Disclaimer: I own nothing. We all know this, but I'll say it anyway. Everyone belongs to Joss. And the lyrics to Everclear.
Spoilers: I'll say everything, but it's based in second season.
Feedback: Please or I'll have to pull out the puppy dog eyes
website: ::I got one, I got one:: www.geocities.com/sunstrider_1999

World of Noise


1 Loser Makes Good

~~I hate waking up it means that I have to die again tonight 35 years old and I'm still sleeping outside Yeah, I think I know your face I don't wanna to know your name I won't give in, I'm not like that I won't give in ~~

"You stupid cunt, you could at least try fucking cleaning around here." He can hear the sound of a door being slammed.

"You prick, your drunk ass wouldn't notice if it was clean anyway."

Xander rolled over slowly, clutching the pillow to his head. The screams coming from the floor above him, banishing even the possibility of sleep. He thought about yelling, butdidn't relish having to actually speak to either one of the drunken pair. Glancing wearily over at the alarm, he shuddered. It was already twelve, and he'd only gotten three hours of sleep.

Between closing the bar, helping Buffy out with the patrols, his parents and Anya he was overbooked. He sighed, then prayed to whoever looked out for losers like him. Just shut them up for the next three hours. Gods.... anyone...

Soon, there was the familiar sound of flesh striking flesh. The sound of glass shattering rang through the house. Then silence. Xander closed his eyes. Please let one of them have killed the other one. Or each other.

His eye's flew open when the silence continued. If anyone actually answered that prayer... I'll be your servant for life...

Xander sat up slowly, the lack of noise making him nervous. He started to climb out of bed, when a faint noise caught his attention. He concentrated, trying to decipher the muted noises. Xander's lips curled in distaste. The sounds suddenly clear. The harsh panting and grunts of his parent's drunken fucking. One of the three ways their fights always ended. The other two being more fighting and a trip to the hospital or more fighting and a trip to jail.

"Ugggh. Harder." He shuddered hearing the slap of skin against skin. "You like that don't you. My little whore."

Xander dropped back down, pulling the pillow over his head with a disgusted groan. At least they'd pass out sometime soon.


~You say it's Christmas Eve that don't mean nothing to me Just another fucked up day just another waste of time You wonder why I live like this, man, you just won't understand I won't give in I'm not like that Yeah, I won't give in.~

Xander slowly wiped down the bar, as the frat boys ordered another round. Finals and winter break made the college boys descend in hordes. Which meant he had to be at the bar even longer. Closing time extended til two, so no official overtime. And despite the incident with the beer nothing changed. Well other than Jack, giving him the really shitty hours and work.

He couldn't decide which was worse. The humiliation of being a loser or having everyone know you were a loser. Probably a combination of both. Having the college kids talk down to him didn't help matters either. Xander sighed softly, at least he still had Anya.

The ex-vengeance demon really didn't seem to mind sleeping over in the basement.

In fact, she was often home waiting for him. He actually found her demands for sex, and her tactlessness endearing. He shook his head slowly. Goes to show you'll accept anything if you're in love.

For an instant an vague memory tried to surface. Floating up from the dark abyss hidden in his mind. Shivering he forced the half formed thought away. Instead concentrating on his Christmas plans with Anya.

He'd made reservations at the motel just off the freeway. They had a pretty decent holiday special.

Three hours later, and he was ready to snap. If one more frat boy...

Xander stopped, taking a deep breath. He could do this. There was nothing they could say that would make him lose his temper. He waved at Mark, beckoning him over. "I'm going to take my break now. See you in an hour."

Maybe he could catch Anya at home, he'd missed her last night.


Xander walked back into the bar. He wasn't sure how he'd gotten back there. He wasn't even sure how he was still breathing. He moved in a numb stupor. When Mark handed him the register keys, Xander blinked stupidly.

"Hey, Harris. You alright? You look like someone just ran over your dog," said the other bartender.

Xander shook himself roughly, before looking up. "Sorry, just got lost there a minute. I'm good. You can head out."

Mark looked at him closely, then shrugged. He had plans with his girlfriend, there was no way he was staying at work. Especially not if the kid said he was fine.

Xander moved behind the bar, mechanically taking orders and pouring drinks. For the next several hours his thoughts were his own. No one cared about making conversation.

Just order and pour. Which was good, because he was certain if he'd tried to think beyond those simple thoughts he'd explode.

["Fuck yessssss. More."]

He didn't notice the trickle of blood, as he bit through his lower lip.

Ignoring the new crowd of frat brothers, Xander disappeared into the back. Taking a deep breath, he glanced into the mirror. He stared curiously at the vacant eyed image before him. Reaching up he wiped away the trail of blood from his lip.

["Damn. What's a hot bitch like you doing with that boy."]

The tinkle of glass hitting the floor brought him back. He glanced at the broken mirror dispassionately, before heading back out front. The new crowd of college students was clustered around the bar. The rowdy group almost three deep. Xander sighed, then began taking orders again. He moved quickly, working his way through the large crowd.

~~You smart ass college fuck
Act like you think you're tough~~

Caught up in his thoughts he missed the first comment. "Look I know you're a townie but you could at least try to understand our orders." Xander looked up, a frown forming. "I'm sorry. What was that?"

"We know you're sorry. That's already been established. Now listen carefully. We ordered three pitchers of beer. One Red dog. Two Forests."

~~I was just like you
More pride than you could know
Think you pity me~~

Xander bit back a reply. He simply refilled the pitchers, returning them to the taller man.

He watched as the blonde and two others headed for a table in the back. Hoping that would be the end. But already knowing it won't.

~~I'll kick your ass if you pity me
I won't give in I'm not like that
No, I won't give in to you
Just go Away~~

Xander watched the clock. He seriously watched it. Watched as the seconds became minutes, the minutes quarters, the quarters half-hours, then finally hours. When the clock struck 1:45 am he congratulated himself on his restraint.

"OK fellows closing time. Time for all good little boys and girls to go to bed."

"We're not ready to leave," said the blonde who'd insulted him earlier.

"Look guys. Let's not do this; last call was half an hour ago. You've had plenty to drink. So why don't you just head home."

The blonde shook his head. "See I don't think so. I think our time should be extended because of your earlier idiocy. What do you think fellas?" The dark-haired one nodded, as the other blonde grinned.

["Ready, bitch?" "Not ready, harder."]

"You know what I'm not having this shit. Two choices. Walk out or be carried out."

~~You college boy act like you think you're tough~~

The blonde grinned again, as he and the other two circled Xander. "Let's see you try."

They never knew what hit them. One minute he was standing still, eyeing the three of them. The next he'd sent the blonde flying across the room, as the brunette lay curled on his side clutching his balls. The steel toed work books having worked like a charm. The other blonde sat clutching his bleeding wrist, from where Xander had cut him with a broken bottle.

It was easy to escort them out. Xander stared at the mess. Thought about the vague chance he'd still have the job tomorrow, then walked to the bar. Snatching up three bottles of Jack Daniel's, he turned and left.


Xander sat staring at the bottle of JD in his hand. Alone on the night before Christmas.

He snorted softly. Night before... wait... Christmas day... get it right..

His grin was hard, bitter.

When wasn't he alone? A small dark part of his mind whispered to him. Coming from the place where he hid the things he never wanted to think about... He remembered a name for it, he'd read it somewhere in a Stephen King novel.

It took him a moment, but he remembered. The 'dead zone'. Why won't everything just stay there... Why does it have to crawl back out...

Snarling he jerked open the bottle... One time drunk does not me my parents make...

He paused going over the last thought.

That didn't quite make sense. Either way one binge, isn't going to make me into *them*. He titled the bottle hissing, as the liquid burned his throat.

He lowered the bottle slowly, then straightened. He could feel someone out there. "If you're going to kill me, be quick about it or let me finish my drink."

Spike stepped out of the shadows, watching as the boy snorted then took another hissing swallow. " 'ell pet. You keep that up and you'll do all the work for me."

Xander ignored the vampire, concentrating on the bottle in his hand. He still had two more to go.

Spike sighed, settling on the bench next to the whelp. "Heard about the 'ole getting split thing pet. Nice to see you're back in one piece."

Xander glared at the vampire, grunting a reply.

Using the opportunity presented, Spike slid closer. "What was that, luv?"

"Said relatively speaking." They sat in silence.

Spike eyed Xander as he fiddled with the bottle in his hands. He'd only worked through a fourth of it in the two hours since the vampire had discovered him.

Spike reached out snagging the bottle from Xander's dangling hands. "Aaah pet. You don't really wanna climb in there do you?"

Xander stared at the vampire, then opened another bottle. He only managed a sip before Spike snagged it as well.

Taking his third bottle Xander stood, backing away from his undead AA partner.

This time he managed to get several good shots down. Still, he got that one too. Before Xander could protest, Spike tossed all three bottles into the night.

Xander stared open mouthed at the insane vampire.


Pushing past Spike, he was unprepared when the vampire struck, knocking them both off balance. Cursing Xander crawled away from the wiggling vampire. "Spike why won't you leave me the fuck alone."

The vampire sat up to look at the boy crouched beside him. "Tell you what, luv. You tell me why you turned down the apartment, and wot's got you out 'ere acting like demon bait. And I'll tell you why I keep bothering you."

"Probably cause you got nothing better to do," muttered Xander, before getting up to sit on the bench again. Spike grinned, then shot up to sit next to him. "Out wit it, mate."

["Ugggh. Harder." Harsh grunts filling the air. "Looks like I got a new whore."]

"Anya," he spat.

"Anya, what?"

"Went home on break today. Caught Anya fucking my father," he said quietly.

Suddenly he was to exhausted to even care. "Should have known... No one really wants me..."

The vampire's eyes turned gold, as he tried to find a suitable reply. Something besides ripping the demon bitch's heart out, for Xander to burn. "Not true," he hissed, unable to completely block the rage.

"Tell me another one. I guess it's a good thing I didn't get the apartment anyway. I mean who was I kidding. I'm right where I belong. The very definition of suburban white trash. And this night just gets more depressing." Xander stood, no longer looking at the vampire. Missing the longing look that flickered briefly in the blue gaze.

"So yer just going to roll over, and take it up the arse. You don't 'ave to stay down, just cause they expect ya to. Plus payback's a bitch. Nothin' better than rubbin' a prick's face in yer shit."

~~I won't give in I'm not like that
No, I won't give in~~

Xander glanced over at the grinning vampire. "Maybe... it would feel good to get my own place. Show them..."

"So wot's keeping ya, pet. Git yer own. Then tell the demon bitch and yer da to take a flyin' fuck."

Xander couldn't help but grin at Spike's enthusiasm. The vampire had always made him laugh. "So, tell me why I've got my own personal pest."

Spike shrugged, looking slightly uncomfortable. "Thought since we both seem to be on the outer fringes of the scoobies, we could be allies... potential friends..." Xander wouldn't have laughed even if the vampire hadn't looked so serious.

"Much too late for that Spikey." Xander shook his head sadly. "Don't worry about me, I won't worry about you. I don't wanna be friends. I'm OK. Just leave me alone," he said quietly, backing away slowly. "Too much... I can't... I'm sorry," he said, turning away. "Much too late..."

Spike watched the mortal boy he loved walk away. The same words, causing the same amount of pain they had the first time he'd heard them.

~~Don't worry about me, I won't worry about you. I don't wanna be friends. I'm OK. Just leave me alone.~~

Fucking right, pet. Like that 'elps.

2 Malevolent

~Maybe I went too far this time I just go crazy
when she says no... ~

There was no struggling, not anymore. Not even when the hands encircling his throat, began squeezing. He wouldn't struggle.

He gasped painfully as he was flung down, and pinned to the bed. Whimpering, he rolled onto his back, curling slightly and pushing himself into a somewhat upright position. Looking up at his lover's face, he paled at what he saw there. Lust, rage..

Xander felt himself grow cold with horror. He knew what that meant. He thought about trying to get away, but that would only make him angrier.


"Do you see what you make me do?" The voice was strangely soothing, even as his hand connected with Xander's jaw, the crack of flesh resounding in the early morning quiet.

His hand flew again, and Xander's head snapped back and forth as each strike landed. Dazed, his head pounding, Xander blinked in confusion as the blows ceased. He could barely focus, seeing
nothing but a blur of movement over him. He felt himself turned roughly, his legs spread. Taking enough time only to yank the pants past his knees, he spread the boy's legs and parted soft cheeks, gazing at the tiny pucker revealed there.

Xander bit back a scream, as claws slashed through his flesh. "Mmmm. My boy. So tight an' hot. Love to see my marks on you." He ran his hands over trembling flesh, pinching cruelly and raising vicious red welts.

He leaned forward, using his weight to hold Xander down. Lacing his fingers through dark hair, he pressed the boy's face into the bed, licking, biting gently at his chin, then dragging his fangs down the side of his neck hard enough to draw blood. He smiled at the hitching breaths Xander was dragging in. Standing he stripped, quickly climbing back onto the still form.

Shifting slightly, he plunged inside. Xander mewled as he was forced open. White-hot pain speared through him as he was impaled, and his hoarse cry echoed through the mansion. He howled as something inside him tore, and he could feel a flood of warmth trickling out his ass and down between his thighs.

Xander's lover groaned in ecstasy as he felt himself surrounded by tight, burning heat. He looked down at where they were joined, reveling in the sight of the scarlet fluid that rushed out to stain his own skin. He growled at the thought of tasting that sweet liquid. As his lover's length invaded him repeatedly, Xander's thoughts fragmented. Disjointed pleas for forgiveness.

Don't... please...

Mind refusing to deal with what was happening again, he shut down completely. Meanwhile, his lover continued his strokes relentlessly. Xander's body went limp with exhaustion, and pain. His total submission merely spurred him on, and his pace increased. As his orgasm neared he gripped the still hips, pulling them up brutally as he forced himself into the loosening channel over and over. Leaning forward he sank his fangs into the beckoning flesh, drinking greedily.

After what seemed an eternity, he flung his head back, letting out a howl of triumph. He spilled his seed deep inside his lover's ravaged body, then collapsed on the still back, purring. For a while, that was the only sound in the room. Slowly he sat up, licking gently at the trickle of blood, still purring.

Xander rolled away from the still form. Only vaugely aware, when the body above him collapsed on its side. The throaty purr in his ear is what brings him back. The smug, satiated pleasure in the rumbling sound eating at his soul. Screams clawed their way up his throat, but he lay silent forcing them back. Staring with empty eyes, at the blood that stained his thighs.

[Angel turns away, pulls her dress back down, slowly washes her face... ]

He stood slowly, hobbling to the bathroom. His eyes avoid the bruises, and cuts as he runs the washcloth over his body. Wiping away the blood and dead seed, but not the shame. He pulled the
still, miracuously, clean pants up. He walked back into the bedroom, ignoring the vampire who sat watching him. Without a word, he turned to leave.

"I'll see you later, lover." His voice was eerily gentle, yet it rang with a violent love.

Xander stumbled, but kept moving.

~Takes the bus to her job downtown
She said: "I'm ok, don't worry about me"
Now she thinks to herself: "Hey what just happened to me?"
I told him that I thought it was over told him that I wanted to leave. He used to touch me so nice when we first met
I never dreamed he would hit me I never dreamed he would hold me down ~

Xander sat staring numbly out of the bus window. His body screamed in protest at every jolt, but it was drowned out by the litany of denial from his mind.

Nothing is wrong. I... I just shouldn't have... The bus rolled to a stop.

Xander stood slowly, climbing off at his stop. He stared up at the school, shaking himself once before going in.

I'm OK

Maybe if he said it enough times it would be true.


~She said: "Don't worry about me I won't worry
about you"
"I don't want to be friends", she said, "I'm ok"
"Just leave me alone, just leave me alone" ~

Crystal blue eyes gazed into wounded brown eyes. He had no idea why he gave a damn. Maybe because he reminded him of Drusilla. Maybe it was the stubborn courage, when he was offered up as a snack. Maybe it was the beauty of the soul that lay trapped in it's own hell. Maybe... But one thing was certain. It was.

"E's going to kill you, mate. Or turn you. Either way you're dead, if you stay," said the blonde vampire. He sat watching the dark-haired mortal as they waited on Angelus'. Xander stared down at the wheelbound vampire.

"He won't. He... he loves me. I just... I just make him mad. He doesn't mean to." His voice a bare whisper.
"Yeah, right. He doesn't mean to. Sure. What's yer 'effin problem?" snarled the blonde. "Are you blind or just terminally stupid?"

"What do you care? He just does it for my own good. I shouldn't have said I was leaving. He saved me and...and..."

When it was obvious the boy wasn't going to continue, Spike rolled over to him. "And what pet? You deserve it? It's how you know he cares? It gives 'im the right to treat you like shit?"


Spike reached out, running his fingers across the bruised cheek. "Don't 'ave to stay with someone who makes you cry. I know you're nervous, but listen to me, you deserve so much more than what he gives you. Don't hold on to your pain, just let it go."

They both turned at Drusilla's delighted cry of, "Daddy."

Xander backed away from the vampire quickly. "I don't know what your trying to do but I don't need your help. I'm fine everything's fine. Don't worry about me, I won't worry about you. I don't wanna be friends. I'm OK. Just leave me alone."

~She said: "Don't worry about me I won't worry
about you"
She said: "I'm ok don't worry about me"
"I don't want to be friends"
"Just leave me alone, just leave me alone..."~

Xander turned to the door, trying to gage his lover's mood.

Angelus smiled gently at Xander. "Come here, lover. I'll make it all better."


[Don't worry about me, don't worry about me ]

Crystal blue eyes watched, as the mortal hurried to the older vampire.

Can't 'elp it pet.


Crystal blue eyes watched, as the mortal walked away.

Still can't 'elp it.

3 Nervous & Weird

~You know I want to be the way you want me to
Big hearted and tall enough to cover you
I would break in half if you said it out loud
Splinter out of myself just like mercury~

Xander stood in the graveyard, rocking back and forth. He didn't want to be here, in fact he wanted nothing more than to leave. Forget he'd ever come here. He half started to walk away, then stopped. He shook his head slowly, going back to his apartment wouldn't make it stop. No all it would do is remind him about everything the vampire had ever said or done for him.

He hadn't meant to be cruel, but he had been. And he knew it. And couldn't help it. The look of hope... of understanding... of things he wasn't sure he'd ever known... in those blue eyes always made him feel like... I can't be the way he want's me to. Too much has happened.

But an overwhelming urge to apologize haunted him since their last conversation. Sometimes he wished... he wished it'd been Spike... Cause even if he hadn't saved him, he was almost certain being dead would have been better than what had been... But like his ma said if wishes were horses beggars would ride. Gods why does it have to be him...

He hated seeing the vampire..... there was no escape from the knowledge in that steady gaze. Knowledge of a not so distant past. A past he'd barely escaped, one he'd only escaped because of the blonde. One that despite all he'd feared, had never become public knowledge. Enough... you'll apologize, and leave. That's all there is to it. No conversation, no tense silences. Just say it and leave.

Steeling himself, he reached for the door.

"Not off savin' the world tonight, pet?"

Startled he couldn't stop the screech that slipped out. "Gods... can't you make noise when you walk? Get a fuckin' bell or something."

Spike smirked at the irritated mortal. He loved the fire in his eyes. Fuckin' bastard didn't get all of it. Spike bit back a snarl, then turned to shove open the door of crypt. "Comin'?"

Xander backed away quickly, "No just wanted to say I was sorry. So... sorry. I'll be going now." Spike didn't say anything, just watched him. Watched him with that solemn gaze. Xander dropped his eyes, he couldn't stand that look.

Spike shrugged. "Why be sorry, pet? You said what you meant. It's me own fault if it wasn't what I wanted to hear." He didn't know what to say to that simple statement. So he didn't say anything, just stared at the ground. Wanting to leave, but not wanting to. Can't even make a simple choice... when did everything get so hard...

Spike watched him. Not really upset, at least not anymore. Least the whelp cared enough to say something... more than the prick ever did for 'im.

He was better now, than how he used to be. Not as jumpy, no more constant flinching from even the slightest movement. Ok yeah 'e jumped, but so would I if some git snuck up on me in a graveyard. "Look, pet. It's ok you can toddle away now. You've fufilled your obligiation. Done your bit for charity and all." Spike turned away, but froze at the hesitant words. "Say again pet. "

Xander cleared his throat, looking up at the blonde then away. "I said... if you didn't have any plans for new year's you could come over. But you don't have to... I understand if you've got other plans... and...."

Spike grinned. "None a'tall pet. It'll be you an me. 'ey I'll even bring the JD."

~I think it's better now than how it used to be
You were lying in bed and I would levitate
I think it's better here, than where we used to be~

Xander nodded, then turned walking away quickly. did you just do what I think you did... invited Spike over tomorrow... check... that's it... through with you... fucking disaster waiting to happen... couldn't you just do what I told you... you'll never learn... Shut up, just shut up.... Yeah, he knows but he's always known and he hasn't said shit... I owe him, and if I'm still afraid even now... Then what I did, meant fuck all... I refuse to let that be it...


~I think I'm better now than how I used to be
Always nervous and weird, scared most of the time
I think it's better now than how it used to be
Always up in the night afraid to live in the day
Afraid of being afraid
Afraid to live in the day
Afraid of being afraid~

He stared around the apartment. He was still amazed that he'd gotten it. He'd been worried about keeping it, but his new job was working out better than he'd expected. He wondered what Spike would think of it. Ahh right on time... Hello fear, nice to see you again guilt... Nope we're not gonna do this... No.

Just as the panic started to build, he heard the knock.

Spike blinked, staring at the agitated boy. Who looked like he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He hoped he'd get inside before he could change his mind. "Eager to see me, luv?"

Shaking his head, Xander stepped back. "Come in Spike."

"Nice, pet. It's got a 'ole just starting out feel. Roomy too, in case you wanted to 'ave a couple of yer mates over," said Spike, moving through the apartment. When he spotted the bags of blood in the fridge he grinned. Human too. Wonder where 'e nicked 'im from.

Spike turned back to Xander, who was still standing in the doorway. "Gonna stand 'ere all night? Or we gonna watch some telly. Personally I'm all for the telly. Mine's busted. Got used to watchin' that stupid ball drop. Dru always liked it, said it was like a star coming down or some rot."

"Umm... television.. Yes, that's good... I'll just..." Xander stopped at the amused smirk from Spike. He hated that smirk. you hate the way it makes you feel... Didn't I say... just stating a fact...

"Look, fangless. You're not a guest so if you want it on then turn it on," he said moving into the kitchen. He'd decided not to order out. He hadn't cooked in year's, not after... Let's not think about that, shall we...

"If I'm not a guest want am I, luv?"

Xander looked up from his inspection of the fridge. Spike frowned at the suddeny deadly serious look on his mortal's face. "A... a potential friend... if this works."

If he hadn't been a vampire, the rush of pleasure at those words would have turned him red. "Well then, pet. Let's make sure this works then. Cause I'm sick and tired of living all alone."


~ Now I sit alone when you're not around
I read aloud just to hear a friendly voice
I see your scary dolls they always look at me
From the corner of my eyes I see them shake their heads
You know I want to be the way you want me to
Big hearted and tall enough to cover you~

He eased out of the huge bed, slipping past the sleeping vampire. He bit back a groan as his muscles screamed. The pain from the earlier beating, catching him unaware. Still he made no noise. He'd gotten really good at that, in the last few months. He hoped he'd have time to recover from the last beating, before the next one. He doubted though. Not when he was leaving after Angelus had told him to stay.

But he'd promised Buffy he'd help her patrol. To look for Angelus. He snorted softly, then stopped praying the vampire hadn't heard him. He flinched, seeing the open eyes. Sighing inwardly, when he realized they were only Dru's dolls. Moving quickly, he made his way past the few minions still in the mansion.

Pausing in the courtyard, he slid on his shoes.

"So off to save the world. 'ey, pet?"

Startled Xander whirled around, barely repressing the girly squeal that tried to escape. Thrown off balance, he started to fall. Strong hands caught his wrists, pulling him upright. "Spike," he hissed, trying to pull away from the vampire's hold, "what the hell are you doing out here... and walking."

Spike didn't answer. Ignoring the struggling boy, he dragged Xander away from the mansion. He fought the entire way, cursing the blonde the entire time. Growling, he shoved the boy onto the bench, just outside the cemetery. When Xander tried to get up, he held him down.

"You are going to listen to me, pet. Whether you like it or not. I tried to do this without force. You get 'nough of that from him, " he spat. Xander stilled, staring up into the furious blue eyes. Spike had never hurt him, unlike Angelus. He didn't really think he would, he'd seen him with Drusilla. Sometimes he wished... Angelus would be like that with him.

"Look, Spike I know..." Spike cut him off, sliding his hand over his open mouth.

"You don't know, pet or you wouldn't be 'ere. Listen to me... I'm not 'aving that bastard ruining me unlife, or yours. 'e wants to bring 'ell on earth. Psychotic bastard," he snarled.

"Personally, I think it's a effin' stupid idea. I mean there goes our food supply, and we get shot down to the bottom of the food chain. I don't plan on lettin' that 'appen. I suggest you don't be around when everything goes down."

When it looked like Xander was going to protest, Spike shushed him. "You can do better than 'im." Shaking his head, the vampire ignored the little voice that cried me. "You're going to have to. Unless you want yer little slayer dead."

"He won't hurt her, he promised me," whispered Xander, looking anywhere but at the vampire.

"Yeah, like 'e promised not to 'urt you again." Reaching out he grasped the boy's chin. "You're going to have to make a choice. Them or Angelus." Letting go, the vampire backed away slowly. "Fuck, pet. You deserve better. Open your eyes. Don't stay with no one that's gonna make you cry."

Xander watched the vampire disappear into the night.

"You know I want to be the way you want me to. I wish I could go out just to be alive in the day... to be alive in the day," he whispered.


Spike could feel the boy's eyes on him. He hadn't meant to remind him of that night. He hadn't realized he'd repeated that same phrase verbatim. Not until Xander had stared at him with that familiar look of pain. But he hadn't said anything instead he'd went back to preparing dinner.

After a few awkward moments, he'd simply turned away. But hearing him moving around in the kitchen made the vampire curious. So leaving the idiot box blaring he'd gone to have a look. And was surprised to see the boy making something that looked a hell of a lot more than simply edible.

"When'd you learn 'ow to cook, Xanluv?" he said peering into the stirfry. He snatched out a peapod before Xander could catch him.

"Learned a long time ago. Just got out of the habit. Angelus didn't like.." he stopped, turning back to his cutting. Spike sighed, he hadn't wanted to get into talking about his bastard of a sire. But if they stopped everytime it touched that topic, they'd never finish a conversation. "So the prick didn't like you cookin'. Why not?"

Xander glanced up briefly, "I made dinner for Giles once, was staying over to avoid my parents." Turning away he tossed the meat into the pan before going on.

"Told Angelus I couldn't come over that night, didn't tell him I was cooking for *another man*, " he spat. "At least that's how he saw it. I couldn't grip anything for a couple a weeks, after he sliced open my palms. You remember. Anyway that was the last time I cooked anything," he paused looking over at Spike. "Till now."

Spike smiled. Not the smirk, or the snarky grin. Not the 'I'm-about-to-wreck-bloody-mayhem-and-havoc' smile. No, this was the smile he'd seen him give his dark princess sometimes. One that made him more than beautiful, made him ethereal. He'd never seen anything more... magnificent. And that's why you're doing this... gods you never learn... Spike's not Angelus... no but he's still a souless bas... Don't he's better than Angelus with or without the soul...

Spike could almost see the battle going on behind his mortal's eyes.Don't want him backtracking. Not now..

"So, luv. When do we eat?"


Now they were sitting there silent, in front of the television. Watching Dick Clark. Xander sat only inches from him. That fact made the vampire grin. Especially since they'd started out on opposite ends of the couch. He knew when the boy had turned to watch him.

"You were right, then. Every day stressed out in every kind of way... sick inside and tired of my life. I really was sick and tired of living all alone." Spike stared at his Xanpet, then said quietly, "I think its better now than 'ow it used to be. I think its better 'ere than were we used to be."

Xander nodded, reaching out slowly to catch Spike's hand in his. Silently they turned back to the tv, and watched the ball drop.

"5... 4... 3... 2... 1..."

"Happy new year, Xanluv."

"Happy new year, Spikey."

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