“This happen often?” Spike whispered, still leaning heavily on Xander.
“Sometimes, Willow has a spare key”
“You gonna wake her up?”
“I’m already awake.” Willow was climbing off the couch and looking at the two with some amount of confusion. “Xander I’ve been worried. Nobody knew where you were. And you’re covered in blood.”
Tara, too, had woken at the sound of Willow’s voice. “Xander are you okay? Do you need any help?”
“Thanks Tara it’s fine.”
“Xander?” Willow started towards him. “Why is Spike here? You need to tell me what’s going on.”
He shook his head. How did the girls always make him feel like he was about to be grounded? Xander knew his friends worried, but it irked him that they managed to make him feel like a little boy who had done something wrong. Buffy consistently, but Willow less often now. He knew she didn’t mean to, it had just been her way of dealing with him for so long that she sometimes fell back into old patterns. And to be fair to Willow he’d been out later than normal without his usual friends, his cell turned off. Of course his best friend would be worried.
He could see how concerned she was and he softened a little. “I’m fine Willow, Spike got in a fight with some demons, he got hurt and I’m just helping him out.” He walked Spike over to a dining chair and helped him sit. “You right there for a minute?” At Spike’s nod he turned away to face Willow. “I’m sorry you worried, I went out, there was a bit of trouble. I really didn’t expect you to be waiting for me.”
“We just stopped by to see if you were okay after what happened with Buffy, but when you didn’t come back after so long we got worried.”
“Willow did a locator spell, but it wouldn’t work properly so we just waited. I guess we fell asleep.” Tara looked embarrassed at having been found in Xander’s apartment.
“It’s okay, I know you were both just looking out for me.”
“But how did you know Spike was hurt?” Willow asked. “Where have you been?”
“I went out for a drink with Spike, some demons were after me, Spike took care of them.”
“You and Spike went out? Together? Not in a patrolly way but in a let’s socialise way?” Willow’s face clearly showed her confusion. “You’re buddies now?”
Xander looked at Spike, gave him a small smile and shrugged. “Something like that.”
“The boy was in a bit of a state after the slayer got to him, so we went and did what any normal blokes would do. We had a beer and a game of pool and didn’t talk about it.” Spike told the girls in a weaker than normal voice.
“And ‘normal blokes’ come home looking like they’ve been swimming in someone’s entrails?” Willow asked him.
Xander had noticed the change in Spike’s voice and saw him beginning to sag in his seat. “Look Willow all this blood and more, came out of Spike. It should still be in Spike. Now I would love to sit down sometime and tell you all about it, but Spike is in pretty bad shape and I am just about dead on my feet. Can we do this another time?”
“Oh, oh of course we can. Spike I’m sorry. Can we help? Is there maybe a spell?”
“No Willow, but thanks, we have all the stuff we need here.” He started towards the door, hoping Willow would take the hint. She didn’t but Tara gently guided her out. “I’ll call you if there’s anything.”
“Oh wait.” Willow stopped in the doorway. “We all talked to Buffy. She’s really sorry Xander. So we were thinking maybe we’d try the Bronze night again this weekend? She really wants to apologise to you.”
“I don’t know Will, let me think about it and I’ll give you a call tomorrow.” He waved them out the door and turned back to Spike.
“C’mon, I’ll help you get settled. You need to sleep.” Xander quickly checked all the drapes were closed before leading Spike across the room.
“Yeah mate, I think you’re right.” He leaned heavily on Xander as they walked slowly to the bedroom. “Hate being useless like this. S’not dignified.”
Xander snorted. “Gonna get a whole lot more undignified soon. Unless you’ve worked out how to get out of your boots.”
“Shit. Can’t even get my own gear off.” He flopped carefully onto the edge of the bed.
“Well if your clothes weren’t painted on you might have half a chance. I’ll give you some looser stuff, should be more comfortable too.”
“Not sleeping in clothes, just help me out here.” Spike tried to pull his T shirt off, but winced the moment his arms lifted. “Damn. Rosie wasn’t wrong. Fucking Hokard.”
Xander carefully peeled the shirt off. “There, that was easy enough. Boots next.” He knelt down on the floor and unlaced Spike’s heavy boots. “And this is the last time I kneel before you pal.”
Spike raised an eyebrow at him. “Never say never.”
Xander blushed and went back to peeling Spike’s socks off. “So not appropriate in this situation.”
“Couldn’t leave that one out there. Evil remember?”
Xander shook his head in exasperation, stood and gestured to Spike’s jeans. “You ah, you need help to ah-”
“Nah, should be right.”
Xander turned away and busied himself folding bedding and clothes and checking the drapes were closed When he turned back Spike was sitting in the bed, sheets pulled up to his waist.
“Had no idea you were so shy mate,” Spike said, smoothing the fabric across his hips.
Xander’s eyes were drawn to Spike’s hands and roved further to take in his muscular stomach, chest and arms. Even spotted with cuts and bandages, there was no denying the appeal. He stood by the side of the bed and met Spike’s eyes with his own steady gaze. “And this is so far from the right time, but no. I’m not shy, just, umm, saving up the experience for a day when I can appreciate it more fully.”
Spike snorted. “Shy.”
“Whatever Bleachie, call me if you need something. I’ll wake you in about three hours to do those bandages.” Xander left the door open a crack, just in case.
Spike carefully eased himself down in the bed. He was so tired, tired like he had never been before in his unlife. It was the combination of so many things. He’d had his arse well and truly kicked in a fight he’d thought at several points might just be the end of him. And wouldn’t that have been a disgrace; William the Bloody taken out by those pint-size bastards. He really wasn’t in the best condition since being chipped, if he had been then that fight would have gone a lot differently. Fucking pig’s blood. The residual Hokard venom still working its way around his system was making him drowsy, which must be the same effect that knocked out the humans. He was suspicious about the stuff Rose had packed him with; he was pretty sure it had some sedative in it as well. Spike burrowed down into the mattress, pulling the sheets and blankets up over his head. The bed smelled of Xander and he quickly found the spot where the boy slept. He instantly fell into a deep sleep, comforted by the soft bed and the familiar scent.
Xander was about ready to drop. There was always the other side of his own bed, but with Spike in so much pain he was worried he might accidentally kick or hit the wounds and make it that much worse. Also there was the issue of whether he was ready to jump in bed with Spike this soon, even if it was only for the sake of convenience. Right now, he wanted nothing more than to crash onto his favourite couch and sleep till the sun went down. His eyes were burning, his arms and legs felt like dead weights and a low buzzing in his head was doing nothing to help him think straight. He knew he wasn’t going to get any decent rest until at least tomorrow. Setting the alarm on his watch and stripping down to his underwear he grabbed the blankets and collapsed onto the soft pillowy cushions. The couch was still warm where Willow had been lying and Xander dropped off to sleep in less than a minute.
Spike woke up buried beneath piles of bedding, Xander’s pillow pulled across his face. He guessed it was still early morning; that would explain why he felt like shit. So why was he awake at this barbaric hour? He listened carefully and picked up an electronic beeping coming from the other room. That’s what had woken him. Damn hearing. If he listened carefully he could hear Xander’s breathing change, as he too woke. There was some shuffling and kitchen sounds then Xander’s soft footsteps outside the door. Spike tried to sit up but fell back when the pain tore through his shoulder, chest and side. He’d only been sleeping for three hours and was as stiff and achy as an arthritic old man. Fuck, he was near useless. He lay there, eyes shut, waiting for Xander.
Xander poked his head in and asked in a husky voice. “You awake?”
“How are you feeling?” Xander asked yawning widely.
Spike opened his eyes as he heard Xander coming closer to the bed. Holy buggering fuck! If he’d thought the lad’s ensemble last night had been an eyeopener, then this was definitely a leg-spreader. Xander had stumbled sleepily into the room still clad only in the underwear he had slept in. He was more than Spike could ever have imagined. Lean and muscular from hard manual labour and tanned from his week on the beach. His longish brown hair was sticking out all over and falling in his face, but it was his choice of underwear that had Spike’s attention. It was just a wifebeater and boxers, but by god, could they be any tighter? Both in black, the sleeveless T stretched across his chest and abdomen, skimming the firm muscles; thin straps accentuated the broad shoulders. Below that the soft, stretch fabric of the dark boxers hugged every curve from his hips to mid thigh. Spike tried to tear his eyes away from the large bulge in the front. He determinedly shut them and let out a small groan.
“Spike, you okay?” Xander put the tray of things on the bedside table and sat down next to Spike, apologising when the movement of the mattress caused him to wince. Xander asked, “You want to sit up, have this blood while it’s warm? Then we’ll get you into the bathroom.”
“I would love to but I can’t bloody move.”
“Would the blood help?”
“Not to be ungrateful mate, but pig’s blood? That stuff-” Spike was silenced when found himself with a mouthful of Xander’s blood-covered finger. Human blood-covered finger. God what a combination. The unique flavour of the boy, the warm human blood. Spike suckled on Xander’s finger, running his tongue up and down its length. He closed his eyes and moaned as Xander thumb stroked along his jaw.
Xander slowly pulled his finger out of Spike’s mouth. He ran it back and forth over Spike’s lips, eyes focusing on Spike’s tongue shooting out to lick the tip of his finger. “Would the blood help?” he asked again. At Spike’s slow nod, Xander helped him into a better position and gave him the mug.
“I’ll go heat up another bag, back in a second.”
Spike felt a slight stirring in his groin and was glad to realise the injuries and treatment hadn’t affected his physical desires. He watched Xander’s departure just as avidly as he had the arrival. God his shoulders were just made for draping yourself over. And his arse, well that was just bloody lovely. He listened to Xander in the kitchen while he finished off the mug of blood. It was fresh and warm and Spike could feel its strength flooding through him.
Spike was trying to lift himself higher in the bed when Xander came back in with another mug.
“Whoa there pal, what do you think you’re up to?”
“Sitting up Harris, easier to drink that way.”
“Spike let me help before you hurt yourself.” Xander put the cup down and helped Spike to sit back against the pillows. He gave Spike the new mug and went into the bathroom to prepare the herbal paste.
Spike was sitting on the edge of the bed when Xander went back in. “You look better.”
“Feel better, that blood did the trick. Still can’t move too fast but I can bend, look.” He reached forward and picked up a pillow that had dropped off the bed, slinging it Xander with a grin and a wince. “Hurts like all fuck though.”
Xander opened a draw and pulled out a pair of black boxers, tossing them over to Spike. “Good. If you can bend then you can get yourself decent so we can do this.”
Spike looked at him with mock disdain but pulled the underwear on anyway. “Knew you were shy Harris.”
“Shut up Spike,” he said with a smile. “I don’t want your manly parts in my face while I’m playing doctor with your leg.” At Spike’s raised eyebrow, Xander shook his head. “You know what I mean. Come on.”
Seeing Spike struggle to get up, Xander went over and wrapped an arm gingerly around his waist, hauling him to his feet. Xander waited as Spike steadied himself, then they began a slow walk to the bathroom. It was much faster than earlier but still slow going. Spike dropped heavily onto a stool with a groan.
“Bloody hell, if I hadn’t already killed those demons, I’d be out for blood.”
Xander sat on the edge of the bathtub and began washing out the old paste from Spike’s various injuries. “So you haven’t said what happened, you know, with those demons.”
“Not much to tell, threatened some fledges into helping, they dusted, I didn’t.” Spike shrugged. “That’s about it.”
“That’s it? All this-” he indicated the wounds. “All this and that’s all.”
Spike sighed. “Harris, I’m not going over it blow by blow for you. I killed them all. They very nearly killed me; let’s just leave it at that ok?”
Xander angrily threw the used cloths onto the floor. “Sure I’ll leave it. You’re nearly dusted and that’s my fault but I’m not allowed to know anything about it. Makes perfect sense to me.”
Spike turned carefully on the stool, an unbelieving look on his face. “For fuck’s sake! Will you drop that? It was not your fault and I’m getting bloody sick of you suggesting that I can’t think for myself.”
“I’m not saying that, but-”
“Yes you are saying that. Now, if you can tell me exactly what you did we can discuss this.” He looked at Xander expectantly.
“Those things wanted me.”
“I want you, Harris. Is that your fault too?” He didn’t give Xander time to respond. “There’s so many others to blame for this; the damn Hokard, my impatience, the fucking Initiative’s fucking chip not letting me feed well enough to be in form. So many others Harris and you are not one of them. You did not do anything. Do you get it?”
Xander sighed and gave Spike a small smile. “You want me, blah, blah, blah and something about it’s not my fault? That the gist?”
Spike shook his head and chuckled. “Putting it simply, yeah.”
Xander gently laid his hand on Spike’s cheek. “I like to keep it simple.” He leaned across and brushed his lips lightly over Spike’s in a soft kiss.
“We bending that rule of yours again Harris?”
“Bending, cracking, splitting, whatever.” He pressed a second more lingering kiss to Spike’s mouth moaning softly at the feel of Spike’s surprisingly gentle lips returning the action. He pulled back a little and let his tongue run over the full bottom lip before moving back in again. Xander felt Spike’s arm come around his waist and slide up his back, then felt the sudden jerk of Spike’s body followed by a sharp intake of breath. He pulled away quickly seeing the flash of pain cross Spike’s features.
“Spike, you okay? Did I hurt you?”
‘Nah, just forgot myself for a minute. That’s the arm attached to the shoulder with the large Hokard-shaped hole through it.”
“Alright, that’s it. There’s no more rule bending of any kind until you are a little more healed.” At Spike’s attempted protest, Xander held up a hand and quickly continued. “No. And no again. Don’t want to hear your argument.”
“What if I promise to sit still?” Spike asked while he stared at Xander’s lips, licking his own with the tip of his tongue. “Nah bad idea, that’ll never happen.”
“Nope. No ‘what ifs’. Let’s just get this finished, it’s all clean, just need to put the gunk on.” Xander picked up the jar and began reapplying Rose’s paste.
“Bloody hell Harris you’re a hard man.” Spike gave him a rueful grin and turned back around on his stool.
Ain’t that the truth Xander laughed to himself, glad he was sitting behind Spike. This was shaping up to be an interesting weekend.