Thanks to [info]theladymerlin for the great beta!





Lovable Losers


by
Lusciousxander



6 Rude Unconscious Vampire

Xander swallowed the last tater tot in his plate without chewing, which was an impossible task, so he spit it out. Willow glanced at the next table with embarrassment, watching the college studs snickering at them openly. She gave Xander a scolding look. "I thought we fixed this problem in seventh grade."

He coughed and smacked his chest with a tight fist, his eyes bugging out. Willow laughed lightly and shook her head. "You're really hungry, are you?"

He nodded quickly and drank his coke, trying not to drink it all in one swallow. He'd spent the whole day wandering in UC Sunnydale's campus, searching for his friends for no reason but to eat. The money in his wallet wasn't enough for a bag of chips, let alone breakfast and lunch. He'd looked longingly at the cafeteria all day, knowing that he wouldn't be allowed to eat because he had townie written all over him. When he had found Willow later in the evening in the enormous, college library, he had dragged her behind him to the cafeteria and demanded Buffy's dinner.

Willow had been a little edgy since he found her, perhaps because of last night. She probably wanted to apologize for trashing his inamorato, but couldn't find the right words yet. Well, he was in no rush; he had plenty of time to hear the apology.

"So, last night," Willow started, and Xander smiled to himself. "We ran into Riley and there was this stray demon the Initiative is after…"

Xander held back a pout, ducking his head and looking at the rest of food in his plate. So she wasn't going to ask for forgiveness. Why would she be all panicky if she was going to discuss some Initiative mission? Unless she thought he'd be hurt because he wasn't included. Why wasn't he included?

"We haven't slept all night. Sleeping during the day is kinda weird, but Buffy said that she's used to it since she spends most of her nights out there slaying."

Xander had to give himself a mental reproach for accusing his friends of getting down all night at a frat party. "So, Buffy is still asleep?"

"When I woke up she wasn't in bed."

"Where did she go?"

"I guess she went to Giles' place. He could probably find something in his books."

A strangled, abrupt noise rumbled from Xander's throat as he choked on his food again.

Willow patted him in the back with concern. "Would you stop eating so fast?"

Xander cleared his throat. "She went to Giles?"

"Yeah? Something wrong?"

Xander threw up his hands. "Gigantically wrong."

Willow's face clouded with worry. "Is Giles okay?"

"I doubt it. He's doing the nasty with Anya."

Willow's mouth hung open in shock. She pinched her cheek and looked at Xander for confirmation. He nodded sadly. Her eyebrows tangled in a frown, glaring at her plate. "First Xander and now Giles," she said to herself with spite. "That girl knows no shame."

"We're judging Giles here. Not Anya." Xander frowned wearing a thoughtful expression. "Though when you think about it, going for Giles after me? And looking so happy about it? Yeah, we're totally judging Anya."

Her nose curled up in disgust. "That's just so weird and gross. It's beyond gross. It's the grossest act of all gross acts."

"Imagine what I felt. First I get in a fight with Dana, and then coming across the nookie, and then…"

"Xander?"

"I had to stay at Spike's for…"

"Xander," Willow repeated again, and he just realized that her eyes were looking at something behind him.

Turning around, he felt his heart stop for a moment, not at the sight of Dana himself, but at the state he was in. His face was a picture of terror and panic, his body was shaking uncontrollably, and one of his tight fists was bloodied.

Xander pushed his chair back in panic and held Dana's injured hand impulsively. "What the hell happened?"

"Can we talk? In private?" Dana responded in a weird, wavering voice that Xander never heard before. He felt completely disturbed by how terrified and fragile Dana looked.

Still holding his hand, Xander pulled him away to an empty corner in the crowded cafeteria, squeezing his wrist gently for reassurance. "What happened?" he asked calmly while his insides vibrated with hysteria. The fact that Dana looked around like a deer caught in headlights didn't help with calming him down.

"Spike," Dana blurted out with a trembling voice.

Xander's heart dropped in his stomach. "Spike did this?" He looked down at Dana's hand, frowning in confusion when all he could see was a blood stain but no injury.

Dana snatched his hand out of Xander's grip, his eyes shut gravely and he shook his head in denial. "No, uh, you won't believe it."

Xander swallowed, a lot of different bloodcurdling scenarios in which Spike wasn't presented in a good light played out in his mind. "What, Dana? You're scaring me."

"Spike…" Dana stuttered, "Spike's face… it changed."

"Changed?" Xander's heartbeat raged as he tried to comprehend what his boyfriend was saying to him, until he realized what must have happened. "Oh."

Suddenly, Dana's frightened expression dissolved into suspicion. "What do you mean oh?"

Xander's right eye twitched and he smacked his palm on it. "Uh…"

Dana's suspicious gaze thickened. "Do… do you know about this?"

"I…" Xander tried to find the right words to deny it, but words escaped him and he could say nothing but, "Yes."

An incredulous laugh mingled with bitterness came roaring out of Dana's mouth. He threw an angry hand in the air with frustration. "I can't believe it." He shook his head, still chuckling resentfully. "You knew he was a freak and yet you slept with him."

Xander bit his lower lip, a little hurt that Dana couldn't look him in the eye. "I know it sounds weird."

"Weird?" More cynical chuckles before Dana's bloodshot eyes met Xander's. "It's an outrage. It's the exact definition of insanity."

Xander nodded. "I understand. I'd probably feel the same way three years ago."

"Th-three?" Dana barked.

Xander winced. He really wasn't good at introducing a newbie to the world of vampires. It was his damn luck that Cordelia and Anya were part of it before he started dating them, and he didn't have the pressure of breaking the news to them.

Dana was blinking at him with his mouth opening and closing, trying hard to form coherent words. "You fucking knew he was a monster? For three years?"

"Not Spike," Xander answered with a sigh. The cat was out; he might as well tell him everything now. "But I knew that vampires existed when I was sixteen."

Dana eyed him up and down, looking like he didn't recognize him. "And you didn't tell me?"

"I…"

"Wait, is that why your blonde friend is so freakishly strong? Is she a vampire, too?"

Once, due to an eight-year-old's nightmare, but Xander wasn't going to say that out loud. "Don't be silly. Buffy is the Slayer."

"The what?"

Xander scratched his temple, wishing that Giles was around to explain things. "She's our Superman. The chosen one. She slays the vampires."

"That tiny girl?"

"That's sexist," Xander replied weakly.

Dana brushed his hair back, inhaling loudly, obviously trying to calm himself down. Xander couldn't blame him. He remembered when he first learned about vampires, how he wanted to pee his pants. If he wasn't distracted with Jesse being kidnapped, he would have.

Dana took a deep breath, his eyes tightly shut. Xander looked at him with sympathy, giving him all the time he needed for the whole thing to sink in. His guts fell out when Dana regarded him with a blank stare. "Do you have any idea how crazy you sound?"

Xander gave a shaky nod. "Yeah, I do."

Dana stared at him impassively, his face set, and then he turned away, giving him his back.

Xander took an uncertain step forward, his hand reaching out to touch Dana's arm, but not daring to. "Dana, I was going to tell you when the time was right."

Dana shook his head. "No, no, that's… that's just insane." He looked at Xander over his shoulder. "I gotta go."

"Dana…"

"I need to think." He started walking away, with each step he made a knife cut through Xander's heart. Their relationship was officially over now, and Xander doubted they could reconcile again. One, amazing week that ended so painfully Xander couldn't breathe.

He felt a soft hand stroking his arm gently and looked down at Willow's worried green eyes. "Are you okay?"

He looked back at the entrance Dana had exited and shook his head no.


~*~*~*~




"Xander?"

Xander blinked out of his dazed state and looked into Willow's concerned eyes. He swallowed and followed her into her room, barely feeling his feet touching the ground.

"Do you want something to drink?" Willow whispered the question as if afraid to break him.

He forced a single headshake and sat on the edge of Buffy's bed. Hands dangling between his knees, he stared at nothing, waiting for the burn in his chest to become numbness.

The image of Dana's disgusted and terrified stare made a searing pain tear through his heart burning as it made its way to his core. He clutched his chest impulsively, feeling his insides hurt so bad. He shut his eyes and bit his lip. God, it hurt. It freaking hurt.

Willow's soft hand brushed his hair tenderly and fell on his shoulder, squeezing hard. Xander blinked his eyes open, not daring to look at Willow, because the sight of her pitying expression would send him to tears. She seemed to have gotten the message as her hand left his shoulder.

He could never catch a break, could he? What was supposed to be the best relationship in his entire life turned into a disaster in a matter of one week. He was probably doomed to date within his circle of slayerettes, someone who knew about what went on in the night. No one in their right mind would want to date a guy who dedicated his life to help his Slayer friend preventing apocalypses and world chaos. Did that mean that he should just accept Spike's offer for sex? He should just settle for vampires and demons since normal human beings wouldn't want anything to do with him.

"There's a message." Willow's voice broke him out of his thoughts and he ventured a look at her pressing on the phone.

"Hey, Will," Buffy spoke through the phone, "Something new came up. Fetch Xander and come to Giles' place."

Xander and Willow shared a worried look. Something bad must have happened, and Xander wasn't sure he could handle another blow.



~*~*~*~




Xander was surprised at the dismayed shock that split into him when his eyes landed on Spike's battered body. He dropped to his knees in front of Giles' couch and gazed at Spike's swollen cheek and black eye; there was a nasty wound on his cheek and a thin line of dried blood that came from his mouth. Xander was struck by how dead Spike looked at the moment, he'd always been full of life for a dead guy. He knew a lot of people who needed a chunk full of air to live but were completely dead on the inside and out.

"Who did this?" he asked, turning to look at the others. They appeared a little shocked at his display of distress, and Xander had to look away when he noticed Anya clutching Giles' arm.

"Are you really sure it's not the Initiative?" Anya asked Buffy apprehensively.

Xander's eyes narrowed at the mess of blood on Spike's face, and then felt something swelling in his chest. "Was it… was it Dana?" He turned to Buffy.

Her face was a mirror of sympathy. "How did you know?"

"There was blood on his hand, but no wound. It was Spike's blood," Xander didn't like the wave of anger in his voice. Anger directed at Dana. The way his emotions shifted from sadness to anger, from lamenting his relationship with Dana to wanting to smack him with a shovel was too overwhelming. He got up on his feet and headed to the door.

Buffy grabbed his arm. "Where are you going?"

She looked taken aback when he turned his pissed off gaze at her. "I'm going to talk to Dana."

"He was obviously scared, Xander," Willow said gently. "He just saw his first vampire."

Xander yanked his arm out of Buffy's grip. "So what?"

"So what?" Buffy said. "Don't you remember your first reaction to seeing a vampire?"

"My first reaction was to run away."

"People react differently to fear," Giles said sympathetically.

"And Dana's way to deal is to use his fists." Xander bit his lips when Anya leaned her head to rest on Giles' shoulder. He wanted to go between those two and push them away from each other. Keep them apart. They looked too wrong together.

"Xander," Willow ventured, her fingers brushing lightly against his back, unsure if she should touch him. "Are you sure the anger you're feeling isn't about what happened at the cafeteria?"

Xander peered at Spike's broken body over Willow's head and shook his head. "No." He walked out of the apartment and slammed the door behind him.





~*~*~*~





Xander knocked as hard as he could on Dana's door, wincing after three knocks when his knuckles started to hurt. Determined, he started knocking using the other hand, but this one started bleeding after the first knock. Looking at his useless hands with frustration, he started kicking the door with his foot.

The door swung open, and Dana's angry face showed up ready to murder. "Who the…." He stopped at once when he saw Xander in front of him, the towel that was draped on his neck almost slipping.

Xander didn't waste any time. "You beat up Spike."

"Wha…"

"You punched the shit out of him," Xander accused heatedly.

Dana's face was set, and he straightened himself crossing his arms over his bare chest. "He's a vampire."

"That doesn't give you the right."

"The what?" Dana snapped in bewilderment. "Can't you hear yourself? You're defending a vampire."

"We know him, Dana."

"No, you know him." His gaze narrowed on Xander, darkening a few shades. "You know him so well." Pain flared in his gray eyes and he dropped his gaze to his bare feet. "And that answers all my suspicions."

Xander's lips twitched, wanting to say something but the heavy lump in his throat prevented him.

Dana looked up again, his eyes shadowed with sadness and disgust. "You have feelings for him."

Xander's jaw clenched. "I don't."

"You have feelings for a freak of nature. How sick is that."

Xander couldn't bear to see the repulsion in his eyes and shifted his gaze to the muscled naked chest in front of him. The nipples stuck out, hard and dark, like a centerfold, and his arms were hanging by his sides with his hands fisting tightly. Xander swallowed looking at those shaking fists that wanted to punch him for being a disgusting freak. "Is that what you really feel?" He looked up at Dana, feeling a painful ball in his chest. "I make you sick?"

Dana's gaze was icy cold. "Yes."

Xander's expression darkened in response. "Then we're through."

"We were already through. I can't be with someone who keeps secrets from me." Dana stepped back, grabbing the door. "All I ask for is respect."

Xander winced when the door was slammed in his face. He stared at it for a moment and then whispered, "Me, too."



~*~*~*~




Xander's eyes were wide circles like animated Japanese characters – damnit Janet, he was supposed to buy the third volume of Sailor Moon Stars yesterday to complete the collection. Apparently, he was going to buy all three volumes seeing as the first two were completely ruined and thrown in his front lawn. Actually, all his stuff was a pile of soggy mess on his front lawn.

Bright colored Hawaiian shirts flew in the air and landed on top of the mountain. Xander shifted his gaze to the door and found his father kicking an opened box that contained his Superman and Batman comics out.

"Dad?" he said in a freaked out voice.

His father looked up and scowled when he saw him. "Oh, the wuss finally shows up."

Xander winced, remembering what Spike said about his father finding him chained to his bed. "Dad, let me explain."

His father crossed his arms over his chest and continued shooting daggers at him. "Yeah, explain leaving the basement flooding and hiding your wimp ass somewhere else, leaving me to clean up after you."

Xander blinked, all explanations died in his tongue. "I… you're not upset about… uh…"

"The naked faggot tied to your bed? I'm not dancing with happiness, but I've lost all my high expectations when you were kicked off the kiddie league. So, the homo thing isn't shocking."

Xander's lips twitched and he lowered his gaze to his sneakers. He'd always expected his father to freak, maybe beat him up over being gay. But he didn't expect at all that his father wouldn't be shocked, that he was used to seeing him as a disappointment. The lack of reaction to the news hurt more than an angry blow to his flesh.

Rough fingers jerked his chin up so he'd meet his father's eyes. "What I wanted was for you to man up and take responsibility for your screw ups." Sadness and disappointment glittered in his father's face. "Fag or not, that's what a man would do."

Xander felt tears stinging his eyes, watching as the tiny piece of hope his father still had for him melted away. "Dad, I'm sorry," he whispered feeling shame.

His father shook his head. "Sorry won't do it for me. You're out of here." He turned his back to Xander and nodded at his stuff. "Take your trash and leave."

Xander's chest swelled painfully when his father shut the door behind him. This was probably the last time he'd talk to his parents. After nineteen years of disappointments, they finally gave up on him.




~*~*~*~




"So, you have no place to stay?" Willow asked with empathy, her hand massaging Xander's shoulder gently.

He leaned back against the kitchen bar, not feeling comfortable at all sitting on the stool chair. "No." He looked at the sympathetic eyes of his friends, hating how small and weak he must be appearing to them. "Dana and I are broken up, and I screwed it up with my parents."

Giles took off his glasses, rubbing his nose bridge. "You can stay here until you find a place of your own."

Xander's eyes caught Anya's hand reaching for a handkerchief. She took Giles' glasses and started polishing them for him. Giles smiled his thanks to her.

Xander felt his chest tightening. "I can't. I…"

Giles followed Xander's line of sight and snatched his glasses from Anya's hands at once. Anya stared at Giles in confusion until she noticed Xander looking at them. He swore he saw fumes of anger rushing out of her ears. "Oh, grow up," she snapped. "You and I are no longer an item. I'm Giles' woman now, deal with it."

Xander glared at her. "Well, it's not easy." He looked at Buffy and Willow. "Right?"

Buffy nodded so fast her head almost fell off. Willow was about to nod but glanced unsurely toward Giles, who ducked his head in embarrassment.

Anya looked like she wanted to rip their throats out. She scowled at him. "There's nothing shameful about Giles having intercourse. You haven't seen his body." Xander made gagging sounds, and Buffy snickered. "Stop acting like a jerk," Anya shouted.

Xander rolled his eyes. "Oh, right, I'm the jerk here."

Anya's lips twitched. "Well, you are."

Taken aback by her comment, he stared at her face, tight with anger. She wasn't wrong. Come to think of it, he'd been quite a jerk lately. He'd cheated on her, kept secrets from Dana, ruined his parents' basement and dumped the whole mess on them. He had managed to hurt and disappoint every single person in his life in a matter of a week. His lips set in a thin line, he directed his gaze from Anya's heated eyes downward to the floor, making no eye-contact with anyone.

They all stood in heavy silence for a moment. Anya walked back to stand beside Giles, her hand slipped to hold his, and he held her hand, stroking it with his finger. Xander felt a ball of guilt burning in his chest, hating himself for making Giles feel undesired and uncomfortable. He'd suffered humiliation at the hands of million bullies and here he was, humiliating and hurting Giles. One thing Xander appreciated about Anya was how she made her partner feel special and valuable. And she made sure everybody knew it. Dana was the same. When they were still together.

"So," Willow said, breaking the tension. "What are we going to do about Spike?"

"Maybe I should take him to his crypt," Buffy said simply, sounding a little relieved to talk about something else.

Willow didn't seem to like the answer. "And just leave him there?"

"I don't think Harmony would want anything to do with him," Buffy said.

"And we don't know any of his friends," Willow said. "Although he did say that Xander was one."

Xander frowned at her. "Spike said I was his friend?"

Willow's brows met in sadness. "You're not?"

Buffy nudged her with her elbow. "I told you he was playing with us."

Xander looked at Spike still spread on the couch, completely unconscious. All the weird behavior Spike had displayed lately didn't confuse him anymore. The weak remarks whenever Xander spoke crudely to him, the insistence to have Xander sleep with him, and then suggesting that Xander could stay at his crypt. Spike used to see him as nothing, someone below his standards, but everything changed now and suddenly Xander was Hugh Jackman. What changed Spike?

Dana. Xander started seeing Dana, and Spike realized that he wanted him when he wasn't available. But Xander was available now; would that make Spike not want him again? Not that Xander expected anything serious to happen between him and Spike. He wasn't sure he wanted anything to happen. He still hated Spike. But…

Xander's hands clutched the kitchen bar behind him as he stared at Spike's bandaged face. Spike had given him his home when he had nowhere else to go, and Xander rewarded him with a jealous boyfriend kicking the crap out of him. He didn't even thank Spike for letting him stay. Anya was right. Xander should win the award for the jerk of the year.

He turned to look at Buffy. "If you're dumping him in his crypt, dump me there with him."

Buffy blinked, befuddled for a moment, and then gasped horrified. "You're staying in Spike's crypt?" she exclaimed, causing everybody else to gasp as well. "Xander, you're not safe there. Vampires don't need an invitation to get into the crypt."

"Not if I make it my own home," Xander pointed out. "If I live there, vampires would need invitation to come in, right?"

Willow's eyes widened in terror. "You're gonna make a crypt your home?"

Xander shrugged. "There's no other solution."

"There is: staying here with me." Giles put down his foot and glared at Xander. "I can't possibly let you take a foolish step when I have plenty of room for you here."

"The only room you have is for you and the Mrs. And I'm not sleeping on the couch when you're making nookies up there." Xander scrunched his nose, ignoring how Giles pinched his nose uncomfortably.

Buffy nodded in agreement. "Besides, your walls are thin."

Anya scoffed. "Don't be absurd. I'm not his Mrs. unless I'm his wife." Her face brightened and she held Giles' hands. "Are you proposing to me?"

Giles took off his glasses again and rubbed his forehead tiredly.

A soft hand grasped Xander's, and he turned to meet Willow's concerned eyes. "I'm not sure about this, Xander. I won't be able to sleep at night knowing you could be attacked any second."

Xander tried to remain determined and not swayed by Willow's big green eyes. "Like I said, if I make it my home. No vampire can come in."

Buffy crossed her arms over her chest. "You don't know that."

Xander imitated her, looking as resolved. "We'll put it to a test."

They stared at each other for a moment before she threw her hands up in surrender and walked away from him. Xander turned his gaze to the others who appeared as upset as Buffy, and he understood why they felt this way. In fact, he was flattered and happy that they cared so much about him. But this was a decision he had to make. His decision to make.

He heaved a sigh, willing his friends to understand with his eyes. "My dad said I'm not man enough to own up to my screw ups. Spike was hurt because of me, and I'm taking responsibility for that." He made his point by walking to Spike and standing beside him, daring anyone to object.

They didn't seem pleased by that but no one objected, even though Willow looked extremely upset. Buffy, who was facing the wall, turned her gaze to him. Xander returned her stare with a hard one.

She reluctantly sighed and put her hands on her hips. "When do we leave?"


~*~*~*~




Xander looked around Spike's crypt, feeling more at ease being here right now than he did before. He was a free man now that he and Dana had broken up. All the discomfort of being suffocated and feeling like he was under a microscope were gone now. He could easily stay here without looking around in fear of being spied on.

"Where do you want me to dump him?"

He turned around to see Buffy standing with Spike scooped in her arms, her face a picture of boredom and displeasure. He stifled a laugh at the sight of her tiny body carrying Spike's bigger one without a trace of exhaustion. He nodded his head to the ladder. "Downstairs. He's got a bed in there."

Buffy frowned. "How did he manage that?"

"I don't know. Maybe it was there since the beginning."

Buffy scoffed. "Who'd be crazy enough to sleep in a crypt?" She smirked when Xander shot her a look. "Besides you."

Xander turned his full attention to her, folding his arms across his chest, his expression impatient.

"I'm just saying he can't push a whole bed down that small hole."

Xander shook his head and started climbing down the ladder. The second he set his foot on the floor, he felt a load of heaviness fall on his head. He lay flat on the floor with Spike's dead body on top of him.

"Oops, sorry," Buffy said, jumping down the hole effortlessly. Xander grunted, pushing Spike's body off of him when he heard Buffy gasp.

"He definitely can't fit that into a small hole."

Xander looked behind him and his mouth hung at the sight of an elegant canopy bed that was draped in red velvet. That was a king-sized bed. Spike actually wanted him to sleep on that with him. He blinked out of disturbing thoughts and started dragging Spike to the bed, taking off his shoes and coat before placing him on bed. He glared at Buffy who stood there pointlessly as he pulled the covers up on Spike's body.

Buffy looked around the chambered. "This place lacks on the furniture."

"It hasn't been long since he moved in here."

"Since when you're Spike's defender?"

"I'm not his defender," he protested. "Just speaking logic."

"Well, your logic stopped being logical since you made this place your residence. So not homey."

He turned to face her, feeling intolerant. "Don't you have to go slaying or study for some quiz?"

Buffy chuckled. "I'm just pulling your chain. Buffy-sense of humor." She walked to him and patted him on the arm. "I'm gonna patrol close by. Make sure nothing demony comes in."

He looked into her serious hazel eyes and smiled affectionately. "Thanks, Buffy."

She squeezed his arm before making her way up the ladder. Xander kept smiling in her direction until she disappeared, and then he sat on the edge of the bed next to Spike. He looked more peacefully asleep instead of unconscious, perhaps because of the bandages on his face. The craggy lines on his face smoothed slightly and he appeared in a better shape now than he was at Giles' apartment.

Xander suddenly heard a footstep upstairs and looked up. "Buffy? You're back?" he called, panicking when no one answered.

Bare purple feet appeared in sight going down the stairs. Xander's eyes widened when a naked purple woman with fish scales that made her look like a mermaid with feet showed up.

"Guh!" he screamed, reaching involuntarily for the only weapon he had. "Stay away from us. I got a stake."

The woman's features softened. "You're so tense."

"Duh," he exclaimed, waving the stake in her face.

"So much pain and misery. It's unbearable." She took a step forward. "I can fix it."

Xander took ten steps backward. "No. No fixing. I'm all fixed thank you very much."

She held up a hand in front of him, and a creepy purple glow blazed fiercely, surrounding Xander all over. He tried to swat it away uselessly for a second when suddenly he felt the anxiety and fear inside him dissolving into relaxation. His grip on the stake softened and it fell to the floor.

Xander's eyebrows drew together. "Wha…"

She smiled tenderly. "Do you feel better?"

He blinked at her in confusion. "Who are you?"

"A shaba demon. I deal with negative emotions." Her gaze became sorrowful when her eyes landed on Spike. "What happened to him was unfortunate."

He looked between them. "You… you know him?"

"Met him before the attack. Willy filled me in on everything." She returned her attention to Xander. "He's the crippled vampire."

Xander lifted his eyebrows, staring at Spike for a moment. "Guess he is."

She crossed her arms over her chest and sat on the bed. "I have to say, what's stranger than a Slayer rescuing a vampire is a human who cares about him."

Xander snorted a laugh. "Cares? Me? No. I just… it's my fault and I'm fixing it." He pointed at himself with a lopsided smile. "'Cause I'm a fixer, too."

"How is it your fault?"

"My boyfriend beat him up." He paused; feeling dejected, and then corrected himself, "Ex. Ex-boyfriend."

Her sympathetic stare made him look away in annoyance. He was darn sick of being pitied by everyone. Not that he blamed them; everything about him lately was pathetically pitiful.

He stared at demon girl closely, drinking in her angelic human features. She looked exactly human except for the purple glow surrounding her and the fish skin. She also acted human. This was probably the first time he met a nice demon who didn’t want to feed on him. "What did you say your name was?" he asked.

"Never mentioned my name, but it’s Nesreen." She looked back at him. "What's yours?"

"Xander. So, what are you doing here?"

"I was curious about him. He was in a bad condition when I found him. Emotionally."

He grinned. "And you wanna fix that."

She cast him a small smile. "Yeah."

He shrugged. "Can't see how that's possible with him being out cold and all."

"I can stick around until he wakes up." She eyed Xander unsurely. "If you don't mind."

"Not at all. I can't be stuck in here 24/7. I have a night job, but not that kind of night job. I'm a waiter. At night. Kinda like Bruce Wayne is Batman at night although mine is less cool." He stopped rambling promptly and a bashful smile curled up his lips. "Uh, point is I need a vampsitter for Spike."

"Do I get the job?" she asked playfully.

"I'd have preferred a ruthless puffed up demon guard, but you're all right." They shared a grin before their eyes fell on the unconscious vampire lying in the middle of the bed.

Xander looked at her troubled. "Where will we sleep?"

Nesreen grinned. "Sleep on his right, and I'll take the left."

Xander's eyes widened. "What?" He watched her lay on Spike's left and nestled comfortably on his side.

Xander bit his lips. "Guess I'll sleep on the coffin again." He hung his head in sorrow.




tbc




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