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
:: Chapter SEVEN
:: Chapter EIGHT
:: Chapter NINE
:: Chapter TEN
:: Chapter ELEVEN
: Chapter TWELVE
:: Chapter THIRTEEN
:: Chapter FOURTEEN
:: Chapter FIFTEEN
:: Chapter SIXTEEN
:: Chapter Seventeen
:: Chapter Eighteen
:: Chapter Nineteen
:: Chapter TWENTY
:: Chapter TWENTY-ONE
:: Chapter TWENTY-TWO
: Chapter TWENTY-THREE
:: Chapter TWENTY-FOUR
:: Chapter TWENTY-FIVE
:: Chapter Twenty-SIX
:: Chapter Twenty-SEVEN
:: Chapter Twenty-EIGHT
:: Chapter Twenty-NINE
:: Chapter Thirty
:: Chapter THIRTY-ONE
:: Chapter Thirty Two
:: Chapter THIRTY-THREE
I didn't think I was going to make it today. I was training teachers, so no downtime (supposedly for creating the workshops, and how much time do they think I need to teach something I've been doing for almost twenty years) where I could slip in a little fanfic. Dean is having a bad day. As usual.
Xander slipped back in the hotel room after his hunt. If he had to throw away all his energy, doing it near a swamp was pretty handy. Swamps had way more life in them than Xander thought. Of course, a chunk of swamp now had significantly less life, and Xander didn’t feel even a little bit guilty about taking out a half dozen birds, several dozen frogs, two alligators, and a boatload of insects. The world could live without any of them, and Xander’s legs no longer felt shaky. Of course the six rotisserie chickens and dozen bags of chips he’d bought from the all night supermarket helped too.
Locking the hotel door behind him, he checked on the others. Spike was on one bed with a very tied up Dean on the other one. Xander let his hand rest on Spike’s shoulder for a second. Really listening, he could almost hear the life hear the rustling of the life force under his hand. And honestly, he was pretty sure he was totally hallucinating things at this point, but Spike wasn’t dust, so he would recover.
Benny was on the floor between the beds, and Xander had used their heaviest shackles on the other vampire. Again, Xander could sense the lifeforce, but he didn’t seem in a hurry to wake up.
“I don’t entirely like this new power,” Xander muttered as he moved over to check on Dean. Being that he was the human and that he’d had a pretty up close and brutal encounter with a car door, Xander worried most about him. Of course that didn’t keep him from tying Dean up hand and foot. When Xander put his hand on Dean’s shoulder, he could feel something shifting under his hand. Xander watched as Dean stirred. However, after a second, he went completely still, so he was awake.
"Morning," Xander said. It actually was morning, but Dean had only been out of it for about two or three hours.
After a second, a wary green eye opened. Xander gave Dean some time, watching as he strained at the ropes, testing their strength. He was out of luck if he thought he could get away. After getting stuck babysitting a tied up Oz, a tied up Spike, a tied up Andrew, and then a tied up Spike again, he was kind of good at making sure that people stayed put.
Xander started getting uncomfortable as the silence went on too long. Dean had long since given up on escaping, but he was still watching. "I'm really sorry about the whole knocking you out thing. I really didn't know that would happen, which still doesn't make it right. Are you okay?"
With his hands cuffed behind his back, Dean rolled awkwardly onto his side. "So you knocked me out by accident?"
"Kinda." Xander stepped over Benny and sat on the bed with Spike.
Dean was giving him a pretty incredulous look. "And did you tie me up by accident?"
"Hey. Justified here. You kill people like me."
"You're not people,” Dean shot right back.
Xander frowned. "Okay, that's kinda true, but that doesn't mean that you can just kill me. I'm a good guy. Good guy."
"Who goes around knocking people out and then tying them up," Dean added.
That made Xander wilt just a little bit. After reading all the books, Xander liked Dean. Okay, so he’d been a little bit of an asshole in the beginning, pulling Sam away from the one life where he really fit, but still. Xander liked him. Being an asshole didn’t actually disqualify someone from the likeable category. Actually, most of Xander’s male friends actually were assholes. "For someone who's tied up, you really do complain a little too much."
"Funny enough, you're not the first person to say that. So, what's the plan here? Eat the captive? Human sacrifice? I have to warn you, I haven't been a virgin since sixth grade and Mrs. Reynolds." Dean have him a completely inappropriate grin.
"Thank you for creeping me out."
"I creeped out the monster. Cut me loose, and I’ll add that to my diary.” Dean rolled his eyes. “You know, my baby better be okay or there won't be a corner of the world that I won't find you."
Xander’s stomach dropped. "You have a baby?” He leaped to his feet, the need to start searching already making him twitchy. “Crap. How old? Where I can find him. Wait, is it a him?" Xander felt panic roll through him. How long could a baby survive alone, especially when he was near hunters who tended to attract bad guys. Dean was still staring at him like Xander had stopped speaking English, which wasn’t entirely impossible. “I’m not going to kill a baby. I mean, I haven’t killed you or Benny, and right now you two are pretty high on the annoyance list. But you can’t leave a baby out there. Tell me where to find him. Or her. Whatever.”
Dean spoke the his words slowly, enunciating each. "It's an Impala."
Xander frowned. Maybe that was a type of demon, and if Dean had a demon baby, Xander was not asking any questions, not with his own history with demon women. He might have developed a raging case of misogyny only women had just as much trouble with demon men. Human Darla and Dru and that delinquent girl who had to plan parent-teacher night with Buffy probably spent just as much time talking crap about crappy demon men. "Okay..." Xander let the word trail off.
"My car," Dean snapped. "My car had better be okay."
"What did you do?" Dean demanded, arching up off the bed.
"Nothing!" Xander slowly sank back down onto the best. He was really not looking forward to Dean seeing the huge dent in the passenger side door.
"That face is not nothing. That face is getting caught looking at porn by your teacher when you aren't old enough to just invite her to look at it with you."
"You know, you're oddly obsessed with porn,” Xander pointed out.
For a second, Dean almost looked surprised or maybe embarrassed. It was hard to tell. "It's been too long since I got laid,” he said in a totally flat voice.
"Okay, that's disturbing. And I didn't do anything to your car. Technically. Technically, you dented it."
"I dented it?”
"When I threw you into it," Xander admitted. "But in the books you're into car repair so technically that's good news because it gives you a reason to work on the car."
Dean rolled back onto his stomach and pressed his face to the pillow for a second. Only a second. Then he faced Xander again. "You're a little on the dumb side, aren't you?"
"Well then, let me use little words. Why did you tie me up?"
"So you didn't kill me?"
“You could have avoided that by not attacking.”
“You attacked us.”
“Are you kidding? You came after us.”
“No we didn’t. Benny tried to jump on me.”
“You tried to jump me when I turned my back,” Dean shot right back.
“No I didn’t.”
“Yes, you did.”
“Says me, and since I wasn’t trying to jump on you, and I’m the expert on me, then I’m the expert on me not jumping people.”
“Bloody hell,” Spike groaned as he pulled his arms over his head. “Pet, I’m gagging you as soon as I can crawl off this bed and find the bloody gag.”
“That’s the best idea I’ve heard for a while.” Dean offered.
Spike pushed himself up so fast that Xander nearly slipped off the bed. The second Spike noticed Dean tied up, his alarm faded and his yellow eyes faded back to blue.
“Right then, so it wasn’t the Winchester morons that took me out. That leaves you.” Spike turned his glare toward Xander.
“By accident. I took you out by accident,” Xander explained. Spike kept staring so long and so viciously that Xander slid off the bed and was going to move to one of the chairs, only Spike caught his wrist and pulled him close.
“You took me out by accident?” Spike sounded not happy.
“I think I blasted you with energy, not that I’m exactly sure. I was a little upset.”
Spike sighed and rested his forehead on Xander’s back. “Remind me to pick up some valium.”
“I’m really hoping that’s a joke,” Xander said softly. Spike lifted his head and looked Xander right in the eye long enough to make it clear that he wasn’t joking.
“So, are you always this pathetically submissive, or is this a show for me?”
“Nope, I’m always this pathetically submissive,” Xander answered. He kept his poker face on as his words knocked the air right out of Dean and his insults. Xander had learned a long time ago that the best way to take the sting out of other people’s insults was to agree with them… or even make a joke out of himself first. Xander had dealt with bullies way meaner than Dean could dream of, so one little mostly honest comment about submissiveness wasn’t going to bother him.
“Insult him again, and he won’t be wearing the gag,” Spike warned before he focused back on Xander. “Now luv, how’s your energy?”
“I ate enough food for a village, and after traveling through some of the poorer parts of African I can say that the amount of chicken I ate today would have literally fed some villages. I then went into the swamp and created a little death zone, and now I feel fine.”
“Death zone?” Dean demanded. “For someone who keeps trying to claim that he’s a good guy, you have a strange vocabulary.”
Xander snorted. “Have you listened to yourself lately? You’re not exactly ready for prime time. Seriously, how many times can you make porn references?”
“Me? You’re the one who looks like he’s about to crawl down a vampire’s pants.” Dean made a point of looked at where Spike’s hands were on Xander’s hips. “And you won’t even answer when I want to know if I’m the human sacrifice for whatever game you’re playing, so you don’t get to play the innocent here. And by the way, I’m harder to kill than I look. And yes, I know that tied up I look easy to kill, but monsters bigger than you have tried and failed.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake. We’re not killing you,” Spike interrupted before Xander could go off on the idea of failure. “We came here to try and get you some help because this idiot thought you deserved more than a swift kick on the arse when you were off saving the world. Now,” Spike said focusing on Xander, “do you have enough blood to share? I’m too peckish to put up with your shite.”
Xander nodded and tipped his head a little to the side. Dean started making kissy noises at him. As much as Xander had loved Dean in the books, in real life he was considerably more annoying. Ignoring Dean, Spike slid his arm around Xander and then sank his fangs into Xander’s shoulder.
Xander let his head fall back and relaxed into the weird sense of joining that he always got when Spike fed. It was like he could feel himself sliding free of his body and merging with Spike.
“And he complains about me and porn?” Dean muttered, but he did it loud enough that if someone had been hiding in the bathroom, they still would have been able to hear it. Yep, annoying.
Spike lifted his head, and Xander blinked. At the moment that Spike stopped, he always felt off balance, like he had to hold onto something or risk falling off the ground.
“So, is it my turn?” Dean asked, and now there was a barely disguised panic in his voice.
“Not unless you volunteer a little,” Spike said. He seemed to be ignoring the panic, and Xander tried to concentrate on their conversation. He didn’t have his balance back yet, and Spike stroked his side in a way that made Xander want to curl up and sleep, so it wasn’t easy. “I feed from Xander because he can spare it, and most times he gets his own energy by eating like a bloody horse.”
“I don’t eat plants, not even vegetables,” Xander pointed out. “Unless they’re tomatoes and made into tomato sauce for a pizza. That is the only reasonable exception to the vegetable rule.”
“Right then, you just eat like a fifteen year old boy.”
“Oddly accurate,” Xander agreed. He grabbed Spike’s wrist so that he would stop with the petting before Xander actually did fall asleep.
“Right, because you’re good monsters. That’s not actually the first time I’ve heard that line. It always ends with someone going to hell.”
Spike looked at Xander. “It’s your call, pet. We can give him the information or we can walk away and save Red the trouble of having to deal with the wanker.”
“I resemble that remark,” Dean said. “Often. Ambidextrously even.”
Spike glared at him.
Xander didn’t want to torture Willow. Yeah, this Willow was a little annoying and needed someone to kick her ass, but sending Dean her way felt a little like having the mayor eat Principal Snyder. Justified, yes. Satisfying, a little bit. However, it was overkill to a pretty serious degree. On the other side, Willow had a whole support network of military people with really big guns. That could have come in handy in a whole bunch of the books Xander had read. Maybe if Dean had people to back him up, he could have either save Sam from that first death or had someone to point out that selling yourself to hell was a bad plan. That was the sort of plan that made Spike look like a planning genius.
“Look,” Xander said firmly before he could change his mind. “The military is actually trying to keep Earth out of the middle of a war with two slightly assholish alien species. And clearly this is a huge military secret, and I wouldn’t know it except that the branch of the military that deals with the aliens knows about demons. So we got an… okay, they kidnapped us,” Xander said when Spike’s fingers pressed into his thigh. “They trusted us about as much as you do.”
“Smart people,” Dean said.
“Not really,” Spike offered. “They thought that hell was only dangerous for those stupid enough to trade their souls away. It seems like the end of the world slipped right by them.”
“Then they really aren’t that smart. However, I still don’t see why that leads to me getting tied up in a vampire lair.”
“You’re here because you and yours made an aggressive move toward my boy,” Spike said firmly.
“See, I told you that you started it,” Xander said.
“He didn’t. You did,” Spike disagreed. “When he turned away, you tried to pull him back. Knowing you the way I do, you only meant to talk, but he couldn’t know that, and you’re too soddin’ used to people discounting you as a fighter.” Spike tugged on one of Xander’s curls. “But I don’t care if he sprouts wings and starts beating on you with a rusted tire iron. You lift one finger in return, and I’ll take you out,” Spike threatened Dean.
Instead of looking cowed, Dean smirked. “Aw. It’s monster love. Can you do the balcony scene now?”
Spike blinked at him.
“No? Maybe you can skip right to the bow-chika-wow-wow.”
Spike stood up and headed for the bathroom muttering about being too grubby to deal with assholes. Dean watched him go, his body twisting around on the bed until Spike closed the bathroom door. Then he turned his attention back to Xander.
“You really think we’re going to kill you, don’t you?” Xander asked. The only times he got this assholish were with monsters like Angelus who had personal reasons to hate and kill Xander. Otherwise, he didn’t bother poking the bad guys. He just waited until they were focused on Buffy and then staked them in the back.
“I think you’re going to try,” Dean agreed. “I don’t actually think you’re monster enough to finish the job.”
“I don’t think I am either,” Xander said. “Killing is not my thing.”
“Because you’re a good monster. Rainbows come out your ass when you fart and you ride unicorns during the full moon,” Dean finished with a knowing nod. He really was a pain in the ass.
“I was pretty much you until two or three months ago,” Xander said. He could hear the shower go on in the other room.
“Oh, here’s where you convince me that it’s in my best interest to help you. Okay. Give it your best shot, Sport.” Dean wiggled around like he was settling in for a long story.
“Buffy, my best friend, is the slayer, the one girl in all the world who has the power to protect the world from all the baddies, which is not to say the rest of us don’t fight, but Buffy is pretty much the one who gets the job done while the rest of us are flailing.”
“So you’re exactly like me except you’re incompetent,” Dean summarized. Xander made a conscious decision to ignore the heckling.
“And she has killed gods and demons and monsters, oh my. She kicks ass, and mostly I’m there to do damage control. I staked a few vampires, tripped a few monsters. One time, I actually threw glitter. It’s all I could grab, and the vampire was going at Buffy’s back when she was fighting three other vampires. It distracted him long enough for her to do her spin and quip and stake routine. And Edward Cullen jokes were had by all.”
“Nevermind. I come from one of those alternate realities where God tortures us with bad fiction. But the point is that I was a fighter of good, and maybe not a great fighter of good, but I was right there when the fights were won. Only I took a few hits, and one was a big magical hit. So when one of the old big-bads went looking for someone she could monsterfy, Eve picked me.”
“Eve?” Up to this point, Dean had watched with the sort of expectant expression that usually meant someone was waiting for a chance to make fun of Xander. Now his expression turned serious. “What do you know about Eve?”
“I know you poisoned her with Phoenix ash and she couldn’t make more monsters. She pulled me out of my reality because one of those fights that I was there for left me with a big pool of not-nice magical energy sloshing around inside me. So if I don’t have a lot of control, it’s because I genuinely don’t have a lot of control.”
“Eve made you?” Dean studied Xander much more carefully now.
“Yes, that makes me an alpha or an alph or an ox, depending on which language you use to describe me. And that’s why Spike sits on me so much because he’s not willing to let me get all toppy or, more likely, all stupid, with all this power I have.
Dean actually looked shaken. “An alpha?”
“Who has philosophical differences with his monster mother,” Xander added. “She wants monsters to hunt humans. I pretty much have always been on the side of humans hunting monsters.”
“And now?” Dean asked sharply. “If all this is true, do you want to hunt humans? Drink them down? Feel their power soak into your body as you feed on them?”
“Weirdly specific,” Xander said. Dean had a real talent for creeping him out.
Dean grimaced. “I got turned once. I held the hunger off until we could take out the vamp who had turned me and use a spell to give me back my humanity, but I remember. I know how—when you’re first turned—the draw of the blood sings to you.”
“Pretty much the smell of chocolate sings to me, but most humans are definitely non-chocolately. Now leviathans? Oh yeah. Don’t tell Spike, but if I smelled a leviathan right now, I’m not taking any bets on how long I could avoid going after it.”
“You hunt leviathan?”
“The one I found, and trust me, if you know where more are, I am happy to eat any more you can find. But the difference is that I wasn’t turned. Eve used the energy I already had inside of me. I have always been, if not exactly a hunter, a helper of hunters who fixed things that the hunters either broke or didn’t have time to do. Give me a backed up toilet, broken door, a quest for something lost or a weapon that needs cleaning, and I’m like a California girl in a sushi shop. I eat it up. But I had help. I had Giles to do the fathering thing and Willow to be the friend and doer of mojo, and Buffy to be the ass-kicker, and Tara to put on band-aids and kiss scraped elbows, and Oz to get all philosophical, and Anya to…” Xander swallowed as he thought about her smiling face. He couldn’t talk about her, not with someone who was barely out of the enemy category. “And I had Spike to kick ass while threatening me.”
“A vampire.” That flat tone was back in Dean’s voice.
“Funny enough, I wasn’t the only one who came with a vampire.”
“Benny has proved himself. He got me out of purgatory, and he’s not on human blood anymore.” From the cold tone in Dean’s voice, Xander had hit a sore spot.
“Spike earned his soul back, and when a bad guy had me by the neck, he saved me. He even stood in the opening of a hellmouth and used his own soul to fuel a weapon that saved our world. He died. He died and went to hell, and we barely got him back. He has proved himself just as much as Benny.”
Dean stared at him, and Xander looked back, willing the man to believe him. If the good guys couldn’t or wouldn’t work together, the bad guys were always going to win in the end. Xander believed that. That’s why so many slayers died by the age of sixteen. Humans were not designed to fight alone.
“And you want to… what? Join my merry band?”
“You are short a Friar Tuck,” Xander pointed out with a small smile. Dean just stared at him. “The government group that knows about demons—they know about you and they would help you if they could. They could run interference with local law enforcement or send out backup if you got in trouble.”
“Or throw me in a cell or simply kill me.”
Xander shook his head. “They didn’t kill me. They scared me… they scared me the way you did, and things ended up slightly not of the good, but they had more backup so they weren’t the ones who ended up in cuffs.”
“They captured you?” Dean sounded interested now.
Xander nodded. “And they weren’t thrilled. We were there for a long time before someone attacked and we escaped in the chaos, but that’s because they don’t trust monsters. I wouldn’t recommend that you introduce them to Benny.”
Dean laughed. “I figured that. Unlike some people, I haven’t knocked all my brain cells loose. Not yet, anyway.”
Xander was going to make fun of himself again, only Benny started to stir.
“Benny, are you okay?” Dean wiggled closer to the edge of the bed. Neither Dean nor Xander was prepared when Benny let out a low moan and then lurched up to his knees, his sharp teeth extended as he snapped at them. One bite came dangerously close to Xander’s knee before Xander could scramble backwards.
“Spike!” Xander bellowed as he looked in the empty hunger in Benny’s eyes.
Twisting around, Benny saw Dean and threw himself toward the other bed with a roar.