As many other nights before, the Scooby Gang were all reunited in the
Library, doing some research about the Mayor's latest plans. The scene was so
usual that at first sight one wouldn't note the changes. Buffy was beating a
punching bag, Willow had her laptop in front of her, as Oz took notes at her
side, Giles read some old books in some ancient language, and Xander did the
same with some of the newer books, sitting at his usual place in the oak table.
Even Cordelia was there, checking the few newspapers that hadn't been added to
the computer database.
The only different things were Wesley, the young and all too eager to show
his knowledge new Watcher, who was almost pacing around the library, book in
hand, and Puppy, who was sitting right in front of Xander, reading carefully a
book, sometimes frowning as if he tried to remember something.
It had been two weeks since Buffy and Xander had their little fight in the
Harris' attic, and Puppy had been staying with Xander all that time. Although
the rest of the gang didn't know it, Xander's parents were aware of having a
visitor, one unable to stand sunlight, and they were kinda o.k. They rarely ever
where in the house anyway, and Xander had been in charge of his life since he
was 15... Also, the other slayerettes didn't know about the new dark UV free
window that adorned Xander's bedroom and that was fine for the teenager.
The day after Buffy and Willow found out that Puppy was staying with Xander
had been too tense. The girls weren't talking to Xander, Xander wasn't talking
to either Giles or Angel... No one paid any attention to Wesley. And when night
came, and Xander had to get Puppy to the library, where he could get more used
to the reality he lived now, things had gotten worse. Puppy didn't do anything
without looking at Xander first. He only listened to Xander's words, taking them
all as orders. That only made the glares at the young mortal more and more
The worst part had been that Puppy had only been doing what he had been
taught to do. Xander couldn't possibly hold anything against the tortured
Four days later, since the situation had gotten way too tense to be enjoyed,
Xander asked Puppy if he preferred to go to the Bronze or stay in the house for
a while. Puppy had choose to stay. That had been somewhat an improvement, since
it was the first free-will decision that Puppy had made, besides living with
Xander instead of sharing the mansion with Angel. Xander had gone to the Bronze
for a while, just to meet Angel there.
The vampire was, surprisingly, not as upset as the rest of the gang for the
latest arrangements. He had admitted that he would preferred it if Puppy stayed
in the mansion, but it was o.k. with him. And it had been Angel's idea to get
the UV-free windows for the attic, to keep Puppy safe.
Xander and Angel had parted as friends that night, and the vampire had
promised that he would talk to the others, make them understand that nothing was
Xander's fault. At least something good had come from all the changes.
Xander had gone to sleep early that night, only to awoke around two in the
morning at the feeling of someone climbing into his bed. Seeing him awake, Puppy
had immediately run away and return to the attic, but in the morning, Xander had
found Puppy sleeping in the floor, at his bed side. That afternoon he had got
the UV window for his room. If Puppy ever repeated that trick, he would be safe
from the sun in Xander's room.
And Puppy had sneaked in the room again the next night too, and when Xander
woke up, he had again ran away, only to return and sleep in the floor.
It was then when Xander got a new idea. He still didn't had all the details
about his doppelganger's rules and actions, and he didn't want to know them, but
he knew that he could at least bend the rules a little. Change them as long as
he told Puppy what to do.
They had to meet with the others in the library in order to make a new plan
regarding Faith, the Mayor and the Ascension ceremony. If things went as usual,
Xander was sure that he would be hearing various hurtful remarks about Puppy and
leashes. So before they went out, and while Puppy ate his breakfast, Xander
decided to breach the subject.
"About tonight... we're going to do some research and..." he began, and
immediately the vampire stopped eating, looking at him eagerly.
"You don't want me to go?" Puppy asked, a little sadness creeping in his
voice. It was natural, since he hadn't left the Harris' house in two days.
"It's not that, Angel..." Xander never called him Puppy, like the others did
when they had to make a difference between their Angel and this Angel. Xander
had other ways to make himself understood, like calling Buffy's boyfriend
'Dead-boy'. "Look... " He breathed deeply, knowing that the wrong choice of
words could destroy what little advance they had done. "When we're with the
others... you don't have to agree with everything I say or do everything I
"...because they will think that you're treating me like a slave?" Puppy
finished for him, before looking away. "But... but you are my master..." Hearing
those words from the vampire, Xander had to flinch. It was not the first time
Puppy called that. That had been right after the fight with Buffy... but the way
in which he said it, the absolute submission... it still made Xander's heart
hurt. But he couldn't tell Puppy to forget the whole idea. That had to be
gradually, gently. And without breaking the rules.
"Why have you been coming to sleep in my room?" He asked, wishing to stray a
little from the slavery subject.
Puppy looked at the last drops of blood in his glass, one of the smallest
adjustments Xander had managed to make, and his voice came very low, very shy.
"You once told me that if I was very, very good, you would left the cell open...
and that I would be able to sleep in your room then..." The vampire said, then
turned to see Xander, a tear shining in his eyes. "I have been good, right?
That's the reason why you left the attic and your door open..."
Xander closed his eyes, and bit his lip. It was just as he had feared. But he
could use that little fact to his advantage. "Yes, yes Angel. You've followed
the rules..." he refused to use the words 'been good' with the vampire. No
matter what the others think of him, no matter what his own doppelganger had
thought, Angel was not a dog. "...but if you want to sleep here, there's
something you have to do..."
The mortal regretted his words immediately, as the vampire leaned forward
with an amazing speed, kissing him fully in the mouth. Xander's eyes opened big
with astonishment and shock, and he backed away, looking at the vampire with
scared eyes. "What are you doing?"
"You... you said there was something I had to do... It was what you always
said when you wanted me to..." Puppy was puzzled by Xander's actions, even more
than when Xander had been nice to him. But Xander didn't let him finish. He
really didn't wanted to know.
"I wasn't talking about that. I am not gay." Wonderfully, he managed to keep
his voice even. It wasn't good when he yelled or screamed near Puppy, as the
vampire always interpreted that as the first part of punishment. "You will never
have to do... anything like that... ever again." Xander finished, blushing
"I... I am sorry..." Puppy walked away, until he was almost at the door of
It took a little for Xander to recover himself from the shock. He had thought
that he was ready for any revelation from Puppy's world, but obviously the fact
that he had been gay or bi or whatever... and that he had forced Puppy to... do
_THAT_ , had been too much.
"It's not your fault, Angel... It's just one of those differences that no one
thinks to mention..." Breathing deeply, he walked to where Puppy was and kneeled
in front of him. "Look, the only thing you have to do is stand a little more for
yourself in front of everyone. You do that, and then you can sleep in my room
At the end, Puppy had done that. It had took three or four more days, but
finally, the rest of the group noted the change. Puppy didn't flinch when Willow
talked to him, had helped not only with the research, but also had volunteered
to go with Buffy patrolling one night... and had been confused with Angel by
Faith that time.
Buffy, and Willow had took that as a great sign, insisting that Puppy should
move with Angel right away... although surprisingly, both Giles and Angel had
backed up Puppy's decision to stay at the Harris' house. But not even them knew
that now Puppy and Xander shared the same room. That had took a few
arrangements, as Xander moved most of his stuff to the Attic to make room for
another bed, but with Puppy's eager help they managed to get everything in order
without any interference. And in that fashion, life continued in the relative
calmness of Sunnydale.
Turning her attention back to her laptop, she continued her job, forgetting
all about Puppy and Xander for the moment.
Giles looked up from his book to Xander and to Puppy, hoping that no one
would note it. He had been very worried for the health and well being of Xander
ever since Puppy appeared in their lives. He hadn't discussed it with the
teenager, but in the first days, before Puppy went to live with Xander, Giles
had been sure that sooner or later Puppy would attack Xander... and most
probably try and make him a vampire.
The librarian turned the page of the book he was reading, still with the
problem in his mind. His main worry was that Puppy, deprived of his vampiric
master, would try to regain what he knew... change the world to be as close as
the one he knew. But when it had become obvious that somehow Xander had managed
to reassert his doppelganger control, Giles' mind had turned to worry about
Xander's mental health. It was obvious to anyone who looked with some care that
the hold that the Vampire Xander held in Buffy wasn't just about torture or
physical pain... And the Watcher was all too sure that Xander, who even when he
did careless comments and seemed not really interested in anyone was a very kind
and gentle soul, could take that knowledge.
However, now it seemed that Puppy was beginning to change, to become more
independent from Xander... even when they still lived together. But Puppy's
newly gained confidence still made Giles feel better. Maybe that meant that
Xander would never have to face everything that his doppelganger had done.
Buffy hit the punching bag with her mind somewhere else. A somewhere else not
that far away... She had her attention in the couple sitting on the table, Puppy
and Xander. For the past week, Buffy had tried mightily not to think of them as
a couple, but to no avail. She saw Puppy's servile attitude when it came to
Xander, remembered the very clear death threat that had come out of Puppy's
throat... and hated her friend for that.
Sure, she knew that Xander hadn't been the one who turned her boyfriend -or
an alternate universe version of him- into Puppy... the other universe Xander
must have been nothing like their Xander... But still... When she and Puppy had
gone on patrolling, she had tired to pry a little into how he and Xander were
getting along, just to meet very elusive answers. And her mind had begun to make
connections about it. Not very nice either.
She had tried to talk it with Willow, but her friend had assured her that it
was just her imagination. And the Slayer wasn't going to believe that. Then she
had tried to breach the subject with Angel... but her courage had failed her.
There was no way she was going to discuss with her boyfriend the fact that she
thought that one of her friends was screwing her boyfriend' doppelganger.
So she had changed her role. With this particular vampire, she wouldn't be
the Slayer. She would only watch. And if she ever found proof that Xander was
taking advantage of him, well... her ex - best friend would better start praying
because not even Puppy's ill- placed loyalty was going to save him.
Puppy was reading, his head ducked in the book that Giles had given him,
trying to remember if the Master had ever mentioned something about an
Ascension... but that didn't stop him for noting that at least three pair of
eyes were on him and Xander... Cordelia sometimes risked a glance at Xander, but
it was only to see if the mortal noticed that Wesley was looking at her, Oz
sometimes looked at him to see if he noted that Willow was looking at them.
Wesley seemed uncaring of the events there.
But Giles, Willow and Buffy's looks were heavy on Puppy's back. So heavy that
he had to restrain himself from looking up, to see if they weren't making Xander
That was the real trick. The hardest part of everything was not to rush at
Xander's side every time he needed help, or every time he looked like he needed
help. Not to look at Xander to be sure that he was there. Puppy was sure that
Xander didn't need protection from vampires, demons and stuff like that. His
friends might not note it, but Puppy was sure that Xander could fend for
himself. But at the same time, Puppy knew that Xander would never defend himself
from the ones he called friends, even if they treated him badly, even if they
were not really his friends. And, even when he was still as strong as his
vampiric counterpart, Xander was mortal. He didn't had the advantages of fast
healing or increased strength.
So Puppy had decided silently that he would protect Xander. And if the
protection included not to look at the mortal boy, he would do that. He would be
good, he would follow the rules, and maybe... just maybe Xander would allow him
to sleep in his bed. The others could think whatever they wanted; but they would
never really understood why Puppy stayed at Xander side.
Xander was his master. Puppy loved him.
And the only thing he really wanted was for his master to love him back.
The ambush was so childish, so obvious, that later Buffy and Giles blamed
themselves for the outcome. Even when the evidence that Faith had gone to the
Mayor's side had been overwhelming, even when she had proven to be a dangerous
psychopath more than once, Buffy had not changed her routine patrols, neither in
days nor in routes. And Faith had known that. She and other 25 vampires had been
waiting for Buffy.
The fight had been quite unfair, but thankfully for the Slayer, her friends
where nearby. Angel, Willow, Oz, Xander and Puppy had followed her and joined
the fray. But what had probably been just another patrol night, changed
drastically when Faith saw Xander... For some strange reason Faith always lost
control when it came to Xander.
The evil Slayer had dumped Buffy in the lap of two mindless vampires, and
gone straight to the mortal boy, who had his hands full trying to stake just one
of her group. Faith did her job so well that not even Puppy noted that she and
two vampires had managed to grab Xander and ran away. The only thing they heard
as Faith and the vampires ran away was that there would be no way that Buffy
would be with her friends again. The message was very clear.
They wouldn't see Xander alive again.
Buffy wanted to return with Giles, and see what they knew of Faith, and the
Mayor... to see if he could think where they had took Xander. Willow and Oz had
agreed, but Angel had thought it was a bad idea. That reduced Xander's life
expectancy a great deal.
Puppy remained silent as they argued, but when they began walking to the
library, he turned away from them. "I'm not going with you." He said evenly,
even when he could feel his anger rising. "We have to find Xander first."
"We need a plan. " Buffy said, looking at Puppy as if the vampire was too
foolish to understand what was going on. "Now come on, we cannot loose more
"If we go to the library, Xander is most surely going to die!" Puppy
insisted, not letting his eyes drop down. He was going to show Buffy and
everyone else that they couldn't boss him around. Especially not when Xander's
life was on stake.
"And if we go without a plan, we're all going to die!" Buffy answered, her
eyes fixed in Puppy's. She was not going to back down here. "Why cannot you
understand that, Puppy?!"
Hurt flickered in Puppy's eyes. When they were with Angel, they tried to
avoid calling him anything. Not by his name, and not by Puppy. But they still
called him Puppy from time to time. Xander was the only one who called him
Angel, preferring to use 'Dead-boy' when talking to the other Angel... "Do
whatever you want, Slayer." He growled, showing game-face "But I'm going to find
He didn't wait for her answer, turning around to follow Xander's scent. If
Xander's 'friends' couldn't risk themselves a little for the one who had risked
his own life to help more than once, he wasn't going to loose time with them.
Puppy found Faith's hideout very easily. She had chained Xander, making him
bleed, by cutting his skin, by hitting him until the flesh gave up... And that
made the scent stronger. He had never feed from Xander's blood... after all, he
had known Xander as a vampire, without his own blood... but in the few weeks
that he had been in this reality, that smell had filled his dreams, his whole
notion of safety was built around the steady heartbeat in Xander's chest.
Thankfully, Faith was almost alone. She had only two bodyguards with her, the
other vampires no where in sight. And she was talking.
"C'mon Xander. You know this could be a lot more fun if you just told me what
your 'friends' know about the Ascension and the Mayor..." She finished her
phrase by caressing his cheek. As if that crude caress could erase the bleeding
spots in Xander's face. "... You tell me, I let you go."
"Do... Do I really... look that... stupid, Faith?" Xander managed to chuckle,
and Puppy's heart broke. How could Xander laugh when his body was in the brink
of death? "I'm not you... I won't betray my friends..." This won Xander a
straight punch directed to his stomach, making him vomit a mouthful of blood.
But strangely, he kept grinning.
"Xander, What friends?" Faith asked, smiling brightly. "Be real, no one cares
if you live or die. Man, look around you. Did they came to save you? No. And
they didn't told you that the world was ending either. You're a zero to them.
Here, you at least could be a good spy in our side. Here, you won't be a loser"
Xander lowered his head, his eyes full of sadness. Puppy could see that
clearly from where he stood. But when he lift his head, he was smiling again. Or
at least, he tried to... he had a split lip. "You know, Faith... if you work
that up, you could be a good Cordelia replacement..."
Faith hit him again, this time in the chest. Puppy could hear a crack from
the boy's body, he was sure that Faith had managed to broke a rib or two... and
Xander was biting his lips, not screaming.
"I'm going to kill you Harris... and no one is going to care about that."
As the evil Slayer rose the knife, ready to sink it in Xander's chest for the
last time, Puppy couldn't stop himself. He ran towards the girl, knocking down
one of the vampires, and staking the other, making Faith so surprised that she
forgot for one moment that her whole intent was to kill Xander and she
immediately attacked Puppy, full of confidence. After all, she had already
fought against Angel and won, even when he was pretending to be Angelus...
That was her worst mistake. She had never believed that Angel hadn't been
interested in hurting her that time, and she didn't knew how much Xander meant
for Puppy. Faith had always thought that Puppy was nothing more than a weaker
version of Angel, so after confusing him with Buffy's boyfriend, she had been
sure that in any future encounter, Puppy would be easy to handle.
It was that why she never knew what hit her, as Puppy's fist connected with
her face, throwing her to the floor, she tried to get on her feet, only to meet
with Puppy's hand, grabbing her jacket, forcing her to stand before hitting her
again, until her face was covered with her own blood, and she was barely
conscious. He threw her to the floor, kicking her in the ribs, making her gasp
He could have killed her. He wanted nothing more than kill her, the one who
had almost killed Xander. No one could touch his master.
"No... stop..." Xander's voice was incredibly weak, only a whisper. But Puppy
could hear it very clearly. He left Faith's bleeding form in the floor and
kneeled at Xander's side. "Don't... kill her... you'll only feel worse...
Xander choked the last words, blood coming out of his mouth. Puppy touched
the mortal's face for a moment, scared to have arrived to late, but then he
heard the soft, continuos rhythm that was Xander's heartbeat and felt relieved.
He couldn't loose more time. He went to Faith's limp body, getting the key to
the shackles that kept Xander a prisoner. Then he freed the teenager, and,
carefully carrying him in his arms, he took him to the nearest hospital.
Xander had to stay a week in the hospital, the first days barely conscious.
He had four ribs broken, his left lung was punctured, he was suffering a severe
head contusion, his left arm was broken and his left ankle was seriously
twisted. And he had severe cuts all over his body, causing an incredible loss of
In fact, according to the doctors, Xander would have never survived if Puppy
hadn't got him to the hospital when he did.
Buffy and the rest of the gang went to visit him, but they never stayed long.
A couple of minutes if Xander wasn't conscious and maybe half an hour if he was.
Buffy looked very uncomfortable, but neither she or Xander brought up the
subject of why Puppy had gone alone after Faith... No one thought of keep guard
in Xander's room, in case that Faith decided to visit back, but luckily she
didn't. And so, Xander spend his recovery time in the sterile room, with no get
well cards or best wishes near him.
But he was not alone. Puppy never left his side by night, even when Xander
"I don't like this..." Buffy began, as she, Willow, Oz and Giles walked away
from the hospital.
"What Faith did was pretty much extreme, yeah... " Willow nodded, but Buffy
interrupted her before she could continue.
"I'm not talking about Faith. I'm talking about Xander and Puppy." The blonde
Slayer was frowning, and the others knew it as a sign of anger in her. "I don't
like the way Puppy fawns over Xander..."
Giles coughed, a little uncomfortable. "I'm sure you're overreacting,
Buffy... Puppy doesn't..."
"He threatened to kill me if I touched Xander... and look at him, coming
every night, looking at Xander with so much... hope!" Buffy yelled, looking at
his friends. Willow cringed and hugged Oz's arm more tightly than before. "And
Xander doesn't care in the least for him."
"We cannot be sure of that, Buffy..." Giles tried once again to say, worried
about Buffy's actual pettiness.
"Yes... Xander has been very nice letting Puppy stay in his house, and lately
Puppy has been less and less scared of me and everything..." Willow interrupted,
trying to sound more cheerfully than she felt. "I'm going to prove him that
Xander is only playing with him. " Buffy insisted, before running away from the
group. "You'll see and tomorrow, Puppy will be living with Angel again!"
As the blonde girl disappeared in the distance, Oz shook his head. "I don't
think that is such a great idea" he said, and Willow nodded. It wasn't a good
idea at all.
It was dark when Buffy came again, this time accompanied by the twin
vampires, both dressed in the same clothes. She had took extra care on getting
sure that there was nothing different between the two undead man.
As they entered the room, she held one of the Angels' hand, letting the other
walk towards Xander's bed. The boy smiled to them, half sitting in his bed, his
body held together by casts. Thankfully, the most notorious wounds had already
healed, and now he was sitting with the help of some pillows.
Upon seeing his friends, Xander face brighten immediately. "Hi, guys!" He
smiled, and propped himself up, nodding towards Angel, who was now sitting at
the side of the bed. "Dead-boy, nice to see you. Angel... why are you staying in
There was a very uncomfortable silence following his words, and Xander looked
from the Angel sitting at his side, and the Angel standing at Buffy's side...
Buffy was looking at him with shock, while the Angels had a slight smile in
their faces. "What? Did I mix them up? That could be easy, I mean... both are
dressed with the same clothes..."
"No... you didn't mix us up, Xander." Angel said, smiling widely. Then he
pulled out from his pocket the caddalagh ring that he had never stopped wearing,
and put it on his finger, just to be sure that Buffy wouldn't confuse them later
on. "Although no one would have blame you if you did."
"I knew you were not going to confuse us... you have never done it before."
Puppy said as he walked closer, but his smile was now smaller. "I am sorry...
This was all my fault."
"Don't say that, Angel..." Xander shook his head slowly, and the others could
see that it hurt him to do so. "If you hadn't been there, I would be toast. You
There was another moment of silence, that was immediately interrupted by
Buffy, who assured Xander that Faith would be dealt with soon. Then Angel told a
little about what had been going on in the nights, at least the details that
hadn't been provided by Willow or Giles, while Puppy only looked at Xander's
frail form. He still couldn't take out of his mind the image of the bloodied
body of his master, as Faith enjoyed the torture... And he would never forget
the courage that Xander had showed that day.
A doctor came around midnight to tell them that, even if they were family,
they should leave Xander alone, so he could rest. Buffy nodded, and practically
dragged Puppy out of the room... She never noticed when Angel turned to ask
Xander one last question.
"How did you knew who was who?" he asked, sure that Xander would understand
that he meant he and Puppy.
Xander looked up at him, confusion playing a little in his brown deep eyes.
"I dunno." The mortal said at last. "I just know that you're Deadboy and he's
Angel... that's all."
Xander had to stay a week more after Buffy tried to show everyone that he
didn't cared for Puppy's welfare, because the doctors wanted to be sure that his
bones where healing correctly. The fact that Xander was the only one who could
tell which Angel was which was never discussed in front of the Slayer, but it
was a common subject among the Slayerettes. Even Cordelia admitted that Xander
always noted small details in the relationships he had.
And although nor Xander nor Puppy knew of this, their friends thought of them
more and more as in a relationship, even when there was no evidence of it being
Buffy never commented about it again, but became very insistent when it came
to her relationship with Angel, expecting them to be together every minute of
the night, making plans for patrol nights, for her few free days. And never once
mentioned Xander's name unless it was in direct reference to Faith's
And all the while, Puppy only waited, becoming a little solitary, even for
Angel's standards. He rarely talked to the rest of the group, partly because he
still blamed them for Xander's condition, partly because without Xander he felt
out of place.
Every night, just before dawn, he returned to Xander's house, to sleep. And
because Xander wasn't there, because he missed the presence of his beloved
master, Puppy slept in Xander's bed, wishing for him to be back soon.
"Xander... can we talk?" Giles was incredibly early in the hospital, the day
Xander was supposed to leave the building. They had planned that the Scooby Gang
would be there to help Xander get home, so he had been waiting for them. But he
had never expected to see the ex - Watcher two hours before the decided time.
"Sure, G-man... What's up?" He asked, curious. Giles had not been in all the
visits that the others made, busy with his job and with trying to get Wesley out
of his business.
"I have asked you not to call me that. " The ex - Watcher sit in the chair
next to Xander's bed and took of his glasses. "And I just came here to ask you
to be careful when you get back home."
The Watcher was not meeting Xander's eyes, something that puzzled the young
man. "Don't worry, Giles. I won't be going to the Mayor's house to throw pebbles
in Faith's window." Xander joked, and that made Giles look up, smiling a little.
"I think after this we can be sure that she doesn't like me."
"I wasn't talking about Faith, Xander." The librarian breathed deeply before
continuing. "I am very concerned about the... dependence... that Angel...
Puppy... has developed towards you."
"Wha...? What are you talking about, Giles?" Xander asked, very surprised. He
knew that Puppy was somewhat dependent on him, he still couldn't make the
vampire understand that he could get his own food in the butcher's shop for
instance, but he never once believed that the others in the group had noticed.
"I... I thought ... Angel is doing very well on his own..."
"Xander... I am not sure of how to explain this to you, but I do not think
that Puppy is really becoming more independent. I do not know what he suffered
in his home dimension, but I can tell you that he did not fear your Vampire
doppelganger as much as he... probably... loved him."
Xander grew pale as he remembered Puppy's half given kiss, his attempts to
sleep in the same bed as Xander... and shook his head. Giles could not really
mean what he meant. There was no way that someone could loved a monster like the
one his vampiric double was. "But even so..." he begun, knowing that he really
didn't had any proof that showed the librarian how wrong he was "... Angel knows
that I am not the vampire that tortured him... Why would I be careful?"
The ex - Watcher shook his head and looked directly at Xander's eyes. "If I
am right, Xander... and I really hope I'm not... when Puppy realizes that he is
absolutely safe in this reality, he might start missing his... owner..." Giles
said that word very fast, as if he felt really uncomfortable with it. "...And
then he might try to get him back..."
"Get him... but..." Xander's eyes opened wide, as he remembered the way in
which Puppy had attacked him the first day, trying to bite him. Could that
really have been that... that the souled, tortured vampire wanted to be in the
company of the cruel, sadistic being that Xander Vampire had been? "... No... No
Giles... you're mistaken."
"I wish I were Xander. But until we can be sure... never let your guard
"I'll carry a stake with me all the time, if that makes you feel better."
Xander looked at Giles, slightly annoyed. He really didn't wanted to know that
Puppy was probably addicted to a soulless bastard.
That night, as Xander was trying to sleep for the first time in his own bed,
he risked a glance at Puppy. The vampire was sleeping in the floor, ignoring the
warmth of the bed that they had carried into the room for him.
Apparently, he still blamed himself for the attack on Xander.
"Angel... It wasn't your fault. You saved me." The mortal said, and Angel
immediately looked up. Obviously he wasn't asleep. It was too early for him.
Then Xander seemed to consider something else, and he moved to one side,
carefully avoiding to lean in his hurt side. "And... I never thanked you for not
"I wouldn't have suffered for her death." Puppy said, flatly. It was true. He
felt grief for every death he had caused, for every act that he had done in 250
years. But when it came to the woman who had hurt Xander so much... he had been
close to feel joy. "... She deserves to die."
Xander winced. He had never heard such a cold statement from Angel's lips...
not from this Angel, not from Buffy's boyfriend... Not even from Angelus, who
spoke with glee when it came to blood-related subjects. "No one deserves to die,
Angel... Not here at least." Then he forced himself to smile, and looked at the
vampire again. "Come here... you can't sleep in the floor."
The hopeful smile that shone in Puppy's face made Xander feel mixed emotions.
For one side, he felt happy and relieved that he had been able to do something
to make the vampire smile... and then he felt shame. Shame for not being able to
give Puppy the same love that the vampire gave him. Fear for knowing that Giles
had been right... and something else, something so deep in his heart that he
couldn't recognize it. But he kept smiling as Puppy climbed over the covers,
putting his head on the extra pillow that Xander used.
"Thank you, master." Puppy whispered, before closing his eyes, a peaceful
smile in his face. The happiness that filled those words brought a tear to
Xander's eyes... and when the teenager felt sure that the vampire was asleep, he
covered the cold form with his own covers, hugging the still form before turning
to the other side.
"I know this won't help, Angel..." he whispered, all to sure that the vampire
wasn't hearing him. "... but I'm sorry for all the suffering I caused to you in
that other reality... I would never have done that to you..." Then he lowered
his voice even more, so much that he himself hardly heard it. "... I love
Then he closed his eyes, and fell asleep. He never noticed the smile that
grew in Puppy's face. The vampire had heard every single word.
And for the first time since he had discovered he loved the teenager vampire
that had took care of him in the master realm, Puppy was truly and completely
filled with happiness.