Written for [info]2x5obsessions

Rating: T
Summary: Xander's road to self discovery.
Notes: Set Post ‘The Gift’ to the end of the series.

Blowing in the Wind


**How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?**

It was on a November night when I first noticed it. Willow and Tara were whispering in each other’s ear as they narrowed their eyes at him. I could hear the flippant remarks flying out of Giles mouth. But Spike…he took it all in stride. He never stopped and told them to shut-up, never told them he was apart of the team and didn’t deserve to be treated the way he was.

It was as if—as if, he had given up a long time ago—like he never expected to be treated as anything but, less than a man.

It was this night I walked ahead of the crowd and called out, “hey, Spike wait up!” Later on in life I’d call it the one defining moment, but at the time I had no idea how much walking away from the others would change everything.

After that, each night on patrol we walked side by side.

**Yes, 'n' how many seas must a white dove sail, before she sleeps in the sand?**

A few months after Buffy’s death, I stumbled on Spike sitting at her gravesite. He had his head bowed and he was singing an old Bob Dylan song. He stopped two lines in and leaned his forehead against the cold stone.

“She would have made a lovely dove,” I say and winced immediately at how lame it sounded.

He looked up and gave me a shrug, “All that matters is she can rest now.”

I sat next to him and traced Buffy’s name, “Yeah, and let’s hope it’s not the sand.”

Spike raised a brow and I quickly explained, “You know, with all the chaffing, it wouldn’t be fun.”

Spike chuckled and I was shocked how happy that sound made me feel.

**Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly, before they're forever banned?**

I walked into the magic box to see Spike and Giles at it again, “If you had only gotten there sooner,” Giles hissed as he drunkenly swayed closer to the enraged vamp.

“You don’t think I think that every bloody day, Watcher, ‘cause I do…I bloody well think it every second!”

“A lot of help that does her now, Spike,” Giles spat, “I’m sure she thanking you for that in her grave!”

Spike growled a warning and I jumped between them, staring at Giles in shock. The ex-watcher had taken more to drinking than my old man, and that was saying a lot.

“Giles, stop this now!”

Giles glossed over glaze drifted to me, “Xander, this has nothing to do with you! Nothing at all!”

**The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, the answer is blowin' in the wind.**

The answer to that statement was as clear as the air around me… “It has everything to do with me, when you attack one of my best friends!”

Spike had stilled behind me and I took his arm, dragged him out of the magic box, “come on, Spike. You don’t need this.”

When Buffy came back…I’m ashamed to say I reverted back to my old ways. There is no excuse, but I was so lost at the time…so lost and confused.

When he slammed me against the tree and demanded to know why I didn’t tell him…I wanted to explain that I never thought it would work. I wanted to tell him that I thought it would be a way for Willow to finally realize Buffy was really gone. Mostly, I wanted to cry with him…The biggest mistake of my life was that I didn’t…That I didn’t beg for his forgiveness.

**How many times must a man look up, before he can see the sky? **

After a year of hell and too many tears to recall, I saw Spike with his newly fought for soul, and I wasn’t sure what to do.

Too many angry, hateful words between us, and it was easy to say them again as his disturbed eyes looked into mine.

And then it happened…The next defining moment….

It’s amazing how much losing an eye can help you see more clearly. He walked into the hospital room and winced as he looked at my face.

“I’m always two steps behind when I’m trying to save you bloody scoobies,” he said as he shook his head in self disgust.

I took his hand and he looked down at our intertwined fingers in amazement, “I thought we were pretending we’d never been close mates?” he whispered.

I shrugged and looked up at the white ceiling, “I was blind before, Spike.”

I heard him move the chair behind him, closer to the bed with his foot. His hand tightly holding onto mine, as if losing the connection would destroy--everything .

I kept looking up and wishing that I could see the sky—I had been in the hospital way too long—but for some odd reason with Spike there, I didn’t want to leave the bed, I just wished the scenery fit the mood better.

**Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have, before he can hear people cry? **

I walked downstairs three nights before our final battle. Spike was sitting in the dark by himself and I could smell the faint salty aroma of tears..

“Spike,” I whispered into the dark.

I could hear a quick movement and the sniff of pushed back tears. “Xan,” he called out with a strained voice.

“How you doing?” I asked as I walked to the small cot where he sat.

He shrugged and his face lit up for an instant as he lit a smoke. He looked haunted and lost as the flame took hold of his blue eyes.

“Can you still hear them?”

I didn’t need to ask what was making him cry in the dark basement—he had already told me how much the soul was bothering.

He took a long drag of his smoke, another flash of light embracing that—beautiful face. Shit—Beautiful, there was no other word I could think of to describe him.

“I don’t think I’ll ever stop hearing them, Xan,” he whispered his voice filled with fear.

I reached out and took his hand, since the hospital I couldn’t stop holding it. He seemed to like it too, because every time I swear I heard him sigh.

“Well, if they ever get too loud—come and find me—I’ll always be around.”

Spike’s eyes snapped up to mine, “promise?” he whispered.

“I promise, Spike.”

**Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died? **

I watched young girls fall, their blood staining the dirty floor. ‘We won’t win this one,’ I thought as the ubervamps kept coming and coming.

Everyone around me was dying and I kept looking back at Spike to make sure he was still there.

He stopped all of a sudden and called out Buffy’s name but he was looking right at me.

“Something’s happening,” he whispered as our eyes met across the battlefield. I wanted to run over and grab his hand, tell him I wouldn’t leave him, but it was that moment, that Faith grabbed me and push me up the stairs.

He glanced at me and mouthed, “Go!”

**The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, the answer is blowin' in the wind.**

My answer back was the last thing I ever said to him…

“I love you!” I screamed but it was drowned out by the screaming and rumble of the falling earth.

The way he smiled back I knew he heard it...

I’ve never hated anyone, the way I hated Faith as she pulled me up the stairs.

“No, I’m going back!” I shouted. “Don’t you understand…I can’t leave…let me go!!”

She knocked me out…and everything went black.

**How many years can a mountain exist, before it's washed to the sea?**

I traveled the world and saw it through the-eye of someone who had seen too much. I went on my journey alone.

I saw where the world ended and where it began, but still I couldn’t find a blue that matched his eyes.

**Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist, before they're allowed to be free?**

In Africa I found myself—I found a purpose. Working with non-hostile demons in the fight against the demons that sought to end the world.

It was months and months before I talked to another human—I didn’t care for the conversation.

When I flew black the watcher’s council, I listened to their talks. They were excited about their new plans…killing off whole species of demons to cleanse the world of their kind. Some of the demons were non-hostile, I tried to explain…tried to make them hear reason…they didn’t listen.

I stormed out and I knew I’d never come back.

I was never really the type to conform to societies rule…hell I’d been working the underground since I was 15. I wasn’t meant to be a suit—a watcher.

I ran back to Africa, where I belonged and started my new work…freeing non-hostiles from the council’s new demon camps.

**Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn't see?**

But at night—when the lights were out I couldn’t hide how I felt inside. I would take out the sliver lighter I held in my pocket everywhere I went and think of all the ways I could have saved him

I envisioned myself pushing Faith away, running to him and pulling that fucking necklace off his neck. He’d kiss me—it’d be perfect, the soft silk of his lips, the taste of his mouth—it’d break my heart and re-build my broken soul, and then as the world fell away, he’d whisper —“I love you.”

Every night I saved him, but every morning I still woke up alone.

**The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, the answer is blowin' in the wind.**

The world has changed since the days of Sunnydale. Slayers have begun their cleansing of all demon races. It’s a downhill battle, but I’ll keep fighting.

Last month I heard the rumors start flying about a trio of strong demons...A god of blue, a vampire of dark, and a beauty of white.

I heard they had something to do with the downfall of Wolfram &Hart and now they’re working to bring down the council.

I want to meet with them, we need all the help we can get.

And when I feel alone and tired, I’ll let the warm air fill my lungs, because whenever I need him-- his ashes are there in the wind, blowing around me...Telling me to hold on.

The End

Read the Sequel

A Bond with Darkness

Visit the Author's
 Live Journal Visit the Author's
 Web Site

The Spander Files