nose. And his mouth. And Big One was raising his hand again. This time Spike screwed his eyes shut. He couldn't watch anymore. It hurt too much.
A long time later, Boy was able to move and let him out again. He let Boy talk and talk and talk, and when Boy had nothing left to say, Spike talked to fill the quiet. Neither one talked about what happened, or why though. It was better to talk about t.v. and coloring, and smashing things.
Sitting on Boy's shoulder again, Spike licked the blood off Boy's cheek. It made him ashamed... knowing he liked the sweet taste of Boy's blood, and knowing Boy had to be hurt for there to be blood. The last time he'd tasted Boy's blood was when Boy cut his finger with a scissor. Did this mean he'd be a vampire fairy and not a magical one?
Xander talked and talked until he was too tired to keep his eyes open. He always felt so tired after his dad...after his dad paid attention to him. He felt Spike settle on his shoulder and smiled sleepily. At least he still had Spike.
"I should really put you back in the jar for the night, dad might find you if you're not hidden away." he mumbled, stretching a little. He would get up to put Spike back in a moment, he just needed to get som energy first.
"Just close your eyes. I'll wake you up to put me away." As if!
Long after Boy was asleep, Spike lapped the rest of the blood away. Boy was nice and clean now, even if he'd be black and blue in the face. If only he could take some of the pain away.
He eyed his jar. It might be dangerous to sleep next to Boy. Boy could roll over and then there would be more blood... No, Boy was always careful with him. Once, he'd held him gently in his hand even when Big One brought the belt out. Deciding Boy couldn't hurt him, Spike flew up, landed on his chest, and slid inside the pocket of boy's Jammies. It was nice hearing Boy's heart beat. He didn't have one himself, but his wings made the same noise. Did that count? Stretching, he rolled over on his stomach and fell asleep.
Spike flew to the mirror and opened his mouth, stretching it with two fingers. Examining each tooth, then looking at his reflection. He had one, so he couldn't be a vampire fairy, could he? But he did like blood... and something felt sharp in his mouth sometimes, especially when he smelled blood, or he heard blood rushing under Boy's skin. It made him feel all fluttery inside. But he didn't want to because most of the time Boy's blood rushed when something bad happened.
He didn't want to be a bad friend. He loved Boy. He loved tricking Boy!
Xander only slept for a few hours, dreaming that he, Spike and Willow were happily playing without anyone yelling or screaming at them. Then he was ripped from his dreams by the very monster he was trying to escape. He found himself hanging upside down, his father screaming in his face.
"Where did you hide my whiskey, boy?" Xander tried to stammer out an answer but he was being shaken so hard he could barely breathe, let alone speak. "Tell me you little bastard, where did you hide it?"
It was still dark. How did Angry Big One see? Spike thought he was the only one who saw in the dark. Now he wished he couldn't see... couldn't hear. He zoomed around Big One's ugly red face, screaming at him to let Boy go. A second later, a backhand sent him smashing against the mirror. Big One didn't see him...but he felt him, and batted him away like a mosquito.
Frustrated and scared, Spike's wings beat faster than they ever had. Something bad was going to happen to Boy. But he had no magic... not yet, and he had no strength...not yet. He was worthless.
As the screaming crescendoed around him, Spike flew to the door. He'd go home.... he'd make every deal he could, give up his wings, maybe his long life... he'd come back bigger than Big One, punch him in the nose, make him bleed. Lick his blood. No, bleh, he didn't want Big one's blood. He'd take his Boy, and leave and go somewhere where they could play, and play, and they'd let Red Hair come play with them. That was it...that's what he'd do.
He tried to fly out, but something pulled him back. He returned to Boy. Boy wasn't making sense, and Big one was getting angrier. Spike buzzed closer, kissed his cheek. "I'm going to help you. I'll be back Boy-Xander, and then there will be no more water coming out of your eyes." And then he was gone out the door. He followed the scent of the night, found it coming in through an open window, and disappeared out of it. A few days... that's how long he'd be, and then things would change.
Xander collapsed on the floor and fought to stay still, hoping that his dad would finally leave him alone. The door slammed shut and Xander finally allowed himself to relax.
"Spike? Spike I don't think I can stand," he said quietly and waited for Spike to fly closer and help him like he always did. "Spike?" Xander drew on his strength and lifted his head to look around, hoping to spot his friend. All he saw was the empty jar, lying sideways on the desk. "Sp-Spike?"
Only silence greeted Boy. But it was only for a week. Soon Spike would be back to help him.
[12 Years Later]
The morning air was crisp and cool. The wind made his trenchcoat billow about him. Spike was more still than the tree he was leaning up against. Shock kept him rooted in front of the apartment building, watching.
Boy - Xander was all grown up. Same dark hair. Same soulful dark eyes. But taller... much taller. And he had muscles, no paunch like his father. But that smile...surely it hadn’t disappeared. It was lurking somewhere under that stern look, as he passed.
Spike looked down at himself. He’d grown too. Oh not only in the sense that he’d found a way to be human-sized when he wanted. But he was older, wiser. But still late. Much much too late. The old shame washed over the otherwise confident fairy-vamp who retreated into the shadows of the tree as he castigated himself for his mistake.
(A/N: Comments much appreciated)