Dragon's Phoenix

Part Three

They'd been fighting the First's minions. That creepy reverend-guy had been going on about taking Xander's eye out but then, with a flash of his knife, had cut into Xander's gut instead. Spike had come out of nowhere, tackling the reverend to the ground and dragging Xander outside. Spike had been about to Turn Xander...

“You ready, pet?” Spike's eyes had been full of tears.

“Of course,” Xander had said. “You're not getting rid of me this easily.” It hadn't sounded that good in real-life. The words had been gasped out over grunts of pain.

Spike had kissed him once, shifting to vamp-face mid-kiss. His lips were trailing toward Xander's neck when suddenly he wasn't there. Willow stood at Xander's feet, her witchy mojo forcing Spike back. Xander could see him struggling against her shield.

“Willow, please,” Xander had tried to say, but his words weren't even whispers.

“Witch,” Spike was shouting. “He wants this.”

“No,” Willow screamed, her mojo shoving Spike further back until Xander couldn't see him anymore. It was all so far away; it was so tough to keep his eyes open.

Part Four

He couldn't ask why he'd killed Spike; he couldn't even think about that yet. “Why'd he make me?”


“What'd he say about me then? Show me that last entry.”

Spike and Willow stood two feet away, Willow radiating fury. “You can't do this. It's obscene!! You claim to have loved him yet want to replace him with this... this... thing!!”

“You know NOTHING! Was nice to see you, Red, but I think it's time you left.”

Wincing at the pain on Spike's face, Xander automatically reached out to him, taking the necessary step that put him right there, just next to Spike. His hand hit solid flesh. “What the hell? Spike?” Willow was hugging Spike, the two of them acting as if Xander weren't there. He poked a finger at Willow. It wasn't an image, but like Spike she didn't seem to notice him. “Computer? Freeze this thing.” Willow and Spike stopped moving, trapped there mid-hug. Xander walked around the two of them. Spike actually did look trapped, as if he were merely enduring Willow's hug, not that she looked much happier.

“Computer, how come I can touch them?”

“Tactically enhanced projections, invented by a Japanese conglomerate in...”

“Stop.” Xander stepped closer to Spike, taking in the tightness of his jaw, the stiffness of his shoulders. Unable to do anything about that pain, he stepped away and told the computer to continue the projection.

“Take care love. Bye,” Spike was saying. Willow vanished and Spike seemed to be walking down through the floor. Xander was about to ask about that when a set of stairs built themselves out of the floor, going up to a door that hadn't been there a moment before. Spike was walking down those stairs. “Won't be long now,” he was muttering.

When Spike walked past him, Xander's hand reached out, fingers not quite touching. This wasn't Spike, but he couldn't help turning to follow. He jumped when he saw himself. “Freeze it.” Xander walked around the two of them. Spike had his, had the other Xander's... but it was him, wasn't it. Spike had its arm open; it, he, was full of greenish muscle and more of those crystals that he'd seen on the table. “Continue,” Xander whispered.

Spike was taking one of those strange tools off the table and applying it to a couple of the crystals in Xander's arm. “Just a couple more circuits to get right, and you'll be ready to go. This bit with the stake has to be automatic, separate from any of your cognitive functions.” As Spike looked up, staring at the creature he was working on, a warm look flashed across his face only to be replaced by a look of clinical detachment. “You, pet, are going to send me back to my beloved.”

Xander, watching from the sidelines, couldn't stand it. Spike had set this up? Spike had set him up? Letting out a scream of rage, he punched at Spike. The hit connected, but it was something like hitting a padded punching bag, only more so. The image of Spike didn't respond, and Xander realized nothing he could do would hurt Spike. “You bastard,” Xander shouted. “You wanted to die in my arms so you left me here with HIS memories?” You couldn't have thought that through?”

Xander ran up the stairs. The next room was more of the same. Metal, metal everywhere with refrigeration units, clear so the demon parts were visible, off to one side. “Computer, get me the hell out of here.” A door opened, and Xander ran through it.

It was night, and he was in an industrial park, not unlike the bad parts of Sunnydale. When the screams started, Xander tried to ignore them, thinking let someone else take care of this shit, but saving the world was too ingrained. Running into the alley, he found two vampires playing cat-and-mouse with a young couple. “Let them go.”

“Well, well, well.” The taller vamp, dark-haired, tall and thin enough that he reminded Xander of Jesse, put his hands through his belt, doing a cock of the walk strut. “Somebody's a bit too big for his britches.”

Xander's punch sent him flying down the alleyway. “Run,” he yelled to the couple as the second vamp came at him. Taking three steps forward, Xander wrapped his hand around the vamp's face, smashing his head into the wall. The vamp turned to dust under Xander's fingers. As the first vamp, the one Xander had tossed down the alley, took one look and ran off, Xander, staring at his hand, asked, “What the hell did he make me into?”

The computer's words rang in his head: a construct created out of human, cyborg, and demon parts. Xander's legs gave out and he fell to the ground.