Pairing: S/X, W/T, mentions B/A, eventually Triad - S/X/OFC (Rhayna).
Spoilers: Dunno. BtVS: 7, AtS: 4 just to be safe. Spike is no longer in love with Buffy. Tara is not dead. Spike is soulless.
Category: X-over. (Buffy / Sholan Alliance series)
Genre: Romance/Angst, AU.
Feedback: Please. Send to Wufei05@cs.com
Distribution: Want. Take. Have. Just email me first.
Disclaimer: Not mine. All belongs to Joss or Lisanne Norman, except Rhayna, Naiya and the rest of the Sholans.
Summary: WIP. Xander is a Sholan (felinoid alien race. Looks same except for chocolate brown fur, tail and slightly cat-like face. Can also go down on all fours. Hair and eyes are same color) and Spike and Willow are telepaths. Spike lives with Xander in his apartment. Xander was captured by a branch of the Initiative and experimented on; Spike tries to restore him to his former happier self. Words in "..." are said telepathically.
Spike's POV ~
Bloody wankers, I thought bitterly.
It was about four in the afternoon, six days after the Scoobies and I had rescued Xander from the thrice-damned Initiative. Six days of nightmare after nightmare for the young Sholan.
I could sense my lover waking; feeling rage, rather than pain or fear this time. His ears were flat against his skull, half-buried in his long dark hair. I tried reaching for his mind with my own, hoping to calm him down, but met only strong mental barriers, effectively blocking me out.
With a slight growl of frustration, I gathered Xander into my arms, running my hands through his hair. "Shh, pet. It's okay, just a dream. I'm here, you're safe, it's okay."
I repeated myself several times before Xander finally opened his eyes. Rage and fury showed in the dark brown pools. Finally, he righted his ears and the fire died out of his eyes.
"Bastards," he whispered, wrapping his arms around himself. "Why couldn't they have just let me die?"
I pulled him close and kissed him gently. "Tossers knew you wouldn't give in easily, luv," I said, reluctantly breaking the kiss. "They knew that they would've lost some soldiers tryin' to bring you down. Obviously didn't want to risk that."
Xander pulled away from my embrace. "I guess," he said sullenly. He got up and walked toward the bedroom door. "Be right back. I'm kinda hungry." With that, he left.
I sighed and fell back against the pillows. "Red?" I sent, reaching for the Wiccan's mind.
"Here, Spike. What's wrong? Did Xander have another nightmare? Did he flip out and hit you again? Does he still not like to be touched? Did he-"
"Everything, yes, no, and yes." I replied, cutting off Red's mental babbling. "I think he's getting worse."
"Worse? How so?"
"He's got a bloodlust in him that rivals any vamp's I've ever met. Not that I don't like him good and ready for a fight, but he's always like this now. It seems like the only bleedin' emotions he can feel are fear and rage."
Willow paused for a moment. Probably talking to that blonde chit of her's. "Do you think you can bring him to the Magic Box for a few hours? Maybe he just needs to get some fresh air."
I was about to answer when Xander walked back into the room with a chocolate bar and a juice box in his hands. Quickly, I feigned sleep and replied, "I'll see what I can do. We'll try to be there after sundown."
"Thanks, Spike. You could probably patrol with Buffy tonight if you want to. We can watch Xander," Red said.
Xander finished his chocolate bar and lay back down beside me. After a moment, I felt his soft pelt brush up against my bare skin and his head rest on my shoulder. "See you later, Red. Say 'cheers' to Glinda for me."
I felt her amusement. "I will; see you later."
Willow's POV ~
"Shouldn't the boys be here by now?"
Tara and I both glanced up from our books to look at Buffy. The Slayer had walked out of the back training room, fully equipped for patrol.
Dawn checked her watch. "It's 7:15. The sun's been down for almost a half an hour now, and it doesn't take that long to drive here from the apartments."
"If they're not here in five minutes, I'm going," Buffy said, picking up her sword. "You guys can send Spike out to find me."
As soon as Buffy finished speaking, I felt Spike's presense in my mind, and the door to the shop chimed and opened.
"'Ello, pets," Spike said with his usual smirk as he strode into the room. The young vampire looked relaxed, but as soon as he walked in, I felt his tension, and, unusually enough, his nervousness.
"What happened, Spike?" I sent, meeting his eyes briefly before looking back at my textbook.
Xander walked in, flicked an ear in acknowledgement to us, then headed into the training room.
"He wants to patrol," Spike replied, sitting down next to Dawn and throwing a friendly arm around the girl's shoulders. "I told 'im over my settled dust, but he's determined." He smiled bitterly. "Ground's gonna be covered in dust tonight, that's for sure."
As if to confirm Spike's comment, Xander walked back into the room, buckling a baldric and scabbard across his shoulder. His battleaxe hung from his belt and several stakes were stuffed in his jean pockets. "I'm coming with you tonight, Buff," he said, sliding a broadsword into his scabbard.
Spike stood up and took a step toward his lover. "Xan..."
"No, Will," Xander said firmly. "I'm going with you two tonight. I need this." The chocolate-furred Sholan reached out and gently brushed Spike's cheek with his fingertips.
We all turned and looked at Buffy. The Slayer's gazed flicked briefly to Spike, who nodded. "Fine," she said, walking toward the door. "Don't die."
As the three headed out the door, I got up and gripped Spike's shoulder in what I hoped was a reassuring gesture. "We'll be here if you need anything," I said quietly. Spike nodded, and I felt him strengthening his mental shields.
I sighed and sat back down, laying my head against Tara's shoulder. "I wish there was something I could do. He used to be so happy; always laughing and joking."
Tara held my hand in hers, twining our fingers together. "You're doing all you can, sweetie. The rest is up to Xander."
Buffy's POV ~
The first four vamps we came across didn't stand a chance. I dusted the first with my crossbow and Spike rushed at a small female and a scarred male. I was about to stake the fourth when Xander easily beheaded it with his axe, narrowly missing me in the process.
"Stay back, Xander!" I yelled, pulling the female off Spike's back.
I heard him growl softly, a sound I had never heard come from him before. He dropped his axe and pulled out his sword, swinging it easily in one hand. His ears were back against his skull and his tail swayed slowly back and forth.
"No, Buffy," Xander said quietly. "I've been needing this. I need to kill something." With that, he wrenched the female out of my grasp and staked it.
I sighed and helped Spike to his feet. "Fine. Just be careful, Xan." I reached out to touch Xander's shoulder, but he flinched away.
As we continued through the graveyard, I hauled Spike aside.
"Are you monitoring him?" I asked quietly.
Spike nodded. "I'm keeping a light link to him. S'why I'm kinda distracted."
"Good," I said. "I don't want him trying anything out here." I paused as a thought occurred to me. "You do realize he's suicidal, right?"
A pained look crossed the vampire's face. "I know. That's pretty much why I 'aven't let 'im outta my sight." He ran a hand through his bleached hair.
We walked across the graveyard, looking around for Xander. A cool breeze cut through the air, making me shiver slightly. "Giles is looking for more references to the Sholans; maybe there's something that can help him, or at least cheer him up," I said, trying to break the awkward silence.
Spike grunted. "Any luck?"
"Nope," I sighed. "Just a quick description of the species and a mention of the fact that they're a telepathic race. Well, at least some are Telepaths."
Suddenly, a loud roar split through the air, and Spike fell back, clutching his head and hissing. His face morphed into his true vampiric form, ridges sprouting across his forehead.
"Xander!" he gasped through clenched fangs. "He's being attacked!"
I raced toward the sounds of the fight, sword drawn. Xander was on the ground fighting off two large demons and was losing. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an enraged Spike launch himself at the bigger of the two demons, knocking it off his lover.
I grabbed the smaller one and held my sword point at its throat. Only then did I recognize the tabby gray pelt that covered its body, and the intelligent green eyes that stared into mine, daring me to kill her. These were no demons. They were Sholans!
I had been certain that the young Highlander that Naiya and I had seen was the missing heir to the Vraza Clan. He had the same dark brown pelt and wide, low set ears typical to Highlanders, and was around the same age as the missing youngling, Rhyaki.
As we approached the youngling, he turned and attacked, the broadsword he was holding cutting deep into Naiya's side. My rust-pelted friend roared in pain and collapsed on top of Rhyaki.
I bent to help Naiya up and disarm Rhyaki. As I did, a small, snarling human male leaped on Naiya's back, throwing him off the youngling. With a growl, I let Rhyaki go and jumped to my feet, throwing caution to the wind.
"Rhayna! Behind you!" Naiya gasped as he fought with the blonde male.
I tried to turn, but it was too late. A strong hand closed around my throat and I felt the cold steel of a sword prick the skin at my neck. I raised my eyes to glare at my attacker, then widened them in shock; it was a tiny human female!
The female let out a small gasp and released me abruptly. Now would be a good time to see if Chaya's language transfer worked.
"We're not trying to harm you," I said slowly, hoping that I would be understandable even with my accent.
The female lowered her sword. "You speak English," she said cautiously. "How?" Glancing down at the male who still had Naiya pinned with unnatural strength, she said, "let him up, Spike."
When the male got up, I helped Naiya to his feet, letting him lean on me when I saw he was swaying with pain. "Our Telepath read the first human we came across when we first arrived here. She then did a knowledge transfer for us," I explained, praying to Vartra that the humans would understand.
The female looked at the male, who was kneeling beside Rhyaki, gently running a hand through the youngling's hair. "I know what she's talkin' about," he said, not looking away from Rhyaki. "I did one of those transfer things with Red, back when we were looking for the Initiative."
"Alright," the female said. "Who are you, and what the hell are you doing in Sunnydale?"
I tore off a strip of cloth from the bottom of my tunic and bound Naiya's side with it before answering. "My name is Rhayna Liosoe. This is Naiya Vorkoh. We're from the Warrior Guild on Shola, and were sent here to find the missing heir to the Vraza Telepath Clan. He disappeared around twenty-two years ago, and was just a newborn cub." I looked over at the Highlander. "We believe that you were that cub, Rhyaki Vraza."
"Me?" The dark-pelted youngling's eyes were wide with shock and confusion. He turned to the male, Spike. "Will?"
I felt a brief mental touch and I met Spike's piercing blue gaze. "She's not lying, luv." He frowned slightly. "It makes sense," he murmured. Shaking his head, he looked up at the female. "Let's get them back to the shop. Ripper'll wanna meet these two."
"Four," I corrected, opening my mouth in a slight smile. "Kagan, Chaya, you should probably come as well."
There was a rustling from the bushes as Kagan, a tan colored male from the warrior/religious cult of the Brotherhood of Vartra, and Chaya, a black female Telepath, scrambled out of their hiding place. The blonde female raised an eyebrow and the corners of her mouth twitched in a human smile. Spike snorted and put his arm possessively around the youngling's waist. Rhyaki flinched briefly, then relaxed.
"Let's go, then," Kagan said.
"So, you're Rhyaki's Companion?"
I tensed immediately at the mental contact; caught completely off-guard. Xander shot me a quizzical look and I forced myself to relax. "I'll be right back, pet. Stay with the Slayer," I said quietly.
The midnight-furred female had hung back and looked expectantly at me. I growled softly and walked over to her. "Well?" she asked, blue eyes twinkling with amusement.
Putting up stronger shields, I walked beside her. "Maybe. What's a Companion?"
"A significant other," Chaya explained. She paused, her ears pricked forward slightly. "Your people would call it a 'boyfriend,' I believe."
I relaxed. "Yeah, that'd be me. Your kind doesn't seem to have a problem with it." I grinned. "You seem more tolerant than the humans."
"Actually, I really don't know what my people will think. You two are the first inter-species couple I've seen." Suddenly, she let out a small purring laugh. "Oh, you mean that you're both males! My race is bisexual, every one of us. I really don't think they'll have a problem with that." As her laughter trailed off, she looked intently at me. "You're not human though, are you, Spike? Your mind seems very different from every other human I've read."
I growled softly. If the Sholans found out I was a demon, they might decide I was a threat and take Xander away from me.
Turning away from Chaya, I strode quickly back to my lover's side.
As we stepped up to the door of the Magic Box, I felt a hesitant tug on my wrist as Xander held me back. "Will, wait," he said. Buffy and the four Sholans had already gone inside.
"What is it, luv?"
Xander reached up and ran his fingers across my forehead. "You're kinda pointy. Don't think the Sholans would appreciate seeing you like that." His hand trailed down to cup my cheek.
I leaned into his touch, allowing myself to relax and my features shift back into my human guise. "Probably no. What do you think of them?"
Xander looked down and started to withdraw his hand, but I covered it with my own, holding it in place. I could feel his confusion and unease as if it were my own. "I know that I really haven't been myself lately," he said, voice barely above a whisper. "But I really don't want them to take me from you." Suddenly, I had an armful of shaking Sholan. "Love you, William. Don't let them take me away."
"I love you too, Xan," I said, rubbing his back soothingly. "Dust m'self before I let them take you." I kissed him softly, and he responded with more force and desperation than I expected.
After a moment, I heard a slight coughing from behind me. Reluctantly, I broke away; Xander's dark eyes were slightly dilated and he panted quietly. I turned around, not releasing the boy's hand. Dawn stood in the doorway, a smirk appearing on her features.
"Giles wants to know if you guys are gonna join us or just snog all night," she said, laughing. "Then he sorta blinked and polished his glasses for a while." I lauged and the skin around Xander's nose turned pink in embarrassment.
As I started to turn and head inside, Xander stopped me once more. "Tonight, Will," he said quietly.
I cocked my head slightly. "What do you mean?"
He drew in a shaky breath and kissed me again. "Tonight, I want you," he murmured against my lips.
Groaning quietly, I pulled away. "As long as you're ready, Xan."
Xander nodded firmly. "I'm alright now. I'm ready."
I gripped Will's hand tightly as we walked into the Magic Box. Being around a lot of people still made me paranoid, and seeing the other Sholans really wasn't helping.
Sitting down, I leaned against Willow's leg and kept my arm on William's thigh, knowing that they would shield me from the Sholan Telepath. They seemed friendly enough; but, then again, so had Riley and his wife, Sam.
Giles was already deep in conversation with the tabby grey one, Rhayna, and Tara was wrapping a bandage around Naiya's side while she and Willow listened to the other male, Kagan, explain Sholan culture. I pricked my ears forward as he told us about the Brotherhood of Vartra, the religious group of elite warriors that he belonged to. Deciding that Kagan wasn't so bad, I leaned into Will's touch and listened.
"I tried warning Naiya and Rhay that you Humans were stronger than you looked," Kagan said with a purring laugh. "Maybe we could spar sometime, Spike."
William nodded. "I'd be honoured, mate. You should see Xan here as well." He scratched gently behind my left ear. "He's been fighting demons here since he was sixteen."
I looked up at the vampire and glared, hoping that he would shut up. I didn't want any attention; I was sure I could handle it yet.
Will, true to form, ignored me.
"Sixteen? You were still just a kitling!" Kagan exclaimed, genuinely surprised. "How old are you now?"
"Twenty-two," I said, still glaring at Will. He continued to ignore me and Willow reached down and patted my shoulder.
"And you're out of school?" At my nod, he continued. "You've been on Human time, Rhyaki. On Shola, you'd still be in one of the Guild schools or in the military academy. We don't graduate until at least thirty."
"Of course, your race also lives twice as long as ours," Giles said, walking over with Rhayna.
At that comment, I looked up at William. He gave me one of his rare smiles, and I knew that he was thinking the same thing I was: more time to spend together.
Settling back against Will's thigh, I began to feel sleepy. Everyone seemed at ease with the Sholans and it seemed that I was the only one who didn't trust them. I'm still paranoid, I thought. These are my people, why would they want to hurt me?
As the rest of the Scoobies chatted with the Sholans, I felt myself drifting in and out of sleep. Fighting to keep my eyes open, I tried concentrating on what was being said. Finally, I gave up the battle and let sleep claim me.
I awoke to the feeling of cool fingertips brushing my cheek. Yawning sleepily, I opened my eyes to see William smiling softly at me.
"About time you woke up, cub," the vampire said, his voice a lazy purr.
I stretched, enjoying the feel of the pull of my muscles. "How long have I been asleep?" I looked around, noticing for the first time that we were in the car in the parking lot of our apartment complex.
"About two hours," Will replied. "The Sholans are staying at the Magic Box until they can get back to their craft." He glanced up at the apartment building, then back at me. "What do you say about headin' in ?" he asked meaningfully, blue eyes darkening with desire.
It took all of my willpower to keep my ears upright. Come on, Harris; you said you were fine, I scolded myself.
Will had sensed my fear. His expression shifted from horny to concerned and he kissed me softly. "Whatever you want, cub." I nodded and we got out of the car.
The walk up to our apartment was awkward to say the least. I was grateful for Will's telepathy at that point; he was relaxed and continued to send me reassuring thoughts.
Walking into the apartment, I switched on the lights and disarmed myself. Will had already hung up his duster and was in the bedroom untying his Docs. I took a deep breath and ran a hand through my dark hair, reminding myself that it was only Will, who had been my lover for nearly two years now.
"We don't have to do anything you don't want, Xan," William said for the umpteenth time as I joined him in the bedroom.
I sat down next to the vampire on our bed. "I know. I want this, Will. I need it." I leaned in close to him so he could feel my breath on his lips. "I need you." With that, I closed the distance between us and captured his mouth with mine.