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Unbreakable


by
Fanbot


29 Death

Somehow, Xander wound up curled against his chest. Spike held him quietly as the man clutched at his shirt, pulling him close without realizing it. Unseen above Xander, he closed his eyes and felt sorrow for the vampire who had cared for Xander and who he would never meet. He wanted to know more, but didn’t want Xander to rabbit and go back to his mope. Spike couldn’t help but think about Angel.

One rare night after the fall of Wolfram & Hart, he and Angel had gotten drunk together. His Sire had talked about the two deaths of Darla; the one he’d caused, and the one he’d witnessed. The great brooding stone face had cracked and he’d actually allowed Spike to hold him as he cried. Of course, the next morning Angel was aloof to him like it had never happened. Typical.

“Spike?” Xander interrupted his thoughts.

“Yeah?”

“Are we cuddling?”

“Let’s see. We’re in bed, under the covers, and my arms are very much around you. Yep. It’s a cuddle.”

“Oh.” Spike sat still wanting to see how Xander would react.  He felt Xander tense, relax, let go of his shirt, and lay his hand flat on Spike’s chest. “The way I see it,” Xander said quietly, “I have two ways of reacting to this. I can shove you away and pick a fight or I can stay here where I feel safe and risk you mocking me for being a poofy sissy.”

“So which is it going to be?”

“I’m staying here.”

“Poof. Sissy,” Spike said. Then, after a pause added,  “wanker.”

“Hey!” Xander said, getting up, and sitting back on his heels. “What do you know?” Spike opened his smirking mouth to answer but Xander interrupted. “It’s all supposition and you can’t prove a thing … not that anyone’s asking!”

Spike took advantage of this opportunity  to distract Xander. He stretched, putting one arm behind his head and running the other across his chest and down to rest on his belly as he spoke. It was a move so like unsouled Spike teasing Buffy that Xander had to blink. “I’ve got a video tape of all the best bits of ‘Fear Factor,’” Spike said.

Xander blinked again, totally thrown off balance by Spike’s actions, his mind’s reactions to those actions, and Spike’s nonsequitur remark. “Huh? I, uh, thought you hated reality TV.”

“Most of it. But this show; it’s got almost-naked pretty people frightened out of their wits, crying, begging, and screaming. The very best bits are where buxom bikini-clad birds have to stick their heads in tanks of blood and fish things out with their mouths.” Spike poked the tip of his tongue against the back of his teeth in delight. “They always show them showering it off in slow motion and the blood running down the drain.”  He let Xander gape at him for a few seconds before defusing the situation. “Actually, it makes me hungry, too. Which is perfect, me being a vampire and all.”

Xander’s dismay crumpled to a grin. “Damn it, Spike, just when I forget you’re evil, you have to go and remind me.”

Spike shrugged and put his other hand behind his head. “Just pointing out that I’m the last person in the world to pass judgments on anyone.”

“Well, just stop prowling in my drawers.”

“Huh? There’s something to prowl for? Oh, goodie!”

“Spike! I’m just now remembering there are things like locks and do not disturb signs. Let me have some privacy!”

Spike softened. “Sorry, mate. I won’t prowl.”

Xander picked up his book from where it had fallen aside, flipped through it, sighed, and put it on the bedside table.

“What now, Xander?” Spike asked. Xander shrugged. “We could cuddle some more, I rather liked that,” he said lightly, trying to brighten Xander’s mood. Xander shrugged again, not looking at his friend. Spike put his hand on Xander’s knee. “I know you’ve been through a lot. I know you’ve learned to take care of yourself, and I hope you know to listen to what your instincts tell you. Okay, Xander?”

Xander nodded, looking away to where the sun make bright patches on the carpet. Abruptly, he got up and closed the curtain, blocking all but a glowing edge of light. Spike watched quietly as he checked the door lock and lit a couple of candles before coming back to bed.

“Roll over, Spike. I… I’d like to just hold you for a while.”

“Sure,” Spike said and rolled on his side facing away. He knew it was just as comforting to hold as be held sometimes.

Xander slid under the covers, wrapped an arm around Spike, and, with his head on the pillow, rested his forehead against Spike’s head. He sighed and closed his eye. “Tell me a story, Spike. Something about Sires and those they’ve sired.”

Spike paused and found the right kind of story to tell. Xander wanted to know why Anthony had left him. Okay, he’d do his best. “Darla found Drusilla. She was a pretty, sweet, innocent who had the power of precognition. As was her wicked way, Darla presented her to  Angelus so she could watch what he made of his prize. What he did was to slowly drive her mad by killing all her loving family and tormenting her before siring her.”

“After some twenty or thirty years, they’d grown bored with their often tiring companion and ignored her. Angelus told her to go make a friend.”

“And she picked you,” Xander said.

“First fool to cross her path, said Angelus. The stars guided her, said Drusilla.”

“I remember hearing her talk about the stars once.”

“She was always getting messages from the stars, or burning baby fish, or her damn dollies. I think she wanted a source other than her own head. Poor Dru. As much as I loved her, it took infinite patience to cope with her sometimes. Once in a while, I would leave her, have an adventure on my own, but I was always drawn back.”

“How would you find her?” Xander asked.

Spike paused. “There is a… pull of family, of blood. If she is around I can feel her. To a lesser degree I can feel Angel, and he me. I think that’s one reason we chafe so.”

“But you said you didn’t know who was following you last time you saw her.”

“It’s like… like a faint song over a fuzzy radio station. Once you pick out the tune, you know who it is. The last person I expected to see was Dru.”

“That’s why Anthony felt so uneasy with his sire around,” Xander said excitedly. “Like Darth Vader sensing Obi Wan!”

“Er… Yeah. Just like that. I’d wager that the shielding on the caves fuzzed their link.”

Xander lay still, listening to the distant sounds in the house and turning over what Spike had told him. He realized they’d never spoken like this before about Spike’s past. “First time I saw you, you called Angel your sire, but Drusilla made you. What’s up with that?”

“Drusilla made me a vampire, but Angelus made me into a right proper demon. Had it just been Drusilla and I, Spike might never have been.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Angelus took me on as a project. My father died when I was young, yeah? And before that he wasn’t around much at all. So when this handsome, charismatic man came along and wanted to bond, I bonded. He taught me… glee in all the wrong things.”

“For almost twenty years we were the Scourge of Europe. The four of us would rain terror wherever we felt the whim. He and I… we were quite the team. You wouldn’t know it when you see how much Angel hates me, but Angelus and I…”

“You and Angel have had a falling out, haven’t you?” Xander asked quietly.

Spike grew still. “Yeah. We have. He wants to play human so… so he won’t talk to me about the old days. I’ve got no one to… It doesn’t matter.”

“You’re wrong, Spike. You can talk to me.”

“Sure, until I start talking about body counts and effective torture methods,” he said dismissively. “I have a soul, but I still like to reminisce once in a while. We have nothing to talk about now.”

Feeling the tension in Spike’s body, Xander laid his hand flat against Spike’s still chest and moved his body a little closer. “You’d be surprised, Spike,” he said quietly into the soft brownish hair. “I’ve done some terrible things myself. I will never brag about them, but… “ Spike felt a shudder run through his body. “I have done things with my soul and without a demon as an excuse.”

“Extreme circumstances lead to extreme actions, Xander. I’m sure you did what you needed to survive.”

“No,” Xander said flatly. “I want mad.”

Spike lay quiet and waited for Xander to say what he would. He pressed Xander’s hand to his chest supportively.

“Anthony was more than my friend. He saved my life. Had he not been there, I would not have made it more than a week... and we were lovers.”

“Nothing wrong with that.”

“Yeah. I know.” 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. Without Anthony’s protection, I would have would up someone’s bitch, I know. After a year, I... we 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. 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. It was like being back in school with the bullies after me again, but this time I had a protector.”

“And you could fend for yourself, “ Spike added quietly.

“Yeah. Pretty much.” Xander paused, and Spike could feel him tense up and pull him a little closer. “And then…” Xander trailed off, sniffing and worrying the fabric of Spike’s shirt.

Spike reached back with his left hand and petted Xander’s hair. “Xander? What happened? Let it out, Pet.”

“I’d been in a fight at another camp and was wounded. This critter I thought dead actually wasn’t. It clawed my back real bad. The scar’s still there, on my left shoulder.” Spike nodded. He’d noticed the ugly twist of tissue.  “I’d been away almost two weeks, I figure, and was taken to the medical ward upon return. He… He came to me that night.”

Xander closed his eye and deeply breathed in the scents of leather, musk, copper, and somehow smoke that were uniquely Spike. He opened the door in his memories he’d been attempting to hold shut all day.


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


“Xander?” Anthony said quietly. There were two other humans in the sick ward, pregnant women in their final months of carrying whatever had been planted to grow within them. They were heavily drugged.

“Anthony? What are you doing here?” Punishment for being out of one’s cell after certain hours unescorted was severe.

The tall vampire knelt down beside the low cot. Xander could only lay on his left side, as his shoulder had been badly torn. “I pulled some strings, made some threats, and a bribe or two. I was worried about you.”

Xander was groggy from the potions the healer had given him. He put out a hand and cupped the back of Anthony’s head. “I won. A bunch. You should be proud.”

“I am,” he said, his voice barely above whisper. “And I missed you.”

“Yeah. You, too. I wish I hadn’t had to leave so soon after…” Xander said, unsure of how to approach what he wanted.

Anthony pressed Xander’s hand to his cheek. “Shhh, rest.”

“Anthony?”

“Yes?”

“You said I could ask anything of you.”

“I did.”

“Can I… It’s been so long. Make love to me?”

Anthony looked around the dark room that was illuminated only by a single oil lamp turned low. “Here?”

Xander nodded. “Want you.”

“I want you, too. But…”

“Maybe… maybe just a quickie?”


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


“He should have left. God, he never should have come to start with. But I wanted him, and he wanted me. I asked him to love me. I was sleepy, lonely, horny, and stupid and all the other dwarves. It was late and no one else was about. But… The blood and the desire became too much. It was foolish of us to be intimate in the sick ward, but… but we both wanted so much. Those beds were narrow, but he climbed in behind me, skinny as he was. He licked at my wound as he fucked me, Spike. And it felt so good.” Spike felt Xander draw in an unsteady breath and gripped his hand tightly. “The loving, and the feeding. The healing spell made me sleepy, so I didn’t hear them, Spike. I should have sent him away.”

Xander’s tears were now flowing freely and Spike could smell the salty tang of them.


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


Anthony spit on his hand and readied his lover. When he slipped in, they both felt complete. The wound in Xander’s shoulder was before his face. “Xander,” he growled. “Your scent…”

“Taste me, Anthony. It won’t hurt.”

Xander heard the familiar crackle of bone changing shape, and Anthony eased aside the bandage. Both moaned as he licked the jagged edge of flesh. He stopped after a minute and put the bandage back. “Xander. You still taste so good, so pure.” He thrust more deeply in.

“Anthony. No one can ever fill me like you do.” He felt the vampire pause and raise himself up on one elbow.

“Know this, Xander: You are beautiful. I do love you.” He pounded in, riding Xander’s reaction to orgasm. Then he ripped  the large pearl that had been his sire’s death prize from his hair and pressed it into Xander’s hand. “Take this, and remember me,” Anthony said.

Xander opened his mouth and inhaled to reply, to question, and inhaled a flavor he knew too well. Vampire dust. A scant second before he’d been surrounded and filled by someone he loved. The next thing he was aware of was laughter.


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


“I felt him raise up on his elbow. Then he pressed this pearl into my hand. This… this was the prize they gave him for killing his Sire. Isn’t that special? ‘You’re so beautiful. I love you, Xander,’ he said. For the first time. For the only time.” Xander took a deep, shaky breath. “I felt him come inside me, and then…” Xander sobbed, leaving Spike to fill in the gap. He could imagine the horror of having a lover vanish from beside you; from within  you. “I killed them, Spike,” Xander gasped. “With my bare hands. Three of them. Human men. As the dust and the seed of my lover dripped from my body, I killed them all!”


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


“Ohhh, he bit he dust, didn’t he boys?” Xander rolled over. Kyle, the most spiteful human Xander had ever met, brandished a stake and laughed.

“I recon the big boss will be gad to be shut of his vampire gone soft,” Zack drawled, always the toady to Kyle. “Now you can take his place.”

“What about his pet?” Buddy licked his lips. “Can I have him?”


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


“One, I ripped his head from his body. The next, I slung by his legs and cracked his spine against a corner wall. The last one, Kyle… I shoved that wooden stake up through his ribcage and into his throat. While the dust and seed of my lover stuck to my body, I killed them.”

Spike rolled over and held Xander tightly as he silently cried. He knew no one else knew this story, no one had been told. “Xander, Xander,” he murmured, comforting.

“I became their best fighter, Spike, won every match,” he said between sobs. “They put me in the death matches. Anyone and anything they put in the ring with me died, and not always quickly. For a year I didn’t care who I killed, or how. And now… now I can’t stop being a killer like the bastards who killed Anthony.”

“You can, Xander. You have. You don’t have to kill any more.”

“Not yet. I have to do it again. I can stop after I rip the Kingpin to tiny pieces with my bare hands. I’m as much a monster as they are.”

“I swear on my undead existence, I will help you see that day, Xander. I swear. And, Xander? I know monsters. I am a monster, but you’re not. You’re still a good man, though only God knows how." 





30 Vampire Blood

Xander sobbed in Spike’s arms with his hands curled to his chest like a frightened child. Eventually, the sobs gave way to waves of tears, then finally to great, deep breaths, then to sniffles and the inevitable snotty intake of breath.

“You through?” Spike asked, not unkindly. Xander nodded, not untucking his head from Spike’s chest. “Is it tissue time?” Xander nodded again. “Okay. I’m not going far.” Spike unwrapped an arm and snagged the box of tissues from the bedside. He tapped Xander on the shoulder with it, and let him pluck his own.

After a couple of handfuls had been used and tossed aside, Xander rolled to his back. Spike mopped a bit at his shirt, cocking an eyebrow at Xander who had to smile a little. “Sorry.”

“It’s not the most disgusting bodily fluid I’ve had on me.”

“TMI, Spike.” Spike rolled to his back and copied Xander’s pose of staring up at the ceiling. Xander sighed. “I don’t know why he did it, Spike. He could have taken those goons, easily. I know he heard them.”

“I can’t describe how close a Sire is to ya,” Spike said. “Dru… I love Dru more than I love my left gonad sometimes. Even with her evil ways. Your Sire is your parent, your leader, your lover, a… a savior.”

“Savior?”

“Yeah.” Spike sighed “I… I was a mediocre human. I admit it. I never would have been a footnote even had I not been turned. You told me DeAmeron took Anthony from a dead-end life of servitude and gave him eternal youth and strength. Plus, he took him places and treated him good.”

“That’s what he said,” Xander whispered, his throat closing up again. “But, he… Damn it!”

“He left you alone?” Spike asked gently.

Xander nodded, and Spike opened his arms to take Xander back against his chest. “Did I ever tell you about Morgan?” Xander asked after a while.

“No, mate.”

“He is the healer, the shaman. I called him Morgan because he looks like a really, really old Morgan Freeman like in Driving Mrs. Daisy, but shorter and even older. I was, of course, always getting hurt, so I saw Morgan a lot. I could speak something close to his dialect, so we started teaching each other words. He… he is a good man. I want to see if we can get him out of there.”

“Recover Morgan. It’s on the list.”

“I asked him why he stayed, and he told me he was pretty much the last of his tribe. He figured he could stay where his healing magic would always be needed. And he is good, Spike. Damn good. I’d be a mess of scars if it weren’t for him and would have died several times over.”

“Then I know him to be a good man.” Spike murmured.

“The goons had tied him up. Morgan, who had taken care of all of them, they tied him up! He got loose and came in the ward. I can’t imagine what he saw.”


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


The room stank like the ring. The three who had assaulted him were very thoroughly dead. One of the women had awakened and was crying in her bunk. The bed Xander had been sleeping in was smashed and the man himself stood wild-eyed, covered in blood, sweat, semen, and what could only be the dust of his partner.

Morgan swore an oath and chanted a calming spell. He watched carefully as the adrenaline drained from Xander’s body and he sagged. The spell had the benefit of calming his woman patient as well.

“Xander,” he said calmly, slowly approaching the man. “We have to clean you up a little.”

“What? Why?”

“If it is known you were coupling with Anthony as they attacked, it will not go as well for you. Come on.” Xander looked dumbly down at himself and allowed Morgan to pick his way to a basin and return with a damp cloth. The healer’s touch soothed him as he wiped away the semen and dust.

“That was Anthony,” he said dumbly.

“I know. I let him in.” His task completed, Morgan stood and folded the cloth neatly into a tight square. “I will treat this with respect and hold it for you. Yes?” He tucked it into a pocket of the pouch he always wore.

“Yes,” Xander mumbled. Morgan led him to a bench and sat him down.

“Listen to me, Xander.” He shook his shoulders a little and made him focus. “I have to call alarm. They,” he pointed at the crumpled bodies, “came in here after you. Anthony killed the first two before Kyle killed him. Then you killed Kyle.”

“I killed them all. Killed them too quickly.”

Morgan shook him again. “No,  Xander. It is the only story that will fly. Understand?”

Xander looked over at the bodies, down at himself, and then into the caring brown eyes of his healer friend. “Yeah,” he rasped.

“Good, you sit there.”


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


“There were some inquiries, but with Morgan’s story and the fact they abused him, too, it was all judged justifiable. We said Anthony was defending me, killing two of them, and I… defended him. So I got Anthony’s quarters, privileges.”

“Was that so bad?”

“There was more. They sent me into the ring… a lot. I won and I won and I won. They moved me to the death matches. I killed whatever and whoever they put in there with me. After a few months, when I did what they told me and I was rewarded by… Spike, they gave me Anthony’s job as chooser. I was the one who sealed people’s fates. I said pleaser, fighter, or fodder. I was the one who granted slow death or quick. Like… like the nazis sorting Jews off the cattle trains. Showers or Death. It was all death, Spike.” Xander’s voice cracked. “It was me.”

Spike rubbed circles on Xander’s back. “I’m sorry.”

“And for a while, I didn’t care. I fought and killed. I grew wealthy. I did what they said. There was never any mention of cursing me, because I never tried to leave. I didn’t care enough.”

“What changed it, Pet?”

“A girl. A thirteen year old girl. God. She looked so much like Dawn at that age. As she cowered before me, she had the same sad, shocked look that Dawn did when she discovered she was the key. And do you want to know my first reaction upon seeing her? That I wanted to buy her and keep her in my quarters so I could look at her all day and maybe…” Xander couldn’t say what he’d wanted, that he thought to take her virginity and let no one else touch her. He knew Spike could bridge the gaps. “Last night, when Dawn put her head in my lap…” Xander shuddered.

“It’s okay, mate. It’s okay. I know you would never harm Niblet.”

“I… I bought the right to be sold. Did you know that?”

“I did wonder why they’d let a prize like you go.”

“I had three times the wealth you cut from my hair. From all the killing. Blood money. I knew about the ships to America and I bought the right to be packed up like cattle and brought here. I knew I could be facing a much worse life, but I could take no other way out. Funny. Offing myself was one of the only things I could think about in the beginning. But toward the end… I just wanted to be in America one more time. Never in a million years did I imagine you striding into the hold with a poofy attitude and buying me.”

“Well, I’d been saving my allowance for something special.”

“I don’t think I’m so special.”

“What’s not special about you?”

“I’ve killed so many, Spike. Demons and humans. There were…” he swallowed. “I recognized more than I said on Gunn’s list, because I killed them.”

“If you want, you can just say you know they’re dead, not how. You can borrow the file and he doesn’t even have to be in the room.”

Xander wasn’t listening. He pulled away from Spike and sat on the edge of the bed. He ran his fingers into his hair and clutched it. “I know so many ways to kill. So many… with pikes, stakes, knives, clubs, swords… with just my bare hands.”

Spike moved to kneel in front of Xander where he had his head down and his hair clenched. “Xander?”

“I won the jewels and wore them like I was supposed to. I paraded my status and… I’m a monster,” Xander muttered in self-loathing.

Suddenly, Spike grabbed Xander’s arms, ripping his hands from his hair and hauling him to his feet. “Get dressed!” he gritted, staring a dazed Xander in the eye.

“What? Why?”

“We’re going to the barn.”

Xander tried to wrench away, but the vampire was too strong. “I don’t want to fight!”

“I do!” Spike let him go, scooped up his jeans and threw them at him. “Get dressed or I’ll haul you through the house like this,” he snarled, taking off his lounging pants and grabbing his own jeans.

“You’re serious!”

“Fuck. Yeah.” Spike said, accenting the words by thrusting his legs in the jeans.

Hurriedly, Xander pulled on jeans and a t-shirt, but Spike didn’t give him time to question before he was pulling him down the stairs.

“Spike? What…” Willow asked as a harried and confused Xander was pulled past them where she sat on the couch with Oz.

“Stay out of it, Red. This doesn’t concern you.”  He pulled Xander through the kitchen, down the stairs to the tidy laundry room and opened the door to the tunnel. There Xander balked.

Spike stopped, flipped  a switch beside the door, and rounded a glare at him. “It’s a long hallway, Xander, not a tunnel. Come on before I knock you out and carry you.”

Xander gave in, still very confused and followed the clean white walls of the well-lit, hallway. A small piece of his mind admired the construction of it.

They passed a set of stairs that must lead to the garage, then on to another set that opened to the barn. Xander opened his mouth to speak, or at least catch his breath, when Spike took him by the arms again.

“What are you?” Spike asked.

“Huh?”

“What do you think you are? You were just telling me.”

“I’m a monster.” Xander said, meeting his gaze steadily.

“Did you ever kill anyone outside of the ring when it wasn’t out of necessity?” Spike asked.

“No.”

“Did you ever kill for the fun of it? Laugh about your sport?”

“No!”

“Do you know how to torture someone? How to keep them alive for days?”

“No!” Xander tried to pull away from Spike, but he just gripped harder, making Xander stand still or break a bone.

“Do you know how much flesh and muscle you can carve from a vampire before he finally ashes?” Spike asked, his voice growing quiet along with Xander’s stillness.

“No.” Xander answered, the direction of the questions becoming clear.

Spike lessened his grip. “You ever fuck the corpse of your victim?”

“No,” Xander said more quietly.

“Have you ever,” Spike’s voice cracked, “killed an entire orphanage of children and arranged their bodies in storybook pictures to make your girlfriend smile?” Xander shook his head. “Do you know just how much blood you can drink from a girl like Dawn so they still cry when you rape them?” Spike’s voice was just a whisper. He dropped his hands from Xander’s shoulders.

“No,” Xander said, understanding it was about Spike now.

Spike looked away to where the high window let in a single square of sunlight. “Then you’re not a monster, Xander. I am. Because… because once in a while, just every now again when I’m lonely or drunk… I wish I didn’t have this sodding soul and could cut a path of destruction again without morals or guilt.”

“Spike, you’re not a monster. You’ve helped us out so much and now you work for the Slayers.”

“You ever taste the blood of your vampire, Xander?” Spike snapped, turning back to him, his eyes glinting.

Xander blinked at this sudden turn. “No.”

“Do you know anything about it? Drinking a vampire’s blood?”

Xander rubbed his arms where deep bruises were forming, as he frowned at Spike’s intensity. “Buffy once said Dracula made her taste it, and that she… saw things.”

Spike scoffed. “Made her, right. Poncy Dracy making the Slayer do something. I am a monster, Pet, and you are not. I want to show you.” Spike shifted into game face and bit his wrist. He held it out to Xander. “Drink. One swallow.”

Xander looked from the dripping gash to Spike’s eyes. “You dare me?” Xander said weakly.

“Drink!” Spike snarled.

Uncertainly, Xander took Spike’s arm, fought down the gorge that wanted to rise in his throat at the heady scent, looked in Spike’s yellow eyes, bent and pulled one swallow from the rapidly-closing wound.

Sensations and emotions rushed through him like the rapid clips a the beginning of a TV show  where they say “previously on.”

He felt what it was like to be a vampire; to be so strong, quick, clever, and aged. He saw gruesome sights that churned his stomach; deaths, pain, and suffering, all of it being rendered by Spike’s narrow hands. He saw a myriad of victims, screaming under Spike’s body as they were violated in every way and with every possible thing. Women, men, children. He saw glimpses of Drusilla throughout as if she were the focus of it all, though she, too sometimes suffered his dark art. The specter of Angelus blessed the mayhem.

Xander found himself on his knees on the dirt floor of the barn, the ruins of his breakfast shot through with blood like a TB victim’s mucus. He dry heaved when the smell hit him, and pushed himself away. Spike let go of his hair and stepped back.

Xander spat and wiped the back of his mouth. He squeezed his eye shut and did his best to will away the visions that were already fading like a nightmare.

“You all right, mate?” Spike asked quietly.

Xander sprang from the floor and punched Spike with all the force he could. “You God damned, son of a fucking bitch!” he yelled at Spike where he lay on the floor, blood streaming from his nose. “How the fucking hell dare you?” He screamed at Spike, belittling him in several languages and daring him to get up. Finally, he’d shouted himself hoarse so he stumbled away. He fell on his knees in the patch of sunlight and breathed in great lungfulls of air as tears ran down his face.

The sunbeam moved off his face and just warmed his knees before his breathing evened out.

“You still say you’re a monster?” Spike asked quietly from where he still lay on the floor. Xander hesitated, then shook his head. “You don’t doubt that I am?”

“I never doubted that, you’re a vampire,” Xander said, then coughed.

“Do you still want me around? I understand if  you don’t.”

“You’re not very popular right now.”

“Yeah. I get that. I’ll go,” Spike pulled his splayed limbs together.

“I didn’t say that,” Xander whispered.

Spike sat up, wiped the dried blood from his face, and dusted himself off best he could.

The sunbeam slipped off Xander’s lap and he felt a sudden chill. “Then tell me this, Spike, if you can. If I’m so good, why did Anthony leave me? Or did you show me that to prove how evil all vampires are?”

“Oi! No one’s as evil as William the Bloody is… was. ‘cept maybe Angelus.” Spike muttered. “And I think Anthony was a bloody idiot. Didn’t see the value of what he had, could only mourn for what he lost. Seems to me he held on to the dream of his Sire so long he’d never planned past it.”

Xander looked over his shoulder at Spike as he sat cross legged in the dust, his hair unraveling from its braid, and a smear of dried blood on is chin that he kept scratching at. Spike raised an eyebrow at him as if expecting to be contradicted for calling Anthony an idiot, but said nothing more. Xander turned back to the sunbeam as it crawled away from him, leaving him in the dark. “What if… what if I had told him I loved him?”

“You never did? Huh. I didn’t know the bloke, but you might’ve set yourself up for a deeper hurt, mate,” Spike said quietly. “Nothing stings as bad as loving someone more than they love you.”

Xander knew Spike spoke of Buffy. “But he treated me like he did love me, even if he didn’t say it till the end.”

“Funny how folks can do that, innit?” They sat quietly for a minute. “Buffy told me she loved me once.”

Xander turned around, leaving the sunbeam to travel on alone. Spike now sat slumped with his elbows on his knees and his hands limp in his lap between them, staring at them. “Really? When?”

“Just before I went to ash in the ruddy school basement. I could tell she said it cause I wanted her to.” Spike sniffled.  “It was a sweet thing she did.”

“You think she didn’t really love you?”

Spike ran a hand over his head and sighed. “The problem with love is that there are so many different flavors of it and just one word.”

“Like; I love Star trek and chocolate.”

“And I love Manchester United and spicy chicken wings.”

“I love swimming in the ocean and sunshine.”

“I love hot blood and a good fight.”

Xander paused. “I love Anthony ,Willow, and Giles.”

“I love Drusilla,” Spike sighed, still looking at his hands.

“Like Eskimos have a thousand words of snow, we need a thousand words for love.”

“Yeah.”

“Huh.” Xander pushed his hair out of his face and smiled. “Spike?”

Spike looked up. “Wot?”

“I love you, Spike,” Xander said with a straight face.

Spike raised an eyebrow. “I love you, too, Xander.” He waited to see what the man would do next.

“You know what else I love?” Xander asked, getting to his feet.

“Wot?”

“Lunch!” Xander bounced over to Spike and held out his hand.

Spike took it and let Xander pull him to his feet. “Food’s you’re first love, innit?”

Xander brushed some of the dust off Spike’s back. “Yep. It was a good thing we were so poor, or I would’ve been fat!”

“And easier to catch,” Spike snickered as he opened the door to the tunnel. Xander paused, his cheer suddenly gone. “I’ll meet you inside if you want,” Spike said. “You don’t have to take this route.”

“No, it’s not that. I… thanks. That was the nastiest thing I’ve ever experienced, and there have been some nasty ones.”

“Sorry… I…”

“Let me finish. It was harsh,  but… it worked. I… I see what you were trying to tell me. I… there was so much I could have done that I didn’t, and that makes me a man.”

Spike looked away. “Proved I’m a monster, too.”

“Spike,” Xander said, making Spike look  back. “You were a monster, but I think now you’re a fine man.”

Spike smiled a shy smile, then pulled a fake frown. “I’m evil. Always will  be.”

“That’s right, Big Bad,” Xander hesitated, then pulled him into a hug. “And thanks for holding my hair when I barfed.”

“Didn’t wanna smell you on the way back, is all,” Spike said quietly, returning the hug.

“Thank you for… for finding me, For buying me and not leaving me there.”

“Like I said, I’d been saving up.”

Xander gave him one more squeeze, then pushed him away. “You can’t fool me. That was the council’s money.”

Spike grinned. “Yeah, you should’ve heard their reaction to my expense account that week.”

“Does that mean I belong to the council?”

“Nope, I’m the one who signed the papers. Your ass is mine!” Spike laughed, patting Xander’s head. “Let’s go find lunch.”





31 Scotch Worse

As they crossed back through the tunnel, Spike told Xander some of the wilder rumors about the movie star who had built the house and the tunnel originally.

“Midra!” Xander cried as he burst from the cellar door. “What’s for lunch?”

She looked over the dusty men disapprovingly and shook her head. “Dinner is left over chili and sandwiches and it will be in an hour.”

“Thank you, gracious lady of the kitchen. I shell return clean forthwith.” Xander gave her a bow, and one for Willow, then bounded from the room.

Willow turned to where Spike leaned in the doorway. “That was a fast turnaround.” She eyed Spike’s bloody, swollen face and blood-smeared hand.

Spike shrugged. “Fella needed a round of kick the Spike. I find it works well with Scoobies.”

Both women gazed steadily at him, knowing it wasn’t the full story.

Spike rolled his eyes and gave in. “He kept calling himself a monster, so I showed him what a real monster is like.”

Willow’s eyes widened. “You fed him your blood?”

“Just a swallow. Got through to him better than any words I tried.”

Buffy had told her in detail about Dracula’s blood and she had read up on it in her studies. “And he still lets you near him after a senso-round experience of William the Bloody?”

Spike looked smug. “Proves my point, don’t it?”

Midra smiled a little a him, even as Willow frowned. “You’re the one who is going to have to deal with his nightmares,” Willow said.

“I think he’s got plenty of his own,” Spike said as he went back downstairs to clean up.

Upstairs, in his room, Xander leaned on the sink. He swigged a mouthful of mouthwash in an attempt to rid himself of the tastes of vomit and vampire blood.

Even after rinsing three times and brushing twice, the taste of blood lingered. Then, with a shock, he realized it was a memory; one that was not his own.  “Damn. Vampires should come with warning labels,” Xander muttered. He turned away from the mirror, not wanting to see if he looked as bad as he felt, his arm bands laying on the counter.

He hadn’t missed their presence until seeing them. He picked one up, and abruptly remembered Jen adding to one of them. How had he forgotten that? The one for his right wrist was unchanged, but inside the left band, next to the glyph he was sure meant “home,” was what could only be a railroad spike. Xander smiled and put the left band on.

He put on a long-sleeved shirt to cover the bruises, and joined the others in the kitchen, hoping Midra’s chili would be spicy enough to block out the memory of the taste of hot blood.

Gunn and Dawn were absent, but it still made for a happy table full. The chili was indeed flavorful and the taste of blood soon faded.

“Hey guys,” Oz said. “Velvety Potato is trying out new drummers tonight at the Treacle Room.”

Xander choked on his soda. “Velvet what?”

“Velvety Potato. It’s a band I play with sometimes. The Treacle Room is a club.”

Xander laughed. “Velvety Potato. I like it. What do you play?"

"Covers, mostly."

"So it's the Velvety Potato skins?"

Xander got a round of groans for that. “Good one. You guys are welcome to come.”

Xander frowned. “That would be like going out in the real world, meeting new people, answering questions about the last five years, and listening to pop references I won’t get unless maybe I managed to read the book?”

Click for full size Not Work Safe image
Oz's group - first album - sold fifteen copies

“Yes?” Oz said.

“I don’t think I’m up to that, yet.”

“Come on,” Spike said. “It’s a great crowd.”

Xander looked doubtful. “I may get Spike to play a little,” Oz said.

“Spike plays? What, harpsichord?”

“No, wanker, bass guitar. And quite well, too.”

“As tempting as that is, I’ll just hang out here. I’m in the mood to veg and watch some Firefly. You go, Spike.”

Spike really wanted to go, but he didn’t want to leave Xander after the night he’d had. He frowned at the man as he shoveled away more chili. “You sure, mate?”

“Go ahead. I don’t need my hand held every minute.”

“Okay, then. We won’t be out too late.”

“Just don’t break any groupie’s hearts.”

“Nah. But they do have a cute roadie…” Spike smirked.

“Who? Christine the valkyre?” Oz asked.

“Yeah,” Spike sighed. “I like a woman I can climb once in a while.”

Oz and Spike launched into a conversation about amps, guitars, and chords that told Xander he was right to let Spike go. 

He hung out in the living room watching television until he heard Gunn come home.

Xander went to his office and poked his head in. “Hey, Gunn.”

Gunn was sharply dressed in a neatly tailored suit. For the first time, he looked like the lawyer Xander knew him to be. He was still in “professional mode” as he sat his briefcase on the desk. He waved to a chair. “Xander! How’s everything? I have your hearing scheduled for day after tomorrow, is that okay?”

“Yeah, great,” Xander said, staying in the door. “Will there be a test? Any books I should crack?”

Gunn shook his head. “Just be there, know who you are, and let me do the talking. The council and your mother have supplied me with all the paperwork I need. We can go from there to the bank and finalize access to your accounts.”

“You mean get me my own piece of plastic?”

“Exactly.”

“Great. Um, Gunn? I’d like to take another look at that list. Of  people.”

“Sure! I can load it as an encrypted file onto your laptop. Then you can do it in your own time.”

“Can we… tonight, maybe?”

“I’ve got time right now.”


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


Shortly after one, Spike and Oz returned. They had found a drummer everyone seemed to click with and then played for a couple of hours. Quietly, they made their way upstairs and parted company at the second floor landing. Spike continued upstairs and went to Xander’s room.

He listened at the closed door and heard Xander talking. The words were slurred, and he couldn’t make many of them out. “Xander?” he called.

“Spike! There you are! Come in, buddy!”

Spike could now tell Xander was drunk, and closed his eyes for a second, fearing a repeat of the Funyons event. He opened the door and found Xander again in the floor.

This time, he had all the blankets and pillows in a pile and was sitting naked in the middle of them, holding a nearly empty bottle of scotch. Spike felt a guilty twinge at the dark bruises on his upper arms. “Hey! I missed you!”

“Sure you did.” Quickly, he looked over the room and took in the situation. He went to the laptop that sat on the  table, and looked at the glowing screen. It was a spread sheet of  names, dates, pictures, and info. The last column was labeled “New information.” Many were blank, but some contained poorly typed things like: “best sword through gut,” “blow to head,”  “Fucked him 1ce, e never called.” “conimed him to def,”  and “Mad her a whore.”

“What’s all this about?” Spike demanded.

“Gunn.” Xander crawled out of the nest he’d made and pulled himself up to the table. “I wanted to help him out to find more people. So he gave me this,” Xander pointed, touching the screen. “I fucked up a lot of people’s lives. Took a lot, too.” He lifted the bottle to his lips, but Spike took it from him. “He gave me that, too. Gimme it back!”

“You’ve had more than enough, Xander.”

“No!” he said, reaching for the bottle.

“Yes, you have.” Spike put the bottle high on top of the entertainment center and came back to where Xander was on his knees, one arm up in the table with his chin on it, and looking at a picture of a smiling woman. “They never smiled when I saw them, Spike. She was a pleaser. Because I said so.”

Spike snapped the laptop shut. “Enough of that. You’ve done plenty of homework. Time for bed. Go clean up a little if you can, and I’ll put the bed together.”

“But I like it in the floor. I don’t deserve a bed. I’m a pet. I had a nice nest in Anthony’s room for the longest time.”

“No, mate. You do deserve a bed, but I don’t feel like playing maid again tonight.” He kept his anger at Gunn tamped down for now. Xander needed him. He lay down fully dressed, prepared to leave as soon as Xander was asleep.

Xander didn’t even notice the vampire hadn’t taken off his boots. He curled against Spike where he lay on his back with his hands behind his head.

“Hey, Spike,” Xander said quietly.

“Hey.”

Xander started running his hand over Spike’s chest. “I’ve always thought you were nicely compact and well muscled.”

“Thank you, Xander.” He’d let Xander touch him as long as it distracted him from the laptop and the bottle.

Xander closed his eye and nestled in against Spike’s side, with his forehead in the crook of Spike’s neck. Spike put his arm around the man and held him. Just when he thought Xander was going to sleep, he started to pet Spike again. “Nice,” Xander said sleepily.

“Sure. Go to sleep.”

Xander slipped his hand under Spike’s shirt and continued his sleepy circling. “Your skin is so smooth.”

Spike closed his eyes, wishing Xander would stop, but expecting him to fall asleep at any second. “Died without ever having done a day’s hard work in my life. Not even sports, unless you count croquet.”

“Croquet don’t count,” Xander murmured, circling wider. He stopped to toy with the faint line of hair that ran down from Spike’s belly button.

“Um, Xander,” Spike said, growing hard under the unintentional sensual touch.

Before Spike could stop him, Xander’s hand circled again and dipped under the waistband of his jeans where they gaped as he lay on his back. Xander’s finger brushed the damp tip of Spike’s cock and paused. “What’s this?”

“You know what it is, Xander. You’ve got one yourself. Leave off the nice vampire, roll over, and get some sleep.”

“I do have one of those.” Xander thrust his erection against Spike’s hip and pushed his hand into Spike’s jeans. There wasn’t much room, but he managed to wrap his fingers around what he found.

Spike sucked in a breath and pulled Xander’s hand out. “Stop it, Xander.” He fought down the urge to take what he wanted. Xander was drunk and trusted him.

“Want it,” Xander said, and tried to breach Spike’s jeans again.

Spike shoved him away and leapt from the nest. “No, Xander.”

Instead of the hurt Spike expected, his face clouded and he growled at Spike. “Get back here.”

“No, Xander!” Spike said firmly.

Xander rose to his knees. “No one refuses me! I can have whoever I want!”

“You’re not in sodding Africa, Xander! You’re in California. That doesn’t fly, here.”

Spike wasn’t expecting it, so when Xander lunged at him, grabbing him around the knees and bringing him down, he fell like a chopped tree. His head banged against the floor, stunning him.

“I get what I want! I’m the chooser! I want you!” Xander said, straddling Spike and pulling at his belt.

Spike’s eyes were flecked gold as he grabbed Xander’s muscular arms and threw him backwards. He landed with a thump on his tailbone. In a heartbeat, Spike stood over Xander. “I suggest you not get up, Xander,” Spike said coldly. “I’m not one of your pleasers for hire.”

Xander snarled, snatched at Spike’s legs, and Spike slapped him. “No! You could never please anyone, Spike! No wonder Angel left you!”

Spike suddenly went still, more stung by the words than the attack. “I’ll be back when you’re sober.”

As he snatched up the bottle and slammed the door behind himself, he heard Xander start sobbing. He didn’t pause, but stormed on through the house.

Drawn out by the shouting, Willow, Oz, and Dawn stood in their doorways. Dawn drew back into her room at the sight of an angry Spike barreling down the stairs.

“Spike? What happened?” Willow asked.

“Sodding lawyer gave the boy a nice drink to accompany his misery,” Spike gritted without stopping as he gestured with the bottle, making a bit slosh out of the top.

“Oh! Don’t hurt him! He didn’t know!” Willow called after him.

“Go see to Xander!” Spike called back.

Spike crossed through the house to the ground floor rooms Gunn shared with Midra. He raised his fist to pound on the door, but it opened before he could strike. Gunn stood in the doorway, tying his robe belt. “What’s the hubbub? We under attack?”

Spike bunched up Gunn’s robe with one hand, pulled the taller man’s face down, and shook the bottle at him. “You gave this to Xander! Left it with him!”

“Yeah, man. Going through that, I thought he’d need some courage.”

Spike’s predator nature acknowledged Midra taking a protective stance behind her man, but ignored her. “Xander’s father was a very drastic, very mean drunk.” Spike spoke low and clearly, his eyes flashing gold. “Didn’t your woman tell you that the boy got drunk last night? Then you leave him alone with this to face what he did back there?” Spike shoved Gunn away so he backpedaled and landed hard against the bed. Spike glared at him as his bad leg gave out and he fell to the floor. “Xander has more courage than almost any man I’ve met. He doesn’t need this shit.”  Spike hefted the bottle and at the last second fought down the urge to slam it into the wall. Instead he took a huge swallow and turned away.

Spike encountered Oz in the hallway, the small man had the stillness of the wolf about him, and Spike had no doubts he would defend anyone in the house, even against him. “You okay, man?” he asked in his calm manner.

Spike took another swallow, enjoying the burn of the good liquor, but needing more. He needed to fight, feed, fuck, and maybe kill. And not necessarily in that order.  “Fine. And so is lawyer boy. Look after Xander. I’m going out.” Oz stepped aside and Spike continued on, grabbing his coat off the rack, and slamming the front door behind him.





32 Newbie

Spike automatically checked his pockets as he strode angrily across the lawn. Nothing spoiled a dramatic exit like having to go back for your keys. Once in the garage, he leaned heavily back against the door. The bottle he’d forgotten he carried thunked against the wood. With his eyes closed, Spike took a deep, steadying breath, let it out, then raised the bottle to his lips. He took a long swallow of the smooth alcohol and turned over the situation in his mind. He knew Xander would probably beat himself up over his actions in the morning. That is, if he remembered them.

Spike took a second swallow. More than a hundred years of taking what he wanted didn’t make the situation easier. Some habits are hard to break. Upstairs, he’d been so close to letting Xander take him, or taking Xander, whatever came about. It had been so long since anyone had cared about him; held him or desired him. He now knew the long years with Drusilla had been special. They had always been there for each other. She would greet him with that naughty grin and a grope after he’d been out fighting. They would slaughter a family, then fuck for hours in the congealing blood.

He drained the bottle, and again wanted to slam it into a wall to hear it break. He stared at the fancy glass and cursed. He didn’t live in a crypt where he could leave broken glass around when he wanted. People lived here, people he cared about, and sometimes a tongue lashing from the red-head hellion Willow could become just wasn’t worth it. He settled for crossing to the recycling bens and slamming it into the one neatly marked “clear glass.” A weaker pickle jar exploded with a satisfying crash.

He opened the tiny boot of his sports car and double checked the presence of  what he called his “grab and run” kit. He climbed in, called up his heavy punk mix CD on the changer, cranked the volume and peeled out of the driveway.

Spike pushed aside what caused his dilemma and focused on the real problem: fight or fuck first.

After an hour of playing hogs of the road in his horrorshow sports car, Spike turned down the volume and called one of his favorite hotels on his cell phone. It was close enough to the bad part of town that he didn’t have to drive far, was nice enough to not put someone off from visiting him, and yet still had twenty four hour room service and flat rate cable porn access. Best of all, it had rooms that faced the indoor balconies and had no outside windows. His reservation made, Spike cranked the volume again and headed to the hotel.

Half an hour later, he checked in and exchanged a few words with the clerk who recognized him. He had overheard two maids talking once and knew his reputation as an eccentric, yet well behaved good tipper. Fine with him.

Spike quickly went to the room and scattered his belongings as if he’d been there for more than a few minutes. It was late in the night, and he had things he wanted to do.

Dawn had accused Spike of being stuck in the 1980’s as far as music was concerned, so she made him CD’s of what she was listening to. He put in the latest and made his way to one street where the newbies always seemed to wind up. It took another half an hour, but he found what he wanted. A young man with a letterman’s jacket came out of an alley, wiping his mouth and spitting. He was tall and olive skinned, his hair just brushed his collar and was in need of combing. Spike watched as he checked his pocket then resignedly took up a post by a street lamp, pulling the jacket tighter.

Spike pulled up beside him and rolled the passenger window down. “Oi, mate.” He’d found that his accent was very popular.

The boy put on his best casual air and leaned over to look in. “Hello,” he said, his accent was mid western.

“I’m in town on business and I hate to eat alone. Would you like to join me for dinner?” He stank of other men’s seed and sweat, so Spike new he wasn’t a police officer. Still, it was best to play the game. As recently as ten years ago, he would have been in that alley and taken the boy and his customer. Spike bit down the urge to do it anyway and smiled.

“I donno, man,” he looked up and down the almost empty street, his dark eyes cautious. “We talking waffles or steak?”

“I was thinking a nice thick cut of steak, actually. With any sides you’d want. Fries, baked potato, salad, beer.” Spike heard the boy’s stomach growl and knew he had him. His old ways still worked. Drusilla once told him he could charm the very stars from the skies, but please don’t cause they’d burn so.

“There’s nowhere around here open this late serves that.” He started to straighten.

“My hotel, the Piedmont does. They have damn fine chocolate cake, too. Please, I hate to eat alone.”

The boy leaned over again and stepped closer. “My roommate will worry if I don’t get back soon.”

Spike picked up his cell phone and held it out. “Call him. Tell him you’re having dinner with Mr. William Blooden at the Piedmont. Come on.” The boy bit his lip. “You can shower while you’re there, then I can drive you home. Please.” Spike put on his best blue-eyed sweet routine.

The boy caved. “Okay. Let me call Freddy.” Spike handed over the phone and watched him step away. He listened in easily, tapping his fingers along to a song he wasn’t really hearing, as his soon-to-be-company dialed time and told the mechanical female voice where he’d be. A pretty runaway. Time was, Spike would charm him off to a hole somewhere and play for days. Damn this soul, that would sooth his aches so well.

The boy climbed in, handed Spike his cell phone back, and buckled up. They made small talk about the car and the music as Spike drove carefully back to the hotel.

Spike made a point of stopping at the desk to ask after messages to put the boy more at ease, having been seen in his company. Once in the room, Spike tossed aside his coat and handed the boy the room service menu. “Order whatever you want, my treat. I recommend the fillet steak and seasoned potatoes. Oh, and of course the cake.”

Once they’d ordered, Spike persuaded the boy to shower and dress in one of the provided robes. As the boy showered, Spike stepped into the bathroom. He heard the boy’s heart rate accelerate as he tried to figure at this stranger’s game. “I have to have some laundry done, one of my bags didn’t make it. I may as well get yours, too,” he called over the sound of  the water. “It should be done right as we finish up dinner.” He didn’t wait for an answer, but scooped up the stinking clothes and closed the door behind him. He waited for three minutes to see if the boy would storm out wet and angry, but, as Spike predicted, he did not. The newbies never did. Funny how they would strip in a heartbeat for some dosh, but wouldn’t run out in a hotel hallway naked to save their lives.

Spike emptied out the jeans pockets, carefully piling the contents on the table. A couple of wrinkled twenties joined a pair of condoms, a small pocket knife, a key, and a thin wallet. Quickly, he thumbed through the wallet. His name was Jerry Scott Whitner from Ohio and his eighteenth birthday was three months away.  Spike frowned at the picture of a young lady shyly cradling her rounded belly. He doubted that was his sister.

He stuffed the clothes into the bag provided for laundry service along with some of his own, and placed a call to room service. He pulled on a robe and settled on the bed to watch television. After half an hour, the boy came out with a white robe tightly belted around him, and his long hair dripping.

“Feel better?” Spike asked, not looking at him as the boy inventoried his property in a panic.

“Um, yeah.”

“They’ll pick up the clothes when they bring up the food. It shouldn’t be long now.”

He watched the boy shoot a look at the laundry bag where it rested by the door. It was clear he still wasn’t sure at all about this seeming kind, handsome stranger. Spike pointed at the other bed. “Get comfy. There’s a good Clint Eastwood movie on. Unless you’d rather watch one of the ‘Star Wars’ movies? Say, what’s your name, anyway?”

“Je… Scott.”

“Well, Scott. I must say this is a lot better than staring at a TV by myself. I always have jet lag when I come over from London.”

Dinner shortly arrived, and Spike managed to relax the boy over light conversation and good food. True to his word, the clothes arrived cleaned and the jacket dry cleaned. It was an hour until dawn.

Spike sorted out his clothes from Scott’s and laid them on the table. “Well, that’s it.” Spike yawned hugely. “I guess I can get dressed and take you home.” He yawned again.

Scott yawned, too. “Yeah, I guess that would be best.”

“Unless, well...” Spike hesitated.

“What?”

“There are two beds. We could catch some shut eye, you could get some breakfast or lunch, then I  could take you home. I mean, it’s all warm here and I’m sleepy now.” Spike knew from the smell of the boy he’d been in a flop house at best.

“Um… Okay.”

“Do you want to call your roommate again?”

“Huh? Oh, no. He’ll be… off to work by now.”

“Good, it’s settled.” Spike tossed back the covers on his bed and dropped his robe. He stretched, letting Scott see his lean, healthy body, then climbed into bed. “Turn the light off, would you, Pet?”

He allowed Scott to turn off the light before crossing the dark room and dropping his own robe. He sighed at the sight of the boy’s cleanly muscled body and glimpse of his fine cock as he climbed into bed. He wasn’t Xander. He wasn’t even close to Xander’s hard-won muscles, but he would do. Spike waited half on hour, tossing and turning, before calling out to the boy he could hear was almost asleep. “Hey, Scott?"

“Mmmm? Huh?”

“I know this is forward of me, but… can I sleep with you? I miss my partner.”

Scott hesitated before answering. “Um… just sleep?”

Spike sighed loudly. “I… I know what you are. I… I’ve never hired anyone before and wasn’t planning on… I’ll give you… fifty dollars to let me sleep with you.”

He heard the boy’s soft intake of breath. “Uh, I guess that would be okay.”

“Thank you,” Spike said and quickly moved from his bed to the other. “I have some circulation problems, so I always feel a little cool. I thought I’d warn you cause it freaks some people out.”

“Oh. Okay.”

Spike lay some distance from the tense boy and put his hands behind his head. “Say, Scott,” he said softly after a while.

“Yeah?”

“What… How much… Never mind.” Spike rolled away and curled up with his back to the boy.

“Did you change your mind?” Scott asked after a minute. “I don’t mind. Cause… you’re the nicest person I’ve met in this town.”

“You find this place hostile, too? If I didn’t have to come here for business, I never would.”

“I’m sorry I’m here, too,” Scott said too softly for human ears.

“How much? God! I can’t believe I’m asking,” Spike almost sobbed. “I… I had a fight with my partner before I left. Now he won’t answer his phone. Last time this happened, he… he hired someone.”

“I’m sorry,” Scott said and put his hand on Spike’s shoulder. He named off some rates that Spike knew to be high  for a beginner.

Spike rolled over and softly touched the boy’s face. “I tell you what; I have five hundred dollars. You tell me when I’ve used it up, okay?”

“Five…” Scott gasped.

“I can show you. It’s cash.”

“Uh…”

“Yes, let me.” Spike jumped out of bed and flipped on the light. He dug out his travel wallet from the bag on the floor and fanned out ten fifties. “There. It’s real.” Spike barked a laugh, then threw it in the air, letting the bills flutter down around Scott where he knelt on the bed. “It’s his money anyway! I’m working for him!”

Scott gaped at the crazy, beautiful, naked man before him. He didn’t know for a minute if he should grab his clothes and run or stay and earn the money. Spike sat heavily on the bed beside him and buried his face in his hands. Scott hesitated, then moved closer and put an arm around the shaking shoulders. “It’s cool, man. Think of it this way, if you don’t tell him, he’ll never know.”

Spike sniffled and pulled himself together. “Yeah. Yeah! You’re right.” Spike turned to him. “I deserve a pretty young man like you in my bed. It’s not like I’m married.”

“I thought that was legal in England.”

“Not so much anywhere, really.” Spike gave his most charming, shy grin and picked up a bill. “Help me clean this up, then we’ll get all comfortable again.”

Together, they accounted for the money and stacked it on the table. Spike turned on the bathroom light and left the door open enough to act as a night light before climbing in beside Scott. He lay on his back and held out an arm. “Come ‘ere, Luv.” Scott lay with is head on Spike’s shoulder and allowed the smaller man to pull him close.

“Wow, you are cool.”

“The coolest,” Spike murmured, gently kissing the top of Scott’s head. “Rub your hand over my chest, then let it wander, and play with what you find.”

“Yes, sir,” Scott answered, moving his hand.

“Call me Spike.” 





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