Tender Loving Care

by
Raihne


Xander walked into the apartment and dropped his keys on the table. He'd been at the construction site since five am. It was seven pm. The Scoobies would have to do without comic relief for a night because he was tired and all he wanted was a long hot shower, an order of chopchai from Charley Kang's, and whatever movie was showing on HBO. "Even the Zeppo deserves a day off."

After sitting on the side of the bath tub to get the water temp right for the shower, he decided to make it a bath, Chinese, and late night movie. The water was heavenly. Every tense muscle groaned with him in relief and he slipped blissfully lower, resting his head on the back of the bathtub.

Xander decided just a bath was fine. He was asleep within minutes.


~*~*~*~*~


"Fuckin' White 'ats! 'Spect me ta give 'em the benefit of me knowlege an' don' bother gettin' any blood. Fuck 'em then. Not like I need their 'elp!" Spike stalked down the road in a rage. He was hungry and after helping the slayer and her minions fight the lastest baddy he was bleeding what blood he did have onto the sidewalk.

"So what's a vamp ta do then?" He lit a cigarette and rolled his eyes at the people walking by without so much as a second glance at the blood sliding down his face. "Only in Sunny Hell."

It took him a while to realise that he was heading for the whelp's place, but once he realised it he also realized what a good idea his feet had. The whelp would have some blood in his ice box, always did for some reaosn. "Must like me." He grinned to himself and climbed the stairs of the apartment complex. "Could be my animal magnetism it could."

A quick jimmy to the lock and he was inside and noting with some interest that the boy had never bothered uninviting him. "Trusting sod. And look at this! He does have blood! Awful nice of the chap, don't mind if I do."

The hunger withdrew after the third mug of hot blood, it was about then the blond realized that Xander hadn't been at the Scooby meeting, and he didn't look to be home. "Hope he didn't get eaten. Then where would I get me blood from?"

He sniffed the air and set the mug down, "Water? Why would. . ." Unsure why he even cared, the blond vampire crept into the human's bathroom and was instantly on his knees at the side of the bathtub. "Shit! Whelp?! Xander!" He pressed his fingers to the boy's neck and almost crumbled in relief. "Alive. He just fell asleep in the bath is all. Shit I'm a nancy. 'oh Xander!' fuck me! I'm turning into a poofer!"

Rocking back the blond looked closely at the boy and sighed, "Right then." He lifted the prone body from the luke warm water and carried him into the bedroom.

"Mmm. Spike?"

"Shut up an' go back ta sleep."

The chocolate eyes drifted shut again and Spike almost cursed. "'m not even worth a good spook any more."

He dug around Xander's drawers until he found some fuzzy light blue jammy bottoms. "He wears jammies?!" Cold fingers slipped them over an admittedly impressive body and the vampire couldn't help but smile. "He's cute. I can't believe I just thought that!"

The sight of a poloroid camera on the desk was to much to resist. Spike snapped a picture and watched the sleeping form develop on the flat plastic sheet it gave him. "Worth a thousand words."

He tucked the kid in soundly and slipped out without a word to sleep on the couch. The picure safely tucked in his duster pocket. Just don't want ta waste it s'all.

But something about the way he saw the whelp. . . something had changed.


~*~*~*~*~


Xander woke up slowly and burrowed into his pillow, "Mgle?" "Brain not working, wasn't I in the tub?" He ran an uncoordinated hand down the side of his face and groaned. "Wait a sec. . . who put my jammies on me?!" His face went beet red. He'd seen them at some gothic imporium in the mall and bought them on a whim. No one was supposed to have 'seen' them!

"Mmm. . . coffee need coffee, need chocolate, need chocolate coffee." He groaned and rolled out of bed to the hard cold floor. "Ouch!" well it had seemed like a good idea at the time.

"Not a morning person eh luv?"

"Ohno, nononooo, Spike did not tuck me in and he did 'not' see my jammies."

"Ooh yeah I did mate. And might I add the vampire bat motif looks stunning on you."

"Shit."

"No, better than shit, really luv."

"I'm just going to lay here until the floor swallows me up ok?"

"Won't do that luv, the equinox isn't for a while yet. 'Sides it isn't a leap year."

The poor boy cracked one eye open to glare at the vampire, "I don't 'want' to know. I really don't, go tell Giles, he'll do the eye roll-y glasses rub-y thing."

"Amusing as that is, I think no."

"Fuck."

"Why I'd love to pet, but I didn't think I was your type!" He batted his eyelashes prettily and Xander growled and rolled onto his back.

"You aren't going to leave. Are you."

"Would it make you feel better if I told you I made coffee?"

"No."

"With melted English chocolate in it? The good stuff."

Xander's eyes widened and Spike passed down the mug. Xander grinned, "Forgiven." Then looked at it balefully.

"Think you'll have to sit up peaches."

"Was afraid of that."

Spike heaved a long suffering sigh and pulled the sleepy slayerette to his feet.

"Mmm, thanks."

"Sure pet."

"You're not uh. . . gonna tell anyone about. . ." He motioned to the jammie bottoms he was wearing.

"No word will pass my lips."

Xander relaxed and took a sip of the coffee.

"I got pictures!"

Said coffee came close to exiting through his nose. "What?!"

Spike just grinned.

"Ok Spike, what do you want?"

"I don't catch your meaning."

"What are you doing here in the first place?"

"Was 'ungry I was, an' the bloody Watcher doesn't keep stocked up." The vampire tried his best pout and puppy dog eyes. "But I knew I could count on you ta have somethin'."

"You came to mooch blood off me."

"Not like you drink it."

"First, eeew! That's disgusting! Second, thanks for the chocolate coffee and putting me in bed before I caught a cold or something. and Third, why did you do that?"

"You're all worn out pet. Wouldn't want the Slayer thinking I had anything ta do with 'er puppy boy gettin' sick."

"Puppy boy?"

"Well you come when she calls."

Xander snorted, "It's called friendship."

"It's called being whipped." Spike heated another mug of blood and tipped his mug toward Xander, "Cheers."

"I am SO not whipped! For one thing being pussy whipped means that you're getting the. . . uh. . . yeah."

"Don' tell me you an' the demon bint are 'aving troubles."

"You need a relationship to have troubles. Ours ended today."

"She dump ya?"

Xander groaned, "God!"

" 'm I annoyin' ya luv?"

Red and sleepy eyes looked up at him through hair which hadn't been cut in months. "Spike I'm too tired to have a verbal sparring match with you right now ok?"

The sharp blue eyes softened and Spike leaned over slowly and felt Xander's forehead. "Christ whelp yer burnin' up!"

"You're a vampire, your hand is cold," he scoffed and stood up, then promptly fell back to his seat. "Ooh dizzy, not good."

Spike left the room a moment and came back in with Xander's thermometer. "Say ah."

"Spike would you ju. . .mrhh!" The glass tube was popped into his lips, under his tongue and Spike watched the mercury rising pased 100 and keep climbing.

He held out the tube and glared, "Now do you believe, you daft git. Bloody 'ell." He picked up the phone.

"What are you doing?"

"Calling your witches."

Xander went pale and shook his head, "No! no no no! Thats ok! I'm fine! See?" He stood and fell, this time right into Spike.

"What th' 'ell? Ya need ta see a doc, yer sick."

"Please," he whimpered miserably.

"Xan. . ."

"I don't want them to worry about me ok?"

"But. . ."

"I'll be fine."

Spike watched the pale man a moment then nodded, "Fine, but I'm stayin'."

"I don't need. . ."

"Humor me," he growled and picked the human up again.

"What are you doing?!"

"Puttin' you back in bed."

"But I. . ."

"Sleep or I'll make you sleep."

Xander glared at the vamp who glared right back and finally his eyes fell shut.

"Loony git." He pulled just the sheet over the boy and put a cool cloth on his head. "Now what do I do?" He paced a while then picked up the phone again. After a couple rings a sleepy voice answered.

"If you're a bill collecter call my gelled up, undead boss, if you're family I'm broke, If you're. . ."

"Cordy It's me."

". . .a bleached undead prick you better have a good reason for waking me up," she finished cooly and waited.
Spike grinned, "It's eight o'clock ducks."

"In the MORNING?! Spike! I was out chasing the baddies with your daddy dearest until sunrise!"

"But a luvely like you can't need much beauty sleep, you look ravishin' as it is."

A pause answered him and then a sigh, "Good save."

"I try."

"So what is it?"

"'ow do I take care of a sick human?"

"Do I want to know?"

"Prob'ly not. Well?"

"How sick?"

"Dizzy, fever, more light headed than usual. . ."

"This wouldn't be Xander would it?"

"You didn't want to know."

She groaned and Spike could almost hear her rub the bridge of her nose and blink her eyes, "You need to give him some asprin, motrin, something like that. Niquile or dayquile wouldn't be bad."

"Hold up." He set the phone down and checked the medicine cabinet, "Ok got some."

"What's got you in such a mothering mood?"

Spike blushed and mumbled.

The voice on the other line became knowing and he could hear her smile as she talked, "Xander 'is' cute in his jammies isn't he."

"Oi! Don't say stuff like that!"

"Are you blushing?"

"No!"

"You ARE aren't you! Priceless!"

"Just tell me what ta do!"

She calmed down but the smile was stil audible, "Cool cloths on his forehead, chicken noodle soup or hot broth, if it doesn't get better in a couple days I don't care if he says no get him to the hospital ok?"

"'k."

"Oh and Spike?"

"Yeah?"

"He likes it long and slow with lots of emotion and. . ."

"Cordy!"

"Bye bye!"

The vampire hung up the phone and fought the blush down hard. "Crazy bint." He gathered everything he needed and sat it by Xander's bedside then woke him up and propped him against some pillows. "Come on whelp. Wake up."

"Wha. . ."

"Take this."

"Wha's'at?"

"Asprin. It'll make you feel better."

"Mmm."

"Come on."

"Go way."

He practically shoved it down the drowsy boy's thoat and then force fed him half a glass of warm broth before letting him lay down again. "Feel better yet?"

"Mngle."

"'Ow long do you bloody humans stay ill?" He picked up a washcloth and dipped it in the bowl of ice water he'd put on the night table then rung it out and placed it over Xander's eyes and forehead.

"S'ike?"

"What?"

"Wha'r you doin'?"

"Taking care of you."

"Why?"

"Because I can," he insisted lamely. "Go back to sleep."

"'k."

The blond watched Xander's body relax and covered him up carefully. "Get better whelp," he whispered and turned out the light, moving to sit in the same old beat up chair he'd been tied to before.

"Spike?"

"I'm here." He took the human's hand and stayed like that the rest of the night and part of the morning.



The End