GrayAfter having her world destroyed by the Winchesters, Eve wanted to rebuild her family. She claimed a soul with his own dark power and his own moral gray. He would be her champion. Hopefully.
Xander just wanted to go home, preferably before the hunters Sam and Dean Winchester caught up with him.Chapter ONE
:: Chapter TWO
:: Chapter THREE
:: Chapters 4+5
:: Chapter SIX
Who's up for a reunion?
Xander stared at the door as he tried to decipher the noises. Normally he heard a scratching noise that was probably a key, then a long slide of metal against metal and then the door opened and he was faced with two men--one with the gun and one with the food or the books or whatever else Xander had asked for. Except for the hacksaw he'd asked for. They'd never brought that.
But now the scratching went on and on. Xander gave the chain a good tug so he had enough slack to cross his legs as he waited. Locked in a room with a chain around his leg, he was getting pretty good at waiting.
Eventually the scratching ended and the long, familiar slide of metal and then the door started to slowly open. Xander's mouth dropped open when Spike slipped through the narrow opening. His Spike. Peroxided hair, leather coat Spike.
"Move it, Harris," Spike snarled, and that pulled Xander out of his stupor.
"I'd love to. Chained here," Xander snapped back, holding up the chain.
Spike pressed his lips together. "Bloody perfect," he muttered before he strode into the room, vibrating with fury.
"It's really you, isn't it?"
Eyeing Xander oddly, Spike crouched down to look at the lock on the ankle shackle. "How many times have you been hit in the head, Harris?"
"I mean, are you my universe's Spike? Because after seeing quantum mirror Giles, I'm not really sure I want to meet another version of you."
"Willow sent me. Now shut up so I can get you out of this." Spike applied his long fingers to the combination lock. Xander had spend days trying to feeling the tumblers the way people described in books. As far as he could tell, all the stuff about picking locks by feel were utter crap. However, Spike leaned close and twirled the face of the lock around several times, his head cocking to one side and then the other before he gave the lock a tug and it opened.
"Now move your arse," Spike ordered as he stood and headed for the door.
For a second, Xander wiggled his ankle, enjoying the feel of freedom, but knowing Spike's infamous lack of patience, he got up and ran to the shelf and started scooping up books. Pulling up the bottom of his shirt, he created a pouch to carry more.
"What the hell do you think you're doing, Harris?"
"Do you have a spell to get us home in the next hour?"
"You bloody ungrateful little git."
"Research, Spike. If we're going to be stuck here, I'd rather not get eaten."
"What are you on about? They're cheap paperbacks, Harris."
"About monsters, Spike. They're paperbacks about two guys who fight monsters, and this world's Giles' father says they're mostly real, even if the two hunters are stupid as rocks for some of the things they do."
"Stupid demon hunters. Imagine that." Spike snorted and glared at Xander, but he also grabbed the books away from Xander and shoved them in his seemingly bottomless pockets. "We need to move. This lot may have treated you alright, but I don't think they're going to like me much."
"Someone not liking you, imagine that."
Spike ripped the last book out of Xander's hand. "Most people love me."
"Keep telling yourself, blondie." Xander paused. "God it's good to see you again."
"You really have taken one too many hits to the head. Can we leave or do you want to hang around and thank the blokes with the guns and stakes?"
"Maybe we should leave."
Spike shook his head, but Xander smiled. This was familiar. In a world where everything was just a little off, Spike snark was like salt and vinegar potato chips--a little mouth-puckeringly sharp but addictive.
Spike pulled a short sword out of his waistband and shoved it at Xander. "Let's try to avoid killing the good guys."
"Right. No good guy killing, not even Giles who is a little scary in this world."
"I've been watching this lot for three days now. Rupert is more than a little scary. Not that he scares me." Spike wiggled his eyebrows at Xander, and then he was out the door and Xander hurried to follow.
"Stupid fast vampire," Xander muttered when he found Spike at the far end of the hall. Giles' HQ was definitely on the cool side. It was a huge warehouse with the back portion divided into offices and hallways and the front half one big room. The two halves were connected by an open roof structure that towered high above the inside offices. Spike stood at the door that led into the main warehouse, his head cocked to one side, and Xander held his breath as he waited to see if things were clear. When Xander finally got to Spike's side, Spike gave him an odd look and then pointed up.
Xander tilted his head up and considered the network of rafters and braces and roof struts. Eyes wide, he shook his head madly. No way was he going up. First, that made them perfect targets for anyone who wanted to shoot at them. Second, no. Just no. He wasn't doing it.
Spike leaned close. "It's that or fight. I'm not killing because you're acting like a nit. Now move." Spike grabbed Xander's arm hard enough to make Xander flinch, and suddenly the ghosts surrounded them. A young version of Spike with curled, brown hair and glasses stood close to Spike's left side. Victims drifted in and out of focus--pale faces and bloodied necks were testament to how they died. A few women and one man actually stared at Spike like he was chocolate, even as they fingered their torn necks, and Xander so did not want to know what would inspire that sort of reaction.
Suddenly one shadow screamed and threw herself at Spike, her hands held out like claws. Xander sucked in a breath and jerked back against Spike's firm hold, but he couldn't escape and the woman with vivid red hair stained with mud crashed into Spike before scattering like dust.
"Bloody hell. What the fuck is the matter with you, mate?" Spike got nose to nose with Xander, his eyes flashing with yellow.
"Um, lots?" Xander offered an innocent smile, but Spike just looked at him oddly and then reached up to grab one of the support struts along the side of the warehouse.
"Climb or I'll drag you up," Spike ordered, pulling Xander closer to the wall.
"Has anyone ever called you pushy?"
"You. Usually when I'm trying to keep you from doing something stupid."
Xander couldn't exactly argue with that, so he started climbing up the side of the warehouse. Spike leaped up, passing Xander easily as he climbed up into the high roof structures.
"Show off," Xander complained. Moving in the shadows, Xander moved carefully across the main room of the warehouse. This was Giles' batcave, and from the looks of things below, they had just come in from a fight. Three cars were parked at odd angles, their doors all open. Yet no one was near them. And now that Xander concentrated, he could smell the scent of wet metal that normally meant he was nose deep in blood. The scent brought back memories of slayers dying in his arms, young women with guts torn out, and for a second, Xander really thought he might throw up. He wasn't entirely sure how these people would react to random vomit falling from their ceiling, so he closed his eyes and tried to ride out the nausea.
Spike stopped, holding up a hand, and Xander froze. Spike was going something on the beam, creeping closer to a spot where a steel beams met in a spoke-like pattern. Staring at it, Xander could see a smoke-ghost gather again, this time an image of Giles' father, which was weird because he wasn't dead.
Xander glanced down toward the floor of the warehouse two stories below them. He hoped Giles' father wasn't dead. Xander actually like the hunter. He believed Xander and brought him books, and explained which of the things in the Supernatural books were real, which pretty much came down to all of them. He also had a wicked sense of humor about all the stupid things the Winchester boys did. He seemed to be of the opinion that their father was all kinds of an idiot for not looking for older hunters who had more information about all the things that went bump in the night. As someone who had to figure out supernatural stuff on his own, Xander actually had a lot of sympathy for the boys. They'd had all sorts of suckage in their lives, so the fact they weren't at the bottom of a bottle trying to pickle their livers proved how strong they were.
However, if Xander was seeing Giles' father, did that mean the man had died in whatever had brought all the others running back to the warehouse? Xander watched the ghost hunter scoot farther up the strut before taking out a ghost blowtorch and starting to chant. A rune. There was a rune there.
Xander blinked, and suddenly the whole warehouse lit up. Runes and ghost figures painting runes filled the room, and Xander could see a ghost image of Spike crossing the floor, runes lighting up like Christmas trees as he crossed them.
Fuck. Giles' and his crew were way more badass than Xander's Giles. Actually, boobytrapping the headquarters was so smart that Xander suddenly wondered why they hadn't ever done that. They could have saved themselves some drama if they'd set up wards around Buffy's various houses.
Xander started moving closer, holding on to the upper struts as he crab-walked closer. There was another rune just to Spike's right, but he was focused on the one in front of him. He hadn't seen the other.
"Get back," Spike hissed when Xander got close.
"Runes. They're an alarm system."
"Think I figured that out on my own. Now stop before you go tripping into one." Spike had passed snark behind and he snarled the words with real anger. He didn't want to go to war with Giles. Xander could respect that.
"There's one in front of you and one about five feet behind you on the same strut," Xander said.
The yellow vanished from Spike's gaze and he studied Xander. "You can see 'em?" Oddly, Spike sounded like he might actually believe Xander.
Xander nodded. Looking at the roof structure, he could see the runes start to glow.
"Do you want an engraved invitation, ya nit? If you can see them, get us over them," Spike said, waving his hand toward the far end of the warehouse.
Xander nodded and moved slowly over to Spike's position, trying to slip around him. Spike caught him by the waist, holding him firmly as Xander passed. Xander's vision flashed like an overdeveloped photograph, and then the sense of there being too much light faded and he could see the runes again. Moving forward, he carefully picked his way over the glowing marks, detouring entirely around one that seemed to send up a soft mist that rose from the metal beam to drift slowly to the corrugated roof.
By the time Xander had worked his way over to the end of the warehouse, Xander could feel his balance start to fail a little. The world wobbled, and then Spike was at his back, slipping his arm around Xander's stomach. Xander's vision flashed again, and he sucked in a deep breath.
"Almost there, pet," Spike whispered. Xander nodded and looked back toward the rear of the warehouse. No one was in sight, and he started down the wall as fast as he could. Not surprisingly, Spike dropped down, landing gracefully on the ground before moving toward the door. Xander ended up dropping the last few feet, but he nearly fell on his face as the world wobbled.
Spike turned, and in a flash he'd moved to a spot in front of Xander, bending over. Just about the time Spike's shoulder touched Xander's stomach, Xander opened his mouth to ask bloodbreath what he thought he was doing. However, another wave of dizziness hit him, and Xander found himself tumbling forward, only to land across Spike's shoulder. He had the vague sense of movement as Spike headed for the door, but then the darkness swallowed Xander.