Title: To Start Again
Pairings: Spander of course!
Warnings: AU season 5, Adult Rating
Summary: Xander takes an injured Spike and Dawn to Angel for protection from Glory.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, I mean no harm. All hail Joss.
Author’s Notes: This is AU for Season 5 of Buffy. The Connor thing Never Happened or will not happen as the case were. Anya left right after Joyce’s death. Tara has been mind sucked. Spike talked Dawn out of trying to raise Joyce from the dead. Inconsistencies will occur at my whim.
To Start Again
Xander drove down the dark highway, concentrating hard on the wavering road. He was beyond exhausted, injured and had at least another half hour drive ahead of him. But the others were counting on him for this, and the last thing he would ever intentionally do was disappoint his friends. Glancing over to the sleeping girl in the seat beside him and then behind at the sleeping vampire sprawled across the backseat; he reaffirmed his conviction to get them through this and returned his attention to not driving them into a ditch. Eventually his mind wandered back to their current situation and he wondered again how it had all come to this.
Anya had left just after Joyce’s funeral. There had been no bitter words or tearful scenes in the end, each one accepting that there was nothing they could do to change the other’s minds. Anya had been frustrated and unable to comprehend why he would stay in a hopeless situation, where he wasn’t even able to help, but was smart enough to know he would never come with her. Xander for his part wanted her to be happy and safe, but couldn’t just abandon his friends. They had simply held each other one last time before saying a sedate goodbye with the understanding that they would likely never see each other again, even if they did choose to stay in touch.
Later, after he managed to pull himself together, he was surprised to find out from the others about Spike’s stopping by to give his respects, and promising to do whatever he could, whatever they’d let him, to help. He had of course been suspicious of the vampire’s intentions, at least until he had inadvertently overheard Spike talking with Dawn. He hadn’t meant to eavesdrop, but once he realized who was speaking he hadn’t been able to help himself, and he was glad he did. Spike had been reassuring Dawn that it didn’t matter if she was real or not, everyone still loved her, that Joyce was in heaven, because where else would such a classy bird go? And the most stunning part, Spike vehemently refusing to help Dawn attempt to bring her back, and then systematically tearing apart her arguments, convincing her that she would be hurting her mother, which immediately changed the poor girl’s mind. Xander had left discreetly, unsure if Spike had known he was there or not and then made his way back, being sure to make noise as he approached. After that moment he had been more trusting of the vampire. There were some things that you couldn’t go through with another person without it bringing you together, and comforting a distraught teen over the death of her mother was one of them.
It had been shortly thereafter that Glory captured Spike and tortured him for information about the Key. When they had finally managed to rescue him, he’d been a mess, muttering nonstop that he hadn’t told her about Dawn and not quieting until Xander reassured him repeatedly that they believed him. For the next week it was Xander who took care of Spike, and when the others asked why, he just told them that he needed to feel useful. But the truth was he had begun to like the Big Bad, it was nice to have a guy in the group again, someone who he could relate to, sort of, and now when they argued, there was no venom behind it. It was nice, it reminded him of Cordy in a lot of ways, when things had still been good between them.
Their respite didn’t last however. It turned out that Glory had had them followed when they escaped with Spike. She showed up with reinforcements as they were closing the Magic Box for the night, a week after the rescue. The fight was brief but brutal. In the fifteen minutes it took for Giles and Willow to cast some spell to distract and hold the demented Hell God, Spike had been tossed into a wall and reopened a lot of his wounds. Dawn had been grabbed by a minion, who in the struggle snapped the poor girl’s wrist and landed a vicious blow to her side, before Xander managed to free her. Although they had stayed towards the back of the group to cast what spells they could, Giles was knocked down and Willow received several scratches, before Xander dispatched the creature and their spell casting was finished. Xander, for his part, was peripherally aware of the fact that he had been hurt, but there was too much adrenaline in his system when he passed a whimpering Dawn over to a badly bruised Buffy, scooped up the still downed Spike and ran for the nearest hospital.
Xander waited until the others were in the back being cared for; they had been forced to leave Spike in the car after hastily re-bandaging his wounds, to seek out one of the nurses he was familiar with for his own treatment. Now that they were away from the fight he was in a lot of pain, and the doctor gave him quite a few reasons to be. He had been hurt a lot worse than he had first thought; according to the doctor he had a mild concussion, at least two broken ribs dislocated his right shoulder, and sprained his left wrist and knee. The shoulder had hurt like a bitch when they popped it back into place, but it wasn’t the first time and all they did was tape it. The biggest concern was the deep claw marks on his back and shoulder, which he adamantly refused to have stitched together. Eventually he lost the argument and after he was all bandaged up and clothed he went to find the others.
He found them in deep conversation about what was to be done. They were debating what to do, and then where to send Dawn, since it was obviously too dangerous for her to stay. Buffy looked both sulky and courageously resigned to this suggestion. It was obvious she wasn’t at all pleased with being separated from her sister, at the same time that she understood the reason. As soon as Willow spotted him she demanded to know if he was all right, eyeing the bandages clearly visible on his wrist.
“No worries Wills, it’s just a sprain,” was his vague reassurance, not bothering to elaborate yet. At his answer she nodded and then immediately launched the campaign to get him to agree to their final plan. Xander stood there and listed to Giles and Willow take turns explaining all the reasons he was the only reasonable choice to take Dawn to safety. Willow was needed here, plus she couldn’t miss school and she had to take care of Tara, who needed to stay here in case they found a way to cure her, Buffy would be unable to go for obvious reasons and Giles was required to help both girls research as well as run the store now that Anya was gone. But the most obvious reason was that Xander had already put in for time off from work, originally intending to help out Buffy and Dawn as well as cover at the store for a few weeks, until everything was a little more normal again.
So here he was, they had collected Dawn and escorted him to the car, where Spike had declared he was coming with to protect his Nibblet, and they sent him off with the promise that they would call his boss to explain that an emergency had come up and he’d been forced to leave a day early. He seriously wished now that he taken some of the pain killers the doctor had given him, but they made him sleepy and he was already too tired to be driving safely. Not that he was supposed to be driving with a concussion either, but there wasn’t much he could do about it at this point.
It was nearly dawn when they finally reached their destination. Xander stood for several moments outside the Hyperion. He was nervous about being here; it was hardly a secret that he and Angel did not get along. Deadboy would not be pleased to find Xander in his territory. With a small sigh of frustration he sent up a small prayer that Angel would at least listen to him long enough to agree to take care of Spike and Dawn before he threw Xander out on his ass. He then turned back to the car in order to wake the others and help them both inside.
End Part 1