For The Love Of Spike
Chapter 14

Spike turned toward the doctor anxiously.  "That's me," he said.  The doctor glanced at him, then lifted reading glasses to finish filling out a chart.

"I'm afraid that your, ah...wife...was severely beaten, Mr. Smith.  She has about a half dozen fractures and breaks, not to mention the bruises.  To tell the truth," he added, lowering his glasses and folding his hands in front of him over the chart, "I'm surprised she's alive.  She must be a very strong individual."

Spike nodded, feeling a lump in his throat that hadn't been there in over a hundred years.  "She's the strongest person I know.  What..."  Spike swallowed, then continued.  "What kind of fractures and breaks?"

The doctor lifted his glasses again and read from the chart.  "Four broken ribs, her right clavicle, or collarbone, is broken as well, and a fractured left tibia.  And then there are burns on her wrists, almost as if she were tied down-" the doctor glanced at Spike suspiciously, as if he thought Spike knew something about the burns, then continued, "-and a fair number of lacerations.  She has very little head trauma, but she did take some bumps there."  He closed the metal flap over the chart and lowered his glasses.  Spike sunk down into one of the chairs and buried his face in his hands.  The doctor sat next to him and put a hand on Spike's shoulder.  "Mr. Smith, she's very lucky to be alive.  I suggest that you try to find out who did this, and if you do, press charges.  Also, I have to ask you-" Spike raised his head and looked at the man.  "Do you have insurance?"

Spike laughed, as if the idea of not having any were absurd.  "You don't have to worry about that," he said.  "I'm well-off enough to take care of her."

The doctor nodded and glanced at Spike again, looking him over as if he didn't believe that Spike could be "well-off."  Spike continued.

"And I believe that I do know who did this.  I'll take care of it."  He rose.  "May I see her?"

The doctor stood as well.  "She's heavily sedated, but yes, you can see her.  I'll take you up to the ICU."

Spike shook his head.  "No need to go to the trouble.  I know where it is."

Katherine had a private room in a quiet corner of the ICU.  When Spike walked in, he was immediately depressed by seeing the many beeping machines and tubes of fluid.  It looked as though they were all that was keeping her alive.  But the doctor had informed him that the machines and equipment were not as "scary" as they looked, and that, despite the bruising and swelling, Katherine was in very good condition.

Spike stepped up to her bedside.  "Hey there, pet.  Got yourself into a real bad turn this time, didn't you?"  He pulled up a plastic chair to sit next to her, then picked up her hand from where it lay on the sheet.  He squeezed it rhythmically, releasing and tightening, interlacing their fingers in different ways as he gazed on her face.  "I'll get you out of here within the next couple of days, and once you're well again we'll both find Angelus and beat the bloody hell out of him just like he did to you."  He leaned over and, with his free hand, brushed at the tangled curls next to her cheek.  A nurse had apparently brushed it out, and the red strands now lay thick, wavy, spread out over the pillow, without their normal corkscrew.  Spike decided immediately to get someone to take care of her personal needs as soon as he could get her home.

The door clicked, and Spike turned his head to see the visitor.  Xander Harris walked into the hospital room.

"Hey."  He sat in a chair near the foot of the bed and leaned it back on its rear legs until his head touched the wall.

Spike straightened.  "What do you want?"

Xander shrugged, and let the chair fall back to the floor.  "Just wanted to talk."

Spike pursed his mouth slightly, narrowed his eyes, and raised one eyebrow.  "Right."

Xander raised his chin.  "I'm serious.  Buffy's worried about you and Katherine there, for some reason.  She called me to tell you to go home, and get some sleep.  You won't do her any good by being burned to a crisp," he said, gesturing towards Katherine with a jerk of his head.

Spike folded his hands in his lap.  "What about her?  I have to figure out how to get her out of the sun."

Xander smiled, looking smug.  "I can do that.  Just give me a few minutes."  He rose and stepped out the door.  Spike looked after him, then turned to Katherine's sleeping face.

"Wonder what he's up to."

Fifteen minutes later, Xander was back, and this time with an older man at his heels.

"Uncle Louis, this is a friend of mine."

Spike rose, and shook the hand of the man, who wore a full-body gray work suit.  "William Smith," he introduced himself, and ignored the snort of laughter from Xander.  "And this is my wife, Katherine."  He gestured toward the bed.

The man nodded in greeting to the sleeping form.  "Hi there," he said.  Spike smiled, then chuckled.

"Uh, WILLIAM," Xander started with a sarcastic note, "This is my uncle, Louis Jones.  He's a janitor here.  He can move Katherine into another room for the night, if you want."

Louis Jones nodded.  "I'm just wonderin' WHY you want to move her," he said, pulling out some forms.  "Seems like a pretty nice room to me.  But anyway, if you could sign these..."  He held out the papers and pulled a pen from his jacket pocket, offering it as well.  Spike ignored them and looked straight at the man.  His jaw hardened.

"That won't be necessary.  I just want you to move her to a sunless room."

Louis glanced at Spike, then froze.  The pen fell from his limp fingers.  He stared, unblinking, into Spike's eyes.  Xander, confused, looked at his uncle, then glanced at Spike.  He swore quietly.  Spike's eyes had turned a brilliant golden yellow, and his expression looked like he was concentrating very hard on something.

"So, if you could do that for me...?" Spike said to Louis, as if they'd been carrying on a conversation.

The janitor blinked, then looked around slowly, as if he'd just woken up from a deep sleep.  "Ah...sure.  I guess...I could..."

"That's great," Spike interrupted.  He put his arm around the man's shoulders and led him to the door.  "You talk to your people, and we'll be here waiting for you."

Xander sighed.  "Please don't kill my uncle, okay, Spike?" he said as the door closed.

Spike turned to him.  His eyes were back to their normal, indistinguishable dark color.

"I'm not going to do anything.  I was just, ah...influencing him to do the right thing."

Xander rolled his eyes.  "Undead show-off guy," he muttered.

The door opened, and Louis stepped in, still moving very slowly.  He carefully closed the door behind him and said to Spike, "Some orderlies are coming to take her to the room you asked for, sir."  With this, he turned around, opened the door, and stepped out.  Xander stared after him.

"He's not going to hurt himself that way, is he?  I wouldn't want him to be walking into walls or anything."

Spike snorted.  "He'll be fine in a little bit, don't worry."  He turned back to the bed.  "Katherine?  We're going to take you to a nice, dark place now, okay?" he said to the sleeping figure.  Xander watched as Spike leaned over and gently pressed a kiss to her forehead.

And he continued watching him thoughtfully as Katherine was transferred to a windowless room down the hall, and then as Spike walked out to the curb and hailed a cab.

The next evening, as the buzzer sounded from the intercom in Spike's room, a groan came from the couch.  Spike sat up, shaking his head clear of sleep, and squinted at the machine by the door.  For a moment, he contemplated the merits of smashing the thing to pieces, then, as it buzzed again, rose and answered it.

"What?" he asked, rubbing a hand over his face.  The voice of the front desk clerk answered him.

"Someone here to see you, sir.  He says his name is Mr. Giles."

Spike yawned. "Send him up," he instructed, and moved into the bedroom to change his clothes.

When he came back, Giles was in his living room.  "What is it?" he asked, and pulled on a button-up shirt over black jeans.  Then he saw Buffy.  She was staring at him.  Spike became aware that his shirt was gaping open, and, uncomfortable with nothing underneath, started buttoning it up.

Giles, who had been pacing across the floor, sat on the couch and took off his glasses, pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket, and polished the lenses of his glasses.  He cleared his throat.

"Ah, yes.  Buffy and I just came by to see if you need anything."

Spike shook his head.  "Now unless you can feed me, because I'm FAMISHED!" he said, sending Buffy a wolfish grin.  She raised one eyebrow, Not Amused.

"Well.  I'm sure you, that is, uh, I think that you can handle that part."

"With no killing!" Buffy interjected.

"Yes.  And we'll meet you back here, downstairs, say in a half of an hour?  Then we can talk about finding Angel for the restoration ceremony.  Sound good?"  Spike nodded.  Giles nodded as well and headed towards the door with Buffy close behind.

She stopped at the threshold, turned, and said, "Remember, no killing."

Spike blew her a kiss.  "No worries, luv," he teased.  "I'll try to stay away from you from now on.  No guarantees, though."  To his surprise, Buffy reddened and quickly shut the door behind her.

He smirked at her flustered reaction, then retrieved his coat from the coat rack.  Taking his private elevator down to the ground level, Spike made his way out of the hotel through a service entrance and started down the street, headed towards Sunnydale Community Park.  There were a lot of bums that slept there, not to mention the other interesting creatures that came out at night.

About three minutes later, Spike walked into the playground.  A man slept underneath the slide on a play set.  He stepped toward him, changing into his vampire form, then stopped.  Someone had appeared from out of the trees and was walking toward him.  Drusilla.

Spike met Drusilla under a nearby jungle gym.  She walked toward him with her head down, then, as she reached the jungle gym, looked at the bars and placed one hand on one, gripping it tightly.  Finally, she looked up into Spike's eyes.

"What do you want, Dru?  I only have a half hour to feed, so can you hurry up and say what you wanted to say, and go?" he asked quietly, and sat on a low bar.  She didn't answer, but instead looked up at the evening sky.

Dusk had fallen, and the color it had left was a brilliant jewel blue.  Pink, orange, and violet clouds flirted with a curtain of peach close to the horizon.  Spike watched the colors fade for a moment.  He could hear crickets start to sing two miles away, felt a surge of hunger, and turned his attention back to Drusilla.

"Well?"  When she didn't answer, Spike gave a growl of irritation and rose to leave her.  But as his boots began to crunch over the pea gravel toward the bum under the slide, Drusilla called out to him.

"I want Angel dead."

Spike turned to face her without breaking stride, now walking backwards.  "Yeah, I do too.  So what?"

Drusilla began to follow him.  "So I want to help you.  Come on, luv," she said in a petulant tone of voice.  She reached him and, as he stood motionless, slipped her hands under his coat and along his sides.  "It'll be just like old times."  Drusilla pulled back one hand and reached up to cup the back of Spike's neck. Smiling, she pulled him down and kissed him while night sounds began to sound around them.

And the angry, hurt face of Buffy Summers watched from the shadows of the trees.

 Chapter 15

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