Lady Cat

Part Seven

“So?  What’d you get from boy-wonder’s little speech?”

Spike smirked while Xander clutched at a tree, breathing hard.  He would have laughed when the boy eeped and jumped three feet, but he didn’t want to attract any attention to them.  Took long enough to get the girls to go scout out the north side, anyway. 

Although why Buffy had felt safe leaving Xander and Spike, the two most useless members of her little group, by themselves he wasn’t going to guess.  He didn’t like what it made him think about.

“Spike!  Dammit, it’s dark, it’s cold, and I do not need you coming up behind me like–ow!”

Ignoring the pain from the chip, Spike gripped tighter while Xander struggled.  “Hold still,” he hissed.  The boy immediately froze, looking frightened—really frightened.  Good.  “You don’t talk like that.  Ever.”  He kept his voice cold, hard, and completely level.  “Say it.”

“Wha—Spike, what are you—”

“Say it.  You don’t speak like that to me.”

“I—I won’t—I—Spike, I’m sorry, I—”

“Say it.”

“I won’t speak like that to you again.”

“You know why, pet?”  Spike moved closer, their bodies centimeters from touching.  God, he’s so warm.  For that alone I’d keep him for as long as I could.  “Why you aren’t allowed to do that?”  He nuzzled the boy’s neck, allowing teenage hormones to take over.  The boy slumped slightly in Spike’s hold, mind already clouded by arousal and fear and just enough pain that it was good.

“No?”  Xander was breathing heavily now, switching between fear and arousal with each heartbeat.  Perfect.

“Cause you’re mine, precious.  Not the other way around.”  He was grateful to the hyena residing in his boy’s head, and not just because he got a deliciously tasty treat out of it.  It meant that sooner or later, the human would be regaled with a small lesson in what, exactly, an alpha really meant.  At least in vampire terms.

“Oh.”  Another moment of tension, and then Spike felt the boy relax up against him.  Better an’ better.  He likes it when I control him!  Xander twisted so that his neck was still against Spike’s mouth, his head lower than Spike’s.  “Yours,” he whispered.

Mmm, beautiful.  That smell that says he’s a tasty treat that belongs only to—bloody hell!

“Good boy,” Spike crooned, pulling Xander into an upright position and away from the tree.  “Very good.  Time to move, pet, before the nasties remember that you smell good.”

Xander blinked, losing some of the dazed look as the intoxicating smell of submission and arousal faded into the general Xander-smell.  Which was pretty damned nummy anyway.  Flashing a sheepish smile at Spike, the boy began walking again.  “Sorry,” he apologized quietly.  “Just me babbling, like usual.”

“Don’t have a problem with you bein’ you, luv.  Yell at me like that again, though, an’ we’ll just have t’ figure out how far this chip goes.”

“Oh, yeah, about the chip!”  Xander bounced, lesson learned and filed away.  Curious.  “I think you can hit demons!”

Oh, don’t I look the gobsmacked vampire!  Xander was standing in front of him, eyebrows furrowed in anxious concern.  The boy made as if to touch his arm but stopped halfway there.  “S-Spike?”

Shaking himself, he got himself and the boy moving again.  Never make yourself an easy target, Angelus’ lesson the millionth.  “You think I can fight demons, then?”

“Ye-ah.  Um, I was expecting you to be more, well, enthusiastic about this.”

That made Spike grin.  Bleedin’ hell, the boy wants my approval!  He really is a damned puppy.  “First you tell me why you think that.  Then we test it out.”  He realized Xander was staring at him with open-mouthed shock.  “What?”

“You, um.  You want to. . . test it?”

“Look, pet.  You don’t last as long as I have without bein’ careful.”

“But you’re never—”

“I am always careful, boy.”  Glaring darkly at the surprised human, he cursed his impatience.  That was his downfall, no matter how carefully he plotted and planned and it had bit him rather spectacularly on the arse just recently, so he wasn’t going to fall prey to it this time.  He was going to be very cautious until he figured this out.  “So, why do you think I can hurt a demon?”

“Riley said living things.  He was really careful about that.  Demons aren’t really alive, right?  You aren’t, so you can probably at least go after vampires, And, well, why would the Initiative care if you hurt demons?”

Spike ‘hm’ed, continuing to walk as he thought.  Good reasoning there.  ’Specially given that mess I saw when I was escaping. . .  It was just a large room, but it had been covered in demon blood.  Just demon, no human.  In fact, no human smell at all.  And the other prisoners had whispered about that room, told dark stories of matches between demons, like slaves in the Colosseum. . .

“Right, then,” he said after a bit.  “Sounds good.  First thing we do, is get you trained up a bit.  Once you’re good for baby fledges, we’ll test out—what?”

Xander was stock still, staring at him in total shock.  “Trained?  Test?  Where’s the ‘bloody right!’ and the ‘gonna get my spot of violence in’?”  Xander’s attempt at a British accent left Spike cringing.  Thank god the boy didn’t know enough to realize that his accent was just as fake, if better executed.  “Who are you and what have you done with Spike?”

In’tr’stin’.  Very.  When I act like he expects me t’ act—like I’m a sodding thirteen year old—he’s fine.  Snarky, adorable Xander.  ’S when I start bein’ an adult that the fear kicks in.  Real fear.  Huh.  And—bloody hell, I did not just think the boy was adorable

Shaking off that uncomfortable thought, he concentrated on the true fear lurking in the boy’s eyes.  “You really think I’m that stupid?” he asked bluntly.  “That I don’t learn new things, keep myself in shape?”

“Dead men don’t get fat.”

“Don’t mean physical, you ninny.  The world changes.  Every bloody day, it changes.  Some thing’s stay the same, no matter what—fists an’ fangs an’ blood an’ sweat.  But the rest?  Thirty years ago, computers sittin’ on every desk was ruddy science fiction.  Those damned zapper guns, whatchacallem, tasers?  You shock a vamp, it’s gonna do the same thing it would to a human.  Might not last as long, but still works.  Better’n a sword or a pistol, that’s for sure.”

“You’ve been tased before?”  Xander resumed walking, looking thoughtful.

“Yeah.  ’S how the Initiative got me.”

They walked silently after that, scanning the forest for the orange patches Willow’s spell should reveal when they got near the demon.  If she doesn’t cock this one up, anyway.  Girl shouldn’t be allowed to do magic without a bloody nursemaid.  He shuddered at the remembered taste of the Slayer’s lips on his.  Not his type, thank you.  He liked them tall and dark.

“You know how to use a computer?”

Spike snorted.  “What, you thought I went around the campus all day askin’ about a little blond bitch an’ her redheaded wicca mate?  Please.  Give me some credit.”

“Oh, I do.”  Said very quietly, and Spike kept himself as quiet and still as possible.  They were being almost friendly and if he was lucky, his careful manipulation would pay off.  Mine, yeah, but I don’t need a human minion.  We’re gonna keep this quiet, he’s gotta stay smart.

“I do,” Xander was saying, still in that quiet, pensive voice.  “You act like an idiot, sometimes,”—half-grin at Spike’s growl—“but you catch on too fast to be that stupid.  You just let your mouth get in the way too much.”

We seein’ similarities, boy?  You are not as brainless as your friends think, an’ I’m quite sure that’s intentional.  You’re hiding something, same as I was.  Now me, I was hiding a ponce of a human that I hated even when I was livin’ him.  What are you hiding, boy?  What’s made you so damned scared of someone treatin’ you like a person?

“Oh, a compliment from the boy-blunder.”

Xander snorted.  “Okay, that was awful.”

“Yeah, well, I’d rather be teachin’ you t’ be more than a walking bruise, instead of playing the Slayer’s lapdog.”

Xander stopped again.  “You mean that?  You want to train me?”

Spike nodded, scanning the forest as he caught a faint hint of something metallic and warm floating on the cool night air.  “Never understood why Rupert didn’t.  Slayer’s too strong t’ do it herself, but he could train you lot just fine.  Well, maybe not Red—don’t think she’d be much in a fight, aside from the magic.  But you could least learn how to not get in trouble.”

“Hey!” Xander objected, but Spike knew it was more habit.  “Um, how would we do that?  Teach me, I mean.”

“Don’t have to hit t’ teach, idiot.  You ever watch the Slayer train?  She does most of the hittin’.”

Xander crossed his arms. “And when the hell have you watched Buffy train?”

Spike just smirked, inwardly pleased that the boy managed to sound aggrieved without being superior.  He didn’t mind their bantering, in fact he enjoyed it as much as the verbal battles with the Slayer, but certain ground rules had to be observed.  There was only one alpha in this arrangement.

“Remind me to find those tapes,” he said lightly, hand under the boy’s elbow to keep him moving.  The feel of magic was making his skin tingle.  “They’re great wank material.”


“Videos.  Of the Slayer.  Most of ’em are from her patrols, but got a couple with her an’ Rupes in the library.”  Spike leered, noting the faint hint of arousal his words produced.  God, this boy was so responsive.  Luscious.  “Thought I just went after her, all impulsive-like?”


“Shows what you know.”  Which wasn’t to say he hadn’t gone after her, all impulsive-like.  Just that after I did the first time, I learned my lesson and started plannin’.  Despite her mother’s save with an ax, Buffy’s performance that night had been admirable.  Totally outnumbered, worried about protectin’ everyone else and it was a fight to get to her.  She’s tough enough.  Not stupid in a fight, like the other ones.

Spike knew the only reason he’d bagged two Slayers was sheer luck, and their own stupidity.  The China-girl had been exhausted, fighting nearly nonstop for days.  He just happened to be the lucky one who was there when she gave up.  The one in New York one had gotten herself boxed in that damned subway car, no real weapons and no way out.  Spike didn’t have to beat her to win, just wait until she was too hurt and tired to fight.  An’ be thankful she couldn’t cut off m’head with those poles.  She was desperate enough to try.

“You videoed Buffy?  To see how she fights?  Okay, please do not let me see those videos.  It was be—bad.  And what does this have to do with my training?”

“You ever see her spar with Rupert?  He don’t actually hit her, most o’ the time.  Just lets her wail on him an’ corrects her when she needs it.  Figure something like that would work all right for you.  Y’can’t hurt me.”

“You wouldn’t teach me weapons?”  Wistfulness?  So he wants this, not just cause o’ me.  Good.  “Sword or something?”

“Not sword.  Don’t got the time.  But ax, mebbe.  Could do a lot of damage with that and you’re strong enough.”  Ah, that’s where it was coming from.  “Cave, hundred yards to the left.”

“Huh?  Oh.  Hey, it’s glowing orange!  Go, Will—”  Xander made a lurph sound as Spike’s hand clamped around his mouth.

“Lesson one, boy.  When near the enemy, shut the hell up!”  Pulling them both down behind a large tree, he examined the hill.  “We got the stuff, right?  The magic-be-gone stuff?”

Xander nodded, holding up a small bottle of clear liquid.  “Check.  So, what, we just toss it in there?”

“No, I toss it in there.”  Do not make me explain myself, boy.  I don’t want to have to think up an excuse.  Xander just raised an eyebrow.  Yes, I’m evil.  So what if I’m helping?  I can get my jollies this way, since I won’t be gettin’ any from you tonight.  Not that he was particularly horny, anyway, but the boy was practically swaying he was so exhausted.  Beside, there were other things they could do. . . 

“Vamps got some immunity to magicks,” he said when Xander continued to just look at him.  “If he’s got any traps or whatnot, I won’t set ’em off.”

“So, you go in, throw the stuff, and then I come in with the crowbar?”  Snarath were, like many demons, extremely sensitive to cold iron so Giles had handed out a few crowbars he had handy before they’d left.  Xander hefted it now with a pleased grin.

“Mebbe.  If I get stuck.”  I am killing something tonight, god dammit.  Snake demon, you just got elected.

Some of that must have been visible in the dim moonlight, because Xander blinked and swallowed whatever he had been about to say.  “Okay.  So. . . what do I do?”

“You help.  An’ watch.”

It was a very satisfying fight.

Cautiously approaching the mouth of the cave, they peered inside.  The snarath, long and sinuous despite stubby arms and legs, lay curled around a small pile of something, glowing golden in the dim torch light.

All the comforts of home.  Spike smelled gold—real gold—and silver, the old leather of books, and the sharp, tingling scent that meant magic.  A lot of it.  Xander silently passed the bottle over, watching as Spike crept forward.

He felt his foot hit a depression in the ground and something tingled over his entire body—making him very glad that Xander was doing exactly what he’d been told to do, waiting mostly patiently.  Shaking off the feeling of sleepiness—this was probably a sleep-and-freeze spell, fairly common to hold intruders until they could be dealt with—Spike moved just a bit closer and opened the jar.

The snarath open one big, slit-pupiled eye, just in time to get a face-full of Willow’s spell.

It gave a mind-bending shriek and began thrashing.  The amulet around its neck fell off with a bell-tone clang, and Spike caught the crowbar Xander had tossed to him.  Right then, here goes.  Pulling back like a baseball slugger, he walloped the flailing body.

No pain.

I can hit demons.    He swung again, enjoying the squishing sound as tiny bones broke.  I can hit demons!

The snarath took a long time to die.

It was nearly thirty minutes later that he came back to himself.  He was panting, grinning wildly, with bits of snarath-demon in his hair and all over his clothes. 

He felt in-fucking-credible. 

I can kill things.  Don’t bloody care if they ain’t humans.  I can kill things again!  Crowing with delight, he began jumping up and down on the remains of the demon, just because he could.  “Take that, you government wankers!  Can too hurt things!”

Got blood, got sex, got violence.  Don’t need humans, so long as I have ’em.  An’ speakin’ of humans. . . where’d my boy get off to?  Spike had been peripherally aware of Xander leaving when Spike went all out, reveling in his ability to fight again.  The snarath hadn’t gone down easily once it had gotten over it’s lack of magic, fighting back even against the touch of death-metal.

Spike wasn’t surprised that Xander hadn’t stuck around to watch.  He was surprised that the boy hadn’t tried to stop him.  Though he could’ve an’ I wouldn’t ’ave heard him.  But he didn’t think so.  Right, so where has he gone?  If he’s wandered off alone—


He whirled, snarling in possessive rage.  “Mine!” he growled, yanking the boy close and clamping down on his neck—and then breaking off, howling as the chip activated and tried to burn him from the inside out.

Buggering fuck! he cursed, cradling his head as he waited for the pain to subside.  Oh, that hurts.  Damn.  Haven’t had a full-on shot like that in a while.  Not for several weeks, anyway.  Didn’t need the reminder.  Well, know the sodding thing still works, now, don’t we?  Ow.

“Xander?  Xander what happened!”  “Xander, what’s going on?”

Opening blurring eyes, Spike watched as the boy scrambled back towards the entrance of the cave.  He was saying something, presumably to the girls, but Spike couldn’t make out what exactly it was.

“Just wait a minute, okay?  Let me see!”  That he heard clearly, but only because Xander was now walking towards him.  “Spike?”  Groaning, Spike waved the boy off and clambered to his feet.  “You okay?”

Crap.  Rich, heavy, sweet and thick, he felt glands fight through the pain to try and salivate at the smell—Xander was bleeding.  Forcing himself to look closely, he saw the boy holding his neck, right under the high collared shirt he was wearing.  “Fuck,” he gasped out.

“Hey, it’s okay.  I startled you, that’s all.  You didn’t even go that deep.  Are you okay?  I thought you were having seizure!  Spike, c’mon, talk to me, Spike please be okay, please you’ve got to be okay—”

“Enough, pet.”  Probably not the wisest thing to do with a babbling, frightened boy frantically running his hands over your body in desperate need for reassurance, but the babbling was more than he could take.  “S’alright, really.  Just the chip tellin’ me why I can’t claim you that way.  Oh, damn this hurts.”

He wondered what on earth had made the boy go so frighteningly still.  Then the babble kicked in overdrive.  “Buffy and Willow are outside.  I made them wait, I didn’t want them to see you doing—that.  Which was kinda freaky, you really like the violence-thing, don’t you?  So I made them wait because they’d probably be really grossed out, even Buffy.  I gave Willow the clan amulet and she wants to take it back to Giles and have him study it and they have to make sure that they don’t let Riley have it because who knows what the Initiative—sorry.”

Huh?  Oh.  I’m growling.  “Not mad at you, pet.  Just slow down a mite, yeah?  Got a bit of a headache.”  Swallowing heavily, he eyed the cavern again.  With the pain fading, some of his earlier contentment was returning.  Not the best of worlds, no, but how many vamps could claim to have what he had?

How many vamps would want it, is a better question.  “Look, luv, why don’t you go back with the Slayer—”

“Without you?”  Spike squinted, trying to read that usually open, laughing face.  There was. . . nothing.  Not in his face, or his voice.  No emotion.  Not even a hint of what lay behind those big, dark eyes.

“I’ll be back in a bit.  Look ’round—see all that crap?  I wanna go through it.  Don’t argue with me, boy.  Give the Slayer the amulet, yeah, and you get her t’ walk you home.  Too many beasties out there.  I’ll be back in a bit, don’t worry.”

He kept his own face impassive while he watched a suddenly nervous Xander shift from foot to foot.

“Xander?  Is everything okay in there?  It can’t be that messy, and I don’t trust Blond-boy not to do something stupid!”

The boy gave a credible growl before nodding decisively about something.  “All right.  Just—don’t be long, k?”

“Won’t be.  Got me a bed to sleep in tonight—better than havin’ me own crypt, that is.  So, go on, luv.  You’re asleep on your feet.  Go home, take a nap.  Won’t wake you when I come in.”  Well, he would, but that was irrelevant.  He had quite a few things to do before he went back to the basement apartment.

Xander kept his eyes on the vampire as he backed out.  “Please don’t be long.”  Spike could only nod, wondering at the curious flatness to the boy’s voice.

Have I mentioned I don’t actually like crazy people?  That’s not why I stayed with Dru, an’ I really don’t want another psycho pet.  He listened as the boy convinced the girls that Spike would be just fine on his own—Why would you care, Buffy, if something dusted the Bleached Menace?  No, Wills, I don’t think anyone will.  It’s his unlife to risk, so can we just go?—and made their way out of the forest.  No longer concerned about Spike, they pumped Xander for information on how the fight had gone.

Right, then.  Free at last.  Time to start my unlife again.

The thing he missed most, thanks to his impromptu trip to the vet?  It wasn’t the blood, the sex, or the violence, not really.  Those things were replaceable.   He missed the independence.  Craved it, needed it as much as his demon needed blood to survive.  Depending on the charity of the Scoobies hadn’t sat well, nor was he complacent about the rumors he knew were being spread in his absence.  So it was time to correct both of these problems.

Good thing this Snarath-thing thought it was half-dragon, then, innit?

Part Eight




Banshee wailing in the distance, the familiar rise and fall of its siren call comforting despite the raucousness of it.  Wooden boards creaked under the ghostly pressure of memories.  The air felt oppressive, full of sharp edges that cut.  The need to cough grew, but it was swallowed down.  Noise was bad.  Noise would attract attention.  Muscles twitched, caught and trapped under that heavy air, chained by twisted cloth, forcing him still.  Warm, soft, fraying and nappy with age, the red blanket was slowly being unraveled, one faded thread at a time.

Six hours, thirty four minutes and seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty one. . .

He never put digital clocks by his bed.

Blood vessels pumped in red-rimmed eyes as they followed the metronome of those gracefully rhythmic hands.  Two half-moons of scabs beat in counterpoint.  He touched them every once in a while.  At least once a minute.

The girls hadn’t noticed them.  Neither had Giles or the recently arrived Olivia.  Buffy had pouted since she didn’t get to hurt what had injured Riley.  Willow had focused entirely on the glowing orange stone on its ornate gold chain.  It moved.  He had caught her staring at it with the dazed look of a stoner, or someone watching a lava lamp.

He’d stared at it awhile, too.

“And then we see Xander at the edge of the cave—my spell worked!  And yes, I know I’ve said that.  Anyway, Xander was there and this stuff kept flying out—”

“Blood and guts,” Buffy had chimed in, while Willow delicately wrinkled her nose.  “Spike was having fun in there.  Big cheater.”

Giles looked a bit concerned at that, but Xander had been certain it was the jealousy in her voice, not what she had actually said.  “Are you certain, Buffy?  That he was killing the snarath?”

Blonde hair bounced vigorously as she nodded.  “Yup.  Killed it dead.  I think.  He’s probably doing something icky with the corpse right now.  Oh, Xander, do not let him back in with you.  Not until he’s washed, at least.  It smelled horrible, and we didn’t even get very close.”

Xander had stopped listening then.

He vaguely remembered Giles promising to look into the amulet and why the Initiative may want it.  His eyes had never left Olivia’s the entire time he spoke.  Buffy had chirped a goodbye, claiming she had a boyfriend to go make up with.  Willow he had walked back to her dorm, habit from long before he started carrying stakes and crosses with him.  She had babbled the entire time about the magic, sparing him the need to say anything but the occasional “Uh huh” and “That’s cool”.

And then she had turned to him, and looked very hard.

“Are you okay, Xander?”

“Huh?  Sure, Wills, I’m fine.  Why wouldn’t I be fine?”

“Because you’re so quiet.  You’re never quiet, Xander.”  Cute Willowgrin up at him, totally aware that they could have contests to see who babbled more.  And knowing it would be a tie.  “Are you scared Spike is going to hurt you?  Because he can’t, still, we know the chip is only for demons.”  Had they talked about that?  Yes, he had vague memories of being surprised that no one cared very much.  Spike wasn’t a threat to people, so they were content to leave him alone.  “Or do you want to throw him out?  Now that he can take care of himself again. . .”

“Scared?  Wh—why would I be scared?  He’s still chipped.”  Agonized howl, awareness and frighteningly insightful intelligence returning over the base instinct of me and mine.

“He can’t hurt you Xander.  Just the demons.  You know we wouldn’t let him go near you if we thought he could actually hurt you.”

Liarliarliarliarliarliarliarliarliarliar.  “Who says he’s even coming back?  Like you said, he can take care of himself again.  He’s probably off finding himself a nice crypt right now.”

Willow just gave him a look.  “Spike?  Do for himself when he can nag, complain, and whine at someone to do it for him?  Please.  And he still can’t hunt, just defend himself.  He’ll be back.  Unless you don’t want him to.  Do you want me to do a de-invite at your house?”

Habit kicked in then and he gave her his bestest Xandergrin and a wink.  “Nah, don’t worry about it.  Fangless doesn’t scare me.  I’m gonna go home, go to sleep.  It’s been a long day.”

“Oh, that’s right, you were working today, weren’t you?  At the Chuck E Cheese again?  Oh, poor Xander.  I’ll make you some cookies, okay?”  Not waiting for an answer, she gave him a peck on the cheek and disappeared up the stairs.  “Call you!” he heard trailing down.

Six hours, forty five minutes, and thirty one, thirty two, thirty three, thirty four . . .

Demons, far more frightening than the ones with bumpy foreheads, circled in his mind, whispering to him.  He wanted to cry at their venomous onslaught, but he couldn’t.  Tick, tick, tick.  Can’t blink, can’t tear, can’t look away.  Have to watch.  Have to see.

Something scratched at the door.

He froze, hardly daring to breath.  It could be anything, including the stray cat that he occasionally fed.  It liked him.

The scratching got louder, turning into a click.  The door swung open.  Feet clumped down the stairs, leather, smoke, and alcohol—so much alcohol poured off the person to mix with mildew and fabric softener.

No one’s home, go away.  All the lights are out.  Nothing to see here.

Things were put down.  Clothes were taken off.  Microwave opened and started turning.

He was beginning to feel ignored.

The microwave beeped and was opened.  Tiny sounds of a body working.  Click of something being put down.

Long, cool body slid next to his, hands recently used as claws gently untangling him from his woven chains and pulling him away from the sofa back.  Smoothing down his sweaty skin, he was pulled against something that could have been marble but wasn’t.  A deep rumbling sound vibrated from one body to the other.

And then he was moving, sliding down that satiny cold.  Hands and mouth, touching and licking, kissing, biting, moving over muscles that rippled under his touch, down sinewy legs, curly hair tickling his nose.  Back up again, less hair, warmer skin, and then—


Light, gentle touches, making something soft and small large and hard.  It was warm against his lips and tongue, as was the breath that bathed his face in short, sharp bursts.  Find the vein, lick that from base to head, leaving the tongue just below it to move in small circles.  Move, carefully, mustn’t move the tongue too far away, to take the tip into the mouth.  Suck.  Hard.  Pull cheeks back so hard that cheekbones become as prominent as the slack-jawed version above him.

Quick gasp of breath, then more suction, slooooowly moving down that long shaft.  Feel the blunt and leaking tip bump against the gag-reflex—which wasn’t working—and hesitate.  Dilemma.  More suction, or more entry.

Or breathing.

Suddenly he felt cool hands gently lifting his flushed and sweaty face away—

No!  Nonononono!  I’m a good boy, I am!  Please, let me be good, want to be good.  Please—

“Calm down, pet.”  The second repetition carried the hint of a growl and his thrashings subsided.  Those hands stroked him again, up to his throat going up and down until he swallowed, and swallowed and swallowed.

“Missed me, puppy?  Good.  That’s a good boy.”  He whimpered, pushing his face into a yielding stomach.  “Remember to breath, pet.  You have to breath.”

There was something he was supposed to remember about breathing, something other than he had to do it.  Something about not doing it, and warm hands at his throat, warm body against his, moving and writhing and—

“Shhh, pet, not mad at you.”  More hands, pulling him up to look at eyes that were glassy reflections in the faint dawn light.  “You were doin’ just fine, pet.  Can do that all you like.  Just breathe, boy.  Don’t forget to breathe.  Ever.”

Cool command in that last word and he felt his mind being rewired to accept the new programing.  Good boys don’t forget to breathe.  Lesson learned, so can he go back to making pack-leader happy again?  Because pack-leader can’t leave.  Pack-leader won’t leave, if he’s pleased with the pack.  The pack had to be good, be a good boy. . .

There were no interruptions this time as he worked his way back down.  Stopped at small dusky pink nipples, licking them experimentally.  Oh, a moan.  Licked until they shrank into small, hard pebbles.  Pack-leader was vampire.  Vampires liked biting.  Half-moons throbbed in agreement.  Glancing up in half-needed permission—saw nothing but pleasure and anticipation—he leaned forward over the left one.  Bit down, hard.

“Oh, Christ!”

Bite down again, just about to break through skin, licking the tiny nub that was pushed into his mouth.  Licked and licked and licked, because pain was pleasure and pleasure was pain.  Pinched the other one, biting and licking and pinching, switching from one to the other.  Moved his thigh between pack-leader’s, rubbing lightly while he worked.

“Oh, fu—ah!”  Cold and wet splashes on his thigh, but he couldn’t stop.  There was still hardness under his weight and until the hardness went away, wet wasn’t enough.  Pack-leader couldn’t leave the pack.  Couldn’t be alone, not again.  Alone was bad.  Scary.

Licked the bite-marks, soothing them with wet warmth, then moved down to explore stomach muscles that were so hard, so cut but yielded under his tongue.  Dipped into the small hollow he found, pleased with the guttural moans.  Pack-leader was happy.

Licked at the first hair he found on that pale expanse, a small trail from the hollow to the place that smelled so good, so right.  Smelled of home and safe and wanting.  Bypassed the straining monument of the happiness he was creating, and moved onto round things he licked and sucked and tried to swallow whole.  Tangled hair on his tongue, following the contours as something wet dripped onto his nose and face.  Wet and becoming warm.  He remembered other times, other lessons, and whimpered with his mouth right on the skin.  High in his throat like a frightened child, wanting someone to come save it, whimpering and moaning.

Deeper moans from above faded into gasps and harsh panting for unneeded breath.  “Good—good boy,” was gasped out when he hesitated a bit too long.  Cool fingers threaded into his hair, not pushing, just holding and feeling.

Pack-leader was happy!  He was a good boy!  Pleased, he released the wrinkled sac and moved even lower.  Saw the thing that had gotten him into trouble before.  “God—no, wait.”

He keened, obediently stopping but confused and upset as to why.  He was going to be a good boy, an obedient boy, just like he was supposed to be, just like he had been, before!

Low, gasping chuckle met his whines.  “Not tryin’ t’ stop you, puppy.  Just wanna move a bit, is all.”  Oh.  More pleasure?  Yes, that was good.  Pack-leader should be happy.  He pulled back while pack-leader moved onto his side, lifting his leg and balancing it on his calf.  Pretty white triangle . . .

Hands, again, touching him, soothing him, reminding him that he was a good boy who did good things.  Those hands moved him, getting him to lay down on those silken thighs.  His lower half was pulled up to the top of the bed, hands playing with his body.  Touching here, and there, sometimes hard, mostly not.

“Such a good boy,” he heard crooned above him, breath still strangely warm gusting along his buttocks.  Mm, that felt good.  Shivering with pleasure, he leaned forward and gently circled his tongue around the little brown place.  “Oh, yeah, that’s it.  Rim me, boy.  Make me cum again.”

He touched the two globes surrounding his goal, kneading them and spreading them just a little to get better access.  Cautiously moved just a bit closer, pushing his tongue from the outside to the inside.  Oh, tight.  Very tight, clamping down on his tongue so it was hard to move it.

Hands warmed from his own body heat squeezed him lightly, mimicking his kneading movements.  Happy pack-leader.  He moved his tongue, remembering a time when it was warm and wet and soft instead of cold and tight.  Remember what worked and what didn’t.  Copied it, stabbing up in deep, looking to see if he could find that special, wonderful part that warm-and-wet didn’t have.


Found it.

Tried to grin, then realized he couldn’t and still reach that place far up inside.  So he stopped smiling, pushing in again and again before releasing to suck at an opening that was much wider than when he started.  Over and over he did this.  Tried some new things, some worked and some didn’t.

More wet stuff, landing on his belly, but he knew from reaching down to stroke as he licked and prodded that it wasn’t soft yet.  Had to be soft.  Soft meant completely.

One last lick and then back to the place that was home.  Opened his mouth and swallowed it down, past the gag reflex, into the depth of his throat.  Sucked hard and swallowed.  Pulled back enough that he could breathe through his nose, and then did it again.

Hands played over his belly, getting slick with the mixture there.  One finger, then two pushed into him, doing what his tongue had done before.  The other fondled and played the bit of skin that started where his sac stopped.  He was a good boy—he had to be, because only good boys were given treats.

Bobbing his head up and down, sucking and licking the way good boys were supposed to.  Pack-leader had to stay now.  He kept nearly continuous suction on the long shaft in his mouth, humming and whining to let pack-leader know he was being good.  That he wanted to be good.

This time, when pack-leader came in his mouth, the hardness began to fade.  I’m a good boy! he thought with childlike delight.  He rolled the viscous fluid around on his tongue, swallowing it in sips so he wouldn’t lose the taste.

“C’mere, pet.”  The fingers followed him as he turned himself around, continuing to pump inside of him as he brought his lower body flush with pack-leader’s.  The other hand moved up to touch the marks on his shoulder.  “So pretty,” was whispered into his hair.  “One day, gonna do it for real, boy.  Never lettin’ you go.  Never.”

And pack-leader licked the healing wound.

He screamed, came—and passed out.

Xander opened his eyes to white skin.  It was finely grained, pulled taut over cheekbones and a jaw line that were sharp enough to draw blood.  He wanted to touch them, but didn’t.  His arms wouldn’t move, wrapped up tightly and trapped in their current positions.

Xander smiled.

Snuggling closer to the sleeping vampire, Xander allowed himself to bask in the feeling of pack.  He had pack-leader’s smell all over him, pack-leader’s body covering his in a possessive strength.  One hand toyed with his hair, the shoulder his pillow, the other arm clamped down tightly enough that Xander could hardly breathe around its hold.  One leg was tossed carelessly over both his own, a soft groin pressed to his.

Safe.  Home.  Pack.

Part of him clamored for love, affection, respect, and friendship, but it was a small part.  The more time he spent with Spike the more the hyena’s wants became dominant.  Not to the point where he couldn’t interact with other people—the hyena wasn’t stupid—but the things the human wanted were becoming less important.  He didn’t need love or respect, so long as he had pack.  Because pack was love; possessive-love that circumvented the need for respect or friendship.  Affection he already did have, if not the way the human wanted.

And all this in just three days.  He said he’d never let me go.

He hummed deep in his throat, a humans poor imitation of a hyena’s growl, pushing yet closer to the cool body next to his.  Spike responded by muttering lightly, the way a human would when disturbed during sleep, and held him impossibly tighter.

Um, this is great and all, but I have to breathe.  He said I have to breathe.  Choking, he tried to push himself backwards.  Spike growled, moving his head to latch onto his collarbone.  A rough tongue swept over the scabs there, removing them although it did not bleed again.

“Spike?” he gasped out.  “Gotta breathe.  Please?”

Another growl, almost the whine he remembered himself making more than once—he winced in memory—but Spike did release him enough that he could start breathing regularly again.

One arm curled at an impossible angle, snaking between their stuck-together bodies to stroke his stomach.  “Gotta go, pet?” he heard whispered in his ear.

Oh.  Right.  That would explain the incredible pressure-pain he was feeling.  And why he was half-hard.  It was morning, ergo, he needed to pee.  “Um, yeah,” he said, embarrassed.  “But I don’t want to move.”


More embarrassment.  He wondered if Spike could feel the heat from his scarlet flush.  Probably.  “Yeah,” he admitted reluctantly.  Between his own clumsiness in the woods and the marathon sex they’d been having he was sore, pretty much everywhere.  And they were stuck together.  He could feel it every time he breathed, or Spike got too close to the patch of skin that was slightly raised.  Not that Xander wanted him to stop, or anything.  It felt. . . nice, being petted like that.  Even if the implications were a bit disturbing.

What could get more disturbing in my life?  No, wait, I didn’t actually think that.  Please, god, don’t listen to me.  My life is disturbing enough, please don’t make it weirder!

He felt more than heard Spike chuckling, the deep, rumbling sound traveling through his bones.  “What th’ bloody hell are y’ panickin’ about now?”

And there it was.  The one thing designed to send Xander over the edge.  He tried to stop it, he really did.  At first, he managed to keep it just a snort.  And then two, swallowing to keep the rest down, which probably made him sound like he was choking.  Which would explain why Spike opened up to wide, blue eyes, lifted his head, and stared down at the convulsing boy in his arms.  “What?” he demanded, sounding utterly outraged.

With his hair sticking up in a damned good imitation of his name.

Xander howled.

“Oi!” he heard through his manic laughter.  “You sound like a hyena when you do that.  An’ I do not have bedhead, you bloody pillock!”

He only laughed harder at that.

He couldn’t help it, not really.  It was just. . . three days.  Three days and his life had turned upside down.  Which wasn’t bad, considering it had been one day when Buffy had arrived and turned him into her faithful pet.  Except that just made it funnier.

He wasn’t sure how long he laughed, not stopping even when Spike unstuck their bodies with a sharp pull that made them both yelp.  He couldn’t stop even as Spike hauled him over to the bathroom and shoved him in.

He had to calm himself when faced with the toilet.  Giggling was not conducive for relaxed muscles.  Neither was remembering morning-Spike, and how adorably human he looked.  Ohh, bad Xander.  Don’t tell the evil bloodsucking fiend that he looks like a five year old in the morning.

Which just set him off again.

“Are you done in there?” Spike demanded after the toilet had been flushed but Xander had still not emerged.  “Cause I wanna shower.  Hate bein’ dirty.”

And that does nothing to erase the image of little-boy-Spike.  I am a sick, sick man.  Still snarfing, he got the door open before Spike broke it down and gestured to the shower.  Spike tilted his head, watching Xander and then looking at the shower.  Reaching over, he fiddled with the nozzle.

Xander’s shriek of shock effectively ended the laughter.

“That was cold!” he whined, even as he hurriedly wiped off the icy water from his chest.  Spike turned the nozzle back into the shower stall, smirking and obviously pleased with himself.  “Gonna make yourself sick, laughin’ that hard,” was his only comment while waiting for the water to heat.

“What’s so wrong with laughing, huh?”

“Without stopping for twenty minutes, y’mean?”  Spike gave him a look, and Xander ducked his head.  “Like you living, I do.”

Oh.  Oh.

Stunned, he didn’t resist when Spike pulled them both under the now-steaming spray.  This time Spike washed them both, continuing Xander’s impersonation of a mime.  He moved where Spike said to, silently appreciative at Spike’s gentle hands and careful touches.  He was sore—all over.  And his dick was still multicolored the way penis’ just shouldn’t be.  Spike made a clucking noise of that, muttering something about ointment and fragile humans.

It all stopped when Spike reached his collarbone.

Vampires shouldn’t have delicate fingers.  He’d thought that ever since he had a close look at Angel’s, and he had no idea when or why, just that he had.  They were supposed to be blunt and short, human claws instead of the kind of hands poets and artists had.  Despite the chipped black polish that was still on Spike’s long-fingered hands, they looked like the hands of a musician.

“Hurts?”  He was tracing the marks, over and over again.  Xander could feel them burning on his skin.  And making him harden.  What, Spike was asking something?  About them hurting?  God, no.

Somehow he shook his head, lost in the euphoria that came just from Spike touching him there.  Was this how Buffy felt?  Did Angel’s merest touch of his claim on her send her spiraling into the most intense kind of pleasure?  Or did she hate it—she might.  Alpha’s did not submit well to others, especially since Angel was such a warped case to begin with.

“You like this?”  Spike was so close to him again, pushing him against the wall.  Xander hardly noticed that the vampire was still soft.  “Take that as a yes, then.  Good to know.”  More touching and Xander was panting, barely staying upright, clutching the smooth tile behind him for some kind of purchase.  Dimly, he realized this should be hurting—sending white-hot agony up through his body.  He’d never been turned on so much or cum so much even when he’d been fifteen and constantly horny.

It didn’t hurt, though.  Not even a little bit.

Spike was licking him again, tiny kitten-licks that barely disturbed the scabs.  Just letting his tongue—cool, gods, so cold—press down gently over it.  “Cum,” he whispered in between licks, “when you want to.”

Xander didn’t want to.  He wanted this pleasure to continue for ever and ever and. . . oh, look.  White stuff.

“Good boy,” Spike was whispering now.  Washing what the pounding water hadn’t immediately taken care of.  “Such a pretty boy.  Perfect, you are.  Perfect. . .

They finished the shower, Spike bundling them both into robes.  Led to the table, Xander sat and waited while Spike heated up the leftover chinese and then his own mug of blood.  They ate quietly, neither one feeling the need to talk much.  Or, well, Spike may have felt that way.  With the euphoria fading, Xander was too afraid to say anything—it might make Spike leave again.

“Still sore, right?  On the bed with you, then.”

He blinked, only then noticing that his plates were washed and drying in the rack, Spike standing over him with a hand out.  “Huh?” he managed.

“Humans,” Spike muttered.  “Boy, you’re exhausted and hurtin’.  We had a long couple a’ days, an’ our sleep-schedules are screwed.  So.  You, on bed, now.”

Xander got to his feet, leaning heavily on Spike as he moved.  God, he hurt everywhere.  He was trying to say something.  Something about. . . oh, right.  “Training?” he managed before falling face-first onto the bed.

Spike’s bass chuckle made him shiver.  “Not trainin’ you yet, puppy.”  The sound of the microwave for maybe ten seconds.  What was Spike doing?  He wanted to turn his head, but that required effort and concentration.  He didn’t have either of those.

“But. . . training?” he asked again.  It was all that seemed to come out.

“Look, pet, we know the chip don’t work on demons.  Proved that, once I hit the bars.”  Deep satisfaction in his voice then and Xander didn’t know if he should be happy or scared.  “Still works on humans, though, so I’m dependent on you lot for blood.  Don’t fancy starvin’ myself to a skeleton.”  Something else there, hidden in the words, but he couldn’t make himself figure out what it was.  He was so tired. . .

Legs, straddling him and solid weight landing right on his buttocks.  “You need t’ rest, get your strength up.  An’ you got work tomorrow.” 

Work?  Oh, crap, he had work today!  He struggled weakly, but a hand flat on his back holding him still with little effort.  Was that cinnamon he smelled?

Spike was chuckling again, riding Xander’s struggles with obvious amusement.  “Relax, pet.  No work today, already called your boss.  Gotta get you less jobs, spend more time with me.”

Oh, possessive growl.  Pack-leader likes pack!  Except— “I have to work, Spike,” he forced out.  “Gotta pay rent, keep you in the style to which you’ve become accustomed.”  That didn’t sound too strange, did it?

More chuckling and there was that hidden something, again.  Like Spike knew something but he wasn’t going to say it.  He should be scared, but that just required too much energy.  Let Spike play his games.  He couldn’t hurt humans, so where was the harm?  “Don’t worry about that, boy.  I take care of what’s mine.”

And then the scent of cinnamon was everywhere, especially on the warm, slippery stuff Spike was rubbing into his back.  Oh, good hands.  He liked these hands.  So much bigger than Anya’s little ones and hit all the right spots. . .

“Relax, pet.  Spike’ll take care of everythin’.”

Yes, Xander agreed in his mind, since his mouth didn’t seem to be doing anything except moaning.  Pack-leader staying.  He’s staying.  Snuggling deeper, he hummed again, perfectly content. 

Home. . .

Part Nine

“No—hey, warm. . .”

Xander froze at the sleepy words, unresisting as Spike dragged him back down to the bed.  “Can’t leave,” Spike mumbled as he spooned the boy.  “Jus’ got back.”

“That was three hours ago, Spike.”  Except he was pushing his body backward as he spoke, snuggling deeper into that cold embrace.  Spike smirked into the boy’s hair, enjoying the feel of soft-hard warmth pressed against him.  He would never have pegged Xander as being so. . . cuddly.  The boy loved to be touched, even if it was just the lightest pressure on the small of his back.  He craved the affection and attention that it meant.

Which suited Spike just fine.  Dru had tolerated his physical affection, but—other than the sex—she hadn’t enjoyed it.  With Xander. . . giant teddy bear an’ livin’ hot water bottle, all rolled up into one deliciously sexy package.  Not complainin’.

“S’night time,” he murmured, hair tickling his nose.  “Night job’s me.”

Vibrations traveled from Xander to Spike, making the latter grin in unabashed pleasure.  The boy couldn’t purr, but he did the best he could, humming as he breathed and making his whole body rumble.  Likes bein’ mine, he does.

“It’s just pizza delivery,” the boy said after a while.  “But I don’t like flaking on Jimmy.  He’s a good guy and cuts me a lot of Hellmouth slack.”

“Meanin’ he ain’t gonna fire you on account of fyarl.”

Xander laughed lightly.  “Or making sure my sick mother isn’t alone, but yeah.”

Spike begrudgingly rolled off after a few more moments, nodding absently as Xander babbled about how good Jimmy was to him.  There had been. . . something. . . in that last sentence.  It had been tightly controlled, but Spike’s nose was a highly tuned instrument, able to hunt down lunatic vampiress through crowded mobs, scent souls where there should be none, and know instantly if there was even a hint of garlic in the meal.  He had smelled something.  He just wished he could figure out what.

“You gonna hunt tonight?”  Xander pulled on his shirt, palm trees and something that looked horribly like a baboon glaring from it.  “Or just hang out at Willy’s?  I probably won’t be back until close to one.”

The scarred eyebrow rose.  “You tellin’ me Red and Slu—the Slayer allow you to wander around the Hellmouth.  At night.  Alone.”

Xander gave a long suffering sigh that said he’d done this multiple times.  “Carrying crosses, stakes, and holy-water.  The car has crosses all over it, and Jimmy won’t take calls from certain areas.  I’ve done this before, Spike.”

He nodded after a moment, still thoughtful.  Wonder if that’s part of it.  The whole ‘I must be worth something’ vibe, whenever he mentions work.  Know he hates it, but he still does it, an’ if I were to come between him an’ that. . .  It was probably one of the few things that the boy wouldn’t agree to.  Well, no, he would.  Obedient little thing, but it’d screw everything up if I made him.  Interest—oh, bugger.

There was a hitch in the lift-flex of the left leg.  Bruises still dotted the boy’s body, although most were healing, but the gash on the arm was still red and raw looking.  Dammit.  That might be inflamed, an’ I know he’s lyin’ ’bout the leg not hurtin’ him.  He wanted to growl and shove the boy up against the wall—which will do wonders to reinforce the whole ‘tell Spike when you hurt’ message.  Bollocks.

“Still sore, pet?”  He kept his voice light and even as he began pulling on his own clothes.  Xander grimaced at him, waving the words away as he rummaged around the little fridge.  “We should try again this weekend.”

That got a grin in response, although he knew Xander wasn’t going to like their next session at all.  This wasn’t going to be random hunting, like Monday night had been.  This was going to real training.  Gotta find a place for us to work at it.  Huh.  Looks like I’m goin’ huntin’ tonight, after all.

“Here.”  He looked up to find a wad of cash under his nose.  Grabbing it reflexively, he counted close to four hundred dollars.  What the hell?

Xander gave a shy grin as he poured himself a glass of juice.  “Make sure you buy some human blood tonight?  I know you haven’t had any in a while.”

Spike blinked at him.  “What?”

“You need human blood,” Xander explained patiently.  “Angel mentioned something about it, once.  That he had to drink the equivalent of one human a month, or he’d get weaker.  No living skeletons, mate, but he’d be at half-strength and he wouldn’t heal as fast.”

Picking up the juice, Xander stared at it, and licked his lips.  Glanced over at Spike, and licked them again.  Then he poured the juice back in the bottle untasted.

Spike went rock hard.

“Really?” he managed hoarsely.  “So the poof still drank human?”

“Not a lot, but yeah.  So buy a supply, okay?”

Spike nodded, concentrating on forcing his body to behave.  Don’t think about what the boy just tasted.  Think about. . . about how he managed to get together four hundred dollars workin’ his shit jobs.  The wave of anger nicely removed the temptation of throwing the boy up against the nearest mostly-flat surface.  I know he thinks he has to do this to take care of his bloody pack-leader, but dammit!  Livin’ on fifty cent bags of chips and candy bars?  Lyin’ t’ me when I asked him about it, too.  Stupid git.  I’ve had anorexic and sickly before, ta ever so much.  If I wanted that again, I’d still be beggin’ after blonde and bitchy.  And pack-leader’s supposed to provide for his pack, anyway, not the bloody other way around.  Idiot boy.

However, it gave him enough free dosh that he could get what he’d been planning on begging credit for.  Not that the Big Bad begged but. . . sometimes it worked.

“So I’ll see you later, okay?”

Spike waved him out, still glaring moodily at the blank television.  Boy needs t’ take care of himself.  He’s practically suicidal, hangin’ about with the Slayer like he does.  Only thing hurts him is me, dammit.

Shrugging on his duster, he grabbed a nearly empty bottle to re-read the name of it.  Right.  First stop Willy’s, deal with any what missed the memo the first time.  Do a bit of checkin’ around, and then stop by her place.  Oh, and drink, possibly a lot.  He needed some kind of fortification before going there.

The sun had just barely gone down when he made his way into the cool night air.  There was a heaviness that spoke of rain coming, an ozone tang that made him jumpy.  He needed a drink.

First stop ended up being one of his growing number of contacts.  He found the little weaselly demon skulking near a bank, sure sign that he was about to do something Spike would want to know about.  The furry thing had bowed and scraped its way through complicated answers that Spike grew quickly bored with.

Sighing, he hauled the little demon up by its neck.  “English,” he hissed through sharp fangs.  “Speak it.”

“Everything’s going fine,” was squeaked up at him.  “Everything, Master Spike.  Nearly half the merchandise has been transferred and the rest have buyers lined up.”  Spike raised his scarred eyebrow, and the little thing blanched.  “The t-totals will b-be forwarded to y-you,” it managed to get out.  “B-but so f-far we’re looking at s-seventy percent.”

Spike released him.  Good.  “How long?”

“A w-week?” 

Spike nodded, straightening some misplaced fur.  “Good,” he approved.  “Keep it up, an’ keep me informed.”

“Y-yes, Master Spike.”

He sauntered down the street, extremely pleased.  Seventy percent was a more than decent return rate, especially given what his merchandise was going at.  By the end of the week he’d be able to finish setting up some fairly impressive accounts, make some purchases—and all that without touching the extremely rare and powerful pieces he still had stashed away for a rainy day.  Very good.

His good mood increased when he opened the doors to Willy’s and silence descended on the assorted demons already there.  Ah, the sweet smell of fear.  Don’t care if it’s human or demon, but damn all does it smell good.

Saturday night had been. . . edifying.  The moment he’d entered Willy’s, some of the more vocal demons had started tossing around words like ‘traitor’—apparently news had spread about the snarath’s death quickly—‘lap dog’ and ‘pathetic’.  They’d died first.  Then he’d cheerfully worked his way through the rest of the room.

Spike enjoyed kicking the shit out of things—their species was never really an issue.  Humans were food, not entertainment.  And since all he was really looking for was entertainment. . .  I am the bloody Master of Sunnydale.  Who I chose to eat has nothin’ t’ do with that.

It had been very satisfying to prove that—as many times as he needed.

One or two demons needed reminders, but they were easily dispatched.  Any demon of rank or power had figured out that Spike was no longer someone to torment and would leave him alone—so long as he didn’t interfere with what they wanted.  Ah, demon solidarity.  We’ll pick on the weak, but otherwise. . . ‘stay out of my way, an’ I’ll stay out of yours’.  Works for me.

Willy knew all about the chip, but he also knew that if Spike lifted so much as a finger there would be half-a-dozen demons interested in obeying the smirking vampire, so he was pleasantly frightened by the time Spike made it up to the bar.

The fear faded as soon as Willy realized that Spike wanted to make a deal.  Money always made Willy happy.  It took perhaps twenty minutes to get the particulars worked out, but Spike was now the proud recipient of a bi-monthly delivery of a variety of human blood types.  Should keep the boy off my case about eatin’ right, an’ since I still got plenty o’ credit with Willy, leaves me with enough dosh that I can pay outright.  Maybe even get some groceries.

Perhaps he’d cook?  He could, when he felt like it.  Except the poor excuse for a kitchen was not something Spike felt like braving, so perhaps he’d wait for another time before disclosing that particular skill.  Yeah, cause it’s sooo manly for the Big Bad to cook food for his human pet.  Pathetic tosser.

Which didn’t stop him from grinning into his whiskey.

Deal closed, Spike left the bar and went to the store he really, really, really didn’t want to go to.  Most people—human and demon both—shared that sentiment.  It was creepy there, so small that there was practically no walking-space through the hundreds of different items sold there.  Smells so varied and strong that noses closed up upon entering, when they didn’t start sneezing from the dust that coated the place.  Little light, except for a few carefully maintained candles, hidden in pockets to make the place look dark and foreboding.  Even to demons who liked dark and foreboding it was. . . not a fun place.

And then there was her.  A tiny, Asian woman, who’s face was wrinkled and unreadable, hair pulled back into a tight bun held with two lacquered sticks—one of blue and white, the other of green and gold.  Her wide, dark eyes would weigh any who stepped through her door, and those who were found unwanted refused to speak of what had been done to them to make them leave.  Song Li sold only to those she wished to.

Some thought she was a demon.  The way she would look at you, watch you, with those wide, dark eyes. . . the way she never seemed to be out of stock, and, despite the prices she charged, there was no way she could possibly stay open in the human world.. . . the way you felt as soon as you entered, whether it was fear or comfort, depending on what she thought of you. 

If she wasn’t a demon, she was at the very least powerful magically.  Which made sense given she had the best magic shop in the entire west coast.  Anyone who was anyone shopped at Song Li’s when they needed that hard-to-find item or only the best quality.

He wondered as he pushed the door open if Rupert knew where the store was.  Most people didn’t, even if they were involved with the more supernatural aspects of the world.  Spike knew only through Drusilla, who could always see what was trying to stay hidden.  Wonder if I should be the one to tell him?  Nah.  Don’t want to blow it here.

“William the Bloody.”  The voice was dry, a faint Chinese accent warring with British, filling the shop along with the dust motes.  Her English was always impeccable, despite the old-world flavor to it.  “Back so soon?”

“Yes, mum.”  He winced, but didn’t try to take it back.  This woman, demon or not, commanded respect.  He’d fully intended to come here and beg anyway, so politeness couldn’t hurt.  “That oil you gave me?  I’d like more of it, please, mum.”

“For your golden boy?”

He concentrated on working his way to the back, where Song Li always sat behind her counter.  It helped him fight the start of surprise he didn’t want to show her.  Don’t ask how she knows things.  Don’t ask what she knows.  Ask your questions, get what you need, an’ get the hell out.  Don’t show her surprise.

“Yes, mum.  Xander.  Alexander Harris.”  Finally at the back of the store, he had the obscure desire to tip the hat he hadn’t worn for half a century.

She tilted her head, dark eyes flicking over his face rapidly.  “A good boy, that one.”  Spike stiffened but said nothing.  She can’t possibly know.  She’s just guessin’.  “He’s come in a few times for that stuffy fellow.”

“Rupert knows this place is here?”  He cursed the minute the words were out, biting his tongue even while he knew it wouldn’t do a damn bit of good.  Apparently Song Li wanted information, which meant Li Song was going to get information.  I just hope it’s information I’m happy givin’ away.

He didn’t actually believe that.

The dry, amused laugh turned his attention back to the tiny woman before him.  “No, the good Watcher does not know about me.  Nor will he, until it is time.”  She rose, gathering several bottles and vials from a shelf behind her.  “Alexander, however, has found his way here several times.  He thinks it’s just another magic shop.”  Dancing eyes dared him to contradict that.

“Of course, mum.”

“So the cinnamon oil worked?”

Did she know who I was buyin’ it for?  Don’t ask that.  “Yes, mum.  But he’s still pretty banged up an’ I thought—”

“Such a sweet boy.  Very. . . accident prone, though.”  She handed him a much larger bottle than he’d purchased the first time.  “Take this.  Use as much as you wish; it will sooth and accelerate healing, but it isn’t dangerous.  Whenever you need more, send word.  I’ll make sure you get it.”

“Thank you, mum.”  He was not going to ask about the other things now on the counter.  He wasn’t.  “I’ll do that.”

“I’ll be very disappointed if you don’t.  I like that boy.  So polite he was, very charming.  I don’t want to see him hurt.”

“I don’t want to hurt him, mum.”  What the fuck?  I don’t want to hurt him?  Of course I want to hurt him!  Well, not yet, cause of the blasted chip, but of course I want to hurt him!  That’s what vampires do, especially to our human pets!  I want to see him bleed, see my mark in his flesh, hear him scream from what I’ve done to him. . .   Of course I want to hurt him!

Which didn’t explain the sick feeling in his stomach every time he pictured some of the lovely things he was sure he wanted to do.  Really, he did.  Because he was a vampire and pain was. . . oh, just bugger it all.

Song Li gave him a pleased smile before rummaging about for more things he was going to have to buy.  She separated them out into three piles.  “This,” she pointed to the smallest, “is a special potion.  Use it sparingly, and only when he is very seriously injured.  It is quite powerful.  I don’t want to see you in here for more of it before the summer.”

He nodded.  What else could he do?

“These are more massage oils.  I think you’ll like the cinnamon the best, but sometimes you may want other types.  Several you will find quite pleasant, as well.”  Then she pointed to the last pile.  “Use this vial,” she held up something small and green, “very lightly.  I’m sure you’ll know what it’s for.  The rest do not have the same powerful properties and can be used however you like.”

Spike blinked, eyes widening as he slowly realized what that small vial contained.

“Th-thank you,” he stuttered.  “I mean, how do you—of course you know, but—”

“I know.  I like that young man, and I always help those I like.  Besides,” her wizened grin turned as mischievous as a young girl’s, “I think you’ll be very good for him.  Don’t prove me wrong.  Now, remember to use only the tiniest amounts.  A little goes a very long way.”

“Yes, mum.”

“You are always welcome in my store, William the Bloody, also know as Spike.  Do not mistreat this privilege.”

“Th-thank you, mum.”  He handed over the entire wad of money, taking the bags with the air of a man who had just been smacked across the back of the head with a very large wooden board.  He couldn’t think of anyone—from powerful demons, to powerful sorcerers, to even the richest of either set—who were ‘always welcome’.  Not one.  “Mum?  Not to sound ungrateful but. . . Why?”

She smiled at him, face almost entirely lost in a mass of wrinkles and gleaming teeth.  “Good evening, William.”

Right, like she was gonna tell you anything.  Wanker.  “Good evening, mum.”

He stumbled his way out of the store, thoughts whirling as he tried to understand what the hell had just happened.  He knew he’d bought various items that would be useful and pleasurable in his relationship with the boy.  Okay, good, got that.  But the rest?  She just gave me bloody permission!  Except. . . permission to do what?  An’ why should I feel . . . grateful. . . or maybe pleased. . . cause of it?  The Big Bad does not need permission to do anything!  He doesn’t!

Except now he had it.

Oh, screw this.  Growling, he changed direction and went back to where he knew he find something he could fight.  He needed to feel flesh under his fists, hear the grunts and cries of something being pummeled until it couldn’t walk straight, smell the blood that told him that he, Spike, was the victor.  I need to bloody kill something.

It took work, avoiding the Slayer and the moldy-faced goons she had lurking about with her, but he managed to find three chaos demons lurking near the Bronze.  He grinned ferally, all of his anger and confusion come to the boil.  “Oh boys,” he sang out, “didn’t your mother’s ever teach you to be kind to your neighbors?”

They all turned around, slime dripping down their stupid faces to splat on the ground.

“Huh.  Guess not.  Looks like I’ll just have to.”

“Xander?  Xander, are you down here?”

Soft, delicate feet stomped their way down the stairs.  It always amazed him how something so slight could be that. . . brazen.  He continued forcing the milk into the now overstuffed refrigerator.

“Xan—oh, Spike.  There you are.  Where is Xander?  I have something very important to tell him.”

Spike didn’t even turn around, reaching blindly into the bag beside him for something else to try and squash in.  Cereal, good, that went on top of the shelf.  “He’s off bein’ a good little boy,” he smirked to himself, “an’ deliverin’ pizzas to the downtrodden an’ hungry.  Should be back in an hour or so.”

“Oh.”  Very small, that.  Like she was disappointed, and not in the ‘I-want-my-orgasms-now’ way.  He turned around, giving her a once over.  If his nose wasn’t lying. . .

“Said it was important then?”  Like why you’re two days late, maybe?  Know he wasn’t that unhappy about it—tellin’ Anya the Former Vengeance Demon that he now belonged to one devilishly handsome an’ well hung vampire was not high on his list of things he really wanted to do.  That said. . . it still hurt him.  She didn’t even call, and he was stuck wonderin’ and worryin’. . .

Which in no way accounted for the simmering anger he felt towards the former demon.  Of all the scoobies, he had always felt the most sympathy for her.  They didn’t understand how hard it was, to be forced to change your entire nature because of something you couldn’t control and didn’t want to accept.  Not even the Slayer got it, not really.  Self-involved little bint.

“No, well. . . yes, it is.”  She bit her lip, sitting down on the fold-out sofa they’d yet to re-fold.  Then she blinked.  “You bought groceries?”

“Was either that or listen to him bitch about how hungry he was.  Like he has any right to talk, with the poor, chipped vampire sleepin’ not five feet from him.”

Confusion turned to suspicion.  “You haven’t hurt him, have you?  Because I will be very upset if you have, Spike.”

“No, I haven’t soddin’ hurt the boy.”  An’ don’t ask me why I haven’t, or won’t, cause I dunno.  I mean, at the very least, I shoulda been playin’ mind games with him.  Please, boy comin’ out for the first time?  I could’ve. . .  Except he couldn’t, not really.  Sod this for a lark.

And then, suddenly, he realized what he should have from the start.  Sitting back on his heels, he eyed her warily.  “Leavin’ him, are we?”

She deflated.  Curling onto the bed, she pillowed her head on her arms and tried hard not to cry.  Spike could smell the salt of her tears and the misery radiating off of her.  And he knew why, too.

“D’Hoffryan want you back?”

She nodded wretchedly.  “He was waiting for me and asked me if I wanted to come back.  He said the business had been just awful without me, and he’d be willing to throw in a few extra perks that I’ve wanted for a long time, if I would just come back.  And now that I can go back. . . I don’t want to.”

The tears were falling now, quietly and without the blotchy histrionics he expected.  That told him just how deeply affected by this she was; she was too much the drama queen to go for quiet anything, unless it was the best way to manipulate her audience.  He moved next to her on the bed, not touching but still close.

“Why not?”

“What?”  She sat up, nervously wiping her face.  “Oh.  Because. . . well, I suppose part of it is that I was just getting used to being a human.  It’s quite a change going back to being a demon.  All those little aches and pains, all of them just vanished.  That was nice, at least.”

“An’ the rest?”  If she was a demon again, than he and Xander both had a bit of trouble coming their way.  Because no matter what way he twisted it, Xander had still cheated.

“I don’t want to leave Xander.  He’s a good boy,” an’ there’s that soddin’ phrase again, “and I don’t want to hurt him.  He doesn’t love me, I know that, but he could have and. . . he needs someone to take care of him.”

“Yeah, well, about that—”

Anya turned to look directly at him, face shimmering to her demon visage.  “You’ve taken him, haven’t you?”  Her demon voice was a meld of something deep and angry with her own strident tones.  Spike tilted his head, studying this new look.  Veiny, where vampires were smooth, but still browless and quite. . . delicate.  Feminine.  Almost as pretty as Dru, but unlike his dark goddess, this visage. . . frightened him.

Remember, you can fight demons, an’ vamps are decently immune to a lot of magicks. . .  None of which was really calming the nervous flutter of his stomach.  He hated things he couldn’t use fists and fangs against.

“Taken?  Er, don’t really know what you—”

Anya waved his words away.  The still surprisingly attractive demon face faded, leaving a young girl with too-wise eyes.  “He talks in his sleep,” she said succinctly.  “I figured it out.  Once Giles forced Xander to take you, I knew you wouldn’t be able to pass up something with so much orgasm potential.  And I knew that no matter how much Xander thought he loved me, he couldn’t tell you no.”

Right.  How the hell does she expect me to answer any of that?  “Well, yeah, what with him bein’ so—ah, nemmind.  Yeah, I’ve claimed him.  He’s accepted me as his pack-leader, I’ve accepted him as mine.”  He hoped he didn’t actually snarl that last word.  “Not givin’ him up.”

“Of course not.  Vampires are so territorial.”  She tilted her head back, previous bout of tears vanished into cool confidence.  This was the demon Anyanka, not the mortal girl Xander had dated.  “You’re worried I’m going to claim vengeance.”

Spike shrugged, trying to look as casual as possible.  “He did cheat on you.”

She laughed at him, eyes now completely dry and the pain she’d been feeling a distance memory.  Huh.  Looks like she was mostly worried about the boy an’ now. . . now she isn’t.  Right, not even thinkin’ about that.  Tonight has been a strange night.  “No, he didn’t.  If anything, he cheated on you with me.” 

Shaking her head in continued amusement, she stood and dug something out of her purse.  “Give him this for me.  Tell him. . . tell him thank you.  I’ll probably catch up with him someday, but right now D’Hoffryan wants me in Venice, yesterday.  Some jackass needs to be taken down a peg, and I’m just the demon for the job.”

Accepting the smallish package, Spike nodded.  “So you’re just leavin’?”

“Yes.  Xander was a good boyfriend and I think I could have loved him.  But he was always yours.”  She went through the eternal female ritual of fluffing her hair and straightening her skirt before looking down at him once more.  “Don’t hurt him.  Or the first thing he’ll see afterwards is me, telling him to make as many wishes as he wants.”

Spike nodded mutely, afraid of what he’d say if he opened his mouth.  Except. . .  “What about the rest of ’em?  We haven’t exactly been puttin’ up banners.”

She gave him a ‘duh’ face to rival the scoobies at their stupidest. “I’m going to be in Venice, Spike.”  Looking around fondly at the basement one more time, Anya touched the small blue pendent she wore and disappeared.

Spike stared at the spot she’d been in for a long time, idly playing with the ribbons on the box.  She loved him.  Or was on her way to it, anyway.  An’ she gave him up, because she wanted to be a demon again.

What the hell did that mean for him?

In his one hundred and however many years, Spike had gone through some fairly significant changes.  When he’d decided just weeks after being turned that William was a ponce and should stay dead, inventing Spike over the next few years.  When he’d been left alone with Dru, Angelus and Darla both gone, and it had been totally up to him to decide what they did and where they went.  When Dru had finally left him, and he’d been without any kind of compass to give him direction.  When he’d lain awake in the Watcher’s cold bathtub, contemplating what the hell a chipped vampire was going to do for the rest of his unlife.

Each time he’d changed himself in some fundamental way.  Usually the change was conscious, even calculated.  This time?  All my life, dark-haired, dark-eyed beauties have shaped me into what they want.

He returned to himself slowly, drawn by the scent of pizza and gasoline, with hints of nervousness and concern hidden underneath.  Xander was standing next to him, uncharacteristically silent.  His warmth bathed Spike’s cold bones.  He looked up into eyes so dark they were nearly black, beneath cave-man brows in that sweetly naive and innocent face.

What is this one going to want me to be, hm?  What’m I gonna become this time?

“You okay?”

“Anya was here.”

That got a reaction, anyway.  The boy started, practically jumping out of his skin.  Hastily putting the pizza down before he dropped it, Xander then sat heavily onto the red lounge chair.  It squeaked ominously, but held.  “Anya was here.  Anya my girlfriend.”


He passed over the package, going back to the ‘kitchen’ to finish putting the rest of the groceries away.  Hopefully the boy wouldn’t notice until much later, because this was not the time to have this particular argument.

The sounds of tearing paper and cardboard ripping told him when Xander finally gathered the courage to open it.  A letter was unfolded and read for a long, long time.  The scent of pain and relief, so sharp it was its own kind of pain, overwhelmed even the scent of warm, fresh pizza.  On top of all of it, though, was the ocean-smell of tears.

He was hardly aware of moving, slipping the box onto the small table beside him and tugging the letter out of numb fingers.  “Sh, precious,” he murmured, gathering the boy up in his arms and carrying him over to the bed.  “’Salright, luv, I promise it is.  I promise.”  He held him tightly while Xander cried, snuffling into his shoulder like the little boy he was again.

Much later, when Xander was hiccupping and shuddering from crying so hard, Spike deftly stripped them both of clothing before collapsing back into a tangle of warmth and cool, soft skin.  Winding his body around the boy’s like a cat, he whispered nonsense, concentrating only on his voice being low and soothing.  Kept his touches gentle and platonic.  The time wasn’t right for sex.  Yet.

He wondered what it was Anya had told the boy to get him to react like this.  Decided he didn’t need to know that, now.  It wasn’t important.  What was important was showing this beautiful, golden boy that he was still needed, still wanted.

Still loved?

“Shh, pretty boy, don’t cry so.  I’m here, luv.  You’re not alone, not ever alone.  I’ll always be here.  You’re mine, pet.  My boy, an’ only mine.  Be glad she’s gone and not angry with us both.  Don’t think we’d be happy if she made our parts fall off.”

He slid his hand down to where the trail of hair began, swirling it between his fingers while his other hand rubbed and kneaded at tense shoulders; carefully skated along the edge of the still-healing scar.  “Yours,” the boy whispered, the first words he said since he’d come in.  “Your boy.”

“My boy,” Spike agreed.  Dragged his hand down further to stroke and tease the growing hardness he found.  “My sweet boy.”  Xander moaned, burying his head deeper into Spike’s shoulder, sucking on the skin with enough fierceness that it might even make a mark—difficult to do on a vampire.  Warm hands latched onto his biceps, the desperate scrabbling a child’s need for reassurance.  Not a man’s passionate embrace.

“Shhh, precious one.  Spike’ll make it all better.  Let me make it better.  You trust me, luv?”  Xander nodded without dislodging his mouth, moaning again.  “Then let me, pet.  Let me make it better.  Let me make you mine.”

Deep, guttural moan, and Spike quickly squeezed the base of the boy’s erection, afraid that Xander would cum from those words alone.  Once he was certain the boy was in control again, he rolled him onto his back, slithered down that heaving body and swallowed the straining cock whole.

Xander bit his arm to stop the scream that burbled up from his chest, thrashing under Spike’s expert ministrations.  It had been almost two days since the boy had cum, mostly so his bruised and sore dick could heal.  That’s when Spike had decided that the boy liked the non-sexual touching the most.  Sex he got from Anya, an’ plenty of it.  Doubt they spent much time just holdin’ each other.  Don’t think the chit had the patience for it.

Touch, touch meant so much.  Spike’s lips curled on the most sensitive part of the boy, tongue and teeth swirling and scraping, fingers rubbing and squeezing, one hand on tightening balls, the other flat on a sucked-in stomach, just resting there, occasionally rubbing, but mostly just. . . touching.

A hitching gasp warned him.  Releasing his left hand from its fondling, he reached out and grabbed the small vial he’d purposefully left wedged in the cushions.  Upending it so that the contents spread on the pad of his pointer, he recapped it and placed it back in the cushion—he knew Song Li said only a little, but how little did she mean?

“Don’t cum,” he whispered, licking at the precum gathered at the head.  “Not yet, precious.  Just wait.  I’ll make it so good.”

I’m not nervous, he reminded himself, and eased his forefinger into the boy’s body.  It opened easily, spreading wider than it ever had, to the tune of the Xander’s breathy gasps and moans.  “That hurt?” he asked anxiously.

Frantic shakes meant no.  Okay, right.  This stuff lets him feel pleasure, but not pain.  Uh huh.  She wants me to bugger the boy?  Bloody hell.  When has my sex life become somethin’ little old ladies feel the need to meddle in?

Not that he was really objecting.

Still crooning to the boy, he daubed another bit on his finger and stretched Xander one more time.  He was not taking chances and not really because of the danger of the chip going off.  If he hurt Xander now—really hurt him, not just the pleasurepain he was sure the boy would enjoy—than he’d lose him.  Spike would abruptly be lumped into the category of those who didn’t really want Xander for him, but only for their own pleasure.

I do want you for you, Alexander Harris.  I want to make you mine.  Really mine, the way a bite would.  But since I can’t bite you. . .

He took another one of Song Li’s jars, containing lube that smelled like fire.  He slathered himself with it, one hand still petting and caressing the boy’s surging body.  “Lift up, pet.  Hold your legs under your knees, up against your chest.”  Not the best position for a virgin, but he wanted the boy to see him, to know exactly what was going on.  Fortunately, the boy was limber enough and Spike had more than enough experience to make it good.

“Spike,” the boy hissed through panted breaths.  “Want it—you.  Please, please take me!”

He had wanted it to be gentle.  He had wanted it to be safe and sweet and. . . romantic.

But Xander wanted to be taken.

Snarling into game-face, Spike lined himself up and thrust in.  Hard.  Xander screamed, arching his back and pushing down to accommodate all of Spike in the first go.  Incredible for a virgin, part of Spike’s mind whispered, grateful to the potion Song Li had given him.

The rest of his mind. . .  Heat.  Tight.  Rippling.  Soft.  Tight.  Hot, so hot.  So good.  So right.

Resting his weight on his palms, Spike nudged the boy’s thrown back neck.  “Look at me,” he growled.  “See me, a vampire, taking you, a human.  In you an’ on you, you are mine.  Forever.”

And he began to thrust.  Eyes gone black from lust and pleasure looked up, tracing over brow-less features and elongated fangs.  Then they locked with yellowed eyes, showing Spike that the boy did know what was going on.  And still wanted it.

He thrust harder, using all of his strength and speed, savaging the normal human boy who took everything he had to give.  “Mine,” he rumbled, nuzzling the scar as he jack-knifed into the willing body beneath him.  “Forever mine.”

“Yours,” Xander gasped out, and Spike wondered how they both had coherency left.  The feeling. . . it was intoxicating, spiraling through his body the way nothing ever had before.  His nerves sizzled in his skin, trying to drive out rational thought in favor of just feeling.

Xander raised his hands, gripping the cushion above his head, giving Spike the sudden impression that the boy was bound beneath him, unable to do anything but accept what his owner did to him.  Because he was owned now, in a way that no cum-claim or half-bite could really show.

Why’m. . . I thinkin’ when. . . there’s a warm, tight. . . body beneath me? he gasped out in his own mind, losing himself into the feeling of thrusting in and out of Xander’s tight passage.  The boy was clamping his muscles down, making it even tighter—making Spike force his way in, taking his pleasure.

“So good,” he gasped out.  “God, Xan, so tight. . .  Wrap—wrap you’r legs ’round me.  Hard.  Now!”

Xander complied, a tremor going through sore and tired muscles as they relaxed from their tense position.  “Good boy,” he panted out, rewarded when Xander let out a strangling cry, eyes still locked on his narrowing in intense pleasure.  “My boy.”

“Your boy.”

“Gonna make you mine,” he babbled, his rhythm faltering as he began to lose control.  “Gonna make you feel so good, cause I want it.  Gonna make your hurt too, cause I want it.  Gonna do anythin’ I want, cause you’re mine!”

“Yes, please!”

“Beg me,” Spike ordered, forcing himself to regain the rhythm and not give in to the delicious warmth that seemed to melt into his whole body.  “Beg me to fuck you.”

Xander swallowed and gasped, trying to draw in air and coherence enough to answer.  “Please, take me.  I’m yours, your boy, your fuck toy.  I’m your bitch, a body—a living body for your pleasure.  Just fuck me.  Please fuck me, Spike, please!”

“Will you call me master?”

“Yes,” the boy moaned.

“Will you call me Lord?”

“Please!  Oh, god, anything, I’ll do anything!”

“Will you obey, always and forever?”

“Yes!  Please yes!”  His eyes were open, but tears streaked down the boy’s cheeks.  His hands were white-knuckled on the cushions, and his legs clamped around Spike so hard that a normal human would have had broken ribs.

“Will you be my boy?”

“Your boy, yours!”

“Will you stay with me, always and forever?”

And suddenly, despite the mind-numbing pleasure, despite using a ritual Xander couldn’t be familiar with, there was clear understanding in those dark, dark eyes.  Understanding and a kind of internal pain so deep that it almost made him want to stop.  There shouldn’t be pain, not then, because Spike only wanted him to feel pleasure.

“I’m yours for as long as you want me.”

“Don’t. . . don’t do half-measures, luv,” Spike told him, thrusting even harder now that the formal part was out of the way.  Now it was just fucking, feeling himself pull back from that welcoming body, and then lunging forward.  His nipples scraped up and down the boy’s sweaty chest, his stomach rocking on the boy’s own fierce erection.  “I say. . . forever. . . I mean. . . forever.”

“Yours.”  The whispered word spiraled in his head, filling is mind the way he filled the boy beneath him.  It was all he needed.

Throwing back his head, he roared “MINE!” as he shot himself deeply into the boy he was truly, finally, claiming for his own.  Xander was his—and nothing was going to take him away.  Nothing.

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