Reach Out For The Sunrise Ch. 12


Barriers! Yeah, right now Xav needed some of those too, but he was having a hard time blocking things out. He was picking up more than just Aldo's mood. He hadn't really been paying attention, but he was getting something from just about everyone in the house and it was making his nerves jangle.

He wanted to burrow into Aldo's comforting embrace, but he drew back gently instead. He had to pull himself together. He took a deep breath to steady himself, but it didn't help much. Aldo's question still bothered him. Did he want things to just go back to what they were before Rayne left? Not exactly, but he didn't know what he wanted instead.

"Yeah, I see past the barriers," Xavier finally answered. "But I don't know if that means much." He gave a little shrug. "I don't know what to think right now."

"You know, if you weren't sure... no one would think any the worse of you," Aldo told him gravely. "It's a big commitment to make, when you don't even know if he'll ever get over what happened. And we still don't know all the answers to that question either."

Xavier looked stung by that initial point, for a second and then shook his head. "I know I want to be with him, Aldo."

"That's your call, no one's going to force you either way, caro," the older man reassured him. "I just wanted you to know that whatever you decide, nobody's going to think badly of you, that's all."

A shadow passed into the halo of light from the doorway and they both looked automatically towards it. Rayne's hands were resting either side of the portal and he looked quizzically from one to the other now.

"Xavier can make up his own mind what he wants," the vampire said quietly now, his tone slightly strained. "He doesn't need any help."

A crooked little smile curled Xavier's lips as he looked over at Rayne and his features softened into something sweetly angelic. There really wasn't anything for him to decide, as far as he was concerned. He'd already made up his mind and it wasn't hard for anyone to see. He wore his heart on his sleeve like a big target, but that was just how he was. It would have been nice to know what came next, but he supposed Rayne wasn't in any kind of place to even know that himself. So it was like they'd returned to that strange sort of limbo before Rayne had left, where neither wanted to take a look at the future too closely.

Before either Aldo or Xav had a chance to respond another voice came from the opposite entry way, this one a tad more disgruntled.

"He might not need anyone's help, but at least someone is trying to make him see sense!" Chavez said. The Mexican youth looked far from happy as he came into the room. "You change your mind and come back, like nothing happened, Wylde. Like a doctor didn't have to come and make sure Xav still had enough blood left as he got sicker and sicker! Like he didn't have screaming nightmares every night over you! Like he didn't cry his eyes out for days..."

"Chavez..." Xavier tried to interrupt. He looked as desperately embarrassed as he felt.

Dark Latino eyes turned to him, sparking fire. "And he comes strolling back in and snaps his fingers at you and you're falling all over yourself to make him happy. Estupido! Like you learned nothing."

Rayne stared at the handsome Mexican youth incredulously.

"Can you hear yourself?" he exclaimed with a shake of his head. "Fuckin' green-eyed monster or what? I make him happy and none of you can get your fuckin' heads round that, can you?"

He let go of the doorposts and stalked right across the room towards Chavez with a purposeful stride that had both Xav and Aldo anxious that he would do their friend some real damage. To his credit Chavez stood his ground.

"The only green eyed monster around here is you, Wylde. And you know that!" He jabbed a finger into Rayne's chest as the little vampire came to a halt, directly in front of him.

Aldo winced.

Xavier's teeth were on edge and his skin felt like it was going to crawl off his body. He imagined he was trying to breathe syrup, the air was so thick and hot around him. On some level he realized he was still picking up emotional crap from everyone else, but that was like a distant awareness that he couldn't really bring into focus. All he could think of at the moment was the anxiety and anger that were pounding through him like hammer blows and he was hanging onto it by a thread. A part of his brain, the one that overrode the desire to beat someone to a pulp when you were pissed, or stop a full blown panic attack when you were freaked out, seemed to be completely on the fritz. He closed his eyes and desperately tried to envision a sold brick wall around him to block everything, the way that Dominic had taught him, but for some reason it wasn't working. Or... it was but only one way.

Right now though he couldn't run away and he couldn't block them out so he was just going to have to deal.

"Okay... just stop! Everyone, just stop it." He tried not to shout like Chavez wanted to, or sneer like Rayne was doing in his head, or even placate like Aldo was thinking of doing. God, this must be what it was like to go completely nuts, Xav thought frantically. Walking a very thin edge of control, he brought his gaze to Chavez.

"I know you don't like Rayne, and I know why, and it didn't start with me. I'm not blind, and I'm not stupid, Valentin. He can be with PJ and you can't and it drives you crazy, but it's still my choice who I'm with. I wonder if you realize that half your attraction to me is because you just want to put Rayne's nose out of joint. It's not very flattering, so knock it off." He was wondering if any of what had just come out his mouth made sense. He couldn't have repeated it because his head was being pulled in several different directions at once, like a piece of taffy.

Rayne had half-turned to look at him as he began to speak. He smiled like a child and his fingers gently brushed the back of Xav's hand now as Aldo moved between him and Chavez, carefully insinuating himself into a position where he could block potential violence before it arose. Xavier felt some of the anger drain out of him at the unexpected intervention

"He's wrong you know," Chavez protested, a shade tremulously. "That's not why I want you, Xav. Yeah, I like to piss him off, he deserves it sometimes. But it's not the reason why I like you, okay? You're hot and you're a decent, beautiful person and you deserve to be treated way better than he treats you. And if I could have any guy in the world right now, I'd still want you more."

He looked as if he would have liked to have run away at that point but Aldo was holding his arm now, murmuring softly to him in a curious mixture of Spanish and Italian. Chavez turned to wrap his arms around the older man, suddenly needing to be held.

Rayne's emotions may have cooled down a bit, but Chavez had ratcheted the tension up a few notches; a huge dose of upset injected into the initial anger. Xavier had to close his eyes for a second and he swallowed hard as it hit him like a wave. He realized with a start that Chavez really did care about him, a lot. He also realized that he shouldn't have given in to his advances; that he had only made things ten times worse. Xav had thought at the time that Chavez was just horny for him... that it didn't really mean anything to him. Now, he thought, that maybe it did.

"I'm sorry..." Xav's voice sounded raspy. "I'm sorry... I have to get out of here."

He turned on his heel and took off down the hall, a swirl of emotional backlash whipping him along. He ended up flung across the bed, arms over his head, trying to shut everything out.

He was so chewed up by the tide of borrowed emotions that he did not feel Rayne slide into the room and lock the door. Didn't even know he was there until the little vampire climbed onto the bed and slid over him like a comfort blanket, curling around him.

Rayne tapped into him very gently, biting him and... not sucking but almost giving something back to him, it was like a tranquilizer flowing into his blood and making everything still. Just for a second or two he maintained the contact then lay beside him and kissed him where the bite marks were already slowly healing. And one by one the chaotic voices in his head faltered and fell quiet, until there was just him and Rayne.

"I think I did something very bad to you," his vampire lover said in a small, sorrowful voice.

Xav turned, twining his arms around Rayne's neck and burrowing his face into his chest like a child that needed comfort. He was so grateful for the bit of quiet that stole over him that he was almost overcome by it. He could hear the subtle rasp of Rayne's skin moving against his ear, feel the brush of his silken hair, smell the salt and sea air on him, and he was alright again.

"They're so...loud!" Xavier whispered. "Usually I can block it all out, or most of it."

He pulled back a little bit, enough so he could look at his lover but keep his arms around him. "What's going on Rayne?"

Rayne was looking at him almost anxiously. He chewed on his lower lip, drawing blood with the slightly extended dog teeth. His tongue retrieved the little spill of redness, flicking it back into his mouth and he swallowed nervously.

"Xav... I think... it's starting to come back in bigger bits and... Dominic's right, I feed from you too much. I think that's a part of it. It's... it's waking something up in you, something that was probably there before, but it's making you more sensitive to things," he said awkwardly. "When I first Turned it was like that. Like being hungover, but so much worse. I could hear things and smell things that no one else could. I thought I was going totally insane. Dominic explained what was happening to me. Before I met him I just thought I was going to go completely mental and I couldn't do anything to stop it."

"Yeah... in the kitchen just now, I felt like I was going crazy." Xav agreed, and then stopped because a little zing of fear rippled through him as it sank in, what Rayne was telling him. "Ray...are you saying I'm... Turning?"

"No, not that," Rayne reassured him quickly. "Not into a vampire anyway. I'd have to have bitten you more often the way I did just now before you crossed over," he added quickly.

"Then what?"

"I don't know, exactly. I think perhaps that a sharing bite like that makes you more sensitive, the way we are all the time."

Xavier looked back at him, worried and scared now... but without any regrets.

"Maybe...maybe we should ask Dominic? If he knew stuff about what you were going through, maybe he would know about this?" Something else occurred to him just then, a darker thought. "I was getting these feelings before tonight, before you bit me. It's not the first time you've done this to me, is it?"

Rayne looked down at his hands awkwardly. "Ummm... I... I might have," he admitted at last, looking suddenly rather sheepish. "Probably while we were fuckin', it's so easy to get carried away. I'm sorry," he said rapidly, his eyes pleading with Xavier again, begging him not to lose it.

He didn't. It was a close thing, but he didn't. It would have been easy to freak out, but at the same time he understood. It was hard not to fall completely into one another, especially when they were fucking. He gave a tiny sigh and kissed the tip of Rayne's nose to show he wasn't mad at him.

Xav closed his eyes for a moment, and then almost like he couldn't help himself the curiosity got to him and he had to test this thing out. He was still calm, and still quiet while he was holding onto Rayne. He let his mind drift a little bit, like he did when he was reaching out to touch Rayne's presence.

"Chavez is really upset," he relayed with an anxious frown, eyes still closed. "Aldo's worried... so is PJ, but Mikka's calm, calm for PJ's sake, soothing. Clay is... not indifferent, but quiet. He... fuck, I think he's got a bit of a thing for Aldo. I never saw that coming! Dominic...he's doing something to keep me out." He opened his eyes again and looked into Rayne's. "It's not like with you. I can't hear them or feel them like I do with you, but I just know how they're feeling."

He licked his lips and looked away a little guiltily. "I didn't mean to hurt Chavez."

"I can't believe you'd ever deliberately hurt anyone," Rayne murmured against the skin of his jaw, then pulled him closer, kissing him hard. His tongue lashed between Xav's teeth for a moment then he broke the kiss softly, still talking as though he had only paused for breath. "Me, I trail chaos behind me like... I dunno, a great big emotional bin wagon, I guess. But you're not like me, Xavier."

He felt the blond boy stiffen slightly in his embrace and leaned back a little to look at him curiously.

"I mean that in an entirely good way," he added quickly.

"The last time you said that, you told me I wasn't good enough for you." Xavier said before he could censor the words. He bit his lips, a little too late to keep them back. "Sorry, I didn't mean to bring that up."

"I did?" Rayne looked slightly shocked at this admission. "Are you sure?"

There was open concern in his eyes now and he started to understand a little more of why Chavez was so unhappy with him.

The emotion Xav felt now had nothing to do with picking anything up from anyone else, it was all his own. He'd been with Rayne almost constantly for two days, and they'd talked about so many things, reconnected stronger than ever, and it had started to feel like the breach between them had never happened. Xavier had been willing enough to forget it, especially since Rayne didn't really remember what he had done, and he had been in no condition to discuss it anyway.

Xavier had almost forgotten it himself. He had not been simply placating his lover when he told Rayne his own memory of that argument was fuzzy, especially at the end. He tried now to recall just what Rayne had told him. They had been yelling at one other, Rayne determined to go and Xavier determined that if he did leave he wasn't going to walk out thinking he was the self-sacrificing hero. The yelling had quieted down, but their words had remained intense and angry, and Rayne had pushed him back onto the couch more roughly than he had every handled Xavier before and bitten him hard. And then... well that was where it got confused in his head, Ray had not specifically said that Xav wasn't good enough for him. That was what Xavier had heard, but it was not what he'd said, exactly.

"You told me, I wasn't your equal," Xavier said quietly, not angry now but still a little hurt. "You said you wished I were, but I wasn't... and you wondered, if I was like you, if you would love me as much." He remembered that last part as he was saying it, and it was something of a revelation.

Rayne fell silent for a while. He wore an expression of shock that quickly turned to one of sadness as he listened to Xavier's impassioned words. Now he reached for the blond boy's hands holding them in his own for a moment as he mulled this confession over.

"If you were the same as me, do you think that you would feel the same way you do now?" he asked at last, biting his lips anxiously.

Xavier was quiet for a long time, laying side by side with Rayne holding his hands. He would not say that the thought hadn't already crossed his mind. What would it be like, to be what Rayne was? To become a vampire? It was a powerful seduction; one that Elian Iannopoulos had dangled in front of him too. He had been scared then, and he was uneasy with the thought now. He supposed many people would jump at the chance to be semi-immortal, not to suffer the effects of ageing, to have strength and power... yes, it was a very seductive idea. But... he was closer to Rayne than he supposed most mortals ever got to a vampire. He knew... in his blood he knew what Rayne had given up, and the terrible, terrible longing in him that almost never went away.

His eyes met and held Rayne's. "Did you know that Elian wanted to Turn me? He would have, if I'd let him. I didn't want him to... I'm happy with what I am Rayne. I wouldn't ask you to do it either." He looked down, unable to hold Rayne's gaze any longer. "I know you're afraid you'll bring me trouble, that I might even get killed. I know you're afraid that you might lose control one time and take too much... but knowing that doesn't make me want you any less."

Rayne's fingers twined through his and he smiled almost knowingly as he looked back into Xavier's eyes. The news that Elian Iannopoulos had wanted to make the boy like them darkened his gaze very briefly but the anger did not last. He was quietly overwhelmed by how smart and sorted his mate seemed to be. Little wonder that he had been so desperate to get back here. The things Xavier had told him were disturbing though. Clearly there had also been reasons why he had needed to get away and the pieces of that jigsaw were slow to come to hand.

His eyes wandered over the scars on his hands and arms and he knew that they were keys to his past, just as the scars on his chest and belly were keys to what he had done in Paris. But he was not ready to tap into them just yet.

"I don't want to do anything that will hurt you," he said ardently, at last. "It would kill me a hundred times knowing I'd deliberately done you harm."

"I know," Xavier said solemnly. "I know you don't want to hurt me. But, you never know what's going to happen, Rayne. You could have died in Paris, and stayed that way. I could get in a car wreck, or run across a trigger-happy mugger, or any number of things. If I lived my life afraid of what might happen I'd never make it." He took a breath and let it out slowly. "But... I had a lot of time to think after you left. I-I still want to be with you, but it's not really fair for me to ask you, is it? To ask you to live with the guilt if something does happen to me. If you didn't want to face that, I... I'd understand."

It was just about the hardest thing he'd ever said, but he meant it utterly.

Rayne lowered his eyes for a moment, his fingers tightening around Xavier's hands. He was chewing on his lower lip again, a definite sign that he was nervous, as the younger man was beginning to realise.

"It's not just that," he ventured finally. "Xavier, I've never lived with anyone before. I've never been with anyone like this, the way I am with you. I've always been on my own." He looked up again now, slightly perplexed. "I'm not even sure I know how to live any other way."

A small smile touched Xavier's lips but his eyes were still serious and a little sad. He could have told Rayne it wasn't that hard, but he didn't want to push him on this. Xavier had never been after a commitment anyway, but he didn't know where that left them. He knew he still wanted to see Rayne sometimes, at least... if Rayne still wanted to see him. And Rayne said he did. He said he had wanted to come back, that had to mean something, didn't it?

He leaned in and kissed the upturned tip of Rayne's cute little nose, then brushed his lips along his, clinging there for a moment before he rolled to his back and tucked one arm under his head, still holding Rayne's hand with the other. He looked up at the ceiling for a time, then turned his head to gaze at his lover again.

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