word count – 2300 + or –
Rating – PG13
All the regular disclaimers apply
Written for Good Xander month at Good_Evil
He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Vampire
Ah, Sunnydale’s finest. I knew I should have taken another way home. Shift change – I’ll be stuck here until they—what the hell?
Xander watched in fascination as two Sunnydale cops marked off the alley beside the station with yellow crime tape and then began shouting for help. He couldn’t have said what made him turn off the car and get out to join the small crowd of vulture-like onlookers, but he did. Along with the others, he listened as the police talked to each other.
“There’s a dead guy here! Looks like he was beaten to death. Yeah, beaten. Nah, no torn throat – just battered all to hell. Better call the coroner – and the forensics guys.”
This being Sunnydale, the coroner was there very quickly, having already been out and about for the evening, picking up bodies – mostly bloodless ones – and carting them back to the morgue for totally unnecessary autopsies. As soon as he arrived, he immediately pushed his way through the small crowd and under the crime-scene tape. He glanced at the man lying crumpled in the alley and knelt down to look more closely, raising his voice in surprise.
“Hello. This one hasn’t been exsanguinated! Although he is dammed pale...He’s lost a lot of blood, I guess that would explain it. Man, somebody did a number on him. I don’t know the last time I saw anyone this beat up.”
He stood up and gestured to a couple of the policemen looking on. “You can throw him in the back of the bus; I’ll let you know if I find anything other than blunt force trauma to the head and face.”
Xander stepped back, along with the other onlookers who were being nudged out of the way so that the body could be taken out of the alley. His gasp as he caught sight of the leather duster and blood-soaked platinum hair was, fortunately, heard only by man standing next to him.
“Hey, man, do you know that guy? “
“Um...uh, no. No, I don’t know him. Thought I might for just a second, but, no, I don’t think so.”
Shit, shit, shit! What am I going to do? I can’t just let them put Spike in the morgue. I wonder what happened to him? Probably pissed off the wrong demon again. I wonder if I should call Buffy?
As the ambulance-cum-hearse pulled away, taking its nightly quota of bodies to the Sunnydale morgue, Xander edged out of the slowly dispersing crowd (Nothing to see here, folks. Move on. Get out of my way.) and got back into his car. He started the engine and pulled away from the curb, slowly driving in the same direction as the coroner’s vehicle, still not sure what, if anything, he was going to do. He sat in his car at the edge of a well-lit parking area and watched as Spike and the other bodies were unloaded and carried into the brick building. He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel, no longer wondering what he was going to do, only how to do it.
He watched as the assistants came back out and – after a quick check of the back seats - entered their own cars and left the parking lot. Xander waited, but the coroner didn’t emerge. He could see the lights on inside the building and with a final shrug at his own stupidity, he began to get out of the car. At the last second, he grabbed a large, ever-handy cross and a stake before actually leaving the relative safety of his vehicle and walking to the entrance. He breathed a sigh of relief when he found the door was unlocked and that he was easily able to slip into the building. Once safely inside, he tucked the cross into his belt and put the stake in his pocket.
He followed the sound of a droning voice to the swinging doors of what seemed to be the main lab. Peering through the window in the upper part of the door, he could see the coroner walking around Spike’s naked body as he spoke into a hand-held recorder. Xander eased the door open and slipped inside, listening carefully to what the man was saying.
“Young male, mid-twenties to early thirties, fit and apparently healthy. Severe contusions and multiple broken bones – indicative of a violent beating. Exact cause of death yet to be determined. No defensive wounds on hands, perhaps he was knocked unconscious before being beaten.”
He placed the recorder down and picked up a scalpel, tracing an imaginary line down the center of Spike’s body with his finger preparatory to cutting into his torso.
“I’m sorry. I can’t let you do that.”
Xander’s voice startled the man into dropping the scalpel and snatching a cross off a nearby table. He held it out in a trembling hand as he asked, “How did you get in here?” His voice was a combination of irritation and fear – the tone alternating between angry bass and a nervous squeak.
“The door was unlocked.” Xander shrugged apologetically and moved closer to the table. “That’s not going to do you any good against me,” he said mildly, pushing the cross aside. “I’m as human as you are.”
Xander nodded at the immobile, pale body on the slab. “Came for my...friend,” he said quietly. “I don’t think he’d be too happy about all the slicing and dicing you had in mind.”
The man’s face softened and he put the cross down. “Your friend is dead,” he said kindly.
“Yeah, he is.” Xander nodded. “But he’s been dead a little longer than you might think. It’s okay, though. We deal. Doesn’t slow him down much, actually.”
The man glanced back and forth between Xander and the inert body in front of him. Sudden understanding flooded his face and he paled.
“You mean, he...I was...and you...he’s your friend?”
“Well, in a he-hasn’t-tried-to-kill-me-in-awhile and he’s the only non-female, beer-drinking, pool playing person I know, kinda way. And, I think my friend, Buffy might....I don’t want to go there, okay? But I don’t think she’d be happy if he wasn’t around to annoy her all the time, you know? And her little sister is sort of...attached to him.” He stopped and shook himself. “Look, the point is, he isn’t your average Sunnydale corpse, and if you just let me take him out of here, you can go back to cutting up these other guys....although, that one?” Xander gestured behind the man to where one of the new arrivals was sitting up, amber eyes glowing. “You might want to whack him with that cross real quick.”
The coroner whirled with the speed born of years of working with dead bodies that sometimes weren’t, and held the cross towards the snarling vamp trying to get off the table. The newly risen vampire flashed bewildered eyes around the sterile-looking room, instinctively shrinking back from the cross-wielding older man and leaping at Xander. He was not quite to the dark-haired Scooby when an iron hand around his arm halted his progress long enough for Xander to plunge his stake through the fledgling’s bare chest.
Xander looked down through the drifting dust and saw that Spike had one swollen eye partially open.
“So, are just going to lay around here all night, or what?” he said, in an effort to keep from commenting on the battered face and body that he was now seeing up close for the first time. He fought down the bile threatening to rise into his throat and looked around for Spike’s clothes.
“Jeans? Dirty tee shirt? Old leather coat?” Xander looked quizzically at the coroner who shrugged apologetically.
“They were crusted with blood. I had to cut them off—“
He was interrupted by a snarl from the table where Spike was struggling to roll over and sit up.
“You CUT my coat?!”
“Easy, deadboy. He didn’t know you were gonna need it again.” Xander stepped between the frightened man and the chipped vampire.
“I...I didn’t cut the coat,” the man said quickly. “It’s right there.” He pointed to a pile of clothes on a chair and nodded vigorously.
Xander walked to the chair and grabbed Spike’s duster, returning to the table and holding it out.
“I hope you can get yourself into this, ‘cause no way am I carrying your naked ass out of here. Or any other naked body parts,” he added, hoping to squelch any innuendos from the now-sitting vampire.
Spike slid from the table to his feet, swaying for a second, before he reached for his coat and tried to put in on. His broken right arm refused to cooperate, and Xander quickly reached forward and wrapped the coat around Spike’s body, buttoning it across the front to hold it in place. With a gentleness that surprised them both, he asked, “Can you walk?”
Spike took a couple of tottering steps, wincing in pain but nodding his head. “Yeah, I think so. Jus’ don’t get too far away, yeah?”
Without another word to the bewildered, but relieved, coroner, the two men – one small and blond, the other large and dark, made their painful way to the swinging doors and out of the lab. Spike stopped at the top of the stairs to the parking lot, holding onto the railing with his good arm and swaying back and forth.
“Here,” Xander said gruffly, helping him sit down on the top step. “I’ll bring the car around.”
Spike nodded silently and leaned against the railing, shutting his swollen eyes against the bright lights in the parking lot. He waited until the car was parked in front of the entrance and Xander had opened the passenger-side door before sliding down the steps, one at a time. When he reached the next to last step, he felt a strong arm around his waist and he sent the boy a startled look as Xander helped him to his feet and lowered him into the car.
They drove in silence for several minutes, before Spike finally asked, “Why’d you do this?”
The only male Scooby shrugged. “Beats the hell out of me. I’m pretty sure I’m going to rethink it the next time you cheat me at pool.”
“Don’t need to cheat when I play you.” Spike’s voice was hoarse and strained, the smirk he’d tried to put into it barely audible.
There were a few more minutes of silence, then Xander asked quietly, “What did this, Spike? Do we need to go find it and kill it? And, by we,” he said quickly, “I mean, Buffy, of course.”
The vampire shook his head briefly, wincing again at the pain caused by the sudden motion. “I’ll handle it,” he said quietly. “No need to bother the Slayer.”
“Spike, she’s going to—“
“Leave it, Harris.” His tone brooked no argument, even when he added, “And don’t tell the Slayer. I mean it.”
They pulled up in front of Spike’s crypt, and without comment, Xander stopped the car and came around to Spike’s side. He opened the door and half-lifted, half assisted the vampire out of the car and into the old stone tomb. He deposited his barely conscious burden on the tattered couch and stood staring at him. Finally he went to the refrigerator and took out a package of blood, carrying it to the couch and holding it out. When Spike made no move to take it, Xander sighed and sat down beside him, holding the bag under the vampire’s nose.
“Come on, bloodsucker. This is the expensive stuff. If you’re a good little vampire and drink it all down, I won’t tell Buffy you had human blood in your fridge.”
He watched in fascination as Spike’s fangs slowly emerged and he brought his good hand up to guide the bag to his mouth. He punctured the bag and then began to lap at the blood along the tear. With another long-suffering sigh, Xander tilted the bag up and watched as Spike began to gulp the life-giving liquid. When the bag was empty, he slipped back into his human face and sighed contentedly.
Dropping the empty bag on the floor, Xander moved away from the still-naked vampire and cleared his throat.
“So, you’re going to be okay, then? And you don’t want me to send Buffy on a demon-seeking mission?”
Spike shook his head slowly, then allowed it to fall back against the couch. He reached with his good hand to begin to unbutton the coat and as Xander looked at the unblemished knuckles he suddenly remembered the coroner’s words about “no defensive wounds”.
“Holy shit! Were they humans? Is that why you don’t want Buffy to know? Because you know she won’t hurt humans?”
“Yeah, humans,” Spike mumbled. “Lots of them. Big, ugly humans. Nothing for the Slayer to get her knickers in a twist about. “
When Xander continued to stand in front of him, shifting from foot to foot, the vampire opened one eye again.
“You’ve done your good deed, whelp. Best get back to demon-girl before she thinks you’re cheating on her. Bit of kip, some more blood and I’ll be good as new in no time.”
“I still think I should tell Buffy,” Xander insisted stubbornly. “She’ll want to know how bad you’re hurt...”
“No,” Spike said softly. “No, she won’t. And she doesn’t need to. You hear me?” His voice was suddenly strong and firm, causing Xander to blink and step back.
“Okay, okay. Whatever you say, Deadboy, Jr. I’ll just be getting back to Anya then...”
Spike moved his good hand in a gesture of dismissal that might almost have been a genuine wave, but never opened his eyes. Xander had his hand on the door when the vampire’s voice drifted over to him.
With a shrug, Xander pulled the door open and left the crypt, carefully closing the door behind him. He got into his car and drove home to his ex-demon girlfriend.
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