19. Saying It!
Betas: Mabel Marsters, Tanit, & Slaymesoftly
In Harm's Way
Chapter Nineteen: Saying It!
Spike took long strides down the hallway, rounded a corner and ran smack dab into nurse Troy.
“You again!” Troy exclaimed, involuntarily backing up.
“'S right. Won't be long. Need to see Buffy,” he said in as neutral a tone as he possible could, trying to be diplomatic.
“What's wrong with coming during regular visiting hours?”
“Had things to do.” Spike shoved the nurse out of his way and took two steps before Troy was back in his path.
“It's almost midnight. You can't be here.”
Bored with Troy's persistence, Spike stared at him for a beat, then said, “I can see why you work the graveyard shift. Your people skills are sadly lacking.” Once more, he pushed Troy to the side and continued on his way.
“If you don't leave now,” Troy said as he grabbed Spike by the arm, “I'll--”
The nurse suddenly found himself tossed against the wall. “You'll what, tough guy?”
“I'll...I'll call security.” The nurse leaned against the wall for support.
“See. Here's the thing. I, too, am sadly lacking in people skills. You could call security and I'd leave, because I'm trying to impress a lady and causing a scene just wouldn't do.”
Troy stood taller and smiled smugly.
“But then I'd have to find you after your shift ended and rearrange your face; maybe break a few fingers, and—I don't know—I could come up with all sorts of ways to make you wish that you'd hadn't messed with me.” Spike turned his back on the stunned nurse and casually strolled into Buffy's room.
Dressed in a long flowing skirt and a sweater, Buffy stood near her bed, looking up at the TV. She jumped when he spoke. “I wasn't expecting to find you in your street clothes. Shouldn't you be sleeping right now?”
There was a brief flash of sparkle in her eyes and a hint of smile before she frowned. “What are you doing here, Spike?”
“Just came by to see how my favorite slayer was doing,” he told her with a shrug as he sat on the edge of the empty bed. “Would you rather I was out on the street causing mayhem and death?”
The horrified look on her face and the shake of her head made him groan. “Way to go, Casanova. Remind her that you're evil. That's the way to a girl's heart.” Upset with himself, he grumbled, “Why aren't you in bed like a good little patient?”
“I've had enough of this place.”
He folded his arms across his chest and raised an eyebrow at her.
“They won't let me sleep, the food sucks, and I just hate it here,” she said, sounding like a spoiled little girl.
“So, the doctors are letting you go, then?”
She sighed. “No. My doctor wants to see me tomorrow afternoon before he decides if I can go home or not.”
“Don't you think you ought to listen to the doctor?” Spike could not believe he was being the voice of reason.
“Every time the nurse comes to check my vitals, it's always the same, 'no temperature, normal blood pressure, and here take these pills'. I don't feel any pain in my leg and really, the stitches should come out already.”
Feeling better about her condition, he smiled at her, “So, what? Do you have an escape plan?”
“Nope,” she said, grabbing her duffel bag with one arm and carrying her crutch with the other. “This isn't a prison. I'm going to walk out.”
He took the bag from her, eying the hot pink paw sticking out of the open zipper. “And you planned to walk all the way home?”
“I'm going to call a cab from a pay phone, once I get out of here.” She left the crutch just inside her room and walked out.
“I've got my car. I'm still staying at your mom's. Might as well give you a lift home.”
Buffy groaned when Troy came rushing up. “Where are you going?” he asked incredulously, casting a wary eye at Spike.
“I'm sorry, Troy, but I can't stay here another minute. I'll go insane if I do.”
“But...you haven't been released,” he flustered. “There are papers to sign. There's a do and don't list for when you get home.”
Spike followed Buffy as she started walking away and said, “You know, it might be good to have that list.”
She stopped and without looking back, said, “If you hurry, Troy, I'll wait for it.”
It amused Spike to see the guy scramble to the nurses' station, complain to the other nurse at the desk and come rushing back with the home instructions.
“Here. Oh, and it's strict hospital policy that patients do not leave the hospital under their own power. You'll need to wait for a wheelchair.”
Spike glanced over at the nurses' station and noticed that the other nurse was talking on the phone as she watched them.
“No need for a bleeding wheelchair, you poof,” Spike said, all business like. He set the bag down and scooped the Slayer up like a bride being carried over the threshold on her wedding night.
“Put me down!” Buffy ordered.
He fought to keep a good grip on the struggling Slayer and bend down to pick up the duffel bag at the same time. “She's not walking out on her own power now, is she?”
With Buffy hitting his shoulder and Troy gawking at them, Spike trudged down the hall. He whispered in her ear, “Quit your bloody wriggling, Slayer. If you split open your stitches, it's right back into that bed for you.”
She relaxed in his arms, “This is just ridiculous. I can walk fine.”
“Saw the other nurse making a phone call. Just thought you'd want to leave before they called security or got a doctor here.” He picked up his pace, now that Buffy was behaving. “Besides, I kind of like the feel of you in my arms. It's been a while.”
She kept quiet, but their eyes met briefly. He found the slight flush of her cheeks very endearing, and if they weren't in such a hurry, he would have stopped to kiss her. He would have gladly continued to carry her once they were out the doors, but she immediately started to struggle. Of course, he couldn't pass up the opportunity to hold her tight and really get his hands on Buffy, so he fought her for few seconds before gently putting her down. Spike couldn't help but grin while she adjusted her clothing and glared at him.
“Stop grinning at me like a fool,” she said peevishly. “Point me to your car. I want to go home.”
He narrowed his eyes, latching on to her arm in a tight grip. “I think you are forgetting who you are talking to, Slayer.”
“Yeah, well, I'm too tired to care. Put me out of my misery now and kill me, or take me home so I can get some real sleep.” After yanking her arm free, she turned in a slow circle. “Now, where is your car?”
God, he loved her feistiness. Even if she was basically saying she had a death wish. It would be nice if she feared him just a little, though. “Over there.” He pointed and she quickly led the way, not even limping.
Buffy rested her head against the car seat with her eyes closed as Spike drove along the mostly deserted streets. He read the after care instructions that Troy had given Buffy and kept one eye on the road at the same time. It was pretty simple. She couldn't submerge the wound until the stitches were out. This gave Spike all kinds of visions involving sponge baths and naked, wet Buffy, but he continued reading. She was encouraged to take small walks, but no running, no climbing stairs or hills.
“It says here to take all the medicine that your doctor prescribed, but you don't have a prescription yet, do you?”
Buffy opened her eyes and snatched the paper from him. “Are you trying to kill me before I get home? Keep your eyes on the road.”
They were surprised to see the lights on when they pulled up to the curb. Before they could get out of the Desoto, Joyce was running up to them, with her own keys in hand. “I just got a call from the hospital, Buffy. What's going on?”
“I wanted to come home,” Buffy said. She shut the car door and walked up the path to the house.
Joyce focused her displeasure on Spike. “How could you let her leave?”
“Don't blame me. I was coming by for a visit and found her planning an escape.” When Joyce still glared at him, he added, “Have you ever tried to talk her out of doing something once she has her mind set?”
Joyce and Spike shared a smile.
Buffy sighed, “I'm tired. Can we talk about this in the house, please?”
Spike caught up to her, took the papers from her, putting them in his coat pocket, and scooped her up again. This time she smacked at him, but he ignored her and said, “The instructions say no climbing stairs.”
Once inside, he kept going up the stairs and gently deposited the spitting mad slayer on her bed. Being the stubborn bint that she was, Spike wasn't surprised when she got right up. He shook his head. He could feel her angry stare directed at him, even as he turned his back to her and left the room.
Joyce stood by Buffy's door and he handed her the paperwork. “Aftercare instructions. Better that you have them.”
“Thanks for bringing her home, Spike.”
As always, he couldn't help but be polite to Joyce. With a slight smile, he nodded and entered the guest room, next door. When they'd talked earlier in the day, Joyce had invited him to stay until he could find his own place. She also insisted that the one who had saved her daughter should have the guest room and not the “dingy” basement. Truth be told, he felt more comfortable in the basement, but after getting to know Joyce, he was willing to do anything to make her happy.
Spike sat on the edge of the too soft bed and grinned when the muted voices next door went up in volume. Either Mom was scolding the Slayer for leaving the hospital without the doctor’s approval, or the Slayer just found out that he was sleeping in the next room. Knowing the Summers women, it was probably both.
His plans for the night were shot. He'd expected to spend his time sitting up next to a sleeping slayer and watching TV. There was no TV in his room, but he did have his headphones and walkman. He lay back and listened to the Ramones, trying not to think about the Slayer getting ready to go to sleep in the next room.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
A heavy object landed on his stomach, effectively yanking him out of a deep sleep. Spike sat up, noting the sunlight streaming through the window and Buffy with her arms folded across her chest, standing just a few feet away.
“This isn't going to work,” she said.
The brass candle stick landed beside the bed with a thump as he turned the blankets back and sat on the edge, not caring that he was naked. Disappointed, but not surprised that she averted her eyes, he took the opportunity to quickly glance at his hand to make sure that the Gem was still snuggly set on his finger.
“I don't think your mum would like it too much if she knew you barged into her guest’s room while he was naked,” Spike said with a grin. He reached for his jeans and slipped them on.
“Yeah? Well, she's already left for the gallery. And I want you gone before she gets home.”
“Do you, really?” he asked, slipping his shirt on. Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
“Of course I do. You can't live in my mom's house. What are you playing at?”
After he had his boots on, he stood up with head tilted and said, “Playing? Your mother invited me to stay and I accepted.”
Her folded arms and stony expression did not fool him. She could act anyway she wanted, but it was clear Buffy had a thing for him. “Perhaps,” he said, taking a step closer to her, “I just want to be near you.”
Buffy shook her head and backed out of the room, with Spike following into the hall. She turned away from him and with a stiff back, she said, “I thought you'd be in Brazil right now, looking for Drusilla.”
“Why didn't I think of that?” He threw his hands up. “Go find my insane-ex-girlfriend and show off my invincibility.” He warmed up to his faux plan. “She'll take me back and we could scour the country, leaving a path of death and destruction in our wake.” He patted his pockets. “Where are my keys?” Then he stopped and frowned at Buffy, not believing that she would bring Drusilla up.
“I'm not saying that's what I want you to do, but I'm asking why you haven't done that?” she said, facing him again.
“I've had enough of Drusilla. She cheated on me one too many times. When it comes to matters of love, I'll admit, I don't have a lot of pride, but a Chaos demon? Have you seen those things?” He shuddered. “Besides, it's not Drusilla that I'm in love with.”
His pointed stare had her turning her back on him again.
“You don't know what you're saying. You don't have a soul. How could you possibly feel real love?”
He shrugged. “I don't give a damn about a bloody, mystical piece of intangible nothingness that I'm supposedly missing. I know love, and I know when I'm feeling it.” When she turned back and just stared at him, unconvinced by his words, he continued, “Drusilla saw this coming, you know.” He nodded firmly when Buffy rolled her eyes at him. “Yes, she did. Last time I saw her, she went on about seeing you surrounding me and such.”
“I...I...this is just not--”
“Not what? You can't help who you fall in love with, now can you? When there's an attraction, there just is.”
Buffy was doing her best to close herself off, but Spike would have none of it. He grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her close, letting his unneeded breath fall on her cheek. “Tell me you don't feel it.”
She trembled slightly, her body temperature rising and the sweet scent of her arousal filled the air, but she pushed away from him, shaking her head. “You’re evil. I can't do this.”
Spike glanced around, trying to come up with the right words to convince her that they could work. He never imagined declaring his love for her in a hallway. “Come back into my room and let's talk.”
With lips pursed, she stared at him. If she was considering it, her closed off expression didn't give it away. Without a word, she turned and went into her room.
His frustrated growl filled the hall as he went after her, putting his boot in the door's path before she could close it.
“Get out,” she ordered dispassionately, when he forced his way in and shut the door.
Trying to get a grip on the anger boiling up inside him, he took a calming breath. She couldn't make it easy on him, could she? “Not until you hear me out.” He mustered up all the patience he could and stood where he was, waiting until she was ready to look him in the eye.
The Slayer came at him with both palms out and pushed on his chest. “Get out!”
In a flash, Spike clasped his hands behind Buffy's neck, affectively trapping her to him. She was startled just enough that he was able to bend slightly at his knees and hold her head to keep her from looking away. She had incredibly expressive eyes. Right now they flashed with indignation and a hint of fear, but at least he had her undivided attention.
“I. Am. In love. With you.”
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