rngrdead (rngrdead) wrote in bloodclaim,

The Stray # 23

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 , Part 10 , Part 11 , Part 12 , Part 13 , Part 14 , Part 15 , Part 16 , Part 17 , Part 18 , Part 19 , Part 20 , Part 21 , Part 22


Xander woke with an armful of dog. Spike shifted immediately his ‘master’ began to stir.

A sleepy “Hey buddy” and thorough ruffling of his fur was Spike’s reward, something he was so used to that the simple licking of a hand was all it took.

“OK, enough with the hot tongue…” Spike pushed the favor, “Enough!” He sat down and looked up with baby blue eyes, though Xander could have sworn he was smiling.

Poppie was there instantly, bounding onto the bed to joyously join her father in a morning tussle with master that always ended in the same way. Master would extract himself, then her father would lead them both to the back door, unlock it (a skill she had yet to master) and let them both outside for their morning ablutions.

This morning was like any other to the now fully grown pup. Master fed them, then served himself and settled to stare at a paper with pictures and indecipherable black type on it. She had been a little lonely the previous night, but accepted that sometimes father slept in Master’s room and that was right. She had been warm and comfortable, and knew that when Master pulled out the leads, they were all going for a run. She sat impatiently and accepted her father’s reassurance as their collars were clipped to the leads and front door opened.

Today Master was bringing his skateboard. That meant a fast run, Poppie so excited she yipped as she was encouraged to start. They ran at an even pace, later in the day, it would be Gracie at the helm, but for now she knew to watch her father’s lead as Master was not so good at ‘steering’ as Gracie.

Xander was still trying to reconcile the night that had been so appreciated the guidance of his dogs as he absently navigated a corner and headed them all for the running track by the creek.

Spike was happily comfortable with his four legged form, rejoicing with his daughter’s excitement and leading them all on a joyful romp for the morning, at all times careful of their master being towed behind. If ‘best of both worlds’ was what he had, then he would accept, and not just accept, but also relish the gift. The sun was new but still warming and the sojourn in the park (the half way mark of their run) where the leads were released and the dogs encouraged to ‘go fetch’ allowed him to let the dog nature subsume all.

After the run home, Xander watered the dogs and allowed them to settle outside, then found himself a little jealous of the two as they lay on their mat outside.

His connection with Spike was faint in comparison to when Spike was in vampire form, yet he felt the vague notion of being settled… relaxed and happy and wondered at that. It was at once a realization that Spike was a survivor, an immortal being, or soul, that dealt with life as it came, and also that Spike was a being that gave his all in all circumstances regardless of cost. Xander also felt, on a visceral level, the love that the being he had been charged with’s capacity for love, of family, of friends, and of lover… and felt entirely humbled. How could he live up to that? What was their future together? How would he cope if faced with immortality (of a sort and depending on the outcome of another discussion with Willow)?

In the end Xander simply sat with the dogs and enjoyed the sun, the mantra ‘here and now, here and now,” flowing through the link from Spike. He angled his face to the sun, tangled his fingers in Spike’s fur and simply sat. Through the link he kept feeling the here and now… here and now. And the problems of tomorrow fell away…

Xander must have snoozed for a time and woke to the sound of the doorbell ringing. The dogs were the first to move, both instantly awake and racing through the house. Xander forgot the previous night entirely and went into ‘owner’ mode as both Spike and Poppie barked the announcement that Gracie had arrived.

“Alright you two! Settle!” The obedience was a reluctant one but there nevertheless as he opened the door to a grinning Gracie.

“Seems that his lordship is fully recovered.”

Xander answered almost instinctively then blushed, “In more ways than one.”

Gracie noted the embarrassment but put it down to the somewhat underdressed nature of the owner of her favourite dogs.

“I’m running Chloe with the team for the last time today, she’s still got four weeks to go, but it’s a bit warm for her to train safely. I’m going to put Poppie in her place after that, if you think she’s up to it.”

“What? Oh... yeah sure. Umm... Can you watch Spike for me? I just don’t know...”

“No problem Xander, I was wondering how he will go anyway, the recent illness and all. Have you thought of just putting him to stud, or perhaps rather than the really long races, maybe he can focus on the ‘dash’ races this coming year.” Spike pushed his nose into Gracie’s hand, “See even he seems keen.”

“I’ll um... leave it up to you... but it does sound like it would work OK.” Xander had been wondering how they would handle the long nights of Canadian winter, and certainly nervous regards the five day Mail run with all the changes that entailed.

“So come on you lot... mush time.” Spike was already half way out the door with Poppie a close second, Xander watching as the dog reacquainted himself with his dear Chloe, and Xander felt a strange sense of jealousy as father inspected the mother of his second litter.

Xander used the time of training to swiftly shop for the essentials, picking up a tube of lube and an extra six pack of beer on a whim, before wondering idly if Spike ‘needed’ anything else. He had to get his head around the changed vampire. Did he crave blood? Cigarettes? Beer? What? Did his doggie constitution negate the vampire one as far as toxins were concerned?

Xander finally gave up worrying and settled on getting the ‘usual fare’ for his beloved canines and enough staples to last them the rest of the week. He would ask Spike if anything else was needed.

In the end the human returned to the house, finding himself oddly compelled to growl at the large tabby availing herself of the sun on their front porch. The primeval sound seemed to come from nowhere. Xander was a little surprised by the act, but wrote it off as the fact that he had never been a lover of *other* people’s cats.

That evening was a rather non eventful one. Ribs and rice were on the menu and the mood was a quiet one with the two dogs enjoying the crunch of bones and tidbits of cooked meat and flavoured rice. There was no word from Willow or the covens, and Poppie and Spike both bedded down on the sleeping mat in Xander’s bedroom as the night closed in and despite an invitation to Spike to join Xander on the bed.

Spike simply looked up at Xander with begging eyes hoping he would understand. He had decided it was time for Poppie to know of her father’s unique status, and learn to accept. He loved her no less now than before – if anything his affection had increased.

The change came quickly. Poppie instantly awoke and gave a yelp of surprise as her father arched then morphed into human form. She scrambled backwards fearful and confused. She could still smell father, this human still smelled of father, and his eyes were the same so she sniffed his offered hand before allowing the human to hug her close. “That’s my girl, you’ve still got me in the day and your ol’ da is vamp at night. Not so much me doing the big switch as just enjoyin’ the best of both worlds.”

Xander watched as the distraught Poppie was placated by a still quite doglike Spike as he vampire licked her face and growled low. Then, still on all fours but now in game face Spike growled again far more forcefully until Poppie rolled onto her back, upon which he opened his mouth wide and made as if to bite her jugular, though in reality did not let his vampire canines break her skin. He simply held her there for a moment before petting her lovingly with very real human hands to reassure and reached up for Xander, begging with golden eyes to join them.

Poppie knew this scent and the actions so reacted instinctively, even though the being dominating her was a nude human male. As the hands began to rub and ruffle her fur she placed her head low before pushing her muzzle under his chin in recognition. Somehow this was still father, she could smell that. Perhaps he had changed for master – she was unsure and did not really understand. Nevertheless, all seemed well with master who was now also patting her and kissing the back of her changed father’s neck. This was pack, family, though she somehow hoped master would let father go back to his familiar form. The things that had not changed were the love for her father and devotion to master.

Xander found himself nude on the floor petting and reassuring Poppie and touching Spike with the same intent. Spike deferred to Xander as his dog nature now demanded, but also sent joy, love and calm through their pledge link. Poppie relaxed completely and as the young dog curled up and fell into a light sleep, the two human male forms crawled up onto the bed, Spike now back into his ‘normal’ human guise.

Xander pulled Spike into a close hug and simply held for a time before uttering, “Do you think she understands?”

“I don’t understand Luv, why should she? But her actions? Like a vampire family I reckon... First time I saw Angelus change... Still about family in the end... Least ways that’s how I see it. I figure it’s about acceptance of what is, and seems as though Poppie accepts – but can you? Out of curiosity, what did you think when you saw it, me I mean, change? You know... this... me... us?” Spike’s blue eyes were staring into Xander’s one and the human knew the honesty and raw vulnerability without the need to resort to the pledge link. He had felt that doubt too.

“So long as you are happy... *we* are happy – that’s all that matters. So you think she’s OK with this, Spike?” Xander lifted the covers for a moment waving in the general direction of their two naked male bodies side by side. “I mean she seems fine.”

“Sure of it Pet. Still smell like her old da and c’n growl just as well. Maybe take her for a run one of these nights – test the ol’ pins proper like... One night when you’re late home... ‘n don’t worry – I’ll leave a note... or hey, you could buy me a cell phone – keep tabs... bit better ‘n the chipped collar – much as I do like it, right fine bit of bling even for a human.” Spike touched first his, then Xander’s ‘collar’, the latter touch was a fond caress that continued down to wake ‘little Xander’.

“OK, OK, point taken... Now the night is still young, I thought we might... you know go somewhere? Where would you like to go?”

“Like to show you off a bit more Luv, p’raps take us for some ribs or sommit and for Ghod’s sake gimme a smoke.”

Xander grinned despite himself and pushed Spike off gently. “Smokes are in the drawer but it’s an outside thing – ie not in the house. So smokes I can do.”

“Fags, pet, they’re called ‘fags’… seems appropriate don’t you think given…” Spike gave his partner his most mischievous of grins, slapped him on the flank closest, grabbed the packet of cigarettes and jumped off the end of the bed making for the door.

“Why you!!... Hey Mr Nude don’t you think you’d better um…” Xander rubbed the slight red patch with one hand as he made a point of staring at Spike’s bare behind.

“What you think the neighbours ‘d mind? Might give ‘em a thrill.” Spike paused for a moment, saw the rather disparaging look on Xander’s face and conceded. “Alright, throw me m’ strides then, and point me to a lighter, don’t fancy just chewin’ on one of these no matter how long it’s been.”

He caught the pants and pulled them as Poppie roused, saying with genuine emotion as he was handed the lighter, “No doubt about you is there pet.”

Poppie wandered outside after her father and settled by his side as he lit a cigarette using a pristine new Zippo lighter, complete with Union Jack on one side and engraving of a railroad spike with the words ‘with love X’ on the back.

By the time Xander had made a couple of calls, Spike was sitting on the edge of the deck staring into space, stroking Poppie lovingly.

Xander smiled at the sight, reflecting that it was a very easy scene to get used to and contemplating adding one more of Chloe’s new litter to the mix (with Spike’s permission of course). It was only fair.

Not wanting to break the peace of the scene, but conscious of time, Xander waited until the cigarette was butted out then cleared his throat, “Ahem… you two might like to get ready – we’re going to dinner. Place is dog friendly, so long as Poppie’s on a lead.”

“Sure you don’t want me on a lead too luv? Never know what might happen with an untamed vampire on your arm when you’re out ‘n about.”

Xander grinned at the thought and Spike heard him mutter under his breath as the car started, “You’re tame enough.”

Xander parked the car on the opposite side of the road to the cafe and was waved in by David who was waiting at the entrance. The hairdresser had obviously dyed his hair that day – now in black with traces of dark purple, short and in stylishly messy tufts. Chris stood a little to his right, somewhat nervous, Xander was his boss after all, but as Xander put his hand on Spike’s back to guide him over the road, the young man obviously relaxed a little.

Poppie was on her lead but it was hardly necessary as she kept so close to Spike that her fur rubbed his leg with each step.

David was his usual effusive self, introducing Spike to Chris as Xander’s new “*gorgeous* English squeeze”, William. Chris shook Spike’s hand shyly and squatted down to give Poppie a thorough ruffling of the fur. She rewarded him with an affectionate lick on the back of the petting hand.

They took an outside table as planned, Poppie sitting politely between Xander and Spike’s chairs, taking tidbits as they were passed down to her.

Ribs and beer were the fare of choice and the conversation was a lively one with David holding the floor on several occasions with rather exaggerated stories of some of his clients and their exploits. Spike chatted easily with Chris, discovering that he had spent four years in the UK living in Staffordshire. And Spike was thrilled to discover they had common ground when it came to discussions of London and some of his old haunts – though he carefully omitted when exactly he’d been there, and what his vampire antics were in the same.

All in all it was a wonderful evening and Xander happily told Chris that he was being kept on for their next building project, this time as one of the supervisors, and would be included in any dialogue had by Jerry and the design team so he was prepared for the role from the first day. A good time was had by all.

Returning to the car, Spike stopped Xander for a moment. “Hold on a minute Xan, Poppie’s hackles are up, and I can feel vamp.”

“You serious? I’ve never seen any vampire action in Calgary.”

“Don’t mean they’re not here mate, just slow down for a bit.” Spike picked up a piece of wood that had been discarded near a rubbish bin and put it in his back pocket. “Let me walk on ahead yeah? Haven’t had a decent tussle for months, not on two legs anyway. Hope I’m not too rusty.”

Spike walked alone into the alley where the car was parked, he looked for all the world like a well dressed university student simply returning to his car. As Xander rounded the corner, he was just in time to see the dust settling on the ground from one kill and Spike using the makeshift stake to finish off a second with a swift round house kick then a stake to the chest.

He returned to the car with a purposeful bounce in his stride “Ahh that felt good. Even if they were only a couple of fledges. Can’t compare a good old school tussle like that, with the four legged spat. Sorry there Poppie, yer ol’da has a history needed remindin’.”

Spike leaned over to the back seat and gave his daughter an affectionate scruff between the ears. Poppie, to her credit, giving a thorough face licking, somehow sensing her father, pride, and more. Spike was still in game face and growled with the best before putting his seat belt on as though nothing had happened and simply said, “Home James and don’t spare the you know whats.”

Nothing was said on the return trip, but Spike’s grin and the silence was everything.

Finally, around eleven in the evening, a tired Poppie was settled on the rug beside the bed and Spike joined Xander under the covers.

“All around great evening ey Luv don’t you think? Good company, good food, good fight. All is needed to make it perfect is a good f#$% whadya say, you up to it?” Spike slid his hand down to check. “Well little Xan seems in the mood, what say you on top for the first round.”

Xander rolled over and kissed Spike soundly then whispered “No... you in me please it’s been so long and I just... It will be our first real…”

“Nothin’ simpler pet, but face up this time OK? Wanna see you in bliss, the least a man c’n do.”

“Oh Ghod yeah,” was all Xander could reply before he reached for the lube. He slicked first himself then Spike, he paused looking for affirmation before lifting his knees up close to his chest and tilting just so, opening his good eye to be greeted by a grinning Spike, who eased two fingers in and scissored them gently.

“That OK pet? Seems as you’re ready but don’t want to hurt you.” With that fingers were removed and Spike pressed a cool erection home with a groan of appreciation from both parties.

“Oh Ghod… Xan now let’s just take this slow and loving, wouldn’t want ta mess up our first real encounter now would I? ‘sides been all doggy style for a few years this way up’s a right bonus.”

Despite the wicked grin on Spike’s face there was also deep love and devotion that suggested this was not to be the first time they would copulate in such a fashion.

The quiet moments after both had come to completion, twice, Xander could not help but ask, “So it’s different, you know as a dog... the copulating I mean.”

“Sure it is – all about instinct and repeat performance... Chloe is a sweetheat though – couldn’t ask for a better mum – but it’s really not about pleasure – you know all ‘My furnungulator is poking at your pretrudium - the race must continue, the race *must* continue* - all sort of primal with a fine outcome. What humans have is special... bit like dolphins in a way – only two mammals who seek climax for recreational reasons. Now don’t get me wrong – the instinct stuff is fine too – but it’s all too quick and the reasons are definite... Anyway Biology lesson over… You got enough in you to do me before this doggy has to return to his window?”

There was no question and little Xan did admirably – admittedly with a little encouragement and a naughty shower. And by morning there were two perfectly behaved huskies sleeping on the mat beside his bed.

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