"Spike!" Xander shouted from his position, tucked up in bed. He heard the sound of fast approaching footsteps before he saw the blond head of his lover peek round the door frame.
"Yes, Xanny. Are you okay? Can I get you anything?" Spike's voice was soft and full of concern.
"My pillows are all lumpy," Xander pouted. "Can you fluff them for me?" Xander added some subtle eyelash fluttering to the request.
"Of course." Spike rushed into the room and started to fluff and rearrange Xander's pillows. Anything that would make Xander more comfortable. "How's that?"
"Great. Thanks, Spike."
"Nothing's too good for my Xanny Bear. Do you need anything else while I'm here? Juice, snacks, something to read, anything?"
"No, I'm fine. I don't want to be a bother to you."
"You're not a bother. I just wanna make sure you get better." Spike bent down over Xander, kissed him gently on the forehead, and brushed away a stray hair from his eyes. "Try and get some sleep. I'll check on you later."
"'Kay. Love you."
"Love you too."
Spike took one last look at his sick boyfriend in bed, as Xander's eyelids became droopy before closing completely. He tip-toed across the floor towards the bedroom door, wincing each time the floorboards squeaked at the pressure of his steps. He had just about closed the door behind him when he heard Xander's stuffed up voice again.
"Oh Spike, before you go--"
"Yes?" Spike whispered.
"The tissues are just out of reach. Could you hand them to me?"
"They're just on the nightstand, Xander. You can't lean over?"
"Pleeeease." Xander put his long eyelashes to good use again.
"Okay, Xanny," Spike sighed, feeling unusually guilty at his refusal. Humans were so fragile, one little bug and it was like an explosion of sweat, vomit, and mucus. Spike hated seeing Xander like this. After all, it was no fun having sex with a sick person; their hearts were never in it. He liked to have Xander's full attention while screwing him into oblivion. If that meant having to do a few errands for his boyfriend until he got better, then so be it.
Spike picked up the box of tissues from the nightstand and handed them over. Xander brought an arm out from under the covers, took the top tissue out of the box and proceeded to blow his nose in the loudest, most exaggerated manner possible. Once he had finally finished, and Spike suspected he had probably succeeded in blowing his brains (as well as any excess snot) out of his nose, Xander took the full box of tissues out of Spike's hand and deposited the used tissue in its place.
"Could you put that in the trash for me, Spikey?"
Spike stared down at the damp, drippy tissue in his hand and grimaced in disgust. "Ummm, yeah sure." He held his hand out at arms length, walked over to the trash can and dropped it in.
"Is there anything else you need before I go?" Spike asked while wiping his palm against his jeans.
"Nope, I don't think so. I'm just gonna get some sleep."
"Okay. Sweet dreams, Xan." Spike walked toward the door again, before a thought struck him and he quickly walked back over to the trash can. He picked it up and put it right next to the bed, within easy reach of Xander. "Just in case," Spike said, as he closed the bedroom door behind him.
Spike jumped up at the shout of his name, from his position on the living room couch, reading through the funnies in the Sunday paper. He ran through to the bedroom as fast as he could, panicking at what could be wrong with Xander to warrant the yell.
"What is it? Are you sicker? Should I call the doctor? Maybe I should take you straight to the hospital." Spike words were coming out thick and fast, as he approached Xander's bedside. He sat down on the edge and put the back of his hand against Xander's forehead to check for fever.
Xander pulled Spike's hand away. "No, I'm not any worse. I'm just thirsty."
Spike stared at Xander incredulously. "You holler for me like that because you're thirsty? If I had a working heart you would have given me a heart attack."
"I'm sorry, Spikey. Didn't mean to, honest," Xander tuned his gaze downward and tucked his chin under the covers, until his face was half hidden. Spike's resolve melted at Xander's contrite appearance.
"Oh, it's okay. It's not as if I have a working heart, so no harm, no foul."
Xander's head popped back up with a big cheesy grin plastered on it. "So could you get me something to drink then?"
"Xander there is a full jug of water right beside you. I've heard tell that humans can actually drink that stuff these days."
"Urgh, water is for having fun at the Waterslide Park, or for naughty touchy feely naked time in the shower, not for drinking, " Xander said sticking his tongue out in disgust. "Could you make me up some chocolate milk?"
Spike took one look at Xander's pleading, wide-eyed expression and knew he couldn't say no. "Okay, I'll be back in a few minutes."
Spike went to the kitchen and took a glass out of the cabinet. He set it on the countertop and went to get the milk and chocolate syrup from the fridge. He poured both into the waiting glass, each step done without really having to think about it. It was just one of the numerous things unconsciously picked up after living with Xander for so many years, along with the names of all the actors who had played Doctor Who (in order), a detailed understanding of the events leading up to and involving the Shadow War in Babylon 5, and a working knowledge of the Klingon language.
He took the finished drink back through to the bedroom and handed the glass to Xander, who took the smallest of sips before putting it aside on the nightstand.
"I thought you were thirsty?" Spike asked confused.
"I am-- or I was. It got worse while I was waiting for you to make my milk, so I just had some of the water instead. You know, it's not so bad. You don't mind, do you?"
"No, of course not. Why would I mind?" Spike said through gritted teeth.
"I knew you wouldn't."
"Why don't you get some sleep now, so I can go and watch some telly."
"'Kay. Love you lots."
Spike had only just got the television switched on, and had settled on the couch before he heard another yell from the bedroom. He sighed heavily and trudged through to see what Xander wanted.
"Xander, I thought you were going to get some sleep."
"M'not sleepy anymore."
"Fine, then don't sleep. What did you call me for?"
"The TV Guide says that there is a Simpsons marathon starting in a few minutes, so I was thinking-- " Xander smiled sweetly at Spike.
"You thought what?" Spike knew what was coming but he refused to make it easy on Xander.
"Well, I would get up to watch TV, but you know I just get all these barfy feeling if I try to get up, and I figured since you have all that super vamp strength, and the fact that you are the bestest boyfriend ever, that maybe you could bring the TV through here for me to watch?"
"Uh huh. You did, did you?" Spike face was expressionless as he stood, arms folded across his chest, standing by the bedroom door. "And the thought that I might be watching something never entered your mind?"
"But you weren't watching anything important, were you?"
"Actually yes. They're showing some old episodes of the Creek that I haven't seen yet." Spike said, trying his best to keep his head high and not get embarrassed at his viewing habits.
"Oh, okay then," Xander said softly with a small frown on his face. "I guess that's more important. It's just--well with you being a vampire, you probably don't remember what it's like to be sick. All the aches and pains, your stomach doing flip flops, being unable to keep anything down, how your throat gets sore from all the coughing and your nose goes all red and crusty from having to blow it constantly--"
Spike unfolded his arms and let them flop down to his side, he let his head drop a little in defeat. He searched through his memory to try and find the specific time and place when he had become so whipped.
"--and when you're stuck in bed all day the time just drags by. It can get so boring, you need some kind of distraction from it, especially when you get all hot and flushed, that's the worst. Except when you get the chills, I hate that too, and-"
"Xander, spare me. You win, okay? You win. I'll bring you your soddin' telly."
Xander immediately perked up. "Thanks, Spikey Pooh."
Spike turned his back on Xander, shaking his head in disgust at himself for letting Xander wrap him round his little finger so easily. He walked back into the living room, turned off the TV and was about to unplug it when--
Spike quickly counted to 10 before going back to the bedroom. "What? You're already getting the bloody telly, what else do you want?" He snapped.
"Don't forget the remote."
"Whaaaat?" Spike shouted back, not even bothering to get up from the couch, where he was back reading the paper.
"I need more chocolate milk."
Spike tossed the paper aside and stomped over to the bedroom. He stopped short just inside the door and stared at the nightstand "You have a glass full on the nightstand right beside you, Xander. You've barely touched the stuff since I made it for you."
"S'warm." Xander spoke in a baby voice, giving Spike yet another patented Xander pout.
"It's warm? I only brought it to you half an hour ago."
"Yeah, that's the wacky thing about our 21st century refrigerators, once you take stuff out of them, they get warm again. Can you get me a fresh glass? Pleeeease?"
Spike let out a long tired sigh and stepped around the television. "Fine. Wait here, I'll be back in a minute." He grabbed the glass of warm milk and stormed to the kitchen. He waited there for a minute and walked back to the bedroom, carrying the same glass. He placed it back on the nightstand. "Better?"
"Thanks, Pookie. You're the bestest boyfriend ever, you know?" Xander baby-talked, trying to look as innocent as he could.
"Uh huh. Whatever!"
"Oh, fer crying out loud," Spike muttered under his breath as he grudgingly got up from his seat and traipsed over to see Xander again. "What's the matter now?"
"I'm hungry, can you make me something?"
"Oh. Ummm, yeah I guess that's all right. I think I could dig up something around here that won't be too heavy on your stomach."
"I wanna peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with extra jelly."
"Peanut butter and jelly? What happened to all you barfy feelings? Somehow I doubt peanut butter and jelly is gonna do them much good."
"Pleeeeease? Pretty please, with sugar, and strawberries, and cream on top?"
"That kind of talk doesn't work on me, Xan."
"Um--please with blood, and guts, and entrails, and railroad spike's on top?"
"Oh fine!! But this is so the last thing I am doing for you, okay? After this, you're on your own. You so much as yell 'Spiiiike' at me one more time, I may just have to rip your tongue out of your mouth and wrap it round your throat until you suffocate, 'kay?"
"'Kay. You are the bestest boyfriend in the universe, ya know."
"Yeah, so you said, and the more times you say it like that, the less impact it has."
Spike turned and took a few steps forward.
Spike stopped and, without turning round, asked, "What?"
"Can you make it with raspberry jelly?"
Spike got a couple more steps forward.
"And chunky peanut butter."
This time Spike did turn around. "What?"
"I wondered if you could maybe use the chunky peanut butter? It tastes better with raspberry jelly." Xander replied quietly, shrinking under the covers a little at the dagger looks Spike was giving him.
Spike ground his teeth together and resisted the urge to scream. He muttered under his breath "Christ, what did your last one die of?" before addressing Xander again. "Of course it does. Now is there anything else you want before I go to make it? Anything at all?"
Xander shook his head, but Spike barely had a chance to turn back toward the kitchen before he heard Xander again.
Spike clenched his fists and screwed his eyes shut. He didn't think counting to a thousand would help at this point. "Yes?"
Xander's voice was just a whisper. "Could you, if it isn't too much trouble, maybe cut my sandwich in a diagonal? I like them better that way."
"Xander, a little bit of advice. When I'm like this, you don't want me near any sharp implements. Okay?"
"Okay," Xander squeaked.
Spike finally got to the kitchen and went about making the sandwich. He banged open cupboards and slammed down plates, taking his frustration out on the kitchen utensils instead of on his lovers head. "Fluff my pillow's, Spike. Make me chocolate milk, Spike. Lay down and bleed to death for me, Spike. Where the Hell does it end for that man? Might as well change my name to Cinder-bloody-rella."
The sandwich was made (uncut) and Spike took it to Xander. He practically shoved the plate into Xander's face and said, "Here's your bloody food."
Xander took the plate and lifted one corner of the bread to see the filling. Spike saw Xander's face fall and something snapped. "What the fuck is it this time? Is the peanut butter too chunky for you, is the jelly too red, the bread too-- bleedin' bread-like?"
"It's nothing, never mind."
"No, it's obviously something. Tell me."
Xander could see the gold flecks flicker in Spike's eyes. He took a nervous gulp. "It's just, I usually like seedless jelly in my sandwiches. The type with seeds always gets stuck in my teeth."
"We don't have any soddin' seedless jelly," Spike shouted as he grabbed the plate back from Xander and threw it against the bedroom wall. The two halves parted in flight and splotched against the paint, slowly sliding down, leaving a long streaky red and brown stain, as the plate crashed and shattered into a dozen pieces.
Spike took a deep breath and let his shoulders slump. His expression softened slightly and his voice seemed to become eerily calm. "Okay, if seedless jelly is what my Xanny wants, then that is what my Xanny gets."
Without another word or a look back, he walked out the bedroom and towards the front door. He grabbed his duster, and the blanket they had for emergency daylight use, from the coat rack, put them on and walked out the front door.
Xander was pacing back and forth in the living room in his pajamas. He looked at his wristwatch and sighed. He paced a bit more before looking over at the clock on the wall. He sighed again.
"Damn vampire! How dare he make me worry like this," Xander said out loud to himself.
He walked over to the window and peeked through the blinds at the darkened street below, first one way then the next, craning his neck to see as much as the angle would let him. He let out a frustrated groan and continued with his pacing.
"It does not take three hours to go to the stupid supermarket. He's just doing this to torture me I know it. He's probably at Willy's right now laughing at me, with all his vampire buddies. Yeah well, laugh it up buddy 'cause the Xan Man's not worried. Nope, not me. Not. At. All."
Xander sat down on the couch and crossed his right leg over so that his foot was resting on his left knee, trying to look as casual as possible. "See, this is me not being worried." Xander's right foot started jiggling up and down with all the nervous energy stored up in Xander's body. He lasted like that for about 30 seconds before he was up and pacing again.
"I mean, how was I to know he would get so mad? I just wanted someone to take care of me while I had the sniffles. Willow never got mad when she used to take care of me as kids when I got sick. Of course Willow is not a master vampire with an explosive temper. It's all my fault. Stupid, stupid Xan." Xander hit himself over the forehead with his palm several times, punctuating his words.
"He probably got caught in the sun somewhere. My boyfriend is probably now something people dump out of their vacuum cleaners." Xander sank down to his knees and buried his face in his hands.
Xander jumped back in surprise and fell on his backside when he heard the door open then slam shut. He looked over and saw Spike leaning back against the door, slowly sinking down until he was sitting on the floor.
Xander was so relieved, he immediately stood up and ran over to his boyfriend enveloping him in a tight, bone crushing hug. He began peppering Spike's face with mini kisses all over his eyelids, and forehead, and cheeks, and chin; afraid that if he lost contact with his lover for more that a second he would discover that it was all some sort of guilt induced hallucination.
Xander backed off when he heard Spike's cry and gasped as he took in Spike's appearance. His clothes were caked in mud and his tee-shirt had several small rips all over his chest, each one revealing a glimpse of a bloody cut underneath. His hair was mussed, sticking up at a dozen different angles, but his face was the worst. His right eye was swollen shut and the surrounding area - a deep shade of purple. There was a gash along his left temple dripping blood down the left side of his face and smeared across his cheek where Spike had previously tried to wipe it. There were a dozen other cuts and scratches of varying severity dotted all over his face.
"Oh god, what happened? Are you all right?"
Spike used his one good eye to stare at his lover. "Yeah, I'm just peachy, pet. How about you, anything interesting happen while I was gone?"
"Okay, I get it. Stupid question, Xander. Come on, let me help you up."
Xander stood and held out his hand. Spike took it and hauled himself up off the floor. With an arm across Xander's neck, and Xander's arm around his waist, Spike hobbled through to the bedroom and flopped down on the bed.
Xander carefully took off Spike's clothes, trying not to aggravate the cuts and bruises. Spike just lay back and let him.
"I'm so sorry, Spike. This is all my fault. If I hadn't made you mad, you wouldn't have gone out and you wouldn't have--what? What happened to you?"
"Demon. Big, ugly, blue demon. Seemed to take offense at my existence, so decided to do something about it."
"Oh, my poor Spikey-Pooh. You just lie there. I'll go get some hot water to clean up those cuts. Don't you worry, Xanny's gonna look after you now."
Xander scurried out of the bedroom and into the kitchen.
"I'll get it." Spike shouted through to Xander as he quickly picked up the phone before Xander could get to the extension in the other room. "Hello?" He whispered to the person on the other end.
"Spike, is that you?"
"No, this is Xander. I've joined the Amateur Dramatics Society and I got the lead in our production of the English Patient. I'm just practicing my accent. Of course, it's me, Slayer. I told you not to call here, what do you want?"
"Wow-- grateful much? I do you a favor and all you can come up with is a commercial for Sarcasm R Us. I just wanted to know if it worked?"
"Yes, it worked. Now, bugger off."
"Jeez-- that's the last time I do you a favor, Bub."
"Oh, Slayer, one more thing. Next time I ask you to beat me up, try not to look so happy about it, huh?"
"What, you actually expected me not to enjoy it a little? Come on!"
"Whatever, just fuck off. I think I hear Xander."
"But-" Spike hung up on her abruptly and put the phone aside. He put on his most pathetic face and yelled.