Spike/Xander- Consent Issues, BDSM, Bondage, DARK!FIC

Part 1: Dark Surprises

Spike carefully stirred through the Legos, moving the blocks silently until his fingers closed over the red fireman with the square body and painted on face. He'd fucking show the little knob that he was still William the Bloody, Slayer of Slayers.

Picking up the superglue, he carefully squeezed out a line along the bottom edge of the firefighter. Then he examined his snoring canvas. Moving slowly, he set the piece down on Xander's thigh. Little prat would learn that tauntin' a vampire wasn't the brightest idea. Not that the little prat was particularly bright even without taunting the vampire. Spike smirked as he considered all the bright squares of red and yellow and blue and white attached in strategic spots.

Looking at his night's work, all satisfaction suddenly drained from Spike. Some bloody Master Vampire he turned out to be. Sticking soddin' pieces of plastic on a soddin' git who wasn't even soddin' worth eatin' before the fucking chip. A wave of fury made Spike reach out as though he would tear Xander's liver from his bleeding body, and he might have except for the burning pain that ripped through his brain like a conflagration. His body stiffened, and for a white second, Spike couldn't think about anything. If he still had bodily functions he would have pissed his pants. Instead he just panted pointlessly as the pain finally released him.

Xander sighed in his sleep, shifting away on the cheap fold-out bed. The movement sent a whole landscape of color blocks shifting up and down, right and left. Xander bent an arm in sleep, and the Legos glued to his forearm clacked against the ones on his chest.

Hearing that, Spike stood and retreated to his chair. He wished he'd never found the bits in the closet behind Xander's stash of big-knocker magazines. Doin' something so puerile just reminded him of all the things he couldn't do anymore: eviscerating, raping, ripping a bloke's intestines out as the git screamed.

Spike flinched again as the chip gave a bright warning flair that made his brain ache like the migraines he would sometimes get as a child. Right, happy thoughts: Angelus chained on the east side of a church during sunrise, Drusilla dancin' with that little red-haired girl in Poland with childish arms flopping every which way. The chip gave a tiny flicker of warning, just enough pain to actually feel good, and Spike pulled his legs up under him.

The alarm suddenly squealed, and Xander flung out an arm. The crazy glue must have yanked at some particularly tender spot because the boy yelped louder than the alarm.


"Xander Harris, you watch your language," Jessica Harris yelled from upstairs, her voice muffled by the door and distance.

"Xander knelt in the middle of his bed, his arms held out awkwardly like a scarecrow dangling from a stick.

"Sorry, Mom," he yelled without moving. "You blood sucking son of a bitch," Xander then hissed. Spike cocked an eyebrow and stared back. Okay, this had potential. The boy smelt of humiliation and pain.

"Wot?" Spike asked, all innocence. He used the expression that had lured many a young woman into a dark alley with him. Xander lowered his eyebrows and scowled. Immediately, he gave a strangled cry as the yellow block glued to his forehead pulled out a chunk of his eyebrow.

Spike stretched slowly, and moved up and out of his chair with a fluid grace meant to taunt the boy who remained frozen in the middle of his bed. Going over to the alarm, Spike twisted his finger around the cord and pulled it rather than trying to figure out which button would turn the soddin' thing off. He wanted to hear the boy's every whimper.

"Problem, Harris?" he asked as he circled the bed.

"Hey, what happened with you being tied up vamp?" the boy suddenly demanded. Spike rolled his eyes.

"Noticed that, did ya? Not like you tie knots nearly as well as Angelus. I've had lots of practice. Seems like you have a problem there, mate," Spike smirked. The boy's back was the only part of his body not covered with plastic blocks.

While Spike watched, Xander shifted uncomfortably and made a small whimper which he quickly cut off.

"Thought you couldn't cause pain," Xander growled, the sound reminding Spike of a baby bear cub, more cute than dangerous. Drusilla would have loved breaking this one, making him growl and whine and whimper for her. Spike wondered for a moment why his dark princess hadn't ever played with the boy: he had the naiveté she loved in her toys.

"Not causin' ya pain. If you're hurtin', you're doing it to yourself," Spike pointed out as he stopped in front of Xander, crossing his arms and grinning at the sight of Xander panting through his nose as he shifted around to relieve the pain of the Legos digging into his legs.

"You're so dust," Xander snapped as he lunged off the bed. Spike fell back, fear curling around him for the half second it took for Xander to collapse on the floor. Spike had glued the tiniest squares to Xander's feet, right over pressure points that should have sent pain crunching up through his legs. It obviously worked because Xander eventually rolled over to his back and tucked his legs up so that he looked like a bug flipped onto its back.

Spike pulled out a kitchen chair and straddled it as he watched the anger turn to humiliation and despair as the boy found himself defeated by little bits of plastic. This was turning out bloody brilliant.

"When I tell Buffy…"

"Right, goin' to tell her the big, chipped vampire took ya out with a few Legos?" Spike nodded. The sour stench of humiliation brightened.

"When I…" Xander yelped as he pulled off a single Lego and about two dozen arm hairs. "Tell her…" he cringed as another piece came free and clattered to the floor.

"When ya tell her how ya laid there while I put all the toys on ya, when you tell her how you had all the power and ya still let me get the upper hand, she's goin' to laugh, mate. Oh, Slayer'll try to hide it, but she's not the brightest, so you'll be able to see it in the way her eyes twinkle and her lips curve up at the edge. Witch'll hide it better. She'll be all sympathy and cookies 'til her and her bird get home and talk about the poor little boy who can't even babysit a neutered vamp without making a right bollocks of it."

Spike watched as his words sunk home, making Xander's quivering rage turn to something darker and quieter. The boy's fingers paused over a blue square glued to his stomach.

"Go on then, ya either got to get 'em off yourself or tell the girls what a complete fuck up ya are," Spike commented when the boy had been motionless too long. Xander's head fell back, thumping against the concrete floor, and then he grabbed the blue plastic, pulling up until the skin over his stomach stretched into a tent. When the glue yielded, Xander gave a small yelp and then threw the piece as hard as he could in Spike's general direction.

Spike smirked wider. "Look good down there, all writhin' and mewlin' like that," Spike commented. He opened his eyes with surprise as the words caused Xander's body to still even while his cock twitched in his briefs. The moment passed, and if not for vampire vision, Spike would have missed it as Xander started inventing curses so foul they made Spike chuckle.

"Go on, laugh you demented soulless dead… vampire…" Xander snapped out in frustration, even his profanity abandoning him. "When I get up, I’m going to stick a hundred toothpicks into your fucking stomach and watch how much fun you are rolling around on the ground," he recovered after a moment of panting. Xander yanked a red piece off faster than normal and then yelled when a small piece of skin went with it. A single perfect pear of blood trickled down the side of Xander's stomach.

"Don't even think it," Xander said darkly.

"Oi, you're the one who called himself a nummy treat," Spike pointed out as he watched the drop slide over tanned skin, leaving behind a smear of red. "I'm just enjoyin' the sight of you all sweaty and suffering. Ya got good eyes for pain, all big and soft. You're a right treat when your eyes fill up and ya smell of rage and fear and agony," Spike dropped his voice to a near whisper, a seductive breathy tone that he used like a whip to slash into his prey.

Xander froze, for longer this time, and the smell of humiliation took on a muskier scent.

"Sick, fucking dead sicko guy," Xander pulled a block off his arm, one of the long ones that the boy probably used for the bottom of his house or his spaceship or whatever the fuck he used to make out of the toys. Peeling slowly, Xander hissed and panted as hair and skin slowly peeled off with the plastic, leaving behind a red mark but no blood. Shame that.

"Right. I'm the sick one for noticin' how lovely ya are, trapped down there. Long as ya got those things on your feet, ya aren't going anywhere, are ya?" Spike asked, leaning forward onto the back of the chair he straddled. Xander turned his head and glared, but with the pieces Spike had slipped up under the loose boxer shorts, Xander would never be able to reach his feet until he'd pulled the other pieces off. Well, at least not without causing himself even more pain.

"When I get up…"

"Like ya better down there," Spike said as he tilted his head and considered the view. "Ya look good all helpless and suffering. I'd like ta see you tied down to your bed as I run my fangs over your helpless limbs, making those little cuts that sting so bad ya want to pull your own flesh off," Spike wagged his eyebrows, and Xander hardened. Now the musk of lust mixed with the humiliation and pain, and Spike breathed deeply of the lovely aroma.

Getting up, he walked over to the boy on the ground, crouching down to scent him. Lovely.

Xander reached out and grabbed his ankle, yanking to pull Spike off balance, but Spike just looked down. With long fingers, he captured Xander's wrist and pushed it to the cold concrete.

"Let me—" Xander froze as Spike flashed into game face and loomed over him.

"Can't kill ya, doesn't mean I can't hold ya down, can't capture ya and bend ya over some table before givin' ya what ya really want. Can smell you, pet," Spike said. He trailed a finger in a swirling path around the glued Legos. Xander shivered as Spike's fingers traced lower. Bloody hell, now this was interesting. Spike cocked his head and considered the boy in a whole new light.

"Bet ya woke up durin' this, didn't ya?" Spike asked, flicking a Lego hard enough to pull at the skin, but not hard enough to make the boy hurt. Until he took care of the chip, he'd just have ta make the boy hurt himself.

Spike ran his tongue inside his lower lip as he considered the thought. He was bloody bored, and the boy was amusin'. Angelus and Drusilla has always enjoyed playing with the toys, so maybe it was time to figure out what they liked so much about keepin' humans.

Glancing down, Spike could see Xander still frozen below him, the pretty prey helpless under the predator. Yeah, boy had possibilities.

"I—" Xander stopped again. "Get off me," he finally demanded, bringing his other hand around to hit Spike. Spike captured that hand as well and moved to straddle the boy as he pinned both hands over the boy's head.

"Ya like it, don't ya, pet. Bet ya wanted the Slayer to do this. Bet ya had dreams about Angel shovin' ya up against some wall. That's why ya always tormented the sod, innit?"

Xander didn't answer, but he shook his head.

"Be more likely ta believe you if I didn't feel your hard cock begging for a master to take control."

Spike bent low over the boy and smelled deeply of the shame and fear and desire that gathered on his skin. Reaching out his tongue, Spike licked from Xander's collarbone up to a vulnerable ear. He could feel a need to bite wrap around him, but he controlled himself, after all, he was a Master Vampire who had found a new amusement. As centuries rolled by, one discovered that amusement had nearly as much value as food.

Spike pushed himself up so he could again look into Xander's eyes. He didn't think he'd ever heard the boy so quiet, but then again, the boy's eyes had dilated until the brown nearly vanished into the black center. Boy was all but drugged on the helplessness and pain.

"Such a beautiful pet in your sufferin'," Spike whispered. "When I let your hand go, you'll go back to pulling the bits and bobbles off ya," Spike ordered.

"As if," Xander snapped, his pupils closing to normal as he started to struggle. Spike shifted his weight, wincing as the struggle caused the boy to cry out and triggered an answering jolt in Spike's brain. "Get off," Xander demanded.

Realizing that losing now meant losing more than just an afternoon's amusement, Spike released one wrist and endured the awkward punches to his side before slipping a hand into Xander's shorts and getting a firm grip on the hot, hard cock he found there. Xander froze.

Squeezing a little harder, Spike could feel the shaft in his hand thicken. "Goin' to tell me how ya hate this?" Spike asked, sucking air through his teeth as he squeezed a little harder.

"Let go." Now Xander sounded more desperate. His voice broke like an awkward adolescent's, and tears gathered in the corners of his eyes.

"No." Spike answered simply. Xander tried to get himself up onto his elbows so he could pull himself free, but the Legos scraped over the concrete, their edges sticking into him until he flopped back down helpless. Spike imagined that the bits sticking into his legs hurt too, but the chip remained silent on the matter even as Spike released Xander's second arm and moved back, settling his weight on the boy's thighs.

"Right, so we were at the part where ya were pullin' the bits off ya," Spike prompted the boy. Xander lay on the floor motionless.

"Pet, I figure you'll either amuse me one way, or another. I figure if I call good old Rupert and admit that I pulled some boardin' school prank only to find out ya have some right randy kinks… well, Rupes would take me back and then have a good long talk with you. So, either amuse me with the pullin', or I'll make that call," Spike offered cheerfully. Either option would provide him with days of entertainment.

Tears escaped Xander's closed eyes as he reached up blindly and found another block with his large fingers. He pulled, hissing as the bit popped off with only a thin layer of skin. Spike reached down and licked the sore skin, and the humiliation intensified until the sharp odor made Spike feel nearly drunk.

"Such a good boy. Open those eyes of yours and let me see you cry," Spike ordered, still keeping a firm grip on the boy's cock. When Xander didn't open fast enough, Spike closed his hand hard enough to make the chip send snakes of pain though his head and down his neck. Xander's eyes opened comically wide, and his nose flared as he gasped for air even as he clamped his lips shut.

"Want to see you suffer, pet. You do it so well, don't you? Did any of the girls every see how well you suffered for them?" Spike asked. The boy's fingers found another block, pulling it off. Spike had glued this one to the edge of the dark skin around the nipple, and when he pulled it off, Xander shivered.

"Don't—" Xander whispered.

"Don't what, pet?" Spike asked. Using his second hand, he randomly flicked the other blocks, feeling the body below him respond. The soft pain made Xander mew with pleasure and half close his eyes. Spike moved up the boy's body, pinching a nipple between his fingers.

"Don't bring them into this," Xander finally finished, his chest heaving as Spike teased a dark nipple to a puckered point.

"Into what?" Spike pressed. He slid his thumb up and over the head of Xander's cock where pre-come leaked drop by drop.

"This," Xander repeated helplessly.

"Keep pulling," Spike ordered, keeping his own fingers still until Xander went back to work on his own flesh. In the silence of the basement, Spike used his long fingers to tease the boy to the point of release, pulling and twisting at nipples, rubbing the boy's cock, rolling the boys large balls in his hand. The whole time, Xander ripped Legos off faster, one after another leaving a red trail behind that Spike would lick at.

"This what?" Spike finally asked, muttering into the boy's overheated flesh as he licked at a trail of blood.

Xander gave a strangled snort and came, his back arching up off the floor as he clenched his fists. Bollocks. Spike gave up on the tiny wound that allowed him no more than a taste of human blood, and he sat back, watching Xander sink into lethargy. Footsteps upstairs crossed the floor, and a driver outside laid on his horn until Spike wanted to grab his arm and rip the thing off. Finally, the noise stopped and silence filled the air.

"This what, what?" Xander finally asked from the floor. Most of the Legos were off now, leaving square tracks all over Xander's chest and arms. Spike had knocked most of them off Xander's legs while holding the boy down, so only his feet still had the sharp little things superglued to the skin. Xander opened his eyes and looked up, suspicion and shame filling his eyes.

Spike smiled at that. A boy with so much shame would give away a lot to keep his secrets safe. "What are we keepin' the girls out of, pet?" Spike asked, emphasizing the pet part. He scooted back and leaned against the edge of the bed, one leg spread out in front of him and one propped up because his cock ached in his jeans and it needed the breathing room. "What is it that we're not telling the girls and the watcher?" Spike asked as he watched Xander as the threat sank in.

"Buffy would stake you," Xander pointed out.

"She'd try," Spike conceded. "She'd also think you were a soddin' pillock for lettin' me get so close. And if she knew what ya liked…" Spike reached out and flicked a Lego with his finger and thumb. Xander flinched and sat up, pulling his feet toward him so he could study the Legos stuck to the bottom.

"Course, maybe she's the type who'd take a whip to your back if ya asked nice."

Xander froze, a yellow block he'd just pulled from the arch of his foot still in his hand. Spike smiled as he watched the emotions play in the boy's features. So easy, this one. No wonder Angelus had ordered the boy left alone; no wonder he'd been so put out when the Valentine's spell had nearly made him kill the boy. He would break so nicely under the right demon's hand.

"Here's the deal, pet," Spike said slowly. Xander needed to feel the trap close around him. "You're mine to do with what I want. You'll suck my cock or bend over and let me use that arse of yours whenever I feel like it. If I feel like watching someone suffer, I'll find a way to make you hurt until you cry and look at me with those big wounded eyes of yours. You'll bleed and squirm and beg, and you'll crawl back for more.

Spike could smell the musk. Boy bloody dreamed about offers like this, no doubt.

"And why should I?" Xander snapped, defiant of his own needs and Spike's ownership. Spike surged up, grabbing Xander around the throat with one hand and around the arm with the other as he yanked him to his feet and backed him up against the wall. Xander had pulled off enough Legos to stand on the toes of one foot as he pulled against the hands trapping him, holding him.

"Because if ya don't, I'll take a walk and leave ya aching and needing somethin' you'll never get offered again. Because if ya don't, my last stop in Sunnydale will be to send the Slayer the video of you pleading me for more as you ripped your own flesh to bleed for me. Because if ya don't, the only thing you'll ever get from your friends is pity. Because if ya don't, I'll set fire ta the bloody dorms and this house and the watcher's apartment complex and every damn building that I might find anyone ya care about." Spike stopped and considered Xander, smiling cruelly as he considered the panic in the boy's face. Relaxing his hold a little, Spike waited. "Well?" he asked after a second.

Xander's hands slowly let go of Spike's arms as the boy slid down to his knees. His heart beat rabbit-fast as clumsy fingers reached for Spike's pants.

"Shhh, pet," Spike offered as he brushed Xander's hands away and undid his own pants. "So pretty on your knees sufferin' for me," he crooned. He'd watched Angelus and Dru break a hundred pets: the threats that left them willing to do anything and the praise that made them complicit in their own torture… it was a combination that would make the boy his. Spike pulled his cock out.

"Go on them, wrap your lips around me and make me come before I think of some other way to make ya hurt… or make your friends hurt," Spike finished. The last part finally made Xander shuffle forward on his knees and slowly open his mouth.

The first lick was hesitant, fearful. Large brown eyes looked up at him, and Spike smirked. Oh yeah, this one would be so very pretty to break.

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Chapter 2: Deals

Xander's legs trembled, the concrete under his knees still cold despite the amount of time he'd been kneeling. The floor just sucked up all his body heat and left him shivering. He snuffed awkwardly around wide wooden gag forcing his aching jaw opened. Part of him wanted to just break into the open sobbing that would bring Spike to his side, petting and soothing him, but Xander couldn't let go. He couldn't allow himself to give in to that need, not with Spike, not until the pain wiped out all the other fears and angers and frustrations and hatred.

Instead he squirmed to try and find an unbruised spot of kneecap. Chains rattled. Xander felt his control slip as a tear ran down his cheek leaving a cooling trail behind. Until now, Spike had watched television with one knee thrown over a chair they had retrieved from the dump: a cream leather chair with little claw marks trailing down one arm. Now, Spike turned, and Xander could see yellow eyes consider him.

Immediately, he dropped his eyes, unwilling to watch the demon he'd surrendered this control to. They had such a routine now… come home to the church basement Spike had claimed in some ironic territorial fit, strip, allow Spike to chain in him some position, and then slowly feel the agony settle into his bones as time and gravity did the damage Spike couldn't.

"Eyes up, pet," Spike ordered, his voice low and silky. Xander wondered how many girls had heard that voice before Spike sank his fangs into their necks. Part of Xander demanded that he fight, that he disobey. Instead, he found himself looking up as Spike stared at him, leaning forward in the chair.

"Such a pretty pet, all smellin' of suffering and need," Spike crooned. No matter how much guilt Xander felt, he couldn't keep his cock from responding to the tone, to the promise of comfort. Instead the disobedient organ twitched at the attention. Xander's arms were chained to the top of the stone arch, and he hid his eyes behind one raised arm. Focusing on the faint smell of spilled wine that seemed to have sunk into the stone of this old church basement, he pretended he didn't need Spike to hold him together.

"No hidin', pet. I want to see your big eyes beggin' me."

Xander jumped when the cool hand brushed damp curls back from his forehead. Looking up, Xander struggled to straighten his legs, the ropes groaning as he strained.

"Such a pretty boy. How many bruises did ya get the slayer to give ya?" Spike asked, crouching down on the dusty floor in front of Xander. Long fingers trailed down Xander's exposed chest as Spike teased, his touch bringing Xander to a dangerous edge. "Ya must of wanted to wear her bruises," Spike whispered as though sharing a secret.

Xander flinched away from that truth. He remembered as a teen arguing that he should get training because, hey, normal boy fighting demons. On days when Buffy or Giles were in just the right mood, he would work with them, feeling each hit, even when Buffy pulled her punches. Those nights he would lay in his bed and poke purple skin when he stroked himself. He suffered for her. He dreamed of her finding him, finding his bruises and his pain and soothing him. Instead she sent him home, telling him that he couldn't help her, while she went to Angel.

Xander struggled to pull himself up by his arms, but his shoulders burned with pain and he couldn't get any of his weight off his knees. The chains around his wrists clanked wildly as he struggled for a moment. The entire time, Spike waited with his palm pressed against Xander's chest, his head cocked in what looked like pleasure as he watched Xander fight the restraints. Xander could feel a sick part of himself that rejoiced in becoming the center of someone's else's attention.

"Such a pretty pet." Spike ran a cool hand over Xander's bare chest, pinching a nipple softly before reaching down and stroking Xander's traitorous cock. "Ya smell like pain, pet," Spike whispered.

Xander snorted, and the sound turned into a sob as new tears started. He could feel spit escaping from the sides of his mouth, and Spike picked up the plaid shirt from the floor, gently wiping the sides of Xander's mouth as he made little soothing sounds.

"That's right, let me hear your pain, pet. I bloody notice you even if the others never did," Spike promised.

Xander hiccupped, the large wooden rod between his teeth making the motion painful as his jaw muscle tried to close. Looking up at Spike's expression--half bliss and half sadistic curiosity--Xander compared that expression to the others in his past.

His mother had watched impassively as he withered under his father's tirades. Other fathers had sons who went out for football and played guitar and came home with those stupid bumper stickers proclaiming 'My child is student of the month at Sunnydale High School.' Tony Harris got Xander. And the more his father drank, the more the man had resented all the things he didn't get with his son. And the more Xander turned to his mother, the more he discovered that the woman had lost any interest in either her life or her son.

Jesse had seen him, seen the depths Xander would surrender to in order to earn that approval. But then Darla-bitch vamped Jesse. Xander still remembered Jesse's words--the most painful ones he could possibly offer Xander--that Xander was only a shadow. And with one shove, the only person who had truly seen Xander had turned to dust. Some days, Xander felt like he was the dust on the floor, scattering to the winds without anyone or anything to hold him together.

But then he had the girls. Willow and Buffy saw him. Okay, they didn't see him, but if he was funny enough and witty enough and sarcastic enough, he could get them to see part of him. It had been enough. Only now they were off being college-girls, and part of Xander knew he didn't have a right to hold on to them. So he pulled back, became more and more quiet during meetings and watched Riley and Tara silently move into the group.

He had been cast off… he was a castaway… and Spike was the worst person in the world for him.

Except there wasn't anyone else. Except Spike saw him. Except Spike offered him a raft when he was drowning, lost, confused and alone. And yeah, Spike wanted him to hurt and probably wanted him dead, and yet that scared Xander less than being alone. The life preserver Spike had thrown him hurt and threatened to sink at any time, but it kept him from going under.

Xander felt the tears start for real now, streams that he couldn't stop flowing from his eyes as something in him broke and allowed him to take comfort from anyone who would offer. Strong fingers unchained his hands, pulled the gag from his mouth, released him, made him real with calming strokes. Strong arms carried him to a warm bed on the other side of the room, dropping him on the stolen bedspread.

Barely hearing the words, Xander allowed himself to float on the feeling of someone touching, holding soothing. Hands arranged him, ropes still keeping his legs tucked into a kneel that made fire dance in his legs. His front half was arranged until he rested his forehead on his arms with his ass in the air… waiting.

The thickness that had filled him all day came out, and Xander yelped. A voice crooned softly as hands slid over his body, exploring and touching and teasing until Xander squirmed and cried out.

Something drove deep into him, and Xander pushed back, lost to everything outside his body as pleasure was slowly pulled from him. Bracing his arms against the mattress, Xander waited the half breath before something slammed back in again, erasing the world. A burning, itching need clawed at Xander until finally he arched his back and started coming.

The driving thrusts continued two, three, four more times as Xander braced himself, and then Spike's weight fell onto his back.

Spike dropped to the mattress, and Xander allowed Spike to arrange him, tucking his larger body into Spike's stomach as Spike petted him. Xander could feel himself blush as the first curls of shame started twisting around his spine.

"Right then, got somethin' ta say about your mouth today, pet?" Spike asked, and Xander flinched at the number of insults he'd managed in one Scooby meeting. Yeah, that was dumb. And now, curled in Spike's arms, arms that could hold him helpless without any effort, Xander wondered why he kept doing it.

"Um, sorry?" Xander tried, his jaw aching from being forced open so long. Okay, it wasn't his best apology. Spike's hand tightened, pulling his hair and forcing his head back.

"Don't rightly know if you're stupid or if ya just really enjoy hurtin'." Spike's hand loosened, and fingers returned to playing with Xander's hair. Curling his own hands into fists, Xander ordered himself to not react. That path just led to getting tied up and dumped on the floor for the night, and he preferred the bed.

"Can't soddin' believe you lot foiled my plans time after bloody time. You're 'bout as stable as Dru, and the rest of your lot are soddin' blind and stupid. When I get this chip out…" Spike let his voice trail off.

No matter how many times Spike touched him, held him, and felt his muscles tremble with pain, Xander always had a little dark corner where he refused to yield. That corner sent out fingers that wrapped around Xander's heart and squeezed until his whole body stiffened.

The petting stopped. "Right then, what bug's crawled up your arse?" Spike asked after a second.

Xander balanced a desire to stay in the bed and sink under the comfort, no matter how false, and his responsibilities to his friends. The fear of being cast away once more tangled with a nightmare where Willow lay with big, dead eyes and a neck torn open. Xander closed his eyes and forced himself to say it before everything tilted too far and he couldn't say it anymore.

"I won't let you," he whispered.

"Bloody hell, very little you won't let me do," Spike pointed out, the words tickling Xander's ear.

"Won't let you hurt them," Xander answered.

Spike's fingers returned to aimlessly stroking Xander's hair. Minutes passed in which Xander listened to the city water station under the church thumping like a giant heartbeat that made the stones of the abandoned building faintly vibrate.

"Should probably tell ya that you'll do as you're told," Spike finally said in the dark. "You're mine, and we both bloody know it, even if those other tossers aren't bright enough ta notice." Spike paused and sucked in a breath. "Make ya a deal, though. You keep being the nice little pet for me, and when the day comes that I get this chip out, I'll give your friends proper warnin'. No ambushin' 'em when I already have an invite into their homes—I'll let 'em know the big bad is back, and we'll have at each other like proper mortal enemies," Spike finally offered.

Xander heard the offer, and he heard what Spike wasn't offering. His friends would get warning… he wouldn't.

"That a deal?" Spike asked when Xander remained silent.

"Deal," Xander agreed finally.

"Least you can die knowin' ya saved them one last time, yeah?" Spike pointed out. Xander didn't answer as Spike's strong fingers closed around his wrists, tucking Xander's arms into his stomach and holding him with unnatural strength. Let Spike think that he surrendered for his friends. Xander's guilt turned to steel as he realized he would do anything to keep from becoming, once more, the castaway.

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Toys 3: Consequences

Xander started unbuttoning his shirt as they pushed in through a loose board on the main floor of the church. After months of the ritual, Xander could feel the anxiety and fear pull off with his clothes. A tiny part of him still protested, but Xander needed this. Behind him, Spike's boots clacked over the worn wood floor as they headed for the basement steps.

Pulling his shirt off, Xander stepped to the side to let Spike unlock the door and check their lair. Funny, Xander realized that they had their own rituals, just like any other married couple, only without the marriage… or the love, not that all married people loved each other.

Spike started down the stairs, and Xander slipped into the dark, pulling the door closed and locking it before starting down the stairs. Ahead, a light flicked on, and Xander hurried down the steps now illuminated by the television's glow.

"Hurry up, then," Spike said, already draping his body over the single chair in front of the television. Xander silently obeyed, toeing off his shoes and pushing his pants down before kicking them into the corner near the bed. He tossed his shirt in the same general direction, and then padded across the cold concrete on bare feet.

The minute Spike's fingers closed around his wrist, Xander breathed easier. No more trying to reassure Buffy when it seemed like Adam was well on his way to seriously kicking slayer ass. No more playing the class clown to amuse Buffy and Willow while Riley looked at him with mild disgust. No more pretending that it didn't hurt when Buffy and Willow and Riley and Tara shared some inside joke about the campus or some professor or some other college-type thing that he just didn't get.

Nope. He knew how to give Spike what he wanted; he didn't have to walk a tightrope or guess. Spike pulled him over the arm of the chair so that Xander ended up over Spike's lap. He reached out and braced himself on the cold floor with his fingertips.

"Hands behind your back, pet," Spike ordered. Xander let his head hang off the side of the chair as he complied. Instead of rough cord or cold steel, soft leather gripped his wrists one at a time before Spike fastened them into place. Xander groaned a little. Leather restraints meant that Spike was in the mood for a long session, something that made rope and chains dangerous.

"Open," Spike ordered with a soft slap on the back of Xander's thighs. Xander opened his legs, his toes struggling to keep a firm grip on the floor as he did so. Spike reached between his legs and pushed against the small plug Xander wore all the time now.

Xander remembered in the beginning, he needed the pain to let go. Only when he was forced to accept Spike's touch, beg for it, could he tolerate Spike's fondling. Now his body yielded. Okay, most days it yielded. Sometimes the guilt monster still slimed out from a corner of his mind and called him a sick bastard for letting Spike do these things.

"Bloody hell, don't go gettin' your non-existant knickers in a twist, Harris. Tryin' ta watch some telly and enjoy a bit of warm on my lap," Spike complained as he tightened one hand around Xander's ball sack and the other around his neck.

Xander froze as he felt the strength in those grips. Sure, Spike couldn't technically hurt him, but they had found enough loopholes that Xander's heart stuttered a little. Spike tightened his hold a little more, and Xander forced himself to sag into Spike, to relax his spine until his body draped over the vampire's lap. Only once Xander had submitted did Spike return to playing.

The plug pushed farther in, and Xander gasped, struggling to remain limp as his cock reacted to the stimulus. Think calming thoughts. Think unsexy thoughts. Think that Maggie woman Willow pointed out to him across campus the other day.

That might have helped except that Spike reached down with talented fingers and stroked the perineum so that a hot shiver danced up Xander's spine and made him arch like a cat as he gasped. Xander sank back down onto Spike's lap immediately, but the unnatural stillness under him suggested that he shouldn't have moved at all.

"Need ta learn some control, pet. Funny how you can kneel until you can't bloody walk, but ya can't stay still in my lap." Spike's hands lifted him, pushing him to one side so that Xander ended up standing beside the chair, his hands still bound behind him. Taking Spike's words as orders, he started going into a kneel, but Spike's iron hands held him up as though he were nothing more than a doll full of sawdust.

"Stay," Spike ordered as he stood up and started for the other side of the room. Xander let his head drop, hiding behind his mane as he waited to see what Spike would do. The kneeling until he couldn't walk part didn't sound good, especially since Xander remembered the feeling of fire licking up his legs as he struggled to make it the four steps to the bed. And next to the television, the niche where Spike would tie him and then spend the night enjoying the show waited for him. He really didn't want to go in there.

Spike appeared again with a bar in hand. Xander immediately widened his stance so that the manacles on either end would reach his ankles. Okay, this usually meant more personal play than the niche. The niche was all about leaving Xander alone until he stopped misbehaving, but the spreader bar usually meant that Spike wanted a marathon sex session where Xander was bound so tightly he couldn't move.

"You’re my bloody pet, and if you can't learn to just lay there when I order ya to, then I'll have to teach ya a lesson," Spike said as he attached a rope to the ring in the middle of the bar. Spike pulled, and Xander shuffled forward to the side of the chair. "Goin' to miss the part where the bird gets killed cause of you," Spike complained as he threaded the rope under the chair.

Xander would have pointed out that this particular movie had about a dozen 'birds' getting killed, but he really didn't want to make things worse. It didn't look like Spike was putting him in the niche, and that was of the good.

When Spike finally stood up again, he held a collar in his hand, a thick leather one with two heavy buckles at the back and thick rings at the sides and front. Xander let his gaze drop to the floor to avoid showing Spike how much he actually liked that particular toy. More than any of the others, the collar allowed him to believe that he had no control, and if he had no control, nothing could be his fault. He couldn't feel blame in the collar.

And that collar, so thick and heavy, made him feel just a little powerful, as if it took heavy leather and locks to control him. Yeah, Xander knew it probably had more to do with humiliation and Spike's insecurities than anything else, but as the collar slipped around his neck and tightened, Xander let himself wallow in the fantasy.

Spike plopped down in the chair again, the stuffing breathing out a slight musky odor mixed with the leather of the chair. "Bend over," Spike ordered, and Xander did, bending until Spike could grab the ring at the front of the collar and pull Xander down over his lap.

With the spreader bar holding his legs apart, Xander found himself awkwardly bend over the low, wide arms of the chair, his groin now on one of the padded arms rather uncomfortably. Then his legs scooted a half-inch closer to the chair, the skin dragging over the concrete, and it took a moment for Xander to realize that Spike held the rope in his hand. With it threaded under the chair, Spike took the free end and tied it to the ring in the collar.

Xander found himself tied, feet to collar, with the rope going under the chair. And the bindings had so little room that he couldn't even turn his head. With the movie behind him, he found himself staring up at Spike, his cheek deep in one padded arm while his groin rested on the other.

"Little stupid ta fight when ya know you're goin' to lose, innit?" Spike asked casually. He returned to pushing on the plug, and now Xander groaned as his cock tried to harden only to be mushed into the leather arm. "You'll always lose with me, pet. You know why?" Spike asked. His cool fingers trailed down and played with the underside of Xander's balls until Xander nearly lost the ability to think at all.

"Answer your Master, pet," Spike snapped as he delivered a sharp slap on the ass.

"Um… huh?" Xander finally responded, his mind half shut off as he sank into his body's reactions.

"Why will you always lose when you fight me, pet?" Spike asked.

Xander watched Spike's serious expression, trying to find the source of the sudden stillness in Spike's body.

"'Cause I'm good at losing?" Xander tried.

A flicker of something dark fluttered over Spike's expression.

"Pet, I want ya to think of that answer. Got a little story to tell." Xander would have groaned at having to listen to story telling hour with Spike, especially since Spike's stories usually involved someone getting tied up with their own intestines; however, Xander still didn't quite understand the twist on the game tonight, and he didn't want to sleep on the floor. So he waited and listened.

"In mythology, there's this bloke called Orion. Thought he could bloody do anything and beat anyone. Told the rest of the world just how he felt. Animal kingdom got together, and the strongest challenged the great clod, only to get their arses kicked. Finally, the tiny scorpion asked for a chance, and the animals all laughed. But when the scorpion went ta challenge Orion, the warrior didn't even see him until the scorpion had stung him. Killed the great sod, the scorpion did."

Spike brought his hand down on Xander's exposed ass hard enough to make an echo in the basement, and then he reached down and smoothed the hair out of Xander's eyes.

"Slayer wanted ta kill Adam, and she kept trying to go bigger and badder, but sometimes a person gets beaten by something small."

"You have something to beat Adam?" Xander asked. He could feel an unfamiliar hope twinkle in his stomach just as he resented having real life brought here, where he could lay down his real life and become something simpler… even if the simpler thing he became was prey to Spike's predator.

"Already did, pet. Consider it a magical ebola. By this time tomorrow, a little bugger too small to see will have eaten all his human parts away, and the rest of him will fall apart like soddin' tinker toys."

"Okay, this is of the good, right?" Xander asked, not quite understanding the serious expression on Spike's face.

"What question did I ask ya, pet?" Spike asked again. Xander struggled to put together the pieces of the conversation, but he obviously had missed something.

"Something about why I'm stupid?" he asked. Spike's hand fell on his ass harder, harder enough to sting a little.

"I asked why ya couldn't ever beat me, pet. As much as you fight and sulk and claw, ya never will beat me, and I asked ya why."

"Me human, you demon," Xander pointed out with his best 'no duh' voice. Spike's hand fell harder, and Xander's stomach tightened into a thick knot as his ass stung with the heat of it.

"Oh fuck," he breathed, all his nightmares coming true at once. "How long?" he asked. Spike's hand fell again, three times in succession with the blows spaced over Xander's vulnerable ass.

"One, ya didn't answer my question. Two, ya spoke without permission, a rule I thought we had worked out some time ago. Three, ya used profanity, and ya never speak to me except with respect in your voice. Understand?" Spike asked. Xander closed his eyes to block out the sight of Spike in gameface so calmly laying out the rules for what little life Xander had remaining. He knew the day would come, but he had hoped Spike would make it quick.

The hardest slap yet made his eyes fly open. Spike added a second hit before Xander could even catch his breath.

"One, ya still didn't answer. Two, ya won't close me out. I'm your master for as long as I decide ta keep you around. I wonder how long it will take your friends to figure out you're gone? Seein' as how they didn't even notice that ya moved out of your parents' house, I figure you could probably rot back to dust down here before they found ya, but I don't know how long it would take them to start looking."

Spike looked down, and Xander couldn’t help the tears that slowly gathered at the corners of his eyes, making them burn as hotly as his ass.

"Well, answer one question or the other, pet," Spike said, raising his hand.

"I don't know, a week or so?" Xander hiccupped out as Spike brought the hand down again. Xander swore he could feel the handprint etched into his skin, but he could only curl his hands into worthless fists and lay there.

"Not how ya talk to me, pet. Ya followed the rules better when ya thought I couldn't rip your guts out." Spike trailed a sharp fingernail over Xander's ribs, and skin shivered. With a wicked smile, Spike trailed the fingernail down and over Xander's hot ass. "Try again, pet," he said softly as he pushed on the plug again.

"Maybe a week, sir," Xander said softly. Spike rewarded him with a thumb rubbing over his pucker, teasing the delicate skin before pulling out two or three public hairs so that Xander yelped.

"Please," Xander whispered.

"Please what, little dinner of mine?"

Xander flinched, but the ropes held him in place. "Please warn the girls," he managed, fear tightening his throat. This wasn't how he'd planned it. He expected Spike to show up, grab him, drain him, and then drop him on Buffy's lawn. But now Spike seemed more interested in playing his games, and that terrified Xander. He remembered when the vamp had first come to town and Giles had pulled out books that described Spike torturing his victims with railroad spikes. Little late to worry about it now.

"Right then, who do you want dialed?" Spike asked, entirely too cheerfully. Xander's throat closed at the thought of hearing Buffy or Willow's voices. He didn't want their last memory to be of this call. He didn't want to talk to them tied down over Spike's lap because he'd allowed it.

"Angel," Xander finally whispered, his throat too tight for anything more. Spike looked down in obvious surprise, one eyebrow crooked up.

"Your dime," he finally shrugged as he dialed the phone and then held it to Xander's face. Xander closed his eyes, struggling to regain some control, and the sound of flesh hitting flesh startled him into opening them before the pain of the spanking soaked into his skin.

"Angel Investigations, we help the helpless," a man's voice answered, a man, but not Angel.

"Angel, please," Xander said. There was a pause. "If it's help you're needing, we can—"

"Just get Angel, and tell him if he doesn't come to the phone, I'm slipping Ex-Lax into his blood supply," Xander snapped, the fear turning to anger. Spike smirked, and the person on the other end of the phone spluttered a bit, but then Angel's voice came over the line.

"This is Angel," he said cautiously. Xander's throat closed.

"Hello?" Angel's voice drifted over the phone, sounding annoyed.

Xander took a deep breath, sobbing half way through it, but Spike just watched with his head slightly tilted now.


"Deadboy," Xander finally started, hoping for a light tone, but there was a long silence at the other end.

"Xander? What's wrong?" Angel asked, completely ignoring the insult. Xander struggled to catch his breath, the collar suddenly seeming tighter.

"You have to warn them," he whispered.

"Warn who? Xander, what's going on?" Angel's voice came through the phone louder, and Xander could see the smirk on Spike's face grow wider. Great, he got to be the bocce ball they knocked around to score points on each other… not how he saw himself going out.

"Tell them," Xander paused. Tell them that he was an idiot? Tell them that he'd been playing slave and now Spike decided to make it real? "Tell them Spike got the chip out," Xander settled on.

"Spike?" Angel practically yelled in Xander's ear. "Spike, can you hear me? If you touch him—"

Xander started laughing. Tied to Spike's lap with the vampire's hand resting on his hot ass and the plug Spike had picked out shoved up his ass, he was fairly sure Spike had done more than just touching.

"Xander?" Angel called.

"Little late for that," Xander managed between breaths. "Just tell them—" Xander stopped again, the tears starting as he realized how many things he wanted to tell them. "Tell them I love them," Xander muttered. Then he closed his eyes. It didn't matter if he broke a rule by doing it; he had no illusions about Spike needing an excuse. How many times had Spike chained him in the niche and left him panting in pain, and still Xander hadn't gotten a clue.

Angel was still shouting when Spike thumbed the phone off with a beep. Cool fingers smoothed through his hair, and Xander felt like a leech trying to suck up the last bit of pleasure he could before the real fun started. He sometimes sought pain to erase the other darkness in his life… to force him past a wall he'd built around himself. However, he didn't enjoy pain for pain's sake, so he knew this was going to be ugly.

"Still haven't answered me, pet," Spike crooned, and Xander felt shame wrap around him when his cock still reacted to that tone, to those fingers soothing him.

"Don't know the answer," Xander answered without opening his eyes.

"We have a problem, pet. This isn't goin' to end pretty unless you can figure it out," Spike said, those fingers never halting as they petted him. Xander opened his eyes and looked up into Spike's human face.

"Not going to end pretty anyway. Please don't start lying now," Xander said, forcing himself to keep his eyes open and watch the monster he'd given his life to.

"Pet, you're still fightin'. Not smart. Tell me why you can't win." Spike's hand moved to petting Xander's shoulder.

"I'm human and you're a fucking bloodsucker?" Xander quipped. The strikes came hard and fast, trailing down to his exposed thighs. They didn't end until Xander cried and begged between ragged breaths.

Then Spike stopped and looked down where Xander lay, bound so tightly he couldn't even squirm more than an inch.

"Why can't you win, pet?" Spike asked again, and this time, a cool hand traced over Xander's ass, the sensitive skin shivering under the cool touch. "What scorpion has stung ya, pet?"

Xander struggled to pull his legs together and Spike reached between them and played with the undersides of Xander's balls before pushing his hand in and teasing Xander's excited cock. Great… he got to die a perv.

"I don't know what you want me to say," Xander cried, careful to keep his voice respectful even as he struggled against the chains on his ankles and the leather around his wrists and the collar that kept his face pressed to the now-warm leather.

"Want ya to understand yourself well enough to see why you're never going to win. Want ya to admit why I'm always going to end up on top, even if I still had the chip, even if I were still in a soddin wheelchair, even if Buffy came chargin' in that door right now."

As Spike glanced toward the door, Xander felt a flare of hope, but then again, Buffy walking in would lead to questions of the sort Xander didn't want to answer. Pieces shifted in Xander's memory… the night Spike had first glued Legos to his body, thinking he would just pull an annoying prank… the first time Spike had dropped him stomach down on the bed and fucked him until Xander screamed Spike's name and nearly passed out… the many times Xander knelt in the niche crying and Spike took him out, petting him and carrying him to the bed.

"I—" Xander stopped. If he wanted to die with a little dignity, he would keep his mouth shut and let Spike torture him.

"Pet, out with it," Spike ordered, pinching a bit of skin sharply so that Xander gasped.

"I want you to win," Xander finally let it go. The guilt beast clawed up his stomach, making his gag reflect trigger as he nearly vomited out the pain.

"Oi," Spike snarled, and fingers pulled at his neck, releasing the rope before Spike nearly shoved him off the chair and to the floor. Xander landed with a thud, ignoring the pain in his knees as he faced the guilt monster that had crawled out his mouth.

"I don't want my friends hurt; I don't want the bad guys to win," he choked out. And he didn't.

Spike's hands, which had shoved at him, now petted him as he knelt awkwardly with his legs still held open by the spreader bar.

"Yeah, if one of those other twits had taken ya as a pet, this wouldn't be so hard. But you're mine. I'm the one who bloody saw that black hole of fear and need in ya, and I filled it."

Spike reached down and unhooked the shackles so that Xander could bring his legs together. When Spike released his hands, Xander could only sit on the floor with his sore knees and sore ass and look up in confusion.

"Slayer's goin' to be out looking in a couple of minutes, so get our kit packed," Spike ordered as he threw a leg over one arm of the chair in a familiar pose.

"Spike?" Xander asked in confusion.

Spike reached out and hooked the front ring on the collar, using it to pull Xander close.

"You're mine, boy, and I don't walk away from anything that's mine. Now, I told you to pack up our kit so we can head out, but if ya don't want to obey, I'll put a few stripes on you and leave ya in the niche while I pack," Spike threatened, his eyes turning yellow.

"Packing, I can pack, packing champ here," Xander rambled. Spike cocked one eyebrow and held Xander in place for a second before letting go. Xander stood and looked around the room, shadows in the corners where the light of the television didn't reach and Spike looking no different than he had on a hundred other nights.

"Spike," Xander said tentatively, "I still can't, you know…"

Spike turned his head slowly.

"Should probably point out that you're mine and you'll do as your told," he mused, his tongue pushing at his lower lip. "But I'll make ya a deal. You remember that your place is at my feet, and I won't ask ya to be anything other than a white knight," Spike offered.

Xander ducked his head, his hair falling in front of his face as he hid his overwhelming relief.

"Get ta work, boy," Spike said in a firmer voice. Xander turned toward the bed where clothes lay flung over the bedspread.

Gathering the shirts into a pile, Xander whispered.

"Thank you, Master."

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Toys 4: Mine


Xander let the world flow by in slow motion, legs and boots and leather and jeans all blurring into a meaningless backdrop. Only the throbbing between his legs and the cool fingers tangling and occasionally tugging his curls mattered.

The cords wrapped around his cock and balls made dull throbbing waves pass through his thighs and up his spine, warming him and making him even harder, which made him groan in pain. When he shifted, a few pubic hairs yanked free, and Xander gasped.

"Silly git, told ya not to wiggle around," Spike commented with a tug at a curl. Xander leaned his shoulder into Spike's leg, wishing he could do something to focus on his master instead of his own frustration. He ached with a need to lose himself to the pleasure of lying helpless under Spike's hands or the need to suck Spike's cock. He could almost feel strong hands holding his head in place as Spike finally lost control and drove up into his mouth. He would even love to lay over Spike's lap panting as Spike either teased or tortured him into oblivion.

However, right now, he wasn't likely to get any of that… at least not for a little while. Spike had found the darkest corner of the bar, but unlike most of their regular haunts, humans wandered the dark. A few times, the door opened and a random tourist, lured by the neon sign offering drinks, wandered in, but they left soon enough.

Rough-looking men with leather vests leaned against the bar. A man in a dark uniform and shiny boots sat at a table with one heel resting on a half-naked man's back. Xander kept glancing toward that couple, fascinated by the way the man on the floor licked at the second shiny boot with eager enthusiasm. Several men had whips or handcuffs dangling from their belts, and one man who had really gotten into things had a long whip coiled and slung over one shoulder like Indiana Jones.

Yep, any strangers who wandered in tonight fled before even getting to the back of the dim bar where Xander knelt. The soft leather chaps wrapped his legs tightly but left his genitals exposed, or at least they would be exposed except that Spike had carefully bound them with leather cords. Unfortunately, Spike hadn't seemed interested in doing anything else except watching the crowd. Well, watching the crowd and complaining about weak American piss-water beer and lame American whisky. Xander was used to those complaints.

Shifting again, he flinched when a few more hairs went, and Xander wondered if he should just give in and ask Spike to shave him. He pressed his cheek to Spike's thigh, silently asking for permission to do more, but Spike just continued petting while he watched the crowd. One restless foot wiggled so that a Doc Martin heel thumped the wooden floor.

Oh yeah, Spike either wanted something or was waiting for something. And really, Xander already knew that because Spike didn't normally hunt men. He loved the flirt, the dance, the quick in and out where he left some girl still orgasming and leaning haphazardly against a random planter as Spike sauntered away with a cat that ate the canary grin, except more with the vampire that snacked on the girl grin.

Xander scanned the crowd trying to figure out what Spike was watching. The door came open, the sound of an angry car horn blaring above the music and the sounds of men's voices. Instead of fleeing, the new guy stepped into the room, his cowboy boots, tight black jeans and black leather jacket fitting right in with the rest of crowd. He looked familiar enough that Xander figured he was probably some B-level actor who did walk on parts—he certainly had an actor's looks.

"Yes, sir!" a high voice blurted. Both the cowboy newcomer and Xander glanced to a corner where a dark-haired man stood with his hands behind his back and a chain between his nipples. The older man standing next to him had a gloved hand on that chain, which he tugged again. Xander could see the younger one say something else, but this time he couldn't hear it.

Yeah, he'd had trouble learning to control his voice when Spike pulled or tugged or whipped some piece of vulnerable skin. Sometimes his voice would crack so that he would squeak like a little girl… other times he'd lose his air and gape mutely.

Watching those two humans play, Xander wondered if he would have ended up somewhere like this eventually. Maybe he would have. Spike's leg stopped vibrating under him, and Xander looked up in alarm. Spike's constant energy had disappeared under a stillness that could mean only one thing: hunting, and not the snack and orgasmy type.

Xander followed Spike's gaze, desperate to find the target. The new guy—cowboy. Okay, he could handle this. He might not be a slayer, but he had any number of tricks when Spike got a little too interested in the local snacklife. Glancing toward the clock, he watched the minute hand click one notch closer to midnight when the doors would lock.

"Master," Xander said softly. Pulling himself upright, he ducked his head and let his curls fall in front of his face before he glanced up through the curtain of hair.

"Yeah?" Spike put his whiskey down and forgot to even pet Xander. So not good.

"Master, may I go to the bathroom?" Xander whispered. Spike looked down at him and cocked his head. Xander could only chew at his lower lip while he waited for an answer.

"Oi, that look means ya want something, so spit it out," Spike said as he raised one boot and rested it on top of Xander's thigh, trapping him in place. Okay, he could do this. Just distract Spike. His master had such a short attention span that he'd forget his prey.

"My cock, it really hurts," Xander breathed, flinching because what he was implying… yeah, that was not going to make Spike happy.

Rather than the explosion he expected, Xander got silence. Spike just looked down with a skeptical expression. Xander fidgeted under the gaze, and pulled out a few more pubic hairs.

"Ow," Xander said as he looked down at the floor.

"Right, so let me get this straight. You're goin' to go to the bathroom and loosen the knots I put on ya?"

Xander considered how he wanted to answer that. He glanced toward the bar where the cowboy leaned with his back against the bar as he scanned the crowd. "Um, yes?" Xander tried. And again with the lack of explosion. Xander looked up at Spike.

"Not buyin', pet. Ya never could lie." Spike grabbed Xander's neck and pulled him close again. Xander lost so many pubic hairs that his eyes watered a bit as he resettled, his head resting on Spike's leg again. At least the nervous bounce was back, so maybe cowboy was safe after all.

Xander sank back to a place where his body's ache and the feel of Spike's hand petting him made the rest of the world fade. Suddenly, the club grew quiet. The men's voices died away to only shuffling feet so that Xander could finally hear the music instead of just feeling the base sending vibrations up through his knees.

An older man with a gray handlebar mustache and a biker's cap came out from behind the bar and headed for the door.

"Last chance, folks. Leave now or risk learning a few things your mother wouldn't want you to know."

The barman glanced at a couple of men hovering in the corners, but no one moved. He shrugged locked the door and pulled down the shade over the small window inset into the heavy door. Instantly, the mood turned.

"You looking for a second boy?" a man with a huge silver belt buckle asked Spike. Spike didn't even bother answering, he just waved a dismissive hand, and the man took that refusal with a shrug as he asked the next top. Other players detoured around them, and Xander looked up in confusion when Spike's body went still a second time.

"Stay," Spike ordered briefly before he stood. Xander started to ask why, but Spike left in a swirl of black leather, his punk hair and duster only slightly out of place. Xander settled back, resting his palms on the warm leather chaps as he waited for Spike to come back.

Soon enough, Spike came back with cowboy in tow. Xander looked up in panic, but Spike just smiled sweetly before reaching down and grabbing the heavy chain that hung from the back of Xander's collar and then trailed down his back. He wrapped it around his fist and pulled Xander to his feet.

"So, you up for a game, mate?" Spike asked. Xander obediently turned when Spike made a twirling motion with his finger. He gave the cowboy a nice look at his bare ass and bound cock exposed by the chaps and the hard nipples that the tiny leather vest didn't cover. The movement made even more hairs rip out, and the sharp pains along with the admiring looks from both Spike and cowboy made Xander shiver with lust.

"Oh, you bet I am," Cowboy smiled widely.

Spike pulled sharply on the leash, yanking Xander to his side before grabbing the back of Xander's neck. "And can you play by my rules, just like my boy here?" Spike asked Cowboy, but his gaze locked on Xander.

Xander narrowed his eyes, struggling to understand the message his master meant for him, but then Spike kissed him brutally, teeth clashing with teeth as strong fingers pulled Xander's nipple. That kinda short-circuited any thoughts. Still struggling to catch his breath and calm down enough to keep his cock from falling off, Xander followed as Spike led him by his leash to a back room.

Xander didn't even realize Cowboy had joined them until Spike pushed the bolt closed on the small storage room that had been converted to a private dungeon, metal shelves on one side of the tiny concrete room and bars lining one wall for convenient tying up and torturing of victims… hopefully metaphorically because Xander truly did not want to be around for any literal tying up and torturing, especially if he wasn't the tyee and torturee.

"Can I try him out? I'm a master of a good spanking, and I love to feel a hot ass under my hand. God. He's really built." Cowboy's babbling stopped when Spike glanced over with a raised eyebrow, and Xander really feared Cowboy was on the menu tonight.

Slowly, with a roll of his hips, Xander sank to his knees and pressed his forehead against Spike's crotch. The jeans scratched him as he slowly rubbed his face, silently begging Spike to use him instead.

"He's bloody perfect," Spike agreed, and Xander felt a hand rest on his head. Grunting his desperation, Xander pressed his cheek to Spike's bulge as he looked up with panic-wide eyes. Spike looked down at him without any emotion.

"So, here's how it works, mate. I put you through a few paces, and then I let you put my boy through his."

"I'm not really into bottoming," Cowboy said, and now the first threads of doubt appeared. Xander closed his eyes and sent up a quick prayer that this guy wasn't as stupid as he seemed.

"Just like ta get a feel for who's taking my boy out for a drive. Ya can always use your safe word, but remember that I hold my boy's safeword, so as soon as you show me what you're made of, you can play with the boy until I say enough." Spike continued to pet Xander even as he promised to give Xander away to another man. And really, Xander was getting a headache from trying to figure it out.

"He doesn't have a safe word?" Cowboy asked, his voice breathy from either fear or excitement. Xander hoped it was fear and that Cowboy was about to run for the hills.

"He's a slave, not a bottom." Spike patiently explained.

"Oh man. Oh, yeah, I'm totally into that. So, how do you want to start?" Cowboy asked.

"Strip." Spike gave the order in such a friendly tone that Xander felt a near-hysterical need to laugh.

"Master?" he pled as he knelt at Spike's feet. A pair of jeans hit his back and slid to the floor.

"Quiet, or I'll gag you, boy," Spike ordered with a thump on the nose. Xander ducked his head so he wouldn't have to watch the next part. Pain and failure swelled until the ache in his chest outpaced the ache in his groin. Stealing quick glances, he watched as Spike tied the man to the metal bars, spread eagled and facing the wall. His ass had a pale triangle of pasty skin surrounded by SoCal tan and his arms stretched nearly the length of the bars.

"So let's start with a warm up," Spike suggested as he took a flogger from off a shelf. The slapping of leather against flesh echoed off the room. Xander could only press himself into the corner as he tried to stay out of the way in the small room. Cowboy started with heavy grunts on each hit, his hands fisting and his body jerking, but then he sagged into the blows.

Xander knew what that moment felt like… the point at which he could let go and just feel the warmth travel his body. He wished he were up there; he wished he could trust Spike with this stranger's life as much as he trusted Spike with his own. The flogging went on and on until Cowboy gave pained sighs with each hit.

"So, you ready for round two?" Spike asked as he put the flogger back on the shelf and pulled out a cigarette.

"Fuck, yeah. I'm going to make that boy of yours cry," Cowboy said. "Hey, you can't smoke in here!"

"Seems like you're not in a position to tell me what to do," Spike commented as he stepped closer and blew smoke right at the man's face. Cowboy turned his head and coughed.

"Man, whatever your kink is, I am not into second hand smoke and lung cancer."

"See, that's what's wrong with a bottom. They think they have a say, and really, they don't. Not the way I play," Spike offered as he blew smoke again.

"Sign off. Sign off, okay? I'm calling it off." Cowboy coughed as the white cloud floated past him.

"Not feelin' like letting you down, so I'll say when you've had enough," Spike commented casually as he pulled a gag out of a pocket. Cowboy opened his mouth to complain, and Spike shoved it in and buckled it behind his head. Now Cowboy exploded, straining against the ropes and screaming until his face mottled red and purple.

"You recognize him, pet?" Spike asked as he backed off a few steps and leaned against the door. Xander looked over at Cowboy in surprise.

"No, Master." Xander swallowed; his mouth had gone totally dry.

"Look closer, pet."

Xander stood up and reluctantly inched closer. Cowboy looked over his shoulder, silently begging for help with every blink.

"Chad?" Xander asked as the memories returned. Cowboy Chad froze.

"Spike?" Xander turned to his master, not even sure he could describe what he was feeling if someone offered him a million dollars and a brain that actually worked.

"See, I heard the slayer and Red talkin' about some of the shite this one pulled. Then I smelled him on ya after that fight at the pizza place. If I thought the slayer had the balls to pull off what she said she wanted to do to him, I'd turn him over and watch the fun and games.

"Problem is that you white hats are more about talk than torture, and this one needs to learn a lesson." Spike slipped into game face and smiled at Chad. The man promptly peed, the yellow flowing down his legs and puddling on the floor. Spike's smile turned to a disgusted grimace as he dropped his cigarette and crushed it under his heel.

"Master, please don't," Xander sank to his knees at Spike's feet.

"You goin' to offer me something for not killin' him, the way you did with that bint in Seattle?"

Xander looked up at Spike in surprise.

"Told ya, you aren't good at lying, pet. So, are you going to try and distract me from this wanker? I seem to remember this one here dropped ya in a toilet once. In fact, Red called what this one did terrorism."

"But," Xander stopped. Chad had done all that, and more. Between Chad and Larry, freshman P.E. had been as close to torture as Xander had ever come, and that included what Spike did to him on a regular basis. "Please," he finally begged.

Xander knelt up and pressed his cheek against Spike's bulge. Reaching down, Spike unzipped his jeans and slipped his cock out, the head poking out from the foreskin. Xander closed his eyes in relief. This he knew how to deal with. This he loved dealing with.

Xander took the head into his mouth and moaned happily as he sucked at the cock and felt it grow. Working his lips around the shaft, he slowly worked down until the cock touched the back of his throat. Taking a deep breath through his nose, he lunged forward, feeling the pressure in his throat. He half gagged, half swallowed, and tried to smile as he felt the answering jerk in Spike's body.

The need for air forced him back and he happily sucked as Spike's cock, teasing the end with little jabs of his tongue. Spike made a little growling sound, and Xander felt his own cock try to inflate. Unfortunately, his own cock still had cords wrapped around it.

Letting the cock slip out of his lips, Xander bent to lick the heavy balls, the crinkled hair tickling his face and the damp cock resting on one cheek. Xander sucked them in gently, exploring their familiar shapes and worshiping them. A fist pulled at his curls, and Xander obediently returned to the main event.

This time, he sucked as hard as he could, and Spike grabbed at the shelf as he threw his head back. Deep throating Spike for a second time, Xander felt Spike jerk and start to orgasm. He sucked happily, the salty, thick liquid escaping at the corners of his mouth and dribbling out. Xander didn't wipe his face as he looked up.

Spike's head was still thrown back, his mouth open as he recovered from the orgasm. Xander couldn't believe that he had the power to reduce Spike to this gasping creature who clung to the shelf.

"My beautiful pet," Spike said as he reached down and ruffled Xander's hair. "But someone still needs to learn a lesson.

The words ripped the satisfaction from Xander as he looked over at Chad who started to struggle again.

"Please, Master. I'll do better next time. Please don't kill him." Xander broke one of the first rules, clinging to Spike's leg to try and physically stop him. It might be a worthless gesture what with vamp super-strength, but Xander had run out of other options.

"Pet." Spike's warning didn't make Xander let go; however, the fist in his hair, dragging him back did. Spike crouched down, and Xander could feel his body tremble even though he couldn't seem to feel any emotion in particular. He just focused on the concrete floor and waited for punishment, even worse, he waited for Spike to kill Chad and that would be all his fault.

"Pet, ya did perfect. I won't kill him if it means this much to ya, but he isn't some random bird who's caught my eye. He hurt ya, and you're mine." Spike's voice was so calm. Xander trembled harder as Spike grabbed his collar and forced him to look up.

"Who's your master?" Spike demanded in a firmer voice.

"You, master."

"And who makes the decision?"

"You, master."

"And whose responsibility is it?"

Xander paused. Spike reached up and slipped his fingers under the collar and used his grip to pull Xander closer. Now the collar was so tight that Xander could barely breathe.

"And whose responsibility is it?" Spike repeated, his game face out and the fangs making every 's' longer.

"Yours, master," Xander barely whispered.

"Right, so time to take care of business." Spike switched over to playful joy as he stood. "So, Chad… you do know that's a soddin' stupid name, right?" Spike asked as he slapped Chad's bare ass. Chad's eyes had gone wide, and he didn't even move as Spike leaned against the bars.

"See, ya don't understand something important about the world, mate. When you hurt someone, there's always a price ta pay. Some people are tough enough to demand payment and others aren't, but the price is there. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't care even if you really have left a trail of half-dead boys behind ya. If those wankers can't make you pay, that's their problem. But Xander's mine, and ya hurt him. Personally, I think the price for what you've done to my pet should be death."

Chad still didn't move, his body stiff with fear as Spike watched him, trailing a finger up his naked side. Xander held his breath, hoping.

"This is where you learn, innit?" Spike asked sweetly as he pulled a knife out. Chad's nose flared as he gasped for air.

Xander watched in horror as one red line after another appeared with small neat strokes. Chad started with muffled screaming, but ended up simply hanging as Spike flicked blood droplets with each precise letter. Every few minutes, he would step back to admire his work and rub a black paste into the torn flesh before continuing. As he finished the last word, tiny blood rivers had flowed together so that a red trail disappeared into his butt crack.

Spike let the knife follow the trail lightly, and Chad just hung limply.

"Think you can remember this lesson?" Spike asked his face and inch from Chad's. Chad nodded slowly.

"Right then. My pet has been bloody brilliant tonight, so I'm going to take him home, shag him, and give him the best blowjob of his life. I'm sure someone will find you by mornin'." Spike gave Chad a swat on the ass with the flat of the blade before putting the knife away. Chad could only blink with an expression that probably meant disbelief.

Spike held out his hand, and Xander took the help to get up, his knees numb with the kneeling.

"You'd best stay close to my back, pet, or you're going to end up arrested for indecent exposure," Spike commented, just like he had before they'd left the lair that evening. Xander obediently fell into step right behind so that the duster hid his bound erection. When Spike opened the storeroom door, the evening's entertainment had obviously ended. Most of the bar was empty, only a few leathermen lounging with their beers, but nothing that would send a tourist running.

Spike crossed the floor with decisive strides, and Xander followed as close as possible without tripping himself and his master. No one even glanced their way. Behind them, Chad still hung from the bars, his back seeping, in both blood and black ink...

Boy's Mine: Trespassers will be eaten.

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Toys 5: Cheeky

Xander lay on his stomach, legs bent and swaying gently and completely out of sync with the music blaring from the television. Spike ignored the punk band for a second in favor of watching Xander's legs, spread just far enough for Spike to see the base of the plug he'd put in Xander that morning and the undersides of his boy's shaved balls.

The comic book must have gotten interesting because Xander's feet froze in space, his whole body suddenly tight and still.... well, until he flipped the page with so much energy that Spike thought he might tear the paper. The boy didn't even breathe... then his right leg twitched... and there's the explosive sigh. Spike smiled as the legs now started kicking even faster, making arcs in the air as the hero of his comic book did something stupidly self-sacrificing. No matter how many of the books Spike bought, Xander never tired of them, going back and rereading the colorful stories until the edges of the pages wore soft from Xander's fingers.

Xander flipped another page, his breathing fast now, and sometimes Spike wondered exactly how Xander's brain worked. Silly git still saved as many happy meals as he could, quietly distracting Spike as he knelt at Spike's feet, but he still read comic books with a breathless wonder as he waited for good to defeat evil. He'd even begged and risked punishment to save some wanker who clearly needed to get eaten. And yet, every time Spike expected his boy to go all noble, to rebel or snap, the boy yielded, giving himself to Spike, even knowing Spike exemplified evil.

Spike remembered the first time he'd hunted with Xander at his side. In their flight from the slayer, they'd driven through the desert at night, stopping at a crowded bus stop somewhere in New Mexico. The boy was so new to his slavery that he still struggled to even stay silent in public, and he definitely wouldn't have knelt. The most he did was sit next to Spike in the booth, randoming touching the thick collar at his neck and keeping his eyes firmly down. He'd tried to order for himself, falling silent only when Spike had pinched him hard enough to make a deep purple, butterfly-shaped bruise.

Then Spike had seen the girl leaning against one of those stupid machines that offered to read your blood pressure or your fortune or some other piece of human stupidity. She had pulled her hair back into a tight ponytail and her face had a shininess from not washing it. If Spike were to guess, he'd say she was pushing hard for some goal, driving until late into the night... until red spider-webbed through her eyes.

Right away, Spike wanted her. She wasn't the prettiest or the youngest in the cafe, but she had this determination swirling around her that made him want to drink her down and possess that strength. He still didn't know what had clued Xander in, but suddenly a human hand clutched his coat and Xander stared at him with wide brown eyes.

"Let go, pet," Spike warned.

"Please." Xander whispered the word. When Spike didn't answer, he dropped his eyes.

"Pet, not your choice."

"If you're hungry..." Xander's words trailed off, but he had tilted his head invitingly. For a second, Spike felt fury at Xander's attempt to manipulate him. But then a smell sifted through the grease and human sweat. Fear. No, more like blind terror. For a second, Spike wondered how Xander could offer his neck when fear drove his heart to trip along dangerously fast. Then the boy glanced toward the girl and Spike knew. His boy feared things other than death... or at least not his own death. Well, it wouldn't do to have the boy die of a heart attack before properly enjoying him.

"Pet, trust me, 'kay?" Spike asked, pulling Xander's hand off his coat. Xander made a disbelieving little snort. Immediately, Spike grabbed Xander's chin and made him look up. "When I tell ya to trust me, you bloody well will, just like you'll do whatever I tell you," he snarled, his fingers making white islands in the flesh of Xander's chin.

Xander froze. Then his eyes had dropped and he'd all but curled in on himself.

Spike slid out of the booth, put on his best smile, and sashayed up to the girl who was almost asleep on her feet. A quick wink and a soft story, and the girl wandered out into the night with him.

When Spike had come back in, the food he'd ordered had arrived, but Xander just stared at it. The boy had stayed sullen and silent until Spike had the waitress bag the food, and Spike had taken him by the hand, pulling him toward the door.

Outside, the heat slapped at them and the rumble of trucks racing down the dark highway made the night tremble. Xander dragged his feet, kicking up a cloud of desert dust, and Spike pulled him forward by a wrist. The DeSoto sat on the far side of the dirt and sand patch passing as a parking lot, but Spike stopped at a blue sedan with an "Envision Whirrled Peas" bumper sticker. Rapping at the window, he watched Xander's eyes go wide when the girl sat up, her bloodshot eyes blinking owlishly as she rubbed her neck.

When she spotted them, she rolled down her window with a confused expression.

"Bloody hell, luv, you're making me all insecure falling asleep in the middle of my best attempt ta seduce ya. You need to get some sleep. Pull the car round the back where people won't bother ya while you catch some, yeah?" Spike suggested, all false concern and smiles.

"Uh, yeah, sure. Maybe I'd better," she muttered confused, then she seemed to gather her wits. "Hey, I'm really sorry I conked out there."

"No worries, luv," Spike assured her as he led Xander back toward the DeSoto, only now Xander didn't drag his feet through the dust or resist the pull.

And now, watching his boy kicking his bare feet in the air as he read his comics, Spike only smelled contentment even as Xander gave himself to one of the monsters he still seemed to hate. Reaching out, Spike nudged Xander's leg with the toe of his boot. Xander didn't notice at all, his leg bouncing back like a Punch n' Judy doll as he kept reading. Spike pushed a little harder the second time, and again, Xander ignored him.

"Bloody hell, can't believe you read that rot. Ya should at least read ones with someone less nancy-boyish than soddin' Superman. Now Batman, he's more like it." Spike banged the side of his boot against Xander's foot again.

"As if. Superman could so take Batman," Xander snorted as he pushed back.

Spike clicked off the television, and Xander glanced over his shoulder. "Superman's a ponce," Spike declared imperiously as he leaned forward.

"He could take Batman. Batman doesn't even have powers," Xander huffed.

"Not about the powers, luv, it's about the brains. Wave a piece of kryptonite past the man wonder in tights, and he's about as dangerous as a rug rat with diarrhea. Now Batman, he's got to depend on his wits."

"But Superman could break him in half," Xander pointed out as he rolled to his side. Spike shifted so that he could aim idle kicks at Xander's leg, but Xander bent his knee so that each swing of Spike's boot landed harmlessly on the bottom of Xander's foot.

"Batman's too soddin' clever to get caught."

"Hello! Superspeed? Superman would kick Bat-ass."

"Not bloody likely."

Now Xander shoved back with his foot, making it a proper war. "Oh yeah, and you saying so makes it true?"

"Fucking right. I'm master," Spike said with a jab of his foot.

Xander stopped for a moment, looking up with confusion as Spike landed a kick. "And you being master makes Batman better than Superman?" he demanded before kicking Spike back.

"It does," Spike announced.

"Does not."

"Does, too."

"Does not."

"Bloody well does too."

"Prove it," Xander challenged with a kick of his own foot hard enough to make Spike's leg fall off the arm of the chair where he'd slung it.

"I'll show ya proof," Spike flashed into game face, but he made a show of moving slowly. For a scant second, Xander froze. Then Xander smiled widely as he darted up and scampered over the rug. "Wait til I catch ya," Spike said, and Xander laughed. Not much question who would win this race, but Spike didn't hurry that much as he trailed Xander into the open room that acted as a garage, workroom, training room, and home to the few minions Spike kept around the place.

Right now, the only survivor of Spike's last fit was a thin faced female he'd taken from another Master. She slept in the corner, but as Spike chased Xander into the room, she sat up, awake immediately even though dawn had just broken and most good little vamps were tucked up in bed for the day. With a quick glance toward Xander, she darted for the storeroom, eager to stay out of their way. This one might actually last longer than a bloody week before Spike ripped off her head.

But domestic problems didn't matter when Xander bounced on his toes on the far side of a little mustang they'd picked up outside of Denver.

"Big talk for a little vampire," Xander taunted. Spike shook his head at his boy's stupidity even as he stalked toward the car.

"Gonna blister your butt for that crack," Spike promised. He feigned left, and Xander broke for the left. Spike had already turned to the right before he realized Xander hadn't fallen for it. Reversing with supernatural speed, he dashed around the DeSoto, snatching at Xander as he dashed for the door back to the living room, his bare feet slapping the concrete.

Xander squeaked when Spike caught his wrist, yanking his boy so sharply that Xander's larger body smacked into Spike. Immediately, Spike slipped his free arm around Xander's stomach. Running was all well and good, but he definitely had other uses for his boy.

Spike turned them and pushed Xander stomach down onto the hood of the DeSoto. "Little vampire?" he growled as he pushed his own weight down onto Xander's squirming form. "I'll bloody well show you little," he threatened. Xander put his palms flat on the hood, and pushed with all his might, but for all his struggles, the only scent was the heavy earth smell of lust.

"Stupid, bully-vamp," Xander complained, and now Spike could smell the salt of his boy's precum.

"Oi, I'll teach you some respect," Spike snarled in game face as he grabbed Xander's arm and twisted it up behind Xander's back. Xander gave a gasp, and sagged onto the hood, his cheek against the metal so that with every breath, a ghost appeared in the cold metal, only to vanish in a moment. He struggled and the thick ring on the front of his collar clacked against the metal.

Spike pushed the arm up a fraction of an inch higher, and Xander's frantic squirming stilled. Leaning forward, Spike breathed in the delicious scent of submission. Oh yeah, he'd never give the boy back to the slayer, didn't matter how many times they had to move. Silly bint didn't know how to take care of his boy.

"So, ya goin' to say you're sorry?" Spike demanded. Without letting go of Xander's arm, he kicked at the inside of the boy's feet, forcing him to widen his stance until the boy stood with all his vulnerable bits even more vulnerable.

"No?" Xander breathed out heavily.

"Stubborn git. You'll bloody well apologize, or you're not going to bloody well sit down for a month." Spike kept Xander in a place with the trapped arm while he stepped to the side. The first slap echoed in the large room, and Xander jerked, automatically bringing his legs back together.

"Boy," Spike warned with his darkest tone of voice. Xander silently shuffled his feet apart again.

Spike struck again and again, spreading the blows so that Xander's butt turned a bright pink. Xander's silence had broken into fragment of mews and strangled cries, but still he didn't apologize. Spike paused in the punishment to press the base of the plug.

"Fuck!" Xander swore as he bucked up and threw his head back. Thick curls flopped back and then forward so that hair draped over his face as he sagged back onto the hood of the car.

"Pretty little pet," Spike crooned, and then he landed the hardest hit yet on the fleshiest part of Xander's ass, leaving four perfect finger-shaped licks of red. Knowing how to torture his boy, Spike shifted, leaning his hip into Xander's ass, trapping him as he ran a delicate fingernail over the hot flesh. Xander's body shivered as the boy made incoherent noise

"Such an evil boy, back-chatting his master. Usually, I'm all for evil, but you've got a lesson ta learn, pet. Get that cheeky attitude going with me, and you'll bloody well pay." Spike let his fingers trace the edge of a half-hand print down to the crease. Reaching down, he gently scraped a fingernail over the perineum, enjoying the needy whine from his boy.

Spike brushed the curls back from Xander's face so he could see the eyes pressed tightly shut and the open mouth gasping for air. "So pretty when ya suffer," Spike whispered, and then he reached between Xander's open legs and teased the back of his boy's shaved balls.

"Master, please," Xander finally begged.

"You got something ta say to me?" Spike asked as he bent forward so that he could palm the soft sacs.

"Sorry, Master. God, I'm sorry," Xander babbled. Spike smirked as he gave the balls one last caress before letting go. Xander's heart thrumped so strongly that Spike could feel it in his own body. Quickly, he unzipped his jeans without letting go of Xander's arm. "Master, please. Please." Xander whispered a mantra as his feet inched outward, subtly spreading his legs even farther.

"I know wot ya need," Spike promised as he pulled the thick plug out. Without any further warning, he plunged into Xander, thrusting so hard that Xander grunted. Neither one of them could last much longer, so Spike pulled out and then slammed back, feeling the heat from the abused skin warm his cold body.

"Fuck yeah," he swore as he thrust. Finally, he let go of the trapped arm and grabbed Xander's hips as he blindly drove forward, the sound of Xander's panted, desperate cries whipping him to move faster until finally Spike felt the wave crest, and he dropped down onto Xander's back, sinking his fangs into vulnerable flesh.

As the heat of lust slowly cleared, Spike licked the wound on Xander's shoulder closed, watching the red marks shrink to puckers in the center of a constellation shaped scar formed by hundreds of feedings. The collar might mark Xander as a pet in the eyes of other humans, but for demon, this scar that proved Xander's submission to his Master's fangs over and over made a far clearer statement. It wasn't decoration, it showed the trust Xander placed in Spike and the value Spike put on his boy.

Xander breathed heavily, and the scent of human come filled the air. The first time the boy had come without even a hand on his cock, he'd stared at his own body in shock, but now Spike could fairly well count it.

"Shit," Xander swore softly, and Spike stood up, pulled Xander off the cold hood of the car.

"Silly bugger. What? You can't run for the bedroom where it's warm?" he complained. Xander didn't answer; he just limply followed as Spike pulled him back to the living room. This time, Spike grabbed the remote and dropped onto the couch.

Wordlessly, Xander followed, curling up so that his top half lay in Spike's lap. Spike shifted down a bit, getting comfortable as he flicked on the television again. Punk rock pounded out of the television as Spike smoothed Xander's sweat-damp curls.

"Superman would still win," Xander muttered, his eyes still closed as he lay in Spike's lap.

"Never know, will we?" Spike pointed out as he looked at the abandoned comics spread across the floor. "Too bad they're on the same side."

"Not really. I wouldn't want to see them fight." Xander sighed and arched his back. Seemed like every day the boy acted more and more like the kitten Dru had once called him. Spike twirled a curl between his fingers.

"Suppose not," Spike finally answered.

"Yep," Xander agreed faintly, his heartbeat slowing into the patterns of sleep. Spike turned the television down a couple of notches as he listened to his pet's heartbeat's steady thrump.

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Toys 6: Lessons

Xander followed Spike through the dark cemetery, and not for the first time, he wished he could just grab his Master's arm, pull him to a stop and make him explain what the hell was going on. But Spike had spent most of the last two days outside the bedroom, disappearing without warning and then showing up with more minions than ever before. Even now, at least two dozen minions walked around them, tramping the manicured lawns and neatly-tended flower beds under their oversized boots.

More than half of the minions came from the same gang, cursing in Spanish as they bowed their heads to their sire. Yeah, Xander didn't miss the 's' word getting thrown around. Usually Spike just grabbed some random minion off the street or stole one from another master vampire, but this time he was making his own, and choosing tattooed, well-armed gang members. Somewhere out there was a whole neighborhood going gangless because of Spike.

Spike stopped so suddenly that Xander physically bumped into him before he could sink to his knees, the cold of the ground soaking up into him. If they'd been alone, Xander might have admitted to being wigged out; he might have even admitted to a few passing moments of terror as Spike pulled out a cigarette and lit it with nervous fingers that twirled the Zippo lighter around before making it flare. With the minions circling them, Xander just bit his lip and waited impatiently, fear creeping up into him with the cold.

"Master," one of the minions hissed. This one had a spider over one cheek and a huge MM scrawled across one bicep, and Xander didn't think that stood for the chocolaty goodness of M&M's. Yep, Xander put this minion in the 'don't like' category, possibly because he'd growled at Xander, and Spike hadn't even taken time to dust him.

"Yeah, I smell them," Spike said as he took another drag on his cigarette. Xander looked out from under his bangs, but he couldn't see anyone, well anyone else. And really, it looked kinda funny, tough gang members with chains hanging from their pockets and their guns jammed into waistbands all standing under the pink, flowering crabapple trees that cast deep shadows from the full moon. It was just one more thing not feeling right.

Spike's fingers found his hair, threading through the curls, and Xander let out a heavy breath, reminding himself to trust master. Obviously something had gone wrong, but Xander didn't need to worry about it. He let his eyes fall shut as the familiar touch calmed his churning stomach.

"Close enough," Spike yelled out, and Xander's eyes popped open right before they tried to pop out. Oh shit. Shit oh shit. Double chocolate shit with runny shit on top.

"Spike," Buffy called out from her spot beside a stone mausoleum that the moonlight had brushed with white and shadow so that a carved stone angel seemed ready to take flight. Buffy stepped forward, a crossbow in hand but pointed toward the ground. "Is Xander okay?"

Xander wasn't anywhere near okay; Xander was nearly at heart failure.

"He's fine," Spike answered.

"So, are you ready to do this?" Buffy called as she stepped forward. Xander's least favorite minion snarled at her, pulling his gun, and Buffy snapped the crossbow up, dropping to one knee and firing before doing a neat duck and roll and coming up with the crossbow already loaded again.

Spike had issued a growl that kept the rest of the minions in place and now Willow and Tara came out from behind the angel mausoleum, a bright glow between them as they chanted, their voices mere mutters, but their mouths twitching in tandem. And yes, the universe hated Xander. It always had, but it was nice to get this bit of reassurance that some things never changed.

Willow looked at him, her face stricken with… guilt? pity? contempt? Xander shifted uncomfortably on his knees, and Spike's fingers, which had stilled, returned to stroking his hair.

"No need to get stake happy," Spike said as he shifted to the side, leaning against a branch of the crabapple tree. Xander hesitated for a moment and then kneewalked back into position at his master's feet, feeling himself blush.

"I should have staked you when you first showed up on Giles' doorstep," Buffy complained as her crossbow swept the line of vampires. And why were there so few vampires? Weren't there more minions when they'd parked the various cars on the far side of the cemetery? Xander scanned the landscape nervously. Headstone, headstone, crabapple trees, mausoleum, a dozen minions. Oh shit.

"Too late now." Spike's hand left Xander and unzipped his jeans so that Spike's thick cock peaked out. Xander blushed harder since he knew exactly what his master expected. Fingers gave his curls a sharp yank, and Xander glanced up only to find his master's expression distant. Fingers tugged his hair a little harder, and Xander was caught between lust at that familiar sight of master's cock hard for him and shame at the girls watching. "Pet," Spike warned, and the voice sent a shiver through Xander, making him shuffle forward before his embarrassment could start gnawing on the edges of his brain.

"Don't," Buffy called in a strangled voice, and Xander flinched at having Buffy see this. Closing his eyes, Xander knelt up and made a tentative lick along Spike's cock, feeling the twitching flesh beneath his lips.

"Spike, I mean it. Don't."

Xander tried to close his ears as he focused on his master. With tongue and lips, he teased master's cock free from the jeans, the scent of musk and pre-come like a subtle yeast smell that made him hungry for more.

"Boy's mine, slayer. You don't get to say what happens to him now." Feet shifted behind him, but Xander desperately tried to ignore all that as he focused on the task in front of him.

Spike slid easily into his mouth, the firm cock forcing him to open wide as he slid down until the yeast of master's scent filled his nose. Pulling back, Xander used his tongue to tease the foreskin, sucking as he tasted the familiar, salty pre-come.

"Just don't."

"What? Now you see him? He isn't yours, slayer. He's right where he belongs, and he bloody knows it."

"He knows whatever lies you've told him."

Spike hissed with helpless pleasure as Xander sucked harder and then swallowed down the cock in his mouth, the size of it stretching his throat, but it if kept this very awkward conversation from taking place, Xander was all for showing off his deep-throating abilities. Spike had to take several gasps of air before he could answer.

"The boy's saved more happy meals with that distracting tongue of his than you ever have with a stake."

"He… what? Okay, that is just distrubo. Let him up, or I swear your girlfriend is going to be fertilizing the roses."

"Finish up," Spike ordered with a tap on the head, and Xander ran his tongue along the underside of Spike's cock, sucking him in again even as a heaviness pinned him to the ground. Girlfriend? Dru? A typhoon of fears was brewing in his stomach, and Xander turned off his mind as he hummed around the cock in his mouth.

Spike twitched, and Xander pulled back, nipping at the end and driving his tongue into the slit harder than any human would like. When he sucked the cock into his mouth again, he felt his master stiffen and come as he sucked the cock dry and nursed until the flesh turned soft.

Xander reached up, tucking Spike back in carefully before shifting to Spike's side, his head hanging so that his curls would hide him in the shadows. Oh yeah, nothing like a little humiliation to get the day started. Now if they could just all go home without any more blood or dust…

"You asshole."

"Where's Dru?" Spike asked. Xander glanced between the strands of hair as Giles came out from behind the mausoleum, standing behind the still-chanting Willow and Tara. He dragged Dru by her neck with one hand and held a stake to her heart with the other. She squirmed, tilting her head one way and then the other like a confused puppy, but her hands were obviously tied behind her back.

And then Xander got it. The secrecy, the minions, the dead-of-night meeting with Buffy and Willow and oh god Giles had just seen him give Spike a blow job, and thank you universe for just one more humiliation.

"Let her go," Spike snapped.

"Let Xander go," Buffy countered.

Xander stopped breathing. Freedom. He could see freedom just steps away, and it tasted like ash in his mouth. Spike would get Dru back, and hopefully this time she'd be sane enough to show a little gratitude, and if not, Spike didn't need to untie her hands. In return, Xander would walk over the grass to Buffy's side. Everyone would win… everyone minus one.

Willow and Buffy would cry over him, Giles would clean his glasses, and Tara would blush every time they were in the same room. Assuming, of course, she could stand to be in the same room with him. But they could all congratulate themselves from saving Xander from one more screw up. And once again, he'd be… what? The official donut getter? Xander could feel his legs tremble as he looked at that future.

Why hadn't his master told him? Xander risked a glance up, and Spike had an unhappy expression as he played with his cigarette. Xander closed his eyes and tried to gather his strength.

"Spike," Xander whispered, the name feeling strange on his tongue. "It's okay; I'll go." Xander could feel the tightness in his guts as he struggled against the tears that rose. He could do this. If Spike didn't make the trade, Giles would kill Drusilla, and sooner or later, Spike would regret it and grow to hate Xander. It was easier this way.

Xander rose with the quiet grace of practice. He just needed this over so Spike could leave. It was like pulling off a band-aid, fast was best. Only, he felt more like the time he got food poisoning and spent three days with his stomach cramped and his whole body tight and miserable.

Spike's hand landed on his arm, holding him in place, and for a half second, Xander lied to himself, creating a whole fantasy where Spike would choose him.

"Let Dru go," Spike called back. Xander closed his eyes tightly, waiting for that familiar hand to leave him.

"Not even. When Xander gets here, we'll let Dru go," Buffy answered.

"Xander's not bloody going to your side. Either let Dru go and everyone leaves or you'll dust Dru and I'll spend the rest of my unlife making you miserable. Every person you talk to, every co-worker, every teacher at that piss-ass school of yours, every clerk who makes change for a fucking dollar—I'll drain every last one and drop 'em on your lawn. I'll leave you to explain that to the soddin' police. I'll make you afraid to leave your house because any random girl scout you buy a soddin' cookie from will be my next lunch." Spike spat the words, heavy word chunks that fell between them like lead.

"But our deal."

"I don't give a rat's arse about any deal. Xander's mine, and he'll bloody well be mine until he chooses ta leave, and if that day comes, I'll probably just turn him. But killin' Dru won't do anything other than make me an enemy, well, more of an enemy," Spike amended himself.

Xander sank to his knees, relief and fear robbing him of the ability to stand.

"If you think—" Buffy stopped when a dull thud and shockwave rolled through the cemetery, strong enough to make the ground buck and the grass roll like ocean waves. Pink petals from the crabapples rained softly down, and Xander fell face first to the earth, only faintly noticing Spike leaping forward. He really concentrated more on digging his fingers into the earth in an attempt to hold on.

As suddenly as it began, the earth quieted, and Xander could feel the pink petals settle over him like a warm snow. He pushed himself up on one elbow, and Spike's minions had moved in. Spike stood two feet from Buffy, both crouched in defensive positions, but Buffy's eyes kept darting to the side where scabby minions two and three held Willow and Tara, fangs millimeters from their necks. Two more minions held Giles, and the others, all two dozen of them, milled around. Dru sat on the ground, her hands free now as she tilted her head and considered them all.

Xander scrambled to his feet and hurried to Spike's side. Buffy's eyes went comically large as he sank to his knees next to his master, leaning his weight into Spike, knowing that he was interfering with Spike but trusting that Buffy wouldn't attack with the others in danger.

"Master," Xander whispered as he leaned his weight into Spike's leg in a silent plea. Spike backed up a step.

"You bloody stay away from me and mine or I'll make you pay in ways Angelus never dreamed of," Spike hissed. Xander risked a glance up and saw Buffy looking down at him with tear-brightened eyes.

"It's okay. I don't need saving, not any more," Xander said quietly as he rose. Spike strode across the cemetery in angry stride, and Xander hurried after him, dodging around the minions who chased their sire. One stopped to snarl at Xander, and Spike changed direction, doubling back and staking the vampire without a word. Xander ducked his head submissively and took his place one step behind his master as they reached the cars.

This time, Spike headed for the white panel van that had carried most of the minions to the cemetery, and Xander followed, blinking as Spike slammed the door on the minion who tried to follow them into the van.

"You thought I was going to trade you," Spike said in the dark of the van. Xander had sunk to his knees, and he went into a formal kneel as he waited for something that sounded more like a question. Doors slammed, and the van started.

"Stand up," Spike ordered, and Xander rose, putting out a hand to the cold to steady himself as they pulled away from the curb.

"Someone's forgotten that he's mine and that he'll bloody always be mine," Spike purred, but it was that dangerous tone that left Xander's blind eyes tracking in the direction of his master's voice in the dark.

"Hands behind your back, pet," Spike rumbled in a low voice that made Xander Jr. sit up and take notice. Xander faced the side of the van and put his hands behind him. Rope snaked around his wrists, tying them firmly. "Someone needs a reminder about what it means to belong to me. I don't bloody give up what's mine." Xander felt the rope tighten just above his left elbow and then hands pulled his arms back so that his chest pressed out.

"Someone needs a serious reminder." The rope from one elbow was threaded through his other elbow and then Spike pulled them tight, forcing Xander's chest out even farther until his muscles ached at the strain. Then Spike tied them off.

"When I’m through with you, you'll bloody remember who you belong to, pet," Spike threatened as strong hands guided him to the floor. Xander ended up face down on some sort of rug or blanket as hands unbuttoned his pants and pulled them off. Xander struggled against a need to hump into the floor. Yep, one good hump and he'd come, and Xander got the feeling that Spike wasn't in a forgiving mood right now.

"You'll never bloody forget again," Spike promised as Xander felt his legs spread, rope encircling his ankles. Xander felt the shiver run through his body as the coils of fear unwound. By the time Spike tucked the gag into his mouth, Xander was ready to learn any lesson his master wanted to teach.

Xander relaxed his muscles, allowing Spike to mold him, not that he could do much with his legs spread and his arms tied. Spike held his hips, pulling him up until Xander could tuck his knees under him, his face still flat on the floor of the van so that the vibrations of the road created echoes in his head.

"Someone needs to learn to learn who he bloody belongs to," Spike said, his voice carrying that not-quite-friendly tone that made Xander Jr. thicken even as he dangled uselessly, Xander's ass high in the air, and really this wasn't so comfy.

Something wet and large pressed against his hole, and Xander closed his eyes even though it didn't matter in the dark. Breathing out through his nose, he whined as the plug pushed all the way in, brushing his prostate, and suddenly Xander didn't care about the aching pull in his arms; at least it gave him some distraction from the nearly blinding need to come.

"I'd have ya count 'em, but seems like your mouth is full," Spike said cheerfully, and then the first slap fell. Xander grunted, the force of the strike pushing him forward on the blanket so that he could feel the heat of friction in his face as well as his burning ass. Spike usually started slower, but obviously Xander had really screwed up this time.

Spike's hand fell again, the sound echoing off the metal walls, and the plug drove into his prostate so hard that Xander wouldn't have cared about the spanking if he could just come. But since he didn't have permission, Xander turned all his concentration to controlling his orgasm. Two more hits, and then Spike stopped to run a hand over the warm and sensitive skin.

Xander moaned into his gag as Spike ran a thumb down Xander's crack and explored the perineum. A full body shiver made Xander's bones rattle harder than the van's vibrations as it sped down the city streets. Xander tried to distract himself with an image of the van getting in a fender bender, and the cop's face if he got a glimpse in the back. The distraction failed as Spike's fingers brushed the underside of his cock, and Xander humped the air, grunting as he struggled to bring his body back under control because he had already earned enough punishment for one night.

Spike chuckled. Then the next hits came. Right, image of the cop failed, so time to move on to the bigger ammo. Buffy and Willow seeing him tonight, that was enough to emasculate him. After all, the girls riding in to try and save him when he didn't need saving was bad enough, but them seeing him on his knees….

A particularly hard hit landed right on the base of the plug, and Xander squealed into the gag, grateful for the image of Willow's disapproving face because that was the only thing convincing his cock to not finish. Yep, Willow obviously thought he was a big loser boy getting led around by the nose… or possibly his cock, and that was a little funny considering that she had always enjoyed leading him around by the nose.

Xander lost all further ability to form coherent thoughts as Spike grabbed his cock with a slicked hand, stroking the heat as Xander quivered with a need to come and a need to obey. Then the plug was gone and Spike thrust in with no warning. Xander felt the familiar stretch and the hand tight around his cock. Hiccupping behind his gag, he finally lost all control as he awkwardly thrust, his movements little more than exaggerated twitches since Spike had tied him so tightly, but two jerks and he started coming in waves that crashed through him and left boneless, limp flesh behind.

Xander's back arched in pleasure and then sagged to the floor. Spike thrust once more and then began to come, the added pressure making Xander mumble into his damp gag.

"Didn't tell you to come, pet," Spike said as he pulled out, and then the plug was back, feeling too small after having Spike inside. Xander wiggled his ass as much as he could with the tight bonds, but Spike didn't let him up or forgive him or even run possessive hands over his naked flesh.

Xander closed his eyes. Now that the immediate lust had passed, he hated the thought that he had screwed up even more than he hated the throbbing pain in his knees where the blanket didn't provide enough padding and the sluggish ache in his arms from the awkward position. He just had to do nothing and lay there as Spike handed out the punishment, but he wasn't even good at doing nothing.

Fingers smoothed his hair and then untied his ankles.

"Ya didn't control yourself," Spike repeated, and Xander was sure his master could see his blush. "Ya didn't control yourself because no matter how much you want to control yourself, I always have more control." Spike added as he rearranged Xander so that he was lying on his stomach again. Now the vibrations of the old van lulled him as he thought about Spike's words. Spike wanted him to fail? Okay, he'd missed a memo somewhere, either that or master had lost a screw.

"You did your best, but no matter how badly you want something, I'll always get my way. That's why I'm master."

Xander blinked at the darkness as Spike shifted around, obviously crouching or lying near Xander. The smell of leather and smoke drifted to Xander, and more than anything else, that smelled like safety. So Spike did want Xander to fail, or maybe it was more fair to say that Spike wanted to win, but then Spike always wanted to win.

"So, even with fear of being punished hanging over your head, and you will be punished pet, you couldn't hold out against me."

Yeah, yeah, getting it. Times like this Xander was grateful for the gag in his mouth. Now if he could just put one on Spike….

"So, what was hanging over your head when I told ya to do your thing back there in the cemetery?"

And that would be pitfall territory. Xander could feel his face flush with heat. The images of Willow and Buffy that had made him hesitate in the graveyard now made his balls want to crawl up and become internal organs again. However, Xander thought about his answer. What had nearly stopped him? That would be, 'What is abject humiliation? for two hundred.' Willow and Buffy seeing him doing his kinky thing, and he wasn't even going to process the bit about Giles seeing him, that was going in the big old repress-at-all-costs box.

"So, why did you crawl over and start sucking my cock?" Spike asked.

Xander chewed the gag as he considered the answer. Habit maybe. When Spike's cock came out, he sucked it. Okay, if he were perfectly honest, he liked sucking it. He liked knowing that he could reduce Spike to a few grunted syllables. He liked the feeling of success when Spike's whole body tensed and released. He liked knowing that Spike wanted him there, on his knees. If that'd been the middle of one of the leather clubs they sometimes visited, Xander would have been in heaven with other men watching him enviously, either wishing they could take his place on the floor between Spike's legs or wishing they could replace Spike as Xander worshipped their cocks.

Xander looked up toward the chunk of black where he imagined Spike. Point made. Xander had sucked Spike down because he cared about all those likes a lot more than he cared about the others seeing him.

"They needed to see that. Needed ta see that you're happy on your knees, even if they won't ever appreciate what a treat you are." Spike trailed fingers over Xander's sore ass. "They needed to see that you're mine, even if you obviously forgot it. You're not some bauble I'd trade away, even for my Princess. And since you seem to have trouble remembering that, here's your punishment, pet."

Xander flinched as he expected the spanking to start up again, and he really did hate the spankings that came after the sex because they always seemed to hurt more. But Spike just continued to trace lazy circles on his skin.

"Until I see you can remember your place, you're going to wear my bonds. You'll be gagged or hobbled or chained or if I'm in an especially cranky mood, all three. So you'd better hope this lot of minions doesn't annoy me as much as the last or you'll be tied spread eagle on the bed for a good long time," Spike suggested in a salacious tone.

"We're 'bout there," Spike said, suddenly far more business-like, and Xander felt himself pulled up, grimacing at the spiraling pain that circled his left shoulder. "Left leg up," Spike ordered. Xander lifted his leg and promptly lost his balance, but Spike held him with one arm around his waist while the other slipped Xander pants back on him.

Xander was grateful for the clothing even as he realized that meant he wasn't getting untied soon, so he guessed punishment had started. A familiar clicking sound told him that Spike had snapped the leash to his wide collar even though they rarely used it outside of the leatherbars.

The van clunked to a stop, the old transmission making the thing hop forward so that Spike again had to catch Xander and put him back on his feet before opening the side door. Spike leapt down and waited as Xander came to the edge of the van, not sure how to get down with his arms so tightly bound. Spike just gathered him up around the knees and lifted him down so that Xander stood on the cool pavement as the other cars pulled into the dimly lit lot of some trucking company.

Minions packed the cars, and it still looked like a couple of the weakest ones had gotten left behind when Spike took the van for himself, but Xander couldn't tell, and with the gag in place, he wouldn't be asking any time soon. Spike strode toward the white Pontiac, Xander's leash in hand, and Xander hurried after him with his eyes on the swaying leather lead that connected them. A minion growled, and Spike's arm flashed so fast that Xander watched the dust slowly settle toward the concrete without having a chance to see which minion had growled.

"My prince made the world stop turning and the worms cry. Did you miss your naughty girl, Spike?"

Oh yeah, that was Dru. Xander risked a glance up, and Dru stared at Spike intensely.

"Course I missed you. You shouldn't play near the slayer, luv. She'll make *you* cry."

"No. She doesn't know where I hide my doilies." Dru answered as if it made some sense, and maybe it did to her.

"You found the naughty kitten!" Dru suddenly exclaimed, and Xander found himself caught in her gaze, fascinated by the depth of the brown eyes that considered him. "You made me all achy inside and woke up the moon so it slid under my tongue, and then you left me," Dru complained. When she snapped her teeth at him, and Xander jerked back, the paralysis of just a second ago gone with the fear that crazy girl was about to eat him and there wasn't much he could do. Okay, even if his hands had been free he couldn't have actually fought her off, but still, not helping the panic that Spike had tied him so tightly that he couldn't do anything other than glare off an attack. But before he had to test his powers of glaringness, Spike had stepped between.

"Princess, the kitten is mine now, and I punished him for making you achy," Spike soothed her.

"Did you make him cry and weep?" she asked hopefully. Something in the sky caught her attention and she tilted her head up.

"Yeah, he cried. But now he's mine, so you can't touch him. You remember what happened to your birds?"

"I poked them and poked them and they refused to sing. Bad birdies. Bad birdies won't sing for mummy."

"Yeah, well you can't poke at Xander."

Dru had been staring up at the sky, but now she looked back down toward Spike.

"There's a ring around the rosies and its closing in," she announced seriously, "but I can't be in it with you." Raising her hands to either side of Spike's face, she cupped his cheeks and leaned in to put a kiss on his nose.

"Grandmummy's waiting and I must give birth to her," Dru added as she pulled back. Then she turned and headed across the lot, her steps dancing in the moonlight.

"Oi, you," Spike yelled toward the gang minions. "You lot go after her. Take care of her and if I find out something's happened to her, I will track every one of you down and make you beg for death before I finally send you to hell." The main group of minions cringed back, ducking their heads submissively before turning and chasing after Dru's retreating form. And now only a half dozen minions waited, watching Spike for orders. "I'll drive the Mustang, get the rest back to the lair," he barked. Minions scattered.

"Still as barmy as ever. At least with you, I can bloody gag you," Spike said as he tightened the leash and headed back toward the Mustang. "Besides, she wasn't ever really mine, but you," Spike glanced over his shoulder, and Xander blinked back at him, fairly sure he was drooling out of the right corner of his mouth, "you're mine, and by the time I'm done, you'll never forget it again."

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Toys 7: A Bit of Truth

Spike stood at the bedroom door and watched his pet. Xander had stretched an arm through the bars of the cage and now tortured an ant with his thumbnail. Spike leaned against the side of the door as he watched the tiny beast change direction again, and Xander moved his thumb to block the new escape.

Might be that he'd left Xander in the cage a little long this time, but he'd had chores, and he definitely didn't want Xander forgetting that he was owned. Prized possessions got locked up when their owners weren't around to keep 'em safe, and so his boy had gone in his cage. He almost had room to stretch out on the cushioned bottom, but his bare feet and calves stuck through the back bars. Of course, Spike enjoyed the view of that bare, plugged ass much more.

Xander shifted to block a new ant-escape plot. Boy definitely needed some time outside the cage, and Spike needed a bit of time with that human heat curled up against him. It had been a hard day. Spike could only hope that his new plan worked because he was clean fed up with the slayer and her assorted shit. They'd stayed close enough that Spike could keep an eye on the old group since Spike firmly believed in the friends close and enemies closer bit, but he was bloody ready to move on, and the morons still hadn't stopped their soddin' schemes.

If Spike hadn't feared turning Xander into another Dru, he would have slaughtered them all and left their broken bodies scattered across that damn town. Of course, if he turned Xander, the boy would probably do some of the slaughtering himself. Problem was that turning someone never really turned out the way you planned it. Considering his own track record with luck, Spike wasn't taking the chance, not before he had to anyway.

Right, so the new plan would work, the wankers would give up on trying to pull some stupid shit like hiring necromancers, and he could take his pet far enough away that they didn't have to think about the others anymore. Either that, or Spike would just slaughter them all and then keep him too sated to watch television until the murders wouldn't show up in the news.

Hell, no wonder Dru starved her birds; pets were a lot of work.

"Gaaah!" Xander yelped as he jerked his hand back and managed to slam his arm against the bars. "Shit. Don't go sneaking up on a person!" he complained, and Spike just gazed down at his caged pet.

"Unless you want to sneak up, since you're master and all, but I'm bored shitless here." Xander went from apologetic to complaining with no break between.

"Oi, ya better still have all your shit on the inside because if you did human business in that cage, you're cleaning it up," Spike answered as he crossed the room. He reached through the bars at top to ruffle Xander's curls.

"And I'm thinking you already know I didn't, but unless you want your sensitive vamp nose assaulted by human pee, I really need out. Seriously need out," Xander added, and Spike pulled a key out of a pocket.

"Mouthy git," Spike accused his pet as he opened the padlock and pulled it out so that the front of the cage swung open. Xander crawled out of his cage, his muscles rippling, and if he hadn't complained about needing to pee, Xander would have found himself pinned to the ground. Tonight's hunt had left Spike itching for sex, and he reached down and tugged at his crotch.

"Hurry up, then," Spike ordered, and Xander got to his feet and padded toward the bathroom, but not before adding a rolling twist to his hips.

Spike waited while the sound of falling water trickled off, and his boy truly had needed to pee. As soon as the toilet flushed, Spike stalked forward, unzipping his pants as he crossed the threshold into the white-tiled room. Xander stood at the sink rinsing his hands, and Spike slid his hands around his boy's waist.

"Horny master," Xander observed as he pressed back. Spike hissed as Xander pressed his ass into Spike's hard cock, ratcheting up the pressure until a delicious pain snaked around Spike's hips. "You wouldn't be so horny if you wouldn't leave me by myself all night."

Spike answered with a slap on Xander's ass that sent him rocking forward and bracing himself on the counter. Without prompting, Xander spread his feet on the pale linoleum, and Spike reached down and pulled out the plug.

Spike thrust in without warning, and Xander grunted as he threw his head back. This is how Spike liked his pet, wanton and squirming and taking everything Spike could hand out. When Spike pulled out, Xander made that small whine that he made during sex, and Spike drove back in again, this time using enough of his supernatural strength that he crushed Xander between himself and the sink.

Rather than complain, Xander just groaned low in his throat and curled his fingers around the edge of the counter. The boy trembled and Spike turned his lust loose as he pulled out and thrust in again and again only to have Xander take every thrust and finally drop his head to one side. A constellation of pinprick scars called to Spike's demon, and he drove his fangs deep into the vulnerable flesh as he rammed into his pet one last time.

The orgasm and the taste of his boy's willing blood left Spike vaguely light-headed as he stopped drinking but left his fangs sunk into the flesh. The smell of Xander's release echoed off the walls, the musk hanging heavy in the air even as Spike pulled out. Fading back into his human face, Spike kissed the twin marks.

"Horny master," Xander muttered, as he braced himself on his forearms. For a moment, Spike lay on his boy's back, soaking up the heat that radiated off that large frame.

"Always, pet," he finally agreed as he pushed himself up. "Stomach down on the bed, pet."

"Master, you do know I've gotten the point, right? I'm yours, you're not giving me up. Really, I'm point boy here," Xander complained, but he also wandered out of the bathroom and lay on the side of the bed on his stomach as he waited for Spike to pick the bondage of the day.

"Exactly, you're mine, and I like seeing those strong arms bound with steel or leather," Spike pointed out. He walked past the bed and opened a chest with a tangled nest of chain and cuffs.

"Dalton!" Spike yelled. The girl's name wasn't Dalton, but he'd taken to calling her that since, like that long dead bookish vampire of Drusilla's, she'd shown some usefulness. She hurried around the corner, her lanky body almost sliding into the shadows as she scurried into the room. "These are a bloody mess," Spike complained.

The minion darted past him without taking her eyes from the floor and went to her knees as she quickly sorted the ankle chains from the wrist cuffs from the leashes. Spike waited for his favorite to appear from the trunk as she laid pieces out on the ground, and then he grabbed it.

"Place is a soddin' mess. Need to have some more minions around, or else better ones," Spike complained, and the minion he called Dalton simply sorted more quickly, pulling leather strings out of the links of the mesh net he sometimes used to trap Xander's cock and balls. Turning his back on her, Spike turned to the bed, and Xander had already put his hands behind his back.

Smiling at the obedience, Spike attached the leather strap to the back of Xander's collar where it lay along his backbone, and then he took each wrist and bucked it into the attached cuffs before giving that vulnerable ass a slap.

"So, think we should gag you today?" Spike asked even though gagging Xander wouldn't fit his plans.

"Whatever pleases you, Master," Xander answered quietly. He'd learned early on that getting mouthy in front of the minions meant one less minion in the house, and Spike praised Xander's answer with a fingernail run lightly down his flank. Xander shivered.

"Think you need to remember you're a pet." Spike went over to a dresser and pulled out a long tail attached to a thick, bulbous butt plug. He'd shopped a dozen places before finding one with the curls that matched Xander's own, and as he stepped closer, Xander opened his legs wide.

Oh yeah, Spike's demon purred at the perfect submission. Harmony had tried to please him, but she'd cared more about herself than making him happy. But Xander yielded to Spike's every whim. Even when the boy disobeyed, it was usually because he was trying to please Spike and just bollocked the whole lot up. Like that mess in the graveyard.

The news that the slayer had Dru had turned Spike around so badly that he hadn't thought to tell his boy, but when Xander whispered his name—not Master but 'Spike'—he knew exactly what the boy was thinking. Boy was ready to throw himself on the sword and go back to a life he hated to make Spike's life easier. No way would Spike ever let go of that kind of loyalty.

Spike lubed the new plug. This one was so thick that Xander would have to walk with his legs splayed, and sitting would be out of the question, but then again, Spike enjoyed watching his boy squirm to get comfortable.

He started with three fingers, working the loosed hole. Even pressing his face to the pillow, Xander couldn't totally hide the muffled grunts as he spread his legs just a little more. His bound hands fisted and stretched and curled, and the muscles of his legs corded. Spike pulled his hand out and pushed the base of the plug against the hole. At first, the nearly fist sized ball refused to go in, and Spike pressed harder until it plopped into place… Xander made a stifled moan.

Wiping his one hand on the bed sheets, Spike used his other to arrange the long curls of the tail over Xander's legs.

"Know a demon who does modifications. Might give you a tail for real, something you can wag when I come home," Spike commented as he stroked the hair and the warm legs below it. Xander didn't answer, but Spike didn't miss the musk of desire the floated up from the bed. "Would you like that, pet?"

Xander hesitated for only a brief second before answer, "Yes, master."

"Maybe for Christmas. Right now, I'm missing a marathon of 'Allo 'Allo," Spike said as he gave Xander's ass a sharp enough slap to leave a red mark behind. "Move your arse," Spike ordered as he headed toward the living room door. Dalton darted out the door just ahead of him, and Spike ignored her desperation to not be alone with Xander… hardly surprising given the number of minions Spike dusted for looking at his pet wrong.

Right now though, he was more interested in watching Xander struggle his way off the bed, his arms bound flat against his back, and the large butt plug making it difficult for him to close his legs. He ended up throwing a leg off the bed and using it to scoot himself off the edge before standing. Despite his complaints about missing his show, Spike really preferred the view of Xander, chest thrust out and legs spread as he awkwardly headed toward the door.

"Someone's not movin' very quick. We'll have to add a mile to your exercise run," Spike commented, and Xander shuffled a little faster as Spike headed out toward the couch. "So, what do you think of that, pet?" Spike asked.

"I'm thinking I wish you would gag me before asking stupid questions that are just designed to get me to fall for the foot-in-the-mouthitis. I'm good enough at getting in trouble without you helping," Xander complained. Spike dropped onto the couch, one leg crooked up against the back and the other hanging off onto the floor as he grabbed the remote.

"If ya need something to gag yourself with, you know where to find it," Spike commented as he grabbed his crotch.

"I think someone's master has been dipping into the Viagra again," Xander said with a sly smile as he sank to his knees on the other side of the couch, shifting carefully with his legs spread.

"I think someone's mouthy when the minions aren't around," Spike observed.

"Well, duh. If I get mouthy around the minions, you get staky, and then you go out and get more minions, and I'm not okay with the getting of minions," Xander pointed out as he squirmed around and start lowering himself toward Spike's lap. "And I'm also thinking someone isn't going to get used as a gag unless he washes up because I know where that cock's been," Xander said as he finally got in position, and let himself drop onto Spike.

Spike grunted. "Oi, getting kinda big there, pet."

"Yeah, yeah, all the more of me to generate heat for you," Xander answered as he squirmed into position, his head on Spike's chest and his body between Spike's legs. "Oh god," Xander exclaimed as he looked at the screen. "How can you watch this?"

"How can *we* watch it?" Spike corrected him.

"I know how *I* watch it; I watch it tied up," Xander pointed out. "You, however, have two hands that you could use to change the channel and we're still watching René the idiot trying to outsmart Nazis and resistance fighters. This was old when Hogan's Heroes was around."

"You know the first rule in the vampire world, pet. If you're strong enough to take the remote, you can decide what we watch." Spike brought his leg down on top of Xander, pressing his boot into the back of Xander's thighs in reminder of who had the power.

"Oh goodie; I wonder if the Nazis will still be stupid this week," Xander complained with mock interest, but his body molded itself to Spike, Xander's hands relaxing and uncurling as he settled in.

"So, do you really want the tail?" Spike asked, listening carefully to see whether his plan was getting any results at all.

"Maybe," Xander said carefully. "I'm kinda wondering what a demon would use for a tail because I'm not okay with having a demon tail.

"Silly git. Don't want ya waving some Tarkta tail at me and stinging me half the time. They'd use hair that matches yours… stretch out the skin over your arse, put a stump of a bone under the skin and then pop the hairs in so they grew just like on your head." Spike reached up and tugged a curl. He'd trimmed Xander's hair, but from the first day when he'd glued Legos on that sleeping body, he'd never allowed Xander to cut it. Now soft curls would tangle around his fingers and fell like a mane to just past Xander's shoulders.

"Could I actually… you know… wag it?" Xander asked.

"Yeah, they hook it to the muscles on either side, so you could wag it. Well, unless I have it tied up," Spike mused. "You looked a right treat with that leather braided into your hair and tied to your wrists. Loved the way you struggled to not move as I plowed into you, and then yelped every time you pulled bits of your own hair out when you just couldn't keep from squirmin'."

"So you're planning on using a tail for more Xander-torture."

Spike listened to a muffled sound in the distance, but luckily human ears couldn't have heard.

"Hell yeah," he finally answered. I'll braid your tail up and tie your feet to it while I suck down your cock. You'll want to kick those legs out so bad you'll get cramps all the way up to your brain, but every time you move, you'll feel those tender hairs ripping out. So, you think you might want one?"

"Yeah, if we can find one to match my hair," Xander agreed as he rubbed his face against Spike's chest in search of an itch.

Spike settled back and watched television for a while, laughing, and feeling Xander's twitches and he laughed at the oh-so-very gay Nazi officer despite the boy's earlier complaints. Eventually, Xander fell quiet, his breathing regular as he half dozed.

"Ya ever think about that first night, pet?" Spike asked softly, hoping this plan worked because he was running out of plans and patience. Please just let the universe be on his side this once, he prayed, wondering where vampire prayers ended up going.

"Yeah," Xander answered sleepily. Sun was just about up, and time for good little vampires and pets to get some sleep, especially since the boy had to do an extra mile tomorrow.

"I sometimes wonder what would've happened if I hadn't gotten bored."

Xander snorted. "You always get bored," he pointed out with a sleepy laugh.

"Oi, cheeky git. Careful or you'll end up over my knee."

"I'll end up there eventually, anyway," Xander pointed out without bothering to move. "Just like I would have eventually ended up here anyway."

"Ya mean, my lap?" Spike asked.

"Maybe not here-here since you scared me shitless and annoyed me, and really I hated you for getting all tied up by Buffy when I would have happily staked you and taken your place on that chair. But here-tied up for kinky fun-here."

"Thanksgiving," Spike finally made the connection.

"Oh, yeah. I mean, before that you were the monster of the week, and yeah, I both feared you and had a dirty dream or two, but then you came into our lives, and Buffy paid you more attention than me and tied you up, and I was still deep in the Buffy-love at that point."

"And you're not now?"

Xander's hands twitched, and the body that had melted into Spike's own a second earlier stiffened some. Boy wasn't stupid; he smelled a trap when Spike laid one out in front of him and led him to it. "I still love Buffy and Willow," Xander said slowly. "They're my family."

"Wot am I then?"

Xander twisted so he could look up, and Spike gazed at his boy, waiting for an answer. "You're my master and my lover and my family," Xander finally answered, "but it's like the Harrises and the LaVelles… family, but not so much with the family love. More of the keeping them in separate corners any time the family has to come together, and did I ever tell you that I was happy the graduation was interrupted by a demon attack because it gave me an excuse to not have to deal with Tony Harris versus Grandmother LaValle round 206."

"Just as long as they're the in-laws," Spike soothed his boy as he stroked a bound arm.

"Yeah, you're the main family and Buffy and Willow are definitely the LaVelles," Xander answered, but his voice carried some sadness. "Beside, the LaVelles were much more of the socially acceptable crowd, which is definitely not us."

"Are you sorry?"

"Sorry that we couldn't ever seem to do the right things for each other," Xander answered after a long pause. "I hurt Willow so much with the whole Faith thing, and when Buffy came back from LA… I don't even like remember what I said to her, and we're not going into Cordy because you can not afford the therapy and I don't want you going out and turning some psychiatrist for me," Xander laughed bitterly.

"Doesn't matter any more, and they did more hurt to you than all the things you ever dreamed of, pet," Spike reassured Xander. "But it's time for good little pets to get showered and head to bed," Spike said as he shifted, lifting Xander's body easily, and immediately missing the warmth. Xander gasped as he forgot and brought his legs too close together. Looked like Xander Jr. was making a return to life. Xander turned, and Spike undid the buckles around his wrists, unhooking the clasp to the heavy collar Xander always wore.

"Plug in or out?" Xander asked as he stood rubbing his wrists, his legs still shoulder width apart and his cock starting to thicken.

"In. Gotta get you used to having a tail," Spike said as he waggled his eyebrows.

"Yeah, yeah, as opposed to you just having some weird fetish where you've always liked seeing me waddle?" Xander asked as he headed for the bathroom, and that definitely was a waddle.

"Cheeky brat," Spike shouted just as Xander turned the corner into the bedroom. A two fingered salute came back around, and Spike was definitely going to have to give his boy a good spanking for that one. But plan first.

Spike waited until the water started since he knew the plug meant he'd have quite a bit of time as Xander struggled to shower and shave with it in place.

Leaving the couch, Spike headed for the small store room next to the garage. All the lights were off, and without windows, the dark was so deep that human eyes couldn't have seen inside. However, Spike watched Rupert's suspicious eyes follow him as he stepped up into the room. The man had a perfect view of the couch, and if he hadn't been gagged with the pair of briefs Spike had found on the motel chair, he might have called out to Xander.

"So, are you seein' my point here, Rupes?" Spike asked with a smirk. Giles shifted a little, the rope holding him uncomfortably upright with his back against the grid of bars Spike would sometimes use to tie his boy in place. He stepped closer and leaned against the metal as he grabbed a pack of cigarettes off a shelf and pulled the wrapping off the top.

"I'm starting to think you're a kleptomaniac—always trying to nick my pet. But I'm hoping that this time you get my point, because if I can't make you see, then I have no chance with the slayer and the witch. They aren't wise to the world the way you and I are," Spike commented as he pulled one out and lit it. The duct tape covering the lower half of Giles' face rippled as though the watcher were trying to say something. Then again, maybe he was just struggling to breathe because with his arms tied so tightly behind him, sometimes breathing did get a little tricky.

"So, this is my last attempt to teach you lot some manners. I figure you can dissuade them from making my unlife miserable, or I can just kill 'em and get it over with. I assume you've figured out the only reason why you aren't all dead already."

Spike blew smoke into Giles' face, and the man could only close his eyes against the sting and then glare at Spike once the air cleared.

"If you don't pull your head out of your arse, I'll just blow up the Magic Box with all of you in it," Spike warned seriously, tapping his finger against the duct tape on Giles' face. "So, you understand the deal?" Spike asked. The ropes around Giles' neck didn't allow much room, but he gave a small nod.

"Good," Spike answered as he pulled out a knife. He sliced through the rope holding the watcher to the wall and pulled him out of the room. Giles stumbled awkwardly, sucking through his nose in either an attempt to get more air or to ease some pain. Being tied that tightly could cause some pretty bad muscle cramps; however, Giles' mouth was stuffed full enough to keep any complaints silent as Spike pulled him toward the white panel van.

"Get him back to his hotel room, and make sure he's in perfect health," Spike warned the Jark demon he'd hired to help with the kidnapping. The reddish man bobbed his head in agreement as Spike walked Giles over to the open door and shoved him inside. Giles rolled helplessly and then settled onto his stomach, his face still turned toward Spike.

"He's mine, watcher. I'm going to take care of him better than they would have anyway, so it's time for you to let go," Spike said more kindly. In another world, the watcher would have pulled his head out of his arse earlier and seen what the boy needed, but in this world, Spike had won the prize, so the rest of them needed to sod off. Spike slammed the van door shut and walked back toward the living space as Dalton pulled the garage door open, the first grey edges of dawn appearing in the distance.

Right, time to deliver that spanking, Spike decided as he headed for his pet.

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Toys 8: Fatal Flaw

"Keep your arm up, pet," Spike warned. Unfortunately, he only gave the warning as his hand darted out and hit Xander in the ribs hard enough that Xander gasped in pain.

"Ow," he complained as he fell back a step and then sent a sweeping leg out at Spike's knee without missing a beat. Spike leapt into the air before Xander could even touch him, but then Xander so rarely did land a good hit. Instead, he contented himself with a glancing punch to Spike's arm as the vampire landed, forcing Spike into a neat twirl that ended with his elbow in Xander's back sending Xander flying forward.

Months ago, this would have been where Xander went down for the count, but this time, he landed on the mats spread over the garage's concrete floor and rolled so that by the time Spike attacked, Xander had gotten his feet up so that he caught Spike in the stomach and tossed him to the side. Before Spike had regained his balance, Xander had climbed back on his feet. Of course, Xander was panting a whole lot harder. Panting and sweating. Panting, sweating, and radiating enough heat to catch something on fire. In fact, his collar seemed to radiate the warmth back so that his neck tingled with the heat.

"Gotta try harder than that, Master," Xander teased, and Spike slowly circled.

"Just 'cause you've learned a thing or three, don't get cocky, pet," Spike warned. Xander kept his hands up in a defensive position as he followed Spike, turning his body as he prepared for the next attack.

"Not cocky, just confident," Xander smiled. Spike smiled back, and it took Xander just a half second too long to realize that was his master's victory smirk. Someone grabbed him from behind, trapping his arms at his sides as Spike rushed forward. Caught between two fighters with superhuman powers, Xander was helpless as Spike grabbed his wrists in one hand and yanked Xander away from the second attacker.

Xander caught only a glance at Dalton who backed away with a look of terror in her face, and he wondered just how much Spike had threatened and what he had promised in order to get Dalton to go along with the game. Now she looked ready to stake herself as she turned and dashed for the small storeroom off the garage.

"No fair changing the rules," Xander complained as Spike wrapped a belt around his wrists.

"No such thing as fair in a fight, pet. You either win or ya lose, but you never let your guard down or leave your back undefended."

"I don't in real fights," Xander protested with a squirm as Spike ran dull teeth over his shoulder.

"Then you shouldn't here, either. You learn your lessons, or you'll stay in the cage next time I hunt."

"I get bored," he complained, and then he squeaked as a hand pushed his sweatpants down and grabbed his cock.

"Don't seem bored now."

"Duh," Xander whispered as he strained against the leather around his wrists.

"Seems like I won, so to the captor go the spoils," Spike said as he headed for the living room, using Xander's cock like a leash, which left Xander shuffling with the sweatpants still tangled around his ankles as he tried to keep up and avoid potential damage.

"You always win because you cheat."

"I always win because I'm master," Spike corrected him, and then Xander found himself stomach down over the back of the couch. "Nice view pet. I think tonight I'm going to mark that arse of yours with some pretty red stripes and then leave you here for decoration. Or maybe I'll chain ya spread eagle against the wall and just admire my pretty."

"Spike," Xander whined with a wiggle. Training always made him horny, and Spike wasn't helping with the lack of sex. Xander suspected that he was quickly becoming a sex addict because twice a day wasn't enough for him. Old married couples were supposed to peter off to nothing, like the couple from "Married with Children" or something.

Spike answered with a hard slap that made Xander press his face into the couch cushions and groan.

"My spoils, so I'll enjoy 'em the way I want," Spike commented with frightening cheerfulness, and Xander forced himself to lie perfectly still as Spike's hands ran up his back and then down to his ass and legs. Spike liked doing this, touching Xander as though trying to find every nook and cranny and wrinkle and mole. Cool hands pressed a little harder now, massaging the leg muscles as they worked down toward the feet, pushing the sweatpants down and off, and Xander muttered a curse into the cushion.

"My pet. Not an inch of ya that isn't mine," Spike said as he now added tiny whisper kisses against Xander's backbone. This was different. Usually after training, Spike would throw him up against some wall or some car or some… okay, pretty much anything, and then fuck him until he couldn't see straight, not that Xander minded. But this slow touching left him trembling for more.

"Master, please," Xander panted as shivers ran through his body. Spike laid a line of kisses like railroad tracks up to his shoulder, and Xander couldn't help it, he humped the couch.

"Oi, not so fast." Spike pulled him away and dumped him on his back on the couch where he promptly sat on Xander's legs.

Okay, Xander could deal with this. He reached down with his tied hands to grab his cock… his hard, red, weeping and definitely ready-to-have-some-energetic-sex cock. He had barely even touched it when Spike grabbed his tied hands and pulled them away.

"Master," Xander whined with his best puppy eyes, the ones that had gotten him the new Nintendo, the ones that had kept Spike from gutting Chad the Bully in the back room of a gay bar.

"Hands above your head, and if you move 'em, you're spending your nights in the cage for a full week." Spike looked down with a seriousness that warned Xander to behave. Xander nodded, and when Spike let go of his hands, he moved his arms up over his head, even though his cock fairly well throbbed.

"Right, now I plan to enjoy my spoils proper-like," Spike smiled and then he put a knee on either side of Xander's hips and arched over Xander's body. Xander's cock hardened just a little more at the predatory look Spike gave him, but he didn't move as Spike lowered his head and gently kissed the inside of Xander's arm and then moved in toward the shoulder.

Xander threw his head to the side, exposing the side of his neck with the polka-dotted scar, but Spike only kissed it, and now Xander could feel the heat of his lust burning him, demanding more as he fought an urge to thrust up until he could rub himself against Spike.

"Mmmm," Spike hummed against the skin just under Xander's ear, and lust shook Xander's body with a series of tremors that continued as Spike gently sucked on an earlobe.

"Please," Xander begged. "Fucking would be good. Fucking would be very good." He twined his fingers and clenched them to force his hands to stay where he'd been ordered to leave them.

Spike eventually gave up the ear and moved down to the neck, sucking gently over Xander's breast bone, leaving the sort of tentative, splotchy hicky like the ones Cordelia had left hidden beneath his shirt years ago. Spike didn't play like this. Spike left pinprick white scars, one laid over the other, as he marked his pet for any demon with eyes to see. Spike sucked and bit at his with dull human teeth that left purple ovals that he would caress or poke, depending on his mood. Spike didn't do hickies. Only now, Spike did.

Xander dug his fingernails into his palms as he struggled to keep still under the slow, tender assault. A gentle lick over a nipple and Xander groaned as his need became a starving little beast that clawed for more, but Spike just gave a second, slow lick that made Xander's nipple harden to a pebble. Spike kissed it before moving to the other side, and now Xander focused on not screaming the curses that filled his mind.

"Beautiful boy, all laid out like a buffet. When we get home tonight, I'm going to stuff that ass of yours full, strap on a cock harness, and then I'm chainin' you to the ceiling like the bloody work of art you are.

"Fuck!" Xander snapped as he thrust up blindly, his eyes closed tight in mindless lust.

Strong hands pushed his hips back down to the couch without touching his cock.

"Goin' to fill that mouth with something that you can suck as you're hanging. Then I'll lay on the couch here and stroke myself as I watch you writhe all helpless for me. If you do something really naughty today, I'll decorate your hide with that cane of mine. I can see your tanned back covered with one red stripe under another, your nipples red as weights swing from them," Spike whispered.

"MASTER!" Xander opened his eyes, desperate to get Spike to do something, anything that would save him from the painful edge of lust. "Fucking would be nice. Yeah? Soon?" Xander pleaded. "Please fuck me."

"No." Spike leaned down and placed a kiss on the end of Xander's cock. Xander arched his back and hissed as the touch almost but not quite sent him over the edge. Oh god, his cock was so going to break.

"Tasty," Spike commented just as Xander collapsed back to the couch. Xander looked down just in time to see Spike open his mouth and swallow Xander down in one sucking motion. Xander screamed as the orgasm ripped through him, sending him tumbling into a greyed out land of a sated, zoned-out Xander. He gasped as Spike sucked his cock until it finally finished and lay limp. Hell, all of Xander was limp. He wasn't even sure he had muscles any more; Spike might have sucked them all out.

"Pet, you okay?" Spike's voice came distantly.

"Ungh," Xander muttered as he cracked one eye open a slit.

"That was really naughty, coming before me, pet. You'll have to be punished for that," Spike said with a sly grin as he knelt at the end of the couch stroking his own erection.

"Worth it," Xander mumbled as he closed his eyes. The feeling of spunk hitting his stomach wasn't a surprise at all. Xander finally moved his arms, reaching down and blindly rubbing Spike's semen into his skin. Spike took one hand, and Xander lay compliantly still as Spike untied the leather belt from his wrists.

Spike's hands vied with his own, all four rubbing the sticky liquid into Xander, and Xander briefly wondered just how much other demons could smell. Between the scarred shoulder and thick collar and regular bathing with Spike's semen, he figured every demon in California knew he was a pet. It was comforting, in a weird way that he didn't want to think about too much.

Eventually Spike sagged onto him, pinning him to the cushion, and Xander now used his hands to trace the line of muscle up Spike's arm to the shoulder and back down again.

"You have a run to do, pet. You only have an hour of sunlight left, so shift your arse, and get your chores done."

"It'd be easier if you got off me," Xander pointed out. Some nights, it worked. Sometimes he could escape the exercise run around the warehouses because Spike was too tired to move or by threatening to take away Spike's source of heat. Not today.

Spike sighed and pushed himself up off the couch. "Still daylight out, I'm going back to bed," Spike said as he stretched and headed for the bedroom. Xander lay on the couch for a second before pushing himself up and grabbing a pair of shorts off the coffee table. Now he just needed to find his shoes, and he really hope he'd left them by the door because Dalton was going to be too traumatized to even make eye contact with him for at least a month after Spike made her help with training. No way would she help him find his shoes now.

The slight chill in the air helped cool Xander as he turned the corner on the block, Spike's warehouse disappearing behind him as he focused on the rhythm of the run. He found running was like hanging from Spike's chains, it erased the world, made time stop while he found some piece of himself. The sun disappeared behind a cloud, and Xander ran just a little faster.

He'd lost himself in the sound of his shoes slapping the concrete and the feeling of his body flying forward with each stride, so the yellow Toyota Celica pulling in front of him surprised him so much that he couldn't stop in time. He slapped his palms down on the warm hood before he reeled backwards.

"Xander!" Willow squealed, only Xander hadn't even figured out it was Willow before arms embraced him.

"Oh thank god," Buffy added as a new body crashed into the two of them turning it into a group hug with Xander in the center.

"Fingers and toes check," Willow chirped, and Xander shook his head as the girls finally backed off, Willow hanging on to just one hand, while Buffy rested a palm on his arm and looked at him like he was the last piece of chocolate in ten dimensions.

"We never gave up looking, not even when Giles—" Buffy stopped at looked at Willow who just ignored the dropped comment.

"You look good, Xand. We're going to get you home."

That's when Xander's brain finally engaged.

"What are you doing here?" Xander asked as he looked around, half expecting to see Spike and all the minions he could gather circling with yellowed eyes, only the sun would stop the whole circling thing, and all the minions he could gather would be Dalton since he had just ripped the heads off the two new ones.

"Xander, come on. We have a hotel room that's secure against vamps, and we'll have a good thirty minutes on the road before Spike can follow. By then, he won't know what direction to take." Now Buffy pulled on his arm, and Xander baulked.

"No," he said as he pulled ineffectively against slayer strength.

"We know how hard this is. We don't blame you," Willow added as she pulled at him too.

"Blame me for what? Guys, I'm not going."

"It's okay, it's called the Stockholm Syndrome, and I know that Spike feels safe right now because you needed to feel safe when he had you prisoner, but you're really safe now, and I promise it's going to get better," Willow blinked up at him, and Xander stared in shock at just how wrong Willow had gotten it. She might be the smart one, but sometimes she took all her research and then managed to completely miss the mark.

"I'm not having Stockholm Syndrome. I'm just not leaving with you guys," Xander tried explaining as Buffy pulled him around to the open passenger side of the car.

"Stop!" Xander yelled. "No using Slayer strength on the friends!"

Buffy stopped, her green eyes sharp with tears as she let go of him so suddenly that Xander stumbled back a step, and Willow clung to his hand.

"Xander. I know this has to be hard, but we aren't judging you. We just want you safe."

"I think I'm pretty safe now. Do I look not safe? I'm thinking I look safe." Xander stopped when he saw Willow staring at his shoulder, tears shimmering in her eyes, and oh shit. Yeah, no shirt plus a few hundred vampire bites on the shoulder and maybe Xander didn't look that safe, even though he totally was.

"Xander, we need to leave. We can talk about all this later," Buffy said in a careful voice… like the one she might use to talk to the crazy guy who walked his pine cone every other Thursday.

"Buffy, you can't just walk in and pull me into a car. That's called kidnapping."

"Why not? Spike did." Buffy flipped from 'humor the crazy guy' into 'cranky premenstrual slayer' in an eye-blink.

"Hey, we agreed. No blaming. We are non-blaming. We are open-minded. We are supportive. See us be supportive," Willow said as she gave Buffy a quick, desperate look.

"I'm supportive," Buffy agreed. "Let Spike show his face, and I'll show him how supportive I can be."

"Hey!" Xander nearly shouted. "No staking the boyfriend."

Willow's face crumpled in on itself, and Buffy's eyebrows drew together into an expression of nausea. Xander could feel a need to crawl away from that disgust and disapproval, but that would mean running for the warehouse where Spike was sleeping and Dalton… okay, Dalton was great with the washing, but Xander didn't really give her much chance of fighting off a slayer, and really, he didn't want her to fight off a slayer since that would mean Buffy would die, and god, his brain was doing circles. Xander took a physical step back as he closed his eyes and struggled to find the peace he'd channeled just a few moments earlier.

"Xander?" Willow called, her voice trembling.

"Willow, Buffy, I'm really glad to see you guys looking so good," Xander started over from the beginning of the conversation, and when he opened his eyes, the girls just looked at him in concerned confusion. Oh yeah, this was going so very, very well. Or not.

"Xander?" Willow tried again. "Are you feeling okay? You're really not sounding okay."

"Panic does that to me," Xander answered dryly, and where Spike would have laughed, Willow just sort of flinched back.

"Xander, I know this is weird, I'm feeling the weird right now, so I'm thinking it must be really weird for you. But you need to trust us," Buffy said without nearly as much bitchiness as a second ago. "We need to leave."

"Hey Buff, I know you guys need to leave before the sun goes down, but maybe we can catch up some before you two have to go without me since I'll be staying here since I really don't need a rescue," Xander focused on not totally freaking out, but his lack of freaking out was definitely freaking the girls.

They looked at one another, and Xander could still read the silent telegraph.
Willow eyebrows: Oh god, it's worse than we thought
Buffy frown: I'm so killing Spike
Willow mouth puckering: I can fix this… just give me a second.

The girls had their silent debate for a second before Xander interrupted. "How's the old Hellmouth? Any new apocalypi?"

"Dracula showed up, and Harmony has been trying to be all scary," Willow said uncertainly.

"Harmony? Okay, if she's the best you can do, you guys are definitely short on evil in good old Sunnyhell," Xander joked. Buffy and Willow exchanged a brief glance that made Xander worry about what else might be wandering the Hellmouth.

"Tara's family showed up, and they're kinda up there on the creep o'meter," Willow shrugged. They tried to convince us she was a demon."

"Is she?" Xander asked, remembering the quiet girl, and not quite making the image fit with anything he knew about demons.

"NO!" Willow said indignantly. "Demons bad. I'm going out on a limb and saying that vampires are bad, remember?" Willow added in a more desperate, pleading voice.

"Oh yeah, and I remember everyone pretty much ignoring me when I said it back then."

"God. So this comes back to Angel?" Buffy demanded, and Xander could feel her need to fight just twitching under her skin.

"I didn't use the A word," Xander defended himself.

"I don't know what we're talking about here," Buffy said as she looked from one to the other. "This was a simple plan. We came, we saved you, I kicked vampire ass."

"Small flaw there, Buff. I really don't need saving," Xander said softly.

"Xander, look at you." Buffy stepped closer and reached a hand up to tentatively touch the mark that spread over his shoulder. Thousands of tiny, white pinpricks turned into one polka-dotted ameba that Xander could sometimes see as a tree if he squinted right. Spike's favorite spot to bite was just where the neck and shoulder met, and the white blended into a canopy there.

"Seems like you have a bigger one," Xander pointed out as he looked at the scar Angel had left on Buffy's neck. Hers was jagged and rough from Angel biting so deeply. Spike's bites weren't feeding bites, and the tiny pinpricks showed other demons just how much control Spike had and how much he valued his pet.

"Thought you weren't bringing up Angel," Buffy pointed out with just a touch of sarcasm, and Xander smiled at her attempt to joke back just a little bit.

"Hey, I'm not the one poking scars. But if you're going to poke, at least notice that not a single bite could have hurt me," Xander pointed out as he reached up and fingered his scarred shoulder. Buffy let her hand drop to her side.


"If you guys were just a little less on the totally obsessive side, he might let me call. I can talk him into a lot of stuff," Xander said. "The power of the pout is a wondrous thing, and I learned at the feet of the great Willow-master, she who can pout her way out of any situation." Xander smiled at his best friend, and Willow gave him a small, weak smile in return.

"He might 'let' you call?" Buffy demanded, and the tiny shred of truce vanished under cold-eyed pissed off slayer.


"No, listen to yourself, Xander. This isn't healthy."

"Why not?" Xander asked. Okay, that caught the girls off guard.

"You're a person with rights, people rights, like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," Buffy pointed out.

"So?" Xander challenged them.

"That collar means you're…" Willow hesitated before whispering the next word… "property."

"No, it means I'm a slave, but if you look on the Internet, you might find that's a little less rare than you thought," Xander corrected her, and Willow blushed so red that Xander knew she had seen a couple of those sites. "And since slavery isn't legally enforced, I could have walked away on one of these runs if I wanted. I'm not screwed up in the head; I'm just okay with where I am," Xander struggled to explain.

"Without us?" Willow asked in such a small voice, that this time Xander flinched back as he realized how much he'd hurt the girls. He glanced up at the falling sun and wondered if he really had enough time to explain this. Of course, even with the power to stop time he might not be able to find enough time to explain this.

"I miss you guys, and I hope if you back off, then I can call you up and catch up with my favorite girls."

"Dawn misses you," Buffy said, and Xander blinked.

"I miss Dawn too," he said after a microscopic pause. "We both miss Dawn."

"But not enough to come back," Buffy finished for him before she turned away, and Xander could feel her pain, too.

"I have a new life."

"With Spike," Buffy finished for him.

"With this really kinda okay guy called Xander Harris who doesn't feel like the loser who got left behind," Xander corrected her. Buffy turned and truly looked at him, and Xander could see the anger slip away. Buffy stepped up and caught Xander in a hug that nearly drove his breath out of his body.

"I don't want you to disappear, and I'm afraid you will the minute I let go," Buffy muttered into his shoulder, and Xander held on as she struggled to catch her breath. Willow didn't join, but she watched with tear-shining eyes, and Xander held out a hand to her, which she took and held with both of hers.

"I'll nag Spike. I'll use the puppy eyes if I have to. If he knows that we won't do something to really hurt each other, I know I can get him to let me call," Xander promised, and he just prayed he could keep that promise.

"What would be different now?" Willow asked in a small, defeated voice. "You're going to disappear, and I'm going to lose my Xander-shaped friend."

"No, you aren't." Xander pulled Willow into the hug, and Buffy wrapped an arm around her too, pulling the three of them closer. They clung for a moment before Xander started to pull back, and the girls let him.

"And you're really okay with this?" Willow asked as she stared at the collar. Xander reached up and touched the warm leather that felt as normal as his own skin.

"I'm totally okay. I'm just glad you're okay, because one of the reasons I didn't nag Spike for a phone call was because I really was not big on having a conversation about my sex life, and I didn't think you guys would understand without knowing how things were."

"I could avoid and repress," Buffy offered. "I could totally avoid and repress." Even though Buffy still had a slightly disturbed expression on her face, Xander forgave her just for making an effort at humor, little as it might be. After all, sometimes it just took baby steps.

"Giles was right, coming to get you was a bad idea," Willow nodded.

"Giles?" Xander asked. Okay, he'd missed something if Giles was on his side, especially when his side included Spike because Giles was big with the Spike hate.

"He told us to back off and try communicating with Spike or even giving things time to cool down," Willow said.

"Hey, G-man is in the know, once again," Xander said with one of his patented grins, one that would have made Giles clean his glasses and ask Xander to not use that nickname any more for the love of god and country. "The sun is going down and I really need to get back to Spike," Xander said as he backed off another step. For a second, he thought Willow would chase after him, but Buffy reached out and put her hand on Willow's back before both of them returned to the car.

Xander jogged a half mile out of his way before heading back for the warehouse once he was sure the girls hadn't followed. Any other night, Spike would have been sprawled in bed waiting for Xander to come and give him a proper wake up, but as soon as Xander pulled the door open, Spike grabbed his wrist and wordlessly pulled him into the living room, wrapping himself around Xander and pulling him to the couch.

Xander let out a pained sigh, not even sure why he was hurting when things could have gone so much worse. Spectacularly worse.

"S'all right, luv," Spike crooned.

"And I'm thinking you somehow heard all that," Xander said as his eyes burned with uncried tears.

"I'm Master. Got to have a few tricks up my sleeve," Spike agreed. "You're a treat, pet. I thought I would have to rescue you, and you go and talk your own way home."

"I shouldn't be so upset since it ended without blood or dust," Xander said as he hiccupped.

"Still not easy, pet. They weren't rolling out the congratulations banners. They tried talkin' to you like you were the boy they'd known."

Xander took a deep breath and let himself relax into Spike's body as he thought about that. Not only had they talked to him like the Xander who once had been, but he'd tried being that Xander for them, complete with G-man references. Spike's arms tightened around him, holding him, and Xander closed his eyes.

"I'm not him any more," Xander whispered.

"Of course, you aren't, luv. It's just that people don't always do well with change. I used to think it was a vampire thing, not seein' when people changed or the world changed. I finally figured out that it's the fatal flaw in all humanity. People see what they expect to see." Spike paused for a long time, fingers tracing over Xander's skin. "Takes work to see the way the world changes and the way people change right along with it. Takes effort and takes wanting to see that change."

"Do you think they'll ever see me?" Xander asked quietly as he thought about Spike's words.

"Yeah, sooner or later. They love ya, pet, so they'll make the effort." Spike started loosening his hold, and Xander sat up on the couch, his stomach still rolling after the confrontation. "Mind you," Spike continued, "I'd be just as happy if the lot of them fell off a cliff before havin' a chance to offer to let you back in their lives on your terms."

"Even Dawn?" Xander asked with a smile. That girl had been the only one to ever make Spike smile back in his chipped days, and Xander had often thought that she'd seen more than she'd ever said about Spike and Xander's relationship even before leaving Sunnydale.

"Bloody hell, no," Spike answered. "The Bit's different, isn't she?" Spike stood up and stretched. He wasn't wearing anything more than jeans, and he gave Xander a sexy smirk as he flexed his muscles. "So, we have a new club to hunt in, a few possible lairs to check out, and then we need to get home soon enough for me to hang my new artwork," Spike commented.

Xander suddenly remembered Spike promise to hang him from the ceiling with his backside striped from the cane and his ass stuffed full. "Considering how long you take in the bathroom, you'd better hurry up and get ready so we can get home soon," Xander answered with a smirk of his own. Spike laughed.


"Always, Master," Xander agreed.

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Toys 8 (and a half): a little moment in time

Xander lay limp and sated. Behind him, Spike's fingers threaded through his hair, stroking the sensitive skin below, and Xander shivered, a happy tremble going through his whole body.

"You up for more then, pet?" Spike asked sleepily, fingers still stroking Xander's curls.

"No more fun. You broke me. Xander broke; bad master," Xander muttered into his pillow.

Spike gave a little tug, and the feeling traveled straight into Xander's cock, which was still too drained to even twitch. Xander moaned happily.

"Like that, do ya?"

"Mmmmmm." Xander pushed his ass up into the petting.

"Such a little hedonist, you are," Spike accused him, but the tone sounded a little too affectionate for Xander to take offense, even though he had no idea what a hedonist might be. "Give ya a quick tickle and a rub, and you'd follow anywhere."

"Only you," Xander said as he finally found the strength to turn his head and sleepily open one eye. Pausing in his petting, Spike smiled.

"Soddin' right, just me. I'd gut the bloke who tried ta give you a tickle and a rub, so I'll be the only one ya ever have a chance to follow."

"No problemo," Xander agreed as he let his eyes fall shut. Spike stopped petting, and his hand just rested on Xander's thigh as the vampire lay next to him in the bed. Xander grunted, but Spike ignored his wordless request for more petting. Summoning the strength to move a muscle, Xander tightened one side of his ass and sent his tail flopping over onto Spike's hand, the curls tickling the backs of Xander's thighs so that a new tremor of pleasure went through him.

Spike chuckled as he pulled his hand out from under the curled tail and continued stroking the hair. "Hedonist," he said again.

"Too worn out to care. Xander broke; bad master," Xander repeated. As long as Spike's fingers stroked his newly-attached tail, Xander didn't really care about much else. When he'd agreed to get a tail, he thought he'd be indulging some weird kink of Spike's. At the time, he had no idea just how much he would enjoy the feeling of soft, silky curls sliding across the backs of his thighs or the feeling of Spike's strong fingers touching the suddenly sensitive skin, making warm tremors shake his limbs.

"Can't believe ya actually got a tail," Spike finally broke the silence.

"Hello," Xander said sarcastically, "you're the one who brought it up. I just thought of it as some sort of really big tattoo." Xander thought about that for a second "A really big, expensive tattoo,"

Spike ran his fingers along either side of the spine where the tail emerged from the back. Xander shivered. "And if we're comparing disbelief, I can't believe you paid for a tail."

"Penny saved is just sittin' in the drawer, pet."

"You don't earn or save pennies, Master."

"Oi, killin' that Chaos demon was bloody hard work. I earned that loot I stole," Spike said with a slap to Xander's backside that was just hard enough to give a nice sort of sting-tingle.

Without energy to do much else, Xander grunted his answer.

"So, you think of it like a tattoo?" Spike fingered the hairs, and Xander sank into the pure pleasure of the sensation.

"So much better than a tattoo," Xander finally muttered. He shifted so that he could actually open both eyes and look up at Spike.

"Yeah, turned out a bit better than I even hoped," Spike agreed as he looked down. Xander had spent enough time looking in the mirror to know what it looked like: dark brown curls with streaks of honey brown cascading down to nearly his knees. Xander focused again and twitched the other side of his ass, sending his tail flicking to the left before he flipped it back toward Spike.

"And again, I repeat, you were the one who wanted me to get one. So, what's up with the surprise that I got one?" Xander asked, suspicion starting to gnaw at the edges of his post-sex sleepiness.

"Just didn't know you'd be so open to getting one, is all."

"So, you thought I'd say no?"

"Bloody hell, yes," Spike confirmed as he closed his fingers around the tail, gathering up the curls as he slowly let his hand slide down the length of it. Xander arched his back as the pleasure grew great enough to make his cock twitch... a little. After round three, Xander thought he really might be broken, so he firmly ordered his cock to not encourage Spike for a round four.

"And so... what? You wanted to punish me for saying no?" Xander asked once Spike finally got to the bottom. Both of them had already discovered that petting the tail pretty well guaranteed that Xander would lose the ability to form any coherent thoughts.

"No," Spike answered cagily, and now Xander pushed up on one elbow as he studied his Master. Oh yeah, the vamp was up to something.

"Okay, you thought I'd say no, and you weren't planning on punishing me for saying no; therefore, I'm obviously missing a 'therefore' because there's no therefore that makes any sense here," Xander pointed out as he reached out and let his fingers tentatively brush against Spike's flank.

Spike reached out and captured Xander's hand, pulling it up to his mouth where he sucked at the fingers while watching Xander through hooded eyes.

"No fair distracting the easily-distracted guy," Xander said as his cock made a herculean effort to do something other than lay drained and sated against Xander's thigh.

"Problem, pet?" Spike asked as he blinked his innocence. Xander just rolled his eyes.

"Pet," Spike said, and suddenly his voice sounded much more serious, "sometimes I do things because I'm Master, and I know what needs to be done."

"Is this supposed to be making me feel better?" Xander smart-mouthed back. The hit this time came just hard enough to land on the warning side of pain. Xander ducked his head and sank back down to the bed, laying his head down on the pillow as he looked up at Spike, waiting for some sort of answer. The suspicion was now pretty much chewing through the post-sex happy haze.

"It's not somethin' you need to worry about," Spike finally said after several minutes.

"This wouldn't be something I would be eternally humiliated by, is it?" Xander asked suspiciously, but this time he made the tone far more respectful.

"Might be," Spike admitted. "But sometimes you need to just trust Master." Spike reached over and brushed long curls back from Xander's face.

Xander opened his mouth to argue the point one further time since he was definitely getting the feeling Spike had done something kinda big. Looking up, he could see the tight line of Spike's mouth that suggested Spike wasn't kidding on this one.

Okay, so Spike hadn't thought he would go for a tail, and he hadn't planned to punish Xander for turning him down, but he did have a reason for asking something that he thought Xander would say 'no' to, and that reason might be something that caused Xander long-term humiliation, if not outright mortification. Xander looked up at Spike for some clue... any clue. Instead, Spike had a blank expression, as though they hadn't just enjoyed hours of sex that would have left most humans a giant puddle of goo. Usually nights this enthusiastic left Spike with that sappy, blissed-out expression, but not tonight. Tonight, Spike had on that face that said nada, nothing, blanksville. No clues there.

Xander sighed. Whatever Spike had done, Xander couldn't figure it out, and in the end, it didn't really matter since it was already done.

"I always trust Master," Xander finally admitted.

"Yeah?" Spike gave Xander one of his good leers, one that made Xander's cock stupid enough to at least think about round four.

"Well, with some stuff," Xander amended himself. "I totally don't trust Master with the last chocolate bar or with the remote control or with a stake and basically any minion within striking distance, but with everything else, yep," Xander smiled as he closed his eyes and shrugged off the whole conversation. If Spike didn't want to share, he wouldn't.

"Oi, you're supposed to trust me, even with the remote," Spike complained, but his tone had the mocking sound of a teasing, happy Spike. "If ya won't trust me with the remote, I'll just have to find somethin' else to amuse me," he suggested as he trailed a finger down Xander's back and under his tail to the puckered entrance.

"Have fun," Xander offered as he spread his legs. A clench of his cheek muscle brought his tail up and out of the way so that Xander exposed his ass, but other than that, he remained motionless. "You'll just have to go on without me because I am done, done, done for the night. Close up the windows and put out the lights when you're through using the room," Xander added with a little wiggle to let Spike know that Xander truly was okay with Master going again, but Xander's cock was not joining the party this time.

"Since you asked so nice," Spike said as he kissed Xander's shoulder and rolled so that his weight rested on Xander's back. "Such a pretty pet with his pretty tail," Spike whispered into Xander's ear before he thrust straight into Xander's slick and relaxed hole.

Xander just muttered his answer as fatigue pulled at him, exhaustion weighing down his limbs. As Xander slid toward sleep, to the feeling of Spike's hands running over his skin, and Spike's cock nestling deep in his body, and Spike's fingers carding his tail... he realized that, yeah, he really did trust Master, even with the remote.

See the pretty picture of Xander and his tail

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Toys 9: Show Off

Xander trailed behind his master into the dark and hazy club. This one had the feel of a demon club. Of course, Xander couldn't have described the difference between a demon club and a human one if he tried, well except for the obvious lack of demons in a human club, but the demon clubs always felt different.

His kept his hands tucked behind him, and his tail restlessly twitched as Xander watched the various legs wander by. Some, like Spike, just wore jeans. Others had leather pants and shiny, black boots. A few had bare feet with shorts or cock harnesses. Xander wore soft, tight leather pants, but the things had no crotch, so only a small leather pouch hid his goodies up front, and his tail was his only cover in the back.

Spike stopped to talk to one or two people as they crossed the floor, and the wood felt cool beneath Xander's bare feet as he waited. The whole chit-chat thing just confirmed Xander's guess that it was a demon bar since Spike wasn't big with chit-chatting humans. Usually Spike plus chit-chat plus human equaled Xander working hard to try and distract Spike from eating someone.

When Spike moved again, Xander silently followed, sinking to his knees when Spike finally dropped into a chair.

"Master Spike, good to see you again," rumbled a voice. "I heard you were looking for me."

"Yeah, mate. Have some business with ya, but that can wait. Pull up a chair," Spike answered as he used a boot to push one of the other chairs away from the table. The other man slowly sank down, his sheer size making the wood groan, but Xander didn't look up long enough to see just how inhuman the inhuman guy might be. The sheer size of his legs left Xander wanting to press into the protection Spike offered, but he held still, his tail's restless flicking the only movement.

"I heard you had a pretty little pet. Not like you... taking a human pet."

"This one's special," Spike said, and strong fingers stroked Xander's hair, a finger reaching in and brushing his cheek. "Was the slayer's boy. The chit took somethin' from me, and I took somethin' from her."

"Ah. Well, he is a pretty one. I prefer the males myself."

Xander shuddered and his tail flipped all the way around to thwack Spike's leg. Xander had no problem with his own status. He was happy. But the mention of other demons taking other slaves... okay, Xander could admit to being a hypocrite because that totally squicked him.

"Stand up, pet," Spike said as he nudged Xander's thigh. Xander stood without looking up, spreading his feet so that he gave a good view of the pouch that tightly constricted his cock and balls. Funny, Xander remembered a day he would have died of embarrassment at being in this position, but now, he felt a faint sort of pride. Spike was showing him off because he admired Xander. This demon wanted to look because he wanted Xander and couldn't have more than a look. Xander held absolutely still until Spike gave him another nudge.

Wordlessly, Xander began to turn. He flexed as he held his arms behind his back so that his muscles would show nicely as he presented his back to the stranger. Something touched his tail, and Xander flicked it away in shock.

"Oi, look don't soddin' touch," Spike snapped.

"My apologies, Master Spike. I was curious as to the changes."

Meanwhile, Xander continued to stand, allowing himself to inch closer to Spike as he hid his smile under the canopy of his hair. Demon boy wanted him. Okay, that should be a big old disturbo, but not so much. Now demon boy getting him would be a huge disturbo, but no way would Spike *ever* let that happen.

"Yeah, well, the boy is mine, so keep your bloody hands to yourself. You aren't the only demon sellin' his services around here."

"Of course, Master Spike."

Xander stood silent while Spike ran a hand over his bare chest, fingers going up to tug on a nipple before they slid down to Xander's waistband. "Your mine, aren't you, pet?" he asked.

"Yes, Master," Xander immediately agreed.

"Do whatever you're told?"

"Yes, Master."

"Off with the pants, pet," Spike ordered. Xander hesitated for only a scant second out of surprise before working the buckle on the front of his chaps, releasing it so that he could wiggle out of the tight leather. That left him in just his cock cover, the belt it was attached to, and the wrist leathers with the thick rings. Well, that and the collar, but the collar only came off when Spike bathed him since only Spike could touch it, and so it had become a part of Xander rather than something on Xander.
Xander reached down and grabbed his pants, folding them before holding them out for his master. Spike took them and tossed them back to the floor before he ran a hand over Xander's hip.

"Such a pretty pet. Bet every demon in the club would want ya, and they can't bloody have you," Spike whispered, and Xander groaned as he cock did its best to thicken in its confinement. "They're lookin' at ya, wishing they had that strong body under them, wishing they could feel your strength bend to them," Spike crooned as he slipped his hands to Xander's waist so they rested on the belt that locked the cock pouch in place.

Spike put pressure against one hip, and Xander allowed Spike to manipulate him so that Xander's hips swung in a slow rhythm. When Spike stopped, Xander continued to slowly sway, his tail brushing the backs of his legs as he looked up at Spike through the hair that tumbled in front of his face.

"Such a pretty boy," the demon behind him agreed, but Xander ignored him as he watched Spike's leer grow. Oh yeah, his vamp was about ready to throw Xander over the table and have him right in the middle of the club, and Xander Jr. was totally up for that plan. Xander groaned at the ache in his groin. Okay, Xander Jr. wasn't up, but he would be the minute Spike released him from his tight prison.

Xander let his eyes fall closed as he continued his silent dance, twisting his hips provocatively and desperately hoping for Spike to pounce.

"Pet," Spike said, his voice low and dangerous. Xander opened his eyes and considered his master from under his lashes. Oh yeah, he knew how to play it up when he wanted it. Spike reached down and pulled at his jeans. "Pet, look up there," Spike nodded toward on side of the club.

Xander glanced over and saw four half-naked boys standing on pedestals, their arms fastened to chains dangling from the ceiling so that their hands were level with their chins. One had backed up to the far side of his pedestal as he looked across the crowd nervously, and two looked pale as they stood blinking in spotlights that cast them in a reddish light.

Then, there was a blank space as though someone had taken several pedestals down. At the far side of the club, a red spotlight lit up a dark haired boy. He stood with his legs slightly spread as he threw salacious looks down toward the people who walked past his pedestal.

Xander could see the hunger for attention; he could almost taste it. The other three might not be sure about being up there, but the tall dark-haired boy in cut off jeans so short Daisy Duke wouldn't wear them... he was all about that spotlight.

"What do you think of that?" Spike asked as he slipped an arm around Xander's waist, pulling him back so that Xander stood between Spike's legs.

"The dark-haired boy likes it up there, Master," Xander answered.

"Yeah. He's probably got a master down here, someone who's watching all these wankers lust after his boy. And when his boy comes down, he'll take him home and shag him raw knowing that all these others want what he has."

Xander moaned, his cock sending threads of pain down through him as his cock struggled against its confinement, but he kept his hands behind his back and his body still. Of course, that didn't mean that he couldn't lean back into Spike and tangle his fingers in his master's shirt in a silent plea for sex.

"Go over to that git by the emergency door, the one in the hat," Spike said as he nodded toward the end of the pedestals where a tall man or possibly a demon in a really weird hat stood watching the boys. "Tell him that your Master wants you up on number two."

"Yes, Master," Xander agreed, remaining motionless long as Spike's hands rested on his hips.

"Go on then," Spike said as he finally let Xander go and gave a sharp slap on the ass. Xander wandered away with a sway in his hips, and behind him, he could hear Spike hiss. Oh yeah, if Xander had to walk around horny, he was making Spike suffer right along with him.

Xander twisted through the milling crowd, ignoring the occasional horn or hoof until he finally reached the hat dude. The DJ started turned on the microphone sending a screeching howl through the room that made Xander flinch and sent more than one demon staggering with hands over ears. Ignoring the distractions, Xander headed straight for the corner.

The demon snorted when Xander walked up to him, his nose widening, and Xander forced himself to breathe slowly and calm his heart. Spike wouldn't have sent him up if the guy were dangerous. "My Master wants me up on number two," Xander said respectfully. The demon cocked his head, his complexion green even in the red light of the club. Then he pointed, and Xander turned and walked where he'd been sent. A couple of feet away from the flirting boy, a groove defined a circle, and Xander stopped on it, waiting as the demon somehow brought a set of chains rattling down from the ceiling.

The demon locked Xander's wrists to the chain, and then disappeared right before the circle under Xander's feet started rising. Using the chain to balance himself, Xander waited until his pedestal reached the top, about four feet high, and the soft, red spotlight found him.

Okay, he could just stand here looking shocked at the number of people who now stared at him, especially since a tiny leather pouch stood between him and nudity, or he could make Spike pay for putting him up here. Besides, maybe if he could get as much attention as dark-haired boy, maybe Spike would take him home and shag him raw. Oh that, that would be of the good.

Xander groaned as his cock swelled, but with his hands chained so that his hands dangled helplessly near his head, Xander couldn't do much about it. He twisted his hips as the music started, hoping to somehow shift something so that he was a little more comfortable.

The shifting didn't work, but Xander looked up to see Spike had moved to a new table so that he sat at the edge of the stage where the light for the DJ spilled over onto him. Xander ducked his head and swiveled his hips more suggestively.

Oh yeah, Spike was so paying, Xander smiled to himself as Spike shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Xander closed his eyes and slowly nodded to the strong dance beat. When he had convinced himself to forget the audience and just focus on Spike, watching him, aching for him, Xander started rocking his hips.

The drum pounded through the floor, and Xander let that soak up through his feet and command his body. His tail flipped in time with the beat, and Xander let his head fall back as he undulated.

Xander turned slowly, feeling eyes watch him. For years, Xander had tried everything to distract people from his body… from his bruises and his insecurities. He still remember when he'd gone undercover with the swim team, and he'd used pretty much anything to hide behind: towels, floaty boards, sea monsters. Yep, Xand the Chicken about his own body Man, and that really needed work. Except, Xander didn't have to work on it any more because now he had no problem flashing his stuff.

Xander looked over his shoulder and watched as Spike leaned forward, completely ignoring the mountain of a demon who sat next to him. Xander spread his feet to the edges of the platform as he started twisting his hips, the momentum sending his tail swinging.

The swish of soft hair across his legs made Xander groan, but as he watched, Spike's tongue ran along the inside of his lip. Oh yeah, Spike wanted him. Xander gave the tail an extra flip as he twisted, exposing his backside for Spike. Spike flashed into game face right in the middle of the club. A couple of people stumbled away, but Spike just shook his head as his human face slipped back in place. Oh yeah, playing 'look don't touch' might work out better than Xander expected.

Xander lost himself in the heavy beat, letting his body twist and rock without thought as he danced for Spike. Let the teasing bastard get work done with this going on, Xander thought to himself smugly as he leaned forward and then arched his back so that he held his weight with his arms.

The music shifted, and so did Xander, slipping into a faster beat that sent him twirling, his arms flexing as he strained against the chains. Something brushed his leg, and Xander's eyes popped open in time to see a tentacle disappear as the guard who had put him up here planted a fist in a demon's face.

Xander looked up, and Spike had half-risen from his seat, his hands flat on the table and his game face showing as he snarled. The demon who'd touched Xander didn't even get up off the floor, he just crab-walked backwards leaving a trail of wet behind.

Well, that was a new way to put the hurt on demons, and considering Spike would probably rip all the thing's tentacles off, an interesting new demon-hunting strategy. Sadly, it was even safer than his old method of flailing at them with a stake… or a rock. Heck, instead of the cavalry being a guy with a rock, now the cavalry was a guy with a wiggle, Xander thought with a sly smile.

He exaggerated his movements, and as a new song started, slowed to match the beat. The slower song left him rolling his hips and swaying sensually as he watched more demons turn to stare.

While the guard stalked after the backwards crab-crawling tentacle demon, another watcher slid forward, and a hand reached for Xander's ankle. Xander flexed his arms, lifting his whole body off the pedestal as he avoided the touch. As Xander dangled from the chain, his knees tucked up to keep out of the range of touchy-feely hands, he could see Spike charging across the floor. Spike shoved dancing couples out of his way, his game face forward as he reached Xander.

With one fluid motion, Spike reached up and ripped the head off the idiot trying to touch Xander, and the guy exploded into dust. That sent quite a few of Xander's admirers scuttling away.

"And you, you let that soddin' piece of shite touch my pet," Spike snarled at the guard. The tentacled piece of shite in question took the distraction as a chance to climb to his feet and run for the door, a number of extra limbs flopping loose under his coat.

"Master Spike," the guard cringed.

"Get 'im down," Spike snapped, and the guard darted to the far end. Xander felt his pedestal jerk and then start lowering.

Spike, meanwhile, stood glaring at the crowd through yellow eyes, and Xander could see
a few shocked faces—obviously not everyone knew they were in a demon bar.

The pedestal bumped to the floor, and Xander ducked his head submissively as Spike unhooked the chains.

"You're bloody mine," Spike growled as he backed Xander up to the wall, trapping Xander as Spike hands touched everywhere. Xander groaned in need and frustration.

"Shagging raw now?" Xander asked breathily.

"Now and later," Spike promised, and the sound of a zipper made Xander's cock beg for release. Xander felt strong hands flip him so that he faced the wall, and by instinct, he slapped his hands against the cold concrete. Immediately, Spike's hands closed over his wrists, pinning him helplessly, and now Xander felt free to squirm and writhe as need curled around his spine.

Spike forced his hands up over his head where Spike took both wrists in one supernatural grip, and Xander pulled against the restraint, certain that he couldn't escape and therefore free to try. When Spike reached under his tail, Xander obligingly spread his legs.

The plug wasn't even out a full second before Spike thrust in, driving into Xander so hard that he was pushed to his toes, his body plastered to the cold wall. Spike pulled out and thrust again, and Xander could only writhe helplessly, throwing his head back as he struggled to breathe through the lust and desire.

"Mine," Spike roared and then Spike drove fangs into Xander's neck, thrusting over and over until Xander's ass quivered, and his whole body spasmed and arched even though he couldn't even get hard in his leather prison.

Xander sagged, caught between some sort of post-orgasmic haze and the still burning and unfulfilled ache in his cock. Oh fuck, Spike had so totally broken him that he didn't even know what he was feeling. Xander could only hang helplessly from Spike's grip.

For several minutes, they remained motionless, Xander sagged as Spike supported all his weight, and Spike's fangs and cock remained deeply lodged in Xander's flesh. Slowly, Spike pulled out, fangs first, and Xander let his eyes drift closed as the plug replaced Spike's cock.

"My pretty pet. They all bloody want you, and you'll always be mine," Spike whispered in his ear, and Xander could only give a small nod, the brain cells required for speech having leaked out… well… somewhere Xander couldn't think of right now.

"Shagging raw, good," Xander finally managed to gather the words to say.

"And when we get home, we'll take care of that good and proper," Spike promised as he cupped Xander's trapped cock with his hand.

Xander finally got his knees to support his weight, and Spike pulled back, zipping himself back up before he turned to face the rest of the club. Xander turned as well, and he noticed that they had quite a crowd, some obviously demon, and others not obvious, but they all kept their distance so that Spike and Xander stood in a neat half circle clear of all life.

Xander glanced over, and Spike had on his best, 'oh, yeah, I'm the vamp' smile as he started toward the door. Xander quickly fell into step, matching his master's stride as they headed back out of the bar. Xander just hoped they came back here again some day because the boy who had hidden behind the pool floaties really had grown up, and he'd grown up to discover that exhibitionism was definitely a kink.

Xander added that to his already frightening long list of things he'd learned about himself since giving himself to Spike.


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Toys 10: Shadow and Consequence

Xander walked into the old building, his fingers twisting on his shirt nervously. Great, he could face down hordes of demon tops wearing nothing but a g-string, but one little vampire and he got all weird. Behind him, Dalton shifted uncomfortably, probably smelling his fear.

"We should go back and wait. I'll protect you," Dalton whispered, clearly desperate to get out of another Master vampire's territory. Xander couldn't blame her; he was feeling a little creeped out himself.

"Waiting was good…for the first few days, but something's wrong," Xander repeated the familiar argument to her. She ducked her head so that dirty blonde hair flopped in front of her face, but when she looked up again, she had her game face on, all bumps and yellow eyes.

"He's strong," she said fearfully as she sniffed the air and looked into the empty hotel.

"He's a strong, broody idiot," Xander agreed. "But he's not going to go all Mastery on us."

Dalton hissed, and Xander looked up in time to see Angel striding across the room, his game face slipping into place as he crossed the wide lobby floor.

"Hey, hey, whoa," Xander said as he stepped in front of Dalton, pulling a cross out of his pocket. Angel stopped a couple of feet from him and snarled.

"Xander, move."

"Not a chance and nice to see you, too, Deadboy. I'm fine, thanks for asking. How have you been doing?" Funny, the babble came flowing back just as if he hadn't spent the last year learning how to talk without it.

"Xander, she's a vampire."

"Well, duh. Hello--bumps, fangs, sudden aversion to daylight. I think I figured that part out already. Not dumb here."

Angel gave Xander a look that made it perfectly clear exactly how untrue he thought that comment. Oh, yeah, Angel totally thought he was the mayor of dumbsville.

"If you want to stake some minion, go find your own. No staking Dalton," Xander insisted mulishly as he held the cross up higher.

"Dalton?" Angel's eyebrows rose.

"Uh, that's what Spike calls her, and yeah, I'm guessing that's not her real name, and what's your actual name?" Xander asked as he glanced over his shoulder without lowering his cross. Dalton still wore her game face, but her eyes focused down. She so totally knew Angel could kick her ass.

"Dalton," she said quietly.

"Um, okay. So I guess we're sticking with Dalton," Xander said with a shrug. "Anyway, I—"

"Where's Spike?" Angel asked as he shifted his attention to the door of the lobby behind them.

"Funny you should ask. You see—"

"And what are you doing here?"

"If someone would shut up long enough for me to talk, I'd tell you," Xander snapped. "And trust me, I so would not be here except for Spike's piece of shit car died ten miles out of the garage, so if you want to loan us a car, we'll just keep right on going north to Giles' place."

"Giles? Why would you go to Giles?" Angel looked back at him now, and Xander thought the broody one might actually be ready to listen now.

"Because Giles isn't a complete git," Xander sighed. "But I'm hungry, and Dalton's hungry, and Dalton being hungry leads her to think about all my blood, which is not of the comforting, so is there any chance you could actually get us some food so that we could talk instead of just randomly snapping at each other?" Xander lowered the cross slowly, waiting to see whether Angel would go along with the plan or shove him out of the way and stake Dalton. Dalton pressed closer so that Xander could feel her hands brush the back of his shirt.

"Fine." Angel barked the word and then turned on heel and marched back through the lobby and disappeared through a door.

"I guess we're following him." Xander rolled his eyes and headed after the Foreheaded One. God he wished they still had the big lair with the huge garage with all the different cars… that would have been nice. Nope, Spike had to go and disappear when they had just that damn old clunker of his.


"So, Spike never showed up again?"

"That would be the whole point of us coming here," Xander agreed before shoving another bite of peanut butter and jelly sandwich in his mouth.

"And why are you here?" Angel turned away from the table for this question, and Xander glanced over to see Dalton back up, her hands wrapped around a half-full mug of pig's blood. Xander knew full well that she hunted, so he didn't imagine the bagged stuff was going over that well with her. Luckily for her, she drank it without question… slowly and with great and obvious disgust, but without question.

"Master said to protect Xander when he's gone."

"Yeah, and she won't go out without Spike giving her permission to leave me, so she hasn't eaten in a week, which I'm thinking is a long time for a vampire to go without food," Xander added. He needed for Angel to see that she wasn't just some mindless minion because maybe then he wouldn't stake her. Strangely, Xander felt a lot more comfortable with her than with Angel right now.

"You won't hunt here or I will send you back to hell myself," Angel growled.

"I won't hunt because I won't leave Xander alone with you," Dalton said the words quietly, but she looked up at Angel for the first time, her yellow eyes narrowed as she faced a Master vampire she had no hope of defeating. Xander wondered what exactly Spike had threatened her with to keep her so loyal. Angel sighed.

"What exactly do you expect me to do?" Angel asked as he finally sat down across from Xander.

"Oh, I don't know… find Spike would be a good start," Xander said sarcastically. "We know he went to the Darkside Club, so maybe go there and ask around. I would have gone myself only I didn't think a human should go wandering around that place without a master."

Angel sighed and ran his fingers through his hair before smoothing it carefully. Then he sighed as he looked around the room, glaring when he looked toward Dalton. Yep, Xander still had the power to make Angel miserable. "I'll ask around tomorrow night," Angel finally gave in. "I'll get you a couple of rooms here for you to wait. And you…" Angel pointed at Dalton… "will be chained."

"No way. If you're going there looking for Spike, I am going with you."

"If Xander goes, I go," Dalton said quietly from her side of the room.

"No," Angel said, his voice final, but Xander wasn't really big with final answers. He was more of a change the other guy's mind through wheedling, whining, or manipulation kind of guy.

"I'm going," Xander countered.

"This is not open for debate."

"Yeah, exactly. I'm going, so no debating." Xander crossed his arms and tried to make his body language as uncompromising as Spike's when the vampire made Xander eat vegetables.

"You will not go, and I don't care if I have to chain you to the wall to keep you here." Angel leaned forward in his seat, yellow sparking through his eyes as he stared at Xander. A little part of Xander curled up and flinched from that gaze, but a bigger part just wanted to find Spike. A little Angel crankiness was not going to keep him away from his master.

"Oooo. Big, bad, poofy vampire is going to use his strength to push everyone else around. Is that how it works?" Xander demanded, changing tactics. He'd had enough fights with Spike to know the direct digging-in-his-heels approach didn't exactly work with vampires. With Spike he poked at the 'don't you love me' button, but Angel had an even better target. "You like pushing me around? You been thinking about how you wanted to put me in chains? I bet you have. I bet that even that night when I called, you wished you had me tied up, and now you see your big chance to fix that."

Angel stood, physically backing away, and Xander rose and stalked him through the silent kitchen. "So, you're going to tell me what to do, play big, bad Master vampire? I should have known I couldn't trust you; you have too much Angelus in there for my taste, and don't think I don't know about you telling the minions not to eat me back when you went all soulless. How did Spike put it? You had 'special plans' for me after I made you leave Buffy alone at the hospital. Special plans." Xander snorted in disgust and watched as Angel's brooding reserve turned to outright horror and self-loathing. "Special involving hot pokers and chainsaws is my guess. So, you're going to go find Spike, dust him, and then… what? Are you going to come back and take me for yourself?"

Xander stepped as close as he dare to Angel, crossing his arms and glaring up at the man. "Ever since you grabbed me at school, you've wanted to control me, own me." Behind him, Dalton made a desperate little whining noise, and Xander could guess that she would attack Angel if Xander weren't between, just to give Xander time to escape. But Xander had no intention of escaping, and Angel wasn't going to get that lucky.

"Xander," Angel finally said, the word stiff and clipped.

"No. No, you don't get to tell me what to do, and No, I will not stay behind."

"The Darkside Club is no place for you." Angel tried for reason as he backed up another half step.

"Oh yeah, because I've never been to a demon club before," Xander laughed at that. "I've *never* been chained up and put on a pedestal to dance so that Spike could rip to pieces the first demon who touched me. I've *never* walked through a room full of vampires wearing nothing but a g-string and butt plug. I've *never* knelt at Spike's feet and tilted my head, letting him feed from me as hungry demon eyes watched." Xander tilted his head slightly so that his shirt-collar slipped down a little and showed the white pinprick scars on his shoulder. "Who the hell do you think you're talking to?"

"Xander." Angel strangled the word so badly that it only had one syllable.

"I know what goes on in the Darkside Club, and I'm thinking that soulful Angel with his do-gooder act is going to have the door slammed in his face."

"So, what are—" Angel stopped as his eyes went large as he started shaking his head slowly.

"Just fake it. I mean, I totally don't want the Psychotic One around, but at least he has enough respect to get into a demon bar, and—no offense—but no way would they let you in there."

"Xander, it's not that easy."

"Sure it is. Put a leash on me, have Dalton at your back, and go bursting in there demanding your rights as a Master vampire. I'm thinking it's simple. I'm thinking it's about as simple as going into the Master's lair and saving Buffy." Xander stopped and let the words soak in like acid eating into glass.

"That was a long time ago, and you've changed since then," Angel said, but Xander could hear the muted regret that told Xander he was on the right track.

"I'm still me. Xander. The guy who shows up to a battle with a rock. The one who goes charging in after the prophesy says give up. I haven't changed that much." Xander looked up at Angel. "And neither have you."

When Angel flinched, Xander knew he'd made his point. Angel held back when he needed to charge in. He'd sat in his apartment while Buffy had died at the Master's hands, and now he was going to sit in his hotel while Spike disappeared, never to be seen again. Xander stuffed the growing mass of pain and fear down, just like he had when he'd gotten in the car over Dalton's objections, just like he had when he'd offered to give himself back to Buffy in order to save Dru, just like he had when he'd walked down to the Master's lair and found Buffy floating face down in the water.

"I need you to do this," Xander said quietly. "Dalton can't do this for me or I would have already gone charging in there."

"You wouldn't have come out alive," Angel agreed.

"Yeah, I'd take that risk if I thought it would help Spike, but she's too young to protect me, and I don't think death would be as much of a problem as things I find far squickier than death… like getting taken by some scabby demon as a sex toy."

"As opposed to Spike taking you as a sex toy?" Angel countered, all of the anger and resolve returning in that one second, and Xander cursed his own word choice.

"Spike is my family. I won't leave him behind any more than I'd leave Buffy behind to die alone in the dark while I sat on my ass in my apartment feeling sorry for myself."

Angel's anger drained once again, and Xander stepped forward, laying his hand on Angel's arm. The arm twitched for a second as though Angel would shrug him off, but then it stilled as Angel watched him suspiciously.

"I love him. And no matter what the girls have told you, he loves me. He did a long time before the chip came out and a long time before we left Sunnydale. I didn't see it back then. Maybe I just thought I wasn't worth loving, but Spike has done a lot of things to prove that he loves me. And some of those things are things that you really don't want to hear about, so don't make me make you run screaming away as I describe how well he—"

"No," Angel held up his hands in defeat. "I do not need to hear this. And I know he loves you, Xander; he never could control who he fell in love with."

Xander wasn't sure whether to be offended or not, but since it seemed like Angel just might be coming around, he just stayed silent.

"If I play this, I can't treat you like—" Angel stopped.

"Spike isn't the same in those places. I know how to act when other demons are around," Xander promised.

Angel looked down at him, and Xander felt a need to do the Scooby dance of victory at the resignation and distress in those brown eyes. Oh yeah, the broody one was, once again, trapped into helping. Score one for the home team.



Xander followed Angel's leather pants, again wondering why the broody one actually kept leather pants since that was more Angelus' style, but those thoughts led to other thoughts with weren't big with the comforting.

Instead of following that train into the pit of panic, Xander focused on the leather around his wrists and ankles and the leather harness he wore, both presents from Spike. A leather pouch constricted his genitals, but at least this time he didn't have to worry about Spike's constant teasing touches making his stupid cock struggle against the constraints as if it would ever be able to win.

Xander's concentration broke at the thought of Spike, and he paused a half second, leaving him to hurry after Angel before the leash in Angel's hand could tighten and yank Xander forward like some novice. Sometimes, even at human clubs, Xander would see that… someone so awed by the room that they would stop until a master yanked a leash.

Angel was so not his master, and so Xander focused on not giving Angel any reason to yank his leash or discipline him. The vampire had made it very clear that he had no problem whipping Xander to keep their cover, just before Angel had added chains, locking Xander's wrists behind his back.

Apparently, Angelus never would have trusted Xander to walk at his back, and Angel was taking the undercover bit a little too seriously for Xander's comfort. Even back at the hotel, he'd gotten a little too handsy. And the thought occurred to Xander that Angel did it just to make Xander uncomfortable so that he would back off. Instead, Xander had stood silent in Angel's room, naked except for the leather restraints and his collar, as Angel had picked up his tail, stroking the curls as he considered it from every angle. He lifted it, and Xander reddened as Angel pushed against the wide base of the plug he wore.

"Angelus would want to see you in chains," Angel had whispered as he pulled Xander's hands behind his back, locking them in place with a short chain and two locks.

Dalton had growled then, and Angel left Xander in favor of slamming Dalton into the wall of his hotel, his huge fist around her throat as she clawed uselessly at his arm. Chained, Xander had only been able to hold his breath and watch. Eventually Angel had dropped her and warned them both that he would react like Angelus for this night, and they needed to remember that. Oh, Xander had no trouble remembering that as he strained against the wrist cuffs. The drive to the club had made sure of that. Dalton drove; Xander knelt on the floor of the front seat between Angel's legs. Yep, he hoped to never again get that up close and personal with Angel's crotch.

Angel stopped in the middle of the club, and Xander slipped to his knees at Angel's feet, focusing on the demon's feet and struggling to push away the niggling fears that chewed on the edges of his mind.

"I had heard you were back, vampire. How can you show your face here?" The demon rumbled his displeasure, and Xander really hoped Angel was up to this because with his hands chained, Xander couldn't really do much about it if he wasn't. And suddenly chains seemed a lot less sexy and a lot more scary. Majorly scary.

"You aren't worth my time," Angel snorted as he took a step to the side. Xander hadn't even stood all the way up before the demon attacked. When Angel dropped the chain, Xander dropped to his knees like a well-trained pet and started praying harder than he ever had before in his life. Oh yeah, hanging out with a vampire could make a person religious, especially when you didn't trust the vampire in question.

Angel leapt forward toward the demon, and Xander heard a crack of bones that could have come from anyone. The yellowish blood that then sprayed across the floor in a star pattern did seem to suggest the other guy was getting it worse though. Someone roared, and a thump behind Xander suggested Dalton had gotten into the battle as well.

Glass crashed and shattered, and a body stumbled into Xander. Unable to really do much else, Xander kicked out at the spindly demon's ankle, feeling a little surge of joy when the thing cursed and hopped away only to meet Angel's heavy fist right in its pug nose. It collapsed to the ground with a squeal, and Xander smirked, but when he glanced up into Angel's furious eyes, Xander immediately dropped his gaze again. Okay, that had definitely been an Angelus look.

"Hey, hey, hey! Enough," bellowed a deep voice whose consonants hissed out roughly. Xander guessed it was Kungai demon. No matter how those things tried, they never sounded quite human.

"Tell your boys to play nice, or I'll snap a few more necks," Angel suggested with a laugh.


Angel yanked the leash hard enough to sting, and Xander quickly stood up. Geez, if Angel had just said 'up' he would have gotten up just as fast.

"I'm looking for my erstwhile childe."

"You mean Spike?"

"I found something of his, and it's always a good time to torture the boy by taking away his toys."

Xander kept his eyes down as fear started to genuinely creep up his backbone. Okay, maybe this wasn't his best plan ever, but when the hell had Angel gotten a happy because no one could act this well. And Angel, yeah, he totally couldn't act this well. Xander held his breath as Angel pulled on a nipple until the skin stretched into a tent and ached.

"I didn't know you were back in town, Angelus."

"Well then, you can make that up to me by buying me a drink," Angel suggested as he walked forward. Xander followed, suddenly feeling very naked in a way he never did with Spike.

"Blonde or brunette?" the other guy asked, and now Xander had a good look at another pair of leather pants, this time brown, with thick boots.

"I've always preferred blondes," Angel said as he sat on a bench. Xander knelt next to him, listening to the sounds of cleaning and grunting as someone swept up the disaster Angel had left behind him. The bar had gone silent when the owner or manager or whatever the hell he was had appeared, but now a few voices started muttering again.

"Get that new girl; Angelus will appreciate her spirit," the guy called, and Xander trembled. Okay, this was fucked. If this was Angel, no way could he drink a girl, and then they were all dead. If this was Angelus, well, they'd live longer, but Xander wasn't sure that was a good thing.

Dalton's feet appeared, standing beside Xander and Xander had to fight the urge to lean into the protection she represented. She was Spike's; he was Spike's, they had a whole Spike thing going between them, but she stood silent as Angel yanked at the chain again, forcing Xander to kneel up to avoid having his head pulled off.

"I've been tasting lots of brunette lately. I had this one marked for my own, so Spike's impudence at stealing him out from under me… well, I never was a forgiving sire."

Bare feet shuffled across the wood floor, sliding as the flesh squeaked against the wood in a silent battle. Xander flinched as a girl's feet appeared. Okay, this is where he found out if he was screwed or screwed.

"Shhhh, pretty," Angel crooned as he dropped Xander's leash. Xander knelt down, his butt on his heels as he just tried to breathe. "Oh, they have treated you so badly. Shhhh. Let me get that gag out." Bare feet passed Xander and stood between the bench and the table, which forced her close to Angel. She tried to back up a half step, but then she moved forward again. Xander focused on those bare legs and the panic that slowly clawed its way up into his guts.

Angel softly soothed the girl in a voice that was all Angelus, and soon the gasping sobs replaced the muffled silence from her. "See my boy here?" Angel asked, and a big hand found Xander's hair. "Boy, look up here," Angel commanded, and Xander looked up, finding the girl's eyes focused on him. Her eyes were almost black, the centers wide with either terror or drugs, possibly both, and as she looked down at him, he could see the corners of her mouth rubbed raw and red. "Boy, what advice would you offer the girl?" Angel asked.

Advice. Okay, if Xander had any idea who he was dealing with, he might know what to say. However, she had her hands tied behind her back, and a horned demon held a leash and Angel had his hands on her hips so that she couldn't scoot out of the narrow space, so he didn't suppose it made to much difference what he told her.

"Don't fight," he finally whispered. Angel would protect her, and if it was Angelus… well, there was nothing Angelus liked more than torturing food that fought back. The girl stared down at him, and Xander watched as Angel reached up and stroked her cheek.

"Shhhh, my pretty. I know you want to please me. After all, if you please me enough, I just might think about taking you out of here." Angel pulled her down into his lap as she panted in fear.

"That one has an attitude. You would be better off picking one of the others," the first demon suggested.

"Don't presume to tell me what I want, Aturr," Angel purred as he pulled the girl to him slowly. "Shhhh. Look at the boy's shoulder. So many feedings and he's still safe. You want that, don't you?" he asked. "You want to be safe? I can give you that if you please me."

"Boy," Angel warned, and Xander dropped his eyes to the ground. Angel did something that made the girl gasp, and then Xander heard the familiar sounds of sucking. Fuck fuck and fuckity fuck. Eventually the sound stopped, and Angel let the body slide from his lap. It hit the wood floor and rolled a bit under the table. Angelus gave it a bit of a kick, and now Xander had a good view of her legs as she lay sprawled indecently on the floor at Angelus' feet.

"So, what trouble has my childe gotten into this time?" Angelus asked. He yanked the chain again. "Come up here, boy. I think you deserve a spanking for kicking that demon. One of these days, I will teach you your place."

Xander rose on trembling knees, his hands fisted uselessly as he leaned over Angelus' lap awkwardly. At the last minute, strong hands reached out and pulled him down so that he lay on the bench, his ass up in the air over Angelus' lap.

"Garmon took him. Seems like they had some trouble back in Ankara when Spike went storming through Turkey about sixty or seventy years ago. He promised to ship him back there and chain him out in the desert to wait for the rising sun."

Xander tensed at the idea of Spike helpless, but then Angelus' hand landed so hard on Xander ass that he couldn't contain a yelp.

"And here I'd heard he was so well trained," Aturr said contemptuously.

"My William never did know how to finish a job, but I'll get him whipped into shape." Angelus hit again, and Xander kept his silence this time, closing his eyes against the fire that traveled up his backside. Oh this was such a monumentally bad idea. Bad bad bad idea. He was no longer allowed to have ideas any more, although that might not be an issue for much longer. Xander just hoped that Angelus would still save Spike. Angelus' hand fell again, and Xander could feel the tears threaten as he struggled to separate his body from his mind. Spike had hit him harder, and yet Xander never really felt that pain like he felt this. "He has a soft spot for the human, and William never did like it when I poked his soft spots."

"Garmon has him in back. Do you want me to see if he'd be willing to share?" Aturr asked, his enthusiasm clear.

"If he doesn't mind. I do hope to get in a little payback of my own before he sends the boy off for a final death."

Aturr clucked and disappeared.

"Oh my boy, I have not enjoyed myself so much for quite some time. You know," Angelus paused and Xander felt his tail lifted, fingers gently combing through the strands in a parody of affection, "I really did have plans for you." Angelus struck again, and Xander focused on breathing.

"What? No witty come-back? No insult?" Angelus poked at Xander's side. "Answer, boy!"

"No, Angelus," Xander said quickly before the words could let out the tears of humiliation and fear and regret.

"No, what?"

"No insults, Angelus," Xander whispered.

"Maybe you're trainable after all. You remind me so much of Drusilla. You have that same determination to follow some ridiculous moral code, the same insecurities, the same soulful brown eyes. I've always wondered if you would break as well as she did. I thought of it as an experiment." Angelus now stroked the back of Xander's leg, his hand trailing up and then under to press the base of the butt plug Xander wore.

"I bet you'd learn to beg for the whip and call me Daddy, just like she did," Angelus whispered with a chuckle. "Humans are so ridiculously easy to break."

Xander could feel his heart pounding dangerously fast, but it only beat faster when a familiar pair of Doc Martins stopped in front of the table. Xander had his head turned that direction, so when Spike fell to his knees, Xander could see the blood stained arm, the badly bent fingers on one hand, and the rust-colored streaks down his jeans. A pair of demon legs stood on either side of him.

"Boyo, how many times have I told you to keep your toys on a short leash?" Angelus asked with a chuckle. The table blocked Xander's view of Spike's face, but he could hear the angry growl. "Of course, you have improved some. You did at least have this one leashed." Angelus pulled on the chain so hard that Xander's back arched as he was lifted by his neck. He could feel muscles strain, but at least the new position let him see over the table. And really… he wished he hadn't.

Spike's face was bloodied and swollen, the flesh purple and fat. One eye was completely closed and the other was bloodshot. A clot of red in one corner of the yellowed eye made it look diseased.

Spike struggled up, using his good hand on the table top as he held his other arm close to his body.

"Angelus?" he asked, his words slurred by swollen lips.

"Your pet is not as well trained as I would expect from one of my childer," Angelus said in an amused voice. "I hope he's good at sucking cock because right now I'm not sure he's worth the trouble to feed."

"You fuckin—" Spike's words ended in a grunt as a huge Fyarl demon planted a clawed fist deep into Spike's stomach. Spike collapsed to the ground, and Xander could hear the pained coughing. When Angelus dropped his leash, Xander could see under the table where Spike lay on the ground, coughing blood. A yellow eye found him, and Spike slipped back into human features. Xander looked into that blue eye, still stained with red, and the tears nearly overcame his resolve.

Spike struggled up again, and now Xander could only see jeans and boots.

"So, mate. Fancy seein' you here."

"I must admit that I do approve of your first childe. She has more self-control than you ever did at your age."

"Yeah, well maybe I just enjoyed annoyin' you," Spike snapped, and when Xander expected more punching, Angelus just laughed. Someone did something because the two Fyarl demons stepped away.

"Yes, you always did have more mouth than brains. And now, you've gone and crossed Garmon. Or rather, you did that a while back, but like I always told you William, actions have consequences, especially when you're too weak to protect yourself from them."

"Spike." Spike snapped his name at Angelus.

"When you're strong enough to stand up to me without getting your ass kicked, I'll consider your request for a name change. But right now, William, we're discussing your toys. I think I'll keep your childe. Maybe she'll prove more useful than the pathetic thing Drusilla dragged home with her. And Xander might prove interesting. True, I had planned to save him for last, making him break a little each time he saw a friend die, but plans change." Angelus stroked Xander's leg, and Xander felt an almost overwhelming need to either cry or to kick out in anger. The problem was, neither would actually help him.

"He killed my humans," a new voice complained bitterly.

"Yes, well he never did have any sense. I dare say that's why Drusilla left him right before the war. She knew better than to get involved with others' humans, but William has always felt a need to try and prove something. It's really quite foolish," Angelus said amiably. As much as Xander hated Angel's broodiness, the good humor was annoying Xander even more. A new set of feet appeared on the far side of the table.

"Not like you had 'em marked," Spike complained. A Fyarl stepped forward again, and flesh thudded against flesh. From the sound, this time Spike collapsed onto the table.

"Cost me money."

"He ruined a half dozen of my horses, so don't complain to me about how much damage the boy can do. And let's not even talk about the fact that he ate the family that my own sire meant to use as leverage to make the gypsies free me of that cursed soul. He has been nothing but trouble since Drusilla sired him."

"You don't come to ransom him?" The voice sounded both confused and disappointed. Even among demons, dollars spoke louder than blood. Xander felt his failure rise up like a pain in his chest that made the pain in his ass disappear. Angelus wouldn't save Spike, and now Xander had just gone and made it harder on everyone. Well, everyone except Angelus who seemed to be having a pretty good time.

"I came to torture the boy before you sent him back to Ankara. He needs to see that he can't hold onto what's his. His childe is mine, and so is his pretty little human. I'll hang Xander by chains and whip him until he's standing in a pool of his own blood.

"You bloody wanker. Touch hi—." Another punch. This time the table shook with the force of Spike falling on it.

"I'll touch what I want, boy. Everything you own is mine, and so are you. I have to tell you, all this blood and violence is making me horny. So, you or your pet… who will service the master?" Angelus asked.

Xander swallowed, his chest tightening so that he could feel the creeping tingles all the way down into his stomach. He wouldn't let Angelus hurt his master; he could do this… maybe.

"I will," Xander whispered, his fear strangling the words.

"Bloody hell, no," Spike snarled.

"Have you missed having your sire's hands on you, boy?" Angelus asked. "Going to beg for it?"

The club had grown quiet, the backdrop of voices muffled and someone had turned off the music altogether. In the silence, Xander waited. A part of him hoped that Spike would just stay quiet because Xander would rather do the deed himself than see Spike abused, but the fear that now nested in his throat wouldn't let him say anything.

"Please, sire. Let me serve you," Spike muttered angrily.

"Oh boyo, that didn't sound convincing. I think your pet could do better. Can't you, Xander?" Angelus asked, bringing his hand down on Xander's ass again.

"Please, sire. Been so long. Please let me serve you." This time, Spike's voice came out needy.

"That almost sounded convincing," Angelus said, his fingers now gently rubbing Xander's ass, and Xander hated that mocking touch even more than the hitting. "I suppose I have more than enough time to play with Xander, but soon you'll be gone," Angelus purred. Xander felt himself pushed and lifted so that he ended up on his feet at the end of the bench.

Xander looked over, and Spike was leaning against the table, his good hand bearing much of his weight, and his blood streaked across the wood top. "Don't watch, pet," Spike said softly as he came around the table, nearly dragging one leg. Xander sank to his knees and stared at the floor two inches in front of his knees.

God, he was a screw up. Huge screw up. Fucking monumental screw up. Xander felt warm tears trickle down over his cheeks, and he couldn't stop the flow. Familiar sounds: zipper, wet sucking noises, grunts of pleasure. Familiar sounds were suddenly dark and twisted, and Xander just kept his eyes on the floor as he wept. Fuck. Had it been Angelus the whole time? Was that why everyone was gone? Okay, not really mattering now, but Xander let his mind drift away from the grotesque sounds coming from just inches away.

"You look good sucking cock, William. You always did." Xander flinched, but the sucking continued in the same pattern. Soon Xander could hear the slaps and grunts and the rape got more violent. Spike made a choking sound, and Angelus cried out. Then the noise stopped. A zipper. Xander struggled to just turn off his brain. Wouldn't that be nice, to just turn off the brain and drop dead? That would be a superpower he could get behind.

"This might be worth coming back for. When are you shipping him out to Ankara?" Angelus asked, his voice just as happy as Willow after getting back a math exam.

"Expensive to send so far. I may just stake him," the other guy offered. Xander glanced over, and Spike's feet stood between Angelus' open thighs. God, I'm sorry, Spike, Xander thought. Telepathy, another nice superpower. Unfortunately, Xander didn't have any powers.

"After killing all your humans? Doesn't sound like punishment enough. Now this one time, after the boy killed a beautiful horse, I whipped him and then poured holy water into the open wounds. He screamed a good bit that time. Thought he might even dust the way the smoke poured off him. Or try hanging him upside down for a few weeks. It kills a human, but with a vampire, all the blood going to the head will make the feet start to rot off."

Xander tasted bile as Angelus' words washed over him, but Spike didn't even shift.

"You do this?"

"It's been a long time since I had a vampire to torture. Drusilla enjoyed it too much for me to really get into it. Sometimes I would run my hands over her so softly as she begged for pain and blood. It was a special sort of torture between my girl and me. But William… oh, I would certainly enjoy some time with this body."

"One hundred a day."

Angelus laughed. It was a full belly laugh, full of joy as if someone had just told the best joke in the world.

"You want him tortured. I should charge you," Angelus countered.

"You like it."

"Yes, and I'll like taking the pet home and trying out a few new toys they've come up with in the last hundred years. I really do want to try some of the electrical torture I've read about. I can just imagine his body taut and his mouth open in a silent scream as the current passes through him."

Xander heard a brief noise from Spike, something low and desperate, but then it was gone again.

"Not like vampire body." Angelus didn't answer that one right away, and Xander focused on the seams in the wood floor. He wished he could just slide into one and disappear.

"No, for that I have Spike's own childe," Angelus said. "I didn't think the boy would ever make a true childe, but now that he has, I don't mind enjoying the benefits. She's ugly, but then I'm not interested in seducing her."

The demon made a whuffing noise. "You take him. You torture."

"And what are you going to do for me in return?" Angelus asked calmly. Xander twitched. Was this part of the plan? Okay, had he just missed some memo that said that Angel could totally pull off the bluff of the century? Xander glanced at the girl's legs. She'd rolled up and under the table, so Xander focused on her for the first time. Her eyes were closed. Didn't people's eyes open when they were dead? Okay, Xander was officially confused. Girl dead, girl alive? Angel, Angelus?

"He's trouble. I just stake."

Angelus pushed Spike so that he stumbled sideways, falling to the ground in front of Xander who knelt beside the bench seat. If Xander's hands hadn't been chained, he would have reached out and touched the battered face just once more. Spike looked at him, his one blue eye showing, and a new wave of tears cooled Xander's face as he struggled to breathe.

"You want him? You have him. Oh, and if Drusilla shows up, be sure to have someone call me after she guts you. I miss my girl, and now that I'm back to my right mind, I need some quality time with her."

Xander ignored Angelus' words and the thick feet that moved toward Spike. He ignored the pain that wrapped around his chest and the tears running down his face. God. What had he done? If the guy had kept Spike, sent him to Ankara, there would have been time for Spike to try and escape. Xander felt the pressure in his chest worsen with each breath.

"Don't look, pet," Spike whispered, his lips cracked and white drying on his face. For the first time in months, Xander didn't obey. He watched while the feet stood behind Spike. Spike pushed himself up on his good arm and went into game face. Unfortunately, he couldn't even get to his feet with his bad leg stretched out behind him.

"Take him," the voice said disgustedly.

"Get Aturr to throw in the girl, and I might. Then again, I might just leave him here and enjoy the bloodbath when Drusilla comes back to reality long enough to find out you've staked her only childe."

"Take, take," the man said, and feet stomped away. Xander breathed again, his chest still aching and his brain doing complete circles as it tried to figure out what was going on.

"Boy," Angelus snarled. Xander thought he meant Spike until a hand grabbed his chin and forced his face up. He stared into yellow eyes and shivered at the coldness there. "You try to run, and I will pull your intestines out through your belly and tie your feet with them, understand?"

"Yes," Xander agreed. He couldn't run if he wanted to; his legs shook too badly. Angelus let go of him and reached down to unlock the chains at his wrists.

"Get that lump," Angelus ordered with a wave toward Spike. Xander reached out, gingerly touching his mangled vampire, and Spike gave him a grin that only reached half his face, the other half too swollen to smile.

"No worries, mate," he whispered. Yeah, right. No worries, Xander would have snorted if they were home alone. Instead he could only slip his arms around Spike's waist and pull the vampire upright. Angelus said something that Xander missed since he was totally focused on Spike, and Dalton walked over and pulled the girl's legs so that her body slid out from under the table before she slung the limp body over a shoulder.

Angelus started walking, and the leash yanked viciously at Xander's neck as he hurried to catch up with Angelus and support Spike's weight. Spike flinched every time he stepped down on his right side, but he didn't make a noise as the four of them, two vampires, one pet, and one passed out girl, followed Angelus out into the night air.

Dalton drove again, and this time Angelus claimed the back seat, jerking the leash to force Xander into the back with him while Spike and the passed out girl crowded into the front seat next to Dalton. Xander knelt on the floor at Angelus' feet utterly confused and aching to go to Spike, to offer his neck and feel Spike claiming him and telling him that he hadn't fucked up by bringing psycho boy into this.

"Sloppy, boy," Angelus said, the wind whipping the words away as fast as he said them.

"Didn't know the wanker had such a long memory."

"I taught you to watch your back better than that, William."

"It's Spike."

Xander could almost feel the silence in the car, and Angelus shifted as he sat up straight in the seat.

"Spike." He sounded tired, something Xander always associated with Angel, and yet the confusion wasn't getting any less.

"Thanks for coming." Spike didn't sound grateful; he sounded as tired as Angel.

"Someone didn't give me much of a choice," Angel pointed out as he reached down and touched Xander's shoulder. Xander looked up in confusion.

"He can be a mouthy git," Spike agreed as Dalton pulled into a dark lot between two buildings. An old car with one window replaced with a duct-taped garbage bag waited.

"I don't want you in my city," Angel said as Dalton turned off the ignition and got out.

"No bloody kidding. Think I knew that since I went out of my way to avoid ya, wanker," Spike offered. Okay, this would definitely be Angel since Angelus probably would have broken a few of Spike's bones for that one. Xander scooted back slowly, and Angel stood up and got out of the car right before Xander scrambled out the other side. Xander hurried around the car and slipped an arm around Spike. Without a word, Spike grabbed Xander's shoulders and let himself sag so that Xander could feel the strain in his back.


"See ya around, Peaches," Spike said as he tried to turn. With one leg dragging, he couldn't really turn that well, so Xander strong-armed him around and then the two of them started for the car.

Xander didn't hear anything behind them until after he opened the back door of the old sedan and helped Spike sit on the seat. As Spike struggled to get both feet in the car, Xander turned to see Angel start the car and back out into the street. Leaving Dalton to handle the driving, Xander hurried around the other side to crawl in with his master.

"Bloody ballsy of you, pet. Remind me to punish you for taking a risk like that once I’m strong enough to raise the paddle," Spike said as Xander climbed in.

"Yes, master," Xander agreed. He'd pretty much agree to anything right now. He'd agree happily as long as it meant Spike here, leaning over until he could drop into Xander's lap. Xander smoothed Spike's hair back. The gel was gone leaving soft curls that wisped around his bloodied face.

"I thought Angel could get you out."

"He couldn't," Spike said, and Xander looked down in confusion as Dalton started the car. "That was Angelus, pet. The soul turned over control seein' as how Angel couldn't have fooled that lot for three seconds."

"Wait, so that really was…" Xander looked out the front window at the traffic as though he could catch some glimpse of the dark convertible.

"Surprised the broody one would turn over control like that, but listen up, pet." Spike reached up and pulled at the chain that dangled from Xander's collar. "You go anywhere near my sire again and I'll whip you within an inch of your life."

"Angelus?" Xander asked again. Spike sighed.

"Wanker always did want you, and I'd rather be dust than watch him break ya like he did Dru. So, next time you either ask the slayer or just bloody… let me deal with my own shite."

"It's our shit," Xander said as he slowly looked back down. Okay, he'd been kneeling at Angelus' feet, that was not good for the digestion. "You took on my shit when you put the collar on me, and I took on your shit when I let you," Xander said quietly as he focused on his master.

"You're a bloody romantic, pet, you know that, don't you?"

"Yep," Xander agreed. Spike slowly closed his one good eye, and his body slowly sagged. Sitting back in the seat, Xander held his master as he slept.

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Toys 11: Family

Panting through his nose, Xander arched his back and fought the chains that held him spread-eagle against the wall. Spike didn't even flick a look his way, but the toy sunk deep into him started to vibrate again, and Xander gave a muffled yelp into his thick gag as he twisted and writhed.

Oh god, he just needed to come. He really needed to come. His cock was going to fall off he needed to come so badly. He pushed back into the brick wall, trying to jam the toy deeper and get that bit of extra pressure that would let him fall over the edge, but he only managed to push himself even farther into the blind need that made him fight the chains even knowing he could never win.

The vibrating stopped, and Xander sagged in his bonds. He sucked hot air through his nose and watched Spike through the curtain of hair that had flopped in front of his face. The vampire picked up a remote, pointed it forward and clicked. Xander braced himself for more stimulation, but instead the television next to him changed channels with a staticy hiss.

Xander groaned, and Spike got a smirk that made it oh so clear that the vamp had done that on purpose. Still, Spike didn't look at him. If Xander was being a piece of art, Spike was being a bad, bad art patron.

Squirming a little, Xander tried thrusting out his hips a little in silent invitation. Immediately, the small clamps on his nipples shot him with a jolt of heat and spark that made Xander yelp and throw his head back hard enough for it to thump dully against he brick.

With a blink, Xander discovered Spike right there in front of him, reaching up to run fingers behind Xander's head as he checked for damage.

"Daft git. You don't have enough brain cells to go bashin' them out." Spike's hands finished the exploration of Xander's head and then they slid down to that scarred neck where Spike pressed fingers into the vulnerable flesh.

Xander closed his eyes and tilted his head in silent submission.

"Trying to tempt the master, pet?" Spike asked playfully. "That earns ya some punishment. I'm trying to appreciate my art here, so stop worryin' about getting your end off," Spike said with a slap on Xander's hip. Yeah, yeah, Spike could say that. Spike wasn't the one with his balls ready to fall off.

Slowly, Spike's fingers trailed down Xander's chest, following the taut line of muscle from the stretched arms until finally dipping down to a clamped nipple. Spike flicked the metal contraption that looked like a thick heavy washer circling the dark, nubbed skin. Xander shivered. Then cool hands followed the thin chain down from the nipple to the collared cock.

Giving the damp slit a stroke, Spike smirked.

"And I thought you were messy in your cage. You're positively dripping here, pet," Spike admonished him with a little flick to the cockhead that made Xander grunt into his gag and wish for a free leg to kick Spike. Oh, he'd never win a fight, but if he kicked Spike, Spike would tackle him to the ground, and then they'd be rolling around, and then Xander would get pinned to the ground and taken hard and fast.

Instead, Spike just trailed a finger along the edge of the leather trapping and separating his balls. Following the straps back and under, Spike pressed against the vibrating plug buried deep inside Xander, and Xander squirmed in need. Hell, he'd gone so far past needing to come, he wasn't even sure he could come at this point, but he sure wanted to try.

"Bloody hell, stop squirmin' about so much. You're a soddin' poor piece of art, pet. Damn lucky for you that you're such a treat as a pet because as a piece of art ya don't follow rules well," Spike said with a playful pinch that made Xander bite into his gag to avoid another round of squirming. Still. He could do still. Maybe. Hopefully.

And then Spike started the dirty tricks. Reaching down, he unzipped his pants and let his own hard cock slip free as he slowly stroked it. Xander gulped a deep breath through his nose and fought his own muscles which involuntarily reacted to the sight, legs bunching and trembling, fingers curling into fists helplessly.

Spike slowly stroked the hard flesh, shifting his legs apart as his cock thickened, and the plug in Xander's ass came to life, pulsing against his prostate until Xander quivered in his struggle to stay still.

With a wicked grin, Spike glanced up at him, and then the hand on Spike's cock moved faster and faster until Spike came with a shuddering shout. The white arc hit Xander's hip and splattered against his skin and the black leather straps. Xander fisted the chains and tried to stay still as Spike backed off and considered the effect.

"I'll have ya looking like a Pollock in no time," Spike said with a satisfied smirk. Xander glanced down at his hard, red cock and his full balls and the layers of white freckles and streaks over his lower body, some dry and flaking, others sticky, and the newest batch still shimmering wet. If Spike kept this up until Xander looked all Pollocky, his cock would fall off. Yep. Cock falling offage was definitely in his future.

Xander whined into the penis gag that filled his mouth, but Spike just returned to the comfy chair and draped a leg over the arm. Mean old vampire master.

"Master Spike?" Dalton slid into the edge of the room, keeping her eyes on the floor.

"Yeah?" Spike flipped through a couple of channels, not even bothering to look up at her. Xander watched Spike's childe because any distraction was better than thinking about how much he wanted to come, and wondering how long Spike would play the game this round.

"The slayer calls." She whispered the word slayer, hissing slightly as though the word itself made her angry, and since she was a vampire, it probably did. Xander wondered what she thought of having a crazy sire who let his pet talk to the slayer. Hell, Xander had even gotten one supervised visit with the girls while Spike and Dalton watched from the edge of the park.

"He's too busy to take the soddin' call. Tell her to bugger off," Spike ordered imperiously, and then he flicked through several more stations.

"She asked for you," Dalton said even as she backed up. Yep, she might be childe, but she had no doubt Spike would stake her if she pushed too hard. Xander thought back and tried to decide when she'd gotten her promotion. If he had to guess, he'd say back before she started training with them. It actually made her training with them make more sense because any minion who had so much as touched a hair Xander shed on the floor got staked.

"Me?" Spike demanded as he twisted in the chair. "Bloody-- Just bring me the phone," he growled. Dalton vanished.

"Wonder what the bint wants," Spike mused as he looked over toward Xander who could only blink back. "Have to at least reward her for knowin' to ask for me first. Maybe Giles finally got her to understand that you belong to me and I make your soddin' decisions."

Xander tried really hard to play a good painting and just stay still. His cock bobbed hungrily anyway.

"Wot?" Spike demanded into the phone the minute Dalton handed it to him. He listened for a bit.

"A what?" pause. "Bloody buggering hell. Slayer, what the hell have you gone and done this time?" pause. "'Course I will. I actually like her, she's obviously the one to get your mum's class and brains," Spike snapped into the phone. "I'll be there in an hour."

Spike flipped the cell phone closed and threw it across the room where it hit the wall and shattered. Dalton froze for a second and then slowly backed out of the room as Spike got up and lit a cigarette.

"Can't believe she'd think I wouldn't help Dawn. I don't bloody know how she's survived all this time. She's blind as a soddin' bat. I mean, I took you right out from under her nose and she never bloody noticed," Spike snarled as his eyes turned yellow.

Okay, that so should not be a turn on, but Xander could feel his balls draw up tighter, the sight of the demon flipping a naughty switch deep in Xander's brain. Spike stopped mid-pace and turned yellow eyes to Xander.

"You need something, pet?" Spike asked, his voice low and now his face morphed into vampiric ridges. "Like playin' with fire, don't ya?" Spike drifted closer and reached up to run dull, black fingernails over Xander's thigh. "Ya like seeing the demon what owns you. You like being reminded that you're just a pet, not even the same species as me. I'm strong enough to keep you at my feet forever, and this just reminds you doesn't it?" Spike crooned, his fingers pausing in the hollow of Xander's hip. "No guilt if there's no choice, and pet, there's no choice where you're concerned."

Spike let his long fingers wrap around Xander's cock and gently stroke.

Closing his eyes, Xander struggled to think art. Painting. Sculpture. Still. Fuck. He bucked into the hand, helpless against his own need. Even without permission, the need to come outweighed the need to obey, and Xander screamed into his gag as he came with an intensity that made the world shimmer gray.

He still hadn't managed to focus his eyes by the time Spike had carried him to their bed and laid him out, strong hands stroking his sweating sides and unbuckling the restraints around his ankles and wrists and cock and head and nipples. Every touch sent a shiver through Xander's body as he lay struggling to form coherent thoughts.

"Is something wrong?" Xander finally asked, his tongue thick in his mouth and his jaw aching.

"Just the soddin' slayer actin' like a moron. Nothing new," Spike said softly from his spot sitting on the edge of their bed. When fingers stroked his tail, Xander knew Spike was intentionally going for distraction. Oh, and it worked. Xander felt the warm tingling crawl up into his sated balls and make soft little suggestions about round two. Yep, if Spike kept that up, Xander was so going to forget anything else. Forcing his brain to ignore the urge to curl into the petting, Xander pushed himself up onto one elbow, his whole body protesting the movement.


"Oi, never have managed to beat the white knight outta you, have I?" Spike asked with amusement as he pulled on a boot.

"If you'd tried, you would have, Master." Xander blinked up without even trying to hide the vulnerability he'd hidden from Buffy and his parents and even Willow. Spike reached over and brushed his hair back.

"Wasn't our deal, now was it?" Spike asked with a smile. Xander thought back to those early days, to when he expected Spike to kill him when the chip came out, and then the chip came out. Nope, their deal left Xander the right to be a white knight and gave everything else to Spike. Looking back, he'd gotten a better deal than when he'd agreed to buy his Uncle Rory's car.

"What's wrong in Sunnydale, Master?" Xander asked, bringing the conversation back to the beginning. Spike sighed and paused for a second before pulling his other boot on.

"Stupid bint has gone and stirred up some hellgod," Spike said.

"And you're going to help her?" Xander asked in confusion. Ignoring all the aches and over-stretched muscles, he pushed himself up and sat crosslegged on the bed, his tail tucked up under him with curls tickling his legs.

"Not bloody likely," Spike snorted, and that was far more like the master Xander knew.

"Then, what are you doing, Master?" Xander asked. He might have worried that Spike would actually throw in with whatever hellgod wanted Buffy dead only Spike had shown a real lack of interest in killing Buffy. That and Buffy had called, and Xander assumed Buffy would only call Spike if.... okay, he couldn't come up with any reason why she would call Spike.

"The bit."

"You're going to help for Dawn?" Xander asked.

"Bloody hell no. I don't help slayers," Spike snapped. Xander blinked in surprise and Spike sighed. "Slutty's on her own. But I agreed to get Dawn out of there for now, so I'm going to go pick her up while you get some rest." Spike finished lacing his boots and stood up, his fingers twitching in a gesture Xander recognized as a combination of homicidal frustration and nicotine withdrawal. Sure enough, Spike stomped across the floor and grabbed a pack of cigarettes.

"Stupid cow did somethin' to catch the hellgod's attention, only seems like the bastard is focused on killing Dawn."

"Killing Dawnie?!" Xander stood up and immediately regretted it as he head swam. A strong arm caught him around the waist and lowered him back to the bed.

"You'll bloody rest or I'll put ya in the cage where you can't go floppin' around," Spike threatened him.

"But Dawn," Xander said, focusing on his master with a desperate fear crawling up into his guts.

"Not goin' to let the bit get killed just because her sis is a bloody moron. Protected her from Angelus, didn't I?" Spike started pacing.

"You... what?" Xander asked as he looked over in confusion. Angelus was definitely pre-chipped Spike and pre-pre Spike being anywhere around Dawn. Spike looked at him and sighed.

"Guess the bit never told you lot that I ran into her after parent-teacher night, huh?" Spike asked.

"Big with the no. Buffy would have... Buffy would have totally freaked, Master," Xander agreed. Spike laughed.

"Yeah. But the bit was bold as brass. Thought for a minute about eatin' her, but that seemed a waste. I was going to turn her, but Dru wasn't one for sharing, and I didn't want to bring home some pet minion only to have Dru rip her eyes out." Spike fell silent, but from the tone, Xander was guessing that the eye ripping was something more than just a threat. "I didn't find out she was the slayer's sis until I was in the wheelchair and Angelus showed me a pic of the slayer and Dawn."

"You protected her?" Xander watched Spike pace the room. Spike shrugged.

"Thought I might turn her later, especially after Dru started chasing after 'daddy.' But then Angelus talked about torturin' her and leavin' her body on the slayer's lawn as a message. I did what I had to--distracted the thick sod until he was too busy with his idiotic plan for ending the world to bother with her. So," Spike finished with a sharp look at Xander, "I'm not letting the slayer get her killed now. Slayer asked me to take her in, keep her hidden from this hellgod until the slayer deals with the mess in Sunnydale."

"So, she's coming here?" Xander asked.

"Yeah, and you'll bloody well rest until I get back," Spike said in his master voice. "So, you capable of stayin' on the bed by yourself or should I chain you to it?" Spike asked.

"I can stay, Master. Only, can I have permission to go pee if I need to?" Xander asked.

"Yeah, just have Dalton come in before you get up. Ya were up on the wall for a long time and I don't want you to fall on your face and break something. I've got a reputation for having a pretty little pet, and I can't have you messin' yourself up, now can I?" Spike asked as he came back to the bed and gave a lock of Xander's hair a tug.

"Yes, Master," Xander agreed as he leaned into the touch.

"Get some sleep," Spike ordered. Even though a part of Xander wanted to stay up and see Dawn, a bigger part of him slid toward sleep, either because Master had ordered it or because his body was exhausted. Xander didn't even hear Spike stomp out or notice Dalton slip into the room and watch over him as he slept.

By the time Xander woke, the muscle pain had faded to a familiar ache and Spike was stretched out next to him in black jeans and bare feet.

"Master?" Xander muttered, his mouth dry.

"Yeah, pet?"

Xander rolled and got an elbow under him as he blinked at Spike, the overhead lights threatening to blind him. "Is Dawn here?"

"Yep, bedded down on the couch. If the slayer leaves her here long, I'll have Dalton go looking for a bigger lair. Probably should have her look anyway seein' as how she's a childe. Won't do for her to sleep in the garage with the other minions for long."

"Other minions, Master?" Xander asked as he blinked both eyes open.

"Picked up a couple of minions when I was out. Seems like the slayer's brassed off a right bitch, so seemed wise to have a little extra security around."

Xander sat up and looked down at Spike in concern. Spike didn't worry about things like security. And if Spike did worry about them, he didn't tell Xander he worried about them.

"Master?" Xander asked, not sure how to ask what he wanted to ask without seeming like he was questioning his master, but this seemed serious. The very not good kind of serious.

"So, have a few changes around here. I already warned the bit that with other vampires around she couldn't question anything I said. You already know that."

"Yes, Master," Xander quickly agreed. He'd figured that one out early. Questioning led to minions who doubted Spike's authority which led to the staking of minions which led to the making of new minions, all of which Xander was not okay with. At least the latest ones had shown up so suddenly that Spike must have stolen them from another master instead of grabbing some poor humans off the street and turning them.

"Since Dalton's a childe, that makes her technically above you in the court, pet," Spike said. Xander froze in surprise for a second before he dropped his eyes to the rumpled sheets. Xander had long ago learned to accept that he was below Spike. Hell, most of the time he enjoyed the fact that he was below Spike. He didn't have responsibilities or worries, and on those days when he could distract his master from eating some random pedestrian, he had a feeling of accomplishment in knowing that even from the bottom of the status ladder he had some influence. But being below Dalton was just... uncomfortable.

Spike's fingers came up under his chin, lifting his head. "I already told her that if ya did something to disrespect her, she had my permission to punish you in order to keep face in front of the minions."

Xander worried a small cut on the inside of his lip as he tried not to react to that. Yeah, he didn't like it, but Spike hadn't really asked for his opinion.

"Pet," Spike said seriously. "What I didn't tell her is that her life is in your hands. You tell me that she's touched you without reason, you tell me that she's so much as growled at you without cause, and she's dust."

"But," Xander looked up at Spike.

"No buts. Dalton's a sharp one, and I like havin' her around because she's smart enough to keep out of trouble and old enough and strong enough to make a difference in a fight, but she's just a vampire, pet. They're a dime a dozen. Now, if you slip up, she has ta take you in hand or she'll lose face in front of minions. You're smart enough ta know that, and you're smart enough to not put her in a position where she has to punish you, right?" Spike asked.

"Yes, Master," Xander quickly agreed. He'd been around vampires long enough to understand that some things just didn't work with minions. Minions were on the slightly stupid side. "But what about Dawn?" Xander asked. If he had to bend over and let Dalton take a whip to his backside, he'd survive but no way was he letting Dalton touch Dawnie.

"Oi, not goin' let her touch the bit. The minions know she's the slayer's sis and they think she's a hostage. It'll keep them on their toes, and if anyone comes looking for Dawn, they'll protect her thinkin' that the slayer is just trying to get her sis back."

"But, what if it is Buffy trying to get Dawn back?" Xander asked.

"Too bloody bad. It'd serve her right for trackin' this place down without calling ahead," Spike shrugged.

"You can't sic the minions on Buffy."

"Like hell I can't. Soddin' unnatural that she'd call me for help, but for the bit, I'll do it. But if she shows up, I'm standin' back and hoping a minion gets lucky."

"Dawn would be upset," Xander pointed out as Spike got up and grabbed a pair of sweats and tossed them over. Only then did Xander realize that he'd been about to get up and head out to the living room naked, the living room where Dawn was. He blushed.

"Haven't seen ya blush like that for a while, pet," Spike observed with a laugh as he pulled his shirt on.

"Yeah, well flashing the pseudo-kid sister is blush worthy."

"She might appreciate the show. I know I do."

"Okay, that's just disturbing. Besides, I am so not explaining the tail. I don't even understand the tail since you never explained why you asked me to get one in the first place, so I'm definitely not trying to explain anything to her. Besides, she would want to touch it, and that's just not happening." Xander bent over and put his feet in the legs of the sweats.

"Wot? You don't like the tail touched now?" Spike asked as he wandered back toward the bed. Spike reached out and gathered the tail in one hand before Xander could pull up the sweats. He slowly stroked the curls, letting them fall and brush against the back of Xander's legs.

"Oh, you can touch. But Dawn is out there so you so cannot touch now," Xander said as he stepped forward, sliding the rest of his tail out of Spike's hand.

"Oi! Wasn't done with that."

"With ittlelay earays in the next room, you are totally done with that," Xander pointed out as he pulled up his sweats. "Master," he added when Spike looked at him with one eyebrow up.

"Bloody hell, the slayer better fix her mess quick or I'm giving Dawn an education," Spike complained as he rolled his eyes.

"I hear voices. Are you two coming out or are you guys going to have sex, because if you're having sex, I'm sending a vampire out for ice cream for me," Dawn called from the living room. Xander looked over at Spike, slowly smiling at the look of bemused horror on Spike's face.

"Bloody hell. No way the minions are going to buy the hostage story. I'm going to have to dust them, aren't I?" Spike asked with mock resignation.

"Yep, even if Dalton and I play nice," Xander agreed. "And since I get some quality Dawn time, I am so going to go ask her for that parent-teacher night story," Xander agreed as he headed for the door, giving his hips an extra wiggle right before he darted out into the living room. Another day, that move would have brought his master chasing after him and led to hot sex on the floor. Today, Spike just gave a muffled curse that made Xander laugh as he scooped Dawn into his arms and twirled her around.

"Xander! Oh my god. I'm so glad Buffy let me visit because her and Willow are driving me insane," she just about squealed before Xander put her down.


Out of the corner of his eye, Xander spotted Spike leaning against the door frame smiling at them. For a second, the expression reminded Xander of his grandmother, the way she would watch her grandchildren chase each other with Nerf-bats and water hoses. Then Spike caught his eye and the fond expression turned salacious.

"And you two are still making with the cow eyes. I so knew you were in love before you left!" Dawn added. "I told them, but do they listen to me? No! I'm just the little sister, and I've missed you guys," Dawn said. She kept one arm around Xander's waist as she held out her other hand for Spike. Spike stepped forward and let her pull him into the group hug.

"We've missed you too, Dawn," Xander whispered into her ear. With one arm around Dawn and the other circling Spike's waist, Xander considered for a moment just how good his life truly was. Yeah, Buffy and Willow might still be big with the disapproving, but Xander couldn't imagine a better future for himself.

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Toys 12: An Unlikely Hero

"Come on. We could sneak past the vamps," Dawnie whined. Xander gritted his teeth and tried to not explode. He was just as worried as she was, but disobeying Spike and trying to sneak past Dalton… so not his version of a good idea.


"Xaaander. Buffy must be in real trouble. I mean, Spike's going to help her… she needs every hand she can get, and we have hands." Dawn held her two hands up to illustrate her point.

"Dawn. No." Xander crossed his arms and tried his best stern look. He could feel it evaporate as her eyes glittered with the threat of tears.

"Xander is right. You cannot leave," a voice backed Xander up. Xander looked over at Dalton who stood near the top of the stairs that led into what Xander jokingly called the 'human' tower of their new lair.

"Spike and Buffy need help," Dawn threw herself forward as though she were about to throw her arms around Dalton and give the vampire her best pout. Xander tensed. However, at the last minute, Dawn stopped so that she stood in front of Dalton giving her the pout without the hug. Yeah, Dalton was big with the control, but Xander wouldn't go so far as to hug her.

"Master Spike is strong enough to kill the challenger," Dalton almost growled. Xander stepped forward just as Dawn backed up.

"Master Spike is definitely strong enough, and he's way more clever than any stupid hellgod with stupid ideas of ending the world. I mean, whoever heard of destroying a whole world just because you're having a bad day? Well, Angelus tried, but Angelus isn't on the sane side of the family." While Dalton looked at him like he had lost his mind, Xander pulled Dawn back to his side. "She's just worried, and it's a human thing to want to get involved when we're worried," he tried to explain.

Dalton cocked her head. "Perhaps I should chain you."

"What? No!" Dawn almost yelped.

"If you want," Xander said as submissively as he could when he saw another vampire peer at him from halfway up the stairs. Yep, with minions in the room, it was time for his best vamp behavior.

"Xander!" Dawn shrieked.

"Dalton is the master when Master Spike is away," Xander said quietly, practically begging Dawn to understand. They were in a vampire lair, and vampire rules were pretty clear about who was in charge of who.

"Bring two ankle chains," Dalton ordered the minion at the door. Dawn tensed, ready to make a run for it, and Xander grabbed her in a half hug, one arm locked around her waist and the other grabbing her wrist.

"You would not escape," Dalton said coldly.

"Not with the trying. Honestly, we're not trying," Xander promised as he pulled Dawn closer to his side. Dalton stepped closer.

"My sire's pet has great value, and he ordered me to protect you," Dalton reached up and touched Dawn's cheek. While Dawn just looked angry, Xander could feel the first traces of panic crawl through his stomach. "However, I am in charge of the lair, and I will not allow you to do something as foolish as attempt an escape. You will wait for Master Spike to return."

Dalton turned her back before Dawn whispered her answer. "And what if he doesn't?" The words were no more than a breath, but Dalton turned, her eyes yellow.

"My sire is too old and too strong to be easily defeated. But if he is defeated, then you will belong to me, and escape is still forbidden," she calmly announced. Xander could feel Dawn go stiff in his embrace, but then the minion was back, long chains in hand.

"May we stay in the same room?" Xander asked, his eyes on the floor in front of Dalton as he tried his best to appeal to her vamp instincts. He was submissive; she didn't need to make him submit to prove a point. Dawn tried pulling away, and Xander could feel her desperate anger, but they couldn't piss Dalton off because getting chained up in separate bedrooms wouldn't really make anyone happy.

Dalton didn't answer as she bent down in front of them. Xander watched as Dawn tried to dance backwards away from Dalton's hands, but Xander held her in place and Dalton locked the chain around her ankle. When Dalton reached for him, Xander held his leg out. "Chain them in Master Spike's quarters," she ordered the minion as she turned back to the stairs. The minion cringed away from her and gathered up the ends of the two long chains, following as Xander led Dawn into the bedroom Spike had claimed for their own. Xander tried really hard not to think of dogs on leashes, but from the way Dawn glared at him, she was thinking of it enough for both of them.

At least Dawn waited until the minion was gone before turning to Xander and punching him in the arm with a little more strength than he expected in a friendly punch. "Now we can't go after Spike."

"Oh trust me, we were so not going after Spike, anyway," Xander said as he got up off the bed and moved to the chair nearest the TV stand. The chain dragged across the floor.

"Xander, how can you not care?"

Flinching away from the accusation in her eyes, Xander struggled to find the words to explain the reality of his life to someone who hadn't lived it. "I tried to get Spike to let us come," he finally argued.

"Well, duh. I heard that. But you just gave up and let Dalton chain us." Dawn gave an angry pull at the chain that now tethered her to the wall near the bathroom door.

"I couldn't stop Dalton from chaining us up," Xander pointed out. "If I had a shot at convincing her, I would have gone for it. But since I didn't have a chance in hell, I gave up before I could piss her off."

"You gave up too soon," Dawn accused him.

"Maybe," Xander said slowly. "But with vampires, you have to pick your battles. You can't go reminding them that you want something different than they want or they'll just try to make you want what they want, and that's just not fun," Xander said softly, remembering another human he'd seen kneeling next to another vampire. Xander didn't know whether the other vampire had less patience than Spike or whether the man had just taken longer to give up, but what Xander had seen… it had made him physically sick.

"Is Spike like that?"

Xander sighed at her shocked question. "Kinda," he admitted. "If I let him have his way all the time, then he does things to make me happy. But if I fight him…." Xander thought back to those early days, back when Spike still had the chip and Xander had thought of their games as something he controlled, as a way to get himself the pain he wanted without any danger. He'd been an idiot. "When I fight him, he still has to push until I give in," Xander shrugged.

"But Xander—"

"Hey," Xander interrupted her, "it works for us. I like giving him the control, and he takes care of me."

"Then what Buffy said… she was right?" Dawn wrapped her fist around the chain and looked at him with pity.

"Do I want to know what Buffy said?" he asked wearily.

"She said that this isn't healthy, that Spike hurt you until you just gave up and that now you aren't the Xander we remember. But you act like the Xander I remember… or you did until Spike took off and left us here. Now you're not Xander at all."

"Hey, I'm still very Xander, thank you very much. I spend lot of time doing Xander stuff."

"Like what?" Dawn challenged him.

"I play video games and read comic books," Xander pointed out as he gestured toward the TV stand with the game console on the shelf underneath. Dawn didn't look convinced. "Look, I still save people from vampires and say stupid crap and do lots of Xanderlike things," he tried again.

"You save people? Really?" Dawn's voice sounded so small; Xander didn't like it.

"I save people all the time. Spike will zero in on someone, and I swoop in and distract him with—" Xander stopped as he considered just how he distracted Spike. Definitely TMI.

"You were going to say something grodey, weren't you?" Dawn's face relaxed just a little.

"Um, yeah, kinda," Xander shrugged. "But the fact is that Spike doesn't usually kill his prey anymore, so I'm counting several hundred girls saved, although if he were draining them, he probably wouldn't have to bite so many, so maybe just a couple hundred girls saved."

"But you won't let me go after him to help him?" she asked, the pout back on her face.

"Dawnie, we'd never get out of the building, and *when* we got caught, Dalton would do something you really don't want her to do."

"Spike told her to be nice." Dawn threw herself back on the huge bed and stared up at the ceiling. "I just wanted to help them."

"I do, too," Xander confessed. "But getting caught going against Spike's orders would lead to badness. Dalton would have to punish us, and with vampires, the punishment never ends until you give up."

Dawn rolled to the side and looked at him with suspicion.

"It's like as long as you're struggling, you're fighting them, even if you're struggling just because it hurts. You have to just go limp, accept everything, and Dawnie, you can't do that. If Dalton punished you, I don't know that she could stop until you passed out."

"Okay, that's disturbing." Dawn went back to studying the ceiling.

"Dinosaur-sized disturbing," Xander agreed. "Which is why there will be no pissing off of Dalton. Nope. Play nice with the vampires."

"And what if Spike doesn't come back?" Dawn asked softly without taking her eyes from the ceiling. Xander sat silent and considered that for a second.

"I don't know," he finally answered. "But the no pissing off Dalton rule will still be in effect."

"I hate this."

"Me too, Dawnie, but the minute Spike ordered us to stay here, he took away our chance to help. Besides, we'd just distract him. He took lots of minions, so between Spike and Buffy, they'll stop Glory, promise." Xander said the words with as much conviction as he could put into them, and he could only pray that he wasn't lying. Dawn didn't answer as she stared at the ceiling.


The next night, Xander found himself sitting between Dawn and Dalton in the back of Spike's van heading for somewhere. Xander could only hope they were heading for Spike because the other option was that Dalton was moving lairs because Spike was dead. His stomach curled into knots.

"Where are we going?" Dawn demanded for the twentieth or thirtieth time. And again, Dalton was with the ignoring.

"We're nearly there," the minion driving announced. Xander could hear the minions behind him shifting around on their seat.

"There where?" Dawn tried again.

"Dawnie," Xander said softly, reaching out to take her hand, but she jerked it away from him.

"I want to know."

"I know you do. I do too."

"So make her tell us!" Dawn crossed her arms and glared across Xander to Dalton.

"Dawnie," Xander sighed.

"Fine. You won't ask her. Well, I still want to know where we're going."

Xander glanced over and Dalton was looking at them like she might consider a minion two seconds before she staked it. Maybe one second. The van pulled to the side of the road and stopped.

"Are they here?" Dalton asked without breaking eye contact with Dawn.

"Yes, Dalton," the minion said in an even more respectful tone than normal. Yep, everyone in the van except Dawn seemed to know that Dalton was nearing the end of her patience.

"You would make an exceptionally poor pet," Dalton announced firmly. "We should both be grateful that my sire was victorious."

"Master won." Xander breathed the words, his guts going from big, ugly knots to soup as tears prickled his eyes.

"Master won," Dalton agreed before she opened the door and got out of the van. Xander hesitated, not sure if he was invited to follow or not, but then Dalton gestured. Xander slid out, Dawn right behind him.

"Willow." Xander smiled, but Willow wasn't smiling back. Under the light of the streetlamp, her face looked yellowed, and her eyes were swollen. "Tara?" Xander asked, but the second witch just held Willow's arm, her eyes on the sidewalk.

"Where's Buffy?" Dawn asked. Willow clutched Tara's gray sweater in her fist as her face collapsed in sorrow.

"Oh god, no." Xander felt the words slip past his lips even though his brain had frozen, refusing to process reality.

"No." Dawn said quietly and then her voice got louder. "No. No, she's not dead." No one answered her. With fury in her face, Dawn turned to Xander, her hands curled into fists. "It's your fault. You wouldn't let me come help her. I could have helped her." Dawn flew forward, pounding Xander's chest with her fists just once before Dalton vamped out and grabbed her wrists.

"Take her," Dalton ordered as she pushed Dawn toward Willow and Tara. They grabbed her, pulling her into the middle of their hug as Dalton pushed Xander back toward the van.

"Wait. Leave Xander here," Willow called out.

"He's not yours, witch," Dalton answered tersely before she herded Xander back into the seat he had just left. She got in and they started driving again.

"She's really dead?" Xander asked as he stared at the metal rivets that made a seam in the side of the van. He couldn't make himself understand the words. He couldn't imagine a world without her smile, her quips as she did a backwards kick, her complaints about math and French class.

"She died in battle."

Xander couldn't think of anything to say. He felt shredded as he stared at nothing.

"My sire warned me that human reactions to death were unreasonable. Do you plan to be unreasonable?" she asked.

Xander's mind slipped into gear. He didn't know how to be Xander and deal with a world without Buffy, but he knew how to be a pet: he'd been asked a question and he needed to answer. He shook his head. "I loved Buffy, but we weren't really family for a while," he said, and for the first time he regretted it. He knew slayers had a short life, why hadn't he made up with her? Why hadn't he told Spike that he just needed to make real peace with her before she went and sacrificed herself in some fight? Why had he just assumed that she would always defy the odds?

"So, if Master Spike had died, you would have been unreasonable?" Dalton asked as the van took a corner.

He thought about that one for just a second before nodding. "Yeah."

"Would you have blamed me the way the girl blamed you?"

"Oh yeah. I would have been big with the blame. Possibly even big with the hitting," Xander admitted as he chewed his lip and glanced over. Dalton was looking at him with one eyebrow up; she was spending way too much time with Spike.

"I would have punished you," she pointed out. Xander nodded.

"You would have had to because human grief isn't anything like rational thought. Dawn loves me, but she couldn't stop herself from blaming me."

"And will she forgive you later?" Dalton asked as the van rolled to a stop.

"I think so… I hope so."

Dalton sat and looked at Xander for a long moment. "Master Spike is waiting for you inside," she commented as she slid the van door open and got out. Xander followed her into the night. There weren't any streetlights here, so the neighborhood was dark… and a little creepy. At one point, this was probably a middle-class area, but now the lawns were overgrown with weeds, and the house they had parked in front of had its windows broken out and boards nailed over the holes. But even with the darkness and the boarded windows and the general creepiness, this place still didn't seem right for a vampire lair. It was all gingerbready with fish-scale siding and fancy scrolling bits on the roof for god's sake.

Xander looked at Dalton, but she just gestured toward the front door before getting back into the van. Okay, Spike had obviously lost his mind to pick this place, but if he wanted a place no one would find him, this was as good as any because no way would a…

Xander stopped mid-thought. There wasn't a slayer left in town to look for him. Xander felt his throat tighten as he headed up the sidewalk and through the door which creaked painfully on rusted hinges. Inside, a camping lantern sat on a wide banister, casting just enough light to see the peeling floral wallpaper.

"Master?" he called into the dark. Something heavy dragged across a wooden floor.

"Hide the mice," Spike's voice hissed. Xander seriously hoped that was some sort of code word because he didn't have any mice to hide.

"Spike?" he tried again. This time, the vampire appeared in an archway, hanging on to both sides as he swayed unsteadily. For a second, Xander was stuck to the floor, too shocked to move. One side of Spike's face was a mass of black bruise, and dried blood had dried and caked down his side, leaving marks that looked suspiciously like something had ripped his ribcage open. "You need blood," Xander said as he finally found his voice and rushed forward.

"Too much blood. What are you doing here?" Spike blinked and seemed almost rational for a second.

"Dalton brought me, Master," Xander answered as he got his shoulder under Spike's arm and looked around desperately for anywhere that Spike could sit. The house seemed pretty empty, so Xander pulled him toward the stairs before Spike fell over.

"Dalton. You still have that portal?" Spike demanded, flashing into gameface, which looked even more terrifying that usual. With the bruising and the blood, it looked like a Halloween mask.


"You lose that portal and I'll bloody rip the skin from ya before I turn ya to dust," Spike snarled, his eyes darting around the room.

"Portal, yep, got a portal right here," Xander quickly agreed as he helped Spike down onto the stairs. Spike gripped the railing so tight that the wood groaned.

"Right. Things get dodgy, you get them out."

"Get them out, got it," Xander agreed as he pulled his shirt off. Spitting onto a corner, he started working the blood away from Spike's side. It looked like the skin had closed over, but it was still purpled and swollen under the skin. Spike hissed.

"Fail me and I'll bloody make ya wish ya were never turned. You get Xand and the bit away, you got it?"

"Got it," Xander agreed with a sinking feeling. Spike had gone into this thinking he was going to lose, and the big old fibber had totally lied. Stupid lying vampire.

"Be just like the old courts, having pets. But you lose 'em and ya'll find yourself starvin' in some dimension without walkin' happy meals wanderin' by every two minutes."

"Okay, as disturbing as this is, I'm thinking that's your idea of a backup plan, and can I say your backup plan sucks. I don't want Dalton. I want you." Xander muttered the words as he worked another section clean. For a second, Spike was silent, swaying lightly and blinking.

"Can't let Dalton know, though. Angelus knows, and that's bad enough. Tosser," Spike said as he lay back on the stairs and closed his eyes.

"Yep, Angelus the Tosser, that' s his official name. Well, that and Angelus the Poof or Peaches."

"Peaches," Spike gave a strangled laugh.

"What have you been drinking?" Xander asked. A strong arm grabbed him by the waist and pulled him down onto Spike, making Spike hiss in pain.

"God's blood," he whispered in a conspiratorial tone before laughing again. "Just don't tell Xander."

"Right, Xander will never know you're drunk off your ass. Spike, you need blood. Let me go get Dalton," Xander begged as he tried to pull away. Spike's hand tightened around him.

"Don't bloody care if Xander knows I’m pissed. He's seen me pissed plenty."

"That I have," Xander agreed, although he'd never actually seen Spike this drunk before.

"Just don't tell 'em that I bloody love him," Spike said before his head flopped back onto the stairs with a heavy thunk.

Xander stopped breathing for a second. "He already knows," he said as he stroked Spike's arm.

"Wouldn't go into battle with a soddin' god for the slayer, that's for sure. Boy's got knackers. Went up against Angelus for me, which is about as even a fight as me going up against a god."

Yeah, Xander had known that Spike loved him, but hearing him say it made his heart ache in an unfamiliar way. "I can't believe you went up against Glory just for me." Xander stared at Spike until his eyes fluttered open and looked at him.

"Who the bloody hell are you?" Spike asked, yellow bleeding into the blue.

"Nobody. Officially no one," Xander hurried to say. "You were just talking about Xander."

For a second, Spike looked confused and then he nodded amiably and let his head thunk back against the stairs. "Too much blood. Burns like fire in my veins. Can't even bloody heal properly."

"Maybe you should get the blood out of you, then," Xander suggested with more than a little panic, but Spike shook his head.

"Blood's power. Slayer died givin' me a chance ta get my fangs in her. Soddin' good death." Spike slurred the words. "Woulda liked ta face her, but it'd upset my Xander."

"Yeah, it would," Xander said as he started to put the pieces together. "What about the minions? Couldn't they distract her?" he asked. Why did Buffy think she had to sacrifice herself, not that Xander wanted it the other way around, either, but why did anyone have to die? Well, minions could die. Spike had said often enough that minions were cannon fodder, and Xander really was okay with them dying, but not Buffy. Not Buffy and not Spike.

Spike snorted. "Minions lasted about five minutes. Wankers. Slayer was a right treat, though. Didn't even flinch away from death. But the bitch-god didn't expect her to have a Master Vampire backin' her up. Gave us an edge."

Xander could feel the tears he had fought against slide down his face as he realized what had happened. Too tired to care about anything else, he lay his head down on Spike's shoulder and tried to ignore the scent of copper-blood that made him want to sneeze. For long minutes, they lay there on the stairs as the camp lantern flickered.

"Just get Xander and the bit clear. I'll follow if it goes tits over arse," Spike muttered. His hand found Xander's hair and started stroking it. "Won't lose him. Don't care if it makes me a tosser, I love the clod."

Xander lay still and let his tears run over his nose and drip onto Spike's chest as he slowly nodded. "Dawn and Xander are safe," he promised.

"Won't bloody forgive me if I don't at least try ta save the world. Bit'll never forgive me for letting her sis get killed. Xander'd better though. I'll put the boy in the cage until he forgives me. Tried my best," Spike was barely muttering the words through cracked lips.

"You don't need the cage. Xander forgives you," Xander promised as he planted a soft kiss on Spike's chest. "Xander knows you did everything you could. And you saved the world. Of course Xander is in love with a hero like you."

"Soddin' embarrassing saving the world."

"Well, as one of the saved, thank you," Xander said as he stroked Spike's chest, feeling the swelling and the flakes of blood crumbling under his fingers.

"Tired," Spike slurred as he squirmed on the step. Xander sat up and pulled on Spike until he got half turned around, his upper body lying in Xander's lap.

"Sleep," Xander whispered.

"Gotta watch for danger."

"Sleep," Xander repeated softly. "I'll watch out for you." Xander let his arm brush over Spike's cheek. The vampire's eyes twitched so that Xander saw a flash of blue, and then they fell closed. Xander sat on the stairs in the dark petting Spike until long after beams of light strained at every crack in every boarded-up window. They'd be okay. One way or another, they'd all be okay.


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Toys 13: Court Games

Xander considered the carving, feeling the hard wood of the gnarled root with his thumb as he tried to plan where to carve the swirls of the dress. Spike's hand reached down and played with a curl, and Xander had to smile. Yep, big, bad master of the hellmouth, and he'd spent two days on the phone to Thailand tracking down a source of old-growth teak. Xander decided where to carve and turned the piece before choosing a chisel. The teak was hard and unforgiving and took forever to shape under his hand, but it wasn't like he had a lot of other time commitments.

"My lord," a minion cringed forward. "Drokken have attacked at the wharf; they killed Carlos and David."

"Who?" Spike continued his steady petting, and didn't even bother looking up from the magazine he was flipping through.

"Two of your minions, my lord. The Drokken killed them. They're feeding."

"Oi, no one feeds 'round here without my say-so, do they?"

Xander glanced up at the fierce tone in Spike's voice, and the various minions and floppy-eared attendants shrank back, all offering some variation on 'not a chance in hell.'

"Someone find out if we have weapons from Pylea or Rukstabar." At Spike's words, a small red-haired minion dashed out of the room, nearly colliding with Dalton who was just coming in.

"Lord Spike," she said respectfully, but where other vampires would come into the room cringing and bowing and occasionally still turning to dust for not being respectful enough, Dalton merely lowered her gaze and tilted her head toward her sire.

"Looks like you and I are going to have a little fun tomorrow," Spike said as he threw the magazine down to the floor.


"Fucking Drokken think they can hunt in my territory. I figure we're going to teach them a little different. Do we still have any of those Hellions I was keepin' around to torture?"

"No, sire. You killed the last of them a few days ago."

"Bloody hell. I was plannin' on letting one earn his freedom just so it'd get out about me taking out the whole gang."

"Willie has told many people the story," Dalton said, and Spike nodded at that. "I do not wish to interrupt, but Master Angel from L.A. wishes to speak with you, my lord."

Xander damn near sent the chisel into his thumb at that bit of news. Angel. Oh yeah, this was so not good. Spike had been sprawled over the recliner that passed as his throne, but now he sat up.

"Peaches is here?" he asked casually, but his hand on Xander's head stilled.

"Yes, sire."

"Well, show him in, and find a seat for him." Most of the remaining minions scattered from the room. "Just not too comfortable," Spike shouted after them.

Xander carefully put his chisel down, and let his fingers rub the raw edge of the new cuts as he watched Angel walk in. By keeping his head down, he could hide behind a curtain of hair and watch the way he often watched the court while pretending to plan one of his carvings. Angel glanced his way before his gaze settled on Spike.

"William," he said slowly, his tone nowhere near respectful. The minion who had appeared in the doorway with a hard kitchen-style chair stopped, his eyes wide.

"Go on then, he can't sit in the chair if you stand there holding it, wanker," Spike growled. The minion quickly came in and put the chair down. Then he turned and just about ran for the door, but he didn't run faster than the edge of Dalton's sword, which neatly took off his head at the doorway, leaving dust to settle to the ground.

"Ta," Spike smiled at Dalton. She put her sword away and took her place standing next to the door. Last time Dalton and Angel had been in the same room, Dalton had cowered away from the broody one, but now she stood impassively, watching him until Angel finally sat in the chair. Xander suspected his own pillows on the ground were a whole lot more comfortable than the straight backed, wooden chair, but then Spike liked him more than Angel.

"Right, what brings you 'round here? L.A. run out of hair-gel?" Spike leaned back and threw a leg over the arm of his chair again. Putting the expensive Bangkok wood behind the chair where the carving wouldn't get ruined in case the two vampires decided to beat the shit out of each other, Xander leaned against his master's chair and just silently watched.

"You took over the hellmouth," Angel eventually answered.

"You came all the way down here to point that out, did you?"

"No, I came to ask what the hell you think you're doing."

"Acting like a real vamp, not some souled up excuse for one."

"By taking over a hellmouth?"

"Oi, look Peaches, you're here as a guest. If you're plannin' on challenging me, then let's get on with it. Otherwise, you're bein' more than a little impolite."

Angel sighed. "I don't want to fight you, Spike."

"Right then, there's nothing more to discuss."

"Yes, there is," Angel growled as he leaned forward.

"Pet, gettin' bored here, so go on, do your thing," Spike ordered with a tug on a curl.

Xander blinked up in surprise. Do his thing? His thing? In front of Angel? Oh yeah, that wasn't going to be awkward, not at all. For a blank second, Xander stared up, his whole brain on strike at the passing thought of doing his thing for Angel. Nope, badness lay that way, badness where Angel intentionally let Angelus come creeping forward, and Angelus and his thing were definitely not thinging together.

"Pet," Spike rumbled, and that tone sent Xander scrambling up before the last of his brain cells could leave the picket line.

"Xander, you don’t have to…" Angel started to say.

"He bloody well does. He's my pet, isn't he?" Spike immediately cut him off.

"He's a human being."

"Exactly. In case you've forgotten, wanker, humans rate somewhere below vamps in court."

"Don't think I won't stake you," Angel warned darkly. Xander moved fast to stop the coming fight the only way he knew how. Pulling the t-shirt off as fast as he could, he tossed it to the side and faced his master. Imagining some slow song with lots of long trumpet notes, he started undulating his hips, arching his back as he brought his hand up to play with the gold ring threaded through one nipple.


Xander ignored Angel's voice as he allowed his eyes to slowly close, the heat from his nipple sending threads of need and want and hunger through him, erasing all his other feelings. Tugging harder on the ring, Xander hissed with pleasure and pain as he arched his back and started rocking from side to side.

The low sound of a slow piano made him pause for a second, but when he turned, Dalton was standing near the radio and a horn now joined the piano. Letting himself sink into the slow beat, Xander rolled his hips and let his fingers skim over his stomach down to the waist of his sweatpants.

"Xander, I know you don't want to do this," Angel said, but his voice was a long way away, and Xander focused on Spike's yellow eyes as he slipped a thumb under the waistband and slowly, teasingly slid backwards away from the hungry gaze.

"Spike, just call this off. This isn't why I came." Angel's voice had as much effect on Spike as it did on Xander. His yellow eyes didn't even flicker to the older vampire as Xander slowly started easing the pants down. The music shifted into something with a stronger beat, and Xander now moved his feet in time with the soft drums. The pants slid over his cock, the cotton stroking the exposed bits between the leather harness Spike had added that morning.

Throwing his head back, Xander gasped through the sensation, indulging in rubbing the sensitive shaft with the soft cotton several times before he finally pushed the waistband to his thighs. Rather than just shove the pants off, Xander raised his arm and started dancing: slow and sway and rhythm and sex. When Spike leaned forward, Xander danced a retreat, always teasing and promising what he kept just out of reach. If Spike wanted him, he was going to have to come and get him.

Xander flexed his stomach, watching his own cock struggle to harden within the leather straps that contained it. Slowly, he turned so that Spike had a view of his back, still dancing to the soft beat. The piano player skimmed over the keys, the notes going lower and lower, and Xander sank gracefully lower with him, bending and swaying until finally the pants yielded to gravity and slipped to the floor.

With his tail free, Xander stepped out of the pants and started turning, his hips circling and his tail switching from side to side. The curls slid across the back of his legs sending shivers through his body. Xander surrendered to the sensual beat, sliding his hands over his hips, up to touch a nipple, down to brush the hot flesh trapped within the leather, around to his back where stray hairs from his tail tickled the backs of his fingers. Xander brought a hand up to his mouth and let fingers brush over his lips before he swung around to peek at Spike through nearly closed eyes.

The vampire watched with gold eyes, and Xander let his fingers wander to his mark, to the shoulder that had a constellation of scars, each point a tidy proof that a vampire had cared about him enough to feed and stop without killing. He could feel the scar-dots like Braille etched into his skin and Xander trembled with a sudden need to be tackled and taken.

He ducked his head and watched his master as he slowly danced closer, tempting his master with every small step. Xander turned again, arching his neck to the side to show his marks even as he twisted with the music. And yep, that was Angel watching him with yellow eyes. A little part of Xander babbled in fear, but his master had said to do his thing for Angel.

Casting a longing look over his shoulder, Xander slowly danced away from his master. He could see Spike's fingers sunk into the leather of the chair so deeply that they were so going to need a new chair, but Spike just watched. Taking that as permission, Xander focused on Angel, watching the older vampire physically jerk when Xander tugged on his own nipple and hissed. Angel shook his head like an oversized dog trying to dry off, and his demonic features faded, leaving only Angel who now looked both broody and worried.

Xander smiled as he danced closer. "Master says to do my thing for you. Which thing do you think he wants me to do?" Xander whispered, knowing that vamp hearing would catch every syllable. Angel swallowed.

The music shifted to something more upbeat, and Xander danced faster, a light sweat now cooling him as let his physical needs rule his hands. He reached down and stroked his bare balls, trembling as he spread his feet without breaking the rhythm of the dance. His tail twitched up higher, the ends of the curls whipping around his cock, teasing it with just enough sensation to make it struggle against its restraints.

"Xander," Angel strangled the word, and Xander danced closer.

"Yes, Master Angel?" he asked sweetly. One of the wooden arms of the chair cracked under Angel's grip.

"Right then, got some business." Spike's voice broke the mood, and Dalton immediately turned the music off. Xander went to return to his cushions, but Spike held out a hand to stop him where he was, standing in front of Angel. "Angel, I'll let you pet-sit, but if you fuck him, you will beg for death before I'm through."

Angel might have had something to say to that, but by the time he actually opened his mouth, Spike and Dalton were gone. Xander was left standing nude in front of Angel, and the older vamp couldn't do anything except blink. Xander smiled. Funny, he used to be the one who couldn't sort out his thoughts around Angel. The guy would show up, and Xander would suddenly feel like the loser, the Zeppo, the idiot who couldn't even catch Buffy's eye. Shoe was on the other foot now, well, except for the part where Xander didn't wear shoes.

"So, Deadboy, how have you been?" Xander asked. Suddenly, being naked in front of Angel felt pretty darn empowering. Angel's eyes focused on a spot on the wall behind Xander and way above his head.

"Xander, maybe you should get dressed."

Xander shrugged. "I got ordered to undress and I haven't heard any new orders, so I'm fine like this."

"Xander, I'm telling you to get dressed."

"Funny, I'm telling you 'no'," Xander countered. Angel gave a dramatic sigh and his gaze dropped down to Xander's eyes before Angel immediately focused on that spot on the wall again.

"So," Xander asked, "why the roadtrip to Sunnydale? I mean, couldn't you have come when Buffy needed you instead of waiting until now?" Xander knew he was poking a sore spot, but he didn't expect Angel to leap up from the chair in full game-face. The chair slid backwards and then tipped over with a clatter. A single minion stuck his head in and then immediately disappeared.

"And where were you? You picked Spike over your friends," Angel snarled.

"I was with Dawn--Dalton and Spike's minions and I were all with Dawn while Spike fought a hellgod with Buffy." Xander didn't back down, and for a second, he thought Angel was going to grab him or eviscerate him or something. Instead he just backed up with a look of alarm, his demon features vanishing.

"And now Spike has claimed the hellmouth," Angel said quietly. "Convenient."

"Is that what you think?" Xander asked.

"That's what Willow thinks." Angel's answer shocked Xander into silence. He stared at Angel and then glanced toward the door, wondering whether that random minion had been close enough to hear.

"Don't say that," Xander whispered. "Don't even suggest that Willow is undermining Spike."

"Why, don't you trust Spike?"

"Yeah, I trust him to keep this hellmouth safe, which means anyone who opposes him is going to end up hanging from his private torture chamber until Spike feels merciful enough to put them out of their misery," Xander pointed out. "But you know that. You know what it takes to control a territory, which is why you never did. Angelus didn't have the balls to claim something this big."

Angel growled, but Xander refused to back down. Yeah, Angel had the strength and the clothes, and probably the weapons, but Xander had the bitter truth.

"Watch your mouth, boy."

"You aren't my master, so you don't get to tell me what to watch. What are you doing here, Angel? It's too late for you to help anyone, and the hellmouth hasn't been this peaceful since Buffy came, so I'm thinking you have to have some reason for just showing up." Xander turned around and walked the length of the room to his own nest of pillows sitting next to Spike's chair. Dropping down into them, he pulled out his carving and started running his fingers over the cool wood.

"I came to help you, you and Willow and Tara."

"We don't need help."

"Do all of you agree with that?" Angel stepped forward, and Xander looked up from his carving.

"I know it. I think Tara knows it. She knows that Spike is happier beating up on demons than humans. She knows he's feeding at least some of the time on the humans he took from the two suck houses. They're in heaven. They have two master vampires who will feed off them and pet them and leave them chained up in nice big rooms with comfy beds and televisions and fresh food. You're welcome to try and save them, but I doubt they'll go," Xander shrugged.

"And the other vampires, the minions, do they leave their victims alive? The Xander Harris I know would have done anything to stop a vampire from killing a human being."

Xander thought about that for a second. "There are fewer vampires on the hellmouth now than ever before. And the high school and grade school and the Bronze are no-hunt zones, so if the minions want a crowd to pick from, they have to go to the gambling places or whorehouses down by the docks."

"So, if the vampires kill people you don't approve of, you're okay with that?" Angel demanded as he stepped so close that Xander had to look up at him.

"No, I'm not okay with it, but I've done everything in my power to save people, and right now, the hellmouth is safer than it ever was when you were here, so I'm calling that pretty good."

"Xander," Angel sighed the word, making it perfectly clear what he thought of that logic.

"Nope, not listening. You just came here because you-know-who said something stupid to you."

"She's concerned. Buffy's gone, Giles is back in England, and no one is doing anything about Spike."

"Lots of someones have tried to do something about Spike. Demons who, if they had taken over the hellmouth, would have killed lots and lots of people have tried to do something about Spike. They all lost," Xander pointed out. And it was true. Buffy had just slayed, but Spike had to prove a point. Since he wasn't showing everyone the size of his knackers by trying to harness the hellmouth or open it, he was making his point through creative torture of any demon who challenged him. Gross to the extreme, but from a demon point of view, it made perfect sense, and sometimes Xander worried that the demon point of view really did make a lot more sense to him these days than Willow.

"So, you're going to help a demon rule the hellmouth?" Angel's voice was flat.

"Who would you nominate? Willow?" Xander looked up, waiting for an answer.

Angel nodded. "If she could develop enough control over her magic to defend the hellmouth, she would be a good choice."

Xander snorted. "You've been gone too long, Deadboy."

"And you've lost all perspective," Angel snapped.

"Did you ask her what she tried to do to Buffy?" Xander pushed himself up and stepped into Angel's personal space, his anger threatening to boil over. "Did she tell you how Spike stopped her in the middle of a ceremony to bring Buffy back? She slaughtered a fawn, and let me tell you, the Willow I know would not have killed Bambi. But this Willow, she was big with the slaughter."

"She thinks she can bring Buffy back?" Angel's voice was small, and the spark of hope in his eyes almost made Xander ill.

"Damn it," he poked his finger in Angel's chest. "You are a moron. You're no better than Willow. Did you even think about where Buffy is now?"

"Did I… what?"

"Spike hired some shaman guy. Buffy's in heaven. She's up there finally at peace, and Willow wants to drag her back down here just because she doesn't want things to change, and now you're on that bandwagon. Hey, who cares if we rip Buffy out of her eternal reward, let's just drag her back down here so we don't have to move on with life."

"Xander," Angel held his hands up defensively, and Xander poked him harder in the chest with a closed fist.

"Fuck you, Angel. You walked away. Giles walked away. Hell, before..." Xander choked for a second before continuing in a voice slightly above a whisper. "Buffy and Willow had already walked away from more than one thing. Life's change, and everyone was all ready to move on and now, now that you guys don't have things the way you want them, now you want to undo time. It doesn't work like that." Xander followed Angel who had retreated a step and took another poke at his chest. "You want to come here and tell us what we can't do, but you aren't going to be around when things fall apart. You fucking walked, and now you don't get to come in here and tell us what to do."

"I'm trying to help," Angel said as he backed off another step. Xander followed and made this poke a little harder than the others.

"You're trying to do something to get over the guilt of walking away from her, of failing her. Spike stood next to her when she died and you were off somewhere playing detective, and now you want to come in here and…"

"You don't know anything, boy," Angel interrupted.

"Oh is this where you go Angelusy? Are you going to make me agree with you or break a bone or two?"

"Why does everyone think I've lost my soul every time I get angry?" Angel rolled his eyes. "No, I'm not going to let Angelus out, but you're playing with fire here. It's one thing to do this with Spike, but you're the pet in a court now. Do you have any idea what that means?"

"Yep," Xander said with confidence.


"Stuff a sock in it Angel. Look, I'll give you the Cliff's Notes version: Spike is keeping this place pretty darn safe, Willow's freaking me out more than Spike ever will, Buffy is dead and she deserves to stay dead, and I'm not going anywhere."

"And what if Spike gets dusted? Have you considered that he is not invincible?" Angel demanded.

"Things happen all the time. I could get hit by lightening, but I don't plan on it and I'm not worrying about it. Spike's tougher than one hellmouth. And if something did happen, I do understand a court. Dalton could take me for a pet, hand me over to the minions, or add me to the stable of humans from the suck house. Okay, the minions option is on my list of things to avoid, but options A and C are still better than where I was before I met Spike. So really, feel free to take your over-gelled, stick-up-your-ass self and leave." Xander gave Angel one more solid thump on the chest for good measure.

For several minutes, Angel looked at him, dark eyes searching for something. "Tell Spike I had to get back to L.A."

Angel turned and in a swirl of trench coat, he was out the door. Xander could feel his heart still pounding, adrenaline and anger made his fists curl even though there wasn't anyone left to hit.

"Bloody hell, now that was the sexiest dance you've ever done for me," a familiar voice came from the shadows of a door hidden within a recess on the far side of the room.

"Master? But I thought you had business?" Xander looked over in confusion.

"Did. I wanted to see my ponce of a sire get his arse handed to him by my pet. Ya did perfect. Punching him was a mite unexpected, but I appreciated it," Spike stepped forward, a smirk in place as he held out his hand in a familiar gesture. Xander moved to his side, leaning into Spike as a strong arm slipped around his waist. "Don't rightly want to kill Peaches, but he needed to know the score here."

"Wait, Willow," Xander could feel panic crawling up his stomach.

"Calm down, pet. I've always known the witch was schemin' behind my back. We can't be a proper court without some politics behind the scenes. You'll just have to distract me from my righteous anger." Spike walked them both back to the chair with the nest of pillows next to it.

"Distract you? Are you really that distractible?"

"No, I'm really not, so you're going to have to work hard if you want to keep me too busy to worry about the witch and her plots."

"Spike," Xander said seriously as he let Spike pull him down on his lap.

"No, pet." Spike's fingers rested on Xander's lips. "Don't you go getting all serious on me because that's no way to distract your master."

Xander ducked his head and paused for a second, letting go of the anger and the fear and accepting that Spike would do what he had to. But by pleasing Spike, Xander could certainly tilt the scales. Xander slowly smiled and looked up at Spike through his lashes. Spike's hand moved to rest on Xander's thighs.

"Master is too tense," Xander murmured as he opened one button on the dark blue shirt. Leaning down, he kissed the new skin that appeared. Slowly, he unbuttoned and kissed every inch, and the whole time, Spike grew harder while keeping his hands steady on Xander's thighs.

"Thought you were going to distract me," Spike challenged him, but his voice came out breathy and his eyes were yellow. Xander pushed the silk away from the smooth skin and bent down to take a nipple in his mouth. He sucked, feeling Spike's body tense under him. After several seconds, Xander nipped the pebbled flesh nearly hard enough to break skin. Spike bucked and cursed.

Smiling at his victory, Xander moved to the other nipple while his fingers worked on Spike's jeans. When he finally got them open, Spike's cock pushed eagerly out of them. Xander repeated the bite to Spike's left nipple before trailing kisses down over his stomach.

One more bite over Spike's hip, and Xander was on his knees in front of Spike's chair on level with his cock. Xander licked a trail up the underside and then breathed softly on it as he smelled the musk that was such a familiar scent.

"Bloody hell, get on with it," Spike said, his fingers dug deeply into the chair. Xander ignored him as he repeated the gentle move on first one ball and then the other. The slow torture would break Spike far faster than anything else. Xander took just the head of the twitching cock in his mouth and used his tongue to explore every fold and crease of the foreskin. He could feel it tighten in his mouth, and he hummed his appreciation.

Xander had planned to sink onto Spike's cock after that, to press his nose to the tightly curled hair between Spike's legs. Instead he found himself sprawled stomach down on his pillows, Spike's body covering his and pinning him to the ground as he pulled out the plug Xander always wore.

Without any further prep, Spike slammed in, making Xander arch his back and struggle up to his knees. Spike pulled out, and this time when he slammed forward, Xander pushed back, his eyes nearly rolling back in his head at the feeling of being filled and the tightness around his cock. Xander started humping the air, his half-filled cock dangling uselessly as he moved in time with Spike.

Spike's fingers dug bruises into Xander's hips, controlling the movement until Spike drove in and started coming. Heat seared Xander's shoulder as Spike fed again, and the sensations from the two ends sent Xander crashing helplessly into his mountain of pillows. Spike held him down and Xander twitched, his hands fisting pillows. Spike pulled his fangs out and licked the small wounds closed.

"I think that might distract me," Spike muttered as he remained laying on Xander's back.

"I'm distracted," Xander agreed. Spike laughed and gave Xander's hip a slap as he pulled out. The emptiness made Xander wiggle and the plug was back, not filling him, but at least he didn't feel hollow.

"I might even be distracted enough to let someone come tonight," Spike said casually.

"Master," Xander breathed hopefully, "I did punch Angel."

"Several times, as I recall," Spike agreed. "Get your arse into the bedroom, and let's see what we can do about that problem you've had for the last week."

Xander didn't even wait for Spike to get up. He scrambled out of the nest of pillows which were now scattered across the floor and nearly tripped over his teak carving as he darted for the bedroom he shared with Spike. Behind him, Spike laughed as he followed.


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Toys 14: Spells, Charms, and God's Blood

"Master Spike," the quiet witch said as she came through the door. The last minion was still begging for mercy, so Spike struck the stake deep into his heart before he turned to Tara.

"Pet," he said in his friendliest voice. It didn't seem to reassure her because she stumbled back a half step.

"Dalton said you wanted to sssee me." Spike could hear the cold edge of fear in her voice, but the bint had steel under that. Not everyone would have come when summoned. Willy had to be dragged between two minions and he was still babbling and begging the whole way. Spike had thought the snitch was going to wet his pants before he'd gone running back out, the minions laughing behind him.

"Yeah, figured you and I had to have a little talk." Spike retreated to his armchair and dropped into it. The television was blank, the music was off, all the other vamps had been exiled and Xander was tucked into bed after a hard night of entertaining Spike, so it was just the two of them. Spike had even told Dalton to make herself scarce.

"Tttalk?" Tara asked, and now the fear was etched into her body language.

"Bloody hell, Glinda, only want to talk, and I mean talking. If I wanted ta pull your intestines out, I'd come right out and say it."

"I suppose you would," she said with just a touch of humor, and at least this time she managed without stuttering as she stepped farther into the room where a second chair waited for her. "I just didn't expect you to call for me."

"You know the deal, luv. If I want to hold the hellmouth, I have to show that any power in this town is under my control, you and Red included."

"I understand," Tara nodded.

"You have enough money? Dalton tells me that Red's working over at that magic shop. I don't want you working and ignoring the nibblet."

"Willow needs to get out of the house. We don't actually need the money. Besides, Dawn's over here two or three nights a week and in school during the day, so she isn't home that often."

"Yeah, but she needs someone stable, and that's you, pet. If I had time, I'd find that worthless father of hers and tie his intestines around his neck for him," Spike growled.

"That isn't necessary."

"No, but it'd give me great pleasure…. Well, until the bit found out anyway," Spike shrugged stopping just short of saying that Hank Summers was safe because Spike wouldn't have his girl upset with him. Tara studied him and nodded.

"How's Red doing?" Spike asked casually.

"Willow?" Tara almost squeaked the word.

"Yeah, her. How's she doing?"


"Still plotting ta kill me?"

"Ssshe…. Willow wouldn't kkkill anyone," Tara stuttered, but Spike figured most humans would if they were in the middle of a vampire lair and had just been caught plotting to kill the vampire. Of course, from what Dawn had said, Willow made the plans while Tara and Dawn pointed out all the problems with the plan.

"Yeah, but I'm not an anyone, am I? I'm one more soulless demon, and she's killed plenty of those."

"We aren't… we wouldn't."

"You wouldn't. I think you have more sense than that, but Red… I'm trusting my instincts, which say she's out for blood."

"Dawn," Tara breathed the word, her eyes going wide, and Spike knew he'd never convince her to believe some lie.

"Dawn understands that I need to know what Willow's up to. If people start thinking she's a free agent, they're going to wonder just how weak I am for not controlling her."

"She's told you what Wwwillow said." Tara brought her hands up to her mouth, and now the smell of fear—of terror—spread though the room.

"Yeah, and in return I told her I wouldn't ever hurt Willow based on what she said."

"You won't?" Tara sounded spectacularly confused.

"No, I bloody well won't. And I know that you're not part of this stupidity, so you've got my word that you're safe as long as you stay out of this shite."

"But Willow…"

"I won't hurt the witch based on what Dawn has told me, but you have to know the only reason why she'd bring home a Grakt horn."

Tara nodded unhappily.

"Right then, so I figure I've got a couple of options. I thought about grabbin' her and finding her a nice padded room with a good ankle chain, but you and I both know that the kind of magics she's digging into don't even necessarily need supplies."

Again, Tara nodded unhappily. Spike knew from long conversations with Dawn that Willow was scaring both her and Tara. They both tried to remind the witch that they were supposed to fight against the darkness and not embrace it, but Dawn had cried as she talked about how they just couldn't reach Willow anymore. For one second, Spike had considered taking Dawn away from the witches and giving her to Clem and a couple of his cousins from court, but the girl needed human company, and the humans in his stable were not enough.

"It comes down to this, pet. I'm going to rely on you to help make sure that your little friend doesn't do something we'd all regret."

Tara looked up sharply. "I can't… I won't hurt her."

"I wouldn't ask you to, luv. But the fact is you have more magic than you've let on to her, and it's time you used it."

Tara shook her head. "I'm not that powerful."

"Fucking hell, do you think I'm an idiot?" Spike roared, and Tara stumbled back several steps, her hands fluttering up to her neck as though she expected Spike to grab her and start feeding. "You let her feed from your magic. You leave your barriers down, but how long will it be before she figures it out? How long before she realizes that she can have all the power she wants and more power than she can handle if she just kills you? It'd be so easy, just cut that tiny connection between your life and your magic, and it would float like a bloated pig right into her. Or what if some demon catches you out after dark, some newcomer who doesn't know that you're under my protection? You're playing fucking games on my hellmouth."

"I didn't… I I I just wanted…"

"I don't fucking care what you want," Spike pushed himself out of his chair and closed the distance between them. Tara backed to the wall, her legs trembling. "Tell me what would happen if Red got all your power right now!"

Tara stared at him. "I I I dddon't know," she eventually managed.

"Think it through," Spike suggested darkly. He watched Tara swallow, her hands flutter around her neck, her heart pound wildly as her gaze flickered around the room. Eventually her eyes found him.

"Ssshe'd bring Buffy back."

"Yeah, and that'd be entertaining, watching the slayer come stumbling out of heaven. And what else?"

"She'd kill you," Tara said a little more firmly.

"Yeah, pet, she would. And I doubt the slayer would be much good after gettin' ripped out of heaven, and Dalton's not old enough or strong enough to hold a hellmouth, not for another century yet. That means that every big bad with an agenda would head straight for good old Sunnyhell. Could she hold the hellmouth from all those challengers?"

"Yes, but using that much power…"

"She'd bloody destroy herself and you," Spike finished. He turned and headed back for his chair. "Red's got power, but you're offerin' to turn her into somethin' dark opening up yourself like that. Takes some bad mojo to feed off other people, and you're trainin' her to do just that," Spike said calmly. Tara didn't answer him, but then he figured she had some thinking to do.

"Right then, so let's get to the practical side of this meeting. First, you're going to do a spell ta protect your powers. You should probably do a set of basic protective spells over yourself as well."

"Willow wouldn't hurt me."

"Before? Maybe not. But you're about to cut her off from her magic battery. I wouldn't count on that bein' the case in the future. She's addicted, pet. She's addicted to the darkness she can feel creepin' in every time she does some big spell, and she doesn't even know why. But feedin' off someone else, it's an evil act. And she's doin' it every time she pulls on that source of power she can feel just below her skin. You cut her off from that, and she's going to panic."

"I don't know…"

"Luv, I didn't give you a choice. You either do the spell right here, or I have a shaman upstairs. He did the magical trace on Willow's power, and I promised that if ya weren't the obedient little witch who did what her master ordered that he could feed off your power and drain it. He's already evil, so I don't imagine it do him much harm." Spike watched Tara tremble, her eyes involuntarily darting up to the ceiling. If she used her magic to reach out, she would find Dromac, his dark energy threatening to suck up her own.

When her eyes came back down to Spike, she nodded, the iron in her once again showing. "I'll do the spells."

Spike gestured toward a cabinet sitting on the edge of the room. Silently, Tara went and retrieved the magical equipment and supplies, laying it out in the center of the room and drawing a chalk circle before she started whispering her spells.

Watching the witch work, Spike had to admire her thoroughness. Magical barriers, memory charms, shields against tracking, charms to prevent her magic from being siphoned, mystical alarms if someone tried to access her powers: one after another Tara whispered the spells, and the room glowed with light that sank into her skin. Spike's demon recoiled from the white magic and the persistent feeling of goodness and guilt that swirled around the room. The witch had attracted so much of the white magics that Spike could feel his own memories start to pull at him as though he were his souled wanker of a sire. The feeling made him vamp out until finally Tara finished, the last of the magics fading into her skin.

"It's done," Tara said, still staring at the candle in front of her with her hair hanging in front of her face.

"Now, there's the matter of the Grakt horn."

But Tara was already shaking her head. "Willow has protections on it. I can't get it without going through her."

"Yeah, I figured, luv. And if I send Dromac, someone's going to get hurt." Tara glanced up for just a second, but in that second, Spike could see that if it came down to a choice, Tara would drop those shields and let Willow feed from her again to save her from Dromac. The best thing for Spike was to let things play out, let Tara see Willow through the withdrawal, and maybe then she'd realize how much she was hurting the witch through her attempt to take care of her and provide for her.

"So, you're going to do a protective charm for me."

Tara looked up at him, confused. "A shield?" she clarified.

"No, a protective charm," Spike repeated. She drew her brows together at that.

"Master Spike," she said carefully, "I can't do white magic like a protective charm without…" She verbally stumbled into silence.

"Oi, I'm evil. Not like you're telling me something I don't know," Spike rolled his eyes at her attempts not to insult him. He'd be insulted if she suggested that she could use his own soul as the anchor for a protective charm. Instead he picked up the wood carving that normally sat next to his chair. He fingered the cool wood for a second before standing up and taking it to Tara, crouching in front of her.

Still confused, she took the piece and ran her fingertips over the perfectly carved features. "It's Buffy," she said softly. It was Buffy, but not like Spike had ever seen her. She was smiling, her body twisting as if caught mid-twirl and a long skirt from an elegant evening gown twirled around her feet. Spike could even see the muscles in her back and the fingers as they disappeared into the folds of the skirt she was holding as though she were a child playing dress up and fingering the silk. "It's beautiful."

"My boy made it for me," Spike said proudly. "The minions think it's a tribute to me taking my third slayer."

"But you didn't kill--. Oh, of course," Tara corrected herself.

"Yeah, wouldn't seem very proper for a vampire ta just about get himself dusted tryin' to save the slayer, would it?" Spike almost whispered the words. He had done his best. He'd thrown everything into that fight and the slayer had still died, and he'd come fucking close to following her, but Tara'd been there, so he didn't need to explain that to her.

"Spike, I don't understand."

"Want you to use the carving as a fetish. Center the spell on that, and use Xander to anchor it."

"Spike, if you do that, you can't use any dark magic to protect yourself, no hexes or shields or anything else." She looked up at Spike with concern. "White magic and dark magic don't coexist well."

"Yeah, I told Dromac to nullify his work as soon as you've done the spell," Spike agreed. "He'll leave the spells on the lair and on good old Sunnyhell proper, but I'm counting on your spell to protect me. If Red throws around the sort of dark magic a Grakt horn channels, I want white magic here to shield me from it."

"But Spike, the spell…. White magic like that requires a powerful energy source."

"You don't think he loves me," Spike sat back. He'd expect an argument like that from Rupert, but Tara surprised him.

"I think he needs you. I think he's content here," Tara hurried to say. "I can weave a spell from that, but it won't be strong."

"I'm willing to trust the boy's feelings, so you just do your spell."

"I'm not sure…. There are a couple of spells I could try," Tara said softly, biting her lip indecisively.

"Pick the strongest."

"The stronger the spell, the more it requires—" Tara stopped.

Spike leaned forward. "My boy loves me, so you pick the strongest spell, and you let Xander do his part."

"Does he know?"

"Wot? That his childhood best friend is tryin' to kill me and set the whole world on its ear? That Red has lost her fucking mind and is losing her soul by inches? No," Spike said firmly, and he glared at Tara to make it perfectly clear that no one would be telling Xander. The boy worried enough knowing half the truth; he didn't need any more.

"The spell I used when I came here. It protected me from my family's magic so they had to physically find me, and it stopped them from using magic to force me home."

"Yeah? Good one then?"

"You would have to share a memory."

"What kind of memory?" Spike narrowed his eyes and studied the witch, but she wasn't giving any of the signs of double-crossing him.

"A memory that you know is based on love. We'll use the carving and that memory to turn Xander's love into a protective charm."

"I haven't heard of this one," Spike said carefully. After a century with Dru and the first Dalton, Spike had heard of most magics, but then the vampires weren't likely to go delving into white magic, were they?

"It's strong, but if his love falters…"

"It won't," Spike said confidently. It was probably the first time in his life or his unlife that he could say that.

"Let me get the supplies together." Tara shifted up to her knees and started rearranging the candles. Giving her room to work, Spike headed toward the door and leaned against it, lighting a cigarette as he watched her work. She needed a memory that was about love. Spike sorted through them. He had dozens that would work: sleepy mornings playing with the boy's tail, sitting in some club watching the boy tease him, the relief when Spike had left some wanker bleeding but alive just because Xander wanted it, the look in Xander's eyes when he said he'd help the slayer. One by one, Spike sorted his memories until he chose the one strong enough to make a charm that even Willow couldn't break.

"I'm ready," Tara said. She had rearranged the candles, and a small pot of herbs sat in front of her on the left side, the carving on her right.

"Where do you want me?"

"In front, inside the circle," Tara said. Stepping across the salt circle, Spike could feel that creeping sensation under his skin again, and he vamped out immediately.

"Are you—"

"Too much white magic. It's fine," Spike growled, but he forced his demon back and plopped down where Tara had left him space between two white candles.

"Start by telling me the story and the magic will start to pull the memory out. I'll use that to anchor the charm and set it in the carving."

"But I'll still remember," Spike said, suddenly alarmed. This was one memory he didn't want to lose.

"Yes. You're just sharing it," Tara nodded. "You'll remember, but because I'm doing the spell, I'll remember too. The memory will have to go through me."

"Right." Spike paused for a second. "If you use any of this against me, anything you're about to see, I will rip your intestines out, turn ya, and then torture you to dust," he warned. Tara paled a little, but she nodded.

Spike thought back to the dark house, the way the walls kept sliding away from him, the thoughts that tripped through his mind like drunken ghosts. Blood on his tongue, but not human, not right. He pulled back and Dalton seemed to shimmer into existence out of thin air, her neck bleeding as she crouched in front of him. For a second, he hated her, although he couldn't think why. And then that hate evaporated and he pulled her up into his arms, guiding her fangs to his own neck. She hesitated for a second before taking the offering.

"Sire," she breathed when he pulled her hair away, forcing her to stop.

"Bring my boy," he ordered. Dalton turned into a giant rat that squeaked and clicked before she just faded, leaving him alone with the other rats who whispered lies about keys and souls and dark-eyed boys.

"Master?" a familiar voice called.

"Hide the mice," Spike hissed at the ghosts that circled. He wouldn't have them soddin' lying to his boy.

"Spike?" the boy didn't usually use his name. That was for private moments when the boy would whisper his name. Spike staggered to the door, wondering if the boy had started without him, using his name like that.

The boy was standing in the dark hall, his head two sizes too large and his eyes blinking owlishly. "You need blood," Xander told him.

Spike shook his head. "Too much blood." Too bloody much much blood. Fucking hellgod. Fire for blood. Glutted on blood. Should give some to the boy. Or Dalton. Give some blood to Dalton. Spike shook his head and forced himself back to the reality in front of him. "What are you doing here?"

Xander's head shrunk to half size, and Spike felt a vague urge to vomit, something he hadn't done since he'd been that wanker William. "Dalton brought me, Master."

Snakes grabbed Spike and pulled at him, and Spike snarled, baring his teeth before the snakes became Xander's arms and he collapsed onto the stairs. Dalton. She shouldn't be bringin' the boy, she was supposed to get them the fuck out. Burning. It was all burning. "Dalton!" Spike snarled, and the vampiress' face floated in the air. "You still have that portal?"

"Portal?" Dalton looked at him confused, and Spike felt rage burn through him. He had to get his boy safe.

"You lose that portal and I'll bloody rip the skin from ya before I turn ya to dust," Spike promised as he reached out to grab Dalton's throat, but the image just floated back out of reach. If she started picking up those poncy habits like Drac, floating around like a fucking princess, he was so staking her, even if she was the most controlled and intelligent vamp he'd met in a hundred years. Even Angelus approved of her as a childe.

"Portal, yep, got a portal right here." For a second, Xander's face flashed inside Dalton's features, and Spike felt terror rip up his back that Dalton had eaten his boy. But Xander's warm hands were still on him, anchoring him, so Xander had to be alive. Spike cocked his head at Dalton, and she returned to her own ghostly form.

"Right. Things get dodgy, you get them out," he ordered his childe. Childe. Never thought he'd have one of those. Most vamps just annoyed him too much. He'd have dusted himself that's for sure. For a second, Spike was confused at the idea of siring his own human self William, but he shook the confusion off with a definite belief that he would have staked himself.

"Get them out, got it," Dalton agreed in a Xander voice.

"Fail me and I'll bloody make ya wish ya were never turned. You get Xand and the bit away, you got it?"

"Got it."

"Be just like the old courts, having pets. But you lose 'em and ya'll find yourself starvin' in some dimension without walkin' happy meals wanderin' by every two minutes," Spike fell back on his best argument. He went to dust, and fear of him couldn't keep Dalton in line, but a vamp would do a lot to avoid starvin'. And she was controlled. She wouldn't eat his boy. But she'd bite him. Spike felt despair tear at him at the thought of someone else's fangs marking his boy. He'd taken him. He'd trained him. The boy looked at him with those brown eyes, and he didn't want Xander looking at Dalton that way.

"Okay, as disturbing as this is, I'm thinking that's your idea of a backup plan, and can I say your backup plan sucks. I don't want Dalton. I want you." Xander appeared on the stairs next to him, reading Spike's mind and taking away those fears. Spike reached out and fingered his boy's jaw.

"Can't let Dalton know, though. Angelus knows, and that's bad enough. Tosser," Spike admitted softly

"Yep, Angelus the Tosser, that' s his official name. Well, that and Angelus the Poof or Peaches." Xander smiled at the joke, and Spike could feel himself sway as the world spun a little too fast.

"Peaches," Spike laughed.

"What have you been drinking?"

"God's blood. Just don't tell Xander." Couldn't tell Xander. Xander expected him to be the master, so he had to be able to fix anything, only he couldn't. His boy wanted the slayer alive and now her broken body was lying in the street. Bloody carrion eaters were probably already munching on her bones. And his bit would never look at him again because he wasn't any better than William, always with the big talk but not gettin' the job done.

"Right, Xander will never know you're drunk off your ass. Spike, you need blood. Let me go get Dalton."

Spike frowned as he tried to figure that out. Dalton was right there. And why shouldn't Xander know he was drunk? Didn't Xander like him drunk? "Don't bloody care if Xander knows I’m pissed. He's seen me pissed plenty."

"That I have."

"Just don't tell 'em that I bloody love him," Spike whispered the words so the ghostly Dalton wouldn't hear them. Bad enough that he was so fucking tits over arse for his boy, but if the others knew, they'd hurt his boy. Spike growled.

"He already knows," a voice promised. Spike turned his head and William was sitting there, glasses and curly hair and those bloody foppish manners. He could have Cecily; Spike had Xander. Xander was better.

"Wouldn't go into battle with a soddin' god for the slayer, that's for sure. Boy's got knackers. Went up against Angelus for me, which is about as even a fight as me going up against a god." Spike poked a finger at William, who just caught it and studied him as though Spike were some bit of obscure Latin poetry. Spike laughed as he remembered finding the dirty limericks in one book. All offense and horror, he'd still gone back and translated the whole lot.

"I can't believe you went up against Glory just for him." William said, all prim and proper and disapproving.

"Who the bloody hell are you?" Spike demanded. How dare William not approve of him. He'd bloody saved the world, which is more than the stupid wanker had ever done with his poetry and his bloody stupid rules.

"A nobody," William admitted as he looked down. Spike smiled at that admission. William hadn't been anybody, but Spike was. "You were just talking about Xander," William prompted him.

"Too much blood. Burns like fire in my veins. Can't even bloody heal properly."

"Maybe you should get the blood out of you, then." William sounded ready to go get the apothecary and the leeches.

"Blood's power. Slayer died givin' me a chance ta get my fangs in her. Soddin' good death. Woulda liked ta face her, but it'd upset my Xander."

"Yeah, it would," Xander suddenly took William's place, and Spike looked around for his lost soul. "What about the minions? Couldn't they distract her?" Xander asked.

"Minions lasted about five minutes. Wankers. Slayer was a right treat, though. Didn't even flinch away from death. But the bitch-god didn't expect her to have a Master Vampire backin' her up. Gave us an edge."

Dalton flickered back into view, but she was dim this time and had a red pen in her hand, raised as if about to give Spike a bad mark on his paper. "Just get Xander and the bit clear. I'll follow if it goes tits over arse," Spike muttered. His hand found Xander's hair and started stroking it. "Won't lose him. Don't care if it makes me a tosser, I love the clod." Dalton paused, her pen suspended mid-air before she nodded and turned to look at William who rose from the shadows.

"Dawn and Xander are safe," William said.

"Won't bloody forgive me if I don't at least try ta save the world. Bit'll never forgive me for letting her sis get killed. Xander'd better though. I'll put the boy in the cage until he forgives me. Tried my best." Dalton stepped forward and bent over, but instead of smelling of blood, she smelled of markers and paper.

"You don't need the cage. Xander forgives you," Dalton whispered, and Spike wondered when she'd gotten her soul back.

"Soddin' embarrassing saving the world."

"Well, as one of the saved, thank you," Xander reappeared on the step next to Spike. He was getting a headache tryin' to keep up with all the people in the room.

"Tired." Spike sagged, and Xander maneuvered him into a more comfortable position.


"Gotta watch for danger."

"Sleep." Xander repeated. "I'll watch out for you."

"We'll watch out for him," William said even though he still sounded pretty disapproving. Wanker would probably have a heart attack if he knew half of what he did with his boy. Spike smiled at the thought of all that warm skin under his hands. Warmth he could never have again.

"Cold," Spike muttered.

"Funny, because you feel pretty hot," Xander said. But then Spike was lifted, floating through the air, and Dalton and William floated up with them. "There'd better be a bed up here," Xander said, breathing heavy as he reached the top of the stairs.

"To the right, pet," Spike said as he watched Dalton vanish through a door. Neat trick that. He'd have to torture her into tellin' him how she did that because she was obviously holding out on him. Xander kicked the door open.

"Right then, the rest of you lot get out," Spike ordered. Xander paused before putting him down on the bed. The covers were dusty. William definitely didn't approve.

"You want me to leave?" Xander asked, brown eyes floating into Spike's vision.

"No. You can't leave. I made sure of that. Won't be left again," Spike muttered as he pulled Xander's hand to his chest and then fell back onto the bed. Xander followed, curling up next to Spike.

"I won't leave you because I love you, drunk Master of mine," Xander said. Spike turned his head away and glared at the other two.

"Get out before I torture you to death." Dalton looked amused; William looked constipated. Of course, William usually had been. Too little exercise and too much meat.

Warm skin stroked his cheek and the hand slowly pulled Spike's head back around. "Just focus on me, Spike," Xander whispered. Spike opened his mouth to complain about the other two, but Xander leaned in and kissed him, gently, tenderly, and Spike lost his train of thought. Kissing with just lips brushing against lips, Xander circled his fingers over Spike's chest, over the bruises that still tingled and twitched when the warmth touched them.

Spike blinked up, words abandoning him as Xander finally sat up and started unbuttoning Spike's shirt. "My mother used to kiss my scrapes," Xander whispered. "She said you always healed better that way, or at least she did before she started drinking. But then you lived in the basement, you remember that part." Spike did remember that part, but it didn't make sense. Why would he make his pretty little pet live in a basement? Had he been bad?

"I love that you worried about me, but if there's world ending going on, I'd rather go down with my vampire than go running off with Dalton," Xander whispered before he bent down and gently kissed a slash across Spike's shoulder. His warm breath ghosted over Spike's skin, lips skimming the wound gently before he moved up to a spectacular bruise. "I love you. I'm not leaving you." Xander's lips softly pressed to the sore flesh, and Spike tilted his head back with a sigh.

"I've loved you since you didn't kill that girl in the parking lot." Xander kissed Spike's jaw right where Glory's fist had hit it so hard that Spike could hear the bone crack. "You were willing to change for me. No one ever did that before." Xander moved down to Spike's stomach, kissing the bruised and battered skin just above Spike's navel, and Spike rested his hand on his boy's soft hair. His boy. Fingers at his pants.

"Didn't want ya miserable," Spike muttered.

"I know," Xander answered as he opened Spike's jeans. "And I love you, too."

Spike sucked in a breath when Xander's lips found the wound on his hip, the one where the pole had gone through his flesh. "I love you. I'm not leaving you. I'm not letting Dalton feed on me." Between each statement, Xander kissed the tender skin around the injury.

"You'll do what I say," Spike said, tightening his grip on Xander's hair and pulling him. Xander crawled up Spike's body without arguing.

"What does Master say?" Xander asked once they were eye to eye. Spike let go of his boy's hair, and stroked it.

"Survive, pet. You have to survive." Spike looked at his mark scarred into Xander's shoulder.

"I will, Spike, I promise. But you have to promise to survive, too. I can't lose anyone else." Spike looked up when the warm tear hit him.

"Not your fault, pet," Spike murmured as his eyes again wandered to the mark. "I fought for you. She couldn't have had more help than that. Great wanker of a sire didn't come, not for either one of us."

"I would have come. Dalton chained me in the room," Xander whispered. Spike stopped petting Xander, letting his hand drop back to the mattress as the world went sort of round like the inside of a fishbowl. The corners flattened into curves and Spike fisted the mattress to keep from grabbing his boy hard enough to break bones.

"Shhh. You're getting better already. You just have to sleep," Xander kissed his way south again, and Spike trembled at the soft touches, the flickers of warmth, the whisper soft press of lips against his aching body. When Xander closed his lips around Spike's cock, the warmth burned Spike, laid him open as he twisted and arched off the bed. He came with a shout, and then Xander was licking, slowly easing Spike back down to the bed, stroking tight muscles and muttering promises.

"Pet," Spike opened his arms and Xander was there, curling into his side. Reaching down for Xander's cock, Spike stopped when a hand intercepted his own.

"Tomorrow, Spike," Xander whispered, promising with those words to be there tomorrow. Spike nodded and let his eyes drift closed. Behind Xander, William stood, but instead of disapproving, the wanker just looked soddin' jealous.

Spike jerked when the light around him sank into his skin, burning him from the inside. He screamed once, Tara's shocked face wiping out the dream.

"Fuckin' hell that hurt," Spike gasped when he caught his breath.

"Master!?" Spike turned to see Xander, his hair tangled from sleep and naked as the day he was born, short sword in hand.

"It's all right, pet. Go back to bed," Spike said as he cracked his neck first one way and then the other. "The charm take alright then?" Spike asked. He felt different.

Tara still stared at him with wide eyes, which was probably good since Xander had just realized that he was in danger of flashing his little friend and had gone scampering back to the bedroom.

"It took," Tara said. "It will stop whatever Willow does."

"Good!" Spike pushed himself up and stretched muscles which seemed suddenly sore. Bending over, he picked up the carving. He could feel the warmth in the wood, the power settling into every cell of the statue.

"Spike," Tara said softly as she stood.

"I meant it, luv," Spike warned, "you shared the memory because you had to, but you don't mention it and you sure as hell don't use it against me. That means you don't tell Red any of this."

For a second, Spike thought Tara might argue with him, but then she nodded and ducked her head submissively.

"Got to go reassure the boy that we weren't invaded or some such rot. Clean up before you go," Spike ordered as he headed for the bedroom. He didn't bother waiting to see if Tara obeyed. He had a sudden need to curl up with his boy.


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