Standard Disclaimers Apply.

A/N : Written for the Fall for Spike and Xan Drabble Tree. Prompt : burn.

Xander held the heavy silver lighter in his hand. He'd taken it out of Spike's coat that last morning, part of a running joke in their battle over secondhand smoke. Xander would steal the lighter, Spike would come to get it back, Xander would pretend to run away from him, making all the potentials laugh, Spike would catch him as soon as they were out of sight of the girls and pin him against a handy wall...

Xander spun the wheel and looked at the flame. The last morning, Spike had been distracted by Buffy and plans for the final battle before they could have their chase, but the day before, Xander had been against the wall with a vampire searching him very inefficiently for the lighter and Spike had whispered in his ear, "Someday you're gonna push me too far, and I'm going to forget the house full of chaperons around the corner."

He put his hand near the flame, trying not to flinch back as he remembered what he had said. "Can it be someday soon?" He knew he was acting like a gradeschooler putting frogs down his crush's jacket, but if their little game got those blue eyes focused entirely on him it was worth it.

"Soon as we clean up this First wanker."

But Spike had given his life for that cleanup, and the someday had never come. And now Xander sat with his lighter and tried to experience some tiny fraction of what his... friend had. Spike had burned, Buffy had said, the amulet using him as fuel for some sort of mega sunshine spell that wiped out the ubervamps and collapsed the Hellmouth. And Spike could have ripped it off or tried to run, but he'd stayed. He chose to burn and it was almost every day that Xander tried to replicate the feat, but his survival instinct was always too strong and he flinched back from the heat before he could do more than singe his palm.

He hid the small burns from the girls and stocked a lot of aloe, and refused to articulate even to himself the idea that maybe if he could show a tiny fraction of the strength Spike had that the Powers would find him worthy. That maybe he would deserve Spike coming back if he could burn.