Banshee wailing in the distance, the familiar rise and fall of its siren call comforting despite the raucousness of it. Wooden boards creaked under the ghostly pressure of memories. The air felt oppressive, full of sharp edges that cut. The need to cough grew, but it was swallowed down. Noise was bad. Noise would attract attention. Muscles twitched, caught and trapped under that heavy air, chained by twisted cloth, forcing him still. Warm, soft, fraying and nappy with age, the red blanket was slowly being unraveled, one faded thread at a time.
Six hours, thirty four minutes and seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty one. . .
He never put digital clocks by his bed.
Blood vessels pumped in red-rimmed eyes as they followed the metronome of those gracefully rhythmic hands. Two half-moons of scabs beat in counterpoint. He touched them every once in a while. At least once a minute.
The girls hadn’t noticed them. Neither had Giles or the recently arrived Olivia. Buffy had pouted since she didn’t get to hurt what had injured Riley. Willow had focused entirely on the glowing orange stone on its ornate gold chain. It moved. He had caught her staring at it with the dazed look of a stoner, or someone watching a lava lamp.
He’d stared at it awhile, too.
“And then we see Xander at the edge of the cave—my spell worked! And yes, I know I’ve said that. Anyway, Xander was there and this stuff kept flying out—”
“Blood and guts,” Buffy had chimed in, while Willow delicately wrinkled her nose. “Spike was having fun in there. Big cheater.”
Giles looked a bit concerned at that, but Xander had been certain it was the jealousy in her voice, not what she had actually said. “Are you certain, Buffy? That he was killing the snarath?”
Blonde hair bounced vigorously as she nodded. “Yup. Killed it dead. I think. He’s probably doing something icky with the corpse right now. Oh, Xander, do not let him back in with you. Not until he’s washed, at least. It smelled horrible, and we didn’t even get very close.”
Xander had stopped listening then.
He vaguely remembered Giles promising to look into the amulet and why the Initiative may want it. His eyes had never left Olivia’s the entire time he spoke. Buffy had chirped a goodbye, claiming she had a boyfriend to go make up with. Willow he had walked back to her dorm, habit from long before he started carrying stakes and crosses with him. She had babbled the entire time about the magic, sparing him the need to say anything but the occasional “Uh huh” and “That’s cool”.
And then she had turned to him, and looked very hard.
“Are you okay, Xander?”
“Huh? Sure, Wills, I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be fine?”
“Because you’re so quiet. You’re never quiet, Xander.” Cute Willowgrin up at him, totally aware that they could have contests to see who babbled more. And knowing it would be a tie. “Are you scared Spike is going to hurt you? Because he can’t, still, we know the chip is only for demons.” Had they talked about that? Yes, he had vague memories of being surprised that no one cared very much. Spike wasn’t a threat to people, so they were content to leave him alone. “Or do you want to throw him out? Now that he can take care of himself again. . .”
“Scared? Wh—why would I be scared? He’s still chipped.” Agonized howl, awareness and frighteningly insightful intelligence returning over the base instinct of me and mine.
“He can’t hurt you Xander. Just the demons. You know we wouldn’t let him go near you if we thought he could actually hurt you.”
Liarliarliarliarliarliarliarliarliarliar. “Who says he’s even coming back? Like you said, he can take care of himself again. He’s probably off finding himself a nice crypt right now.”
Willow just gave him a look. “Spike? Do for himself when he can nag, complain, and whine at someone to do it for him? Please. And he still can’t hunt, just defend himself. He’ll be back. Unless you don’t want him to. Do you want me to do a de-invite at your house?”
Habit kicked in then and he gave her his bestest Xandergrin and a wink. “Nah, don’t worry about it. Fangless doesn’t scare me. I’m gonna go home, go to sleep. It’s been a long day.”
“Oh, that’s right, you were working today, weren’t you? At the Chuck E Cheese again? Oh, poor Xander. I’ll make you some cookies, okay?” Not waiting for an answer, she gave him a peck on the cheek and disappeared up the stairs. “Call you!” he heard trailing down.
Six hours, forty five minutes, and thirty one, thirty two, thirty three, thirty four . . .
Demons, far more frightening than the ones with bumpy foreheads, circled in his mind, whispering to him. He wanted to cry at their venomous onslaught, but he couldn’t. Tick, tick, tick. Can’t blink, can’t tear, can’t look away. Have to watch. Have to see.
Something scratched at the door.
He froze, hardly daring to breath. It could be anything, including the stray cat that he occasionally fed. It liked him.
The scratching got louder, turning into a click. The door swung open. Feet clumped down the stairs, leather, smoke, and alcohol—so much alcohol poured off the person to mix with mildew and fabric softener.
No one’s home, go away. All the lights are out. Nothing to see here.
Things were put down. Clothes were taken off. Microwave opened and started turning.
He was beginning to feel ignored.
The microwave beeped and was opened. Tiny sounds of a body working. Click of something being put down.
Long, cool body slid next to his, hands recently used as claws gently untangling him from his woven chains and pulling him away from the sofa back. Smoothing down his sweaty skin, he was pulled against something that could have been marble but wasn’t. A deep rumbling sound vibrated from one body to the other.
And then he was moving, sliding down that satiny cold. Hands and mouth, touching and licking, kissing, biting, moving over muscles that rippled under his touch, down sinewy legs, curly hair tickling his nose. Back up again, less hair, warmer skin, and then—
Light, gentle touches, making something soft and small large and hard. It was warm against his lips and tongue, as was the breath that bathed his face in short, sharp bursts. Find the vein, lick that from base to head, leaving the tongue just below it to move in small circles. Move, carefully, mustn’t move the tongue too far away, to take the tip into the mouth. Suck. Hard. Pull cheeks back so hard that cheekbones become as prominent as the slack-jawed version above him.
Quick gasp of breath, then more suction, slooooowly moving down that long shaft. Feel the blunt and leaking tip bump against the gag-reflex—which wasn’t working—and hesitate. Dilemma. More suction, or more entry.
Suddenly he felt cool hands gently lifting his flushed and sweaty face away—
No! Nonononono! I’m a good boy, I am! Please, let me be good, want to be good. Please—
“Calm down, pet.” The second repetition carried the hint of a growl and his thrashings subsided. Those hands stroked him again, up to his throat going up and down until he swallowed, and swallowed and swallowed.
“Missed me, puppy? Good. That’s a good boy.” He whimpered, pushing his face into a yielding stomach. “Remember to breath, pet. You have to breath.”
There was something he was supposed to remember about breathing, something other than he had to do it. Something about not doing it, and warm hands at his throat, warm body against his, moving and writhing and—
“Shhh, pet, not mad at you.” More hands, pulling him up to look at eyes that were glassy reflections in the faint dawn light. “You were doin’ just fine, pet. Can do that all you like. Just breathe, boy. Don’t forget to breathe. Ever.”
Cool command in that last word and he felt his mind being rewired to accept the new programing. Good boys don’t forget to breathe. Lesson learned, so can he go back to making pack-leader happy again? Because pack-leader can’t leave. Pack-leader won’t leave, if he’s pleased with the pack. The pack had to be good, be a good boy. . .
There were no interruptions this time as he worked his way back down. Stopped at small dusky pink nipples, licking them experimentally. Oh, a moan. Licked until they shrank into small, hard pebbles. Pack-leader was vampire. Vampires liked biting. Half-moons throbbed in agreement. Glancing up in half-needed permission—saw nothing but pleasure and anticipation—he leaned forward over the left one. Bit down, hard.
Bite down again, just about to break through skin, licking the tiny nub that was pushed into his mouth. Licked and licked and licked, because pain was pleasure and pleasure was pain. Pinched the other one, biting and licking and pinching, switching from one to the other. Moved his thigh between pack-leader’s, rubbing lightly while he worked.
“Oh, fu—ah!” Cold and wet splashes on his thigh, but he couldn’t stop. There was still hardness under his weight and until the hardness went away, wet wasn’t enough. Pack-leader couldn’t leave the pack. Couldn’t be alone, not again. Alone was bad. Scary.
Licked the bite-marks, soothing them with wet warmth, then moved down to explore stomach muscles that were so hard, so cut but yielded under his tongue. Dipped into the small hollow he found, pleased with the guttural moans. Pack-leader was happy.
Licked at the first hair he found on that pale expanse, a small trail from the hollow to the place that smelled so good, so right. Smelled of home and safe and wanting. Bypassed the straining monument of the happiness he was creating, and moved onto round things he licked and sucked and tried to swallow whole. Tangled hair on his tongue, following the contours as something wet dripped onto his nose and face. Wet and becoming warm. He remembered other times, other lessons, and whimpered with his mouth right on the skin. High in his throat like a frightened child, wanting someone to come save it, whimpering and moaning.
Deeper moans from above faded into gasps and harsh panting for unneeded breath. “Good—good boy,” was gasped out when he hesitated a bit too long. Cool fingers threaded into his hair, not pushing, just holding and feeling.
Pack-leader was happy! He was a good boy! Pleased, he released the wrinkled sac and moved even lower. Saw the thing that had gotten him into trouble before. “God—no, wait.”
He keened, obediently stopping but confused and upset as to why. He was going to be a good boy, an obedient boy, just like he was supposed to be, just like he had been, before!
Low, gasping chuckle met his whines. “Not tryin’ t’ stop you, puppy. Just wanna move a bit, is all.” Oh. More pleasure? Yes, that was good. Pack-leader should be happy. He pulled back while pack-leader moved onto his side, lifting his leg and balancing it on his calf. Pretty white triangle . . .
Hands, again, touching him, soothing him, reminding him that he was a good boy who did good things. Those hands moved him, getting him to lay down on those silken thighs. His lower half was pulled up to the top of the bed, hands playing with his body. Touching here, and there, sometimes hard, mostly not.
“Such a good boy,” he heard crooned above him, breath still strangely warm gusting along his buttocks. Mm, that felt good. Shivering with pleasure, he leaned forward and gently circled his tongue around the little brown place. “Oh, yeah, that’s it. Rim me, boy. Make me cum again.”
He touched the two globes surrounding his goal, kneading them and spreading them just a little to get better access. Cautiously moved just a bit closer, pushing his tongue from the outside to the inside. Oh, tight. Very tight, clamping down on his tongue so it was hard to move it.
Hands warmed from his own body heat squeezed him lightly, mimicking his kneading movements. Happy pack-leader. He moved his tongue, remembering a time when it was warm and wet and soft instead of cold and tight. Remember what worked and what didn’t. Copied it, stabbing up in deep, looking to see if he could find that special, wonderful part that warm-and-wet didn’t have.
Tried to grin, then realized he couldn’t and still reach that place far up inside. So he stopped smiling, pushing in again and again before releasing to suck at an opening that was much wider than when he started. Over and over he did this. Tried some new things, some worked and some didn’t.
More wet stuff, landing on his belly, but he knew from reaching down to stroke as he licked and prodded that it wasn’t soft yet. Had to be soft. Soft meant completely.
One last lick and then back to the place that was home. Opened his mouth and swallowed it down, past the gag reflex, into the depth of his throat. Sucked hard and swallowed. Pulled back enough that he could breathe through his nose, and then did it again.
Hands played over his belly, getting slick with the mixture there. One finger, then two pushed into him, doing what his tongue had done before. The other fondled and played the bit of skin that started where his sac stopped. He was a good boy—he had to be, because only good boys were given treats.
Bobbing his head up and down, sucking and licking the way good boys were supposed to. Pack-leader had to stay now. He kept nearly continuous suction on the long shaft in his mouth, humming and whining to let pack-leader know he was being good. That he wanted to be good.
This time, when pack-leader came in his mouth, the hardness began to fade. I’m a good boy! he thought with childlike delight. He rolled the viscous fluid around on his tongue, swallowing it in sips so he wouldn’t lose the taste.
“C’mere, pet.” The fingers followed him as he turned himself around, continuing to pump inside of him as he brought his lower body flush with pack-leader’s. The other hand moved up to touch the marks on his shoulder. “So pretty,” was whispered into his hair. “One day, gonna do it for real, boy. Never lettin’ you go. Never.”
And pack-leader licked the healing wound.
He screamed, came—and passed out.
Xander opened his eyes to white skin. It was finely grained, pulled taut over cheekbones and a jaw line that were sharp enough to draw blood. He wanted to touch them, but didn’t. His arms wouldn’t move, wrapped up tightly and trapped in their current positions.
Snuggling closer to the sleeping vampire, Xander allowed himself to bask in the feeling of pack. He had pack-leader’s smell all over him, pack-leader’s body covering his in a possessive strength. One hand toyed with his hair, the shoulder his pillow, the other arm clamped down tightly enough that Xander could hardly breathe around its hold. One leg was tossed carelessly over both his own, a soft groin pressed to his.
Safe. Home. Pack.
Part of him clamored for love, affection, respect, and friendship, but it was a small part. The more time he spent with Spike the more the hyena’s wants became dominant. Not to the point where he couldn’t interact with other people—the hyena wasn’t stupid—but the things the human wanted were becoming less important. He didn’t need love or respect, so long as he had pack. Because pack was love; possessive-love that circumvented the need for respect or friendship. Affection he already did have, if not the way the human wanted.
And all this in just three days. He said he’d never let me go.
He hummed deep in his throat, a humans poor imitation of a hyena’s growl, pushing yet closer to the cool body next to his. Spike responded by muttering lightly, the way a human would when disturbed during sleep, and held him impossibly tighter.
Um, this is great and all, but I have to breathe. He said I have to breathe. Choking, he tried to push himself backwards. Spike growled, moving his head to latch onto his collarbone. A rough tongue swept over the scabs there, removing them although it did not bleed again.
“Spike?” he gasped out. “Gotta breathe. Please?”
Another growl, almost the whine he remembered himself making more than once—he winced in memory—but Spike did release him enough that he could start breathing regularly again.
One arm curled at an impossible angle, snaking between their stuck-together bodies to stroke his stomach. “Gotta go, pet?” he heard whispered in his ear.
Oh. Right. That would explain the incredible pressure-pain he was feeling. And why he was half-hard. It was morning, ergo, he needed to pee. “Um, yeah,” he said, embarrassed. “But I don’t want to move.”
More embarrassment. He wondered if Spike could feel the heat from his scarlet flush. Probably. “Yeah,” he admitted reluctantly. Between his own clumsiness in the woods and the marathon sex they’d been having he was sore, pretty much everywhere. And they were stuck together. He could feel it every time he breathed, or Spike got too close to the patch of skin that was slightly raised. Not that Xander wanted him to stop, or anything. It felt. . . nice, being petted like that. Even if the implications were a bit disturbing.
What could get more disturbing in my life? No, wait, I didn’t actually think that. Please, god, don’t listen to me. My life is disturbing enough, please don’t make it weirder!
He felt more than heard Spike chuckling, the deep, rumbling sound traveling through his bones. “What th’ bloody hell are y’ panickin’ about now?”
And there it was. The one thing designed to send Xander over the edge. He tried to stop it, he really did. At first, he managed to keep it just a snort. And then two, swallowing to keep the rest down, which probably made him sound like he was choking. Which would explain why Spike opened up to wide, blue eyes, lifted his head, and stared down at the convulsing boy in his arms. “What?” he demanded, sounding utterly outraged.
With his hair sticking up in a damned good imitation of his name.
“Oi!” he heard through his manic laughter. “You sound like a hyena when you do that. An’ I do not have bedhead, you bloody pillock!”
He only laughed harder at that.
He couldn’t help it, not really. It was just. . . three days. Three days and his life had turned upside down. Which wasn’t bad, considering it had been one day when Buffy had arrived and turned him into her faithful pet. Except that just made it funnier.
He wasn’t sure how long he laughed, not stopping even when Spike unstuck their bodies with a sharp pull that made them both yelp. He couldn’t stop even as Spike hauled him over to the bathroom and shoved him in.
He had to calm himself when faced with the toilet. Giggling was not conducive for relaxed muscles. Neither was remembering morning-Spike, and how adorably human he looked. Ohh, bad Xander. Don’t tell the evil bloodsucking fiend that he looks like a five year old in the morning.
Which just set him off again.
“Are you done in there?” Spike demanded after the toilet had been flushed but Xander had still not emerged. “Cause I wanna shower. Hate bein’ dirty.”
And that does nothing to erase the image of little-boy-Spike. I am a sick, sick man. Still snarfing, he got the door open before Spike broke it down and gestured to the shower. Spike tilted his head, watching Xander and then looking at the shower. Reaching over, he fiddled with the nozzle.
Xander’s shriek of shock effectively ended the laughter.
“That was cold!” he whined, even as he hurriedly wiped off the icy water from his chest. Spike turned the nozzle back into the shower stall, smirking and obviously pleased with himself. “Gonna make yourself sick, laughin’ that hard,” was his only comment while waiting for the water to heat.
“What’s so wrong with laughing, huh?”
“Without stopping for twenty minutes, y’mean?” Spike gave him a look, and Xander ducked his head. “Like you living, I do.”
Stunned, he didn’t resist when Spike pulled them both under the now-steaming spray. This time Spike washed them both, continuing Xander’s impersonation of a mime. He moved where Spike said to, silently appreciative at Spike’s gentle hands and careful touches. He was sore—all over. And his dick was still multicolored the way penis’ just shouldn’t be. Spike made a clucking noise of that, muttering something about ointment and fragile humans.
It all stopped when Spike reached his collarbone.
Vampires shouldn’t have delicate fingers. He’d thought that ever since he had a close look at Angel’s, and he had no idea when or why, just that he had. They were supposed to be blunt and short, human claws instead of the kind of hands poets and artists had. Despite the chipped black polish that was still on Spike’s long-fingered hands, they looked like the hands of a musician.
“Hurts?” He was tracing the marks, over and over again. Xander could feel them burning on his skin. And making him harden. What, Spike was asking something? About them hurting? God, no.
Somehow he shook his head, lost in the euphoria that came just from Spike touching him there. Was this how Buffy felt? Did Angel’s merest touch of his claim on her send her spiraling into the most intense kind of pleasure? Or did she hate it—she might. Alpha’s did not submit well to others, especially since Angel was such a warped case to begin with.
“You like this?” Spike was so close to him again, pushing him against the wall. Xander hardly noticed that the vampire was still soft. “Take that as a yes, then. Good to know.” More touching and Xander was panting, barely staying upright, clutching the smooth tile behind him for some kind of purchase. Dimly, he realized this should be hurting—sending white-hot agony up through his body. He’d never been turned on so much or cum so much even when he’d been fifteen and constantly horny.
It didn’t hurt, though. Not even a little bit.
Spike was licking him again, tiny kitten-licks that barely disturbed the scabs. Just letting his tongue—cool, gods, so cold—press down gently over it. “Cum,” he whispered in between licks, “when you want to.”
Xander didn’t want to. He wanted this pleasure to continue for ever and ever and. . . oh, look. White stuff.
“Good boy,” Spike was whispering now. Washing what the pounding water hadn’t immediately taken care of. “Such a pretty boy. Perfect, you are. Perfect. . . ”
They finished the shower, Spike bundling them both into robes. Led to the table, Xander sat and waited while Spike heated up the leftover chinese and then his own mug of blood. They ate quietly, neither one feeling the need to talk much. Or, well, Spike may have felt that way. With the euphoria fading, Xander was too afraid to say anything—it might make Spike leave again.
“Still sore, right? On the bed with you, then.”
He blinked, only then noticing that his plates were washed and drying in the rack, Spike standing over him with a hand out. “Huh?” he managed.
“Humans,” Spike muttered. “Boy, you’re exhausted and hurtin’. We had a long couple a’ days, an’ our sleep-schedules are screwed. So. You, on bed, now.”
Xander got to his feet, leaning heavily on Spike as he moved. God, he hurt everywhere. He was trying to say something. Something about. . . oh, right. “Training?” he managed before falling face-first onto the bed.
Spike’s bass chuckle made him shiver. “Not trainin’ you yet, puppy.” The sound of the microwave for maybe ten seconds. What was Spike doing? He wanted to turn his head, but that required effort and concentration. He didn’t have either of those.
“But. . . training?” he asked again. It was all that seemed to come out.
“Look, pet, we know the chip don’t work on demons. Proved that, once I hit the bars.” Deep satisfaction in his voice then and Xander didn’t know if he should be happy or scared. “Still works on humans, though, so I’m dependent on you lot for blood. Don’t fancy starvin’ myself to a skeleton.” Something else there, hidden in the words, but he couldn’t make himself figure out what it was. He was so tired. . .
Legs, straddling him and solid weight landing right on his buttocks. “You need t’ rest, get your strength up. An’ you got work tomorrow.”
Work? Oh, crap, he had work today! He struggled weakly, but a hand flat on his back holding him still with little effort. Was that cinnamon he smelled?
Spike was chuckling again, riding Xander’s struggles with obvious amusement. “Relax, pet. No work today, already called your boss. Gotta get you less jobs, spend more time with me.”
Oh, possessive growl. Pack-leader likes pack! Except— “I have to work, Spike,” he forced out. “Gotta pay rent, keep you in the style to which you’ve become accustomed.” That didn’t sound too strange, did it?
More chuckling and there was that hidden something, again. Like Spike knew something but he wasn’t going to say it. He should be scared, but that just required too much energy. Let Spike play his games. He couldn’t hurt humans, so where was the harm? “Don’t worry about that, boy. I take care of what’s mine.”
And then the scent of cinnamon was everywhere, especially on the warm, slippery stuff Spike was rubbing into his back. Oh, good hands. He liked these hands. So much bigger than Anya’s little ones and hit all the right spots. . .
“Relax, pet. Spike’ll take care of everythin’.”
Yes, Xander agreed in his mind, since his mouth didn’t seem to be doing anything except moaning. Pack-leader staying. He’s staying. Snuggling deeper, he hummed again, perfectly content.
Home. . .