It started four months ago.

I wasn’t stupid.  I knew that no matter what happened, he’d come back.  He was too well-trained not to, too much the bitch to ever really slip his leash.  So I waited.

No one else was, I made sure of that.  Got Dawn to promise me to warn me if Buffy was looking. . . antsy.  Got Buffy to watch Dawn like a hawk, and between both of those things, neither of my summer girls went anywhere near the place I watched.  No one else did, either.  None of them cared.

Weeks passed and life tried to return to normal.  It did, in a way, because it always does.  The major problems fade with the routine of getting up, going to work, eating your food, saving the world.  Life doesn’t let you forget it, even when you’re cursing it.

Then, one night, totally unremarkable but for one thing, he came back.

The thing is, I knew.  I mean, I saw it.  The soul.  That very first night, when I went down to his crypt and saw him writing.  I could see it, shining through him, and you know what?  That just made it even better.

I hid, watching while he finished writing and puttered around, looking at the changes that had been made in his absence.  It was quite the cozy little hideaway now.  He’d never get to know that, though.  He drank his supper, first sucking down nearly half a bottle of really good vodka before dumping the contents of his bag to fill the empty space.  Then he finished that.

He dressed himself carefully, digging up clean versions of his trademark outfit, touching the fabric with a twisted kind of wistfulness.  I remembered grinning when I saw that, my thoughts hard and mocking.  He always did go for the big melodramatic scenes.

I followed him through the cemetery and towards where I knew he’d be going.  I’d already prepared for it.  See, I was expecting him to be angry, to fly around like a stupid chicken with its head cut off, like he always was when he was upset about something.  Well, he wasn’t in a rage, but he was so focused on his current emotion that it made no difference.

He moved towards the back porch, just like I knew he would, and the spell kicked in.

It was rough dragging him back to the apartment, but it was worth it.  I dumped him in the room I’d already prepared, and went to work.

He came to slowly, groggy.  That spell I found was a doozy for vampires.  No idea why no one else hadn’t ever suggested it.  Probably because you need blood and cum to make it work right.

“Xander,” he whispered when his eyes focused.  He smirked, but it was faint.  Sad.  “Figured you’d try somethin’ like this.  Well, then.  Have at.”  He swung for a bit, body totally limp, eyes on the floor.  I didn’t move.  “Just give ’em the letter, yeah?  Don’t care after that.”

“Wrong, Spike,” I hissed, walking behind him.  “You care.  Suicides still care, they just can’t see any other options.  And you, you’re so pathetic that you don’t want to see options.  Even Angel survived.  Managed to find a way to make himself happy.  But you?  You’d rather die.  So sorry.  Not today.”

Spike’s laugh was bitter.  “I don’t care, Xander.  Just, please.  Give the letter.  Let her have some closure, yeah?”

I threw him into the wall.

The ropes brought him back to the same position, where he hung even further, blood dripping from his nose.  “You do care.  I’ll make you.  Because you don’t get to get away with this.”

He laughed again, and I was surprised to see tears sliding down to mix with the blood.  “Not about me,” he whispered after a while.  “But she needs t’ move on.  She won’t.  I know ’er.”

The sad part was, he was right.  I didn’t tell him that then, however.  Instead I pulled another rope so that he hovered face-down three feet above the ground.  “So sorry,” I told him snidely.  “You don’t get choices.”

I ripped off his jeans, already cut along the seams, and pushed my fist into his ass.

He screamed, writhing under me but never truly trying to get away.  It took a couple of time before I could get my whole hand it, and I had to pump a while before I could curl it into a fist.  But I did, blood pouring from the tears I made in the sensitive flesh there.  “Like that, huh, Fangless?” I asked when the screams had dissolved into whimpers.  “This is for Buffy.  This is for Anya.  This is for every hurtful, hatful thing you’ve ever done.  You’re nothing, now.  You’re worthless.  A waste of space.”

I pushed in a little deeper, eliciting another scream as I grabbed his sac and squeezed tight.  “But don’t worry,” I added when I saw his cock fill and rise despite the pain, the humiliation, and the burning shame.  “I’m not like you, Spike.  You’ll be well taken care of, despite being a waste of space.  See, I’m not an evil monster.  I have morals.”

Too bad none of them ever applied to Spike.

I continued to fist him, making sure of two things.  The first is that every movement was an agony.  Pretty easy since I was taking him dry, and he wasn’t hiding a second of his pain.  I think he knew how much I liked it, and my Spike is nothing if not accommodating.  The second was that even though it was pure agony, he got off on it.  If his dick got soft, I’d stroke him back up.

You see, this wasn’t just about payback.  Oh, that was mostly it, but once I had my hot little hands on that cool flesh, it became something more.  My whole life, I’ve always wanted something that was just mine.  I’ve never had it, not even Anya.  Oh, she’s happily living with Giles now.  They fight like hellcats, but after every fight they can be found in Giles’ office, kissing.  Just kissing, with no immediate demand for orgasms.  I think they’ll be happy a long time with each other.

So I wanted something that was mine.  I’ve got plenty of affection; I’m the platonic boyfriend for all the female Scoobies, when they’re real boyfriends aren’t around.  I’ve never had love, but I’m realistic.  Love, apparently, is not for me, so I gave that dream up when I gave up Anya.  But I’m still a guy, and a guy has needs. . .

I wanted something that was for me: the normal, human boy whose life was anything but.  I didn’t have any of the special gifts, so I never got the special compensations.  I wanted it.  I wanted something that was never going to leave, that was only mine.

So I made it.

I’m good at making things, you know.  Very good.

I fisted him till he came, spraying himself all over the plastic-covered floor.  He screamed as he did, probably because he realized what I had.  Or maybe because it hurt like a bitch.  Doesn’t really matter.

I inspected the damage as I pulled out.  A lot of blood, so I probably ruptured something.  Too bad.  Lots of other cuts around the entrance and probably deeper as well.  Good.  One hand played with his dick while I checked him over, because, like I said, I’m not a soulless monster.

“Like that, bitch?” I asked as I worked.  “Yeah, you do.  You love it.  Is this what you wanted to do to Buffy?  Is this what you did to Anya?”  I knew, even while I was saying those things, that they weren’t true.  Spike went after Buffy in sheer desperation, not to make her hurt.  And Anya. . . she was right, about that.  That hadn’t been about sex, not really, or about vengeance or even about me or Buffy.  That was two people hurting and willing to try anything to make it better.  But I didn’t have to forgive him.

He didn’t answer me, but then, he had already learned that lesson from Angelus.  Don’t speak unless your Master wants to hear it.

“Huh.  Looks like it hurts.  But you’ll heal up soon enough.  I’ve got a line on some human blood for you.  You wouldn’t believe the hoops I had to go through, but I’ve got it.  So you’ll heal.”

I knew my smile was nasty, but then, it was supposed to be.

I don’t remember everything I did to him that day.  Hell that week.  I hardly went to work, taking some much needed vacation time to see to him.  It was amazing the amount of torture you learned, after living on the Hellmouth for twenty-two years.  Include Angelus and Spike mouthing off every chance they got, and it was quite the educational experience.

By the end of the week, Spike looked worse than he did when we rescued him from Glory, worse than anything I’d ever seen.  He was hardly recognizable as human—well, human-seeming—a mass of blood and bone and puss and. . . nothing.

That was what I hadn’t expected.  See, he just took it, took ever little bit of it.  Every time I hurt him, every time I used him to get off, every time I made him get off because of those things, he just took it.  Almost seemed to want it.

We established a routine.  Every night after I came home from work, I’d give him his supper.  He remained chained up in his room, drinking through a straw while I showered.  Once I was clean and dry, I’d release him and lead him into the living room.  I’d chain him to the table make him sit there while I ate my dinner and nattered about my day.  If I was going out later, I’d chain him back up, but I always made sure that I had at least a little time with him, everyday.

That was part of the training.

When it was time, if he wasn’t chained up already—and by the third week I’d started leaving him unchained more and more—he’d go to his room and position himself for the restraints.  I’d carefully tie him up, taking care to make it hurt or sometimes make him bleed.  Then I’d jack him off.

I don’t remember much from high school, God knows I was a miserable student.  But I remember a couple things from the elementary psychology we were taught.  Pavlov’s dog, in particular.  I was doing my own version of Pavlov’s training.

See, Spike was a young vampire, but he was still powerful.  Even with his two unusual additions—although one wasn’t that unusual, now was it?—and surviving on reheated blood, he was still very powerful and in control of himself.  If he didn’t want to cum, chances are he had enough to prevent himself from orgasming.

Orgasms are powerful things, even for vampires.  They play havoc with the nervous system, releasing chemicals that aren’t ordinarily released.  Orgasms make people compliant and sleepy, almost against their will, and like the best drugs, they’re wonderful rewards.

I had bought a length of crushed velvet, and a length of thick, heavy silk from an online fabrics store.  Cost me a pretty penny, both of them did, but they were worth it.  One of the guys I work with, his wife sews good.  So I got her to make me several sets of gloves, in both fabrics.

If you’ve never tried either material as a mastabatory aid, I recommend it.  The feeling is incredible.  It was the third day when Spike decided that he wasn’t going to allow me to condition him.  I expected it to be sooner, but perhaps his most recent acquisition was disturbing his sense of outrage and self.  Didn’t matter.

I was fucking him, pulling his head back and biting savagely on his neck.  He hated when I did that.  I was ready to cum, but it was obvious that he wasn’t going to let himself release while I was still inside him, pumping away.

Smirking around the flesh between my teeth, I released his hips and reached towards the wall.  His body tensed, wary of what I was going to do next.  He had obviously been surprised at the depths of knowledge I had on how to make even a vampire’s body twist in agony, and had grudgingly admitted that I was almost as good as Angelus.  The twisted wariness in his eyes told me that one day, I’d be better.

His body began to vibrate when I traced a nipple, flicking it and then pinching it.  Gently.  I stroked his belly while I worked the glove onto my right hand, careful not to let the fabric brush against his skin.  I didn’t want him to really know what was coming.

Ooh.  Bad pun.

I’d picked the silk for the first time, mostly because that one affected me so strongly.  Loosely, I circled my fingers around his half-hard cock, ghosting the silk along it without actually touching him.

He moaned, a heartbreaking moan of pure defeat.

I grinned, and bit him again.

I stroked him that way, letting him feel me stretch him, biting his neck and ear until both bled, and him enjoying it, getting off on it.  Under duress, of course, but still—getting off on it.  He fought it, but the feel of burning human heat, my sweat, and the incredible feeling of silk along his erection gradually eroded his defenses.  When he started to whimper, I began thrusting again.  I kept it slow, wanting him to truly understand what was going on.  His body, his mind, that precious soul he now had, all of them belonged to me.

He comes when I tell him to, now.  Hell, we could be doing nothing at all, but if I said the word, his dick would rise and start to spurt without any stimulation.  The velvet and silk did what I wanted them to, getting him off no matter how much he fought me, and an incredible reward when he was good.  I did reward him—I was training him, after all.  You punish the bad, and pleasure the good.


He’s well trained, my Spike is.

Two months we lived like that, me training him to be the perfect little slut.  Soon he was panting with excitement as soon as I walked in the door, ready to obey anything I might ask of him.  He rarely spoke anymore, using non-verbal sounds to get his points across.  Whines and moans, screams and cries, whimpers and breathy, begging sounds that I love to hear.

He doesn’t have the chip anymore, did I mention that?  Well, he doesn’t.  Or maybe he does, but it works differently now.  He can’t attack me, but he can still do little things that piss me off.  He does them because he’s Spike and I’d honestly be worried if he didn’t do them.

He’d lulled me into believing that he was well trained, perfectly accepting of the way things were now.  I knew he wasn’t, but I wanted to see what he’d do.  The answer was pretty simple.  After a particularly humiliating evening, he finally got mad.

He trashed the apartment, invited a few more unsavory types into the apartment to help and went through my special box, underneath my bed.  That box has things no one else can see.  He knows that.  That’s why he went there.

How he knew the box even existed left him screaming for days.

When I came home, I was furious.  And secretly gleeful.  Because, you see, I’d been expecting this, banking on it, in fact.  He wasn’t broken, yet.  He’d accept it and dealt because he couldn’t fight back and the soul made him believe he deserved it, but his personality wasn’t going to just give in like that.  Spike never gave in.

I chained him up—don’t think he even realized that all I did was say ‘room’ and he was placing his arms and legs in the restraints like good little doggy.  He was still glaring at me.  No talking, though.

I laughed at him, shoving two fingers in his mouth and pumping them.  He was already licking and sucking the way he was trained while I told him how stupid he was, how bad, and how worthless, how pathetic, and most of all how stupid.  How no one wanted him, except for me, and no one was going to take care of him, except for me.  He never had it so good as me: how I made him hurt and made him love it.  How I tended his wounds and bathed his battered body, how fed him reheated human blood, the best he was going to get with a soul instead of a chip.  And he wanted to mess that up by hurting me?  That was stupid.  So very stupid, he was.

He bit me.  Hard.

I laughed again, and probably for the first time in two long months, Spike grew afraid.  Laughter was not the appropriate response for him hurting me.  Me screaming and hurting him, yeah.  Me growing cold and distant and really making him pay, he could see that one, too.  But laughter?  That was insane.  And Drusilla should have taught him, crazy people are dangerous.

Grinning, I licked my own fingers until they stopped bleeding.  Then I went and dug up the letter he’d written to Buffy.  It had parts in it for everyone, even me, but it was mostly to Buffy.  He was right, it really was about closure, a means of sacrificing himself so that she could heal.

And I knew what he didn’t, that Buffy wasn’t healing, not really.  That she was stuck, always looking out the window and wondering why she couldn’t smell cigarettes.

I took the letter and held it in front of his face.  “Remember this, bitch?  Remember what you wrote?”  I waved it, seeing the spark of what made him ‘Spike’ ignite and burn in blue eyes.  “I never gave it to her, kept it.  Thought one day, maybe I might.  Oh, well.  So stupid, whore, to think I’d ever do something like that for you, when you hurt me.”

I went into the closet and took out his precious zippo lighter.  I’d kept it, and his jacket and boots.  Don’t think he knows about the last two—Buffy had given his duster up without protest—but sometimes I like to just go and look at them.  Smell them.  Back into Spike’s room, and I held up the letter again.

“Let me explain this to you, once and for all.  You are nothing.  You are my slave, until I see fit to make you into something else.  Slaves don’t get goodbyes.  They get nothing.”  Flicking open the lighter like I’d seen him do a thousand times, I held the flickering, orange light up to the corner of the paper.

It burned slowly, and ever millimeter of paper that turned to ash, was another millimeter of Spike’s self that went with it.  That letter was Spike’s last chance to fix the wreck that was his life, to atone for sins he knew he couldn’t ever be forgiven for.  That letter was the last bit of hope he was living for.

Spike died that day.

It hit me harder than I thought.  Oh, he was a good little slave boy after that.  With all his willpower taken away, he was everything I had ever wanted: adoring, trusting, loyal, and amazing in bed.  When I finally consented to sleep with him, instead of chaining him up while I fucked him raw, he was very inventive and totally focused on my pleasure.  Granted, since he’s conditioned to cum whenever I do, he’s got a lot of motivation.

He obeys me instantly, now, entire existence focused on whatever I want.  It’s pretty cool, having this creature that used to mock and belittle me waiting for a single command, just so he can jump to obey it.

I don’t hurt him so much, anymore.  Did I mention that after every, single time I ever hurt him, I threw up?  Used to cry myself to sleep, to see what I was becoming.  But I still did it.  Because it was important that I did, for both of us.  See, this is the worst Spike can ever be—and the worst I can be, with him.  Sometimes we still play around with the lighter stuff, tying him up, spanking him, but I don’t make him bleed, anymore.  I don’t make him scream from pain, anymore.

Funny, I think he almost misses it.

The weird thing is, after Spike became my perfect little slave, I started missing the old Spike.  The one with fire in his eyes.  The one who used to be the only one to smile at the jokes I made, and the one I played pool with when no one else was around.  The one I drank bad beer with, because none of the girls really like beer, and none of their boyfriends or my buddies at work feel comfortable enough with me to go out drinking.  I guess I really always have been something of a loner and Spike had been fun to hang around.  Sometimes.

So I did what I’d actually always planned to do.  In fact, I’m doing it right now.

Buffy’s sobbing against me, soaking my shirt and covering me in snot, but I don’t care.  Because it’s over now, I can hear that through the pain.  This is the final goodbye, the final patch of skin that covers the wound.  And there will probably always be a scar, but at least now it’s closed.  Now it doesn’t hurt unless you poke it hard enough.

When she’s done sobbing, she starts talking to me, telling me things I’m not sure I really want to know—but she needs to tell it, so I let her.  About how she was the one who always went to him, how she was the one who made it hurt so much that it was good, because then she was feeling it.  Really feeling it.  She tells me how she knew he didn’t want to hurt her, not like that, but it was the only way he was going to get her, so he settled.  She says that Spike always settled, and cries a little more because of that. 

She tells me that I shouldn’t hate him because of her or Anya.  I reply that I don’t for Anya, but I can’t forgive rape.  And then she gives me this tiny, sweet, sad smile and tells me it wasn’t rape.  That she used to make him hit her, before they found some kind of flat surface, and he was just doing what she’d taught him to do.  That this was the first time he’d ever really initiated it, and that once he realized. . .   She says that she forgives him, because the evil soulless demon hadn’t wanted to hurt her.  He’d wanted to hurt himself—and he succeeded.  The bruise on her leg faded long before her words would fade from his mind.

We talk until the sun goes down and she has to go out and patrol.  I decline going with her tonight, say I want a night home alone.  She nods and thanks me again for showing her the letter.  She never once asks me where he is, and I’m not about to tell her.  That’s a much bigger conversation.  I hug her goodbye, and she gives me a peck on the lips before she’s out the door.

Slowly, I turn and walk towards the room I know Spike’s in.  I know he’s there, because I ordered him to go in there before Buffy came over.  And I know he was listening.  I wanted him to.  Because I’m not a soulless monster like he was.  And he was right—this wasn’t about him being forgiven, it was about him forgiving her.

See, the letter I burned?  That was a copy.  It was a damned good copy, in his incongruous flowy, Victorian script, black ink on heavy parchment paper.  I’d worked on it for weeks, knowing it was the one thing that could break Spike.

And remake him.

I enter the room carefully, unsure of where he is.  All the lights are off, and there’s hardly any noise.  Just this faint whistling, wheezing sound.  Then a snuffle, and I can make out the outline of his curled up form on the pallet by my bed.  That’s Spike’s bed, whenever I kick him out of mine.  I haven’t in a while.

I kneel down beside him, allowing him to climb into my lap.  Rocking back and forth, I hold him and whisper to him while he cries.  He got the other shoulder, at least.  The sound of those hoarse sobs, so similar to Buffy’s, make me cry, too.  And then he’s holding me, and then we’re just holding each other.  Crying on each other.

It’s hours later when I finally get us up onto my bed and turn on the light.  Those huge, blue eyes that used to gaze up at me so adoringly. . . still are.  But there’s Spike in them, when there’s been just my slave before.  And I smile at him, something I can’t ever remember doing.  Because this is Spike.  This is forgiven Spike. 

“Master,” he whispers, asking me without actually asking because he knows that’s against the rules.  Do those rules still apply?  I don’t know anymore.

“Xander,” I say quietly.

He looks at me quizzically, his hands starting to wander but not breaching the defenses of cotton and rayon.  He’s allowed to initiate some contact, because sometimes I like being the one who is seduced, but not too much or too far.  They stroke over my forearms and my thighs, along my back and my chest, up near my neck.

“Master,” he says again, and there’s more need in his voice.  Need and want, things I haven’t heard from him, except when I command it.

“Xander,” I say again, starting to pant under the teasing touches.

Suddenly he stops, and I’m tempted to order him to start again.  But he’s looking at me, and I can’t seem to make my mouth move at all.  “Master,” he repeats a third time, and this time I get it.

I nod, fighting yet more tears as he slithers down my body, undressing me as he caresses me.  Then his mouth is over me, worshiping me the way he’s done a hundred times before.  The way he’s never done before.  He drinks me down like I was the freshest blood, and who knows, maybe to him that’s what it is.  Blood is life, isn’t it?  Well, so is cum. 

Just the beginning, instead of the end.