Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

Less Than Phrases, Better Than Words
By Bitter Sweet
For Green

The morning broke and the sun streamed through the window of the otherwise dank apartment. This was not enough to persuade Xander to wake however, as little did these days. He lay somewhere between consciousness and desired unconsciousness. Sometimes, if he lay still enough, he could imagine it was like leaving life entirely. This fantasy was shattered though, because in the stillness, his chest rose and fell in a painfully mortal rhythm. He would then try to hold his breath both to preserve the moment and in hopes of asphyxiation. But this caused his heartbeat to quicken, the blood pumping to his ears with a maddening beat. Only then would he arise, acknowledging his human life for another day.

These days no longer held very much. His new construction position was less prestigious, which he wanted because it required less work hours. It pained him to work on restoring the city, knowing how the old buildings had been destroyef... who had been destroyed along with them.

He knew it wasn't healthy to stay there. He had stood with Buffy and agreed to move on. He had held his tears in, smiled with the gang, and fooled himself into believing it could be so easy. Sometimes it was... sometimes he could push the memories away. But this left him with self loathing, appalled at himself for ever letting himself let go.

He wanted to spite the others as well, though this shamed him even further. Of course Buffy could move on, she had her averted-apocalypse pride, her newfound normalcy... she didn't spend her whole life here, experiencing every moment within the confines of the stifling hell. And Willow, she had her latest girlie romance... a future. Xander had none of those things. But he wouldn't allow himself to feel malice toward them, no matter how abandoned and empty he was left feeling.

There were many other things Xander forbid himself from feeling: self-importance, hope, arousal, happiness. It all felt wrong without her; they had been apart before, but he knew she was always near, making her little comments or trying to smite men. They weren't exactly her most flattering features, but it was her, and he'd take anything he could get. Anything more than distant memories.

The phone broke through his melancholy reflecting, and he wondered in annoyance why he still bothered to pay the phone bill. He answered wearily, expecting the raspy grumbling voice of his boss. Instead, there was a chirpy female voice on the opposite line. Xander's heart jumped momentarily at the sound, before coming to his senses that not even demons could use telephones once they had died.

"Is this Xander?" There was a long pause, then the unidentified female asked again, "Hello? Xander Harris?"

"Yeah?" he mumbled. "I mean, yeah. This is Xander." He wasn't good at answering phone calls. None of the people he cared about ever called anymore.

"I had hoped so. I'm Eve, which doesn't mean much to you... yet." Xander was now slightly intrigued, something he had felt in many months.

"Oh?" Xander asked, his breath hitching slightly at the prospect of good news of any kind.

"If I know right, you and Spike were... friends with each other."

"Oh," Xander's depression returned. "Yeah, something like that. What does that matter now?"

"Well I figured, old friends usually like to see each other. And, now that Spike's back and all..."

Xander clutched the phone firmly. "That's impossible." It wasn't a question; it was an insistence. If Anya was gone, then Spike had to be.

"Oh? He's in the other room, in the flesh... well, something like that." Xander's throat felt very dry all of a sudden.

"Thank you." He forced out, dropping the phone.

He had places to be.


Eve smirked at the sound of the dial tone. She speculated with anticipation, glancing through the doorway of the room Spike was currently un-living in. However, she had decided to play no more part from there on. The rest was up to them to work out; Eve would just watch with the excitement of the instigator.

Spike, bored with his new situation yet again, sat sorting through memories both to entertain and to torture himself. There were decades of excitement to focus on, ones filled with horror and catastrophe... but these weren't his favorite memories to reminisce about, though they used to be his favorite bragging right.

He found himself instead unable to let go of the months before his death - the second death that he was truly proud of. Pride wasn't enough though; it might have been had he stayed a martyr, but it was too painful given his current state of affairs and all that he missed out on in this incarnation.

While Spike couldn't bear the myriad of intense emotions these memories brought on, he also couldn't seem to think of anything else. He liked playing his part around Wolfram & Hart, but it was an empty enjoyment. Though he always loved a good round of insult-and-fight, his only real emotions existed in his memories.

The onslaught of recollections were halted upon hearing the door being slammed open. He pondered at first why someone was being so rude, but then chastised himself for letting his posh humanity resurface. He would've found great humor in kicking in the same door, really.

Spike didn't bother getting up from his chair since the visitor was most likely not for him, and was disgruntled by the sound of things. Though he often didn't mind that, he just wasn't in the right mood for aggression. His assumption of not being the desired person to see was proved wrong when the intruder stormed into the room and lunged at Spike.

Held by his collar inches off of the floor, Spike was now face to face with the man. Confused, he was met by the unexpected sight of an enraged Xander. He had long since dismissed the other man as part of his wistful memories. Now reacquainted, he couldn't decide whether to be thrilled by the prospect of a fight or simply happy to see an old face, no matter how unfriendly.

"It's you..." Xander stated through clenched teeth as he accepted the obvious fact.

"Well, yeah," Spike shrugged, "wasn't exactly expecting a 'Welcome Home' present though."

His anger passing into pained shock, Xander released his grip on Spike. He gripped his head instead and shook under the power of such a revelation. As he tried to understand the jumbled mess of bewilderment and spite, a bit of hope slipped into his thinking. Spike had died; Spike was back. There was a chance...

Xander raised his head and stared Spike in the eyes as he stood at his full height.

"How?" That was the only word Xander could manage, but it was enough. Spike succumbed to the touchiness of the subject though it wasn't his nature.

"I don't know," he said simply. Looking at Xander, he realized he had to say more. He sighed, and continued.

"It's all a bunch of mystics, apparently... some weird fluke from the Ponces That Be." He scoffed, unable to grasp his mind around the concept either.

Xander's eyes pleaded as they looked into Spike's, needing an answer Spike didn't want to give him.

"Is there any way...?" Spike understood, although the sentence remained suspended in the space between the two men.

"I don't think so, mate. It's something about my dying through magical causes or whatever the hell that was." He admitted sincerely, unsure of how the grieving man would react, but knowing it wouldn't be a pleasant reaction.

Xander stood completely still for a time that seemed longer than some of the many years Spike had lived through. This was one of the few things about the normally boring man that Spike felt he could relate to.

Xander then began to shake with sobs, and slumped down beside Spike. It was too hard to handle this information alone; he was scared of losing what sanity he had maintained.

Spike tentatively extended his arm, draping it around shoulders much broader than his own. It felt strangely appropriate for some reason.

"I may have been brought back because of how I went... how I saved the world," he laughed bitterly, "but she was better than that. I went down standing, when she went down fighting. I've met a lot of women... Drusilla was quite unique, you know? But Anya, she was different in a much better way. The others didn't, but I did get to see that side of her."

Xander smirked, despite the pain he'd felt upon discovering about Spike and Anya's sole bonding experience. It was comforting to hear someone else who could honestly speak well of Anya, not just out of blind consolation.

"Say more." He struggled with his words, which came out as a whisper. "Please..."

"She was special. She spoke like me - completely honest - though without being such a prat like me." They both smiled sadly, lost once again in their memories.

Neither had the chance to express this grief beside another person before. Xander looked back at Spike, who met his glance after feeling the other's eyes on him. He had said all that was needed to be said.

Xander attempted to come up with some form of 'goodbye', and found himself leaning toward Spike. The act was completely spontaneous for both of them, as their lips met.

The moment seemed to speak all of the words they hadn't been able to say before, to each other or to anyone. It gave a sense of clarity that they could never hold regret for.

Lingering briefly, Xander found himself able to stand again. They shared a glance, but realized what had to come next, as Xander moved to the door.

Pausing a final time before leaving, Xander contemplating justifying the act by saying, 'That was about Anya.' but he realized there was no need for justification. Besides, it wasn't just about Anya... it was about everything.

And it would change everything for both of them.