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Ignorance is Bliss


by
Nash



Part One


Spike was coming back to his flat after a very successful night of slaying, feeling happy for the first time in over a year. He was still high from the adrenaline rush, and he chuckled quietly when he remembered the look on Angel’s face as he stood there, with his favourite suit covered in purple goo. Somehow Spike always managed to avoid getting slimed—it was always his partner that got it, he snickered.

His good mood evaporated the moment he saw a slim redhead leaning dejectedly against his door. Before he had time to demand an explanation for her presence, she burst into tears.

“Spike? Oh, thank God I found you.” She sobbed, and Spike couldn’t help but take her into his arms to offer comfort. No matter what had happened in the last year, he still considered her his friend.

“Shhh…don’t cry, Red. Whatever it is, it can’t be that bad,” he said softly.

With a visible effort Willow pulled herself together and stepped back. “Spike, it’s Xander. Two days ago… he’s…he’s been in an accident.”

Whatever colour Spike had drained from his face, and he swayed unsteadily on his feet.

“Is he…I mean did he…” he tried to ask, think, the unthinkable.

“He’s in a coma. They don’t know when…if…when. They don’t know when he’ll wake up,” she explained haltingly.

Spike nodded. “Right. Let’s go,” he said, and retraced his steps out to the car. His or not, Xander had to be okay. He had to be.

A couple of hours later Spike was standing next to Xander’s bed, looking down at him sadly. Willow had explained that he’d crashed the car down a cliff just outside Sunnydale. There was nothing physically wrong with him other than a big bump on his head, but he’d been in a coma for two days now. The doctors had said that with every passing day, the chances of him waking up were diminishing.

“How did you get yourself into this mess, Xan?” he whispered.

“He was drinking to forget what day it was,” an accusing voice said from the doorway.

Spike looked up to see Buffy glaring at him.

“What do you mean, what day it…oh.” Spike paled even further when he remembered what day it was. How could he have forgotten?

“Yes, ‘oh’. So, while Xander drank himself into a coma, what did you do on the one year anniversary of the day you left him?” Buffy asked sarcastically.

“I didn’t leave him, Slayer, he told me to go,” Spike defended himself. “Xander is the one who kicked me out.”

“Oh? Is that why he cried for three days solid after you left? Huh? Is that why it took us nearly two months to get him out of the apartment? Because he was so happy he got rid of you?” As she talked, Buffy came closer and closer—ending up right in front of Spike, looking ready to pummel him.

“Buffy stop. This isn’t helping Xander,” Willow said quietly.

“Why did you bring him here, Wills? It’s not like he cares,” the blonde snapped, turning away from Spike.

“Because Xander loves him. He would want him here, and right now, what Xander wants, he gets,” Willow insisted, moving to perch on the edge of Xander’s bed. “The doctors said anything might get him to wake up, and Spike might be it. And while you’re in here you won’t argue. He doesn’t need to wake up to hear you two going at it.”

Spike listened to the conversation shocked at Willow and Buffy’s vehemence that Xander loved him—that he'd suffered because Spike left. Xander had told him to go. He’d stood in the middle of their apartment and told him to go to LA and never come back. And he had. Spike was about to question the girls about this when a mumbled groan came from the bed.

Willow leaned closer to Xander and peered at him, speaking his name hopefully.

Xander’s eyes opened a slit, and he tried to focus. He felt like he’d been hit by several trucks and then run down by a train. He tried to speak, but all that he could do was croak painfully. A glass of water was immediately pressed against his lips, and he gingerly took a couple of sips before looking up.

“Hey, Spike,” he whispered, smiling at his boyfriend. One year into their relationship, and he still got excited every time he thought of Spike as his. He looked around to see his girls looking worried. He smiled weakly at them before turning back to Spike. “Sweetheart? Can you ask when we can go home? I hate hospitals,” he said tiredly and closed his eyes, missing the look of utter shock that passed between the three people in his room.

“Right,” Spike said after a while. “I’ll check on that. Erm…you just go back to sleep, Xan.”

“’kay,” Xander mumbled, and let himself drift off. Spike would take care of everything.

Spike stalked out of the room, followed closely by the two girls.

“What the hell is going on?” he exploded the minute they were outside. “If this is some kind of trick of yours to get me back here, it’s bloody failing…do you understand me?” he growled, turning around to glare at Willow. “He’s the one who decided we were over, and I’m not coming back to him!”

Buffy looked like she was ready to hit him again, but Willow grabbed her arm. “Look, I don’t know what went on between the two of you. Xander refused to talk about it,” she said calmly, before drawing herself up to her full height and glaring at him. “But I can tell you right now, Spike, that this is not a trick. I wouldn’t do that to you, and you know that. Or you should know that.”

At Willow’s words, Spike visibly deflated. “Sorry Red. It’s just hard you know? He thinks we’re still together. How can he think that?”

“We need to call the doctor,” Buffy said suddenly. “He said to call him if Xander woke up.”

Willow nodded and went to find the doctor. The minute she was out of earshot Buffy turned to Spike. “I don’t know what the deal is here. I don’t know why you left without telling us anything, but I’m telling you now…you hurt him again, and I will beat you to a bloody pulp. Understand that and we won’t have to talk about it again.”

The tone of Buffy’s voice was determined and cold, and Spike knew that he would get no information out of her so he nodded softly and waited for the doctor. Looked like he hurt more people than one by leaving the way he had.

They waited silently until Willow came back with the doctor, and they all went into Xander’s room. Willow touched Xander’s shoulder lightly, a little bit afraid that he’d gone back into the coma. But Xander opened his eyes and looked at her, and the relief brought tears to her eyes.

“Don’t cry, Wills. I’m still here. Can’t get rid of me that easy,” he smiled up at her. “And hey, how long have I been out? Your hair grew!” The sleepy smile turned into alarm, and he struggled to sit up.

“Calm down, Mr. Harris, you’ve only been ‘out’ for a couple of days,” the doctor soothed, but Xander still looked frantically around until he spotted Spike standing way too far away from him.

“Spike?” He whimpered, and the blond was immediately by his side holding his hand and petting his hair.

“Shhh…pet, let the doctor tell us what’s going on, yeah?” he said softly, and Xander tried to relax, hanging on to Spike’s hand for dear life.

“What’s the last thing you remember, Mr. Harris?” the doctor asked.

Xander closed his eyes and tried to think. Last thing he remembered they were slaying some demon in LA. Angel had called to ask Buffy for help, and they had all gone with her. He and Spike had been hoping that Angel would perform the claiming spell for them, being the head of the clan and all.

“We were in LA, helping a friend with sla… work,” he finally said hesitantly.

Spike’s hand tightened painfully around his own, and Willow and Buffy looked downright horrified. “What?” he asked fearfully. “Did something bad happen?”

Buffy was the first one to speak. “Xander, that was last Christmas. It was over a year ago.” She said softly.





Part Two

Xander stared at Buffy as if she’d gone insane.

“Nonononono, that was a couple of days ago,” he insisted, looking at Spike for confirmation.

“It was a year ago, luv,” Spike said softly, looking sadly at him.

Xander tried to take deep breaths, telling himself that he should stay calm. Calm was good. Calm was better than hysterical.

“I missed a year? How could I have missed a year! I was in here for a year?” he asked, hysteria creeping into his voice.

Spike immediately sat next to him and gathered him in his arms, and Xander held on as hard as he could.

“Hush now, you didn’t miss a year. You just… you just can’t remember it, yeah?” Spike said, and looked to the doctor for confirmation.

“It appears that Mr. Harris is suffering from traumatic amnesia,” the doctor said, and taking in the confused looks around the room he hastened to explain. “It means that he can’t recall events in his past, possibly due to the head injury from the accident. It should gradually come back to him, starting from the most distant event and working up to the most recent.”

“How long won’t he be able to remember?” Spike asked anxiously. He wanted Xander to get his memories back, but was torn between wanting this truce between them to last as long as possible and being afraid for Xander’s health and his reaction when he did get his memory back.

“I’m afraid I don’t know. It all depends on the severity of the blow and on the person injured,” the doctor said apologetically.

Buffy looked at Xander holding on to Spike and inwardly sighed. This was going to be so hard on him when his memories came back. “Should we tell him what happened during the year?” she asked, avoiding Willow’s eyes. She knew her friend was a romantic at heart and that she was hoping Xander and Spike would get back together, but Buffy could remember how devastated Xander was the last time Spike had left. She couldn’t take the chance that it would happen again, and unless the doctor specifically told her not to tell Xander anything…she would reveal to him what had happened. Best he know now rather than get his hopes up only to have them dashed again.

“No.” The doctor seemed very clear on what was to happen. “Mr. Harris should be left to recover his memories by himself. The reasons behind amnesia are hardly ever strictly physical, and pushing him to remember might only result in hurting him more.”

Buffy nodded and shrugged at Willow when the redhead glared at her. She was only looking out for Xander at a time when he couldn’t look out for himself.

“When can I go home?” Xander asked.

“We’d like to keep you in overnight for observation, do some tests to make sure you’re okay. Tomorrow you can go home. Now, if you wouldn’t mind, visiting hours are over, and Mr. Harris needs to have his tests done and rest.”

“No. Please don’t go, Spike. He can stay. Right, Doctor?”

The doctor was on the verge of agreeing to allow Spike to stay when the blond intervened. “Don’t worry, Xan. The girls and I will go make sure that the flat is all ready for you, and I’ll come back for you in the morning, yeah?”

Xander was about to protest, but Spike gave him a swift kiss and rushed out of the room. The girls said their goodbyes more sedately and followed the vampire outside, catching up with him in the underground parking lot.

“Are you in such a hurry to leave him again?” Buffy sneered the minute they were out of Xander’s hearing.

“For the last time I did. Not. Leave. Him.” Spike glared at her, ready to start a fight.

“Oh? So going to LA and never coming back was what? A quick trip?”

“I didn’t go there to stay. Xander wouldn’t have me back!”

“SHUT THE HELL UP!”

They both turned to stare at a very angry Willow.

“Nice to know I have your attention. Xander’s in the hospital. Until twenty minutes ago we didn’t even know if he was ever going to wake up, and now we need to make sure he’s okay, so unless you want me to turn you into something decidedly green and warty, you will stop arguing!” Willow glared until they both nodded, shamefaced. “Good. What do we do now?”

Spike took a steadying breath and tried to explain. “Xander thinks we’re still together yeah? Don’t you think he’d find it odd that I have no clothes in the flat? No blood, no cigarettes and I have no idea where everything is. I’m going to go to LA to get my stuff and have a look through the flat before picking him up tomorrow. Car has blacked out windows after all.”

“I’m coming with you,” Buffy declared.

“What?!”

“You’re not leaving him like that again. I’m going to make sure you come back this time,” she said, a determined look settling on her face.

“I didn’t leave him the first time!” Spike protested for what he felt was the millionth time. Why didn’t these people understand that he wasn’t the one who ended things!

“You can’t deny that!” Buffy went on the attack.

A spark of light and they flew off in different directions.

“Didn’t I warn you?” Willow asked, frowning as if puzzled. “I’m sure I warned you,” she continued thoughtfully. “You go get Spike’s things—I’ll go grocery shopping and try to tidy up the apartment a little. Please don’t kill each other while you’re gone,” she said calmly and walked away.

The trip to and from LA was affected in absolute silence. Spike wanted to call Angel to explain the situation but couldn’t bring himself to do that while Buffy could hear and judge him. Even though he could understand that she was merely being protective of Xander, it still hurt that she had so little faith in him that she believed she had to escort him to make sure he was coming back. The tenser the atmosphere became the more Spike wanted to talk to Angel. He finally compromised by leaving a note on the door explaining everything. Angel was coming over that night, and he was sure to find it.

Buffy tried not to thaw even a little bit in her attitude toward Spike. She knew that every breakup had two sides, but she had seen the hell Xander had gone through after Spike left and found it hard to forgive him the pain he’d caused her friend. Spike’s your friend as well, a traitorous little voice whispered. Spike left a year ago and didn’t bother to call or let us know he was okay, we had to find out through Cordy, she replied harshly, and the little voice shut up.

By the time they reached Xander’s apartment the sun was just starting to rise over the horizon. Spike grabbed his bag and ran for cover, Buffy following more leisurely behind him. Willow opened the door, and Spike walked inside only to freeze in shock at what he saw. The apartment was exactly the same as when he’d left. The paintings he’d picked were still hanging on the walls, his spare jacket he hadn’t bothered retrieving was hanging on the coat rack, and he could see a carton of cigarettes peaking from underneath the living room table.

“At first he did it ‘cause he thought you’d come back. Then he kind of got used to it,” Willow said quietly.

“He sent me away,” Spike reiterated, sounding more like a lost child than his usual big bad self.

Buffy stared at him for a moment before sighing softly.

“Come on, Spike, you can put your stuff away while Willow and I do some cleaning up. We’ll even make brownies for later,” she said, giving him a nudge toward the bedroom.

Willow looked at her questioningly, and Buffy shrugged.

“Looks like they hurt each other much more than they hurt either of us. Spike… he’s our friend too. Doesn’t mean I’m not watching him closely though. I still think Xander got the raw end of the deal here,” she explained.

Willow nodded, and they started pulling out the brownie ingredients. There was practically nothing that couldn’t be made better with chocolate.





Part Three

Xander lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling and waiting for his friends to come pick him up. The doctor had said that he’d get his memories back within a week or two but he still felt uneasy about forgetting an entire year of his life. Added to the fact that he felt like his friends were hiding something big from him, he was feeling very wigged indeed.

He wondered what had happened that they were all so determined not to talk about. Willow and Buffy had looked at Spike strangely when Xander had asked for him and Spike himself was acting a little off. Xander absentmindedly went to rub at his claiming scar and sat up in horror when he found it gone. Spike had bitten him a couple of weeks ago in preparation for the ritual they would ask Angel to perform. No that was over a year ago now, he remembered. Why would it be gone? Spike said that it would only fade if the ritual weren’t completed. Why wouldn’t they have completed the ritual? It didn’t make sense. Not unless they’d broken up.

Xander physically recoiled from that thought. He and Spike would never break up. They loved each other; there was no reason for them to separate. He shook his head, as if to clear his thoughts, and tried to think of another reason why his scar would be gone. Angel was supposed to accept him as part of the Aurelius Order and then it would be permanent. They must have asked him to do the ritual during their visit. Xander tried hard to remember what had happened, but he kept coming up against a brick wall. Did Angel say ‘no’? It was the only reason he could think of for his scar to be gone. Angel had said ‘no’.

Should he ask Spike about it? He wondered. But the doctor had said it was best for him to remember in his own time, not to rely on other people’s accounts. It was just a couple of weeks. He could wait that long to know, there was no need to cause Spike pain by reminding him that his sire had rejected his consort. Spike never admitted it, but Xander knew that his lover cared for Angel and valued his opinion.

Decision made and convinced that this was all his friends were hiding from him, Xander relaxed and let himself fall into a light doze.

He was awoken by a soft hand brushing his hair back from his forehead to find that Willow was looking at him, worry and fear clear on her face.

“Hey, Wills,” he whispered sleepily.

Letting out a sigh of relief she smiled at him. “I was calling you and you just lay there, and I thought you’d gone back into a coma,” she said, leaning down to hug him close. “You scared me, mister. Don’t ever do it again!” she ordered, the tough tone belied by tears coursing down her face.

Xander hugged her tighter and offered apologies and promises to wrap himself in cotton wool. He could never stand to see Willow cry, it was like someone was ripping his heart out and holding it up for inspection.

When she calmed down enough to pull back and smile at him Xander resumed the conversation.

“Where’re Spike and Buffy?” he asked curiously.

“Spike’s waiting for us in the underground parking lot,” Willow said. “I told him I’d rather he wait a little bit longer to see you than see him turn into dust,” she explained, gesturing at the fading sunlight still flooding the room.

Xander grinned at Willow. He could just about imagine his lover’s reaction to Willow’s words. Spike hated being forced away from him, especially when he was hurt.

“And our lady of Slayerness?”

“She’s glaring at the nurse, trying to get her to hurry up with the paperwork.”

Xander laughed at the picture Willow painted. “Are her arms crossed over her chest? And her foot’s tapping impatiently, right?” At Willow’s nod he laughed happily. A year may have passed but his friends remained the same.

Buffy picked that moment to come striding in, arms still crossed and foot tapping impatiently the minute she stopped walking.

“That nurse should not be nursing. She should have her license revoked,” she grumbled, glaring in the general direction of the nurses’ station. “Her manner has nothing bedside-y about it!”

“So didja get me out?” Xander asked hopefully.

Buffy smiled at him and nodded. “The doc should be here with the paperwork any minute now.”

Half an hour and a long lecture from the doctor later they were finally able to make their way to the parking lot. Xander was being pushed in a wheelchair looking decidedly mutinous and still protesting that he didn’t need a ride to the car.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike had been leaning against the car, smoking one cigarette after another, for what felt like hours. The girls and he agreed that it would be best to let Xander think they were still together, but he could see they were worried about the consequences of that decision. So was he. Xander was bound to feel angry and betrayed when he finally remembered, and Spike was sure he’d be summarily sent back to LA. It had taken him a year to get over Xander and, just when he was about to close that chapter of his unlife for good, this had to happen. Spike wasn’t fooling himself, he knew that less than an hour in his ex-lover’s company was more than enough to bring all the feelings he had for him flying back. I’m still love’s bitch and that’s not about to change, he thought with a sigh.

“I’m telling you I don’t need this thing!” Xander’s indignant voice reached his ears, and Spike smiled when the brunet came into sight, glaring at his giggling friends. Catching sight of Spike, Xander’s face went from scowling to utter happiness. “Bleach, tell them I don’t need this thing,” he said imperiously.

“He doesn’t need this thing.” Spike said obediently, grinning at the girls.

“Oh shut up,” Xander grumbled, and allowed them to help him into the car.

The drive to the apartment was full of good-natured teasing, and Spike thought his heart would break from the joy and pain of it. He hadn’t realized when he left that he’d be losing so much more than Xander. The pain of that separation had masked the pain of losing the girls as well. Now he had them back but only for a little while. There was no doubt in his mind that when this was over they would side with Xander once again. Dawn had been the only one to relent a little and call him. Telephone conversations did not cover the hole they’d left in his life, but they were better than nothing. At least the Bit didn’t have to see this, he thought, happy that she was visiting her father and didn’t have to bear witness to this charade.


~*~*~*~*~


Xander was a little bit relieved when they reached home. He’d still had a niggling feeling at the back of his head that things weren’t as calm as the guys made it seem. But everything in the apartment seemed the same. He sneaked into the bedroom and checked the closet. Spike’s clothes were still there, he noted happily, the claim scar must be gone because Deadboy had said ‘no’.

He practically bounced outside and hugged Spike, leaning down for a quick kiss. He pressed his lips against Spike’s just long enough to get a taste of him before burying his face against the blond’s neck and humming happily.

Spike felt tears run down his face. He closed his eyes and tried to control himself, but the feeling of Xander’s body snuggled up against him kept tearing down his barriers. He’d thought he lost this… the love he could feel pouring off Xander, the warmth of his body pressed against him. Spike wrapped his arms around the brunet and pulled him closer, trying to keep him here forever. ‘Forever’ would last two weeks at most, he thought, and more tears flowed.

Willow and Buffy came in from the kitchen to announce that dinner was ready. They both stopped and stared at the scene before them. Spike was holding on to Xander for dear life, and he was crying. Exchanging a worried look with Buffy, Willow stepped a little closer.

“Spike? You okay?”

Willow’s worried tone broke Xander out of his happy bubble, and he looked up to see Spike crying softly. He immediately pulled the blond into his arms again, trailing soothing kisses over his face, licking up the tears and murmuring words of love and reassurance.

“I won’t leave you again, Spike, I’ll be careful. No more comas, you won’t lose me again. I love you, sweetheart.”

Xander couldn’t understand why his words only made Spike cry harder.





Part Four

Spike finally managed to pull himself together enough to stop crying and assure Xander that he was fine. Dinner was a relatively quiet affair, all of them too exhausted to do much more than just eat.

Xander was actually relieved when dinner was over and the plates were cleared away. Much as he loved his girls, he just wanted to go to sleep. Preferably with Spike hugging him close. Offering reassurance upon reassurance, he finally managed to persuade Buffy and Willow that he was fine, but he needed to rest. Buffy kept throwing hesitant glances at Spike, as if she were worried about him.

“We’ll be fine. I’ll just put him to bed, to sleep and watch some telly,” Spike said, staring at Buffy, willing her to trust him again.

After a moment’s thought she nodded and followed Willow out the door. “We’ll call you tomorrow morning,” she said before she closed the door, and Xander could have sworn that she’d meant that as a warning.

“Alone at last,” Xander said seductively and leaned forward to kiss Spike. His lips met only air as the blond moved back, out of his reach.

“No. I meant what I told Buffy, you’re going to sleep. You were half asleep throughout dinner, and don’t think I didn’t notice those yawns you kept hiding.”

Xander pouted and moved closer while Spike danced out of his reach. “I said ‘no’, pet. You need to rest.”

“I was resting for two whole days!” Xander protested, grabbing hold of Spike and pulling him close. “I missed you today. Feels like I haven’t held you in months,” he whispered, pressing close to his lover’s body. “Please, Spike, we don’t have to do anything, just hold me for a little while. I don’t think I can sleep otherwise. Please?”

Looking into Xander’s worried eyes, Spike couldn’t help but capitulate. Xander had been through enough these past few days, and if the only way he could rest was to have Spike hold him, then he would. Yeah, ‘cause holding Xander’s body close again had nothing to do with his decision, he snarked at himself, as he helped the boy undress down to his boxers and get into bed. Pulling on a pair of sweats, Spike joined him.

“I’m sorry I scared you,” Xander whispered, snuggling close to his lover and laying his head on Spike’s chest. “I promise not to do it again.”

Xander was asleep within minutes, holding Spike as close to him as he could. In the moment before he fell asleep, he wondered why it felt as if he hadn’t been this peaceful in years.

Spike watched Xander sleep, wondering how he was going to get them both through this. It was too easy to let go, to pretend that this was real and not some ploy to help Xan get better. A part of him couldn’t help but wish that Xander never remembered. This Xander loved him and wanted him near. He wasn’t angry at Spike, hadn’t thrown him out.

His musings were interrupted by a shrill noise right next to his ear. After a few aborted efforts and anxious glances at the sleeping Xander, Spike managed to locate his mobile. He glanced at the screen and grimaced. In all the madness, he’d forgotten about Angel.

Carefully extracting himself from Xander’s arms, he left the bedroom and closed the door behind him.

“Spike? Where the hell have you been? Do you have any idea how worried I was?” Cordelia screamed down the phone the moment he said hello. “Never mind, I don’t even want to know. Your sire will deal with you,” she continued, not giving him a chance to reply.

“Spike?”

“I’m fine, Sire, tell the Bitch Queen to calm down.”

“Mind sharing what happened?”

Anyone not knowing Angel would think he was calm and collected. Spike knew Angel. Calm and collected was about the only thing he wasn’t.

“Xander had an accident. He doesn’t remember anything of the past year and a half. I have to help him, Angel.”

The words rushed out of his mouth, anxious to let Angel know what was happening, to explain that he had to stay.

A moment’s silence on the other end and then, “I’m coming down.”

“There’s no need for that.”

“Spike, I was there all last year. I saw what you went through, and I’m not about to let it happen again. I’m coming down,” Angel stated, and his voice brooked no argument. Spike was not surprised to hear the dial tone before he even took a breath to speak.


~*~*~*~*~


Xander stood on the sidelines, watching Spike dance with Buffy. They were both so happy, bopping around and showing off their moves.

“Isn’t he gorgeous?” Angel asked, coming to stand next to Xander. “He could have anyone he wanted just by turning those eyes on them.”

“He could,” Xander agreed easily. “He chose me, though.”

Angel looked at him, eyes reflecting his earnestness. “For how long, do you think?”

Xander shifted, feeling uneasiness shiver up his spine. “Forever. When Spike loves, it’s forever. Look at Dru.”

Angel made a dismissive gesture with his hand, still watching the dancers.

“That was different. She was his sire…family. Family is more important than the stray humans we pick up along the way.”

“No. We’re not like that. Spike’s not like that,” Xander protested, turning anxious eyes toward his lover.

“Don’t be foolish, Xander. Take it from someone who knows. Under the souls and the act we put on for you, we’re both vampires, monsters.” So saying, Angel melted away into the crowd again.

Xander ignored the damning words and went to dance with his vampire. It was only later, when he wandered into the kitchen for a late night snack and found instead his Spike kissing Angel, that he believed the truth of the vampire’s words.

“Sorry, pet. He’s my sire. I need him,” Spike said, smiling ruefully at him, and Xander thought he was dying.


~*~*~*~*~


“Xander? Wake up, pet. It’s just a bad dream. Come on, luv, open your eyes for me,” Spike said softly, calling himself all kinds of fool for not realizing this would happen. Xander had been through a horrific accident, of course he was going to have nightmares.

Xander could hear Spike talking to him, love clear in his voice. He reached out to the voice, trying to ignore the Spike he could still see kissing Angel with increasing passion. Suddenly he was in his Spike’s arms, holding on for dear life.

“Not true, not real,” he whispered, and held on tighter, “not real.”

“You okay, pet? Did you dream about the accident?”

Xander hesitated for a moment, and then mumbled that yeah, it was about the accident.

Spike hid his guilt and climbed back under the covers, gathering Xander close.

“Come on, luv, try to go back to sleep. I promise not to let the nightmares get you,” he whispered, watching as Xander gradually allowed himself to relax enough to sleep.




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