A/N: This is another story that comes from me being bored at work and my friend wanting something to keep her entertained. This is uber AU, a bit dark and depraved, but I like it! Hope you do too.
Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy. Wish I did though.
The dark had never exactly been Xander's favorite time, he mused on his way home one night. Even as he grew older, the fear of what lived in the dark, just out of sight had terrified him. Monsters under the bed, demons in the closet, creatures scraping at his window; all clawing to grab him and eat him up. He knew they were there, could hear them if he held his breath, listened beyond his terrified heartbeat. He could see them dashing madly from the corner of his eyes, hiding in the shadows with glowing eyes filled with rage and hunger.
He learned to sleep under their sharp gazes, to eat while they dreamt of eating him, drinking his blood, grinding his bones, pulling skin from muscles, and ravaging his organs. He lived in fear, but he lived despite it, pretending that if he didn't acknowledge the hungry snaps of their jaws just inches away from his face then they wouldn't harm him. They would stay behind an invisible wall, gnawing bellies making them howl, but razor-claws scratching uselessly.
Because of so much experience finding and yet ignoring demons, it was fairly easy for him to tell that the pale man in the leather duster wasn't necessarily human. He looked all wrong and too perfect at the same time. Angelic features, fair and beguiling, beckoning him closer with a tilt of his head. The smirk all sinister and the glimmer in his eyes not kind or sweet, instead cold…malicious. When he walked, it was alluring the way his thin body moved under the weight of all that leather, but his muscles seemed to move like the skin was too tight, something bigger lurking beneath that human visage.
Xander knew he should move away, should dismiss the demon coming closer to him, but it was too late. He knew deep in his heart that this creature knew he saw it for all that it was. The barrier was useless to it. As if to prove what Xander already knew, one pale, ring-laden hand touching his neck. His blue eyes, sparkling gold, stared at him giddily, like he had been waiting so long for to bestow such a freezing touch on the human. With a smirk, it said in honey accented British, "'Lo, pet. What's a tasty treat like you doing about in the dark?"
Xander's heart beat quickly in his chest, almost painful as it hammered against his ribs in a bid for escape. His breathing may as well have been gasps of water for as much oxygen as he actually sucked in. He tried to duck away from the freezing hand on his neck, but it only tightened, possessively…wantingly. Beneath the man's face a demon rippled forward. Warning. Xander swallowed thickly, stuttered out, "Oh, you know. J-just going home." Xander swore he felt his heart stop all together when the creature smiled. "Well then, pet. Aren't you goin' the wrong way?"
Xander unconsciously found himself taking a step back, lifting his hands to push away from the monster before him. The hand let go of his neck, but the laugh that followed was spine-chilling. "I wouldn't run if I was you. I like the chasing almost more than I like the catching." Like Xander would listen to that. Fear set in. Fight or flight. Flight won and he pushed the demon as hard as his puny human strength would allow him before he turned tail and ran. He could hear the laughter, always just a right behind him, but he wouldn't look behind him. Couldn't bear the idea that the monster would be just behind him.
He slammed his door shut as soon as he was home, but through the small diamond, he could see the sinfully handsome man, just across the street, waving at him merrily with that smirk still on his perfect face. He went to the lamppost and leaned against it, lighting up a cigarette. Xander watched entranced as the smoke curled into the air of the orange, artificial light and seemed to hover in the air, condensing as the demon blew more around him, shrouding him and his leather duster. Some part of Xander almost expected him to disappear within it, but he never did. His eyes just stared at him, blue and gold and freezing Xander's soul.
He dragged himself away from the door window, down to his basement where he curled up on his couch and refused to see the demons skittering in the shadows of his vision. He turned the television on and put in a Star Trek movie, any of them to keep his mind from the world outside, from the monsters still so close to him, kept away only because Xander didn't look at them, didn't acknowledge them and let them through the portal. He didn't look out the window, didn't dare see if the monster outside knew where he was, knew where he slept. Couldn't confirm what he already knew.
The next morning, as he prepared to go to school, he looked out his basement window. He felt all the blood drain from his face as he read his window, where written in suspicious, red liquid was the word 'Spike.' He hurried outside to wash it away before the neighbors or his parents saw it, only to discover it was written on the inside pane. His heart fell further as he touched the smooth glass facing the outside. He broke his own rule for the first time that morning as he moved his head every which way, looking for a false angelic face and a black leather duster.
He stayed the night at Willow's that night, leaving well before night so that he wouldn't see any monsters. He stayed away from windows, tried not to move too much, and most definitely tried not to look over his shoulder when he thought he heard the growling, felt the eyes burning on his skin. He stared resolutely ahead or at Willow. He thought he had been doing a fairly good job until he realized there was an envelope with his name on it resting just under the door. He picked it up hesitantly, making sure Willow wasn't around and when he opened it, he felt his hands begin to shake.
It was a picture of Willow on the couch, curled up in her Hello Kitty pajamas.
Xander rushed to the living room window, ignoring Willow's questioning gaze, but he saw nothing. The next morning he investigated a little outside, and found a pile of cigarette butts hidden in Mrs. Rosenburg's gardenia bushes.
The next night he stayed in his basement, didn't dare risk Willow's safety like that. He stared into the blank television monitor and only left for food. The stench of demons' breath seemed to swarm him as they followed him joyfully, their shadowed forms seeming to frolic in his fear. At two in the morning he gave up trying to not to notice the eyes that had somehow followed him even through walls. He slowly stood up on his pull-out bed, back towards the window until he had braced himself for what he would find. He came face to face with ridged features, glowing gold eyes and a mouthful of fangs. He almost couldn't control the flinch that wanted to shake its way up his spine.
"'Lo, Xander," the demon smiled at him, face tilting behind the small glass. "Nice night. How's about you take a bit of a walk with me?"
"How about I stay right here, Mr. Monster?" he asked, courageous or foolish he wasn't quite sure.
The monster's face twisted unhappily for just a moment, before it disappeared altogether. In its place were the angelic features that called so sweetly to be touched, to be kissed, and worshipped. "Now, now, pet. I'm not all that bad. Come chat with me."
Xander shook his head.
"That's not very nice now, is it? Here I am, bein' so kind and comin' to you and you ain't even gonna have a proper conversation w'imme. That's courting skills, for ya."
"Whoa, buddy! Courting…?" Xander didn't want to know. He didn't want to know. He didn't. He didn't. "That's what you think you're doing? You don't even know me, you crazy stalker thing!"
"Course I know you, pet. Had my eye on you for ages."
"What?" he choked. The creature propped his chin on his hand, a slow lustful smile curling his lips sickeningly.
"Oh yeah. You're a pretty little thing. You should come outside, so we can chat…" Xander shook his head again, vehement this time. The monster's face came to the forefront. "Look here, I'll give you this one last chance, pet. Come to me now, or I will make you come to me!"
Xander didn't know why, but he stayed still.
The monster glared down at him from his basement window, gold eyes watching him with mixing emotions, want, anger, lust, pain. He breathed in, the first time Xander actually remembered seeing him take a breath. Then the demon smiled, terrifying and cruel. "Are you scared, Xander?"
He hated the way his heart beat harder at that, hated how he didn't need to ask how the beast knew his name. He clenched his teeth to stop them from chattering and to keep pleading words trapped behind his teeth. He wouldn't beg at the monster. He knew it wouldn't matter. He couldn't ask it to go away. Monsters never responded to anything of the sort.
However, his silence was taken as an answer anyway. The smile grew malignant, teeth seemed to gleam sharper in the half-light coming from the window. "Oh, but you shouldn't be, pet. Not yet."
With those words he jumped up and was gone with a casual walk away, back down the street.
Xander had collapsed back onto the bed after that, almost moved to tears after such a terrifying experience. He began to wonder what that… thatthing would do. He knew where Willow lived, knew where his parents slept, probably. God, the thing knew his name.
Xander almost didn't want to test what else the demon knew about him. He wondered if he should just offer himself up now. He could just go and everyone would be spared. But then again what if he went and they all died anyway? His mind went back and forth until he fell into a fitful sleep, filled with sharp fangs, terrifying eyes, and a lust that wasn't really his. It really wasn't.
For four days, he lived in terror, the anticipation of what that angelic demon would do, but for four days, nothing happened. Every time he turned a corner, he expected something to be there. With each look over his shoulder, he expected to see gold-sparked blue eyes. With each night that came, he expected to see a monster's face staring at him greedily. Nothing and by the third, he was pale and shaking and couldn't even muster up enough of his normal appetite to eat a chocolate bar. His mind was in constant turmoil, and the demons seemed to skitter around gayfully, eating up at his fright. On the fourth morning, the monster struck.
His mother had a little rabbit that she usually kept out in the back yard. He didn't like it. Never really played with it or cooed over it, but his mom loved it. On the fourth morning after he had refused to go to the demon, his mother opened the door to go to work and found a prettily wrapped white box. Xander, who had been just behind her, ready for his walk to school, felt a chill run down his spine, like icy fingers that had touched him so long ago.
"What's this?" his mom asked, bending to pick up the box carefully.
"Give it to me, mom," he told her, holding his hands out.
She shook her head. "It's okay, Xan. I'll open it." She untied the bow, curiously, broke the seal of the pearlescent paper. The cardboard top came off easily. She looked inside and her face drained of color, before she dropped it as she emitted a horrified shriek.
He buried the rabbit in the backyard, next to his mom's little tomato plants. The entire time he raged at the monster for attacking his mother, even indirectly. When night fell, he waited at his bedroom window until the dark figure crested into sight, sauntering lazily and smiling smugly as he dropped down in front of glass. He was in his human visage. "D'ya like my gift?" he asked, proud of himself.
Xander forgot his fear for a moment. Didn't care that this was a demon. "You sick…sick…"
"Ah ah," he cut Xander off, with a slight shake of his ringed index finger. "Now I did warn you, didn't I, sweet?"
Xander glared hatefully at him.
It smiled, pretty with its human smile, even if he was still terrifying. "You'll come see me now, won't you, Xander?"
"Fuck you!" he spat, and felt smugness and fear well up in his chest when that smile fell.
"Was one warning not enough, pet? Do you need more?" His voice was flat, deadly.
Xander felt stupid as he continuously didn't say anything to the monster.
The next warning was swift on the demon's exit. The next morning the school was in a frenzy when he arrived with Willow and Jesse. Police, ambulances, and fire trucks were blaring lights-red, blue, and orange-and the students crowded around.
"What's going on?" Willow asked the first person they came across.
The kid, mousy and even less popular than they were, said with a trembling voice. "Cordelia was murdered. School's been cancelled for the day."
They didn't go home. They watched as the coroner's came out with a body bag on a stretcher. Xander had never been overly fond of the cheerleader, but he had thought she was fun in a weird way. He watched with his friends until the coroner's van was out of sight before they went to the local ice cream parlor. When Xander reached in his backpack to grab the money for his cone, he pulled up instead an envelope with his name written in the same scrawl as the one he had found at Willow's house.
His throat closed as he turned from his friends with a quick excuse of needing to use the restroom.
He pulled out a simple scrap of paper with the words, 'Need more encouragement, Xander?'
He wondered for three more days what he should do. This thing had gone from a household pet to a person within the span of a week. What would he do if Xander continued to ignore him? What would he do if Xander didn't ignore him? His mind came up with so many scenarios, who he would kill whether or not Xander went with him. Who would be next? His mother, father? What if it was Willow or Jesse? He couldn't live without them. He thought about telling the cops, but what would he say? 'Hi there's a demon that wants to torment me by killing people. Can you go check that out?'
He felt sick, and repeatedly had to swallow down vomit. He couldn't force himself to eat at all and he wished that he hadn't acknowledged the one demon that seemed to want him so bad. When he slept the only thing he could see was that face, angelic and demonic. On waking he almost swore he could feel that frozen touch running over his body.
He was a wreck.
When the demon came back a week later, he sat down with a new look on his face. He looked almost sympathetic as he put his hand up to the glass. "Oh, Xander. Why do you make me do this to you? It would be so much simpler if you came to me."
Xander shivered from his place on the floor, knees pulled up to his chest protectively. He stared at the monster balefully, fear radiating through his core. "What the hell are you?" he asked, his voice as ragged as he felt.
The angel tsked. "Now, sweet. I'm Spike. Not much more to me than that."
The word on the window, painted in blood, flashed in front of his eyes and he wondered what or who he had killed to give Xander his name. His stomach rolled violently and he pulled his gaze away from the blond. "Why Cordelia? She had nothing to do with me."
"I couldn't very well go for anyone else. She was a warning, like I said. Can't give you a warning if I punish you first, now can I?"
He shuddered at that thought. His mother's rabbit, Cordelia…they were just warnings. They weren't punishments. That meant soon Spike would start punishing him for his reluctance to take a walk with him. A morbid part of his mind wondered who he would go with first. If he would try and order them by who he loved less and work his way up. An even worse part of his mind felt relief that if the monster did that at least Willow would go last.
The urge to vomit grew and he felt hot tears stinging his eyes. He trembled, even wrapped as tightly as he was. Fear was eating him alive, warring with guilt and rage. This monster would destroy him. If he went with Spike, he was done for. If he didn't he would be driven insane. If he didn't, he would be driven to suicide. Either way, he'd be dead and he didn't want to die.
The first tear fell and he rubbed it against his knee. "Why are you doing this to me, asshole? Why me?"
"I ain't doin' a thing to you, Xander," Spike said, sounding mournful."You brought this on yourself."
Xander shook his head angrily. "I didn't. I didn't ask for this. Didn't ask for you to stalk me, you freak with fangs!"
"That's hurtful, sweet. I ain't even stalkin' you. Just trying to get to know, s'all."
"I don't want to get to know you. You thought of that yet?" he gasped, trying to swallow back tears and nausea. His shaking felt like it was ebbing, but he wasn't sure if that was fatigue or just the fact that he was so used to them by now. "Just leave me alone."
The mournful tone left his voice as Spike said, "You don't want me to do that. I've given you two warnings. I'm losin' my patience."
Xander whirled around to glare at the demon through his tears. "You hurt another person and I swear…I swear, I'll kill myself," he growled.
The demon didn't look phased. In fact, he only quirked a scarred brow. "Either way, Xander, I will have you."
Xander stared at him dumbstruck, with tears streaming down his face and a new fear rattling his bones. Not even death would offer him an escape? He sank further into himself, holding tighter to his legs.
"Suit yourself." Before Xander could move to stop him, Spike was gone.
Xander gaped at the empty window, a lump in his throat as terror and despair rocked him. 'No more warnings,' his mind whispered. He couldn't take it anymore. He lunged into the basement bathroom and emptied bile into the toilet before dry-heaving. When his stomach muscles began clenching and his arms hurt from holding himself up, he just pressed his face to the basin and sobbed. He was so frightened, angry, and guilt-ridden.
His friends were going to die because of him. That monster was going to destroy them.
And it was all his fault.
The next day he tried to convince everyone that they had to stay inside at night. They couldn't leave. When they asked why, he told that they just had to. His parents gave him a 'we're the parents; you're our child' speech. Jesse rolled his eyes and muttered about paranoia before saying he could take care of himself at night, but thanks. Willow looked scared for him, but at least she agreed that she wouldn't go out at night anymore.
He woke up two mornings in a row, wondering how Spike had decided to punish him, who he had decided to punish him with. He braced himself for the anguish, tried to tell himself that he would work his way through it. That if he was prepared…
The third morning he looked out the window only to find a poem left for him, scrawl familiar in the most unwanted way. It was sweet and it was hard for him to imagine the demon writing something when he was killing things so easily. He held the paper in his hands as they shook and when his sweat began soaking into the paper, he crumpled it and threw it away from him.
The fifth morning, there was a drawing of him sleeping. His heart clenched, horror gnawing at his stomach at the thought Spike had been sitting, just watching him sleep so fitfully, while he considered way to destroy everything he ever loved.
A week after, he found chocolate as his gift, a note taped on top, 'You look hungry, pet. Eat something.' He threw it away without even opening it. He couldn't eat. Wouldn't eat if that's what Spike wanted.
Three days after the chocolate, there was a new baby bunny waiting in a little cage and his mother, though she still wasn't over the shock of her first bunny's brutal death, she cherished the baby. He couldn't help but think that it was cruel to give her a pet if Spike was only going to kill her later.
And he would. If he was trying to lull him into a false sense of security it wouldn't work. He was trying to make Xander think that he had more time, but Xander knew he had sewn his loved one's demise. Spike owed him a punishment, and he would collect. The mind fuck was just more warning, another way for that bastard of a demon to mess with him, to hurt him.
Two weeks of chocolates, and poetry, and letters and Xander was worn bone-thin. He couldn't handle it anymore. His nerves were on edge all the time, even in sleep as his nightmares switched between his friends' and parents' faces, and the cold touches that made his mind hurt and his body shudder in betrayal. He hadn't eaten. He shook all the time and the shadows skittered around with glee, scratching at the wall between them and snarling happily when he flinched.
He woke up Friday morning, more tired for having gone to sleep and shivering from the cold hands that had gone over his body. He looked at the sun streaming through the basement window, the shadow that blocked it. He knew then. He really did and he tried to brace himself to see anyone's face, to be alright with the fact he had killed them. It didn't stop the tears that built up in his eyes or the uncontrollable shaking the wracked his body. Sobs started shaking him as he pulled himself up, made himself look at his window where dull hazel eyes stared at him lifelessly
That night, after the cops had come and the coroner had taken the body away, after his parents had tried to talk to him, after he had talked to his friend's parents, and talked to his other friend for three hours, he pulled himself outside and sat down against his basement door, staring blankly at the tree beside his house. It was dark, and the shadows skittered around excitedly, breathed loudly in anticipation.
He hated the dark.
He really, really hated it.
Spike came to him lazily, almost hesitantly, leather duster swishing around his slight form like a great cape. He was in his angelic form, his face painted in remorse as he stopped at Xander's feet. "It was fast," he said finally, crouching down in front of him. "Should make you feel better, pet. Could've been worse."
"I hate you so much," Xander said, shuddering as he thought about his friend's death, how he should feel better because his crazy demon stalker had made it painless.
"S'expected, in't it?" he said with a shrug. Like they were talking about rain. Xander hated himself for not trying to kill the monster. "It'll pass though. All hurts do."
It was his own fault though. He'd brought it on himself. Spike had warned him twice, had given him so many opportunities to just do what he was told. It was his fault Willow was dead. Another wave of guilt washed over him, potent and crippling. It left no room for anything else, fear, anger…just guilt.
He turned his head towards the perfect face that had broken him so thoroughly. "If I do what you say…no one else will get hurt, right?"
Spike quirked a brow. "Can't promise that, pet." Xander clenched his teeth painfully to draw away from the mental anguish. "Can promise that I won't lay a finger on anyone you tell me not to."
He looked into those blue gold-sparked eyes and decided the promise held there would have to do. He couldn't live through another person he loved and treasured dying. He just couldn't. And Spike had said even if he killed himself, Spike would still get him.
A cold finger traced his cheek, making him shiver, repulsed…by himself or the demon he wasn't sure. "Do whatever you want," he bit out, closing his eyes tightly.
He could hear Spike's grin, heard the shadows roaring in triumph as he was jerked away from the door and into a strong embrace. He felt Spike's cold tongue run up his neck, cover his pulse point and shivered, some of the guilt abating so that a small mingling of fright and hated arousal could stir in him. He unwittingly turned his head, exposing more of his neck.
"S'all right, Xander. Only hurt for a moment," Spike whispered against his skin, just before he lunged, fangs sinking into his neck. Pain lanced Xander, but true to his words, it was only for a moment and then a sort of euphoria took over him, drowning out the terror, the arousal, and the guilt. He felt as though he were actually in water as a cold enclosed around him, and he felt his hands float upwards, resting weakly on Spike's arms, before slipping away from the leather.
The demons in the shadows whooped and hollered, but that was muted after a few seconds. He barely felt Spike's grasp tighten around him, supporting him more as he drank and drank and drank of him.
He was pulled under finally, into a dark that didn't terrify him.
Xander hoped it was death…
…knew it was something much worse.