Spike entered the bedroom and sniffed quickly. He smelled sea and corruption. Xander was still very sick. He smelled of fever and sweat and tears. Spike wondered how much longer it would be before Xander began getting better.
He walked over to the bed and poked him gently.
"Oi! You awake? Come on now, open those baby blues."
Xander stuck his head out from under the covers and blinked away tears. "My eyes are brown. Where's Wills? You didn't even call her, did you? "
Spike contained his temper with some effort. "Harris, I may do a lot of things to you in the future that you may not like, but I won't lie to you. Not necessary, is it? I called Giles, Willow and Tara, and Buffy as well as Mrs. Rosenberg when you got sick. Giles went to Chicago, Red, Glinda, and the Slayer went to some Wicca retreat thing. And Joyce and Dawn are in soddin' France somewhere on a tour. Mrs. Rosenberg was the only one who offered any suggestions at all and she said it was flu. So I resent that."
Xander had to good grace to look ashamed. "Sorry no, I'm not. I mean that is but Willow would come. She would. She's my best friend."
Spike set his hook. "Well, bloody great friend she is. You're dyin' on me and she's not answering messages. If you want, I'll call again and you can leave a message. Maybe that'll get some results."
Spike took out his cell and dialed the number for Willow's and Tara's dorm room.
"Here, it's ringin'."
Xander took the phone and listened to it ring until the answering machine kicked in.
"This is Tara and Willow. We're not here, obviously. Leave a message and we'll be back to you. Blessed be."
Xander left a short message telling them that he was really sick and wanted Willow to come to see him as soon as she could. He handed the phone to Spike and rooted under the covers again. Spike thought he looked very much like a hedgehog.
After dialing both Buffy and Giles for Xander, and listening as the boy left messages, Spike pocketed his phone. He called Timmins and told him to bring Xander some food.
"Spike, I'm still sick. I'm not hungry. Just leave me alone." Xander tried to pull the covers completely over his head but Spike wouldn't let him.
"No, pet. I know you're still sick, but ya gotta eat somethin' or you won't get better. Timmins is a prime cook. He'll fix something to tempt you, you'll see."
Xander gave Spike a doubtful look but emerged a bit.
Timmins came in at Spike's call, carrying a tray covered with a large napkin. When he removed it Spike was disgusted to see that the fool had fixed chicken noodle soup and tapioca pudding. Neither of which Xander would eat. Not a picky eater, my arse.'
He started to say something nasty but Xander stopped him. "No, Spike, he means well." Xander turned to the vampiric valet and shook his head. "I can't eat either of those. They'll just make me puke. My Dad, he . . . um . . . threw chicken noodle soup up all over me once and . . ." Xander waved his hand suddenly. "Take it away, please. The smell is getting to me. And tapioca looks like frog eye balls. Yuck. Please?"
Timmins hurriedly removed the offending tray and started wracking his brain for something the boy would eat. The problem was that the healer had given him specific instructions on what the lad could have and what he couldn't. Most of the foods Xander seemed to exist on were on the forbidden list.
Spike followed the other vampire into the kitchen and watched as he shuffled through the papers in increasing dismay.
"What? Feed the boy."
"I'm sorry, Master. I'm not sure what to do. Here's the list of the foods the Young Master asks for. And here's a list of the foods he's not supposed to eat. Empty calories. Here's a list of the foods the healer says Xander is supposed to eat. And here's a list of the foods he doesn't like."
Spike took the lists from Timmins and read them quickly. He sighed and shook his head. "I see what you mean. Most of these lists are mutually exclusive . . . just figure out what on the good list is the least offensive for now. I'll see what I can do about convincing him to eat better. If nothing else works, I'll Compel him. Don't want to do that too much. Addle his brain, most like. Don't want a half wit on my hands, had enough of that with Dru."
Timmins gave a short nod. "Exactly so, Sire. Not that Miss Drusilla wasn't a perfectly good sire as such things go, but . . . er . . .
Spike shrugged. "Dru was mad as a hatter. Made me, but she wasn't a sire. Angelus was my Sire. Not that he was much of a sire, either. He didn't care about the Line or the Order, even when the old Master wound up stuck under Sunnyhell. Never mind, that's water under the bridge. Figure out what to feed my boy."
Timmins went back to flipping through the lists and Spike went into the lounge to have a smoke. He was worried about Xander and setting up court; he'd only been to other vampiric courts a few times. Darla had hated them with a passion and Angelus hadn't cared one way or the other. Also, he remembered Giles's remarks about a dimensional portal opening somewhere in the sewers. Where to, or from, depending on how you looked at it. He didn't know. He'd have to find out.
Spike smoked three cigarettes while he settled in his mind how he was going to run his court then he went to check on Xander and Timmins. What he found didn't make him happy at all.
Xander was huddled down in the covers and shaking his head. He was feverish again and feeling sweaty, cross and very uncooperative.
"Don't want it. Not gonna eat it. And I don't like tea. Go away. I want Willow, why hasn't Willow come? I called her myself." Catching sight of Spike, Xander appealed to him for . . . comfort? "Spike, where's Willow? She should have gotten my message by now. And make him take that away. I don't want it. I want chocolate. I want a milk shake. And . . . and . . . something yummy, like pizza. Not that stuff. It's . . . white . . . and lumpy. It looks like Snarfa demon snot. Not eatin' it."
As he had complained, Xander had withdrawn deeper into his covers, like a turtle into its shell.
Spike snarled, "Eat that. Snarfa demon snot has blue chunks in it."