|Story Title:||Turn Me On|
My Body Needs a Hero
Spike's body is healing, but what about his heart?
The weeks following the Gift
|Rating / Warnings:||
Spike lost track of time. Days and nights had no meaning. Minutes and hours seemed to go on forever, except when Buffy was sitting next to him; those moments flew by in a blink of an eye. Although his head wasn’t hurting any longer, he still felt disoriented and foggy, and he thought he slept a lot, although he wasn’t really sure. There was no clock he could see; he could only go by the lights to know if it was day or night, but he couldn’t tell what day it was. He might be going to sleep one day and waking up the next, or even several days later – he had no way to know.
He still couldn’t move, couldn’t even wriggle a toe, even though he tried to constantly. He’d gotten a bit better at talking when he was awake enough to concentrate, but no one would really tell him anything other than to ‘not worry’ and ‘everything will be ok’ and ‘you’ll be better soon’. Someone had brought a small TV in, but he slept so much of the time that it did little good – he'd start trying to watch something, close this eyes a moment, then wake up and discover something else on. The only things he could really count on for entertainment were the strange and frightening dreams about being a bridesmaid at Buffy’s wedding to Finn – or the ones of her falling from the tower and dying – they were both equally disturbing.
He also didn’t know how they could possibly know that he’d be ‘better soon’. It had taken weeks to get the use of his legs back when his back had been broken, and he hadn’t been anywhere near this injured. How long was Buffy going to let a dead man lay in her dining room before she kicked him out to the curb?
Spike was jerked out of a dream by a sound he didn’t recognize just as he’d been getting fitted for a strapless, robin’s egg blue bridesmaid dress. As he looked around, a man he didn’t know came in from the kitchen pushing a large piece of equipment. Spike watched as the man started setting it up near Spike’s bed.
“Oh, you’re awake,” Buffy observed as she came in the room. “We’re gonna check your bones and see how you’re doing,” she explained. “This is a portable x-ray machine and this is Jeff, Tara’s third cousin, once removed… or something.”
Jeff gave Spike a nod, then went back to working on getting the machine set up.
“Doc?” Spike asked through his clenched teeth.
“Uhhh … well …” Buffy stammered. “Not … exactly. More of an … assistant … a veterinary assistant,” she said sheepishly. “But … he’s very good and the machine is just like they use for people only … well … maybe a little older. But … it’ll work fine,” she assured Spike quickly.
“Bloody hell,” Spike murmured, rolling his eyes. What did he expect, being a pet vampire and all?
“Don’t be like that,” Buffy admonished him. “Jeff went to a lot of trouble to borrow the equipment and get it here.”
Spike rolled his eyes again, but didn’t say anything more.
Jeff, the vet assistant, took x-rays of Spike’s legs, his pelvis, his arms, his ribs, and his jaw. It took for-bloody-ever and Spike fell asleep more than once during the process, only to be awoken when the less-than-gentle Jeff moved one of his limbs to slide a film under. If Spike could’ve talked without so much effort, he would’ve asked why he didn’t rate a lead-shield apron over his dangly-bits like Jeff was wearing … but it was too much effort.
The next time Spike woke up, Jeff was rolling the machine back out of the dining room towards the kitchen and the back door.
Buffy came back in after helping Jeff get it loaded back into his van and sat down next to Spike. “We should know something maybe tonight. He has to take them back and develop them, then I’ll go get them and we can see how things are going.” She was trying to sound cheerful, but it was too saccharine to be comforting.
Spike just nodded. He already knew how things were going: piss-poor. He couldn’t move anything but his head. What difference did it make if his bones mended; he couldn’t soddin’ move them anyway.
“Oh … you’re out of blood,” Buffy noticed, looking at the empty bag hanging like an IV drip next to his bed. No one had known if administering the blood in a vein would’ve done Spike any good, so they’d attached it to a feeding tube which, after a few failed attempts, they’d finally managed to snake down his throat and into his stomach. “I’ll get a new bag.”
Spike tried to reach out and stop her from leaving, but couldn’t. “Buffy,” he ground out through his wired jaw.
Buffy stopped and looked down at him, her brows raised in question.
Buffy touched a hand to his face and nodded before hurrying off to the kitchen to retrieve another bag of blood from the refrigerator. When she came back a minute later to attach it to the feeding tube, Spike was already asleep again.
Buffy dropped down heavily into the chair next to him and took hold of his hand. She laid her head down, pressed her cheek against his palm, and began to cry. She tried to never let him see her cry, but she allowed herself some small comfort when he was asleep. Luckily, she didn't have to hold the cheerful facade for very long at a time, the morphine that they’d mixed into the blood kept him asleep, and out of pain, most of the time.
“I’m so sorry, Spike.”
“I told you it would work,” Buffy told Giles sometime later as they stood in the kitchen, holding the developed x-rays up to the light. “I knew Slayer blood would heal him faster.”
Giles took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “And I never doubted you, Buffy – I simply said that it was dangerous. You’ve given him too much, too quickly. Even a Slayer must have time to replenish and heal. In addition…” Giles paused, took off his glasses, and massaged the bridge of his nose.
“In addition, Spike might attack me when he’s better because he’ll be craving Slayer blood,” Buffy finished, having heard this speech several times before. “Well, guess what? I don’t think he will.”
“It will be quite difficult for him when you stop … donating, and you must stop – you are already quite weak. He will be like an addict trying to get clean. He will certainly crave human blood … he may crave Slayer blood in particular. He may not be able to stop himself,” Giles tried to explain.
Buffy drew in a deep breath and huffed it out loudly. “Let me worry about that, ok?”
“You know my feelings on everything you’ve done, Buffy,” Giles finished gravely.
“You don’t approve,” Buffy supplied tersely.
“No,” Giles admitted. “But I trust you. I simply hope you’ve considered all the consequences.”
“I have,” Buffy assured Giles. Giles didn’t look entirely convinced.
“Spike? Can you hear me?” Buffy asked, leaning in close to his ear in the early evening of the following day.
Spike stirred, blinking awake. He’d just been going down the aisle in his robin’s egg blue bridesmaid dress. Buffy had been right; everyone said the color really complimented his eyes – made the blue even bluer. Blue ... funny word, that. Could conjure the warmth of a summer's day, blue sky above, or the freezing depths of a glacier, blue ice – freezing, forlorn.
“Hey,” she cooed softly. “How are you feeling?”
“’Kay,” he replied through his wired jaw, letting his wandering thoughts fade into the misty oblivion of his brain.
“Nothing’s … hurting?” she prodded.
Spike shook his head. It wasn’t that unusual for nothing to be hurting. Once he found out that he’d been loaded up with morphine, he knew why nothing was hurting. Good stuff, that.
“Great,” she beamed, flashing blindingly-white teeth, and Spike had to remind himself that she was not really beaming at him. “You’ve been off the morphine now for twenty-four hours. I think it’d be out of your system by now, don’t you?”
Spike took that in and realization hit him that the reason she was beaming was that he was getting better, and that meant she could kick him out soon.
“Dunno,” came out as a muffled reply from somewhere in his heart, hoping to stall the inevitable.
“Well, the x-rays looked good. Everything looks healed up,” Buffy informed him brightly. “Even your bruises are gone.
“I think we should try and get you up and see how you do,” she continued, looking overly pleased in Spike’s estimation.
“Can’t move,” he reminded her with a bit of a growl, as he tried yet again to wiggle a toe or finger.
“I know. Willow’s here, she’ll release you now,” Buffy told him, looking up and nodding at Willow, who was standing at the end of the bed. “Then we’ll get the casts off and unwire your jaw.”
“Release me?” Spike snarled. He wanted to scream it at the top of his lungs, but couldn’t get that much air out through his wired jaw. Why the bloody hell hadn’t she told him he was under some kind of spell? Why had she let him think he’d been paralyzed?
Buffy looked dumbstruck. “I told you … when we first did it. I told you we had to immobilize you so the bones would heal right.”
Spike clenched his eyes closed in utter frustration and sucked in an angry gasp of air.
“Oh, God, Spike,” Buffy moaned. “I thought … you seemed to understand. You said to go ahead … you … seemed … lucid and … I’m so sorry! You must’ve thought … no! You’re not paralyzed. Your spine is fine. It’s just your bones were all crushed and broken and everything was torn up.
“God, Spike, I’m sorry!” Buffy repeated, laying a hand on his shoulder.
Spike finally nodded, accepting her apology, but couldn’t open his eyes. He couldn’t look at her. He knew what was coming next. He wasn’t paralyzed, his bones were healed, his bruises faded. They were going to take the casts off and drop him back at his crypt. They might give him a few days to get back on his feet, then she’d come around and tell him he needed to get going – get out of Sunnydale.
Spike opened his eyes and looked at her. The bitch even had the audacity to look genuinely sorry.
“Go on, then,” he ground out, looking at Willow.
Willow nodded, closed her eyes a moment in concentration, and simply commanded, “Release!” In that instant Spike felt all his limbs suddenly come to life again. He could not only wiggle his toes and fingers, but raise his arms and move his legs. They were still all in casts, so he couldn’t move much, but they moved. And they didn’t hurt.
Buffy and Willow began working on cutting the casts off his legs and arms. Spike lay still as they worked, not wanting them to slip with that gizmo they were using to cut the plaster and accidentally cut anything vital – like him. But, as he lay there, he fumed. She couldn’t have thought to mention that little tidbit about the spell again over the last days? Couldn’t be bothered – too busy shagging White Bread, no doubt. Speaking of which, Spike hadn’t seen, smelled, or heard the enormous git in a while. Maybe he’d run off again. Serve the barmy bitch right; agreeing to marry the sod with Spike’s skull ring. The bloody nerve.
“Finn?” Spike asked the two women, who were now working on removing the cast from his left arm. He wished they’d take the sodding wire out of his jaw so he could talk properly.
“He said he’d help if we needed him, but … I think we’re doing alright,” Buffy assured Spike.
Spike groaned. That meant he must still be lurking around here somewhere – he hadn't scampered off again.
Plaster dust filled the air as the small Dremmel tool with the round blade cut through the last of Spike’s casts and it fell away. Spike began bending and flexing his arms and legs. The muscles were stiff and his joints popped when he moved, but everything seemed to be working.
“Ok, you’re going to have to sit up for us to get this wire off your jaw,” Buffy told him. “You might get dizzy with the change in elevation, so we’ll just help you sit up slowly.”
Feeling completely obstinate, Spike didn’t wait for Buffy and Willow to help him, but simply pulled himself into a sitting position using the rails on each side of the hospital bed. That had been a mistake. He realized it almost immediately, but refused to let Buffy see him falter. His head spun and his stomach churned from the sudden movement. He closed his eyes and tried to act like everything was fine, willing the room to stop spinning.
“Oorrrr, you could do that,” Buffy groaned sarcastically. “Are you alright?”
“Brilliant,” Spike lied through his still-clenched teeth. He didn’t dare open his eyes, and had to swallow back whatever it was in his stomach that was staging a violent revolt.
“Ok, this is probably gonna feel like you’re retching, but it’s just the feeding tube. I’m gonna pull it out now,” Willow told him as she began pulling the tube out of his nose.
Spike did, indeed, feel like he would toss his cookies all over them, but by sheer determination and willpower, somehow held the sour bile down. He felt much better when he felt the tube clear the back of his throat and fall out of his nose. Although his brain was still whirling a bit, it seemed to have slowed to an unhurried waltz rather than a blitzing Tilt-a-Whirl.
“Ok, this might hurt a little. Tell me if it does and I’ll stop,” Buffy instructed.
Spike nodded slightly but would be damned if he’d acknowledge that anything she did could hurt him.
Spike felt a tugging on his cheek, which did hurt a bit, then heard a popping sound. Suddenly the pressure that had been holding his jaw in place was released. He lifted a hand and rubbed it, working his jaw up and down and from side to side gingerly. It felt fine – a little stiff, like his other joints and limbs, but there was no pain.
Spike opened his eyes and was happy to find that his head seemed to have gotten used to the upright position. Feeling more confident, he lifted up one of the railings on the bed, releasing whatever contraption was holding it in place, and then let it fall down out of the way.
“Right then, reckon I’ll be off,” he told the two women gruffly, swinging his bare legs over the side of the bed.
“Spike, you need to take it slow,” Buffy admonished him, coming over to help him stand up.
Spike ignored her, slid his bare feet to the floor, and hoisted himself to standing. He swayed a little, took two steps towards the wall, and braced himself against it as he tried to make it look like that was what he’d intended to do.
When Buffy tried to help him, he pushed her away. “Don’t need your bloody help,” he growled at her, squaring his shoulders doggedly.
Buffy stepped back and crossed her arms over her chest as she watched him. “Spike, what’s wrong with you?” she asked in frustration.
“This, for bloody starters,” he growled, grabbing her left hand and pulling the skull ring from her finger roughly. “This is mine,” he informed her tersely, jamming it back onto his index finger. It only went down to his knuckle. She’d wrapped the shaft with white medical adhesive tape to make it fit her, which made it too small for Spike’s finger.
Buffy looked at him in shock. “Oookay,” she drawled, letting the word linger on her tongue as she tried to figure out why he was so angry.
“And I won’t be a bloody bridesmaid, Slayer. Sod that! You can marry the git and toss your life away if ya want, but I won’t be a party to it!” he growled at her before turning and stalking out through the living room to the front door. He flung it open and slammed it closed behind himself with a loud clatter as he stormed out.
Buffy stood there in shock, completely confused. She looked at Willow. “What just happened?” she asked her friend blankly.
Willow shrugged, her eyes wide with surprise, and shook her head.
A few seconds later, the door opened again and Spike strode angrily back into the dining room where the two women were still standing just as he'd left them, as if shell-shocked.
“Don’t reckon you ‘ave my clothes, do ya?” he asked sheepishly, waving a hand down at his nearly naked form, clothed only in a too-tight pair of pink satin jogging shorts.
His reappearance shook Buffy from her shocked stupor. “Spike, what the hell is wrong with you?” she demanded, moving forward towards him.
“Not a blasted thing that gettin’ away from the likes of a bitch like you wouldn’t cure,” he informed her tersely.
“What the hell did I do?” she wondered angrily.
“Ah, well – let’s start with not finding time t’ tell a bloke he ain’t paralyzed. Then, I reckon we could go to welcomin’ White Bread back to your bosom like the big soddin’ hero when all he did was run off like a whipped kitten when the going really got tough. Then we could jump to you marrying the git with my soddin’ ring and thinking I’d be your bloody bridesmaid!”
“What?!” both Buffy and Willow exclaimed in unison.
“Spike, I’m not marrying anyone – least of all Riley,” Buffy argued. “And ... and there was no bosom welcoming! Even if I was getting married, I’d never ask you to be my bridesmaid! Shit, bridesmaids are supposed to be short and ugly, to make the bride look better. Why do you think bridesmaid’s dresses are so awful? You’d totally be too pretty to be a bridesmaid – you’d make me look bad,” she asserted. “And third … I’m sorry about the spell and you thinking you were paralyzed. I honestly thought you knew … I … I … really am sorry about that.”
Spike goggled at her a moment, speechless. “But … I heard you when the git arrived … and even the Niblett said, you were overjoyed … no, what was it? ‘Over-the-bloody-moon happy’ to see him,” he asserted.
Buffy sighed and dropped her arms to her sides. “I was overjoyed to see him, but not for the reason you think.”
“I think this is my cue to exit stage left,” Willow interjected nervously, handing Spike his jeans and a t-shirt and heading for the door. “I’ll leave you guys alone to work this out. Just call when you want me to bring Dawn home – even if it’s tomorrow … or whenever.
“You’ll be … okay, right?” Willow asked Buffy worriedly, sounding a bit unsure, as she looked warily between the two blondes.
Buffy looked momentarily away from Spike and nodded at her friend reassuringly. “Fine.”
Spike took his clothes from Willow absently as she passed, still looking at Buffy. “What then? What was so soddin’ joyous about the git comin’ back?” he asked, confused.
As Buffy answered, he began pulling his jeans on, not even bothering to take off the pink shorts. Where the hell had those come from? He decided he didn't want to know.
“Your chip. Your chip was firing even when you weren’t doing anything, and … it … well … it,” Buffy stopped talking and began pacing in the tight area beside the bed before beginning again. “If you hadn’t been chipped, you probably would’ve been able to kill Ben out there in the desert. Glory would’ve never shown up, Dawn would’ve never been taken … and you never would’ve been crushed under that building.
“Not all bad guys are demons – and apparently even those that are can fool the chip with strong enough or ancient enough mojo – like Slayers and hell-gods,” she continued. “Even if the chip hadn’t been firing willy-nilly …” Her voice trailed off and she sighed. She stood still, her back to Spike, as she looked at the back wall of the dining room as if searching for the right words there. After a moment, she turned around and resumed her pacing before continuing again. “Even if it had been working ok, having it leaves you vulnerable to humans … anyone could dust you.”
Buffy stopped her pacing only an arm’s length away from him. She reached out and took one of his hands in hers, her eyes on his. “I needed Riley to remove your chip. That’s why I was so glad to see him.”
Spike stared at her for several long moments. “The soldier … removed the chip?" he asked tentatively, before agitation again overtook him. "You let that dolt root around in my soddin' brain?!” he demanded angrily.
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Not him personally; Riley got the army doctor-guys to do it.”
Spike's bravado faded again, his voice softened. “You’re not marryin’ the git? Not … back with him? He’s not waitin’ here somewhere, ready to stake me?”
Buffy shook her head. “No. No. And definitely no. He’s staying at a hotel by the bus station. He’s leaving for Iowa in …” Buffy looked at her watch. “He’s already left.”
“A-a-and … you’re sayin’ I got no chip?” Spike asked again.
Buffy shook her head. She held her hand up where Spike had ripped the skull ring off her finger. It was bleeding and slightly bruised.
Spike stared at it. He’d done that and the chip hadn’t fired. He’d hurt her and … nothing.
“Bloody hell, Slayer – put it back!” he demanded, his eyes wide with fear.
“What?!” Buffy exclaimed, not believing her own ears.
“You’ve gone off your gourd! Put it back!” Spike demanded, grabbing her by the shoulders adamantly.
“Spike, why!? I thought you’d be … happy. You’re free! You can…”
“Kill you! Kill Dawn! Kill … anyone!” he supplied with wide eyes. “Put. It. Back!”
Buffy gawped at him, still not believing the words she was hearing. Silence hung in the air between them for several moments before she simply said, “No.”
Spike’s brows shot up. “No? NO?!” he raved incredulously. ‘Ave you gone sack o’ hammers, Slayer?”
Buffy looked at him uncomprehendingly for a moment, her lips pursed in thought. “If that’s the same as ‘box of rocks’, then, no, I haven’t.”
“What the bloody hell then? Didn’t want to dust a helpless vamp, that it? I won’t fight ya, Slayer – here!” he offered, ripping his shirt back off. “Go on then, do it!”
“You want me to do it?” Buffy asked, anger tingeing her voice. “You want me to do what I’ve wanted to do to your stubborn ass for a while now?”
“That’s right! Put me outta my bloody misery,” Spike challenged, thrusting his chest towards her, daring her to stake him. “Give it to me good and proper, Slayer.”
“Fine,” Buffy snarled as she pulled Mr. Pointy out from its ever-present place at her back. Buffy cocked her arm back with the stake fisted in her hand, ready to strike as she moved forward towards him, a deadly, fevered gleam in her eyes.
Next: Oh no! Just what is Buffy gonna give him? Will it be 'good and proper'? Let's hope not!
Turn Me On, David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj
Doctor, doctor, need you bad, hold me babe
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