Part Twenty-Six   Laundry

Spike slept fitfully that night, even with Xander's warm body never leaving his, molded to him, tossing and turning with him, no further questions asked, just warm and safe and comforting and loving and everything else Spike would never be able to keep, earn, deserve. In the morning after Xander left, he moved back to his own bed in the vain hopes that maybe not being surrounded by Xander's scent would keep the nightmares at bay. He woke to feed and then wanted only to return to the elusive oblivion of dreamless sleep, trying and failing and trying again until nearly nine o'clock that night, right through Xander's return from work, right through sunset, right through Xander knocking and asking if he was okay, checking, dropping a kiss on his temple, and leaving the room when there was no response.

Later that night, Xander had timed it perfectly, pulling Spike's jeans from the dryer moments before the blond walked out of his bedroom. Xander held out the pants, inhaling the combined scents of his love and fabric softener, scents that screamed to him he was home

Spike held out his hand expectantly; he enjoyed the second-hand warmth too much to wait for Xander to finish sniffing his clothes.

He pulled them on quickly, for a moment forgetting he had an audience.  But the moment Xander heard him curse, he had the jeans ripped open at the button fly and was giving Spike a Look. 

"Why did you do this?"

"They're warm."

"No, they're hot."  Xander's surprisingly gentle fingers caressed over the still pink marks from where the closure of the sinfully tight pants rested against Spike's skin.  Xander was mad. 

"Kind of hard for me to tell, Pet."  Don't be mad, Xander, didn't mean it.

"Do you still miss it that much? Warmth?" He looked up at him, concern written across his face.


"Oh."  Xander was thinking, of a way to punish him, maybe, for being bad, even though he hadn't meant to disobey this time. He just wanted to be warm in the combined smells of himself and his Xander that resulted when he washed their clothes together. "Maybe I can help."  And with that, Xander dropped to his knees, tongue replacing his fingers.  Now that the skin had healed he didn't have to be gentle, but still was.  Then his tongue stopped making the little circles around the ex-burns and moved, lower, lower until he was brushing the very first of the hair there, and his cheek rubbing against Spike's cock left exposed from the open jeans.

Xander raised his eyes to Spike's face, hoping to see encouragement in his eyes.  They had never done this, meaning he had never done this, and he knew from experience the disappointment of a blow-job gone bad.  Instead, though Spike's eyes were closed, his mouth was a little 'o' of surprise.  Also knowing from experience that this was a good look, he continued to swirl his tongue through the sharp hair, feeling the difference between the smooth, cool skin of Spike's abdomen and the warmth from the jeans and the just-eaten blood pooling lower.

He moved in, closer to his final target and tugged Spike's jeans to his knees.  Placing a hand on his hip to steady himself, Xander stiffened his tongue and probed the root, eliciting a soft gasp from Spike.  He softened his tongue again and licked around and around, trying to taste every bit that he could.  Spike's cock twitched in response.

Xander decided it was now or never, and still nervous, wanted this more than anything he ever wanted before.  He pulled his tongue up the underside, following the vein before licking the exposed head in one broad stroke. 

"Xander, yesss." Spike whimpered, hands holding tightly now to Xander's shoulders, attempting to keep himself from grabbing Xander's head, pulling him forward for more.

Xander pulled back enough to wet his lips and slowly took the head in all the way, concentrating on sucking at the sensitive glans, and tasting, not surprised that he wanted more.

"So warm, Xander."

Sucking gently, then licking, then back to sucking, he knew he wouldn't be able to get much more in his mouth this time.  Releasing the tip, he returned to the long slow licks he had started with, going all the way down one side, little kiss, then back up, little kiss with a suck, than back down the other side with a kiss to finish off.  Once Spike was wet all over, breathing in short pants now...

"Xander, please, more, harder."

Begging. Xander brought his mouth around again, followed by his hand.  Remembering advice he had given once, he relaxed as much as possible and took the vampire in again, hand covering what was left exposed. 


Squeezing slightly and sucking harder, Xander found a rhythm after only knocking himself in the teeth once. 

"So good, Xan, so hot and good.  Just a little more, please, so good."

And Xander wanted to give just a little more, to keep the not quite incoherent babble flowing from Spike's lips going as long as possible, he relaxed a bit more, and managed to get almost all the way.

"Oh, oh, oh."  Panting.

Yes yes yes.  Xander reached a hand to his own too hard dick and fondled through the pants.  He would have like to take it out, do this right, but all his concentration was on Spike and not ruining this by gagging, so this would have to do.

The hand from Spike's hip moved  down to lightly stroke Spike's balls.  That was all he needed, that little bit more, and Spike was coming, coming so hard that he was afraid he would fall. But Xander anticipated this, both hands coming up to his hips again to steady him, mouth staying wrapped tight around his cock, sucking every drop out of him and down his throat.

The look on Spike's face, the buckle in his knees as he came were more effective than anything his hand could have accomplished, unzipped or not, and Xander was coming, his own spurting release timed with Spike's, like a circuit completed. Xander placed his head on Spike's belly and tried to regain his breath.

When Spike thought he could stand without toppling to the ground, he pulled Xander up to face him.

"That was..."

"Was it?"



"Amazing."  Spike nodded.

"It'll get better."  Xander promised, knowing that Spike was trying to make him feel better about his clumsy-but-appreciated efforts.

"Not much better to get, Pet." Spike replied honestly. Xander wasn't a pro, not by a long shot, but it had been a long time since anyone had willingly done that to him, with that much care and concern, and the innocent fumbling, proof that he was Xander's first... It was shallow and petty, and he could admit it, but it turned him on even more.

Xander smiled.  "Gotta do laundry again, though."

"Yeah.  Next time I'll help you with that."  He gestured at Xander's now wet crotch.


Spike turned to face Xander warily, not sure what to expect.

"Just... be careful next time, okay? I don't want you to be hurt."

Part Twenty-Seven  

Xander woke the next morning tangled with Spike in a way that with anyone else would have been incredibly uncomfortable.  With Spike, it was only mildly annoying: cramp in his leg and his hand was asleep, but still really, really comfy.  He was reluctant to leave. It'd taken a while to convince Spike to sleep with him, and he still wanted to prolong this feeling of contentment he'd found. He didn't know how long it would take, but he hoped soon Spike would agree to stay in his room. Only the knowledge that he would be home soon and able to begin his vacation the next day helped him get out of bed, kissing Spike lightly on the temple when the blond began to stir.  After showering and dressing, he returned with his coffee to once more kiss his vampire before work.

"Crfumzn" Spike muttered, and Xander took it to mean he had been warned to be careful.  Or that the car was full of muffins, you really never could tell.

Spike's first dream of the night had not been his last.  Xander had tried to comfort him after interpreting his words.  But Spike had not dreamed that Xander was choosing to leave him.  While that would be, had been, nightmare enough, this was even worse.  Xander came home from work, iced chocolate donut with sprinkles in hand and had immediately proceeded to tell Spike to get out.  Spike tried to use Xander's argument from last time, that the sun was still up; that he couldn't go.

"I don't care.  If you didn't deserve to die, maybe that wouldn't be a problem."

"Xander, you don't mean-"

"Yes.  I do.  I want windows, Spike.  Do you think I want a basement?"  His words were mocking him, twisting the intent of those words from the first time he heard them.

"But you did this for us," Spike pleaded.

"There is no us. I want a hot, wet pussy in my bed.  Not your cold, dead ass, full of cold lube and nothing else.  You're empty Spike, nothing.  I want someone born the same century as me, someone who'll give me children.  What could I want with you?  Leave."

So Spike had grabbed him, bitten him and beaten him until the blood loss from both left him unconscious. 

Then he chained him to the wall.

"I can't go, Xander.  Can't go.  Love you.  Stay with you always."

That was when Xander had woken him, and he tried to forget, tried to make Xander forget making him leave, sure that that was what had been bothering him earlier in the week. After, he couldn't stop the feeling that Xander didn't want him around, and was just too nice to kick him out with no where to go.

Every time he fell back asleep, the dream picked up again. Some version of the events, worsening until this morning, when Xander kissed him, so softly, the scent of coffee and Xander and himself all mingling together through his dream-filled haze.

This time he was the one chained, shackled like the animal he was, just like he had been in Buffy's basement.  Xander was in front of him, holding a whip. Stroking it but refusing to use it.

"No. You love me. Please."

"No one has ever loved you.  Do you think you're any different to me?  Do you think you're anything to me?"

"Please, Xander.  Master, make me good enough.  Use it.  Master, please."

"This?"  Xander laughed cruelly.  "There aren't enough whips in the world, Spike.  My arms would fall off before I could strike you enough to make you good."

"I can be-" Spike was again begging.

"Angel spent years trying to fix you.  Why do you think he left you?  That it was because he thought you wouldn't understand?  Wrong, fuck toy.  Why don't we ask him, huh?"

Angel's voice floated into the room, faintly, but Xander was still speaking, covering the words.  "Do you think I'd ever want to do this to you, Spike?" He cracked the whip but still did not lash Spike. "This is sick, it's wrong. People with souls don't need to hurt like this, they don't hurt others like this.  I know, I have a soul."

"I have a soul, Master.  I got one, I tried so hard-"

"What you have is an excuse," Xander interrupted again. "So you can play pretend and fuck whoever you want however you want whether they want it back and no one can get mad. Because you're good now."

"I know of one rapist with a soul..."  Angel's voice called to him, bringing images of Angel, Xander's father, and himself to his mind, and what they all had in common.

Then Angel was there. With his Master, his Xander, and he was kissing him, tongue parting bruised lips and Xander was breathing heavily, legs shaking, desperate for Angel to unzip his pants. To take him in hand and drop to his knees.   

"No! It's not him that you want!"  And now Spike wasn't sure who he was talking to, because the dark-haired men had become one, XanderAngel's hand closed around AngelXander's cock, stroking and pulling and refusing to come near Spike's still shackled yet straining arms.  He dislocated one of his shoulders trying to reach, but they only laughed at his arm hanging now painfully above his head.  They turned toward him then and they came, spurting and groaning, fangs somehow imbedded in their own neck, blood flowing as easily as come, spasming out in the same rhythm.  And the come splashed near Spike's hands, near his mouth, near his own straining erection, but not close enough. Not in his mouth so he could taste it, not in him so he could feel it, not on him so they could claim him.

"You want me.  You want me, Master."  The words were nearly lost in his sobs, but the AnderXangel heard him clearly.

"The only way I want you is gone, William."  the AngelXander said, turning to leave.  "There is no room for you here. We don't have the patience for broken toys."

Part Twenty-Eight   Broken Toys

Spike woke, surrounded by Xander's scent, shaking and crying and needing, needing because that damn dream came back, came screaming back into his head again, again, again, and would not bloody well leave him the fuck alone.  The vision of the whip stayed bright in his mind, Xander's warm fingers caressing the thickly braided leather.  He didn't have a whip, or a flogger, or a cat, or anything he could think of to provide the pain he needed to accompany the dream, to clear his head.  To make him right for when Xander came home again.

He reached for the only thing he could think of, pulling his belt through the loops of his jeans so quickly the scent of hot leather now mixed with Xander's smell, lingering on him still.  And that was good, that was the scent he needed.  He tried to bring the belt down across his back.  The awkward position left him unable to achieve the force he needed, soft thwaps landing unevenly, requiring too much effort and giving frustratingly little contact.

Choking off a cry of frustration-guilt-need, he threw the belt across the room, its heavy buckle leaving a small dent in the drywall.  He smoked through his fangs, dressed, smoked again, shaking so hard he burnt his thumb dangerously before he was able to light his second cigarette.  It wasn't enough, the pain still not pure, not like having it come unexpectedly from someone else.  The sound of the voice from the recurring dream surpassing even the magic box voice in its callousness and utter contempt still ringing in his ears.  'This is sick; people don't do this.'

Spike stood, left his duster on the coat rack by the door and took the elevator to the lobby. He stood in the shadows, examining the harsh line where dark tile became blindingly bright in the sun.  He stepped closer to it,  boots breaking the plane, leather keeping (protecting, preventing) his toes from catching fire.  He held his hand up, the left, and splayed his fingers. Slowly he pressed them into the sunlight, blocking the immediate urge to pull back by wondering if his pale skin really seemed to glow, the way Xander murmured that it did in his sleep, or if it was only because of his dark-accustomed eyes. Blue veins stood out in relief against his flesh.  His hand started smoking slightly, wisps from his hand matching those from his cigarette,  and he pulled back steadily, thanking-cursing the UV-filter, tempered glass Xander didn't know Spike knew the human had installed in the lobby windows a few weeks back.

He thought that maybe he was okay now, maybe he could go back inside, add a few drops of holy water to a bath and sleep enough to heal by the time Xander came home tonight. Maybe he would tell him what had been wrong earlier, what there was that Xander wasn't telling him, when Xander came home.

If Xander came home.

The thought was enough to bring back the dream, thoughts of Xander, holding him, concern over his self-inflicted wounds, how Xander had tried to comfort him. How Spike had forced himself onto him, forced the boy to blow him as reassurance that he really was wanted, taken the comfort he wanted, whenwhyhowwhere he wanted, and the words of his dream, how Xander would react if he knew if he knew what he needed, what Spike was, still a demon, still sick, still nothing, useless, thing. 

'What you have is an excuse, so you can fuck-'

He thrust his hand back into the sun.

Part Twenty-Nine   Sunlight

"Spike!  What in the hell are you doing?"

Spike pulled his hand back inside the doorway, shaking off the small wisps of smoke that had started to rise from his fingers.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Xander had already reached him, holding his hand and trying not to dislodge any of the blistering skin.

"I was."

There was the interruption, right on cue.  "You were what, hoping to become confetti for my welcome home on a Thursday party?  Were you all out of streamers?  Did the party shop call and cancel your linen rental?"  Yes, Xander was pissed off because the metaphor no longer really made sense.

"No, I just..."  Wanted to be warm.  Wanted to die.  Wanted to suffer.  Wanted to do something, anything to make you mad enough to hit me, take me, need to prove that I'm still here. 

"Dammit, Spike, why?"

There were tears and Xander was shaking, and now Spike couldn't tell him, couldn't let him know that this was why he was doing it.

'This is sick.'

"I'm sorry, Xander."

"How long?"  Xander was looking at Spike's fingers, his hands, noticing the pink, shiny, healed-over skin trailing up his arm in even parallel cuts and disappearing under his sleeves that was only distinguishable from the old because it wasn't yet as pale as the rest of him. Then he was dragging Spike to the elevators and into the apartment.

"Only a few seconds."

"How long?" Xander asked again, this time hoping Spike chose not to ignore the meaning behind his words.


"Spike."  It was sighed, whispered, shuddered out all in one horrible breath.  If Spike had wanted to suffer, he had gotten that.  But Xander was supposed to be making him suffer, not suffering because he was. "Come inside."

Then Spike noticed.  Daylight and Xander didn't mix this time of year.  At the office before dawn, home after dusk, but only because of the season, not because he was avoiding him. Xander told him this every time Spike looked at the clock.

"You're home early," Spike noted, flatly.

"Sorry to disappoint.  Thought we could get an early start on our weekend. I'm on vacation. Didn't know I was about to have to do it alone."

"I would have stopped."

"Would you?"

Maybe.  "Yes."

"Don't fucking lie to me, Spike."


"What else."  Xander was commanding him now, standing in the kitchen, cleaning his wounds. 

"The lighter, if it's too cloudy."  Spike was kneeling now as Xander carefully cleaned and bandaged his hand, knowing the tone, hoping that correcting this mistake from last time, the first time he glimpsed Xander's ability to really control him, would earn him his lesson.

"Fuck, Spike, do you have any idea how... What else?"  Xander was still shiny-eyed, looking down on Spike's head, but in control of his voice, holding back his urge to destroy the sun for hurting his vampire.  Right now kindergarten tales and best friends and stuck satanic temples wouldn't do much to stop him, so what did that say about things?

"Holy water."

"Go get it."

Spike stayed where he was. 

"Go. Get. It. Now."

Spike went, retrieved the nearly empty bottle from the nightstand in his bedroom, evaporated residue he coated the outside with last time causing just a twinge in his hand.  He made sure to use the good one. He handed it to Xander, who was waiting for him in the living room now, standing by the sofa, Spike's undamaged flesh now reddened.

"You did this often?"

Spike nodded.

"Anything else?"

Spike shook his head, knowing that Xander didn't want to know about the belt and the knives and the demons he let win the fights just long enough to bruise him.

"This stops."

Spike stayed silent, still.  Xander couldn't take this from him. 

"Spike.  This stops now.  You can't do this, any of this again."

Please, Xander.  If you take it away, you have to replace it.  He remained silent in the hopes Xander would hurt him, make him answer.

"Spike.  I can't.  You can't go away."  Xander was the one kneeling now, and no no no this was all wrong.  Xander was supposed to be standing, controlling, punishing, not begging, crying, pleading.

Xander pulled Spike to him and cradled him on the sofa, trying to give the comfort he could, somehow knowing it wasn't working.  He rubbed his hands over the vampire, back and arms and legs pulled in to his chest, up to the back again and starting over.  Spike still hadn't responded to him and he still didn't know why this was happening.  Was it him?  Had he driven the most important person in his life to suicide?

Xander pulled back then, releasing Spike.  The comfort he tried to offer was not working, seemed to be making the vacancy behind those once proud always beautiful eyes grow.  Spike had shrunk in on himself, and he obviously didn't want Xander touching him.

He got up, not sure what to do, and stared at his vampire, not knowing, never knowing, too normal to have any fucking clue as to how to stop whatever was hurting Spike, whatever hurt his friends, never, never knowing how to fix it and somehow always making it worse when he tried to help because people weren't windows and he couldn't just take the broken bits out and install new ones.

"Don't you want to be here any more?" Xander whispered, half hoping Spike wouldn't hear him, and wouldn't answer.

Like waking up, Spike came back to himself, saw what Xander was doing, what he had made Xander do.

"Sorry, Xan.  Won't leave.  Please don't cry.  I won't.  Won't do it again. Just don't be mad.  Don't go, come back, I'm not.  I don't.  Just don't be mad, just don't be-"

"No, baby, I'm not leaving.  Promise, okay.  Tell me."  And he was holding him again, this time the comforting sounds and warm hands working, making it all better.  For now, it was going away.  Maybe this time it would stay away.

"Promise, Xan." Statement, question, maybe both.

And then Xander's lips were there, taking his promise before it could be uttered, tongue searching for more, hidden behind teeth, inside lips.

Spike was giving his promise, with his hands, his legs, his hips.  Pushing Xander down he arranged himself between his knees, pressing the two of them together.  Xander's hands were still rubbing his back, each stoke down moving lower until he grabbed Spike, thrust up against him.

And Xander stopped, remembering that this was what had started it all last time. "We don't have to-"

"No, please, don't make me stop, don't go away, I can do this, can be good."

"Sh, baby, it's okay."  Xander was kissing him again, urgency from almost losing him coming through in every movement.  Spike reached between them and stroked Xander through his dress pants, hand resting over the bulge.  Xander thrust up, and Spike pulled the slacks open, ripping them from the seams rather than struggling with the zipper. 

Xander pulled Spike's head closer, fingers twining in hair, and tongues brushing still.  Spike started to pump him then, thumb dragging over the head to spread precome and then moving back down the shaft.  Slowly, then faster as Xander panted into his mouth, swallowing the gasps and moans and reassurances they interrupted. 

"Can be good, Xander, love you, so much, always love you."  Spike chanted in time to his strokes, rubbing himself against Xander's thigh.  Xander released his head and grabbed him, trapping his hand between their bodies.  Spike thumbed the slit with his limited motions and felt hot come cover his hand.  His own release followed and he rested heavily against Xander, the smells of tears and lust and anger and singed flesh and blood but most of all, love covering them both.

Part Thirty   Punishment

After they regained their breath, Xander spoke.  "One of these times we'll manage to get our pants off."


"Hey, why don't you go lay down.  Get some rest and I'll do the laundry. Again."


"I love you."

"Yeah."  Spike left then, after waiting a ridiculously long time for Xander to let go of him, and headed into his own room, closing the door behind him.  Xander fought the urge to confiscate the lighter.  If Spike was feeling anything like he was, he'd need a good smoke.  And that was before the orgasm.

In fact, that sounded like a damn good idea, and he snatched one from a spare pack still lying in the side table drawer.  He leaned against the sofa, pants still unfastened, and tried to figure out what had happened. 

Drag, think, drag, think, cough, think, think, drag. 

He lit another off the stump of the first and focused on just holding it. He very pointedly did not watch the tip turn and the column of ash grow as the smoke rose from his fingers, and he did not think that that was exactly what would have happened to Spike had he come home at six rather than noon.

If he smoked any more he was going to puke.  If he thought any more he was going to puke.  Drag think, think drag anyway, take that fucked up gods of beautiful tormented souled vampires and their self- destructive impulses.  Xander knew Spike hated being cold, but couldn't he have just asked for an electric blanket?  What the hell was going on up there?


There would be no punishment. Even though he had deserved it, gone against Xander's order that he never hurt himself again, he would not be punished.

"Xander?" Spike called from the doorway of his room.

There was that voice, the tone of doubt Xander heard when Spike was confused. He entered the bedroom quickly and sat down next to him, pulling one leg on the bed so he could face Spike.  "What is it, baby?"

"You're not mad?"  Questioning, afraid.


"For the burns."

"No, Spike.  I'm not mad.  I don't want it to happen again, but I'm not mad."

"You're not going to punish me."  Statement.

"Is that what you want?  Do you need... Oh, Spike, no."  If he needed to be hurt... things clicked into place, and Xander realized. Everything. He would do anything for Spike, but he wasn't sure if he could punish him like that.  Hurt him.

"It's just that..." Spike searched for words. "I disobeyed you."

"No, Spike, it's not like that. It wasn't disobeying.  I didn't order you to... I don't give orders to you Spike. And I don't punish you. I'm not Angel."

"Do you still love me?"

"Of course I do.  Nothing could change that, Spike, ever.  Baby, do you think I don't love you because I didn't punish you?  And before, is that what that was?"

Hesitation.  Part of him didn't, only wanted the good, the gentle, the cuddles.  But he knew that before, when he had done something dumb and foolish, Angelus had fucked him into submission.  Then he came up with an amazing torture, one hundred times worse than the crime, to remind Spike of his place.  He belonged to Angelus and only he had the right to kill him.  It was a kind of love.  It was what he could get.

And Buffy would beat him, until the bruises stayed at least for the day, to punish him for being what she wanted.  To punish him for being hers.  Then followed the fucking into submission.  The order was reversed, but it was a kind of love, too.

Now he was Xander's. Xander's to love, Xander's to fuck, Xander's to hurt.  He had taken that away from him and if he was good enough that Xander could want to be troubled with him, Xander would remind him of this.  If he didn't, then maybe he didn't want to be bothered.


"Do you need me to punish you?"  Xander asked again, even more afraid of the answer this time than the first time he had posed the question. Because he knew the answer. And he knew what he would do. If it was something he needed, then Xander would... He would.

Spike hesitated again, not wanting to upset Xander, but knowing he wanted the truth.  'Don't fucking lie to me, Spike.'  And the truth was...


Xander stood then, not knowing what else to do.  He began to pace, trying not to look down at the blond head turned toward the floor. 

"Let me.  Just.  I."  Xander didn't know where to begin, where to end.

"I'm sorry, Xander."

"No, Spike.  Don't be sorry.  This is just.  I never thought about this.  I should have, I know it's... but it just never occurred to me."  Xander sighed.  "I think I need to go.  Someplace that isn't here right now."

"I'm sorry, Xander."

"This isn't you, Spike.  Never you.  I just need to think. " Xander took a deep breath, knowing he had made his descision when he asked the question. "If I'm going to have to punish you, It's going to have to be good."  He pitched his voice lower, back to the one that had gotten Spike to obey, to... submit.  "What you did will not be repeated.  You will remember this."


"I'm going to go now.  You're going to go to eat and then go to sleep.  You need to heal; I'll need you in good form later."

"Yes." Yes. Yesi



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