Tear You Apart – Part One

Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series
Rating: NC-17
Summary: All Human AU. After the death of his mother, 17 yr old Spike is sent to live with a relative in the States. There he meets and befriends Xander and his lover Angel. Add the usual teenage angst plus social workers, judgmental townsfolk, homework and collars and you find Spike falling in love and finding himself a place to call home.
Pairings: Xander/Angel, eventual Spike/Xander/Angel
Warnings: Mentions of BDSM, some swearing and violence, sex!
Disclaimer: I don’t own the BtVS characters or any part of that universe. No money being made and no offense intended.
Beta: The ever lovely laazikaat. All mistakes are mine when I change shit after she’s fixed it 😀



There were some things that were certain in life and William Bradshaw had learned them at a young age. The main one was that life was rarely fair. At seven his father had died of a heart attack, surprising many since the man had been fairly healthy. It took a while for William to learn to deal with the death of his father, his role model, but by age nine he had pushed the grief and pain aside and forged on in his life.

Then, shortly after his sixteenth birthday, his mother had fallen ill, too ill to take care of him and he had been shipped off to one of his mother’s cousins. The Wyndam-Pryces weren’t a bad family. Though Walter Wyndam-Pryce, the patriarch, was a stern man, Wesley, the only son, and Martha, the mother, had welcomed the lost young man into their family with open arms. He had stayed there a little over a year until the passing of his mother. At the reading of his parents’ wills he got a new shock. The Wyndam-Pryces weren’t named as his guardians despite Walter’s attempts to keep the grieving young man with him. No, William was being sent off to live with his father’s uncle, a Rupert Giles, in a small Californian town called Sunnydale.

Before William could process any of this, he was packed up and shipped off, his life falling in tatters around his feet.



The building loomed in front of him like some stone monstrosity. Spike shuddered as he stared at the simple brick building. There was no soul, no character to the school and he wondered if that extended to the students within its walls. Sighing, he shifted his bag higher up on his shoulder and followed the flow of students in, sliding easily through the gaps.

It didn’t take him long to locate the main office. He stepped through the open door and into a room filled was chaos. There were several teens in there, all waiting to talk to the secretary behind the desk. The woman glanced at him when he came in and Spike got the feeling she was a no nonsense sort of woman, the kind that truly ran the school behind the scenes. She nodded to a set of chairs just behind her desk, next to a closed door. Nodding back, Spike shifted past the students and took a seat, waiting.

“William Bradshaw, correct?”

Spike glanced up to see the secretary standing in front of him with a file in her hands. “Yes, ma’am,” he said quietly.

She smiled. “I’m Mrs. Prince. The Vice Principal will be out to talk to you and get you settled in a few minutes.”

“Thank you,” he replied, keeping his voice soft. She shook her head and went back to her desk, greeting the student standing there.

Spike knew she had made a contradictory appraisal of him. He was well aware that how he looked contributed to that. But his personal style wasn’t anything he was willing to give up on. Even back home, despite going to a private school with uniforms he had still managed to keep true to himself. He glanced down at his black jeans, tight red shirt and loose black shirt over it. Add in black nail polish, black boots and bleach blonde hair, Spike knew he looked the part of a punk. Hell, he could play the part when needed, but he could also play the part of the respectful youngster. Living with his cousin Walter and his family had taught him that.

“Mr. Bradshaw?”

Spike looked up at the short, round man standing in the door next to his chair. “Yes?”

“I’m Mr. Bondy, the Vice Principal. Come on inside, we’ll get you settled,” the man said, his voice cheerful.

Grabbing his bag, Spike stood and followed the short man into the office, hiding a smile at the clowns all over the room. Mr. Bondy grinned at him and gestured to one of the chairs in front of the desk.

“According to your records, you’re a bit ahead of us,” Mr. Bondy started. “And seeing as it’s your last year, we can’t jump you ahead. But, we do have some advanced classes if you’re interested.” The man didn’t wait for him to answer. “They’re college level courses, generally offered to our brightest students. Not that many in the classes, and you’ll have all the same classmates in each class, but they are a bit more challenging.”

“Um, sounds good,” Spike managed to say, blinking at the torrent of words coming from the Vice Principal.

“Good, then I’ll grab you a schedule,” he said, rummaging around in his desk. “You’ll probably need a guide for a few days.” Mr. Bondy passed a sheet of paper across the desk. “If you want to wait a few minutes, I’ll get someone up here to help you.”

“Um,” Spike blinked. “Thank you?”

“Good boy, just take a seat out there and tell Mrs. Prince that I’m having Alex show you around,” Mr. Bondy said, standing to open the door.

Spike stood and quickly made his escape. He wasn’t sure what to think of the clown loving man. Once outside the office, he repeated the order to Mrs. Prince who gave the office door an odd look.

“I’ll let you know when Alex gets here,” she told him. “Just sit and take a look at your schedule for now.”

Sinking back into a chair, this time the one furthest away from the office, Spike looked at the paper.

8:30-10:00 – Advance Chemistry
10:00-11:30 – Advance Biology
11:30-12:30 – Lunch
12:30-2:00 – Advance English
2:00-3:30 – Advance Calculus

He groaned, doubting these were gong to be easy classes or an easy schedule. He wondered about only having four classes. He was used to having six to eight classes a day. Folding the paper up and shoving it in his bag, Spike sat back to wait.

“There you are!” Mrs. Prince’s voice rang out. “Get in here!”

“Hey Mrs. P,” a male voice said.

Spike leaned forward to get a glimpse of the speaker and nearly fell out of his chair. The young man standing in front of the desk made his own punk look seem tame. The guy was tall and fairly lean with shaggy dark hair that kept falling into equally dark eyes. He was wearing a skin tight black tee shirt underneath a dark grey long sleeved shirt. His pants were nearly obscene and there were heavy boots on his feet. But what caught Spike’s attention were his accessories. Around his right wrist was what looked like a metal mesh bracer covering almost up to the middle of his forearm. On his other wrist was a simple chain with a small tag hanging from it. Circling his neck was a thick braiding chain held together in the front with a small padlock. Everything was done in silver, even the padlock and when the boy turned, Spike could see the glimmer of something silver on his ear.

A shiver went through Spike as he stared the other boy. Around the same time he had figured he was gay, Spike had also realized that tall and dark was his ideal man. Back home there had been a few that fit the criteria but none evoked a reaction like the young man standing before him. Forcing down the distracting attraction, he focused back on the secretary.

“Mr. Bondy wants you to play tour guide for the new student,” Mrs. Prince said to who was obviously the ‘Alex’ they had been waiting for. Spike wondered at the fondness in her voice. Most people in authority positions looked down on kids dressed like Alex. “William?”

Spike stood and walked over, noticing the appraising look he received from Alex. “Hello?”

“Cool,” Alex grinned. “British. Come on, we need to head out or we’ll be late. Want me to bring him back here after school, Mrs. P?”

“If you can,” the secretary said with a smile. “Go on, now.”


Alex smiled at her one last time then led the way out of the office and down the hallway.

“Okay, do you go by William?” Alex asked, once they were out of range of the adults.

“No, Spike,” he answered.

“Spike? That’s interesting,” Alex drawled. “You’ll probably only get a handful of the teachers to call you that.”

“Don’t care if they call me William,” Spike answered with a shrug. “I’m used to it.”

“Your choice,” Alex said. “Did they assign you a locker?”

“Um, locker?”

“I’ll take that as a no,” sighed Alex. “Well, I know the one next to me is free and I have an extra lock. You can shove your stuff in there. You don’t want to carry everything to every class. Thankfully, it’s on the way to Chem.”



The day passed quickly, with Alex chattering constantly in his ear. Spike wondered about the other boy. Alex dressed fairly Goth, but his attitude was anything but gothic in nature. Alex seemed to be a fairly caring young man, though a bit of a loner. Only a handful of students called his name as they walked through the halls between classes.

At lunch they sat together, Alex pointing out the different cliques and who it was best to avoid. Spike noticed that no one approached them and a few of the larger students, the jocks, even cast uneasy glances in their direction.

“Why don’t they like you?” Spike asked finally, the mystery surrounding his guide getting to him.

“I’m not like them,” Alex said with a sad smile. “I grew up here, but I’m still nothing like them. They’ve known me my whole life, hell; some of them were friends with me when we were little.”

“What happened?” Spike asked quietly, not sure if he really wanted to know.

“My home life wasn’t he greatest,” Alex explained, staring down at the table top. “Two years ago I decided it would be best to go, just go somewhere else, somewhere away from the booze and the fists. I ran all the way to LA. And then I found out the hard way that life is shitty just about anywhere you go.”

“You were alone in LA?”

“Yeah, for a few months,” Alex glanced up briefly before dropping his eyes again. “I did a lot of shit that I’m not proud of, but I met someone there, someone who helped me get back on my feet. He made me come back here, go back to school.”

“Nice to have someone care for you,” Spike said softly, thinking of the Wyndam-Pryces back in England.

“Yeah,” Alex agreed just as softly. “But the people in town don’t see it that way. All they see is my coming back in the company of an older man. Small minds automatically think the worst. Even called CPS on us.”

“Obviously you’re still with him.”

“New social worker, she actually looked at my file and after talking to me and Angel she decided I was better off with him than back with my parents,” Alex smiled slightly. “She’s watching us though, just in case.”

“In case of what?” Spike asked, confusion colouring his voice.

“Never mind,” Alex said, shaking his head. “Come on, lunch is almost over and we should hit our lockers before next class.”



“Who’s that?” Spike asked, trailing along behind Alex as they exited the building after classes were done. They had made a quick stop at the office, letting Mrs. Prince know just how the day had gone. She had smiled at them and shooed them out the door, eager to lock up and head home herself.

“Who’s who?” Alex asked, glancing at Spike.

“Bloke in the black car?” Spike pointed to the old style convertible parked in front of the school. He could just make out the form of a man behind the dark tinted windows.

“Oh, that’s Angel,” Alex grinned.

“The one who helped you?”

“Yeah, he picks me up everyday after school,” Alex shrugged and continued walking. “Says it keeps me from getting into trouble.”

“But that’s not what you think,” stated Spike.

“Yes and no,” hedged Alex with a grimace. “I know it’s mostly because he worries about me. When we got back to town I wasn’t welcomed with open arms by the other kids. So he started driving me to and from school, said it kept down the hospital visits.”

Spike laughed at the rueful expression on Alex’s face. “At least you know he cares.”

Alex stopped just short of the car and turned to meet Spike’s eyes. “What are you doing tonight?”

“Homework,” Spike said with shrug. “My uncle’s not going to let me get away with slacking.”

“Homework can be done anywhere,” Alex pointed out. “If you want you can come and do it at our place. That way I can help you get caught up.”

The offer was the last thing Spike had been expecting. “Sure,” he managed to say through his shock. “Where do you live?”

“It’ll be easier if we came and picked you up,” Alex laughed. “The town’s not that big, but it’s still possible to get lost. Say five-ish?”

“Sounds good,” Spike nodded. “My uncle lives at number 8 in the apartment complex on Oak Crescent.”

“See you at five then.” Alex opened the door and slid inside, leaving the still shocked Spike standing by the curb.

“You shouldn’t hang out with him,” a haughty female voice said from behind him as the car pulled away.

Spike turned and looked at the speaker, noticing it was the girl Alex had called Queen C. She was regal looking, tall and statuesque, dressed in designer clothing. He had watched all the jocks and cheerleaders flock around her all day, doing her bidding. Alex had laughed when Spike commented on his shock at seeing her in the advance classes. According to the other youth, one Cordelia Chase was extremely intelligent in more ways than one. She knew her academics, but she also knew the ways to manipulate people and she did it all with class.

“Why not?” Spike asked, meeting her gaze firmly.

“He’s not right,” she told him, shifting her bag a bit. “He never was but it’s gotten worse since he got back. Everyone knows that Angel of his is fucking him, or pimping him out. Hell, probably both. Hang with him and people will start to think the same of you.”

“Despite what they already think of me, you mean,” he smirked. Spike had heard the rumours circling the school about him already. Some said he had burned down his school. Others said that he had beaten a man nearly to death. He was a drug dealer, a murderer, a model in hiding and on and on. “I think I can live with a trash reputation.”

“Up to you,” Cordelia shrugged, sauntering past him. “Just a friendly warning.”






Spike let himself into his uncle’s apartment, knowing that the man was still at work. At first he had been leery of the fact that his uncle worked at his school, but after hearing the man was a librarian Spike figured he could just avoid that room and all would be well. So far, Rupert Giles had been decent to him. He hadn’t laid down too many rules, mostly ones about curfew and homework. Spike hoped that meant his time spent with the man wouldn’t be horrible.

Heading into the kitchen for a snack, he glanced at the clock, noting it was nearly four thirty. The walk from school had taken him longer than he thought it would. Shrugging, he grabbed an apple out of the fridge and headed to the room his uncle made up for him. Opening his bag, he pulled out his books and set the ones he didn’t need to work on aside, shoving the rest back in. He didn’t want to carry around a heavy bag unless he had too.

He heard the front door open and his uncle call his name. Sighing, he grabbed his bag and headed down the stairs, stopping at the bottom to watch the older man go about his normal after work routine.

“How was your first day?” Uncle Rupert asked, loosening his tie and shrugging out of his jacket.

“Not bad,” Spike answered.

“Did you get around without problems?”

“Mr. Bondy had a student come help me,” Spike said, moving to sit on the couch. “He’s in my advance classes.”

“And who might that be?” Rupert asked, casting a look over.

“Alex Harris.”

“Hm,” the older man mused, seating himself across from his nephew. “Not a bad student. I never hear much fuss from the teachers about him.”

“He seems nice,” Spike agreed. “He asked me over to his place to do our homework so I can get caught up.”

“Do you need my car?” Rupert asked, reaching for the keys.

“No thanks,” Spike smiled, glad that the man had offered. “He’s coming to pick me up so I don’t get lost.”

“That is probably a good idea,” Rupert smiled ruefully. “It is dreadfully easy to get lost in this town. Did you know there are twelve churches and ten cemeteries?”

Spike blinked at that morbid bit of trivia. That was an over abundance for a town the size of Sunnydale. “Wow. That’s just weird.”

“Yes, well there seems to be plenty of strange things in town, so you be careful and home at a decent hour,” Rupert chided gently.

Before Spike could answer there was a knock on the door. Rupert was up and opening it, smiling at the young man on the other side.

“Hello Mr. Giles,” Alex said with bright smile. “Is William ready to go?”

“I believe he is, Mr. Harris,” Rupert said, opening the door to let Spike slip past him. “You boys have fun.”

Alex made a face at him as they walked away from the apartment building. “I didn’t know Giles was your guardian.”

“He’s my uncle,” Spike replied. “Sorry, didn’t really think about it.”

“Nah, that’s okay. He’s a pretty cool guy actually,” Alex grinned. “He even got comics for the library after I complained there wasn’t any.”

Spike tipped his head to the side. “Somehow I just can’t see that.”

As the neared the car, Spike noticed there was no one in it. “Angel didn’t come?”

Alex laughed as he got into the driver’s seat. “He had some phone calls to make. Said something about his sister and a dog. Knowing Faith, I’ve decided I don’t want to know.”


“Take every rumour you’ve ever heard about school sluts, add leather, attitude and a violence problem and you have Faith. I love the girl, but she scares me shitless.”

Spike smirked. “Can’t wait to meet her.”


When Alex slowed the car to a crawl and turned onto a small road, Spike felt his eyebrows rise. He had thought the other young man lived in town and closer to the school from the way he had spoken earlier.

“We had an apartment in town,” Alex said, answering his unspoken question, his voice devoid of any emotion. “But CPS said I have to have my own room and Angel didn’t like any of the bigger apartments in town. He looked around and found out his family actually owned the house out here so we moved.”

“You live all the way out here?” Spike blinked as they continued driving.

“It’s not that far,” Alex shrugged. “At least not during the day. A bit wiggy at night though. And here we are.”

Spike blinked up at the house and felt his eyes open to cartoon levels. That wasn’t a house that was a bloody mansion. Hell, it wouldn’t look out of place around Walter’s estate. Feeling slightly shocked, he followed the brunet up the stairs and inside, letting Alex shut the door firmly behind him.

“Any problems?” a deep voice asked from a shadow off to the side.

To his embarrassment, Spike yelped and jumped, landing a bit behind Alex.

“No problems,” Alex said, his voice filled with laugher. “And be nice. Spike, this is Liam O’Rouke, also known as Angel. Angel, this is William Bradshaw, also known as Spike.”

“Bradshaw? Any relation to Arthur Bradshaw, the barrister?” Angel asked, stepping out of the shadows.

“Yeah, he was my father,” Spike managed to say while taking in the beautiful vision of masculinity before him. Like Alex, he was tall, with dark hair and eyes, though his hair was perfectly styled. His shoulders were wide and strained the seams of the shirt he wore, all tapering down to his lean waist and hips followed by long legs. Only the last bit of his resolve, and his burgeoning friendship with Alex, kept him from jumping on the man. Idly, he wondered if there was something in the water around the town to grow tall, dark and gorgeous men.

“I had heard his wife had passed. I’m sorry about your loss. Arthur did some work for me a few years ago. He was a very intelligent man,” Angel said, his voice still deep and dark. Spike felt a shiver run through him. “Get your homework done and I’ll have a treat for you.”

“A treat?” Alex’s eyes lit up and Spike found himself grinning at his new friend. “Come on, the sooner we get done the sooner we get our treats.”

“Are you sure there’s going to be something there for me?” Spike asked as he winded through the maze of rooms.

“Yep,” Alex nodded, a bounce in his step. “He would have brought extra.”

“Okay, guess that means we have to buckle down,” he mock sighed as they finally reached Alex’s room.

Spike wasn’t sure what to expect of Alex’s room, but the uncluttered space wasn’t it. The room was fairly large with a bed to one side and an enormous desk to the other. A dresser bridged the gap between the two, stretching along the whole wall. All the furniture in the room was done in old wood, gleaming with obvious loving care. It didn’t look like the room of a seventeen year old boy; it was the room of an adult. He walked around after Alex gave him a small smile. His attention was drawn to the dresser and the items scattered across the top. There were several brushes, colognes and other grooming implements on the surface. He wanted to open the drawers, or the closet in the corner, to see if there were more than one type of clothing inside. It was obvious, at least to him, that Alex and Angel were sharing a room.

“Shocked?” Alex asked quietly.

Spike turned to look at him, noticing the tension in the thin frame and the way Alex held himself, as if the other boy was expecting a blow. It made Spike wonder about the reactions of the people in town and the other students. How often had someone raised their hand to Alex once he returned to town?

“A bit,” he admitted, moving to drop his bag by the desk. “Your room is cleaner than mine.” The sudden explosion of air from Alex made Spike laughed. “I don’t care, Alex. It’s your life.”

“A lot of people wouldn’t agree. Hell, a lot of people don’t agree,” Alex sighed, sitting down on a corner of the bed. “There’s a lot of restriction on us because of my age.”

Spike scoffed. “In England you’re already considered an adult. What you do is your business.”

Alex laughed softly. “Wish we were in England then. It would be easier.”

“Yeah, well we’re not,” Spike said, shaking his head. He could see that Alex was hesitant to say anything more. “We should get to work if we want those treats.”

“Oh yes, the treats,” Alex’s sigh was wistful. “I wonder what he got this time.”

“He gets you treats often, then?”

“Sometimes,” Alex grinned. “Especially when things are going a bit rough.” The brunet made a face. “We had a visit yesterday from the Social Worker. She didn’t say anything bad, but it’s still hard.”

“Yeah,” Spike agreed, looking at Alex with sympathy. “That I understand. I had several visits when my mother got sick and after she died. Bloody hell, I think I saw more of them then I did anyone else.”

“What happened?” Alex asked.

“I was living with some cousins when my mother was sick,” Spike began quietly. “She couldn’t take care of me and I really couldn’t stay alone so our cousin Walter took me in. When Mother passed, I found out that my guardianship didn’t lay with Walter and his family, but instead my father’s uncle.” He looked away from the understanding in Alex’s eyes, not wanting the other boy to see the tears in his own. “Walter petitioned the courts to keep me. I saw six different Social workers over a month. They decided I was stable enough to live somewhere else.”

“Why? I mean, you sound like you were happy with your cousins,” Alex said, confused. “Why would they make you move all the way over here?”

“The wills said I was to live with Uncle Rupert and since I wasn’t emotionally or mentally unstable I was therefore fit to move here. If I had needed more time to come to terms with my mother’s death I might have been able to stay there,” Spike sighed. “What I wanted didn’t seem to matter.”

“That sucks. At least they took into consideration what I wanted,” Alex said, shaking his head. “Sometimes I wish they had more sense though.”

“That would make sense,” Spike replied drily. He groaned. “Can’t really do anything about it now and we need to get to work. All this won’t do itself.”

They spread their books across the desk and sat side by side. The work wasn’t any harder than Spike was used to, he only had catch-up work to do and Alex helped him finish everything the teachers were waiting for quickly. As they worked, the dark haired boy made sarcastic comments about and to the textbooks making Spike laugh. There was something about Alex that put him at ease, something that soothed the ache buried deep within his soul.

“Ready for a break?”

Spike jumped. He hadn’t heard the big man walk up, yet Angel was standing just behind them, looking over their shoulders at the work they had already finished. Looking up at the big man, he blushed at the smirk.

“Sounds good,” Alex said, grinning up at the taller man. “And stop scaring Spike. One of these days I’m going to buy you a bell.”

“So you keep saying,” Angel laughed. “Come on, I have hot chocolate in the kitchen.”

Alex stood up with a groan and flapped a hand at Angel. “Go, we’ll catch up.” Still laughing, Angel left the room. “Don’t mind him; I think he likes sneaking up on people. He manages to get me a least once a day and I’ve lived with him for a year.”

“Thought I was going to choke on my heart,” Spike admitted, scowling at his new friend. Alex just laughed. “You’ve gotten used to it, I haven’t.”

“Give it time, you will,” Alex promised, leading him back through the house to the kitchen.

“Promise?” Spike leered.

The brunet blinked at him for a moment before a wicked grin curved his lips. “Promise.”



Xander snuck a glance at the blond walking beside him. So far, Spike was a bit of a mystery. A hot mystery, but still a mystery. He wondered about the other boy, just what was going through his mind, especially after that comment. While he was inclined to take it as just teasing, Xander couldn’t help but think there might have been something more underneath it all. Of course, he had played along but the thought still lingered.

The smell of hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies greeted them as they neared the kitchen and Xander moaned despite his attempt not to. Angel’s cookies were the best he had ever tasted but the older man didn’t often make them. Ms. Frek’s visit must have shaken the older man more than he let on. The social worker was nice and did her best to keep the two of them together, but there was still the threat of being separated if they didn’t follow the rules set out. Xander hated those rules. He hated only being able to share brief kisses and caresses with the man he loved. The idea that others had the say on their love life made him seethe every time he thought about it.

“Alex?” the hesitant note in Spike’s voice brought Xander back to the present and he smiled sheepishly at his new friend.

“Sorry, just thinking about some things,” he offered. “Come on, you’ll love Angel’s cookies.”

“You do realize that sounds wrong, don’t you?” Spike laughed, shadows still present in his eyes.

“Only to the perverted,” Xander shot back.

Spike sobered a bit. “You don’t mind me teasing you, do you?”

Xander stopped and forced the blond to look at him. “Are you willing to be my friend?”

“Yes,” Spike replied instantly.

“Are you going to make fun of me behind my back? Spread my secrets across the school? Hurt me in anyway?”

“Of course not!” Spike practically shouted.

“Then, no, I don’t mind the teasing,” Xander smiled. “And if you’re my friend, you might as well call me Xander or Xan.”

“Xander?” Spike tested the name. Xander shivered. He like the way his name sounded with Spike’s accent and if he stopped to think about it, he could really start to love it.

“I had a friend when I was younger, he couldn’t say Alex and refused to call me Alexander so he started calling me Xander and Xan. It stuck,” he shrugged. “Only my close friends call me it though.”

“What happened to him? Your friend.”

Looking away, Xander shrugged. “He moved when I was fourteen. His father got a job out of state.”

“Sorry, didn’t mean to bring up bad memories.”

Shaking his head, Xander offered Spike a small smile. “You didn’t, not really. Jesse was my best friend. He’s where I hid all the time. When he left I had no safe spot. Before that though, he was my protector.”

“Everyone needs one of those,” said Spike, bumping his arm against Xander. “I had that in my cousin Wesley.”

“I think I’d like to hear about him sometime,” Xander said softly. Then he smiled widely. “If we don’t get into the kitchen, Angel will eat all the cookies.”

Spike widened his eyes dramatically. “Oh my dear fellow, we cannot allow that to happen.”

Xander laughed and pushed the blonde towards the kitchen door. “Better hurry then.”

Angel looked up from the stove as they came in, offering them a smile in greeting. “Cookies are cooling on the racks and the hot chocolate is just about done.”

“Who’s recipe?” Xander asked, hopping up onto one of the stools to the island bar.

“Joyce’s of course,” Angel smirked. “She’s the only one I know who makes decent hot chocolate. Traded her my cookie recipe for it.”

“Oh damn, that means poor Buffy is going to get fat,” Xander mock complained before grinning. “Spike’s lucky; he hasn’t met the Summers yet.”

“That bad are they?” Spike asked, seating himself beside Xander.

“Joyce is an absolute sweetheart,” Xander smiled widely. “It was decided if they took me from Angel that’s where I’d be going. And she turned around and told them she had no problems with us together as long as we didn’t go too far until I was legal.”

“Wow, sounds like a sweet woman,” Spike blinked.

“Oh, she is,” Angel laughed. “She’s also a harridan when you get her back up. Snyder, the principal, tried to expel her eldest daughter, Buffy, for something stupid. They were in his office for ten minutes, he came out crying, she came out smiling smugly and two weeks later he was replaced.”

“Something the whole school, including the teachers, was glad for. Hated the little troll,” Xander shuddered. “Mr. Fluty moved up to Principal and they brought in Mr. Bondy, who’s not a bad guy even if he is a bit obsessed with clowns.” Now Xander really shuddered. “I don’t like clowns.”

“Back to the Summers women,” Angel laughed, pouring the hot chocolate into mugs.

“Joyce has two daughters. Dawn is the baby. She’s a sweetheart. We watch her sometimes when Joyce has to go out of town. Then there is Buffy. She’s in our year, regular classes though. Very athletic. On the cheerleading squad, dating the mindless jocks and heading towards a teen pregnancy,” reported Xander with a smirk. “I can’t stand her. She wasn’t that bad when they first moved to town, just before I left, but by the time I got back Queen C had her claws hooked into her.”

“Cordelia, right?” Spike asked, accepting a mug from Angel.

“Cordelia Chase,” Xander agreed in disgust. “She’s the unofficial queen of the school. Intelligent, like I said earlier, though she hides it behind airhead statements. She aced the SATs. Cordy’s the queen bitch of the school and it’s a title she loves. I once heard her gloat how long it can take her to break down a person.”

Spike snorted. “I met her.”

“When?” Xander asked, blowing over the steaming mug.

“After school. She warned me to stay away from you or else my reputation would be ruined too.”

“And just what are they saying about his rep this time?” Angel asked, sliding a plate of cookies between them.

Spike blushed a little. “She said you were fucking him, pimping him out or both.”

“And what do you believe?” The question was almost casual, but Spike could hear the underlying threat.

“You two care for each other,” Spike shrugged carelessly. “At home you’re both legal. Xan’s more adult than half the people I met after my mother’s death. What you do is your own business.”

“Thanks,” Xander said grinning. A strange look flitted over his face and he grinned rather evilly. “Perhaps we should give Miss Chase a taste of her own medicine.”

“Xan?” Angel asked, reaching over the counter to push a section of Xander’s hair back.

“Reputation wise,” Xan said, devilment in his eyes. “Start out with little things and then work our way up. Nothing truly damaging, just enough to make her feel like others do sometimes.”

“And how will we do that?” Spike asked, getting into the idea.

“We start with her wardrobe,” Xander grinned. “Angel, can you get me the latest fashion magazine over in France or something. One that won’t be coming out here for months?”

“Easily,” the older man replied. “Why?”

“Cordy thrives on being at the top of the latest fashions,” Xander explained. “What would happen if someone, say Amy, was wearing them before her? And at the same time, someone could make a comment about how maybe she can’t afford to get the latest things?”

“That’s evil, Xan,” Angel frowned. Then he grinned. “I’ll have it to you in a few days.”

Spike rubbed his hands together. “This is going to be so much fun.”






The operation of tearing down one Cordelia Chase was going well. Spike couldn’t help but smirk as she stared in fascinated horror as Amy Madison walked through the halls of Sunnydale High dressed in the latest couture fashions. Rumour had it that Cordelia had gone home and threatened her father until he shipped a new wardrobe over from Paris for her. Of course, by that time Xander already had Amy wearing something else new.

It was Spike’s job to spread the rumours about a possible lack of money. He did it subtlety, just random remarks that couldn’t be traced back to him. And with him being new, no one thought to accuse him. Overall, Spike loved it. It was nice to see someone as haughty as Cordelia brought down a peg. He had gone to school back in England with girls like her, though she actually had more sense then the silly little bints still across the pond.

“You two are so bad,” Angel snickered as they told him the latest break down Queen C had in the middle of the gym.

“She started it,” Xander said bouncing a little. “Way back in kindergarten.”

“Oh?” Angel and Spike both queried.

“Yep, she called me a poopoo head.”

Spike slid off his stool in helpless laughter while Angel just stared at his young lover. “That’s so bad, Xan.”

Xander grinned. “True though.”

“What’s next?” Spike asked once he got his breath back.

“Nothing,” Xander replied with a sly smile.


This time Angel grinned. “She’s got to know someone’s setting this up by now,” the older man pointed out. “So she’ll be searching for the culprit.”

“And just stopping and letting things go for a while will drive her nuts,” Xander crowed. “She’ll constantly be looking over her shoulder trying to see who’s pulling the strings.”

“Oh, Xan, you are evil,” breathed Spike.

Xander bowed. “I know. It’s a gift.”

Angel reached out and swatted Xander across the head. “Behave.”

“I am,” the young man pouted. He turned wide, dark eyes on Spike. “Aren’t I?”

Spike blinked. At that moment a sliver of light crept through the window, highlighting the hints of red in Xander’s hair and giving a soft golden glow to his skin. Spike swallowed hard. Xander looked beautiful.

“Spike?” The pout was gone from Xander’s face and concern replaced it. “Are you okay?”

“Y-y-yeah,” Spike stuttered. “Just got lost in thought.”

“S’okay,” Xander shrugged. “It happens to everyone once in a while. Want to go play a game?”

“Yeah,” Spike said softly, following his friend out. As they left they missed the speculative look in Angel’s eyes.



“Did you really burn down your old school?” a high, feminine voice asked from the other side of Spike’s locker door.

Leaning back, he looked at the girl standing there. He recognized her as Willow Rosenburg from his advanced classes. Of all the students, she was one of the few Xander didn’t say anything negative about.

“Or did you kill someone? Are you really a model? Or a spy?” she babbled, smiling brightly at him.

“No,” he answered, shutting the door and leaning against it. “None of those are true.”

“I didn’t think so,” she nodded. “But you never know. So, you’re friends with Xander right? That’s good; he can always use some good friends. I don’t know why people are so mean to him, Xander’s the best. Well, not the best. Oz is the best but I’m supposed to think that ’cause Oz is my boyfriend and they’re always the best, right?”

Spike paused to work his way through her jumble of words. “I guess,” he finally said.

“Oooo,” she bounced a little. “The Dingoes are playing a gig in LA this weekend and I can get tickets. Do you want to come?”

“The Dingoes?” he asked.

The Dingoes Ate My Baby,” Xander supplied as he walked up. “Willow’s boyfriend Oz plays bass for them. Pretty good band too.”

“Yeah,” Willow beamed in agreement. “Are you coming this weekend?”

“Sorry, can’t,” Xander said shaking his head. “Mandatory shrink time.”

“Oh poop,” she muttered. “Fine. How about you, William? Are you coming?”

“Probably not this time,” Spike replied, starting to feel a little scared of the girl.

“Fine,” she sighed. Then she smiled. “Maybe next time.”

“Maybe,” Xander smiled own at her. She gave him a big hug and bounced off. “And that is Willow.”

“Hyper,” Spike remarked.

“Actually, that’s mellow,” Xander admitted. “Get a few mochas in her and she could probably power all of Sunnydale for a year.”

“Really?” Spike grinned. “She seems nice though.”

“She is,” Xander agreed. “She’s one of the few to stick up for me through all this. Or, as much as she could.”


“Her parents are shrinks,” Xander replied, pulling Spike along as they started to walk to their next class. “She isn’t allowed to associate with me anymore. So she doesn’t. At least not in public.”

“That sucks,” Spike offered.

“Yeah, but it’s okay. We were good friends when we were little, but things changed after I left,” Xander shrugged.

“People grow apart,” Spike nodded. “Still surprised to see someone like her dating a musician.” His mind brought up the image of her: long red hair, pale face, no makeup (though she didn’t need it), blue overall, a frilly pink shirt and green shoes.

“You’d have to meet Oz to understand,” chuckled Xander. “He’s anything but normal.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oz is actually about a year older than us, he flunked last year,” Xander grinned. “He’s in our Advanced Class.”

“I thought I sort of met everyone in those classes?” Spike asked perplexed.

“Yeah, well Oz doesn’t actually like to come to class,” the other boy laughed. “I think I’ve seen him twice this year. He shows up for tests and exams, that’s it.”

“And they let him?”

“The teachers made a deal with him. He does the tests and stuff as well as an extra assignment and he doesn’t have to come to class,” Xander explained. “Oz isn’t stupid and neither are the teachers. He’s just bored and more interested in his music. They know he knows it all so they don’t bother trying to keep him in class.”

“Smart of them,” murmured Spike.

“Yep,” Xander nodded. “Keeps Devon, the singer of the band, from interrupting class too.”


“Devon’s pretty, popular, a bit of a pot-head and totally devoted to the band. The only reason he comes to school is to connect with people in hope of furthering The Dingoes career. So when Oz is in class, Devon often shows up to pull him out,” Xander told him.

“Guess it would be easier if Oz just stayed out then,” spike agreed.

“Yeah, but we miss him,” Xander admitted. “He doesn’t talk a lot but sometimes he gets the teachers with these witty little zings. It’s hilarious.”

“Maybe he’ll come to class soon,” Spike wondered. “And I’ll get to hear them for myself.”

“He might, but don’t hold your breath,” Xander replied. He paused and stared down the hall. “Never mind, you just might.”

Spike turned and followed the line of Xander’s gaze, staring in shock at the person currently holding hands with the still babbling and bouncing Willow. The guy was a bit shorter than his girlfriend, dressed fairly normally in a t-shirt and jeans, but that’s where the normal stopped. Even at the distance, Spike could see the hints of makeup on the guy’s face. His hair was a bright blue and standing up in spikes and when he lifted a hand to brush some of Willow’s hair back Spike could see sparkly nail polish that matched the hair. He was almost totally the opposite of his girlfriend.

“And that’s Oz,” Xander said. Spike looked at him. “I know, odd couple but they fit. He rarely says anything and she rarely stops talking.”

“There’s odder couples out there,” Spike guessed. “Maybe.”



“Don’t forget, class,” the Calculus teacher called as they started packing away their books. “There’s a test worth thirty percent of your final grade on Monday.”

Groans met that proclamation and Spike could only stare. Thirty percent in a single test. Not an exam, a test. He couldn’t believe it.

“Don’t worry,” Xander consoled him, helping the smaller boy up. “Her exams are easy.”

“And the tests?” Spike asked hopefully.

Xander winced. “Not so easy. Her tests are killer. Thankfully she only gives two tests a year, the rest of the grade is made up of quizzes and the exam.”

“Bloody hell,” Spike muttered, heading blindly through the halls to his locker. “I’m going to fail.”

“No you won’t,” disagreed Xander. “Besides, I’ll help you study. I’ve got to prepare for it too.”

“At least I won’t be alone in my misery,” Spike snorted, jerking open his locker.

“Relax,” Xander soothed him. “It won’t be that bad. You know this stuff.”

“Hate tests,” he admitted, shutting his locker. He looked at his friend. “Want to come over and study?”

“Sure,” Xander smiled. “When?”

“A few hours,” Spike shrugged. “I’ll check with Uncle Rupert then call you.”

“Okay,” Xander nodded. “Talk to you later.”

Spike watched Xander walk away, battling the sudden bout of nervousness. He had spent hours with Xander in the past month; he had no reason to worry about spending time with the other boy now. Except this time they’d be alone at his place until Uncle Rupert came home. At Xander’s Angel was always there, even if they didn’t see him.

“This is a mistake,” he murmured to himself as he walked toward the library.

“Of course it is,” a snide voice remarked.

He looked up at the blond girl Xander had pointed out as one Buffy Summers. “What are you talking about?”

“You’re making a mistake by being friends with that loser Harris,” she said snottily. “We thought you’d learnt that by now.”

“Did it ever occur to you that I like Xander?”

“Oh,” she nodded, smirking slightly. “You’re one of those.”

“One of what?” Somewhere he had lost track of the conversation.

“A fag,” she sneered.

“What does it matter?” he asked with an evil grin. “I wouldn’t shag you if you were the last living creature on earth.”

He was fairly sure she was trying to say something but the only sound coming out of her mouth was a high pitched squeak. Shooting one last glance, Spike brushed past her and continued down the hall to the library.

“Uncle Rupert?” he called once he passed the swing doors.

“William?” the bespectacled man peeked his head out of the office. “What can I do for you?”

“Do you mind if Xander comes over to study this weekend?” Spike asked, not wanting to impose on his guardian’s good nature.

Uncle Rupert smiled at him. “That’s fine with me. Are you two studying tonight then?”

“Yeah,” Spike nodded. “We have a test on Monday.”

“Remember to take breaks,” the older man reminded him, still smiling. “And I’ll bring home pizza for supper.”

“Thank,” Spike replied, grinning widely. “See you at home.”



The knock at the door came within half an hour of Spike calling Xander. He let his friend in and watched as Angel’s car pulled away.

“You didn’t drive?” Spike asked, closing the door behind them.

“Nope,” Xander said with a careless shrug. “Angel has a meeting tonight with some clients.”

“I never asked, but what does he do for a living?” Spike wondered as he led the way into the kitchen.

“He’s an artist,” Xander grinned. “He’s got showings all over the state.”

“Wow,” Spike blinked in shock. “Didn’t take him for the type.”

“I know,” the brunet laughed. “He’s got some paintings and stuff at Joyce’s gallery. There’s this really beautiful one of this girl we knew in LA. Dru’s absolutely beautiful. Not quite all there, but stunning. Angel had to draw the whole thing from memory since we couldn’t get her to sit still for it.”

Spike laughed. “I know people like her. My mother’s best friend, Darla fits that bill.”

“They’re everywhere,” Xander said agreed. “Are we studying in here?”

“Yeah,” Spike nodded.

“Good, easy to get to snacks,” grinned Xander.

Spike grinned back. “I don’t think Uncle Rupert supplies snacks like Angel does.”

“Probably not,” Xander laughed. “He’s probably afraid of the mountains of books in the living room stealing them.”

“I’ve seen them,” Spike whispered in a stage whisper. “They’re plotting to take over.”

Both teens stared at each other then looked around as if they were hiding in the shadows. The front door opening made both of them jump. Spike started to giggle as Uncle Rupert stared at them in confusion.

“Are you two all right?” he asked, shutting the door.

“Just fine,” Spike gasped, moving to take the pizza from his uncle’s hold.

“Did you get any work done yet?” the older man asked, glancing at them.

“Not yet, sir,” Xander replied. “I just got here a few minutes ago.”

“Well, eat now then,” Uncle Rupert told them. “Then head upstairs so I don’t end up disturbing you.”

Xander looked at Spike who shrugged. The blond had thought they would work in the kitchen, but his room was just as good. Opening the box, the two of them set to devouring the pie as only teenaged boys could.

When the pizza was finished they grabbed their bags and raced up the stairs. The feeling of nervousness returned as Spike pushed open the door to this room. He watched Xander step inside and look around, dropping his backpack on the bed.

“You need to decorate,” Xander noted, looking around the fairly bare room.

“I’ve been here for a month,” Spike replied dryly. “And most of the time I was trying to get caught up in school work.”

Xander nodded. “We’ll have to do something about that then.”

Spike shook his head. His friend focussed on the oddest things sometimes. “Alright, let the torture commence.”

“It’s not that bad,” Xander laughed, taking his books out and setting them up.

“Thirty percent,” Spike reminded him.

Xander looked at him. “Both tests and the exam are each worth thirty and the quizzes total ten. Even if you do badly on this test the other will cover it. And hey, you missed the first test anyway.”

Spike blinked, he hadn’t realized that. “So technically, this test is worth more for me.”

“Yeah,” Xander winced. “Sorry.”

“I’ll just have to make sure I do well then,” Spike sighed, setting his own books up beside Xander. “Push over.”

They sat side by side on his bed, working through past homework and making little pop quizzes for each other. After a while Spike saw something he’d noticed before. Whenever Xander got flustered by a question he would play with the little lock on his chain. Spike had a good idea of what the chain and lock meant in some circles and couldn’t help but wonder if it was the same for Xander. And if it was, who put it on him?

“Go ahead and ask,” Xander said, breaking Spike out of his staring.


“You want to know about this,” Xander said, pulling on the chain a little. “Ask?”

Spike flushed. “Don’t want to be rude.” Xander shrugged. “It’s strange.”

“Not really,” Xander replied. “There’s a fair amount of people who wear them.”

“Generally not teenagers, though,” Spike pointed out.

“True,” conceded the other boy. “Ask.”

“Who?” Spike finally asked.


“But I thought you guys couldn’t, you know,” Spike said in confusion.

“We can’t,” Xander agreed. He stopped and traced a finger over the chain’s links. “It’s more of a promise collar than anything.”


Xander smiled slightly. “We have a contract,” he said quietly. “It will go into effect when I’m eighteen. Until then, this is an idea of things to come.”

“Not just playing?” Spike asked, worrying slightly about his friend.

“No, not playing,” Xander answered. “The contract was drawn up and witnessed by a domme in LA. A good portion of it is protection for me. Tara’s awesome that way.”

“Huh,” Spike grunted thoughtfully. He could see the uncertainty creeping into Xander’s eyes. “I stand by what I said before. It’s your life.”

Xander leaned over and hugged him. “Thank you.”

Spike pushed him off. “You’re welcome. Now let’s get back to work before we flunk.”

Laughing, Xander pushed the quiz he had just written over. “Go ahead.”

Groaning, Spike grabbed his pencil and started answering the questions. He hated Calculus.





Carefully eyeing the balls on the table, Spike took his shot, sending the cue ball flying to hit its target. A sharp crack and two balls sank into the pockets. Behind him Xander groaned, muttering something about sharks.

“You’re just a sore loser,” Spike teased, walking around the table to set up the next shot.

“I’ve lost seven games to you,” Xander pointed out. “Of course I’m a sore loser.”

“You’re just a plain loser, Harris” Larry said, pushing past the brunet. His friends roared with laughter. “I’ll take next game.”

“No thanks,” Spike said, finishing off the game by sinking the eight ball. “I’m done for the night.”

“Not up to playing against real competition?” Larry sneered, grabbing the pool cue from Xander’s hand.

“If there was real competition here I’d be all for it,” Spike smirked, leaning one hip against the table, his own cue held loosely. “Since there isn’t, I’d rather spend my time playing against an entertaining target, like Xander, than fleecing imbeciles, like you.”

A perplexed expression settled on Larry’s face as he stared at the blond. Finally one of his friends took pity on him and leaned over, explaining Spike’s comment in a whisper. Confusion gave way to anger.

“I’m not an imbecile, you fag,” Larry practically yelled.

“Last time I looked I wasn’t a smoke,” Spike drawled, standing up from his lean. “And you are an imbecile. You had to have someone translate normal speech for you. That makes you more than an imbecile. You’re a fucking moron.”

“Spike,” Xander said warningly, moving away from the group of people. “Let’s just go.”

“That’s right, Harris,” one of the jocks said, smiling nastily. “Run away. That’s what you’re good at.”

A low growl trickled from Spike, shocking everyone watching. “What is it with you small minded people that you always have to bring that up? Can’t you even think of new insults? Or are you too brain dead for even that?”

Larry needed no translation for that and with a roar he rushed forward, barrelling into Spike. The blond held his ground, proving size didn’t matter if you actually knew how to fight. Within moments, Larry was on the ground, blood pouring from his nose and both his eyes quickly darkening. As soon as Spike stepped away from the jock’s prone body, Larry’s friends jumped into the fight. Xander snarled and threw himself into the fray, pulling bodies off his friend. Fists and feet flew, hitting solid flesh and bone with deafening thumps.

“Break it up!” The bullhorn enhanced yell startled everyone enough that the fighting stopped. The police had arrived. “Separate now or we’ll do it for you.”

Quickly they moved apart, the jocks standing on one side, Xander and Spike on the other.

“What happened here?” the cop asked, looking between the two groups.

“Harris took a swing at Larry,” one of the jocks said. “We jumped in to stop him.”

“That’s not what happened!” Spike yelled, taking a menacing step forward.

“Step back,” the cop warned, glaring at the blond. “Is that what happened, Larry?”

“Yes, sir,” Larry said, his speech slurred.

“Take those two down to the precinct,” the cop said, gesturing at Spike and Xander. “I’ll take Larry to the hospital.”

The other cops nodded, quickly cuffing the two boys. They dragged them out of the club, shoving them into the back of the cars.

“Why didn’t you say anything, Xan?” Spike asked as the cop car headed to the jail.

Xander sighed. “It wouldn’t have made a difference. Right, Officer Roddick?”

The officer driving nodded. “Sorry, boys, but I have no control over it. Matthews is higher up then I am. I know neither of you started it.”

“What?” Spike looked between the two of them.

“Most of the force here in town is corrupt,” Roddick explained. He glanced back at Spike. “There’s only a few of us that are here to help. The rest just want the money they get from the bribes and the perks from the Mayor. Larry’s parents are rich and influential. That means his word will always be taken over yours.”

“That’s bullshit,” Spike declared, flopping back in his seat. A sly look filled his eyes. “I wonder…?”

“Spike?” Xander asked, staring at his friend.

“Technically I’m a lord,” Spike grinned. “I really wonder how they would take that.”

Xander laughed. “Probably not very well.”


Once at the station they followed Officer Roddick into the station, bumping shoulders as they walked. The police station was fairly empty, only a few officers mingling around.

“Hey Marcus,” a dark haired woman called from behind the front desk. “Trouble?”

“Not much, Fred,” Roddick said, stepping aside to let the two of them pass. “Just a bit of scuffle at the bar.”

Fred looked at them, dark brows rising. “Xander?”

“Hi, Officer Burkle,” Xander said cheerfully. “How have you been?”

“Obviously better than you,” Fred said, leaning on the counter. “What happened?”

“Larry started shit again,” the dark haired young man shrugged. “The normal.”

“The normal doesn’t normally land you in jail,” she pointed out. Then a grimace passed over her face. “Marcus, put them in a private cell.”

“Why?” Officer Roddick asked, pointing the direction for them to walk.

“Rory Harris is in general lockup,” she sighed.

Xander paled and Roddick swore. Spike looked at the two of them before glancing at Fred for an explanation.

“Rory’s Xander’s uncle,” she said quietly, giving the taller boy a sad smile. “It’s best to keep them separate.”

“Understatement,” Xander whispered. “Can we go sit down now?”

“Yeah, Xan, Marcus will take you back,” Fred told him gently. “I’ll call Liam for you.” She looked at Spike. “Who do I call for you, cutie?”

He grinned despite the situation. “Rupert Giles,” he told her and rattled off the phone number.

“Fine,” she smiled. “Go sit and relax until they get here.”

Nodding the boys followed Officer Roddick back through the jail to one of the single cells. He quickly uncuffed them and smiled regretfully as he closed the cell door. “Behave and I’ll bring you something to drink in a few minutes.”

Xander sighed and sat on the thin cot, leaning back against the wall. “Well, that went well.”

“Could have been worse,” Spike offered, sitting beside him.

“Not by much,” Xander replied, turning his head a bit to look at him. “We’re gonna get it from the whole school tomorrow. Larry’s the beloved star of the football team and I’m the bad element.”

“No you aren’t,” Spike hissed, twisting to glare at the other boy.

Xander laughed mirthlessly. “It’s not what I believe. It’s what they believe. And it’s how they treat me. So far the only ones who treat me as anything else are you, your uncle, Fred and Marcus, and Angel. To everyone else I’m the worst possible thing in town.”

“That sucks,” groaned Spike. He leaned against Xander. “What can I do?”

“Just keep doing what you’re doing,” Xander said truthfully. “Even knowing so much of my past you accept me. That means a lot.”

“You’re my friend,” the blond replied. “I’ll stick by you through everything.”

They sat in silence, their peace only broken by Officer Roddick bring them a couple cans of pop. Spike occupied himself by counting the number of cracks on the wall across from the bunk while Xander dozed against his shoulder.

“Xan?” he called quietly, not wanting to wake the other boy if he was asleep.

“Yeah,” Xander whispered back.

“Why did they keep us away from your uncle?”

Xander sighed. “I wondered when you were going to ask that question.” There was silence for a moment before Xander took a deep breath. “When I first got back to town my parents made a whole mess about me running away. They kept calling me ungrateful and lazy. Told the social worker I was too stupid to amount to anything.”

Spike growled low in his throat and wrapped an arm around his friend. “What happened?”

“A judge ruled I had to stay with them at first,” Xander told him, taking comfort in the embrace. “I was there for a total of three days before everything went to hell. Dad and Uncle Rory came home early from work, both beyond drunk. I hid in my room. Idiot that I am, I thought I was safe.”


“I had fallen asleep when the door burst open,” the story continued softly. “I don’t know what set him off, but for some reason Uncle Rory decided I was responsible for it all. He beat me with just about anything he could get his hands on. A neighbour heard the screams, thought it was my parents getting into it again and called the cops.”

“Good reason to keep you apart,” the blond commented.

“Yeah,” Xander sighed. “He got a restraining order and I was allowed to move to Angel’s.”

“How bad were you hurt?” Spike asked.

“Not that bad actually. Mostly just bruises.”

Spike hugged him close. “I’m glad you’re alright.”

“I am, too.”



Spike yelped as the car took a right turn sharply, throwing him into the door. He snuck a glance at his uncle, wincing at the fury on the man’s face. When Uncle Rupert had stormed into the jail, Spike had wanted to sink into the floor. The sheer anger radiating off the man scared him and he wasn’t surprised when Officer Burkle had pulled the librarian aside to let him cool down. Over an hour later and the man was still seething.

The car jerked into the parking spot and Uncle Rupert shut it off, resting his hands on the steering wheel.

“Go inside and do your homework,” he commanded quietly.


“No, William,” he cut Spike off. “I’m too angry to talk to you right now. Go inside.”

Knowing discretion was the better part of valor, Spike hurried out of the car and inside. Once in his room he closed the door firmly and threw himself on the bed. He had a bad feeling about the whole situation. Sighing, he sat up and grabbed his bag, pulling his homework out. Settling comfortably on the bed he worked in silence.

“William,” Uncle Rupert called from the living room awhile later.

Spike groaned and rolled off the bed, heading down the stairs. The older man was sitting on the couch, a cup of tea in his hand and his glasses on the table beside him.

“Sir?” Spike said softly, sitting on the chair across from the older man.

“We need to talk,” Uncle Rupert started, pausing to take a sip of his tea.

“About what?” asked Spike in confusion.

“Alexander Harris.”

“Xander?” Spike blinked.

Uncle Rupert sighed and put the cup down. He looked across at this great-nephew intently. “I think it would be best if you didn’t associate with Mr. Harris anymore. It is clear he is a bad influence on you.”

“What?” Spike yelled coming to his feet. “How can you think that?”

“You got into a fight, William,” Uncle Rupert replied angrily. “You were arrested!”

Spike glared at him. “Did you ever stop to ask why?”

“Why what?”

“Why I got into the bloody fight in the first place? Or was it just easier to act like the rest of the town and put the blame on Xander?” Spike hissed.

Rupert spluttered. “How dare you lump me in with those idiots!”

“Why not?” Spike ground out. “You’re acting just like them, jumping to conclusions without all the facts!”

“How did the fight start then?”

Spike sat back down, still staring at his uncle. “Larry insulted Xander; I insulted him back even if he didn’t get it. He called me a fag, then Xandertried to make me leave. One of the idiots said something about Xander again and I called them brain dead.”

“William,” Uncle Rupert sighed.

“Larry charged at me and we started fighting,” Spike continued. “When the others jumped in so did Xander. He actually was just trying to help me.”

“You shouldn’t have said anything,” the older man told him seriously.

“And just let them insult Xander?” Spike scoffed. “I’m not the type to sit there and let them hurt my friend, even if it is just words.” He looked at his uncle. “I didn’t think you were either.”

Leaning forward Uncle Rupert sighed again. “I am sorry,” he said, meeting the younger man’s eyes. “I was just a bit upset at having to come get you out of jail.” He paused. “Why were you arrested instead of Larry and his friends?”

“According to Officers Roddick and Burkle and Xander most of the police are corrupt,” shrugged Spike. “Larry’s a town favourite so of course they wouldn’t be arresting him.”

“Are you okay?” his uncle asked after a moment.

“Bruises,” Spike replied. “Officer Burkle had the doctor at the jail look us over.”

“Good,” Uncle Rupert nodded. “I take back what I said about Alexander.”

“Thank you,” Spike smiled. “I just wish the rest of the town could see what he’s really like.”

Uncle Rupert stared at him for a moment. “Do you perhaps feel more than just friendship for Alexander?”

Blushing, Spike looked away. “Even if I did, he’s got someone and I don’t break up couples.”

“People would probably accept him better if he was dating someone younger,” Uncle Rupert pointed out.

Spike shook his head. “I’ve seen the two of them together. They love each other. It’s the ’til death do them part kind of love. I can’t ruin that.”

The older man smiled a sad look in his eyes. “Your parents did a fine job raising you, William. I’m proud to call you family.”

“Thank you, Uncle. That means a lot to me,” Spike replied softly.




“What the hell was going through your mind, Xander?” Angel hollered as he slammed through the front doors.

Xander followed behind him, not even trying to answer yet. He knew he’d get to tell his side of the story once his love calmed down a bit. Listening with a half an ear to the ranting Angel was doing, Xander headed into the kitchen to make a snack for them. Talking would be easier with something in their hands. He went simple, tea and cookies, and loaded them onto a tray to carry out into the main living room. Angel had flopped onto one of the couches, his hair a mess from running his hands through it.

“What happened, Xan?” the older man asked calmly, reaching out to pull Xander into his lap once the tray was set down.

“Larry’s usual bullshit against me,” Xander replied, cuddling into the larger man’s arms. “He called me names, Spike made fun of him. He called Spike a fag and got humiliated for it.” He grinned at that, and then sobered. “I wanted to leave.”

“Why didn’t you?” Angel questioned, rubbing Xander’s back.

“Derrick said something about me always running away and Spike defended me, ending it with calling them brain dead. Then Larry jumped him.”

“How did you get into it?”

Xander made a face. “When it was just the two of them I just waited. Spike can take care of himself, but when he got Larry down the others piled onto him so I jumped in to help.”

Angel squeezed him tightly. “I can’t be mad at that,” he told the worried Xander. “You were just protecting a friend. But try to keep the fighting to a minimum.”

Giggling a little, Xander laid his head on Angel’s shoulder. “Gladly, I don’t like fighting.”

Part Two

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