Behind Closed Doors

Jane Davitt

Part Ten

Opening the door to see Xander on the other side, a week later, wasn’t what I called a nice surprise, but at least he hadn’t barged right in. Giles was too soft on them when they did that. He locked the door a lot more after I moved in though. Had to, really, or they’d have got to see more than any of us would have liked.

I stared at him without speaking and he opened his eyes wide and asked if he was allowed in, making it clear he was being sarcastic. Needed to practice that more. I stepped back, looking him over in case he had a stake tucked under his shirt. Which meant I had to look at the shirt. Giles’ place is full of muted, soft colours; lad stood out like a parrot in a flock of starlings. Pitiful, really it was.

“What do you want, Harris?”

“You’re such a gracious host, Spike.”

“Not my house. Means you’re not my guest. Giles isn’t here.”

“You and Anya both do that blunt, no words wasted thing, do you know that? Old as the hills, centuries left to live in, and you talk as if words were in short supply.”

Comparing me to his vengeance demon was a good way to piss me off but I didn’t rise to it. I reminded myself that ten days ago he’d saved my life and let it pass.

“And I know Giles isn’t here,” he went on. “I just left the store; he says he’ll be another hour maybe. Has to finish the monthly accounts or something.”

“Huh. He could’ve picked up the phone; no need to send you.”

“No. I mean, yes, he could.”

He went quiet then, looking at me as if he wasn’t sure what to say. Didn’t feel inclined to help him but I didn’t really want him hanging around either. “You’ve not come for anything deep and meaningful, have you? Because as far as I’m concerned, we can go another decade without one of those conversations.”

He grinned. “Finally we agree on something. No, it’s not – oh, hell, yes it is.”

He sat down on the couch and I bit my lip. Giles had fucked me in just about every room in the place, but that couch – well, it had got to the point where just sitting on it got me hard. I’d been bent over it so often, holding still, being quiet, focusing on something, anything – the marks my nails were making as I drove them into the back or the arm, my body one thrust away from coming, my mouth dry because if I closed it there was no way I could stop myself moaning too loud for it to be allowed – or feeling its smoothness against my back as his cock went in deep and hard and I was wrapped around him, staring up into his face, giving him all he wanted in the way of begging – or gripping the wooden rail along the back as that fucking crop slashed down against me and the burn traveled from my arse to my face and I wanted to beg him to stop, or to go faster, get it over with - but I’d been told, not a sound, not yet, and he’d never spared me a single stroke or a single second of whatever he’d decided I deserved so there was really no point anyway.

And now Harris was sprawled on it and I didn’t know whether the joke was on him or me.

“Spit it out,” I said impatiently.

He looked down at his hands, fingers tangled in his lap, and then back at me. I sighed, sat down in a chair and stopped trying to loom over him. I had a tea towel tucked in my pocket so I probably didn’t look all that threatening anyway. If Giles got back and I’d let the dishes stack up in the sink, well, it’s not something that made him smile, especially if there’s dried-on blood involved. And I liked him smiling when he came in and saw me.

I went with him to the shop most days but it was almost worth spending the day apart just for that first few minutes when he got back. He would take off his coat, hang it up, and then stand there looking at me, doing all those things I don’t think he knows he’s doing; taking off his specs, smoothing back his hair – and then he’d smile and I’d grin back like an idiot and go to him and he’d pull me in and kiss me and I’d have someone to touch and someone to be with and start doing more than existing.

Not always like that though; sometimes Anya or the customers had got him so wound up he was tight and tense and his lips were a hard, thin line. The coat got chucked across the banister, the glasses got tossed on the table and I was on my knees before he’d finished snapping out my name, waiting for his hands to move; one to his zip, one to my head.

Thinking of that made me determined to get Xander gone before Giles came back. Chasing stray dollars and cents? He was going to be irritable.

“Spit it out, Harris – Xander, I’m not going to bite you – oh, you know what I mean. Owe you for the other night and Giles seems to think you’ve got more to you than you’d think, so –”

“How did it start? You and him?”

“What? Fuck off, Harris. Not spilling my – our – private life for you to pick at.”

He opened his mouth, took a deep breath and swallowed whatever he’d been about to say. “I’m not being –”

“A nosey bastard?”

“Yes. I’m not. Can you just forget for a minute that we’ve loathed each other for years and I humiliated you and talk like we’re, uh, like we just know each other?”

I smiled at him, making it nice and friendly. “Xander, I tried to kill you for years and I was probably a lousy house guest, so I don’t blame you at all for hating me. Humiliating me? Well, I’d say you’re the one ended up looking stupid, not me, so no hard feelings there either. Okay?”

He nodded, looking relieved and a little surprised that I’d caved in so easily. I let my smile broaden and – what the hell – went into game face, timing it perfectly so that his mouth was just opening with whatever question he had next on his list. Give him credit; he didn’t flinch and his eyes went to the weapons chest straight away.

“What’s with the fangs, Spike? Thought we were good?”

“Said I was fine with what you did to me, Xander. I am. What you did to Giles? Different story.”

“I said I was sorry!” he protested. “Giles isn’t holding any grudges, why are you?”

“Do you know what he did to me the day after your little get together? Know why I was out there getting chopped up by the demon?”

He looked uneasy. “You – had a fight?”

I wondered how his face would change if I went into detail about Giles buggering me and beating me up. Tempted; would have liked to have made him turn as green as the stripes on his fucking awful shirt but Giles wouldn’t appreciate it one little bit so I resisted temptation and tucked my fangs away. Not like they were scaring him.

“Yeah, we had a fight. Never mind. Look; forget it. Just push off. Don’t want you here when Giles gets back.”

Xander looked puzzled. “Why not?”

God, I was going to end up with a fucking halo at this rate. Gritting my teeth before I could tell him exactly what I had planned as a tension reliever for Giles, I settled for an enigmatic smile and watched the pretty blood rush up into his cheeks.

“Look; I still want to know how this all began. Please. It’s important.” Points for persistence.


“Because I need to know if there was something I could have done to stop him.”

“Stop him doing what? Bringing me home or trying to top himself?”

Got a flash of his teeth then. “Both,” he said tightly. “I really can’t see how any good’ll come from screwing the undead. Didn’t go so well with –”

“Don’t,” I warned him. “Don’t even go there.” I eyed him. Still felt like telling him to mind his own bloody business but his face was all screwed up as if he really wanted to know and it’d cost him asking. Besides, Giles had told them most of it. I sighed. “You know already what happened. Found him near my place, about to be supper for some vamps. I got hurt fighting them; we went back to my crypt and ...”

I stopped there. Not about to share more than that.

“And? You don’t want to tell me, do you?”

“Don’t and won’t. Between me and Giles.”

“He said he was going to kill himself, Spike. Do you know how we all feel that we didn’t see that coming?”

“Like the self-centred gits you all are?”

Got a smile but not a particularly happy one. “Something like that. Look, I’m not trying to get details of you and – God, even thinking about you two makes me – ”

“Horny? Jealous?” That got me the look of death.


“Oh, fair enough. I don’t have that effect on Giles, but whatever. Just don’t throw up on the couch. If Giles has spent the day doing accounts, odds are we won’t make it upstairs for a while.” That last bit just slipped out. The longer he was there, the harder it was getting to keep my mouth shut.

 He breathed out, slow and steady. “Not the gay thing; I’m fine with Will and Tara, it’s just...Giles. He’s so, well, you know and you’re ...Oh, forget it!”

He stood up and headed towards the door. “Sit down.” Giles used that voice on me and it worked like a charm. Looked like I’d got the hang of it myself, because he stopped dead and turned back.

I waved at the couch. “You’ve got something on your mind, I’d rather know about it. Yes, Giles and me, we’re fucking. Get your head around it and move on. Is that all, or was there something else? I’m thinking there must be; you can’t have imagined we’re still at the holding hands stage.”

He perched on the arm of the couch and looked as if he’d rather be anywhere else but here. Got me curious. He was hating this, so why do it?

“How long have you been in love with him?” Lad just blurted it out and it took me by surprise.

“Love? Who said anything about that?” Panic and denial. Perfect partners when you’re caught. and Giles? Lust, yes, in spades. Giles could get me hard with a look, aching with a touch and coming on command by then. Wanted him and I couldn’t see that changing any time soon. Liking, which was a lot more rare, yes, I’d admit to that too. He was good company now we weren’t at each others throats; he’d got me talking about my past, drawing stuff out until I’d say he knew as much about me as I wanted to share and maybe a bit more than that. We talked a lot, sat there silent a lot. Both were ...nice. But love?

Wasn’t going to think about it any more. Not in front of Xander. “It’s been less than a month. Getting ahead of yourself, aren’t you?”

He relaxed, as if that was what he’d wanted to hear, and slid off the couch. “So you’re just using him, then. Place to stay, free blood and, you know. Sex. Thought so.” Self satisfied prick.

“What? No! Look; this thing between us, it’s complicated, right? We’re both ... I’m helping him ...”

He looked at me. “Helping him do what? Lose any chance at a normal life? Put a barrier between him and his friends? I’m not trying to be cruel here, Spike, I’m really not. I saw how he looked when we brought you back, I’m giving you credit for thinking that for once, yeah, maybe you’re not being a complete bastard, but I can’t see that you’re helping Giles. Not really.”

If he’d been sneering or shouting I could’ve handled it but his voice was quiet, almost sad and he looked at me with something like pity.

I gave back as good as I got. “Xander, your head is so far up your fucking arse, it’s no wonder you can’t see what’s in front of your nose. You’ve all got yourselves someone and you think he can get by without? Oh, and good luck on him finding a human to fuck, because that ended so well with Jenny and that bint from England, didn’t it? You don’t know him. You don’t know what he needs, and if you did you wouldn’t want to give it to him, no matter how many tricks your demon girl’s taught you, and you couldn’t take what –”

“Spike. That will do.”

Giles. In the doorway, looking tired and annoyed. I shut up and found I was wrapping that fucking tea towel around my hands, trying to hide the way they were shaking.

“Xander? Would you care to explain why I’ve walked in on a scene unpleasantly reminiscent of one of the soaps Spike seems to be addicted to? One of your failings as a boyfriend, Spike, but I suppose we all have our foibles.”

Boyfriend?  Xander looked as sideswiped by that as me and his mouth was hanging open. Can’t have done that in front of a mirror, ever, or he’d know it made him look like a fish. A stupid fish.

“I came to talk to Spike, to...”

“You came to interfere. Please don’t do it again. If you have anything you wish to say – though I can’t imagine why you should – I’d prefer it if you came to me. Well?”

He waited and Xander floundered for a second and then his head came up and his shoulders went back. “Giles, you shouldn’t be with him. I’m not trying to tell you what to do, I’m not passing judgment –”

“Yes. You’re doing just that, Xander. Your motives aren’t bad ones and believe me, I’m touched by your evident concern, but I know what I’m doing. I’m asking you to trust me. I’m telling you to back off.”

“He’s a vampire, Giles. You and Buffy... at least Angel had a soul! It’s not right.” He sounded desperate and if it was in me to sympathise with him, I would have.

Giles sighed and took off his glasses. “Xander, I know this. I know all of it. It just didn’t matter when this began. If a rope’s thrown to a drowning man, does he get picky about what colour it is?”

“He might once he’s on dry land. You’re not going to kill yourself now, are you Giles? That’s not an issue?”


“Then why is he still here? And what could he do to stop you feeling that way? I don’t get it. Sex? Was that all? A quick fuck and Buffy stops mattering?”

He was lucky he got to the end of that sentence. I threw myself forward, snarling, fangs out, this time for real – and the chip slammed down a wall of pain and I hit it head first. Could see Giles and he looked ... never wanted him to look at me like that. Never. His head turned and he looked down at me. I was on the floor. Hadn’t even touched Xander, but the chip didn’t care. Smug pile of junk. I moved enough for Giles to decide I’d live and watched him take Xander apart, inch by quivering inch.

My head hurt. I don’t think Giles touched him but Xander was backed against a wall, eyes dark and scared and Giles was all but yelling into his face, a stream of words just pouring out of him. Stopped being entertaining when I saw they were both crying and didn’t know it.

Not about me, after all. I walked out into the courtyard, closing the door behind me.

I missed her too, for lots of different reasons. Hadn’t stopped hurting but she was one of the things I’d talked about with Giles; not much, not often, but enough that the sting had gone out of it and it was getting to the point where her name didn’t bring that little silence after it. Seeing Giles go to pieces like that, I stopped fooling myself that he’d miraculously got over her death in a couple of months. He hadn’t. I was helping him cope but no more. Better than nothing, I supposed.

I wanted to go off, get drunk, and kill things. Traditional but effective way of dealing with moments like this. Didn’t. My head still hurt, but that wasn’t why I was leaning against a wall, far enough away not to hear more than a low murmur of voices, close enough that if Giles needed me, I’d know. Didn’t want to listen. The way they felt about the Slayer dying was between them. They were her friends. I’d never really been that.

One other thing kept me there. Giles hadn’t said I could leave the house; if I went any further away he’d – God, I hoped he would. Giles not caring if I left wasn’t something I could handle.

Must have been an hour later when the door opened and Harris came out. I stayed well back in the shadows, but when he pulled the door closed behind him and I didn’t see Giles, I didn’t know what to do and I stepped forward. He looked around and said my name, as if he knew I’d be there, staring at me when I walked over to him. Xander looked tired but he looked happier too.

“Spike? Are you O.K?”

Nodded. Didn’t hate him but I didn’t want to talk either.

“I think – God, I’m sorry. Never meant to stir things up like that. Not big on the -” He made a vague gesture that I took to mean crying and I grimaced.

“I know.” I made an effort. “You were just worried about him. I get that.”

He nodded. “Still am but – I’m glad he’s not alone.”

“Even if it’s me?”

Got a smile. “Even if it’s you,” he agreed.

I nodded and turned to go back in and he stopped me, reaching out to touch my arm. “Think Giles might want a bit of space so – do you want to go for a drink maybe? Shoot some pool? Not talk about anything?”

He sounded as if he meant it, which stopped me telling him to fuck off, but I still didn’t want to go.

“Another time, right?” I glanced at the house. Light was still on but it was quiet. “Giles – look, I have to go to him.”

“I really don’t know if that’s a good idea –”

I’d had enough. “I don’t give a fuck what you think, Harris! I need him.”

Got this weird look. “You do, don’t you?” he said, all quiet.

“Yeah. I do.” I stepped away and then hesitated. “Look – if you’re right, I’ll catch up with you, yeah? Walk slow.”

He glanced over at me. “I’ll do that.”

Part Eleven

Waited for him to go and then went inside. Didn’t knock; I lived there. Giles was in the kitchen, messing about with pots and pans, getting himself something to eat.

How very fucking domestic of him. I’d been going to cook something for him; nothing fancy but I can manage steak and oven chips and a tin of those mushy peas he gets from the little shop with the dusty stacks of imported food from all over the world. Now it smelled as if he was doing one of those cast of thousands meals, with a pinch of this and a dash of that; the ones that take hours to prepare and leave every surface piled high with dishes. Normally he does that when he’s in a good mood but tonight it seemed off somehow. If I’d come in to find him slumped on a chair, knocking back the whisky, I wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow, but this seemed too calm after what he’d just gone through.

I crossed over to the hatch and leaned on my elbows watching him. Busy hands chopping away, head bent slightly, nape of his neck looking tanned against the stiff white collar of his work shirt. He’d rolled up his sleeves and the contrast between crisp cotton and strong, bare skin made me want him. Just that. Such a small thing to have me aching for him.

Made me realise how many hours I’d spent watching him that I could tell how tense he was from the line and curve of his back. Did he know me as well as I did him? I thought he did – but he wasn’t turning to me, wasn’t talking and he should have known this was killing me.

I opened my mouth, ran through half a dozen sentences and couldn’t come up with one that would get those arms around me, those restless hands stilled as they clutched sheets, my hair, whatever he wanted to hang on to while I stripped the clothes from his body and the hurt from his eyes. Could have just said his name, made it a question, but that felt like cheating; it’d mean he had to come up with the first words, and for all I knew, he was having as much trouble with that as I was.

Fuck. I was lost. Usually I knew. Knew what would work, when to make him angry, when to step I didn’t. If I went up, slipped my arms around him, kissed him – would he step back, face cold and closed? Would he push me away from him?

I stood there, while the mountain of chopped pepper grew; precise, thin strips of red, and felt the weight of the silence push back every word that made it to my mouth, make it impossible to move anywhere.

He ran out of something to slash into little pieces and laid the knife down with a careful slowness that was scary.

He didn’t look at me. “Spike. When I turn around I don’t want to see you. Go upstairs, strip, lie face down on the bed. Pick a comfortable position as you’re going to be there quite some time. Don’t move, don’t speak, don’t touch yourself.”

Started to say something and he cut me off. “You’ve said quite enough for one evening, Spike. Go.”

I went, did everything he’d told me to do and was hard before I’d finished undressing. I hoped he didn’t keep me waiting for long, but I wasn’t counting on it, not when he’d had that edge to his voice. With nothing to do but think as Giles cooked, ate, cleaned up, I still couldn’t work out what had got him this pissed off. In the end I drifted off to sleep, I suppose, because I didn’t hear him come in.

I don’t know how long he spent watching me before he raised his arm and brought the crop down with a force he’d never used before.

“Wake up, Spike.”

I was awake. I think the hiss as it swept through the air woke me. If not that, the blow itself, meeting my skin with a flat emphasis, an uncompromising stroke that bit and burrowed deep enough to crack open my skin, splitting it and leaving scarlet behind when the crop rose back into the air to hover for a moment, as though waiting to see if I’d got the message. I felt the blood rise up and swell and spread, felt the pain hesitate and then explode and felt tears sting my eyes.

Because it hurt and Giles had never hurt me before. Not like that.

My fingers clawed at the sheets and I felt my body stiffen in shock and then I was moving, curling up, as instinctive a reaction as any animal in pain. If I’d been awake, if I’d had some warning, I could have held position but there was no fucking way I could lie still under that, not unbound.

I was making noises, soft little moans of pain and I couldn’t seem to stop them. I rolled over and squinted up through wetness to see Giles staring at me. He looked ... I don’t know. Not angry any more. Any satisfaction he might have felt at getting that reaction from me had gone by the time I focused on him, if it was ever there. His face was stiff with shock, as though what he’d done had been an accident, as if he hadn’t expected me to react like that – but he must have known, he must have. He threw the crop aside and sat down by me, pulling me close and hugging me hard. I let him, feeling the shock and the pain fade enough for me to be silent not holding him back at first until he made a sound far back in his throat and then I did, arms around him to stop him shaking. Ended up with him stripping down and coming back to lie beside me, him on his back and me sprawled across him, head tucked in under his chin with one arm wrapped around me and the other stroking my back.

I felt as if every bone in my body had splintered, sharp, jagged edges driving into my skin from within. It wasn’t the pain; one stroke, some blood, yes, it hurt, but I could endure far worse. It was Giles doing that, going beyond what I thought he was capable of. Being cruel.

Expected that from some people. Not from him. I couldn’t speak; he hadn’t said I could, and even though I’d moved without permission and he didn’t seem to mind, I wasn’t going to risk talking. So I lay there while he touched me, soothed me and stopped me shivering.

He spoke after a long while, his voice low and calm. “Are you –?”

I didn’t let him finish. “What was that for? I don’t get it.” I was over the shock now and getting angry with him, though the way he’d come straight to me when he saw I was hurt helped to keep me from screaming at him.

His arm tightened around me. “Don’t you? How did it make you feel that I’d do that?”

Thought about it. One word came to mind and as much as I tried to find an alternative, I couldn’t, not if I was going to be honest with him.

“Betrayed.” That seemed too bare, too stark. Found myself babbling. “You didn’t, you didn’t warn me. Didn’t let me get ready. Meant I moved and you’d said not to. Hurt too, but not just my arse.”

I stopped then because he was nodding, his face moving against my hair. “That’s just what I wanted you to feel.”

I tried to sit up so I could see him, but he wouldn’t let me. “Why did you want that?”

“Because it’s how I felt when I walked in and heard you telling Xander about our relationship.” Felt bewildered, tried to remember... “You said, and this might not be exact, ‘You don’t know him. You don’t know what he needs and if you did you wouldn’t want to give it to him’, then something about Anya and then I stopped you, but it was a little late.”

“That’s it?” I said, the anger building. He’d done that to me because of a few words? “He was hassling me, saying I wasn’t helping, that’s all.”

“Yes, and after we’d finished discussing Buffy – and thank you for leaving us alone; that saved you getting that stroke as soon as you came back in, and believe me, the way I felt, it would have been one of several –”

“Bloody glad I went, then,” I muttered.

He smiled slightly. “After that, I had to endure an increasingly intrusive series of questions from Xander. He wanted to know what, beyond the obvious, you could do that he couldn’t or wouldn’t. I think his imagination provided him with some rather lurid scenarios, not limited to the idea that I was letting you feed from me, as Riley did with that female vampire. I half expected him to make me strip so he could check me for bite marks.”

I snorted with laughter and couldn’t stop once I started. Guess he might have found one or two bite marks at that. Giles cuffed me across the head but not hard. “That’s quite enough of that. It got ...embarrassing.”

I gulped back the laughter with an effort. Not really all that funny; just that or burst into fucking tears and Giles had had his shoulder soaked enough for one night. Besides, Giles had his arms around me and was petting me, for want of a better word, and I couldn’t resist that. I didn’t think anyone had ever done that to me before. I was still a bit lost but I trusted him. If he’d carried on whipping me after he’d seen how hurt I was, if he’d stayed closed off and angry – well he hadn’t. Just like in the shop, when he was fucking me cold, he’d pulled back as soon as he saw he was doing serious damage. I was beginning to see that he always would.

Something occurred to me and suddenly it all made a lot more sense.

“I can see why you lost it, Giles. Only thing is, I don’t think it was what I said that set him off.”

Giles pushed me away so that he could see my face better. “What? What d’you mean?”

I poked his shoulder with an accusing finger. “Who sent Anya up here to get that book on binding spells you’d left on the bedside table? You did. Who –”

“You mean she took advantage and pried into drawers –”

He sounded shocked. Sweet but stupid sometimes.  “She probably would have but she didn’t bloody need to, did she? You’d left the cuffs attached to the bed and she brought the wooden spoon you’d used on me back down with her and put it into the kitchen. Bet Xander got an earful as soon as they got home. Look she gave me, he might have got more than that; not one to mind experimenting, is Anya. You might have put ideas in her head.”

Giles stared at me open mouthed. Rare sight that and I don’t mind saying I loved every second of it. Got me back to normal, the chance to make him wriggle a bit.  “So, got something you’d like to say to me?”

His eyes narrowed. “Spike, if I am marginally to blame for tonight’s interrogation –”

“Take it like a man, Giles. Totally to blame.”

His breath hissed out in an aggravated way and I wondered if I’d gloated a bit too much for safety. Tried the innocent smile, but couldn’t resist adding, “Tell you what; kiss my backside better and we’ll call it quits.”

His mouth thinned and then I watched the corners quirk up in a reluctant smile. Thought about that mouth on me and shivered happily. Truthfully, there wasn’t much of me he hadn’t kissed or licked. I remembered one spanking when he’d let the final slap fall, placed his palms, one cool, one scorching, on either cheek and pulled them apart, before running his tongue over every bit of reddened skin his hands didn’t mask. Then it had wandered and darted inside me, teasing little prods that had me begging and squirming until his fingers and cock took its place.

I’d come in that mouth, too, though never fucked it; standing or lying down, while Giles took me as deeply as he wanted or made me come without ever letting me inside until the last moment, using tongue and teeth and fingers while I waited, hands by my side, hips longing to thrust and snap.

All that...and it had all been his choice. The image of him doing anything to me because I’d told him to made my cock harden until it was aching and wet and he knew it.

“You want recompense? A quid pro quo?” He paused. “You can’t hit me, of course.” Not just because of the chip either, though that was what he meant, I think.

“Wouldn’t want to.”

“Really? Why is that?”

He sounded curious and I ran my hand over his arse, watching his eyes get that intent, interested look. We’d been lying here naked together for getting on for half an hour without either of us being hard. Wasn’t natural but I had a feeling we were going to be back to normal very soon. “Don’t want to hurt you, Giles. I’d like to make you beg, though.”

“Do you ever wonder why I like to do both?”

“Dunno. Did Xander?”

He bit my shoulder for that, but I could feel him laughing silently. He lifted his head after kissing the skin he’d reddened, smiling as I shivered and rubbed up against him. Giles biting me always made me ache from fangs to cock. “He did, yes, without actually saying it quite so bluntly. I managed to avoid answering - none of his bloody business after all – but I don’t mind discussing it with you.”

I shrugged. “Don’t need to. I don’t care why you do it. I just like it when you do.”

He stared at me. “Not because you like the pain as much, but because –”

Too much talking. Wanted him. “Because it’s you, Giles. That’s all.” It wasn’t, but it could keep. His cock was hard against me and I wanted him.

He studied me and nodded, accepting it. “I thought you deserved this,” he ran his hand over the welt on my backside, “and I still think you were indiscreet, but...fine. I should have spoken with you first, let you explain. I’m very sorry, Spike. I regret it more than I can say.”

I kissed him for that. No half measures with Giles, no grudging admissions of guilt. “It’s O.K.. Really.” I grinned at him. “Besides, you can make it up to me, yeah? Make yourself feel better.”

He stared at me and then nodded. “Very well. You get to choose something you want me to do to you, or you to me.” He lay back and relaxed, tucking his arms behind his head and smiling at me lazily. “You do the hard work for a change,” he said.

I propped myself up on my elbow and looked him over, running a finger from the hollow at his throat to his cock, circling around it and not touching it.

“Going to fuck you, Giles.” His gaze never wavered. Don’t think he even blinked. “Going to get inside you, going to be me who joins us, me who comes in you. Going to show you what you’ve made me feel these last few weeks.”

I leaned in and whispered in his ear. “Do you trust me to make you scream, Giles? Just this once? Scream my name, until it’s all you can think of, the way I do yours? Do you think I can do that to you?”

He turned his head so our mouths were an inch apart. “Do it now.” Strong, commanding voice.

I shook my head. Waited.

“Please, Spike.”

Fucking nearly came right then.

I’d always thought there’d come a time when Giles got curious enough to want me in him for a change, but it wouldn’t have changed anything about the way we were together. A man who could be on his knees sucking me off and swallowing me down without ever, for a second, letting me feel as if I was in control could handle swapping positions without too much trouble. Giles tended to do things the way he wanted to. I had a vision of me behind him, cock up in him as far as it would go, two strokes away from coming and Giles telling me to stop and get him off first. I’d have done it too. He’d have seen to that. God. I shivered, wondering if I liked that idea or not.

“What are you thinking about? Your face just changed. You looked...hungry.”

I sighed, knowing he’d get it out of me, and told him. He looked taken aback. “Oh. I’d never even thought about doing that to tell you the truth.”

I nodded briskly. “Glad to hear it. Moving on –”

“It’s an excellent idea, Spike.”

I watched him file it away for a rainy afternoon and growled. “Focus, Giles.”

He gave me an indignant look and then caught himself. “Sorry.” His eyes darkened. “You were going to make me scream. I – yes, Spike. Please?”

It was so good to hear the words that it should have been enough, but it wasn’t. Giles sounded suspiciously meek and pliant and it was too soon. He wanted this – knew damn well he did, or I’d never have got the chance to ask for it – and he wanted me to get on with it. Saying ‘please’ in that calm, dignified voice wasn’t enough. I wanted him howling it, whimpering it, gasping it out as his body writhed and arched under me.

Was going to get it, too.

I lay beside him and started to kiss along his jaw line, listening to the pulse beating strongly in his throat. I went to it, pressing my lips against it and sucking hard, marking him the only way I could. I felt his hands come up to hold me and raised my mouth up just enough to tell him to lie still. Wasn’t going to do this just the way he did to me, but I was damned if he was going to take over. Not tonight. His hands dropped back after the smallest hesitation and I grinned. He wasn’t going to find this easy after so long being in charge.

“’Please’ means two things, Giles.” I quirked an eyebrow at him. “It’s a request and it’s a verb. Tonight I want you saying the first and doing the second. Pleasing me any way I tell you.” He looked a little stunned and I laughed, running my hand over his chest, enjoying the freedom of touching him as I wanted. “You thought this would be fast? I’ve got you until you fall asleep, Giles. You’re mine until then, understand? Say it. Make me believe it. Then I want your mouth on my cock.”

He met my eyes and waited long enough for his answer to be real. “I’m yours, Spike. All yours.” Sincere, but just enough arrogance and challenge lurking under that to make this fun.

I lay back against the pillows, sprawled out and relaxed. As he watched I took my cock in one hand and worked it slowly. Utterly forbidden that, usually, and I smiled at him lazily. “Told you what I wanted you to do, Giles. Watching me wank wasn’t it. Come here.”

He crawled between my legs and waited. “Do I have to draw you a bloody diagram?” I tried to sound stern but I don’t think I did a good job of it because he glanced up at me just before my cock slid into his mouth and his eyes were amused.

Let him get away with it and let him set his own pace too. I was planning what to do next. I knew what got him hot, but that was when he was in charge. This was different. Except maybe not, as I still wanted to make him happy. Just wanted to do it my way. Didn’t want revenge; tomorrow morning would come soon enough and Giles had a good memory. He wouldn’t make me pay for anything I did tonight – wouldn’t be fair – but I wasn’t keen on leaving him feeling creative when it came to restoring the balance.

I felt his tongue get rougher, long, dragging strokes against my cock, and then he bit down so that his teeth circled the base, digging in gently, and held it in place, flickering his tongue like a hummingbird’s wings but not sucking at all. Maddening, it was, and I couldn’t think, not when he was doing that....then I cottoned on to what he was doing.

“Giles. Stop arsing around and make me come. When I do is my decision right now, get it?”

True, coming after Giles had brought me to the edge and pulled me back a few times was the kind of experience that gives torture a good name, but I was willing to settle for something a bit more immediate rather than have him still trying to be the one calling the shots. Fuck. Going to have my work cut out for me here. Giles was being obedient, sucking hard, using his hands to cup my balls, letting the sensations build steadily and fast, but he was telling me, clear as day, that I was going to have to watch him.

I came, feeling Giles’ hands on me, sure and strong, holding me steady as I closed my eyes and made the sounds that try so hard to be words and never quite make it. Felt him kissing my stomach, his head resting in the hollow of my hip, his palm against my thigh.

“Come up here,” I said. I held him to me and kissed him, brushing against his lips, letting my tongue slide between them. We lay there, just kissing, his cock warm and hard against me and I was almost happy enough to just let it go at that. Almost. I think he’d have been disappointed if I had, though and I know I’d have regretted it come morning.

Gave him one last kiss, noticing that we both tasted exactly the same now, and pulled away.

“Giles. Something tells me I’m not getting your full cooperation here.”

“I don’t think that’s quite fair,” he said.

“I don’t think you get to decide, pet.” Felt his body stiffen at that. I’d called him ‘pet’ once, not even thinking about it, and he’d lectured me for five very long minutes on acceptable forms of address (‘Giles’ seemed to be about my only option as far as I could make out) and then made me bend over and touch my toes while his leather soled slipper got applied to my backside. That brought back so many memories of school I’d had a sudden yearning for crumpets and honey.

 “Go and pick up that crop you left lying on the floor. Bring it here.”

He almost argued, but he’s not stupid. Me, I’d have been reminding people about chips and trying to be distracting, but Giles just stared at me for a moment, with a question in his eyes, and then shrugged – which was going to fucking cost him – and did as I’d told him.

I held it, slapping it gently against my palm, feeling the weight of it. Then I smiled at Giles. “Lie down. On your...” I thought about it. On his back, I’d get to see his face; on his stomach, he wouldn’t know what was going to happen. Choices, choices... “On your back. Hands by your side, palms up.”

He looked fucking good lying there. Positioned by my word, vulnerable, open, cock so hard it was all I could do not to fist it until he came, with mercy so very low down on the list of motives. Instead I said, nice and soft, just the way he did to me, “Hold that position, Giles. You don’t get a second chance.”

His face seemed to shift then, as though for the first time he’d stopped playing and started behaving. Without being told, he spread his legs, just slightly, his hips lifting off the bed a bare inch in mute supplication. I gripped the crop hard enough for it to leave a mark on my palm and reminded myself of every time Giles had given me what I needed. I was beginning to see why he’d described this as hard work.

I raised the crop and brought it down, hearing it slice air and carve a path for itself. It was aimed to land across the top of Giles’ thighs, and that’s just where it hit – after I’d killed the speed at the last moment so that when it touched his skin, it was with a tap that wouldn’t have cracked open the shell on an egg. Course, Giles didn’t know that, and chip or no chip, when you’ve got something coming for your balls, you don’t think twice. His hands came up and if he’d had chance, he’d have rolled out of the way too.

I sighed sadly, shaking my head. “Going to try that again, Giles. And again, until you do as you’re told.”

He was speechless for a second and then I saw the anger rise up in his eyes and he started to struggle up. Being careful but moving fast, I pushed him back, straddling him and pinning his hands above his head. “You’re disappointing me, Giles. I expected better than this.”

“Spike, you bastard, that was ...”

“What? Not fair? Don’t even bother saying it, if that’s all you’ve got.”

Watched him struggle for control of his emotions and then he met my gaze and nodded in resignation. “Do it again.”

“Oh, I will, count on it, but not just yet. What did I tell you about second chances, Giles?”

He didn’t want to say it, but I waited and I got it from him eventually. “I don’t get them.”

“Right. Which means before we do that again, you pay for that bad behaviour.”

I moved off him and sat cross-legged beside him. “Touch yourself, Giles. Want to see how you jerk off.” He gave me a startled look. As close as we’d become, it was still something I’d never seen him do; not that I’d left him with any surplus energy. I could see him thinking that he could do it, it wasn’t so bad, and after all, he was so near to the edge that it wouldn’t take long, and he’d get to come...his hands went down, settling into place with no hesitation or fumbling, as familiar an action as cleaning his teeth. Or his bloody glasses. I let him get started and then spoke again. “And while you’re doing that, tell me what you’re thinking, Giles. Close your eyes. Tell me what you see.”

“I ... can’t.” He sounded anguished but I gripped his wrists, stilling his hands.

“Close your fucking eyes. Good. When you do this, who are you thinking about? Who’s in there with you?”

I felt the bones shift in my grip. He was getting away from self-conscious but not fast enough. I twisted around, bent down, and took the head of his cock in my mouth. One lick, one fierce, hard suck, and I pulled back. His eyes were open again and glazed, the way they get when your world’s narrowed down to the need to come and if it ends three seconds later, so fucking what.

“Giles, you need to send a thank you card to the Initiative, because if it wasn’t for this bloody chip, I’d be raising welts on your arse that’d take a week to fade. Shut your fucking eyes.”

“I’m sorry, Spike. May I – may I say something?”

“If you make it fast.” God, the sound of his voice, halting, almost hesitant...real, as nothing else he’d said had been since we started this.

“I wasn’t expecting this. Wasn’t expecting you to do more than fuck me. I wasn’t ready. Can we just start again?”

I knelt beside him and cupped his face. “Forget this punishment, you mean? Let you off it?” Shook my head. “No, and do you know why? Because you’d never forgive me. Stop fighting me, Giles. It’s not amusing me anymore. Give me what I want. Trust it to be what you need.”

He turned so that he could kiss my hand, doing it slowly enough that I could have forbidden it if I’d wanted.

Then he closed his eyes and started to talk, his hands moving slowly, not trying to rush, and I sat back, watched and listened.

“It’s not always you, you know. Not even always a man, though recently, well, when it’s you, it’s always the same; that time I came in to unchain you when you were staying here and you’d managed to get your zip down and your cock out. I shouted at you, called you every name under the sun, wouldn’t feed you for hours...and I was so hard –”

I reached out and then hesitated. He hadn’t stopped and his face was tense, a frown getting deeper. “I wanted – Spike, may I open my eyes? Please? I want to see you, I don’t need –”

I’d thought I was making it easier for him. “Open them.”

He did. Grey-green eyes. Sky and sea meeting; English sky and sea, of course...and I realised if his eyes were open he’d be able to see me, and I couldn’t look away. Being able to look made his voice smooth out, still quiet, but powerful, intense. “Wouldn’t let myself go off and do this. Scared you’d hear me and laugh, punishing myself for getting aroused by you...but when you were asleep, when I was sure, I couldn’t help it. Lay there seeing you, imagining how you’d look spread out on this bed. Everything I’ve done to you, I’ve done first in my dreams, Spike. Hating you, angry with you sometimes, despising myself, but loving it all the more. I’d come with your voice echoing in my head, begging me to hurt you, begging for release.” His hands paused and I could see he was close. “I don’t do that now, Spike.” He grinned wryly. “Don’t do this much either; you tend to take care of me too well for it to be necessary, but sometimes- ” His hand moved, as though his body was impatient and he gasped silently, driving his teeth into his lip. “Sometimes I do and it’s never about hurting you now. It’s the way you look when I’m in you. Should see yourself, Spike. Should see – oh God, yes!”

I was on him as he came, kissing him, taking in every word, feeling them feed me, fill me. His hands, sticky and wet, came up to hold me and I felt my face shift. He looked at me and begged, no other word for it, pure need and appeal. “Fuck me, Spike.”

Looked at him, seeing him as the demon did, feeling the lust rise. “Like this?” I demanded.

He ran his finger over my mouth and thrust it inside. I felt the skin tear and the drops of blood well up. I waited for him to snatch it back but he didn’t. My hand went around his wrist and I pulled, careful not to hurt him anymore. I held his hand and stared down at the gash, letting the blood trickle and drip.

“Spike?” He sounded hurt, confused and I couldn’t stand it. Bent my head and licked it clean with three eager laps of my tongue, and then turned and grabbed a handful of tissues from the box beside the bed and held them in place until it had stopped bleeding.

“I don’t understand. If I offer it, it doesn’t hurt you, does it?”

“No. Just don’t want to think of you that way, Giles. Not as food. Just as you.” I grinned down at him. “This your way of distracting me? Picked up some of my tricks?”

The worry vanished from his face. “If you think you ever succeed in your attempts to avoid well-deserved punishment, Spike, you can think again.”

I reached out and found the crop. “Fine. Neither will you.” I ran the crop across his leg, watched him shiver. “You’re out of position, Giles.”

I used that crop on him for a long time, flicking the skin, stroking it, teasing his cock and balls until he was hard again and then not going near them after that. Had him on his back, on his stomach, kneeling up with it across his throat as I knelt behind him, making him twist his head around so his lips were there for me to kiss, on all fours as I posed him, made him hold a position until his body was trembling and his eyes were wild because the crop wouldn’t let him be, wouldn’t leave him alone...

I laid the crop aside eventually and looked down at Giles. His eyes were open but he wasn’t focusing on anything. When I touched him, laying the flat of my hand against his face, about the only part of him I’d avoided, I felt his skin quiver as he unclenched his teeth.

“You did well, Giles,” I said, pitching my voice low, though the room was so quiet it sounded loud. “Never flinched, not once, never moved. Proud of you.”

His eyes closed for a moment and when they opened, he was there again. I nodded. “You can move now and talk, if you want. Take a minute, yeah?”

If he’d rolled away from me, I’d have broken right then, would have known I’d failed him. But he didn’t. He came to me, curling into me, wrapping his arms around me. He was taller, heavier but lying down it didn’t matter. Kissed him and held him, running my hand over his back, warm and damp, his skin alive, humming with sensation.

He hadn’t come and I hadn’t let him. I was done playing now. I wanted him.

“Giles? Look at me. It’s getting late. You’re tired. Going to fuck you to sleep, right?”

“Why does the thought of you in me not make me feel remotely sleepy?”

“Because thoughts and cocks are two different things altogether, Giles.”

Cracked him up. He stared at me and started to laugh, his head going back. Wouldn’t stop giggling, so I shut him up by pushing him onto his stomach and running my hand over his arse. When he felt my finger press against his opening, he went quiet.

“Tell me, Giles,” I said, reaching over for the lube and noticing with relief, that it was nearly full, “how long has it been since you did this?”

Drizzled lube over him, holding his cheeks apart with one hand. That got a flinch from him as the cool wetness hit his skin. He felt warm, fever –hot and I didn’t know whether to curse the chip because I wanted to fuck him till he saw stars, or be glad that it would make sure I didn’t hurt him. Not that a bit of pain’s always a bad thing ...and if the fucking thing couldn’t tell that anything I did, I was doing for him...oh bollocks.

“Giles? How long?” Slid one finger in. Tight and he was tensing up...

“Long time,” he said. He wasn’t relaxing enough. Fuck. I bent forward, keeping my hand where it was, and kissed him as far up his back as I could reach, long, soft kisses, running my tongue over his skin, tasting the salt, whispering to him, telling him what I was going to do, how he looked, how he felt, how he tasted.

 “Going to move in you so slowly, Giles, until I’m in you and there’s nothing outside, nothing left out. Think I could come just from that, just from sliding inside you and feeling your heat around me, feeling you squeeze me, but I won’t. I’ll pull out, and you’ll make that noise, the one I make, even though I know you’ll be back in me in a second, even though you never pull out altogether. Going to have to go fast too. Want to slam into you, Giles. You’ll need that, you want that edge, that power, just the way I do, want to feel it build and crash over you, take you under until everything’s gone but the darkness and my cock in you, always in you. So relax, Giles; that’s it. Let me fuck you. Trust me. I want you. Won’t hurt you. Don’t let me hurt you, Giles.”

That last bit - I was warning him but I didn’t need to. The chip would slap my wrist before Giles could speak, but some part of me needed to tell him and to make sure he was on guard.

Felt the tension subside and added a second finger, moving so slowly, so carefully that I was trembling. I was as turned on as he was and the demon was screaming at me to take him, tear him open, feed. At times like that, I could feel the control slipping and I wondered what would happen when I was in him. He’d kept me safe; made me safe; he wouldn’t be able to do that now.

“Spike?” He murmured it so low, I could hardly hear him. “Trust you. Always have since you saved me.”

I slid into him a moment later and felt him help me, felt him move and tilt his hips, watched his hands fist the quilt and heard the sounds he made as I moved inside him.

It couldn’t last long, not the way we both felt, but I got to go slow and I got to make him beg for me to fuck him hard, harder, please, with the last word a howl of anguished need that pierced me the way a stake will one day, sending me out of my body and somewhere new. Felt myself start to come, that tightening, that pause just before it’s all too much and your body isn’t yours to control anymore. Managed to slide my hand under him and felt his cock leap and shoot as soon as I touched it, as if he’d been waiting for me, waiting for permission.

I remember lying there with him, afterwards, cleaned up, because we needed to, just talking. There had to be something, a bridge between what we’d done and what we’d do tomorrow and that was it. Didn’t talk about our feelings, or even what we’d just done, though I don’t recall a moment when he stopped touching me with his hand or his mouth, almost as if he was scared I’d vanish. Felt the same way. Relaxed, sure; could still feel the warmth I got when I came, same as the way it felt when I fed...but a little shy maybe.

The talking stopped after a while. Started kissing instead, feeling it build up, feeling that sharp pull of need. Didn’t need words, didn’t need to bargain; Giles moved on top of me and we fucked, face to face, no orders, no constraints, just us.

Felt good. Not for always, no; too soon. Maybe someday we could be like this and it would work. Didn’t know – but right then, it felt good and that was enough.


He woke me the next morning, just before he left to go to the shop. I squinted up at him; shaved and fresh, shirt and tie, ironed and pressed and remembered how it’d felt when that body was naked under mine, how that cool voice had shattered as he screamed my name, just as I’d wanted him to. He’d given me everything and he’d fallen asleep with me holding him. I could still taste his blood, was lying in sheets that smelled of come and sweat. He didn’t, not now. Soap and toothpaste and coffee. Morning scents.

“I’m leaving now, Spike. You may rest a while longer, but I expect you at the shop as soon as the sunset permits.” His gaze wandered over me, speculative and amused. “Last night was interesting, but –”

“Back to normal today.”

“Quite.” He grinned suddenly. “At least I know what to give you for your birthday. When is that, by the way?”

I thought about it. “What’s the date today?”

“The seventh of July.”

Grinned back. “Must have been the sixth then.”

He frowned. “You don’t want-?”

Shook my head. “Do want to try that again, just ...not for a while. Christmas, maybe?”

He looked at me and nodded. “Save me wrapping something up, anyway,” he muttered.

I smirked. “Don’t count on that, Giles.”

His eyes narrowed and his hand went to his tie, loosening it. “You’re going to be late, Giles,” I warned, as his jacket landed on a chair.

“I’m not going anywhere until you swear you won’t attach ribbons, bows, tinsel or mistletoe to any part of my anatomy.”

Sighed regretfully. “You’ll have to make me.”

His eyebrow arched. “That’s why I love you.”

He made me. That’s why I love him. And when I thought about him saying that, telling me for the first time, I realised he’d been saying it since the start.

Part Twelve

Giles stirred beside me in the crypt and I looked across at him. Six months...been some changes but no regrets. He brushed his hand across mine and then we began to get dressed.

“Ready to go back home?”

“If you are. Seemed quiet out there, so I think we can skip any more patrolling. Nothing you need from here?”

I glanced around and shrugged. “No; I’m ready.” We walked to the door and I stopped him. “Giles?”

He turned his head. “Yes, Spike?”

“I love you.”

He blinked and looked at me. “You’ve never said it quite like that before,” he said softly. “Those exact words.”

“Tell me? Please?”

He brought his hand to my lips, running his fingers over them and then slipping his hand behind my neck and pulling me to him. “I love you.”

No regrets.


I watched Giles sleep, a few weeks later, chewing my lip, trying to make up my mind. Giles had rules about when he was to be woken and how; never before the alarm, unless I wanted him in a bad mood, and if it was after, and I’d let him sleep in, I had to make being late for work worthwhile. I guessed, this being Christmas, he’d let me off waking him early, especially if I made the how as good as I could. He’d ended up sleeping facing away from me, sprawled out on his stomach. I eased the covers off him, studying the bruises left three nights ago when a demon slammed him hard against a wall, and pulled them down even further until his arse was bare. No marks on that, though I’d have given a lot to have been able to leave some. He made a sleepy, grumbling noise as the cool air tickled him and I grinned. Awake. If he’d really still been asleep he’d have – a hand lashed out and grabbed me by the wrist and he spoke without opening his eyes or turning his head.

“It’s the middle of the night, Spike. If the house isn’t burning, your backside will be.”

“And happy fucking Christmas to you, too.” I said.

The grip on my wrist tightened. “Rules don’t apply today? Is that it?”

“You tell me.”

He rolled over, blinking his eyes and grinning up at me, looking sharp and edgy and fucking sexy. “Some do.”

Slid his hand behind my head and pulled me to him for a kiss, making it hard and making it sweet. The kiss ended and I started to move, wanting to show him what I could do when I put my mind to it. Stopped me, giving me one last kiss, nipping my lip with his teeth. “Lie back and think of England, Spike. Or don’t you want your first present?”

Caught me by surprise, and I let him push me to my back and move down my body, his mouth eager and warm, getting to where he wanted to be but taking the long way around. His mouth closed around my cock and I just managed to ask: “Are they all going to be like this?” Couldn’t talk after that. Not with his tongue swirling around and my cock hitting the back of his throat every time his head moved down on it. It wasn’t that he never did this to me, but not like this. He did it his way; staying in control and making me stay that way too. Now it felt more as if he was just giving me the chance to decide how it happened.

Felt him chuckle, which made his teeth scrape down the sides of my shaft. Too good to bear, and I reached down and put my hands on his head, holding it still as I rocked my hips slowly, fucking his mouth nice and easy, wishing I could reach more of him. He’d taught me to be patient over the months and I didn’t rush and he didn’t try to make me. I felt his face flush hot between my hands and spread my legs wider. “Use your hands, Giles” I whispered. His hand cupped my balls, rolling them and tugging gently and I felt them tighten. Then his finger slipped back and nudged against me, slipping inside just a little and I stopped caring about patience.

After I came, after the darkness got starry and he took every drop, I said, “You didn’t forget about us changing places sometime then.”

I hadn’t been ready for that in the summer. Not ready for moving past what we had when it was working and I could see him getting back that certainty that let him deal with everything that came at him and stay Giles, stay whole. Not ready to risk losing what we had. I’d gambled away money and never cared what side the die landed on, or what picture smirked up from a flipped card, but I wasn’t risking losing Giles. Fuck. I’d be warming his slippers by the fire at this rate...

He nodded. “You said, ‘Not now; maybe at Christmas’. I decided that would do nicely.”

I ran a hand over his chest as he lay beside me. “So you’re mine for the day?”

Felt him smile even though I don’t know how I knew. “Yes and no.”


“I am, but I suspect you might be hampered by our visitors?”

I stared at him. “Oh, fuck, Giles. That’s just cruel. Can’t we do this tomorrow instead? Once they turn up, it’ll be hands off, right?”

“No. Has to be today. I’ve got plans for tomorrow.”


“You’ll find out.”

He looked solemn but he was holding back a grin. I snorted. “Fine. I’ll get it out of you another way.” Wrapped my hand around him and started to move, loving the way he arched up into my fist. Stopped about three seconds in. “What’s going on?”

“Don’t stop,” he said. Pause. “Please?”

When Giles is meek, I know I can’t trust him. Never. I growled and jerked him off so hard the chip sparked faintly in a warning. Pity. He was making some lovely noises, whimpers and moans, chanting my name... slid down and used my mouth on him instead, finishing him off, feeling him flood my mouth as he came hard, heels pushing down against the mattress, fingers curled into my shoulders deep enough to mark me.

We lay still for a while, and I listened to his hammering heart slow down and steady and forgot about tomorrow, plans and visitors. Our eyes met and we grinned at each other. Still early, but it was one of the best Christmases I’d had in more years than Giles had fingers and toes.

He flicked on the bedside light and squinted at the clock. “Nearly nine,” he said. “Not so early, after all.”

He reached into the drawer in the table by the bed and pulled something out. A flat box in a dark wood, unwrapped. He hesitated and then placed it between us.

“What is it?” I asked, feeling the uncertainty coming off him. Giles didn’t do uncertain, not with me.

He looked at me. “You might not want this. It’s not something I’d force on you but we’re coming to the end of our arrangement, aren’t we?”

I stared at him, trying not to react. Giles wouldn’t tell me he wanted me gone, not like this, but what the fuck was he – oh.

“It’s been almost six months?”

“More or less.”

I thought back to the night in the crypt when I’d challenged him, kept him with me – with us, and the way I’d set it up.

<i>“I bet in six months I can make you want to live again. If I lose, I’ll help you die; even fix it so you can go out against a real big nasty and I’ll lie to them all so they won’t know you did it on purpose.”</i>

So, if the time was almost up, well, I knew he didn’t want to die, but where did that leave me? He’d told me he loved me but I’d heard that before from people who’d walked away from me.

The warmth of the bed and his body beside me wasn’t enough to stop the chill from spreading. “Got to know, Giles. You sending me away? You want this to end?”

His eyes went wide with astonishment. “I must be remarkably poor at showing my emotions, if that’s the impression I’ve given you,” he said.

Smiled at him, still feeling as if I’d been drenched in ice-water. “Then this is either my own door key...”


“Or a collar.”

Don’t know where that guess came from, but it stopped being a guess as soon as I saw his reaction. I watched his hand tighten around the box for a moment then he flipped open the lid and I looked at the black curve of leather and the dull gleam of a silver buckle.

“Why did you get me this, Giles?”

He tilted his head and looked at me. “Because you’re mine, Spike. I wanted you to have something tangible to remind you of that. I don’t expect or even want you to wear it in public, but even if you choose not to wear it, if that’s taking this further than you want, I’m still going to fuck you once with it around your neck, Spike. Because that’s been all I’ve been thinking about since I got it, to be honest.” He let one finger slide across my throat, the rough skin on the finger tip from playing the guitar, catching and dragging, making me lift my chin, inviting more. His whole hand closed around my neck, holding me without force, and I closed my eyes until it slipped away.

Then I picked up the box and took out the collar, feeling the leather, supple and strong. It was smooth against my hand, heavier than it looked, and I still couldn’t speak, couldn’t say anything. This was Giles telling me that it wasn’t going to end, telling me that he wanted me and I was lost. If he’d sent me away, told me he could manage without me now, I could have been angry, hurt but I’d have known how to deal with that. Nothing new about feeling rejected. Everything new about being wanted.

Giles sighed. “Or maybe I’m not. Forgive –”

“Shut up, Giles.” The words came out, hurting my throat because it was closing up with tears I wasn’t going to let him see, and they had to fight past them to be heard. “You don’t say that, ever. Not when you’re telling me you want me. You want to fuck me when I’m wearing your collar? Do you know how that makes me feel?”

He shook his head and I was on him, pushing him back, my hands slamming down beside his head. “Owned, Giles. It makes me feel fucking owned.” I ghosted a kiss against his lips even as I thrust forward, rubbing my cock against the groove between his hip and stomach. “Does this feel like I hate that idea?” Carried on with the whispered kisses and hard, sliding thrusts of my cock until he was moving his head, trying to get to my mouth. I let him, biting down as much as I was allowed. “Does it, Giles?”

“No,” he whispered. He kissed me then, one hand around my back, the other busy, reaching for the bottle of lube, slicking up his fingers one-handed. I felt cool fingers against me, oiled and slippery, and cried out as his hands pulled me open and slicked fingers slid deep. Then he held his cock steady and guided me so that it was resting against me in a moment that seemed never ending as the pressure built. He slid inside me slowly, inch by inch. I didn’t want it slow, not then. He pushed up into me again, just as I slammed down and the pain was swallowed in the pleasure, feeding it like kindling feeds a flame and we were moving together.

The collar was lost in the covers but it didn’t matter. I didn’t think Giles would make it into a ceremony when he put it on me  – not his style at all – and neither of us was in any state to be fussing with buckles. Then my hand brushed against it and I came, howling, at the touch of the leather and felt Giles writhe under me as he followed me.

I lay against him, feeling his arms holding me, not letting go. After a while he said, “I didn’t mean for you to feel owned, precisely, you know.”

I leaned up on my elbow and looked down at him, reaching out to stroke his face, making it gentle. “No? What then?” Didn’t matter. I knew how I felt.

He turned his face into my hand and kissed it. His mouth was warm, lingering against my palm and then he moved his head enough to murmur, “Loved.”

The moment hung, as fragile as a glass ornament on a tree, and then the alarm went off.

“What did you set it for?” I grumbled, almost grateful that we’d moved past the emotion.  “Even Anya can’t expect you to open the shop today before you cook her Christmas pudding for her.”

“Because I had a feeling that this would happen,” he answered. “Us in bed, not wanting to get out of it; five people about to arrive, laden with presents and expecting dinner at some point before the sun sets. I’ve got a turkey to cook.” He rolled out of bed and reached for his robe.

I knew why they were coming and why he wouldn’t let me persuade them not to; first Christmas after Buffy’s death, too many memories, have it at Giles’ instead; understood it just fine. Still hated it happening. Giles was looking at me, resigned, a little bit of the gilt rubbed off his gingerbread. Oh, fuck it.

I went over to him, kissed him hard. “Where’s a blizzard when you need one? If I can’t do this much when they arrive, expect me to make the most of you now.”

He kissed me back, taking his time. “If you’re not too full to do more than sleep, they’ll be leaving well before bed time, I’m sure.”

“Harris won’t leave while there’s still an After Eight in the box,” I predicted. “So, how much time do we have?”

“I told them to come around eleven. Thought we could have breakfast in bed but ...”

“I think we did,” I said, getting the eye roll I expected. “You have the first shower. I’ll...I dunno. What do you do with a fucking, frozen hunk of meat anyway?”

“It’s not frozen anymore and you do what I did before I came upstairs last night. It’s all ready; just needs taking out of the ...” He paused and looked at me doubtfully. “You have the first shower,” he decided. “I’ll start it off. How are you at peeling potatoes?”


“Good. You’ll have an ideal opportunity to practice. I want mashed and roasted so we’ll need plenty.”



“Don’t you want your present?”

He paused, letting the hurry and stress drop away, and smiled at me. “You have a – I wasn’t expecting you to – well.”

Loved seeing him like that, all pleased and confused. “It’s not much. Tell you what; let’s get ready first and –” He glared at me, folding his arms, and I grinned. “Were you like this when you were little? All impatient?”

He reached for me, hands sliding down my back, bending his head and biting at my shoulder, just where he knows I like it, just hard enough to hurt. “I’ve learned to wait.” Not wrong there. “Doesn’t mean I will.”

Took a gamble. “Oh, you will.” I took a fistful of hair and pulled his head up, then craned my neck to look at the marks his teeth had left. “You can kiss that better, for a start.” His eyes widened as if he hadn’t really expected me to take over his role for real, but he shifted his shoulders in the smallest of shrugs and kissed me obediently. After that, he arched his neck as if he expected my hand to fall away. It didn’t. “And I think, as time’s running short, we’ll shower together.” He looked as if he was going to argue; there wasn’t really enough room for both of us in there, but I laid a finger over his lips and shook my head. “No more arguing, Giles. We’ll be ready for them when they come, and you’ll get your present before they do, but for now? You’re mine.”

Waited, letting my face look calm, not allowing the possibility that he would disobey to cross my mind.

“Yes, Spike.”

I let go of him and kissed him lightly, approvingly. Then I undid his belt, walked behind him and pulled his robe off. Felt soft in my hands, warm from his body and I wondered if he knew how often I curled up with it in my arms when he’d gone to work, needing it to let me go back to sleep. I put it on and told him to fasten the belt, enjoying seeing his fingers fumble with the knot. It was a little big on me and I had to roll up the sleeves.

“Walk down the stairs in front of me. Slowly.”

He shuddered and his head dropped just a little. Didn’t need to look to know how hard he was. I’d felt it happen when I stripped him and I knew he was imagining the view I’d have in a moment. So was I. Could keep him naked all day and never get tired of looking at him, of touching him, light, soft, little touches when he was blindfolded until a feather felt like a strap, until the scrape of a fingernail was cause for crying out in shock.

Would have too. Would have done so fucking much to him and with him. Would have made this – ah, hell with it. He wanted turkey, he’d get it. Eventually. There was just enough time; wasn’t like they’d starve if they ate an hour later...

“Off you go, then.”

He set off in silence and I let him get half way down the stairs before I halted him, resting a finger on his shoulder. “Are you forgetting that I told you to go slowly, Giles?”

“No. I was going –”

My hand was over his mouth before he finished. “Because it’s a special day, you get another chance. One. Try again.” I let my hand drop and waited.

“I’m sorry.”

“That’s not answering my question.”

“No, I didn’t forget, Spike.”

“I didn’t think you had. Not really had time to, have you? So that means you were disobeying me. Turn around.”

He did and his face...did I look like that when I was obeying him and trying to be perfect, then finding out it hadn’t been enough? How the hell did he manage to fuck me after the punishment and not right then and there? I stepped back up one stair and then another and crooked my finger. He was fighting this, getting overwhelmed by it in a way I hadn’t expected. Easy to say I was in charge but last time had been different; he’d been feeling guilty as hell and it was a good way of calming him down. I decided, slightly regretfully, that we’d have to stop this changing places. All or nothing. He couldn’t give me a collar one minute and then have me giving orders the next. Too confusing. Then I looked at him and knew I wasn’t going to tell him that right away. Not when he was giving me so much of himself. He’d lost his control and it was showing in his face, making him look younger. And even if he was being obedient he still looked unpredictable. Loved that about him. Like playing with a kitten and finding out it was a tiger cub when it clawed you deep. Safe wasn’t something I had a lot of use for and Giles was never all that safe. I trusted him but I never made the mistake of thinking he was tame.

“Penalty, Giles. You’re going to have to start again. Up you go.” I moved to the side, so that he had to brush past me, and slapped his backside as he went past. I knew him; I could smack him soft enough not to trigger the chip and he’d still react as if I’d laid a cane across his arse. Grinned when his fists clenched and did it again. He walked to the top, turned and walked down to me, taking it slowly, watching my face and waiting for the signal that he could move down a step. When he was standing beside me again I kissed him, murmuring, “Don’t move,” just before my mouth closed over his. Kissed him while he stood still, resisted the urge to feel his cock in my hand and then wondered why and let my hand drift down. His stomach muscles jumped as my fingers tickled and teased but not enough for it to count as moving. Then his tongue slid into my mouth, darting and desperate, as I took hold of him, feeling him fight not to drive his hips forward. Now that counted.

I let go of him and sighed regretfully. “Not moving means all of you, Giles.” I ran a finger over the head of his cock. Wet enough to coat my finger, but it wouldn’t have mattered if it hadn’t been; like the slap, this was symbolic. I held the finger out and told him to lick it clean; making him keep his head in place so he could only use the tip of his outstretched tongue. He was breathing hard by the time I said he could stop, face hot and so fucking ready ...wanted him more than I ever had, wanted to be off these stairs, with him bent over that couch, his hands where mine had worn holes, waiting for me to fuck him. Life really should be that simple.

“Walk. Slowly.”

He lifted his chin, catching his breath, and then moved past me and down. When he stepped onto the floor he paused and looked up at me, waiting for instructions.

“If I kissed you, do you think we’d make it to the shower?”

He considered it. “Eventually.”

“Yeah. No kissing. Shower, teeth, all the rest of it...clothes, food...we don’t have time to kiss. Fuck. OK, time out and we’ll forget showering together.”

I shrugged out of the robe and held it out to him. “I’ll be fast. Promise.”

He pulled it on, taking his time, and turned towards the kitchen. I went past him and his hand halted me.

“Giles? Thought we decided...”

“That you have no self control? I knew that already. I, on the other hand, can kiss you – which will take thirty seconds at most – and let you carry on to the shower with no more time wasted.”

“Oh, you can, can you? Go on then.”

Infuriating, that grin he gets. He moved in, stopped with his mouth a bare inch away from mine and then dropped down and took my cock in his hand. “Start counting to thirty, Spike.”

Well, if he was going to cheat... “Just kisses, Giles. And if you can’t make me -”

“You’re wasting time.”

His first kiss was on the head of my cock, tongue darting out to lap at it, then pulling back, teasing and tormenting so I forgot what came after ‘one’.

But after ‘twenty’ I didn’t need to count anymore.

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