The 2005 Spander Christmas Album
Is The Hour
The Prologue to Please Come Home For Christmas
Spike walked through the snow-bound streets, wondering if anything was ever cheerful in Russia. The district was busy – Christmas Eve, and all – but still hopeless somehow, despite the lights and decorations. It just seemed so dark. Despairing. But perhaps he was projecting.
It was always the hardest around the holidays, which, Spike had to admit, was a pathetic cliché. But it was. It was when they were all together, or tried to be, and he couldn’t distract himself with work. It probably didn’t help that he’d somehow fallen into the habit of taking stock of his life each year; adding up the guilt and good deeds, hoping he’d been a better person that year, hoping that his life had magically become meaningful.
Until he’d confessed it to Xander, that is, who’d told him in no uncertain terms to leave his livestock alone, and that it was intentions that counted, anyway. It isn’t something you can add up, Spike, like a sum, he’d said. If you do the right thing for the wrong reasons it’s never going to get you anywhere because it’s not supposed to be about getting somewhere. It’s about doing the right thing because it’s right.
Funny how Spike had never really understood that good was a state of mind and not a scorecard until Xander. He privately thought Angel could take lessons, but always remembered that Xander’s wisdom was hard-learnt. Spike still wished he could do more, to try and achieve the un-achievable and actually be worthy of all the good things in his life.
Like Xander. Christ, he still had those moments of absolute, paralysing fear that the other shoe would drop and it would all be ripped away from him. Like it had been so many times before. There was no way he deserved to have this man in his life, this one person who always eased his burden just by being in the same room, the same city, hell, even on the same planet. This man, his friend. Truly a fucking miracle, though why anyone would bless him was beyond his comprehension.
And so what if it was hard? To look at that face, those eyes, that mouth, and know none of it would ever say ‘I love you’. To feel almost crippled with want and desire, but not allowed to touch. To want a companion, a lover, a partner, but need it from someone so far out of his league. To want more from a friend, but know that reaching for it would ruin that friendship, the best, most precious part of his life. It was hard, but Spike always reminded himself that losing Xander would be much harder.
And he was content. They had all come across to Russia this year to see Xander, to spend Christmas with him as he was unable to leave the work he was doing here. The others could only stay a few hours, but Spike was hoping to stay a few days. He’d made sure he had time. And Xander would be happy to see him.
As usual, it had been too long since they’d seen each other. A few flying visits, a day here and there. Before that, it had been Christmas last year, in Australia, and it had truly been hellish. Even just remembering it, Spike practically winced. Perfect place, perfect weather, and Xander had wandered around for the entire holiday in nothing but a swim suit. It had been a hard test of Spike’s resolve, but one he would probably repeat, given the opportunity.
And despite the tests, and the difficulty of keeping his feelings to himself, life was good. He was in love, after all.
Reaching the small, dingy house Xander currently called home, Spike paused on the street outside. He could see up into the tiny kitchen, see Xander through the window. Hear him, too, singing as he chopped something for Willow.
He wasn’t particularly good, wasn’t particularly in tune, but for Spike, all other sound faded away as every fibre in his being strained to hear.
It broke off suddenly as Xander stopped to laugh at himself, and Spike smiled reflexively. Not a good singer, but he wouldn’t change that voice for the entire world.
Suddenly feeling light-hearted, he took the steps three at a time, and pounded on the front door. Hurried steps inside, and, sure enough, there was Xander, happy to see him.
“Merry Christmas, pet.” And Spike was content.
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the Angels sing.
Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled
And still their heavenly music floats
Over all the weary world.
Continue to Please Come Home For Christmas