~The Fall~

~Chapter Five:~
~Fall from Grace~

Xander winced thinking about the conversation he had with his boss. The conversation itself took a whole 2 hours to get though, telling the man that he wouldn't be back and where to send his last paycheck. Xander felt bad about leaving the guy in a tight spot, but in the end he really didn't care. He was starting a new life and he just wanted to get on the road and out of Sunnydale.

Thankfully night had fallen by now, and he could keep the top down of the car. What was that Spike called again? Oh yeah, the hood…weird. Xander thought to himself as he enjoyed the wind blowing around him. He felt different today, like freedom was within his grasp and all he had to do was hang on.

Unfortunately Xander didn't make it back to the house without running into his friends, well his so-called friends. They were just emerging from the Magic Box and he was stupid enough to have taken that street to get home. It was the quickest way but he should have gone around, knowing his friends would be there and he hadn't checked in with them in days.

Waiving at him from the side Buffy got right out into the road so he couldn't just drive past. She walked up to the driver side. "Xander, we haven't seen you in a few days we were getting worried."

"Oh you know Buff, just work's been really hard and I've had a lot to do. I mean, it's not like you guys really need me so I figured you wouldn't miss me much." Xander hated lying to his friends, he really did, but what would the response be if he said he was currently fucking the evil undead and was about to effectively elope with him? He doubted it'd be a very friendly response.

"Well you see that's the funny thing, your boss just called here to see if you'd gotten a job working at the Magic Box. We were just coming to see you, how come you quit your job Xander?" Buffy asked. Willow came up to the other side of his car, and that pout was what got him.

"Guys, I have a lot of explaining to do and I really hope that you'll understand it all…" Xander said as he put the car in park and turned it off.

"Well it better be a good explanation Xander cause quitting your job is definitely of the bad!" Buffy exclaimed, once again butting herself into everyone else's life and acting like she was supreme ruler of all.

"Ya know Buff, sometimes I make my own decisions and you don't have to like 'em cause they are my decisions, about my life." Xander hopped out of the car, "How about we go inside and talk about this, I definitely don't want to be talking about my life out in the open like this."

Willow continued to hold her book and watch. Buffy frowned at Xander, "What is wrong with you Xander? You've changed, what happened?"

Xander shrugged as he made his way to the door to the Magic Box, "I've just been reconsidering where my loyalties lie Buffy, to you all I am is the doughnut boy," They entered the shop where Giles stood behind the counter, listening in on the bickering, "I've tried to help but it seems all I do is get in your way."

"That's cause your normal guy Xander, you're the bringer of confectionary goodness and sustaining take out. You don't have Slayer powers or magic books, or know how to really fight." Buffy told him

"Yeah, cause no one has ever tried to teach me!" Xander exclaimed as he got closer to Buffy, "The most fight training I've ever had was when I was possessed by that Hyena demon," He ticked the things off on his fingers, "when I became that soldier during Halloween, and supposedly that time Anya sent everything to hell in another dimension because Cordy wished it and I was a vampire. Maybe if Giles had put a little bit of time into training me to fight I could back you up."

"Oh yah I remember that, it was really fun. Xander was way hotter as the vampire," Anya looked around as everyone stared at her, "sorry I'll go back to my counting."

"I say… that doesn't sound like our Xander talking, it sounds more like another British individual we know." Giles spoke up as he came around from the counter.

"Spike, I should have known, where is he?" Buffy asked as she looked to Xander.

"Ya know what, I dunno, I left him in bed when I went to work this morning," Xander admitted.

"Xander! A-are you saying that you had gay sex with Spike?" Willow spoke up from the side, she'd been listening but hadn't contributed until now.

"You know what, yes I have. And I'm proud to admit it, he listens to me, treats me like a man, he's even offered to train me right." Xander replied, looking to Willow and praying that she'd understand. "It all started a few days ago after patrolling, I got home and dad was in a mood to beat me. I guess he saw it and came down and took care of me. I know it's not something we'd expect from the bleached menace but he really did take care of me and after we talked…"

"You're leaving huh, you're leaving with Spike tonight huh?" Willow asked in a small voice, she hoped it wasn't true but she of all people would understand. She knew some of the things his father had done to him. She had only wished that Xander escaping the hellmouth came sooner.

"Yeah, actually, I am leaving with Spike. In fact I was on my way to pick him up so we could hit the road, all our stuff is packed up in the back of my car," Xander looked at Willow, "I hope you understand Wills, I need to get out of here."

"I understand Xander," Through teary eyes she looked up at Xander and smiled, "I really understand, and really I doubt we could pick someone better for you. I mean, Spike stuck with Drusilla for over 100 years and she was the one who left him. He's really loyal."

"Do you two hear yourselves!? Spike? Loyal? Those are two words that just don't mix. Another set of words that doesn't mix is Spike and Love. He's a demon Xander, an unfeeling monster; he can't possibly love you because demons don't feel," Buffy tried to tell her friends.

"I have to agree with Buffy on this one, Xander, do you have any idea what you're getting yourself into?" Giles asked while polishing his glasses.

"Thank you Giles, at least someone here can see Spike is no good," She nodded as if she had proven her point.

"Yeah, I do know what I'm getting into Giles; I've read all the watcher books and journals. In fact Spike no longer has a chip to stop him and he's already claimed me," Admitting that Xander pulled his shirt aside to show them.

"Oh my god, Xander! Spike doesn't have his chip? Where is he, tell me right now and I'll stake him myself!" No one really listened to Buffy as Giles and Willow both expected the mark. It had healed over and was now a nice mark.

Willow looked up at Xander in awe, she knew what it meant. The mark would not have taken unless both Spike and Xander wanted the union. Giles knew as well, even though he was less than pleased he didn't say anything against Xander again, just continued to polish his glasses.

"Oh Xander, I'm so happy for you, Spike must really love you and you must really love him…" Xander smiled as Willow hugged him.

"What are you all talking about!? The captain peroxide bit our friend cause he doesn't have a chip anymore and your congratulating him?!" Buffy nearly screeched.

It was Tara's turn to speak up finally, "D-don't you know w-what that means Buffy? U-unless Xander wanted the union to a demon like Spike, and unless Spike really did l-love him, the union would not have happened… t-the mark would not b-be there."

Buffy shrugged, "I understand perfectly, I dust an annoying vampire and that mark goes away. No fuss no muss, grab the dust buster we'll clean it up as we go."

"I don't believe it is that simple Buffy, a union such as this is very deep. We don't know what would happen if you were to harm Spike. We-"

Buffy cut him off before he could explain further, "I know exactly what would happen, we would be down one annoying vampire. After all it is my job; it's in the title, Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

"My ears are burnin, you lot been talkin bout me behind my back yeah?" Said vampire now stood in the doorway of the magic shop, looking directly at Xander. "When you didn't come back pet, I came looking. Have you said your goodbye's yet?"

"I was getting to it, when Buffy decided she was going to butt into my life." Xander replied, locking his eyes with Spike's crystal blue eyes.

"Just the vampire I was looking for," Buffy said as she drew her stake.

"Wait Buffy!" Buffy did wait when Willow spoke up, "Maybe we should consider Xander's decisions and it is his life after all, we should respect his decisions."

Buffy looked at Xander, lowering her stake a moment, "Fine, Xander if your going to be running off into the night with the evil undead you have to tell me. Who's more important to you, us? Or him?"

Spike, having remained silent, crossed his arms and stood there waiting to hear what the boy would say. He'd never let Xander choose between his friends and him. If his friends were more important he'd consider staying here for Xander. But he'd never make the boy choose like that.

Xander looked at Buffy, hurt that the girl he had been laying his life down for, for so long would make him choose like this. He then looked back at Spike; everyone already knew his answer before he spoke it.

Spike curled his tongue behind his teeth, grinning, "Well I think we have our answer Slayer, you know I did promise the boy I wouldn't kill any of you once the chip came out. I'm kinda glad I did too, seeing you all red faced that I took one of your slayerettes is worth it," He looked to Xander holding out his hand, "c'mon pet, times waistin, we only have around 10 more hours before sun ri-"

Spike was cut off as Buffy rushed him with a stake poised to strike his chest; the girl just had enough of Spike's mocking. Forgetting everything Xander had said, she rushed the vampire intending to strike his heart. However, just before she got close enough to plunge the wood home a flash of flannel got in her way. Instead of striking cold dead flesh, she struck warm living as Xander took the stake in his shoulder, just above his own heart.

Everything seemed to run in slow motion as Buffy realized what she had just done. Letting go of the stake now protruding from her friend's body, everyone else too realized what happened. Willow dropping her spell book to rush to her friend's side, Spike catching Xander as he fell back in shock of the blow, and Giles moving in to action to aid Xander.

Buffy brought her hands up to her mouth, shocked of what just happened. It earned her a cold glare from the vampire currently holding Xander. "You stupid bint, I hope you burn in hell…"

"I… chose…" Xander tried to speak, but the shock and the pain racking his body was enough to make anyone pass out.

"Now don't talk pet, Spike'll take good care of you, just relax…" Spike gripped the stake sticking out of Xander's chest and with one sharp tug it came out with a wet sound. The blood started to flow freely, while Spike tossed the stake aside.

Giles sat beside the pair, using his own jacket to tuck into the wound. "Should not have removed it, it would have kept the bleeding down."

"Shut up, watcher, I know what I'm doing." Spike said as he bit into his own wrist, getting his own blood to flow.

"Spike…" Everyone looked down to Xander to hear what he'd say, "I chose you, Spike, I love you."

Spike's heart clenched or at least he figured it was his heart. It was in the general area he remembered his heart to be. "Hush now pet, I know you love me. I love you too, but you gotta save your strength." Spike pressed his bloody wrist to Xander's lips, "drink a little for me pet."

Xander looked at what was being offered and leaned in and began to suck at the blood. As the powerful blood entered his system he felt himself getting stronger. He heard voices but just concentrated on the connection with Spike. "What are you doing?" Giles asked as he watched the two.

"I'm completing our bond, I meant to do it after we left this shithole, but my blood will make him stronger. It'll heal that gaping hole he has in his chest," Once again he aimed his cold glare at Buffy who had backed up, just watching what was going on.

"Y-you're not turning him, a-are you?" Willow asked timidly.

"No Red, I'm not turning him. The bond will work both ways, he'll feel me an I'll feel him. I'm really savin his life right now," Spike replied as he watched the boy drink from him, judging about when Xander had taken enough.

Soon, thanks to the application of the powerful blood so quickly, the flow of blood from Xander's chest stopped and Giles could clearly see the beginnings of repair to the damaged site. Giles carefully removed the jacket he'd been using to stanch the flow of blood. "There is a bed in the training room you can lay him on until he comes around." Giles said as he stood, fairly certain the danger was over.

He nodded and slowly got up, careful not to jar the boy. He quickly licked his wrist closed before slipping his arm beneath Xander's knees, and lifting him up into his arms. Spike carefully carried his burden in to the training room where he found the cot, a place one of them would use when working late night or training. He rolled his eyes, if he had his say Xander would be laying on a king sized bed amongst the softest pillows possible and no one would touch him.

However, Spike didn't have that. What he did have was this, and it would have to do for the time being, at least until Xander came to and they could get on their way. Laying Xander carefully on the cot Spike positioned the pillow, and he used the term pillow loosely, under Xander's head. The boy groaned at being moved, the pain in his chest still there, but slowly fading as the powerful vampire blood now coursing though his veins did its work.

Everyone had moved into the training room to watch, Buffy staying toward the back for fear of hurting Xander again. Her best friend since she first moved here to become the slayer of the hellmouth and Buffy had hurt him. She had only wanted to show Xander that Spike was no good, that a demon couldn't possibly love him. It didn't matter to her that they were both guys, Willow and Tara were both girls and that was totally cool with her.

To her astonishment, she watched as Spike knelt by Xander's side and carefully move the hair out of his eyes. There was no other explanation to it, Spike must love him and Xander must reciprocate that love otherwise this wouldn't have been happening. Never once did Spike look to the wound and look as though he were thinking about taking a nip. He would only look to the hole in Xander's chest to check for the amount of repair that had been done so far.

"Is he going to be okay?" Buffy's small voice sounded from the back. Everyone turned to look at her and she shrank back even more.

"He'll be fine slayer, no thanks to you. I can't believe he was so adamant about sayin good bye to you lot, not that you deserve any of it. He's been the bravest of the lot of you yet you count him out in a fight every time. An you call yourselves friends," Spike snorted as he checked Xander once again.

Seeing that the hole in Xander's chest was nearly gone now, leaving only a small red spot where the hole use to be, Spike got up intending to leave Xander there while he stepped out to have a smoke. That whole ordeal had given him a fright and he needed something to calm his nerves. He moved to the back door there in the training room and turned back to the group, "If anyone touches him besides Red I'll rip your bloody arms off an beat you to death with 'em." And they all knew Spike would do it, he'd never seemed more serious about anything before, "and if he wakes up before I come back in just let me know…" And with that he stepped outside.

He stood outside, a cigarette dangling from his lips, while he tried to get his lighter to light. "Buggerin' bloody hell, have to refill it or somethin'," Spike mumbled while he dropped the lighter back in his pocket and searched for the matches he kept just in case.

He heard the door behind him open and close, and knew who it was. It wasn't hard to tell when the slayer was right behind you when there were tell tale shivers going down your spine, and your vampire senses telling you to run or fight. "What do you want, Slayer?"

"I wanted to apologize, I thought Xander had gone off on one of his moods but… seeing you in there with him changed my mind," Buffy confessed to Spike's back, the vampire wasn't even deeming her important enough to turn and look at.

"Should hope so Slayer, you nearly killed him," Spike mentioned while he searched for the matches.

"He must really love you, or he wouldn't have put himself between you and me," Buffy mentioned as she stood there, looking down at her expensive but oh-so stylish boots.

Spike turned then, holding a match and his cigarette in one hand, the match box in the other, "You know out of all the slayers I've killed that's always been their downfall, you lot only see things in black and white. Not everything is in black and white, an the sooner you learn about the grey areas the better off you'll be. Not all demons are out there to destroy the world or bring on the next hell age. Yeah, Angelus was a real wanker cause that soul of his drove the demon crazy. The Angelus I knew would have found ways to keep The Master where he was. He and The Master never had a very good history, he stole Darla from him."

"You mean Darla, Angel's sire, chose Angel over The Master?" Buffy asked, looking at Spike.

"Got it in one Slayer, that's right, the crazy bitch chose Angel over The Master. And The Master didn't' like that very much, losing his creation to a new stallion that had moved in to the area. Not only that but The Master also hated Angel for how cocky he was. Why don't you ask the great poofter about it, I doubt he'd spill his guts very easily but if you bug him enough…" Spike shrugged and put the cigarette back in his mouth; he struck the match and brought the flame to the tip of the cigarette, taking a few puffs before shaking the match out and tossing it away.

Buffy waved the smoke out of her face, "You do know those things cause cancer, like putting another nail in your coffin..." Buffy saw the stale look Spike gave her and she grimaced, "yeah, bad pun. Listen if you and Xander want to go, then I won't stop you. I may not like my friend leaving with the evil undead but, I can't do anything to change his mind otherwise."

"Not that we need that, Slayer, but thanks, it'll mean more to him then it does to me." Spike replied as he brought the cigarette out of his mouth and blew the smoke into the night air. He hoped Xander woke up soon; he wanted to get out of here before something else happened to stall them further.

"Just you better take care of him or I will beat you to death with a shovel, and then Willow will bet you to death with a shovel." Buffy nodded as though she had said it all.

"Do either of you birds even own a shovel?" Spike asked as he turned to look at her.

"Yes..no…maybe… It doesn't matter, because we both would be oh so willing to go out and buy one just for the occasion." Buffy told him as she stood there, crossing her arms.

"Alright Slayer fair enough," Spike said as he looked at her, "you'd buy one just to beat me to death if I ever hurt Xanny-bear. But of course that'll never happen, cause the only hurting I plan on doing is in bed and-"

"TMI Spike! WAY too much information, I don't need to know how you and my best friend do the dirty!" Buffy exclaimed as she held up her hand.

Spike grinned, curling his tongue behind his teeth, "Would you like to hear how well he sucks…"

"Xander is waking up!" Willow told them as she came to the door to alert both slayer and vampire outside. Spike immediately dropped his cigarette to the ground and stepped it out before moving to the door.

"Thanks Red, I'll make sure Xan gets a computer so you two can keep in contact." Spike said as he passed her in the door way.

Willow smiled at the vampire, "That's all I ask, he's my best friend I don't want to be completely cut off. He's got a lot to answer for already for not telling me liked boys like that… we totally could have been gay together!" She waited for Buffy to come in before frowning and looking at the two, "What does Xander suck?"

Spike only snickered while Buffy cringed, trying to steer Willow away from that subject. Spike came to Xander's side and knelt down as the boy slowly regained consciousness. Xander's head started to move a little, and he reached out a bit, "Spike…?"

Instantly taking the questing appendage, Spike held the boy's hand as he knelt beside him, "I'm here now Xan, how are you feelin?"

Xander's eyes slowly opened to look at Spike, his hand squeezing Spike's, "better I guess, but I'll be fine I think. What happened?"

"I accidently staked you, Xander, when I was trying to stake Spike. Which is wrong of me, I know… but Spike saved your life after that," Buffy replied.

Xander smiled at Spike, reaching up to touch the vampire's cheek, "I knew there was a reason I loved you so much."

Spike heard awe sounds behind him, and turned to see the girls looking down at them with awe in their eyes. "Oi, shut up!" He turned his attention back to Xander and smiled, "bout ready to get out of here pet?"

Xander only nodded and let Spike pull him up. He looked to all his friends, smiled softly at them while saying his goodbyes, and let Spike half carry him out to the car. When they were settled into the convertible Spike looked over to Xander, "So, where should we head first luv?"

Xander still looked to be out of it, making the seat lay back a bit so he could be comfortable, "I don't know, how about we head to New England? I've never been there and I always wanted to see it, then we could move on where ever you want to go."

"Are you sure New England?" Spike asked, and Xander could have sworn he heard a bit of nervousness in his voice. When Xander only nodded Spike nodded in turn, "alright, but I'm warning you now, I know someone up there that may or may not be happy to see me."

Xander waived his hand, settling in for a good nap in the car, "I'm sure we can avoid whoever it is."

"Easy for you to say," Spike mumbled as he started the car, "she's the master of all of New England." He shrugged, his pet wanted to see New England so he'd show him New England.

One week later Willow received the phone call about Xander's parents. She provided Xander's alibi saying that the young man had been working all day and then left town as soon as he left work. They had told her that Xander's father looked to have been tortured, severely and brutally, and the mother was currently recovering at the hospital.

When she looked up the police report and coronor's report she had to look away during half of it, it seemed the killer had gotten creative. Among other things a portion of Xander's father's brain had been removed, the frontal lobe, and replaced with urine.

While she was glad his mother was unharmed, she couldn't help but wonder about what Spike had been doing all day while he waited for Xander to get out of work. However the pun 'piss for brains' screamed William the Bloody.

~Epilogue~

Avoiding any and all vampires while their stay wasn't hard, Spike kept a grapevine going with vampires that were loyal to him and would take his word over the master of the area. The vampires told him where the big events were happening so he could keep Xander well away from the vampires loyal to the master of the area.

Spike wanted to make sure the master of the area didn't know they were there, and if he were lucky they could make it out of the territory before they were spotted and could move on without incident. Not that this master was any danger to he or his lover, but he'd rather not have the confrontation that would happen if he were to come face to face with this particular master.

He did always like Connecticut, coming back to it once in a while to enjoy the New England weather, and that was where they were right now. They were in northern Connecticut, almost to the boarder of Massachusetts, in a small town that skirted the edge of the river. The food here was always good, most places sticking with the seafood tradition and offering some of the classic New England dishes such as their clam chowder.

Spike smiled softly, thinking of a time when he was here in the 20's and quickly moved his mind to a new topic, it was the last thing he wanted for Xander to find out about and right now his attention should be on Xander.

However, he could only keep Xander's curious mind from touching that subject for just so long. And the end finally came one night they were walking along a bridge that ran across the Connecticut River heading back to their hotel room after getting some really good Chinese food from a place that was still there even after so many years, a place Spike had visited when he was here some 80 years before.

When Xander asked about this, Spike told him the family running the shop was a set of demons. And that it was a perfect example of demons just wanting to live their lives, make a buck, and get by in the world. It was then Xander had realized how wrong Buffy was about most demons.

Xander looked to Spike for a moment, "Spike, you said that there was a master vampire who controlled all of New England, how come we haven't run into him?" Xander picked up a stone and threw it off the bridge, into the river below, listening for the splash.

"Well pet I guess we've just been getting lucky," Spike said as he looked away, he knew if he looked in Xander's eyes that Xander would be able to tell he was lying. And all it would take would be Xander's patented puppy dog eyes and pout to get him to sing.

"It's more than luck Spike, we've been avoiding him and his vampires, and I want to know why. Why would you be scared of another master vampire?" Xander asked, stopping and leaning against the railing of the walkway of the bridge, refusing to go any father until Spike answered a few of his questions. Spike wasn't afraid of anything, not even The Master from Sunnydale, so why would he be afraid of this vampire?

Spike stopped and looked back at his young lover. He got out his cigarettes to have a smoke, since it looked as thought hey wouldn't be moving any time soon, "you really wana know who it is?"

Xander nodded, "Yeah I really wana know who it is and why you've been making sure we've avoided him."

"First of all, it's not a him, it's a her." Spike said as he lit a cigarette, "and the her we are talking about, her name is Heather, she was turned back in the 1920's, bloody gorgeous she was." Spike leaned against the railing, looking out at the river, "she was a beauty among beauties back then. Body like a super model, and dressed like a flapper so you can imagine the sight she presented. The most striking feature about her, the most memorable, was her crimson hair, was like silk blood drops…"

"And how would you know that Spike?" Xander almost knew where this was going, he could imagine how Spike knew all these things, but wanted to hear it from Spike himself.

"Because the master of this territory," Spike took the cigarette out of his mouth and looked to Xander as he blew out the smoke, the curls and ringlets of ghost like fingers finding their way around his head, "she's my childe."