Cure for Love

 

Author name: Jacob M. Bosch

Disclaimer: The characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui, Sandollar, and David Greenwalt Productions, 20th Century Fox, and whoever else may have a hold upon them. The situation is wholly mine, and I do not mean to infringe upon any

copyrights. I borrowed them. I intend on giving them back, but not before I have my fun. Don’t sue me. Nobody’s paying me to write this… and I really need the cash, too…

Summary: A spell cast on Angel causes some problems for Xander.

Couples: X/Angel, B/Angel

Category: Drama

Spoilers: Quasi-season 2.

Rating PG-13—kinda slashy.

Author's comments: This fic is inspired by another story written by saone called A Dream is a Wish Your Demon Makes. Permission was given to post this story.

Distribution: Why certainly. Take and be merry.

 

*

Cure for Love

 

Xander pushed through the Library’s doors, and calmly, purposely, walked over to the book cage.

 

Buffy Summers and Willow Rosenberg sat side by side at the largest reading table in the Library. A half dozen texts lie open in front of the two girls’, as they carefully scanned through the books in their hands. Buffy and Willow were in full research mode. And they’d been that way for the last few months. Rupert Giles, Sunnydale High’s Librarian, stood behind the checkout counter several feet away from the Library’s entrance cataloging a batch of new reference books delivered earlier that day.

 

All three looked up from their activities and followed Xander’s progression with their eyes.

 

Willow Rosenberg looked on her oldest friend with pity. She couldn’t begin to imagine the amount of craziness Xander endured over the past three months. But she did know Xander was to the point now where he stopped going out at night and stayed barricaded in his house.

 

If it weren’t for school, Willow doubted she’d see Xander at all.

 

Willow also knew it was only a matter of time before he cracked under the pressure. Which is why she wasn’t all that surprised by his next words. Just adamant he shouldn’t go through with what he planned.

 

Buffy's face was a battleground of expressions, warring between wariness and anger. She knew it wasn’t fair to blame Xander, but there it was. Or maybe it was just the situation she hated? At first when it all started, Buffy remembered laughing herself silly, but over the weeks it became less and less amusing. She wanted to help Xander through this, but it was hard to

get past her own hurt.

 

Giles watched the young man with an interest not unlike scientific curiosity. Perhaps a smattering of concern, but mostly it was inquisitiveness. To say it amazed Giles that the young man had managed for so long without going mad was an understatement. He often wondered if he could have dealt with Xander’s predicament half as well.

 

"Xander, what are you doing in there?" Giles asked when the boy went straight for the weapons cabinet inside the book cage.

 

Xander opened the armoire and began selecting weapons. First, he pulled out an unsheathed Dagesse short sword, then a vial of holy water, which he stuffed into the front pocket of his baggy denim pants. And finally he removed two wooden stakes and slid them into the waistband of his pants behind his back.

 

"Xander, where are you going with all those weapons?" Willow called out to the young man, her voice teetering on panic.

 

Xander had taken off his jacket and wrapped it around the sword and tucked it under his left arm, then he closed the cabinet and started out of the cage. Willow didn’t know what was scaring her more: Xander’s arming himself for a siege, or the serene demeanor that

comprised his appearance.

 

"Xander!" Both Willow and Buffy shouted jumping to their feet when it looked like Xander was going to leave the Library without answering them.

 

Xander stopped and turned to them and said, "Oh, I’m just gonna go kill Angel."

 

"Xander, you can’t!" Willow exclaimed.

 

Xander smiled, "Can, will, gonna. See I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I don’t see any other way out. Angel has to go poof!"

 

"Xander, we all know this has been increasingly difficult on you, but--" Giles began.

 

"Difficult? Difficult he says! You don’t know the half of it! Do you know what that lunatic did last night?" Xander pointed back at the Library doors as if Angel were standing behind them, "Angel came to my house, stood outside my window and serenaded me! It was two o’ clock in the morning and he sang, or tried to sing, ‘Are You Strong Enough to Be My Man?’ He has to die!"

 

No one said anything for a moment as they all pictured the event Xander described in their minds.

 

It was Willow who recovered first, "Xander, we’re still searching for the spell that’s going to

reverse--"

 

"We’ve been looking for three months and nothing, nada, zippo!" Xander interrupted, "No more magic, I got the perfect solution right here," Xander tapped the camouflaged sword under his arm, smiling. There was something slightly manic to his grin, causing Willow and Giles to exchange worried glances.

 

Buffy inched her way closer to Xander, "Xand, listen, I know this thing with Angel sucks, but it’s really not his fault it’s happening," Buffy was standing right in front of Xander now. She was smiling at him, she hoped, reassuringly. "Angel can’t help how he feels."

 

Xander’s face fell away from his grin so fast Buffy took an unconscious step backwards. She never thought a human being could possess such a cold expression.

 

"Sounds like a personal problem to me," he said.

 

Giles cleared his throat and stepped from around the Library’s checkout desk. "Buffy is right, Xander. Angel is an innocent--" Xander snorted, "--bystander. It wouldn’t be right to, ah, kill him for actions he has no control over just to make your life more comfortable."

 

Xander, his face turn down and a little to the side, seemed to think over Giles words, then before even Buffy could react, the boy turned and shot out of the Library.

 

"Damn!" Buffy said launching after him.

 

"Xander!" Willow moved to follow behind Buffy.

 

"Willow, wait!" Giles stopped her, "Buffy can handle Xander for the time being, we need to find that reversal spell!"

 

Willow found it hard to not alternate her attention between Giles and the still swinging Library doors.

 

"Giles what are we going to find tonight that we haven’t been able to find for the past three months?"

 

"I haven’t a clue," Giles conceded snatching his glasses from his face and brutally rubbed his fingers and palms of his other hand over his eyes. "Though I loath to admit it, I’m very much hoping we might strike upon something by luck."

 

Willow shot one last glance at the doors before following behind Giles up into the stacks.

 

"Yeah, because luck is in such good supply on the Hellmouth."

 

 

If Xander could’ve avoided going to the Library he would have. But he didn’t have any hard-core weapons at his place. And in all likelihood Angel wasn’t going to stand there and take it like a man when Xander tried to give him a deep chest massage with a stake.

 

No matter how—gah—in love he was.

 

Xander was already speeding from the students’ parking lot when Buffy made it out of the school. He’d left the cars motor running and the doors unlocked—because it really helps in these situations if you’re prepared. That’s why he borrowed his dad’s car in the first place. Actually, stealing was a more apt description, but Xander needed wheels. He was a fast

runner, but not fast enough to outrun a slayer on a mission.

 

Case in point.

 

Xander saw Buffy running after the car in the rearview mirror, and was keeping up pretty good until Xander revved the car up to fifty miles per hour and left her in his dust. Well, what did she expect? Sure she looked hot in those knee-high boots and mini skirt, but not really stuff you wanted to wear while chasing down a motor vehicle. Nodding with satisfaction,

Xander settled back in the driver’s seat and slowed down to the legal speed limit. No use getting pulled over, he was on borrowed time as it was.

 

Cruising down Credence Avenue Xander felt the ever-present tension in his neck begin to ebb. Even his stomach felt a little calmer, except for the flutteryness that came with anticipation. Three months of looking over his shoulder and avoiding secluded places—and public places for that matter—at night, would finally be behind him. And the answer to his

problem had been so simple. Xander could slap himself for not thinking of this sooner.

 

Xander parked right in front of Angel’s apartment door, killed the engine, and then grabbed the bandaged sword lying on the passenger seat.

 

As he got out of the car, Xander un-wrapped the sword and tossed his jacket back onto the seat. Angel’s apartment building was in a seedy part of town, so a guy walking around with a big ass shiny sword probably wasn’t a crazy sight. But when he walked up to Angel’s

front door, Xander hid the sword behind his back before he knocked.

 

It was three hours before sundown, and Angel should be home. Although Xander really didn’t know the vampire’s habits other then his penchant to follow Buffy around and give her ominous warnings. And lately, Angel didn’t stalk Buffy anymore, and he only warned her of

trouble in Sunnydale through Giles these days.

 

After a few seconds Xander heard a muffled response that could have been a ‘who is it?’ from behind the door.

 

"Me."

 

An instant later the door opened into a dimly illuminated space. Angel was standing several feet away from the doorway, out of reach of the afternoon light. He stared at Xander with wonder, like he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. And for a second, Xander saw that innocence Giles harped on in the Library shimmering through Angel’s eyes.

 

"My love," Angel whispered. With those words any doubts Xander might have had disappeared. Xander came into the apartment swinging.

 

Angel ducked under Xander’s first wild swing at his neck. Xander swung again and completely lost control of the arch and the short sword bit into the doorframe, jarring his arms with teeth rattling force. Xander almost dropped the sword but managed to keep a

weak one-handed grip with his right hand.

 

Xander jerked the Dagesse from the wood and cursed when he saw that Angel had retreated further into the apartment.

 

"Xander, why are you trying to get me with that sword?" Angel asked backing away over the stone platform leading towards the bedroom area.

 

"Never mind," Xander replied, stalking after the vampire," could you stand still for a second?"

 

"Will you try and cut me if I do?"

 

"I won’t cut you."

 

Angel pointed at the sword, "Could you put the sword down?"

 

"No, I need it to lop your head off."

 

"But… but I love you!"

 

"Shut uhuuup!"

 

Angel stopped moving and placed his hand against his chest. "I don’t understand. How can you kill me for loving you?"

 

"Because you won’t leave me alone, you moron!"

 

"I can’t help it. I need you."

 

"No you don’t! You’re under a stupid, life wrecking spell, genius!"

 

Angel shook his head violently, "No, my love is pure and true!"

 

"That’s it! Dead boy, get ready to meet your inner dust bunny!"

 

Xander brought the sword up again, holding the Dagesse like a batter and ran at Angel. This time his swing was more conservative then the overextended swipe he’d taken earlier. He aimed the blade at Angel’s midsection, hoping for greater success with a larger target then than the vampire’s neck. Angel leaped backwards, avoiding the attack, but Xander was ready for the vampire’s agility this time. He quickly lunged forward and nearly whooped when one of the Dagesse’s edges made contact with the left side of Angel’s ribcage.

 

It was a glancing wound, but Xander didn’t even expect to land that much on a forewarned Angel.

 

"You know, if you really loved me you’d obey my every command and hold still," Xander said.

 

"Sorry, my love, but I have to put my foot down when it comes to decapitation," was Angel’s amused reply.

 

Growling, Xander took another swipe at Angel with the sword, "Don’t call me that!" and missed his quarry completely.

 

"What would you prefer I called you? Shmoopie? Blood muffin?"

 

Xander’s left eye began twitching, "Don’t you dare."

 

"Then I won’t. All I want to do is talk to you. Get to know you. We haven’t said much to each other since we—I—fell in love with you, Xander. You always run from me."

 

Suddenly, Xander’s face sported a shy smile and downcast puppy dog eyes.

 

"You’re right—I’m sorry. It’s just that I’m not used to anyone showing me that kind of affection."

 

Angel smiled back at the young man, "I understand. And don’t think I’m not proud to be the first to do so."

 

Xander lowered the sword to his side and looked down at the floor, kicking the tip of his tennis shoes at the surface of the floor.

 

"I’ve had people tell me that they loved me before, Angel, but when it came right down to it they always let me down."

 

Angel emitted a sound in his throat that was very pitying, and he took a step closer to Xander, extending his arms. "I won’t disappoint you, my love. Never you," Angel said.

 

"I know you won’t," Xander said.

 

As Angel moved to close the distance separating them, Xander brought the sword up and pushed the point into Angel’s gut. And kept pushing until it came out through the vampire’s back, his nostrils flaring as the scent of blood tainted the air. The blade’s journey took it through Angel’s backbone, pried apart his vertebrae and sliced his spinal cord in two.

 

"Xander…"

 

Xander raised his head to find Angel’s dark brown eyes, widened with shock, staring back at him. Xander’s eyes were hazel pools of apathy as he twisted the blade around, making sure he totally severed Angel’s spine. Angel moaned as Xander withdrew the Dagesse with one slow pull.

 

"Man, you’re a complete sucker when you’re in love," Xander said before the vampire dropped heavily to the floor.

 

"Smarter then the average bear you are not. I mean… come on!" Xander exclaimed, then his voice became high-pitched, mimicking his earlier proclamation to Angel. "‘I’ve never had anyone really care about me like that before.’ For the love of God Angel, you actually bought that crap? Hellooo! Willow, remember her?"

 

Xander walked around Angel’s paralyzed body. He maneuvered the sword over Angel and lined the bloodied blade up with the vampire’s neck.

 

"Don’t worry," he said as he lifted the sword over his head, "I’ll make it quick. Lickety-split."

 

 

Buffy was tired and sweaty and pissed off. And she was all three because she let Xander dupe her. Xander, of all people! She’d really thought they were getting through to him, but instead ended up having to run all the way from Sunnydale High to the apartment, praying

she wasn’t too late to save Angel—from Xander. Who shouldn’t have been the slightest threat to the two hundred and forty-ish vampire, but was probably the biggest threat Angel had ever faced.

 

A wave of dread went through Buffy when she saw the car Xander used to drive away from the school parked in front Angel’s place, and that Angel’s door was hanging wide open. Muting her footsteps against the sidewalk, Buffy cautiously made her way up to the

doorway. Xander was already skittish and paranoid, so barging in would only make matters worse.

 

She made out the voices of two guys. The voices were speaking in subdued tones making Buffy’s uh-oh radar go off. Xander and Angel talking to each other in a calm, rational manner—okay, what wacky universe are we in now?

 

Then Buffy heard a carrying "Thuck"; the kind of sound flesh makes when it gets run through… with a sword.

 

Buffy rushed inside the apartment. The spare lighting coming from behind the milky white skin of an oriental screen near the door allowed her eyes to adapt quickly and take in the scene inside the apartment. She was already running when she screamed.

 

"Xander!"

 

Xander, sword raised overhead, stood over a man who was lying on his back wearing a white tee shirt and faded blue jeans—Angel. Her quasi-boyfriend held his

stomach together with both hands, blood pouring out from under his fingers. The white shirt he wore made the wound that much more shocking as blood stained the material.

 

Angel’s eyes were glassy, and he gazed up at Xander with hurt and such wanting…

 

Xander gave Buffy the briefest glance before he started to bring the sword down. Buffy collided with Xander before the blade came within mere inches of Angel’s neck. They both went down in a tumble onto the hardwood floor away from Angel.

 

Buffy grabbed a hold of Xander’s wrist and slammed his hand into the floor. Grunting in pain, Xander lost his hold on the handle. Buffy quickly scrabbled on top of him and sat on his stomach.

 

She still had Xander’s arm pinned to the ground, while her right forearm pressed firmly into Xander’s chest.

 

"I can’t believe you tried to do it!" Buffy screamed down at Xander. "Well, actually, I can, but… still!"

 

"Buffy I know you’re jealous an everything, but I’m in the middle of something here. If you wanna pick this up some other time…"

 

"Xanderrr."

 

"Buffy it has to stop!"

 

"Not like this. Just give Giles a little more time to find the counter spell."

 

"How long exactly? A day, a week?"

 

"Xander, come on!"

 

"Nope."

 

"Please?"

 

"Uh…"

 

"I love him, Xander. And this spell is hurting me just as much as it’s hurting you. How do you think it makes me feel to see and hear him proclaim his undying love for you? It-it’s like my heart’s being stomped on every time he does it!"

 

"Buff--"

 

"If you care anything about me Xander you’ll give us a chance to make things right again. I know Angel was

never your favorite person, but he doesn’t deserve to die like this under the influence of Spike and Drusilla’s spell."

 

Xander really seemed to mull what she said over, but Buffy didn’t relax her hold on him. Xander was way trickier then she ever gave him credit for. After a few tense moments of silence, Xander nodded.

 

"Okay, okay, I’ll hang in for a little while longer."

 

Buffy closed her eyes and breathed out a sigh of relief. Slowly, Buffy released her pin and helped Xander to his feet. Then she went over to Angel, whose gut wound had yet to heal. Angel stared up at the ceiling distraught. Buffy’s heart lurched when she saw tears spilling from the corners of his eyes, she knew they weren’t flowing because of his injury.

 

"Angel, are you going to be okay?" Buffy asked as she knelt down beside him, inspecting the gaping hole in his mid-section. Angel could survive such a wound, but Buffy wasn’t sure if the blood loss wouldn’t kill him. And judging by the amount soaked into the carpet under him, Angel lost a great deal of blood.

 

Angel shook his head. "He hates me."

 

"You got that right, pal," Xander said behind her, and Buffy threw a quick, but scathing glare at the boy before turning back to Angel.

 

"No Angel, Xander doesn’t hate you," Buffy thrust her hand out behind her and cut off any remark coming from Xander, "He’s just… just wigged."

 

Angel seemed to really focus on her for the first time, "Really?"

 

Buffy gently caressed the tears from Angel’s face with the thumb of her right hand, "Really. Now we’re going to take you back to the Library and get you patched up."

 

"I-I don’t think I can make it that far," said Angel.

 

"We’ll take Xander’s car."

 

"What! Are you crazy? My dad’s already going to commit infanticide because I took his car in the first place! I don’t even want to think about what he’ll do if I bring it back with blood all over the upholstery!"

 

 

Buffy’s voice carried into the Library a few moments before she, Xander, and the injured vampire named Angel entered the Library itself.

 

"You severed his spine!"

 

Xander’s voice, also raised, drifted through the Library’s doors.

 

"If you can tell me another way to keep a fidgety vampire from moving I’d love to hear it!"

 

Willow sat at the big reading table and Giles stood beside her. A book lie open on the table in front of Willow and neither let their gaze fall on the thick leather bound text. Giles was polishing the glaze from the lens of his glasses, and Willow found the stitching in the hem of her skirt just so fascinating.

 

The doors swung open. Buffy and Angel walked in together. Angel’s arm was around Buffy’s neck as she half dragged his faintly smoking form into the room.

 

Angel had on a dark shirt that hung open, exposing his pale torso. His blue jeans were still wet with blood, and made the darkening fluid difficult to identify visually. Buffy’s arm was around Angel’s waist, while she pressed what used to be a white shirt against his stomach.

 

Xander followed them in a second later.

 

"It’s okay, Xander," Angel said, "I made you do it."

 

From behind the blood-deficient vampire Xander shot Angel a surprised glance, then looked away. "Shut up, Angel."

 

Willow and Giles focused their attention past Buffy and Angel and onto Xander.

 

"Giles we’re going to need the first aid chest," Buffy said.

 

Giles looked at Buffy and Angel, only then noticing the vampire’s injury, "Yes, of course."

 

Willow continued to gawk at Xander, her cheeks flushed a deep red. Xander, too preoccupied with his predicament, didn’t see her. He loped over to the checkout counter turned and hoisted himself onto it, he hunched his back and nervously kicked his heels

against the counter and stared at the floor.

 

Buffy carried Angel over to a chair and gently placed him in it, a moment later Giles walked over with a large wooden case, set it on the floor next to Buffy who knelt in front of Angel.

 

As she began cleaning his wound with a strip of gauze, Buffy consciously ignored the way Angel was looking over her head to keep Xander in his sights. Very little blood oozed from the four-inch gash in Angel’s belly, so all Buffy needed to wipe away was a few smears. Buffy then took out a needle and a spool of surgical thread from the box.

 

"Angel, I’m going to close up this wound, okay? It’s going to hurt."

 

Angel gave her the barest nod of acknowledgment still watching Xander. Her eyes bright with unshed tears Buffy set about stitching the wound. Her hands were shaking until she willfully calmed her nerves.

 

After giving Buffy the medical kit, Giles looked over at Xander and openly stared. And he would have kept staring if Willow hadn’t softly cleared her throat drawing his attention. Giles turned and saw the girl tilt her head in Xander’s direction.

 

Giles hesitated, and Willow jerked her head more forcefully, her long red hair falling from behind her ears. Giles pleaded with the girl with his eyes and Willow came right back at him with a ‘but you’re the grown-up’ expression. Finally, Giles nodded. And Willow, no longer anointed, very visibly relaxed in her chair. Mouthing an "I’m sorry" before Giles walked up to Xander.

 

"Xander, may I speak with you for a moment?"

 

"Giles if this is about your sword, I left it at Angel’s place."

 

"Ah, yes, I’ll have Buffy retrieve the sword later--"

 

"Well, if you’re gonna scold me or something--"

 

"No. I… I need to discuss something in private."

 

Shrugging, Xander hopped off the counter and followed Giles out of the Library. Giles lead them into an empty classroom down the hall from the Library and closed the classroom’s door behind Xander and himself. Xander wandered over to a student's desk and sat on

top of it the same way he had the checkout counter: inappropriately.

 

"So… what’s up, G-man?"

 

"Ah, Willow and I have found a way to negate the enamor spell placed on Angel."

 

Xander stared at the other man for a long minute before replying.

 

"Are you messing with me?"

 

"M-messing with you?"

 

"Because if you’re messing with me…"

 

"Xander, I assure you I am not… messing with you."

 

Giles yelped when he found himself suddenly enveloped in the tight embrace of the teenager.

 

"Xander… please."

 

"Oh, sorry ‘bout that, Giles," Xander said pulling away from the older man. "Stuffy British guy. No hugging other men… very unbecoming… got it."

 

Xander didn’t look very chastised to Giles as he excitedly rocked back and forth on his feet.

 

"I owe you one… no, two… you know what? Just name your price! If ever you need your car washed, I’m your go to guy. Need books shelved, call me Xan, Xan, the shelvin’ man!"

 

Xander inhaled sharply and turned his head a little to the side, "Or if you just need a shoulder to cry on," Xander raised right fist, lowered his head with his eyes closed, "I’m there for you, Giles.

 

"And Wills! Wills, that little go-getter, she’s on the top of my Christmas list, too! ‘Course she doesn’t celebrate the birth of our lord and savior, to whom I’m going get down on my knees every night and pray to from now on, so okay, Hanukkah list it is! Just gotta’ dig deep into the ol’ piggy bank… besides what’s a few bucks when it comes to the girl who helped save my life?"

 

Ordinarily Giles would have tuned the boy out, or rolled his eyes in exasperation, but instead the Watcher remained solemn throughout Xander’s tangent.

 

"So tell me Giles, what’s the cure for love?"

 

"Well, you see Xander, the only way the spell can be broken… is for you and Angel to-to engage in an intimate act."

 

"Intimate act?"

 

"Ah, yes. More specifically, you and Angel must have… full intercourse."

 

 

Buffy was nearly finished sewing up a now unconscious Angel when she thought she heard a faint scream.

 

"Willow, did you hear something?"

 

"No."

 

Buffy listened for a few moments before deciding it was probably her imagination, and went back to closing Angel’s wound.

 

She didn’t notice how Willow stared at the Library doors, chewing her bottom lip.

 

 

"I’ll just have to live with it. Yeah… yeah, that’s what I’ll do! I mean Angel’s not going to bother me anymore after today!"

 

"I don’t think you fully understand how the enamor spell operates, Xander. Angel might try to avoid you, but the nature of the spell makes it impossible for him to stay away from you for any length of time. No matter how he resists."

 

"So what am I supposed to do? Sleep with him?" Xander yelled throwing up his hands.

 

"If the enchantment is to end, then yes."

 

"I can’t," Xander moaned, "I won’t!"

 

"Then you and Angel shall remain in this limbo for the foreseeable future, and--"

 

"I blame you for this!"

 

Giles eyes widened, "What? Me?"

 

"Yeah, you! You and Buffy! When I signed on for this gig I only agreed to help slay demons, research, and get the occasional concussion! And I distinctly remember not marking that little box listing necrophilia as one of my hobbies!"

 

Appalled, Giles was tempted to remind Xander that both he and Willow insinuated themselves into vampire slaying against his vehement protests. But Xander was just lashing out at the most convenient target. And Angel was no where in sight.

 

"Xander--"

 

"I’m not done!" Xander exclaimed.

 

"You are done! And this spell is more dangerous then you realize! The enamor spell was first used by warring families in old Europe as a tool to promote unity by be-spelling one male and one female from each clan and marrying them off. Later, someone decided to use the enamor as a hex of sorts against their enemies family by inciting a father or a brother to desire a

female relative."

 

"Oh my god, that’s sick," Xander whispered.

 

"Yes. Leading to many brutal sexual assaults, and ending the spell with tragic results."

 

"You mean Angel’s going to try an… and rape me? I’ll kill him first!"

 

"The original spell was meant to work on humans so there’s no telling what its long term effects will be on Angel. He may never attack you," Giles said trying to allay the boy’s fears.

 

But Xander wasn’t listening.

 

"Either I sleep with him willingly or someday Angel’ll go mental and try and take me by force," Xander ran his hands through his dark hair several times, talking to himself. On the last run he grabbed the hair on the back of his head and laughed. And it was anything but

humorous. "I’m screwed either way."

 

"Xander, no one will allow Angel to harm you."

 

"And your brilliant way of protecting me is to have me bump uglies with the living challenged in there? Gee, Giles, I wonder why I’m not very comforted by that? How long?"

 

"How long?"

 

Xander lowered his arms and glared at the older man, "How long before Angel goes all Chester the Molester on me?"

 

"That is only one possible outcome--"

 

"How… Long?"

 

"The thresh hold for resistance ended a month ago."

 

 

"Where’s Xander?" Angel asked standing up from his chair when Giles re-entered the Library alone. Not even bothering to pretend he wasn’t bobbing and weaving his head to look around the Watcher.

 

Before responding to the vampire’s question, Giles made eye contact Willow and nodded. "Xander went home."

 

"And you let him go… alone? It’s almost dark out!"

 

"Sundown’s two hours away, Angel," Buffy said.

 

"Did he… seem okay?" Willow asked.

 

"About as well as can be expected," was Giles’ careful reply.

 

"I think I'll be going then," Angel announced and furtively walked towards the Library doors.

 

Giles blocked the vampire’s path, "Angel I don’t believe Xander would care to have you chasing after him."

 

"I just want to keep him safe. He won’t even know I’m around," Angel said.

 

"Xander is very upset and he wants you to leave him alone."

 

Buffy put a hand on Angel’s arm. "Xander has his dad’s car, remember? Besides, unless you wanna burst into flames…"

 

"I already feel like every fiber of my being is on fire, and only having Xander in my arms can quench the flames devouring me."

 

"Oh, good lord," said Giles covering his forehead with the palm of his right hand.

 

Buffy snatched her hand off Angel like she’d been burned, and walked over to the table where Willow sat staring at the vampire in disbelief. Buffy plunked down in the chair beside her best friend dejectedly and lowered her forehead to the tabletop then lifted her head a little and brought it down again. "How romantic," she said as Willow patted her on the back.

 

"Xander wants you keep your distance, Angel. And so do I. Do I make myself clear?" Giles said, his outward demeanor hardening.

 

"But--"

 

"Do I make myself clear?"

 

"Perfectly."

 

"Your word."

 

"I… can’t promise to stay away from him forever, Giles." Angel confessed.

 

"And I don’t expect you to. Just give him a few days."

 

Angel nodded and left the Library with his head bowed and shoulders slumped.

 

 

 

"Hello?"

 

"X-Xander?"

 

"Willow."

 

"I thought you might want to talk… about… I mean… How are things?"

 

"I’m not going to do it."

 

"I understand."

 

"Why should I take one for the team just so Buffy can have her honey back?"

 

"You’re right, it’s not fair."

 

"I will, I’ll kill him if it comes to that."

 

"If you have to."

 

"Buffy will just have to live without em’. We can’t always get what we want, you know."

 

"That’s true."

 

"You don’t really think I should… sleep with him, do you?"

 

"I don’t know, Xander."

 

"Because I don’t think I can. Not even to help Buffy. I’ll have to kill him."

 

"Then Spike and Drusilla win. Angel dies and Buffy’s going to be destroyed."

 

"That’s not my fault!"

 

"I’m not saying it is."

 

"What are you saying?"

 

"Just that… what does it really cost you to-to have sex with Angel?"

 

"The answer’s in the question, Willow."

 

"I mean… you know what I mean! If we end up having to kill Angel, Angel loses his life and Buffy loses him--"

 

"And all I lose is my heterosexual male membership card? No thanks, I’m not riding the Angel pony."

 

"Um… maybe he doesn’t have to… uh, you know, maybe you could do that to him?"

 

Xander half grunted and half laughed, "Oh yeah, and I’m sure when Angel gets his sanity back he won’t mind that I took advantage of him. Besides, he doesn’t do a thing for me."

 

"Oh… Oh! You’re right! It would be like you…"

 

"That’s right."

 

"Either way it’s all nonconsensual. Even if you let him--"

 

"Play Sonny to my Cher?"

 

"--Angel still won’t like the fact that you two had sex in any variation."

 

"And neither will Buffy. Then we’re agreed: I kill Angel, nobody gets deflowered, and everybody’s happy… almost."

 

"Actually…"

 

"What?"

 

"I already told Buffy about the counter--"

 

"You did what?"

 

"We couldn’t not tell her, Xander!"

 

"Ahh!"

 

"Buffy had a right to know!"

 

"Oh my god!"

 

"She says if it’s the only way to get Angel back--"

 

"Ahh!"

 

 

 

Buffy was in a very bad mood.

 

She caught the first vampire’s fist in the palm of her hand then squeezed, crushing his knuckles to powder before lashing out with her right leg and buried her heel into his abdomen. The second vampire rushed her from behind and Buffy quickly brought her foot away from the first vamp’s stomach and kicked the second in the chest. He went flying backwards, the sound of his ribs breaking almost drowned out the vampire’s scream of pain.

 

Buffy twisted the first vampire’s arm and flipped him to the ground, staking him. Her hand closed around dust as she made a fist and brought her arm up to block the kick from a third vampire trying to land a blow to her head. She grabbed the vamp’s ankle and pulled hard, tugging his legs out from under him and brought him to the ground in front of her.

 

"Why do all the wrong vampires keep falling for me?"

 

Buffy rolled forward over the grass beside the sprawled vamp and stopped when her stake plunged into his chest. She jumped up and turned to the remaining vampire. He was hobbling away as fast as his legs and broken ribs would allow towards a small group of trees.

 

Buffy threw her stake into his back and watched it lodge into the trunk of the tree in front of him.

 

Buffy walked over the ground where the last vamp’s dust rested, retrieved her stake and slipped it into the pocket of her jacket.

 

Just when I think things couldn’t possibly be any worse… ho-ho, Life gives Buffy Summers a swift kick in the ass to set her straight!

 

She put up a nice front and acted like Xander and Angel doing the no-no cha-cha didn’t phase her when Willow told her about the counter to the spell put on Angel, but emotionally she was tearing her hair out by the roots.

 

I’m going to dust Spike and Drusilla for this! No. I’m going to nail em’ both to crosses outdoors set up a lawn chair and video cam, one of those new digital thingies, and wait for the sun to come up.

 

And I’m gonna watch it every night before I go to bed.

 

"Buffy."

 

Xander was standing behind her, his hands shoved deep into his coat pockets. Xander tried to smile at her but his lips couldn’t quite make it happen.

 

"Xander."

 

"You know I could just--"

 

"No, Xander."

 

"You didn’t let me finish!" Xander exclaimed walking up to the Slayer.

 

"If it’s a choice between you sleeping with Angel, or killing him to stop him from raping you, I choose the one where everybody comes out unharmed."

 

"Unharmed. Having sex with Angel will definitely harm me."

 

"Not if you do it right," Buffy said.

 

"Don’t say things like that! It creeps me out hearing you say things like that!"

 

"Sorry. Just trying to help," Buffy said walking away.

 

Xander looked at her retreating back and frowned before trotting to catch up with her. "Okay, I can’t believe I have to say this, but… I’m not going to boff your boyfriend."

 

"Why not? Be the end of your problems."

 

"Then I’d end up with a whole host of other problems, wouldn’t I? The biggest one besides having slept with a vampire, being that I might lose one of my best friends. One of my only friends."

 

"Xander… I’m not going to stop being your friend. And I wouldn’t expect you to go on living under a threat just to spare my feelings."

 

"How’s Angel going to feel about it?"

 

"I… I think he’s not going to like it. But he wouldn’t want to hurt you either."

 

"Because we’re bestest buds!"

 

Buffy glared at Xander, "He may not particularly like you Xander, but he wouldn’t do anything to really harm you."

 

"A vampire that won’t do anything to really hurt me, huh? Kind of goes against type."

 

Buffy rolled her eyes. Leave it to Xander to cover this ground again. "Xander, Angel has a soul. Which means he has a conscious."

 

"A conscious never stopped real people from doing bad things, Buffy. And to tell you the truth, I don’t buy that whole cursed with a soul bit either."

 

"Xander…"

 

"It doesn’t matter anyway," Xander said, "I rather take my chances. ‘Cause ain’t no way Angel’s getting a piece a dis!"

 

"Wow, I think he doth protests too much!"

 

"No, I just… Hey!"

 

"Yep, you know what they say: The squeakiest wheel needs the most greasing."

 

"Wait a minute--"

 

"It’s okay Xander, we’ll all still love you if you decide you prefer the touch of a man."

 

Xander laughed nervously, "Very funny Buffy. Stop now."

 

Buffy smirked. "You’re going to sleep with my boyfriend, I think I have a right to point and mock."

 

"I’m not going to sleep with Angel!"

 

"Why take the chance, Xander?"

 

"How am I supposed to live with myself afterwards? Do you think I’ll be able to look you, Willow, or Giles in eye again?"

 

"It’ll be worse if…"

 

"If what?"

 

Buffy stopped and so did Xander, Buffy looked at him. "Xander, I love you, you know that, right?"

 

"Yeeeah?"

 

"Good. Then the truth is I can forgive you for having sex with Angel, even be grateful, because you would’ve done it to set things right at great cost to your sensibilities. But if you make it so I have to kill Angel because you hate him and don’t think his life is worth it, and hate my being with him—no, don’t deny it—a part of me will never forgive you."

 

Xander and Buffy began walking again in silence through the cemetery. Xander stared at the grass while Buffy medially searched the shadows for any demons that might jump out at them.

 

"What if I’m just afraid?" Xander finally asked.

 

"Then be afraid. I’m not trying to tell you how to feel or what to do," Buffy turned her head and gave Xander a small smile, "I’m just telling you how I feel about this whole sorry mess."

 

They continued traipsing among the tombstones, wordlessly.

 

"But… sex… with Angel…"

 

"I don’t think it’d be horrible at all," Buffy stared off into the darkness with a wistful gleam in her eyes.

 

Xander made a face, "Yeah, yeah, so he’s mildly attractive. Whatever. But does he have my sparkling personality or my expansive ability at witty repartee? He should be delighted to… what the hell am I saying?" Xander shook his head. "I’m not sleeping with Angel!"

 

"If not, at least do it for the right reasons."

 

"And here I was thinking not being gay was all the reason I needed."

 

"Okay, look at it this way. Let’s say Angel never gets out of control, there’s still the original spell to deal with, and Angel’s going to be around for a long time. So for the rest of your life he’ll be trying to woo you with moonlight serenades, candy and flowers on Valentines Day and love letters year after year, decade after decade…"

 

"All right, all right!"

 

"So… you’ll think about it?"

 

"I guess," Xander moaned. "Why can’t you be the kind of girl that thinks, if I can’t have him all to myself, no one else can have him at all?"

 

Buffy shrugged. "If the counter works, Angel and I will be together."

 

"It might not be the same," Xander said quietly.

 

"We love each other, that’ll be enough to get us through."

 

Xander grimaced. "God, and I thought Giles telling me I had to screw Angel was the most puke worthy thing I’ve heard today."

 

 

Two days later Xander found himself standing on Angel’s doorstep rubbing his fingertips over the bite mark the Dagesse left in Angel’s doorframe. It was visible from the outside even with the door closed. The wood was warm from the sun.

 

I don’t want to do this.

 

But I have to.

 

But I really don’t want to.

 

Xander laughed. A month ago, hell, two months ago he swore he’d do anything to get Angel to stop… anything. But now…

 

Xander raised his knuckles to knock on the door only to have the door opened a second before he could.

 

"I heard you laugh," Angel said answering Xander’s questioning glance.

 

"Oh, yeah?"

 

"You come here to fit me for a vacuum cleaner bag?"

 

"That sounded like sarcasm," Xander smirked, "one might think you don’t love me anymore."

 

"Giles wanted me to back off, so I am," Angel replied with no intonation in his voice whatsoever.

 

"Really? Can I come in? Promise I don’t have a sword."

 

Angel stepped aside and let Xander pass.

 

"What’s the stake for?" Angel asked.

 

"I said no sword."

 

"Right."

 

"Cozy," Xander commented as he looked over the apartment.

 

"Thank you."

 

"You cleaned up the blood," Xander said.

 

"Why are you here?"

 

Xander turned and faced Angel. The vampire hadn’t moved away from the door after closing it. Angel hands were behind his back and he was standing as still as the corpse he was, watching Xander.

 

"You’re not going to offer me a drink?"

 

"Don’t have anything you’d like."

 

"Oh… right. You went back to wearing black, I see."

 

"You ruined my only white shirt and blue jeans."

 

"Sorry. You want to have sex?"

 

"Excuse me?"

 

"Do you wanna have sex with me?"

 

"Well… I … Uh… well…"

 

"You silver tongued devil. I can see why all the girls fall for you," Xander drawled. He turned away from Angel and rounded a corner into the bedroom area and sat on a bed that looked too small for Angel.

 

"You take that whole contrition thing pretty serious, Angel. This mattress doesn’t look like it’s very comfy for ya. It’ll have to do, I guess."

 

Angel poked his head around the corner, his eyes widening when he saw Xander on the bed.

 

"Come on, Angel, I’m not the one who bites," Xander

said patting the space on the mattress beside him.

 

"But… b-but--"

 

"That’s right, as soon as we get our clothes off."

 

Angel stepped into full view. "Why are you doing this to me?"

 

"Doing what?"

 

"Playing on my feelings for you?"

 

"I’m not playing you, Angel."

 

"Then why the act? Are you trying to get me to lay down so staking me will be easier?"

 

Xander grinned, "I don’t know where this lack of trust comes from."

 

Angel crossed his arms over his chest, not amused.

 

Xander heaved in a deep breath and reached behind his back and pulled the stake out from his waistband then threw it passed Angel into the living room area. "Satisfied?"

 

"Don’t do this."

 

"God! Don’t do what?"

 

"Get my hopes up that you really want me."

 

"Okay, let’s get this straight, ha, right off to bat: I don’t want you. The only reason I’m offering is to break the spell put on you so I get my life back an you get to be your regular cradle robbing self for Buffy."

 

"Now I know you aren’t being honest. You’re saying I’m not really in love with you like you always do, which means you’re trying to fool me again."

 

Xander threw his head back and let out a frustrated shout.

 

"Xander, I do want to be with you, and I long for the day when you’ll sincerely want to be in my bed. But if you keep toying with my heart…"

 

Xander slowly stood up from the bed and walked up to Angel. He looked down, grimaced, then looked up again, then down and shook his head. When he brought his face up again, Xander leaned forward and pressed his lips against Angel’s. Angel remained inert as Xander kissed him, his mouth stiff and unresponsive.

 

I’m kissing a guy. I’m… kissing… a… guy. I’m kissing Angel. I can’t do this!

 

No, it has to be today! Don’t know if I can work my courage up like this again! Xander resolved in his head and kept pressing himself into the other man.

 

Angel moaned and curled his arms about Xander’s waist. He knew it wouldn’t take Angel long, the spell was too compelling. Xander reluctantly parted his lips and allowed the vampire to slip his tongue into his mouth.

 

Encouraged, Angel moved his hands down to Xander’s buttocks and squeezed them gently.

 

Whoa, watch the hands pal! Xander reached behind him and brought Angel’s hands back up to his waist. Angel pulled back. "You’ve finally admitted it."

 

Xander nodded and pasted a nice big fake smile across his face. "Sure have. Let’s take this to the bed."

 

Angel shook his head, "No."

 

"Angel… sweety… what do you mean, no?"

 

"We can’t make love yet," Angel said grinning down at Xander.

 

"Huh?"

 

"No, of course not! I’ve been waiting so long for you to accept my love for you I think we should do this right."

 

"Again… huh?"

 

"I think we need to date first."

 

"What?" Xander asked sharply.

 

"Yes! It’ll be so much better if we build a solid foundation for our relationship first. I want to take you out to romantic dinners, to all the movies you want to see and spend whole nights just talking--" Angel raised his eyebrows, "Have you ever been to Paris? We can take a romantic trip to Paris!"

 

"But Angel, dear, we’re already so deeply in love, do we need to prove it by… dating? Can’t we just take this to the next level already?"

 

Angel laughed as he grabbed either side of Xander’s waist, lifted him off the ground and began twirling around.

 

"No, that can wait. I want us perfect," Angel said.

 

Xander lips tightened into a thin line and he narrowed his eyes at Angel as they spun about.

 

"Put me down, you idiot!"

 

"Why?"

 

"Just put me down!"

 

"All right."

 

The moment his feet touched the floor Xander stomped over to the door.

 

"Xander, where are you going?"

 

Xander walked outside and slammed the door. He stood there for a full minute breathing heavily. Then he started pacing back and forth in front of Angel’s apartment, muttering obscenities.

 

Xander stopped, turned his face up to the sky and…

 

"Crap!"

 

 

 

 

THE END

 

 


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