Give Me a Reason
A BTVS S:6 Spara AU by AGriffinWriter
Tara glanced up from the sink and quickly turned off the water, not sure whether the soft tap on the backdoor was just in her imagination or not. Everyone who should be here was already here, right? Dawn had come straight home after school and locked herself in her room, as usual, only coming down for a quiet dinner and stiffly answering questions about her homework. Willow was also upstairs already, probably with a dozen books – some textbooks, the rest magical volumes – spread out on their bed.
So who was knocking at the backdoor?
The tapping sounded again, and Tara set the dishes down and crossed cautiously to the door. She flipped the switch to turn the porch light on, then peered between the blinds.
She wasn't sure if he heard her through the window or merely read his name off her lips, but the vampire on the other side of the glass nodded, and Tara quickly opened the door.
Spike was a mess. One eye was blackened and swollen, and blood ran from both his forehead and his nose. He stood leaning heavily on his right leg because his left was bleeding from the kneecap downwards, a long cut slicing open both denim and skin. He draped one arm around his torso as if to hold himself together, but he couldn't quite manage to conceal the bloodstain continuing to spread on his dark shirt.
"W-w-what happened to you?" Tara whispered, shock and pity making her voice tremble.
Spike shook his head slightly, wincing at even the small movement. "Bit off more'n I could chew. Sorry to bother you."
"It's n-no bother, Spike. You could have just come in."
"Didn't know if I'd still be… invited," he murmured, eyes on the porch floorboards.
His words reminded Tara of the last time she'd seen Spike, roughly a week ago. He'd gotten into a loud and uncouth argument with Xander over whether or not the vampire would be allowed to watch over Dawn alone if the others were all busy with their jobs and classes. One thing led to another, until Xander finally accused Spike of transferring his sick obsession with Buffy along to her younger sister. And that's when Spike had clocked Xander in the face. The chip had retaliated, of course, nearly splitting open the vampire's head, and while he'd been lying on the floor cradling his skull, Xander had kicked him, thrown him out of the living room, and told him never to come back.
"You d-didn't hear what happened next?" Tara asked him, reaching one hand out to gently touch his shoulder, but withdrawing it when even the soft contact caused him to wince.
"Couldn't hear anythin'… for two days. Chip played merry hell with my eardrums," he admitted. "Had to heal."
"W-well… we all defended you. A-all us girls, I mean. Willow and Anya and I. That w-was a cruel thing for Xander to say. None of us think that a-about you, Spike. We didn't disinvite you."
"Ta, luv." He swallowed painfully and slid a little further down the doorframe. "M-mind if I come in? Patch m'self up?"
"Oh! Yes, c-come in, Spike."
To be continued...