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Preparing
by Gypsy Gray


All in all, Xander took the news about himself rather well. When he regained consciousness, it only took Spike three hours to get him to come out of the bathroom. After that, things went fairly well. He trained almost constantly with Ethan Rayne, stopping only when he was exhausted and could do no more. He slept deeply in Spike's arms until he regained enough energy to begin again.

Through it all Spike never left his side. The blond provided encouragement, advice from his own limited skill with magic, and his love. They were never apart. Giles watched the sessions in silence. It was on the sixth day of his new routine that the watcher finally broke his silence. Xander was struggling with a levitation spell. Ethan had arranged things so that the boy couldn't simply pick the object up and call it to him. He would have to carefully manipulate it through a series of obstacles, some of which he could see and some he would have to sense. 

"Stop. You'll never get it that way."

"Giles I'm..."

"Ethan. This was never your strong suit. He needs to know this, I can teach him."

Rayne stepped aside to allow Giles to show Xander how to work the spell. Before Xander even looked at him Spike moved forward. The Brit. and the boy gazed into each other's eyes, holding a silent conversation. After a moment Spike nodded and stepped away. After that Giles and Ethan both taught Xander. Some time in the middle of the eighth day Ethan began calling him Ripper again, Giles never corrected him. The next day both Spike and Xander referred to him as Ripper. It was that night as he was going to bed that he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. 

Tight faded jeans, a black t-shirt, black hiking boots, no glasses, and an aura of magic surrounding him. He hadn't done this much arcane work in years, he'd forgotten how enjoyable it was. He and Ethan had nearly gotten their old rhythm back. They were practically finishing each other's sentences. He'd missed his old friend...his lover. 

No one commented on the fact that after that night Ethan slept in Ripper's room. When the phone rang late in the afternoon of the thirteenth day, they all had bigger things to worry about.

tbc