A Spot of Torture

After two hours of sniffing one disgusting concoction after another, he had identified five things that might smell familiar from that evening and developed a raging headache.  The pain could have come from having to smell so many disgusting potions ranging from ground chaos demon horn to burning dried elephant gonads.  It also might have come from the endless bickering the two vampires had engaged in ever since they had reached the magic shop.  Spike had called his sire a wanker, a poof, a nancy-boy, mighty gel-hair boy, the great poof, a ninny, and a good number of names that he just didn't understand.  From Angel's reaction, he guessed none were of the good.  In return, Angel had threatened to stake Spike, rolled his eyes, sighed, and growled so often that Cordelia had taken to randomly backhanding him across the arm.  Yes, a lovely evening.

"Familiar?" Angel asked as he gestured toward the blue bottle currently sitting on the table.

"Only in that it smells like my laundry after I haven't washed it in two or three months."  Xander put the cork back in and pushed the bottle away.  "Don’t think it was that."

"Oi, he's had enough.  It’s not like he paid attention to the smell that night," Spike complained from the other side of a shelf full of strange artifacts, bones, statues and rocks.

"Yeah, too busy trying not to die."  Xander stood and cracked his back after sitting for the whole two hours. 

"If they were using Org root and ground pa'alash, we need more information.  We could be looking at some sort of thrall spell."

"Well he's helped you as much as he can; I'm taking him and leavin' now." Spike walked up and got into his sire's personal space, and the larger vampire instantly stood and squared his shoulders.  Xander sighed.

"You have no right to order him around and drag him all over town for your personal feud."  Angel snarled as he obviously struggled not to slip into game face.

"Bloody hell, not like you have a vote here.  He already told you off, Peaches."

"William, you are not taking him anywhere, I swear if…" 

Xander could still hear them argue, but he intentionally tuned it out as he walked out of the back room and started browsing the shelves in the front of the shop.  He had just spotted an interesting shelf when a female voice interrupted an internal argument on how to handle the whole attracted-to-an-evil-vampire that he had every intention of killing dilemma.  When had he lost his mind?

"Those two are going to stake each other at this rate," Cordelia sighed as she nodded toward the back.

"Oh, yeah.  I thought me and my dad got into some fights, but those two have us beat."

"Nice work—that." Cordelia gestured toward Xander's hand, which had continued on its pre-Cordelia mission and closed around a stake.

"Yeah, well I just like having some protection.  Well, not protection as in protection," Xander stumbled to correct himself as he realized the sexual implications of his statement.  "Not that I don't do things that require protection…I'm just going to stop now," he finally announced as he studied the lightly carved stake in his hand.

"Well I'm just glad to know you take the whole vampire thing seriously.  Thought you might be one of those idiots who think they can shack up with a demon without suffering any consequences."

"Oh, I know the consequences," he agreed as he thought about Spike's body dissolving into dust.  The earlier screams in his head had reduced to a sort of grumbling complaint, but he did know how hard this would be.  Unfortunately, he couldn't fool himself.  Cordelia was right about not trusting demons, and any concern Spike had shown made sense in a totally selfish, no-problem-killing-the-human-later sort of way.  He had to admit that his own pathetic need for affection had blinded him at first.

"So why work with him?" Cordelia asked with such an honest curiosity that he had to wonder what kind of life she had lived to take the whole situation in stride.

"I could ask you the same thing," he returned.

"Yeah, but it isn't the same thing.  I mean, Angel gets all strange and broody, and he so totally needs to learn how to wear colors other than black, but he isn't a killer.  He's got the soul."

"Are you sure you aren't the one in denial?" he asked as he fingered the spiral pattern on the dark wood.  He tried to sink a fingernail into the wood, but he couldn't even scratch the surface—nice hard wood.

"I've known both Angel and Angelus, and I know the difference.  Of course, I also carry lots of weapons," she assured him with a smile.  "Besides, I need the job.  However, I don't get the feeling Spike pays real well.  He seems like more of a 'letting you live is payment enough' sort to me, so why stay with him?"

"We both want to kill the same man…or rather vamp."


"Oh yeah.  He killed a friend, and I can't say I'm exactly happy about his willingness to share."  Xander's free hand gestured up toward his neck and the red scar visible beneath his collar.  Of course, he didn't mention that the mark had posed no problems until Spike had waltzed into his life and would hopefully pose none when Spike died.  Unless Spike killed him; he suspected that the mark wouldn't bother him much if he was dead.

"Okay, that's just disturbing.  Angel told me about the whole claim thing."  Cordelia leaned back against a shelf and flipped her hair away from her face in a gesture that Xander suddenly recognized.

"Cordelia…Cordelia Chase," he suddenly blurted. 

"Um, yeah.  We've already been introduced."  Xander almost laughed as she rolled her eyes in a look that he recognized well from their days together in junior high.  She used it on him every time she pointed out something stupid he had done in order to embarrass him in front of as many people as possible.

"No, I just recognized you.  Willow and I started the 'We hate Cordelia Chase' club," he blurted a half second before it occurred to him that she might find that information offensive.  "Of course, that was when we were waaaay younger, and you were younger, and different."

"Alexander Harris?  Oh my god." Cordelia suddenly pulled him into a hug, and Xander threw up his arms, only remembering to turn the stake at the last minute.  Boy, wouldn't that be an awkward way to greet an old classmate.

"Cordelia, we weren't exactly friends," he pointed out at as the woman held on to him far longer than he expected.

"Don't turn around.  When I let go, take off running for the back room, and I'll distract them with some holy water."

Cordelia held on for another second as her hand reached into her purse, and Xander closed his fingers around the stake even more tightly.  He knew he should run for Spike, but he couldn't leave Cordelia here to die, even if he had started a whole hate-club and spent one afternoon discussing murder plots with Willow.  When she released him and threw the container, Xander turned to fight rather than run.  He turned in time to see the bottle crash onto the floor and splash up onto three of the largest vampires he had ever seen.   Taking advantage of the momentary chaos caused as the vampires recoiled from the burning water, Xander lunged forward and plunged his stake into the nearest vamp.  He thought he had aimed true, but the vampire simply growled and grabbed his arm in one hand while he pulled the stake out with the other.

"Spike," he bellowed at the top of his voice as he pulled back against the hand which closed like a steel vice.  He threw his other arm in an arc, trying to get enough speed in his swing to make the vampire let go, but his awkward left-handed blow bounced harmlessly off the vampires raised forearm.  Well, harmlessly for the vamp; Xander felt like his arm had hit a brick and the throbbing in his right hand where the vamp gripped too tightly for circulation joined the throbbing in his left which would soon sport a good sized bruise if he was any judge. 

Out of his peripheral vision, he watched Cordelia run from the other two vamps, and he wondered where Spike and Angel had gone.  Oh god, maybe they really had staked each other.

"Leave her alone," he shouted as he swung again at the vamp holding him.  The same swing ended in the same result, but the vamp still didn't do anything but watch the others corner Cordelia behind a bookcase.  Praying for some luck, Xander reached out with his foot and hooked one of the lower shelves of the display unit next to him.  Praying that the case wasn't bolted down, he pulled with everything he had, and suddenly the whole shelf started tilting precariously. 

When the first of the fragile item slid off and shattered on the floor, the Neanderthal holding him looked over, and then threw his arms up to protect his face from the falling shelf.  Xander scrambled away but didn't quite make it.  He felt the shelf fall on his lower leg, and he howled in pain.  Grabbing a bit of wood that had broken off the shelf, he staked the now-trapped vampire and turned with his improvisational weapon in hand to face the other two. 

Both of the vampires turned their backs on Cordelia, but only one survived the mistake.  Xander smiled as he watched vampire number two turn to a skeleton for the brief second it took for the bones to follow the flesh and turn to dust.  He could feel more than hear Spike charging from the back room, and he allowed himself to feel relief for a second, but only a second.  

Vampire number three charged toward him and grabbed his hand, pulling him roughly over the vampire's shoulder face forward.  He struggled to hold on to his weapon, but with the vampire's grip, he couldn't do anything with it.  By the time the vampire had reached the door, he had transferred the makeshift stake to his left hand, but the vampire simply reached up and pulled it out of his hand.  Xander yelped and winced as that forced dozens of splinters into his left hand, but he continued fighting and squirming.   

Hoping to distract the beast, he even held his bleeding left hand over the creature's face, but the vampire simply tossed him.  Xander felt himself flying through the air until he stopped with a thud against the metal of a van.  Oh shit.  The metal of the inside of a van, Xander realized as the vampire jumped in after him and slammed the door.  At that sound, the van leapt into traffic at such a speed that Xander found himself tumbling toward the back doors.  He had just decided to grab a door handle and roll out, risking death by pavement, when a hand grabbed him and pressed him to the cold and uneven floor of the van.

"Not so fast," hissed an angry voice, and he shuddered at the sound.  Even angry, Spike hadn't frightened him as much as that cold voice without any trace of humanity.  Xander felt something cold wrap around his neck, and he reflexively reached up as the lock closed, securing the chain around his neck.  With a jerk, the vampire had pulled him toward the side of the van and fastened the other end.  Xander realized that he was, for the third time in three nights, chained up.  Since he couldn't do anything about it, he leaned back against the cold metal and curled his sore leg under him as he settled in to glare at his captor.  The vampire looked back at him with an ever-increasing growl filling the space.

"You kill him, and the master'll skin you," floated in a voice from the front of the van.  With one last snarl, the vampire crawled up into the front part of the van and allowed the curtain to fall back into place, leaving Xander alone.  He simply sighed and turned his injured hand toward the meager light filtering in from the back windows as he tried to pick the splinters out of his still bleeding hand.  As Spike would say, wankers.

He still hadn't come up with a plan an hour later when he felt the van slow and begin maneuvering around tight turns.  Parking lot?  With his neck chained, he really couldn't see out of the windows, but then it hardly mattered.  He really didn't have any illusions about who had captured him or how ugly this was about to get.  He used his teeth to try and gnaw out one more splinter.  Sucking until he tasted the salty flavor of blood, he used his tongue to find the end before trying to close his teeth around the barely protruding sliver of wood.  When the van stopped and the door came open, he continued his self-treatment.  In fact, he took pride in completely ignoring both the vampires, all the way up until the point his neck was nearly broken when idiot number one used the chain to yank him out of the van.

"Hey, human here," he yelled as he fell to the concrete floor of a warehouse, and for a moment he wondered why that sounded so familiar. 

"Don't break him," idiot number two hissed to the offending vamp, but neither one helped him stand up.  He used the edge of the van door opening to pull himself back up onto his feet.

"Move human."  The chain tightened again, and this time he followed, cursing himself for being so damn weak.

"Boy you two have a lot of explaining, like how two weak little humans managed to kill half of your little kidnapping crew."  Xander waited for a response, but the vamps simply pulled him toward a freight elevator.  He knew he should shut up, but talking gave him at least some illusion of bravado, even if it was just illusion.  "Not that killing you guys is hard.  I mean, I've dusted little girl vamps that fought more than you guys.  Hell, a little girl did take out your buddy in the store."  Xander nodded toward idiot number one:  the one who had come into the store and whose buddy Cordelia had neatly disposed of. 

"Shut up," Idiot number one snapped.

"Yeah, right.  'Cause the boss man won't notice that you lost a couple of guys without *me* pointing it out.  I mean, if Spike had been there, that woulda been one thing, but you lost your buddies to a couple of walking happy meals.  How pathetic is that?  It's like a cop getting chewed to death by a cow."  As the elevator thunked to a halt, a growl threatened bodily harm to Xander.  Oh well, Cassidy would schedule him for bodily harm soon enough, so what did it really matter. 

He hadn't come up with any more insults before he found himself in a huge room that looked like the set from a renaissance fair.  Heavy red fabric draped the windows, chains hung from wood columns, and a dark-haired man sat on something that looked suspiciously like a throne.  He wasn't surprised to find himself forced to his knees before the vampire with the illusion of kingship.

"You do know you can get therapy for this whole delusion thing, right?" Xander asked as he gestured toward the ornate paintings and carved tables.

"Silence!"  The vamp on the throne bellowed, and he felt an answering bellow within his own chest.  Oh shit no.  He concentrated on singing the Rubber Duckie song in his head over and over until he had forced out that flare of joy at seeing *master*.  He didn't realize that his internal singing had become a cappella until he noticed the strange looks the various vamps were giving him. 

"What?  Didn't you ever watch Sesame Street?"

"How dare you speak."  The dark-haired vamp stood and descended the two steps to the main floor.  Yep, that was definitely a throne, and a god-awful ugly throne with gold gremlin thingies carved on the back and a red seat.

"And you would be Cassidy, the vamp who would be king."    That stopped the vampire.  Cassidy stood motionless for one moment before closing the distance with alarming speed and snatching up the chain that now dangled from his neck.

"What do you know, human?" Cassidy demanded as he bent over him ominously.

"That you have bad breath?"  He never saw the fist, but he sure felt it as it hit his ribs just above his waist.  He tried not to cry out, but his gasp sounded distinctly pained, and he collapsed in agony once Cassidy released his chain.

"Strip him," ordered the calm voice, and Xander tried not to panic as many hands suddenly reached out and grabbed at pieces of fabric, pulling the clothing apart rather than removing it.  He would have fought, but he found himself naked before he could gather his wits.  He remained sitting on the cold cement floor, aware of the fact that this really only had one outcome for him.

"Kneel before your master, slave."

"You do know you aren't a king, right?  Not a king means no kingdom, no subjects, no slaves.  Of course, you do look a little like one of the Edward kings—pasty complexion, little squinty eyes, and sort of a flat-faced dopey look.  Girlfriend accused me of looking like him once, but I think I have more of the Henry the fifth look—eyes a little too big, nose a whole lot too big.  Whadda you think?"  He really couldn't help noticing three things: the steadily rising volume of growling, the nervous shifting of various minions, and the desperate moaning inside his own mind. 

He expected swift retribution.  Instead Cassidy walked over to an ornate armoire and opened it.  Remembering what Spike had kept in his cabinet, he wasn't surprised when Cassidy returned with a variety of toys.

"Remove the chain," Cassidy ordered even as he walked up with a steel collar and manacles.  "You can save yourself pain by submitting to me.  You are mine, and you will kneel at my feet."  Xander tried not to shake as he felt Cassidy close the collar around his neck before reaching down for each hand in turn.  The truth was, he found himself fighting a need to do exactly that, so much so that he didn't have time to come up with a snappy response.

He closed his eyes and tried to ignore the hands that pulled him up and chained him facing one of the square wooden columns.  He tried even harder to ignore the need to throw himself at Cassidy's feet.

"Let's try this again now that you're more cooperative.  What do you know?"

"If you try to flush your mom's dry Thanksgiving turkey down the toilet, you'll clog the plumbing," he finally choked out, knowing what would happen.  Sure enough, a half second after he said the words, he heard the crack.  It took his body another second after that to register the line of fire going from his right armpit to his left side.  He gasped in pain

"What do you know?"

"Spike listens to this really crappy music."  He clenched his fists until the whip had dug into him again.  This time he couldn't contain the scream.

"What do you know?"

"Storm has got to be the sexiest woman ever."  The little ritual continued until Xander hung by his arms, his back numb and his brain barely registering the question.  An hour?  Two hours?  Five hours?  He had no idea.

Suddenly, he felt cool hands at his wrists, and he fell to the ground.  He didn't even think about the concrete versus knees issue until he found himself curled on his side trying to rub the pain out of his knees without disturbing his back.  Of course, that required bringing his arms down, which seemed to cause a special brand of pain all its own.

"Do you think he's coming for you?  Do you think he can protect you from me?"  Xander pried his eyes open and looked at Cassidy's leering face.

"He's stronger than you," he whispered in a voice nearly gone from screaming.

"I don't think so; I took his Dru. He actually cared for his Dru, and he couldn't save her.  Now you, he dangled you like bait and then left you while he and his sire played in the alley."  Xander nearly laughed at the thought of Spike and Angel playing.  He thought it more likely that they had tried to pull each other's heads off although that did explain the slow response.

"He could have chased the van, but he stayed with his sire. No, he used you to try and pull my empire apart, and now that you've done your job, he's just as happy to let me take over."  He flinched as he felt Cassidy's hand move down his side, avoiding the whip marks with surprising accuracy.  "You know that, don't you?"

Xander tried to deny it, but in his heart, he knew the truth.  Spike himself had called him a pet, an inferior who would never be a lover, essentially a lower life form.  He dropped his eyes, refusing to allow Cassidy to see his despair.

"Poor little human.  I left you alone for so long that you had to seek comfort from that second-rate vampire, but he didn't claim you.  He didn't want you."

Xander closed his eyes as he tried to close out the words.  How many times had he felt this nagging emptiness as someone who had promised to love him walked away?  The night Spike had chained him, he had told himself the truth then.  Spike didn't need him to walk around smelling of Cassidy; the damage had already been done.  No, he couldn't fool himself any more, Spike didn't claim him because Spike didn't want him.  He couldn't even sort out the pain on that one.  Was that his demon roaring with loss and anguish or his soul?  Oh god he was so screwed up; he just wanted to be left alone.  Surprisingly, Cassidy did just that.  With a final pat on a naked hip, Cassidy locked his collar to a chain at the base of the column and walked away.  Xander didn't open his eyes, but he could see the lights go out even from behind his closed lids.

Waking up proved even more difficult than finding a sleeping position that minimized pain had been the night before. Muscles had stiffened into awkward positions, and the cold of the concrete had seeped into his bones.  Xander couldn't physically move off the floor, so he laid there until some minion noticed and mentioned it to Cassidy.  He shivered as he felt Cassidy's think fingers trace along the whip marks from the previous night's entertainment.

"Hurting boy?" Cassidy whispered in his ear, the vampire's dark hair brushing across his face.  "Submit and I'll call up your demon.  I'll make the pain go away."  Xander closed his eyes again and simply refused to answer.  "Then suffer,” Cassidy finally decreed.

Cassidy had obviously called the 'court' back into session because dozens of vamp feet hurried by him, not bothering to pause when he finally lost control of his bladder and left an ever-widening yellow puddle on the floor.  He seemed to remember peeing sometime during the whipping, but some minion had cleaned that mess; this time he lay in it as the vampires walked around.

"Tell Wolfram and Hart to get that sacred candle here or I'll start taking late fees in lawyer blood!"

"Yes master," murmured an obsequious voice before another set of feet rushed by him.  God, this guy really did have a power trip going, didn't he?  Xander tried to shift, but his back simply refused to oblige.  For a moment, he concentrated on the sore muscles, trying to will them to shift his ass out of the pee, and he would swear he felt a tingling all along his backbone. 

It might have just been coincidence, but he suddenly felt strong enough to shift over and escape the humiliation of lying in his own waste.  Of course that also gave him the final piece of the puzzle.  Cassidy said that he could call up the demon to heal him only if he submitted.  Angel said the demon doesn't respond to a host.  Spike had shown such surprise that he could *come* for the blonde vampire.  Xander finally figured out who the demon had submitted to, and he couldn't restrain a giggle.  The stupid demon had submitted to its own host.  He called up the demon's sights, he called up the demon's healing, and he called up the demon's attraction to Spike.  Nice, he figured out that he actually wanted the damn son of a bitch just when he figured out Spike didn't want him.  Just his luck.

"And what is making you so happy this evening?"  He opened his eyes to see Cassidy standing over him with a thick, three foot rod in his fist.

"I've heard of phallic symbols and compensating, but that's just a little ridiculous," he snorted as he looked at the weapon.  As the Cassidy raised the stick, he closed his eyes and waited for the darkness to take him again.  It didn't matter anyway, he decided as he felt the heavy impacts on his side and legs.  He had betrayed Gunn by helping a vampire.  He had been abandoned by the vampire he had chosen over Gunn.  The only job he had ever shown talent in involved letting men touch him.  He barely even made it out of high school.  How many times did he have to fuck up before he just admitted that he needed to walk away from this life and hope for a better one on the other side.  As the rod continued to fall, he decided that he had reached the time to find out.

Again, waking up involved stiff muscles, cold through to his bones, and hard concrete.  Fuck.  Why couldn't he just die?  As he struggled to sit up, he realized that much of the physical damage had faded.  He panicked for just a minute, until some dark corner of his mind provided the answer:  Cassidy's blood.  The taste of it still filled his mouth.  Xander scooted back on the concrete until he leaned against the pillar, the deep bruises and lash marks reduced to mere soreness and aches.

"Up again so soon, boy?" He looked over and made eye contact with Cassidy, who leaned over a heavy table with three or four others, making small markings on whatever they had laid on the table, some sort of paper maybe.

"I'm actually getting more sleep than usual, must be the accommodations," he returned with a smile.  If he had to die, he was going out with style.  Even as the thought flashed across his mind, an answer came back.  Cassidy wouldn't let him die.  Cassidy would keep him alive until he could show the vampire community that he had taken back his possession.  He needed for everyone to see Xander huddled at his feet, and then Cassidy would kill him.  Perfect way to stay alive until a rescue, he thought for the two seconds before it occurred to him that no one would rescue him.  The most he could hope for was an accidental rescue from Spike showing up to kill Cassidy.  Even then, he wasn't sure Spike would save him once he had his revenge.  He tried not to be bitter considering Spike had never actually lied and declared undying love, but it was still hard.

"If you're enjoying them that much, we'll have to extend your stay." Cassidy slowly walked over and loomed over him.  The vampire stood there with a slightly confused look as he clearly sniffed the air.   "You are mine, you know.  You will submit."

Xander considered that.  Should he submit?  It would be a way to escape the beatings.  If he had any hope of rescue, maybe he'd fight, but he couldn't come up with any good reason to keep fighting just to continue the pain.  Xander consciously released his hold on his own dark thoughts.

"I know," he whispered as he felt the demon's presence rush by him like a wind, "master."


He only distantly realized that he had shifted to his knees; after all, they weren't his knees any more in any significant sense.  Spike had once told him that the demon would simply influence him, but he found that he could simply hide and allow the demon to move his limbs while he watched.  It wasn't him that Cassidy smiled at as he unlocked the chain, leaving the heavy metal collar in place as a reminder of his new status.  It wasn't him who knelt beside Cassidy as the vampire planned a final victory.  The only him that existed hid in a dark corner of his mind and cried as Cassidy described the ceremony that would force all vampires in the city to submit to him as their master.  Some law firm wanted Angel brought under control, and Cassidy just plain wanted control.  Xander almost screamed at the thought of this disgusting piece of vampire waste forcing Spike to submit, but it didn't really matter any more, so he slid back into his space of half-dreaming.

A day passed, but he knew only when he lay down to sleep on the floor next to Cassidy's bed.  He had hidden in the darkest corner of his mind, expecting rape with a side order of torture and sodomy, but Cassidy seemed content to allow him to publicly grovel.  He couldn't even bring himself to care when, as Spike had once told him, he discovered that he was expected to eat off the floor.  That was the only time the demon had earned a beating, but the whip marks healed in hours, which surprised even Cassidy. 

Xander had resigned himself to this half-life until such time as Cassidy finally killed him.  Until, of course, a minion burst into Cassidy's room on night two, nearly falling over Xander to get to the bed.

"Master, you must wake," the dirty-blonde vampire begged as he stood next to the bed.  Evan or Eli or Eddy, he couldn't remember the vampire's name, but he didn't really try too hard as he felt his arms gather and fold the single blanket Cassidy allowed him as he knelt on the hard floor in the corner formed by the wall and the bed. 

E-something vamp didn't cause Xander's re-emergence, but his next words sure did.

"Master, the guards have captured Master Spike."  At those words, Cassidy flew from the bed.  For the first time since releasing the demon, Xander felt himself truly wake up, but he also found himself unable to take back control.  He raged and swore and insulted Cassidy's lineage until he nearly drove himself mad, but his body remained kneeling, his head bent as he waited for Cassidy to dress and signal him to either join him or wait.  When the signal came to follow, he wanted to sigh in relief, but he couldn't even manage that.  Instead he meekly followed Cassidy into the throne room where four or five vampires struggled to hang on to the chains that imprisoned Spike.  After a brief struggle, he forced his eyes to dart over to see that Spike had only minor wounds, but then the eyes returned to the floor as he settled in on his knees beside his master's throne.  The rattling of the chains grew suddenly quiet so that he could hear Spike gasp and growl.

"Bloody wanker,” Spike hissed, and he could tell just from the sound that Spike had on his game face.  Unfortunately, his eyes remained fastened to the floor several feet in front of Spike, so he couldn't see for himself.

"Yes, I've reclaimed your little trophy.  I'd planned to kill him once I'd finished with him, but now I'm thinking of keeping him."  He felt Cassidy's fingers run through his hair, and he cringed as some part of him all but purred and leaned into the caress.  Using the demon's pleasure as a distraction, he grabbed back a bit of control and glanced up.  Spike had an expression of pure fury as gold eyes and white teeth both flashed in the low light.

"I'll rip your bullocks off and make you eat 'em," Spike promised with a snarl.

"Now, now.  You had your chance to claim him, and you lost.  Seems like you're good at losing, you've done it enough."  Cassidy released his hair, and he went back to a full kneel with is hands palm up on his thighs as he waited unmoving.  "He really is quite a find.  With very little training, he's become a court favorite."  Cassidy gave an imperial wave toward Spike that he could see out of the corner of his eye.  "Fasten him to the pillar," Cassidy ordered.

Xander watched as the minions pulled the still hissing Spike over to the pillar and chained his hands above his head by using a pulley that pulled him up until Spike stood on his toes.  Other minions fastened his leg chains to the pillar so that the vampire would not even be able to kick.

"Oi, you lot follow him and you'll end up dust, every last one of you nancy boys'll die, I promise that." 

"You should have stayed away, Spike.  Drusilla with her magic and visions had to die, but I would have left you alone as long as you stayed out of my city and didn't try to save Angel.  You could have lived a long and healthy unlife."  Cassidy descended the steps and walked toward the now chained Spike, and with a small gesture, ordered Xander to follow.  He followed with his head still bent and knelt at Cassidy's side as Cassidy stopped inches from the imprisoned Spike.

"But now you'll have to die, and for what?"

"He isn’t yours," Spike snarled in an accent so think that it took a moment to decipher. When Xander realized the implications, he teetered between joy and confusion.  Spike had come for him?

"Funny, he smells like mine."

"Yeah, well he's a bit different; smell lies when it comes to 'im." 

"And I suppose that you think he's yours?"  Cassidy laughed at that one, and Xander struggled to force his eyes upwards.  For the one brief second he caught Spike's eye, he saw hope and pride and a fierce desire to kill, but then his own eyes dropped back down without his consent, and he could hear the clatter as Spike jerked in his chains.  "You do, don't you?  Well, I promise you that my pet is firmly in hand.  I heard about the incident with the Slacktha demon over at Bulad, and I promise you that he has shown no such behavior here because he is with his true master."  Xander shivered at those words.  "He's been a perfectly behaved pet," Cassidy commented as Xander felt the touch on his shoulder—or should that be his demon's shoulder now because he had no control over it.  Either way he knew the signal to be a command to stay, so when Cassidy moved away, he remained kneeling in front of Spike and waited as he felt Cassidy return.

"I know one sure way to convince you just how wrong you are."  Xander looked up as he felt Cassidy's fingers under his chin.  Cassidy's face had an almost angelic smile and the vampire held out a sharply pointed stake.  Xander felt his hand curl around the stake even as his mind began screaming against the order he knew would come.

"Kill him," Cassidy ordered as his smile grew even wider.  Xander struggled to regain control even as he rose to his feet.  When he stood before Spike, one part of his brain noticed the look of pain and horror on the blonde vampire's face even while another part struggled to gain control of the hand that slowly rose holding the deadly stake.  Spike pulled at the chains holding him once before settling again, but Xander barely noticed as he spent every ounce of strength he owned trying to regain control over his arm. 

In desperation, he resorted to his most powerful weapon:  singing Rubber Duckie in an effort to drive the demon back into the space from which it had come.  Spike twitched his eyebrow and cocked his head in a familiar gesture of confusion even as Xander felt the arm begin to twitch. He realized that he had broken through when he heard his own voice humming.  Xander turned and saw the confused look on Cassidy's face in the moment before he drove the stake forward and turned Cassidy into a pile of dust. 

"Oi, you show 'em pet, perfectly behaved except for an odd spot of staking," Spike crowed from his shackles.  "Told you lot you were in for it!"  Xander started backing away, an odd feeling of panic growing in his chest.

In the background he could hear Spike yelling insults as minions ran, but he soon grew far too concerned about the howling in his own head.  The pain mounted, grew, threatened to overwhelm him as he realized that he had staked Cassidy.  Part of him, okay all of Xander-him reveled in turning the arrogant son-of-a-bitch into dusty bits, but the demon-him howled in such pain that Xander squeezed his eyes shut and backed into a corner, struggling to catch his breath.  He could hear new voices, demands for release, breaking furniture, but he must not be getting enough oxygen because his brain could not put all the pieces together.  A voice finally pulled on his consciousness, demanding his attention.

"Pet?"  Xander opened his eyes to see Spike crouched on the floor before him, bouncing on the balls of his feet just like he had seen so many times before.  "Pet, you okay?" the quiet voice came again.

"What did you do to him?"  demanded an angry voice, and Xander flinched.  *Enemy* the voice in his head insisted.  *Enemy.  Kill.  Hide.  Escape.*  He  struggled to pull enough air into his lungs even as he pressed himself into the corner, but then Spike's voice returned and he held onto that lifeline.  The voice in his head was confused about Spike.  *Enemy* and *Clan* chased each other around in his head, but he knew that he could trust Spike.  Spike had come back for him.  Spike had stood, waiting for death with nothing more than a look of sadness.  Spike hadn't cursed him or blamed him or called him weak.

"Peaches, if you don't back off and give him space I'll stake ya myself," Spike quietly declared in the same tone most people use to discuss the weather.  Xander realized that Spike didn't want to scare him.  Spike hid his anger with his sire because Spike wanted to protect him. 

"Spike?" he whispered, the voice in his head finally starting to quiet. 

"Yeah, pet?"

"I killed him."  He flinched at his own words.

"Yeah, did a good job.  He was going to kill me, so it's a good thing you did, innit?"

"Spike?"  He held out his hand until he could curl his own fingers around Spike's arm, and the bouncing stopped.


"I don't feel well."  In reality, he felt like he was going to throw up his own intestines, possibly his liver and his soul as well. 

"Right, we're outta here."  Xander felt strong arms lift him, and he wanted to object that he wasn't an invalid, but the fact remained that he couldn't have walked if his life depended on it.  At the physical contact, the chorus of *Enemy* *Clan* grew louder until Xander started quietly singing to himself.

"Bloody hell, not the llama song, do the one from earlier," Spike complained.

"You like Rubber Duckie more than the Llama song?"  Xander almost laughed at that, but then his insides froze as Angel stepped in front of them.  Before he hadn't exactly liked Angel, but he never felt this level of hatred for him before, either.

"William, you are not taking him," Angel growled softly.

"Not your business, mate," Spike snapped back as he slid into game face.  Xander could hear a feminine gasp that he guessed would be Cordelia.  He turned and saw her with another man, slender with eyes that seemed to catch everything.

"I won't let you take a life."

"Good, because this isn't him taking anything," Xander said as he struggled to ignore the internal voices.  "I'm giving."  He saw Angel step back; he heard Cordelia gasp again.

"You have no idea what you're saying.  I can get you to a doctor—one who knows how to treat this sort of problem."

"No, Angel, you can't.  There's only one person in this room I trust, and unless you plan on forcing me the same way Cassidy did, I won't go with you, and I suggest that you check the bottom of your shoe for what's left of Cassidy before you try that."  Xander tried to make his voice firm, but he knew that it trembled.  Even worse, Spike still held him as if he were a child, but maybe he could make Angel see that he had a right to make choices even if he didn't have the strength to enforce his choices right now.

"Oi, that's that then," Spike announced as he started forward again, ignoring Angel and clearly expecting the older vampire to move.  "How many times does he have to bloody tell you to mind your own business, Peaches?"


"No.  Not havin' this discussion with him so bloody hurt he's humming soddin' children's songs in my ear.  Now back off.  We'll talk later."

"And will he be human then?" Angel demanded without moving so that Xander found himself inches away from Angel's chest.  He knew that the humming gave away his discomfort, but he didn't know how close these two were to meeting a demon loyal to Cassidy that just wanted to kill Angel, even if its feelings towards Spike were a little more confused.

"Not your business," Spike snarled in return.

"It is my business, William."   Xander now added the words, chanting them to himself as he tried to force the panicking demon back into the darkness of his mind.

"Bleedin' hell.  Peaches, move or I'll put him down and fight you right now."  Xander looked up even while continuing to sing about his bath time friend.  For a moment, it appeared that Angel would stand his ground, but then he stepped aside and Spike rushed him into the wide elevator and started them back down.

In the garage, Spike put him in a Mustang before ripping off the plastic dash and playing with wires.  Soon, they sped toward the room that Xander now thought of home, and he let himself fall back to sleep still quietly humming.

Xander was quickly learning to dread mornings: the cold realizations, the colder floor, the pain, the humiliation, the chains.  So when the morning came, he ignored his body's various signals and tried to keep sleeping.  Unfortunately sleep could only last so long, so he eventually felt himself unwillingly drifting toward consciousness.  This time was different, though.  He found himself warm beneath a sheet and heavy quilt, and he couldn't feel the smooth hard touch of steel anywhere on his body.  Reaching up, he realized that Spike had even removed his collar. 

"'Bout time, pet.  Slept the best part of two days."

"Two days?" he asked as he slowly sat up, pulling the sheet up to cover the delicate bits even though dozens if not hundreds of vamps, including Spike, had seen him parade around in nothing more than a collar.

"Yeah.  Startin' to get worried about ya.  Ya aren't going to start singing the kiddie songs again, are ya?"

"No, no singing for me," he answered quickly, hoping that he spoke the truth.

"Want to tell me what that was about, pet?"  Spike had been sitting in the chair, but now he rose and dropped the headphones on the chair as he relocated to the bed next to Xander.

"Kinda complicated," Xander hedged.  He sure didn't want to tell Spike that part of him still craved Cassidy.  Yeah, not of the good.

"Try me.  I know something's wrong.  You smell more like Cassidy than ever, yet ya staked him for me.  Shouldn't happen like that.  You should’ve staked me." Spike moved closer, and he couldn't help noticing the intense expression on Spike's face:  confusion, but also something closer to wonder.

"I liked you better than Cassidy."  He shrugged, not knowing how to explain his inner conflict.  "I even missed your stupid music."

"You *liked* me?" Spike's eyebrow rose into his hairline.  For the first time, he realized that Spike hadn't actually spiked his hair, it hung down and tried to form little curls.  He reached up and touched one.

"*I* liked you," he confirmed.  Spike must have heard the emphasis.

"*You* liked me, but someone in there didn't?" Spike asked while reaching up with a finger and tapping him on the head.  "How many you got up there?"

"Just two."  Xander had to smile at the irony of that statement.  His need for a team of therapists had just turned into a need for a team of full-blown psychiatrists.  "The demon isn't just a piece," he admitted.

"So you got a whole demon in there?" Spike's eyes narrowed and the head turned to the side.

"Think so.  It took over.  With Cassidy," he explained carefully.  Then the floodgates opened.  "I didn't think you'd come for me; I didn't think you wanted me and I hurt and Cassidy wouldn't let me die and the demon wanted Cassidy so bad and I thought Cassidy'd let me die if I just let the demon give him what he wanted but then the demon took everything and I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to stop him from hurting you." Xander realized he had reached the limit of even his babble-ability when he had to actually catch his breath.

"You didn't think I'd come for you, pet?"

"You wanted to get Cassidy, but I didn't think you wanted me; you didn't claim me even when you could have."

"Oi, that's a demon talkin' if I've ever heard one.  Human would have appreciated not bein' thrown down and claimed."  Xander suppressed a shudder that went through him at Spike's words, and the vampire's eyebrows reached new heights.  "That what you want, pet?"

"I don't know what I want.  I don't want just one thing; it's like I have thoughts in my head and I can't sort out which are mine and which aren't.  God, I'm so screwed up I don't know why you didn't just dump me on Angel and forget about it."

"Luv, compared to Dru you're not just sane, you're nearly borin' in your saneness."

"I want to be wanted.  I want to be respected."  Xander began.  He drew a breath, not sure how to really express the next one.  "I don't want to have to fight myself anymore; I want all of me to want the same thing."

"Alright, pet.  I do want ya; wouldn't have threatened to fight the pouf if I didn't.  Have to say, if you have a demon in there and still managed to fight it down, that deserves a bit 'o respect.  Means a lot that you did that for me; I've never had anyone put me first before."  Spike looked away quickly.

"Spike?" He waited until the vampire turned back to him.  "Didn't Dru…"

"No, luv.  I was just her second choice behind Angelus.  Got her full time after he went all soul-boy, but I always knew she'd pick her own sire over me, and I never made a childe before because she took all my time."

"A childe?" He felt the panic now.  The demon roared to life, but visions of Gunn tracking him down and staking him sent his heart into overdrive.

"Innit what you want, pet?  Innit what you're askin' me to do?"

"No.  No vamping the Xan-man,” he felt his heart beating so loudly that he was sure Spike could hear echoes off the cement walls.

"You wouldn't be a minion, luv.  I'd make you a full childe and keep ya safe, teach ya to be a master and we'd hunt together, equals," Spike used his best comfort voice, which seemed even more upsetting given the words.

"No, no, not liking that plan."  Now his arms had joined the panic, shaking hands making it hard to keep the sheet in place.  Oh lord, why hadn't he listened to the little warning bells in his head?  He now realized why Angel had asked about whether he would be human; at the time he simply thought that the jerk was trying to drive a wedge between him and Spike.

"You'd like it once I turned you."

"But it wouldn't be me.  I *know* I don't want to be turned, and any creature who does want to be turned *isn't* me.  I want someone who wants the me with bad clothes and babbling and a habit of attracting psycho demons—I want someone who wants Xander Harris, not someone who wants a demon in my shape."  Xander felt the tears start.  "I'd rather you kill me, Spike.  I'd rather be dead than know that you never chose me but wanted the demon Cassidy put in me or the demon you'd put in me…please, Spike."

"Oi, not fair using logic; thought you said you were a stupid git.  Liar."

"Please."  At the quiet plea, Spike reached out a hand and pulled him into an embrace.

"Won't do it if you don't want.  Didn't work so well last time a vamp tried pushing you around.  I just thought that if I could push the soul out, you wouldn’t have anything holding you back, and you'd want me."  Xander had to stop and think about that before he realized where Spike had gone wrong.

"My demon doesn't want you, Spike," he admitted slowly.  The hand that had been rubbing his back in sympathy stopped.  "My demon wants Cassidy, but I'm stronger than the demon, so I'm forcing the demon to want you.  The demon's being torn apart by wanting two different masters, hell two different *clans* at once.  And I want you, the soul-me wants you.  At least I think I want you; I can't tell with all these feelings stirring around in here."

"So if I get rid of the soul, you'll want Cassidy, or since you dusted him, his clan?"  The rubbing began again.

"I don't know; I think so.  The demon wanted Cassidy so much that it hurt.  I had to resort to Sesame Street songs just to keep it away from the controls.  Cassidy's minions thought I was nuts."

"Might agree with 'em.  This is the strangest conversation I've ever had with a human.  So your soul'd pick me if the demon didn't keep pulling for Cassidy's side?"  Spike stood suddenly. 

"I don't know.  I just don't know anything anymore.  Spike, what are you doing?"  He watched suspiciously as Spike went over to the cabinet and returned not with the more familiar manacles, but rather with heavy leather restraints.

"Well, if I were a good person, I'd back off and give you time to sort out your own thoughts, but I'm not.  I'm evil, pet.  So, since you have a bit of a dispute, I figure I'll show your demon who's in charge.  Figure the soul's on my side, so I'll just make sure the demon is too."

"Oh god, please Spike, no."  He could feel the fear crawling up his backbone like a little live animal chewing its way up.

"Pet, I won't hurt you, won't *ever* hurt you."  Spike dropped the restraints and sat next to him on the bed, pulling him into strong arms.  "It's the only way to make you whole, innit?  The only way to make the demon want what you want?"  Xander felt his breathing slow as he realized the truth of Spike's words.  "Trust me?" Spike asked, and Xander saw that he had the restraints in one hand.  The demon and the soul wrestled for a moment and then Xander held out his wrists, trying to control the shivers that ran down his arms.

"You're safe, luv.  You're always safe with me," Spike promised as he closed the buckle and pulled the cuffs together.  "Just gotta listen to me on this one."  Spike reached up and tied the end of the connected leather leash to the ring before running hands through thick, brown, curly hair.  Xander tried to control an even harder shiver as he felt the fingers wander down to the skin of his neck and his scar.

"So glad I don't smell Cassidy on this," Spike whispered while touching Xander's cock even while pulling his body down so that he lay flat on the bed with his hands over his head.  "Trust me," he asked, and Xander realized that he did, even if that made him the fool.


Xander felt Spike settle in so that the vampire's knees were outside his own; as Spike lowered his weight, Xander felt utterly trapped.  The panic started building so much that he returned to humming again, but a cool hand across his forehead made him open his eyes again.

"Demon needs to fight luv, needs to know I'm stronger."  Xander looked into calm blue eyes with no hint of anger.  "It’s all right, let it fight 'cause I am stronger, pet.  You can't toss me on my arse no matter what you do."  He could feel Spike's weight anchoring his thighs and cool hands hold his shoulders.  Suddenly he could feel the panic and anger swell up.

"Get off," he shouted without consciously forming the words.  He arched his back and pulled against the restraints as he tried to curl to one side, but calm hands simply pressed him back into the mattress as if he were no more than a child.

"Off!" he roared as he used the restraints to pull himself toward the headboard, dragging Spike along with him until he found enough slack in the leash to reach down to grab at Spike's hair.

"Oi, not so fast whelp.  Soddin' strong for a human," Spike complained as he braced his feet and pulled so that Xander felt himself sliding back down again, the leash forcing his hands over his head.  Changing tactics, he rhythmically rocked, throwing Spike up into the air as he arched his back and struggled to get his feet under him.  He could feel Spike slipping down and settling in closer to his pelvis than his knees, so he brought both of his knees up as hard as he could, slamming Spike in the back and throwing Spike off balance so that the vampire landed, chest first, on his face.  Without even thinking, he bit as hard as he could, hard enough to smell unfamiliar blood.

"Bloody hell," Spike swore, as he sat up and stripped off his shirt.  Within the space of a second he had spun and now sat so that Xander could only see his back, but when he felt soft fabric around his ankles, he screamed and kicked, trying to keep his feet far enough apart that Spike couldn't finish tying them.  Unfortunately, he didn't have the strength of a determined 120-year-old vampire, so he quickly found his feet tied tightly with Spike's shirt.  When Spike turned around again, he could see the trickle of blood from where he had bit Spike through the shirt.

"Had enough?"

"Off," he snarled in return, and he saw Spike's eyes flash gold at the rebellion.  He tried to repeat the knee slam, but Spike had too much weight on his legs and having them tied made it awkward, so he bucked again, arching his back.

"Enough of this," Spike whispered, and then he felt his head forced to the side.  He turned to bite the hand, but Spike's thumb pressed into a soft spot on the bottom of his jaw.  He felt his mouth fill with saliva, and he tilted his head up to relieve the pain.  Just then he felt the strike, the two points of pain as fangs entered his neck for the second time in his life.  He gave a muffled howl and tried to bring his knees up since Spike had shifted off his legs, but the blonde simply worked his own leg into the crevice formed by Xander's tied legs and placed a knee in Xander's crotch.  He quickly abandoned the kicking plan since he really didn't want to permanently damage himself. 

His neck burned with pain and he squirmed, unable to really fight back, but then the pulling sensation slowed and the burn turned to a warmth that made him shiver.  He still squirmed, but he could suddenly feel the need to fight slip away like a mountain magically turned to sand.  The squirming became something else as the burn continued to fade until it became a warmth that spread through his whole body, like every sexual moment he'd ever had all rolled into one.  Xander Jr. suddenly look notice of the proceedings, and he squirmed even more as his cock pressed against Spike's knee.

"Spike, please," he moaned as he tilted his head back more.

"You done then?"  Spike asked as he raised his head and Xander could see what he had chosen for a lover:  a demon with yellow eyes and ridges that he longed to reach out and touch, he hands closed into fists with frustration at being unable to reach out.

"Oh god no, not done," he sighed as he squirmed under Spike's weight.  Spike must have realized his problem because the knee suddenly moved to the other side of his body so that Spike was straddling him again. 

"What?  Don't want ta stop, then?" Spike asked with a sly smile as he lowered his weight, his jeans pressing into Xander's cock, and Xander moaned again.  He could feel Spike's cock twitch under the denim, and he longed to tear the clothes off Spike, but he could only undulate his body so that he rubbed against Spike, causing Spike to softly laugh.  "You want something there, pet?"  Xander felt a cool hand rest on his hip and slowly start circling in a maddening pattern.

"Please," he begged as he tried to twist so that that wonderful hand touched his cock, but Spike just stood, leaving him naked and tied hand and foot.  Xander struggled to breathe as he watched Spike strip off his jeans and drop them to the floor before walking over to the cabinet.  He could hear himself whine in frustration as his cock reached full size and a single drop of pre-cum gathered at the head.  "Please." 

"Oi, not gonna hurt ya like that," Spike commented as he returned with lube in one hand and his other hand holding his own fully erect cock.  He could feel a tingle throughout his whole body as Spike settled down, straddling him again, but this time the two cocks mere inches from each other.  He bucked. 

"Stop," Spike commanded in a quiet tone as Xander felt the hand press down on his stomach to prevent another movement.

"Please," he repeated again even as it occurred to him that he really needed to develop a larger vocabulary.

"Wish I had time to play, time to taste ever inch of ya and sink my fangs into your thigh," Spike said wistfully before dropping the lube on the bed and allowing hands to explore, starting on his outer hips and moving inward to tease the inner thighs.  He whimpered and struggled to open his legs for Spike, but his legs remained tied and the vampire still straddled him, holding him still even as talented fingers made increasingly vigorous caresses. "Unfortunately, I think you'd explode, wouldn't ya, pet?" Xander only answered with another whimper. "Have to save that for another time."

Spike easily lifted his upper body and shifted him up so that his hands had more slack, and he struggled to touch, but Spike only chuckled and moved out of range before arranging the extra pillows and flipping him over.  Xander couldn't help whimpering again when he realized how vulnerable he was with his hands and feet tied and his butt stuck up in the air, although thank god for that because if he laid on Xander Jr. right at that moment, he would have crippled himself for life.

He could feel hands exploring his back, moving in a seemingly random pattern until he realized that Spike could somehow feel the remains of the whip marks, his hands following from one side to the other. He hadn't thought they left scars, but Spike could either see or feel them anyway. He relaxed into the touch, trusting Spike to never put such marks on him or allow anyone else to either. Without a word, the hands moved over the butt and down the legs until he felt the fabric at his feet worked free.  He didn't wait for an invitation; he opened his legs as far as he comfortably could.

"Impatient?  Thought that was my flaw," Spike laughed as fingers obligingly explored the newly revealed skin, tracing from the back of the balls up to the hole and then up the crack to the backbone.  He howled as he then felt a cool tongue tracing that route back again—backbone to hole to balls. 

"God, let me touch, Spike," he begged, but Spike simply continued with the impromptu bath, licking, sucking and then nipping various spots until Xander thought he would explode in desire.

"Don't you dare," Spike commanded as his breath ghosted over his left cheek.  "You don't come 'til I do, you hear?" 


"Pet," Spike cut him off, "you don't come 'til I do, hear?"

"Yeah, I'll try."

"Don't try, do." Spike ordered, allowing one hand to rest on the small of his back with the other circled his hole.  Spike's hand withdrew for a moment before returning, the cool, wet digit definitely closing in on its objective with ever smaller circles.  He tried to push back into the caress, but the hand at his back held him down as the finger teased.  He could feel his cock twitch and the pressure build as the finger finally stilled on the outside edge of the hole.  "Relax, luv," came the request just as the finger pushed in, the still unfamiliar motion of someone else's body in his own. 

Xander struggled to rise to his knees or rock back or something, but the hand held him firm.  "Settle, pet," Spike ordered in his thick accent.  The finger moved in and out, and he tried to just breathe without choking on his own tongue.  When the finger withdrew, he felt oddly cold, but then the hand returned, and two fingers worked their way in slowly, he felt them push until he could feel the rest of Spike hand pressed up against his body, and then the fingers pulled back, pressing against the side of his channel more firmly.  He squirmed in discomfort, but the fingers simply closed and thrust back in before repeating the process of widening and stretching.

"Relax, pet.  I'll take care of it, but you have to relax," Spike cajoled him as a third finger joined.  Almost at once, Xander could feel the pain, but the fingers stopped, barely in him, and Spike's other hand rubbed his back.  "So beautiful, you know.  Bite like a soddin' vampire, fight like demon when you're riled, feel like heaven under me. Chose me, you did, and now you're mine.  Course, I'm yours, luv.  Never leave ya.   Can feel your heartbeat, Xander.  I can feel your heart beat and your blood flow right under my fingers.  I can't bloody wait to push into myself, to feel your hot flesh closing around me." 

He lost himself in the words and didn't even notice the fingers until he felt the rest of Spike's hand press up against his backside. 

"Tell me what I need to hear, luv," Spike ordered, and then Xander felt the fingers inside him curl and press into his prostate.  He wailed and tried to push back into that heaven, but the hand on his back held him.

"Tell me," Spike repeated as he stroked the prostate again.

"Spike," he gasped, unable to even form words in his mind as Spike stroked the spot a third time.  He felt his balls draw up in preparation, but the hand from his back darted between his legs and gave them a sharp tug.  "Damn it," he yelped in surprise.

"Didn't give you permission to come," Spike announced calmly as the hand returned to the back.  "Tell me, pet. If you want to come, tell me."

"Damn it," he swore again as Spike returned to tenderly stroking his prostate, leaving him panting and struggling to thrust back, to make the strokes deeper, firmer.  "I don't know what you want me to say."

"Demon knows, pet.  Let the demon have what it needs, luv."  Spike continued the soft stroking, pulling the three fingers almost all the way out to add lube at one point.  Xander felt like his genitals would explode or he would turn into a puddle of lust, maybe both.  He heard himself begging please and harder over and over, but Spike simply continued until the pressure in his balls was such that he was sure the skin itself would split just to allow the come to escape its prison.

"Let the demon go, pet," Spike suggested as he continued, unaffected.

"Spike, please.  It's really starting to hurt," he complained as he writhed ineffectively against the hand on his back.  "Please, master."  As the last words passed his mouth, Xander felt a quiet in his mind that he didn't remember ever possessing before.  The fingers withdrew.

"Whatever you want, luv," Spike murmured against his back as the vampire settled in behind him and pulled him up to his knees.  He trembled with unreleased need as Spike settled in, and then he felt something pushing against his hole.  Rather than wait, he pushed backwards, and Spike allowed him as he impaled himself on Spike, feeling the welcoming burn of the large cock.  He tried to rock, but Spike wrapped an arm around his waist and held him still.

"What do ya need, luv?"

"You, master," he said, and he realized it was true.  "I need you so much."  This time Spike initiated the movement, rocking back and forth in small motions designed to tease more than satisfy.

"Whose are you, pet?"

"Yours master," Xander agreed happily. 

"You're mine, pet, only mine," Spike said as the rocking increased. 

"Yours master."

"You'll obey me."

"Yes…" Xander suddenly froze in the midst of the easy answer.  He braced himself and thrust back as hard as he could even while he amended the answer that his tongue struggled to give.  The motion hit his prostate and he lost all coherent thought for a heart beat's time.  "I'll obey when I agree with you," he finally answered.  He could feel as Spike lost the rhythm for a moment.

"Bloody hell, you're arguin' now?" Spike complained, but he thrust more aggressively now, and Xander felt a mouth start exploring his newly opened scar as Spike rested on his back.

"You're mine," Spike growled as he thrust and nipped the scar at the same time.  Xander nearly lost his balance and had to grab the sheets in his still tied hands.  Pleasure, pain, safety, lust, pleasure, pressure.  Thoughts chased through his head until he almost lost track of the question.

"Yours," he finally answered.  He felt himself nearly lunge off the bed when Spike bit down again, this time with dull human teeth, even as a hand reached around and grabbed his erection.  He bucked and thrust wildly, seeking his own release and simultaneously driving himself back onto Spike.  His body stiffened with the beginning sequence of his own release, and it felt as if Spike suddenly grew to a monstrous, wonderful new thickness as he tightened his ass muscles.  When he felt Spike stiffen and begin coming, his own release started in earnest.  The pain in his genitals flared as he shot his first load, and then the release of pressure and the pleasure and the sudden freedom from pain and the lust and the feeling of Spike's release tangled around each other until he wanted only to live in that one moment, never come out the other side, but exist in that instant of ecstasy forever.

His arms and legs collapsed, sending him crashing to the bed, once again in the wet spot, and he didn't care.   Spike seemed equally reluctant to move.


"Bloody hell, pet, what?  Can't a vamp get a little sleep?"

"Um, if you get off me, maybe.  Better yet, how about getting out of me?" he suggested with a wiggle.

"Do that again and we'll be startin' up again a mite sooner than I expected," Spike commented dryly.

"Um, move?"

"Oi, fine we'll have this discussion now.  How's the conversation in your head pet?"

"Ooookaaaay," he drawled.  "But you just lost me somewhere."

"Not movin' 'til I know the demon's learned his place.  Handy thing about vamp anatomy; long as I got enough blood in me body, can keep goin' as long as I want."  Xander forced himself to try and relax at that bit of news.  He wasn't uncomfortable, but he couldn't exactly call the position comfortable either with his legs spread and Spike's continued erection pinning him to the bed.

"Demon's fine, Spike.  Honest.  Hasn't been this quiet up here in years," he promised as he awkwardly gestured toward his own head.  And are you serious, about the whole hard forever thing?"

"As long as I have enough blood in me."

"Okay, and that's just a little gross to even think about.  Can we not discuss your feeding habits while bodily attached to each other 'cause I don't really want to know whose blood you're using to pin me here."

"Pig's blood," Spike admitted with a snort of disgust.

"Pig?"  Surely he didn't hear that right.

"Wanker of a sire wouldn't help me if I hunted, and I needed help finding you, so I drank soddin' pig's blood."

"You drank pig's blood?"

"I already said it twice, don't ever bloody ask me about it again or I'll deny ever doin' somethin' so un-vampirely."

"That's romantic; you drank pig's blood for me, and how disturbing is it that I suddenly find pig's blood romantic?  I mean I don't expect hearts and flowers kind of romance from a vamp, unless it's the actual heart-type heart as in human hearts, not that I would find that romantic, so don't go there, Spike."

"Well, I can see we didn't damage your ability to babble yourself into oblivion, pet."

"Will you move now?  I'm getting pressed into a wet spot here."

"Mite worried about the demon, pet.  Don't want your soul and your demon to get into some sort of disagreement when I'm asleep."  Spike shifted slightly and Xander felt a weight on his shoulder, a fuzzy weight that tickled his skin.

"You think I'd hurt you?"  He felt a weight far heavier than Spike's body descend on him.  "You really think I'd stake you in your sleep?"

"Pet normally declares allegiance to a master, but you seemed to hedge a bit, luv.  Somethin' about obeyin' when you agree."  He felt fingers run through his hair before reaching up for his shackled hands.  With one hand, Spike freed the buckle that connected the two cuffs, and Xander began to unbuckle the rest himself.

"I can't just agree to whatever you want," he explained.  "I'm not going to help you start killing soccer moms."

"Oi, you think I'd go after soccer moms?" Spike asked in his best offended voice.

"Spike, you know what I mean.  I'm not going there, even if I do love you."

"Do you?" Spike asked with such sincerity that he wondered where Spike had been for the last hour or so.

"Um, yeah.  Don't normally do this with people I don't love," Xander gestured with a now free hand.  "Why are you suddenly questioning whether I care for you?"

"Called me 'master' before." 

"Oh hell, the demon still thinks of you as master, and quite frankly the demon would have promised to help you wipe out every girl scout in the country if that's what it took to get claimed, but I'm not the demon, Spike.  Don't expect me to go crawling like I did…" He froze, not even wanting to conjure that memory when in bed with Spike, especially with Spike still firmly implanted in him.  "That wasn't me," he finally finished.

"I feel like this whole thing isn't my life.  Do you know what I mean?"  Xander almost whispered, unsure how to explain his feelings.

"Yep.  With Dru for over a hundred years, don't feel quite normal to be with someone else, so I know the feeling."

"You wish you had her back," Xander tried not to feel pain at that, but he did anyway.

"Wish she wasn't dead, least not by Cassidy.  Sent soddin' humans after her—whole bloody mob.  Wish I could bring her back, dump her on Angel and let him deal with her bleedin' tea parties.  Then I'd shag you again," Spike finished, and Xander felt loved—all of him, demon and soul.

"It's like everything changed with Cassidy, like my life is the second verse of some song when everyone else is singing the first verse."

"Prefer you not singing at all, pet.  No offense."  Silence fell for a moment, but he could feel Spike's need to ask.  "Sorry?  I mean, about the first bite and all?"

"Some parts, but not you.  I'll keep singing the second verse forever to stay with you," Xander admitted, knowing he sounded like a girl, but needing to say it and suspecting that Spike needed to here it.

"So you're gonna stay in charge now?" 

"Yep, the badly dressed Xan-man, who chose you back when the demon still lusted over Cassidy.  That's the me that's large and in-charge," he joked, trying to act normal despite the unusual position. "In fact, the demon's gone mighty quiet in here,” Xander suddenly realized.  He closed his eyes and tried to feel those dark corners he had so long fought to bury.  "He's happy," he finally announced in surprise.  He had grown so used to that squirm of discontent and pain in his subconscious that he didn't quite know what to do with a happy brain.

"And are you?" Spike asked as he felt the vampire slowly pull out.  He hissed in discomfort and tried to relax as he felt the tugging at his muscles.  The weight returned, this time much lighter as the vampire lay half on the bed and half on his left side.

"Yep, right where I want to be."  Xander announced.  "Wet spot excluded of course."

"You'll live," Spike said as Xander felt and arm slip around his waist and pull him off the wet spot and into Spike's chest.  Spike curled around him and Xander felt more than heard the vibrations start.  After a moment, he recognized the sound.  He closed his eyes, comfortable and safe, unsurprised when his own demon responded, a soft purr coming from his own chest as he drifted off to sleep.

The End

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