Part Eight

Keep your arm up, pet," Spike warned.  Unfortunately, he only gave the warning as his hand darted out and hit Xander in the ribs hard enough that Xander gasped in pain.

"Ow," he complained as he fell back a step and then sent a sweeping leg out at Spike's knee without missing a beat.  Spike leapt into the air before Xander could even touch him, but then Xander so rarely did land a good hit.  Instead, he contented himself with a glancing punch to Spike's arm as the vampire landed, forcing Spike into a neat twirl that ended with his elbow in Xander's back sending Xander flying forward.

Months ago, this would have been where Xander went down for the count, but this time, he landed on the mats spread over the garage's concrete floor and rolled so that by the time Spike attacked, Xander had gotten his feet up so that he caught Spike in the stomach and tossed him to the side.  Before Spike had regained his balance, Xander had climbed back on his feet.  Of course, Xander was panting a whole lot harder.  Panting and sweating.  Panting, sweating, and radiating enough heat to catch something on fire.  In fact, his collar seemed to radiate the warmth back so that his neck tingled with the heat.

"Gotta try harder than that, Master," Xander teased, and Spike slowly circled. 

"Just 'cause you've learned a thing or three, don't get cocky, pet," Spike warned.  Xander kept his hands up in a defensive position as he followed Spike, turning his body as he prepared for the next attack.

"Not cocky, just confident," Xander smiled.  Spike smiled back, and it took Xander just a half second too long to realize that was his master's victory smirk.  Someone grabbed him from behind, trapping his arms at his sides as Spike rushed forward.  Caught between two fighters with superhuman powers, Xander was helpless as Spike grabbed his wrists in one hand and yanked Xander away from the second attacker.

Xander caught only a glance at Dalton who backed away with a look of terror in her face, and he wondered just how much Spike had threatened and what he had promised in order to get Dalton to go along with the game.  Now she looked ready to stake herself as she turned and dashed for the small storeroom off the garage.

"No fair changing the rules," Xander complained as Spike wrapped a belt around his wrists.

"No such thing as fair in a fight, pet.  You either win or ya lose, but you never let your guard down or leave your back undefended."

"I don't in real fights," Xander protested with a squirm as Spike ran dull teeth over his shoulder. 

"Then you shouldn't here, either.  You learn your lessons, or you'll stay in the cage next time I hunt."

"I get bored," he complained, and then he squeaked as a hand pushed his sweatpants down and grabbed his cock.

"Don't seem bored now."

"Duh," Xander whispered as he strained against the leather around his wrists. 

"Seems like I won, so to the captor go the spoils," Spike said as he headed for the living room, using Xander's cock like a leash, which left Xander shuffling with the sweatpants still tangled around his ankles as he tried to keep up and avoid potential damage. 

"You always win because you cheat."

"I always win because I'm master," Spike corrected him, and then Xander found himself stomach down over the back of the couch.  "Nice view pet.  I think tonight I'm going to mark that arse of yours with some pretty red stripes and then leave you here for decoration.  Or maybe I'll chain ya spread eagle against the wall and just admire my pretty."

"Spike," Xander whined with a wiggle.  Training always made him horny, and Spike wasn't helping with the lack of sex.  Xander suspected that he was quickly becoming a sex addict because twice a day wasn't enough for him.  Old married couples were supposed to peter off to nothing, like the couple from "Married with Children" or something.

Spike answered with a hard slap that made Xander press his face into the couch cushions and groan.

"My spoils, so I'll enjoy 'em the way I want," Spike commented with frightening cheerfulness, and Xander forced himself to lie perfectly still as Spike's hands ran up his back and then down to his ass and legs.  Spike liked doing this, touching Xander as though trying to find every nook and cranny and wrinkle and mole.  Cool hands pressed a little harder now, massaging the leg muscles as they worked down toward the feet, pushing the sweatpants down and off, and Xander muttered a curse into the cushion.

"My pet.  Not an inch of ya that isn't mine," Spike said as he now added tiny whisper kisses against Xander's backbone.  This was different.  Usually after training, Spike would throw him up against some wall or some car or some… okay, pretty much anything, and then fuck him until he couldn't see straight, not that Xander minded.  But this slow touching left him trembling for more.

"Master, please," Xander panted as shivers ran through his body.  Spike laid a line of kisses like railroad tracks up to his shoulder, and Xander couldn't help it, he humped the couch.

"Oi, not so fast." Spike pulled him away and dumped him on his back on the couch where he promptly sat on Xander's legs.

Okay, Xander could deal with this.  He reached down with his tied hands to grab his cock… his hard, red, weeping and definitely ready-to-have-some-energetic-sex cock.  He had barely even touched it when Spike grabbed his tied hands and pulled them away.

"Master," Xander whined with his best puppy eyes, the ones that had gotten him the new Nintendo, the ones that had kept Spike from gutting Chad the Bully in the back room of a gay bar.

"Hands above your head, and if you move 'em, you're spending your nights in the cage for a full week."  Spike looked down with a seriousness that warned Xander to behave.  Xander nodded, and when Spike let go of his hands, he moved his arms up over his head, even though his cock fairly well throbbed.

"Right, now I plan to enjoy my spoils proper-like," Spike smiled and then he put a knee on either side of Xander's hips and arched over Xander's body.  Xander's cock hardened just a little more at the predatory look Spike gave him, but he didn't move as Spike lowered his head and gently kissed the inside of Xander's arm and then moved in toward the shoulder.

Xander threw his head to the side, exposing the side of his neck with the polka-dotted scar, but Spike only kissed it, and now Xander could feel the heat of his lust burning him, demanding more as he fought an urge to thrust up until he could rub himself against Spike.

"Mmmm," Spike hummed against the skin just under Xander's ear, and lust shook Xander's body with a series of tremors that continued as Spike gently sucked on an earlobe. 

"Please," Xander begged.  "Fucking would be good.  Fucking would be very good." He twined his fingers and clenched them to force his hands to stay where he'd been ordered to leave them. 

Spike eventually gave up the ear and moved down to the neck, sucking gently over Xander's breast bone, leaving the sort of tentative, splotchy hicky like the ones Cordelia had left hidden beneath his shirt years ago.  Spike didn't play like this.  Spike left pinprick white scars, one laid over the other, as he marked his pet for any demon with eyes to see.  Spike sucked and bit at him with dull human teeth that left purple ovals that he would caress or poke, depending on his mood.  Spike didn't do hickies.  Only now, Spike did.

Xander dug his fingernails into his palms as he struggled to keep still under the slow, tender assault.  A gentle lick over a nipple and Xander groaned as his need became a starving little beast that clawed for more, but Spike just gave a second, slow lick that made Xander's nipple harden to a pebble.  Spike kissed it before moving to the other side, and now Xander focused on not screaming the curses that filled his mind.

"Beautiful boy, all laid out like a buffet.  When we get home tonight, I'm going to stuff that ass of yours full, strap on a cock harness, and then I'm chainin' you to the ceiling like the bloody work of art you are.

"Fuck!" Xander snapped as he thrust up blindly, his eyes closed tight in mindless lust.

Strong hands pushed his hips back down to the couch without touching his cock. 

"Goin' to fill that mouth with something that you can suck as you're hanging.  Then I'll lay on the couch here and stroke myself as I watch you writhe all helpless for me.  If you do something really naughty today, I'll decorate your hide with that cane of mine.  I can see your tanned back covered with one red stripe under another, your nipples red as weights swing from them," Spike whispered.

"MASTER!" Xander opened his eyes, desperate to get Spike to do something, anything that would save him from the painful edge of lust. "Fucking would be nice.  Yeah?  Soon?" Xander pleaded.  "Please fuck me."

"No." Spike leaned down and placed a kiss on the end of Xander's cock.  Xander arched his back and hissed as the touch almost but not quite sent him over the edge.  Oh god, his cock was so going to break.

"Tasty," Spike commented just as Xander collapsed back to the couch.  Xander looked down just in time to see Spike open his mouth and swallow Xander down in one sucking motion.  Xander screamed as the orgasm ripped through him, sending him tumbling into a greyed out land of a sated, zoned-out Xander.  He gasped as Spike sucked his cock until it finally finished and lay limp.  Hell, all of Xander was limp.  He wasn't even sure he had muscles any more; Spike might have sucked them all out.

"Pet, you okay?" Spike's voice came distantly.

"Ungh," Xander muttered as he cracked one eye open a slit.

"That was really naughty, coming before me, pet. You'll have to be punished for that," Spike said with a sly grin as he knelt at the end of the couch stroking his own erection.

"Worth it," Xander mumbled as he closed his eyes.  The feeling of spunk hitting his stomach wasn't a surprise at all.  Xander finally moved his arms, reaching down and blindly rubbing Spike's semen into his skin.  Spike took one hand, and Xander lay compliantly still as Spike untied the leather belt from his wrists.

Spike's hands vied with his own, all four rubbing the sticky liquid into Xander, and Xander briefly wondered just how much other demons could smell.  Between the scarred shoulder and thick collar and regular bathing with Spike's semen, he figured every demon in California knew he was a pet.  It was comforting, in a weird way that he didn't want to think about too much.

Eventually Spike sagged onto him, pinning him to the cushion, and Xander now used his hands to trace the line of muscle up Spike's arm to the shoulder and back down again.

"You have a run to do, pet.  You only have an hour of sunlight left, so shift your arse, and get your chores done."

"It'd be easier if you got off me," Xander pointed out.  Some nights, it worked.  Sometimes he could escape the exercise run around the warehouses because Spike was too tired to move or by threatening to take away Spike's source of heat.  Not today.

Spike sighed and pushed himself up off the couch.  "Still daylight out, I'm going back to bed," Spike said as he stretched and headed for the bedroom.  Xander lay on the couch for a second before pushing himself up and grabbing a pair of shorts off the coffee table.  Now he just needed to find his shoes, and he really hoped he'd left them by the door because Dalton was going to be too traumatized to even make eye contact with him for at least a month after Spike made her help with training.  No way would she help him find his shoes now.

The slight chill in the air helped cool Xander as he turned the corner on the block, Spike's warehouse disappearing behind him as he focused on the rhythm of the run.  He found running was like hanging from Spike's chains, it erased the world, made time stop while he found some piece of himself.  The sun disappeared behind a cloud, and Xander ran just a little faster. 

He'd lost himself in the sound of his shoes slapping the concrete and the feeling of his body flying forward with each stride, so the yellow Toyota Celica pulling in front of him surprised him so much that he couldn't stop in time.  He slapped his palms down on the warm hood before he reeled backwards.

"Xander!" Willow squealed, only Xander hadn't even figured out it was Willow before arms embraced him. 

"Oh thank god," Buffy added as a new body crashed into the two of them turning it into a group hug with Xander in the center.

"Fingers and toes check," Willow chirped, and Xander shook his head as the girls finally backed off, Willow hanging on to just one hand, while Buffy rested a palm on his arm and looked at him like he was the last piece of chocolate in ten dimensions.

"We never gave up looking, not even when Giles—" Buffy stopped and looked at Willow who just ignored the dropped comment.

"You look good, Xand.  We're going to get you home."

That's when Xander's brain finally engaged.

"What are you doing here?" Xander asked as he looked around, half expecting to see Spike and all the minions he could gather circling with yellowed eyes, only the sun would stop the whole circling thing, and all the minions he could gather would be Dalton since he had just ripped the heads off the two new ones.

"Xander, come on.  We have a hotel room that's secure against vamps, and we'll have a good thirty minutes on the road before Spike can follow. By then, he won't know what direction to take."  Now Buffy pulled on his arm, and Xander baulked. 

"No," he said as he pulled ineffectively against slayer strength.

"We know how hard this is.  We don't blame you," Willow added as she pulled at him too.

"Blame me for what?  Guys, I'm not going."

"It's okay, it's called the Stockholm Syndrome, and I know that Spike feels safe right now because you needed to feel safe when he had you prisoner, but you're really safe now, and I promise it's going to get better," Willow blinked up at him, and Xander stared in shock at just how wrong Willow had gotten it.  She might be the smart one, but sometimes she took all her research and then managed to completely miss the mark.

"I'm not having Stockholm Syndrome.  I'm just not leaving with you guys," Xander tried explaining as Buffy pulled him around to the open passenger side of the car.

"Stop!" Xander yelled. "No using Slayer strength on the friends!"

Buffy stopped, her green eyes sharp with tears as she let go of him so suddenly that Xander stumbled back a step, and Willow clung to his hand.

"Xander.  I know this has to be hard, but we aren't judging you.  We just want you safe."

"I think I'm pretty safe now.  Do I look not safe?  I'm thinking I look safe."  Xander stopped when he saw Willow staring at his shoulder, tears shimmering in her eyes, and oh shit.  Yeah, no shirt plus a few hundred vampire bites on the shoulder and maybe Xander didn't look that safe, even though he totally was.

"Xander, we need to leave. We can talk about all this later," Buffy said in a careful voice… like the one she might use to talk to the crazy guy who walked his pine cone every other Thursday.

"Buffy, you can't just walk in and pull me into a car.  That's called kidnapping."

"Why not?  Spike did."  Buffy flipped from 'humor the crazy guy' into 'cranky premenstrual slayer' in an eye-blink.

"Hey, we agreed.  No blaming.  We are non-blaming.  We are open-minded.  We are supportive.  See us be supportive," Willow said as she gave Buffy a quick, desperate look.

"I'm supportive," Buffy agreed.  "Let Spike show his face, and I'll show him how supportive I can be."

"Hey!" Xander nearly shouted.  "No staking the boyfriend."

Willow's face crumpled in on itself, and Buffy's eyebrows drew together into an expression of nausea.  Xander could feel a need to crawl away from that disgust and disapproval, but that would mean running for the warehouse where Spike was sleeping and Dalton… okay, Dalton was great with the washing, but Xander didn't really give her much chance of fighting off a slayer, and really, he didn't want her to fight off a slayer since that would mean Buffy would die, and god, his brain was doing circles.  Xander took a physical step back as he closed his eyes and struggled to find the peace he'd channeled just a few moments earlier.

"Xander?" Willow called, her voice trembling. 

"Willow, Buffy, I'm really glad to see you guys looking so good," Xander started over from the beginning of the conversation, and when he opened his eyes, the girls just looked at him in concerned confusion.  Oh yeah, this was going so very, very well.  Or not.

"Xander?" Willow tried again.  "Are you feeling okay?  You're really not sounding okay."

"Panic does that to me," Xander answered dryly, and where Spike would have laughed, Willow just sort of flinched back.

"Xander, I know this is weird, I'm feeling the weird right now, so I'm thinking it must be really weird for you.  But you need to trust us," Buffy said without nearly as much bitchiness as a second ago.  "We need to leave."

"Hey Buff, I know you guys need to leave before the sun goes down, but maybe we can catch up some before you two have to go without me since I'll be staying here since I really don't need a rescue," Xander focused on not totally freaking out, but his lack of freaking out was definitely freaking the girls. 

They looked at one another, and Xander could still read the silent telegraph. 

     Willow eyebrows:  Oh god, it's worse than we thought
     Buffy frown: I'm so killing Spike
     Willow mouth puckering: I can fix this… just give me a second.

The girls had their silent debate for a second before Xander interrupted.  "How's the old Hellmouth?  Any new apocalypi?"

"Dracula showed up, and Harmony has been trying to be all scary," Willow said uncertainly.

"Harmony?  Okay, if she's the best you can do, you guys are definitely short on evil in good old Sunnyhell," Xander joked.  Buffy and Willow exchanged a brief glance that made Xander worry about what else might be wandering the Hellmouth.

"Tara's family showed up, and they're kinda up there on the creep o'meter," Willow shrugged.  They tried to convince us she was a demon."

"Is she?" Xander asked, remembering the quiet girl, and not quite making the image fit with anything he knew about demons.

"NO!" Willow said indignantly.  "Demons bad.  I'm going out on a limb and saying that vampires are bad, remember?" Willow added in a more desperate, pleading voice.

"Oh yeah, and I remember everyone pretty much ignoring me when I said it back then."

"God.  So this comes back to Angel?" Buffy demanded, and Xander could feel her need to fight just twitching under her skin.

"I didn't use the A word," Xander defended himself.

"I don't know what we're talking about here," Buffy said as she looked from one to the other.  "This was a simple plan.  We came, we saved you, I kicked vampire ass."

"Small flaw there, Buff.  I really don't need saving," Xander said softly.

"Xander, look at you."  Buffy stepped closer and reached a hand up to tentatively touch the mark that spread over his shoulder.  Thousands of tiny, white pinpricks turned into one polka-dotted ameba that Xander could sometimes see as a tree if he squinted right.  Spike's favorite spot to bite was just where the neck and shoulder met, and the white blended into a canopy there.

"Seems like you have a bigger one," Xander pointed out as he looked at the scar Angel had left on Buffy's neck.  Hers was jagged and rough from Angel biting so deeply.  Spike's bites weren't feeding bites, and the tiny pinpricks showed other demons just how much control Spike had and how much he valued his pet.

"Thought you weren't bringing up Angel," Buffy pointed out with just a touch of sarcasm, and Xander smiled at her attempt to joke back just a little bit.

"Hey, I'm not the one poking scars.  But if you're going to poke, at least notice that not a single bite could have hurt me," Xander pointed out as he reached up and fingered his scarred shoulder. Buffy let her hand drop to her side.


"If you guys were just a little less on the totally obsessive side, he might let me call.  I can talk him into a lot of stuff," Xander said.  "The power of the pout is a wondrous thing, and I learned at the feet of the great Willow-master, she who can pout her way out of any situation."  Xander smiled at his best friend, and Willow gave him a small, weak smile in return.

"He might 'let' you call?" Buffy demanded, and the tiny shred of truce vanished under cold-eyed pissed off slayer.


"No, listen to yourself, Xander.  This isn't healthy."

"Why not?" Xander asked.  Okay, that caught the girls off guard.

"You're a person with rights, people rights, like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," Buffy pointed out.

"So?" Xander challenged them.

"That collar means you're…" Willow hesitated before whispering the next word… "property."

"No, it means I'm a slave, but if you look on the Internet, you might find that's a little less rare than you thought," Xander corrected her, and Willow blushed so red that Xander knew she had seen a couple of those sites.  "And since slavery isn't legally enforced, I could have walked away on one of these runs if I wanted. I'm not screwed up in the head; I'm just okay with where I am," Xander struggled to explain.

"Without us?" Willow asked in such a small voice, that this time Xander flinched back as he realized how much he'd hurt the girls.  He glanced up at the falling sun and wondered if he really had enough time to explain this.  Of course, even with the power to stop time he might not be able to find enough time to explain this.

"I miss you guys, and I hope if you back off, then I can call you up and catch up with my favorite girls."

"Dawn misses you," Buffy said, and Xander blinked.

"I miss Dawn too," he said after a microscopic pause.  "We both miss Dawn."

"But not enough to come back," Buffy finished for him before she turned away, and Xander could feel her pain, too.

"I have a new life."

"With Spike," Buffy finished for him.

"With this really kinda okay guy called Xander Harris who doesn't feel like the loser who got left behind," Xander corrected her.  Buffy turned and truly looked at him, and Xander could see the anger slip away.  Buffy stepped up and caught Xander in a hug that nearly drove his breath out of his body.

"I don't want you to disappear, and I'm afraid you will the minute I let go," Buffy muttered into his shoulder, and Xander held on as she struggled to catch her breath.  Willow didn't join, but she watched with tear-shining eyes, and Xander held out a hand to her, which she took and held with both of hers. 

"I'll nag Spike. I'll use the puppy eyes if I have to.  If he knows that we won't do something to really hurt each other, I know I can get him to let me call," Xander promised, and he just prayed he could keep that promise.

"What would be different now?" Willow asked in a small, defeated voice.  "You're going to disappear, and I'm going to lose my Xander-shaped friend."

"No, you aren't."  Xander pulled Willow into the hug, and Buffy wrapped an arm around her too, pulling the three of them closer.  They clung for a moment before Xander started to pull back, and the girls let him.

"And you're really okay with this?" Willow asked as she stared at the collar.  Xander reached up and touched the warm leather that felt as normal as his own skin.

"I'm totally okay.  I'm just glad you're okay, because one of the reasons I didn't nag Spike for a phone call was because I really was not big on having a conversation about my sex life, and I didn't think you guys would understand without knowing how things were."

"I could avoid and repress," Buffy offered.  "I could totally avoid and repress."  Even though Buffy still had a slightly disturbed expression on her face, Xander forgave her just for making an effort at humor, little as it might be.  After all, sometimes it just took baby steps.

"Giles was right, coming to get you was a bad idea," Willow nodded.

"Giles?" Xander asked.  Okay, he'd missed something if Giles was on his side, especially when his side included Spike because Giles was big with the Spike hate.

"He told us to back off and try communicating with Spike or even giving things time to cool down," Willow said.

"Hey, G-man is in the know, once again," Xander said with one of his patented grins, one that would have made Giles clean his glasses and ask Xander to not use that nickname any more for the love of god and country.  "The sun is going down and I really need to get back to Spike," Xander said as he backed off another step.  For a second, he thought Willow would chase after him, but Buffy reached out and put her hand on Willow's back before both of them returned to the car.

Xander jogged a half mile out of his way before heading back for the warehouse once he was sure the girls hadn't followed.  Any other night, Spike would have been sprawled in bed waiting for Xander to come and give him a proper wake up, but as soon as Xander pulled the door open, Spike grabbed his wrist and wordlessly pulled him into the living room, wrapping himself around Xander and pulling him to the couch.

Xander let out a pained sigh, not even sure why he was hurting when things could have gone so much worse.  Spectacularly worse. 

"S'all right, luv," Spike crooned.

"And I'm thinking you somehow heard all that," Xander said as his eyes burned with uncried tears.

"I'm Master.  Got to have a few tricks up my sleeve," Spike agreed.  "You're a treat, pet.  I thought I would have to rescue you, and you go and talk your own way home."

"I shouldn't be so upset since it ended without blood or dust," Xander said as he hiccupped. 

"Still not easy, pet.  They weren't rolling out the congratulations banners.  They tried talkin' to you like you were the boy they'd known."

Xander took a deep breath and let himself relax into Spike's body as he thought about that.  Not only had they talked to him like the Xander who once had been, but he'd tried being that Xander for them, complete with G-man references.  Spike's arms tightened around him, holding him, and Xander closed his eyes.

"I'm not him any more," Xander whispered.

"Of course, you aren't, luv.  It's just that people don't always do well with change.  I used to think it was a vampire thing, not seein' when people changed or the world changed.  I finally figured out that it's the fatal flaw in all humanity.  People see what they expect to see."  Spike paused for a long time, fingers tracing over Xander's skin.  "Takes work to see the way the world changes and the way people change right along with it.  Takes effort and takes wanting to see that change."

"Do you think they'll ever see me?" Xander asked quietly as he thought about Spike's words.

"Yeah, sooner or later.  They love ya, pet, so they'll make the effort."  Spike started loosening his hold, and Xander sat up on the couch, his stomach still rolling after the confrontation.  "Mind you," Spike continued, "I'd be just as happy if the lot of them fell off a cliff before havin' a chance to offer to let you back in their lives on your terms."

"Even Dawn?" Xander asked with a smile.  That girl had been the only one to ever make Spike smile back in his chipped days, and Xander had often thought that she'd seen more than she'd ever said about Spike and Xander's relationship even before leaving Sunnydale.

"Bloody hell, no," Spike answered.  "The Bit's different, isn't she?"  Spike stood up and stretched.  He wasn't wearing anything more than jeans, and he gave Xander a sexy smirk as he flexed his muscles.  "So, we have a new club to hunt in, a few possible lairs to check out, and then we need to get home soon enough for me to hang my new artwork," Spike commented.

Xander suddenly remembered Spike promise to hang him from the ceiling with his backside striped from the cane and his ass stuffed full.  "Considering how long you take in the bathroom, you'd better hurry up and get ready so we can get home soon," Xander answered with a smirk of his own.  Spike laughed.


"Always, Master," Xander agreed.

Eight 1/2

"That's one pooped pet"

Xander lay limp and sated. Behind him, Spike's fingers threaded through his hair, stroking the sensitive skin below, and Xander shivered, a happy tremble going through his whole body.

"You up for more then, pet?" Spike asked sleepily, fingers still stroking Xander's curls.

"No more fun. You broke me. Xander broke; bad master," Xander muttered into his pillow.

Spike gave a little tug, and the feeling traveled straight into Xander's cock, which was still too drained to even twitch. Xander moaned happily.

"Like that, do ya?"

"Mmmmmm." Xander pushed his ass up into the petting.

"Such a little hedonist, you are," Spike accused him, but the tone sounded a little too affectionate for Xander to take offense, even though he had no idea what a hedonist might be. "Give ya a quick tickle and a rub, and you'd follow anywhere."

"Only you," Xander said as he finally found the strength to turn his head and sleepily open one eye. Pausing in his petting, Spike smiled.

"Soddin' right, just me. I'd gut the bloke who tried ta give you a tickle and a rub, so I'll be the only one ya ever have a chance to follow."

"No problemo," Xander agreed as he let his eyes fall shut. Spike stopped petting, and his hand just rested on Xander's thigh as the vampire lay next to him in the bed. Xander grunted, but Spike ignored his wordless request for more petting. Summoning the strength to move a muscle, Xander tightened one side of his ass and sent his tail flopping over onto Spike's hand, the curls tickling the backs of Xander's thighs so that a new tremor of pleasure went through him.

Spike chuckled as he pulled his hand out from under the curled tail and continued stroking the hair. "Hedonist," he said again.

"Too worn out to care. Xander broke; bad master," Xander repeated. As long as Spike's fingers stroked his newly-attached tail, Xander didn't really care about much else. When he'd agreed to get a tail, he thought he'd be indulging some weird kink of Spike's. At the time, he had no idea just how much he would enjoy the feeling of soft, silky curls sliding across the backs of his thighs or the feeling of Spike's strong fingers touching the suddenly sensitive skin, making warm tremors shake his limbs.

"Can't believe ya actually got a tail," Spike finally broke the silence.

"Hello," Xander said sarcastically, "you're the one who brought it up. I just thought of it as some sort of really big tattoo." Xander thought about that for a second "A really big, expensive tattoo."

Spike ran his fingers along either side of the spine where the tail emerged from the back. Xander shivered. "And if we're comparing disbelief, I can't believe you paid for a tail."

"Penny saved is just sittin' in the drawer, pet."

"You don't earn or save pennies, Master."

"Oi, killin' that Chaos demon was bloody hard work. I earned that loot I stole," Spike said with a slap to Xander's backside that was just hard enough to give a nice sort of sting-tingle.

Without energy to do much else, Xander grunted his answer.

"So, you think of it like a tattoo?" Spike fingered the hairs, and Xander sank into the pure pleasure of the sensation.

"So much better than a tattoo," Xander finally muttered. He shifted so that he could actually open both eyes and look up at Spike.

"Yeah, turned out a bit better than I even hoped," Spike agreed as he looked down. Xander had spent enough time looking in the mirror to know what it looked like: dark brown curls with streaks of honey brown cascading down to nearly his knees. Xander focused again and twitched the other side of his ass, sending his tail flicking to the left before he flipped it back toward Spike.

"And again, I repeat, you were the one who wanted me to get one. So, what's up with the surprise that I got one?" Xander asked, suspicion starting to gnaw at the edges of his post-sex sleepiness.

"Just didn't know you'd be so open to getting one, is all."

"So, you thought I'd say no?"

"Bloody hell, yes," Spike confirmed as he closed his fingers around the tail, gathering up the curls as he slowly let his hand slide down the length of it. Xander arched his back as the pleasure grew great enough to make his cock twitch... a little. After round three, Xander thought he really might be broken, so he firmly ordered his cock to not encourage Spike for a round four.

"And so... what? You wanted to punish me for saying no?" Xander asked once Spike finally got to the bottom. Both of them had already discovered that petting the tail pretty well guaranteed that Xander would lose the ability to form any coherent thoughts.

"No," Spike answered cagily, and now Xander pushed up on one elbow as he studied his Master. Oh yeah, the vamp was up to something.

"Okay, you thought I'd say no, and you weren't planning on punishing me for saying no; therefore, I'm obviously missing a 'therefore' because there's no therefore that makes any sense here," Xander pointed out as he reached out and let his fingers tentatively brush against Spike's flank.

Spike reached out and captured Xander's hand, pulling it up to his mouth where he sucked at the fingers while watching Xander through hooded eyes.

"No fair distracting the easily-distracted guy," Xander said as his cock made a herculean effort to do something other than lay drained and sated against Xander's thigh.

"Problem, pet?" Spike asked as he blinked his innocence. Xander just rolled his eyes.

"Pet," Spike said, and suddenly his voice sounded much more serious, "sometimes I do things because I'm Master, and I know what needs to be done."

"Is this supposed to be making me feel better?" Xander smart-mouthed back. The hit this time came just hard enough to land on the warning side of pain. Xander ducked his head and sank back down to the bed, laying his head down on the pillow as he looked up at Spike, waiting for some sort of answer. The suspicion was now pretty much chewing through the post-sex happy haze.

"It's not somethin' you need to worry about," Spike finally said after several minutes.

"This wouldn't be something I would be eternally humiliated by, is it?" Xander asked suspiciously, but this time he made the tone far more respectful.

"Might be," Spike admitted. "But sometimes you need to just trust Master." Spike reached over and brushed long curls back from Xander's face.

Xander opened his mouth to argue the point one further time since he was definitely getting the feeling Spike had done something kinda big. Looking up, he could see the tight line of Spike's mouth that suggested Spike wasn't kidding on this one.

Okay, so Spike hadn't thought he would go for a tail, and he hadn't planned to punish Xander for turning him down, but he did have a reason for asking something that he thought Xander would say 'no' to, and that reason might be something that caused Xander long-term humiliation, if not outright mortification. Xander looked up at Spike for some clue... any clue. Instead, Spike had a blank expression, as though they hadn't just enjoyed hours of sex that would have left most humans a giant puddle of goo. Usually nights this enthusiastic left Spike with that sappy, blissed-out expression, but not tonight. Tonight, Spike had on that face that said nada, nothing, blanksville. No clues there.

Xander sighed. Whatever Spike had done, Xander couldn't figure it out, and in the end, it didn't really matter since it was already done.

"I always trust Master," Xander finally admitted.

"Yeah?" Spike gave Xander one of his good leers, one that made Xander's cock stupid enough to at least think about round four.

"Well, with some stuff," Xander amended himself. "I totally don't trust Master with the last chocolate bar or with the remote control or with a stake and basically any minion within striking distance, but with everything else, yep," Xander smiled as he closed his eyes and shrugged off the whole conversation. If Spike didn't want to share, he wouldn't.

"Oi, you're supposed to trust me, even with the remote," Spike complained, but his tone had the mocking sound of a teasing, happy Spike. "If ya won't trust me with the remote, I'll just have to find somethin' else to amuse me," he suggested as he trailed a finger down Xander's back and under his tail to the puckered entrance.

"Have fun," Xander offered as he spread his legs. A clench of his cheek muscle brought his tail up and out of the way so that Xander exposed his ass, but other than that, he remained motionless. "You'll just have to go on without me because I am done, done, done for the night. Close up the windows and put out the lights when you're through using the room," Xander added with a little wiggle to let Spike know that Xander truly was okay with Master going again, but Xander's cock was not joining the party this time.

"Since you asked so nice," Spike said as he kissed Xander's shoulder and rolled so that his weight rested on Xander's back. "Such a pretty pet with his pretty tail," Spike whispered into Xander's ear before he thrust straight into Xander's slick and relaxed hole.

Xander just muttered his answer as fatigue pulled at him, exhaustion weighing down his limbs. As Xander slid toward sleep, to the feeling of Spike's hands running over his skin, and Spike's cock nestling deep in his body, and Spike's fingers carding his tail... he realized that, yeah, he really did trust Master, even with the remote.

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