Xander's eyes felt gritty and he couldn't move. He struggled for a moment, but the cold bands around his chest just tightened. He stopped and tried to think. The events of the previous night finally came floating to the surface of his memory.

School. Angel. Vampires. Spike. Pretty present. Druscilla. Spike, naked, in bed with him. Xander flailed, trying to get the cold, dead arms off of him. Spike grumbled, but didn't wake up. Xander finally grabbed a arm and peeled it away, but an equally cold leg draped itself over his hip.

Okay, stay calm. You haven't been asleep long, it's daytime. If you can get the undead octopus off, you can get out of here.

Xander rolled onto his back and Spike's bleached blonde head landed on his shoulder. He put one hand on the vampire's chest and slowly pushed. It took a long time, but he finally got free. After searching the room, he found his jeans and sneakers under the bed, but couldn't find his shirt. Grabbing Spike's red shirt off the back of the chair, he decided it was better than being half naked, Xander slipped the silk over his shoulders and snuck out of the room, closing the door quietly behind him.

Spike waited until he heard the door close to open his eyes. Reaching over the side of the bed, he snagged a cigarette and his lighter. Blowing smoke rings up at the ceiling, he smiled. "You'll be back, Pet. There's nowhere else for you to go."


Xander managed to avoid Snyder and the teachers through years of practice. He ducked into the library and hid in Giles' office. Clutching his arms around himself, he huddled into the couch Giles kept in the room for naps and gradually fell asleep again.


Giles finished emptying Xander's locker and carried the box to the library. He'd keep it safe until the boy's parents came to claim it. It had been a difficult task, telling them that their son was dead, especially since there wasn't a body to prove his claim. But, in all good conscience, he had to warn them. Newly arisen vampires most often went to their families for their first meal.

He opened the door to his office and sat the box on his desk before turning and getting the shock of his life.

Xander, sound asleep on his couch, the same way he'd done so many times before. Giles started to reach out to him, but stopped. Quietly opening his desk, he withdrew the stake he kept hidden there.

He sat the point against Xander's chest and said the boy's name. "Xander."


Xander heard Giles' calling his name and opened his eyes. "Hey, G-Man. Fancy meeting you here, in your office." Xander brushed his hand down his chest and encountered the stake. Shocked, he looked into Giles' eyes. The librarian looked sad, but determined. Xander flushed with anger. "Giles. Sunlight. Sitting in sunlight." He roughly pushed the Watcher away from him and stood up. "I don't really think the stake in necessary."

Giles sat down in his chair and dropped his head into his hands. "I'm sorry, Xander. Of course you're not a vampire. I was just so shocked to see you sitting there. Angel told us...

Xander laughed bitterly, "Oh yes, the great Angel. He told you I was a vamp and you believed him. Even after you see me in direct sunlight, you still believed him. Spike was here last night, you know. He told me what Angel said." Xander pulled the collar of the shirt away from his neck and showed Giles the bruises left by the vampire's hand. "I didn't follow him into the school, Giles. He wrapped his hand around my throat and dragged me in. Then he offered me to Spike for a FUCKING SNACK!! When Spike figured out it wasn't Angelus standing there, he belted Deadboy in the face. Dear, sweet, kind Angel ran. He ran, Giles. He ran and left me with the vampires."

"But...how...." Giles stammered.

"How did I escape? Spike. He grabbed me and drug me out of there. I'm getting really sick of vampires dragging me around, Giles. He took me home with him and I met Druscilla. Do you know about Druscilla, Giles? Of course you do. You have all those books about vampires, the Watcher's Chronicles. The same books that said Angel was nothing but a lazy, lying, thieving drunk when he was human. And do you know what he did to Druscilla? He tortured her and drove her insane, and then he turned her."

Xander dropped back into the cushions, "Druscilla told Spike he had to save me and he wasn't allowed to hurt me. I snuck out after they all fell asleep." Xander rubbed his hands over his aching eyes. "What I don't understand is why any of you would think Angel would turn into a good guy just because the gypsies gave his soul back. His lying, thieving, conniving soul."

Xander closed his eyes and let his head fall back, "I'm really tired, Giles. I'm going to go home and get some sleep. I'll deal later."

"Yes, well, there's a small problem with that." Giles said hesitantly.

Xander groaned, "Now what?"

"Well, since we believed you had been turned into a vampire, we had the responsibility to inform your parents that you were, uh, deceased."

Xander opened his eyes and glared at the librarian. "We had to, Xander. Newly turned vampires often go to their homes and feed on their families first."

"That's just ducky, Giles. Now what am I supposed to do?"

Giles tugged his suit jacket back into place, "We'll simply inform your parents that it was a mistake. I'm sure they'll be shocked but pleased to have you home safe and sound."

Xander started laughing, and then found he couldn't stop. "Giles, my loving family has probably already called the insurance guy by now and claimed my life insurance." Xander squinted at the clock over Giles' desk. "In a couple of hours you can go by and check out the party. I'm sure it'll be a good one."

"Xander, honestly, I realize you're upset, but there is no reason to be acting in this fashion." Giles said indignantly.

Xander saw red, he'd always had a temper, but since the hyena incident he'd discovered just how good it felt to let his anger loose. "Giles, in the last twenty-four hours I've been kidnapped by a vampire, offered to another vampire, who thinks I'm pretty by the way. I just found out that I don't have a home anymore, not that it was much of one to begin with. And my friends didn't even try to save me from the monsters. And the only people who've been nice to me have been the fucking monsters!" Xander shrugged, "Well, only Druscilla actually. Spike is kinda obnoxious, but he's a Hell of a lot better than Angel."

Giles rose from his seat and patted Xander on the shoulder, "Rest here for now, Xander. We'll fix this. Just try to stay calm."


Xander dozed lightly, too wound up to actually sleep. He heard Buffy's voice and listened to what his friends were saying. He didn't like what he heard.

"Giles, they probably did something to him. I mean, he's under a spell or something. And you know he's never liked Angel. This could be the trap Angel was telling us about."

"Buffy, I don't think..."

"No, Giles. I refuse to believe Angel did that. Xander is lying for some reason. Listen, I'll go talk to Angel, you guys keep Xander here and try to find a spell to undo whatever it was they did to him."

Xander heard the doors to the library close and then Willow spoke up. "Giles. Can I see him?"

"Perhaps Buffy is right, Willow. He may very well be dangerous. It's best that we let him sleep and try to come up with a solution to this. It will be all right, Willow. We'll have the old Xander back in no time. You'll see."

"I still want to see him, Giles. Xander has been my best friend since we were five, he'd never hurt me." Willow said confidently.

Giles sighed, "Willow, we don't know for sure that the person in my office is Xander. It could be a demon in disguise as our friend. In fact, that's the most likely case. Look under shape shifters, maybe there will be a spell in there to force it to reveal its true form."


Xander had heard enough. He moved the box off the desk and found it was full of his things. They'd already cleaned out his locker for him. He grabbed the things he wanted to keep and climbed up onto the desk and pushed the window open. He threw his things through first before making his escape. It took some wiggling, but he finally made it outside. He slumped against the building, there was only one place left for him to go. At least Druscilla would be happy to see him. He gathered his things and started the long walk back to the warehouse, his mind set on one thing...it didn't matter what it took, Angel was going to die. This time forever.


It was still early when Xander made it back to the warehouse. He slipped inside and was grateful to see that the vampires were still sleeping. He finally gave in and went back to Spike's room; at least he wouldn't eat him as soon as he woke up, probably.

Xander sat in the chair next to the bed and leaned down to untie his shoes.

"Did you have a nice walk, Pet?"

Xander's head jerked up and found Spike grinning at him. "You knew?"

Pale shoulders shrugged casually. "Heard you leave, didn't I? I told you, Pet." Spike raised one hand when he saw the snarl on the boy's face. "Sorry. Xander. This is the only place you're safe for the moment."

Xander groaned and buried his head in his hands.

"So...I'm guessing you went to your friends. What happened?" Spike already had a good idea, but he wanted to hear it from the boy. He'd had a long time to think while his prezzie was out. Making the boy feel safe was the first step to making Xander his. And his alone.

Xander's voice was muffled, but Spike could hear him clearly. "First Giles tried to stake me, despite the fact I was sitting in sunlight. We talked. My friends were nice enough to tell my parents that I was dead. I told him about Angel, but he didn't really believe me. Buffy and Willow came in, I could hear them through the door. They think I'm under a spell, or possessed or something. Buffy went to tell Angel I was back while Willow and Giles started looking for a spell to fix me."

Spike shot up in bed, "Bloody Hell. Don't they know how dangerous that is? Most of those spells will kill a normal human."

Xander raised his head and shrugged. "Guess they would have believed me then."

"Fuck. Sorry, Pe...Xander. If I'd known they were going to be that daft I'd never have let you go."

"Why did you? Let me go that is." Xander asked curiously.

"Simple. I knew you needed to know for yourself what was going on. You don't have any reason to trust me; yet."

Xander stared at the vampire in the bed for a moment before saying casually. "You do realize that I'm going to kill Angel, don't you?"

Spike smirked, "Not just yet. I have plans for him. Then he all yours. I'll even hold him still for you." Spike heard the boy's stomach growl. "Get comfy, Pet. I'll go get you something to eat."

Xander was too tired to make an issue about the 'Pet' thing, but he wasn't so tired that he could ignore the fact that Spike was walking around the room naked.

Spike saw him staring and grinned, "What? I look good naked." The vampire strolled out the door, leaving stunned silence behind him.


Spike wasn't gone long, the vampire soon returned carrying several cartons of what appeared to be Chinese food. He handed one to Xander, along with a pair of chop sticks, before setting the rest on the floor next to the bed. Spike got back under the covers and grabbed his own carton and was soon stuffing his face with sweet and sour shrimp.

Xander wasn't very good with chop sticks, so he used the patented Xander shovel method. Holding the carton up to his face, he used the sticks to just shove food into his mouth. He'd finished most of the beef and broccoli before he paused for breath. The vampire was still eating his shrimp and Xander just had to know. "Um, I thought vampires didn't eat real food."

Spike snorted. "Most don't, doesn't mean we can't. I like food. Not as much as blood of course, but I do like it. Besides, it's not like I have to worry about my weight, is it?"

Xander actually laughed, "Guess not. What else have you got in there?" He asked, pointing to the cartons on the floor.

"All kinds of stuff. Just grab one."

Xander opened the first carton he got his hands on and found dumplings. He loved Chinese dumplings. He happily shoved the first one into his mouth and groaned in delight.

"Oi!!! Save some of those for me! I like 'em too."


Druscilla smiled from the doorway, just watching the fight over the food. Daddy's prezzie would be good for Spike. Xander would take care of Spike when she couldn't anymore. The ailing vampire went back to her room to speak with Miss Edith.


Xander finally relented and let Spike have half of the dumplings. He snickered when Spike sank his fangs into one of them, draining the juices out before eating it. He grabbed the next carton and smiled when he found Moo Shoo chicken. Waving his chop sticks at the vampire he said, "Next time, get two orders."

Spike grinned around the dumpling impaled on his fangs, his prezzie was already thinking about a next time.


Xander groaned and dropped the empty carton on the floor with the rest of the trash. Between the two of them, they'd eaten everything.

Spike was lying back on the pillows, smoking a cigarette. "Might as well get a nap in, Pet. We'll be moving after dark."

Xander made his way to the other side of the bed and collapsed on top of the blankets, still wearing his clothes. "Why are we moving?"

"Peaches will be looking for us after dark. I don't really fancy getting staked, Pet."

"Oh. Okay." Xander said, already half asleep. "And don't call me Pet."

Spike waited until he was sure the boy was asleep before peeling him out of his clothes. He tucked the boy under the blankets with him and curled up against his back. There was something to be said for sleeping with a warm person.


Druscilla brushed the tears off her cheeks. She knew she was going to die soon, but she didn't want to. She would miss her precious boy and his prezzie. Tucking Miss Edith under her chin she whispered, "Promise you'll never leave me, Miss Edith. I don't want to be alone."

Only Druscilla could hear the doll's reply. "Are you sure, Miss Edith?" Druscilla giggled, "Of course you are. Xander is a nice boy, isn't he? We'll have to do something special for him."

Druscilla's eyes grew wide. "Really? Oh, that would be lovely, then we could all be together forever."


Giles paced impatiently. Buffy still wasn't back yet. He'd sent Willow home; the poor girl was so upset that she would be in danger in the coming battle. And it would be a battle, he was sure of that.

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