Oh, and twisted thoughts that spin round my head
I'm spinning, oh, I'm spinning
How quick the sun can, drop away
And now my bitter hands cradle broken glass
Of what was everything?
~Lyrics by Pearl Jam
“I’m sorry, Xander. I got frustrated. I shouldn’t have... Yeah. I shouldn’t have.”
Xander said nothing. “I love you, and I’m sorry. I’m...going to bed. See you in the morning.” When Xander again abstained from replying, Spike went through the adjoining door, leaving it slightly less ajar before stripping off his wet clothes, toweling off, and putting a pair of sweats on and climbing into bed.
He lay awake for a long time, worrying, regretting, and wishing everything was different. He could hear that in the other room, Xander’s heart rate wasn’t slow and steady enough for him to be asleep either. Spike finally sat up, swung his legs over the side, and stood. He hesitated on his side of the door, unsure if he should go in or not.
“Just come in,” Xander sighed tiredly from where he was sitting on the bed, holding his head in his hands.
Spike entered the room, and stood in the doorway, staring at Xander’s feet.
“I can’t leave things like this,” Spike admitted, unable to look away from Xander’s feet. Xander had his toes curled tensely, like every muscle in his body was rigid.
Xander made no reply.
“I love you, and it hurts me to see you hurting. When I hurt, I get angry. You know that. I’m not angry at you. I’m angry at what’s happened to you, and what’s happening to you now.” He sighed deeply. “I’m so bloody angry.”
“I’m angry, too!” Xander cried, frustrated, his voice cracking with pain. Spike could see that his eyes were reddened as his head shot up, and that his cheeks were streaked with tears. “I’m so angry! I don’t deserve any of this!”
“You certainly don’t. No one does. You did nothing to...”
“I know that! Don’t you think I know that? It doesn’t help. It doesn’t make it go away. It just makes it worse!” Spike waited to see what else Xander would say. “I had a relatively normal life. Normal by Hellmouth standards, anyway. I was well-adjusted, I was in love, I liked my life, I liked me!” Xander stood and began pacing. “I was happy, Spike. I was actually happy. Now all I can think...” He stopped and hung his head in defeat.
“What, love?” Spike asked, gently touching Xander’s arm. Xander almost flinched, but managed to hold it back, and Spike cheered in his head that he could touch his pet without being flinched away from.
“All I can think is that I’ll...never be happy again. Ever.” Spike crushed Xander into his arms.
“You will. Pet, you will. I will do everything, everything to make you happy again. I swear it on my bloody life.”
“I know. And I believe you. But a huge part of me, the part that...that he destroyed is telling me I can’t be happy because I’ll never forget, and I’ll never deserve to forget, what happened.”
Spike paused for a moment, petting Xander’s hair as the young man finally slipped his own arms around Spike’s waist, seeking somewhat useless comfort he knew he would receive.
“You probably won’t forget, love. But that isn’t what’s going to make you happy. You can deal with it though, and be happy. Be happy because you’ll heal, and you’ll be better, and because you will always, always have me there to love you and show you how much you deserve to be happy,” Spike finally whispered into his hair.
Xander took a tremulous breath and stepped away from the embrace. Spike had to force himself to let him go. He never wanted to let Xander go.
“I feel like...and I know you’re not, but I feel like you’re leaving me.”
“I know. I know that. I just...I don’t know why. I feel like I’m alone.”
“You are many things, pet. You are strong, brave, thoughtful, loved, and amazing. But you will never, ever be alone.”
“I love you, Spike. I’m sorry you have to deal with me,” Xander said, turning back to the bed and wiping at his face in shame. Spike was between him and the bed in less than a heartbeat, staring into Xander’s miserable eyes.
“Don’t be sorry. I love you, and I wish I didn’t have to deal with all of this only because I wish none of it happened. But don’t ever be sorry for something that’s out of your control. I love you too much to not deal with this, and you. I want you to get better, and I want to help you do that.”
Xander let out a bark of laughter. “You kinda sound like a broken record.”
Spike smirked mirthlessly. “Yeah, well, if you weren’t so damned deaf, I wouldn’t have to repeat it,” he replied, quirking an eyebrow.
“Love you,” Xander whispered. Spike leaned in and kissed him gently. Suddenly Xander was trying to devour him, drink him all down, kissing him with such a hunger that Spike was filled with screaming, burning lust through his entire body. Xander let out a moan when Spike forced himself to break the kiss.
“I love you, too. You need to sleep.”
“I need to kiss you,” Xander replied, moving in again. But Spike could feel desperation behind the kiss, and no lust. He pulled back again.
“Tomorrow, you can kiss me all you like. Tonight, you sleep.” Xander sighed, and Spike kissed his cheek. He left the room, but instead of heading to his bed, he went out into the hall, down the stairs, into the basement.
He headed straight for Angel’s training room, looking eagerly for a punching bag. He didn’t bother taping knuckles, and went straight to pounding away at it. He hit with precision and power, fury feeding his movements as he pummeled the heavy bag. He began spicing his routine up by including whirling kicks, elbow thrusts, karate kicks, and every other fighting move he could think of without thinking at all. He went back to punches, and as his emotions grew more and more ragged, his punches became less precise and more flailing. He missed the bag twice, and fell to his knees, hugging it tightly and sobbing out his pain. Suddenly he flew to his feet, whirling around the room in a violent rage.
He threw a mace, noting with some pleasure the heavy thud it made as it slammed into the wall, and began throwing objects around the room randomly. In his wild fury, he came upon a vase filled with fake flowers, and threw it mercilessly against the concrete floor below him, and following it. He picked it up in his hands and squeezed it, trying to bleed the pain out, trying to do anything other than feel.
Angel’s voice from the bottom of the stairs made him jump, and his head swung up to stare at his grand-sire. He wiped at his tear-stained face with the back of his bloodied hand, smearing the blood across his alabaster cheek. He said nothing.
After a moment, Spike croaked out a response. “Fuck you.”
“I liked that vase,” Angel replied, ignoring him. “Cordy gave it to me, though God knows why. Something about brightening the place up.”
Spike, again, made no reply. Angel sat on the floor, facing him, his legs crossed as he leaned forward.
“Does it make you feel better? To fight, and rage, and destroy property?” Angel asked.
“I don’t know what else to do,” Spike confessed.
“No, I don’t suppose you do. I don’t know how hard this is, for you or for Xander, but you’re not alone. Either of you.”
“Yeah, we got the Powers on our side, now, oh great Champion?” Spike sneered.
“No. You’ve got me, and Buffy, and Willow and Tara, and you can have Cordelia, and Wesley, and Gunn. You’ve got seven passionate, caring, hard-working people here for both of you.”
“’Cept none of them are supposed to know,” Spike reminded him.
“They’ll know something’s up, Spike. I won’t tell them the details, but if Xander has one of his...episodes, they’ll figure it out.”
Spike sighed. “I know.”
“And you’re going to have to deal with it.”
“I’m tired,” Spike sighed, curling his knees up to his chest.
“Then you don’t have to deal with it tonight. Sleep.”
“Tomorrow’s another day, something like that, yeah?”
“Something like that.” Both men stood and trudged up the stairs. Spike went into his room, and after checking to see that Xander was sleeping fairly peacefully, fell into bed. He’d managed to exhaust his body with his exertion in the basement, and went to sleep within minutes of his head hitting the too-hard pillow.
Back to Mercy
Next Chapter - "Damn Cold Night"