Warnings: Will appear on chapters if needed – some M/M relations
Summary: Spike survived the Black Thorn but only because one of the Senior Partners had heard Illyria refer to him as suitable for her pet and decided to amuse themselves with devastating results
Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 , Part 5 , Part 6
Sunday started much as Saturday had, though the pace was slower. Xander did wake just on dawn but simply got up let Spike out and left the back door open (again) but this time apparently on purpose, then went back to bed and allowed himself to sleep in.
Spike did his usual and then eyed off the small section of fence down the side of the house – if he could jump it he could get out and back into the property at will, not that he necessarily wanted to, or even needed to, it was just a matter of principle. Xander’s bedroom was on the other side of the house so it was a simple matter… If he didn’t make it no matter, all the scrabbling in the world would not be heard.
He paced backwards, eyed off the five foot or so fence as any Olympic high jumper might then sprinted as fast as he could over the fifteen or so meters and took off with his hind legs as hard as he could. Memories of vertical jumps as a vampire and the combination of his canine genetics (Husky ¾ and German shepherd 1/4) saw him all but soar over the fence with ease, sure he had to scrabble a bit on the way back – but it was a little bit of an uphill rise so in fact was higher on the return – but there was still no problem really.
He was his own keeper now in a way. It almost felt like the liberation of moving into the crypt after being the ‘captive vampire’ of the Scoobies when he first had his chip. He did it once more, just for reassurance then went inside, pushing the door closed as he had on the previous day. But he was too buzzed to be able to simply rest and wait, so instead decided to do a little of his own snooping around the house.
Xander’s furniture was a combination of a few nice pieces: plasma television, one good couch, one obviously second hand, and a variety of incidentals – tables, lamps, indoor plants and objects obviously collected from… overseas? Spike inspected the collection in the lounge room, the numerous pieces of art on the walls and rolled his eyes at the dust buster on charge in the corner next to the fake fire. He had never picked Xander as a neat freak but now looking at the house more carefully, it was not only tidy for a ‘bachelor house’, but tastefully arranged and extremely clean.
The study was more interesting. Though his dog form would not cooperate with the filing cabinet (yet – he *would* find a way!), there was enough on the shelves to tell him that Xander was successful at his job, several ‘employee of the month’ and Congratulations and Thanks for his project management role in various construction ventures. There was a single photograph of was of the Scoobies long left behind in his old life in Sunnydale. There was also one of Xander’s parents, which surprised Spike a little, but then most families had their problems and the child must eventually square with them, grow up and move on sometime.
He was interested to see a framed certificate from The Red Cross, thanking him for his efforts in the troubled provinces of Eritrea, then another referring to Ghana. Bloody Africa and literally bloody, if one rather tatty news clipping, next to a photo of Xander with three children sitting on his knee, was to be believed. According to the date the White Hat must have left the USA for Africa almost immediately after the Sunnydale disaster.
The cupboard in the room opened easily with a little pawing. Stationary supplies were on the shelf at his eye level and up further he could just see a number of work type folders and a digital camera bag. On the floor level, there was an open shoe box which, when tugged out, revealed a neat pile of cards and letters from post Sunnydale to now. Spike dared not disturb it – rather he would indicate to Xander at some later stage and have his human explain each one to him. That was until he noted that the first four cards stuck slightly out from the rest and were therefore easily captured by teeth and placed on the floor.
He licked the first card open and recognized Dawn’s rather girlie writing. She was still in Europe apparently, and most of the card was spent gushing to Xander about some new beau and the fact that she was going to England for the summer to study at Willow’s coven. The second card was a corporate Christmas card from someone called Steve Blass CEO who wished Xander ‘Happy Holidays’ with a personal note “Am hearing great things about your professional wins up north of the border – glad it all worked out for you. Merryn says Hi. S”
The next note was from Giles with a new address in England but little other news and the last was a simple postcard, all black with a tiny, red cracked heart in the top right corner. It had obviously either been hand delivered or in an envelope as there was no address or stamp. All it said on the back was, “I’m sorry I got a bit freaked after that third time. It’s me not you… You are sweet, luscious looking and a fab f@#$, but I really do love Aamon, and I don’t think any of us really wants to share. You have me as a friend always… Justin”
So Harris *was* a switch hitter. He knew there had to be an explanation for all those failed female relationships. Spike wished he’d known when he was still an unchipped – would have been a right lark to teach the boy a thing or two...No wonder Spike watching him jack off in the shower threw him for such a loop – probably thinkin’ of the latest captain of the boys’ swim team or some such. He also wondered if Xander was seeing anyone at the moment – or if he was even looking. Dammit if he changed back to vampire any time soon he would show Xander just how grateful he could really be and just how mind blowing being bitten when just at the cusp of climax assured the recipient an unforgettable, addictive, extended orgasm – whether filling the partner or being filled.
He carefully put each of the cards back in the box and eased it back to its place on the bottom shelf. He noted another box with lid on the left of the card box, but resisted the urge to look at it, since there was the sound of someone moving about the house. If Xander knew he had been messing with the human’s things then no doubt, this early in their renewed friendship, there might be problems. He reminded himself that It was really only his third day with Xander; that life wasn’t all that bad at the moment; and that he needed a plan to somehow let Xander know who he really was… or at least used to be.
As he wandered into the kitchen to wait for Xander to emerge, he began to wonder. How old was he? Dogs his size only lived to around sixteen. He would have to get the message across to Xander sooner rather than later if there was any chance of being restored to his former vampire form (and associated longevity).
The day progressed much as the previous one, though the shopping trips were replaced by some basic domestic duties, and a wash and grooming session for Spike. He was washed outside with a few buckets of warm water and Xander’s own shampoo, with the promise from Xander that he would go to the pet shop the following day for some other supplies. After a good hard shake he was toweled roughly, the sun would do the rest. On the last pass with the towel Spike grabbed the end with his teeth and began a tug of war that lasted twenty minutes, complete with growling and posturing on both sides.
The sides of the deck and two broad steps down to ground level were completed, Spike again enjoying a late afternoon beer. There wasn’t even a comment from Xander this time as the bowl was produced. The evening meal was a T-bone steak, rice and vegetables for Xander and dry dog food, raw mince and an egg for Spike. (Spike had been skeptical of the dog food scenario back in the shelter but quickly discovered his new form was quick partial to the odd meaty flavor and associated crunch).
There was no television that evening, rather Xander had some work catch up to do for the following day, and spent time pouring over some plans before making notes on the computer then printing it out for convenience on site. Consequently Spike was bored. So much so he requested to be let out into the back yard on four different occasions just to get Xander’s attention. In the end a frustrated Xander left the door open – despite the chilled air entering the house – stating, “If you’ve got the runs, you might have to stay outside for the night.”
In the end, Spike satisfied himself by circling around and around on the ‘retro’ shag pile carpet in the middle of the room as if to try to decide which way to lie. It had the right effect, with Xander huffing in annoyance, “Will you just lie down and be done with it! S#$@ Spike! I have to finish this!” Satisfied, Spike lay down rather pleased with himself. He could still be the ‘Big Annoying’, which wasn’t as exciting as good as the ‘Big Bad’, but still… give a dog time!
As Xander packed up and swung his chair around, Spike put his head on his paws and once again used the “Please love me, I’m *very* remorseful” blinking, blue eyed look.
“Oh come on you big baby, I needed to get all that done that’s all. Next time maybe I’ll just leave the television on for you or something.” Spike sat up a little and wagged his tail. The TV idea appealed, but really he had been quite pleased with the events of the evening. Still, he guessed that a repeat performance might garner a more negative reaction and he really did not want to sleep outside.
The following morning they ran just on dawn. Xander had to be onsite by 7.30am and that meant out the door by seven at the latest. Breakfast was Wheetabix, milk and a banana – with coffee to go. Spike was given a handful of dry food, and the remains of the previous night’s rice with the few vegetables and a beef stock cube dissolved in a small amount of hot water mashed through. A bowl of water was placed on the floor before Xander grabbed his insulated mug of coffee and tube of plans; slung his soft briefcase come laptop carrier over his shoulder; put his keys in his mouth while he opened the backdoor awkwardly for Spike (the instructions were for Spike to guard the house and push the door closed when he was done outside); patted the dog briefly then made a sprint for his car with the words “I’ll be home in no time buddy – you have a good day…”
The silence that followed the car backing out and heading down the street was followed by Spike feeling rather like a fifteen year old human left alone in the house for the day - sort of relieved and excited, but also just a little nervous and not sure what to do next. It was ridiculous! He shook himself hard as though he had just been washed and decided that he had to come up with a plan. The trouble was his husky/shepherd instincts, his desire to have company seemed to short-circuit any sensible thought for the moment. He settled on going outside.
It was early morning still, and he could hear the sounds of the family next door eating breakfast. And around half an hour later being sternly instructed to clean teeth, collect their lunch, take the garbage out, then a final shriek from a female voice, “I don’t care if you haven’t found your iPod! Your sister has to get to band practice… Just get in the car!” Spike had long reversed his human self’s wish to have a wife and family – this just confirmed his thoughts – though as he mused on vampire ‘families’, he decided that they were just as stressed and dysfunctional, but at least had the excuse of soulless.
Then all went quiet again. He dug a hole in the builders-sand pile desisting when a bunch of angry ants, that had apparently moved in to make their nest in the convenient material, defended their territory quite ferociously, biting him twice on his sensitive nose. He urinated on their nest then scratched the majority of the sand he had removed back over the evidence (and their now flooded hole). The thought did occur, as he did so, that he never wanted to come across a demon sized ant!
He lay for a time on a couple of old army rugs Xander had folded and placed on the deck in just the right spot to catch most of the sun during the morning, and snoozed for a time. Around midday he rose, relieved himself again, and wandered inside.
He padded downstairs and inspected the gym equipment, the fold out lounge/double bed and the pool table, sadly acknowledging that his hard earned skills at all things requiring an opposing thumb and human form were now near impossible to apply. Heading back up the stairs, Spike decided that if he was to survive like this he may as well pretend he was back in the crypt – or his apartment he had in LA… and watch daytime television… the question was, could he work the remote control.
The controls for the television, sound system and DVD/VCR were all neatly lined up on the low broad oak unit holding the huge plasma TV. Spike grabbed what he knew to be the television, mighty thankful to note it had been left on standby. He tried for almost twenty long minutes to maneuver the second toe’s claw on his right paw to the point where he could push it gently enough to turn on the equipment and not turn it off again. But once successful he was thrilled to find the channel changing was far easier. He still had to be gentle and ‘staccato’ in his push of the up-down button but managed to struggle through scrolling channels until there was something of interest.
He began watching a soap opera he did not recognize and stuck with it for a few minutes before persevering with channel surfing and finding one of the sport channels. Ice hockey was bearable, the footage from the European Athletics tolerable, but after an hour or so of reasonable entertainment, he drew the line at watching golf and switched through ARTV to TV5 – both were French language stations originating from Quebec.
Spike hadn’t spoken French for some years but was absolutely fluent in days past and after the news headlines and a short ‘local interest’ program, Spike delighted ‘brushing up’ his linguistic skills as he watched afternoon movie - the 1990s film version of “Cyrano De Bergerac”. Eventually however even the television bored him. So as not to arouse too much suspicion, Spike flicked the remote a few times more and left it on the Cartoon Channel, hoping that Xander might have forgotten what he had last been watching.
He checked the time – it was only 4.30pm. He had two plus hours to wait for Xander so decided that snooping was likely to be uninterrupted.