rngrdead (rngrdead) wrote in bloodclaim,
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rngrdead
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The Stray #9

Title: The Stray
Pairing: S/X
Rating: NC/17
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 , Part 7 , Part 8



PART 9

The fishing adventure was wonderful – but for the silly Tilley and her crying of a night, until the children ‘snuck’ her into their tent and Spike had *not* felt sorry for growling a little at her when she was making all they fuss, almost relieved when the whining fell quiet. There really was no accounting for parentage. She was genuinely a product of genetics, and somewhere in producing a pretty laptop some of the breed of the intelligence had simply been lost. Still she was a rather sweet pooch, if a little over indulged, just not terribly cut out for the rough of the camping.

Spike followed Xander carefully then sat at his feet while the rest of the group spread out along the river to cast. Night time was filled with relaxed tall tales around an open fire, Spike fetched beers (much to the amusement of the others), fine freshly grilled fish and condiments, port and good coffee. It was an early retirement due to lack of light but nobody minded.

Spike was allowed into Xander’s tent after everyone else was settled and snuggled against the sleeping bag containing his friend. Xander had packed an old crochet rug that was a little ugly on the colorful side but was just the cover a well furred husky needed to be pampered and toasty in slumber. Waking on the second night with Xander hugging him and mumbling in his sleep had Spike momentarily confused – especially when a still fully asleep Xander begged the Powers that Be to “C‘on give h’m back *pleee* didn’ deserve-die… save… me n’ eye – too stupid too mmrrrfffgrrr how I felt… *wish* he was still here… jus’ once t’ say… hrrmphh”

The jolt through the magical fabric was real but the interpretation was tricky. Spike unwilling to hope but each time it occurred there was certainly a slightly different accent to the sensation, perhaps it was one of those three wishes things, or perhaps it was nothing.

He was lying in the arms of a man he was fast coming to love, to think of as Master, a man who mumbled sweet nothings about Spike in his sleep and hugged him. Spike gave himself a mental kick. Life wasn’t that bad really… after all he had the sun, good food and relative freedom, and a friend who loved him (if the arm around his furry torso was any indication).

By their third day of fishing, the ex-vampire had resolved simply to live with his altered state and did what Spike always had done – make the best of it… And the best meant pouncing on a stray salmon that had ventured into the tributary rather early in the season. The best of it meant capturing the trout on his ‘master’s’ hook without making a puncture. And the best of it was lying with Xander on their third night and the human in question doing the usual in his sleep – and Spike being pulled into a close hug and sharing the warmth of spirit and body heat.

The sled races were again discussed as they drove for home – Xander jovial and with seven fine salmon on ice in the rear of the truck, satisfied the weekend had been a success.

A day post fishing trip, Spike was on a lead and heading for Gracie’s place. The girl was tall, a little lanky, but incredibly fit! As were her canine charges. Spike wished for his vampire abilities but sadly they were denied. However, over the ensuing three weeks, he was pleasantly surprised to find his new form was quite well adapted to running at pace.

There was a slight altercation on the third morning following their run– but thankfully Gracie was none the wiser. Deefer (yes… d for dog) was a handsome black and white Malamute who was the lead dog just a little too full of himself for Spike’s liking… particularly after he ‘subdued’ a younger female husky Chloe, urinating on her when she had already acknowledged his supremacy. Spike pushed her to the drinking bowl and gently tipped the water over the offended fur. She licked his face in gratitude, and it was all Deefer needed to pick a fight.

What the dog did not expect however, was an ex-vampire now canine with over a hundred years of fighting the good (and bad) fight. By the end of the very swift altercation there was a new pecking order with Deefer acknowledging Spike as alpha, as did all other six dogs (and a very pretty young female husky was instantly devoted to Spike). Gracie noted the shift the following day and tied Chloe opposite Spike – Deefer was still at the head of the pack, but the group knew who was really in charge.

Over the following weeks the joy of being collected from Xander’s back yard and led to Gracie’s truck and joined the other seven dogs. Bigger teams would have up to eleven but Gracie was a relative beginner and starting out small, learning training techniques and developing relationships with her dogs.

Spike gradually got the hang of pulling just far enough away from the central tether, and also respond to Deefer’s lead. With the encouragement and instructions of Gracie’s shrill voice, he began to pull harder and faster, eventually seeing Chloe relegated to the next row down, and a stronger very black husky Mac replacing her opposite, (though she was now directly behind him and could touch when they were resting). It was only four weeks until their first race and Spike was genuinely excited.

Spike knew he was regaining form (albeit a dog one!), muscles were filling out and his coat was thicker. Xander rejoiced in his dear canine friend’s improved condition, and had taken to grooming him of an evening – something they both enjoyed… but for that one time… the collar…

He’d been wearing it since Kamloops. The loose chain collar, he hardly even noticed it any more. But then Xander had come home somewhat excited and took it off(!) and Spike… panicked. There was no logic to the feeling, he simply began to whimper and could not help but shiver even though they were inside

He remembered no collar. No collar meant hunger and beatings and trying to get… somewhere safe! Had he jumped the fence once too often? Had he forgotten to put the DVDs back or the television on the correct channel? Or perhaps Gracie was disappointed with him…? Had Xander decided to sell him for some reason – he had read that Xander had been a promotion – did that mean moving and no place for him?

And then Xander… his Master, for now Spike really had accepted the former Scoobie as ‘Master’… pulled out a beautiful silver chain and fixed it around the furry neck. It was thick enough to be a collar, but more than pretty enough to be the finest jewelry chain designed for a human. And Spike didn’t miss that his dear friend had placed a similar adornment around his own neck.

The words “See Spike, now we match” drew a sigh of devotion from the dog and saw the ex-vampire again lick his friend’s hand. If Spike had words they would have been pointless. He realized, in that moment he *truly* loved Xander in his current state, was devoted even… and if that meant another ten years before his canine body gave out then so be it. Spike felt a measure of contentment in that thought – something he had *never* experienced as a vampire, and only fleetingly as human. His place was by his master’s side, and beside the bed on the plushy mat with the rug covered him. He was clean, fed and watered, there were activities and a measure of freedom. And he knew Xander loved him. What vampire human or dog could fail but be content.

It was his sixth month as a dog and Spike’s natural penchant for protection and loyalty was only enhanced by his canine instincts. And there was more, Xander loved him, held him, pampered him, fed him from his own plate… shared life with him. But now the problem was that Xander had started to go ‘out’ to find human company.

The first night was easy enough, Spike greeted the taxi as Xander arrived home very much later than usual, and put up with the ‘stayout’ being apparently distracted when he came in smelling of alcohol, smoke and other men. Then he went out again Friday and the following Saturday *and* Monday nights and it was more of a worry as the smell became of a single man. On the fifth night *the he* arrived at their door, with Xander, to stay! And Spike was relegated to the kitchen to sleep.

He made a point of lying over the central heating duct (hoping to overheat the element and cause the alarm to go off) while the two ‘snuggled’ in the lounge, and he then tried to ignore the enthusiastic groans and expressions of lust and lovemaking as Xander ‘topped’ his new friend.

Spike checked in the morning after Xander went to work, relieved that it had been safe sex – that was something at least. But Spike was suspicious of this ‘Dillan’. The young man was just a little too enthusiastic and attentive, his hackles went up when the young man entered. He was almost sure that the ‘Powers that Screw You’ were playing on the fact that Xander needed a good f#$% occasionally just like any other bloke… but this man… it was too easy somehow. Spike made a point of growling as his taxi left, getting the response, “Oh Spike – you have nothing to be jealous about… and I’m sure you’ll come to like him.”

Spike turned heel abruptly left his master’s side and went outside to sit on the deck in the morning sunshine and sulk. He just knew there was something up – his vampire experience could pick a crooked character a mile off – hell he had deliberately hunted them for years. Xander was an easy target for a pretty boy and when they turned up together after dinner and an evening of dance for following Friday, Spike was almost ill to note that this Dillan had put white blonde tips all through his hair, had it swept into a mini Mohawk and had eyeliner on. With his ‘groovy’ casual clothes it looked far too try hard. The ‘do’ made the face look fat and round, and the clothing likewise with the body. What was Xander thinking!?

So the following morning, instead of their usual run and quiet time together, it was the Dillan and Xander show – and apparently Dillan was staying another night! Spike’s toileting and feeding was relegated to more of a tedious routine, and the usual quiet two days of company he spent with his old friend, now Master, gone. But being ignored had its uses, something he had learned as both human and vampire.

His plushy sleeping mat was in the kitchen, comfortably by one of the central heating ducts, and doggy ears and nose were still as sharp as his vampire days.

He stilled and observed from his sleeping place as the ‘friend’ entered the lounge room. The devious Dillan was on his mobile. It was four am on a Monday. If Spike hadn’t been able to read the time he just… knew. Not the time a chap would normally wander the house unless to attend the bathroom or sneak a snack– and certainly not the time that one would deliberately search for then sequester the spare keys, or for that matter, take digital images on one’s phone of potentially saleable items.

Monday was the usual – but that the young ‘innocent’ Dillan was on the block. Spike knew the look - Xander was still in the mood for romance and lusting after the younger man after two weeks or more of seeing each other. Kisses were had over coffee and Dillan left first to Spike’s relief. Xander fare welled his pet sans morning run but with a healthy dose of petting.

The pattern of inattention was not deliberate on Xander’s part, but Spike was a dab hand at spotting a manipulative bastard… He had, after all, spent twenty or so years as his Grandsire Angelus’ main project. So instead of anger or malice he chose observation. Something that in the end may have saved his life… well that and he was not ready to die… at least *not* at the hand of this little human upstart.

It was that Monday that changed everything. Spike had been drugged too many times to believe that two strangers who let themselves in with Xander’s spare key around midday, were up to anything but no good. They were pleasant enough…for a couple of thieves, and invited him to come out into the yard. They ruffled his fur and played for a bit then filled his outdoor drinking bowl with a rather large serve of premium diced mince.

Spike not only smelt a rat, but rat poison and swiftly took the bowl to the rear of the garden, as though to protect his prize. He buried the contents swiftly and effectively, hoping that the local wildlife did not fall for the tasty morsels and partake of a deadly repast. But his own deception was incomplete, though fortunately his acting skills of fifteen decades plus were still in tact.

His assailants were observing at the kitchen window so the dog did as expected, and staggered toward the back door, dramatically fell up the two steps and made it into the laundry where he collapsed (with appropriate tongue out panting of course). And the ruse was complete, but for one addition Spike knew he could pull off.

He was perfectly still as the two thieves came to inspect – even hanging out his long tongue for effect, and allowing a measure of doggy drool and urine to spoil the surroundings – consistent with a ‘death’ (but not quite consistent with the description on the packet had they been careful enough to read them), but it had the desired effect.

Despite Spike’s ‘tender’ age of one and a half plus centuries, computers and new technologies seemed to come relatively easily when it came to turning the bloody thing on and off – but once again the challenge of no longer having human hands… well… he had always been a one digit typist (stupid ‘qwerty’!)

The computer was on in the back room and Spike estimated he had thirty or so seconds to try plan a before the series to g would be needed.

He restored the computer screen which luckily had some personal mail on it one from Xander’s work to his Hotmail address at home. Spike managed to hit reply, then simply put “Xan hous bieg robbd now! Home n polic plee. S” and sent it with great effort as the mouse kept slipping. But it was done and he had the sense to turn the screen off before using the open back door for an escape leaping the neighbor’s side fence bolted to the neighbor’s backdoor. He began excitedly pawing at the rear door and barking for Tilley. Eventually Pippa came out to see what all the ruckus was about and Spike simply took her wrist and gently pulled her to the side fence. She had a clear view of what was going on and ran inside to get the police.

Spike hurdled the fence again then over the fence that let him out into their own yard but stayed slightly behind a large camellia bush and waited for his chance. The two thieves thought Spike was dead and he needed a distraction to give the police time to arrive so staggered around the corner and flopped dramatically in halfway down the front steps tail to them, as though he had staggered up the hall when they weren’t looking.

“F%^&ing hell Nev! Frikken dog wasn’t dead.”

“Well he’s practically dead in’ e! S#$t, I’m startin’ to loose the TV – just let’s backup and see if we can angle round it.” And as they did so Spike moved ever so slightly more to the right.

“Hang on, *Hang on*!! He’s gone the other way now.”

“Who’s gone the uver way? Geez make up yer mind!” Spike could hear the faint sirens in distance but definitely heading their way, and since they had the plasma television in arms, Spike needed them to put it down before all hell broke loose so he slid until completely covering one of the steps.

“Look, put this down in there, you check through the china – anything looks like we could hock it, bring it, meanwhile I’’ll deal with the mutt, can’t be that hard to push one groggy mutt downstairs!

With the plasma TV on the ground. The other thief began searching for everything else saleable and Nev moved to try to move Xander – more easily said that done! Both so determined in their task that first one then two cars arrived.

‘Mr. I-am-pushing-the-dog’ Nev was immediately apprehended in no small part to Spike who immediately latched on to the man’s leg and stilled him.

A yell from the second in command, “We’ve lost the other guy – he’s going over fences.”

Spike knew the fences and the smell of ‘the robber’ as he ran and tried to hide. Spike was on him in seconds with minimum of effort – another policeman followed fast behind.

In the ensuing weeks a full investigation found Dillan and his group of ‘assistants’, had virtually the same modus operandi. Seduce, gain trust (and the key), establish the family routine, and eliminate any security system.

Xander returned home as fast as he could only to be faced with a scene of triumph and confusion, police, and a crowd around the *wonderful* husky… The resulting week would be the most definitely a celebration for Spike. There would eventually be a certificate awarded. But that night was most definitely for the two of them… and something else.

Xander indicated the bed and Spike willingly joined him. They hugged and Xander caressed the pretty fur then kissed the end of his nose. “I could not believe the Email came from you?! It did come from you didn’t it??”

Spike licked Xander’s nose and all but grinned.

Xander flicked off the lamp kissed one of Spike’s ears in the dark and mumbled, “Then we have some serious typing to do in the morning!”

……………………………………………………..
NOTE

Not sure how long it will take to update as typist is ill and will be doing hospital time for 2 – 3 weeks, depending on progress. Apologies J


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