When Xander came to the first thing he realised was that he was lying on something really soft and comfortable. For the first time in weeks he was feeling warm. Then he started realising other things. His throat was still hurting but it felt a little better. Swallowing was much easier. The shock came when he opened his eyes. He immediately realised that he was lying on Spikeís bed. He quickly looked around the room but couldnít see the vampire anywhere. He got off the bed and tried to ignore the lightness in his head. Xander started crawling towards his corner and the blanket he saw there. Then there suddenly was a stinging feeling on his arm. When he looked down he could see that there was a needle in his arm and a tube was going from that to a bag of some liquid hanging near the bed. Xander ripped the needle out and continued crawling. As soon as he got to his corner he curled up. Now he was cold again but he would choose that anytime over the warmness of the bed since he knew what it meant for him to be allowed to lay on Spikeís bed.
A while later the door opened. Xander was surprised when the door was opened really quietly and carefully. He thought at first it was someone else coming in but then he saw it was Spike after all. The vampire entered the room quietly but as soon as Spike saw the bed he stopped.
"Pet, where are you?"
Xander tried to make his voice sound as clear as possible.
"On my own place, Master."
"Please, get back on the bed."
Spikeís gentle voice surprises Xander but he is sure there had to be something bad hidden here.
"Iím quite good here, Master."
When Spike came closer Xander tried to bury himself deeper into the corner. When Spike crouched right in front of him Xander closed his eyes and hoped that Spike would disappear.
"Pet, you are very sick. You need to stay on the bed. Why donít you want to be on the bed?"
ďMaster, you told me that I was allowed on the bed only if if ifÖĒ
At that point Xanderís voice as well as his courage gave up. He just pressed his head down and waited for Spikeís reaction.
"Pet, look at me."
Xander lifted his head. He was a bit scared of what he was going to see in Spikeís eyes.
"Pet, youíve been unconscious for two days. Youíve been lying on that bed from the moment you collapsed. Iíve been sleeping in another room so that I didnít disturb you. I promise I wonít touch you in any way if you return to the bed. The doctor should be coming soon to check on you. He wonít be pleased if he finds you out of bed. He wonít be pleased you ripped your IV off."
Xander was feeling really tired and the bed sounded wonderful. He just didnít know if he could trust Spikeís word. He also didnít know what to think about Spike talking about some doctor. He wasnít sure if he wanted to meet any doctor of Spikeís. Probably some demon or something like that.
"So Pet, will you get on the bed voluntarily? I can always force you but I donít want to do that. You would probably just end up hurting yourself in the process."
Xander gave Spike one more suspicious look before crawling next to the bed. He still gave one more look over his shoulder to make sure where Spike was. Since the vampire seemed to stay put Xander dared to get on the bed and under the covers. From there he stared at Spike who was still standing where he had been all the time. Only then he realised that the chain wasnít around his ankle at the moment. Not that the realisation did anything good for him since he wouldnít have any chance to escape. He was too weak to get anywhere. The knock from the door startled Xander. He followed with his eyes while Spike went to the door. The person who walked into the room looked completely human to Xander but looks could be deceiving.
"Master Spike, howís our patient?"
"Heís awake but Iím afraid he managed to rip the IV off so that has to be replaced. He also has trouble staying on the bed where it would be warm."
"Okay, Iíll look at that."
Then the man walked to the bed. Xander had buried himself as deep into the covers as possible. Just his eyes were showing.
"Hey, no need to afraid of me, kid. Can you tell me how you are feeling now?"
Xander stayed silent. He kept stealing careful glances at Spike. He really wasnít sure what he was supposed to do.
"Pet, answer the doctor."
"Iím feeling just fine." Xander muttered.
"You donít sound too fine. Let me put the IV back in and take your temperature."
Xander tried not to wince when the needle entered his arm. Then the thermometer was already in his mouth. He could feel Spikeís eyes on him but tried to ignore it. He really didnít trust the vampire but he knew that if he tried to leave the bed again Spike would probably get mad and tie him into it or something. The doctorís hands felt quite warm and all other things also pointed towards the fact that he would be a human but Xander still didnít believe it. Why would any human risk his life with coming to a vampireís lair voluntarily, unless the doctor was a prisoner too? His gloomy thoughts were interrupted when the doctor took the thermometer out of his mouth. Xander followed from under his lashes when the doctor tried to read the meter. The frown that formed on the doctorís brow worried Xander a little. Then the doctor turned towards Spike.
"Master Spike, his temperature has gone down a bit but itís still quite high. I demand that he is kept on total bed rest. He needs a lot of fluids and warm drinks and food. It is very important that he is kept warm. I will visit again tomorrow. If there is no progress I wonít have any other choice than take him with me to get treatment in proper facilities. Make sure the IV stays this time. Iím leaving another bag that you have to change when the current one runs out."
Xanderís thoughts were racing. What did the doctor mean by taking him with him to get treatment somewhere else? Wouldnít that be a good thing for him? He would get out of Spikeís clutches. Then it struck him that the vampire would probably arrange someone to look after him the whole time. There was also no certainty what kind of place the doctor would take him. Then his attention was again on Spike.
"Pet, I will escort the doctor out. I will return to you shortly."
Xander just buried himself deep into the covers. He wasnít too keen on Spike returning. He had no idea what the vampire would do to him. When the door again opened Xander was hiding again in the covers so that only the area above his nose was showing. Despite that he could smell the delicious smell coming from somewhere.
"Sit up on the bed, pet."
Slowly Xander moved so that he was sitting on the bed with the pillows behind his back. He was still clutching the cover tightly. Spike was carrying a tray that had a bowl of something steaming on it. The tray was laid carefully on Xanderís lap.
"Here is some soup for you, pet. Itís supposed to be smooth so it should be easier to swallow."
Xander eyed the bowl in front of him. It smelt really good. For a few weeks now all he had gotten were sandwiches and lukewarm soup. This smelt so much better than those. Then he realised that Spike was still waiting and he croaked.
"Thank you, Master."
"Youíre welcome, pet. Just eat now. You can have more if you want to."
Spike giving him warm food and even offering him more was something Xander had not expected. He instantly got the feeling that there was something wrong in here. The lure of the soup, however, was so bad that he didnít think about it anymore. He could worry about it when there was something to worry about. Now he just concentrated on eating. The soup was really good but it really hurt to swallow. Xander knew that Spike was watching him all the time and tried to eat the whole portion. He knew that Spike would get mad if he didnít eat. Finally it became so painful that a few tears sprung to Xanderís eyes. Spike noticed them immediately.
"Pet, what is it?"
Xander considered for a while if he could tell Spike the truth but as he had already experienced the vampire knew if he tried to lie.
"Master, my throat really hurts and itís really hard to swallow. Iím trying my best to eat the whole portion but I donít think I can. Please donít be mad at me."
"Pet, itís alright. You can leave part of it. You can try to eat more later after your throat has had time to calm down. The doctor gave me some pain medication. Do you want to have that?"
"Yes please, Master. Could I also please use the toilet?"
"Sure, just hang on a moment. Iím going to fetch the meds and some other supplies. Donít leave the bed before I come back."
Xander could guess that the other supplies Spike mentioned was the leash. He patiently waited in the bed. He wasnít too enthusiastic about the bathroom trip since the floors were really cold but he couldnít deny his bodyís needs. It took some time for Spike to return but when he did he was carrying a bundle of something. He set it on the bed.
"Pet, put these on. From now on until you are completely healthy you are going to wear these."
Xander glanced suspiciously towards the bundle. Then he reached for it and found some sweatpants, a jumper and warm socks. He still gave Spike one look but since the vampire just seemed to wait for him to do something Xander carefully started putting the clothes on. As the last item he pulled the sweat pants on. That put him to a standing position beside the bed. He started lowering towards the floor to get on his hands and knees. He was surprised when Spike grabbed his arm and lifted him up.
"Pet, you can walk now. You donít have to crawl. We can just go now."
Spike handed Xander the IV bag and with unsure steps Xander headed for the door. Spike was right behind him but wasnít touching him in any way. At the bathroom door Spike stopped and just motioned Xander to enter. Xander was so confused about this new attitude of Spikeís that he didnít know what to do. He entered the bathroom and took care of his business. Then he grabbed the toothbrush and quickly brushed his teeth. He tried to hurry so that Spike wouldnít get impatient. He was already feeling so crappy that he didnít need another beating to be added to it. Spike was waiting for him outside the door but there werenít any traces of impatience or anything else. Slowly they walked back to the room. Xander gave his corner one longing look but knew that he had no hope to retreat there and went on the bed and buried himself deep under the covers. Again only his eyes were showing. Xander noticed that Spike moved one of the chairs in the room nearer to the bed and sat down. Then he just sat in silence watching Xander.
"Pet, I know itís hard for you to talk now but I need to ask a few things. I need you to answer me truthfully. Remember that I will know if you lie to me. I promise you this, whatever you say to me I wonít get mad. Just for this once you can say whatever comes to your mind."
Xander just waited for the questions to start. He didnít know what to think about this. He had no idea what Spike wanted to ask him. The tone of Spikeís voice puzzled him. It sounded like Spike was concerned about him. And the promise of not getting mad no matter what Xander said was also weird. Xander really didnít know if he could trust Spike to keep his word.
"So, pet. I need to know what your thoughts are right now, all the stuff that is going through your mind. Tell me. Remember my promise. You can say anything. I always keep my promises."
For a while Xander considered if he could really say everything that was in his mind. Then he let it go. He had to get this out of his head. If it got him beaten to death he would just be happy. Xander carefully moved on the bed so that he was sitting against the headboard.
"Master, first of all I donít trust you. Okay, you havenít broken your promise to me, yet, but still believing what you say is really hard. Iím also very scared. For a few weeks now youíve treated me like a thing that has no feelings or any rights. Youíve tormented me physically and mentally all the time. First I thought I could take anything since Iíve been tormented by my parents for my whole life but after what youíve done to me they donít even come close. For some time now Iíve not been able to sleep properly since Iíve been afraid that one night it wonít be enough for you to force me to use the plugs and decide that you want to real thing. That I would end up chained to the bed while you take even the shreds of my dignity away."
At that point Xander had to stop talking because a coughing fit took him over. When he got over that he carefully lifted his gaze towards Spike. The vampireís face was again like carved in a stone, no expression there. It made Xander feel really nervous. Now he had probably royally pissed Spike off and soon would get his hide tanned again. In his mind he just cursed his big mouth that always got him into trouble. He quickly hid under the covers when Spike surged off the chair but was surprised when Spike didnít come for him but stormed out of the door.
It took some time for Spike to return. Xander had really gotten bored. All his comics and the journal were in the corner and he didnít dare to leave the bed to go and get them. He was certain that Spike would return just then if he left the bed. Xander thought that the vampire was irritated enough already, Xander didnít want to add to it. While he waited for Spikeís return he tried to sleep a little. He did manage to catch a few eyefuls but his thought kept concentrating around Spike and that always got his heart rate to speed up and sleep was an impossibility so he ended up mainly just lying still and thinking.
When there finally was movement from the door Xander was surprised how carefully and quietly Spike entered the room. He obviously expected Xander to be asleep. Xander tried to pretend but was pretty sure his heartbeat gave his act up. Spike came to stand beside the bed.
"Pet, I brought you some tea. I also reheated some of that soup if you feel like eating some more. You need to get your strength back. You also need to be in better condition when the doctor comes to check on you tomorrow."
Xander slowly changed his position again so that he was sitting on the bed. There were no traces of any irritation on Spikeís face. However, Xander noticed that while handling the things he had brought Spike clearly favoured his other hand. He also managed to get a glimpse of it and saw that there were big bloody scratches there. Xander wondered what could have caused that but then forgot about it when the delicious smells from the food came to him. He was feeling quite hungry again but he just wasnít sure how his throat was going to take it.
"Thank you Master for the food."
"Youíre welcome pet. I hope you will be able to eat a little more this time but donít worry if your throat hurts too much and you canít eat it all. I wonít get mad at you."
Xander nodded and started eating the soup. It still tasted just as wonderful as before. It was still hard to swallow but Xander forced himself to eat. He knew he had to take advantage of this now when Spike was being nice to him. Sooner or later he would find himself on the floor again with only the minimum food.
With effort Xander managed to eat all the soup. He also drank the tea. It felt really wonderful for his sore throat even if swallowing hurt quite a lot. After he had finished Xander placed the bowl and the cup on the bedside table. Spike was again sitting on the chair and watching him. Xander still gave one wistful glance towards the comics and his journal because he would have liked so much to have something to do. Naturally Spike noticed the glance and interpreted it wrong.
"Pet, I already told you that you will stay on the bed at least until you are completely healthy. Why do you want to return to the corner?"
"Master, itís not that."
"So what is it then?"
"I was just thinking that it would be nice to have my comics and journal here so that I would have something to do if you leave me alone, Master."
"Of course you can have them. You could have gotten them yourself."
"Master, you told me I wasnít allowed to leave the bed. I was sure that if I moved you would come back and get mad."
"Hey, Iím not that strict. Iíll get them for you."
Xander watched while Spike went to the corner and picked up all the comics and the journal and brought them over. Spike placed all the comics on the bedside table but kept the journal when he retired back to his chair. Xander felt uncomfortable. To his knowledge Spike hadnít read the journal at all before this. He knew that he hadnít written anything too bad there just his thoughts. He knew he couldnít stop Spike from reading so he just picked up one of the comics and started reading. His reading was interrupted quite quickly by Spike.
"Pet, why didnít you tell me you werenít feeling well. According to your journal youíve been cold for some time and even had worse symptoms for a week before you even collapsed. You should have told me. Why didnít you?"
The desperation and sadness in Spikeís voice amazed Xander. Was Spike really worried about him and concerned about his wellbeing? He still decided to stick with the truth.
"Master, how could I have? You told me Iíd lost all my previous rights, including the right to ask you questions and permission to speak. I didnít want to risk punishment."
"But pet, you were feeling really bad at least according to these writings. You should have told me. I never wanted you to suffer like this. Yes, I wanted to punish you for trying to run away but never like this. Why didnít you tell me?"
Xander just stared at the patterns on the cover. He had tried to be good and play by Spikeís rules but it seems he got it wrong anyway. He quickly buried himself deep under the covers. From there he muttered.
"Iím sorry, Master."
Then he was startled when the cover was ripped from his grasp. He quickly went into foetal position and covered his head to shelter at least it.
"Pet, you have nothing to be sorry for. Iím the one who should be sorry. I should have realised that you canít take the same treatment as my previous pets could. Now, I have scared you again. This really isnít going as I hoped it would."
Next Xander could feel the cover being put again on him. He couldnít relax straight away but kept his tense pose for some time before again poking his head outside the covers. Spike was obviously looking for something from his duster pocket. Finally he turned around again and started coming towards the bed. Xander didnít know if he should hide again or not.
"Pet, I had planned to give this to you later because I knew you had a hard time eating it but maybe this will help you feel better, at least on the mental side. If my memory serves right you liked these."
Then Xander was presented with something he thought he would never see again, a Twinkie bar. He eyed it for a while but then his sweet tooth won. Just when he was about to grab the bar from Spike he remembered what he was supposed to do.
"Thank you, Master."
Then he took it from Spikeís hand. For a while he pondered between eating the treat right now and saving it for later. He ended up eating it right now so that Spike couldnít take it away from him. The taste was as wonderful as ever. He knew that there really was only one way to eat a Twinkie but this time he wanted to savour the taste and only took small bites at a time. He kept his eyes on Spike the whole time to make sure the vampire wasnít up to anything and using the Twinkie as a distraction. He was just finishing the treat when Spike spoke.
"Pet, I need to leave you for a while. Do you need to use the bathroom before I go?"
"Okay, I will escort you there and back then."
Carefully Xander got off the bed and headed for the door. Spike came behind him. In the corridor Xander noticed a huge crack on the wall. There was also some blood in there. It didnít take him long to connect the clues between that crack and the fact Spikeís hand had had scratches. He just didnít understand why Spike had attacked that wall.
Xander was quick about the toilet and soon they were back in the room and Xander buried himself under the covers. He had noticed that Spike hadnít used the chain on him for the whole time after he regained consciousness. Now he was sure the chain would be put on his ankle again. He wasnít too happy about it because the metal of the chain felt quite cold against his skin.
"Pet, will you behave while Iím gone or do I have to put the chain around your ankle again?"
Xander was so happy about the possibility of not having to have the chain on him that he was ready to promise almost anything to avoid it.
"Yes, Master, I will behave."
"Good, I shouldnít be away for long so there shouldnít be any need for you to be in contact with the minions who are guarding that door. However, in case you need something in my absence just knock on the door and they will open it to see what you want."
Xander nodded. He had no intention to be in any contact with the minions guarding that door. There wasnít anything he needed if Spike was planning to come back soon. He was actually feeling quite tired so he would just probably catch some sleep. He followed with his eyes while Spike left the room and buried himself under the covers and closed his eyes. Sleep claimed him quite quickly.
When Xander woke up he had no idea how long he had slept. The room was totally quiet. Xander carefully changed his position until he was sitting on the bed and looked around. He couldnít see Spike anywhere. A small panic came to him because he was pretty sure he had slept for some hours and Spike should have been back already. Then he stomach started growling and Xander realised that he needed to use the bathroom too. For a while he was able to contain these urges but then he had to give up. He slowly got off the bed and walked to the door. He gave it a few sharp knocks and the waited. It didnít take long for the door to open and Xander to be faced with two minions. They were regarding him quite warily obviously expecting him to attack them.
"Guys, Spike said that I could ask you for things in case I needed something in his absence. Now I need to use the bathroom and some food would be good too."
Without words the minions stepped aside from the door and motioned him to walk in front of them. Xander didnít bother his head with their silence but started heading towards the bathroom. Without giving the minions one look Xander entered the bathroom and took care of his needs. He didnít hurry since he was happy to be able to move around a little. After some time there was a knock on the door and one of the minions peeked in.
"Hold your horses there. Iíll be right out!"
Still not keeping any hurry Xander exited the bathroom and walked back to the room. The whole time the both minions stayed behind his back and obviously staying alert. Xander was amused. At least he had managed to put some fear into the minions with his escape. He wasnít so stupid that he would have thought to try to escape now when he was barely able to stand but it was nice to know they didnít regard him totally harmless anymore. As soon as the door closed behind him Xander remembered that they hadnít talked anything about food but hoped that they remembered his request.
He didnít have to wait for long before the door again opened and one of the minions carried inside a tray that had a bowl of something steaming and a mug full of something that was also hot. The other minion stayed by the door and stared at Xander. Xander tried to ignore him the best he could and centred his attention to the tray. There was also a small chocolate bar in there and it made Xander smile. Spike was obviously trying to bribe him again.
"Thanks, guys. You know when Spike is coming back?"
Both minions gave him a look and then left the room without saying a word. Xander found it weird but didnít give it any more attention. He guessed that Spike had forbidden them from talking to him or something. He enjoyed the soup and tea very much. It again soothed his sore throat and made him feel at least a little better for a while.
After he had eaten Xander placed the tray on the side table and picked up one of the comics and started reading. He had no idea how much time had lapsed between Spike leaving him and this moment but he was starting to get anxious. Xander was still nervous of being left in the house alone with the other vampires. He was already pretty sure that Spike wasnít going to kill him, at least not right now but he wasnít so sure about his minions. Those two behind the door had felt quite reluctant to do what he asked for. It seemed they did it only because they were afraid of what Spike would do if they went against his orders.
The IV bag had already run out but Xander didnít dare to change it by himself not that he knew how to do that. His throat was again hurting pretty bad and he remembered that Spike had said something about pain meds the doctor had given. Spike had even given them to him once. He wondered if the minions knew where Spike had them and if they could give him a few. Xander decided to try his luck. He went again to the door and knocked to it a few times. It was opened by the same minions from before and who had quite an annoyed expression on their face.
"Hey guys, you happen to know where Spike keeps the pain meds the doctor gave him for me? Any chance to get them?"
The minions just stared at him like he was stupid and closed the door so that Xander had to jump away so that his toes didnít get caught. He wasnít sure if his request had been understood or not but he hoped he would get the meds soon. It was really hurting now. After a while it became clear to Xander that he wouldnít be getting those meds. He didnít know if Spike had forbidden the minions to give him anything or what it was. He really didnít care because he was hurting so bad.
It still took some time before Spike returned. Xander didnít bother knocking on the door again. He was sure the minions wouldnít listen to him any more than they had before. When Spike finally returned to the room Xander had already resigned himself to his fate and the pain. When Spike walked into the room Xander didnít have energy to even lift his head.
"Pet, Iím sorry it took me so long to return. Has everything gone alright?"
Xander lifted his head and looked at Spike who was again sitting on the chair. He tried to answer as clearly as possible but his answer ended up being a pitiful croak.
"Pet, you donít sound okay. Tell me what is wrong."
"Master, my throat hurts quite a lot."
"Why didnít you ask for the pain meds? I especially told the minions guarding that door that they had to fulfil your every request in case I didnít return in time."
"Master, I tried to ask the pain meds from them but they didnít say anything. Just shut the door in my face. I didnít dare to ask again."
Spike sprung off the chair and startled Xander once again so that he hid under the cover. Very soon, however, Xander realised that Spike wasnít angry with him when he heard the door being wrenched open and Spike started shouting at the minions. Xander could hear Spike telling the minions how unworthy they were and couldnít even follow simple instructions. In the privacy of his blanket Xander smiled. It was nice to hear Spike taking his side. It was unexpected. Xander hadnít expected Spike to care.
Only moments after Spike voice had quieted down Xander could smell the delicious soup again. He still kept his head buried in the pillows and the cover. He could hear several different voices in the room so he knew that he and Spike werenít alone. Finally the room quieted down and Xander could hear the door shutting down.
"Pet, here is some soup and tea for you as well as the pain meds. Do you think you can take them now or is your throat hurting too much?"
Xander sat on the bed and lifted his eyes to Spike.
"No, Master, itís not too bad. I think the pain meds just help. I also think the food will do some good. Thank you, Master."
"Youíre welcome, my pet. I will make sure my minions know their place from now on. They should know better than go against my wishes."
Xander ate the soup in silence. Spike was again sitting on the chair, reading Xanderís journal. There were occasional frowns and other signs of displeasure and Xander was a bit afraid that he had managed to write something offending even when he had tried to be really careful. He made sure he was totally silent so that he didnít draw attention to himself, in case Spike was angry. Then he accidentally clinked the teacup against the soup bowl and Spikeís eyes were immediately on him. Xander drew the cover more over him so that it covered him to his chin. He still kept his eyes on Spike to see what the vampire was going to do next. He tried to keep the tremors under control but he was sure the vampire could smell his terror. When Spike got up and started coming towards the bed a small whimper escaped Xanderís mouth. Spike stopped immediately.
"Pet, please calm down. I just want to talk to you. Can I come to the bed? I promise that nothing bad is going to happen to you."
For a while Xander thought about it but then he decided to trust Spike. He hadnít broken any promises so maybe he could be trusted now too.
Spike continued his advancement towards the bed and finally got on it. He scooted so that he was sitting next to Xander.
"Pet, I think Iíve messed up pretty bad. My intention was never to frighten you this badly. Iíve read your journal and if all that is true then I have a lot of work to do. I need to gain your trust."
Xander changed the direction of his gaze to the cover again. Spikeís words confused him a lot. He didnít know what to think about them. To him it sounded like Spike cared how Xander felt and was sorry about how he had treated Xander during the past weeks. He had a hard time believing that.
"Pet, do you need to use the bathroom before bedtime?"
They made the bathroom trip in silence. Xander made quick work of brushing his teeth. A shower would have been nice but he didnít dare to ask for it since he wanted to stay on Spike's good side, at least for a while. He was feeling too crappy so getting beaten again wouldnít be a good thing.
When Xander stepped out of the bathroom he was alarmed when he didnít see Spike at first. The corridor was totally empty except for the two minions who were standing by the room Xander shared with Spike. Xander didnít know what he was supposed to do. His instinct told him that he was probably meant to return to the room but he wasnít too sure about it. The minions kept staring at him from the other end of the corridor. Finally one of them entered the room and only seconds after that Spike emerged to the corridor.
"Pet, you were quicker than I expected. Come here now."
Xander walked towards the room. The minions' faces were now carefully expressionless. Xander could guess they didnít want to show their contempt towards him in front of Spike. That would have probably brought even more trouble for them. Xander was sure they already werenít in Spike's good graces now since they had failed to follow his commands. That probably even added to their resentment towards Xander.
When he reached the room Xander could see Spike doing something on his side of the bed. When he reached Spikeís side he could see that there was a different kind of cuff attached to the chain. Spike probably noticed his stare since he explained.
"Pet, I can let you be without the chain during wake time but while sleeping I still have to chain you. I donít want you go wondering around. Iím a light sleeper so I would probably wake up if you tried to leave the room especially since the door is locked. This is just to make sure you donít get any stupid ideas. Iíve changed the cuff so that itís softer and should feel more comfortable. I just canít trust you yet not to try to escape when a chance presents itself."
Xander nodded. He knew Spike was right. Even in his present condition he might try an escape if he got the chance. He knew it must be daylight outside now so again he would be quite safe if he could make it out of the house. This time he would even know to avoid any cars with painted windows. Carefully Xander got on the bed and almost immediately he could feel the cuff being wrapped around his ankle. He waited until Spike was done with it and then drew the covers tightly around himself. Next the IV bag was changed to the new one. Xander just waited when Spike was going to tell him to turn on his stomach so that he could insert the plug. He also wondered what Spike had meant with him being a light sleeper. The meaning came clear soon when Spike started stripping his clothes. Immediately Xander changed his position on the bed so that he was as close to the edge as possible. The thought that filled up his mind right now was that Spike wasnít going to use the plug but was more interested in the real thing. His movement didnít go unnoticed by Spike. His voice was a bit strained.
"Pet, youíve got to relax. Yes, Iím going to sleep here now and there is nothing you can do about it. You need your rest and therefore you need to sleep well. You canít sleep well if you are all tensed up. You are in no danger from anyone and Iím just going to sleep here so that if you need something during the night Iím close. Now move back to your previous position."
Very slowly Xander moved to lie on his back again. He carefully kept his eyes averted from Spike. Soon the bed dipped and Spike settled beside him. Xander kept his eyes glued to the roof of the room. Xander could feel Spike moving and suddenly Spikeís hand was brushing his hair aside. Xander tried not to flinch but wasnít completely successful with that. Spike, however, didnít withdraw his hand but kept petting Xanderís head. Gradually Spikeís face entered Xanderís field of vision.
"Pet, you need to get used to my touch. Iím willing to go slow with this but I want to be able to touch you. Now try to sleep. The doctor will come check on you tomorrow and I want you to be in better condition then so that he doesnít need to make any hasty decisions about you. I donít want him to take you away from me even for a moment."
Xander didnít react in any way. He still wondered what species the doctor was. Would it be beneficial for him to be taken away from here? Would that improve his chance to escape? Surely if he was taken from here and put into some hospital there would be a chance for him to use the phone and call for help. He would surely be able to get hold of one of his friends. Suddenly he started hoping that the doctor would decide that he wasnít healing well enough and needed to be transferred somewhere else. A small smile crept to his face. Maybe there was still hope for him. Then he noticed the frown that had taken hold of Spikeís face. He quickly tried to suppress the smile before Spike guessed what he was up to. The hand petting his hair stilled for a while before continuing the motion. Next there was a bit sad expression on Spikeís face.
"Pet, I think I can guess what you just thought. You thought that from a hospital it would be easier for you to escape than from here. Iím sorry to inform you but the hospital you would be taken to is a demon hospital. You would be situated in a locked room where you would be bound to the bed without a chance to move anywhere, not even to the toilet. There would be at least two guards outside the room at all times. Even if you would by some chance escape your room there would still be locked gates for you to clear. The hospital has been built so that all wards are separated. The doctors and nurses donít have keys out from the wards. They can exit only at the end of their shift. The hospital has a long history dealing with this kind of situation. You would be totally alone in there. No contact with the outside world would be permitted."
As Spike explanation continued Xanderís hopes plummeted. It was clear that the hospital he would end up in wouldnít be a normal one and it didnít sound like a very pleasant place, more like a prison. Sure, he was a prisoner now too but if what Spike had said about the hospital was true Xander did prefer this place over the hospital. He closed his eyes so that he didnít have to see Spike staring down at him. He knew he had to sleep but it was hard to calm down so that he could catch sleep. His fright about what Spike was going to do kept his heart beating hard. Finally he had to know and he opened his eyes. Xander didnít know how to ask for permission to talk now that they were lying on the bed. Spike could seemingly see that something was bothering Xander.
"Pet, what is it?"
"Master, Iím just a bit afraid of your plans for me. For two weeks youíve forced me to sleep with a butt plug every night and telling me that it was to prepare me for the real thing. Tonight you havenít spoken anything about it and I canít help thinking if if if..."
Xander couldnít finish that sentence. Saying it would make it feel so much more real. Xander tried to draw the cover even tighter around himself and over his head. Spike, however, didnít let him.
"Pet, nothing is going to happen tonight. As I already said Iíve had the wrong approach here. There wonít be any more plugs forced on you. I do believe they will be used again at some point but you will be a willing participant at that point."
In his mind Xander denied that but didnít say anything aloud. He just closed his eyes again. His main concern was at least taken care of for now. The threat was hanging over his head and some day in the future it would be reality. He had now spent about three weeks with Spike. He couldnít help wondering why his friends hadnít come for him yet. He would think that Willowís skills would have been enough to go around the obstacles Spike had thrown their way. Xander could understand that they might have gone into wrong direction at first but by now they should have found him. These thoughts lulled him into sleep gradually.
The first thing Xander realised when he woke up was that Spike was holding him in his sleep. The vampireís arms were around his throat and stomach. The next thing he realised was that something hard was poking his ass. His whole body tensed at that moment. Spike was obviously still deeply asleep. Xanderís movements, however, woke him up. Xander could feel Spikeís hold tightening for a while and a couple kisses were pressed into his neck. Xander could barely breath because he was so terrified. Finally Spike let him go. Xander still stayed in exactly same position.
"Good morning, pet. How are you feeling this morning?"
Xander didnít turn around when he answered.
"Morning, Master. Iím feeling quite fine."
"Any better than yesterday?"
For a while Xander had to think how he was really feeling. To his surprise he realised that he was feeling a little better than the previous day.
"Yes, a little better, Master."
"Iím glad to hear that, pet. I can take you to the bathroom now if you wish to. After that I will get some breakfast for you."
Then Spike was already up from the bed and taking the cuff off Xanderís ankle. The IV bag was already empty and Spike took the needle out of Xanderís arm with care. Xander winced a little because it felt weird but there was no actual pain. Carefully Xander got off the bed. Just when Spike was about to leave the room Xander carefully touched his hand and waited for his response.
"Master, could I possibly take a shower?"
"Sure if you want to. I will escort you to the bathroom and while you shower I will take care of your breakfast and some other arrangements. In case Iím not at the door when you exit the bathroom just come back here. I guess I donít need to tell you not to try anything. The minions I have guarding the door can see you when you exit the bathroom. If you try to run they will catch you."
With that Spike marched out of the room. Xander followed him in silence. Spike didnít say anything when Xander entered the bathroom and only after the door closed behind him he could breath again. He quickly brushed his teeth and used the toilet before starting the shower. He didnít know how long he dared to spend in there so he made quick work out of it. After he had dried himself Xander exited the bathroom. There was no one standing outside the door. He could again see the minions watching him from the other end of the corridor. He remembered what Spike had said to him and started walking towards the room. At the door he could see Spike being busy arranging something.
"Ah pet, come in and settle in front of the fire. Itís warmer there and you must be a bit cold after the shower."
When Xander stepped closer he could see that there were piles of pillows and blankets on the floor. Spike had obviously put all of them there just for him. With slow steps he got near them and finally settled down. The fire was warming him up nicely and he was quite comfortable. Next Spike brought him some soup. It was still the smooth kind so it went easily down his throat. Xander was so concentrated on the soup that he didnít even notice when Spike settled beside him. Only when there was a hand brushing his hair away from his face again did Xander notice Spike. For a while Xander felt a bit uncomfortable but then he concentrated just on the warmth of the fire and the comfort the pillows and blankets brought him.
Some time later there was a knock on the door. Spike went to the door and exchanged a few words with someone. Soon Xander could hear a new voice in the room. It proved to be the doctor who immediately came to him.
"So how are we feeling today?"
Xander gave Spike a look but when the vampire just nodded he dared to answer.
"Iím feeling already better, doctor."
"Thatís nice to hear. I still need to take your temperature."
A thermometer was again stuck into Xanderís mouth. He could hear the doctor and Spike talking about something with low voices but he couldnít hear what it was they were saying. After a few minutes the doctor came to him again and took the thermometer. With a small amount of dread Xander waited for the result. Being here with Spike wasnít his ideal place but if what Spike had told him about the hospital was true that didnít sound a nice place either. Finally the doctor spoke again.
"His temperature looks a lot better already. I think he will be fine and there is no need to admit him to a hospital unless you feel itís necessary, Master Spike."
"No, I think I will be able to take care of him here if he is already past the worst."
The doctor just nodded.
"Thatís fine then. I will leave you some more of those painkillers and some antibiotics. I donít think I need to check on him every day so I will come again in a few days to make sure everything is still going fine. Master Spike, if you need anything or any problems arise just call me."
With that the doctor left the room. A while after that Spike was again sitting beside Xander on the pillows.
"Pet, you need anything?"
"Some pain meds would be nice, Master."
Some time later Xander had swallowed the pain meds and they started working. Not long after that Xander started feeling quite sleepy. The meds combined with the warmth from the fire and the comfy nest Spike had made of the pillows and blankets lulled him into sleep.
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