TITLE: "Absurd" (1/1)
AUTHOR: Marie-Claude Danis
EMAIL: mc@verticalcrawl.com
SITE: http://verticalcrawl.com/fic
DISTRIB: My site, list archives. Or just ask.
SPOILERS: Aw yeah. For "Intervention".
PAIRING: Spike/Xander/Anya
NOTE: Still obsessing over last night's ep. Haven't done this
since The X-Files aired "The Field Where I Died". I also want to
cover my ass in front of you folks who might also be on any
Spike/Buffy list - I actually loved the kiss, too. Honest. But
much as in real life, I pretty much go both ways :) But, oh...
This is much more interesting. Much, much more. And, Alexandria
gets to tease me. Belt... buckling... Spike... Ugh. Well. Yes. On
you go.

* * *

Xander stands in the doorway between the living room and the
bedroom, casting a shadow across the carpet in front of him, all
the way to the unmade bed. He can't sleep. He can watch Anya
sleep. She's good at it, and she even manages to look like a
regular girl when she does. For a fleeting moment, Xander also
imagines that regular girl and him in a regular relationship.

He shifts his weight from one foot to the other, arms crossed
over his white t-shirt. He scratches at his bare calf with his
foot, getting antsier by the second.

Finally, a soft rasp on the door.

Xander is there in a heartbeat and swings the door inward. Half a
step and he has an armful of vampire, clinging, warm and wet,
he's not sure what from. And then he realizes the wounds haven't
been healing at all; in fact what he can see of Spike is red and
welted, bleeding, possibly infected. Figures that she-god
cat-scratches wouldn't heal like your regular garden-variety
chest wounds.

He supports the feather-weight, arms hooked under his shoulders.
He turns toward the bedroom door. "ANYA!"

Seconds later she appears in her pretty nightgown, groggy and
still looking like that regular girl. Wordlessly she rushes to
them and they help Spike onto the couch. Xander stays by him as
Anya gathers towels, bandages and ointment. He runs a hand on the
scarred face, knowing it might never completely heal. There he
encounters hot and clammy skin, sprinkled with cold sweat.
Briefly he wonders how a creature with no body temperature can
catch a fever, but then he stops wondering, or he'll have to
wonder how he can do other things too, how two people who aren't
really people can share the same body, or how he himself had been
two different bodies, that one time. Wondering is exhausting in
this neck of the woods, and the how is barely worth a second
thought in the situation at hand.

Fourteen days. He's been healing for fourteen days and he looks
worst off than he did immediately following his encounter with
Glory. This makes Xander more nervous than he'd care to admit out
loud. His vampire might be dying - and for what. Some noble
cause, some harebrained idea of chivalry. But then he knows
William the Bloody wouldn't have it any other way, regardless of
what he meant to anyone. Selfless, under the guise of unabashed
arrogance. That makes *him*, not just the cause (the cause,
always the goddamn cause) noble, although that thought is lost on
everyone but this dysfunctional little triumvirate they form,
him, Spike and Anya.

Anya, Greed made flesh to some, who is more than willing to share
with a demon she's never really hated. All in all a caring
woman, more clever at concealing the obvious than widely
believed. This girl who plays dumb and possessive like someone's
life depends on it; and in a sense, it does. It's creepy,
unlikely, but theirs is an arrangement that works. Their
accidental public is none the wiser, and as long as they believe
they're not freaks, too, in this freakish town, all is good.
Within the three of them, it's even better.

The first and second a decoy for the third, and in the end, no
bed is too small, and no past, in all their cliché glory, is too
much to handle.

Anya settles down on the floor by the couch, and hands Xander a
soaked towel, heavy with icy water. But it's not enough, it won't
cover the burning flesh, the gaping lacerations, it can't hide
the ugly and soothe the ache.

"We need to get him in the bathtub." They agree, and Anya runs
off to the bathroom, flicking the lights on in haste. Seconds
later cold water (as cold as she can make it) is pouring onto
lukewarm enamel, and then Xander is there, clutching their third
against his chest, leaving blood and sweat to mix and stain the
pristine cotton of his shirt. Carrying him easily, like he weighs
nothing, nothing at all.

He's laid down with utter care into the rising water, fully
clothed, and a hand comes to cradle the back of his head so he
won't hurt himself on the hard edge.

Xander runs a frantic, wet hand through dirty, tangled hair,
feeling for bumps he might have missed the first time around. The
last string of consciousness snaps, unnoticed, and Spike's head
rolls to the side. They prop him up so that he be comfortable,
should he be awake.

For a while the only sound in the small, brightly lit room is the
thundering torrent of water filling the tub all too slowly, and
terrified eyes watch the level rise across the unmoving chest.
The hand cradling his head plays with the short hair in his neck,
fingertips twisting around damp curls. Anya's delicate chin rests
on Xander's broader shoulder.

And they wait.


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