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Perchance to Dream


Part Seven

Xan tried his hardest not to laugh and encourage the two blonds, but it was damn hard.

They’d just separated from the two Gunns and Queen and from the smile the woman was giving. Xan was just thankful their suite was across the hall and not close enough to actually hear anything that might go on.

The whole car ride here, in the elevator, not even entering the suite had stopped the two blonds from commenting and making fun of their sire. Well this universe’s Spike commented, his own just laughed and nodded the other on.

If it had been him, he would’ve felt honored both Spikes cared so much for him. Xan thought it was pretty obvious. The more they picked on you, the more they cared. But not Angel, Xan was no vampire, but even he could feel the anger building and radiating off the older vampire.

Angel wondered what the hell he’d been thinking. He had wanted them here? Wasn’t he taking the redemption thing a little too far? But they had sounded so sweet, like William earlier. They cared about him, they’d admitted it, but Angel sure as hell wasn’t feeling it.

And what the hell was wrong with Xan? The man was smiling like this was the cutest thing he’d ever seen and he could read the jealousy directed at him. Right now Angel was tempted to just tell the other man he could have both blonds and he’d be in the other room.

Then his Spike stretched and Angel caught a glimpse of perfect skin between his shirt and dirty jeans. Angel could honestly say nothing had ever distracted him more than that flesh at that moment. He just couldn’t tear his eyes away. Then he realized the skin was gone and the lips were moving.

“What the hell is wrong with you Peaches? Aren’t you going to answer?”

“What?” Angel blinked. He turned and saw Xan was still in the haze and he could smell the man’s blooming lust.

“Where do you want us to sleep?” Spike cocked his head. What was wrong with these two? His counterpart nudged his arm and made a slight sniffing movement. Spike copied it and nearly fell over, lust and it wasn’t coming from either of them. Well now, he could work with this.

“You two stay in here, me and Xan will take the other room. No shoes on the bed, goodnight.” And that fast Angel grabbed Xan and went into the other room. Well, he could’ve worked with that.

The two blonds looked at each as fit of laughter over took them. The double removed the leather coat, tossing it to the floor and still chuckling, he winked at his counterpart. “What did I tell you?”

Not wanting to admit he was wrong, even to himself, he kicked off his boots. “So what? He wants to fuck us. That’s not saying a lot, hating me never stopped him from doing that before.”

“Uh huh. True enough. The mouth never really put anyone off, but there was more to that than lust.”

“Yeah, you’re right, there was. So how long has Xan been wanting to shag you?” Spike was thrilled at the shock on the other’s face. Ha- he hadn’t noticed. He didn’t concern himself that the other’s blindness to Xan meant he could be just as blind to Angel.

“What- he never,” The blond sat on the bed with a thump.

“Never what? Huh luv?” After the hell his counterpart had given him about Angel, this was well-deserved payment, with interest.

The other universe’s Spike stared into space. Trying to remember before Wolfram & Hart. God, it seemed so long ago. Xan taking him hunting, when Angel was too busy, so he wouldn’t be alone. So someone could watch his back.

Xan, who was completely mortal and therefore could die, pushing him out of the way of oncoming bullets. Then shrugging when he yelled at the mortal. He remembered one time in particular. Xan’s arm bleeding from a bullet he’d taken for a vampire, for him. He’d yelled at Xan and Xan had looked straight at him and told him it was worth it. At the time he thought Xan had been taking leadership to the extreme.

“Oh god.” All the fights between Angel and Xan seemed to make a little more sense. At the time he couldn’t figure out why Xan would get so pissed at bruises and marks Angel would leave from rough sex. Never mentioning the marks Spike would leave on Angel.

Spike watched the double sitting on the bed. He seemed to be taking this rather badly. Somehow Spike didn’t think his double would see this as he did, this was a chance. He knew what it was to be alone, it hurt and it was lonely. He also knew it would prove the love’s bitch theory and yet he couldn’t leave, well himself, in the same hell he’d so recently been in. “Listen mate, I know you’ve been through a rough patch recently but just think about it. Xan-pet really seems to care. And being alone, just doesn’t work for us.” Spike looked at his double, who was seemly still in shock.

Shrugging, he walked around his counterpart and to the other side of the bed. He pulled off his shirts and put his hand on the buttons to his jeans. He glanced at the back of the blond head, which hadn’t moved.

Spike put his knee on the bed and reached across to his counterpart. Then tried not to flinch when the other jumped off the bed and whirled to face him. They stared at each other, the moments dragged on, until the longhaired blond gave a small apologetic smile. They undressed in silence.

After double-checking the black sheets on the window, the lights were turned off. The double realized there were slight changes between himself four years ago and his chipped counterpart. Himself, four years ago, would’ve never let anyone hold his hand to fall asleep. Then he reminded himself, he would’ve never held anyone’s hand four years ago. He was thankful for the change and curled up next to the soft skin of his counterpart and let himself be lulled to sleep.

The Dream Interlude~

He wasn’t scared when Wolfram & Hart caught him. He wasn’t scared during the torture they called interrogation. He wasn’t worried about anything he might say. Whenever one of the higher up got caught, Xan and Angel changed locations. Spike couldn’t tell them anything useful even if he wanted to.

Wolfram & Hart knew this as well and Spike figured they’d torture him for a while then stake him. End game. He’d known the rules before he joined and he was surreally ready. Now that he’d been caught, there wasn’t anything left to lose. He was free to just let things happen.

He would’ve bet Xan and Angel were seriously pissed off. He was sure they’d get some kind of revenge. He was rather pissed he wouldn’t be around to see what they did. He was positive it would be bloody.

Spike knew the score. The resistance couldn’t survive a head on attack with Wolfram & Hart and so there would be no rescue. Everyone knew this and to that end there had never been a rescue attempt for someone who’d been taken to the headquarters of Wolfram & Hart, as he’d been.

He’d clearly heard the snap of his own urn close when he saw the gates etched with the W&H headquarters symbol.

Days turned into weeks and he wondered what the hell Wolfram & Hart was playing at. Everyday a couple of the demon goons, they called guards, would take him from his cell and lead him down to another room. Where he would be asked questions and tortured, by the most boring guy Spike had ever met.

In Spike’s professional opinion, the guy wasn’t even half decent at his job. The day they’d caught him. They had thrown a control collar on him, which stopped him from attacking the guy physically. It didn’t matter. The guy got so flustered by his comments about his wife, mother, and God. That the ‘torturer’ kept losing his cool and was unable to continue, sending Spike back to his room.

His cell was another thing that pulled at him. The resistance had never gotten anyone out of the headquarters. So they had no idea what the place looked like from the inside, but compared to the places they had stormed, it was a haven.

Windowless, so he didn’t have to hide in a shadow for hours on end. It was cramped but it was also clean with a cot bed and chair. He’d even been given a deck of cards to play with. However, being his nature, he spent most his time figuratively climbing the walls and literally pacing.

He figured he’d been there about three weeks when the guards didn’t take him to his usual day of bait the wannabe torturer. He figured this was the day and when they led him into a room with thick, red carpet. The first thing he thought was, they were never going to get his ashes out of this carpet.

A man coughed and he looked up. It was indeed a man but Spike doubted that was all he was. A table of buzzards, it could only be the heads of Wolfram & Hart and Spike let loose a biting laugh. His end was important enough for the buzzards to want to see it.

“William, so glad to finally have the opportunity to meet you. I would have made time sooner, but your friends have been begging for my attention.” The man that had spoken was seated in the middle of the table, a few seats away from the man, who’d coughed to get his attention.

He wasn’t surprised they knew his real name, yet the surprise at its use must have flashed across his face.

The center table guy took it as a question. “Your Grandsire was kind enough to tell us many things, before her unfortunate death.”

Spike didn’t answer. He didn’t want to seem impatient for his own death, but if he was going to be forced to listen to this wanker all damn day. He was going to ask them just to speed it up.

“I’ve heard many interesting things about you William. I must admit you live up to my expectations, which is rather rare. It seems the gentlemen to whom I gave the responsibility of making you more willing to our ideas has given up on the task.”

Spike was not known for holding his tongue and gave up trying. “Screw your expectations and fuck you. Are you going to talk all bleeding day, or stake me already?”

No one answered his explosion, but the collar sent a current that brought him to his knees. He tried to pull himself to his feet and growled when he found he wasn’t able to.

The man in the middle of the circler table stood. The others ignored Spike to watch this being come around the table. He was tall and older looking, but Spike knew appearances could be deceiving. He, like Spike, looked in far better shape than his age could account for. Full head of gray hair, dark skin nearly Italian looking, and a build nowhere near skinny. He also wore a business suit, unlike any Spike had seen since before the new world order.

Spike figured this was it. He preferred not to die on his knees but the choice had been taken from him. He was expecting a stake when the man raised his hand, but the hand was empty. Spike tried his hardest not to move as the fingers caressed his face. He didn’t drop his eyes and he didn’t pull away, but his stomach dropped.

His stomach must have figured it out before the rest of him had. “You’re a very lovely young man.” The man twisted his face towards the table. “I find you fellows haven’t been unrealistic. He’s beautiful, the perfect replacement for the one you lost.”

The men at the table twitched at the ‘one you lost’. “Clean him up. I want him. Deliver him to me and cut his vocal cords.”

For the first time, Spike felt fear.

The man turned from him and towards the table. “Gentlemen.” The collective members of the table nodded and bade the thing farewell. In total, Spike counted 12. The thing standing slightly in front him, made 13, never a good number. Right up there with the triple 6’s.

The man turned away from the table and ruffled Spike’s hair. Then laughed, when Spike twisted away. The men at table remained standing as a guard open and closed the door behind the being. Spike couldn’t bring himself to call that man mortal, nor human, his scent was wrong.

The man that had coughed to get his attention moved from behind the table. He too was older perhaps late 40’s and human. Spike could smell the sweat and the body was in nowhere near the good shape the other’s had been and it pissed the vampire off to no end. Without the collar’s interference, this man would be at hells gate and not looming over him.

He reached out to Spike’s hair as the other had done. Spike, finding he could move, sprang away from the touch and to his feet, growling loudly and in full game face.

The man dropped his hand, the others still seated laughed and one piped up. “I don’t think the boy likes you, Frank.”

Frank smiled at Spike. “That’s okay Thomas, he doesn’t have to. William, showing your demon won’t help you. So why don’t you drop it?”

Spike growled in response. Frank tried again. “William, I can make you drop it. Why don’t you help yourself and not try anything hasty.”

Spike paused, seemly to think it over then sprang towards the man. He barely got a hand on the man before he was on the floor. Spike cracked open his eyes, the pain made him hazy, but he could tell his vision had been reverted back to his human mask. He slowly pulled himself from the floor and pushed away from the hand lowered to help him up.

“See William, that wasn’t smart and it hurt. You could’ve saved yourself a lot of pain.” Frank turned towards the door. “Send the good Doctor in.” One of the guards slipped out.

Frank and the figures at the table regarded him. Spike felt uncomfortable under the stares and he growled lightly. Frank smiled. “Sort of like a wild little pet, aren’t you? I bet Leader Ambrose is going to have fun with you.”

“Take this collar off and I’ll show you wild.” Spike did stop growling. As these ‘men’ seemed to think it was amusing and not dangerous.

Frank laughed. “I don’t think that would be in our best interest. We’re well aware of your version of violence and it so happens, I plan to live a very long time.”

The guard returned, followed by a man in a white coat. He looked young compared to the rest of these stiffs. About 35, or so and he seemed very nervous.

“You have need for me, leaders?” The man held his black bag in front of him, like a shield, glancing around the room. His eyes saw Spike and if possible, softened.

Another at the table called out. “Yes, Doctor Howard. Do come in.”

The doctor inched further into the room and jumped as the door closed behind him. “Is one of you ill?”

“No,” Frank answered with amusement in his voice, making the doctor draw back. “We need your help with our little one here.”

The doctor looked him over and Spike backed away. Spike hated doctors, hated them when he was alive and never needed one as a vampire. His fear made him madder. He clenched his fists. He was not going to show fear.

The doctor’s fear fed Spike’s and his nervousness fueled Spike’s anger. The doctor’s voice shook. “He looks fine, sir.”

Frank grabbed his arm and Spike found he was unable to pull away. His body just wouldn’t move, until Frank moved him towards the doctor. Then his body followed and inside Spike screamed.

“He looks more than fine Doctor, but that’s not the point. Cut his vocal cords.”

The Doctor’s skin paled and he danced on his feet. “Perhaps you, sh-should call someone el- else.”

Frank held his arm. Spike tried to make his arm move-do anything. His fingers followed the command, but his arm stayed in Frank’s sweaty grasp. Frank smiled, it was cold and his voice conveyed his intolerance. “Doctor Howard, I know you will have no problems with the procedure. We want this done by someone who can do the job well, don’t we, William?”

“Sod off, tosser.” Spike was beginning to appreciate the softness of the room’s carpet. This time he had no choice in avoiding the hand that yanked him from the floor.

“B-but, your leadership, he’s a-a ch-child and I ca-can’t.”

“Oh Doctor, is that what’s bothering you. He’s a lot older than he looks. In fact he’s not even human. Here, take his pulse.” Frank raised Spike’s arm. The doctor took his wrist and Spike couldn’t stop the tremors that the doctor’s touch caused.

Frank turned from the doctor to look at Spike.

Spike told his body to move away from the hand that tilted his chin up and finding himself unable to do that, he closed his eyes.

At least that got through to his treacherous body. He hated this, trapped inside his own body, unable to move and unable to make it listen to him. It was like watching a dummy follow the strings of the puppet master and it was causing a claustrophobic panic.

He felt so helpless and that feeling was the worse, but when Frank told him to open his eyes and they opened without his permission. Spike only let the anger shine through.

The doctor dropped his wrist. “A vampire. Do, do you want it-it to be permanent?”

“No Doc, nothing permanent. He has a lovely voice. We just want to teach him how to use it better.” Frank was reaching his boiling point and his grasp on Spike’s arm increased. It didn’t really hurt, which pissed Spike off, as he should have been able to remove it.

The doctor seemed to finally pick up on Frank’s unhappiness. “Yes, then I’ll d-do it.”

Doctor Howard made a move towards him, and since it wasn’t a command harboring Frank’s hold on him, Spike’s body did cringe. Spike cursed it for picking that time to listen.

“Well Frank,” the man, Thomas, gaffed out. “Looks like there’s someone he dislikes more than you.”

Frank smiled down at him and Spike wanted to belt it off his face. “Looks like it, Thomas.” Lowering his voice Frank said. “William, be a good boy and this won’t hurt. Misbehave and I’ll have him drip the instruments in holy water. Do you understand?”

If possible the doctor looked more fearful of the threat than Spike did. Spike didn’t trust his voice. If he opened his mouth, he was sure he’d say something that would get him the holy water treatment, so instead he nodded.

“Lets get the good Doctor some working space. You, guard, bring that chair here, in front of the table, under the light.” Frank called to the other. “Get a table, so the Doctor can set up.”

The doctor took a deep breath as both guards jumped to their tasks. “I have more equipment in the lab. Are you sure I can’t take him down there? It would be far more,”

Frank cut him off. “Doctor, we can bring anything you like up here. If it’s necessary; however, you will do the procedure right here. We would like to witness the event. Surely you would not ask us to come down to your lab?”

The doctor paled. “No, of course not. This will be fine. I should have everything I need.”

Frank turned from the Doctor and in doing so brought Spike with him. Spike had no choice but to let himself be put into a seat and he keenly felt the 12 pairs of eyes watching him. But it wasn’t until the doctor took his seat situated, so he loomed from above, that Spike felt the tremors return.

The Doctor held some liquid in his hand and paused before applying it. “Do I-I have your per-permission, Leader to make th-this as painless for him as possible.”

Frank stood next to Spike’s chair, opposite from the Doctor. Both were trying their best not to block Spike from the table of onlookers. Spike wanted to look up and see the answer. He found he could move his head and did so, Frank looked down at him.

Spike made a mental note that holding still while Frank brushed the hair from his face was the hardest thing he’d ever done to date. Frank smiled. “See William you’re being a good boy, so you get a treat. Yes, Doctor you have our permission to make this as painless as possible for him.”

The Doctor sighed his relief. Spike couldn’t help but agree with him. It wasn’t the pain he feared, it was the doctor, and the loss of his voice. The liquid was applied to his throat and in moments, it was numb. Spike pushed back into the seat as the scalpel was lifted towards his throat and the doctor again paused.

“What is the problem now, Doctor?” Frank hissed.

The doctor twisted in his seat with an uneasy expression of pain. “He’s shaking too much. I’m afraid I might do him damage.”

“Frank, we can’t have him damaged. Calm him down.” Spike swore one day he was going to kill Thomas and the first thing he was going to do was tear his vocal cords out, slowly.

Frank once more stepped into his field of vision. Blocking the sight of the others at the table, the doctor, and the light from above. “William, I know you’re scared.” Spike growled at him and Frank smiled it was soft and relenting. “Okay, you’re not scared. Just calm down it won’t hurt. You won’t feel anything.”

Spike badly wanted to tell him; hey if its no big deal then they could switch places. More than any of the others, he hated this man with his act of being kind it threw him off. He wasn’t used to kindness, but he knew it didn’t wreak evil as this did.

He felt the collar tingle around his lower neck and readied himself for the pain. Instead it slowly deadened his body, making it feel heavy and useless. The shaking stopped. The only thing he could move were his eyes. Unlike the previous times, he could make nothing respond, it was like he wasn’t there.

His eyes widened and Frank lightly trailed a finger down his face, pausing to run them over his lips. “Don’t worry little one, this only lasts a short time.” Frank moved back and Spike was too relieved to even glare. He just closed his eyes. “Go ahead, Doctor.”

Spike felt the scalpel as it split his skin and now it was real. They really were going to do this to him and there really was nothing he could do stop them. The helpless overwhelmed him.

Eyes still closed, he sensed Frank lean in. He didn’t care anymore and didn’t open his eyes to see. “Doctor, you assured me he would feel no pain.”

“He’s not, not from me anyway.” The doctor sounded surer of himself now. Spike was sure it had something to do with the fact that the doctor was now slicing and dicing. It had always calmed him down.

“Then why is he crying?” Frank sounded more or less interested, hardly concerned. Spike blinked, it took him a moment to process the fact that he was indeed crying. It pissed him off and he squeezed his eyes shut, trying to cut them off.

“I would gather because he’s scared, because I’m cutting his vocal cords. Or maybe because he’s not used to humans staring at him, like he’s dinner.”

“No need to get nasty Doctor. Is everything going okay?”

Spike felt someone wiping his face and didn’t want to look. He didn’t want to see that bastard looking at him, touching him. Instead, he concentrated on what the Doctor was doing, even that was better. He felt the something break apart inside his throat and knew his voice was gone.

“It’s done. I’ll close up.”

Spike heard the rattling of the instruments.

“There won’t be any scaring?” Frank was closer, like he was leaning over, looking at the Doctor’s handy work. Spike could feel his breath.

“No scaring. The cuts I’ve made to the surface will actually heal rather quickly, probably unnoticeable within a couple of days. The actual vocal cords will take longer. Depending on how he’s fed, give or take, three months.”

“Good work Doctor. Expect your usual payment.” He could hear and sense Frank moving away from him and the doctor moved towards the table.

The Doctors breath came close to his ear. “I’m sorry, kid.” He peeked from underneath his lids. The Doctor was holding a bandage and without another word, proceeded to wrap his throat.

Sensation bloomed into his body like he coming out of deep water. He lifted his head and finding that went well, he jumped from the chair, and found that didn’t go over to well. He hit the floor just as the Doctor came around the chair. Frank pushed him out of the way. “Your help is no longer needed here, Doctor.”

Spike watched the Doctor beat a hasty retreat to the door, calling over his shoulder, before the door was shut upon him. “Make sure he gets blood.”

Frank tried to pull him from the floor and finding he could do so, Spike pulled away from him. Hell, he wanted to stay on the floor and his throat was starting to hurt.

Frank stood over him for a minute. “Come, William off the floor.”

He wasn’t moving, to hell with this and he closed his eyes. He wasn’t unconscious. He just didn’t care and he was tired. “Guard pick him up and follow me.”

He was lifted off the floor like a child, cradled in the things arms. Spike opened his mouth to tell the tosser to put him down. And nothing came out…

~~~~End Dream Interlude Pt.1

He was screaming now. Spike woke up to sound of his own voice and realized it wasn’t him, but his counterpart. He watched his hand shake as he tried to sooth his counterpart. All the while thankful the other could scream out, he’d been trained out of that. He’d always suffered in silenced, until now. It still took him a minute to figure out he wasn’t in that room, but a hotel.

The counterpart woke up. Scrambling away from the hands, unseeing whom the hands belonged to. They both took ragged unneeded breaths.

“You okay?” The alternate having awoken first, recovered first and reached out, towards the other.

The Spike of this universe let himself be pulled down onto bed. “Yeah, mate fine. Woke you up, did I?”

“Yes, thank you, I,”

“Having a problem of your own?”

“Yeah.” He tried to control the breathing induced by the terror. This universe’s Spike flicked between his game face and human.

The alternate took in their condition. “We’re quite a pair, booze?”

“Yeah, booze.” The shorthaired Spike settled on his human guise. Then got up and brought back an armful of alcohol bottles. Tossing vodka towards his counterpart, he sat on the bed with a whiskey. Neither wanted to talk and so they drank in silence.

They were each on a second bottle, before either could relax. The bleach blond realized he was sitting up, relaxed against his counterpart’s side. The skin felt so soft against his back and fingers randomly tracing patterns on his side. He squirmed away as they began to tickle. “Stop it.” He tried to roll away. His counterpart followed, not relenting, but putting both hands to the action.

This universe’s Spike twisted to return the favor and both broke apart when they fell from the bed onto the floor. Still breathlessly laughing, they helped each up, it had been so long since either had had fun.

The alternate figured it had been four years since anyone had touched him, other than sexually. And for the first time in four years, he found he was attracted to someone and it had nothing to do with the fact that this person was essentially himself.

If that was all it was then he could go into the bathroom and have at. They were, in his eyes, far to different to be the same person. They just looked alike. He watched his counterpart stretch and made up his mind.

“Turn over.” He crawled across the bed to sit next to the bleached, shorthaired blond, who looked at him.

“Why?” It wasn’t hostile, just curious.

“Cause, I want to make you feel better.” The other raised an eyebrow at him, but still followed the request.

He massaged the soft skin and felt the muscles relax beneath his hands. He waited until the body beneath his was pliant before kissing the middle and then suppressed a sigh when the muscles stiffened, ruining all his work.

Still beneath him, the other turned around. “Why did you do that?”

“I wanted to. I want to do this too.” He leaned in and softly kissed the shorthaired blond, not releasing, until neither could help the moans that escaped. Still on top, he could feel himself grinding against a need as great as his own.

“Please, I need this.” He whispered into the swollen lips, still so close to his.

His answer was given when a hand worked between them and rubbed him through his white boxers. “God, yes.” Escaped his lips, before he lowered his head to kiss the one beneath him.

Boxers were great. Ripping those off, they found skin on skin was even better. A heat was generated between the two cool bodies grinding against each other. Soft nips turned blue eyes into gold. He twisted out of the hold his alternate held his long hair in and worked down the writhing body. Nipping the hard flat nipples till they were wet little numbs. He bit and sighed into the moan he heard from above him.

The blood tasted like a hot spring of passion and desire. He licked the spot till it closed beneath his lips. He tried holding the bucking hips into the mattress. Being of equal strength, the alternate just tried to slow the rocking.

Laying flat on his back in bed was enjoyable but shorthaired blond wanted to do more. Yet every time he tried to turn them over, he was met with resistance and a new place to put his attention.

He gave up and put himself into the other’s very capable hands and relented when his counterpart pushed his knees apart. The long blond hair became electric shocks of pleasure, as the strands moved against his lower stomach. He whimpered with need as his hips shifted to push against the teasing mouth.

He managed a groan when the other avoided his forcing hands. “Plea,” In gulfed, he couldn’t finish the word. He wrapped his fists in the sheets, the pulsing in his cock mimicking a heartbeat.

One hand messaged his aching balls. The other hand sneaked some fingers next to the shorthaired blonde’s organ inside his counterpart’s mouth. The shorthaired blonde hissed, when those fingers left the others mouth and slid lower, pressing against his opening. He pushed and raised his hips against the digit, forcing it within him.

Another finger joined the first stretching and scissoring. Every other stoke brought the fingers to that spot, blinding him with jolts of pleasure.

He gasped in shock, when the head lifted from him, bouncing his cock against his stomach. He whimpered to the face looking down at him, as the fingers inside him picked up speed.

The longhaired blonde leaned down and whispered harshly. “Can I?”

“Yes.” He breathed out to the face above him, lifting and spreading his knees to allow better access.

The alternate knew what he needed and knew his counterpart would understand. He thrust full force into the willing body. With a scream of equal part pain and numbing pleasure, the blond on the bed wrapped his legs around the other’s waist.

Feeling the blood pave an easier way, the longhair blond mewed his own ecstasy. So tight like a steel band had surrounded him, pulling him, squeezing. He gave a split moment to wonder if this was why so many people enjoyed the same position with him, but pushed it away with a sharp thrust of the hips.

The dark blond removed one hand from his partner’s bucking hips to the throbbing cock aching with the fiction between them and brought his hand around it. He roughly countered his own rhythm.

He leaned down for a kiss and was almost pulled over the edge, as teeth met catching tongue and lips. Blood flowed between them distracting them from the room, from the world. Everything was the thrust of hips and the weeping blood of the tongue.

Thrusts became pistons, as they collided head on with a train of pleasure, twin screams ran the walls.

They gulped breaths, trying to rein in the humming of the blood. The alternate moved first raising up and out of the lax body beneath him, each gave a moan at the separation. He leaned over and used the first thing his hand touched to clean them off. Entwined in one another, they kissed softly and their hitched breath slowed to nothingness as a dreamless sleep over took them.

Angel made to fully enter the room the blondes were now sleeping in. Xan restrained him with a hand around his arm.

“No Angel, leave them be.” Angel turned to the statue, leaning against the other side of the door. Angel could see the dark pangs of desire stirring within the chocolate eyes.

“I just wanted,” Angel tried to push past the other man, without causing him pain, but it was of no avail.

“I know what you wanted. I want the same thing but not now. That wasn’t for us.” Xan’s eyes narrowed, staring into the deliberately dark room. “It wasn’t a show, nor was it an invite.”

“Then what do you suppose we do? I have to touch. You saw the condition they woke up in. I want to make sure they’re okay.”

“They comforted each other and as you can see they’re sleeping just fine now. If they scream again we can bust in here as the white knights. Till then you come back into this room and wait your turn for a cold shower.” Xan’s arm made no sign of releasing him and Angel knew the man was right. His soul wouldn’t let him go in and just take what he wanted.

So the vampire cast one more glance into the room that called him with the smell of sex and his boy’s blood and turned away, towards his own cold room. Xan gazed, memorizing the scene before him before slipping back and shutting the connecting door.

Part Eight

Xan decided the best way to deal with last night was to believe there was no last night. He didn’t see it and therefore it didn’t happen. Denial, more than a band-aid for the head of a losing side of a war, if it worked there, it would work here.

So what if every time he closed his eyes he saw flawless ivory skin, flashes of azure, and gleaming fangs? It didn’t mean anything. He just had a very vivid dream last night and that’s all there was to it.

He just hoped Angel, the brooding poof, would keep his mouth shut. Lord, let the man be having an inner soul brooding day.

Cordelia had shown up sometime around noon to collect her counterpart for some recon shopping. Xan was proud of the Gunn’s. They’d held out for exactly 10 minutes before giving in to the women. If they survived Xan was going to give them a purple heart. From what he’d heard from Angel, both men would deserve one, if they came back alive.

He couldn’t help but smile, thinking of the two men franticly nodding no as Queen C asked for the permission for her and G to go. It wasn’t the first time Xan had sent a good man to his death. It was the first time he could do it with a smile and a laugh.

He called Giles and got a report on Will and Wes. It seems the Willow’s were having a ‘smashing’, and who used that word, time. They were using the magic shop to compare spells.

The Willow’s were pretty much a given. However the Wesley’s seemed to have worked out their differences as well and were ‘bonding’. Xan wasn’t worried. His Wes was already as jaded as they came. Angel didn’t seem so sure about the arrangement. Xan couldn’t help a smile, if the vampire only knew.

Xan couldn’t help but think that he had made an error in letting everyone go their separate ways, even if it was a good laugh. Now he was trapped with three vampires and none were in good moods.

They tried playing cards but Angel kept accusing the Spikes of cheating. Angel couldn’t prove it. He just accused them, every hand. Now the first five times it could be seen as funny. Xan knew they were cheating. They knew they were cheating, but it was just a game.

Of course, Angel didn’t see it that way. Angel had brought up every sin he could think of and Xan had to separate this world’s Spike from Angel. He ended up threatening them with his ‘holy’ water. Yeah it came from the bathroom but he wasn’t going to tell them that.

The bottle of ‘holy’ water was still sitting at his feet and the three vampires were in various stages of conversation. Angel had decided this world’s Spike could not go around in dirty clothes and his counterpart could not go around in clothing that was nearly translucent. Xan manned his ‘holy’ water and stayed out of it.

“I will not have any childe of mine looking like a homeless reject.”

“Who’s the reject, Peaches? You didn’t care what I wore till now, what’s the big deal?” This world’s Spike crossed his arms and Xan had to suppress a smile, God it was so damn cute. He looked wholly the part of a put off child. Xan had the urge to tell Angel to leave them alone. He also had an urge to tell Angel he was a priss, but he bit his tongue on both urges.

“The big deal is I have to be seen with you. When was the last time you two bathed?” Angel backed away from the two blondes, who still smelt of sex and blood. In Xan’s opinion they didn’t look or smell bad. However he had a feeling ‘Peaches’ was just venting.

For the first time the counterpart spoke, while grabbing his mirror’s arm. “As you say, Sire.”

This universe’s Spike glared at his counterpart. “We are not listening to Peaches.”

Xan couldn’t hear what his Spike whispered to his twin. Though Angel must have because he suddenly got the ‘I’m guilty-stake me now’ look. Xan’s Spike dragged the other towards the bathroom. The dark haired Spike turned back towards the room. Once he got the other safely inside the bathroom. “We’ll wear whatever you choose, Sire.”

He heard the other Spike begin to curse at his counterpart as the door closed, a few seconds later the shower could be heard.

Angel hadn’t moved and in order for Xan to peel his mind away from what was most likely happening in the bathroom, he turned his attention towards the brunette vampire. “Well?”

Angel turned his way. “What?”

“What did he say to get your Spike to do that?” Angel ignored the question and went to the mini-bar. Seeing it was bone dry, Angel went into their room and Xan calmly waited. The vampire returned with a glass full of what, Xan figured, was Rum and ice.

Xan made to reach for the ‘holy’ water at his feet. Angel paused, the glass half way to his lips. “He said, he’d had his fill of hell and remembers enough not to want to see my version of it.”

Oh, hitting Angel where it hurt. Reminding the older vampire of how he used to treat Spike and reminding Angel of his failures. Damn and Xan had thought his Spike had lost the flair. It was still there, in spades, just a lot quieter. “I see, well you better make the most of it.”

Angel looked at him as if he was crazy and that was an insult, who knew crazy like the sire of Drusilla? “What do you mean?”

“I mean you can put them in the black silk of your choice.” Xan leaned forward, interested in the vampire’s reaction.

“My clothes, why the hell would I put them in my clothes?” The vampire took a swig of his rum.

Xan muttered beneath his breath, aware the vampire’s hearing would pick it up. “Better than pissing on them.”

Angel nearly spit his rum. “I’m not trying to mark them.”

“No, you’re just trying to control them and let me tell you, I’m not a vampire, but even I can smell the lust coming off you.” Xan pulled back from the vampire and for the first time that day relaxed into his chair. It was amazing what venting at Angel could do for a person, he’d forgotten.

“I am a vampire and I could say the same to you, my friend.” Angel smiled, watching Xan again tense in his chair.

Xan shook his head, time to get his own drink. He walked past the vampire, aware of the sniffing motion the vampire made in his direction, as he wandered to the mini bar in the other room. This was a whiskey moment if there ever was one. He added it to his coffee.

Damn Angel, no that wasn’t exactly fair he, himself had made his emotions perfectly clear last night. He’d spent an hour in their shower after turning away, from what didn’t happen last night.

Xan thought he might have a moment to himself and cursed himself and his bad luck, when Angel walked into the room. Xan watched the vampire open his closet and start pulling things out. He snapped at Xan. “Since I’m the only one with clothing here. You’re going to have to borrow something too. After you shower, of course. Just don’t ruin them.”

Xan seeing the excuse for what it was, took the offered clothes, turned from the vampire and headed towards their room’s shower. “I’ll care for them like I would my own.”

He shut the bathroom door, only to hear the vampire call loudly at the door. “You better care for them better than that.”

Damn, he’d missed that guy. No one was funnier to piss off than Angel and he recalled his full understanding of Wes and Spike’s addiction to it. What a stress reliever.

Xan had the shampoo in his hair, before it hit him. This was the first shower in many years that had no armed guard standing in attendance, no witchcraft to block. He was alone, no threat, no worries and there would be no emergency, in which he would have to meet buck-naked.

This is how normal people felt, Xan guessed. He took a long time in that shower, long enough to realize hot water was a luxury that ran out and when it did, he was forced to leave.

It wasn’t until he was standing dry in the warm bathroom that he looked through the clothing Angel had tossed at him. A silk shirt, he chuckled and black no less. The pants were also the negative color, but they were so soft. Xan posed and felt the material before he could make himself sit to put on the thin socks. Xan doubted they would be any comfort inside his boots.

He and Angel were very close in size, it was a good fit and he could hardly complain about the materials. He glanced in the mirror, he thought for a moment about shaving and tossed the idea right out. He didn’t want to look like their Xan. That kid wasn’t as built as he was, but mistakes could be made and he didn’t want any.

His people needed to tell, at a glance, who was who and the scar that the beard hid wouldn’t be enough for split second viewing. Even if the clothing was better, god where did that kid shop? He could find better clothing in a war. What did that say about the kid’s taste? He could only hope the choice in clothing was the girlfriends doing.

He stepped out of the room, enjoying the coolness of the main room after the heat in the bathroom. Angel was waiting, another drink in hand, brood in full swing. Xan almost felt like he was interrupting. Angel took brooding to a new height. “Angel?”

The vampire pulled his eyes from the wisdom of his rum. “Yeah, Xan.”

Xan noticed the door between the rooms was closed. “If I open that door will I find two piles of ash?”

Angel’s eyes flashed gold, before they again calmed to chocolate brown. “No, they would be making fun of the clothes I kindly gave them.”

Just as Xan headed towards the mini bar, the door between the rooms hit the wall with a bounce. “Hey Peaches. I hate you. You big oaf.”

Xan turned from the mini bar in time to see this universe’s Spike come storming in, closely followed by his counterpart. He nearly didn’t swallow his first comment and laughter.

Angel glanced up and Xan couldn’t believe the vampire kept a straight face. “You hate me. I’ve heard that one enough, you need new material Wil.”

“Don’t call me that.” This universe’s Spike hissed. He wore a red silk shirt and black pants, both were far too big, almost overwhelming the bleached vampire. His counterpart was no better off in his navy silk shirt, both had the pants rolled, not to mention the sleeves on the shirts, which being far to long could not be tucked in.

In all, they were ravishing. The Spikes did not agree. Xan watched them pick and try to make the clothing more suitable. Xan would have told them to give it up, but it was much more interesting to watch.

Angel must have agreed and neither man said anything as the blonds fussed and called them both 7 different kinds of oafs. The tirade ended up with the blonds arguing among themselves for the treasured black duster.

Only then did Angel interrupt, Xan not knowing what to say returned his attention towards the mini bar for a bit of the courage found in whiskey. “Neither of you will be wearing it. The damn thing is going to the cleaners.”

Xan was glad he hadn’t said that. Both blonds turned their gold eyes Angel’s way. The vampire hadn’t moved from the bed, eyes back on his rum and his words were barely above a yell to get their attention.

“Hell no Peaches. That duster isn’t going anywhere, except on me.” This universe’s Spike could still fight with others but the moment Angel had interfered the other had gone quiet.

Angel lifted his eyes from his glass and looked at his Spike. Xan watched as the older vampire’s eyes waved towards yellow. “William Taylor Banning you will do as I say right this second. Cause hell so help me lad, if you make me put down this rum, you will be very sorry.”

Both blonds flinched and Xan could do nothing as his universe’s Spike ran from the room, it made his heartache.

The other glared at his sire. “Wanker.” Then followed his counterpart.

Xan agreed with the assessment. He watched Angel return to his rum. “You didn’t have to do that. You could treat them a little better. They’re not two year olds.”

Angel put the rum on the nightstand, before swinging around and sitting on the bed. In swish of movement that Xan couldn’t follow the vampire was in his face. “Don’t tell me how to treat my boys. I know how to treat them. I don’t know how your Angel would have acted, but those are my boys. My childer and to me, they will always be about two years old. So leave be, human.”

Xan sighed. His Angel would have and had acted the same way. It was all about possession with this guy mine, mine, mine and Xan was sick of it.

He should have told the other Angel this but this one would have to do. “No, you listen. You do not know how to treat them, cause I wouldn’t treat my dog the way you treat them. Hell, I probably show Wolfram & Hart more love than you show them. They’re not possessions and if you insist on treating them as such, don’t be surprised when someone else takes ownership, vampire.”

Xan didn’t bother feeling glee over the vampire’s shock. Instead, he went to the connecting door and knocked, as a decent human would.

It didn’t take vampire hearing to hear Angel’s whisper. “Who? You Xan.”

“Come in, Xan.” His Spike, Xander could tell by the quiet canter.

He peeked his head around the door, before fully coming into the room. He wanted to make sure the other Spike wouldn’t throw anything at him. His Spike sat on the bed, taking things out of the duster pockets. My god, where was the kitchen sink? The other paced and swore, a billow of smoke following him.

Xan wanted to comfort, wanted to make this better, but he didn’t know how. He hadn’t done the comforting out of love thing in a long time. Four years in fact and he was a little out of practice and these were not the easiest people to comfort. He was fully aware that any ‘I care’ stuff would be met with scorn. They just didn’t trust anyone that way. With that in mind, “Hey guys, want me to dust him?”

The blonds pacing stopped and he peered up at him through his cigarette smoke. “You’d do that?” The other just stared at him from the bed, his hand paused in the middle of pulling something out of the duster it looked like, a chain?

“Of course I would. I’d have to find a way to pay for this room, but hey, I’ve faced tougher challenges. Anything for my favorite vampire menaces.”

Xan grinned, who knew they had a smile that couldn’t be classified as a smirk.

Part Nine

Angel paid for the package at the door. No one came from the other bedroom and that was just fine. He couldn’t deal with either Spike or their Savior Xan right now. Angel knew he was being ruled by his darker emotions on this and it felt good. Which incidentally was bad, and in this case, Angel didn’t care.

Going all alpha male with Xan was stupid. He knew it at the time but it felt so right. He wasn’t going to regret it. His childer were his, possessive yes, demented probably, but another truth.

He was using his deeper emotions to keep both Spikes away, twisting love the way only he could. Into something that would scare them, keep them away, and drive them right into someone else’s arms, into Xan’s arms. Then when Xan took his Spike and left the other here, he could, could what?

Knock this universe’s Spike over the head and carry him back to LA? Stupid Angel. Angel knocked back another rum and realized Angel didn’t drink. Angelus did. But he wasn’t just demon, he wasn’t Angelus. He was both. He was demon and soul and they both wanted those blonds in the other room with frightening clarity. The thought made him laugh, it was bitter, but it wasn’t evil.

Only his vampiric family, Darla, Drusilla, Penn, and of course Spike reminded him of something every time he was in their presence. Their antics proved how truly intertwined and how small the line really was between sinner and saint. Right now the line was blurred and he liked it that way. It made him feel alive, Spike made him feel alive and why was he fighting this?

Maybe it was because Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn would follow him around with holy water and stalk him with arrows behind their backs. They would remember he wasn’t human but he wasn’t human, he was a vampire. Spike made him remember that and that was worth remembering.

Xan had just brought it to his attention. The soul was more than a conscious for him. It was sanity, strength. It brought light to the darkness. It made thoughts clear, the small voice his head, his ‘conscious’ had told him loving Buffy was safe. She was good. Therefore loving her made him good. Loving Spike was evil, because Spike was evil and he’d listened to that voice.

No more, that voice had been wrong. Spike wasn’t evil. Any evil that lived within that beautiful body had been put there by his sire, by him. Evil didn’t love, it didn’t feel and Angel knew, all to well, that Spike did those things with everything he had. Soul or no soul and that made Spike more human than he could be in any incarnation.

Resolved, Angel put down the drink. The brooding was at an end, for now. When Xan took his Spike back to their hellish world, his wouldn’t be alone. Never again, it was time to stop listening to voices and listen with his heart.

Angel turned towards the door and paused to take a deep, unneeded but resolving, breath. He knocked, demon style, by banging the door open.

He could tell his Spike by the flash of teeth even before he put together the hair and clothing differences, his counterpart jumped. Xan put away the gun he’d leveled at the door. Angel strolled into the room and dropped a package in front of the longhaired blond on the bed.

This universe’s Spike watched Angel closely, resting back in his chair and didn’t pull his feet from where they rested on the bed. Angel folded his arms but said nothing about the shoes on messy sheets.

Spike figured the eyes were the key. Being the windows to the soul and all that rot. He gazed up towards his sire’s face. Chocolate brown, no yellow in sight, so it wasn’t Angelus but he sure wasn’t acting like Angel.

“Oh thank you, sire.” Spike dropped his eyes from his Sire to his counterpart, who was pulling on the Doc Martin boots that had been in the package.

“You’re welcome Wil.” Spike growled. The other, on the bed, just dropped his eyes, unwilling to correct his sire.

Angel sighed. He was taking this breathing thing to new height. He hadn’t needed air this much, since Cordy had maxed out the hotel credit cards, all five of them, in one day.

“I can’t call you both Spike. It would get confusing. One of you is going to have to be called something else.” He looked between the two, “and since you’re” a nod towards the dark blond on the bed, “the least likely to give me hell about it, it’s you.” Angel nodded towards Wil, who nodded, still not peering up, to busy looking at the new shoes.

Spike however, was about ready to get into it with his Sire, when Xan interrupted. “He’s right. It’s that, or everyone starts calling you Spike in the red shirt and Spike in the navy shirt.”

Since that wasn’t an option in Spike’s opinion and the counterpart acted as if it was okay. Spike dropped the argument.

Angel nodded and turned back towards his room and tilted his head slightly. “Sun’s setting. We’d better head towards Giles. My Cordelia said she’d met us there and if she knows what’s good for her, she’ll have some blood with her.” The sentence was finished with a growl.

Angel noticed the widened eyes and explained. “What, aren’t you boys hungry?” Not getting an answer, Angel continued his walk towards his room. “You had better be hungry and you’ll drink down every bag I give you.”

Angel shut the door behind him. Spike stared at the door and then towards his counterpart. In sync they both leveled their blue eyes at Xan, who shrugged. “I guess he’s worried about your feeding habits. Have to admit, looking a little thin. So I’ll have to go with him on this one.”

Spike was simply wigged out. Peaches didn’t worry about him. The wanker shouldn’t care if he was thin. He rationalized it must be the counterpart he was worried about.

Wil kept his smile off his face until he had to drop his head to let it go, while pretending to fix his new boots. This was how his Angel acted. Gruff love was the best word for it. Angel had figured it out. Now all he had to do was make his counterpart see it. Plan in the works, Wil looked up and nearly gasped at the love in the brown eyes staring at him. Brown eyes that quickly looked away. Wil figured he was wrong, cause Xan didn’t feel that way about him.

Spike watched Xan stare at his counterpart. Bloody hell, the guy didn’t even seem to notice Xan’s eyes on him. Spike figured all the years with Wolfram & Hart must have screwed up his counterpart’s head. Because if this universe’s Xander had ever looked at him like that. He’d asked the slayer to stake him, post-haste.

In this case however Spike formed an idea. His counterpart needed someone and Xan seemed to be it. Now he had to make his counterpart see it. Damn blind bastard.

Both blond vampires let the wheels of thought work their violent magic. Angel returned to the room wearing his own leather coat and he tossed Xan his. Xan happy for something to put his attention on, other than the blonds, put it all into the simple task of putting on his coat.

Angel picked the beloved duster up from the end of the bed. Spike took his feet from the bed to the floor. “Hey, peaches what the hell are we going to wear? It’s cold out there.”

The sweater hit the blond in the face.

Xan jumped out of Angel’s car. Just as it was coming to a stop in front of the magic shop and rubbed his still steaming ears. How could’ve he forgotten Spike’s sharp tongue. He calmly evaluated that he’d rather face Wolfram & Hart, armed with only a toothpick, than go through that again.

After Angel had dropped the well-worn duster off at the front desk for cleaning, Spike had been an absolute monster. Xan was almost relived that his counterpart was much more quiet in his outrage.

The little monster in question and his counterpart jumped out of the car and Xan watched them go towards the shop, without looking back at them. Until they reached the door where they stopped and looked back. Xan couldn’t explain the little jolt of joy the action gave him.

As Angel caught up, Xan slowly walked towards the waiting blonds. Sweaters, what had the older vampire been thinking? Probably close to what his lower regions were thinking.

Of course, they matched the silk shirts, dark red and navy, sleeves pushed to the elbows, the hems hit about mid-thigh. All they needed to finish the effect was some schoolbooks. Yum.

Angel was thinking glasses. Yum. He shook the feeling off. This was not time. He elbowed Xan as he past, getting the man moving towards the shop. He stood between the two blonds and walked in confident he would be followed.

Angel couldn’t help but notice the large amount of bags surrounding Cordelia, as she leaned into one and pulled something out to show Buffy. The two Willow’s watched, as Queen C dug into one of her bags.

Everyone stopped as they heard the bell. He nodded hello and realized no one was looking at him at all, but past him. He turned back as well, hoping it wasn’t serious.

The blonds had the room’s attention. His Spike was glaring around. Daring anyone to make the first comment. The other looked at his shoes. The boy did that a lot, he must really like them. Xan stood behind them, arms crossed, ever-looking the part of a guard.

Angel adjusted his posture when he realized it was too much like Xan’s and moved away, further into the shop.

Xan put his hands on the small of the blonde’s backs and gave a light push. Spike glared back at him but they both moved forward. Buffy’s giggles were the first reaction and by far the loudest. Xan made eye contact with his group. Silently telling them to not join Buffy’s antics or to attack her.

Buffy ambled towards the blonde’s. As Angel, still watching, started talking to Cordelia. Xan didn’t even fake his disinterest. He stood with the blonds as she approached.

“Look at you two, aren’t you cute? Bopsy twins, did daddy dress you?”

“Least I’m dressed, Slayer.” Spike nodded at her skin-tight pants and small sweater top. He looked about ready to kill her, chipped or not. Wil backed into Xan. Xan tried to comfort him, without anyone seeing his hand, and rubbed the slight back in front of him.

Angel walked up behind the slayer, casting a shadow over her and she turned to him. “Angel?”

“Actually, daddy did dress them. As they have nothing in the clothing department, they didn’t have much of a choice. Do you have a problem with it?”

Buffy looked around the room for back up. Xander and Anya were engrossed with each other at the table. Giles was also at the table talking to both Wesley’s, who were looking her way, but didn’t seem to share her joke.

Cordelia seemed to stop thinking it was funny after Angel spoke, anyone without clothes deserved her sorrow. Her Willow looked down right ashamed of her and their Willow. Oh not of the good, the weird eye looked like it was sparking.

The Gunn’s were both respectively passed out in their chairs and after seeing who had entered were blissfully snoring away.

It took Buffy roughly 30 seconds to realize she had not shown good judgment and did the only thing she could think of. “Oh no problem. You know I have to pick on him- them. Um well, got to patrol.” She slipped out the door. Trying to figure out when exactly Spike had become everyone’s darling.

Angel took a chair next to the couch. Xan followed the blonds. Spike sat at the end, closet to Angel and looked to be far too shocked to do anything. Other than look at Angel and shake his head.

Xan didn’t know what had shaken the vampire more, Buffy backing down or Angel sticking up for him. Will sat next to his counterpart and Xan sat next to him, wanting desperately to take the hand next to his, but not wanting to face the results of the action.

Cordelia, Queen C and their many shopping bags followed. Xan half listened, as Cordelia reassured Angel that she had indeed brought the vampire’s bagged lunch. She then proceeded to show Angel where his money had gone. Fancy clothing, clothing that had no place on his planet. There were no balls and snotty restaurants in the world of the new order.

Xan’s Queen Q watched her counterpart with a wistful gleam and Xan hoped his Queen hadn’t shopped like her counterpart. When it was Queen’s turn to take the floor and show off her new purchases, Xan held his breath.

Xan grinned when she pulled out a coffeemaker and she grinned as Xan laughed. Cordelia complained. “Angel, she was just no fun. All she bought were medical supplies, rope and a bunch of like, army stuff.”

Xan spoke up. “That’s my girl. What else you got in there?” Xan paid attention as Queen pulled much needed materials out of various bags. Where their Cordelia was a fashion victim, his was a resistance leader.

Spike seemed to snap out of his trance. “Damn, bint I like the way you shop.”

Queen C grinned, proud of her purchases. “Thanks blonde.”

Xan had to agree, when they got home this stuff would be put too good use. Hell, it could save lives. “You did good C. Did you get anything for yourself?”

Her smile dropped a little, but she reached into a somewhat neglected bag and pulled out two huge boxes. It was Angel’s turn to smile. He knew the women couldn’t be that different. Every Cordelia was a selfish shopper at heart.

She paused to open the boxes. Then tossed them at the two blond vampire’s and only their fast reflexes allowed them to catch them. Xan caught on first and bit his smile down. Angel looked baffled. Spike and Wil just stared up at her.

“Well don’t stare, open.” She laughed, slapping her G’s knee, waking him enough to help her return everything to its bag.

Xan watched her with amazement. She was one hell of a woman. He’d pick his Queen C over the other any day of the week. He knew she had a soft spot for Spike. It seems she had just transferred the same feeling to this universe’s Spike. And this was just her way of showing she cared.

Angel was just stunned. They were that different. This Queen C had just bought something for someone else, of her own free will. When he’d mentioned it to the ladies earlier in the afternoon. He’d never thought either took him seriously.

The blonde’s torn into the boxes. They weren’t ones to take such things slow, neither got presents often. Wil beat his counterpart by half a second and when he moved no further. Spike stopped to see what the deal was.

The first thing Spike saw on the crisp paper was a gun, a nice silver 6mm. Next to it was a knife, long and mean, but the thing that made him smile was the old fashion railroad spike with a single S engraved.

Wil was transfixed. It had been so long since he’d been allowed to hold a weapon. He didn’t think he could touch one now. It made him flinch to think about it. Xan must have seen his distress because he leaned over and removed them from the box, pretending to look them over.

Queen reached forward and removed more tissue paper reveling, leather. That’s all he could see and it was the good stuff to. Wil pulled it from the box, a leather trench coat. It looked a lot like the one he used to have. He jumped from the couch to put it on and smiled at C. She walked around him. “It’s a good fit. Looks good too. What do you think?”

Wil sputtered, what did he think? This was the first real thing anyone had given him in years, besides his new boots, and it was perfect. He smiled at her shyly. “Feel’s like home thank you luv.”

Queen blushed at the complete sincerity of the soft words. “Don’t thank me. Thank Angel. It’s his money and he said I could get whatever.”

Wil turned to Angel and before he could try to force more words out in front of people, Angel raised his hand. “No, Queen bought it. There’s no need.” Wil sat back down between Xan and Spike, where he felt the safest.

Xan returned the box that had been thrown onto him in Wil’s speed to try the coat on. There were a few black shirts, black jeans and colored button shirts, but nothing had Wil’s attention like the coat.

Spike made sure his counterpart was set and not going to throw anything else, before he finished tearing into his own box. He hoped she’d forgone the leather duster, cause he wasn’t giving his up.

There was a gun, a knife, and another spike, which he picked up and twirled expertly, causing this universe’s Cordelia to back away. She turned to her counterpart. “You had to buy them something deadly, didn’t you?”

Her counterpart grinned. “Of course.”

Spike took the articles and placed them next to him on the couch. It wasn’t like he’d ever get to use them. The chip would fry him and they weren’t really effective on demon’s, well maybe the knife. He smiled up at her anyway and she made a motion for him to continue.

He did so. There wasn’t a leather coat but there were clothes, all black and in his style, with a couple of button down shirts of various colors. Spike did notice they were exactly the same as his counterparts. Oh well, his counterpart would be gone soon and he’d be saved from being a twin.

When his counterpart left. Spike glanced at Wil from the corner his eye. He didn’t want him to leave. He’d been alone for so long and this was the first being to be there when the nightmares came. The first person that understood, he pushed the feelings down. They had no choice.

He flashed a smirk at Queen C and stood from the couch as his counterpart had done, but unlike his shy counterpart. He took her hand and brought her close, kissing her lightly on the cheek. “Thank you.”

She looked dazed when he released her. G snorted and rolled his eyes at them both, before taking C’s hand and leading her away. Spike plopped back onto the couch consciously sitting as close to his counterpart as he dared. Enough to sneak a hand squeeze when no one looked.

Xan caught Angel’s gaze and motioned towards the ignored weapons on the couch. Angel nodded back, indicating he too had noticed. Spike had such a look of longing and Will such terror, whenever either came in contact with the weapons.

In this glance both Xan and Angel realized the changes in the once carefree blond vampires ran deeper than they’d ever realized.

They broke eye contact. Unable to handle to pain and guilt in each other’s eyes and each in their own way resolved to make past wrongs right. No matter the cost.



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The Spander Files