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Wish I was too dead to cry
My self-affliction fades
Stones to throw at my creator
Masochists to which I cater
You don't need to bother;
I don't need to be
I'll keep slipping farther
But once I hold on,
I won't let go 'til it bleeds
~ Lyrics by Stone Sour

Spike entered the room Angel had made up for him, sighing deeply. He was next door to Xander’s room, so he could hear if Xander started to have a nightmare. He had filled Angel in on the previous week, and Angel had gone to sleep, looking more weary than Spike had seen him in a long time. He knew the feeling. The events of the past week had been taxing, and he knew that despite Angel and Xander not particularly being friends, that Angel didn’t really mind the young man, and was worried for him. Spike knew that feeling, too.

He couldn’t stop worrying about Xander. Every moment was spent wondering how his lover was doing, how he was holding up. He knew Xander was tired of everyone tiptoeing on eggshells around him, but he couldn’t help it. He didn’t want to set Xander off again. He hated seeing the pain in the human’s eyes when he went into that dark place in his mind.

Spike crawled into bed, and tried to quiet his brain so he could sleep. He reminded himself to look for a shrink first thing in the morning, so they could start Xander’s road to recovery. He hoped it didn’t take too long. He didn’t know how much longer he could stand watching Xander fall apart.

Just as he was drifting off to sleep, he heard Xander whimpering in the room next door. He bounded out of bed and went through the adjoining door, which had been left ajar, moving to the bed.

He crouched beside it and petted his love’s hair. “Xan? Pet, wake up, love,” he whispered gently. Xander blearily opened his eyes, trying to focus on Spike. He sighed.

“Bad dream?” Spike asked.

Xander simply nodded, then rolled onto his other side, turning his back on Spike. Spike sighed, knowing that Xander was going to have another bout of self-pity.

“Sweetheart, none of this is your fault. You have to remember that,” Spike sighed, kissing the back of Xander’s neck lovingly. Xander sniffled away the tears that were falling in spite of his not wanting them to.

“Why do you bother with me?” Xander asked on a whisper of a sob.

“Love you, git.”

“But you should be with someone...whole. Someone who’s not...”

“I can’t be with anyone but you, Xan. Love you too much,” Spike whispered against his hair.

“I wish you didn’t.” The words hurt Spike, though he knew in his head that Xander was just wallowing in self-pity. Hearing that your lover didn’t want to be loved by you hurt.

“Liar,” Spike replied, trying to sound lighter than it actually came out.

“Yeah. I just...I wish I’d stop being such a crybaby, you know?”

“It’s not...”

“Yeah, I know. It’s not my fault. But that doesn’t change the fact that I can’t stop crying. I wish I could just go back to not remembering any of it. I wish I could at least feel normal, if I can’t be normal.”

“But you can’t. Not yet.”

“I know. I’m so tired of trying, though. If it all just went away...”

“But it won’t,” Spike sighed, wishing he had something more reassuring to say.

“Won’t it?” Xander asked, his voice steel, as he finally looked over his shoulder into Spike’s blue eyes. Spike stared disbelievingly back at him.


“I wouldn’t have to hurt, Spike,” Xander pleaded.

“I said no. No fucking way, Alexander LaVelle Harris. You can’t, and you won’ won’t,” Spike growled.

“So you’re just going to let me suffer, then?” Xander snapped back, whipping his head back to stare at the wall, pointedly not looking at Spike.

Spike growled and stood, whirling around and beginning to pace.

“I fucking love you, all right? If you...if you died, I would die too. Don’t you see that? Don’t you see that I can’t watch you fucking die?”

“You’d rather watch me live like this?” Xander cried, sitting up and glaring at the pacing, growling, sobbing vampire.

“I want to watch you get better! I want to see you laugh again, and smile, and not get nervous when I kiss you!”

“And it’s my fault I get nervous?” Xander growled back.

“I already told you none of this is your fucking fault!!” Spike shouted.

A tentative knock on the door kept Xander from replying. Spike whirled on the door and flung it open, seeing Angel looking nervously into the room.

“Everything okay in here?” he asked carefully.

“Fucking peachy,” Spike growled. Xander laid back down, facing the wall once more. Spike tore through the doorway, nearly knocking Angel over on his way by. He went around the corner and bounded up the stairs, until finally he burst through the door on the rooftop, and stood standing there, breathing hard and sobbing. A heavy rain had begun to fall, and he stood there, staring at the sky, sobbing brokenly, until finally he collapsed to his knees. He suddenly started yelling obscenities to the sky, pouring his rage out to the opened heavens above him.

Angel followed at a more leisurely pace, sure Xander would be all right for the time being. He related better to Spike anyway.

He came to the roof to see Spike, soaked and sobbing into the sky. He sighed and waited in the doorway to allow Spike to complete his catharsis.

When Spike was spent, he hung his head, eventually laying his forehead on the cool, wet concrete surface.

“Just gonna stand there and watch me?” he finally croaked to the figure behind him.

“Kinda the plan,” Angel replied.

“I don’t know how to help him,” Spike said after a moment.

“No. That’s why you’re here.”

“I’m so tired, Angel,” Spike sighed. Angel moved into the rain and crouched down beside Spike’s trembling form.

“I know, Will,” he said, placing a hand on Spike’s back in a futile attempt at comfort.

“Wish I could be strong for him,” Spike continued, as if he hadn’t heard the soft reply.

“You are. You’re stronger than you think you are, Will, and you will help him get through this.”

“He wants to kill himself,” Spike replied. Angel suddenly wondered about his decision to leave Xander alone in the bedroom.

“He does?” Angel asked.

“Not really, I don’t think. But he was talking about it. Ain’t that what they babble about on those bloody after school specials? That talking about it is the first sign that they’re serious about it or some rot?”

“I wouldn’t know,” Angel answered.

“Yeah, Cave-Vamp here wouldn’t know pop-culture if it bit off his willy.” Spike sighed again. “So what if I make him worse?”

“Loving him won’t make it worse, Will. It’s only going to help him. Just keep loving him,” Angel replied, rubbing soothingly light circles on Spike’s back.

“I couldn’t possibly not love him,” Spike sighed, holding back a sob. He finally stood, and the two vampires headed back into the shelter of the hotel.

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