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|| Bloodclaim ||
You know they're doin' it
Modes of Silence 
28th-Mar-2007 10:30 pm
game face
Pairing: Spike/Xander

Rating: NC-17 overall

Warnings: masturbation

A/N: Thanks to everyone who commented on the last bit! It's always nice to know that people are reading and enjoying. Now, on with the show!

“No, no, no! Stop right now!”

Spike’s shout was the first thing Xander heard as he walked in the door. Home sweet home, he thought wryly. God I miss my apartment!

“You don’t use the ablative case whenever you feel like, Bit. Got to be some rhyme and reason to your sentence. Now, go over your cases again and think!”

Spike had moved in to the Summers’ house only a day or two after Buffy died. Giles had quickly gained guardianship of Dawn, with the help of a few “favors”. Apparently, the Big Bad still ruled the demon world. Shortly after the final paperwork went through, Giles had fled to England. Stammering apologies, he explained that he didn’t see much use in remaining when his reason for being there was…gone. So, it fell to Spike and Xander to take of Dawn and the Hellmouth, with back up from two witches.

“Good girl, Dawn! Accusative case is what you’re needing here. Now, let me see your Plato.”

Everyone worked now, with extra money going to support Spike and Dawn. There was still a chunk of Joyce’s insurance money left, but a chipped vampire and a growing teenage girl would run through that pretty quickly without an active income source. Willow and Tara lived in the dorms still, but Giles had given them the Magic Box to run before he left. He took 10% of the profits and the girls kept the rest. Xander had been promoted to foreman and sublet his apartment. No sense in keeping it when he could live at Buffy’s house. He helped pay the mortgage, so why not?

“Dawn, we went over the difference between ancient and archaic Greek yesterday. You got it all jumbled here. Might try paying attention once in awhile. Could actually learn something that way.”

Spike had refused to allow Dawn to attend regular school. With a raised eyebrow, he had simply pointed out how much trouble a mystical key could have at Hellmouth High. Besides, she wouldn’t get a proper education at that institute of ‘lower learning’ and, his most pressing point, he couldn’t protect her there. He and Giles had spent the better part of a day arguing. Finally, Spike dragged the Watcher off to the basement. When they came back, Giles said that Spike was more than qualified to instruct Dawn and henceforth, she’d be home schooled.

“Nah, wasn’t drugs that did Baudelaire in. Got himself addicted to vampires is all. Killed him in the end, but gave him a bit more inspiration than absinthe. Interesting analysis though. Next time remember to use the other books, too. No sense in having them if you don’t use them.”

Only on the Hellmouth, Xander reflected, would a hundred year old vampire be tutoring a girl made from an older than time ball of energy on vampirically influenced poetry. Plus, he taught her human and demonic languages, history, and math. Spike professed to be completely incapable of teaching science, so Willow dropped off weekly lessons.
Xander made his way upstairs, heading for the shower.

Dawn was thriving. Sure, she missed her friends and a normal life. But as she had pointed out, a normal life for her was being green and glowy. So, she figured this was a step up. Xander stripped, turning on the shower. He stepped in, the water beating down on him and blending with the background noise of his new life. He leaned forward, bracing himself on the shower wall. His hand moved purposefully down his body, gripping and tugging his erection. He jacked himself passionlessly, more interested in release than in pleasure. In a few short minutes he came, dribbles of milky white fluid mixing with the water.

He scrubbed himself clean and stepped out of the shower. He toweled off in front of the mirror, wondering about the guy in the mirror. His body was lean and hard, his shaggy hair framed his face and his eyes were tired. Oh, it’s me. Xander couldn’t remember the last time he’d looked at himself. No, that wasn’t right. He looked at himself all the time, but he rarely ever saw himself.

No point. No one to love, no one to notice. He jerked off because he needed to cum, but it rarely felt good. Nothing felt good any more. It bothered him that his hair was so long. Anya had always…she hated when his hair got shaggy. Said it made him look untidy and as a result, he was a “less visually appealing sex partner”. Now, his hair could grow down to his ass and it didn’t matter to anyone.

Sighing, he turned away from the stranger in the mirror. Rubbing a hand over his face, he grabbed some clothes. Didn’t matter if they matched or made him look good, just so long as he got covered. No sense in scarring the Dawnster for life with his naughty bits.

“Don’t care if you don’t like broccoli, Niblet. You’ll eat it or you’ll be hungry.”

A pause, a small sound that meant Dawn was arguing her case. Arguing and probably losing, if Xander knew Spike. Spike was determined to do right by Dawn. In the beginning, Xander figured he would do all the work and Spike would just be muscle. But Spike had become, in a very real sense, Dawn’s parent. He…cared, Xander admitted.

One night, after a particularly vicious demon attack, Xander asked Spike why he was so involved. After all, wasn’t Dawn just another Happy Meal with legs? The Big Bad as Daddy just didn’t ring true. Spike had snarled, and Xander knew it was only the chip that kept Spike from taking his head off.

“She’s mine. My girl, and I’ll do right by her. Nothing’s gonna hurt a hair on her head.”

“Yeah, yeah, I got it. But, why? Why do you care,” Xander had pressed, the need for answers overriding his fear.

“Love her,” Spike replied. “Love her more than I loved anyone besides my own Mum. And I owe it to Joyce and Buffy.”

“Owe it?”

“Two fine ladies,” Spike whispered. “Treated me like a man, and gave me kindness I had no right to expect. Dawn’ll grow up right and live a good long life.”

Spike had sighed then, his face growing taut with…what? Grief, Xander supposed. It looked an awful lot like grief.

“Harris, I’m evil, yeah? When somebody finally dusts me, I’m goin’ straight to Hell. But, maybe I’ll get to see Joyce and Buffy before the eternal torment bit. An’ if I do, I’ll be able to look’em in the eye and tell’em I did my best for our girl,” Spike whispered. “Gave my word and I plan on keepin’ it.”

Xander strolled into the kitchen, pressing a quick kiss to Dawn’s forehead. She was pouting. The Summers’ pout, always a Xan-man weak spot. That thing should be registered as a lethal weapon. It brought strong men to their knees and was accurate to fifty paces.

“Xander, Spike’s making me eat broccoli,” Dawn moaned tragically. “Broccoli is, like, the most disgusting vegetable on the planet.”

“Nah,” Xander disagreed. “Brussel sprouts, hands down.”

“Sod all of you,” Spike grumbled. “Cooked cabbage and that’s final. Now, you two eat before it gets cold.”

Xander slid into the seat next to Dawn and picked up his fork. The fact that Spike knew how to cook had freaked him out. Spike being a good cook was even wiggier. But, the truly disturbing thing was that Spike cared about what they ate and if they ate. The first time Spike had told him to lay off the junk before he gave himself a heart attack, Xander had rushed to the books; certain this was a sign of another apocalypse. Now, it was just a fact of his life. His new life, the one without Anya or Buffy or Giles. The one where he was alone and responsible for a teenage girl and a chipped vampire. The new life that was emptier than the old one. He chewed mechanically, forcing the food past the sudden lump in throat.
29th-Mar-2007 03:01 am (UTC)
Sounds like Xander needs some TLC. I sure hope he gets it. Great chapter update soon.
30th-Mar-2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks, hon! I'll keep it going...you know I will. :)
29th-Mar-2007 03:14 am (UTC)
Interesting beginning. Poor boys, all weighed down with grief & despair. But not for long, one hopes! *rubs hands together in gleeful aniticipation*
30th-Mar-2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
Well...they won't get happy for awhile. But, I'm a firm believer in happy endings, because unhappy ones aren't as much fun. Still, it'd be an awfully short story if I let them get happy any time soon. I promise they'll end up happy, though!
(Deleted comment)
30th-Mar-2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
I will...just not yet! :)
29th-Mar-2007 04:59 am (UTC)
Awww, I like to see the more domesticated side of The Big Bad here. He's obviously taking such good care of Dawn. Now if he could just help Xander with his feelings of loneliness. ;) Great update!

30th-Mar-2007 03:22 pm (UTC)
I got kisses! Yeah, baby! I like the softer side of Spike, too. It's part of what makes him such an attractive, three dimensional character. He's the Big Bad, wreaking havoc and spreading evil, and he's an adorable cuddly sweetheart too. It's fun writing him like this, but it's a challenge. Too far to the soft side, and you lose a vital part of the character. Sigh...I'm trying, though!
29th-Mar-2007 09:17 am (UTC)
Off to a good start. Can't wait to see what
our boys get up to now.
30th-Mar-2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're enjoying it!
29th-Mar-2007 10:58 am (UTC)
Very good chapter. Excellent description of the domestic arrangements and impressive set-up of the motivations of the characters, all achieved tightly and with humour. Best of all, everyone sounds as they do in canon!

I like that you're bringing out Spike's intelligence and broad education, something that was hinted at in the show, and it makes sense that Xander would feel bereft. It seems everyone has someone else to focus on, but all he has is his sense of responsibility to keep him warm. Hopefully, all that will change soon. Looking forward to more. :D
30th-Mar-2007 03:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Characterization is probably one of the hardest things, and I'm always excited when someone says that it sounds real. Second only to that, I think making the motivations and actions seems organic rather than forced is difficult. So, that was a wonderful compliment and I'm so thrilled!
29th-Mar-2007 11:02 am (UTC) - Feedback
Very good start. Liked that Dawn is a Spike obsession, parenting skills a thing to admire. Like that Spike is the teacher. Always thought he would be a good teacher. Poor Xander ... always starts off solo. Always good to read the development of a Spander relationship. Look forward to the story coming along.
30th-Mar-2007 03:46 pm (UTC) - Re: Feedback
I always like to read about developing relationships. Not that stories about established relationships are bad, but it's fun to read about the whys and wherefores. Glad you're liking it!
29th-Mar-2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
“Gave my word and I plan on keepin’ it.” Love this Spike and wished that ME would have had remembered that and put in a final scene between the two before "Chosen" :(

Nice to see Spike and Xander trying to do their best with regards to Dawn.

30th-Mar-2007 03:49 pm (UTC)
I agree. Well, obviously but... you know what I mean :)

I always thought that Spike showed his humanity in how he cared about Dawn and the promise he made to Buffy. It's a shame that Joss and ME didn't view it that way. They focused so much on his inhumanity, and I never saw that as such a big issue. The whole overarching plot theme of Buffy was supposed to be that the goods guys and the bad guys weren't always obvious. But, they kept focusing on the obvious which sort of ruined it a bit.
30th-Mar-2007 04:19 pm (UTC)
It's a shame that Joss and ME didn't view it that way. I'm not sure they didn't but the obstacle was the way they had set up Angel early on - would he be so heroic if there were vampires who could be good without souls?

1st-Apr-2007 04:29 am (UTC)
See, I think that the contrast between Spike w/out a soul and Angel w/out a soul would have made a great object lesson. Sort of like the Initiative was used to show that monsters don't always have horns or fangs (plus, no one in Hollywood can resist taking potshots at the military-industrial complex), Spike showed that the all-powerful soul isn't necessarily what makes us good or bad. As has been pointed out ad nausem in fanfic, plenty of people with souls do bad things. Instead of exploring a complex issue, they shunted it to the side and ignored it. Lucky for me, though, or what would I write about? :)
(Deleted comment)
30th-Mar-2007 03:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Love the Snoopy Dance...too cute!
29th-Mar-2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
Wow, talk about major depression(in a clinical sense even) - poor Xan - life just doesn't seem to make sense to him anymore does it? *sniffle* Hope that someone manages to find a way to help him, with or without prozac y'know? (Or Wellbutrin if you wanted a med that doesn't interfere with libido *g*) Great chapter and looking forward to the next part :)

keep penning,
~pobody's Nerfect
30th-Mar-2007 03:52 pm (UTC)
LoL...I didn't think about it in a depression sense. More like a loss of direction and purpose...grief can do funny things to your perspective. It seemed to me that ME didn't really focus on that bit, and instead had everyone coping super-well which was, to my mind, silly. Your best friend dies, and even assuming bring her back is an option, there's some grief there. It just got bypassed in the show...
30th-Mar-2007 05:00 pm (UTC)
The grief is portrayed well, but what is ironic is that you pretty much gave Xan all the symptoms of clinical depression - which can be sudden onset due to grief or another traumatic stimuli. Eg: major disability due to an accident, or anything that causes intense sadness or loss, mourning if you will. Argh, I am not saying this right but I can't think how else to put it - if you want you can look up the symptoms for clinical depression at NIMH (heh, that acronym always makes me giggle and think of rats).

And of course they didn't address the grief issue in a realistic way on the show, no emotions are really addressed realistically on TV if you think about it - rage is too fast, then they are too quick to cool off or they hold an incredible grudge for forever, love happens at the drop of the hat for the strangest reasons, people wail and cry (tearing at their hair and clothes ala the Egyptians of old)for grief and then the very next day they are either just fine (bearing up stoically and soldiering on) or they pine away till they are dead themselves. Those are just the things off the top of my head, all of it adds up to one of the the reasons I enjoy reading much more than watching TV on average. :)

keep penning,
~pobody's Nerfect
30th-Mar-2007 05:46 am (UTC)
Very touching. Spike is such a mother hen. Looking forward to the boys caring for each other.
30th-Mar-2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it! And thank you so much for the rec...it really made my day! It's my first rec...I admit to a little squeeing :)

Spike is, I think, a caretaker. He did it for his mother, for Drusilla, and he tried do it with Buffy. No matter how Big Bad he is, he needs to be able to give to other people, vampires, whatever. That part of him always came through, and it's such an attractive part that I wanted to explore it more.
30th-Mar-2007 09:43 pm (UTC)
More please... Please please please.

Love'd it.
31st-Mar-2007 06:49 pm (UTC)
Hey Seven, I had saved this for when I had a minute to read and I'm really enjoying it. I love your Spike-voice, slipping him back and forth between Big Bad and the Teacher From Hell, with a bit of Den Mother on the side. And still his grief comes through.

I am in love with your Xander, too. It's him for sure, and yet with a rational view of Spike that he really never managed (and for good reasons) in canon. His exhaustion is a living thing and my heart hurts for him.

"Dawn was thriving. Sure, she missed her friends and a normal life. But as she had pointed out, a normal life for her was being green and glowy. So, she figured this was a step up." That was SO Dawn! And a gorgeous line, too.

I am going to be following this, so I truly, truly hope you have plans for a complete story and it won't fade away into perpetual WIPhell, which would be heartbreaking.

K, I'm off to read the next chap. Carry on. Seriously. Shoo! Back to your writing-desk, wench! Ummmmm....there could be cookies in it for you. Chocolate.

Mwah! ::hugsyouhard::

1st-Apr-2007 04:32 am (UTC)
Oh boy, cookies and compliments! You sure know how to get a girl going!

I solemnly vow on Spike's very lovely cheekbones that this will not be a perpetual WIP. I hate that as a reader so I won't do it as a writer. And thank you for commenting...it always gives me a little thrill when I get comments. I'm cheap and easy, but facts are facts. :)
3rd-Apr-2007 10:39 am (UTC)
Nice set-up. So Xander is empty, but the practical domestic arrangements work. Good to see scholarly Spike, and the little detail of him not being able to teach science was nice. Xander needs some adult company though if he still sees himself as responsible for both Dawn and Spike, in spite of the fact that it seems to be Spike who is doing the running of the house. I look forward to seeing how Xander's perception shifts. This is fun.
5th-Apr-2007 03:10 am (UTC)
Wow! Fun is a wonderful compliment to give and thank you for it. I always felt sort of cheated that the show skipped over the whole of Buffy's "death". I think it would have been worthwhile to show how the situation changed after Buffy died...but, they had to bring her back to life and skip the character growth parts...oh well! I'm glad you're enjoying it.
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