Blue on Black
Night falls, I'm alone
Skin chilled to the bone
You turned and ran
Slipped right from my hands
Blue on black
Tears on a river
Push on a shove
Don't mean much
Joker on Jack
Match on a fire
Cold on ice
A dead man's touch
Whisper on a scream
Doesn't change a thing
Won't bring you back
Blue on black
Blind, now I see
Truth, lies, and in between
Wrong can't be undone
Slipped from the tip of your tongue
Whisper On A Scream
Whisper on a scream...
Xander stood still as only the undead can. His glowing yellow eyes could see every detail of the headstone before him. Each fissure and tiny flaw. Each miniscule crevice in the falsely smooth polished surface... a surface which reflected, not him, but the young red headed Slayer bound and gagged at his feet.
Kneeling, he reached out and traced the outline of the carved letters with one finger.
Childe, Sire, Human
Redemption is Yours
May you find eternal peace
With a whimper, Xander realized his sensitive fingertips could still feel the gritty dust of his Sire's ashes on the surface of his GrandSire's headstone. An icy cold wave of mind wrenching loss and sorrow swept over him, leaving him shuddering. Tears of blood dripped unnoticed from his demonic eyes.
Lost in a torrent of memories, Xander once again heard the voice of his long dead best friend echo hollowly in his ears as her small fingers clenched painfully at his hand. "Don't... don't worry Xander. I'll... I'll do the soul restoration spell. I... I promise! But... you... you have to let Spike do this! You'll die if you don't." And it was true. His friends had all been crouched around his broken body as his blood seeped into the frozen winter grass. And then Spike was there and the world was washed in crimson lust and spiraling pain.
When he had awoken, he was undead, chained to a bed with his Sire trying to unshackle him before the Slayer and the Witch returned with the supplies needed for the spell. Alas... it wasn't to be. Buffy and Willow had returned and Willow completed the spell, even as Buffy physically held back a snarling and raging Spike who was trying to protect his only Childe.
That had been the beginning. What had followed was a whirlwind of conflicting needs and hungers. Guilt and conscience in a never ending battle with the hunger and the fierce joy of the kill. That had also been when his relationship with Spike first began making it's metamorphosis into what it was destined to become.
Sire and Childe.
At first, it had been all about the physical. The need, the hunger, the lust. Spike had taught him what he needed to know to survive and everyone thought that he'd leave it at that, but they had been wrong. They hadn't counted on what Spike needed.
His Sire had been one of a kind. A chipped vampire. Unable to hurt humans, unable to kill them. Ostracized by his own kind and the only humans who were willing to put up with him were his greatest enemies, the ones he hated above all else. The ones he loved above all else... But now, he suddenly had a Childe. Someone who was drawn to and then bound to him by ties of blood. Someone who, not only knew about the details of his condition, but also accepted him anyway. Someone who needed him, and Spike had always needed to be needed.
So, they hunted demons in the dark of night. One vampire with a microchip and one with a soul. They hunted and fought side by side. They drank pig's blood from matching coffee mugs as they mercilessly teased Giles together. They moved into Spike's crypt and indulged their demonically inspired need for violent and blood-soaked sex in each other's arms.
Due to Xander's desire to talk to Angel about his soul and how Willow could modify his so that, like Xander's own, it wouldn't contain the nasty happiness clause, Spike and Angel enjoyed a respite from their habitual hostilities. After Willow had 'fixed' Angel, the older vampire resumed his love affair with Buffy and then they offered Xander a place to live and work if he ever wanted to leave Spike. Xander had refused to separate from his Sire. He had explained it to Angel in a way that made his GrandSire understand. "You keep acting like he's a soulless brute, but he's not. Yeah, sure, we got our souls courtesy of a beautiful red-headed witch with a heart of gold and as such, they're of a... mystical nature. But Spike's got one too. His just came courtesy of a mad scientist and her nasty little microchip. So, yeah, he is mean and crude and rough along the edges... but so are *lots* of souled beings. Take my father for instance..." And that had been that.
They continued to fight the good fight. Demons, vampires and evil forces of darkness found themselves going up against a Slayer, a Seer, two ex-Watchers, two Witches and a trio of Vampires who fought for the side of the angels and the PTB. Over the years, their mortal friends got married, grew old and died. Buffy's death nearly did Angel in, but still, they fought on. New mortal warriors came to them, each willing to pick up the weapons of a fallen comrade and carry on their work. Time passed and Xander fell hopelessly in love with the sarcastic and snarky Sire who had given him this unlife of danger, daring and lust-filled joy.
Angel flitted in and out of their bed over the course of the decades, depending on the state of his own personal love-life. No matter how many lovers the eldest vampire took, however, he was never again to be out of the live's or heart's of his Childe and GrandChilde. Xander had never known such happiness.
Then it happened. The long awaited day had finally come with a mixture of unparalleled joy and unspoken, but never diminishing sorrow. Angel had been granted his redemption. In a blinding flash of brilliant light and the scent of roses, the dark and ancient vampire was transformed into a living breathing human. The sound of his heartbeat echoing through their home had brought Xander to his knees even as Spike had clutched his, now mortal, Sire to his chest with tears streaming down his face.
The two remaining vampires had gone to extreme lengths to protect and coddle their beloved, and now frighteningly fragile, Angel. They had celebrated for a week. Plans upon plans had been made and Spike had threatened to invest in a fortune's worth of recording equipment to mark every change in the being that had been unchanged for a little over four centuries. Angel had promised to grow old with grace and dignity for the entertainment of his family.
But that was not to be.
Four months, four short over-way-too-fast months later, SHE destroyed Xander's entire world in five tiny little minutes.
Beverly Samantha Finn.
Xander found it highly ironic that Riley Finn's descendant had been chosen as the Slayer by the PTB. Riley had never had a chance with Buffy once Angel's soul had been restored, but he had nurtured his hatred for the man... the demon... Angel in his children and his children's children. And Bev had that hatred rooted deep inside her, like a thorn amongst roses. Beautiful. Deadly.
She had burst into their home while Spike and he had been out hunting down a demon and found a mortal and vulnerable Angel alone and unguarded. The two vampires had returned victorious only to find a nastily worded message pinned to Angel's cold and still chest.
He had only had four months to enjoy his humanity, and then Beverly had stolen it away.
They had searched for her, but no one knew where she was. She had disappeared into the very air it seemed. No one had seen her and all paper trails led to carefully designed dead ends. She was gone... and so was Angel. Spike made all of the funeral arrangements with a deceptive calm and acceptance that worried Xander. Nothing he said or did seemed to get through to him, though.
Xander's Sire had waited until the last of the funeral goers had left into the deep of the night before he staked himself while kneeling over Angel's grave. Xander had tried to stop him, but the bleached blonde vampire had been too quick. Xander had been left standing over a newly turned grave with ash blowing into his grief ravaged face.
He had tipped his head back and howled out his pain to the uncaring stars. And then he had uncaged the demon which lived within him, gladly sacrificing the soul he had cherished for so very long.
Turning, he had stalked out of the cemetery. Forever changed, forever broken. And he hunted.
Now, three years later, he had returned. The red-headed Slayer who had destroyed his world lay at his feet, bound, gagged, helpless. He turned to her, his bloody tears drying on his cheeks in the cool wind. His glowing yellow eyes washed over her, cataloging, appraising, memorizing.
"I'm going to water their grave with your blood."
He watched as Beverly renewed her fruitless struggles and he reached out with one hand and ran it gently down the side of her beautiful face.
"Shhh.... no, no...don't struggle. It's just a whisper on a scream, doesn't change a thing..."
"A soul? You gave me a soul?"
"Yes, Xander. I promised I would, didn't I?"
With a snarl, Spike turned away from the bed where his one and only childe huddled in misery between the Slayer and the witch.
"This is just bloody great! Now he's gonna be a soulful broody guilt-having git. Always afraid to have a good time for fear he'll go all Angelus on us and start rampaging up and down the bleeding coast. Bloody Hell, that is a good time if you ask me. But do you two bints care? No! You've gone and turned my childe into Peaches the Sequel!"
Both women shouted at him in unison and identical glares of annoyance flashed in their eyes. Xander's reaction was completely different though. Soul or no soul, he was Spike's childe. And rejection hurt.
"Sire! Please I...I..."
Spike turned at the sorrowfilled longing in that voice only to see his childe frantically struggling to get off of the bed, even as Buffy and Willow hurried to unlock his restraints. The hurt of rejection and the fear that he would leave were clear to see in Xander's deep dark eyes. Dark eyes which were turning gold in the fledgling's panic.
As if it had happened just yesterday, Spike remembered the pain of Angelus leaving them...followed a decade later by Darla. Then, the overwhelming loss when Dru left a few years ago. He looked into the true face of his childe and knew, then and there, that he couldn't do that to him.
With a soft sigh, Spike's expression melted out of the lines of indignant anger and he walked back over to the bed. Shooing the Slayer out of the way, Spike helped to undo the last of Xander's chains. As soon as he was free, Spike pulled his childe into his arms and began to rock slightly from side to side in the same way he had when he needed to calm down a hysterical Dru.
"Com'ere Brood-Boy. Not going anywhere without you. 'm your Sire for Hell's sake."
Spike felt Xander relax in his arms at those words. Then the witch cleared her throat. Spike turned towards her and growled. He forgave his childe the soul, after all, it wasn't Xander's fault he had one. It was her fault the fledge was souled...just as it would be her fault when the soul eventually drove his childe to leave him the way Angelus' soul had driven him away a century ago.
Willow shifted back nervously and Spike could smell her sudden fear, but he didn't care. He let his true face come to the fore.
"Um...actually, I did the curse for Xander different than the curse for Angel. No Happiness Clause."
Spike felt a bolt of confused shock slam into him. Xander's head snapped up from where he had buried it against Spike's neck and turned to stare at her in disbelief.
"It's permanent? My soul...it's not going to go bye-bye if I have a happy thought?"
Willow shook her head no and flashed a wobbly grin. She took a deep breath and made a vague gesture. Spike knew she had just made the internal shift into babble-mode. But that was okay...he wanted to know just what in the name of the Hellmouth she had done to his boy.
"See...I've been kinda-sorta working on it off and on for years. So that I could make Angel's permanent. That way we wouldn't have to worry about the Happiness Clause and he wouldn't have to be such a grumpy-pants. Changing it a bit here, modifying it a bit there. You know, as I learned more and more about Wicca and magic and stuff? And I got it to the point where I could do it from scratch...which didn't help him but it helped you...so that's of the good. Right? I mean the soul's not permanent permanent...but getting happy or, or, or... you know, won't make it go away..."
Spike blinked in amazement that the witch didn't pass out from lack of air when she was talking so fast, but he needed her to get on track. And she had said something that caught his attention and he wanted more details.
"Waitasec Red. You say there's no Happiness Clause on Xander...which is good, I guess. No worries about the only action him seeing is a quick wank in the shower, but what do you mean it's not permanent permanent? What will make the soul go away and leave my childe full of joyful mayhem and remorseless bloodlust?"
Willow fluttered her hands in the air a bit, seemed to notice them and then brought them to her lap. They then began to twist together in nervousness.
"Um...he just has to want it to go. Nothing outside of him can get rid of it. No happiness or sex...or even a spell. He would just have to...um, will it away. Reject it."
Spike just sort of stared at her with an odd sort of numb horror. He vaguely wondered why she had never experimented with the Soul Restoration Spell on him...but he was really glad that she didn't. He wasn't too thrilled with the concept of guilt as it was...and he wasn't too sure he could handle the amount of remorse that would hit him over all of the things he had done in the past century. Suddenly...the chip didn't sound so bad.
Before he could delve too deeply on the subject, his childe's uncertainty and need pulled him back out of his thoughts and into the present.
"Um...now what? I can't go home now. I can't go into work. I have no idea how to even be a vampire and...I'm hungry. Real hungry. But I...I don't want to kill anyone."
Spike's unbeating heart broke. Here was his childe, starving and he didn't want to kill. Xander should have been, by the laws of nature, happily munching on the two chits while Spike looked on in pride. Instead, he was worrying about where to live and what to do about his bloody job! And what did he mean he didn't know how to be a vampire? Vampires just were...there was no *be* about it.
With a sigh, Spike stood up and pulled Xander up along with him.
"Come on. You can stay with me in the crypt. I've got some blood there. As for work, call 'em tomorrow and tell 'em to go to bloody hell. You're a vamp and we don't hold down jobs. As for being a vampire, that's easy mate. Fighting and killing and shagging."
"Right. You don't want to kill humans, I know. That's very Angel of you mate, but that's not what I meant. S'okay. I can't kill humans either...not that I wouldn't mind, but that's beside the point, innit? I was talking about other demons. You fought 'em before...don't see how being undead would change that."
With that, Spike put his hand on the small of Xander's back and guided him out the door and into the dark of night.
It had been a fairly good night. At least, as far as Spike was concerned. The Slayer and the witches had been going out of thier way to try and make Xander feel as if he was still welcome, still wanted. And by extension, they were much nicer and accommodating to him as well.
Spike wasn't used to people being friendly to him. Most of his interactions with people involved either large amounts of fear, hate or disgust and the conversations were peppered with pleanty of threats and insults. However, that had all changed. The witches had presented him and his childe with matching coffee mugs, both of which proclaimed "I don't do mornings." on them. Giles had sat him down and quizzed him on different types of animal blood; which tasted best, which was the most nutritional, how long did the blood stay fresh after the kill. Buffy had helped them move Xander's things over from his parent's basement to Spike's crypt and then get everything all set up.
It was...odd. Spike enjoyed it...but he didn't trust it. Intellectually he knew that everyone was being nice to him for Xander's benefit. His childe had a soul, yes, but that didn't change the fact that Spike was his Sire and all fledglings were bound to their Sire. He knew that down deep, Xander could feel that connection of blood. Spike could see it shining out of his childe's eyes at times. In the way that Xander looked at him, listened to him, fought with him.
They had pretty much fallen into a simple routine. Fledglings needed that. Spike remembered that from his own first nights with Dru, Darla and Angelus. The Irish Ponce would set up a training and learning schedule for him and Dru constantly buggered it up by wanting to play or have sex. It was a time when he needed, even craved guidance and attention because his whole world had been turned topsy-turvy. Granted, his childe knew a lot about vampires before he was even turned, but the change itself was so intense and all consuming that he was essentially a whole new person.
They generally awoke before sunset, ate a microwaved breakfast and then settled into a training session. The boy was getting pretty good at fighting. Spike was sort of surprised that no one had seen his potential and tried to teach him the proper moves and countermoves before. Of course, even if they had, he would still have to take Xander through this training. He was faster now. Stronger and his senses and reflexes were sharper and faster. Xander needed to learn his much expanded limits as well as he knew them as a human. So, they sparred, they tracked mice through the tunnels, they raced and they trained.
After the sun was down, they headed off to the Magic Box. Despite all his arguments that vampire's didn't work for an unliving, Xander insisted that he "pay his own way" and since he couldn't work at the construction site anymore, he worked at the Magic Box. He did inventory, he moved things around, he built any shelving or cabinets needed, he swept and mopped the floor and dusted and polished the furniture and merchandise. He worked the register when customers came in and just generally made himself useful.
The little money he made was spent to pay for the gas that ran Spike's generator at the crypt and to buy cigarettes and chocolate. The generator didn't provide electricity for much, just the telly, the mini fridge and the new space heater. Xander loved the space heater and complained that he was cold whenever he wasn't near it.
And of course, whenever there was a new evil in town, the two of them went with the Slayer and the witches to help fight it. Those were the times that Spike enjoyed best. That's when his childe truly made him proud. Xander's would shift to gameface almost instantly since he hadn't yet learned to control that very well, so he would spend the entire fight with his lovely ridges showing and his beautiful fangs flashing as he snarled and growled at his enemies. And his deep dark eyes would slowly swirl into the most perfect shade of gold that Spike had ever seen. Spike, who had over a century's worth of control under his belt, would often find himself in gameface as an unconscious response to his childe's lovely face.
Yet still, he worried. He watched his childe become quiet after the other's left for home and the Magic Box was closed for the night. That was the time when the two of them did one final patrol alone. It was when they bought any gas they needed for the generator or cigarettes for Spike, when they sat and talked quietly and Spike could try and impart some of his wisdom and learning on his childe. Spike lectured him on vampire traditions and ceremonies that couldn't be found in the watcher's journals, he talked about various types of demons and non-humans.
It was also the time when Xander began his nightly brooding. In life, the boy had been a nonstop bundle of noise. His heart used to beat constantly, sending blood swooshing through his veins and he breathed air in and out of his lungs. He babbled and talked; jokes, comments and morbid observations poured out of him in a constant litany. But now, when the boy brooded, he was still...silent. His heart didn't echo through the room and his blood didn't swoosh and swirl. His lungs didn't suck in great draughts of breath and no words spilled from his lips. He was all hulking shoulders, dark haunted eyes and shaggy hair.
And fear ate away at Spike's mind as he waited for the day that his souled childe walked away from him the same way that his souled Sire had done.
Xander stared out at the starry sky over the cemetery and chewed on his bottom lip. He was afraid. It was a soul deep fear and it grew worse every day. What's worse, he wasn't sure what to do about it or even if he should do anything at all. And as much as he adored his Sire, he knew that Spike wouldn't understand.
He was hungry. Very hungry. And all the bagged pigs and cows blood in the world would never ever come close to sating that hunger. He craved human blood. Badly.
Every night he and his Sire went into town and the first place they stopped at was the Magic Box. It was the one place that Xander loved the most and it was also the one place that Xander hated the most. On the one hand, it held the only people who knew what he was and who supported him and loved him. And he loved them as well. Giles was like a father-figure to him, Buffy and Willow were like his sisters. He drew great comfort from knowing that he hadn't lost their love or their respect.
The only problem was...the entire shop was coated in their scents. They walked around without even realizing how wonderful they smelled. Like soap and herbs and blood. Thick rich sweet human blood. It was a special sort of pain whenever Willow hugged him anymore, enveloping him in that heady scent. He suddenly had a perfectly clear idea of why Angel had always hung back in the shadows, physically distancing himself from the young humans around him. Xander and Spike did the same thing...not out of hate or disgust or anything like that...but out of simple self-defense. They smelled too good, like the best dinner that could ever be laid out before them, a virtual feast. Spike
couldn't bite them and Xander wouldn't bite them, but the scent was strong, inviting and oh-so tempting.
It was both harder and easier when they were simply out and about. Places like the gas-station and various clubs, bars and university centers held people as well. Their scents were more diffused and as such weren't as tempting, however, there was less of a reason to care if they lived or died. There was no personal entanglements of love, respect and loyalty.
It would be so easy to seduce one of the humans to follow him out into the night and then to sink his fangs deep into their soft neck letting that wonderful scent of fresh living human blood spill across his lips and pour down his parched throat. Spike would help him and actively cheer him on and then lie for him to the Scoobies. He knew this...and that was part of the problem. That's what his Sire wanted him to do and somewhere deep down inside, so did he...
It was odd. He used to be afraid of so many things. Of demons and dying and his father. Now, the only thing that frightened him was himself. He had become his greatest fear. A merciless serial killer on the thinnest and flimsiest of leashes...a soul. And everyone knew that a soul didn't stop one from killing...it just punished you afterwards with guilt.
Spike had watched as Xander stared out at the night time sky for over an hour silently working out whatever was running about inside his head. The boy had brooded and brooded, his face reflecting hunger, anger, sorrow and fear in alternating rhythms. He needed to stop this. Sometimes over thinking was the wrong way to go and Spike knew the pain of having too much time to think and not enough to distract himself from it.
The fledgling turned his head towards Spike immediately.
Spike couldn't help but grin at the secret little thrill that ran through him at hearing Xander call him 'Sire'. Pushing it down, he gestured vaguely towards the world in general.
"What's going on inside that mind of yours? You've been thinking pretty hard the past couple of days. What is it?"
Spike watched as his childe struggled to find the words to describe what it was that was bothering him. His face was open and easy for Spike to read as the boy's emotions flitted across it.
"I...I...I crave things. Wrong things. Bad things. I...I smell or hear something and it's like something inside of me starts screaming to be let out to play. And the games it wants to play are evil and wrong, but I can't help but want it. And I can't let it happen because I know that I shouldn't and that later I would look back and just hate myself for it, but...that doesn't stop me from wanting it in the first place..."
Xander trailed off looking lost, uncertain and slightly afraid.
"Yeah, pet, I know what you mean."
Xander looked up in surprise.
"What? You think I didn't? You're a vampire, luv. Trust me when I say that I understand everything that that little fact means. I know the cravings and the desires because I've lived with them for decades, childe. We track and hunt mice down in the tunnels because it helps to hone and sharpen your senses, but somewhere deep inside, your demon wants to track and hunt humans through twisting city streets, yeah?"
Silently, Xander nodded his head, his dark eyes wide and guileless.
"You enjoy hunting demons and ripping them apart because the kill is so wonderful to you now. Killing them is no longer just a duty to rid the world of evil, but it's own special reward in itself. Yet part of you wishes that they had the right type of blood that they could die on your fangs instead of just in your bare hands. Right?"
Once again, Xander nodded silently at him. A look of relief slowly spreading on his face from hearing so clearly stated that which he can barely understand himself.
"You smell the humans wandering around you like bright beacons of heat and light and this rich wonderful living blood that makes your mouth water for them and all you want is to wrap them into your arms and hold them close to you. Letting their heat warm you from the outside as you sink your fangs into them, tasting them, absorbing them, for a brief moment becoming them, as their stolen blood warms you from the inside."
Xander's face began to slowly shift back and forth from his gameface and his human mask unconsciously. Spike was enthralled by his childe's beauty as he watched.
"But you don't, because you know that, just like me, there's a painful consequence to pay. Me from the chip and you from your soul. So...we both sit there and suffer and the humans wander about safe and unaware of the danger that hovers so close to them."
A look of sadness swept through his childe's eyes and Spike knew that he hit on the main problem his childe was struggling with. The desire to kill humans and the guilt he felt for that having that need.
"Even knowing that it's wrong doesn't stop your fangs from itching to bury themselves in their flesh, does it luv?"
"No Sire. I...I still want it. Crave it, even though..."
Spike nodded his head. He understood about the craving. The guilt he didn't get. Well, intellectually he understood it, but not emotionally. The fear of the consequences, that he did get very well. He feared the chip's punishment as much as his childe feared his soul's punishment.
Coming to a decision, Spike stood up from where he'd been sitting and gestured to Xander.
"Come here childe."
Slowly, Xander turned away from the night sky and gently shut the thick stone crypt door behind him. With his dark eyes haunted, he shuffled his way across the floor to stand in front of Spike. Reaching up with one pale hand, Spike ran his fingers delicately through the boy's dark silken curls, petting him, soothing him. Xander's eyes slid shut and a low rumbling purr echoed through the crypt. Then without warning, Spike tightened his grip on Xander's hair and the boy's eyes flew open, golden flecks appearing in the dark orbs. With a slight grin, Spike gently guided his childe's head towards his own neck.
A brief pause and then Spike felt his childe's fangs slide effortlessly into his throat, slicing open his skin and muscle. A low moan of pleasure sent lovely vibrations through his body even as his own fangs dropped into place. He twisted his head just slightly and bit down on Xander's own neck. The circle completed itself and pleasure sizzled through them both.
After a long moment, Spike pulled back and broke the connection between them. He watched delighted as Xander licked his blood stained lips with deep seated happiness. Grinning wickedly, Spike took his childe's hand and began to lead him towards the back room where he kept his bed, determined to add to the fledgling's education.
And who knows, maybe having one person that Xander could completely and totally let go with would help him adjust. And Spike for one, was ready for a closer relationship with his childe.
Feed the Author