Teenage DirtbagAuthor: lusciousxanderPairing:
Starts during Lover’s Walk, S3. Spike's POV throughout.Summary:
Halfrek gives Spike the curse that will change his entire life.Note:
This fic is written for the Reviving Spander Ficathon
Super thanks to devo79
for being my awesome beta.Previous ChaptersPart 10:
Made by Tickyboxes
“What did that demon look like again?” Xander asks, picking another book from the pile on the research table. The sound of flipping pages echoes in the dead silent library.
Rupert squirms beside me. “Uh… indescribably dangerous and has a persistent tendency to, uh, growl.”
I arch an eyebrow at that.
“As opposed to every other demon we know,” Xander throws in, looking suspicious. “Is there really a demon?”
“Of course,” Rupert says indignantly. “Why else would I be calling you on such short notice in the middle of the night?”
Smooth, Rupes. Even someone with dead brain cells like Xander can see that something is going on. Can’t believe he hasn’t figured it out yet. But, of course, dead brain cells don’t operate that way.
It’s the boy’s birthday.
The day his mum did humanity in with her failed abortion. His birth certificate must have been an apology from the condom factory. Can’t believe I’m missing the Dawson’s Creek rerun for this. And, of course, Rupert doesn’t own a VCR.
Stuck in this library for God knows how long – should have been done with the cake and song bit already. The girls are appallingly late. How long does it take to make a sodding birthday cake? Unless Willow needled Buffy to stop for birthday decorations. She was a pain that one, breathing down our necks for more fuss and feathers at that smegging mall.
No one cares enough about this birthday to remember it before
the actual day. It was already night when Willow’s frantic phone call disturbed what was supposed to be a nice quiet evening. Next thing I knew, Rupert drove us to the only mall in Sunnydale. Willow and Buffy were off their trolley, demanding we fetch this and that. I was in charge of birthday balloons which I mucked up royally showing up with a bag of unblown balloons. “There’s no time to blow fifty balloons, William!” Buffy had bellowed. “The party is in two hours and there are still so many things to do!”
Not my fault the boy’s happity birdie was forgotten. How did I know it was a few days after Christmas? Although, William would have known. Bet he’s planned the whole event in that notebook of rotten poetry.
After Willow gave me a lecture on the importance of tonight – Harris turning eighteen, and while he won’t be legally permitted to drink, at least he can vote now – everyone went their separate ways, promising to meet at the library at eleven.
Rupert manages to take a swift glance at his watch while Xander isn’t looking. It’s eleven thirty.
Xander dumps the book in his hands on the table. “I give up. I can barely crack the books when I know what I’m looking for.” He leans forwards and points a finger at Rupert. “You know who you need? A research weasel. Why didn’t you call Willow
in the first place?”
Speaking of which, the lights go off. Finally.
“What’s going on?” Xander jumps, knocking his chair to the floor. “Last time that happened Angel turned evil.”
Library doors swing open before the two of us bother to calm him down. Buffy and Willow slip in carrying the birthday cake, birthday hats on, and singing with mediocre voices. Oz trails after them with extra hats and some shopping bags.
The girls place the cake on the table, the light from the several colorful candles reveal the huge grin on Xander’s delighted face. Even Rupert hops on his legs and joins in with the song.
Xander takes his time blowing off all eighteen candles and sends the room into darkness, Oz immediately snaps the lights on and joins the cheerful crowd in clapping.
Buffy catches herself before giving the boy a fateful birthday hug. “Sorry almost forgot about the no-touching.”
He looks pathetically let down by that. Can’t remember how long it’s been since he got to touch either one of his friends.
Buffy awkwardly directs her gaze from her shoes to the ceiling, then at me looking like she’s about to chew my head off. What? Oh, the bloody balloons.
I drag my feet to the office and release the expensive helium filled balloons I was ear pinched into buying.
The girls clap and jump, watching the birthday balloons fly up to the skylight.
Xander grins at their over-enthusiasm, and then frowns down at the rushed job of a chocolate cake.
“We added extra frosting,” Willow hastily defends their half an hour work. “We know how much you love your sweet sugary goo.”
“Wow,” he breathes out, looking surprised but extremely overjoyed. “You guys outdid yourselves. I didn’t see this coming at all. I thought we were getting too old for birthday parties, so I didn’t expect anything. But I just remembered the hassle fest of shopping for Giles’ birthday last year. I guess my birthday hassle was done before Christmas?”
Xander’s yapping is met with tight smiles plastered on every face except mine. And Oz’s.
“What I’m trying to say is thank you,” he concludes, dopey grin intact. “Of all the surprise birthday parties, this one tops the charts.”
“Birthday boy gets to cut the cake,” Willow pipes up and hands Xander the knife, trying too hard not to show her guilty pout.
Birthday ceremony moves on smoothly from that point. Cake is eaten, balloons are attached to the ceiling, hats are forced on every head, and hopefully once Harris finishes his third piece of the chocolate cake, I might still have a chance to catch the second half of Dawson Creek.
Except things never go my way, now do they?
“Present time!” Buffy announces, springing up a neatly wrapped box with a red bow on the table.
“What?” My wide eyes travel from one present to the other.
“Oh, this one is from Oz.” Willow pushes a festive looking small box forward. “Also, see the warping paper on my present, it’s got reindeers. You love reindeers. You told me when we were six that they’re your favorite animals. See? I remember. And did I mention Oz getting you a present?”
Xander thanks Oz with an uncomfortable nod. The other boy returns it with his zen version of the nod.
Was that why we parted ways at the mall? To fish for birthday presents? Have I missed the memo? When did we decide on presents?
Rupert chooses this moment to place a shopping bag on the table.
I pull him by the arm and hiss into his ear, “You bought him a present, too?”
He frowns at me. “You didn’t?”
“He gets to vote. Shouldn’t that be enough?”
Rupert looks perfectly appalled.
With a fleeting look at Xander tearing into Buffy’s red snowflakes gift wrap, I realize I’m the only one without a present. Don’t want to look like a pillock in front of everybody, now do I?
“I’m writing my name in your card.” I grab his shopping bag and glance inside.
He snatches it out of my grip. “Get your own present.”
“You got him a tie?” Now it’s my
turn to look appalled.
“It should be a sensible present for a young man taking his first steps into adulthood.”
“Shhh.” He glances at an unaware Xander now opening Willow’s present. “Not many stores are open between Christmas and New Year’s.”
“Please let me write my name on the card,” I whisper back pleadingly.
“I did not get a card.”
Is that the smell of burning trousers? There’s a white card attached to the shopping bag. No, wait, that’s the receipt. You’re losing it, Spike. “Just say it’s from us both.”
“No.” Who knew Rupert can be so heartless? He hands the boy his present. “Happy birthday, Xander.”
“Thanks, Giles.” Xander peers inside with a grin. “A black tie.”
“A more grounded choice to your colorful collection of shirts.”
“Very thoughtful,” Xander says, deadpan, he stares inside the bag again and his face loses that wide grin of his.
No one notices as all eyes are on me, waiting for my
“You didn’t get Xander a present?” Willow’s tone is as gobsmacked as her face.
Darting my gaze from Buffy’s murderous glare, to Willow’s disappointed pout, to Oz’s expressionless face – “I did,” I spit out in false annoyance. “I just forgot it home.”
Xander gives a small nod, but clearly doesn’t believe me, and places Giles’ bag quietly on the floor.
Out of the thin air, something big crashes into the skylight and lands on the birthday table, squashing the rest of the birthday cake. I’m too aghast by the sight of my wasted money disappearing into the dark sky to notice the large, vicious looking demon is growling at us.
“So, there is
a demon after all,” Xander quips.
The demon launches at the birthday boy, but Buffy pushes Xander out of harm’s way and is about to give the demon the kick of its life when a scream of agony catches her off guard.
Xander clenches his teeth, his hands clutching his scorched shirt, showing a big burn on his chest where Buffy had pushed him.
Distracted by what she’s involuntarily done to Xander, Buffy misses the demon’s punch that sends her flying across the library.
Rupert pops out from the cage with weapons and drops them on the table. I grab an axe and start swinging it at the demon – until I realize with my face meeting the floor that it’s too bleeding heavy. The demon, however, expresses its gratitude by crashing its enormous weight on my bony body and showing me its fine selections of sharp teeth. Its roaring sends my gelled hair flying in every direction.
Rupert rushes to the rescue only to be swatted like a bug, and he ends up flying into his office. Oz and Willow don’t fare better either, crashing against the book cage. Buffy launches for a second attack and this time, I’m almost able to squeeze myself out from under the demon.
But then, the demon punches Buffy and she flies in the direction of the office just as Rupert is about to march out and knocks him inside again.
The demon suddenly lets out a distressed snarl and looks back at Xander who has just stuck a sword in its back. Still clutching his ragged shirt, Xander stares the demon down.
The demon growls.
“What are you doing, you ponce! Get out of the way!” I yell at the boy.
He doesn’t move, though. Standing there. Staring. Waiting. The demon doesn’t waste a second slicing Xander’s arm with its claw.
Buffy jumps on the demon from the back and resumes the punching match.
Willow rushes to Xander’s side but stops herself before her wavering fingers touch him and casts a pleading look at her boyfriend. Oz silently obeys and crouches next to Xander.
Rupert comes to my side in an instant. “Are you hurt?”
I barely hear him, focusing on that detached stare in Xander’s eyes. He flinches when Oz touches him, perhaps expecting another zing of electricity, but relaxes cautiously to Oz’ gentle hold on his injured arm. Willow places a First Aid kit she just fetched from the office next to Oz.
“A sword!” Buffy demands, hanging onto the demon that is trying desperately to shrug her off.
Rupert snaps to action immediately and throws a fencing sword at her. She catches it and swiftly positions herself until she’s face to face with the demon then thrusts the sword into its chest.
The demons lets out a louder growl then collapses on the floor with Buffy under it. She pushes the dead load off of her and rises to her feet breathlessly.
“Good thinking, Buffy,” Rupert praises. “Always aim at the heart.”
She ignores him, walking straight to where Xander is being treated by Oz. A gloomy look clouds her face as she stares at Xander’s badly burnt chest.
Xander notices her standing near him and cracks a smile up at her. “I’m starting to think ‘birthdays on the Hellmouth’ not the best idea.”
His attempt to lighten up the mood fails as Buffy still looks miserable. “I’m really sorry, Xander.”
He shakes his head. “Don’t sweat it, Buff.”
“The thought of not being able to protect you without hurting you…” her voice cracks at the end, so she snaps her mouth shut.
Xander’s happy-go-lucky smile flails a bit. “It’s… we’ll figure it out.”
Right then, someone grabs my arm and drags me away from the scene. It’s Willow. She actually shoves me into the office and gives me her best impression of a brassed off kindergarten teacher.
“What?” My exasperation increases by the second.
“He’s hurt because of you.”
“Think you’ve got it all mixed up there, pet. It’s the other blonde who put a hole in his shirt.”
“I meant his arm,” she snaps. First time I see her raise her voice like that. “He saved your life and you didn’t even get him a present. You were supposed to buy one at the mall.”
I cross my arms in imitation of her and glare back. “No one said anything about a present.”
“It’s a birthday party, Will. Of course there will be presents!”
“Well, you don’t need to get your knickers in a twist, I already have a present for him.”
She scoffs. “Yeah, right.”
“I do. It’s back home.” She scoffs again. Old sweet Willow never scoffed. Where did she go? “I do!” In anticipation of a third scoff, I give an aggravated grunt. “Know what, I don’t care what you think.”
I head back to the library where Xander is on his feet now. Buffy is hovering over him like a mother hen with the touch of an electric catfish.
“Okay, guys, think I’ll call it a night,” Xander announces. Can’t blame him. His party was a bit of a damp squib. “All this excitement is taking a toll on the Xan-man.”
“I’ll walk you home,” a guilty Buffy offers.
“I’ll do it.” I volunteer with a raised hand. “Need to swing by the house to get his present.”
Buffy looks between me and Xander. “I don’t know. I should go.”
“And give him another skin burn? I think I’m the safest choice.” I demonstrate by hooking my arm around Xander’s shoulders and giving him a harmless squeeze.
“William!” Rupert cries in disbelief, casting a sympathetic look at Buffy’s gutted reaction to my words.
Xander shrugs my arm off. “I don’t need an escort. I can go home by myself. It’s a skill I’ve mastered since I was six.”
“Told you, I’ve got something for you at home. Now fetch your presents and let’s go.” Upon Willow’s glare, I let out a suffering sigh, “Fine. I’ll
carry the presents.” ~*~*~*~*~
We don’t speak a word during the walk home, quite a relief if a bit disturbing given the boy’s record for running off at the mouth. It keeps the vampires away, too. Don’t see myself capable of fighting a vampire off if it jumps at us from one of those questionably rustling bushes. Not with this breakable body, can’t even hold a damn axe.
Something dark jumps at us! With a yelp, I jump back. The shopping bags fall and pour their contents on the pavement.
A bloody black cat.
Xander’s bored stare burns holes in my dignity. “It’s a cat.”
“I can see it’s a cat. I’m not blind.” My glasses slip on my nose.
He gives a shrug and helps me put the presents into the bag. He has the decency to carry two of them this time – Buffy’s and Willow’s, go figure.
Sodding breakable body turning me into a wuss. Even the likes of Xander Harris look better in comparison. I haven’t come face to face with creatures of the night ‘till Christmas Eve at Xander’s backyard. Vampires look bigger and stronger, and dare I say, scarier. Weapons and demons are too heavy. I can’t even kick without falling on my useless bum. There’s a reason regular human beings aren’t qualified to do the Slayer’s job.
With a glance at the unusually silent boy, he doesn’t look remotely afraid. Here I am quickening my pace while juggling his presents because his inviting smell of fresh wounds is bound to attract some big, strong, scary beast. And there he is, calm and collected and got that rugged devil-may-care look going for him.
Oi, where did that
come from? Some William leftovers clearly.
This kid is nothing but a clown. A very silent, sullen clown right now, but overall, he’s the ‘cowers in fear, soils his pants, hides under bed’ kind of wimp who happens to have saved my life. Twice. How does this son of a bitch do it?
Oh, thank God, Rupert’s house is in sight. The flood of relief I’m feeling isn’t helping my case. Bollocks, I was a fearsome lord vampire with a name that strikes fear in the hearts of the bravest warriors, to be reduced to this weakling juvenile is beyond degrading. Even the wanker walking beside me doesn’t look like he’s about to break into dance inside the safety of a walled house.
Which I’ll be leaving soon to deliver him back to his dysfunctional family. Followed by me walking back home. Alone. Perhaps we should wait for Rupert so he can drive the boy. Poor lad can’t walk for more blocks with his injuries.
My room looks like a model picture from an Ikea magazine compared to Xander’s dump. The pendant Cordelia handed me is where I left it in the drawer next to William’s notebook. I glance back at Xander. He looks quite uncomfortable in his skin standing at the door, not daring to step into my room.
“There you go.” I walk toward him with the pendant in my hand. “Didn’t wrap it up. Seems like a useless activity.”
Xander recognized the pendant right away. Must have memorized it by heart. “When did you…”
“Had it for a while. Thought it to be a knock up present. Certainly much better than some tie.”
“Hold on.” Xander looks up at me. He doesn’t appear happy at all. “You had it for a while
and you just gave it to me!”
Confused and a bit underwhelmed by his unsatisfying reaction – “Uh… you unfamiliar with how this works? Birthday presents should be given on the birth day
“William…” he groans in frustration. “Forget it.” He steals the pendant off my hand and examines it. “How does it work?”
“Just smash it,” I grumble.
Xander stares at the pendant before throwing it to the floor and smashing it with his untied trainer to pieces. He looks at me with a frown. “I don’t feel any differently.”
“You have to test it, you twit,” my tone comes off grouchier than I intended.
“And what got you pissed all of a sudden?” Xander grumbles back. “I’m the one who should bristle with rage.”
“Have you tried giving an assclown a present before?”
“My God, you don’t
get it!” Xander screams, looking about to burst with fire. “You know I was looking for that pendant. You know how hard it was for me. And you just kept it! Could have saved me days of…” he ends the sentence with a frustrated cry. “Fine! You want your stupid thanks. Thank you, Will, for the best present ever!”
I’m taken aback by how much his words sting. I didn’t intend to give him the pendant until after what happened with Buffy earlier. Thought he’d suffered enough. I was doing a good thing. I don’t deserve this.
He seems to be calming down, brushing some of his bangs back. “I should test it. Maybe give Mom a hug.” He cringes. “She won’t take it well if she’s wasted, which she’ll most definitely be.”
Feeling too wounded for my liking, I move silently to sit on the chair in front of my computer. The silence is growing thicker by the second.
“What happened to us, Will?”
I look at his reflection on my computer screen silently.
“It’s not Cordelia,” he goes on. “You knew about me and Willow before we got caught and you never treated me like the spit on your neck.”
I throw him a frown.
“You know, at class when jocks spit on our necks? It’s why Willow and Buffy volunteered to always sit behind us, which never worked ‘cause those jerks were far spitters.” He notices the blank look on my face and his voice does trail at the end. “You don’t remember?”
“Of course I do.” I turn away from him in panic. “Trying to understand what you’re getting at, is all.”
“What did I do to make you hate me so much?”
My gaze darts at the drawer hiding the love poems inside. William fancying the lad, God knows why, isn’t Xander’s fault. Perhaps I went too far considering we’re supposed to be BFFs and all.
He looks tired and confused, quite fragile and anticipating a blow. I can crush him right here, right now. Surprisingly enough, I don’t feel like it. I don’t want to anymore. “It’s... I’m not the same bloke you knew.”
His eyes narrow. “You mean the gay thing? That doesn’t bother me.”
A sudden surge of anger claims me. I push my chair backwards and get into his face. “It’s not about you, git. I’ve changed!”
His eyebrows shoot up in shock at my reaction. And now I want to kick myself. I almost spilled it out. I almost told him who I really am.
Xander, who’s prone to anger as much as I am, doesn’t take my sudden outburst well. “Damn right you did. You became an asshole!” He grabs the shopping bags, knocking Rupert’s to the floor in a fit of hysteria. “I don’t need your help getting back home. I can do it myself.”
I grab his arm and spin him around. “You’re hurt! The smell of blood reeks off of you and that will attract blood sucking fiends.”
He jerks his arm out of my grip. “Who cares, right?”
I stare at him long and hard. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
He glares down at the presents he’s carrying before he storms out.
“Xander!” I run after him. “Don’t be daft! It isn’t safe.”
As he’s about to turn the knob, the door suddenly opens revealing Rupert.
“You’re back.” I breathe a sigh of relief.
“We have managed to clear the damage in the library and bury the demon. I have to, however, think of a plausible excuse to give Snyder about the skylight.” He looks between us. “Is something the matter?”
“We were waiting for you,” I say right away. Xander lowers his gaze without a word. “We think it’s safer for Xander to be driven home.”
“Of course. Come along.” Rupert takes hold of some of Xander’s presents and guides him outside.
The door closes behind them and I’m left with various emotions I don’t want to deal with right now.
Inside my room, I notice a white paper on the floor. Rupert’s receipt. I seize it and the first thing I see is the date of purchase. Xander’s bloody birthday. Part 11