Title: To Die with Open Eyes

Author: Becka
Pairing: Xander/Anya. Xander/Spike. Spike/Dru.

Warnings: Abuse, Angst, AU?, Blood, Brutality, Character-death, Child-abuse, DARK, Disturbed, Language, NCS (graphic), Self-injury, Spike and Drusilla-bastardizing, Xander-torture, Yoai/Slash.

Disclaimer: Neither Angel nor Buffy, the Vampire Slayer belong to Becka; characters are used without permission for a non-profit purpose. No infringement is intended.

Note: This story was written years ago, was posted on my old website and a few mailing lists, but never made it this site. Seeing as how I no longer have a website, and most of the mailing lists are dead and gone, I figured I might as well tack it up here for posterity's sake.

o

Life on the Hellmouth _sucks_ like a two-cent toothless hooker, or so Xander thinks as he walks on the street. Right in the middle, path marked by the dotted yellow line. It's a game he likes to play sometimes when no one he knows is watching; he calls it, "Red Light, Green Light."

He's tired, but that's nothing new. And he's out another job, but he laughs to himself, 'cause that's not new, either. Same old story, same old life, and sometimes he gets sick of it, but most days he just ignores it.

"You're late," his boss said, but that _so_ wasn't new. It's the story of his life, because he's the fucking bull's eye when his father's drunk and swinging, and as much as he loves the gang, late-night patrols are a pain in the ass. He told his boss that he was suffering from a chronic illness, totally trying to play the pity-factor. It never works, but he keeps trying because pity-money's just as green.

He told Anya that morning, and after a sex-binge of orgasms, she tossed him out and told him to get another job. She likes her creature comforts, and he loves her enough to keep her in them.

So he drops his applications off, sets up interviews, and wishes he had another life.

The self-pity sits in his stomach and kicks the pizza he'd eaten that morning.

He notices the sun's going down when a car whizzes by him, missing him by six inches. The fucker in the front seat honks at him, but he ignores it and his footsteps fall a little faster. Without a stake, he's walking lunchmeat for the creatures of the night, and he knows it.

Someone on the sidewalk whistles at him, and he glances over. Dark-hair, dark-eyes, and a smile that's all teeth greet him, and maybe Buff's the Slayer, but after four years of having her back, he's picked up something he fondly calls his "Xandy-sense."

The man's a demon, for sure. Xander likes to think he knows this because of said "Xandy-sense," but the ridges and bumps on the forehead were maybe a clue. An inner voice snidely dubs the man "Poofy Jr." and an image of King Xander on a white horse slaying said Poofy flashes through his mind.

"I got something for you, kid," Poofy says, still smiling.

Xander snorts, loudly, and lies, "I like my life. Not interested in whatever it is you're selling."

"Oh, that's cute," the man replies. "I can see why the Boss likes you."

"If you're trying to comfort me, you're doing a piss-poor job." So maybe snarky insults aren't really going to help him out of this situation, but then, getting his ass kicked is something Xander's quite good at. It's sick, but he takes pride in the things he does well.

Poofy rolls his eyes. "Fuckin' cynic, you are. You don't have to trust me. I'm going to leave this," he holds up an envelope and waves it a little, "right on the sidewalk. I'll leave, you pick it up, and my job's done."

"So picking up a piece of paper makes vampires leave me alone? I'll have to tell Buffy that. See, she's under the impression that staking them works."

The vampire actually laughs at that. "Priceless, man. After you pick it up, you're supposed to open it, but that's your job, not mine. See you 'round, kid." He leaves the envelope on the sidewalk and disappears into the night.

Xander stands there for a minute, hands hanging uncertainly at his sides. Curiosity gets the better of him, so he walks over and grabs the envelope, stuffing it into his pocket.

Still slightly weirded out, he goes back to walking on the middle of the road. "Red Light, Green Light," isn't nearly as fun as "Car Tag," but it's late and people know better than to be driving around in Sunnydale. Then again, people know better than to go for walks after dark, too.

Xander tries not to classify himself with people. He thinks of himself as the defective model.

Still, he makes it all the way home.

o

An hour later finds him still staring at an unopened envelope. Anya's snuggled against him, snoring softly, and the TV is static in the background.

The envelope is light, and the paper is pale cream. His name's on the front, inked in blood red, and the handwriting is spidery-curls. So he feels a little panicky, partly because his mind actually _knows_ the envelope's cream-colored thanks to a paint-mixing job at Home Depot, but mainly because a creature of the night knows him by name.

Very slowly, almost afraid something's going to pop out, he opens the envelope. There's a folded sheet of paper, same color, and a key inside.

He pulls the paper out, unfolds it, and stares at the red words written there.

/ Alexander -

Tomorrow night, 10pm.

Room 213, Sunnydale Plaza.

Come alone or a witch gets burned.

With love and dark kisses

- S & D /

The paper shakes in his hand. Probably because his hands are shaking so badly he can feel the rattle down to his toes. He rereads the words again, just to be sure he got them right.

He did. The words don't change at all. They just kind of sit there and mock him.

Biting his lip, he refolds the note and shoves it back into the envelope; he sticks the envelope under his pillow and pulls Anya closer to him. He takes comfort in her warmth, even as his eyes narrow. He only knows three vampires on a personal basis; Angel, Spike, and Drusilla.

He's not as dumb as most people think. In this case, two and two equals major bad karma.

Blonde hair and blue eyes engulf him as his memories surface, and two wicked smiles mock him. They were capable of killing his Wills; that he didn't doubt. Walking right into their arms would be the _worst_ thing he could do, but maybe he is as dumb as most people say because as he drifts off to dreamless sleep, he somehow knows that's exactly what he's going to do.

o

The next morning comes way too soon in Xander's personal opinion. Anya watches him from the bed, smiling and beautiful, and somehow he wonders if it's going to be the last time he sees her.

"My lady," he says, digging up a smile for her, "May I take you out for lunch?"

His girlfriend blushes. It's not completely abnormal for him because sometimes he surprises her with questions like that, but the blush is nice. It reminds him why he loves her. It reminds him she's still human.

"Your treat," she says, scooting off the bed to get dressed.

"My treat," he echoes, watching her with hungry eyes. She notices this, blushes again, and her laughter is music. "If you keep looking at me like _that_, you and I are going to have to interlock some parts."

"Can't have that." His reply is accompanied by a tiny smile as he turns away and lets her dress in privacy.

They spend the day together, and each smile is another reminder of how much he loves her. He takes her out for lunch at the best place in town, a pricey little Italian joint, and says all the things that keep her blushing. He takes her to a chick flick, not at all his style, but he makes an exception because he really wants a happy ending, and he rubs little circles on her back as they sit in the dark theater. He takes her out for dessert at a cute little cafe, and buys her coffee and strawberry shortcake and tells her how much he loves her.

Ten o' clock is approaching fast, so he whisks her back to the apartment, and while he knows she wonders where all of this - the dinner, the movie, the date - came from, he just kisses her and lays her back on the bed and loves her with the desperation of a man who knows he's going to die.

When they're through, he spares a glance at the clock and sees he has twenty minutes left. He kisses her again, then slips out of bed and arms himself to the teeth with stakes, holy water, and a gun with wooden bullets. He pulls the envelope out from beneath his pillow and turns to face his girlfriend. Anya's watching him, the question on her face hanging in the air.

"Job interview," he lies, with his best Xander-shaped smile, and she smiles back.

"It's good you're taking precautions," she says.

"I love you, Anya," he answers, leaning down to kiss her, and he tastes strawberries on her lips.

"You, too." Then she laughs, "When you come back, give me more orgasms like that last one."

He opens his mouth to tell her that he promises, but the words stick in his throat. Xander can't lie to her like that; not the way people have been lying to him his whole life. So he just jerks his head in the parody of a nod, and turns and walks out the door.

o

He finds himself in Sunnydale Plaza, the most outrageously priced hotel the Hellmouth has to offer. Standing outside of room two-thirteen, he clutches the key in his hand and calls himself every kind of stupid known to man.

Xander checks his watch. Digital, bright green letters blink cheerfully up at him - 9:59. He's got one minute to decide - chicken out and tell Buffy and Giles about the note, and hope to a God he stopped believing in the first time his father beat him that Willow isn't going to be killed, or unlock the door and accept the end of his own life.

Whose life did he value more: Willow's or his own?

That thought seals it for him, and he slips the key into the lock, his fingers tightening on the doorknob like a noose around a dead man's neck. His watch blinks - 10:00 - and he opens the door and steps inside.

The lights are dim. He glances around but doesn't see anyone, and his heart is beating so hard he thinks it's going to jump out of his chest and start flopping around on the floor.

"Close the door, pet."

He jumps, swallowing hard. He knows the voice. British bad boy with a hint of sullen, a little snarky, and a lot commanding. Close the door? It's as if the vampire is asking him to seal his own fate, so he thinks about Willow.

The door shuts with an audible click.

Click.

The sound echoes in his head like a gunshot.

"Ooh! Spikey, luv, he's so very pretty! I'd forgotten how very pretty 'e is!"

Drusilla. Dark-haired vampire goddess. Crazy as a loon.

"Very pretty, baby," Spike repeats softly, and Xander's breath is coming in short, tight gasps. He thinks he's hyperventilating, and he still can't see either vampire. He wonders if this game of "Cat and Mouse" is anything like his version of "Car Tag."

"Spikey, luv, the lil' kitten's scared! The stars say he's the one, an' they whisper such naughty things to me. Take 'im, break 'im, an' make 'im, luv!"

There's another click behind Xander, and it reminds him of someone closing a book they've just finished. He turns and reaches blindly for the doorknob, and he pulls at it frantically, but his worst fears are realized when he feels it's locked.

"Ah, ah, luv," Spike purrs into his ear, and he feels his arms pinned to his sides. He tries to squirm, but he's no match for vampiric strength. He knows it, Spike knows it, and Drusilla probably knows it too, but he hears her singing to her stars and realizes she doesn't care.

Spike's voice is soft and honey-sweet, and the darkness there makes Xander's blood run cold.

"Now, now, pet. Y'can't be leavin' us so soon. My princess wants you ta stay for tea."

Drusilla giggles and Xander's eyes are slowly adjusting to the dark. He sees her slight form as a blur of movement as she sways from side to side, humming off-key.

The blonde's teeth graze his ear and Xander jerks forward, letting out a single, tiny cry, and he hears Spike whisper, "Very lovely, pet. Promise you'll do that again."

"Cross my heart and hope to die," Xander says without thinking, and he mentally kicks himself in the ass.

Spike laughs, delighted. "A treasure, you are, pet. 'ave some tea."

Xander finds himself roughly shoved into a chair, and he knows that if he weren't so scared, he'd be pissing his pants. Drusilla floats over and pours him a cup of tea, and he picks it up with shaking hands. He feels the hot liquid burn as he spills some on his crotch, and his inner voice snickers, /Only queens piss tea./ So he laughs quietly, his voice borderline hysterical.

Both vampires ignore him for a moment as they take their seats across from him, and Drusilla pours two more cups of tea. Xander notices idly that the vampire's pinkie sticks out as she sips daintily.

Still laughing, Xander sips his own tea, and his brain shuts down and lets his body pilot on automatic.

"Oh, dear," he hears Drusilla say, and she sounds like she's on the other side of the Grand Canyon; her voices echoes across to him, "The kitten's gone away, Spikey. He's lost in 'is own head, and I can see 'im bathed in blood."

"Really, my sweet?" Spike asks, sipping his tea quietly. Xander thinks he's humoring her, and he finds he doesn't care. He just wants to be somewhere else.

Swallowing again, he whispers, "What are you gonna do to me?" And his voice is just like Drusilla's, an echo across space and time.

"Why, pet, I didn't think you'd ever ask," Spike responds happily, sounding like a kid who's been given a present the day before Christmas. "See, Dru 'ere had a vision - you know 'ow my princess gets - an' she says you're important ta us, so I says, 'Naw, luv, not the _whelp_,' but she says, 'Yeah, luv, my lil' dark kitty-cat,' and she stomped 'er feet until I promised to get'cha, and after I give 'er my word, I asks, 'What am I supposed ta do with your kitty-kat, luv?' and she says, 'Lick off all the icin', Spikey.' Now, I spent _years_ interpretin' for my wicked plum 'ere, so I know what she _really_ means, an' that's that, an' here you are."

Xander realizes he's never heard Spike say so much all at once before, and it occurs to him, finally, that Spike's just as crazy as Drusilla. However, the years he's spent perfecting his patented Xander-babble have paid off, so he brings out his sorely neglected courage and asks, "What does she mean?"

The blonde laughs, downs his tea and drops the cup on the floor. As it shatters, Xander realizes that Spike's behind him, hands clamped on Xander's shoulders. The vampire leans over and licks his ear, and his whisper is pure wickedness. "Why, I 'ave ta take your innocence, pet."

Two hands are around his throat, choking off his voice before he can even _scream_, and he's being dragged across the room. He hears Drusilla laughing and clapping her hands like a little child, and then they're in the bathroom.

Spike flicks the light on, and Xander sees there's a man in the bathtub, bound and gagged and crying his eyes out.

Suddenly the vampire hauls him to his feet and turns him to face the man.

More whispers in his ear, and slowly the words filter through Xander's shell-shocked brain. "This 'ere," the vampire says, "is Tommy Greenwich. He's a child-rapist an' a sick lil' fuck, for a human, and jus' t'day, he took a lil' girl home with him and raped 'er til she bled. Then he cut 'er up into tiny lil' pieces and he _cooked_ 'er an' fed 'er to his puppy-dog."

Xander's face twists in disgust, and there's a wet spot on the man's crotch that grows by the minute.

"I want you ta kill 'im, pet."

"What?" Xander asks stupidly, even though he _knows_ he heard the vampire correctly.

"I want to you put a stake in 'is heart an' I want ta see your 'ands covered in blood," Spike repeats gleefully. "If y'don't kill 'im, I'm gonna take this town apart, startin' with your bint while y'watch."

"I can't -"

Xander's cut off as Spike continues, "Y'can, pet, and y'will. 'Cause otherwise I'm gonna tell you exactly how I'm gonna kill your mates. An' then I'm gonna show you."

"I-" Xander stops short, stares at the pathetic man in the bathtub, and wishes he could cry, but tears elude him. He suddenly realizes that he's going to do exactly what Spike wants because the man in front of him is a sick fuck, just like the vampire says, and because he loves Anya and Wills and Buffy and Dawnie and Giles more than he loves himself.

"Look, pet," the vampire continues, unaware of Xander's acceptance, "I found you the nastiest bloke I could. I'm tryin' ta make this _easy_ on-"

"Let me go," Xander says, and the vampire releases him in surprise. Xander's not in control anymore; there's a soldier in his head and the orders have been okayed. He pulls a stake from his pocket and kneels next to the tub.

Tommy stares at him through wild, bloodshot eyes; Xander sees his father, and the soldier sees his target, and the hyena sees dinner. "I'm not sorry," says a dead voice, and Xander brings the stake down hard and fast, hitting the man's heart dead-on.

Blood goes everywhere, and Tommy cries out through the gag, but Xander's already picking up a white hotel towel and wiping his face clean.

Spike's standing in the doorway, watching Xander with an expression that he can't quite place, and he hears Drusilla laughing from the other room. She's singing, "I told you so, Spikey, I told you so!"

The blonde jerks his chin at the dying man in the tub and says softly, "Y'leave 'im like that, pet, an' he's gonna be dyin' for at least another hour."

Xander stares at himself in the bathroom mirror, and he doesn't recognize his own face.

He walks out of the bathroom, brushing past the vampire, and he says in a deathly quiet voice, "Let him."

Suddenly Xander finds himself face down on the ground, eating carpet. His inner voice snickers, /Rug muncher,/ but he ignores it. Spike's on top of him, ripping his clothes off and snarling, and Drusilla's dainty slippered feet dance in front of his eyes.

Xander's cold. Inside and outside, and he can't find the will to fight. His pants come off and he feels two fingers wiggling inside of him, slipping back and forth, cold and impersonal. He doesn't care. He's surprised the vampire is even taking the time to lube him with anything.

Strong arms flip him over, and Xander notes in a detached corner of his mind that there's blood on Spike's fingers. Tommy's blood. The blood of the first man he's ever killed.

Spike's fucking him with blood.

He wants to laugh, but he knows that if he does, he's not going to stop, so he stares at the ceiling with dead eyes and sees Drusilla smile down at him.

"Pretty kitty," she says. "So very pretty, an' all red like the sunset. Can you see me, kitty?"

Spike's dick slams into him and Xander grunts. His legs are in the air and the blonde starts pounding into him, pistoning back and forth. Xander can't find the will to care, so he stares into Drusilla's yellow eyes and whispers, "I see you, Princess."

Xander feels Spike pause, so he looks at the blonde, and he feels dead inside.

For a moment Xander sees a flash of horror on the vampire's face, but only for a moment because he knows Spike is a sick fuck, just like the man he killed, and that he's _enjoying_ all of this.

"Why are you crying, Xan?"

/Xan, Xander, Alexander,/ his mind singsongs, and everything hits him like a punch from Buffy, and he starts to laugh. His head falls back on the carpet and the tears stream down his face. He's hysterical and he knows it, but nothing matters, right?

"I'm not crying, Spikey. My eyes are."

Drusilla leans down and pats him on the cheek and goes back to her tea and Spike starts to fuck him again, harder and faster than before. And Xander's floating somewhere, he knows he is, but that's okay, because he's laughing and crying so he must still be alive.

Not dead, like the man in the bathroom. Not dead, like the vampire fucking him. Not dead, like the little girl sipping demurely from her teacup and chatting with her dolls.

But somehow he knows that he's not really alive, either.

"What can you do, pet?" the vampire asks suddenly, never breaking his stride.

Xander doesn't understand the question, but he stops laughing. Spike's words are as wicked as the rest of him.

"Slayer's the strength. Got a mean right-hook, she does."

Spike pushes into him hard, and Xander stares at the ceiling. Spike's fucking him and talking about Buffy.

"Ain't the eyes o' this lot. That'd be the Watcher, yeah? No fancy Oxford degree."

The ceiling's painted Cloudless Day.

"Not got the mojo. Little red witch's got that cornered. Even the bint's _bint_ 'as more magic in 'er blood."

Cloudless Day's a stupid name for a color, Xander thinks.

"The lil' bit's the heart, ain't she? They fight ta keep 'er safe, an' I can't say as you ever could open the 'ellmouth with your blood."

You need one-third blue and one-sixth red to make it.

"Even the in-an'-outs 'ave more'n you. That Oz-bloke's a werewolf. Faith's another Slayer. The Poof's my bloody sire. Wes is another Watcher. Your bint's an ex-demon. Even the bloody cheerleader, the Chase girl, is a seer."

Spike's fucking him with blood.

"But you, pet?" The blonde slams deep, growling, and Xander feels something cool slicking his insides. Spike pushes off, leaving him on the floor. As the vampire stares down at him, he has a pained expression on his face. He offers Xander a hand up and Xander takes it without a word.

Spike stares at him, brushing a hand across Xander's cheek. His voice is a whisper and he says, "As of now, you're the fuckin' comic relief."

Xander realizes he's not dead, but he wants to be. He's not alive, and he's not dead, but he wants to be dead so bad it burns him on the inside. Spike seems to sense this, and he continues, "You live for me t'day, pet, an' I promise I'll die for you."

"I hate you, Spike," Xander says quietly, but the blonde just smiles.

"Can you see me, pet?" he asks, and he hears Drusilla giggle.

"He can see you, luv. The stars say 'e can see _everythin'_, now."

"Hush, plum," Spike says to Drusilla without taking his eyes off Xander.

He continues softly, "Y'live for me t'day, and I'm gonna come back for you. Who are you, pet? Answer me that."

Xander opens his mouth, but the blonde lays a finger across his lips.

"But not t'day."

"Run along, kitty-cat," Drusilla sings softly, "Run an' play like a good lil' kitty."

/Pussy-cat,/ his mind whispers softly. /The kitty-cat's a pussy and he takes it up the ass./

Xander stares at the pair of them, and there's blood on his face and blood running down his legs and he sees red. He leans down and picks up his pants and slips his shirt back on, and uses his jacket to cover the tear.

"Bye, now, pretty-kitty," Drusilla giggles.

"Pussy-cat," he says as he limps to the door.

Spike clears his throat and asks, "What, pet?"

Xander turns and smiles, but it doesn't reach his eyes. "The kitty-cat's a pussy and he takes it up the ass."

Then he turns, unlocks the door, and closes it softly behind him, but he thinks he hears them laughing.

o