Flex. Relax. Flex. Relax. Lather, rinse, repeat. With a defeated sigh, Spike gave up on watching the IV needle move with motion of his hand.

He needed to be on the move, to escape the sterile confines of his hospital room. The sickly off-white color of the wall, and faint smell of antiseptic made his skin crawl. Most of all however, he needed a damn cigarette.

After a month, most people would have been past jonesing, but not Spike. He had longed to dance with sweet lady nicotine from the moment he had become aware of his surroundings.

He had always been drawn to things that could kill him, and old habits died hard.

Reaching for the remote on the small table beside the bed, he flipped quickly through the channels,there was never anything good on.

He paused on a news broadcast, discussing the fall of the Red Dragons. He watched as a man in a suit shielded his face as he was led to a courtroom. Before he could turn the volume up the story changed over to the weather.

Reeling back, Spike was about to throw the remote across the room, but took a deep breath breath, letting it out between his teeth as he flipped the Tv off and set it down.

He couldn't be too angry, he was pretty sure he knew the anonymous source that had paid his hospital bill in full. That didn't mean he wanted anything to do with them. He didn't need their charity, he sure as hell wouldn't have asked for it.

The door opened slowly, and as his eyes darted to the analog clock on the wall, a slow grin spread across his face, his mood flipping completely.

"Good afternoon Mr. Spiegel. Doc said you might be able to go home today."

Middle aged and slightly matronly, the nurse held up a bag.

" I brought you these. They were my son's."

Swinging his legs over the side of bed with a wince, Spike took the bag and nodded. He gave the nurse a genuine smile.

She reminded him of Annie in a lot of ways, that was, a less gruff and more nurturing version.

"Thanks, and I thought we were past formalities."

The older woman smiled.

"You're right Spike. What am I going to do without you being a pain in my rear?"

"I'm sure they'll find some slouch to replace me in no time Beth. I can almost guarantee it."

The woman smiled, though it quickly faded.

"Do you have a place to go?"

Spike tensed. For all his longing to leave the hospital he hadn't really thought that one through.

"I...well Maybe. I'll get by just fine though, always have."

Brushing her greying bangs from her face, Beth furrowed her brow, fine wrinkles deepening with the action.

"I have a spare room, it's small but comfortable. It's just me and my cat, might be nice to have some company."

"I couldn't impose. You've done more than enough for me…" Spike trailed off, slightly wrinkling his nose as he motion to the clothing in the bag before him.

Beth was about to protest before the knock at the door, and the well worn creak of it interrupted her as the doctor entered.

Adjusting his glasses, he grabbed Spike's chart, adjusted his glasses, and jotted down a few notes.

"Good afternoon Mister Spiegel. What do you say we see about getting you out of here today?"