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Rating: PG
Pairing: S/X hints, kinda
Notes: Not related to my other verse. Short one-shot. Spoilers: All the way through. Post-Chosen, Post-NFA.
Warnings: Angst, blah, possible insanity.

He Waited


When Giles broke the news to them, it wasn't the best day ever.

Angel's entire team had apparently been slaughtered. Funny enough, Giles had gotten word of their deaths from a European branch of Wolfram & Hart. Xander supposed that the stuffy, upper-crust lawyers just wanted to rub it in someone's face, and with no survivors, they dealt with the next best thing: Angel's only friends.

Well, the only people who would actually give a shit.

Giles did his best. He checked out the evil lawyers' story with the news headlines and the coven-that-seems-to-see-all. He did everything he possibly could to try and get a hold of Angel, Wesley, anyone who'd even been seen with Angel in the weeks before. All of his contacts, all the resources they had with the new Slayers Council - he reached out and found nothing. Not even a whisper.

Buffy hadn't taken it well. She tried to keep the stiff-upper-lip face at first - strong girl that she was - but soon a tear fell, then two, and she fell to her knees and simply broke. Willow began demanding answers that Giles couldn't know. Dawn kept opening her mouth, then shutting it, her eyebrows knitting together in a frown. And Faith did something Xander had never seen her do before - she cried. Horrible, heart-shaking, gut-twisting sobs that made him wince.

Xander just sat and stared at the ground while chaos erupted around him.

And then Andrew said something, so quietly that the only person who heard him was Xander, who raised his head. He stared at Andrew, his single eye quickly darkening in anger. When he spoke, his voice was nearly as quiet as Andrew's had been, but the sharp edge and threat to it made the room instantly still.

"What did you say?"

Andrew shrank back from Xander, his shoulders tucking up by his ears. "I... Spike. He was with them."

Giles took off his glasses and placed his hands on the table. "Spike's dead, Andrew."

"No, he's not. Well, he is still undead... was still undead." Andrew was shedding his own tears, struggling to keep his voice steady. "I don't know how, but he was there. He was the one who tracked down the crazy Slayer. He and Angel showed up at your apartment in Rome, Buffy, when I was staying there, too."

"And you're just now telling us this?" Buffy asked through her tears. Surprisingly, she made no move to get up or threaten him.

She didn't have to. Xander beat her to it. In one fluid movement, he was out of his chair, three steps forward and swinging a tight fist into Andrew's jaw. Andrew fell backwards in his chair and landed on his back, a hand covering covering his chin.

"Xander!" Giles admonished, sounding every bit the father-figure that he was. He didn't say anything more, though.

Andrew stared up at Xander in remorse, who only glowered down at him before stalking towards the door. Andrew desperately twisted around in the overturned chair. "He asked me not to tell anyone!" he cried, his voice cracking with protest.

Xander paused and glanced over his shoulder. "I still would've hit you." And then he left the room, ignoring the calls chasing after him. He returned to the small bedroom he was staying in and walked straight to the window, not even bothering to turn on the light. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and stared out into the rain, watching the drops spatter on the frame. If he unfocused his eyes enough, the water on the glass made the dark ground below look like the Sunnydale crater.

Xander had lost more than anyone when Sunnydale caved in on itself. Like many others, he had lost his job and home. But he had also lost his parents, who hadn't listened to him when he warned of the danger coming, and were too drunk to acknowledge that most of the town was deserted. He lost Anya.

Only months later, Xander got word that Cordelia passed away. He hadn't even known she had been in a coma. Which made it official that every single girl he'd ever dated was now dead. Unless he counted Willow and the relationship that was doomed to break over the Great Barbie Caper of 1986. And even then, Xander was starting to fear for Willow's well-being.

He'd also lost the chance to talk to Spike, tell him... Tell him what, exactly? That Spike was forgiven. That Xander hoped he could be forgiven. That he was grateful, and that he was sorry.

And to know that he'd had that chance, and lost it again before he even knew it.... it brought back all the rage, the anger, everything he had tucked down into himself because his friends needed him.

Aside from the one attempted self-staking, Spike had always been the survivor. It didn't surprise Xander at all that Spike had found his way back from the bottom of a pile of Sunnydale-pieces and, from what he had heard of Spike's fiery exit, dust. Even Angel hadn't ever been dust. There was one thing that Spike had done better than anyone else Xander had met, and that was live. Pretty impressive for a dead guy. If Spike could come out of Sunnydale with his unlife intact, he would come out of whatever idiotic plan Angel had dragged his team into.

Xander shook his head and looked back down into the street, watching the ripples in the puddles melt into one another.

A boot landed in the puddle he was watching, violently disrupting the gentle waves. Xander's eye trailed up the leg in the boot to see the bottom of a long, worn-looking black leather coat. The jeans were ripped in places, as was the black shirt. At the top of the shirt was a pale face, dried blood getting wet again and dripping down a sharp cheekbone. Spike's eyes danced as he smirked up at Xander, their eyes meeting from two stories apart.

Xander's mouth dropped open, and he blinked. Spike really is the survivor...

He opened his eye again, and Spike was gone. The puddle he had been standing was undisturbed, the rhythm unbroken. Xander blinked once, twice more, but Spike didn't reappear.

Xander looked up and down the street, his eye trailing over every shadow, every bump in the concrete. Seeing no sign of life or unlife, he pulled a chair up, collapsing into it with a sigh. He continued staring out the window, listening to the soft beat of the raindrops on the glass.

And he waited.

The End

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