Spike didn't move until he absolutely had to, only to quickly use the restroom then return to the bed to stare up at the ceiling. His tears had stopped hours ago to be replaced by a numbness that encompassed his entire body. The phone had rang several times, but he let the machine pick it up. Each time, it was Joyce's worried voice that came over the speaker from its place on the desk.
He did not know how long he stayed like that, but eventually the tears came again. Afterwards, he managed to get up and splash cold water on his face before he picked up the phone. Looking at the digital clock display, he dialed the Summers' home number.
"Hello?" Joyce said at the other end of the line.
"It's me," Spike said in a dull tone. "Drusilla is dead."
"Oh no," Joyce replied softly. "I'm so sorry."
"Tell the Slayer it wasn't Dru," he told Joyce. "Tell her...tell her it was someone else."
"Ok," she answered. "Do you want me to come down there?"
"No," Spike said. "I'm going to go out for awhile."
"I will," he replied, then hung up the phone. Standing, he slid on his duster, picked up the letter and silently made his way out of his house.
He walked for hours, avoiding potentially dangerous areas before entering the bar he frequented. He took a seat at the counter and was poured a drink without having to ask. He slammed it back, the alcohol burning a fiery trail as he pulled the letter out of his pocket. He rubbed his fingers over the letters and felt the tears again. Squeezing his eyes shut, he forced them back, then proceeded to drink himself into oblivion.
The past few weeks had passed by in a blur for Spike. He's gotten sympathy cards from Willow, Oz, Buffy and Joyce and spoke with both Oz and Joyce numerous times, but mostly he sat and stared at nothing or cried. That morning, however, he had woken up freezing and nothing he did seemed to warm him up. His entire body shook and he had trouble focusing on anything.
He finally had to get up to use the bathroom and regretted it instantly. His knees collapsed from under him, sending him falling to the floor. Then, his stomach flip flopped and he threw up for the first time in centuries, making a mess of himself and the floor. He managed to crawl to the bathroom before he did it again, barely getting his head above the toilet. He was very glad at that moment that he never put the seat down.
Somehow, Spike had been able to stand long enough to brush his teeth and relieve himself. He had gotten back into bed wishing he would die. He wasn't able to stop trembling and the tears came and went for no reason. Each breath he took was shaky, his mouth was bone dry and he couldn't breathe through his nose. With a trembling hand, he grabbed the portable phone from the night stand and dialed.
"House of Buffy, how do you want your potatoes?"
"Slayer," Spike said in a weak voice.
"Spike?" Buffy replied on the other end of the line.
"Something's." He paused to take a shaky breath. "Wrong with me."
"What is it? What's wrong?" Buffy asked, her voice instantly concerned.
"Don't know," he replied. "Hurts."
He took another deep breath and felt his stomach turn over. "Help," he said in a teary voice. "Please?" Tears started to fall down his cheeks as he swallowed what little saliva he had in his mouth.
"I'll be there as soon as I can," Buffy said, hanging up the phone. Spike hit the disconnect button on the portable and let it fall onto the bed next to him as he curled up into a fetal position, wrapping his arms around his waist.
"Spike?" Buffy called as she, Willow and Oz entered the house after finding it unlocked. The Slayerettes had been at her house when she received Spike's call, and Oz offered to drive her down immediately. They made record time getting to LA and, using the address she'd dug out of her mom's address book, they found the house in a semi-nice area of the city.
"Nice house," Willow commented as they entered the great room. She could see a kitchen just beyond the large room, a set of stairs dividing the two with a powder room underneath them.
"Stay here," Buffy instructed, moving to the stairs. She quickly, but quietly, made her way up them and found herself in a sitting room with three doors jutting off of it, one leading to a bathroom, the second leading to a child's bedroom and the final one leading to the master suite. "Spike?"
Spike heard his name being called and he tried to focus. His body was covered with sweat, but he couldn't seem to get warm. In fact, he couldn't even move anymore. His breathing was shaky and exclusively through his mouth.
Buffy saw him curled up under the covers in the semi-dark and she cautiously crept over to the bed, wary of any attack just in case. "I'm going to turn on the light," she said, reaching over to the lamp on the night stand. She waited for an answer, and upon not receiving one, turned it on. When she saw Spike's paler than normal face, she let out a small gasp, then gently reached forward to brush his sweat soaked hair back off his forehead. "Spike, I'm here."
His forehead was burning to the touch and his skin felt slightly clammy. She crouched next to the bed so she was eye level with him, her fingers gently stroking his hair. She could see a glazed look in his eyes as they barely opened to peer at her. "Hi," she said softly. "I think someone is sick."
"Make it stop," Spike said with a shaky voice. The tears started to well in his eyes again, blurring the petite blond Slayer even more.
"Hey now, don't cry," Buffy said to him. "I'm going to find a thermometer so we can take your temperature, ok? I'll be right back." She stood and picked up the phone from the bed, turning it on and dialing as she walked. She barely avoided stepping in the mess on the carpet as she headed for the bathroom.
"Mom, he's not hurt, he's sick," Buffy said into the phone as she began searching the medicine cabinet.
"How bad?" Joyce asked over the line, concerned.
"So far I've seen evidence of major yakking, he's burning up and he's all sweaty," she replied. Finding her prize, she made her way back to the bed. "Hold on, mom." Buffy put the phone down and opened the electronic thermometer. "Spike, you need to put this under your tongue, ok?"
Spike barely had the energy to do as asked, so Buffy held the instrument as she picked the phone back up. "Do you still have Dr. Clark's number?"
"Do you think you'll need it?"
"Don't know," she replied, waiting for the beep. "But I better get it just in case. He's open on Saturdays if I'm remembering right."
"Yes, he is," Joyce answered. "Got some paper?"
"Yeah, hold on," Buffy said, holding the phone with her shoulder to grab the paper sitting on the night stand and the pencil that was holding her hair up. "Go ahead."
"798-4339," Joyce recited as Buffy wrote awkwardly on the paper. The thermometer beeped at her and she removed it from his mouth, holding it up so she could read the numbers.
"Oh boy," she said. "He's definitely a sicko. His temp is 103.7."
"Call the doctor," Joyce instructed. "I'll come down as soon as I can find someone to hold down the fort here at the gallery."
"No, you don't need to. I have Oz and Willow's help. I'll call if I have questions."
"Are you sure? It's no problem..."
"Mom, you're having that special showing this weekend. No, you stay, I can deal," Buffy told her.
"Ok. Call me and let me know how he's doing," Joyce replied.
"Will do," she said. "Bye."
Buffy disconnected, then immediately dialed the doctor's office. After receiving instructions on what to do and scheduling an emergency appointment, she hung up and looked at the former vampire. Setting the phone, paper and pen down, she reached out and gently touched his cheek. "Spike, we need to get you into a bath, ok? Then we're going to the doctor's. You're going to be better soon, I promise."
Spike licked his dry lips. "Ok," he replied in a whisper. He felt the telltale sign that he was going to heave and he started to pant. "Up, up."
Buffy immediately stood, knowing what was about to happen and helped him from the bed, practically carrying him to the bathroom. She held his forehead as he threw up in the toilet, rubbing his sweat soaked T-shirt covered back with her other hand. "Any more?" she asked quietly as he lay his cheek against the cold rim.
"I don't think so," Spike mumbled.
She stood and got a cup of water for him, then took the towel from off the shower rod and spread it out on the floor behind him. After taking the empty cup from his limp hand, she wiped his mouth with some toilet paper, then helped him to lay down on the floor. "You just stay here, ok?"
He nodded slightly, curling up again as she lay a second towel over him. Buffy wiped off the toilet, then flushed before heading out of the bathroom and back downstairs. "Guys, Spike's just a tad bit on the sick side," she told Willow and Oz, who were sitting on the couch.
"Anything we can do?" Willow asked.
"Plenty," Buffy told her. "We need to get him into a cool bath, change his sheets, clean up the floor in the bedroom and take him to the doctor's office in an hour."
"I'll get the floor," Oz said, rising.
"I'll change the sheets, Buffy," Willow said, standing as well.
Buffy smiled at her friends. "Thanks a lot, you two. Not many people would jump at the chance to take care of a sick former enemy."
Oz and Willow exchanged looks, silently communicating as couples do. "What are friends for?" Willow said.
"Besides, I like the guy," Oz added before heading off to find cleaning supplies.
Buffy frowned at Willow. "What was the looks for?" she asked as they went up the stairs.
"Oz has been talking to Spike on the phone a lot, especially since Drusilla died," Willow told her. "They're friends, in a ‘I don't see you, but you're still cool' kinda way."
"Oh," Buffy replied, finding sheets in the linen closet in the main bathroom. "Why didn't you tell me this before?"
"It never came up," Willow shrugged as she followed Buffy into the bedroom. She glanced at the floor and wrinkled her nose. "Fun."
Buffy giggled quietly. Willow started to change the sheets as Buffy dug around the dressers to find some comfy clothes for Spike to wear to the doctor's, Oz coming into the room in the middle to start working on the floor. Willow then took the dirty ones to the laundry room as the Slayer went back into the extra-large master bathroom.
She looked down at Spike lying on the floor and felt a wave of tenderness wash over her. She turned on the tap water in the tub, then returned to the bedroom to retrieve the lamp from the other night stand. Bringing it to the bathroom, she set it down in the back corner on the sink and plugged it. Turning it on, she was glad to note that it softly illuminated the room without being overly harsh, allowing her to see better than from just the light coming from the bedroom.
"Buffy, Willow and I will be downstairs if you need us," Oz said into the bathroom as he finished with the floor.
Buffy nodded and closed the bathroom door as the guitarist walked away. Turning off the tap, she knelt on the floor next to the non-moving Spike. "Spike, you need to sit up," she said softly, putting a hand on his shoulder.
Spike blinked groggily, his mind fuzzy as slowly pushed himself to a sitting position with Buffy's help. He looked over at her with bleary eyes. "I don't feel good," he told her.
Buffy's lips quirked into a smile. "I know," she said, grasping the edges of his T-shirt. "Arms up." His arms barely raised as she pulled the shirt over his head, tossing it into the corner. She put the towel that was covering him back on the shower bar, then shut the toilet seat lid and helped him to sit on it. "Spike, I'm going to get you into the bathtub, but first we need to get off these shorts, ok?"
He nodded a little, breathing slowly through his mouth as he grasped her shoulders and lifted his hips slightly. Buffy pulled the shorts off of him, trying hard not to look and stood. She put his arm around her shoulder and helped him to his feet, then into the tub. He leaned back, his eyes closed and sighed as the water warmed and cooled him at the same time.
Buffy grinned at the small, happy smile on Spike's face and grabbed a washcloth and soap. She saw that he was wearing the small, gold cross she'd given him and her smile grew. "Ready to feel better?"
Spike turned his head in her direction, looking at her under heavy lids. "You are so wonderful," he whispered. "So bloody wonderful."
"What else would I be?" Buffy teased quietly, gently washing him. She was careful not to jar him in any way, having been this sick before. She watched as his eyes drifted shut again. After a few more minutes, she called his name. "Spike, time to get out."
"Ok," he replied, pushing himself to his feet with her help. Buffy got him out of the tub and dried him off with the towel as he leaned against the sink. Then, she helped him dress before putting her arm around his waist and escorting him from the bathroom to the bed, tucking him under the clean, cool sheets. He sighed and snuggled down against the pillow, then smiled up at the Slayer who was sitting on the edge of the bed. "I feel better."
"Rest," Buffy told him, leaning down to kiss his forehead. "We'll be leaving for the doctor's in about twenty minutes, ok?
"Love you," he mumbled in response, already drifting off before she even straightened.
Buffy smiled softly down at him. "I know."
Buffy grabbed the paper off the night stand with the doctor's phone number on it, then silently left the bedroom. Going downstairs, she found Oz and Willow in the kitchen doing the dishes. "We have about twenty minutes, guys," she told them as she sat at the table. She saw the letter magnets on the refrigerator and smiled.
Willow noticed what her best friend was looking at and smiled as well. "Someone has it real bad for you, Buffy."
"Weird, huh?" Buffy replied. "I wonder how long he's felt this way."
"Since August of last year," Oz answered offhandedly. Buffy arched her brow at him and he shrugged. "We're friends."
"What about you?" Willow asked her pointedly. "Have you decided to explore the ooshy side of Spike?"
"Ooshy side?" Buffy repeated with a grin. "I barely even know him."
"That didn't stop him from falling in love with you," Willow said, drying another dish.
"But I love Angel."
"But you can't have Angel," Willow stated. "Not in the all important having way. Plus, you said it yourself, you don't get that tingly feeling with him anymore. Maybe your love for him changed."
Buffy sighed. "You sound just like him," she said. "We had this whole I still love you, but it's ok to move on to someone else talk. However, I don't think he had Spike in mind."
"Well, we're graduating soon," Willow said. "Then you'll be down here for the summer with your dad. Which means..."
"Which means I can get to know Spike, yada, yada, yada," Buffy finished. She shook her head and stood. "I'm going to hit the ladies, then we should probably get going." The couple nodded and she went around the stairs to the powder room beneath them.
Closing the door behind her, she leaned back against it and closed her eyes. "Come on, Buffy. Second time's the charm, right?" she asked herself as she pulled a foil wrapped item from the inner pocket of her coat. A few minutes later, the Slayer swore for the second time since she woke up that morning as stared at the little blue line. She wasn't sure before, but she there was no mistake now.
Buffy was pregnant.
"That's it, we're almost there," Buffy said as she led Spike into the doctor's office. The weak and pale former vampire leaned heavily on her as they walked, Willow assisting by getting the doors as Oz went to park the van.
After settling Spike into a chair, the two girls went to the nurses station to check in and fill out any paperwork. The medical questionnaire was a hoot to them, seeing as how he had only been human for six weeks. They basically put none to every question and named him Spike Williams. No insurance information was necessary since they were paying with the cash Buffy had found in his wallet.
The nurse called Spike's name, and Buffy half-carried him to a room, stripping off his duster and helping him up on the examining table. Groaning, he put his arm over his eyes as he laid back on the white paper, the other over his stomach after the nurse took his temperature and blood pressure. Buffy sat in the provided chair, coat across her lap and flipped through a very old magazine.
"Hello, Buffy," Dr. Clark greeted as he came into the room with a chart. "It's been awhile since I last saw you."
"Hi, Dr. Clark," Buffy returned the greeting. "What can I say, I've been healthy as a horse."
Dr. Clark smiled at her, then looked down at the chart. "It looks like your friend Spike is rather sick."
"That he most definitely is," she replied, standing and walking to Spike's side. "Spike, the doctor is here," she said quietly, touching his arm.
"Tell him to kill me," Spike said weakly, causing the two in the room to chuckle.
"You don't have to sit up, Spike," Dr. Clark said as he put the stethoscope in his ears. Buffy moved back to her chair as the examination began. After several minutes, the doctor started making notes in the chart. "He's going to need some blood work done and I'm going to prescribe Penicillin for now."
"Is that the pink stuff?" Buffy asked.
"That's the pink stuff," Dr. Clark replied with a smile. "One tablespoon three times a day until empty or otherwise notified." He ripped off the prescription from the pad, handing it to her with the lab sheets. "Take him around the corner to the lab for these tests. Your friend should feel better once the medicine takes effect. Until then, plenty of bed rest and liquids. And see if he can eat something, like crackers, toast, Jell-o or even soup."
"Thanks," Buffy said. The doctor nodded and left. Standing, the Slayer went over to Spike again. "Spike, time to move again."
"No," Spike replied.
Buffy chuckled. "Yes. You have to get some blood tests done, then we can get you home and to bed again."
"I like B positive," he muttered as he slowly sat up. With Buffy's help, they made there way to the lab. Luckily, there was no waiting and she was able to sit him right in the drawing table. He frowned at the technician who pushed up his sleeve and tied a rubber hose around his arm. "What are you doing?"
"Spike, he's going to draw blood," Buffy explained from next to him.
Spike watched wide eyed as the technician wiped his inner elbow with alcohol, then hold up a needle. When he stuck it in the peroxide blond's vein, Spike flinched. "Ouch! That bloody hurts, you wanker."
"Sorry, sir," the technician said, changing the test tube on the end of the needle. "Doctor's orders."
Spike turned to Buffy, who shook her head in affirmation. "I hate being human," he hissed at her, his stomach becoming queasy.
"I know," she said, putting her hand on his other arm. "You're almost done. Then we'll go home."
"Before or after I heave?"
Spike managed not to heave and was now tucked back into bed, glass of ginger ale with a straw next to him on the night stand. The couple went out to get his prescription and a few other things while Buffy made him some toast and jelly. "Here," she said, sitting on the edge of the bed with a paper plate. She tucked a napkin in the collar of his shirt, then spread it over his chest. "See if you can get this down."
"Thanks," Spike replied, picking up a piece of toast and biting into it. The grape jelly on the bread tasted delicious and went down easily. He chewed slowly while looking at her thoughtfully. "Why are you being so good to me?"
Buffy gave him a small smile and a shrug. "You asked for help, I'm helping," she replied.
"What ever happened to that whole ‘we're two mortal enemies' thing?"
"It's hard to be mortal enemies when one half of the two mortal enemies is in love with the other half," she said, giving him a pointed look.
Spike started to blush, bringing color to his excessively pale cheeks. "Yeah, right. Who told you that?"
"Your refrigerator," Buffy replied with a grin. He looked down at the toast on the plate in his lap. "You also talk in your sleep."
"Bugger," he whispered.
"Bubble bath?" she teased.
Spike looked everywhere but at her, his embarrassment overriding his feeling of sickness. He had never wanted her to find out, even made Oz promise not to say anything to Willow. She loved Angel, not him, and he didn't want to have her knowing because that would make it worse having her choose his sire over him. "Um, you weren't suppose to know about that."
"The bubble bath?"
"No, the-the...bloody hell," he said, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. His stomach churned at the action. He swallowed heavily, feeling nauseous. He bit his lower lip, trying to force the feeling away. It didn't work.
His hand flew up to his mouth and he gave her a wide-eyed look, his face becoming deathly white. Shoving the covers and plate off his lap, he shot to his feet as Buffy moved out of the way, sprinting to the bathroom. She was right behind him as he lost what little he had in his stomach, holding his forehead and rubbing his back as she did earlier that day.
Breathing heavily over the toilet water, Spike felt the tears start again. Being sick was worse than feeling the bloodlust after nights of not feeding when he was still a vampire. For a moment, he cursed Drusilla for doing this to him, then grief washed over him about her death and what she had done for him, and he started to cry for real.
"Hey, it's ok," Buffy said, still rubbing his back. "Oz and Willow will be back with the medicine soon."
His sobs only grew, making him dry heave. He sucked in huge gulps of air, hiccuping and making a slight squeaking sound through his closed throat. He then felt himself being pulled against Buffy, who was kneeling at his side. She wrapped one arm around his shoulders, the other held his head to her chest as she murmured comforting words.
Spike didn't know how long they stayed like that before the tears ran out, leaving him feeling like he had no energy in his entire body. Willow and Oz must have returned because Buffy was talking to someone above his head.
"Thanks," Buffy said. "If you could call Giles, that would be great." Willow nodded before leaving the bathroom. She looked down at the top of Spike's blond head. "Are you ok?" she asked quietly.
Spike pulled away from her, wiping his face with the back of his sleeve. "This is bloody embarrassing."
"Don't be," Buffy told him. "Humans get sick, it's a fact of life."
"You don't," he muttered.
"Do, too," she replied. "Only thing is, I get to kill things while I'm sick. You only have to get better." She stood and picked up the washcloth she used earlier, wetting it with cool water. Putting the toilet lid down, she helped him onto it then began gently wiping his face with the cloth. "Feel good?"
Spike nodded. She finished up, then gave him his toothbrush, helping him stand by the sink. When he finished, she gave him a modicum of privacy as he went to the bathroom, then assisted him back to bed. She picked up the pink bottle of medicine on the night stand, measuring out a tablespoon in the cup provided and handing it to him. "The pink stuff tastes good," she commented as he quaffed it.
Standing, she pulled the covers up to his chin, then leaned down and kissed him on the forehead. "Get some sleep," Buffy said softly, her eyes tender. "If you need me, just ring the bell on the night stand. I'll be up in a little while to check on you."
She picked up the Penicillin and small cup, then switched off the lamp, leaving the only illumination coming from the lamp she put in the bathroom earlier. She was almost out the door when he spoke. "Slayer?"
"Yeah?" Buffy said, pausing in the doorway and looking back at him.
"Get better, Spike. It's no fun to tease you when you're sick," she replied. She gave him a small smile, then left the room.