Xander's point of view
One Of Us
A low groan wakes me. My eyes fly open and I’m upright in my bed. Living on the hellmouth does that to you. You never know what tries to eat you in your sleep. I panic for a second when I can’t see anything.
Eventually I reach over and turn the lamp on the bedside table on. I have to blink a few times before the image gets clear.
Spike is frozen in mid motion near the door, staring at me fearfully? Huh? He's slightly bent forward, clutching his left side with one hand. His face is a mix of pain, shame and concentration.
“Spike?” I ask dumbly and wait for the snarky reply.
“Yeah, it’s me.” he just says and his voice is hoarse and without snarkyness. Creepy. I look him over from head to toe. The usual duster seems too big for him, his jeans have some slashes. He looks pale, like he’ll pass out anytime soon. I’m out of the bed and in front of him before I can think about the why of my actions.
“You okay?” I ask and want to kick myself. Obviously he's not okay. His snort, followed by another low groan of pain, confirms it.
“Just a scratch. Some blood and…” A sharp intake of breath when he limps a step forward. “… And a shower and ‘m alright.” I watch his slow movements to the bathroom, not sure what to do now. Buffy came by just after sunset and threatened Spike into patrolling with her. He went without further complaint, almost looking pleased.
Now he's back. And he's hurt. More hurt than I have ever seen him before. All the little breaths and gasps make him look human. He helped Buffy and he is hurt. He helped the Scoobies and he is hurt. When a Scooby gets hurt, the others take care of him or her. However, Spike isn’t a Scooby. He helped the Scoobies and got hurt.
After another minute of mind-babbling I go after him, stop in front of the half-closed bathroom door, turn around, go to the fridge and take some blood out, heat it up.
When I enter the bathroom I find Spike sitting on the rim of the bathtub, tired, blue eyes staring at me.
“I brought you some blood… thought you could use it…” I trail off, discouraged by the flat look in Spike’s eyes. Then he blinks, and blinks again. I nearly shove the mug in his face and he takes it – eventually.
With the empty mug in my hand again I stand in the door jamb, not knowing if I should go or stay. Spike tries to peel his duster off, winces when he has to stretch his back.
I’m behind him in a heartbeat, gently helping him with the heavy leather. When the fabric comes off, I am terrified by the amount of blood that’s staining the back of his shirt. I consider pulling it over his head; but remembering how much pain it caused him to just shed his duster.
“Wait. I’ll get scissors.” I mumble and do just that.
Spike is bent over the sink, white knuckled hands gripping the nearly as white porcelain when I come back in the room.
I cut through the black cotton as fast as the scissors let me. Spike grunts when I pull the sticky material away from the wound.
I have to swallow back bile and fight nausea. The gash in Spike’s pale back is huge. It looks like someone stabbed a sword into him and dragged it down. I can see the gleaming white bones of his rib cage, through the jagged wounds.
“It’ll heal.” Spike whispers, as if he's afraid to break our truce.
“Yeah.” I reply shakily. The water is turned on, after a minute or so Spike holds out a wet washcloth. I take it but hesitate before doing anything.
“Clean it up, would ya? It’ll heal faster and it’s less itchy.” he says in a gentle tone, sensing my helplessness. I nod, more to myself since he can’t see me. Slowly, and as carefully as I can, I start washing the crusted blood away, biting my bottom lip in concentration.
His muscles coil up when I have to apply more pressure to get the remains of the fight off his skin. Several times, I hand the washcloth back to him, he rinses it thoroughly but the once white cloth stays pink.
I always hated pink.
“All clean now.” I tell him and wait for further instructions.
“Gauze and tape over there.” he says through gritted teeth. I realise that he shivers. I always thought vampires couldn’t get cold with the non-existent body temperature and all.
Seems Spike can.
I take the items from the toilet lid and make a nice thick bandage. I wonder how he could have done the bandaging by himself. He would never have reached the wound. I run my hand over the tape to make sure it will stay in place. My fingers encounter his skin. It feels as cold as an ice cube, freshly out of the freezer. Spike shivers again.
“Okay.” He pulls himself upright and winces again.
It’s my turn to shiver.
“Did you kill it?” I ask to distract myself.
“Buffy brought you here?”
“No – got some demon slime on her jacket…” I hear the slight disgust in
his voice and find myself agreeing. She shouldn’t have left him to go on his own - hurt so badly. He would
never have made it if he had been attacked on the way. And why do I care?
He helped the Scoobies.
Spike follows me into the main room of the basement. I see the longing look he throws in the direction of the fridge and the bed.
“Come on.” I say and push him to the bed. I don’t meet his gaze. I can feel the surprise my offer arouses in him. Carefully he lowers himself to a sitting position on the bed.
I go to my dresser and pull out an old very big flannel shirt. He doesn’t complain when I help him put it on. It’s one of the rare decent coloured one – dark green and brown. I heat up another mug of pig’s blood. He is barely holding himself upright when I give it to him. He drains it quickly, hands it back and lies down. I rinse out the mug and go over to the cupboard to get the spare set of sheets I have stored there.
Spike is lying on his side in my bed, eyes closed, looking as dead as he is. I realise that my gaze is fixed on the curve of his waist. He hasn’t covered himself with the blanket. I think he was too exhausted to even realise it. I tuck him in softly.
“Ta mate.” he mumbles sleepily and gives me a tiny smile.
“It’s alright, Spike. Sleep now.” I hear myself say reassuringly. I catch my hand just in time to avoid petting his hair.
Once situated in the old barcalounger, I can’t fall asleep easily, partly because the thing is really uncomfortable and partly because my mind tries to get a clue of the change in my behaviour towards Spike. He helped the Scoobies, I decide eventually, that makes him one of us, makes him someone to take care of when hurt.
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