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In A Little While

Sometimes I feel like something is gone here
Something is wrong here
I don't belong here
Sometimes I feel like a stranger in town
And I've lost what I've found
It'll all turn around

~Lyrics by Uncle Kracker

Spike took Xander into the bedroom, lifting him as though he weighed nothing, which was untrue, though he had lost weight in the past few days. He laid the shivering man in his bed, covered him with the blankets, and sat on his chair until Xander fell into a restless sleep.

When he was sure Xander was sleeping, Spike left the bedroom and headed for the sofa. He glared ineffectually at the television as he lit a cigarette and stared at the smoke curling from the end of it. He took a deep drag and watched at the smoke streamed out of his dead lungs. He took another drag and watched it stream out as well. On his third drag, he broke.

As the smoke was pulled into his lungs, his eyes started to well up with tears. As he started to blow the smoke back out, a sob escaped from his lips, and opened a torrent of pain. He sat, hunched over, on the sofa, sobbing as quietly as he could, and chain smoking again.

An hour later, Xander awoke to hear Spike still sobbing brokenly in the living room. He rubbed at his swollen eyes, rubbed his throbbing temples, and sat up. He swung his legs over onto the floor, stood, and headed out to the sofa, to see Spike hunched and crying. He had one hand over his eyes, and a cigarette in his other hand, regularly making its way to his mouth for him to take another pull from it. The ashtray on the coffee table in front of him was overflowing.

Xander stood for long minutes, knowing that Spike was too deep in his despair to notice he was there, and knowing he was the cause of that pain. He felt obligated to do something about it, so he walked over to the couch and touched Spike's shoulder. Spike jumped up, wiping at his eyes and stopping his sobs almost immediately.

"Xan?" he croaked. "Everything okay, pet?"

Xander leaned forward and kissed him gently on the lips, then pushed him back to the sofa. Spike sat, staring at Xander with guilt and concern. Xander moved and sat behind him on the sofa, wrapping his arms around Spike's tense body, with his legs on either side of his hips, and buried his face into the soft material of Spike's black T-shirt.

"I'm sorry," Xander whispered almost inaudibly, his voice cracking with emotion. Spike tried to turn around, but settled for turning only his face when Xander wouldn't let him.

"No. It's not your fault. You didn't deserve any of this, and I just…don't apologize, please," Spike whispered back, pressing his cool, wet cheek to Xander's hot wet cheek, brow furrowed in pain.

"I didn't want to make you hurt. I just…snapped," Xander tried to explain.

"Shh. Not your fault. None of it is. Love you," Spike whispered on a hitching sob, finally managing to turn in Xander's arms and wrap his own arms around the shaking shoulders. He pressed his face into the hollow of Xander's neck, inhaling deeply.

Xander tried to say it back, but it felt as though his throat had closed up. He settled for a sob, holding onto Spike more tightly, trying to ease both their pain.

Xander finally lifted his head, diving for Spike's mouth in a desperate kiss. He suddenly felt as if he had to drink all of Spike down, to bring him inside him, to keep him strong.

Spike let Xander kiss him for a moment, then began to pull away. Xander pulled at him, trying to keep him there, and Spike began to pull harder.

"Please," Xander sobbed out, and Spike looked directly into his eyes.

"Xan…" Spike tried to protest, but Xander lunged forward again, claiming his mouth.

Spike couldn't help but return the kiss. They had barely touched since that first night, and he was starving for Xander's taste. He knew it was wrong, that he was taking advantage of Xander's pain, but he needed this to heal is own pain as well.

Spike kissed his lover for a few minutes before finally forcing himself to break away. Xander looked up at him, hurt in his eyes.

"Love...we can't," Spike begged, trying to make Xander understand why they couldn't continue.

"Why not? I love you, you say you still love me...I want you, Spike."

"You...what if it happens again? I don't want to see you hurting that much, if you start to remember again, and I don't want to bring up any bad memories. And I want you to want me for the right reasons, Xander. Not to forget, or to try to make us both feel better. It should be about love, about you and me, not about forgetting." Spike tried not to sound angry, but part of him was. Xander was almost trying to use him to forget what had happened for most of his young life. "You can't use me."

Xander stared at him, looking furious, and about to argue. Suddenly he sighed and looked down. "I'm sorry," he whispered. Spike was immediately kneeling at his feet, holding his face in his own cool hand.

"It isn't your fault. You're going through something that I don't know how to deal with. I want to help you, pet, but I don't know how. We both need to work this out."

"I feel like I'm missing something. Like, a great big chunk of me is gone, and there's this huge sucking chest wound. I thought, if you and I...that it might come back. That you can fill that hole," Xander sighed, trying to explain.

Spike kissed him gently on the lips. "I can help you fill it, but I can't do it alone. You need to heal, first. That's the only thing that will really work. If I fill the hole by myself, then it's just going to fall apart. I don't want us to fall apart, pet."

"I never thought of it that way. I don't want that either." The two men kissed chastely again. "So, how do we go about fixing me?" Xander finally smirked.

Spike barked out a laugh, and the tension in the room was suddenly relaxed. He flashed a blinding smile at Xander, who flashed a slightly weaker smile back. Spike sighed. "Well, Xan, I think the best bet is to call a shrink."

"Where? I don't know any shrinks here that haven't been eaten or evil." Spike laughed again and rolled his eyes at Xander.

"We could check in LA. Maybe try to find one there?"

Xander's eyes lit up. "We could stay at the hotel, with Angel and his family!" Spike looked horrified, and Xander laughed. "Seriously! We'd have all that space, and you could spend all your time harassing Angel! Me too!"

Spike slowly raised his scarred eyebrow. "You're evil. I like you."

"You're a bad influence on me," Xander smirked back. He leaned in for another kiss, and this one was more genuine. "So do you want to call Angel with the good news, or should I?"

Spike's eyes took on an evil gleam, and he started to smile evilly, sending shivers down Xander's spine. Suddenly the smile fell into a frown. "What are we gonna tell him, pet?"

"That we're coming to town so I can...oh. Right."

"Right. He wouldn't treat you differently, you know. He'd be good about it. Much as I hate the poof, he's all souled and feeling and all that crap." Xander snorted. "He'd be good about it, Xan."

"It's not him I'm worried about. It's...Cordy, and Wesley and Gunn. I'm not sure I'd want them to know..."

"Okay. Then we lie. We tell Angel, and he can cover for us."

"You're evil. I'm keeping you."

"I bloody well hope so," Spike crowed, sounding indignant.

Xander sighed, steeling himself to more serious matters. "Okay. Call Angel." Spike nodded, and after kissing his lover once more, moved toward the phone.

Back to Mercy
Next Chapter - "Honestly OK"