Nothing the Same, Book 3
Rating: PG13 - NC-17 Individual chapters will carry specific warnings.
Feedback & concrit: yes, please
Disclaimer: don't own them, never will, just playing with them
Spoilers: Primarily season 4, but anything from Season 1 on.
Summary: sequel to Nothing the Same & Nothing the Same, Book 2
Previous parts here
Spike bent his head and Xander felt the familiar exquisite pain of needle sharp fangs piercing his skin, marking him, showing the world that he belonged to Spike. As always, the mingled pain and pleasure of the moment brought him to the brink of orgasm and his grip tightened on Spike’s back, holding him as his body arced, pressing closer to Spike’s cool strength, his hips bucking up against Spike’s body, desperate for that little extra something to send him over the edge.
He yelped in astonishment as Spike suddenly jerked away from him with an agonized scream, his movement tearing his fangs out of Xander’s neck with a careless roughness that hurt. He pushed himself up on his elbows, and froze in disbelief, his surprised complaint dying on his lips.
Spike looked like he was having a seizure of some kind, his body arching back in agony, until he overbalanced and fell to the floor, landing with none of his usual cat-like grace.
Xander frantically rolled off the couch after him, all thoughts of carnality gone in his sudden terror.
“Spike! Spike! What’s happening?”
Spike curled into a ball, hands clutching his temples, his whole body shuddering with pain. Xander hovered over him, scared to touch him, afraid of somehow making things worse. Then it just… stopped. The corded tension in Spike’s body released and he slumped against the couch and Xander didn’t hesitate any longer. He pulled Spike into his arms, holding him as Spike curled up in his embrace like a wounded child, his body still shaking from whatever had just happened.
For a long moment, Xander just held him, crooning wordless comfort, waiting for Spike to recover. He didn’t ask any questions, too shaken himself by the sudden shock, the abrupt shift from arousal to fear, to do anything but hold Spike protectively in his arms and thank god whatever it was had stopped.
As he waited for Spike to talk to him, Xander’s brain started adding up random bits and pieces and he couldn’t help putting two and two together. Spike had told him and Angel that the soldiers had done something to one of the demons in the cells, making it so the demon couldn’t fight, couldn’t hit anything or defend itself. Spike had been vague on the details and Xander had suspected that Spike was holding something back. Now he knew what Spike had been hiding.
When Spike’s tremors had faded to nothing, Xander said quietly: “The demon you told us about, that was you.”
It wasn’t really a question but Spike sighed, the nearly inaudible sound telling Xander everything he needed to know.
Spike shifted in his arms and Xander loosened his hold, letting Spike push free without trying to stop him. Spike wasn’t good about accepting comfort - he saw it as being weak, and it was pretty much hardwired into vampires to never admit to any kind of vulnerability. Now, he rose off the floor and moved away from Xander, moving restlessly around the room, not pacing so much as avoiding Xander’s eyes.
“Bastards did something to me. When I hit Angel and nothing happened, I thought it had worn off or something. Turns out they were a bit cleverer than I’d guessed. I can fight demons, just can’t hurt humans.”
Xander frowned, getting slowly to his feet as his mind raced. Something about Spike’s explanation was off, or else he was missing something. Spike still wasn’t looking at him and his voice was flat without any of the anger Xander would expect from anyone, much less Spike who wasn’t exactly famous for his even disposition. Spike sounded almost… defeated. Which was crazy, Spike never admitted defeat. Situations that made others lie down and quit just made Spike fight twice as hard. Spike not only laughed in the face of danger, he kicked its ass and insulted its mother. He never gave up and the fact that he sounded like that was what he was doing now shocked Xander and he had no idea what to say or do to help.
Spike never reacted to pain the way he just had either. He fought his way through it, ignored it, coped with it, did whatever it took. He never let pain incapacitate him like that. Xander had seen Spike continue fighting after Angel had stuck two feet of sword in his gut, and despite gaping wounds that would have killed a human, Spike had beaten the older, larger vampire and still had enough fight left in him afterwards to shred Buffy verbally. But tonight, Spike had been brought to his knees by something that hadn’t left a mark on him.
The implications shook him. The pain Spike had been in had to have been worse than that of multiple near-fatal wounds. Xander couldn’t even imagine the level of pain Spike must have felt to cause the reaction he’d seen.
After way too long dithering, he closed the distance between himself and Spike, pulling him around until Spike was facing him and somehow found his voice. “Spike, whatever it is, whatever they’ve done, we’ll find a way to fix it,” he said quietly but with utter conviction.
Spike just looked at him with despairing eyes. “Can’t protect you, luv.” He ran his thumb over the still slightly bleeding bite mark on Xander’s neck, the older bite mark sloppily overlaid by the new one, the mark only partially renewed before the pain had forced Spike to stop. “Can’t mark you, can’t make love to you, can’t do anything.” He looked away, unable to meet Xander’s eyes. “I’m beyond pathetic, you’re better off without me,” he said harshly.
He started to pull away again and Xander tightened his grip, holding him in place. “Don’t you think that’s for me to say?” he asked sharply.
“’m not human, Xander. I’m not going to do the noble martyr thing and neither are you. Not going to be the cripple you chain yourself to for life.”
“Fuck you, Spike!” Xander almost yelled, his cold fear that Spike was planning on leaving him morphing into anger at Spike for giving up. “You try and quit on me now and I will chain you to the wall until you get your head out of your ass. We haven’t even had five minutes to figure out what’s happened, much less what we can do to fix it, and you’re already saying it’s hopeless. I’ve just spent the worst week of my life thinking you were dead and I am not going through that again because you want to give up.”
Spike’s own gaze sharpened until he was glaring back at Xander. “You don’t understand, Xander. The minute word gets out, every demon in town will know exactly how to take me. Fifty quid on the docks will be enough to hire humans I can’t fight. I’m not going to be the laughingstock of the demon world - the pathetic has-been who let humans leash him,” he snarled, shifting to demon features but not before Xander saw the humiliation and the flicker of fear in his blue eyes.
Xander met him glare for glare, his hands tightening unconsciously around Spike’s arms as if he could hold Spike there by brute force. The sound of his breath was harsh and unnaturally loud in the room as he shook Spike to emphasize what he was saying: “Nobody knows about this and nobody is going to find out until we fix it. Do you hear me? You are not leaving me.”
His voice broke on the last word and he took one step forward, his grip on Spike’s arms shifting, his arms sliding around to hold Spike, clinging desperately, his face buried in Spike’s neck as he continued brokenly: “And you are renewing your Claim mark if I have to take valium or a local anesthetic, you hear me? I can’t lose you, Spike.”
After what seemed an eternity, Spike sighed and his own arms lifted to wrap around Xander, holding him. “Love you, Xander,” he said quietly. “Never leave you. We’ll figure it out.”
Still shaken by Xander’s outburst, Spike lead his boy to the couch and settled the two of them down in the cushions, holding Xander close to his side, wondering if this would be enough if they couldn’t fix what was wrong. His fingers traced his Claim scar on Xander’s neck, running over and over it, lips quirking slightly in reluctant humor as he thought about Xander’s suggestion to use drugs to make him able to bite Xander. After a moment, his smile died.
Numbing the inevitable pain through drugs wasn’t the answer. It would probably work both for biting and for sex but it would make the experience meaningless for both of them. Anything strong enough for Xander to feel no pain would be in his blood, ruining the experience for Spike too and Spike didn’t want even a willingly drugged partner. Not when that partner was Xander.
But that was the long term. For now, Xander wasn’t wrong. Spike was a demon. He was used to solving his problems violently. A human who crossed him was a dead human and that pretty much took care of it. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option right now. He would have to find another way of dealing with things.
Well, he wasn’t a minion and he’d been bending the rules since the day he was turned, even more so since he’d met Xander. For Xander’s sake, he was already only rarely hurting and never killing humans. He could handle Xander knowing what had happened to him. If no one else found out, there wouldn’t be any reason for them to guess that anything was wrong. Certainly there was no reason anyone at Court would suspect anything. He’d never hunted with anyone from the Court, no one would notice if he shifted fully to bagged blood for a short time, just long enough to find out what had been done and how they could fix it.
That realization helped. If no one knew, he wouldn’t lose his status. He could still kick the ass of any demon in town and that was more than a little sop to his badly shredded pride.
Resting his head on top of Xander’s, feeling his boy’s warm weight leaning against him, Spike felt the despair that had been knotting his gut ease slightly. Xander didn’t see him as crippled, that was obvious. He saw Spike as wounded, a temporary condition, not something to be pitied. Viewed in that light, it was something he could live with for awhile. Just long enough to fix it and take bloody revenge on the people who had done this to him. It was the thought that this was permanent that had really been defeating him. The idea of a life half lived; the thought of never being able to feed off living prey and, more importantly, never being able to truly Claim Xander again, in any way, that had sent him spiraling into suicidal depression.
Holding Xander, feeling the warm breath, the steady heart beat, smelling his familiar rich spicy scent, Spike found something close to contentment again.
*A/N - Snippet of dialogue borrowed from the Episode ‘Doomed’