He huddled with the others in the middle of a large area that three hundred years earlier had served as a school gymnasium. At sixteen he was the youngest of the five ‘liberated’ in the middle of the night. He, like Samuel, put up a fight against his ‘rescuers’ – at least they tried to until hit by tranquilizer darts, waking up in a transport cage and shoved into the holding area ready for ‘release’.
The feral humans were organized and on a deliberate *mission* to rescue humans from their demon masters and release them back into their natural habitat – they were particularly targeting Companion breeding farms and feed lots. The aim was to stop all manipulation of human DNA and return the humans to their natural state. But the concept was flawed.
None of the Companions were capable of fending for themselves. Years of selective breeding and genetic modification, along with careful training from birth and a rarefied diet had rendered the Companions utterly dependent on their owners. They were extraordinarily expensive to buy and quite the show of status. Consequently their owners were most careful and caring of their pets.
Alexander was even more exceptional. Only the very few prize male Companions kept their manhood, since the breeding studs were most discerning regards the lines. Alexander had won numerous trophies, his holographic image gracing many a table since he was but five years of age.
Pretty as a youngster, he grew quickly and was just shy of six foot two as a fifteen year old, and coming up for seventeen, had a youthful athlete’s physique. He was handsome, with a slightly elfin youthfulness, and had the perfect quiet and affectionate nature, ideal for breeding and for a companion to a rich vampire or demon. There was no question of Natte having him gelded.
Alexander had learned to happily catch his seed in the receptacle as soon as he was able to respond to the stimulator, and in idle moments wondered which of Natte’s pretty females would carry his child. He was friendly with all of the women but natural relations were out of the question, only feral humans engaged in such hit and miss impregnation.
As the youngest of only three breeding males on the property, he was allowed into the women’s enclosure and enjoyed his days reading with them, braiding hair, massaging backs (and if they were pregnant… bellies). He had been the darling of the whole estate. Yet all that made no difference now…
Now he lay curled alongside his fellow four Companions, they just touched as all lay in foetal position on the cold wooden floor of a holding establishment, filthy, bereft and frightened. They had been placed in with *feeding* humans ‘liberated’ on the same night, who, due to the feeders’ breeding and drug implants, simply sat doe eyed and awaited their fate.
He knew he could not survive in the outside world. Master had always pampered and fed him. How could he get clean? Where would he find food? Warmth? He could read but not write. He could count so long as fingers and toes were involved and add using the same system. He knew how to play various sports and table games popular in the upper class demon circles, could mix drinks, and knew when to kneel and stand… But he knew that in no way was he equipped to survive in the wilds of the outside. He cuddled closer to the older Samuel, and the senior breeding male from the estate, technically his older second cousin, pulled the young man close.
The rescue was uneventful really. The Suzerain’s First, Angelus’ team was efficient and vicious. The rebel humans were unprepared for the onslaught, swiftly drained, an occasional pretty one turned as a minion, and the rest dumped in a pile of dead flesh within a matter of minutes
Most of the ‘freed’ feeder humans all simply sat or knelt bewildered in their places in the middle of the floor, but the Companions knew better, they shuffled over and prostrated themselves at the feet of the vampires who had saved them, muttered grateful platitudes and waited, foreheads touching the floor and for the most part, tears of thanks flowing.
The feeders were dealt with first, swiftly herded onto a truck, they all went willingly. Herding they knew and understood.
The Companions were treated with far more care. The First, Angelus, was adamant that they should have leads and be handled by professional Companion trainers. As a consequence it was some hour before they were led from their temporary prison.
Alexander assumed he was to be returned to his master like Angelus ordered be the actions for Samuel and the three others. But sadly, one of the feral liberating humans had ripped away and destroyed his ownership tags and that meant that technically he belonged to no one. Natte was against branding (it marred the skin – smooth and perfect all important).
The Companions knew better than to say anything, so Samuel simply looked on desperately as the vampire Angelus inspected the unmarked, unclaimed prize.
“Looks like today is a good one after all.” He turned to his group and barked instructions, “Take those turned ferals back to the stronghold, and return these to their rightful owners – ask the usual fee. This one is mine to keep, he’s got no tags so finders keepers say I.” His men grinned, they all knew full well that the Companion must have been from one of the establishments the others came from, but the First had spoken so they simply followed orders.
When Natte inquired regards the other Companion stolen, the response was a simple “He was taken,” which the dear breeder interpreted as meaning he had been killed. He was so upset that Samuel was unable to convey the news that Alexander had his tags removed by their captors and consequently was claimed by another, until several months afterward. By the time Natte found out, there was no question of reclaiming him.
His wonderful Companion human now was apparently in the possession of the Suzerain. He consoled himself by beginning to groom two pretty little lads – both Alexander’s and hoping The Suzerain would appreciate the exquisite creature now gracing his presence.
The Suzerain’s favoured lieutenant and Childe, Angelus had intended to put the unclaimed one into the sales pens but really did enjoy the look of the dark boy so took him for his own. Something about him reminded him of a human he had known years before.
As he drove back to their stronghold he realized what it was, he reminded him of the boy Harris who used to run with Buffy on the Hellmouth.
The boy was a little too refined and passive for his taste. He enjoyed a bit of feistiness in his humans, preferring to take less well bred Companions early and training them to his own taste. The two other women he had as Companions were attractive, blonde and, Alexander noted on the first night, highly trained in martial arts and pleasuring their owner rather than reading, drawing or dance, or any of his other skills. But Angelus found those things mildly amusing initially.
After a couple of weeks however, he bored of the boy so found another use for his bootie… He was hoping to ingratiate himself with the Suzerain and thought that this Companion might just make a fine tribute.
The Suzerain’s First was again out of favour apparently.
Angelus, the Childe of the Supreme leader of three quarters of the planet, had displeased his Sire by turning three, what Angelus considered ‘pretty’, feral female human that he claimed to have ‘tamed’ post capture. The result was him having to dust the three blondes in front of his Sire, as each proved both extremely aggressive and none too bright.
Angelus would be three hundred and sixty one this year – though technically nearly double that – and desperate for his own region to rule. He was happy that Sire would always be the Suzerain… but he was tired of simply being repeatedly called to arms.
His status had changed a mere five years before the world changed. Just as the dragon was about to strike in the final battle with the Black Thorn, Illiria, in a blinding burst of energy that shook the city, eliminated an army and afforded her a transfer to another realm. It had also, somehow, tugged away Spike’s soul, and provided Angel his much desired Shanshu. Sadly the dragon Angel was so keen to fight had crashed to the ground with a gaping open mouth, tearing through the now *human* torso with a deadly set of teeth.
Charlie and Wes were already dead, and Spike, despite his new status, could not leave his ex-Sire on the ground to bleed out. He extracted him from the pile of dead dragon flesh and took him to ground… The Hyperion was still there.
Spike found the basement and stayed. He turned Angel just as the sun rose and the convulsions and coughing of blood signalled the human body’s last struggle.
His new Childe had been compliant and cooperative for a good fifty years, a devoted and loyal student despite their history being very different whenever either vampire cared to remember.
They had lived quietly as the Master Spike gradually built his territory, slowly but surely gathering a group of demons loyal to him and building a proper court of minions. They were still forced underground by the human society, but all that was altered in three catastrophic weeks as the human race imploded beginning on the anniversary of Angel’s turning fifty one as Childe.
No Hellmouth or alien race was needed to destroy human society. They were more than capable of doing it themselves.
The demons (Spike included) had simply been waiting and had prepared. It would be their time soon.
As the global weather patterns altered and crops failed, hostilities between first and third world escalated, lines were drawn and alliances made. The wholesale rising of the third world against first was far more dangerous than any of those involved realized. Eventually all the bastardization and hatred of the ‘other’ (be it on political, racial or religious terms), and the subtle repression of the poorer countries, bubbled over. Gone were the days of the massacre by Hutus of Tutsis, or the dilemmas in Bangladesh and Ethiopia and… and… and….being ignored. They united to hold the first world nations to their promises. And one nation in particular was mistrusted as the UN desperately tried to find a solution.
Like Rome of old, the tendrils of the United States now stretched like an enormous spider, controlling the global media in particular, using it to control markets and nation’s opinions. But in the end…
The USA president broadcast disparaging remarks about the alliance of seventeen countries in Africa, and then went on to describe the “better part of the Western Asia and Arab regions” as “the primary source of criminals and terrorists” and singled out the Indian prime minister in particular to be a woman of questionable character.
The first shot didn’t come from India, however. And a single inter-continental missile from a silo in west Pakistan set off by a radical group was all it took. Five self directed warheads at twenty megatons each, wiped out the better part of New York, Chicago and a small town in Philadelphia (plus surrounding regions). Two more were successfully intercepted mid air, only to spread the fallout even further.
But it was the response that really caused the damage.
The following two days changed the world forever. Three more nuclear armaments were launched by the USA, North Korea and in the end, one from France’s silo in the South Pacific all directed at key cities. Biological weapons were fired at and wiped out millions in Mexico City, Madrid, Beijing, Tokyo, London, Cairo, and Rio within hours. On day three in all the confusion, two captains in US submarines let fly with two more nuclear missiles, and on and on it went. Conventional weapons too played a part as the daily experience of people, as the atmosphere clogged with a deadly cocktail and the few remaining humans became more and more desperate.
Gaia stirred. Her response to the assault on her equilibrium was a series of massive earth quakes and several volcanoes reawakening. It was a decent measure of ‘I told you so’, were anyone listening. Weather patterns were utterly corrupted and the sky blackened, plunging all but the poles into complete darkness.
The demons who were still able, raced to preserve their food supply. They grabbed as many unscathed humans as they could, targeting healthy breeding age individuals – particularly pretty males and females, and availed themselves to the in vitro storage vats wherever possible and grabbing frozen supplies of embryos, aware that the fallout effect could be sterilization.
By the sixth month they were simply taking any healthy breeding females. The humans who fought or found ‘flawed’ were simply used for food in the underground silos and subterranean networks the demon races had established years earlier.
In the ensuing two hundred and fifty years first below ground then finally in the last hundred or so, above, the demon cartels bred their food source. Their own scientists lent nature a hand, genetically engineering the progeny and carefully breeding the successful outcomes. They were also aided by the prestige of winning the ‘race’ to produce the perfect feeder human, and the perfect companion human. Within mere decades two new subspecies were established and recognized. The feeders were developed for their larger size, their regenerative capacity, docile nature, their very low IQ. Companions were developed for their gentle and affectionate nature, their intelligence and generally attractive youthful appearance. There were variations in colouration of course, but by and large, once the breeding parameters were established, any creature born who was outside the guidelines was swiftly terminated.
In the end, close on seventy demon cartels were involved in the project. The convenience and consistency of the product led to a worldwide ruling declaring all other humans ‘feral’. Most on the surface now were deformed in some way and seen as pests. Though the argument for complete annihilation of the ‘ferals’ was argued against as many individuals genuinely enjoyed hunting them for sport.
The Suzerain Spike had his compound in what had once been Toronto Canada and had gained his current power and position courtesy of careful planning, vicious tactics and eliminating anyone or anything opposing him. He gradually annexed three quarters of the world over a period of 200 plus years some by stealth, others by intrigue and even more by force. All the important cartels on the planet now answered to him. He controlled the feeder prices and ‘owned’ the owners and breeders, in fact he controlled the prices of just about everything, and openly endorsed protection racketeering and a plethora of other ‘law of the jungle’ type behaviours.
He was pretty and well behaved and (as Angelus’ sources had since found out) had an impeccable pedigree from a line that had been bred, genetically engineered and trained over generations for their purpose.
Alexander had been trying *so* hard to please his new owner, but the imposing figure of Angelus seemed to prefer everything he was not. He was certainly untrained at fighting and had no inclination to join his owner on a hunt or in bed. His dancing skills were snorted at and his offer to wash his owner’s hair then dress it was rejected out of hand.
When he heard the one way conversation, then the Master Angelus instructed the staff to prepare him as a gift to the Suzerain, it was a relief. He really had expected to be sold since his current owner really had no time for him.
The more Angelus looked at him, the more he was reminded of someone long dead. It came to him late one night. Harris. The irritating schoolboy who hung around with his old flame of more than two and a half centuries ago. Angelus stared hard through the one way glass at the boy now curled in a pathetic heap on his sleeping mat. Cleaned up he should make a fine gift for his Sire. And if he really liked him then just perhaps…
The ceremony of the presentation of the tribute was short and to the point. Angelus received his reward, a large brace of feeding humans for his trouble, and the Suzerain had immediately waved away the tribute. Alexander was led down a long corridor bewildered and confused as to why he was going *from* his new owner.
Two months later he still lay dejectedly in a holding pen. They hadn't even bothered to tether him on the first day, so he knew there would be a long wait. There was white on white and nothing to do, though he did keep to his training regime, even without equipment. Push ups crunches … everything he could think of. But the silence and the loneliness and the white!
The handlers were nice enough, but were only feeding him once a day and the food nothing like he was used to. It was dry pellets and a measured supply of water that he needed to take, humiliatingly, from a feeding bottle attached to the wall! There were no fresh greens, or any prepared fish like at home.
His bedding was changed every second day but even that merely consisted of some sort of synthetic straw and a covering of a thin silver ‘space blanket’ which gave no comfort, but he accepted. At least it was warm, though he did wish for... the soft bedding of the training school... at least that, but the Suzerain's establishment obviously didn't do those things.
Toileting was done in a tiny corner facility and he was only washed and shaved twice a week which distressed him.
Alexander was purpose bred and was well trained. He knew to wait and to behave with grace, but he was starting to find it hard.
What if the Suzerain rejected him outright? And with his current level of reduced fitness and hygiene? He worried as he waited.
Every Prize Companion had heard the stories of the ornery leader of the world’s cartels and the fate of those rejected. The rumours were that the exalted one was handsome beyond measure, but had been scorned in love, and hurt by others who merely wanted power. And that he was now was unwilling to have any relations with any but slaves hired for the night and never seen again, and of late had even ceased that practice.
Alexander had felt he was so honoured when he found he was to be the gift, so sure he would be seen immediately, but it was now a full moon cycle and nothing... and now he was even struggling to calculate the days. It seemed he was being punished for a crime of some sort. A crime he could not possibly have consciously committed.
The lights were always on and the artificial heat kept so steady that he knew now what his dear friend Navesh had been talking about. His sleeping patterns were getting more and more erratic and he was losing his sense of reality. If he stayed in the cells much longer he would be of little use to any but the public pleasure houses or for slaughter. He had heard of the fate of any crazed or unwanted Companions, they were usually used as a public spectacle for street theatre - drained by two or three vampires to musical accompaniment and the cheering of a crowd.
Just as he was contemplating his options and his own rising panic, a handler came, scrubbed him down and shaved his entire body as he stood compliant, then clipped a lead to his collar.
The Companion Alexander was to finally meet the Suzerain William the Bloody aka, Spike.
He was led to a smaller room and stood compliant as the rather worn second hand collar he’d been issued in the First Angelus’ facility was replaced.
The ferals had removed the pretty silver choker he’d always worn.
Now he had a thick choker of gold encircling his neck.
The handler locked it in place and the Companion almost cried for joy. But then he was handed a pair of white, heavy cotton trousers and white thick wrap around jacket resembling a martial arts suit, fashion from hundreds of years earlier.
Alexander was not used to wearing such clothing… or much clothing at all. And in the holding pens he had been nude… so had not even worn the comfortable black stretchy pants from his daytimes at Breeder Natte’s facility since he was captured.
He pulled on the pants, then simply stood in the cell looking confused and desperate over to the handler. The put upon green demon simply sighed and helped him into the jacket, then tied a white fighting belt around his slim waist.
His hair was brushed with military efficiency and he was thrown a stick of mascara and small mirror with a grunt from his until now silent handler. “He used to like the pretty ones – your best shot at surviving.” Alexander also heard the muttered, “Poor Bastard” and worried all the more. He had no idea if he qualified as ‘pretty enough’.
He applied the eye makeup quickly and followed the rather agitated handler from his basement prison, up three flights of stairs into a magnificent state of the art home. He was led along a long white corridor, only to be left standing outside an enormous set of plain black doors.
He simply stood, hands behind his back and waited. The handler knocked and a staff member opened cautiously before pulling the boy into the room by his karate belt.
He knew better than to fall to his knees, it was unbecoming for a well bred Companion, instead he simply stood motionless in front of the Suzerain, tilted his head down in a sign of supplication, and waited.
It was thirty minutes before the blonde, dressed in a classic 1930s style suit from human times, looked up from the computer on his desk and appraised his First’s ‘Gift’.
Alexander hadn’t moved in all that time, he stood ‘at ease’, feet shoulder width apart, hands clasped behind his back, and desperately in need of scratching his nose! But he held his position, knowing that if he failed to impress, his life would be severely shortened.
Eventually the Suzerain looked up from a screen, and what Alexander could only interpret as a ‘thinking machine’. At least that’s what Natte told him as a youngster, all the rage amongst the elite.
Alexander quickly focused his gaze on the ground.
The Suzerain Spike levelled a cold, calculating gaze on his prize. “Do you read?”
“Suzerain… Yes … I read.”
The cold tone did not change and Alexander was acutely aware of the less than impressed stare, “Do you sing and dance?”
“Only if you wish, Suzerain.”
“And you are trained in sports?”
“Not all but most, Suzerain. Golf, Swimming, Gymnastics… what is it you wish?”
Spike took a long draft of his cigarette, blew the smoke casually into the room then asked, “And indulge me… what else can you do??”
Alexander blushed, something not missed by his now owner, “I can pleasure… And I speak four languages adequately and am a registered breeding Companion, Suzerain.”
“Do you know how to kneel?”
Alexander moved forward and dropped immediately.
“Hmph… Can you listen young one?”
The endearment was not lost on the Companion and the response automatic, “Yes Suzerian, always to you.”
“I don’t need a pretty boy listenin’ to me you dolt! I need a bloody asset, not an ornament!” Alexander’s hopes swiftly went from joyful to devastated, but his owner had not finished, so he knelt well behaved, rather than begging.
“How’s your memory?”
Still on his knees in front of the suit clad Suzerain he said rather shyly, “I believe it’s excellent Suzerain”
“Good. What I need is an extra set of ears in the room… Ones as don’t have their own agenda so ta speak. And what *you* need to do is prove to me, pretty boy, why *you* are *worthy* to be kept on by the leader of the known world. So get on your feet and stand over there – free corner of the room.
“You’re to remember all the conversations at the cartel meeting today… clear? You don’t move. You don’t speak. If it works out, I’ll sort a bloody suit for you sometime soon, or at least have you in a black one of those. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb today… but I’ll deal with that.”
Alexander was contrite and knew his place. “I will do my best Suzerain.”
“Too bloody right you will. Now stand up and take your spot. Haven’t got all day.”
Alexander raised his eyes just a little in hope that he was welcome as he stood, but all he saw was the cold gaze of his owner before the Suzerain turned back to his affairs, obviously expecting his order to be followed without further question.
The Companion complied immediately, taking his spot beside a palm in a classic bronze pot, standing at ease and schooling his body to be motionless.
And so the Cartel leaders filed in, each delegation brought the leader and the deputy. They sat around an enormous table that had three huge jugs of water and glasses as the centre pieces, the pecking order for seating very obvious. As soon as all were seated and with a drink, the meeting began.
As Angelus had entered and sat on the Suzerain’s right, the Companion’s breath hitched a little. He had to get this right or holding pens and public amusement would be his future.
Alexander listened most carefully, committing to memory all the names and seating positions of the attendees, using the fingers behind his back as a reminder. Then he began to listen to the dialogue. He noted that the Suzerain said little, merely sitting back with his hands in his lap and head slightly tilted or when thinking hard, tended to put his hand to his face, thumb on one defined cheek bone and forefinger across his lips.
Others were more animated and as Alexander listened, he noticed how much they gave away due to their leader’s silence.
One vampire in particular was effusive in his compliments and enthusiastic regards the success of their cartel in the west of what was once southern USA/Mexico.
Alexander watched his owner’s hand come up and recognized that something was not quite right – he listened even harder. The financial reports being presented were that the projections of the previous year only just meeting their targets. But the silent observer saw the twitch and the nervous hands under the table. He watched as the Suzerain quietly asked the man if there was any more to report at which point the twitch occurred again as the answer “No Suzerain, we will do better next quarter.”
The meeting adjourned for a short break, other members filing out into the anteroom on command promised blood, alcohol or coffee and a ‘variety of snacks’.
The Suzerain Spike turned to him immediately all had left the room and simply said “Well?”
Alexander fell to his knees (with some relief as he had been standing motionless for over an hour).
Eyes down and hands still behind his back he reported all… It was near word for word and the Companion missed the rather surprised look on the Master Vampire’s face as the meeting was recounted.
“So your impressions of the Master of the Southern Cartel Carlos?”
“He seemed to be holding something from you, Suzerain. I could see his hands moving nervously, and he twitched when challenged regards the finances, though not with other queries. He also twitched when the black market of feral blood was mentioned.”
His owner stood abruptly and Alexander knew to hold fast, though from the aggressive stance, was truly terrified he was about to be hit – and hard. But instead his hair was ruffled and a rather amused owner simply said, “You might just work out Pet. Now get to your corner and enjoy the fun.”
Called back in after their break the general mood was jovial. It suited their supreme leader. He allowed loose tongues to waggle as the delegates re-entered the meeting room, before opening with a number of mundane territory issues. His First, Angelus, took the floor and Spike had time to look hard at Master Carlos.
Under the table he held his own tiny computer and called up all the *reported* financial dealings of said Cartel leader in the last twelve months, then cross referenced it with his income, and finally with the raids on two feral ‘blood farms’ by the demon military in the last two years. Some found not just ferals but feeders stolen from nearby farms owned by the cartel itself – though the theft never reported. Neither establishment could be pinned to Carlos, but his sudden ‘spending spree’ would indicate another source of income, and at the time Spike could not but help think “Thou protesteth too much.”
As the cross references were made, Spike made a decision. He knew Carlos’ second Julio and had always found him a ‘solid’ character, certainly not as shifty as his boss.
Mundane matters over with, it was time to oust the mole. “I am intrigued by the idea of alternatives to our feeders. Anyone around the table having trouble with the feral harvesting farms in your regions? We need a solution.”
The dialogue erupted as most Cartel leaders found the practice to be either worthy of reporting or at least handling within their region. Carlos was unusually subdued, his second nudging him several times. But the Suzerain was staring directly at him and he did precisely what he willed his body not to, he flinched.
Faster than even the other vampires could track, the Master Vampire Spike, now just over four hundred years old, was upon the hapless Carlos, had hauled him from his chair and had him pinned high up on the wall by his neck, flailing helplessly.
“Now see, let me explain something. It’s business and it’s politics. And we are a *for profit* organization, and if you are makin’ profit mate then you *owe it* to the organization to let us take our bit.” Spike squeezed a little harder at the throat, and although Carlos did not have to breath, he could feel veins and arteries beginning to collapse and had started to see stars.
“Now do be a good fellow and tell me just how *many* feral blood farms you have in your territory… under *your* control at the moment… because I’m afraid we seemed to have missed that in your financial report… possibly for the last few years wouldn’t you think!”
Spike could smell the terror and guilt flowing from the vampire and simply grinned to Angelus as he, still holding the vampire off the floor with one hand, said to the group, “It seems like there is going to be a slight restructure at middle management level.” Upon which he squeezed the neck even harder heard a crack then tore the head from the body. Angelus was at his side with a clothes brush to remove the dust from Spike’s immaculate suit before he retook his seat as though nothing had happened.
He addressed Julio, “Financial reports… accurate ones… and back dividends by Tuesday or your entire Cartel leadership will find out just what a Suzerain is capable of.”
Julio nodded profusely and was infinitely grateful that the meeting was officially closed following his boss’s demise.
All departed but for Angelus who stayed for a short time to debrief regards the rise of Cartel leader Julio. The orders were to watch him also. But they had a few days up their sleeve, if he came back contrite and with reports and cash then all would be well.
Sire and Childe were just exchanging wrists when there was a heavy thump in the corner as the Companion fell in a dead faint.
Alexander had been standing without moving for first one and a half then two hours and had not eaten or had water since around midday the previous day, something that seemed to have escaped the attention of the entire staff and his owner.
He did not radiate distress, simply started to see sparkles as the world disappeared, his ears began to ring, and then random images before … black.
He had no idea what had happened as he came to on a lounge suite in a room he later realized was the Suzerain’s own office. He immediately panicked. He had failed in his task and would be disposed of. Despite a throbbing headache and very sore elbow and hip that had taken much of his fall, he swiftly rolled off the couch and prostrated himself on the ground, not even sure to whom he needed to appeal.
The Suzerain was across the room in seconds as he saw the human’s actions.
“What’s this?? Get up you idiot!! What the *bloody hell is wrong with you*?!… Handlers say you haven’t had anything to eat or drink since yesterday! Why?”
Alexander knew he had failed his owner and was shamed. He kept his position fully down but knew to answer a direct question. He lifted a little then replied, “I was called to you Suzerain. You ordered me still and attentive. I believe I did that Suzerain. I did not know the protocol to ask for food or water… or for relief of human needs. But I did try for you Suzerain… I can recall the second part of the meeting, but… Oh I am sorry for…”
Spike suddenly realized his own error. That the handlers had been dismissed was normal, but he had given the Companion no method of expressing his needs and as they did not coincide with his own, it had not even occurred.
For the first time in over two centuries, Spike felt for another that was not his Childe. This beautiful being, so like a friend from before the destruction, had done everything the Scoobie would have done for the greater good and in this case it was for The Suzerain, Alexander’s owner.
Spike lifted the near unconscious figure of his Companion onto his own bed, called for his surgeons and stood back as they tended to boy.
“He will be fine Suzerain, but he is underfed. If you wish to exploit his talents then a refined diet is recommended. If I am not out of line Suzerain… he is most exquisite, and worthy of your attention – if only as accessory.”
Spike dismissed the medico and moved onto the bed with the boy.
For some unknown reason, now in private, he let his fangs drop and opened his wrist. He lifted the again unconscious Companion, and dripped his own blood from a wrist into the lax mouth. Alexander reflexively drank then, surprisingly, latched on and started to draw the liquid in hard drafts. For some reason the look and the actions prompted Spike’s response. It was old memories and that of an alpha male, and for the demon instinctive – something previously offered.
He dragged the boy up and bit down hard, taking back what was his and showing the boy his place.
The Companion fell back, still only semiconscious but blissful, and having come – something his owner only realized several minutes later. He too had climaxed during the act and though not embedded in his chosen, he had inadvertently claimed the Companion. If he rejected the boy now, the Companion would die an agonizing death that would also affect the Suzerain.
Spike pulled away, suddenly realizing what he had just done, “Oh Bloody Hell… Not again!”
The Suzerain had been without a marked Companion, deliberately, for years. Any sort of attachment spelt vulnerability. Kidnappings and killings of partners, Childer or children, claimants or even favoured Companions, were frequently used tactics as payback or to gain submission. He was a master at it himself.
His very public arguments with his only Childe Angelus and expressions of displeasure and hate, and demands for public submission, were as much to keep his First, his lieutenant, safe as they were to keep his powerful Childe in his place. The public perception that he mistrusted his Childe, and that the man fell in and out of favour, left his enemies with the impression that they were better to court Angelus as an ally to plot against the Suzerain, than to eliminate the Childe. And the tactic had worked for over two centuries.
Numerous enemies were dust or rotting corpses (depending on species) as their efforts to ‘seduce’ the powerful Childe of the Suzerain, resulted in them finding they were themselves in the direct line of fire. Angelus was always publicly punished by his Sire, if anyone even suspected his connection and was still valuable… i.e. could not be eliminated or silenced. His obvious torture or temporary exile always seemed to exonerate him in the eyes of the cartels plotting against the Suzerain.
Angelus knew his place in his Sire’s world and played his part so very well that like any consummate actor, reality and fantasy occasionally blurred. But there was no question when they were in private. Sire loved him. Torture wounds were tended carefully and he healed quickly with his Sire’s blood freely given, and soft words of adoration eased his pain.
One thing was never questioned of Angelus by any of the cartel leaders, he was as deadly as his Sire and just as calculating, had taken no favoured Childer or Companions that anyone knew of. Instead he seemed to prefer to catch and ‘tame’ any feral humans that took his fancy and disposed of them just as easily if he became bored of their company. Attacking his ‘harem’ was pointless as a tactic, as his attachment to his pets seemed to hold as much importance as a favourite axe. His Sire had taught him well.
His dearest companion, a quite androgynous woman Lisbeth, was a feral from one of his raids ten years earlier, and had her attire and hair colour changed so regularly that even Angelus forgot sometimes. She was also remarkably convincing as either male or female. No one but the Suzerain knew of the constant presence as Angelus apparently ‘went through’ numerous ferals. Lisbeth would be turned the following year, she had begged her lover, promising the charade would continue, and Spike had endorsed the idea. The extraordinary girl loved his Childe and he was deeply attached to her. Spike approved wholeheartedly of the idea, and the two would also be mated in a private ceremony.
Yet now the Suzerain had broken his own rules! He had in *no way* intended to put his mark on the boy. But something had compelled him, and now he had to deal with the repercussions. His only consolation was that the bite was further back than normal and down low on the neck. A wider choker and slightly longer hair would cover it easily. He ordered the former immediately. The other would come naturally. He had never been averse to pretty boys with hair past their shoulders.
The choker arrived as the human roused from his collapse and consequent sleep.
An extremely strong hand and harsh tones stilled him and shot adrenalin through his system, but he stayed as instructed. “Don’t bloody move.”
He was lying on his back and felt his choker being removed. There was no way he could stem his tears.
His owner was removing the only thing designating him a Companion, something he had only *just* regained! His head, hip and arm hurt and there was throbbing toward the rear of his neck that was becoming worse by the minute… and he *ached* to stay with the Suzerain. Yet he had obviously been such a disappointment the previous night that he was to be sold or worse.
He closed his eyes and tried *so* hard not to sob, just letting the tears track down into his hair and was successful until he felt the new much more substantial choker wrap around his neck. Somewhere in the back of his mind he felt pain as it tugged tight over the sore spot at the back, but he was too busy being relieved and, despite his best efforts, began to whisper in hitched patterns marked by a flood of relieved tears, “Thank you … oh *thank you*…” over and over.
The vampire suspected the source of the angst but eventually had enough of the hysterics and slapped his charge hard enough to leave substantial fingermarks on the lad’s now wet right cheek.
“Bloody well stop that! If you’re gonna be around me there’s no cryin’… got it!?”
“::hic:: Yes Suzerain ::hic:: Apologies Suzerain.” Alexander tried his best to blink away the remaining wetness.
“Good. Well sit up then!” Spike waited for the boy to right himself a little, propping against the ornate head board, the innocent brown eyes blinking at him with worried anticipation.
“Now we’ve got that sorted, I need ta mention a few other rules. You break ‘em you are dead… not sold or passed over… just dead – you got me?”
Alexander looked wide eyed and lifted his hand to caress the impossibly thick gold choker, “Yes, Suzerain.”
“To the rest of the world you are my effeminate bodyguard and occasional bed buddy, a Companion, nothing more. You don’t touch me in public unless I order it, you don’t move unless I order it or you see a threat. But in the mean time you listen at all times. You’ve proven yourself useful at that, so I want a report whenever I ask. Clear?”
“Yes, Suzerain.” He was happy to comply but also, for some reason felt like something had shifted inside his system but could not put a finger on it, and a myriad of emotions were evident in his eyes as he attempted to make sense of it all..
Spike didn’t miss the boy’s inner struggle as the human lifted his hand and continued to stroke his new jewellery in wonder.
Spike leaned forward and whispered with a tone that he later realized held both threat and genuine affection, “Might have forgotten to mention… heat of the moment thing, drank from you, Pet, and you had a little of my precious liquid, so you’re mine now in the demon sense. You’re Marked… meanin’ I might fully Claim you one day should I feel inclined. Got it? But already… I dust, you die, so best interests and all that. You start your training tomorrow. Need ya fit ‘n pretty ‘n skilled. Gonna be seen with me always, so might as well have you proper trained… *Bodyguard*… got it?”
Alexander’s eyes went wider and darkened with wonder. A few lucky Companions had the privilege of exchanging blood with their vampire owner, and then only after years of acting as a faithful Companion… and then, he’d heard, it usually ended in a turning. A full Claiming of a Companion was so rare as to be almost the stuff of legend. He wondered at his owner. He had no recollection of the marking so it was even more confusing. But he knew better than to question his owner and in the end the Companion simply accepted. “Yes, Suzerain.”
Immediately he had accepted, Alexander was pushed off the bed. “Good, go wash.”
Alexander stilled on the floor and knelt, his arms behind his back, immediately aware of his inadequacies. He had little idea of what his owner expected him to do, indeed was not even sure where to go.
“Oh bloody hell! My bathroom!” Spike indicated an enormous bathroom off the bedroom.
As the human stood rather unsteadily he simply answered, “Yes Suzerain.”
“Right, well… Get in there and I’ll call for a handler, make sure you don’t fall over or sommit!”
Alexander answered politely, if a little shaken, “Thank you Suzerain.” before walking slowly to the bathroom and attempting to strip off the few clothes he had but wavered dangerously in front of the bath/shower facility. Spike dialled for one of his minions barking orders that they needed to be at his suite *immediately* to assist with the ablutions of his Companion human.
Xander began to feel quite odd and his ears rang in that strange way, apart from the Suzerain’s blood, he still hadn’t eaten or taken water since the previous day. In the grey and sparkles on the way down, Xander was unable to hold control and his body relieved itself of long stored urine.
Spike saw the Companion begin to fall for the second time, and with true vampiric speed caught him on the way down.
Noticing his human’s rather precarious state he yelled to his staff who were just entering his rooms, “Bloody get in here!”
The two handlers panicked, “Yes Suzerain. What is it you wish us to do?”
“*Bloody obvious innit!* Now get over here and give the boy a good wash down, and shave anythin’ that needs it… and sort ‘is hair. Right bloody mess all this.” He then turned to a third staff member who had just skidded to a halt at the door. “And you! Food and drink here now – human food for now… Well? Go to?!!!”
By the end of the ensuing two hours of ablutions and attention, the Companion Alexander had come too, was more than compliant, but still struggling to stand without feeling dizzy, and seemed to ache for the Suzerain. Nevertheless the gentle Companion repeatedly thanked his kind handlers as they lay him on a towel, shaved all but his head then washed him carefully.
He was propped up on a small lounge suite with freshly prepared food and including things he had not seen for months – fresh fruit, salad and a baked fish! Even the flat bread was freshly made! The jug of water with slices of a pinkish lemon and mint was consumed as though the finest wine.
It was the first time since he had been stolen away from his breeder Master Natte that he had been given such considerations. He would have shed a tear but quickly wiped his eyes as he remembered the Suzerain’s order. He was not to cry.
The Supreme Master would claim him fully. He felt different from the marking and wondered what the Claim would feel like… he already felt the Suzerain’s absence like a gaping hole in his existence. He had never felt anything like it before.
He knew that if the Supreme Master rejected him now, he would choose to die. He simply held on to the hope that he would remain in favour and resolved to train as hard as he could for his owner.
The Suzerain did not return until the following night. Around three in the morning the Suzerain Spike returned to his suite apparently extremely drunk and a little angry, but seemed to relax as he pulled the Companion from his position on the couch to the Suzerain’s own bed.
“C’mon… Pet… decent session is what’s needed … what’s ya name pretty one?”
“Alexander, Suzerain… I am your Marked Companion…?” Xander felt bereft, he was not even remembered!
“Ohhh yessss Hmmmph… The cabana boy…. well make yerself useful!” Spike fell onto his back, unzipped himself and lowered his pants – revealing a very lax appendage. But before Alexander had complied, the vampire passed out.
He tugged off his owner’s pants and tucked him into bed before making himself comfortable on the couch.
The story in the late morning was something very different.
Alexander woke to insistent attentions, attentions that his body was desperate to accept. He was being hugged and stroked and kissed by a being that in no way seemed to be the Suzerain of the previous night. Alexander had never been with *anyone* before – all his previous giving of seed simply being by his own hand and for breeding.
Now he returned every attention passionately and completely. He craved the touch and needed… something… Only just entering his eighteenth year his was at his prime and, having been marked, his need to couple… felt… quite overwhelming. He paused for a moment, realizing it was a male and the Suzerain affording him such an opportunity, but then gave in to the carnal need.
Spike was somewhat taken aback. He had still been somewhat lucid as he returned to his home, but really could remember very little but that his new Companion had been loving and considerate, easing him to his rest. He had awoken late morning stripped, tucked in to a warm bed and obviously cared for. He also noted that his Companion had slept an uncomfortable night on the couch and exuded the distinct smell of arousal.
He had groaned in pain, the result of the previous night’s imbibing. The marked Companion was instantly awake and at his owner’s side with a cool towel and a wrist offered ready to be bitten. He had waved the latter away, but then grabbed it and pulled the boy down onto the bed with him, demanding that he spoon Spike’s back as he was ‘cold’. Alexander had obliged of course and the Suzerain had melted back into the soft warmth of his boy then promptly fallen asleep again.
Some time after midday they had switched positions. Spike cuddling his Companion like some over sized Teddy bear. A Teddy bear that had an extraordinary effect on his own (of recent times waning) libido. His own marked Companion was now in his arms and smelled of morning arousal.
He lifted the choker a little and licked over his mark then began to stroke the boy, and after some thought just decided to scent him, so continued to lick and bite while he used the cleft of the taut buttocks as a channel for his own angry erection. Alexander woke, then came in very quick succession, just as Spike bit down again on his Companion’s mark and shot his cool seed up the back of his compliant charge.
They both lay for a moment in the aftermath as Spike laved over the wound and it began to close. Alexander simply stilled, compliant and feeling quite… tired again. He was snapped awake by a hard slap to his buttocks and the demand, “Well get up and clean up this mess!”
Relaxed mood completely lost, Alexander shot out of the bed as though the very devil was after him. He returned to give his owner a warm wet towel down before he rushed back to the bathroom to clean himself off.
By the time he came back into the bedroom the Suzerain was up and dressed. Alexander began to pull on the white pants from the previous day but was stopped in his tracks as a full black suit was pitched at him with force. “Get this on. No having any boy o’ mine in white! Bloody disgraceful color!”
Alexander quickly changed and followed his owner out of the room. He thought he would be expected to follow the Suzerain to the meeting rooms but instead was led to the training rooms and introduced to the Mistress Janet.
She was a sensei of black belt level in three different martial arts and gym instructor before the fall of the human race, had been found unwilling to partner but been turned as a Childe by the Cartel leader Mistress Eleanor, then presented to the Suzerain in penance for a serious ‘misunderstanding’ regards payments of her cartel’s fees to the central group.
Mistress Janet had gone willingly, knowing that her sacrifice would keep her Sire safe, but had found a place in the Suzerain’s Court. She took the role of training the Suzerain’s minions and occasionally a human in the art of fighting. Older vampires too used her skills, Angelus training under her watchful eye regularly.
The shortish, pretty female vampire with naturally dark hair, had a slightly odd gait courtesy of illness as a human, something that seemed to disappear as soon as she entered the gym or graced the dojo mat. Many a cocky minion, thinking she would be easily taken, had found themselves pinned easily and quickly deferred to the dominant female. So much so that the Suzerain enjoyed dropping in to the sessions just for the pleasure of seeing her take the youngsters down a peg or three.
It only took one or two sessions with the Mistress Janet before any of her students bowed to her with reverence borne of respect not custom. Even the Suzerain sparred with her occasionally – something his dear ageless trainer never tired of. Spike would usually let her take the upper hand initially but inevitably he pinned her to the floor or was in the position to take a killing blow then chose not to, instead giving her a draft of his blood as acknowledgement of her fine work.
As she met the pair at the door of the dojo, she could smell the scent of the Suzerain all over the boy.
“This is Alexander. New Companion. Need him fit and deadly. Three months – at the outside six… can you do it?”
Janet looked over to the rather effeminate boy behind her boss and noted the soft lines and sweet look. She looked at the ground then up at the Suzerain. “I suspect it will take the six Suzerain… The boy is a bred Companion, is he not?”
“Champion apparently…” Spike paused and watched Janet’s eyes narrow a little as she considered the implications of trying to train an individual who had specifically had his aggression bred out. Spike grinned rather wickedly as he saw the hesitation, “Good you’ve got four months.” Before the Mistress could help herself she looked up with annoyance, but the Master lifted his wrist to her and allowed her just a tiny draft of his blood.
She pulled away and nodded in a business like manner, “As you say Suzerain. He will be ready.”
Alexander moved willingly into the training area for the first of what would be a gruelling schedule of gym, skill and fitness sessions that saw his body shift from the softer lines of the teenager, to a rather magnificent specimen of sleek masculinity. He would never be heavy and his face retained its pretty quality, but the muscles thickened and were far more defined as any baby fat he still carried fell away with the hard work.
He warmed his owner’s bed each night, though there was no more to it than that and perhaps the occasional welcomed stroking and mutual pleasure.
The only problem Mistress Janet perceived was that the dear Companion had been bred, engineered and trained *not* to be aggressive…
In the third month of his training, the Suzerain watched the sparring session, and was genuinely disappointed to see his ‘bodyguard’ pull punches and then simply submit. He decided to up the anti.
Every time Alexander was asked to spar with his betters, he simply could not inflict harm… He knew intellectually that vampires had amazing recovery time etc etc. But still he struggled. Mistress Janet was at her wits’ end and in the middle of the third month of Alexander’s training, appealed to the Suzerain. There was nothing more she could do.
The quiet, considerate, *warm* male Companion had quite endeared himself to Spike, and the Suzerain was not about to abandon the project. He had an idea.
He worded up his First, and Angelus agreed immediately. Once more he was ‘out of favour’ according to the cartels, so even if spied upon, it would confirm the charade.
His Sire and he exchanged blood before they entered the training space, Angelus fully aware that the following week his dear Lisbeth (again in her ‘male’ guise) was to be turned and mated in private with his Sire’s full approval. Angelus smiled rather shyly at his Sire and stilled as they were about to walk through the door. He took his Sire’s hand and bent to touch it to his forehead then his mark, and whispered, “Thank you for…”
Spike knew the agenda prompting the gesture and pulled Angelus into a full embrace, kissing him soundly. “Family… ‘S all it is Pet… Family!... Now let’s go sort that boy out.”
The two entered the training area unannounced. Alexander knew better than to fall to his knees, instead standing, hands clasped behind his back and eyes lowered.
The Suzerain addressed his trainer, “Well done Mistress. He is quite… perfect.” But then Xander heard the growl from the First of the Suzerain.
Angelus played his part, growling then spitting out, “I’ve seen the tapes Sire. F@#$ He *cannot* fight… he’s a pretty boy … You’re replacing me with *that*??”
“More willin’ than you though Pet, isn’t he! Hmm??”
“F#@$ that!!! He might look good but you need me! How many times, Sire? How many times have I had your back, yet you reject me for *that*?”
They were both in game face, snarling and circling like two great cats spoiling for a fight.
“When am I to find your favour? When will I gain my own territory?”
“Never… Childe… just … Never! You are a disgrace!”
Without warning Angelus moved with lightening speed to attack his Sire, but surprisingly, the Companion Alexander was faster, and the Mistress grinned.
It was a simple tackle low down but the collision left them both sprawled on the mats and Angelus the more surprised. Even before the vampire could act the Companion was instantly straddling him and throwing a flurry of wild punches.
The barked command of the Suzerain to stay his hand, however, was obeyed immediately – if a little confusing. He was in a blinding white haze of anger. The Suzerain, his marker, his owner, his all, was under threat, he had to protect him!
Spike approached the upset boy slowly. Still seated on the dark vampire, Alexander’s body shook uncontrollably, he limbs tingled and all he could think of was *Suzerain*!
Finally Spike managed to push the still fisted hands down and lifted the shaking human into a warm hug.
“C’mon Pet… C’mon!!! Just needed to know is all… That you had it in you… Shhh… it’s OK!... C’mon! You don’t think my Childe would really hurt me?”
Alexander lifted chocolate eyes so full of tears and adoration, that Spike almost lost his train of thought.
“I *asked* Angelus… just like I might ask you one day… you know… play a part… get a response… Ahh Pet… Calm down… Ohh Bloody Hell!” The Suzerain recognized the confusion and the devotion, so finally sank his fangs into the dear human over his mark once more, but this time biting down hard and true, and at the same time stroking his dear marked Companion to completion once again.
Alexander was still wild eyed, heart racing and panting and now the front of his training pants were wet. He had lost all track of what he was expected to do after the bite so simply held tight on the Suzerain’s grip, and eventually slumped against his keeper, quietly whispering, “I’m your’s, I’m your’s.” over and over.
It didn’t solve the problem. The Suzerain needed to be confident of his Companion’s ability to attack on an order from his owner, not just when Spike was in peril. He wondered if a full claiming would have some effect. Certainly the boy would be linked to the vampire for all time.
The Suzerain smiled and nodded to his First, the ‘actor’, and Angelus returned the gesture and then departed from the scene, happy that his Sire was pleased with his performance.
Spike turned his attention to the boy in his arms, “You did well today Pet. So… My bed tonight and we’ll see to ya. Work on the attack on command – and your bloody style tomorrow.”
Alexander relaxed and sighed a little, he had done well. He had panicked as he realized that he had attacked the Suzerain’s Childe! But Angelus had been pretending, so he had still ‘done well’ and was to be pleasured by his owner, it had only happened a few times previous when his owner needed comfort and found it in pleasuring his Companion, something Alexander found a little odd but never questioned. They had been the Companion’s happiest nights
The first night it happened he realized just how much he missed Master Natte’s establishment and missed Samuel. They had always been penned together at night. Natte firmly believing that his stock suffered if they slept alone as they were bred to crave affection. Samuel and he had often brought each other to mutual relief, never truly coupling, just enjoying the touch of another.
Now the Suzerain had not only marked him, but promised him a reward! Even if it was the only time he received such a prize, the gentle Companion resolved to work even harder at his training, though pondered the problem of *attacking*… he really did struggle with the idea.
He was pulled from his musing by a sharp slap to his backside. “Right then off with you. Handlers there ‘ll see to ya.” Alexander stood immediately, eyes to the floor, and followed the handlers out to be showered and fed and then… his owner’s bed. He smiled at the thought.
He wasn’t sure where he should be after he’d been showered and dried, so simply stood, towel around his waist, in the middle of the room ‘at ease’ and waited.
It seemed like hours but was probably only minutes before he heard and almost felt his beloved Suzerain. He struggled to stay still as the vampire walked around behind him and whispered how proud of him he was; how much he hoped he would grow into his role; how much he was cared for… And with the last statement, the boy struggled to hold back his tears. He had never imagined that the Suzerain would value him, he had hoped but...
“Gonna Claim you tonight Pet, seemings as you’re strugglin’ so hard with the attackin’ and such. Reckon it just might help. But ya gotta agree…”
Alexander’s hopes rose then fell. The Suzerain was claiming him to improve his ability to do his designated role as defender of his owner, nothing more. He was useful, not loved. But then, he really had to stop expecting the ruler of the Super Alliance of Demon Cartels to love a Companion. Logic dictated. He would say yes and would be the best bodyguard the Suzerain had ever had, bearing the loneliness of knowing that despite the fact that he lay with the vampire nightly, it was unlikely to ever be more than that.
The brunette swallowed hard, “Yes, Suzerain, I wish to be claimed by you, Suzerain. Thank you, Suzerain. It is my duty and training to serve you, Suzerain.”
But Spike heard the hesitation, the sadness and resigned submission in the answer. “Listen! Don’t need a bloody lacky… You either want this or ya don’t! Now what’s got your knickers in a twist?”
Alexander was on the edge of an anxiety attack as he answered in close to a whisper, “I had hoped I… I… you might… um that you might… since you are… that you might care f-for me… as… um…”
“Course I bloody care for ya, you nit!! Otherwise I’d’ve sold ya months ago! Now go lie down face up on the bed, while I sort meself some supplies. And if you so much as *smell* of tears, I’m gonna beat it out of you so hard you’ll wish ya *were* a feeder not a breeder!”
Alexander went to lie on the bed as instructed, now miserable and unsure of what to expect.
But the Suzerain was all but whistling as he returned with three aromatic candles, a fearsome looking ceremonial knife and various jars of things the Companion could not identify without changing his position to look properly.
“Now first things first Pet. Let’s get rid of that there choker – and before ya start fussing, it’s just for now. Got it??”
The human nodded, pulled his long hair sideways and turned his face away so his owner might access the lock at the back with ease.
Spike then lit the candles, putting one at the apex of the bed head and one on either side table. He spread a feather light, red silk sheet over his already nude Companion, wickedly rubbing Alexander’s lax member through the material as he crawled up the bed. The response was almost instant and his soon to be claimed let out a little whimper with the sensation.
Spike straddled him, sitting squarely over his hips and rocking back just a little so Alexander continued to feel the Suzerain’s behind pressing against his now full erection. Alexander struggled to focus, “Now Marked Companion. You will need to answer the ritual words then I will claim you. There will be pain. Are you still prepared to be Claimed for all time?”
“Yes Suzerain. I wish to be your claimant.”
“Right well let’s on with it then.”
Spike tugged the sheet down and opened his own wrist just a little, as he the blood dripped onto his Companion’s torso making a bloody pentagram, he recited the ritual words which Alexander dutifully replied to. “Companion Alexander, do you give yourself freely to the Suzerain Spike?”
“Yes, I give myself freely.”
“Do you fully accept the consequences? If the Claimant has false intent you will die. If you are true to your word then your the link to the Suzerain will go well beyond your changed status in demon society, you will also crave your Claimer in every way, need for his blood and have a non physical connection. You will live for as long as your Claiming vampire unless you are mortally wounded, but die an agonizing death in the case of his demise. Do you understand?”
“Yes, I understand the consequences.”
“Then it shall be so,” With those words Spike took a handful of dust from one of the jars on the side and sprinkled it on the pentagram on Alexander’s chest. There was a harsh flash and the blood simply seemed to disappear into the Claimed’s skin, “Now offer yourself as the Claimed of the Suzerain.”
Alexander wasn’t sure what to do next exactly but his owner swiftly lifted himself and tugged away the sheet completely in the process.
“Gonna mark your skin first pet, then gonna take you as mine now flip over then stay still.”
The human obediently flipped over and abruptly arched as he felt white searing pain just over his tail bone. An iron hand pushed him back down onto the bed and game faced Suzerain literally growled, “Bloody Hell! Stay. Still!” Spike cut an ornate ‘S’ into his back with the hunting knife as the poor Companion tried to muffle his cries by biting down into the pillow but could not stop the tears from eyes squeezed shut so hard that it was almost painful. He just hoped his owner would be too preoccupied to note his weakness.
As soon as Spike finished he laved over the area with a cooling tongue. “There, all done.” Alexander simply whimpered a little, but remained still. The tongue did feel wonderful over the burning pain. His chest where the pentagram had been was suddenly hot too, and as he began to catalogue the painful, yet increasingly pleasant sensations, he felt his hips being lifted and hands massaging his backside in the most erotic fashion. He knew the hands kneading him and gradually working their way to his entrance… he lost himself in the sensation, welcoming the slicked finger inside when it finally pushed through the barrier muscles. There was so much slick on the finger it felt… just wonderful. His Claimer was purring and stroking his fast becoming interested member. Alexander began to rock back then felt a second finger enter, and finally a third before he was flipped once more.
He arched up as the covers hit his sliced flesh, but the pain was swiftly relieved as the Suzerain took his legs and slung them over his shoulders, lifting his hips.
Then the white pain of the cuts was surpassed by the hurt of a large iron stiff object plunging into his core in a single stroke then stilling. His own manhood wilted a little but his owner knew a virgin passage took time to adjust and waited, taking the time to pepper kisses on the neck Claimed.
Spike felt the sheath of muscles begin to flutter and began to move, tiny movements in and out, controlled and slow, gradually increasing the pace as he felt the boy push back more enthusiastically. As they began to move in concert and Alexander moaned as his prostate was brushed yet again, the vampire snaked his hand around and began to pump his charge in time with the thrusts.
He felt the Companion give in to the wonderful sensations and move closer and closer to climax. Alexander finally stiffened and Spike chose the moment to strike, biting deep and hard over his previous mark and drinking quickly as the Companion came hard. After the first draft he also released, filling his now Claimed before they both collapsed, Spike still embedded deep within both neck and backside.
A few long minutes later, the Suzerain withdrew his fangs and laved the wound closed then opened his wrist and offered it to Alexander who took it with a look of awe and after a few drafts, gazed in wonder and adoration at the Suzerain whilst still suckling. As his Claimer pulled out and took back the wrist, Alexander passed out.
He woke a few hours later in his Suzerain’s arms, being stroked to hardness again. But this time something inside had definitely shifted… He *felt* the Suzerain, felt his Claimer on a visceral level, like he was a part of the same being. It was wonderful.
They coupled again, and again throughout the daylight hours. Finally the exhausted Companion was ordered to the shower and allowed to joyfully clean his owner as well as himself.
The same evening as Alexander’s claiming, Angelus had turned his long time claimant, Lisbeth in his private rooms.
Spike visited the soon to be Sire as he kept vigil at his dear one’s death bed, waiting for her to rise. He fed the dark vampire his own powerful blood and revelled in the idea of being Grandsire to the prize on the bed.
She had been fed massive amounts of her new Sire’s blood. The pretty individual had always looked ethereally beautiful whether in male or female guise, now even more so.
Lisbeth was witty, blindingly intelligent, and absolutely loyal as a human, and was the perfect choice for his powerful Childe. She also, according to his Childe’s rather sheepish admission one drunken evening, enjoyed ‘asserting’ herself in the bedroom – even with male to male type activities. Spike had simply refrained from commenting and smiled at the time. She would make a fine vampire.
Two days later, his Sire - the Suzerain, and his Sire’s Claimed, bore witness to Angel’s formal mating ritual with his new Childe. Their identical mating insignias magically scarred the skin around their belly buttons after they were branded by their Grandsire as part of the ritual.
It was joyful for all concerned, though to the outside world, nothing had changed.
Lisbeth’s Childe status would be held secret for a little time yet, and the Companion’s Claimed status would not be acknowledged in public. Both the partners felt a little sad not to be able to show their affection openly but understood and played their part.
When Alexander returned to his training four days following his Claiming, the Mistress noted the difference.
There was a new confidence and she was so close when correcting his stance, that she could scent the change.
He trained hard, now feeling his Claimer very distinctly through some strange emotional link. But even though he was aware of the Suzerain’s calculated violence, after three weeks there still seemed to be little change in his ability to be aggressive. That was unless the Suzerain himself was threatened.
Mistress Janet noted the same with pride, that her student had pinned a Master Vampire to the floor of the Cartel meeting room in a blinding flash of speed and very good technique when said individual stood with stake in hand ready to attack the Suzerain. With a nod from Spike, the Master was dust at the hand of the pretty bodyguard.
Spike took the Mistress aside after the event, kissed her soundly and gave her a trickle of his blood in gratitude, but still had to ask her professional opinion, “Even with my blood?”
“He will attack anything or anyone that would hurt you, Suzerain. To the point of placing himself in deadly circumstances, I would suggest. But he is simply not cut out for cold blooded murder. Find yourself an assassin, Suzerain, and let the boy do the job you originally tagged him for… let him warm your bed and protect you. He is loyal to a fault and easy on the eye… and a very good study… bright and willing. If I may be so bold, you have Claimed well, Suzerain.”
Spike looked up in surprise at the last statement, only to see Janet brush her nose with her forefinger to indicate a no tell policy was maintained.
Two days later, the Companion was pleased to learn that he was no longer expected to attack on command.
A very vicious gangland criminal ‘J.B’, turned as a vampire minion then trained virtually as an ‘attack dog’, arrived, muzzled and bound with his ‘handler’. The Suzerain was pleased when his bodyguard Alexander placed himself between the new comers and his owner. Spike now had little doubt that his dear Alexander would taken the other down if it were at all possible – or die trying if his Suzerain were ever threatened.
For three months after the Claiming and Lisbeth’s turning, little changed.
Alexander protected the Suzerain in public and warmed his bed in private – daily saddened by the matter of fact way he was treated as the alternative to heating blanket. Yet the Companion craved the vampire’s touch, so each time he was pulled tight against the cool body, and was offered a little blood from his Claimer’s wrist (now so necessary), he tried to count his blessings. And if the Suzerain nuzzled his neck or rubbed against him during sleep, Alexander would take the private time to quietly cry, hoping the sensitive vampire nose would not notice.
Lisbeth had yet to be acknowledged as a Childe and no-one outside the immediate household ever came close enough to notice, but that could not last. The Mistress Janet trained the new vampire by herself once a day and with Angelus again toward the morning. Lisbeth was stronger than the average fledge – and her lithe figure and naturally graceful style augured well for a very deadly combination were Angelus and Lisbeth ever cornered.
Of late, occasionally the Mistress would have Lisbeth and Alexander spar and gradually came to realize the increase in the human’s speed and strength. Initially she had thought that Lisbeth was pulling her strikes, but it was apparent by the third occasion that it was not the case. She could only put it down to the claiming by the Suzerain and wondered that the cartel leaders had yet to notice the change in the Companion come bodyguard.
In his fourth month of being a Sire, Angelus begged Spike to acknowledge Lisbeth in front of the leaders of the cartels – she was after all a Childe of the line of Aurelius. Spike agreed, but only after considering how it was done to safeguard the family.
In the end it was decided. To the outside world, Angelus was apparently currently still out of favour. And all in the group of cartel leaders knew of his tendency to catch, train and bed ferals, especially those with similar slim lines and elfin features, either male or female. So the stage was set. the performance to occur on the night of the monthly cartel leaders' meeting.
The Suzerain roared his displeasure at his Childe’s latest tryst in full earshot of several minions he knew to be spies, and coinciding with the arrival of five cartel leaders. The drama was occurring just outside the Suzerain’s quarters within sight, but at the end of the very long hallway. A blonde girl was prostrated at his feet obviously trembling with fear.
Spike was in game face, something that even the cartel leaders feared. Loud shouting ensued, “And you leave her on my doorstep to do what exactly?”
Angelus was on his knees, head down with wrists bound behind his back and blood still oozing from a painful looking bite mark on his neck – opposite to his turning mark, an obvious sign of his Sire's displeasure. He replied rather miserably, “I just thought you might enjoy her… She was very…”
Spike hit him so hard that he fell sideways and his head impacting hard on the floor with a nasty crack.
“Idiot Childe!! She is damaged goods. You *insult* me by offering your *leftovers*! If you think she's such a tasty treat then *you* take her, not just as concubine… have her for eternity and see how it feels to have a wayward Childe weighing you down!”
With lightening speed, he grabbed Angelus by the scruff of the neck, forced him up and slapped him hard enough to bring his Childe's demon to the fore, then forced him down onto the whimpering girl’s neck. The witnesses saw the girl shudder and cry out as Angelus tried to protest but then gave in to instinct bit hard and began to apparently drain her.
In truth, little blood was taken and Lisbeth whimpering was to do with the young vampire trying to contain her own demon and stem her arousal.
Spike sliced the ropes binding his Childe’s hands none too carefully, the knife cutting deep into the now freed wrist. He grabbed the wounded limb and shoved it into the now collapsed girl’s mouth and massaged her neck.
Six more cartel masters arrived just in time to witness the ‘turning’.
The cartel leaders gasped as minutes went by. The Suzerain was indeed making a Grandchilde, *forcibly*. And since there would be little love lost between new Sire and Childe, or Grandsire and this new fledge, the dysfunctional Aurelians had apparently just provided them all with another way to undermine the ruler.
Spike made a show of whipping off his belt and forcing it around Angelus’ neck, making collar and leash in one, humiliating his Childe in full view of the audience. He then tugged hard, barking the order, “Pick her up!”
Still on his knees, the dark vampire shuffled over and lifted up the dead girl reluctantly. “Now put her in your quarters and wait there, I haven’t finished with you yet.” The Suzerain roughly hauled Angelus to his feet using the belt and forced him toward the door of his suite adding sarcastically, “And leave your *leash* on – I may have need of it later – Your suggestion of some relief might be just the ticket, and I fancy you in a collar *pleasuring me* where you would have had me use your whore.”
All ‘interested parties’ present saw the look of pain and hatred on Angelus face as he turned to carry the obviously unbreathing, lax body through the door to his own suite.
Spike roared as he slammed the door behind the two, “Now where’s my bloody bodyguard!”
Alexander had been waiting behind the door of their suite until he heard the ‘draining scene’, just in case any of the other vampires approached within distance of hearing a heart beat. He had tried to elevate his own to mimic fear by silently doing exercises during the first section of the performance. For her part, Lisbeth had been genuinely fearful that the ruse might not work so smelt 'right'.
As soon as it was time, he raced for the balcony doors. Let himself out silently and sprinted around to the rear entrance to the kitchen, strolling through past various minions with the excuse that he had been told to grab a sandwich, orders of the Suzerain. The rather portly minion, obviously turned for his culinary skills, grumbled regards his own wasted talent but swiftly made a sandwich of smoked salmon, tomato and lettuce. It was the best he could do at short notice. He had learned the hard way from the Suzerain, that Companions were permitted no dairy and only a little fish added to their vegetarian diet, the theory being that dairy had detrimental effects to the human constitution and red meat increased aggression.
To the observers, Alexander was the perfect Companion, instantly responding to his owner’s call, emerging from the kitchen at a sprint, skidding to a halt and visibly swallowing a mouthful of food, quickly hiding the rest behind his back as he took his place behind the Suzerain.
Spike was apparently in no mood for deceptions, growling, “Well eat your bloody meal *fast and on the way*. We have work to do.”
Alexander followed the vampire as he stormed past his ‘guests’ with an agitated, “Well? Show’s bloody well over… Come on, let’s do some work!”
The meeting was unsurprisingly, very quiet, none of those present wanting to aggravate the obviously still fuming Suzerain. Matters were dealt with icy efficiency and the break only long enough for the word to spread as to what had occurred. The Suzerain and his bodyguard adjourning to the balcony apparently so the Suzerain might smoke and calm. The remainder of the meeting concluded uneventfully – though all in the room wondering at the Suzerain’s unpredictability and brutality… and charisma. He was even able to keep his abused Childe loyal!
As the last of the leaders left, Spike snarled at the minions, “You too! Go on … F@#$ off.” then mumbled, deliberately audibly as they left, “Got some family business to sort.” The two traitors grinned at each other as they departed the room. Their own demon masters, not present on the night, would be most pleased to learn of this turn of events.
Spike, followed closely by his Claimed, attended his Childe and Grandchilde.
As they entered the room, Spike knew, Lisbeth had tended to her Sire’s wounds and the two had obviously made passionate love and exchanged blood while the Suzerain had seen to cartel matters.
A sated Angelus rolled from his relaxed spooning of a smiling, sated Lisbeth, to kneel at his Sire’s feet, Lisbeth followed suit and both kissed his feet with genuine gratitude. And Alexander loved his owner all the more as the Master of the line knelt also and pulled the two vampires into a warm hug, kissing first Angelus then Lisbeth on the forehead and offering an open wrist to each all the while whispering, “Well done, so proud of you! Well done!” Then caressing Angelus’ face where he had earlier struck in apparent anger.
He lifted his Childe’s chin. “You OK Childe? Are you still in pain?”
Angelus stared back with nothing but adoration in his chocolate orbs. “No Sire… How could I be? You have given us Lisbeth! Thank you, Sire.”
Spike repeated the act with Lisbeth, who let her own tears of joy fall, “Suzerain!. Oh... thank you Grandsire!”
He cupped her pretty face with his right hand, fixed her with his crystal blue stare and said, “In or out of favour to the outside world, you are now known a Childe of the Aurelian line. There may be a need to play the audience outside, but in private you will always be loved. Never forget that.” He kissed her again, this time soundly on the lips, then took his Childe’s with as much passion.
The two were left on the floor a little overwhelmed as Spike stood and made for the door to the balcony, leading his Companion back to his own private rooms.
If anyone watched the door of the Childe Angelus suite, they would assume the Suzerain was taking his wayward creation in punishment as sounds of coupling and the smell of spending and blood was detectable to those with vampiric senses.
Alexander felt a little jealous. He might be the claimed but the love between Lisbeth and Angelus… and even Angelus and Spike was in stark relief, with how the Suzerain would ever see him… Yet he yearned for such a connection.
That evening Spike spooned his human bed warmer, fed him a few drops of blood, then whispered, “Well done Pet… very well done,” before falling into an exhausted sleep, and Alexander felt wonderful and terrible all rolled into one. He so wanted to be worthy of the Suzerain’s love, but had no idea how to achieve that goal.
A month after the very public turning, none of the cartel leaders were sure of the Suzerain’s Childe’s current status. Angelus had apparently submitted once more, the renewed savage bite of his Sire evident each day, and the Grandchilde Lisbeth only occasionally present at the Master of the line’s behest. Few even noticed when the handsome bodyguard was occasionally seen with the new Childe. It was to be expected.
The Mistress had been instructed to attend the two and was deep in thought as she approached the recreation area of the property. Janet halted as the conversation of the newly turned vampire, only four months young, and the Claimed human Companion, wafted up from the heated outdoor pool area around midnight. The new Childe had been sent off with the bodyguard to take some exercise as the proceedings of the evening wound up.
“But, you are his claimed!?!”
The Mistress sidled into site line and simply stood.
The younger looking Alexander addressed the new vampire, and former claimed with teary sincerity, “But he will never love me… Angelus loves you… and you are *so* beautiful! Why wouldn’t he. All I can be is loyal and obedient… but ohhh Lisbeth … sometimes I just wish…I [hic]… I wish [hic] he really *loved* me!![hic] Ohhh [hic] Sorry!!!”
Alexander was then observed to bury his face in the pretty vampire’s chest, utterly oblivious of her game face or agitated growling at her Grandsire Claimant’s distress.
As Lisbeth sat with the sobbing boy in her lap, the Mistress was sure Angelus would have been proud of his Childe as she was privy to the reply, “I cannot make a comment of my Grandsire, but I do know he cares for you deeply. If you are worried then… form your questions carefully and then… ask… I am *sure* he trusts you and cares more deeply than you could comprehend… My Sire too hesitated after my claiming… but please! Love him and care for him and all will be well… It’s up to you, love and adore My GrandSire the Suzerain… your Claimer… He may not display his true thoughts but don’t doubt him… I’m sure he loves you!”
Alexander slid away and sat, hugging his knees and his left cheek leaning on the knees and face turned toward her, a perfect picture of misery as he all but whispered a reply.
“He doesn’t! I protect him. I warm his bed, and provide occasional mindless amusement and necessary chaste ‘release’. He’s kissed me three times, we’ve brought each other off occasionally by hand or friction when he is worried, and he took me once but that was just part of the Claiming… And he only claimed me so my fighting would be better and even that didn’t work!!! I’m hopeless… Not like you… not like you…. Oh Liz… I’m worth no more than a minion to him and he’ll never really love me… not like Angelus does you… the Suzerain can’t… but I’m better than that, I *could* make him happy… I just *know* I could. But…”
He offered his neck to the vampire almost as a plea for relief, but Lisbeth knew better than to touch what was the Suzerain’s. Instead she kissed his claiming mark gently and took him into a friendly hug then began to rock him. Alexander relaxed into the soft cool embrace and began to cry silently, eventually falling asleep in the arms of the young vampire. The Mistress, sure the crisis was over, departed the scene and resolved to have a word to the Suzerain when the time was right.
But the time never seemed right and over the ensuing weeks only the Mistress Janet and Lisbeth seemed to notice the concerning change. Alexander was working harder than ever at his fighting, utterly attentive and disciplined in his role as bodyguard, and instantly complying with any demand the Suzerain made of him. But even at when performing his duties, it seemed that the Suzerain ignored him.
When meetings were adjourned he was often left standing in an empty or darkened room along with the other minions as the cartel leaders and the Suzerain swept out…
He was no longer allowed to shower with his Claimer, and the irritating rash under his collar went unnoticed and untreated.
In the six weeks after his outpouring of need to Lisbeth, he had hardly had physical contact with the Suzerain, even as a bed warmer, and certainly had not been given any of his Claimer’s craved for (necessary!) blood.
Spike was preoccupied. Cartel matters had been intense, a grab for power averted and new territory carved out, and more often than not, he was ordered into the Suzerain’s room, only to sleep solo whilst some new crisis held the Suzerain from his rest.
On the morning of the beginning of the seventh week, the Companion was simply ordered, “Get out” by his stressed, very drunk Claimer. He hesitated and was given a hard slap for his trouble with the threat of more, so scrambled miserably from the soft bed and slept on the floor.
He was not invited back into the bed the following night and had slept unnoticed under a small throw rug from the settee with his head on his master’s boot for close on three weeks. His bodyguard services were still required, and he stood dutifully and protected willingly, but the Companion was dying inside.
Three months after his claiming, Alexander passed out and could not be roused for some hour or so during a sparring session.
Mistress Janet knew better than to call the Suzerain immediately, but suspected the cause. And as she stripped off his loose training garments it was *very* obvious.
The boy had always been slim and muscular, but now was obviously wasting away, his ribs prominent and stomach sunken. She looked at the face of the still unconscious boy again and mentally kicked herself for not taking better note of the black shadows around his eyes and drawn features. She called for a medical specialist for humans then the Suzerain’s cook, determined to gather her evidence before confronting the Suzerain.
The cook reinforced her suspicions and the physician positively confirmed them. The boy’s system was in decline, the cook claiming that he had been eating less and less as the weeks went by and the physician indicating that there was no trace of the Claimer’s blood in a system that now required it to survive. But more than that, the lack of eating was consistent with severe depression due to lack of contact and neglect.
The medical practitioner, Dr Appel added, “If I may be so bold, I wonder if you might pass on to the Suzerain that I suspect the withdrawal of blood might have coincided with a withdrawal of contact generally, as the physical effects are truly very severe. If he wishes the Claimant to survive, then he will have to alter the way the Companion is treated. If he is not given the proper Claimant’s attention then he will die in extreme pain, both mentally and physically… I am happy to put him down now if he wishes, it would be kinder.”
The doctor looked sadly resigned.
He’d seen it too many times before, though not so much with Companions, but certainly with feral humans they were often Claimed then discarded, the novelty apparently wearing off and the owners handing them over to a disposal unit. The trend was particularly bad after the festive season and often involved very young claimants. Putting them down was especially hard for the teams at the units, but really was the kindest end.
The Mistress was furious. Over the months, the Companion Alexander had become her favourite – never failing to try his hardest and always offering gratitude and respect in their training sessions. That his life was now to be terminated through lack of attention by his Claimer was unconscionable.
The Mistress Janet left the doctor with the still unconscious Alexander, and marched to the other end of the compound and upstairs to the Suzerain’s office. She waited impatiently as yet another meeting concluded and three very ugly Groxlars and two vampires departed the room, then slipping in the still open door.
Spike didn’t turn or even look up from the computer, instead simply waved vaguely toward the refreshment trolley, “Just take it… and get that bloody bodyguard in here will you?! Should have been done his workout by now!”
The Mistress Janet rounded the enormous board room table and did something on the spur of the moment that she would never have dared do in hindsight. She slapped the Suzerain hard enough to tip him off his chair, then pinned him to the ground in full game face, with a strength completely at odds with both her age and size.
“Shall I do that *before* or *after* you kill him from neglect! He can’t attend you Suzerain, because he is *unconscious*, *underfed*, and unattended by his *Claimer*! Oh, but don’t worry yourself, the physician is ready to put him down – you just need to say the word! At least it’s kinder than killing him so slowly and cruelly!”
Spike went to speak but the Mistress hit as hard as she could, then stormed out of the room to return to the stricken Companion, leaving the Suzerain to ponder her words.
The actions were so uncharacteristic of the Mistress that he knew it must be serious, and slowly began to digest the information she had literally beaten into him,
Initially he felt incensed and angry at being accused of abusing his Companion, but swiftly realized the gravity of what she had said and sadly had to admit, she was right.
He had indeed neglected the boy, not just neglected but actively pushed him away of recent times. What had started as a public way of safeguarding his Claimed bodyguard and himself, had ended in a complete denial of contact and affection in private.
Alexander had his head in the Mistress’ lap and was barely aware of anything as his Claimer entered the room.
Spike was utterly shocked. Alexander was naked to the waist revealing his obviously precarious physical state and his pallor of death. He had a drip in his arm and the physician had lined up the syringe and vial of overly potent sedative that would take the Companion to his final rest were the Suzerain to wish it.
But the worst indictment of his failure was his Claimed Companion’s whimpers and occasional delusional words of “Not good… en…ffff” and “ffffailed” then even worse “Kill me Plea… fffff. Ohhh… sorrrr… but…hurttttt!”
Spike was distressed beyond belief.
This beautiful creature who had given himself so willingly, never done anything less than what was asked and then some, was now dying because the Suzerain’s needs apparently surpassed his own. He was bred and trained to be compliant and obedient.
For Spike it wasn’t so much an epiphany as a realization of error… The boy had stood for endless hours of meetings without complaint; warmed his bed and willingly serviced him; killed ill intentioned adversaries; trained tirelessly: and happily listened to the Suzerain as he spilled his worries regards the latest meeting or Email. But never asked for anything… And, belatedly, Spike remembered the eviction of his bed warmer some month earlier! The harsh words; the cruel actions; the ignored, indeed punished, tears… all were due to the Suzerain’s stress over a cartel’s betrayal, yet his Companion had borne the brunt.
Spike suddenly realized… nowhere in his instructions to his Claimant did he give the right to request what he needed, nor did he put into place any measures to cope with the Claimant’s need for the Suzerain’s blood.
The Mistress witnessed the Suzerain all but melting on the spot as he slid to lift his devoted servant into his lap and held him as though an infant. She could not help but think, if Alexander *only knew* how much he was adored.
Spike looked up to the physician, “No !! No putting down you idiot! Now. What. Do. We. Have. To. Do!??”
The physician was a little nervous, given that it was the Suzerain in full game face within inches of his own neck, but he held his ground, swallowed hard and answered the question.
“Suzerain, with all due respect. He has been starved of you blood and your favour and will die – I was merely suggesting…”
Spike growled openly and the young medico quickly added, ”If you are committed to his survival then you *must* attend him – even if it is only to feed him. We have a facility just outside our main clinic where you might place him and visit as needed. Suzerain… I am only thinking of you and your Companion… If he is to survive then he will need constant attention.”
“I said No! Now pack up and piss off … and be back here tomorrow at the start of the evening. Understood he needs attention but he doesn’t leave here so you come to him… clear?”
“Of course Suzerain.”
An hour later saw Spike propped up in bed with his ailing Companion in his lap. Alexander was too weak to do anything but relax into the cool embrace and accept the proffered dripping wrist and quiet stroking. He knew it was his Claimer but couldn’t understand why unless it was a final goodbye but he was beyond caring and eventually simply fell asleep.
Spike eased himself from his stricken Claimant as the Mistress Janet knocked quietly on the door to offer the Suzerain a mug of warmed blood.
The blood was taken and drained then she was pulled tight to the taut torso of the Suzerain and was offered his wrist to her with the quiet words, “No one else would have dared… You are a true lady… Nobless oblige… I bow to your greater knowledge and request that you accept the status of Honoured Mistress in the coming fall festivities… ”
Alexander was sedated and fed electrolytes and vitamins spiked with a decent dose the Suzerain’s blood via a drip for the next ten days.
His situation was precarious for the first five, an erratic heartbeat and apparently frightening delusions causing the Suzerain to hover around their sleeping quarters whenever he had a spare moment.
The doctor continued to encourage physical contact and Spike did as instructed, petting, massaging, stroking and hugging the stricken human at every opportunity.
On day six there was a small breakthrough of sorts. The doctor had recommended contact with other Companions particularly family. Spike put Angelus on the task, and his Childe did the most logical thing – he tracked down the establishment where Alexander had been bred.
Two days later a very nervous Natte stepped into the Suzerain’s compound with three humans on leash, Samuel (Alexander’s dear cousin), Alexander’s heavily pregnant sister Sara, and another pretty brunette woman called Penny who had been chosen to bear Alexander’s children in his latter days at Natte’s.
They were directed to the day room where Alexander was resting on a futon that obviously doubled as a couch at other times judging by the twenty or so large cushions making a colourful ‘headboard’.
Spike stood at the door watching the interaction hopefully. The Mistress was present should anything go astray, but he relaxed a little as he observed the breeder Natte approach and reach out to his former possession, brushing a lock of hair away with sad affection.
The Mistress nodded to the Suzerain as he departed. She had been named as Honoured Mistress of the Aurelian Household in front of a full meeting of cartel leaders a day earlier and was still reeling from the experience. She was quite stunned by the level of support from the vast majority of those present. They knew her to be extraordinarily capable and had even trained many cartel leaders and their firsts during the annual four day conference. It was a very popular move and shifted her standing to the equivalent of cartel leader, affording her the right to attend the meetings of combined cartels should she so desire. But today she was charged with safeguarding the Suzerain’s claimed, an honour of a different kind.
Sara gasped and was unsuccessful in preventing a tear from falling as she approached her dear brother on his sick bed, Samuel too felt highly moved by the sight of the thin and drawn figure of his cousin - though as much in the knowledge that he had not fought against Alexander’s abduction… and that had led to this! After Natte had informed him that the Suzerain was his cousin’s new owner, he had tried to convince himself that Alexander would be happy having gone to a place of privilege, but could hardly begin to imagine the neglect, or illness or cruelty that had led to his handsome cousin’s current state.
Alexander roused a little and Natte led the three humans closer so they could interact.
Indeed after an initial gentle touch, Alexander was treated to all three humans being allowed onto the bed with him, caressing and petting him, their warm forms and familiar smells so right.
Alexander seemed to have little control over his emotions of late and simply began to cry quietly. Samuel and Sara hugged and waited, and waited and hugged. Their brother seemed in decline, no one had told them the reason, so gentle touch was really all they could do.
Alexander had given in to the idea that he would die, but then had woken feeling his Claimer, but … so tired, so very tired… and then black… and then the Mistress… and black… and Lisbeth… then black… and the doctor… and then the Suzerain again… then black… and then… *Samuel* and his darling sister… but he still couldn’t seem to form words, so he just held on and cried.
That night he was only semiconscious as he fed on the Suzerain’s blood direct from the vein. Sadly Spike’s relieved expression and loving caress was missed as the boy passed out during the act.
By the ninth day, Alexander was responding to the treatment but still felt somehow lost and … hopeless. His health had improved, but he had not been allowed to return to his bodyguard duties, removing the one meaningful role he had performed for the Suzerain. Though he was still being fed the Suzerain’s blood and had received more attention in the previous week than he had in the two months prior, he was still sure it was just a matter of time before the Suzerain moved to dispose of him. His designated position as bodyguard apparently terminated, he surmised it was not long before the Suzerain would request a new bed warmer.
The attending physician noted the continuing depression and advised that the Suzerain increase his level of direct physical contact if at all possible, and to have Natte bring any or all of Sara, Samuel and Penny for a visit at least once a week to provide familial reassurance.
Sara was the more frequent visitor. Pregnant with only her second child, at twenty she was a picture of health. Bearing children suited her, as it had her mother, and as Alexander well knew, the expert handlers and facilities at Natte’s estate gave Sara’s offspring a wonderful start to life.
On the second visit he stroked her belly and looked up at her amazed when the tiny life inside moved at his touch. She grinned and did as always… chatted to him as though nothing had changed in the last year and a bit.
“It’s a boy. Natte only breeds boys at the moment. He’ll do girls in a year or two he said, mainly so he has a new set of breeders… I’m looking forward to that… I’d really like a little girl, especially as she’ll definitely stay on the estate... I just hope this little love,” she rubbed her bump lovingly, “is as pretty as your first two were, we must ask the Suzerain if they might visit – you would be so proud – they are just a *delight*, so sweet and well behaved. Oooooooh! And you know that Penny is now carrying your third?! It was confirmed two days ago. Oh Alex… She is *so* happy and wanted to come today, but the Master insists she is to rest in these early days!”
Despite his hazy perception, Alexander roused, “What?! But… How?”
“Oh come on Alexander, don’t be such a dullard! The last collection before you were stolen! And it’s called freezing the catch!! Come on, don’t be so silly… It’s Penny! She’s *gorgeous*, don’t you think? And with the genetics of both of you … Master Natte is so amazing at keeping the lines true... You know I’ll *always* have Dante for boys, though I’m not sure who Master Natte favours if it’s to be girls… probably that sweetie Carl from Master JonJon’s. We’ve already been introduced once, just to see if our natures matched.”… Sara chatted on and Xander smiled but drifted a little.
He had never felt particularly like he had fathered anyone as it was all done through artificial insemination after the genetic integrity was checked and the DNA analysed for possible problems. Of any ten eggs collected, usually only five were viable and even then only one or two fertilized products approved and actually implanted. Some breeders used surrogates for Companions but purists like Natte would not hear of it and preferred his breeding females to know the father of their children – though only contact of a casual nature was allowed - no intercourse permitted. In some cases the breeding pair was a *particularly* good match and became quite attached, and some kind breeders did believe in recreational coupling.
Of late, technology had allowed breeding pairs to enjoy each other with no risk of random impregnation in the process as it was now possible to procure a purpose fitted ‘collection shunt’ that simply redirected the ejaculate. The male and female both happily sated and the added bonus of seed collection via ‘natural stimulation’. There was a growing movement recommending the practice as it seemed the females benefited from achieving climax also.
A few weeks later Sara would admit with a grin, that she and her favourite, Carl, had been allowed to engage on several occasions as his shunt had been fitted some six months previous.
As Master Natte came to collect Alexander’s pretty sister, he was speaking to the Suzerain enthusiastically of the practice and Samuel’s recent surgery to insert the shunt, suggesting that perhaps Alexander might find improved spirits if allowed to engage freely with a partner. He emphasized the need for the Companions to have touch and a feeling of belonging; to be praised and adored; to be valued and cared for… to be loved.
Spike barely held back a growl. He knew his dear Companion was orientated a different way, regardless of having children from collected seed – but there was no way *the Suzerain’s Chosen* was being ‘shunted’! Nor would he lie with others for that matter!!! And to be lectured to by a mere breeder… the only thing that stopped him from snapping the demon’s neck was that it was almost word for word regards the Mistress’s ever more frequent lectures, and she was in the room looking pointedly at him!
After dismissing the Master Natte, and inviting the ‘family visit’ the following week for his still waning Companion, he sat back and looked hard at the boy.
He had filled out a little. The Mistress had reported that he was now able to work out three or four times a week on a light program, and she had him back to form work with his fighting arts. But something was still very wrong.
The following week the arrival of two enthusiastic, two year old brunette boys along with Penny (who’s ‘bump’ was definitely showing) was a source of great delight especially as Penny was now entering her second trimester with her new one. She would deliver by caesarean as was usual with the Companions. Feeders were allowed to deliver naturally – their relative value and sheer numbers making any attrition rate acceptable – though more careful breeders generally brought them in for the event and had a physician present for large group deliveries.
Spike watched as Alexander pushed up from the bed as the door opened to the woman who had apparently already carried two of his children and would produce a third in spring, but with whom he had never technically coupled. Their friendly attitude toward each other was obvious from the first visit.
Alexander stood to greet her, she was positively glowing with her pregnancy and smiled. *Their* little boys (Alexander would remind himself later) scrambling onto his bed and proceeded to delight in trying to make a sort of igloo out of the cushions.
Like all Natte’s female breeders Penny was barefoot, dressed in a comfortable, loose fitting white silk dress, fashioned in the style preferred in ancient Greece. Long tresses of slightly curly brunette hair were held back in a simple clasp and dark brown eyes framed by long lashes, mirrored his own features. He saw why Natte chose her to breed from. Alexander grinned at the two boys before pulling the lovely Penny into a spur of the moment hug then felt compelled to work on pure instinct.
Penny had been starved of touch other than family and pressed her body harder into his as he let his head fall on her shoulder and hands wander. His left found her right breast and he caressed the enlarged nipple through the soft material, while his right slid under the folds and down to her sex, full and sensitive thanks to pregnancy. He then gently stimulated her to a much longed for climax. He felt her slightly stretched stomach muscles tighten impossibly as she achieved orgasm, and stayed for long enough to register the feather light flutters of her inner walls mirrored by what he imagined might be a few tiny moves from the small person inside.
Alexander withdrew his fingers and held the mother of his children in an affectionate hug. She relaxed into his embrace for a moment before whispering, “You really didn’t have to… I know you are not a lover of women. But thank you… you do know I am always so honoured that I was chosen to carry your boys, and now… you gift me with this when I am… so….” She looked down at her distended belly and swollen breasts and sighed.
“When you are so beautiful, and deserve a breeding partner who needs a shunt! You mean?”
They both grinned for a moment before Penny took Alexander’s face in her hands and pushed her hard belly into his taut torso. She kissed him lovingly on the forehead then replied, “No, I want no other partner. I will never be your satisfaction, as I *know* that lies with the Suzerain, but I will be the mother to only your children, all going well, and I thank you for that.”
Spike had watched the entire proceedings, concerned that his Companion seemed happier with this female than he had seemed for weeks. But then noticed, strangely relieved, that Alexander had not been particularly aroused nor found his own climax in the act.
The Mistress sidled up behind the Suzerain and whispered at a level only a vampire could hope to hear, “His problems would be solved if only you would take him, Suzerain.”
Spike fell into gameface and growled low, “I cannot afford to become attached.”
The Mistress moved behind him and whispered in the other ear, “Too late! It is all that ails him Suzerain… Your blood is not all he craves. Look! The dear love, he brings another pleasure that he himself is deprived of. You *must* do this! And cartels be damned! Let them come through me!”
Spike turned enough to see the diminutive Mistress Janet arms folded across an ample breast and fit figure spelling a readiness for a very dangerous fight should anyone challenge. She was magnificent. In that moment, he realized just what a gift he had been given when her Sire passed her to him, and was pleased he had afforded her the place of Honoured Mistress.
He acquiesced. “You are right Mistress.”
Spike removed himself and allowed Alexander to play with the boys for a little as Penny relaxed. They were led out of the room by handlers an hour later with promises that there would be another visit in a week.
The Suzerain entered the day room as the others left, saying nothing he tugged the now reclining Alexander to his feet and wordlessly led him to the Master bedroom where proceedings began with a compliant Companion being pushed onto his back and kissed passionately, the Suzerain covering his form and sliding a hand between them to indicate his intent.
Alexander was bewildered by the actions of his owner and all but melted into the kiss, hoping it, and the gentle touches, would continue. But his Claimer lifted off and the gentle strokes changed to a vigorous tug on Alexander’s already half interested manhood. The moves were hard and fast, drawing him stiffness and a fang filled mouth kissing him aggressively.
Without notice, he was flipped onto his front, the strong hands lifting hips and spreading knees in the process. Not a word had been said, but it seemed the Suzerain was demanding something that had not been called for since his Claiming.
There had been some gentle touches while he was ill, but as the Suzerain’s probing fingers found his rear entrance and plunged in without hesitation (and only a bare minimum of lubricant!), it all made sense.
His role as bodyguard was now defunct, so logically, his only other use would be as a pleasure human, a giver of relief whenever the Suzerain wished! He had let himself hope of recent weeks as he was treated with kindness and allowed to see family… but the latest development was so much worse than he had ever imagined.
He wondered how long it would be before the Suzerain took his pleasure human during a meeting or in front of the household minions. Alexander had heard stories of hapless Companions and, more frequently, feral humans, fulfilling their role as on-call receptacles for their owners’ seed… bent over meeting tables, or on purpose designed benches many times in a day and in full view of staff and strangers.
Of course he now he complied physically. The Suzerain silently went about stretching and filling him, increasing the tug on his erection with a steely grip then as he was bitten, he felt cool seed fill his channel, drawing him to his own climax.
He had never failed in his designated role in the Suzerain’s life, despite the fact that as a Claimed, there had been care without love; relations with no followup; and when Alexander pledged loyalty and willingly submitted, he was treated with a ‘brush off’ worthy of the lowest minion.
But to be violated without love??!! None of what had gone before compared to his apparent new role of pleasure slave. And the day he was ‘offered around’ by his owner, would be the day he found a way to end his life.
The final humiliation followed as his body defied him. His hope departed as his seed spurted uselessly onto the bed covers below and he died that little more inside. The Suzerain’s only words adding insult to injury at the conclusion of the encounter, “There you are Pet… Lovely… Should feel different in no time, hey?... Gonna make sure I sort this good an’ proper from now on.” Then the Suzerain left his apparently sated Companion on the bed to sleep.
Consequently, the vampire missed the sobbing, the pained move to find a hand towel that might catch the combination of the Suzerain’s spendings, lubricant and some of the Companion’s own blood and excrement. There was no joy in the act as Alexander mopped up then stood, and took himself miserably under the shower to flush the final evidence of the recent coupling unhappily with a hand held shower piece.
He didn’t return to the bed with its wet patch. The night was spent curled up miserably on the floor, as the Suzerain and his Childe and Grandchilde went hunting.
The following day, the Mistress Janet entered the training room expecting to find Alexander standing respectfully, waiting to train as he always did. Instead she found the Companion in the far corner of her dojo, curled in a foetal position, hugging a medicine ball, shaking and sobbing uncontrollably.
When she touched him, he flinched and cried out a tearful, “No! I can’t! Kill me please [hic] I can’t [hic] be your *whore*!”
She just knew something had gone horribly wrong the previous night. She manoeuvred the boy onto a thick foam mat, covered him with several clean towels and rubbed his back as his breathing eased and he eventually slept.
She ordered a minion to stand watch at her door then marched across the compound once more and strode directly into the Suzerain’s office with no knock and no announcement. He was standing, facing away from the door on the phone. She ripped the handset from his ear and flung it against the wall with enough force to smash the piece and leave a dent.
Spike had no idea the reason for the attack and began to defend himself, but found he was facing a veritable dervish.
She kicked upward to connect with his chin, a surprised Spike catching the foot. He just didn’t expect her to spin and the other foot to strike his temple so hard he saw stars! Spike fell back against the bookshelf, the impact bringing a dozen or so large volumes cascading down and giving the Mistress her chance.
She righted herself and swiftly bound the Suzerain’s arms at the elbows and wrists with her own martial arts belt, rolled him onto his back, *sat* on him in full game face with her right hand in an iron grip around his scrotum, and the talon like nails of her left, digging into his neck.
“Now that I have your attention… What the F#@K did you do to your Claimed Companion?!!”
Spike was so taken aback by the events that he answered like a small child caught stealing a cookie! “Nothing! Nothing! I did what you said… He was fine…”
“Oh lovely… Then suggest to me *why* is he on the floor of my dojo sobbing and asking to be killed on the grounds you have decided his new role is whore!? Pleasure Pet? Call it what you will… How in the name of *Hell* did he get that idea? Hmmmm????”
Spike really did feel like he was back at lessons with the very fearsome Ms Beatrice in London, but then found himself moving to indignant. The female currently above him had recommended the coupling that had somehow caused the problem.
“You *told* me to take him… *you* said it would help!”
The Mistress looked utterly unimpressed, “Fine, I will give you that, but I want to know *exactly* what you *did*.”
The Suzerain was so far on the back foot that he gave a very honest account, annotated by his own motivations… Reassurance for him meant quick and to the point sex, no need for preamble or speaking.
At the end of his recitation, the Mistress lifted the hand around his throat, only to slap him *very* hard… and the pain of the slap was nothing compared to his concern that his manhood might be torn off in the follow through of the strike.
She grabbed his throat again and growled, “*You Twonk*!!!!” Then leaned very close and ground out venomously, “You f#@ked him, you arse! You didn’t love him… you shagged him like some High Street hooker, then left! *That’s* why he has gone backwards ten steps! Idiot!!!! You have shown him disinterest and disdain with a side order of despair, instead of showing him the love of a true Claimer.” She squeezed his sac again… this time *very* painfully.
“Now… You gave me my standing in the cartels because you thought I was worthy of offering you counsel, so …. listen well Suzerain… You get in that dojo and you take that boy back to your rooms. You put him in the bed, and you pamper him and adore him. You must *make love* to him. *Court* him Suzerain. He worships the very earth you stand on but you have treated him like a feeder! And so he now believes you are preparing him to become a pleasure pet, to be used and discarded…”
The Mistress let go his testicles and stood before adding matter of factly, “I happen to know the depth of your attachment to that beautiful boy…. But *he* doesn’t and *you* have a lot of work to do before he will believe it…”
For the first time since the beginning of the encounter Spike spoke, “But…”
“No! There are no reasons or excuses. You had a heads up months ago and now?… It’s very, very simple… *Court* him Suzerain, slowly and *very* lovingly… Take him for long walks, talk to him as your Claimant; spar with him… and spa with him; take him shopping, to dinner, whatever! You must make him feel special or you *will* lose him forever.
“Hang the cartels and all your gangland mentality and politics! He begged me to take his life – and if you don’t make this right it will happen! And just for good measure… get his family back… word up Natte of your intentions and have them reinforce the idea of your *love* for him…”
Spike had struggled to standing, his arms still bound. The Mistress spun him and pinned him against the wall of his own office before he could break the restraints. She bit him on the ear and growled “Do you understand?”
Spike simply nodded contritely as the Mistress released his arms. He then followed her toward the dojo area, but really was still struggling to understand how he could have got it all so wrong.
He entered the training space, and both he and the Mistress were met by the scene of the Mistress’s most trusted minion Chris, pinning the human to the floor with every ounce of his strength.
There was blood all over the mat indicating a struggle, and the rake thin vampire Chris knew he only had seconds to explain, if he was not to be dust, so spoke desperately and at pace whilst still restraining the frantic Alexander, “He was cutting himself and then biting… Oh Mistress… I had to…!!! Please Mistress I had to…”
The Suzerain could not believe it… The Mistress had said it, but he really had not taken it all in… now this??! He fell to his knees beside the claimed human and took over from the rather distraught Chris.
The young vampire was more than happy to vacate his position and simply relieved to still exist after the trauma of trying to control the Suzerain’s Claimed in such a situation.
Chris attempted to depart, but the Mistress Janet grabbed him by the arm and whispered, “Very well done Chris… Very well done! Rest… and see me tomorrow evening yeah?”
Chris simply looked grateful to be allowed to leave and retired knowing he had pleased the Mistress. It was the first time he had felt truly happy since he was turned.
Spike pinned the body of the frantically struggling Alexander face down, in the same position as the loyal Chris had held him, then bit down hard over his claiming mark and drank deeply. The result was a human that suddenly had no fight left. The semi-drained, overly stressed Alexander collapsed, and as the Companion was rolled onto his back, both he and the Mistress gasped.
In Alexander’s bleeding right fist, was a section of glass – from where, who knew.
There were deep cuts and lifted sections of skin all bleeding along his legs, cuts across his face and deep slices into his arms and on his torso. Obviously Chris had been able to subdue him before he had managed to do something truly life threatening, but it was a close call.
Alexander’s situation was so much worse than before…This was not a Companion crying for attention, but a Claimant convinced he was to be ‘shared’, and therefore determined to ‘cease and desist’ regards existence.
The Mistress left Chris at the door and returned to whisper to a confused Suzerain before she too withdrew. “Please Suzerain… *Love* him or kill him… Now! This has gone too far.”
Spike could not believe the result of what he thought was an amorous encounter, but in retrospect, and with the Mistress’ counsel, he saw how his intentions may have been misinterpreted.
Strangely enough, it was Angelus who had suggested the ‘out there’ solution months ago… “If he’s so sick…why don’t you just treat him like Dru?”
Spike accessed old memories. Alexander was drained, and Dru was remembered fondly.
The following evening found the Companion in his Claimer’s bed, admittedly shackled and lightly sedated, but that was for his own safety. He was coddled and cuddled by his vampire Claimer. He was relieved that apparently he was *not* to be used as a pleasure vessel, but was so confused by the change of heart that he simply lay mute and unmoving. For the next forty eight haze filled hours, he gave in to the hugs and soft touches.
The ensuing weeks were hard for both Suzerain and Claimant, the former trying so hard that it was almost painful to watch, and the latter worried it would all end in a heartbeat were he not to please.
Spike did *everything* the Mistress suggested, with one exception. He did it exclusively in private rather than in public as she would have had it. They went for walks around the compound; took in a movie of Alexander’s choosing in the underground home theatre; ate beautiful meals ordered in from the best restaurants; worked out, and took to the spa together.
There were quiet words and loving touches, something Alexander had yearned for and that had been missing except in the haze of his weeks ill. Strangely for the Suzerain, the more he gave, the more he received back, and the more he received, the more old memories and long latent feelings were prompted.
He had been forced to be hard… He had enjoyed it for a time… Worried for his Childe… and Claimed Lisbeth… and denied his Claimed in public … but now… now the argument fell silent… There was no excuse. His Claimed obviously loved him and needed him and… the epiphany was that the feeling really was mutual.
And so, over the weeks, the dialogue changed.
Where there had been silence and demands, now there were kind words and an effort to explain; where there was lack of contact, now there was a kind touch.... And slowly, ever so slowly, Alexander began to trust his owner again. But he struggled a little… His was still confused regards his role. The bodyguard role had apparently been permanently removed, leaving him as simply a Companion and possibly a Breeder.
He was still being injected with a low level anti depressant when his sister Sara was allowed to visit a month later. Consequently, he was relaxed and enjoyed her updates… Samuel was well and with the shunt, was now constantly penned with his favourite Rhiannon, and Penny was in her eighth month of pregnancy with Alexander’s third child.
Shortly after the visit Spike was seated beside the Suzerain’s chair. Alexander touched his Claimer on the knee and made the first direct request since the beginning of his illness and Spike did not hesitate.
Alexander welcomed Penny the following day with genuine joy. The beautiful woman was heavy with child and had his two three year old boys at heel – their leads attached to their mother’s collar. They were obviously affectionate and *very* pretty! They freely accepted the warm hug from the sire of their line before being released and led outside into an enclosed garden to play in the sun.
Only four weeks or so from delivery of his child, Penny smiled at Alexander then happily followed the Companion and her handler into the pool area.
The handler unclipped her leash then left Penny and Alexander alone in the enclosure.
Penny took the lead, dropping her white garment to reveal her very large bump. Alexander could not help himself… he reached out, and she grabbed his hand, placed it on her belly and let him feel the tiny elbow and then a foot that was currently pushing against the outer lining.
They entered the pool together and the pretty human reclined in the shallows for a time, enjoying the relative weightlessness and cool water, before they both adjourned to a settee in the pergola. Wrapped in fluffy white towels she lay slightly sideways and tucked a cushion under her burgeoning belly. The handlers thought it might be one child, but after scans they found it was again to be twin boys… Alexander had spooned her in the pool and now knelt in front of her, continuing to stroke the distended stomach of the mother of his children again and again, and she quietly counselled him regards the Suzerain.
Despite her intermittent visits and orientation toward the ‘hetero’ side she had, particularly of late, observed the Suzerian’s affection for his Claimed. Indeed she rejoiced for her breeding partner, particularly as he had been so ill of recent times. She emphasised the point – the vampire’s love for his Claimed - over and over.
All too soon, two tired but happy boys were led into the room, and it was time to leave.
Penny stopped at the door, bowed her head and whispered “Thank you” to the Suzerain who had come to collect his beloved Claimant.
Of late, Alexander’s life consisted mainly of being fed, exercised, caressed and … pleasured in every way by his owner… but the Suzerain had already indicated to the Companion (albeit at the Mistress’ insistence) that it was up to the Companion to indicate how and when any *full* relations would recommence.
It was Sunday night, not that that had any meaning but for the word to him, yet …Alexander looked across to the Suzerain… there were … things. He had always listened and learned. The Suzerain was a paradox. He had apparently been a shy, stunningly pretty, intellectual human; a willing hopeful Childe who was now Master and Sire; a Sunnydale Spike chipped and ensouled; then willing martyr who stopped the Hellmouth from opening, only to return to fight again; and finally, had two hundred plus years of supreme demon rule under his belt…
It was Chris the Gardener, and the Mistress Janet that finally broke the impasse. A bunch of fresh flowers from Chris, and a push from the Mistress, had the rather ‘back footed’ Suzerain inviting his Claimed to share another movie.
The Mistress monitored the proceedings closely. In the back row of a public venue, blood was exchanged without fuss or planning and Alexander was blissful. He knew to be quiet as he was kissed and caressed by a cool hand that slid into his loose pants and massaged him to climax. He groaned his completion and was kissed again.
Alexander trailed out of the building after the Suzerain on the standard (utterly irrelevant for anyone bred and trained well!) leash. Both made a decision as they walked home. Alexander knew he would ask to be taken that night and the Suzerain was ready to publicly acknowledge his Claimed from now on.
The Suzerain was admitted to his compound by one of the minions Angelus had turned for their size and fighting ability some hundred years earlier.
The Suzerain’s first had found four of them in a feral human fighting ring. He bought all four, turned them with just enough Aurelian blood to ensure the intelligence and fierce loyalty of the average Rottweiler in days before the fall of humankind. All four recognized their name and several simple instructions, but above all, killed *anything* threatening the household members. Averaging six foot eight with the musculature of a WWF professional and skills to match, they were indeed a valuable find.
Lars bowed low to the Suzerain and deferred to the Claimed companion, the household seemed calmer, his own Sire – the First of the Suzerain’s – was back in favour for a time and the minions had been fed well in celebration. Lars knew his place, and was occasionally even praised for his services, unlife was good.
Alexander followed his owner dutifully into the Suzerain’s private suite, but this time the trip was filled with a sense of anticipation. He dutifully closed the door then stood quietly waiting for instructions, but instead Spike turned to kiss him gently then whispered, “Tonight I am yours for the taking. What would you have me do, Pet?”
“I would have you… I would have…um… can you…um… can you make love to me, please Suzerain, I would have you make love to me. Please Suzerain… I would have you in me tonight… Make love to me… please?”
Spike simply said, “I will.”
Unlike the last violent claiming, this time there were caresses, delicate touches and kisses to the mouth along Alexander’s jawline and over his claiming mark. Spike undid Xander’s belt and slipped the top off his shoulders letting the heavy black material drop to the floor. He broke contact for a moment to strip off his own jacket and shirt, undoing his belt and button of his pants in the process. He brought their nude torsos together for another kiss as he rubbed over the Companion’s evident arousal, first gently then with a firm stroke before sliding off the elastic topped pants, unzipping his own and letting it all fall to the floor.
Spike pushed very close and whispered into the rather mesmerized human’s ear, “On the bed, pet… gonna adore you and explore you until you scream my name in ecstasy.” Alexander groaned a little and the Suzerain could feel the boy’s hardness pressing against his own erect member as he pulled away and lay down. Spike reached for the tub of lubricant and small bottle of oil on the side table.
As they had done a few times in the past, the Suzerain sat on the pretty thighs and began by massaging Alexander’s hairless torso, playing with the boy’s nipples before sliding his hands further down and stroking around the erect member almost but not quite touching it.
Alexander was beginning to squirm, trying to gain the contact he so desperately wanted. Finally the Suzerain slid down a little further and encouraged the Companion to open his legs a little. Alexander expected to have his legs massaged and indeed that was the case, but what he did not anticipate was the cool mouth engulfing his hardness and working it with expert tongue and throat until he was arching off the bed and moaning with every swallow and flick of the tongue. Spike waited until the boy was just at the cusp of climax then pulled off to the distressed cry of his lover.
“Shh Luv, just need some of this.” He took a handful of lube – far more than was really necessary, and gently lifted Xander’s legs up, “Hold your knees love… that’s it.” As one hand caressed the soft sac and stroked the now near painful hardness, a well lubed finger and then another insinuated itself into his tight hole, pausing momentarily before beginning to work their way in and out. The hand on the member was replaced by a mouth as the two fingers slid in scissored and began to stretch him further, they then twisted and pressed against the soft nub inside causing Alexander to cry out and come in his Suzerain’s mouth.
Spike swallowed the salty fluid and then pushed in a third finger, still sucking the softening member until it began to twitch to life again. Releasing the now reinvigorated hardness of his Companion, the Suzerain pulled out his fingers and leaned forward to kiss his Chosen, Alexander tasting his own spendings on the invading tongue, as a large, slick hardness entered him slowly.
The human pulled away from the kiss and pushed up into the invasion, groaning in pleasure as the shaft found his prostate and slid past. Both stilled for a moment before Spike began to move ever so slowly and gently, sliding in and out watching his dear Companion’s face for any sign of distress, but dark chocolate eyes had shifted to black with the passion of the moment and stared lovingly into Spike’s own deep ocean blue.
“Please Suzerain… Please! Spike… Ohhhhhh.” Another pass of his prostate and the human pushed up from the bed so hard that it prevented Spike from withdrawing at all. “I love you Suzerain… Please… Harder Suzerain… please!! *Now*. Harder!”
Spike complied, driving into his willing Claimed, taking his mouth and caressing his manhood with a speed that matched his own thrusts. They moved as one until Alexander felt the erratic pace, heard the unneeded breaths and then the bite – this time not his claiming mark but another, deeper bite not able to be concealed by a collar –it would be a public statement once healed. Just the mere thought brought Alexander to completion and the Suzerain followed him.
The two lay sated for a few minutes. Both contented to rest in the sticky aftermath of their coupling for a time but eventually there was a shower. The Companion all but relaxed into sleep as he was sponged down then towelled dry by his claimer. The compliant Alexander was led back to the bed, where he was graced with loving touches and passionate kisses before being bitten then drained to the shy side of oblivion, followed by a full feeding of the Suzerain’s blood. As the Companion slowly regained consciousness courtesy of Spike’s blood, the awakening was to the softest of caresses and the feeling of being entwined with… his everything. The Suzerain was in him, blood and seed, and he had been, and was still, *loved*, the connection was absolute and he truly was the Claimed of the Suzerain.
Alexander had struggled to comprehend the many changing demands of the Suzerain since his arrival but now was sure of his place at a visceral level. He felt… complete and sent a prayer to any who would listen to a mere human, that this might endure until he was no more. Then he joined Spike in slumber.
Alexander woke the following day, late afternoon to a pale hand gently stroking through his longish locks and crystal blue eyes staring lovingly at him, the contentment of the quiet moment just… perfect.
Finally Spike leaned forward, kissed him chastely on the lips before rolling away and making to get up. Assuming it was to bathe, Alexander knew that he should attend to his Suzerain as any good Companion must, so made to rise but his claimer stopped him.
“ ’Preciate your willingness Luv, but let’s just sit up ‘n sort what’s gonna happen today. ‘Cause, my pretty Claimant, now everyone can see, and we’ve renewed the vows truly and willingly on both parts… and I’m bettin’ that right now you can feel me yeah?”
Alexander had already shifted to a kneel beside his claimer and now bowed his head as he focused on the love he felt flowing from the vampire. “Oh Suzerain. It is wonderful!”
“Every vampire will smell it on you and feel some sort of a tingle, and you can bet your boots the bloody cartel spies will pick the mark from a mile, so I need you to listen, Pet. Gonna ask you to act for a while, can you do that? Not just today but maybe for months to come… you know like we do with my Childe Angelus and his bird Lisbeth. We’ll out you, but you’ve gotta remember… *anything* that happens publicly from then on is *only* an act. Story’s gonna be I was drunk and claimed you in the throws of passion as you’re such a bloody good shag.” Alexander blushed a little, if the previous night’s activities and declarations were anything to go by, there were no lies in the last part of the statement!
“But ya gotta trust me Luv…” Spike stroked down his pretty claimed’s jaw line. “I might have to hurt you in front of ‘em. Just to get those bastards to leave you alone… So I want you to take these now… and I’ll inject you just before we head to the meeting, it will block the pain until I can get you back here to heal after.” Spike handed his Claimant two capsules.
Alexander was utterly confused, “But Suzerain, if I am drugged, how am I to react in this ‘role’ you will reveal to me in the meeting.”
Spike grabbed his lover’s hand and held tight as he explained, “The premeds are just ta relax ya pet. You’ll still function. The local anaesthetic medication will be administered just prior to the ‘main event’, numbing your torso and legs. We need the timing right ‘cause you’ll lose function with loss of feeling… but just remember… You *must* react to the cruelties as you might were the words and actions real. When you hear the whip crack or hear me declaring that I will bugger you, beg as you would, cry out as though in pain, and submit as you might were you truly forced to such a position. But please Luv, my darling Alexander… Please remember… all through this day and the many to come… to the cartels, you, like Angelus and Lisbeth, might be in or out of my favour at any given time where they are concerned – but privately *nothing* changes. I love you and adore you and would have you safe. We are forever, you and I…forever!”
Alexander nodded, he knew the farce that was monthly played out with the Suzerain’s Childe and his Mate and the associated reasons.
“No else will dare touch you as you are introduced – but I will arrange for Angelus ‘risk it’, after which I will beat him publicly, then you for admitting his attentions. The ‘punishment’ must appear harsh to protect you, but please Pet… You listenin’?” Spike waited until he saw the adoring brown eyes meet his then continued in an almost whisper, “*Know* in your heart that every time I snarl ‘Mine’ at you, I am telling you I adore you; every hateful word that is uttered is to keep you safe; every grunt as you pleasure me or I enter you, is only a small indication of how much I love you… deeply and truly…” Spike paused in his speech looking for acknowledgement from his Claimant. When Alexander nodded again and stared at him with utter trust and devotion, Spike let out a deliberate sigh, what they were about to do was going to challenge them both and he had only *just* re-established their relationship.
“You will not appear to the cartels for five days following today, and then you must dress and act as a ‘pleasure pet’ for a time… knowing full well that you are my Companion, my beloved and my willingly Claimed. Ergo, you may be required to attend my needs in full view of any present at court, willingly and swiftly. Can you do this Pet? Can we do this?” Spike’s last question was really directed to himself.
Alexander was caught in a moment of simply wanting to reassure, moved more swiftly than the vampire could have predicted. The Companion kissed Spike hard on the lips before pulling away sliding off the bed into a fully prostrated position in front of the Suzerain Spike. He was taken lovingly and both came simultaneously.
Spike’s own maelstrom of emotions did not prevent him scooping up his wonderful lover and carrying him to the shower. Alexander took the drugs as instructed, washed down by the blood from an open wrist. And by the time the half hour of soaping and mutual pleasuring had passed, Alexander felt someone had removed him from reality ever so slightly. He stood compliant as Spike bent him over onto the bed and lubed him extremely well, then attached an elaborate leather and steel contraption to his half erect member and scrotum. Fancy collar was replaced a chain collar and lead – one that might remain loose or choke at any moment depending on the fancy of the owner.
Alexander now sat on the bed definitely looking subdued, if a little dazed. The Suzerain swiftly dressed then tugged him to his feet. The meeting would begin in fifteen or so minutes, just enough time to brief his First Angelus and mate Lisbeth.
Alexander followed his Claimer down the hall on the leash.
Though initially shocked by the Companion’s attire, Angelus saw the bite and smelt the fullness of the claim so understood and was unsurprised by the plan. A little pain for Sire was worth it for the rewards later.
“So you want me to have a go at him Sire? How far?”
Spike could not help himself and growled at the thought of even his favourite Childe touching Alexander. “Do as you see fit – but you hurt him and the flaying afterward will be no act.”
Angelus nodded. He knew that if someone were to harm Lisbeth or Sire then his own reaction would be no different. “Understood Sire… So when?”
“Tonight… Meeting starts in five, let’s make a show of it around ten minutes in – gonna inject the lad just before we’re in.” Spike reached over and pulled his First into a tight hold then released, pulled open his shirt and scored his chest. “Drink Childe, and know that you are my First, my favourite. Know that I love you, and what you do for me this night is for the safety of us all.” Angelus drank long and deep knowing that the Suzerain would likely take what was his in the meeting.
And so it was.
The instant before the Suzerain and his Companion entered, Spike whispered, “Showtime pet, gonna inject you so just hold still and don’t you bloody well make a sound.” With all the skill of a top surgeon, Spike bent the relaxed Xander over a nearby couch and in a parody of sex, used the position to both cover the act from his own security cameras and find the gap between two vertebrae in the lumbar region, pressing home the needle carrying the slow acting anaesthetic then swabbing his mid back with mild local anaesthetic just for good measure before dropping his own blood onto the area and disguising the medicinal scent with his own.
Angelus and Lisbeth moved from the antechamber into the meeting room. Spike waited another minute then whispered, “Showtime pet.” before striding into the room dragging the Companion behind him by a now overly tight, chain and leash.
Alexander went a little red in the face as his breathing was cut off. Spike realized belatedly and loosened it with the flick of a wrist that could have been interpreted as an act of annoyance that he was holding anything at all, growling “Now you bloody well stay there until we address this!”
The Companion stood in his usual place near the wall looking understandably white and visibly shaking. Spike knew full well that those closest to him could smell the Claiming and see the angry claiming mark on the side of the man’s throat. Cameras built into suits and accessories recorded the scene.
The meeting progressed swiftly until a break in proceedings, around ten minutes in, gave Spike the opportunity he needed, also aware that any longer and his Companion would fall down.
“Come forward Companion and admit your misconduct… Strip!... And bloody well prostrate yourself!!!! Before I make it impossible for you to stand ever again!”
Alexander did as requested, collapsing down with relief as his legs began to wobble and give out despite his effort to control. He called out repeatedly in genuine distress at his loss of function. “Please Suzerain… Please!”
To the room of shocked cartel leaders, Spike was obviously in a blind rage and about to reprimand a Companion so publicly that it was indeed an extreme measure, consequently, they all waited in silence.
Spike continued in full game face snarling, “Your efforts last night were priceless! Have me drink then take you and wait for the right time then prompt the bite as I came… a *Claiming* bite no less! You have proven yourself too sickly to be my guard and now this. Perhaps whoring is better to your taste. Were it not for the fact that you are now *mine*, I would sell you to Knarr for one of his brothels!
“As it is, I wonder if anyone here would enjoy your tight little arse and a nibble, because Pleasure Pet is what you are.” Spike stared around the room challenging each cartel leader until there was only his Childe and Lisbeth left. The young female dropped her gaze immediately but Angelus had apparently taken the hint. It was time for his ‘performance’.
The leaders were amazed as the Suzerain’s First stepped forward, grinned a feral grin at his Sire and said “I’ll do the honours Sire, so long as you are happy to help with the nibbling.”
Before anyone could blink, Angelus had moved with vampiric speed, had his pants open and lifted Alexander’s bare backside that, unbeknownst to his audience, was entirely numb. Angelus was just about to enter him when the Suzerain tackled him snarling to the floor, biting first his neck savagely then, before the First could regroup, bit down hard into his erect member, almost severing it. The Childe Angelus could do nothing but scream in agony then hold the injured – and now very limp and bloodied - appendage before curling into a sobbing ball.
The audience were stunned by the treatment of a favoured Childe, yet even more shocked as the Suzerain turned on his *claimed* Companion.
Spike stripped off his belt and began to beat the hapless human, who had returned to a collapsed down position and repeatedly begged forgiveness until finally the bloodied form simply whimpered a little with each stroke. Meanwhile, Spike kept up the mantra of “You are Mine! Hear me! You let him touch you!! And you were willing… but you *are* mine to destroy!”
The Suzerain eventually ceased the beating in preference to entering him using the blood from the Claimed’s own back as lubricant. He grunted and snarled as he rutted violently then bit down hard over the Claiming mark as he released inside the utterly compliant Companion.
In his haze, Alexander knew to whimper a little, then be silent. The beatings had not hurt nor the entry, but he also remembered that every time the Suzerain said ‘Mine’ it meant he was loved, and that was worthy of any whimper. Finally, near drained, the Companion passed out.
The room of ‘unshockable’ Cartel leaders were indeed shocked by the display, and all thanked their luck that they were not a part of the unpredictable Suzerain’s own household.
With the Suzerain apparently calming, Lisbeth approached and offered her neck. The Suzerain took what was rightfully his, then pushed her roughly toward her Sire. “Clean the bastard up, and I’ll deal with him *properly* later.”
None in the room missed the tears as the desperate youngster Lisbeth engaged the assistance of four minions to move the agonized figure of the First from the floor to a gurney, then carried him to their private quarters.
The Suzerain levelled cold eyes at the remaining minions, nodded at the bloodied figure of Alexander, then growled, “Now… remove this filth – put him in the ‘bed chamber’ when he wakes I will remind him of his position once more.” They hurriedly did as asked.
Spike waited until all his family were absent, then turned to the rest of the meeting and in a deadly, calm voice said, “My apologies… family!... But… Um… Anyone else care to defy the Suzerain? I’m *quite* in the mood.”
The very pregnant pause said everything. Yet it was followed by, to everyone’s amazement, the supreme leader of the Cartels choosing to continue the meeting as though nothing had happened. The shocked group sped through the remaining agenda and all departed within mere minutes of the meeting ending, relieved to leave the now blood soaked meeting room.
The violence and anger may have fooled the rest of the meeting, but Mistress Janet recognized it for what it was, a performance to protect the Companion. She noted with some satisfaction, that Alexander now bore a Claiming mark on his throat in clear view of all comers. After filing out with the rest of the cartel leaders, she headed for her dojo as expected, then doubled back, once out of sight of the others, and made for the Suzerain’s private quarters.
The minion guarding the door of the suite nodded to her grimly, rather pleased to see the Mistress, as her visits always seemed to calm the Suzerain. Everyone in the stronghold had already heard about the earlier proceedings and, without exception, were fearful. If the Suzerain considered severing his favourite Childe’s member fair punishment for an *almost* misdemeanour, then what might he do to a mere minion for a real one? If the Mistress could calm him then all for the better, but he did not envy her the task.
Once inside the suite, the Mistress could hear the anguished sobs coming from the bedroom and rushed to Spike’s aid. She found him mixing his own tears with his dribbling blood all over Alexander’s abused back and buttocks. The human himself seemed conscious but hardly lucid.
Noting the human’s complete lack of reaction to very raw wounds being touched, she understood the deception. Touching the Suzerain’s shoulder lightly she whispered, “You drugged him?”
Spike stopped his ministrations for a moment to look up at the diminutive woman with tear-filled crystal blue eyes and gave the husky reply, “Had to… can’t hurt the boy… not now… lumbar puncture… slow acting, and some pre op meds.” Mistress’s gaze dropped to what should have been a badly damaged anus then realized that Spike’s apparent rough lubing with blood had in fact disguised a very well lubed and prepared entrance – and the fact it was Alexander’s own blood meant that observers interpreted it as internal damage consistent with the apparent violence of the taking.
There was damage to his back, welts and cuts striped all over the previously unmarked flesh, but they were already beginning to disappear as the combination of vampire saliva and the Suzerain’s blood healed him swiftly. There was still no sensation at all in his lower half, so Alexander lay blissed out and compliant. He had been fed enough of the Suzerain’s blood to feel the Claiming link and truly knew the love the Suzerain had for him.
“Would you sit with him Mistress. I must attend my poor Childe. Unlike my dear claimed, his pain was very real.” Janet simply nodded and replaced Spike on the bed, stroking Alexander’s hair as he fell asleep.
The scene in Angelus and Lisbeth’s rooms was far less peaceful. A physician had been called and had stitched the damaged flesh as best he could. Angelus was still a grey colour and obviously in intense pain, despite his dear Lisbeth’s best efforts to lick the wound and feed him.
Spike pulled the girl to him and she sobbed into his chest. “Why there Suzerain? He is hurting *so* badly… Why there?”
“Shhh Pet… ‘twas the most logical place, now let’s have at the boy and sort him with some Sire’s blood yeah?”
Lisbeth nodded meekly then moved aside to let Spike tend his Childe. He bit his own tongue and laved the wound on the neck and the bloodied shaft, then sliced his chest deeply, just above the left nipple, and pulled Angelus up to suckle like a newborn, all then while stroking him and telling the Childe he was loved.
Lisbeth sourced some blood for Spike and watched as three pints were syphoned through the Suzerain’s system and into her dear mate in less than thirty minutes.
Eventually the grey tinge left Angelus skin and he fell away from his feeding position. He burped once then fell asleep. Spike gently eased the unconscious brunette onto his pillow then offered his wrist to Lisbeth, who took but two long drafts before joining her Sire on the bed to keep vigil as he healed.
A day later saw Alexander able to move his legs again, but kept on pain medication while the flesh on his back slowly repaired. Angelus too was improving, and by the third day, genuinely enjoying the Lisbeth’s ministrations as she laved his injured member. By the fifth day her ministrations resulted in him climaxing – a little painfully but very welcome.
Alexander was completely healed by day six and it was planned that he would accompany the Suzerain to the meeting on the following day.
That afternoon he had been allowed to return to his usual sparring and gym session with Mistress Janet, followed by an amorous shower with his Claimer. But the Suzerain staid his hand as he moved to dress in his usual black attire, instead the vampire pulled a large box from under the bed.
“Lie down and be still Pet, just gotta make you look the part.” Spike began by tugging and stroking his Claimed almost to climax then quickly dressed the boy’s erection in a full black leather binding that had a silver ring that slipped neatly around his scrotum. He gently lubed and prepared Alexander’s rear before applying a comfortably sized plug with hip straps to hold it secure.
The diaphanous white ‘harem’ pants that went over the top were made of material so sheer that anyone would see the bindings underneath. Spike then added jewellery – three silver bracelets and an anklet. Finally he applied kohl and mascara, dressed his hair and sprayed the Companion with the sweet scent of vanilla. Other than the bindings, Alexander felt wonderful, swiftly deciding that if being the Suzerain’s pleasure pet meant this everyday then he could stand it.
Spike spoke to him quietly as he dressed him. “You will be required to wear a lead Pet, and though I know you have been well trained as a Companion, you must follow my instructions in all things now. Ignore the audience and focus on me – no one else will touch you.”
Alexander had no doubt about that! He only had a vague recollection of his beating and the two days after, but Mistress Janet had ‘filled him in’ on the very terrifying events and the reactions of the other leaders.
As soon as they exited their rooms, the Suzerain and his disgraced Claimed Companion, now to be used as a Pleasure Pet, adopted their public roles. Alexander walked behind Spike on the lead pulled so short and tight that he was almost jogging as the Suzerain swept through the building to the meeting room. Alexander was tugged into the room then pushed to the floor by the snarling Suzerain who then demanded, “Prostrate yourself to the cartel leaders and beg permission of your betters to stay.”
Alexander raised a little from the full down kneel, his hands locked behind his back and head down, long locks falling forward over his face. He thought for a moment before beginning “Esteemed Cartel leaders, though I am not worthy to be in your presence, I beg your permission that I may remain in the room for the Suzerain’s pleasure.”
The leaders simply nodded and shrugged. Many had Companions themselves, yet despite their fearsome reputations, none would treat such a well known, prize human in such a demeaning way, it was obvious that the Suzerain would make this poor Claimed Companion earn his way back into the supreme leader’s favour and who knew how long that might take with the unpredictable vampire.
“Seems they’re feeling magnanimous O ‘treasured’ human of *Mine*.” The last statement positively dripped with sarcasm and contained an unveiled threat to the audience that needed no further explanation. Alexander really only listened to the ‘mine’ and knew he was loved. “Kneel between my legs and put your head here.”
Spike opened his legs enough to make room for Alexander who did as instructed and rested his head on his beloved Suzerain’s crotch. The effect was delicious, his cheek resting on the vampire’s hardening member, and for Alexander it was mere minutes before the room fell away. His Claimer was idly stroking his hair as he dealt with matters of the cartels – this one was struggling because a drought was cutting their income; that one because of dissent in his ranks (no surprise the advice from the Suzerain involving dusty or bloody endings as appropriate); and yet another presenting a citation congratulating the Suzerain’s entire group for their assistance with the feral human problem in the previous year.
As the third speaker rose to address the meeting Spike undid his belt, button and zipper freeing his erection. Alexander was thrilled. The pale hardness was for him – only for him. He ignored the meeting and began to lick and suck the prize in front of him, eventually rising to deftly swallow the entire cool shaft down a willing throat, past the gag reflex and into bliss. He worked the Suzerain enthusiastically, all the time wishing the angle was better, but delighted when a grunt from above signalled release and his stomach was filled with cool seed. He had felt the soft petting, then hands in his hair grabbing the locks tight as climax approached, and finally the Suzerain completing within him. He hummed quietly around the softening shaft, and with his back to the audience, was safe to raise his eyes to allowing Spike to see the look of love and devotion, and the subtle smile, before he pulled away and took a full down position facing his Claimer.
His audience saw something different and some trying to concentrate on the matters at hand were more than a little distracted by the ‘show’. With his back to them, they could clearly see that his rear was filled with a false phallus and that it was strapped in place – most had already noted the cruel full bindings covering the human’s groin. They saw the Suzerain filling the boy’s mouth with no more attention than might be afforded an appropriately sized bottle. They watched his hands tangling in the hair, apparently forcing himself deeper and pushing past the Companion’s gag reflex, all the while, keeping up the dialogue of the meeting. It was callous in the extreme. Even the most senior of leaders were shocked as he concluded, slamming into his Companion’s mouth one more time then obviously releasing with no more acknowledgement than a single grunt then pushing the hapless human back down to a full kneel.
After the final display, one of the younger demons in the audience excused himself and moved swiftly to the toilet facilities to throw up. He treated his own Companion with kindness… but then his father claimed that to be a weakness – but the alternative – one he was witnessing – was appalling. He resolve to continue *his* practice of treating his human with care and compassion and request that his younger brother represent their cartel at the meetings in future.
Once more three present understood what they were seeing, others misinterpreting. Mistress Janet’s smiled a little at Alexander’s obvious enthusiasm despite the public, carnal act.
Toward the end of the meeting, Alexander was nearly asleep when the Suzerain’s order came to kneel by the chair and present his behind. He did as instructed for the remainder of the meeting and focused entirely on his Claimer, and the role he had always had – that of listener – as his behind was caressed apparently absently. Had his manhood not been bound Alexander knew he would have come at least twice as stroke after stroke moved the slim dildo ever so slightly brushing his prostate.
Eventually the group filed out, the last two turning to observe the Suzerain stripping the Companion and removing the plug in one swift move then taking him hard on the floor, fangs and penis buried deep in the boy. What they missed seeing was the loving touches, the whispered words of adoration, and Alexander’s manhood being released. Nor did they see the kissing, stroking and loving once the Suzerain had his Companion back in the suite after a second mutual climax.
An hour later, Angelus and Lisbeth were summoned to the Suzerain’s private rooms but waited until they heard the shower cease before requesting entry to the suite.
They were welcomed in by a very satisfied looking Spike leaning against the high side of a chaise lounge smoking, his darling Alexander all but asleep cradled in his beloved Claimer’s lap.
They debriefed a little regards the meeting before Spike raised a topic from *way* out of left field . “You reckon we could trace ‘is line… He’s gotta be a descendant of the whelp… too good hearted not t’ be. ‘s not a big priority – just be good to know don’t you think – after all you did give him to me the first time we re-met… remember?”
Angelus squeezed Lisbeth’s hand and smiled at Spike, “Yes Sire, I remember. What would you have us do?”
“Just see what you c’n find is all. Oh and get that breeder to bring the lad’s family in for a visit again would you? Now come – take some blood from your Sire, you too Lisbeth.”
Both took some of the precious fluid before taking their leave to seek out Alexander’s origins.
Over the next three months, the outside world saw the Claimed companion continue his demeaning role, often observed following the Suzerain via short leash to his collar, fine gold chain attached to nipple clamps, or leather strap shackled to the hip belt and associated bindings below.
For his part, Alexander became used to being in the public eye in his ‘costume’ and silky attire. Indeed he was strangely allowed out and about far more than when he was the ‘in favour’ Companion.
Spike was taken aback by the reaction of cartel leaders to his treatment of his Companion. Several trusted rulers approached him in confidence to beg clemency for the hapless human. And when Spike suggested that it would be a sign of weakness were he to fail to teach the boy his place, he was met with a myriad of suggestions as to other less shocking ways of achieving that end.
For a group used to dismembering, dusting, and debauchery, it was a rather surprising turnaround. So the Suzerain chose to publicly adhere to the advice from his inner circle and gradually over the months began to display his ‘forgiveness’ of his errant Companion.
When it was cold, Alexander was now dressed in a fuzzy white polo necked sweater made of the softest angora, and comfortable sheepskin slippers. He had no other duties but to please the Suzerain, and every favour was returned when they were alone.
The Claimant had never felt so loved. Indeed the binding of his now near constant erection proved a blessing as time after time again, he was aroused by even the anticipation of subtle touches and whispered words from his wonderful claimer, much less a plug in his rear that began to vibrate, or nipples tugged (again) publicly… and of he was ordered to kneel?... there were just too many possibilities. Alexander found the bliss of the bedroom and their coded words of love when in public made it impossible to feel anything but happy at his lot.
It was time for the annual meeting of the full delegations from seventy three cartels worldwide. They would all make their way to what used to be Toronto in the human world.
The Suzerain’s closest allies were relieved to see that he had taken their advice on board, and was treating his Companion with a little more compassion and dressing him in thicker material, so any bindings were at least hidden. Violence to establish and maintain amongst cartel leaders, or within the cartel ranks themselves was acceptable, as was occasional cruelty to feral humans or renegade feedlot stock, but to punish a rarefied innocent like the Suzerain’s Companion for such an extended period and for an act that seemed to the onlookers, one that was a simple misunderstanding and quite out of the poor human’s control, was rather like beating a helpless puppy.
Unlike before the incident, few missed noting that the lad constantly wore a leash of some sort and consistently had his head bowed a little in the presence of his master, obscuring the pretty face under dark brown locks. But after three months, at least the Suzerain was allowing him to stand for most meetings now, and had ceased the appalling displays of using the human for pleasure and domination in public. The two demons who had dared say something were quietly pleased that they had such standing that the Suzerain might at least heed their well meaning words.
The global Cartel meetings went smoothly, other than a slight altercation regards a protection excise being charged at the borders of certain allied cartels. Some yelling and a dusted body guard later, the matter was resolved with few others in the room concerned by the minor blowup between neighbours. As soon as the violence erupted however, it was noted by several in the audience, that the Suzerain called his Companion to kneel on a cushion beside him, protected behind an enormous corporate desk at the head of the room. Alexander was idly petted for a time as the supreme leader sat bemused watching the show. Few failed to note the apparent lack of affection in the act… something Spike had thankfully honed to perfection, it seemed.
Others in the audience had heard of the recent antics of their most successful cartel ruler ever, and those who had not been present at the ‘reprimand of the Claimed and the Childe’, took the reports to be grossly exaggerated, others could care less – focusing on business only.
In any case, the rest of the afternoon/evening was devoted to territory squabbles and discussions of concessions for areas where Gaia was still raging, destabilizing regions and literally preventing the harvests for human food, ergo the harvest of humans and the few other stock remaining on the planet. The issue required more research before a decision was made the following day, and delegations departed to do their own due diligence and number crunching before attending a casual dinner just after midnight at the Suzerain’s invitation.
Alexander was pleasured, and pleasured his Claimer enthusiastically in return as soon as they were in their suite. This was followed by a second round in the shower and finally a ‘stimulating session’ before his member and scrotum were bound by gold cock ring and associated binding for his sac, with criss-crossed, fitted gold chains adorning the whole of his erection. Alexander was dressed in thick silk pants and a loose shirt of white and gold gossamer like material that had a gold sash and belt matching the Suzerain’s own woven into the material. Spike added a large gold earring, kohl, mascara, and gold dust sprinkled in his hair to finish.
After being thoroughly kissed, Spike took an unnecessary breath then sighed, “You look bloody sensational, Pet. You ready?”
Xander grinned shyly then levelled sparkling brown eyes at his Claimer, “Always ready for you my beloved Suzerain… my Claimer William Master of Aurelius… Spike, I am yours.”
Spike nearly came on the spot – Alexander rarely, if ever, dared use his formal name – let alone his later alias. They kissed again desperate to comfort and reassure before melting into their public guises.
The Suzerain swept into the antechamber of the huge dining room where the cartel delegations were having drinks and being entertained by one of the most popular demon cover groups available on the planet. Several dozen pleasure humans of both genders had been provided to serve food and drink, dance, and generally act as amusement for the attending leaders and their group members.
Spike was schmoozed by numerous power hungry demons, most centuries his junior. He was now five hundred and twelve years old, and unimpressed by any sort of grovelling, but put up with it.
Just before they were ushered in to the dining room, Angelus (now ‘barely back in favour’ according to the inner cartel), approached and knelt at his Sire’s feet along with his Mate Lisbeth. He begged that his Sire, the Suzerain, allow him to sit in his rightful position at the Sire’s right, then pledged his loyalty in the time-old vampire fashion. Both he and his Childe bared their necks in full view of the group and both were taken with relish. It seemed a coldly enacted ritual, but the audience didn’t know of the sliced tongue that alternately took, and delivered back, blood to the sliced flesh, then pushed the wonderful combined liquid down willing throats as both Angelus and Lisbeth were kissed brutally. The two submissive vampires barely withheld their climaxes as the sensation of the Suzerain’s blood combined with their own was accepted in the kiss, and Angelus kissed his pretty Lisbeth in acknowledgement of her extraordinary self control before they both melted to the back of the room.
As the rest of the crowd moved into the room and located their seats, Lisbeth and Angelus found a small store room down the hall and consummated their love one more time, riding high on the Suzerain’s blood. It only took seconds for both to come and they still managed to enter the dining hall with the last few.
Half way through the meal, the Suzerain stood to address the group. He thanked them all for attending, and congratulated the organizing group, also emphasizing who in the room to approach for any special needs. The speech was short and to the point, followed by a meal that catered to all tastes: virgin human blood served at exactly the right temperature; raw and cooked flesh; and all manner of other fruit and vegetable delicacies as appropriate to dietary needs.
As soon as the band struck up and many went to dance, the Suzerain and his Companion, and Angelus and Lisbeth slipped out, closely followed by the Mistress Janet and several other senior cartel leaders. The conference was hardly over and a number of issues were going to be difficult in the coming two days.
Mid afternoon the next day found Xander kneeling at the Suzerain’s side once more. This time instructed to lean against the vampire’s leg and to *listen*. He did so, debriefing with Spike whilst others enjoyed a break and ‘high tea’ – though the food and drink on offer would hardly have suited the Savoy of old.
The biggest problem for some of the cartels breeding fauna (including humans), was keeping the random mutation level down. Other Cartels did not see that as such a problem, arguing such sporadic mutations often allowed other possibilities not yet considered. The concern was that even after over three hundred and fifty years, the fallout of biological and nuclear weapons was still taking its toll where un-registered breeders mixed feral stock with their own.
The difficulty seemed to lie with the fact that testing every captured human and new foetus’ DNA was utterly impractical. Several examples of failing to do so were trotted out for inspection by the audience of cartel delegations. A handler brought out a large young female with extremely tiny limbs but normal sized body. She was pulled out atop a large skateboard type arrangement – obviously used as a regular mode of ambulation. The woman directed the path of the vehicle with deformed appendages, it was only later that all in the room recognized her future mother status.
Her breeder argued that there was merit in keeping the traits displayed, as bleeders simply needed to eat and produce blood, emphasising her passive, pleasant nature and bodily adjustments made to accommodate her prone position – and the advantages were infinite – including less space needed and reduced control issues. Much debate ensued.
Just when the arguments died down, another enormous bound male at least seven feet tall and muscles to match, was led in by two handlers carrying electrical prods. The human stood compliant, he had obviously been gelded but the breeder insisted that he had ensured that the available sperm be saved and frozen prior to. Apparently the male was an anomaly and could produce four times the blood of a normal sized bleeder with little to no side effects. Yet another aberration that needed to be ‘preserved’ perhaps?
There was an ensuing half evening of deformed beings paraded for consideration– everything from humans with no hair and little if any nose or ears, to cows with legs barely long enough to keep their udders from the ground. There was a list of known extinctions and a number of species identified as no longer viable (ie gone within ten years). The resolution was to keep those mutants deemed viable (whether animal or vegetable) in secure facilities – harvesting DNA and where appropriate seeds (of all varieties) and eggs.
The meeting was all but adjourned when a delegate from what used to be Ireland stepped forward. On a tight leash, her wrists bound and mouth gagged, was something that caused the Suzerain and his First to inhale unnecessarily.
A tall raven haired vampire Sean, knelt in front of his Suzerain’s chair and allowed emerald green eyes to meet crystal blue as he tugged his charge until she did the same.
“My Esteemed Suzerain, this is our current problem, we have discovered a line of feral humans that are naturally magically endowed. They have been bred for their looks over a number of centuries but it seems that simply enhances their magical trace. They are not mutants per se but my cartel is concerned that we are underutilizing their worth. We would like the central organization’s permission to exploit their talents and continue to breed them and refine the line. I offer my blood as pledge that we will follow your instructions in this matter and any others.”
The room exploded in protest but Spike let the debate rage around him as he stared at the girl, as did Angelus. It was a throwback to a young version of the Sunnydale Witch Willow. Huge green eyes and pretty features along with the unmistakeable red hair, like Alexander’s resemblance to the long dead Xander, it was quite unnerving. Spike stared pointedly at Angelus. They both felt it, this was no longer a mere coincidence.
Angelus and Lisbeth departed the meeting early and followed up the new lead. They met with the Irish contingent over dinner, then departed. They missed the last day of the meetings, returning three days later with both First and Mate looking utterly exhausted as they entered the meeting chamber. Angelus still took the time to kneel at his Sire’s feet and offer his neck and the Suzerain took of family then offered his own blood to the dedicated Childer.
Despite the ceremony and emotion of the moment Angelus whispered, “We found a lead, Sire” just before taking the proffered wrist of the supreme leader. The two exhausted vampires then withdrew from the Suzerain’s presence and regrouped.
Spike wished he could quit out of the lengthy meeting with financiers but found calm and patience as his wonderful Claimed moved voluntarily to a position under the desk between his thighs and simply rested his cheek on his beloved’s growing interest.
The final resolutions were all ‘win-win’, reconfirmed Cartel regions and excises, breeding and development programs and strategies for supporting cartels with areas in environmental crisis – particularly developing breeds of humans and other species best able to survive extremes.
Issues of the pricing and supply of power and commodities were swiftly dealt with before the final dinner saw a number of special recognitions for a particularly extraordinary young demon who had put the survival of his cartel and/or the stock above his own welfare, and another who had developed new methods and mechanisms to survive the continuing unpredictability of Gaia.
It was a cold night so Alexander stood in spectacular white and gold ‘Roman senator’ like robe, his gold collar and ankle fastenings obvious to all in the room. The next meeting was set before all went off to the final dinner and finally departed for their various destination.
A week after all the Cartel delegations met, Angelus and Lisbeth requested an audience, inviting Janet also. It was Lisbeth who had finally tracked down the historian, come near immortal. The Willow connection was the final clue.
Two days after the global cartel meeting, the Suzerain and Alexander escaped their compound, drove well out of town then followed his First and Lisbeth into drab dwelling at the edge of a series of catacombs that contained the records from the human era… the ‘Before’.
The three quarters Epucha demon, and passionate historian, with the unlikely name of Bob, proved not only welcoming but downright passionate about his profession. When he felt the Companion Alexander enter the room, he all but fell to his knees, steadying himself against an ancient bookshelf before saying, “One of the original line!!”
“Yeah well… that’s the point innit mate?! What the hell d’ya mean by that?” It was only seconds later that Spike realized. The demon was totally blind.
Spike was suddenly on the back foot, “But how do you?”
“He is a direct descendent of Alexander Lavelle Harris, an ex-Sunnydale Hellmouth resident and fighter for good. The smell is unmistakable as is the magical signature and the aura.” The elderly demon snorted, “What, you think I am restricted to conventional sight for my information?! Come, come vampire – master or no you are brighter than that surely?!”
Spike more than a little perturbed, “Yeah well… So the boy’s got a pedigree… What else?… What of the original Xander?… And all the rest of that Sunnydale bunch while we’re at it?”
The slightly mauve coloured demon cocked his ear toward the question as an eyeless face frowned. “The man of whom you enquire, Alexander Lavelle Harris, and the strong wiccan, Willow Rosenburg, were captured at the Watcher’s council in London during the seventh month after the blackening.”
“They were taken in by the newly formed council sponsored by one Rupert Giles. He died shortly after of radiation poisoning. It seems they were taken to an old air-force silo and protected from the worst of the effects before being captured and taken deeper by a demon contingent. I have few records of the reproduction of the female…” Bob seemed to become distracted for a moment as he rifled through a number of files marked with raised dots and odd slashes that obviously meant something.
“You better be bloody well lookin’ for somethin’ or I’m gonna have your…” It was Angelus who put a calming hand on his Sire’s arm. They all needed to know, and upsetting their best lead yet was not the way to proceed.
“Ahh!! Here it is!” Bob pulled out an ancient bound book and associated DVD of information. At the time few knew whether electricity would ever be available freely again – but who knew of the true potential of geothermal, wave or hydrogen power at that point…
Up on the screen came images of Xander Harris in his mid twenties in Sunnydale, archival still images of high school, Joyce’s funeral, Anya and his engagement party, of the hole… the after. Then there were others, of him at the coven, the Watcher’s council, then photographs meant for buyers, complete with details of his history as ‘slayer’s assistant’, and the ‘brave and loyal, brunette, brown eyed, white Caucasian male’.
Apparently their residency in the new Watcher’s Council Headquarters had afforded some protection for the initial nuclear and biological attacks, but the consequent capture by demons and departure to realms below had sealed their survival.
According to the historian, the two were initially together under the protection of one owner, but Willow was eventually sold as a ‘magical breeder’ as supplies of fertile women dwindled and their owner ran short of funds.
Xander too was eventually sold to Natte’s great, great, great uncle… to become one of the first generation of Companions. His calm nature and Hellmouth beginnings leant itself to a role as man servant/pet to the rich and influential of the newly emerging demon nations. As the historian pointed out, it was a lucky human that found himself in Natte’s Great great great Aunt and Uncle’s care.
The video footage included Xander’s early days of training, including some petulance and bad temper borne of the frustration of being treated as a subordinate and pet, but later there were images of the man, Xander of Sunnydale, enthusiastically assisting Natte’s great, great, great uncle fishing, and caddying at golf, standing quietly behind the demon’s chair during a meeting and just relaxing at his master’s feet in front of a fire, head on a pillow with ‘PET’ embroidered on the same.
The remaining records were stud records and breeding charts along with numerous meticulous notations of changes made to the DNA and letters to the emerging local cartel leader indicating that Xander’s offspring would be prize possessions in the new ‘Companion’ market. With the DNA manipulation in its infancy, apparently Xander’s demon magnet status and history as a child of the Hellmouth gave him the advantage. Willow, no doubt, was similarly prized.
The breeding charts & digital photos of various generations were pointed to by their blind host, and Spike found himself increasingly annoyed. As an unchanging being whose life now spanned over half a millennia he was oddly challenged by the ‘refining’ of traits by breeders. Particularly disturbing being notes on the photos of mature human ‘breeders’ generation after generation, indicating the continuation, adjustment or cessation of the line (be it voluntary or due to unavoidable death) and any ‘extra adjustments’ that needed to be made to features/nature to ensure ‘viability’… Spike did note that the original Xander had spent his latter years as a true companion to Natte’s ancestor, after the death of a partner had the elderly demon doting on his attentive and intelligent charge. In the end they were apparently inseparable, Xander pining and dying within a month of his master’s death ten years later.
By the time the three vampires had sorted through the evidence, Spike was sitting on the floor with his Claimed in his lap, allowing Alexander to comfort him, while Angelus and Lisbeth sorted through the last of the files.
Despite his lack of sight, Bob ‘saw’ the reaction to the facts and squatted beside the supreme leader of the cartels.
“Your Companion is one of the most ancient lines. His ancestor was the perfect combination of loyalty, calm and had a magical marker that was a call of want to any demon, his survival at the Hellmouth itself testimony to his magical strength. I listened to your boy’s DNA profile, the one your First sent, and read his Aura. Your dear Claimed is indeed a direct descendant of the Sunnydale friend of the Slayer. I would not be surprised if the red haired girl you mentioned isn’t just as well ‘related.”
Bob’s revelations really should have made no difference to the status quo, they were history, but for Spike, just knowing was everything. And he saw with clarity, something his innocent Companion missed. The line of Xander had not been a simple case of combining egg and seed of sire and preferred breeding female, Natte’s ancestors had kept one line pure. They had deliberately cloned one or two from the pure line stud sire to produce the next sire of the ‘Companion!Xander’ line. Advancements in the process of adjusting DNA meant that very minor modifications could be made to the true bloodline with confidence.
On the second night of their stay in Ireland, the Suzerain visited Bob again, alone. They spoke in private for an hour, then Bob copied key digital files for the vampire (at a price) and Spike returned to their hotel to spend the remainder of the evening in the arms of his Claimed, watching the images on an enormous screen.
The initial footage and commentary was by an early demon medico reporting on their final successful cloning and production of Xander’s line. The picture that brought Spike to tears was video accompanied by audio of Xander in his mid sixties, holding a tiny brunette child and staring up at the camera in wonder with his good eye, now a dull brown with age, and shining with tears.
“Master… He’s not like the others… is he.” It was a statement to someone out of shot, not a question.
The Master, the ancient bluish demon Fotis, stepped into the picture and readily agreed, “No… in a strange sort of way he is your identical twin. Gladis wanted it… remember? She would have loved to… I was just a little slow… just too slow!”
Spike watched tearfully as the recording faded with the one eyed Sunnydale Xander, still holding his tiny legacy to the world, taking his wonderful owner in a one armed hug and allowing the old man to grieve on the greying brunette’s still broad shoulder. The date was a mere six months after the death of Fotis’ wonderful Gladis, and the beginning of the final ten years of Xander’s life.
Spike’s tears, however, were shed in celebration not anguish. The Xander he saw was old but wasn’t a broken slave or pet, he was the loved, trusted and cherished Companion of an old demon, sentiments returned in equal measure. No wonder the trend of keeping Companions spread like wildfire worldwide… and little surprise that Xander’s line was so treasured.
After the two passed away, records showed that the nine year old Lexy was lovingly cared for and trained by Fotis and Gladis’ daughter, Mika, who inherited the stable after her father died. She adored the lad and trained him well as a Companion. He was always the breeder’s favourite, despite the two other established sire’s (Xander’s offspring by different mothers) and four brunette women, carefully selected for their looks and nature. Mika followed her father’s instructions and bred another clone as Lexy approached forty five, and lived to see another sire clone borne before her sister’s son, Matti, inherited the mantel of stud owner. He was true to family and continued the stud’s traditions, consequently enjoying the increasing attention and associated wealth as the reputation of the stud increased.
The stud was the Global benchmark. Keeping the breeding parameters defined and documentation became the standard for reputable breeders across the world, but Natte’s stud went one further. Every fifteen years to twenty years a clone child was produced. The sire’s full set of genes – DNA checked and ‘adjusted’ if deemed necessary - replaced those present in an already fertilized egg which was then implanted in the mother and gestated as normal. It guaranteed that there was a ‘pure’ original line.
By the three hundredth year after the blackening, the development of the human (or any other mammalian foetus) was an extremely refined process and the Companion lines well established. Natte’s stud had been licensed by the Suzerain’s Cartel - one of only two breeding Companions - over two centuries previously.
Xander's true line was restricted to just one inheriting (or if disaster struck via sickness or accident two) cloned male, who was always a pure or slightly refined version of the original features… and tested for the guaranteed Companion traits of loyalty, affection, and intelligence.
And so it transpired, the breeding of any of Xander’s direct line was meticulously monitored and detailed over the centuries. Using practices initiated by Natte’s great, great, great Uncle, the mothers of the line were always of the same colouring and defined set of features, their traits and their eggs selected accordingly.
Increased value of the general offspring brought income that enabled the installation of more sophisticated equipment, and cartel funding saw Natte's stud thrive as the primary facility for reproduction research in the region – specialising in the new trend … Companions.
As more recent records were revealed, Alexander perked up. There were images of him as a tiny lad. Alexander remembered the ample breast of his mother, indeed his sister now had the same gloriously comforting motherly feature.
Alexander had always known that he looked like his father – but even more like the original sire of his line – or at least that was what Natte said… and now he was watching images of why! The dear inheritor Alexander was so distracted that he remained oblivious to the emotion of his Claimer as Spike again flicked from the present back through pictures and videos of the eleven generations of primary sires since the blackening and Xander’s consequent capture then back to Sunnydale.
Alexander was utterly taken aback by the emotion of his Claimer. The repeated, passionate words of “You’re his… you’re really his!” puzzled the young Companion, but he knew to cherish and comfort the wonderful Suzerain. Spike had taken and given blood to his Childe and Mate in an effort to calm and reassure… yet was still tearful.
In the end Alexander was quite beside himself, “Please Sire… How can I help? Please?!! May I give you a massage… or pleasure you again… or would you prefer to rest whilst I read to you? Please! How might I ease your pain???” Dark brown innocent eyes raised to meet tearful blue.
Spike cupped the pretty jaw and whispered, “Just be here, my sweet boy… please just… You are *so* beautiful…” Spike peppered his charge with kisses then gave in to more carnal urges despite his emotional state.
Alexander waited almost a week before, in the afterglow of yet another near frantic session of lovemaking on the Suzerain’s part, Spike began to speak of his ancestor. But this was not the breeder version… His Claimer had known the man who had begun their line… known him with all his flaws and true qualities. The young Companion snuggled down under the covers and enjoyed the feeling of their two nude bodies entwining for the comfort of the vampire, then listened to the rumble of his Suzerain’s baritone voice reminiscing.
Alexander tried to concentrate on the spoken text but struggled a little. The story was utterly foreign to the twelfth generation pure bred and claimed Companion.
But Alexander was still amused… His ancestor had apparently started out as an enemy of both his beloved Claimer and the favourite Childe. Alexander didn’t quite understand all the ins and outs of the story but somewhere in it, heard the bit about Angelus offering the originator of their line to the Suzerain! Just like he had been… But the story became very confusing and he was shocked to learn that he carried many of the genes of a boy then man who happily dusted vampires and fought ‘on the side of good’. That bit puzzled the Companion the most, something about the good and evil thing wasn’t really to do with demons or humans, it seemed a silly set of ancient rules. No wonder demons had survived – after all the humans had even demonized Gaia herself!
Alexander was *very* relieved that these days, humans and demons who ran amok were eliminated, and the rest were bred and controlled (for the most part) properly.
He laughed when his Suzerain smiled and told him of the many odd and amusing things that had befallen the original Xander. He swelled with pride when he was told of the bravery of ‘the boy’, and shed tears and hugged his wonderful vampire tight as he listened to the torture his Claimer had endured and the sacrifices he had made for his human friends, but was unsurprised by the stories of heroism. Finally Alexander was thoroughly kissed and extremely pleased as he was told that his wonderful Claimer and his ancestor had, in the end of their association, fought side by side and… been friends.
Spike finally stopped talking and after a pause the Companion suddenly realised that his beloved had flicked on the multimedia wall and was looking at the archive pictures again. Focusing on two, one with Xander sporting a carpenter's belt, and the next giving Willow a hug, with eye-patch firmly in place.
“Couldn’t save him from that bastard though, thought we were all out then… that bastard took ‘is eye… Strange that after a bit, the patch looked right fetching. Ahhh Geez…” then Alexander heard the whispered ‘almost’ prayer, “Glad ya had it good in the last years Harris. Ripe old, looked after an’ loved ‘n all that. ‘S what ya deserved.”
Alexander looked up to see his Suzerain in full game face brought on by emotion. He wished he could be more like this ancient rugged relative… but also knew he was not able, so simply held up his wrist and relaxed a little as his blood was taken and as his beloved Suzerain drifted off to sleep Alexander worried.
He was still unclear as to the real nature of his Claimer and his ancestor’s feelings for each other, or their status. And he was honestly quite unable to comprehend a world with humans in control, or one without proper breeding programs, or a world of such waste and excess. He had once overheard Natte explaining to one Samuel and his young groomers, that there were many difficulties with the original feral/evolved human race most stemming from their short lifespan, random breeding and hormonal imbalances, the first leading to disregard for environments and each other, and the latter two causing deformities, aggression, territorial tendencies and violence. Alexander remembered Natte going on to discuss the failure of the human species to control their breeding; stem pandemic diseases; or in many cases, even adequately look after their young.
Alexander remembered that day as he snuggled into a loving (though unconscious) embrace. He had been so lucky. If a breeding female on Natte’s Companion stud failed to attend a newborn, it was immediately put in the care of a team of specialist handlers and was fed from a more willing breeding female’s breast until ready to ween and join the general nursery. Alexander’s mother had been one who embraced other children and he had been fed until twelve months old, nearly twice the norm. Natte had chosen him early for his role in life based on his DNA reports, obviously pretty features (even as an infant), and his placid affectionate nature.
Alexander had always admired his older cousin Samuel. When Alexander was five, his then seventeen year old cousin had been bred from for the first time. The little boy had not truly understood the concept, but knew it had something to do with not being ‘gelded’, and seed and something… The only males on Natte’s stud that had their testes removed were those who consistently refused instructions and training and/or displayed more than usual aggression. The removal was done under anaesthetic and afterwards those gelded were always calmer and strangely ‘softer’ looking. It made them more manageable and inevitably they were retrained and sold for a very good price. It had even happened to a few of the Sire’s in the past.
Alexander grinned as he realized, no Sire of his direct line had *ever* been gelded – there had been never been the need. He was of Xander’s cloned bloodline and claimed. He kissed his sleeping Claimer gently on the cheek before the truly content Claimant closed his eyes and followed the Suzerain into the land of nod.
Alexander woke facing his beloved Claimer, a pale hand gently stroking his arm and azure eyes examining his features adoringly.
“Mornin’ Pet,” was followed by the softest of kisses, then both simply relaxed into a drawn out session of quiet petting and tender words. Spike finally offered his open wrist and slid his fangs into his wonderful Companion’s willing throat, before the relaxed mood brought another peaceful round of fond, familiar caressing, languid kisses and the conversation of a happy, established couple.
The Companion was always thrilled when… Spike… his Claimer, the Suzerain… asked for his opinion on some important Cartel matter; when he opened up to Alexander about his worries, his fears, his hopes. Alexander was always amazed and adored William the Bloody all the more when the blonde vampire spoke, often sadly, of snippets of his life prior to the blackening. But today was not to be one filled with Cartels or history, and Alexander focused carefully, as he always did, as he was told of the evening to come and his expected role – the ‘act’ required was always critical!
This night Angelus and Lisbeth would accompany Spike and Alexander on a recreational ride on Spike’s most favourite form of traditional transport, ‘motor bikes’. The dear Companion had no idea what that meant so simply smiled and nodded as he was reassured by the last statement, “’N you’ll be sittin’ behind me… gotta hold on mind… but you don’t need to worry about a thing.”
Minutes later, the Suzerain and the now rather nervous Companion, approached Angelus and Lisbeth across the underground carpark of their abode. The Favourite Childe and his mate were both dressed in stylish black leathers and leaning against one of two replica motor bikes in a loose embrace, chatting quietly. Spike smiled. The tenderness he observed in private between his First and the mated Childe Lisbeth was always a source of joy. And somehow, despite the need for the public deception, or possibly because of it, the dedication to family and love between the three vampires in private seemed to increase by the day, as did the fondness for his dear Claimed, Alexander.
Angelus grinned into Lisbeth’s shoulder then turned and both gave a small bow of respect to his Sire as the Suzerain approached. He knew how much Spike adored the thrill of the old fashioned mode of transport. They had planned this for weeks and arranged every possible detail. It would look like they left with an entourage but in fact there would be no body guards or usual cavalcade of vehicles… just them, riding fast and wild on the winding hill roads and occasional straights beyond in the dead of night.
Of course the bikes weren’t *quite* like their counterparts in the twentieth century despite the effort made to have them look genuine. They now ran on hydrogen, so had special exhausts built to sound like the ‘real thing’, and unsurprisingly, their performance was rather better than their ancient originals. They were ridiculously expensive to acquire, but the two bikes had been a ‘gift of penance’ from the South East cartels to the Suzerain some month or so before (in addition to paying the back tribute debt of slaves, precious metals and gold to worth several million dollars), a deal that was graciously accepted.
Until this moment, the Companion Alexander had only ever been transported in stock vehicles, and of late had just become accustomed to kneeling at his Claimer’s feet in the armoured, multipurpose, luxury transport of the Suzerain. Nevertheless Alexander dutifully followed his Claimer, suppressing a frown as they approached the vehicle.
The ruling vampires were all aware that they were still within sight of a number of minions monitoring the compound’s cameras, so Alexander simply stood as his leash was handed to Lisbeth to hold while Spike chatted to his First. Lisbeth pulled the Companion toward a pile of leather on the floor and began to dress him. No leather pants per se but what looked like a pair of black chaps were strapped over his thin cotton pants, and vintage black motorbike jacket for protection. His feet were pushed into a pair of boots then a black helmet was fitted on and he was ready.
When Spike had mounted his bike, Lisbeth led the Companion over and handed him over. The nervous shaking and reluctance to get on the back of the bike was no act for anyone monitoring the scene, the Suzerain eventually growling a little and tugging on the leash. “Come on, just get on the bloody bike and hold on.”
Alexander responded instantly to the direct order and settled himself behind the vampire, wrapped his arms around the Suzerain’s waist and held on for dear life as the two bikes sped off into the night flanked by four regular armoured cars.
A stealth vehicle tracked the progress of the group for a time but somehow lost the two bikes as they descended to a lower level of the city via a long tunnel, a blackout region for any tracking mechanism. The interference and shielding was largely to safeguard the demon population below from any catastrophic electromagnetic radiation from the surface. Frustrated, the attempt to target the Suzerain et al was aborted.
Alexander was so terrified initially that he did not even dare open his eyes, but eventually, as they stopped winding through traffic and the road evened out, he lifted his head a little and looked over the strong, leather clad back of his beloved Claimer just as the Suzerain edged their vehicle a little faster. And suddenly the ride became… exhilarating.
Spike could feel Alexander’s heartbeat through the two layers of leather, and so, as they accelerated into the night, felt his passenger slowly shift from terrified to aroused.
Eventually the Companion realized he should lean into corners and move fluidly with the driver of the bike. As his enjoyment built so his arousal rose. His legs may have been protected but all that was between his nether regions and his Claimer’s tightly leather clad backside was the gossamer thin cotton of his ‘pet’ pants. He was a little worried that the Suzerain would feel his increasing arousal as it pressed against the vampire’s back but could not move anywhere, and he certainly did not seem to be able to coax it to recede. It was made all the worse as they approached the outer reaches of the ‘civilized’ areas.
The road was empty, and stretched out for miles into the countryside before them, farms owned by individuals but controlled by the local cartel stretched in every direction as far as the eye could see. Alexander recognized the signs, the agriculture was all about food, not the refined breeding lots like Natte’s stud north of the city – a far prettier, greener terrain than this western region. These lots were all about blood and flesh provision. If they rode far enough, Alexander knew they would move beyond the civilised areas and enter areas left waste after the blackening. He shivered at the thought of the feral humans living there but was dragged from his thoughts as the First drew up alongside his Sire and nodded just enough to convey the challenge.
Alexander saw Lisbeth grip a little tighter and followed suit as Sire and Childe opened their throttles and pushed their bikes to the absolute limit on the open road. No one won per se, the aim being the thrill of the race, rather than who triumphed. The two bikes halted mid road around two hours from the city.
An hour later found the four sitting on a small rise staring up at the half moon, Suzerain and First side by side, their partners settled between their legs. Spike fed Angelus then gave a little to Lisbeth and allowed Alexander to tend his bite mark with a loving tongue. He was then offered and took a little blood from Childe and Grandchilde, and then from his devoted Companion.
Alexander had never felt quite so close to the Suzerain as in that moment. There was no feeling of subservience or inequality, he was accepted and loved. As though to confirm it, Lisbeth held out her hand and smiled. When he grasped the thin elegant fingers and accepted the gesture of friendship and family, she kissed his palm then relaxed back, and they sat hand in hand as their vampire partners talked quietly. It was the embodiment of contentment.
The ride back was uneventful, though their greeting as they re-entered the compound was not.
Urgent messages had been repeatedly sent from Sean, leader of the small Irish cartel and now sanctioned breeder of magically able humans. Apparently a very organized group of ferals had and was attacking farms all over the region and in fact targeted his breeding facilities the previous night. Sean had retrieved as many of his humans as he could, but there had been a large number of casualties.
The Suzerain call for an emergency meeting – a conference call rather than face to face - to ascertain if the incident was isolated or had actually spread beyond the Ireland-of-old’s shores, if the latter, then another round of culling of the humans was probably necessary.
It had happened before in various places around the globe. A few good seasons was all it took, the build up of food giving rise to all manner of feral creatures procreating. In the farming context, good weather and masses of food was a bonanza, but the farmers also knew to moderate their stock numbers or risk a glut – or worse, have to eliminate excess stock for little or no profit. Unlike the wild humans, the farmer demons had the advantage of longer term predictions for weather trends, and the ability to take their stock to underground silos and feedlots when the surface became too unliveable.
Sadly in the wild, humans like most of the mammals, produced more children when the times were good, but unfortunately humans grew slowly and fluctuations in the weather caused food shortages and fights for territory. Once the situation became dire, the violent members of the wild human groups had a tendency to murder the ‘other’ of their own species, those they didn’t consider equal in some way. The killing frenzies often wiping out whole areas and occasionally spilled over into demon territory. Young demons had grown up with the horror stories of over seven thousand years of recorded human history detailing the brutal nature of the species and in the immediately past millennia or so, its disregard for the earth.
Most cartels were reluctant to declare an open season on the feral population, but in the past, sanctioned rounding up and culling of adults in circumstances where there was a genuine infestation had certainly been endorsed. The Irish situation was certainly on that scale and had the added element of predetermination regards the targeting of farms. The attacks were well organized with overwhelming numbers of feral humans, and peaceful farmers and their stock the hapless victims. Not only that but the ferals in the region did not aim to free the farmed humans (as in other areas) – they simply killed them.
The entire zone was declared in a state of emergency, troops were deployed and a decision was made. Two days later an entourage including the Suzerain, the First and Lisbeth plus a number of other influential cartel leaders in Spike’s inner circle, various guards, and, of course, his Claimed Companion (still referred to in most circles as ‘the disgraced one’ even though the treatment of the same had improved) arrived.
They landed via private plane to be greeted by a tearful Sean. He fell at the Suzerain’s feet in a low kneel, pressed his temple to the ground then bared his neck. Spike didn’t miss the salty scent of tears, nor the anguish marking the dear leader’s blood.
The Suzerain opened his wrist and allowed the Cartel leader a little blood before shifting the exhausted Sean into the arms of his staff, and listened patiently to the statistics of the most recent battles. Within the hour the Suzerain’s mercenaries along with several hundred local demons took off into night. Three hours later the reports of engagement with various feral groups began to come in.
The majority of decomposing bodies had been piled and burned on the properties where they were found. Five hours after the troops left, and just before dawn, the transports began to come back carrying truckload after truckload of exhausted demons… Other vehicles in the convoy had more gruesome cargo, dead human flesh. Most bodies were only a day or two old and from the breeding farms. They were only brought in so their owners might identify the breeding lines wiped out, courtesy of the raids. There had been other, fresher bodies, feral raiders eliminated by the Suzerain’s forces as the renegade humans luxuriated in their new, short lived positions of ‘power’, but those corpses were processed on the spot. The flesh and bone ground and buried to fertilise the soil so others might feed in future.
Distressed demon families grieved as they confirmed the identity of their now deceased stock. Favourite stud males, companion geldings and young females all brutally slaughtered. Many of the dead female breeding humans had been pregnant, and there was a very distressing pile of tiny bodies in the rear of two vehicles. It seemed that the ferals had adopted a ‘kill all’ policy, murdering innocent children with apparent abandon. Spike grasped Sean’s shoulder and squeezed hard as tiny bloodied body after violated little body was lifted from the trucks to be placed on the ground in a gruesome row of death.
The culling of ferals would continue for the next five days. The killings were swift and merciful compared to the brutal tortures and cruel methods used by the humans on their own. The short sharp sting of a dart followed by a deadly bolt of electricity burning out the hypothalamus killed instantly. The blood was tested then (if acceptable) harvested, and the remainder processed and fed to the earth like the majority of the ferals’ victims.
The presence of the Suzerain and the support shown was not lost on the demons under Sean’s rule. The young cartel leader was well liked and respected, and as the small number of surviving stock were gathered and returned to their owners, the other demons began to pay tribute. The Suzerain’s forces would stay for month at least, and other cartels had promised stock to replenish the loss of breeding females. The cartel was grateful.
Despite his brave front Sean was dealing with his own grief. He had identified sixteen of his eighteen red headed breeding females and both stud males amongst the murdered.
The humans had never been mistreated on his farm, indeed they had been coveted for their magical abilities and trained accordingly. The women had been allowed to keep their children with them in a crèche like arrangement… yet now… only two females remained alive. Estelle had been wounded and lay for two days under the bodies of her dead sisters before being found, yet now rallied as she saw her owner. Kerryn had a similar story. Sean introduced both the surviving pregnant humans to the Suzerain. They would now have the responsibility of being the mothers of the line.
After the initial culling, the Suzerain and Companion, along with a large entourage of troops ventured out to inspect the cleansed areas on the third night.
Wandering through Sean’s second breeding farm, they came across one tiny survivor who had eluded both attackers and rescuers. A tiny red headed girl around two, with huge green eyes and thumb firmly in her mouth, wandered toward the Suzerain’s party zombie-like, dragging a small blood drenched blanket. When Alexander paused to look at her, she stumbled forward, dropped the blanket and grabbed at his hand with a tiny bloodied fist.
The Suzerain recognized the magical signature of the small girl and felt his Claimed’s emotional state as Alexander handed the little girl to him. Spike knew the signs. He found the tiny being quite endearing – particularly as, even when the ruling vampire had fallen into game face, the little child had merely patted him then snuggled into his embrace trustingly. Sean noted the apparent affection the Suzerain displayed for the small red head and made a decision.
Within five days the cull had concluded and been a success, and extra funds had been promised the cartel farms to aid in their replenishing stocks.
As the Suzerain (William the Bloody) made to depart, Sean produced a small cage containing a minute human figure wrapped in a blanket and resting on a tiny soft mattress.
“I thank you Suzerain. In our hour of greatest need, you once again proved the most magnanimous of rulers. I wish to offer you the only child remaining of the Witch Willow’s true line. Should you wish to breed from her in years to come, I pledge the seed of the most powerful male wiccans and best human stock I can find. Please Suzerain, take of me in thanks and as fealty to you great leader.”
Spike’s true face emerged and he took a ceremonial sip in the presence of the court, before whispering for Sean’s ears only, “Be well brother. You are ours to protect. I ask only that you answer to my call should our cartels be in need of you.” Spike then opened his wrists with a shallow bite and allowed Sean a small taste.
Sean laved the wound closed before pledging, “I am yours to command, Suzerain.”
The Companion carried the cage containing the sleeping Lillie to their transportation. As soon as they were en route, Alexander carefully opened the cage and lifted the minute body to his own chest, earning him a pat from his wonderful Suzerain, and a sigh from Lillie who, even in sleep, felt the strong, loving arms envelop her.
Six weeks later Sean was dust. They had received a frantic phonecall from Sean who claimed to be on his way out of the country (something that was later proved to be true – given that his ashes were being washed out to sea mere minutes later) and begging that the Suzerain rescue the witches. The panicked description of the vehicle and vague details as to where he would be, seemed plausible. And for Spike and Angelus it was the last of Sunnydale Willow’s line other than Lillie. There was no question. Angelus and Lisbeth moved as one, an armoured air vehicle took they and various minions to the location within seconds.
Even as Sean dusted he knew that his two remaining terrified females were on their way in a transport blindfolded, gagged and caged, doomed but also the perfect bait for when the refrigerated truck was intercepted. Hanging from a butcher’s hook, trussed and blindfolded, his final desperate call had secured the lives of the humans he had cherished for a few more hours and the promise of a swift end. In his last moments, he knew that it was merely an interlude to their death and mourned, then silently wished for forgiveness of the Suzerain as he accepted his own fate.
They had easily subdued the driver and the guard in the old fashioned refrigerated vehicle. Angelus flung open the doors, ignored the stench of stale blood and the site of headless bodies, gutted and hung ready for market (heads and internal organs set aside in various vats), and sped toward the whimper from Kerryn – now within weeks of delivering, and muffled cry from Estelle. Only later did Angelus realize that one of the hanging headless bodies had a tattoo indicating he was Sean’s personal guard, and the near inaudibly high ‘inngggg’ had been the wine of a tiny camera monitoring everything. They had walked into a trap.
Lisbeth waited at the door of the vehicle, now surrounded by the Suzerain’s minions also, a fact not lost on the assassin observing the interception. It was enough, the Suzerain might not be there, but his ‘family’ certainly was. There was no sound as the sniper released two deadly darts in quick succession.
Just as Lisbeth assisted the hypothermic Kerryn from the truck into the safety of an armoured car, she felt a painful needle prick in her left arm holding the door, and as she pulled back to examine the cause, another sting occurred at the base of her right calf.
Annoyed she made sure the two red haired humans were being cared for before turning to her Sire to confirm all was well. She made it half way around before a strange buzzing in her ears and odd images started to occur, then…
Angelus moved with vampiric speed as he saw his beloved Childe falter. Not caring the reason for the distress he felt through the Childe/Sire link, in a single motion he collected her falling form into the van and ordered the driver to move. The two darts aimed at the First were later found embedded in the rubber of the bumper bar of the vehicle and the padded wall inside – had Kerryn not been lying down it would no doubt have hit her.
Angelus could smell it, the darts were poisoned. He removed his belt and Lisbeth’s and made a tourniquet of both for her stricken limbs, one just above the elbow and the other below her knee. He then drained the limbs of as much poison laden blood as he dared below the bindings, spitting out the fouled fluid of his precious Childe. He then fed his beloved a little of his own blood before demanding a break neck speed for the return to their home.
At the compound, the two pregnant women, now wrapped in silver space blankets, were gently urged into matching wheel chairs and taken to the Suzerain’s own specialist breeder medicos for a full examination and necessary treatment. A warm, welcoming enclosure had been prepared in anticipation of their rescue and all had gone to plan, with one very serious hitch. The Suzerain’s spies were wrong regards the method of attack and the timing, the where and how, and now there was a far greater problem for the household.
Alexander knew there was something amiss, but his was not the place to question, and so he waited, curling around the tiny Lillie as she slept on. But when his Claimer yelled at him to “Bloody well heel!!” and sprinted toward his Childe’s suite at breakneck speed, he knew there was something desperately wrong. A young human female servant moved forward to care for the little girl as Alexander responded to his master’s demand.
Alexander skidded to a halt at the door, the Suzerain was already holding his adored Childe in his arms feeding him as the Suzerain’s wiccans and vampire medico’s attended the stricken Lisbeth. Spike growled aggressively at his claimed but Alexander recognized the sentiment for what it was, panic and anger. He dropped to his knees and slowly moved over to the bed of the unconscious Lisbeth, taking her free hand in his, kissing the back of it, then meshing the inert fingers with his own to kneel waiting while the team of experts analysed her condition.
Angelus was frantic to the point of Spike subduing his distressed Childe with a savage bite and draining him to near unconsciousness. The Suzerain left the brunette in the capable hands of Mistress Janet who arrived within minutes of the crisis erupting, and moved to establish the state of Lisbeth.
Alexander listened with distress as the gravity of the situation was explained. The aging mage – and leader of the team of experts – had seen similar poisonings in the past, but this deadly designer cocktail was something else. With elements both magical and non, the cure was always going to be difficult. There was a combination of four ‘killers of the dead’ class, and two flesh rotting venoms and two chemicals that attacked regenerating cells.
The doctor in charge, Aamon, an ancient, rather frail looking human, was just about to launch into a full explanation when the Suzerain, in no mood for a medical lecture, bent the now terrified ‘demon poisons’ specialist backwards over the bed adjacent to Lisbeth’s and pinned him there until a *very swift* explanation was proffered. The terrified Aamon spoke as clearly as he could, given his uncomfortable position.
“Suzerain… Your First has saved his Childe from dust thus far by preventing this dastardly concoction from passing through her system, however…”
The wizened looking individual was instantly released then took the Suzerain’s hand that had so recently subdued him, and drew the ruler around the table until he could view the affected arm of his Grandchilde clearly.
The area immediately surrounding the location of the dart’s entry was raised, red and had black tendril like lines in every direction. The limb already had a withered look to it.
“Left thus she will dust. If we release the tourniquet, the remaining poison from each entry point will be distributed and is still potent enough to dust her. If there is no release, the limbs will wither to skeletal form requiring tighter and tighter binding as they will still hold enough of the potential to poison to dust her. The constriction required is too cruel to contemplate, eventually requiring the bones themselves to be crushed and the limp appendage to eventually fall… Even with physical and magical treatments to ease her torture, it will be years of excruciatingly pain. Suzerain, I would recommend that you agree to a third option.”
Spike was still staring at the horrid wound, the red of the infection and nasty black lines seeming to increase even as he watched. He spied his Companion still clasping Lisbeth’s other hand, looking desperately at his Master vampire for leadership. Spike leaned around the table to stroke his gentle Claimed reassuringly then turned to the concerned leader of the rescue team, “As much of my blood as you want… and my Companion’s.” Spike caught his beloved Companion’s dark brown eyes and registered Alexander nodding without hesitation.
The medico turned an apologetic, then sympathetic gaze toward his Suzerain, as he noted the genuine distress of a Sire with family, and finally continued. “I am sorry my Suzerain, but even your blood cannot assuage the dark forces that drive this torture of all tortures. There is one last option… It is only an eighty percent chance but… um… If… if we remove both limbs just below the position of securing, it will prevent the painful atrophying and any risk of spread. We will do it with anaesthetic… and the new prosthetics will...”
Spike turned on his advisor in full game face at the last statement, “She’s a *vampire*! What do you mean ‘prosthetic’?!! The limbs will…”
“… Not grow back. It’s impossible – part of the spell… I’m sorry.” Aamon’s voice dropped and suddenly Spike saw the true motivation of the man advising him. This was an experienced surgeon, a caring medical researcher, respected male wiccan and magical healer, someone who had the interests of his patient at heart, and who now was staring at Lisbeth with tears in his eyes.
The male wiccan turned to face the Master Vampire, knowing to fall to his knees and bare his neck in the presence of the world leader’s fully distressed demon. Grey eyes met gold splashed with concerned blue as Spike considered all the options and also the choice he would request were he and Angelus’ roles reversed. There was but one path to take. Lisbeth *must* survive.
He snapped from his demon form, hauled Aamon to his feet, stroking the proffered neck where he might have bitten, and simply growled, “Just… save her… do it.”
Alexander had listened and knew… knew that his dear friend would be marred but also immensely, unbelievably relieved that she would survive.
He and his Claimer withdrew with the still rather groggy Angelus who was drained by his Sire a second time as soon as they entered the Suzerain’s suite, just as Lisbeth was being prepared for the drastic measure to try to save her.
Lisbeth’s recollection of the following week was confused. She knew that her Mate, her Sire was there, and so was the Suzerain, and Alexander… but why they were at her bedside and in what order was all too muddled… and she was so very tired. She knew the blood was that of family only and her demon appreciated the potent mix but her undead form required recovery time.
The surgery had been a success, but enough of the nasty poison had seeped into her system to need ‘flushing’ despite the best efforts of the expert team attending her.
Angelus repeatedly drained her then syphoned the blood and his own through his Sire and back to her through the week. Much of Lisbeth’s unconsciousness was due to the drainings, but in the end it worked.
On day nine after the attack, the young vampire woke fully, leaned over and took of her vigil holding friend, Alexander’s wrist, before calling for her Sire.
Angelus was there in an instant, as was the Suzerain, but it was only as she lifted her arms for a hug…
The consequent days and weeks would be spent in therapy, and though the limbs themselves healed remarkably quickly, it was the competent use of the prosthetic leg and the strange tingle from touching a handless arm to Sire’s face during love making that was the hardest to come to terms with… that and the incessant itchy foot of the now non existent appendage.
She showed a brave face to all and was the darling of her therapists and pride of her Sire, but still grieved in private. Her leg was missing from just above the knee though a second operation had given her a prosthetic joint from which to wield a false limb. Her arm had been severed, thankfully, an inch below the elbow, she could at least bend and twist it. They told her it might have been worse… and she remembered from her human days, her mother saying, it could always be worse.
Alexander came to sit with her each afternoon during her recovery – with express permission from his Claimer. She adored him all the more as his treatment of her was utterly unchanged and his sweet attentions reminded her that she was still family… always family. The triumph was Alexander’s suggestion to his Suzerain. He and Lisbeth caddied for their Claimers, the two golf buggies and eighteen holes by Spike and Angelus symbolising Lisbeth’s triumph, the family’s triumph, over their adversaries.
Alexander was worried, at the first major cartel meeting following the attack on Angelus and Lisbeth, the Suzerain had vowed vengeance.
Alexander had been told to watch reactions and so was rather pleased to report the two who were unable to keep their poker faces in place.
In the debrief following the meeting, Alexander knew he was condemning the individuals identified to lengthy torture and probable final death, but as he observed Lisbeth struggling into the room with her newly fitted artificial leg and specially designed crutches to accommodate her missing lower arm, he really could not bring himself to care.
Angelus moved swiftly as the still frail Lisbeth entered, gathering her and settling her on his lap, a minion collecting the walking aids. Lisbeth’s consequent gesture was not lost on Alexander as the pretty blonde Mate of the First reached up in tired, apologetic, gratitude and stroked her Sire’s face with her soft-suede covered stump. Her damaged limb was still extraordinarily sensitive and the suede glove gave the necessary padding when using the crutches. The tentative touch to Angelus’ cheek was like that of a newly risen fledge as she wordlessly asked for reassurance from her Sire in the continued effort to adjust to her new limitations and ‘handicapped’ status after the ambush.
Angelus settled Lisbeth’s cheek to his shoulder, caught the caressing arm well above the stump and kissed the sensitive end, then encouraged her to drink with soft words and loving touches.
Spike waited patiently for Lisbeth to begin to feed, then turned back to Alexander who dutifully singled out the two suspect members of the meeting from the picture on the monitor.
Alexander knew that Angelus too, would have noticed the clenching of the jaw muscles seconds before their leader gave his considered opinion, “Right then, we bring them in – subtle like – get ‘em here of their own accord. No doubt the bastards will ‘ave the cheek to attend said meeting like naught happened. So… apart from double crossing arseholes… what’s their usual roll?”
Alexander answered easily pointing to the display (and *very pleased* he had listened so carefully in the past). “That one is Estefan, financial advisor for the Philadelphia group, the other’s allegedly the bodyguard. Really just a thug from way back, intelligence barely a step up from a minion but apparently bred for his violent nature before he was turned.”
Alexander registered the approval in his Claimer’s eyes and gave a relieved smile as the Suzerain said, “Well done, pet, very well done.” The Companion responded to his vampire’s outstretched hand and was pulled in to Spike’s lap, rejoicing as his nether regions were stroked and fangs slid into his claiming mark again. At the feel of his blood being taken, Alexander revelled in the attention and let the room drift for a moment as Suzerain and First focused on their respective lovers… sadly it could only be a moment.
Seconds later Angelus and Spike were all business. There was a series of decisions made in quick succession regards the ‘message’ that needed to be sent, and timing of the retribution, plus (in no small measure) strategies put in place for the protection of the partners and the First.
His Claimer was in full leadership mode and Alexander knew to withdraw, he assisted the rather sleepy Lisbeth to her shared rooms – ‘assisted’ realistically meaning, carried.
He still found the stump of her arm touching his back, not unexpected, but still distressing, though he would never have commented. Lisbeth had been so *very* strong through all of this, and had always treated him with kindness and grace above and beyond what he might have expected from a vampire so important.
He knew to sit with her until her Sire arrived, then slipped out quietly and returned to his Claimer.
Alexander was about to speak as he entered the suite he shared with his wonderful Claimer, but stopped abruptly at the door, skidding to a silent halt as he spotted an exhausted Suzerain in game face, his head in his hands, almost empty JD bottle on the floor and very obviously allowing tears to flow. The Companion’s reaction (and the act of a friend) saw Alexander falling to his knees in front of his beloved vampire.
He immediately bared his neck and pulled the blonde into an intimate hug… all the time cooing and whispering sweet endearments. Alexander had rarely seen his Claimer in such a state, so was very relieved to feel the familiar lick then the sharp sensation as fangs slid in to find their prize.
It took Spike some time to calm completely, indeed it was indicative of the upset that allowed the Companion to lead his Master to their bed, ease him gently down then proceed to simply cuddle and comfort. The offered wrist was suckled gently, and Alexander made a point of quietly stroking and murmuring sweet words to his beloved as one might a distressed wild animal. It was only when Spike roused and began to speak that Alexander understood the source of distress, and more importantly, comprehended just how much he was truly able to assist his beloved in such a time of distress.
“Gotta deal with the bastards as violated the family… and that’s as it should be… But, ahh dear one… kill one off there’s always another…” Spike’s careful touch was the epitome of adoration and devotion, and Alexander could not help a single tear falling as he was gifted by being privy to his ruler’s deepest fears and concerns, “I’ve lived for so long and … look at you, you beautiful thing… So much like that bugger who used to love ‘n hate me with equal measure way back on that godforsaken Hellmouth… Had nothin’ of his own, and despite all, bugger went ‘n looked after me when I was at me lowest… Bloody white hat… Least I c’n do is honour his line… ‘n you’re the bloody proof… look at you! Ahhhh Sh#%$#…”
Alexander was unsure how to respond so simply kept quietly stroking his wonderful Claimer,
“So glad I found you… can’t lose you… Bloody hell… not now!! And they will… They’ll try to get to me ‘f they know you’re it for me… You are you know?! You’re it… Oh bloody hell!!”
The human Companion was caught between being absolutely overcome with joy and desperately trying to console his dear Suzerain. He chose to stroke the pale figure and stay silent as Spike continued. “… and they’ll keep on comin’… they’ll just keep coming. Pride ‘o Lions mentality and I’m the ol’ head o’ the Pride… The king lion… Everyone thinks he’s better, and every bloody year there’s a challenge… every year there’s one as figures he’ll be the champion to bring the ol’ boy down. F%#$ing idiots. Close on three hundred ‘n fifty years of that rot and there’s still always one…! Can’t organize a soddin’ pissup in a brewery but they figure they can lead the global cartels?! Ahhh sorry mate – reckon I’m just a bit tired…”
Spike reached over, took charge of the bottle and took another long swig. “Only one good enough to rule in truth is my boy… Angelus… ohhhh yeah, no doubt in the pride ‘n joy department, was right to turn ‘im… Even Lisbeth… Grandchilde dear love would have… before they… to her… but that’s just it innit?!... No guarantees…” He mumbled something else but Alexander was otherwise occupied.
If obvious attentiveness or blood was not the answer to pulling his Claimer from his mood then there were two possible courses of action one was calling for Angelus, but Alexander knew that Lisbeth would be quietly enjoying time with her Sire, so that option was swiftly discounted. Instead the Companion slid down unzipping his Claimer and taking the flaccid member into his mouth root to tip, sucking harder than he had ever attempted before and finding himself utterly in control of his beloved Suzerain. The combination of fatigue and Spike’s current mood caused the ruling Master vampire to surrender all control giving in to the amazing sensation of being completely taken by the wonderful brunette. His erection was immediately fully charged, so it was but five determined sucks and a tight squeeze to the vampire’s sack that found Alexander’s willing mouth and throat pumped with cool seed.
As soon as Spike calmed a little, he hauled Alexander up and kissed him possessively, tasting himself in the flavour of his Companion. Then, pants still open, he stood and swooped up the human, dropping him in the middle of their shared bed then simply relaxed into slumber with side order of hugging. The last thing Alexander heard before falling asleep himself was, “Love you so much pet… love you forever.”
The following day saw quite a different ruling vampire. One utterly in control and coldly calm world leader.
The two suspected of involvement in Lisbeth’s attack were amongst the usual attendees to the fiscal meeting of the cartels. It had seemed right that their ‘outing’ might be at a meeting largely focused on power, territory and money.
Lisbeth and Alexander were ushered out shortly after the initial formalities took a different turn. On their way into the room, the accused were restrained by force and drained. Spike made a point of silently biting hard into their turning then pulling off and spitting out the blood on the ground, followed by insisting that two minions present take their fill instead, other cartel delegations a little baffled but unsurprised as the accused vampires’ crimes were detailed.
Alexander and Lisbeth stayed for long enough to hear that ‘the problem’ was that the two were merely pawns, and that Spike wanted to know the whole team and its leader. As the door closed behind the struggling Lisbeth and her worried human friend, they both heard the order… the two plotters were to be strung up and ‘encouraged’ to talk by having the same limbs as Lisbeth had lost removed progressively, with the further instruction to ‘keep cutting’ if that did not work.
The result was – eventually – a dusty one, but only after both individuals were sans a leg and an arm. In fact the turning point had come when the Suzerain ordered Estephan’s scrotum removed, his screams accompanied by horrified pleading by his compatriot as he was threatened with forcibly being fed the limp piece of flesh by the professional torturer of the Suzerain. Their unlives forfeit, the two eventually confessed all in exchange for a quick staking.
The elimination of the other perpetrators was swift and brutal, Spike merely dusting the responsible cartel ruler, leaving the other clean up to some of his more enthusiastically, sadistic associates. Needless to say, the threats from that particular group was no more. But the fears the Suzerain had divulged to his beautiful Companion – that the threat would never end - were sadly very close to the truth.
The attack and consequent fallout had made the Suzerain even more possessive and amorous toward his Claimant. He had even taken to insisting that Alexander remain within touching reach throughout every meeting. The human’s role was apparently never to return to bodyguard status and though the cruel words had become infrequent and public ‘use’ had ceased, there was still the occasional oral pleasuring, consequently there was still no doubt in the minds of those *not* part of the inner circle, that the Claimed Companion’s role remained that of ‘pleasure pet’. The business associates of the Suzerain… those loyal or simply needing his protection, nodded knowingly as they observed the human Companion’s cheek resting against the strong pale thigh, and (if forced to stand), their leader’s hand brushing up and down the hairless, gossamer covered thighs as absently as one might stroke a dog in the days before the change.
Alexander was tightly bound and stood stoically as his thigh was teased, and stroked and adored… He was well trained… beautifully trained… a *wonderful* example of training, but begged the powers to the point of promising his soul most days since he approached release so quickly that he was almost in tears by the last ten or so minutes of any given meeting. Though he could not compromise their ruse, he had his sly retaliation. Aroused beyond measure, he knew that to pant or move would engender a beating, if only for public purposes, so instead he did the only thing he could without detection - tensing his thigh muscles or backside to capture the caressing hand – even for an instant it was enough and guaranteed a swift ‘seeing to’ as soon as they were alone.
Alexander appreciated his ruler’s worry, and now had an official ‘handler’ Marko - a huge blue demon with imposing presence and a single purpose - so whenever out of the inner circle’s company, Alexander walked dutifully on lead. Marko was loyal to a fault, and an excellent fighter, but Alexander soon discovered that the grunts rather than words were not a sign of disrespect, but merely reflected no tongue… and no opposing thumbs for that matter. Marko was not cruel, but most definitely saw his human charge as a pet: tugging him along by his lead; watching over his ablutions; stopping at water fountains so he might drink; and insisting on submissive stance or relaxed kneel when they stopped – for whatever reason.
In truth Alexander was un-phased by the requirements when in Marko’s company and was given every reason to trust him – even though the first time it had been a bit of a shock. If ever Marko was in doubt of a situation his instructions were to collect the Suzerain’s Companion and run to safety, though Alexander had not expected that to be a literally interpreted statement. They had been heading out to meet the Suzerain and First at a restaurant for a *very* early morning meeting when several shots was fired. Alexander had started to dive to the ground but the blue demon had other ideas.
Alexander found himself scooped up and cradled gently against the form that was close to eleven feet tall. He should have been terrified but felt strangely calm. The demon smelt of their household and ran with legs twice the length of his own, at speeds Alexander knew only his dear Claimer might match. Safe inside the compound again, Alexander had thanked the demon sincerely – earning an eerie smile and hoot.
Frequently after that, the demon lifted Alexander up to his shoulder and carried him rather like one might a small puppy, rather than bothering with the lead. It didn’t hurt and his Claimer approved the behaviour, though Alexander did take to holding on to the edges of his enormous carer’s sleeveless jerkin, rather than simply flop over the shoulder like a rag doll.
When he was not required for formal duties by the Suzerain, it seemed Alexander’s days were divided equally into his private time with his Claimer, time with Lisbeth and, of late, the little Lillie – eventually taking the tiny girl with him to visit the injured vampire. Lately he began to realize the rather lovely rapport the females had: Lisbeth acting almost as young Aunt, and Lillie, being her usual irrepressible two and a half year old, very happy for the attention.
Lisbeth was reclining on a ‘sunlounge’, ironic name given that those in the household using said furniture were generally of the sun allergic variety. The moon was out and the night warm, and even better, the seat’s padding was heated, and angora rug comforting. The night before had been a busy one with the next full meeting of the cartels marking the She had spent the previous day near sleepless, tossing and turning and crying out, first with unbelievable itching then sharp stabbing pains flowing from offended limbs. The entire area of flesh around the titanium compound knee joint was inflamed and swollen to the point of not being able to fit the leg, much less walk on it.
Her Sire had only just departed as the two humans entered the room. Since the accident Angelus had been attentive to a fault and insisted upon feeding Lisbeth from his neck at least once daily. She had been given a mild sedative earlier in the evening, and had allowed herself to drift in and out of sleep in the arms of her beloved Sire until he revived her a little with more of his own precious blood.
Now Alexander simply watched as the two interacted on this lazy afternoon, Lillie briskly turning pages of an ancient picture book, whilst Lisbeth desperately tried to keep up with a plausible text. Alexander felt his presence then his touch as the Suzerain slid down behind his Claimed and wrapped his arms around the human’s trim waist.
Neither could stem a slow tear as a perfectly innocent, random comment reminded them of Lisbeth’s sacrifice to the family. The little girl had simply reached out to touch the bandaged stump ever so lightly and asked with concerned fascination, “Why did they growed you like that?”
Lisbeth tried her best to answer honestly without traumatizing the tiny red head, “They didn’t grow me like this, sweetie – some bad people wanted to hurt the Suzerain, so they hurt me.”
A wide eyed Lillie paused to consider the information, “No!!!! That’s… my... No!!!!” Lillie trailed off. The little girl who, by all accounts, had not cried since arriving at the Suzerain’s compound now gave in to her own memories of horrors witnessed – not just once but numerous times. She whimpered a little at first, then gave in to the grief and launched herself at Lisbeth. Fortunately Alexander picked the shift to panic and was there before impact, saving the incapacitated Lisbeth further injury.
Gathering the small girl to him he hugged her tight as she struggled and screamed out for her dead mother, sisters, for everyone she had known before the Suzerain’s arrival. As the little one cried herself out, Alexander extended his hand to a pained looking Lisbeth, pulling her into a three way hug. Finally Lillie slept across the laps of a silent Alexander and Lisbeth who sat arm in arm, grimly aware that Lillie would not be the last child to suffer such pain.
If the reports from the inquiry into Lisbeth’s ambush were true, the ferals were on the rise, backed by several cartels and a mage that, no matter the sweeps to ‘clean out’ the Suzerain’s enemies, had not been brought to heel.
Mistress Janet had been wonderful with Lisbeth, her own relatively lesser disability strengthening her resolve to assist the stricken Vampire. She had worked with the amputee on balance and gait, strengthening the other leg and arm, and developing fight moves that would allow Lisbeth to at least defend herself.
On some rather joyful occasions, Alexander would join them along with little Lillie. The tiny girl did her very best to join in, Janet embracing the tiny human’s enthusiasm to participate and decking her out with enormous gloves and the smallest sized karate jacket she could find (it still almost touched the floor!). The white belt wrapped around the minute red headed, would-be-warrior so many times that there was no need for pants, though she insisted on having her hair tied up “like Lizzy’s”.
Though very careful with the little girl, Janet was also demanding. At barely three (as far as anyone could tell), the little girl could dive roll and almost perform a cartwheel. She was trained to run and hide if in danger, and how to escape the grip of another human. Her penchant for biting the hand that held her was encouraged, to the detriment of Alexander who in a play fight held her down in the wrong position only to have razor sharp baby teeth draw blood on his inner thigh!
The night of Lillie’s final acquiescence to her long held grief, Angelus had gone directly from feeding and comforting Lisbeth, to sparring with Mistress Janet. The Mistress knew the signs, the tough workout was deliberate and her full powered strikes hurt, designed to allow the mated Sire to work off some of his anger and distress. Some days, of late, the focus on the fight was the only thing that allowed him to go on as he witnessed his darling Childe stoically bearing the ongoing pain from the severed limbs, and odd stares of strangers not used to seeing a crippled vampire and wondering at him for caring.
Janet met him full force and knew what he needed but it was not her place. She subdued him and shackled him. And called for the Suzerain.
Spike left Alexander with the exhausted little Lillie still in arms. He kissed his Companion encouraged him to sleep and moved to the next ‘crisis’.
His Childe was hanging limp in his chains in the back of the dojo, but upon scenting his Sire he rallied a little. Spike knew the signs… this had been coming for a long while, he nodded his thanks to the Mistress who was seated observing the bound vampire. She gave a rue smile and withdrew, knowing that what needed to be done was not her business. His Childe had been so strong for so long, and now needed his Sire, needed the hurt, so he might in turn afford Lisbeth the strength and support she deserved.
Spike approached and all but hissed in Angelus’ ear. “What is your crime young one? And do be specific…” Angelus remained silent, his head bowed. The Mistress had left a table covered in various restraints and weaponry. Spike trailed a pale hand down the edge, inspecting each piece.
The blonde picked up a leather flogger and with the first strike, caused the tails of the torture instrument to wrap around the solid torso of his Childe, scoring front and back enough to draw a little blood. There was no sound from the bound vampire.
“Why do you need the pain, Childe?”
Angelus remained silent. Two more repeats of the question followed six more strikes… twice hitting around his shoulders, two his torso and two his legs… before finally the brunette began to sob, “I failed her Sire… I *failed her* and now she has to… to… Please Sire *please* harder… Please make it hurt, just as I let her be hurt… *please*. I deserve to be punished… my Childe… My beautiful mate… Please…” Trailing off, the brunette slumped in his restraints and waited for the whipping to begin again. Spike brought the flogger down once more before moving forward to lick the wounds, and whispered “Well done, there will be no more pain... we are in this together… family.”
For Angelus the pain was cathartic and immediately followed by the overwhelming sensation of love, Sire, trust and family. He accepted the open wrist as his prostate was repeatedly struck and he was tugged to completion. He then bit down hard and drained his First, at the same time entering him hard and releasing his shackles. Still embedded he gently lowered the drained vampire to the ground, easing him onto his side and stroking him until the younger vampire found completion.
Spike chose not to release, but stayed embedded for a time until the drained youngster relaxed and finally began to cry. As he withdrew, he stroked the dark locks, reassured and kissed the savage bite mark. Angelus rallied and turned, feeling his maker leave him, then kissed his Sire, his Suzerain.
“Thank you Sire…”
“Be strong Childe. I will need you… you and your beautiful Lisbeth… We have yet to resolve this.”
The two stood slowly, Angelus on shaky legs, still rather overcome by his Sire’s attentions, and Spike simply wishing for rest. He led his Childe slowly to the suite shared by Lisbeth and pushed him in.
Arriving back at his own rooms the Suzerain was met by his beloved Alexander at the door.
He had given so much more than a beating or a hug that night, that he literally fell into Alexander’s arms. The human simply extended his neck and reached for his beloved’s private region… and then relaxed into the haze that came with a fast draining and reciprocal wrist.
Eventually they were both aware.
“Sleeping with Nanny.”
“Sooo … Angelus and Lisbeth”
“All good mate… Thanks to you… All good.. But… ummm… You just stick with Marko OK? Need you safe so… Marko…” They were alone so Spike let his feelings be known. And so his dear companion was privy to the fear for the immediate family – including Lilly! Even as a well trained Companion, he had not realized the depth of his Suzerain’s devotion and fell asleep feeling utterly blissful. His Claimer truly loved him.
Two days later, Alexander was walking off his lead behind the Suzerain, as ever the required two steps behind, in the main street closest to their headquarters/lair, when he felt a sting in his thigh. Then everyone was running and he was being lifted and… all was simply… black.
The Suzerain’s bodyguards saw the Companion and five of their number go down so simply hustled the ruling vampire into a car and, despite their ruler’s pleas, drove off.
The attack was very well planned, and now they had the Suzerain’s own. They would no doubt kill the Suzerain’s Companion within days, but who knew what came before that in terms of demands... or torture for the beloved human.
Spike’s only hope beyond a desperate wish that they might recover Alexander in time?, that they get the bastards and torture them… for as many months as it took minutes to find his Companion.
They had dragged him to a brightly lit room and ordered him to stand. He had initially collapsed on the floor still groggy from the anaesthetic, so they had beaten him until he stood. He was eighteen, a Companion and should be able to defend himself – the Mistress had seen to that, but it was not to be. Not when he was blindfolded and gagged, and had his hands tightly handcuffed behind his back and ankles shackled to posts on the floor.
Eventually he had struggled up and stood proud, then let tears of fear and silent apologies to his Suzerain flow behind blindfold and gag respectively. He knew he had failed his Claimer. He was the weak link, the Suzerain’s Achilles heel. And yet he knew, even if he were to die, the Suzerain would endure… with the help of his Childe and Lisbeth … and the Mistress… the Suzerain would survive the death of a Claimed.
And so he stood. The voices kept circling him, kept asking him questions and the thumping beat that was playing through speakers somewhere in the room made it almost impossible to think.
To his torturers complete frustration, the young Companion had uttered no sound since his arrival. They had examined his mouth whilst he was unconscious and there was a tongue, but they had begun to wonder if he had the power of speech, not putting it past the Suzerain to choose one so limited for his pleasure – but members of their number claimed they had seen him speak so…
They left him standing, each time he moved, a harsh whip would strike and should he move as a consequence, it would strike again. He bore seventeen deep welts across his back, legacy of this ‘improper’ behaviour. But after forty hours, forty hours of not moving, forty hours of questions, he could not stand any longer. The blood had pooled toward his feet courtesy of the human body’s vascular need to move to work veins. He began to see stars then simply… black.
He woke shackled close to a wall by his Companion collar. At least he was semi lying down for a time, kneeling with his forehead against the wall, chained so short that his own bodily functions were now, forcibly, part of his bedding.
Without water for over two days his lips were chapped and he had begun to pant a little. On the third day a demon with a pair of enormous clippers came and removed his right pinky finger to the second knuckle. He passed out but even waking to the feeling of two demons constricting the blood flow with a tight tourniquet meant little.
He knew he would die and it was for the best he decided. The Suzerain had to remain strong.
His captors threatened other extremities when there was apparently ‘no reaction’ from the Suzerain when the finger was delivered, but still he remained silent. And so he knew he was going to die. For the first time since his claiming, he relaxed the emotional link completely and simply let his love for his Claimer flow as a final goodbye. His darling Suzerain had to endure.
He no longer knew the course of time. The light was constantly on… and every once in a while they would collect him – now more for their own amusement than information. In the first few days, lying on his side in his prison, simply trying to breathe, he had been interested in the behaviour of the other ‘inmates’ in their rudimentary cell (in fact an old office block). Even though all in his cell were human, they were obviously ferals and there was definitely pack behaviour when food arrived, the strong taking most, the weak eating last. He watched with a mixture of disgust and envy, his tortured body and the need for his Claimer preventing any effort to rise. He drank cautiously if offered water but ate nothing. There was no hunger ergo, no need. The others happily ate his portion.
Coming through the haze of yet another beating, Alexander realized what was being asked and snorted – the choice was – admit what he had seen at his time in the inner circle or send one of his eyes to the Suzerain.
He knew it was his sacrifice to make and knew that it would make no difference. As he passed out with pain of the pretty eye’s removal, he opened the Claimed Claimant link for a final goodbye, simply thanking his wonderful master. He was ready to die and sincerely hoped the idiots who were his torturers did not stem the flow. His last thoughts as he passed out was that at least his Claimer, his master in everything, knew the love he felt for him.
A day later he was shackled, kneeling, to the wall in an isolation cell, the space where his left eye once was throbbing with such intensity that he simply hung his head and cried with the existing one… and wondered how long it would be until they took it too.
The following day marked the twelfth day he had not eaten and had only taken water when forced… The socket was still leaking some sort of fluid… He sent love again, then hoped to die.
The Suzerain had been almost beyond reason for the first two days, his dear Childe and Grandchilde had forced him to accept their wrists on the third day. He had not slept, frantic that he could feel his dear Companion but had no idea of the location. He could feel the pain and the apologies. It was more than physical torture could ever impose.
He knew, as his enemies obviously did, that if ever there was a weapon to hurt the Suzerain at the current time, it was to harm his Claimed Companion. Though (the thought must have occurred) Spike’s reputation would have him ruthless enough to let his Claimed perish.
But Spike had felt a jolt as the boy was moved. His kidnappers had shifted him between warded areas, not careful enough to cover the entire area. And for the first time in five days, he knew for certain where they should be headed. They needed his new-fashioned helicopter and more importantly – a pilot.
Angelus’ habit of turning ferals sometimes brought unexpected dividends. At his Sire’s request he sought out the one he knew, Lincoln.
Angelus had taken the boy from the feral militia, kept for his looks not his skills, but the Suzerain’s Childe also knew the boy had flown helicopters and had been one of their strategists. He grabbed the minion from the depths of the lair and handed him over. The Suzerain bit Lincoln hard, draining the minion within seconds of dust, then he and Angelus fed enough blood to shift his status – indeed enough that he might stand at the rear of the Suzerain’s court as one of the trusted few. He was to be Spike’s new chauffeur – the airborne one.
An hour after his draining and feeding, the young vampire recovered his senses. He was initially overwhelmed, his pre turning knowledge and intelligence was back as though a strange veil had been lifted, but there was more. Lincoln stood slowly and felt the unrelenting demand of the Suzerain, the call so much stronger – something he’d never experienced before. He knew his place, would eat well and train with the best, he was no longer minion, but a trusted servant, part of the household, and his ruler appreciated and protected him. Elated, committed and feeling utterly honoured, he mounted the helicopter, his skills as pilot worthy of his new status, and his devotion to the ruling family now absolute, until he was dust.
Angelus, Spike, the Mistress and four trained minions entered the stealth enabled chopper as soon as Nathan was judged capable of piloting said vehicle. Lisbeth had almost begged to go, but knew her condition made her liability not asset.
Spike could feel his boy failing, feel his hunger and pain, and more than that… feel his farewell. He urged the Lincoln to test the vehicle’s speed.
It had been a wild scheme to gain control by the Suzerain’s opponents, their intensions to blackmail him with his ‘toy’ indicated in the note that accompanied the box with his Companion’s eye, but they really had little idea of the retribution when they were found out. The Suzerain had his informants and issued an edict as soon as the perpetrators were established.
And so for the Suzerain’s forces, there was no hesitation, rather, it was simple, swift, elimination.
While the Suzerain was rescuing his Claimant, everyone linked to the perpetrators of the crime was being wiped out. Twelve teams and a number of backup groups were sent, and not just to the major lairs and strongholds, but to *every* enclave of the South East Cartel. Those who escaped were wiped out in a second sweep less than an hour later. The Master of the Cartel whose crew had grabbed Alexander, and his favourite Childe, were spared – only so her painful demise might be witnessed by the Sire before the Suzerain had the privilege of making him dust.
Every minion was dusted, all the associated demons killed, and their frightened feedlot and breeder humans crated ready for moving before the helicopter even landed at Alexander’s torture site.
Their territory was now for the Suzerain to split up or rule.
Angelus had *never* seen his Sire so angry, nor any other vampire so vicious until that moment. In the end he felt he and the Mistress were simply there to protect the minions from their own ruler.
Normally yellow eyes were glowing red with anger and pain. He leapt from the helicopter from nearly fifty feet in the air, landing apparently effortlessly, ripped out three demon throats and removing the heads of two minions without breaking his stride.
Spike could feel the boy failing, *his* Companion, *his* wounded Claimed. There were none in his wake left standing as he entered the derelict office building from the roof.
He followed the final desperate call through the Claiming link and… found the room a mere two floors down.
Alexander was unconscious, trussed up in the parody of a crucifix, still bleeding from the socket of the missing eye.
The Mistress gasped at the tortured form, Angelus also took an unneeded breath. Spike had swiftly dispatched everyone that smelled vaguely of his loved Companion and then some besides, but it wasn’t enough. His roar shook the building and none of his own contingent dared come near as he gently cut his beloved down, released all his bindings then fed him from his own sliced open breast.
Alexander seemed to know who had him in the embrace, and though not coming back to full consciousness relaxed into the strong arms and accepted the offering.
Spike, meanwhile, took proper note of the injuries: Evidence of multiple beatings; shallow cruel slicing of skin on his torso; right arm and several ribs badly broken; the obvious removals - finger and eye; ankles and feet swollen from repeated sessions upright and unable to move; and a rudimentary tattoo on one buttock sporting the words “Suzerain’s Whore”. There was also a serious loss of weight, obvious dehydration and, on further inspection, a tightly bound, very limp erection coupled with roughly shaved scrotum and red raw anus plugged to its limit with a huge wooden phallus.
Spike released the binding on the penis then eased out the offending article before Angelus approached and opened his wrist ready to let some healing fluid drip past the offended orifice, but was unable. Neither the Mistress nor the Suzerain’s First could assist any more at this point, Spike’s glowing red eyes and warning growl fended off all comers.
Spike opened his palm with fangs that seemed even longer than before and dripped his powerful blood onto all the abused areas then continued to stroke his Claimed again and again, reassuring himself that the breathing was easier and the heartbeat steady though a little fast.
The Mistress reached for then squeezed Angelus’ hand as they looked on helplessly. She was reminded of ancient marble carvings of the Pieta, the bereft and very dangerous Suzerain and his beautiful damaged boy.
After several minutes, Spike simply stood and walked past them carrying Alexander effortlessly toward the helicopter, his only words to the Mistress and Angelus before easing the abused body inside, “Kill everything then raze it to the ground. I’ll send the chopper back for you.” They had all heard the news from the other cartel areas. Angelus and the Mistress would do as instructed and give their Suzerain time to calm.
Spike held his dear boy close as they flew home. Now so like his ancestor with his missing eye, though perhaps more modern technology could address that.
As they flew home Spike stroked his dear Alexander, fed him, and wondered yet again at his likeness to the one so long gone.
They were all dead. The carnage absolute, lands annexed and human stock taken.
The Cartels were commanded to attend. None dared refuse.
As the delegations entered, the Suzerain’s chief torturer stood ready, a huge, ruthless K’morth demon, his own allegiance determined by the Suzerain’s blood which he had been fed as part of his contract.
In full view of the meeting, the favourite Childe of the Cartel leader of the South East region was wheeled into the room. The vampire was strapped to an old fashioned torture wheel. At the same time, her Sire was also wheeled in on an ancient wooden rack and cranked up to a point he could see his most favoured as she was slowly, repeatedly, ceremonially, impaled with a long wooden pike. At each new stroke of the wooden stake, the cartel leader gasped and felt his Childe’s physical pain, hardly registering the pain as his finger and eye were removed in quick succession.
He begged for death, but not before he watched the beautiful girl scalped then violated with a wooden instrument the length of a baseball bat... There was only one conclusion possible as it finally penetrated her heart after almost an hour. She dusted.
Her Sire, now divested of a number of his ‘parts’ by the torturer (fingers and fangs the first to go, followed by scrotum), was then near drained and impaled in similar fashion to his Childe, the final dusting being via a ceremonial like shove by the Suzerain’s own hand. Few had seen such savagery, even Angelus struggled to watch, but through the Sire/Childe link, understood the motivation.
The display was shocking, though for most in the room, understandable, and the show of strength left no question as to the Suzerain’s response to any who might attack his ‘weakness’, his family, in future. The message was clear, the brutality absolute, and none would dare again… for a while at least.
The following day, it was independently proposed by the cartel leaders that Angelus be named the new cartel ruler of the South East Cartel, none of the current rulers wanting a squabble – given the Suzerain’s mood. It was a good result from a bad situation. Angelus had longed for his own territory, had a swag of loyal minions and was a fine Childe. The Suzerain made a point of being initially reluctant but in the end, blessed the vampire he privately trusted beyond any, and exchanged blood with Angelus and the dear Lisbeth – their status was now, effectively, royalty, with their own cartel as well as a direct link to the Suzerain.
The dear Lisbeth was walking far better with her prosthetic, sometimes even able to forego the crutch, which was a relief on the abused arm. And she had committed to training with the Mistress at least three times a week (Mistress Janet admitting to the Suzerain that she had rarely come across such a fine student). Yet despite the progress and her new status as Mated Mistress of the ruler of the South East… she dutifully visited Alexander daily, spending time sitting by his bed just as he had done for her.
Strangely many of the Suzerain’s subjects were attentive beyond expectation, arriving with tributes and waiting at the compound gates for long minutes – for what, few were sure, but the attack on the innocent Claimed Companion seemed to have galvanized public opinion regards the Suzerain, their enigmatic, ancient, strong leader had been recorded keeping vigil at his dear one’s bedside. The injuries detailed. The retribution not televised but reported.
And still, surprisingly it was the amputee Lisbeth and tiny human Lillie who won the hearts of the demon population the most. It was Lisbeth’s idea. Each day the two made their way hand in hand to the gate and with two enormous guards flanking them, took time to personally thank members of the waiting crowd for their thoughtfulness. Their quiet messages of thanks to well wishers and Lillie’s public gesture of picking up as many of the flowers as she could manage (and then some) from the front gates then struggling (televised) to the Claimed Companion’s bed end, brought many demons and vampires alike to tears. Soul or no soul, there was always family, and what had been done to the Suzerain’s pretty Claimed touched them all.
Lisbeth’s impromptu interview (ushering Lillie back into the compound with yet another bunch of flowers) had suddenly made her the darling of the demon world. They all noted the missing limbs, and listened attentively as she spoke adoringly of her Sire and the Suzerain – then went on to explain the Suzerain’s (and his Claimed’s) dedication to keeping their world stable and operational. As she finished there was an audible cheer from all who were within earshot of the live feed. The networks went into overdrive as the popularity of the Suzerain apparently *skyrocketed* and the personal interest stories regards anyone close became a priority.
The Suzerain, Spike, was uninterested in all the ‘hoo hah’ and simply spent time at his Claimed’s bedside.
The picture of a devoted Claimer sitting at his abused, recovered Claimant were transmitted worldwide, and the legend grew.
Old stories of Alexander’s pedigree, his fighting ability, his devotion to his master, all were fair game. As was ‘dug up’ evidence of the Suzerain’s unwillingness to devote himself for close on two hundred years, then the claiming and occasional show of affection (caught by paparazzi), all was grist for the mill. Yet for the public it simply increased the Suzerain (and family’s) popularity.
Lisbeth became the icon for injured demons whilst the tiny Lillie became the human companion any would aspire to own. Fearless of the multitude of demons gathered at the gate of the compound, every few days the little girl would emerge with Lisbeth to smile sweetly and say “My Suzerain thanks you”, then gather as many flowers as she could carry before joining her friend the Mistress Lisbeth to slowly (still restricted by Lisbeth’s movement) retreat back to the house. The little human was quite the darling of the demon world, and though she had been born a feral, as a consequence, Natte’s and other studs had never been busier.
Meanwhile, Alexander was oblivious to it all. Drugged for good reason, his bones had been reset, wounds licked and bled on with the healing juices of his Claimer. Abused parts had been carefully tended to and the eye socket and raw stump of a finger carefully dressed.
Spike had insisted his surgeons examine the Companion internally and check for *any* other damage. They found a ruptured spleen, burst ear drum and a right teste that had been so badly damaged by rough binding that there was risk it too might need removal.
What had to be done, was done, the spleen removed, the manhood and ear left to heal along with constant attention to the whip marks and abused rear end, and thankfully Alexander slept on and slowly healed.
He woke on and off after a few days but every time he even turned his head he had a sense of vertigo that was akin to seasickness. In the end he simply went back to sleep. With but a drip to feed him, Spike worried as Alexander continued to lose weight over three more days. Finally a young demon doctor suggested the Suzerain push his own blood through the system. Spike sat in a chair not dissimilar to a dialysis chair of the old human world, drank a steady supply of fresh human blood and watched as his own blood was syphoned into his stricken Claimant.
And the outcome was quite extraordinary. No doubt his blood was having remarkable healing effects but also, every time the cycle of vampire to human and back was completed, their claiming bond became stronger. By the third day, Spike felt the missing eye as though it was his own injury, he even checked occasionally for the missing finger and felt his nether regions for memorized damage that was not his. The reciprocal benefit, however, was the recovery of the Claimant. Not just a normal recovery – but complete reparation, except for the missing parts…
The demon press had a field day, not only with the violent demise of the perpetrators of the crime against the Suzerain’s Claimant, and the recovery of the Companion, but also reporting on the First Childe Angelus investiture as cartel leader, and doing ‘interest’ stories on the family - Lisbeth and Angelus in particular. The vast majority of political pundits applauded the astuteness of the appointment of Angelus as Cartel leader, though the general populace were simply happy that stability would return to the South East region.
The media attention was irrelevant as far as tiny Lillie was concerned and her gestures of bringing the flowers to her friend Alexander’s bed were a simple, genuine act of hope… that he would wake, that he would smile at her, that he would give her ‘that hug’. Her regular collection of the flowers and open eyed thank you’s to those offering tributes, were heart warming and (not so oddly) the Suzerain’s popularity continued to skyrocket.
Lisbeth collected little Lillie from the door of the Suzerain’s room several times, the little girl seemed quite lost without Alexander. Finally Lisbeth asked permission of her Sire and Angelus carried the tired little soul to their bed, placing her on Lisbeth’s ‘good side’ before spooning his lovely claimed from behind. Lillie settled and somehow it worked for all of them.
After that it was a nightly ritual and Angelus’ broad, powerful arm was flung over the two forms as Lillie snuggled into Lisbeth’s cool chest. And Lillie’s tiny hand always first stroked then held her lovely protector Lisbeth’s arm stump as though it was the most natural thing in the world. Lisbeth had never expected to have offspring, nor wanted to be a breeder, but came to know why one might. It was only two weeks until they moved to the South East Cartel’s head quarters (a rather beautiful classic blue stone building – complete with turrets!), and Lisbeth resolved to ask the Suzerain that he might release dear Lillie to go with them – at least for a time.
Alexander came back to full consciousness late on the seventh day after his rescue. The Suzerain was at his side in seconds, their new link now holding such power that there was no option but to attend the Claimant.
The Companion woke to find his Suzerain, his master, his all, leaning over him whispering endearments, feeding him blood from an open wrist and stroking him gently. As he came to he registered that his eye socket still throbbed, but in an odd, detached sort of way. The human companion focused on the link with his Claimer and felt the strength and the love, and for the first time was able to reciprocate the latter at least, the other would come.
He was awake for barely an hour before feeding directly from his wonderful Claimer, then fell asleep in his arms to caring touches and worried looks to the doctor who attended the Suzerain’s recovering Claimed. It seemed most wounds were healing though the eye socket was still a worry.
The next time he woke it was to Lisbeth’s gentle touches from her good hand. Little Lillie was also in attendance but simply stood on a chair, fresh flowers in hand, and grinned as his good eye focused on her. But something was wrong, even as he smiled, he began to sweat and his heart rate accelerated – something Lisbeth could hear clearly thanks to her status. She was about to call for her Sire through their link but there was no need, the Suzerain flew into the room, past the two vigil holders and swept the invalid into his arms once more. And for the first time since his ordeal, the Companion spoke, “My … L…ove! Ohhh … sorr… Ssssssspp…” then gave in to the temptation to drink from the opened wrist before collapsing once more.
Lillie was swiftly ushered from the room by Lisbeth with the explanation that Alexander was ‘probably just very hungry’. After which a physician reinserted the so recently removed drip, delivered a hefty antibiotic injection and added a light sedative.
It would be another two days before the Suzerain could have a full conversation with his beloved. It was two more days of Alexander waking on and off, of feeling himself being carried to the bath and waking to his Claimer’s gentle touch. And it was two more days of his Suzerain’s blood. But finally he did wake and Spike was there, and not just ‘there’ but lying on the bed caressing him slowly, lovingly, and this time the greeting came out clearly.
“My lovely Spike. Hey…”
To which he was given the most natural of replies, he was kissed soundly.
On the following day, the still youthful looking, but now one eyed Alexander, was helped slowly to a sitting position by his wonderful Claimer. He was so well fed on his beloved vampire’s blood that he struggled to feel where he began and the Suzerain finished.
As soon as he was properly upright and awake, Spike lifted him with preternaturally strong arms, placed him carefully into a warm bath, gently washed and dried him as one might a helpless, tiny child, then carried him back to bed.
Alexander was utterly relaxed from being so pleasurably cleaned and lying across the Suzerain drinking from the pale chest again. He came to full awareness belatedly as the strong elixir took effect. A single brown eye fluttered awake as the injured Companion truly roused for the second time that evening. The marred hand, still bandaged, lifted weakly to touch the painful gap where his eye had been.
The hand was stopped in its path as the Suzerain spoke quietly, “No sweetheart… don’t worry… please no… Pet, please! Let’s just… Thank the… No! c’mon Luv… Hello! I’ve got you… Oh my love, hello…” Spike’s comments drifted off as he continued to pet his Claimed. “And we’re forever, remember… you gave permission – as did I. I dust, you die!”
Xander’s working eye focused on Spike. The blink was slow, the look deliberate and the whisper barely audible, “Noooo…. But you… worship you... You are… my all. And you came… you came… you ca… Didn’t tell them…” Xander paused for a moment as his head spun and he gave in to the vertigo that seemed to come with the meds following his spleen operation. Spike simply held him and stroked up and down his beloved’s arm waiting patiently for the Companion to continue.
“My dear master and Claimer. I have [hic] failed you. Shouldn’t have let them… but I thought… forgive me pleassssss.”
Spike pulled his Claimed up to sitting, “Shh... Shh! C’mon pet. You’re back… all that matters… so glad you’re back… C’mon Luv, don’t cry, love you… love you… Please don’t cry!”
“No… [hic] I… [hic] Sorry… ‘m *so* sorry [hic] An… so lucky [hic]… not like Lisbeth… dear Lisbeth… [hic] and you…” Alexander took a huge breath then reached up to touch his Claimer’s beautiful face before the anguished cry of, “ Was happy to die for you, wanted to die! Jus’ so weak… ‘n I’m so… Oh Gahh” Alexander dissolved into another flood of tears, thoroughly soaking the Suzerain’s chest.
“Oh for the love of *all* the gods, shut up and listen.” Spike’s tone was commanding and the pause deliberate as he made sure that Xander turned so his tear filled good eye might focus on Spike’s ‘baby blues’. Then Spike continued “You were a bloody marvel mate. Stood up to the bastards when any but family would’ve packed up ‘n given ‘em what they wanted. Just like the old Xan… just like… You’re a right champion you are… A right champion.”
The Companion was the recipient of a hug, neck nuzzling and petting that seemed to go on for hours. It was as though his Claimer was trying to reassure himself that the human was really back. When Spike finally pulled away Alexander was immensely disturbed to see his impossibly strong master vampire become extremely emotional – so much so he almost missed the next near whispered words… “Can’t lose you Pet… not again… second time I failed you…” Spike reached up to touch the bandaged eye but pulled his hand away just before contact.
Alexander suddenly realized that the master vampire, the Suzerain, was talking, not just about his current condition, but also about the originator of his line. He had seen the photos and in many quiet moments of late, wondered at the story and the regret… and felt the sadness from his Master… and all he could do was send back love through their link, their incredibly strong Claim link. And despite his Claimer’s distress, Alexander could barely contain the feeling of joy. He had withstood the torture and bore the same scar as his ancestor, his Claimer had come for him then re-established their link, and… he was home and accepted despite his impediments. The Suzerain loved him, had claimed him, rescued him and tended him as he healed. He slept again knowing he was loved.
The next time he woke, Mistress Janet and Lisbeth were in the room, with little Lillie kneeling at Lisbeth’s feet. It was an unexpected outcome of Alexander’s trauma, the two had become virtually inseparable.
He blinked his good eye several times before realizing who was holding his hand. Lisbeth held on gently then realized he had woken so squeezed his good hand and near whispered, “There you are…”
He attempted a smile and a squeeze back but found the whole exercise thoroughly exhausting, so settled for a whispered “Thank… you” then reached down to touch the tiny girl with a weak smile of thanks. Lillie all but bounced up onto the bed, taking the move as permission, though still looked to Lisbeth then the Mistress for approval. Both smiled, so she settled herself against the invalid and hugged him as best she was able, given her size, before sitting up and chatting at pace with the typical enthusiasm of a three year old human.
Fantastical stories were mixed with true ones of daily happenings, all muddled with concerned messages regards Alexander’s health. The marred companion looked over to the Mistress and Lisbeth for help but only found amused smiles, so he adopted the only attack he could muster. He tickled the little girl now straddling his chest with his good hand, resulting in her tipping backwards onto the bed with a squeal and fit of giggles. Despite his vertigo Alexander sat up to continue for a short while, then fell back onto his pile of pillows.
Lillie sat up concerned. “Are you sick again?”
“No honey, just… tired.”
“Oh, that’s OK then… ‘cause I gonna tell you, Lisbeth and Angelus is taking me for a holiday for a while, but I didn’t wanna go ‘f you was sick still.”
Alexander looked over to Lisbeth and saw the genuine concern on the vampire’s face. He reached over, miscalculated with the unfamiliar lack of depth perception, and accidentally touched the arm stump rather than her hand with his bandaged appendage. She flinched a little as the sensitive end was contacted.
“Oh Gahhh, I’m s…orry!” Alexander felt a tightening in his chest and tears emerging, the link fired and Spike was at the bedroom door in seconds. The Mistress halted the vampire with a meaningful stare, so he stood and watched as his First’s Mate and his own Claimed spoke.
Lisbeth moved to sit against the still strong torso of her Grandsire’s Claimed before smiling and deliberately touched Alexander’s face with the end of her amputated arm as she spoke quietly. “It’s OK sweetie… It really is OK… The Suzerain has gifted my Sire, my Mate, with his own territory to rule. We will be going in a few days… and I… I asked for Lillie to come with us. Are you OK with that? It’s just that…”
Alexander saw the loving look Lisbeth shot toward the little girl. Not a look of hunger as should be typical of a vampire, but a genuine look of love.
“I know she is yours Alexander but I ask you, as the Suzerain’s Claimed, *please* let her come with us. I will raise her, my Sire and I will raise her. She will be tutored to strengthen all her natural talents and she will see you often, so please?! Angelus cares for her, and I love her… She won’t be turned until she has been bred from and asks for it… Please…?”
Spike joined Alexander on the bed, shifting behind him to cradle his beloved and kissing him on the forehead before answering for both of them by addressing the little girl, “Would you like that Lillie? Would you like to stay with Lisbeth and Angelus?”
The little girl considered for a time, “Can I come visit sometimes?”
Spike answered while petting his Claimed, “Of course! Anytime you like. We are family”
“An’ I’d be learned magics so I can do stuff and keep us all safer.”
Alexander was surprised, then not so much. The little red head was so like a young Willow that he melted. He saw the gentle stroking of Lisbeth’s existing hand through the tiny girl’s red locks and Spike answered for all the ‘family’. “Of course pet… Look forward to you showing me what you can do.”
Lillie literally bounced with delight and forgetting all about the fresh flowers now strewn all over the bed and floor, sprung up to hug first Alexander then Spike, thanking them profusely between rather wet three year old kisses before settling on Lisbeth’s lap, careful not to lean on the prosthetic. Angelus arrived at the door and nodded his thanks to his Sire, guessing what had transpired. He leaned down and nibbled at Lisbeth’s claim mark and Lillie grinned. She had lost everything in the massacre of ferals, but now her world made sense again. She belonged and was loved.
Angelus, Lisbeth and Lillie departed for their new territory the following day and three days later Alexander was back in surgery.
The combination of time and Spike’s blood had the swelling in and around his eye socket recede enough to fit an ocular implant. Spike wanted to match his other eye exactly, but Xander begged for one variation. If one looked carefully enough at the false iris, what appeared like small flecks of sandy colour were in fact words, “Suzerain’s Claimed”.
The implant was incapable of sending precisely the same signals as his real eye, and took some getting used to. The digital images were rather more like blocks of colour with enhanced outlines initially and his brain was forced to interpret and cope as his good eye was covered for seven days leaving Alexander forced to navigate using just the new technology. The images were much like those of a computer generated art work, not quite accurate colours and a very limited depth of field.
Spike was attentive to a fault, encouraging, praising and, at times, annoying him so much that he was back sparring with the Mistress just to avoid being assisted, asked if he was in discomfort or fed and petted constantly (not that the latter was anything to complain about).
At the end of the week, the good eye was uncovered again and Alexander began to appreciate what he had been given. He continued to wear a patch over the implant when tired, but tried to do that in private when he noticed that Spike became rather edgy whenever the black patch was in place. Although he did appreciate hearing more stories of his ancestor, Xander, when the patch was in place, something the refined Companion found strangely compelling and for Spike, rather cathartic.
A month after the implant was deemed ‘assimilated’ they had ‘had a talk’, decisions were made, so the Suzerain and his Claimed ventured to Natte’s to visit Alexander’s human relatives and check on Sean’s two red headed wiccans, both of whom had borne children since being recovered from the horrendous massacre that brought Lillie into their lives.
Sean would have rejoiced were he still alive. A girl and a boy, fraternal twins, were borne to both Kerryn and Estelle. Kerryn’s boy had what appeared at first to be a ‘withered’ right hand but his DNA had been checked at the time of the women’s rescue, and it was proven that the cause was a bullet that had penetrated his mother’s womb, miraculously not killing mother or babies but damaging the tiny male in vitro. He still had three small ‘thumbs’ on the hand and was a happy, contented little boy in all other ways.
Spike stayed to chat to Natte regards the magical training of the six (mothers and babies) while Alexander was led away to meet his direct relatives.
Samuel was in his usual pen, greenery, space to exercise and relatively luxurious shelter, complete with floor heating, huge sleeping pad and specialised wash room. Alexander noted with a raised eye brow and grin that three females were now stabled with his older cousin, two of them obviously with child. Natte’s chief handler released the lock on the gate, unclasped Alexander’s lead and pushed him gently into the space, locking the door firmly behind him. The two embraced heartily.
Samuel pulled away enough to touch the pretty face, so much like his own, but for the scarred slice through the eyebrow – a legacy from the eye removal and not unlike his Claimer’s. Alexander caught the hand as he saw the look of pity beginning to form on Samuel’s face and decided to distract his fellow human, “So… you have a harem these days?”
Samuel’s grin was that of a little boy who had been handed the keys to a chocolate factory. “You have *got* to get a shunt cousin! Natte normally puts five in here with me… the other two are due so… They’re all mine though… the children I mean… but… Shunt means I can service all their needs… Natte encourages it! Reckons it keeps me looking young. He’s gonna breed from me as long as I’m able… Here’s hoping, that could be another fifty years.”
The older man grinned. He did indeed look exceptionally fit and healthy at close to forty. The women ranged in age but all were brunette with the typical features so favoured by Natte.
Samuel slung a friendly arm around Alexander’s shoulder then pulled him into a warm hug and added conspiratorially, “Know you play for the other side cousin… but still… think about it hey? Sure beats pulsing into the collection funnel and you should breed more! Anyway… Glad you’re OK… we heard some of it o’ course. Penny was beside herself – you know she’s had your next two don’t you - and Sara cried for days when she heard about your eye.”
Alexander looked at the ground, absently noting that his feet took on a surreal appearance when one eye registered the outline and artificial colours while the other held the true image. He felt stupid, in all the drama he had forgotten Penny was due. He was a father again… And now, now he just had to tell someone. Samuel seemed the obvious choice.
“Oh Sam… I need to… I want you to know first OK… Can you keep this to yourself? You’re my best friend… forever… You know that right?” Alexander looked to his cousin for reassurance before continuing. Samuel looked flattered though a little puzzled to say the least. He nodded and Alexander continued. “Well… I’ve asked the Suzerain to take my seed and let Natte breed from me until Penny is retired… um… he needs to take the seed… The Suzerain has agreed to turn me… I am already Claimed… and… Oh Sam… I *do* love him. He is my all. Can you understand Sam?... I know you’re happy, but I can’t have a shunt and be like you. I am so glad you are happy… but… um… Geez Sam… I can’t live without him, I want to be with him forever… you get that? Really forever… ‘til we are dust. I already feel him… all the time and I will accept the demon and the dark to be with Spike, the Suzerain, William the Bloody…forever. Please forgive me Sam… forgive me for giving up the gift of humanity… can you Sam? Can you forgive me this?”
Alexander belatedly realized he had been babbling rather badly, something his ancestor had apparently been guilty of on more than one occasion, nevertheless he looked to Samuel as his favourite older brother, and desperately sought approval in the handsome features.
There was a measure of sadness in the chocolate eyes of his cousin, but no hesitation in the response, “As long as you’re happy little brother. It seems you are sure… and you don’t need my approval… but I am glad you have found love… Now ring the bell and request that the handler lead you to the nursery compound, Sara and Penny will never forgive you if you miss them… Oh, and don’t forget to do a full kneel when V’lthar puts the lead back on – he’s a bit of a nervous type, inclined to use the pulser if he even thinks you might play up.”
Alexander kissed his cousin on both cheeks, and stroked over Samuel’s manhood feeling the hard line of the shunt and small point where the seed receptacle attached to be cleared. Alexander found himself rather emotional, as he realised he would no longer be human when next they met, “Glad you’re happy cousin.”
One of Samuel’s females approached to take his cousin’s hand as Alexander moved to the gate, rang the bell and went to a full down kneel, rolling his neck so the link on his collar was exposed.
V’lthar answered the signal and, as expected, clipped on the lead and tugged him through to the nursery where the previous release and push process was repeated.
Sara all but flew into his arms as he arrived through the gate, her latest children abandoned on their play mat in preference to hugging her brother. She took his injured hand and kissed the still overly sensitive stump before kissing the false eye and staring at the near microscopic message on the iris of the implant and smiling a little. “The Suzerain commissioned this?”
Alexander smiled shyly, “We decided.”
Sara’s look shifted from relieved to slightly worried as she inspected his Claiming mark, very raw and obviously well used. “Is he intending to breed or turn you?”
Alexander should have guessed his sister had more clues than the rather over satisfied, senior stud ‘stallion’ Samuel.
He returned the hug and kissed her on the forehead. “Both dear sister. One more donation then I will be… I’ll… be his… one of the others… but he’s promised my soul… we’ve agreed.”
“Oh Alex… I’m… Oh Alex… Tell Penny… please tell Penny!”
The female in question approached tentatively as they spoke, Alexander’s two tiny new boys in her arms. Sara backed off, leaving Penny to enjoy some time with the father of her children.
Half an hour later found both parents of the newborns reassured, and the pretty female relaxing back between Alexander’s strong thighs as she fed one tiny boy while Alexander gently burped his well fed, new second son. Penny had enough milk for four it seemed, regularly feeding others, but this evening she simply expressed the excess into a bottle as she spoke easily to Alexander. With her boys now three months old, she was pleased to let the regular sire of her children know that she would be impregnated with his seed again as soon as they turned six months.
They spoke quietly. His seed would be frozen, and Penny, the only mother of his children would bare his children every eighteen months to two years until she was deemed incapable or turned fifty – whichever came first. It was obvious that she, like Sara, thrilled in her position and would be retired to ‘pasture’ after their motherhood, spending time with the youngsters in the nursery as ‘Grandma helpers’.
She and Sara had found that mutual pleasure was possible since being placed in a compound together. Apart from the time when their concurrent cycles drove them both to agitated disinterest, their lives were well managed and calm. Penny was occasionally pleasured by Sara’s regular ‘shunted’ partner (and soon to be father of Sara’s first set of twin girls) and Alexander was anything but jealous. He kissed the woman soundly and thanked her for the new, beautiful boys then bade farewell, kissing the woman and her two babies, then seeking out their near four year old boys and hugging them soundly as his Claimer arrived to collect him.
Angelus, Lisbeth and the wiccan Kerryn arrived a month later. His seed had been collected. His eye was as healed as it might ever be, and he was ready, they were ready.
He knelt at his Suzerain’s feet.
“Please turn me… My Suzerain, my Claimer, my All… please make me… I wish to be your Childe.”
Lisbeth recognized the same words as she had expressed just before Angelus took her and smiled. It was about time.
Initially little was said to the cartels. It was a private matter.
Publicly, the Claimed Companion was recovering well from his ordeal until two nights before his turning when the ‘story’ was leaked to the press. Despite the Suzerain’s refusal to speak, a tearful Natte, breeder of the globally admired Companion, admitted that he had heard from the Suzerain’s staff that his former stud stallion and Claimed Companion was suffering a slow deterioration in health attributed to the kidnapping and subsequent torture. Natte’s story was not confirmed by the Suzerain’s surgeons directly, but public statements by eminent demon doctors consulted by the press as a consequence, fuelled the idea that humans, particularly Companions, were a rarefied breed, at risk if not treated with care, and requiring specialist attention and a capable master.
The tears Natte let fall for the camera were real, though few would understand that they were tears of utterly confused emotion. Natte was a demon, and a breeder of humans for whom he cared a great deal, just as any of his ancestral human breeders of horses or pets more than three centuries ago had cared for their ‘stallions and mares’.
Alexander had been his pride and joy as a youngster and the senior demon breeder had been, of late, genuinely pleased that the Suzerain had apparently taken such a shine to the Companion. Now, for such a powerful master vampire to choose to turn the boy was an extraordinary honour, and, in all honesty, a real feather in Natte’s cap… but he knew not to say that in his address to the press.
What the press did hear was that the breeder had been guaranteed that Alexander would milk his seed one last time before being turned. It was to be frozen and used as Natte saw fit, capable of producing twenty or so more children with Penny before he retired her – particularly if she continued to have twins and triplets with each pregnancy [the pretty woman shown sitting relaxed with three of her progeny for the cameras].
Natte related to another public interest show that the two had been his dream pair – both gentle, obedient and loyal, and both exquisite brunette, olive skinned, brown eyed beauties.
In private Natte had already told the Suzerain that by the time Penny was retired to ‘Grandma’ duties, the next tiny clone destined to be the pure breeding male of the line (cloned from the original Sunnydale Xander’s DNA) would be old enough to provide a seed harvest and her daughters already breeding.
The details of Alexander’s injuries and consequent failing were ‘leaked’ first to cartel leaders then to the outside world, and were so vague as to be accurate.
The press interviews with Cartel Leader Callam and one of the minions claiming to have witnessed Alexander’s rescue (the latter account later to be proven false) gave credence to the story that the Companion was in dire straights. Added to this was a set of four rather fuzzy ‘security’ images of an apparently ailing Companion resting on a sun lounge on the fourth level balcony. There was no doubt that the Companion had been gravely injured. Even the hospital records (illegally obtained) confirmed the same, yet the Suzerain was as enigmatic as ever.
His court observed the distress two days before the Companion’s turning as the supreme ruler entered the meeting room without his Pleasure Pet, his Claimed. The Suzerain’s first ever show of emotional vulnerability was met, very surprisingly, with an overwhelming wave of support from those under his rule.
Public support too, was quite extraordinary. The accounts of Alexander’s quiet forbearance of all the Suzerain and life had dealt him, his loving and loyal nature, his Claiming - all was reported and all fuelled the consequent press frenzy.
The public opinion was leaning strongly toward favouring that the Companion be turned, and many of the hard line cartel leaders were not far behind in agreeing it was the best option. Their motivation was to retain their Suzerain. With his Claimed at risk – human or no – there \\was a very real possibility that their supreme leader would perish along with his prized Companion. Much as they might not like the Master Vampire, he was a deadly, insightful and most determined leader, proving himself time and again to all of them be it by metering out merciless, swift vampire justice, or resolving a petty territorial issue.
For the ‘moderates’ in the Suzerain’s court, it was more a matter of noting (and welcoming) the slow change in the master vampire, a calming of sorts– still brutal when needed, but generally happier due to his gentle, loyal Companion. They observed him beginning to be kinder to his human and, given the very violent start to the Companion’s Claimed status, were relieved on a number of levels.
The kidnapping had been unprecedented and the retribution just, but the prospect of the Suzerain’s demise should his Claimed succumb and consequent leadership vacuum with resultant struggle for power, *unthinkable*.
A number of the more senior cartel leaders petitioned their ruler that they might offer counsel, and a few hours later were admitted to a meeting in which they all but begged the Suzerain to turn his chosen human. This was surprising enough but more interesting was the suggestion that Spike tie the Claimed Companion to his own soul, thereby ensuring the Childe remain happily subservient and allow the Suzerain comfort and companionship (i.e. retaining his position as Pleasure Pet for all time despite being turned).
They were unsurprised by the very vicious reaction when the reference to the soul was raised. Spike flying across the room to launch a lightening attack and savagely taking the blood of one of their number, but were also encouraged after the Suzerain pulled away from Renaldo’s neck, licked it closed, and simply said, “You are bold to suggest the same, but it will never be for you to decide.”
Spike could never admit he agreed in public but knew… the stage was set.
Angelus, Lisbeth arrived the next day, a wide eyed Lillie in tow.
Telescopic lenses and camera flashes greeted their limousine as they entered the compound abn/ alighted.
The early press reports of the last hours of the Companion and plan to turn the Claimed human sported photos of a family united, Angelus with a kind hand on his Mated Childe’s lower back and the grim expression of a Suzerain’s first about to support his Sire through the next two days.
The headlines screamed, “Critically damaged Claimed calls for Suzerain’s Bite”; “Suzerain promises No. 1 Companion Breeder failing Claimed’s seed”; and “First to play second for Sire in distress”.
The last article contained perhaps the most honest sentiment in the body of the text.
“The supreme leader of the demon cartels, Suzerain Spike (aka William the Bloody) has announced his intention to turn his very popular, failing human Claimed Companion.
“The former stud male and purpose trained and bred human has proven himself worthy of accepting the new status many times over, despite the dubious circumstances of his turning and consequent punishment. Cartel leaders across the globe have endorsed the act, claiming that the Suzerain, known for ruling with an extreme iron fist, is benefits greatly from the presence of his loyal Companion.
“It is well known that the Companion withstood brutal torture of recent times yet sadly has been dying slowly ever since as a direct consequence. According to medical experts specialising in Human Companions, there is no option, the Companion must be turned or will succumb. With public support at an all time high for the ruling family, messages of support have been flowing in from all corners of the globe.
“The First and his mate arrived late last night and though refusing to comment, were observed to be leading tiny human Lisbeth, the Companion’s devoted pet. It is therefore suspected that the draining will occur in the next twenty four desperate hours. A vigil by well wishers began at the gates of the compound as the First and entourage arrived.”
Behind the scenes could not have been more different.
There was quiet celebration. A birthday party, with cake and candles (which Lillie enthusiastically blew out prior to the end of the traditional human song), and there were kisses and hugs, and the red head ending up on Alexander’s knee.
“Didja know I’m three?”
“Really? Gosh you *are* a big girl then!”
“No I’m not! I’m little… Lisbeth said I am, a’cause I gotta wait till I c’n reach the handles afore I c’n do outside by myself.” Lillie sighed dramatically.
Alexander grinned and looked at Lisbeth who was smiling indulgently at the little human, “Well that’s probably just to keep you safe don’t you think?”
Lillie snuggled into his chest, earning another hug before astonishing the Companion with her next statement, “Angelus said you’ll be new tonight when you’re turned. So we c’n have birthdays together!... Umm… Will you get small again?”
Alexander roared laughing and an initially puzzled Lillie soon joined him as he pulled her away a little and bounced her vigorously on his knee then hugged her soundly.
Eventually Lillie was led from the room and settled for the night as the Suzerain nodded to his Childe and Mate and was left alone.
They showered and the Suzerain dressed his beloved in a loose white bath robe. Spike almost drawn to tears as the beauty of the young man seemed to be emphasised by tousled chocolate locks and glowing skin.
Alexander had not thought he would be afraid, indeed truly wished for the change, but old human instincts and the will to live would not be so easily thrown off.
As Spike settled beside him on their shared bed and stimulated him to near completion, all was well, but as the vampire bit deep and began to draw blood faster than the Companion had ever experienced before, simultaneously pulling his sex to completion, Alexander began to panic. He could feel his dear Claimer’s deep love and tender care flowing in waves as his blood was taken, but still struggled until there was no more blood to struggle with. He opened his mouth and drank down his soon to be Sire’s demon and bade farewell to the aches and chattels of mortal life.
His last utterance as human, “Lovvvv Y….” His mortal body struggled a little more, the soon to be demon sucked harder on the proffered wrist, then the Companion died.
The Suzerain’s mage invoked the spell securing Alexander’s soul. But it was a spell with a difference. All ‘Orbs of Thesula’ had been destroyed. Alexander’s vampire demon was tied to Spike’s soul. The three way tie was stronger than anything attempted previously. A Claimant, a Childe, and now Soul Mate by magic, there was no question of it failing. But still Angelus and later Lisbeth sat with their Sire, both gracing their Sire with their own blood periodically, and supporting their Suzerain as he waited worriedly, for his new Childe to rise.
On the second day of the vigil, Angelus decided to try to distract his Sire a little, so presented him with a report. “Lillie’s Lineage” was presented as a series of images and notes taken from the Channeller who had assisted with the investigation.
Spike sat with his dearly departed cradled in his lap (as had been the position for two days) as he watched the huge screen.
The Channeller was shown entering her trance and beginning to speak in a voice so quiet that even the vampires strained to hear. The volume on the digital delivery was increased but the message would have been just as compelling if silent.
“Willow never imagined her legacy...” and so the Channeller continued…
Despite Sunnydale Hellmouth being closed and the Black Thorn finding its LA end, several years after, they all knew that human power-games had determined the rest.
After the world darkened with toxic winter, Willow and Kennedy were shown going to ground.
Luckily they had been in England not South America at the time the human race damned itself for all time. They sheltered underground with their fellow witches and lasted for a time, even being shown managing to contact Xander and Giles a few weeks into the man made apocalypse. At the time the two old friends were safe and well, and as ‘chipper’ as one could hope for when in a bunker under the new Watchers’ council headquarters.
Images from a year later told a different story. Kennedy was dead along with five other of their number.
The remaining wiccans all agreed in a last call, desperate vote, to venture from their secure shelter. The very valid argument was that if they did not find new water – even if it needed de-contaminating for weeks – they would run out of drinking water in just under six months.
The consequent breaches in the wards around their space in order to venture to the surface and tap into any available water sources (five years on from ‘the blackening’) did not go unnoticed. Within days their compound was invaded and all captured, the magical women prized by their demon captors less for their magical abilities than the fact that they were well and of breeding age.
Three weeks of semi-sedated, blindfolded, hands tied and mouth gagged later, the women had learned to curl up in their tiny individual cages, if possible pushing skin against metal so they might touch another through the wire for a little comfort. All in the holding venue desperately accepted the drugged food and drink they were fed once a day, and learned quickly not to utter a sound when the gag was removed to eat, for fear of a beating.
On the fifteenth day of their capture the lights flicked up to high and ten or more demons entered to claim their purchases. The humans had been sold. Live human women, ripe for the picking in a desperate world.
The demon who had purchased Willow and two others was wary of all magical ability, as they all swiftly found out. Within a week they had been left to their own devices in the enclosure, and though bound, had begun to chant a portal spell to attempt an escape.
Within seconds of them starting, their owner was alerted of the attempt by his own mage. They were hit by tranquilizing darts less than two seconds later, and their demon master was counselled that permanently silencing the women was the only solution. It was to be done swiftly and without malice, though the attempt to escape did require that they all be reprimanded first. The three woke gagged, bound and left helpless for a full day in a humiliating body sling, high up near the rafters of their shelter, an example to others.
Lowered to the ground Willow and her fellow wiccans had been anaesthetized and woke to find that chanting was no longer an option. That night they had cried in silence, no longer possessing a working larynx and aware enough to have understood the threat that if this did not ‘address their aberrant behaviour’ then a tongue removal would result.
In her third month of captivity, Willow and her two fellow wiccans again felt the sting of a dart only to wake on their backs, their arms, torso and forehead strapped to a table, buttocks at the edge and legs strung up in medical stirrups, leaving them utterly open and exposed. They were examined internally, efficiently and in silence, then injected with some sort of hormone, and… something else… two days later the process was repeated.
By the end of the week there was a slight change in the process. Willow came to, aware enough to note a softly spoken demon dressed in a one piece white, sterile jumpsuit consulting with another regal looking female individual in what could only be described as a purple caftan. They poked and prodded her before injecting her with… oh?! ten… nine… black…
Two months on and she knew instinctively. She was with child. She and her wiccan sisters were kept in a smallish, padded enclosure, fed well, and treated with relative kindness as they all grew large, their unborn children thriving in vitro.
Three years later found Willow the mother of one and about to deliver her first set of twin girls. She was now housed with three others, all fellow, voiceless wiccans. Her owner was a kind, but old school demon and kept her breeders isolated from the outside world. The breeding of humans was still being perfected, and the owners of the more refined strains met frequently. Years later they would form a powerful group allied to the Suzerain, but in Willow’s declining years their influence was still to blossom.
Willow’s children were all redheads with magical abilities. She was allowed daily contact with the other breeding women but at night the little girls were housed with their mother, all sleeping on a soft communal mat and instinctively cuddling together for warmth and comfort. The two tiniest ones hardly woke as they rolled over, found their mother’s breast and fed when needed. From the age of two until ten the children were taken daily to be trained for their role in the now trendy mode ‘Companion’ for their demon masters. In the very early days Willow had tried to object but repeated days of being chained to the wall of the enclosure later, she had stopped fighting. She recognised the genuine care the owner demons had for her children, and with no other choice available, she eventually bent to her breeder’s will.
Ten years on… Her owner had been showing someone else around the stud farm, they often had many demon visitors of late, as her Master’s farm was well run and making significant profits apparently. Willow lifted her gaze for a moment and almost fainted.
From her position on the floor, collar in place and lead loose, she stared over at her old friend with such a maelstrom of emotion that she was unsure whether to laugh hysterically, or collapse in grief, but just at that moment the unborn she carried kicked hard and her fourteen month old began to cry. Her milk dropped and her Owner recognized the scent immediately, nodding that she might move. Willow rested against the wall nearest her Demon Master, looked lovingly, and apologetically to Xander before collecting her first borne to her breast and feeding the fussing little redhead. The little child calmed, and even from his submissive position, Xander could see the scaly grey hand stroking Willow’s back as their two Masters spoke of their luck at finding breeding age humans.
The two breeding ‘Companions’ ‘ex-Scoobies’ Willow and Xander were observed to exchange a look of sad understanding. Both were obviously well treated and had been saved the ravages of the radiation and mayhem above ground, but their fight to save the world from demons had proven in vain – not because of any failure on their part, but because of the very species they were trying to save.
Willow’s line would eventually include thirteen breeding daughters all bred of the same Sire. Xander’s progeny and consequent offspring were an unknown number, though the direct clones were well documented.
Willow had apparently cried when she found out the true father of all her daughters, over hearing her owner saying that a werewolf answering to Oz had been ‘convinced’ to donate his seed before succumbing to a mutant strain of golden staphylococcus infection.
The children were all female as the breeder insisted, petite, intelligent and beautiful. Willow and Oz’s eventual legacy was a line of women sporting red hair, green eyes and pale skinned without exception and, as Willow’s daughters were paired with a male of similar looks and a history of magical connections, their tendency for ‘other worldliness’ was maintained in every child for three generations.
The archives noted that Willow had passed away of heart failure as she attempted to deliver her thirteenth child. Four generations later, the refined of the line were being trained as human breeders and Companions whose magical energies were painlessly tapped into as they slept, whenever needed by their owners. Sadly when their breeder’s establishment was raided and eighteen of the breeding great-granddaughters stolen from two of the enclosures, the result was disastrous.
The feral human group ‘liberated’ the terrified pregnant women with little thought for their ability to fend for themselves. Within a year all but three had died of starvation, complications in childbirth or ‘misadventure’. A lucky two followed a bold young male who was convinced that the northern most tip of what had previously been Ireland was ‘clean’. After nine weeks of life threatening travel carrying tiny children and a perilous night boat journey, they found an isolated enclave of feral humans willing to ‘take them in’.
Years later, a particularly brutal raid would find many of their magical redheaded females claimed as property by a gentle young demon, Sean.
Eventually Sean’s Lillie had been a survivor from the same farm.
Angel smiled as he listened to the ‘Channeller’ once more. His Sire too was smiling at the news. Their tiny charge Lillie was indeed one of Willow’s line, Sean had seen to that. And it made sense. She was sweet and devoted, and without a doubt, magically gifted.
As the happy news was relayed, Lisbeth also reported finding her with a bedroom full of toys spinning around the room and the tiny redhead giggling with delight after only her second month of training in the magical arts.
For Spike, there was really no question of Lillie moving back with he and Alexander, as he had repeatedly observed Angelus casually petting the little girl just as tenderly as he stroked his own Childe, and wondered at how different the behaviour was to when the same being (the original Angelus) had been his own Sire.
But Spike’s attention was redirected with urgency and reverie abandoned as the mage began to chant and his new Childe rose.
Alexander burst to unlife suddenly around seven at night in a panicked flurry of flailing limbs. Confused and without compass, he attempted to make sense of his world, but there were heart beats and sounds bright lights and… he stilled, remembered, and relaxed against the firm, pale chest, accepting the strong arms encircling him and giving in to the sense of pure joy.
He was Alexander, Claimed Companion… now second Childe of the Suzerain… and he could *feel* the change… the power… the love… the scent of his maker…
He did the only thing a fledge in his situation might, whispering, “Sire” he began to cry as he changed face then buried his fangs into his Sire’s chest and took his rising feed.
Minutes later he fed from Angelus and Lisbeth… Family was all.
Part 23 FINAL
The youngest Aurelian vampire relaxed back onto his pillow as soon as the wrists were licked closed. Spike squeezed his boy’s shoulder and whispered “Back in a tick Pet” before giving Angelus and Lisbeth a pointed look, they both rose from the bed and kissed Alexander in turn before heading for the door. Spike rose also and walked his first Childe and Grandchilde to the door offering an open wrist to each for a cursory taste… they both knew. The Leader of the Aurelian Cartel and the Suzerain of the known demon world said nothing but held Lisbeth and Angelus’ gaze for just a moment, his love for them and his thanks expressed far more eloquently than might ever have been expressed in words.
His fledge was needy as was to be expected, and for the first three days after his turning, fed almost continuously and directly from Spike. The effect was twofold – the Sire/Childe bond was *wide* open and enhanced by the pre-existing Claimed status, and the dear youngster had a constant erection and came so many times on the first day that his Sire bound him in a very snug ‘cock ring’ on day two. Joyfully, his dear Sire released the ring, whispered “Cum for me Childe” then sank his fangs into the very new vampire as his own cold seed filled the cool channel and Alexander came so hard that he collapsed under his Sire, only to wake in bliss, bound once more, to do it again, and again.
It was five days before Lillie was allowed to attend the newly arisen Chosen Companion now Childe, and even then the little human was flanked by Angelus and Lisbeth with the Mistress Janet bringing up the rear. They were prepared to whisk her away at any moment should the young vampire prove dangerous. But need not have worried. The young fledge was tied so tightly to his Sire and their now shared soul that there was no question of an attack.
Lillie escaped her carers the minute she entered the room, rushed forward and bounced onto the couch and into the young vampire’s arms.
For Alexander the experience was somewhat confusing. The excited chatter and enthusiastic hug from the little girl whom he knew so well was now confused with the clear sound of her heartbeat, her noticeably warm skin, her unique scent and unmistakable ‘magical prickle’. He struggled for a time – particularly with the lub-dub of the heart – a siren’s song calling the young vampire to feed and had him turning to his Sire for guidance. Spike moved to stand behind his second Childe, gently resting a steadying hand on Alexander’s shoulder and softly rubbing his thumb over the turning bite.
On his thirty seventh day as a vampire, collar still in place and the turning bite obvious, he was ready to be introduced to a Special Gathering of the Cartels. The leaders had all received the demand to attend and suspected the cause. Without exception all leaders replied with their intent to attend.
Lisbeth and the Mistress had counselled and trained Alexander after his turning, though there was little to teach as the dear Companion had spent so much of his rarefied human existence gaining the strength, speed and knowledge to serve his Claimer. It was Lisbeth that gave him ‘the talk’ on the night before the Cartel meeting - the night of his Mating with his Sire. Only she knew the joyous feel of being as one with Sire.
With but twelve hours to wait before the Suzerain was to meet his ‘lieutenants’, he carefully, lovingly, washed his beloved second Childe, and in the warmth of the shower, with vanilla scented lubricant slicking both excited members and the Claimed’s passage, they coupled joyously with all the ritual words and three witnesses, Angelus, Lisbeth and Janet. All were rather tearful as they chimed in with their ritual words endorsing the coupling.
At the conclusion of the private ceremony, Angelus had carried his now little brother and the Mistress Janet gently lifted their Sire to the Suzerain’s bed so both were able to rest prior to the challenging meeting ahead. They all knew, with Alexander’s basic nature being preserved courtesy of the tie to the Suzerain’s soul, the hardest lesson would be for Alexander to realize his exalted status as the Suzerain’s Childe, and not just a human, albeit formerly a Claimed Companion.
As Alexander entered the full gathering of Cartel leaders and entourages behind his Sire, the entire room felt the ripple in the magical fabric and, quite amazingly, all knelt.
The Claimed Companion now Childe was unique. Despite what was now deemed as a demeaning collar still in place, his signature was that of a vampire three hundred times his senior… indeed the age of the Suzerain. Those in the group old enough to understand the implications, fell to their knees dragging their entourages with them and all pledged their allegiance to the Suzerain once more. To do anything less was… dust. The Suzerain was in no mood for dissent. One cartel leader was a second too slow and had the ‘wrong expression’. The cleaning equipment was automatically deployed to remove the sprinkle of grey powder that left behind. The Suzerain’s brutality was legendary but few in the inner circle of leadership had seen such swift action.
As Lisbeth and Angelus, and Mistress Janet with Lillie in tow, joined the Suzerain and his Claimed at the front of the meeting room, all present paled at the sheer power they felt flowing from the ruling family, with the Suzerain’s magical signature so strong now that it was… compelling and, reassuring. They were led by a being so unique and now more stable ,courtesy of the newly made Childe/Mate, that there was no longer a question of challenge his lead or question final decisions.
There would be tricky meetings with Alexander’s family ahead and his new status certainly would not stop all challengers to the Suzerain’s crown, but the Suzerain now had a far more deadly protector than his minions. Alexander honed his vampiric skills, marrying them easily with his already adept human ability for martial arts (and all other forms of ‘sport’) with the Mistress as stern task master. For now the cartels were at peace, with a ruling family that operated apparently contentedly and certainly acted easily as one.
By the third week, Alexander quelled his bloodlust under his Sire’s guidance and swiftly fell back into his regular role in the family – that of Sire’s chosen, while outside acting as the perfect vampire Mate, even being near drained and brought to completion in front of the court on their third meeting together (an act that led to seventeen members of the sixty present to release on the spot, whilst others excused themselves to do ‘whatever it took’).
They had a long unlife ahead – the powers willing… And there was family in all directions… In the early hours of Sunday morning Alexander settled to suckle on a special treat, blood from the bite just above his Sire’s right nipple. Meanwhile Spike counted his blessings.
His role as Suzerain would never be easy, but as his dear (now) Mate squirmed to gain more contact. His beautiful unlife partner, his Mate, the boy who was so like a friend of old and had enabled him to love and be loved unconditionally, despite the odds, his new Childe, indeed now his *two* Childer and Grandchilde brought a grounding and a joy he had not experienced before in his long life.
They were strong as individuals, but now truly whole as family. Lillie would be turned if she wished it, otherwise enjoy her life as treasured wiccan with the ‘royal family’ and the ‘Dowager Aunt’ Janet would remain a treasured confidant and trainer. The latest of the original Xander’s clones would be of breeding age on Natte’s farm in less than two years whilst the last of Xander and Penny’s offspring grew into two glorious brunette female breeders.
They all knew that there would be many challenges to the Suzerain’s rule but only months after Alexander’s turning, all in the family realised that this was their private life now, and apparently would be many years to come. In public the face was always a carefully planned on, in private, tantrums, consensual torture, tears and titillation were all welcome… as was the hug and the kiss… and the joyous rise to climax, pleasured to ecstasy by their beloved.
It was now a tiny, private ritual of his own before he fell asleep. Each pre dawn bedding down, Alexander stroked his collar two or three times, then his missing eye and finally his turning mark, before sending a message of thanks to the gods and snuggling into his Sire’s arms… Who would have imagined that a mere human might be so *very* lucky.