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  • Black Tar

    "Black Tar"
    A Xander and Spike Friendship Story
    by: Alida Hush

    Disclaimer: I don't own them...as much as I'd like to.
    Summary: Xander finds that some people can't move on without a little help.
    Notes: There will be some pretty heavy drug use later on in the story, so I'm going to rate this a hard R. No sex or anything like that, so no worries there. Just an enjoyable story.

    I had been back from Africa for about two months but it still seemed like my feet barely hit British soil before the council was putting me onto a new assignment. They said they needed someone familiar with The Situation, whatever that meant. They needed someone who could handle himself; knew how to take care of "disturbed" people. So, apparently, I'd become the "go-to" guy for nut jobs. I really wasn't sure why though. I wasn't even sure what made me so qualified in the first place. The only "disturbed" person I'd ever dealt with was Spike that Fall a few years back. It seemed like ages ago and besides, I really only shoved him in a closet for two weeks.

    But that didn't seem to phase The Council as they pushed the thick manilla envelope across the conference table early last week. Inside was a multitude of maps, directions and specific locations. None of it usually meant anything to me, but I pretended to look interested anyway.

    "He's been missing for about three months." Travers began, without much introduction.
    He sighed and flipped through a few notes. "We had several reports lately as to where we might find him. He's making his whereabouts better known to us, so it should be fairly easy to locate him-"

    "Locate who?" I asked. Travers looked down his nose at me briefly, then went back to glaring at the paperwork, doing a very good job of ignoring me.

    "The Council has had our eye on a few key players in the apocalypse that happened at the end of last year," Travers explained placidly. He made it sound like the end of the world was just another day of the week. Well, for usually it was. "Two survivors of the Black Thorn attack, actually. One is a demi-god and the other, a vampire."

    Vampire? I rolled my eyes. Suddenly, I was waiting to hear the word ?Angel'.

    "The demi-god has jumped planes somehow and therefore fallen off of our radar. The other, the vampire, is living in the Los Angeles area. However, he no longer appears to be a vampire,"

    "What?" I asked, absently turning over some of the pages in the folder. "Let me guess, he just woke up one day and said, ?You know, this vampire thing's really not for me.'?

    Travers looked down his nose at me again. I almost heard Giles roll his eyes a little ways down the table.

    "He's fulfilled an ancient prophecy called the Shanshu." he continued, clearly pretending not to have heard me. "In other words, he's achieved redemption and become human." he looked down at the table and shuffled a few papers, appearing a bit bored. "We've been studying the text, but each interpretation is?fuzzy at best. It makes it impossible to be sure if we're correct in-"

    "Wait, wait. Angel's human?" I asked. Travers stopped and narrowed his eyes. " Man, I know you guys love to keep me out of the loop but that's kinda-"

    "Angel is dead," he said loudly, as if I were supposed to know that.

    "Well then who-"

    "William the Bloody fulfilled the Prophecy. With one vampire dead, it was an easy choice for the Powers to make, even if it was an incorrect one." he replied, reaching down and picking up another folder off the table in front of him. He lifted it up and tossed it down to me. The label read "Spike".

    For a minute I couldn't breathe.

    "You're to go to Los Angeles and retrieve him. The Prophecy should be studied and in order to do that, we need his memories, experiences, everything he knows about the Shanshu being fulfilled," Travers crossed his hands in front of him, the perfect picture of British. "You're flight is in the morning. I suggest you read the information in that package."

    "What??"

    "Thank you, that will be all, Mr. Harris."

    * * *

    The flight was going to be long, so I had a lot of time to waste on the War and Peace folder they'd shoveled off onto me.

    The folder was filled with pages of colorful reports, all of which seemed to stop after the late 90's. Gee, I wonder why. On the last page of reports there was a sticky note that read: ?Proceed with Caution! Human Patient.' I got a little shiver down my spine and ripped off the sticky note, shoving it in my pocket. Somehow I didn't think the sticky was exactly necessary anymore, since I was the only one really looking for him.

    "Would you like anything, sir?" someone asked from above. I looked up and saw the stewardess-flight attendant-looking down at me with a little smile. I smiled weakly back and nodded.

    "Something?alcohol-y." I said with a sigh. She smiled that fake stewardess-flight attendant-smile and swished back up to the front of the plane. I've always wondered if the reason they choose hot, single women to flight attend is because the airline just loves to torture men like me.

    Continued...
    Last edited by Lady Redspire; 25-11-07, 06:11 PM.
    Dearly,
    Lady Redspire

  • #2
    Chapter Two

    The little manila folder had pretty much become my Bible. It held all the addresses and phone numbers for my contacts, names of clinics and hotel information. There was a sizeable amount of information in that folder; it was a lot more than the Council usually gave me. It looked a lot like the Council had been stalking Spike for quite some time. They knew practically everything. Hell, it wouldn't have surprised me if they knew his shoe size for some ridiculous reason.

    When I reached Los Angeles, I checked my email and found a note from Giles. It told me that a new tip on Spike's location was forwarded to their headquarters earlier that morning. There was an address and, of course, a time crunch. So, I barely had time for a piss before I had run down to a small walk-in clinic near the middle of town.

    When I reached the clinic, a young, portly woman was just getting up from behind her pastel blue counter to lock the doors. She saw me, smiled and sat back down.

    "Can I help you, sir?" she asked, her voice sickeningly sweet.

    "Yeah," I replied, pulling out a picture of Spike (not surprisingly, it was a mug shot) and showing it to her. "I'm looking for this man."

    "Name?"

    Well, I couldn't really say Spike, now could I? I mean, Spike was dumb, but he wasn't stupid. He would have changed his name, I was sure of it. I shook my head.

    "I'm sorry, I don't know," I admitted. "I was hoping you could help, actually. You know, being all record-y and everything."

    "I'm sorry, we have a strict policy here. We don't give out information unless you are related to him, or you are with law enforcement."

    "Look, I know him," I said. I decided it was time to lie a little. For whatever reason, lying always seemed to get me more places than actually telling the truth. "But something happened and he went away. I can't find him under his real name, so I figured maybe he changed it."

    "I'm sorry, sir-"

    "Come on now-"

    "Sir, the policy states-"

    "I don't care about-"

    "If you come back tomorrow maybe-"

    "Spike." I blurted out, impatient with the dead end I was reaching.

    "What?"

    "His name. When I knew him, he went by Spike." I admitted, looking around to see if anyone had heard. "It was his stage name." I added. The fib made it sound a little bit better, but not by much.

    Her eyes widened a little at the use of his name. Ok...so maybe Spike was stupid enough to use that name. "Are you his family?" she asked, her voice getting suddenly very soft.

    Family? ****, I didn't think Spike had any family. What was he, 200 years old or something? Yeah, nay on the family. But hell, he lived in my broom closet for a while. Didn't that make me some kind of legal guardian?

    "Yeah, you could say that," I replied with a shrug. "I'm the closest thing he's got." I continued lying. I was making it sound like we were long lost lovers or something. Wonderful. "Look, I just need to find him, alright?"

    She seemed to mull this over in her brain a little, as if she were checking out my story against all the other bullshit she'd heard in her lifetime. After a minute of referencing, she finally nodded and pulled a folder out from behind her. I was suddenly thinking that with all these folders and papers, we could write a novel. Spike: the Man, the Legend, the Previously Vamped.

    "He actually stopped by a few days ago. He came in with the flu and we took him in. I thought maybe he'd finally get clean after that--" Wait, clean? As in drugs? "--but he was gone one morning before anyone could stop him," she said, setting the folder down on in front of her and skimming it with her eyes. "He tends to come and go as he pleases here."

    "Any idea where he went?" I asked, stepping closer to the desk, trying to get a glimpse at the folder.

    "Well, some of his friends come in from the West side of town. They say he spends most of his time in the abandoned parking garage on Mullberry. I suppose you could check there." she said, shrugging.

    "Mullberry. How far is that from here?"

    "Oh a good ten miles or so. I'd wait until morning, though. It gets rough over there."

    I had to forgive this women for not knowing my history with "rough". My best friend was "violence" and she had dated various incarnations of "trouble" on and off for seven years. Rough is my middle name, lady.

    "Yeah, sure. Thanks a lot." I nodded and quickly turned to leave. There was not a chance in hell I was waiting until tomorrow. I wanted to find him, nab him and drag him back to the Council as soon as possible so I could start my life without him again.

    "Sir?"

    I turned back toward her. "Yeah?"

    "If you find him," she said, a hopeful look on her face. "Please, take care of him. He really needs someone."

    I wasn't sure what to say. "Ok." was pretty much as far as I got.

    Continued...
    Last edited by Lady Redspire; 02-12-07, 05:16 AM.
    Dearly,
    Lady Redspire

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    • #3
      Chapter Three

      NOTE: This chapter's kind of predictable. I guess I can't say I'm very creative right now. I mean, it's been over a year and a half since I've written anything fic-like, so...be kind. lol. I'd still like comments tho!

      Mullberry was a tiny street with one crooked little sign hanging on a low lamppost. There was, indeed, an abandoned parking garage at the very end of the street, where it backed up on a ratty looking apartment complex. It was like walking into a Stephen King novel, complete with old musty smell and rusty beams.

      There wasn't a lot to the parking garage, really. It looked like it had never actually been finished. There were building materials scattered around and sections of certain levels missing. The only lighting was the industrial kind that got strung while they worked. The permanent fixtures hadn't been installed before it was given up on. It was haunting really, almost creepy.

      I stood for a long time outside the garage, just looking around. It was the first time in a really long time that I was actually scared. It wasn't really the fact that the place was creepy, or that I was in extreme danger of being knifed to death. No, I was more terrified of what I would find if I went into the building. Spike could be in here, I thought. A few images flashed across my mind. Most of them involved my throat getting torn out. Fantastic.

      I was crazy, that much was clear. I was going into a dimly lit, half finished parking garage late at night looking for, apparently, a junkie. No, wait, I was past crazy. I was just insane at this point. Still, armed with a flashlight and the determination of a man needing his paycheck, I hurtled headfirst into the dark abyss of the parking garage. Alright, it was more of a terrified shuffle, but still, it was progress.

      The light from the construction lamps cast eerie glows onto everything and gave things more shadow than was really natural. It made everything creepy and it made me jumpy.

      Suddenly, beams creaked overhead and a light flickered to my left. I heard voices above me and then the pounding of feet down the stairs to my right. I ducked behind a low-hanging beam as fast as I could and waited to see who would come down the stairwell. I didn't have to wait long before a man came tumbling out, falling face first on the concrete. He gave out a pitiful whine and then scraped himself up from the ashy ground. It looked like he'd taken that fall before.

      "I didn't do nothing!" he cried, dragging himself over to a pile of blankets near one of the lights. It looked like one of those nests that hamsters make out of their sawdust shavings. "I didn't do nothing!"

      "Don't lie to me!" came another voice from the stairwell. There was a scraping noise and then a dull ?thunk' as something fleshy hit the last stair and flopped down onto the ground. Boots thudded on the stairs and then a figure stepped down where the other man had fallen. The fleshy something that had been dropped lay lifeless at the figure's feet.

      "You kill ma dawg!" the guy from the hamster nest cried, clawing at one of his blankets.

      "I didn't kill him, he's been dead for days, Dooey!" the figure yelled, toeing the dead animal. "You didn't feed it, you idiot."

      "You killed my dawg!" Dooey cried, a snot bubble forming at his nose. The figure by the stairs wavered, but ended up crouching down by Dooey's blankets. Dooey didn't like that and backed up against the wall.

      "Don't take my stuff," the crouched figure said, reaching out a hand and placing it at the back of Dooey's head, effectively halting his retreat. Dooey went still, but the hand wasn't meant to be painful. Even from Xander's distance, he could see that it was more of a caress than anything else. "And I'm sorry about your dog."

      The two sat there for a few moments, Dooey still crying and the figure just resting his hand at the base of Dooey's skull.

      They both seemed to snap out of the moment at the same time and the figure stood up quickly, heading back toward the stairs. He stepped over the dog and made it up he first few steps before he stopped, turning around a little.

      "Who's there?" he called, turning his eyes in my direction. I couldn't see much more than the dim light would show me, but I did see the figure looking around furiously for me. Had he smelled me? Shit. The one guy in the whole parking garage I happen to run into and he just happens to be a vampire.

      "Don't hurt him," Dooey whispered from his little blanket bed. The figure glanced at him and sighed,

      "I'm not gonna hurt him. Stay there." he motioned for him to stay put and then headed in my direction. His boots crunched the little concrete pebbles into the pavement. I heard him pick up a small piece of something metal, probably rebar and heft it onto his shoulder.

      At that point I started to panic. No, he wasn't going to hurt me, don't worry Dooey. When he found me he was going to kill me. Actually, he'd probably slam that rebar into my head and then drink the blood gushing from my massive brain trauma. No thanks, not today.

      For some reason, running seemed good. I wanted out and I wanted away from the big scary vampire with the rusted rebar. So, I ran. Well, I tried to run. When it came to the actual getting away part, I didn't get very far. A hand closed around my neck after I took my first few steps out of my hiding place. The hand spun me around and slammed me back into the wall I had been hiding behind, effectively grabbing me in a choke hold.

      "Hey!" Dooey cried from his hamster bed. The big guy glared at him and then looked down at me, the light catching his face. That's when I realized who the big, scary vampire-guy was.

      It was Spike.

      Continued...
      Last edited by Lady Redspire; 19-12-07, 12:58 AM.
      Dearly,
      Lady Redspire

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      • #4
        Chapter Four

        "Don't hurt him!" Dooey cried again, standing up from his spot in the corner. Spike eyeballed him and I heard him sit back down. I wiggled a little in his grip, bringing his attention back to me. Yeah, not scary at all I thought sarcastically. I was only going to be strangled alive by Spike, of all people. What a ****ing way to go.

        After my moment of stark fear and panic passed, the Council training set in and I caught my footing. I took a good long look at the man holding me against the wall and started to consider my options. But when his eyes widened and his grip fumbled, I realized that, instead of looking at a big scary vampire, I was looking at a man trying to act tough. A dog backed against a fence. His face was worn and raged with a thin sheen of sweat rolling across his forehead and his eyes were wild and stressed, looking at me as if I had just kicked him in the shins. Somewhere in my brain I reminded myself that Spike was only human now. My chest pulled and I felt just a little bit sorry.

        "Spying on us, were you?" he asked, bringing me back. His voice was rough and tired, like he'd been drinking for days. I shook my head and stretched my neck. "You know what I do to people like you?"

        "Ask me to stay for dinner?" I croaked, trying to inject a little humor into my humiliating situation. Spike scowled at me and tried to growl. It came out as more of a whine. His fingers closed a little tighter on my windpipe and as I started choking and graying out from the lack of air, I was suddenly released, the rebar he must have still been holding clattering close to my head. My knees hit the floor with a crunch and I instantly grabbed my throat, pissed as hell. The ****er tried to kill me!

        It took a few minutes for my head to clear from the lack of oxygen and when it did I was ready to let the ex-vamp have it. But as the first words left my mouth, I caught the sound of Spike, a little ways off, coughing fitfully. When I could finally see again, I turned bleary eyes toward the sound and saw him doubled in on himself, coughing into the concrete. It was dim in the carpark, but I could still see the dark red splashes that painted the pavement where he was crouched. That something in my chest pulled again and I stood up, waiting for the coughing to subside. When it finally did, he rested his head against the ground, breathing in short, wheezing gasps.

        "Spike?" I said softly, taking a cautious step towards him. He didn't seem to hear me so I tried something that I knew would get his attention. "Spike, listen, it's Xander." Still, there was no response save a rattling wheeze.

        "Listen, I'm going to go ahead and forgive you for the near-death strangulation a few seconds ago if you tell me you're alright," I continued, inching closer. Spike's head rose a little, the information finding its way in. "Spike?"

        "M'fine." he answered, lifting his head a little. Then the penny dropped and he looked up at me in surprise. "Xander?"

        "Hey," I replied, pasting on my patented Xander Harris smile. I kept it around for occasions like nearly being killed by ex-demons. Spike narrowed his eyes at me and tried to stand up. His legs didn't seem to want to hold him, so he shoved himself up using his hands. As he passed into the dim glow of one of the work lamps, I noticed a splash of blood on his bottom lip and my chest pulled again. He was a ****ing mess.

        "****," he swore, looking intently at me. One of his pupils was blown wide and it made his face look huge. "Harris?" he asked, mouth slack as if he wasn't quite getting the whole picture.

        I smiled sheepishly again and nodded. "Long time no try-to-kill," I said with a chuckle. Spike was still looking at me with a confused expression, like I'd just asked him to recite his times tables. "Hi." I added lamely.

        "What'd you want?" he asked, eyes still blank and a little lost, like he wasn't really focusing on me. He coughed again, once, and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. It came away red. He seemed a little shocked by it and went to lick it off the backs of his fingers. When he did, his face twisted into a grimace and he shook his head. More sweat had broken out along his neck, soaking the collar of his shirt.

        What did I want? It was a good ****ing question. I wanted to go home. I wanted to be done with this. I wanted to get the hell out and run away as fast as possible. I wanted...I wanted this disgusting guy in front of me to give Spike back to the council and tell them they were wrong. I wanted to pretend none of this was happening.

        I shook my head and set my jaw. Over the years I'd learned to shove away anything that was personal and painful during situations like these. I'd gone through a few with some of the Slayers, so it was something I was forced to learn to do if I wanted to stay sane. I was here to do a job, I reminded myself, and that was to get Spike back to the council.

        The guilt and the pity would have to wait until later.

        "You mind if I talk to you a minute?" I asked finally, looking past him toward one of the exits. Spike looked as me questioningly. "Outside? Can we go outside?" I clarified.

        Spike thought about this a minute and then looked back at me. "I hate you." he said, a slight uncertainty at the end as if he couldn't remember if that was the right answer.

        I sighed and nodded. "Yeah, I hate you too," I agreed, putting my hands in my jacket pocket. "Come on, let's go." I said, walking toward one of the broken-down exits.

        Continued...
        Last edited by Lady Redspire; 19-12-07, 12:59 AM.
        Dearly,
        Lady Redspire

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        • #5
          Hey guys,

          Just a bit of an update: I've been editing the above sections slightly over time. I've been finding little things that bother me and then fixing them. So, if you want to reread chapters three and four, you'll find a few subtle differences. Nothing major, just little things. I'm also asking that people PM me with comments. I love writing, but I never know if people read my stuff or what they think. I work on a 'tell me what you like' basis. So send 'em on over!


          - Lady Redspire
          Dearly,
          Lady Redspire

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