Author: Bear (aka mirasol)
Disclaimer: Not mine - Still not making any money from this.
Notes: Set post-N.F.A.
Safe for the moment underneath the spreading branches of the tree rustling in the pleasant early morning breeze, Spike waits. He doesn’t know why he’s waiting, or even what he’s waiting for.
No, strictly speaking, that’s not entirely true. He knows exactly why he’s hanging back, just exactly why he’s leaving it until the last possible moment to get to safety.
How can it be safety when he feels so uncomfortable there?
Spike knows that he should just keep on walking, driving, running the other way. Keep on going until he forgets, until the heaviness gets lighter, until his insides don’t do a double-flip when the rare half-smile flicks into life for a moment.
But Spike also knows that he won’t do that. If he couldn’t do it months before, despite the wanderlust screaming at him and the walls closing in on him more and more each day, then he can’t do it now. He knows that he’s losing Xander; not that he ever had him in the first place, not the way he wants him.
He taps his cigarette nervously against the packet as he watches the blue above him lighten more with each passing second, all the stars having left him to his own thoughts long ago. Xander is probably still asleep inside the house – or so Spike hopes. Asleep alone again…
He feels the guilt twist his stomach that he’s pleased that Xander isn’t interested in anyone. Yet, every night, every day, Spike feels the need for that to be an isn’t interested in anyone else.
Spike pretends to be asleep during the day when Xander looks into his room. Spike avoids being in the same room, the same house even as him, knowing that one day he'll break and take that one step too far. But he can't leave Xander now, he could do that as easy as giving up blood... but Xander's not ready yet. Especially not ready enough to know that a guy, and a dead guy at that, is head over heels for him.
Damn demon bitch! She’d screwed Xander up good and proper, made him useless for anyone else. Spike lets the unlit cigarette fall to the ground forgotten, as he scrubs his face, realizing that he’s letting his jealousy get the better of him once more. Time heals all, even the gaping wide bleeding emptiness where a heart should beat, where a heart should race at the thought of another.
And time, well, Spike has plenty of that. More than enough to wait for Xander to realize that he has a life. Kind of.
But not unless he gets indoors before he’s vampire flambé.
Spike covers the ground between the tree and the kitchen door in next to nothing flat, taking the porch steps two at a time, and opens the door to let himself in. As usual he calls out Xander’s name gently, just in case, as he steps over the threshold. He expects no answer from Xander for he should be tucked up in bed, just like all good little humans at this time of the morning, safe from nasties like him.
Spike doesn’t get a reply, but Xander isn’t safe in the land of nod. He’s standing in the middle of the kitchen, facing the door that Spike has just come through, arms crossed over his chest. Something has happened; Spike can feel it in the way the tension crackles through the air, in the way that Xander’s holding himself so tightly that his muscles are bunching beneath the t-shirt.
Spike isn’t going to back out of a fight, if that is what’s coming, but for the life of him he simply can’t figure out what he’s done wrong. Not that it matters, once a whipping boy, always a whipping boy. For an instant he thinks that Xander might be angry at him for taking chances, his racing the sun, and he opens his mouth to placate him.
But as he takes a step towards Xander his mouth closes, feeling that there is something more going on here. After all, he is the one with the obsession, not Xander, and while Spike’s sure that they’re somewhere on the road towards friendship, he just can’t actually believe that Xander would be that concerned about him, or that he would be that furious with him.
No such luck for him, of course…
“Who’s pissed on your cabbages, then? Daddy dearest ain’t come to pay me a flying visit – nah, he couldn’t give a flying fuck about me, even less about you. Who’s got you all riled up?”
“Nobody.” The answer is short and terse and, Spike can tell, obviously very, very wrong.
You don’t survive for as long as Spike without learning a few tricks, and he pulls one out of his bag now. He stares at Xander. No scary face, no sympathy, just waiting. Xander’s head drops down, avoiding the gaze, then he turns on his heel and walks out of the room. Spike follows him into the living room and still merely looks and waits, without a word passing his lips.
And it works, like it always does. Xander collapses in on himself, and steps/sits backwards into one of the chairs, his arms falling down to hang uselessly by his side. “Ah, jeez…”
Spike perches on the arm of the chair, and hunches down so his face is on a level with Xander’s own. “Tell me what it is.”
“I… I can’t. Why the overwhelming interest, all of a sudden? You haven’t exactly been oversharing yourself recently. I’m surprised you could fit coming back here into your busy schedule.”
“You sound just like a jealous fishwife, you know - Why? Because I couldn’t give a toss about you, mate. I just want something else to hang over your head, something else to blackmail you wi-”
At the mention of blackmail something flashes across Xander’s face and it stops Spike deader in his tracks than usual. A look of despair, of anguish and complete hopelessness, and Spike knows that whatever he’d been thinking Xander really had been getting better.
He must have been, for the last time Spike had seen that face they’d been on the back porch, sinking beers and sorrows. That time, Spike had refused to allow himself to do what he wanted, and it had just got them going round in circles. This time, he... they could change…
Survivor guilt could go shove a stick up its arse and call itself a lollipop. Spike knows that he is going to drag Xander back into this world, kicking and screaming if that’s what’s needed.
“Because someone needs to look out for your pansy arse, and it looks like it’s down to me. Whatever the fuck is up, it’s important, it’s worrying you and… ah, bollocks to this… I want to know. Come on, you’ve got less to feel guilty about than I do.”