Hero at Rest

The curtains are drawn tightly in a room that takes him a moment to recognize. Joyce's old room, Buffy's now. Spike tries to sit up but decides he'll save the brave front when she comes. No sense in wasting what precious little strength he has left. His whole body hurts, every cell seems to have been battered. He remembers Buffy coming to save him and helping him up the stairs to an audience of teengage girls? Maybe that part was a dream? He closes his good eye and rests again.

The door opens softly and he can feel her prescence even before he opens his eye. Buffy is standing at the bureau her back to him, she's busy with bandages and antiseptics. She turns towards him and smiles when she sees his awake. "Hey." She says softly, pulling the covers down to check the cuts on his chest,"Feeling any better?"

"Yes a bit." His voice is still hoarse and the words come out a bit froggy. He tries to sit up now, trying not to wince as bruised muscles and broken ribs are uncooperative.

Buffy reaches for him holding him as he settles against the headboard, "See I'll be right as rain soon."

"Yeah, sure you will." She rolls her eyes as she begins to rebandage his wounds, "They really did a number on you." Her voice breaks slightly.

"S'okay." He holds an unneeded breath as she rewraps the bandage around his ribs, one bruised hand reaches to touch her cheek, "You look like someone did a number on you too." He rubs his thumb very gently across the bandaged cut on her cheek.

"I'll be okay." She smiles again as she finishes with the bandages and pats his hand. She lays the bandaging and tape on the bedside table and her face turns serious, "I..I .."

She can't seem to get out the words and he so wants to help, "What do you want Buffy?"

The tears fall then, and she shakes her head, "What do I want? I want my house back, I want to send those potential back to thier families unharmed. I want to take a long shower and I want to sleep for at least thirty minutes uninterrupted."

"Oh.....then the girls weren't a dream?" He interrupts.

"No, they are potential slayers." Buffy takes a few minutes to explain about the gaggle of girls camped out in her home. She sniffles as he wipes a tear from her cheek.

"Girls going back, I can try to help with that one. We'll get them trained in no time, they'll learn from the best Slayer ever chosen and the enemy himself." He nods his head as if the whole mess is settled and gives his best Spike smile.

"You're hardly up to that right now." She sniffs again.

"Piffle this is nothing. I'lll be up and about by tomorrow." He accentuates this statement by trying to scoot to the edge of the bed and stand. His body resists the notion of standing as he winces again.

Buffy lays a small hand on his chest, "Why don't we give it a couple of days." She tells him as she eases him back into the warmth of her bed.

"Maybe......but only if..." He starts.

"Only if what?" She asks suspiciously.

"You lie down and get some rest.......I've taken your bed the least I can do is share it." He began to stutter, "I mean - I didn't mean it that way."

She was laughing softly even as she climbed into the bed and snuggled under the blankets, she winked at him, "Thirty minutes okay?".

"It's going to be alright, Buffy." He ran a soft hand through her hair amazed at how strong she was despite whatever was thrown at her.

She closed her eyes and was soon sleeping as if it was the most natural thng in the world to sleep next to him. Hewatched her deep breathing, watched her completlely trusting him, watched her belief in him, watched his hero at rest.

The end