Storyteller: Where the Wild Things Are
Spike, Xander and Andrew have certain common threads throughout their characters. They have all been reviled; they've all been the misfits. William the Bloody, spurned and mocked. Xander the Loser. Andrew the Geek. Each has tried to be more than what they were, to show the world what they might be. William became Spike and was the antithesis of all he'd been before. Xander and "The Zeppo" and a hundred other "woobie" moments, to borrow a phrase. Andrew and his inability to engage the text of the real world, to function in it, rewriting himself as something other, something better.
As well, they've all been love's bitch. Even Andrew, who was played by Warren, the later played by the First because of his love for Warren.
So, like I said -- it got me thinking.
And this is what happened.
Spike watched the room through lowered lashes, the thin curl of cigarette smoke. Plotting and planning and the end of the world and it was … well, the same old, same old, really. This time it was Giles holding forth on something to the inner Scooby circle, while the girl's were all nestled up. He closed his eyes; he listened; he breathed deeply. He could hear their hearts, smell the warmth of sleep on their skin. The rustle of cotton and flannel and skin and the taste of their innocence, only slightly soured, filled the house.
Time was, it would have made his mouth water, his balls tighten with anticipation. Made his teeth itch.
Now, it just made him a bit sad, really. Like watching roses turn to dust on a grave. Poetry and decay and entropy.
He'd been a poet, of sorts, once … he still sometimes saw the world like that, in pictures and abstract lines, even if nobody else knew.
Even if he'd been a damn bad poet.
He shook his head, slipped from the living room into the kitchen. Found the scotch up in the highest cupboard, just out of reach and at awkward angles for prying little fingers. It was hidden behind old plastic bowls and broken crockery. It was still three-quarters full. "How come you're not in plotting with the rest of them?" he asked, not turning around, knowing Andrew was tucked into a corner, knowing he was hiding in the shadows. From the shadows.
Something the fuck like that.
He turned, saw Andrew shrug. Sighed. The boy wasn't right. Hadn't been right since he'd cried the hellmouth shut, grieved it back to sullen silence. Not that Spike particularly missed the brainless chatter of the sodding idiot, but … but.
Hell of a thing, to be faced with yourself, to look in the mirror and see what a fucking *shit* you really were. To know that you'd always been nothing, and now you were less than nothing, worse than nothing. Not even a proper monster, really, just a sad sorry thing busting up shit so you felt like you mattered …
and he was man enough to see the parallel, to grin wryly at it before taking a solid swig from the bottle. On an impulse he held it up to the boy's mouth, tipped it up so he swallowed, almost involuntarily. "C'mon, then," he said as Andrew coughed and sputtered.
"Where?" Not like he would have said it a few days ago. No mock-hero here, dreaming glory. This was all dust and wind and nothing else much left to it, but he could see the boy straighten, stiffen, ready to fight, ready to stand and serve. To die, maybe.
Spike laughed, cuffed the back of his head. "I'm taking you to get shitfaced, mate."
Andrew made a damn terrible drunk. But, on the plus side, he'd been a quick, cheap drunk. And he didn't weigh all that much, just a bit of thing, so he was easy enough to hoist up over the shoulder and walk home with.
He wasn't quite sure where the bloody hell the sudden foray into Missionary Work or Agony Aunt or whatever the fuck it was complex was coming from. Wasn't sure, but he had a pretty good notion.
Spike remembered … wanting so much. Wanting to rewrite himself. To be something, anything, just to show … just to show … everyone, anyone. Something that they couldn't seem to see, no matter how hard he tried.
Something only Dru had seen, in the dark, in his darkness.
Something Buffy saw, in the light, in the light he'd clawed his way to.
But Warren, bloody bastard, had been worse than Dru.
And Andrew wasn't ever going to have a Buffy.
So he wasn't that heavy to carry home, not for one night.
Xander was up waiting for him, waiting for them both. Spike expected a lecture, some pithy snideness, but Xander just nodded, took some of Andrew and helped Spike get the boy to bed. They took his shoes off, stripped him down, put a garbage can by his head.
"Though he probably won't," Spike said as they tucked him in, right and tight. "Probably one of those obnoxious wankers who wakes up all sunshine and eats his way through a rasher of bacon the next bloody morning."
Xander nodded. "Yeah. He's got that kind of vibe." He looked down at Andrew, and Spike saw the same recognition, the same sort of self-aware pity. "He going to be okay?"
Spike shrugged. "Dunno. But … we survived, so the odds are there." For a brief moment their gazes locked, and Xander smiled wryly. The loser's club, love's bitches. They really ought to buy matching decoder rings.
"Well, goodnight," Xander said as the moment passed, faded. "Morning comes early and I want to be the first in the bathroom this time, because today? Got up late. Girlie shrapnel everywhere. Very scary." He waved, wandered off, and Spike watched him go until Andrew tossed and muttered.
He went over to the boy, leaned in, heard the half-breath of a sob, smelled the salt of tears over the sharpness of scotch. "Jonathan," and it made his shiny new soul twist just a little, because he knew that, too, waking up beaten to hell and half-mad with several lifetimes' worth of guilt on his conscience.
So he leaned in closer, pressed a cool kiss, a little like death, a little like life, to the boy's forehead, then slipped down and kissed his mouth, soft and chaste with just the slightest sweep of tongue and breath like benediction. Like forgiveness, for a night. He let his mouth linger just long enough until a small sigh curled up between them, and the boy's body relaxed, slipped into untroubled sleep.
And then Spike went down to the basement and smoked his way through half a pack as he thought in metaphors about monsters and redemption and the cost of being human.