Title: It Only Takes a Second

Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy or its characters.

Warning: Slash. Established relationship. Rape.

Summary: After an encounter in a club, suddenly nothing in Xander's world is all right.


Chapter #1: Disappearance


Seated at a small booth off to the side, the dizzying lights of Sunnydale's only exclusively gay club flashing in their eyes, Spike watched as Xander shifted uncomfortably in black leather pants, biting his lip and looking nervously around the loud and crowded room.

Their relationship had begun in a random, almost accidental way. They had just kept bumping into each other, where they would then start to argue and insult, and before they knew it they had spent the whole night together, hunting or drinking or playing pool. Soon actual bits of conversation and sharing of personal opinions or stories began to feature between the insults and then one day the boy had simply invited Spike over to watch a movie. Spike hadn't even noticed when he'd started to fall in love. And when he had realized the fact, it had been too late to turn back.

For the most part, the relationship had progressed slowly, both having problems with trust and masks, with what the relationship was making them realize about themselves. There had been mixed signals and denial and insecurities. But now, five months later, they had built a strong relationship that looked like it could last the long run.

They hadn't told the others yet, Xander wanting to become comfortable and confidant in the relationship before putting it under criticism and close scrutiny, but they would probably be breaking the news soon. And Spike would not be letting anyone ruin this for him.

When the rest of the gang found out and tried to break them apart, he wasn't going anywhere.

"Spike, I'm not so sure about this."

"About wot?"

"It's just . . . a gay bar?"

Spike shrugged, turning to examine the crowd. "Well, we're gay, now, aren't we?"

"Bi, thank you very much."

Spike let out an annoyed sigh, turning back to give Xander an unimpressed look. "Yer a bloke, I'm a bloke, we shag, we're gay."

Rolling his eyes, Xander conceded the point. "Fine, whatever, I just . . ." Trailing off, Xander crossed his arms and looked down at the table, going back to being uncomfortable.

"Pet, look," Spike reached over and pushed Xander's chin up so that he was looking at Spike again. "Everyone else 'ere is gay too. Most of 'em 're bloody flamin' pansies. Nobody is lookin' down on you."

Obviously not believing him, Xander looked quickly at the room then back at Spike. Moving closer to be heard over the club music, Xander said, in a low and embarrassed voice, "But people are looking at me."

"Of course they are. Yer bloody gorgeous."

"No I'm not. I look like an idiot."

"Xander, that man looks like an idiot." Xander followed Spike's head tilt. Not too far away from where they sat an older man with muscular arms and skinny legs, wearing skin tight leopard skin pants and a what looked like a yellow mesh top, was dancing wildly, arms swinging everywhere and mouth open wide. He had gained a small audience and obviously thought he looked amazing. Xander had to look away.

"Even if I 'adn't dressed y', and y' did look like an idiot, there's no way y' could look stupider than that."


"So shut up." Then, with a smirk, Spike added, "An' go get us some drinks. I'll stay 'ere an' save th' table," pushing Xander out of his seat, hand maybe going a little lower than was necessary as Xander nearly fell out of the small booth they were sitting in..

Xander, barely catching himself, stood up and looked back at him, clearly annoyed. "Bastard."

Spike leaned back in his seat with a smirk, not denying it, and Xander gave him one last dirty look before obediently heading off in the direction he thought the bar was in, disappearing into the crowd.

That was the last time Spike saw Xander that night.

Xander, a little annoyed, pushed his way through the crowded club. They had been seated just off to the side of the main dance floor, where a wall of shadowy tables stood to the left, the main bar across the room. The club was as crowded as it was ever going to get, Sunnydale being a small town with, Xander assumed, a rather limited gay population. Despite his best friend being a lesbian, he had never really tried to find out about gay life in Sunnydale, so this was his first ever visit to an exclusively gay anything.

"Why do I always have to get the drinks? I know he has money. Cheap bastard."

Xander sighed, ducking and weaving through the crowds of people standing or mingling at the edges of the dance floor. Feeling a hand brush his ass, he quickly moved out of the way. Then swerved once more as he came into close contact with a pair of grinding lesbians. He briefly wondered if Tara and Willow ever came here, but quickly decided they didn't.

Finally making it to the bar, Xander pushed his way to the front and tried to get the bartender's attention. He was busy up at the other side of the bar, so Xander grabbed a stool, content to wait. Unfortunately, he had already attracted some attention.

"Hey there, babe. Haven't seen you here before."

The voice was close but Xander figured it to be speaking to someone else and ignored it.

Then it came again, this time accompanied by a strong hand on his shoulder.

"Hey. Didn't you hear me?"

Xander turned in his seat to blink up into the face of a generic blond jock. Handsome in a preppy, too organized kind of way.

"You mean me?'

The jock smiled an obviously practiced and far too white smile, taking a seat to Xander's right. "Of course. Who else?"

"I dunno. Him?" Xander shrugged and pointed to the rather bony guy on his other side. "This bar's pretty crowded."

Laughing lightly, the guy extended a hand, saying, "Name's Mark." Even his name was generic.

Slightly hesitant, but not wanting to be rude, Xander shook his hand. "Xander"

"Nice name." Still smiling that kind of freaky smile, Mark continued, "I was just saying that I don't think I've ever seen you here before. Which is odd because this is Sunnydale's only gay bar. After a while, you get to know everybody. Especially the pretty ones."

Xander shrugged again, wondering a bit on why he'd added that 'pretty ones' comment at the end but not really interested in extending the conversation. "Well then I guess you spotted me."

"New to the gay scene?"

"Uh, I guess. This is the first time I've ever been to a gay club, anyways." He craned his neck around to find the bartender, who was now actually farther away than he'd been before. Disappointed, he began to absently play with an empty ash tray.

Mark's smile grew and he leaned a little closer. "Then you're here on a test the waters kind of deal?"

Confused, Xander looked back up and echoed, "Test the waters?"

"Yeah, you know, find a guy, give him a ride, see if you still like the gay thing in the morning."

"Oh no. I am definitely of the liking the gay thing, no need to test the waters at all." Then, hearing what he'd just said, Xander blushed and looked down again. "And I can't believe I just said that."

Mark laughed again, but not mockingly, and Xander smiled at him for it.

"Well if you're that sure," Mark teased, casually adding, "Can I buy you a drink?"

The bartender looked as though he might make his way down towards their side of the bar, so Xander, busy waving, didn't hear the question. "What?"

"A drink. I want to buy one for you."

"Oh, um, that's really not necessary." And to the newly arrived bartender, "A Jack Daniels and a Rum and Coke please," flashing the fake ID Spike had gotten him for just these types of occasions..

"On the rocks?" the bartender asked.

"Yeah." Xander nodded and turned back to Mark, who was still looking at him.

"But I want to," Mark said.

"Uh, well, um, thanks, I guess, but I just bought my own, so I don't really need anymore."

The bartender finished with the drinks and Xander quickly paid, wanting to get away from this guy.

"Well then maybe I could join you in drinking those. We could go find a table or something."

"No, no, my boyfriend's already at the table, but thanks anyway. It was nice to meet you." Moving to pick up his drinks, Xander was stopped by a strong hand on his arm. Shaking it off, he looked back at the hand's owner, somewhat curious but getting a little annoyed. "What?"

"You know, if I didn't know any better, I would say you were afraid of me."

Xander laughed. "Oh yeah, like that's gonna get me. You're gonna have to try harder than that." Xander didn't see it, but Mark's face seemed to harden just a bit, mouth drawing down into a frown. Xander grabbed for his drinks again. "Now excuse me but I kinda have somewhere I need to be that isn't with you."

"I'm sure you can spare a little more time." Mark tried once more, reaching over to place a hand high on Xander's thigh. Xander let go of his drink to quickly brush that hand away.

"Hey, watch the hands. Did you not hear the word boyfriend? And where do you get your dialogue?"

Mark sighed and put his hands up to show his surrender as he straightened in his seat, giving Xander back his personal space. "Well, if you want to be a prude, fine. Though what you're doing at club alone if you don't wanna be picked up, I don't know. But you can't say I didn't try." And, grabbing his beer, he left.

Xander watched him disappear with a frown. "I'm not alone," he said to nobody, watching the crowd for another moment, and then turned back to his drinks with a shrug. "Huh. Oh well." Xander grabbed his drink and took a swing. And with that he had pushed the whole incident to the back of his mind.

Turning away from the bar, Xander carefully balanced both drinks in his hands and tried to remember which direction the table was in. He'd gotten a little turned around in the mass of people, the dizzying lights not helping matters.

Was it to the left?

Might as well try it, Xander thought and headed in that direction.

A few minutes into his search for the table though he started to feel a little off. Growing tired much too quickly, he bumped into person after person, leaving a trail of stepped on feet and undistinguishable shouts. His mind seemed muddy, his only clear thought that he needed to get out of the crowd, and so he turned and stumbled in the direction of the wall.

The colors of the crowd and the bright lights began to run together as the world spun under his feet and his head enjoyed a short vacation in the clouds. Finally he bumped into a wall and knew that he had reached the edges of the club. Nearly collapsing against it, it was all he could do to stay upright. Holding the drinks seemed unimportant, using far too much energy, and, slowly, the drinks slid from his fingers, Spike's JD, followed closely by his own Rum and Coke, falling with a loud crash to the ground, liquid splashing against his knees. Too tired to care about the mess, about his wet leather, about anything, his eyes slowly slid closed as he slid down the wall into warm arms.

When fifteen minutes went by and Xander still hadn't returned, Spike had shook his head, figuring the bar had been a little more crowded than expected. It wasn't unusual.

But, after a painfully boring and patience trying hour had passed and Spike had still seen no Xander, he had started to get a little worried.

It shouldn't have taken that long.

So Spike had abandoned the table to see if maybe Xander was still at the bar.

He hadn't been, but it had still been possible that he'd just gotten lost and forgotten where the table was. So Spike had taken to searching the tables at the edges of the club, through the mass of people on the dance floor, in the bathroom, outside.

No sign of Xander.

He had tried again. Still no sign.

Starting to get a bad feeling, he'd tried to follow Xander's scent but there'd been too many people and smells to make out anything. So he'd questioned the bartender, who hadn't remembered. Then he'd questioned the bouncers and any random club-goer he could get his hands on, all who hadn't seen anybody matching his description.

Finally, after another hour spent searching, he'd gone outside and started to search the streets and alleyways, The Bronze, the university, the apartment, the graveyard, Willy's.

By now Spike was becoming a little frantic and cursing the lack of a cell-phone.

Once or twice he'd caught a stray hint of Xander's scent, but it had never led anywhere and was probably from times earlier than that night.

Situation after situation ran through Spike's mind.

Xander had just gotten too uncomfortable with being in that type of club and had left. And had left without Spike because he thought Spike would make him stay, or he was mad that Spike had dragged him there in the first place, or he thought leaving would be seen as cowardly and girly, or some other bizarre creation of the boy's warped mind. He could just be at home, or maybe at the Watcher's, or with Red and the Slayer.

Or maybe he'd met some other human bloke at the bar and he was off having a good shag. Maybe this was just Xander's way of telling Spike he wanted to break up.

Spike didn't really believe any of those, especially the last two, but it was better than wondering if Xander had been taken or hurt. Or if it was already too late and Spike would, at any moment, come across his boy, already gone cold, half eaten and thrown away.

In the end, he was forced to end his search due to the rising sun. Cursing his weakness, he had rushed back to the apartment, vaguely hoping that Xander had returned home some time while he was out searching.

He hadn't.

Xander woke to come on his stomach and an ache in places that had come to be rather familiar over his five months with Spike.

He also woke to a pounding headache, a strange motel room, and no Spike.

That last one was what had him worried, though. The sun was already up. Where would Spike go in the daylight? And why would he be going anywhere when he should be in bed with Xander?

Groaning, Xander rolled over, dragging his pillow over his head. And what the hell had he drunk last night?

He couldn't remember anything after his rather blurry memory of leaning against a wall. Mostly, he remembered being tired, which had been odd.

Why had he gotten so tired so suddenly? Two or three sips of a Rum and Coke shouldn't have made him that tired. And it definitely shouldn't have made him drunk enough to forget the entire rest of the night.

Xander thanked God that he had obviously gotten back to Spike okay. If he had gotten as drunk as it seemed he had, he could have easily gotten himself killed or accidentally gone home with some strange guy he'd mistaken as Spike or something.

Though why Spike would bring him to a motel room to have sex when they had a perfectly good bed at home, Xander had no idea.

Realizing that he wasn't going to be able to go back to sleep due to certain bodily functions, Xander took the pillow off his head and slowly dragged himself out of bed. Allowing for a few minutes to wake up a little more before trying for the bathroom and a shower, maybe some aspirin if he was lucky, Xander sat on the edge of the bed and blinked at the room. Everything looked a lot dirtier and cheaper from this angle.

And, again, Xander had to ask himself why Spike would bring him here. They could have, at least, gone to a nicer hotel.

Deciding that he would deal with that later, Xander yawned and made his way to the rather small bathroom and its small and dirty shower.

Needs taken care of and clean again, Xander returned to the room and started to hunt out his clothes. Sadly there hadn't been any aspirin conveniently left in the bathroom, so his head was still pounding furiously. And the hot shower had only made him tired again and dizzy. But Xander was feeling strangely vulnerable in his nakedness and needed clothing, even tight and uncomfortable clothing.

Not finding a note mixed in with his carelessly tossed clothes had been a little strange, but Xander shrugged it off. If Spike had gone out during the day, the reason had to be important and Spike could have just forgotten. Xander would get angry but he was too tired. And with this headache Xander couldn't bother to think about anything too deeply. Vision swimming, he quickly sat back on the bed before he fell over.

He would just go back to sleep for a bit. Spike would be back by the time he woke up again.

But two hours later, when Xander woke to the sound of the hotel cleaning lady knocking on the door, there was still no Spike.

Becoming worried, Xander had crawled out of bed, deciding to go look for him. He still felt horrible, but he thought he could handle the walk to the apartment. An apartment that might not hold Spike but certainly contained a lot of aspirin and a phone.

It was almost 11:30 in the morning when Xander stumbled into the apartment, looking tired and dazed.

Unable to sleep, Spike had spent the time since sunrise pacing, watching the clock, and trying to ignore the thought that Xander may never be coming back. Or, if he did come back, it may be without a heartbeat.

A human, a demon-magnet and known helper of the Slayer human, that spent a night alone on the Hellmouth was practically begging to be killed.

So when Spike heard Xander stumbling down the hallway, complete with heartbeat, he had rushed to open the door and soon had an unbalanced Xander leaning against him.

"Where the bloody 'ell 'ave you been?" Spike asked, patting Xander down for injuries.

Xander, seeming shocked by this question, took a step back. "What? Where've I been? Where the hell have you been? You're the one that left."

"Wot th' fuck are y' talkin' about?" Spike shook his head, accent growing thicker, "I waited at tha' fuckin' table fer over an 'our. An' when y' never showed I searched tha' bleedin' club over twice." Now he was getting angry, "I've jus' spent th' whole bloody night searchin' the town fer yer stupid arse. Wot th' fuck were y' bloody thinkin', jus' leavin' like tha'?"

Xander stared at Spike, looking even more shocked. "You mean you didn't . . ." Wide-eyed, he shook his head in denial. "No, you . . ." A particularly bad throb of his headache had him putting a hand to his head in pain and he groaned. "Oh God . . ."

His anger quickly giving way to his true concern, Spike asked, "Y' alright?"

"I'm fine. I just . . . I just need to sleep, that's all." Xander started to make his stumbling way into the bedroom. "Everything will make sense after I sleep."

Watching him go disappear into the bedroom, Spike paused, then went to find some aspirin and a glass of water and followed Xander to bed.

TBC? Should I bother?