I was a broken-down soul machine; lost, without purpose . . . running out of steam.
You gave me . . . words, of course; sharp and shocking, like a kick in the ass.
You gave me silence when I spoke.
You gave me a black eye. I returned the favor.
You knocked down walls--the peeling furniture that passed for them--as fast as I put them up.
You never gave up on me.
You gave me your hand and your mouth.
You gave me silver grins in the darkness--the quick slide of tongue over flesh, kisses that stole the breath I don’t have, that swallowed gasps and cries.
You gave me a reason to be.
You took my body and gave me the sweet, uncomplicated warmth of yours.
You gave me love.
You gave me hope.
You gave me laughter
You gave me a home.
You gave me your heart and your soul; I was more than happy to accept them.
You gave me all that you were, which was everything you had. In doing so, you gave me back myself.
In return, I give you this.
A small token of my--
Well. . . .
For the sake of argument, let’s call it love.
In a corner of a darkened room, Angelus’s boy crouches, shaking and silent.
He’s learned that muttering and weeping only bring more pain.
He does not mutter, except when he sleeps.
He does not weep, except when he dreams.
This dry silence, is no guarantee that pain won’t happen. There is no such guarantee. Even when he’s being ignored, he has no doubt that Angelus is quite aware of him.
He’s always cold, these days.
Not enough blood to chase away the eternal gooseflesh that covers his body. Angelus has seen to that.
He only wishes he could stop shaking. . . .
Angelus’s boy is always cold.
He wonders if this is finally the end.
He’s been dying for a long time--since the day he was born, maybe. Life is a dream he never remembers upon waking, except to wonder why his face is covered in tears.
Sometimes, he is there.
On some nights, Angelus forgoes the hunt to watch his boy mutter and dream. Sometimes he punishes his boy for the muttering, but most times, he does not.
Most times . . . he merely watches, neither frowning nor smiling. His angel’s face hides a demon with the arbitrary nature of a God.
“Let me go!”
It’s a new voice--human; warm with breath and blood and fear.
New, but familiar and--
The girl Angelus shoves into the room is relieved to see him. Happy, even.
Angelus’s boy remembers happy less clearly than he remembers his dreams.
She flings herself into his arms, holding him so tight her warmth soaks into him, chases away goosebumps, stirring something in him. . . .
Something buried and long-ignored.
“Fucking bastards!” She sobs, her tears scalding his neck.
“Shouldn’t swear, Dawnie . . . it’ll be okay,” he promises in a rusty, under-used voice. She only cries harder.
“. . . and we thought he’d killed you! We didn’t think--” she glances away. “We didn’t think you two . . . being all groiny would equal a moment of perfect happiness.”
After forever of hearing only Angelus’s voice, and the whispered obedience of the fledges, her voice is high, and vaguely alarming.
“God, what does he want with us--?”
“It’ll be okay,” he croons. Her voice, her face, her hair--short and dirty, when it should be long and shining, like in his dreams--makes the empty places in him ache.
In his dreams, she smells like floral shampoo and licorice . . . not like food.
The girl sleeps soundly; doesn’t even stir. He can almost see the color of her dreams.
“Today?” Angelus asks, gentle fingers brushing away tears and lingering over ashen cheek and pale, bitten lips.
. . . pastel pink for her past. . . .
His boy shakes his head, whispers no . . . please, even as he leans into the touch he’s learned to dread with a strange sort of longing.
. . . cadmium yellow for her present. . . .
Even as he longs for the slow, steady pulse at his side.
. . . arterial red, for a future bright with pain.
His boy’s shivers turn to panting; Angelus’s smile widens.
“Soon,” he murmurs.
In this dream
a voice whispers
buries his face in warmth
that punctures like a balloon
more satisfying than air
and far tighter
and hungry still
the something in his arms
has been made at last
he opens his mouth
to roar at the sky
a small, broken bird flies out
is relieved to see it go
can’t understand why he ever tried to keep it.
“It’s a hard lesson you’ve learned, but one you’ll never forget.”
A murmured word to the minion who waits just out of sight and the mangled corpse is quickly removed.
“You can’t win against me. You’ll never win,” Angelus says softly, licking his boy’s bloody lips. “Do you understand, now?”
Transfixed by biting kisses down his throat--all over his chest and stomach--he nods, too dazed to do anything else.
“What do you say, childe?”
Sharp fangs teasing the tip of his cock makes Angelus’s boy squirm and gasp. “. . . t-thank you, Sire. . . .”
“My sweet boy.”
Angelus’s mouth engulfs him.
Angelus would never have said that someone so obviously made for light would ever truly feel at home embracing darkness.
But watching Xander hunt and toy with his victim--one of the large number of total morons who go jogging in Central Park at night--he revises his opinion. Xander’s not only a natural predator, he takes a joy in the kill that Angelus finds quite refreshing.
The nameless jogger’s death makes Dawn Summers’s death look merciful in comparison.
Fondly remembering his own first kills, Angelus leaves his boy to it. Chooses a bench near the Museum Mile exit, and waits.
Nearly two hours pass before Xander pounces on him, all bloody face, bloody hands, bloody clothes and bloody kisses.
“Well . . . someone had himself a time of it,” Angelus notes as Xander straddles his legs.
“It was so cool, Angelus!” He wriggles around as Angelus licks at the tacky blood drying on chin and throat. “They’re gonna be finding pieces of that guy for months!”
“You’re a messy eater, boy,” Angelus tsks. “You’ve got to learn to be neater, and more careful. Can’t make every kill this . . . high profile. The last thing we need is a Slayer on our case.”
“Oh . . . okay. Can we hunt here tomorrow night?”
Angelus smiles, kissing Xander’s throat. “If you like.”
“It certainly is,” Angelus murmurs, shoving his hand down Xander’s blood-stained sweats.
“Yeah . . . yeah.” Xander thrusts into Angelus’s fist and offers his throat . . . a still, pale curve in the meager starlight. Angelus nips, but doesn’t draw blood, brushing his thumb over the tip of Xander’s cock.
“Beg for it.”
“Please, Sire . . . drink. . . .”
Angelus bites down and blood like chocolate-flavored sunshine--bittersweet and bright--spills into his mouth.
“Fuck-yeah! Angelus--” Xander clutches at Angelus’s shoulders, shudders and comes all over Angelus’s hand with a groan.
Even after Xander goes limp, he keeps drinking slowly, leisurely. There’s nothing quite like a post-orgasmic, endorphin-laden childe for a lazy summer night’s sippin’. . . .
Twenty minutes later, Xander’s still a sated puddle of childe, purring contentedly as Angelus strokes his hair. Somewhere, deeper in the park, there’s a hoarse, surprised scream.
Around them, the night falls silent, holds it’s breath. Not a tree rustles, not a leaf stirs, not an animal moves.
Xander suddenly shouts: “Run, Forrest! Run!”. Then he starts laughing hysterically. Something about that particular laugh has always raised Angelus’s hackles, but he holds Xander tighter, till the laugh--high-pitched, eery--tapers into sporadic giggles.
“What’s so funny?”
“I think s-somebody just found a piece of that g-guy I ate,” Xander chokes out, burying his face in Angelus’s shoulder to stifle the giggles. Curious, Angelus focuses his senses and sure enough, human feet in running shoes are pounding the pavement not too far away. Getting farther, though; the scents of terror and nausea trail in their wake.
When the sound and scents have grown distant, Angelus says ”huh”, which makes Xander start giggling again. Angelus rather likes the giggle--inasmuch that it’s not that wild, mad cackle--so he tackles his boy to the ground for intensive tickling.
“Gonna make me wet my pants!”
“I sincerely doubt that, boy.” But Angelus stops, pinning Xander’s hands to the ground, looking down into his boy’s face. He looks so pale and young--younger still, somehow, for the raggedy eye-patch, the only remnant of his life as a human. . . .
Angelus forces away his unusually melancholy turn of thought. “Hm?”
“Um . . . what’s a Slayer?”
“A smiley-face?” Angelus asks, slightly nonplussed by the grinning, yellow face on his boy’s new eye-patch.
Xander grins, bearing an uncanny resemblance to said smiley-face. “Yep. This weird old guy was selling a bunch of novelty eye-patches--who knew--in the East Village, so I bought some.” He waves a small black plastic bag triumphantly.
“You kill the oddest people, boy.”
“Oh, I didn’t kill him--that woulda been like killing the Michelangelo of eye-patches. Or maybe one of the other turtles. Or--ooh! The Master Splinter of eye-patches.”
Xander bounces and Angelus suppresses a sigh. When he reaches out and brushes his finger over the smiley-face, Xander shivers.
“You’re mad as a March hare, boy.”
“As long as I get to be Angelus’s March hare, that’s fine by me.”
Angelus smiles absently, thinking: I’m going to hunt in the East Village for the next few nights and when I find this eye-patch man . . . I’ll make his death last. . . .
As the last of the minions file out of the loft, Angelus’s boy watches them go with a bright, wary eye and a patch that says ‘yar, matey!’ in light blue stitching.
“They are so weird,” he says, looking out the window.
“Says the vampire with a collection of novelty eye-patches.” Angelus leans back in his new vibrating lounger--another recent gift from his childe. At the rate Xander’s going through Hammacher Schlemmer and Sharper Image, there wouldn’t be enough room in the loft for either of them, before long. It might be time to look into getting a larger lair. . . .
“Seriously--the minions don’t weird you out? Even a little?”
“Why should they? I made them. It’d be like being afraid of my pets.”
“They give me the wiggins.” Xander follows the progress of the minions in question as they shuffle down the street with a growl and narrowed eye.
“Once you make some minions of your own, you’ll understand.”
“Yuck! No way!” Xander shudders melodramatically. “They’re all creepy and stu--um, challenged . . . like zombies. Not like real zombies--like zombie!Kyle; zombie!Kyle was really cool--but like movie zombies. I kinda expect them to stagger around muttering ‘Brains . . . brains!' Nope, Xan-the-man is--and will remain a minion-free vamp.”
Angelus allows himself a slight smile. “I’ll remind you you said that fifty years from now. In the mean time, get over here, boy.”
Xander bounds across the loft like a happy, completely batshit puppy then wavers for a moment, obviously wanting to sit in Angelus’s lap. For once, he seems unwilling to do so without expressed invitation.
Angelus pats his lap, which is immediately filled with wriggling, amorous childe.
“Have you tried it at the highest setting? ‘Cause I hear that’s really--”
“Would you like me to turn the chair up to the highest setting, Xander?”
“Yes, Sire.” And the inordinate amount of rocking/grinding that accompanies that meek little affirmative? So calculated.
“Tease.” Angelus chuckles and turns the dial on the side of the chair as high as it’ll go.
A few minutes later, Xander asks him to turn it back down to the lowest setting.
“I was starting to get seasick,” he says apologetically, laying his head on Angelus’s shoulder.
“Hmm . . . but it’s the minions who’re weird.”
“Hey--how come we can’t fly?” Xander asks, completely out of left field.
“We can’t fly, idiot-boy--” Angelus gasps as Xander’s fangs prick his neck. “We can’t fly because this is reality, not an Anne Rice novel.”
Xander sits up and gives him a look of mock-disbelief. “I dunno, Sire . . . pretty guys and lots of homosexuality . . . sounds like an Anne Rice novel to--guh!”
“Have you no respect for the kill, boy? Is nothing sacred?”
Xander grins. “Nope.”
After holding a stern glare for nearly five whole seconds, Angelus sighs.
“I’m funny,” Xander corrects, still grinning. He makes the penny loafers he’s holding--with the feet still in them, no less, nobs of bloody bone shining in golden glow of the area lamp--do another soft-shoe routine across the late Stella Murphy’s coffee table.
Before the act is over, Angelus cracks a smile.
Xander screams and it’s music to Angelus’s ears. It wouldn’t do to let on, though.
“You can do better than that, boy . . . I know you can,” Angelus says sternly, though focusing is difficult with Xander’s blood and pain and pheromones scenting the air. The boy tries to twist away, but he’s spread-eagled on the bed and manacled to all four bedposts. He’s not going anywhere. Hasn’t gone anywhere for the past four nights.
When he makes a sound that’s more of a thin, wavering sort of wail, than it is a scream, Angelus sighs, scratching at the dried blood flaking on his fingers. “Still not good enough, Xander . . . we’ll just have to keep trying.”
He selects another toothpick and slowly inserts it under Xander’s left thumbnail.
They get all the way up to toothpick number twenty, and nail number seven before Xander screams just right.
Angelus fucks him then, slowly, tenderly, whispers sweet obscenities in ears too far gone to hear them. When he’s done, he collapses on top of his boy, wrung-out. Xander is barely conscious, barely able to rattle his chains.
In seconds, Angelus is asleep. His boy’s raw, pained whimpers are like a lullaby.
His boy has a taste for redheads.
Angelus doesn’t have to be Freud to pick up on the significance of that.
Xander hunts them, lures them back to their townhouse--that had once belonged to the widow Murphy--brings their bloody hair and gouged-out eyes home as souvenirs. Something else Angelus doesn’t have to be Freud to note the significance of.
But it’s hardly unpleasant to come home to find his boy fucking dessert--or merely curled up around it, keeping it from getting away.
Definitely a quirk, this fascination with redheads. But as long as it doesn’t become a pattern that either the cops, or one of the Slayers can follow, he allows Xander this idiosyncrasy.
And damned if, after taking a redhead, his boy doesn’t taste of strawberries. . . .
“She knew my name, Angelus.”
Angelus paces restlessly across the dubious shelter of a tenement roof.
Xander’s teeth are chattering and he shivers in the meager protection of Angelus’s coat. The boy’s always felt the cold too easily, too keenly. The steady snowfall isn’t helping matters.
It’d been too close, this time. What are the use of minions, if one tiny, slip of a thing--well, a small army of them--can cut through their ranks like a hot knife through butter? What use is he when he can barely get himself or his reckless childe away from the bitch?
“. . . looked like a girl I used to see in my dreams a lot. But why would I be dreaming about a Slayer? Till a year ago, I didn’t even know they existed. . . .” Xander looks pitiful and confused, sniffling even though he has no mucus to do it with.
And the little bastard had fought him! High on blood-lust, eager to weigh in against the six Slayers, though he couldn’t have possibly won, Xander had tried to throw himself into the fray, even as their home was burned down around their ears.
But the look of pure, cold rage in her eyes when she recognized her former lieutenant fighting at Angelus’s side. . . .
Angelus’d seen not only his own death in her eyes, but his childe’s death as well, and he’d felt fear.
In the end, he’d had to knock his flailing boy unconscious, carry him out of their home, and now . . . they find themselves homeless and pursued and--
Xander is still watching him with that grave, adoring look on his face; utterly trusting, secure that Sire has a plan.
For the better part of three hours, Angelus has been too wound up to plan beyond getting them both away from the townhouse and not stopping till they’d left Manhattan behind.
Across the river, New York City twinkles like a piece of firmament fallen to Earth. Below them, Newark shines like tarnished gold.
“. . . in my dreams, I think her name was Muffy, or maybe Buf--”
Before Xander finishes saying that name, Angelus is beating him to the ground: kicking and punching and breaking . . . till the snow is soaked with blood.
“I got one, Angelus. . . .”
Xander giggles, staggering into the office of their latest temporary lair--another abandoned factory--with clothing in tatters and novelty eye-patch askew. He reeks of pheromones and human blood. Heat radiates from him like lust.
Lust radiates from him like lust.
“You’re high,” Angelus says quietly, in a voice that promises nights of agony and days of unrelieved suffering. With the Slayers aware of their existence and on their asses, they can’t afford to be less than battle ready.
Xander blinks owlishly, his face scruffy and oddly young-looking despite the patch, stubble and disreputable smudges. “Not high . . . I got one--got the drop on her and drank her all up.” He slurps ostentatiously, and in a burst of speed, is across the small office, throwing his arms around Angelus and smiling up at him. “I love you, Angelus.”
Mentally rolling his eyes, Angelus catches Xander’s wrists and squeezes warningly. “Who did you drink, boy, and what she was on.”
Another giggle, and a wriggle that makes them both hard. Harder. “I drank the Slayer,” he breathes, as if confiding a secret. Then he tilts his head to the side. “She’s all warm and powerful and angry . . . want a taste?”
For a few moments, it’s as if the boy’s speaking Japanese, a language Angelus had never bothered to learn. The silence draws out while Angelus processes what he’s just heard.
“Okay, she wasn’t the Slayer--that one that burned our house--this was some other chick. A stocky redhead. That’s why I started following her. When I grabbed her, she tried to stake me . . . but I fixed her.” Xander’s smile is satisfied, his fangs still bloody. “I’m gonna get the one that burned up our place, too. And when I do, I’m gonna take my time with her.”
Looking into his boy’s eye--and the silly ‘gar! where’s me parrot?’ eye-patch--Angelus experiences a pang of fear-driven anger. Just like the night the Slayer destroyed the life they’d so carefully built.
His first instinct is to beat it into his boy that he’s to avoid the lot of them--beat some goddamn sense into that fearless, addled head.
Right on the heels of his first instinct, comes the desire to reward such bravery, loyalty and cunning.
“I didn’t do it as well as you would’ve, Sire, but I made her suffer,” Xander says, smile replaced by grim earnestness.
Angelus follows his desire, and wonders if he’s going soft.
“I know you did, childe.” He pushes Xander down onto the only piece of furniture in the office--a filthy, chipped desk--and turns him on his stomach. The torn, bloody jeans are gone in a heartbeat and Angelus is breaking him open, taking him, claiming him, asserting mastery over yet another childe who’s bested a Slayer.
“You’re my own good boy, Xander,” he murmurs over his boy’s breathy gasps, brushing aside too-long hair to lick, to kiss, to bite.
To drink the blood of a Slayer.
“Please, Sire? I’ll be careful and quick and neat.”
Angelus watches his blissed-out boy sprawl so innocently, so wantonly--so helplessly on the black satin sheets. He doesn’t so much as tug at his manacles anymore . . . unless Angelus tells him to.
“Quick, I’ll believe.” Angelus smirks, trailing his finger in the spatters of come on Xander’s stomach and chest. “But careful and neat?”
“I’ll bring her back to you, untouched,” Xander promises. That spacy, adoring grin is oh, so reminiscent of Drusilla.
The boy’s been raring at the bit, wanting to go Slayer-hunting, pestering Angelus about it for months. Like William, Xander’s impulsive and cocksure.
Like William, Xander’s had his taste and wants more. Angelus has had to forbid him from hunting Slayers on his own, but he wonders how long it’ll be before the boy disobeys. . . finds himself on the wrong end of a stake.
Yo-ho-ho! today’s eye-patch proclaims in cheerful, lime green stitchery.
Angelus taps his finger on Xander’s lips; a cool, pink tongue darts out to lick it clean. “If I wanted a Slayer, Xander, I’d go out and kill one, myself.”
Xander rolls his eye. “Well, duh. But I wanna give you a token of my loyalty and my love and--”
“And--” Angelus pushes his finger back into Xander’s mouth, shivering when the edge of a fang parts the skin easily. “And you really want to get fucked by a Sire who’s high on Slayer’s blood.”
The sudden spike of pheromones is answer enough.
“If you want to show your love so badly, I have an idea that’d net you a Slayer in less than a week.” Angelus sighs, affecting disinterest and condescension. “If you’re vamp enough to do it, that is. I’ll understand if you’re not.”
The legs suddenly wrapped around his waist are answer enough.
His boy is sitting on a headstone, brushing grave-dirt off of his cheap burial suit and cussing up a blue-streak. Angelus honestly hadn’t expected it to go this far.
The “plan” had been so complex, so overwrought, so full of silly twists that--only an utter fool would have unquestioningly played the part Angelus had assigned Xander.
His boy had indeed played that part to the hilt.
“I can’t believe this actually worked,” Angelus says wonderingly, nudging the dead Slayer’s broken body with his boot. She’d been a ruthless fighter . . . a warrior, not just prey. Her blood is electric, makes his veins tingle. “You did well, tonight.”
“Me? You were the one who came up with and executed the kick-ass plan--man, that was ingenious! All I did was spend three days in a casket. I was just bait.” Xander snorts, then jumps up, yelping. He dances around, hopping on one foot shaking his pants leg till a night-crawler falls out. “Next time, though, you get to take the dirt nap.”
Next time? Next time? There wasn’t even supposed to be a first time. This plan was nothing more than a practical joke--one where you got buried for no good reason and I got to laugh at you for letting yourself be buried. You shouldn’t trust me so much. . . .
“Not every childe would be capable of your--”stupidity”--unquestioning loyalty,” Angelus notes. It occurs to him that Xander is, in his own strange way, a perfect childe. Perfectly loyal, perfectly obedient, perfectly--
“Bein’ buried wasn’t so bad . . . kinda boring, though. I mostly just slept and played the Kevin Bacon game a whole bunch of times.” Xander shrugs. “What I can’t believe is that it took three days before that stupid bitch came to investigate, I mean--the obit said I died of a ‘mysterious neck injury’ at night! How many more red flags did she need? And you were right--she made so much damn noise I could hear her through six feet of earth and two inches of imitation pine.”
Perfectly mine, Angelus thinks gleefully, and on the heels of that: You shouldn’t trust me this much, boy--or at all, really . . . but you do. You do.
Xander shakes dirt, splinters and an earthworm out of his hair.
Quicker than a thought, Angelus is across the small clearing and pulling Xander into back his arms. “Xander. . . .”
“And you finished her off before I got out. I didn’t even get to watch you drink her.”
Pouting!Xander always makes Angelus hard. Xander period makes Angelus hard, and tonight is no different.
“You smell so good. . . .” he bites Xander’s neck not-so-gently, to keep what he really wants to say from slipping out.
I missed you. I’m proud of you.
“I smell good?” Wary disbelief as Angelus holds him tighter.
“If that’s your way of telling me I have grave-stink, fuck you very much.”
“Think I’ll fuck you, instead,” he murmurs on skin that does indeed smell of the grave, but also of home and family and desire.
Xander makes a soft sound of want low in his throat, offering his neck with a breathless: “Sire.”
Angelus unbuttons Xander’s dirty pants and starts stroking. “This was a ridiculous plan,” he whispers in Xander’s ear. “We’re never doing anything like this again, childe. Understood?”
Xander nods, his head falling back on Angelus’s shoulder. Angelus bites him again, just hard enough to leave a mark.
“Good, then.” Stupid, reckless, crazy boy. . . . “I’m proud of you.”
It can’t be later than noon, one day, when Angelus wakes out of a dead sleep to find Xander standing over him, gazing down at him blankly.
Holding an ax.
As fast Angelus can move, it’d be impossible to avoid death, if that’s what Xander has decided to give him. But he supposes that if Xander really wanted him dead, he wouldn’t have woken up at all. So he asks in his softest, least-inflected voice: “What do you think you’re doing?”
“You killed me . . . I killed Dawn.” Xander’s voice is sing-songy, distant. “Buffy won’t stop, she’ll--she’ll never stop till we’re dead, or she is.”
Angelus sits up slowly, non-threateningly. When Xander doesn’t react, he stands up. Finally, Xander’s eye tracks him, scans his face. He clutches the ax tighter, his mouth set in a grim line.
“I won’t let her take you away.”
Angelus has to dig deep for the voice he’d used to calm Drusilla when nothing else worked. “She won’t take me--”
“She will . . . she’ll stick a soul in you and you won’t want me anymore ‘cause I’m bad--”
“After what I’ve done, I don’t think she’d bother with the soul,” Angelus snorts.
“Then she’ll dust you. And even if I manage to get away, I’ll still be all alone.”
“I don’t wanna be alone, Angel.” Angelus winces. “I don’t wanna.”
“Xander,” Angelus says in that same, soft tone. The only response he receives is a slow blink. He reaches up and caresses Xander’s cold cheek. “Lay down and go back to sleep, Xander.”
“She’ll take you away.” Xander’s own voice is small, frightened, forlorn, his eye welling with unshed tears. “If I don’t stop her, she’ll take you away. Let me kill her.”
Swallowing rage so bright it scorches the backs of his eyes, Angelus puts his hands on Xander’s chilly shoulders. “I told you: no more Slayers--especially that one.”
“But she’ll take you away,” he says again; then the ax falls to the floor with a dull clunk and Xander crumples.
Uncomfortably out of his depth, Angelus picks his boy up and lays him down on their bed, spooning up behind him, holding him while he weeps like--something that has a soul.
“Hush . . . hush, my sweet boy,” he croons, channeling William--who’d always known how to calm Drusilla--though he doesn’t expect it to work for him and Xander. Xander's mad, true enough, but not Drusilla mad.
But it seems that William had the right of it. Nonsense words and a soothing tone work wonders on the anyone, vamp or human, insane or slightly less insane. When Xander’s tears and hitching breaths have stopped, he sighs shakily.
“I don’t wanna remember. It’s easier when I don’t remember . . . hurts less.”
“Then forget, Xander.” Angelus turns it into a command because Xander always does what Sire commands. “You did it once before, you can do it again. Forget.”
“Sire. . . .” Xander murmurs turning to face him. One wet eye and one ‘Avast, me hearties!’ eye-patch regard him steadily. “Make me bleed.”
Then he’s tugging Angelus on top of him, all strong arms and desperate kisses. Angelus holds him, tries to fuck the memories away. These past few years have been better than good, and that’s thanks--in no small part--to the fact that Xander’s earliest memory was of Angelus carrying him out of that cellar, to a warm bed and comfort.
Xander has been pure, untainted by memories of life and unlife before that first night. Angelus has lost a lot to the Slayer . . . he won’t lose this.
At sundown they fall asleep, bloody, bruised and exhausted. But when Angelus wakes up at moonrise, Xander--and his ax--have gone.
They don’t return for nearly two months.
“Slayer of Slayers,” Angelus says coldly. “You always were braver than you were smart.”
Xander makes a small cry that’s quickly bitten off.
Angelus sets up a hard, punishing rhythm, using Xander’s body as hard as any he’s ever had in his power.
His boy bears up under it, taking every lash, every gouge stoically. Every swatch of skin that sloughs off under Angelus’s wrath--every gobbet of flesh torn out by the small barbs on the end of the whip is borne with near-silent acceptance.
For hours, Angelus stalks around his childe’s body, looking for the right spot to land the next blow. The only sound in the cellar is his grunts of exertion and the muted chink of the chains that suspend Xander two feet above the dirty floor.
It’s only when there’s more skin on that floor than on his boy, that Angelus finally stops, so covered in blood that it drips from him. He’s still angry, still hard, still pleased and still relieved that his childe--his mad, foolish, lucky-to-be-undusted boy--has returned.
I missed you. I worried about you. I’m proud of you . . . I love you.
“Now . . . what’ve you got to say for yourself, Xander--and remember: the ice you’re skating on is thin enough without making any smart ass remarks.”
Xander doesn’t answer for some time, merely hangs there.
Angelus has seen this before, with his other childer, knows that sometimes, it takes the mind awhile to return from the places extreme pain can send it.
But Xander is opening his blood-shot eye and licking his ruined lips in less than an hour.
“Bitch . . . hadda pay. . . .” he slurs wetly. Several of his fangs lay on the floor, knocked out during the beating that prefaced the whipping. He has to struggle to enunciate. “Burned . . . home . . . killed minions--”
“You think I give a tinker’s damn about a house and a handful of useless minions?” Angelus growls. “If you weren’t already thrashed halfway to dust, I’d beat you some more for being so fucking stupid.”
“Hadda make sure--” Xander’s eye rolls as he struggles not to black-out; his sigh is wet, labored. “--couldn’ take you ‘way. Love . . . love you, Sire . . . don’ lemme ‘lone. . . .”
Angelus turns away, sickened. Not by the sight--he’s both seen and done much worse than this to people that have angered him less--but by a revelation he’s had on more than one occasion:
This boy, this Slayer of Slayers, is perfectly mine.
Suddenly, that thought is as horrible as it is exhilarating. It makes him angry at Xander for a reason he can’t put his finger on.
“You’ll hang there and suffer for your disobedience and your presumption. When I tell you to steer clear of Slayers, you’d better listen.”
Angelus leaves the boy hanging in the cellar for the rest of the day--means to leave him hanging for two more days, at least--but by sunset, Xander is in their bed, bandaged head to foot and deep in a healing coma.
Angelus watches him sleep, and broods.
From it’s place of honor on their mantle, the Slayer’s eyeless, gore-streaked head watches them both.
He’s quieter, now.
Xander talks a lot less since he came home dirty, gaunt and carrying the Slayer’s head. Angelus doesn’t know why his boy is so suddenly silent--whether it’s introspection, or anger, or regret--only that it’s a timid sort of silence . . . a waiting silence.
What Xander’s waiting for, Angelus couldn’t begin to imagine. He suspects that Xander doesn’t know either.
What he does know is that at some point in the past few years, he’d grown used to Xander’s chatter, Xander’s video games--even Xander’s music. He’d grown used to being pounced on and nuzzled at inappropriate moments for absolutely no reason at all.
At some point, in the past few years, he’d grown used to Xander.
Kissing in an alley, the blood of both their prey still warming them, they tear at each other’s clothes with more passion and enthusiasm than their recent encounters have possessed.
“Let me, Sire,” Xander breathes, trying to pin Angelus’s hands to a wall. “Please let me?”
Angelus looks into his boy’s eye and suddenly understands. Wonders why it took him--took them so long to get here.
He twists his hands out of Xander’s and shoves him hard. Loose brick crumbles down in a rusty-red shower when Xander hits the wall.
“Can’t give this to you, boy,” Angelus says, sneering contemptuously. “You’ve got to take it. If you can.”
Angelus is three steps from the mouth of the alley when Xander barrels into him, knocking him to the ground and delivering a kidney punch like a cannonball.
The fight is on.
It doesn’t last long, and there’s a strange dearth of funky ninjutsu-moves and kung-fu. It’s more like something out of WWF Smackdown! They grapple and circle, tackle and pin, growl and taunt and yet--neither of them gains the upper-hand for long. Angelus is the larger and stronger fighter, but Xander’s faster, more agile and fighting to win, not just until he loses.
Finally, Xander stuns Angelus a right upper-cross like a sledgehammer and catches him before he falls.
“Your idea of foreplay?” He growls, moving deeper into the alley, staggering under his Sire’s weight. “Is so Fight Club.”
“I let you win,” Angelus says, spitting out a mouthful of blood. Then he’s hugging a wall while Xander unzips his pants and lets them fall.
“No . . . you wanted me to win, and, like an obedient childe, I did. There’s a difference, you know.” Xander takes a moment to fight with his own jeans before his cock, hard and cool, is brushing across Angelus’s ass. He shivers, pushing back against Xander impatiently.
“Semantics,” he dismisses as Xander grabs his hips and holds them still.
Blunt, human teeth worry the skin of Angelus’s neck for a moment then: “What the hell do Jewish people have to do with it?”
Then the pain and pleasure of simultaneous penetration as Xander pushes into him with one hard thrust, and bites into shoulder, drinking blood in thirsty mouthfuls.
Like the fight, there’s no finesse, no drawing it out. Xander misses Angelus’s prostate as much as he hits it, and doesn’t care. The alley wall Angelus is grinding against isn’t the warm hand of friendship--and damn near skins him--but he doesn’t care.
It’s a dirty, desperate fuck against an alley wall, and they both need it more than they’ll ever admit.
Angelus comes when Xander rips his fangs out, tearing muscle and skin. For several moments, there’s no world, no Xander, no anything, only perfect darkness. . . .
. . . that recedes as Xander’s rhythm slows, but doesn’t stop. Reality comes back, bringing with it myriad aches and pains, some of them sweeter than others.
“Thank you,” Xander whispers; he takes Angelus’s wrists--kisses one, then the other, before pinning them both to the wall above his head.
“So . . . was this what you’ve been waiting for?” Angelus asks, twisting experimentally in Xander’s grip. The hands around his wrists are like iron, and they squeeze like vices.
It’s obvious that he won't be let go of any time soon.
Xander nuzzles the torn flesh of Angelus’s neck with a happy sigh. “I’ll tell you in the morning.”
Angelus strolls out of the small convenience store and past the pumps. He’s got a plastic bag in one hand and a two-liter Pepsi in the other.
As he approaches the convertible, he tunes in to the song on the radio and smiles.
"You're weird, in tears, too near and too far away,
He said, saw red, went home stayed in bed all day,
Your t-shirt, dish dirt,
Always love the one you hurt. . . ."
His boy is pale and beautiful in the moonlight, as well as horribly off-key, which makes Angelus smile.
He slides into the passenger seat of the convertible. Xander immediately grabs for the bag, making a face when he sees the butterscotch, and making another face entirely when he sees the Twinkies.
“What’re you listening to?” Angelus asks as the soda is whisked out of his hand.
“Just a song I used to hear all the time when I was young.”
“And you’re not young now?”
“Nope. Now I’m . . . an older, maturer, deader Xander. Your older, maturer, deader Xander.” He shrugs and cracks the Pepsi, guzzling half of it in one long swallow. “So . . . how was your gas-station attendant?”
Angelus makes a face of his own. “Greasy, tasted like petrochemicals.”
“Toldja.” Xander snickers, taking a bite of his Twinkie with a look of pure relish.
For a moment, Angelus is Angel, watching Xander--warm, human, alive Xander--across their kitchen table. Xander is eating--no, going down on a Twinkie, a look of near-sexual satisfaction on his face. When he was done, Xander’d licked his fingers clean, seemingly oblivious that he was making his boyfriend jealous of a snack cake.
Seemingly oblivious till he looked over at Angel and grinned slowly, smugly.
”Was there something you wanted, dead-boy?”
Being with Xander had warmed Angel to his miserable, brooding core. He’d been happy . . . so damn happy that last night that though he’d closed his eyes as Angel, he’d opened them as Angelus.
But Angelus hadn’t drained the boy sleeping so deeply and trustingly beside him; he’d turned him before he woke up.
And though it’d had been rough at first--he’d had to starve the boy and keep him locked in a cellar for a year before he’d take a human life--Angelus never regretted his decision. Corrupting the one ray of light in Angel’s life had made the darkness . . . richer, somehow.
“Man, I wish I’d had some warm O-neg for dipping,” Xander sighs wistfully, tossing his empty wrapper at a garbage can and missing entirely. He shrugs and turns to Angelus, catching him staring.
He leans closer, his eye flashing gold. “You know. . . thanks to you, we’ve got the whole place to ourselves. We could--”
“You’re keeping your hands to yourself and we’re keeping to the schedule.” Angelus catches Xander’s wandering hand and places it on the stick shift. “Lay on, MacDuff.”
“You never let me have any fun,” Xander whines, but he’s grinning as he shifts gears.
Angelus laughs and helps himself to a piece of butterscotch--which’ll hopefully get the chemical-taste out of his mouth--and leans back as Xander revs the engine. Then they’re pulling back onto the road and lead-footing due south down the highway, the wind in their hair.
"It's a crack, I'm back yeah standing
On the rooftops having it
Baby I'm ready to go
I'm back and ready to go
From the rooftops shout it out, shout it out
Abused, confused, always love the one that
hurt ya hurt ya hurt ya--"
Xander sings along with the radio, occasionally thumping the steering wheel for emphasis, occasionally hitting the right note. But only occasionally.
You’re still young, yet, childe, Angelus thinks wistfully, creamy sweetness melting on his tongue. You’re young, and the night is young . . . and there’s a whole world out there . . . waiting for us to devour it.
He smiles at the rearview mirror--at their lack of reflection--then closes his eyes, content to let the world zip by.
Content to let his boy get them where they’re going in one piece.
". . . it's a crack, baby I'm ready to go
Baby I'm ready to go. . . ."
"Sire. . . ."
Xander's whisper is beyond fear or anger, but not, it seems, beyond hope.
“Sire, please--” he takes a shaky, unnecessary breath and Angelus finally looks at him: a pallid wraith bound chin-to-ankles in chains. "You can't want me, anymore. Not like this."
The brightness in his eye isn’t bloodlust, or desire—or even the usual cheerful insanity. It’s tears and—
“. . . the people I’ve hurt. . . .”
“. . . deserve to burn. . . .”
Angelus hasn’t lost often . . . and never has he lost quite this much.
“Please, Sire--please. . . .”
And he’ll take every tear out of the Rosenberg bitch’s hide.
|Feed the Author|
|Home||Categories||New Stories||Non Spander|