I just want to feel safe in my own skin
I just want to be happy again
I just want to feel deep in my own world
But I'm so lonely I don't even want to be with myself anymore
On a different day if I was safe in my own skin
Then I wouldn't feel so lost and so frightened
But this is today and I'm lost in my own skin
~ Lyrics by Dido
“What do you want?”
“To talk to Angel.”
“Because I need to talk to him.” Xander snickered lightly in the background.
“Something I need to talk to him about.”
Cordelia growled under her breath, impressing Spike. “What for?”
“Stuff.” Spike’s voice conveyed the patience he was beginning to lose. He could practically hear Cordelia rolling her eyes. She blew out a haughty sigh, then Angel’s voice came on the line.
“What are you harassing my seer for?” he asked immediately.
“She started it.”
“Spike...” Angel’s tone held a warning.
“Fine. Peaches, we need to come stay with you.”
Angel choked out a laugh. “Excuse me?”
“Xander and me. We need to come live with you for a little while. In the hotel.”
“I’ll tell you when we get there,” Spike replied, carding his fingers gently through Xander’s hair. He didn’t want to talk about the reason while on the phone. He would have preferred to not have to do it at all, but he knew Angel needed to know, if they wanted to invade his home.
“Now.” Angel wasn’t budging. Spike sighed.
“Angel. It’s important.”
“Is there something wrong, Spike?”
“What, does Spike owe someone money?” Cordelia called snarkily from somewhere in the room with Angel.
“Cordy, be quiet,” Angel said to her. “Do you?” he asked into the phone.
Spike snorted. “No, Peaches, I don’t owe anyone money.” Xander chuckled weakly. “This is more important than that.”
“Is Xander all right?” The tone of Spike’s voice had clued Angel in to the fact that something really was wrong, and Spike would only be concerned if it was something to do with Xander.
“I’ll tell you all about it when we get there,” Spike replied cagily. Angel was silent for a moment.
“When are you leaving?”
“See you in two hours,” Spike replied before disconnecting the cordless phone and tossing it onto a chair. He leaned down and kissed Xander’s forehead lovingly.
“Two hours? It’s gonna take us that long to pack,” Xander grumbled.
“Nope. Grab clothes, toothbrush, and we’ll buy the rest there.”
“We have to tell the girls we’re going,” Xander protested.
“Call ‘em from the hotel.”
“We don’t even have a... a shrink, yet. We have to do that first.”
“Nope. Gonna call ‘round in the morning.”
“Then why can’t we leave tomorrow night?”
“Cuz we’re going now.”
“Spike...” Spike simply leaned down and kissed Xander gently.
“I promise that everything will be fine, all right? Now, let’s get our stuff together.”
“You don’t want anything from your place?” Xander tried again, though he knew resistance was futile.
“Don’t know if you noticed, love, but most of my stuff is here.” Xander looked around, and noticed that Spike was telling the truth.
“Oh. How’d you manage that?”
“I’ve been staying here for a week. I’ve been picking things up once in a while, whenever one of the girls dropped by and I left.”
“Huh. Go figure.”
“Go pack,” Spike said, affectionately rolling his eyes.
They managed to make it to L.A. within an hour and a half of Spike ending the phone call with Angel, because Spike drove the entire way. A white-knuckled Xander exited the car hastily, checking himself over obnoxiously for any broken bones, lacerations, or otherwise catalogue-able injuries. Spike simply rolled his eyes again, and the two went to the front door of the Hyperion.
Spike burst through the door, swinging his arms out to his sides wildly in a mockery of a showman’s pose. He smirked. “Honey, I’m home!” he called out. Angel stepped into the room, glancing at the clock.
“Xander, you didn’t let him drive?” he asked incredulously.
“He tied me up in the trunk. I had no say,” Xander replied innocently
Spike rolled his eyes yet again. “Like you don’t like it when I tie you...” He broke off, seeing the fear in his lover’s eyes. “Sorry love.”
Angel’s eyes became wary. “What’s going on?”
“Where’s the staff?” Spike asked, looking around.
“Home for the night. What’s going on?” Angel asked again.
Spike glanced at Xander, who was staring at the floor as if his eyes were locked there.
“Where can we store our stuff?” Spike asked instead.
Angel sighed, then gestured for them to follow as he went up the stairs. He showed Spike and Xander the Spartan room he had made up for them, and Xander set their duffel bags down.
“Thanks, Peaches. Xan, why don’t you head down to the kitchen and make yourself a snack?” Spike suggested. He and Xander shared a look for a moment, before he nodded and headed down the stairs.
Angel waited until he was out of earshot. “Okay, what’s going on?”
Spike sighed and sat heavily on the edge of the bed, running his fingers through his hair. Angel waited, somewhat patiently.
“Xander...he’s remembering things. Apparently, while he was growing up, his...well, his father. The bastard...” Angel stared dumbfoundedly at his grandchilde. Spike sighed. “He raped him for years. Xander never remembered it until about a week ago. He’s...not doing very well.”
“Fuck,” Angel replied, shocked.
“Yeah. We’re hear to find a shrink for him. Get him all better.”
“I just said he wasn’t bloody okay,” Spike snapped.
“Sorry. Are you?”
“What do you think?” Spike retorted with a glare.
“Don’t tell the staff, eh? We’re here for a visit, all’s peachy in Spike and Xander’s fun house.” Angel just nodded. “And separate beds. Xan ain’t comfortable with...”
“I understand. It’s okay. I’ll do that soon.”
“Xan’ll be going to bed soon. You can do it then, and we can talk some more.”
Angel nodded and left the room, meeting Xander in the hall. Xander’s face was reddened. He’d known what they were discussing, and he couldn’t help but feel shamed at Angel knowing his secret. Angel, however, wisely only nodded at Xander on his way past, and Xander went into the bedroom with Spike.
“Peaches is gonna show me my room, okay love?”
Xander nodded. Spike leaned in and kissed him gently, then moved to the door. “Get some sleep,” he instructed before closing the door behind him as he went into the hall.
Xander sat on the edge of the bed, holding his head in his hands, wishing he could be anywhere else in the world.
Back to Mercy
Next Chapter - "Bother"