Perdition Catch My Soul
Rated NC-17 for naughty language and Slash (Xander/Spike)
Spoilers: S6 and S7; set during 7x02 “Beneath You”
Genre/Warnings: AU, episode related, slash, swearing, hurt/comfort, darkfic
Summary: What if Xander, instead of Buffy, had followed Spike into that church...
I can’t believe I’m spying on
Buffy. When did this happen? Guess it started the moment Spike turned up at
Revello Drive, acting like everything’s hunky dory. Leaning against the doorframe
as if he owned the place - and everybody in it, besides.
And what do you know? It’s
like somebody turned back the clock, because suddenly the whole summer doesn’t
count. Suddenly Dawnie and I are out of the loop again. Suddenly Buffy is big
with the secrets and the not telling and the keeping things to herself, and not
so much with the talking and the being good friends.
She’s right; her private life
is none of my business, not for me to judge. But when Mr. Rape saunters back
into her life – and ours by proxy – that IS my business.
Which is why I’m standing in
this alley, behind a pile of crates, Anya at my side, trying to listen to what
Spike is saying to Buffy.
He’s pacing up and down,
twirling a piece of metal, a pipe or something, like a baton.
Was it him who yelled, ‘Help
me,’ just a few moments ago, helping us locate them?
And what’s he talking about?
‘Something’s coming?’ What else is new?
Suddenly, Spike runs off as
if chased by the furies. We could wait a moment and pretend we didn’t hear his
ramblings. I exchange a glance with Anya who is wearing her
I’m-scared-please-help-me face, but before I can make up my mind whether I
still have the right to try and comfort her, she silently shrugs and turns to
I hurry to where Buffy is
crouching. She’s adjusting the blanket covering Nancy’s troublesome, abusive
ex-worm-ex-boyfriend. Nancy shakes her head, gets up and backs away from him,
Buffy and me. I guess she really is over the guy.
She leaves without another
glance at her ex. Makes me kinda wonder what I saw in her.
And the weird thing is: I
just know, that if I were lying there, curled underneath a blanket, hurt and in
shock, vengeance-demon or no, Anya would be fussing about me, even after that
“Xander!” She points at
Ronnie, “Look after him. The ambulance is on its way.” She tries to hand me the
cell phone and is about to chase after Spike.
I almost put my hand on her arm,
but then I remember, just in time, that she doesn’t like being touched. Not
anymore. “Don’t. Let me take care of that,” I say and nod towards the alley
where Spike has disappeared.
Indecision is written on her
face. “He said something… about what’s coming. Something from beneath. I have
to find out what he knows.”
“Don’t worry, this
carpenter’s not going to do anything rash, here.” The lie comes out easily. “If
Spike knows anything, I’ll make him talk. You shouldn’t have to deal with
“Maybe you’re right.” She
nods slowly, her relief obvious. “Ask him what he meant, about that thing.”
Several yards into the alley,
I hear her parting words.
“And Xander? Be careful.”
I don’t dawdle, I run. The
minute I’m out of sight I pull a stake out of my pocket. A stake with Spike’s
name on it. I carved it more than three months ago.
He’s nowhere to be seen and
it occurs to me, that traipsing round Sunnydale at night is not one of my
brightest ideas. Like that ever stopped me before.
I trot on down the road,
always in a straight line, ignoring all the dark alleys that branch off from
the main road. He’d ran like a man who has lost all purpose, one who goes where
his feet carry him, wherever that may be. Eventually I reach a T-junction.
There’s an old warehouse, dark and shuttered, to the right and a small cemetery
to the left. Which way? My feet automatically carry me to the left and through
the gate. I guess that means Dead R’Us wins.
I know most of Sunnydale’s
cemeteries like the back of my hand. This one I’ve only been to a few times.
Which is why I’m surprised to suddenly find myself standing in front of a
church. Yellow light from flickering candles is seeping through the windows.
Like a beacon. A church should be the last place Spike would turn to, but
somehow I know that’s where he is.
I approach slowly. The door
is ajar. It creaks when I give it a cautionary push. I clutch my stake and step
inside. I don’t even try to be quiet.
The interior of the church is
mostly dark. Lit only by a handful of candles that flutter at my entry, it’s a
place where shadows crouch like beasts.
At first, I don’t see him,
but then there’s movement to my right. I jump back with a start, barely swallowing
a girly squeal. It’s him. Spike emerges from the shadows like a great white
shark emerges from the deep. Complete with the da-dam da-dam soundtrack. No
wait, that’s just in my head.
He’s not attacking. Even so,
I take another step back.
He’s taken off his blue
sweater. A criss-cross of thin healing scars mars his pale muscular flesh. Not
claw marks, more like someone tried to inexpertly carve him up like a
thanksgiving turkey. White meat.
I stomp on the instinctual
pity that threatens to undermine my resolve.
“A costume,” he says, and
hangs his sweater over the backrest of a pew.
“Can’t hide. Should’ve
known,” he continues, sounding like someone who’s just been sentenced to death.
I realize his face is wet.
He’s been crying. I look away. There’s something fundamentally wrong about a
man in tears. And Spike in tears? That’s exponentially wrong. Something I’ve
only seen once before and never wanted to see again. I don’t want to see it
now, either. But if I don’t look at his face, I have to look at his mutilated
chest. Better not. My gaze slides elsewhere, which happens to be down. Which
happens to be where his crotch is. The no-go place. The one part of his anatomy
that I have trained myself to never check out. Crap!
I look up, right into his
eyes. And I realize I’ve been caught. For a dozen heartbeats – which isn’t
long, because my heart seems to be galloping like a John Ford cavalry charge -
we stare at each other…
“How about it, Harris? Want a
bit of vampire flesh, with no strings attached?” His voice is brittle. “Someone
you can dump, when you’re through?”
“Huh? What --,“ I stammer.
What’s going on?
His shoulders slump and he
lowers his gaze. “Right. Serviced her, can service you too.” His hands drop to
his fly and start to unbuckle his belt.
Service? What’s he--. I stare
at his hands, horrified, unable to tear my eyes away. They’re shaking.
Normally, he’s got that whole I’m-a-big-bad-sex-god vibe going for (or, if
you’re me – against) him. Tonight, the sex-god’s broken.
He’s finished with the belt
and starts fumbling with the button. “Just wait. I can get it hard,” he
mutters. “If I put my mind to it.”
Mind? That’s it! This is some
kind of mind-game. Freak the Zeppo. Except that Spike’s never been a great
actor. A great show-off, a drama queen, but Emmy material? So not. With that
theory down the drain, the full meaning of his words begins to sink in. God,
he’s not really suggesting… Color me disgusted. I open my mouth, but nothing
The button’s undone and he’s
reaching for the zipper, when the de-freeze kicks in.
“What?” His hands pause. He
tilts his head as if in deep thought and looks at me. “Oh, I get it. You wanna
be the pitcher.”
Huh? Oh. Oh! The dreaded but
familiar image comes unbidden, pops into my head like a steaming pop tart, hot
and delicious: my dick thrusting into him, my hands gripping his thighs hard
enough to bruise, his marble body squirming and writhing beneath me – if in
ecstasy or pain I can’t tell. Lust and burning shame wash over me in equal
measure, making me achingly hard. I feel hot and breathless. I feel like my
most shameful fantasies are written all over my face. Do I want to be the pitcher?
Boy, do I.
“Right then.” He drops to his
knees as if in supplication and his fingertips brush lightly over my hard-on as
he reaches for my fly. My fist connects with his face before I even know it.
The forgotten stake in my fist slashes his skin, leaving a flaming red gash on
his cheek. The impact propels him backward. A pew crashes under his weight. He
remains sprawled across the floor, half propped against the broken bench,
shaking his head as if trying to clear it. There’s a strangely grateful look on
his face as he touches his injured cheek. “Yes,” he breathes and looks
thoughtfully at his bloodstained fingers, then at me. “This is gonna be good.
D’you want me to struggle?”
His words act like a bucket
of cold water. I grab his sweater and toss it towards him. He doesn’t move to
catch it, so it hits his chest and then slides down to his lap.
“I want you to tell me what’s
He stills. For a moment, he’s
not even breathing.
Then he laughs, and what a
desolate sound it is! “Wrong. Like she said, everything about me is wrong.”
He quickly scrambles
sideways, like a cockroach scuttling for cover, away from the light. His
sweater stays behind. Spike seems to merge with the shadows, like he’s
returning to the cloth he’s been cut from. I can hear him get to his feet, even
though I can’t see him.
“I was a good man, once,” his
voice suddenly comes out of the dark, at least five yards away from where I
suspected him to be.
“You, Spike? Tell me another
What’s he doing? Playing cat
and mouse? He’s moving around me, but manages to stay within the shadows all
the time. As if the candlelight could burn him, too. The only thing that helps
me track his movement is his voice: “So. Buffy never told you, then.”
I realize - again - that there’s
a lot Buffy never bothered to tell me. “Never told me what?”
“It’s true,” he continues,
“Went to church every Sunday, opened doors for the ladies, washed my hands
before dinner, even gave money to charity.”
“Yeah? What makes you think I
He doesn’t answer. Which
means I don’t know where he is. The silence becomes oppressive. All I hear is
my own terrified heartbeat.
“I think I know what’s wrong
with you,” I blurt out.
“Do you, now?” His voice
comes from behind me. I turn around, stake raised. There he is. He stands
before me, shoulders hunched, eyes cast down. Close enough to touch. My eyes
are drawn to the white flesh of his chest. I wonder if I’d be fast enough, if I
tried to plunge the stake into his heart. Probably not. He’s a vampire.
“I think you went and got
your chip out.” I tell him. “Only, something went wrong and your brain got
fried extra crispy. Who’d you hire, a butcher with a power drill? Too bad he
didn’t do a badder job, cause if he’d turned you into a full-blown vegetable,
now that would have been a gift to mankind.”
He doesn’t rise to the bait.
“Something like that,” he
So, it’s true! Crap! Spike’s
de-chipped and I’m standing here with one tiny little stake.
“And now? What’s the agenda?
Kill us all and then go back to the old Missus? You’ll make a lovely couple,
especially now that you’re on the same crazy wavelength.”
“S’pose it looks that way.”
There’s something I don’t
understand. I just have to ask. “Why would you suddenly try to get it out? It
didn’t stop you from trying to rape Buffy.”
“She told you, then?”
“She didn’t have to. I saw
He squirms. If I didn’t know
any better, I’d say he’s ashamed. Yeah, like that’s ever gonna happen. “Men should
be what they seem.”
“Meaning what?” Don’t you
just hate it when crazies go all cryptic on you?
He runs his hand through his
hair. “Something… something had to change. So I went. And I did. Change. And
now…” he breaks off, wipes his nose on the back of his hand, then tries again:
“And now I’m still nothing. Worthless. Still don’t belong. Don’t fit. And my
head’s just… It just never stops. On
and on. Never a moment of quiet…”
Must have been quite an
operation, that chipectomy. I know I shouldn’t feel sorry for him. So what, if
his brain’s tied in a knot like that? He deserves worse. But what do you know?
Some twisted, out-of-this-world part of me actually finds it painful to look at
him like that.
“No way but this, no way but
this,” he mumbles, then looks up to find me staring at him.
“What do you want from me?”
he asks, suddenly sounding coherent.
“Truthfully? I want to see
you burn in hell.” The lie comes out automatically. Or maybe it’s not a lie.
He laughs. “I think I can do
that.” He turns away from me and slowly walks down the aisle. “You see I’m a
vampire. I’m evil. I drink blood. I kill. I know how to fuck. But I don’t know
how to love. Cause I’m just a thing. Vampire…”
He steps up onto the dais and
stands before the large cross. He’s such a drama queen.
“But most of all? I burn.
Easily.” With that, he drapes his arms around the cross before him, hugging it.
And for a moment, I honestly think the cross is broken, because he’s not
recoiling. When the fine mist rises up from his body, it’s almost as if he’s
transforming into something else, like those movie-vampires do. Belatedly,
understanding kicks in. Followed by the stench of burning flesh. A wave of
nausea makes my stomach lurch.
I came here to dust him, once
and for all. But before I have time to think about what I’m doing, I’m yanking
him away from that cross and hurling him down the dais. He drops like a rag
doll. I see him shaking, as sobs rack his body. His chest, shoulders and arms
are still smoking. His skin is blistered, even charred.
I look at the stake in my
hand and toss it away.
And then I throw up.
Continued in Part Two