TITLE: "Absurd" (2/2)
AUTHOR: Marie-Claude Danis
EMAIL: mc@verticalcrawl.com
SITE: http://verticalcrawl.com/fic
DISTRIB: My site, list archives. Or just ask.
FEEDBACK: Yes'm.
SPOILERS: Yah! "Intervention".
RATING: PG
PAIRING: Spike/Xander/Anya
SUMMARY: Healing. (Post-"Intervention")
DEDICATION: Joss Joss Bo Boss, Banana Fana Fo Foss... and Alexandria. Devil, I say.
NOTE: Not beta-read. Weeee.

* * *


Xander slowly peels the soiled shirt off his damp back, balls it up absently and tosses it across the room, in the general direction of the laundry hamper. He moves to the dresser and blindly fishes out a fresh shirt from the first drawer. He puts it on, and the few seconds of muted nothingness before his mess of brown curls pops out of the neckhole is the first time in hours he's taken his eyes off the still form now lying in their bed. But his gaze seeks the sight as soon as it can again, pinning itself there resolutely.

Just one more minute. Just to make sure.

Right now he seems all skin and bones, buried in the unmade bed amidst wrinkled white sheets and beaten pillows. Once his skin radiated of a warmth worrisome but no longer alarming, they had taken him out of the tub and into their bed, where they had stripped him of his wet and bloodied clothes and wrapped him in thick cotton. And now he rests, and if you unfocused your eyes just enough, he seemed all the world like he only just had a tough week at work.

Greyish morning light is beginning to seep through cracks around the thick curtain covering the windows. Right, morning. Not that it matters. It doesn't seem to him as though they would be going anywhere anytime soon.

He hears the loud clang from outside the bedroom, and steps out into the bright living room, where all the lights are turned on, even the ceiling one, and Anya is at the kitchen sink in her underwear. He pads across the carpet to the linoleum, picking up her discarded, wet nightgown on the way and putting it down on a stool. She's dropping dirty dishes in a sinkful of soapy water, too loudly. He looks at her and sees the nerve under her jaw twitch as she clenches her teeth together unconsciously. She's pretty in her grey panties and tank, and he notices. There's a little knot in her hair in the back of her head, and Xander reaches out to smooth it out. She's crying.

"Ahn..."

She throws a plate in the sink and water splashes them both. They've been wet all night. Doesn't matter.

"He'll be okay, you know..."

She nods, not angry. Her hands holding the dishrag and the dish are shaking.

"Just a scare."

She nods again, and quickly runs a soapy hand across her cheek to wipe the upsetting tears off her cheeks.

Xander sits at the counter and they stay silent for a good ten minutes, before Anya's low, broken voice sneaks to his ears.

"He shouldn't do this kind of thing."

"He did the right thing," Xander sighs, knowing this doesn't hold much weight.

"But he's hurt."

"Yeah."

She turns and studies him carefully, both hands still in the water in front of her. He doesn't say anything, and she resumes her task, putting a little bit too much care into it.

"I'm sleepy." He's not really. He's exhausted. Bone tired.

He gets up and makes his way back to the bedroom. "You coming?"

"Yeah. I'll... I'll finish this first."

"Okay."

They can barely be bothered to converse normally, and it's not the late hours. He can feel just how wiped she is too, from across the apartment. And he doesn't feel like talking to her, although he wishes she'd come to bed too.

He does, go to bed that is, and lifts the sheet to join the young-looking boy who looks comfortable even though Xander knows he hasn't moved at all since they put him down there. He pulls him to his chest, and his movements aren't particularly tender or gentle. The other man feels like a broken mannequin against him, and he just wants to squeeze, to hold securely, in case he disappears. In case he gets another brilliant idea, in case he wants to play hero again. And he will. But not as long as he's unconscious, and stuck in this bed, pinned against him with strong arms. If Anya came to bed he couldn't get out on the other side either, and he'd be trapped, and he'd have to stay and be okay.

The grey light on the ceiling reaches the opposite wall by the time Anya comes back, leaving all the lights on in the other rooms. She slips in and Spike moves, and their bodies arrange themselves naturally. Anya's not crying anymore, but she's not sleeping either. Xander watches her for a bit over Spike's head, then closes his eyes.

Now he can't get out. Xander can sleep, for now.




END