Seven (sevendeadlyfun) wrote in bloodclaim,
Seven
sevendeadlyfun
bloodclaim

Modes of Silence

Pairing: Spike/Xander

Rating: NC-17 overall

Summary: Buffy's dead. Spike and Xander are left to raise Dawn. A look at what happens and why.

Previous Parts: Here

A/N: This is Xander's view of the last scene. The next chapter will be from Spike's perspective. I'm trying to make this as organic as possible, so I'd appreciate any and all feedback. Con/Crit please and if it sucks, I only ask that you explain why you think that.


“Spike, you home?” Xander called out as he shut door the behind him.

Great conversation starter, Harris, he groaned internally. Ask the undead guy with the sun allergy if he’s home in the middle of the day. Aaaand the award for stupidest question goes to…

“Site shut down early. Thought we’d take Dawn to a…” he trailed off as wandered into the living room.

Spike sat still and silent on the couch, eyes glued to the television set. The sound was turned completely down, and Xander watched as he, Willow and Buffy made faces and horsed around, dancing in and out of the frame. He made his way to the couch.

“Wh-where did you find this,” Xander breathed.

“Nibblet asked me to go through Joyce an’ Buffy things. After…after we just packed’em up quick like. Didn’t really do much sorting, and Dawn figured it was time,” Spike replied hollowly. “Said she couldn’t really face doin’ it herself. Can’t say as I blame her.”

Xander rubbed a hand over his face, suddenly incredibly tired. This video seemed intrusive. Wrong somehow to see himself laughing and happy, arms around his then two best girls. This was before and he still couldn’t handle even acknowledging there was a before. It was easier, somehow, to pretend his life had always been this.

“C-could you turn that off,” he asked Spike.

Spike turned to look at him, and Xander flinched slightly. Spike’s eyes were too strong. Xander was terribly afraid Spike would…what, exactly? See that he was barely holding it together some days? That he ruthlessly tried to suppress any flicker of joy so he could cling to a grief he knew was unhealthy? Unconsciously, Xander lifted a hand to ward off Spike’s too knowing gaze.

Spike grabbed Xander’s hand, bringing it up to his face. He closed his eyes and Xander tried not to recoil in surprise. Spike’s face was damp. Spike had been crying.

Spike cried. That single thought reverberated endlessly in Xander’s head. He knew that Spike felt things deeply. The whole bottle to the face incident had successfully proven that. But, crying was whole different can of beans.

“Don’t,” Xander whispered, not really sure what he meant.

“Don’t what? Don’t touch you? Don’t feel? Sorry, Xan, ‘m fresh out of miracles,” Spike told him. “I can’t make this stop hurting. Can’t give you back that.”

Spike was gesturing towards the still-flickering images of the three cavorting teenagers. Xander shook his head, trying to figure out what Spike meant. Spike wanted to give him back Buffy?

“She’s gone,” he said, the words harsher than he intended. “We can’t bring her back. There’s…shit! There’s nothing anyone can do, all right?”

“Not talkin’ about the Slayer,” Spike replied calmly, pulling back. “Meant you, twit. I can’t bloody well fix this for you. Can’t find any of that boy,” Spike gestured towards the set,” in you anywhere any more.”

A thump and muttered curse from the kitchen startled the two men and they both jumped. Spike grimaced, stabbing a button on the remote. As the happy images faded to black, Xander asked, “Dawnie?”

“Yeah,” Spike sighed. “Got her readin’ Peaches’ “Self-Help for Wankers” book. She’s not exactly turning cartwheels.”

Xander groaned. Angel’s visit had been another depressing interlude in the epic mini-series of crappiness that was his life these days. Dead Boy really had made brooding into his personal extreme sport.

“Nice of you to finally show up,” Xander had said bitterly. “Perhaps the engraved invitation was mislabeled? We needed you, oh about six months ago.”

“No one told me,” Angel had said, quietly and sadly. “I would have come, Xander. She only had to call me and I would have come.”

“Yeah, sure,” Xander balled his fists, trying to remind himself that violence never solved anything. “After all, what’s a little death between friends, right? Not the first time Buffy’s died while you did nothing, huh?”

“Stop,” Spike had intervened. “Much as I adore a good round of Sire bashing, this ain't about him. Slayer didn’t want him to know. Offered to perform the snatch and grab myself, but she said no.”

“Why the hell would Buffy not want the King of Pain by her side,” Xander yelled. “Come on, they had the angst, the drama, the superpowers! True love at its finest and he wasn’t there to help her when she needed it!”

“Slayer’s call, mate,” Spike said placatingly. “Said she and Angel weren’t doing the heroic rescue bit anymore.”

“Just great,” Xander spat. “So once again, Buffy’s relationship drama ends up ruining everyone’s life.”

He clapped his hand over his mouth. He hadn’t meant to say that, hadn’t even known he was thinking it. But, there it was, out in the open.

“I’m sorry, Xander.” Angel’s voice poured out to fill the horrible silence. “I know you don’t believe me. I don’t think I can ever make you understand how sorry I am for all the pain I’ve brought you.”

“Give over, Nancy Drew. ‘S not about you, is it,” Spike drawled. “Now why don’t you run along on your little quest for enlightenment and I’ll deal with the cleanup, yeah?”

“I didn’t mean it,” Xander muttered, allowing Spike to draw him close. “I didn’t mean it, I didn’t mean it, I didn’t…”

“Yeah you did and you know what? You should,” Spike informed him roughly. “Slayer’s not supposed to have boyfriends or school chums. Buffy tried to buck the system and bully for her. But, silly chit didn’t understand that the house always wins.”

“No!” Xander shoved Spike blindly, fighting to get away. “Buffy was….Buffy was…”

“The Slayer,” Spike said firmly. “A damn fine one. I ought to know, seein’ as I was quite the groupie. But, she put you in a hell of a spot and more than once. No Slayer should be making deals with vampires to get her pals out of a bind. ‘Cause no Slayer should have friends. A Watcher, a mission, and a countdown to death are what Slayers get.”

“She deserved more,” Xander argued weakly. “She was special.”

“She was,” Spike agreed. “Anyone who can snog the great forehead and like it has to be damn near a saint. Doesn’t mean she was any less wrong for doin’ it, though.”

Xander smiled slightly at the memory. Spike defending his feelings had been kind of sweet. A little weird, but definitely sweet.

“So, you’re on a ‘torture Dawn’ kick now? What did she ever do to you?” Xander teased him.

Spike scowled. “Silly chit had a go at Angel. Yeah, he’s a puffed up prancing lightweight, but what the bleeding hell does she know? He makes a good effort, and that should count for something, right?”

Xander nodded gravely. “So, making Dawn insane with boredom is part of your grand educational plan?”

“Well, that and a bit o’revenge. Bit’s getting entirely too cheeky for my taste. We’ll see how much she runs her yap after this,” Spike grinned.

“Yeah, because you’re such a great example of patience and calm acceptance. Jesus, she’s being raised by the snarky undead. I don’t see how she could possibly be anything other than a pain in the ass,” Xander shot back.

“And you have absolutely nothing to do with this.” Spike raised an eyebrow. “Seem to recall someone calling himself “Mr. Funny”. Wouldn’t happen to sound familiar, would it?”

“On the advice of my attorney, I have no recollection of that,” Xander assured him. “How about we take Dawn out tonight? I’m thinking burgers and soppy girl flick.”

“Sure,” Spike nodded. “Change that to co-eds and horror and it’s a date.”

“Okay, first, ew! Second, not so big on liquid diet. Third, who exactly will be sitting up with Dawn all night to make sure the scary man with the chainsaw doesn’t emerge from her closet,” Xander asked nonchalantly.

“Who’ll sit up with me when I can’t those weepy songs out of my head,” Spike called out.


Xander strolled into the kitchen. Dawn was sitting slumped over her book, forehead knitted in thought. His grin broadened, the sight bringing back memories of his own years spent slumped over incomprehensible texts.

“Hey Dawnie,” he greeted her, watching with amusement as she jumped in surprise. “Having fun with Dead Boy’s “How to Brood” manual?”

She looked at him, blankly at first then with a sort of growing comprehension. He glanced down, wondering if he’d spilled something on his shirt. Nope, no major failures of the containment vessel here.

“Oh my god. You’re gay. Gay and in love with Spike.”

The words seemed to fall from her mouth and shatter on the floor. Gay. Spike. He couldn’t piece it together, but somewhere inside him, he felt the beginnings of a breakdown. He did the only thing he could do. He ran.

He hit the door and kept going, running down the steps and out into the backyard. He tripped over a stone and dropped onto the ground. He stayed there, on his knees and let it happen.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he cried out, not really sure who he was apologizing to. “I didn’t mean it. I just…it happened and I can’t take it back and I didn’t mean to like it.”

It was all true and it was all a lie. As hot tears coursed down his face, he faced himself for the first time in months. He did care about Spike, and it might very well be in the gay sex way. All his fantasies revolved around that one accidental time, and he wanted to spend all his time with Spike and this fucked-up family they were making. Willow and Tara were barely on his radar. He just wanted Spike.

“Ahn,” he whispered. “Ahn, Buff, I’m sorry. Maybe this is wrong. Hell,” he snorted, wiping his face with a shirtsleeve,” no maybe about it. He’s got a distinct lack of heartbeat, a century long string of murders and boy parts. Yep, that hits high on the wrongness meter. But, I feel better when I’m with him. He loves Dawn and he takes care of both of us. Shit, that sounded girly.”

Xander rocked back off his knees. Standing, he looked up at the sky. He wasn’t sure if heavenly dimensions were upwards or not. Maybe they were sideways? Maybe they were right next to him, Buffy and Anya standing on either side of him, waiting for an explanation. He could see it now, the raised eyebrows and shocked expressions. Better make this good.

“I love you both so much. When…when you died, I wished I was dead too. Good thing no vengeance demons were hanging around, huh Ahn? I know, I know, you taught me better than that,” he waved away an invisible lecture. “I was all ‘Dead Man Walking’ and Spike pulled me back. Made me feel and I didn’t think that would ever happen again. So, this could be, I don’t know, gratitude? But, it feels real.”

He turned to walk back towards the house, and then stopped. Looking up again, he whispered,” I know I can’t exactly get your blessings to make time with a soulless vampire. But, I’d settle for forgiveness.”

He reached the house and heard Dawn yelling, “Tell me, Spike, why Xander’s sad and you never smile and my sister’s dead and MAKE ME UNDERSTAND!”

“Because everything got harder,” he choked out, trying to hang out to his composure. “Because life sucks and I don’t know all the answers and Spike doesn’t.”

He met Spike’s gaze and willed him to understand. I don’t know and you don’t know. Collectively, we don’t know but I want to know and I want to know you and I want you to know me.

“Yeah,” Spike acknowledged, inclining his head towards Xander. “It was simpler, before. Before the chip, before she died, before before before.”

Xander held Spike’s eyes, trying to figure them out. Beyond the blue, Xander thought he could see something swirling, dragging him in. He wanted those secrets, the whatever it was that let Spike cry and laugh and made him so damn intriguing.

“To be or not to be,” Dawn sniffled, a shaky giggle slipping out. “That is the question.”

“It really truly is,” Spike agreed with a gentle smile. “I’m all for being, but sometimes not being wouldn’t be so bad.”

“I want popcorn,” Xander announced. “I want popcorn and movies and not being. For now.”

He needed to relax. He just needed a little time to take all of this in. How long had it been since he, since any of them, had just sat? Clearly, it had been too long if they had to indulge in mass breakdowns.

“Can do that, pet,” Spike told him, holding out a hand. “’S what friends are for,  right?”

“Friends,” Xander agreed solemnly. “Not gay not in love friends.”

Except for the part where I think maybe, he told himself silently. He might or might not have more than friendly feelings for Spike that might or might not include nakedness. He sure as hell wasn’t getting into in front of Dawn, though.

“You didn’t leave,” Dawn laughed as she ran up to hug him.

“Nope.” Xander shook his head as he slung an arm around her, steering her towards the living room. “I took a temporary leave of absence. Xander Harris doesn’t quit. He gets fired.”

He sat on the couch, an arm over Dawn, not really paying attention to the movie. He was too wrapped up in examining his inner Xander. Inner Xander apparently had very little trouble with the possibly gayness. Inner Xander couldn’t see any reason why this possible gayness shouldn’t happen with Spike. Inner Xander was very much a perverted horndog, and kept throwing out half-remembered images of Spike naked.

When he felt cool fingers touch him, he grasped them tightly. He didn’t look over, he didn’t say anything. He just held on and enjoyed the one moment of quiet he’d found in a long time.

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