Goes "Ding" When There's Stuff (suki_blue) wrote in griefcounseling,
Goes "Ding" When There's Stuff
suki_blue
griefcounseling

Grief Counseling - Chapter 65/65 - R

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By the time Xander had scrambled up the ladder and onto the roof, a full-fledged battle was going on. There were only about ten vamps, but these looked to be Riley's best, and therefore would be the hardest to kill. Case in point, one had Wesley in a choke hold while the Watcher was working at hacking off his arm, and Fred was using her now dead UV lamp to hit the vampire that held her new lover over the head. She then pulled out a stake and rammed it into the vampire's back but he had some sort of armor on and it deflected her blow.

Fred never stopped, though, and pulled out the stake and rammed it in the side of his throat, as hard as she could. Xander didn't stop to see what happened next but he could almost feel the spray of blood. As for himself, he put what remaining stakes he had in the large pockets of his cargo pants, reached behind him and grabbed the small ax he'd shoved under his belt.

If these bastards had armor, he'd just have to hack through the damn stuff. Xander risked a glance over at Spike to see him fighting two of the bastards at once, the tails of his duster flying around his legs as he kicked and spun. If it wasn't a fight for their lives and control of the Hellmouth, Xander would have loved to stop and watch. Spike was beautiful when he was fighting. Well, as long as Spike wasn't fighting him. Thank god those days were behind them.

He heard Fred give a short yell and turned to find two vampires advancing on her. Wes had his hands full fighting off his own duo and using some sort of spell that made fire shoot out of his finger tips or something, so Xander hefted his ax and brought it down in Vamp 1's back, having to use all of his strength to pull it out.

"Hey, sorry about that but I've heard I can be a pain." The vampire turned and growled, his yellow eyes glaring in pain and hatred, but Xander didn't flinch. Instead he brought the ax down again, this time on the junction of the demon's neck and shoulder, and the vamp howled. Fred had managed to kill the other vampire in the meantime and dashed forward, did something to the vampire's other shoulder and his tac vest fell open. Xander quickly switched his ax to his left hand and used his right to grab a stake and ram it into the demon's chest.

He staggered for a moment and almost fell on Fred as their opponent blew away, and by the time they'd both straightened out the fight was almost over. Spike was still fighting one of the vampires but it was almost as if he were playing with him, and Dawn . . .

Dawn was fighting Riley.

Xander started to move, to help her. Anything. However, he was stopped by a grip of steel that locked on his arm.

"She must do it herself, Xander. Dawn must learn to take care of these situations on her own, without you or Spike coddling her. If she falters Spike will be there, but for now you must wait."

Xander turned to glare at Wesley but the Watcher only had eyes for his Slayer. Xander turned to look and saw that Dawn was fighting well. He hated to admit it, but Wes was right. If he stepped in now, even if it was only to help, that would shake Dawn's confidence.

But he didn't have to like it. Not one bit.

*****

Spike landed a hard blow to the vamp’s jaw and he felt it crack beneath his knuckles. Spike grinned, bounced and punched again, his smile widening at the feel of splintering bone. The vamp howled with pain and dropped to his knees.

“Giving up so easily?” Spike asked. “Surely not. Thought you were a bad-arse lot. Wrong, was I?”

The vamp glanced up with a murderous expression. He growled at Spike and hissed at the pain of exposing his fangs.

“Thought you could be masters of the ‘dale, didn’t you? Well, you were wrong, mate. The only master around here is me, got it?”

Spike pulled the vamp up by the front of his shirt. He’d recognised this one straight away. It was Blondie, the tracker vamp responsible for leading them to Riley’s poor excuse for a lair.

“I remember you. Remember us? We let you go last time because it suited us. Did you know you led us right here?”

Blondie’s eyes widened in shock and confusion. He opened his mouth to say something but could only whine pitifully.

“Bloody pathetic,” Spike said.

“I wonder if you’re as flexible as your sister.”

Spike looked around at the voice, recognizing it instantly as Riley’s. He threw Blondie to the side and started to stride towards the last remaining fight.

“Spike, no.”

A whoosh of ashes and then a hand snagged Spike’s arm. He tugged angrily at it and whirled around to face a dust-covered Angel.

“Get the fuck off.”

“This is Dawn’s fight,” Angel said.

“Whatever. Let go.”

“This is her job, Spike. Look at her. Let her do it.”

Spike looked around at The Slayer, at his Dawn. She fought every inch as well as Buffy, her body reacting instinctively and her puns flowing freely. Angel was right. This was Dawn’s destiny, her life, and they had to let her do it. Saying that, if Dawn so much as grazed her knee, Angel was going to be the very proud owner of a second arsehole.

Keeping his eye on Dawn and Riley, Spike made his way over to Xander. “Everything alright?” Spike asked without looking at him.

“Uh, huh.” By the sound of Xander’s voice, he was distracted too. But he didn’t sound like he was hurt.

Spike linked their fingers together and squeezed. Xander squeezed back.

They watched the fight.

Riley and Dawn circled each other and Spike resisted the urge to inform her that Riley was playing with her. He suspected she knew and was playing him right back. She began to back off, heading in their direction, drawing Riley closer to where the Scoobies stood in varying degrees of injury and health, but all of them still standing and ready to fight if need be.

“What is she doing?” Xander said under his breath.

“Just wait,” Spike said.

And they only had to wait a moment longer before Riley realised his dangerous proximity to multiple stakings. He broke his eye contact with Dawn for only a second, but it was long enough. Dawn ducked down and swept his legs out from under him, standing quickly and stomping her foot down on his face as soon as his back hit the ground.

Riley screamed with rage and quickly rolled away, spitting blood and teeth as he went. Then he sprang back to his feet.

“Don’t let him get comfortable,” Spike said in low voice that only he and Xander could hear.

“I don’t think she’s gonna,” Xander said. His fingers were gripping tight and Spike had to admit that he was gripping back just as tightly.

Long before Riley could regain his balance, Dawn struck again, kicking him once, twice, three times in the face and then once on the centre of his chest, sending him reeling backwards. She ran towards him, not allowing him any time to gather his wits before she was upon him, pounding him with fast consecutive punches.

“That girl is vicious,” Gunn said.

Xander nodded. “I for one won’t be putting my dirty boots on the coffee table again.”

“It’s you that does that!” Cordelia said. “I’ve been blaming Spike! I’ve been giving him so much heat!”

Spike just shrugged, glancing quickly at a confused looking Xander. “Just my little way of protecting what’s mine.”

“You’ve been protecting me from Cordy?” Xander looked from Cordelia to Spike. “You’re the bravest vampire I know.”

Angel coughed. “I once took the blame for spilling blood on the kitchen floor,” he said. “That was pretty brave.”

“Nah, mate,” Spike said. “You just like it when Cordelia gets all hot and bothered.”

Cordelia nearly choked on her own tongue. “Hey!” she said, then more quietly to Gunn: “Is that true?”

Gunn grinned widely and shook his head. “Man, keep me out of this.”

Spike tuned them out and kept watch on Dawn. He wondered how he ever could have doubted they would pull this off, how he ever could have been unsure of what they could achieve together as a team. He felt a smile tugging at his lips and, next to him, he could sense Xander beginning to relax.

“She looks great, doesn’t she?” Xander said.

Dawn punched, kicked and pounded, never letting up, never letting Riley have any opportunity to fight back, to pull back his own fist and strike.

“Yeah, luv. She looks brilliant.”

“She’s getting very close to the edge,” Wesley said.

Spike frowned. “Close to the edge of what?”

“The edge! The edge! The edge of the bloody building!”

Bugger it all to hell, Wesley was right. Spike let go of Xander’s hand and started forward. “Dawn!” The others were behind him, running to keep up and shouting their own warnings.

But it was too late. Riley reached out, snagged Dawn’s throat and pulled them both over the edge.

“NO!” Xander shouted. “Dawnie!”

Spike got to the edge first, Angel a second behind him. They glanced over the side of the building, but even with damn good vampire eyesight it was difficult to make out what was down there amongst the wrecked and overturned dumpsters.

Seeing that Xander was now on his way down the fire escape and the others were retreating back down into the building, Spike hopped over the side and landed amongst the debris.

He looked around, searching for Dawn and Riley, barely registering that Angel had landed a few feet away.

The one upright dumpster shook suddenly and Spike ran to it. “Dawn!”

Dawn’s head popped up out of the rubbish. She was deathly pale and when she spoke, her voice shook. “Oh my god.”

Spike hopped into the dumpster. “You hurt?”

“Oh my god,” Dawn repeated, turning huge, watery eyes to Spike and gripping the lapels of his coat. “Can you even imagine how old this trash must be?” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “I think I swallowed a cabbage.”

Spike closed his eyes and laughed quietly.

“I’m seeing mild merriment,” Xander called from above, still on his way down the fire escape, “and I’m taking it as a good sign. I mean, no one ever laughs off a broken neck, do they?”

“Where’s Riley?” Angel was still looking around, on guard and ready to pounce.

“He landed on my stake. Poof, gone.”

Xander paused mid-stride above them. “You’re kidding me. He actually died a semi-comedy death?”

Dawn shrugged and, yet again, Spike saw Buffy. Once it would have filled him with pain, but now it filled him with happiness and hope.

“I probably would have laughed but I think I broke my foot in, like, a hundred places. Is everyone else okay?”

The others gathered, looking alternately battered, elated and relieved.

Spike lifted Dawn up and passed her over to Angel.

“Some cuts and bruises, but nothing major,” Tara said.

Xander, finally down from the fire escape and slightly out of breath, held up his index finger. “I got a pretty big splinter. I think it might be a record.”

Dawn smiled at him, her expression giving away that she was obviously in pain. “Then we should go home and measure it. I think our work here is done.”

Spike wholeheartedly agreed.

*****

They laughed almost all the way home in the car. They had all made it through and it was an incredible high. It was too easy, and Spike was trying not to say that out loud for fear of jinxing himself.

Angel, Gunn, Cordelia, Wesley and Fred had gone on ahead and now the rest of them followed at a more leisurely and indulgent pace.
"I've got to say it, guys, I was awesome," Dawn said. Despite the twisted ankle she was still full of beans and practically bouncing in the front seat. "Did you see my butterfly kick? Nailed it."

Spike laid his arm along the backseat and winked at Tara. "Seen better," he said.

"Hey! It was flawless. There's no-one could have done better. Xander, tell him."

"I'm not getting involved," Xander said. "But it did look more spectacular than craptacular."

Dawn crossed her arms. "See? Wait."

"I'm kidding, Dawnie," Xander said before he got a karate chop to the throat. "Best flutterby kick ever."

"Butterfly!"

"Who wants pizza?" It was definitely time to intervene. Xander had jumped in the hole Spike had dug and was busy tunneling all the way to the China.

It was a positive for pizza all round.

Spike closed his eyes and concentrated on the sound of the car engine and Xander's voice humming along to something that was not quite recognisable but was probably a Bee Gees classic.

As coloured lights danced behind Spike's eyelids, he remembered the fight, saw Dawn's perfectly fluid kicks and punches, and felt Xander's hand in his, hot and damp and gripping increasingly tightly. Later on, Spike planned to hold Xander in his arms and make every part of him hot and damp. He held onto that thought with a slight smirk and let the rocking motion of the car lull him further into a comforting darkness.

In his head, Spike saw Xander smiling at him, working his fingers over Spike's throat and shoulders. Xander's dark hair was shining under a bright light and it curled towards his neck where it had got too long. Xander's skin, pale under the harshness of the bare bulb above him, was smooth to the touch. Spike slid his palm over Xander's chest, slowly, carefully, adoringly. This man was truly his and no one was going to take him. Xander leaned in, pressed a kiss to Spike's throat and then smiled again, blood trickling over his bottom lip and down his chin, shiny white fangs glistening …

"Fuck!"

Dawn screamed; the brakes screeched; a crunch of metal filled the air.

Spike was thrown forward and pain exploded down his face. Spike could sense nothing but chaos, his nerve endings firing all at once as his body lay twisted upon goodness knows what.

"Oh my god. I didn't … you. Is … okay?"

"Don't … It's fine. Just ..." Xander's voice. "Spike?"

"Jesus Christ, is ... okay? Oh … god. … sorry. Their … faces. What the fuck, man?"

"Just go. Run." Xander's voice.

Warm hands touched him and Spike groaned at their gentleness.

"Spike, I'm really sorry, but you have to get up and you have to do it now. It's not over, Spike. Please fucking get up."

Spike forced his eyes open and a blurry Xander hovered above him, the starry sky a pleasant backdrop.

"They had a contingency plan. They were waiting for us."

Xander's voice was sad so Spike reached out to comfort him. But the blurry shape was gone and all Spike could touch was the sky.

"Xan?"

"Spike! Get the fuck up!"

The smell of burning hit Spike like a missile in the face. He sat up and looked behind him. The Summers' house, his home and his sanctuary, was glowing orange and pouring black. Spike allowed himself to feel one more moment of pain, of grief, then he jumped to his feet and forced himself to focus.

Where was Xander?

All around him there was fighting: Angel taking on two; a blackened Fred zapping a third; Cordelia throwing up and Wesley plunging a stake through the fifth before it could get to her; Dawn baring her teeth and charging the sixth; and Gunn running. Running to where?

Spike turned to look.

Gunn was running towards Xander. "Motherfuckers!"

Between two vamps dressed in camouflage and tac vests, Xander struggled. His stake clattered to the floor and he lost his balance. Fangs sunk deep, deep into his throat and he screamed until it died to nothing and his body went limp.

It happened so quickly yet an eternity passed and promised forever.

Spike ran and when he reached them, he tore the vampires to shreds. Xander lay pale and still. Behind him, the house burned and his friends fought for their lives.

Spike dropped to his knees.

He hadn't been quick enough.

He couldn't do this anymore.

"Xan? I'm so sorry, luv. I'm so sorry." Everything was spinning, colours and shapes twirling around and around to a chorus of noise. "I don't know what to do. I don't know… Wake up and tell me, yeah? Wake up and tell me what I need to do."

Angel dropped to his side. Spike looked at him but couldn't see anything except moving lips.

"I've lost him," Spike said. He brought shaking hands up to his face. He felt the wetness of blood but the pain was gone, leaving numbness in its wake. "I've lost him."

Angel shook him and when Spike dared to look, the lips were gone and Angel was just a mass of black leather and cotton.

"I can't do this again. I can't. I can't do it."

The noises grew louder and Spike smelled soft vanilla. It was just like Cordelia's perfume. Was Queen C making all the racket? Why was she screeching?!

It was all too much, like the walls of the entire universe had closed in and Spike was being crushed in the middle, suffocating, dying.

He lashed out, swinging his arms and elbowing anyone unfortunate enough to be too close. He had to get them away. He had to get them away from Xander. His Xander didn't like being crowded, not when he was upset, not when he was dead.

He gathered Xander to him, held him close and growled in warning to the shapes positioned around him.

"SPIKE!"

Spike felt himself being ripped away from Xander. The contact was gone and it was a thousand times more painful than the sensation of the back of his head smacking on the ground.

"SPIKE, GET A GRIP! NOW!"

Fucking Angel.

"Get off me, wanker! Get the fuck off!"

"No. Not until you listen to me."

"Fuck off! I just want to be with Xan. You can't fucking stop me." It suddenly occurred to Spike that the dense fog in his head was clearing and he could hear individual sounds, could see Angel's golden eyes bearing down on him.

"I can and I will stop you. Xander isn't dead, not yet. But he will be if we don't get him to the hospital. You have to let us take care of him. You're not in any fit state."

Almost blinded by blood and tears, Spike turned his head and looked over at Xander, at his gorgeous brown hair, his dark lashes, his tanned but pale skin, at his chest slowly rising and falling.

He was alive and now Spike could hear Xander's slow heartbeat through the pain and the grief. He really was alive, but only just. He could still lose him. Spike's brain calculated quickly: the possibility of getting to Xander before anyone else; the possibility of turning him; the possibly of keeping him forever.

*****

Xander woke up slowly. Actually, he tried to not wake up at all and wished he could turn over and go back to sleep. He had a feeling something of the bad variety had happened and once he remembered he'd have a wiggins.

Problem was, he couldn't go back to sleep, and now he was wondering about the wiggins. If he was going to have a full blown panic attack he wanted to know what it was about.

He opened his eyes slowly and tried not to move. Every inch of his body hurt, even his hair, and his eyes felt dry as if they'd been filled with sand. In fact he felt sort of dry all over, and he'd kill for something to drink.

When he finally got his eyes opened he found himself in an unfamiliar room, one with all the blinds drawn. There was a figure beside the bed, their face partially hidden by shadows, but the first time Xander tried to call out a name it rasped in his throat and he had to try again.

"Cor . . . Cordy?"

Cordeila started as she woke up and when she moved Xander could see she had a cast on one arm. "Xander! You're awake, thank god!"

He tried to sit up and Cordy moved to help him, plumping up pillows and pushing a remote so the head of his bed moved up. It was then Xander realized he was in a hospital. Before he could ask any questions, Cordy shoved a plastic cup with a straw in his face.

"Here. Drink. But slowly, don't guzzle like you normally do. You need the liquids but you don't want to choke."

Xander wanted to roll his eyes but his head hurt just too damn much. Instead he followed her directions and sipped at the water. It wasn't as cold as he would have liked but it felt wonderful going down. He coughed as he finished the cup and then took a good look at Cordelia. She had huge circles under her eyes and her clothes were rumpled.

"What happened?"

"What happened?!" Cordelia's voice went up a few octaves and Xander worried about the glass in the windows. "WHAT HAPPENED? YOU ALMOST DIED, THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED!"

Suddenly she burst into tears, something Xander would never in a million years have thought would happen. She collapsed into the chair beside his bed. Xander tried to comfort her but he had an IV in and the needle in the back of his hand pulled and hurt. "I'm okay now, right? I mean, hospital but no beeping machines so that's of the good. Is everyone else okay? Spike, Dawn?"

After a few minutes of wet snuffling, Cordy took a deep breath. "Everyone's alive. Well, except for Angel and Spike but that's expected. Dawn's got a busted ankle; she fought on it and made it worse but thanks to her Slayerness, Wesley says she'll probably be okay by the end of the week. I have to wear this stupid thing for six to eight weeks." She raised her arm and Xander saw it was encased in a fiberglass cast. Basic black, of course. "Do you know how uncomfortable this thing is? My skin is going to look awful! It'll be all chafed and stinky!"

Xander started to laugh but ended up coughing. After he caught his breath he had to ask. "But Spike's okay, right?"

He didn't want to seem all girly, but he was wanting his boyfriend, or whatever Spike was, by his side. Now that he was waking up he remembered all too well how he'd been pinned by two vampires, and the pain as he was bitten by someone other than Spike.

Xander figured he was allowed to be extra clingy after a near-death experience. He wanted Spike.

Cordelia took a deep breath. "He's okay, physically at least. But Xander, he really lost it when you were attacked. He thought you were dead and he, like, went all catatonic. Angel had to slam his head into the ground to get his attention. He's been here all night; it figures you'd wake up just when Angel dragged him out of the room to find the blood bank and something to eat. Drink. Whatever."

Xander closed his eyes and laid his head back on his pillow. He couldn't say he was all that surprised. He remembered the bender that had resulted in his kidnapping in Senior Year. Spike hadn't been able to deal with Drusilla's rejection in the least bit. Xander figured the blond was still bothered by it when he'd returned to Sunnydale and that was how he'd been captured by the Initiative. It also explained the whole Harmony thing.

Xander also remembered the night that Buffy and Anya had died. Even in his own grief, he'd seen how broken Spike had been by the former Slayer's death. The man had fallen to his knees, sobbing. While it amazed a small part of Xander that Spike fell apart for him just as much as his two former loves, the rest of Xander knew that he was going to have to not only reassure his lover that he was okay, but deal with the vampire's over-protectiveness.

For the next decade. Or two, depending on how freaked out Spike was.

Just the thought of it tired him out. In fact, now that Xander knew everyone, including himself, was going to live, he found himself falling asleep. After a yawn that left both his jaw and head aching, he looked blurrily at Cordy. "I'm going back to sleep, but smack Spike upside the head for me and tell him I woke up and I'm okay. Sit on him to make sure he doesn't do anything stupid."

"Too late, he's already involved with you." Cordy was back to her normal snarky self and that reassured Xander even more. He wasn't sure he could handle a kinder, gentler Queen C.

"Bitch." Xander yawned again and wished he was at home so he could burrow into his covers. Or just use Spike as a blanket. "Go away; you'll give me nightmares."

*****

When he woke up the next time, it was dark and Spike was standing in front of the now-opened windows. He tried to be quiet and just watch his lover, but Spike must have heard his heart speed up or something because he turned to the bed and took his hand.

"Hey."

"Hey, luv."

There were a few minutes of quiet which was bad because Xander just knew Spike was having an internal freak out, but it needed to happen. If they waited till he got better, Spike would have an aneurysm or something. He wasn't sure if a vampire could survive if their brain blew a fuse.

And the thought of Spike talking to the stars like Drusilla had done was just . . . creepy.

"You almost fucking died, whelp."

Xander winced, not only at the harsh tone but the nickname. That was a pre-relationship nickname. That was a them annoying the shit out of each other in the Basement of Doom nickname. Spike was pissed.

"Oh, hell no! I'm not the only one who almost died last . . . whenever it was." Xander wasn't even sure what time it was, much less what day. "I seem to remember watching you get staked, in the chest. By Riley Fucking Finn, of all people! Vampires! So don't get all pissy with me. We both know that even vamped you're a better fighter than Riley could ever dream of being. And me? Okay, I let my guard drop but hey, two vamps versus one human, and I'm betting I had a concussion at the time, so that's not so surprising. But I'm alive and you're alive so I say instead of getting pissed at each other for scaring the shit out of ourselves, let's just be glad we're both breathing."

"I don't need to breathe."

Spike's grip on his hand was like iron and it hurt like hell, but there was no way Xander was going to let go. "I know, but you do it anyway so you can smoke. Just like you don't need to eat yet you'll hog the entire blooming onion when we go to the Bronze. You do shit like that because it's fun and it helps you blend in easier. And to gross us out, because I refuse to believe that marshmallows taste good in blood."

"That's what I love about you, Xan -- you know me."

Spike was really starting to wig him out because Spike was not sounding like Spike. He was using his real accent rather than his mockney one and he was being just so damn serious. For once, though, Xander didn't try to change it. Maybe after what had happened, they needed serious.

"Yeah, well, it goes both ways. You know me pretty well by now too."

He could hear footsteps out in the hall as someone walked by and the other usual hospital sounds were muted. He could almost hear the ticking of the clock on the wall.

"Never again, Xander. Never again. I can't bloody well lose you, not . . ."

"Hey, it's okay. We're here, we made it. A couple gallons of orange juice and I'll be good to go."

"NO! I'm fucking well serious, Xander! The next time you're . . . hurt this badly, or get attacked, I'm fucking well turning you! Might just do it before then. I am not spending the next century without you, Xander Harris. You need to get that in your fucking head."

Whoa. This was, this was big. This was, well, fucking huge. And man, did their language go downhill when bad shit was happening.

"Spike . . ."


"No, Xander! Just . . . no. I will not lose you. I can't. I know that at some point I'll lose Dawn; she's a Slayer and you can't turn one. They don't turn out right. And while Angel has got his head out of his fucking arse, he's still more soul than vampire. You're all I have, Xander. I will not let you be killed by some bloody demon, or by old age. Promise me that, Xander."

"And if I can't?"

. . .

"Spike?"

"Then the morning after you die, I sit up and watch the sun rise."

Oh god. He couldn't . . . Xander didn't want to deal with this, not now. But Spike wouldn't let this go and it had to be dealt with now. And if his head was killing him and he felt like ten miles of bad road, too bad.

Xander squeezed his lover's hand and took a deep breath. "Look, this is what we're going to do. You're going to calm down and I'm going to get better and come . . . get out of the hospital." He almost said come home but remembered that the house had burned down. Thank god Anya had instilled some anal paperwork tendencies about insurance and all that crap in him. The box with the paperwork was fireproof; all they'd have to do was find it in the rubble. "When I get out of the hospital and we get all settled somewhere again, then we'll sit down and figure this out. I mean, Cordy told me about the vamp!me from that alternate universe and I remember me with the hyena spirit. Demonic Xander is an out of control Xander and I don't wanna do anything stupid like eat everyone and try to destroy the world."

"You wouldn't . . ."

"I might. I want to cover all the bases, okay? We'll see if there's a way I can keep the soul and still have a happy. I'm sure Cordy will help research that, what with her wanting in Angel's pants and all. And maybe there's another way, like some sort of bond we can do that would keep me human, mostly human at any rate, but still going after a hundred years or so. We'll find something, and if not then . . ."

Spike's hand loosened and Xander was able to wiggle his fingers again. "Right. We'll hand the problem over to Wes and Fred and let the big brains handle it while you and I find a house with a bed. A really big bed."

Spike's accent was back and he was leering and Xander had to laugh because that meant things were going to be okay. They'd both almost died but had made it out alive and, despite everything else, they had each other and their new extended family.

No one had died, and that was the most important thing.

It was going to be okay.



The End




A/N: Two years and 65 chapters. Whooo!

That's all, folks!

Uh, except it sort of isn't. There will be two catch-up epilogues; one will be posted in roughly a month and the other ... well, that's a surprise ;o)

Thank you for sticking with us for so long. We got there in the end! And for those of you who don't do WIPs, Go-Go-Gadget Grief Counseling!





Beta'd by kitty_poker1. Thank you so much for all your hard work from start to finish. We did it!
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