Apocalypse Laterish


by
Metaforgirl



18

Spike sat in a meditative posture he had learned from Angel; his robes fanned out around him, and tried to be optimistic. Tried to convince himself that this was going to go well.

For a few surreal moments he was able to maintain it. He did the ritual chanting, focused on some point of light inside the blackness of his head. That lasted a few moments. Then he gave up.

Oh bugger all to Hell, whom was he kidding? Nothing he planned ever went well. He hadn’t rested at all since he and Xander had finally decided on this. Hadn’t even tried to sleep. Xander had attempted to calm him in the best possible ways. But every touch, every warm breathy word against his skin, only made him feel what he might be about to lose, what he was about to destroy.

They’d planned the whole thing so carefully. And how awful had that been? Discussing it all with the Watcher. Giles' eyes on him, so steady and unreadable. The details of turning Xander, the timing of the spell, as if it were a battle plan, or a complex recipe for dinner, even, not what it really was. Murder. How Spike would kill this man they both cared for.

The last human he had drained had been his Sire. His only friend. Now he was going to kill his lover. Spike pressed his forehead to his hands and thought that perhaps the punishment for all the wrongs he had done was finally coming to roost.

He heard Xander and Giles speaking outside the tent. Heard the Watcher’s uneven footsteps walking away. He didn’t look up when Xander’s heavy robes and the swish of the tent flap announced his entrance. Spike stood slowly; feeling large and beastly, hands hanging by his sides, gaze cast to the floor.

He heard Xander kneel at the threshold. Heard as Xander spoke the ritualistic words, his voice breathy and shaking. Spike could hear his heart pounding from across the room. Smell his apprehension.

Spike searched the suddenly empty cavern of his mind for the correct ritualistic response. Nothing. He dared look up at Xander.

“Spike?” Xander’s hands moved slightly, as if flailing for purchase. “Am I… am I doing it right?”

To Hell with the ritual. Spike leapt across the room and just sank to his knees in front of Xander, grasped his hands and squeezed them. Xander took in deep breaths. Exhaled.

Spike raised Xander’s hands and pressed his lips to the knuckles. Waited for his lover to get control again. “You sure?” he asked, finally.

Xander shook his head, then nodded. He laughed and tightened his fingers in Spike’s hands. “Are you?”

Spike shook his head. “Just know I love you, Xander.”

Xander nodded. “Yep. That’s why we’re here.”

“Is it?” Spike thought they were here because Xander was insane and he, Spike, was a selfish, evil bastard.

“We’ve been working towards this,” said Xander, still a tad breathless. His eyes seemed to throb, Spike swore he could see his heart beat in the swell and recession of his pupil. Xander wet his lips. “Want you,” he said. “All the way this time.”

There seemed to be a braided rope wrapped around Spike’s heart. He felt it tighten. He cleared the sudden clog in his throat. “Okay, then.” He stood slowly, raising Xander with him. Noted that they were both a bit wobbly. “We should lie down on the bed… get comfortable.”

Xander followed him to the linen covered bed. The narrow cot that the villagers had lain upon for their offerings had been replaced by a wide low palette, but Spike had wanted the white sheets. They made him feel the ritual still. Made him feel in control. Not that he needed control, this time. This time, he wouldn’t have to stop himself.

Need and hunger clutched at his belly at the thought and he stumbled to a stop.

“Spike?” Xander’s voice was reedy and uneven. He sat on the bed, eyes huge, legs drawn up to his chest, his arms, in the heavy sleeves, wrapped around his knees, long feet smooth and dark against the white cloth, the maroon velvet pooling to his toes. He held out his hand.

Spike clambered next to him and gathered Xander up in his arms, feeling the heat and fear and excitement trembling all through the boy.

“Spike, d…do we have to use those?”

Spike looked where Xander gestured, at the coiled silken ropes they had laid out at the head of the bed. He raised Xander’s hand and kissed a knuckle. Turned the calloused palm over and nuzzled into it. Felt the strong wrist flex and turn in his hand.

“You’re strong, Xander. And healthy. Your body will fight back in the end, despite everything. I told you that.”

“No, I won’t fight it, Spike. I want this.”

“Don’t want to hurt you, Xan. Couldn’t bear it.”

“I won’t fight back, Spike.” said Xander with assurance.

Those strong hands slid up Spike’s jaw, into his hair, the fingertips moving over his head, soothing, reassuring, down his neck. Spike let the touch take over, felt Xander’s thumbs under his chin, Xander’s mouth against his, wet and hungry. His tongue plunged into Spike’s mouth and someone gasped as their bodies tumbled together onto the mattress.

Hot soft velvet moved beneath Spike’s hands, Xander’s muscles bunching and sliding smoothly under the robes, like the skin of a jaguar. Heat seemed to emerge in patches and Spike could smell the sweat.

“Take this off, luv,” he panted when Xander released his mouth for a second. Spike tugged at the loose fabric around Xander’s hips and ground up into him.

“Mmmm, not yet,” breathed Xander against his lips. His tongue laved across Spike’s mouth, “Wanna feel you fucking me in them.”

And Xander’s words threw a spark towards that stack of kindling inside him. That dangerously dry and ready kindling of demon hunger and lust.

Spike groaned and pulled desperately at the heavy fabric, trying to draw it upwards. Xander eating his mouth, all teeth and demanding tongue and not quite human sounds in his throat. He seemed to have grown an extra set of hands, rubbing Spike’s chest through the robes, his thighs sliding against Spike’s through the heavy fabric.

For the past week, their lovemaking had been restrained, both of them holding back. Somehow knowing that the moment they let go would lead to this. The claim taking over and driving Spike to finally take Xander.

Or maybe, all along, it had been Xander taking Spike. Because the human was in charge now, Spike merely helplessly responding. Xander rolled them on the narrow palette, their robes tangling between their legs, binding them to each other, so tightly Spike couldn’t even draw back, could only grind desperately at Xander, trying to find friction in the slippery fabric and heat.

Xander pulled frantically at the cowl of his robe, exposing the claim marks. He made a demanding and primitive noise and Spike instinctively bent to them, mouth opened over them, tongue tasting as he felt the itch of his fangs descend. Xander’s skin was hot, the marks pulsing against Spike’s tongue. He grabbed at Spike’s neck with both hands, pulling rubbing himself against Spike’s mouth, his hips rhythmically thrusting upwards.

Spike scrabbled with his hands until he had the hem of the robes above their hips and could feel Xander’s length drooling against his belly. Xander moaned at the freedom and spread his legs wide, arching against him, his hips rotating in a demanding grind that set every nerve in Spike’s pelvis on fire. Then Xander rolled his hips, brought his knees up and Spike felt his pucker, gaping and throbbing and wanting him as much as the claim marks.

“Lube,” he hissed against Xander’s skin.

Xander shuddered all over his fingers scrabbling and pulling Spike’s mouth as he twisted his neck to rub the marks. “Already ready, baby,”

“Oh, Xan…” Spike reared back just enough to line himself up and felt the head of his cock slide easily into the tight opening. Xander seemed to buck against him and his hole just opened and swallowed Spike down. The claim marks beneath Spike’s tongue flared and his fangs slid in.

Xander gasped, his whole torso stiffened beneath Spike and then Spike felt the tremor, like a full body wave, travel from Xander’s ass all the way to his neck and back again. The hard length pressed into his belly twitched and precum was a steady cool stream between them.

“Fuck oh god yeah oh god fuck me Spike yeah oh my god baby fuck me now.”

The words strung together in Xander’s husky voice.

And the demon rose.

Unfurling its heavy leathern wings within him like some ancient and long buried god, the demon spread through his body and hissed its approval. Spike didn’t even fight it, and that would trouble him later. For centuries to come, it would worry him how the demon had said ‘yes’ and flexed itself in his mind, unshackled and confident. Like it had been waiting for this. Lying in wait for Xander.

Spike had always been a little disdainful when Angel pled demon possession. He knew how vague and flexible the boundary was between his souled self and his demon self. If there were really any boundary at all. But now, Xander writhing beneath and around him, the damp hot breath panting against his skin, muscles giving eagerly beneath his, he felt some wicked satisfaction, some triumphant cheer, deep within him in a consciousness he felt had been hidden even from himself. Almost unwilling, he wrapped his fingers around Xander’s wrists and held him down against the mattress, shoved himself deeper into his lover’s willing body. Xander’s eyes widened, recognizing the power.

“Harder,” Xander’s voice was thick with passion. Lust. “Oh, God, I need it harder.”

Spike stared. Xander’s eyes were black and sensuous and filled with an amused pleasure. He licked his lips, and arched and groaned.

Spike kissed him hard. Let his mouth travel again down to the swollen claim marks. Xander squirming and keening beneath him. Spike pulled his hips back and shoved in harder. Did it again. The demon screamed triumphantly and Spike held Xander still, fucking him with his body and his mouth, arching back and slamming forward into the slippery heat as hard as he could again and again, the warm flesh beneath his lips rippling and his fangs just slid further, felt the warm syrup of blood. He swallowed.

Xander made a catchy noise, like he couldn’t breath, his torso jerked.

Spike sucked harder. Deep dragging pulls. He took Xander’s blood in a way he never had before, not to taste but to drain. He felt the fingers tangled in his hair start to tug.

His hips slid faster and faster against the hot hole, Xander’s length hardening, and his balls drawing up. It would be soon. Beneath him his lover gasped and yanked at his hair.

Something was wrong. Eyes practically rolling back in his head, hips still grinding as he tried to slow them, Spike drew back his bloodied mouth. “Xander?” he rasped, “You still want this?”

Xander’s face was white and covered with a sheen of sweat. His mouth opened, lips a little parched. The hand he cupped Spike’s jaw with shook, but his eyes were warm, happy. “Want to taste you, Spike. Want you.”

“Luv…” Spike flailed at the little table next to their palette, to find the dagger they had lying there.

Xander’s fingers closed over his on the hilt. “Let me?”

Spike nodded, arched back his neck. Rocking slowly and gently still into Xander, he felt the sharp cold point just above his sternum, the white shot of pain before the hot dribble of blood down his chest. Then Xander’s mouth, warm and a little dry, suckling at him. Spike let his hips roll and slide in and out. Like pending thunder the orgasm gathered in his lower back in his butt and balls.

“Gonna come soon, Xan. Want to be with you.”

Xander’s mouth drew back; he pulled Spike down to his neck. “I love you, Spike,” he whispered as Spike’s fangs found the mark and dipped deep.

He thrust against him, hard and fast, a choking noise and at last Spike felt the resistance, felt the jerk and frantic scrabbling as Xander’s body fought for life, then amazingly, he sensed Xander taking control, as his spirit and body acquiesced, gave in, embraced him, embraced his own death.

Not thinking about it anymore, pounding into Xander even as he knew the boy died, Spike screamed and cried out agony and loss and joy and triumph, coming deep inside his lover, pulling Xander’s lax head forward and sealing the soft lips against the blood that streamed from his chest. Xander’s lips pulling blood from his veins even as his spasming hole pulled semen from his cock.

Spike kept him there as long as Xander still strove for life. Suddenly the body rose against him harshly, an orgasm jerking and spitting between their bodies as Xander’s body came in its death throes.

“Xander?” He rubbed his cheek against his lovers skin, knowing there would be no response, but having to check for it. To be sure. “Xan?” Gore covered lips fluttered, the chest rose one more time, desperately seeking life, then a rattling sigh, like a bellows deflating, and Xander’s entire body collapsed completely beneath Spike.

And for the second time that year, Xander Harris died.


~*~*~*~*~


Berynn watched as the smoking cauldron seemed to swell with light then send its power out into the night.

His fingers sought and intertwined with Giles’, and Giles opened his eyes, the furrow of concentration between his brows relaxed.

“Its done, then,” said Giles quietly. Berynn squeezed his fingers again. Both men trying hard not to think about what it all meant. That the spell had only activated because there was a soulless vampire to be ensouled.

“Now all we can do is pray,” Giles told Berynn.

Berynn nodded. His lips moved automatically in the ritual invocation to the Light.


~*~*~*~*~


There was a ritual to be performed. Spike and Xander had planned it all out ahead of time. Well, Spike had planned it and Xander had agreed, smiling, his eyes following his lover’s hands as Spike explained. Eyes warm and full of love.

Spike drew the palm of his hand softly over those eyes, so that the lids covered their sightlessness. There was no warmth in them now.

Spike was supposed to clean the blood from Xander, relight the candles, remake the bed. In his plan, Xander would wake to a warm and clean room, ritualistically cleared of the past. But Spike found that he couldn’t move. He lay where he was, spread across Xander’s cooling corpse, unable to acknowledge or release him, unable to know what he had just done. Paralyzed with fear and only able to keep himself in that white space between one action and the next. As if even his thoughts could jinx this.

What if the spell didn’t work? Spike could not even picture in his own mind the sword and the stake that lay ready across the room on the altar. He couldn’t do it. The thought entered his heart and he knew it to be true. Suddenly understood that all along he had known. If Xander’s soul were not restored, Spike would not stake him as he had promised. He wouldn’t be able to. Perhaps he’d be able to restrain the demon, keep him from damaging the village, but if an eternity of evil and mayhem was what it meant to keep Xander, then that’s what it would be.

He wasn’t like Angel. He couldn’t hurt his loved ones for the greater good. He felt his soul as a tiny weak thing, no moral muscle in it. His tenuous connection to whatever humans identified as holiness to be so thin and frayed it counted for nothing when the test came. They were all too distant, moral imperatives and rules and gods with their judgments. All Spike knew was the living and the undead. If there were a difference, a choice, between holiness and love, for Spike, the choice would always be love. He lay across Xander and knew he would give his own soul. Damn himself again, if it meant keeping something of Xander with him.

So he lay across his lover and didn’t pray.


~*~*~*~*~


Another wave of sound as the traffic on the 405 swelled in the last rush from the city. The tree over the front lawn dipped and swayed, a swelling of shadows from the privacy hedge they had planted the previous winter. The shadow did not recede with the wind and James felt a prickle of the hairs up his arm as his hand moved to hover over the objects laying on the porch boards beside his leg.

“Hello, dad,” he said.

The man who stepped into the dim glow of the porch light was younger than James in appearance. Slender. Muscular shoulders and arms and neck flexing beneath a weird iridescent polyester tunic that lay open at the neck exposing the bite marks and bruises against white as death skin.

“James,” said Xander. He looked surprised. Delighted even. James had never seen his father with both eyes. He thought perhaps that is what seemed different as his hand still hovered over his collection of home made stakes, watching for clues to difference, hints of danger.

Xander stepped forward, half a step, and James stiffened.

Xander laughed. The sound sent chills up James spine. “You remembered what I taught you,” said Xander. That smile, even old and wrinkled, and dentured, Xander had never lost his smile and if James had doubted that this teenaged boy was indeed his risen father, those doubts left him now. “Never trust a vampire,” said Xander, not trying to come any closer. He folded his arms in front of him and let his weight rest on one leg.

James blinked. “I miss you,” he said, surprised at the words. It wasn’t what he had meant to say.

Xander looked surprised then looked quickly away. “Yeah,” he said. “I’ve missed you too.”

“Even before you…” James shrugged and tried to think how one spoke of their death with the dead. “I missed you then, too, you know?”

Xander nodded. He dipped his head. “I knew, James. You did the right thing.”

James felt some enormous tension shoot up his spine and just fly away. “I’m sorry,” he said.

Xander’s eyes were dark in the half light, but they seemed to darken more. “Are you?” he took a step closer. His eyes flicked to the stake that James had wrapped his fingers around. “Are you going to use that?”

“Do I need to?” asked James softly.

His father’s eyes were solemn and black and James thought he had never seen his father look so serious, so deadly calm. “Maybe,” said Xander. “I think some people would think you should. I wasn’t sure what it would be like, you know?” James barely noticed as Xander took another step towards him. “I guess I thought I’d be myself but undead. But I’m not. It’s more like I’m outside myself. Xander Harris is over there,” he gestured and seemed to squint briefly towards some shadowy corner of the yard. “A memory. And he’s fading. And then there’s me.”

“Are you…?”

“Evil?” and Xander’s grin answered the question.

James hand slowly lifted the stake. Xander regarded it, raised a speculative eyebrow. “I really don’t think you could use that, James,” he said.

“I think I could, dad,” said James, not caring that his voice shook. “To protect my son.”

“Yeah, okay, I get that.” Xander took another step towards him. “Where is Brendan? I’d like to see him.”

James rose unsteadily. Standing on the porch step, rolling the stake in his hand. “Don’t come any closer dad.”

“The spell took, James,” said Xander, his eyes blank in the shadows.

James just watched him.

“I have my soul.” Xander looked down for a second and when he looked back up the flash of humor across his face was startling. “Of course, that really doesn’t matter, does it?”

“What…what are you going to do?”

“Just talk. I just want to talk, James.” Xander took another step, saw his son’s arm rise, sighed and stopped. “I don’t know why they’ve let me come back here, but I wanted to talk.”

James nodded. “Okay. I … I was hoping you know?”

Xander nodded, studying him. “Maybe that’s why I’m here. You put the orb in the casket with me?”

James nodded.

“Thanks.”

“Patricia thinks I’m crazy.”

Xander laughed. “Your mother thought I was crazy.”

“She thought you were going to go to hell.”

Xander was silent, a thoughtful look on his face. “I wonder…”

“Did you, dad?” asked James sadly.

“No,” said Xander with assurance. “No, I woke up somewhere … different is all.”

“Heaven?”

Xander laughed and shook his head. “I really don’t think so.”

“Is mom there?” asked James wistfully.

“No,” said Xander gently. “No, I haven’t seen your mother, James. But maybe she doesn’t need me. Maybe she has everything she wants already.”

James contemplated this. He moved to the edge of the steps and perched on the porch rail there. “I don’t understand.”

“Valhalla maybe,” said Xander, thoughtfully.

“Viking heaven?”

Xander laughed. “I always wanted to be a Viking.”

“You deserved the best, dad,” said James fervently.

Xander looked surprised again. “Thanks, son. So do you.”

James looked at the stake in his hand. “I’m sorry about this … I wasn’t sure.” He bent as if to put it down.

“Don’t,” said Xander quickly. “Never trust a demon, James.”

James hesitated, the stake still gripped in his hand. “Dad, I know its you. I know I’m safe.”

“No you don’t. Never. Never trust a demon. Okay?”

James nodded, straightening, watching his father with those eyes Xander would remember forever. Dark as his own and solemn with belief and trust. “Okay, dad.”

“Now, I want you to go inside and hold my grandson up by the window so I can wave goodbye.”

“Dad…”

“I love you James,” said Xander. He looked quickly around the yard, up at the sky, took a deep breath and seemed to almost scent the wind. “Smog,” he said. And laughed. “God, who knew I’d miss that smell. Go on, James,” he said. “I’d kiss you goodbye, but I don’t’ want you to come that close.”

“I love you, Dad,” whispered James, feeling the tears he hadn’t shed finally pressing against his eyes.

“I know,” said Xander. “And now you have to let me go.” He turned and took a few paces back towards the shadows. “Let me say goodbye to my grandson.”

James ran into the house, jerked open the drapes and urged his surprised wife over as she cradled his sleepy son against her shoulder. “Out there Patricia, in the yard?”

“Who?” Patricia stared at the oddly dressed teenaged boy who stood in the halflight of the city night, looking up at their living room windows.

“Dad,” said James. He lifted Brandon’s hand. “Bye bye grandpa,” he managed to say, as tears rose in his throat.

Patricia waved automatically. The slender dark boy in the yard waved back, then turned and seemed to be absorbed by the shadows. Her husband collapsed onto the sofa, buried his face in his hands and finally let himself cry. Thank God. Patricia sank down next to him. Let James take his son and rub his damp face against him, ran her hands over his hair and made soothing noises while he cried.


~*~*~*~*~


The body was cold, but not stiff. Spike had never thought about it. But the rigor didn’t happen to someone turned. They merely lay, cold and still, until they woke. He had been able to extract himself from Xander’s embrace. The smell of the blood and the cum and sweat almost too much for him. He had bathed the body finally. And wrapped the velvet again around him. Now he lay beside him, a space between them, watching the unmoving eyelids, his fingers loosely lying in the cool hand.

Something happened. Xander’s eyelids twitched and the hand within his jerked. His chest didn’t rise, his mouth didn’t open to take breath. Not like Xander waking in the morning, not a sight that Spike had watched a hundred times in the past month. Just eyelids snapping open. He turned his head and stared directly at Spike.

“They let me say goodbye to my son,” Xander said.


~*~*~*~*~


“Are you cold?”

“No, I’m fine, Spike, I told you.” Xander moved from one side of the tent to the other. He paused at the door. “How long until sunset?”

“It’s dark enough now, Xander. You can leave…”

“Feels itchy. Feels weird. I don’t want to go out there.” Xander took another few paces across the tent, turned and paced back.

“Xander… what can I do…?” Spike tried to catch the dervish that was his childe at Xander’s next pass, but as usual, his touch was avoided. Not wanted. Xander skittered like a wild colt and ducked his head as he stepped up to the door of the tent and peered out.

“Are you hungry, love?” asked Spike, unlacing the ties of his shirt, preparing to bare his neck for Xander.

Xander rolled his eyes, startled, his gaze ripped over Spike’s neck then jerked away. “N…no thank you,” he said.

He had fed once, right after waking. A hungry savage thing like a starving wolf. Finally pulling away from Spike, eyes wide and startled. Mouth gaping, as if for breath he no longer needed.

“It’s different, isn’t it?” he had stated, staring at Spike as if he didn’t know him. And Spike’s heart had frozen and cracked all at once.

“Xander,” said Spike through gritted teeth. “You have to feed.”

“I wish you wouldn’t call it that,” said Xander, not looking at him.

“Eat, then. You have to eat.”

“I’ll wait for the pigs blood,” said Xander. He seemed to twitch in place. All edges and nerves. He flicked at the tent door again. “How long now until sunset?”

Spike had no idea what he should do. He’d never had to control another demon before. At least not one he cared for. He’d never been responsible for another demon before. Not like this. “Xander, pet, the ceremony starts at sunset, but we can go down before that.”

“Don’t call me that, Spike.”

Spike felt almost dizzy with relief at hearing something familiar from his lover. “Sorry, Xan.”

“Though, I guess you have a right, now, don’t you?” Xander gave him a look full of something Spike could not read. “Now that you’re my sire?”

Spike didn’t know how to answer this and so was speechless.

Xander had begun his nervous pacing again. “I have to thank Giles,” he said, looking surprised at himself. “That’s right, isn’t it?”

“Course, luv,” said Spike.

“I … I’m pretty sure that’s right,” said Xander to himself. “It’s funny how hard…” He rubbed at his neck again and Spike couldn’t help but see the bluish marks standing out against the too pale skin.

“Xander, luv,” he was pleading now. “You have to eat. You can’t go amongst humans … your friends… this hungry.”

Xander turned his head slowly, as if it were heavy. He stared at Spike. “Why is that?”

Spike wanted to beg for forgiveness. To throw himself at Xander’s feet and apologize for what he’d done and maybe change it back. But that’s not what Xander needed right now. So Spike set his jaw and held Xander’s gaze. “You know why.”

Xander looked away. Spike saw his throat constrict as he swallowed hard. “Oh,” he said finally. “Okay, I guess I should.”

He shuffled sideways, kind of coming at Spike with an uncomfortable movement and a frown on his face. “Uh, okay then…” he looked at Spike’s neck and his tongue came out as if of its own volition and swiped his lower lip.

Spike approached him cautiously. A hungry powerful, newly risen vampire could be very dangerous, even to his Sire. “It’s okay, Xan,” he said, raising an arm in invitation and also as a possible defense. “Just let it come. I’m here for you.” Xander seemed to just rush into his arms. Awkward and bumpy and all elbows, like an adolescent boy, his face barely transformed, fangs descended from gaping mouth he fastened to Spike’s throat with a choking cry and Spike had barely registered the strength of Xander’s arms, the hardness of him, belly and thigh pressed against Spike’s belly and thigh, when the fangs ripped inexpertly through his throat and the pain and desire shot into Spike’s brain.

He clung to his Childe and let him take as much as he thought he should before he gently began pushing him away. Xander hung on to him, terrifically strong and obviously hungry. His feeding loud and messy, blood dribbling over Spike’s chest, staining his shirt. Obviously aroused as well, he ground into Spike, his body seeming as ravenous as his mouth. One strong thigh wrapped around Spike’s ass and pulling him against him. Spike felt on fire, sensation buzzing through him. He felt about to come over and over only controlling himself because of his responsibility to control Xander.

“Xander,” said Spike, his voice strained. Then, “Xander, childe, stop now.” In his most commanding voice.

Xander pushed away almost violently. Head down, a meek but rebellious expression on his face. ‘Can’t help it,” he growled. “I’m so … so hungry. And …” he looked away, brows lowering with a kind of ferocity, hips shifting uncomfortably. “and … other stuff.”

Spike smiled with affection. Who knew the demonic ridges could look so sweet and disarming, so endearing. “Xan, pet, you’ll have to learn some manners.”

“Sorry,” said Xander, sounding anything but. He wiped at his mouth with his sleeve, blinking hard and jerking his shoulders as he attempted to resume his human visage. “Still hungry,” he muttered a bit testily.

“I know, luv.” Spike “You will be for a time. But then you’ll get used to it.”

“You didn’t tell me,” said Xander. “About the hunger.”

Spike felt struck. “I’m sorry, Xan. I thought … Well, I guess I’m so used to it, and I thought you knew.”

Xander had turned away. Finding a cloth and dabbing at his face and neck with it. “didn’t know,” he said, surly. “Guess there’s nothing to do about it now.”

“I’m sorry, Xander.” Spike didn’t know if he wanted to weep or scream. He was so hard he could have come if he only opened his pants and touched himself. Had been since the boy had first inadvertently slipped into gameface. But the distrust and horror and intermittent fear that kept skating across Xander’s face. The way he stared at Spike as if suddenly embarrassed by his presence. His heart was breaking, a slow painful tearing across the middle. How could he love Xander more just as the boy was learning to hate him? How could that happen?

“Don’t be.” Xander shrugged. “Here,” he said, shoving the damp cloth roughly into Spike’s hands. “I made a mess, I guess. Sorry about your shirt.”

“I don’t care about the shirt. I only care about you.”

Xander’s shoulders moved uncomfortably and he didn’t turn to face Spike. “That’s nice,” he said.

“Xander, please, I … tell me what you want luv. Do you want … do want some space in the other tent? You don’t have to…”

“No, that’s okay, Spike. I know, you’re my sire. I’m supposed to aren’t I?” He waved his fingers vaguely towards their bed. “With you?”

“Not if we don’t want it that way.”

“Is that normal?” Now Xander did turn to look at him. He looked small and worried. “Is it normal for us to not want that? Isn’t it, like, a compulsion, no matter how we feel?” His chin raised, that stubborn firmness that made Spike’s heart ache at the familiarity. He was watching Spike with a mixture of defensiveness and fear. And a bulb lit in Spike’s brain. The soul. Of course. Xander had risen with the soul intact. The demon and its instincts instantly at battle with the conscience. Xander’s instincts, for good or ill, were all over the map. He simply did not know what to do.

Spike walked up to him, took his hands. He saw Xander flinch a bit as if to pull away, but he held on firmly. “We aren’t normal, either one of us Xander. We’ll make our own rules.”

“But do you want it?”

“Course I do.”

“Do you want it now?” and Xander’s eyes traveled down Spike’s torso to his obvious bulge.

Spike swallowed hard to restore his voice. “Only if you do.”

Xander nodded solemnly. “Okay.” And without further ceremony he reached up and jerked off his shirt. Began unlacing his pants.

“Xander…”

Xander’s hands stopped their work. He looked at Spike, as if unsure. “You did mean… on the bed, right? I thought…”

“Luv, I just want…” Spike wanted to weep again. Xander looked so lost and uncertain. His white chest glowing and hard in the lamplight. His eyes black. “Yes, the bed.”

Xander nodded and dropped his pants to the floor. Spike was infinitely relieved to see that Xander, too, was erect. The boy just trotted over to the bed and dropped down. He spread out there and looked up at Spike expectantly. Spike removed his clothing in a kind of trance. He wanted Xander more than anything but the act seemed almost like rape. As if he were taking the man while he had been drinking too much or was on drugs. Xander seemed so much not himself. Too malleable, too easy to command.

He stood, naked, above his lover and asked one more time. “Do you want this, Xander?”

Xander nodded, one hand wandering down to grip his erection and pull lazily at it. “Your blood always makes me horny, Spike.”

Spike knelt on the bed, caressed Xander’s cold chest, his thighs. Ran his hand up into the smooth cool hair at the nape of his neck. “Xan,” he said, tearfully. “Are you sure you aren’t cold?”

“Am I too cold now?” said Xander softly. “is that why you keep looking at me like that?”

“Like what?”

Xander’s eyes were shining and wet and the obvious struggle to keep that emotion at bay, to hide the humiliation of it, made his lip tremble his jaw clench. “Like you’re sorry you did it. Like you don’t want me now.”

Spike stared. “Xander,” he said, stunned. “I want you.”

“You pushed me away when I woke. You… you cried. You said you were sorry.” Xander’s chest was heaving up and down as if breathing hard with emotion. It was a habit a new fledge might fall into when under duress.

“I AM sorry, Xan. Look what I’ve done to you.”

“I’m cold now, I … you don’t want me.”

“Xander, I want you more than ever!”

Xander shook his head. “You pushed me away.”

“Xan, luv,” Spike attempted to gather the over-strong overwrought vampire against him. “Xander you’ll drink too much at first. I have to control you, do you understand? God! You have no idea how much I want you.”

“I’m ugly now,” said Xander against his chest. Spike chuckled, let the growl enter into it. “Not to me, pet.”

Xander’s head raised. He looked at him. “No?” He let the gameface ripple up, brows crooked and hard, ridges bringing out the gold in the slightly slanted eyes. His fangs were very white and tiny. Sharp. “You don’t think this is ugly?”

“Far from it,’ said Spike sincerely, and brought his mouth down, rippling into gameface as he went so that their fangs clashed and fought, bringing blood to their lips and tongue. He felt Xander shuddering under him at the sensation and the taste and reveled in the feeling of sharing this with someone he loved.

“Oh!” Xander pushed him back, stared at him. He raised his fingers and the talons at the ends gave Spike a delicious tingle as they traced the ridges beside his eyes. “I … I kind of liked that.”

“The pain, luv?”

“Yeah.” Xander grinned and Spike had to kiss that mouth. That wonderful Xander grin, that looked so perfect now, with fangs and a little demonic snark. Xander nipped at him, playfully, catching his lips then rolled his tongue, plunging deep into Spike’s mouth and purposely sharing his own blood with him. The magic blood tingled and burned between them and Xander arched against him, his strong hands gripping Spike’s biceps and suddenly they were flipped over, Spike’s ass in the air and Xander, full game face, was lapping at his hole.

“Aack!” was about all Spike could manage as the cool super strong tongue snaked its way past his muscle and wriggled inside him.

“Want to nibble,” Xander spoke against his pucker and Spike almost came. A tiny pinch of pain at his ass hole and Spike was clawing the sheets, the air, electricity jerking through him as he felt his cum splattering onto his face.

Then his ass was back on the sheets and all of Xander’s weight was flung on top of him, his face human and inches from his nose, an unholy gleam in those black eyes. “So what’s up with the demonic endurance thing?” said Xander. “Is it true? Cuz, I so want to try that out.”


~*~*~*~*~


They were a little late for their party.

Xander was nervous and shy of going into the building at the last.

“What if its different?” he asked Spike worriedly. His hand came out for the hundredth time since they had set out, seeking reassurance.

Spike wasn’t sure how to handle his lover’s obvious dependency and need for guidance. He decided to just go with the waves of protective feelings he was experiencing. He grasped Xander’s hand and squeezed. “It is different, Xan,” he said. “You’re different. You might not feel the same about anything.”

“I feel the same about you,” said Xander, looking at him with wide open honest eyes.

Fucking Hell what had he done to deserve this? “Me, too, luv,” Spike answered hoarsely.

Xander grinned, that white lightening flashing over the darkened face. “So, should I walk in in gameface?”

Spike laughed out loud. “Don’t think they’re ready for that, Xan. Old Rupert’d have a heart attack, wouldn’t he?”

“Giles.” Said Xander. He looked worried again. “Oh, God, Spike. Listen, why don’t you go in ahead of me, check it out…” he was backing away from the door.

“Oh no you don’t,” Spike captured Xander’s wrist and gave it a firm tug.

They pushed through the door together. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that all conversation ceased at their entrance. That you could have heard a pin drop. The patrollers, Dahla Giles and half the village, were lined up against the wall. Every eye on Xander.

Xander got no further than the door and froze, staring at his friends. His mouth opened, reflexively to take a breath, and the panic, when his lungs didn’t respond. But then Spike’s arm was around him, Spike’s rumbling voice vibrating against his ribs.

“Mmmm smorgasbord!” said Spike with relish and he smacked his lips.

Tybor’s surprised face relaxed into a wide grin. His brother laughed out loud and slapped another patroller on the back. There was a general shuffle and faces looked around, exchanged smiles. Xander felt the focus off him somewhat and relaxed.

“C’mon, Xan,” Spike purposely did not refer to Xander as ‘Childe’ in front of his friends. “Let’s open our prezzies.”

And there was a small stack of gifts at one end of the banquet table. Xander, still a little shocky and skittish, was gradually induced to stand near the packages, at the head of what appeared to be an informal receiving line. Well-wishers congratulating, shaking his hand.

“Th … thanks,” he said raspily over and over. Then a worn, dry, older hand slid into his grasp and Xander stood looking down at Giles’ hand.

“Congratulations, Xander,” said Giles in an unreadable voice. He squeezed once and released. Xander forced himself to raise his chin, to look Giles in the face.

Giles looked as nervous and unsure as he felt. “Hey, G-man,” said Xander, and he smiled.

Tears instantaneously flooded Giles eyes. And just as quickly, Berynn was there. The shining dark head pressed into Giles shoulder, green eyes dancing up at Xander.

“*Congratulations*” he said solemnly. “Way to go, dude,” he pronounced carefully.

Spike, busily fetching pig’s blood for his Childe, heard Xander’s happy laughter from across the room. He looked up in time to see Xander embracing Berynn, then after a moment’s hesitation, embracing Giles.


~*~*~*~*~


The frost crunched under their feet, and distantly Spike swore he heard the sound of frogs, but he thought he might be imagining that.

“Berynn offered his blood,” said Xander, speaking for the first time since they had left the party.

Spike rode through the stab of jealousy. “What’d you say?”

Xander fingers wrapped around his, bringing them closer together on the path. Spike noted how their strides matched, how easily they fit together like this, side by side. “I told him I’d think about it.”

Spike growled something under his breath about ‘feckin fairies’. “Maybe you should ask yer Sire first,” he said.

Xander slowed, loosing Spike’s fingers. “What?”

“Fer permission, whelp. Before you go about biting all and sundry.”

“Permission?”

Spike looked back at his hesitating partner. Oh oh.

“Uh, Spike, I’m a vampire, not a baby.”

“Sure, Xan, but yer inexperienced. It's my job to…”

“Tell me what to do?” Xander’s eyes narrowed. Spike thought he had never quite seen the potential for violence in the man before. He asserted his authority nevertheless.

“I’m yer Sire.”

“You know, Spike,” said Xander slowly. “The way you keep saying that? It’s really annoying.”

“Oh,” said Spike, “I like that. Here you are just an hour ago all clinging and needy and now yer all ‘I’m a grown vampire, Sire. You can’t tell me what ta do, Sire.’”

“You can’t tell me what to do, Spike.”

“’S for your own good, pet.”

The slug in his arm was neither soft nor friendly. “Don’t call me that.”

Spike rubbed the abused bicep and reconsidered his position. But, no, he was right. “You don’t know what’s what yet, Xander. You need me to tell you…”

“I think not, Spike,” said Xander. And he crossed his arms across his chest. Spike almost expected him to stomp his foot. “You didn’t let Angel boss you around,” said Xander.

“Angel was a wanker. And not trying to boss you. Just keep you outta mischief.”

“Mischief? Keep me out of… this from William the Bloody?”

“Oh, fer…” Spike rolled his head in an irritated gesture. If Xander didn’t look so bloody adorable, standing there in a snit, half in gameface, starlight in his eyes and the wind tossing his long hair about, Spike would… hang on, what had they been talking about?

“If I want to bite my friend I will,” Xander stated. “If they’re willing and I feel like it, I’ll bite every guy we patrolled with.”

“Oh, listen to the big demon,” said Spike presenting Xander to the empty night air. “’If they’re willing’. Pathetic!” he said in Xander’s face, teeth snapping.

“You’re just jealous because nobody offered to you!” Xander shouted back.

“Nobody but you, pet,” Spike sneared. “Oh, excuse me. You didn’t offer. You begged.”

“I never begged,” Xander protested, outraged.

“Oh, I definitely remember begging” Spike smiled despite himself.

“You begged a lot too,” said Xander. “Between the screaming.” And a smile played on his lips as well.

“Right. The screaming. Don’t wanna ferget the screamin’” said Spike, taking a curving little step that brought him into Xander’s personal space.

“Spike,” said Xander, and he ran his fingers down the lapel of Spike’s dress shirt. “I think I might have forgotten some of the screaming.”

“Hell, that’ll never do,” said Spike, low, pulling Xander towards him so he could nuzzle at his neck, maybe nip at his ear. “Need ta remind you, I expect,” he whispered.

Xander’s let his hands find Spike’s ass. He squeezed and grinned when Spike gasped and bumped against him.

“Mine,” said Xander, happily.

Spike growled in what he hoped was an impressively frightening manner, but which he suspected sounded more like a whimper. Xander’s hands tightened again on his butt. His head lowered and the cool silk of his hair rubbed Spike’s face as his sharp teeth wrote a line of heat down his neck.

“Need ta teach you yer place, Childe,” Spike squeeked. “I claimed YOU remember?”

“Well,” murmured Xander, kneading and nuzzling and still urging Spike backwards up the path towards their home. “I claim you now, Spike.” he straightened suddenly, and grabbing Spike’s hand, yanked as he almost skipped forward. “C’mon, lets do the bitey thing and have a party of our own.”

“Wha…?” Spike protested, following helplessly. “Bitey thing?”

The face that Xander turned back to him was wicked and cheerful and full of love.

“Xander Harris,” breathed Spike. “You slay me.”


~*~*~*~*~


It wasn’t the first afternoon that Spike had rolled and woken from a deep sleep to find Xander missing. The new fledge was hyperactive and his sleep patterns were eratic.

Spike trotted down to the ritualistic cave. It was where he found Xander the most often these days. Beneath a moss covered natural hillside, just to the other side of the bridge between the dark and the light.

A mineral spring emerged from the high face of the rocky front of the cave and trickled down to a small basin made by the villagers. The traditional pottery jars of offerings were lined up at its lip. In addition to something that resembled a wineskin. Spike bravely raised the vessel to his lips and tasted.

Oh yeah, baby I missed you. The tangy and wholly welcome bitter bite of alchohol spread over his tongue and down his throat. Increased sunlight meant energy left over for the growth of grapes and the fermentation of those fruits of the vine.

Voices and footsteps and a slight figure emerged from the caves entrance.

Berynn was almost past him when Spike’s hand shot out and caught him by the forearm. He twisted the young man's arm over and nodded at the fresh red bites there.

“Nice,” he said. He looked up in time to see Xander emerging from the cave. “Gettin’ ta be a habit, is it?”

“No, Spike,” said Xander rolling his eyes. “Berynn was chosen fair and square in the lottery.”

“Ah,” said Spike, releasing the boys arm. Berynn trotted off, looking a little paler than usual. Spike followed Berynn’s exit with unreadable eyes.

Halfway across the bridge, Giles appeared, walking to the crest. He met Berynn there and they embraced.

“Spike,” said Xander, watching his friends as they kissed. “There are seasons here, yeah?”

“Guess you could call it that, Xan. Gets really cold. Gets hot.”

“So you must have had some sense of time?”

“Guess. Don’t pay much attention.”

“I don’t see a lot of kids around,” Xander said in an apparent non-sequitar.

Spike frowned. Xander kept thinking of things he had never considered. It made him feel a little dopey. “’Spect the fairies don’t breed often.”

“Why not?”

Spike snorted in frustration and slapped the wineskin down. “I don’t know, Xander. Didn’t really concern me, did it?”

“I just wonder… Spike, how old is Berynn?”

“What? Berynn?” Spike swiveled and regarded the slender dark man who now was folded in Giles’ arms. “Hmmm, ancient, really. Over a hundred I expect.”

Xander gaped. “Are you serious?” he squeaked.

Spike looked puzzled. “Sure. All these fairies are older ‘n time. Mebbee it’s the lack of sun, they just don’t age.”

Xander was laughing. Sitting hard on a fence railing and slapping his knee.

“You okay, pet?” asked Spike dubiously.

Xander reached over and whacked his arm routinely. “Don’t call me that,” before collapsing again into giggles. When he had finally recovered from his fit, he said, “Do me a favor, Spike?”

“Anythin’, Xander,” said Spike without thought.

“Don’t ever tell Giles what you just told me.”

Spike’s eyebrows raised. He looked at Xander, then twisted his head again to look at the old Watcher and his ‘young’ man. He grinned.

Berynn trotted towards the village and Giles could be seen coming towards them. He crossed the line into darkness, smiling. “Xander!” he called. “Berynn said you’ve worked out some sort of message system.”

Xander shrugged. “We’ve set up a room in the caves.”

Giles stood before him, those blue eyes so peaceful and rested, thought Xander. He realized that Giles had always been worried, always been tense. “A kind of chapel,” Giles suggested.

That made Spike laugh. “Blood rites and sacrifice,” he said. “Right gothic, isn’t it.”

“No, Spike,” said Xander patiently. “It’s just a convenient way for the villagers to donate swine’s blood, and to request intervention if they have any danger threatening.”

“Berynn said the donation rituals will continue.”

Xander shuffled uncomfortably. He had trouble meeting his friend’s eye. “They requested it, Giles.”

“That’s right,” Spike said. “Be a bit of strain, you know, drinkin’ human when we’ve been so spoilt on swine.” He and Xander exchanged a look that Giles could only describe as ‘wicked’.

A butterfly, white and yellow and dancing crazily as it crossed into the shadows, circled Xander’s head then made its crooked way back into the light.

“Giles,” Xander watched the butterfly, his voice casual. “Do you remember Heaven?”

Giles looked surprised at this question and then… embarrassed. “I’m rather pleased that I don’t remember my afterlife,” he said, a faint blush staining his cheeks. “I can’t imagine that it was very pleasant.”

“You think you went to Hell, Watcher?” asked Spike grinning. “Cheek, that! What makes you think you were evil enough?”

Giles cast his eyes down.

Spike made an appreciative noise. “Wanna hear that story some day,” he said.

“I don’t remember anything either,” said Xander slowly. He looked up at Spike.

“Don’t ask me, Harris,” said Spike. “I woke undead, remember? Though I have been to Hell…” he said, his brows lowering, and then, disturbingly, he smiled.

“I don’t want to know,” said Xander immediately. “And I can safely say, I never will. But, Spike, what happened the last day of the world?”

“What happened?” Spike looked puzzled. “Told ya this, kid. All hell broke loose, giant fireball. Ya know,” he waved his hands. “Carnage, death, yer apocalyptic standards.”

Giles shuddered slightly.

“Did you and Angel see it happen?” persisted Xander.

Spike looked puzzled. “What … what do you mean?”

“Where were you? Were you far away? You SAW it blow up?”

Spike rubbed at the back of his neck. “Yeah…” he looked vague.

“Do you actually remember?”

“What are you getting at, Harris?”

“Yes, Xander, what ARE you getting at?”

“It just all seems kind of weird.”

Spike snorted. “Yer just comprehendin’ that now?”

“No, I mean,” Xander waved to include the Bridge, the light, the frigging meadow with the butterflies. “The whole happy ending. It doesn’t seem right somehow.”

“Speak for yerself, Harris. Drinkin’ pigs blood for an eternity don’t seem like no happy ending to this vampire.”

Xander grinned up at him with that new evil smile of his. The one that made Spike’s short and curlies curl just a little bit tighter. “Except the occasional willing virgin sacrifice,” he reminded Spike.

Spike smiled back despite himself. He didn’t know which seemed better. Human’s blood, or the thought of watching his Childe drinking human’s blood. “Yeah, there’s that.”

“And Childes blood,” said Xander arching his neck just that little bit it took to make Spike’s eyes and libido go straight to the scars.

Giles cleared his throat.

“Really,” he said uncomfortably. “I don’t know how we managed to go from discussions of Heaven to discussions of blood drinking so quickly.”

“Yer hangin’ with the tough crowd, now, Rupert,” said Spike, his eyes still tasting Xander appreciatively.

Xander let just the tip of his tongue come out. And in a trick disturbingly like his sire, he bit at it and grinned. Spike made a noise and shifted his weight.

“Yes, well,” said Giles, feeling suddenly completely invisible. He rose. “I’ll be off, then.”

He had made it halfway across the bridge, when he heard Xander calling him back.

“Sorry,” said Xander, as Giles approached. He was leaned against the tree that verged just to the edge of the light. Spike was nowhere in sight. Light shifted and shuffled on the ground less than a yard from Xander’s booted feet, but he shifted his weight easily, apparently unafraid.

“We’re still kind of Newlyweds,” he explained, shrugging.

“I understand,” said Giles. Surprised to realize that he really did.

A breeze moved the branches of the tree and light shunted back and forth across its trunk. Xander looked up, white and gray shadow highlighting his smile, the shining hair, the eyes that were still Xander’s but also now no longer of this world. Giles thought how much like an immortal Xander looked already. How ready to become a legend, a tale of a young male God.

“Will you come visit us?” asked Xander hopefully.

“Of course,” said Giles though he suspected this was a lie. “And someday,” he paused, wondering if this were the occasion to mention this or if it should wait for another day, another time.

But one couldn’t always count on another time. “They don’t know what causes cancer,” said Giles.

Xander’s eyes went solemn and sad.

“It could be genetic, or environmental,” Giles went on carefully. “Perhaps someday…”

Xander was looking back over his shoulder. Back towards Spike.

“I’ll come visit you, Xander,” Giles promised sincerely.


~*~*~*~*~


“So you an’ the Watcher have a nice chat?” Spike was waiting at the turn at the top of the first rise. Leaning against one of the oak trees that seemed to have grown practically overnight. He looked casual enough. Studying the stitching in the pouch Berynn had given him. But Xander knew that look. There was another lecture coming.

“You didn’t have to wait for me,” he said. “I know the way home.”

“Yeah? Not gonna detour to bite anymore humans?”

“Boy, Spike, you are so obvious its embarrassing.”

“Sure I am, kid. It’s my trademark. But whatta are you talkin’ about?”

“You’re jealous.”

“Am not!” Spike’s eyes flared indignantly. “I’m worried about you is all.”

Xander decided to change the subject immediately. He grinned and licked his lips. “So what do you want to do tonight? Berynn said they found slaughtered swine at the north face the other day. There might be something over there worth killing.”

“All full of energy now, are you?” said Spike, falling in beside Xander as they strode up the path.

“Oh, yeah.”

Spike lay a hand companionably on Xander’s arm. “Warm, too. Little fairie musta let you drink deep.”

“I had to push him away,” said Xander, a lusty tone in his voice, his eyes deepening at the memory.

Spike tisked. “Xan, you’ve got to stop this.”

“What?” the look of innocence was something Xander just couldn’t pull off anymore. He enjoyed it all too much.

“I dunno if yer losing control of the bloodlust or if yer just defying me…”

“Defying…?”

“Rebelling.”

“Oh brother,” said Xander with a weary shake of his shaggy head towards the heavens. “Are we back to that Sire stuff?”

“Back to it? We never left it, brat.”

“You know, I SAW the way you and Angel got along. How obedient you were…”

“Angel was a wanker. Needed a good kick in the arse now and then.” He glanced sideways at Xander who was regarding him with a raised eyebrow, lower lip caught in the sharp fangs.

Spike grinned. “Bet you think you know what my arse needs?”

“A good ‘kicking’?” rumbled Xander, low. They bumped together as they walked, their arms arching across each other’s backs.


~*~*~*~*~


James had been back in the office for an hour before he dared to brave the red message light on his phone. He opened the calendar on the computer, saw the pages and pages of unopened emails, and, groaning, opted for the lesser of the two evils.

He hit the delete button repeatedly as he sorted through studio announcements, expressions of sympathy (who leaves something like that on an answering machine?) and suspiciously hopeful questions about rumors that he was not coming back. Then he sat up straight and fumbled for a pen and pad of paper.

He pressed the repeat button on the phone, a sweat popping out all over his body under the crisp cotton. “Yes,” said the voice. “This message is for James Harris. Mr. Harris, I’ve seen your recent story synopsis and I think you have an interesting idea there.”

Shit. Shit shit shit. Which story synopsis had he sent to this man’s office? James rubbed his forehead, trying to remember in the morass of mourning and insanity which wild idea he had sent to the offices of Joss Whedon.

“This story about a teenaged girl vampire slayer?” said the message, “I think we should talk.”




The End




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