Title: Grateful Bastard Redux
Author: ibshafer

Genre: Buffy

Pairing: Xander and… well, I, again, can't tell you, but it's a different surprise this time! (Oh, the things I (and they) do to poor Xander Harris when he's sleeping… )

Rating: R

Disclaimer: the usual: I bow down to Joss Whedon, the great and powerful, by whose good graces I mangle (lustily, I might add) these fine…upstanding characters…
Summary: Sequel to "Grateful Bastard," slightly different take; oh, poor, poor Xander... g Yeah, right!

Grateful Bastard Redux

By ibshafer

It'd been a week since William the Bloodless had split Xander's basement digs and while Itd been a week since William the Bloodless had split Xanders basement digs and while Xander was a heck of a lot more comfortable, from a personal-space, death-threat stand point, he still hadn't quite gotten over that whole give-him-a-happy-while-he's-asleep thing...

What had possessedSpike to do that?

No matter how much Xander had begged him to chip in or accused him of being ungrateful or complained about his ever-present presence, this particular show of gratitude was not what he'd had in mind.

Couldn't Spike have just said 'thank you'?

Xander thought about that a moment, imagining the look of practiced disgust on the Bleached One's face. OK, so maybe he couldn't have just said 'thank you'. But flowers were always nice...

Of all the choices, this choice shouldn't have been a choice at all...in spite of whatever reaction...he...well, the rest of him might have had.

The rest of him had thought he was having a wet dream about Anya...

Not -- major boogedy wiggins -- Spike.

Except that it hadn't been a dream.

Nope, way more into nightmare territory, Xander would have to say. The livingkind.

Afterwards, confusion and revulsion fought for airtime in Xander's head, but the Fangless Wonder had wasted no time ladling on the death threats, real heavy.

"An' listen, y' nancy boy, I hear one word of this from any of your loser Scooby mates and I won't stop at a little nip next time, if you know what I mean..."

Xander sat in a stupor, unable to choose between responding to the not 'stopping at a nip' part of the comment or the concept of there beinga next time...

While they were on the subject, who was he calling a 'nancy boy'?!

And so, one boombox, one lamp, and three extension cords later, Xander was back to being able to call his dank little basement his dank little basement again. But not even the extra padlock on the cellar door could keep the willies from invading the foldout once the lights were off...

And of course, now that Anya had given Spike Xander's lamp as a going-away present, turning the light off - from the wall switch - was usually followed by a blind lurch across the cellar floor and a nasty run-in with the edge of the coffee table. Xander could almost hear Spike cackling with glee every time his shin made contact with the wood.

If he lived to be 99, he would never forget that crazed moment he'd realized that a) he was not having a dream about a really, really willing woman, and b) that he now knew first-hand the true nature of the vampire verb 'to suck'.

Xander Harris had never, seriously questioned his manhood before - not even when Larry had thought he was coming out to him - nope, not once. Ever since that night, though, the status between he and Anya had been decidedly lacking in quo...

It was just that every time Anya touched him, especially if it were dark in the basement, he remembered. That schizoid mix of orgasmic joy and out-and-out terror was enough to make Xander wonder if celibacy might not be such an awful thing after all.

And that's when it hit him: that was Spike's plan.

His little late-night demonstration had nothing to do with gratitude. No siree-bob! It was all about revenge.

Not only was Xander now afeared of the sex act and what his every reaction might mean - if she moaned and he didn't, did that mean he'd rather he were scoring with...with a he and not a she? But he'd also been having problems sleeping because he was afraid of what every dream meant, afraid he'd start dreaming of - he couldn't even think it! - of vampires...with long tongues... Afraid he'd relive it... Afraid he wouldn't mind...

Nope, he might never have sex again.

Talk about a life in ruins...

He'd lie there for hours, his mind and his stomach spinning. It was usually almost dawn before, unable to fight it anymore; he finally dropped off to sleep.

This particular night, he was so exhausted, he didn't notice the entrance, dreamscape stage-right, of someone skulking through the darkness of his psyche, again someone not Anya.

...The usual beach. The usual crashing waves. The usual pina colada. The usual supermodel.

Then, suddenly, the not usual chill breeze...

The supermodel evaporated into thin air. The beach grew dark. A cold hand touched the bare skin of his chest...

Conditioned by weeks of night terror, Xander forced himself awake and out of the dream with a start. He shivered in the basement semi-darkness - the floods over the garage door outside sent weak beams bouncing down through the cellar's cob-webby windows. There was enough light to see, though, that the cellar door was still padlocked and the tiny half windows were intact. Crawling out of bed, he took a quick turn around the basement, confirming there were no intruders hiding in the chest freezer, none behind the washer/dryer and none under the couch. (He checked there twice.)

Xander had always had a pretty healthy imagination and since meeting up with Buffy three years ago, that imagination had picked up a whole new vocabulary. Reassured that this time he'd just let it get the best of him, he slipped back under the covers and closed his eyes.

Only to find himself back on that dark, cold beach, a hand on his chest again and one...somewhere else!

Eyes flying open, Xander groped for the baseball bat he'd taken to keeping just beneath the foldout's mattress. But even as he sputtered and cast expletives to the room, he could see there was no one there.

Jeez!

Was it going to take becoming an alcoholicto get some sleep?

Cradling the bat, he closed his eyes again...

...and heard a familiar voice say, "Xander, this is gonna take forever if you keep that up!"

"W-w-will?" Dream Xander stuttered. He tried to move away, but she had him pinned down, straddling him. "What are you talking about?! And what are you doing here...on my beach...in my lap!!" He wiggled a little and confirmed that there was indeed, sand under his naked butt. The wiggling also confirmed another thing: Willow was naked, too!

"What are you doing, Willow?!"

"Don't go all freaky on me, Xander. It's just a little spell." She leaned forward, catching a nipple between her teeth and pulling it in a...in a really good way...

Xander fought for air and speech. "What kind of spell is it that lets you walk into my dreams and...and have your way with me?" She raised herself up just enough, then lowered back down again and Xander had his answer. "...um, OK, a really good spell..."

Willow let out a heavy sigh, a look of rapt concentration on her face. "The kind of spell that's meant to reassure me that...that..." She broke off, able to do what it was that she was doing, but not say it. She moved in silence for a moment, then paused, leaning forward to find Xander's mouth and kiss him.

As much as he was enjoying this, and boy! was he, he still hadn't heard a reasonable explanation yet. And he needed one.

"Willow," he whispered, pushing her gently away. "What's going on here?" He kissed her forehead. "I know for a fact that you do not want me."

"Not true," she said lightly, but without the requisite amount of conviction. She bit her lip. "OK, that used to not be true," she amended. "It wasn't too long ago, though, that you made my...my little Willow motor run..." She grinned, rocking back and forth.

"And..." Xander said through gritted teeth.

"And I've been really confused lately. I mean, for the longest time there was Oz, you know? And he was my, you know, my everything, but then he was gone and he was my nothing. And that hurt a lot... And now there's Tara. And that's pretty nice, too, but..." She started to move again, drawing him more deeply inside, and the smile that spread across her sweet little face sort of said it all. "And I'd forgotten about this. And I," she caught her breath, "- and I really needed to remember..."

Xander's hands found the small of her back, holding her closely. He'd started to move with her.

"I get the whole, 'the kind of spell that's meant to reassure' you thing, now..." he said, breathless. "But why me? Why not...oh, I dunno - Brad Pitt?"

"Or John Cusak?"

In the middle of a gasp, Xander just nodded.

"Well, I don't know them. And I trust you." She covered his hands with her own, squeezed gently. "You know how I feel about you, Xander. I respect you too much to use you..."

Xander hated himself for thinking it, let alone saying it, but he had to.

"...um, Will. Isn't that what you're doing?" Quicker. Deeper. "Not that I mind, mind you..."

She brought his hand to her lips, ran her tongue across the palm, then placed it on her breast, where he took over. "Nope. Uh-uh..." she murmured as she repeated the move with he other hand. Shuddering, she looked him in the eye. "OK, well, yeah...But you won't remember it, so it'll just be me that gets to feel guilty..."

"Whattaya mean - I won't remember it?"

"That's part of the spell, Xander. It's a dream spell. If you remember it at all, it'll be as a dream. And that'll fade after a few hours..."

In spite of what his...hands, and other parts of him, were feeling at the moment, Xander's mind wandered to, of all things, Spike's personal war against his sex life. Then he realized why his mind had wandered there: Willow's little 'reassurance spell' had done more than just reassure her. It had done a pretty nifty job of reassuring Xander, too.

"Hey, Will?" Xander breathed, between thrusts. "About me not remembering?"

"What about you not remembering," she asked, breathing heavily herself.

"Do I have to not remember? I mean, could I remember parts of it?"

She eyed him sharply, but didn't stop moving. "Which parts?"

"...um, how about everything but the 'you' parts..."

Now she did stop moving. "You don't want to remember the 'me' parts?"

Before her eyes could well up, but not before that lower lip had started to quiver, Xander tried to explain himself.

"Do you remember Anya. My girlfriend?" Xander found it oddly surrealistic, French, even, to be saying what he was saying, Anya's name, that is, while his...while his other significant other was doing what it was doing, and having a really good time, by the way, but strangely enough, it seemed right. "I really do love her." He took a deep breath. "I should probably tell her that, huh?"

Willow smiled and nodded. "I never knew you were such a romantic, Xander." She stretched out against him, cradled his face in her hands and kissed him deeply. Which made his toes curl. And forget whatever it was he was hoping not to forget. "OK, Xander. I'll grant your wish."

"What wish?" Xander asked, still recovering from his eyes having rolled back into his head.

"Tomorrow morning and for a long time to come, you will remember that you had this really amazing sex dream, you just won't remember who it was with."

"'Really amazing', huh? A little full of yourself, wouldn't you say," he asked playfully.

"Hey," she said, gesturing with a free hand. "I saw your eyes just roll back into your head." She kissed him again and this time his legs curled, too. "It's good to know your strengths..."

"Oh. Yeah," he said, then he grinned. "My turn."

And then he rolled her over onto her back and proceeded to show her...

fini