Title: Treading Water
Summary: Xander accidentally releases a "genie", and in a state of melancholy, gives in and starts making wishes. But Spike's not going to let his claimed boy belong to anyone but him, even if he doesn't know it.
Warnings: LOTS of pre-series Xander/Jesse. Oh, and Xander/Bad!Dude for a little bit, but that hardly counts, right?
Disclaimer: I do not own these character, and I do not own Yankee Candle.
“I don’t think he’s coming.” Willow sighed, pouting down at the book in her lap. “And he said he’d bring the pizza.”
“M-Maybe he’s working late?”
“He said he was off today.” Biting her lip in worry, she looked at the clock again and turned to Buffy. “Do you think he’s okay?”
Shrugging a little, the Slayer rested her arms on the rather large text laying on the table in front of her. The one she was pretending to read. “Um… Aside from a few fledges I dusted on the way over here, nothing’s really going on.”
“’Course not.” Spike sniped, stretching out like a lazy, half-starved cat. His feet propped themselves up on the coffee table, smearing cemetery dirt on the wood. “If something was goin’ on around here, I’d know it.”
“Of course.” Voice dripping sarcasm, Buffy rolled her eyes at him for the third time that night. “Because Spike knows all.”
Glaring at her a little, he lounged back in his chair further, completely ignoring Giles’ attempts to remove his feet from the table. “Only thing worth mentioning is a little clan of scavengers hangin’ around, sellin’ off some mojo’ed artifacts and such. Useless tripe. Five quid love spells, ointments for scars and things. They’ll try their luck at a consignment shop and move on.”
Giles frowned. “Anything dangerous?”
Snorting with good humor, Spike raised an eyebrow at the Watcher. “Chrik’nells. F’they got their hands on something worth it, they’d keep it and wait for a serious buyer.”
“Good Lord.” Wrinkling his nose in disgust, Giles shuddered at the thought of the beasts. “The woods must smell like sulfur by now. How long have they been here?”
“A week, give or take.”
“Right. Well. Don’t suppose you’d mind running them out of town, would you?”
“I’ll go.” Buffy sighed, pushing out of her chair and reaching for the nearest weapon, which happened to be an axe.
Rising to his feet as well, the vamp sent a fearsome glare her way and took the axe from her fingers. “Don’t go messin’ with my livelihood, Slayer.” He shot a look at Giles. “Week’s worth of blood. And a bag of Fritos.”
Rolling his eyes, looking like he was on his last shred of patience, Giles nodded his assent. “Fine.”
“Hey, if these Chickie things have Xander tied up in the woods somewhere, don’t forget to save him, okay?”
“Sorry, Red. That’ll cost you extra.”
The boy was asleep. Restless, but definitely asleep.
Alright. Time to get to work.
Breathing in the scent of him, Blithe allowed his hand to stroke down that golden-tanned spine one more time before sliding out from under him and sitting up. He had very little to go on, so he had to manage with the images. The damn candle had sapped all his energy, so he could not yet hear his thoughts, only see flashes. Blondes. Two blonde women, one blonde man. The man was a vampire, which surprised him. He didn’t think a Righteous Heart could associate himself with such things. But then again, one of the women was a Slayer. Interesting.
Desire. So he desired strong, dark-souled blondes. Then why did he so desperately wish to make love to a scrawny brunette boy who looked like a child?
Still, he couldn’t help but feel giddy. All that goodness and light, surrounded by such darkness, wanting it breathlessly, aching to touch… but denying itself through sheer force of will. Such a treat. He can barely wait to see what he can awaken here.
His, “Jesse’s”, clothes were scattered everywhere, and he picked them up piece by piece, throwing them on carelessly. Honestly, if the boy was attracted to something that dressed like this, he’d need to teach him good taste. Once he was his, anyway.
First thing’s first; gathering information. He needed to know the boy’s desires, be attuned to them. The vampire held some sort of claim, so that had to be handled first and foremost. He didn’t need anyone to fight him for this soul. With one last glance at the sleeping boy, he bid a silent farewell, reminding himself to be back by dawn. If he had to be honest, which he never was, he’d admit he was looking forward to the morning sex. Rarely was a good heart so good in bed.
The woods stunk to high heaven. God, he fucking hated Chrik’nells. Smelled like rotten eggs and burning rubber. If there was any creature more worthless, Spike hadn’t heard of it. Honestly, he just wished the fucking charm peddlers would drown on their own stinking mucus.
Sucking on his cig, he wandered off the beaten path, following the smell. It was absolutely putrid, but it would lead him right to them. He spared a moment of thought to Harris, the useless Scooby. Word was he’d finally moved out of that Godawful hellhole basement. Where he was now, he didn’t know. Somewhere demon-proof, hopefully. Kid had that halo buzz around him that let every baddie in a fifteen mile radius know what a bloody White Hat he was. Frankly, it drove Spike bonkers. Made him want to take a bite out of him, constantly. Cement his claim, make sure every demon on this rock knew what belonged to him.
He paused mid-step, tugging the cig from his lips and stomping it into the ground. Oh, Good God, if I ever have that thought again, stake me with a chopstick. Shaking himself out of it, he reached into his pocket for another cig and let his eyes scan the shadows for any sign of the clan. He’d been fighting that thought like mad as of late. He’d told himself before when the damn Slayerettes first took him in, he’d never act on his aborted claim. Too many complications, and something told him that the Slayer and the demon bint wouldn’t take too kindly to his making Harris his own. Back then, the kid had hated him, and that made things easy. But now… now there was friendship. Camaraderie. And as much as Spike tried not to notice him, the possessiveness was there. Didn’t help that the boy was exactly his type, God Fucking Damn Peaches To Hell. Tall, dark, and bittersweet as honey-lemon tea. A good boy from the bad side of town, with a wicked streak that warred with all the sweetness in his soul… He could see it. Christ, Harris would make one hell of a vampire.
Right, then… He moved on as his thoughts slid into dangerous territory, forgetting his cig and returning to the task at hand. Find these reeking demons, run them out of town. But when he tried to sniff them out, he found he couldn’t. A much nicer scent was in the air, drowning out the smell of sulfur. Something like… Forest. And something else. He couldn’t place it. But it was warm and inviting, and just that was enough to set off his trouble radar. Turning toward the scent, he found himself staring at something that looked like a teenager, but clearly was not.
“Take it you’re not a Chrik’nell.” Spike growled, automatically hating the thing, because when you’ve been around as long and far as he has, it becomes second nature to hate things you don’t recognize.
“No.” It said, kicking back on its tree stump and looking fairly content. “What’s your name?”
A little taken aback, the vamp glared one of his patented evil glares his way. “Name’s Spike.” He growled, taking a tiny step closer to get a better look. “You are?”
Pulling his legs up, wrapping his arms around his knees in a loose restraint, the boy-like thing looked Spike over in an easy, unabashed examination. For a moment, the whole world felt a little too small. “Apparently, I’m Jesse.”
Slightly amused, the vamp reached into his pocket, fishing for his cigs again. “Don’t sound too sure about that. Care to tell me what you are, then?”
It shrugged, mimicking the posture of every delinquent ever stuck in detention. “This conversation is boring.” It sighed, giving him a look most teenagers reserve for their mothers. “Make yourself more interesting, will you? It’ll save me a lot of time.”
What the- Both taken aback and highly offended, Spike found himself snarling, stalking toward the little fucker with every intention of ripping its tongue out. “You must have a bloody deathwish, you-” He started, then stopped. Froze, in fact. Because the night’s breeze brought a scent to him that was definitely not the woods or the trash or the fucking Chrik’nells. It was Harris. And sex.
The thing seemed completely nonchalant, as if it didn’t really care that Spike was there at all. “Not really. I’d rather not die.”
Harris and sex. He’d know that combination anywhere. Every time he smelled it, he became completely ravenous, fangs itching to claim what was… almost his. Idiot boy and his idiot love affairs with danger. It was a wonder that good pup routine hadn’t gotten him killed by now. But here was something new… Something male, that smelled like... “Met the Slayer’s boy, have you?” He heard himself growl, even though he hadn’t meant to. Even though he was trying to be cool.
The thing frowned, looking slightly confused as it slid to its feet. “He belongs to the Slayer?” It asked, genuinely wondering. “That’s strange. Could’ve sworn he belonged to you.”
Jaw setting tight at the words, the vamp curled his fingers into fists and tried to remain stone. But the scent of Harris was doing funny things to him, making him high on an anger/lust cocktail he never realized he was drinking. Possessiveness tugged at his gut, but he swallowed the Mine that threatened to engulf him and pushed forth the coldness he’d perfected after years of letting the claim fall away, for both the boy’s sake and his own. “I don’t keep the terminally stupid.”
“Really?” It asked, looking him up and down, sizing him up like a whore in a fucking cattle-call. Spike seethed, but it did not seem to care. It just came closer and the scent followed. “How sad. You know, that tight ass of his had been waiting for a good fuck for ages. Here I thought you were just punishing him.”
Nails cutting into his palm, he found himself growling, shaking with rage. He strode toward the thing, sneering with sheer distaste, ready to turn it inside out with his bare hands if it said another word. “Where is he?” He barked, stepping into its face, trying to ignore the scent it seemed to be flaunting.
It smirked, dark eyes narrowing in amusement. “Sleeping it off. In that communal dwelling of his. How you vampires can let your toys live in such filth is beyond me.”
“S’not mine.” He hissed, even as his long-dead veins lit with hatred for this thing, this thing that was covered in Harris’s scent. Fuck, that smell… It was going to drive him insane. “What the hell did you do to him, anyway?” But the second he asked it, he realized he didn’t want to know. The thought of the boy being… Don’t go there. He shoved the thought away, forcing himself to keep his own demon in check. The possessiveness, the mine, that lit through his long-dead veins… Fuck, it was a living, breathing thing. And it wanted to kill, even when it had no right to, even when he knew such claims had no place in this world. The boy was alive. He was not his pet, or his lover, or his childe. And as much as he wished he could take him and claim him properly, just to keep him from all the fucking demons after a taste of him, the kid deserved a life. One that wasn’t tied to a centuries-old Master Vampire.
“Doesn’t matter.” It grinned, cocking its head to the side, examining him again. “I just came to see what kind of idiot leaves an ass like that empty for so long.” Its voice fell to below a whisper. “You should’ve heard him beg. Like I was never going to give him what he needed. Like he’d—”
Spike snapped. His fist planted itself in the creature’s face, landing with a sharp crack that at the very least felt human. But before he could get another punch in, the thing vanished. Hissing out a slow, angry breath between his teeth, tried to collect himself and instead wound up slamming his other fist into the nearest tree. Fuck… Leaning on it, fist trembling and numb to the pain, he looked up again, searching for the Goddamn piece of shit he was going to murder. It was three trees away, looking practically giddy. But when he started toward it again, it gave him an evil, evil look that made him stop dead in his tracks.
“Doesn’t matter if he’s yours or not, vamp.” It grinned, eyes narrowing with confident loathing. “He’ll be mine soon enough.”
“You fucking—” Spike’s rage choked fast in his throat as the thing’s words sunk in. Oh, Bloody Fucking Hell, No—Jaw practically on the ground, Spike took a small step back, finally realizing what he was dealing with. “You’re a Jinn.”
With a slow smirk, the thing called Jesse leaned back against the tree, stretching out as though Spike was stating the obvious. “And you’re a vampire. This conversation’s getting boring again.”
The realization kicked him dead in the gut, and he took another step back, leaning on his pained fist as he snarled. I don’t keep the terminally stupid… Why the fuck had he said that?! “He’ll never give in to you. Never. Too much of a soddin’ White Hat.”
“He already did.” The beast continued to smirk, pushing off the tree and beginning to walk backwards into the woods. “I offered him this form, and he took it. That’s one down.”
Fuck, fuck, fucking hell… His mind cursed over and over, even as it reeled with the thought of Xander asking for… for something that looks like that. Like a boy. A fucking boy, out of anything he could ever want… “He won’t.” He hissed it, angry with Harris, with the thought of him giving in. Fuck, only a matter of time, wasn’t it? That fever of brightness in him that attracted everything dark, that made Spike himself slightly buzzed with hunger… Only a matter of time before something that dangerous found him.
Jesus, why hadn’t he been watching what was his?
He looked up again and the thing was gone.
Cursing liberally in every language he knew, Spike turned on his heel and bolted out of the woods. If Harris was too stupid to save that halo of his, he’d have to do it for him.