Xander followed Spike through the dark cemetery, and not for the first time, he wished he could just grab his Master's arm, pull him to a stop and make him explain what the hell was going on. But Spike had spent most of the last two days outside the bedroom, disappearing without warning and then showing up with more minions than ever before. Even now, at least two dozen minions walked around them, tramping the manicured lawns and neatly-tended flower beds under their oversized boots.

More than half of the minions came from the same gang, cursing in Spanish as they bowed their heads to their sire. Yeah, Xander didn't miss the 's' word getting thrown around. Usually Spike just grabbed some random minion off the street or stole one from another master vampire, but this time he was making his own, and choosing tattooed, well-armed gang members. Somewhere out there was a whole neighborhood going gangless because of Spike.

Spike stopped so suddenly that Xander physically bumped into him before he could sink to his knees, the cold of the ground soaking up into him. If they'd been alone, Xander might have admitted to being wigged out; he might have even admitted to a few passing moments of terror as Spike pulled out a cigarette and lit it with nervous fingers that twirled the Zippo lighter around before making it flare. With the minions circling them, Xander just bit his lip and waited impatiently, fear creeping up into him with the cold.

"Master," one of the minions hissed. This one had a spider over one cheek and a huge MM scrawled across one bicep, and Xander didn't think that stood for the chocolaty goodness of M&M's. Yep, Xander put this minion in the 'don't like' category, possibly because he'd growled at Xander, and Spike hadn't even taken time to dust him.

"Yeah, I smell them," Spike said as he took another drag on his cigarette. Xander looked out from under his bangs, but he couldn't see anyone, well anyone else. And really, it looked kinda funny, tough gang members with chains hanging from their pockets and their guns jammed into waistbands all standing under the pink, flowering crabapple trees that cast deep shadows from the full moon. It was just one more thing not feeling right.

Spike's fingers found his hair, threading through the curls, and Xander let out a heavy breath, reminding himself to trust master. Obviously something had gone wrong, but Xander didn't need to worry about it. He let his eyes fall shut as the familiar touch calmed his churning stomach.

"Close enough," Spike yelled out, and Xander's eyes popped open right before they tried to pop out. Oh shit. Shit oh shit. Double chocolate shit with runny shit on top.

"Spike," Buffy called out from her spot beside a stone mausoleum that the moonlight had brushed with white and shadow so that a carved stone angel seemed ready to take flight. Buffy stepped forward, a crossbow in hand but pointed toward the ground. "Is Xander okay?"

Xander wasn't anywhere near okay; Xander was nearly at heart failure.

"He's fine," Spike answered.

"So, are you ready to do this?" Buffy called as she stepped forward. Xander's least favorite minion snarled at her, pulling his gun, and Buffy snapped the crossbow up, dropping to one knee and firing before doing a neat duck and roll and coming up with the crossbow already loaded again.

Spike had issued a growl that kept the rest of the minions in place and now Willow and Tara came out from behind the angel mausoleum, a bright glow between them as they chanted, their voices mere mutters, but their mouths twitching in tandem. And yes, the universe hated Xander. It always had, but it was nice to get this bit of reassurance that some things never changed.

Willow looked at him, her face stricken with… guilt? pity? contempt? Xander shifted uncomfortably on his knees, and Spike's fingers, which had stilled, returned to stroking his hair.

"No need to get stake happy," Spike said as he shifted to the side, leaning against a branch of the crabapple tree. Xander hesitated for a moment and then kneewalked back into position at his master's feet, feeling himself blush.

"I should have staked you when you first showed up on Giles' doorstep," Buffy complained as her crossbow swept the line of vampires. And why were there so few vampires? Weren't there more minions when they'd parked the various cars on the far side of the cemetery? Xander scanned the landscape nervously. Headstone, headstone, crabapple trees, mausoleum, a dozen minions. Oh shit.

"Too late now." Spike's hand left Xander and unzipped his jeans so that Spike's thick cock peeked out. Xander blushed harder since he knew exactly what his master expected. Fingers gave his curls a sharp yank, and Xander glanced up only to find his master's expression distant. Fingers tugged his hair a little harder, and Xander was caught between lust at that familiar sight of master's cock hard for him and shame at the girls watching. "Pet," Spike warned, and the voice sent a shiver through Xander, making him shuffle forward before his embarrassment could start gnawing on the edges of his brain.

"Don't," Buffy called in a strangled voice, and Xander flinched at having Buffy see this. Closing his eyes, Xander knelt up and made a tentative lick along Spike's cock, feeling the twitching flesh beneath his lips.

"Spike, I mean it. Don't."

Xander tried to close his ears as he focused on his master. With tongue and lips, he teased master's cock free from the jeans, the scent of musk and pre-come like a subtle yeast smell that made him hungry for more.

"Boy's mine, slayer. You don't get to say what happens to him now." Feet shifted behind him, but Xander desperately tried to ignore all that as he focused on the task in front of him.

Spike slid easily into his mouth, the firm cock forcing him to open wide as he slid down until the yeast of master's scent filled his nose. Pulling back, Xander used his tongue to tease the foreskin, sucking as he tasted the familiar, salty pre-come.

"Just don't."

"What? Now you see him? He isn't yours, slayer. He's right where he belongs, and he bloody knows it."

"He knows whatever lies you've told him."

Spike hissed with helpless pleasure as Xander sucked harder and then swallowed down the cock in his mouth, the size of it stretching his throat, but it if kept this very awkward conversation from taking place, Xander was all for showing off his deep-throating abilities. Spike had to take several gasps of air before he could answer.

"The boy's saved more happy meals with that distracting tongue of his than you ever have with a stake."

"He… what? Okay, that is just disturbo. Let him up, or I swear your girlfriend is going to be fertilizing the roses."

"Finish up," Spike ordered with a tap on the head, and Xander ran his tongue along the underside of Spike's cock, sucking him in again even as a heaviness pinned him to the ground. Girlfriend? Dru? A typhoon of fears was brewing in his stomach, and Xander turned off his mind as he hummed around the cock in his mouth.

Spike twitched, and Xander pulled back, nipping at the end and driving his tongue into the slit harder than any human would like. When he sucked the cock into his mouth again, he felt his master stiffen and come as he sucked the cock dry and nursed until the flesh turned soft.

Xander reached up, tucking Spike back in carefully before shifting to Spike's side, his head hanging so that his curls would hide him in the shadows. Oh yeah, nothing like a little humiliation to get the day started. Now if they could just all go home without any more blood or dust…

"You asshole."

"Where's Dru?" Spike asked. Xander glanced between the strands of hair as Giles came out from behind the mausoleum, standing behind the still-chanting Willow and Tara. He dragged Dru by her neck with one hand and held a stake to her heart with the other. She squirmed, tilting her head one way and then the other like a confused puppy, but her hands were obviously tied behind her back.

And then Xander got it. The secrecy, the minions, the dead-of-night meeting with Buffy and Willow and oh god Giles had just seen him give Spike a blow job, and thank you universe for just one more humiliation.

"Let her go," Spike snapped.

"Let Xander go," Buffy countered.

Xander stopped breathing. Freedom. He could see freedom just steps away, and it tasted like ash in his mouth. Spike would get Dru back, and hopefully this time she'd be sane enough to show a little gratitude, and if not, Spike didn't need to untie her hands. In return, Xander would walk over the grass to Buffy's side. Everyone would win… everyone minus one.

Willow and Buffy would cry over him, Giles would clean his glasses, and Tara would blush every time they were in the same room. Assuming, of course, she could stand to be in the same room with him. But they could all congratulate themselves from saving Xander from one more screw up. And once again, he'd be… what? The official donut getter? Xander could feel his legs tremble as he looked at that future.

Why hadn't his master told him? Xander risked a glance up, and Spike had an unhappy expression as he played with his cigarette. Xander closed his eyes and tried to gather his strength.

"Spike," Xander whispered, the name feeling strange on his tongue. "It's okay; I'll go." Xander could feel the tightness in his guts as he struggled against the tears that rose. He could do this. If Spike didn't make the trade, Giles would kill Drusilla, and sooner or later, Spike would regret it and grow to hate Xander. It was easier this way.

Xander rose with the quiet grace of practice. He just needed this over so Spike could leave. It was like pulling off a band-aid, fast was best. Only, he felt more like the time he got food poisoning and spent three days with his stomach cramped and his whole body tight and miserable.

Spike's hand landed on his arm, holding him in place, and for a half second, Xander lied to himself, creating a whole fantasy where Spike would choose him.

"Let Dru go," Spike called back. Xander closed his eyes tightly, waiting for that familiar hand to leave him.

"Not even. When Xander gets here, we'll let Dru go," Buffy answered.

"Xander's not bloody going to your side. Either let Dru go and everyone leaves or you'll dust Dru and I'll spend the rest of my unlife making you miserable. Every person you talk to, every co-worker, every teacher at that piss-ass school of yours, every clerk who makes change for a fucking dollar—I'll drain every last one and drop 'em on your lawn. I'll leave you to explain that to the soddin' police. I'll make you afraid to leave your house because any random girl scout you buy a soddin' cookie from will be my next lunch." Spike spat the words, heavy word chunks that fell between them like lead.

"But our deal."

"I don't give a rat's arse about any deal. Xander's mine, and he'll bloody well be mine until he chooses ta leave, and if that day comes, I'll probably just turn him. But killin' Dru won't do anything other than make me an enemy, well, more of an enemy," Spike amended himself.

Xander sank to his knees, relief and fear robbing him of the ability to stand.

"If you think—" Buffy stopped when a dull thud and shockwave rolled through the cemetery, strong enough to make the ground buck and the grass roll like ocean waves. Pink petals from the crabapples rained softly down, and Xander fell face first to the earth, only faintly noticing Spike leaping forward. He really concentrated more on digging his fingers into the earth in an attempt to hold on.

As suddenly as it began, the earth quieted, and Xander could feel the pink petals settle over him like a warm snow. He pushed himself up on one elbow, and Spike's minions had moved in. Spike stood two feet from Buffy, both crouched in defensive positions, but Buffy's eyes kept darting to the side where scabby minions two and three held Willow and Tara, fangs millimeters from their necks. Two more minions held Giles, and the others, all two dozen of them, milled around. Dru sat on the ground, her hands free now as she tilted her head and considered them all.

Xander scrambled to his feet and hurried to Spike's side. Buffy's eyes went comically large as he sank to his knees next to his master, leaning his weight into Spike, knowing that he was interfering with Spike but trusting that Buffy wouldn't attack with the others in danger.

"Master," Xander whispered as he leaned his weight into Spike's leg in a silent plea. Spike backed up a step.

"You bloody stay away from me and mine or I'll make you pay in ways Angelus never dreamed of," Spike hissed. Xander risked a glance up and saw Buffy looking down at him with tear-brightened eyes.

"It's okay. I don't need saving, not any more," Xander said quietly as he rose. Spike strode across the cemetery in an angry stride, and Xander hurried after him, dodging around the minions who chased their sire. One stopped to snarl at Xander, and Spike changed direction, doubling back and staking the vampire without a word. Xander ducked his head submissively and took his place one step behind his master as they reached the cars.

This time, Spike headed for the white panel van that had carried most of the minions to the cemetery, and Xander followed, blinking as Spike slammed the door on the minion who tried to follow them into the van.

"You thought I was going to trade you," Spike said in the dark of the van. Xander had sunk to his knees, and he went into a formal kneel as he waited for something that sounded more like a question. Doors slammed, and the van started.

"Stand up," Spike ordered, and Xander rose, putting out a hand to the cold to steady himself as they pulled away from the curb.

"Someone's forgotten that he's mine and that he'll bloody always be mine," Spike purred, but it was that dangerous tone that left Xander's blind eyes tracking in the direction of his master's voice in the dark.

"Hands behind your back, pet," Spike rumbled in a low voice that made Xander Jr. sit up and take notice. Xander faced the side of the van and put his hands behind him. Rope snaked around his wrists, tying them firmly. "Someone needs a reminder about what it means to belong to me. I don't bloody give up what's mine." Xander felt the rope tighten just above his left elbow and then hands pulled his arms back so that his chest pressed out.

"Someone needs a serious reminder." The rope from one elbow was threaded through his other elbow and then Spike pulled them tight, forcing Xander's chest out even farther until his muscles ached at the strain. Then Spike tied them off.

"When I’m through with you, you'll bloody remember who you belong to, pet," Spike threatened as strong hands guided him to the floor. Xander ended up face down on some sort of rug or blanket as hands unbuttoned his pants and pulled them off. Xander struggled against a need to hump into the floor. Yep, one good hump and he'd come, and Xander got the feeling that Spike wasn't in a forgiving mood right now.

"You'll never bloody forget again," Spike promised as Xander felt his legs spread, rope encircling his ankles. Xander felt the shiver run through his body as the coils of fear unwound. By the time Spike tucked the gag into his mouth, Xander was ready to learn any lesson his master wanted to teach.

Xander relaxed his muscles, allowing Spike to mold him, not that he could do much with his legs spread and his arms tied.  Spike held his hips, pulling him up until Xander could tuck his knees under him, his face still flat on the floor of the van so that the vibrations of the road created echoes in his head.

"Someone needs to learn who he bloody belongs to," Spike said, his voice carrying that not-quite-friendly tone that made Xander Jr. thicken even as he dangled uselessly, Xander's ass high in the air, and really this wasn't so comfy. 

Something wet and large pressed against his hole, and Xander closed his eyes even though it didn't matter in the dark.  Breathing out through his nose, he whined as the plug pushed all the way in, brushing his prostate, and suddenly Xander didn't care about the aching pull in his arms; at least it gave him some distraction from the nearly blinding need to come.

"I'd have ya count 'em, but seems like your mouth is full," Spike said cheerfully, and then the first slap fell.  Xander grunted, the force of the strike pushing him forward on the blanket so that he could feel the heat of friction in his face as well as his burning ass.  Spike usually started slower, but obviously Xander had really screwed up this time.

Spike's hand fell again, the sound echoing off the metal walls, and the plug drove into his prostate so hard that Xander wouldn't have cared about the spanking if he could just come.  But since he didn't have permission, Xander turned all his concentration to controlling his orgasm.  Two more hits, and then Spike stopped to run a hand over the warm and sensitive skin.

Xander moaned into his gag as Spike ran a thumb down Xander's crack and explored the perineum.  A full body shiver made Xander's bones rattle harder than the van's vibrations as it sped down the city streets.  Xander tried to distract himself with an image of the van getting in a fender bender, and the cop's face if he got a glimpse in the back.  The distraction failed as Spike's fingers brushed the underside of his cock, and Xander humped the air, grunting as he struggled to bring his body back under control because he had already earned enough punishment for one night.

Spike chuckled.  Then the next hits came.  Right, image of the cop failed, so time to move on to the bigger ammo.  Buffy and Willow seeing him tonight, that was enough to emasculate him.  After all, the girls riding in to try and save him when he didn't need saving was bad enough, but them seeing him on his knees…. 

A particularly hard hit landed right on the base of the plug, and Xander squealed into the gag, grateful for the image of Willow's disapproving face because that was the only thing convincing his cock to not finish.  Yep, Willow obviously thought he was a big loser boy getting led around by the nose… or possibly his cock, and that was a little funny considering that she had always enjoyed leading him around by the nose.

Xander lost all further ability to form coherent thoughts as Spike grabbed his cock with a slicked hand, stroking the heat as Xander quivered with a need to come and a need to obey.  Then the plug was gone and Spike thrust in with no warning.  Xander felt the familiar stretch and the hand tight around his cock.  Hiccupping behind his gag, he finally lost all control as he awkwardly thrust, his movements little more than exaggerated twitches since Spike had tied him so tightly, but two jerks and he started coming in waves that crashed through him and left boneless, limp flesh behind.

Xander's back arched in pleasure and then sagged to the floor.  Spike thrust once more and then began to come, the added pressure making Xander mumble into his damp gag.

"Didn't tell you to come, pet," Spike said as he pulled out, and then the plug was back, feeling too small after having Spike inside. Xander wiggled his ass as much as he could with the tight bonds, but Spike didn't let him up or forgive him or even run possessive hands over his naked flesh.

Xander closed his eyes.  Now that the immediate lust had passed, he hated the thought that he had screwed up even more than he hated the throbbing pain in his knees where the blanket didn't provide enough padding and the sluggish ache in his arms from the awkward position.  He just had to do nothing and lay there as Spike handed out the punishment, but he wasn't even good at doing nothing.

Fingers smoothed his hair and then untied his ankles.

"Ya didn't control yourself," Spike repeated, and Xander was sure his master could see his blush.  "Ya didn't control yourself because no matter how much you want to control yourself, I always have more control." Spike added as he rearranged Xander so that he was lying on his stomach again.  Now the vibrations of the old van lulled him as he thought about Spike's words.  Spike wanted him to fail?  Okay, he'd missed a memo somewhere, either that or master had lost a screw.

"You did your best, but no matter how badly you want something, I'll always get my way.  That's why I'm master." 

Xander blinked at the darkness as Spike shifted around, obviously crouching or lying near Xander.  The smell of leather and smoke drifted to Xander, and more than anything else, that smelled like safety.  So Spike did want Xander to fail, or maybe it was more fair to say that Spike wanted to win, but then Spike always wanted to win.

"So, even with fear of being punished hanging over your head, and you will be punished pet, you couldn't hold out against me." 

Yeah, yeah, getting it.  Times like this Xander was grateful for the gag in his mouth.  Now if he could just put one on Spike….

"So, what was hanging over your head when I told ya to do your thing back there in the cemetery?"

And that would be pitfall territory.  Xander could feel his face flush with heat.  The images of Willow and Buffy that had early driven his lust back now just made his balls want to crawl up and become internal organs again.  However, Xander thought about his answer.  What had nearly stopped him? That would be, 'What is abject humiliation? for two hundred.'  Willow and Buffy seeing him doing his kinky thing, and he wasn't even going to process the bit about Giles seeing him, that was going in the big old represso box.

"So, why did you crawl over and start sucking my cock?" Spike asked. 

Xander chewed the gag as he considered the answer. Habit maybe.  When Spike's cock came out, he sucked it.  Okay, if he were perfectly honest, he liked sucking it.  He liked knowing that he could reduce Spike to a few grunted syllables.  He liked the feeling of success when Spike's whole body tensed and released.  He liked knowing that Spike wanted him there, on his knees.  If that'd been the middle of one of the leather clubs they sometimes visited, Xander would have been in heaven with other men watching him enviously, either wishing they could take his place on the floor between Spike's legs or wishing they could replace Spike as Xander worshipped their cocks.

Xander looked up toward the chunk of black where he imagined Spike.  Point made.  Xander had sucked Spike down because he cared about all those likes a lot more than he cared about the others seeing him.

"They needed to see that.  Needed ta see that you're happy on your knees, even if they won't ever appreciate what a treat you are."  Spike trailed fingers over Xander's sore ass.  "They needed to see that you're mine, even if you obviously forgot it.  You're not some bauble I'd trade away, even for my Princess.  And since you seem to have trouble remembering that, here's your punishment, pet."

Xander flinched as he expected the spanking to start up again, and he really did hate the spankings that came after the sex because they always seemed to hurt more.  But Spike just continued to trace lazy circles on his skin.

"Until I see you can remember your place, you're going to wear my bonds.  You'll be gagged or hobbled or chained or if I'm in an especially cranky mood, all three.  So you'd better hope this lot of minions doesn't annoy me as much as the last or you'll be tied spread eagle on the bed for a good long time," Spike suggested in a salacious tone.

"We're 'bout there," Spike said, suddenly far more business-like, and Xander felt himself pulled up, grimacing at the spiraling pain that circled his left shoulder.  "Left leg up," Spike ordered. Xander lifted his leg and promptly lost his balance, but Spike held him with one arm around his waist while the other slipped Xander pants back on him. 

Xander was grateful for the clothing even as he realized that meant he wasn't getting untied soon, so he guessed punishment had started.  A familiar clicking sound told him that Spike had snapped the leash to his wide collar even though they rarely used it outside of the leatherbars.

The van clunked to a stop, the old transmission making the thing hop forward so that Spike again had to catch Xander and put him back on his feet before opening the side door.  Spike leapt down and waited as Xander came to the edge of the van, not sure how to get down with his arms so tightly bound.  Spike just gathered him up around the knees and lifted him down so that Xander stood on the cool pavement as the other cars pulled into the dimly lit lot of some trucking company. 

Minions packed the cars, and it still looked like a couple of the weakest ones had gotten left behind when Spike took the van for himself, but Xander couldn't tell, and with the gag in place, he wouldn't be asking any time soon.  Spike strode toward the white Pontiac, Xander's leash in hand, and Xander hurried after him with his eyes on the swaying leather lead that connected them. A minion growled, and Spike's arm flashed so fast that Xander watched the dust slowly settle toward the concrete without having a chance to see which minion had growled.

"My prince made the world stop turning and the worms cry.  Did you miss your naughty girl, Spike?"

Oh yeah, that was Dru.  Xander risked a glance up, and Dru stared at Spike intensely.

"Course I missed you.  You shouldn't play near the slayer, luv.  She'll make you cry."

"No.  She doesn't know where I hide my doilies." Dru answered as if it made some sense, and maybe it did to her.

"You found the naughty kitten!" Dru suddenly exclaimed, and Xander found himself caught in her gaze, fascinated by the depth of the brown eyes that considered him.  "You made me all achy inside and woke up the moon so it slid under my tongue, and then you left me," Dru complained.  When she snapped her teeth at him, and Xander jerked back, the paralysis of just a second ago gone with the fear that crazy girl was about to eat him and there wasn't much he could do.  Okay, even if his hands had been free he couldn't have actually fought her off, but still, not helping the panic that Spike had tied him so tightly that he couldn't do anything other than glare off an attack.  But before he had to test his powers of glaringness, Spike had stepped between.

"Princess, the kitten is mine now, and I punished him for making you achy," Spike soothed her.

"Did you make him cry and weep?" she asked hopefully.  Something in the sky caught her attention and she tilted her head up.

"Yeah, he cried.  But now he's mine, so you can't touch him.  You remember what happened to your birds?"

"I poked them and poked them and they refused to sing.  Bad birdies.  Bad birdies won't sing for mummy."

"Yeah, well you can't poke at Xander."

Dru had been staring up at the sky, but now she looked back down toward Spike.

"There's a ring around the rosies and its closing in," she announced seriously, "but I can't be in it with you."  Raising her hands to either side of Spike's face, she cupped his cheeks and leaned in to put a kiss on his nose.

"Grandmummy's waiting and I must give birth to her," Dru added as she pulled back.  Then she turned and headed across the lot, her steps dancing in the moonlight. 

"Oi, you," Spike yelled toward the gang minions.  "You lot go after her.  Take care of her and if I find out something's happened to her, I will track every one of you down and make you beg for death before I finally send you to hell."  The main group of minions cringed back, ducking their heads submissively before turning and chasing after Dru's retreating form.  And now only a half dozen minions waited, watching Spike for orders.  "I'll drive the Mustang, get the rest back to the lair," he barked.  Minions scattered.

"Still as barmy as ever.  At least with you, I can bloody gag you," Spike said as he tightened the leash and headed back toward the Mustang. "Besides, she wasn't ever really mine, but you," Spike glanced over his shoulder, and Xander blinked back at him, fairly sure he was drooling out of the right corner of his mouth, "you're mine, and by the time I'm done, you'll never forget it again."

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