Guilt almost swallowed Tara whole as she stared at the bloody and bruised vampire swaying on his feet in front of her. He had saved her.
A large horned demon had been ready to strike her as she stood petrified but Spike had jumped in front of her and received the blow that would have killed her.
Why did she freeze? She just didn’t get it. It wasn’t as if this had been the first time she had ever seen a demon before. She had helped Buffy more times than she could count. So why was this time different? Why had she been too petrified to move until it was almost too late? Sure they were the biggest and the meanest looking demons she had ever seen but that still didn’t excuse her.
Spike could have died because of her.
“If you’re through beating yourself up could you help me get inside? I don't think I'm going to be able to stand much longer.” Spike didn’t need to be told she was feeling guilty it was written all over her face for everyone to see but at the moment it wasn't in his power to try and comfort her.
“I...I... I’m sorry, Spike.” Tara stuttered as she snaked an arm around his waist and slowly began to lead him in the house and up the stairs to the bedroom.
Spike groaned as pain racked his body with every step he took.
Tara felt more of his weight shift as he stumbled against her. "Easy." Her voice was laced with worry as she helped Spike into the bed. It took a few minutes but he was finally settled.
She didn't dawdle but went right to work. "Let's see how it looks." From the amount of blood soaking through his clothes she was positive it was bad. Really bad. She quickly peeled his shirt away from the wound. It wasn't easy but she managed to swallow the horrified sound that had escaped her. What he really needed was a doctor but of course she knew that was out of the question so he was stuck with her.
‘I don’t really have anything for pain. I m...m...mean I’m sure we have Tylenol.” Although she had her doubts about whether the painkiller would actually work on a vampire. “And I think there’s a bottle of brandy somewhere in this house.”
Another groan echoed around the room as Tara gently cleaned the wound. “Brandy.” He was barely able to get the word out between his clenched teeth.
As soon as the word had left his mouth she dashed out of the room.
Within moments Tara was back with an opened bottle of brandy. “Here.” She helped him raise his head and held the bottle to his lips.
Spike nodded gratefully as he sank back down against the pillows and let the fiery liquid begin to burn away the pain.
Tara blinked away tears and set about cleaning his wounds. There were four long gashes from the demons’ claws across his chest and stomach. And they were deep. Very deep. A sob escaped her. Why did...? How could he have...? The tears she had tried so valiantly to hide began to slide down her cheeks.
“Don’t.” Spike raised up his hand and brushed away a tear. “This is nothing. A little rest and I’ll be okay.
“How can you say that?”
A small smile curved his lips. “I’m a vampire, Pet. Granted I’m not quite able to show you yet how quickly I will bounce back. But soon.” He leered at her, his grin turning wicked.
Tara’s mouth fell open in shock. “Spike! You couldn’t possibly be thinking about sex. Not now.”
Spike grabbed her hand, brought it to his lips and placed a soft kiss in her palm. “Trust me, love. When it comes to you that’s pretty much always on my mind.”
She tried to pretend she was scandalized but secretly she was beyond relieved. With a shake of her head Tara turned to leave the room.
But Spike refused to let go of her hand. “Where’re you going?”
“I’m going to get some ointment for your...”
He quickly interrupted. “Vampire. Remember?”
“Yes, I do. But it might help you heal more quickly so we can...” She glanced at him from beneath her lashes as a dark red blush began to steal across her face.
As it dawned on him what she meant his eyes widened and he quickly dropped her hand. “Don’t forget the blood.”
Tara couldn’t keep the grin off of her face as she raced out of the room.