Day 1

Title: Day 7
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Spike/Xander
Disclaimer: Not my characters, not my 'verse. I don't get paid a cent to play. Please don't sue and make things worse.
Summary: It's Xander to the rescue! Thank you to TheShadierTwin at Spander files for the bunny that got me going with this fic.
Note: Part of the 12 Ficlets in 12 Days project 2010-2011. Requested by silverelf


Spike's head felt hot, fuzzy, and high above everything else going on. He came to, only barely aware of the Goramgurst demon taking him in hand. Goramgursts usually moved in packs and were well known for keeping and breaking in human slaves, which were sold to more important demons with more important plans. The Scoobies had been tracking one such group for the past few months. Spike had been out on recon when the pack had captured him. What they hadn't counted on with Spike was that he was stronger than the average human and more stubborn than pretty much anyone alive or dead.

The pack of Goramgursts had tried to beat him into submission, however. The last round of it had been hours long, and there was no telling how long this one would go on or how bad it would be. Spike wasn't about to give in, but he wasn't sure how much more his body could take. The head Goramgurst's huge, anvil-like fist raised, about to make contact with him again, and Spike closed his eyes tightly, not wanting to see the blow, because feeling it was bad enough. Every bit of him hurt already from the abuse he'd suffered over the past two days; he couldn't imagine feeling any worse.

Expecting a thrashing, Spike grew suspicious when it didn't come. He heard grunts and smacks and hits and thumps, but nothing struck him. He was flung down onto the cold, concrete floor, arm throbbing where he landed on it. He pulled his eyes open and saw a pair of steel-toed boots stomping toward him. Spike tried to raise his head and see who it was, but he found out soon enough. A strong, dangerously calm voice spoke, “What do you think you're doing with my property?” A rush of gratefulness, excitement, and relief rushed through him. Xander was here. Xander was rescuing him. Then the body of a dead Goramgurst demon fell on the floor in front of him, only missing Spike's head by an inch.

Spike felt a hand on his shoulder. “Don't worry.” Spike heard blood dripping. “We're getting you out of here. Can you stand up?”

“Nngh…” Spike couldn't speak, let alone stand. He groaned as his body was moved about, gathered up.

“No, let me get him. I'm stronger.” Spike didn't recognize that voice, but it was young and female—a slayer, then. Thank goodness Xander had brought backup with him.

Spike was lifted up and carried out. His body hurt horribly as it was jostled around in the young woman's arms. It wasn't until he was set down in the back of the van, in Xander's arms, that he was able to relax. The pain was excruciating, but he let Xander wrap him in a blanket and hold him tightly. “We're heading straight back to the castle. There are medics standing by,” Xander told him. “Unless… do you need to go to the hospital first, Spike?”

Spike gave his head one shake and uttered another “Nguh!” Then his hand found a fistful of Xander's shirt and he clung on. “Xan…”

“That's right,” Xander said. “I'm here and I've got you. You're safe. Just hang on to me. I'll get you home.”

Burying his face in Xander's shirt, Spike gave a great shiver and sneezed. “ihh-Chishh!” The sneeze jerked his body, and he cried out in pain. Xander had tried to hold him still, but they'd both been unable to stop the sneeze and now pain shot through Spike's whole body.

“Shit, Spike! Shit, you caught another cold?”

Spike's head spun, and he knew he should apologize. He was supposed to be a good little boy now. He was supposed to get plenty of sleep and eat his servings of blood along with fruit and veg. He was supposed to take those damn vitamins the healers had made for him. Only being kidnapped, held, and beaten by demons kind of put a snag in the plan. He wanted to ask Xander not to be mad; a couple of the colds might have been his fault, for neglecting orders. And the ones before that had been too, though that was before they knew what to do to keep him healthy. But this time, things had been out of his control. He hadn't been able to escape, though he'd tried. And he certainly wasn't going to kill one of his fellow prisoners just so he'd have blood to keep him well.

Spike couldn't help it this time; he hoped Xander understood, because he couldn't speak just now. The pain was so intense and he felt another sneeze coming on. Xander's shirt was so warm and dry. He snuffled and rubbed his nose into it, trying to rub the tickle out, and failing at that task. “uhhh… uhhCHihhh! Argh!” It was as painful as the way that bloody chip had fired in his brain all those years back. Except that time the pain had only been in his head. This time, the pain was everywhere—sharp, hot, stabbing. He was sure something was broken—possibly a rib, or maybe his collarbone. Spike wasn't sure. It just hurt to move and every time he sneezed, he couldn't help his body moving. Sure, Xander's embrace helped greatly, but his nose kept tickling. “huh… hih-IHShhh!

Xander rubbed a hand up and down Spike's back, trying to sooth him. “We brought some blood along for you. Would you like some now?” Before Spike could answer—because Spike's answer would definitely have been no—Xander reached for a thermos. “It's nice and warm and should go down easily for you. Open up.”

Spike opened his eyes and glanced around. He was in the back of one of their vans. The humor that the Scoobies now had a fleet of vans was not lost on most of them, except maybe Giles who probably couldn't remember the last cartoon he'd watched. Their vans were black, however, not bright green and psychedelic. It was dark inside as well, apart from a small, dim overhead light. The van roared to life, and the movement made the aching and stinging in Spike's body intensify. He clung to Xander, holding on tightly to keep himself as still as possible. The little bumps in the road and the turns the van made still made him hurt, but at least he felt safe. Apart from the castle, in fact, there was no safer place in the whole of the United Kingdom as the Scoobies' vans. They were protected with every bit of magic possible and the metal, tires, and windshield were all reinforced. Spike still preferred his bike for getting around, but he was glad it was one of the vans that had collected him. He was also glad Xander didn't have to drive; he wasn't supposed to, given that he only had the one eye and no depth perception.

There was a slayer in the driver's seat now and another in the passenger's seat, both of whom had their backs to him. One was radioing back to command-central, which should have been Xander's job. But Xander seemed more concerned with Spike just now, and Spike didn't really have a problem with that. This was as close to private as they were liable to get for some time, considering how the healers on staff worked. Spike had spent plenty of days and nights in the infirmary learning that. He eyed the thermos, not wanting to taste it, let alone drink it. He sniffed and felt another sneeze come upon him, glad the slayers weren't watching this bit either. Knowing Xander did not mind, he turned his face into Xander's chest again. “ihhChihh!” His breath caught, and he knew another sneeze was eminent. He kept his eyes closed as his nose twitched. “ihh-Hitchhh!” The resulting pain was excruciating.

Tissues materialized from somewhere and were rubbed at Spike's nose for him. He coughed a little then settled in, pretending to fall asleep against Xander. If he relaxed his body, it hurt just a little bit less.

“Come on, Spike. I'm not about to forget about this so quickly.” He unscrewed the cap and held the thermos out. “Drink up, or you know your cold's only going to get worse. And you won't be able to heal up quickly. And, believe me, I can't do without you in bed beside me for much longer. I haven't slept in days.”

Guilt trips worked better than most things, and Spike pulled his head back, allowing Xander to lift the thermos to his mouth. He drank down a mouthful, pulled a face, and had to endure a second one before he could even catch his breath. He coughed and ducked his head at the first available opportunity. Then he looked up at Xander. He managed three rough, strained words: “You found me.”

Xander laughed. “Of course I did. I had the witches on the task of finding you as soon as we lost contact. Did you know we all have trackers on us? Though there's a little bit of a time delay, they can figure out exactly where we've been. Where you've been. Where I've been. Where we've been together…”

Spike finished another mouthful of the nasty liquid and let Xander's words set in. So they probably knew about the gay clubs, then. Of course, it wasn't much of a secret that the two were together, considering they shared a room that had only one bed. Still, there were some things the two liked to keep to themselves.

“There were some… complications at the citadel. But Buffy's dealing with that stuff. They knew I wasn't going to stop looking until I found you. ”

Spike could feel the blood rushing through his system. It made his stomach uneasy, but it made the rest of his body hum. He could feel his bruises becoming a little less tender already. His head felt fuzzy still, but thinking and talking were getting easier for him now. Or, at least, they would be if he didn't still feel ill. “heh… wait…” He turned his head away from the thermos, spilling a few drops in the process. “hih-gotta sneeze… hih-Ihshhh! Ihh… ihhhChihh! Sniff!

Xander mopped Spike's nose with more tissues.

“I sniff I didn't… sneeze blood, did I?” Spike had done that a few times before, when he was especially ill. Luckily, Xander wore a lot of black these days and they had all learned the lesson of not getting attached to possessions. Sure, Spike still wore his duster from time to time, but he hadn't worn it this time. And that was another reason he was shivering in the blanket in Xander's arms.

“No blood,” Xander let Spike glimpse the tissues before balling them up and tossing them, though it was so dark in the back of the van that Spike didn't get a good look at it. “Just take it easy and give the blood you drank some time to work.” Xander raised the thermos again. He sniffed it and pulled a face. “Who would have thought I'd be the one to push you to drink this crap one day?”

“Who would have thought I'd earn myself a soul, turn human, and still need blood?” He eyed the thermos. “I've had enough, Luv.”

But Xander shook his head. “Finish it up, Spike.”

Spike winced but allowed Xander to force more on him. He gulped and swallowed until it was almost all gone. There were still a few sips left, but Xander let him get away with not drinking every last drop. All too eager to get the taste out of his mouth, Spike craned his neck and pressed his lips to Xander's. The kiss was strong, intense, something that bonded them, tied them together.  

After a minute, Spike pulled back. “There were other prisoners,” he said. He coughed repeatedly into his shoulder and shook his head, trying to shake the cough off so he could talk more. “We have to go back. Hahh… hahChishh! Snfff! The Goramgurst demons were breaking in other slaves—”

“Shhh,” Xander shook his head. “I brought three teams with me, Spike.”

“Three?” Taking along a full team was pretty standard. Having an extra team along for backup was good for especially complex or dangerous missions. Three was virtually unheard of.

“Yep. The others stayed behind to clean up the mess the demons made. Don't worry.” He rubbed his hand up and down Spike's back again. “Just relax here with me and heal.” He kissed Spike again, even more deeply this time. And Spike knew he was as good as issuing the head cold a written invitation to attack him next. Under any other circumstance, Spike would have pulled away or protested in order to keep Xander healthy; at least one of them ought to be healthy. But Xander was the only thing keeping him grounded now, and Spike wasn't about to let that go.

He had the sort of magic to him that even the witches on staff couldn't hope to replicate. The stupid prophecy might have brought Spike back to life, at least in part, but it was Xander who kept him in this world and actually made him feel alive… even when he'd almost been beaten to death.