Pairing: Spike and Xander... almost friendship? pre-slash?
Rating: R for language
Word Count: 1,500+
Disclaimer: Not mine
Warnings: Spike's a little grumpy.
Written for: noel_of_spike
Summary: The end of 2002 wasn’t the best time for Spike. He was crazy in the basement, Dawn threatened to burn him in his sleep, he killed a bunch of people, and then he was kidnapped by the First and tortured by the Turok-Han in an underground cave over Christmas. When Buffy finally rescues him and brings him home to a house full of Scoobies and Potentials, people have some things to say to him.
Fabulous beta services provided by electricalgwen and madame_meretrix.
You Missed Christmas
Red. Buffy. That rainbow bint. Dawn. Harris.
Five visitors. Five. He doesn’t get visitors—not in the last hundred years or so, anyway. There haven’t been five people to see him since he was alive, for fuck’s sake, and they all pick right sodding now.
He’d hoped they’d ignore him if he pretended to be asleep.
He needs a DO NOT DISTURB sign or a lock on the door. Visiting hours are fucking over.
Harris is just sitting on the steps, not saying anything. At least the others had moved. Got so wrapped up in themselves and their speeches and their own bloody thoughts that they didn’t notice the odd breath or shift.
Spike’s more than a little disgusted with his need to fidget, but it’s to be expected. Say don’t move, and what’s he supposed to think about besides moving? Plus, his balls itch.
Harris is still just sitting. Should be a comfort after the way Willow’d made his head pound, but it’s not. It’s unnerving and fucking creepy that Harris is still as a statue.
Willow’d been all over the place, jerking about like a cat who’d got its tail stuck in an electrical socket, and giving the most insane speech he’s heard since he was talking to himself in the basement.
“It’s like how when you go to war, you make war buddies. And even though they’re not who you’d choose, they’re still… At least, I think that’s how it would be. I don’t really know anything about war, but hey—Hellmouth, here, I think it’s close enough. So even if we were never friends—and, okay, I guess we were kind of mortal enemies for a while there—but even so, we’re—all of us—we’re something. And I think we’re kind of war buddies. And I just want to say… I’m… proud of you. I’m just… I’m glad you’re okay.”
And if that speech had warmed his heart a little even as he’d wanted to wring her neck for pacing and babbling and keeping him fucking awake and in pain, he’ll never admit it.
Just like he’ll never, ever fucking admit what had happened when Buffy’d come down.
The way she’d left a mug of blood and just wandered about the room, straightening up, folding laundry. Making herself busy, like she needed some reason to be there.
If she’d seen through his sleeping act, she hadn’t said it. Didn’t say anything at all until she’d run out of ways to busy her hands. Then she’d just walked up the stairs, and it wasn’t till she got to the top that she’d said, “I’m sorry.”
And that’s when he’d broken down and cried like an infant. Horrible, gut wrenching sobs that jerked his broken ribs and stung his bloodied face. He’s cried more than he ought to the past few years—more than any vampire ought to—and he’ll admit to that, but not to this. This is just… different and difficult and why the fuck is Harris still sitting on those stairs?
It’s enough to make him miss the daft redhead in the stupid hat. And wasn’t that a treat? Ten or so girls crowded around the door, watching the poor chit creep down the stairs, prodding her with whispers. Must’ve lost a bet. He would’ve felt bad for her if it wasn’t so bloody fucking annoying.
He’d pretended to turn in his sleep and she’d bolted up the stairs like a deranged, rainbow striped rabbit. He should’ve given her a real scare, fangs and such, but, truth be told, his face hurts. Which probably makes him soft, but he’s just had more torture than anyone should have to bear, and now he’s got a cot and a warm blanket and fuck anyone who doesn’t think he deserves a bit of comfort.
You’d think getting beaten within an inch of his life for the cause—the second time in as many years, mind—would earn him that much. Not that he wouldn’t go through it again if he had to, but he’d rather it be like the first time, to protect Dawn, than for no fucking reason at all. That part grates on him.
On the Bit, too, apparently. She’d come down with that new look on her face, the one she’s had lately… and then she’d just sat on the floor and cried.
And while Dawn was crying, he’d been more trapped faking sleep on his cot than he’d ever been chained to the rock wall in that hole in the ground. Truth be told, he’d take the cave monster over crying Dawn, at least like this—no way to comfort her and no business trying, stuck pretending to be asleep. And at least the demon didn’t have the motor skills to handle a lighter and motivation to use it.
She’d finally spoken and it was confusing as all hell for a while—apologizing for Glory and the bringers and the First and possibly everything else she could think of, but she’d eventually calmed down and made a bit of sense before she’d gone.
“I’m not sure how to forgive you, I’m just not. I wish I knew how, but it’s just so hard. But that doesn’t mean I’m not sorry or that I don’t like you or that I wanted this to happen. I just… I’m glad you’re home.”
And if he’s being honest, he wouldn’t have traded that for peace and quiet. It’s nice to know that he matters, even at the expense of sleep. He hasn’t felt that for a while.
Lately, he’s been… not much. Not much use, not much of anything. More of a burden, really—he’s cocked it up good on a number of occasions.
And there was that thing with the killing. Bit more than a simple cock-up, that. Though he’s heard it wasn’t his fault. Doesn’t know if he believes it, but honestly, he’s feeling a little better about that, having had the shit beat out of him—metaphorically speaking. And that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want the world to bugger the fuck off so he can rest and heal, but… He feels cleaner somehow. Done a good deed. Triumphed over evil.
Managed to not get killed long enough to get rescued.
And that—that’s about faith. It’s something he’s not had much of, lately, but he’s finding it now, in the strangest places. Like bloody caves full of figments and monsters. Must be a soul thing.
And that’s about enough—now that he’s done being introspective, he’d like to get some fucking rest. And he would, if it weren’t for Harris, who’s finally, finally decided to move.
“You missed Christmas,” Xander says, walking over to the cot and settling himself on the floor next to it. “It wasn’t a big thing. Dawn and Giles tried to make it nice for the girls, but it wasn’t—it really couldn’t be, you know? There wasn’t a tree or anything. You would have liked it, though—Dawn made gingerbread angels, and she cut the heads off of all of them.” He pauses. “I think she missed you.”
He’s silent for a moment, and then he sighs.
“It’s like baseball, you know? God, I wish I knew if you were asleep or awake or just ignoring me…”
He’s pathetic, Harris. Can’t even do his thing like the others, has to fuck it all up.
“Would that change what you’re gonna say?” Spike asks.
Xander smiles. “No.”
“Git. You don’t even like baseball.”
“I do too! I’ll have you know that just because you don’t see me sitting in front of the TV watching the game, that doesn’t mean I don’t like it.”
“Fine, I’m not a big fan. But that doesn’t matter. This—you—it’s like baseball. I’ve never been that into it, you know, but it’s part of who we are. Baseball and beer and apple pie, you know what I mean?”
Spike snorts. “Not in the slightest.”
Xander’s brow creases. “What I mean is… I didn’t want you to be dead. -er. For good dead. It’s like… you haven’t always been my favorite thing, but you’re still a part of us, and there’d be a hole if you were gone.” He pauses and looks at Spike. “I think maybe it’s time for us to be not enemies.”
Whatever Spike expected from Harris, it wasn’t this. Not enemies—yeah, it sounds good, but coming from someone who’d kept him out of the loop about Dawn being the key and bringing Buffy back…
“Can you trust me?”
“I’ve trusted you with my life hundreds of times, Spike.”
“Any port in a storm, mate.”
Xander smiles slightly and picks at a shoelace. He’s silent for so long that Spike’s sure he’s not going to speak again, but then he does.
“There is one thing I like about baseball.”
And it doesn’t make any sense.
Xander stands up to leave. “A-Rod is fucking hot.”
And then it does.
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