Spike was dreaming, he knew he
was. Otherwise how could he have gone from lying broken and bleeding in his crypt to standing outside the Summer’s back
door without a scratch on him? Spike looked around; it was night, but darker than normal, even for Vampire eyes. All he could
really see was the white door, almost glowing in the darkness. Sounds and smells were nonexistent, just the door that seemed
to be drawing all of his awareness.
Spike didn’t know how long
he stood staring at the door when finally it opened to reveal a figure backlit from within, the light pouring out almost blinding
in the darkness. “Spike? Spike what are you doing outside in the cold? Come inside and I’ll make you some cocoa.”
Spike felt a painful twist in
his dead heart. He knew that voice. “Joyce?”
Blinking his eyes clear he could
see her now, standing there in the doorway with a welcoming smile on her face, just as if she hadn’t been dead and gone
these last few months. Spike took several steps forward. “Joyce?”
She smiled fondly and beckoned
him inside. “Of course it’s me silly. Who else would it be?”
Spike walked inside to find the
kitchen just how he remembered it. He took his normal seat and stared as Joyce bustled around the kitchen, preparing his hot
chocolate. She brought a steaming mug over to him, setting it down and sprinkling the top with little marshmallows. Spike
gingerly grasped the mug and took a sip. It tasted real. “How can this be? You’re dead.”
Joyce laughed softly and patted
his hand. Her hand was cool to the touch. “Of course I am. But don’t you worry about it. I’m just here for
Spike sipped his cocoa and examined
the face of the closest thing to a mother he’d had in over a century. She looked younger, the lines of pain that had
become a permanent fixture of her face those last months were gone. “Joyce, are you…happy?”
“Of course I am dear. I’m
in heaven now.” Spike relaxed. “But you’re not, and that’s why I’m here.”
The mug hit the table with a thump.
“Of course I’m not in heaven. I‘m a demon, luv.”
She shook her head reproachfully,
“No Spike, I meant that you’re not happy.”
”What do you mean I’m
Joyce rolled her eyes. “Spike,
be honest with me now. I’ve seen what’s happened to you. You’re chipped, half starved, ignored by my daughter
and her friends…”
“Not lately! They needed
me to help fight Glory!”
Joyce nodded. “Yes, they
did. But Glory’s gone now and if you’re not careful, you’ll let them shut you out again. You know you’re
no good on your own.”
Spike was so confused, it was
true that he’d been accepted lately, albeit grudgingly. But he didn’t want the acceptance of a bunch of kids anyway.
“Why should I care whether they like me or not?”
Joyce tapped him on the chest,
a metallic sound echoed around the room. “Because you’re the tin man. You’re hollow Spike, you’ve
got to find your heart.”
Looking down, Spike saw his normal
black replaced with metallic gray, he lifted his hand, and it was heavy and stiff. He looked at it, shocked to find he’d
turned to metal. “What the…? Bloody hell!”
“Find your heart Spike.
It’s the only way.”
Looking up, Spike saw that he
was alone in the dim kitchen.
Dawn’s voice. That was Dawn’s
voice calling him. Spike ran out of the kitchen and up the stairs, frantically looking for Dawn. He burst through her bedroom
door to find Dawn and Buffy sitting on the bed together, Buffy running a brush through Dawn’s long brown hair. The girls
looked up at him and smiled. “Hey Spike!” Dawn waved a greeting as she flipped through some teen magazine.
Buffy smiled at him. “Thanks
for all your help Spike, but we don’t need you anymore. Everyone’s safe now.”
Spike held out his hand, reaching for the girls, but they kept getting further and further away. Soon a long black tunnel
stretched out before him, the girls’ happy laughter echoing down the tunnel towards him.
Suddenly everything went white.
Spike blinked tears out of his
eyes and looked around. All white, white walls, white ceiling and floors; Spike felt fear slam into him. The Initiative, he
was back in the Initiative compound.
A deep voice boomed behind him
and Spike spun around, coming face to face with ADAM. “You’re dead mate. And I’m not your brother.”
ADAM stared at him with that aloof,
considering gaze Spike remembered so well. “But you are my brother. We are exactly alike. Not quite man, not quite demon,
“I am real!” Spike
yelled, overwhelmed by anger and confusion and so much fear. “I’m real, you sewed up wanker!”
“But you’re not. You’re
made of metal. You’re just a machine, and machines don’t have feelings.”
A new voice spoke up from behind
him. “Machines don’t have feelings, machines don’t feel pain. Machines are simply there for us to use. Machines
are good for being…tested.” Spike turned to face Giles, wearing a
lab coat and leading a group of Initiative scientists. “You don’t mind if we experiment on you, do you Spike?
It’s just that you’re so very…fascinating.”
Spike closed his eyes tight, chanting
quietly. “It’s just a dream, just a dream. Must have something to do with that soddin’ spell we did. Just
“If it is a dream, then
this won’t hurt too badly, will it?” Spike’s eyes flew open
to see Giles holding a sharp scalpel in his hand. Chased by the sound of laughter, Spike turned and ran.
The hallways were long white and
unchanging, stretching on and on as he ran. Spike tried to think, tried to push through the confusion and fear that fogged
his mind to figure out what exactly could have caused this nightmare and how he could wake up. They had been fighting Glory,
trying to come up with a way to save Dawn. After Joyce’s death, Buffy was too tired, too bogged down by sorrow to give
her all to the fight. Giles had decided to try the spell that they had used to take down ADAM, just with some modifications.
Glory was stronger than Buffy, but surely she wasn’t stronger than Super Buffy. Willow had to be free to do the reverse
mind suck on Glory and heal Tara, so Giles took Willow’s place in the spell as hand/magic. With Anya having left town
the second Glory showed up and Tara brain sucked by Glory, it was up to Spike to take Giles’ place as head/knowledge.
With the added strength, and some extra fighters recruited from the few demons left in town who didn’t like Glory’s
‘join or die’ policy, they were able to defeat Glory and save Dawn from the tower before the portals could be
opened. Was this the result of that spell, was having his self melded with Giles, Xander and Buffy somehow responsible for
Spike ran on for what felt like
ages before he finally stopped, dumbfounded as he came to a door. A heavy, wooden door in the middle of the long stretch of
unending white corridor. Swallowing his fear, Spike opened the door and stepped through.
Spike pushed his way through heavy
red velvet curtains and emerged in a large ballroom, glittering with crystal chandeliers, candlelight and an array of colorful
dresses. Shocked, he stopped and really looked. The dresses, the suits, the décor of the room, he was at a party, exactly
the type of party that William had attended as a Victorian Gentleman. Elegant chamber music floated through the room, mingling
with the happy chatter of hundreds of partygoers. The bright colors, lavish surroundings and elegant music were jolting after
the severe white of the Initiative compound. Spike took a few deep breaths to calm himself and began looking for a way out.
Threading his way through
lavishly dressed partygoers, waiters in black bearing trays laden with food and drink, and table’s heavy with elaborate
flower arrangements, Spike tried to find a door or hallway he could use to get out of the room. He walked past the dance floor
and was stopped by a small, balding man with beady eyes, bearing a tray. He wasn’t dressed like the other waiters scattered
about the room, instead wearing a more modern brown suit. “Would you like some cheese?” He held up the silver
tray covered in slices of yellow and white cheese. “Even demons like cheese.”
“Bloody hell, no I don’t
want any cheese! I want out of here!” Spike pushed past him and further into the ballroom. He had circled the room twice
when he heard a familiar voice calling his name. Turning Spike came face to face with Willow and Tara, both done up in the
style of the time, elaborately jeweled masks dangling from their hands. He hurried over to them. “Red, Glinda, you’ve
got to help me get out of here!”
Willow sighed knowingly. “It’s
a masquerade Spike, didn’t you know that? You can’t get out without a mask.”
Tara motioned to the table they
stood next to. “You can have one of these if you want.”
Spike growled. “I don’t
want a mask, I want to wake up from this bloody dream.”
Willow and Tara giggled. “You
can’t wake up Spike. You won’t until she’s gotten you.”
Spike choked down his rage “Until
who gets me? What the hell is going on here?”
Tara’s warm soft hand gripped
his arm with unnatural strength. “I’m sorry Spike, they should have told you. But now you’re stuck. You’ll
never get out of here until you choose a mask.”
Spike looked down at the table
and almost laughed out loud at the ludicrous selection: a traditional devil’s mask, red with horns sat next to a cherubic
angel’s face complete with halo. “These? These are my choices?”
Willow and Tara nodded. “You
have to choose Spike. Which one will you be?”
Spike shook his head. “I’m
neither. I don’t want to wear those.”
Willow pressed something into
his hands. “You can wear this one. He’s the tin man.”
Spike looked down at the mask
in his hands to find his own face staring back at him. Startled, he dropped the mask. “But I’m not the tin man,
Tara smiled at him sadly. “Yes
you are Spike, you’re hollow inside. Why can’t you find your heart?”
Turning from them, Spike ran.
The ballroom stretched out into
a long corridor, lit intermittently with candles. Spike ran on and on till eventually the hallway turned gray and indistinct.
He slowed to a walk, cautiously looking about him as mist gathered and skewed his vision. Once he’d slowed enough to
pay attention, Spike realized that he could hear someone or something behind him, the soft pad of feet denoting a predator,
hunting something, hunting him. Spike walked more quickly, heading blindly into the mist rather than face whatever was hunting
him. He tried to run again, but his fear caused him to trip over his own feet as the sounds behind him grew closer. He fell
forward into a dimly lit room. He lay sprawled on the floor, trying to catch breath he didn’t need when he heard footsteps.
His eyes flew open. Wide chocolate eyes looked down at him.
“H…harris? Where am
Spike sat up, barely noticing
that Xander knelt down to help him to his feet. He was in the basement of doom, with Xander. Could this get any weirder?
Xander pulled him up off the floor
and led him over to the couch. “You’re in the basement. It’s safe here.”
Spike snorted. He could still
hear the soft pad of feet stalking closer. “It’s not safe here. Besides you don’t live here anymore either.”
Xander sat next to him on the
couch and looked around sadly. “I know, but I always end up back here anyway.”
The pad of feet got louder and
Spike tensed. “Something’s coming.”
Xander put his arm around Spike’s
shoulders. “It’s just my dad. He’ll yell a bit and then tear my heart out, and then he’ll leave. Don’t
worry, he won’t bother you.”
Spike turned shocked eyes to Xander.
“He’s gonna tear out your heart?”
Xander shrugged and started rubbing
Spike’s shoulders. “Yeah, he always does. It’s okay though, somehow it doesn’t kill me.”
Spike suddenly realized that Xander
Harris was giving him a back rub. “What’s going on here?”
Xander looked confused. “What
do you mean?”
“I mean with you and the
rubbing thing. You’re touching me.”
Xander shook his head. “I
don’t understand. We’re friends, what’s so weird about me touching you?”
Spike tried to remember. He and
Xander had started to become friends since they’d had to work together so much, but still…Spike’s thoughts
got sidetracked as he was pulled back against a warm solid chest and strong arms were wrapped around him. “It’s
safe here Spike, I’ll keep you safe. Let me take care of you.”
Xander’s warm breath ghosted
over Spike’s cheek, and his arms felt solid, more real than anything else had in this weird dream world. Sighing, Spike
relaxed back into Xander’s embrace. “How do we wake up? What’s hunting us?”
“Shhh. It’ll be okay.”
Xander’s warm hands were stroking his side, his stomach, and Spike relaxed even more.
“But they keep telling me
I’m hollow, that I need to find my heart. I don’t know what that
Xander chuckled softly. “They
always tell you what you don’t want to hear. But I’m always the heart Spike, didn’t you know? You can have
mine if you want.”
Spike was just about to ask how
he could possibly take Xander’s heart-because didn’t the human need it-when the door that led into the house flew
open with a crash and a large, drunk man came lumbering down the stairs, yelling at Xander. Spike looked and Xander wasn’t
on the couch with him anymore, he was standing at the foot of the stairway, trapped between his father and the wall. Spike
tried to help Xander, but it was as if an invisible wall were between him and the two humans. Xander’s father reached
for his son’s chest and Spike turned and ran out the back door, unable to watch what was about to happen.
Spike found himself on the nighttime
streets of Sunnydale and he slowed to a walk, feeling a little bit safer now that he was back on his own turf, so to speak.
He walked the streets aimlessly, sure that he was still dreaming but not knowing what to do about it. He had just decided
to head over to his crypt when he felt a presence beside him. Spike whirled.
“Cicely? What the hell?”
The elegant Victorian woman stared
down her nose at him. “William. It’s so good to see you again.”
“Wh…what do you want?”
Cicely smiled coldly. “You
once offered your heart to me. I had no use for it at the time, but now I do. I’ve come to take it.”
Spike sprang back several feet,
holding his hands up in front of his chest. “But everyone else in this cursed place seems to think I don’t have
a heart. How can I give you something I don’t have?”
Cicely laughed and it was
an eerie sound. “If you don’t have a heart, then you must be dead. And you know what they say William. Ashes to
ashes, dust to dust.” Her arm came up, a stake held in her small white hand.
Spike turned and took off down
the dark street, away from Cicely and her stake. Her soft, cultured voice floated after him. “Come now William. You
were never any use in life, the least you can do is be useful now.”
Spike dogged down an alleyway
and turned onto the main street. He was headed for the cemeteries when a dark figure stepped out in front of him. He skidded
to a stop, gasping for air he shouldn’t have needed.
Drusilla smiled at him, one long
hand coming up to stroke his face. “Hello my precious boy.”
“Drusilla, pet, you’ve
got to help me out of here. Everything’s gone all loony.”
Drusilla laughed and twirled a
circle around him. “Oh my boy mustn’t worry now. Mummy’s here to make it all better.” She pressed
herself against him and stroked his face again. “Mummy’s here and she knows just what to do.”
Her hand slipped down and patted
his chest, pausing over where his…heart…was… “Dru!”
Spike jerked out of her arms,
bringing his hand up to feel the five crescents of blood welling up where her nails had cut. “What the hell do you think
Drusilla pouted. “But Spike,
won’t you give me your heart? Daddy gave me one for Valentine’s Day once and it was lovely. Now I want yours.”
Spike backed away from his insane
Sire, the arms he held up to protect himself shaking in his fear. “Dru, baby, you can’t have my heart. I need
Her eyes became hard and cold.
“If you won’t give me a proper pressie, then I shall take it.” Dru lunged for him and Spike sidestepped
her, using her momentum to push her away from him and launch himself in the opposite direction. He ran through the deserted
town, listening to the footsteps of the two women pursuing him.
Spike barreled through the graveyard,
weaving his way around tombstones, headed for his crypt. It was the only place he could think of that would be remotely safe.
At least once he was inside he could lock the door. Finally, finally his crypt came into view and Spike put on an extra burst
of speed and streaked through the door, slamming it behind him. Before he could lock it, a voice sounded behind him.
Turning, Spike slumped against
the door. “Slayer.”
Buffy smirked as she sashayed
her way towards him. “What’cha doing out so late at night Spike?”
Spike slid to the floor, watching
the Slayer’s boots as she came closer. “I’m trying to get out of this bloody dream. I’m not sure how,
but I’m positive this is somehow your fault, Slayer.”
Buffy laughed as she grabbed Spike
by the collar and flung him across the room. “Now Spike, how can this be my fault? You’re the empty one. You’re
the dead thing, the thing we all hate. This is your fault.”
Spike landed in a heap against
the far wall and laid there, all the fight drained out of him. It wasn’t going to end; it was never going to end.
Buffy stood over him, grinning
triumphantly as the door to the crypt flew open and Cecily and Drusilla entered. The three women surrounded him, holding him
down flat on his back. A fourth woman: covered in mud, hair in tangles, dressed like a primitive; crawled out of a hole in
the floor and up his body.
“What are you? Where the
fuck did you come from.” The fourth woman didn’t speak, just crouched on his chest. Cecily, Dru and Buffy spoke
in unison. “You offered us your heart before but we didn’t want it. Now we’ve come back for it.”
The primitive woman pulled a stake
out of nowhere and plunged it towards Spike’s chest. He screamed.
“Spike, Spike! Wake up!”
There was hand on his shoulder,
shaking him. Spike sat up, screaming as he felt the stake plunging into his chest. “NO!”
“Spike! Come on buddy. Come
back to me.”
Spike blinked, frantically
patting his body as he realized he wasn’t dust. He looked around; he was still in his crypt, in his bed on the lower
level. Warm arms wrapped around him and pulled him against a solid chest. “It’s okay Spike. I’m here now.
You’re awake. It’s gonna be all right.”
Spike shook violently as he tried
to suppress the sobs welling up in his throat. He looked up to see Xander sitting on the edge of his bed, holding him. “Xan…Xander?”
Xander smiled. “Yeah, it’s
me. You’re awake now, okay? It was just a dream.”
“How did y…you know
that I was dreaming.”
“You mean apart from the
screaming and the thrashing? It’s a side affect of the spell. It happened before. We should have warned you but Giles
thought that he’d tweaked the spell enough that the First Slayer wouldn’t get so pissed off this time.”
Spike pulled out of Xander’s
arms and sat back against the headboard, trying to organize his thoughts after the confusion of the dream. One hand remained
protectively over his chest. “The First Slayer, that’s who that bint was?” He glanced up at Xander. “Did you dream too?”
Xander frowned. “Yeah, it
was mostly the same as last time, the wandering and searching for something, someone, the getting left behind. Except you
were in it this time, in the basement. It ended the same way though, the First Slayer dressed as my dad, ripping my heart
out of my chest.”
Spike shuddered as the images
from his dream flashed through his head. “It was so real.”
Xander’s warm hand squeezed
his shoulder in silent reassurance before Xander leaned down and picked up something off the floor. “Here. I figured
you’d be hurting after the fight and the spell and the dream. I brought you some blood.”
Spike looked in shock at the large
thermos Xander held in his hand. “You brought me blood?”
Xander blushed slightly. “Yeah,
well, you just disappeared after the fight was over and I wanted to make sure you were okay.”
Spike watched Xander for a moment,
considering, before finally scooting over and patting the mattress next to him. Xander smiled and climbed up next to Spike,
leaning back against the headboard as he passed the blood over. “Drink up blondie. Glory worked you over pretty good.
And take it from someone who’s done it twice, that spell and the dreams take a lot out of you.”
Spike accepted the thermos with
a small smile and proceeded to drink half of it in a few seconds. It was warm and fresh and human. He felt it beginning to
take affect the second he swallowed. He lowered the thermos and smiled sheepishly at the man in bed next to him. “Thank
Xander shrugged. “There’s
more, cold, upstairs in your minifridge. Willy was so grateful the world didn’t get sucked into hell he gave me a good
Spike raised an eyebrow at that.
Xander shook his head, a coy smile
on his face. “No, but he gave it to me for free after I beat him up.”
“Xander Harris, are you
beating people up for me?”
Xander smiled. “Well, I
take care of my friends.”
Spike smiled and laid a hand on
Xander’s arm. “Thanks mate.”
Xander blushed again and looked
around the cave, the faint light from the few burning candles glinting warm and golden in his hair and eyes. “So, how
did the First Slayer get you?”
Spike shivered, suddenly cold.
“I was running, always running. They kept telling me I didn’t have a heart. Then they said I wasn’t useful,
that they didn’t want me, then they tried to stake me.”
Xander’s eyes got big and
a little sad. “Wow. Sounds like we had some of the same shit going on. Being the odd one out, not being useful…”
the dream flashed vividly before Spike’s eyes, he must have made a sound of distress because next he knew Xander was
wrapping an arm around Spike’s shoulders and pulling him close. “Hey, it’s okay. Buffy kicked the First
Slayer’s ass again and besides, I’m here now.”
up, Xander’s face was really close to his own. “And you’ll keep me safe?”
and nodded, his eyes bright. “Yeah. I will.”
what you said in the dream. You were pretty much the only one not trying to kill me. You made me feel safe.”
other hand came up to cup his face. “I meant it. I…I care about you Spike.”
into Xander’s hand. “As a friend?”
voice was soft. “As more.” He leaned down, brushing his lips softly against Spike’s. Spike moaned and leaned
into the kiss, parting his lips under Xander’s seeking tongue. The kiss was slow and sweet, with Xander's tongue leisurely
exploring Spike's mouth. When Xander finally pulled away Spike found himself unaccountably breathless.
you stay with me awhile? Don't think I can go back to sleep right now."
was blinding in the gloom underneath the crypt. "I'd like that."
away from Spike and quickly kicked off his shoes, stripped off his jacket then stood next to the bed, eyeing Spike expectantly.
the brunette and, now that the fear and confusion of the dream had finally started to ebb, he felt desire flooding him. "Everything
surprised, and also a little pleased. “Are you sure?”
to his own form, obviously nude even under the blankets. "It's only fair."
slowly began to strip. Spike watched in fascination as the dim light of the few burning candles made the revealed skin glow
bronze. Xander purposefully seemed to tease Spike, stripping slowly, his movements precise. By the time the boxer shorts were
tossed aside, Spike was again panting for breath he didn't need. Xander finally slipped naked between the sheets and lay on
his side, facing Spike, their bodies’ just inches apart. Spike watched Xander, saw the warmth and caring in his eyes,
and felt all the fear, confusion, pain and tension of the last months and the dream spiraling away to reveal one clear desire.
He wanted Xander. When the friendship they had formed turned into desire, Spike had no idea, but it had and he wanted
the other man, badly.
name was a soft sigh across Spike's lips. He brought a hand up to ghost lightly over Xander's face, cupping his cheek. Xander
smiled and mirrored the movement, cupping Spike's cheek and pulling him in for another intense kiss. Spike melted into the kiss, his arm sliding down to circle Xander's waist and pull him closer. Their bodies
came together; Xander's heat a shock after the coldpanicsweat of his dream. Spike gasped and Xander took advantage,
tongue darting in to tease out every inch of Spike's mouth.
was tangled in Spike's hair, keeping him as close as possible. Spike tightened his hold on Xander's waist, his hand splaying
out across his lower back, pulling Xander even closer. Xander's erection, hot and hard, brushed his and Spike's hips bucked
forward involuntarily, seeking Xander's flesh. Xander threw a leg over Spike's hip and thrust up against him. Spike groaned
and thrust back, his whole body afire with need.
rolled them, his solid form pushing Spike down into the mattress. Spike moaned and spread his legs, allowing Xander to settle
between, bringing them into full contact. Xander broke the kiss and pushed up
onto his elbows, both hand still buried in Spike's hair. He balanced there, staring down at Spike, panting for breath. "I'm
not hurting you, am I?"
were outside his awareness, his entire being focused only on Xander. "No luv," he pulled at Xander's shoulders, trying to
urge the man back down. "Not at all. Please, Xan, please don't stop."
Xander settled back onto Spike with a groan. "Gods you feel so good."
his agreement, busy working his way along Xander's collarbone with biting kisses. Xander echoed his moan and began thrusting
against Spike, the dragcatchslide of their cocks eased by sweat and slick precome. Spike's hands clutched hard at
Xander's back, feeling the flex of solid muscle as Xander thrust against him. He recaptured Xander's lips and brought his
legs up and around, hooking his ankles in the small of Xander's back. Spike eagerly swallowed Xander's soft cry as the angle
changed and increased the friction.
together, bodies arching and thrusting, faster and faster, frantic kisses and hands everywhere. Spike was close, so close, when Xander licked from his ear down to the junction of neck and shoulder and
bit, hard. Spike screamed, thrusting frantically against Xander as he came. In his passion, his nails dug furrows down Xander's
back, and it pushed his lover over the edge. Xander's cry chased his around the room, their thrusts growing ragged, then slower
before finally coming to a stop.
there, tangled together in each other and the sheets, hands gentle and soothing. Finally, Xander rolled off him and climbed
off the bed with a small groan. Spike looked at him questioningly.
"Got a towel
or something that we can wipe off with?"
relieved that Xander wasn't just leaving. "Yeah, there are towels and a basin over in the corner.”
the basin and came back with a damp towel, which he used to tenderly clean Spike then himself off with before tossing the
towel aside. Xander stood beside the bed, a little unsure looking. Spike just pulled the covers back and motioned for Xander
to climb back in. Some small remaining tension seemed to leak out of Xander at that gesture. He climbed back into the bed
and spread out on his back, pulling Spike over to rest against his chest. Spike curled into the warm body with a happy sigh.
Spike?” Xander’s fingers were threading through Spike’s hair and his voice had taken on a sleepy quality.
you stay the night?”
Spike close. “I’d really like that.”
let himself relax in Xander’s arms, the brush of fingers through his hair and the steady thump-thump of Xander’s
heart combining to send him to sleep. Just as he was beginning to drift off, he had a flash of his dream.
luv? What was up with that guy with the cheese anyway?”
“We never have figured that one out.”