: Struggling for Survival.AUTHOR
: Buffy the Vampire SlayerPAIRING
: Spike/Xander GENRE
: In Sickness and In HealthRATING
: PGWORD COUNT
: Losing a child is the hardest thing a couple can go through...WARNINGS
: Infant loss.NOTES
: X-Posted to 10_hurt_comfort
. This is something new I'm trying, so, I want HONEST opinions. DISCLAIMER
: You recognize them? I don’t own them.
Everything Xander has read has stated that one of the absolute worst things a couple can go through is the loss of a child.
He's thought long about this fact and is throughly convinced that while there may be some truth in it, he and Spike are different.
Sabby has been gone two months and things haven't changed too much.
They're still holding on. It's not that they don't want to remember her;it's just that Xander has a hard time relating to someone that they only knew through hospital glass. After all, they didn't get the chance to hold her until she was dying. Even then, Xander just squatted by the rocking chair, letting Spike hold her. Then, just as she was about to pass, Xander enfolded her and Spike in his arms.
Sabrina Rosalie Joy died in her fathers' arms.
Since then, life had moved on. They were out every night monster-hunting and sleeping all day. The only visible change in their life was the nursery door that stayed closed. Xander assumed that opening it would be too painful- a reminder of what they had lost.
Xander's not sure what Spike's thinking. Since losing the baby, he just doesn't talk about his feelings. He just goes through the motions of things. He seems absent. When they make love, Xander feels as though there is something missing in Spike.
Occasionally, when they're out, Xander will notice Spike gazing off, his eyes plainly following. Every time this happens, it is immediately noted that a stroller is passing.
Sabby had been planned and wanted. They had made sure to give Willow everything in order to ensure a healthy baby. However, despite their best efforts, there was no way to prevent the baby going into distress during labor and aspirating meconium into her lungs. Little Sabrina has a seventy-five percent survival rate.
The doctors had assured them that the numbers were in her favor. Sadly, she just got sicker and sicker, catching chemical pneumonia and a collapsed lung. After days on a heart-lung machine, it had become startlingly clear that the baby just wasn't getting better. After her second collapsed lung, Xander and Willow had mutually agreed to take her off life support.
Willow had refused their offer to be with them, choosing to mourn in her own way. She claimed that even though she carried her, Sabby was their baby. She would do her own thing-just as she had with Tara. Not go crazy and take over the world but her other private mourning ritual.
Months go by. Spike and Xander dance around the subject of Sabby, never really mentioning her. As the days pass, Spike grows more and more distance. Suddenly, they stop making love except for maybe once every other week. On the rare occasions they do, Xander feels as though a part of Spike is missing. He's nowhere near as tender as he once was.
It seems as though he is just going through the motions.
Also, every time he sees a baby, Spike's eyes go wistful.
Other than that, his eyes are merely hollow.
Before they know it, six months have passed.
On a patrol, Spike claims sick and heads home.
Xander knows that there is no way Spike is sick but that there is more to it.
Maybe, they weren't taking things as well as Xander had once thought...
Deciding to call it a night, he follows Spike home.
When he gets home, he immediately notices the nursery door open. Confused, he walks in to find Spike hovering over the dark cherrywood crib, fiddling with the blankets. Five little bears dance above the crib, Brahm's Lullaby softly playing. He knows that Spike knows he's there but is choosing to ignore his presence.
“It's been five months.”
“Seems like just yesterday.”
“I know. Never discuss her, do we?”
“I mean- She was here for two months- acknowledge that but she was still ours. She knew our voices. My little bird-”
“Not fair. Maybe it's punishment- for all the bloody awful things I did when I was younger. I deserve it.”
“Don't say that.”
“What? Probably true.”
“What makes you say that, Xan?”
“No one deserves this.”
“You've got so much love to give. Even when you were soulless, you still loved. Anyone with that ability doesn't deserve this. What happened to Sabby was a complete accident.”
“The odds were in her favor.”
“Sometimes- numbers are just that. Numbers.”
“You never cried.”
“Neither did you.”
“Well, honestly? Was expected to be the strong one. Was the one that held her through it all. Couldn't break down. She'd have sensed it.”
Spike sits on the floor, his head slowly sinking into his hands,
Xander finds himself taking Spike into his arms. Throughout it all, Spike's been the strong one, never allowing himself to show any emotion. Now, it's Xander's turn to be there for Spike.
For the entire night, he sits there, just holding Spike. While he holds him, they talk. Nothing happens between them- they just talk; both openly admitting just what effect Sabrina Rosalie Joy's brief life had had on them.
The more they talk, the more Xander recalls a line from an old Dr. Seuss book.A life is a life, no matter how small.
Now, it all seems like it was yesterday.
Sabby has been gone exactly two years.
Things couldn't be going better. They carry Sabby with them everywhere but they've learned to live with her memory and not let her weigh them down. It's not that they don't miss her- it's that they prefer to remember the happiness she brought them, rather than the pain of losing her.
One of the biggest decisions they've made in the past two years was the choice to have another baby.
They knew the risk they were taking and they were frightened. However, Spike had reminded Xander of one thing. Numbers were just numbers.
Keely Brenda Grace was two weeks old- a happy, healthy newborn.
“Is she warm enough?” Xander glances over the pink and brown silk sling, peeking at the sleeping baby. “I don't know if this is a great idea. Who takes their two week old baby out in the middle of the night?”
“Parents to whom the sun is fatal?” Spike rests his arm under the sling. “Xan, you're acting a bit barmy. She's got her “My Daddy is a vampire” long sleeve one piece on, baby pants and socks. About sixty degrees here. She's warm.”
“Sorry.” Xander sheepishly hangs his head. “Maybe it's the raised in Sunnydale part that makes me wary of cemeteries at night.”
“Understandable.” Spike leans in, pecking Xander's lips. “Relax, Pet. As long as I have Keely, nothing will hurt our girl.”
Xander leans down, landing on his knees. Reaching, he lightly traces the engraved letters. How could two years have passed?
“Hi, Sweetie. It's Da. Daddy's here too. You've been gone two years today. Not a day goes by that we don't think of you. We miss you every day, Sabby. Life hasn't been the same since we lost you. “ He glanced up to Spike. “We want you to meet your sister. Keely Brenda Grace. Eight and a half pounds. Just know that while we love her, we haven't forgotten you.” He gently set a white rose on the ground. “Keely's got your eyes, Sweet Girl.”
“Sabby, it's Daddy.” Spike squats down, still tightly cradling Keely. “You're still my little bird. I meant everything I said when you were in the hospital.” He sighed. “Just miss you.” He visibly startles when Keely begins to snuffle.
“I'll take her,” Xander offers. “Continue.” He waits while Spike loosens the sling and removes the baby. Gently, he places her in Xander's arms.
Xander holds her gently, resting her head against his chest. Instinctively, he knows she's not hungry or in need of a diaper change. She's just in need of a little comfort.
He doesn't speak. Words cannot even begin to describe his pure contentment. She settles against him, her head near his heart, sighing. He buries his nose in the top of her head, inhaling the scent of her lavender baby soap and her lavender baby lotion.
As he holds her, he blinks, suddenly remembering the last time he was with a two week old baby. Spike, she's perfect in every way except for her lungs.
I know , Pet. I know.
She gripped my hand today.
Can't believe I missed that. She's always sleeping when I'm here.
We'll bring her home soon. I know we will.
Yes. We will.
Then we can be a family.
Xander blinks back the tears as he rubs soothing circle around Keely's back. He wonders if they can get through the next two months sanely. It seems as though they are constantly comparing Keely to Sabby. Two different babies. Two different sets of circumstances...”
Yet, as he watches Keely's pale skin illuminated in the moonlight, the only thing that springs to mind is a quote from Cicero. The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.