Part Ten

Embarrassment wasn't really an adequate word for what Xander was feeling right now. He'd had a freaking mini-meltdown in front of Spike. He couldn't believe the stuff he told the vampire. These were feelings he'd never shared, even with Wills.

The two of them never spoke of their late friend. It was as if Jesse had never even existed. Years of friendship erased, as if Darla had put some strange enchantment on them when she'd killed their best friend. Strange that it had taken another blond vampire to break it.

At first, Xander had thought of his friend often. He’d seen him in the face of every fledge he'd dusted, but then he'd forced himself to put his feelings aside. Jesse had been gone the moment Darla had fed him her powerful blood. That's what Giles had always told him. Maybe it's what the watcher actually believed.

The more Xander had been around Angel and then Spike, the more he'd realized that that was complete bull. Maybe that's why he'd always hated the two vamps so much, because they exposed the notion that vampires just took over human bodies, leaving nothing of the original personalities as a lie. Or maybe it was because they kept trying to kill him.

At least today the brunet had gotten a chance to ask some questions, without fearing that answers would be held back to spare his feelings. It was actually kind of refreshing. He loved Giles like a second father. Hell, the British librarian had been more of a parent to him than either Tony or Jessica Harris had ever been. But like all good parents, the Brit had tried to protect his charges against knowledge that he felt they were not ready for.

The mortal really didn't hold it against the watcher. It was actually nice that at least one of the adults during his youth had bothered to attempt to protect him in some way. His own parents had always been too damned drunk.

He'd known from the beginning that he'd always been Giles’ last priority. He didn't have any of the special talents of the others. Buffy was the slayer, Willow a powerful witch, Oz a werewolf, Dawn a mystical ball of energy, Anya a thousand year old ex-vengeance demon; he was just well… a glorified brick-layer. It was logical that he'd get the least of the older man's attention.

The man he considered himself closer to than his own father hadn't even bothered to fly down for his wedding. It was just as well, since it hadn't even happened. It would have been a huge waste of G-man's time and money. He knew the repatriated Englishman was busy and wouldn't have appreciated the younger man wasting his time. Giles had sent an expensive gift and a very nice card. Very classy - just the type of thoughtful gesture you would expect from the Englishman.            
Anyway as much as he loved and trusted the British man, he didn't always trust some of the things Giles told him and the others to be, well, complete. Even though his vampire master was probably the last person in the world he should trust, he had a feeling that the platinum blond was telling him the truth. Why would he lie? It probably wasn’t in a noble attempt to protect Xander's feelings.

It certainly wasn't to get into the mortal's pants. Most of the time bleach boy didn't let him wear any. Though as he lay close to the vampire's cool muscular body, Xander supposed that pants wouldn't be the most comfortable thing in the world right now.

Spike had told him he would get used to this, to staying hard and unsatisfied, but he really couldn't see how. He was damned near ready to cry in frustration. He'd been so damned grateful to the vampire though after his little breakdown. He hadn't wanted to screw things up by angering the creature. Nothing seemed to tick off Spike more than refusing his commands, especially if they were about sex. The vampire would give him this look that made him want to crawl out of his skin.

So when the vampire had ordered him to touch himself, he hadn't hesitated. He'd laid there bared opened and jerked himself off while Spike sat watching him, like it was some private porno show put on just for him. Xander guessed it sorta was. He'd never felt that exposed in his life, but in that moment, he'd really wanted to please the vampire.

When Spike had given him the order to stop though, it had sort of broken the spell, as it were. The fact that he was a slave had become horribly apparent once again. Spike wasn't even being mean to him. He'd actually been kind of comforting earlier.

He hadn't been able to help himself though; when Spike had started the usual petting again it had just been too much. He couldn't take it when the bloodsucker was like that. The fact that he could be so tender sometimes just made the fact that he owned Xander that much harder to handle. It made him feel like some sort of fucking beloved dog.

The sex, even if though it filled him with a deep sense of shame, was strangely the easiest part to take. Spike always made sure it felt okay. Part of the blonde's kink was obviously getting the dark haired man harder than humanly possible. Even when Spike had punished him it had still been all about the sex. Spanking and sex. Sexy spankings. Xander just silently wished the idiot vampire would develop a fetish for actually seeing him come. He didn't know if it was physically possible to die of frustration, but he would bet money that Spike was trying to find out.  

After he'd turned away from Spike, Xander had felt guilty for his reaction. Spike had made him feel better. He'd taken his mind off the horrible memories of his best friend's death. The vampire really had no need to take the time he had explaining things to the brunet. When Spike had asked him to "show" his gratitude, he'd been almost eager to comply, but once the deed was over, the bitterness over his whole situation had returned, and Xander had wanted to be anywhere but near the vampire.

He gotten over it pretty quickly and decided to try to smooth things over with his master, who he was sure must be pissed about his attitude. So he'd thanked the blond for his compliment and moved to cuddle against the vampire.

Spike always seemed to want to snuggle after they had sex. The vampire was always pulling Xander into his arms to sleep. He figured if he went on his own, that it should please his Master.

It looked like he was right. The vampire's arms had wrapped around him, holding him close. He’d started with the soft petting again, running his hands over Xander's body. The mortal supposed he could put up with that. It actually felt kind of nice. Spike started kissing his neck, licking and nibbling the railway spike shaped mark the Powers had placed on his throat. They just lay there against each other for quite a while. It was okay.

When the vampire finally decided he'd had enough he moved, climbing over Xander silently and reaching to the ground and picking up a pair of jeans the mortal didn't even know he still owned. They were faded and were at least a size too small for him. Spike wordlessly handed these to him, along with a tight black T-shirt.

"Get dressed," the vampire ordered, quickly getting up and cramming himself into his own too-tight jeans.

"Um… Master these aren't my size anymore. They haven't fit me for at least a year," the brunet explained, in a voice he hoped sounded polite.

"Those should fit you properly, Kitten. Put them on. We're running late," the vampire insisted, giving his slave's cock a light caress. Oh yeah, Spike had mentioned something about going out earlier.

"But…" the mortal began, before shutting his mouth at the dirty look his master gave him. He didn't even bother asking about underwear, noticing that every pair he'd owned was now in the throw away pile. Somehow, the mortal managed to force himself into the obscenely tight pants. Forcing his raging erection inside was another matter. He could barely breathe in these jeans. After quite a bit of effort, Xander managed to tug the zipper closed over his painful hard-on.

"You look positively shaggable, Kitten," the blond whispered into his ear, leaning in to kiss his neck again. He felt ridiculously happy when Spike handed him a jacket. At least the coat would cover him up a little. He sat on the bed quietly putting on the socks and shoes the vampire provided him, his erection painfully confined it the too-tight jeans.

He was surprised when Spike ran a quick comb through his hair, taking care of any residual bed head. The blond, for his part, never seemed to have a hair out of place. The vampire donned his ever-present black duster; then reached to help him off the bed.

"Time to head out. We have a lot to do before the stores close. You can tidy this up after we get home," Spike casually informed him, gesturing towards the mess the vampire had made on the floor.

Spike had him bustled out of the apartment before Xander could even get ticked at his inconsiderate comment. The sensation of the overly tight stiff fabric shifting against his freshly shaved groin was bizarre. He hadn't thought the absence of hair would make that much difference, but Xander was now hyper aware of that entire region of his body.

He was thankful that they didn't run into any of his neighbors as they made their way down the hall and into the elevator. Spike of course groped him for the entire ride down, rubbing up against him. The blond kept a hand on his ass the entire way to the car.

Xander was grateful when Spike went to the driver's seat and took the wheel. He doubted his own ability to drive in his current state. He was pretty sure he'd have gotten them up close and personal with a telephone poll. The fact that Spike put his hand on his thigh, right after they got into the car certainly wouldn’t have helped.

"We need to get you some decent clothing Kitten," the vampire smiled, cupping the brunet's balls through his jeans. "You're too pretty to be hiding under those awful baggy clothes," the blond continued. For some strange reason Xander felt oddly proud of the chipped vampire's praise. Should he be happy that the monster who owned him thought he was nice to look at? It was nice having someone look at him that way again though, even if it was Bleach Boy.

He’d always been the doughnut boy, someone that everyone ignored. Even though he’d loved and dated two extremely beautiful women, Xander had never been able to shake the feeling that they had settled with him. He’d always been the lucky one. God knew Anya could do better than him. The only reason she’d chosen him was because he was uniquely suited to understanding her particularities. Well, maybe understand wasn’t exactly the right word, but guys who could take the way she would suddenly break into a story about giving some guy who died over a century ago boils all over his body were few and far between. Who else could she have dated? Xander knew about all the weird stuff and who she had been. It’s not like Joe Normal would have understood Halfrek suddenly popping by.

As for Cordy, she’d never made it a secret that she was dating beneath herself. Everyone had said so. Hell, Cordelia's friends had humiliated her for dating the slayerette. The brunet was only surprised it had taken as long as it had for him to screw their relationship up.

Willow had had a crush on him, but obviously that wasn’t the real deal. Hello? She was a lesbian. Maybe he’d turned her into a lesbian. Yeah, like you have that kind of power. The Xan-man now with new lesbifying action! Besides, Wills had dated Oz after she'd gotten over her puppy love for him. If you didn’t take into account that he’d almost ruined things for her while they were still in high school, he was in no way responsible for the disintegration of their relationship.

“Kitten, we’re here,” the vampire’s voice suddenly interrupted his jumbled thoughts. He hadn’t even realized they’d been heading to the mall. Spike parked the car at breakneck speed. Xander cringed when his Taurus stopped mere inches from the old Volvo in the spot in front of them. The parking lot was full of cars…that meant the mall would be jammed full of people. He’d thought the sex shop was embarrassing; at least he and Spike had been alone there. He was bound to run into people here.

Jesus, the dark haired man thought. Suddenly Xander just wanted to disappear. The vampire didn’t really expect him to go out in public this way. His jeans were so tight it was obscene. Not to mention the raging hard-on Spikey had made sure he was sporting.

“Stop dawdling, pet," his undead master griped, leaning casually against the car and opening the passenger door just a fraction. Swallowing nervously, the Scooby pushed the door a little wider and swung his legs stiffly out. Spike gracefully stepped aside as the mortal stood on shaky legs. Xander felt his face flush with heat as the vampire reached for him just as two little old ladies walked by. The blond stretched his arm around the human deftly and locked the car door, slamming it shut as he brushed up against his pet. Xander wished he could dissolve into the pavement when he heard the old women's shocked disapproving gasps as Spike grabbed his butt with both hands and brought their groins together.

The evil undead had found a new and inventive way of killing him. He was going to die of embarrassment. Maybe Spike wanted him insane. It's a well-known fact that Captain Peroxide has a thing for crazy people.

He heard Spike's soft chuckle as the seniors shuffled away. He shivered as Spike started nuzzling his neck again. Shouldn't a vamp sniffing around the whole general neck area be more upsetting?

"We're going to get you some proper clothes, Kitten. Though I'll admit the way you look in those jeans, Kitten, makes me want to take you back home and rip them off you. Won't let you hide that beautiful body anymore. You should be covered in leather and silk, not shapeless trousers and ugly flowered shirts," Spike flattered seductively, leading him to the mall entrance.

Taking the brunet by the arm, the vampire led them through the throngs of shoppers with a single-mindedness Xander had only ever seen in Cordelia before. His ex-girlfriend was a shopping dynamo. She actually scared the young man sometimes. He was fairly certain that she actually would commit assault, and possibly murder, for the last pair of size 8 1/2 red designer pumps. Shopping with his ex sort of reminded him of guerilla warfare. She took no prisoners.

Spike probably wouldn't appreciate the comparison to the former May queen. Xander couldn’t help but smile at the thought. William the Bloody was a shopaholic, who knew? Maybe it was all the years he’d spent with Dru. God knew that his master would have done anything for the mad vampiress when they were together. He snickered as an image of Dru making Spike hold her purse flickered through his mind.

“Kitten?” Spike asked, quirking an eyebrow.

“Nothing, Master. I was thinking of something else,” Xander fibbed. He was losing his mind. It felt good to laugh at anything.

Spike just frowned in disapproval, not saying anything as he dragged Xander into one of the mall’s more expensive men's wear boutiques. How in God’s name was he going to pay for all this? The brunet briefly tabulated how much this would run in his head, quickly saying goodbye to all his savings.

The sales clerk looked at them distastefully as the bottled blond pulled his slave over to a rack of dark colored silk shirts. The man appeared to use even more hair gel than Angel. He sashayed over to them.

“Can I help you gentlemen with anything?” the tall lanky man drawled, giving Spike and his worn leather duster and scuffed boots a haughty look. Snob, Xander thought. What the Hell? What did he care?

“Yes, actually I quite hope so.” The words were coming out of Spikes mouth, but they sounded just like Giles. Huh? What happened to his vampire? My vampire? Where in the Hell did that come from? Spike is not my anything. Okay, so technically he’s my owner and Master. Stupid brain.

“We’ve just returned from abroad. I’m afraid my sweet boy’s wardrobe is rather lacking,” Spike continued in the same perfect upper crust accent.

The snooty clerk seemed taken aback. “What exactly were you looking for sir? Shirt, slacks, suit,” he asked a little more politely.

“You misunderstand me. We are looking for a whole new wardrobe for the boy. Aren’t we, Kitten,” the vampire smiled cupping Xander’s cheek. He couldn’t believe blood-breath had just called him that in public. He nodded, hoping that would satisfy the blond. Spike just smiled.

“Yes, sir,” the salesman’s whole demeanor changed. Xander could practically see the dollar signs in his eyes. “Did you have any particular styles in mind?”

“We want something that will show the world just how beautiful and sexy my boy is. Dark rich colors, lots of silk and leather if you have it” Spike replied smoothly. The accent was really doing a number on this jerk. The clerk hoped to help them, pulling expensive shirts and pants of the rack, day dreaming about his commission.

“Let’s see what the little tosser has for us, Kitten,” the vampire whispered, snaking his hands around the mortal’s waist, giving the illusion of a happy gay couple.

“That guy was an asshole. Why don’t you… I mean we… just go somewhere else?” the brunet hissed back.

“’Cause they have the most beautiful tight pair of leather trousers in the window and I can’t leave without seeing your beautiful arse in them. ‘Sides, going to make the wanker run all around the shop, then we’ll leave,” the vampire smirked, giving Xander’s ass a firm squeeze before walking off to join the arrogant clerk

Part Eleven

They'd finally spent a fair pile of dosh at the first shop. The Master vampire had simply intended to waste the mortal clerk’s time and then leave him with a huge pile of garments to re-shelve, but when he’d seen his boy walk out of the changing room wearing skin tight leather pants and a beautiful silk chocolate coloured shirt, Spike had not been able to resist. His boy had been such a vision. If not for the chip, he would happily have thrown the lad against the changing room’s beige walls and taken him right then and there. Sorry demon he was, when the prospect of a poofy shopkeeper calling mall security would stop him from doing as he pleased. Problem was, security guards tended to be human, though this was the Hellmouth. He supposed he could always drag the whelp into the loo, but as fun as that sounded in books and on the telly, it really wasn’t practical in real life. The blond did not fancy the idea of being bodily expulsed from the shopping centre.

He was fairly satisfied with what they had managed to find. His boy would now look like a pet befitting a Master vampire. The lad really was quite beautiful; he'd simply learned to veil it very well over the years. Now with some careful selections, the boy's hidden attributes would shine.

Spike had even had the foresight to purchase the brunet some more work clothes, although he’d left most of the boy’s obvious job related clothing alone. As tempting as destroying all that flannel was, the vampire could see how such garments could be useful on a construction site. Which reminded him of another point.

"Kitten?" the vampire smirked, noticing the little cringe the young man could not suppress. Maybe he’d get the boy a collar with a nice gold nametag.

"Yes, Master?" the mortal hissed in a low voice. His boy was going to have to learn that he was Spike’s property regardless of where they were.

"When are you due back to work?" the blond asked.

"Monday," his boy replied quietly.

"You go back to work tomorrow morning?" Spike exclaimed, surprised the human hadn’t brought it up before.

"Is it Sunday?" his boy said, sounding a little bit taken aback.

"Yeah, Kitten. We’ll have to put you to bed nice and early. What time do you start work?" the blond vampire asked. He had a fair idea it would be at an ungodly hour. He recalled the mortal getting up really early when he’d been his ‘houseguest’.

"6:00 AM," the dark-haired human answered absently.

"We’d best finish our errands and head home then, or we won’t be able to have any fun tonight," Spike leered, pulling the package-laden mortal against him. The boy’s cheeks flushed the prettiest deep rose colour, but Spike could feel his boy's hardness against him. Reaching between their bodies, the vampire cupped the youth's erection through the worn fabric of his jeans. The blond smiled at the mortal’s barely concealed gasp.

"Come on, Kitten, we still need to get some healthy food into our flat," the vampire chuckled at the disgruntled look on the boy’s face. His boy was going to have to learn the he couldn’t survive on Twinkies and potato chips alone, even if it meant that he had to tap into William’s limited culinary talents. His mother being of ill health most of the time and their household not being wealthy enough to afford fulltime help, William had found himself doing a lot more of the housework than was normal for a man of his era. Even his poncy mortal self would never have admitted that in public. He had to acknowledge that the limited skills he learned taking care of his mum would come in handy in looking after his pet.

Taking the mortal by the arm, the blond vamp marched them both determinedly to the nearby market. Laying the various coloured bags the brunet’s arms had been burdened with into a large cart; the vampire happily steered them through the over-stocked isles. He saw his boy stare lovingly at the Hostess display, but steered them well clear of it. He began filling the cart, picking up the basic staples his pet's kitchen had been lacking: milk, cereal, not made out of 100% sugar, actual fruit juice, some pasta, and other assorted foodstuffs. The boy did show some appreciation when they reached the meat counter though. His pet was definitely a carnivore, though he did not seem overly taken with the fish. Spike nearly forgot himself and burst out into guffaws when he saw the totally disgusted look on the mortal’s handsome face as he turned them towards the produce isle. The boy looked just priceless.

"Believe it or not, Kitten, these won’t hurt you," the blond chuckled, reaching for a nice plump tomato. Harris looked at the vegetable as if Spike was asking him to eat manure. "Come on, your mum must have made you eat veggies when you were a tyke. This'll be no worse."

"Mom doesn't cook," his boy groused, folding his arms over his chest. That explained a lot, the vampire supposed. The boy had probably had to fend for himself at an early age. Contrary to what some might think, the blond wasn’t stupid. He’d spent enough time trapped in the pup’s basement to know that the boy’s parents weren’t exactly doting.

‘Course, how could they possibly work in any time for the young man between all the yelling and throwing things? Had the stupid sods spent any time at all worrying about their only son, they might not have been able to work in all that drinking. While Spike could certainly appreciate a good drunk, even he was disgusted by the whelp’s folks.

"There must be some kind of fruit or vegetable you like," Spike inquired, filling the cart with a variety of fresh vegetables.

"Carrots are okay, I guess," the young man sulked. He should give the mortal a few good swats right here for being so surly. The boy looked all of eight years old, moping there beside him. He settled for picking out a package of Brussels sprouts along with a bag of carrots.

"Don’t pout, pet, I’m enjoying myself far too much to let you drop from a heart attack before you’re 30, "Spike chuckled. He gave the mortal’s arse a quick tap when he did not respond. "’Sides you seemed to have liked what I’ve made for you so far. You appeared to have enjoyed a lot of what I’ve done so far." Such a beauty when he blushes.

"Don't know what we’re going to do when we get home. Do you think you've been a good boy today?" the blond asked, quirking an eyebrow as he stared at the now nervously shuffling brunet.

"I'm doing the best I can, okay," the dark-haired man finally answered in a low voice as the vampire reached for a bunch of bananas. The young man wouldn't make eye contact.

The mortal sounded so tired the vampire couldn't seem to stir up the anger he should have at the boy's flagrant disrespect. He silently brought his boy to him, wrapping his arms around the mortal's waist. He stroked the boy's stubbled check softly. Xander was trembling softly in his embrace.

"Is it so very difficult, Kitten? Do you really hate belonging to me? Do you loathe my touch that much? Is it that difficult writhing under me?" Spike whispered, nibbling on the soft lobe of his pet's ear. "I can smell how much my touch excites you. Stop fighting me, Kitten. Stop fighting yourself."

"Stop fighting? Do you have any idea how hard this is? How much of myself I've given up? You tell me to spread my legs and I do. I've laid down meekly and let you… fuck me. What more do you want? You have everything," his boy spat angrily, trying to twist out of his grip. Without the protection of the chip, it was impossible. Spike held the mortal fast. The brunet's eyes were brimming with unshed angry tears.

"Not everything, Kitten," the blond sighed. "You'll be a good deal happier when you stop fighting yourself, pet, and accept your new place in the universe."

"I'm your property, Master," his boy spat out bitterly. He shook his head sadly. "How do I accept that? How do I deal with losing everything that I am? Do you have any idea what that's like?"

"Matter of fact, Kitten, I do. Big difference is you got a choice. I didn't," Spike snarled, tightening his grip painfully on the human, remembering all the things he'd been forced to set aside since he'd been captured by the Initiative. This one, this one had been the worst. He'd constantly mocked the Master vampire and his condition. Calling him various derogatory names like Impotent One, Waste of space, and Willie Wanna-Bite, one of Spike's personal favorites. The boy didn't have to spend night after night tied to a decrepit orange torture device now did he? The brat had known damn well that he couldn't do any harm.

Seeing the mortal try and fail to conceal a gasp of pain, the vampire released his grip slightly. He needed to watch himself.

"I'm sorry. I'm doing my best. I know I got myself into this. It's just a lot harder than I thought it would be. You're stronger than I am, okay? I can't deal with this," the mortal admitted morosely. When Spike felt him try to pull away this time, he let him. It was satisfying hearing the Scooby admit he couldn't deal as well as the vampire could. After being ridiculed so long, Spike's ego needed the stroking, indirect though it may be.

"What is it you can't deal with, Kitten? The loss of power or the fact that you like being powerless?" Spike whispered into his pet's ear, wrapping his arms around the brunet's waist from behind. He felt the mortal shudder as he kissed his neck gently.

"Stop it, please," Xander begged.

"I'm not human, pet. You can't hide from me. I can smell you. I smelt how your arousal grew when I slipped the cuffs around your limbs. I saw your skin flush with heat when I told you you were going to be spanked. You never softened on my lap, if anything you grew harder. I hear the little sound you make when I'm inside you, Kitten. The ones you try to keep from me. I hear them all," the Master vampire murmured seductively.

"Master," his boy complained.

"Listen to what your body is trying to tell you," Spike insisted, grinding against the mortal's bottom for emphasis. Reaching inside his pet's coat, he fondled his boy's sensitive little nipples through the soft cotton fabric of his T-shirt. He squeezed them slowly until Xander moaned under his breath. Releasing the mortal, the blond strolled over to the fruit display picking up a shiny red apple. "Do you expect me to believe that didn't turn your crank, Kitten?"

The mortal folded his arms tightly across his chest again, shifting nervously from foot to foot. Spike just smirked, absently putting things into their cart, satisfied that he'd made his point.

"Master?" the brown-eyed man whispered, turning to face the vampire.

"What is it, Kitten?" the blond asked, tilting his head.

"Can I ask you something without you getting mad?" the mortal ventured, stepping closer.

"Depends what it is," Spike replied. "You won't know unless you ask," he continued, seeing the brunet's hesitation.

"You told me that vampire spit makes people horny?" his pet asked in hushed tones. The boy really was adorable, if you went for that sort of thing. He was becoming such a wanker.

"Yes Kitten?" the smaller creature smiled.

"Is that why I…" the sable-haired boy began.

"Why you get so hard for me?" the vampire purred, cupping his slave's chin in his hand. The mortal nodded softly. "No, Kitten. It helps things along, but it can't give you desires that were never there. That would make things easier wouldn't it sweet? If you could blame everything you're feeling on me?" The mortal didn't answer right away, but then just nodded quietly. Spike could sense the confusion coming off his human.

"What does it matter why you're feeling things, Kitten? Just let yourself feel them," Spike coaxed. The brunet said nothing, but seemed to relax just a fraction. Deciding it would have to do for now, the vampire lay a hand on the small of his boy's back and started guiding them towards the check-out line.

"Xander?" the voice from behind them really shouldn't have surprised the vampire; Sunnydale was a small place after all. The tosser it was attached to though was supposed to have run off to England with his tail between his legs.

"Watcher," he greeted coolly.

"Giles?" his boy's longing voice replied almost at the same time.

Part Twelve

There had been times during Alexander Harris' young life when he'd wanted nothing more than to be the focus of his mentor's full attention, but with Buffy's slaying and Willow's ever growing magical powers, the watcher's focus had always been concentrated on something or someone else. Today, though, strangely enough, the young man was half torn between wanting to sink into the very earth and wanting to run and hide behind Giles so the older man could fix things and make it all better, in equal measure. He prayed silently that the former librarian had just gotten there, hopefully after the groping had stopped. His luck going the way it had of late, the construction worker kind of doubted it. He suspected the older man had gotten an eyeful. Xander was mortified by the idea that Rupert Giles might have seen him moaning under Spike's sure touch like some kind of nymphomaniac.

"Xander, are you alright?" the Englishman asked. Wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, he looked nothing like the tweed-clad authority figure Xander had first met as a teen. Giles didn't look disgusted, as he'd expected. His face was filled with concern.

"I'm okay," the young man began, wanting to reassure his older friend, but not really sure of the answer himself.

"Kitten, go run this through the checkout line, and then wait for me in the car," the vampire snapped, tossing the keys at the bewildered mortal. His Master looked really mad, like his Dad after a weekend bender. What bug had gotten up his ass? Why couldn't he take five minutes to tell one of his friends he was all right? Well, physically at any rate.

"Please, Master," the young man began. He needed to know that the others were all right. He knew the girls were probably really mad at him for doing this, Buffy in particular. She was the Slayer; the one in charge who called the plays. Xander had known though that she would never be able to make this decision. She would never have been able to sacrifice one of them. The Buffster was a hero and they just didn't do these things.

Just like she could never have hurt Dawnie even if it meant saving the whole world. So, Xander had taken the choice from her and performed the binding ritual on himself. He just hoped that Buffy would be able to forgive him for this.

"Xander, listen to me, the girls have been working non-stop since they called me. We will find a way to…" the middle-aged man franticly insisted.  Giles looked worn out, like he'd been up all night. Xander wondered when he'd flown in, as far as he knew Giles hadn't been scheduled for a visit for months.

"Now, Kitten," the vampire snarled angrily, putting himself between the brunet and the watcher, making it quite obvious he wanted Giles nowhere near his possession. He hadn't seen Spike this hostile in a long time. Then again, Xander knew full well that there was no love lost between the two men. The mortal Brit had a tendency to ignore Spike unless the vampire was needed as extra muscle or for his demon expertise. Come to think of it, they all kinda did that, Xander reflected guiltily.

"Has he harmed you?" the older man sounded worried, brushing past the furious creature with impunity. Taking the bewildered young man by the shoulders, the elder Scooby looked over his former charge, carefully looking for any injuries. The concern on Giles' face made Xander want to burst into tears. I certainly have G-man's attention now.

"Oh, Xander, how could you be so bloody stupid? Do you have any idea how worried we all have been about you?" the Brit grumbled, shaking the brunet slightly. The older man looked about ready to breakdown himself. Xander felt horrible for putting his friends through this. The last time he'd seen Giles looking this ragged and worn out was right after Buffy had died, the second time.

Giles and the girls were wasting their time. Those freaky representatives from the Powers had been very clear. Once the binding ritual was performed, it was final. The spell was irrevocable. There was no way out, well nothing that would ever happen in this lifetime. Xander had known that going in. He'd thought things through and made his choice. He had to try and explain that somehow, so the others could move on with their lives somehow.

"I didn't… didn't know what else to do. They said if the orb wasn't restored that it would bring a hell on Earth worse than Glory or Acathla could ever have…" Xander started to explain hurriedly. He'd had to decide quickly. Everything their research had managed to come up with had corroborated what the Oracles had told them. Time had been running out and Giles hadn't been here for most of the Buffy-Spike thing. He didn't know how resentful the blond vampire was over the way the slayer had treated him. Xander himself hadn't realized just how bitter Spike was until their former nemesis had gotten the means to get even.

The mortal heard his Master howl in anguish as he furiously tried to extricate his pet from the elder human's grasp. The young man watched guiltily as the blond vampire fell to his knees in agony. Obviously Xander knew that the chip hurt. He knew it caused his owner huge pain when it fired, but for some reason he'd never truly allowed himself to see it.

He always turned his thoughts away, never letting himself think about how cruel the tiny device actually was. Of course, he hadn't seen the chip go off in a very long time. Spike almost never showed physical aggression towards humans anymore. The peroxide blond's attacks were now almost exclusively of verbal nature. That alone, Xander reasoned, should have told him something. The vampire had been forced to repress his true nature so much he'd taken to hanging around the slayer just so he could get in his spot of violence. That was fine while it worked to our advantage wasn't it? We didn't bitch when he was picking up the slack when Buffy was gone.

"Master," Xander tentatively reached out, wanting to placate the creature. Spike had been so unusually considerate today, so much so that Xander foolishly allowed himself to forget how volatile and dangerous the vampire was.

"Get yourself to the fucking car right now or we won't have to wait the bloody three weeks," the vampire snapped, shoving the mortal's outstretched hand away. He could tell Spike was serious. The vampire had every intention of nixing the probationary period he had set and making him quit his job right away if he disobeyed again. He'd never seen the vampire so absolutely furious, not even back when they’d been bitter enemies.

"Xander, what is he talking about?" Rupert Giles demanded. Spike looked so mad, picking himself off the ground. He looked at the older man, still wanting his reassurance, but realized there was nothing Giles could do for him now. As his Master had reminded him just a little while ago, he'd gotten himself into this and now he had to live with the consequences, even if that meant he'd never get to see his friends again. The thought made the brunet's chest tighten painfully.

"I have to go now," the younger man insisted, pulling out of the Englishman's grasp. He hoped to God he hadn't already screwed things up irreparably with his Master. Spike was fully capable of making his life a living hell. Maybe if he went right now things could still be fixed.

"Let him go, Watcher," his master hissed. "He's going to be the one paying later if you keep him here. As things are he's already perilously close to having to make a phone call to work when we get home."

"No one is asking you Spike. Now shut the bloody hell up, before they have to call for a dustpan to clean up the rubbish off the floor of this aisle," the British watcher spat viciously, turning back towards the departing young man. Xander could not meet the older man's eye. He hoped someday that his friends would be able to understand that he'd done what he felt he had to do.

"Kitten, pack the groceries into the trunk, then wait for me in the car. I'll be out shortly. I have a few things to discuss with the shopkeeper here.  We'll go over your punishment when we get home," the blond grumbled, making it clear this was Xander's last warning. The mortal nodded, embarrassed.  After having been warned twice that his Master would revoke his permission to keep his job should he not obey, he was taking no chances. He turned their cart back towards the cash registers, not giving the battling men behind him a second glance.

He could hear Giles calling after him, but forced himself to ignore it. If those two didn't stop, someone was going to call mall security. At least he knew Spike couldn't hurt Giles. Despite the Englishman's threat to stake the vampire, Xander was fairly sure the bleached one was safe. Giles wouldn't risk fooling with the spell that bound them. Would he? No, the older man was too level headed for that.

Xander numbly made his way to the checkout line, self-consciously waiting in line till it was his turn. He looked like a gigolo. Not that he would know what one looked like, but he was sure it involved pants so tight that he was sure the seams were going to give way any second. He stood rigid behind the cart, trying to hide the still substantial stiffy he was sporting behind his too-short coat.

He couldn’t believe he was still… even after the entire shouting match and the thing with Giles. Then again, Spike had taken great pains to get him in that state. To say that Xander was confused would be a gross understatement. He wasn't sure how he felt. A couple of days ago, he would have punched anyone who would have told him he would be enjoying some of the things Spike had made him do since he'd first walked into his Master’s crypt.

He stood in line nervously, trying to pick out any sounds from where he'd left Giles and his Master. None of the expected screaming or the sounds of things being thrown were coming from produce, so Xander reasoned the two angry men he'd left were not actively trying to kill each other. The mortal started absently loading things on to a slightly worn conveyer belt, resisting the urge to run back and check. The most perplexing thing was that the young man was not entirely certain whom exactly he was most worried about.

"Sir, that will be $107.93, please," the chubby cashier groused from behind her register.

"Sorry, I guess I was kind of in my own little world," he apologized giving her a phony smile as he held out his charge card. The cashier grunted, but finally smiled back as she accepted his payment. Xander didn't know how he was going to make ends meet if the vampire kept his current spending pattern up. As far as he knew, the evil undead had no means to support himself, so they were going to have to live on whatever Xander managed to bring in.

The question now seemed to be would the brunet be working for his current employer or at something more exotic and possibly horizontal. Not even close to the worst thing Xander had imagined might happen to him, yet it sort of was. The very idea made him sick to his stomach. Hopefully, Spike would cool off a little once he was away from Giles.

He was surprised how adamant the vamp had been about getting him away from Giles. He hadn't expected to be attending the weekly meetings anymore, but he hadn't thought Spike would flip out if he tried to say a few words if they just came across one of his friends. Sunnydale was a small town, he reflected, as he made his way out to the parking lot. They were bound to run into some people they knew. Xander hadn't really thought about what it was going to be like having Spike be the only being he was ever really going to be permitted to be in be in close contact with for the rest of his life.

He shivered, sitting down in the passenger seat, as he waited for his Master to return. Spike was going to be his entire life, for the rest of his life.  The blond could be in charge of every minute aspect of his life if he so chose. He'd already started. Spike got to decide where Xander lived, where he worked, what he ate, how he dressed. Why not who he got to talk to? Xander supposed Spike could move them to China or the Yukon if he suddenly had a mind to. He could take them somewhere were Xander would never see the people important to him again, not that it looked like that was going to happen anyway.

No more helping Buffy with patrolling or fixing things around the Summers’ house. No more picking up Dawnie at school. No more letters or phone calls to Giles. No more evenings spent talking about his botched relationships over coffee with Willow. No more chances to make things right with Anya. Maybe if he was a really good boy, Spike would let him talk to Clem once in a while.

At least if Spike let him keep his job, he'd be able to talk to the other guys in the crew once in a while. Though he didn't suppose he'd be allowed to just go for out for a beer after a hard day at work. He'd need to go right home to service his Master. He had to keep Bleach-Boy happy if he wanted to keep his job so he could be around people he would never really be allowed to get to know on any sort of personal level. Hugging himself, the brunet stared out of the car window dejectedly as he waited for his Master.

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