Vertigo


by
Beetle





4 Letting


It starts - the silence, the weeping, the blood swirling down the rusty motel drain - with a Chinese finger puzzle.

Dru had been battier than a bucketful of orange peels and she’d loved the silly things, even collected them for awhile. Until that unfortunate incident in Prague had forced them to leave her treasured collection behind.

So, it stood to reason that his boy - also battier than bucketful of orange peels - would love them, as well. Spike meant to tease him out of his vapid, eager-to-please insanity with a bit of charm and whimsy.

Watching the boy stare dejectedly at the brightly-colored piece of cylindrical paper for nights on end, Spike knows he’s bollocks’ing that up nicely.

How was I to know it’d remind him of giving one just like it to his little, redheaded girlfriend? Is it my fault his frolics down memory lane are more like slogging through quicksand?

“Come on, pet. . . put that away and I’ll take you to a movie, yeah?” Spike finally says, pulling the morose boy out of bed and into his arms. He knows better than to remove the damn puzzle himself, the boy would weep silently - heart-wrenchingly - till he got it back.

But Spike has to do something to halt the quiet unreason that’s swallowing his pet’s brain in not-so-small gulps.

“We’ll see something with muppets or aliens in it - you like muppets and aliens, right? And I’ll get you the cheesiest nachos your arteries can handle.” Spike kisses the slightly chapped lips. “We’ll make a night of it, cheer you up, right proper.”

The boy is staring at his right hand, where it rests on Spike’s shoulder. He wiggles his index finger, which is encased in the damn puzzle. “No.”

And we’re back to that. . . .

“Thought we straightened that out awhile ago, pet. I say ‘jump’, you say ‘how high’, I say ‘movie’, ‘you say what time’, remember? Now get your kit on and I’ll bring the DeSoto ‘round.”

The boy looks up into Spike’s eyes, blinking dozily. Lord knows, Spike likes ‘em dotty, but the boy is spending more time in his head than Drusilla ever did and it scares him. He’s gotten used to the squirrely, little nutter who mumbles to himself and laughs at things only he can see. . . .

He even misses the soft, lonely sound of the boy singing himself to sleep every morning.

Yes. Spike has grown accustomed to these things. They are part of his world and he will not suffer them to be taken away. If it means the boy’ll go back to the way he was - a squirrely, little nutter, but basically happy - Spike will be a bastard. He’ll be the biggest bastard ever, and not for the first time.

So fast the boy probably doesn’t even register the movement, Spike snatches off the finger puzzle and crumples it into a ball.

“No! Please -!” the boy begs hoarsely, his eyes filling with tears as they lock on Spike’s hand. Spike crams the ruined puzzle in his pocket and tips his pet’s face up until their eyes meet. ”Please.”

“Please what, love? Tell me what you need and I’ll get it for you. Anything, I swear.”

“The puzzle -”

“Except that.”

The tears finally fall and even Spike’s fingers aren’t fast enough to catch them all. “Willow -”

Something sharp and painful coils around Spike’s heart. “Except her. Can’t resurrect the dead, can I?” Though I know a bloke who knows a bloke who knows a Grethnak demon who can. “Anyway, you’re mine, pet, don’t need anyone but me, isn’t that right?”

The boy sniffs and nods and that, as always, is that, though Spike thinks it best to scrap the movies and put them both to bed.

As ever, his boy is pliant and warm in his arms; it really doesn’t take more than that to make Spike happy, but he doubts the shagging will solve this latest problem.

The next evening, the boy is worse, silent and blank, slow to respond to comments or touches. The night after that, he doesn’t respond to Spike at all, just curls into a ball on their bed and stares into space.

On the third evening, Spike goes out for the express purpose of getting blind, staggering drunk. He knows it isn’t the best idea to leave the boy alone in his state but. . . .

Just but.

By the time midnight rolls around, Spike’s anxious to get back to the motel. The hooch isn’t working its magic fast enough and a cold, greasy feeling is ice-dancing down his spine too intensely to be ignored.

He pulls into the motel parking lot and before he steps foot out of the DeSoto, they reach him: the scent of blood and the thready beat of a heart that’s no longer rabbit-fast or rabbit-scared.





5 Death. . . and Life


“Bloody hell, does everyone around here taste like fast food and cheap pilsner?”

Spike unlocks the room door, grousing to himself. Not even Jim Beam’d wash the pungent taste of motel-skank out of his mouth.

Fine enough, going down, but it leaves a greasy residue that gunks up the fangs and clings to the back of the throat. Not to mention the unpleasant heartburn.

“It’s not me, please stop, please don’t -” drifts out of the absolute darkness of the room.

Spike slips into gameface and the darkness is no longer dark, even when he’s locked the door behind him. He slowly approaches the bed, leaving a trail of shed clothing. The boy doesn’t wake when Spike lays down next to him

“Wake up, lovely. It’s just a nightmare. It’s just dying.” Spike pulls the cold, trembling body into his arms, buries his face in hair that still smells of soap, sweat and humanity. He rocks their bodies together, crooning the same, comforting brand of nonsense he’s crooned for over a century. Only when’s he’s very drunk or very high is he willing to admit to himself that he thrives on the crooning, the comforting, the taking-care-of.

It makes him feel - whole.

“My sweet boy, only a dream, only a nightmare, I’m here, I’ll never leave you. . . .”

The boy is sobbing one moment and silent the next. Breathing one moment, breathless, the next.

Asleep, one moment, awake the next.

“Spike.”

“Was beginning to think you’d never Rise.” Spike’s voice quavers, but it’s only the booze and the anticipation.

The boy holds up one pale, unmarred wrist. “I should be dead.”

Spike snorts. “You are dead, love.”

They’re both silent for several minutes. Spike can feel the bond between them thrumming; powerful, strong and so very fragile, in it’s newness, but pulsing as if it’s alive. Now, Spike is intoxicated in a completely different way. Hard and soft, needy and desiring. . . ravenous and completely unaware he’s purring.

“Why’d you turn me?”

“Remember what I said about asking questions, pet.” Spike is wrapped around his Childe, yet wrapped up in the lingering scent of humanity. It’s a heady feeling.

“I want to know.” His Childe’s voice is calm, melodic. . . so quietly resonant. Quite unlike his consort’s rabbit-timid whispers.

That makes it a surprisingly hard voice to ignore.

“Why’d I turn you?” Spike mouths jaw and neck, unconsciously searching for the trip-hammering pulse that had stilled not three nights ago.

The boy nods once. Spike holds him tighter, closer, lips pressed to his nape.

“Angelus gave you to me, figured it was time to claim what was mine before the excrement hit the rotating blades, yet again. And after what the Slayer did to Dru, she owed me. Whoever says you can’t collect from the dead obviously hasn’t tried.”

“So, turning me was vengeance?”

“Not entirely, love” Spike murmurs, pushing his erection against the boy’s arse. The breathless moan occasioned by the grinding is music to Spike’s ears. “Not entirely.”

“I should’ve died with my friends. . . I should have died three nights ago. Why am I still here?”

Spike sighs. “In the cosmic sense? Dunno. Why am I still here? Just am. In the why-you sense -?” Another snort. “Couldn’t be arsed to find and turn the cheerleader, I suppose. . . or maybe it’s because you’re pretty and insane. Always was my Achilles Heel.”

“We all have our flaws,” the boy says softly. “Sire.

“Fuck.” Now Spike knows why Angelus sired so many childer. That dark, beautiful voice calling him Sire, goes straight to his cock with no stopovers.

Spike shreds the boy’s sweatpants, is on him and in him in seconds, the clench and press of strong, tight muscles wringing a surprised moan from him.

“Why? Why?” The boy is still asking, even as his demon growls and groans it’s need, pushes back against Spike. Neither of them knows the question anymore, if they ever had, but Spike’s answer is as it has been and always will be:

“Because you’re mine, boy. . . because I could and because you’re mine.”





6 Patience and Promises


“Spike, I’m hungry.”

Spike doesn’t look up from the scrambled and muted footie match he’s trying to follow. “Feeling lively tonight, are we?”

“Feeling. . . weak and confused. Tired.”

Spike looks over at his naked, pale and gantry thin boy, stranded in the rumpled nest of their bed. The light thrown by the stubby candles placed around the room has rendered the boy alive, warm. Human.

He’s clutching Spike’s duster to himself, shivering, peering at Spike through dark, shaggy lashes and even darker, shaggier hair.

“Everything is still so sharp and loud. It hurts.” The soft voice needles the place where Spike’s soul used to be. The boy’s been fragile since Spike turned him, but lately. . . lately, it’s gotten worse.

He wonders if this malady, this. . . unsoundness is a hallmark of the Aurelius line; a demonic infirmity passed down by tainted blood, skipping every other generation.

“If I get rid of the candles, love, you won’t be able to see very well. You know your vision gets a bit dodgy in the dark,” Spike murmurs. These days, anything louder than the merest murmur makes his lovely boy cringe and cover his ears.

“Please, Spike. . . .” the boy pinches the bridge of his nose as if warding off a migraine. Spike gets up and turns off the telly, blows out each and every candle in their motel room then pads over to their bed.

“Better, pet?”

“Mmm, much. Don’t need candles, anyway. You shine in the darkness, like spun glass and liquid light.”

If the boy starts spouting prophecy and talking to the stars, Spike may just have to believe in reincarnation.

“Good, that’s - good, I suppose. You haven’t been feeding like you should. . .” Or at all. “Think you’re well enough to eat tonight, if I get you someone?”

A ghost of a smile curves the ashen lips. “Probably not, but I’ll try, if you want me to.”

Spike nods once, pushes his duster aside. The boy doesn’t try to stop him, only worships him with those mad, fever-bright eyes.

“Like moonlight,” he laughs delightedly. “Like quicksilver. Even when you’re perfectly still you move and pulse and - Sire?” The boy tilts his head as if listening to the echo of the word. “Sire, can I have a redhead?”

Spike caresses his boy’s cold, dead face just to hear him purr. “You know, love, you might be perfectly capable of hunting for redheads yourself, if you actually ate one of them, instead of playing with them.”

His boy’s smile is sweet and oddly innocent. He holds out cold, dead arms expectantly and Spike kneels on the bed, pulling him close. Their combined scents permeate the sheets - old metal, fresh earth and something like cloves or nutmeg.

The boy’s lips are cool and dry on Spike’s throat. “My Spike. . . my Sire.” Mad, gentle singing on the wings of cold, dead breath.

“Shh, love.” Spike puts his hand on the back of his boy’s head, sucking in a hissing, unnecessary breath when fangs like burning ice-picks sink into his throat. He strokes the soft, thick hair as still-warm human blood rushes through his veins and into his Childe’s greedy mouth.

“Gonna make you well, pet, make you strong. . . then we’ll leave this squalid hole, and I’ll show you the world.”

This declaration is met, as always, with an acquiescent hum against Spike’s throat. The boy undoes Spike’s jeans and strokes with cold, precise fingers. Spike lays them both down.

The boy is murmuring, shaking, gasping, weeping as his fangs pull out of Spike’s throat in a sharp riptide of pain. “So bright, all I can see is you. So bright. . . .”

Spike doesn’t stop thrusting and his boy doesn’t stop stroking. Panic attacks are nothing they haven’t shagged through, before.

“They all left me, but you stayed.”

“That’s right, love. I keep what’s mine.” Spike kisses his boy’s face, neck and throat; his own throat aches for blood like copper and sugar. It’s simplicity to break the soft, fragile skin; it’s heaven when cool, rich blood fills his mouth, the taste exploding on his tongue.

“They left me and I was lost in the dark. . . but there’s no darkness when you’re with me.” The sharp, stuttery movement of his boy’s hand has calmed into a rhythm Spike’s body automatically matches. The human blood that has temporarily warmed him should make the boy’s hand feel clammy-cold, but the contrast only makes Spike thrust harder and faster.

He does occasionally miss the warmth, of course. Misses the taste of despair and satiation in his human’s warm blood.

Misses the flutter of that rabbit’s-heart, trying to escape it’s cage and outrun the devil.

But moments like this one have gone a long way toward easing those pangs.

“A pretty redhead. . . she’ll be so pure and sweet on my lips, like fresh snow and cotton candy.” The boy rolls them over and straddles Spike’s legs without breaking rhythm. “She’ll melt on my tongue and be a part of me forever.”

His boy is in gameface and grinning. He darts down and icy-hot fangs close painfully on Spike’s earlobe and he comes with one last thrust. For a moment, the room is a negative of itself, silvery objects lit with ebony light. His boy’s eyes glow an eerie white in a face like shadows.

Then there’s only a soft, cold darkness, like frozen smoke, catching him up and keeping him for an indefinite span.

Returning to himself is an arduous process, with a soundtrack like some beach-blanket movie from hell.

Jan and Dean. . . I would sire the only vampire who’d be caught undead singing Jan and Dean. . . .

The boy is half draped over him, his body feather-light and cold enough, now, to make a vampire shiver. One delicate finger traces patterns in the drying spatters on Spike’s stomach and chest.

Spike shifts the dead weight of their bodies ever so slightly. The singing stops and is immediately replaced by tiny, playful growls and cuddling. His Childe does a more-than-passable imitation of a contented feline.

“Get her for me, Spike?”

Piss poor excuse for a Sire, I am. . . catering to his every, ridiculous whim. But if it means he’ll eat, it’s redheads he’ll get, even if I have to slaughter all of Cleveland to find one.

“Alright,” Spike promises, tangling his fingers in long, dark hair. One sharp yank and he’s looking into the dreamy, crazy eyes he loves. “But you can’t toy with your food, this time, you have to eat it. That last girl nearly made it to the cops before I caught up to her.” It’s a pathetic attempt to scold, but as he’d learned with Dru, threats and beatings don’t work when the vamp-in-question is completely bug-fuck.

Only patience works and Spike reckons he’s learned plenty of that.

“Redheads are fast. . . .” the boy sleepily singsongs as he brings his fingers to Spike’s mouth to be licked clean. He giggles when Spike purposely tickles his palm. “But Spike is faster.”

The hunger in that wicked, dark voice does Spike’s dead heart a world of good.

“Goddamn right I am, pet. . . now lie down for a bit and I’ll be back with your redhead.” Spike eases out of bed and arranges the coverlet and duster over his Childe again. This action earns him an utterly trusting, utterly mad, utterly beautiful smile.

“You’ll always keep the darkness away, right? You won’t ever leave me?”

“Never.” Spike leans down to whisper onto lips that are salty and sugary-sweet. “Get some rest and I’ll be back in a trice, yeah?”

“Okay.” Soft, chaste kisses that nevertheless make Spike hard, again. He’s never regretted turning his boy. Not once.

“Promise you’ll try to eat, love. A vamp cannot live by Sire’s blood alone.” Spike tucks himself away and rebuttons his jeans. His eyes never leave his boy’s. “Try and get better. For me?”

“I promise.” The guilelessness in those eyes, in that pale, pretty face, never fails to surprise Spike. Of course the boy means to try, he couldn’t lie his way out of a paper sack.

But blood-lust, love of the hunt, of the kill, however deeply those run in the average vampire, in Spike’s boy, earnesty, innocence and decency run deeper.

Spike figures it’s only a matter of time before those qualities are corrupted, warped out of true. When they are, when his boy can drink down a redhead like a can of Coke, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

Patience. Works like a charm, if you have the patience for it.

Spike reckons he has plenty.




The End




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