Dropping the phone on his bedside table Xander flopped back onto the bed letting the motion of the springs bounce him slightly. As he felt a tear forming in one eye he quickly wiped it away. Sitting up he picked up the precious photographs that he was fitting into the credit card slots of the Filofax that he had been given, to protect them.
As he continued carefully sorting through those photographs that he would take, he let his mind drift back 10 days ago to end Giles had given him the Filofax. It was the day before Xander's 18th birthday and he was quite excited. The Scooby gang always made an effort when it was a special birthday, well Xander always made an effort for anybody on any birthday. This time it was his turn. He was sure that they had something planned. Every time he went to the Magic Box that week the gang were grinning whispering, as they were looking at him, he assumed it was him that they were talking about.
Giles had been going through a box of things that he had put to one side and on the top was a brand-new black Filofax with a gold symbol on it. Seeing Xander look at it Giles tossed it to him with a grin, “can you make use of this?”
Carefully picking up the Filofax, Xander opened it. Inside was amazing, there was a big section for credit cards, behind that was a list of all the religious festivals for the next 12 months, from this world and from others. After that came the diary pages and a voucher for a new set of diary pages for the next year.
“Wow, Giles, this is great thank you so much. I won't use it will tomorrow I promise.” Giles looked at him strangely and said, “Don’t worry about it, it's nothing special, I was going to throw it away.”
Xander turned away clutching the Filofax to his chest and walked out of the shop. Buffy called out as he reached the door, “Xander before you go…” Quickly Xander turned back to his friends, Buffy continued, “can you get some extra snacks and drinks when you're out.” Xander grinned he thought ‘this sounds like the makings of a party to me,’ but Buffy continued, “we will be pulling an all-nighter and will be too busy to go out ourselves.”
Xander just looked at her, “well it's not as if you're actually do anything around here,” Buffy finished. As she turned Xander heard her muttering about the ‘zEppo’. Xander was devastated, he shook his head and left the shop without saying anything. Slowly he walked all the way home. It wasn’t until the next morning he realised that he had been so out of it that he would not even have realised if he was being followed or if he was about to be attacked.
A week after Xander’s birthday, that had gone uncelebrated by everyone; he had text Buffy and Willow saying that he ‘really’ needed to talk to them, Xander had not heard from anyone of the gang since leaving the shop. It took three days before Buffy had rung. As soon as Xander had answered the phone Buffy had started, ‘where had he been, why hadn’t he returned with the snacks, they had been waiting and had to go and them, them themselves.’ Xander had not even got a word in edgeways. Finally, he had sadly just hung up the phone and slumped back on the bed.
He needed to leave; he had to get away from here, from his ‘beloved’ family and his so ‘concerned’ friends. He needed a new start. Xander chuckled to himself as he thought. “I can’t even be given away!” Thinking of the time when Angel had tried to give him to Spike.
Carefully over the next few days, he made plans. In the last two weeks the money that he had saved by not doing the doughnut run had mounted up nicely (heaven forbid that anyone else should contribute.) He still hadn’t paid his parents this month’s rent. They always wanted it in advance and he hadn’t seen them to give them the money. Also, Xander was going to get paid the next day as it was the end of the week. ‘Saturday it is then,’ he thought, ‘I will leave early Saturday morning on the first bus out of here.’
That night he said his goodbyes to ‘sunnyhell,’ goodbye to Jess, goodbye to the school and library where he had spent so much of his time. He had even stood outside the Magic Box, part of him wanting to go in and see his friends and part of him knowing sadly that nothing would have changed. Quickly he went home and avoided his parents as he packed his precious few belongings.
The next morning as Xander reached the edge of town he had to pull himself together. He realised that he was walking more and more slowly as if something was holding him back. He realised that if he kept to the safe route, following the well-lit roads, that he would miss the bus out of town and the next one wasn't for another four hours. But if he cut through the old building site then he would make it with plenty of time.
Looking at the sky he could see that the moon was just on the horizon, it wouldn't be long before the sun rose. Taking a sharp turn to the left he walked through the entrance to the building site. He did not hear or see anyone as he quickly strode across the pathways. He had one more turn to go and then the road would hopefully be in sight and on the next corner was the bus stop. It was at that moment that he heard the sounds of fighting.
He peered round the corner to see what was happening. What he saw took his breath away. There was Spike in all his vampire glory fighting several demons at once. The fight was over so fast that at the time Xander had trouble keeping up with it. Finally, two of the 3 demons exploded covering the every surface with purple sludge while the third slid slowly to the floor. Suddenly two humans took up the fight. As soon as Spikes' fist collided with the nearest body he staggered dramatically as his chip fired.
“He's chipped, get him quick,” yelled the second man pulling a knife. The two men jumped onto Spike. Xander quickly decided he would have to help. Dropping his rucksack and bag and picking up a piece of 4 x 2 timber that was propped against the wall he joined in. By the time Xander had beaten the thugs off, Spike was in a bloody unmoving heap on the ground.
Xander moved closer to Spike as he laid there, the gash down the side of his head was sluggishly bleeding as were the wounds on his thigh and forearm, they were not healing. This surprised Xander as he had seen a Vampire injury heal before. Not knowing what to do Xander started talking to Spike.
“I don't know what to do, I think I had better try and get you up against the wall.” With that, Xander slid behind Spike and lifting his shoulders he carefully dragged him into the corner resting him against the wall that was on one side and an old skip on the other.
“That should help to keep you protected, Spike.” Xander looked at Spike he was still unmoving and the injuries that he sustained were not healing. Crouching down next to Spike, Xander shook his head and said, “you know as well as I do that I shouldn't be doing this.” Taking his knife out of his boot he cut across the heel of his palm, with his other hand he reached forward and lifted Spike slightly letting Spike’s head to tip backwards then allowing the blood from his hand to drip into Spike’s mouth, he waited patiently.
After several moments Spike started sucking on Xander's hand cleaning the blood carefully from around the wound but still, his eyes didn't open. Xander spoke to Spike again, “if your injuries don't start healing themselves soon I will have to wrap up them up the old fashion way, you really want that to happen.”
Still there was no response from Spike. The wound on Xander's hand healed itself and Xander gently lent Spike back against the wall. “I will be back in a minute, Spike, I just need to get my bags.” leaving Spike Xander rushed back to where he dropped his bags returning quickly. There was still no movement from Spike.
“Come on, Spike, don't do this to me, I need to go but I can't go unless you least move.” Opening his bag Xander took out an old T-shirt and ripped into strips carefully wrapped one around Spike's head, that one had stopped bleeding but had not healed. The one on his thigh still bleeding sluggishly but was not a danger to Spike so that was wrapped. The one on his left forearm was cleaned and wrapped but still not healed.
“Why aren’t you healing,” Xander said to Spike. Xander looked at the sky and said: “it won't be long before the sun is up.” Looking around Xander decided to try and make a shelter, looking into the skip he found an old tarpaulin and some more strips of 2x4timber. Carefully he arranged them into a tent like shape covering spike, keeping the sun off him allowing him the air to flow through.
Xander was now getting quite concerned that Spike hadn't moved or even opened his eyes and the wounds still had not healed. “Looks like my blood is not very good,” Xander whispered to Spike. “Shall we give it another go, I have to go for the bus in a moment.” Taking out his old beaten up mobile phone he sent the last text that he had credit for.
“URGENT. I'm leaving my phone with Spike. He's been injured in a fight and doesn't seem to be healing. He is covered with a tarpaulin and he's in the far corner of the old building site on the edge of town, by the far entrance, near the bus stop, you can't miss him. Hopefully, you get this message and get some help out here as soon as possible. Xander. PS the guys who beat him up were human and they know about the chip!”
“Right, I have text Buffy, but who knows how long it'll take for her to get back to you. Took her three days to reply to me the other day and even then she wasn't listening to what I had to say. She was too busy giving me the munchies order. Hopefully, they can trace you. I told them where you are if I were you I would not wait to be rescued. You got have got to get yourself together Spike, you got to get out of here.”
Xander crouched down next to Spike and gently ran his finger through Spike’s hair. “Why am I even talking to you? You do nothing but have a go at me; you don't want me around just like the others.” Xander laughed in a disparaging way. “Do you want to hear a good joke – I bet you would laugh, I used to think that they were calling me a zIppo, you know like the lighter ‘always there when you need it,’ just like the advert used to say. Then I discovered that they were calling me a zEppo. Useless, unwanted and uncool! Hell, I couldn’t even be given away as a vampire sire’s gift. Even then you didn't want me.” He whispered trying to pull himself together. “All the others think I am good for is running errands, they are supposed to be my best friends, and they didn’t even remember my birthday.” Xander paused and checked the time. “Okay, 5 minutes till the bus gets here, I give you some more blood but then I'm leaving. I really have to go; I can't stay in this town. It is slowly killing me.”
Taking the knife he cut his other hand and lifting Spike forward again he held it to his mouth. “What the hell am I doing feeding a vampire my blood. Must be mad, ‘sunnyhell’ is finally getting to me.”
Xander laughed. In the distance Xander could hear the tooting of the bus as it came down the hill. Gently pulling away from Spike he wrapped some more of the ripped T-shirt around his hand leaning gently forward he kissed Spike on the forehead and then on the lips. “I wish you could have wanted me, Spike, bye – be safe,” Xander whispered. After making sure the tent structure was secure he grabbed his bags and ran to the bus.
Back in the tent, the noise of the hydraulic release on the bus doors roused Spike enough that he opened his eyes. He licked his lips and tasted the most amazing blood ever. His hand clenched around the phone as he recalled a voice speaking to him. “Xander,” he whispered. Careful so not to dislodge the tent, he looked around checking where he was he saw the makeshift bandage on his leg and moving it slowly he saw the wound still in the process of healing. Puzzled he lay back to sleep hoping he'd be safe waiting for nightfall. Slowly he tried to piece together the words that he'd heard to make sense of what was being said to him. “Xander,” he whispered softly as he fell to sleep.