FANDOM: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
GENRE : Slash
PROMPT: 047. Life.
WORD COUNT: 1539 words.
SUMMARY: Xander always hated his birthday. It just reminds him how he's aging and Spike isn't...
NOTES: X-Posted to lover100. To kimalis, I give beta credit to. Set Post Chosen and NFA.
DISCLAIMER: You recognize them? I don’t own them.
Xander knows Spike will outlive him.
On his thirtieth birthday, he woke up, and it hit him. He was one-third of ninety. Rolling over, he glanced at the man beside him, cuddled up to a pillow, his hair mussed with sleep. Spike had only been twenty-seven when Drusilla had turned him. Now Xander was three years older.
“You know I hate people staring at me when I sleep,” Spike grumbled, his eyes still firmly shut.
“Sorry,” Xander grumbled. “It's so hard not to do though. You look so peaceful.” Spike laughed, his eyes opening.
“Not you, Pet. I just have too many enemies in different spots.” He reached out, and lightly caressed Xander's cheek. “Happy birthday,” he sighed. “Thirty, huh?”
“Don't remind me, Mr. Eternally twenty-seven,” Xander sighed. “And here I am getting older.” The fact he would age while Spike wouldn't was a painful reminder of the true differences between them.
“We've discussed this. All you have to do is give the word and-”
“No,” Xander cut him off. “Not going there. Let's just ”
On his fortieth birthday, he had a cardiology appointment. It wasn't the best way to spend a part of his birthday, but this had been the only appointment for six weeks. With his family history, the doctor had thought it best to get a cardiac check up.
“You have the heart of a twenty-something,” the cardiologist told him. “Your test results are great,” Xander walked out of the office, a little happier.
He knew he couldn't live forever. Even if he wanted to, he could never put it on Spike's conscience if something went wrong. There were too many unknowns to turning him. Angel had told him what had happened to Spike's mother when she was turned. Xander figured having to stake your mother was traumatic enough.
He tried to stay as healthy as he could. People who had known him as a teenager couldn't believe the lifestyle changes he had made. He had become a vegan, just after turning thirty. He jogged ten miles a day. He knew the healthier he stayed, the more time he would have to spend with Spike, just loving him.
“Well?” Spike met him just beyond the door, a towel tucked into his waistband. “What did the doc have to say?”
“Heart of a twenty-year old. What have you been up to?” Xander leaned in, and kissed him.
“I know you didn't want a big fuss made on your birthday, but I did bake you a cake.” Spike pointed proudly to the kitchen table. Xander grinned widely. Spike hated cooking, and was terrible at baking. He tried his hardest but it often turned out bad.
“I appreciate it.”
The cake was burnt on the outside, and soggy in the middle but Xander made sure to eat two pieces just to please Spike. After all, he had tried, despite his mediocre baking skills.
On his fiftieth birthday, Xander finally agreed to let Spike throw him a party. He hated being reminded of the fact he was getting older, but he knew Spike loved to entertain. He swore it reminded him of his wilder days, and the bars, only much calmer.
Xander was still in the best shape of his life. The only thing that revealed his true age was his graying hair. He refused to dye it, claiming he would be one of the few people to age with grace.
“Uncle Xander!” Camille, Dawn's daughter greeted him with a hug. “I am so happy to see you,” She stood back, her hand firmly resting on her swollen middle. “It's a girl. We're naming her after Aunt Buffy,”
“Can you believe it's been five years?” he asked. Camille shook her head.
“Seems like just yesterday,”
Spike caught up with Xander as he stood in front of a mirror, staring at himself. He nibbled on his lower lip, gently running his fingers through his hair, and sighing every few moments.
“What is it, Pet?”
“Just getting grayer every day,” he said. Turning, he lightly touched Spike's soft locks. “Yet, you're not.”
“I could highlight it gray to make you feel better,” Spike lightly ran his hand down Xander's arm. Xander turned, scowling.
“Why would I ask you to do that? We always knew this would happen,” He threw his hands in the air. “I'm old. You're not. End of story.”
On his sixtieth birthday, Xander refused to get out of bed. The older he got, the more he hated his birthday. Spike didn't even try to rouse him. He knew it would be pointless. When Xander decided something, it was impossible to get him to change his mind. Instead, he sent their goddaughter, Buffy in.
“Uncle Xander!” she chirped. Xander wearily lifted his head. Seeing who it was, he faked a smile, and feigned cheeriness. He could never show her how down he really was about turning sixty. “Happy birthday.” She hugged him.
“Buff!” he exclaimed happily. “Did Uncle Spike send you in?” The girl nodded.
“He said you were upset about turning sixty.” She smiled. “Can I tell you something?” Xander nodded. “I'm scared to turn ten.” Xander coughed, masking a chuckle. “Once you're ten, you can't act like a kid anymore. I'll be three years away from thirteen!”
“Buffy, let me tell you something I've learned,” Xander pulled her onto the bed. “It's not scary to get older. Getting older means you get wiser. You learn and see things that you otherwise wouldn't if you stayed young,” She nodded solemnly. “Now, I have it on good authority that you may just get that present you want.”
“A Great Dane Puppy?” she squealed. Xander shrugged.
“Maybe, but you won't know if you don't turn ten,” he said. Buffy threw her arms around him.
“Maybe ten's not so scary. Thank you, Uncle Xander!” She laughed.
For the first time that day, Xander forgot about his age.
On his seventieth birthday, Xander was in the hospital, fighting to live. He had had a severe stroke weeks earlier. He was in and out of consciousness, and when he was awake, he was unable to speak. Spike kept silent vigil at his bedside every moment he could, just holding his hand and talking to him.
“Well, Pet, it's been fifty years. Fifty wonderful years. Now, it's my turn to take care of you, the way you always took care of me. You always accepted the fact I couldn't work, or cook. I know you ate that horrid cake on your birthday, just to make sure I was happy.” He inhaled slowly, tears starting to form in his eyes. “I hate seeing you like this. This isn't you.” He slowly released Xander's hand, and moved to rest his hand on his forehead. “I'm releasing you. Please, Pet. Don't linger like this.”
What Spike didn't realize was that Xander could hear every word that he said. He also didn't realize that Xander had been waiting for permission. He'd had Buffy pressuring him every day for a week, to enter, but he had told her he'd only go when Spike said he could.
“Goodbye, Xan.” Spike gently kissed his forehead. “Give the angels hell for me, Pet. Give 'em hell. Also, know that everywhere I go,” he struggled to contain the sobs that were building up. “I will carry your memory, and the love that you gave me.” He broke down, sobbing. “Til we meet again, Pet.”
On his eightieth birthday, Xander sat impatiently in a waiting room. He looked as he had back when he turned thirty. He glanced up to the schedule on the board. Smiling, he checked his watch, realizing who he was waiting for was due any minute.
Flipping through an old magazine about golf, he tried to stay patient. Jiggling his foot, he checked his watch again. How could thirty seconds have passed so slowly?
The intercom rambled about incoming arrivals. Standing up, Xander threw down the magazine, and moved to the terminal gate. He couldn't sit still any longer.
A crowd of people burst through. Xander craned his neck, trying to find him. Finally, when he was about to give up hope and check the 'delayed' board, he heard it.
“Bloody Hell. Thought Heaven would be more than an airport.”
“Spike!” He waved his arms over his head. “Over here!” Spike turned, a grin slowly spreading over his face.
“Xander!” he called, throwing his arms around him. “Why is Heaven like an airport?” Xander chuckled.
“This is just the arrival lounge,” he explained. “Heaven's beyond the doors.” He hugged Spike tightly. “God, I've missed you. Ten years is too long. There's so much I want to know.” Spike laughed.
“We've got a lifetime to catch up. Let me do something.” He gently caressed Xander's cheek, and kissed him.
It was a soft gentle kiss. It spoke more than any word. One of longing. One of faith. One of hope. It was a kiss that had been ten years in the making.
Not being able to kiss Spike had been the only thing Xander hated about being dead.
Xander had always known Spike would outlive him.
He also knew that death couldn't separate them for very long.