kimalis (kimalis) wrote in bloodclaim,
kimalis
kimalis
bloodclaim

FIC : Family Bonds chapter 9 WIP

Title: Family Bonds
Pairing: Spander
Rating: PG13
Summary: After his relationship with Anya fizzles out Xander and Spike become lovers. Xander’s insecurities lead him to seek help from Tara. She discovers a secret from Xander’s past.
Notes:AU beginning S6 roughly replacing Hells Bells.I tweaked the Verse to suit myself. No Dawn (enough with the squealing), Buffy didn't die (not because I don't want her to, just don't need her to) and Spike would so never had slept with her (Spuffy? Eeww...squicky).
Thanks again kitty_alex

Disclaimer: not mine, all belongs Joss and Co. Damn them. And bless them.
Feedback and concrit appreciated and lusted after.
Previous chapters can be found here


 CHAPTER 9 - BLOOD ON THE MOON


Spike lay unmoving in a spreading pool of blood. His clothes were drenched, blood oozed from his gut, shoulder, both legs and chest. He had a multitude of small cuts over his face and hands, each bleeding freely.

 Xander stood rooted to the spot. So much blood. Coming from so many places. Could a vampire bleed to death? His fault. This was his fault. He was useless, couldn’t help in any real way and here was the result. Spike was dying. Spike had gone, without any thought of himself, to defend and protect Xander. The guilt over the cut calf was nothing compared to this. Xander may as well have just staked Spike himself. Either way the culpability was his. He’d known it would happen someday, one of his friends would die because of his ineptitude, actually he’d thought it would more likely be him.

 Xander registered Tom shaking him, “Come on boy, snap out of it. He needs you now.”

 He blinked dazedly at Tom, taking a moment to focus. “Tom, look what I’ve done.” He tried to wrench himself free of Tom’s grip. “I’ve killed him.”

 “Don’t be an idiot son. You think you’re God? Think you could make a master do something against his will? You won’t be the one who kills William the Bloody.” Tom kept his hands firmly on Xander’s arms, forcing Xander to face him. “You might be special but you aren’t that good. Now wake up to yourself and be the one who saves him. Help me get him back to Rose.”

 Oh god. Stupid, selfish indulgence in self-pity. Time better spent helping Spike. Xander shook the doubts from the fore of his mind. Wounded fighter. Here was something he could do, had been doing for years, a way to begin making recompense, if that were even possible.

 Tom was bent over Spike, checking the worst of the wounds. “Find a sheet, a cloth, something we can carry him in.” Tom told him. “He’s too damaged to just toss over my shoulder.”

 Xander looked around the cavern, no other rooms, there must be something here. Then he noticed the low stone tablet, chains and cuffs at either end. Not going to stop and think what that was for. Just going to run over there and grab that fancy embroidered blanket spread over it. He pulled the cloth free, shaking off several Hokard pieces and no small amount of dust. Returning to Tom, Xander spread the fabric on the floor and together they carefully lifted Spike, laying him down on it. Xander took a moment to check over Spike. So pale, always was pale but this was different. His cheeks, usually so sharp and defined were sunken hollows, as were his eyes. Blood seeped from the many stab wounds and gashes. He looked to Tom for instructions, then picked up the ends of the cloth at Spike’s head as Tom indicated. Carrying him carefully they made their way back out of the den and into the sewer.

 “We’ll get him to the car, I’ll phone Rose so she can be ready for us,” Tom told him as they walked. “There’s a bundle in the back, sheets and towels, you can spread some over the back seat then you can jump in there with him and I’ll drive back. Press a couple of towels onto those wounds in his chest and stomach. We need to try to keep some of that blood inside him.”

 They were soon back at Xander’s car, Tom calling Rose while Xander covered the back of the car with sheets. Together, they manoeuvred Spike onto the seat and Xander climbed in and crouched in the small space beside him. As they drove, Xander found some smaller towels and held them fast against the seeping gashes. The worst one, in Spike’s side, soon needed a second cloth. In the silence of the car, Xander’s mind began to wander.  There had been so much blood on the floor, how could there be more? Would he just keep bleeding until he was empty? What then? Would he dust, could he live like this? His duster. Spike was going to be so mad when he saw the holes in his duster. Xander stifled a laugh. Catch yourself Harris. Get it together. You’re no help to Spike if you lose it. Xander mentally slapped himself, would have physically if he’d not been elbow deep in Spike’s blood.

 Xander looked over Spike’s face. Few spots were blood free, though he could tell most of it would wipe away, only a few small cuts there. He leaned down and rested his lips against one of the less bloody patches near Spike’s temple. “I’m sorry.” A light kiss. “I’m sorry.” No response at all. Spike hadn’t moved, hadn’t made a sound since they’d found him. Xander knew it was foolish to expect he would show some sign of life, but still he hoped for some hint. Not dust. That would have to do. Spike was not dust so this would not be his final death. Xander grabbed on to that. Not dust, not going to be dust, he would make it so. Let Rose do her thing, then Xander would take care of the rest. “C’mon Tom, let’s move it.”

 They pulled the car up to the pub. Rose had the door open, lighting their way across the sidewalk. Tom and Xander manhandled Spike inside and through to the kitchen, laying him on the long work bench. Rose set to work pulling off his boots and cutting away the jeans, but when she moved to his duster Xander stopped her and with Tom’s help, they peeled the wet, damaged coat away. Rose cut off his shirt then motioned to the large bucket of milky liquid on the floor.

 “Both of you grab a cloth, we have to wash him down with this. It will neutralise any residual toxins on his skin or inside the wounds and stop the bleeding getting worse.” She handed them both thick pieces of soft cloth. “Don’t be stingy now, get a lot of it on there. And don’t worry Xander, you can’t hurt him.” Xander had cringed when he touched Spike with the wet cloth.

 As they worked, his appearance improved. Under the blood was more undamaged skin than Xander could have hoped for. He had some major punctures and some minor slices but it looked nowhere near as bad as he’d first thought

 Seeing Xander’s look of confusion Rose explained, “The toxin makes him bleed more than he normally would. It’s how the Hokard hunt prey. They can spray the venom to paralyse and preserve, but for hunting they stab, inject the toxin then follow it till it’s bled out. Being a vampire though, the toxin is less effective on him. It looks bad enough but it could be worse.”

 “But he’s lost so much blood already, these bigger wounds are still bleeding and why won’t he wake up?” Xander indicated the cuts in his chest, legs, shoulder and side.

 “Xander, now you aren’t doubtin’ our Rose are you?” Tom said. “Just wait till she’s doctored him up, you’ll see. Spike’s gonna be fine.”

 When Spike was washed clean, front and back, Rose began applying a thick, earthy-smelling paste to each cut. She spread it on with her fingers, packing it into the deeper holes, then finishing with a bandage.

 Xander wrinkled his nose at the smell. It wasn’t unpleasant, just foreign; he imagined it was similar to the rich compost on an ancient forest floor. Collecting a small dab on his finger, Xander gave it a closer look.

 Tom laughed. “Don’t bother tryin’ to work out what it is. Our Rosie sources her herbs and deals with medicos from dimensions I ain’t never even heard of. She’s a bit of an inventor you might say.” He looked at his wife with pride. “Just about nothin’ my girl here can’t fix.”

 “Alright Tom, how about you make yourself useful now. The paste has stopped all the bleeding so now he needs blood. Xander, he’ll probably come to when we fill him up. I imagine he’s just out of it so he can heal.”

 “Give him my blood.” Xander said, holding his arm out and very close to begging. “That’ll help right? I need to help.”

 Rose smiled at him kindly and put her hand on his arm, gently pushing it back to his side. “Oh no Chooky, you can’t. He needs so much more. And it just wouldn’t be appropriate. Spike wouldn’t want that.”

 “Spike wouldn’t want me to help him?” Xander asked, not understanding.

 “Spike wouldn’t want to take your blood this way. Certainly not while he’s unconscious. Its much too intimate a thing.”

 Xander nodded; it made sense to him. Like so many of the other bizarre things in his increasingly bizarre life.  

 “C’mon Xander, you can help me here while Rosie finishes off strapping Spike up.” He stopped in the doorway and called out to Rose, pointing a finger. “And you, woman, had better get that naked, pretty vampire covered up as soon as he’s bandaged.”

 “Tom! I would never take advantage. He’s injured, unconscious.  How dare you even suggest-” She stopped her rant and flushed when Tom grinned and winked at her. “Oh, just get me the blood Thomas.”

 Spike was naked? Xander had been so worried, so focussed on Rose’s instructions and watching Spike’s face for signs of life that he’d not even taken that in. He followed Tom out to the bar and behind the counter to the refrigerators.

 “I always have a supply of fresh blood in here. Don’t get many vamps in but some of the demons like it as a mixer.” He was passing Xander large bags of blood as he spoke. “Microwave’s in the kitchen.”

 They put a few bags in to take the chill off. “How are we going to do this? How do we get the blood into him?” Xander asked, looking at the lifeless Spike now covered in a clean sheet.

 Rose answered him gently. “Xander, I’m going to put a tube down his throat. We’ll pour two bags in and let that take hold. By then, instincts should kick in enough for him to be able to bite a bag and drink himself. It may take a few more bags before he comes around completely.”

 Xander nodded. “Tell me what to do.”

 Rose directed him to stand behind Spike’s head. “Tip his head back for me, stretch his neck right out and hold him still while I get the tube in.”

 Xander put his hands on either side of Spike’s face, carefully avoiding the worst of the cuts. Finally something useful he could do. He held on and watched as Rose threaded the tube though Spike’s slack lips and passed more and more of it down his throat. When Rose nodded, Tom fed the blood through, then they waited. It was only a few minutes until Xander felt a slight twitching under his hands. When Rose saw Spike’s throat beginning to convulse around the tube, she slowly withdrew it. Tom pricked a warmed bag letting out a small drip of blood. He held the bag to Spike’s mouth, letting the scent of the blood trigger Spike’s change. It was slower than normal but Spike’s demon face came to the fore and his fangs pierced the thick plastic of the bag.

 Xander could hear him drawing on the bag and sent a quiet prayer of gratitude to whichever deity saw fit to watch over vampires. He let his hands gently stroke the changed planes of the vampire’s face and neck and lowered his forehead to rest against Spike’s. Tom put a chair under him, then he heard more bags being heated and the drained ones thrown away. He waited and willed Spike to wake up, or at least to move, or to make a sound other than the sucking and swallowing that was no more than an innate reflex. Wake up so I can apologise. Wake up so I can tell you it was my fault. Wake up so I can be angry at you for doing this. Wake up so you can tell me not to be a soddin’ nancy boy worrying about you, a master. Xander waited. He’d counted six bags so far, not including the two that went via the tube.

 Time was passing slowly, dawn would arrive in an hour and Tom was drawing blinds over the kitchen windows. Twelve bags. Xander still hadn’t moved; he wouldn’t until Spike did. Thirteen bags and a hand on his shoulder.

 “Xander that’s the last of it. We just have to give him some time and wait now.”

 Thirteen bags. Still and no sound, deathly silent and no movement. Xander began to drift. Jumbled images assailed him. Rolling ocean, a feeling of achievement. Home, a sense of a new beginning. Magic Box, belonging. Cool darkness, pain, hurt , anger then comfort. More comfort. A hand in his hair. A cool long-fingered hand stroking lightly at his hair. Xander was startled back into wakefulness by the sudden shifting of the brow under his.

 A faint, tired-sounding voice reached him. “Better not be dripping snot on my hair Harris.”  “Just a little, but it looks like hair gel so….” Xander lifted his head and looked into Spike’s still bleary blue eyes. “Spike I’m so sor-”

 Spike closed his eyes again. “No.”

 “But I-”

 A slightly stronger voice, “No. You’ve no business being sorry. Nothing you did to be sorry for.”

 “Spike I- ”

 “Harris shut it and help me get up.”

 Xander got up and hurried around to his side. He let Spike grip his arms to pull himself up and kept a hand out in case Spike needed some support. When he saw that he was able to sit steadily by himself Xander stepped back. “How do you feel?”

 “Not one of my greatest days, but far from my worst.” Spike checked himself over, noting the bandages in various places, and ran a hand over his face feeling the small cuts already beginning to heal.

“Rose?” He asked, pointing to the many patches.

 “Yeah, she was great,” he said, admiration flooding his features. “She just jumped right in with some herbal stuff, stopped the bleeding, got the blood into you.” Xander paused. “You lost so much blood Spike.”

 “Still here though aren’t I? Live to fight another day.”

 “William! You’re awake.” Rose and Tom came in from the pub, Tom carrying a small bag. Rose checked the worst of Spike’s wounds while Tom spoke.

 “Here you go mate. Rose had to cut your clothes up so while we were waitin’ for you to wake up I popped out to your place and got you somethin’ to wear. Much to Rose’s disappointment, I won’t have you walkin’ about starkers in my pub.” He handed Spike the duffle and clapped him gently on the uninjured shoulder. “You sure gave us a scare, good to have you back though.”

 Rose replaced the corner of the last bandage. “These look fine now. Bleeding’s stopped. The smallest cuts have healed and the others are well on the way. Now, to counteract the effects of the venom, we need to have fresh paste on those deeper wounds until they start healing. You’re going to need fairly regular treatments over the next twenty four hours. There was a fair amount of toxin in those so they’ll heal slower than you expect. You’re going to be stiff and sore till they start closing over.”

 “Right. Thanks for all you’ve done Rosie, you’re a real treasure. Now set me up with your meds and I’ll be off. Harris, a ride back to my place?” Spike reached for his bag and began digging around for his clean jeans.

 “Now just a minute William.” Rose stood with her hands on her hips. “How are you going to clean out those wounds and get the fresh paste on? Hmm? How are you going to get up and down the ladder Tom told me about in your crypt. If you don’t take it easy for a day or so you are going to undo all my hard work. Then, you can bet there will be trouble.”

 Xander snatched the bag and clothes out of Spike’s hand. “He’s not going back to his crypt, he’s coming home with me. No matter what any of you say, I know this whole thing was my fault.” At the beginnings of several protests, Xander held up a hand. “No, don’t bother arguing with me, I can be just as stubborn as Bleachie here. It was my fault so this now is my responsibility. Now, Spike. You promise Rose that you are coming to my place and that you won’t do anything stupid to open up those cuts and I give you your clothes.”

 Spike looked from Xander to Rose to Tom. “Help me out here mate.”

 Tom just laughed. “Don’t look at me. No room for you here and if you go back to your crypt I’ll just have to have to come and drag you out of there. Don’t know about you but I’m not brave enough to cross our Rosie.”

 Rose looked at him expectantly, waiting for the argument she knew she really wouldn’t get. “Good. Settled then. Xander give him his clothes and you can come and get the herb paste while Tom helps him get dressed.”

 Xander held the bag out to Spike, just beyond his reach.

 With a heavy sigh Spike agreed. “Fine. I’ll go to your place. But I’ll not be mollycoddled.” He snatched the bag back.

 Xander snorted. “I’m not sure what you said but I am pretty sure I won’t be doing it.” He went with Rose to collect the paste and instructions.

  Dawn was just a few minutes away, but it was overcast enough that they would make it home before the dangerous rays made it through. Rose had found a dark, heavy blanket just in case and tossed it in the front seat. Vampire dressed, bag packed with supplies and duster, thanks given all round, Tom helped Spike into the car. It was slow going, he was weak and tired and the fresh wounds were obviously painful. Spike was silent for trip back, leaning against the door with his head on the window, eyes closed. Xander couldn’t tell if he was asleep or not. Not dust. Still okay.

 
“I can hear you worrying Harris. Will you stop being a soddin’ nancy?” Spike cracked one eye open but still didn’t move.

 “Spike you could have di- ”

 “But I didn’t. Again. That’s my life innit? Not gonna sit around for eternity knitting blankets, I’m gonna get out and do what I do best. ‘Could haves’ be damned”

 “You’re okay with that? The gamble?” “It’d be a gamble only if I didn’t know what I was doing. Get used to it Harris. It is how it is.”

 “Look, I know you don’t get to be your age unless you can look out for yourself. I just don’t want to be the cause of things like this.”

 “Unless you take to me with some kind of weapon- and god help you if you ever do- then you are not the cause of any of this. It was my choice to go, my choice to fight and I will not argue this with you again. You want to have a row then let’s find something else.”

 Xander pulled the car into an empty space close to the front door. He got out with the bag and helped Spike from the car, wrapping him in the blanket. “I don’t want to argue and okay, I’ll let this one go. Now concentrate, you have to get inside quickly and you still have to get up the stairs.” Supporting Spike as best he could without bumping any wounds they managed to negotiate the staircase and corridor to Xander’s apartment.


 Xander unlocked the door and swung it open, dropping the bag just inside. “Come in Spike, home sweet home for the next few days.” He wrapped an arm carefully around Spike and helped him into the living room. “Now no arguments, you’re sleeping in my room and Rose said you’re to go straight to bed mister.”

 “And where exactly are you sleeping?” Spike asked with a ghost of his usual smirk.

 “Couch. Big squishy couch.”

 Spike looked over at the couch, then at Xander with a questioning expression. “Ah mate, would that be the couch with the little red-haired witch on it or the other couch with the blonde witch?”

 “With the-” Xander’s head snapped around. Curled up in the cushions, rugs over their legs were Willow and Tara.

 

TBC




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