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:  Still at Giles'.

Acting on Instinct

Part Four

Xander let Giles and the others talk shop.  He'd never filled much of a role in their group except for moral support and maybe
some research.  Buffy was the Slayer.  Willow and Tara were witches.  And Giles and sometimes Anya had the information
that the others needed.  When Spike had been around, he'd been the extra muscle.  Even Dawn had a job to do.  She had to deal
with Buffy on the slayer's rare downtimes.  That, in and of itself, was probably a chore given the older blonde's current attitude
on a certain vampire with a heartbeat.

All Xander ever did was go for snacks and get himself into trouble.  The knowledge of that almost made him laugh at the fact
that Spike looked to HIM for protection.  Buffy could knock him over with her perfectly manicured pinky finger if she wanted
to.  How WAS she able to keep her hair and makeup looking so perfect anyway?  It was something Xander always wondered,
but never dared to ask.

With a shake of his head, he noticed that the group was looking at him expectantly.  "What?  Did I suddenly sprout wings or
something?  Is Dracula behind me?"  He turned around and couldn't see what had everyone's attention.

"We asked you if you intended to keep Spike at your place."  Giles adjusted his stance.  "You seemed to be lost in thought."

"Well, of course I'll let him stay with me."

The thought of leaving Spike in his current state of mind made Xander feel nauseous.  There was no way he'd risk anyone else
with Spike's care.  There was no telling what the now brunette vampire would do if he were thrust into the hands of a
stranger.  Of course they weren't really strangers, but Spike didn't know them anymore and that was what counted.

He looked outside.  "The only thing is I don't know if I have the time to get him back to my place before sunrise.  He gave me
trouble getting here and I don't want to put him through that so soon after being attacked."  He gave Buffy a pointed look.

"Fine.  Whatever.  Do what you want.  I'm outta here.  Got places to go, things to do, demons to slay."  Buffy shouldered her
bag.  "Come on, Dawn."

Dawn actually looked torn between listening to Buffy and staying with Xander.  "Uhmm ... maybe we should ...?"

"NOW, Dawn."  Buffy tapped her foot impatiently.  "Come on.  You have school in the morning and you still hadn't finished
that math assignment when we were called over here."  She rolled her eyes.  "I wouldn't have brought you at all if I hadn't
suspected that you would have followed me anyway."

The younger teen sighed and looked somewhat contrite.  She was known for going places she shouldn't be going just because a
whim struck her.  "And I have that test in history coming up that I have to study for ..."  She bit her lip a little.  "Sorry, Xander."

Xander understood the conflict going on in the girl.  She had always been fond of Spike for some unknown reason.  He smiled
at her.  "Go on.  If he were in his right mind, I'm sure he'd want you keeping your grades up."  He shared a secret smile with
her before she walked out the door.

Buffy waited just a moment longer.  "If he comes anywhere near her in his current state, nothing you or anyone else does will
save him from my stake."  She clenched her jaw and fists.  "I'll give you the benefit of doubt since you had a point with Angel
being the same way.  But don't make me choose between him and my sister."

"I wouldn't dream of it, Buffy."  Xander was a little hurt that Buffy thought he would do that.  "She's your sister, and more of a
civilian than I am.  Kids like her are one of the reasons we do what we do.  Her safety is just as important to me as it is to you."

A little of Buffy's attitude softened at Xander's words.  "Look, I'm sorry for being so bitchy.  I don't like surprises like this and
it puts me on edge.  I never really liked Spike.  You know that as much as everyone else, but I wouldn't wish what happened to
him on anyone."  Then she cleared her throat.  "I'm going now.  Take care."  Then she was gone.

Xander gently disengaged himself from Spike and walked to the door to look out.  Spike curled up on the sofa, apparently
unaware that Xander had slipped out from underneath him.  "I think I'd rather play it safe than risk it.  I know Spike has a
heartbeat now, but I'd really rather not risk him burning to a crisp out there if the sun still affects him."

Giles made a sound of agreement.  "Of course.  It's understandable, after all, to be concerned.  We must assume that all the
rules we have for vampires are still in effect until we know more."  

"We better get going, too," Willow announced, heading for the door.  "I have class in-" she looked at her watch.  "just a few
hours.  Some sleep would be nice.  It's not polite to drool during lectures."

Tara smiled, then bowed her head.  "Bye.  I-I hope he gets better."  She trailed behind the darker-haired witch, their hands
clasped as they departed.

A cold hand eased against his palm and gripped lightly.  Xander looked down, finding a smile springing to his own face.  Spike
was crouched down on the ground and sniffing at the air outside the still open door.  A grimace was on his face, as if he didn't
approve of the approaching dawn.  He looked up at Xander, the expression turning into a frail grin.  He tugged at Xander's
hand, then moved to sniff the skin.  Xander had to blink when Spike nuzzled his hand, a sound not unlike a purr rumbling from
his chest.

Giles cleared his throat.  "It seems apparent that he does trust you."  He gently closed the door.  "Perhaps you could convince
him to get some sleep?  Rest would be the best thing we could offer him at this point."

Xander looked down.  Spike was staring back up at him, his brow furrowed slightly.  "How am I supposed to convince him to
go to sleep?  He can't understand me."

Giles removed his glasses.  "Well, I ... I'm not altogether sure.  Try to get him upstairs and into bed though.  Sleeping on a sofa
will not do his injuries well at all."

"They're that serious?"

A nod was the former librarian's reply.  "Quite.  I wouldn't ordinarily suggest this, but it might reassure him if you stayed with

"Woah, woah there," Xander hissed, shaking his head in disbelief.  "You want me to climb into bed with Spike?"

"I don't think he'd understand any other way."

Xander was too tired to argue.  It had already been too long a night.  The moment Spike burst into his bedroom, he'd known his
life was going to get more complicated.  He just hadn't expected this at all.  Honestly, sharing a bed with Spike?  Who would
have anticipated it?

To Be Continued ...