Pairing: William/Xander Rating: PG-13 Concrit: Please! Comments are always welcome. I love to know you're reading. Disclaimer: All characters are borrowed with respect from Joss Whedon. Warnings: This is a story about depression. There is no character death, however, and the boys stick together in the end. The boys are both human in this story, as well.
He could just make out the vehicle delivering the post driving slowly away through the threadbare curtains hanging from the bay window. They were drawn shut, allowing only the slightest amount of light to be filtered through the age-tinged fabric, casting the living room into shadow. Which was mood appropriate, he supposed.
The sun outside seemed to glare at him in accusation each time a stray beam forced its way past the drapes. Failure, it said laughingly, tiny flecks of dust dancing, swirling happily around as if celebrating the golden light's victory over the window treatments. He didn't understand why it wasted the time. Mocking him. He already knew.
He shifted restlessly, trying to find a comfortable position on a couch worn out and dumpster-worthy several years over, finally conceding its victory over him as well. God he was useless. He thought about going to the kitchen…getting something to eat. When was the last time he'd done that again? He dismissed the idea quickly. The only thing he had on his agenda for today was trying not to move for as long as physically possible. If he stayed still long enough, maybe the world would stop with him.
He opened his eyes not knowing how much time had passed. The room around him was almost completely cast in darkness, only the artificial light from the streetlamp coming through the worn curtains and the red numbers shining from the corner on top of the television providing any light at all. The sun was gone. The few hours of respite he got from its taunting were always a relief. But now all he could see is the red numbers in the corner, ticking off slowly to remind him how much nothing he accomplished all day. How it really didn't matter because in the scheme of things one person is insignificant anyway. Just another of his tormenters.
When there was a thump on the front door, he didn't recognize the sound. He ignored it. When the sound came again, it was now several thumps in succession. He managed to direct his eyes to look to the left then, toward the door and though his face didn't show it he understood. Someone was on the other side of the door.
He considered not getting up to see who it was. Just sinking further into the void surrounding him until he didn't exist. Maybe then he could escape. Maybe there it would be quiet.
"Harris! I know you're in there! Get up off your arse and let me in."
He sighed. Ah. Just someone else here to antagonize him. What else did he expect?
It seemed like lifting a tremendous amount of weight as he tried to make himself rise to his feet. He trudged slowly across the living room vaguely aware of the increasingly angry voice on the other side of the door. As he finally reached his destination, his hand wrapping around the cold metal of the door handle, he thought an hour might have gone by between prying himself off the couch and standing right here. Still, the screaming.
"Open the bloody door, wanker!" There was a pause before the voice continued, "alright then. I'll just call the authorities."
Just as the voice finished its sentence, the door slowly swung open. One man stood inside the dark apartment halfway hidden behind the door, hair long and tangled, stubble growing longer, distended, blank eyes staring out toward another man, the one who had been banging on his door, yelling.
"What do you want?"
This only seemed to infuriate the man who had been knocking on his door even further. He pushed his way past and into the apartment, turning back to the man standing at the door.
"Just what do you think you're doing?"
He closed the door lightly, and leaned his back against it, tired. "Why are you here?"
Anger flashed in the visitor's eyes, then, and even in the darkness of the room, their striking color was apparent. Bright blue. He choked then, his insides twisting as the air around him became useless. His eyes began to water, and he gasped, desperately trying to catch his breath. His lungs wouldn't work and his eyes kept watering. He dug his nails into the back of his hand, embedding them as deep as he could, trying to scratch, scratch, scratch until everything went away. He banged his head against the door once. And that felt good so he pulled forward intending to do it again. But then the blue eyes were there, right there, and hands were on his shoulders guiding him away from the door and to the middle of the room.
The eyes were not alight with anger anymore. Rather, they were shaded with a horrible sadness, looking at him like something that mattered. "Luv, please. What is going on? Why are you doing this?" The eyes just looked anguished, and he had to close his own. They made him want to run. They made him want to never stop looking into them.
The man tried again, sounding like a man truly frightened but trying to hold himself together. "Xan…luv. Please tell me what's wrong. I can't help if I don't know what's wrong."
He let out a sob. He felt like there was nothing left inside him and his knees gave out, but the man with the blue eyes held him close guiding him gently to the ground.
He was crying like a little boy, he knew, and it was embarrassing. But it wouldn't stop now. He couldn't make it. Quietly, his eyes closed to shield himself from the laughing. He couldn't stand the laughing.
"Everyone thinks this is funny," he gasped out, spit caught in his throat from crying.
The hand that stroked through his hair was gentle, but it turned Xander's stomach. Failure. "I don't know what you mean, luv. No one is laughing at you."
"Do you realize there will never be eyes as beautiful as yours ever again?"
The other man smiled a little. "Xander…"
"No one will ever see your eyes like I see them, Will," Xander said desperately, and the smile fell from the blue-eyed man's face.
"That's what has you so upset? Xan…"
"Why can't you understand?" Xander said, defeated. "There's nothing anyone can do. Do you remember? That day when you took me to the beach last year. We hiked up the shoreline for miles until we were sure we'd be all alone and spent the whole day just…being. Surrounded by the salt air, waves rolling in on the sand. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. Do you remember that day?"
Will smiled sadly, remembering. "Yeah, pet. I remember. Perfect day, that was. Could do that again. Any time you like. If you'd just let me help you…"
"You don't get it," Xander sighed, so tired he could barely speak. "You're right. That day was perfect. And no one else can ever have that day. And we can never have that day again. It's gone now. I want it back, but it's gone."
Will's brows drew together, confused. "Xan…that's not the way…"
"Why is there nothing good left in this world?" Will's heart broke then. The blue-eyed man didn't know how things had gotten this bad. Didn’t know how to fix them.
"Pet. There is good left in the world. Tons left to be seen. Your mind's playing tricks on you. You have to let me help."
"A week ago I was reading a book…the poetry one you gave me, Will," Xander said through his tears. "And I realized…all these words were already written. No one would ever get to write these words again." He was digging at his wrists now and Will put out a hand to stop him. When he pulled back Xander's hand, he saw the cuts. They were shallow, not deep enough to do much damage, not in the right place anyway. But it shook Will to the bone.
"Xander…what did you do?" he whispered.
"Nothing," Xander answered, voice strangely devoid of emotion.
"You tried to…my God! Why didn't you tell me?"
"I failed, Will. I couldn't even kill myself right."
"Thank God!" Will said, and his voice seemed loud to Xander. He leaned away slightly.
Will noticed and quickly drew him back in, held him tightly to his body. "Why would you do this?"
"I wanted to stop the laughing. Everyone's always laughing."
Will pulled Xander's face in close, hugging him to his chest. Will's eyes closed, tears leaking from beneath his lids. He needed to get his Xander back. Didn't know how it had gotten this bad without him realizing. Failure.
Will took Xander's face in his hands. Xander's eyes were still closed, tears silently trailing from his eyes, as well, and he looked so young…was young. They both were. Will leaned in close. Pressed his lips to one cheek, then the other. "I'm going to make this better. I'll see you happy again. Promise."
"There's no such thing."
"Will you let me prove you wrong?"
Xander was quiet for a very long time. Long enough for Will to worry. His fingers moved back and forth, a soothing motion on Xander's cheek.
"I'm willing to let you try."
*The title is a reference to the poem of the same name which can be found Here. While this poem is decidedly depressing, and does not end on the same note as I do (at least I hope not), the similarity is evident, I think.