Here by my side an angel
Here by my side the devil
Never turn your back on me
Never turn your back on me
Here by my side it’s heaven
~ Lyrics by Matthew Good Band
When Angel finally came back, he grimly nodded at Spike, exhausted from fighting a For’thlux demon in the sewers underneath a daycare. Wes and Gunn had gone home to tend to each other’s wounds, and Cordelia had gone home to “wash, rinse, and repeat about forty times to get this damned goop out of her hair and if she couldn’t get it out of her Gucci pants, Angel was so buying her a new pair”.
“How was the appointment?” Angel asked Spike, who was sipping at his blood and flipping through the Angel Investigations log book disinterestedly.
“Dunno. Xan hasn’t said a word to me since he came out of the office. He went up to the roof half an hour ago, and he hasn’t come back down yet.”
“Oh. Should I…?”
“Dunno. He wouldn’t talk to me about it. What makes you think he’ll talk to you?”
“Impartial third party?” Angel suggested.
“Or he knows Cave Vamp is too thick in the head to figure out what he’s talking about,” Spike replied snarkily. Angel ignored it, realizing that the younger vampire was just blowing off steam. That, and the fact that he was entirely used to Spike’s insults by now. They had known each other for over a century, after all.
“I’ll go talk to him, see if I can figure out what’s going on in his head,” Angel said, putting his broadsword back in the weapons cabinet before climbing the stairs to the roof.
Xander was sitting on the concrete with his legs folded into his chest, his chin resting on his knees. He glanced up when Angel opened the door and stepped out into the warm night air.
“Hey,” Angel greeted quietly.
“Hey,” Xander answered in kind. Angel sat down on the ground beside him, staring up at the sky.
“Yeah. Wish I could see the stars, though.”
“You usually can’t, here in the city. Too many bright lights.”
“So how was the appointment?”
Xander shrugged. After a moment, he asked Angel, “Do you think I’m crazy?”
Angel was a little taken aback. “Is that what the doctor told you?”
“Not really. He…he said…well, he used a lot of technical words, but I think he said that in my heart I know that being in a gay relationship is wrong, so I’m making up false memories of my father r…raping me so I don’t have to deal with being gay.” Xander purposely didn’t look at Angel, choosing instead to stare at the skyline.
Angel said nothing for a long moment. “So?”
“Do you think he’s right?”
“I don’t know. I…I never actually thought about it.”
“Do you have a problem with gay relationships?”
“No. I mean, Willow and Tara…when they got together, I barely batted an eye. And then, I mean, Wes and Gunn…and when Spike and I got together…I was a little wary at first, about him being a guy, but I got over that before we even started the relationship.”
“But you still think this doctor might be right?”
“I don’t…it’s so real, Angel. The memories? All of it. It’s so clear…I don’t think I could be making that up.”
“Okay. So, it sounds like you don’t think the guy’s right.”
“I guess not, no.”
“Okay. Otherwise? Do you think once he realizes that these things actually happened to you, that he’ll be helpful?”
“He’s got a lot of degrees on his wall,” Xander replied.
“That isn’t what I asked,” Angel reminded him.
“I…I’m kinda nervous around him. I know it’s stupid, but…he’s just so big. He’s kinda…he’s kinda built like my dad is.”
“And that makes you nervous?”
“Yeah. I mean, I know he’s not my dad, but…I dunno. And I know Spike won’t let anything happen to me, but…I dunno. It’s like Nasser wasn’t really listening to me, you know? Like he was just…coming up with his theory, and he didn’t really want to hear anything else because he’d already figured out the reason?”
“So do you want to see him again?”
“I don’t…I don’t think so. I think I want to get help from somebody who believes me, you know? And who isn’t such a homophobe. Spike and I get enough of those…those looks as it is. I don’t want my shrink looking at me that way too.”
“That’s understandable,” Angel said with a nod.
“So I guess we’re back to square one?”
“Think of it as a clean slate.”
“Right.” They sat for a few moments longer before Angel stood.
“Well, I just spent the last hour fighting a big, slimy demon, and I think I need a shower. I’ll leave you to your…rooftop.”
“Okay. And Angel?” Xander said, turning to look at Angel, finally, who stopped walking away and turned his head so that the two were making eye contact. Xander smiled. “Thanks.”
Angel gave him a small smile and went inside. Xander sat for a few more minutes before heading inside himself. He went downstairs into the den, and saw Spike watching something on television. He stood in the doorway, looking at the back of Spike’s head for long minutes. Finally Spike turned his head and looked at him questioningly.
“Hey,” Xander said with a small smile.
“Hey, Xan. Wanna come watch telly with me?” Spike shifted his legs forward, and his hips, leaving room for Xander to squeeze in behind him so they could cuddle the way they usually did when they were relaxing in front of the television.
“Yeah,” Xander said, moving forward and sliding into his spot. He rested his head on Spike’s chest, wrapping his arms around him. Spike let his arm rest on Xander’s back, his fingers rubbing in soothing circles.
“What d’you wanna watch?” Spike asked, flicking through the channels.
“Doesn’t matter. Whatever you wanna watch.” Spike eventually settled on an old rerun of Blackadder, and they settled in to watch.
“I love you, Spike. So, so much.”
“I love you too, Xan,” Spike replied, leaning down to kiss the top of Xander’s sable head.
“We gotta find another shrink,” Xander said after a moment.
“Knew the guy was a quack. We’ll find one you like, pet.”
Spike kissed his head again, and they watched the program, neither paying much attention.
Back to Mercy
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