Summary: and all the fragile things
AN: Right, looks like this is it. Thank you to all the beautiful people who've taken the time to read it, and forgiven me my long absence. I hope it's not too horrible. If it is... lie to me and tell me it's amazing anyway.
He should be afraid. The old Xander would be simultaneously trying very hard not to piss his pants in fear and babbling out a stream of self-deprecating jokes in attempt to distract and evade. Instead he just stood there with a demon snarling into his face, feeling tired. A small part – possibly what may have been left of his sanity - wondered if Spike was going to kill him. The rest of him was so far past caring that all he wondered with any interest was whether, if Spike went through with his threat, he could disappear under the Other and not have to worry anymore.
He wasn’t the old Xander. He wasn’t a proper vampire. He wasn’t sure what he was, and honestly, more than all that, he wasn’t sure he cared.
“Will you?” There was almost no inflection on his words, the curiousity so mild it may not have even been present at all but for the slightest tilt of his head.
As he watched yellow eyes bled back to blue in the demon face and Xander couldn’t help but find it both beautiful and grotesque, that mesh of human and something clearly not.
“No.” Where his voice had been empty Spike’s was full of so much that he couldn’t hope to even begin to understand the emotions.
“Then let me go.” Again the nothing feeling seeping into his words, soaking into his whole body until the numb sensation was almost a comfort.
He could feel the cushion-y edges of that nothingness warp slightly when a pale hand slid slowly away from where he only just now realised it pressed against his neck with a caress that felt too close to caring for comfort.
“What happened, pet?” He knew Spike didn’t mean now; what he really meant to say was what happened to you.
“I died.” Too simple an answer, but explaining the ache in his gut that felt like it was going to swallow him whole was too complex for words.
“No, it’s more than that. Tell me Xander. Please?” It was the please that got him. The brunet could handle Asshole-Spike, but that so open word, pleading to understand, tripped him up and he found the words tumbling out before he realised he’d said anything.
“I died. To them, I died. I’m not Xander anymore to any of them. I’m the evil thing that took his face. Before I didn’t have much, but my friends… they were family. And now they look at me like I’m… disgusting. Evil. I don’t feel evil Spike. I don’t feel anything. I just want to go home.”
He didn’t want home as it was, he wanted home as it should be. Home as it felt when he was trapped in that nothing-space before he woke up at the beginning of all this. Before the world fell apart around him. He wanted safehomebelonging.
“I want it to be how it’s supposed to be.” The numb feeling fractured, leaving him feeling raw, and just a little scared.
“Xander, come here.” It wasn’t an order, it was a request, and he curled up in the blond’s lap, the pair of them tucked firmly against the headboard of the bed.
“When I left, I did it because I didn’t want to lose you. Knew what you were before you woke, didn’t I? Asked the witch to tell you I was coming back, but I probably didn’t explain it to well. Hard to think when there’s a demon hammering in your head, yeah? I needed to see Angel; I needed to find out how he’d managed to get the soul and the demon to… coexist. Didn’t want to leave you, but I didn’t want to hurt you either, and that’s what I would’ve done if I stayed.
“I don’t want to own you Xander, despite what that demon in your head’s whispering in your ear. I turned you because I wanted… I wanted to save you.” The laughter was harsh, a bark of sound that some part of the brunet ached to soothe.
Without realising it he began a soft patting motion on the other man’s chest, feeling the subtle vibrations as Spike spoke, and finally, Xander listened.
“Know I ballsed it up, got to remember my sire was a few cards short of a full deck yeah? Learnt soul seeding from her, so it was pretty much certain not to go like peaches and cream. Shouldn’t have bitten you before, but I… bloody hell love, you should have seen yourself, see yourself. You’re skin and bones. One good puff of wind and you’ll blow away.
“I was too busy worrying about you hurting yourself,” A black polished finger tapped lightly at his chest, “to think about how I was hurting you.” Another gentle tap, feather light, against his temple.
Things weren’t alright. He was still in so many pieces Xander wasn’t sure which way was, but when he tilted his head slightly to leave his neck exposed he felt the world shift a little bit closer to stable.
“Xander?” That accent, so soft and desperate not to do the wrong thing again, found the first piece of whoever he was now and held it carefully.
There was only one way to answer, “Home.”