Learning Curve


Part Thirteen

Manip by Mwrgana
"Wow, the Council went all out on this trip," Xander said as he followed Spike into the suite.

"Bloody right they did. And when the Watcher finds the bill, I'll be sure to tell him it was worth every penny," Spike added, dropping his coat across a green wingback chair in the small living room area of the suite. "So, think you might have a few things to explain to me," Spike said as he dropped onto the couch and sprawled across the end.

"Don't owe you anything," Xander pointed out.

"Talk," Spike insisted as he narrowed his eyes in aggravation.

"Hey, I thought you said it wasn't wise to piss off a Shaman," Xander blurted. He might call Spike dumb, but the vamp really wasn't, so he knew Spike had put two and two together.

"Yeah, not until you see what their power is. For all I know that shaggy little one might be a fire summoner. You, though, you I got all figured out. Ya seem to still be a demon magnet. Only now, ya seem to be in a little more control."

"So, hey, you figured it out, and now we don't have to talk," Xander replied cheerfully as he stood next to the small counter with the coffeepot and ice bucket, and hey, the hotel had little packets of hot cocoa and how cool was that?

"Bloody hell. Xander, just tell me what the hell happened in the last two weeks." Spike's voice was tired, something Xander hadn't heard since the vamp had shown up straight from ground zero of the latest Armageddon.

"Um, Jim thought I was a secret agent, I rode around in the truck, their boss complained about me not being all legal with the riding around in the truck, the truck got shot at once, I discovered I'm a Shaman, and then you showed up." Xander finished and Spike had a look of supreme aggravation on his face.

"Most days I can't get you to soddin' shut up. Now let's start with the important part. How the hell did you figure out you're a Shaman?" Spike demanded, and Xander could tell he wasn't going to get out of it that easily, and so he started over from feeling the Hellmouth vibe while tracking the rapist. Xander didn't even get a quarter through before Spike was madly smoking.

"So, wait. Ya always felt this?" Spike asked once Xander finally stopped talking.

"Um, something like it... I think. I remember vibing when this group went into the hyena house and I thought they were going to beat up this geek they had followed in there. I thought I was having geeky sympathy pains."

"Right, and you were going to save him from the bullies, I suppose?" Spike said dryly.

"I know I'm not saving-people man. I'm well aware of that, Spike. So, now that you've gotten the whole story, I'm just going to call Jim for a ride." Xander stepped forward to get the phone from the cherry wood desk, but Spike darted forward and grabbed for it. Xander jerked his hand back to avoid touching.

"Hey, I need that."

"No, you don't, pet. You're not going anywhere with them." Spike emphasized his words by tossing the cordless handset across the room where it hit the wall and then separated into plastic and battery before falling behind the chair.

"Okay, I know we've covered this before, but I'll give it a third try. You're not the boss of me," Xander pointed out.

"Yeah, reckon I am. From what you say, you're like a private evil warnin' system. So when we head back into demon territory, I bloody well will be the boss of you and make sure you don't get eaten while doing that mojo. No bloody wonder you lose your concentration in a fight. So, ya got better control now?"

"Spike, this isn't your problem. Besides, I haven't decided whether I'm going back," Xander defiantly announced, and a look of fury flashed across Spike's face. Maybe he should have taken that as a signal to run, but he had been away from Spike's sudden emotional twists too long, and he didn't notice the danger until Spike had a forearm across his chest pinning him to the wall.

"Goin' to stay here and fuck your little friends?" Spike demanded with a sneer.

"Fuck off, Spike." Xander tried pushing Spike away, but Spike flashed into game face and slammed him back into the wall. For the second time that night, Xander felt like the rabbit at feeding time. Spike stared at him with a predator's yellow eyes, and his whole body froze in fear. Maybe fear. Maybe not since not all parts of him were frozen. Some were heating up nicely. And oh god, Spike was going to smell that. "Get off me," Xander insisted as he started struggling harder. He had to get free before his body outted him and then he'd never live it down. Bad enough to have Willow's sad eyes looking at him, but Spike's mocking eyes were more than he had the ability to endure.

"No," Spike said simply. "I can bloody smell them on you. The shaggy Shaman, his scent is all over you. And the Sentinel, I can smell him here too." Spike lowered his head to Xander's neck, and Xander had a sudden flare of panic.

"Hey, no necking… neckage, no neckage, no neck-anything with a vampire," he spluttered as he tried to squirm away. Unfortunately, Spike used a knee to keep him still, and a knee pressing into his groin wasn't helping him hide his problem although it did keep him mighty still.

"Want you, pet. Always wanted you from the day Angelus came back to the lair yelling about you makin' him back down. Wanted ya in the basement when you were afraid of me and still mouthed off. Wanted ya when you took me in even after I went a little bat-shit crazy with the soul. Wanted ya when you were dyin' of loneliness and pain in the middle of your little gang and none of them saw it. They saw the jokes and didn't see any farther, but I did, pet. Wanted to take you in my arms and bloody bite them." The words spoken in that low rough voice that Spike would so often get when he talked about Dru made Xander tremble with desire. It also confused the hell out of him.

"Spike, um, I hate to point this out, but you hate me, remember? Did you get hit upside the head when I wasn't looking? Willow can probably unscramble the brain... maybe. With the chip and the dying and the soul, it's probably pretty messy up there." Oh yeah, babble, thy name is Xander. And where the hell had he gotten that phrase, and what the hell was Spike doing with his hand and what did he have to promise the vamp to make him keep doing that with his hand? Xander groaned softly as that hand rubbed his nipples through his shirt.

"Thought ya wanted to kill yourself. I'd smell that lust rollin' off you when you came in the room, when ya came near me. But instead of lettin' yourself touch me, ya kept tryin' to get yourself killed. Got to where Buffy didn't trust ya enough to send ya to the store without an escort. I saw all that, and I thought you wanted to be dead before being with me."

"Oh god, Spike, no," Xander ran a thousand memories through his head as he considered the possibility that he was an idiot.

"I'm just stupid," he finally admitted as he realized the truth. "Seriously stupid. You were so grouchy and I thought you were still lusty over Buffy and I didn't want to make a fool out of myself and now I've gone and slept with Blair and you can't be too happy about that, not that you have any room to talk with Harmony in your sexual closet."

"Shut up," Spike said before cool lips met his, tasting and nipping until Xander gasped and squirmed in lust. Spike's tongue darted and claimed his mouth aggressively that made Xander ache for more. When Spike pulled back, Xander was left speechless and breathless and slightly bloodless because all his blood had drained into his cock.

"Want you to answer with one word only, pet. Got that?" Spike asked without releasing him. Xander squirmed a bit and Spike's knee just pressed in holding him against the wall.

"Yeah," Xander finally answered.

"Good. Now the Shaman. He taught ya to control the feelings, the vibes?"


"And can you always control the feelings?"

"Not even," Xander snorted and the knee in his crotch leaned in hard enough to make him gasp. And oh yeah, he was so very, very wrongly wired because damn that felt good. Xander gasped at the sensation of heat traveling up his backbone.

"One word answers, pet," Spike said as he reached down and soothed the abused cock with long, slow strokes through the fabric of Xander's jeans. Then slim fingers slid the zipper down. Xander shivered and grabbed Spike's shoulder as his knees threatened to go out from under him.

"Ya forget, pet, vamp sense of smell. When I would grab ya, hold ya, pin ya to a wall as Buffy took out the nasty, I'd smell your need teasing me. Used to infuriate me that ya wanted me so much but ya didn't want me enough to stop tryin' to get yourself killed." Spike popped the jeans' button open, and Xander involuntarily bucked into the feeling.

"Oh, shit," Xander hissed. The knee was back, pressing into him momentarily causing another flare of heat and desire.

"Now, pet, didn't ask you a question." Spike's hand slid in under the boxers, and Xander lost his entire vocabulary at the first feel of a finger sliding across the head gently. "So, can ya track from an image of the nasty?"

"No," he answered with a voice that trembled.

"Do ya want me to stop?" Xander opened his eye to find deep blue eyes searching him.

"No," he answered honestly. He would have added more, like a threat if Spike did stop, but that would have been outside the one-word rule.

"Are ya plannin' on stayin' here?" Spike put a finger over Xander's mouth to keep him from answering. "I'm done with bein' used and tossed aside, pet. If you plan to stay here or dump me on my arse or get yourself killed, you speak up now. So think careful on this before you say anything." Spike leaned forward so they were no more than an inch apart. "Do you want me?" Spike voice was low, whispered right into his ear so he could feel the air stir his hair.

"Yes," Xander answered.

"My very own Shaman," Spike whispered as he slid strong arms around Xander who could only clutch at Spike helplessly as he tried not to fall on his face since face-falling was not really of the good.

"All this power runnin' under your skin, and you're mine, aren't ya?" Spike pulled Xander away from the wall, backing up toward the double doors.

"Yeah," Xander agreed as he followed, pliant in Spike's embrace.

"Pet, don't want us to hurt each other. Ya have to know I'm still a demon. Won't rip myself apart between the demon and the soul and that means I can't do the Ozzie and Harriet deal."

"The what?" Xander asked as he pulled back and looked at Spike in confusion. Oz he knew, Harriet he didn't.

"Bloody hell," Spike rolled his eyes. "Can't do the Brady Bunch," he amended himself.

"Oh, I know that. That's why I was freaked out about you being my first and maybe being a little too demony. Well, that and I thought if you knew I was doing the crush thing you'd make fun of me until I died of embarrassment."

"Pet, now that you understand your powers a mite bit more, I expect you to have far fewer brushes with death, including dyin' of embarrassment," Spike said seriously as he continued to pull Xander into the bedroom, toward the bed, and oh buddy that was a big bed Xander realized as they got closer.

"So, ya already thought about what it meant ta be with a demon?" Spike asked.

"Yep," Xander agreed as talented fingers reached down the back of his open jeans and under his boxers to cup his ass, pulling their bodies closer together.

"And what did you decide?" Spike asked before nipping at an ear. Xander hesitated. It was one thing to have revelations in the privacy of your own mind where they were nice little sock puppet fantasies with a little perfectly normal before-bed activities. It really was another to admit to those things out loud.

"Can think of better things to do than talking. Talking bad," Xander said as he pushed himself into Spike, pressing their bodies together as he kissed and then nipped the side of Spike's neck. Spike's hands tightened on his ass.

"Need to know that you understand what you're getting yourself into, pet," Spike answered as he twisted his body so that Xander was suddenly standing with his back to the bed and they were falling. After a brief flicker of instinctive panic, Xander let himself fall, not even trying to free himself when Spike landed on top.

"Read Giles' vampire books," Xander hedged. Spike just snorted his contempt.

"Problem is that about half those are rot," he pointed out.

"But I lived with a vampire. I can recognize the things that make sense," Xander pointed out. "So when I read that for vampires it's about who's in charge, that sounds about right."

"And you're okay with that?" Spike asked. Xander just groaned and tilted his hips since the rest of him was pretty well trapped under Spike. Spike smiled wickedly as he reached out and snagged Xander's wrists and pressed them to the bed. "You smell good, pet," Spike said and then Xander was lost in another kiss.

"So, what else you get from those books?" Spike asked as he pulled back.

"Now? Do we have to do this now?" Xander demanded as his cock throbbed. "Don't have enough blood for both heads, Spike."

"Maybe I want to just smell you laying here all needy for me. So, what else ya find?"

"Um, the vampire on the bottom, not that I'm a vampire, and hey, not going to be a vampire but the books usually focus on two vampires. Um… where was I?" Xander lost his train of thought at Spike started rubbing his body slowly and rhythmically across Xander's.

"Vampire on the bottom, pet."

"Um, yeah. They're usually really strong because another vampire wouldn't claim them if they were weak. Thought that meant that I'd never get your attention because I was never the strong one."

"Bloody hell, I started wanting you when you were strong enough to face down Angelus although back then I would have turned ya first."

"Yeah, not so much for the turning."

"I have a soul now, ya git. Not going to turn ya. Well, not unless you go and start dyin' on me and then we can worry about the soul later. Anythin' else?"

"Ah, the vampire on top was judged by how strong his underlings were."

"Yep. Goin' to bug Angelus no end that I have a Shaman. Angel's going to spend the next six months tryin' to get the bastard to quiet down in there. A powerful Shaman. My powerful Shaman." Spike punctuated the words with hard thrusts down into Xander's body. Xander writhed, but with Spike holding him down, he couldn't do much else. "So, you're alright with all this?" Spike asked.

"No. I'm not okay with the lack of sex here. If you don't get on with the sex part, I’m going to come in my underwear, and since I don't have my other clothes here, I have to wear these things tomorrow," Xander practically whined. Spike rolled off and onto the bed.

"Right. Can't have you gettin' messy. But first we have the small problem of you breaking the one word rule, pet." Spike pushed himself back so that he was leaning against the headboard, and Xander looked up at that smirking face. His cock took even more notice, and Spike's leer grew wider.

"So, strip and get over here so we can figure out a proper punishment for a Shaman," Spike ordered.

"Oh yeah," Xander agreed breathily as he sat up and quickly pulled his shirt over his head, ignoring the buttons. He smiled. Some days it was good to be the Shaman.

Part Fourteen

Jim stood in the living room with his arms crossed, but even with the suspicious looks, the tension had somehow dropped between him and Spike since they had arrived at the loft just after the setting sun.

"Bloody hell, we'll never make customs if you don't hurry your arse up," Spike complained from his own spot leaning against the wall.

"And wouldn't that be a shame," Jim offered.

"Oh man, would you just stop baiting the vampire?" Blair threw in as he chopped vegetables in the kitchen.

"Soldier boy can't handle that he bloody lost," Spike said, and Xander didn't have to stop shoving shirts in the bag to know that Spike had a smirk on his face.

"Xander isn't a prize at the county fair. He made a choice."

"And you bloody lost."

"You'd better hope that you never die because with this attitude, your karma must be—" Blair made a whistling sound, and Xander imagined the man was making hand gestures to show the size of Spike's karma.

"Mate, you have no idea. But never plan to die, so I can't say I worry about it."

Xander zipped the bag and stepped out of the small room that had been his for the last few weeks. "Blair, Jim, I'm really glad you let me come do the whole tagging along thing, and well, you know all the things I have to thank you for that I'm going to avoid thanking you for because I'm not kiss and tell guy."

"Not like I don't already know, pet. Especially the way this loft smells," Spike interrupted with a leer.

"The loft smells of Blair's orange cleaner and soap," Jim said with a hint of frustration in his voice.

"You're no bloody fun, mate. Can't give the boy shite if you go undermining me. 'Sides, maybe I just have a better sense of smell than you," Spike suggested.

"Oh man. That would be fascinating. Testing a demon? Talk about opening up new frontiers," Blair replied. Xander turned and Blair had put the knife down as a look of awe and curiosity slowly transformed him into the hyper super-scientist he both loved and dreaded.

"Oh shit," Xander whispered.

"Spike, just run for the door, and I'll cover you. As long as he doesn't have his notebook yet, we have a chance," Jim added with a fond look at his partner.

"Very funny, man," Blair complained, but Xander noticed Spike actually was moving toward the door.

"Xander, hurry up. Not goin' to be here when the Shaman starts the mojo."

Xander looked up at Spike sharply, as did Blair and Jim. "Mojo? Blair has mojo?" Xander asked.

"Of all the… what the soddin' hell do you think makes a Shaman a Shaman? They do mojo."

"Whoa. I have never been the one with mojo here. Jim does the prophetic dreams and the super senses, and I just cover his back," Blair make a half-laugh that Xander recognized all too well, the whole make fun of yourself before someone does it for you laugh.

"You honestly don't get it, do ya?" Spike asked curiously. No one answered. "Bloody hell, it takes years to train a Shaman. You got this one up and running in two weeks, and as much as I love the git, he's not known for his ability to learn. Then ya got a Sentinel here, and from what I read in Xander's reports, ya taught him to use his sensory "dials" in one sitting. That is mojo."

Xander looked at Blair whose eyes were wide with shock. "He's mojoing his teaching? God, where were you when I almost failed algebra? I so could have used a mojoing teacher with the powers of making people learn." Xander walked toward Spike giving Blair a little shove on the shoulder as he passed by.

"Oh man. Are you sure?" Blair finally asked in a voice weak with surprise.

"No, I'm not. But I'm willin' to bet your mojo has something ta do with that. So, if you're goin' to go trying to use your powers of persuasion on me, I'll just be leavin'. I don't go for the mojo," Spike answered as he pulled the door open. Xander smiled when Spike's free arm slipped neatly around his waist. Spike tightened his grip for a moment before guiding Xander out of the apartment.

"Xander, hold on," Jim called. "I wanted to give you this." Jim came over, grabbing a manila envelope off the table as he came.

"If that's garlic," Spike snarled.

"He was joking earlier," Blair interrupted, but Jim just smiled coldly at Spike as Xander pulled open the flap. Inside were printouts. A small wildcat with rounded ears and round brown eyes looked at a photographer from behind a wide leaf. The next picture had a cat's body laid out next to a yardstick, and Xander realized the animal was smaller than the average housecat. The third sheet had information about the animal's habitat in South America and how the animal lived in social groups… males actually rumored to help raise the kittens although scientists had never been able to study the elusive creatures well enough to confirm those reports.

Xander looked up at Jim. "Um… thanks? Can't say I'm getting it though," Xander admitted as he looked down at the sheets of paper.

"It's what I saw. That's your spirit guide," Jim answered as he nodded toward the envelope. Xander looked up at Jim's earnest expression and then down at the papers.

"A kodkod? I have a spirit animal named kodkod? Oh no. There has to be a return desk for these things. You know, trade up for something in a nice lion shape or actually anything that isn't small enough to get eaten by a housecat," Xander complained. "Come on… kodkod? I mean, the universe isn't this cruel."

"Least it's better than a dormouse," Spike pointed out as he looked over Xander's shoulder. Xander turned his head and glared at his lover, which earned him a slap on the ass.

"Thanks, mate," Spike said to Jim, and the man nodded his head in answer.

"We're here if you ever need us, you know," Blair said as he came over and joined Jim next to the table, leaning his body into Jim as the man slipped an arm over Blair's shoulders.

"We'll keep that in mind," Spike answered.

"Bye, and thanks," Xander barely had time to add before he found himself pushed out of the loft and into a new life. As Spike's hand slipped around his waist and then the fingers dipped into the waistband of his jeans above his hipbone, he decided change was good. Now if he could just figure out how to trade in his spirit animal, it might even be perfect. Sometimes it paid to learn a new trick or two.

The End

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