Wounded Soldiers

A Buffy One-Shot

By Nichole (Neko) Johnson

Written: January 20th, 2003

Summary: continuation of the events from Season Seven's "Showtime": Spike's rescue and recovery. Slight Spuffy-ness (Buffy/Spike)—always Spuffy-ness…

Disclaimers: Buffy's not mine. ::cries uncontrollably:: (Spike's soul is, however—he promised it to me in return for a pack of smokes. ^_^)

The lyrics at the beginning are from Velvet Chain's "Strong", off of the BtVS soundtrack. I thought they fit Spike really well.

Author's Notes: I'd been wanting to delve into this for the past week, but unfortunately, time would not find me at a computer until just now, so my little one-shot fic only just makes it before we all get to see what truly happens in tomorrow's episode.

Thanks goes out to all those writers before me who continued the story after "Showtime". It was only after reading your great fics that I was inspired to try some one-shot ficcing of my own. Mine could never compare to the awesome writing of any of yours, but I hope it can provide the same type of enjoyment.

You would fight for me;

You would starve for me;

You would suffer,

suffer for me;

You would die for me.

~"Strong" by Velvet Chain

The walk from the caves in which Spike had endured the First's torment was slow and marked with heavy, agonizing silence. The vampire stumbled with each step; laboring to support his own weight despite his numerous injuries.

But Buffy's grip was firm, her own support of his larger frame undaunting; a tenderness unheard of in all their former encounters apparent in her ministrations.

Several times, the vampire chanced a pained glance at her face; taking in the cuts and contusions that now characterized her countenance. A flurry of emotions—scattered thoughts and open wounds—shone in his dark eyes, but not a word was spoken of them.

The only sounds that marked their wounded gamble towards the temporary shelter of the Summers' home was the labored breath of the Slayer, and the soft, nearly imperceptible sound of the vampire crying.

They made a sorry pair, shambling up the front steps.

The unexpected light, and noise, and congestion of the house overwhelmed Spike's senses; accustomed as they were to the dark and lonely confines of the caves where'd he'd spent for what seemed like an eternity now. He shrank at first from them; ducking his head about and stumbling a bit despite himself in the overcrowded entryway.

Buffy's arm remained to catch him, however, as she silently move to shield him from the looks and barrage of questions of the others.

"Just a little further," she assured in a calm tone, maneuvering him carefully up the stairs under the support of her weight. "Up the stairs."

The uncertain, concerned voice of Willow drifted up from somewhere nearby.

"Buffy—"

"I need them out of the way," came the Slayer's voice, clear and commanding as she continued to steer Spike slowly up the stairs. "Now, Willow. They'll be time for questions later."

"R-right," was the witches reply.

She turned to the horde of curious and horrified onlookers, motioning them back from the area with small sweeps of her arms. "Back! Back up! Everyone to the basement!"

There was a chorus of disappointed remarks, scattered through with earnest inquiries:

"What happened to him? Is that the one—"

"The vampire! The one she talked about! Why'd she bring him here?!"

"He's a vampire? T-that's a vampire?!"

"Girls!" shouted Willow, more forcefully this time, pushing them back towards the kitchen. "Basement—now! Questions—later!"

The troop reluctantly obeyed, allowing themselves to be herded towards the basement; as Xander, Anya and Dawn moved in to await Buffy's instructions from the foot of the stairs.

"Anya, First Aid kit. And the blood packets confiscated from Andrew. I'll need those."

"Right," was the vengeance demon's terse reply, obeying without hesitation.

"Xander, check over our defenses again. If anything needs reinforcing, do it."

The carpenter nodded tersely, his expression perversely dark. "Board-and-nail duty. Got it."

Dawn's eyes followed Buffy and Spike's progress up the stairs as Xander hurried off in search of his tools; eyeing her sister hopefully, expression heavy with concern.

"Buffy, what about me? Let me do something," she inquired pleadingly, expressing agitation at having been left out thus far.

The Slayer turned from her task, allowing her sister a tight glance. Her expression was commanding—the look of the warrior—but the look of pain and exhaustion was evident in her hollow eyes as she met her sister's concerned gaze.

"I want you to keep the potentials occupied. Everybody stays downstairs! I'm leaving you and Willow in charge."

Dawn nodded numbly, watching the two disappear upstairs; a pair of wounded soldiers in a desperate battle.

And sharing a quick, worried glance with Anya as she reappeared with the First Aid gear in hand, she turned and headed for the basement; her jaw set in a grim line.

The war had begun. But to whom's side were the tides now turned?