Xander lay in bed as the sun rose,
thinking alternately about Spike and about the weird dream he’d had. Buffy had called soon after he’d woken up
and told him about the First Slayer and why they’d all been hunted in their dreams. Xander’s dream had been a
maze traversing Sunnydale and his past. Throughout the whole dream he had been trying to follow someone down the maze, afraid
of being left behind. It reminded him a lot of how he felt as High School was ending, before he’d taken his road trip.
Afraid of being left behind. It occurred to Xander that he hadn’t felt that way since coming back from his trip, but
he couldn’t quite place why.
Finally, just after 8am, Xander
gave up trying to figure things out on his own and called Tom. Tom’s voice was groggy with sleep when he answered the
phone, but he soon woke up when he heard Xander on the other end.
“Xander, boy, what’s
“We took down the Initiative
Tom, they’re history. Also, we fixed Spike’s chip.”
boy. Is everyone okay?”
“Yeah, no one got hurt.
Tom was silent for a moment. “Why
is he leaving?”
Xander quickly explained Spike’s
“Xander? Why aren’t
you going with him?”
“What? Tom, Sunnydale is
“Is it really Xander?”
Xander thought hard. He had a
job he liked and that he was good at, but construction jobs were everywhere. There was his place in the Scooby Gang, but he’d
already given that up willingly to Jonathan. The Scoobies had their Zeppo, he was just another guy on the sidelines now. If
he stayed, he risked falling back into his old role, just like in the dream. The Scooby gang didn’t have any place for
an independent Xander. What else was keeping him in Sunnydale? His apartment was crappy, the only thing he really liked about
it was all the time he and Spike had spent hanging out here. Then it hit him. Sunnydale wasn’t home, Spike was.
“Oh gods. Tom, I’m
in love with Spike!”
Tom laughed. “Took you long enough boy. I thought you were smarter than that.”
Xander scowled at the phone. “So I’m a little slow. I haven’t exactly fallen in love much before.”
Tom’s voice was soft. “No, and that’s why you shouldn’t let him leave without you. You two
are good together, don’t let him get away Xander.”
Xander was hard pressed to keep the tears from starting back up again. “I won’t. Thank you Daddy. I love
“I love you too boy. Promise you’ll come see us when you two pass through L.A.”
Xander smiled. “I promise.”
Xander hung up the phone and jumped out of bed, heading towards the shower. He had a lot of work to do.
An hour before sunset a taxi pulled up on the outskirts of Sunnydale. Xander handed the driver the fare and climbed
out of the cab, lugging his duffle after him. “Yes, I’m sure this is where I want to be dropped off. Thanks.”
Shaking his head the taxi driver headed back into town.
Looking around, Xander lugged his duffle over next to the “Welcome to Sunnydale” sign and sat down. He
had spent the day running around town, attempting to wrap up his life in Sunnydale. He had quit his job and picked up his
last paycheck, cashed it and done a little shopping. Then he’d stopped by Giles’ place and talked to Giles and
Jonathan, followed by a visit to the dorms and a tear filled conversation with Buffy and Willow. He had talked to his landlord
about breaking the lease on his apartment, then piled everything worth selling in his car and taken it to the pawnshop followed
by dropping the remains off at the Goodwill. Finally he left his car with Jonathan. He had done everything he could to prep
for another road trip. All he could do now was wait and hope that Spike was receptive to the idea of company.
About half an hour after sunset, just when Xander was starting to get really freaked out, a loud rumbling came from
the direction of town. It got louder and soon Spike’s Desoto was cresting over the hill and heading towards Xander.
When it was just opposite him the car screeched to a halt. The engine shut off and a shocked looking Spike climbed
out. “What are you doing here pet?”
Xander smiled. “Waiting for you.”
“Okay, but why?”
“Rule Number 6 Spike.”
Spike stalked towards Xander,
stopping just inches from him. “There’s a sixth rule?”
Xander shrugged, “There
Spike reached out, his hand hovering
next to Xander’s face. “Didn’t you just take a road trip luv? Why do you want to go on another one?”
“Sunnydale was getting boring.
Besides, the gang doesn’t need me but you do. Can’t turn you loose on the world without someone to watch over
you, can I? Buffy’d never forgive me.”
Spike smirked. “You just
can’t get enough of me.”
“Yeah, well, that too.”
Spike lowered his hand the last
centimeter and caressed Xander’s face softly before leaning in for a kiss. When they parted Spike ran his fingers down
over Xander’s neck. “It’s a big, dangerous world out there.
Now that I’m a proper Vampire again I should mark you, claim you so everyone we meet knows you’re mine.”
Xander moaned softly, both at
Spike’s caress and at the thought of belonging to Spike. “Um, the marking, claiming, I read about it. It’s
Spike nodded, “Yeah, you’d
be mine, forever.”
Xander leaned into Spike’s
caress for a few minutes before pulling back with a sigh. “As much as I
like the idea of belonging to you, we’ve been doing the friend thing for barely half a year, I’m not quite ready
to offer you forever yet.”
Spike looked about to argue
and Xander quickly pulled the special purchase he’d made out of his pocket. “Here, maybe this will work for now.”
Spike looked shocked, but
took the cloth wrapped object and opened it. Inside was a beautifully tooled black leather collar, held closed by a small
silver padlock. Spike examined the padlock closely. On one side was etched a railroad spike, on the other ‘William the
Bloody’ was engraved in beautiful calligraphy. Blinking back tears, Spike
smiled at Xander, “It’s beautiful love.”
A relieved smile broke out over
Xander’s face. “Put it on me?”
“Gladly.” With only
slightly shaking hands, Spike unlocked the collar and placed it around Xander’s neck, making sure it wasn’t too
loose or too tight before clicking the lock closed. The keys to the padlock were on a silver chain, which he then slipped
over his head and tucked inside his shirt. Spike ran his fingers along the edge of the collar, “You’re breathtaking
boy. I love you Xander.”
Xander threw his arms around Spike’s
neck and hugged him close. “I love you too, Spike. Just, just give me a
year, okay? If we’re still certain in a year, then you can claim me. In
a year I’ll gladly offer you forever.”
“Anything for you, love.” Spike kissed Xander fiercely, then grabbed Xander’s bag and tossed it into the
back of the Desoto. “Climb in love, we’re out of here.”
“Sounds like a plan, Vampire
“So,” Spike glanced
over at Xander as he shoved the car into gear and took off. “Rule Number Six, huh?”
“Yup, Rule Number Six. When
you find love, don’t let it go.”
The Rules of Life according to Xander
Rule 1: Never be ashamed of who
Rule 2: Never be afraid to ask
for what you want.
Rule 3: Think for yourself. Don’t
blindly follow others.
Rule 4: Help those who can’t
Rule 5: Fight Back.
Rule 6: When you find love, don’t let it go.