Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes
Summary: Xander has PTSD after rescuing one too many slayers. Spike is recovering (sort of) after the battle with W&H. Fate may have it they eventually find each other - she's funny that way.
Spoilers: Sometime in season five AtS – and possibly late seven BtVS.
Warnings: M/M – if you don’t like boys together, don’t play here!
Disclaimer: Don’t own the characters nor make any money from stories etc, and bow down to their original creators Joss, et al., plus all the wonderful online writers who continue to give the Buffy/Angel verse characters life.
Xander struggled to open his good eye, the eyelid felt too heavy but eventually it obeyed his mental command. He was immediately aware of the oxygen lead feeding the gas direct into his nasal cavity, and the drip entering his arm. Then there was the intense, almost overwhelming, throbbing pain coming from his neck area, and an overall sensation of extreme weakness.
His ears were ringing strangely, though he could hear muffled voices and an odd, regular pinging sound. His nose registered the smell of a hospital disinfectant and by the soft feel beneath him, he could tell he was lying in a bed with his head slightly propped up. Having never tested the Consort link properly, and not quite sure how, his worry for Spike’s welfare ramped up to frantic as memories of the fight flooded in. Struggling to have his body respond to his command and failing, his only option was an anguished silent scream out to the vampire which he knew to be in his mind, but felt at a gut level.
Spike, who had been in an exhausted sleep with his head on the bed and hand in that of his stricken Consort, was jolted awake and almost tipped off his chair with the power of Xander’s call. He was instantly on his feet and began petting the injured man’s face. “I’m here pet… You’re in hospital, you’re OK… we’re OK… I’m here…”
He struggled to remain in his human guise as a nurse raced into the room. “Herr William, his heart rate has spiking. You will over there, please.” Spike immediately moved out of the way while the nurse swiftly checked all the monitors then took Xander’s pulse manually for what seemed like hours, but could only have been a minute. Satisfied, she turned to Spike, “This is good. I think he is soon to wake. I will check again soon.”
Spike returned to his position beside the bed. He let his vampiric face come to the fore and stretched his otherworldly senses focusing entirely on his Consort, then began to speak quietly in the hope the man could now perhaps at least hear him.
He picked up the limp hand and began stoking his thumb rhythmically across the back of the knuckles. “Seems you’re gonna be OK luv. Got the best medicos on your case… Thought I lost you there for a while… really thought I’d lost you. Bloody stupid takin’ you with me… Should’ve protected you... My Consort an’ I couldn’t even protect you… Should’ve been quicker, seen that bloody minion comin’… somethin’! … Oh Pet, come back to me… ‘m so sorry you got hurt… ‘s all my fault… Need to tell you somethin’ too. Gave you too much of my blood, knew Red would sort a soul if it went bad… but we’ve never talked about that sort of thing… no time. Don’t know how you didn’t turn luv… but you didn’t… Could be the Consort thing, you takin’ blood before an’ such… No matter I guess… Bloody strong bastard to the end, ey? So bloody brave ‘n strong… ‘n mine. I love you, Xan… I can feel you and I love you… Don’t know what I’d do if you… Just come back to me, Xan. Don’t leave me now… Come back…”
Spike’s reached up to touch Xander’s forehead lightly and rested his forehead on the edge of the bed, closed his eyes and gave himself permission to silently cry, the crimson tinged tears dripping clear of the bed and puddling on the floor below. In his semi meditative state, he was unaware of Xander’s good eye fluttering open, but did feel an odd warm sensation flow from where he was touching his consort, a feeling that went down his arms and settling into his chest like a loving hug.
Xander finally made his mouth work, and though his throat felt like it was on fire, managed a rasped, “Spii… ?”
Spike was instantly on his feet again without relinquishing then hand he held. He dropped back into human face with a bit of effort as Xander looked on, “Hey Xan… There you are… I… um… I should get the nurse.”
Xander’s hand clenched weakly around his as the injured man struggled to whisper, “No… jus… stay with me.”
“Not goin’ anywhere Luv… Can I get you…?”
“Water… plea… jus…”
Spike grabbed the jug from the bedside table, poured a little iced water into a plastic cup and lifted it gently to the man’s lips. He held it steady while Xander sipped a time or two before the consort licked his lips and gave a tiny smile of thanks. “Better?”
“Hmm. Wha… happened? Did we… win?”
Spike’s voice was just above a whisper as he replied, “That we did, Luv. Leopold took a nasty beating- concussion, cracked ribs, broken nose, an’ a lot of bruisin’ in and out… Ol’ Franz took a decent crack to the noggin’, but the others are fine. Dusted all the minions, stupid buggers… We’ll have a bit of a pow wow with Master Marcus in the not too distant future ‘bout that little fiasco. As for the humans, local bobbies were mighty pleased to catch up with them. ‘pparently they’ve made a bit of a point targeting local businesses over this summer, but never stupid enough to get caught in the act.”
Xander frowned, “Polii… but you…?”
“Gave ‘em a statement didn’t I. Franz’s nephew Jean knew one of the coppers ‘n explained we were friends of the family, jus’ there at the wrong time ‘n place. They’ll probably need a statement from you at some stage, but the whole thing is pretty cut and dried. Ol’ Franz had CCTV in the main warehouse, police could see enough to know what went down.”
“Seems Master Marcus ‘n the police chief are on first name basis – at least according to Jean’s police buddy – don’t reckon there was any raised eyebrows on that score, ‘specially since the three bad’uns are dust.”
“Wow… An… me?”
“You… were a bloody marvel pet, vamp bite not withstanding…” Spike then looked at the floor and paused for a moment, reluctant to continue.
Xander swallowed hard, suddenly aware that he could feel Spike’s emotions like waves through his being: hurt and regret, worry and anguish, loss and love… deep, heartfelt, gut wrenching love.
“Please… Spike… Wha’s wrong?”
Spike looked up, his azure blue eyes begging for understanding, “Was too slow, wasn’t I?! Vamp had you, fed from you… nearly lost you! Very nearly too late Xan!” There was a long pause before he all but whispered, “Had to feed you, my blood. Cleaned the wound with my saliva and fed you. Fed you even though I could have turned you… Gahh, Xan… and I didn’t care! At the time I didn’t care… just couldn’t lose you, don’t you see? Figured Red would do the soul thing I suppose… but… I’m so sorry… ‘n… it was just too late to ask.” He was looking at the floor again by the end of the outburst, looking up only when Xander squeezed his hand hard, tears all but ready to spill once more.
“Hey… Sweet [pained breath] heart… ‘s OK… I’m here and it’s OK. Don’t want to lose you either.”
Spike let out an unnecessary breath, whispered “Oh…”, then leaned over to give Xander the sweetest, chaste kiss on the lips, before sitting down heavily by the bedside.
They sat in silence for a while, each mulling over the events and conversations of the past few days. Eventually Spike remembered the neglected water cup and offered his consort another drink, then rang for the nurse.
Xander was examined thoroughly by the young woman, then by the duty doctor, and finally by the attending plastic surgeon who had apparently been the one to patch up Xander’s torn neck.
“You were very lucky your friend was so quick thinking, Herr Harris. The extreme blood loss was life threatening, you were very close to death. If the gouge had been a few centimeters more to the center of your neck, or the pressure to the wound not applied immediately, we would not be having this conversation at all.
“My team and I managed to repair a great deal of the damage, but a skin graft may be necessary sometime in the near future, depending on the healing process and results.
“We will not keep you here for any longer than is necessary of course. Normally I would recommend at least a few days here under our observation. In your case however, your friend tells me you are staying at the Baur Au Lac, and he is happy to be in attendance at all times. So… I am happy to release you later this morning, provided you agree to bed rest for at least another four days. I would add that you should not travel again until I have personally checked your progress one more time, and William agrees to call the hospital immediately should your condition change for the worse. Do you have any questions?”
Xander looked to Spike who shrugged, “I guess you’re happy for S…William to look after any meds?”
“Of course. Now if you will excuse me, I am sure our nurses will see to your needs.”
They were back at the hotel by eleven, the concierge horrified to learn of their ordeal and immediately putting all the staff on high alert regards fulfilling any special requests from their injured guests. A wheelchair appeared from nowhere and they were ushered to their suite with an entourage of staff members carrying extra pillows, towels, and a tray of food for the invalid and his partner.
Spike fussed about after the others left, carefully helping Xander into a comfortable position and fluffing the pillows at least twice too often.
“Spike… Spike! Slow down sweetheart. It’s fine, I’m… well not fighting fit, but fine, OK? And don’t you have that meeting at the bank at one?”
Spike looked horrified at the thought of leaving Xander alone, even for a moment. “That can wait. You heard the doc. I need to be here at all times.”
“Spike… please?! Just do the bank thing without me, at least for now. I need to sleep anyway, and I know you’ll just sit around here worrying. I’ll be here asleep, healing. And you can come back and tell me just how rich you really are.”
“We are Pet. You’re my Consort… it’s our money, well aside from the bit that’s Connor’s.”
Xander could see it was not the time to quibble so quickly answered, “OK, so *our* money. Look, you go see and do. I’ll be here OK? And if I have to attempt a version of Willow’s resolve face all you’ll do is laugh, so take it as read, yeah?”
Spike nodded reluctantly, then gave Xander a wicked grin, “I go only if you agree to a sponge bath when I get back. Wouldn’t want the doc to think I’ve been shirkin’ my duty, now would we?”
Xander rolled his eyes but returned the smile. “Yeah, yeah oh Master of the one-track-mind… Now go do!”
Spike showered and dressed swiftly, collected the various business paraphernalia necessary for the meeting, including Xander’s passport and his own laptop, and packed it into a trendy leather satchel he and Xander had picked out the day before.
He rang through to the concierge (“…call me Nicholas, sir.”), to order a taxi and alert him to the fact he would be out for an hour or so, but that Alex was resting comfortably with the phone within reach.
Looking in on Xander one last time before he left, he noted that his Consort was indeed asleep and looking decidedly improved. Kissing the beloved forehead lightly, he turned and let himself out of their suite in silence.