Summary: Sometimes it's not the monsters in the dark you have to be afraid of.
Warnings: Mentions of abuse, rape, torture, and all things nasty.
Number 13 of the Spander FanFic Request List
For all people had claimed otherwise, Xander Harris was not a moron. So, when he woke barely two hours later with the distinct feeling that something was going to happen, he ignored the desperate need to go back to sleep, and focused on his surroundings. It'd been so long since he hadn't been in a state of complete exhaustion that it wasn't all that difficult. One of the first things he'd learnt was that sleeping was always a bad idea. He passed out involuntarily due to sleep deprivation, hunger, or pain fairly regularly but deliberately choosing to sleep hadn't been a choice he'd made in a long time.
Listening carefully he managed to ignore the rumbling purr that had returned with consciousness and found nothing. The quiet disturbed him; he was so used to the muffled sounds of useless pleading, muttered test results, and the beeping of various unknown scientific machinery that the silence seemed vaguely foreboding.
With an awareness of his surroundings came an awareness of self, and the rather insistent knowledge that he needed to pee. Mentally weighing up the possibility of a "reprimand" versus the chance that he'd lose control of his demanding bladder if he didn't move, he winced in anticipation of the possible pain to come and slowly crawled to the slightly open doorway that - he hoped - led to a bathroom.
Giving a quiet sigh of relief when he spotted what he though he would in the room Xander quickly relieved himself before someone decided that he shouldn't be using the bathroom and made his way back to the bed. He lay staring at the door for a time, the constant purr letting him rest a bit, even if his eyes never closed.
He felt the uncomfortable tingle before he realised that, while there was noise below him, his room had gone completely silent. There was something pushing at the edges of his mind, telling him run, but Xander snorted at that. He hadn't been able to do anything more than crawl for what felt like months. Straining to hear what was going on below him, even though he knew it was useless, he waited.
The footsteps outside the room sounded like a death knell, but Xander just sat and waited. He watched as the door opened, almost tentatively, and though he'd had a vague idea where he was, he was still surprised to see Angel's face looking back at him. There was a presence pushing at the edges of his consciousness and between one blink and another he found himself kneeling beside the bed, head bent almost to the carpet.
The feel of a gentle hand made him want to run in fear and relax into the comfort it offered. He settled for staying absolutely still, almost jumping when a noise of distress made its way out from between his lips.
Clenching his teeth to stop any more sounds from escaping he started at the sound of Angel's voice. "Xander, Buffy and the others are here."
He felt the dread spread thick and heavy, threatening to choke him. He'd spent months in a hell of white walls biting through his tongue - sometimes literally - so he didn't give away any names, any hints that not all of his friends were entirely human. Yet here they were, trapped in this new hell made of fake freedom.
Rising to his feet when a hand under his arm tugged slightly he felt the purr start up again as his terror rose, the taste of bile bitter on the back of his tongue. Between one blink and the next he found himself in the lobby, staring at half a dozen faces. He could feel the panic like hands around his throat and the purr increased until it was rolling off the walls of the large space.
His eyes flicked up at a soft sound of distress that he knew didn't come from him, and he when he looked to a too-familiar red-head he felt long denied tears threaten the edges of his vision. "I'm so sorry Willow."
He watched as wide eyes got even bigger in a pale face. "I'm the one who should - we all thought you'd - but I'm so glad you're - oh I'm so so sorry Xander! I should have known you'd never do that."
He didn't understand what she was talking about, and the purr was almost loud enough to drown out the bass drum of his heart. Another strangled sound and his eyes swung around to meet Buffy's shocked gaze. She made an aborted move towards him, and he found himself across the room in a blink, tucked into a corner beside the reception desk.
Xander could hear voices washing over him, but a soft sound in front of him made him open eyes he didn't remember closing to stare into twin sapphires. The purr seemed to stutter for a moment, confused, before it picked up again. A barely there sound came from in front of him, and he stared with wide eyes as cerulean bled into amber.
Again a disconcerting loss of consciousness, only this time it found him with his face pressed against a soft neck and soft words he'd never imagined hearing rushing over him with the force of a ten tonne truck; "You're safe, you're free. S'ok whelp, it's not another one of their tricks, you're really out of there."