Xander tends Buffy’s grave, Spike confirms his ability to love.
Xander smiled humorlessly at the look of irritated confusion on Spike’s face. “Yes, I knew you were there,”
he said, watching as Spike smoked and affected a bored stance. “My super-human skills alerted me to the flicking of
the biggest lighter known to man and then my spider-sense really started tingling as the cloud of smoke drifted over my head.”
Xander arrives home to find Ultimatum Anya and realizes that he’s unable to honor his promise to ask her to marry him
Xander looked down at the ring box in his hand, flashing back to the day he had picked it out, brought it home and hidden
it. To the day in the Magic Box when everything seemed to point to this and all the answers seemed so easy. To the moment
when he looked at Buffy’s broken body on the ground and felt everything he’d ever believed tilt. To the look in
Spike’s eyes tonight, that seemed to reflect everything in his. He looked back up, seeing the hope and the fear in Anya’s
eyes, and knowing only one of those was in his, and not the one she needed to see. “I’m sorry, Anya. I can’t.”
Xander goes to see Spike to try to make sense of the things in his head but ends up getting more than he bargained for.
“Oh, don’t go, Harris,” Spike said, waving him back to his ungainly perch. “You Scoobies have tried
to pin a lot on me in the past, but this has got to be the most creative. Please, enlighten me as to why I am the fly in your
matrimonial ointment. Is it some good soapy plot? Get suspicious that Anyanka and I were having a steamy affair?” Spike
grinned wolfishly. “Or did she get a whiff of me on ya tonight and think that maybe you and I had some steamy secrets
of our own? Oh, tell, tell, Xander. I’m intrigued.”
Xander reels from Spike’s kiss; Spike broods; Xander goes to see Willow for a reality check.
But he’d sat there comfortable, laughing for the first time since he’d watched a lady fall from a tower like
the grimmest of fairy tales, and he’d recognized it. There, beneath the mist of Jack Daniels and dust and sweat and
all of the lovely aromas of human skin, he could smell it. Want. Rolling off of Xander, just as it used to from Buffy. But
different, because Buffy had been trying like all hell to hide hers, and Xander wasn’t really aware of his. But it was
there, faint, musky and sweet, telling Spike everything he needed was in touching distance. Acceptance. Interest. Affection.
Anya tells Xander she’s leaving town; Giles announces he’s going back to England; Xander attempts to take control
on patrol; sometimes men just fuck.
Anya exhaled sharply, ducking her head as she bit her bottom lip. “I didn’t think so.” She looked back
up at Xander, tears glittering in her eyes. “I don’t know what to do, Xander.” She gasped a little, jerking
as she laughed harshly. “I feel sad, but I feel so angry, too. And the angrier I get, the less sad I feel.” She
reached a hand up, brushing tears back with an irritated motion. “Is this right? Am I doing it…right?” her
voice broke on the last and Xander moved forward quickly, pulling her into his arms.
Xander thinks about Spike; Spike stalks Xander; Giles says goodbye.
He glared up at Xander’s apartment window. He wasn’t bloody doing this again. At first it had been vaguely
comforting. Standing, smoking, watching. Old habits, familiar haunts.
Observing the boy patrol this summer, seeing that wild-eyed look that had replaced the mixture of fear and determination he’d
always worn. Listening to the silence between him and Anyanka when he’d walked them home. The grim resolve on the boy’s
face while he played groundskeeper to a hero’s grave.
Xander gets broody; Spike announces his intent to lead the Scoobies; bad ideas just keep seeming more awesome.
“Why the hell are you even still here, Spike?” Xander said, his voice rising even as Spike’s had lowered.
“She’s gone. She can’t see this…hero shit you’re trying to pull. What, you can’t be the
Big Bad, so you’re gonna try for Chosen One? It doesn’t work like that, you arrogant ass. I’m not going
to put the few people I have left in the hands of a self-involved, delusional vampire who wants to play the good guy.”
Fun with frottage, full-on freak-out, shower distractions, promises and blow jobs.
“So, ah, what do we do with this now?” Xander asked, gesturing between them.
Spike looked down at him, his lip curling up a bit. “I thought sometimes men just fuck.”
Xander laughed with a groan, reaching up to push his sweaty hair off his forehead. “Yeah, I might have been talking
a little shit back there.”
Sunday graveside visit, devil’s bargains, Willow revelations at the Bronze.
Ah, sweet routine. Comforting creatures of habit. Peaceful, unthinky normalcy. Okay, time to get the witches and the teen
of vague mystical energy to go visit the secret, hidden grave of a vampire slayer. Bring on the normal.
Operation: Escape from Hell; confession’s good for the soul; stakes and crosses but words will never hurt Spike, knowing
each other in the biblical sense.
Except that Buffy was dead, and dead was dead. Xander had a quick flash of vampires, zombies and mummy princesses, but
dashed it away. He’d held Buffy’s limp, unresponsive body in his arms and lowered it into a coffin. He’d
closed the lid over her face with hands that were scratched and bruised and nail scarred from building that coffin. Dead was
Spike reminisces on the Fanged Four and Buffy; blood oaths; Willow just wants to be trusted; and secret identities.
I, Spike, also called William the Bloody, do promise to keep the self-named Scoobies from risking their bloody necks trying
to patrol in lieu of a Slayer. This includes clean up after wonky works of magic, ill conceived and poorly executed demon
reconnaissance and any time Dawn should venture out alone. I do this in exchange for blood, smokes and monetary compensation
and not for any altruistic intent that might occur to some. I expect to be paid.
Signed this day,
Spike’s part of the gang; fun with ‘bots; Willow’s kitchen confrontation; the rewards of failure, Spike
and Xander get pretty damn close to romantic and then have to over-think that.
Xander shook his head. “It just feels wrong,” he said hoarsely.
“How can it possibly feel wrong, Xander? The only wrong here is Buffy being gone in the first place. And isn’t
that what we do? Try to fix things that went wrong?”
“No,” Xander said carefully. “That’s Quantum Leap. We run around dark cemeteries going, ‘Oh,
shit! Oh, shit!’”
Tara and Xander discuss the resurrection spell; Xander tries to find his peace with Spike.
“Yeah, okay, and that’s the part where my brain kind of shuts off. Raising the dead, Tara. We’re talking
about forces here that we’ve never dealt with before, and there are reasons we haven’t.” He shook his head,
his hands gripping the edge of the counter. “This is everything we were ever told was wrong…”
“It is wrong,” Tara said, and Xander’s neck jerked as he looked up at her. “It's against all the laws
of nature, and practically impossible to do, but it's what we agreed to.”
Spike and Xander flirt with blood-play and leather kink; Willow gets an eyeful; Xander and Willow try to talk each other down;
Xander finds that peaceful easy feeling.
Willow tilted her head considering, “Although somehow, Spike? Slightly less horrifying than Cordelia.” A grin
wobbled out from the concern etched in her face. “I mean, it’s not like we ever elected officers for the I Hate
Xander snorted. “How could we? Buffy had already declared a dictatorship.”
And the elephant in the room stood up, bowed and did a pirouette.
Xander gets a postcard from the not-so-distant past; Spike has a Counselor Troi “he’s hiding something, Captain,”
moment; they share what could be their last something; Spike realizes he’s become the babysit-ee; Dawn reveals there’s
an else; Resurrection Sunday arrives and Xander makes a choice.
Waiting for Xander to lose himself and give in, so that Spike could take control, knowing that he was wanted, that he wouldn’t
be pushed away. Sometimes men just fuck, Xander thought, but never us. Too much between them to let it just be release, and
too much unsaid to let it be anything else.
Spike and Dawn go on a truth-seeking mission; Spike loses Dawn; Xander gets lost inside himself; Willow finds her truth; disconnection
“Why is it wrong?” Willow asked helplessly, and then her voice quieted, becoming small and lost. “What
kind of world worth dying for asks for that kind of sacrifice? Where were the fates to stop Glory? Oh, wait,” Willow
said with a dark smile, “they had Buffy for that.” Her smile trembled away as she bit her lip and then looked
back at Tara. “In a world that allows vampires, and demons, and death, why is trying to do one good thing so wrong?”
Buffy claws her way back; Xander claws his way out of himself; Spike thunders Shakespearingly at Willow; truths are finally
spoken; the very ecstasy of love.
Xander’s gaze left Spike’s hands and lifted slowly, his breath stuttering in his chest when he saw the dried
tears on Spike’s cheeks, and the look of utter bitterness on his face.
“Willow didn’t want me to know, and you were my distraction, right?” Spike continued. “Took one for
the team?” He lifted the cigarette to his mouth and inhaled deeply, his voice coming low and husky as he exhaled. “Well,
I’ll be sure to tell them how sweet you took it.”