Disclaimer: DON'T OWN!
WARNING: Implied male/male sex, abuse, and LYRICS. Some people hate them.
SONG: "Scream Scream Scream" by Ludo
A man is many things… Let's count them all tonight.



What was it about humans? Spike couldn't help but wonder what it was. Out of all the weak, inferior beings—Why humans? The only answer he could come up with was that mankind was so diverse. Demons, though they ranged in size and shape, were all the same. Destruction was their main goal. It was the same with most vampires as well. All they were about was the kill.

So, Spike supposed that it was because humans were so different. They were greedy, wrathful, and down right cruel to each other. But then there were the people who weren't like that. The ones who stood up against anything and everything. The ones who dreamed of saving lives and putting out fires when they were younger. The ones who grit their teeth, clenched their fists, and just took all the shit that the world threw at them.

The bleach blonde sighed, rubbing a palm over his face. Man was many things. He could never count it all.

The one person he thought of though, when he did think of all of mankind's good and stupid qualities was one Alexander Harris. The Scooby's little White Knight. He was there, charging head on, ready to save the day even with the risk of losing his life. All the Scoobies were like that, though. Risking life and limb to save the planet.

You're letting go of strings… Replacing them with light.

Another thing that humans did was they forgave. They forgave and forgave and forgave. It was like you almost had a never ending supply of chances. Harris was the epitome of forgiveness. He seemed to forgive everything. The world was always betraying him somehow, but he still kept defending it with all his honor.

And it wasn't just the fact that he forgave. No, it was the way he did it with a joke and a goofy smile on his face. It was like he was letting go of this tight, knotted strings that connected him to all these people and situations, and replacing them with a bright illuminessence. It was beautiful. It was heart breaking. It hurt to watch sometimes—But it was great when you were on the receiving end of that light. Not so great when you're watching it happen to someone who never deserved it.

But they want the hit about the teenage take on pain. There's nothing catchy 'bout the life of a saint.

He'd seen Harris' pain. He'd seen it shine bright like a red beacon, calling out for help with every bruise. The teen lied about it between his white teeth as he smile that lopsided grin. He would never own up. Never. It was like he couldn't even admit it to himself, and all Spike wanted was to rip the person who caused that pain a new one. Maybe multiple new ones.

But Xander was a saint. He was a fallen angel. He had been broken over and over, and yet he still stood. He stood strong and confident, but there was always something wanting. It made the vampire's chest ache to see the cut and bruises, and hear the lies that the young man told.

"From last night," He would say, grin marring his lips. "Life on the Hellmouth, right?"

But I've got this song in my head 'cause it's breaking me down to tears…

Spike knew, though. It wasn't a demon or a vampire that left Xander's skin marked up. It was the man Harris called 'dad'. It was the abusive arsehole that beat his child. It was the bloody drunken minger who left his son in tears almost every night. Xander was strong, but he wasn't that strong. Spike could see through the holes. Right through, straight to the center.

Tear streaked cheeks would bury themselves in a lumpy pillow, ashamed and exhausted. He would cry himself to sleep, curl into a ball, and snore like it had never happened. Spike would sneak in. He did it every time it happened. Xander didn't know. He hoped the man never would. Too awkward, ya know? He had to keep that tough, 'I'm the Big Bad' exterior. But he saw it. He saw everything. Heard everything. He'd contemplated killing the blokes 'rents, but he knew it would just make Harris hate him.

So, instead, he would comfort him in secret and in silence. He would stroke his hair, twirling the occasional brown lock, and watching the bruises start to turn.

If I scream, scream, scream about a good man's life would you ever stop and listen?

He was screaming on the inside. Screaming his bloody lungs out. He could hear. He could see it. The silent plea that hid deep within the dark orbs of pain sugar coated with a bad Star Trek reference. All Spike wanted to do was scream for him. To yell at the top of his lungs, and make it all go away. If only he could make it all go away. The bruises and the pain. The agony of a broken soul with a crooked smile.

No man—No thing deserved such a treatment. He was an animal, a hunting, killing, torturing animal, but he couldn't imagine ever doing this to a person. Not to a good man like Harris. Not to the poor boy that he secretly still was. It was so frustrating to see. Sometimes he would scream, but only when demons were on his tail. He would let out a bit of that anguish within the battle. Tears hidden deep in brown eyes, a throaty call ripping and bubbling up in his chest as he dove it, ax at the ready.

Why didn't anybody hear the pain in it? A battle call is all they thought it was. Spike knew better. He knew the sound of a desperate man. Killed enough of them to know. But Xander wasn't just desperate. He was pleading, sure, but he still had that glimmer of innocent, never ending hope. Why wouldn't his sodding friends listen?

Would you open up your eyes?

Would they peel their eyes open and see the black eye? Would they ask what happened? No, Willow just cooed at him and got an ice pack from Giles' fridge. They didn't ask where he'd gotten it. They didn't know his father had a heavy fist, and an awful mean streak. Spike did. He gave the whelp a narrowed look. His blue eyes were open wide. He knew. Xander looked over at him, brown eyes gleaming even with the yellow and purple swelling around one. Spike heaved a little sigh, and Xander raised an eyebrow, wincing slightly. It was a silent question.

What are you staring at?

The angry, colored skin seemed to scream at him. It seemed to command that the vampire do something about it. Fix it. Make it better.

"It's not right," Spike muttered, not really realizing he spoke until it was too late. "Him beatin' you like that."

Xander's eyes had widened a fraction before falling back to normal. "What are you talking about, Fangless? This is from the Grimloche demon last night."


"Really, now?" Spike said, tone bitter and biting. "I don't recall you getting hit once last night. At least, not by any sort of beastie. Unless you count your da—"

"Shut up," Xander hissed, looking to the kitchen where Willow had disapeared into. The others were in the dining room, huddled around books about ancient curses. "Keep your mouth shut, Spike."

Willow came back in, a bag of frozen peas in her hands. She stared with wide, doe eyes as Xander stood, jaw clenched tight. He offered her a small smile, and she returned it, not really seeing the strain even as he excused himself and brushed out the door. No one really seemed to notice. Spike stood, brushing off his duster a moment before following the whelp out into the night.

Would you scream with me?

"Oi!" Spike called after him, a strange sort of rage boiling up in his stomach. "Harris!"

The brunette didn't stop his walk, and he didn't slow his pace. He kept going, head down, hands buried deep in his pockets. It was ridiculous how strong the human pretended to be. Spike could already smell the salty tears coming. He could feel the ache in Xander's chest like it was his own. With a low growl, he picked up his pace to try and catch the sun-kissed man.

"Harris," Spike tried again, reaching out. "Xander."

He grabbed a handful of cotton, gripping it tight, and yanked the boy around to face him. Crystal like orbs widened at the anger there. The pure wrath within those eyes. Spike wasn't fooled for a moment, though. Behind that rage was nothing but anguish. Suddenly, there was a flash of pain across his jaw, and it took Spike a moment to realize he'd just been punched. He stumbled back a step, hand going up to touch the soar spot on his lower left cheek.

Brown eyes spilled over with tears. A soft sob broke the silent night air, and Xander covered his mouth, looking forward with horror. He shook his head, as if in denial of something, and squeezed his eyes shut tight. Spike was only shocked for a moment because he had a whelp to catch as Xander's knees buckled and his shoulders shook. Spike sank to the cement with him, holding him close as hot tears burned their way down his far from perfect face.

Sing it sad and sweet.

"I didn't—I don't—I'm not…" His voice broke and he sobbed again. "I'm sorry. I- I- I didn't mean to—God, this can't be—I'm not—"

"Course you're not," Spike mumbled softly, sniffing as brown hair tickled his nose. "You're not him. Jus' an accident was all that was. Too much bottled up feelings. Won't happen again."

Xander shook a bit more, his face buried against Spike's chest. The vampire scowled, stroking his back, calming him down, bringing him back to sanity. It wasn't right. Kid being beaten on, and no one noticing a thing. Wasn't right at all. Wasn't right for Spike to be holding someone so fragile so close like this either. He shouldn't be comforting people. He should be killing them. With the chip, of course, he couldn't. But even without it, Spike was pretty sure he wouldn't harm a hair on the whelp's head. Liked the smell of it too much… A bit like apricots. It was a bit sad. And sweet.

His sobbing subsided. It wasn't as bad as it should've been. Xander should have cried himself into a comatose, but Spike understood not wanting to show too much weakness in the face of a not-quite-friend. Blood shot eyes peered up at him, and he sniffled pitifully, pushing himself away from what he deemed the evil undead. Pale hands gripped him hard on the shoulders though, keeping him from moving, and Xander looked up with a bit of surprise tinging his features.

"How?" Was the shaky word that left his quivering lips. "How did—"

"Know a lot of things, Harris." Spike said, strange grin on his face.

Xander seemed to think about that statement for a moment before he started to struggle to his feet. "Just don't tell anyone."

Spike rolled his eyes, climbing to his feet too, and finally releasing his hold on the boy. "Cross my bleeding little heart."

Say goodnight, goodbye, love. In the morning you will see…

Xander eyed him warily for a moment, wiping away the tears, and dragging a hand through his hair. He cleared his throat with an odd awkwardness, scanning Spike a moment before he let out a soft sigh. "Goodnight, Spike."

The blonde watched him turn on his heel. Felt the familiar ache and worry roll around in his chest as Xander walked away. He hoped that the whelp would take the back entrance into his house. He hoped that his sodd off of a da wasn't awake to beat him anymore. Spike grimaced as Xander dissapeared from his view. A single question ran through his mind, driving him a little mad… Why didn't Xander fight back?

"Goodbye, love," Spike whispered to the nothingness around him, taking slow, purposeful steps forward.

He had a human to stalk. Reaching into his back pocket, he pulled out his pack of cigarettes and lit one up. Putting it between his lips, he took a long drag and exhaled. The nicotine calmed his nerves. With a smirk, he followed the boy's scent all the way home.

It was three in the morning when he snuck into Xander's basement-room. He stayed there until he smelt the sun starting to rise. He sighed softly. He would be back tomorrow. He ran a hand through Xander's hair, loving the silky feel of it before he stood and made his escape. That day, while he slept in his crypt, he couldn't help but dream of bodies clinging to each other, and a truly happy Xander.

Photos keep you close with increments of light.

Weeks had passed. Spike had watched Xander in his sleep every night since then. He'd never felt like such a creeper. It reminded him a bit of when Angelous got obsessive over a victim. Maybe it ran in the blood. That night, Spike crept into Xander's room with the stealth of a ninja, only to find the bed empty. His non-breath hitched in his chest, and a shot of adrenaline fueled fear ran through his veins. Was his whelp dead? Spike inhaled deep. He didn't smell anything…

Inspecting the room, Spike found pictures scattered across the comforter. His brow furrowed as he stared down a young Willow hugging a young Xander tightly—both of them splattered with paint. It was cute. Adorable, even. Picking it up, he folded the part of Willow back to just have Xander there. He stared down at the picture, seeing the glee in the young man's eyes, and Spike felt a spot of pride when he realized just how attractive Xander really was. Like it was all his going.

He started going through the other photos, keeping some, but leaving others. Then, one in particular caught his eye, and he snatched it up and squinted. Xander was laughing quite heartily with another boy about his age, and the both of them had matching sheens in their eyes. He knew that look. That look was love. Whoever was in the picture with Xander had loved him, and it was mutual. Flipping the thing over, he sneered at the sight of "Jesse & Xander" circled in a heart. Spike had to bite back the jealousy, and instead of ripping it like he was first going to, he tucked it into his jacket.

Harris would have to be getting back soon, and the sun was going to rise eventually. One night without seeing him wasn't going to kill the vampire. So, he left, duster sweeping gracefully across the floor. A picture of Xander pressed to his heart. It was a strange feeling, this joy. This adorment. He had to admit it though—He felt for the whelp.

The quiet wooden posts… The county's cold tonight.

It was freezing. Colder than freezing. Something didn't feel right at all. Spike looked around the cemetary, face scrunched up in confusion as the wind whipped up a familiar scent of fresh fruit. He almost let himself smile when he spotted that moppy, brown hair. He refrained. Instead, he walked over to the boy calmly, face impassive, and his feet light. He barely made a sound as he came up on the boy, listening to him mutter to a gravestone.

"It's gotten pretty cold lately," Xander said, half-heartedly. It looked like he was in pain as he knelt on the soil and grass. "You'd like it. You always loved seeing your breath… You loved seein' mine, too." Xander sniffed. "It's been three years, buddy. You're still gone. Sometimes, on my good days, I'll pretend that you're still here. That you're still with me, and not dust."

Spike's eyes widened considerably at that.

"Willow misses you, too." Xander said quickly. "She doesn't mention you much, but I know she misses you. I miss you." He reached out, brushing his fingers against the letters carved into the stone slate. "Jesse…"

Spike thought back to the picture in his jacket pocket. He frowned, fingering the thing before making his pressence known by stepping on a particulary crunchy leaf. Xander whipped around, stake at the ready, until he saw who it was. His face relaxed for a moment, melting into something soft before he scowled at the vampire.

"Stalking me, now?" he bit out, standing up with a wince.

Spike took another step forward, watching how Xander pressed a hand to his ribcage, and growled darkly. "Again?"

If I scream, scream, scream about a good man's life would you ever stop and listen?

"None of your business, Spike," he said with a huff, brushing by easily.

Spike snarled, grabbing the boy's arm and pushing him back. Standing in front of him, his eyes flashed yellow a moment before draining back to blue. Xander stared at him in shock, but soon irritation took over. He tried to push by Spike again, only to be shoved back.

"Cut it out," Xander said. "It's cold. I'm going home."

"What 'home'?" Spike hissed. "You call that sodding place a home? Didn't think anyone could go so low, Harris. Apparently I was terribly wrong."

"What the hell are you talking about?" he said, crossing his arms over his chest. "Listen, I don't want to deal with this tonight, okay? So, just leave me alone."

Xander tried to get by once more, but was intercepted and shoved almost painfully up against a tree. A small shock of aguish lit Spike's brain up, and the vampire's game face showed as he fought off the bits of electricity that shot through his mind. The brunette stared at Spike, fear in his eyes as the vampire cornered him good. Spike inhaled the fear. Lapped it up like a dog. He got closer to the human, sniffing the air around him. Apricots and fear—It was addicting. Licking his lips, he penned the man in with his arms, and tilted his head.

Would you open up your eyes?

Game face melting away to reveal perfect features, he sighed. "Now, you listen here, Harris… Don't know if you know it, but I see you. I see you every day." Spike paused, reaching into his jacket to pull out the picture of Xander and Jesse. "I'm sure the bloke wouldn't want you suffering the way you're letting yourself. I'm not sure if it's some sort of self punishment or sumthin', but it's right bloody annoying."

Xander looked at the picture in awe. His brown eyes stared at the little slip, and a smile—a real smile—fell on his lips. He looked up at Spike, still not trusting him. There was still distaste there, but it was softer. Sweeter. Spike gulped back the imaginary flutter that his heart was incapable of doing. Reaching out, the boy took the photo between his fingers, gazing down at it lovingly. Spike longed for Xander to look that way at him, suddenly. The urge was undeniable. It was there at the pit of his stomach.

"He was my best friend," he muttered, stroking the picture. "I killed him, ya know. He was turned into a vampire when the Buffster first got here—He fell on my stake at the Bronze. I watched him disappear right in front of me. Dust in the wind."

Xander let out a quick, bitter laugh, wiping away a stray tear. He looked down, ashamed of his weakness, but Spike quickly caught him under the chin and tipped his face back up. The blonde shook his head, dragging his fingers through the boy's hair gingerly. Xander tensed a moment before calming and sinking into the sensation. He leaned into the intimate touch, taking anything he could get. It felt too good to be touched like that. Just for comfort.

"It's a hard thing to deal with," Spike said, voice hoarse as he watched brown eyes flutter closed—a sign of some sort of trust. "Losing someone like that. Havin' to off 'em. 'S no fun. Hurts a lot, too."

"Yeah," Xander chuckled, inhaling sharply as Spike's hand drifted down to his cheek.

Would you scream with me? Sing it sad and sweet.

"Wish I could help, pet," he said softly, wishing with everything that he had that he could make it better. Heal all the bad stuff. Fix all the past mistakes.

"Yeah," Xander said breathlessly, eyes fluttering open.

Spike would've blushed. If he could've. But vampires didn't get that problem. Instead, he just went straight for it. Even if the bloke didn't like it, he would get a piece of what he wanted. Leaning in, his lips brushed against slightly parted ones. It was chaste and sweet, but it sent a hot wave rolling over the undead man. He went to pull back, to pull away from the impromptu kiss. But suddenly arms were draped around his neck, pulling him close. Lips pressed more securely to his, and the passion crackled around them. Xander would try to deny it, but he'd wanted this for a long time too.

Their lips worked against each other in a soft passion, and Xander nipped softly at his lower lip. Spike groaned, pressing against the boy tight, and tangling his fingers deep in the soft locks of his dark hair. He jerked on it softly, angling the human's head, and causing him to gasp. Now that he had entrance into his mouth, Spike dove in, caressing and teasing Xander's tongue with his own. It was a sort of macabre dance of passion between a broken angel and a harmless demon. All Spike wanted was the sweet, Twinkie flavored taste of Xander's mouth.

Soon, they had to come up for air—Or, rather, Xander did. He panted softly, and Spike did too because the entire thing just sort of stole his un-breath. He stroked a tan cheek, not realizing that there was a grin painted to his mouth. They just stared at each other for a while, sinking into each other's gaze hypnotically. Xander leaned up again, grazing his lips against almost icy ones, and letting a shiver run up his spine. Spike gasped, jaw clenching. He wanted so much more than kisses…

"Thank you," Xander muttered, his hands letting go of Spike's leather duster, starting the break from him.

"For what?" Spike tilted his head, taking a step away from the man to catch his bearings as well as he could. "Snogging you?"

"Well, yeah, that too…" Xander scratched his head, his gaze down once more. This time because he was embarrassed. "Mostly for, ya know, not listening to me."

Say goodnight, goodbye, love…

"You're thanking me for that?" Spike asked incredulously, scarred brow shooting up.

Xander nodded, taking a step forward. "I don't think I can be alone right now."

Spike would've reeled back if it hadn't been for the addicting feel of Xander's body heat licking at his cold skin. The blonde stepped forward, extending a hand to tug on a strand of dark hair. He grinned cheekily, seeing the sorrowful look on Xander's face, hoping to cheer him up. The brunette just shuffled his feet kind of sheepishly, a blush starting to creep up his neck onto his face.

"My place then?" he asked, eyebrows wiggling. "We can cozy up on the couch. Watch Passions."

Xander chuckled lightly, but it wasn't as light as it could've been. It was nice to see Xander being true to what he was feeling. It was fantastic, even. He never wanted the man to pretend again. Blue intercepted brown, and a knowing look was passed. Tears brimmed in dark orbs, and he sniffled, ready to break down all over again. Spike was ready for it, but it never came. Instead, Xander just sucked it back and forced a watery smile.

"Hate crying," he said firmly.

"It's good for you though," Spike replied. "Helps get all the little baddies out."

Xander laughed. "But aren't you the biggest Bad?"

"Well…" Spike shrugged, draping his arm casually around Xander's shoulders. "I don't count."

"Of course not."

In the morning you will see…

That morning, Xander woke up curled up next to something cold and unbreathing. He gasped softly to himself, jerking straight up and looking around in a panic. Hands gripped his shoulders and pressed him back down. A soft kiss was placed on his head, and he looked up to see blue eyes sparkling down at him.

"Hi," he said, slightly in awe.

" 'Lo," he smirked, looking him up and down. He was so cute all ruffled and just woken up. Always had been. "Sleep well? You had a night terror at one point, though I think I snapped you out of it."

Xander nodded. "Yeah, I remember. Thanks."

He rolled his eyes. "Again with the thanking. Yes, I know, I'm amazing. But honestly, pet, I'd prefer being paid back with sexual favors."

Xander smacked him in the face with a pillow. "We're not even dating, Spike."

"We should be, though," the bleach blonde muttered through the cushion.

"What was that?"

"You heard me."

"Are you asking me out, Spike?"

"What's it sound like, you whelp?"

Xander smiled.

Spike did, too. But it only lasted a moment. Soon, a scowl took that smile's place, and the blonde's hands disappeared under the covers. Xander yelped, trying in vain to wriggle away as those hands dug into his pockets. Apparently finding what he wanted, Spike retracted, and pulled out the picture of Jesse and Xander.

"You loved him, didn't you?"

Xander grimaced, his face twisting in pain. "Yeah. Yeah, I loved him."

"Are you over him?"

"I don't think I ever can be," he said softly, speaking downward, as if to his hands before continuing. "Will you ever be completely over Dru?"

Spike paused but shook his head. "No."

"Then let's keep it at that," Xander flashed him that smile. The one from the photo. Except it was being directed his way. Spike's lips twitched, and instead of smiling back, he dove after his lips. They kissed harshly, teeth clicking. Oh, how strange humans were…

I'd rip my eyes out for you.

The End

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