Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes
Summary: Post WWIII and 250+ years on from the Black Thorn. Highly refined, purpose bred ‘Companion’ Alexander is ‘liberated’ by feral humans, consequently rescued by the Suzerain Spike’s forces, the head of which decides to ingratiate himself by presenting his Sire with a boy reminiscent of one of the former Scoobies.
Spoilers: Canon is AU - very post S5 AtS.
Warnings: M/M – if you don’t like boys together, don’t play here!
Disclaimer: Don’t own the characters nor make any money from stories etc, and bow down to their original creators Joss, et al., plus all the wonderful online writers who continue to give the Buffy/Angel verse characters life.
A month after the very public turning, none of the cartel leaders were sure of the Suzerain’s Childe’s current status. Angelus had apparently submitted once more, the renewed savage bite of his Sire evident each day, and the Grandchilde Lisbeth only occasionally present at the Master of the line’s behest. Few even noticed when the handsome bodyguard was occasionally seen with the new Childe. It was to be expected.
The Mistress had been instructed to attend the two, and was deep in thought as she approached the recreation area of the property. Janet halted as the conversation of the newly turned vampire, only four months young, and the Claimed human Companion, wafted up from the heated outdoor pool area around midnight. The new Childe had been sent off with the bodyguard to take some exercise as the proceedings of the evening wound up.
“But, you are his claimed!?!”
The Mistress sidled into site line and simply stood and listened.
The younger looking Alexander addressed the new vampire, and former claimed with teary sincerity, “But he will never love me… Angelus loves you… and you are *so* beautiful! Why wouldn’t he. All I can be is loyal and obedient… but ohhh Lisbeth … sometimes I just wish…I [hic]… I wish [hic] he really *loved* me!![hic] Ohhh [hic] Sorry!!!”
Alexander was then observed to bury his face in the pretty vampire’s chest, utterly oblivious of her game face or agitated growling at her Grandsire Claimant’s distress.
As Lisbeth sat with the sobbing boy in her lap, the Mistress was sure Angelus would have been proud of his Childe as she was privy to the reply, “I cannot make a comment of my Grandsire, but I do know he cares for you deeply. If you are worried then… form your questions carefully and then… ask… I am *sure* he trusts you and cares more deeply than you could comprehend… My Sire too hesitated after my claiming… but please! Love him and care for him and all will be well… It’s up to you, love and adore My GrandSire the Suzerain… your Claimer… He may not display his true thoughts but don’t doubt him… I’m sure he loves you!”
Alexander slid away and sat, hugging his knees, left cheek resting on them, a perfect picture of misery as he all but whispered a reply.
“He doesn’t! I protect him. I warm his bed, and provide occasional mindless amusement and necessary chaste ‘release’. He’s kissed me three times, we’ve brought each other off occasionally by hand or friction when he is worried, and he took me once but that was just part of the Claiming… And he only claimed me so my fighting would be better and even that didn’t work!!! I’m hopeless… Not like you… not like you…. Oh Liz… I’m worth no more than a minion to him and he’ll never really love me… not like Angelus does you… the Suzerain can’t… but I’m better than that, I *could* make him happy… I just *know* I could. But…”
He offered his neck to the vampire almost as a plea for relief but Lisbeth knew better than to touch what was the Suzerain’s. Instead she leaned over and kissed his claiming mark gently then took him into a friendly hug and began to rock him. Alexander relaxed into the soft cool embrace and began to cry silently, eventually falling asleep in the arms of the young vampire. The Mistress, sure the crisis was over, departed the scene and resolved to have a word to the Suzerain when the time was right.
But the time never seemed right, and over the ensuing weeks only the Mistress Janet and Lisbeth began to notice the concerning change. Alexander was working harder than ever at his fighting, utterly attentive and disciplined in his role as bodyguard, and instantly complying with any demand the Suzerain made of him. But even when performing his duties perfectly, it seemed that the Suzerain ignored him.
When meetings were adjourned he was often left standing in an empty or darkened room along with the other minions as the cartel leaders and the Suzerain swept out…
He was no longer allowed to shower with his Claimer, and the irritating rash under his collar went unnoticed and untreated.
In the six weeks after his outpouring of need to Lisbeth, he had hardly had physical contact with the Suzerain, even as a bed warmer, and certainly had not been given any of his Claimer’s craved for (and necessary!) blood.
Spike was preoccupied. Cartel matters had been intense, a grab for power averted and new territory carved out, and more often than not, the Companion was ordered into the Suzerain’s room, only to sleep solo whilst some new crisis held the Spike from his rest.
On the morning of the beginning of the seventh week after Lisbeth's counselling, the Companion was simply ordered, “Get out” by his stressed, very drunk Claimer. He hesitated and was given a hard slap for his trouble with the threat of more, so scrambled miserably from the soft bed and slept on the floor.
He was tossed out in a similar fashion the following night and not invited back into the bed after that, He had consequently slept uncomfortably and unnoticed under a small throw rug from the settee with his head on his master’s boot for close on three weeks. His bodyguard services were still required, and he stood dutifully and protected willingly, but the Companion was dying inside.
Three months after his claiming, Alexander passed out and could not be roused for some hour or so during a sparring session.
Mistress Janet knew better than to call the Suzerain immediately, but suspected the cause. And as she stripped off his loose training garments it was *very* obvious.
The boy had always been slim and muscular, but now was obviously wasting away, his ribs prominent and stomach sunken. She looked at the face of the still unconscious boy again and mentally kicked herself for not taking better note of the black shadows around his eyes and drawn features. She called for a medical specialist for humans then the Suzerain’s cook, determined to gather her evidence before confronting the Suzerain.
The cook reinforced her suspicions and the physician positively confirmed them. The boy’s system was in decline, the cook claiming that he had been eating less and less as the weeks went by and the physician indicating that there was no trace of the Claimer’s blood in a system that now required it to survive. But more than that, the lack of eating was consistent with severe depression due to lack of contact and neglect.
The medical practitioner, Dr Appel added, “If I may be so bold, I wonder if you might pass on to the Suzerain that I suspect the withdrawal of blood might have coincided with a withdrawal of contact generally, as the physical effects are truly very severe. If he wishes the Claimant to survive, then he will have to alter the way the Companion is treated. If he is not given the proper Claimant’s attention then he will die in extreme pain, both mentally and physically… I am happy to put him down now if he wishes, it would be kinder.”
The doctor looked sadly resigned.
He’d seen it too many times before, though not so much with Companions, but certainly with feral humans. They were often Claimed then discarded, the novelty apparently wearing off and the owners handing them over to a disposal unit. The trend was particularly bad after the festive season and often involved very young claimants. Putting them down was especially hard for the teams at the units, but really was the kindest end.
The Mistress was furious. Over the months, the Companion Alexander had become her favourite – never failing to try his hardest and always offering gratitude and respect in their training sessions. That his life was now to be terminated through lack of attention by his Claimer was unconscionable.
The Mistress Janet left the doctor with the still unconscious Alexander, and marched to the other end of the compound and upstairs to the Suzerain’s office. She waited impatiently as yet another meeting concluded and three very ugly Groxlars and two vampires departed the room, then slipped in the still open door.
Spike didn’t turn or even look up from the computer, instead simply waved vaguely toward the refreshment trolley assuming the presence was a minion, “Just take it… and get that bloody bodyguard in here will you?! Should have been done with his workout by now!”
The Mistress Janet rounded the enormous board room table and did something on the spur of the moment that she would never have dared do in hindsight. She slapped the Suzerain hard enough to tip him off his chair, then pinned him to the ground in full game face, with a strength completely at odds with both her age and size.
“Shall I do that *before* or *after* you kill him from neglect! He can’t attend you Suzerain, because he is *unconscious*, *underfed*, and unattended by his *Claimer*! Oh, but don’t worry yourself, the physician is ready to put him down – you just need to say the word! At least it’s kinder than killing him so slowly and cruelly!”
Spike went to speak but the Mistress was still in the heights of a rage and hit him three more times as hard as she could, then stood and stormed out of the room to return to the stricken Companion, leaving the Suzerain to ponder her words.
The actions were so uncharacteristic of the Mistress that he knew it must be serious, and slowly began to digest the information, she had literally beaten into him.
Initially he felt incensed and angry at being accused of abusing his Companion, but swiftly realized the gravity of what she had said and sadly had to admit, she was right. He had indeed neglected the boy, not just neglected, but actively pushed him away of recent times. What had started as a public way of safeguarding his Claimed bodyguard and himself, had ended in a complete denial of contact and affection in private.
Alexander had his head in the Mistress’ lap and was barely aware of anything as his Claimer entered the room.
Spike was utterly shocked. Alexander was naked to the waist revealing his obviously precarious physical state and his pallor of death. He had a drip in his arm and the physician had lined up the syringe and vial of overly potent sedative that would take the Companion to his final rest were the Suzerain to wish it.
But the worst indictment of his failure was his Claimed Companion’s whimpers and occasional delusional words of “Not good… en…ffff” and “ffffailed” then even worse “Kill me Plea… fffff. Ohhh… sorrrr… but…hurttttts!”
Spike was distressed beyond belief.
This beautiful creature who had given himself so willingly, never done anything less that what was asked, and then some, was now dying because the Suzerain’s needs apparently surpassed his own. He was bred and trained to be compliant and obedient, and performed perfectly to the point of endangering his own life.
For Spike it wasn’t so much an epiphany as the realization of a grave error… The boy had stood for endless hours of meetings without complaint; recounted cartel discussions so the Suzerain might review; warmed his bed and willingly serviced him; killed ill intentioned adversaries; trained tirelessly: and happily listened to the Suzerain as he spilled his worries regards the latest meeting or Email. But never asked for anything… And, belatedly, Spike remembered the eviction of his bed warmer some month earlier! The harsh words; the cruel actions; the ignored, indeed punished, tears… all were due to the Suzerain’s stress over a cartel’s betrayal, yet his Companion had borne the brunt.
Spike suddenly realized… nowhere in his instructions to his Claimant did he give the right to request what he needed, nor did he put into place any measures to cope with the Claimant’s need for the Suzerain’s blood.
The Mistress witnessed the Suzerain all but melting on the spot as he slid to lift his devoted servant into his lap and held him as though an infant. She could not help but think, if Alexander *only knew* how much he was adored.
Spike looked up to the physician, “No !! No putting down you idiot! Just tell me... What. Do. I. Have. To. Do!??”
The physician was a little nervous, given that it was the Suzerain in full game face addressing him, but he held his ground, swallowed hard and answered the question.
“Suzerain, with all due respect. He has been starved of you blood and your favour and will die for months – I was merely suggesting…”
Spike growled openly and the young medico quickly added, ”If you are committed to his survival then you *must* attend him – even if it is only to feed him. We have a facility just outside our main clinic where you might place him and visit as needed. Suzerain… I am only thinking of you and your Companion… If he is to survive then he will need constant attention.”
“No! He stays here.”
“I said No! Now pack up and piss off … and be back here tomorrow at the start of the evening. Understood... he needs attention but he doesn’t leave here so you come to him… clear?”
The physician was, in truth, relieved not to have to put down yet another hapless human,“Of course Suzerain.”
An hour later saw Spike propped up in bed with his ailing Companion in his lap. Alexander was too weak to do anything but relax into the cool embrace and accept the proffered dripping wrist and quiet stroking. He knew it was his Claimer but couldn’t understand why, unless it was a final goodbye but even if so, he was beyond caring and eventually simply fell asleep.
Spike eased himself from his stricken Claimant as the Mistress Janet knocked quietly on the door to offer the Suzerain a mug of warmed blood.
The blood was taken and drained then she was pulled tight to the taut torso of the Suzerain and was offered his wrist with the quiet words, “No one else would have dared… You are a true lady… Nobless oblige… I bow to your greater knowledge and request that you accept the status of Honoured Mistress in the coming fall festivities… ”