Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes
Summary: Xander has PTSD after rescuing one too many slayers. Spike is recovering (sort of) after the battle with W&H. Fate may have it they eventually find each other - she's funny that way.
Spoilers: Sometime in early season five – or possibly late six BtVS.
Warnings: M/M – if you don’t like boys together, don’t play here!
Disclaimer: Don’t own the characters nor make any money from stories etc, and bow down to their original creators Joss, et al., plus all the wonderful online writers who continue to give the Buffy/Angel verse characters life.
He had been back at HQ for almost a month. Everything seemed strangely normal.
If he was a little ‘jumpy’, no-one commented. Giles had done the usual debrief though this time the replies were by rote and delivered with none of the usual jovial commentary.
Xander’s old apartment was there, and if he spent more time incommunicado, no one mentioned it, but those who knew him ‘before’ noticed, and Giles acted.
Giles and he had had a conversation regards Farah when he first came back, twice they had even cordially chatted about old times in Sunnydale, nothing unusual there, but Giles agreed with the intuitive Farah, there was something out of sorts, something definitely wrong.
Despite his natural instincts to intervene immediately, Giles was left waiting and watching as the boy, now man he saw as almost his son, Xander, slowly implode.
Giles had initially made it a point of ‘checking in’ daily with Xander, if only to set his own mind at rest, but after a month, deferred the task to John and Madeline, qualified clinical and post-trauma psychologists.
They had initially engaged Xander in conversations about his role as watcher, then his Sunnydale days, and finally about family, trying to glean his status as best as was possible in both formal and informal discussions but despite their efforts, and perhaps due to them, not knowing the Xander of Sunnydale, they came up with nothing unusual, though both recognized the signs of PTSD. They had dialogue with those who knew Xander prior to Algiers, all of whom described a jovial individual, infinitely dedicated and supportive of others, ‘chatty and warm’ individual. But none of that was evident now.
Now there was a quiet, rather morose individual who barely met their eyes when in discussion, and abjectly refused to discuss the deaths he had witnessed most recently. Stating simply, “Par for the course innit, as Spike used to say.”
They had no idea who ‘Spike’ was, but the observations and evidence confirmed their diagnosis, PTSD. They both came to the same conclusion, psychiatric advice and treatment was desperately needed.
It was ‘Bank Holiday Weekend’ and fearful of leaving Xander alone, Giles had suggested he stay at Giles’ own family home in Oxford for the duration, with the premise that Giles would rather like the company, a suggestion Xander complied with, apparently without objection. The “I’ll go wherever you send me”, delivered with no evident emotion to his tone, worrying both Giles and the two attending counselors.
“I’ll be leaving shortly. Perhaps you would like to gather your things from upstairs.”
“Yeah, sure.” Xander stood, stared into space for just a little too long then exited Giles’ office.
Seconds later, John and Madeline were ushered in to give the Head of the Council their weekly report.
John removed his glasses and began to polish them, much in the manner of Giles himself when faced with breaking bad news to the Sunnydale crew of old.
“Mr Giles, Xander does seem to be doing a little better. He is showing an interest in local events and…”
Giles removed his own glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose in an act of frustration. “If you don’t mind I would rather you were out with it man.”
“Yes, indeed Sir. I fear this may be beyond our capacity to assist. Xander is most definitely suffering post traumatic stress, Sir. Both Madeline and I consider that he needs the services of a psychiatrist, indeed may need time in an appropriate facility.”
“We can recommend a private hospital…”
“Yes. Quite. And thank you. I will see to the arrangements as a matter of urgency. Do you consider that post weekend would be a possible timeframe?”
“I can’t imagine it would hurt, but be aware that the longer Xander is allowed to languor in this state, the longer his recovery.”
“I see. Thank you. If you could provide a few names and numbers to my secretary it would be most appreciated.”
Giles stood and offered his hand to both attending physicians, took the proffered hand and shook it soundly.
Half an hour later, Giles pulled out of the parking bay at Council Headquarters and turned his BMW sports car, with its cargo of silent Sunnydale ex-resident toward the M1.
Xander woke suddenly.
The room was unfamiliar, though the snoring emanating from the bedroom mext door confirmed he was ensconced at Giles’ family home as promised.
His ears felt ‘funny’, but the light through the window indicated it was sometime past ten.
Padding down the cold hallway in his pajama bottoms, he found the loo, relieved himself, and returned to his bedroom to dress for the day.
Coffee… coffee was of the good. But apparently no one had thought to provide milk, so he garnered the keys from the fridge top and ventured to the front of the house, letting himself out with a stealth he thought he had lost years ago (read basement and drunken parents).
The local petrol station was only a mile or so away and had all the ‘emergency’ produce one could need.
He noted that he was shaking as the key went into ignition but thought nothing of it, but as a car pulled out and passed him, his ears seemed to augment the sound, then the shaking became worse, and his focus was blurry.
He slowed the car, but the shaking was getting worse and his hearing… it just wouldn’t stop, and the shaking… and that buzzing was confusing… and his missing eye seemed to be sending sparks… and he couldn’t breathe… he knew he had to breathe… but it wouldn’t come!
He didn’t dare stop the car, kept repeating “Just get home… Just get home” and at a snails pace directed the vehicle onto side streets and back routes, terrified he might see another vehicle. Finally pulling up to Giles’ home he burst out of the vehicle, stumbled up the walkway and burst into the lounge room screaming at the top of his voice “Giles!!!! Oh God! Giles!!! Please… Help me!!”
Giles stumbled out of slumber in response to the ruckus and was faced with a hyperventilating, violently shaking Xander, sobbing on the floor.
He did the only thing he could think of, fell to the floor and pulled Xander into his lap, grabbing the violently shaking individual tight and repeating “Just breathe with me… Just breathe… breathe… breathe!!!!”
Matthias took a time to come to terms with the revelations Connor had been forced to divulge regarding his very injured ‘relative’.
Not the least of which was that the man he had been ‘sharing with’ was apparently ‘super-powered’, and vampires were real, and the guy on their couch was apparently close to one hundred and seventy years old – or possibly more?!
But to his credit, Matti pulled in some favors regards blood supply and seemed willing to monitor Spike’s progress.
Connor was attentive to a fault. Both wrists bore constant bandages over the ensuing weeks and Spike healed.
It was late afternoon and Spike had been lifted and placed on an old lounge piece in direct sunlight when he came to consciousness.
Connor was in a chair opposite, reading when Spike finally surfaced and spoke.
“Figured I was dust… all things being considered.”
“Yeah… apparently that would be me. Still not very chipper, mind, but will give it me best anon.”
“Do you know who I am?”
“Little brother if I’m not mistaken… though my taste buds may have lost a little in the translationh. But push comes to shove, reckon there's some thanks needs to come your way... so thanks... for.. everything I guess.”
Connor reached out and squeezed Spike’s left deltoid gently.
“It’s cool. I felt him pass too… I… I kind of need you to meet someone…”
“Friend of yours?”
“He kind of helped save you.”