A Spander Christmas Stocking

Coming Home
by
mygothangel

Before reading, please read the warning in the Notes

 


splash...

splash...

splash...

The raindrops hitting the window frame and the Kansas song on repeat - ironically, "Dust in the Wind"- made a good background to heavy drinking, Spike thought absently.

The room was dark; the faint glow of the Christmas lights outside illuminated a tree, which looked abandoned despite all the popcorn chains and unlit candles. On the fake mantelpiece hung two ridiculously big, red stockings, filled with small and bigger gifts. He hadn't had a Christmas stocking since he was ten and it seemed like a good idea to do it; to create an illusion of a happy and untroubled future, even if the gift he most wished for wasn't in there.

He took the bottle of Jim Beam and poured himself a drink - nowadays he even used a tumbler - and not for the first time cursed his existence as a vampire. Immortality lost its glamour after losing one friend too many...
'poor, sweet Fred', he thought briefly. He couldn't even get drunk properly, lacking a human constitution.

Staring at the amber liquid, he noticed the low sounds of a Christmas carol - the neighbours sure loved the season, listening to Christmas music all the time.

It didn't bother him earlier and now... He didn't even have the energy to get upset about it.

The cell phone on the table started to vibrate, showing "Red" on the display. He ignored the call, as he had the previous days. Tomorrow was Christmas Eve - awaited this year with excitement, the first one he felt he could truly enjoy in a long time. Apparently, it wasn't meant to be.

He took a swig of the bourbon and reached out to the memories, stashed away in the safest corner of his mind. How he'd met Xander not long after becoming corporeal again at Wolfram & Hart. How the flicker of joy in the brown eyes, followed by an unexpected hug, had allowed him to believe Xander's apology. How hearing "thank you" from those lips - something that had never occurred before - had made him feel like it was worth burning up at the Hellmouth. How they'd become friends, spending more and more time together, talking about anything and everything, as if they'd wanted to make up for all the years of hatred and fighting.

"Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favourite time of the year..."

The sounds from behind the wall to the next apartment got louder, rousing him from his thoughts.
'The kids are watching Charlie Brown again', he thought. And just like that, the dam and all the defences he'd erected over the past two days broke and he started to cry, heart-wrenching sobs making their way through his throat.

He stifled the wail pushing its way through his throat and hurled the glass held in his hand at the nearest wall, feeling a sick satisfaction at the shattering sound. Why should anything be intact any more if his heart and mind were in pieces?

He took a few unneeded, but nevertheless calming breaths and, eyes closed and hands shaking, he returned to his memories.

Their first "date" - even if neither of them had the courage to call it by name.

The first kiss... God, the meeting of warm, greedy lips he would never forget, even if he lived forever. Not that he intended to, mind you.

After a few awkward days and unsure glances, they finally spoke about what had happened; feelings of anxiety replaced by relief and joy upon realising they both felt the same attraction and hoped for something more. Eventually they "came out" to all their friends - even if the Scoobies took a little more time to get used to the idea than the LA-gang had - and gave themselves to the wonderful illusion of finally finding the one person they were meant to be with.

It had lasted a few months, until a rather trivial sickness resulted in a blood test that destroyed their world. It seemed that the gathering of Slayers in Africa had cost Xander more than a few pounds and sun-wrinkles.

Coming back to reality, Spike didn't bother with a glass this time; only took a generous swig of the alcohol straight from the bottle.

A virus.

A five-letter word, so small considering its power to destroy life.

They never found out what it was.

Four months after finding the virus in Xander's blood the signs of impending death were unmistakable. Spike cried, threatened, begged - all to no avail. Xander's final decision was to die as a human.
'It wouldn't be right if I couldn't call Angel "Deadboy" anymore', he'd said.

A bitter laugh escaped Spike's lips. His boy, ever the comic relief.

Two days ago, Xander had finally succumbed to the devastating illness. Spike would never forget the last glance from the eyes that had shown him more love than anyone else in this forsaken world and the final words:
'See you later, baby'.

Again, the memories threatened to overwhelm him.

He remembered their discussion about the circumstances and reasons for his return from the dead, about his whereabouts in the time between Sunnydale collapsing and Angel receiving the amulet that held Spike's essence. He didn't remember much, which meant he didn't remember eternal torment, either.

Xander was very adamant about it, always saying that after saving the world *twice*, having sacrificed his un-life the second time, he surely would be redeemed. Spike really wanted to believe that. Not because he was afraid of Hell - well, maybe a little, although he surely would die first before admitting it - but primarily because he couldn't imagine *not* meeting Xander in the afterlife.

'Comes in handy now, all the disputing about souls and do-gooders, even if at the time it had meant a distraction from celebrating their relationship in the bedroom', he thought.

He looked out the window and saw the approaching dawn. Meanwhile, the rain had stopped and the clouds cleared the sky. The cell phone rang again, but he consistently ignored it. Instead, he straightened the envelopes lying on the table, each one with a name on it: Buffy, Red, Dawn, even Giles, and finally, Angel. He'd said everything he wanted to say.

There was nothing left.

Strangely, the only thing he felt was relief. Somewhere from a long forgotten memory a song came to him, one he'd often heard during World War II:

Auf Wiedersehen
Auf Wiedersehen
We'll meet again, sweetheart
This lovely day has flown away
The time has come to part
We'll kiss again, like this again
Don't let the teardrops start
With love that's true, I'll wait for you
Auf Wiedersehen, sweetheart*

He'd laughed back then, thinking how na´ve all the soldiers and their women were, hoping for a safe return from the front line. Now he knew better, knew what the song really meant.

Spike gathered the items he'd previously prepared for this morning: a ring, a photo and a small box, containing his most precious possession in this world - a handful of ashes. Suddenly, he felt strangely excited, like back then when he was a tot waiting for the Christmas morning. Somehow the feeling was even appropriate, seeing that he regarded his next actions as the greatest gift he could receive.

Then he straightened his posture and walked out of the room, leaving the building and welcoming the first sunrays he'd seen since the whole Gem of Amara disaster.


High above him, someone noticed every part of his being start to relax upon feeling the vampire's pain stop and smiled shakily, whispering,
'Welcome home, Spike'.

**********

*Note: "Auf Wiedersehen" - German, meaning "see you again".
I received the song - "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart" by Vera Lynn - from my dear departed Andy.
For anyone interested,
here more info about it and you can download it here.

 

 

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