Secrets and Confrontations

Saturday night.  10.00pm. Xander sat on the couch watching Spike as he paced back and forth.  He'd checked to see that his cell phone was on and working at least a dozen times in the last half hour, and it was making Xander increasingly edgy.  Spike had been a bundle of nervous energy all day, and Xander knew that without the blood that Spike had fed him regularly, he'd have been as sore as hell.  Spike had seemingly been unable to keep his hands off Xander for longer than half an hour or so, and Xander figured he'd been fucked in just about every conceivable position, and in every possible location in their apartment.  But Xander couldn't feel anything coming from his mate.  It was like Spike had locked the link down, and when Xander had tried, tentatively, to approach his mate's mind, Spike had looked at him with a strange expression that looked almost like regret on his face, and Xander stopped trying.  The whisperings from Spike's blood as he'd swallowed the fiery liquid were nothing but a confused mess of emotions, and Xander found himself growing more and more apprehensive.

Several times Xander had found himself looking at Spike, certain that his mate was about to say something, but the vampire had simply looked away.

Spike had just thrown himself onto the couch next to Xander and reached for him again, when the mobile started tweeting.  He jumped up, grabbed it, and listened for a moment.  "Good, yeah."  More listening.  "Fuck!  Definitely tonight?  Are you sure?" Xander could hear the faint squeaking of the voice on the other end of the phone.  Spike sighed heavily. "He'll have eyes everywhere, Damien.  He'll know as soon as I get there.  Timing is going to be everything.  We can't afford to fuck this up - it's a one shot deal."  Spike ended the call abruptly and flung the phone hard against the wall.

Spike stalked to the bar and poured himself a whiskey, which he downed in one swallow. He stood with his back to Xander and shuddered, as though trying to rein in his anger.  He poured himself another, and then seemed to remember Xander, pouring him one as well.  As he handed Xander his drink, he said, "It's on.  Midnight.  Er, pet?" 

Xander caught - something in Spike's tone, but he wasn't sure what it was.  "Spike, I..." 

"I should leave you here," said Spike, the almost-regret on his face again.

"No!  No, you're not doing this alone, Spike.  What if something goes wrong..." 

"That's what I'm worried about, Xander. There's been a slight change of plan.  There's someone in town that I really need to avoid until this is all over.  It could be dangerous."

Xander took a deep breath.  "Well, you'll need me there then, won't you, to watch your back," he stated.

"No.  Not you.  I won't put you at risk."


"Xander, you're my Consort, and I will keep you safe!  Look, this chip isn't common knowledge, pet.  But rumours have circulated, and..."  Spike sighed again.  "There's another Master in town.  He's challenged me before, pet, and he's heard the rumours.  He'll come after me tonight if he can, and if I can't avoid him... it could get nasty.  I have to be able to protect you and my minions, Xander, and if he finds out that I can't even defend myself from a human child, well...  So, I have to get the chip zapped and recover before he finds me."

"What's going to happen tonight, Spike?" asked Xander, trying to keep his voice steady and calm.  "You've avoided the question up till now, but I think the time has come to tell me, don't you?"  Spike nodded slowly.

"We've contacted a demon race, they don't live in this dimension, but they can deactivate the chip.  They've done it successfully a couple of times now.  One of them will come at midnight.  Has to be in a public place, though, they won't come here.  Which would be fine, except for fucking Phillip.  And no, pet," Spike said as Xander opened his mouth to speak, "trying to keep out of his way or running is not an option.  We're not gonna live like that.  This is the only way."  Xander sat and stared into his whiskey.

"Getting the chip zapped, Spike.  Is it... is it dangerous?  Will it injure you?"  At Spike's shrug, Xander felt anger rising.  "Don't shrug at me!  Don't brush me off like that.  You've had the fucking link locked down all day.  Just how dangerous is this?"

"It's never been tried on a vampire before.  There could be some... damage, apparently, although it shouldn't be permanent," said Spike, not meeting Xander's eyes.

"Fuck!" spat Xander.  "Well, that's it, then.  I'm coming with you.  You're not doing this alone, Spike. You'll still need me there - just in case.  And if you don't take me, I'll follow you."  Xander sighed, staring into his whiskey glass, tapping a steady beat on the side of it with his fingers.  "Look, Spike.  This is really hard for me.  There's a part of me that really doesn't want this chip out.  It scares the hell out of me, the thought of living with a vampire with no soul and no chip.  And I'm angry that you're going to risk everything to do it."  Xander slammed back the whiskey, and sighed again.  "But it's only a little part, like a little voice in the background.  The rest of me knows why you're doing this, why you have to do this, and is cheering you on.  So I'm upset, and confused, and angry, and if you think you're gonna just leave me here to sit and worry on top of all that, you're wrong." 

And the link suddenly snapped open and Xander was overwhelmed with emotions even as Spike hauled him to his feet and pillaged his mouth.  After a moment or two they parted, both panting hard, one unnecessarily.

"Thank you for telling me, love.  You have absolutely nothing to be afraid of - living with me, chip or no chip, I'm going to do everything I can to make you happy.  And I could never harm you, pet, ever.  I love you, Xander.  And I want you with me tonight.  It wouldn't have been a problem before this.  Fucking Phillip."  Spike sat on the couch, pulling Xander with him.  "OK, Xan, if you're coming with me, there're some things I need to tell you, and you need to remember them, OK?  I need to be sure you're safe." 

Spike reached across and kissed him gently, then gave his hand a squeeze.  "We're going to a demon club, and there won't be many humans there.  You'll be safe, though, don't worry.  No one will dare touch you.  First and most important, you stay with me at all times.  You don't talk to anyone else unless I say you can, and they will ask my permission before speaking to you.  No one touches you, and you touch no one - I'd hate to have to kill someone for laying hands on my Consort, but I will if I have to.  And pet, you do exactly as I say, when I say, OK?  If Phillip shows up, I may need to prove..."  Spike's voice trailed off, and he rubbed his hands over his face.  "Look, no matter what happens, you don't do anything, and you don't say anything.  If you're not sure you can do this for me, trust me that much, then you really shouldn't come."

Xander nodded.  He felt as though he wanted to throw up, but willed his stomach to back off.  He had a really bad feeling about this.  But if it all went wrong, he had to be there, not sitting at home, waiting, wondering.

"Spike, I'm worried about you.  Suppose it doesn't work.  What happens..."

But Spike silenced him by placing his lips against Xander's and kissing him deeply.  "Hush, pet.  Everything will be alright, I promise.  Come on, let's get ready."


Spike looked unbelievable tonight.  Black leather and red silk.  Xander felt himself growing hard just looking at him.  He drank in every detail, burning it into his memory.  Spike had dressed Xander in black leather too, but with a cream silk shirt which that showed off his golden skin and dark good looks to perfection.  They both wore black leather dusters, and Xander couldn't believe how different he looked.  There was nothing of the Zeppo here.  The donut boy could never look this dangerous. 

Spike poured himself a whiskey and sipped it thoughtfully as he looked at Xander admiring himself in the mirror.  The ache in his chest grew.  This had to work.  "Xander, if it all goes wrong tonight, take the car and drive straight to LA.  Go to Angelus.  He's your only chance, OK?"

Xander turned stricken eyes on Spike.  "Spike, please, can't we just..."

"No, pet.  Promise me.  Angelus is my blood.  He'll be able to take care of you.  I don't want you to die, if...  Promise me."

"Yeah, ok, I promise," sighed Xander, as the nausea started rising again.

Spike drained his glass, grabbed his car keys and said, "Let's go."


The club was in the middle of the warehouse district.  Spike rang a bell on a nondescript door, which was opened by something that looked vaguely like a troll.  Spike sounded as though he was gargling, then Xander realised he was talking to the creature.  Spike put his hand on Xander's back and said, "C'mon, pet.  We're here."  He led Xander down a long flight of poorly lit stairs to another heavy, wooden door.  As Spike opened it a wall of sound hit Xander, almost knocking him backwards.  Goth music, he thought to himself, should have guessed.  There was something primal about the heavy, driving beat that ran down his spine and straight to his cock.  He followed as Spike made a bee-line for the bar and bought them both drinks.  Then they made their way deeper into the club, and entered an alcove off to one side, where the volume of the music dropped considerably.  They sat on a couch placed against the back wall, and Xander turned to Spike and said, "So what happens now?"

"Now, pet, we wait."

They'd only taken a sip of their drinks when a woman walked into the alcove.  Vampire, not human, corrected Xander, surprised that he somehow knew what she was without thinking.  She walked up to Spike, and dropped to her knees, taking his hand and kissing it.  "Master Spike, we have made the preparations.  Master Phillip's minions were seen leaving a moment ago.  He will probably arrive shortly.  If you and your Consort would please follow me."  Xander's eyebrows had crawled up almost to his hairline, and he gave Spike an amazed look.  What the hell?  "Thank you, Lydia, my dear.  You have served your Master well."  "Thank you, Master Spike," she said as she rose from her knees and gestured for Spike to follow her.  Xander was bursting to ask Spike what was going on, but a quelling glance from Spike ensured that he saved his questions for later.

Spike took Xander's hand, and they ventured even further into the club, down a corridor, until Lydia stopped at a closed door.  She knocked and then entered.  "Master Spike," she announced, and then stepped aside for Spike to enter, towing Xander after him.  Lydia took their dusters and hung them near the door, and Xander took the opportunity to look around the room. 

There were two male vampires and a small, blue-skinned demon standing in the sumptuously furnished room.  The vampires bowed to Spike, but the demon just stood there, smiling brightly.  Xander noticed that it - she had scales rather than skin, but otherwise looked quite, well, human.  She had long, silver hair and golden eyes, and was quite pretty, really.  "Hello, I'm Amaria, and you must be the vampire with the small electrical problem," she said, in a voice that sounded like a flute playing.  Xander noticed the other vampires flinching at the demon's words, and none of them lifted their eyes from the ground.  The tension in the room was palpable.  Spike, however, burst out laughing, and suddenly everybody seemed to relax.  "Yeah, you could say that," he said.  "Seems to be a lot of it happening around the Hellmouth," the demon said.  "Well, sit down here and I'll see what I can do."  Spike sat in the chair which had been placed in the centre of the room, and Xander moved to stand next to him.  Spike caught his eye, and Xander slipped to his knees at Spike's side, knowing that this was what was expected of him.  Spike smiled at him and patted his shoulder.  He then turned his attention back to Amaria.  "OK," he said, "I'm ready."

The blue skinned demon stood behind Spike, and placed her hands on his head.  She then started to move them around, pressing with her fingertips here and there, until... "Aha, yes, here it is.  Now just hold still a moment..."  Suddenly, Xander felt all the hair on his body stand up as a massive static charge seemed to build in the room.  Then there was a deafening crack and the strong smell of ozone.  Spike toppled forward off the chair and Xander lunged forward to catch him.  "Spike, Spike, you OK?" cried Xander, frantically.  Spike looked even paler than usual, and there was a trickle of blood coming from his ears. The blue-skinned demon walked around and squatted down next to them.  "He'll be fine.  Just lay him down on the couch over there - he'll come round in a few minutes.  There will be no irreversible damage to him, I assure you."  Xander caught the demon's eye.  "The chip, is it...?"  "Permanently disabled.  Totally fused into a small lump of silicon, actually, and its nasty little tendrils have been vaporised.  No way it can be reactivated, if that's what you're wondering?"  Xander nodded, a strange mixture of fear and relief flooding through him as he picked Spike up and laid him carefully on the couch.  He turned to look at the demon again.  "Is there anything... I mean, do we need to pay..."  "Oh,  goodness, no.  We're only too happy to assist in the disabling of these torture devices," she replied.  She waved, and then seemed to - fade into thin air.  Xander snapped his mouth shut as one of the vampires who had been hanging back walked up to him.  His attention was drawn back to the couch, however, as Spike gave a groan and raised his hands to his head.  Xander knelt down and brushed his hand over Spike's forehead.

"Fuck. Me.  What the hell hit me?" ground out Spike through gritted teeth.  The vampire who was hovering behind Xander gave a sigh of relief.  "Master Spike, you're all right?" he asked.  "Yeah, Damien, I'm fine.  Did it have to hurt so fucking much, though?"  "I'm sorry, Master, it was the most efficient method, and time was of the essence..."  "It's not a criticism, simply an observation," said Spike, sounding very tired. 

There was a knock at the door, and the vampire Spike had been speaking to walked over and opened it.  After speaking briefly to whoever had knocked, he came back to the couch and said, "Master Spike.  Master Phillip has arrived.  He demands to see you now."

"Let him wait.  I need to heal first, Damien.  I can't let that fucker see me like this."

"Yes, of course.  You need to feed, Master." 

"Yeah.  Bring us some drinks, oh, and some orange juice," said Spike.

Xander felt himself grow cold.  He stared into glittering, blue eyes that suddenly seemed predatory.  Spike had never fed from him like this before.  Biting during sex, yeah, but not as - food.  "Spike?"

"I need fresh blood, Xan.  Not too much, but enough to repair the damage that's been done.  I'm not gonna drain you, pet.  You know that.  But I need to heal before I face the wolves."

Xander took a deep breath, exhaled slowly, then nodded, acutely aware of the other vampires in the room, watching.  He wondered briefly why Spike hadn't sent them away, and then realised that they, too, needed to see Spike feed.  Spike sat up, moving so that Xander was kneeling between his legs, then reached over and kissed him.  He then began to unbutton Xander's shirt and slipped it back off his shoulders.  "Thank you," he said as he morphed into game face.  Spike nuzzled at Xander's neck and licked along his throat, before sucking and licking at his claim mark.  Xander could feel his heart racing.  It's no big deal, he told himself.  Spike needs this, and it's not like he hasn't fed before.  But not like this, muttered a treacherous voice in the back of his mind.  Before, Xander had to want it, or the chip would go off.  Now it didn't matter; the chip was gone.  Spike's arms tightened around Xander, and then he felt a searing pain as the sharp fangs split the (his) skin and sank into his throat.  Xander struggled for a second as some primal survival instinct kicked in, and then groaned as an incredible bolt of arousal shot through him, making him hard in an instant.  Spike slipped off the couch onto his knees in front of Xander and began unzipping them both, releasing their erections, only to wrap his fist around them both and begin pumping in rhythm with his sucking at Xander's throat.  Xander didn't care that they were being watched.  Right at this moment Spike could have fucked him in the middle of the dance floor, and he'd have begged for more.

It seemed to last for ever, and Xander felt himself grow light-headed and dizzy even as his orgasm hit.  He must have blacked out for a minute or two.  He awoke to find himself lying on the couch with Spike's torn wrist pressed to his mouth.  Before he even thought about it, he was suckling at the wrist wound, swallowing mouthful after mouthful of the intoxicating fluid, feeling Spike's thoughts and emotions flood through him as the blood pooled inside him.  The wrist was gently drawn from his mouth, and Spike kissed away the excess from Xander's lips.  Xander opened his eyes and looked down to find that he'd been dressed again.  He looked up to find Spike's blue gaze lovingly searching his face, making sure he was all right.  Xander sighed to himself.  It was worth it, wasn't it, to be loved and desired and possessed this way.  It was worth it, right? 

As Spike helped Xander to sit up, he noticed there were two large glasses of juice and a bottle of whiskey and some glasses sitting on a tray on the side table.  Spike picked up one of the glasses of juice and gave it to Xander.  "Drink up, pet.  Need to make up your fluids."  As Xander finished the glass, Spike took it and gave him the second one, watching him carefully as he drank it all.  "Good," said Spike as he took the second glass away.  He placed them both on a tray on the side table, and then poured them both a stiff whiskey.  "Go and see if you can find some pizza in this dump, Damien.  My Consort needs to eat," he ordered.  The vampire bowed his head in agreement and left.

Xander just sat there, feeling dazed.  He still felt a bit light-headed and shocky - Spike must have taken quite a lot of blood, he thought idly.  "You feeling OK, pet?" asked Spike, sitting next to Xander.  He passed him his drink and swallowed a good half of his own.

"Um, yeah, I think so.  Just a bit dizzy is all.  How are you, Spike, are you OK?"

"Fighting fit, thanks to you.  Didn't realise I'd need that much blood, pet.  Just sit there, have something to eat, you'll feel fine in a little while," Spike assured him, a grin on his face.  "Let that bastard come, Xan, we've got nothing to worry about now."  Xander nodded absently.  Something inside him was screaming, even while he could feel the demon roaring in triumph at the newly unchipped state of his mate.  And the chip was most definitely gone.  Xander had struggled, had desperately not wanted Spike to feed for a moment.  And Spike had felt it too.  Proving himself to Phillip was now a mere formality.

A pizza appeared, and Xander ate it mechanically, trying not to think about anything at all.  Spike pressed another full glass of whiskey into his hand, and he drank it without seeming to notice.  By the time he'd finished the pizza and his fourth glass of whisky, he was feeling a lot better, physically at any rate.  Mentally was a different story, though the whiskey seemed to have dulled most of his conflicted thoughts to a vaguely fluffy confusion.  Something was tugging at him... driving somewhere.  Wasn't he supposed to drive somewhere?  LA?  Visit deadboy?  Oh, right, not an issue any more.  Forgot.  Spike seemed happy with his mate's drunken state, and that confused him even more.  Xander noticed that there suddenly seemed to be a lot more vampires in the room, but he couldn't be certain when they'd appeared, or even if it only seemed that many because he was seeing double.  He giggled.

There was a knock at the door.  Spike rose from the couch and then squatted in front of Xander, pulling him forwards to look deeply into his eyes, and said, "Xander, listen to me.  I may have to feed from someone else - I'll try not to kill them, I promise.  Now, this is very important, pet.  Stay on the couch.  Do nothing.  Say nothing.  I love you."  Soft lips pressed against Xander's and then they and the hands were gone.  As Xander fell back against the cushions, he suddenly understood why Spike had got him drunk.  Xander swallowed hard, trying to gather his ragged thoughts.  OK, Xan-man - here it is - crunch time.  If you can't do this, you might as well walk away now.  You told Spike you could live with this.  Time to put your money where your mouth is.

Spike strode over and picked up his duster, slipped it on, then walked back until he was standing in the centre of the room.  "It's showtime, boys and girls," Spike announced to the room.  Then he called, "Enter."

Damien, Lydia, and the other vampires flanked Spike as three men entered the room and stood in front of him.  They were vampires too, Spike's demon whispered to Xander, and they were enemies.  Xander noticed that, as they all took their positions in the room, they changed to game face.

"Master Spike.  We heard you had been indisposed, so we came to check for ourselves."

"Master Phillip.  Your concern is touching.  I'm quite fine, as you can plainly see."

"You won't mind if we check that for ourselves, of course?"  Xander could almost see the sparks flying as the two master vampires glared at each other.  The demon he shared with Spike was howling for the other's blood, and Xander was surprised Spike could stand there and appear so calm.

"Show and tell?  I thought you were a little old for that sort of kindergarten activity, Phillip?" drawled Spike, as another vampire entered the room dragging a struggling man with him.  The man looked wildly around the room, and probably would have screamed when he saw the demons, except that he was gagged.  His eyes fell on Xander, the only other human face in the room, and he looked pleadingly at him.  Xander felt a rush of shame, and tore his eyes away, focussing on Spike instead.

"I have no idea what you're talking about, Spike.  I simply thought it good manners to bring a gift.  And I'm sure you wouldn't be discourteous enough to refuse it, would you?"  The threat implicit in the softly spoken words echoed around the room.

"Of course not.  Damien, if you would be so kind..."  Damien walked up to the man, took his wrist and slit it with a fang.  He smelled and tasted the blood, and then nodded at Spike.  Phillip glared at both of them.

"These humans take all sort of drugs, you really need to be careful these days, Phillip," said Spike.  "This one is nice and healthy, though, apparently."

"Of course.  And now, if you wouldn't mind?"  At Phillip's gesture, the vampire holding the terrified human tore off his gag and thrust him toward Spike.

Xander forced himself to watch as Spike caught the man easily and sank his fangs into his throat.  Forced down the panic that rose at the man's scream.  Forced himself to remain seated as the man's struggles grew weaker.  Forced himself not to rush forward as the body was casually dropped to the floor.

"Anything else?" asked Spike. 

"You didn't drain him, Spike.  He's still alive.  I want him dead."

"You want? I'm not a fledge who kills through ineptitude, Phillip.  Corpses are messy, particularly with a Slayer sniffing around.  And I'm not turning someone on your say-so."

Phillip glared at him, spun on his heel and stalked out of the room, followed by his minions.  Once they'd gone, Spike turned and addressed two of the waiting vampires at his side.  "Take him out to the club and bring him round. He only fainted.  Give him something to drink, OK?  I'm feeling generous tonight.  And if Phillip wanted him dead, I want him to live."  The explanation seemed to please Spike's retinue, who laughed and smiled while making derogatory remarks about the other Master vampire.  Two of them hauled the man to his feet and dragged him out of the room.

Spike looked across at the pale, shaking human sitting on the couch.  "I'm taking my Consort home, Damien.  We need to do some celebrating in private," said Spike, smirking at the other vampires.

"Of course, Master Spike.  Can we expect the pleasure of your company again soon?"

"Count on it.  You have done well, you have my gratitude.  Go, enjoy yourselves."  The grinning vampires left, and Spike immediately went to Xander.  He gently pulled him from the couch and helped him on with his duster.  "C'mon, pet.  I'm taking you home.  I'm so proud of you, Xander." 

"It... it's over, Spike?"

"Yeah, it's over, pet.  The human will be fine - I didn't take much, I think he just fainted with shock.  Rather ruined Phillip's night, that.  What a shame," laughed Spike.

"That's good," mumbled Xander as he stumbled after Spike.  The vampire virtually carried him to the car, and by the time they'd got back to the apartment, Xander was fast asleep.


"Wha..."  Xander lifted his head and opened bleary eyes, wondering what the hell that annoying noise was.  The phone!  He stumbled out of bed and grabbed his duster up from the floor, rummaging through the pockets until he found the small cell phone.  "Hello," he croaked into it.

Um, Xander?

"Willow?  Hey, Willow, how are you?" grinned Xander as he made his way out to the kitchen and opened the fridge, desperately hoping to find some chilled orange juice.  Yes!!  He grabbed the jug and dumped it on the counter top.

I'm fine, Xander.  Um, how are you?

"Good.  Great.  Just, er... hang on a sec, Wills," said Xander as he fumbled with the phone, jug and glass.  He put the phone down and poured himself some juice, drained the glass and poured another one.  He picked up the phone and his juice, and then sat down at the kitchen table.

"Yeah, great.  Just a bit of a late night last night, still not quite awake yet.  What time is it?"

It's 11.30.  I was just calling to see if you wanted to come to Giles' place for some lunch and a... a chat.  I'd like to talk to you, Xander, and I don't really want to do it over the phone.

"Er, yeah.  Yeah, sure.  I'll be there soon."

OK, see you then.  Bye. Xander heard her hang up before he switched the phone off.  He walked back into the bedroom, and wasn't surprised to find Spike half awake, watching him.  "So, she wants to talk to you?"

"Yeah, meeting at Giles' for lunch," said Xander.

"I'm glad, pet.  How are you feeling this morning?"

"Surprisingly good, actually, considering somebody tipped half a bottle of whiskey down my throat last night," said Xander, a small smile playing on his lips.

"Sorry, pet, but I figured it might be easier for you if you were too drunk to react, and it worked, didn't it?  And you were never in danger.  Phillip's a tosser - knew he wouldn't challenge me.  He only tried it cos he thought I couldn't bite.  Fucking coward.  Anyway, I'm going back to sleep - nocturnal creature here," Spike said, grinning.  "You'd better go and get ready.  I hope it goes well, Xan," said Spike, before pulling the covers up over his head and falling instantly back to sleep.


Xander's heart was pounding as he stood in front of the door to Giles' apartment.  Willow had sounded - cool, over the phone, and Xander really hoped this wasn't a face-to-face goodbye from his best friend.

As he reached up to knock, the door was flung open.  "Come in, Xander, for goodness sake.  I thought you were going to take root out here," said Giles, smiling at the startled look on the boy's face.


"Willow's here.  Come in, and I'll see to lunch," said Giles kindly, taking in Xander's pale face.

Xander walked in, feeling the flock of butterflies rising up from his stomach floor again.  He smiled when he saw Willow sitting on the couch reading a book.  She looked up and stared at him steadily for a second, and then a shaky smile crossed her face as she put the book down and stood up.  In two seconds Xander had crossed the room and wrapped his arms around her.  He nuzzled the top of her head, dropping kisses on it here and there.  He pulled away slightly, and saw tears on her cheeks.

"God, Wills, I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to upset you.  I've missed you so much this past week," he said.  Willow scrubbed her face with a tissue and blew her nose.  "I'm fine, Xan, I just missed you too," she said, as she moved the book out of the way and sat down on the couch again, pulling Xander down next to her.  She sat looking at Xander for a moment, seeming to search his face for something.  "Are you happy, Xander?  Does he make you happy?"

"Yeah.  Yeah, I'm really happy, Wills.  This is what I've wanted for a long time.  I'm happy," said Xander, smiling softly at her.

"Good.  I... I'm glad," said Willow.  And then she punched Xander in the arm, hard.

"Ow!  Wills?  What was that for?"

"For not telling me you were into guys, Xander.  And for going off with... with Spike and doing... stuff and not telling me.  God, Xander, you got married, in a vampirey sort of way, and you didn't tell me!  We're best friends.  I thought we could tell each other anything.  I thought you trusted me.  I hope your arm hurts, you deserve it."

"I'm sorry I hurt you, Willow.  I didn't mean to," said Xander.

"I know.  And I'm sorry too.  I shouldn't have freaked on you like I did, Xander.  I mean, we've been friends for our whole lives, nearly, you know?  It's just that...  I just felt like there was this whole part of you that you'd hidden from me.  It hurt that you hadn't trusted me enough to tell me.  About the gay thing, I mean.  I'm still working on the whole Spike and you being well, married thing.  And the biting and stuff - I'm just not thinking about that at all, except to be very grateful that Spike is chipped, so I know he can't do anything that you don't want him to do."  Xander flushed and dipped his head, unable to look her in the eye.

"Wills, it wasn't that I didn't trust you.  It was just... hell, I didn't even want to admit to myself that I was gay, never mind telling anybody else."

"Yeah, I get that now, Xander, but lots of people are gay.  It's nothing to hide, you know.  I wouldn't have hated you for it or anything, you know that."

"It wasn't that simple, Wills.  If I'd liked a human guy, maybe...  But I wanted Spike.  Can you imagine how I felt, Wills?  Every time I saw him it just got worse.  I just wanted to grab him and rip his clothes off and..."

"TMI, Xan, really.  Don't need the details," cut in Willow, her eyes wide with surprise.  Xander blushed again.  "Sorry.  Just haven't been able to talk about this with anyone, and I guess it just all wants to come out."  He looked up as he heard throat clearing.  "Xander, if you want to stay and talk to me after lunch, you're very welcome.  I understand what it's like to have no one you can confide in," said Giles, a small smile on his lips.  Xander smiled back.  "Actually, I just might do that, if you really don't mind?" said Xander, surprising himself at his reply; he'd meant to say thanks, but no thanks.  I must really need to talk, he thought to himself.

Giles brought out plates of sandwiches, snacks and drinks, and the chatter was relaxed and comfortable.  Xander talked about the big TV and the Playstation games at the apartment, and Willow talked of how college was going.  No one mentioned Spike or Buffy, and Xander thought it best to leave it for the time being.  Willow was talking to him again, and that was enough for now.

Xander and Willow helped Giles to clear up after lunch, and as they trooped back into the living room, Willow caught sight of the clock.

"Oh, it's 2.30 already.  I have to run, I've got to go and see Buffy..."  her voice trailed off.

"Hey, it's OK, Wills," said Xander, trying not to let his face show the hurt he was feeling that Buffy hadn't wanted to be there.

"Xan, she's... she's still upset about the whole Spike thing.  But I think she's coming round, slowly.  And with me and Giles talking to her about it, I'm sure she'll want to see you soon," said Willow, wrapping her arm around Xander's waist and giving him a hug.

"Yeah, sure she will," said Xander, forcing a smile onto his face.

"OK, then, I'd better scoot," said Willow, as she grabbed her bag and headed for the door.  She turned at the door, ran back to Xander and threw her arms around him.  "I'm so glad to see you, Xan," she said.  She dropped a quick kiss on his lips and then headed to the door again.  "Bye, Giles.  Thanks for lunch.  See you later," she called as she left.

"Yes, see you later, Willow," replied Giles.  As the door banged shut, he headed over to his bookcase and removed the bottle of whiskey he had hidden there.  He placed it on the coffee table and then got two glasses and some ice from the kitchen.  He came back into the living room, sat on the couch next to Xander, and poured them both a whiskey.  Noticing the shocked look he was getting from Xander, he handed him one of the drinks and turned on the couch, slightly, so he was looking at the boy.  "What?" he asked, a smile on his face.

"You're giving me alcohol?" said Xander in surprise.  "Aren't you worried about corrupting me or something?"

"Well, I imagine you've already been corrupted, Xander," said Giles, "so a drink to relax us both shouldn't be too much of an issue.  And I'm sure you've had whiskey before."  Xander felt his face going red again, but Giles smiled kindly at him, and he smiled back.

"Did you have a chance to ask Spike about the book I lent you?  I must confess to being curious about it myself, and a chance to find out first hand, well..." said Giles.

"Yeah, I did.  Yeah, thanks for that, Giles.  I brought it back with me," said Xander.  Retrieving the book from his jacket pocket, he gave it to Giles, then sat back down on the couch.  He took a sip of his drink and waited for the questions to come.

"Did Spike answer all of your questions, Xander?  Is there anything you want me to clarify, or discuss with me?"  Xander smiled as he remembered his full and frank discussion with Spike.  "Yeah, we can talk about it if you want.  And yeah, he did, eventually," said Xander.  At Giles' raised eyebrow, he continued. "He didn't really want to tell me about the Sire's Rights thing, figuring I'd freak.  And he was right, I did.  But with the whole Deadboy/soul thing, I'm hoping it's not gonna be an issue, y'know?" 

Giles sighed.  "It's not that simple, Xander," he said.

"Yeah, that's what Spike said," said Xander wryly.  "But I'm not gonna worry about it, G-man."  Giles smiled at that.  "I've asked you not to call me that, Xander," he said, with a grin.

"Yeah, I know.  But secretly you quite like it, don't you?"

"You know, I think I do," said Giles.

"I can understand that.  Makes you one of the gang, rather than being the responsible adult all the time.  Must be hard," said Xander.  Giles was taken aback by the perceptive words.  "Yes, actually, it is.  Continually being cast as the authority figure gets rather tiring at times," he said.  He took a drink of his whiskey. 

"Well, I'm seeing you as a friend right now," said Xander, as he smiled warmly at the older man.  "Giles, can I ask you something?  When I was trying to talk to you about Spike, before, and I told you I thought I was gay.  You didn't seem surprised."

"No.  I'd suspected it, Xander, possibly before you did, judging by your comments to Willow about being in denial.  When you were conscious of being watched, you always made sure to look at any pretty women who happened to be around.  But if you thought you were unobserved, or if your mind was elsewhere, it was men that you looked at appreciatively.  You probably didn't even realise you were doing it.  Your spectacularly unsuccessful choice of female partners wasn't an accident, I'm sure.  And of late, your reactions to the proximity of a certain vampire were very noticeable, to me anyway.  He showed no interest in you whatsoever, though, and I'd rather hoped that having him foisted on you, snarking and irritable as he was, would dispel any budding attraction.  Obviously I was totally wrong."  Giles finished his whiskey and poured himself another, topping up Xander's at the same time.  "I made a gross error in judgement, I'm afraid, so I rather feel responsible for your situation," continued Giles.

"Oh, so you feel guilty.  That's why you're being understanding and stuff.  I see," said Xander, the disappointment he felt clear in his voice.

"No.  No, that's not it at all, Xander.  You're obviously happy with the situation, so my guilt is neither wanted nor warranted.  I'm being understanding and stuff, as you put it, because I know what it's like... to want what you shouldn't, and to have it, even if only for a brief time, in my case, anyway.  It's hard to live with that sort of disapproval, and I don't want you to feel abandoned and friendless, and to feel that there is no one you can turn to or talk to."

"Like you did," said Xander, suddenly understanding Giles a whole lot better than he had before.

"Indeed, as I did," Giles said.

"Ethan Rayne?"  asked Xander, suddenly putting two and two together.  Giles nodded.  "And one or two others," he added.  "But Ethan in particular.  The fact that he was male was the least of the charges against him, in the eyes of my family and friends, at least..."  His voice trailed off as he seemed to become lost in his thoughts for a moment.  Then Giles shook his head slightly, and took another drink.

"Anyway, enough of my maundering.  You're probably dying to tell someone about Spike.  So tell me, Xander.  I'm listening."  And suddenly Xander found himself at a loss.  It was difficult to talk about his relationship with Spike without talking about - certain things.  "Well, we, um... that is, he..."

"Spike is a rather dominant personality, isn't he?  And being an old vampire, a Master, probably makes him even more so, I imagine.  And I think you've always looked for that sort of - guidance from someone," said Giles.  Xander looked up from contemplating his drink, his shocked eyes meeting Giles' understanding look.

"You.. you knew?" he stuttered.

"I'm assuming, knowing you both as I do.  It's perfectly normal to live in that sort of relationship, Xander, as long as it's completely consensual, and you've both talked about it..." Giles' voice held the unspoken question.

"Oh, yeah.  Yeah, we talked and stuff.  I'm not doing anything I don't want to, Giles.  And it's not like I'm a slave or anything, we're not into that."

"I'm pleased to hear that, Xander.  I don't think that would suit you for very long," said Giles.

"No, doesn't do much for me.  It's just - Spike looks after me, y'know.  And he loves me so much, Giles.  It's really something special.  Most of the time it's just two guys, y'know, hanging and stuff - well apart from all the se..."  Xander managed to stop speaking as his brain caught up with his mouth, and he turned red again.  Giles looked at him, a grin on his face.  "Just two guys hanging, except you're in love and can't keep your hands off each other, that sort of thing?" he said.  Xander laughed.  "Yeah, that sort of thing.  And it's good, Giles, really good, y'know? but sometimes I need..." Xander flushed again, and took a gulp of his whiskey, coughing as it burnt on the way down.

"Sometimes you need more.  I know, Xander.  And you always have the chip as a safety net, don't you?  Sort of your own built in safe word," said Giles.  Xander nodded vaguely, prolonging the coughing fit to cover his embarrassment.  He really didn't want to lie to Giles, but he couldn't tell him about the chip.  Not now, anyway.  Giles seemed to pick up on Xander's embarrassment, and turned the conversation to more innocuous subjects.

Xander was thoroughly enjoying himself, talking with Giles.  He'd never realised how interesting the man was.  He was as guilty as the others of simply casting him in the authority figure role and dismissing him.  But Giles was smart, and funny, and wonderful company.  As the afternoon wore on, Giles had brought out snacks and drinks, and Xander was beginning to feel like he was really getting to know the Watcher.  He was halfway through a story that had Xander in fits of laughter when there was a banging at the front door.

"I wonder who that can be," said Giles.  Looking out the window, Xander realised that it was dark, and that Giles had turned on the lights at some point.  He hadn't even noticed.  He became aware of a clamouring at the edges of his mind.  "It's Spike, Giles.  I hadn't realised it had gotten so late.  He's come to find me," said Xander.  Giles opened the front door to find an irate vampire glaring at him.

"Watcher," acknowledged Spike, then he looked over Giles' shoulder.  "Xander, I was worried.  You should have phoned me."

"Come in, Spike," said Giles, and stepped aside to allow the vampire to enter his home.

"Spike, I'm sorry.  I was talking and lost track of time."  Xander looked stricken, and Spike gave him an odd look that Xander couldn't interpret.  "It's OK, pet.  I knew you were safe.  Just didn't want you coming home on your own in the dark.  Streets aren't safe," he said, glancing at the Watcher who was watching this exchange with a worried expression on his face.

"Yeah, should be going.  Thanks for everything, Giles," said Xander as he shrugged on his jacket.

"You're welcome, Xander.  Please feel free to drop in and see me any time.  You can bring Spike with you if you want."  Spike turned surprised eyes on Giles.  As Xander stepped out of the apartment, Spike turned to Giles and said, "I appreciate what you're doing for the boy, Watcher.  Means a lot to him.  And me. Thank you."  Without waiting for a reply, Spike spun on his heel and followed Xander into the night.


Spike hadn't said a word on the way back to the apartment, ignoring Xander's attempts at conversation, and Xander's tentative nudges at the link had been rebuffed.  Spike was obviously angry with him.  Xander knew he had been worried, but come on; he was an adult, for God's sake!  He could take care of himself.  And he said so as they walked into their bedroom, shrugging off his jacket.  Spike whirled around and glared at him.

"I'm not angry, Xander.  I'm very disappointed.  Do you know why?" demanded Spike in a cold voice that sent a shudder through Xander.  Xander stepped back in shock.

"You left here this morning to meet your friends for lunch.  It is now nine pm.  You didn't take your cell phone with you.  You didn't call me.  I tried to open the link, but you ignored it.  Several times," said Spike.  "You forgot yourself, pet," he added in a silky voice that made Xander go cold.


"Did I say you could speak?" interrupted Spike, cocking an eyebrow at Xander.  The nervous boy shook his head.

"Who are you, Xander?  Answer me."

"I... I'm yours," Xander answered in a shaky voice.  Spike nodded.

"That's right.  You're mine, Xander.  You belong to me.  And I think you've forgotten that."

"No!  No, Spike, please - I'm sorry, I didn't think, I just...."

"And again you disobey me.  Did I tell you to speak?" Spike's voice cut across Xander again.  Xander paled and shook his head.

"Dungeon.  Now.  Prepare yourself."  At Xander's shocked look and pleading eyes, Spike said, "I'm not angry, Xander.  This isn't about punishment.  If I were angry with you, the last place we would be going is the dungeon. I told you, pet.  I'm very disappointed.  I've obviously been lax in my duties as a good master, and I think we need to remedy that.  Now.  I'll be in presently.  The things you'll need are laid out in the bathroom."  Spike turned and walked out of the bedroom.  Then Xander heard the back door slam.  Gone to have a cigarette, he thought idly.  Xander knew why Spike had left.  He was deliberately leaving Xander to make the choice.  He sighed.  It would be so much easier if Spike just dragged him there and made him do it.  But Spike would never do that.  Didn't want that.  He wanted Xander to choose to submit to him, willingly.  Every single time.  He sighed again and left the bedroom.


Spike walked into the dungeon to find Xander kneeling submissively in the centre of the room, head bowed, wrists crossed behind his back, waiting.  Spike walked up and stood directly in front of the boy, who leant forward and kissed his boots.  He visually surveyed Xander.  Collar and cuffs on, cockring loosely in place.  Good.  "Stand and follow me," he said.  He led Xander over to what looked like a vaulting horse, and gestured at Xander to stand in front of it.  "Bend over the horse and place your arms in front of you," he said.  Xander flashed a nervous look at Spike, but did as he was told.  Spike attached the wrist cuffs to clips set in the legs of the horse, then walked back behind the boy.  He kicked his legs wider apart, and then attached the ankle cuffs to chains set in the front legs.  Xander was now immobilised.  Spike saw him tug at his bonds, and smelt the stab of arousal, mixed with a healthy dose of fear.  Good, the boy was getting it.  Spike draped himself over Xander's back and whispered in his ear, "Mine.  To do anything I want with.  There will be no safe word, Xander, ever.  I do as I choose with my belongings."  Spike had to fight not to come there and then at the sweet, heady flood of pheromones and terror that poured off the boy. 

Spike straightened up and peeled off his t-shirt, throwing it to the floor as he walked over to the cabinets containing the toys.  He selected a large, pear shaped butt plug and a tube of lube, and a riding crop.  He walked back and placed them on a low table set off to one side of the horse, where Xander could see them easily.  A spike of fear this time.  Good.  He crouched down in front of Xander, tilting his head so he could look him in the eye.

"Why are we doing this, Xander?" asked Spike softly.

"To... to remind me that I b-belong to you, Master."

"That's right, Xander.  You forgot that, today.  It won't happen again, will it?"

"No, Master."

"You have made an error, pet, and are in need of correction.  Tell me you want this, Xander."  Xander looked at Spike for a moment, and then closed his eyes and nodded.  "I..." he swallowed hard.  "I want this.  Master." 

"Good boy," said Spike, then he leaned closer and kissed Xander gently.  "You can make as much noise as you like, pet."  Then he stood up and walked behind Xander again.  He reached down and found that Xander's erection had softened slightly.  Spike pumped him several times, and when Xander was completely hard again, Spike fully tightened the cock ring, and Xander groaned at the sensation.  "You will be allowed to come today, Xander, you're not being punished," repeated Spike, then he ran his hands soothingly over the boy's back and flanks.  He knew the boy was nervous, and not a little afraid of what was going to happen.  While this was exactly what Spike wanted, he also needed Xander to be certain in his own mind that this was a lesson in ownership, and not any sort of punishment.

Spike slipped one hand down the crack between his pet's buttocks and slipped a finger into his opening.  It went in easily.  Good, the boy had prepared himself properly.  He soon had three fingers pumping in and out, and Xander was groaning.  Spike removed his hand and picked up the butt plug.  It was bigger than three fingers, but he wanted Xander to get used to being stretched wide.  Spike squirted out a good dollop of lube and smeared it over the plug.  He pressed the tapered end against the loosened hole and said, "Pet, take a deep breath and breathe out slowly."  He then began to push the plug, slowly and steadily, into Xander.  He felt the boy begin to tremble as he was stretched wider and wider.  Xander started to wriggle, pushing himself forward as though trying to escape the increasing burn of straining muscle.  He gave a guttural cry and began to pant as Spike pushed in the widest part of the plug.  Once the plug was fully inserted, Spike wiped his hands on a towel hanging from the end of the horse and then rubbed them soothingly over his shaking pet's back again.  "There, that's not so bad, is it," he said.  "I'm going to start stretching you out every day, pet.  I want you to be able to take my hand, and I know that's something you want, too, isn't it?"

Then Spike walked around to the table and slowly picked up the riding crop.  He saw Xander watching him.  His eyes were wide, he was panting and there was sweat on his brow.  Spike grabbed the towel and wiped Xander's face.  He then indicated the riding crop he was holding. "You can take this, for me, can't you?" he said.  Xander shuddered, and then nodded.  "Answer me, pet," said Spike.

"Yes.  Yes, Master," whispered the boy.

Spike nodded in reply, and then walked around behind Xander again.

Spike trailed the crop lightly over Xander's skin, tracing the muscles on this back, along his arms, down his legs.  He then stroked it across his buttocks, and Xander began trembling again.  "How many strokes do you think I should give you, Xander?" asked Spike.

"As... as many as you w-want to, Master," gasped Xander.  Spike smiled.  The boy was learning.  Spike raised his arm and brought the crop down, hard, across Xander's buttocks, delivering six strokes, three on each buttock, in quick succession.  Xander cried out and struggled, pulling desperately against his bonds.  Spike rubbed his free hand over the reddening buttocks, then pulled back and delivered another six.  He could see the red lines criss-crossing the mounds of flesh.  He leaned forward and laid gentle licks and kisses along the lines, blowing on the wetness, making Xander shudder beneath him.  "Mine," he said.

"Yours," came the whispered response. 

Spike took a step back, then raised his arm and began to whip Xander again, but more slowly this time, giving a break between each strike of the crop.  After several blows Xander began to struggle against his bonds, but Spike kept up his steady pace, adding stripe after stripe across Xander's buttocks and down his thighs.  The boy was sobbing now, and crying out each time the crop struck him.  But Spike didn't stop, slowly adding more and more red lines, and gradually Xander stopped struggling to get away from the crop and seemed to be trying to push back, to welcome it.  The sobs had died down to moans and guttural gasps each time the crop hit him, and Spike could see that the boy's cock was now an angry purple, and steadily dripping.  Finally, Spike put the crop down and grasped the end of the butt plug, easing it out of the boy.  Xander gasped and then groaned as his entrance was stretched out by its removal.  Spike placed the plug back on the table and crouched down by Xander's head again, stroking the boy's cheek.  Eyelids fluttered open, showing eyes almost black they were so dilated.  "Would you like to come now, pet?" Spike asked.  It seemed to take Xander several seconds to realise that he'd been asked a question.  He gave several hitching gasps before he managed to breathe out, "Please..."  Spike smiled.  It hadn't taken too much to get Xander high this first time.  His boy was so beautifully responsive.  Xander smiled back at Spike, and then his eyelids fluttered closed again.

Spike laid a light kiss on Xander's lips and then stepped behind him again.  He unzipped himself and shoved down his jeans.  He had to have the boy, now.  He ran his hands over the burningly hot skin and Xander groaned and shuddered.  Bruises were forming already, and Spike couldn't stop himself from leaning forward and tracing the lines with his tongue.  A moan escaped his lips.  To see Xander like this, willingly, for him, was incredibly erotic.  The swelling and bruising meant that this was going to hurt, and Spike wanted to make the pain as pleasurable as possible for his pet.  He positioned himself and slowly pushed into Xander, moving in and out shallowly, gently, shifting slightly each time until Xander bucked under him and Spike knew he'd hit the boy's prostate.   Having found the right angle he withdrew slowly, then slammed back in and began fucking the boy hard.  Xander cried out, pushing back for more but then pulling away at the painful contact, moaning and shuddering as the sensations overwhelmed him once again.  Spike knew he wouldn't last much longer.  He loosened the cock ring and began to pump Xander in rhythm to his thrusting, and the boy came almost immediately, screaming hoarsely as he bucked under Spike, his orgasm pulsing through him like an endless series of electric shocks.  The spasming muscles clamped around Spike, who came hard, roaring his release, flooding the hot body beneath him with his cool essence as Xander's hot come gushed over his hand.

Spike collapsed forward onto Xander's back, and lay there for a few moments.  Once he had recovered, he pulled away and reached for the towel, roughly cleaning himself and pulling his jeans back up.  He then gently wiped Xander's buttocks and released him.  The boy just lay there, panting.  Noting the flinching when Spike had cleaned his bruised buttocks, Spike morphed into game face, tore his wrist open and pressed it against Xander's mouth, urging him to drink.  He let Xander drink for a minute or so, giving him a good amount of blood to help him heal, and then drew his wrist away, licking it himself until the ragged edges closed.  Spike then eased Xander up off the horse carefully.  The boy had well and truly zoned, and was probably still flying, so Spike made sure he had a good hold on him so he didn't fall.  "Who do you belong to, pet?" he asked, staring into brown eyes that were still almost black.  Xander wrapped his arms around Spike's neck and leant his head on the vampire's shoulder.  Spike waited patiently for Xander to process the question.  Finally; "You," Xander whispered.  "I belong to you, Master Spike."

"That's right, you do.  And I won't neglect you again.  We'll do this every day until I'm sure you won't forget.  Now c'mon, pet.  Nice shower and a nap, yeah?"


They were lying in their bed, Xander cuddled up to Spike, feeling safe in the vampire's arms.  "My master," he whispered, and felt Spike's strong arms tighten around him.  Spike was right, he had forgotten.  "And I'm your pet."

"My beloved pet," corrected Spike.  "My beautiful boy, my consort."

"I love you, Spike.  I'm so sorry..."

"Shhh, pet.  My fault.  Not taking care of you properly.  Won't happen again, I promise."

"Do you... do you still love me, Spike?"  Spike was shocked at the question.  He raised himself up, resting on his elbow.  He reached down and ran his fingers through Xander's hair, down his cheek and under his chin, tilting Xander's face so the uncertain brown eyes were captured by his own blue gaze.

"Oh, Xander.  Of course I do.  How could I not?"  He leaned forward and captured the soft lips in an achingly gentle kiss.  Mere love was too small a concept to encompass his feelings for the mortal who shared his life.  He wrapped his arms around the warm body tightly, and felt the boy relax into his embrace.  Xander soon fell asleep, but Spike lay there, holding him, staring sightlessly into the dark.

Secrets and Introspection I

Xander sat bolt upright in bed.  He was gasping for breath, and his heart was pounding.   He reached across for Spike, but his side of the bed was empty.  He fumbled blindly behind him to find the light switch, and breathed a sigh of relief as the gentle glow of the electric candle fixtures softly illuminated the room.  Then he winced as he registered the twinges coming from his butt.

"Spike?" called Xander as he gingerly stood and made his way to the kitchen.  He opened the fridge and poured himself some juice.  "Spike, you want a drink?"  No, his mate wasn't in the apartment, he could feel that now.  He glanced at the digital clock on the microwave - 2:37.  He went back into the bedroom and found Spike's duster and boots were missing.  Xander concentrated on Spike and probed at the link.  A red mist rushed over him as he was hit by a surge of adrenalin.  The demon was howling.  He hauled his thoughts back in and closed himself off from the link.  Okay, well that answered that question.  Spike was... hunting.  Must have been what woke him up.  He closed his eyes for a moment, swallowing hard, fervently hoping that no fatal 'animal attacks' would be discovered when the sun rose.  Well, going back to sleep wasn't an option now.  Xander felt hyped enough to run a marathon.

At the urging of his bladder, he took himself off to the bathroom.  When he'd finished, he turned to the full length mirror, turned the lights up full and examined his back.  Even with Spike's blood, he'd expected to see a lot of bruising, and was surprised to only find a tinge of redness on the skin, like mild sunburn.  He rubbed his hands over his buttocks; a bit tender, but nothing like they should have been.  He ran his fingers over the skin, trying to see if he could make out any marks from the crop, and felt vaguely disappointed when he couldn't.  He wanted the marks.

Xander abruptly turned and left the bathroom.  He grabbed a blanket from the closet and headed into the living room.  He needed to see...  He rummaged through the tapes, found the surveillance video that Spike had shown him the other night, rammed it into the VCR and hit play.  Xander found the remote and turned on the TV.  Then he wrapped the blanket around himself and lay on the couch, in the dark, watching the flickering images.  He watched Spike on the screen picking up the flogger and closed his eyes, his hand reaching for his cock.  He wrapped his fingers around himself and rolled onto his back.  The groans and cries from the TV thrust his mind into a replay of last evening.  Xander bent his knees, pulled his legs up to his chest, the fingers of his other hand drifting down to his anus.  Remembering Spike stretching him out, "cause he wants to put his hand inside me".  Xander's cock jumped as a gasp escaped him at this thought.  He pushed a dry finger into himself as he sped up his stroking, spreading the precum around the tip of his cock with his thumb.  Spike had tied him down tight, so he could struggle.  Because he needed to struggle.  And then, when Spike'd stretched him wide open, rammed that thing into him, he'd picked up the leather crop and... "Fuck," Xander gasped, as he pulsed his orgasm over his chest and stomach.  He lowered his legs and lay there, panting.


Xander drifted in a haze of lust.  The cool suction on his cock felt wonderful.  He thrust upwards helplessly as cool hands slipped from his hips to cup his ass cheeks and encouraged him to thrust deeper into the delicious wetness.  Xander reached down, tangled his fingers in the soft waves and urged the mouth to swallow him down.  Sudden pressure on the swollen head and Xander was coming... his eyes snapped open and he lifted his head to watch a naked Spike sucking and swallowing as Xander spilled into his mouth.  Xander groaned as his head fell back against the couch cushions.  He felt Spike move and then cool lips captured his, sharing his flavour.  Spike pulled back slightly.  "Morning, beautiful," he said with a leer. 

"Spike!  What... I..."

"Articulate as ever, pet.  I came back to find you lying naked and hard on the couch.  Seemed a shame to waste the opportunity," said Spike.

"Uh, I must have fallen asleep.  I woke up and you were gone, and I could feel..."  He caught Spike's eye.  "Did you - I mean, is..."

"Yeah, I fed.  No, nobody's dead.  Is that what you were asking?" Spike answered tersely.

"Yeah, that's it," said Xander hesitantly, confused at the sudden hostility from Spike.

"Don't question me, pet.  I can think of better things for you to do with that mouth of yours," said Spike.  He stood up and pulled Xander off the couch, pushing him until he was kneeling on the floor.  Xander opened his mouth to ask Spike what his problem was, then felt Spike's hands on his head, pulling him towards his groin.  Xander gave a mental shrug and lowered his head, taking in Spike's erection.  Maybe Spike would be less grouchy once he'd blown him.  He started sucking, holding onto Spike's hips as he bobbed his head up and down.  Then he felt Spike's hands tighten in his hair, and suddenly Spike was fucking his mouth, hard, holding his head still, tipping it back so he could thrust further down his throat.  Xander fought his gag reflex as the cock hit the back of his throat, and swallowed convulsively.  Spike groaned and emptied himself into Xander's mouth.

"Keep sucking," Spike growled.  Xander flicked his eyes up to Spike's face as he began sucking his cock again.  Spike was in game face.  And his cock stayed as hard as a rock.

"Mmm, very nice, pet," groaned Spike.  "Make me nice and wet, cos I want your pretty arse next."

Xander pulled his head back and said, "There's lube in the bedroom, Spike, I can go and get it."  Spike tightened his grip on Xander's head.  "If I'd wanted lube, I'd have gone and got it myself.  Get on all fours, now."  Spike released Xander's head and pushed him forward.

Xander felt himself shaking as he turned around and put his hands on the floor.  This wasn't right.  Spike didn't do this.  Spike's hands were running down his back, over his ass.  A wet finger pushed into him.

"Hmm, still tight, pet.  I'd have thought you'd be a bit looser after last night.  Still a bit slick, though, handy, don't want you too dry."  Hands on his hips.  "Spread your legs wider, pet."  Bluntness at his entrance.  Xander cried out as Spike slammed into him.  "Fuck, Spike, stop..."  Spike slammed in again, pushing Xander forward onto his forearms.  Spike fucked him hard and fast, roaring as he came, the cool come welcome as it washed over the burning heat inside Xander.  Spike pulled straight out.  "Bed, now," he barked as he stood up and pulled Xander up with him.  Xander tried to pull back, but Spike was much stronger, and he found himself being flung unceremoniously onto the bed.

Xander watched the vampire warily.  Spike was still in game face as he knelt over the human.  "Mine," Spike growled as he spread Xander's legs and rammed back into him again.  Xander gasped and cried out, his thoughts scattered as Spike drove into him, shocked at being treated like some sort of fuck toy.  He wanted to say no, and demand to know exactly what Spike thought he was doing, but some sense of self-preservation told him to keep his mouth shut. 

Spike grasped Xander's wrists and pressed them firmly into the mattress above his head.  "Mine," he growled again as he pounded into him.  Fangs sank into Xander's neck as Spike came, but he only took one or two mouthfuls before withdrawing them and licking quickly across the punctures to stem the bleeding.  Spike then rolled away and lay panting for a minute, before ripping into his wrist and thrusting it at Xander.  Xander suckled cautiously for a few seconds, then Spike pulled his arm away, licking the wound to heal it.  He then got off the bed and walked into the bathroom, leaving Xander lying on the bed wondering what the hell had just happened.  Spike had never just - used him - like that before, not caring if he got off, not caring if he wanted it or not.

Xander slowly got off the bed and walked into the bathroom.  Spike was already in the shower, and he pulled open the door.  "You getting in here, pet?" he said.  Xander nodded and stepped into the shower, feeling totally shell-shocked.

By the time they got out of the shower, Xander found that even the slight tenderness from earlier was gone, as was the soreness from when Spike had just slammed into him.  Being bonded was going to cut down on visits to the doctor, anyway.  As though reading his thoughts, Spike ran his eyes over Xander's back, and said, "Feeling ok?  No pain anywhere?"

"Nah, good as new," snapped Xander. 

"What's wrong, pet?" he asked.  "Is there something about what happened yesterday that we need to talk about?"

Xander looked at Spike incredulously.  The vampire seemed to have no idea.  "Yesterday was fine, Spike.  I just want to know what today was all about," said Xander.

"I don't understand, pet.  We fucked.  What's the problem?" said Spike.  Xander's courage failed him.  He was feeling too confused, too fractured...  Spike had never treated him like this before.  Last night had been wonderful, but now he felt - off balance again.  Xander couldn't deal with this, not now.   "Nothing, don't worry about it," he said.  "I'm just a bit tired, that's all."  He avoided catching Spike's eye and walked back into the bedroom, pulling out clothes, not really noticing what he was putting on.

Xander felt a hand on his wrist, and suddenly he was spun around and slammed against the wall.  Golden eyes stared into brown.

"Don't ever walk away from me.  I asked you what was wrong," growled the vampire.  Xander felt a shock of fear flood through him.  Tears sprang to his eyes, and then arms were wrapped around him, and Spike, his Spike, was rocking him gently.

"I'm sorry, Xander, I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry.  Come and sit down, pet."  Xander pulled away from Spike and sat down, inching away from Spike as he sat next to him, feeling as confused as hell.

"Xander, look at me."  As Xander raised his eyes, he could see Spike's eyes flashing from gold to blue and back again.


"Xander."  Spike sighed.  This was so hard.  All Spike's instincts were screaming at him to just throw the boy on the bed and fuck him again.  Talking was for humans.  Spike forced the demon down hard.  "Xander," he began again.  "Look, pet.  I love you, you know that, yeah?  But I'm a demon, love.  And I think you forget that sometimes.  And that's probably my fault.  I keep myself as human as I can when I'm around you, for you, you know?  But I can't keep it up all the time.  I need to hunt, Xan, I need to be me.  And it's not easy to shove that part of me down again.  The demon's still too close to the surface.  When I come back from hunting, I'm not human.  You need to remember that.  I won't be questioned by you, and I'll take you any way I need to.  That's just the way it is, pet.  And I need you to understand that, and I need you to be okay with that.  Cos that's not gonna change.  But it never, ever means that I don't love you."  Spike sighed again, and ran his hand through his hair.  "I forget how little experience you have.  Sometimes, a fuck is just a fuck, yeah?"

"I'm sorry I haven't had a string of meaningless fucks so I could just add this to them, then, Spike," Xander spat out, staring at the floor.   Spike put a hand under Xander's chin and tilted his face up again.

"That's not what I want, and that's not what I meant, Xander."  Spike moved closer to Xander, running a hand through the dark waves and cupping the back of his head.  "Oh, little one, you're so fucking young," he sighed sadly.  "This is too much for you, I can't expect you to deal with this."

"I'm not!  I'm nineteen, you know.  I'm not a kid, I can handle it," said Xander hotly.

"I'm more than a century older than you, Xander.  The Watcher's still a kid to me," said Spike, suddenly feeling every year of his existence weighing down on him.  Spike put his hand to Xander's cheek, rubbing his thumb gently over his cheekbone as he looked into brown eyes still cloudy with pain.

"Can you really handle this, love?" asked Spike.

Xander just shook his head.  "I'm trying, Spike, but it's hard.  It felt like you were - were raping me."

A look of shock came over Spike's face.  "Shit!  That's not... that's not what it was, Xan.  I can't explain it to you any better."  Fuck this, thought Spike.  Words weren't going to do it.  The boy was too young, and too hurt.  So he opened the link and sent Xander a little of what he'd felt since hunting and feeding earlier.  Xander's head flew back, his eyes wide as he gasped and began panting.  Spike heard Xander's heartrate begin to climb as a rush of pheromones hit him.

"Fuck!  Spike, jeez.  Just... Fuck!" gasped out Xander, then he roughly shoved Spike onto his back, climbed on top of him and began plundering his mouth, grinding his sudden erection against the vampire.  He thrust hard against the body beneath him, and came explosively, sinking his teeth into Spike's neck.  As Xander slumped bonelessly on top of him, Spike wrapped his arms around him and rolled him off to the side slightly.  Still panting, Xander caught Spike's eyes and then flushed.  "Oh God, Spike, I'm so..."

"Xander.  Stop.  Nothing to apologise for.  But you felt how strong it was, didn't you, and I only gave you a tiny glimpse, love.  Do you understand now?" asked Spike.

"God, yeah!  That was... intense," said Xander in a shaky voice.  Spike sat quietly and let Xander sort out his feelings for a moment. The need to claim his mate, to force his submission, would have been overwhelming for him.  The demon had been angry at its mate questioning its right to hunt and kill, and Spike had reined it in hard; he hoped Xander could see that now.   Xander leaned forward and kissed Spike softly.

"I'm fine, Spike, I can do this," said Xander, smiling down at his lover.  The smile looked distinctly wobbly, but Spike felt a spark of hope.  Maybe the boy could cope with this after all.  He raised himself up, and they both moved so they were sitting next to each other again.  Spike took Xander's hand.  There was something else he needed to talk to the boy about, but there'd been enough emotional trauma for one day.  It could wait.


Xander put his dirty dishes in the sink and poured himself another orange juice.  His thoughts were still stuttering over the way Spike had...

'He raped you.'


'You said no.  You told him to stop.  He didn't.'

"Shutup shutup shutup!

That wasn't what it was.  It wasn't.  The feelings that Spike had shared through the link were so overwhelming.  He had to admit to himself that they scared him a little; hell, who was he kidding?  They terrified him.  But Xander told himself that he could live with this.  He could.  It wasn't about being used.  It was about need.  This was something that he could do to show his love for Spike.   He sat at the table, sipping his juice and staring at the tabletop, and looked up as Spike spoke. 

"Do you remember last week when you were surfing the 'net, looking for ideas on what you might like to do with yourself?"

"Uhuh.  Um, yeah, I remember thinking that the woodworking thing looked really cool.  I think I might enjoy making things like that, you know?" said Xander, desperately trying to gather his scattered thoughts, feeling confused at what seemed a total change of subject.

"Yeah, you said. Anyway, I've got a mate who owns a workshop, sort of a co-operative, all sorts of handcrafts, woodwork and metalwork, that sort of thing.  He's agreed to talk to us and see if you'd like to work there for a while.  See if you like it.  He's a master craftsman, love, you'd be learning from the best.  So, what do you think?"

"Yeah, sounds great," said Xander.  And it did.  So he forced his focus onto it.  This could be something he'd enjoy.

"Good.  We're going to see him later today, ok?" said Spike.  "Xan, there's..." his voice was cut off by the ringing of Xander's cell phone.  Xander gave Spike a quick, apologetic grin and went to the bedroom to grab his phone.

"Hey, Giles...  Yeah...  That sounds great, can I call you back in five?  'K, bye."  Xander ended the call as he walked back into the kitchen and sat down again.  "That was Giles.  He wondered if I wanted to come for lunch.  You, too, if you want?" said Xander.

"I need to get some sleep, Xander.  And we've got an appointment this afternoon," said Spike.  Xander's face fell a little.  "Xander, you can go if you want - I don't expect you keep vampire hours, pet," said Spike.

"No, it's okay, Spike.  I'll just stay here."

Spike sighed.  "Xander, listen to me.  You don't need to stay here while I'm asleep.  And you don't need my permission to go out if you want.  I just want you to remember that you're not on your own any more, and that you need to let me know where you are and when you're coming home, yeah?  Like any couple would."  Xander smiled.  Spike loved him.  Just hang on to that.  "Yeah, married man now, keep forgetting," he said with a grin.  Spike returned the grin.  "So ring him back and say yeah.  Just be home by three.  We're going out."

"Okay, yeah, cool."

"All right then, love.  I'm hitting the sack, I'm completely shagged out.  Say hello to the Watcher for me.  After we've seen Stan, we'll have dinner and then I'm taking you out.  I know I promised we'd use the dungeon every night this week, but I've got something a little different in mind tonight.  You'll enjoy it, I promise."

"Oh, right," said Xander.

"So, go ring the Watcher back," said Spike, getting up and walking to the sink to rinse out his mug.  Xander walked up behind him and wrapped his arms around the vampire, nuzzling the back of his neck.  "I love you, Spike," he whispered.

"I know, love.  I know."


Xander got back just before 3pm to find Spike dressed and waiting for him.

"Have a nice lunch, love?"

"Yeah.  Giles just wanted to check that I was okay.  He was worried - said you'd seemed a bit angry.  I told him you had every right to be," said Xander, with a shy grin.

"Not angry, pet.  Told you that," said Spike, returning the smile.  Then he picked up the car keys.  "Let's go, then.  You ready?  Need anything?"

"No, I'm good to go," said Xander.  He followed Spike out to the underground car park.  The heavily tinted windows on the car meant Spike was no longer confined to the apartment during the day, provided he could find sheltered parking spots.


The workshop was set up in a converted factory only a five minute drive from the apartment, and Xander could walk there during the day, when Spike wasn't with him, of course.  Spike drove around the back of the factory and hit the horn.  A roller door was raised, and Spike drove in.  Once it was closed again, he got out of the car and was immediately pulled into a bear hug by a giant of a man.

"Spike!  Good ta see ya, me old mucker, how's life?" said the man as he placed Spike back on  his feet again.  Spike shook his head, grinning ruefully.

"Really good, Stan.  How's Marlene and kids?"

"Driving me bloody insane, as usual!  Still, wouldn't be dead for quids, y'know?"  He looked over and saw Xander walking towards them.  "So, this the new trouble and strife, eh?  He's a  looker, c'n see why you grabbed him, mate," he said to Spike, with a wink and a leer.  Xander blushed.  He wasn't entirely sure what Stan was talking about, but he'd ask Spike later.

"Yeah.  Xander, this is Stan.  Master craftsman.  Nothing he doesn't know about working with wood."  Xander put out his hand, but was grabbed into a bear hug by Stan instead.

"Welcome to the family, mate," said Stan.  "C'mon, I'll show you the workshop then you two have to come and have a cuppa with the missus - she'll kill me if she knows Spike's other half was 'ere and I didn't take you to meet 'er," he said.  Spike grinned at Xander's somewhat bewildered expression, and squeezed his hand in reassurance.  "You go with Stan and have a look at everything, love.  I'll wait here for you, okay?"  Xander nodded and followed Stan through the doorway.

The workshop was an enormous, sun-washed space that was filled with the warm, spicy scents of wood resin and varnish.  Stan talked enthusiastically about tools and types of wood, and Xander found himself caught up in it.  He felt excited about this, and was surprised to find that he was really looking forward to starting work here.  Stan finished the tour of the workshop and grinned down at Xander.  "The metalwork stuff's out the back if you want to have a go at that too, later on.  Pete does that, I'll introduce you next week.  So, what d'ya think, lad?  Wanna give it a shot?"

"Yeah, please.  I think I'd really enjoy working here," said Xander.

"Great!  Spike said you could start next Monday.  Be here by ten, okay?" said Stan.  Xander nodded, grinning widely.  "Right, let's go an' meet the missus," Stan said, heading back to where Spike was waiting.


Several hours later an exhausted Spike and Xander collapsed onto the couch in their living room.  They'd been plied with more food than they had seen in a week, and the kids had worn them out.  There seemed to be dozens of them, running around, laughing.  Xander told Spike that it had felt like home.

"So, where do you know Stan from?  He sounds English," said Xander.  "Although I didn't understand half of what he said," he added.  Spike laughed.

"Cockney rhyming slang, love.  I'll explain it to you one day.  Or better yet, ask Stan, he'll enjoy telling you all about it.  Him and me met in London, long time ago now.  They took care of me when I needed it, and I look out for them now.  Him and Marlene are Graffich demons, can pass as human, which is handy."  At Xander's look of surprise, Spike laughed.  "Not all demons are slimy or have horns and claws and plans for world domination, y'know, love.  Some of 'em are just normal, family people who want to get on with their lives, take care of their kids, just be left in peace, you know?"

"Oh.  Just a surprise, that's all.  They're really nice.  And I feel like Marlene's adopted me!"

"Salt of the earth, they are!  And yeah, she's everybody's mum is Marlene.  Lovely, real lady that one.  Most of those kids are adopted or fostered, you know.  They're good people, Xan.  They'll look after you.  You'll be happy working there."

"Yeah, I think I will.  Thanks, Spike," Xander said as he wrapped his arms around his smiling lover.

"I just want you to be happy, love.  That's all," said Spike, dropping a kiss on Xander's neck.  Spike smiled to himself.  He'd definitely made the right choice.  Stan and Marlene had more than enough room in their hearts and their family for Xander.  And Xander so desperately needed to belong.  Spike could cheerfully kill the boy's parents.  Not that they'd intentionally been cruel.  That might have been preferable, in a way.  At least they'd be acknowledging him.  They'd just ignored him.  He'd been in the way, and had been left to fend for himself.  Always knowing that he was unwanted and unloved.  Spike's heart clenched.  Never again.  He felt Xander yawning.

"How about we get some kip for a couple of hours before we go out?  I don't know about you, but those kids wore me out," said Spike. They stretched out on the couch, Xander quickly falling asleep wrapped in Spike's arms.  Spike felt a surge of love for his human consort, and a rush of anger at himself.  He'd hurt the boy.  Hadn't meant to; didn't want to, but it had happened all the same.  And if Spike didn't sort something out, it would happen again.


As they were getting dressed, Spike had told Xander they were going to a club, and Xander had half expected to be returning to the demon club they'd been to before.  Instead, he found himself standing on the steps of large, detached house, a few miles outside Sunnydale.  Spike rang the bell, and the door was answered by a man wearing a dark suit, looking just the way Xander had always imagined a butler would.  "Ah, Master Spike.  Welcome.  We haven't had the pleasure of your company for some time," the man said, standing to one side to allow them to enter.

"Been a bit busy, James.  You know how it is," answered Spike, as the man took his and Xander's coats.  Xander noticed that Spike had taken a small bag out of his pocket.

"Do you have any special requirements this evening, sir?" 

"No.  Not tonight," said Spike.

"Very good.  Have a pleasant evening," said James, as he took the coats away.

"What is this place, Spike?" asked Xander, looking around.  They were standing in what looked like a hotel lobby, complete with couches, tables and a reception desk with room keys behind it.

"Just a private club, pet.  We'll come here from time to time.  But tonight's just for a look around, have a bit of fun, and a small lesson in obedience," said Spike.  He placed his finger on Xander's lips.  "No more questions allowed, pet.  I'll tell you what you need to know.  Come on," he said, and walked towards a door at the far end of the foyer, which led through into a small lounge.  Xander noticed a few people sitting around, with others kneeling or sitting at their feet.  Spike ordered them a drink each and then sat on a chair.  "Kneel, pet," he said, and Xander sank nervously to his knees in between Spike's legs, darting looks around the room.  No one paid him the least bit of attention, and he relaxed slightly.  Spike opened the bag and drew out a leather collar.  He leaned forward and put it around Xander's neck, making sure it wasn't fastened too tightly.  Then he sat back and looked at Xander.  "Beautiful, pet, with my collar around your neck," he said softly.  He'd dressed Xander in a simple, tight white t-shirt and soft, black leather pants.  The black leather collar wasn't too wide, and Spike's claim mark was clear.  "Beautiful," he said again.  Xander flushed, feeling somewhat embarrassed at being like this in public, but finding it oddly arousing.

"There are dungeons here, private and public rooms, and a dance floor.  People come here to show off their pets, Xander, and to relax." said Spike.  "Mainly vamps and demons, though there are some humans here too," he added.  "Probably best if you don't talk to anyone yet, pet.  There's protocols about these things.  I'll explain it to you later.  But for now, finish your drink and we'll have a look around."  Xander finished his drink and rose to his feet, following Spike out of the small lounge.  They headed down a corridor, and Spike stopped at a heavy wooden door at the end of it.

"This is the public dungeon, Xan.  There are smaller, private ones here, too.  But you can come and watch what happens in this one, if you want.  Keep quiet, though, okay?" said Spike, and he pushed the door open.  Xander followed Spike in, and gasped audibly, snapping his mouth shut at Spike's warning look.  It was at least three times as large as their dungeon at home, and there were a number of people in it already.  Xander could feel his eyes widening as he looked around at the various activities.  There were several people watching a leather-clad woman as she ran her hands over the back of a man who was chained, spread-eagled, to some sort of 'x' shaped whipping post.  She must have asked him something, because the man nodded and she kissed his cheek.  She then walked to a small table and picked up a whip with several mid-length tails, with what looked like knots on the end of them.  Xander found himself getting hard, watching as she began to slowly add her marks to the smooth expanse of skin.  Just for a moment he imagined himself there, chained to the post...  He tore his eyes away as he felt a hand on his arm.

"C'mon, pet.  Let's go.  We're just having a look around tonight.  We can stay and watch another time."

Xander turned to follow Spike back out of the dungeon, but his attention was caught by a couple on the other side of the room.  The man in the sling was moaning, Xander could hear it quite clearly.  He stopped and watched as the man standing next to him added more lube to his hand and started to push his fingers back into the waiting hole.  They'd obviously been working at this for a while, because Xander could see the hand slowly sinking in.  Xander felt his breath hitch.  Spike turned to Xander and smiled, and then gestured for them to leave.  Outside, in the corridor, Spike pushed Xander against the wall and kissed him roughly.  Xander groaned and ground himself against his lover.  Spike broke the kiss and whispered against Xander's lips, "Liked seeing that, didn't you?  That's what I'm going to be doing to you, very soon.  Did you imagine it was me pushing inside you?  You want that?"  Xander swallowed hard and nodded.  Spike smiled.  "We will, but we've got to work up to it.  Don't want to hurt you."  Then he took Xander's hand and led him back to the lobby.

"Are we leaving, Spike?" asked Xander.

"No, pet.  We're gonna have a bit of fun, now," said Spike, leading Xander through the lobby and through another heavy door, to the dance club.  It took Xander a few seconds to adjust to the gloom.  It was quite dark, though coloured lights throbbed to the beat of the music, which was just loud enough for the dancers to feel comfortable, but not drown out conversation totally.  Couches and low tables were scattered around the edge of the room, with booths and smaller tables set into alcoves.  Xander sat on a couch and Spike went to get them drinks, returning with a beer and a bottle of water for each of them. 

"Dance with me, Xander?" asked Spike.  Xander nodded and they headed into the middle of the dance floor.  There were only twenty or thirty people in the room, so it was comfortable - enough room to dance, but not so quiet that Xander felt embarrassed about dancing.  He knew he wasn't the most graceful dancer in the world, he knew that, but he found himself enjoying moving to the music with Spike.  They ground their bodies together in time to the heavy beat, and Xander found himself getting more and more aroused.  The feel of Spike's body writhing against his, kissing him as they moved together, was driving him crazy.

"Let's get a drink, pet," Spike said into his ear, and they headed back to the table.  Xander was grateful for the water.  It was hot in the room, and he'd worked up a thirst.  Spike stood, leaning casually against the wall, looking around the room.   He reached out and wrapped an arm around Xander's waist, pulling him closer.  He dropped a kiss on Xander's lips then turned him around, pulling him back against his chest.

"Spread your legs, pet," he said into Xander's ear.  Xander moved his legs apart and felt Spike's hardness rubbing against his ass as Spike's hand slipped lower and cupped his own, aching erection.  As Xander felt himself flushing, Spike said, "Look around, pet."  And that's when he noticed that not all the writhing was confined to the dance floor.  Spike smiled at the look of surprise on Xander's face.  "Anything goes, here, Xan.  Much better than groping in the washrooms at the Bronze, yeah?"

"Um, yeah," said Xander, taking another swallow of his water.  Damn, it was getting REALLY hot in here now, he thought to himself.  Spike's hand was now kneading Xander's erection, rubbing slickly over the soft leather of his way too tight pants.   Cool lips whispered into his ear, "Suck me, Xan.  I want to see your mouth around me."

"Here?  But everyone will see!"  Xander blushed at the squeak in his voice.

"Yeah, right here," Spike growled.  "Where everyone can see.  I want you to suck me, and then I'm going to fuck you.  Right here." 

"I can't!  Spike, I really can't do this," Xander protested.

"Yes, you can, pet.  You want to please me, don't you?" whispered Spike, as he ran his fingernails over Xander's leather clad erection and then nipped at his claim mark, sucking hard.  Xander felt his knees buckling.  Fuck, that went straight to his cock, every single damn time.  He flushed as he turned in Spike's arms, then dropped to his knees and nuzzled against Spike's groin, concentrating on unbuttoning and unzipping, trying to push away his embarrassment.  As Xander wrapped his lips around the hard cock, Spike ran his fingers through the dark waves, tangling them in the hair as he massaged Xander's scalp.  Xander lost himself in the primal beat of the music and the scent and smell and taste of Spike, forgetting where he was.  He was so lost it took him a few seconds to realise that Spike was tugging his head away.  He let the cock slip from his mouth and looked up.  Spike's eyes were flashing gold as he hauled Xander to his feet and ravaged his mouth.

"Kneel on the couch, hands on the wall, now," gasped Spike.  As Xander hesitantly arranged himself on the couch, darting glances around to see who was watching, he felt Spike press against his back, wrapping his arms around him, nuzzling his neck, pressing his hard length against his butt.  Xander gasped as Spike slipped his hands under this t-shirt, stroking his chest.  He pinched and twisted his nipples, eliciting a groan from Xander, then ran his hands down Xander's stomach, stopping to undo his pants and ease them down to his thighs.   Spike's cock was now nestled in between his ass cheeks as his hands cupped Xander's balls and stroked his cock.  Xander mewled and pushed back, he was so hot, and so hard...  Spike pulled back slightly, and Xander felt wet, slippery fingers enter him, thrusting and stretching.  Xander found himself pushing back onto the fingers and then forwards into Spike's hand in time with the beat of the music that was pulsing through him.   He needed Spike inside him, now; he needed it like he needed air.  The whole fucking club could be watching for all he cared.  The beat changed as one song blended into another.   He felt the bluntness of Spike's cock at his entrance, and the burn as Spike began pushing into him.   Cool lips at his ear, and Xander recognised the words as Spike whispered them as he entered him in one smooth thrust and then held still, holding Xander tightly against him.

You let me violate you. 
You let me desecrate you 
You let me penetrate you. 

Xander groaned as his lover whispered, "You let me take your innocence, and you were so beautiful as I fucked you for the first time."  The hardness inside him and the lust laden voice, harsh with arousal were driving Xander insane with need, and he heard himself whimper as he bucked hard into Spike's hand.  Then Spike began thrusting, slowly and deeply, and Xander became lost in sensation.

I want to fuck you like an animal 
I want to feel you from the inside 
I want to fuck you like an animal 

Xander was going into overload.  Knowing they were being watched as Spike fucked him; hearing Spike whispering the words of the song to him with his own lewd adlibs, and Xander could feel the meltdown coming.

My whole existence is flawed 
You get me closer to god* 

He was spiralling higher and higher, nothing but throbbing desire, want, need, harder, more, just fucking more. "Oh God oh God oh God...oh, fuck, Spike," Xander keened, arched, his head slamming back, his muscles clamping down on Spike's cock as he came, and came and came, shuddering, into Spike's hand.  Spike sank his fangs into Xander's neck as he thrust hard, slamming into Xander, his hold tightening, convulsing as Xander felt his lover's cock pulse inside him as he spent himself.  They stayed locked together, panting, for several minutes.  Spike licked Xander's neck to stem the bleeding, then pulled away gently.  He turned and opened a drawer set into the table, pulling out a couple of small hand towels.  He roughly wiped himself and Xander, and then helped him tuck himself away and zip up, before fixing his own clothing.  Sprawling on the couch, Spike handed Xander his water, noting the goofy grin on his lover's face.  "Enjoy that, did you?" he asked Xander.  Xander blushed, and then turned even redder as he noticed several people still watching them.  They turned away as Spike looked up at them.

"They were watching us, weren't they?" said Xander.

"Yup.  And I'll bet every single one of them wanted to be me," said Spike, pulling Xander in for a quick kiss.  "Ready to go home now, pet?"

"Yeah, I think so," said Xander, yawning.

"C'mon then, sleepyhead.  Let's get you home to bed."  Spike stood and took Xander's hand, hauling him to his feet.  He wrapped his arms around him and kissed him.  "I love you, Xander."

12 Secrets and Introspection II

Xander sat in the diner, slowly stirring his coffee, his thoughts drifting as he waited for Willow to show.  He was early - almost an hour early.  But he needed to get out of the apartment; needed time to think.  He had been up and dressed when Willow'd phoned him this morning.  Spike had still been asleep in bed.  So he'd simply left a note, grabbed his keys and headed to the diner, knowing that Spike was going to be less than happy with him when he got back.  Actually, he was counting on it.  Maybe, if Spike got angry enough, he'd lose control and give Xander what he needed...  He sighed and took a sip of his coffee and grimaced, more sugar, definitely.  He added another couple of spoonfuls and then spread the local paper over the table.  An advert for a family restaurant caught his eye, and Xander was surprised by the sharp pang he felt at the picture of happy, smiling parents with their happy, shiny children.  He'd never had that - and never would, now.  An unaccountable sense of loss washed over him as he found himself mourning the children he didn't even know he'd wanted.

Xander sighed and turned the page.  Let his eyes lose focus as his thoughts drifted once again.  No point dwelling on it, he berated himself firmly.  His parents were a lost cause, and unless something scarily hellmouth-y happened, he and Spike weren't having kids any time soon.  But he had a family, of sorts.  He had friends, and Spike, and Stan and Marlene, who'd made it clear that he was now one of their extended family, like it or not.  A small smile played over his lips.  Spike knew.  Knew what Xander wanted, and had found a way to give it to him.  He did that a lot.  Well, usually, but the past few days...

Xander looked up at a loud clatter and saw a woman sitting at the next table, glaring at him, then his coffee cup.  He realised he'd been noisily stirring his coffee now for several minutes and guiltily put the spoon down, giving her a small, apologetic smile.

Spike.  He could feel the sleeping vampire's presence in the back of his mind.  How had he become the centre of Xander's world in such a short time?  They'd only been together a few weeks, yet it felt much longer, somehow.  Granted, he'd starred in Xander's fantasies for quite a while.  They'd also done a hell of a lot in those few weeks - maybe that accounted for it.  Xander had done things, and had things done to him, that he'd never have dreamed of before.  Well, okay, not strictly true.  He had dreamed of them.  Just never thought they'd really ever happen.  And tonight, well, hopefully... a shiver of anticipation ran through him.  True to his word, Spike had taken Xander into - that room - every night this week.  Apart from Monday, of course.  Xander felt himself flush as he remembered what he did on Monday night, in front of all those eyes.  But the thing was, once he'd got over the embarrassment, he'd enjoyed himself.  Never knew I was an exhibitionist, he thought wryly.  But after that...  Xander sobered a little.  This was what he'd wanted to have time out to think about.

Spike hadn't been hunting again.  Not since Sunday night, when he'd come back and, well, things had gotten a little weird.  When Giles had invited Xander to lunch on Wednesday, Spike had come up with a plainly trumped up excuse as to why Xander needed to stay in the apartment.  When Xander had called him on it, he simply forbade Xander to leave, hauled him back to bed and kept him there for the rest of the day.  In fact, Spike hadn't let him out of his sight all week.  And since Monday, Spike had been really careful with him.  Xander had enjoyed their nightly sessions, but Spike was treating him as though he were fragile, somehow.  It had been nice the first night.  Ice and candle wax, silk and velvet and feathers.  But then he did it the next night, and the next.  Xander was ready to scream, and not in a good, whip me harder, way.  He sighed again.  Took a mouthful of lukewarm coffee and grimaced.  The waitress came over and took it away, bringing him another cup and filling it with fresh, hot coffee.

"Thanks," said Xander.

"You want something to eat, hon?"

"Um, no thanks.  I'm waiting for someone.  We'll order when she gets here."  

The waitress headed back behind the counter, and Xander started ladling sugar into his cup, relieved to see the woman he'd annoyed earlier had left.  So where was he?  Oh, right.  Spike.  Tonight they were supposed to be using the sling.  Spike had promised.  But the way he was acting at the moment, as though Xander would break - well...  He was gonna have to talk to Spike.  Yeah, okay, he'd freaked when Spike had pretty much treated him like a blow-up doll.  He'd felt hurt, abused.  Xander still couldn't think about what Spike had done without feeling as though he wanted to throw up.  And when Spike had shared a little of what he was feeling through the link...well, that was just plain scary.  Feeling the intense, violently possessive desire for his submission that Spike felt had shaken him.  But he'd cope and deal.  He had to.  Anyway, it was just rough sex, it wouldn't kill him.  It had just been a shock, out of the blue like that.  Stuff like that didn't happen outside the dungeon.  Xander wasn't sure how he felt about this line being crossed.  But he also didn't want Spike to avoid hunting because of what would happen when he came home.  Spike was just totally over-reacting.  He needed to hunt; he needed to let the demon out to play.  And Xander needed...  He needed what had happened that night Spike had come and got him from Giles' place.  When Spike had completely dominated him, had taken all control from him.  Shit, it had hurt at first.  If Xander could have stopped it after the first couple of lashes, he would have.  But he couldn't.  Spike had made it very clear that there was no safeword.  No way out.  And then made him say that he wanted it.  And that had been so fucking hot... Xander needed it again so much it frightened him.  The sensual stuff was great, but that was the sort of stuff they should be doing in the bedroom, not in the dungeon...he needed more, and he had to make Spike understand that.   He could feel it building.  Before, when it got like this, he'd use the knife.  The bright, sharp pain that welled and flowed crimson was enough to stop the burning, for a while.  But he couldn't even do that now.  Xander reached for his coffee and noticed that his hand was shaking slightly.  He took a few deep, slow breaths.  He really needed to talk to Spike.


Spike sat at the kitchen table, nursing a glass of JD while a cigarette burned in the ashtray.  He'd turned the extractor on, because the boy didn't like the smell.  The boy.  Xander.  Spike picked up the cigarette, drew deeply on it, blew the smoke towards the fan.  He glanced at the clock on the microwave.  Another hour or so till he was due home.  He had been angry when he'd found Xander missing and a note on the kitchen table, raging in fact.   But he had forced himself to calm down, and now he was glad Xander had gone to meet Willow for lunch and a shopping trip to the Mall.  Gave him time away from the boy to think.  Because something was going drastically wrong here.

Sunday night.  He'd beaten the boy in the dungeon and then, after coming back from hunting, he'd raped him.  He'd tried to tell Xander that that wasn't what it was, but...  Fuck!  Spike ground out the cigarette and lit another one.  Emptied the glass in two swallows and refilled it. He hadn't been able to fight his instincts that night.  Had forced Xander to submit.  He'd managed to keep some small semblance of control; the boy had walked away from it, after all, and he wasn't dead.  But he couldn't allow that to happen again; it should never have happened in the first place, and that was what was troubling Spike.  He was finding himself constantly fighting for control.  He hadn't gone hunting since then.  He wasn't certain that it wouldn't happen again if he did.

He could survive without hunting so often.  And when he had to, well, there were other outlets.  Lydia had always been more than willing in the past, and she would gladly submit in any way he demanded.  Yeah, he could do that.  Make sure he was completely in control before he came home again.  Spike sighed, lit another cigarette from the stub of the almost finished one. 

The boy was so young.  He was only human.  Humans break so easily, and not just physically.  In fact physical damage wasn't the real problem.  His blood could fix that up, and face it; the boy wasn't exactly averse to pain.  But mentally...that was a different story.  He didn't want to end up with another Dru.  The boy needed to feel loved, needed to feel safe and secure.  Needed to know that there were boundaries that applied to both of them, and no matter how much he protested that he could cope, Spike was pretty certain that he couldn't.  Forcing his submission in the dungeon was one thing; that was what they both wanted.  Having it spill over into the rest of their lives was something else entirely.  

And then there was the other thing.  He needed to talk to Xander about that.  The dungeon.  Well, not the dungeon itself, obviously.  What happened in there.  Or rather, what Xander wanted to happen in there and what Spike was trying to avoid.  The night he'd dragged him home from Giles' place and then whipped the boy.  He hadn't meant to go so far.  Thought he'd reined in his instincts harder than that.  Had been shocked at the extent of the bruising, once he was thinking straight, and had fed Xander a lot of blood to make sure he'd heal quickly.  Come to think of it, that's when he'd really noticed his control slipping for the first time. That's why he'd gone hunting once the boy was asleep, to try to give free rein to his instincts somewhere away from his mate.  And look how well that turned out, he thought to himself snarkily.   Spike noticed his glass was empty again and poured himself another drink.  Lit a fresh cigarette.  Drew the smoke in deeply and then blew a steady stream through pursed lips towards the extractor.

As Spike contemplated that night in the dungeon, he found himself growing hard.  See, that was the problem - well, one of the problems, anyway.  The human remnants of William, the parts that Spike used to act like a human, and to rein in the demon's excesses around Xander, were telling him that he should be appalled by what had happened.  And since the bonding, he'd found himself sharing a little of Xander's humanity, soul, whatever it was.  Which brought the unwanted sense of guilt that Spike was currently trying to ignore.  Guilt that he'd hurt Xander, both physically and mentally, and guilt that he'd enjoyed every second of it; that it made him hard, and that he wanted to do it again.  He wanted Xander on his knees; he wanted him tied down, screaming and begging...

The thing was, Xander wanted that, too.  Spike had no doubts about that.  He could feel Xander's rising frustration with his careful handling this week.  Xander wanted the whip, not the velvet glove.  Spike had no qualms about doing it - that wasn't the problem.  If Xannder had been a vampire, he'd be in there now, stripping the boy's back bloody, fucking him raw and revelling in it.  But he wasn't.  He was a human.  And they were So. Fucking. Fragile.   Spike simply couldn't risk picking up a crop or a whip in there, because he wasn't sure he could trust himself.  Spike wasn't an amateur - he knew what to do, how to keep control during a scene, well, usually.  But this past week...  He couldn't understand it.  He'd claimed and bonded with the boy, but the demon was demanding more.  Something wasn't right.  He'd racked his brains, but he'd never been good with all this shit - never paid much attention when Angelus and that bitch Darla had tried to teach him the Lore.  He knew the basics, of course, but...   Sometimes Spike really missed his bastard of a Sire.

Spike poured himself another drink.  Sighed deeply.  He'd promised the boy they'd use the sling tonight.  Maybe they could.  Maybe he could do that.  Took a lot of concentration and control to make sure you didn't hurt the receiver though, especially the first time...  No, best not.  Xander wanted, needed, all control taken from him in the dungeon.  Which would be fine if Spike could trust himself to recognise and respect the boy's limits.  But he couldn't, not as things stood, and he wasn't sure if the boy even had any limits when it came to Spike, and wasn't that a thought to give him nightmares?  If his control slipped again...  Denying the boy a safeword, for fuck's sake, what was that about?  Spike shook his head, disgusted that he'd let it get so out of hand.  Xander would have thought that Spike was just setting the scene - Spike had been deadly serious.  He drained his glass again.  Refilled it.  It had never mattered before.  He'd never played these games with a human that he was in love with before. 

"I am one, sorry, fucked up excuse for a vampire," Spike announced to the empty room.  And now I'm fucking talking to myself, too, he thought wryly.  He glanced at the clock again, boy'll be home soon, he thought.  Spike knew he had to come to some sort of decision about what he was going to do.  He really needed to talk to Xander.


Spike felt an enquiring nudge at the link and grinned.  He sent calm and loving feelings to his mate, and waited for Xander to step out of the sunlight and come home.  Two minutes later, Xander was fumbling his way through the door, juggling his key and several shopping bags.

Spike put down the TV remote as Xander flopped onto the couch, dropping the bags at his feet.

"Phew!  Willow was in shopping demon mode.  I feel as though I've walked for miles, and if I never see another shoe store again, it'll be too soon.  Um, how was your day?"  Xander asked hesitantly.

"A lot more restful than yours, by the sounds of it," said Spike.  He smiled at Xander, and saw the boy relax as the tension in his shoulders seemed to flow away.  "So, get anything nice, love?"

"Yeah!  It was really great, being able to just buy what I wanted, without having to worry about whether I could afford it or not.  Thanks, Spike," said Xander, as he leaned over dropped a quick kiss on Spike's lips.  Then he started picking up bags, pulling out his purchases, showing them to Spike and then dropping them to the floor in an untidy heap.  "And I bought you some stuff, too.  Wanna see?"  At Spike's nod, Xander passed a bag over.  Spike opened it and drew out a v-necked cashmere sweater, black, of course.  Xander reached across and stroked his hand over the sweater.

"I thought this would look really good on you, it just feels so soft, and it'll keep you warm."

"Thank you, love.  But I've got you to keep me warm," said Spike, taking hold of Xander's hand.  Xander smiled goofily at him.

"Yeah, I know.  But this might be a bit more practical for walking down the street in, rather than having me draped all over you."

"Dunno, that sounds good to me," grinned Spike.  Xander laughed, then picked up another bag.  This one was much smaller, and had the name of a jewellery store on it.   Xander put the bag on his lap, and pulled a small box out of it.  He cleared his throat.

"Spike.  When we bonded, when we…got married, you gave me a ring.  And I want you to have one, too."  He opened the box and took out a plain, silver-coloured ring.  Then he put the bag down on the couch and stood up.  He knelt at Spike's feet, took Spike's left hand, and placed the ring on the third finger.  "With this ring, I thee wed…"  He looked up at Spike, his eyes shining.  "I love you, Spike," he said.

"Oh, Xander," breathed Spike, before leaning forward and touching his lips gently to Xander's.  Xander brought his arms up and wrapped them around Spike, deepening the kiss.  When the kiss finally ended Xander was flushed, and Spike was blinking hard against suspiciously dewy eyes.

"Thank you, pet," he whispered.

"Do you like it?" asked Xander as Spike sat looking at his hand.  "It has an inscription."  Spike slipped off the heavy platinum band and angled it so he could read the engraving on the inner surface.  "Eternally Yours," he read.  He looked at Xander, a question in his eyes as he slipped the ring back onto his finger.

"Well, I figured, what with the whole undead thing, eternity was pretty much a given."

Spike nodded.  "Not letting you leave me, pet.  Ever."

"I know," said Xander, and took a deep breath, "and I want to be with you for eternity, Spike.  Just - not for a while, yeah?"

"We've got all the time in the world, love."  And they did.  So why was Spike feeling edgy all of a sudden about it?  He stomped hard on the 'Mine' that growled through his brain, and ignored the urge to pin Xander to the floor and just take...

"Yeah," said Xander, nodding slowly as he gave Spike a slightly shaky smile.  Spike leaned forward and pulled Xander in for another hug, before forcing himself to release him and gently pulling him back up to sit on the couch.  Xander picked up the discarded jewellers bag and pulled out another small box.

"I got one more present, but this one is for both of us, in a way."  He passed the box to Spike, who opened it to find two small, gold rings.

"Nipple rings, Xan?" said Spike, feeling surprised.  The boy wanted him to have nipple rings?

"Yeah, for me, not you," said Xander, smiling at the look of surprise on Spike's face.  The surprised expression melted to one of lust.

"Oh yeah, Xan.  I’d like that a lot," said Spike, his voice suddenly husky.

"And I want you to do it, Spike."  Xander grasped Spike's hands, leaned back and pulled Spike on top of him.  Spike moved so that their groins were aligned, and then ground down, meeting an answering hardness in the body beneath him.  Spike began to nuzzle Xander's neck, finding his claim mark and licking and nibbling on it.   Xander bucked beneath him.  Spike licked up the side of Xander's neck, then nibbled on his earlobe.

"You want me to pierce you, Xan?" he whispered into Xander's ear.  "You want me to tie you down and then use my fangs?"  Spike's hands moved down the body beneath him, tugging the shirt loose, then tearing it open.  He ran his hands over Xander's chest, then started to tease and pinch his nipples.  "I'd have tie you down tight, cos it'll hurt, and you'll struggle, trying to move away."  Xander whimpered and bucked against him again.  
"Is that what you want, Xander?  You like it when it hurts?"

Xander gave a hitching moan.  "Yes, oh fuck, yes, Spike.  Love it.  Please.  So good, so good."  

And suddenly Spike could see it, so clearly.  Xander tied, submissive, begging and pleading for him to hurt him, to make it hurt so good, to take it all away.  A warning flashed.  He felt himself slip into game face; hadn't done so consciously, couldn't seem to return to his human visage, and knew he had to stop now.  Needed to get up and walk away.  Now, do it now, before it's too late… But Xander was squirming underneath him, slipping his hands between them.  Jeans were being pushed down, and his achingly hard flesh was freed.  Mine.  And walking away wasn't going to happen.  They both groaned appreciatively as overheated naked flesh met cool.  As they slowly thrust against each other, Spike returned his attention to Xander's nipples.  They were reddened now, and Xander groaned as Spike pinched and twisted them.  Spike returned his mouth to Xander's ear and began nipping at the lobe with needle-sharp fangs, licking away the small trickles of blood.

"You're mine, Xander."


"All mine, to do with as I please."

"Oh!  Please…" exhaled on a pained gasp.

"I can do anything I want, can't I?"

"Yeah, oh yeah, anything," Xander gasped out.

"Anything I want.  Everything I want."

"Gah…"  Xander bucked and cried out as Spike dug his razor-sharp nails into the swollen nubs, drawing blood, and warm come pulsed between them as Xander orgasmed.

"I want everything."

Xander cried out as Spike bit down hard, sinking his fangs deep into Xander's throat.  Mine, roared through his head as he drank, and drank.

"… Spike.  Spike, stop, please.  Spike.  No, no, Spike…"  Xander's voice gradually cut through the red mist in Spike's mind.  Shock hit Spike like a bucket of cold water and he abruptly pulled his fangs out of Xander's neck and hauled himself off the couch.  Blood was trickling from the wound, and Spike dropped to his knees and leaned forward to lick gently at the holes to close them.  Xander was pale and shaking.  His eyes were closed and his breathing was shallow and rapid.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.  Spike ripped his wrist open and jammed it against Xander's mouth.  "Drink, pet.  Xan, Xander, drink.  Please, Xan…"  Spike pushed down on Xander's chin, forcing his mouth open.  As the blood trickled into his mouth, Xander swallowed reflexively a couple of times, and then began to suckle at the wound.  Spike sighed with relief.  He let Xander drink for a minute or so, and then gently pulled his wrist away.  He licked the tear closed and stood up, pulling up his jeans and fastening them.  Then he picked up Xander and carried him into the bedroom.  He quickly stripped the boy and put him under the covers, turning on the electric blanket.  Xander was still too pale, clammy, and he was shivering.  Shock, thought Spike.

"Xander?  Can you hear me, pet?"

"Tired," Xander mumbled.

"Sleep, love.  Get some sleep," said Spike, lying down on top of the quilt, next to Xander, and stroking his hair gently.  Xander sighed, and soon his breathing was calm and the shaking had stopped.  His heartbeat was strong and steady.  Once he was certain the boy was safely asleep, Spike lowered the blanket setting, leaving it on low, and walked unsteadily into the kitchen after kissing Xander softly.

He turned the extractor fan on again and lit a cigarette with shaking hands.  He didn't bother with a glass this time, swigging the whiskey straight from the bottle.  The burn helped to steady him a little.  This is not good.  This is not good at all, thought Spike.  I almost fucking drained him.  Okay, something seriously screwy is going on here.  Spike slumped onto a chair, took another long swig from the bottle and placed it on the table with a thump.  He put his elbows on the table and rested his chin on one hand, drawing deeply on the cigarette he held in the other.  Spike felt nothing but a confusing swirl of conflicting thoughts and desires.  He didn't want to turn Xander, not yet.  Wanted to enjoy his human Consort, and only turn him when he had to.  When the time was right.  That's what they both wanted.  And yet…  When Xander had been writhing and begging under him, he'd wanted more.  Needed to take more.  Needed to take everything.

Spike may not have been the smartest vampire that had ever been turned.  But he knew when he was beaten.  And this thing had him beaten.  He had no idea why he was acting like this.  There was only one thing he could do.  He really, really didn't want to do it, but he was left with no choice.  Two more minutes - that's all it would have taken.  Two more minutes and he'd be waiting for Xander to rise, rather than sitting waiting for him to wake up.  Spike stood up carefully, stubbed out his cigarette in the ashtray on the kitchen bench, and made his way into the bedroom to pack.


Xander opened his eyes and groaned, closing them against the glare of the light.  A cool hand brushed his forehead.

"Xan?  Pet, sit up, you need to drink something."

"Spike?  My head hurts," said Xander weakly.

"I know, love.  Sit up and drink this.  I've got some paracetamol here too."  Spike gently pulled Xander up into a sitting position, and Xander groaned as the pounding in his head increased.  He felt a glass pressed against his lips, and swallowed the cool orange juice.  He gingerly cracked his eyes open a little and saw that Spike had dimmed the lights in the bedroom.  He took the two white pills from the outstretched hand and accepted another glass of juice, which he used to wash the pills down with.  Spike gently lowered him back against the pillows, and then took his hand, running his thumb soothingly over the back of it.  Xander closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them again, to see Spike's concerned face hovering above him.

"What happened, Spike?  I feel like I was hit by a truck."  The only reaction from Spike was a sudden tightening of his grip, which immediately loosened again.  Spike's eyes flicked away from Xander's face.  "Spike?"

"I almost drained you, Xander."  Shock hit him like a surge of ice water running through his veins that left a buzzy numbness in its wake.  Xander gasped.  Flashes of Spike, biting hard, deeper than usual, and drinking, and not stopping this time… "Oh," said Xander, his face suddenly white.  The buzzing was getting louder, making his ears ring with it and the room grew darker.  He could hear Spike's voice faintly, calling his name, and he struggled to resurface.

"…me, Xander?  Stay with me here, love.  Xan?"

"'m fine, just a bit dizzy.  Your hand's nice, cool."

"Good.  That's good, love," said Spike, as he continued to gently stroke Xander's forehead.

"Spike?  What happened?"

"I told you, I…" Spike stopped, seeming to know that Xander was asking a different question.  "I don't know.  I can't seem to stay in control when I'm with you any more.  It's not right.  It shouldn't be like this, Xander."

Xander closed his eyes.  Tried to gather his scattered thoughts.  The jigsaw puzzle that his life seemed to have become over the past week or so started to resolve into a picture.

"It started when you came back from hunting."

"No, it started before then.  But that's when I realised what was happening."

"That's why you've been so…careful."

"Yeah.  Couldn't risk losing control.  But I did, anyway.  You could have died…"

"But I didn't.  You stopped yourself."

"This time.  Only just, too.  Another minute or two and it would have been too late."

With a curious detachment, Xander realised that he was calmly discussing the fact that a demon had almost murdered him, and would probably be more successful on the next attempt - and that there would, in all probability, be another attempt.  And that, rather than running away, screaming, or reaching for a stake, he was lying here trying to make the demon feel better about the situation.  Clearly he was insane.  Xander snorted, then a hiccuping giggle escaped, and soon he found himself laughing hysterically, tears streaming down his face, as an increasingly concerned demon watched him warily.  Finally, the hysterical laughter gave way to great, heaving sobs.  Xander felt Spike gather him into his arms and rock him gently, rubbing his back and whispering soothing nonsense.  As the storm of emotion gradually abated, Xander could make out Spike's words.  "…sorry, so sorry, baby.  Don't wanna hurt you.  Love you, love you so much.  So sorry…"  A calm resignation settled over Xander.  So, this was it.  He was gonna die.  Well, it was always a possibility, what with the demon slayage and stuff.  At least it would be his lover, and not some random slime monster or a fledge who got lucky.  And hey, it wouldn't be permanent.  Some of him would survive.  Just, he wasn't ready, not yet.

Xander pushed his face into the crook of Spike's neck.  "Don't wanna die, Spike, not yet," he mumbled.  He felt rather than heard the groan that shook Spike.

"Not gonna happen, Xan.  This stops now."

Xander pushed against the arms holding him tightly, pulled his head back to look at Spike.  "Spike?"

"I don't know why this is happening, Xander, and I don't know how to fix it.  I have to go away for a while."

"No!  No, you're not leaving me, Spike.  We'll work it out."  Panic gripped Xander and he tightened his hold on Spike.  Staring into the pained eyes, shaking his head.  "No."

"Xander, I have to.  Just for a few days, that's all.  I need to see someone, get some answers.  I'm coming back, I promise."

"I'm coming with you."

"No.  That's a really bad idea, Xan.  This is going to be hard enough as it is.  I need you to stay here."

Xander's thoughts were racing.  Who could Spike possibly go to for answers about this?  The only one who'd…  Of course.  His Sire.  Deadboy.  Fuck.

"Spike, last time you saw him you tortured him, trying to get that demony ring back.  He'll stake you first and ask questions later."

Spike showed no surprise that Xander had worked it out.  He just sighed and nodded.  "I did say it was going to be hard, didn't I?  Yeah, Angel won't exactly be happy to see me again, but I need to talk to him.  Well, actually, I need to try to talk to Angelus.  Dunno how the fuck I'm gonna do that, but I have to try."

Xander thought for a moment.  "Yeah, okay, I can see that.  But really, y'know, it'd be better if I came with you.  I know Deadboy isn't exactly my number one fan, and that goes both ways, but at least if I'm with you he'll hear us out, and not just try to stake you before you can say anything.  I'm coming with you, Spike.  And if you leave me here, I'll just follow you."

Spike gave a small smile.  "You would, too, wouldn't you?  All right, I know when I'm beaten."  He glanced at the clock.  "It's almost midnight.  You have a shower.  I'll pack a bag for you, then you need to eat something.  How's your head?"

Xander shook his head experimentally.  The headache was almost gone, and there was no dizziness any more, at least as far as he could tell, though he hadn't tried standing up yet.  "I'm fine, Spike," he said, then yawned widely.

"Right then, let's get this show on the road.  You can sleep in the car."  Spike leaned into Xander, gave him a soft kiss.  "We'll work it out, Xan."

"Yeah.  Yeah, we will," said Xander.  He just wished he believed that.

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