A/N: i am NOT a Xander fan. I was even less so when I wrote this. So if you don't like that sort of thing, I've forewarned ya.
The afternoon was overcast on the day following the confrontation in the cemetery. Buffy knew what was coming now. She was dreading the confrontation between Spike and her Watcher and friends. Angel had asked to be there as well, but after his reaction last night, she had thought it better if he stayed away for now.
The conversation with her watcher the night before had gone just as she had expected it to. Her friends had been sitting around the tables looking through dusty old tomes as she walked through the door. Giles had emerged from his office at the sound of the door, carrying one of the Watcher diaries from some long-dead tweed-wearer.
“Hey guys,” she called out to get their attention. She wasn’t sure how to broach the subject before her, because this sort of thing had never happened before. She thought it best to get it out, “Um, I met the vampire who bit me on patrol tonight.”
Willow rushed over to your friend, “Oh my gosh, are you ok?”
Buffy nodded, “Yeah. I’m fine.”
“How did Angel react?”
Buffy sighed, “Worse than I thought. He went totally berserk, growling and trying to kill the guy.”
“Did he win?”
“No, he got beaten real bad. But that’s off topic. I’m here to say that Giles,” She looked up at her Watcher at that point, and saw the concern showing in his eyes, “Spike’s gonna be paying you a visit tomorrow.”
Giles nearly dropped the book in his hand, “SPIKE?!? Spike’s coming here? Why?” He believed he already knew the answer, and wasn’t sure he wanted to hear what was about to come out of his Slayer’s mouth.
Buffy’s eyes dropped to the floor. Better get this over with, “Spike is the one who bit me. He came up to me four days ago and said that he’d left Drusilla and came back to Sunnydale for me.” She braced herself for what was about to come.
“FOUR DAYS, Buffy why didn’t you tell us he was back in town?”
“I’m sorry, I - ”
“Buffy! This is serious!”
“I know that Giles!”
“Don’t you think we deserve to know that he’s come back? What if he had come after one of us? We would be completely unprepared for such an action.”
“I wasn’t thinking - ”
“No, you obviously weren’t. Honestly Buffy sometimes your negligence is just stunning.”
Buffy was near to tears. She had expected this, yes, but it still hurt to hear her Watcher say these things. “I’m sorry, Giles.”
Willow saw the state her best friend was in and came to her, “C’mon, Buffy. We just wish you had told us.”
“Did you tell him not to come?”
She shook her head, “I couldn’t. Besides, would he have listened to me anyway? He’s gonna come whether we want him to or not.”
Giles took off his glasses to polish them, “Yes, well I thank you for that kernel of information. We shall be sure to be prepared tomorrow evening for his arrival. I will be speaking to you though. You should not be keeping things to yourself for any reason.”
Giles had walked into his office and Willow had brought the distraught slayer home.
Now after a night’s sleep she didn’t feel any better as she walked into school on an overcast afternoon. She walked down the corridors filled with the yellow-white light of industrial florescent light bulbs that are in every school across the country so that corrupt penny-pinchers could save money.
She came to the doors of the library. She put her hands on the rough wood, and pushed open the door with ease as it skimmed against the carpet that inhabited the library collecting more dust to add to those on the books. The light filtered through the shelves to fall upon the center of the library on the table and the floor where the slayer was accustomed to train.
Clustered to one side of the room were Giles Willow and Xander, grouped together like frightened sheep cowering in a corner of the pen. On all of their faces were expressions of fear or panic aimed at the person in the center of the room between them and the weapons cage.
There at the table between the office and the weapons cage stood Spike, swathed in leather. He radiated strength and confidence with his black duster hanging from his frame and molding to the contours of his upper back. He looked intimidating without any effort, standing at the table idly flipping through some of the books that had been left there with minimal interest. They didn’t concern him.
He knew what they had been doing with those tomes. He could see the text and he could read several different languages both demon and human. These books were of no interest to him. Even if they could find what had happened to the slayer, there was no way they could change it. And from looking at the direction of their research, he knew they were nowhere near anything important. He felt her come in and he turned to face her.
Buffy saw him turn to face her and the world seemed to stop. There he was, his handsome face with its high cheekbones and emerald blue eyes that seemed to look through her. His lips were so soft and his skin looked so smooth. His white hair stood in stark contrast to his black leather, and provided a visual for all the contradictions in his personality that she would learn of.
He stood there in the library which she considered another home to her. He stood in the middle of her safe haven in the daytime no less! But still her body called out to him as it had since his bite with the brief respite that she had experienced in his arms the night before. His eyes bore into her and she felt a war start within her.
She wanted to run and hide. She wanted to stay. She wanted to curl into a ball somewhere far away. She wanted to curl up in his lap. She wanted to rush to her watcher. She wanted to rush to Spike and have his arms around her.
She settled for none of those, instead she stood just inside the door, her arms crossed in front of her, “What are you doing here, Spike?”
He looked shocked, “Why, Slayer, I told you I would be dropping in today. I’m sure you told your friends that too. Your surprise is quite shocking.”
In an exasperated tone of voice Buffy replied, “I mean why NOW. It’s daylight outside. We weren’t expecting you till sunset.”
“I bloody well knew what you meant. I figured that by nightfall that your watcher here would be stocked up on weapons so I figured I might come before that happened.” He crossed to one of the chairs and sat, propping his boots up on the table. “Besides, I figure this is as good a time as any to have a little chat, don’t you?”
He saw the anxiety in the faces of the huddled humans, “You can bring crosses with you, if it makes you feel better.”
Giles’ sent Willow into his office and she retrieved three wooden crosses that had been in his drawers. They approached slowly, crosses outstretched as Spike sat at the table. Buffy crossed the room and drew out a chair facing the blonde vamp so she could glare at him.
Her friends drew out chairs and cautiously sat down, following the slayer’s lead. There was silence for a while as the tension and fear in the air seemed to smother the three weak humans clutching at the wooden slats that were crosses.
Finally Spike spoke up, “Not that I’m not loving the fear simmering in the air here, but I think that you blokes wanted to talk to me.”
Giles took off his glasses, “Q-q-quite right. Um, first, why are you here, exactly?”
Spike smirked, “Thought the Slayer had told you that. I came back for her.”
“Nothing that I’m ready to talk about now. Let’s just say I’m a white hat.”
“What caused this change?”
Xander spoke up, insolent and brave behind the false protection of the cross he held, “Why should we believe you anyway?”
Spike growled. He could smell the boy. He lusted after HIS Buffy. It was all around him. Stupid child couldn’t appreciate what he had. He could smell Cordelia all over him (the boy was a virgin, but they’d been close) and yet the whelp still lusted after the slayer. “That’s none of your business. I told you, I’m not bloody well gonna talk about it yet.”
Buffy spoke up, “Say I believe you, that you’re not gonna harm us, where does that leave us?”
Spike looked at her, “I’m here to help you, make sure you get along well.” He looked around at them, “Doesn’t mean I’m gonna get along with your mates here. I have no business with them.”
“Why do you want to help me, Spike?”
Spike smirked, “You know why. I claimed you, and I take care of what’s mine.”
Giles cleared his throat before starting up again, “Yes, um, that is the matter at hand. What is this claim?”
Spike turned his eyes to the flustered librarian, “It means that she’s mine. I bit her and claimed her.” He took out his lighter and started twirling it in his fingers, “My claim offers her protection from other vamps. It also provides other benefits that are rather personal.” He smirked here. “Also others once I complete the ritual.”
“Y-you need something else?”
“Yeah, but that I’m not discussing either. Besides, if I did the probability of me getting to go through with it become less.”
“What if we don’t want your help?” this of coarse from Xander, who had been glaring at the vamp the entire interview.
Spike’s head snapped back to the youth and Xander blanched slightly but held his ground, “It’s not up to you, boy.” He lowered his voice before speaking the next line, “Make no mistake, whelp, I am not Peaches. I do not take kindly to people interfering in my business.”
“Yeah, I know you’re not like him. He at least has a soul to lift him above your status as a worthless monster.”
It took all Spike had not to leap across the table and rip Xander’s throat out. He growled loudly and barked out “Watch your tongue. I give you one free pass on account of the slayer. Next time I might not be so giving.”
He glared across the table, “You think I don’t know what’s going on? I can smell you. You want what’s mine. You lust for my slayer.” Eyes turned to Xander at this comment, “Angel might have put up with that, but if you don’t grow up I’m not sure I can hold back, mate.”
Xander didn’t back down. He had always wanted Buffy. He had looked at all others who caught her attention with jealous anger. It had become a way of life for him, and he wasn’t about to stop now, “So what. Doesn’t make it any less true.”
Buffy realized that this was not a line that was going to end well. She decided that this was time to end this and set some peace to the room, “Xander, that’s enough. Why don’t you go tell Angel not to come tonight?”
“And leave you here with him? No.”
“It’s not up for debate, Xander. Go.”
Xander, thoroughly snubbed, stood up and walked out of the library, slamming the doors behind him as he left. With him left a lot of the tension that had been hanging in the air for the past few minutes. Spike seemed more relaxed and more amicable now that the teen had left the room.
Buffy turned back to the blonde vampire. She had known that Xander had a thing for her, and had suspected that it affected his attitude toward Angel. However, the extent of his obsession was kind of disturbing. She tried to turn her mind away from that now, “What did you do to me, Spike?”
“I told you already, luv. I claimed you. I gave you my protection and told the world that you are mine.”
“Why do I feel this way?”
“You’ll feel that we until we complete the ritual.”
Giles spoke up, “What ritual, exactly?”
“I’m going to make her my mate as well.”
Giles needed a bit more clarification, “What does a mate entail? How does it differ from a claim?”
“I never intended to just claim her. I want to be by her side forever. By completing the ritual she will still be a human, but she will become an immortal. Or rather, she will realize her immortality. And I get the nifty advantage of daylight immunity.”
Buffy was skeptical, “Sounds great. What’s the catch?”
He smirked, “You’re bound to me eternally.”
“Uh-huh. And how do we complete this ritual?”
Spike looked down at the lighter in his hand, “It’s not important now. It’s not time yet.” He stood up and walked so that he was looking down at her, “I’m gonna help you, luv. I’ll make sure you’re all right.”
“But why, Spike. Why are you so concerned?”
He smiled, “that’s a story for another day.” He looked at all of them before he walked out the door.
Willow spoke up, “Well, that was eventful.”
“What does he mean ‘realize my immortality’?”
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