Breaking Free


Part Thirty-Seven

Xander pressed his body closer to Spike and for a moment let the feel of Spike’s lean and strong body comfort him. Hot water poured down on their bodies. Xander let the water sluice over his skin warming him and covering his tears.

Xander knew he and Spike were being watched. Xander knew he had to begin this horrible farce soon.

Yet, Xander also knew what the small tremors racing across Spike’s skin meant. While it was small comfort Spike had given Xander his consent, Xander also knew their situation hadn’t given Spike much choice.

Riley and Forrest needed to see Xander hurt Spike. Spike had to play along and follow Xander’s lead. Xander suppressed a shudder. The thought of hurting Spike caused Xander’s ‘interest’ to soften. Hurting Spike was not a turn on.

Xander’s wilting didn’t go unnoticed by Spike.

“ ‘S wot I thought,” Spike sneered. “Council Boys are all talk.”

C’mon git, Spike thought. Get with it before they get bored or suspicious.

Xander squeezed Spike’s arms. Message received, Oh Bossy one! Xander thought as he hid a small smile and growled. Once again Xander spun Spike around and slammed him into the wall.

“I’m not doing all the work, Seventeen,” Xander said. “Get on your knees!”

Spike shifted into game face, “Aren’t you afraid I’ll bite it off?”

“Not in the least,” Xander answered honestly.

Spike dropped to his knees and leaned forward.  Boy’s definitely not enjoying this, Spike thought as he noted Xander’s failing cock. Gonna have to see what I can do about that or the yobs are never gonna buy this.

Spike’s grip looked rougher than it was. It looked like it was just short of firing the chip, but in reality Spike concentrated on making a firm but gentle sheath. Spike stroked Xander until the blood was once again swelling his boy’s cock.

Xander bit his lip as he felt his cock swell under Spike’s masterful touch. Xander needed this. He needed to feel he was still Spike’s pet.

Spike took a brief moment to relish the feel of Xander and the smell of his arousal. Spike’s fears were close to the surface. The feel and scent of Xander’s need was Spike’s only shield against those dangerous emotions. When Spike felt the pearl drop of Xander’s seed rolling under his thumb he knew it was time to move on to the next step.

“I’m not always gonna be chipped, Council Boy,” Spike growled. Then, before Xander could respond, Spike engulfed his boy’s length.

Xander gasped and put his hands on the wall for support. The heat and feel of Spike around his penis was sudden and wonderful.

“Biogen scum!” Xander hissed and thrust deeply into Spike’s hot and willing mouth.

Spike didn’t miss a beat and continued his assault. Spike began teasing Xander’s cock with his fangs. Xander could feel their hard and pointy edges glide dangerously and sensuously over his thin and sensitive skin.

Xander couldn’t help but continue to thrust. Ghods where did he learn that trick? Xander wondered. Briefly the image of Angel crossed his mind. Scratch that! Don’t need to know!

Spike concentrated on relaxing his throat. He wanted to laugh at his boy’s intense reaction. Gonna have to do this bit again, Spike internally vowed. Gonna chain him to the bed and tease every inch of him with my ivory points.

Spike growled and the vibrations rocketed up Xander’s cock.

“Fuck you!” Xander screamed then grabbed Spike’s head and thrust as deeply as he could down Spike’s throat. Spike, GHODS!!

Spike took as much as he could even as he fought the need to gag. Spike concentrated on breathing and sending more growling sounds up Xander’s cock.

Still my pet, Spike thought. Still gonna make it good for you, Xan.

“Cocksucker!” Xander yelled. Spike was driving him insane!

Xander tightened his grip on Spike’s soft hair. Xander briefly used his fingers as a hairbrush and ran his hands through Spike’s wet locks. He relished its silk texture and the chance to offer his lover some gentleness. Then Xander shoved Spike back away from him. Xander was too close and he knew this wouldn’t be enough ‘proof’ for Riley.

Xander stood struggling for breath and control. He could feel the need to shift into his own game face as well as his need to lie down and spread for Spike. Neither option was available.

Instead, Xander stood in the shower spray breathing heavily with his hard and wet cock lording over Spike. Spike remained on his knees and in game face. He too was breathing heavily.

He’s such a pretty pet, my beloved Xan, Spike thought as he gazed up at Xander.

No matter what, I love you, Spike, Xander thought as he gazed down at his lover.

“That it, Council Boy?” Spike rasped when he could finally catch a breath.

Xander hid his wince at the sound of Spike’s coarse voice. Was I too rough? Xander worried.

“That was just the warm-up,” Xander replied. “Get back on your feet and face the wall! I wouldn’t want you to miss the big finish!”

“Didn’t feel like it posed much of a finish ta me,” Spike sneered as he got up. This is Xan, Spike mentally reminded himself as his stomach began to churn.

“I promise, you’ll think differently when I’m creaming up your ass,” Xander answered. Oh Ghods! I’m sorry Spike! Xander thought.

Spike didn’t have to fake the shudder that raced through him as he ‘assumed the position’. Do what you have to do, Xan, Spike silently ordered.

Xander moved in close behind Spike. Once again he gripped Spike’s arms and squeezed. I’m so sorry, Spike, Xander silently cried.

“Not so tough when it’s you catching are you, Seventeen?” Xander asked.

“Tough enough to catch anything you pitch, Council Boy,” Spike replied.

As the impending moment rushed towards them, Xander briefly panicked. He’d never done this before. He never expected to do this. How do I do this? Xander wondered. I don’t want to hurt Spike!

Xander took a quick breath and let himself think of that tender first time with Spike. Spike had used lube and prepared Xander.

How am I going to do that with out Riley and Forrest getting suspicious? Xander wondered.

“Need to be shown how it’s done?” Spike sneered sensing Xander’s hesitation. “Shown again, that is.”

“I learned plenty from you!” Xander snarled and reached for the soap. He slicked up a finger and parted Spike’s cheeks.

Another shudder slammed through Spike. I can do this! Spike mentally screamed. It’s just Xan!

“I don’t want any of your filth to rub off on me,“ Xander said, as he circled Spike’s tight pucker with his soapy finger before beginning to breach the tight ring.

Spike took a deep breath and tried to relax. He focused on the feel and smell of his pet. It’s Xander breaching me, Spike thought. That’s my pet’s hot and soapy finger sliding up into me.

Xander went as slowly as he dared. The tight heat of Spike made him gasp. Xander pushed deeper with his finger and twisted it around in a circle.

“First pitch,” Xander said. “Here comes the next one!”

Xander pulled his finger back and then worked two fingers inside Spike. He tried to ignore Spike’s grunt. Once again Xander worked quickly, but as gently as he could, twisting his fingers around inside of his lover. Without meaning to Xander brushed his fingers over Spike’s sensitive nub.

XAN! Spike mentally screamed as he gasped and his body reacted to his lover’s touch.

”Sp…Something the matter, Seventeen?” Xander asked and then brushed the nub again. So that’s what the prostate feels like from the other side, Xander thought.

“Fuck you!” Spike snarled. Oh pet, that felt good, Spike thought.

“No,” Xander said as he jerked back his two fingers and then quickly worked three fingers inside Spike. “I believe it’s you that’s getting fucked this time.”

Xander worked to stretch Spike’s hole while at the same time being sure to continue to stroke and tease Spike’s hidden nub. Xander could start to smell his lover’s arousal. I’m going to do what I can to make this good for you, Spike, Xander thought. Please, somehow, let me make this good for you.

“Damn you, Council Boy!” Spike snarled as he slammed a fist into the wall. Xan! Pet! That feels fucking fantastic! You bloody git! I’m so gonna shag you silly when we get out of this!

“After you,” Xander replied as he pulled his fingers out of Spike.

Xander then soaped up his dick as much as he could. He needed to be as slick as possible. Then he grabbed Spike’s ass cheeks and spread them wide.

 “Batter up!”

Then Xander closed his eyes as he shoved himself past Spike’s ring. Xander could feel the resistance give quickly under his brutal assault. Xander could also feel Spike’s sudden stiffening. Xander heard Spike’s gasp. Oh, Spike! Please forgive me! Xander silently cried.

Spike once again slammed his fist into the wall. Later, Spike would have a brief moment of satisfaction when he noted the dent he left.

“Arsewipe! Bag of shite!” Spike screamed.

“Feels good, eh?” Xander asked as his heart broke.

Oh pet, Spike thought as he noted the edge in Xander’s voice. Don’t worry. We’ll get through this.

“That the best ya can do?” Spike sneered. “Best head back to kiddie leagues. Maybe that Riley bloke!”

Xander bit back a laugh. Riley wasn’t half the man Spike was. He was definitely in the ‘kiddie leagues.’

“Well I guess we’ll have to step this game up a bit then,” Xander said as he began to thrust in and out of Spike. Xander’s cock glided smoothly in Spike’s slick, hot channel. The circumstances suck, Xander thought, but the feeling is incredible!

“You know,” Xander said as he thrust deeply pressing against Spike’s sensitive nub, then reached around to take hold of Spike’s cock. “A game’s just not the same without an opponent to beat.”

Bloody hell! Spike thought as the feel of Xander pressing into him while wrapping his hot slick hands around his cock sent him reeling. Don’t give us away, you soddin’ wonderful git!

“What ya think, Seventeen?” Xander asked as he continued to stroke and pump Spike. “Think this puny human can make you cum while taking it up the ass?”

“Go ta hell!” Spike growled, even as all his blood rushed to his groin and he fought not to thrust back against Xander. “When I get out of this I’m coming for you, Xaaannnder.”

“What makes you think you’re gonna get away?” Xander asked as once again he made sure to angle his thrusts against Spike’s prostate. “Hmm? Maybe I’ll ask Buffy for a favor? Maybe instead of killing you I’ll just ask her if I can have you for my pet!”

Spike growled. Oh you cheeky git! I’m gonna tan yer arse! Spike thought as he panted and fought for control.

“I’ll chain you to my bed,” Xander whispered and began to thrust faster even as he ran his thumb over Spike’s crown. “And every night I’ll ream this ass until all you can think about is being fucked. I’ll have you begging me for it!”

Pet, yer gonna be gagged so ya can’t beg for it and I’m gonna make you cum and cum and cum, Spike thought briefly before his world went white, his eyes rolled back in his head and he came with a loud shout.

Xander heard Spike’s yell and felt him tighten around Xander as he spasmed his relief. Xander bit back his own yell as he felt himself begin to thrust wildly into Spike’s silken and clenching flesh. Xander fought to keep from sliding into his game face while he rushed towards his own impending orgasm.

SPIKE!  Xander thought as he bit and scratched at Spike’s back while he fought to keep some control even as he was losing most of it. SPIKE! Oh Ghod! Spike I love you! Xander thought as his body climaxed and he felt his hot release pump into Spike.

PET! XANDER! Spike thought as his body shook through its final throes of release even while it took Xander’s. I love you, too!

Slowly both men came down from their sexual high. Xander took the span of a heartbeat just to feel the warm connection between him and his lover. Xander risked another squeeze as he gripped Spike’s arms and then shoved him away hard enough that Spike hit the wall and fell.

“Game over,” Xander said as he stared down at Spike.

Spike twisted around to look at Xander.  “Just the first quarter pe…Council Boy. We’ve a long way to go before this game is finished.”

“Well you’ll have to play it with someone else,” Xander said as he marched over to his clothes and began getting dressed. “I’m bored now.”

“Not goin’ ta make me your pet after all?” Spike asked as he continued to sit on the floor and watch his boy getting dressed.

“Nah, I don’t need a pet,” Xander said as he finished dressing and looked at Spike. I just need to be a pet! Xander thought.

Spike once again grinned cockily. He wasn’t a mind reader, but he knew in that moment Xander still needed him and most of all was still his pet.

“Well I guess that means someone else will have to house break me,” Spike said.

“NO,” Xander barked. “You are MINE. I’m personally seeing to it you get back to the ‘Dale to face Buffy. Whatever happens to you, Seventeen, I promise I’ll be there every step of the way!”

Then Xander turned and stormed out of the bathroom leaving Spike sitting on the floor of the shower. Once he exited he locked the door behind him. Captain Finn and Sergeant Gates were waiting for him.

“Enough proof for you?” Xander asked Riley.

Gates sneered. Riley cocked an eyebrow and asked, “You going to have only the one go?”

“One’s more than enough,” Xander spat.

Riley nodded. “Sergeant Gates, please give Lieutenant Harris Seventeen’s controlling device.”

“Sir!” Gates acknowledged before taking off the device and handing it to Xander.

“Lieutenant Harris,” Riley said, “You have the prisoner.”

“Good,” Xander replied. “Now, I want the security feed for this area pumped into my room’s vid viewer. I want to be able to monitor Seventeen at all times.”

“Not going to do it personally?” Gates asked.

“You may like to do it with a toaster,” Xander said, “but I definitely prefer someone with a little humanity.”

Riley smirked. Gates frowned.

“Any other orders, sir?” Gates asked.

“Yes, I want Specialist Miller to be assigned to the brig to watch Seventeen when I’m not here.”

“SIR!” Gates protested.

“I promised the regent Seventeen would arrive back at the ‘Dale alive and in shape to be interrogated,” barked Xander. “That means I’m going to make sure no accidents happen!”

“Sir?” Gates turned to Riley.

“Lieutenant Harris is in charge of the prisoner, Sergeant Gates,” Riley replied. “Until he screws up. Be on standby.”

“Yes, Sir!”

“Thank you, sir,” Xander replied. You really are class A prick, Riley, Xander thought.

“Now, I have a ship to run,” Riley said as he headed for the door of the brig. “Gates, you’re with me.”

“Yes, Sir!” Gates replied as he followed Riley out the door and past Miller.

Tinmen! Xander thought as he followed the two men to the door. Xander resisted the urge to go back into the bathroom area and check on Spike. He knew he couldn’t. He also knew he couldn’t visit with Spike either unless he wanted to go through the whole bathroom scene again. I can’t do that to Spike again! Xander thought. I won’t!

When Riley and Forrest were out of sight, Xander turned to Specialist Miller.

“Miller,” Xander said.

“Yes, Sir!” Miller replied.

“You are now in charge of Seventeen when I’m not here. I want you to check on him often. If there are any problems, let me know.”

“Sir?” Miller asked a bit confused.

“The regent has put me in charge of Seventeen. He’s got an active chip, so he's no threat. I want you to see he gets food, water and regular access to the toilet area. The security feed from the brig will be fed into my quarter’s vid viewer.”

“An ‘active chip’, sir?”

Well I guess I wasn’t the only one on the clueless bus about the chip, until recently, Xander thought. How common knowledge is the chip? And why did Riley and Forrest know about it and have access to it?

”It’s a control device,” Xander explained. “If Seventeen attempts to harm you, he’ll experience big pain: mind numbing, body rending and gut spilling pain.”

“Sir?” Miller asked, still somewhat confused.

“Trust me,” Xander said.

“Yes, Sir!” Miller said as he saluted Xander.

“Mi…Graham,” Xander said. “At ease. Just help me see that Seventeen makes it to the ‘Dale alive and healthy. I’ll make sure to pass the good word on to the Regent Prime.”

Graham smiled. “Yes, sir.”

Xander smiled and saluted Graham. Then he turned and headed back to his cabin. It’s just a little ways, Xander thought, then I can fall apart in the privacy of my bugged quarters...not.

Spike, Xander thought. I want to go home. Promise me when we get out of this we’ll go home, back to the DeSoto.

Part Thirty-Eight

Faith paced. They had been on Inara for three days. They were at the Ankara Health Facility; the best facility on the colony. Wesley had been wheeled away from the Desoto crew as soon as they’d entered the facility. They were still waiting to see him.

“The doctor said the prognosis is good,” Fred said to the pacing ex-Regent. “He’s stabilized and they're waiting to see if the SC graft takes.”

“Yeah!” Faith scoffed. “So good we can’t see him?”

“He’s sedated, Faith…”

“Don’t tell me that makes a difference!” Faith paused her pacing and whirled around to face her crewmate. “We both know he’d know we were there! He NEEDS to know we’re there.”

“C’mon girl,” Gunn put himself between Faith and Fred. “You know he knows we’re here.”

Faith looked at Gunn and then resumed pacing. “Does he?” she muttered.

Gunn sighed and cast Fred a supportive look. The thin woman looked gaunter than usual and her eyes bore the dark rings of little sleep.

“He does,” a quiet but firm voice interrupted.

Three pairs of eyes swiveled to face the door to the small private waiting area. Angel filled the space like a shadow across the sun. There was a simmering fury radiating out from his hard body. Anyone else might have backed up from that inner rage lest they got burned, but the DeSoto crew wasn’t ‘anyone.’ They soaked up the heat from that rage and let it warm their numb spirits.

Fred rushed over and threw all of her weight against Angel and wrapped her arms tightly around him. “Angel!” she sighed into his chest. Angel returned the fierce hug and looked over Fred’s shoulder to peer at Faith. A small amount of tension eased from Faith’s shoulders and she nodded at the older man.

“Boss,” Gunn said and moved forward to shake Angel’s hand as soon as Fred was ready to release him.

Fred gave Angel another hug and then let him go. She stepped back away from him so he could enter the room. Angel crossed the threshold and shook Gunn’s hand.

“What happened?” Angel asked.

“We were jumped,” Faith spat. She wanted to pound something; pound something so hard it cracked the rage and fear that kept her rigid and on edge.

“I need more, Faith,” Angel said as gently as his own emotional control would allow.

“The fuckin’ council was there waiting for us!” Faith barked. “Wes was shot, Spike was captured and Xander’s gone! What else do you need to know?”

“Was it a trap?” Angel asked as he turned to Gunn.

“Don’t know,” Gunn answered.

“Were they waiting specifically for you or just…?”

“Don’t know,” Gunn answered again.

“We landed,” Fred began. “Spike, Faith, Gunn, Wes and Xander went to investigate. Not too long after they entered the colony Spike detected the council presence…”

“You didn’t detect any signs before?” Angel interrupted.

“There were some energy anomalies but nothing conclusive. Spike decided to proceed with the mission.”

Taught ya bettern’ that boy! Angelus snarled deep inside of Angel. Gonna spill blood ta get ya back and then I’m gonna spill yer blood for gettin caught! Yer MINE! Ya don’t have the right to risk yerself!

“So what happened?” Angel asked.

“Spike ordered us back to the ship,” Faith said. “He lay down cover and we retreated. During the retreat Wes…,” Faith stopped as her throat closed. Oh ghods! She thought. The blood! Wes’s blood pouring out all over me!

“Wes was shot,” Faith managed to grind out. “We got to cover. Ordered Fred to bring the ship in hot. That’s when…when…”

Faith choked again. I left my captain! I left Spike! FUCK!

“Council boy noticed Spike wasn’t with us,” Gunn said.

“Don’t you fuc...Don’t you say that, Charles!” Fred yelled as she whirled around to glare at Gunn. “He’s not a ‘Council boy’! He’s one of us! He’s part of the DeSoto!

Gunn had enough grace to flush and look at the floor. “I didn’t mean…”

“I don’t care what you meant!” Fred interrupted. “Don’t ever use that pejorative about Xander again.”

“What happened after you noticed Spike was gone?” Angel asked.

“Xander saw he’d been cut off,” Faith said.

“And?” Angel prompted.

“Wes was dying, Angel! We were outnumbered and…” Once again Faith’s inner turmoil kept the words from coming out. Angel stepped forward and laid his hands gently on Faith’s shoulders.

“Faith, please, tell me what happened. I need to know,” Angel said.

Faith raised her head and met Angel’s intent gaze. “Xander saw that Spike was down and surrounded. He knew Wes was hit bad. He told us to get Wes back to the ship and get out of there. He said… He said…”

Faith bit her lip as a tear escaped her control and slid down her cheek. “He promised to get Spike back, Angel. He said he couldn’t leave him and he wouldn’t. He promised on Jesse’s memories he’d bring Spike back.”

Faith tried not to wince as Angel instinctively clenched his hands. Spike! Xander! The Council! Angel’s thoughts were chaotic. The Angelus side of him screamed for blood and vengeance. He wanted to raze every Council colony and stronghold. Angelus wanted bile and tears to flow in equal amounts to the blood he wanted to spill. Angel just wanted Spike back.

Please, Xander, Angel thought, bring him back.

Faith tried to ignore the pain of Angel’s grip.  I deserve this, she thought. However, a small gasp escaped her control.

Angel immediately focused back on the former Regent at the small sound. He relaxed his grip and gave Faith a small smile. He moved a hand from her shoulder to gently grasp her chin.

“It’s ok,” Angel whispered. “You did good. Wes is alive and the rest of the crew is safe. Spike wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”

Tears started to flow down Faith’s cheeks and then she wrapped herself around Angel. Angel held Faith tight and let her tears soak the front of his shirt.

Spike! Angel thought. Come back; they need you. I need you.


Xander watched the security vid. They were one more day out from the ‘Dale. So far things had gone better than Xander had hoped.

Except for that near ‘rape’ thing, Xander thought and fought the tears that welled in his eyes. I’m sure Spike could have done without that whole scene.

Xander watched Spike take his tray from Graham.

“Anythin’ good t’day?” Spike asked.

“Not so much,” Graham confessed. “More protein bars and water.”

“Hats off ta the cook,” Spike said with a jaunty smile before grabbing one of the bars. “Reminds me of my own cook. Silly wanker!”

Xander smiled. Wanker! That nixes the breakfast in bed idea I had, Xander thought.


Xander thought about how it had taken him a day to figure out just how to arrange some sort of communication between Spike and himself. Xander had desperately needed that communication.

Xander’s guilt over the way he’d been forced to treat Spike had been overwhelming. He’d had to find some way to know if Spike was really okay besides just watching the security vids hours on end.

Xander hadn’t dared to see Spike again. He hadn’t dared to try and get a message to him. Xander focused on attending every scheduled and impromptu briefing Riley demanded. Xander focused on keeping his voice hard, his words hateful, and his heart from completely shattering.

Xander had even forced himself to keep his vid viewing to ‘reasonable’ hours. Xander may have been a ‘Donut Boy’ but he wasn’t foolish enough to underestimate Riley. Xander knew Captain Finn was still suspicious and Sergeant Gates was waiting for another chance to ‘look after Spike.’

It was on the second day around lunch time, the second day of watching Spike staring at his walls, when Xander had thought of something.  As quickly as he dared Xander made his way down to the brig. Xander had wanted to make Miller part of his plan instead of the night guard, Specialist Larry Blaisdell.

Xander had known Blaisdell wasn’t as tough as the hulkish man liked to think he was, but he was loyal to the chain of command and to Riley. Blaisdell would have double checked any orders from Xander with Riley. And that would tip Finn off, Xander thought.

“If we’d have treated you solely like a prisoner and locked you in the hatch, how batty do you think you’d be by now?”  Spike had asked Xander that question once and on his way to see Graham those words haunted Xander.

What Xander had had in mind wouldn’t only give Spike a way to communicate with Xander, it would also help keep him from going ‘batty.’

Graham had smartly saluted Xander as soon as he’d seen Xander’s approach.

“At ease,” Xander had ordered as he’d smiled at Graham.

“Sir?” Graham had asked.

“How’s the prisoner?” Xander had asked.

“Well, sir.”

“I’ve been watching the feeds. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t said anything. That true?”

“Yes, sir,” Graham had answered.

“You ever watch crime vids?” Xander had asked.

“Sir?” Graham had answered obviously confused.

“You know, the whole ‘good cop…bad cop’ routine?”

“In theory, sir.”

“Well Seventeen’s had the ‘bad cop,’” Xander said. Bad cop! Xander thought and suppressed the shudder that had threatened to race through him at the memory of what he’d done to Spike in the shower.


“I want you to ‘talk’ to Seventeen,” Xander had said.

“Talk, sir?”

“Yeah, you know, ask him how he’s doing. Is the food okay? You know ‘talk.’”

“Talk.” Graham repeated, the light of confusion still burning in his eyes.

“Develop a rapport with him,” Xander had tried to explain again. “Make him think he can trust you.”

“But why, sir?”

“If he thinks you’re no threat maybe he’ll relax his guard. Maybe let something slip,” Xander had said.

Graham had then begun to slowly smile and then nodded.

“Yes, sir,” Graham had said, finally getting it. “Talk. I can do that, sir.”

Xander had returned Graham’s smile. “Good.”

And maybe, Specialist Miller, Xander had thought, you’ll find Biogens aren’t so bad after all. Well, that is if Bossy doesn’t talk back too much. Then you’d probably just want to kill him based on the arrogance factor alone.

“I’ll monitor your progress,” Xander had said.

“Yes, sir!” Graham had saluted. Xander had returned the salute and then had gone back to his quarters.

Xander had watched Graham the next time he’d entered the brig to give Spike his ‘toilet break.’

“Time for the head,” Graham had said as he’d entered the brig and looked at Spike.

Spike had stared up at Graham in confusion. Council prat’s never spoken to me before? Spike had thought.

“Seventeen?” Graham had asked as he waited for Spike to get to his feet.

Spike had slowly gotten to his feet and had kept his eye on Miller.

“Thought you might like to use the head before lunch,” Miller had explained as he made his way over to unlock and open the door to the bathroom.

Spike strained to listen for any sounds of ‘backup’ or ambush.

“Seventeen?” Graham had said with a bit of annoyance edging into his voice. “You need to use the toilet or not?”

“Might like to wash up a bit,” Spike had finally answered as he cautiously moved forward towards the open lavatory door.

“Good,” Graham had answered and waited for Spike.

Spike had entered the room and looked around.No surprises, Spike had thought before quickly heading over to the loo to do his business. He’d long ago lost inhibitions at relieving himself in front of others. That had been a good thing because Graham had always watched Spike.

Used to think the git was a bleedin’ perv, Spike had thought, now I know he’s just a goody-two shoes soldier boy who follows orders to the letter.

Spike had bit back a laugh at the thought of Graham always watching him. Can tell the git is uncomfortable and it’s pointless, Xan had made a point of tellin’ me I’m watched at all times.

That’s when the thought had hit him. Spike had almost smiled again. Instead he washed his hands and headed back out to the cell area where Graham was waiting.

“Yer a might talkative t’day,” Spike had said to Graham as the solider once again keyed the head door shut.

“Well…y…you know,” Graham had stuttered. “Bored and all.”

“Rather make time with a Biogen?” Spike had asked and didn’t miss the flush that crept up Graham’s neck.

“Not like either of us have anything better to do,” Graham had answered. Spike longed for a smoke. It would have been good to light one up just before he smiled at Graham.

“None of your solider boys keep ya company down here when yer on watch?”

“Not really,” Graham had answered.

“So ya decided out of boredom ya’d just wot?” Spike had asked as he sauntered back to the corner where he liked to sit. “Ya’d just want to have a chat?”

“Well it’s not like you have anything else on your calendar,” Graham had snapped.

Spike had laughed.

“Know what I think?” Spike had asked with a lifted eyebrow. “I think someone’s put ya up to this. Ya know, schmooze the prisoner?”

At that point Xander had groaned silently while watching in his room. Way to go Blondie! Just blow my idea!

“!” Graham had stuttered while his excited heartbeat hadn’t gone undetected by Spike. “Just thought…bored you know?”

Really wish I had a smoke, Spike had thought. Spike had smiled again and thought, I’m on ta ya, pet. Yer sittin back somewhere watchin’ and ya put this bloke up ta talkin ta me cuz ya wanna know if I’m all right.

“No worries, mate,” Spike had finally said. “I’d talk either way. A person could go batty locked away with no one ta talk to.”

Graham had smiled in relief and so had Xander.

I love you, Spike! Xander had thought.

“So wot ya want to talk about?” Spike had asked.

“Uh…well,” Graham had floundered. He hadn’t really known what to talk about; though Lieutenant Harris had made a few suggestions. “How are you doing?”

Spike fought not to laugh again. This bloke’s not very good at this.

“I’m fine. Could do with better accommodations and décor, but I’m good.”

Hear that, pet? Spike had thought. Now stop fretting and concentrate on keeping your pretty little arse from ending up down here alongside me. Want ya safe and sound.

Xander had smiled watching the exchange and had vowed once again to get Spike out of this. Graham had smiled too; relieved to be following orders.

Xander refocused on the present. He watched the current exchange between Spike and Graham.

“Well, you won’t have to worry about the cooking much longer,” Graham said to Spike.

Spike cocked an eyebrow, “Oh?”

“We’ll be reaching the ‘Dale tomorrow,” Graham had said somewhat softly.

“Made good time,” Spike observed and noted Graham’s slight flush.

“Look, Seventeen,” Graham began, “don’t give them a reason…I mean just…”

“What, Miller?” Spike prompted.

“Don’t make it worse than it has to be,” Graham had finally spit out.

Soldier boy ain’t so bad after all, Spike thought.

Knew you were a good guy, Xander thought.

“Not really up ta me now is it?” Spike replied.

“Nah, it’s just…”

“Listen soldier boy,” Spike snarled. Don’t want this bloke ta get in trouble for going soft on me. “We’ve just been passing time here. We meet in battle and all of this…”

“Doesn’t mean shit,” Graham said straightening his shoulders and meeting Spike’s eyes.

Spike smiled and nodded. “Now get along and let me eat in peace.”

Graham hid a smirk and retreated to the other side of the door.

“Soddin’ soldier boys,” Spike muttered. “Too soft-hearted for this war.”

Xander smiled. One more day, love, then this softy goes for broke.

Part Thirty-Nine

Xander didn’t recall the exact sequence of events when the Snyder arrived in orbit around the ‘Dale. Although he did remember that was when the security feed to Spike’s cell was cut.  It was also when Graham showed up at Xander’s door.

“Captain Finn has ordered me to be your ‘escort’ until you are ‘turned over’ to the Regent,” Graham had announced.

“What about Sp…Seventeen?” Xander had asked, trying to keep the panic from his voice.

“Gates has been reassigned back to guarding Seventeen,” Graham had said.

Xander hadn’t wasted any time questioning Graham further.

“Finn!” Xander had barked into his communicator.

“Lieutenant Harris,” Riley had coolly replied.

“What is going on? Why have you…”

“My orders were to put you in charge of the prisoner until we reached the ‘Dale,” Riley had interrupted. “We have reached the ‘Dale and per my new orders Seventeen is to be transferred to the Revello holding area and you are to be escorted to Dr. Maclay’s office for evaluation.”

“Why wasn’t I told about these or…?”

“It was on a need to know ba…”

“And I didn’t need to know,” Xander had interrupted before snapping off his communicator. Then Xander had looked at the chip controller on his wrist. Spike! Xander had thought.

“Disabled, sir,” Graham had said, noticing Xander’s gaze. “However Seventeen was fine when I left.”

Xander had focused his gaze on Graham. Graham had returned the gaze. Then Xander had nodded.

“Thanks,” Xander had said.

All those things had happened an hour ago. It had been an hour of nervous pacing by Xander. It had also been an awkward and silent game of ‘Don’t ask and Don’t tell’ between Graham and Xander while they waited.

Then the hour had finally turned into the chaotic ‘now’ of Xander fidgeting in the hold of the Snyder waiting for the great bay doors to open. Xander was flanked by Finn and Miller. Xander didn’t care.

Xander knew without needing to play head games with Finn, asking Miller or even using Biogen senses that his friends were on the other side of those metal doors. Xander knew his friends were waiting as impatiently for him as he was for them.

Xander fought the tears of joy at the reality that Buffy and Willow were just a few meters away. Once again he could hug, laugh and cry with ‘his girls.’ For the moment, Xander was willing to push back his fear for Spike to just bask in the joy of the impending reunion.

The doors began to slowly part. Xander focused all his enhanced senses on the widening part.

“XAAAANNNNNDDEERRR!” Willow’s screech bounded into the bay before her slim figure was fully revealed.

Xander smiled wide and braced himself for the impending Willow missile. A few centimeters more and the redheaded weapon of mass delight launched and burst into the bay.

“WILLS!” Xander cried as he wrapped his arms around his best friend and buried his face in the crook of her neck. Xander breathed deep the comforting smell of lavender and sage he always associated with the Council’s most powerful Cyber-mage.

“I’d say this means the chocolate and snack fest is a definite go,” Buffy said with a laugh and a smile as she quickly strode into the bay and over to Xander.

“BUF!” Xander smiled and pulled an arm free from his Willow embrace to make room for the Regent Prime.

Buffy took advantage of the opening and Xander wrapped his arm around her. Xander hugged his girls tightly; barely remembering to keep his new strength in check.

Riley’s smart salute was completely ignored as the three friends hugged, cried, laughed and babbled all at once.

“I missed you!”

“Don’t scare us like that again!”

“Are you ok?”

“Did you let your hair grow?”

“I love you.”

“Is that a new outfit?”

The Regent Prime’s Watcher, Giles, walked into the bay and nodded to Riley. Riley and Graham lowered their arms and stood at ease. Giles continued on toward the single mass of babble that was the Regent’s inner circle.

“Xander,” Giles said in his clipped voice thick with formal warmth.

“Tweed-man,” Xander replied with a strained smile. Who are you really? Xander thought. Where do your loyalties really lie?

“Well at least something has changed,” Giles said, once again dismissing Xander’s odd attitude to the overwhelming circumstances. “Although I can’t say ‘Tweed-man’ is an improvement.”

“Just keeping you on your toes,” Xander said while briefly untangling an arm from Buffy to offer Giles his hand.

Giles smiled and took the offered hand. “Good to have you back, Xander.”

Is it? Xander wondered. Will you still think so when I give the 411 and call for 911?

“Good to be back,” Xander only partially lied. Good to see the girls, bad to be and love a Biogen in downtown Council territory, Xander thought.

“Tara!” Willow suddenly shouted.

“Where?” Xander asked as he scanned the bay for Willow’s wife.

“Not here!” Willow babbled. “I mean she’s here in the ‘Dale of course but not here in the bay…”

“Well that’s a relief. Thought you were going to tell me you’d invented a cloak of invisibility,” Xander teased.

“Give her time,” Buffy chuckled.

“No!” Willow laughed. Xander soaked up the sound. “Tara’s waiting in her office.”

“I’ll have Specialist Miller here escort the pr… Lieutenant Harris to Dr. Maclay’s office,” Riley interjected.

Buffy waved her hand, smiled and said, “That won’t be necessary Riley. I think I’ll give Xander the ‘official’ escort.”


“Captain Finn,” Giles said diplomatically. “I’m sure that Lieutenant Harris will arrive safe and sound at Dr. Maclay’s office while being escorted by the Regent Prime and the chief Cyber-mage.”

Riley had the grace to flush. Graham had the sense to hide a smirk.

“Sir! Yes, sir!” Riley had snapped and smartly saluted.

“At ease,” Buffy said and untangled herself from Xander. She crossed over to Riley, stood on her tip-toes and kissed Riley’s cheek. “Thanks for bringing him home to us, Riley.”

Well there goes my appetite, Xander thought.

“Yes, thank you!” Willow chirped.

“Well while we’re on the ‘Thank you’ wagon I’d like to thank Specialist Miller,” Xander said and pointed to Graham. Buffy and Willow turned to look where Xander pointed. “He helped me immensely in guarding Seve... the prisoner.”

Buffy and Willow stiffened at the reference to Spike but they shone warm eyes at Graham. Buffy walked over to him and offered him her hand. Graham blushed and shook her offered hand.

“Thank you, Specialist Miller,” Buffy said.

“You’re welcome ma’am,” Graham replied and looked at Xander. Xander nodded his head slightly. Thank you, Xander thought.

Then Willow’s communicator chimed.

“W..w..willow,” Tara’s voice filtered through the electronics, “are you g…going to bring my p..patient to my office any t..time soon or are you g…going sleeping all alone on the c..couch for the next f..five orbital days?”

“Xander! Office! March!” Willow quickly ordered and began pushing Xander toward the bay doors. Buffy and Xander laughed and allowed the little redhead to herd them out and off the Snyder. Giles followed closely behind cleaning his glasses and watching Xander.


Faith held Wesley’s hand and stared at the sleeping man’s face. It had been almost a week since she’d last seen his warm blue eyes or his wide grin.

“C’mon,” Faith urged. “That’s enough sleeping. Time to get up! We’ve got work to do!”

“Still out of it?” Angel asked the obvious as he entered the room and shut the door.

“Yeah,” Faith answered not bothering to turn around and look at the big Biogen. “Doc said he should be coming around by now but he’s just being stubborn. You know Wes. Does things on his own schedule.”

“Usually he has a good reason,” Angel offered.

“Yeah, with Wes it’s not arbitrary,” Faith said bitterly.

“Faith,” Angel sighed. “It wasn’t an arbitrar…”

“It wasn’t?” Faith snapped as she turned to face Angel. “If Spike was doing the nasty with Wes would you have brought the…”

“Faith!” Angel growled. “You know that had nothing to do with…”

“Didn’t it?” Faith accused. “You have the means to make him better right now. You could give him ‘the stuff’ and in a couple of days he’d be awake, whole and able to do a lap dance if he wanted! Fred’s all set to go!”

“And maybe like Xander he’d be in the hands of the Council a short time later!”

“We don’t know those two things are related!” Faith hissed.

“We don’t know they’re not!”

“Gunn showed you the wolf’s head button! The Raiders were responsible for the massacre.”

“Well it’s not the Raiders who have Xander and Spike.”

“And that’s the arbitrary that keeps you from helping Wes!”  Faith yelled.

Break the bitch! Angelus hissed too close to the surface. Angel forced his game face back.

“I’m not risking another person falling into Council hands.”

“You mean Biogen,” Faith said.

“I mean person,” Angel said. “We don’t know the word hasn’t already gotten out and we can’t risk…”

“WE can’t risk WES!”

“Doesn’t anyone want to know what Wes thinks?” a groggy voice whispered.

“WES!” Faith shouted and spun back around to look at her former Watcher.

“Please, Faith,” Wes said quietly, “no more shouting.”

“Are you ok?” Faith frantically whispered. “Do you need a doctor?”

“I presume, since I appear to be in a hospital, that the answer to those questions would be no and yes; respectively.”

“You presume correctly,” Angel said with a smile as he walked over to Wes’s other side.

“I’ll get the Doc,” Faith said as she moved to head for the door. A weak grasp around her wrist stopped her.

“Wes?” Faith asked.

“I want you to listen to me,” Wes said softly to his former charge.

Faith nodded.

“I’m not sure why you think I need the same ‘treatment’ as Xander,” Wes said, “but I am sure of this, I don’t want it.”


“Listen! I have lived and worked among Biogens. There’s a lot I presume about Biogens and there’s a lot I’m learning. There’s a lot Angel’s still learning. The one thing I do know is that I don’t want to be one,” Wes said.

“But Wes…”

“Faith,” Wes said once again interrupting the dark haired Regent, “I don’t want that… power. Please.”

Wes then turned to look at Angel. I don’t want that responsibility, Wes’s eyes said to Angel. Angel nodded. Wes smiled and then turned back to Faith.

“Promise me?”

“Only if you promise to get better and stick around for a long looooong time,” Faith said.

Wes grinned. “I promise.”

“I’ll get the doctor,” Angel offered. “You stay here and keep him awake.”

Faith nodded.

Angel walked to the door and was halfway out when he heard Faith say, “I’m sorry.”

“Forget it,” Angel said and then headed out to meet the doctor that Angel was sure was already on his way, alerted by the bio-sensors hooked up to Wes.


“X…xander,” Tara said as she hugged him. Tara had been waiting in her office lobby for the reunited group.

“Tara,” Xander answered and smiled as he hugged her back.

“I’ve got the exam t..table all s..set up,” she said as she released him and led him to the exam room. Xander turned and looked at Buffy, Giles and Willow. He smiled and followed Tara into the small and private room.

“There’s a gown,” Tara pointed to the gown folded neatly on the table. “I’ll g..give you a few minutes to ch..change and then come back,” Tara said as she moved toward the door.

“Wait, Tara,” Xander said as he picked up the gown and looked around the room. I can’t hide the changes from her and I can’t avoid an exam any longer.

“X..xander?” Tara asked.

“How…well how confidential is this exam?”

“Xander,” Tara said softly. “I’m your doctor at this moment. You have…w..we have doctor patient confidentiality.”

“And that’s of the good,” Xander tried again. “What if you found out something about me…something you thought Buffy and Willow needed to know?” Tara moved toward Xander cautiously and looked at him earnestly, “Xander, whatever happened to you…I don’t have to give Buffy or W..willow all the d..details. But I do have to d…document any injuries or…”

“It’s not that,” Xander interrupted. “I’m fine. Really! I’m great. I’m better than great.”

“Xander?” Tara asked reaching out to touch her friend. “Not only is it pr..procedure to do an exam on you but as your and f…friend I insist.”

Xander looked around the room. He knew that it was Council practice to bug many places and many things. Security! Xander thought. Yeah! Keep the people secure in the Council’s lies and find out if any of them are on to the truth!

“Tara,” Xander asked. “Is this room secure?”

Tara narrowed her eyes and said, “I d..don’t understand.”

“Tell me honestly,” Xander said. “Is this room bugged?”

Xander listened for the tell-tale heartbeat and increased respiration. All he heard was Tara’s confused sigh.


“Tara, can you ask Buffy and Willow to come in here?’

“You want Buffy and Willow here when I d…do my exam?”

“Please, I just…” Xander paused for a moment and pictured Spike. Xander thought of his lover’s bright happy eyes and Gates’ hate filled dark eyes.

“I need to tell you all something and I only want to do it once,” Xander finally said.

Tara looked at Xander and asked, “Are s..sure?”

Xander nodded.

“I’ll g…go get them,” Tara said and slipped out the door.

Xander closed his eyes, took a deep breath and thought of Spike.

I promise. Xander thought. One way or another, we will be together.

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