by Spike_1790

Hold Me When The Nightmares Start


Xander had nightmares. Bad ones, that had him waking up in a cold sweat. Some of them were worse than others, but the one thing that ran through every nightmare he'd ever had was that he wished he could wake up. When he dreamt about that night in the Bronze, looking into Jesse's yellow eyes, he prayed he could wake up before it happened again. He didn't know whether it would be the version where he killed his best friend, or the one where he let Jesse sink his fangs into Xander's own neck, and he didn't care; he just wanted to wake up.

Sometimes he dreamt about the hyena, and he wished he would wake up just because he was sure that if he stayed asleep, the beast would find a way to worm its way back into his consciousness, and that thought terrified him. The first time had been bad enough, but to release it again, after years in captivity, prowling at the edges of his mind... The things it could do if it got free...

Spike, on the other hand, woke up screaming because he
had woken up in his dream. Waking up was the hard part. And Spike had had a long time to wake up in bad situations; his own coffin over a century ago, more recently after that little incident with a church organ, realising he couldn't move his legs, and more recently still, in a cell in the Initiative. So screaming was a justified response.

The first time it happened, that Xander knew about anyway, was the first night that Spike was tied to the chair in the basement of doom. Xander's heart had leapt to his throat, and all that mattered was shutting Spike up before he woke up Tony. He had flung himself out of bed and clamped a hand over Spike's mouth.

That had worked to some extent; the vampire had gone silent, but the shivers that wracked the slim body spoke volumes. When Xander managed to wrench his gaze from the basement door, sure his dad was still passed out in a drunken stupor, he had looked down at Spike. The blue eyes were open, fixed on him, and Xander saw the fear there. Fear of him. An insignificant human.

Tears prickled and stung his eyes at the realisation and he launched himself away from his unwelcome house guest. Spike looked at him for a moment, the cocky smirk looking fake and Xander wondered whether it had ever been more than a mask. The smirk faded, and the pleading look Spike gave him had Xander untying the ropes he had spent so long securing.

Spike didn't look at him after that, just turned away and pretended to sleep in the uncomfortable chair, and that suited Xander just fine. Xander got back into bed and pretended to sleep too, until pretending became too difficult and his breathing evened out, and Spike could hear the soft, snuffling snores from the exhausted human.

A few hours later, a quiet whimper announced the beginning of Xander's own nightmare. Spike only hesitated a moment before climbing on the bed behind the slumbering human and pulling him into a loose hug. Almost instantly, the quickened heartbeat slowed to its usual thump-thump-thump, the breathing deepened, and the nightmare disappeared as though it had never started.

There had been accusations and shouting in the morning, but the next night, neither commented when Xander, after a brief internal debate, held the bed covers open the next night for Spike to slide in behind him. Neither man nor vampire were plagued by their nightmares while in each others arms, and both fully accepted the irony that Xander slept best while being held by a demon he professed to hate.

The End