Disclaimer: I don't own Xander or Spike, though I wish I did. I do however own Dr. Gregor.
AN: This is such an old story ... I wrote it sometime in 2004. Though it holds sentimental value since it was my first finished fic. The horrible thing is, while I believe I have better ideas now, my writing style has gone downhill. Somehow I've developed a problem with speech ... I can't seem to write it now a days.
Beta: The lovely Deb. She was great. Without her this story would pretty much have sucked.

NOTE: Spike and Xander are already in a relationship.

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Spike sat on the operating table of the underground demon hospital. Xander was on the opposite side of the room pacing.

"Xanpet, come on. Why don t you sit down?"

"You expect me to just sit around and wait? Are you even sure this is going to work? I mean you have had a real doctor look at your chip and they said it was buried too deep to take out. They said you could become some kind of vegetable."

"You don't really believe those Initiative arse-holes! They put this blasted thing in me. Do you really think they want it out? They know what the Big Bad could do to them."

"What makes you think these people can help?"

"Because they're demons, pet. Just like me. They know what to look for. See, there is nothing to worry about. Now sit."

What Spike hadn't told Xander is that everything that the Initiative doctor told him still held true. No reason to make his love worry more. He could become a vegetable if the chip wasn't removed properly . However, after having the chip in for so long, giving him jolts of electricity straight to the brain, it was starting to fry the tissue surrounding it. The surgeon explained this was doing the same thing to him as if the chip was removed improperly, just slower. He would start to lose basic functions shortly and not soon after lose all function.

It was a risk he was willing to take. Getting the chip either out, removed, and hopefully having it done correctly or just wait to become a vegetable. That was no way for a Master Vampire to end his days.

That's why they were at the underground hospital, with Spike on the operating table and Xander still pacing, in the first place.

Finally the door opened and a short, plump man with gray-green skin and wire rimmed glasses entered.

"Hello Gentleman. I am Dr. Gregor, turning to look at Spike he said, and it's a pleasure to see you again Master Sssspike." When he spoke Spike's name, a forked reptilian tongue poked out between razor sharp teeth.

"Yeah, you too Doc" with a nod of his head he indicated a pacing Xander, "and this here s my mate, Xander." Xander stopped pacing and turned to the doctor.

After shaking the doctor's hand Xander went back to pacing the length of the floor. "It is a pleasure to meet you both. The doctor turned back to Spike I sssee here in your chart we have identified the type of behavior modification chip. Nasty little buggers.

That got Xander to stop his pacing again, turning to look at the doctor with wide eyes. "You know about these?" Xander asked "You've taken them out before?"

"Oh yesss. I have had a few patientsss who were ruined by the Initiative and their chipsss."

"Can you remove Spike's?" Xander asked, becoming impatient.

"Let'sss have a look, ssshall we? Master Ssspike, would you please lie down?"

Dr. Gregor moved to the top of the operating table just above Spike s head. "Now Ssspike, this is going to pinch a little." With that said he picked up a large needle of a mild anesthetic and inserted it near the crown of Spike's head, pressing the plunger.

"That ssshould ssstart to numb in a few ssseconds, then we'll have a look inside."

Xander dragged a chair next to the operating table. Taking Spike's hand, he squeezed it gently. They were in this together.

Xander realized there was something his love, Spike, was keeping from him when the doctor said he needed to shave a portion of Spike s head and Spike didn't put up a fight. Spike would never allow anyone to mess with his hair.

The next hour was met with various sounds and commentaries from the doctor. Until finally he announced that he was done.

"Xander, why don t you wake your mate up? I'll go and fetch sssome blood." With that the doctor turned and left.

Xander stood. Smiling, he gently caressed the sleeping vampire s handsome face. Leaning closer until his lips brushed the curve of his mate s ear, he whispered. "Spike. Spike. Baby. Come on sleepy head, time to wake up."

Silence. Not even a twitch from Spike. He tried repeatedly, panic making him louder and more aggressive, until finally . . . "Listen you Bleached Menace, don't you dare do this." Tears trickled down his cheeks. "I need you."

The door behind Xander opened and Dr. Gregor entered carrying a tray of blood bags. Xander turned his tear filled eyes to the surgeon. Upon seeing Xander's distress and Spike's condition, he set the tray down and made his way to his patient's side.

"Oh dear. I wasss afraid this would happen."

"What? What happened?" Then Xander stepped ominously forward. "What did you do to him?" Xander cried.

"I removed hisss chip. Just as he asked me to. Even though it was against my better judgement."

"What better judgement?"

"I feared that the chip wasss imbedded too deep to remove without harming him."

"He asked you to remove it when he knew it could hurt him?" Xander barely whispered.

Dr. Gregor patted Xander's shoulder sympathetically.

"Give him a few hoursss to build hisss strength and then try to wake him again. If he doesn't awaken then I fear it will be up to you to decide what to do with him."

~~~24 HOURS LATER~~~

Xander had tried waking Spike every few hours. Nurses had come in and attached IVs with blood and still Spike slept. Xander was past worry and denial and moving onto what would Spike have wanted?

Xander knew that his would have been mate, since Spike couldn't bite him to claim him properly, wouldn't have wanted to live, un-live, whatever, like this. So Xander had asked the doctor to bring him a piece of wood and a knife. Now he was putting the finishing touches on his new stake. He carved Spike on the stake along one side with Love-your Xanpet under it.

When he finished, he took Spike home explaining he also knew that Spike wouldn't have wanted to die in a bloody hospital.

Carrying Spike into the door of the apartment, Xander brought him to their bed and laid him down gently.

"I don't know if you can hear me in there baby but if you can, I want you to know, that I love you and I will love you always. Alive, undead, or dead you will always be my mate. Sleep well, Baby."

Xander set the tip of the stake over Spike s heart and then leaned over to place a last kiss to his mate's silent lips.

As Xander reluctantly drew away from his lover, a tear slid down the tip of his nose, landing on Spike. Xander blinked. For a second he could have sworn he saw Spike's eyelashes flutter.

"Now I m seeing things." Xander knew it was just wishful thinking.

Xander closed his eyes, inhaling the unique scent of Spike, leather and tobacco, determined to remember it always.

Exhaling with a sigh, Xander slowly raised his eyes and met crystal cool pools of blue.

"Spike?" he whispered, dropping the stake.

Several slow blinks later and a whispered, "Xanpet?" Xander was wrapped in the arms of his lover.

The day he prayed for finally came. He was now properly claimed by his mate.

END