Disclaimer: I don't own anything associated with Buffy the Vampire Slayer
. It all belongs to Joss Whedon.
Warnings: I'm playing with canon and here's how:
This takes place after Tabula Rasa. The difference is that Anya left with Giles when he went back to England and Spike and Buffy never kissed. As a matter of fact, Spike got over those feelings. Oh, and as a result of all this, Spike and Xander have started to become friends. I don’t remember if Xander said he and Willow met because of the yellow crayon incident or if they already knew each other and that was just a nice memory for them. In my story, they already knew each other before kindergarten.
“Okay, Dawnie, did you add everything?” Willow asked as she looked over the list of herbs that had to be mixed together in order for the spell to work.
“Easier than baking a cake.” Dawn paused. “Only not because this is more complicated.” She took the book from Willow and skimmed over the page once more.
“I still say that this is a monumentally bad idea. Even more than Batman and Robin
was,” Xander broke in. Dawn shook her head, snapping the book shut and placing it on top of a few others.
“The movie wasn’t that bad.”
“Please. Arnold as Dr. Freeze? I don’t think so.”
“It had Batgirl,” she offered. Xander pointed a finger at her.
“Don’t even get me started on that.” He shook his head in disgust as he picked up the books. “Batgirl as Alfred’s niece. Ha. If they’d actually read the comic, they’d know she’s actually Gordon’s daughter.” Dawn’s eyebrows knit together in confusion.
Xander raised his eyes to the ceiling and sighed.
“Kids these days. They’re so uneducated,” he told Willow as he headed towards the bookcases of the Magic Box. Dawn stared after him, her mouth hanging slightly open, before turning back to Willow.
“Batgirl’s really not Alfred’s niece?”~*~*~
Spike frowned as he walked into the Magic Box, only to be assaulted by the smell of smoke. He waved a hand in front of his face to clear away the smoke and scowled at the sight that met him. He shook his head.
Standing at the research table was Willow and Dawn. This wasn’t what made him frown. Spread out in front of them was a book, a plant, and some smelly herbs, which could only mean one thing. Willow had been fooling around with magic again.
Clearly, she hadn’t learned her lesson last time.
“What the bloody hell is going on here?” he demanded, staring at the two of them. The tone of his voice was one that Dawn had grown very familiar with. It meant that Spike wanted answers and he wanted them now
. Not even Willow could stand up to it.
“It was no big deal.” Willow defended. “Dawn just wants to be able to help out more and since Buffy won’t let her fight, I thought I’d just teach her a few simple spells to start out with.”
“What kind of soddin’ spell causes an explosion like that?”
She gestured to the table. “There wasn’t supposed to be an explosion. I’m not sure what went wrong actually. I was trying to teach her how to change the plant back into a little sprout.” When he heard this, Spike raised an eyebrow.
“What, you’re going to start turning all the demons in town into mini-demons?” Willow crossed her arms over her chest.
“She needs to start out with something simple before learning anything that could harm a demon.” Spike turned to look at Dawn and kept his eyes on her.
“Does big sis know what you’re up to?” The brief flash of guilt and panic that went over Dawn’s face was answer enough. He shook his head again. “Are you daft? Haven’t you learned that magic isn’t something you mess around with?” Dawn flushed, indicating that she may have given that some thought while Willow merely got defensive.
“Hey, nobody got hurt or lost their memories this time. So it’s okay.”
Spike stared at her as if she’d gone crazy. What he couldn’t believe is that she really meant that. He could’ve sworn that Tara leaving would cause her to slow down when it came to magic. But instead, she just seemed to be having more fun teaching it to Dawn. And Dawn should have known better. He shook his head and glanced around the store. He could hear only one other heartbeat in the room and since the Slayer didn’t know about Dawn’s little forage into magic that left only one other person.
“So, where is he?” Willow looked at him blankly.
Spike barely refrained from rolling his eyes. There was no way he was going to be caught doing that. It’d be a definite sign that he was hanging around the boy too long.
“Xander.” He glanced towards the shelves. “He back there?” Understanding dawned on Willow’s face and she nodded.
“Yeah. He was going to put some books away. He thought this was a really bad idea.”
“At least one of you has some sense,” Spike muttered as he turned towards the shelves. Grinning he began to walk silently between two bookcases, planning to sneak up on Xander. It was always fun and, well, he was still evil after all. Sort of.
Spike frowned as he got closer and realized that the heartbeat he was hearing was beating too fast. He swung around the corner, preparing for the worst, and froze.
Standing there and looking around in confusion was a little boy of about four. His hair was black, Spike noted as the boy turned to look up at him with big brown eyes.
He only knew one person with eyes like that.
“Bloody hell.” The little boy smiled.
“What’s that?” he asked. Spike’s frown returned at the question.
“Something you shouldn’t be saying.” Spike crouched down so that he was eye level with the boy. He had a very bad feeling that he already knew who this was but he had to be sure. He took a deep breath and inhaled the scent that was unmistakably Xander.
Damn. Better ask anyway.
“What’s your name, pet?” Xander frowned a bit.
“I’m not a pet,” he said. Spike let out a bit of a laugh.
“No, you’re not. That doesn’t tell me your name though does it?” The little boy studied him for a moment before he spoke.
Spike smiled though inside was cursing the witch. What the bloody hell were she and Dawn thinking?
“Name’s Spike.” Xander wrinkled his nose.
“How come your mom named you after a dog?” he asked in a completely serious voice. Spike’s lips twitched at the question as amusement shot through him.
“She didn’t. It’s a nickname.”
“Oh.” Xander nodded. Nicknames were something that he definitely understood. “Like my name. ‘Cause Xander’s not my real name. My real name is Alexander but Jesse said Xander is easier to say.” He paused. “What’s your real name?”
Spike held back a smile at the familiar babble. He was the Big Bad; he couldn’t be seen smiling too much. No matter who it was.
Xander thought about it for a minute, biting his lip as he considered this. Then he smiled.
Now Spike let out a laugh. It just didn’t surprise him that Xander would choose the less orthodox name simply because it was easier to pronounce.
“Where am I?” Xander asked, interrupting Spike’s thoughts.
Spike raised an eyebrow at the question. He’d thought that he’d be asked that question a lot sooner than he had been. The Xander he knew would have been demanding to know where he was the minute he saw someone. Apparently, this child version of Xander was more easygoing about those things and Spike supposed that made sense since he hadn’t to deal with any of the horrors of the Hellmouth just yet.
“You’re at a store called The Magic Box.” Xander’s eyes widened.
“That’s right. Magic.” Which was exactly what had gotten them into this mess in the first place. “Come on, let’s go out there and I’ll introduce you to the others.” And hope you’re not traumatized by Red’s stupidity.
He stood and turned to walk back into the main area when he realized that Xander wasn’t following him. He looked back at him.
“There a reason you’re not coming, pet?” Xander just stared at him as if waiting for something. When nothing happened, he lifted his arms.
“Up,” was all he said. Spike’s eyes widened. Oh, bloody hell. Xander wanted him to carry him?
He considered saying no. He really did. But as he looked down into Xander’s hopeful eyes, he found he couldn’t.
Spike held back a sigh, watching as his reputation as evil flew out the window.
“Okay. Come here.” Spike leaned over, picking Xander up. He was startled for a moment as Xander’s arms and legs wrapped around him and he laid his head down on his shoulder. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d actually held a child. “Oi, Red. Nibblet. Something went a bit wonky with your spell.”
Willow looked up as Spike reappeared, confusion on her face at these words. She glanced at Dawn, who shrugged.
“What do you mean?” Almost as if she knew it had something to do with the child in Spike’s arms, she looked at him curiously. Instead of answering, Spike nudged Xander, who yawned.
“Why don’t you tell them your name?” Xander looked up at him, waiting until Spike nodded, before lifting his head and turning towards Willow and Dawn.
“My name’s Xander.”
Willow gasped and Dawn’s eyes widened as they realized who the little boy was. Dawn looked up at Spike while Willow couldn’t seem to tear her eyes away from Xander. Finally, it was Dawn who managed to speak.