Breathing In the Night
It was the little things that took the most getting used to.
Or, more specifically, not breathing.
Evil past, vamp face, the taste of blood lingering in his mouth when they kissed; those were the things that should freak him out.
But they didn't.
When he thought about it -- if he thought about it -- none of that seemed freak worthy. It was just how things were.
Just how Spike was.
It was amazing what could seem normal when you loved somebody.
But there were some things...
When he had been with Anya, one of the things he'd cherished the most was lying next to her in the night listening to her breathing, slow and steady. Even in the deepest of sleeps he'd been aware of it; it reassured him on a visceral level that he wasn't alone, that someone cared enough about to stay.
But Spike didn't breathe.
Xander didn't doubt that Spike loved him and during the hours they were awake, being with him was easier than he'd ever imagined a relationship being.
But when he was asleep, all his doubts had free rein. His subconscious would search for the sound of breathing, for that reassurance that he wasn't alone, that someone was there.
When he didn't find it, he would jolt awake, heart racing, unable to relax until he was sure Spike was still there, still with him.
This usually only took a second or two, but it was enough to break his sleep pattern. He found himself yawning all day and learning to function in a perpetual state of not having enough sleep.
Oh, he knew in time that he would adjust, that his subconscious would stop searching for the non-existent breathing and that he would find his comfort and reassurance in other things.
But that didn't stop the wistful yearning as he laid awake and listened to the silence beside him.
He loved Spike.
But he missed the breathing.