From Chapter 26 -
Xander knelt and unzipped one of the bags, seeing Spike’s interest as the pile of weapons inside was revealed. “They’re not going to do anything about Angelus,” he said bitterly. “We’re going to have to take him out ourselves.”
Spike looked into the bag, seeing the gleam as the fitful light of the tunnels slid along the metal blades of the axes and knives inside. Looking back up at Xander, the same polished steel seemed reflected in the anger and determination in his eyes. Something had happened but the tunnels weren’t a safe place to linger. “Right, pet. Let's go somewhere we can talk.”
Spike picked up the second bag as Xander zipped the first bag closed and slung it over his shoulder, waiting for Spike to lead the way. Hefting his bag, Spike felt the unbalanced weight and unmistakable shape of crossbows. He didn’t say anything, just turned and started walking through the tunnels towards the nearest surface access. For now, he tucked his curiosity away, focusing on their route and checking for any sign of enemies.
Xander followed him silently as Spike led him to one of the town’s smaller cemeteries, winding his way through the gravesites until he reached one particular crypt. Spike had Xander wait as he followed his nightly routine, checking the crypt for any signs of intruders. He was still shifting crypts nightly, never spending more than two nights in the same place and his caution had so far paid off. No one in town knew where he was staying and until this war was over, he needed it to stay that way.
The crypt was dark and still and there were no foreign smells, just the faint odor of ancient bones and dust and rotting cloth. Satisfied, he signaled for Xander to follow him inside, carefully closing the door behind them. For Xander’s sake, Spike dug out a couple of candle stubs and set about lighting them and placing them in wall niches, where their light would do the most good.
Finished, he turned back and saw Xander studying the bare walls and dank stones. “You live here?”
Spike grinned at the appalled tone in Xander’s voice. “Just temporary, pet. Like my comforts as much as the next vampire, but I need to keep a low profile for now.”
“I’m sorry, Spike, I didn’t know crypts where this…well, awful.”
“Not that bad.” Spike looked around judiciously. “Believe me, I’ve had worse.” Spike shrugged. “Be moving on tomorrow, so it doesn’t matter.” Dropping the bag he was carrying into the corner, he perched on one of the pair of stone tombs and cocked his head inquiringly. “What’s happening?”
Xander sat down on the marble next to Spike. “Buffy and Willow are working on re-souling Angel,” he began without preamble.
The unexpectedness of it took Spike’s non-existent breath away and for one second he gaped disbelievingly at Xander. Then rage crashed over him like a tidal wave and he felt his face shift as his demon came to the fore. “How dare they? I'll kill every last one of them! I’ll tear them to pieces and scatter the bits over three counties!”
Spike jumped up, unable to remain still and began pacing the length of the crypt, swearing and describing the many and varied ways he would make them suffer eternal torments for their audacity. Vaguely he was aware of Xander’s astonished confusion but it was all he could do for the moment not to start tearing the very stones of the crypt apart to vent his fury and he couldn’t reassure the boy now.
Endless minutes later, Spike finally purged his anger enough to regain control. His yellow glare swung to Xander who had remained seated on the crypt, waiting out the storm.
“So… I take it you’re not in favor of the idea either?” Xander ventured. When Spike simply glared at him speechlessly with yellow-eyed outrage, beginning to pace again, the anger still churning inside him, Xander continued hesitantly, “I mean, I didn’t expect you to be happy about it but your reaction is a bit more over the top than I was expecting.”
Spike finally regained coherent speech. “Do you understand what that curse means to a vampire?”
“I thought I did but now I’m kind of guessing I don’t.”
“Putting a soul in a vampire is… unnatural.” Spike said inadequately, unable to find the words to describe the horror of it. He sighed and shook his head sharply, forcing back his demonic features and taking a firm grip on his temper. “Vampires aren’t meant to have human souls, Xander. ‘S like…well, can’t really think of a comparison. Maybe like… grafting an animal’s head onto a human’s body.” Spike could see the image clearly in his mind: an ape’s head protruding from the shoulders of a human body next to the original, the two heads quarreling and snapping at each other, but he could see from Xander’s expression that he didn’t understand. Still struggling for the words to explain, he asked: “How much do you know about what happened to Angelus?”
“Same as everyone - he was cursed by gypsies, who restored his soul. They put some sort of condition on the curse that if he ever felt a moment’s true happiness, he would lose his soul again.” Xander shrugged. “It doesn’t make any sense really but that’s what they apparently did.”
“Makes some sense when you consider that the gypsies wanted Angelus to suffer. They didn’t care about what he did with his suffering, whether he repented, went mad, kept killing, or whatever. And Angelus did most of them in turn.” Spike sighed and sat down on the tomb again, his anger finally under control. Not gone. No, those blighters would know his wrath, but banked for now, the coals just waiting to be fanned into the flames that would burn the ones who sought to re-visit that horror on his Sire.
“But why didn’t they make the soul permanent? That’s the part I don’t get.”
“Dunno for sure, luv.” Spike had had decades to think about his Sire’s curse and he’d thought about it a lot, especially in those early days when Drusilla would weep and tear her hair over the loss of her Daddy. Even though he hadn’t known then that there was a way to break the curse, some of what he’d figured out made sense in hindsight. “Suspect they just couldn’t stand the idea of their victim ever getting over what they’d done to him. Probably meant to keep an eye on the situation and put a stop to anything that might make Angelus happy. If so, then they didn’t realize that Angelus had a family.” Torches and screams and canvas topped trailers burning in the night; fear and blood and vengeance brought home to roost. Every last one had suffered and died. Their families had paid tenfold for what they had done to his family.
“Darla brought me and Dru and tried to blackmail the camp into reversing what they’d done. Darla may have been a right bitch but she did care for Angelus. Only Dru and I got a bit carried away and killed the hostages before Darla could get them to fix things.” He shrugged, he’d been very young still and had gotten carried away in the thrill of the slaughter.
Remembering his audience, he looked over at Xander, afraid of the disgust and rejection the mortal must be feeling, but Xander was just shaking his head in puzzlement, with no sign of moving away from Spike. “Some warning that he could lose the soul again sure would have been nice. If Buffy had known about the happiness clause, I like to think she wouldn’t have hopped into bed with Angel.”
Relieved, Spike remembered that Xander had read about the slaughter of the gypsy encampment in Spike’s history and felt a surge of wonder that Xander knew the worst he’d done and still loved him. “Water under the bridge, luv. Point of this little history lesson is that nothing good was ever supposed to come of the curse - ‘cept Angelus suffering eternally, o’ course.” Spike could actually appreciate that part of the gypsies’ handiwork. It was their methods he had a problem with, not the results. Eternal suffering for a hated enemy? Spike could understand and get behind that.
“Do you want to kill him?”
Xander’s troubled question astonished him. “Course I do, what kind of question is that?” Spike asked, almost offended that his boy would question Spike’s desire to avenge him.
“But you've just been saying.…”
Spike sighed. It was a demon thing and he wasn't sure a human would understand. “I want to kill him, yeah. Torture him, if I get the chance, he’s more than earned it. But I won’t be party to sticking that soul back in him.” Spike actually shuddered at the thought. “Just bloody unnatural, like I said. I wouldn’t do that to any vampire, especially not my Sire.”
“Oh.” Xander looked thoughtful and Spike hoped he understood. There were times when he longed for the simplicity of his days with Drusilla. She may have been as mad as the proverbial hatter but she was a demon and didn’t need to have things like this explained to her. No long winded conversations about why a bunch of white hats couldn’t re-soul their Sire with him and Dru. They’d have simply killed the humans and by now Dru would be playing marbles with their eyeballs and that would be that. Spike looked away, lost in memories of his Dark Princess, a reminiscent smile curving his lips.
Pulling himself back to the present, he looked at Xander. “Know it's not what you want, luv. But I’ll kill them before I let ‘em do that to him again.”
Spike was relieved when Xander just nodded, looking grim. “Then we better figure out how to kill him, Spike, because while I don’t agree with what they’re planning, I really don’t want you to kill them.”
“Fair enough.” Spike thought back to the beginning of the conversation. “Got a bit testy there for awhile, pet, and didn’t give you a chance to finish. What’s our timetable?”
Xander looked hesitant and Spike clarified: “Is the spell some pie in the sky thing or are they close to actually working it?”
“They think they’ve found the original spell but that’s about it. Buffy and Willow told Giles about the spell this morning.”
Spike considered that. “Watcher’s smart enough not to jump into things. He’ll want to study the spell a bit and something like that is bound to have a few exotic ingredients.” Not mixing with magic didn’t mean Spike didn’t know a bit about it, came with the territory after all. “So, figure we’ve got a day minimum. More like two or three.”
He looked at Xander: brave, scared, not a fighter by nature, still recovering from the injuries Angelus had inflicted and yet willing to go up against him armed only with his small skill and his boundless courage, for Spike had no doubt whatsoever that Xander intended to be in the thick of this fight. Spike felt his heart swell with love and fear for this young, fragile mortal he had fallen in love with against his every inclination. He wished he could keep Xander out of it, hide him somewhere far outside of town, take him away from the coming battle, but it would be a waste of time to try and a betrayal that Xander wouldn’t forgive.
“I’ll get you home, luv, then scout out around the mansion. Tomorrow, see if you can find out anything about their plans for the spell. If you’re up for a bit of no good, you could see about destroying anything you can get your hands on that’s critical to the spell. Could buy us time if we need it.” Spike cocked an eyebrow at Xander and grinned when Xander nodded in agreement. Boy was coming along fine in the evil department.
“So, tomorrow - what? We charge the mansion? Stealth job?”
“Going all John Wayne on me, are you?” Spike asked, amused.
Xander flushed but didn’t back down. “Just want to know what the plan is.”
Spike had been considering battle strategies since he’d first gone to the Watcher asking for an alliance against Angelus. He needed to revise those tentative plans on the fly now because they’d all involved him having back-up from the Slayer. Xander was far from useless in a fight but he was an ordinary human without any extra strength or skills and he still had only one useful hand. While Spike had been happy to make plans that put the Slayer in harm’s way, he wasn’t going to take the same chances with Xander and that called for careful consideration. His usual style was simply to charge in to situations, knowing he could take care of himself and only rarely worried about anyone else. Knowing Xander would insist on being involved was making him unwontedly cautious and Spike found himself temporizing, stalling for more time as he answered.
“Need to see the lay of the land tonight. Angelus has five or six minions left at last count. Need to see if they’re still staying close to the mansion or if he’s made any more. If nothing’s changed, a frontal assault’s a possibility.” Spike considered that idea under the changed circumstances. “He’s been keeping a couple minions outside, guarding the mansion. If I take them out first and we go in, armed with the crossbows you brought…” Spike tried to picture the battle in his head as he talked it through. “If we’re lucky and the outside guards can’t raise the alarm, then we may be able to take out the minions inside without much trouble. That leaves me and Angelus mixing it up, with you watching my back.” Walking through it like this, Spike was beginning to think it could actually work. Xander staying in the background while Spike and Angelus fought, Xander keeping a lookout for any stray minions who were missed in the initial rush. If Spike armed himself with one of the axes, he could keep Angelus from closing on him and prevent his Sire from using his greater height and weight to advantage.
Spike jumped off the tomb and crossed to the two bags of weapons. Opening them, he began pulling out first the crossbows then the axes and knives from the second bag. Choosing a medium weight ax with a plain, serviceable handle, Spike swung it experimentally, spinning it in his hand to test the balance. It almost sang in his hand as it split the air, making a small whirring noise as it spun, perfectly balanced and a joy to his demon heart. Bringing it close, he inspected the blade. “These from the Watcher?” he asked.
“Yeah, I raided his weapons stash.” Xander joined him as Spike crouched to inspect the rest of the weapons.
“Good on you, luv. Remind me to compliment him, this is a beauty.”
Xander shrugged. “I figure, in a pinch, anyone can swing an axe. Or a knife. With luck, Giles won’t notice them missing for a day or two.”
“Good choices. Always best to keep it simple with weapons. How’s your crossbow work coming?” Spike had been pleased when Xander told him he’d begun practicing with the crossbow. Anything that helped his boy to defend himself was good in Spike’s book.
“My aim’s getting pretty good but that’s target practice. I don’t know about the real thing with a moving target and I’m still slow re-loading.” He lifted the cast in explanation. Xander tended to downplay his skills a bit but he was realistic about his limitations, something Spike appreciated as it made Xander more cautious and more likely to live than some braggart who overestimated their skills.
Spike looked at him, eyes narrowed in thought. “Tomorrow, I want you to load up on holy water and crosses. Try the magic shop.” Spike reached inside his duster and pulled out a small wad of bills, handing them to Xander. “Try and get the holy water in small bottles, something you can throw easily. Get as many as you can carry without it weighing you down.” Spike grinned. “Nothing like exploding glass and holy water to put vampires off their game.”
Xander looked a little queasy but pocketed the money, which Spike took as agreement. “Xander,” he said seriously. “Holy water burns but it doesn’t kill. If you need to, you throw it, even if it’ll hit me too.” Xander opened his mouth to object but Spike stared him down. “Mean it, luv. I’d rather I got a bit of a splash than have you not throw it when you needed to.” Xander closed his mouth and reluctantly nodded. Worried about how quiet he’d gotten, Spike gave him a cheeky grin. “Mind you, I rather not get splashed if you can avoid it. Makes horrible red patches, it does and I’d hate to mess up my looks.”
He was disappointed when Xander just gave him a shaky smile. It was obvious the boy was getting nervous about the upcoming fight. “Come here, luv.” He held out his arm and hugged Xander hard as the boy moved towards him. “Be all right, luv. Angelus doesn’t stand a chance against us.”
Xander clung to him for a minute, then pulled away. Crossing the small space, he stood for a moment facing the wall, apparently steeling himself for something. Spike watched him worriedly as Xander swung around abruptly.
“I want you to do something for me, Spike,” he said in a rush.
“Anything I can, pet.”
“I want you to mark me. If we’re going to fight Angelus tomorrow, I want you to mark me tonight.”
Spike stared at him speechlessly and Xander crossed his arms stubbornly, like he was afraid Spike was about to refuse - the last thing on Spike’s mind actually, but the sudden request had knocked him off balance. “I’m not an idiot, Spike, I know we could both be killed. But I’m not willing to let Angelus continue to run around killing people because Buffy won’t do her job. Not without trying to do something about it. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to die with his mark on me.”
Xander stared at Spike, then suddenly dropped his eyes, looking down as his whole stance sagged. “When this is over, if we’re alive, you don’t have to renew it, you know. I just don’t want his mark on me when we go up against him.”
Spike’s growl stopped him and he flicked a quick glance up at the vampire. His surprised look caught and froze as Spike glared at him in demon face. “Don’t ever want to hear you talk that way about yourself again, pet,” Spike ordered. “I’ll mark you and it’ll be a proper mark. And it’ll be renewed.”
Xander smiled and then it faded and he looked uncertain again. “So, how does it work, do you just…?” he gestured vaguely and Spike rolled his eyes.
“Not feeding from you, luv. I’m marking you.” Spike stripped off his duster and laid it on the tomb, spreading it out as a makeshift blanket. “Come ‘ere, luv.” Xander crossed to the tomb and Spike took him in his arms, burying his face in Xander’s neck and opening all his senses to his boy. He could feel Xander’s heart beating, faster than normal but not racing, feeling the pulse through the tanned skin. Xander smelled of excitement and nervousness and the beginnings of arousal.
After a long moment, Spike pulled back and lifted Xander up, sitting him on the tomb. Pulling his head down, Spike kissed him hard, tangling his hands in the dark hair and feeling Xander’s mouth open beneath his. It was the first time he’d kissed Xander in his true face and he let Xander’s tongue explore the differences, dancing over the changed contours, swirling around the fangs, testing their sharpness against the tip of his tongue. Xander’s tongue grow bolder, until it pressed against the fang hard enough to draw blood. The taste exploded in Spike’s mouth and he moaned, sucking hard on Xander’s tongue, drawing the few drops to the surface and reveling in the rich warmth of blood freely offered.
Standing between Xander’s legs, Spike pressed closer, feeling Xander’s erection against his stomach. Xander’s parted legs were around Spike’s hips, the tomb was too tall for this, Spike thought in annoyance. He pushed Xander backwards, climbing up after him, until they were lying on the top slab, the familiar smell of his duster surrounding them and masking the other smells from the crypt. Xander stopped him as Spike moved to lay full length on top of him, aiming to kiss him again. Looking up from where he lay on the black leather, Xander lifted his good hand and explored Spike’s true face, tracing his fingers along the ridges, discovering their exquisite sensitivity as Spike shivered and pushed into the gentle touch. With his demon vision, the dim light was no barrier and Spike saw only curiosity and interest in Xander’s eyes with no rejection as he traced the altered lines of Spike’s true countenance.
“Alexander Harris,” he asked with old-fashioned formality. “Do you accept the mark of William the Bloody of the Clan Aurelius?” It wasn’t necessary, no ritual was required to mark a human, but Spike wanted his marking of Xander to be different in every way from what Angelus had done.
Xander smiled at him. “Yes,” he said simply.
For a long moment, Spike just smiled back at him, amazed by the way Xander’s smile lit up his face, like Spike had given him a longed for treasure. Reaching up, he stroked Xander’s face, running his thumb over his lips, wanting to hold onto that smile somehow. He was almost disappointed when Xander turned his head and kissed Spike’s palm.
Xander put his arms up, being careful of the cast, and pulled Spike’s head down for a kiss. Kissing him back enthusiastically, Spike put his own hands to good use, deftly unfastening Xander’s shirt and exposing the expanse of his chest to the cool air. Pulling back from Xander’s lips, he dropped his head and began kissing and licking along the smooth skin, homing in on the flat, brown nipples. Reaching his goal, his tongue circled teasingly around one nub before laving over the hardening peak. Xander’s hand closed in his hair, holding Spike’s head against himself as his back arched into the sensation.
Spike chuckled at the response and switched to the other side, lapping and sucking until the second nipple tightened to match the first. Xander was rocking his hips up to meet Spike’s, his good hand clutching Spike’s shoulders, the casted arm circling Spike’s back, tiny moans escaping his lips. Spike lifted up slightly, still licking and nibbling at the tight brown peaks, and unfastened Xander’s pants, pushing them down below his hips and out of the way.
Kissing his way down Xander’s body, Spike followed the thin line of hair to his groin. He buried his nose in the dark, wiry curls, inhaling deeply, smelling the intense odors at the core of the body: the sharp tang of arousal, the slightly bitter smell of pre-cum, and the overall smell of Xander: a complex spicy scent, always flavored by the emotions the boy felt so strongly.
Spike ran his tongue the length of Xander’s penis, thoroughly enjoying the gasp of shock and the way Xander’s hips jerked up. Spike grinned and, taking a firm hold on the boy’s hips, wrapped his lips around the shaft, taking the head into his mouth, his tongue toying with the slit, tasting the drops of pre-cum. Xander cried out, his hips thrusting against Spike’s hold, his body arcing up from the marble slab.
Still holding Xander’s hips still, Spike swirled his tongue around the head, feeling Xander’s body stiffen and -
“No!” Xander protested as Spike lifted his head and pinched the vein at the base of Xander’s penis, stopping the imminent orgasm in its tracks. Xander writhed underneath him, desperately thrusting up, wanting touch, needing release. “Damn it, Spike.”
“Soon, luv,” Spike soothed, sliding up and kissing him. He wrapped his hand around Xander’s erection and began pumping gently. “Ready, luv?” he asked, his golden eyes holding Xander’s in the flickering light from the dying candles.
“Yes! Do it, Spike.”
“Love you, Xander.” Spike bent his head, his senses extended, monitoring Xander as his hand picked up speed, bringing Xander back to the brink. As Xander’s body tensed, his hips thrusting up into Spike’s hand, Spike sank his teeth into the exact spot Angelus had marked, his bite overlying and obliterating Angelus’.
Blood filled his mouth as he drank, Xander’s cry of pleasure ringing in his ears. As the taste, scent, sound and feel of his boy filled Spike’s senses, he humped frantically against Xander’s leg, his own orgasm roaring through him as Xander’s seed spurted over his hand. Reluctantly, he withdrew his fangs, lapping at the mark, his mark, cleaning the last traces of blood from the teeth marks that now forever proclaimed Xander as his property.
“I need to speak to Xander Harris for a moment.”
Xander was startled out of his daydream at the sound of his name. He’d fallen asleep on top of the crypt last night, his limbs tangled with Spike’s. Spike had woken him up a couple hours later and taken him home. He’d only gotten a few hours sleep total and was both tired and stiff this morning. How vampires slept on top of crypts, he couldn’t imagine. After only a couple hours on one, he ached worse than after an entire night sleeping on the floor. It must be the stone that made them so uncomfortable.
He hadn’t been able to get any sleep at his house after Spike had left. Between worry about the upcoming fight, mooning like a girl with her first hickey over Spike’s mark on his neck, and ecstatically re-living the previous night’s blow job, he’d had too much on his mind to fall asleep. That, plus the huge dose of guilt when he realized he hadn’t done anything in return to Spike after Spike had given Xander the best orgasm of his life. Talk about selfish. He’d been a total guy about it - just rolled over and fallen asleep after he got his end off. Or at least a total guy according to the quizzes in Willow’s Cosmo magazines that she used to inflict on Jesse and him. He would have to make it up to Spike as soon as he saw him again.
He’d dressed carefully for school, making sure he wore something that hid the fresh mark. What he really wanted to do was flaunt it, it was Spike’s mark and he was proud to wear it, but it wouldn’t help him to find out more information about the re-souling spell if everyone was busy lecturing him about letting vampires bite him.
Now he looked up from the open text book he’d been using to hide the fact that he’d been nearly asleep at the sound of Giles’ voice at the classroom door. He glanced at the history teacher, who gestured permission, and made his way forward through the desks towards the door.
Giles stepped out into the hallway and Xander followed, closing the door quietly behind him. “What’s up?” he asked.
“Something’s come up and I need to speak with you. I’m sorry about your class but I’m afraid it can’t wait.”
Xander followed him as he lead the way to the library, asking quickly, “is everyone all right?”
“Hmm? Oh, yes, sorry. Everyone is fine. After the argument yesterday, I wanted to talk to you alone.”
“Are you going to re-soul Angel?” Xander asked as the library doors swung closed behind them.
Giles glanced quickly at him, then away, pulling his glasses off and beginning to polish them with his handkerchief. Xander’s jaw tightened at the familiar sign of the librarian stalling. “We haven’t decided yet. As I said, something has happened and that has changed things.” He pushed the handkerchief back into his pocket, sliding his glasses back on, still avoiding Xander’s eyes. “Can you ask Spike to meet with us when he arrives tonight?”
“I’m afraid we may need his help.” Giles finally looked directly at Xander and Xander’s incipient hostility faded at the worry and fatigue in the hazel eyes. Giles looked exhausted, troubled and… frightened, and that was unusual enough to kindle a similar spark of fear in Xander.
“What’s happened?” he asked sharply.
“A new threat. One that could be the end of the world.”
Once, Xander had lived in a world where that statement would have caused him to break out laughing. Now, he could only stare silently, the fear inside growing like wildfire at the absolute seriousness in Giles’ voice.