Sequel to Trickster

A few years ago a spell turned Xander into an ancient Master vampire who completely dominated Angel and Spike until the spell wore off. Now a chipped Spike returns to his human sire.

Disclaimer:
The following pages are not for minors!!
The fanfic on these pages contains m/m slash (male on male sex), bondage, BDSM, rimming, oral sex, anal sex, bloodplay, and violence.
For adults, this is a nice little fantasy. For children, this is a good way to really warp your sense of sexuality!!
If you're not of legal age, go read something else.

I don't own any of these guys and I don't make money off this. I'm just having some fun.
Oh, and if you're looking for abuse, rape, torture, chan, or sexual violence, go somewhere else! My guys like what they're doing, and they don't do anything unless both partners are getting off on it!





Janus' Shadow


by
Litgal



Part One


"Angel?" Xander said softly into the phone. He really didn't need the others overhearing this conversation, so he kept his voice soft and trusted vamp hearing to carry his words.

"Xander? What's wrong?"

"What? I have to have a reason to call you and tell you that your hair looks ridiculous on a man of 250?" Xander almost heard Angel rolling his eyes over the phone.

"What's wrong?" Angel asked more firmly after a long silence with only the sound of static on the line. Xander smiled at his own ability to outwait Angel. Of course, the events of the day quickly wiped the smile from his face. Not even mind games with Angel could soften the blow he'd felt at seeing Spike, starving, pale and begging the slayer for help.

"It's Spike. He's been..." Xander struggled with a word that would explain his horror at what had been done to Spike. Yeah, he didn't want Spike out eating the population, but this was Spike, his Spike, the vampire with whom he shared a very strange history that only Angel understood. A strange history that Ethan's chaos spell had permanently tangled beyond recognition.

"Xander? Do you need me up there?" Angel asked, and Xander took a deep breath. No, Angel up here right now would be a very bad thing with Spike doing the whole "worthless me" act. Xander took a deep breath and tangled the curling beige cord around his finger as he tried to sort his thoughts from… well, his thoughts. Okay, that didn't sound mentally unstable… not at all. However, his vampire memories, imposed on him by that spell, suggested that Spike couldn't handle being seen as weak in Angel's eyes.

"You'd better not. We've got a government group doing some weird stuff up here," Xander finally answered. "They caught Spike and operated on him." Xander heard Angel's hiss over the phone, and he could imagine the expression on Angel's face. Even though Angel felt guilty as hell about his past with Spike, he couldn't quite let go of his desire for the younger vampire. Maybe the others didn't see that, but then the others didn't have quite the same relationship with the vampires that he did.

"Is he..."

"He can't hunt. He can't hurt people." Xander took a deep breath to try and hold off the anger rising in his stomach. "Hell, he can't protect himself from a two year old with a butter knife." Xander lashed out and punched Giles' wall hard enough that his knuckles throbbed with pain. At least this pain gave him something to focus on other than his own guilt. If he hadn't taken Spike, forced him to submit and then left him, if he hadn't caused Dru to leave Spike, if he hadn't done all that, maybe Dru and Spike would still be off somewhere safe instead of Giles chaining Spike in the bathroom.

Today looked liked one of those days where he wished the spell hadn't ended and he still had that cold confidence he'd gained from being a vampire. Or maybe he just should have died that day in the mansion. Xander battled his emotions back into his repression box and tried to concentrate on the here and now. Angel was obviously having problems of his own because the other end of the phone had gone silent.

"Maybe I should come up," Angel offered quietly.

"No." Xander quickly replied. "Spike doesn't need to deal with sire issues right now," Xander pointed out without acknowledging his own sire issues with Spike. "I just need to know who in town carries human blood... someone other than Willie because that little rat will sell anyone out to Buffy, including me."

"You're protecting him," Angel said warily. Not a question exactly, but Xander could still hear Angel question his sanity. "What about Buffy?"

"Spike came to Buffy, asked her for sanctuary, and Buffy won't stake him while he's helpless." Xander didn't have to tell Angel how much it ripped into him to see Spike looking for someone else's protection while Xander stood there helpless.

"Buffy's protecting him?" Angel's tone rose in shock.

"I'm not sure protecting him is the right description." Xander considered Buffy's reaction, evaluating them using his own 900 years worth of memories. "It's more like she resents someone else poaching on her private territory. Spike is her prey, and she'll keep him safe until he's strong enough to be worth hunting." Xander smiled at the memory of the villagers in Nusa's territory. They had quickly learned how to hide any strength in order to avoid her interest. Hell, his too. Of course those were false memories planted by Ethan's spell, but they felt just as real now as they had years ago when the spell had first been cast. Actually, they felt more real now than they had since the spell broke.

"And what about the past? Can you forgive him for what he did?" Angel asked quietly.

Xander thought back to that dark day when he had been dragged to Angelus' lair. Not even Giles knew about those six hours, and Xander had no intention of telling. Hell, he didn't even plan on giving Angel the full story because he didn't need to deal with Angelus being even more hacked off if the soulless bastard ever showed up again.

"I don't have to forgive him. He's a vampire, so he does vampirey things." Xander phrased his answer to once again give Angel the reassurance he needed that Xander didn't blame him either, and Xander didn't. After all, he had attacked, captured, and raped both masters of the Aurelius line long before that day, even if it was technically a spell's fault.

"Cooper on 6th and Park." Angel said, and Xander quickly jotted it down on his palm. "They don't normally sell to humans," Angel warned him.

"Call him for me and tell him that if he doesn't sell me blood, I will set his business on fire and decapitate him and his entire staff as they run for safety," Xander said before dropping the phone onto the receiver. He didn't need to hear Angel's answer since he already knew that Angel would lecture him on not letting his vampire memories control him and then do as Xander asked. Xander could do without the first, and he needed Angel to do the second immediately. Spike was thin and frail.

Xander punched the wall again just as Willow walked in the door to Giles' kitchen, jumping when Xander's fist thumped loudly against the cheap pine wood the apartment used as trim, leaving a faint knuckle sized dent.

"Xander?" she asked quietly, and Xander looked at his childhood friend's wide and worried eyes. "Is this Spike thing freaking you out what with the whole kissage incident?" she asked. Xander struggled to contain a dark laugh. Kissage. Kissage was the least of his worries, but on that Halloween night years ago, she had seen the kiss he had shared with Spike, and nothing more. Thank god for that. Xander shivered in horror at the thought that the spell could have made him kill his best friend given the chance. Thank god he didn't have that chance because that was more guilt than he could have carried.

Willow came over and put a sympathetic hand on his forearm. "Yeah, it's kinda freaky knowing there's a vampire in the house, but you know Buffy wouldn't let him hurt you, right?" Willow asked in such a serious tone that Xander felt that dark, hysterical laughter bubbling up inside.

"I have some chores I need to run," Xander said as he pulled his arm back away from Willow and started for the door.

"Xander?"

"Hey where you running off to?" Buffy called as Xander bolted through the living room while trying to look like he wasn't hurrying.

"Got work," he offered over his shoulder as he kept his hand clenched over the words written on his palm. He pulled the door open without even making eye contact with Buffy, and as he stood in the open doorway, he made a quick prayer for Buffy and Giles to have patience because he knew how far Spike could push things when the young vampire was frightened. Entirely too far, and the slayer's patience was not exactly long.

Xander pulled the door shut behind him, ignoring Willow's attempts to cover for his rude exit, but then Buffy had been accusing him of being rude ever since that Halloween. That's just what happened when two people who were each used to being in charge tried occupying the same space. Three really... Giles wasn't exactly the type to sit back and take orders. But at least Giles had learned to step carefully around Xander unlike Buffy who still, years later, tried to treat him like the insecure submissive boy she'd first met when she came to Sunnydale.

Xander flinched slightly when he left the shade of the courtyard, and oh yeah, vampire memories were way too close to the surface today. Considering he was about to go into a part of town that catered to more demons than humans, maybe that was of the good.

After parking his car a reasonably safe distance away, Xander strode purposefully down the suburban streets as he tried to sink into that way of thinking that had been so normal when the spell had locked him into the body of a vampire. Spike was injured, damaged, weak. He should either be destroyed or brought back to health so he could devour his enemies, and that was too deep into vampire thinking, Xander realized, but he just couldn't escape the thought that Spike had a fucking right to eat the Initiative soldiers. He could feel his own need for revenge making his nonexistent fangs itch.

Xander's mood hadn't improved by the time he stopped in front of the brick building, one corner of which advertised dollar shots with a neon sign only half-lit and which made a high pitched whining noise. Pushing through dirty glass doors, Xander found himself faced with a Vebight demon--green chin horns pushed out aggressively. Xander dropped his hand to the small of his back where he carried a razor sharp weapon in a thin sheath. The demon clicked and wheezed a threat in his own language.

"You can't exactly call me a normal human though, so I don't really care about your policy," Xander countered. "I assume Angel called." He looked around at the dim interior which looked like any number of other dives he'd been in: beer stained wood floor, scuffed bar, that wood paneling that had been popular for a few days in the seventies and yet still managed to line the walls of every bar in Sunnydale.

Another set of clicks, these faster, and a wheezing cough answered him as a demon head tilted, the horns even more aggressively thrust forward.

"Don't necessarily disagree with you on that one, but it doesn't change the fact that I'm here to buy blood," Xander answered without exactly looking at the Vebight. He watched it out of the corner of his eye and kept focused on the whole room rather than a single opponent.

This time the demon brought his head down, tucking his chin in toward his chest as he narrowed his eyes and hissed his answer. In one fluid motion, Xander popped the snap on his knife's sheath, pulled the ten inches of steel free, and swung the blade in a graceful arc. The Vebight fell back, his hand clutching his stomach where a thick yellow fluid leaked onto his shirt, and the smell of Vebight blood floated into the air.

"Okay, that's just disgusting. I really wish I had remembered how much you guys stink before I cut you. But that's okay because as I remember it, the stink stops when your heart stops." Xander stepped forward and the Vebight fell back into a defensive pose. Xander swept the room with his gaze, checking for ambushes or obstacles that might trip him up before dropping into an equally aggressive posture.

"No. Not fighting. Not fighting in my shop." A much smaller demon stepped out from behind a doorway, and Xander straightened slightly although he kept his knife up and ready. The G'ranth demon could have passed for a dwarf, or was that midget, or maybe person of small stature...Xander shook his head at his ability to remember a dozen demon languages that he technically hadn't ever learned in the first place and still forget common manners that Willow nagged him about every day. He was sure there was some great meaning in that little twist of his brain, but he was too busy to follow it up right now.

"If you want to avoid fighting, you'll sell me the blood. If not, the threat about burning you out, well it wasn't a threat since I'll actually do it--burn you out that is." Xander bit his tongue at that classic bit of Xander babble. Right, when trying to intimidate the natives, use fewer words because the G'ranth was looking less intimidated than confused.

"You were primal?" the small man-demon asked as he walked behind the bar. Obviously the floor back there was higher because the demon was suddenly at eye level waving the bouncer away. The Vebight widened his nose holes and snorted unhappily, but he shuffled away without showing Xander his vulnerable backside. Xander walked around a couple of abandoned tables and leaned on the bar without taking a seat.

"Yeah," he answered carefully. Primals weren't the most popular of demon species, and he now watched two Pyleans come out of the bathroom. Both of them avoided Xander's gaze, but that didn't mean that Xander trusted them, so he leaned one hip into the counter and kept his eyes on the barkeep and the two customers as he cleaned his knife with a rag he pulled from his pocket. You never left demon gore on a good knife, and this was an exceptional knife.

"You were vampire?" The two Pyleans looked over in obvious surprise at the barkeep's words, and Xander gazed back at them until they both realized they were staring and looked away quickly.

"Yeah, didn't work out for me, so I gave it up." Xander replied calmly even though he could feel his heart start to speed up. He needed to get the blood and get back to Spike before he fucked this up by sticking his foot in his mouth ala Xander Harris classic babble. He found his ability to channel his inner vampire was limited by his nervousness which brought out the Zeppo in him. He briefly wondered what would happen if he did get turned now because with Xander childe of Nusa memories and the hyena memories and the Zeppo memories he was really kinda running on the sharp edge of sanity now. Add another demon to the mix and he might end up talking to dolls and stars with Dru. His knife was clean, but he continued to slide the cloth over the smooth surface both as an excuse to keep the knife out and as an excuse for the nervous movement his hands demanded.

"Strange, strange, strange human," the barkeep finally concluded.

"Yeah, well my claim on humanity has been slipping for a while. So, either give me the blood or you won't have any bar left to serve customers." Xander calmly looked up at the small demon and pursed his lips in an expression he'd blatantly stolen from Spike. The expression promised imminent disemboweling and bloodshed… he hoped. The G'ranth replied with a series of hisses and clicks that imitated the bouncer's noises earlier.

"Yeah, yeah. Been called that by bigger bastards than you. So pack a cooler full and quote a price," Xander answered without any emotion.

"$300. Full cooler. Best price."

"Bullshit. Willy would sell me a full cooler for $100--he'd just make another $100 selling me out to the slayer. I'll give you the $200 that Willy would have made off me."

"Stealing. Cheating. Taking advantage of me to be small," growled the G'ranth demon.

"No one cheats a G'ranth," Xander replied dryly. "$200 and I'll do one free translating job. Nothing over three pages... six if it's Inglath or Phen'ra hieroglyphs."

"You reading Phen'ra?" Xander smiled as the G'ranth body language shifted. The crossed arms and lowered brows became a comfortable lean forward against the bar and a crooked grin. Xander could practically hear the gear in the G'ranth's brain start calculating possible profit.

"You heard of Xan Nusa who does translating down at Uick's place?" he asked. The G'ranth simply cocked his head. "That's me," Xander finished as he finally put his knife back into its sheath under his shirt. "You supply the blood and a little privacy, and I could do a few jobs here at a reasonable rate." Xander didn't add that the demon could skim some profit off the top; that went without saying.

"Angel not say," the G'ranth complained mildly.

"Angel not know," Xander said back. The G'ranth smiled slowly, its eyes starting to gleam in the low light of the bar.

"You good almost human."

"I take that as a compliment. I'll also take my cooler of blood please," Xander said as he vowed to shut up now. He could feel the bubbles of Zeppohood fizzing up like a shaken soda: a desire to hum a little tune at the Pyleans, a flash of Wizard of Oz humor watching the G'ranth demon hurry to collect supplies, even a slight desire to giggle, in a manly way of course, at the thought that he had intimidated a Vebight demon. Oh yeah, time to just not talk. Play Oz, be cool, keep the mouth shut.

Soon enough the barkeep had returned with a blue camping cooler full of ice and blood, and Xander slapped $200 down on the bar. He would have happily paid the $300 just to keep Buffy from knowing that he was buying human blood, but not arguing with a G'ranth was just asking people to take him for a fool.

"I call you at Uick's?" the little demon asked as he picked up and counted the $20 bills.

"Better not. Uick is a little... short tempered. Call my cell," Xander pulled a tattered card out of his pocket and slid it across the bar. Green embossed letters offered the translation services of Xan Nusa and a single phone number.

"Good business," the G'ranth clicked happily. "I be Cooper."

"Well, Cooper," Xander said as he reached over and took the handle of the blue plastic container. "It will be good business as long as no one knows about it, but if anyone finds out about any of our dealings, it will be very, very bad business." Xander took one last look around the bar, but no one met his gaze. Turning his back on the room in a clear sign of his contempt for their fighting skills, Xander walked back out into the sunshine. They didn't need to know that the whole time he walked toward his car he had a need to either pee his pants or run like hell. Nope. As long as he kept channeling equal parts Oz cool and vampire aggression he could pull this off.

Xander put the cooler on the backseat of his '82 Ford Grenada with its square nose and two tone blue paint job. Buffy and Willow loved to make fun of his lady, but the upgraded engine would run long after their trendy cars died and the dark windows made him feel secure even if he wasn't technically flammable any more. With the easy part taken care of, now he just had to go talk Giles into believing that he should be the one to take care of their bloodsucking guest.





Part Two

In the end, Xander dropped the blood off at his apartment first. He could afford another $200 for more blood, but he didn't really think he could play cool-guy in Cooper's place again. His hands sweated so much that the wheel of his car slid through his palms on every turn. And yeah, that didn't seem very safe.

Guiding his car to the curb in front of Giles' building, Xander sat with the setting sun shining weakly through the darkened window of his driver's side door, wondering what the hell he was doing. Part of him wanted to start the engine with its particular low rumbling drone and drive away. He couldn't be what Spike needed, and trying and failing to fill that role might get him killed. Could… no… would get him killed. Killed and vamped. And really, after one round of eating people, he really didn't want to go for round two. Another part of him just wanted to feel those strong muscles under his hands, that body full of coiled energy bending to his will, and oh god he was screwy in the head.

Memories of feeding, knowing that his new claimed childe hunted at his side, rose to the surface. The joy of that night had dulled the edge of pain from the betrayal of his own first childe, but then he didn't really have a first childe because he wasn't really a vampire, only the watchers diaries he'd read did speak of Nusa, his sire, and Jalon, his ungrateful and mutinous childe. He'd even read references to Nusa's elusive favored, and Xander put his forehead on the steering wheel and he tried to gather thoughts which scattered like sand caught in a dust devil—whipped around in every rising circles.

Right, thinking had never been his strong suit, so he needed to simply act. Yep, just call him Xan the acting without thinking man. No matter how hard his heart beat or how badly his palms sweated, he couldn't let Spike stay chained in that bathtub. With a new resolve, Xander pushed open the door and stepped out into the failing sun of evening, the streetlight flickering to life just as he slammed his door.

With more confidence in his step than his heart, Xander strode up the walk and rapped cheerfully on the closed door. It only took a second for Giles to open it, looking at him with an expression that came close to concern.

"Xander? Willow said you needed to go to work. The girls have gone to patrol the east side."

"Yeah, well Jamie burned his hand on the fryers and so they called me with the panicking, but business was non-existant, and they sent me home," Xander lied. His job with Hotdog on a Stick had lasted about as long as any other job he'd taken to cover up for his real source of income, which meant not very.

"Yes, well, I do hope he's all right," Giles muttered as he turned back toward the living room. A large book lay open on the coffee table, the familiar black leather and yellowing pages could have been any number of volumes, but Xander recognized the angular, tilting hieroglyphs that ran down the page: a Guel'tec text on vampire anatomy. Xander felt a sharp stab of fear that Giles might want to confirm one or two of the books more outrageous claims. He looked back at the man still standing by the open door and instantly regretted the thought. Giles might stake a vamp, but he didn't torture them, unlike some humans in Sunnydale.

"Researching the next apocalypsy goodness?" Xander asked as he walked in the room and dropped into the armchair. After closing the door, Giles picked up a postcard from his desk and started fidgeting with it in a way that suggested that the man wanted to take off his glasses and polish them.

"No, I'm researching what they might have done to him."

"They have a section on sadistic humans playing mad scientist in there?" Xander asked, nodding toward the open text, and Giles looked sharply up at him.

"Not as such, no," Giles admitted and then he dropped the postcard back to the desk and came around to the couch, sitting carefully. "Xander, I am aware that this puts you in a difficult situation. Please have the respect to just tell me what you want rather than attempting to manipulate me."

Xander had been carefully investigating the pepperoni stain by the one foot of the couch, but at those words, he focused all his attention on Giles. "I'm so not trying to manipulate you," he immediately assured the man. "It's more like, I don't know how to say what I want to say, which may not really be what I want-want, but more like what I, you know, need-want. But the whole beating around the bush thing is far less with the manipulating than just with the awkward."

"Spoken like a true American," Giles sighed softly, and now the glasses did come off. "Need? What do you need, Xander?"

"I need the key, G-man." Xander held his hand out toward Giles.

"I'm not sure that's a good idea, especially given your respective... histories," Giles answered, and the very fact that he had ignored the hated nickname told Xander just how upset Giles was in his own repressed, English way. As expected, he attacked the glasses with a white handkerchief.

"Our history means that I understand him. I can deal with him far more effectively than you could," Xander pointed out. Giles looked up sharply.

"And the fact that you had a Transylvanian accent when you said that... should I be worried?" Giles demanded sharply, and Xander flinched. Yeah, great, the Zeppo-stupidity did pop up at the absolute worst times. He couldn't believe that he had slipped that badly. He could only shrug.

"You know the memories are still part of me. And yes, Spike brings them up a little more. I'm not a vampire, and I'm not planning on doing the whole Benedict Arnold thing," he promised softly as he glanced toward the bathroom. How much could Spike hear, and how much did the vampire believe? Xander truly wouldn't let Spike touch one of his friends, so he meant the whole not-going-traitor promise, except that Buffy and Giles and even Willow would probably consider him a traitor for even fantasizing about hot soldier blood running down a cold sidewalk, rivers of red parting for pebbles set in concrete and filling the cracks with the brackish, coppery scent of life. Xander shook his head to try and clear his mind of that thought.

"Xander, I never," Giles paused, and Xander could practically see the man gathering his thoughts. "I know how loyal you are, and I don't for one second doubt that. I do worry that your vampire memories exert too much influence over your decisions. I worry that Spike could take advantage of that." Giles' words did give Xander pause for thought. After all, Giles had no idea what had happened at Angelus' mansion that day, what they had done to him. He didn't know what Xander had done to Angel and Spike when he was under the influence of the spell. Hell, if Giles knew one quarter of the history Xander shared with Spike and Angel, the watcher would either chain Xander up or stake the two vampires. Probably both.

"I know how to handle Spike," Xander promised. Giles looked at him for a long time before reaching into his pocket.

"Be careful," Giles said as he handed over a small silver key.

"Aren't I always?" Xander grinned playfully, and the look of despair on Giles' face made him laugh out loud. "I'll be careful, Dad," Xander added. Giles just made a hrumphing grunt and took his cup into the kitchen.

Xander hurried into the bathroom with the key, and he opened the door to find Spike staring at him with a mask of complete indifference. The expression broke Xander's heart more than anything else could because he knew how strongly Spike felt things. He knew how Spike's emotions normally flickered right under the surface of his skin. The devilish delight and playful cruelty that usually animated Spike's features had made Xander love him, or at least feel the sort of possessive desire that passed for love among vampires. Instead the emotionless face with the black eyeliner looked truly dead.

"So, we're on patrol tonight on the west side tonight," Xander said as he reached out for the chains looped around Spike's arms. Giles claimed to have fed Spike earlier, but when Xander's hand closed around Spike's wrist, he could feel cold flesh. Vampires were room temperature unless they were hungry--seriously hungry. He turned the key in the lock before Spike found his voice.

"Bloody… not really up to a fight. Can't hurt a soddin' thing, remember?" Spike snarled angrily, and Xander allowed his own vampiric nature to surface as he closed his hand around Spike's neck and slammed the vampire's head into the tile. Spike flashed into game face and raised his lip in challenge as he reached up and grabbed Xander's wrist. Xander knew how the chip worked. He'd had a client who had escaped with one. Or got turned loose as a guinea pig with one, he was never quite sure which. Now he just had to reassert his relationship with Spike. That and he had to make Spike feel like a hunter again because this pale creature without any spark of life was not his Spike.

Strong, pale fingers dug into the flesh of his wrist, and Xander grimaced in pain. He could see Spike's eyes narrow as he fought the agony inflicted by the chip. Despite the torture, Spike continued to squeeze, and now Xander could smell the metallic scent of his own blood as he stared into Spike's yellowed eyes.

Xander flinched as the fingers tightened incrementally, but this was a battle he couldn't afford to lose. At Xander's flinch, Spike let go and howled as he gripped his own head in a vain effort to soothe the pain. His hands clutched at his short spikes of hair, pulling at them and pounding the ceramic tub as his body twisted, the chains unlocked but still looped around him so that the metal struck the ceramic tub with small chiming noises.

Xander stood and looked down at the writhing figure still draped in chains. Part of him sneered in disgust that Spike could let himself be leashed by humans. Another part railed against someone causing Spike pain, someone other than himself anyway. Yet another part wanted to run away in fear because Spike was still an actual vampire and Xander had no doubts about how wrong this could go. The part that won, however, was the part of him that wanted to comfort the childe who had submitted to him. No matter how hard he tried to tell himself that Spike's submission didn't count what with the whole spell thing, Xander still felt like a sire. He felt like a sire who had failed once and who refused to fail again. Okay, counting Jalon he'd failed twice, but he really didn't want to fail for a third time.

Sitting down on the cold edge of the bathtub, Xander stroked Spike's stiff hair as he held out his bloody wrist.

"Drink, childe," he said softly. He hadn't intended to use that endearment. He was human, and as such had no role in the vampire hierarchy. He couldn't claim the title of sire. He was weak, just as weak as when Angelus had him dragged back to the mansion in order to repay the humiliation of that Halloween night. But just when he thought Spike would reject the offer of blood and the title that Xander had linked to it, lips closed around the wound.

Xander groaned as Spike sucked enthusiastically. It felt a little like pulling a scab, like scratching a poison ivy rash, like stretching a sore muscle. He felt as if having blood in his body was some itching torment, and Spike's sucking scratched that itch. Oh, the pain was there, making him suck air into his lungs noisily, but the pleasure of feeling his blood pulled slowly from his body more than made that worth it.

The wound was small, and Xander could feel two pins barely prick the surface of his skin, and then the pleasure and pain doubled. Xander couldn't even describe the feeling, but it left him humping into nothing. He remembered Nusa draining him, the absolute pleasure of sinking into the darkness of death even as he orgasmed. Maybe it was that thought that made Xander aware of the fact that he was becoming lightheaded.

"Stop," Xander ordered and for a half second, Xander thought he had misjudged. He thought that Giles had been right and he had gone completely insane when he allowed Spike's fangs anywhere near him. He thought wrong because Spike pulled his fangs out after just a second and then licked at the wound before settling back in the tub.

Looking down, Xander traced the spreading red and purple hickey with a finger. Two tiny fang punctures and three nasty, crescent-shaped fingernail marks decorated the inside of the bruise. Okay, no more feeding the vamp with the wrist, Xander realized as he looked at the ugly discoloration.

"So, this goin' to be your revenge? Keeping me in the bathtub? Takin' me out to play sire?" Spike's expression had disappeared under that mask of indifference again, and Xander stood and turned his back as he went over to the sink to run cold water over his arm. He doubted that he could keep it from looking like a vampire chew-toy, but at least it gave him something to do.

"I don't know what the hell we're doing, Spike."

"Right, same as always then."

"Enough," Xander practically yelled as he turned around. Spike had stood so that the chains now lay in the bottom of the tub at his feet, but at Xander's yell, the vampire flinched back and pressed himself to the tile. Xander raised a lip to sneer at the gesture before it occurred to him that Spike had no defenses against a human, and he had no way to judge Xander's intentions.

Xander turned back to the sink and found himself surprised to see his own reflection: dark, unruly curls, a slightly paler than normal complexion, dark eyes. He struggled to find the words that would make Spike understand what he could and could not offer to the young vampire. At 120, the childe should still be safely behind a sire, the greatest risk to his unlife being that same sire that protected him.

"Spike, I look at you and I still see my little one, my hellcat, the childe I claimed," Xander admitted to the mirror. "I look at you and I want you so bad I can't see straight, and I hate myself because I can't be the sire who claimed you. You are so damn strong, but you need a sire. You shouldn't have to do this alone and every damn sire you've had has failed you. I want to beat myself black and blue for being one more person to do that to you." Xander let the words fall from him without even thinking about what he was admitting. He turned around and stepped forward and let his warm hand wrap around the back of Spike's neck where he gently squeezed and soothed tight muscles.

"When Angelus brought me to the mansion, I would have endured all that and more if it had earned you a place at Angelus' side again. I would have given up anything to fix what I had damaged." Xander watched as his words slowly eroded Spike's indifference until he could see the fear and uncertainty etched in those beautiful features.

"Not bloody likely. Soddin' arsewipe had slipped 'round the twist, so I sure as hell didn't want to play childe to that bastard." Xander pulled, but Spike refused to be coaxed out of the bathtub. Instead Xander stepped up into the tub himself so they were face to face.

"You're so damn strong. How the hell did you even escape the government?" Xander didn't offer sympathy. He knew Spike couldn't put up with sympathy.

"Bloody stupid humans. Thought I was one of their fledges, thought I couldn't resist drugged blood."

"But you have far too much control to fall for that," Xander added, and now Spike let himself be pulled forward just a fraction so that his head hovered near Xander's shoulder. "Did you kill any of them?" Xander asked as he reached up with his second hand to feel the ridges under Spike's brow.

"One. Thought they'd tazered me it hurt so bloody much, but I had to get out of there."

"So damn strong. Hunger can't rule you; pain doesn't stop you. My hellcat," Xander practically whispered, and he knew his pride colored every word. Spike's head rested on Xander's shoulder now.

"Not soddin' strong at all. Bloody humans have leashed me. Can't even fucking feed."

"Ve'll vork on that," Xander immediately promised, and then he realized what he'd said. "Not that feeding is good," he suddenly stammered, pausing as he felt panic jumbling his thoughts together. "Killing is definitely off the approved list because killing humans is, well, wrong. Major wrong. Wrongage of epic proportions," Xander knew he was babbling, and he bit his tongue hard enough to stop himself. He could feel Spike shake slightly, and he held that trembling body even tighter.

"Bloody hell, you're as loony as Dru," Spike finally said, and Xander realized from the amused tone that the trembling was not a reaction to the fear but rather laughter. He pulled back, and Spike was laughing so hard that a single tear had escaped the side of his eye.

"Hey, no laughing," Xander complained.

"Oi, you listen to yourself and try not to laugh."

"I listen to myself all the time."

"Doubt that. You're slipping back and forth between those two personalities of yours like some sort of metonym."

"Yeah, well I'm still the boss of you," Xander pointed out. That made Spike stop and look at him seriously.

"Are you?" The tone of Spike's words made Xander stop and think through the situation.

"Yeah. Before, well not before when I was a vamp before, but before when we were in the mansion, I couldn't be what you needed." Xander stopped as he tried to explain it. He'd knelt on the floor naked knowing he was going to die. Of course, he'd been wrong, but at that moment when he'd been pulled in front of Angelus, he hadn't doubted that he saw death in the insane vampire's yellow eyes. "You needed a hunting partner, and I couldn't be that. I thought Dru could be," Xander admitted.

"She left me for a bloody chaos demon," Spike shrugged, but at least this time he didn't try to hide the pain. Xander had listened to Buffy's stories of Spike's rage when the vamp had returned in search of a love spell. He'd smiled and nodded at Buffy's imitations, but Angel's eyes had remained somber, and Xander had gone home and cried over the fact that the demon had come back to town without hunting him down. And how sick was that?

"She really is insane. Those things are gross," Xander answered, and Spike made an amused snort.

"You're not kiddin'. They're downright disgusting. So, you're planning on sticking around this time?"

"Both times, you were the one who left," Xander pointed out.

"Both times, you didn't bloody stop me," Spike countered.

"I will this time. You can't hunt, which means you need to find another way to feed, and I'm the one who's going to provide the blood until we can figure out how to get that chip out."

"And then?" Spike's guarded tone instantly revealed the vampire's fears, and Xander couldn't blame him.

"And then you're still going to be mine," Xander replied.

"Vampire can't belong to a human, mate. You know that. I get this chip out, and you won't have the strength to keep me by your side. Makes me wonder if you're going to really work all that hard at getting the chip out."

"I will get the chip out because you are my hellcat. We'll work the rest out later."

"I could solve the problem. I think the little experiment with your wrist proved that." Spike purred and leaned close again, nuzzling Xander's neck. Xander allowed his eyes to fall closed as a talented tongue ran from his collarbone up to his ear where dull teeth nibbled at the ear lobe. "I could turn you and have you as my childe. Wouldn't bloody bollocks it up like a certain broody vamp we both know." The words were whispered in a low rumbling voice, and Xander groaned as a hand slipped under the waistband of his jeans to find a hard cock.

Spike pushed, and Xander let himself be turned so that Spike pressed up against his back, a cool hand reaching up under his shirt and fingers splaying across his stomach. "You remember being turned, the perfect joy in that second when your heart beats for the last time, the feeling of your orgasm and your death merging like nothing before and nothing after. Let me give you that again," Spike whispered roughly.

Xander reached under his shirt and put his own warm hand over Spike's. He did remember. He remembered the feeling of belonging to someone and knowing that he was safe within his sire's protection. He had been Nusa's prized possession, jealously guarded and defended and owned in a way that made all other relationships in his life seem like faint outlines and meaningless encounters. But he'd grown past that and now he needed to do the possessing. No one could take the place of his Nusa, not even his hellcat.

Xander tried to wrestle his attention out of his hard and throbbing cock so he could explain it to Spike without seeming to reject the young vampire. His eyes drifted open. "Giles!" he yelped.

"I had," Giles stood at the doorway to the bathroom and cleared his throat, "worried that you were having problems with the," Giles coughed softly, "the chains. You had been in here rather a long time."

"You're soddin' interrupting, Watcher," Spike snarled, and Xander landed his elbow in Spike's side; however, the vampire kept snarling and feeling Xander up at the same time.

"Spike, stop," Xander ordered, but the strong arms around him held him in place while the hand that had explored the contours of his stomach started drifting southward. Xander opened his eyes in horror about the same time that Giles' mouth fell open. When Giles started reaching behind him, Xander knew he had to make a move or watch Giles stake his hellcat.

Xander reached down and dug his thumb into a nerve on Spike's wrist. Trying to escape the pain, Spike shook his wrist and pulled it away from Xander, giving Xander room to twist slightly in Spike's embrace. Xander aimed his hardest punch at Spike's sternum, where the two halves of the ribcage met in the front. He tilted his fist slightly so that he hit the sternum dead on with one knuckle. Xander grimaced in pain with Spike. Now openly snarling, Spike grabbed for his hands, and Xander knew he had neither the speed nor strength to avoid being caught. Instead, he let Spike catch him and then pulled back hard enough that his wrist made a popping sound and Xander gasped in pain. Spike dropped like a stone clutching his head.

Not surprisingly, Giles stood next to the bathtub with a stake, which Xander snatched from the older man. When Spike finally got control enough to open his eyes, Xander crouched over him with a stake pressed against Spike's chest. The vampire froze.

"So, are ve clear who is in charge of whom?" Xander asked calmly, and even he could hear the accent. Spike looked up for several seconds, and Xander wondered if he could dust the vampire even if he had to. In the end, Spike dropped his gaze.

"Yeah, mate," he offered.

"Good. So we're going on patrol at Grove cemetery." Xander stood and handed Giles his stake.

"I'm not sure that's such a good idea," Giles said in a tone that made it clear that he knew it was an absolutely horrible idea.

"We'll be fine, G-man."

"First, define 'fine.' Second, please do not call me that name."

"Um, fine means that if you don't ask, you won't notice anything that might drive you to drink, and you know the nickname is all in love, G-man."

"Xander," Giles said, the one word carrying tones of frustration and worry and paternal concern. Xander smiled. Giles was the one person whose paternal tones didn't annoy him. His own father had learned the hard way that Xander would not tolerate manipulation or abuse--not even verbal abuse.

"Giles, I'm going to be a lot less on edge having him around than I am thinking about him in your bathtub."

"Bloody hell, not goin' to let him tell you what to do, are ya?" Spike demanded, and Xander could hear the confusion under that obnoxious aggression. If Giles could order Xander around, and Xander could order Spike around, that put the young vampire directly under Giles in the hierarchy. Xander could see how that would be a problem. However, he wasn't a vampire and Giles wasn't a vampire and Spike was going to have to do some adapting.

"I hardly think offering advice is ordering," Giles pointed out.

"No, but your advice has been heard and we're still going hunting, G-man," Xander quickly answered because Giles and Spike talking to each other was not ever going to be of the good.

"Patrolling," Giles said quietly.

"What?" Xander asked in confusion as he replayed the last part of the conversation in his mind.

"I assume you are taking Spike patrolling since hunting has some rather unfortunate connotations. Before you leave, there's two days worth of blood in the refrigerator, and I would expect a visit from Buffy tomorrow. She will not be pleased."

Xander blushed as he realized his slip.

"Uh, yeah, patrolling," he corrected himself. "Spike probably needs to drink the blood before we leave, but I have more at home, and on that whole Buffy visiting thing, that might not be the best idea." Xander ducked his head and tried his best 'help me' expression on Giles.

"She will eventually figure out that you've moved out of your parents' home." Xander must have given Giles a surprised look because the older man rolled his eyes. "Really, did you expect me to believe your ridiculous stories forever?" Then Giles turned to Spike, his face hardening into an expression that reminded Xander that the man had at one point been more likely to summon evil than fight it.

"And if you harm him or turn him, you will beg for a stake before I am through with you," he promised darkly. Spike leaned back against the tiled wall looking indifferent, but Xander could see the small muscle twitches that showed his distress. Considering he was trapped in a small room with two people who he couldn't fight, both of whom had threatened to turn him to dust, Xander couldn't blame the vamp. In fact, Spike's ability to hide that fear made him smile with pride. However, he needed to get Spike fed and back to fighting if he wanted to save his hellcat from dangers just as real as the slayer or the Initiative or a cranky watcher.

"If you've finished with all the threats, maybe we should get going," Xander suggested, carefully keeping his accent all California boy.

"Yes, well, do be careful," Giles said, pinning him with a look that made it clear Giles still thought his plan was stupid. Xander didn't bother disagreeing since a big part agreed with Giles. After all, he'd seen his own arm, and Giles hadn't yet spotted the carefully hidden wound that showed just how dangerous Spike could still be.

"You know me, Giles. Always careful," he answered as he scooted past Giles out into the apartment. Behind him both Giles and Spike made small disbelieving sounds, but at least Spike followed. Now he just needed a plan because he was running on instinct, and at least half his instincts belonged to a vampire—an angry vampire who wanted revenge for his claimed childe.





Part Three

"Not much use out here, am I then?" Spike asked as he walked through the gates of Grove cemetery behind Xander.

"Oh, I don't know. I'm betting on a least a few fledges we can use for punching bags. With the Initiative running around, it seems like every vamp with a decade under his belt is trying to get a couple dozen fledges around him. Yeah, like having huge clumps of vamps makes them less conspicuous. Morons."

"So, we're going to find some fledges so I can watch ya get turned by someone else?" Spike's voice sounded more angry than anything, and Xander looked over at his arch enemy/favorite childe.

"Well, I'm hoping that if a fledge gets past the bad jokes and holy water and stake that you might, I don't know, rescue the guy who has the human blood in his refrigerator." Xander pulled out his lime green water gun and started looking down the neat aisles of gravestones.

"If you're counting on that, better start uncounting what with the chip." Spike tapped his head."

"Ah, but I know something you don't know," Xander sing-songed before catching a glimpse of Spike's mortified expression. "And I'm thinking the sing-song isn't working here. But the part I know that you don't know is the part where you can kill demons even if you can't pinch an old woman without a migraine. Which really, can I say I'm grateful because those guys are looking cranky." Xander nodded toward a group of four fledges walking toward them, arms arrogantly swinging and game faces on.

"I hope you're bloody right or this is going ta be a short fight," Spike said as he rolled his head from one side to the other, stretching with cat-like motions.

"Oh, I'm right," Xander said even though he suddenly worried that the way the chip affected Vinji might not be exactly the same as a vampire. Either way, he didn't have time to shout a warning because Spike leapt forward, a sharp fist striking out at the lead vamp. Xander immediately knew that the Initiative used a one size fits all chip because Spike danced back with such joy that Xander couldn't help but laugh out loud.

"Think you can take the Big Bad, do ya?" Spike asked as the other three rushed at him. Xander leaned on a granite marker as Spike danced right before doing a neat reverse spin that made his coat billow out and sent a red-haired punk boy slamming into a tree.

Spike dusted two quickly, snapping one neck and staking the other with a branch he ripped from a tree. Then he amused himself with the two remaining vampires, trading kicks and punches with a gleeful violence that made Xander think of Nusa on those days when she would find some hunter or slayer seeking her. Killing villagers provided food, but hunting the hunters gave her joy. Vamp number three disintegrated into ash and now number four started looking nervous, and Xander had to wonder at the fledge's stupidity because Xander had known from Spike's first punch that these four didn't have the experience or years to compete.

So, when the skanky vamp with the greasy hair and Spike both froze mid fight, their bodies locked into a stillness that only the dead could manage, Xander felt the hairs on his arms stand up.

"Soldier boys," Spike hissed.

"Oh fuck," the other vamp added, and then Spike drove the broken branch through the vamp's chest so that the shocked face turned to ash. Spike's eyes focused on the brick wall behind Xander, and Xander didn't even wait to see the enemy coming over the wall, he just started running, dodging around headstones and digging in his jeans for the keys to his Grenada at the same time.

Pulling the keys out, Xander scrambled around to the far side of his blue lady and shoved the key into the lock with far more force than necessary, and then flinched at the sound of breaking glass as Spike found his own way into the car. Xander slid in and started the engine, throwing her into gear just as a soldier appeared in the beam of his headlights.

The figure wore fatigues and a mask as it clutched one seriously big ass gun, and Xander didn't even try to steer around him. Luckily for the soldier, trained reflexes sent him rolling to the side just in time to avoid becoming a grisly hood ornament. Xander gritted his teeth and steered his lady around a turn as he both thanked god that the man had gotten out of the way and wished that he had hit him.

Yeah, killing was of the bad, but Xander decided that some humans deserved to belong in the "evil" category. Spike's body curled in a fetal position on the floor of the passenger side convinced him of that. Well, actually the petite Vinji woman with the skin stripped from her back convinced him of that, but Spike's terror wasn't making him feel any more charitable. While he was all for killing the dimension-conquering flesh-eating demons, and he could even understand Buffy's enthusiasm which occasionally led to a few mistakes, this genocide and torture approach made Xander want to feed a few of them to the Scourge.

He took several looping detours before heading for his apartment. Not even the Initiative would follow them into this neighborhood at night, and Xander pulled his car into the dark shell of an old factory, Spike had casually brushed the broken glass off the seat and perched himself with one boot up on the dash and a cigarette in his right hand where he could easily flick the ash out the window. He remained silent, following Xander around to the front of the building with numbered doors and open stairs to the second and third floors.

Xander fished for his keys again as he headed for his apartment. Even though Spike hadn't said a word, Xander could read the tension in every twitch of Spike's shoulder when he spotted a human on the street and every deep draw on the cigarette that made the red-ember end glow in the dark. He'd proven to Spike that he could still fight, but he'd also reminded him that he had no defenses against humans. Xander hated it. But at least now they were safely home.

"Spike, come in," Xander offered as he opened the door to his apartment, flicking on a light as he walked in. Spike tossed his cigarette onto the sidewalk and stepped over the threshold.

"Well this is… it's bloody white trash, pet," Spike commented the minute he stepped in. Xander looked around the small room where the couch, a second-hand coffee table, the Barcalounger, a worn T.V. stand and the fake tree Buffy gave him filled the entire living room. A tiny island with a two burner cooktop and a single barstool divided the space from the kitchen which included a half-size refrigerator with eight inches of counter separating it from a kitchen sink that doubled as the bathroom sink.

"Very white trash," Xander had to agree as he tossed his jacket down on the chipped coffee table and headed straight for the kitchen. Or at least the end of the room that pretended to be a kitchen. From there he had to push open a vinyl folding like his grandmother had in the old R.V. she had driven across the country, parking in Walmart parking lots on her last great voyage. She made it as far as Black Duck, Minnesota before dropping dead in the house wares aisle of the chain store.

"Coming?" he asked Spike.

"Wot? You inviting me in for a shower?" Spike rolled his shoulders, and with the coat gone, his tight t-shirt showed every inch of flexing muscle as his backbone followed in a serpentine movement that made his hips slowly twist. As the fear of humans retreated in that unique way vampires had of living in the now and forgetting the past, Spike reclaimed some of his lost confidence. In return, Xander's cock jumped up and did a jig at the invitation in that motion, in the raised eyebrow, in the taut lips and sharp cheekbones. Spike blew air out through his nose and then took an intentionally deep breath, closing his eyes as his face rippled with demonic ridges. Xander could imagine what Spike smelled, and his reaction made Xander ache even more.

"I'm inviting you into my real place, but if you vant to stay here and play these games…" Xander shrugged as he reached over and flushed the toilet, slipping around to the shower before the pipes could fill again. Stepping into the ancient stall with sixties green tile that had grown in popularity only because most people in the sixties were too stoned to know the difference, Xander threw his shoulder into the back wall, and an entire section popped back six inches.

"Bloody hell," Spike had been leaning indolently against the framed door opening with his best 'come hither' look, but now he stepped forward and Xander reached for his keys, turning a gold one in the lock and then pushing the recessed section of wall back revealing a doorway.

"The locks are all mechanical. The tile section is held in place by water pressure, so unless you release that pressure by either flushing the toilet or running the shower, the section is solid. When you come in, let the door fall closed, and the section of wall will set back in place," Xander explained.

He walked into his real apartment, and considered the space with a new eye now that he had shared this inner lair with his first guest. How funny that Spike and not Buffy or Giles or Angel or even Willow would be the first to see this. While not a palace, his real apartment had four times more floor space arranged into four open living areas.

A huge bed with a modern steel four-poster stood angled against a far corner with a rack of weapons behind it. Casting his eyes in a counter-clockwise circle, he next considered his small but state of the art kitchen with stainless steel and a granite-topped island. His living room contained only a low black couch and big screen television flanked by a built-in book case that contained his movies and game systems and stereo, and the fourth corner was his library, a very Gileseque desk in oak surrounded by shelves of heavy volumes. The bookcases against the wall extended all the way to the ceiling, but the ones in front of the desk stood only four feet high. And every section angled toward the center with corner shelving against the support beams so that no one could lay in ambush.

After what happened to Nusa, Xander found himself rather wary of ambushes and lairs. Which really... not much with the making sense since technically that hadn't been him standing behind his sire while he watched her turn to dust. Fifteen hundred years of vicious wisdom and jealous love and cold rage turned into dust to be trampled beneath the feet of her sisters.

"Hell, what is it with you Drac vamps? Bloody nesters havin' to have some nancyish lair."

"Drac vamps?" Xander turned to Spike just in time to see him let go of the door, watching in fascination as it first slammed shut and then slid forward so that the tile on the other side hid the opening.

"Yeah, knew Dracula, or rather him and me locked horns a bit. But this reminds me of him."

"Don't suggest I am anything like him," Xander immediately snarled, stepping up and slamming his forearm into Spike's chest, and sending the vampire reeling back into the heavy oak bookshelves with a crack of skull against wood. Xander stood there, his rage and loss and frustration roaring through his veins until he finally turned and stormed across the empty center of the room, his boots echoing across the stone tile floor.

"Right, what the hell's that about then?" Dropping the keys on the kitchen island, Xander put his hand on the cold granite and tried to catch his breath. He couldn't let memories that he hadn't lived command him.

"I'm sorry," he offered, pulling open the refrigerator and searching for a soda. He wanted something more, but he found that when he needed a drink, he needed to stay away from drink. Nusa's childe ran near the surface when he drank, and even Willy had asked him to take his drinking else where after a small accident involving two froctor demons, a vamp and a dozen or so bar stools.

"It's worse than keepin' up with Dru's emotions."

"Don't start vith me," Xander snarled as he turned around

"Right then, you're back to playing sire."

"I'm not playing at anything."

"Are you sure 'bout that? Not playing with me, then?" Spike stepped forward, and Xander retreated around the kitchen island.

"Enough," Xander finally said as he stopped on the far side of the island, and Spike stepped right up into his personal space, pressing his own chest to Xander's as he ran a tongue along the inside of his lower lip. Xander gasped as he felt lust burn through him, making his face flush as he cock hardened.

"You sure 'bout that?" Spike asked, strong fingers reaching up and closing around Xander's upper arms until Xander narrowed his eyes as the dull ache began to grow. "You sure this is enough?" Spike leaned forward and whispered the words in Xander's ear as he pushed his groin forward. Xander could feel needs that he had forced into some repressed corner surface, feelings he had shoved in with the knowledge that Angel was hot and the memory of Larry's blood in his mouth and the fear that he liked raping the two Aurelius vamps. Oh yeah, that closet door creaked slowly open.

"You don't vant to go there," Xander said as he tried to pull back. He didn't have the strength to force Spike to let go, but he flinched as his arms began to throb with the lack of circulation.

"Maybe I do," Spike answered, his own eyes narrowing in pain. "You remember what it felt like, pet? You remember feeling me filling you up, making you squirm and cry for more as your skin grew hot? Remember that day?" Spike's voice took on a low, cultured whisper which sounded more Giles than Spike with the sexiness, and Xander really didn't want to think about how Giles-voice came to sound sexy.

"I remember we both did what we had to if we wanted to avoid the whole world endy thing," Xander countered, remembering all too well the feeling of being held down by a force strong enough to break him in half, a force that had wrung screams of pleasure out of him as sharp teeth scored hieroglyphs in his skin while first fingers and then a cock had pushed into him.

"Maybe you brought me here for an encore," Spike suggested. Strong hands slid down his arms and moved to his hips, holding him tightly. Xander remembered the reasons why he had submitted on that day, first to Spike's lust and then to Angelus' rape, but those reasons ended with Angelus' little trip to hell. And now Spike couldn't break him in half.

Xander slammed into the granite countertop, crushing Spike's hand and doing enough damage to himself that he yelped in pain because, yeah, that hurt. It obviously hurt Spike more because he let go of Xander and fell to one knee as he cradled his head and cursed colorfully. Using Spike's blinding pain as a distraction, Xander took a couple of steps toward one of the three weapons racks hanging in his bedroom corner and grabbed a manacle and chain. Coming back to the kitchen area, he snapped the heavy metal in place even as Spike still cradled his head in his hands, rocking gently.

Xander held the chain and looked down at the injured creature in front of him. He could feel a twitching need to stake Spike, to punish him for submitting to humans, and yet he felt a need to hold him and feel him submitting more. Yeah, he had issues. Xander wondered briefly if any local therapists treated almost humans with more holes in their brains that actual working brain cells.

"Come on, up you go," Xander got an arm under Spike's arms and lifted without letting go of his new chain leash.

"I can bloody well stand," Spike snarled in full game face as he jerked back away. Xander quickly wrapped the hanging chain around his fist so that Spike couldn't pull free without seriously hurting him... and therefore seriously hurting himself. "You little--" Spike hissed through fangs as he shook his hand as though he could shake off a locked manacle.

"You are the one who voke these memories," Xander said as he pulled on the chain. Spike stood immovable. "You reminded me that of all the rules and lore, there is only one that really matters," Xander commented as he considered his damaged wrist, the one that Spike had fed from at Giles' house. Spike had accepted his blood along with the title of child, and now Xander just had to find a way to enforce that. In the bright light of his kitchen, the bruises and puncture marks blended into a form of modern art.

"Oh, what's that, mate?" Spike resisted the pull of the chain, but he didn't try and step back. Instead he stood with his head warily cocked, obviously not willing to either submit or fight and have the chip go off again.

"The rule that says one may act however one wishes as long as one is able to defend oneself." Xander took the thumb of the hand tangled with the chain and pressed a thumbnail into his damaged wrist. Almost immediately, blood rose to the surface in a thin line.

"And you think you can get away with playin' sire? Not bloody likely. Soon as I get this chip out--"

"Vhat? You'll attack me? I'm well aware of a vampire's need for revenge having survived Angelus' version of it. However, plenty of spells would tame that blood lust of yours when it comes to me. There's a nice little Doegean thrall spell I translated last year that would ensure that you behaved yourself.

"You wouldn't." Spike raised his lip, showing the sharpened front teeth in their full glory.

"I vould," Xander answered. "I don't have strength to defeat you any more, but I have other assets." Xander considered the thin trail of blood now running the length of his forarm. Bringing his arm up, he licked the blood from his own skin while watching Spike's expression shift. The younger vampire wanted the blood, needed it. Xander continued to trace the meandering trickle up the arm, licking slowly. Finally he reached the source and closed his mouth around the wound, not sucking but still enjoying the expression of pain and lust and hunger on Spike's face.

"Soddin' little shit," Spike finally cursed.

"I have access to human blood--not just my own, but enough to keep you fed and strong. I can get you permission to hunt and feel your opponents' bones snap beneath your hands. I can help you find someone with the knowledge to deal with that chip. I can use that chip to manipulate you and force you to submit. And I can set a spell around you that will bind you to me forever. Your submission is not a question because I can force you to submit and you cannot defend yourself." Xander could feel a twinge of guilt over the last statement, not so much with the saying it as with the taking advantage of it; however, he knew he needed Spike's submission as much as Spike needed to truly submit. Without a sire or a mate, he would be alone, and solitary vampires simply did not exist.

"I can get those things from the English git," Spike countered. "That's why I bloody went there."

"You went there because you could not find me," Xander answered confidently. "And Giles will never give you human blood or even understand your need to either dominate or submit. He will not give you vhat you need, but I will."

Spike stood silent, defiant, unmoving. Xander reached to the limit of the chain and grabbed for the kitchen phone, hitting the speaker phone button before speed dialing L.A.

"Angel Investigations."

"Cordy!" Xander said in his most non-threatening, enthusiastic voice.

"Xander? Hey, what's up?"

"Need to talk to Angel," Xander answered without pointing out that he asked for the same thing every time he called and she should be able to guess by this time.

"Hold on a sec." Xander eyed his cold soda sitting on the far side of the kitchen by the refrigerator and tried to decide if he had enough chain to get there. Probably not.

"Xander?" Angel's voice came over the phone sounding slightly tinny. "Is everything okay?"

"Other than my ungrateful childe being a pain in my ass, everything's fine," Xander answered cheerfully. He actually felt fairly cheerful because Spike's resolve was already starting to crumble at the sound of his grandsire's voice. The childe was too young, too injured, and too scared to be alone, and Xander just had to get him to admit to it.

"Spike? Is he--?"

"He's fine, standing right here in fact. I just need you to get me a dose of sire's blood. The soldiers cut his head open and with the chip sending a few thousand volts through his brain on a regular basis, I don't want any more damage done." Xander asked casually and without further arguments even though asking a vampire for his own blood ranked right up there with asking a Da'halia for his horn or asking a human for his finger. Not lethal, but certainly a rather large request.

"Xander, I--" Angel sounded like he would protest, and then stuttered to a stop. "I'll send you up a few pints with Cordelia," he finally answered. Xander wondered whether the change came from Angel's unwillingness to fight with the man he had raped or Angelus' desire not to lose one more Master of the already endangered Aurelius line. He even wondered whether Angel understood how his own compliance affected Spike. Angel, the current head of the Aurelius line had submitted to a human in a very intimate way, and now Spike's stiff body curved and softened.

"But you have to pay Cordelia for the trip," Angel added, his voice sounding grouchy enough to make it clear he didn't like the demand. And really Xander found that even more helpful. Angel didn't want to give in to Xander's request, but he did. Now the grandsire had paved a trail for Spike to follow.

"Not a problem," Xander assured him. He often translated for trade items, and he kept some of the more exotic jewelry for just such an occasion. Xander reached over to hit the speaker phone button and cut off the call without any further courtesies and then he found much more slack in the chain.

"You want some blood?" he asked.

"Yeah." Spike didn't fight the chain when Xander walked to the refrigerator and opened the wide side. In a drawer, the human blood he'd bought lay in packs. He grabbed two packs, and then he hesitated. If he handed them over with directions to the mugs and microwave, Spike would gain some independence, but Xander had to admit that he didn't want that right now. He wanted his hellcat looking to him for food and protection, and he could no longer provide food by hunting with Spike.

He closed his eyes against the memory of Larry's heart slowing and finally stumbling to a stop in his embrace as he drank the warm, fresh blood. He even remembered appreciating the taste of a human on such a rich diet since the blood itself carried the heavy taste of cream with all the fats in it. Yeah, Larry had been a schmuck, but he often wondered who the boy would have become if Xander hadn't eaten him on that horrible night. Maybe he would have grown out of his bully phase and become a doctor or a civil-rights lawyer or a world famous actor. Okay, he had a better chance of growing up to be a drunken waste of space like Xander's own father, but Xander had stolen those other possibilities.

"You planning on givin' me that or just standing with your head in the refrigerator all night?" Spike's demand brought him out of his memories.

"Mind your betters," Xander commented as he slid the blood drawer closed and kicked the refrigerator door shut.

"Yeah, right," Spike snorted. Xander stopped with his hand half way to the cupboard with the cups.

"Excuse me?" Xander could feel every nerve and muscle in his body tighten at the challenge. Spike had been bouncing slightly, his eyes on the blood. Now he stilled, and yellow eyes moved up to Xander's face. Even with the animal blood at Giles' house, Xander could see the almost painful need for a quantity of fresh human blood. A part of him flinched away from that pain, wanted to take it away. Human sympathy rose at the sight of that raw need. Another part of him whispered that Spike needed someone who would be firm. He wanted to let go of the authority that sat so poorly on young shoulders, but he couldn't without knowing that Xander could handle it.

"Wot?" Spike demanded arrogantly as though he didn't know why Xander would be upset.

"You vill acknowledge your betters."

Spike didn't answer, but the yellow eyes searched the room without making any move to apologize. Xander felt a desire to beat the attitude out of his hell cat rise up to challenge his human sympathy. He compromised.

Detouring to the sink, Xander grabbed a knife out of a drawer and stabbed the plastic skin. Blood spurted across the silver surface of the sink, creating a fan-shaped pattern and filling the air with the metallic scent that both revolted and attracted Xander. Spike took a step forward, his eyebrows going up as he watched the bag drain into the metal basin, collecting around the drain before sliding out of sight in the pipe.

"Bloody fucking hell."

"I have 900 years of memories, I have the blood, I have the obedience of your sire. You'd better think about who is your better, hellcat of mine," Xander said softly as he lifted a corner of the plastic and let the last of the human blood dribble out. Shaking the packet a bit, he used his toe to open the door to the garbage and dropped it in before turning on the water.

"I... bloody hell, the fucking universe hates me," Spike groaned as he leaned his back into the island as he watched with yellow eyes.

Xander left the second bag sitting on the counter as he stepped close this time, Spike's body remaining slumped as Xander now pressed in, trapping the vampire between his body, which Spike couldn't strike out against without triggering the chip and the unyielding granite.

Even though Ethan's spell had provided the details, he could still remember what it felt like to have his first childe at his side: the devotion, the power, the adoration and the fear. Now Xander pushed his body into Spike even harder, allowing his hands to travel up the strong, corded arms until his fingers explored under the edge of the sleeves. Just like on that night years earlier, Spike couldn't bring himself to say the words, and so he dropped his head to the side, the curve of his neck lengthening until Xander could feel a triumphant growl echo through his mind even if his body could no longer form one.

Xander dropped a kiss onto that exposed neck while he tightened his hands into Spike's arms, feeling the links dig into his palm on the hand that held the chain. Without warning, he sunk dull human teeth into that pale flesh, feeling the skin yield even as the stretched muscle resisted his bite. With his own body pressed to Spike, he could feel a tremor run the length of Spike's body and then he released the bite and kissed the reddened skin, licking a few drops of blood that oozed from a line where his lower teeth had broken the skin.

"My beautiful hellcat. I vill get that chip out of your head," Xander promised.

"Right, and then?" Spike didn't move his head, his neck still stretched submissively before Xander.

"Um, we'll figure it out then? But you know random killing is so totally off the menu," Xander admitted without stepping back. "But there's always much killing of blood-sucking demons and drinking of bagged blood to look forward to."

"Bollocks, I'm bloody cursed with barmy sires," Spike snorted. Xander would have taken offense except that he had accepted his own fragile hold on sanity a long time ago. Besides, he'd take getting called barmy if it meant that Spike finally accepted him as sire again, and as that lithe body slowly relaxed, Xander moved his arms to encircle Spike.

"You must have done something horrible in a previous life," Xander agreed.

"Horrible thing is that I never got around to doing anythin' horrible," Spike disagreed, but now hands found Xander's waist.

"Let's get you fed, childe," Xander said as he turned and grabbed the second bag. This time he pulled a mug out of the cupboard and poured the thick red liquid into it before turning around and putting it in the microwave inset into the kitchen island under the cook top. Finally he dropped the chain and let the heavy links swing as the mechanical whirr of the microwave continued.

"I'm going to go use the bathroom," he explained as he headed toward the corner where a wall behind the television cut into the room at a 45 degree angle, hiding a small, triangular bathroom. He needed to get himself away from Spike before he threw the vamp over the counter while the blood cooled and spoiled. He needed to remind Spike that submitting had its pleasures.





Part Four

Xander came out of the bathroom and considered the sight of Spike standing near the kitchen island, his fingers curled around the empty cup on the counter and his shoulders slumped. Xander thought back to being a young vampire, the need to fight, the need to know that the person who held your fate was strong enough to hold it. He sometimes dreamed of Nusa's arms around him, her nails carving his flesh, and really that shouldn't be such a naughty-dirty memory.

As he watched Spike shift, the chain on his wrist clattering against the marble, Xander wondered if he could do this. Hell, he wondered if he had a right to. Angel could fight Spike into submission, but Xander couldn't do that. The sad truth was that he couldn't keep Spike from taking the blood from the refrigerator the vampire now eyed, and he couldn't stop Spike from picking up the phone and calling some demon to come over and snap Xander's neck.

Xander took a deep breath as the prey part of his brain babbled about life expectancies and big bad predators with big sexy teeth. And yet, that voice that called Spike childe whispered about how much Xander had failed his favorite one. He had sent Spike to the slayer when Angelus tried to end the world, and that had caused Dru to turn on her own childe. He had raped Angel so that when the soul got ripped out, Angelus turned his anger against both his rapist and Spike who had seen it happen.

Oh yeah, as a sire he had done more to screw Spike up in one night than Angelus and Dru had managed in a lifetime. Sometimes Xander felt like that night had just taught him new ways to be the Zeppo of the group. Standing by the archway to the bathroom, Xander watched as Spike's eyes left the refrigerator and explored the bedroom corner: grey Egyptian cotton sheets with burgundy and green bedding tossed about messily and weapons racks with an impressive array of ironwork, silver daggers, and chains and against the wall, a half dozen century old books stacked within reach of the bed. Willow wouldn't know the man who had chosen those, but Xander hoped that Spike would.

Spike's eyes finally left the bedroom and went to the library. Even though Xander couldn't read the titles, he knew that Spike's demon vision would allow him to see the various tomes from across the room. As Spike looked, a small frown would cross his brow from time to time, and Xander could imagine which of his titles would cause the most concern. The Libri Adnihilo would raise Giles' eyebrows as would the Vérbosszú. He wondered which titles gave Spike that vertical wrinkle between his eyes that made him look worried.

As Spike's eyes traveled to the living room area, Xander found himself the subject of careful study. He leaned against the side of the arch and looked back. If he were still the vampire he'd been that night, he would know exactly how to turn Spike's closed suspicion to obedience: He'd challenge the childe, let him get some fight out, then throw him over the nearest surface and pound him until the rebellion turned to respect and obedience.

"My beautiful hellcat," Xander finally whispered as Spike stood leaning on the counter looking defensive.

"Right, so what now?" Spike's clipped words spoke more of fear than words could, and Xander pushed off and started walking toward his beautiful hellcat.

"You vant to fight, you need to fight," Xander said thoughtfully, and Spike's body tensed. "I remember being a century young."

"Yeah, but that wasn't real, now was it?" Spike challenged him. "Truth is ya only have about... what... eighteen years? Not even out of diapers then."

"Who is to say what is real," Xander shrugged. "I remember a millennium of life as a vampire, you remember a mere century."

"Yeah, but I actually lived that century," Spike pointed out.

"Nusa existed, Jalon existed, Nusa's elusive childe existed. I've read volumes of chaos magic, and whether I lived those years in the blink of an eye, or whether I inherited the memories of a demon now turned to dust whose soul resides in hell... who knows." Xander continued moving in, carefully closing the distance as Spike held his ground and glared back.

"Demons don't have souls, mate," Spike disagreed.

"Then how is it that the demon can be resurrected after the body is destroyed? When the minions tried to kill Giles and the others to return the Master, what were they trying to return to those old bones if not the demon's soul?"

"But I thought," Spike cocked his head in confusion.

"Angel?" Xander asked, amused at how Spike's expression still mimicked humanity he no longer possessed.

"Yeah. We've both seen what happens when that bloody soul comes out of him, and I have to say he's a right bastard when that thing comes out."

"Yes, remove the human soul from the demon, and you have only the demon left, but the demon with its instincts and memories and all that it has learned... what is all that if not a soul?" Xander stopped and considered for a moment. "True, not a good soul, but then ve are demons."

"We?" Spike's eyes snapped up from where they had been investigating the lines in the marble. Yellow flickered through the blue, and Xander flinched at his own stupidity. He hadn't intended to go there, at least not yet.

"You know, we in the imperial sense, like when queens and kings say 'we' to mean 'me,' not that I mean me; I mean you," Xander broke off as he watched the disbelief and amusement in Spike's eyes. He crossed his arms and glared.

"Right then, I can see I don't have to worry 'bout you lyin' to me," Spike said with a twisted smile, and Xander could feel the heat in his skin as he blushed. He really was normally much better with the lying, not that lying was good. "So, what do ya mean by 'we'?" Spike repeated.

Xander sighed as he considered trying another lie, but he figured Spike already knew his deep, dark secret what with the threats. Hell after tonight, Giles probably had it figured out too. He took a deep breath. "I have a human soul, but I also have nine hundred years of vampire memories and instincts. I have a part of me that is still a vampire because it learned how to be a vampire." Xander shrugged helplessly since he really hadn't figured it out completely himself. "I'm the other side of Angel's curse. He is a vampire cursed with a human soul, and I'm a human cursed with a vampire's soul."

Spike stood silently and suspiciously next to the kitchen island, and this really wasn't going the way Xander had planned it. Not that he had actually done much planning. He was more with the acting now and trying to cover his ass later.

"I know what you need," Xander said as he closed the last bit of distance so that he could reach out and touch Spike, lay the palm of his hand on Spike's cheek and watch as Spike tilted into the gesture.

"You still smell like a soddin' human. If ya just let me turn ya--"

"No," Xander all but snarled. Spike pulled back, his eyes turning yellow in frustration. "I vill not be your childe. And as much as you might not mean to demand your rights as sire, the instincts are there. Vhen one has a childe who is too powerful, the results are not enviable," Xander snapped, his thoughts going to Jalon, but he forced his mind back to other matters as he reached out and grabbed the dangling chain.

"You need to fight, yes?" Xander asked as he moved forward until he pushed Spike back around the island, chest to chest. Spike didn't argue, but he didn't move voluntarily until forced by Xander's steady pursuit.

"Yeah, mate. Feel like a right git letting the talkin' happy meal order me around," Spike whispered the confession, glancing out of the side of his eye as he obviously expected an attack, but Xander had guessed as much. Instead he just wrapped the chain around his hand and continued to advance.

"But I am also your sire, childe. You submitted to me, and you vill honor that submission or I vill turn you to dust rather than turn you out alone." Xander hadn't expected to say those exact words since he wasn't actually big on the idea of staking Spike, but the vampire's body relaxed a little at the threat/promise.

Xander allowed his vampire memories to surface as he thought of what Dru had done. If she had tried to kill Spike, he could have fought his way free and earned his independence, but instead she had turned her back leaving him in a limbo. He couldn't fight free of someone who didn't want him, but without the fight, he couldn't break those bonds of allegiance that bound him to her. Just like with Angelus, Spike's instincts left him caught between being a childe of the line and breaking away to be a master of his own line. Aurelius vampires were fools.

"So, if you need to fight, let's give you something to fight, yes?" Xander asked as he closed the distance to the bed so that the back of Spike's knees pressed up against the mattress. Before giving Spike a chance to fully process that, he locked the one manacle to one of the four metal poles that stood at a corner of the bed.

"Bloody hell," Spike swore and pulled at the end, but the locking clasp at the end of the manacle held tight and Spike was chained. Xander watched as Spike's fist curled shut, and he could imagine the need to strike out even though Spike had just submitted, even though the chip would punish Spike. Xander stepped back out of range rather than test such a young one's patience.

"So," Xander pulled another manacle off the metal rack hanging next to his bed, "you will either lie down and offer me your other wrist, or I will amuse myself by giving you reason to be sorry." Xander waited to see how Spike would react. If he truly wanted to fight, the triangular weapons' rack formed by the angle of the bed in the corner offered plenty of interesting choices. Of course, Spike could make it easy by submitting, but Xander didn't think that would happen.

Sure enough, Spike stood by the side of the bed in game face yanking at his chained wrist as he snarled. Oh the emotions of youth. Xander walked to a corner shelf, dropping the manacle and picking up a decorative bottle with a heavy glass stopper.

"Last chance, my hellcat," Xander warned mildly.

"Soddin'... I bloody well can't," he snapped, and Xander understood that. Spike didn't truly believe Xander could make him submit, and without that, he couldn't submit on his own. Removing the heavy stopper, Xander placed it on the oak shelf as he poured the liquid out into his palm. Without any further warning, he flung his hand toward Spike, and listened as the holy water droplets hissed on Spike's skin and wisps of smoke drifted into the air.

"Fucking--" Spike stopped complaining as he grabbed a pillow and ripped off the pillow case to rub at his burned skin. Xander watched while Spike rubbed at his arms, timing his next throw so that an arc of water hit from Spike's shoulder, across his arm and then down onto his jeans.

Spike's answering growl came a half second before he threw himself forward and half across the bed before the chained wrist stopped him short of attacking Xander. Filling his palm again, Xander watched as Spike tried to retreat, shielding his face as Xander threw the next handful so that now the shirt and the back of Spike's neck took the brunt of the attack.

"You know how to stop this, my beautiful hellcat. Obey or you vill suffer." Xander wanted to run for the bathroom and grab fresh water to wash away the red welts that now appears on Spike's skin. He wanted to apologize and promise to never do it again. Unfortunately, doing that would only make Spike feel weak, and if Xander did that, Spike would have only one way to regain his confidence. Then Giles would feel a need to torture Spike, and Buffy would do the guilt thing about not staking Spike and Willow would cry big Willow type tears over his body, and really that was a little too much drama for his stomach. So despite the way that the smell of burning flesh made him nauseous, he didn't show his disgust as he considered his next move.

He'd expected Spike to go for the weapons now, but instead Spike pulled a manacle from off one of the weapon racks hanging on the wall on either side of the bed and flung the heavy thing at Xander with all his strength. Xander dodged to the side as the chain hit the shelf and glass tinkled down as a number of small bottles broke open.

The smell of cedar rose from one of the broken potions, and Xander sighed at the lost hours of work.

"You're starting to annoy me childe," Xander said as he threw a larger handful of water, careful to keep the drops from landing on the bed.

"I'll do more than annoy ya," Spike snarled and with one leap, he cleared the bed and grabbed at Xander. Dancing backward, Xander found himself crunching over glass, ignoring the sharp pain when a piece pierced the bottom of his shoe. Spike's fingernails scratched down one arm and then closed, claw-like, around Xander's wrist.

The attack left Spike stretched between the chained wrist and the hand that held Xander. When Spike started pulling, Xander bent down and grabbed a manacle before snapping it shut around Spike's wrist. Spike snarled and whipped Xander onto the bed so fast that Xander lost his breath when he hit the mattress. Before he could get up, Spike had thrown himself on top, and Xander found himself face down on his own bed and comfortably trapped.

"Spike," Xander said in his best threatening tone, and obviously it wasn't threatening enough because Spike simply started nuzzling at his neck. Xander limply waited as Spike's tongue teased his neck and then the vampire started gently sucking. When Xander first felt the twin pricks of sharp teeth, he waited for the chip to fire. And waited. And waited. Xander felt the first sensual pull of blood from his veins, and you really couldn't count on American technology any more.

Since the chip seemed to need some help, Xander bucked up as hard as he could. Spike's teeth, which had slid in so easily, now ripped skin and muscle as Xander fought. The pain made him yelp, and Spike screamed before rolling off him. Xander pushed himself up, and grabbed the trailing chain left lying against the pillow as Spike curled in a ball holding his head.

A moment had Spike's second hand securely chained, and now Spike could only stare up, yellow eyes dull with pain. Xander didn't say anything as he moved down to untie Spike's heavy boots, pulling them off as Spike lay silent and unmoving. However the tightness of the muscles as Xander removed the jeans spoke of silent rebellion and not submission.

Spike needed something words couldn't provide, and Xander could feel his own vampire instincts slide around his defenses like smoke flowing through the cracks around a closed door. Xander walked away from the bed, going to the low book case that sat on the edge of his office area. Closing his hand around a silver knife that sat on top of the piece, he scanned his books for the one he wanted. Finally he found it so high on a shelf that he had to use the lower shelves as a sort of ladder to grab the thin, cracking leather of the cover: Je Paegripelz Fornaielse—The Pleasure of Capture. With the knife still in hand, Xander carefully turned brittle pages as he walked silently back to the bed.

Glancing up, he could see Spike's yellow eyes following him. Xander absentmindedly swept broken shards of glass to the floor before setting the fragile book on the shelf Spike had attacked with the flying manacle, and Xander was so not cleaning up that mess. Eyeing Spike's shirt, Xander walked around to the far side of the bed without the broken glass and sat on the edge of the bed where he could slip the knife under the fabric.

With a loud ripping sound, Xander neatly shredded the t-shirt and pulled the fabric away so that Spike now lay naked, and Xander remembered this chiseled perfection. Moving onto the bed and straddling Spike's hips, Xander brought the knife up so that the cool flat blade lay against one of Spike nipples.

"You have punishment coming, little one, yes?" he whispered as he tilted the edge slightly and carefully scraped the edge over the skin just hard enough to make the flesh redden. The knife bumped over the puckered nipple, nicking the edge so that a drop of blood appeared. Xander bent down and licked the offering, sucking to get a bit more blood as he felt Spike's cock harden in response before he sat up again.

"First, you have insulted me. You put yourself in an indefensible position because you wanted to be captured. You vill not insult me by assuming that I need your assistance." Xander didn't miss the small flinch in Spike's body. He had guessed right. Bringing the knife up to the skin just below Spike's left nipple, Xander flicked his wrist and a small "c" shaped cut appeared. He quickly reversed the knife and carved a second backwards "c" that crossed the first. Blood welled in the curve of the cut, a bulb of red rising until gravity pulled it down across Spike's chest in a trail of red.

After allowing the trail to weave drunkenly down Spike's trembling body for a second, Xander used the edge of the blade to catch the drop, scraping up Spike's chest and leaving a wide path of red as he followed the blood back up to the original wound, catching the blood on the knife. Without taking his eyes from Spike, Xander brought the knife up and carefully licked the blood from the silver surface.

"Second, you have lied to me. You drop your head in submission that you do not feel, and you fight those to whom you owe allegiance." Xander brought the knife to a spot an inch below the first mark. With quick motions, he created a lop-sided "x" below his first mark. Again, he watched the blood pool and then fall before scraping Spike's body clean. When he finished licking the knife clean this time, he felt Spike buck up under him, a hard cock pressing into him from below.

"Not yet, my hellcat. You must take your punishment first," Xander warned Spike, and Spike's yellow eyes narrowed in challenge, but then he couldn't really do much else except tighten his grip on the chains that tethered him to the bed. "Third, you have spoken to me disrespectfully. You vill accept my decisions in front of others even as I grant you permission to challenge me in private." Xander's cut this time resembled a check mark with a curving hat.

"I never…" Spike protested, but Xander pressed the knife to Spike's chest in warning, and he closed his mouth without finishing.

"You forced me to threaten you in front of Giles. You vill not do that again," Xander reminded him, scraping a little harder across the skin this time to ensure that Spike understood, and the pale skin turned bright red.

Spike hissed in pain, but his cock also twitched, the head swelling out from the foreskin. Xander considered his handiwork before bringing the knife down again to a point just below the third mark. "Fourth, you have doubted me." This time Xander cut deeper, a straight "I" with a crooked line through it: the runic symbol for need. The deeper cut made blood run from the wound, and Xander scraped up, forcing the blood back up onto Spike's stomach where it pooled around his belly button.

"And, of course, your worst sin." Xander eyed the carved chest and took a deep breath before the next bit. "You allowed yourself to be captured and you allowed yourself to be forced into submission by food." Xander put the knife at the center point between the two nipples as he drew the knife down to the belly button. This time he didn't try and catch the rivulets of blood that sprang up from the quarter-inch deep cut.

"I won't submit to food," Spike snarled, snapping his fangs and he bucked up in the air, and Xander braced himself for the fight.

"No, you vill not," Xander agreed. "You vill never be so foolish or impetuous again because I vill not allow it, childe."

"Not your bloody childe," Spike snarled.

"Yes, you are. You are my childe or you vill be dust." Xander braced himself on Spike's chest as Spike snarled and bucked up, pulling against the manacles until red appeared around the edge of the iron.

"I'd rather be dust," Spike growled, but Xander didn't believe that for a moment. Spike's hard cock still proved his childe's true needs, but Spike had to submit or the spell would never work.

"Do you submit to Angel?" Xander asked carefully.

"Bloody hell no."

"Because you do not yield to the human soul that dominates your sire," Xander said confidently. "Look at me, childe," Xander ordered, using the flat of the blade against the vampire's cheek to force Spike's head toward him. "Look at me," Xander ordered again, and yellow eyes finally locked onto him. "Look at me, look at this room. The human soul does not dominate. I am human, but I am just as much vampire, and you are my childe. You vill submit or I vill turn you to dust. The vampire soul in this body vill turn you to dust even though the human part of me vould release you and have mercy."

Xander watched as Spike's eyes searched him, and then the tension broke. Beneath him, Spike's body relaxed, and the eyes that searched him slowly turned blue.

"Bloody hell, ya really are both, aren't ya?"

"I am," Xander admitted for the first time. He and Angel had spent many nights sitting in the park or on headstones discussing that night, either of those nights, and he had never said the words even if he suspected that Angel knew. Never before had he admitted to the second set of beliefs and values that constantly whispered in his mind. "And you vill not forget it again," Xander finished as he brought the knife to his own thumb before cutting a "v" shape in the pad.

"Vo vos audite meus lacuna , vo vos memor meus lacuna , vo vos pareo meus lacuna," Xander chanted as he brought his bleeding thumb down over Spike's sternum, his blood and Spike's mixing. "You will not fight me again, my hellcat. I am the sire and I vill remain so until one of us ceases to exist."

Despite Spike's early complaint about Xander's threat to use magic, Xander could feel the vampire relaxing even more. The bonds were tight, and his hellcat could relax knowing that the time for fighting had ended.

"My hellcat," Xander whispered appreciatively as he trailed a finger through the cooling blood, using it to create swirls and darts across the unmarked right side of Spike's chest before he lowered his weight onto his trapped hellcat and claimed his mouth. Spike trembled, but remained otherwise still as Xander explored curves and angles with his hands while tasting his young one, sucking at a fang until he could feel Spike quiver.

"So, ground rules, yes?" Xander panted out as he pulled back, his own balls aching with a supreme need to finish this little ritual. Well, unless he came in his pants, which was becoming more and more of a possibility. And wouldn't that just be embarrassing.

"Let's have 'em, then," Spike said, but Xander could hear the worry under the tone of indifference.

"I like you as you are, impetuous and fiery, but you will not challenge me in front of the others," Xander said, and then he moved his attack to Spike's shoulder, nipping a small piece of skin, which made Spike tilt his head to one side and thrust up into Xander's body.

"You vill not submit to other humans, though. You stay near me and let me deal with them," Xander amended that as he considered just how pushy Willow and Buffy could be. He had years of deflecting them, and he didn't feel like watching Spike lowered by their demands.

"Right, no submitting to the happy meals," Spike said, and Xander had to smile at his hellcat's attempt to find the boundary.

"You are a vampire, and I vill not ask you to change," Xander said as he pushed up and looked into Spike's eyes. "You are William the Bloody, terror of Europe and China. You are the Slayer of Slayers. You are a vampire strong enough to claim the title of Master at a mere century, and I vill not take any of that from you. You are a Master in your own right, but you are also mine. I claimed you, I hold your allegiance, my magic binds you to me," Xander emphasized this by pressing his thumb to the first rune he'd carved. "And can I say ew?" Xander suddenly complained as he looked at his favorite blue shirt. The subtle strip of dark blue on darker blue disappeared under the abstract brown pattern formed by Spike's blood.

"Right, so is making fun of you on or off the menu?" Spike asked, and Xander looked down at the amusement in Spike's eyes. For the first time, Xander could see his hellcat, no fears or doubts or pain—just the devilish amusement he'd first seen on that night when Spike had thought he'd caught the weak member of the Scoobie gang alone on Halloween night.

"It depends on how much you want to be punished," Xander answered with a laugh as he stripped out of the shirt, throwing it on the floor before attacking his own belt, struggling with it as he felt his own cock and balls throb with need, a need matched by Spike's own as he lay with his cock hard and a single drop of precum glistening on his stomach.

"Oi, figure I can take anything you dish out," Spike said, and Xander laughed again at the challenge of it as he scooted to the side of the bed and wiggled out of his jeans.

"Oh you do, do you?" Xander asked. "We'll see about that." Xander stood by the side of the bed and considered the body laid out before him. Spike writhed invitingly, and Xander ran a finger up the inside of one chained arm as he considered his possibilities. He knew what he wanted to do, but he had to gather his nerve a bit since technically he hadn't done this before, and even counting vampire memories, he'd never done this willingly.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, Xander leaned over and took Spike's cock in his mouth, holding the base while he gently sucked the end. The results were spectacular. Spike reared up off the bed, and Xander could feel the cock thickening even more in his hand, and really that was of the weird. Xander sucked harder, using his tongue to play with the foreskin, and then he could feel the stiffening and contracting that announced the coming orgasm.

Xander pulled back, letting go and watching as Spike dropped to the bed with a breathy "fuck."

"Well that was fun," Xander said as he watched Spike glare at him. He went over to the second bookshelf, the one Spike hadn't wreaked, and considered his options. Picking up a silver container, he went back to the bed.

"Sadistic bastard," Spike complained when Xander gave that hard cock a flick with his finger, but then the hardness did suggest that Spike didn't really mind.

"Legs open," Xander ordered as he tipped the container and oil dribbled out a small hole. Spike opened his legs wide, and Xander started by rubbing a little oil into the balls before trailing back to that vulnerable entrance. Spike hissed in pleasure and frustration as Xander worked, and Xander just waited with a knowing smile as he felt the tingles start on the hand he had used to apply the oil.

Xander had one finger up in Spike before he started twisting and pulling at the shackles.

"Bloody hell, what the…"

"It has nettle extract," Xander admitted, "gives a bit of a tingle." He waggled his eyebrows at Spike, and Spike opened his mouth to answer. However, when Xander blew across the oiled balls, the words disappeared under a strangled cry as Spike dug his heels into the bed and pushed up into the air.

"Fucking hell," Spike cursed, and Xander slipped a second finger in, teasing even further by just barely brushing the prostate.

"So, are you going to apologize for making fun of me?" Xander asked playfully as he scissored his fingers open.

"Wot? I never—" his words disappeared under another strangled cry as Xander blew across the skin again.

"Oh, I guess you're right. You just asked if you could," Xander admitted. "Well, now you know what the punishment would be for making fun of me." Somehow he didn't think it would work as a deterrent. Spike panted, and Xander watched the chest rise and fall in a way that made Spike look strangely human. Normally vampires only breathed when they needed the air to make the vocal cords work, but Spike did so as a nervous habit, his humanity still clinging to him, and Xander guessed he should be grateful since he was kind of stuck in the middle himself.

Unable to tease Spike or himself any more, Xander knelt between Spike's legs and pulled them up to expose the entrance. Lining up carefully, he thrust in without any caution, trusting the prep work and a vampire's need for a little pain with the pleasure. The movement crushed his own cock hard enough to bring tears to his eyes and force his own orgasm back as he adjusted, and this had been a lot easier when he'd been a vamp himself.

"Bloody hell, I'm fine, move your bloody arse," Spike cursed in his own brand of begging and Xander pulled back, feeling the artificial heat of the nettle-infused oil and the tightness of Spike's passage. Thrusting in so hard that skin slapped against skin, Xander felt his own orgasm crash through him without warning, and yeah he had definitely liked the vampire control a whole lot better because coming after two thrusts was such a teenage boy thing to do, but Xander couldn't deny biology.

Giving a few short thrusts into that warm, tight channel, Xander collapsed onto Spike, panting in need. Xander could feel Spike's cock twitch under him.

"Not finished here, pet," Spike pointed out in a brittle voice.

"Hardly my problem," Xander muttered as he gathered his brain cells back together. "Besides, I did say I would show you the punishment for making fun of me," Xander pointed out as he carefully pulled out of Spike, his cock aching in that tight embrace.

"Bloody hell, you wouldn't," Spike said, blue eyes going yellow again.

"I'm your sire, I bloody well would," Xander pointed out. Despite the little niggle of guilt that suggested a couple of well placed strokes would do the job, Xander stood up and pulled his belt out of the pile of clothes. Wrapping it around Spike's legs twice, he tightened the buckle and considered the bound body in the middle of his bloody bed.

"I have to get new sheets and meet Cordelia and go put a bandage on my foot. You wait here," Xander said with a playful slap to Spike's hip. Spike glared daggers, but Xander didn't miss how his cock twitched.

"I'll be back to take care of you, so until then, you can lay there and think about all the ways to make up for running out on me twice, childe of mine," Xander said as he walked away. Now that he'd mentioned it, his foot really did hurt, and he headed to the bathroom to check out the damage. Spike would just have to learn, like all good childer, he had to wait until the sire got around to him.




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