This is set after the series so most of what happened there happened here, but there was no season 8, namely because I have no idea what actually happened. Everyone is probably greatly out of character...

Xander stormed through the new watchers council building. He'd been in Africa for almost three years now and had yet to set foot in it. This is his first time, and he doesn't stop to admire the fountain that's been dedicated to those who have died in battle, he doesn't look up to see the beautiful stained glass windows that splashed multicoloured lighting down on to whoever walked under them. He doesn't stop for the receptionist at the front desk.

He is furious at the world.

He wants to break Giles' glasses for sending him to Africa, never mind that he had asked to be anywhere but here.

He wants to beat Angel stupid for being a chicken shit and running away.

He wants to yell at Dawn and Willow and Buffy for not telling him, granted he never asked, but he never thought it would happen.

He wants to crush Andrew's testicles then shove them down his throat for telling everyone but him.

But mostly Xander just wants.

Everyone springs to their feet as he bursts into the meeting room and, if Xander hadn't been so angry, it might have been funny, but right now he's just angry.

His empty socket itches and his good eye burns.

Three years, three fucking years, he's been stuck in the hell that had been his pain and aching desire for someone he could, would never have.

One sweet night.

Xander moaned as Spike's cool tongue explored every inch of him, tasting all his parts. It had felt so right when he'd been filled with Spike's throbbing erection.

After having his fourth orgasm of the night, he lay sated in Spike's arms, still full with Spike.

'I love you,' he murmurs before he passes out.

He doesn't hear the returned, 'I don't deserve you, but I do love you,' he replies, 'I'm sorry,' he says softly as he joins his partner, his lover into sleep.

That had been the first and last night Xander had slept with Spike, with any man, it had been the last time he'd slept with anyone.

He sees him, and it seems that Spike is trying to become one with his chair.

But Xander's learned a lot in Africa. He's become one with the hyena that still inhabits his head.

He surprises Spike and pulls him from the chair to slam him back into the wall.

There is so much he wants to say, to demand but he can't seem to find his voice. He very much wants this man but he is too consumed with his pained rage at the perceived betrayal.

'Why?' he finally demands, his voice only loud enough for the vampire to hear. His back is to the rest of the room, they don't see the tears that run freely from both the good eye and the empty eye socket, after all the priest didn't damage that, just the eye.

But Spike can. He can see the pain that has festered in this boy since his death in the crater; he can see the sorrow that he is unworthy of the love he so badly wants. He can see the longing that this boy has for him. No, not boy, he's a man now. A beautiful man who only wants answers as to why everyone who was supposed to love him, seemingly abandoned him in the wilds of Africa and forgot to tell him that the man he loves, because Spike can see that love in him, was alive, not in the strictest sense of the word but around.

Spike takes that moment to look up at the people in the meeting. Wesley and Angel look befuddled, they had no idea about the pair of them, and Angel would have done anything to make his Childe happy. There is suddenly a growl and Spike realizes that it's not from him. It's Angel and Wesley has put a calming hand on Angel's thigh.

Dawn is glaring at her sister not bothering to conceal her fury at what, is no doubt, her sister's doing.

Andrew looks sheepish, he had believed the story that Buffy had told him about Spike and Xander, that the human wouldn't have given a damn about the vampire one way or another.

Willow looks like she's about to cry, she had only wanted her friend happy, and if that meant telling a teeny tiny lie about a vampire that was only going to use him before he got bored of him and drained him dry, well then so be it.

Buffy looks defiant, Daring anyone to say anything against her.

Xander may never forgive them if he tells them what they told him but Spike doesn't know if he'll forgive them for telling him what they had.

Spike had wanted to go to Africa, wanted to find his Pet but they, Willow and Buffy, because they always seemed to override whatever it was that someone else was going to say, had told Spike that Xander had moved on, that he had told them that he didn't want, "some freaky souled, biteless, walking dead vampire wanna be." By the time Giles or Dawn had gotten to tell him that Xander had gone to Africa because Spike was dead, that he had exiled himself because of the champion vampire, he had heard too much from the Witch and Slayer that he didn't know who to believe anymore and kicked himself for not doing what his heart had demanded he do, which had been to go and find Xander and ask him.

Spike growls and devours Xander's mouth. It takes a minute but Xander throws himself into the kiss too and then Xander pulls away and buries himself in Spike's shoulder and just sobs. He's been in Africa for almost three years. He's seen young girls die protecting their village from whatever demon has found her, he's seen young girls dye because their village is afraid of them and he's seen young girls dying as they give birth to their own children.

Through it all he can only think that he will never hold Spike again or have his own child, or love again or be normal again.

He clutches at Spike's shirt, because the duster is hanging off the back of Spike's chair and he simply holds this man tightly as he cries out his pain.

Xander has no idea what he's crying for. He hasn't cried this much since he was six and his father had belted him for having a nightmare. But he is and he knows that his eye will be swollen later and his patch will have irritated the skin under it and his throat is going to be sore and he'll be embarrassed beyond anything but he can't seem to bring himself to care about that part.

Because Spike is holding him. Spike is here and he's real and maybe now they can make a start of it.

He knows they have to talk. But it can wait. All he wants to do is lose himself in this man. Feel this man in him and around him and just hold him. Reassure himself that he is real, that it isn't another dream, or nightmare or drug induced hallucination.

He wants this man, he wants him so badly it hurts.

'Hush, Pet,' Spike whispers, petting the shaggy hair that's in dire need of a trim and a wash. 'Hush, love,' he soothes, trying to get the trembling to stop long enough for them to leave. Trying to block out the sound of the yelling match behind them.

Buffy and Willow are yelling that Spike has done something to Xander, that their Xander would never let Spike touch him like that, would never let Spike anywhere near him.

Dawn is telling Buffy that she needs to grow up, her and Willow both, they need to realize that Xander is no longer the boy they knew, and he is a man. A grown up man who can make his own damn decisions, thank you very much.

Angel is trying to tell the girls the same things only a little less name calling and a little more slowly burning anger. If this is how they feel about Xander and Spike, how will they feel about him and Wesley? Or Giles and Andrew? He has no idea how and he doesn't really want to know but he can smell the pair all over each other. It's a little disturbing but he's glad that they seemed to have found acceptance in the other.

Andrew and Wesley are silent, watching everyone fight. Giles is watching Spike and Xander.

He stands and moves to them, no one seems to notice.

Xander looks up when he feels a hand that isn't Spike's on his right shoulder. He's surprised to find Giles there, looking at him with a strange mix of fear and hope.

'I am so sorry my boy, I never knew you felt the way you did about Spike, had I known, I would have done whatever I could have to get you to him,' he states with such conviction that Xander believes him.

'Why? You hated me, you still don't like me much,' Spike replies. Yes, Giles has done a lot for him over the last year or so but that doesn't mean he had to like him.

'I didn't like what you were, and I was leery that you would revert back to that and kill my children, I know now that it was wrong of me to do what I tried and for that I apologize. You are a noble man, William and you deserve to be treated better of me, if there is anything you want, anything at all, I will do my best to get it for you.' He pleads, he is sincere Spike can see it in his eyes and smell it pouring off him, Xander can hear it in the waver of his voice.

'What I want, you can't get for me,' Spike replies, his arms tightening around Xander slightly, 'but you can get us out of here, I think my eardrums are going to rupture soon,' he finishes.

Giles nods and with a glance at Buffy and Willow who are both trying to get the others to see reason, he ushers Xander and Spike from the room and into the side office which leads to Giles' office which leads to freedom.

Before the pair can truly escape, at least for the night, Giles calls to Xander, who stops and turns before moving into the older man's embrace, 'you are my son, child, never forget that.' Giles breathing hitches and he holds Xander tightly, 'I'm so proud of you,' he manages and Xander can't breathe but he hugs Giles just a little tighter and they stand there for a minute and Spike who moved away to give them some privacy is shocked, when Giles adds, 'you too William.'

'Love you,' Xander manages, when he can finally look the older man in the eyes.

'Love you too,' the older man says and then Spike is hugging the older man, it is a brief barely there hug, but a hug none the less.

'I will take care of the girls,' he says matter of factly.

Xander and Spike disappear into the night.

Giles is not worried that he won't ever see them again. He will. Not tomorrow or the day after, but perhaps next week, when they have worked out their issues and their fears and have had sex for a full twenty four hours.

Giles smiles softly to himself and goes back into the war zone, his piercing whistle cuts through the yelling and the name calling.

They all stare at him like repentant children, which he guesses they are, they are his children. All of them, even the ones he wants to throttle.

Well except for Andrew, he is definitely not his child, because that would just be ew. See, he's even thinking like them now. Giles can't help but smile at that. Xander would be proud.

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