Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-
POV: Shifts Perspective
Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past episodes and Spanderverse: stories.
Notes: Eighth story in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Tensions”. Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse. ‘Old Friends’ takes place the day immediately following ‘Tensions’; Chapter 6.
People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.
Ch 1- Visitation
The early morning sun was blinding to the eyes of Xander Harris as he drove the used Taurus to a place he wished he’d never had need to visit.
He checked the clock in the dashboard of the car. He knew it was unnecessary. He had plenty of time before getting to the site but that didn’t stop him from hoping maybe he was running late. With the clock confirming that there was no excuse for putting the transmission into reverse, he exited the vehicle with a sigh. He didn’t want to do this. He didn’t know why he was. Things with his father and he had never been warm and fuzzy and besides, wherever his father was now, he sure wasn’t going to give a shit about Xander’s sudden confusions.
He supposed he just needed someone to talk to, who couldn’t answer back. Somebody who would allow him to think through what was going on in his own head. With any luck, talking aloud would also keep Hyena or Commando from answering and confusing the issues any further than they already were.
Xander arrived at the simple marker stone for his father. He almost knelt down to touch the stone until he remembered the lawn was dewed still this early. Instead his simply dropped the small bouquet of lilies on the ground before it. It was a weird custom considering that if he had ever tried to give his dad flowers in life, he’d probably have gotten a drunken back hand and a lecture on what ‘real men’ didn’t do.
“Hey, dad. I, ah, thought… Listen, I’m really just here for the silence, okay? I need to get some stuff off my chest. You see dad, there’s some things that have been happening lately in my life. Uh, you remember Anya? Well, we’ve moved into an apartment together. It wasn’t completely my choice, but what’s done is done. I’m going to assume that from ‘up there’ you’re kinda clued into this wacky world of ours in a way you weren’t before. So, anyway, there was this demon and a spell and everything got a little mixed up.
“Anyway, um, I’ve had some, uh, problems… since then. I love Anya, dad. I do. I’m just not sure I’m in love with her. I’m so afraid that I’m going to get caught in something, you know, like you did. I mean, it’s not really a secret that you weren’t looking to get hitched to mom when you did. I guess that’s why you were always so… you… around me. Not that it was my fault, but I’m sorry for the raw deal life gave you. The thing is; I feel like I’m just following somebody else’s script. And I don’t know if it’s ‘cause I’m really not meant to be with Anya or if it’s just this Hyena shit that’s got me so confused.
“See, dad, there’s this vampire. His name is Spike. He’s, uh, he’s not like Dracula. Well, maybe he used to be, but now he’s pulling for our team. Me and Buffy and the rest of us, I mean. We were kinda doing this friendship thing. It wasn’t easy. I mean, him trying to kill us all in high school and everything. That’s all changed now, though. He’s… he’s becoming a good man, I think.
“Anyway, there’s this Hyena personality going on in my head and he, um, sorta has more than friendship in mind with Spike. But here’s the thing; according to everything Giles said, it’s like things I was already thinking and feeling were given form in this other personality. I’m not sure how much of that is true. After all, Commando has downloaded all kinds of stuff into my head now that I didn’t know before. But, that original possession was way different.”
Xander laughed at himself, “I tried to warn you it was all confused in here.”
“Anyway… so I’m kind of having these thoughts and feelings. And, God- I can’t believe I’m going to say this out loud. I’m, uh, I might be sort of falling for Spike a little. I know, I know, I can already here what you’d say about that. ‘I always knew you’d be a little queer, Xander. Why do you think I was always trying to make a man outta you.’
“I’m not though, dad. I mean, I’m not all ‘death to faggots’ or anything. I’m way more tolerant than you ever were, but I can admit two guys do freak me a bit. So you can imagine how wigged I am these days. But it isn't guys in general! It’s just this Spike guy. I don’t know what it is about him, but Commando-me says that we’ve always been on the flirty side of friendship, anyway. I’m trying to remember when I ever flirted with the pale menace and maybe I have been without realizing it. I mean, before Hyena freaked Spike out, we hung out a lot. Not that guys don’t do that anyway, but we seemed to touch a lot, you know?
“Not bad touching! Just… brushing shoulders and putting our arms around each other’s necks and stuff. I don’t know why I’m thinking that meant anything other than regular old hetero-bonding, except that Hyena and Commando seem to be thinking that’s not all it was. At least, not on my end. I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m doing, dad.
“This may be the first time that I actually wish you were here to yell some sense into me. What am I gonna do if I’m really… if, uh… Jeezus Criminy, Xander… you’re standing in the middle of a cemetery all by yourself. Just say it!”
Xander’s voice dropped to barely a whisper. He was afraid to say anything any louder. That somehow it would make his fear real. As if just by voicing the possibility, reality would be warped and make his dread flesh. He figured that wasn’t really a ridiculous notion, considering he lived in a place where nightmares had become real before.
“What if I am in love with Spike?”
Then he’ll have fun at calling you a ‘poof’ at every opportunity, Xander thought. Bringing up how you’re staring at his ass, whether you are or not, at every Scooby meeting. Basically, he’ll treat you like the laughing stock you’re becoming. And you’ll deserve it. Because this is stupid. The whole thinking about Spike thing and the wanting Spike to at least think about it, too.
Your head is becoming a really scary place to be, Xan.
“I gotta go, dad. I want to just say hi to Jesse and Jenny. Just to let them know that I haven’t forgotten. I know you were never proud of me. I know that no matter what I ever would have done, it wouldn’t have been enough. But I want you to know, I’m making good here with the job and the world save-age and, uh, in case there was any worry at all… I’m fine. Mom is good, too. She misses you, still. She’s, uh, stopped drinking so much, she says. And Margo is helping mom enroll in accounting courses. She seems pretty excited. So, um, if you know, you’ve been waiting… you can go dad. We’re going on like we’re supposed to and we’ll be okay. So, uh, I really gotta get going.”
Xander bent low at the knees so he could brush his fingertips over the cool surface of the marble placard labeling his father’s site. In truth, he didn’t feel much better than when he’d come out here. At least, he wasn’t feeling any worse. He was pretty sure if he admitted out loud that not all of his interest in Spike as something more than friends was Hyena’s doing, that the world would end somehow.
It didn’t, however. The sun was still too bright. The morning was still too chilly for him to be out here without a jacket. Work was still waiting for him to get in and start the final clean up on the last subdivision housing they’d been working on for months. And he was still left with a hell of a problem on his hands. Would he ever really love Anya enough to give her the whole wedding and kids and white picket fences? And what was he going to do about Spike? No matter what he decided to do on either count, nothing would be the same and once he made his choice, there’d be no hitting a reset button if it was a mistake.
End Ch 1