Title: The Spaces In-Between
Pairing: S/X always
No warnings, squicks or spoilers
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. No harm, no foul, no money made.
It was the silences that made him think. Empty spaces in conversations, where once had been sharp words and snide asides, seemed to scream at him, begging for attention. He ignored them as long as he could, and then he broke. One night, after patrol, he followed his quarry home and pinned them to the door with careful hands.
“You’ve been awfully quiet these past few days, Xan. Gonna tell me what’s going on inside that wooden head of yours?”
He hadn’t been prepared to hear the answer he was given, but he thought he could get used to it.
She knew he was keeping secrets, could hear it in his voice and see it hiding behind his eyes, but no matter what she said he wouldn’t tell. He said he was just distracted, ‘cause of work, but Willow knew her friend too well for that. Xander was in love.
But no matter how many cookies she baked and confidences she shared he remained silent in the face of her relentless interrogations. And so she started watching him, trying to see exactly who got him all misty-eyed. She couldn’t believe the evidence of her eyes when she figured it out.
It was the telephone that first alerted Giles to what was going on. He’d called to see if Xander could come round and fix some shelves that afternoon and had begun to speak as soon as the call was answered. The silence when he paused had stretched on and on, eventually broken by a faint ‘What’re you doing out there, Spike? Come back to bed.’
A swiftly indrawn breath followed by ‘Bugger’, had confirmed what he’d already figured out. Then Spike was hissing quickly down the phone. “No confrontations, Ripper, or you’ll spook him and he’ll run. He loves me.”
It seemed to take forever for Spike and Xander to finally realise that they were meant for one another, but Tara kept her knowledge to herself. She watched them fight and bicker like they’d been married for forty years, and stoically never said a word. Even when their auras shifted colours and she knew they were in love and she knew they really didn’t have a clue, she kept her peace.
It wasn’t until they finally confessed after patrol one night, that Tara broke her self-imposed and very taxing silence. “I was beginning to think you’d never work it out.”
The silences finally got to Buffy and convinced her to back down. She’d listened as they’d explained they were in love and then she’d freaked and told them not to come around or even join her on patrol. She couldn’t erase the dreams they’d resurrected and she hated them for that. It wasn’t fair that Xander got to keep his vampire lover when she knew that she would never have such luck.
With Xander gone, conversations lagged. She’d shut the others down when they’d appealed to let them both return. Now it was time to pay the price and apologise.
“Uh, Spike? I think we broke him.” Xander poked Angel sharply in the chest with a blunted pencil from the desk and the vampire didn’t even blink. “Oh yeah, he’s broken. Cordy’s gonna kill us. Can I tell her it was your fault? I told you to break it to him gently but you had to go and distract me all over his desk while we waited. Now he’s just standing there, staring at the desk and we’re not on it any more. This can’t be good.”
“He’s not broken, luv, he’s lost in memories. Desk sex was his favourite.”
Whenever Xander woke up early he’d spend a minute, or five or ten, just listening to the silence in the room. His lover had no heart to beat a pulse inside that chest beneath his ear. Spike hardly ever breathed unless he dreamt that he was human, which he did, but only rarely and not for long. The only sounds to hear were his own heart and his own lungs, and he listened long and hard so he’d remember when that moment finally came when he awoke to perfect silence and his Sire.
“But not today, eh pet?”