Author: spikes_heart and liliaeth in their first ever joint effort
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Pairing: Angel/Nina, Gunn/Anne, sort of S/B, with hints of A/B
Setting: One year post NFA
Disclaimer: If they were ours, would we be writing fanfic?
Feedback: Yes, please!
Archive: Ask us, nicely.
Warning: Not a B/A fic
A/N: Spoilers for the entire run of BtVS and AtS - our take on what happened after the lights went out
Beta'd by: A sneak appearance by Willa!
Summary: Before the Powers that Be withdrew from the playing fields, they made one last move with their favorite pawns - leaving Angel to clean up their mess.
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spikes_heart and I offer this brief interlude in the action, and a glimpse into the life of a missing Scooby. In case you were wondering where he was and what he was up to.
To read Beloved from the beginning, go Here.
After Willow called about a new spell to rescue Buffy.
Xander hung up the phone. He couldn’t think of Buffy’s possible return without getting sick to his stomach.
Five bottles of beer sat on the shelf in front of him; all of them untouched. Three bottles graced the rack above his sink. Every available flat surface in Xander’s modest apartment had received the same decorator’s touch.
They’d been acquired slowly, over the course of the past three weeks. M’bule, a neighbor, told him he was crazy. If he wanted the benefits of all that beer, he’d have to actually open the bottles and drink them down.
Xander, however, shook his head and refused to touch a drop. Several more bottles found their way to the top of his small box refrigerator. Everywhere he stood, he saw them. On his nightstand, they stood in a ring around his lamp. In the bathroom, they stood neck and neck with his shampoo and body soap.
All sealed, all covered with the dust that inundated the small abode, and still Xander continued to shell out his cash for more.
Adeola had teased him about the first five bottles. The fifteen year old Slayer placed in his charge grew tired of trying to keep them dust free. She’d pushed the point, eventually threatening to drink them herself.
“Go on, silly man,” she’d teased one overly sweltering evening. “These are beer bottles, not genie. Your Anya not come out to smack you for taking your pleasure.”
He’d punched her. In the jaw.
That had been three weeks ago.
Though grateful that her Slayer strength prevented him from harming her physically, the look in her tearful brown eyes gutted him.
It had been three weeks since Anya’s name had been mentioned in passing. Three weeks after belting the girl placed under his protection and guidance and he’d begged her to leave.
And still Anya was lost to him.
Before she left, Adeola had a few choice words of her own.
“You’re a ghost, man. Nothing more than a shadow. You allow death and loss to rule you when you should rejoice in still living. Perhaps it was you should have died, for all the life you not relish.”
Nothing more than he’d repeated to himself at least once a night since Sunnydale went belly up.
Each day he added more bottles to his collection, now covering entire surfaces.
He’d hit the girl. A child under his protection. His ward. Worse than his father, he was. Old Pops might have beaten on his mother in a drunken rage, but he’d never laid a finger on his son.
So he'd hit her. He'd hit her, like his father had hit his mother, and his grandfather his grandmother. She was his slayer, his ward and he'd hit her. Even his father had never laid a hand on him.
Hidden inside his nightstand were two bottles of unopened Scotch. He’d bought three of them on the black market instead of food years ago. He’d lost his appetite, and only ate when his stomach sounded louder than the droning cicadas.
The third bottle stood on his sink – the only one he’d opened. It was on the occasion of Willow’s phone call four yeas ago – when she told him of Spike’s resurrection.
“Did Anya return, too?” he’d asked her, already knowing the answer.
Spike was back, given yet another chance at life – his fourth go round, while Anya lay buried under the rubble.
Xander had opened the bottle and poured most of its contents into the toilet, followed by whatever he’d eaten for breakfast that day. His hand curled into a fist for want of smashing the bastard in the face for coming back. It was something he couldn’t face. How do you look into the eyes of a child and wish it dead?
He picked slowly at a scab on his hand.
It had been three weeks since he’d told Adeola to return to the Council for another Watcher. He wondered if she, too, would return.