Disclaimers:  I do not own Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Angel, or any of their characters.  I am making no profit from this.  It
is purely for entertainment purposes.

Notes:  As with all of my BtVS fics, I ignore everything after the 5th season except for the fact that Buffy has been revived.  
And as for the characters of Angel . . . Connor simply never happened.  Now, on with the fic.

More notes:  More of the group trying to help Spike.

Acting on Instinct

Part Three

Xander sat beside Spike as the nervous vampire sipped at his second mug of warmed blood.  Spike had gulped the first one
down in a matter of heartbeats.  As a result of giving Spike the blood, Giles now seemed to have been accepted as a giver of
food.  This suited Xander just fine, since he wanted Spike to trust the others.  Well ... Xander doubted that Spike would be
trusting Buffy any time soon, but Dawn had been accepted and so had Giles.

Spike had just emptied his cup when his eyelids began to droop.  With a low moan, he fell sideways, collapsing so that his head
was resting on Xander’s lap.

Dawn gasped, rising from her seat.  “What’s wrong?”  She asked worriedly.

Giles spoke up before Xander could tell her that he didn’t know.  “I drugged that second cup of blood.  Spike has some injuries
that need tending to and I wish to give him a thorough physical examination.  From how he deals with threats, I highly doubt he’
d allow me to poke at him while he’s awake, nor would he understand my asking for consent.”  He took a breath, letting it out
slowly.  “I need to know what his condition is.  His having a heartbeat is simply a startling revelation.”

Xander nodded, but couldn’t help but feel a little upset.  “You could have filled me in on the plan.”

Giles sighed.  "Yes, well ... I know, but there simply wasn't time.  I couldn't take the chance that you would object.  I need to
see if he needs treatment other than what we can give him here.  If so, we might have to contact Angel."  He went over to a
bookshelf and started looking through the volumes.

Buffy stiffened somewhat at the mention of her one-time lover, but relaxed after a moment.  "Fine.  Where do you plan on
examining him?"

Giles glanced around.  "Hm?  Oh!  Well, he seems comfortable enough.  I don't suppose you girls would vacate the room until
I'm finished?  Or we can bring him up to the bedroom.  Whichever is best."

Xander and Dawn shared a look before Xander nodded and turned toward Giles.  "Perhaps a bedroom would be better.  He'd be
more comfortable."

"Yeah!" Willow nodded.  "And we should probably tie him up, you know?  In case he goes all violent and growly on us again."

Xander didn't much like the idea of that at all.  "That might not be a good idea, Will."

Buffy jumped in before Xander could say anything else.  "Good idea or not, Willow has a point.  He's already attacked once.  
Although I accept that he might have felt threatened and was only protecting himself, I can't risk anyone getting hurt.  I know
you're worried, which I think is SO odd.  But, truth be told, I'm a little worried myself.  Even if he is a pain in the ass most of
the time, he's still been a help to us ... maybe a little."

Xander felt a wave of anger toward Buffy.  "A little help?  That's all he is to you?  He's been an ally and an almost friend.  And
while he was never my most favorite person in the universe - okay, I hated his guts - I would never have treated him as
callously as you seem to be doing right now."  He reached down and rubbed Spike's arm.  "And before you start spouting all
that 'he's dangerous!  He might attack anyone!  Let's tie him up!' crap, let me remind you that you're the one who started it by
threatening him."

Buffy snorted and folded her arms across her chest.  "Okay, who are you and what have you done to the real Xander?"

Willow spoke up from where she and Tara were still standing.  "He has a point, Buffy.  You attacked Spike and he simply acted
in a panicked self-defense."  She sighed and gave Xander an apologetic look.  "All right ... maybe we don't have to use ropes to
tie him up.  I'm sure there's a spell somewhere I can use to keep him confined to a room or something."  She held up her
hands.  "It's for his own safety ... so he can't go and get himself hurt while trying to escape us."

"A-And he might hurt s-someone if he feels th-threatened," Tara meekly suggested.

Buffy shook her head and kept her gaze fixed on Xander.  "Why this sudden caring for a vampire?  You never liked Spike
before and you always hated Angel."

A sense of loathing flowed through him at the mention of Buffy's ex.  "Don't start with that," he hissed.  "It doesn't matter what
I thought before.  You didn't see him when he first came through that portal.  You don't know what's being covered by my
clothes," he said, tugging at the sweatshirt Spike was wearing for emphasis.  "He's hurt bad.  And he doesn't know us, or
himself anymore.  He needs help."

"Right, enough of the chatter," Giles jumped in, approaching Xander quickly. "Help me get him upstairs."

Without argument, Xander did as he was told.  Spike was taken up stairs and settled onto Giles' bed.  Though he didn't like it,
Xander helped tie Spike down.  Then, at Giles' insistence, he went back downstairs to wait with the others.

After ten minutes, he was pacing back and forth in front of the sofa.  Twenty more minutes had him chewing his nails while
pacing and continually glancing back at the stairs.  Why was this taking so long?

An hour came and went before Giles came back downstairs.  Xander froze in mid-step, watching as the man angrily stalked to
the closest surface to him, a simple table covered in books.  In one angry sweep, all the books were thrown to the ground and
Giles was dishing out profanities that left Xander staring at him wide-eyed.  He turned to look at the others, gauging their
reactions to the former Watcher's obvious anger, and all of them seemed to be in a similar state as himself - confused.  Though
Buffy was currently standing behind Dawn with her hands firmly clamped over the younger girl's ears.

Worry immediately filled Xander.  Just how bad off was Spike?  Was he hurt badly?  Was he going to die? He took a step
toward Giles, opening his mouth, but Willow beat him to it.

"Is Spike dying?" she blurted out, hanging onto Tara's arm.

Giles stood still, his shoulders shaking.  He took several deep breaths to calm himself before replying to Willow.  He shakily
reached up and fixed his glasses, although they hadn't even been crooked in the first place.  "No, not yet at least.  He's hurt,
quite badly.  But he'll live."

"Then what's eating you?"  Xander inquired.

Giles flicked his eyes to Dawn, then to Buffy.  "Perhaps it would be best if Dawn were to ..."

"Yeah, yeah.  I'm too innocent to listen in on the adult conversation," Dawn groaned.  Still, she removed herself from the room
quickly.  "I'll just go sit with Spike ... keep an eye on him in case he wakes up."

No one argued, though Buffy looked peeved about the girl's decision.  She turned to Giles as soon as her sister was gone, her
eyes narrowed.  "Spill it.  What's wrong with him?"

Giles took off his glasses, whipping out his handkerchief and began cleaning the lenses.  "Well," he swallowed, not looking at
any of them as he spoke.  "I suppose I should be blunt about this.  He's been tortured, undoubtedly for as long as he's been in
that Hell Dimension.  And there's signs that he's been ..." he trailed off, swallowing again.  "He's been raped.  Countless times,
I'm certain."

Xander stumbled back and fell to sit on the sofa.  It was as if his brain had stopped functioning at the moment, his heart
freezing in his chest.  How was he supposed to process information like that?

While Xander was still coming to terms with the fact that Spike had been raped repeatedly over the course of centuries, Giles
kept talking.  "I've bandaged the more serious injuries.  Nothing is life threatening though.  Broken ribs, stab wounds, lash
marks.  Countless bruises, cuts and scrapes."

Before Giles could continue, Dawn shrieked.  She ran to the top of the stairs and called down.  "He's awake!  And he's not too
happy!"  Followed by which were the obviously distressed noises of a pissed off and frightened vampire.

Xander was on his feet in an instant.  He rushed up the stairs and past Dawn, all but running into the room where Spike was.  
He approached quickly, hastily untying one wrist while trying to soothe the frightened vampire with kind words.  Spike jerked
his hand away from Xander once it was free and frantically tore at the ropes binding his other arm, cutting his own skin open in
the process.  Then he slid off the bed, eyeing Xander cautiously over the mattress.

"It's okay.  You're safe," Xander said, hoping to calm the feral creature.  "I won't hurt you.  Remember me?"

Spike peeked his head up slightly, just enough so that he could sniff at Xander quizzically.  He ducked back down a moment
later, hiding out of sight.

Xander sighed.  He probably wasn't going to get anywhere like this.  Spike was frightened and uncertain.  He'd need time to
deal with his confusion.  Deciding to give the vampire some space, Xander backed out of the room and returned downstairs.

"He okay?" Dawn asked, biting her lip.

"Yeah," Xander replied, raking his hands through his hair.  "I untied him.  He was flipping out.  He might have hurt himself if I'd
left him like that."  Surprisingly, Buffy didn't yell at him for letting Spike loose again.  Maybe she felt pity for their former

A heavy silence fell over the room.  No one appeared to have any idea of what to say.  Xander sat there on the sofa, lost in
thought.  Everyone else was scattered around the room, occupying themselves in varying ways.  Willow and Tara had hit the
books with Giles and were up to their ears in volumes to go through.  Dawn was lying across the floor, her head pillowed on
her sister's lap while Buffy idly ran her fingers through the younger girl's hair.  Xander was about to get up and help with the
book search when Dawn abruptly sat up, yelping when Buffy's fingers tangled in her hair.

"Look," she said quietly, pointing toward the stairs.

Xander turned, already knowing what he'd see.  Sure enough, Spike was cautiously descending the stairs.  He was walking
hunched over, easing his way down the staircase as his eyes darted around for signs of threats.  Once he was down, he moved
behind furniture whenever he could, trying to hide himself.  When he reached the sofa though, he peeked around the corner and
reached a shaking hand to touch Xander's knee, grunting lightly as if in question as he pulled his hand back again.

Xander scrunched his brow, confused.  Not sure what to do, Xander scooted over.  It seemed that Xander had guessed right,
since Spike crawled up onto the sofa, taking up the space Xander had just vacated.  He curled up on his side, moving slowly
until he settled his head on Xander's lap.  He curled his fingers around the dark-haired youth's knee, his own legs drawn up
close to himself.  Slowly, he slipped back to sleep, obviously comfortable where he was.

"I think he likes you," Willow giggled.

Giles cleared his throat.  "I believe it's more a safety issue.  Apparently Spike has assumed Xander to be someone who can
protect him ... from us at least.  Perhaps he should stay with you until we can work things out."

Xander rolled his eyes.  "Great," he huffed, though inside he couldn't find the will to be miffed.  He found he liked the idea of
being seen as a protector.  He wanted to help Spike.  He just didn't understand why he felt so strongly about it.

To Be Continued ...