All Xander wanted was to get out of the Bronze. Away from the crowds of happy people having a blast with other happy people. He hated them all. Why was he always singled out for misery? What had he ever done to deserve to even be born? He didn't need his father there to hear the insults coated with cruel laughter echoing in his head.
Why would you ever believe that anyone would ever care about you?
You're a fucking idiot!
Spike is nothing but trouble. He was playing with your head and you fell for it.
He couldn't argue with any of them. They were all true. He was the biggest fool alive. All the confidence he had enjoyed earlier drained away to leave him at his usual clumsy awkwardness. He rubbed at raw eyes trying to stop the tears that were threatening to humiliate him. Not looking where he was going, he slammed into some pretty boy surrounded by adoring girls.
"Hey asshole," the boy called.
"Sorry," Xander mumbled.
He didn't stop long enough for the other kid to have a chance to start a fight, not even caring that the girls were laughing at him as he passed them. Xander wouldn't stand a chance in a physical battle. The other kid could kill him, but maybe that wasn't a bad thing. It would make his father happy. Too bad that when he was younger one of the falls down the stairs or one of the payday drunk beatings hadn't crushed his skull or something. It would have saved him years of being unhappy. He almost smiled when he remembered his wish for his father's death. It was all too ironic.
Guess he couldn't win no matter what he wished for because in the end, he hadn't died and his father would be back on Sunday night. No matter what he wished or what he tried to change, it seemed life would continue to be a nightmare. At least before, he still had his friends to ease the pain. Now because of one desperate move to be closer to Spike, now he didn't even have his friends to console him.
Slamming through the front door of The Bronze, Xander crashed into the night outside. Like a big yawning mouth, the darkness swallowed him whole. He stumbled along the alleyway avoiding the others mingling or walking toward the entrance. There was nowhere to go but home, and it was the last place Xander wanted to go. For a moment Xander considered catching the first bus out of town, but not only didn't he have any money, he didn't want to leave Spike despite the difficulties between them.
It seemed that none of his plans ever worked out. Xander turned the corner heading away from the lights and the crowds. Every moment of the night kept running through his mind in frantic snatches of memories that got worse with each replay. Maybe he should have let pretty boy beat the shit out of him. The physical pain may have hurt more than the emotional, giving him a respite from the heartache.
"Your father is right," Xander muttered. "You are the stupidest person ever born."
He was so lost in his thoughts that at first he didn't hear the pounding footsteps catching up with him. It wasn't until Spike grabbed his arm that he was aware that he wasn't alone. He looked back at the boy he'd loved as far back as he could remember. They stared at each other for a moment before anger overtook Xander's self-pity. No matter what he'd said or done to keep Spike away, he still loved his best friend with everything he had, and the thought of him with someone else tore his soul in half.
"You son of a bitch," Xander snarled. "Get the fuck out of my way."
"No," Spike said. He put his hands on his hips. "Look, you told me that you wanted me to leave. That there wasn't anything between us. So, why shouldn't I go out with Harmony?"
"You can go out with anyone you want. I just want you to get out of my way."
Nothing was going right. Xander swiped at his eyes with his sleeve then fury replaced the pain. Seeing red, he grabbed Spike, and threw him against a wall. Spike stumbled, winced as his back slammed against the bricks before he was able to right himself. The surprise on Spike's face gave Xander a moment of regret, but this was the first time in a long time that he felt that he had any control over his life. He raised his fists ready to punch his best friend.
"Well you're making your Daddy proud, aren't you?" Spike said. "Beat the shit out of me if it makes you feel better. I don't care."
Xander swung. Not caring about anything but himself as he felt his fist connect with Spike's face. For a brief second it felt good to hurt someone else, but the sound of flesh hitting flesh echoed in his mind. Like the hundreds of times when his father did the same to him. Spike shook his head as he struggled to his feet. To Xander's surprise, his friend didn't try to hit him back. It seemed Spike was waiting to be punched again.
"Come on, man," Spike cajoled. "You can't quit now. I'm not bleeding yet. Don't you want to get it all out? Tell Daddy you beat the faggot up?"
"Shut up," Xander cried. "I hate you." A sob caught in Xander's throat as he backed away. "You don't understand."
"What? That you're a son of a bitch? Just like your old man?"
"Stop it," Xander grabbed Spike's shirt again. "I'm not him. I'm not." Giving up, he let go as the sobs took control. He needed to get out of there, but arms stopped him, encircling him.
"I’m sorry," Spike said, holding him.
It couldn't be, could it? Why would Spike want anything to do with him after what he'd just done? Maybe Spike was more of a fool than he was, but no one could be, could they? Stiff, unyielding, afraid it was a cruel joke, Xander only stood there waiting for the punch line. Or the punch. His father was right. Xander was a sorry excuse for a man. He deserved everything he got. Including losing the boy he loved to a blonde bimbo who was free to love Spike.
"Why?" Xander muttered, unwilling to wait any longer. He needed to face the pain.
"Why what, mate?"
"Why her? Why are you still here? Why?"
"Her, because she was an easy lay," Spike said, keeping a hold on Xander's shoulders but pulling back until they were staring into each other's eyes. "I'm here because I'm your friend even if you're acting like an ass. And why?" He shrugged. "Have no clue. Wondering why a lot myself lately."
"Is it my fault?"
"Yeah, something like
that," Spike said, taking his tough guy stance as
he stepped back. "Never
thought I'd be such a
"You're not." Xander said. "That's me."
"Yeah, you're right," Spike responded with a grin. It quickly faded. "Before I'd say let's go raise some hell, but…fuck, I'm not sure any more."
"Know what you mean." He reached out to touch the bruise forming on Spike's cheek. "I'm sorry."
"Not the first time I've been sucker punched. Guess it won't be the last."
Xander could tell that Spike was downplaying everything in an effort not to hurt him. He was grateful. Not that he understood. No one did that to Spike and was able to walk away. He couldn't even count the times that his friend had been suspended for starting or ending a fight. Most people tried to be as nice to Spike so as not to rile him too much. He stepped forward to maybe take a chance on this tender Spike when a honk on the street next to them stopped Xander from doing or saying anything else to make things worse. Spike jumped back from the embrace, smoothing himself back into the tough boy image that was his trademark. Feeling naked and alone Xander stood there waiting for the cruel taunts that would surely be sent their way.
"Hey you two," Buffy's voice rang out. "Get in the car."
who was more surprised, the two boys looked over to where
"I'm going to kill her," Spike muttered, jogging toward his baby. As he rounded the back end, he saw Buffy looking out at him. She was smiling. It irritated him. "Get out," he barked. "I thought I told you never to drive her."
"Sorry," Buffy said, not moving. "You and Xander left. We were worried so we came looking for you."
"You couldn't do it on foot?"
"God, Spike, what is up your ass?" Buffy pushed the door open so hard it almost hit him. Not caring, she climbed out then slammed it shut. "Fine, I'm out," she said, swinging her arms open. "Your precious car is just fine. Not a scratch on her."
"You're lucky she is, otherwise I'd be taking it out of your hide."
"Whatever," Buffy sniffed. "I'm using my feet now."
"Stop it, please,"
She sounded so sad and as confused as he felt that Spike didn't want to fight anymore. They were friends if nothing else. It was supposed to be them through everything. None of them could be blamed any more than he could blame himself for all that was wrong.
"Get in," Spike said. "Let's get the fuck out of Dodge."
They hesitated for only a
second, even Xander, before they were climbing into his car. Buffy ended up in the front seat with him so
she could control the radio. He rolled
his eyes. It wasn't the time to argue
with her as she fiddled with the stations looking for the perfect song in her
One day it would happen. Tapping the steering wheel in time to the beat that was blaring from the speakers he tried to decide where he would like to end up, but they all included Xander. Spike wasn't sure if that would happen. He wasn't even sure if he wanted it to or not. Tonight was all they had. It would have to be enough. Maybe before they got home, he and Xander could figure something out.
"Ooh, are we going to get food?" Buffy asked. "I've got like ten dollars left."
"I've got a few
No one asked Xander. He probably had to go in his mom's purse just to get enough money to get into the Bronze. None of them cared though. Family was family.
"I've got some," Spike said. "Buffy, be a good girl and light me a cigarette."
It didn't take long for them to pull through the nearest drive-thru to load up on food and soda before heading up to Lookout Point. Except they didn't go there to make out. They always headed to the end of the road, to a spot near the edge of the cliff where no one would bother them. It was their hang out spot when they didn't have dates on the weekend. Spike grinned as he thought about what else they did there. It might make the rest of the night a little easier.
to be continued…