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Repost Chapter 5 - Awakening

Blame it on encroaching senility and a very busy past few days, but I never did manage to post. Hopefully we're back on track with Chapter 5, in which the Spike is holding on day by day, and Buffy... well... you'll find out.

Please read, enjoy and comment. The muse will thank you.


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The Body – Chapter 5 - Awakening

After Dawn moved out, Spike found himself desolate. His 'Bit' had been his touchstone, the one person he could turn to when he needed a break from the constant care he lavished on Buffy. The one being he could actually help fix – or so he’d thought. With her gone, so too went the laughter, and another little piece of Joyce’s family was gone from Revello Drive. All he had left to hold on to was the firm belief that Buffy would come back. To him.

Becky showed up sporadically. She’d give Spike a hand with the housekeeping, do a little food shopping for things she knew he liked, and cooked the occasional meal. When she came by after dark, Spike took advantage of her generosity and went off on vicious patrols, often coming back covered in blood and dust. Becky never asked any questions.

Sue Norris continued her Sunday visits. Besides Becky, the good doctor was pretty much the only other human contact Spike had outside Buffy, and he grabbed onto her company with both hands. Generous to a fault, each week she brought a cooler filled with nearly outdated blood from the hospital, and all of Buffy’s medical necessities, including adult diapers. Sue had argued a catheter’s merits to make things simpler, but he refused. After her examinations, the doctor could hardly disagree… Buffy didn't know what a bed sore or a rash was. Her skin was smooth and blemish free as a fresh peach.

Buffy’s condition was assessed weekly by Dr. Norris: blood drawn, muscle tone tested, and brainwaves recorded… every bit of it taken back to the hospital for analysis. Yet after seven months, outside of a marked improvement in her physical appearance, Buffy Summers’ general condition remained unchanged.

“I have to tell you, Spike,” said Dr. Norris, after the latest examination, “I’m really impressed with the level and quality of care you’re providing.” She hesitated. “If you don’t mind my asking, what were you before you were turned?”

“Human, for one,” Spike quipped, unable to stop himself. The wisecrack earned him a sharp rap to the back of his head.

“Smart ass.”

With a waggle of his eyebrows and a grin that quickly faded, Spike grew serious. “Sorry, pet. Been a while since I’ve had a good chuckle. In answer to your question, I had a couple of years of doctors’ trainin’ at London Hospital before runnin’ into m’bloody end.”

Hearing that, Sue wasn’t overly surprised, considering the skill he’d demonstrated. He seemed to have a natural affinity for caring for the injured, both spiritually and physically.

“Would you mind answering another question for me?” she asked. “For someone whose basic instincts were to tend and heal, how is it that you ended up so… so…”

“Survival, luv,” Spike said grimly. “Plain and simple. In the beginning, anyway. Between Drusilla, Angelus, and Darla, they made sure the last of William Bennett’s kindly impulses were buried under their ‘lessons’.”

Sue reached out, gently gripping the vampire’s shoulder. “It’s all right, you know. I wasn’t judging your actions. Frankly, I’m surprised you managed to survive their ‘tutelage’ to become the compassionate being you are today.”

Spike ducked his head; a shy little smile gracing his lips. “I was a good man, once.”

“And you are a good man, now,” Sue corrected. “Which leads me to ask one final question. I know you’re convinced as to the outcome of Buffy’s coma, and I’ll support you as long as you believe she’ll wake up… but I have to ask if you’ve given any thought as to when enough might be enough. Is there any point where you see yourself deciding to end this vigil?”

A quick ‘never’ almost popped out, but Spike couldn’t force the word past his lips. Was there a point where he’d be willing to concede defeat and just let her rest in peace? Looking up at his friend, he answered as honestly as he could. “Dunno, pet. I just know it’s not time to give up yet.”

Sue nodded and gathered her things. She blew him a kiss as she walked out the door.

***

Dr. Norris’ words shook Spike more than he cared to think about. Would he ever finally decide that Buffy had been through enough, and wasn’t coming back? If so, how long would it take before he gave up on her recovery?

No… no. It was unthinkable. He wouldn’t give up on her. Ever.

So, given his stubborn nature, he did the one thing a betting man could have staked his life on:

Spike intensified his care.

He began to use a loofah during Buffy’s bath, rubbing vigorously enough to pinken her skin and hopefully awaken the nerve endings. He gave her full body massages several times a day; from the crown of her head to the tips of her toes. There wasn’t a centimeter of Buffy that didn’t receive his loving attentions.

Remembering his time spent with Dru after Prague, Spike would sit by the headboard with Buffy pulled up flush against his naked chest – flesh against flesh – and brush her hair for hours at a time. Her scalp was always flushed when he’d finished. That pleased him enough to provoke a smile. Stimulation; that was the name of the game.

Whenever the radio or television weren’t on, Spike would talk to Buffy. Didn’t matter what he was doing, he would describe it in detail.

“Took the vacuum to your rug, Slayer. Your mum would have a fit if I let the dust bunnies breed all wild-like.”

“Gonna set up your bath now, pet. Nice and warm with some of that honey-almond bath stuff you fancy. A little frou-frou for me, but I’ll cope.”

“Here now, wake up and see reason. Aren’t you a little old to be wearing nappies, luv? Not that I don’t admire the view, but I’d love to see you in a nice pair of skintight black leather trousers.”

“C’mon, Buffy. Wake up for me,” he’d urge. “Just a little punch in the nose for old Spike. I’m beginning to think you don’t love me anymore.”

Hour after hour, the litany would go on until even Spike became sick of the sound of his own voice. When that happened, he’d turned on the stereo as loud as he could tolerate it and go about the business of straightening up the Slayer’s room.

One night, listening to a woman with a voice like a wounded angel, he actually began to listen to the words after the first few lines:

“… All I wanted to say was 'I love you and I'm not afraid'
Can you hear me?
Can you feel me in your arms?

Holding my last breath
Safe inside myself
Are all my thoughts of you
Sweet raptured light it ends here tonight

I'll miss the winter
A world of fragile things
Look for me in the white forest
Hiding in a hollow tree (come find me)
I know you hear me
I can taste it in your tears

Holding my last breath
Safe inside myself
Are all my thoughts of you
Sweet raptured light it ends here tonight

Closing your eyes to disappear
You pray your dreams will leave you here
But still you wake and know the truth
No one's there

Say goodnight
Don't be afraid
Calling me, calling me as you fade to black

(Say goodnight...)
Holding my last breath
Safe inside myself
Are all my thoughts of you
Sweet raptured light it ends here tonight
As if under a spell, Spike found himself drawn to Buffy. He sat beside her and pressed a gentle kiss to her lips. Then he pulled back, half expecting – hoping – for her to awaken with a fluttering of her eyelashes.

Nothing.

He shook his head, calling himself all kinds of fool for believing in fairytale endings. “Sorry, sweetling. Was so sure that… I’d hoped that… doesn’t matter, luv. I’m not going anywhere.”

Following the pattern he’d developed since Dawn left the house, Spike slipped off his clothes, and crawled into bed behind Buffy. He gently turned her on her side, rubbing her shoulder and nuzzling into the nape of her neck as he drifted off to sleep.

***

In the middle of night, Spike was awoken by the oddest sensation: warm air, wafting across his face. Moving back slowly so as not to jar Buffy, he moved her arm…

And opened his eyes to the prettiest sight he’d seen in eight months: Buffy’s hazel eyes, looking right back at him.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
kudagirl
May. 16th, 2011 11:09 am (UTC)
As Angel told them long ago about Spike, "Once he starts something he doesn't stop, until everything in his path is dead. Stay away."

Spike doesn't give up when something is important to him. It might change a bit, but he still keeps at it. When all of the others left Buffy, Spike refused to give up.
louise39
May. 17th, 2011 12:07 am (UTC)
Spike had ...natural affinity for caring for the injured

Yay Buffy's back!!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )