What: A Xander-centric something. Dark and angsty, if I did it right. Answer to the second Challenge
When: Post Season 7 (SPOILERS!)
Why: Because I'm feeling weird and this popped into my mind.
Also, because it's raining.
What else: Thanks to yellowsummer for the quick beta... you're perfect, as always... and of course I was talking about Birmingham... damn "u" is way too near to the "i" ;)
- - These days we don't know how to march - -
He hadn't meant to do it the first time it happened.
He'd always been rather clumsy.
As he dropped the glass after taking it out of the cupboard he didn't even swear or think about the fact that this had been the only glass in his home without a chipped rim.
He just didn’t find the energy anymore these days.
His home wasn't actually 'home' but rather something he saw as a short break between the end of one life and the beginning of another.
The break just seemed to be getting longer and longer and somewhere between the past and the future Xander had just stopped caring.
One would think after having had his entire existence ripped away, his past, his life, his hometown, that at least the assurance of the state would do something for a person.
The fact that people had already been leaving Sunnydale for several weeks and that actually no one had been living there anymore when it had disappeared was reason enough not to pay too much money to the victims.
The Scoobies had had to cope by themselves.
Buffy and Dawn were off to LA.
They weren't there because Angel was but because the rents for the appartments were lower.
Buffy made sure to tell him that every time she called him.
Which wasn't often anymore.
He blamed too high phone bills and a too badly paid job on it. He wasn't sure on what Buffy blamed it, and also if he wanted to know if she had even bothered to try and find an excuse.
Willow and Kennedy were guarding the new hellmouth.
One of them.
After finding out that Sunnydale wasn't the only city with a hellmouth, they found out that Cleveland wasn't either.
Nor was Tampa, Montevideo, Birmingham or Frankfurt.
And even with the new Slayers all over the world there was always someone who needed the help of one seriously bitchy Slayer and a newly redeemed witch.
Giles was off to England, coordinating all the new Slayers and rebuilding whatever it was he was trying to rebuild.
And Spike was... well, Spike was no more, was he?
Xander had stopped trying to fight the good fight long before he'd stopped talking to Buffy.
Even long before he had started lying to Willow about how he was keeping up.
Even when it had been just Buffy, Willow and him, he'd been the one without any abilities.
No Slayer-strength or hidden witch-y talents.
But back then he'd had something others didn't.
Back then he'd still been one of those who knew. One of those who survived because they knew there was something that didn’t want them to survive.
Now with God knows how many Slayers in the world, who were all about to be informed about the bumpy and the none-bumpy things, he didn't even have that anymore.
All he had now was his construction job.
5 days a week, occasionally even on a Saturday, when they ran late on a project.
He didn't get paid as well as he used to get paid, because if you are handicapped – and didn't he just hate the sound of that? - you have to take whatever job you are offered, no matter how shitty the conditions may be.
But it was enough for Xander to rent this shithole he now called home, buy a used TV, which normally even worked every alternate Tuesday and a few things like a chair, dishes and glasses.
One of which he'd dropped.
And as he picked up the pieces and threw them away, the shreds reflected the light that fell through the little kitchen window and the glass was just bright enough, shiny enough, and oh so clean to make him ache to touch it.
So he did what every good Scoobie would have done.
He slammed the lid of the garbage can shut, headed for the shower and straight to bed afterwards.
It was late after midnight when he got up from his bed, neither rested nor sleepy, and made his way into the kitchen.
He sat on his chair and looked at the garbage can. Really looked at it for a long time.
Thinking about how it would feel to have that piece of glass cutting into his skin.
Imagining how hard he'd have to press till blood would flow.
Seeing that bright, shiny oh so clean piece of glass before him and before he'd actually registered that he'd stood up and walked over, he was holding one of the bigger pieces between his fingers.
One edge of it was smooth, the rim of the glass. The other two were sharp and ragged, just this site of painful as he closed his hand to a fist around it.
He made his way back to the bedroom, making sure that the door was closed, although no one ever visited him, especially not in the middle of the night.
Those times were over.
For a long time he just stood there, looked at the piece of glass in his hand and thought about it. Thought about the pain it would bring him.
Tried to imagine how it would feel to let the glass slide along his wrist.
Let the edge bite into his flesh.
Watch the blood trickle down his arm.
So he did it.
Out of curiosity at first and because it was something real.
Something to hold on to.
Something he could feel, after such a long time of feeling nothing but numbness.
It wasn't as easy as he had imagined it.
The first red lines appeared after only a little bit of pressure, but he had to draw the ragged edge several times over the same spot until the first small drops of blood welled up.
With a feeling of awe Xander touched the tip of his finger to the red liquid and brought it to his lips.
He tried to capture the taste and the feel of it but the moment he realised what he was doing it sickened him and with a sound of disgust he dropped the glass to the floor, wiped his already clean finger on his shorts and went over to the bed to curl up under the covers, trying to find some sleep at last.
But Xander had never been one to give up, and so the next night after coming home from work he sat down on his bed with a short dagger placed on the bedside table.
Who knew being a slayerette would come in handy for such an occasion?
Despite what people said, Xander was a fast learner.
He learned how to do the cuts deep enough and in the right places, so they would hurt with every movement he made even days after he'd done them.
He learned where to do them so they wouldn't show when he wore sleeveless shirts for work.
He learned that cuts along his thighs chafed longer and were work safe even on extremely hot days where it would look weird if he'd be the only guy on the site who didn't take his shirt off.
Yeah, sometimes he couldn't hide them.
His sleeves slipped up too far, the really deep cuts ripped open when he moved too fast and left little blood staines on his shirt or he winced when one of his work buddies clasped his upper arm in a friendly greeting.
But the people who would have noticed those little strange things about him died a long time ago.
Even the ones who weren't dead.
And he knew that there was no point in waiting until they came back.
The ones who would still be able to and the ones who wouldn't.
He knew that there was no point in waiting for Willow to resurrect the people they'd lost.
He didn't know if she couldn’t do it but he knew that she wouldn’t do it no matter what.
Not even for him.
She'd tried to play God and lost the game too often.
He wished it was Anya he missed the most.
It would make things easier.
But it wasn't.
And he wasn't stupid. He knew that Will wasn't his name.
Hadn't been his name for a long time, at least.
But it could have been his middle name.
Or maybe a name he'd have used for a second identity.
Fact was that it was all angles and pointy bits, just like Spike used to be.
And it were only straight lines which were easier to do than curves.
He could go deeper while doing them and there would be more blood coming from the letters cut into his arm.
Imagining that Spike would have liked that was the only thing that made him smile these days.