Spike sat up abruptly, waking from a deep sleep. He cocked his head, listening, but hearing nothing save the silence of his lair. He looked over to where Drusilla should be sleeping, then cursed when he remembered she wasn't there anymore. "Stupid, bloody bitch."
He laid back down and closed his eyes, sleep once again claiming him.
"...give me CBC, chem7, type and cross..."
Spike was jarred awake again, all his senses on alert. He didn't move, didn't even blink as he sought out what had woke him. Finding nothing, he growled, turning onto his stomach and putting the pillow over his head.
He could have sworn he heard his name being called.
"...I need the rib spreader. What's her BP and..."
This time he was sure someone called his name. In one fluid motion, Spike stood, resting lightly on the balls of his feet, prepared for any attack. Closing his eyes, he stilled his body, focusing on absolutely nothing.
"...clear! Dammit! Bump it up to 80..."
Spike's eyes popped open when he heard the pain-filled voice. He dashed over to the pile of clothes on the floor and threw them on, not pausing to lace his shoes and flew out the door.
He hadn't heard the voice with his ears. It came from his heart.
"...BP's rising, pulseox steady. Let's get her up to OR..."
Spike sped down the highway, pedal to the floor. He cursed himself for being a vampire for the very first time, the sun preventing him from being able to fly. It would take him all day to get there.
Which may make him too late.
"...suction. Damn, look at that. She shouldn't even be alive..."
"Bloody hell," Spike swore as he pulled to the side of the road. He leaned over and opened the glove box. Donning a pair of thick, leather gloves, he checked the position of the sun and rolled down his blacked out window.
"License and registration pleaaaarh-"
"...she's stable, but still unconscious. We were able to remove the..."
"Nothing like a mid-day snack," Spike muttered as he dropped the second officer of the day out the window of his car. He'd have to remember to change the license plates later that night.
"...afraid she lost her left eye. And there will be extensive scarring around that area..."
"They really ought to move that bloody sign."
"...sorry. Visiting hours are now over..."
Spike silently slipped through the back entry of the hospital, ignoring the call of the blood as he passed the labs. He made his way towards ICU, but paused when he saw people he knew milling in the hallway. Finally, a nurse came over and moved them towards the waiting area and he crept quickly up the hall until he found her room.
Closing the door behind him with a quiet click, he walked over to the side of the bed and stared down at the unconscious, heavily bandaged girl. He bit his lower lip at the pain that encompassed his heart and sat down on the chair next to the bed. Gently, he took her hand in his, rubbing his thumb over the back of it. After a moment, he closed his eyes and let everything go still, focusing on nothing again.
"I'm here, baby," Spike answered the mental call, opening his eyes. He reached his other hand out and brushed her blond hair off her forehead. "I'm here."
Spike sat with Buffy's smaller hand in both of his, his forehead lightly resting against them as he leaned on his elbows on the metal bar attached to the bed. He had not moved for hours, silently praying to whatever higher power would listen to a demon like him. Several times she had called out his name, not in voice but with her mind. And each time he would reassure her that he was there, that he would not leave.
He had no idea how she was doing it, or even why she would be calling him instead of his sire or her Watcher or any of her friends. It wasn't as though they were the best of friends or lovers or anything even resembling good acquaintances. Last time he checked, they were still mortal enemies and she "violently disliked" him. But that did not matter, all that did was her to return to consciousness.
The door opened and Spike quickly stood, disappearing into the shadows of the windowless room. He watched silently as a doctor came in, accompanied by a nurse, and checked Buffy over. "It's a miracle she's still alive," the nurse commented as she checked the ventilator and heart monitor.
"I honestly did not expect her to last through the night," the doctor said. He made a few notes on the chart. "Visitation can be free, despite policy. I think we should give her family and friends a chance to say goodbye."
"Yes, sir," the nurse replied. She brushed a stray hair off the white bandage covering the left half of Buffy's face. "Such a shame."
The moment they left, Spike was at her side again, his heart heavy. "Come on, pet. You need to wake up and prove that idiot doctor wrong," he said, taking Buffy's hand again. He felt tears welling in his eyes and he violently wiped at them with the back of his arm. "This world needs you, Slayer. Your friends need you. Your mum and your Watcher, think about them. They need you. I...I need you."
He closed his eyes, swallowing heavily as the tears coursed down his cheeks anyway. This wisp of a girl had dug her way into what was left of his heart, with her quick wit and strength, both physical and mental. He had faced numerous Slayers, killed two of them, and none held a candle to the one lying unconscious before him. She was the only reason he still bothered to get up at night after Drusilla had torn his heart to shreds, knowing that back in Sunnydale she was annoying the forces of darkness and preventing them from wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting world.
The door opened again and he quickly moved away, rubbing his hand over his face to wipe away the evidence of his emotions. He watched as Joyce entered the room and sat in the chair, taking her daughter's hand in her own. "Buffy, I'm back. The doctor said that I could sit in here with you as long as I wanted. The others went home, but they'll be back in a few hours I bet," she said, rubbing her thumb over the back of Buffy's hand.
"Joyce," Spike said quietly, so as not to startle her. She turned her head and he stepped out of the shadows, giving her a sad smile.
"Hi," Joyce replied, turning back to her daughter. "How long have you been here?"
"Awhile," he answered, moving to the other side of the bed. He reached out and brushed the stubborn lock of hair off of the white bandage again. "What happened?"
"I'm not sure, you'd have to ask Rup-Mr. Giles," she said. "He tried to tell me, but I'm afraid I wasn't quite listening."
Spike nodded, taking Buffy's other hand in his own. "I promise you I'll kill whoever did this to her," he said seriously to Joyce.
"No, Spike, there's been enough bloodshed," Joyce replied. "Now, I just want her to get well."
"I have to go," he said, sensing the sunrise. "I'll be back later tonight, if that's alright with you."
Joyce nodded. "The more people wanting her to get better, the more likely she will, right?"
Spike didn't answer as leaned forward and placed a kiss on Buffy's forehead. "Come back to me, Slayer," he whispered. Straightening, he reluctantly let go of her hand, then left the hospital room.
He didn't go far, though, only to the safety of the basement for protection of the sun and prying eyes. He hated to leave her, even for a moment, but it was necessary that he feed and get some sleep before he collapsed.
Using his coat as a pillow, he curled up in a dark corner and allowed unconsciousness overtake him.
Frantic. That was the only word to come close to what he was feeling. Everywhere he turned, he saw darkness. An inky blackness he was unable to penetrate, even with his enhanced vision.
He was running, searching for the source of the voice calling to him. There was desperation to his steps, as if he sensed that time was against him. He felt that if he didn't find her, his world would end.
Spike woke suddenly, game faced, and his eyes darted around the room. For a moment, he couldn't remember where he was. Then, it all came crashing back down on him. Buffy. His Buffy. His Slayer.
He didn't know what time it was, didn't really care as he got to his feet and practically ran out of the basement of the hospital. Human mask back in place, he quickly returned to Buffy's room.
Only to find it full of people.
Her Watcher was first to notice him, a cross coming out of the recesses of his pocket. The others turned and gasped appropriately and he would normally enjoy their fear. But not today.
Joyce was the one who gave him the only positive response. "You're back early."
"Didn't go far," Spike replied, hovering in the doorway. "She's...ok, right?"
"What does it look like, fang face?" Xander sneered, despite his fear of the vampire.
"She's the same," Joyce spoke over the teen. Her eyes were weary and full of pain, mimicking his own. "You can come in."
"Joyce-" Giles said sharply, but she held up her hand.
"I don't want to hear it, all I want is for my baby to get better," she said. "And if I want Spike to stay, he stays. Without any of you threatening him."
He would have smirked if his feelings weren't all jumbled. They all shifted protectively when he entered the room, making it seem like a comedic feud with the McCoy on one side of the bed and the Hatfield's on the other.
Spike ignored them, instead focusing his attention on the still figure in the bed. "Joyce, I'd tell you to go home and get some sleep, but I know it wouldn't do any good," he said quietly, brushing the stubborn lock of hair off the white bandage yet again.
"You're right," Joyce replied.
Xander was practically sputtering at Spike's actions and Willow was staring at the blond vampire with a combination of fear and confusion. Giles decided to usher the two into the hallway for a quick conversation. "Giles, we can't leave Buffy in there alone with that-that bleached creep," Xander sputtered.
"I agree with you, Xander," Giles replied. "However, it is Joyce's desire for him to stay and I do not wish to upset her. Perhaps when he leaves we shall do, er, something."
"Or when Angel gets here," Willow added. She looked at her watch. "Which won't be for another two hours. That's not good."
"I suggest that one of us be in the-"
Spike came out of the room, halting conversation abruptly. "I'm going to get a cuppa for Joyce," he said, meeting Giles' gaze. "Would you like one?"
"Um...n-no," Giles replied, clearly astonished. "Thank you."
The vampire nodded and headed down the hallway with three set of eyes staring after him. "Ok, that was Spike, wasn't it?"
Spike was staring unseeingly at the coffee machine, unaware of anything happening around him. His heart felt as though it were in a vice grip and he dreaded having to go back to the room. He didn't want to see the Slayer like she was, beaten and bandaged, her life hanging on by a thread and machines. The Slayer he knew was full of life and fire, with expressive eyes and a fast thinking mind.
*Spike, I need you.*
His head jerked at the voice in his mind. Spinning on his heel, the coffee sat pouring into an empty cup as he sprinted down the hall. Willow backpeddled in fright as he almost skidded into her outside the door of Buffy's room. There was a slightly wild look in his eyes as he entered and hurried to her side.
"I'm here, Slayer," he said, oblivious to the others. He picked up her hand and held it in both of his, sitting in the chair that he'd gotten after Joyce asked him to stay. "I'm here, luv. What do you need?"
"Spike," Joyce said quietly, getting the vampire's attention. "What is it?"
Spike looked blankly at her for a moment, not sure as to what to say. "She called me," he finally replied. He looked back down at the comatose girl and brushed his thumb over her hand.
"What do you mean, called you?" Giles asked, keeping the hushed tone of the room.
"Called me, called my name, do I need to paint a bloody picture for you?" Spike snapped, glaring over at the man.
"How? Buffy's not conscious," Willow stated. "And we've been here the whole time. Well, not all of us, but someone has and we'd know if she said something."
He turned his eyes to the hacker, calming. He figured out quickly that perhaps they knew how the Slayer was doing it and why. "It's in my head. She's calling to me in my head, has been doing it since yesterday morning."
"Right. I think you've hit the bottle one too many times," Xander said. "Either that or your girlfriend is rubbing off her craziness on you."
"Xander, do shut up," Giles told the boy. "If he is indeed hearing Buffy, it is possible that she is trying to-to return to consciousness. Though I am at a loss as to why she would be calling for Spike."
"When does it happen?" Joyce asked, anxious for anything that would lead to her daughter's recovery.
Spike shrugged. "When I'm asleep. When I'm not focusing. Maybe other times, but I'm not sure."
"I can't believe you guys are taking this crap seriously," Xander practically shouted. "This is Spike. He's tried to kill us and Buffy, ring any bells?"
"Xander, I think it would be best if you waited outside in the hall," Joyce told him, her tone brooking no argument.
"Fine, but when he kills you, I get to say ‘I told you so'," he shot over his shoulder as he left the room.
"I'm sorry, Spike," Joyce said to the vampire. "Go on."
"Nothing else to tell," Spike replied, his gaze returning to Buffy. "She called, I came."
"Maybe if we put him in a trance?" Willow suggested, her mind working. "Or maybe Buffy's astral projecting herself and we need to go to the astral plane. Or she's a ghost. But I was a ghost and could be seen."
"Perhaps you are correct, Willow," Giles said, filing away Spike's statement for further examination later. "On any of them. If Spike is, er, up for it, I suggest we try putting him in a trance and seeing what comes of it."
"Is that alright?" Joyce asked the vampire.
"Yes," he replied. He looked up at Giles, dead seriousness in his eyes. "I'll do anything to bring her back."
It was bright. So bright his eyes hurt as he tried to see through the stark whiteness, searching for the person who hated him. It should have been ironic - the one girl who made his unlife a living hell was the same girl he was trying so desperately to save. However, it seemed to make perfect sense.
Opposites attract and all that.
Slowly, he turned in a circle, trying to feel out where she was hiding. Because he knew if he could find her, she would wake up. If he could find her, she would be ok. If he could find her, he would be able to go on another day. The world without her in it would be a miserable place indeed.
He picked a direction and started walking. His steps were heavy, the fate of one tiny golden girl resting on his shoulders. He wondered briefly if this is what she felt like every day, knowing she held the world in her hands. Then he realized that, while this weight might oppress even the strongest of men, she carried it easily with a quick smile and a large dose of sarcasm. Plus, she had her family and friends to help ease the burden, which made her all the more powerful of a foe.
To enemies like him.
Spike felt like he'd been walking for hours, never getting anywhere as if he'd been on a treadmill. The scenery never changed, it was just a bright, empty, white vastness that stretched as far as he could see. He was about to give up, to go back and try something else. That's when he heard her voice.
She was singing.
It wasn't something he'd heard before, but it was soft and melodious and floated to him. Like a beacon he followed, hoping not to be dashed upon the rocks of failure, but brought safely to her. And as he moved, he listened to the words of the song.
She said we're much too different
We're from two separate worlds
And he admitted she was partly right
But in his heart's defense
He told her what they had in common
Was strong enough to bond them for life
He said look behind your own soul
And the person that you'll see
Just might remind you of me
It was as if she'd reached into his heart where he kept his feelings for her hidden and brought them out for the world to see. What she sang was exactly what he wanted to say to her, what he wanted her to know. Did some part of her feel the same way, as well? When he had left Sunnydale the last time, he'd left a piece of himself unknowingly behind. He remembered he had told her in the magick shop that he was nothing without Drusilla. He was wrong.
He would be nothing without Buffy.
I laugh, I love, I hope, I try
I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry
And I know you do the same things, too
So we're really not that different,
Me and you.
"We're not that different, are we, Spike?"
Spike started in shock. She was sitting there, right in front of him on the greenest grass he'd ever seen. With surprise, he noticed that the whiteness was gone, replaced with a blue sky, a hill upon which he found himself looking out over a countryside. She was under a flowering tree, her legs curled under her simple, yellow frock. Her eyes were dancing as she looked up at him. "Aren't you going to say something?"
"Most intelligent. And they say that vampires don't know how to articulate," Buffy teased.
It was too much for him. He dropped to his knees and pulled her into his arms, holding her tightly. She laughed lightly in his ear, her arms going around his waist as she relaxed into him. "Slayer, Buffy, how...why..."
"You said that already," she told him. "And I don't know how I'm doing it, or where we are, or what I was thinking when I chose this color dress. All I know is why." She leaned back to look him in the eyes. "I didn't want to leave without saying goodbye."
"Leave?" Spike said. "Where are you going? You can't leave."
"Spike, you know all Slayers die young," Buffy replied. "One of my only regrets is that I lost to some skanky demoness with really bad hair and in dire need of a manicure."
"Slayer, you're not going to die," he told her sharply. "I won't let you."
"I think it's a little late for that," she said. "But I didn't drag your sorry butt all the way here to argue with you."
"Then why did you?" Spike asked.
"I wanted to know if you and Drusilla are back together and happy again."
He couldn't be more floored if someone told him he were human again. He stared at her incredulously, unable to form a words to express his amazement. She was on the verge of life and death and she wanted to know about his love life?? "I'm dreaming. This has to be a bloody dream. I'm going to wake up in a puddle of drool," he finally said.
Buffy laughed, a light, airy sound that caressed his ears. "If this was a dream, what would you be doing with me?"
"This," Spike replied, then lowered his head and captured her lips.
Light exploded behind his eyelids and his whole body tingled as he held her close to him. Deepening the kiss, he explored the softness of her mouth, their tongues dancing together. He inhaled purposely, drinking in the scent that was purely his Slayer. His Buffy. His arms tightened around her unconsciously, not wanting to break away from her, even for a moment. If this was what heaven was like, he was going to taste as much of it as he could.
Gently, he laid her back on the soft grass, no longer caring about what was real or not, and continued to kiss her. His hand skimmed lightly over her side, brushing against the curve of her breast before traveling back down to her hip. He wanted to caress her, to worship her, to touch every inch of her, to show her without words how he felt.
But something was preventing him from doing so, an incessant disturbance that forced him to break the kiss. He looked down at her flushed face and slightly swollen lips, the desire evident in her eyes and went to kiss her again. However, he couldn't and he cursed softly, eliciting a small smile from her.
"I think our time is up," Buffy said. "I have to say goodbye now."
"What? No, you can't," Spike protested. "I won't let you."
"I'm sorry," she said. The disturbance became greater and the world they were in started to turn white again. "Try and behave, ok?"
"Goodbye, Spike," she whispered.
The last thing he yelled before the brightness took over was, "Buffy, I love you."
Buffy opened her eyes and slowly turned her head, groaning slightly at the noise she heard. She blinked several times to try and focus, and she wondered why she could see out of only one eye. Then she groaned as the pain overwhelmed her and she wished she had stayed home earlier, instead of going out with her friends.
"Stop that racket," she muttered semi-loudly. She gestured with her hand and heard a voice she'd hoped she wouldn't hear again.
"Wake up, Slayer."
"Do you have some obscene wish to see what it feels like to have a stake shoved up your ass?" Buffy asked, looking at him.
Spike's blue eyes twinkled with amusement and something more. "What's the matter, pet? Feeling a bit under the weather?"
"Spike, will you tell me what you're doing here and then go away and let me die in peace?"
"It's like this, Slayer. I laugh, I love, I hope, I try, I hurt, I need, I fear and I cry. And I know you do the same things, too," Spike said quickly, as if he were afraid to say it. "So we're really not that different, me an' you."
In a flash, everything came back to her. Jumbles of images replayed in her mind as she stared at him. The injuries, her calling to him, his arrival, seeing him with the others, the song, the hill, the kiss.
The admission of love.
And now he was sitting there, watching her intently, waiting for her to respond. "No, we're not," she said softly. "So why don't you come over here and kiss me."
Spike grinned at her. "I've always wanted to kiss a hung-over pirate."
Buffy scowled and pulled off the black eyepatch with the skull and crossbones on it, trying to look threatening in her peasant blouse and tight pants. Then, he kissed her and she gave up pretending.
Now all she'd have to do was remember to tell Giles about the demoness from the portent part of her dream.