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Comfort me
I can’t hold it all in
If you won’t let me
Heaven holds a sense of wonder
And I wanted to believe
That I’d get caught up
When the rage in me subsides
In this white wave I am sinking
In this silence

~Lyrics by Sarah McLachlan

Xander was flat on his back, on the bed, staring up at the ceiling. He knew Spike was puttering around in the kitchen, because he could hear the soft movements of the vampire’s actions. Xander also knew that Spike was puttering in the kitchen because he didn’t know what else to do. He felt horrible for putting Spike in that position. For making him hurt, and for making him uncomfortable. He hated dumping all this stuff on his boyfriend, but he didn’t know what to do about it.

Xander couldn’t just make all his new memories go away. Now that he was beginning to remember what his father had done to him, he didn’t know how he could go on living his life. He didn’t know how he was supposed to act, or react, and he didn’t know what he was supposed to do. Oh, he knew that he was going to need therapy, but what that entailed, he did not know. He’d never known anyone in the situation he was now in. He didn’t know where he would go for counseling, as he didn't know any psychiatrists in Sunnydale. He supposed that most psychos like himself were referred to larger cities, like Los Angeles, or Anaheim, or even San Diego. Supposing that, he wondered whether he would have to commute to one of the cities, or if he would have to maybe get an apartment there, depending on how often he’d have to go in. He hoped he could stay in Sunnydale, close to Spike. He needed Spike with him now, as much as he wanted his lover to leave him.

It wasn’t that he didn’t want to be with Spike. It was just that despite his friends’ reassurances, he truly felt that he could hurt Spike, both physically and emotionally. What if he freaked out again, and hit Spike? Spike could hardly defend himself, and Xander feared that in one of his breakdowns, he could push Spike, and Spike could fall down onto a wooden chair, and be accidentally staked. The thought caused a ball to form in the pit of his empty stomach, so that he wanted to vomit. He swallowed roughly, trying to alleviate the awful feeling.

The other scenario was that he could hurt Spike emotionally. Xander knew he had problems now, and he didn’t know if he was going to say or do something that would upset Spike, or hurt him. The thought of hurting Spike only strengthened the iron ball sitting high in his stomach.

While Xander had been thinking, he didn’t notice the silence coming from the kitchen. He did notice a shadow in the doorway, though, and glanced over to see Spike leaning against the doorframe, a stern look on his face.

“I can smell the burning from the kitchen. Quit thinking and get some sleep already,” he said fondly.

“Sorry,” Xander said immediately, turning onto his side so that he was facing away from the door. Spike sighed and stepped in, sitting at the foot of the bed. He rested a cool hand on Xander’s foot, and the limb trembled instantly. Xander forced it to still before Spike could notice or take his hand off.

Spike noticed, but he did not remove his hand. “I don’t want you to apologize to me. Not for any of this,” Spike said gently. “None of it is your fault, and I won’t have you in here blaming yourself while I’m out there trying to make myself busy. Got it?” He raised an eyebrow, and Xander knew he was doing it without looking. Sometimes Spike could be so predictable.

“I’ll try,” Xander whispered, sneaking a glance up at the blue eyes staring at him so intently.

“S’all I ask, Luv,” Spike replied after a moment, before patting Xander’s foot gently, standing, and kissing the young man’s dark hair. After another glance at Xander, Spike silently left the room, headed for the living room.

Spike went to the sofa, sat with a quiet thud, and put his feet up on the coffee table. He picked a cigarette out of the dwindling pack, lit it, and grabbed the remote. He turned the television on and flipped through the channels, not seeing what was on the screen. He was simply using the remote as a physical outlet.

The truth was, he just wanted to fight. He wanted to go out, find something he could hit, and beat it until it was dead and unrecognizable. He wanted to locate a demon, or a few demons, and take out the mind-consuming rage on them. He longed for the thick sound of knuckles hitting flesh, bones cracking, necks snapping, and the screams of blinding pain as he tore the throats out of his victims. He wanted to kill something.

But that wasn’t entirely true either. Spike didn’t want to go find some random demon, or group of demons. He didn’t want to kill something.

He wanted to find Tony Harris and destroy him. He wanted to get his hands on the man who had tortured his Xander, and torture him in the million ways he’d learned from Angelus. He wanted his knuckles to pulverize the man’s flesh, to crack his bones in the most horrifying ways, to rip his throat out again and again until the bastard was a pile of bleeding, steaming, rotting flesh, and then he wanted to light the pile on fire and spit on the flames.

Spike was angry.

He took another deep drag of his cigarette, stubbed it out, and immediately lit another one. There weren’t many in the pack, but Xander kept a carton in the apartment for him in case he ever ran out while he was there. He also kept several bags of blood in the deep freeze, and had thick draperies over the windows. Little things like that were what made Spike love the young man so much. That he’d do little things, changing his normal routine to make Spike’s life a little bit easier, was thoughtful, sweet, and completely Xander.

Spike sighed. He’d bitched at Xander for brooding in the bedroom, when that was exactly what he was doing. His thumb was still rhythmically stabbing the remote button, continuously rolling through the channels, but none of the images on the screen were making their way through his brain. All he could think about was the rage he was feeling, and the pain he knew Xander was going through.

Suddenly his ears tuned into the small whimpers he could hear coming from the bedroom. From Xander. He stubbed his smoke out quickly and hurried into the bedroom, where Xander was tossing and turning, whimpering. In sleep, where most people looked peaceful and at rest, he was restless and tortured, crying out softly. Tears rolled down his paled cheeks, and his brow was furrowed. Spike could smell the cold sweat covering his body, and hear the erratic heartbeat and labored breathing of a man caught in the midst of a terrible nightmare.

Spike stood in indecision for the barest of moments. He knew that if he woke Xander, he would be startled, and possibly have another breakdown. But he couldn’t let the boy drown in his nightmare. The pain etched on Xander’s face made the decision for him, and Spike moved to the bed, gently resting his hand on the young man’s shoulder.

Xander let out a shriek and jumped from the bed, instantly awake, looking around with panicked eyes until he recognized Spike as the one who had pulled him from the dream. Then he sunk to the floor, wrapping his arms around his knees and sobbing. Spike crouched beside him and pulled the boy into a tight embrace. Spike made soothing sounds in his throat long after Xander’s wretched sobs had diminished into hiccoughs and sniffling. Finally, Xander cleared his throat. Spike didn’t let go, but he put a little distance between them so that he could look into Xander’s red-rimmed eyes.

“Okay, Luv?” Spike asked, worry in his tone. Xander nodded shakily, and moved to get up, but Spike kept him in the embrace. “Wanna tell me about it?” he said softly. Xander shook his head.

“I don’t remember it,” he lied. Spike knew it was a lie, but didn’t want to push. He knew from the look on Xander’s face that he remembered every little detail of the dream, but didn’t want to talk about it. He understood it, and accepted it, but he didn’t like it.

Xander finally managed to get Spike to let him stand, and he went directly to the kitchen, on trembling legs, and got a glass from the cupboard. He went to the tap, ran the water until it was cold, and filled the glass before draining it in a few quick swallows.

For the first time for as long as he could recall, he remembered a nightmare. He remembered the fear as his father silently entered his room, the pain as his body was violated repeatedly, the shame as his father finally finished using his body, and the sickness afterward as he curled into a fetal position on his childhood bed. He wished he could go back to forgetting. At least Spike hadn’t forced him talk to about it, although that was a small consolation in the face of the images still crawling through his mind.

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