Doubtful Dreams of Dreams
Sometimes Xander has dreams about the Before. Before he was turned - before he loved Spike. They're not dreams though - they're nightmares, and everything in them is different. Everything is wrong. In the nightmares, he hates with a smoldering, sick hatred. Hates Spike - hates vampires. Hates himself.
It makes him wake with a shout and Spike always grumbles - pulls him down and half-smothers him. Tells him to shut up and go back to sleep and it's all over, pet, all over. And Xander does. But sometimes the nightmares come when he's awake and then they're more like...memories.
Once in Monaco, on the balcony of their hotel room he looked down one story to the street and there was a girl. Small and slender, rich hair a spill of titian silk across spangled shoulders. He'd stared at her - stared hard enough to make the girl look away, uneasy, and to make Spike reach over and take his chin - turn his head so the girl slid away out of his view. And he dreamt, for a moment. Dreamt another girl - pale skin and tears - eyes black as pits. Scratched voice stuttering out words he can't understand and *she's crying don't cry please don't cry*.
"Willow was crying," he said, and Spike leaned back in his chair - lifted a crystal goblet of pale wine and took a slow sip.
"She did that a lot," Spike said, and Xander shook his head slightly.
"No, I mean - that night...she was doing a spell and she was crying and...it made me... It hurt." He looked at Spike and Spike shrugged - extracted a cigarette from his pack and lit it, worn silver Zippo snick-ing quietly open and closed. Hand going back to the goblet and settling there.
"Does it hurt now?" Spike asked, and his bare toes pressed into Xander's ankle - rubbed a little higher and Xander pushed into the caress - reached and touched Spike's fingers where they lay curled loosely around the slim stem of crystal.
"No. It - it used to. I remember it hurting, but now it's like...watching a movie?"
"And not a good one," Spike said, blowing out a thin stream of smoke and Xander laughed.
"Why do the dreams make me cry?" Xander asked once, on the Chunnel train to France. Young couple with backpacks and maps tumbled in limp heaps in the bottom bunk - he and Spike in the top, wrapped in blankets that smelled of woodsmoke and blood.
"Guess when you're asleep you remember being human better," Spike said after a long pause, and Xander squirmed back against him - blinked once and then again, lids heavy and his belly full of blood.
"Glad I'm not human anymore, then. I don't - like that." Xander snuggled down and tugged the blanket and Spike's hand up higher, tucking them under his chin.
"Not surprised," Spike said sleepily - kissed his temple and settled to sleep.
Another time - a year or so later - they were at a dance-club in Bangkok. Drinking rice brandy and watching a blonde girl dance with a taller, dark companion. Two tourists that stood out in a room-ful of smaller, dark-haired people and Xander had thought the blonde would be fun to take down. Until she turned around, smiling, and memory rolled over him. Bittersweet, grainy from time and disuse.
"She looks like Buffy," Xander said, and Spike slipped off his stool and stood behind Xander - tugged him close and kissed the side of his neck.
"She does at that, pet. You remember her?"
"Oh, sure. Can't forget somebody like Buffy. You... No, you didn't kill her...did you?"
"Not as such," Spike said - whispered in Xander's ear what he did do and Xander sat very still for long minutes after that. Remembering. Remembering that he used to love Buffy - used to want her and...need her. But those feelings - all tangled up with guilt and anger and lust - were nothing compared to what he felt for Spike. Pale scrapings when his love for Spike was - honey-rich. Blood and cream and opium and sometimes he'd just wind himself around Spike and not let go. Weigh him down, tangle him up, breathe and breathe and breathe Spike's scent until he was dizzy with it.
"Never letting you go," he'd whisper, fierce and choked, and Spike would laugh up at him, so beautiful that it made Xander's heart hurt.
"I know you won't, pet."