Nothing the Same, Book 3
Chapter: 14 (all)
Rating: PG13 - NC-17 Individual chapters will carry specific warnings.
Feedback & concrit: yes, please
WARNING: THIS CHAPTER CONTAINS EXPLICIT SEX
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, clinging to his lover’s whipcord body as he arced upwards, 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 was completely unlike him. 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 had snapped upright, arching backwards, every muscle clenched in pain, his expression one of pure agony. For one second, a flash of time that seemed to last for an eternity as Xander stared in shock, unable to move, as Spike collapsed to the floor, landing in a heap 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,” he said harshly. “You’re better off without me.”
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 furious 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 out. 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: “You’re the one who told me a Claim was permanent, remember? You’re renewing your Claim mark even if I have to take valium or a local anesthetic when you do it. 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 leavin’ you. We’ll figure it out.”
Still shaken by Xander’s outburst, Spike gently steered 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. It only lasted a moment before all trace of amusement vanished before the reality of the situation.
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, they needed time to figure out what to do. 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.
Xander stirred, feeling the softness of worn denim under his cheek. He’d fallen asleep on the couch, his head pillowed in Spike’s lap. He turned his head, wincing a little at the stiff muscles in his neck, and Spike’s strong fingers were there, sliding through his hair to knead the tight muscles and easing the crick from the awkward position he’d been in.
Looking up at his lover, Xander frowned at the harsh lines of the face looking back at him. Spike’s face was naturally thin and angular, the sharp cheekbones and strong jaw defining his face under the intense blue eyes, but now, the hollows under Spike’s cheekbones were deeper, his eyes slightly dull and cloudy instead of their usual bright blue. Spike had lost weight and his face showed the unmistakable signs of having recently healed burns. Xander sat up abruptly, his sleepiness vanishing in a tidal wave of worry.
“When did you eat last?” he asked.
Spike raised his brows at him, lips quirking up into a puckish smile that made him seem almost normal for a moment, but Xander’s questing hand could feel every rib far too easily. Spike hadn’t been feeding properly and Xander cursed himself for not noticing it earlier.
“Don’t fret, luv. Drank the emergency supply at the mansion last night.”
Xander swung his legs off the couch and headed for the kitchen. “Well, I’m guessing they weren’t feeding you at the military hotel, right?” He didn’t wait for an answer, pulling several bags of blood out of the freezer and putting the first one in the microwave. Unable to fight, the odds were good that Spike had been injured escaping from the prison and he had obviously gotten burned by sunlight. An injured vampire needed a lot more blood than a healthy one and there had only been a dozen or so bags in the freezer at the mansion. He wasn’t going to press for details, Spike’s pride had taken enough hits and admitting that a human had been able to injure him wasn’t something he was going to force Spike to do. “You’re obviously a few pints low,” he said, carefully keeping his eyes on the microwave as the bag slowly rotated inside. Let Spike think he was just being his usual overprotective self on the subject of Spike’s eating habits.
Spike drank the blood without protest, and Xander made him drink eight bags before he judged it was enough, watching Spike carefully and seeing the burns fade to nothing, the faint flush of borrowed color in his cheeks and the grey that had shadowed his eyes clearing. The gauntness disappeared from his face and Xander blessed the rapid healing of vampires. A half-starved human could never be brought back to health with a single meal in the way a vampire could.
Xander turned toward the sink to rinse out the mug he’d been filling and re-filling for Spike and Spike watched him as he washed it and set it in the drain board, taking far too long to complete the mundane task.
Even before they’d become lovers, Xander had always fussed over him, worrying about Spike’s wellbeing in a way no-one had since - well, since his human mother. It was annoying and endearing and such an ingrained part of Xander’s caring nature that Spike felt nothing but gratitude and a trace of wonder that he had someone in his unlife who loved him the way Xander did.
From anyone else, he would have viewed the solicitude lavished on him with suspicion, sure the giver wanted something from him. But that simply wasn’t an issue with Xander. Xander quietly took care of the people he loved, not expecting anything in return and the person he loved most was Spike. Granted, sometimes Xander’s ideas of how to take care of him meant that he would adamantly oppose Spike: arguing with him, even going behind his back to do something he thought was in Spike’s best interest, but mostly it showed itself in the way Xander saw below the surface: seeing when Spike was hungry, tired, or hurt, despite his best attempts at hiding it and, like now, quietly insisting on dealing with the problem.
Which, of course, was what made it so mystifying that Xander could also be so oblivious to some things and so pig-headed stubborn that at times it made Spike want to scream with frustration, he thought with a grin.
This time, though, Xander was worried about him with good reason. Spike hadn’t been feeding properly, the bloody soldiers had nearly starved him in that prison cell and he hadn’t fed enough since then to make up for it. The supply of blood at the mansion had been enough to heal him, but not enough to bring him back to full strength.
He was jolted out of his thoughts when Xander turned back to face him, bracing his hands behind him against the countertop, his face set in grim, determined lines.
“Do you know what they did to you?”
The abrupt question took him by surprise and despite his reluctance to describe the details of his humiliating captivity, Spike was relieved that Xander was dealing with the issue with his usual straight-forward, get-to-the-bottom-of-it, attitude. Not like someone coddling a cripple, just looking for answers to a fixable problem.
Spike shook his head. “I was unconscious. Didn’t know anything had happened ‘til I hit one of them when I got out of my cell. Thought the top of my head had blown off. Same thing happens any time I try and hurt a human.” His jaw tightened, remembering his inability to even bite the woman in the cheap hotel room and the searing agony that had accompanied his attempts. “Like you saw, don’t have to intend to kill, or even to hurt, just causing a human pain triggers it.” Xander’s brow furrowed at that information and he looked like he was unsuccessfully trying to put things together into a cohesive whole. “Haven’t found anything, ‘cept a bald spot on the back of my head,” Spike finished.
Xander reached up and explored, finding the small spot easily. It was the size of a 50-cent piece and just beginning to grow stubble. “I don’t feel a scar or anything, but if they shaved your skull…” he broke off, not liking the implications.
“Wasn’t there before. They fed me while I was out,” Spike told him, remembering how he’d no longer felt on the edge of starving when he’d woken up in his cell afterwards. “Enough blood would heal a lot of damage.”
“You think they put something in your head? Something physical?”
“Yeah. Government doesn’t usually mess with magic, and it doesn’t generally work on vampires reliably anyway. Hypnosis and the like doesn’t call for shaving people, so, yeah, I think they did something physical. Just don’t know what.”
He moved away from Xander restlessly, needing to pace, the anger at what they’d done rising uncontrollably. Bloody cowards, all of them. Not willing to face demons unless the demon was caged and helpless.
He glanced in the direction of the windows, tightly closed and curtained against the deadly sunlight of the late morning. “Why aren’t you at work?” he asked, deliberately changing the subject.
“It’s Sunday,” Xander answered briefly, still thinking hard, clearly not ready to switch topics yet.
Spike made a noncommittal noise. Days of the week meant very little to him, except that they controlled so much of Xander’s life. Human things, first school and now work, happened to a calendar rhythm that hadn’t been part of Spike’s life since Queen Victoria was on the throne. Silence fell as he paced and Xander stood immobile, arms folded, leaning against the counter, lost in thought.
“If it’s something physical, it’s got to be small,” Xander said slowly, obviously thinking out loud. “Small and able to tell the difference between hurting a human and hurting a demon.” He looked at Spike, eyes dark with worry. “That says computer technology to me.”
“Yeah.” Spike didn’t have much use for computers but he knew enough about them to know that Xander was right. Nothing else would be small enough and smart enough to fit the bill. “You think they stuck some kind of computer control in me?”
“If they did, it’s way ahead of any technology I’ve ever heard of. That’s really sophisticated programming to make those kind of distinctions.”
“Governments usually give their best toys to the military first,” Spike noted grimly and they both fell silent for a minute.
“Why would someone want a vampire that can’t hurt people?” Xander asked eventually, sounding baffled. “What possible use can that be to the military?”
“Can think of several things offhand, luv,” Spike answered. “Pure sadism, science for its own sake, a better form of animal experimentation - using intelligent subjects instead of animals. Most likely, they’re trying to control demons, classic carrot and stick, this is just the stick part of the equation.”
“Oh,” Xander blinked at Spike’s matter-of-fact list. “Ok,” he said slowly, “So what do I do with my controlled demon now that I’ve got one?”
“Anything you want, isn’t that the point of control?” Spike answered flippantly. “For starters, you’ve got yourself a better-than-human killer, always useful to have around. Most demons are stronger, faster and have better senses than humans. That’s a solid stealth advantage. Lots of security devices are based on body heat: vampires, repplandi, and kobarien demons all have lower body temperature than humans and both vampires and kobarien can pass for human, just to name a couple.” He shrugged. “Won’t know until we find someone to tell us what’s going on,” he finished.
Xander looked at him worriedly. “Have you felt anything except pain?” He made an apologetic gesture at Spike’s dark look. “I mean, any sense that… you aren’t behaving like yourself?” he explained.
Spike shook his head. “Seems just to respond to my actions. Thinking about hurting humans doesn’t do anything. Don’t seem like a finished product yet.”
Xander gave him a half-smile. “Well, that’s good, or you’d never be able to be in the same room with Buffy again.” His tentative smile died almost immediately and he looked searchingly at Spike: “Are you going to be ok talking about this tonight?” he asked.
Spike folded his arms and gave him a sideways look. “Not talking about anything that happened to me, am I?” he reminded Xander. “Don’t mind giving everyone the skinny about something that happened to some other poor idjit.”
Xander decided to accept that. When Spike had his defenses up, his surface armor was impenetrable. He was just grateful that Spike was usually so willing to drop his guard around Xander. There were still times, like now, when Spike retreated behind his walls even from Xander, but it happened increasingly rarely these days. He couldn’t blame Spike for pulling back now - whatever they’d done to him had shattered Spike’s confidence and torn his self-image to shreds. It was going to be a long time before Spike recovered even if they were able to fix what they’d done to him. Right now, figuring out what was going on and how to stop it was important enough to put Spike through a re-hashing of what had happened. He just hoped Spike was a good enough liar to fool Angel. More than anyone else, Spike wouldn’t want his Sire to know what had happened to him.
Realizing a change of subject and a distraction was badly needed, Xander moved so he was standing face to face with Spike. More than anything else, Spike needed to get back on the horse again - figuratively speaking anyway. Settling his hands on Spike’s hips, Xander leaned in to his lover, bending his head and drawing in Spike’s scent as Spike slid his arms around Xander’s waist, holding him lightly.
For a long moment, he just stood there, letting his warm breath feather out over Spike’s skin, tasting the familiar scent, letting the rest of the world fall away. After a long moment, he stirred, his hands trailing along the supple leather of Spike’s belt, finding the buckle and beginning to undo it.
Spike’s hands caught his and he looked into the blue eyes, seeing the hint of wariness in them for a fleeting moment. He just grinned lasciviously at Spike, fingers nimbly drawing the belt through the loops and off and unbuttoning and unzipping Spike’s jeans before reaching inside and drawing Spike’s penis out through the opening.
“You goin’ somewhere with this?” Spike asked, giving Xander one of his almost unbearably sexy looks, his brow lifting in amused inquiry, as Xander’s warm palms closed around his cock.
“Thinking about it,” Xander answered cheerfully, glad that the flash of nervousness had vanished from Spike’s eyes. Given what had happened just a few hours earlier, it wasn’t surprising that Spike had been momentarily hesitant to let him start anything. Fortunately, Spike had obviously remembered that there were lots of things they could do that wouldn’t trigger the pain and Xander intended to remind him, as graphically as possible, that their sex life was alive and well and only slightly altered.
He shifted his hold, one hand beginning to stroke up and down the length of the shaft, the other hand concentrating on the head, his thumb rubbing around and over the end in teasing circles. He grinned when Spike inhaled sharply, his cock hardening rapidly in Xander’s grip. He loved it when his actions made Spike forget he didn’t have to breathe.
Moving slowly, deliberately drawing it out, he sank down onto his knees, nuzzling into Spike’s groin as he tugged Spike’s pants further down, giving himself room to work. Rocking back on his heels, he took a moment to admire the picture in front of him: Spike’s strong, slender thighs trapped in the worn denim that still covered him from just above the knees, his cock jutting proudly from its nest of light brown curls, drops of pre-cum already forming at the tip.
“Oi, you planning on doing anything down there?” Spike complained and Xander laughed.
“Patience is a virtue,” he reminded his lover teasingly.
“Never been big on virtue,” Spike grumbled, threading his hands through Xander’s hair and giving him urging little tugs.
He didn’t give in immediately, running his hands caressingly up Spike’s thighs. Spike’s pale skin was always a revelation: an astonishingly smooth, soft covering for the corded muscle lying underneath and Xander could lie for hours tracing his hands over the flawless white skin. He didn’t linger this time, his hands continuing towards their goal, bypassing Spike’s eager cock and beginning to rub lightly at Spike’s perineum and playfully fondling his balls, lifting them as if judging their worth and rolling them within the sac. Spike made a half-pleased, half-frustrated sound, spreading his legs wider and pushing his hips forward, his fingers tightening in Xander’s hair. Xander chuckled and leaned forward, beginning to lave his tongue along the length of Spike’s erection, slow, teasing swipes that promised more to come.
Spike’s hips were moving restlessly as he tried to push closer and Xander put both hands on Spike’s hips to hold him back, concentrating on what he was doing: teasingly licking all around Spike’s cock, swiping over the head and mouthing along the throbbing length, dropping down to lap at his balls.
“Bloody hell! Get on with it,” Spike demanded and Xander laughed and relented, taking Spike’s straining cock into his mouth and sliding down along the length as far as he could manage comfortably. For a long moment, he didn’t move, staring up into Spike’s eyes, feeling the heavy weight of his erection resting on his tongue, loving that he was able to do this for his partner. Spike’s cock was twitching eagerly and he laved his tongue around as much of it as he could reach, opening his mouth and exhaling hot breath down along the length in his mouth, watching as Spike threw his head back, hips bucking up into Xander’s restraining hold.
He tightened his hands on Spike hips and began to suck hard, closing his mouth around Spike’s cock, intent of pushing him over the edge. It didn’t take long before Spike exploded into orgasm, his seed pulsing out and filling Xander’s mouth, spilling over his lips as he continued to suck, trying to drain him completely.
He pulled back finally, feeling Spike softening within his mouth, coughing just a little, and smiling up at Spike. Spike dropped to his knees beside Xander, gathering him into his arms and Xander leaned into his body, feeling the dampness at his own crotch that signaled he’d found his own release in helping Spike reach his.
They stayed there without moving for a long moment, then Spike turned his head, burying his nose in the crook of Xander’s neck, his tongue darting out to rasp over his Claim mark.
“Love you, Xander.”
*A/N - Snippet of dialogue borrowed from the Episode ‘Doomed’