The spell was from one of Giles’ books. He’d bugged Willow for information on this herb or that meaning, only allowing her to see the first part of the spell. The one that induced a spell so the second part could be completed without the subject being aware of it. His explanations were preplanned too, all of it completely true and very sincere. Yes, Spike was annoying. He messed with Xander’s things. He watched television at two in the morning, often sitting on Xander’s feet, if he wasn’t tied down. If he was tied down he kept Xander up by talking. Constantly. Unceasingly.
Willow had smiled at him, pretty in her sympathy, and helpfully answered every question he had. She’d even bought him the materials he needed, never questioning when the list far exceed the herbs and liquids necessary for induced sleep. She wasn’t precisely pleased with the direction he’d taken, but having something to share with him again made her flush and giggle. Her words tumbled, faster and faster, as she gave him every last detail he needed, even hugging, almost bouncing in her excitement, when he told her it was time.
He wanted to feel guilty for using her. Mostly he just felt bitter that he needed to.
The first spell was easy. A few muttered words, herbs that smelled of dead cat simmering over his hot plate until it dried into powder. Watching the transformation from liquid into smokey-brown powder reminded Xander how serious this was. This wasn’t just the ability to put Spike to sleep whenever he grew too troublesome. This was much dirtier.
He tried the spell that night. Just sprinkled a little bit of the powder into Spike’s blood as it heated, ignoring the looks he got when he served the vampire. It worked, of course. More perfectly than he’d dared to hope. Spike didn’t fall over into an immediate stupor like a tree with its roots cut out. He didn’t notice anything different at all, actually, taunting Xander even while his eyelids drooped and grumbling about how pathetic it was for a vampire to be exhausted at barely ten o’clock at night.
Xander breathed out silent thanks and made plans to brew more of the stuff. If the rest of his spell didn’t work, at least this was useful.
He waited until that Friday to try the rest. His timing was carefully planned, like the rest of this. He had three days off of his current job and he could care less if they fired him come Tuesday morning. The girls had a big frat party they wanted to go to at Riley’s. Xander was invited, backhandedly, and he knew they wouldn’t even notice if he didn’t show. Giles was doing whatever bachelors of leisure—and no job—did. Anya was weeks gone, now, disappointed that the sex never got any better than their first night.
His parents were out of town.
Xander could’ve handled everything else. Well, he was almost certain of that, anyway. Work sucked. Friends got lost. People grew distant. Sex wasn’t always great. Those things were expected once you turned eighteen. Or if they weren’t, they were certainly the reality of it, and Xander had always been a practical boy.
It was living at home that hurt. A true renter would have been treated better than Xander was, and that didn’t touch the way living in the basement constantly dug into his pride. Living in a one room hell-hole that was totally his own would’ve been better. He certainly was all right with the hell-hole aspect. He couldn’t even reassure himself that he was being blackmailed into staying. He wasn’t. His guilt ganged up on him if he thought about moving too much, but it couldn’t stop him. Neither could his father, for whom ‘good behavior’ was a relative concept.
And that led him right back to why he was doing this.
Xander watched, predator still while Spike moved around his home. Touching. Spike was constantly touching, fingering this, displacing that. He never shut up, either. Babbled about this and that, his insults so mixed up in the monologue that Xander wasn’t sure which was the primary focus—story or insult. Not that it mattered. Xander had stopped listening the moment he found the spell.
Xander came back to his surroundings slowly, fighting to hide his anticipation and keep his body rhythms steady. “Yes?”
Spike’s grin was as arrogant as any of the jocks who’d tried to make Xander fetch in high school. “Feeling a might peckish. That’d be your cue, wouldn’t it?”
Patterns. Xander knew patterns, trusted them. They’d ruled his life, abusing him until he’d learned how to manipulate them for his own gains. Spike had been surprised the first time Xander prepared his blood, but by the third he’d demanded it. The pattern had formed, Xander fed Spike, and Spike was vocally certain it was a sign of what he termed Xander’s ‘bitch-boy’ attitude. Xander let him believe that.
The spell seemed to take forever that night. Or maybe time itself slowed to an agonized crawl, each second dragging along Xander’s nerves until he wondered why he wasn’t screaming from the intensity. But the clock read only 9:15 when Spike staggered over to Xander’s helpfully pulled-out sofa bed, collapsing on it with mumbled comment about how Xander wouldn’t mind if Spike stole his bed for the night.
No. Xander really didn’t.
He watched Spike sleep for a very long time.
Eventually he pulled his body from the beanbag chair, listening to vertebrae pop as he stretched. There were so many ingredients. This had cost him almost a hundred dollars, and it would have been more if Willow hadn’t been feeling generous. It was worth it, though. At least, he hoped it would be. His history with spells wasn’t exactly confidence-inspiring, but Willow had told him that most magic was really about willpower. How much you wanted it and how much you’d do to get it.
He wasn’t worried about tonight.
Xander deliberately didn’t look at Spike as he set up the ingredients. Things had to be heated, a circle of powder and an oily liquid that refracted greenish light, and of course, words to chant. Usually, chanting anything other than lyrics to Xander’s favorite songs caused him some concern. He didn’t do well when he was under pressure, and scrambling around to try and remember the damned words in English was often pressure enough.
Tonight the words seemed to just flow right out of him. Loaoth muri’ski surmastri torolea sho’al. Over and over he repeated that, knowing without really thinking that his accent was perfect, his inflection tape-recorder worthy. But none of that mattered, and maybe that was why there was no stumbling or forgetting or mangled pronunciation. All that mattered was watching the liquid before him come to a boil so he could add the rest of the herbs.
He hadn’t realized that magic was so much like cooking. He had managed not to mention the obvious correlation to Willow. She would’ve been much less helpful, had he done so.
The basement smelled like chlorine and old sweat overlaid with the smell of old, rotting bones. Xander ignored it. He ignored everything but the slow roll of the water slowly turning a sickly grey, the wooden spoon that smoked and grew smaller every time he put it in the liquid, and the pattern of when the add, or not add, new ingredients.
Time moved. Fast or slow, Xander had no concept of how long he’d been working, only that finally, eventually, it was the last ingredient. A tiny bit of wood, dyed rust-colored with blood. A memento, cherished over the years. Xander watched as it dissolved into the liquid, stirring with the remains of the wooden spoon, feeling finally at peace. The potion was done. He decanted it into a glass cup, studying the thick, almost pasty result. It was black with hints of light trapped inside it and made him feel dizzy if he looked at it for too long.
Done. Finished. Except this was only the beginning and not nearly the end.
Rising, Xander approached the bed. The cup in his hands seemed to throb, anxious to be free of glass painted with logos for restaurants, its pulse quickening as it seemed to realize that this was the subject. Spike, face down in Xander’s bed, shirt and shoes still on, jeans digging fissures and furrows into his skin. The magic he held wanted, strongly enough that almost Xander felt compelled to just upend the glass.
Instead, he put it down on the table. Rolling Spike onto his back was simple, Xander’s eyes immediately tracking to the strip of skin Spike’s twisted shirt exposed. Indentations did mar the otherwise flawless skin, the beginnings of the small trail disappearing into hidden denim in disarray from the movement. He wanted to touch, to feel the roughness of that neat trail against his fingers—but no. Not yet.
Certain of the first spell’s hold, Xander efficiently stripped Spike. Ignoring the nakedness as well as he was able, Xander sat cross-legged against the sofa back and propped Spike’s head into his lap. Taking up the glass, the throb now echoing the frantic rhythm of Xander’s heart, he let his finger caress the smooth sides, over the rougher feel of paint, reveling in the heat the potion offered. This was the culmination of all that he’d done. The research, the planning, the hiding, the manipulation. The need. The lies.
Slowly, careful to not spill a drop, Xander rested the tip of the cup against Spike’s mouth and let the tiniest bit dribble forth—
And brought the cup to his own mouth, downing the entire potion without stopping once for breath.
Spike woke slowly. He always did, when Xander spelled him, muzzy and uncertain of his surroundings. Privately, Xander found it amusing to watch, particularly when Spike made noises like a young child, too sleepy to acknowledge its surroundings, rubbing his eyes with the back of his fists.
“Shhh,” Xander soothed, combing Spike’s hair free of the gel—or as much as he could manage without washing it—his other hand busy tapping out a gentle rhythm above where Spike’s heart should be. “It’s okay. It’s safe now.”
Dark eyebrows lowered, creating lines Xander longed to trace. That was too intimate a touch, though, to begin with so he kept up the slow, gentle petting of head and heart. This was baseline. This was home, the restart, the place he wanted Spike to feel most comfortable in.
It was telling that Spike didn’t actually try to move. He shifted a little, irritable in his confusion, but never left the warm comfort Xander offered. “Safe? Why wouldn’t I be safe elsewhere?”
Xander hid his grin. “You were upset,” he lied. “You mentioned a few demons, but that’s all. You should’ve told me, Spike. You know you’re supposed to tell me everything.”
More confusion. Xander was beginning to like the open, befuddled expression on Spike’s face and hoped he would be able to put it there, often. Spike shifted again, this time closer to Xander, and looking even more confused when he realized what he’d done. “Why the hell should I tell you everything?” he asked, but there was only uncertainty in his voice. Not a hint of the cocky assuredness he usually displayed.
His voice heavy with disappointment, Xander let his right hand wander over Spike’s chest. “You told me you would, don’t you remember? You said I was the only one you could trust with that, to help you.”
Spike’s face rippled. The need to make a disarranging, dismissive comment was strong. Why would Spike, a big bad vampire, need Xander’s help? Why on earth would he trust something that could now hurt him, with impunity? But despite all that, Spike looked like he believed. He wasn’t sure why, his changing expression announced, but he did. Xander had said it, so it must be true.
When Spike continued to say nothing, Xander slowly expanded the realm of his touches. He traced over Spike’s face, mapping the slightly crooked twist of Spike’s nose, his mouth, the point of his chin. He stroked over Spike’s chest, rubbing muscles free of tension, scratching lightly below his pecks, above his belly button—and enjoyed when Spike shuddered slightly at these two touches.
“What’re you doing?”
Xander smiled down at Spike, hoping he reached the exactly combination of paternal mischievousness he’d practiced in the mirror. “You forgot that, too? I think someone needs to be reminded of their place.”
A spark of fear, immediately smothered by the dismissal he’d fought to embrace just moments before looked back up at him. “My place? My place is out in the night, with other vampires—”
Xander’s fingers found a nipple, pinching it firmly. “No, Spike,” he said into the resulting surprised silence, “it’s not. You can’t be around other vampires, remember? They’ll hurt you, Spike.”
“I can fight demons!” But the fear had returned, lurking in Spike’s blue, blue eyes.
“But what if they hire humans?” Xander pointed out reasonably, still touching, still soothing and calming. “They could hire the weakest, stupidest human, Spike, and you’d be helpless.”
“’m not helpless!” He sounded more like a petulant child when he said that instead of the strong, confident demon he wanted to be. “I’m not.”
“Of course you aren’t,” Xander immediately soothed, tugging and twisting so that Spike’s naked body was firmly caught between Xander’s legs, his head resting against Xander’s heartbeat. It was a little awkward, Spike not being that much shorter than he was, but he’d already planned out just where Spike needed to go and what he needed to sit on to accomplish it, so it went fairly smoothly. Arm wrapped tightly around Spike’s middle, pressing him close, Xander added, “But Spike, you can’t even feed yourself.”
Spike went very still. Oh, yes, this spell was working exactly as Xander wanted. “Yes, I can.”
“Who buys your blood, Spike? Who serves it to you?”
“But you just—thought you wanted to be—I was—”
“I know, baby,” Xander crooned, starting a slow, back and forth rock. “I know, it’s so hard for you to remember. But it’s okay, Spike. I’m here now. I’ll make sure you’re never hungry, okay? I’ll make sure you’re never hurt.” Not unless Xander wanted him to be, but that would come later. “Shh, it’s all right, baby.”
Xander wasn’t surprised to feel wetness snuffling into his shirt. The spell was wrecking havoc with Spike’s mental command of himself, allowing his body to react just as Xander wanted it to. The tears would be humiliating, confirming both the prior embarrassment and this new belief that Xander was there to fix things, to make things better for Spike. Patterns formed, weaving a spider’s glossy web around them both.
Continuing to rock and croon, Xander let his hand wander down between Spike’s legs. This was important. He needed to establish here, and now, while Spike was still so spell-dazed, the proper hierarchy, the proper footing for their new relationship. Once Spike slept and woke again, he would fight. He would snarl and savage, and Xander would have to make him see—an impossible feat if Xander didn’t do this exactly right.
The first touch to Spike’s cock made him stiffen, surprised, though still too caught up in his private misery to object. That gave Xander the time he needed to stroke and tease Spike’s cock until it was very nearly erect.
“Xander?” The question was asked with a diffident, almost nervous voice. “What are you doing?”
“Reminding you, Spike. You like being reminded this way, too. I can feel it.”
Spike sniffed and tried not to twist in Xander’s hold. His head was still resting against Xander’s chest, ear to Xander’s heart, but now he started to take in his own person again. “Why’m I naked?”
“Silly boy,” Xander chided, releasing Spike’s cock to tug and roll the balls underneath. Spike’s leg helpfully moved slightly out of the way, providing more access. “You know you’re always naked when you’re at home.”
“Oh.” Spike tried to swallow back the moan as Xander found and rubbed the perineum and ended up burying his face in Xander’s chest. “Why aren’t you naked, then?” he asked, muffled voice creating delightful shivers.
“Because I’m not the baby,” Xander murmured, hand delving deeper to rub between Spike’s cheeks. That produced another moan, far more broken, as Xander had known it would. That aspect of the spell was disturbing—but as useful as he’d known it would be. Spike enjoyed being touched and fondled that way, and no matter how Xander knew it, he was going to use it. “You are, Spike. You’re the baby.”
“No, I’m—I’m older than you.” Spike was panting now, rocking down to grind his balls against the heel of Xander’s hand. “I’m not—”
“Shhh. Yes, you are, Spike. I take care of you, don’t I? I keep you safe. No one can touch you without my say-so, Spike. I make sure you’re clean and warm with your belly full. That makes you the baby, Spike. My baby.”
Spike’s head tossed, not in denial but with increased lust. Xander had his forefinger inside him, down to the first knuckle, and the pain of it only made Spike want even more. That was something else the spell taught him, reassuring him that to make Spike more desperate required abusing him this way.
Xander had no problem with that, of course. None whatsoever. It made him grow even harder in his jeans.
“And what does that make me, Spike?” Xander continued. His finger moved deeper, breeching Spike and preparing him for the next event. Glad of Spike’s trim waist, Xander curled his other arm more closely around Spike, locking him down, easily able to reach his cock to tease that some more. “What am I, Spike? Who am I?”
“X-Xander,” Spike stuttered, gasping. “H-human.”
“No.” Xander drove a second finger inside of Spike, stretching him almost callously rough. “Who am I, Spike?”
Spike’s eyes were rolling in his head now, flecks of gold appearing on the surface before dying back into icy blue. He was close already, the spell increasing his desperation and need until all he could think of was Xander and what Xander did to him.
“I’m the one who makes you feel good,” Xander reminded him, now three fingers deep. “I’m the one who cares for you. Who cares for a baby, Spike? Who makes sure he’s fed. Who plays with him, Spike?”
“Who holds a baby on his lap and keeps him safe? Hm?” Xander nuzzled against Spike’s neck, biting lightly against the jugular and trying not to laugh when Spike jerked in his arms. “Who looks after a baby, seeing to all his needs?”
“Fa—” Spike jerked again, eyes rolling up into his head as Xander bit down hard enough to break the skin. Subconscious prompts told him not to let Spike bleed more than a drop or two, the smell of it more than enough to remind Spike of things he’d purposefully forgotten.
When Spike went totally lax in his arms, except for the cock resting hard against his belly, Xander acted. Quick as a flash he had Spike on his back, his own pants stripped off, and his cock nudging against Spike’s entrance. “Who am I?” he asked again.
“Daddy.” The word was ribboned with relief, sighing out of Spike as he looked nervously up at the looming figure above him. “You’re Daddy.”
Xander felt the spell, hot and tight in his belly, spread out through him as everything clicked into place. “Yes,” Xander panted. “You’re my baby, Spike, and I’m the Daddy.” Not your daddy. Spike would have to work for that. Just Daddy.
Spike nodded, mewling slightly as he immediately understood the distinction—Xander almost marvelled at how subtle his prior training was, and how long it had held—lifting his legs to hold himself open. “Yes, Daddy. Make me feel good, Daddy?”
Xander shoved himself deep with one smooth, powerful thrust. “And how would Daddy make you feel good, baby? What should he do?”
Grunting at the intrusion, Spike clamped internal muscles down and began to rock again. “Fuck me, Daddy. Come inside me.”
Oh yeah. This was the best spell ever.