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

These Chains
By Wyrdchaos
For Lisan

XANDER: (mumbling) No, we couldn't have put these chains back up a week ago. Nah, we gotta work on Spike now, of all times.
SPIKE: What?
XANDER: (sighs, stands, looks around) Nothing. (walks away)
from Lies My Parents Told Me.

In the dark, Xander remembers the best. He can't help but remember then, even when he clenches his one eye shut and strains to block the memories. They always come. With a sigh, he shifts out of his bedroll, and pokes at his campfire. He's always cold. Even in the heart of Africa. Even under the noonday sun. He stokes the fire again and adds a twisted log.

He's been back in the Dark Continent for a month now, carrying on his slayer-hunting mission. Though more often than not, it's them hunting him. They always find him, whether he hides or not. Everyone thought it would be so difficult for him. In a place so insular and so foreign. That they would freeze him out with language and customs... But no, he does that to himself, and still they zero in on him like starving animals. And he gives them the only food he can. And sends them on their way.

Been back a whole month and two girls have found him since. Xander doubts that anyone of consequence has noticed his little trip to the states. Doubts that anyone had seen him hovering on the edge of the LA battleground. And even if they did? No one would know who he is... Or was. Or maybe that's, had been? No, no one.

Something thrashes in the undergrowth, and Xander listens intently. It's not one of the girls. No, they are always silent, appearing like wraiths on the edge of his camp... Waiting for him. Whatever it was, it was moving away. He relaxes his grip on the weapon, that he doesn't even remember picking up. And wonders when having a weapon in his hand had become an instinctual thing. But then he knows when.

"A bit jumpy, tonight?" The voice seems to boom out in the silence, even though it's no more than a whisper.

"No more than usual."

"No less either."

"Go away, Spike." He stares into the fire as if that will block out the sight. Block out the memories.

"Can't. Told you that. Don't rightly know why either. Told you that too."

"Yeah. Yeah. Whatever, Spike." He sighs to himself, and looks up. Spike always looks the same. Every night. Blond and Black leather. Not like the actual last time Xander saw him. Bloody and- He guesses he should be thankful for little things. Spike looks tired. Could a ghost get tired? It's not like he gets the whole ghost-thing anyway, but he supposes if he did then he'd just be crazy. Sometimes Xander wishes he could just be crazy. Full-blown-bug-eating-crazy. Okay, no. Did the bug-eating thing and it wasn't all it was cracked up to be... So, no.

"Are you even listening to me? You right bloody bastard!

"Why? Would it make you go away? Rattle your chains at someone else?" Xander is honestly interested. So far, listening to Spike had gotten him nothing but pain. Ever.

"Oh, you don't get it that easy. And I don't have any bloody chains!"

"Of course not." Nope, he never got it that easy. Never.

"I'll haunt you till the day you die. And on that day? On that day, I'll beat the ruddy shite out of you."

"Aren't you bored yet?" It's not like it's the first time Xander's heard this. Not even the tenth. Spike was never known for his patience. Or his originality. The first time Spike-ghost had rolled his eyes at Xander, he had thought it was amusing. It still was to a small extent. Enough to give him the ghost of a smile.

"Heard that before, have you? How 'bout this then? Xander? We never talk. Don't you love me anymore?"

"Don't." The word is terse and harsh. Almost a cough more than a word. It hurts, and the smile is just a memory.

"Do you remember our talks? Cramped together on my cot in the basement or in your very own precious bed... The ones we had after making love? Where we-"

"We never made love. We fucked," Xander corrects, and it is only the truth. And only a memory. It shouldn't hurt. Not like this. Not so cold.

"No, we never did. But you wanted it didn't you? Wanted it to be love."

"After all this time... You pick NOW to catch a clue?" Xander's exasperation is real. Three deaths and all this pain, and now Spike figures it out?

"You were in love with me?"

"Do you even remember the first time we were together?"

"Of course, I do. The night I got out from under The First's thumb. We-"

"Early one morning, just as the sun was shining, I heard a maid sing in the valley below. 'Oh, don't deceive me. Oh, never leave me. How could you use a poor maiden so?'" Xander sang softly his confession.

" I don't un-" The confusion on Spike's face might have been funny once. The clarity even funnier. If Xander could feel anything. "No."

"Didn't you ever wonder why I didn't scary toy-surprise from The First the night everybody else got their head-jobs? Buffy did. So did Willow. I managed to convince them I was just lucky. No big bad evil wanted to mind-fuck the little ol' handyman." Did that sound bitter? Shouldn't he feel some relief? Confession was good for the soul wasn't it? "But I did get a visitor. One that sung to me as he held me down. One that seduced me. One that made love to me. Again and again."

"That wasn't me, Xander."

"No, it was a demon that wore your face." Xander swallows against the ash in his throat. When did he become so dry? "Then you were free. But you just had to notice how my body reacted to you, didn't you? It was you."

"I didn't take advantage of you, Xander."

"I couldn't say no. I could not say no."

"And you hated me for that."

"And I hated you for that. Oh, and for so much more."

"That wasn't bloody enough?"

"No, you went and gave me hope. All those post-fuck talks. Us- Pouring out our minds and fears and little pieces of heart. You gave me hope, that someday maybe you would love me like that. Again." And wasn't that the most pathetic thing he'd ever heard. Xander had thought his self-disgust couldn't get any thicker. Wrong again.

"How did you find out I was still alive?"

"You really shouldn't have run all over Italy after Buffy. Even Andrew couldn't keep that a secret." Even Andrew had thought it was pathetic in a tragic-romantic sort of way. Or so he has told Xander three or four million times. Each repetition like a nail in a coffin.

"That fuckin' little jumped-up ponce!"

"That's right. Why don't you go haunt him? I'm sure he'd love it."

"Not so easy, pet."

"Of course not. And don't call me pet."


"Not sorry enough." Never sorry enough.

"No. And that's it I suppose. So you found me on the after-edge of an apocalypse and slit my throat."

"Yeah." Found him flush with survival. Found him bloody and breathing. Standing in the light of morning and breathing, Xander had found a human Spike. A human Spike that had looked past him searching for someone else. And that was the first time a blade jumped into his hand.

"You. Murdered. Me."

"Yeah, I know Spike. I was there." Couldn't Spike ever pay attention? Was there any point to this? Xander shifts and stokes the fire up. It had been dying down and he was shivering again.

"You murdered me. I was human again, and you murdered me. You murdered a human being. You do realize you're going to hell right?"

"I guess," Xander shrugged.

"Aren't you even a bit sorry? Don't you feel anything?"

"I feel cold and tired, Spike."

"I take it back then. This is hell." Ghost-Spike sighs. "I wish I could smoke."

"And I wish I was crazy... But this is what we are and this is where we go."