Title: Spike-Zero

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Buffy: the vampire slayer, post-Angel the series

Pairing: Spike/Xander, others

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Not my characters! Not at all!

Summary: Spike just can't win when he gets a bad migraine on top of a head cold.

Author’s Notes: Written for my 2015 comment fic meme
Prompt: He's got a cold/allergies, but on top of that, he's got a migraine. And every time he sneezes it feels like his head is going to explode.





As he writhed around on the bed, clutching his head in his hands, Spike decided that he hadn't been in this much pain since he'd had that bloody chip from the Initiative in his head.


Okay, maybe burning alive in the fires of the Hellmouth had maybe hurt a tad more. But that had been a good kind of hurt. That was the kind of hurt he'd chosen. He'd done it to save Buffy. He'd done it to save the whole bloody world. He'd had a soul and free will and he'd chosen to go down not just fighting but by making the ultimate sacrifice. The pain had been excruciating, but at least it had let him know he'd succeeded.


Come to think of it, getting his soul reinstated had probably been more painful than this as well. Feeling it thrust into him unnaturally, a shining portion of humanity attaching itself to every bit of him from the inside out, brightly burning away at him from within where a soul wasn't supposed to be. Life inside of death. Morality inside a murderer. But that had been his choice, too. He'd asked for it. He'd fought for it. He'd done everything he could to get it. And, in the end, it had been worth the pain.


But both of those had been relatively quick. Maybe not what a normal person would consider quick, but the hurt had come and then it had gone. This pain, though, this wasn't going anywhere. And it had been three hours now. Every time he thought that it was going to ease up finally, it got even worse. Spike wasn't sure how much more of this he could stand, and he thought a moment of that time after he'd gotten the chip that he'd tried to off himself in Xander's basement.


And that was what had made him think of the chip. And that had brought back the memory of the pain stabbing through his head every time he so much as thought about harming a human. That pain had struck with such an overpowering intensity each time that it had blinded the world from him for a few seconds. Instinctively, he'd clutched his head, but that hadn't helped. Nothing had helped.


Just like now. Spike had taken a dose of the painkillers Xander had told him were safe to have on top of the cold medicine, but they'd done jack shit for the searing, horrendous pain he felt in his head every time he moved. There wasn't anyone he could go to for help, either. Giles was away on some trip for the council. Willow was off in South America with Kennedy, tracking down new slayers. Dawnie was living in a dorm at uni in Rome. Buffy was... well, he hadn't seen her in person in a year, so who the hell knew where she was? In fact, the only one of the Scoobies he had seen regularly was Xander, though that was probably only because the two of them were shagging.


Xander knew he was sick. It was pretty damn impossible to share a bed with someone and not notice when that someone woke in the middle of the night hacking violently and sniffling from congestion. But just because Spike was sick it didn't mean Xander's duties for the council could be put on hold. So even though Spike had begged him to stay, Xander had gone. He'd had to. When Buffy and the other Slayers told you to do something, you did it. 


Xander didn't know about this headache. It had to be more than a headache. It was a bloody migraine. Actually, it was bloody torture. Spike lay curled on the bed, head in his hands, as if holding his head might somehow lessen the pain inside it. Nothing he did seemed to make it feel better. Not the medicine, not lying still, not writhing around in pain, not even moaning and complaining and calling out Xander's name. He'd only done that a few times... in too much pain to be embarrassed about it.


Thank goodness Dru wasn't around to see him like this. Thank goodness Buffy wasn't. He'd spent decades being this tough, mean vampire. He'd killed slayers. Slayers plural. He shouldn't have been taken down so easily by a headache, even a headache this bad.


heh!” Oh fuck. His head hurt so intensely he thought he might die. The shooting pain in his head was intense and overpowering. But the pain grew impossibly worse every time he sneezed. His only defense was to take one hand away from his sharply throbbing temple to rub at his nose. If he could get rid of the tickle, he might be able to get rid of the sneeze. If he could get rid of the sneeze, he had a chance to survive long enough for Xander to get back to look after him.


Xander would make everything better. He needed Xander's hand on his back, like it had been all night, rubbing in gentle, comforting circles that calmed him. He needed Xander's body against him, like it had been the last time he'd caught cold and was out in the rain, shivering and sniffling and needing his boyfriend's warmth. He needed Xander's arms wrapped around him, like he imagined, holding him perfectly still so his head wouldn't hurt as it did at the slightest motion. Every movement made the pain intensify. Every breath. Every blink. Every heartbeat.


For the first time since Spike had become half-human, he wished he wasn't. He wished he didn't have a heartbeat, even this faint, slow one. He wished he no longer needed to breathe. He wished he was a fully-fledged vampire again that couldn't get sick.


heh-heh-EH!” He pinched his nose so hard, which usually worked. Usually. “heh!” Or sometimes. “EH!” Occasionally, at least. “HEHH!” Okay, once. “Hey... ehhhh!”  Pinching his nose hadn't worked yet. But that didn't mean there couldn't be a first time. “HEH-YIHTchhhhhhhhhh-Arrrrrguhhhhhhhh!” Except that this wasn't that first time. Spike screamed as the pain struck him in full force like fiery hot pokers driven straight into his forehead. Spike-zero, sneezes-a hundred-something. For what felt like minutes, all he could do was cry with pain. He didn't dare move, even though his nose ran, even though his body had been thrown forward and the back of his head pressed against the headboard, even though his arm was trapped awkwardly under him. He squeezed his eyes shut and endured the pain, the nausea, the dizziness. The pain was so terrible he thought he might not have to commit suicide; it might just kill him outright.


But then the pain backed away just a little, just enough for him to free his arm and settle back on the pillow and realize he wasn't dead yet.


Who the hell knew where the tissue box was? Opening his eyes, exposing himself to the slivers of light cutting through the mostly dark room, and looking around for the box was completely out of the question. As blowing his nose was not an option, he sniffed. A stab of pain answered this, but he couldn't just let it run down his face. Could he?


heh!” Oh fuck fuck fuck! Spike tried to brace himself, knowing there was absolutely nothing he could do. “Hah-EHyshhhuhhhhAHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhh!” Tears streamed from his eyes as the pain hurt so bad he lost control of his emotions. He couldn't do this alone. He needed Xander. He needed Xander right bloody fucking now.




The man's voice was soft, thank goodness. It was still loud enough to bounce about in Spike's head and hurt like hell, but he was pretty sure his head would have exploded if it had been normal volume.


“Spike, I brought you some nice, warm, yummy blood.”


“G'way,” Spike groaned into his pillow, rubbing a cheek into it to hide the wetness there. The movement made him hurt so much he felt sick sick to his stomach, but he was pretty sure that trying to drink blood right now was going to make it worse.


“Xander called. He's worried about you, and who can blame him? He told me I had to get you to drink a whole mug of blood.”


Spike turned his whole face into the pillow, the hot fabric making it hard to breathe. And now that he was half-human, he did have to breath a little. So he turned his head again. He managed to speak, though so softly he might not have even bothered. “Make me drink that and it'll come right back up again.”


Spike heard the sound of ceramic against wood, the mug being set down on the nightstand, Andrew giving up. Good. “Is it your head?”


Spike nodded and winced, his hand clutching his left temple where it throbbed and stung. Of course it was his head. Was Andrew really that stupid?


“Hold on, Bro. I think I might have just the thing to help.” Spike heard the footsteps retreat, the sound of each one pounding in his head, before he could protest.


Nothing would help. Nothing but Xander. And Xander wasn't here. If he were here, he wouldn't have had to send that little ponce, Andrew. But he would have made damn sure Spike actually drank the blood, even if he didn't keep it down for long.


yeh!” Ohhhh fuck. Not again. “ehhhhh!” Please, please not again. “Yehh-IHYETShhhhhh-AHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Spike screamed. He wondered where Andrew had gone and if the man could hear his yell of pain from where he was.


Then he wondered if Andrew would ever come back. What could he possibly be getting that would help—a straw to drink the blood through? More of the same medicine Spike wasn't allowed to take more of yet?


It seemed a lifetime before Andrew was back. There was a shuffling, crinkling sound loud and close to him. Then there was Andrew's voice, annoyingly cheerful when it said, “Don't freak out and kill me. I'm going to touch something to your forehead, all right?”


Well, no, it wasn't all right. It wasn't all right at all. Spike was dying. This migraine had definitely won. Spike-zero, migraine-every damn point in the whole damn world.


But then he felt it. There was something firm and large and cool and soft pressed right up against his forehead. And for a second, just a single second, the glorious coldness made the hot, stinging pain back away. It really did only last a second, but a second was long enough to give Spike hope.


The pain eased its way back into his head, pushing past the coldness like a drill that had lost power and just had a recharge. His whole head hurt, even though part of it was cooler now. And before Spike could figure out what Andrew had done, he felt it again. Another cold something struck his head, this time pressing right at the base of his head where it met the back of his neck. And for a second second of time, pure bliss overcame the pain. Relief flooded through him as the coldness drove the pain straight away.


Of course it came back. Of course it did. But it was just a touch easier to handle now when it did. Now it was intense and sharp, but not quite so intense or sharp as before. The pain was strong, but not quite so strong as before.


“It's better, right? Like your head's taken a little trip to the North Pole for a bit? Medicine's fine, but cold is the best thing for a headache.”


Spike whimpered. He fucking whimpered. He couldn't help it. After so long thinking he was going to die, here was one tiny little thing giving him hope that eventually, some day, he would feel better again.


“Told you!” Andrew sounded too damn cheerful. If Spike had been in any condition, he would have pulled away in disgust. Once upon a time, he would have bitten the man's neck for a response like that. But now he took it and tried to stay calm even in the face of Andrew's stupidity. Because, if nothing else, at least he'd made Spike feel better for just a few brief seconds. “How about trying some blood now, then?”


Spike snarled and he heard a yelp as Andrew jumped away. The coldness fell away from the back of his neck, sliding to the side and onto the bed with a thump. It also fell from his forehead, rubbing against his face in the process. It passed by his nose, bothering it into tickling again.


hehhh... Hah-AHShhuhhhhhhhhhhhh-AHHHhhhhhhh!” Quickly, the cold compresses were back. And so was Andrew. The bed sagged and Spike yelled again in protest. The motion stung his head. It churned his stomach. It forced more tears out of the corners of his eyes. And it hurt so bad he couldn't even keep Andrew from seeing. He couldn't keep Andrew away.


“It's all right,” came Andrew's voice again, quiet and calmer than it should have been considering how much Spike wanted him dead right now for seeing any of this. “I'll just hold these here then.” He said. And he did. But then, somehow, Andrew had a third hand because it wiped with a tissue at Spike's cheeks, eyes, and nose.


Spike knew he should be embarrassed, but instead he lapped up the attention. It was strange having Andrew so close, on his bed even. But this was the first time his nose had felt dry in hours and the pain wasn't so bad with the heavy, cold things there.


“Try to sleep, vam-pire.” He said that last word with his usual absurd pronunciation. It almost made Spike smile—but didn't.


Spike did try to take his advice, though.


*          *          *


Xander wouldn't have believed it if weren't for the standing right there looking at it-ness of the situation. There was Spike, sleeping off his cold, peacefully, in their bed. A few balled-up tissues were scattered around the covers and on the floor. There was nothing strange about any of that. Xander had known that Spike was sick, the sort of sick that didn't go away in a day, so of course there would be tissues involved. He hadn't been drinking his blood, so Xander had expected a cold. He'd expected all of that.


But lying next to him, fast asleep with his head on Xander's pillow, was Andrew. Andrew had an arm draped over Spike's waist. That hadn't been anywhere in Xander's expectations. What the fuck had happened here last night? And why were there dishcloths and soggy bags of peas and beans in bed with them?


Xander didn't know. And Xander didn't care. He was done trying to care. Where had trying to care gotten him? He marched straight over to the closet and grabbed one of the suitcases there. He unzipped it and plopped it down in front of the dresser. It was half filled by the time he heard movement behind him in the bed. Xander yanked another drawer open and started emptying it into the suitcase as he heard Spike wind up for a sneeze.


There was a part of him that told him he should turn and take care of his boyfriend. But the part of him that won out was the part reminding him that his boyfriend was currently in their bed with another man. With Andrew. Andrew had been the first person he'd come out to. Andrew had been the first person to chime in with his support of Spike and Xander when they had become Spike and Xander. Xander had thought he'd been able to trust Andrew. He'd thought he'd been able to trust Spike.


hehh! Hehh! Eh-Ehhhhh-TIHShhhhhhhh!


Poor Spike.


No. No, not poor Spike. Fuck Spike.


Xander clenched one hand into a fist around the handle of the bottom drawer and started pulling his clothes out of it. Out with the jeans and flannels, leaving behind the black T-shirts. The soft, black T-shirts that felt so good against Spike's chest and so good when he'd pulled them up over Spike's chest. Xander slammed the drawer shut.


“Hey, pbet. G'mbordig.” Spike sounded groggy. His voice was weak and peppered with stuffiness. He coughed and sniffed. “What—” And then he broke off.


Xander heard a squeak and the sound of someone jumping up and running out of the room. Maybe there were apologies. There were probably apologies, but Xander wasn't paying attention. Xander was just trying not to lose it here.


After zipping up the suitcase, Xander stood and turned toward the bed. Spike sat up, a blanket clutched to his chest, a tissue pressed to his nose. “You just got back. They ndeed you on a tribp already?”


A slow and steady breath in, a slow and steady breath out, and Xander replied, “No.” He couldn't help his gaze flicking toward the now empty part of the bed.


Maybe it was his cold or the fact that he'd just woken up, but it took Spike almost a full minute to understand. But then his eyes went wide. “Xand... s'dot by fault.”


“It never is your fault, is it, Spike? Let me guess: Andrew waited for me to leave and then crawled into our bed all on his own? You didn't even know he was there?”


“He was takig care of be. You told hibm to.”


He'd never told Andrew to get in bed with Spike. All he'd wanted was for Andrew to take him some blood, because maybe Spike would just give in and drink it for a change. Xander glanced over at the mug of dark red stuff on the nightstand. It didn't look like a drop was gone from it. No trail of blood up one side or a stain around the rim. Andrew was supposed to have gotten Spike to drink that whole mug, and Spike had managed to sweet talk his way out of it. Again.


“I'mb sick.”


“And whose fault is that?”


Spike took a second then shrugged. “Angel's?”


“No way, Spike. No way. This is on you. This is all on you, whether you admit it or not. You're the one who didn't drink that blood like you were supposed to. You're the one who spent the night with another man. I just can't do this any more.” Xander's hand closed around the handle of the suitcase. “We're through.” Shit. The pain he felt in the center of his chest as he said those words was excruciating. For a second, Xander thought he might be having a heart attack. Then he remembered to breathe. And he remembered to blink. He closed his eye, turned, and left the room.


Spike sneezed but didn't even try to stop him. Spike-zero, Xander-one.



*          *          *


This was crazy-making. Who went to a Scottish pub to not get drunk? Oh, he wanted to get drunk, all right. He wanted to get completely and utterly shit-faced. And the most hilarious part of this whole mess was that the promise he'd made to Spike two months ago was the reason he wasn't already working his way through a bottle of Jack. Or Guinness. Or whatever the hell people drank here in the Highlands.


He'd promised Spike that he would quit drinking alcohol if Spike would start drinking blood again. At the time, it seemed like the only way either of them was going to stay healthy enough to be of any use to Buffy and the council. And, for a while, it had seemed to work.


Even when Spike clearly started letting his side of the deal slide, Xander had kept his hands off a bottle, even if he did think about it every day, a hundred times a day. Spike wasn't even that good at lying. And the fact that he'd caught three colds since making the deal was evidence enough. If he didn't drink blood, he got sick. He was human now, but not totally human. Not totally human meant still partially a vamp. And vampires of any kind needed blood.


Just like Xander needed a drink. Or at least something stronger than a club soda.


Maybe a club soda with a slice of lemon? God this was a nightmare.




Correction: now this was a nightmare. Xander pretended to not hear. The man sat down on a bar stool on Xander's bad side, the side with his eye patch. If he didn't move or turn his head, then it might actually be believable that he'd missed the half-vamp's arrival altogether. He had nothing to say about this. He just wanted to be left the hell alone so he could wallow in the misery with his shitty non-alcoholic drink. Then he'd go upstairs to his room in the inn and get into bed and not wake up with a miserable hang-over, just wake up plain miserable without Spike next to him.


“Xander? Hey, it's me.”


Damn it. Couldn't he take the hint? Xander's grip tightened around his glass. One thumb pressed too hard and slid upward with an unintended squeak. Xander sighed and turned his head so he could actually look at the man. “What are you doing here, Angel?”


“Spike called me.” Of course he had. Broken up for two hours and already he went slinking back to Angel, just like back in the day. It figured. “He didn't sound so good.”


“Yeah, well, he's sick.”


“He's heartbroken.”


“Whatever.” Xander tried to sound casual, uncaring. But that heaviness was back in his chest. Spike was sick, and he wasn't there taking care of him. Spike was hurting, and Xander wasn't there to make him feel better. Spike was reaching out to Angel of all people, and Xander wasn't there to prevent that. But he'd made his choice. They'd both made their choices. “We fought. He won. It's over. End of story.”


Angel looked thoughtful for a moment. “Did he fight back?”


“What?” Xander picked up his drink and took a sip, which was easier said than done as his hand was shaking.


“When Spike loves someone, he doesn't fight back. When I was Angelus...” Angel trailed off. “I mean, back when he was with Dru, he let her—he let all of us—walk all over him. He took every insult. He withstood every crazy remark she made. And then think about how he was with Buffy.” Xander thought. Buffy had been cruel to him, abusive even. He'd taken every bit of it and still been infatuated with her. “If he didn't fight back, it's his way of showing you how much he loves you.”


Xander was suddenly glad he wasn't drinking anything stronger. He wasn't sure his stomach would have been able to take it right now. He felt like running to the bathroom to be sick at the idea of pushing Spike away the way he had and Spike being too sick and lovestruck to be able to do anything about it. Spike...


“What'll you have, my dear?” The bartender came over, tilting her head to the left away from the direction of Xander's cheap, non-alcoholic beverage as a hint that Angel should order something stronger.


Angel took the hint. “Whiskey, neat.” She took out a bottle and he nodded his approval of it before she poured him some. Before he drank it, he sniffed it. And when she was gone, he smiled at Xander, glass in his hand. “My sense of smell isn't what it used to be when I was fully a vampire, but it's just enough to let me pick up on everything that went into this fine blended malt.”


“Well good for you,” Xander said, hurriedly taking a sip of his club soda. Mmmm. Yum. That was just as good as whiskey any day, right? God, he could practically taste the whiskey, feel it going down smooth, warming, comforting. “So...” Xander looked away as Angel went to take a sip. He lost Angel in his blind spot and didn't feel rude about doing so. “Do you... as a sort of vampire... still drink blood?”


Angel nodded. “I have a cup of sheep's blood every morning to get it over with. A couple quick swallows down the hatch and I can barely taste it. Then I can go about my day like normal. Or close to normal.” What was normal when you were half-human, half-vampire? Spike sure as hell couldn't answer that question. “I take it that Spike isn't drinking that much?”


“As far as I know, Spike's not drinking any.” And he'd know. It was hard to live with someone and not notice that kind of thing. Just like Spike had noticed when Xander's drinking had gotten out of control and he'd gotten destructive.


There was silence between the two of them. Silence where Xander tried not to hate the man sitting next to him and tried not to lust after the man's whiskey. Finally, Angel spoke. “You need to give him a reason to drink the blood, because he's sure not going to do it for himself.”


“I tried. We made a deal together.”


Angel put down his glass and turned to Xander, insisting on getting Xander's full attention. “That's not enough. You've got to give him something to want to live for. All you're doing right now is making it easier for him to give up on everything.”


“Shit.” Xander pushed his drink away and slid off the bar stool. He didn't thank Angel. He didn't even say goodbye to Angel. But he had a feeling Angel would show up again soon enough, just when Xander didn't want to see him.


So Xander headed back to the castle, which was only a short walk from town. He left his luggage back at the inn, though, not wanting to push his usually nonexistent luck.


Soon enough, Xander stood outside their bedroom, not sure if he should knock or go right in. He heard the unmistakable sound of Spike blowing his nose, over and over again. Xander knew it was his own fault, but that didn't mean he didn't feel sorry for the guy. No one deserved to be sick as often as Spike had been lately. And to go from strong, always healthy vampire to this within a year... that had to be tough. Figuring that Spike was probably too busy to hear a knock and get up to answer the door, and figuring that it was sort of still his room anyway, Xander invited himself into the room.


*          *          *


Spike was a huddled mass of pathetic curled in on himself on the middle of the bed. Half of him was covered by a blanket, the other half clutched a tissue box close. He glanced up. Xander? What was Xander doing back? Spike finished his current round of blowing and rubbed surreptitiously at a damp cheek as he tossed the tissue away. “What's-a bmatter, Harris? Forget subthidg?”


“Yeah.” Spike watched him hover in the doorway before closing the door behind him. Another sneeze was tickling at his nose now, and he pulled another tissue out of the box so he could rub the tickle out. By the time he'd finished scrubbing, Xander had somehow magically transported to the bed. The mattress groaned and dipped under Xander's weight.


Just then, the sneeze struck. “ehhh-yihtchuhhhh!


And Spike shivered when Xander's hand found his upper back for a rub. “Yeah, I forgot you.”


Spike looked up at him with red-rimmed eyes. “What's that thend?”


“I may have to give up on you drinking blood. But I realized that doesn't mean I have to give up on you. On us.”


Fucking... tears... he couldn't stop. Spike turned his face into the pillow as his breath hitched and eyes leaked uncontrollably. When Xander's hand began rubbing up and down his whole back, that felt so good, so soothing, but it didn't help keep the tears away.


Xander had come back. Spike hadn't even wanted to believe it. It had felt so over that Spike had called Angel, just to hear his grandsire's voice one more time. Of course, half of what that voice had said had been an overbearing, smothering annoyance and the other half had been mildly insulting. But it had still been strangely nice to know Angel was nearby. Though it had also been frustrating as hell to travel all the way to Scotland just to find out that Angel was still nearby. And that Angel was going to go have a word with Xander.


“Did... Andgel... heh... hah-Yehshhhhuhh!” Spike lifted his head from the damp pillow to find Xander with a tissue for him. Spike didn't have time to reach for it. “heyyIHKTchufffshhhhh!” But Xander held it close enough to catch most of the sneeze. And Spike found he couldn't look into the man's face now. “If you're here just because that wandker said to....”


“I'm here because I love you,” Xander said flatly. “And I want to take care of you when you're sick which, apparently, is going to be all the time now that you're not drinking blood.”


Spike knew he should be getting worked up about that last bit there. It wasn't as though he never planned on drinking blood again... he just didn't want to taste it as often as he should be. But Spike really couldn't get past that first part of Xander's reply.


Love. Xander had said it. It was the first time he had said it. And that made only the third time anyone had ever said it to him. There had been Buffy, saying it to him just before he burned in the Hellmouth. At the time, he'd wanted to believe her, but he'd known she was just saying it because she cared about him and the fact that he was sacrificing himself for her and the world. And the first person to ever say it to him had been his Mum; that hadn't gone so well either for him, what with the siring and insults and inappropriateness and having to kill her. But this... this wasn't like either of those times. There was no obligation to it at all. In fact, Xander seemed to have said it willingly.


Spike had never before been more of a fan of free will. However, he wasn't sure he could believe it. “Dod't say it if you dod't mbeand it.”


“Of course I mean it.”


“Right,” Spike scoffed. “After that exit of yours this mbordig... I... I-yih... ihhh-Ehkutchhhhh! Sniff! Thanks.” Grateful, Spike took the next tissue Xander had for him and blew a little into it.


“Right,” Xander echoed, sounding more genuine than Spike expected. “The part of Crazy Jealous Guy today will be played by Xander Harris. But Andrew was in bed with you. Don't even try to tell me you fell asleep playing 'I Spy.' Sure, I was shocked, but I'm back because I love you.”


There it was again. And Spike still wasn't sure he believed it. But he knew he had to explain. “I did't wadt you hurt. But I was hurtig, Xand.”


“Hurting to be alone for just one night? What, was the bed too cold?”


How could he explain without sounding melodramatic? “It was by head. Worst headache I've ever had. Add every timbe I sdeezed...” Spike glanced at Xander, who was definitely looking sympathetic, though a bit skeptical still. Better step it up. “It was the worst. I thought I was dyig. Againd. Rebeber whed  that chipb was killig be? It was like that, but it would't stopb. Anddrew brought cold pbacks, that's all. I swear. The bigrainde lasted so log, we bust have fallend asleep. You cand ask himb.”


“That explains the vegetables.” Xander picked up a soggy pack of peas. “How's your head feel now?”


“Are you really here to stay? Evend if I dod't drindk all the blood you thindk I... I should? HehhYehhKschhhhh! Where...”


Xander handed him another tissue. Xander rubbed his back again. Xander pressed a kiss to his forehead. “How's your head?” Xander asked again, even softer this time.


Sniff! Head's better. Cold's worse. Sniff! Ehhh-Yih-IHShahhhh! Hehh-yehhKTchuhhhh!” Blowing his nose only brought momentary relief. The bloody thing tickled again almost immediately. “Xand... ehhhKeyhutchhhhh!


“I'm not going anywhere,” Xander finally said. He kicked off his shoes, wriggled out of his jacket, and slid under the covers. His body curled around Spike's, warm arm draped over him, wet lips caressed the back of his neck. “Even if you're sneezy as hell. Man, Spike. Can't you at least catch a normal cold for once?”


 Spike laughed and coughed and sniffled and laughed again. He hugged Xander's hand to his chest. “Dond't let the bmigrainde combe back. I could't stadd that againd.”


He knew Xander didn't have that kind of power. But he also knew that, somehow, wrapped up in Xander's embrace like this, no migraine would dare hit him now. Spike-zero, but Spike and Xander together-unstoppable.