Warnings: AU, Fantasy, M/M sex, some humour, mild violence, swearing, angst, OOC, varying chapter lengths, animal deaths. UNBETA'D. Original Writing,
Rating: NC17 overall, various chapters PG-NC17
Pairing: 100% S/X
Comments: Comment if you want to, though it would be nice to know someone is reading it.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, everything belongs to someone who is not me. I write for fun not profit.
AN 1: Although Sunnydale character names have been used they are NOT necessarily in their Sunnydale persona's. William = A version of Spike NOT human William as in BTVS.
Note 1: This is AU/Fantasy and the concept of 'Vampire' expressed here may not be what you expect.
Note 2: My heartfelt thanks go out to my dear friend Bmblbee, for holding my hand through the writing process. *Hugs*
Note 3: This is a plot driven story. What sex there is happens in the natural course of the plot and as part of Spike and Xander's relationship.
Written in 8 chapters. 1-4 will be posted throughout today (1/12/09) and 5-8 throughout tomorrow. (2/12/09)
Summary: Lord William is handsome, vain, proud, arrogant and foolish but not intrinsically wicked, cruel or unkind. When he turns an old beggar woman away from his castle, he sets in motion a chain of events which see him transformed into a beast, a Vampire. Can he find one person in all the world who will look without fear on the face of the beast and declare their true love and break the spell.
Rating: NC17 Overall
Rating: NC17 Overall
"Every move you make
Every step you take,
I'll be watching you."
Despite being tired Xander didn't fall asleep straight away. Thoughts of his new friend filled his mind. He was a strange one this Spike, though he felt intrigued by him, not alarmed. He took his assertion that he was so hideously deformed and ugly that people ran from him, with a pinch of salt. His blindness had taught Xander that people placed far too much emphasis on looks and the ugliest of beasts might have a true heart and gentle soul and therefore be truly beautiful. Hero saw it and if he thought Spike worthy of Xander's friendship then that was good enough for him. And in what wicked way had people treated him that he shook with terror at the thought of meeting another human being? How lonely it must be for him living alone deep in the dark forest and shunning the society of men. Xander resolved to be a good friend and always keep a welcome for him, besides which he felt strangely drawn to the man.
It was early morning and Xander was drawing water at the pump, Hero gave a warning bark and Xander could hear the approach of two horses, one laden and one not, he turned toward the sound. Angelus drew to a stop and leant forward, resting his elbow on the front of his saddle. "Morning Xander."
"Good morning Angelus, you're about early." Xander smiled. "Been to check my traps." Angelus explained. Xander's face fell a little, still he would be civil. "A good catch?" Angelus growled. "Nothing! He snapped. "Not a damned thing!" Xander tried not to smile. "Oh dear."
"Damned monster wrecked every last one!"
"Monster?" Xander's brow furrowed.
"Aye, there's a monster in the forest kills the beasts and drinks their blood and leaves the flesh untouched."
"That is strange."
"Strange and unnatural. I've warned the villagers, how long before it comes out of the forest and falls upon the village in dead of night and kills us all in our beds?" He warned darkly.
"Has it ever attacked anyone?"
Angelus snorted. "Not that we know of, but doesn't mean to say it hasn't or it won't!"
"Have you seen it?"
"Once at a distance. Came upon it while it was distracted at a kill. Man shaped it was, with unnatural pale skin," he shuddered. "Raised it's face and it had fangs dripping with blood and hideously, misshapen features and slitted, yellow eyes. Saw me and made off. I tracked it but the spoor disappeared as if by magic."
Xander thought. "Could it be a bear?" Angelus gave a barking laugh. "I know the difference between a bear and this evil creature, boy!" Xander nodded.
"You'd do well to lock and bar your doors and windows after dark and keep that hound of your's close by, though I think he'd fair badly against the creature." Angelus warned. With a look of alarm Xander petted Hero's head. "Do you think it would come out of the forest and attack Hero?" Angelus was delighted to see the alarm on Xander's face, at least one person was taking his warnings seriously. "Maybe it will, maybe it won't," he snifffed. "but this is the second night in a row it's mangled my traps. Used to be once or twice a month, it grows bolder. Creature needs killin', village ought to organize a hunting party and run the monster down."
Xander nodded. "I'll be sure to take your advice and lock my door and windows after dark." Angelus straightened. "Best see that you do until the creature is dead." He nodded. "I'll bid you good day." He urged his horse forward. "Good day to you Angelus." Xander waited until the hooves faded and then patted Hero's head. "Oh dear Hero, whatever shall we do?" The dog wagged his tail, distinctly unimpressed by Angelus's scare mongering.
The rest of the morning was a whirlwind of visitors. It seemed every maiden in the village and Andrew had decided to show Xander their culinary skill. By lunchtime the stone shelves of his larder all but groaned under the weight of pies, bread, pickles, jams, preserves, sweetmeats and cakes. They seemed fearful a man alone might starve to death. Anya was the last to arrive and stayed longest. Xander got the distinct impression she was sizing him up as a future husband and the cottage as her future home. Hero sought refuge under the kitchen table, Xander was less fortunate. She criticized Willow's choice of curtain material and vowed it would be replaced, Xander didn't argue he'd lived with Willow long enough to know a woman on a mission was not to be trifled with.
At last his visitor left and Hero emerged from under the table, Xander chided him good naturedly for his cowardice and they went to work in the workshop. Xander finished the carving of the fawn and began the long job of applying layer upon layer of beeswax which he would buff with a soft cloth so that eventually it would bring out the beauty of the wood and add a soft shine and glow to the piece. He knew when Spike arrived at his usual vantage spot and once again felt the familiar prickle of being keenly observed. When the day's heat began to wane, Xander worked a little longer into dusk and as he closed the workshop door a soft footfall and Hero's whine told him of Spike's approach. The three went together into the cottage and settled down to spend a pleasant evening.
Xander prepared a hearty supper and despite Spike's protests to already having eaten, Xander required him to share his food before the larder collapsed under the kind bounty of the village maidens. Spike's voice was much improved and he was more talkative than the previous evening. They exchanged village gossip and laughed over the antics of the village girls and Andrew. Xander showed Spike some of his carvings and the Vampire marveled at their exquisite beauty, accuracy and artistry never once mentioning how Xander was able to do it, only taking it for granted that he could. Their conversation drifted round to life in the forest and Spike let Xander think he was a huntsman, though unlike Angelus he never used traps, this seemed to meet with Xander's approval. Inevitably Xander mentioned what Angelus had said to him. "You live deep in the forest?" Spike nodded. "Yes."
"Have you seen a beast? A creature that drinks the blood of other animals and leaves their flesh untouched?" Spike reached out and took the young man's hand in both of his, "Xander," he said quietly. "I have lived many years in the forest, there is no creature there that would do you harm but wolves, boar and bears and they are too wary to come near the homes of man."
"But Angelus said it may come out of the forest and attack Hero." The boy was clearly distressed. A dark look of anger crossed Spike's face that Angelus had frightened Xander so. "He is wrong. Ask in the village, not even wolves or bears have ever attacked the animals that graze in the meadows on the other side of the village." He didn't mention that this was because he had claimed the area himself and they would not venture near. Without thinking he put out his hand and stroked Xander's hair, Xander's eyes fluttered shut at his touch. "I swear, as long as I live, neither man nor beast will harm either of you." Spike quietly vowed. Xander was immediately comforted by his words and touch. The rest of the evening they passed in easy company.
And thus the pattern of their lives was set. In time Xander's steady stream of morning visitors dwindled, though Anya and Andrew remained constant. He often spoke with Angelus who continued to complain bitterly when his traps were destroyed. After lunch he would work in his workshop on his wonderful carvings and soon there was barely a cottage in the village that didn't have at least one. Three or four times a week he took the short walk into the village to shop, he was eagerly greeted and a great favorite with all. Sunday morning Anya and Andrew would insist on walking arm in arm with him to the church and in the afternoon Willow and Daniel visited.
Spike fitted his life with Xander's. In the morning he did chores around the castle, sometimes he bathed in the pool and hunted in the forest, sometimes he eavesdropped on the villagers and learned in what high regard Xander was held. By mid afternoon he took up his vantage spot and watched Xander work. Sundays he watched as Willow and Daniel visited and liked them both. As soon as darkness fell he would cross the clearing between the forest and the cottage and join Xander until the boy grew tired and then sadly take his leave. He would spend the night in the forest hunting, running with the animals and regularly destroying Angelus's traps. More and more he sort the relief of his hand to images of Xander.
They settled into an easy familiarity and friendship. Often Spike would walk straight into the cottage, Xander knowing his footfall and Hero's whined greeting. They talked and Spike read to Xander which he loved the inflections and expression in his voice bringing the stories so vividly to life. Sometimes they pottered in the rose garden, shared a meal, walked a little way into the forest or just sat with each other sharing a comfortable silence and tankard of ale. Spike brought books from the castle, he would have liked to bring more, crystal glasses and pretty goblets, inlaid boxes and fine linens and most of all a pretty music box with a lively tinkling tune, but he dared not, so instead he brought the bounty of the forest, mushrooms, truffles and wild strawberries. As time went on they touched more, hands, arms and shoulders, Xander would hook his arm through Spike's, Spike would guide Xander by the hand or elbow, both felt a tingle at the other's touch and ached for more. Spike always made sure to keep his face beyond reach. Xander dreamed of Spike's lips on his, his arms holding him but Spike's touch was always disappointingly proper and he dared not make the first move, the image of Spike recoiling in disgust and a friendship abruptly ended haunted him.
They did repairs about the cottage. The evening they put up a shelf was one of hilarity for Xander couldn't see and Spike had no skill. Hero peeped put from under the table as the two men laughed and joked and struggled with the wood. At the third attempt the shelf was straight, but would hold no weight and it was the fourth attempt that saw it both straight and weight bearing.
Willow saw the books and shelf and how happy and relaxed her brother was and a new glow to his face and concluded that a girl had come into his life that had a handy brother or father. Daniel held his counsel and Willow was resolved to find out more.
Time passed and as much as they wished it to stand still, things changed. The season moved to Fall and brought with it a mixed blessing. The days grew shorter so Spike was able to go to Xander earlier and spend more time with him, but there was no fire in the workshop. Cold fingers wouldn't grip the sharp tools so work moved into the cottage where Spike couldn't see. The roses died off and pottering in the garden was replaced by cozy evenings by the hearth. Spike chopped wood and kept the woodpile high and did Daniel out of one of his Sunday chores, Willow and Daniel looked at each other, but said nothing. Xander asked more and more to touch Spike's face, he always gently but firmly refused telling Xander he would be revolted. Xander protested that he would not, but always gave in. Inside it hurt him to think that his dear friend didn't trust him enough to see past whatever deformities he might have to the wonderful man underneath.
By the first flurry of snow, Spike was ready to admit the undreamed of possibly that he was wonderfully, desperately and passionately in love. What he didn't know was that Xander felt the same and everything in their world was about to change.