4th in the Virtue Series

Pairing: S/X
Rating: PG13
Summary: Fourth in the virtues Series
Disclaimer: Not mine, I just like to take them out torture them, then put them back where they belong.
A/N:  Thank you so much to everyone who has sent me such wonderful feedback, you guys are awesome.
A/N2: This is a duel POV Spike and Xander, and it switches back and forth, try not to get too dizzy



Virtue Series


by
Trixx



Fortitude



Spike POV

He wakes me up every morning when he leaves the bed to get ready for work.  I lay here, listening to him complete his morning absolutions, washing his face, brushing his teeth, shaving away yesterdayís growth, then he showers.  I can hear the water sliding down his body to hit the cold shower floor, before trickling down the shower drain.  Heís there and so very far away from me, and every morning I shiver, when I hear him step from the stall.  I close my eyes, and pretend Iím asleep.  I donít want him to know I listen to him, listen to him washing my tears down the drain, he washes my sorrow off like itís a dirty disgusting thing, and I guess it is.

Iím dirty and disgusting, so impure, I used to be a pure human, for over a hundred years I was a pure demon, now what am I?  A bastard mix of the two, Iím never going to be right again, never going to be whole.  Iím unclean, I just want to be clean, Iíll sneak into the shower after heís left and stay there long after the water runs cold, shivering, alone, steadfastly ignoring the voices that call to me.  Theyíre very convincing, they want me, I know that, when no one else wants me I know they do.  I just want to be clean, itís not so very much to ask, but I canít, Iím impure now, unclean, I can feel it creeping up on me, they know heís leaving, he is the light that keeps it at bay.

I laugh softly to myself, dark humor at its worst.  Waxing poetic about my savior, he is my light.  Self deprecation comes to the fore, and I feel a little like my old self.  I know if I told him, told him that heís my light at the end of a dark tunnel heíd laugh at me, just like he used to, weíd be sparring back and forth, the verbal jabs igniting between us, easy friendship, easy camaraderie, but it canít ever be that way again, Iím broken, unclean, disgusting, the voices tell me, they tell me I canít have what I want, that I should greet the sunlight, let it all go, let the past go, just give up, the soul made me dirty, impure, it was wrong, they whisper in my ear, telling me to give in, to greet the coming day with joy, to be whole, butÖ I canít.



Xander POV

I know heís awake.  Lying in my bedÖ our bed, listening to me get ready for work, ready to leave him, but I wonít be gone long, ten hours and Iíll be back.  I shouldnít even bother coming home anymore, I should just go to that deep dark dank basement, I know thatís where heís gonna end up sometime today, I know.  He always goes there.  I can almost feel the tears streaming down his face, and I feel so helpless.

I try to help him, I try to make things better, but this isnít some boo boo I can kiss and make better, thereís more to it than that, thereís over a hundred years of mayhem and bloodshed he has to overcome, and IímÖ Iím so powerless to help him.  I just want to make him better and I canít.

Leaning my head against the shower wall while I cry doesnít help, doesnít even come close to what heís feeling, but this powerlessness is driving me insane.  Iíve never been one to stand idly by and let things happen, no matter how ineffectual Iíve been, no matter that Iím the Zeppo with no special powers.  I want to be the one to charge in and save the day, and with himÖ I canít.  I canít save him; the only thing I can do is sit idly by and watch him waste away day by day.  I never thought Iíd ever say it, but I miss the old SpikeÖ the one who cracked jokes, and made jabs at my incompetence.  The one that would give as good as he got.  Heís not here anymore, and I want him back.

I donít speak to him.  I never speak to him.  I canít stand it, that heís not who he used to be, if I spoke to him, I think it would make it a little too real.  I want him to rant and wail, to tell be to bloody well sod offÖ I want to hearÖ. I want to hear his voice again, but I wonít force him.  I canít force him.

So every morning I get up to go to work, I brush my teeth, shave, shower, and cry.  I cry right along with him, cause I know he wants to greet the sunlight, I can feel it in the marrow of my bones, he wants to give up, itís to hard, and I donít understand why he doesnít.  Itís so hard, so impossibly hard, that sometimes I just want to take a nice long midnight walk through Sunnydale, alone, unarmed, it would be so much simpler to just give in.  I canít.  I canít give in as long as heís willing to fight.




Spike POV

Heís been gone for hours now, and I can smell his tears mixing with the water in the shower, I can smell him, his misery.  He cries with me, every morning he cries with me, its one of the few things I allow myself to believe, but Iím never sure if heís crying with me, because of my painÖ or if heís crying because heís been saddled with a bastard mix like me.  I want toÖ I want to make him understand that he doesnít need to keep me, he doesnít need to come and get me every night when I lose my reason, when I wander, I know itís hard on him, but IÖ I donít know why I do it.

Standing here under the cold spray of the shower, letting the water pound me into oblivion, I canít hear them, its to loud, theyíre just not loud enough, if only I could stay here all day, theyíd never be able to find me, theyíd never be able to take me away from him, theyíd never be able toÖ never be able to break me.  

I know that Iím close, closer than Iíve ever been to that edge before in all my unlife.  Angelus never managed to get me this close, he beat me, tortured me, raped me, and never once, never once did he get me to give up, I fought him every step of the way, but for once I just wantÖ I just want to go for a long walk in the sunshineÖ big piles of dust donít feel pain.



Xander POV

I still feel his pain.  I feel him crying out for help, even though Iím no longer within touching distance, Iíve stopped myself many times today, from going to him, stopped myself for my own sanity.  Iím starting to think sanity is overrated.  

I keep telling myself, be strong Xander, be strong for him, he needs you, butÖ I donít think Iím very convincing.  I donít want to be strong, I want to break down and cry, sob my heart out, wail at the injustice of it all, even if itís not unjustified.  I keep telling myself he deserves the pain, the suffering, all the destruction heíd wreaked, all the lives heíd taken, how many times he threatened my life, or the scoobiesÖ he deserved everything he got.  But I donít really believe that anymore, his pain is my pain, and Iím tired of suffering.

A long tense day is over, and Iím off to home, to him, I know he wonít be there, but I travel home anyway, hoping, that maybe just once heíll be there, that he wonít have given in, that heíll be waiting in my apartment, watching T.V. and moping, I think its to much to hope for.  These days anything is too much to hope for.



Spike POV

Iíve been sitting on the shower floor for hours now.  I can feel myself shivering, but I feel disconnected, surreal, like itís not my body shivering.  Like its someone else rocking back and forth.  Iím proud, the voices stayed at bay today and I know Xanderís going to be home from work anytime, heíll keep them away for the rest of the night, heíll keep me safe, I just want to curl into his arms, to get warm, so cold, the waterís been cold for hours and hours, but I donít want to leave the haven of the shower, theyíll beg me to come to them, try talking me intoÖ try talking me into being weak, and I want to be strong.  Strong for him.

I can hear him, heís home, and I begin to cry harder.  Relief washes over me, heís home and I made it through a day.  I made it through a day by myself.  Heís home, and all thoughts of sunshiny walks fly out of my head, given a one more day of grace simply by his presence.




Xander POV

I can hear him, rocking in the shower, sobbing.  I enter the bathroom, and see him shivering on the floor of the shower stall, so cold his lips are blue.  Without a word I turn off the water and lift him out.  Heís so light and skinny itís not really so hard.  I wrap a fuzzy white towel around him, rubbing his skin, I know heís got no circulation butÖ it seems to comfort him.  I carry him into the living room, sitting down with him on my lap, rocking us back and forth, as his sobs lessen, wrapping a blanket around us, trying to get him warm, and I feel his muscles slowly un-tense as he relaxes against me.  I know that as long as he needs me, the night will have to wait to claim Xander Harris.

One more night at least.




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