Floodwaters

by
Mrs Sakuma


It was pouring out.  Like a literal wall of water falling from the sky, being poured out.  It had started as a simple drizzle, something Xander and his crew could still work in.  But before long, the boss was calling it quits.  Driving home had been nearly impossible, as the droplets seemed to hit harder on the windshield of his truck every passing moment.

Now, however, the weatherman was reporting flooding, and Xander could feel a nagging in the back of his mind.

He called Buffy’s to be sure everyone was home, safe and dry.  The girls all were.  But Dawn was worried about Spike.  And while he didn’t want to admit it, so was Xander.

And that was how he found himself driving through the rain again, headed towards Restfield Cemetery, hoping not to find Spike trapped in his crypt.  When he arrived, he had to park outside the gates and slosh his way through the sopping, soggy dirt and grass.

He slid in the mud of a more recently dug grave and ended up with his front covered in it.  When he reached the crypt, he sighed in relief that the floodwaters hadn’t made it so far yet and that Spike would be easily accessible.  He banged on the door rapidly, wanting to get out of the wet as soon as he could, though he was no longer sure he would ever get rid of it completely.

The door finally opened to reveal Spike looking rather aggravated.  Upon seeing Xander, it went to simply annoyed and slightly curious.

“What, Harris?  Can’t ya see it’s rainin’ out?”

Xander gave his grin and answered.  “Is it?  I thought it was a bit damp today.”  Spike rolled his eyes.  “Look, the weatherman is calling for floods, and I just figured it might be better if you weren’t in the crypt.”

Now Spike looked surprised.  “Really?”  Xander nodded.  Spike’s eyes narrowed.  “And just where do you think would be a better place for me?”

“I thought you could crash at my place until it clears up.”


~*~*~*~*~


A short while later, two drenched to the bone men were making their way into Xander’s apartment.  Clothes were cleaned and dried, and cocoa was had.

They spent the next three days waiting out the storms.

During those three days, two of which involved a severe lack of cable and then electricity altogether, they found themselves talking.  Just simple, silly things they never imagined learning about the other.  They noticed habits, such as Xander’s apparent need to apologize for things not his fault and Spike’s desperate need for attention of any kind.  They reluctantly opened up just a bit, the bite gone from their banter.  They played card games and board games, and the losers didn’t get too sore and the winners didn’t gloat too much.

It was nice.  Different, new, strange.  But nice.

When the rain and the water finally stopped and receded, they headed back to the crypt, hoping that the damage would be minimal.  What they found was terrible.  Heartbreaking to them both.

The bottom floor was ruined.  The bedding soaked and showing signs of mold, the frame starting to rust.  The mirror had fallen and broken, scattering shards of glass about the floor, and the small desk was rotting a little.

Spike stared at it, blank faced for a moment.

“Spike?”

“’S alright.  ’S jus’ stuff.”  Xander didn’t think that was how Spike really felt by the look on his face, but said nothing.  Then another emotion crossed through blue eyes, a moment of panic.  The vampire dashed across the room, ignoring Xander’s half-cry of warning about the glass, and started tearing open the drawers on the desk.

In the first, a stack of wet papers were pulled out, all of them pasted together with the water.  Spike dropped them on the top of the desk and opened another, lower, drawer.  This time a caved-in cardboard box was uncovered.  Xander noticed his hands shaking as he peeled it open to find envelopes, dripping and half-disintegrated.  The ink had run.  His lips trembled.  In the final drawer, Spike found a wooden box.  It appeared to be in fine condition, if wet, but Xander couldn’t be sure about the contents.

Spike closed his eyes when he lifted it, afraid to look.  It was too heavy.  It was full of water.  After a long moment, he opened the box and peered in, through the shimmering surface of the water.  They were crumpled.  He could see a blank one.  He reached in, and the water sloshed over just a little.  Xander drew in a sharp breath, and Spike could feel he was going to fall apart.

All of it.  All of his memories.  They were destroyed.

The journal entries and poems would never come apart properly again.  The love letters between himself and Dru and Angelus would never be opened again.  The pictures of everyone he’d ever cared for would never be viewed again.

In an anxious fit to find just one photo intact, he dumped the box over on the floor.  Water and scraps of paper fell onto the glass and he collapsed to his knees to paw through them, desperately searching for one where the faces weren’t blurred or wiped away by the water.

Surprised, Xander moved forward to get Spike out of the glass, but the vampire wouldn’t be moved.  So the human sat on the bed, causing water to leak out of it, and watched, ignoring the wet getting into his pants.

When the tears first started falling, Xander was thrown.  What could Spike have had that was so important?  Something to bring him to cry in front of a human?  In front of anyone?  He got down on the floor and started picking through the papers as well, more careful of the glass than Spike.  He realized they were photographs quickly enough.  There was a woman in a dress, in black and white, but the water had damaged it so badly that, even though he assumed it was Drusilla, he couldn’t be sure.

There were pictures that were completely blank, and ones with pieces of people or scenes, but nothing complete.  Then he saw something he recognized.  It was the Magic Box.  There were books on the table, and vague shapes of people sitting at it.  That was all he could make out, but it was a surprise that Spike had pictures of them in his collection.

Spike’s unnecessary breath hitched, and Xander looked up.  Clutched in his hand was another photo.  Xander couldn’t tell who it was, but the figure was a woman in a…kitchen, maybe?  He reached out and touched Spike’s shoulder.

Spike flinched.

“Sorry,” Xander muttered.  Spike sniffled.

“’S okay.  Jus’ bein’ a git, ’s all.”

“Spike, these were important.  It’s okay to be upset.  Did you lose it all?”

“May’s well’ve.  Can’t make out a damn one.”

Xander cast his gaze for the first picture he saw.  “Well, this is Dru, right?”  Spike glanced at it.

“No.  Cecily, my…  Well, I loved her when I was alive.  But she didn’t love me.  Then I met Dru.”

“Oh.”  Xander looked for another.  “Here, this is the Magic Box, isn’t?”

“Yeah, but the focus of the picture was Dawn droppin’ creepy-crawlies down Buffy’s shirt.  Can’t see that no more.”

“What about that one?” Xander asked, indicating the picture Spike was holding.

“This was Joyce.  Bit gave it to me after the funeral.  She was mixing something for breakfast and smiling that smile of hers.  Was the only one I had.”

They knelt silently in the ruins of the mirror for several minutes.

“Bloody waste,” Spike growled, wiping his eyes.  “I’ll have to throw it all out.”

He moved to gather them, but Xander stopped his hands with his own.  “But you remember.”

“Wot?”

“The pictures.  You know what all of the partials really are.  Keep some.  The ones you know so well you don’t really need them anymore.  The ones you can glance a corner of and know.”  Spike stared at him.  “Maybe you can’t take pictures of Cecily or Joyce anymore, but if you meet back up with Dru, you could get some more.  I’m sure Buffy and Dawn have more pictures of Joyce, and you’ve got time to get new pictures of the people in your life now.”

Xander stood up and went to the desk.  “These letters…  I bet you don’t actually need to read them anymore to know what they say, do you?  You’ve read them so many times.”

“Some,” Spike admitted.  “But eventually it’ll fade.  The words and the faces and the scents.”

“Spike, that’s what happens,” Xander said, turning back to look at him.  “Things are lost as new things are found.  You’ve lost Cecily, but you have Dawn now.  You can write new letters to other people.  This is a sad moment, but it’s not the disaster you’re prepared to make it into.”

They stared at one another for a few moments, and then Spike’s eyes were watering again.  He turned away to hide it and Xander let him.

When they left to head back to the apartment, after some convincing on Xander’s part, Spike was carrying a box of several photos, the best of the letters to be dried and see what had become of them, the stack of poems in the hopes that they would come apart once dry, and a resolve to get as much of now in before the next flood could steal it away again.



The End