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 season five AtS – and possibly late seven 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.
Waking at home the next morning was a relief. Xander groaned and tried to stretch, dislodging his limpit like blonde vampire in the process and receiving a semiconscious mumbled “mmf bllddy ‘ell” before said blonde clamped onto his partner even tighter.
With a sigh, Xander kissed the top of Spike’s curls, near whispered, “Nature calls honey, you have to let me up”, then literally pried off the arm around his waist with his free arm, before extracting the rest of his limbs from under the sleeping male and leaving the bed. He turned momentarily to see his lover relax into the warm spot he had vacated, smiled and resolved to take a mid morning swim after his ablutions.
Xander checked the time as he wandered through the quiet house in only his bathing suit, towel over his shoulder and goggles in hand. It was only nine in the morning and although the sun was obviously out, it was still dull and quite cool outside. Thanking the gods of pool heating he plunged in and swam for the requisite forty minutes, two kilometers plus of easy freestyle, before he stopped at the house end of the pool.
Swimming seemed to be a natural meditation most days, just a rhythmic easy way to clear his head. Today, however, he was a little preoccupied with his to do list, even so, the exercise helped and he exited the pool feeling calmer than he entered.
Pippa met him at the patio door, “Connor and I are about to have breakfast. I figure we should catch up on the what’s what on the party and the business stuff after that if that’s OK? Nothing urgent, just… I want to show you the system Felicia has helped regards all your mail…”
Xander smiled at the enthusiasm of their new P.A. and nodded his approval, “You’re a wonder. Maybe we can do all the stuff to do with Barcelona and wait for Will to get up for the other stuff.”
“Sure. Connor will probably want in too…”
As Xander made his way upstairs to shower and change, Pippa called out, “Oh and your mother called here. Something about their planned trip to Europe. She’d like you to call back, perhaps around 5pm their time but I think it might be better in the morning don’t you? I’ll work out the times and let you know….”
Xander showered swiftly, preoccupied by the last comment. His mother had only ever called twice before in the whole time he had been absent from the states. The first time was just prior to him going to Africa reporting that his Great Aunt Eunice had passed away (a lady of whom he was very fond), and the second a tentative call to reassure him he was loved and wanted during his period in hospital when he was deemed a suicide risk (on the advice of the doctors via Giles, he later found out). And so he worried as he dressed and made his way downstairs.
Pippa was waiting with a slip of paper when he descended the stairs. “Hi. I worked out the times and it’s still early there but I figure it sounded kind of important so… Anyway here’s your mom’s mobile number. Would you like me to get you a juice or coffee first?”
Xander smiled weakly at the young woman, she was a true sweetheart he decided, and an efficient one at that. He was very glad at that moment, that Anton had encouraged Spike and he to ask her to be their P.A.
“No it’s OK. Probably won’t take that long really.” Xander took the paper and looked at the phone. It would be about 6.30am ‘their time’ but a weekday so not too early in the big picture of things. Taking the handset, he dialed as he wandered into the sunlit sittingroom and paced tensely while it rang, wishing all the while that Spike could be there for support.
A female voice answered, “Hello?”
“Hi Mom? It’s Xander. Pippa said you called.”
“Xander! Oh thank goodness. I thought you might be somewhere else, well not at home. I know I told your secretary that it was about our trip… I left messages on your cellphone too, but… well it doesn’t matter now. Sweetie, the real reason I rang is that your Dad had a mild heart attack about this time yesterday.”
Xander felt his stomach drop with shock, and sat heavily on the nearest chair. “Is he… I mean… Is he OK?”
“He’s still in hospital honey, but I didn’t want to call until I had some sort of an idea of… well, of how bad things were or what was going to happen. I just came home this morning to pick up some things for him and sort of get my head straight. They did some tests yesterday and he’s seeing the surgeon this afternoon, so I’ll go back in a little while.”
Xander’s head was spinning, admittedly his father and he had never been close, but he had always been there, and since the implosion of Sunnydale and his parents’ reestablishment of their lives off the Hellmouth things had improved. Both his mother and father seemed to have benefitted from the shift, and with financial and emotional situation improved, gaining from the relative calm. His mother had joined a local quilting group and father taken up golf more seriously, with both of them actually finding time to enjoy gardening and walking together. And Xander had gained a more mature perspective on his childhood and some of his parents’ apparent ‘failings’ with the benefit of distance, time and bitter experience.
All he could think of now, was that he might never have an opportunity to see his father again, for his dad to be proud of him, instead of seeing him as some sort of ‘problem kid’. On the heels of that thought he refocused on the person on the phone, the one who was hurting at the moment, “Mum, are you OK? I mean, have you eaten? Slept? Can I do anything from here? I mean, I’m sure I can get a flight if you need me.”
“Oh sweetie, it’s OK… really. Your Aunt Jean is already on her way, just until the weekend, so we’ll – I know she’s a midwife but she still knows all the medical ins and outs, so she’ll be a big help. I know it’s a bit of a shock but it’s a bit of wait and see, at least until the surgeon sees the results of the tests today. Jean thinks they’ll either have to do a bypass in the worst-case scenario, or put in a thing called a stent if things aren’t too bad.”
Xander felt a strong hand on his shoulder conveying love and support, as the rather disheaveled Master Vampire joined his lover having been woken by Xander’s distress through the link. The hand not holding the phone reached up to grasp the vampire’s hand and squeezed his thanks as he continued, “So which hospital is he in?”
“The Mercy General in the middle of the city, it’s covered by our health care so it was the obvious choice. The staff are all really helpful, and your father was sleeping when I left. He’s in a shared ward 512, bed C. He has a phone by his bed, so you can call, but perhaps leave it until tomorrow. We’ll know more then and the doctor said he will need to rest.”
Xander couldn’t help to notice the tired, strained tone behind his mother’s reassuring words. “Mum, are *you* OK? Have you… well do you need to ring work or… I don’t know, can I help out with money or something. I know this will set you both back, insurance or not.”
“Now sweetie, I know you have landed on your feet, but we’ll be fine. I rang Rachel at work and she was going to get onto our boss last night, the advantages of working for a small family business is that we all look out for each other. Besides, your father comes first right now. Will you call again tonight perhaps – I’ll be able to let you know the results of the tests and where to from here. We were so looking forward to travelling to England soon to meet you, and your William of course. It just might be a little bit down the track now, I’m sorry to say.”
“Oh Ghods, don’t worry about that! Just… well, look after yourselves OK? I’ll call tonight I promise.”
“Alright honey. I’m heading to bed for a bit now. Thanks for calling. It means a lot.”
“OK… um… give my love to Dad when you see him OK? Love you Mom.”
“You to Xander. Take care… bye” and the phone rung off.
Xander was silent and simply sat trying to take in the news, Spike stood behind him until curios concern caused him to ask, “Only heard the last bit, what’s happened?”
The brunette stood put the phone down and wrapped his arms around his lover, “Dad’s had a heart attack. I mean he’s alive and all that but… well he’s in hospital. They’ll know more tonight. Sounds like an operation… don’t know what sort yet. Ghods Spike, he’s only fifty eight!”
“It will be fine luv. You’ll see. Modern medicine an’ all that rot. Have ‘im right as rain in no time. How’s your mum holdin’ up?”
“She says she’s OK, but that’s her speak for hanging on by a thread I would think. Aunt Jean is coming to help her at least.”
“If we need to go to, you say the word luv.” Spike hugged his Mate a little tighter and kissed him gently.
Xander savoured the contact and relaxed a little, “Yeah I know we could, but I don’t think I can do anything even if I was there. I guess we just wait and see… I feel so useless…”
“I know luv, but sounds like ‘e’s in good hands yeah? And we’ll be on a plane in a thrice if’n anythin’ untoward happens, OK?”
“Yeah… Thanks… I love you… You know that right…”
“Would expect so pet! ’m a loveable rogue is me.” The comment had the right effect and Xander smiled finally.
Later that day, amidst the preparations for the party and various business phone calls and research, Anton found Xander seated staring at the pristine pool.
"Do you wish to share your thoughts, Childe?" He opened his wrist and offered it to the dark haired man.
Xander accepted with a simple, "Oh Sire..."