Liliaeth (liliaeth) wrote,
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BTVS Santa fic: Seventeen not so Hostile (my very first Spander*g*)

Title: Seventeen not so Hostile
Author:Lore Krajsman
Rating: NC17 slash
Summary: AU after the Initiative, Spike doesn't escape from the Initiative until Buffy meets him while looking for Santa Claus.
Pairing:Spike/Xander




He didn't really remember his name. It often felt just beyond his touch, hidden by an electric field surrounded with sirens and guns whenever he tried to reach out for it, so of course he tried to find it as much as possible. Generally, with nothing but a severe headache as a result.

They, them, called him Seventeen, or Hostile Seventeen if they went in full name mode. Didn't sound like his real name, but it was better than nothing, so he hung on to it. Of his real name though, no memory whatsoever. For that matter, he didn't remember all that much to begin with. He remembered pain. That he remembered all too well, far too much of it recently.

And he remembered Sir. Sir was there to tell him what to do.

Not that Seventeen always did. That's where the pain came in. It's not that Seventeen didn't want to obey, he liked pain as little as the next guy, vamp, idiot, whatever they liked to say he was. He just couldn't help it. As if something inside of him just refused to lie down and go with the flow. That and sometimes the orders were just bloody stupid. Why the fuck would he even want to run into a burning building? Flames hurt. Of course, so did Sir.

Sir had ordered Seventeen to find the demons. Nice general order that didn't give him a clue what the hell he was supposed to do. Seventeen had shrugged and then his head exploded. Not literal, head still there. It seemed to come bleeding close though. It always hurt when Seventeen wouldn't jump the instant Sir told him to.

But it's not like he was psychic or anything. A little help wouldn't be that out of order. Some kind of a hint, a nudge, maybe an idea of what kind of demons that Sir wanted him to find...
Not like he could smell any in the direct vicinity; nothing but humans here, and a few dogs and cats and rats. But there was nothing even vaguely demonic.Except...

Seventeen took off on a run. He followed the scent into an alley, hunched over so he wouldn't lose it, hoping to find some hints about his prey before facing off with it.

Danger Will Robinson.

A kind of instinctive terror grabbed hold of him, almost worse than when Sir had ordered him in the fire and he had to remind himself of Sir's most likely reaction not to head off at top speed. It took every ounce of strength in him, to force himself to go on, moving inch by inch, ever forward, to whatever threat awaited him in the dark.

There was something darkly and deeply dangerous there, something.... But sir was approaching and he couldn't...

He stared in shock at the sight of a young woman hunched on the ground, staring at something.

Danger!

A man stood next to her, both turned to him instantaneously. "Spike? I should have known you were involved somehow."

Spike, the word, name, ... seemed oddly familiar, yet when he tried to think of it, his temples throbbed with warning pangs and he quickly focussed on something else. Like the blonde getting up, dusting off her pants and staring at him with disdain, or the brunette man looking at him with a glare that spoke of false bravado.

Seventeen quickly took a step back.

She stayed in place, yet it didn't make him feel safe, not even remotely.




******




"Oh you better watch out, you better not cry..." Xander hummed as he followed Buffy's lead. She glared at him but he continued humming. Such a great way to spend Christmas, checking dark alleys for traces of the latest big bad to menace poor old Sunnydale.

"He's making a list, checking it twice. Gonna find out who's naughty or nice, Santa Claus is…" And he stared up as Buffy suddenly tensed up.

There was a vampire just standing there. Probably picked the wrong alley and shaking in his boots, confronted with the Slayer. Xander didn't even recognize him till Buffy pointed it out.

Gone were the black duster, black threads and bleached hair. All of them replaced by a buzzcut and some kind of military fatigues.

"Don't tell me, the army's in such a state that they recruit vamps these days?"

Then Riley showed up and him and Buffy got all... well, not mushy. There was a definite lack of the mushiness and by jolly, shouldn't there be mush?

They were a couple right? Dating and all. Couples should mush, make you all aaaaah and ewww with their unnecessary displays of mush that were especially annoying when your own girlfriend had headed off for who knows what reason.

Riley, bless him, was doing his part, all glad and happy to see her, kissing her, wanting to hold her hand, only... Buffy so obviously disagreed that Xander almost felt sorry for the guy. What was this? The worst possible timing in human history? Showing off his vampire rehabilitation program only hours after that Red demon had had Buffy dancing the cha cha cha with promises of more.

They'd been hunting for Santa Claus all evening, and Xander doubted he'd be all that cheerful after Buffy was through with him. So of course having Riley all happy and proud of how he managed to get a vampire, especially one that the Scoobies actually knew, all mind broken and incapable of disobeying orders, was so not the thing to bring a smile to Buffy's face.

Oh such happy memories of Spike hitting him on the head with a microscope and keeping him and Willow hostage to get Dru back. Happy days All of which Riley was utterly unaware off. To him the former blond was just a nameless cipher of dead flesh that he was training for the Initiative.

Xander was actually on his side in this one. Didn't Spike deserve to pay a bit for all he'd done to them?

Not that he was about to tell Buffy that. Nope, no sirree. He'd seen her throwing the evil eye at a poor innocent hypnotist on TV earlier; he wasn’t stupid enough to go extolling the greatness of mind control. Not him.

So having Spike do tricks just to prove how safe it was, yep, that ended up with her socking the soldier without a thought to it. It of course also ended with Spike tackling her, mindlessly forced to defend his master. Kinda like uncle Hank's dog. And ended up howling like him, too

Buffy easily knocked him unconscious. He didn't even seem able to defend himself. Xander almost felt sorry for him.

She glared at him and Xander stopped any protests he might have had as she picked the vampire over her shoulder. Ready to take him home.

"Awww gee Giles, look what we found, can we keep it?"





*****





There were straps holding him down when he woke up. Seventeen was almost used to that by now. People tying him down, waking up from a deep sleep and knowing something had been done to him. To know that something was taken away from him. He just couldn't figure out what it was that had been taken this time.

Had he been bad again? Refused an order, stepped out of line? Done something bad enough that made the doctors have to work on him again? He tried to stay quiet as a mouse, no pitter patter to make them realize he was awake and start it up again.

He couldn't smell Sir in the room. Nothing weird about that, Sir was never there when the doctors had to work on him. Seventeen hoped that if he stayed still long enough, Sir would come in and take him with him; either to his cell, or to a new job. Anywhere had to be better than with the doctors.

It was strange though, there was something soft underneath him, something...

"Hey Spike."

Seventeen's eyes shot open, that word again. He tried too and quickly stopped as pain coursed through him. He wanted to roll up in fear, sink away from her and just run for his life.

"Hey it's ok, I'm not gonna hurt you."

She touched him, gently at that, but Seventeen couldn't help the fear. She helped him up, it was then that he noticed that even though his hands and feet were chained, he could still sit up and move somewhat freely. She offered him a cup of blood and he drank it quickly before she could change her mind and take it from him.

"Do you know where you are?"

Seventeen didn't have a clue. "No ma'am."

"Now that's freaky."

Seventeen looked up, noticing the man that had been with her before. There was also some older human and two young women, a redhead and a blond. Both smelled of a mixture of sex and magic. He kept his mouth before saying something wrong and getting punished for it.

"Do you remember Buffy, anyone?" The older man took off his glasses as he asked his question.

"No sir."

"Can I add creepy?"

"Xander! We don't need comments from the peanut gallery."

Seventeen cringed, he bit his tongue trying to keep from asking questions. Not supposed to...
"Where is Sir?"

They didn't look like doctors and unless he was in his cell, Sir was always there when the doctors weren't. He wasn't supposed to be out without Sir. And from the look on her face, he really should have kept his mouth shut.

Stupid stupid foolish vampire. Why couldn't he just keep his tongue like he was supposed to?

"I'm sorry, didn't…"

"Shh, it's ok. Riley can't get you here. I promise."

Who was Riley?




******




So why, in the name of all that was good, were they being nice to the psychopathic killer? Had they all just forgotten that as soon as Spike got his memory back and returned to his old self, he'd kill them all?

It's not like they were dealing with some poor lost puppy, even if he behaved like one. Like one of those Rottweiler pups that played all nice, till one day, when they're all grown up, you turn your back to one and they go for your throat.
Vampire here, dangerous, evil. Was that so hard to remember?

Shouldn't they be taking advantage of his disability and weakness and do away with him now? But no, of course Buffy just had to take the poor thing home and care for it like it were some kind of scared and wounded animal.

They just chained him up, as if that were enough, and the vampire didn't even protest the treatment. Just thanked them for the blood, all polite, yes sir, no ma'am as if he were some charm school graduate talking to his teachers.

And all the while they were busy with Spike the well trained pup, Santa was probably eviscerating some wide eyed kid waiting under the tree, while Rudolf and Prancer waited on the roof for leftovers.

And God, that was just plain out wrong.

"You know, not to say anything, but uh, well I do have to say something. Aren't we supposed to be out there looking for Santa Claus, or should we just leave some milk and cookies and hope he takes the bait."

"Xander…"

"Don't Xander me, it's bad enough we had to ruin every happy memory I ever had of Christmas with those research books, no need to lose our chance to grab jolly old Nick before he takes off to the north pole again."

"So what do you suggest, it's not like we can just track..." their eyes all suddenly turned to Spike. A very scared, and confused Spike.





*******






Seventeen all too easily found the track they wanted him to follow, as diluted as it was, especially mixed with the scents of human blood and flesh. His stomach started rumbling, but he tried to ignore it. He didn't want the humans angry, no matter how tasty it all smelled.
The Xander threw him a nasty look and Seventeen quickly returned his attention to the demon's scent. Blood, viscera and a hint of hot chocolate. Damn he was hungry.

Ma'am, who told him to call her Buffy, so Buffy, seemed all tensed up. He tried to stay as far away from her as possible. No matter how warm fire might be, it still burnt.

They'd only gotten a few more paces when he could smell gunpowder. He lifted his head, ready to warn Ma'am, but she was ready before he could even start doing so.
They were surrounded, soldiers.

"Buffy?"

She moved in front of them, between the soldiers and Seventeen. He told her he just had to kneel down and they'd take him home to base for reprogramming.

"Xander, grab Spike and take him out of here, I'll hold them off."

The Xander seemed about to protest, got one last look and before Seventeen could stop him he was pulled away from the soldiers. Seeing as how he didn't really mind, these humans were much nicer than the soldiers, he didn't fight the Xander's pull all too much.

Ma'am had told Xander to take him with him. Did that make Xander like Seventeen? Seventeen wasn't sure, best to just go with the flow.

Something small, scrawny, with pointed ears and dressed in green and red suddenly came flying at them.

He quickly stopped the critter, snapping it's neck before it could harm the human. Ma'am seemed to value her Xander so Seventeen knew he had no other option than to try and protect him.

The Xander seemed about to scream at him, Seventeen flinched, wanting to back off, but knowing punishment would be worse if he did.

"Thanks."

Seventeen smiled, he hadn't expected that. The Xander continued and Seventeen followed, keeping an eye out for more of the critters. Couldn't very well have Ma'am's Xander hurt, now could he?





*******





"So Riley's Sir?"

Seventeen stared at the Xander, a bit baffled by his question and unsure what to respond.

"And you keep calling Buffy Ma'am, which by the way is annoying her. So why don't you call me sir?"

Seventeen froze in his tracks, was the Xander Sir? Had he been wrong, he cringed together, trembling heavily. The Xander grabbed his hand, forcing him to face him.

"Hey it's ok. Spike!"

Seventeen fell on his knees, grabbing his head. Who was Spike? Why did they keep calling him that. It hurt just thinking about it, hurt to even try and think about it.

Suddenly he was face to face with the Xander again, getting held in the other’s arms.
"Does it hurt when I call you Spike?"

Seventeen hesitated, unsure what to say. He just nodded.

"So what do they call you?"

"Seventeen."

The Xander smiled at him, forcing his mind away from the name thing. "Alright, now we're getting somewhere. And not just wherever Santa might hang his beard."

He pulled Seventeen up, letting go nigh instantly and putting a bit of distance between them.

Seventeen stared at him, wondering what had just happened. He couldn’t remember a time when anyone had ever touched him like that.

The Xander seemed a bit disgusted by it all and Seventeen made sure not to make more contact. He didn't want the Xander to be angry with him.

"So why don't you call me sir? What do you think I am? Chopped liver?"

"You're Ma'am's Xander."

"Yes and…"

And he had no clue what to say without saying something wrong.
"I'm sorry sir. I don't know the meaning of a Xander, the rank. Ma'am said you’re her Xander."

"Her what?"

The Xander's voice rose, staring at him, face twisted in a sneer. "I'll have you know I'm not 'a' Xander, or 'Ma'am's Xander'. I'm Xander. It's my name, what my parents called me. Like Spike's yours, even if I doubt that's what your mom and dad back in England called you. Unless Angelus did and you can stop me babbling anytime now."

Seventeen flinched back, he'd done wrong, been bad, bad bad idiot. God why did he have to be so stupid? Just like Sir told him, he could never get even the slightest thing right. And why did being called stupid feel so familiar, like it were something he was almost used too, yet that he despised at the same bloody time.

"Hey calm down, not your fault. Just that it's Xander. Alright?"

He nodded, letting Xander hold him. The human was nice and warm, Seventeen liked to be held. But it wasn't like Xander really wanted him; useless sod that he was.

These woods weren't normal though, they lacked sounds. Leaves rustling, little critters skipping over the sand or trees. Instead there was this unnatural silence surrounding them.




******




Xander could barely even look at Spike. Sure the vampire was a monster, an evil soulless thing that would normally suck him dry for an appetizer, but this… The bastards had even taken his name away from him.

Like The Prisoner, only without Number One to try and get a secret out of him.

It was only then that Xander gave a look around and realized something odd, something that shouldn't be, yet was. Snow was all around them, topping the trees, the dirt, making it look like they were in a winter wonder land. And the more he noticed it, the colder it got. All they needed now was Bing Crosby begging for a white Christmas.

He gave a look to Spike, just to check how the vampire was feeling, dressed in a thin shirt and army pants. But it didn't feel like their very own prisoner even noticed. Guess they really had stepped into the village.

Xander marched on, hoping that the vampire had the sense to follow him. He quickly turned back to check, staring right into Spike's smiling face. For a bloodsucking monster he seemed awfully young and innocent.

He wanted to tell Spike to keep following him, when something hit him in the face. Snow. He stared up, seeing more of the evil elves. Xander grabbed his axe, but before he could do something, the vampire jumped up on the trees, tearing down both of the elves. One of them landed right next to Xander, the other…

Xander couldn't help a smile of his own when he noticed Spike sprawled down next to him, the elf in between his lips, like a dog, or big cat, bringing his prey home to his master.
He couldn't help petting Spike on the head, wondering if he should be worried about the vampire's lack of defence against the cold. But before he could say something, the blond was rolling over in the snow, making snow angels with his arms. Playing like a young dog that was allowed out without a leash for the first time.

With his lack of memory, it probably was.

And oddly enough when Spike tackled him, pushing him playfully into the snow, he didn't even care, just playing with him. He finally fell down, lying down, his head on a root, while Spike's head rested on his chest, all curled up around him, hands at inappropriate places and clearly not even realizing it.

Xander should have just pushed him off, but it was just too comfortable to fight it and all too soon he too fell asleep, even knowing there was something he should be worrying about.





*********





Seventeen woke up in a cage. It had been a while since he'd been in one, actually, one of his first memories was waking up in a cage while the doctors were staring at him. Lately he'd been good enough that they'd let him sleep in his cell. He could actually stretch out in his cell; so he much preferred it. He tried to crawl up, sit up straight. Unable to do so because the cage wasn't high enough.

He wondered if Xander had been just a dream. There'd been happy dreams before. This one wouldn't be anything new. There was a voice singing…

"Jingle bells, slayer smells, vampires drop a cough."

A jolly red demon was moving from cage to cage and Spike couldn't help stare down at him as he passed by.
It was only then that he realized that his wasn't the only cage hanging down from the roof of the cave. There were a couple of children huddled together in the cage right next to his, their mother crying in a cage to his right, while a man, probably the father, was screaming as his cage was pulled down.

Seventeen tried to find out where Xander was, but the other was nowhere in sight. The demon was dressed up all in red, a long white beard covered his face, bits of bone dangling down from white curls. Seventeen could do nothing but watch as the man was pushed down on a slab while the demon slowly picked up the right knife. It all seemed oddly familiar, leading only to an even worse headache.

He just stared as the cheerful old demon whistled while he cut the man open, pulling out his intestines before slowly slicing his blade under the man's skin and carefully skinned him. The poor victim was luckily long dead by then. Humans apparently bled even worse than the other demons in the Initiative did. Seventeen had wondered about that.

He didn't stop staring when the children had long gotten too exhausted to keep on screaming, and the woman's voice had gone long hoarse. Yet there was this sick fascination to keep watching as the demon turned the man's skin into a pair of boots and made himself a pair of Christmas sausages out of the human's intestines, while drinking his blood from a golden goblet.

Seventeen could feel his cage being lowered and he pulled back as far to the other side of the cage as he could manage. He should be fighting, but found himself unable to do so.
Suddenly a small saucer filled with blood was put in his cage, he stared at it for a few mere seconds, before lapping up the blood. Too hungry not to do so.

"That's a good dog."

Seventeen couldn't help himself giving in and reaching out for the demon's paw as it gently petted him. He quickly cleaned out his plate, leaving not a single drop behind.

"That's a good boy. You'll do fine replacing Dancer. All you need is a bit more magic behind those pretty little cheeks of yours."





*******






Xander slowly traced a path of kisses along the spine in front of him. Following a path lower and lower until his tongue found itself caught between two soft cheeks. The tiny little hole didn't seem ready to welcome anything inside, but Xander knew that all it needed was a slight bit of incentive.

His tongue gently licked around the ring of muscles, relaxing them with its warmth. Until finally a small opening formed before him. He pushed his tongue in, trying not to think of what else might normally pass through it.

The body beneath him winced as warm breath passed over it's cold flesh. Moaning and shuddering beneath him.

"More, please more."

He grabbed a bottle of lotion that he'd been holding in between his fingers, slowly preparing both himself and the other.

"Please Xander. I need you."

His cock was hard, he barely managed to keep from coming to soon and held himself up over the scrawny body underneath his own. Pushing his way into the well prepared hole, feeling muscles contort around his cock, holding on to him and fitting him like it were meant for him.

"Oh god Spike. I need you."

Then he came, forcing his load into the vampire's tight little ass, shouting Spike's name, just as he woke up, tied up to a wall into Santa's evil workshop.

"Well nice of you to wake up sleepyhead. I was almost thinking I'd dosed you too heavily with the snow. Good stuff that, lowers your inhibitions, makes you doze off. One of the best things I ever invested time on getting it right."

Damn the snow, he should have known there was something wrong with it. He cringed, a bit uncomfortable in his position, especially when he could feel the wet spot in his pants that was unfortunately all too clear to the demon as well.

Santa just patted his crotch and smiled. "I'm sorry to tell you boy, your Slayer has really pissed me off. I mean, here I was, all nice. Planning to take a mere ten or twenty kids in exchange for the tons of gifts I hand around every year... and she won't even let me have one? Is that gratitude?"

Jolly old Nick paced around and Xander couldn't do anything but hang there and hope the demon wasn't planning to kill him before Buffy could get here to save him. And Spike.

"I ask you... the youth these days. There she goes, all nilly willy, killing two of my reindeer. I loved those beasts. Dancer was with me for 160 years, Comet for over 70. Killed just like that...As if it were nothing."

Santa popped a cookie in Xander's mouth and Xander was forced to nibble on it not to choke.

"Thankfully she at least had the courtesy to give me two replacements."

"Two..?" Xander started fighting his chains, but he was bound too tight.

"Don't know if you noticed, but I for one ain't no reindeer."

Santa just smiled and said one word that sent fear over Xander's naked spine. The word was 'yet'.





*******





Seventeen remembered begging the doctors not to hurt him. Not at first, but after a while, when the pain got to be too much and he'd been unable to stop himself from pleading for mercy that never came. He remembered his own voice, and the shame he'd felt at letting them know how deep they'd gotten him.

And even as something inside of him was stirring and hungry for blood, worse even than before, Seventeen couldn't just look at the two kids in front of him and not remember his own fear at what the doctors had done to him.

He wasn't sure how he got out, but once he did he immediately pulled loose the ropes that held up the other cages.

One of the kids fell in his arms, crying, the other seemed a bit more hesitant. He finally let their mother out so she'd be able to help him carry the kids. She stared at him, not completely there anymore. Something had gone missing as she'd seen her husband gutted right in front of her.

Seventeen could feel a strange sense of sympathy with her. He wasn't even sure why so he tried to shrug it off, focussing on the fact that Xander who'd been nice to him, was here somewhere and might be in danger. Ma'am wouldn't want someone to hurt Xander, and neither would Seventeen.

"Stay here." He told the woman. She didn't listen, he hadn't expected her too and honestly, with all those elves around, he wasn't sure if he could leave them alone anyway.

"He's a pretty boy your vampire. All blue eyes, perfect body. Not that bad for a bloodrat halfbreed."

"Yeah so."

"You could have him, spend the rest of eternity with him and all you'd have to do is take one sip of this, one sweet sip for a new life, and you could have him as your mate."

Seventeen's ears peaked to attention.

Xander, he stared through the metal grill, seeing the human locked to the wall and the demon in front of him, with the same kind of plate that he'd fed Seventeen out of earlier. There was a sense of home, of ownership in that demon. Seventeen knew he belonged to the redgarbed demon, he just had to get the kids out and come back and Santa would take care of him. He just knew that last bit without a further thought. The idea of having Xander with them as well was like a cherry on top.

All he had to do was get the kids out first.

"No. I don't want him like that."

Seven words and his heart shattered on the ground. Seven words of rejection and he knew that he was just a monster, something that repulsed Xander, just by the tone in his voice.
Seven words





*******





"It's really not a bad life son."

Xander refused to listen.

"You'd be in human form most of the year, except for the month of December when I ride and you'll be a reindeer. You get well fed, well taken care off and most of all, you might even live forever. None of my reindeer age a day after they join my troupe."

"And let you kill children."

"Everything has a price son. I don't need that many and in exchange for those few lives, I'll give gladness and the sense of sharing to millions of others all over the world.

Xander shivered at the thought of the leftovers they'd found on the first day of advent. The horrifying remains had shattered what little of his childhood innocence he'd had left.

"You're just a demon…"

Santa grabbed his chin before he could continue. "I'm a God. I'm worshipped all over the world, what more are those few otherwise probably wasted lives, than a sacrifice to one that is worthy. They ask me in, they prepare the gate for me and in exchange I either give or take depending on the roll of fate. I am Santa Claus."

Xander shook back in his chains, hurting and confused. This should be simple to refuse, yet he couldn't help it. There were just too many Christmas memories not to at least partly agree and be disgusted with himself for doing so at the same time. He couldn't give in, couldn't.

Santa moved his hand to Xander's crotch, spreading a sense of warmth that made Xander grow hard at the fantasies it induced in his brain.

"He's a pretty boy your vampire. All blue eyes, perfect body. Not that bad for a bloodrat halfbreed."

Xander moaned as the memory of Spike danced before he's eyes

"Yeah so." He managed to make himself say.

"You could have him, spend the rest of eternity with him and all you'd have to do is take one sip of this, one sweet sip for a new life; and you could have him as your mate."

Xander's head swam in a gazillion images, Spike in all kinds of positions, ready for him. Sweet innocent trained up pup, the master vampire, dangerous and evil, seductive, defenceless...

And he realized, he'd always wanted Spike, even as he'd hated him. Even as he'd feared him, part of him had wanted Spike, had been attracted to him, grabbing him in a way he could never have imagined falling for anyone.

"No. I don't want him like that."

Not when Spike couldn't honestly agree with it. Not when he could never be sure whether Spike agreed because he wanted to, or because his programming stopped him from refusing.
Even the idea of taking advantage of the vampire like that was too disgusting to imagine. God he'd fallen so hard and yet he couldn't understand that he'd ever admit it, even to himself. That he'd been weak enough to fall for a monster.

His private shame.

And knowing with all those feelings that he couldn't destroy it all, by using Spike now. Cause if he did, all that could have ever happened, even if he didn't really want it, would never be his, never for real.

Santa seemed about to protest when something came tumbling at them from up above them.
Xander stared up in shock, not believing his eyes when he saw it was Spike.

"What are you doing here boy?"

Spike shivered, but held his ground.

"You heard him, he doesn't want to, let him go."

"You want me to let him go, do you boy?"

Spike kneeled down. "Please master."

Santa grabbed Spike's neck, "dear dear boy…"

And Spike started transforming before Xander's eyes, small horns grew out of the side of his head, longer and longer, becoming antlers and Xander couldn't do anything but to watch the pain that Spike was in.

"Yes boy, you're mine. All mine." He held the reindeer vampire's head up to himself, bringing it's snout to his lips.

"It's a pity I can't do it. If he doesn't want to be one of mine, I guess I'll just have to kill him."

Spike stood there, stock still, his blue eyes looking strange from a reindeer's face.

Xander didn't hold his breath; he just hoped that Spike at least would be happy. He couldn't believe it when Spike rose to his hind legs and kicked Santa down, hitting him with his hooves and antlers. Down and down and down until the reindeer form twisted back to his human self and all that was left was the vampire crying as his fists still hit the demon's dead corpse.

"Seventeen?"

The vampire stared up, an old familiar look back in his eyes.

"Spike."

Spike nodded. His entire demeanour was different, more confident. The innocence was gone from his eyes.

"Take care of the kidlets for me Harris."

Xander was left sitting there, too stunned to move and watching Spike's back as he left.
A woman showed up, holding one boy, a second one was holding on to her leg.
Xander grabbed one and they both got the hell out of the cave before they got trapped.

By the time Buffy showed up, Xander was sitting there, singing a lullaby for the youngest of the two amidst the melting snow





*******





Spike sat down at the bar, staring at his glass. Thinking back to Xander's face and knowing the boy hadn't wanted him, not even then. He wasn't even sure if he should be grateful or not.

The change must have somehow messed up the chip, brought him back to his true self. That was at least one thing he ought to be grateful for. He'd managed to avoid the soldier boys and the Slayer for the past month, but he knew his luck had ran out when he saw her coming in.

"Spike."

"Slayer."

He expected her to say something but she just sat down on a stool next to him. Ordering a coke. He couldn't believe his eyes. She didn't expect him to be nice just because she'd been. Not like he'd gone soft, just because he no longer fed on humans. He'd somehow just... lost the taste for it.

"He misses you Spike. Don't know why, or what happened while I was gone. But he misses you."

Spike brought his bottle to his lips.

"Look, I don't care what you do, long as you don't kill humans, which I hear you haven't. Lately. But if you want to break Xander's heart, please do it quick so he can get over it."

"Xander ... misses me?"

She nodded

"Why? I'm just a monster aren't I?"

"You're a monster who saved two kids and him when you didn't have to." She finished her drink and stood up. "Just think about it"

The end (and maybe a beginning)

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