Chapter Two -- Playing Doctor
After a 10-minute walk that felt like hours, I finally arrived at my house with an unconscious Spike draped over my shoulder. At first, I considered heading straight for Giles’ apartment, but the 10-minute walk to my house seemed much more appealing than the 20-minute walk to his place. I’m just going to have to make Giles come to me instead. I think he’ll understand.
With my one free hand, I somehow managed to wriggle my house key out of my pants pocket and I opened the front door with as much stealth as possible. I didn’t mind so much if my mother woke up, but all I needed was for Dawn to come down and start fawning over the bleeding vampire in my arms. I mean the bleeding man.
Or . . . well, the bleeding ‘it’? Yeah. That works for me. At least until I figure out what’s going on with him. It. Ahh, whatever.
I bypassed the couch and headed straight up towards my bedroom. Not that the morning sunlight in the living room would bother him anymore, but I figured that it would be easier to clean him up a bit if he were in a bed.
With the last ounce of my Slayer-strength, I hauled his limp body up the stairs and practically threw him on the bed as I collapsed beside him. Funny thing about Slayer-strength? It’s really good in short bursts and when you have tons of adrenaline running through you, but in a case like this . . . it dies down pretty quickly.
Yeah, I never read about that in the manual either. In fact . . . I never even got a manual. I’ll have to check on that sometime.
Anyways . . .
After I caught my breath and sat for about a minute, I got up from the bed and stared down at Spike. I had no idea what to do . . . anything I was gonna do was going to cause him pain, whether it was to check over his injuries, take Xander’s jacket off of him, or simply move him to a more comfortable position. But really . . . in his current condition, I don’t think that there was any ‘comfortable’ for him.
So, I decided on checking out his injuries. First, I had to get the jacket off of him so I could see the full extent of the damage.
After hesitating for a moment, I cautiously leaned towards him and gently began to pull his arms out of the sleeves. It’s probably a good thing he was already unconscious because as I pulled his arms out, I could see some of the partially closed wounds start to bleed again, and let me tell ya: I was being really gentle. Whatever or whoever did this really did a number on him.
I hate to admit it, but it almost broke my heart to look at him like that. It was Spike, but at the same time it wasn’t. Not the Spike that I knew. Not the cocky, arrogant, overconfident Spike that I knew and was strangely used to. The old Spike had a spark . . . something that just drew in your attention and kinda held you there in amazement, almost. Even without a soul, he had this kind of spirit about him. Not good, not bad . . . just there, making his presence known.
Don’t get me wrong . . . I didn’t like that Spike very much . . . he was lucky that he had that chip in his head, or he would’ve been dust a long time ago. Still, even that Spike was better than this one . . . so broken and dispirited and. . . un-Spike like? Does that even make sense? Am I even making sense?
So, I finished peeling the jacket off of his blood-stained body and began to examine his wounds. Or at least I tried to. There was so much dried and caked-up blood that it was hard to tell what was a wound and what was just a scab or blood clot.
Yeah, I know. It was mad gross. ‘Tis the life of the Slayer, right? Big nasties and even bigger with the ‘gross factor’.
I decided that I needed to remove some of the excess blood in order to get a good look. I quietly walked to the bathroom and gathered a few supplies before returning to my room. I closed the door behind me, carefully holding it tight at the point where it creaked to muffle the sound.
After laying out the bowl of warm water, the wash-cloth, and the antiseptic on my nightstand, I dipped the wash-cloth in the water and turned to Spike, ready to begin my ministrations on him.
Ever so gently, I placed the wet cloth on the center of his well-muscled chest, figuring it was the best place to start. I worked my way out from the center in small circles, stopping every now and then to rinse the cloth. When I placed the cloth back on his chest and rubbed over the area of his heart, I heard him hiss in pain while he was still unconscious. I instantly froze, knowing that when I lifted the cloth, I was going to find something really gross there. Slowly but surely, I lifted the cloth and gasped when I looked beneath it.
There was a large, familiar looking hole in Spike’s chest. I knew what it was right away. It looked like someone had tried to stake him. Maybe they thought that it would kill a human just as much as it would a vamp. But it didn’t kill this human. Or whatever he was. No wonder there was so much blood. I almost felt that if I looked into it deep enough, I’d be able to see his heart.
The thought of that still weirds me out. No, not the thought of him having a hole in his chest.
The thought of him having a beating heart. Yeah, that.
But I didn’t have a chance to look further at Spike’s gaping wound. As I tried to look closer, it began to ooze once again, hindering my inspection. Before I knew exactly what I was doing, my feet led me across the room and towards my telephone. I dialed the first number that came to mind.
RING RING RING RING . . . Hello, you have reached the home of Rupert Giles. I’m currently unavailable to take your call. Please leave a brief message and I’ll be sure to ring you back at my nearest convenience. BEEP.
“Giles, it’s me. Listen, we have a little problem here. Actually, it’s a pretty big problem. Where are you? You can’t be sleeping yet, it’s only . . .” she glanced at her alarm clock, “. . . 11:15. Listen, call me as soon as you get this. Better yet, just come over to my mom’s house. Bring gauze and bandages if you have extra.”
I hung up the phone and thought for a minute. I knew that I needed help, so I dialed the next person that came to mind. After 2 rings, I heard a sleepy voice on the other line.
“Hi Mrs. Rosenberg. This is Buffy Summers. Is Willow still up? It’s really important.” I asked impatiently. No time for small talk, you know?
“No, Muffy, she’s not asleep. She went with Mr. Giles and Alexander to some sort of a classical movie fest in town. She said she’d be in late.”
“Oh. Okay. Well, do you think you could ask her to call BUFFY when she gets in? It’s really kinda important.”
“Sure thing, Muffy. Good night.” And she hung up the phone.
“GEEZ!” I said. “I’ve been friends with her daughter for 5 years and she still can’t get my name right.”
After a moment, I calmed down and thought again about what I should do. On a whim, I decided to call Giles’ cell phone to see if I could track them down. After I got his voice mail, I just decided to give up.
I know what you’re thinking. I’m a Slayer. I’m supposed to be able to deal with this stuff. After all, I have no problem bandaging myself up on numerous occasions. But I never really had to take care of someone who was hurt this bad before. I looked towards Spike and saw that he was covered in a fresh coat of blood on his chest.
I realized that I was running out of options and possibly time, so I decided to turn to my last resort. I trudged out of my room and headed towards my mother’s bedroom door. I stood there for a moment, hesitating on whether or not I should involve her. Then I remembered something.
My mom liked Spike. Sure, she threatened him with an axe at one point in time. Who hasn’t? But since then, she had actually taken a liking to him. She comforted him when he told her about his um-teenth break-up with Drusilla, and she even made him hot chocolate. With mini-marshmallows! That’s supposed to be my special cheer-up treat. In any case, she always thought he acted like a ‘gentleman’, even if he was a vampire.
Yeah, guess I should be glad now that she never got to see the side of him that chained me up in his crypt and professed his love for me. Or the side that threatened to kill me whenever he was having a bad day. Yeah.
So, without too much more hesitation, I lightly tapped on her door and made my way inside. I placed my hand on her shoulder and shook her slightly.
“Mom . . . mom?” She rolled over and looked at me.
“Buffy? What is it, honey? What’s the matter.
“Mom . . . I need your help.”
She gave me a smile, like she was glad that I had finally come to her for help. She was so used to seeing the strong side of me that she liked the few vulnerable glimpses that I gave her every now and then.
Without another word or any questions, she got up out of bed and followed me to my bedroom. When she got to the door, she froze and stood there in silence, staring at the bloodied body on the bed.
“Is that . . . Spike?” She asked disbelievingly. Then, her eyes got wide and she turned to me with an angry look. “Buffy Anne Summers . . . did you do this to him?!?”
I just glared at her. I couldn’t believe she would thin that I would do that to Spike.
Okay, so maybe I would have in the past. But not as of late. Not since the chip. Besides . . . she should know that if I were to beat Spike unconscious, I wouldn’t bring him back home and take care of him. I’m not that stupid.
After a moment of my silence, she began to speak again.
“Buffy, when you asked me for help, I didn’t think that it would be to help you with a dead body. I don’t . . .”
“MOM!” I cut in. Yeah, I couldn’t believe her either. “I did NOT kill Spike. He’s not dead. He’s very much alive, actually.”
She gave me a puzzled look. I sighed.
“I found him locked in a marble casket in the middle of a cemetery. I didn’t know what to do, so I brought him here.” I looked down, feeling shy all of a sudden. “I think he’s human.” I said, the words barely coming out in a whisper.
Before I could look up, my mom was standing next to the bed and looking over Spike. She grabbed one of his limp wrists and held it in her hand, concentrating.
“He has a pulse . . . but it’s weak. Buffy, he needs a hospital.”
Yeah right. How exactly would I explain this to a doctor. ‘This is Spike. He used to be a vampire, but he’s not now. How old is he, you ask? Umm . . . 110? 120? His blood type? Gee . . . all of them? Health insurance? Umm . . . do former vampires even have health insurance?’ See my point?
“Mom, we can’t take him to the hospital. Too many questions. We just need to help him now . . . get him through the night.”
My mom looked at me questioningly, but finally relented. She asked me to get her clean towels and all of the gauze pads and bandages that I could find, as well as any antibiotic ointments and creams.
I headed to the hallway and fumbled around through the closet, grabbing anything and everything that I thought might help. Towels, bandages, ointments, powders, tweezers. Even shampoo. What?! He might need it. You never know.
When I got back to my room, I saw that my mom had cleaned most of the blood off of his torso and arms. She quickly made use of the gauze and bandages that I had laying on the nightstand. She looked up at me.
“Buffy . . . I’m not sure if ‘Mom-love’ is what he really needs right now. I can only do so much. I’m used to scraped knees and slivers, not puncture wounds and deep lacerations.”
“I know, Mom. But you’re doing a great job. Here, I’ll help.”
I pulled the sheets back and began to clean up his legs which appeared to be covered in a series of small burns and cuts. I noticed the shape of one of the burns . . . it was that of a cross. Then, I suddenly realized what must have happened. Whoever did this wanted to torture him. They kept him as a vampire, using crosses and holy water to wreak havoc on his body. Then, somehow, they turned him human so that he would have to live with the pain. The stake in the chest must have been a parting gift.
After about an hour, we had cleaned him up pretty nicely. After applying salve to his burns and antiseptic and ointment to his cuts, we bandaged them up and cleaned up after ourselves. As my Mom walked back into the room, she found me covering up the still unconscious Spike with clean sheets.
I stood up and walked over to her, wrapping my hands around her waist and putting my face into her shoulder.
“Do you think he’s gonna be okay?” I asked, not really sure if I wanted to hear it or not.
“I don’t know, sweetie. Let’s see if he makes it through the night first.” She answered truthfully, pulling me closer to her while we both turned our heads to gaze at Spike.
William the Bloody.
Or maybe just William, now.