Pairing: Spike/Xander, Angel/Xander (eventually)
“Mom?” Xander put the grocery bags down on the kitchen counter. Maybe she was already a little drunk. His Dad was probably home as well. “Great” he mumbled.
“Mom, I bought some food…Mom?” Xander started walking thru the kitchen and was going toward the living room when he stopped. His feet felt like they were glued to the floor. His eyes widened as they took in the trails of blood on the carpet. There was a handprint on the old wallpaper. A red and wet handprint.
Xander stopped breathing when he saw Spike leaning against the doorframe to the living room. The vampire smiled and slowly dried his blood smeared hand off on his black jeans.
“Spike?” Xander knew he should run. Knew that it might be his last chance. But what if his mother was still alive somewhere in the house? What about his Dad?
Spike became a blur of motion. Before Xander could react the blond vampire was pushing him against the wall. Sinking his fangs deep in Xander’s throat.
He was floating and moving. It felt a little like sailing. He’d done that once. It wasn’t a big boat. Actually it was tiny and his Granddad had made him wear an inflatable vest. Just in case. He still remembered the lulling motion. The sense of being suspended. Floating.
There was music. Loud music. And someone singing along with…what was that?
“I am an anti-Christ, I am an anarchist…Hey are ya waking up, Whelp?” Someone…Spike?…slapped Xander’s shoulder hard. ”I wanna destroy the passer by…C’mon, Xander sing along!”
When he finally came to he was curled up in the corner of a room. His throat hurt and his mouth was dry. Xander attempted to get up. The door was right over there. Right over…
“So ya awake. Good.” Spike came out of another door naked and drying his hair with a big towel. “Was beginning ta think I took too much blood.” Spike licked his lips and grinned “Was gonna just drain ya. Get a good meal an’ piss off out of Sunnyhell…” the vampire walked over to Xander and knelt down oblivious to his own nakedness “Ya just tasted so bloody good.” Xander pushed back against the wall. Away from Spike. The vamp just laughed and went over to the bed in the middle of the room. “Gotta remember ta thank your dad for this nice motel room…ups guess that’ll be hard. Him being dead an’ all.”
“My…my” Xander tried.
“Your?” Spike tilted his head and smirked.
“M-my Mom?” he finally croaked out and looked up at the vamp.
“Didn’t feed off her. Bloody drunk. Needed a clear head, I did.” Spike started pulling on his jeans “Just played a little with her.” the vampire knelt down and whispered in Xander’s ear “Oh but could she scream beautifully.” Xander closed his eyes “An’ your dad…wrote a pretty little message for the Slayer on the walls with ‘is blood.”
He woke up and started screaming. Spike was straddling him. Spike. In game face. The vampire laughed and put his hands against Xander’s shoulders and leant in. Leant down. And buried his fangs in Xander’s sore throat.
It was a strange sensation. His blood being pulled from his body. Spike’s cold nose resting against Xander’s jaw line. Spike started rubbing the shuddering body‘s chest. And while still drinking from Xander he started unbuttoning the boy’s shirt.
Xander passed out.
Xander tried to push Spike away. Tried to turn his dizzy head away. It didn’t help. Spike was tired of his screaming and begging.
“Ain’t helping” Spike said as he hit Xander again. His fist connecting with the already bruised jaw. The vampire pried the boy’s lips apart and forced his mouth open.
Xander was gagged.
They were staying in an abandoned house somewhere. Somewhere? Xander had no idea where and it didn’t matter. It wasn’t like he was going for a walk, going shopping or would try to find a decent place to eat. Pizza or Chinese. Burgers. Food? Xander smiled. He pulled his knees closer to his chest and leaned a little more against the cold wall.
Ice cream and brownies. Baked potatoes and steaks. Chips. Cookies.
Spike barged thru the half open door and looked around. His blue eyes settled on Xander’s shivering form. He smiled and said
“Fed good an’ proper tonight. Won’t be needing ta feed off ya…” the vampire stretched and sighed “I’m as strong now as before those bloody wankers put that shite in my head.” He looked at Xander again “Had my bit of violence and my blood. Think I could do with a good shag.”
Xander closed his eyes. But it wouldn’t help.
“Didn’t ya hear me, Whelp?” Spike asked with amusement. Xander opened his eyes and nodded “Good. Now ya know wha’ ta do.” Xander stood up and slowly…God he was always so dizzy…made his way over to the old and worn mattress in the corner of the room. Spike smiled “Yeah that’s right. I’ll be back in a second. Get ya kit off.” the blond vampire turned and left the room.
Xander’s fingers were numb as he unbuttoned his shirt. It didn’t take long. There weren’t that many left anymore. The zipper in his pants had been ripped out a few days earlier so he just had to unbutton the metal button and slide the pants off.
When Spike returned Xander was sitting naked and shivering in the unheated room. The vampire licked his lips and walked over to the boy.
“On your stomach.” Spike commanded.
He was sore. All over. And in places he decided he wouldn’t think about. Sore and shivering and still gagged. His lips were permanently too dry and chapped. The edges of his mouth red and bruised.
Spike would sometimes leave the gag in for days. Leave it in until Xander couldn’t feel his jaws . It wasn’t really necessary anymore. The gag. He never said a thing. Nothing. Nada.
Spike would sometimes look at him and talk about Xander’s mother. How she screamed. How she had attempted to call the police. That part always amused Spike. How she had slowly slowly dragged her sorry ass over the hallway floor. “The stupid bint was going for the door” Spike snorted “Like she had a shot at getting away.” At this point the vampire would always stop and look at Xander. He always asked
“Wha’? Ain’t ya got nothing ta say?”
“He makes too much fucking noise” Spike told the large horned demon. They were both looking down at Xander’s mumbling and crying form. So what if the stupid moron had a broken hand and fingers. There was no need to be so bloody vocal about it. They could hear him despite the gag.
“My brother had this pet. She’d scream every time he wanted to have some fun. But he got her fixed.” the demon looked down at Xander as he spoke.
“Wha’ you mean fixed?” Spike asked and prodded Xander’s hand with his foot. The upset pet screamed.
“Got her vocal cords taken out. Worked like a charm. No more screaming.” the demon nodded happily.
“Sounds expensive.” Spike said.
“Could do it with magic I guess. Not as permanent but cheaper.” the demon conceded.
The gag wasn’t necessary anymore.
Xander had lost what had always been his only defence.
Xander had lost his voice.
Xander once, back in Sunnydale, joked about how he was always hungry. God how stupid he’d been. He hadn’t a single clue about hunger back then. Not real gut wrenching hunger.
Spike hadn’t fed him for…He didn’t even remember how long. The last thing he’d eaten was the crust from an old pizza slice. He’d found it on the floor under the table. A week? Maybe more?
When the hunger got to be too much he would suck on his wrist. For some weird reason that fooled his stomach into thinking food was on the way.
Xander wrapped his arms around his middle and started rocking back and forth a little. He hadn’t seen Spike for at least a week or maybe two. He hadn’t seen anyone.
What if Spike had forgotten about him? What if Spike had been dusted? What if…
The door was locked. Of course the door was locked. The doors were always locked. No matter where they stayed Spike always made sure Xander wouldn’t be getting out. Wouldn’t escape.
The room was dank and you could see the condensation on the windows. Xander would lick the water off those grimy windows in an attempt to get rid of the dryness in his mouth and throat. He couldn’t do anything about the hunger.
He felt light-headed and tried to keep still. If he didn’t move he didn’t use up unnecessary energy.
The worst thing was the hoping. Hoping that Spike would come back. Hoping for Spike.
He’d be good. He’d be real good if Spike would just come back. Xander hated being alone. Hated being cold. If Spike would just come back Xander would try harder.
He’d be real good.
“Don’t know” the drunk vampire said as he stood in the doorway pointing at Xander “Don’t know wha’ the hell ‘m doing with ya.” Spike took another swig from the whiskey bottle “Didn’t plan it…ta-taking ya with me.”
Xander kept his eyes focused on the floor. Maybe Spike would just go away. Go away and let him get a full nights sleep.
“Ya changed ya know” Spike said as he stumbled over to the mattress. He sat down next to Xander “Ya used ta snark all the bloody time. Was an annoying little brat, you.” another swig from the bottle “Ya know…getting awfully tired of looking at ya. Sitting around and looking all pitiful.” Spike turned and looked Xander in the eyes “Pretty” the vampire mumbled “Pretty eyes.”
Spike was studying his face. Looking for something. Xander closed his eyes so he wouldn’t have to see Spike lean in and kiss him. Cold fingers started tugging at his pants.
“Get ya kit off, pet. Wanna have some fun.”
God he was so cold. He vaguely remembered being this cold before. Once. A long time ago. He’d visited some relatives. It snowed. Where did they live again? Uncle Pete? Was that his name? Yeah Xander was almost certain that it had been his mom’s brother. Xander had stayed outside and played with his cousins. Played in the snow for so long his fingers and toes went numb.
He was so fucking cold.
His right shoe was soaked with blood. His blood. Spike thought it would be fun to see how much Xander could bleed if he cut into the boy’s ankle. He told Xander to stand still or he’d get something worse. So Xander just stood there and tried not to move when the vampire started cutting.
“Let’s see, pet.” Spike said grinning with amusement “Let’s see how much you can bleed?”
Apparently a lot.
The demons were playing poker. Spike had been winning and drinking. He’d look over at Xander’s shivering form now and again. Made jokes about those bloody weak humans and their bloody annoying bodily functions. Xander just made sure not to move. If he could keep out of Spike’s way he’d be okay.
One of the demons kept eying him and licking its lips. Spike noticed.
“He’s pretty, yeah?” the blond vampire asked.
“Oh yeah. Real pretty.” the demon seemed to be thinking about something and then asked “Hope you don’t mind me asking but do you share him?”
Spike looked at Xander. Seemed to consider the question. Xander tried to look even smaller, tried to stop shivering. But with the fever he just couldn’t control it. He took a chance and looked up at Spike. Up and into blue eyes. Spike smiled and nodded.
“Yeah. Why not? ’S not like he’s been behaving ‘imself lately anyway.”
The demon smiled and said “Have somewhere?”
“Sure. Mattress in there.” Spike said and pointed at the bedroom door “Have fun.”
The big demon dragged Xander toward the door. The demon kicked it open and shoved Xander down on the mattress. He looked at Xander’s too thin frame and yelled
“Not much meat on him, is there?”
Spike snorted “Not been feeding him much lately” and continued to play cards.
After the demons left.
After the demon climbed off Xander.
Spike came in and looked down at his pet. Xander was curled into a small shivering ball. His knees pressed against his chest. He was thin. Spike could count the boy’s ribs. He knelt down on the mattress and slowly ran his hands down the shivering back.
Xander was warm. Too warm. The weak git probably had a fever. He hadn’t really planned to share his pet. But he was getting bored. The boy started a low almost inaudible keening.
“Shut ya mouth.” Spike demanded and Xander did. But seeing him naked like that made Spike reconsider.
“On second thought” he said as he turned the boy over and opened his own jeans “Open ya mouth.”
“Ya hungry?” Spike asked. Xander nodded. Maybe this time he would actually get fed.
A few days earlier Spike had asked him the same question. The vampire had showed his pet a big bag from McDonald’s. Spike had very carefully taken each item out of the bag and placed it on the floor next to the mattress. Burger, fries, coke, a muffin and Xander had been excited. Until Spike started laughing and ate it all himself. Slowly. Telling Xander how good it all tasted.
So now Xander made sure not to get excited. Spike just looked at him. Tilted his head and said
“Don’t seem real happy ’bout getting fed.” Spike frowned “Not hungry enough then.” And with that he took the brown paper bag and threw it in the thrash can in the corner of the room.
Xander curled up under his blanket and tried to sleep.
Four days later Spike pulled the bag out of the thrash can and told Xander to eat.
“Nice an’ warm” Spike whispered in Xander’s ear “So bloody warm.” Which was weird cause Xander only felt cold, never warm. The vampire was pulling the blanket away from Xander’s naked body. Cool hands grabbed hold of his hips and pulled him closer to the spooning blond.
If Xander concentrated he could pretend that this wasn’t happening. He did that sometimes. Pretended that he was somewhere else. His favourite fantasy was simple. Maybe that was why it always worked.
Him and Jesse. Just doing stuff. Skateboarding or reading comics. Talking about Star Trek and Star Wars. Having long and elaborate discussions about which captain was the best. Kirk or Picard?
Jesse said Kirk. Xander said Picard.
Or they would be hanging out with Willow, although Xander had a hard time imagining Willow. It was like her face was all wrong. Blurry. Jesse was always right. He looked like he always had. Back then. Back when there was no such thing as vampires.
Spike moved a little away and then pulled on Xander’s leg until it was positioned over the vampire’s thigh. There was no preparation. There never really was. Xander tried to move away, just a little. Spike grabbed onto his upper arm and squeezed so hard Xander couldn’t help but gasp.
“Stay put.” Spike said and pushed in “Just stay the fuck put or I’ll break ya arm” Spike chuckled and started thrusting.
Jesse had really loved ice-cream. And not just any ice-cream. It had to be Banana and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. He’d act like he was going to die if it was just plain vanilla.
”If ya’re real good I’ll get ya something ta eat.” Spike promised in between moans. Xander let Jesse go for now. He needed to eat soon. He could make it good for Spike if it would get him food.
He slowly started moving back against Spike. Moving back and forth. Letting his hand reach back and settle on Spike’s hip. Caressing.
”Yeah…like that, pet.” Spike huffed against Xander’s neck ”Just like that.”
Xander went in and out of consciousness. Every time he was clearheaded enough he would do everything to make it better for Spike. More enjoyable. Maybe it would be enough. Maybe he would get fed.
Spike finished. Pulled back and got of the mattress on the floor. He was buttoning his jeans. The vampire looked down at Xander.
”Yeah” he said ”Ya need ta eat I guess.” Spike turned around and left Xander alone. Alone with Jesse. And a big pile of imaginary comics.
Xander turned to look at Jesse sitting on the edge of the mattress. Who’s best, Jesse? Xander thought and stared at the gloomy room. Superman or Batman? Man of Steel or Black knight? Jesse didn’t answer. Maybe he was just as disgusted by Xander as Xander was himself.
Spike kept his promise and got him a pizza. The vampire was dragging the delivery guy along with him. A scrawny teenager with big ears and too long limbs. The kid, John his nametag said, looked freaked out.
Xander ate his pizza while the kid begged for his life. Begged Spike to let him go. Begged Xander. In the end it didn’t really matter. John ended up as a jumbled heap of arms and legs in the corner of the room.
Right next to the trash can.
“Xander?” someone whispered.
Oh God, he really wasn’t up to round five in Spike’s sex marathon. He passed out last time. Passed out and woke up in a small puddle of his own blood. If Spike…
“Xander? Oh God no! Xander?!”
Why the hell did Spike sound so upset. It couldn’t be the cuts on Xander’s back. The vampire had made those himself after all. Made Xander lay face down on the old stinking mattress. Made Xander show his gratitude after each and every painful incision. Spike had said that Xander needed to be marked as property. That was what it had been about. Marking Xander. So Spike had used the same knife he had cut the pizza with. Still dirty and greasy. Used it to carve Spike’s name in his pet’s back. William the Bloody. Spike had made jokes about how appropriate it was that the mark was bleeding.
Barely there touches on his back. Ghosting over his mangled skin.
“I’m gonna kill him.” Anger evident in the voice “I’ll find him and make him suffer.”
“God Angel…Oh God”
“Let’s get him out of here, Buffy” the angry voice said “We need to get him out of here.”
He felt strong hands around his waist, holding him up, guiding him.
“He’s so thin” a small broken voice whispered “so thin.”
He was going to smack that fucking smirk right off Spike’s face. The blond vampire slowly backed away until he was standing against the wall. The bar had emptied pretty fast after the two vampires had started fighting and when Buffy joined in even the bartender ran off.
“Where is he?” Angel asked barely restraining himself.
“Who? Peaches are ya missing someone?” Spike chuckled.
“I’ll dust you…” Buffy was interrupted by Spike
“Now that won’t be a good idea Slutty. ’M the only one that knows where the whelp is, yeah.” Buffy looked uncertainly at Angel “’E’ll be dead before ya figure out where ’e is.” Spike slowly walked forward “He’s terribly thin. Only feed ‘im if ‘e’s a good shag.” Angel growled but Spike simply continued “Now if ya let me go I’ll let ya know where ‘e is.”
Buffy seemed indecisive but Angel slowly nodded.
“We let you go and you tell us where Xander is.” the older vampire demanded.
“Yeah.” Spike agreed.
“Angel! He…he’s a two-faced piece of shit we can’t…”
“If ya keep insulting me I might just decide not ta tell ya.” Spike warned.
Angel looked at the abandoned house. Old and situated in a slightly overgrown garden with ferns growing close to the walls. Buffy and Willow stopped right behind the large vampire. Angel looked back at Buffy. Fear was etched into her face making her look gaunt and pale. Willow was holding the slayer’s hand and making small noises in an attempt to calm herself down.
They finally found the boy curled up on an old stinking mattress. Willow gasped and wouldn’t enter the room. Buffy knelt down next to the shivering body and looked like a hurt animal.
“Xander? Oh God no! Xander?!” the slayer reached out wanting to touch the boy but stopped. Xander’s skin was a mess. Blood covering most of his back and Angel could see a few of the letters carved into the skin. The vampire reached out and gently, barely, touched the shivering back. Letting his large hand ghost over the mangled skin.
“I’m gonna kill him.” Angel said, anger evident in his voice “I’ll find him and make him suffer.” His hands rested against the mattress. Clenching into fists.
“God Angel…Oh God” Buffy seemed frozen to the spot. Incapable of action.
“Let’s get him out of here, Buffy” Angel said attempting to soothe her “We need to get him out of here.” The vampire slowly reached out and tenderly pulled Xander close. Wrapped his arms around the skinny waist, held him and guided him. But Xander was too weak to walk and Angel carefully lifted him up and cradled him in his arm. As they moved out of the room, Buffy first, followed by Angel carrying Xander, they passed Willow in the hallway.
The little witch was pale and tears ran down her cheeks. When she saw Xander she closed her eyes and whispered in a small broken voice.
“He’s so thin…so thin.”
“He needs a doctor.” Buffy said looking out. Staring at the cars passing by in the dark. Angel nodded.
“We can’t take him to a hospital.” the vampire stated and looked at Buffy. Xander was in the backseat sitting next to Willow. Every time she tried to touch him he would scamper away pressing his shoulder against the door. The witch looked as if she could break any second now.
“W-why not?” Willow asked “H-he needs a doctor. He’s hurt.”
Angel concentrated on driving as he said “The doctor would have to report it. The police would get involved.” he turned slightly and looked at Buffy “How would we explain his injuries? The fact that he’s been starved? Tortured?” Buffy looked away her eyes filled with tears.
“There’s more isn’t there?” the slayer wouldn’t look at Angel “More…Spike did more than torture him.” It wasn’t a question so Angel didn’t answer. Willow started crying.
The tall demon Angel had called looked at the curled up and shivering young man on the bed. Xander had latched on to Angel’s hand and wouldn’t let go. The demon started taking items out of its large bag and placed them on the nightstand.
The motel room was small and seemed smaller with the slayer and the witch looming over the bed. Buffy had only reluctantly agreed to let the demon take care of Xander and she had demanded to be present at all times.
“I will need help undressing him.” he looked at Buffy “Perhaps you…”
“No! I…I…No.” Buffy looked horrified and she turned expectantly to Willow. The witch swallowed a lump in her throat and stepped forward.
“I-I’ll do it.” she said her voice almost inaudible.
Angel started to get up off the bed but was stopped by Xander. His frail thin fingers clutched around Angel’s wrist. They all stood still. Xander’s eyes moved frantically around the room. Searching. Fearful. Angel gently caressed Xander’s hand and sat back down.
“Maybe” the vampire said and looked at Willow “Maybe he isn’t ready for you to see this.”
The witch simply turned around and left the room.
“I-I’ll go with her.” the slayer’s shoulders slumped as she turned and left. Angel looked up at the demon and the demon reached out and put its long slender hand over Xander’s eyes and said
Angel was furious. His anger grew with every revealed scar and wound. He helped the demon get Xander’s dirty torn jeans off. His eyes focused on the finger shaped bruises on the boy’s hips. Focused on the bit marks on the inside of Xander’s thighs.
Focused on his own rage.
“Do you wish for the spell to be removed?” the demon asked as it cleaned the raw cuts on Xander’s back. Angel looked confused. Spell? Why had Spike felt the need to use a spell? Xander was broken. There was no need for a spell.
“What spell?” Angel asked looking as the letters on the boy’s back slowly became visible when the demon dried the blood away.
“The silence spell.”
The demon removed the spell and Xander immediately started talking.
“I’m sorry I’m sorry please please tell him I’m sorry I didn’t want to leave please tell him I’ll be good I will promise promise I’ll be so good I won’t make a sound I won’t just please please don’t tell him I’ll be good I’ll be good I will I will please…”
Angel pulled the naked shivering boy into his arms careful not to touch the cuts on his back. Xander continued to promise and beg. Angel looked up when he heard the door open. Giles silently walked in and put a bag on the floor. The watcher nodded and turned before he could lost control.
“I-it’s some of Xander’s clothes and…I-I’ll be outside…if…if you need me.” and with that the watcher left and quietly closed the door behind him.
“What now?” Buffy asked quietly.
She didn’t want to wake up Xander. He was finally sleeping. After hours and hours of mumbling he passed out still holding on to Angel’s hand. Every time one of the others had tried to touch him or even sit on the bed Xander had started crying and begging “Please don’t please I’ll be good I will.”
Willow had left. She just couldn’t handle it and Tara had held her as she had said goodbye. Xander hadn’t reacted. It was as if he only really acknowledged Angel. Giles was sitting in a chair by the door, his hands rubbing against his face. The watcher looked worn out.
“Xander will be staying with me.” Giles said and looked up at Angel.
“Are you sure you can handle it?” Angel asked gently.
The watcher didn’t answer.
“Nononono” Xander chanted when Angel pried the boy’s hand out of his. Xander was sitting on Giles’s couch rocking back and forth. “I’ll be good please please don’t leave me please please” Angel stepped away leaving Xander hunched up on the couch “I-I’ll be good please” Angel walked toward the front door. He didn’t look back.
“Nononononononononononononono” the chant followed the vampire out of the door. Angel looked at the door he had just closed behind him. He reached out and put a hand against the dark oak and whispered
“Angel!” Willow‘s voice was shrieking and Angel held the phone away from his ear.
“What? Willow?” the vampire mumbled as he got out of bed.
“Oh God Angel! You you”
“Calm down Willow.” Angel said as he rubbed his eyes and stretched.
“He won’t eat and he stopped talking and he just sat there holding your shirt and he won’t”
“Willow slow down…My shirt? What are you talking about?”
Willow sighed “You left a shirt in the laundry hamper. At Giles’s. Xander found it. He wouldn’t let go of it and Buffy she…she just…”
“What? What did Buffy do?” Angel asked with worry.
“She just ripped it out of his hands. She threw it out. So he just stopped.”
“Stopped everything. Stopped talking. Stopped moving. S-stopped eating…but Buffy she forced him…” Angel sat down on the bed as he listened to Willow’s voice “She force-fed him. He…I think you need to come get him, Angel.” Willow sobbed “Please come get him.”
Angel stood in Giles’s living room listening to Buffy rant.
“He just sits there and moans and cries. We got him out shouldn’t he be happy about that? It’s been a month since we got him back here and all he does is sit there and…”
“You took my shirt away from him?” Angel interrupted her “Willow said…”
“Yes I took it away. He kept dragging it around.” Buffy huffed “He even slept with it. I took it away because then maybe he’d start talking to us.” the slayer’s eyes were filling with tears “And then he stopped eating…he wouldn’t…I-I”
Giles gently touched her shoulder and Buffy sighed and looked down at her feet.
“Where is he now?” Angel asked Giles.
“In the spare room. Willow is with him.” the watcher said as he helped Buffy sit down on the couch “I tried everything, Angel. Buffy she…” Giles looked at the slayer “She went too far when she tried to force-feed him. He hasn’t really spoken since then.” he sighed.
The room was dark and smelled of sweat and fear. Angel reached out to turn the light on. Even if he could see in the dark that didn’t mean that Xander or Willow could.
“Don’t.” Willow whispered “He just fell asleep.”
“He okay?” Angel whispered back. He moved over to the bed and sat down. Willow was sitting next to Xander. The boy was sleeping on the edge of the bed. As far away from Willow as possible. The witch looked tired and sad.
“No” Willow answered shaking her head. “Why Angel?” she asked her hand inching closer to the sleeping form next to her but still not touching. “Why does he want you? He never liked you before…H-he should want his friends around. So why you?”
“He was in pain. He’d been in pain probably since Spike took him away. Six months in Hell, Willow.” Angel said trying to explain “Then I…The first person to touch him with care…the first person who didn’t want to hurt him…He just latch on to me because I was there.”
“But” Willow made sure to keep whispering “But he was surrounded by friends. We would never hurt him…never…” the witch suddenly looked horrified “Buffy…she…”
“You still want me to take him with me?” Angel asked the troubled girl.
“I-it’s for the best…at least right now. We…” Willow sighed and looked sad “We aren’t any good for him right now.” she moved off the bed “He needs you. Not us.”
Xander was sleeping quietly in the passenger seat next to Angel. The vampire had draped his coat over the curled up boy and Xander immediately pulled the coat closer. Caressing it even though he was asleep.
A low whimpering made Angel look over. Xander was clutching the coat against his chest his fingers white with the strain. The whimpers turned into keening. Xander started to shake uncontrollably. Angel reached out and touched Xander’s shoulder wanting to sooth. The reaction was a complete opposite. Xander started to cry and beg
“Sorry…I won’t…I’ll be good…I’ll make it good” the tears ran down Xander’s pale face “Please please please don’t I’ll be good.”
Angel started looking for a motel.
He carried Xander into the dark motel room. Gently putting him down on the bed hoping his sleep would be less disturbed now. Angel started undressing him. Shirt and pants. Leaving the t-shirt and boxers on.
Even with most of his body covered in soft cotton the scars still stood out. Still screamed Xander’s pain out for all the world to see. The bit marks on the inside of Xander’s thighs were almost healed but the scars would never disappear. Angel pulled the uncomfortable chair closer to the bed and sat down.
“No please no please please.” Angel woke up. Xander wasn’t on the bed. He was crouching in the corner of the room whispering and rocking gently back and forth his arms wrapped around himself.
“Xander?” Angel slowly moved forward “Xander come on you need to sleep.”
“No no no please Spike I’ll be good just not not him he he always makes it hurt so much.” Xander started crying and kept whispering “I’ll be good for you I will just please not him he makes it hurt.”
Angel clenched his hands. Spike had shared Xander. Given him away. It was bad enough that Spike had abused the boy but to let others…
“I promise please…” Xander’s eyes seemed unfocused.
“Xander?” Angel knelt down in front of the boy “Xander I’m going to touch you. I’m going to get you over to the bed.” the vampire reached out and gently helped Xander up and over to the bed. Suddenly Xander grabbed on to Angel’s hand.
“Please not him” Xander looked scared “He…it hurts. I’ll be good.”
“I know you will.” Angel whispered as he made Xander lay down on the bed. “I know…” he spooned the shivering body “I won’t let him hurt you. I know you’ll be good.”
“Promise” Xander whispered like a frightened child.
“Promise” Angel said as he started running his hand thru Xander’s dark hair. “Promise”
They were in the car again. This time Xander was awake and seemed almost conscious of what was happening around him. Angel felt a little restless and reached out to turn the car radio on. Xander stopped moving and his eyes were fixed on the radio.
“Don’t” Xander begged “I don’t wanna sing along.” pleading eyes found Angel’s.
The vampire slowly pulled his hand back.
“Are you hungry?” Angel asked wanting to break the silence.
“NO!” Xander frantically pulled away pushing back against the door.
“Hey…hey Xander.” Angel stopped the car and turned to face the frightened boy “You don’t have to…You won’t have to earn it. I just want you to eat. Okay?”
Xander slowly nodded. His eyes still panicky.
Cordy silently cried. Her hands covering her face. Xander. Her Xander. He looked like a terrified child. Cordy had tried to hug him. She just wanted to show him how happy she was seeing him again. Xander had pulled away and he ended up hiding behind Angel.
Telling. No begging the vampire. Xander’s half broken promises had torn the Seer’s heart out.
“Please I’ll be good…I promise…I’ll be good”
“He’s sleeping now.” Angel said when he walked into the kitchen. Wesley looked up and nodded. Gunn seemed uncomfortable. Whether it was because of the broken boy or Cordy crying Angel didn’t know.
“I’ve done a little reading on human pets. I must admit it’s…it’s disturbing information.” Wesley said closing the book he was reading.
“Disturbing?” Gunn asked “The guy looked like…” he shook his head.
“Spike used him. Xander was with him for six months.” Angel said and leant against the kitchen counter “Spike broke him down…passed him around.” Cordy started crying again “I’m sorry Cordy really I am but…”
“It’s the truth…Facts” Wesley said and looked at Angel. The vampire nodded.
“Xander doesn’t need us to pretend nothing happened. He needs us to know. We can’t help him if we don’t know what happened.” Angel looked away from the humans “I’ll tell you everything I know about vampires having humans for pets.”
“From your own experiences?” Wesley asked.
“Angelus.” Angel growled “He had pets…Humans. They didn’t last long.”
“Tell us.” Cordy quietly said.
“The first one…” Angel sighed and ran a hand thru his hair “The first one was a teenage girl…fifteen maybe sixteen. She didn’t last long. Angelus…he…I was young and didn’t have much control. She bleed out after a day or two.”
“The second was a man. A soldier he…lasted longer…I had more patience. Angelus broke him. Made him doubt everything. And then…then he killed him. Slowly.” Angel remembered how it had taken a week for the young man to die. Remembered how his broken body had refused to let go.
“But Spike kept Xander alive for months. How? Spike was never very patient.” Wesley asked.
“Spike’s lack of patience might just be what kept Xander alive.” Angel looked at Wesley and continued “Spike didn’t have the patience to truly break Xander…That kind of thing takes time and persistence.”
“What the hell do you mean?” Cordy abruptly stood up “Are you seriously telling me that he…” she pointed up, indicating where Xander was sleeping on the second floor “That he isn’t broken.”
“If Spike had broken Xander completely he wouldn’t be begging…he wouldn’t do anything unless Spike told him. If Spike had broken him completely Xander wouldn’t have eaten when I told him to.” Angel explained “Xander would be starving himself because his master wasn’t here to tell him to eat.”
“So there’s hope?” Gunn asked “He’ll be all right…sooner or later?”
“Of course” Wesley said when Angel didn’t seem ready to answer “He just needs time.”
Spike was looming over him. Cruel smile and fangs.
“’Ello pet.” a cool hand crept up Xander’s thigh and he closed his eyes “Now” the vampire said “none of that, ya hear. Want ya to see.”
Xander slowly opened his eyes. Sometimes if he just did what Spike wanted him to it didn’t hurt so much. He watched as the blond vampire held a knife up. Turning it so it caught the light from the naked light bulb. A shiver ran thru Xander’s emaciated body. Spike was taunting him and it was always worse if Spike took the time to taunt.
“Spread your legs.” the vampire whispered in Xander’s ear “And don’t move after.” Xander did as he’d been told. Spread his legs and waited. “So pretty” Spike commented as he moved closer.
The pain was like a fire spreading from the inside of his thigh. Spreading like a wildfire making his nerves scream even if his voice couldn’t. Spike was smiling down at him as the vampire lifted his hand to show Xander the blood slowly running down those slender pale fingers. Xander started shaking.
“Now c’mon, Xander.” Spike smirked “S’not even that deep a cut.” Xander tried to stop. He begged every muscle in his body to stay still. To avoid the vampire wanting more. But he couldn’t. He had no control. Not over the situation. Not over his own body.
Spike whispered in Xander’s ear “She knows…Buffy…she knows ya with me. Here. I called her and told her weeks ago. But you know what?” the vampire smiled “She just couldn’t be bothered…Slutty the Slayer…she couldn’t be bothered coming here…for her donutboy. She has no use for ya. Worthless piece of shite that ya are. Don’t need ’im, she said. Keep ’im.” Spike watched as Xander’s eyes filled with tears “Kill ’im, feed off ’im, fuck ’im, ’s what she said.”
Xander started screaming.
Strong arms wrapped around him. Rocked him back and forth. Cradled him.
“Xander? Xander wake up.” a deep caring voice implored “Just a nightmare. Just a nightmare. He can’t hurt you no more” Xander opened his eyes and looked up. Dark brown worried eyes grounded him.
“Buffy told him…told him to keep me…“ Xander’s broken voice filled the dark room.
Angel shook his head “No Xander no she never knew where you were…we looked everywhere for you.” Angel pulled the covers closer around the trembling boy.
“I’ll be good…” Xander whispered just as he fell asleep.
Cordy had stocked the kitchen with all kinds of food. Some she knew Xander loved, some she knew Xander would need if he was ever to be healthy again. She closed the cabinet door and turned around to look at Angel. He was sitting by the Kitchen table. The vampire was practically leaning against it. His large body curled in on itself as if attempting to conserve energy.
“Angel?” Cody began and smiled sadly when the bleary eyed vamp looked up at her. “Not getting much sleep are you?” Angel shook his head and continued to look down at the mug of blood in his hand.
“He has nightmares.” Angel looked over at the door to the lobby as if he expected Xander to come thru it “He gets even less sleep then me…Every hour or so an ugly memory pops up and scares him half to death.”
Cordy nodded “Maybe” she said “Maybe this is more than you can handle?”
“I’m not sending him back there.” Angel angrily got up.
“I never said you should.” Cordy held her hands up trying to calm Angel down “He sleeps in his own room?” she asked. Angel nodded. “And you run from room to room?” Angel nodded again. “Have you thought about letting him sleep in your bed?” Cordy gently touched Angel’s hand.
“No…I wouldn’t do that to him. Cordy, he still thinks he has to earn everything. Food, warmth, comfort.” Angel sighed “If I let him sleep in my bed he’ll think I want to be repaid. Like Spike.”
“You are nothing like that piece of shit!” Cordy angrily shouted.
“Thanks, Cordy but…Maybe I should just let him sleep thru his nightmares?” Angel said. “Let him get stronger by dealing with them on his own.”
Cordy wanted to tell Angel what a huge mistake that would be but the blinding headache and the vision stopped her.
“Nononononononono” Angel could hear Xander mumble in his sleep across the hall. It was the fifth time in as many hours. After he and Gunn had taken care of the young woman needing rescue in a dank alley Angel came back to the hotel only to find Xander hiding in the bathroom.
“Please please Spike no no not that please…” Angel was standing with his hand on the door handle. All he had to do was open his own door and walk a few feet to Xander’s. He could hold the boy. Calm his sleep.
The vampire sighed and rested his head against the door. He needed to be strong. Xander needed him to be strong. Needed him to…the crying stopped and Xander’s breathing slowed down. Good, Angel thought as he fell face first onto his own bed.
Angel opened the door. He’d had a good night. After Xander had calmed down he hadn’t heard anything from the boy’s room. Angel ran a hand thru his hair. He was going to go down to the kitchen and make Xander some breakfast.
It was pure luck that he looked down. Pure luck that he didn’t step on Xander. The boy was sleeping on the floor in front of Angel’s bedroom door. Curled up like a cat, wearing only a pair of grey sleep pants.
Angel knelt down and stroked Xander’s naked back gently. Spike’s mark was still there. A constant reminder that they hadn’t been fast enough. Xander whimpered and Angel withdrew his hand. So much for Xander dealing with his nightmares alone. The vampire touched the boy’s cheek and smiled when Xander relaxed.
He pulled Xander close making sure not to move too fast and lifted the boy up. Xander’s skin was cold. Had he been sleeping out in the hallway all night? Angel put the sleeping boy down on the satin sheets and tucked the covers around Xander. Xander burrowed down in the soft mattress taking deep breaths.
Angel lay down next to him, on top of the covers, and Xander slowly inched his way closer. Ending up with his back pressed against the vampire’s chest.
“So” Cordy announced “I think we all deserve something to eat. After all we” she looked around the room “saved a whole busload of kids from getting eaten by Snot demons.”
“S’nat demons” Wesley corrected the beaming ex-cheerleader.
“Whatever!” Cordy smiled at Xander. He looked over at Angel and then smiled back. It seemed fake and reluctant but it was the closest thing to a real smile she had seen yet.
What Cordy really wanted was to hear him laugh. Almost two months at the Hyperion and he still hadn’t laughed. It was as if he didn’t know how. As if laughter was a foreign language.
“Yeah man we did pretty good.” Gunn said stretching in his chair.
Xander had stayed at the hotel when Angel and his crew had gone out. Lorne had stayed with him. They seemed to be getting along fine, the demon and the human. Maybe because Lorne hadn’t known the old Xander. Lorne had no expectations so Xander probably didn’t feel like he was letting the demon down by not being that Xander.
Angel noticed Xander looking at him “Xander? You okay?” the boy nodded and made sure not to make eye contact “Something you need?” Angel asked and moved closer. Xander nodded and whispered. Angel smiled “Sure you can go have a bath. The food will be here when you’re finished.”
Cordy and Wesley were busy arguing about what kind of takeout they were going to get. Gunn hoped Wesley would win. Tofu was not food no matter how much Cordy glared at them when they told her so.
Gunn watched as Xander left the room. “He still asks permission for stuff like that?” he asked.
“Yes. He asks permission for everything.” Angel looked at Gunn and smiled sadly “He’s scared to death that he’ll do something that’ll make me send him away.”
They were all seated around the kitchen table eating and laughing. Gunn was telling them about his encounter with a lust leprechaun.
“Very different from the lucky ones.” Gunn laughed. He described how he’d been forced to lock himself and three of the “biggest meanest guys” from his crew up in a public toilet. “We just needed to get the hell away from that little freak.” he said as he ate another slice of pizza.
The sound of a heartbeat hammering away made Angle turn and look behind him. Xander was standing there. His body shaking. Angel slowly got up. “Xander?”
Xander started backing away his eyes locked on the cardboard box the pizza had been delivered in. His eyes started darting between the box and Angel. Back and forth until Angel was so close that he could reach out and put his hands on the boy’s shoulders. Xander dropped to his knees. His hands, his shaking and clumsy fingers, reaching up landing on Angel’s thighs.
Everyone in the room had stopped moving only Xander’s hands were in motion as they found the zipper.
“No Xander.” Angel gently moved Xander’s hands away “No…You don’t need to earn it. You…” The memory of a dead kid made Angel stop. John, his nametag had said. Crumbled in the corner of the room they had found Xander in. “I won’t hurt anyone Xander…Nobody is getting hurt.”
Xander disintegrated into a shuddering and mumbling heap on the floor and Angel simply picked him up and lifted him up the stairs to their room.
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