Pairing: S/X Rating: R...language Disclaimer: Not Joss or anyone important, just a little weird. Warnings: S7, basement!souled!Spike and disillusioned Xander. One shot. A sort of prequel to my others Whistle and Laugh, Not Cry. Summary: Spike finds his way home. A/N: Entry for fall_for_sx. I happen to like feedback. Love it or hate it, tell me why.
It was the spark that drove him to seek them out. It didn’t like the basement, the voices and the unfamiliar faces and bodies filled him with dread. He had tried to creep upstairs, but could never remember where the stairs were. The voices followed him through endless, ever shifting hallways, taunting, teasing, hating. He could smell the children running up and down the upper halls. He caught a familiar scent among them. Nibblet, the demon provided. The soul remembered his own sister and joined the demon in yearning. He thought he’d smelled Slayer, his Slayer-no, not anymore, the soul insisted-and once, the Whelp. His demon stretched outwards, His boy. The soul wasn't so sure. ‘Sire gave him to us.’ 'But you didn’t keep him and he hates us now.’ The soul tried to show the demon pictures from Spike’s memories-the anger, insults, and animosity. The demon countered ‘He took us in, saved us from hurting, one time.’ ‘But for HER, he did it for her.’ Neither Spike nor the soul could comment, but both wished for that familiar comforting smell to come back for them.
Xander paced through Buffy’s living room. When she’d told him that Spike was back, he’d been angry, only he didn’t know who he was mad at. Spike had HURT her, very badly. But she’d hurt him first, and many more times before and after. With Willow, Spike, and Giles gone and Tara gone, the three left behind had sat together in misery, each trying to make sense of a world suddenly shifted. Their cornerstones and mires had each fractured and they were bitter, bewildered and hurt by the long horrible year. One evening, Xander had made Buffy tell him everything, from what she’d felt when they brought her back to her ill fated affair with Spike. He opened up about his own feelings-he didn't want to bring her back, but Willow was so sure she was in hell-to Giles’ abandonment to Tara’s death and Willow’s reaction. Dawn had come home in the middle and she told them about little private moments with Spike, Anya, and Tara. By the end, all three were in tears and laughing. It felt good to let go, to share, to maybe heal a little. Buffy had confided in him that while she had feelings for Spike, she couldn't love him like she’d loved Angel.
It was too much. He’d confessed that she had good taste in men.
“What? I’m right!”
“Remember my road trip?”
She’d goggled and reminded him about his comment about Spike. “Mysterious and sort of compact, but well muscled, huh?”
He laughed and shrugged. Now, he wondered why he’d come back again, Jesus, glutton for punishment!
He paced once more, sighed, and turned to Buffy. “So, what say we go get Spike outta that hellhole?”
She looked surprised “Aren’t you-”
“Yeah, but...I can understand it, a little. We fucked up, and you paid and he paid. You...weren’t here, that summer. He doesn't deserve to be down there, especially with a soul and things are crazy enough as it is.”
The next day, they both went down to the newly built high school and eventually found Spike.
“Is it me or are the walls moving?”
“Not just you.”
He was scrunched in a corner, muttering to himself. He looked up and squinted “Can’t be right. No one down here, ever. Not the girl, never the boy.”
They crouched in front of him, and Xander could see the difference. “Hey, Spike. We’ve come to take you home.”
He looked at Buffy, frowning, and then Xander, and smiled.
The tide rises, the tide falls, The twilight darkens, the curlew calls; Along the sea-sands damp and brown The traveller hastens toward the town, And the tide rises, the tide falls.
Darkness settles on roofs and walls, But the sea in the darkness calls and calls; The little waves, with their soft white hands, Efface the footprints in the sands, And the tide rises, the tide falls.
The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls; The day returns, but nevermore Returns the traveller to the shore, And the tide rises, the tide falls -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow