Reach Out For The Sunrise Ch. 11


"I did that to you," he whispered, almost to himself, as his cool fingertips circled the two, barely perceptible fang marks, then touched them tenderly. "You love me... and I did that, I bit you and hurt you, but you still love me." The argument ran around in his head like a kitten chasing its tail. He tilted his head and returned the kiss, stroking Xavier's lips restlessly with his own. "You taste good."

"So do you." Xavier breathed, brushing his lips again. Oh god he wanted him so much, had missed this so just wasn't fair. "Rayne..." His voice was suddenly husky with desire this time as his lover stroked his fingertips over the sensitive bite marks on his neck. He could hardly stand it, the heat pooled into his middle and he dropped his head with a little moan.

"What is it?" Rayne sat back from him, suddenly shy and solicitous again. His face was anxious; puzzled. "Did I hurt you? Are you angry again?"

When he bit his lip the little fangs drew blood but he barely seemed to notice it. His eyes were swallowing Xavier up.

Xavier gave a breathless little chuckle. " you didn't hurt me," he soothed.

This was just too strange. He really was like a different person. Rayne would have normally had him flat on his back and half his clothes off already. Xavier was also acutely aware now of how long it had been since he'd gotten any. He supposed it hadn't been that long, but still... and here Rayne was like a walking, breathing temptation and acting like he was twelve years old, playing kissy-face for the first time. It was laughable really, except he was so damn horny now.

He sighed and flopped back on the bed. He caught Rayne's hand and pulled him down beside him, tucking him in the curl of his arm. Dominic had said he remembered how to feed well enough, and that it helped him. "Are you hungry, sweetheart?"

Rayne nodded at once, peering through his dark forelock at Xavier, the expression on his face at once transformed into something oddly feral. His smile bared the sharpness of his teeth again as he prowled over Xavier slowly, looking down at him, absorbing the moment, memorising his face before he sank down onto him. The little silver stud in his tongue teased the dimples on Xavier's neck experimentally and his breath was quick and cool there, whispering over the wetness of his saliva.

The little vampire was suddenly afraid. There were parts of his past inside Xavier and when he bit the warm, soft flesh beneath him those missing pieces would come rushing back. He knew it without being told. This was why he was here, it was why he had been yearning for Xavier for so long. But still he held back for a moment. When the past came back he was not sure that he would like the person he became.

Xavier seemed nice. He was kind and warm and gentle and Rayne had hurt him before; back in the past when he knew who he was. Maybe once he bit Xavier he would go back to being that person and hurt Xavier some more, and then Xavier would hate him again.

Rayne closed his eyes tightly and whimpered with frustration, burying his face in the warmth of Xavier's soft, delicious smelling neck. He licked the bite marks there and as he lay close to the beautiful blond man he felt something that he understood. Xavier was getting hard, the stiffness slowly pushing against his hip the way that Trent's had done as they sprawled in bed together. Rayne lay on top of him and rubbed the whole length of his body along Xavier's very gently.

"You like that, don't you?" he whispered against the blond's downy earlobe, making him shudder with need.

Xavier made a sound that was half moan half whimper. His whole body yearned for Rayne touch, his hips rolled up unconsciously, rubbing his stiffening length up against him.

"Yes...I like that, Rayne," he got out in a strangled-sounding whisper.

A beatific smile lit up the vampire's face, only slightly tempered by the sharpness of his dog teeth. Rayne knelt up astride him and his quick fingers released the buttons of the fine black shirt that shrouded his lean, scarred body. Restlessly he shrugged it off, letting the material cascade down his pale arms as he loosened the buttons of his fly, then ran a slow hand over the swell of Xavier's straining groin.

"Beautiful!" he sighed.

Xavier swallowed hard, his warm hands gliding up Rayne's pale body and back down to his waist. A tiny voice in his head whispered that this still wasn't quite right. Like he was taking advantage of Rayne when he was drunk, or something. But Rayne looked so happy now, Xav was afraid that if he tried to dissuade him he would become upset again. Rayne's fingers traced over the outline of his cock and Xavier groaned urgently. "Oh...god, I want you."

Rayne played with his zipper, a teasing little smile on his face. It was all there, in his head. They loved this... all men loved this, the chase, the tease and the ultimate release. He knew it and yet he didn't.

For a moment he stopped and shook his head as if trying to dislodge something that had fallen over his eyes. It was there... just on the edge of his consciousness and he couldn't touch it. He couldn't see it. There were parts of him missing and he needed them in order to function. He needed to bite Xavier and take back the rest of himself.

"Help me," he said, sounding slightly dazed. "I don't know who I am. Xavier... I don't know who I am."

"Shh, it's ok Rayne." Xavier soothed, moving his hands away from his zipper, setting aside his own frustrated need for the moment. He sat up and pulled Rayne back into his embrace, holding and comforting him. "We'll figure this out sweetheart," he sighed, hoping he was telling the truth. Blowing out a little breath he thought about the situation. "Okay, we need to help you remember. Maybe if we just talk about things, it will make it easier for you to think of them on your own. Do you remember, umm... when we first met? Do you remember that? At the club? You and Barclay watched me dance to your song, Dark Paths, and then you came backstage..."

Rayne snuggled into the circle of his arms. It felt good there. Xavier's voice was warm and soothing. He liked to listen to the other man talking. The words were not important really, it was the gentle music of Xavier's speech that lulled him. He felt instantly that he was home.

"Did you like me?" he asked, neither confirming nor denying the memory. "I really like you, Xavier. You're warm and beautiful. I like being with you."

Xavier couldn't help the little smile that tugged at his lips. "Yes, I like you. Do you remember though? Remember meeting me?" he prodded.

Rayne just smiled though and wriggled his way deeper into Xavier's embrace. There were fragments of memory there, but when he tried to think about being in a club it brought back a weird collection of mental images; too bright, too loud, too dark, too urgent. He caught his breath and hugged Xavier too tightly, making him gasp too. When Rayne tried to kiss him he did not fight it; he needed it too much. But it was a deliberate diversion and frustration quickly set in.

When their wet lips parted, Xavier tried a different tack, recalling conversations they'd had. He shied away from some of the darker memories they shared, for now, but there were plenty of casual little things to chose from. Mostly Rayne was ambivalent in the face of this soft interrogation. He neither confirmed nor denied that he remembered anything but was so sweet, and affectionate that Xavier would have felt like a bastard to lay into him for it. After an hour or so of this tactical evasion he needed a break. He didn't feel like he was getting anywhere at all, and that in turn made him feel like he was failing Rayne.

Xavier put Rayne's shirt back on him in the end, and went out to find Dominic, the confused little vamp still trailing behind him like a puppy. Rayne seemed fond of the older man and snuggled up to him automatically while they were talking. Dom in turn stroked his dark hair affectionately as if he was a child. If he was fazed by Rayne's behaviour he managed not to let it show. Xav envied him. Meanwhile he told Dominic about his idea for trying to help Rayne recover his memories.

"Dominic," he asked at last, when the older man had reassured him that his efforts to help Rayne remember were probably doing more good than harm. "I've seen the scars on his body. What the hell happened to him? He won't, or can't tell me."

Dom chewed on his lower lip for a moment as if deliberating the wisdom of answering that question truthfully. At last he glanced down at Rayne and asked their little shadow to go and get one of the others to help him make them some coffee. Rayne looked at him a little bit strangely, Xav thought but he went at last and Dominic heaved a little sigh.

"Xavier," he said gravely. "When Mikka found him Ray was... I can't even say he was close to death. You weren't wrong in what you sensed. I believe that he died - in the true sense of that word - and that he was dead for at least 24 hours before we reached him. And now... now I have to wonder if we did the right thing to bring him back. I wasn't at all sure it was even possible. I still don't know how he survived the damage done to him."

For a moment Xavier just stared at him. He couldn't find the words to express what was in his head. Dominic had justified everything he felt and believed that morning when he got PJ to make the call. He had felt Rayne die. It was true.

"Someone staked him," Xavier said in a numbed voice, knowing it for the truth even if no one had come right out and said it yet. "I felt it. Felt the moment it pierced his heart. He was scared... terrified. He didn't want to die. He told me that I came for him. Could he have sensed me, through the link, the same way I felt what was happening to him?"

"It's not unlikely," Dominic conceded with a humourless smile. "Xavier, when we were in Herculaneum that morning before he left, you and he shared a dream. Did you know that?"

Xavier shook his head, bewildered at first by the enquiry. Then he began to remember. It had been less than two weeks ago but it felt like another lifetime. He recalled lying on the sunbed by the pool and thinking that it was snowing. There were other, darker things in his dream but he had pushed them away, his instincts protecting him. And then Rayne had been there, kneeling beside him, waking him gently.

He told Dominic about it, hesitantly now, omitting the parts about finding his mother dead. The older man nodded slowly as he listened.

"Intriguing," he murmured at last. "You know, I suspected there was something about you from the start, Xavier Gavrilov. Whilst we were in Paris, Rayne couldn't remember his own name but he remembered that you dreamed it was snowing. He talked about it in the car on the way back. Do you know why?"

Xavier shook his head, increasingly bewildered by this.

"When we were in Herculaneum he collapsed, did he tell you that?" Dom queried.

"No, he didn't say anything about it. And then we argued and he left... no, wait!" Xavier was shaking his head again, trying to remember something. "He fainted or something, in the bedroom. When I woke up he was on the floor and Aldo was holding him. Then we had the fight and..." Xav swallowed, blinking back a sudden embarrassingly hot rush of tears at the memory.

Dominic stroked his arm gently, soothing him. "Shhh... it's all in the past now. Xavier, I have a crazy theory about this, will you hear me out?"

The blond nodded now, already aware that when Dominic suggested something was crazy he meant it in the serious fruit-loop sense. He was keyed up for anything but not what the old man told him.

"I went to Herculaneum looking for a psychic Hot Spot, a place between the paranormal dimensions as we know them," Lord Warren explained to him as if this was logical or even rational behaviour. "But I think that Rayne found it. And he almost got lost in it. I believe that if he did not already have one foot on the other side of the Veil he might have suffered more severely. But you," he pointed at Xavier, "you have a link to him that is definitely beyond most mortals' capacity for empathy. And you subconsciously tried to follow him into the hereafter. I believe that he brought you back, whether he understood he was doing it or not. The incident left you both feeling drained. You were ill for days afterwards, were you not?"

Xavier opened his mouth to contest this, but closed it again. He had been swallowed up by an inexplicable fever, it was true. At the time he put it down to a combination of over-indulgence and the stress of Rayne leaving him. But he was rarely ill. It was unusual.

"What does that have to do with how he is now?" he asked, making his brain work rationally again.

"It... I think it possibly opened the floodgates between you," Dominic ventured, still looking thoughtful. "You were conscious of him before it, but afterwards it was as if you felt with his body and thought with his mind. At first I believed it was just because he took too much blood from you too quickly. But it's more than even that; stronger than a blood bond. You are life and death to each other, Xavier. If he had died, I do believe that it would ultimately have killed you."

Ba-boom! Xavier's heart stopped for a moment. He remembered waking in the night again; the cold sense of terror, of sinking into the darkness. Yes, it's true, his mind insisted. You almost died with him that night. You felt his death. You shared it!

"Why haven't I lost my mind then?" he asked, feeling suddenly too breathless, too close to the edge of some invisible precipice.

"Because you are the key to him," Dominic said levelly. "As he is the key to you. You ground one another. If you are in danger he is stronger for you. I think that he is right, you hold the key to his memories inside you."

"He's told you that, too?" Xavier forced a humourless grin. "He knows what he did and he's scared of doing it again if he gets his memories back. Will it be that easy though?"

"I doubt it," Dom sighed. "He went through a massive physical trauma, Xavier. It's about more than just getting his memory back. He needs to physically and emotionally grow again."

"You think that being dead might have damaged him permanently, don't you?" Xavier stated grimly. "That's why you wonder if you did the right thing? He's... different. It's changed him in more than just losing his memory. He... he's so unsure of himself."

Dominic looked out of the window as if he saw answers there. He sighed again and when he returned his solemn gaze to Xavier there was a glint of emotion in his mossy-green eyes.

"Darling, when we stop living, the first cells to die are in the brain," he said with only the slightest tremor in his voice. "He can fix physical damage to his body. It's part of his make-up as a vampire. But the brain is a difficult thing to repair. If he's lost that part of him that tells the rest how to heal, or if it was damaged..."

He did not finish. It wasn't necessary. Xavier's expression said enough about his understanding of the issue. Rayne was broken and he might never be fixed, that was the simple answer. But the real answer was more complicated than that. If he couldn't ever be fixed, what would happen to him? Xavier was having a hard enough time trying to forgive him for what had gone before. Having a dependant was something he simply hadn't ever considered; someone who would need him, constantly.

He was not sure which worried him more. That Rayne might never be whole again or that he might not be able to handle it if he never got better.

After his bizarre talk with Dominic Xavier found Rayne and took him back to their room. He decided that he would stay with his plan for trying to help him remember and for the rest of the evening Xavier sat and talked to him, bringing up things that the vampire should know to make it easier. When he questioned him sometimes Rayne got upset, and then Xavier would stop and just talked to him instead, telling him all about the past few months as if he were relating a story. It didn't seem to make much difference to Rayne's condition. When it got late he lay down with that cool, sleek restless body beside him on the bed. Rayne seemed neither inclined to go to sleep or to let Xavier go and so Xav kept talking to him until the wee hours. Eventually Rayne did fall asleep while curled around him. Xavier lay awake though, turning things over in his head until the sky outside began to lighten, and then he too could finally close his eyes.

The next morning Xavier woke first and he slipped from the bed carefully and went to take a shower while Rayne slept on. When he opened the door to the bathroom Rayne was somehow standing right in front of him. Xavier had not even heard him move and nearly jumped out of his skin, which startled Rayne too, and then Xav had to spend some time soothing him and reassuring him he wasn't angry. It was simply exhausting.

"It's okay, it's okay, you just startled me," he insisted, running his hands over the vampire's silky hair. "I'm just going to freshen up, okay? Go back to bed. You'll be all right."

Rayne calmed again and sat on the edge of the bed. He stayed there like an obedient child while Xavier showered and was still watching while he got dried and dressed afterwards. It was slightly disconcerting to have him just looking on incuriously like that. Xavier opened a drawer and inside he spotted a tote bag and he remembered he'd put it in there after Rayne had left. It had a couple big beach towels, a blanket, some suntan oil, and a half a pack of Marlboro's in it from a little trip he and Rayne had taken down the beach. He pulled the bag out now.

"Remember this?" he asked his lover. "We went to the beach and laid in the sun by the water. There was a little spot up by the trees that's secluded and we..."

He trailed off as Rayne just looked back at him enigmatically, a little smile playing on his lips. Xav sighed. "Maybe we can go down there again, hmm? Maybe you'll remember it if I show you where I'm talking about."

He said it without much hope really.

Xav wandered out of the bedroom, Rayne following close behind. When the vampire reached out for his hand Xavier took it. The contact seemed to comfort him. In the kitchen Dominic and Clay were already chatting over breakfast and Xav said good morning to them both. PJ and Mikka were conspicuously absent. As he moved to sit down Aldo came in from the direction of the front door, carrying a huge bouquet of red roses.

Xavier grinned at him. "Secret admirer?"

Aldo grinned right back at him. "They're for you."

Xavier blinked. "Me?"

Aldo pulled out the little card with his name on it and handed it to him. Bemused, Xavier opened it and read 'Xavier, I'm sorry. Please call... Palo.'

Xavier's expression hardened and he tossed the little card onto the table. Aldo felt no compunction about picking it up and reading it. His broad smile faded a bit as he scanned the message though, obviously it wasn't what he had thought it was going to be.

"What's he apologising for?"

Xavier shrugged, suddenly sullen and withdrawn. "Probably for being an asshole."

Rayne, who had taken the seat closest to his own, now picked up the little card as Aldo put it down. He examined it minutely for a moment then his fine black eyebrows came together slightly as he looked over the top of it at Xavier. He said nothing though.

As Xavier loaded up on carbs and orange juice, Rayne wrapped his long fingers around the heat of a coffee cup and inhaled the caffeine in brooding silence. Dark fronds of hair veiled his face almost completely. Dominic tried to talk to him but he was uncommunicative until Xavier had finished eating, his silence enough to put Xav off his breakfast, which was almost a first.

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