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Unbreakable


by
Fanbot


25 The Truth About Claiming

“He kept you sane, yeah?” Spike held his lack of breath and hoped for more.

“It was horrible there, Spike. In… in the first week, I was already contemplating ways to… to not be there any more. And it had to be final so I wouldn’t be a minion or a werewolf or… or something worse.”

“A million ways to die,” Spike said.

“A million and twelve. But then he… I still don’t know if  he bought me or adopted me or what. He never said.”

“Eventually he claimed you, though, that’s something powerful.” He took note of Xander’s startled look. “I noticed the scar, okay? I couldn’t not’ve.”

“You could not look at my crotch.” Xander said lightly, unthinking covering the bite scar high on his left leg near the base of his penis.

“Not with you parading it around like you do.”

Xander’s humor evaporated. “Does… does it bother you? I can wear clothes..”

Spike sighed. “Xander. I want you to be comfortable around me. Understand? You, naked, does not make me uncomfortable. And you’re changing the subject. Anthony claimed you. You were physical. It. Doesn’t. Bother. Me.”

“Don’t vampires claim people they aren’t physical with?”

“Rarely, mate. Not much of a point.”

“Oh.” Xander stared out the window. “Yeah,” he finally said softly. “We were lovers.” He studied Spike’s profile until the vampire glanced over at him

“Wot?”

“No poof jokes?”

Spike shook his head. “I already told you, things like that don’t matter to me.”

“Good. Can we head home?”

“Sure thing.” They traveled in silence as Xander once again stared out the window.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


“Xander,” Anthony murmured. “I wish to touch you, and for you to touch me. I know you’ve hired male as well as female pleasers.”

Xander drew back and considered the dark skinned vampire. “I don’t know, Anthony. I…” he looked away, toying with his book that had fallen aside, forgotten as soon as Anthony pulled him in for a kiss. “It’s already strange that we kiss. I mean, we have to be all business outside of this room and…”

“Xander, can you deny that you desire more? I can see and feel your body desires me. Do you not in your mind as well?”

“No. I can’t deny it.”

“Then let us share what we can. My care protects you from others taking what they wish of you, but by the same coin, it entitles me to claim it if I wish.”

Xander glared at him. “You’d do that, wouldn’t you?” He let out a frustrated huff and punched a pillow. “You lull me into forgetting what a soulless thing you are, then when your coercion doesn’t work, you‘ll just take it!”

Anthony stood and moved away from Xander. He stared at the lone painting of a sunlit seascape that hung on the cave’s walls. Xander recognized this as a calming habit the vampire had. It had been months since he’d done it in relation to anything Xander had said. After a while Anthony shook his head. “No, Xander. I do not wish to take from you. I only want to share what few pleasures we can have in this cursed place. My sire came to me when I was human. He seduced me. First my mind, then my body. I had had lovers before.”

“The twins?” Xander asked. He had wondered about the true relationship between the landowner’s sons and their servant.

“Yes. It was the true reason I was separated from them. The landowner wanted his sons to marry and bear him grandchildren. So it was easy for my sire to lure me away. His touch was nothing like that of a human. He knew just how to touch, to please.”

“I know vampires are good at reading people,” Xander said, more because he felt he should contribute.

“We are.” Anthony turned from the painting and Xander saw a rare slip in his carefully composed mask. “When we touch, I can taste your desire. I can smell your arousal. It was not my intention to…what word did you use, coerce you? I thought simple kissing would be enough, but I want more.” Anthony hung his head. “If you refuse me, you must stay with me for less time of a night. My demon wants more. It…is peaceful with you around, Xander, and I thank you for that. But after sampling your kisses…”

Xander got up and stood before Anthony. “I want more, too, but I am afraid.”

Anthony brought his head up sharply. “After a year, you fear me still?”

“I never stopped fearing Spike and Angel. Even after soul and chip. I know too well the nature of the beast, but that is not what I meant.”

“Then what?”

“What if I want more?”

“I will do for you what you want. I can teach you how it is done if you do not know.”

Xander barked a dry laugh. “I now how to fuck. What if I want… more?” Xander laid his hand on Anthony’s still chest.

The vampire tilted his head to one side, giving Xander a twist of mental vertigo as he recalled another so fond of that gesture. “I can make no promises, Xander. I can declare no loyalties for I have nothing that is my own. I respect you and as much as I can in this hell hole I will protect you as my own. I can do no more.”

“Then that will have to be good enough for me.” Xander cupped Anthony’s narrow face in his hands and kissed him soundly. “I will take what crumbs the world lets fall onto my plate.”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


“He claimed me to protect me,” Xander said suddenly, pulling Spike from his own woolgathering.

“Strong vamp like that, he’d want to keep others off what was his.”

Xander sighed. “There is no way to keep Warriors from taking what they want, so sex amongst them was not forbidden. Love was. When they fucked it was rough and grab and want and… animal. We... I wanted more. We hid it as best we could. I basically belonged to him, so it didn’t cause a stir when I slept in his room now and then. We became as close as two could be under the circumstances. Of course, there were always those after what they couldn’t have, and those who have to mess up what you find good.”

“So he marked you so if anyone touched you, he’d be justified in killing them.”

“Yeah. That’s all it was.”

“For him.”

“Pretty much.”

“I’m sorry, Xan.” Spike could hear the disappointment in the man's voice. He knew Xander was one to love strongly and fully.

“No, it was good. When we trained, I fought and spit and did my damnedest to kill him. When we were alone… It was nice.”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


“You want to what?” They had been getting more and more intimate in the past two months. It was Xander who had not wanted to cross the line of penetration.

Anthony lay with his head on Xander’s leg, studying his now-wilting hard on. “Mark you with a claiming scar.”

“What’s that? You want to thrall me into some kind of puppet and make me eat bugs?”

“Why would I make you want to eat bugs, Xander? I know you prefer peanut butter.”

Xander sighed and sat up, pulling his leg from under Anthony. “I don’t want to be your snack bag or sex slave.”

Anthony chuckled and sat up. “What kinds of stories have these Watchers of yours been telling you?”

“Well, not so much the Watchers as Dracula. And Spike.”

“Dracula plays mind games with all he meets, and I gather Spike loved to tell his own stories.”

Xander nodded. “He told plenty of good ones.”

“And most had to do with making you respect or fear him.”

“Well, yeah.”

“Xander, a claim scar is nothing more than a physical marking that warns others that you belong to another.”

“Couldn’t I just have a collar with your name on a tag or something?”

“As adorable as that image is, it would not have the same impact. If my mark were upon you, no other vampire, and precious few demons will take any liberties with you.”

“Because?”

“Meddling with you would be the same as meddling with me. No one could fault me for killing any who touched you.”

“You would do that anyway, wouldn’t you?” Xander asked, unsure.

“Yes. All here know that. But I suspect they will soon send you to other arenas and our relationship is not so well known.”

“But you can’t leave here. How does that help?”

“I can order vengeance to be carried out in my name.”

“Oh.” Xander thought it over. “Where? My neck?”

“It doesn’t matter. I was thinking where my sire placed mine. Where his is.” Anthony spread his legs to show the lighter twist of scar high on his left thigh, near the base of his cock.

“Oh. That’s the style?” Xander joked.

Anthony shrugged. “Call it tradition, if you will, along the DeAmeron line.”

“Will this give me vampire speed or better healing?”

“What on earth have you been reading? Is this from your comic books?”

Xander shrugged. “Maybe. I just want to know what I’d be getting into.”

“I would bite you. It will scar. That is it. You do not have to drink any of my blood if you don’t want to.”

“Oh. Well. If that’s all. I already have a collection of scars. One in just that place might add to the ruggedness of my appearance. But I would expect flowers on our anniversary, mister.”

Anthony smiled a little. “There is one more benefit. I could keep you here, with me, all night whenever I wished and no one could cry foul.”

Xander swallowed. “Honestly?”

“You would then be marked as more than my toy or my pet fighter. Symbolically, you would be a part of me. I do not make this offer lightly, Xander. You may think it over if you want.”

Xander stood and went to the door. “I’ll tell you tomorrow, Anthony. Okay? It’s a lot to think over and can’t be taken back, right?” He pulled the cord that summoned a guard. Anthony studied the pattern on a pillow. “Wait. What if… what if you get killed?”

“All that is mine will go to you, such that it is, and you will be able to find your own fighter if you wish.”

“Won’t happen. I’m not big on the biting thing. What if I get killed?”

“Then I will be very sad.”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


They remained silent as Spike drove up the long driveway and parked in the dark garage. He could smell the arousal and the underlying sadness pouring off Xander.

Xander tossed his sunglasses on the dashboard and rubbed his face.

“Do you want to go spar? Let off some steam?” Spike asked.

“No, Spike. I’ll be fine.”

Spike laid a hand on Xander’s shoulder. “Look. I can see you’re shaken up…”

Xander shook his head. “I’m fine. I… just some memories got stirred up I didn’t expect.”

“I’m sorry I asked about him, mate. Curiosity got the better of me.”

“It’s okay. I… I need to face it all. I need to dig it up and let it air out.” Xander scrubbed his face again and came up with a too bright smile. “I wonder what’s for dinner.”

Spike didn’t believe his cheer for a minute, but had to respect his wishes. “It’ll be good, I’m certain. Let’s get your bags from the back and go in.” Spike didn’t miss the flush on Xander’s cheeks at the mention of the bags. “What’s wrong?”

“I was shopping and the girls will want to know what I got,” Xander sighed.

Spike snorted dismissively. “It’s none of their business what candy you want to squirrel away in your room. Look, I’ll carry them up and then join you inside. They don’t dare question me.”

“I…” Xander didn’t want Spike knowing he’d bought sex toys for himself.

“Xander. I don’t care one bit what you bought. I won’t go through them, okay?”

“Yeah. That... that would best.” Xander slumped.

“You sure you’re ready to face the crowd? We can eat out."

“No. I want to see them.”

“Okay. You come in when you’re ready.” Spike opened the trunk, scooped up both bags, noting with a smile that Xander had tied the handles closed, and took off through the door to the tunnel.

Xander stared after him for a few minutes, not seeing the closed door. “Anthony left things unsaid until it was too late. I hope you don’t do that, too.”  Xander closed up the car and washed his face in the utility sink before heading in.





26 First Time

Spike came into the kitchen to find the usual pre-meal gathering.

“Hey! The boys are back!” Willow said. “What all did you get into?”

“Drove around. Showed him where everything is.” Spike kept moving toward the stairs.

“You didn’t take him to Buckner’s, did you?” Gunn asked.

“Nope. I wasn’t up to spending three hours in a comic shop. I left the fan boy drool fest for you and Oz.” Spike made his exit and climbed the stairs two at a time.

He had promised to not go through the bags, but that didn’t stop him from looking through the thin plastic. After all, he was still evil sometimes. When he saw the white container with the blue KY logo, he smiled and put the bags on the table. Spike was pleased to learn Xander was feeling good enough to want some private wank time. He made a mental note to find a reason to leave him alone over the next couple of days and headed back downstairs.

Dawn was grilling Xander about her birthday present as Spike turned a chair around and straddled it.

“Come on, just a hint!”

“It’s smaller than a breadbox. Say, who uses breadboxes anymore, anyway?” Xander said in an attempt to change the topic.

Midra shook her head and pointed to the wooden box on the counter which was clearly marked with the word “bread.”

“Oh.”

“We didn’t get it at Buckner’s,” Spike put in, attempting to divert Dawn.

“Well, no. You won’t go in there.” She leaned close to Spike and sniffed. “I know that cocktail of scents. You went to Jen’s! You got me something from Jen!”

“No, nosy one,” Spike said. “One of the snaps on Xander’s bands needed tightening. That’s all.”

“When can we go to the comic shop, anyway?” Xander asked Gunn, his expression begging for help.  The ploy worked, but the next half hour was spent with the two of them in a discussion of the finer points of action figure collection and display.

As desert was served, Midra turned to Gunn. “I forgot, beloved, a package came for you from Amazon today.”

“The bookstore or the river?” Gunn asked as if it were an old joke.

“The bookstore this time.”

“Hot damn! It must be my director’s cut, wide screen, bonus DVD of extra features, boxed set of all five Spiderman movies!” Gunn crowed. “Where is it?”

Midra sighed and rolled her eyes. “On the table by the front door where all packages live.”

Gunn reached for his cane, but Dawn bounded to her feet. “I’ll get it for you!”

“Open it out there! I don’t want packing material in my food!” Midra called.

Shortly, Dawn returned with a red and black box with silver webbing on it. “What cool packaging!” she said.

“Man. I gotta watch some of this. Who wants to join me?”

Everyone raised their hand but Spike and Xander. “Come on, Xan,” Dawn said. “I know you’ve not seen at least two of them, and it’s probably my last chance to watch a movie with you before I head home. Please?”

Spike watched as Xander fought a mental battle before slipping on a smile. “Sure, I never could say no to you.”

Dawn bounced up and clapped her hands. “Yay! I’ll make the caramel popcorn. I know it’s your favorite.”

After forty-five minutes of popping popcorn, fighting for prime seats and reminding Xander of the plots of the first two movies, they finally started watching the third Spiderman movie. The TV room had several platforms, each higher than the last. Spike sat in a comfy chair just behind the front-row loveseat that had been claimed by Xander and Dawn with his feet up on the back.

Spike watched Xander more than the movie. Any time Xander grew too still, Spike would teasingly rock his foot and tap Xander in the head. Most of the way through the film, Dawn moved the popcorn bowl to the side and laid down with her head in Xander’s lap. She smiled up at her friend, unaware of the sudden stiffness Spike saw in his shoulders. He could sense Xander’s anxiety rising.

“Oi! Niblet.”

“What, Spike?”

“How about fixing your old babysitter a cuppa?”

“But Spike, I just got comfortable,” she whined a bit.

“Come on, you make it just right. When will I have another chance to have your tea before you visit again at the holidays?” Spike used his best flattering voice.

Dawn sighed and looked up at Xander. “I think he’s jealous. Do you want anything?” Xander shook his head no. “I’ll be right back, uncle Spike.”

“Uncle,” Spike snorted.

As soon as Dawn left the room, Spike climbed over the back of the loveseat, drawing catcalls of “down in front” from the rest of  the room, and dropped down beside Xander. “She was bogarting the caramel popcorn,” he explained, picking up the bowl and placing it between them. He briefly met Xander’s eye and smirked, grabbing a handful of popcorn.

Shortly, Dawn returned with a cup of tea and a fresh soda for herself. “Hey! That’s my seat!”

“You moved. Fair’s fair.” Spike ignored her and watched the movie.

“Spike!”

Spike blinked up at her with wide blue eyes. “Thanks for the cuppa, pigeon.”

“Oh! I should dump this on your head.”

“Hey! No food fights!” Willow called.

“I wasn’t gonna,” Dawn glared down at Spike until she remember the futility of having a staring match with someone who didn’t have to blink. With a dramatic sigh, she flopped into the chair vacated by Spike.

Spike felt Xander’s tension largely drain away. After a big fight scene, Xander leaned over and whispered to Spike. “You know I only claimed caramel popcorn was my favorite back then because you hated it and wouldn’t eat it.”

“I know. It’s going to take forever to get this crap out of my teeth.”

The movie ended and Xander stood up. “I… I think I’ll take a pass on any more movies tonight.” This was met with a chorus of protests. “I’m sorry.  Go on and watch without me. I… I’m going to try out that big tub in my room.”

“I was going to make cookies,” Willow pouted.

Spike watched Xander flounder, ready to give in again. “Want me to bring you up a snack after the last movie?” Spike asked, well aware that Xander had bought plenty.

Spike could see his relief as he answered. “If you want. Thanks, Spike.”

Spike shrugged. “Go soak your head. It will do us all some good.”

Xander chuckled and made his exit.

“You want to lay on my lap?” Spike smirked up at Dawn as Oz changed movies.

“I’m mad at you,” she said with an exaggerated pout.

Spike’s voice softened. “Don’t be, pet. You were making Xander uncomfortable.”

“I was?” she squeaked. “I didn’t mean to. I couldn’t tell. Why?”

“I don’t know why, Luv. Don’t say anything to him. We spent the day talking about… dark stuff. I think he just needs some alone time is all.”

She climbed over the couch and sat down. She looked at her fingers where they twined around her soda can. “I guess we’ve all been wanting some time with him.”

Spike reached out and petted her hair once. “Yeah. Now he needs some time with himself.”

Xander took two six packs from the kitchen before escaping upstairs. Once there, he went to the bathroom and turned the taps on hot in the big bathtub. He stared at the splashing water and did his best to block out the memories of another brought up by Dawn's bright eyes looking up at him from his lap.

He tore open both shopping bags and dumped them on the table.  Absently, he ripped open a Hurricane bar and bit into it. He picked up a beer, the three boxes with the toys and the lube, and, with the chocolate gripped in his teeth, he returned to the bathroom. He opened the boxes and tumbled the toys into the sink. When he was with Anya, she had loved toys and wanted to explore all kinds and shapes. Having read all kinds of sex books, Anya had always insisted that new toys should be washed before use, and washed even better afterwards. Eventually, she talked him into letting her try one on him. It had frightened him how much he’d liked it. When she’d left, he’d tried larger ones than he’d ever let her near him with. He knew it had been an attempt to fill the emptiness of loosing her.

Now he felt empty again. He lined up the items he’d gathered on a shelf by the tub, lit a few candles, turned off the lights and, with a shrug, sprinkled in some herbal bath salts. As he settled into the steaming water, he let himself think back to Anthony and the day he’d been claimed.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Anthony wanted him around. That was what Xander kept coming back to. This meant something, it was permanent. Sure, Anthony had not declared his love or devotion, but the guy was a vampire after all. Yeah, sure, Spike loved Buffy, and so had Angel. It did happen. Anya had loved him. Demons did love. Anthony, apparently did not operate that way. Maybe… maybe this was the only way Anthony could show him. After all, Xander hadn’t let him in; hadn’t let Anthony fuck him.

His decision made, Xander called for a guard and arranged for a pleaser to bathe him and brush his hair. The young man who tended him could have been anyone for all the attention Xander paid. He was thinking about Anthony and what he wanted to do. After he was cleaned, pampered, and oiled, he sent the boy away to send word to Anthony requesting an audience.

“Xander,” Anthony said, smiling slightly. “I’m glad you chose to join me this evening.” With the grace of a gentleman showing a visitor into his grand manor house, Anthony escorted Xander to a chair before sitting on his own.

Xander had been confident until he’d actually stepped into Anthony’s rooms. The tall vampire had been wearing a red silky robe with golden lions around the hem that Xander had never seen. He was like a chieftain with a tribe of one. Xander swallowed and worried the cuff of the plain, light robe he’d put on. “Um. Yeah. Me, too.”

“Xander,” Anthony said gently. “You certainly look fine this evening.”

“You do, too.”

Xander looked shyly away until Anthony softly called his name. “Xander?”

Xander practically leapt from his chair and kneeled at Anthony’s feet where he sat in his throne-like chair. “Anthony,” he said, his voice thick with emotion. “I want to be claimed and… I want you to take me, use me in any way you wish.”

Anthony put his hand on Xander’s soft hair and looked down into his eager brown eye. “You know that’s not a requirement.”

“I do know that. But it’s what I want.”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Xander closed his eye to the flickering candle light and could see only Anthony in his fine robes as he stood, drawing him up and leading him back to his sleeping room. He could felt he strong brown hands on his and remembered the rare warm grin his lover wore. Xander wrapped his hand around his hardening cock as he thought about what happened.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


It was Xander’s first time to see Anthony’s inner haven. The walls were tapestry covered as outside, but here there was a orderliness that wasn’t in the public room. Only a single layer of carpets lay smoothly on the floor. Several paintings of landscapes hung neatly around a low bed that, apart from a chest of drawers and a small table, was the only furniture in the room.

“Xander,” Anthony murmured. “I was hoping you would one day let me in. I admit I was jealous of those you took to your bed in my stead.” He pulled Xander into his arms and kissed him gently on the lips.

“I… I didn’t mean anything against you, Anthony.”

“I realize that. I am not offended. You were only safeguarding the only thing left to you.” He laid his long fingered hand on Xander’s chest over  his heart. “I will do my best to not betray your confidence.”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Xander ran his free hand over his chest, remembering how Anthony had taken off his light robe and laid him on the bed. He had stepped back and revealed his own lean body. Xander’s cock throbbed at the image of his lover’s tall, brown body.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


“You are beautiful, my Xander. This life is hard, but it has chiseled your body into a living sculpture. I have long wanted to worship it properly.”

Anthony’s body was cool against his own as the vampire reversed their positions from the outer room and knelt beside the bed. He bent over to kiss Xander and caress his body.

“I want you against me, please,” Xander breathed after Anthony had adored every part of him.

“Of course, my own,” Xander’s cock jumped at the new endearment. Anthony chuckled. “Poor sweet, you want to belong as much as I want to claim.” Anthony lay atop Xander, their hard cocks rubbing together.

“I do. Gods, yes I do.”

“You’ve thought everything over?”

“I know there’s no going back, and I trust you, Anthony. I’m so very happy you want to keep me around.”

Anthony chuckled and thrust his hips to press his cock against Xander’s abs. “You’re the best thing that’s been presented to me in over forty years, Xander. I would be foolish indeed to turn away a treasure like you.”

“How?” Xander asked, then just kissed Anthony instead.

“How? Or When?” Anthony pulled back and looked down at him.

“Which do you want to do first?”

“I want to make love to you, Xander, then we will sleep. Then I want to claim you and have you again. It was as my sire did it. It allowed me to feel the… connection my drinking your blood will create.”

“I thought you said there wasn’t any mystical effects.” Xander hesitated.

“For only as long as your blood is within my system. Are you still agreeable?”

“About both? Yes. Fuck me, Anthony.”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Xander picked up the bumpy dildo and ran  his hand over it, feeling each progressively bigger section. Even as he wondered how much of it he could slip inside, he knew it hadn’t been that long and his body would eagerly take it all. He picked up the KY and cursed as he remembered the chemical water based lube wasn’t like the oil that was available in the caves.

He raised up out of the water to his knees, his body steaming in the warm air of the bathroom, and leaned on the edge of the tub. He slicked up the toy and pressed it into his body as he allowed himself to remember that night.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Anthony reached to a small lamp on the table and picked up the upper portion of it. It was then Xander realized it was a warming stand for a small jar of oil. “You knew I’d give in,” Xander said.

He knelt between Xander’s upraised knees beside the bed. “No, Xander. I hoped. I have been warming oil here for many months, hoping you would give yourself to me. It is a great honor, and I respect you for it.” Xander watched Anthony’s long graceful hands as he poured a small pool of oil into his palm. He lightly touched Xander’s hard cock with the fingertips of his other hand. “May I?”

“I’m yours Anthony. You can do what you want.”

Anthony chuckled, his voice deep and rich. “Very well. What I want is for you to remember you must do the same.” Anthony ran a finger down and around Xander’s balls, stroking the furry sac. With a smile, he dipped that finger into the pool of oil and continued his trip. Gently, he circled Xander’s opening.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Xander rubbed the tip of the toy against himself, remembering Anthony’s careful touch. He’d fingered Xander before, even slipped in a finger or two as he’d sucked Xander’s cock. His careful touch always made Xander feel special and cherished. It was so unlike the touch of those he had hired to do the same. Xander pressed the toy in, allowing himself to remember how Anthony touched him. The long buried memories shocked him with their intensity. He forgot about the feeling of the toy as each larger section sank into his body. He didn’t notice the flickering candle that was so like those in Anthony’s room, and instead of the fragrant bath salts, he smelled Anthony’s musk.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Anthony gently prepared his lover, watching as Xander rolled his head on the pillow and clutched the sheets. “Anthony…” he breathed.

“Am I hurting you, Xander?”

“God, no. I want you, Anthony. I want you in me. Please.”

Anthony kissed Xander’s sweating thigh and carefully removed his fingers. “I need more oil.”

Xander watched as Anthony again poured oil  into his palm, then wrap his fingers around his own hard cock. “You’re bigger then most of them,” Xander said, swallowing.

“I know. Changed your mind?”

“No. No.” He met his lover’s eyes. “Please.”

No more was said beyond endearments and encouragements as Anthony sank slowly into Xander’s ready body. When Xander’s body relaxed and accepted him, Anthony started to thrust slowly, with long smooth strokes. Xander could only focus on the feeling he’d been denying himself. Long he had wanted Anthony’s hard cock inside him, and now he’d opened himself up in every way. A weight he’d not known was on his heart had been lifted. He looked in wonder up at the deep brown eyes of the vampire he’d taken for a lover and now trusted more than anyone in the world. The candlelight made the jewels braided  in Anthony’s hair wink and sparkle, reminding Xander of his deadliness as a fighter, even as he wondered at his tenderness as a lover. Xander decided his demon magnet status had finally been to his benefit.

Anthony stroked his lover’s sweating face and ran his hand down to rest on his chest. This human’s heart was strong in many ways. That he had opened himself up to him, a soulless vampire, was a source of wonder. That he was going to claim him and share a stronger bond thrilled him. Xander gasped up at him, gazing with a lust-clouded eye. For a second, Anthony wished he could see his reflection in that perfect brown. Many times Xander had called him handsome with an edge of a deeper emotion. Anthony knew he wasn’t attractive in the typical way. His nose was large, his forehead high, and his limbs long with bony joints. But when this special human called him handsome, something no one but his sire had before, he felt it. After many long minutes, Anthony lay down atop Xander and kissed him gently. “You’re so hot, Xander. Like banked coals around me.”

“Anthony…I’ve never felt this…complete before.”

“Xander…” Anthony said, reaching between them. As his oil-slicked hand wrapped around Xander’s leaking cock, he spilled within his human lover. As Xander felt Anthony’s cock thicken and throb with in him as the vampire’s thrust lost rhythm, he came, too.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Xander balanced on his knees in the water. His left hand pressed the dildo all the way in, jiggling it and making it rub against his prostate. His right wrung an orgasm from his cock, splashing on the down stroke. Spent, Xander splashed back down in the water. Numbly, he sat the toy on the side of the tub as his heart rate slowed.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


For all his strength, Anthony’s lean body was light to Xander as he lay upon Xander’s chest, listening to the human’s heart regain it’s steady pace. He breathed deep the scents of Xander’s clean hair where it lay spread on the pillow beneath them, and their musk and sweat as it mingled.

Anthony tried to rise, only to feel Xander’s arm tighten around him. “Don’t go,” Xander said sleepily.

Anthony relaxed again. “I’m not going anywhere.”





27 Claiming

Xander became aware of the cooling water and kicked the drain open. With a sigh, he drained his beer and stood up. As he dried off with a soft, clean towel, he thought about the hot springs and how he would dry Anthony off after they’d soaked. The towels there were little better than cheap, stained hotel grade rags. He dropped the wet towel on the floor and grabbed up a dry one, the lube, and the other toy.

He tossed the towel on the bed and opened another beer. Ah, beer. Not as strong as the fermented whatever they would get once in a while after games, but smooth and plentiful. He drained the second beer and threw himself on the bed. “Mattresses. That’s another good benefit of civilization,” Xander giggled to himself. He picked up the phallic, pale flesh colored dildo and contemplated it. “Flesh colored,” he scoffed. “Depends on whose flesh. And it’s certainly not life sized.”

Xander finished off the second beer and lay back with his eye closed. One hand made its way to the scar high on his leg and traced it.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Xander awoke from his post-orgasmic nap to find Anthony still draped across his body. The vampire felt him awaken and propped himself up on one elbow. “Hey, sleepy,” Anthony said softly, and brushed a stray hair form Xander’s forehead. “Are you hungry?”

Xander chuckled and wrapped his arms around Anthony’s narrow body. It was no problem for him to grasp his own elbows. “You know me too well.”

“You have to let me go so I can get your food.”

“Humm,” Xander considered. “Sexy vampire bod or food.”

“I have a special treat, and I will come back.”

“Well, in that case…” Xander kissed the center of his chest and let him go, stretching on the comfortable bed.

Anthony returned from the other room with a covered tray. “If sir would sit up, please.”

Xander blushed a little at this powerful man waiting on him, playing the role of servant he’d held as a human. Xander saw the fond expression he wore and played along. He leaned up against the wall and rubbed his hands together. “What goodies do you have for me this night, my good man?”

Anthony sat a tray on the bed and whipped aside a cloth to reveal a fresh red apple, a piece of chocolate and a small dish with a lid. “If you will allow me?” Anthony picked up the apple and a knife and deftly cut out a slice. He held it up and took the lid off the dish. “And the highlight…”

A piece of honeycomb, thick with honey lay on the dish. Xander grinned hugely. The honey in Africa made American honey taste like sugar water. Anthony dipped the apple slice in the honey and fed it to his lover. Xander ate the treat bite by bite from Anthony’s hands and sucked the last traces of honey off Anthony’s fingers.

“You like that?” Anthony asked.

“Yes. Thank you, Anthony. Hummm. We’re out of food and there’s some honey left.”

“We can save it for later.” Anthony moved to set the tray aside.

“I think I can find a use for some of it,” Xander said wickedly.

“Do you now?” Anthony smiled. “Let me wash up and I will return.”

When Anthony came back, Xander pressed him to the bed. He smiled at the hardening brown cock before him. Carefully, he dipped two fingers into the honey and drizzled it over him. “Like caramel on a chocolate sundae,” Xander murmured before licking off the stickiness. Soon, he drew the hard cock deep in his mouth and played with the foreskin, slipping his tongue under and around it as he worked the shaft with his hand.  Shortly, Anthony moaned and spent in Xander’s mouth.

He chuckled. “Come up here, you wicked human.”

Xander gladly obeyed and lay in his lover’s arms. Anthony ran his fingers through his hair as he often did. “It would be a shame to weight these beautiful locks down with gems.”

“I don’t want to be in the killing matches, Anthony.”

“I know. I know. While I will keep you from it as long as I can, I fear it may be forced on you one day.” Xander shuddered and Anthony held him tight. “Let’s not talk of such dark things. How do you feel?” He tilted Xander’s head up and looked him in the eye.

“Rested, fed, a little stretched,” he chuckled. “And loved. I love you Anthony,” he thought silently.

“Good. I would very much like to claim you, Alexander Harris.”

“I would very much like for you to do that,” he said, adopting Anthony’s formal speech.

Anthony poured oil into his palm, then slicked his cock which was once again hard. Then he kissed Xander deeply, savoring the sweetness of apple, chocolate, and honey mingled with the bitterness of his cum. Soon, he moved to Xander’s throat and rested his lips there, tonguing the pulse. Xander arched his neck and moaned as he pressed his broad hands to Anthony’s narrow back.

He continued his unhurried progress, licking and kissing his way to Xander’s dripping cock. His boy was hard and wanting. Anthony could not resist sneaking a taste of Xander’s pre-cum. making him gasp. “I don’t want you coming just yet,” Anthony said softly.

“When can I?” Xander asked, looking down at his lover where he lay between his legs.

Anthony smiled and allowed his face to turn to that of the demon’s. “After I bite you.” Xander shuddered and nodded, wanting and needing to know what it would feel like.

Anthony opened is mouth wide, letting Xander see his teeth with all their sharp points, and bit deep in Xander’s leg.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Unintentionally, Xander scratched at the scar with one hand as he worked his cock with the other. Anthony had bitten him a number of times after that, but it was never as powerful an event.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


The pain was sharp at first, then the tide of his blood was pulled to Anthony’s mouth and a dizzying euphoria took it’s place. Xander closed his eye and let himself go, trusting Anthony to not kill him, to take him from the brink and keep him safe.

 Anthony wrapped his hand around Xander’s cock, making him come with just two practiced tugs. He forced himself to take no more than four swallows of Xander’s rich blood. It was so thick and powerful, it was an effort to shake off the demon and please his partner. He crawled up the bed and wrapped Xander’s body in his arms. “Xander. I want to take you again. I want you to feel the heat your blood gives me within you.”

“Anthony,” Xander whispered. “Fuck me, master.”

“I am not your master, Xander. Just your lover.” Anthony tipped more oil onto his cock and wasted no time pressing it into the still-ready body of his lover.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Xander picked up the slicked phallus and pushed it in roughly all at once as Anthony had mounted him that day. The sudden, shocky pain sent him into orgasm even as he had come a second time that day.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Anthony buried himself deep with one thrust, Xander’s blood making his body hot and his senses boil. It was an effort to not shift to game face, as Xander called it, throw himself on his trusting lover, and drain the rest of his blood. Instead, he pounded roughly into Xander and came hard, spilling deep in. The sight of Xander’s cock spurting again without being touched made his heart swell.

Anthony pulled himself out reluctantly and grabbed up a bandage he’d made ready. He allowed himself to lick the would clean before casting a minor healing spell to stop the bleeding. He pressed the bandage in place and rolled Xander on his side. The groggy human was smiling stupidly. Anthony remembered how his sire had claimed him and the euphoria of blood loss it brought. He curled up behind Xander and drew up a blanket tight around them both.

“Sleep now, Xander. I will watch over you and feed you again when you awaken.”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Xander rolled away from the towel and curled up with his back to the room. He stared unseeing at the dresser as the blanket partly obscured his good eye. “Oh, Anthony. Why didn’t I say what I felt that night? Why didn’t you?” Tears ran from his eye and the sealed, empty socket itched as it did when he cried. You had to cry quietly so no one would know when you did. It was a lesson he’d learned as a child that had served him well in the tunnels.

He heard a door close somewhere in the house and pulled himself together. He had no idea how much time had passed or when Spike would come up. Part of him regretted inviting the vampire. He roughly wiped the cum from his body and hand. Then he took a swipe at the scar he’d made bleed again. It was something he never meant to do, but found it had happened again and again. Mechanically, he collected the towel and toy and made his way to the bathroom, drying his tears with a clean corner of the towel. He washed himself and everything, then stuffed the evidence away in the back of a drawer. 

Still no vampire and the house was quiet. He opened another beer, drank deeply, and stared at the DVD collection. Perhaps some distraction from the past would do him some good. His hand twitched toward Star Trek season two, then fell to his side. Remembering dialog and plot points of the original series had been part of what had kept him sane in the early days. Before Anthony. Some after. Now he found he didn’t want to know what he’d gotten wrong. His eye fell on a stack of CD’s and he thought of Oz coming to his rescue. There was his balm. Patsy Cline. The music of misery.

As she sang sweetly to him of loneliness and tears, he sat on the reading chair and looked out at the yard. A window was such a luxury. Everything in his life was a luxury now, except being back in it. Poor Buffy. No wonder she’d acted so crazy back then. He found his hand was resting on the scar again and Xander tucked that hand behind his head as he drained the beer. It had felt good to masturbate and to let off some tension. He let himself think of Anthony’s body and the way he’d claimed him again.

When Xander realized the flesh visualized as he came was porcelain white and not chocolate brown, he put it down to memories of the pleasers he’d hired, and drank another beer.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


As is the nature of sequels, each Spiderman movie got progressively worse and viewers went to bed until Oz, Gunn, and Spike were the only ones left. They were playing a half-hearted drinking game where the rules kept changing. When his friends started for the third time about the benefits of having sticky fingers and sex against a wall, Spike slipped out of the dark room.

He went to the kitchen to raid his stash of beer from the cupboard, only to find it depleted. The guys in the movie room had been drinking domestic beer, so… Spike frowned and took the stairs two at a  time.

He didn’t have to put his ear to the door to hear Patsy Cline playing. Spike gently knocked. He heard Xander groan and knocked again louder. “Stop that noise! Go torture someone else. I’ve been good.”

Spike opened the door and took in the scene. Xander lay sprawled on the rug under the ceiling fan. He was naked, with his hair wild around him. Beer bottles, chocolate wrappers, and the yellow rings of Funyuns were scattered on the rug around him. Spike scented blood, and rushed in to make sure Xander hadn’t hurt himself.

“Hey, Bleachball! Where you been?” Xander asked stupidly.

Xander shifted, and Spike could see the scar on his leg had been scratched and a tiny trail of dried blood smeared out from it. “I’ve been watching movies, mate. Looks like you’ve had your own one-man frat party.”

Xander giggled. “Frat party would be fun. There’d be more than one man. But I don’t like frat guys. I like ‘um more… bumpy.” Xander grabbed Spike’s leg and blinked up at him. “Can you be bumpy for me, Spike?”

Spike stood unmoving and pushed down the snarky, but true replies that he could make all kinds of things bumpy for him. Instead, he sighed. “Let’s get you cleaned up and into bed.”

“Oh! Action!”

“Hardly. How did you manage to get more food on the carpet than in your mouth?” Spike asked as he bent to grab Xander’s arms and a crispy snack crunched under his boot.

“Bag exploded. I’m out of practice.” Spike pulled Xander to his feet and the man wrapped his arms around him. Spike stared back into the honest brown eye that was suddenly close to his. “And why did I ever think those tasted good, anyway?” Xander whispered confidentially.

“I don’t know why you eat half the things you do,” Spike said and hauled Xander to the bed.

“This from a guy who dunks cookies in blood.”

“That’s right, mock a guy’s handicaps.”

Xander sat heavily on the bed and looked blearily up at Spike as he brushed snack bits from his back. “I never thought of you as handicapped, Spike. Even chipped, you had it going on.”

“Sure. Right.” Spike pulled the covers back and tipped Xander over.

“Really. You always kept your ‘big bad’ going on. Wanna join me, Spike?” Xander asked coyly. “Blankets are warm.”

Spike tossed the covers over Xander and went to turn off the stereo. “Not so much, Xander.”

Xander sighed and wrapped himself up in the blankets. Spike watched his friend curl up and snuggle in. He switched off all the lights but a lamp and quietly started picking up the beer bottles before Xander tripped over them in the night.

“Hey, Spike,” Xander said long after Spike thought he was asleep.

“Yeah, mate?”

“I don’t want to go tomorrow.”

“Go where?”

“Anywhere,” Xander said, his voice muffled. “I don’t want to leave my bed and I don’t want to talk to anybody.”

“I’ll put up the do not disturb sign.”

“I have one of those?”

“Yeah. And your door has a lock, too.”

“Really? Damn. Do that, then. Both of them.”

Spike shook his head in amusement, “Should I lock the door as I leave?”

Xander sat up. “No. No. You stay.”

“I thought you didn’t want to talk to anybody.”

Xander clutched the blanket like a frightened three year old. “You’re not them. You’re you.”

“Okay. I think I follow.” Spike hung out the sign and locked the door. He looked over to Xander, who continued to watch him. Spike crossed to the mini fridge and got out a bottle of water. He opened it and sat on the edge of the bed. “Here, drink this.”

Xander took the bottle, but continued to look at Spike. “You’re the only one who understands.”

“Probably so. Drink."

Xander absently took a big swallow. “Water. I love this plastic taste.”

“Only the best. Finish it. You’re going to be sick enough tomorrow.”

“Maybe.” Xander drained the bottle and threw it on the floor. “Do you care enough to hold my hair when I barf?”

“We’ll see. Go to sleep now, Xander.”

Xander laid down and kept watching as Spike cleaned up. “Spike?” he said after a while.

“Yeah?”

“You’ll be here in the morning?”

“Yeah. I got no where to go.” He stood beside the bed until Xander was deeply asleep. He could only sort of understand what the man had been through, and hoped he wouldn’t let him down.

Spike picked up what he could of the fake onion flavored snacks. The heavy smell of them clouded his senses, and he didn’t think Xander would appreciate them in the morning. He dropped them in the toilet and flushed them away. Xander’s wristbands lay on the counter. He must have taken them off before getting in the bath. Curious what Jen had added, he picked them up and looked inside. Next to the glyph for freedom was a symbol that could only be a railroad spike. The vampire shook his head. Whatever white magic the woman worked, she certainly was observant. He put the bands back, turned, picked up the towel Xander had left on the floor, and lifted the lid on the clothes hamper to drop it in. An unexpected scent cocktail of Xander’s sweat, cum, blood, and tears, hit him and he instantly grew hard.

“Christ,” Spike cursed. He closed the lid and sat on it. He didn’t want to go there. There was nothing about Xander that wasn’t attractive, but Spike couldn’t go there. It wasn’t right to take advantage of him. A big part of Spike wanted to give in, to comfort Xander in any way he asked, but that wasn’t the best way to build a relationship. Spike paused and stared at the empty mirror. “Relationship? Who said anything about a relationship?” he murmured. Spike closed his eyes and let the pieces fall into place. Why wouldn’t it work, eventually? Hell, Xander had taken a male vampire lover in Africa, so why wouldn’t he take one now? Hadn’t the man flirted with him in half a dozen ways? Of course, he may have just been needing to make himself feel attractive after all he’d been through. So he was back to the fine line between making Xander fell less like a monster and more like an attractive human being. Damn it, Spike would just have to occasionally claim his own alone time.

Spike stood and opened the hamper again. He pulled out the towel and let the scents wash over him. With a tug, he popped the buttons on his fly and pushed his jeans to his hips. With his eyes closed, imagining he’d given in, licked the bleeding scar, and nuzzled the heavy sac, he pulled his hard cock to completion and added his own fluids to the towel.

He spent the rest of the night on the comfy reading chair alternately watching Xander sleep and staring out at the moonlit yard.





28 Funyuns Bad

Xander woke up to his stomach roiling and his head throbbing. First thought: What did they ferment to get that potent a batch of grog? He rolled over and opened his eye. Second thought: No. I’m home. No post-fight grog. Who knew Spike’s imported beer was so strong?

He opened his eye without moving and immediately saw Spike. He was asleep, sprawled in the reading chair with his head to one side and a book held in his left hand. He reminded Xander of a painting of a woman all in orange asleep in the sun that Tara had shown him in a book once, even though Spike was a study in black and white. He could see the book Spike held with his finger closed in place like a bookmark. It was the slim volume of poetry called “101 Famous Poems.” Xander had taken it from the library the other day while he had been looking for a poem he wanted to read.

Xander studied Spike’s relaxed features. There was a softness there that was never present when the vampire was awake, and he appeared a lot less, well, dangerous. Spike shifted in his sleep, throwing his right arm up over his head. This increased the likeness of the painted woman’s pose so much he almost giggled. Spike’s t-shirt pulled up and a wedge of pale flesh was revealed. Xander’s eye was drawn to it. The morning sun through the necro tinted window shaded in the arch of a stomach muscle. Damn it, Xander thought, I wanked myself silly last night, my head is spinning, and I have to pee like a racehorse, yet all I want to do is go over and pull that shirt up some more. Plus back to the whole it’s Spike thing…

“You finally awake?” Spike asked, making Xander guiltily shift his attention back to Spike’s face.

“Yeah. I think so.” Xander tossed off the warm covers and headed for the bathroom. “Excuse me.”

Spike’s chuckle followed him. “I’m still not sure about holding your hair for you if you barf.”

Xander opened the toilet lid and wondered why there were bits of Funyuns floating in the bowl as he relieved himself. He hadn’t been sick, had he? Xander thought that during his time in Africa his stomach had learned that if it managed to get anything like food, it had better keep hold of it. He washed his hands and peered at himself in the mirror. His long hair was a tangled mess and bits of  yellow clung to it. He vaguely remembered attempting a taste test between Funyuns and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. Damn, he’d been very drunk. What had he said to Spike? Worse, what had he left laying around?

Xander’s eye widened and he spun around to inspect the bathtub. Apart from a candle that had burned down and puddled on the side of the tub and a half-eaten chocolate bar on the shelf, there was no sign of his sport the night before. Xander leaned on the sink and thought back. He was sure he’d cleaned everything up and stuffed it in a drawer before opening his fourth beer. Yeah. Then he’d put on Patsy Cline and the rest of the evening was a blur.

Apart from the Funyuns.

Xander frowned at himself in the mirror and tried to pick out a bit of food. He crossed to the door and leaned into the bedroom, keeping most of his body shielded. Spike still sat where he had been and was reading once again, this time some thick paperback. “Hey, Spike?”

“Yeah, mate?”

“I’m going to shower.”

“That’s probably best. I’ll clean up out here while you do.”

Xander looked around the room for the first time. Bits of snacks lay all over the carpet and the bed was a tangled mess. The empty beer bottles sat neatly by the door in their cardboard carriers. “You don’t have to do that.”

“Are you in any shape to do it?”

“Uh… no.”

“Then I will. If I’m going to hang out up here with you, like you asked, then I’ll hang out in a clean room. Those onion things smell foul, but you owe me one.”

“Thanks, Spike. Uh…” he wanted to ask about the toys. A part of him just knew he’d left some tell-tale evidence of his date with Rosey Palm and her five sisters… and their brother Pug. 

“What?” Spike lowered his book and cocked a brow at him.

Xander hesitated. At least Spike wasn’t teasing him about it if he had, and if he said anything, that would just give the vampire teasing fodder. Not that the vampire had been teasing him too hard lately, which was strange, now that he thought about it.

“Earth to Whelp!” Spike finally said.

“Uh… I didn’t barf last night, did I?”

Spike grinned. “No. I guess you’ve grown an iron stomach. I remember being able to send you running with just stories.”

Xander ducked his head. “Yeah. That you could. You knew all my buttons and pushed them all the time, you evil bastard.” He closed the door, went to the shower, and turned the spray on hot.

Spike unlocked the door and crossed to the sewing room. Midra looked up from where she was cutting out a pattern. “How’s Xander? He didn’t seem too happy last night.”

Spike paused, studying Midra’s neat work before answering. “We knew he’d have to break before he could heal. I think the cracks are showing. He drained two six packs of my beer last night. ”

“We’ll leave you be, then. How about later I bring up a nice non-threatening brunch?”

“Good idea. Man’s got all kinds of candy squirreled away, but nothing good. I’m going to clean up the mess he made,” Spike said as he wheeled out the vacuum cleaner.

“I’ll help if you wish,” Midra offered.

“No. He’s in the shower and who knows if he’d be happy showing off his naughty bits unexpectedly.”

“Leave it by the door. I’ll take care of it when you’re done.”

“You’re a peach, Midra,” and wheeled out the vacuum cleaner.

“Not as peachy as you, vampire,” she said quietly.

Spike paused and listened to Xander cursing Funyuns and all things Frito Lay under the sound of the shower. He ran the cleaner around quickly and efficiently, then listened again as he coiled the cord. Xander’s string of curses had progressed to shampoos, their heavy bottles, and their inevitable ability to land on your toes. Figuring the man would be busy for a while, Spike sat the machine in the hall beside the beer bottles, dashed to his room and returned with a few key items.

When Xander finally had his hair less like a movie theater floor and came out with a towel around his hips, Spike was sitting at the table in his gray lounge clothes typing on a sleek black laptop he’d opened beside Xander’s.

“Where’d that come from?” Xander asked, toweling his hair.

“My room. And don’t get water on her!”

“Her?” Xander scoffed.

“You call powerful machines her, don’t you? Misty’s state of the art.” Spike ran a finger over the top of the screen with pride and reeled off a string of  megas and gigas that completely lost Xander as he pulled on a pair of soft, loose pants.

“You need that much umph to look at porn?”

“Doesn’t hurt, mate,” Spike smirked.  “Sit down and I’ll help you set up your computer.”

Spike engaged Xander’s attention setting up his e-mail and showing him new programs for an hour before he started to fidget. Spike cocked an ear at the door. “Are you hungry, Xander?”

Xander looked at the pile of snacks on the table and frowned. “Kinda.”

“Go look outside,” Spike said dismissively.

Puzzled, Xander opened the door, or tried to, because it was locked. “Oh, yeah. I have a lock.” He unlocked the door and opened it to find a tray on a small table, and no one in the hall. Xander picked it up and bumped the door closed behind him.

“Okay, Houdini, how did you do that?”

“Midra was in the sewing room this morning. I just heard her deliver it.”

“Smart ass.”

Xander ate silently, playing with downloading files as he did. Spike didn’t want him slipping into a brood again. “Would you like to spar today?”

“No,” Xander answered absently, not looking at Spike.

“Okay, then. Do you mind if I send some e-mails?”

“Why would I?” Xander shrugged.

Spike shifted his computer a bit and typed rapidly. Xander finished his meal and wandered to the stack of books by the chair. He picked up a random one and went to the bed. He flipped back the blanket, paused, and said over his shoulder, “You changed the sheets. They were blue before.”

“Yeah. So?”

“Thanks,” Xander said and slipped under the covers.  For a few minutes he watched Spike’s long, sure fingers as they danced over the keyboard. He was divided about being around the vampire today. Spike had said he’d asked him to stay, and very dimly he could remember that. Maybe Spike would get bored, go away, and let him mope in peace.

Spike chuckled at something and Xander looked at his profile. Maybe it would be nice to have company. Once in a while, long ago in the basement of doom, they’d had some okay times. Xander dove into his book, hoping to get lost.

Spike checked some of the sites he liked and shut down his and Xander’s computers. Xander was sitting against the headboard, slumped down, with his knees up, propping up his book. At least he hadn’t asked him to leave. Spike picked up the book he’d brought from his room and went to the bed. “Can I join you?”

“I said you could any time, didn’t I?” Xander said from where he was snuggled down in the covers with his graphic novel, not looking at Spike.

Spike climbed in bed, turned with his back to Xander, and opened his paperback.

“Come on over,” Xander said. “You may as well put your cold feet against me when I’m expecting it.”

“What makes you think I’d want to?” Spike asked playfully.

“You’re a warmth whore. Like... like all vamps.”

“Okay. I’m not one to turn down a snuggle.” Spike shifted and pressed his back and feet against Xander’s side.

“Hey! I didn’t say anything about snuggles! Just… foot warming.”

“It can’t be snuggles anyway, no one’s arm is around anyone,” Spike said, enjoying Xander’s heat and apparent good humor.

They both got comfortable and opened their books. After a while, there was a chuckle from Xander. “What are you reading?” Spike asked.

Sin City,” Xander answered.

“That’s not a funny book.”

“I guess not. But what was done to the guy with the whited out glasses… I was just imagining doing that to someone in particular.”

“Kingpin?” Spike asked softly.

“Of course.”

“It is a beautiful plan. Tie up the guy with razor wire, cut off bits, and feed them to his own dogs. I suspect we’d have to take our own dogs to Africa..”

“We could throw him to the werewolves!”

Spike considered it. “No, I think you need a more hands-on approach.”

“You’re right.” Xander was suddenly uncomfortable with this line of conversation. “What are you reading?”

Perdido Street Station. It’s kind of… strange but the language is very rich and detailed. I think the best way to describe it is ‘Victorian cyberpunk.’ Giles recommended it.”

“Giles recommends books to you? Things have changed.”

“Actually, he mentioned it to Gunn, who hated it, so he passed it to Oz, who recommended it to me.”

“Have you ever read Rebecca?” Xander asked.

“Is that the one Hitchcock made into a movie?”

“Never saw the movie, but it was one of Anthony’s favorites. Great book.”

“Read a lot, did he?”

“Yeah. And in several languages. His sire taught him French, Spanish, German, and some Asian language; maybe Chinese. He was going to teach me some.”

“Nice sire he had,” Spike mumbled and turned a page.

Xander pushed himself up, sat higher against the headboard, and looked down at Spike. “Didn’t Angelus or Drusilla teach you anything?”

“Oh, sure. Lots. How to hunt, torture, main, kill.” Spike emphatically counted off the points on his fingers. “Useful things like that.”

“Oh.” Not wanting to stir Spike up, Xander went back to his book. 

Spike cursed himself. The man was sliding toward brood. If he didn’t keep him talking at this point, he’d close himself off. “When did you see his sire?” Spike asked. 

“Huh?”

“You said you saw DeAmeron once.”

“I did. I saw him the day he was dusted,” Xander answered curtly.

“Oh.” Maybe he shouldn’t press.

Xander tried to go back to his story, but the past intruded.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


“What’s wrong, Anthony?” Xander quietly asked his lover over the noise and tension of the games around them.

“I’ve got a feeling I’ve not felt in many years.”

“What is it?”

“I think… I think my Sire is near.”

“Really?” Xander said excitedly, but then saw the worry lines on Anthony’s brow. “But that’s good, isn’t it?”

Anthony shook his dark head and the jewels in  his hair glinted. “No. If he’s here, he’s been captured.”

“He’s clever and old, he can escape.”

“If he’s in this far, he won’t leave without finding me, and I am so exposed… I fear for him, Xander.”

“Let’s just keep our eyes open. You’ve described him, and I bet I can pick him out. Okay?”  Xander patted his lover on the back as if in pre-fight encouragement when all he wanted to do was hug him close.

“Yes. Yes. We will make it through this round, then I will try to locate him.”

They had grown physically very close in the past year. They would spend many lazy afternoons exploring one another’s bodies and physical limits. Many a night Xander had lain spent in the tall vampire’s arms, wanting to tell him of his love and devotion, but fearing the sting of rejection. Instead, he would express himself with his hands, mouth, cock and body.

Now he felt Anthony’s anxiety rolling off him in waves. Xander fought his games poorly and got a bad scratch he should have avoided. Finally, it was Anthony’s round.

“Tonight we have a treat for you,” called the unseen announcer. “A vampire of very old blood.” Xander saw Anthony’s back stiffen where he stood out in the ring. “He was caught sniffing around, and you all know what happens to those we catch snooping?”

A chant of “death, death, death,” started up among the crowd.

The announcer laughed. “That’s right. Death for someone! Will it be our house champion, Anthony, or the old one? Traditional wooden stakes only! Place your bets and let’s find out!”

Xander startled when someone touched his arm. He looked down to see his friend the healer beside him. “What is it, Morgan?” he asked, returning his eyes to his companion.

“It’s Anthony’s sire, I think. They caught him last night.”

“Damn.” Xander tensed, wanting to tell Anthony, to help him, but Morgan held his arm. His apparently brittle hands had surprising strength.

“No, Xander. If you make any move into that ring, it will be your death for sure, you know that.”

A two foot wooden stake was tossed to Anthony, and he caught it by reflex only. His eyes never left the door on the far side of the ring. Finally the flurry of betting stopped and the door opened. Xander watched as a man a bit shorter than himself, with pale skin and shoulder length dark hair stepped into the ring. Like all fighters, he wore nothing more than a loin cloth and carried his own stake. Xander could not miss the strength and dignity in him.

Xander could clearly see the grief in his eyes and read his lips when he said Anthony’s name. The two ran toward one another and the crowd cried out in anticipation. Instead of blows, the two embraced one another. Xander barely acknowledged the cat calls of the crowd and the taunting of the announcer. Only Morgan’s hand kept him from running to them, from calling out. They were talking, but he couldn’t hear them.

“Oh, my Anthony. I have found you at last, but how horrible for you to be here.”

“Sire. Why did you come? I cannot leave here. They have cursed me and I will die outside this compound.” Anthony cupped his Sire’s face in his hands, looking into the dark eyes he had believed lost to him forever.

“I did not mean to get caught, believe me in this. I was betrayed into captivity. We will find a way to end…”

“No. No. There is no way. Look. See? They have crossbows trained on us. If we do not fight soon we will both be dust.”

“Then dust me, my sweet child.”

“No!”

“They would have to curse me to keep me here and I could not survive it. I cannot.”

“Sire, no, please.”

“No, Anthony. I have not had a moment’s joy since I learned you were lost to me. I cannot go on without you any longer. I’ve had more years then most.” DeAmeron pulled Anthony into his arms and kissed his cheek. “I love  you, boy. I always did.” Then he shoved Anthony away from him.

“Sire!” Anthony’s breath was ragged and he held his weapon at his side. He took a step in his direction like a lost child. “Please!”

“Then live for your mate over there.” With that, DeAmeron lunged abruptly at Anthony. Caught off guard, he reacted as he’d been trained. He brought the wooden weapon up, and watched as the beloved face of his Sire turned to ash before him, the last tear in his eye evaporating with the mystical wind.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Spike could feel Xander grow still and stop turning pages. He was about to ask what was wrong when Xander spoke.

“They made Anthony kill his own Sire in a death match, Spike.”

It hit Spike like a slayer’s punch. “God damn sons of bitches!” Spike spat, sitting up and facing Xander. “Talk about low.”

“I watched it happen,” Xander said sadly, putting aside his book and twisting the covers. “It was a big to-do. They’d brought in fighters from all over and the audience was full. Without warning, they paired Anthony, their top fighter, with one they’d captured. It was DeAmeron.

“He had a… powerful presence. Even naked and in the center of a dirt fighting floor, he had this power about him. They talked a little. I couldn’t hear. Then… then DeAmeron looked right at me and said something. Anthony half turned to look at me, and… His Sire almost threw himself on Anthony’s stake.”

“Right after he killed his Sire, they let loose another challenger. Didn’t even give him time to recover. The dust was still blowing. I… I’ve never seen anyone fight with so much fury, Spike. Six in a row he killed.”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Anthony screamed out his anger and grief as another fighter was released into the ring. The cotof demon never had a prayer. Within two minutes, Anthony had ripped off its head and stood covered in gore, looking like a primitive god of fury.

Seeing an opportunity to make up for the disappointing fight between the two vampires, they offered losers a chance to redeem themselves. Anthony ripped, bit, and stabbed six opponents to death within fifteen minutes. Finally, Xander could see Anthony weakening, and could watch no more. He pushed forward to the bell that only certain fighters could ring to signal an unfair fight was going on. Morgan followed, clinging to him.

As the judgment was being made between the unseen ones who ran the games, Xander watched Anthony first droop, then fall to his knees among the shattered corpses of his victims. The call came down to end the games and the crowd started to filter out. Morgan let go of Xander’s arm at last and he went to Anthony.

“Anthony?” The wide brown eyes that turned to him were empty and hollow as if everything were lost. “Hey, let’s go get you cleaned up.”

“Leave me alone, human,” Anthony said flatly, standing up with his back straight and walking away.


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


“He wouldn’t talk to me for a long time after that. I… I wanted to help him, but he wouldn’t let me.” The loss in Xander’s voice made Spike turn and put his hand on his shoulder.

“That was bloody unfair of him, but, to be honest, I can see why he did it.”

“Can you, Spike?” Xander cried. “Can you tell me why he acted as if all were lost when he still had me?” Xander’s voice cracked and a tear slid from his eye.

Spike dared slip his arm around Xander and pull him close. “A Sire is everything. It sounds like he was everyone to Anthony. His human companions would have been long dead, but as long as DeAmeron was out there, Anthony held some hope of rescue. Even as you thought about Buffy and the intrepid Watcher.”

“But he had me, Spike. And I had him. We… kept each other sane.” Xander sighed. “And about the rescue… I know. Honestly. I know that. It’s just that we spent just one evening together talking before I was sent off to fight. He hadn’t sent for me for almost two weeks, then… we were together all night. He didn’t want to talk at all, just… touch me like it was the first, or last time. I left from his quarters that morning.” Xander swallowed and sniffed. “It was right after I came back a week later that he was murdered.”


*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*`*


Notes:  

The painting is "Flaming June" by Lord Leighton Fredric

“Perdido Street Station” is an awesome book by China Mieville

“Sin City” is the series of graphic novels by Frank Miller.

“Rebecca” is both a wonderful book by Daphne Du Maurier and a film by Alfred Hitchcock.





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