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Xander woke the following morning completely confused about who he was, where he was and why on earth he was lying in a strange bed facing a window with open curtains and, ouch! Too bright light!
He sat up, rubbing his eyes, as he tried to make sense of his surroundings.
Angel Investigations.


"Shit!" he exclaimed, jumping out of bed too fast and remembering, with the sudden ill-advised movement, that he and Andrew had consumed rather too much Jack Daniels on empty stomachs and adrenaline last night. He steadied himself against the wall before more cautiously guiding himself along it towards the bathroom.

A quick shower and clean teeth later, and Xander was beginning to feel more like himself again. He pulled on some sweats and a clean t shirt and headed back downstairs to where, he suspected, still lay two injured vampires. As he crept carefully down, sounds from the downstairs kitchen alerted him to Andrew's presence. He bypassed the living area to head straight in and join his friend.

"Coffee?" Andrew asked, pulling a second mug down without even turning around. Xander chuckled. Clearly his stealth tactics were a little rusty and out of practice. Lucky they hadn't found that out last night.

"Thanks." he replied, dropping himself into a chair at the table. "How are our wounded this morning?"

Andrew carried two mugs over to the table and took a seat opposite Xander.

"I checked on them when I came down this morning."

Andrew deliberately didn't add that he had also checked on them at almost hourly intervals from the time they went to bed, worried as he was about their injuries, and had spent several hours, during the past 6 that Xander had been fast asleep (and snoring - Andrew had heard - no doubt jetlagged), researching how to reverse the Garchen's knife's curse.

"I think all of the non-Garchen injuries have just about healed. Spike stirred a little when I went in, mumbling something about seeing things because he could have sworn he'd seen Xander Harris." Andrew gave a wry smirk, and the smile that flitted across Xander's face didn't go unnoticed either. "Apart from the knife injuries, he seemed... well."

Xander nodded. If they could fix these Garchen's knife wounds, it seemed as though Spike would be OK. This was excellent news, of course.

"And Angel?"

Andrew chewed on his bottom lip and shook his head. Angel hadn't stirred at all during the night. Andrew hoped that was because Spike had been healing for longer and, as Angel's injuries were fresh, he was just in too deep a healing sleep to be easily disturbed.

"Nothing yet. It's early though, of course. Maybe when Spike wakes up properly, he will be a better judge?"

Andrew really wasn't certain of that. There was no telling what permanent damage the knife had done to either vampire until they came around properly. If they came around.

"There's nothing we can do then?"

Xander was trying hard not to think about the worst case scenarios here. Could an vampire be (im)mortally wounded by the knife, leading to a slow and painful death? Xander supposed it was possible if unhealing wounds bled out. Was Angel wounded that badly? Was Spike? He swallowed down those thoughts and looked up at Andrew as he took a long mouthful of the hot coffee. Damn, it was good stuff.

"I've been reading up on the knife again." Andrew continued, seemingly oblivious to Xander's inner turmoil, "Seeing if I could find any reference to Garchen's injuries being healed. I didn't find much other than it being referred to as some sort of curse... which we already thought... but I did find one thing..."

Andrew stood up and reached down a book that was lying open on the worktop.

"It's an old Watchers' records book, kinda like a journal. It references a vampire in the 1800s who was apparently healed of Garchen's knife wounds... although typically, it doesn't say how... but it does note the possibility that this healing effect may have continued down the vampire's bloodline."

Andrew shrugged and pushed the book across for Xander to read. It was written in old script, and the non-Watcher had trouble getting his eyes to focus on it properly.

"It doesn't say who the vampire was though. Just that it was a young girl who had been tortured by a rival clan. I'm not sure how much use that is."

Andrew looked tired and sounded defeated. He finished the last of his coffee and crossed the kitchen to drop his mug into the sink.

"Go to bed, Andrew." Xander said firmly. It was plainly obvious that the young man had barely slept, probably spending almost the entire night checking up on their wounded and reading through research books. "I'll keep and eye on Angel and Spike... and I promise I'll let you know if there's any change."

Andrew opened his mouth to protest before thinking better of it.

"You're right." he conceded, giving Xander a grateful nod, "Thanks."

Andrew headed back upstairs quietly, and Xander walked over to the living area where the sleeping vampires lay. They both looked peaceful and rested, but Xander couldn't help noticing that Spike looked in much better shape than Angel. Whether it was from the additional healing time, he wasn't sure, but Angel looked paler than usual, almost grey in colour.
Did they need blood? Xander became suddenly aware that he had no idea when either vampire had last fed. Angel'd had a flask when Xander had first arrived but that was what? 18...24 hours ago? He'd lost track of time. And Spike? When had he last fed?
He knew that older vampires did not need to feed very frequently, but their injuries could have been exacerbated by their lack of blood.
He wished he had thought to ask Andrew before he'd gone to bed, but he didn't want to disturb him now. He needed some rest.

Xander looked from one vampire to the other, wondering if it was possible to tell visually if a vampire needed blood. He slowly pulled Angel's blanket down to assess the wounds on his torso. The main flow of blood had stopped for now. Xander knew that wasn't a healing process, so was that normal or was it because he was running out of blood to bleed?
He wondered briefly whether he should heat some blood and attempt to feed him, but he remembered all too clearly advice that Spike had once given him about not waking a vampire from a deep, healing slumber, not even to feed.

He replaced the blanket and slumped back into the armchair with a long sigh.
In 5 hours time, he could call Willow.
He only hoped that they had that much time.