Fandom: Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Pairing: Spike/Xander
Disclaimer: This is by a fan for other fans and no money is made off of it.





A Haunting Ache


by
Raihne



Part One

Angel watched his childe carefully. Giles had called him down from LA when Xander Harris was killed. The irony was that it wasn't a demon but a human who had taken the young man's life away. A thief robbing the small store that week's job found him in. Spike had found the body the next night. No one even knew he was missing.

The Slayerette's were all taking it hard. It was expected when death touched them so close. Willow cried and Tara cried because Willow was hurting. Buffy went on a rampage, Giles stood somber and silent, all of them reacted to the death as expected, except Spike.

The vampire had said many times that he would dance on the grave of the slayer and her friends, but he hadn't said a word to anyone since Xander'd gone. In fact, Angel had to pull him into the crypt before sunrise since Spike didn't seem to care. Buffy had told him that Spike roomed with the brunette human for a while. He could see why the boy would attract his childe's attention. He had been beautiful underneath his dark humor and baggy clothing. And his heart had been pure which would scream to Spike for corruption, but he wasn't acting like he'd lost a toy or a way to pass the time. The blond acted like he'd lost a friend.

"Spike." Angel sat at the bedside and smoothed his hair softly, "Spike you have to feed."

"Not hungry."

"He was just a human."

Spike glared, "Wha'd y'u know?! Bloody poof! Get out!"

"Spike. . ."

"GO AWAY!!!"

Angel recoiled at the anger and felt helplessness curl in his chest when Spike curled up on the stone alter and began shaking with sobs. "You really liked him. Didn't you?" he said softly, placing a hand on the young vampire's back.

Spike surged up into Angel's arms and burst out in heart raking sobs until the bloody tears ran dry and still he shook with exhausted wails. "H. . . he was the only one who cared."

The elder vampire waited. Spike obviously needed this. Xander's friendship had brought William back his ability to feel, and now he was hurting more than Angelous had ever hurt him.

"I. . . They didn't even see him. Sire, they didn't even care how brave he tried to be. He never laughed at me because of the chip, he matched me word for word, I. . . he was m' friend. And now 'e lef' me. Should'a been there, should'a protected him."

"Spike, you couldn't have known, and it was still light out. There was nothing. . ."

"I never tol' 'im I cared. 's too late now."

"You know, spirits can hear you sometimes."

"I failed him. He was my nummy treat."

Angel nodded and cuddled the distraught Childe closer. "Humans die. You know that. He couldn't help it. You couldn't stop it."

"He wa'n't dead when I foun' him." Spike admitted. "'e died in m' arms."

"Oh Wil. . ."

"I know I killed a lot before but never a friend. It. . . it's diffr'nt to watch a frien' die."

Angel nodded, shedding his own tears for his childe.

Spike continued as if he was seeing it all over again. "'is throat wa' cut open an 'e coul' barely talk, but 'e smiled a' me. 'e tol' me to drink some, not let it go to waste." Spike's voice broke. "When I tol' 'im not ta leave, ta stay with me, 'e said 'e would. 'e promised!"

"You know that he couldn't keep that promise William."

"But. . . 'e promised." The blonde's eyes drooped as sleep began to catch up to him and Angel tucked him in carefully. Xander, you must have been very special to bring William's heart back. I wish I'd thought to look.

A cool chill crept up Angel's spine and he shivered lightly, looking around him for the eyes he could feel on his back. He felt a presence. Soothing. Kind. "Watch over him for me," he told the air and walked out into the night's last moments.





Part Two

Spike felt the shift in the air too, he just didn't care. His world felt like it'd shrunk down to one small fact. Xander wasn't in it anymore. A regular fact. Humans die. Humans kill each other and therefore humans get killed. Right? But why did it have to be HIS human?

"I never tol' you." He whispered into the dark. "Never got to tell you I didn't hate you. Never tol' you 'ow much your bein' there meant. Fuck this! I'm William the fuckin' Bloody! What the bloody 'ell was I thinking?!"

The skin on the back of his neck tightened and a tingle ran all through his skin, someone was watching him. Turning he surveyed the room. No one. But the tingle. . . "'o the 'ell are you?!"

A slight touch brushed his blood and tear stained cheek, like a very soft breeze. The touch was cool and insubstantial, but still familiar. "Nummy."


~*~*~*~*~


Xander opened his eyes. He looked down at his body and groaned, "Should'a known. I can't even die right."

Spike was holding the mortal husk, rocking back and forth and begging him to stay.

"I'm here Spike."

He trailed the vampire to Giles and watched his friends carry on mourning, but it all looked so. . . empty, compared to the pure agony in Spike's gaze. I thought he'd be happy to hurt them. Said he'd dance on my grave didn't he?

Xander left Giles' place with Spike. The vampire looked so down! He didn't want to leave him alone. Even if Spike couldn't see him maybe he could help. Yeah, like the Big Bad needs your help. You're DEAD Harris! And obviously you messed up again.

"Spike."

"Not fair nummy."

Xander jumped, "Can you hear me Spike?"

"You weren't s'posed ta leave."

He can't hear me.

"Should'a known. E'rethin' I start ta care for leaves. Like you'd be 'ny diff'rent."

"Why do you care Spike?"

"'adn't 'ad a friend in decades. Dru didn't count, she needed me. You didn't. But you still kept me 'round. Never 'ad a  real pal. Felt good ta know if I 'ad a rough time of it I could crash a' your place an' you'd make me laugh again. Who do I turn ta now?"

"I. . . I didn't realize. . . I'm so sorry."

The vampire's wandering led him to Xander's old apartment. They would clear it out tomorrow night, after the funeral, but for now. . . What's he going to do? Does he want first pick? Xander hated himself for even thinking that.

He didn't take anything. He curled up shivering in inner pain until he began sobbing. Red stained the white pillow case as William the bloody held it close as he could. "Xa. . . Xan-pet."

"Don't cry Spike! I'm here! Why can't you see me?!"

"I never got to say I love you."

The world froze and Xander could only stare at the beautiful creature who'd just professed his love. "Damn it Spike why didn't you tell me?! Why now?! Why when I can't do anything about it?!"

"Pillow still smells like you. What will I do without you? I don't want to kill, I don't want to annoy the slayer anymore, I just want to see you again."

"God Spike." Xander lay beside him and wrapped his insubstantial arms around the blond. "I'm so sorry I didn't see it. I love you too. Please be able to hear me just once. I love you too!"

Spike sobbed and blinked up at the picture of Xander and the group all smiling and laughing. "You weren't ready to leave. I wasn't ready to let you go. Nummy."

"Spike."





Part Three

The funeral was the next night. If anyone thought that having a funeral at night was odd they all just chalked it up as a Sunnydale thing. The Slayer's pets were all there, even his sire, but Spike was beyond noticing. He was reaching out with his whole being to feel for the presence from the other day. Something was following him, and the spirit felt familiar. Maybe. . . Xander. . .

Giles stood at the podium and cleared his throat. "Would you all be seated? We can start now."

Spike took his seat right up front, ignoring the painful buzz of being inside a holy place. His eyes were locked on Xander's pale and cold face. He sobbed and covered his mouth in mortification. Not here. Not in front of the slayer and the minions. You would 'ave made a loverly vamp pet. Yer still beautiful.

"Xander Harris was an inspiration to all of those who knew him." Giles was saying. "He was a leader, a fighter, a brother son and friend. When the school was in trouble Xander was the first one to take charge and whenever one of us was in danger he was the first person to our sides. He was like a son to me and a brother to all of us. We will miss him dearly."

The vampire distantly noticed the witch begin to cry. He couldn't bring himself to care. He liked red! He really did! But all he wanted to do was cry also and he was hurt that she had the right to show her sadness without being tagged weak.

Everyone got up and said something about Xander and what impact he had on their lives. Spike couldn't believe how many friends the whelp had made! And some were even of the non human variety! It seemed the whelp had touched every good soul and demon in Sunnydale. Hell, Willie broke down into tears! Willie fer cryin' out loud! The snitching bartender was fabled for his thick skin. Spike's turn was last. He stood slowly and stepped up to the podium among waiting stares. No one had thought he'd want to talk. He wasn't surprised. But his nummy would have wanted this.

"Spike?" Giles asked after the vampire just stood staring at the coffin and the cold boy inside.

The vampire looked up and didn't care that the whole of Sunnydale saw his tears. Xander deserved to be mourned in public and private. "The whelp took me in when no one woul 'ave given a damn if I was dusted," he began, "'e was th' only person I could ever call friend, before or after I was turned. The w. . ." His chest heaved and his breath hitched, "The world has gotten a little colder now that he's gone."

Everybody waited while the blond composed himself. Not even Giles had thought Spike would take it so hard.

"I . . . He. . . he was loved." Spike finally forced out and then knelt by the coffin and touched Xander's cold face. "I can't even have the balm of knowing that I'll see you in heaven, I can't go there, and I know that's where you belong. 's really goodbye in my case. But I hope you're happy there Xan." He tried to force a smile and chuckled wetly, "At least as an angel you'll have to stop wearing those god awful shirts."

The room was silent. No one could say anything after Spike's eulogy/confession. Finally Angel moved forward and took his childe into his embrace. "William."

He cried then. Let out all his pride and image and just wailed into his sire's shirt, and Angel could only hold him tighter.

The Blond vampire carried the coffin to the graveyard himself. He placed it in the ground after kissing the cool lips and closing the lid. Then without a word he walked into his crypt and shut the door with a heart rending thud.

The unholy wails filling the cemetery that night frightened off all of the demons there. And Angel sat on the roof of his chide's home and mourned for him as well as Xander Harris. He hoped that wherever the boy had gone, he realized how loved he had been.


~*~*~*~*~


Xander was standing by Spike's side helplessly. Unseen and Unheard and unable to do anything for the blond who cried on the cold stone slab. He knew that he'd been loved, and it was hurting him more than dying had. Spike. Please hear me. I'm here Spike! I'm right here! Deadboy Junior! Fangless! William! Why can't you HEAR ME?!?!?!

Xander slammed his first into the wall of the crypt. It went through! Not in a ghostly way but in a 'if- I- was- still- human -my -knuckles -would -be -paste' way. "WWHAT THE FUCK!!!"

Spike jumped and glared at the hole in the wall. Luckily the sun wasn't up yet but what the FUCK happened?! He felt the presence again and looked at the hole in the wall carefully. a figure could almost be made out in the moonlight. A person who looked a lot like. . . "Xander?!"

The misty image smiled and sobbed then nodded.

Spike's heart leapt and his whole body felt lighter, "Xander!"





Part Four

His childe's yelp brought Angel bursting into the crypt to save him. What he saw broke his heart. His childe was grinning and preening and looking very much like Spike again, but he was talking to thin air. Gods no. I never wanted William to end up like Dru. "Spike?"

"Angel! 'e's 'ere! 'e did keep 'is promise!"

"Spike. . ."

"Xander's been followin' me aroun' since 'e died, I just couldn' see him! He was gettin' all frustrated and I was all 'eartbroken and Bam there 'e was, an' I could see 'im an' hear 'im and 'e loves me sire!"

"Xander is gone Spike."

"No 'e isn't! 'e's right there! Can't you see 'im?"

"There's nothing there but a hole in the wall."

"You think I'm loopy as Dru."

"You've been through a lot it's understandable that you'd. . ."

"No! You listen to me you dotty poof! I am NOT crazy, 'e's standin' right there!"

"I don't see anything William."

"But 'e. . ."

"Come on Wil. You can stay at the mansion tonight."

"What the bloody 'ell is goin' on! Why can't you see. . . ?"

"Wil. Come on. It'll be daylight soon."

The blond nodded with an odd look at Angel like the elder vamp was the insane one, then turned around in Angel's arms and motioned with a smile, "Well nummy? You comin'?"

Angel choked back a sob. How could I have failed my childer all so badly.


~*~*~*~*~


The road was earily silent and Spike turned to Xander who sat with him in the back seat. "All the demons must be taking a break in mournin'. Didn't know you 'ad non-human friends."

"I didn't think I did either." Xander smiled, "That was really a beautiful Eulogy you gave for me. Thank you."

"Well, meant it didn't I?"

"I really didn't mean to die on you."

"Literally."

The spirit snickered and nodded then turned solemn, "There was no where else I'd rather have died."

"Yer gettin' morbid luv."

"'m a ghost. I can do morbid. The death thing only hurts the first time."

"I know." He nodded, "But it can be one Hell of a hurt."

"Do you think spirits are immortal? Can I be with you forever now?"

"I think the whole 'mortality' thing is out the window once yer dead nummy."

"True."

Angel pulled into the mansion of the driveway and turned the key with a sharp motion, "Spike could you stop that please?"

"Wha'd I do?"

"Talking to yourself. It's unnerving."

"'m not talkin' ta m'self! I'm talkin' ta Xander!"

"Ok, you're talking to Xander. Could you talk to him later?"

"Why?"

"I. . . fine. I'm sorry, go right ahead."

"'e's goin' loopy 'e is."

Xander giggled and Angel flinched.

"Well what 're ya waitin' for nummy? Come on."

"Do I have to be invited in?" he asked softly.

"Don' think so."

The ghost stepped carefully over the threshold and smiled, "I think I'm getting the hang of this." He tried to touch the vampire but his hand slipped through him. "But how did I break that wall? I want to touch you."

"Me too Xan. We'll figure it out."

"Spike. . ."

The blonde turned to his sire and blinked, "Yeah?"

"I. . . never mind. Go get some sleep ok?"

He climbed the stairs talking to the air about whether or not ghosts could sleep and if Giles might know something more.

Angel phoned his office in LA. "Cordelia, good, you got back all right?. . .  Yes. Something has come up. . . Spike. . . No I had no idea they were so close. . . well that's part of why I need some time. . . No. He's talking to him. . . Xander. . . Cordelia! Calm down! He isn't really talking to him. Spike is hurting, and he's imagining Xander is still there. . . I don't know. We're at the mansion now. . . in bed. . . It's not that simple. . . No. I'll see you soon all right? Ok. Good bye."

He hung up the phone and rested his head in his hands, "God why William. What am I supposed to do about this?"


~*~*~*~*~


Up in his room Spike lay down and looked at the ghost floating just above the bed beside him. He didn't care if Angel thought he was loopy, but Xander was still dead, and they needed to know more. "We'll see the watcher tomorrow. Maybe 'e can 'elp."

"I hope so."

"What if 'e says you need ta pass on?"

"Never listened to him before."

"Nummy. . ."

"Sleep ok? I'll be here when you wake up."

"Promise."

"Cross my hear hope to live."

"That wasn't funny Xan."

"Sorry."





Part Five


Xander floated beside the bed and watched the vampire sleep. Angel thought Spike was insane. Giles would probably think that too. Buffy would think he was up to something. Xander needed to give them proof that he was there. Somehow he had to.

Since as a ghost, sleep was out of the question, he slipped his feet back to the floor and began to pace back and forth. He reviewed the incident in the crypt and frowned. Maybe it was like that chick flick with Patrick whats-his-face and Woopie Golberg. He had been really emotional when he hit the wall, and he wanted Spike to see him so bad. He focused all of his emotions again and tried to touch something, anything. The wall, the bed, the floor. It wouldn't work.

"What made that time different?" he mused out loud. It was night time and right now it's daylight. Spike was awake and now he's sleeping. We were in a crypt and Angel was obviously nearby. We were in the cemetery where I was buried. He crossed his legs Indian style and floated just over the bed. "Well it could be the time of day, and Spike, I don't think the crypt or Angel really had anything to do with it but the cemetery might. . ." He grumbled and went back to his Spike watching. "If I don't find a way to be solid soon I'm going to go insane just from the boredom of being dead!"


~*~*~*~*~


Spike woke with the setting sun. He rolled over and frowned. Wait a mo. . . soft bed? crypt doesn't have a soft bed. . . His eyes opened and the weight of the past few days came crashing down on top of him. "Xander." He fought back a sob. It was all a dream. Xander is really gone and I wasn't there. Xander. . .

"Spike! Spike! It's okay! I'm here remember? I'm right here!" Xander grabbed the keening vampire to him and rocked him slowly whispering assurances until. . . "Wait a minute! I'm touching you!"

The vampire's eyes opened and he ran a hand over the spirit's chest. "Yeah. Yer cold pet."

"Well being dead will do that to you." Xander snarked then rubbed his head, "How can I touch you? Look." He tried to touch the bed and his hand went through.

Spike stared. "Pet?"

"Huh?"

"Wha' the bloody fuck is goin' on?"

"I have no idea."

"It's not tha' I mind bein' able to touch you, mind, but this is. . ."

"Weird. I know."

Spike smirked at him, "No weirder than you finishin' off me sentences though."

"Spike?" Angel stood in the doorway watching his child hug thin air. "Xander?" he asked helplessly, gesturing to the empty area between Spike's arms.

"Who else would it be? Bloody poof!"

Xander sighed and stepped away from Spike letting him face his sire.

"Spike. . . I wish I knew how to fix you. . ."

"Don't you fucking dare!" he hissed and Xander started laughing. "Pet 'e wants to make it so's I can't see you any more! What's so funny about that?!" The hiss had become a whisper.

Xander chortled, "H. . . he want's to f. . . fix you! Hahaha. Fix Spike! He thinks you got mad because you think he want's to. . ." He made scissoring motions with his fingers and kept laughing.

Spike stared at the boy and then at his sire, then burst out laughing.

Angel stood there watching with pity and sadness. "Spike."

The blond immediately quit laughing. "Enough o' that. I wan'ta see my watcher."

"Your watcher." Angel could see Spike's sanity slipping further and further away. He thinks he's the Slayer.

"About my Xan-Pet you great idiot!"

Xander could see the situation deteriorating fast. "Come on Spike. Just walk away."

"But the Bleedin' Irish Poof thinks I'm nutters 'e does!"

"Doesn't that make you proud?" Xander reasoned hopefully and Spike paused and smirked.

"Always known 'ow ta cheer me up eh pet?" He looked at the older vampire and sneered, "Well then? We going to see Rupert or what?"

Angel nodded slowly. Maybe Giles will be able to reason with him.


~*~*~*~*~


"He's WHAT?!!!"

Spike faced the shocked watcher with an annoyed glare. "'ow many times d'I 'ave to say it Ripper?! Xander's here."

"You're saying he isn't dead." Giles tried to reason it out. "And we didn't bury him the other night?"

"No! 'e's dead an' buried but 'e's 'ere!"

Giles blinked and began to clean his glasses furiously. "I'm afraid I don't understand how that could be possible Spike."

"'e's a ghost 'e is!"

Xander snickered, "The ghost with the most! Hey Spike can I start calling you babe?"*

"Not in public you can't," he snarled and flopped down on the couch in exasperation. "This is pointless pet. No one's gonna believe me."

"I would."

"Yeah but yer dead ain't ya."

"Well so are you."

"Not the same luv. I'm dead man walking. Yer dead man floating."

"Oh fine play the race card."

Spike couldn't help but snicker.

"It's not so easy for me either. I can't even touch anything!"

"Kin touch me can't ya?"

"And let's not go there with my father figure in the room."

"Not like 'e can 'ere ya."

"Spike? Are you talking to Xander now?"

The vamp rolled his eyes, "No It's saint bloody fucking Nick. Of COURSE I'm talkin' ta Xander."

"Fascinating."

Angel looked startled, "Giles you don't believe him do you?"

"Why shouldn't I? Spike has proven less than sane but never to the extent that he would believe he could see ghosts, and further, he has nothing to gain from lying."

"But the shock of Xander's death. . ."

"Could have caused this I'm sure but the way he's acting doesn't suggest an internal dialogue but an actual conversation."

"But how can we be sure?"

Giles thought a moment. "There are spells we could do with the help of both Willow and Tara to actually contact Xander's spirit but first we need to make sure that this is real. I do not want to cause them any more pain."

Spike was still conversing with Xander in the other room while Giles and Angel talked, the sound of the one sided conversation grating on the elder vampire's nerves. "So how do we know for sure?"

"I can ask Spike questions only Xander would know the answers to. It will prove embarrassing but ultimately we can . . ."

"Eh! Peaches! You know the whelp 'ad yer princess in a broom closet?"

Angel grimaced. "Let's get this over with."

Giles nodded.

Spike looked up as the two man walked back into the room. "Well? You ready ta play twenty-questions luv?"

Xander nodded, "Bring it on G-Man."

Spike repeated the command for the watcher and watched Giles fight down the urge to tell Xander not to call him that. Maybe they had a chance after all.

"Xander bought me something the first fathers day I was in Sunnydale. . ."

Spike listened a moment then grinned a huge toothy grin. "That is the sappiest thin' I've ever 'eard an' I've been around a long time pet."

"Just tell him!" Xander urged.

Spike rolled his eyes. "Says 'e got you a ugly tie 'e did. Called you 'is 'true da' an' got you a new ugly tie every fathers day since. Says you 'ide them in the box under yer bed so as the birds don' laugh because they're always pretty awful. But you wear the old one e'ery father's day when 'e gives you the next one."

Giles' eyes watered. "But he could have told you that before he. . ."

"So ask another."

"Before Halloween Xander had already been possessed once. We had a secret together about it once everything was over."

"Hyena?! Pack 'hunters! So tha's why yer so big on groups eh? Secret was tha' 'e still remembers e'erythin' 'e did includin' eatin' the school mascot an' tryin' ta get groiny wit' the slayer. Secret 'e kept from you is 'e still 'as the instincts an such of the Hyena." Spike snickered at the air beside him, "Oh was that a secret? I'm EVIL! Get over it."

Giles looked shocked, "I'd always wondered but since it wasn't harmful to Xander or the girls. . . but I'd always wondered."
He shook himself out of it, "One more question."

"'e says 'shoot'."

"Xander and I had a serious discussion a couple weeks before he. . . died." The Watcher took a deep breath. "It was about something he couldn't speak to anyone else about. Afterward he promise me an 'extra hideous tie' for next father's day. What did he need to know?"

Spike was relaxed for a moment then he rocketed up and stared at the air a moment, game face on and tears running over his cheeks.

"Spike?" Angel asked.

"Xander." Giles gasped, recognizing what must have caused such in instant reaction.

"Spike? What was it Xander asked?" Angel still pushed, unable to believe the evidence in front of him.

Spike's accent had slipped back into cultured English without the blond noticing. "He. . . he wanted to know if something without a soul could have a soulmate," he said softly, voice harsh and sad. "Because he'd found his soulmate and . . . and I don't have a soul to mate to."

Giles was crying too and he was sure Xander's spirit was sobbing along with them. Because now he was sure Xander's Spirit was present. "Xander."

Angel nodded, unsure of where he stood within the tight bonds around the two/three men before him. "I. . . I'll call Buffy and Willow."

None of them heard him.

*Comment is referring to the old Beetlejuice cartoons.





Part Six

The Magic Box was filled with people trying to talk over each other. Willow was crying happy tears and searching the room every couple of minutes to see if Xander would appear to her. Tara was trying to explain why he couldn't and ask Giles what they could do about it. Buffy was alternating between angry disbelief, threats and violence, and suppressed hope. Angel was still trying to hold on to the fact that Spike was no more insane than usual and Giles was trying to settle people down so that they could research.

"Spike! What are you doing?!"

Spike was sitting happily with Xander in his lap (just so he wouldn't sink through the chair, honest!) and his hands were wandering into forbidden territory. Every now and then he'd yank his arm back and pout at the air before grinning and letting his hand's journey begin once again. Angel's loud question brought everyone's attention to just what that hand was doing.

"Ew!" Buffy yelped, "Spike! Are you . . . what are y. . . don't do that!"

Her watcher was a little more composed, "Spike if you do not cease in groping Xander in my presence I will be sending you to join him in the afterlife." Then, as if he had just realized how odd the threat sounded, he blushed and opened and closed his mouth, trying to say something to clarify.

Willow and Tara began giggling, then Buffy, and finally Spike himself smirked at the flustered man. "Jus' makin' sure m'boy doesn't get bored I am." His smirk grew.

On the vampire's lap, Xander was blushing a bright red regardless of his lack of blood. "Spike!"

"Whot? Not like yer not enjoyin' it, 's it?"

"Spike, no sex thoughts in front of my family units!" Xander eeped as Spike licked his ear and jumped a bit, which just made him rub up against Spike's growing hard on. "ooh!"

"If that's th' rule yer nevah gonna see th'm 'gain luv. 'Cause ah'm always thinkin' how good you feel, taste, smell. . ."

"Spike! They can hear you!"

"I know." He grinned evilly and Xander held perfectly still as little fingers of pleasure danced through his soul at the look in Spike's eyes.

"Um. . . Spike?"

The vampire ignored the others and stood quickly, carrying his boy with him. "Be right back slayer, hafta see how physical th' boy's body is."

"And just how will. . . EW! NO! Giles tell him no!"

"You are not using my bed for this endeavour Spike." Giles frowned when that made the vampire grin.

"Right then, clear the couch."

"NO!" Xander's order was echoed throughout the room and Spike sat back down and pouted. Xander waited until everyone was looking away before taking Spike's face in his insubstantion hands. "Spike, what's going on?"

"Don't wanna lose you s'all."

"Lose me?"

"Red an' Glinda'll work their mojo an' you'll be back, an' you'll be a good guy again. An'."

"And you think you'll lose me because I'll have everyone again, and I won't just be yours." Xander realized softly.

"Yeah, loopy right? Maybe I am off it."

"Spike, you aren't getting rid of me that easily."

"No?"

"No." The pale human ghost reached forward and took Spike into his arms, intent only on showing him that he wasn't going away. In his focus, he didn't see anyone else.

"Okay, Spike can I just say that watching you tongue the air is disturbing, especially considering what you're really sticking your spit in." Buffy shivered.

"Wait!: Willow frowned, "Where 'is' the spit going?"

Angel and Giles looked up from their books, "What?"

"Well Spike was really . . . uh. . . wet. . . uh. . ." Willow blushed bright, "But he wasn't dooling anymore than normal porno kisses make you drool and the rest of the saliva is just gone."

Xander pulled back to stare at Willow. "Hey! How do you know what a porno kiss looks like!"

Spike snickered and relayed the question, making Willow's blush darken.

Tara bit her lip in thought, "C. . . could it be s-s. . . so s-s-simple?"

"What?"

She shrunk back into the chair when everybody turned to look at her. "W. . . well. . . Xander's um. . . . ghostly body. . . it's taking f . . . fluid f-f-from Spike."

"Okay. So then what's so simple?"

"Th. . . . there is a d.-d-demonic g. . . ghost. . ."

Giles' eyes lit with recognition. "Ah! Of course! The Rakshee!"

She nodded.

Spike frowned, "So wha's this Rakshee an' wha's it got ta do with my Xander?"

"They are a rare form of spirit, usually caused by pouring a very extreme emotion into a person through empathy when they die. The ghost wants to return so badly that it is given a chance. It bonds with a person and is given a choice, to completely drain their blood and become substantial for seven days more or to remain as a ghost."

"So they only get seven days?"

"Not exactly. During those seven days they form a new bond with a new person and kill them when the time is up to live even longer. It is a vicious cycle and since it takes genuine emotion to form a bond, it usually drives them insane to kill people they love over and over."

"And Xander bonded to Spike?" Buffy looked green.

"Well we all saw how upset Spike was over his death. . . that's a lot of emotion. . ."

"'M in the effin' room ya know." Spike pouted.

"Don't worry bleach boy." Xander smiled, "I still see you."

"Ironic, i'nnit pet?"

Xander laughed.

"What about the part about Empaths. Spike isn't an Empath." The slayer pushed, not wanting to believe and be disappointed again when whatever plan they were forming didn't work. "Besides, insane Xander is not of the good."

Angel stopped them, "But Xander doesn't have to kill Spike."

"What?"

"Giles, you said the ghost has to drain the blood of their loved ones."

"In short, yes."

"Spike can drink more."

Willow jumped up and grinned, "Tara and I will go get huiman blood from Willy's!"

Buffy nodded, "I'll go too!"

Giles stared at Spike, who was hugging the air and smiling madly, "An' we c'n do tha' 's many times as we want!" He laughed and hugged tighter, "Yer not just gonna be visible 'gain pet, yer gonna be immortal!"

Xander laughed with him, "Spike! This is great! I'm coming back!"

"Nah. Ya never left luv. Never left."




tbc?




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