Nothing the Same, Book 2
Rating: PG13 - NC-17 Individual chapters will carry specific warnings.
Feedback & concrit: yes, please
Disclaimer: don't own them, never will, just playing with them
Spoilers: Anything from Season 1 on.
Summary: sequel to Nothing the Same.
Previous parts here
“What the bloody hell were you tossers thinking? How could you let him do that?”
Xander thought vaguely that someone was in trouble; Spike sounded really angry.
“Shut up, Spike, and lie still.”
Angel? Well, that explained it. Spike got cranky around Angel a lot.
“Lettin’ him practically bleed to death while you all just stood there and watched…”
“Stop being over-dramatic. He’s not anywhere near dead.”
Spike cursed and the pain threaded through the profanity cleared the fog shrouding Xander’s thoughts with shocking suddenness. Spike was hurt and Xander was just lying there daydreaming. He sat up with a jerk and almost toppled over as a wave of dizziness hit him. He tried to brace himself but his left arm wasn’t cooperating and his body tilted, sliding towards horizontal again until an arm around his middle braced him.
“Easy there.” Giles was suddenly beside him, steadying him but Xander only had eyes for Spike. Spike, who was propped up against the wall, looking white and frail, even as he argued with Angel, who was wrapping a bandage around Spike’s middle. Xander eyed the discarded blood bags around the vampire and saw that Spike had drunk at least five bags. Several more full bags were waiting nearby.
“Xander.” Spike’s blue eyes lit up when he saw Xander awake and sitting up. “Are you alright?”
Xander lurched to his knees and began shuffling towards him. “Am I alright? I’m not the one who stayed behind with a bomb and a demon the size of Kansas. Are you crazy?”
He collapsed next to Spike, careful not to actually fall on him, and leaned against the wall, scooting gingerly closer until their shoulders were just brushing.
“It was a brilliant plan, I’ll have you know,” Spike informed him.
“So brilliant it almost got you killed.”
“You’re a fine one to talk.” Spike reached across, picking up Xander’s right hand and tracing his thumb over the makeshift bandage Giles had hastily wrapped around the gash he’d made in his wrist. “Didn’t need to do that, luv. I would have been fine.”
“Couldn’t take the risk.” Seeing how white Spike still was, even after Angel’s and Xander’s blood and several bags, Xander knew he’d done the right thing. “Besides, no harm, no foul. We’re both alive. That’s what counts.”
“Xander,” Spike sounded exasperated and Xander looked at him in surprise. “I could have drained you accidentally. Wasn’t exactly aware of what was goin’ on. Never give your blood like that to an injured vampire, we don’t always know when to stop.”
“I can assure you, Spike, I would not have allowed you to drain him,” Giles interjected firmly.
Spike shot Giles an annoyed glance, but his irritation faded at the resolute look on the Watcher’s face. After a long moment, he nodded. “‘preciate it, Watcher.” His fingers slid from Xander’s wrist to his hand, entwining them with Xander’s. He closed his eyes for a moment, wincing as Angel finished tying off the bandage. Xander was relieved to see that it was a real bandage this time, not another shirt.
Rallying, Spike looked at Xander again. “Your arm, luv. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing to worry about, Spike. Do you need more blood?”
“Spike, shut up and drink some more blood. I’ll look at your boy’s arm.”
Spike glared but did take the blood bag from Angel. Which worried Xander - Spike doing what Angel said without arguing was usually a bad sign. He watched anxiously as Spike tore into the bag, draining it rapidly, until his view was blocked by Angel.
“Spike, where did you get a bomb?”
Spike didn’t look up from supervising Angelus’ work on his boy. “Found it in the basement,” he said briefly. Angelus was examining Xander’s arm, trying to see what the problem was. Spike growled when Xander gasped in pain as Angelus moved the arm, even though he could tell his Sire was trying to be gentle.
“There was a bomb in the basement?” Buffy asked incredulously.
“Yeah. Found it when we were looking for the Sisterhood.”
“I don’t think anything’s broken,” Angelus decided. “You may have torn some muscles or something, but I can’t really tell. You should probably see a doctor.”
“I think the three of us would all benefit from a trip to the emergency room,” Giles said.
Spike narrowed his eyes, not liking the idea of being separated from Xander when he was injured, but he could hardly go to the hospital himself while he was so badly wounded. The staff would insist on treating him and they were bound to fuss when they found out he was dead.
“Giles, we need to find out why there was a bomb in the school.”
Now that he’d hijacked the bomb for his own uses, Spike agreed. No way was he letting Xander go back to a school when someone was trying to blow it up. It was too dangerous, they might try again.
“I agree, Buffy, but there’s nothing we can do tonight. You need to have that cut seen to and Xander should have someone check his arm.” The Watcher didn’t mention his leg injury but if the three of them went to the hospital, the Watcher could keep an eye on Xander for him.
“Xander, I’ll meet you at the apartment after the hospital. Watcher?” He waited until he had Giles’ full attention. “I’m holding you responsible for my Claimed,” he said pointedly.
Giles smiled. “Don’t worry Spike. I’ll take him to the hospital and bring him back to your apartment afterward.”
“Spike…” Xander began, obviously about to argue.
“No, luv. Need to get your arm fixed.” He exchanged glances with Angelus, who nodded. “Angelus will get me home and get me more blood. I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure?” Xander’s worried eyes warmed him more than all the blood Angelus had been feeding him.
“I’m sure, luv. Now go, get yourself taken care of.”
Xander kissed him, then let Angelus help him up and the three humans limped away.
Spike grinned cheekily at Angelus. “Helluva fight, eh, Sire?”
To his surprise, Angelus grinned back at him before carefully helping him to his feet. “Not bad.”
Thinking about the battle kept Spike’s mind off the pain as his Sire helped him out of the school. Any battle you left on your own two feet while your opponent was in gory little bits was a victory to be savored.
It was six hours later when Giles dropped Xander off at the apartment and Xander had been quietly going out of his mind worrying about Spike. He didn’t have any reason to think Angel wouldn’t get Spike home safely but would Angel make sure he was comfortable or would he just dump him in bed and toss some blood bags at him? Spike tended to go all stoic about injuries and was too proud to ask for help and Xander was stuck in the hospital waiting room waiting his turn. He needed to get home. The hospital emergency room was having a busy night and Buffy’s six stitches, Xander’s sling, and Giles’ bandages had not rated immediate attention. He’d tried to get Giles to leave, so he could check on Spike but Giles refused to budge.
The three of them had sat in the waiting room for what felt like forever, alternately nodding off from exhaustion and discussing who could have put a bomb in the school and what to do about it. Not surprisingly, given how tired they all were, they hadn’t come up with any brilliant ideas.
Apparently the binding spell Giles had used to close the Hellmouth had done a lot to restore the damage the demon had caused in breaking free, re-sealing the opening physically as well as magically, for which Xander was extremely grateful. Having helped save the world, he felt that they were owed a pass on the physical clean up that usually followed.
He’d been horrified when he suddenly remembered that Oz had been in the weapons cage the entire time, still sleeping off the effects of the tranquilizer shot and completely helpless. How could he have forgotten that Oz was there? Granted, things had gotten out of hand pretty quickly, but still… He was relieved when Giles told him that Oz was fine and just beginning to stir when he and Buffy had finished the binding spell. Fortunately, the demon had apparently never noticed the sleeping wolf in the cage.
At long last, they had gotten in to see the doctor. Xander had some torn muscles in his arm but it would only require a sling and not using the arm for a few days until the muscles healed. Remembering with a shudder one of the heads smashing into him and throwing him halfway across the library, Xander figured he’d gotten off easily. Buffy had needed a few stitches for the deep gash on her forehead and Giles had gotten off with a knee brace and a number of bandaged cuts.
It was lucky they had Giles with them, he thought tiredly. Giles put on his most proper voice and that armor of tweed and talked vaguely about the masked hoodlums who’d attacked them as they walked home and all suspicion about their injuries died immediately. If he hadn’t been so tired, Xander would have laughed at the demonstration of the power of an English accent on gullible Americans. Or maybe it was just Hellmouth blindness. Either way, the staff didn’t call the police or social services and that was fine by Xander. He was too tired to deal with authority figures.
Opening the door to the apartment, he moved quickly to the bedroom and sighed with relief at seeing Spike asleep in their bed. He knew from experience that Spike would sleep for a good long time, letting his vampire healing thing work. The wide bandage around Spike’s waist was clean, showing no blood, and Spike was in the near-coma healing sleep, not reacting to Xander’s presence at all.
He made a mental note to kill Angel the next time he saw him, leaving Spike alone and vulnerable like this. Selfish bastard could have waited until Xander returned, he thought wrathfully, Angel was hardly injured at all. Granted, it was unlikely that anything would happen here in their own apartment with Spike’s loyal Lieutenants one floor below, but still, it was the principal of the thing.
He checked the refrigerator and saw that Angel had left them with a good supply of blood, and reluctantly decided to only hurt Angel, not kill him. Giving in to the fatigue dragging his steps, he clumsily dragged an armchair in from the living room and settled into it at Spike’s side, setting the alarm to go off in three hours. Resting his good hand on Spike’s arm, Xander closed his eyes and let exhaustion take over. Spike would need more blood soon, but until then, he could sleep.
It was late afternoon when Spike woke up, surfacing naturally without being disturbed. Xander had shaken him awake early in the morning and made him drink more blood but he had lapsed back into healing sleep immediately afterwards. This time, Spike could tell he was much better. Stretching carefully to test his injury, he winced as pain shot through his side at the movement. Much better, but still a fair ways to go. Another few bags of blood and a few more hours of healing sleep were needed, he decided. It would be at least another day before the wound was completely healed and a day or two longer before his strength was fully restored.
He checked the bandages around his mid-section. Angelus had done a good job with them and they were still in place. Closing his eyes, he ghosted his fingers over his side, concentrating hard on what his body was telling him. The unliving tissue was re-growing, filling in the area where the demon’s teeth had torn into his flesh. The area would heal over completely within a few days, leaving no sign of the injury, but for now there was still a significant amount of flesh missing.
He grinned in remembrance. It had been one beauty of a fight. Not many vampires could boast they’d single-handedly killed a demon that size. And the fact that he’d used a bomb didn’t detract at all from his victory - after all, he was the one who’d had the brains to come up with the idea in the middle of battle.
Frowning, he thought about the bomb. Who had put it in the school? It hadn’t mattered when he’d intended to let it go off. They’d have been well out of the area by the time the detonator blew and you couldn’t blow up the same building twice. Now, because he’d hijacked the bomb and it hadn’t destroyed the school, there was a risk that whoever had made it might try again.
Wincing a little at the movement, Spike turned so he could see Xander. His boy was sleeping on his side, his bad arm cradled in a sling - no cast he was relieved to see. Xander’s breathing was deep and even and Spike ignored the pain that tugged at his side to shift closer, snuggling into the living warmth of his boy and inhaling deeply, reveling in the familiar smell of his Claimed.
Xander had been hurt far too often since Spike had met him and Spike wished fervently that he could find a way to keep his boy safe. Xander was human and so fragile it terrified Spike. He could lose his Claimed so easily, in a thousand different ways, and he couldn’t bear the thought of anything happening to Xander. The problem was that only way to keep his boy safe was to keep Xander by his side every minute and, much as Spike would like that, it wasn’t an option. Xander would never allow it.
Sighing, Spike inched a little closer, sliding his arms around his boy, carefully avoiding the injured arm, and buried his nose in Xander’s neck. He could hear the steady thumping of Xander’s heart, feel the quiet movement of breathing and he basked in the warmth radiating from the broad back turned toward him. He had Xander to himself for the whole weekend, that would have to be enough. For now.
“Spike?” Xander mumbled sleepily. His head moved and he looked blearily over his shoulder at Spike. “Are you ok?”
“Fine, luv. Go back to sleep.”
Xander was clearly still half asleep as he turned over, shifting in Spike’s arms. “What time is it?”
“Late afternoon, pet.”
“Damnit!” Xander started to pull away and Spike tightened his hold, keeping him in place. “Let me up, Spike, you need more blood.”
“Calm down, luv. I’m fine.”
“Unless you’re saying you’ve gotten up, you haven’t had blood since this morning.” Xander had an impressive glare when the situation called for it, Spike noted proudly. “And you better not tell me you got up.”
Spike gave him an injured look. “Been sleepin’ like an innocent baby.”
“Please, do you even know the meaning of the word?” Xander leaned forward and kissed him, then rolled out of bed as Spike reluctantly unwound his arms from around his boy. “Don’t move.”
“Tyrant,” Spike groused, amused and secretly pleased as he always was when Xander was being over-protective. He shifted himself upright, knowing Xander was right and he needed more blood, only to have Xander exclaim in exasperation:
“Spike! Stop moving around, you’ll hurt yourself.”
Xander hurried around the bed and used his good arm to help Spike sit upright.
“Bit of the blind leading the blind, luv. Don’t strain your arm.”
“I’m not the one with the major injury here.” Hearing the worry under Xander’s sharp tone, Spike caught his hand before he could move away.
“Xander.” He waited until Xander stilled and looked at him, then squeezed his fingers. “Vampire, luv. I’m fine. A bit more blood and a few more hours sleeping and I’ll be up and about.” Xander looked away and Spike tugged his arm, pulling him down beside him.
“What’s wrong, luv?”
Xander didn’t answer and Spike ran his fingers through the tousled dark waves of his hair, pulling him down so his head was resting on Spike’s shoulder. For a long moment, they were quiet, Spike simply stroking his fingers through Xander’s hair and waiting while his boy struggled with his emotions.
“You almost died.” Xander’s voice was so quiet, a human wouldn’t have heard the whispered words. He turned his head, burying his face in Spike’s neck. “I almost lost you.”
“Didn’t happen, luv,” Spike said comfortingly. “I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.”
“You scare me, Spike. You throw yourself into things like you’re invincible and you’re not. You can be killed so easily if someone gets in a lucky shot. So many things can hurt you…”
Astonished, Spike pulled back. “Xander, what are you talking about? I’m not a bloody fledgling, I’m a Master Vampire.” He couldn’t quite hide the irritation in his voice. “I’ve survived over a century. Not likely to die any time soon.”
Xander lifted his head and Spike found his offense fading at the haunting worry in the familiar brown eyes. “Spike, someone could tear the curtains off that window and set you on fire. You tackle bigger, stronger demons for fun. And because you’re Master of the Hellmouth, every two-bit vampire with delusions of grandeur wants a shot at you.” He buried his head in Spike’s shoulder again. “I couldn’t bear to lose you, and last night…”
His voice trailed off and Spike simply held him, crooning comfortingly and rubbing his back soothingly. He was astounded by the revelation that Xander, his precious, fragile boy, saw Spike as vulnerable. Was terrified of losing him in the same way that Spike feared losing Xander, and for the same reasons. Involuntarily, his lips quirked up and he suddenly laughed.
“Right pair of daft buggers, aren’t we, Xander?” he said cheerfully. “Both so bloody afraid of losing the other we can’t see straight.” He pushed Xander back, giving him a tiny shake. “You listen to me, pet. It takes a lot to kill me and I’m not about to let that happen. Got too much going for me to let some two-bit vampire get the best of me.”
Xander’s lips twitched at the light mockery as he quoted Xander’s words back at him and a little of the worry faded from his eyes. “I love you, pet. And I will claw and kick and fight to the last drop of blood to stay with you.” He shook Xander gently once more for emphasis. “Not going anywhere.”
“Me neither,” Xander promised, smiling now. “Well, except for the kitchen. I was going for blood when you got me all sidetracked.” He grinned and stood up.
“I got you side-tracked?” Spike mock growled. “Wasn’t me doing the mother hen impression.”
“Jeez, try and help a guy out and this is the gratitude I get?” Xander muttered, deliberately loudly enough for Spike to hear. He paused at the door of the kitchen and looked back. “Love you, Spike.”
Spike felt his lips curve in what he was afraid was an embarrassingly sappy smile. “Love you too, Xander.”