Rating: R
Warnings: Angst, character death
Summary: Just read it, it's only 1,102 words.
Disclaimer: The boys don't belong to me, wish they did, but they don't

What Goes Upů


Xander set the last cardboard box down on the floor and stood up, surveying the room. It was about half filled with boxes and bags of his stuff, he didn’t really have much. A big smile was on his face, he felt good. Moving out of his parent’s basement was the best decision he’d made in a long time. Now he wouldn’t constantly hear their drunken fights above his head, or have to pay twice the amount of money in rent then what that biohazard of a basement actually was worth. Now he and Spike could live together without him having to hide in the closet whenever his dad decided to come down for a surprise inspection.

When Xander had been forced to take Spike in after he was chipped, he’d been angry and resentful about it. As time went on, however, they bonded more and more, as two people who’d only ever gotten the shit end of the stick in life they had a lot in common. On the surface they seemed as different as possible, Spike had the cool guy look going for him, plus the evil undead aspect as well, while Xander was a goofball of a white hat who worked construction during the day and was routinely tossed into walls by demons at night. Xander’s secret identity was way less cool than Clark Kent’s. Where it counted though, down deep, Spike and Xander were the same. They both knew what it was like to be abused by those who were supposed to love you, to be betrayed by someone you trusted, to lose loved ones, to be the betrayer and feel the guilt of it, to know that you’ll never measure up. They understood each other on some deep level that couldn’t be truly appreciated by those on the outside looking in.

Xander shook his head, clearing it, as he heard the knock on the door. That must be Spike now. He’d wanted to put the new apartment in Spike’s name as well, but Spike had said no, saying that having it in Xander’s name alone granted them protection against other vampires, who would need an invitation to get in.

“Get your ass in here!” Xander said as he opened the door, and then stopped in shock as Harmony, with her ridged forehead and yellow eyes, looked at him.

She smiled around her fangs as she replied, “gladly.”

Spike strode down the hallway to Xander’s new apartment, no, their new apartment. Where they would live together, like a real couple. Bloody hell, he was turning into a real ponce, but damn if he didn’t love the boy, who so completely got him. He knew when to give Spike a hug, when to kiss him, when to leave him alone, and when to pull him down into a cuddle even though Spike was being an arse. There was nobody else quite like Xander Harris.

Spike halted his train of thought as he saw someone come out of the door to their new apartment. There shouldn’t be anyone there, no one else knew about it yet. Xander had wanted to keep it a secret and tell everyone at the next Scooby meeting. Maybe it was a neighbor stopping by to say hello.

Or not. As he drew closer he recognized Harmony, and a small seed of panic formed in his chest. “Spike!” She shouted, spotting him and running towards him, “there you are!”

“Harm, what are you doing here?” Spike’s voice was calm, controlled; if she’d had two brain cells to rub together she would have heard the menace in it, the threat.

“Oh Blondie Bear, I just took care of your little problem. You’ll thank me later.” She chattered at him, her words making that seed of panic sprout and grow. “I’m willing to forgive you for staking me that one time, and I’ve decided to take you back.” She smiled up at him, but her face morphed into an expression of confusion as a moment later she disintegrated into dust.

Spike was already moving down the hallway to the still open door of the apartment, not sparing another thought for the ashes settling behind him. The door through which he could see Xander lying on the floor, boxes piled up behind him, and blood pooling around him. Spike went to enter the apartment, frantic with the pure panic that had now grown beyond his chest and taken root in his nonexistent soul.

He smacked into the invisible barrier at the doorway, bouncing back. He hadn’t been invited.

“Xan! Xander, luv, invite me in!” He shouted at Xander’s still form, he was still alive or the barrier wouldn’t work, but he seemed to be unconscious. “Wake up, Xander! Wake up and invite me in!” He pounded against the barrier, growling and snarling and shouting and screaming. Xander wasn’t going to wake up; the ever expanding pool of red around his head gave evidence to that truth. “No, bloody hell, Xan. I love you, don’t do this to me!” He gave the barrier a big push, putting everything he had into it.

He fell through, landing in a startled heap in the floor.

And for one, brief, glorious instant, he thought he’d managed to break through on his own, and now he could get to Xander, and everything would be all right, and they’d live and be happy together forever and then…he realized. The barrier had stopped working because Xander’s heart had stopped beating.

Spike didn’t even bother to get up off the floor; he simply crawled over to Xander’s body and lay down next to it. His head right next the Xander’s, staring into his face that looked like he was just sleeping, except for the fact that Spike’s head lay in a puddle of rapidly cooling blood that smelled just like Xander. He lay there for a long time, letting the last of Xander fill his senses. He reached out and took Xander’s hand, holding it tightly, knowing that what he was trying to hold on to was already gone. Gone to a place where a demon damned to hell many times over could never hope to follow.

He clutched that hand closer, gazing at the peaceful looking face, and felt his loss sweep over him. He sobbed so hard that it was a good thing he didn’t need to breathe, and his tears slipped down his cheeks to mix with the congealing blood.

Two dead bodies, side by side, one at peace while the other was trapped by his sorrow and agony, suffering.

The End

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