Title: Then there were Three
Pairing: Xander/Spike (don’t be fooled by the Willow beginning)
Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes
Summary: Wolfram and Hart may have won the day, but the battle is just about to begin...
Spoilers: Canon is Post S7 BtVS and S5 AtS.
Warnings: M/M – if you don't like boys together, don't play here!
Harsh circumstances and difficult start....
Mistress Lilliana was a white haired rather plump woman who had obviously been quite a buxom beauty in her day. Now in her mid sixties her eyes still danced with a hint of mischief and love of life. She was both healer and seer, and one had the sense that despite her motherly nature and natural calm, she would be an awesome opponent if ever crossed.
The Mistress knew of Margaret’s draining, not so much as it affected her, but that it tore down the ward she had on her room – the coven’s inner sanctum.
As she saw the state of panic on Xander’s face and the overly thin utterly unconscious figure in his arms, there was no need or time for formal introductions.
“Take him through here, quickly.” She ushered them into a small space with a bed behind an overly embroidered curtain then turned as Xander settled Spike onto the silk covers, “Kaila, ask cook for the fresh coven blood we have gathered. It’s in the cold room. And have Gillian attend us immediately, tell her we will need to feed him manually a la coma patient – she will know what to bring.”
She turned back to Xander who was obviously exhausted and was stroking his dear heart’s hair and begging him to hold on. He looked up teary eyed as the mistress addressed him, “You have done the right thing to come here. The Battle Brand has informed me of your friend’s plight – and of your relationship with both Willow and the vampire William.
“This day and three to come will be long and harrowing there is no doubt, but we will have your partner on the mend by then. As far as his long term full recovery? That vision has not yet been afforded me. I have seen Margaret and he seated studying together some time in the future – she is around ten I would suggest, so I surmise things will improve. That is all the hope I can give at this point.”
“So… no dust?”
“Not if we act quickly. We have collected blood from all the coven members – a mere bag each – over the last seven days, well since we knew you were coming. They are here because of their magic so their blood is likewise blessed. It will help, but we will have to insert a feeding tube it is why I called for…”
“Gillian… Hi” The young woman was atypical in the coven. A trained doctor she had come to magic late but was an absolute gift to the coven, treating ailments from carbuncles to cracked bones, but it was her knowledge of trauma surgery that was most useful. After four years in the emergency at Manchester Hospital she had a knack of knowing what to do – and the contacts if she didn’t.
Xander watched her unpack some sort of kit, scrubbing her arms and hands furiously in the small sink in the bathroom and nodding to the Mistress who pulled the gloves onto sterile hands. She then moved to the bed and opened a strange looking pack containing a tube around a centimeter wide.
Xander was a little unsure of his role so stepped back and looked on helplessly as various items were placed around his lover and the blood delivered in a large cooler.
Gillian looked up and smiled sympathetically, “I wonder could you hold his head Xander, I need it angled back a little while I push the tube to his stomach. There may be a moment as I pass his gag reflex.”
All Xander could think was “If only this were easier!”
Xander held his head at the appropriate angle and watched as the tube was fed skilfully down his partner’s oesophagus and into his stomach. Spike was so deeply comatose that the warning regarding any convulsions was utterly unnecessary. The tube was attached to the first blood bag but for Xander nothing changed.
He sat with his dear friend as seven bags of magically infused coven blood were gradually emptied into the vampire’s stomach. The only time Xander moved from his place holding the vampire’s hand was to go to the toilet once and to visit the children twice. The latter being easy, they had all settled including Margaret and were sleeping through the jetlag under careful scrutiny of coven members. This time Nurse Susan too was able to snooze.
After seven half litre bags of blood Spike stirred a little and opened his eyes, his dear Xander was there but his head was on the bed, the man asleep seated. He squeezed the hand that held his own, then realized he had no voice, the feeding tube taking that from him.
Xander roused slowly then realized his lover was awake. “Gillian? Nurse? Oh Goddess *someone*!”
He need not have panicked. A smiling Gillian attended and gently eased out the tube, with a quiet pat as it came out completely.
Xander was instantly at his side and all but tearful as Spike again coughed a little, but this time it was reflexive. His throat was sore from the treatment, but the cough had no indication of illness anymore. The magic within the blood seemed to have done what Xander could not.
He was thrilled as his loved one took his wrist and actively sucked then licked the cut closed, then pulled the still too pale and thin blonde to his chest to hug him soundly.
“You *never* do that again… please! I can’t lose you… I can’t lose you!!!!”
“She’s yours Xan… chit deserves a chance… last bit weren’t my choice anyway – she just got what I couldn’t provide.”
“*She* a one and a bit year old girl, nearly brought down the coven! And you were daring to feed her!”
“Never said I was clever did I… Little un needed it, she’s your’s and Red’s what’s a bloke to do?! She’s alright though… now I mean…”
Xander moved to the bed then lifted his recovering partner into his lap, stoking his hair and encouraging Spike to snuggle into his chest he said quietly, “She’s fine… better than ever… She’s sleeping with her sisters tonight.”
It seemed as much as Spike could manage to answer, “Right then”, before he fell into a deep sleep. Unlike the coma, however, he pushed into the man holding him, tried to edge closer to lick and suck at the flesh in front of him in his human guise, much like a tiny child might, a tease that had Xander contemplating just how long it had been since they last coupled.
Mistress Lilliana smiled as the vampire rallied a little then slept. “There he is… Hold him tonight Xander as both of you will need that… but tomorrow with more of the coven blood he should begin his recovery.”
“I will instruct her personally. She must learn to draw from the earth, not just from those around her. For one so young, it will not be words but tapping into her instincts that will adjust her actions. William here cannot continue to feed her. It *will* dust him.”
“He was prepared to do so… I knew… he said…”
“Xander you hold a most extraordinary individual in your arms. A true noble. He would go into battle to defend you without thought for his own safety, Angel knew that, Illyria knew and rewarded him for it (or cursed him that is yet to be determined), and Margaret feels it. This beautiful soul strives always for others… though he may protest the contrary – even soulless he protected and adored his challenged Sire.
“Be at peace Xander. The wiccans of this coven will care for your dear children, indeed we have both crèche and kindergarten on site, and more young mothers from our county than you care to count assisting. Nurse Susan has been bedded down with Margaret and your dear one will be well enough in the afternoon, to drink for himself I am sure.”
Lilliana then laid her hands on both men and invoked a healing spell then a prayer to Gaia herself. Xander didn’t miss the kicking off of shoes and solid planting of feet as she lay her hands on both men’s foreheads.
Xander felt suddenly warm and also began to cry without conscious thought. Spike was likewise in tears even though barely rousing from sleep.
Lilliana simply said, “Do not be distressed by your tears, nor those of William’s, you have been so strong for the children, but here you are permitted to grieve for her… Now… join your dear one on my bed and… sleep”
It was literally hours before he roused again.
He was in Spike’s arms – this time arms that seemed stronger, that held and caressed. He worried that he was imagining it. Then he heard the strong beloved baritone…
“Fed me again whilst you were sleepin’ Can’t say as I c’n ever repay ‘em. Pins still not workin’ but least I c’n work me chin and…” He tried to sit up a little but failed dismally, “Oh Bugger.”
Xander was just thrilled there was *any* improvement. “Shhhh It’s fine – just think how good you will feel in a few days.”
Spike relaxed back with a heavy sigh, “Yeah, but played this game before haven’t we. Ol’ Spike the yo-yo…”
Two days later saw Spike sitting up in his and Xander’s own bed, and well enough to see the children.