Disclaimer: I don’t own Spike, Xander, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. These belong to Mutant Enemy and its creator, Joss Whedon.
Xander made his way through the forest. He walked quietly and cautiously, brushing tree branches and brush out of his way. As the bronzing October sun filtered down through the dwindling leaves, he could almost believe he was in another time – that he was a child again.
He remembered going off one afternoon with Willow for an “expedition.” They had packed their lunches that morning and had prepared to embark upon the journey of a lifetime. How were they to know that this would be the day Xander got his foot stuck in some rabbit’s hole and sprained his ankle? Xander leaned on Willow the whole way back home. And this seemed like it was so long ago.
Now, so many years later, these memories hurt Xander’s heart. His entire chest cracked and sizzled with the intense ache that swam through him. Ache for days long gone and for innocence forever lost. His mind craved to return to those days when all he wanted was just some sunshine and his best friend to share it with.
Now it seemed he was lucky if he could have the sunshine. So much has changed.
Xander glanced up and could barely make out the sky through the treetops. Dusk was coming faster and faster it seemed with each passing day. He could feel the nip in the air, the sting in his chest that only the coming winter can produce. He wanted so desperately for it to arrive. Winter means ends.
It would be dark soon, but that was okay. He was almost to the spot, to where he’d been trying to get to his entire life. He continued his slow march as quietly as he could. Something about the forest whispered to him that this was peace – to disturb it would be evil.
Evil. Something Xander had seen enough of; felt enough of; lived enough of. He just wanted out. He wanted absolution. Something to make this stop. Anything to soothe the pain that ripped him apart. Anything to take away the guilt and the shame.
Only a few steps now until the place. And as he stepped out and through the last bank of trees and bristle, his breath was stolen from him. He looked out upon a vast landscape of eternal blankness. It amazed him that something so stark could be so beautiful.
And there he stood, on the edge – between forest and canyon – waiting. He gazed westward into the horizon of stone and sun. He took in the full absence of thought, of pain, of sorrow. He accepted that this was the correct path. He knew that this was what he was created for. And so he waited.
He gazed upon this distant landscape where sky met slate and allowed himself to fully feel. He embraced the nothingness that had been his existence without true love. He understood why those he had cared for had left him. He knew what no one else did – that this was what needed to be done. He felt the time coming and it itched like so many thousands of tiny creatures trekking across his skin. He knew that soon the time would come.
Before his very eyes, the great golden pendulum that carried all life sank beneath the concrete abyss. He gazed upon the last fading streaks and glitter of gold and red and violet until at last all that existed was himself and the stars above. The silent witnesses that had been there since time began and shall be there when it ceases.
And as he mentally picked out the correct constellations, he knew he was no longer alone. He was there with him.
Xander turned, and though he knew the vision he would encounter, he was still shocked. This man’s beauty stilled his breath and soothed his vision every time he encountered it.
“Are you ready, love?” Spike asked. His eyes so clear and calm – though behind them a tempest raged. “Did you say goodbye?”
“Yes, I’m ready.” And Xander was. He really was. “But first one thing.”
“Anything, pet. Anything for you.” The truth – always the truth from the heart of a demon.
“Promise me – promise me you’ll never leave.” Because in the end, didn’t they all?
“I promise, love. I’ll never leave you. I’ll stay by you until the stars stop shining.”
“Alright.” Xander quickly and silently gave thanks for everything bad that had ever happened in this life. Because if it hadn’t happened, he would not be able to join Spike in this next life. Once this deed was done.
Xander stepped close to Spike and whispered: “I’m ready to take the plunge.”