Title : Confessions Author : Tenhawk

Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners... none of which are me. If the owner of said characters wants to claim them... he's welcome to them.

Summary: Post whatever that piece of dreck with Wood trying to Kill Spike was called... Spoilers for S7, but nothing for unaired episodes.

Warning : Crossovers ahead. (Yes Plural.)

Rating : PG-13.

Feedback, It's the coin of the realm.

*****

Robin Wood walked slowly away from the Summers household. He'd gotten as far as the front door this time before the sheer force of anger had pushed him away from the front porch.

That's not Fair, Wood. He told himself. She'd got too damned much on her mind to be worried about your issues.

That might have been true, but he had to admit to himself that he didn't give a damn. What Slayer Summers had said to him still filled him with anger whenever he considered it. The worst thing was, he didn't know WHY he was angry.

Was it just because he didn't want to see the bastard who killed his mother talking and walking for another second? He didn't, that was certain, but Wood hoped it was more then that. That it was more then petty revenge that drove him.

Maybe that's all I am driven by... He admitted to himself as he walked away, not paying much attention to his surroundings. I wanted Spike dead for my own reasons... Does that make it wrong even if the right reasons also agreed with me?

He didn't know, he couldn't answer that question. Not even to himself.

He wanted to believe that he acted for the right reasons, doing the right thing. But he couldn't deny the ugly little voice inside him that whispered cold words of vengeance.

"Hey! Wait up, man!"

Robin looked back to see Xander jogging up to him. "Go away, Harris. I'm not in a mood to deal with any of you tonight."

Xander slowed to a walk as he arrived beside Robin, nodding. "Yeah. I heard." "You heard what?"

"You and the G-Man tried to take out Mr Room Temperature." Xander shrugged, "Don't know if I should be disappointed that you tried, or that you failed."

"Yeah well, join the club."

Xander chuckled a couple times, shrugging. "You know, I actually think I liked Spike better before he had his soul."

"What!?"

"Hey, at least then I knew where I stood." Xander said flatly as they walked. "He would have ripped my throat out in a second if he had the chance. There's a brutal kind of honesty about the demon Spike that I respected."

"But now?"

"Now? Now I don't know." Xander admitted. "He's got a soul... but I just can't tell sometimes. He actually seems to be a good guy every now and then.... and then he goes and says something that makes me think that a Soul isn't all it's cracked up to be."

"Like what?"

Xander looked around, uncertain for a moment. Finally he sighed, "Look... What I say here, goes no farther... got it?"

Wood nodded slowly, "Alright."

"Before Spike left... he and Buffy had something of a relationship..."

"I gathered that much."

Xander shook his head, "No. I don't think you have. The relationship wasn't want would legally be termed consensual."

"What?"

"Buffy took a really heavy blow last year... She died." Xander said.

Wood stopped in mid step, looking over at Xander with wide eyes. "What!?"

"She died." Xander repeated, "And we brought her back... we drug her out of heaven... back into her buried body... She dug her own way out of her grave."

"Oh my god..." "Yeah." Xander said, his voice dead. "It played havoc with her head, man."

"I'll bet." Wood said dryly. "Holy..."

"She thought that this was hell for a while... she became dead inside as she tried to shut out the pain..." Xander said slowly as they walked. "But you see... it wasn't pain. It was life. She shut out life, because it hurt like hell to live again."

"What happened?"

"It all came out eventually... not one of my finer moments I might add..." Xander said, his face shifting to guilt, "But that's another story, one that maybe someone else should tell. When it came out we were... shocked... guilt ridden... terrified... and appalled at what we'd done. Or... at least I was."

"This is when Spike and she...?"

Xander nodded, "Should have seen it coming, you know... But I had my own life going then and I didn't want to admit to the fault... I was a selfish bastard in the biggest sense of the word."

Xander paused, then laughed lightly, bitterly. "You know... I haven't admitted that to anyone until now."

"How did it happen?"

Xander snorted, grimacing bitterly. "You have no idea how long and hard I looked... trying to find that exact thing out. This summer I finally managed to break through to Buffy... she spoke about it to me..."

"And?" Wood asked, genuinely curious, in a morbid way.

Xander looked around, guilt etched on his face. "Look... I don't want to break Buffy's confidence..."

"Harris... Xander..." Wood corrected himself, "I need to understand this. Spike killed my *mother*... I need to know."

Xander sighed, kicking a rock away, and nodded. "Yeah. I can understand that. Look, what do you know about Shell Shock? Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome?"

Wood shrugged, "Enough. I've seen it happen to friends and allies..." Xander nodded, "So have I... now. Buffy was suffering from a major case last year... complete shut down for a long time, barely functional for months... Spike moved in while she was helpless."

"He took advantage of her." Wood said flatly. Xander snorted bitterly. "Advantage? He raped her for *months*. She was in no state to give consent and he KNEW it. Hell, the sick bastard was waiting for just that to happen... He watched and waited for almost two years... probing her weaknesses and preparing."

Wood let out a long breath, the anger in him shifting away from the Slayer.

"The worst of it wasn't even that, you know..." Xander growled, "I mean... that was despicable, slimy, and Spike through and through... but that wasn't the worst of it."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that, in her state of mind at the time, she was in no way competent to give consent..." Xander said, "But even in that state she wasn't so far gone that she would sleep with Spike... Oh no... not even at her lowest eb in life would Buffy have slept with him."

"So... what happened?"

"Spike drug her even lower." Xander said. "He knew she wasn't in her right mind, but to him... all that meant was that she was vulnerable to a psychological attack. He played on her worst fear... being less then human. He drug her down until she was at his level... then he raped her for months, right under our noses."

"I've heard him talk..." Wood said softly, "He doesn't make it sound like that."

"He wouldn't." Xander said bitterly, "But you see, even when she went to him willingly... it was rape. You can't give legal consent when you're not in your right mind... Same thing as if he took advantage of her when she was drunk, or if he drugged her. No difference, legally or morally."

"Sounds like a real prince."

"Get's worse." Xander said, "You see... Buffy wasn't the kind to stay down forever... She's a fighter, and she fought her way back up... eventually cutting it off, walking away from Spike. And let me tell you, for Buffy that's a big move. She... she doesn't walk away from a relationship easily."

"What do you mean?"

"I think she's afraid that she'll never find someone else... that if she walks away from the person she's with... she'll never find anyone else who will accept her... the whole her." Xander said, sighing. "But I don't really know... that's just how I see it." "What did Spike do then?"

"Next logical step." Xander replied. "He tried to rape her by force."

Wood faltered, almost stumbling as he heard that. "What??" Xander shrugged, "Just what I said. Next time I saw Spike, he was a Soulboy. I don't know what happened exactly, but the line he's pushing is that he got his soul for Buffy... because he loved her."

"You don't buy it?"

Xander hesitated, "I think it may be possible."

"You think he really loves her?"

"Yeah... In his own twisted, demonic, way... I think even the demon Spike loved her." Xander shook his head, "Spike has always needed to feel loved... He's weird that way for a vamp. But it's twisted... which is normal I guess, he is a vampire."

Wood looked around, "I don't get it. How can Buffy have him around??"

"She loves him back." Xander said, painfully.

"What!?"

"Buffy can't sleep with someone without loving them." Xander sighed, "It's just not in her... or at least, she doesn't think it is. If she didn't love him before, then she does now. It's part of her self image I think... The hero, the good girl, the shining chosen... She can't sleep around, so if she slept with someone, she must love them."

Wood stopped, sinking onto a park bench. "This is seriously screwed up, you know that right?"

Xander nodded, sitting beside him. "Your turn."

"What?"

"Your turn." Xander said, "I want to know what happened with Spike... Start with how you found out that he was the one... How'd if feel? Everything."

Wood sighed, "I don't really want to talk about..."

"I don't care." Xander said flatly. "I want to know."

Wood was silent for a while, but when the words came they came quickly and almost unbidden to his lips. He told Xander everything, from the start, to how he felt when Buffy told him she would let Spike murder him.

When it was all done, Xander just frowned. "I don't get it."

"Join the club." Wood muttered. "A Slayer allowing a vampire to kill a human? It sends shivers up my spine." "No." Xander shook his head, "Not that. No offense, but I think you did the wrong thing... or at least had the wrong motives."

"He killed my mother." Wood snarled.

"Yes and you went for revenge." Xander said, "If you'd been doing this to protect us from Spike, then a fast, quick, kill would have been the way. You went for revenge, and that's never a good thing."

Wood sighed, "I know. Doesn't change how I feel."

"I know..." Xander agreed, but still frowned. "But that's not what bothers me..."

"What?"

"You said... The First told you about Spike? Appeared as your mother?"

"Hey, I know where you're going with this..." Wood protested, "But I confirmed the story first. I'm not stupid, I knew that the first might lie."

"No... not what I meant." Xander frowned, "Why would the First goad you into attacking Spike if Spike was one of it's trump cards?"

"Maybe it thought he'd kill me?"

Xander eyed Wood for a moment, then shook his head. "No... no offense, but I don't see you as being valuable enough. No... somethings off here."

"You think Spike wasn't a threat?" Wood asked, feeling even more stupid.

"No... No, we know he was a threat. The trigger was active until your stunt the other night." Xander said, frowning. "What the hell is it's game?"

Wood shook his head, "I don't know."

After a moment he added, "You know... it's strange... Spike gave that whole speech about loving and being loved, and I can't argue with any of it. He was..." "Dead wrong." Xander snapped. "Don't fall for any of that crap. It's pure, 100%, grade A, Spike-crap. He's been shoveling the same crap, different vintage, the whole time I've known him."

"Huh?"

"Spike is a manipulator. He always angles around for the weak spots." Xander replied, "He found yours, your mother, and he hit you where it hurts. Remember, I told you that's how he scored Buffy. If your mother wasn't willing to give up the fight, it wasn't despite you... It was because of you."

Wood shook his head.

"Listen to me. She was a Slayer." Xander said earnestly, "The Chosen One. The savior of the world. If she quit, if she walked away... what world would she have been leaving you? You can bet the bank on that... She fought to give you a life, and a world to live it in."

Wood didn't say anything.

"Spike defines love as some sort of... obsession." Xander said, "If you love me, then you'll follow me around for all eternity and never fight with me, or disagree... if you love me. Love isn't like that... Sometimes loving someone means you can't be with them... sometimes, loving someone, means walking away."

Wood shook his head, "It doesn't matter."

"Hell yes it matters." Xander said, angrily. "Remember I told you that sometimes I think I liked having the demon Spike around better? This is one of those times. Even with a soul, Spike is creepy in a big way... I wish I knew what it meant, but we're all flying blind here."

"Yeah... and ensouled vampire's got to be pretty unique."

"Not as much as you'd think." Xander said with a smirk. "But this is something different..."

"Huh?"

"I knew another vamp with a soul..." Xander said, "He was pretty much an asshole, but still a hero... you had to respect the guy, even when you hated his guts. But he had centuries to get used to being ensouled before we met him..."

"But Spike hasn't..."

"Right. And who knows what kind of a screw job this is doing to him? Right now he's trying to deal with a soul, while still deal with the demon, AND fight an armageddon off..." Xander said, frowning. "Frankly I think Buffy's completely lost it... She should get Spike the hell out of here until he gets it under control."

"She says that he's her best fighter." Wood sighed, "And that she needs him."

Xander laughed, once, bitterly. "Right. Let me tell you something, Spike has NEVER helped us fight off a big bad. Ok, he was sort of useful against Glory, but even that was barely in a supporting role... His job was the save Dawn... and he completely flubbed that one, let me tell you. In fact, the outcome of *that* fight was the worst pyrrhic victory I've every seen... We've never had a loss as sever as that year. Spike has consistently abandoned, or betrayed, us during every major scrap to date. And this year, he's been completely worthless... though, I'll admit, it's not entirely his fault..."

"Then why does she want him around."

"He's... her albatross." Xander said simply.

"What?"

"You know... the old story?"

"I know the story.. I'm surprised to hear you mention it."

Xander shrugged, "I read a lot while the others weren't paying attention... trust me, that added up to a lot of reading time."

"So..." Wood decided to let that comment pass. "You think she's punishing herself?"

Xander nodded, "Yeah. Spike is her penance for whatever imagined sins she's committed. If she can make him into a good man... then she wasn't wrong to sleep with him... then she won't feel dirty when she remembers him anymore."

Wood sighed, "This is so badly screwed up."

"I know." Xander said, "But I just can't see a way out of it. As it stands now I'm going to be by her side to the end... just like always."

"You really mean that, don't you?"

"I swore a long time ago that I would never abandon her, Wood." Xander said, looking the older man in the eyes, "I'll be at her side no matter who comes or goes... And if the world ends, then it'll end with me ripping apart whatever thing killed her to end it."

*****