Warnings: Bad language and M/M sexual situations.
Disclaimer: The Bee owns none of the characters used
in this story.
Summary: A new take on the old fable of Rumpelstiltskin.
Xander is held in the tower prison of the evil King Liam and has
been ordered to spin a roomful of straw to gold. Can he do
it? Is there someone who can help?
Author's note: This story is not betaed or spell checked by anyone but me.
If there are errors that you simply have to point out, feel free but don't be upset
if I don't care.
Thanks to Naughty Fae for the pre-read and encouragement
The small enclosed prison cell of the tower turret was quiet save the soft whirring sound
of the foot pumped spinning wheel. It whooshed, whooshed, whooshed repetitiously as
the sweet oaty scent of the dry straw filled the air. Xander had settled, cross legged at the
base of the wheel and had assumed the job of handing the shadowy stranger handfuls of
straw to be fed through the spinner.
At the other end of the rickety contraption, Xander repeatedly brushed his fingertips against
the flyer, a u-shaped section of the spinner used to store the end product. The precious
thread. He shook his head in amazement as the roll grew fat and thick as the spool of
gold wound round and round in one long unbroken line.
Although they now sat much closer, Xander still found it hard to get a good look at the
stranger's face and for some reason, he found that concerning. "Can we talk while you spin?"
Spike was surprised. His solitary life seldom included conversation and he hadn't even
been conscience of the fact that they had fallen into silence. The prospect of a light-hearted
chat delighted him. "Of course we can."
Xander smiled. He wriggled his butt to get more comfortable and he handed up another fistful
of straw. As it was accepted, Xander's fingers brushed against the stranger's. The mystery
man's skin felt cold. Waxy. It sent a shiver up Xander's spine although he attributed the
chilly flesh of his new friend to the damp conditions of the room.
"I don't know how to thank you for doing this. You are saving my life."
Spike's foot continued to methodically work the pedal. "No need to thank me."
Xander leaned over and scooped another mound of straw piling it next to him in ready. As
he did, it seemed an introduction was in order. His mother had taught him that it was
always polite to present yourself to a new acquaintance. "I'm Xander. Alexander actually
but everyone calls me Xander."
Spike felt enormously pleased by the tone of comradery in the young boy's voice. It had
been years since he had known amicable companionship. At least with a real human.
And yet, Spike reminded himself that the boy's reaction was rooted in gratitude and that
if Xander were to actually get a good look at the face of his savior, the lad might just well
choose death over a close proximity with something as grotesque as a beast. "Xander,
eh? Interesting name. Unusual but I do believe I like it."
Xander waited patiently but soon realized that reciprocation was going to take some prodding
on his part. "This is where you are supposed to tell me your name."
Spike blinked. Of course it was. "Oh. Yes. I'm called Spike."
Xander scratched his head which caused several sprouts of straw to become entangled
comically in his thick dark hair. "Spike? That's an odd name. Is that a nick name given to
you by friends?"
Spike thought about the creatures in the enchanted forest who had taken him in. They
had protected him and given him that name in jest because of the way he stabbed at the
fish in the stream with his pointy sticks. They had taught him to survive. They were
his defenders. His protectors and they were his sometimes companions. But, friends?
Maybe. "Yes. I guess that is where I got the name."
"You guess? You aren't sure?" Xander smiled as he thought about Spike as a young
man, running with boyhood friends who gave each other silly pet names during the games
of war that all children played. "Spike. I like that but what is your real name? Your
given name? The name your mother placed on you at birth?"
Spike's foot slowed on the pedal and his grip faltered at the wheel as his mind tried to
remember. It had been so long since he had allowed himself to think the name and longer
yet since he had spoken it. The pain of it had been too great and he had vowed to not
allow its utterance until he was restored. Even if that day never came. "My name is my
name and I don't play the game."
Xander tipped his head in confusion. Spike's response had been issued in a sing-songy tone
that alluded to a secret that Xander was not privy to. It also carried a hit of firmness that
told Xander that was not a subject to pursue so, wisely, the topic was changed.
"Can I ask you something else, Spike?"
"Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies."
Xander sighed in frustration and yet, how could he get mad when the strange man was
still steadily working at a wheel that was turning a mound of straw into a spool of thin,
fine, gold thread. "Yeah, okay. So, my question is, why?"
Spike's think, rigid brow crinkled. "Why? Why what?"
"Why are you saving my butt from the King? How did you even know about me. Has
King Liam locked up other boys in hopes of magic?"
Spike laughed. "No, I dare say, you are the first although he has had more than a few other
bird-brained ideas in the past."
"Oh." Xander scooted around the room on his knees and used his hands to sweep the rest
of the straw into one big pile of easy access. As he did, Spike watched the boy closely.
The nocturnal enchantment placed on him had not only given him the power of the elements,
it had also enhanced his vision and sense of smell. While Xander could see nothing of Spike
but vague shapes and shadows, Spike could see Xander very clearly and the boy was
indeed a pleasant sight.
The lad was lean, trim and had just a hint of baby fat left on his face. His hair and eyes were
dark and deep. His skin was tanned from long days toiling in the sun and his cheeks had a
pink and ruddy hue. His hands were large and calloused telling a life of physical labor and
Spike wondered what it would feel like to have those firm hands brush across his thick
But, even more alluring was the lad's scent. It was male, masculine, sweaty and
deliciously unwashed. It was pure. It was virginal. It was clear that Xander was
untouched by any man's hands and it surprised Spike how entrancing he found that.
"You got so quiet. I thought for a moment that you had fallen asleep."
Spike turned his attention back to his labor and away from the unattainable lad. "No, not
asleep. Just thinking. So, you want to know why I am here? All right. I'll tell you."
Xander settled back down on the floor at Spike's feet as the soft whirring of the wheel played
an accompanying tune to the answers Xander hoped would help him understand this
whole peculiar set-up. After a brief pause, Spike began to speak.
"I live in a forest that is at the edge of King Liam's kingdom. Although we are very far
removed, gossip is a being that travels on speedy wings. Several of the others, Oz and
Willow had heard that the King's military guard had captured a boy of magic and were
taking him back to the castle. As I had no pressing reason to remain in the forest, I let
my curiosity guide me and I came to see for myself."
Xander mulled over Spike's explanation and found it reasonable along with greatly
wanting. "But how did you get in my cell?"
"The guards had left their post to relieve themselves and I slipped by." Spike felt no remorse
at the fabrication because he was certain that at some point in time, at least part of the
statement had been true. The guards probably did water the ground when they were supposed
to be standing by the tower room door.
"Were you disappointed?" Xander asked in a quiet voice.
Spike studied the sad expression on the boy's face. "Disappointed? In what?"
Xander sighed. "In me. You came to see a boy of magic and all you found was me. Obviously,
I have no powers but you do. How is it that you can turn the straw to gold and the King has
not locked you up?"
Spike shrugged although he knew it was a move the boy couldn't see. "Manipulation of
the elements is common in our forest. It is not magic. The King's guards do not come for
me because they are superstitious old women. They fear the forest where I live and even at
the threat of time in the dungeon, they will not wander into my woods. Besides, Liam
believes me dead. You see, I was banished from the kingdom years ago for crimes against
the crown and driven from the civilized world. Liam thought I would perish in the
wilderness and if not for the aid of the others, I most certainly would have."
As Spike spoke, he glanced up at the night sky and he knew his time was getting short.
The hours had flown by and the company of the boy had given Spike the most pleasant
evening he could remember in over a decade of time.
Xander yawned as the fog of sleep weighed heavily upon him. He still had a thousand
questions that floated between his brain and his tongue but exhaustion seemed to be
breaking their path. He wondered what sort of past lie between Spike and the King that
caused Spike to speak the man's name so comfortably. And why would the Regent banish
Spike and assume him dead? What sort of crime was Spike guilty of?
With another, deeper yawn, Xander leaned in, he laid his head against Spike's thigh and
closed his eyes. For the first time in days, Xander felt safe. The steady, slight movement
of the stranger's leg as his foot worked the spinner's pedal lulled Xander. It was reminiscent
of his mother rocking him in her arms when he was a babe and the movement gave him
With his head on Spike's thigh and his arms wrapped around Spike's calf, Xander fell into
a deep, dreamless sleep.
Spike was stunned as the heat from the boy's body soaked into his cold flesh. It felt incredible.
It caused the blood in Spike's veins to surge and flow as he was overcome by desire and
want. His eyes flashed and his fangs itched in a craving that was both sexual and possessive.
He had forgotten what it felt like to be touched.
Just the basic, simple act of one human connecting with another. It was primordial. It was base.
In the beginning of his exile, he had missed it. After a couple years, Spike thought he would
go insane from the lack of it. He had tried to compensate by play-pushing and wrestling with
Oz and some of the other creatures of the forest but it was not the same and he was left
feeling empty and needy. Frustration had led to fury and he would regularly sink into
violent, depressive states that had the other creatures of the enchanted forest fearfully avoiding him.
Finally, at some point, he had tired. He knew by living in the hope of the past he was
only torturing himself and he came to a sense of resolve. He accepted the realization that
he was meant to be a solitary creature.
Without love. Without comfort. Without an intimate companion of his own.
When he reached that resolution, it was almost a relief. His mind built a brick wall around
his heart and his soul had shriveled. He grew as deformed and damaged on the inside as he
was on the out.
But now. This. The heat of the boy's touch and the unexpected display of trust. It unleashed
all of the maelstrom of feelings within him that he believed had long ago evaporated. His
yellow eyes flashed as he stared at the sleeping lad and before he could check himself,
Spike reached down and he gently ran his claw-like fingers through the thick, silky hair.
"Oh, sweet mother of angels" Spike sighed the soft words as he closed his eyes and tipped
his head back. It was all he could do not to scoop the human up in his arms and cover his
face with kisses and his throat with bites. The connection was incredible.
But, as with all the good things in Spike's life, it couldn't last. When his hooded eyes
drifted open, he spotted the distant hue of the sunrise and Spike knew he had to go. He
couldn't risk being seen by one of the guards. It would mean not only his death but also
Gently, and reluctantly, Spike eased up from his seat at the wheel and carefully, so as not to
wake the innocent sleeper, Spike pealed the boy from the grip he held on him. He laid Xander
on the floor and watched as the boy smiled, curled up and, with his lips slightly parted, sank
even deeper in slumber.
Reluctantly, Spike collected the magically charged burlap cloak from where he had discarded
it. He shook the flakes of straw dust from it and he tossed it around his shoulders. As he
flipped the hood up, the transformation into bat form was almost immediate. Instinctively,
Spike flapped his wings like leathery sails on a long boat and he flew, rising upwards towards
his hidden cubby hole in the wall.
When he was safely tucked from sight, Spike sighed as he tipped his head and looked down
at the scene below. The room was now void of the clutter of the straw and the spindle of
the wheel was fat and full with the long, thin thread of gold. The boy's life would be spared.
But then what? Spike knew that all he had done was buy some time. There was no way
that Liam would keep his promise to release the prisoner if the task was completed. That
simply wasn't Liam's M.O. But, maybe for now, time was enough. It might give Spike a
chance to figure this all out. Time to put the pieces of the puzzle in place and to see how
he could make it fit.
As he swayed, upside down with his claws gripping the wooden beam, Spike's tiny ears
twitched as all of the past came rushing back with the force of a tsunami. All the memories
of that fateful trip that changed his life and every minute of the twelve years since exploded
forth like the hot lava of a volcano. It mentally spewed out pictures and images unchecked
It overwhelmed his brain and played out in full color behind his eyelids.
A full body shudder wracked his tiny bat body and he couldn't help but remember.
It was a time before he was called Spike. Back then, he was still royalty. A crowned prince.
He was Prince William Edward O'Connor.
Spike cringed at the vivid recollections. He was glad that, in bat form, he was unable to
speak the name that he had for so long blocked out. 'William.' In an instinctive move
of emotional protection, he tucked his little head fully beneath his wing but, sadly the
physical move failed to create a barrier between himself and the flood of memories.
It started at the beginning of the horror and it began rolling like a cart wheel barreling downhill.
He was twelve and living a life of privilege and luxury that befitted the crowned prince of
an affluent kingdom. He was educated by scholars and coddled by wet nurses and nannies.
He grew up under the protection of guards who hovered over him while they taught him
the artistry and technique of using weapons.
He was a sweet, kind and intelligent lad. He was fair-haired with delicate features and a
body still void of hair in the places of a man. While he preferred reading and studying charts
of the stars with the King's astrologers, the guards made sure the young prince spent time
in athletic endeavors which developed his physique as well.
His mother, Queen Isabella, had died in childbirth so, because he had never known her,
he wasted no tears on her passing. He hadn't needed to. His father's love and the
court's attention had more than compensated, filling all the needs of his young life.
As companions, he was surrounded by the children of servants as well as the sons his father
had sired with handmaidens of the court. Although the King's blood flowed through their
veins, they were boys with no claim on the crown and no rights in the castle. They were
no threat to his title. They were bastards. He knew it and they knew it. It was a station
assigned them in life that could never be altered.
And then there was Liam. He was William's cousin. The son of Edward's brother,
Rufus. Although only a few months older than William, Liam was bigger and stronger.
He had a mean streak and enjoyed displaying his physical dominance. He had often
taken their war-play too far and caused the smaller boys of the castle injury. William included.
Liam was jealous. He lied and he told falsehoods. He was cruel to the animals of the court
and he was sneaky. No one, including his own mother trusted him but all were smart enough
to fear him.
But he was family and to William, that trumped all else. He longed for Liam to be the brother
he never had and the Prince foolishly chose to overlook the warnings and dark signs the
older boy exhibited.
It was a critical oversight and one William would come to regret.