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Hold Back the Rain

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London was as wet as Xander imagined it would be, damp mist creeping under the collar of his jacket and down his neck to his already soaked t-shirt. He cursed under his breath and leaned against the buzzer, refusing to pull away until someone answered or his finger cramped irreparably.

“What the bloody fuck is wrong with you?” The door swung open and Xander jerked his hand back, his reaction instinctive and, given the circumstance, telling. “Oh. Well, that answers that.” Spike leaned against the doorjamb and lit a cigarette. “You’re two months too late.”

“Oh.” His voice sounded foreign to him.

“Not that kind of too late, you pillock. She’s gotten herself her own flat. Said she didn’t want to have to listen to my band.”

“You have a band.” Xander raised an eyebrow.

“We can’t save the world every day. Bloke’s got to have a few outside interests.”

Xander looked away from Spike’s knowing smile then back. “Is she living alone?”

“There’s a bird there with her. Says she’s just a flatmate…”

“The address?” Xander cut off the wry, knowing comment then managed a smile, more properly defined as a smirk. “Please?”

**

He sat on the stoop staring at the cracked pavement, the occasional double decker bus as it drove by and his own hands. Calluses where blisters used to be stood out against his darkened skin as he hunkered down into his jacket, his hair curled into dark rings in the rain.

The umbrella was yellow, as were the boots that stopped in front of him, filling his vision, wet from the tears that flooded his eye. “If it were anyone else on my doorstep, soaking wet and probably likely to catch pneumonia, I’d think this was romantic.”

He looked up at her, her face bright and light and framed by shoulder-length, red-gold hair. Her eyes were as damp as his, though the rest of her was dry. “What would you think if it were me?”

“I wouldn’t think.” She let the umbrella fall back as he stood and wrapped her in his arms, lifting her into the air as the rain suddenly refused to fall on them both. “I’d know.”