Title: Not Crazy
Feedback/Concrit: darkhavens @ slashverse.com
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. No harm, no foul, no money made.
Summary: Xander is convinced Spike has left him, but Spike comes back... fixed.
Notes: For brandil and crazydiamondsue's Music of Pain Xander-centric ficathon. (Masterlist available Monday 11 July.) This is the first of three unrelated pieces I signed myself up for in a fit of madness. :D
Lyrics to 'Crazy', by Patsy Cline
Crazy, I'm crazy for feeling so lonely
I'm crazy, crazy for feeling so blue
I knew you'd love me as long as you wanted
And then someday you'd leave me for somebody new
Worry, why do I let myself worry?
Wond'ring what in the world did I do?
Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you
I'm crazy for trying and crazy for crying
And I'm crazy for loving you
Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you
I'm crazy for trying and crazy for crying
And I'm crazy for loving you.
Three months. Three months without a word. Not a postcard, not a letter, not even a stupid text message just to say hi. For a whole three months Xander had been missing Spike. Every day hurting just that little bit more, every day just that slightest bit emptier than before.
Everyone else had long since passed the point of 'He'll be back', 'Have faith', 'He loves you, Xander, I'm sure he does,' and now they provided a constant chorus of 'Forget him', 'He's not worth it,' 'The evil, lying bastard'. They told him to move on, to chalk it up to experience, just another murderous demon in his past.
He couldn't. Every time he caught the faintest whiff of cigarette smoke, his stomach did a back flip and his heart lodged in his throat. The sight of white blond hair in the distance made him run to see; the drape of well-cut leather across male shoulders made him weep.
In short he was a wreck, a melancholy mass of morose moods and mournful moping. The CD in his stereo hadn't been changed since Spike had gone. Patsy Cline's Greatest Hits, Original Recording (Remastered) had been playing on repeat the whole three months.
The final notes of 'Sweet Dreams' faded into nothingness as Xander cracked open another bottle of Spike's favourite beer. A second or two of silence and then Patsy began to croon again, this time about being crazy - a state of mind to which Xander could most certainly relate. Taking a healthy swig, and ignoring the harsh scratchiness of his already abused throat, Xander joined her in bemoaning the loss of his love and his sanity. As his voice broke over 'Worry' and the always near tears returned in force, he missed hearing the quiet snick of a key turning in the lock, missed the short sharp intake of breath as his visitor took in the scene before him, and also missed the determined golden flicker in the grey-blue eyes that weighed, judged and pronounced verdict on the whole situation in the time it took to close and relock the door.
Xander was partway through 'wondrin' what in the world did I do?' when the musical talents of Patsy Cline and her complete backing band dropped away, leaving a bleak silence that reverberated inside his skull. He blinked, peered down into the beer bottle as though they might all have taken refuge there, and then turned puzzled, barely-focussed eyes to the softly glowing lamp that sat on the table beside his head. Huh. The power was still on, which meant... what?
A pair of battered Doc Martens appeared in his bleary view and for one short, crystalline second, hope shone in his eyes, then with a sigh he turned his attention back to the beer in his hand.
"C...Crazy, Xander,' he told himself, swallowing the lump of tears that threatened to choke him as the spark of hope flickered and died. "Three months and you're still dreaming that..."
"What? Xander... Three months? Did you say...? Have I been gone for three months?!"
The bottle went flying one way as Xander went flying the other, scooting backwards on his ass, fingers digging holes in the fake fur rug they'd bought and broken in together the weekend that Spike had agreed to move in with him.
Spike took a step forward, and then froze as Xander rolled up into a ball and began to rock, refusing to raise his head to check if the unusually vocal mirage remained. He needed it to be real too much to actually believe. If he believed and it wasn't real he thought he might just snap. Curling into an even tighter knot he buried his nose between his knees and scrunched his eyes shut tight, speaking to fill the empty silence.
"Oh boy. Crazy Xander, you've really done it now. You know he only comes back in your dreams." That idea bounced around inside his brain for several seconds, luring him out of his pill-bug state to look up into Spike's shocked face.
"Is this a dream? Am I dreaming? The other dreams I've had weren't like this. You were dying or d...dead or b...back with Dru, or s...sometimes even Buffy. You'd stare at me and then you'd just... laugh until I cried. That wasn't nice."
One trembling hand rose and tried to rub the tears away, leaving Xander looking kindergarten young and defenceless. He sniffled wetly and knuckled his left eye beneath his frown.
"You didn't come back. You promised."
Spike dropped to his knees and slowly shuffled forward, trying not to spook the man he'd broken with inadvertent lies.
"I did come back. I'm here now, love, and I'll never leave again. I didn't... Has it really been three months?"
Suspicion shimmered in Xander's eyes as he studied the form before him. It was feeling less and less like a dream with every passing second. Dream Spike had never come back looking quite so fuzzy-scalped. The trademark hair had always been in place. He looked a little skinnier too, dangerously so, but the constant gauzy haze of fearfrustration was no longer behind his eyes.
"S...Spike? Did you...? Are you...? C...can I...? Will you hold me, please?" And just as fast as that he was in Spike's arms, in his lap, being rocked and petted as he sobbed out his alcoholic sorrow.
"Shhh. Shhh, luv, I'm here now. I'm back, and I promise I'll not be running off like that again. Didn't know it had been that long, the jackass might have said. I was in too much of a hurry to get back to stop and ask the date. And then I find you in this sorry state!"
The words filtering in between the sobs didn't make much sense, but Xander didn't care so long as he was being held like this. He didn't resist being pulled to his feet as those arms stayed tight around his back. His eyes didn't open, his sobs didn't stop, he didn't think much beyond 'Spike!Spike!Spike!' until the icy water sliced him into tiny ribbons.
Xander screeched, and automatically scrabbled for the taps, but stronger fingers batted his away and held him in the stream.
"Wha... wha... wha... Why? C...cold! Stop it! Let me out!"
"Not until you open your eyes and look at me, Xan. I need to know you understand I'm here, not a dream. And not a boozy fantasy - you know you shouldn't drink. Three beers and you always seem to find something to weep about. What the bloody hell d'you think you're playing at, eh?"
Xander opened his eyes and peered through tear- and shower-clumped lashes. Short sharp shivery breaths shook his frame.
"Was m...missing you. B...Bastard! Didn't know where you were. D...didn't know if you were d...dust in some dark alley. I'm f...freezing, Spike! Please..."
The water stopped and in seconds Xander was stripped to the skin and towelled off, then seated on the toilet lid while Spike did the same.
Spike. Here. Naked. Real. It had to be real. Xander knew he'd never dreamt of Spike this thin. He was nothing more than bone and tendon, muscle shrink-wrapped in skin transparent beneath fluorescent lights. Where had he been? What had he done? Had he fed at all while he was gone? And again, where? The questions spun and flickered in his mind, and from Spike's expression they were falling from his mouth at a similar speed.
"Sorry. But you said you'd be back in a week or so and you weren't. I need to know - is there someone else?"
Spike blinked, shook his head and laughed.
"You daft git. I came back for you, didn't I? There's only you, luv. You're all I'll ever need." He dragged them both to bed and under the covers, limbs entangled.
"Shhh. Snuggle up and let me tell it right. There're bits I'm none too clear about, but I'm sure you'll get the gist.
"I heard about this demon - in a Mission in New Mexico - who knew someone who might remove the chip if I got there quick. I didn't have time to tell you all the details, so I lied and said I was going to see a friend about a debt."
Xander thought he should probably complain at that point, or panic, but Spike looked ready to silence him so he simply rolled his eyes.
"Git. Anyway, it turns out that this 'someone' isn't from these parts. He could do the job but he couldn't do it here. Silly misunderstandings and mistranslations aside, it turns out he's got his special little surgery set up in a dimension where electricity doesn't work. He knocked me out, opened me up and pulled that chip right out. As soon as I was ready he called up a portal and dropped me back. I hit the ground right next to the 'Welcome' sign and started running."
A frown rumpled Xander's forehead and he reached up to run a hand over the peach fuzz on Spike's head.
"Did you test it? Maybe he was lying about..."
Spike interrupted in an awed and happy way. "I saw the chip. I've got it in the pocket of my jeans. You can see it later, but... Yeah, I tested it out. A wanker on the way here nearly tripped me up, so I punched him out and got a couple of teeth stuck in my knuckles." He paused to inspect the torn up skin.
"That's, um, great, Spike. But... What happens now? If you start killing again I don't think I could..."
Spike's lips on his cut him off before he could finish, and Xander soon lost himself in that touch and taste and strength, whimpering with mindless abandon when Spike pulled back to speak.
"I must have been out cold for all those weeks you sat here worrying. I bet you tried to bargain with the devil to get me back. And here I am, as good as new - so, tell me what you offered. It must have been worthwhile to do the trick. Was it the Slayer or your little red witch? Nah, you're too good for that. C'mon, luv, tell me what I'm worth."
Spike manhandled him into a tight embrace, and Xander, still feeling the effects of too much booze and stress and the overlaying buzz of sweet relief, answered the question as cool, soft lips tickled over his throat.
Spike bit deep.
The second story will be posted on Saturday night, and the third on Monday. :D