It Takes Time

by Saber ShadowKitten
My Childe 15

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

I can't do this.

Damn it! I just want to do this on my own! There's no one here, no one's watching, no one's going to bloody attack me when I get into the shower.

I grit my teeth together and yank the borrowed shirt over my head, letting it drop to the floor. The eyes that I had managed to stop feeling were suddenly on me again, and I began to shake.

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

I clench my hands together tightly, my fingernails biting into my palms. This was one battle I was going to win.

They were not going to beat me.

I take one step forward, then the second, until I'm standing at the edge of the tub. I freeze, unable to move any more. The closed shower curtain moves slightly because I'm not-purposely breathing heavily through my mouth in fear. I can't do this.

This is ridiculous. I am a soddin' vampire! A soulless, evil killer who isn't afraid of the bloody shower!

I can do this. I can, I can, I can!

I unclench my left fist and it's almost painful because of how tightly I had been squeezing it closed. I grind my teeth together, reach out, grab the side of the curtain and yank it open.

There is a man standing there in a white lab coat, a cold smile on his face, holding a clipboard in one hand and a long syringe in the other.

"Hostile 17, we're going to try a new experiment today," the man said, the hand with the syringe moving for me.

I scream.


"Spike, wake up! You're having a nightmare. Wake up!"

I open my eyes at the sound of my Sire's voice and his hands on my shoulders, shaking me. My terrified screams of help trail off, but still echo in the bedroom. I look around quickly, making sure that I'm really in Angel's home, and not...

I swallow heavily and I feel my lower lip start to tremble as tears fill my vision. Bloody hell, why won't this stop? It's been months. Six fucking months since I'd been freed from that place. I can walk from room to room without problems. I can go upstairs to Angel's office without fear. I can go with my Sire to the pictures or the public library without too much trouble. I can talk to Cordelia or Doyle or any of the Slayer's chums who visit and now know I'm still of the unliving.

"Are you okay?" my Sire asks me with concern. He releases my shoulders and sits down beside me on the edge of the bed.

"Y-y-y-" I try to tell him yes, but my voice fails me as the tears I tried to keep back start to fall. I push myself to a sitting position and forcefully wipe at my eyes. Yet the tears don't stop.

"Damn it!" I exclaim, pulling my knees up under the covers until I can wrap my arms around them. I lay my forehead on my upraised knees and squeeze my eyes shut as my body begins to shake from crying.

I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. I bloody fucking hate this!!

I'm a weak, nancy, pathetic excuse for a demon. I can't protect myself against anything living because of what the fuckers did to me. I can't take a shower unless my Sire's in the bathroom with me the whole time. I can't take off my clothes without trembling for hours afterwards. I can't take a single bleedin' step outside the boundaries of Angel's home and office upstairs alone without becoming paralyzed with fear. I practically run back to Angel's apartment when someone I don't know comes into his office. I can't survive without my Sire.

I feel Angel's hand on my back, lightly rubbing up and down. He isn't saying anything, for that I'm glad. I don't think I could handle any questions about what was now obviously a nightmare and not reality. I don't think I could hear any more of the quiet concern in his voice without further dissolving into babyish tears and throwing myself into his embrace, wanting my daddy to make it all better.

I just want it to stop.

Is that too much to ask for?

I finally manage to stop crying like a ninny. After a few minutes of the silence sounding loud now that my cries aren't filling it, I raise my head and wipe my face with the back of my borrowed sleeve. Angel is watching me with his sad, slightly pained, soulful dark eyes. "I'm okay," I tell him in a rough voice.

He nods once, but doesn't move. He continues to simply rub my back in a comforting manner. Which does help some. It reassures me that he's really sitting there and he does care about worthless little old me. Fuck, I am so soddin' pathetic.

"It takes time," Angel tells me softly.

I could hear the experience and wisdom in his quiet words when he said them. He should know. He survived the real hell, not some pseudo-laboratory cleverly disguised as one.

I take a purposeful breath and blow it out slowly. Then I ask, "Are you going to the library tonight?"

I see a flash of confusion in his eyes, but it's gone in an instant. "Yes. Do you want to come?" he says.

"Yeah," I reply. I want to get out of the apartment and away from the nightmare, and I feel safe at the closed library when my Sire is there with me.

If this is going to take any more bloody time, I'm going to need something new to read.