Title: Respect

Author: Forsaken2003

Pairing: S/X, A/W

Rating: PG13

Disclaimer: I own none, all belong to Joss Whedon
Comments: Always welcomed!

Summary: Xander is tired of the way people treat him and decides to do something about it.

Warnings/Spoilers: Beginning of Season 5 No Dawn

Plot Bunny by: Lady Q: BTVS AU: Xander has finally had it. He is tired of the way people keep treating him, tired of the way his friends treat him and most of all he is tired of falling in love with people who can ever love him back or are in love with other people. It is time for him to take control of his life and he is going to do it now.

Beta'd by: Dragonfly_64

Part One

"I think patrol is in order now," Giles said as he looked up at the others.

"Great!" Xander said excitedly; he was tired of sitting around just staring at a book that he couldn't read.

Buffy looked up, "I think we can handle it without you tonight Xan."

"But isn't three better than two?" Xander asked; he was tired of being told he wasn't needed.

"Spike will be helping Buffy patrol tonight," Giles informed Xander.

Spike who was laying on the couch watching the television sat up and glared, "The hell I am. Let the bint do her own job."

"If you continue to want us to supply you with blood, you'll be expected to earn it," Giles stated leaving no room for Spike to argue. "You either help us or try and provide for yourself."

"Bloody hell," Spike cursed and stood up. "Fine; but I'm only doing it for the blood. I couldn't give a piss about the happy meals on legs."

Willow stood and put her laptop away, "Come on, Spike, think of all the demons you'll get to pummel!" She said trying to get him to look on the bright side. "Xan you want us to walk you home?"

Xander couldn't help but flinch that did wonders for his ego right there, "Nah I think I can manage on my own."

"You sure? I don't want anything to happen to you." Buffy said as she fiddled with a stake.

"I'm sure you guys just go out and stake all the vampires you can. Excluding present vampires of course," Xander added quickly.

Spike gave him a two finger salute assuming Xander was being sarcastic as usual.

Willow gave Xander a peck on the cheek, "We'll talk tomorrow."

"Yeah, I'll phone you after my shift," Xander replied.

"How is your job at Double Meat Palace?" Giles asked only semi-interested, his eyes on a book.

Xander shrugged, "It's a job. I'm hoping for something better though."

"Yeah, right," Spike snorted having to add his two cents. "You think anyone wants someone who doesn't have a college degree this day and age? You're lucky you have a job at all."

"Shut up, Spike," Buffy ordered as she grabbed him by the ear and dragged him out of Giles' apartment.

Willow gave a little wave and jogged after them.

"You sure you don't need any help, G-man?" Xander asked hoping he would say yes just to feel needed.

"No. thank you. I'm just going to catalogue my books and head off to bed." Giles dismissed him. "Go on home, Xander, get some rest. And please do not call me that."

Feeling dejected Xander left heading for home.

The walk home was uneventful; he was able to get home without a scratch. Ignoring his parents, he went down into his basement apartment feeling sorry for himself. He spotted a photo of himself, Buffy and Willow in their Halloween costumes the year they were turned into them. Xander admitted he missed being the soldier; he was confident and in charge and no one thought he was a loser. All he wanted was for his friends to treat him with respect. He was also tired of wanting people who he couldn't have which was going off topic a bit but they were the two biggest problems in his life right now.

"Why can't I be like that now?" Xander said to himself, as he continued to look at the picture. His eyes widened, "Hey, why can't I be like that? It can't be that hard to change from being a Zeppo, right?" He grabbed a piece of paper deciding what he should change about himself.

Get better job

Get out of the basement and into a nice apartment

Get rid of old clothes and go for a more sexier look

Let the Scoobies know that I'm an important part of the team

Get Spike

"Alright, let's check the wanted ads, there has to be something better than flipping burgers out there." Xander scanned the wanted ads taking his time going over every single one not wanting to miss any. "Construction, never really considered that before. I could do that! I'm fit from all the Scooby snack runs and I've had to do the heavy lifting of all those musty old books Giles has."

Xander circled the ad and decided to phone the company the following day and hope for an interview. He already had a set of tools, okay so they were his dad's but he doubted that he even remembered he owned it. Happy with his plan Xander decided to treat himself with a Star Trek movie.

Xander would never admit it but he was giddy. He went in for the construction job and got it! The pay was way better that he originally thought it was going to be. If things went according to plan, he'd be able to move it to a nice apartment by next month. He burst into Giles' apartment startling everyone including Angel. Why was Angel there? "Guess what!" He decided to ask later about Angel being there, probably to see Willow anyways, right now though he had good news to share.

"Good, Xander, you're here," Giles said coming out of the kitchen. "Would you mind going to the book store on fifth to pick up some books I ordered?"

"Oh and while you're doing that you can pick us up some dinner," Buffy added from one of the kitchen chairs. "I'm starving!"

Xander looked at each other his friends before speaking, "No."

"Why not?" Willow asked as she turned away from Angel who she was snuggling with.

"Because I am not your errand boy," Xander answered trying to keep his anger under control. "I am tired of all of you treating me like one. I am a part of this team, I've helped fight vampires and demons and even a group of zombies! If it wasn't for me, Giles, you'd be back in England with those stuffy watchers and no slayer. I think I've earned the right to have some sort of respect from you."

Buffy looked confused, "We all helped with the zombies, Xander." Buffy would never forget her home coming party.

"Not those ones. You all were too busy making sure some demons wouldn't open the hell mouth and surprise, surprise you didn't need me than either. But news flash people, if it hadn't been for me and I think Oz you'd all be splattered on the school walls instead of the major." Xander shot them all dirty looks. "Well guess what, I am done being your butt monkey. If you don't want to have me as an equal in this gang then I'm done," He turned to leave his good mood forgotten.

Willow chased after him, "Xander, where are you going?"

"I need to get away. Just go back to Angel and think about what I said." He looked down at her. "I'm not the same loser I was in high school, Wills."

"You were never a loser, Xan," Willow quickly disagreed.

Xander shook his head, "Than maybe you should stop treating me like one." With that, he walked away leaving Willow standing alone on Giles's porch.

Part Two

The next night Xander all but dragged himself into the basement. He hadn't known what to expect working in construction but he didn't realize just how tired he would be. Besides being tired though, he was feeling pretty good. He managed not to mess up which surprised him a little bit. Now all he wanted was a hot shower to prevent he muscles from ceasing up on him the next morning.

"You don't smell like artificial cheese," Spike said from his spot on the pull out couch.

"Eep!" Xander ended up dropping his tool belt on his left foot causing him to hop on one foot. "Spike, what are you doing here?"

Spike lit up a cigarette, "I was surprised by your little outburst last night."

"Along with everyone else," Xander replied bending over to pick up the tool belt. "Like I told Willow last night, I'm not the same loser I was in high school."

"So I've noticed," Spike said and walked up to Xander looking him up and down. "You're not a boy anymore, are you, pet?"

Xander couldn't help the blush that spread over his face, "No."

"I may have to remember that." Spike tilted his head up and blew smoke into the air before slipping out leaving Xander speechless.

"Maybe it won't be so hard to get Spike as I thought it would be," Xander said to himself after a few minutes. A smile crossed over his face at the thought that maybe he'd have Spike before he originally planned.

Xander ignored his friends for the rest of the week concentrating on work. He spent what little money he had from his previous jobs and decided to start on his new wardrobe. Gone were most of the Hawaiian shirts and replaced with darker colored t-shirts and button ups. He also tossed most of his baggier jeans for more tight fitting ones. Xander knew he had a nice looking butt and decided it was time to show it off a bit.

So now here he was knocking on Giles' door. He decided if he wanted respect from the older man he should start showing a bit more himself. The door opened and Xander saw Giles' eyes widen a bit. If it was from Xander's action or new clothes, he'd never know.

"Xander?" Giles had to ask. This was not the boy he'd known for four years. The thought crossed his mind that maybe Xander had been turned.

"Hi, Giles," Xander smiled and walked in, he didn't notice the relieved look that past Giles's face. "What's the what? Any new baddies in need of a butt kicking?"

Buffy looked up when Xander walked through the door, "Hey Xan. I tried getting a hold of you the past few days."

"I've been busy with work," Xander replied walking into the kitchen for a soda.

"I thought you were just working part time?" Willow asked from where she was seated with Angel beside her. Why was he here again?

"I got a new job," Xander informed them. "Why are you here, Deadboy?"

Angel raised an eyebrow, "Things are slow in L.A right now so I thought I'd come for a visit. Plus it doesn't hurt to have an extra pair of hands around."

"Why didn't you tell us you got a new job, Xan?" Buffy asked with confusion.

"I tried the last time I was here but you all decided that you wanted me to play gopher," Xander stated crossing his arms over his chest.

Giles had the decency to look guilty, "I apologize for that, Xander. I didn't realize how our actions were affecting you."

"Yeah, Xan, we didn't think we were treating you so badly." Willow apologized looking guiltier than anyone else.

"They're right," Buffy added. "I just want to keep you safe."

"I know you do, Buff, but I am more than capable of helping than you all give me credit for." Xander explained to them all. "I'm stronger than you all think I am."

Angel decided to speak up, "He's right. He stood up to Angelus when most people would have ran or begged for their lives. Hell, he actually made Angelus back down."

Giles looked intrigued; he'd have to talk to Xander about that later as well the zombies he spoke about earlier. "Well, you all should get ready for patrol."

"Is Spike coming?" Xander asked trying to sound uninterested.

"Don't know he hasn't been around in a few days. Maybe he's finally left town." Buffy asked looking hopeful.

"Xander, you didn't tell us about your new job." Willow said as she grabbed a stake and water gun. "And what's with the new clothes?"

Xander blushed, as both Buffy and Willow looked him over. "I got a job in construction and I figured that I should dress a little more like an adult."

"Well I have to say, Xan, you are looking good," Buffy told him with a smile.

"Thanks," Xander replied with his own smile. He grabbed a stake and followed the others out into the night.

Xander was tackled to the ground a pretty female vampire hovered over him. He head butted her making her roll off of him. "Ow! Note to self, don't do that again!" When he rolled over to stand, he saw Spike staking his vampire. "Oh hey, thanks."

Spike shrugged, and gave Xander a hand up. "You almost had her."

"I would have had her if you weren't a buttinski," Xander complained. How was he supposed to get Spike's attention if he looked like a complete joke?

"Needed to get my kill in for the night, whelp," Spike glowered and turned around sauntering away from Xander.

Xander jogged after Spike ignoring the fact that he just left his friends, "Wait up!"

"What the hell do you want?" Spike growled at Xander.

"I'm sorry," Xander apologized. "It's just I just got the guys to understand that I can take care of myself and having you save me doesn't make that true."

Spike didn't say anything and just continued to walk making Xander continue to jog to be able to keep up.

"Would you accept my apology if I bought you a beer at the Bronze?" Xander asked having Spike mad at him was not in his plans.

"And Onion Blossoms," Spike added looking at Xander from the corner of his eye.

Xander did a calculation in his head, "How about a beer and when I get my next check I'll buy you your onion blossoms?"

Spike thought it over before nodding, "And a game of pool."

"And a game of pool," Xander agreed hiding his smile. Guaranteed second date… secret second date.

The walk to the Bronze was quiet, Spike chain smoked as Xander tried to think of something to say. When they got to the club Spike bee lined it for bar leaving Xander to find them a table. When he realized he didn't give Spike any money he reached for his wallet only to find it missing, "Bastard."

When Spike came back, he tossed the wallet to Xander raising his glass in salute before drinking.

"Gee, thanks for ordering me something," Xander said sarcastically before waving a waitress over and ordering coke.

"What's with the new getup?" Spike asked with a raised eyebrow. He couldn't help but noticed how much better looking Xander was without those horrible bright colored shirts.

Xander shrugged trying to play it cool, "Time for a change I guess. New job, new look."

"The whelp is finally growing up," Spike answered sounding impressed.

"I'm not a whelp anymore." Xander glowered at Spike. "I've got a decent job and I'm going be moving out of the basement of doom soon. It's the next thing to cross of my list."

"Your list?" Spike asked with some confusion.

Xander coughed as he took a sip of his drink, "Nothing."

Part Three

As soon as Xander got his first paycheck two weeks later he was off looking for he own place. Giles had agreed to say Xander had lived with him, still feeling bad for how he had treated him. Xander had no doubt that his parents would not help his case.

So now Xander and the girls were looking at cheap apartments. He didn't need anything big since it was just him but he wanted to make sure it was big enough in case Spike moved in one day. He knew he was jumping the gun but living on the hell mouth he learned to prepare.

"Xander, this one is great!" Willow said as she bounced in place excitedly.

"Yeah," Buffy agreed wandering from room to room. "There's a real bedroom! You can actually have a bed."

Xander laughed before speaking, "I'll have to keep the pull out a little bit longer and furniture will be slow coming." He took note that there were big windows in the living room. He'd have to invest in some thick curtains.

"Well, Mr. Harris, what do you think of the place?" The owner whose name Xander already forgot asked.

"I think it's amazing," Xander replied honestly. "I'm afraid to ask how much though."

The owner smiled at Xander before flipping her hair over her shoulder, "Don't worry, Mr. Harris, I know you have a budget. It's five-fifty a month."

Xander bit his lip thinking about it. He really did like the place and he was making plenty of money to be able to afford the place and live comfortable. After the quick estimate, he decided to just go for. "I'll take it."

"Wonderful!" The owner replied excitedly. "Why don't we let your friends go on about their day while we fill out the paper work?"

Xander turned his attention to his friends who were grinning at him, knowing he was being hit on. "We'll talk to you later, Xan." Willow said before dragging Buffy out.

"Thank you so much, Mrs…" Xander took a quick look at the paper work finding her last name, "Anderson."

"Please call me Julia and it's actually Ms." Julia informed him with a smile.

Xander smiled, "Julia. Hopefully this doesn't affect me moving in but I should let you know I'm gay." He embellished a bit. Xander he guessed was more bisexual than gay but Ms. Anderson didn't need to know that.

Julia frowned before sighing, "All the good looking ones are." She handed him a pen, "I guess I'll just have to ogle from a far."

Xander barked out a laugh, "So where do I sign?"

The next weekend Xander was all packed up from the basement of his parents place ready to head out on his own. Mrs. Summer's was kind enough to let him borrow her car as long as he assured her that Buffy would not be driving, which earned her a glare from her daughter.

"You really don't have a lot of stuff," Buffy commented as she grabbed another box. "It looked so crowded in here."

"Small room," Xander replied has he handed Willow a small box. "My new place is gonna look huge since there is no furniture."

"About that," Buffy started. "Mom has an old couch in the basement. It's kind of ancient but it's yours if you want it."

Xander smiled, "I'd love it. I don't even care if it has huge ugly flowers on it."

"It might even match your barcalouger," Willow added looking at the ugly chair.

"Don't go insulting my chair," Xander scolded his oldest friend. "I have fond memories from it."

Buffy raised an eyebrow, "What like tying up Spike?"

"I um…" Xander was sure he was sweating. 'Yeah, that was fun. It annoyed him like you wouldn't believe."

"Uh huh," Willow said like she knew something but didn't comment any further. "Let's get you out of here." She said and led her friends out of the basement.

Xander sighed in relief after the girls left his placing after helping him move. They ordered a pizza after all the boxes were settled in Xander's new living room. They'd gone over to Mrs. Summer's place and picked up the old couch. It was an ugly orange color; it almost looked like it was a lost relative of his barcalouger.

He laid on the couch wrinkling up his nose. He'd have to remember to pick up something that would take care of the musty old smell. Besides for that Xander was happy. He had his own place, no more listening to his parents get into drunken arguments and no more paying outrageous rent for staying in the dank basement.

Xander dug into his pocket, pulling out the piece of paper that held his list. Grabbing a marker he crossed off 'Get out of the basement and into a nice apartment'. "Four down one to go." He said smiling to himself.

The following night Xander decided to hold off on unpacking and headed over to Spike's crypt. He had some extra cash so he could take Spike out for that beer and those onion blossom things. 'Operation date' was now in progress.

"Hey, Spike!" Xander called out as knocked on the door and opened it. "You awake?"

Spike crawled up from the downstairs his hair in disarray, he wore only tight black jeans and Xander had to make sure he wasn't drooling. "What is it a new demon?" Spike asked as he made his way over to his cooler for a bag of pig's blood.

"Nope no work for us," Xander replied happily. "I figured since there isn't any demon activity right now. Knock on wood, that we could go to the Bronze for that beer and blossoms that I owe you."

Spike raised an eyebrow, "You want to spend your Saturday night with me?"

"Why not? The girls are doing girly things and Giles is going Giles-y things." Xander shrugged trying to look innocent. "Come on, I can't go to the Bronze alone; I'll look like a loser."

"You are a loser," Spike replied offhandedly. He looked up when Xander didn't throw back an insult. Shock ran through him when he saw that Xander was upset. Spike walked over to Xander place a hand on the back of Xander's neck giving it a soft squeeze. "You know I don't mean it. I'm an ass, you know that, yeah?"

Xander flushed as Spike massaged his neck. "Just off my game I guess. I spent all of last night moving out of the basement of doom."

"About time you got out of there," Spike commented with a soft smile. He tried not to think about why he seemed to care that he apparently hurt Xander's feelings.

"So, Bronze?" Xander asked hopefully.

Spike shrugged, he had nothing better to do. He figured after a beer he could go out for a bit of violence. "Sure, pet."

"Great!" Xander did a little bounce and followed Spike out of the crypt.