Vista

No one knows that Xander still goes out to the cemetaries at night, goes out in the streets and alleyways and dark, empty places where humans in Sunnydale usually know not to go. No one knows except the one who goes with him, and Spike would never tell because telling would involve so many other things that they never even had to ask each other to keep quiet.

During the day, Xander works at his job -- crew boss doesn't need depth perception as long as he stays on the ground, and flooring crews generally don't have to worry about walking steel girders. He's held onto his job with no trouble, though for a long time in the hospital he was frightened about that more than anything. More than almost anything, but it had been the only thing he had let himself think about. What would he have done if he'd lost his job? Slayer's Assistant has no pension, and worker's comp didn't cover "gouged out by evil."

But he'd kept his job, and the guys on his crew got used to the patch he wore, and despite their jokes they made sure they didn't leave shit lying around on the ground where he might not see it, and they took care to only walk up behind him on his right side. He didn't tell them he could hear just fine and knew when someone was behind him. He let them think they were being nice, because, really, they were.

After work he would go home, or go to Buffy's house, and he would do his second job. Training up new Watchers on the paths they would go, so that they might never stray from it. More or less, because the things he and Giles are helping the kids learn aren't exactly the things the defunct -- dead -- Watcher's Council would have wanted them to learn. But it works, and Dawn has a knack for languages that makes Giles smile and get giddy about tracking down new books to give her.

Xander's part is more about understanding stuff after you've read them, and about keeping your head, and things he didn't think were teachable and suspects really aren't. But it gives him something to do, lets the others feel like they've keep him included and useful and needed, and sometimes he finds that he really has said something that someone else needed to hear.

At night, he goes out and none of them know.

At first it was just to get over the fear. Those first several nights Spike escorted him without a word. Bodyguard, or witness, or boredom, Xander hadn't cared. Spike hadn't responded to any of a thousand hints that maybe Xander wanted to do this alone, so eventually he'd stopped yelling at Spike and just walked the streets and got used to the fact that even though he was half-blind, he could still see.

After the first time he stumbled across a vampire trying to make a kill, and managed somehow to find its chest with a stake, Xander had let Spike teach him. Re-teach him, Xander had insisted, because he knew all this stuff already. It was just getting used to aiming again and learning to listen more carefully and discovering that wearing a large, brightly coloured patch over his eye would make vampires underestimate his ability to fight back.

So now he goes out, and he hunts, and he fights, and he takes on patrols on other side of town than where the "official" patrol is that night. And when midnight has come and its time to come home, Spike goes along with him. He's the last thing Xander sees when he goes to sleep at night, and Xander knows that someday he'll understand why.