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Loyal and Gentle


by
Josie_H



Part Seven

In the wake of the sudden revelation that he actually did enjoy male/male relations… the golf game was both triumph and disaster.

The triumph? His nether regions had been allowed to be covered (as was custom for pets on the exclusive golf course) The disaster? The tight pouch that now covered his manhood and sac really didn’t cover the fact that his body seemed to be responding to a certain undead person’s cool touch more and more!

In the end, he was simply pleased that his nether regions were somewhat hidden... even if his excitement was obviously straining against a covering that was about as large as one of his Nanna’s home knitted socks!

They arrived at the course on time, and Xander found himself strangely moved by the envious looks on the faces of a number of humans tethered to a purpose built bar outside the clubhouse. They were swiftly ushered through.

Despite Angelus being a life member, anyone with human or other species pet at heel still had to take their meal in the ‘beer garden’.

Xander knew the rules in public and had been a quick study with Master Reginald, so knelt at his Master’s feet as they found Angelus’ table. The demon he was speaking to soon made himself scarce as the Master’s Childe arrived.

“The play ground here is a real treat Spike. Let your pet have his head occasionally Childe!... Here I’ll clip them together if it makes ya feel better.”

“Naah Mate don’t worry… for all ‘is skittishness, I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

“My lovely Luka… you could na ask fer better! Ya know Clarissa’s found ‘im two bitches for next year… As much as I’d like ta box her ears occasionally, there’s no doubtin’ it! She gets the best of the best. The strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes… It’s all good – and she swears by the breeder’s line. Reckons they’re all the affectionate type…. Anyway… let the boys go for a run…”

Xander noticed Angelus absently unclipping an obviously unnecessary and very long lead attaching his pet’s collar to the table, then felt strong hands unclip his own followed by a sharp smack on his behind.

“Well go on Pet!”

Xander saw Angelus’ pet wink at him then take off toward an enclosed space that looked like a bizarre version of a kiddies’ indoor play ground. He had no choice but to follow and gritted his teeth as he too pushed through the gate that he knew they would be compelled to stand at until Angelus and Spike were ready to retrieve them.

But in the end, it wasn’t all that bad… He hadn’t realized that Luka too was permanently silent but in a way it made the whole experience easier. Luka and he pushed each other on swings – something he had forgotten felt so good; they slid down huge slides together and chased each other all over the purpose built pet play castle. Eventually however, Angelus and Spike were ready for golf and Angelus whistled.

Xander was but moments behind his friend and felt strangely moved by Luka’s hand sliding into his and squeezing what was obviously a hard thank you, before they both followed their Masters out to the first tee.


<<<<<<<<<<<<< <<<<<<<<<<<


Luka was far better at retrieving balls from the rough – but Spike was the superior golfer on the day so the newer pet didn’t feel too inadequate. And at the end of the day, when Angel (who came in twenty over the card) began to show off his pet’s skills at putting, Spike stepped up behind his pet and simply said, “Just give it a shot hey pet.”

If there was one thing he and his construction boss in Sunnydale always agreed upon, it was the merits of a good golf game as a business building strategy. Xander even being gifted with ten professional lessons as his last Christmas bonus, something he never admitted to Anya who would inevitably have cashed them in!

And it was odd to think of Anya now. As he watched Luka putt and saw his Master vampire, Angelus, congratulate him, Xander idly wondered who Anya might have found to give her orgasms now…

He was jolted out of his reverie by a putter being shoved into his hands. “You’re up Pet.”

The putter was not quite the length or weight he was used to, however after the initial pass, he acquitted himself extremely well. Just a little too well in fact. And as they climbed back into the car, and Spike strapped him into his safety harness, just that little bit too harshly, Xander realized his error.

“Master?”

“You ‘n me are goin’ home for a good ol’ chin wag! And this time… this time you come clean… understood. I may’ve taken the credit fer your performance there, but I never bloody taught you to do that!"

Xander’s private parts shrunk along with the little bit of pride he had gained from the evening.

He pushed miserably back into the leather of the seat and pushed into his restraints. In an odd way he wished that was all he had to do. That bit was so easy and he really did… just want to please Spike. If this was his life, then… that was his only purpose yet just as he was getting used to the idea...

The trip home was done in utter silence and Xander released from this harness with angry hands and not a word. He followed Spike into the house miserably only to be pinned to the wall the instant they were inside and had felt the fangs slice his throat and his Master begin to feed hard and fast.

Once more, in what felt like his last moments, Xander simply sent love and gratitude for his Master… or more than that … his lover. Thanks for the happy times, and for the love he had been given by a most attentive and patient… Spike.

He relaxed into what he thought would be oblivion but Spike’s fangs withdrew and his now slack mouth was filled with blood. He absently wondered if he was being turned, but knew that couldn’t be right – he could still feel his own pulse thrumming steadily in ears indeed only vaguely registered other sounds now. But something had definitely shifted inside somehow and Spike’s voice sounded like liquid chocolate, or perhaps he was the chocolate and melting into the voice – he couldn’t really be sure.

Spike waited for a few moments until his felt the reclaiming of his Pet occur. He should have known. Even with an initial claiming there had to be followup. But at least now he would learn the truth.

He caressed his beloved Pet’s cheek, “Pet… Xan? C’mon Luv… I just need a couple of details then we can rest yeah? You feelin’ better?”

Strangely enough, as Xander lay utterly listless and at the mercy of an unfettered vampire master, he did feel… better, so nodded just enough.

“I need to know where you learned to play golf and to read… Was it in that other place?”

Xander scanned his memories of golf courses and book reading and traced it all back to his before life but couldn’t quite get his mouth around words yet so simply nodded again.

“Now Pet I want you to think really hard, and I know you can count to ten so… here’s the thing… And you poor boy… my dear Pet… please try for Master… How long were you in the other place? I know time moves differently – well at least according to the mages… so… Can you tell Master? Was it one month? Two? Years?”

In Xander’s haze he heard years and nodded.

“Oh Ghaaahhh… I knew it! How many my darling? Show me with your fingers how many…?”

Xander knew it was important but couldn’t quite work out how to tell Spike twenty four so simply extended all his fingers, at which point Spike gasped but also knew he had to ask.

“And they made you learn to read?” Nod

“And to wear clothes?” Nod

“Did they make you work?” Nod, and Xander shed a single tear as he realized again that his pride and joy had once been his job. The tear was utterly misinterpreted.

“And did you lie with women?” Nod, and Xander another tear as he absently worried about Anya. Again Spike was more than certain of the cause and cursed every dimensional rift he had ever heard of.

“You learned golf in this dimension?” Xander nodded a little.

“Now pet – think really carefully – did you have a true Master in this realm?” Xander thought for a moment, he really had been his own Master in his past life, so shook his head a little – which made his world spin for some reason, so ceased the movement as swiftly as he’d started.

As Spike saw his pet’s reaction to the question it simply confirmed all the vampire’s deepest fears. His pet had been thrust into a world where he had obviously been without an owner, forced to live on his wits and finally falling in with some rogue trainer who had taught him enough skills to be of value and earn his keep.

There was one last thing he needed to know, the question that would either cause his pet to be put down or give Spike the courage to continue rehabilitating his long time human pet. “When you were there Pet… Are you with me, cause this is important… when you were there, in that other place, did you have to sleep with other men? Did you service other men?

Unfortunately Xander’s pause was more due to lack of blood and lassitude than reluctance, but Spike’s demon was on the rise.


<<<<<<<<<<<<< <<<<<<<<<<<


Xander had filled two full books of coloring in over the next few days, signing each one carefully “I love u a lot from Pet X”, or “for Mastr S love Pet X” on every one.

After their night out, Willow noted the subtle shift from committed pet to besotted lover first, but held her tongue as she watched Xander attempting to teach the neighbor’s girls to braid hair.

As Dawn knocked and (knowing the door was never locked) entered the house, Xander rose to meet her.

He now knew not to kneel when there were others (of any species) present, other than Spike’s staff, but still stood head bowed at the doorway as she entered. She patted his arm then realized he wanted to ask something, but would never dream of requesting without permission.

Dawn recognized the uncomfortable silence and also saw Willow’s pleading look from the door of the kitchen and the mouthed “Please!”

“Hi Xan. What is it you need? Xan? Do you need me for something? Please talk to me, it’s OK?”

“I wish to demonstrate how to braid hair, Key Dawn. It seems that the human p… children Carry and Teresa out of our neighbors have never been taught. And I … I wonder if you would object to your hair being braided? Master Spike is still asleep so I am sorry he is not the one to ask you.” The request was immediately fulfilled, and within a half hour, Dawn was the owner of an amazing six twist braid by resident hairdresser dubbed ‘Monsieur Xander’ by all in the household.

Xander really couldn’t understand all the fuss – it was standard pet training to learn to braid. It was actually something he missed, living with Master Spike but now, like so many other joys that had been recently delivered, he had it back as every one of Spike’s staff lined up to be ‘braided’.

When the house was to themselves the women and Spike had become entirely used to Pet!Xander’s need for kind touches and reassurance. Indeed if Willow thought about it for long enough, she realized it was rubbing off on all of them. But Xander was the master operator when it came to extracting a quiet pet or a cuddle. If someone was on the couch watching television he would quietly push his beanbag close enough to be within touch, then try to catch their eye until invited to lie on the couch and receive the contact he so needed.

Whenever Spike was around there was no holding Xander back. Other than when directly instructed to the contrary, he was the perfect pet, kneeling or lying at Master’s side, following at a respectful distance, or (whenever in private) servicing Master as needed. Yet it was still a surprise at the greeting afforded a certain LA vampire come detective when he and Cordy arrived at the door.

Spike had finally asked Angel’s assistance to ‘shift’ some of his Gem of Amara material via their mutual contacts in Switzerland but it was Angel who held the bank accounts for the Aurelians since the demise of Darla and in order to move gems of such value one needed a ‘guarantor’.

The conversation was never going to be an easy one, but Spike was fairly certain that when he saw the boy and came to learn the extent of Spike’s now handicap – the debilitating chip – that he would be willing to assist. Spike needed some sort of starting point to fund he and the boy’s existence.

Xander couldn’t believe Master Angelus had come to visit! The Grand Sire – and with such a pretty pet (though afterwards he did reflect that perhaps it was just as well since she seemed to be rather badly behaved).

He was in a quandary as to what to do when Master Angelus entered the house, but knew he was all too overexcited so stopped trying to think. He first dropped to a kneel beside Master Spike but when Master Angelus looked puzzled revised the move and fell to a full down position, hoping to show Master Angelus how pleased he was that they had been graced with his company after so long.

His Master approved and touched him on the shoulder as the group left the hallway to sit down in the lounge and discuss matters.

Xander frowned a little as the female Cordy failed to kneel but understood as she went to “fix some refreshments and find Willow”. Suddenly he realized – she was a servant – not a pet… no collar! He felt a little silly but followed Master then took up his position on his bean bag.

The negotiations seemed long and involved, and he struggled to stay awake for a while but in the end simply let his mind drift, tugging his teddy tight to him as Master’s hand found its way into his hair and he delighted in the relief of not having to practice his reading for the afternoon.

When Master Angelus patted him at the end of their meeting, Xander was on the brink of tears.

He had finally done something very well for Master! Master’s grandsire was impressed enough to touch him and then had hugged Master! He resolved to try extra hard as he pleased Master that night – and it truly was a shower to remember as far as Spike was concerned – though he couldn’t quite work out the reason for the extra special enthusiasm on the part of his Pet. Still never being the vampire to refuse a spectacular round of sex, he took it ‘in his stride’ so to speak.


<<<<<<<<<<<<< <<<<<<<<<<<


Willow and the other girls, even Angel and Cordy knew, and now he too accepted, this Xander was an innocent without adult sensibilities as they knew them, he was from another dimension, bred and trained for a purpose, but despite that, one William the Bloody had committed himself to protect and love him until one or both of them were dust, and Spike was not one to renege on such a commitment.





Part Eight

The issue of lying with men had been resolved when Spike grabbed him hard by the scrotum and demanded an
answer. Even though half drained, that got Xander’s full attention. He knew the vampire could literally tear them off if he so chose.

“Did they? Hmmm? Did you lie with men? Prostrate yourself to false Masters? Well??”

Xander was staring into the extremely angry golden eyes of a master vampire and despite his weakened state, finally managed to find his voice, “Nnnnooo Master!!!… No! Oh pleeeee Mas-hmmmpfh, Master… only been you… only ever you… oh Ghhhh… pllll… if you’re… kill me… pleee jussss…”

As Spike growled again and edged his fangs closer to scent the human pet one more time, just to satisfy himself, Xander shamed himself again. He would have shown restraint but his body was on autopilot and tears began to flow liberally.

The vampire’s demon was more than satisfied however, blood and tears told him his Pet was telling the truth and Spike’s vampire withdrew, leaving the human faced Spike to gently lift his dear damaged Pet.

He lowered Xander into a warm bath and left him to Panna’s capable ministrations, before heading toward the ‘bad side’ of town to kill a few things!

His dear pet, who he thought had only suffered for a short while, had been in that horrible dimension for so long, wandering alone.

As he snatched an unkempt human in her flight and relieved the feral human of her blood, he also reflected on how strong his Pet must have been to survive.

It was no wonder his treasured pet had fought so hard when first brought back. The dear thing! How could Spike not have realized! And then with the reading… and now?!

He had never fully claimed a Pet before. It was an unusual thing to do, and did mean the pet would die an agonizing death if something ever happened to its master... there was no chance of being passed to another. In fact it was such an issue that pets with their Master's claim mark also carried a tag. If something did happen to their Master, it was mandatory that they be put down immediately by lethal injection.

Panna delivered the new tag to Master, as Spike called Master Reginald and they discussed whether these regressions of his Pet's would fade or continue for many years.

Spike was actually unconcerned by the golf skills – or the reading, if done under supervision (though the last thing he needed was a blind pet!), but there were other worries. They discussed the lengthy duration of his pet’s torture and pet’s apparent slave status in the other dimension.

For all his apparent pomposity, Master Reginald was most understanding, indeed downright bloody wonderful, when it came to reassurance.

He was pleased Spike had laid a claim on Xander – sure that would assist by reassuring the Pet on a (literally) visceral level, of his Master’s presence and purpose. Then Reginald advised that Spike watch his pet regards the type of non pet skills manifesting themselves, but encouraged him not to dissuade or punish, simply where appropriate redirect him gently back to his proper role.

They both agreed that slavers would no doubt have used such a fine specimen in a breeding and manual labor roll of some description and Spike shuddered. His poor Pet!… Ten months, or years (he still wasn’t sure) of slave duties, of wandering alone unprotected thinking his Master had abandoned him?! It was all too terrible. As he hung up the phone it was Spike’s turn to hug his dear Pet and cry.

An hour or so later, still holding his inert human’s form, he reflected fully and realised for the first time how stupid he’d been!

When Xander was first delivered back, he was very unfit and had obviously been fed the basest of foods, and even his clothes! His poor, poor Pet, probably even been in the general pens of the traders – with no papers or any way to identify himself… someone had obviously taken his collar at some stage. Spike berated himself again as he dialed Reginald for the second time that evening.

Master Reginald assured him that he would be there to resume remedial training again in five days, recommended a body binding while his Pet recovered from the draining. Reginald also recommended that Spike give his Pet a far more structured environment for at least a month, and that he remind him of his pleasure training as often as possible. The final part of the conversation however, was very specific, body binding or no, he needed to demonstrate his love for his pet.

Xander roused from his deep sleep then leaned into Spike’s touch, and as the vampire bade farewell to Reginald, he started to hope that his Pet might truly be able to heal and put the whole horrifying portal experience behind him for good.


<<<<<<<<<<<<< <<<<<<<<<<<


The following four days was spent in the body binding… again. But he was so drained that it was of no concern really. He was fed, washed and pampered with all the care a newborn might be afforded.

A week later he spent his time almost exclusively recuperating on his beanbag or, as was now custom, in his Master’s bed when Spike was resting. And to his joy, on the last three days of the week had been given back his coloring materials and taken for a run! He thanked… whoever in this dimension… for small mercies.

Strangely ten days after the golfing ‘incident’, what puzzled Xander the most was the effect of the life threatening bite and consequent feeding of Spike’s blood. When he stroked over the scabbed soon to be scar it tickled in an odd way that sent a tingle direct to his nether regions.

Something inside him seemed to have shifted and it wasn’t just an OK to be there feeling any more, it was a craving for the vampire... for Master.

He tried to worry regards… everything! But his body didn’t agree with his logic – especially not now as he lay in Spike’s arms after he had been exercised, washed and pleasured then accepted the silky attentions of his Master then fallen asleep in his arms.

Xander craved Master, Master felt Xander… the cycle, however unusual, was complete. As he relaxed against the cool body, he realized a fundamental truth, something that he had never remembered from his ‘before’. He was loved unconditionally, he was cared for completely, and his only role in life now… was to please… and then he really couldn’t think any more as his Master entered him again and began to stroke him to completion with a slicked, expert hand…


<<<<<<<<<<<<< <<<<<<<<<<<


Angel was driving him utterly distracted! Between Cordelia and Wesley's bickering and his worry regards Spike, there was no peace.

Apparently his request for assistance with his finances had revealed a number of critical issues and moved his Grandsire to suddenly become all ‘concerned’ regards his chip. In a private dialogue with Clem, a (in truth very grateful) Spike gave his version.

“Bastard thinks I’ve a good chance of gettin’ dusted afore the boy here passes on – and since I asked him to take the lad if that happens… well let’s just say that he reckons sortin’ the chip keeps me alive an’ he keeps ‘is high ‘n mighty lifestyle.”

Wesley, Angel and Cordelia arrived at the end of the following week to remove the heinous object. Willow and Dawn were ecstatic, and even Buffy pleased (particularly after witnessing one of what seemed to be becoming far more frequent ‘misfires’ of said object. Despite her own reservations regards William the Bloody and a feeding frenzy, for some reason his care for the childlike Xander had proven something the Council of Watchers had never done, that love, loyalty and commitment really did exist where Master Vampires were concerned.

Spike had promised to protect Dawn and the pledge was as good today as it had ever been, and she truly did believe he was good to his word regards hunting ‘only the bastards who deserve it’ or ‘skimming’ when the chip was out.


Xander was near frantic, and truly didn’t understand what was going on in the first place, but knew that Master was somehow in trouble.

Everyone had been talking in quiet tones and Master didn’t want to be pleasured that night, and as he lifted his latest coloring up to proudly show Master Angelus, he was brushed away by one of Master Angelus’ staff!! In the end he simply curled up with teddy. He knew he could help Master, if only he understood what was wrong, but when Master Angelus and the Slayer and the Witch all joined them in the taxi, all looking very worried, he knew the issue was desperate.

Master Angelus was talking about ‘if it didn’t work’, and when the car finally stopped, Pet!Xander broke all protocol and touched his master’s Grandsire’s knee. Angel was in the process of ushering Spike from the vehicle, but paused as Xander’s seat belt was released and the boy called out desperately.

“Xander?”

“Please Master Angelus… I… um… I just… um…” Xander had not realized how very upset he was until tears began to fall, “Why is everyone so worried? Is Master sick? He’s never sick?? [hic] Please Master Angelus…”

The entire time he was speaking, Xander was scrambling from the car and onto his knees, and with the last words had prostrated himself at Angel’s feet.

Cordelia was as horrified by the behavior as the dark vampire, but touched her boss on the arm, “We have to go – everything’s ready inside.”

Xander was still on the ground shivering, so Angel did the only thing he could think of, he picked up the figure, pulled him to his chest and carried him inside the private clinic.

They sedated Xander enough that he too was unconscious as Spike went under the knife. A young doctor recommended it, having been alerted to the ‘brother’s’ state of distress and mental capacity to understand what was occurring.

A grateful Willow now sat with this sleeping version of her old friend as Spike’s operation progressed.


<<<<<<<<<<<<< <<<<<<<<<<<


Spike slammed down the phone causing Xander to jump. “Bloody wanker! Just because ‘e gets new equipment… I bloody ordered it!... Alright… whatever… C’mon Pet, looks like you ‘n me are takin’ a drive.” Xander rose on command and padded out of the room behind the very annoyed vampire still in game face.


His lead was left loose as he stood quietly behind Spike and watched as enormous corn fed humans stood quietly in a group behind the fence waiting their turn to be bled. Xander could see they were all neutered males and had a permanent catheter piece obvious on each neck.

The manager of the property was extolling the virtues of the single sex herds, enthusiastically explaining that it had cut the milking time in half, plus allowed all the females to be brought in for the four days as their menses coincided when they were kept together.

There were no women in the facility that evening, but they were shown the new collection apparatus, purpose built to collect the valuable monthly blood – particularly as all the female bleeders in two of the herds were virgins and would remain so.

As they were shown through the state of the art milking facility, Xander watched with morbid fascination as each human male was fitted to a purpose built ‘stimulator’ consisting of cock piece and ‘flusher’ like his at home. He could hear the vibrations and saw each of the males give in to the wonderful sensations as the catheter was attached to the collection tube. It had been proven that sexually pleasuring calmed the humans and enhanced the flavor, though with the neutered males the secondary fluids were worthless as sale items.

On the way home in the car, as he knelt on his spot with his head on the special pet fitting for the front seat cushion, Xander was horrified to realize that he had actually looked at a herd of close to two hundred humans, bred specifically so their blood supply replenished itself of the missing pint in a single day, who were neutered and pleasured daily simply so their blood might be sweeter… and he hadn’t tried to do a thing. Hadn’t protested or tried to help them, just stood patiently behind Master… Spike, and observed silently.

He worried, then thought about their eyes, the contented, passive (primarily dull hazel) eyes, and realized that maybe it was that – none of the humans had looked distressed. They had been purpose bred for their size, not their intelligence over generations, and had known nothing else. They appeared to be fed extremely well and kindly treated by their herders – apart from the occasional sting of a crop to speed them up the ramp to the milking room.

He relaxed a little, head on his purpose made pillow, and listened to the hum of the engine and Spike’s (rather good) singing. He remembered the many hundreds of conversations he had been privy to since his arrival and at last realized, the Xander he had been switched for – the original Pet!Xander - was a rarified, purpose bred human too, a show pet with a pedigree to be proud of, though had a Master who was uninterested in the show circuit. How could Spike not realize that he was just some guy from the suburbs of Sunnydale who had taken on (in order to keep his manhood… and admittedly of late, enjoyed some of the other privileges) the role of personal pet?!

He had almost resolved to say something out of turn, when a gentle hand began stroking through his hair. The hum of the car continued, and after a time, the rhythmic caress took its toll and rather than speaking, he simply fell asleep.





Part Nine

Pet!Xander was keeping vigil at his Master’s bedside.

He watched as the slaves in white and pale blue attended his Master and spoke in low tones.

Master Angelus had fed his Grandchilde twice from his own wrist which was a sign that things were very grave, and his Master still had not woken... even after a full day. Xander knew, if Master dusted they wouldn’t need to encourage him, he would push in the final needle himself!

Witch Willow and Key Dawn had come in twice, on the second occasion they brought in his beanbag, favorite rug and teddy. He was extremely grateful but quickly decided that Master needed teddy more than he so, when no-one was looking, pushed the soft brown bear under the covers next to Spike.

The next evening, when Willow returned to check on Spike (and to deliver picture books, coloring pads and crayons), she could not help but be moved. Xander was lying on his bag but had butted it up against the bed so he might be touching Spike’s slack hand that had fallen from beneath the covers.

They had already had the conference with the doctor. There really was no guarantee of when Spike would regain consciousness, but with Angel’s (and of late Buffy’s) blood boosting the human O-pos being pushed down the feeding tube, the medical team was reasonably confident of a full recovery. Despite that, the regeneration of lost brain tissue was always slower than muscle or bone.

It all made no difference to Xander.

He really did not understand all the medical speak and hadn’t eaten since his dear Spike had been admitted to the clinic, only drinking when a desperate Dawn or Willow squeezed water from a drink bottle past his chapped lips. Even the nurses were beginning to worry, and given their demon background, recognized a full pet response, so spoke of sedating him and inserting a catheter. Angel had dripped a little of his own blood into the drink bottle and they all agreed, if Spike was still ‘out’ in two days’ time, they would have to put Xander under with medication.

Willow had a very clear picture now. If Spike was dusted, Xander would simply pine and die. It was so touching… and so upsetting all in one. And she even had her suspicions regards Spike, should something happen to Xander. More and more Spike had seemed to need ‘his Xan’.

Once again Xander was snoozing when she arrived, but had obviously been trying to read to his Master… (the newspaper which Willow knew, was far beyond his abilities) and Xander’s teddy had been carefully placed in pride of place under the covers on Spike’s inert chest.

She touched her friend, the innocent, on the cheek and whispered, “Hey Sweetie?”

Xander roused instantly but sleep confused, “Master?!”

“No… no Xan… just me … it’s just Willow…”

“But Master??” Xander recognized where he was, then his face fell as he realized Master still had not moved.

Willow saw the devastated look of a small child losing a parent, her heart went out to the friend who, in any dimension, was loyal and loving to a fault.

She found herself fighting back the tears as she broke the news, “I’m sorry honey… we still don’t know… it’s just… it’ll be OK… they said it’ll be.” She was not ready for the armful of far larger male as a desperate Xander launched himself into her arms.

Willow eventually found herself sitting against the wall of the sickroom with a sobbing Xander in her lap, trying to gather her thoughts. Xander’s pained keening was not helping. In the end she simply rocked them both, stroked him and cried too.


<<<<<<<<<<<<< <<<<<<<<<<<


Twelve hours later Xander’s world returned. Master groaned, tipped over, and cuddled teddy then called for his Sire… and his Pet.

Angel was there in seconds, as was the doctor but Xander had touched Master’s hand before they arrived and felt the slight response. He was so grateful but knew to stay put on his bag. But it didn’t matter any more. Everyone seemed so happy. Master was going to be well and now they could go home… at least… He worried for a moment, he didn’t like the smell of the hospital but decided that even if it was weeks he didn’t care, Master would soon be well!

As soon as the room cleared again, a still tired Spike realized what he had been hugging and reached out weakly to hand back the teddy to the tender boy lying on the bean bag.

His soft toy was delivered back and a lax hand caressed his hair for the first time in … so long! Xander broke his training and lifted to kiss the back of his Master’s hand whispering, “Oh Master! I love you! Please… be well.”

Spike was still a little hazy but heard the words, registered the warm breath, and saw the begging chocolate eyes.

“Well in no time Pet, thanks.”

The following evening, as Spike consciously took blood, Xander ate a small portion of steamed vegetables sprinkled with lemon juice and parmesan… it was his first solid food – or voluntary intake of any sort - in six days. As Angel fed Spike again, Dawn settled Xander with his teddy on the bean bag and smiled as Xander pushed into the pale hand that reached down to caress him.

Xander smiled up at Dawn as she covered him with his favorite rug. “Master will be alright now won’t he KeyDawn?”

“Hey, he’ll be fine… Get some sleep handsome. You need to be big and strong for us all tomorrow yeah?”

“Strong for Master?”

“Oh Xan… I… Yeah, strong for Master.”

Dawn stroked over shoulder covered by a baby soft blanket covering Xander and his teddy, not missing Spike’s cool hand just making contact, then stood and departed.


<<<<<<<<<<<<< <<<<<<<<<<<


Xander must have dozed off again. His blanket was in place and he body was utterly unwilling to cooperate with anything resembling a moving-type-behavior! So he simply snuggled a little and listened.

“Yes Mistress… He’s been fine! Yes, absolutely!... Oh, I would never admit that to Angelus!... Hey! You know I beat the ol’ boy fair and square anyway!... Yep, heard about Luka, he was right proud. No doubt about you’re a wonder, they’ll be pretty for sure… Shall do… Yup… Weekend got it. And thank you Luv. Means a lot.”

The phone went down.

Spike knelt down beside his Pet’s beanbag and noted the half finished coloring. The shading was… very artistic – even though not complete. He resolved to ask Master Reginald if it was wise to allow his pet to draw freely once in a while. Then reconsidered, his pet always seemed so happy drawing and there was nothing to show that it was detrimental to a human’s health.

He had seen the change in his pet since the claiming and understood that his dear pet needed love at every opportunity. The vampire could hear the heart beat, so knew Xander, his poor recovering love, was awake and simply sticking to his training.

Xander was feeling relaxed and was learning that he really didn’t have to do anything unless directly asked, so was a little surprised when abruptly pulled into a warm hug. It was something about his Master vampire that he was becoming increasingly used to… and enjoying.

The most odd part was his own response to the spontaneity, more and more Master’s touch made him instantly hard and begging, and when the scar of Spike’s bite mark was licked by a rasping tongue… well he no longer had control of his body’s response when that happened. He was, as Master Reginald kept pointing out, a claimed pet… and if he were honest… (and nothing to do with ‘Regi’!) he was a willing lover of the same blonde ‘Big Bad’…and oh… Gahh he got hard and wanting even just thinking about it…

He returned the hug and shifted a little inviting Master to take a little blood while he began to massage Master’s hardness through the material of his jeans. The sting of teeth felt just right. As they withdrew, he was about to try to worry again but a pale hand turned his face until he was staring into azure eyes, nighttime blue with desire… for him, and in that moment Xander understood what his grandmother meant when she had told him she and Granddad fell in love all over again, every day they were together.

They would visit the Mistress Clarissa’s estate the following evening, but he would deal with that… when the time came.


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Master was so much better, but was still a little ‘shaky’ – something that Master Angelus was very concerned by, but also doing his best to assist. Apparently (and this made no sense to Pet!) Slayer Buffy was worried by Master Spike’s condition also, but really didn’t seem to like Master Angelus being there. He had never felt right about Slayer Buffy, and it was just wrong that she challenged Master Angelus!

At the last argument in front of his recovering Master, the Slayer pulled out a stake.

Regardless of what had gone before Xander knew what to do.

He threw himself between Master and the Slayer and positively growled his absolute determination that she would have to stake through him to get to his Master. And he would happily die for him.

Buffy was utterly stunned. Her intent had not been particularly dust worthy… But to see the desperation and hearing her old friend growl?... She backed down immediately.

After much coaxing, Xander allowed the staff and Master Angelus to look after his dear sleeping Master.

Xander’s continued distress over his Master’s slow recovery eventually led to Witch Willow to take him for a quiet wander into the grounds and beyond to let him relax and even… talk.

In truth he was feeling rather woozy himself and still couldn’t understand why everyone was so enthusiastic when he had eaten last night. Master was still not better! Their focus should be on him!

Witch Willow insisted. He was to go for a walk. He was very tired at the beginning. His legs ached after only a few steps but he knew he had to be brave. Master had patted him gently on the shoulder and said “See you in a while.” So he had to be brave.

He was wearing his pet coat that the coven had made, and pants from KeyDawn, and had had to put on his dancing boots (which he really didn’t understand, but did it anyway). Despite having to walk with Master’s staff not master he just… had to be brave.

Willow had headed out, ready for a long circuit walk via her own house, but worried as she looked back to the very pale and drawn looking Xander on his slack but still necessary, leash. She slowed her pace and resolved that a hot chocolate just down the road at the coffee shop was about as far as Xander would last.

By the time he arrived at the coffee shop, Xander was feeling quite odd… very, very weak and dizzy, then there were sparkles and the sounds around him seemed to go fuzzy.

Before she even had time to order Willow watched as her companion’s eyes rolled back and Xander dropped in a dead faint, hitting his head on the front bench on the way down.

He came to with a paramedic pushing a needle into his arm and another attaching monitoring equipment to his arm and chest. He knew to lie still but couldn’t help calling for Master.

Instantly Witch Willow was there holding his hand. She said they were going to take him back to Master in the ambulance, and that he had to have stitches on his head but that they thought he was just dehydrated and stressed, and needed to keep quiet for a few days. Witch Willow began to cry and said it was her fault which didn’t make sense to him, so he simply told her it was alright and asked after Master’s health before embarrassing himself with an unexpected round of nausea and throwing up a tiny amount of water and bile.

Two days later Xander and his adored Master Spike were both released into the care of Master’s staff and allowed to go home.




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