Part Sixty-One   Changes

Xander woke, his heart racing, and sat up so fast Spike's head fell from his chest to the pillow beside him.

"Bloody hell, Xander!" Spike exclaimed sleepily, accent softened by his lack of attention. He rubbed his eyes and sat up, the smell of Xander's intense agitation finally breaking through to him. "What is it?"

"Sorry, Spike. I had... I feel... I think I'm going to..." Xander's voice trailed off as he raced from the bedroom to the bathroom to be sick. Spike waited until he heard the toilet flush and Xander rinse his mouth, pause, then begin to brush his teeth. He wanted to give his lover some privacy to finish, but he wanted to know what had caused this reaction. Xander was still working the toothbrush vigorously when Spike entered the bathroom.

"Xander?" Spike placed a hand on Xander's elbow, stopping him from continuing with the vigorous brushing. Xander spat, the pink-tinged froth dripping down the drain before the human rinsed again, then again for good measure.

"Black." He sat weakly on the closed toilet lid, giving his knees a chance to stop shaking.

"What?" Spike kneeled in front of him, trying not to grimace at the smell of sickness permeating the room. 

"It was black." Xander gestured down to the toilet. "That's not... right." Xander frowned.

"Pounds of chocolate can do that?" Spike postulated.

Xander shrugged.

"You feel better now?" It had been a long time since Spike had anything to do with sickness, but the stench of bile had faded and Xander didn't seem quite as pale any longer. Still, Spike didn't know whether to bundle Xander back to bed or rush him to the emergency room. He hadn't dealt with sickness in a long time, and when he had, he pretty much had to wait for death to claim his victim.

"Yeah. Yeah, I do." Xander smiled weakly. "It was just, there was this dream, and I could smell... something... and there was a fire, and chanting in some language I don't know."

"So it could have been English, then." Spike muttered, relieved that Xander wasn't dying, and that it had been nothing more than a dream and an upset stomach. People didn't die of a cold anymore, human immune system or otherwise.

"Shut up, Spike. It was really strange. I don't think it was even my dream... It's like I was, I don't know, someone else or something." Xander grabbed his hand and pulled him back to bed.

"Wouldn't pay it much mind, Pet. Dreams are like that, sometimes, we both know that. I once had a dream where I was Margaret Thatcher. I was eating my way through Parliament. Still had the duster, but it clashed with the sensible shoes." He lay back down, taking his customary position with his ear above Xander's heart. The steady thump-thump had returned to normal now and Spike found himself listening intently for anything odd as it slowed with Xander's return to sleep.

"Hey," Xander brightened suddenly, his mouth taking on that mildly sardonic grin of his. "If some crazy chick pops into the room and tries to kill us, she's just the spirit of the first slayer. You can have her. But ask the guy with the cheese what his deal is, would ya?"

"Xander, do me a favor and don't talk when you're asleep."

"Yeah. Didn't mean to scare you, Margaret. It just wasn't like my regular dreams, though, not even the really bad ones." Xander teased his fingers over Spike's neck, tangling them in the hairs at the base of his skull, tugging gently and listening to Spike's soft moan. Xander pulled him over gently and watched as Spike slid further down his body, peppering Xander's skin with kisses. Spike paused above Xander's navel, needing permission before going any lower.

"You want to, Spike?"

Spike flicked his tongue into Xander's navel in response. "Always want to, Xander." Spike suddenly had a brief flash of insecurity, his deepest fear of Xander growing tired of him, wanting someone else, someone new bright in his head. He could see Xander leaving him, as vividly as in the dreams he still occasionally had. He shook his head, trying to clear his mind of the thoughts. "Always want me to?"

"Yes," Xander responded simply.

Spike dragged his tongue lower, circling the base before finally taking Xander's cock into his mouth and swallowing. Xander bucked against him, nails scratching at Spike's shoulders. Spike stilled and let Xander fuck his mouth, relishing the ferocity his boy rarely showed without more provocation. Xander's thrusts became more erratic and then he came and Spike swallowed, listening to the litany of nonsense spilling from Xander's lips. He released the softening cock, crawling back up his boy's warm body in anticipation of the kiss he usually received afterwards, as if Xander had to claim him again by tasting himself on Spike's tongue.

The kiss never came, and Xander just gestured to Spike's still-hard dick and murmured something about the vampire dealing with it on his own. Instead of wrapping his arms around Spike's narrow waist, Xander stretched them above his head, turned his face away, and fell back asleep, saying nothing else. Spike was left with a strange empty feeling, not knowing how much he would miss Xander's breath ruffling his hair, since he had never fallen asleep without it. He drifted off, Xander's words and attitude pretty much having taken care of his erection, the fact that tonight was a full moon niggling at his brain, although he couldn't tell why.

Part Sixty-Two   Showers

Xander woke the next morning and pushed Spike away as he climbed over him to flip off the alarm clock, then tried to climb out of bed. Spike rolled into his warm spot, trying to grasp the boy tighter and keep him in bed for the half-hour long five more minutes, just like he always did. Xander leveled a hard glare at him and Spike relented his hold immediately, pulling his hands back to him as if he'd been burned. His eyes held questions but he remained silent while Xander ignored him and left for the shower without a word.

Spike was confused, the old feeling of evil and dirty came rushing back to him, even after weeks of staying away. Xander had woken up grumpy before, but he had never shunned physical contact. Ever. Spike couldn't remember doing anything to upset his human, not this badly, and his confusion deepened. Xander hadn't told him of any difficulties at work, so Spike didn't think that was the problem. Last night ended strangely, but it was nothing Spike wasn't used to. But Xander wasn't the type to ignore someone he'd upset; he was all about the grand gesture. If Xander felt bad about the way he'd treated him last night, he should be trying to make it up to him by sucking his brains out through his dick. This wasn't remorse, there was no scent of shame or regret to the boy when he'd pushed his way out of bed.  This was almost... anger.

Spike left the bedroom, sure he could fix whatever was wrong with Xander in the shower. Who could have a bad day after a good morning blow-job? Even on a Monday. He opened the bathroom door slowly, letting the warm wet air envelop him, easing away the strange tingling along his hairline. He watched Xander's blurry form behind the pebbled glass of the shower door, just waiting while strong hands ran over the tight, well-muscled body. Near- nightly training/ hunting had given Xander back the body he'd had when they originally roomed together, a body Spike privately admired once or twice in between plotting nefarious revenge /torture /death schemes for the Sunnydale team. He slipped into the shower as Xander was finishing rinsing his hair, suds rinsing away and leaving only clean, wet, glistening, golden, hot skin. Spike stepped closer, carefully leaving the larger man under the spray, just looking for a moment, and then brought a hand up to caress Xander's chest.

Xander brought his hands to Spike's hips, grinding hard into him. Spike let out a moan at the harsher-than-usual move, and responded to it eagerly. Xander scratched his fingernails lower, spreading Spike's ass and rubbing hard, teasing Spike, not entering, just pressing his water-slickened fingers against his opening.  Spike leaned forward, trying to kiss him, but Xander turned his head, and pushed Spike back. Spike fell back into lessons learned long ago, and lowered his head submissively, and began to lick and nibble across his collarbone, staying away from the tender skin of Master's neck. Xander thrust into his hips again, even harder this time, and guided Spike's hand roughly to his cock. Spike began to slide his wet hand over it gently, taking a chance on kissing Xander again.

"No," Xander said sharply, pulling back from Spike.

"But you-"

Xander grabbed him harshly and pressed him face first against the shower wall, turning his neck at a hard angle. "You want to contradict me again?"


"No, what." Xander growled, pushing harder against his skull, pressing his cheek into the tiles.

"N-no, Master." Spike stammered, more shocked than hurt. What happened to his Xander?

"Right. Guess you're not as dumb as you act." Xander left the shower, flipping off the hot water as he went, leaving Spike to stand under the icy cold spray. He did not come back with a towel for Spike the way he normally did when Spike surprised him in the shower. Then again, nothing that had happened that morning could be considered normal.

Spike turned off the water, and tried to convince himself that vampires did not shiver. He did not feel cold. He stared at the taps for a long time, though, trying to figure out why Xander would do something so deliberately designed to make him cold. He'd never done anything to make him cold, going so far as to ask first before using ice in their sex games. Even when Spike enthusiastically agreed, he followed the trail of melted ice with his warm mouth, kissing away the cold before it could even have the desired effect. When Spike mentioned it, Xander had just shrugged and said that next time they would have to use hot wax.

Spike frowned at the memory, confused and not a little hurt as to what transpired between last night and this morning.

Xander was already in the kitchen, preparing his coffee, and Spike breathed a sigh of relief that he didn't have to face him just yet. He dressed quietly, and then left to join Xander in the kitchen, sure that he wouldn't come back in the bedroom for the usual coffee flavored kiss.

"Xander?" He kept his head lowered and his voice soft. "Did I do something wrong?"

"Probably," Xander shrugged. "You usually do. I'm sure you'll think of something fun to do this evening to make up for it, though." Xander popped him hard on the ass and left the room, grabbing his coat on the way out the door, and closing it softly, gently, almost tenderly behind him.

Part Sixty-Three   Reports

The High Priest paced in a circle around the black flames of the ritual pyre. When the fire had turned solidly black, the High Priest knew without doubt that the spell had definitely taken effect. Whatever the Weak One's deepest insecurity was, he had been forced to think of it at that moment, and was now struggling with the pain. The entire clan could feel it at first, although before too long the Priest had taken it upon himself to cast binding spells on the lesser members of the clan, reserving the misery for himself and his King. The others had captured a young couple, and were currently feeding off the emotions of the man, who had watched them torture and kill  his wife. He provided enough misery for the rest of the clan to feed on for a while, but he would soon break under the strain of the spell. By then, the Priest was certain that the Weak one would be in their clutches, so hunting would only be for supplemental feeds and fun.

Another lap around the fire had the Priest cursing the one he'd sent to verify the effectiveness of the spell. This time, nothing was going to prevent him from capturing the Weak One, even if the ascension could no longer be performed. It had become his personal mission. As soon as the spell had a strong enough hold on the vampire, he would be drawn to the cave somehow. The exact workings were unknown even to the priest. But by that time, the Weak One would be broken enough that he would hardly resist capture. Once they had captured him, the priest would secure his place in their clan, in all of history. His King would be able to feed on a limitless supply of misery until the next opportunity for ascension was due to present itself. Assuming the King lived that long of course. It was possible that he would grow weak, and the High Priest, as tradition dictated, would be called to replace the old and impotent King.

The minion he'd sent out on watch finally entered the cave, and the High Priest sneered at him as the demon kneeled before him. "Report!" He snapped, having no patience for ceremony until he knew for sure that this time he had not failed. This time there would be no chance he'd end up the victim of an anguish spell.

"The spell seems to be working, your Holiness."

"Seems? Seems to be working?"

"It is, Sir, it is!"

"I know it seems to be working, I saw the signs in the fire." he muttered to himself, circling the fire once more to calm himself. He drew the minion up by his neck, forcing the younger demon to look him in the eyes. "There is no margin for error, here! How can you be so sure? How effectively did you do your job, young one? Tell me what proof you have that it is working!" He bellowed.

"I monitored his thoughts since the spell was cast, your Holiness. He has somehow alienated his human companion. It would appear that the human is his weakness. They share a link of some kind, Sir. The human left this morning, and has yet to come back to him. This is unusual according to the others who have been monitoring their actions."

The Priest waved the lesser demon away as he contemplated this new information. Yet another surprise he hadn't counted on. He was of course, aware of the human, he had been the one to suggest using him as bait to the vampires who'd failed to capture the Weak One. However, none of the scrolls he'd studied had mentioned anything about a link shared by this human with the Weak one. The assumption had been that he was a minion of some kind, a slave somehow coerced into providing shelter and food for an damaged vampire who could no longer bring himself to hunt. It made sense, once he considered it, that this human was more to him than just a simple servant; the vampire had risked much to recapture his human from his kidnappers.

The Priest rushed to his books, taking a quick inventory of the magical supplies he had left. The inclusion of an unknown human element would doubtlessly have an effect on the spell, and he would not fail again. Already the human was playing a larger role than anticipated, as he seemed to be the main source of the Weak One's misery, even above the guilt he was reported to nearly drown in.

The Priest studied for the remainder of the day, as he vowed to himself again that this time there would be no failures, and no surprises. After studying the spell and analyzing the available components he still had, he finally decided to increase the power of the spell. He knew that altering a spell already in progress was tricky, but he was the most powerful Priest in the clan's history, and he was certain of his ability to control things. Even after so much had gone wrong already, he had faith in his abilities. The previous failures had been caused by the incompetence of the vampires entrusted to capture his targets, and to his previous inaction and precaution. There was no place for weakness within the clan, not in a position with as much power as his held. He made his decision, gathered the ingredients and headed to the fire.

He slashed into his forearm with the ceremonial dagger, letting the dark purple blood drip into the fire. The flames jumped and sizzled, and before they could die down completely, he tossed in another bundle of herbs, speaking the words that would enhance the spell. Finally, he held the large pendant he now wore, made of the crystallized liver of a Despmakida demon, into the flames. The rare crystal would contain the spell, and the only way to break the spell would be to break the crystal. As long as the crystal was in his possession, the spell would be safe, and nothing could prevent him from having his revenge. He charred the crystal, completing his ritual. The last of the incantation left his lips and the fire leapt from the pit, a ball of flame engulfing the cavern before darting out of the cave in the direction of the Weak One's home.

The Priest woke, only slightly singed from the mystical flame, and couldn't help the giddy smile that split his features, secure in the knowledge that the newly enhanced spell would soon deliver his captive.

Part Sixty-Four   Reflections

Spike remained standing in the kitchen for a long time once Xander left, letting his hair air-dry in to frizzy waves, the occasional urge to smash something fighting with the urge to rip into his own flesh. Xander had left him, told him he was bad, and stupid, and he didn't know what he had done. He found himself on more than one occasion reaching for his lighter, and once he even had his knife in his hand before he stopped himself from upsetting Xander any more. He thought back over the previous day for whatever could have happened to upset Xander so badly, but he could find nothing horribly out of the ordinary.

They had awoken together and languished in bed, eventually coming together in a mid-morning sixty-nine, and then moved to the sofa for a bit of lazy Sunday cuddling. They spent the remaining sunlight hours flipping back and forth from early-season baseball to the movie of the week, kissing through the commercial breaks. It had been a wonderful day full of dozing and waking to find Xander wrapped around him like an electric blanket, nuzzling his neck from behind, occasionally nipping at his shoulder, or sucking long enough to raise a red mark that faded almost as quickly as it was made. The plan had been that once the sun set, they would go out to dinner, and then walk through the neighborhood, find and dispatch a few fledges. Then they would come home, tear off each other's clothes and finally give in to the urges that had been building all day. And, once all those needs had been met, maybe they'd have that discussion they needed to have. But, of course, the evil undead beauty-school dropouts ruined that plan and the spiral of crap began.

Spike thought he felt a prickle along his scalp in his sleep, but it had been quickly dismissed in the wake of Xander's dream and subsequent sickness. But he hadn't noticed anything else out of the ordinary, brushing aside Xander's heavy handed behavior during the blow job, and had fallen asleep again afterwards. Xander hadn't cuddled him like he usually did, but Spike thought that he just needed his space to recover, or maybe he was still a bit weak. It had been a rough couple of months and the nightmare seemed to have really shaken Xander. In the morning Spike thought that it was Monday morning grumpiness, but he had been proven wrong in the shower. He realized that it must have something to do with the attack on them the night before, but he wasn't sure exactly what part of it had bothered Xander enough to affect him this way.

Finally Spike turned and sat on the sofa, far out of the reach of anything that could hurt him, continuously replaying the previous day's events and waiting, calmly, forcibly calmly, for Xander to come home. At noon, he began to furtively glance at the phone, wondering if Xander would call him at lunch. He gathered his courage to pick up the phone a few times, hand trembling and he silently cursed himself for being so pathetically weak. Before he could dial he reminded himself that Xander wouldn't want to be interrupted if he didn't have anything to say, and he replaced the phone on the cradle. He considered cooking dinner, but he wasn't sure what Xander would want. He didn't think that the human would take very well to the presentation of something he didn't want if his mood hadn't improved.

He thought about what Xander had said. Maybe he hadn't been good enough last time they went into the other room, and Xander wanted him to think of something new to do. Spike never tired of the tried and true standards; a good whipping or paddling, or even spanking with Xander's bare hands would be fine. On one or two occasions, Xander surprised him with something new, blindfolds or a spanking bench Xander'd built himself, but for the most part they stuck to what worked for Spike. But maybe Xander needed something else. Maybe Xander wanted a bit of fun, maybe he should go find something in the room that Xander would want to play with. There had been at least two shipments from Xander's favorite catalogues that Spike knew were still unopened. And maybe Xander didn't want to just play anymore.

But Spike stopped. That was Master's room, Master's toys, and he wasn't allowed to touch unless given explicit instructions to do so. Master said 'think', Master hadn't said 'do'.

So Spike kneeled by the door to the room, debating semantics and expectations, waiting for Xander to come home and make things better, ignoring his burning desire to clear his thoughts with his knife on his arm.


By the time six o'clock rolled around, Spike was achingly hard in anticipation of what Xander would do to him. Thoughts and scenarios had been playing through his head all day of how Xander would come home and pull him up, kiss him hard, take him into the room to show him that he still loved him, that he was still needed. But Xander still hadn't come home at seven or half -past. Spike's back was stiff from the long hours of kneeling. He decided that Master wouldn't want him stiff and unable to perform when he came home, so he stood, straightening out his back and twisting at the waist to loosen his muscles.

Just then, the prickling on his scalp intensified, and a pain shot through his head. It was as bad as when the chip had been malfunctioning, but worse somehow because he didn't know what was causing it. A bright flash of fiery light filled his senses, and he shrank back, trying somehow to avoid what could only be sunlight coming for him, punishing him for hurting Xander. He wasn't strong enough to go out into the sun himself. Even though Xander had forbidden it, he knew that he should have followed his first impulse all those months ago and left, let Xander take this opportunity to lead a normal life, rather than force him into some horrible, certainly unsatisfying, guilt- induced relationship with a needy, sick, loathsome vampire.

Xander had taken him away from the Hellmouth, away from everything that had ever hurt him, and for some reason set aside his hatred of vampires in general and him specifically to give him everything he'd ever wanted. Xander had set aside his chance at a good, decent, happy life with a girl and a family for him, and Spike had selfishly, horribly, let him. His final thought was that before Master could come home and force him out, something he'd never do on his own; Master was too nice, too good, too human to do it on his own, he would leave, do what the strange, fading green fire had yet to do, remove himself from Xander's path. And then he passed out.

Part Sixty-Five   Scenting

Xander had not been home by the time Spike awoke. His head was still throbbing, and he felt very disoriented for a while before realizing he was still kneeling by the door to the room. He wobbily climbed to his feet, bracing himself against the wall with his hand. His hand that had somehow not been reduced to ash by the now nonexistent flames. Trailing his fingers along the wall for balance, Spike stumbled into the bedroom where he found the clock still hanging half off the side table from their brief struggle, before the shower, before he disappointed another Master so much he had to run away, never come back. It was well past two in the morning, and Master hadn't been there.

Spike hobbled back into the hallway, stiff and confused as to how to make it better. If Master would give him just one more chance, he could do it, he could make him happy. He could try, he knew he could try. He could do anything if it just meant Master would be pleased with him. But he knew, no matter how long he had been able to fool himself, he could never make Master happy. Not truly happy. He couldn't give him what he needed, what he wanted, and no matter how hard he tried, no matter how many meals he cooked or rooms he cleaned or how good he was or how fast he submitted, he would never be good enough for his Master.

Master had left him, just as his former Masters had left him. He knew he had done things to each of them to make himself fundamentally unlovable. He was too human for Angelus, he was too demon for Buffy. But now, with Xander, he didn't know which one caused it, and he couldn't do anything more, he'd become the demon for one, he'd become as close to human as he could for the other. There was nothing left. He couldn't change again, there were simply no more changes left.

He sat outside the dungeon door, eschewing the kneeling position for something slightly more comfortable. He knew he would hear Xander before he came in the flat, if he came in, and he'd take his position then. If he was punished for it, he was certain that he'd deserve it for doubting his Master's intentions. He'd deserve any attention Master showed him now. Over the months they'd been together, Spike had learned Xander's hot spots, his favorite kinks, what would melt the boy every time, and he'd tried to put that knowledge in play earlier, with devastating results.

Now if he wanted Master's attentions again, he would have to learn these new rules. He'd let himself grow lazy, forgetting, again, that the rules would change, because the rules always changed. But Master knew. Master knew he was lazy and stupid, but at least Master had given him a chance, this chance to think and discover his short-comings. When Master came home, he would try, he would learn these new rules and make Master love him again, if Master could love something as stupid and evil as he had been. And when Master showed him any attention, he'd take it, revel in it, notice and learn what he'd done to cause such a gift, and repeat the provocation ten-fold the next time.


Spike stayed there all of that day, motionless, not even bothering to feed, mired in his thoughts. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew this need had come on too strong, too fast. The provocation hadn't warranted this strong a reaction. Master had hurt him, hurt his feelings, but he shouldn't need him like this. He realized that something must be happening, something else was causing this behavior, for both of them. Every time the thought forced its way to the surface, though, the overwhelming need to submit, the guilt and pain drowned it out, leaving him cold and empty and aching.

Finally, Tuesday evening, Spike scrambled to his knees as Xander came into the apartment, prowling through the kitchen cabinets and finding nothing of interest, sniffing loudly and intently. He passed stealthily from room to room, almost silently, passing Spike on more than one occasion without looking at him.

Spike watched with lowered eyes as the scuffed dress shoes and hem of Master's trousers passed him. He wasn't yet worthy of his Master's attentions, and so he kept himself silent, even while inside he screamed at himself for not knowing what to do. Suddenly Master appeared in front of him, and Spike tensed, waiting to be berated or beaten, anything better than this nothing.

Xander and Spike scented the air at the same time, Xander loudly and indelicately, Spike subtly and far more discriminating. Spike smelled Xander's office and knew he'd spent the night there. There were no other scents on him, and a relieved moan hissed out before he could stop himself, relieved that the situations he'd feared had apparently not happened. Master had come home. Master had not yet replaced him. There was still time and he wanted desperately to take this opportunity to redeem himself. Spike's eyes widened as he realized that Xander was actually scenting the air and gathering information from it, however crudely.

Xander, on the other hand, cocked his head and leveled a long hard gaze at the blond. He smirked when the stare continued for well over five minutes, and still the vampire's eyes remained lowered, submission rolling off him in delicious waves. But there was something else there, too, Something that burned his nose and angered him, taking the smell of his claim on the vampire away from him, trying to replace him. The fetid stench of something charred, something unnatural and cloying, covering up the beautiful scent of his Mate's obedience. He pointed toward the bathroom and ordered Spike immediately into the shower.

"You stink. Smell all wrong. Go."  Spike complied quickly, almost tripping himself in his haste to get into the bathroom and prepare himself for his Master. He cursed himself for not thinking of it before, and now he had to spend these moments away, alone, when he should have been ready to please his Master. Master would want him ready and waiting, not just sitting there. He really was as dumb as Master said he was, stupid and bad and lazy and so very lucky he'd been given yet another chance. He left the hot water off, punishing himself with the cold of the room.

When Spike emerged, Xander roughly grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him to the other bedroom, glaring at Spike when he began to smile.

"Do I seem amused to you?"

Spike's grin disappeared and he vigorously shook his head.

"I decide what you need and when. Mine. You're mine, and you know it. Everyone else needs to know it. I don't know what you did to get rid of my scent, but when I'm done with you, everyone will know. Now get over there," Xander pointed to the center of the room. "And remember the rules. I'm not in the mood to fuck around." Xander stripped as he spoke, and Spike shivered in response.

His already naked body still hard, Spike felt some of the tension leave him. A small part of him cringed, the newness and drastic difference of these rules taking him by surprise. As their relationship progressed, Xander had never treated him with anything but love, and even while punishing him, respect. In his apathy, he'd grown used to Master's concern, his care, and he knew how likely it was that he would forget his true place. But the larger part of him reveled in the fact that he had made Master want him, made Master need to show him he was owned and force him into submission. He needed Master to prove he still wanted him.  He kneeled up in the center of the room, and Xander was upon him in seconds.

Xander dragged him up from his position on the floor without further preamble and strapped him into the cross.  Spike felt the leather bite into his skin where the restraints pinched him, but said nothing as Xander clamped Spike's wrists and ankles down, tightening the straps much more than necessary to prevent him from wiggling free, and began to jerk himself off, not lingering, not wanting to watch Spike watch him. Spike frowned at the quickness of Xander's movements. It was unusual that the boy didn't take his time, build up being such a large part for the both of them. Instead of pleasure, Xander moved with a purpose, and when his balls drew up and tightened, he stepped closer to Spike, coming over his stomach. Xander dropped his hand, smearing the come around, then wiped what was left on his hand onto Spike's face. And then he started again.

It took longer this time, but when he was again approaching orgasm, he moved behind Spike, groaning in a strange, high-pitched way, then allowing the come to drip from his back down the cleft of his ass. When he was finished, far too quickly and having only touched Spike those few fleeting times, talking even less, Xander faced him again, grabbing his chin and squeezing.

"Look at me. Look. At. Me." Spike tried to keep his eyes down, the wrongness of the whole encounter finally breaking through his fugue state, but Xander squeezed harder, pressing his fingers into the soft underside of Spike's jaw.

"That's right. Look at me." Spike met Xander's eyes and saw the strange, very faint greenish tinge to them. He gasped sharply and tried to drop his head, but Xander's grip tightened even more.

"Don't be scared. You're not frightened of your Master, now are you?" Spike shook his head. "No. Because that would come dangerously close to pissing me off. After I was so careful to make you smell better, and I don't want to have to do this again." Xander leaned closer, sniffing. He rocked back on his heels, a satisfied smirk flickering across his face. "It takes a lot of work, and I'm really beginning to wonder if you're worth it." Xander dropped his hands and left the room, leaving Spike to dry alone.

Spike wanted to ask what he had done, what he could do now, how he could make himself worth the time, but Master had reminded him of the rules, and he was not to speak. There was nothing he could do but take what Master gave him, and wait for an explanation later. He trusted Master, and while he might not know what he was thinking, he was a good Master. And he would tell Spike when it was time to tell him.

Spike knew Master was in control.

He had to be.


Xander came back in the room after an hour, hair still damp from the shower he'd taken. He released Spike's left wrist from the restraints, letting the arm drop. "Do whatever you want, but don't leave the house, and don't wash. Keep my scent on you." He sniffed close to Spike's neck again. "God, you've already done something to fuck it up, haven't you? Why do you stink so fucking bad? Do you honestly expect me to go through this crap every night? I can't fuck you if you stink, vampire of mine. And don't think for one second that I'm gonna do without just because you refuse to smell right. You think I can't go find someone else? Like there's not other subs out there, better subs?"

Spike lowered his eyes again, wanting to fall to his knees, beg Master not to replace him yet, but he was still strapped by both ankles and one wrist in the cross. He met Xander's eyes, tears falling silently down his face, pleading the only way he could to make Master stay.

"Oh, now, don't cry. Look, you're messing it up." Xander dragged a finger over Spike's cheek, mixing the tears and dried come before pulling his hand back. "See?" He held his fingertip up to Spike's lips, and Spike quickly darted out his tongue, wrapping his lips around the warm finger and dragging his teeth lightly across it, tasting his tears and Xander's come, taking this small offering of his Master's into his body.

"Do you like that? The way I taste?"

Spike nodded, letting Xander pull his hand away from his mouth.

"Want more?"

Again he nodded, his free hand rising involuntarily towards Xander. Xander caught the movement out of the corner of his eye, and he grabbed the offending hand, yanking it up and away from Spike's body, stretching it farther than the cross had.

"Too. Fucking. Bad. You don't take, got it? I give, you accept that and no more." He released Spike's arm and turned, stalking to the doorway.

"Lot of work. Still don't know if you're worth it."

And again he was gone, leaving Spike to stare at the front door closing softly behind his lover.



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