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One Tin Soldier


by
D'Nalia



Part Fifteen


Jamison took a deep breath and made sure his uniform was in order before he stepped into the Major's room. The Sgt's eyes widened when he got his first look at his Commanding Officer. The Major was lying in a box that looked amazingly like a coffin, his body packed in ice with only his face showing.

They had all heard the reports, less than three hours after he'd been stung by the Fever Demon, the Major's temperature had shot through the roof. Keeping him packed in ice was the only way to keep the fever low enough to prevent brain damage. So now the doctors were racing against time, trying to find something, anything, to help fight the infection before the fever killed him. Or pneumonia set in. Or one of a thousand other complications proved too much for the Major's weakening body to fight off.

Jamison resolutely turned away from the Major, he was worried, but he was still in the Army, and they had problems. With the Major out of commission, Spike was now in charge. Jamison hated to bother the vampire, but he couldn't wait any longer. "Sir? Excuse me, Sir? Spike?"

Spike raised bloodshot eyes from Xander's flushed face, "Jamison?"

The Sgt. nodded, "I'm sorry to bother you, Sir, but I need to speak with you."

"About what?"

"Sir, you've been sitting here for three days. You haven't eaten. You haven't showered, and frankly, Sir, you need one. Please, let one of us stay with the Major for a while. We, the squad I mean, will rotate shifts to make sure he's never alone. As of now, you're the ranking officer in the squad and there are things that need to be done."

"They can wait!" Spike growled at him.

Jamison stiffened, "I'm sorry, Sir, but they can't. The rest of the world didn't come to a screeching halt just because the Major got hurt, sir. You have responsibilities now, and the Major wouldn't thank you for neglecting them."

Spike gave Jamison a tired grin, "Ya got balls, mate."

Jamison shook his head, "Not really, Sir. I drew the low card, even Rom wouldn't come up here willingly."

Spike chuckled, "All right. Get someone up here to stay with Xander..." Coffey poked her head into the room with a smirk and a little wave. "All right, anything changes, and I mean anything, Coffey, you find me, hear?"

Coffey stepped into the room and Spike's eyes grew wide when he saw the bandages on her arms and the assorted bruises that covered her throat. "How many others?" he asked quietly.

"All of us, sir, have some kind of injury, some worse than others. At least we didn't lose anyone after we bagged out." Coffey replied.

Spike nodded, and with one last look at Xander, pulled Jamison out of the room, giving orders and asking questions as they walked.


~*~*~*~*~


Spike threw the files down on the desk in disgust. Fifteen men dead, eighty-five wounded in some way, forty-two of them seriously. The infamous 'Death Squad' was down to forty-three active members, and none of those were up to any real work and wouldn't be for days.

And to really make his day, the Slayer and the witches had never made it to the detention center. The driver and guard were found dead in an alley in Sunnydale, both men had had their necks broken. Spike grabbed the phone, hitting the intercom button, "Oi, somebody find Rom for me and send his scrawny ass in here."

"Right away, sir."

Spike hadn't even disconnected the phone when the door opened and Rom was shoved inside. Spike leaned back in his chair, quirking his brow at his childe. "Rom, where you been?"

Rom wouldn't look at him, his eyes darting around the room, "Around, you know, had things to do."

Spike nodded, "I'm sure, now, why don't you sit down and tell about those 'things', childe, NOW!" Spike yelled.

Rom flinched and perched on the edge of a chair, obviously ready to run. Spike sighed and almost felt sorry for what he'd put Angelus through, almost. "Spill it, childe, what have you done that you think I'm going to kill you for?"

Rom hung his head and picked at the seam on his uniform, "Uh, well, see, you were busy, and I had the files, I knew who'd signed and who hadn't..." Rom finally looked at him, his panic plain, "I didn't know what else to do, they were going to die and it was the only way."

Spike was totally confused now, "What the Hell are you going on about, Rom? Who was going to die?"

Rom pointed at the files Spike had dropped on the desk, "Blake, Nelson, Johnson and Reed. They had signed the change order, you know, in case there was no other way. You were guarding the Major so I did it."

Spike eyes grew wide, "You turned them?"

Rom nodded miserably, "I know I wasn't supposed to, but you promised..." Rom hung his head, "I didn't do it right. They woke up, but they keep going back to sleep and they won't eat."

Spike started laughing, and Rom's eyes turned gold in anger, Spike held up his hand, "Wait, Rom, it's all right. I told you not to turn anyone because your blood isn't strong enough, not yet. You can't make childer, just minions, you say they haven't fed yet?"

Rom nodded, "I tried, but they wouldn't take any more of my blood. I don't know what I did wrong."

Spike stood and walked around the desk to pull his childe out of his chair, "Come on, then, let's go fix this."

Rom eagerly followed him out of the office, "Do you think we can? What if it's been too long?"

Spike shrugged, "Then we drain them and start over. It'll be hard on them, but they'll heal. But I'm going to have to feed them, sorry about that."

Rom shook his head, "Don't be. I only did it because there wasn't time to do anything else. I don't want any childer, not yet."

Spike slung an arm around his childe's shoulder, "Good call, mate. Childer are a pain in the arse."

Rom nodded, then realized what Spike had said, "Hey!"


~*~*~*~*~


Spike raised the scalpel to his wrist, then stopped, his head cocked to one side, listening intently. He dropped the knife and ripped the sheets off of Blake's bed, laying his head on the still chest. Finally, there is was, faint and unsteady, but there. "Rom, come here."

Rom perched on the edge of the bed, "What's wrong, Sire?"

Spike pinned him with an intense gaze, "I need you to tell me exactly what you did. Leave nothing out."

Rom nodded, "Okay. I found Blake and Johnson in one of the side halls. Both of them were bleeding and had several broken bones. I started standard emergency first aid procedures. Pressure bandages on the wounds, stabilized the breaks, gave them a booster, and checked vitals. They kept crashing, so I fed them some of my blood." Rom hung his head, "I screwed it up, didn't I?"

Spike grabbed Rom's hand and laid it on Blake's chest. Rom's eyes grew wide, "What? He's breathing!"

Spike grinned, "Yep. He's still alive, in a bad way, but not dead yet. You'd best be calling Wilson and telling him to get his arse down here. We might be able to save them yet."


~*~*~*~*~


The room was overflowing with lab techs, doctors and corpsmen. Wilson wasn't sure just what had happened to Blake and the others, but was optimistic about an eventual recovery.

Spike told Rom to stay with Wilson, and help him as much as he could while he went to check on Xander. Rom nodded absently, all his attention focused on the men hovering between life and death.

Spike just shook his head and went upstairs, hoping that Xander would be showing some kind of improvement. He stuck his head in the door and smiled when he found Maggie sitting next to Xander's bed. "Mags! There you are, love. Was wondering where you'd been keeping yourself."

Maggie started laughing, "William, I sat here, right beside you, for almost two whole days, until Rupert drug me home and made me get some rest."

"You did? I don't remember seeing you."

Maggie patted the chair next to her and Spike sat down, "You were off in your own world, William." Maggie said gently. "You're looking much better now, though. At least you've taken a shower."

Spike grinned, "Yeah. The squad drew cards and Jamison lost. He came up here and made me pull my head out of my arse. Been taking care of business. Don't want Xander here to have to worry about it when he wakes up."

"Good. I'm sure he'll appreciate that." They sat there quietly for a moment before Maggie finally asked, "How many?"

"Eleven. Four more that we might be able to save. Rom tried to turn them, but it didn't take. They're still alive. Wilson doesn't know why, they're working on them now. Rom is standing by, just in case. If it comes down to brass tacks, we turn them."

Maggie hung her head when she heard how many had been lost. It could have been worse, much worse, but Xander would still take it personally. He always did. But when Spike told her about the four men they were still trying to save, an old memory surfaced in the back of her mind. "I remember something that Elise wrote in one of the diaries. Something about 'The sleep of death', I think she called it."

Spike shook his head, "Elise? Who the Hell is that?"

Maggie reached over and patted Spike's hand, "Mary's youngest. Smart as a whip and twice as nasty. Spent her entire life studying vampires. She's the one who found the legends about Liege Sires. Let me make a couple of calls, I do believe one of the Williams has that series."

Maggie hurried out of the room, leaving Spike alone with Xander. He reached out and brushed the hair off of Xander's forehead and frowned. He felt hotter now than he had earlier. Spike checked and monitors and cursed when he realized that the temperature probe had been unplugged. He hit the call button and plugged the loose cord back in. The display started climbing, even packed in ice, Xander's fever was still rising. 105 and it showed no signs of stopping. One of the corpsmen ran into the room, took one look at the readout and started hitting alarms.

Wilson ran in, huffing for air, "Dammit. All right, people, get him rigged, we're going to tank him."

The corpsmen didn't ask any questions, one of them started pulling the ice off of Xander and another approached with a weird set of black straps. Spike grabbed Wilson's arm, "What are you going to do?"

Wilson pointed at the straps, "We're going to suspend him in a tank filled with a temperature stable gel. It'll give us more control over the fever."

Spike growled at the doctor, "Why the Hell didn't you do that before?"

Wilson smiled tiredly, "It's a last ditch measure, Spike. We're going to put a tube down his throat to allow him to breath, shove IV's into every vein we can find, and then we're basically going to stew him. We'll raise the temperature in the tank to just above fever level to prevent shock. Then we'll start bringing it down until it reaches 103. Then we'll keep it there while we work on destroying the infection. But for any of this to work, we're going to have to keep him unconscious. That means more drugs that will add that much more stress on his heart."

Spike's eyes turned yellow, "Fine. But if he starts to go, I turn him."

Wilson put his hand on Spike's shoulder, "I'm sorry, Spike, but Xander has a DNR in his medical file. After what happened before...well, he doesn't want any extraordinary measures used to keep him alive. I'm already pushing the envelop by doing this."

Spike was so shocked, he fell silent. The fact that Xander refused to be turned hurt his feelings more than he'd admit. The corpsmen had Xander set up in the safety harness in a matter of moments. They wheeled Xander out of the room and Spike followed.

The tank was like something out of a horror movie. It was eight foot square and filled with a viscous gel that glowed green. Spike shuddered as he watched Xander being lowered into the tank. Tubes and wires protruded from his arms and legs, even the veins in his chest had been punctured.

As the gel crept up Xander's face, he started to thrash weakly. Wilson cursed, "Knock him out, dammit! He's going to pull the IV's!"

The corpsman at the console shook his head, "He's already had the max, I can't give him anymore without sending his heart into arrest."

Wilson shook his head, "Get me a rig, I'll go in."

"What are you going to do?" Spike asked, watching as Xander became more agitated.

"I'm going into the tank with him." Wilson replied, reaching for the suit the corpsman handed him.

Spike shook his head, "Nay, mate. I'll do it. Don't need to breath, do I?"

Spike quickly stripped down to his boxers and climbed the scaffold on the side of the tank. Taking an unneeded breath, he swung his legs into the tank and shuddered, "Christ, that's nasty." he said as the gel hit his skin.

One quick flex and he slid all the way in, grabbing one of the straps on Xander's rig to keep himself from sinking to the bottom. He cautiously opened his eyes, pleased when the gel didn't sting his eyes. Everything took on a weird, fuzzy glow, but he could see.

Spike rubbed his hand on Xander's cheek, almost jerking back in surprise when Xander's eyes opened. Spike grinned at him, Xander wearily returning the gesture before sliding back into unconsciousness.

Wilson checked the monitors, chuckling as Xander's heart rate leveled out and his respirations steadied. "People, I think we're going to make it."




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