He would have snorted if he could have… but no… that was no longer an option except on a Sunday evening when his stiff form sagged, breathed… and cried.
Who knew Anya’s dying thoughts as she bled out after they were attacked by the First’s forces would have been, “Last night…thank you…love you… wish you were… even… in a few years… you… sex toy… every day… someone to love … always the man… give… orgasms… Xander… Love…”
D’Hoffran stood over his most successful vengeance demon and simply said, “My darling Anyanka, for you… It is done.”
Four years later, after Africa for two volunteering in malaria ridden Mozambique, and visiting Willow then Buffy in Europe (and feeling decidedly like they had all moved on), he wandered back to California, and ended up in San Francisco.
He had been fortunate to secure a job quickly though the apartment was a different issue. With little collateral he ended up subletting above, of all things, a shop specialising in the ‘occult’. For the most part it was simply a lot of herbal tea, strange looking rocks, pendants and artefacts, and incense – lots and lots of incense!
The very beautiful, rather enigmatic, Hispanic male who ran the establishment, Santiago, claimed his grandfather had been of the original Mayan people adding that, in his day he had been a lay healer of great power (admitting later that the family had skipped the Mexican border and he had tended gardens for cash to support his family). Nevertheless, Xander was a man who had grown up on the Hellmouth and could but wonder...
There had only been three people through the shop that night, he had checked his Email and sat online for more than his budget could afford, but Willow *had* to come through.
His life had been drifting of late – though he was ‘staying above water’, at least that’s what his latest LJ said to the ‘friended’. He thanked various folks who had replied for posting encouragement then wandered downstairs. The ‘Hey’ to Santiago was habitual but no less affectionate, the man had been nothing but supportive, and appreciated Xander’s understanding of the 'other'.
But off work and two hours and four beers later, Xander found himself standing in front of an ‘Adult Entertainment’ shop. It was Buffy’s birthday, and she had admitted on MSN that the Immortal was ‘it’ for her… for as long as… ever… and it was her twenty-ninth (and did any woman get any older?!) and so… what does a good friend buy?
He grinned and wandered in. Surely that Immortal guy would enjoy some blue fluffy cuffs. It would be the ultimate *go for it* present… and would apparently be no problem through customs – especially Europe (and there was a weird wink that went with that that was all too… well just… all with the odd). His present needed to be all legitimately packaged and labelled these days due to the laws, then shipped pronto to arrive by Buffy’s birthday in five days via express post…
He paid on his card and pleased that the guy was still talking to him… but he was beginning to feel decidedly odd. He thought he saw the man’s eyes change but was feeling a little too queasy to decide then saw a flash, heard chanting and recognised only two words of English in the incantation, “Sex Toy.”
He had woken, completely sentient but utterly inanimate in the corner of the same shop he had so recently wandered around. Apparently his package had been sent but his now utterly stiff arms had ‘fluffy cuffs’ attached. His plasticised nether regions were unnecessarily bound as an example and his rear was currently filled with an upmarket vibrating plug. He wondered how many other of the twenty or so mannequins were ex humans trapped as he was.
Fortunately, six months on, *this* week there had only been the standard small cock gags – his permanently slightly open jaw really did not lend itself to anything larger and some of the larger balls were positively horrible. He also objected to the one or two college boys that seemed to delight in lifting out the gag and pushing their fast food papers or … worse into his mouth. But the experimental ‘spanking the dummy’ by drunken twenty somethings of a Friday night, or worse, and the numerous giggling, tentative caresses of 'hens night' ladies over his tightly bound, permanently erect member… pure torture… and even worse (for no reason he could account for) the agony if it happened to be a male doing the touching.… And he had plenty of time to contemplate but had utterly no explanation.
So each day, he simply stared ahead as his limbs were moved in impossible directions and his nether regions (well endowed apparently) and all were dressed… or not… and he waited... for Sunday night... his only reprieve... when he simply collapsed onto the floor still touching his stand, accessories attached or embedded and rarely any hope of removal. But at least he was able to slump and cry and sleep, and wake on his stand, to wonder whether it had really happened, whether he was real any more.
He had tried to move away early in his time as mannequin, but found himself unable to detach from his base. There was a chain and padlock around knees, so he could not be stolen it seemed. He could slump but regardless of struggle, was trapped and condemned to simply slide down his pole and rest for a time.
At least he was the upmarket model, actually designed for pleasure rather than the shop floor, nevertheless, six months on had him utterly resigned to the idea that his nether regions would be used for demonstration and left on show rather than the lucky ‘boy next door’ Jacob (who Xander always wondered regards any former human existence) was purchased, folded into a large box, and removed.
Then it was apparently his turn, but he just knew… demon magnet to the end! It was a vampire (obviously a minion) who ‘convinced’ Emilio to let him have the attractive life sized male for a significant discount provided other toys were purchased.
The former human was consequently ‘folded’ into the box and transported to places unknown. It was Sunday evening, all he could do was pull his now manoeuvrable knees to his chest and sob. There was no point in fighting, he would be inanimate again in less than six hours… and at least he was out of the shop… How bad could that be?
Spike’s soul had endured the Black Thorn debacle, but like any soul faced with watching loved ones die, it had been with a price. His humour for one, and his willingness to operate as anything other than Master vampire *outside* the Senior Partners *and* the Powers that Whatevered! He had been played so many times, in so many ways, for so many… many years…
He had watched in horror as his Sire or GrandSire or CEO or friend… *who cared* the definition, take out the dragon but in the process was neatly beheaded and exploded into dust.
Who knew if the Shanshu would find Angel reborn as human baby, or simply manifested in another dimension or hell. And who knew where Illyria went in the blast that had finally repelled the hoards.
Charles had died in his arms as the demon God eliminated their foe just too late and ripped away everything he still trusted or loved in the process.
He had left LA in a distraught daze, finally giving in to an inexplicable magical pull.
Like the spiritual journey stories of old, and his own African flight, he took himself to the desert, but not a local one. Never doing anything by halves he had stowed away on a ship – going… anywhere - and landing on the Australian coast, the container he was in carrying heavy mining equipment destined for a dealer somewhere in the mid west Queensland mining town of Mt Isa.
The container was opened and he surreptitiously departed his confines, fed on two drunken individuals (consensually and non-fatally) then fled. For weeks he wandered, feeding on stray cattle and occasional wild pig and brumby, and hiding in abandoned mine shafts and under scorching hot old equipment or rocks during the day. It was miserable, that bit seemed to fit... but it still felt wrong, he needed something more.
Eventually he found his way on into a rail truck filled with ore from the mines.
Covered in a tarpaulin and 'offloaded' at the coast, he jumped ship again, this time on a ship filled with raw copper ore destined for China. The rather over-populated, yet oddly familiar, chaos that was modern China, yet he was still dissatisfied and rather annoyed by the Master Vampire of Beijing – pretentious and vain at only fifty years young who insisted that he constantly attend 'His Red Court'. Spike declined after the second time and headed for desolate Mongolia.
As in Australia, he sought out the isolation, apparently needing it to effectively augment his pain to the point of numbness. He ate little and was all but catatonic when the elderly Xu Pa Lao found him. The elderly demon, a local reclusive ‘shaman’ of sorts, had taken him back to a tiny hut and literally nursed him back to health on a combination of horse blood, yak milk and foul smelling herbal teas of various varieties.
In the end it was their long talks in a combination of broken Mandarin, Russian and a dialect of Fyarl that brought the closure he needed. And seven months after the disastrous Black Thorn venture, he took the old man’s permission to cry, curling up in a ball head on a goat skin covered lap and sobbing for what seemed like hours while a wrinkled bronzed hand softly stroked his now unruly hair.
It was the watershed he needed, his soul and demon equally grieving, equally reconciled, equally deciding to go on, though to where he wasn’t sure. Strangely it was Pa Lao who prompted his shift to San Francisco…in a bizarre twist of fate the old healer’s granddaughter and her husband (also of demon decent) ran a small, successful, herbalist shop in Chinatown. They had ‘connections’ and for a small fee were prepared to accommodate the Master Vampire gratis – so long as he did them (and all in Chinatown – demons and humans) one small favour…
Strangely it had been the proverbial a walk in the park really. A challenge, the dusting of five or so minions (stupid ones at that) then an easy draining of the overconfident thirty something young ‘Master’ who had, for ten years, been sucking the region dry… of both funds and clientele via a protection racket that could only be described as school yard antics (though later Spike learned, had been started *prior* to the individual's vampire days!).
The result was a dusty one, Spike swiftly adopted as the new leader of the region, and the rules changed. He was so much older, had been through… things… and had a reputation that preceded him in every demon quarter. Ruthless in his sweep, he had shifted the protection to *real* protection, negotiating as any legitimate businessman might, and personally eliminating those who objected. It was mere weeks later – after a minor ‘player’ dared challenge him and lost… that things settled and Spike aka William the Bloody, ensouled vampire and survivor of the Black Thorn offensive, became the Master of the entire Bay Region.
Admittedly, he gave in to his vampiric nature and enjoyed his undead, respected status in San Francisco. The local demon and human population welcomed his company, as his lessons of the deserts and resulting centeredness (along with truly beautiful late twenties male appearance) seemed to attract others as moths to a flame. But Spike refused any emotional engagement – indeed if he was serviced it seemed he was utterly detached, bringing his partner(s) for the night to conclusion with as much passion as one might if merely playing an average game of Scrabble. He now understood the Immortal a little more…as apparently his liaisons were also, to a fault, “most satisfactory” according to rumor, and he learned the power of ‘gentle persuasion’ – or a good spanking depending on the request!
Spike had his minions, and money, and was the darling of the rich and infamous, it was enough, but Xu Li Wa (Pa Lao’s daughter) believed his ‘balance’ needed addressing. The minion who she had spoken to regarding the same did his best to interpret the rather cryptic, “The Master needs to service – as well as being serviced. He needs to explore and question. It will only make him stronger.”
The minion, a former pole dancer at one of San Fran’s less reputable establishments, put his own spin on the message. He loved his Master *dearly*, his unlife now full of safe sex (with other fellow pretty minions and a few demons besides) and servitude, which just felt… right... wonderful in fact! The end result was an urgent trip to a non-local Adult Shop and consequent delivery of a large number of items including a full sized male mannequin, which he was guaranteed had ‘anatomically correct parts’ and brought a ‘magical quality’ to any bedroom.
Xander could hear a muffled conversation from his folded position in the box, but, no longer able to move, simply waited, as he had learned to do over the months of his current predicament… or was that permanent state? If he could cry out at that thought he would have, but instead focused on the situation at hand.
The first voice was raised in anger, “And why the *bloody hell* am I supposed to be assisted by this… ‘gift’? And please…*do* be specific.” Xander distinctly heard a growl and a corresponding whimper.
“She… that is Xu Li and then I… but it was because… youneeditmaster! ForyourhealthMaster… Please don’t dust me Master, *please*... I just thought…”
Xander listened to the feet shuffling, and even muted he knew that sound… So many nights dressed in the ‘kinky black blindfold’ or the ‘full hood’ in the shop had taught him to recognise sounds he had never realised existed. And now, confined in his box, with all the other toys, he interpreted the scene easily. The well meaning minion was released from the wall, the fangs and scrambled away from his assailant.
“Alright… you *twonk* But next time… *ask*!... And you can expect to send things back in the morning needs be…but… Don’t bloody grovel! Oh Bloody Hell!!! Here! I'll sort it... Go find one of them pretty boyfriends o' yours and get your own rocks off.”
Xander heard a faint slurping sound and knew the minion was being given a few drops of the master’s blood before another scramble sound and a door slamming. Then his world was filled with artificial light as the box was torn away.
“Holy…??? Alright, what’s that bloody idiot…”
Fifty or so different items fell to the floor, including his own, folded and very well ‘bound’, self.
Spike left him there, pulling the plastic packet of warrantees and instructions from the mix, all the while mumbling “As if I need *another* bloody Buffybot! Geez what are these people thinking… High Master with detachment needs the love of latex… Wankers!”
But the rant stopped as his form was lifted into its upright position and leather mask removed The Vampire Master of the Bay Region took an unnecessary breath and moment to compose himself as he inspected the figure, then in a near inaudible baritone said, “Bloody hell, Harris, never figured you to agree to model for this… Wonder how many more of you are floatin’ around bringin’ pleasure to the SF mob…Glad ta see they replaced the eye though…” Spike trailed off and a cool hand stroked around the glass eye that had been inserted, now no different to its counterpart in appearance.
Xander again wished he could cry… but it wasn’t Sunday… He had learned to wait…
Spike’s hand gently stroked down the face and neck, then over the soft latex nipples, and Xander wondered what exactly he had done to wind up in Hell! Oh, he had been touched, explored, good lord, he’d had every orifice filled and fondled for ‘educational and promotional’ purposes in the shop! But this was different… This was… the ultimate torture… Soft caresses, tentative, almost tender touches… and his chest ached so, and he wished even harder that he might cry… now! How long could it *be* until Sunday?!! And even if he had the chance to again grieve his plight...would Spike already have sent him back to the shop by then?
Spike’s hands were room temperature – as was the surface he touched. The Master closed his own eyes as he traced over permanently taught nipples with their grotesque clamps and chains, removing them as he went, then slid his soft strokes down to a member encased in a full leather sheath. He unzipped the restraint and undid the snaps that held the surprisingly soft latex scrotum. Stroking over the area and up the surprisingly realistic penis, Spike fancied he felt a jolt of magical energy but dismissed it as mere fancy brought on by the likeness he was now touching.
The boy had never really been on his dial as far as sex was concerned, though this more lean familiar figure called to him somehow. He idly fingered the controls for the butt plug that apparently came as ‘standard’ and could be used on ‘friends or family as desired’, the instructions even mentioning that under-age and non-consensual use of the implement was ‘ill advised’ and that the company would not be held liable. Xander was stimulated beyond belief, his permanently hard member literally aching for release. All he could do was ride it out… And then everything stopped.
Spike gathered up the various items that had been supplied with his new toy and threw them into a shopping bag before lifting the life sized figure into his half empty bedroom closet, placing the bag at its feet and closing the door.
The closet was opened twice in the ensuing three days, and in that time Xander listened to the vampire not so much bedding others but simply bringing them pleasure in exchange for a freely given fresh blood supply.
The fourth day, Saturday, he was pulled free of his dark storage and flung onto the bed by a very drunk and strangely angry vampire.
“F#$^ing wankers! Think they can take me out… I’ll bloody show *them* who is gonna be taken out…! Now come on sweetheart let’s you an’ I have a gooooood F@#$ing shag ehhh?”
The mannequin found himself swiftly manoeuvred to face down with hips the end of the bed and permanent plug removed. A condom covered, lubed vampire member swiftly replaced the artificial one and Xander felt his prostate relentlessly massaged as Spike rutted the almost warm plastic without thought and finally came with what Xander could easily mistake as an anguished cry.
Xander wished he could die, but suspected that that was no longer possible but registered that his back was a little damp and that Spike’s eyes were puffy and rather bloodshot when he lifted the inanimate partner from the bed and shoved him roughly back into his closet.
Spike looked at the doll one more time before closing the door, knelt down and rearranged the collapsed figure more gently, then belatedly covered its nudity with an old towel. As he closed the door, he found himself strangely tearful again and wished for companionship and in a strange sort of a way, wished the doll was real…just wished…
Xander realized he was comfortable, not chained and covered in something soft as he came to. It was dark and smelt of… leather and a little of moth balls and… strangely clove cigarettes and lavender. He remembered being put back in the closet, and wasn’t *that* an ironic term, then recalled Spike’s tears, and took much of his few hours of freedom processing the idea that Spike was alive… and now in control of a whole region of demons… and was… lonely.
If Xander knew nothing he had known that feeling for his whole life, despite good friends and a fiancée whom *he* abandoned, he had always felt the odd one out… seeking companionship… love… someone to embrace and adore him for who he was… but now… was no more. Instead he unzipped his bound member, sucked on the gag that was a regular part of his attire now, and brought himself to a very much deserved climax, with (to his own surprise) his current owner in mind.
Had Spike been there, he would have heard the sobbing then panting and a muffled cry from the cupboard, but the vampire had been ‘required’ at an altercation between two demon factions downtown. His late afternoon arrival (via tunnels) was marked by an obvious gasp of at least three quarters of the two ‘ready to brawl’ groups (both sides including young, human males).
He was over this rubbish, and before anyone even registered the move, had torn out the throats of *both* demon gang leaders and staked them (one in the third eye and the other the base of his tail – containing his heart) for good measure. There was no finesse, simply cold hearted efficiency. The rest of the two gangs were utterly riveted to the spot, so perfectly situated for Spike’s “Dust anyone not loyal an’ turn the idiots who want so much to ‘play’” instructions to his own minions.
Nevertheless, the aftermath had taken some hours to sort out, various young demons being returned to their clans, their sworn allegiance to the Bay Master in some cases causing familial strife, but in the end it seemed to work its way out… as it always did.
Xander heard Spike’s return, but it was just a little too late. He had cried for most of the night amongst the familiar smells and warmth of the old towel and had so hoped to convey the reality that was his now but as the front door slammed behind his ‘owner’, he felt the swift stiffening and realigning of parts (his nether regions in particular). He tried to express his dismay but this merely meant his mouth was in the convenient ‘O’ he had been sporting when purchased.
A single tear would escape post change, but sadly went unnoticed as the vampire dragged him from his storage cupboard, flung him over the end of the nearest chaise lounge, ripped out “Your bloody stopper” as Spike had begun to call it, and rutted so hard and fast that Xander, in a strangely detached mood following the change, wondered if it could actually be captured on film.
The force of Spike’s thrusts lifted the mannequin off the end of the couch, literally impaling him on the vampire’s shaft, and striking Xander’s prostate *over and over*… bliss and hell all over… It did not particularly hurt even though the shaft was a little on the dry side…but oh what he would not do to come… just once more… But that would have to be *next* Sunday!
The following morning, Spike rolled over only to find the mannequin in bed with him and was a little puzzled that he could not remember removing the gag or the toy’s restraint, but put it down to his own state of mind the previous evening. He looked down at the pretty face, a poor replica of an old colleague, a brother in arms, and wondered what had ever happened to the boy to cause him to offer himself as a template for a sex toy.
Spike had company and business to attend to. He refitted the ‘standard storage fittings’, adding ankle and wrist cuffs and the bar restraints, then placed his comfort toy back in the cupboard where Xander stayed like some bizarre puppet, gag and bindings all returned to their rightful spots and forcing the former human to remain open and filled, unmoving even on his three days where there were few hours’ reprieve on his ‘Sad Sundays’.
After three weeks away and the house utterly silent, he heard the minions rushing about pre-empting the distinct smell of leather, tobacco and… Spike. But still he waited in the dark, occasional flashes of light as the door was opened and boots flung in at the other end of the closet, and he wondered if he was to be one of those flash in the pan toys that was forgotten for so long that eventually they were just thrown out. He was pretty sure that if he was put in a garbage crusher that would be the end, his plastic form no match for the powerful compacting plates. He dwelt on the thought for nearly two days, at first dreading, but finally … wishing for it as he lay in the dark.
Thursday evening after nearly a month of neglect, he was taken out and this time simply had his mouth used, rather carefully if he was truthful, by a rather upset Spike who had apparently just ‘been with someone’ but as usual had not satisfied his own needs. That was followed by Saturday and the usual harsh, drunken entry and fast finish. Xander blacked out with the sheer force of the final finish.
It was late Sunday afternoon and he stretched a little and felt a strange ‘plop’, belatedly realising what that meant… He had woken, not in the cupboard, but in Spike’s bed, his owner still embedded in him and now… not.
He panicked, and was unsure what he should do, he had always been in private and bound tight when this happened, and although that had caused its own grief, it was at least clear as to what he needed to do… After the first few weeks of struggling, and consequently returning to his inert form in very uncomfortable positions, only to be forcibly rearranged, he had come to the point where, after just over a year as sex toy, he accepted the fact that he would be either on display, used, or packed away. But now… ?!
Several hours later he was still lying next to a vampire he had thought dead after Sunnydale and was now the Master of the Bay Area?! *And* he had no idea what to do. He wasn’t even sure if he still breathed, fairly certain he didn’t normally, and knew he didn’t feel hungry any more but for a few hours a week. In that moment, Spike ‘the snugly master vampire’ rolled over, pulled him close and re-entered him, his minor movements and temporary heat stimulating the vampire’s early morning interest. And, strangely, the, for now, living breathing sex toy felt the entry completely.
After so many months of being penetrated with no ability to interact, he pushed back into the feeling, foregoing any concept that prior to his change he had not even contemplated an ‘evening with Spike’, his now human form revelled in the freedom to move with the only act that was able to afford any pleasure in his new existence.
Spike roused a little then held him closer, sped up his thrusting and bit down on a neck that had so recently been synthetic.
Spike came hard, condom free and Xander experienced the bliss of coming for the first time since… forever it seemed. The still half asleep Spike sliced his tongue and laved the wound of his lover closed causing his lover to begin to climax, just as Xander’s change occurred, he stiffened and came, but didn’t, immobile once more… the liquid spilling from his permanent erection was his owner’s, Spike’s, ejaculate. His toy state designed to pump any fluids through a single slim channel and give the impression of climax if that was the owner’s desire.
He cried internally with anguish as he lay in the arms of someone he now knew he was coming to truly yearn for, even love, but was unable to express.
As Spike woke properly with his own release, he wondered a little at the blood tasted in his mouth, but put it down to the bitten tongue, realised he had used his toy as a result of a very strange dream then consequently cursed and pulled the doll to the bathroom to unceremoniously flush out the channel, Xander registered the horror as the water being forced into his behind was now forming an elegant arc via his upright member and hitting the shower wall (A special design to ‘assist owners’ meet health standards).
Spike dried him off as he might a car or a cooking pot, then lifted him fireman carry style, flung him on the bed and swiftly reapplied his ‘standard storage inserts and restraints’, all the while cursing himself for his own drinking the night before, the willingness to partner with an inanimate object, and his obvious desperate need for a *real* partner.
Nevertheless, Spike positioned Xander carefully, even taking the time to cushion his bound head with an old duffle bag, and cover the torso and unnecessarily hobbled legs with an ancient army blanket. And at the last minute, on a whim, he kissed the cold plastic forehead.
As the door closed, he welcomed the dark… and realised that after that exquisite experience, so cut off, he just wished there might be no more Sundays.
He had begun to wonder whether he liked the shop better, even when the owner had to come and pull the Subway wrapper out of his mouth, or figure out how to strap the new style body brace, or used ‘general purpose surface cleaner’ to wipe of the crude pen drawing of a penis and balls that one juvenile twenty somethings had scribbled on his torso. Chained to his stand had somehow felt right, he now realized, and (when not in the hood or blindfold) at least he could watch the world go by. ‘No rest for the wicked’ as he stood in the dark after the shop closed and he contemplated his sins, counting and recounting, wishing his pliable plastic form could cry before Sunday.
But now was worse. Spike tended to leave him alone, for days and weeks at a time, yet after every use, strangely fastidious about cleaning him with a soft body wash and jets of warm water before drying him and resting him comfortably folded on his right side at the back of the closet with pillow and rug in place. He heard little and saw nothing and… waited.
Being dragged angrily from his storage cupboard, or lifted gently mattered little any more and simply indicated the mood of the Master Vampire, but after five months he realised that a sated Spike always kept him in the bed until the following day when he woke, and treated him strangely like a child might treat a favourite teddy bear. He was spoken to, confessed Spike’s worries to, and fussed over. Xander liked that, and really didn’t mind the bindings and ‘filling’ pieces, it was the muffled sounds and darkness for days at a time that bothered him, and he had come to *hate* Sundays!
On three occasions he had been on the verge of being able to talk to Spike when the change occurred – twice during sex and once just as the door opened. It was infuriating and somehow… fitting. On the last occasion his silent prayers to the ‘Powers that Screw with You’ was that they simply end his existence altogether.
Yet a day later he realised that he would like the opportunity to tell Spike how appreciative he was of being treated kindly, the Spike, who when feeling melancholy, hauled him out and onto the bed, tucking him under the covers and talking quietly as he might to a friend and lover before ‘shagging’, as it was always so eloquently described by said vampire.
In the dark and with no voice, in his mind he confessed all his sins, there was little else to do but to reflect and regret when lying inanimate, in fact he categorized his misdemeanours, reordered them, gave them degrees of difficulty… then mentally apologized to each and every person that *might* have fallen victim to his wrongdoings be they real or imagined.
He spent time thanking or forgiving anyone who had helped or hurt him, and mentally ‘blessed’ Spike for turning on the television or music loud enough for him to hear, grateful even for the reruns of Passions, and strangely moved by some old Metallica songs, and the newer Wolfmother with it’s associated “Bloody trumped up Gollywog band from Australia… still, ponce c’n play” comments from his owner.
Yes… it was the small things these days, the warm feel of the flexible shower head flushing him, the heavy old blanket, the accidental gap in the closet door letting light in, the gentle touch or two, the quiet words to the ‘toy’.
He endured it all, no longer crying of a Sunday, merely existing. His was, he decided, in a finite position, unchangeable, with the best case scenario, a swift, crushing, end.
Early on he decided he hated the idea of being recycled, melted slowly along with all the other plastics… besides everyone had seen Terminator II! Although Spike’s disdain for all things human might lead to a worse, more likely scenario – that he be discarded - becoming landfill. He cried internally at the thought. Given his plastic makeup it would be thousands of years under tonnes of rubbish, though hopefully the ‘sentient Sundays’ might eventuate in his human form being suffocated or crushed to death, he really couldn’t tell.
So now bound and gagged in his ‘storage attire’ (penis gag, full package bindings, butt plug and tethered cuffs ankles and wrists), he simply waited in the dark and listened. It was 5 am Sunday morning when a very ‘wired’ Spike was heard to burst through the apartment door – loudly announcing that he had taken out a number of troublesome demons and had his Master of the Bay reaffirmed as a consequence.
The sex toy hadn’t been pulled out for several weeks, his owner having bedded several others – both male and female – or perhaps ‘other’ – during that time. He had tried not to listen, but, currently clad in the full leather blindfold (for no other reason than Spike needing “a place to put this shite”) he had no other choice. And he knew the difference, Spike had arrived home high on the excitement of the kill, hurting from the upset of the anniversary of the death of his friend and Angel to the Black Thorn, and a strange call from a minion.
He had been given a report that Willow, Dawn and Buffy were holding a small memorial service for Xander who had now been missing, assumed dead, for over a year, last seen in the demon run region of San Francisco. The local police had searched his apartment and found desperate letters dating back a number of years, notes from his African days and some more recent that were seemingly forlorn, pointing to suicide. His work mates were consulted, shocked by the sudden disappearance but confirming his rather ‘loner’ attitude, although he had been bowling with the construction crew once or twice. Xander’s accounts remained untouched and when no body or other clues emerged, a year later the case was all but closed, his friends – all now overseas, assumed he was dead. Spike now included, and strangely affected.
His disturbance went beyond mere sadness over a past fellow fighter, however, rather it was that he was convinced that Harris had met foul play via his willingness to model for some odd sex toy manufacturer… and goodness knows what else!
Riding out the effects of two tablets of the latest demon recreational drug Celeiados washed down with a significant amount of his favourite JD on the way home, he all but fell into the apartment and dismissed the minions at the front door.
Xander heard a tearing sound then the closet was flung wide open with a crash of door against plaster, followed by the inanimate Xander having his blanket and blindfold ripped away, his gag, bindings and plug removed with an edge of desperation, body stretched to full length, then a heavy, cold body literally flopping on top of him.
His legs were slung skyward, he was entered and coupled with enthusiastically, but as his partner ejaculated and passed out… No! Not now!
He had been so stimulated that, as he felt himself filled – his owner too under the weather to remember a condom – he too released… Thrilled that it was his own spillings this time, not his owner’s ejaculate, it was minutes of sated relaxation later that he registered Spike’s sobbing and the tearful words “Never told you… Daft bugger… friends!... Wish ya knew that mate…” before, still embedded and hand encircling Xander’s still free erection, the blonde fell asleep.
Xander simply lay there, wondering at the sticky liquid that had shot onto his belly, knowing it was his but still amazed. He stroked a still animate hand over the soft longer locks of the current Master of the Bay Region, then wiped away a tear that had made its way down the handsome visage.
He then relaxed back, for what was one to do? He would be polycarbonate compound again in a few hours. But before falling into the usual light sleep before his change, he did send a prayer or three.
Spike woke dry mouthed, in the dark and with an unknown human in his grasp. He fell into game face and, with vision and smell at its peak, pulled back to ascertain his surroundings. He was somewhere dark… that smelt familiar… and… he was still *inside* and his member apparently waking as he did, and the warm body he was inside, strangely familiar and willing.
He pulled out a little then re-entered, the push back encouraging the move and his had finding his partner’s own member, but it was the, “Oh Spike… Please?!” as he sped up his ministrations in time with his thrusts, that had him transfixed.
Bringing his partner to completion and still in game face, he pulled away and stared at the purely human face. The face of a Sunnydale adversary then fellow fighter, a boy they were all grieving for (even if he chose to do it in private!)… A boy they all thought dead… and how the *hell* did he end up in the dark and (looking around) in his *own* closet?!
Spike shook himself a little then ventured a rasped, “You real? Or am I really in Hell this time?!” He was stunned by the answer as his mouth, his kiss was received and reciprocated by an open mouth, tongue exploring and the eventual enjoying of each other. The groan from his partner was almost instinctive, but the urgent begging voice was not. “Oh God Spike… if you’re awake this time… Please end it now… just drain me, kill me… whatever…*Please*… I can’t be a lover to you like this… I, [hic] I, [hic] hate the dark, know you don’t [hic] love me and… Oh Ghod! Just end it Spike… please just end it!!”
Spike recognized a fellow lost soul and for a moment ignored their position and the fact he had just completed inside *Xander* but given his companion’s distress, chose *not* to question the circumstances, and simply said, “Why would I do that luv?”
Xander knew he only had minutes before he would revert to his usual form, so forewent any babbling as would have happened in years gone by, instead simply stating, “Spell… Love you! Thank you. Please… Just Kill me now… Please!!! Last chance. It will come again in a little while… *Please* just drain me!”
Spike was completely thrown, it really *was* Xander one real and one glass eye, all man and very alive. Despite his slight hangover he knew that this was a critical situation, “What spell! Come *on* mate talk to me! I may have been all sack o’ hammers last night but that was the booze talkin’…”
He shook the sobbing brunette a little then heard the desperately whispered, “Don’t make me have another Sundayyyy….” and watched in horror as the figure stiffened then the entire body shifted to its latex form.
It was the first time Spike had thrown up in years, but this was too much! He took himself to the bathroom and let go all the blood he had ingested in the last twelve hours.
Ninety minutes later an overly pale vampire picked up the stiff figure, bathed it as he would a sick friend, towelled the form dry and placed it gently in his own bed. Going back over his own vague memories and ‘dreams’, he realised that it was just possible. The boy certainly smelt and had felt… real for a while at least. But then that bizarre change?? He still wondered whether the drugs had done something odd to his perception, but innately knew what he had seen was real.
He had found out where Lorne was months ago – the showman turning up at the Montreal festival two years after the Black Thorn., and easily tracked after that.
The phone-call was an odd one, made as Lorne boarded a flight to Rio for the Mardi Gras. The green demon understandably refusing to come himself as three days later would see him on a cruise ship on which he had “a dream gig for the next twenty three nights sweet cheeks!” But he was able to recommend a local mage that might assist.
Spike consequently pulled in favours from every direction, but it was still to be over two weeks before he could garner the services of Mister J. Donald Rasmussen Esq., a pretentious name to go with his personality.
Spike came so close to biting the mage (just to take him down a peg or two!) that it was an effort just to keep his eyes the ‘right ‘ colour! But the mage did as he was asked and confirmed the presence of a vengeance wish and identified the former human as Alexander Lavelle Harris.
As the mage swept from the building with an unnecessary flourish of his satin lined black cape, Spike simply said, “You ‘n Drac ‘d get on fine I reckon.” Then turned his attention to the nude form below and worried anew. The half open mouth, the stiff erection, the… He knelt and kissed the cold temple before pulling away and sliding in beside the stiff figure, covering them both with a feather light, warm duvet and dialling the electric blanket to one – just enough heat for a vampire, and he hoped… a mannequin.
His last words before sleep, “Don’t know who you pissed off Harris, but you here now, and I’ll look after you… I bloody well will. *My* bloody sex toy!”
With heat from underneath, a soft bed, plushy covers and gentle stroking as his Master of the Bay area fell into slumber, Xander died just a little more. He realised that they had both been played; realised that this demon was moving heaven and earth to save him, the human, and how futile that was; realised that their joining and taking of blood during the same was one of the most joyous experiences… *ever*; and realised that he could really love this vampire.
The following afternoon Spike woke next to the male figure, felt strangely compelled to ‘fit it out’ before leaving for the night, but this time it was a well lubed butt plug, a small phallic gag with the slight vanilla oil flavour, and a soft satin sack for his nether regions rather than the harsh trussing of leather. The fluffy cuffs and collar were still present but Xander felt… filled… content even. He was used to this, not the warmth and care, but certainly the ‘fittings and idly wondered what Spike had planned for him once the novelty wore off.
Spike, on the other hand just waited, three more days until Sunday and Willow was about to arrive at SF in two and all he had to do was find himself… several bits and pieces and… one vengeance demon…
What could be simpler!?!
Willow was friendly but subdued at the airport. She had known of Spike’s return for some time (Andrew eventually spilling the beans post Black Thorn) but was still confused by the reason he had supplied a ticket for her to visit San Francisco at such short notice. The silence in the car was a rather nervous one, despite the witch’s age and power. Most overwhelming though, was the mutual feeling of desperation for a friend.
“So is he OK.” Was blurted out just as Spike said, “Need you t’ sort if he’s…” Resulting in Spike staring at the road ahead and Willow needlessly examining her nails with an habitual “Sorry” added for good measure. The reply “Nothin’ t’ be sorry about Luv”, was so automatic as to be silly, yet it did bring some sense of normality and both relaxed.
It was only later as Willow sat on the bed and pulled the mannequin’s head into her lap that she realized the magnitude of her task. Spike had thought to remove the gag but the somewhat bizarre permanent O seemed worse, so he simply warned Willow. She had seen worse on the Net before and was actually pleased to note the very soft kid leather that formed a comfortable strap to secure said piece. What upset her more was the unblinking eyes. It certainly *looked* and *felt* like her old friend and the magic was unmistakably that of a vengeance demon, but not any normal one, D’Hoffran’s magical signature was unique, and here.
Willow looked down at the mannequin, then across to the closet and the large box of adult toys that had apparently ‘come with’ and shuddered. “Oh Goddess… it’s true isn’t it…” but did not lift the covers for fear of what she might see there too. “We had a memorial service for you, you know? Buffy, Dawn, me, and the coven and the slayers. Giles cried… he loved you so much Xan… but we didn’t know! You just sort of slipped away and then we had the police report and… *Oh Xan*!!” Willow gave in to her grief, tears splashing off the plastic form she cradled in her lap and dampening the bed covers a little.
And the mannequin cried a little more inside. This was why he was cursed… he always brought pain to those he loved… always caused problems. Much as he hated it, he wished for his closet, for the dark, or for the shop and the humiliation… he could not let himself hope for any more, he didn’t deserve any more.
Willow sat in silence, stroking the ‘real human hair’ and crying quietly until Spike sidled up, gently took her hand and tugged her from her position on the bed and into a heartfelt hug. “You an’ me both, Pet… you an’ me both. So let’s get you rested and we’ll figure sommit in the mornin’ yeah? C’mon Luv… your bed’s awaitin’.” He lifted her chin, wiped away yet another tear with a swipe of a pale thumb and kissed her on the forehead.
Willow had forgotten just how tender Spike could be, how thoughtful and yet how strong in adversity. She gazed at the mannequin again for a few seconds then let the souled vampire lead her to the ‘guest room’ (the lounge suite converted to a temporary bed). She wanted to worry about the whole situation, especially D’Hoffran but gave in to travel fatigue and slept.
Xander woke to vibrations stimulating his prostate again and rolled toward the protagonist holding the remote control, then realised… It was Sunday. The vibrations stopped.
“Afternoon Pet… Figured this was your day out, next time a bit less cryptic for the vampire, yeah? Had ta figure all sorts to get you the right help. Now let’s get you untied.” With that, Xander’s gag was removed, cuffs, cock and ball restraint and plug taken away, They made love quietly, tenderly, passionately, Xander welcoming the ability to participate again. Both sated they snoozed for a time, before the human barely had time to register he was being lifted from the bed when he was deposited in the shower.
Spike sat him gently on the floor of the small cubicle, measured the temperature of the water coming from the flexible hose then proceeded to carefully wash him, massaging now pliable human flesh and muscle, and shampooing his very real, very thick head of hair. He held his head low as he was kindly cleaned, ashamed that there was no need to shave, he knew that his dummy parts were entirely ‘hair free’ – apparently the ‘Brazilian back, crack and sack’ was all the rage in mannequin-land.
“C’mon Pet, take a few sips… sure you could do with it yeah?”
Xander looked up and accepted the plastic cup filled with warm water. He took it and drank, belatedly realising that he was indeed thirsty and secondly that Spike had ‘spiked’ his drink, the few drops of vampire blood affording a ‘zing’ he had not felt before. He looked up in surprise then cleared a throat that had not moved for a week.
“Umm… Thanks… I… Oh Spike!”
Spike caught him and hauled him up to stand as the shower was turned off, “Cryin’s for later Pet… Reckon we’ll all have to do a bit of that… Let’s us just get dry for now… Yeah?”
And so it was, twenty minutes later, towelled dry and moisturized, combed, pampered and dressed in comfortable track pants and a soft sweater (and after a strange panic and consequent begging, his usual plug and leather restraint), Xander made it to the lounge on wobbly, unused legs. He sat on the end of Willow’s bed as Spike roused her.
The reaction could hardly have been more dramatic. Willow launching her still half asleep self into the arms of her long time friend, her live long time friend and repeated over and over “You’re alive… oh thank the Goddess you’re alive!!” Then kissed him, hugged him, then did it all over again, and again… and again.
Finally Spike simply *had* to intervene, “C’mon Red, boy here’s on a schedule. Only got an hour or two afore he’s back to toyland. Best get that pretty noggin of yours working, yeah?”
Willow sobered and sat back – with one more hug for her life long friend. What followed was a rather desperate description of his life since they had parted after his European visit. His return to America, his loneliness, moving to San Francisco, the fateful decision, the waking in the store as… that, his purchase and the ‘rightness’ of being used, then the agony of being tenderly treated and loved… and now?!”
She stared at him hard then asked, “Dates, times… Xan, I’m sorry to say but I know *for a fact* it was D’Hoffran. Anya was his favourite… only he would think of the ‘real boy for a day’ thing!! Anya must have been the one to curse you before she died!?!”
Xander hung his head and studied his now animate hands, “No Wills… I really don’t think so – pick any one of the other demons I’ve… well you know…” He looked up, tears spilling from one chocolate eye, its matching counterpart sadly askew, he continued, “Anya and I had sex on that last night… We… we kind of made up… no… we really did… and um… If it was her I just don’t think she would have… and… maybe… Oh Ghod Wills I just want this finished! Not that Spike hasn’t… Spike’s been… Oh Wills!” Xander gazed over to the vampire and saw a devastated look.
The vampire who had cared for him, loved him, flown a witch half way around the world for him, a vampire who wanted him whole again… a vampire who he had been as one with, and only now knew, in his heart, a vampire he truly loved. “I’ve come to love him Wills. He has been kind and we’ve… and I know it might be part of this… but you know the ‘gay me up’… and I did experiment a little but… He deserves more than this… this… me!”
Spike was looking visibly upset at the statement and stood ready to protest but was cut off as Xander pushed away from his position, seated, leaning against Willow, and with legs still getting used to standing and walking again, all but fell into the vampire’s welcoming arms then as apology simply said, “Don’t want to leave you… would do this forever if it’s just you, but I can’t! Please… you know I can’t!”
Spike simply looked sad, “Luv if we can’t fix it, really can’t, then I’ll bloody well drain you while we’re shaggin’ on a Sunday, OK? Not happy ‘bout doin’ the deed but just for you. Your call Pet.”
The ensuing passionate kiss left Willow feeling like she was invisible again, but when Xander ‘came up for air’ and smiled so very sadly at her, she knew that she *had* to fix things. But the mood changed suddenly as Xander arched out of Spike’s arms and yelled “Not yet, Ohh!!” then stiffened, literally, and Willow experienced and shared Spike’s horror of watching a friend shift to his latex form for another week…
Spike silently lifted the now stiff form and carried it to their bed, stripped it of the soft clothes and rubbed pleasant tasting vanilla onto the small phallic shaped gag and gently pushed it into his friend’s perpetual ‘O’. After fixing it carefully, he dialled up the vibrating plug a little and stoked the rebound erect member until he *knew* Xander was on the edge of bliss. It was all he could do. Covering his friend with the duvet, he checked the electric blanket controls and let a blood tinged tear fall.
He felt her and turned to see a very upset Willow was standing at the door, her eyes shifting to black and the air beginning to prickle…
“In the name of Mother Gaia, I High Priestess of the Coven of the Lady summon thee D’Hoffran. And you *will* come forward to answer my call.”
A blinding flash of light (and rather unnecessary poof of smoke) later found the demon master standing in the bedroom looking rather perplexed. The horned visage was quickly pulled to ‘neutral’ as he turned to find…
“Ahh, Willow my dear, I was expecting a call from you years ago… but *my* haven’t you grown! And what’s this? Consorting with your dark side I see… William the Bloody… Seems my girls *do* have good taste even if you are a little slow to join the stable. But enough chit chat… What can I do for you my dear?”
Willow was positively radiating anger, and as her hair began to extend then turned white and begin to shoot or gather bolts of energy or both, D’Hoffran stilled. There were few who might rival him in his own realm, but she, this Mistress Willow, was drawing on ancient powers far greater than his, her connection to the earth mother, and her control beyond anything he had felt. And when she commanded “Down” he had no choice but to kneel. Suddenly, painfully, against his will.
“‘Your girl’? You really think that will *ever* happen? ‘Your girl’?? Get *over* yourself … Mister! … Now… What have you done to Xander…? And before you speak you might like to know that, (A) I know it was you, and (B) I know you like your horns and having them melt, painfully, with the effects of a slow, incurable inter-dimensional virus would *really* be bad. So now we’re clear…”
For the first time in his very long existence D’Hoffran felt a twinge of fear and wondered how he might have mistaken the extent of this being’s ‘connections’ quite so badly, nevertheless, and though still on his knees, he schooled his tone to sound as though speaking to a child, “I just did as Anyanka requested, sex toy, boys, orgasms, wait a few years… yadda yadda? She was my favourite. I even gave her a second chance… and I had warned her, several times… Warned and reprimanded and forgiven but then… What was I to do but grant that… last wish… as she died… Stupid waste of a fine demon! … Typical of your lot of course, but such a waste.” The demon momentarily gave in to his own version of sadness, and Willow felt genuinely sorry for him for an instant but then saw Spike, his own grief evident, arriving at the door.
She levelled black eyes on the demon, “What *exactly* did she wish for?! They had made up… she *loved* him.”
D’Hoffran – still on his knees – snorted a little, only to have a fiery bolt of energy arc through his largest right horn. For the second time that evening he realised his underestimation of this particular wiccan.
“She wished for… him to be a sex toy… for men … give orgasms every day... and ah…” He switched gears a little, “By the way, is my horn smoking? Ow… Ow... OW!! Alright! She gave him a few years before it happened and finally said she wanted him to be loved or something ridiculous like that.”
“So you made him into a plastic model to be used and abused?!!”
D’Hoffran could not help himself, “Seems he has no complaints at the moment?!”
Another bolt of energy fired through his right horn and this time it did smoke.
“*Reverse the curse*.”
“I can’t, it is binding.”
“Then… *Unbind it*.”
“It can’t be done… not without payment.”
“Payment of *what* exactly?! You took it… just give it back!”
“Oh my dear, you may out rank me in power, but you are *still* so naive… This was a *special* favour to a *very special* girl of mine. His soul is one thing… oh and don’t get me wrong that is still there, but his life force… that has been *permanently* altered. And that… that the Forces won’t reverse unless paid for… even for you, dear lady. In fact it may just be that a soul is the correct price.”
Willow pulled back with abject horror, “No *way*, if you take that you take… Oh Goddess…” She rose and staggered into the arms of… Spike who placed the witch gently on the ground then continued the conversation.
“So D’really-don’t-care-for-you, what exactly are you offerin’ in exchange for ‘is soul – seems a pretty hefty price?!”
To his credit the Vengeance demon answered honestly, ““In truth all I can promise is that his situation would be reversed his life source restored… he will be inanimate for one day a week and human for the rest, I cannot completely undo what is Anya’s wish with regard to his orientation or his desire to please. This was no ordinary wish, it was the wish of a vengeance demon of great age on her moment of departure from existence. It is the best I can offer. On the upside, he will be timeless, loving and very satisfactory for some…male friend.”
“’N what if another fella offers a soul in payment, ‘so’s the boy ‘ere don’t have ta’ you know, lose his…?”
“Well, a soul is a soul… I’m sure that could be adequate payment.”
Willow panicked, D’Hoffran grinned, and Xander in his inanimate state, wished for the millionth time, that he could just *end things*, just as Spike fell into game face and growled at D’Hoffran. “Then take mine!”
And Xander died a little more. His friend, his vampire saviour was giving up the one thing he had fought so very hard for… It *just wasn’t right*!!! He had done all the wrong and now Spike was going to… go all Big Bad just so he could be a real boy again?? He would have screamed “No” but his inanimate form prevented it…
The demon grinned a little, “Oh vampire, you do not know what it is you offer.”
“Bloody well do, highly over-rated this soul business – likely to drive a vampire to church it would.”
Spike winked cheekily at the Vengeance Master and D’Hoffran nodded his agreement, “With the payment of your soul, I will reverse the curse, Alexander will now spend all but one day a week as human, that time spent as he is now. It is the best I can do.” He looked across to the vampire holding the mannequin, now real boy and grinned in triumph.
Willow felt the beginnings of the reversal spell and screamed “Wait” before pulling Spike from the room.
“Are you *crazy*??!!! Spike, You can’t do this! You fought so hard for it… and… and… Oh Goddess *Spike* we have to find another way!”
“Like the bugger said, Luv – Powers want payment – boy needs ‘is soul, me… c’n do without. Let’s face it… had me stark ravin’ and good to noone when I first got it back anyways. Seems as though it’s time I got rid of it for all the good it does any vamp with one… Angel case in point… Look Pet… Boy’s a white hat, a right champ for the people, even if he don’t work for you lot any more… and I quite like the bugger, when he’s real o’ course…”
“There’s another way…”
Spike looked at her quizzically.
“Just… go with what feels right and trust me, OK?”
As they re-entered the room D’Hoffran felt himself freed of the witch’s power and grinned, “I see the vampire has helped you to come to your senses Witch… What say you William… is your soul worth this… He does make rather the nice play thing, I congratulate you on your taste… but then you were always the pretty boy yourself weren’t you… How ironic that the two men Anyanka bedded in her final human guise, find themselves together…”
Spike could not be baited and instead smiled knowingly, “Just bloody get on with it mate… soul don’t maketh man – nor the vampire for that matter.. In fact, bloody nuisance as far as I’m concerned.”
D’Hoffran stood and invoked the change in the curse, the air prickling and sparks flying at the end as he clapped his hands together above his head to finish it. At that moment Willow released her full force, turning her black eyes to the sky, drawing from the earth and the heavens on behalf of her boys. Spike’s soul was torn away as was expected, but Willow’s incantation tied the now human Xander’s essence to Spike’s so tightly that they shared a soul, Xander’s, indeed the incantation bound them so tightly that what one felt another would too, and in the process, just before he left the realm, gave D’Hoffran a rather nasty incurable rash around his horns.
It caused a quake of 7.4 on the Rictor scale in the Bay Region…Willow, exhausted, checked her friends before falling asleep. As they had planned Xander’s soul was now *permanently* attached to Spike, though… sadly… it seemed … both were as one, Spike waking inanimate late afternoon to what would be one of many quiet Sundays.
Willow woke also and was horrified at the figures on the end of her bed, but realised the otherworldly reason, Spike’s immortality would be transferred, the soul shared and maintained, in exchange, Xander’s soul and now few hours a week curse also shared.
She tried to feel sad but the two male mannequins lying in an apparently loving embrace – and as she knew for only eight to twelve hours a week - it might have been worse.
She sat and waited for a while, but eventually rose, made a coffee and watched some television. Late afternoon she wandered into the room and was thrilled to see the shift and the joy and the harsh slap as Xander reprimanded his lover for being so reckless, then watched a passionate kiss before easing herself from the room as the kiss became more.
Several hours later, the lounge room door opened and two very real, freshly showered males clad in nothing but a towel each, sat hand in hand on the end of Willow’s temporary bed.
The conversation began with a baritone, “Thanks Red...”
Willow agreed to stay for another week or two, at least until the now joint owners of Xander’s soul knew the full extent of their partnership – both moving, and immobile.
Six days later, after his first experience as a ‘toy’, Spike knew first hand why Xander begged to be filled cuffed and restrained for the change. Spike’s mouth and rear were wide open, his latex erection stood tall and angry and his arms were unable to grip the body he loved. They had made passionate love, Xander coming again and again for almost an entire day and promised to remain together as the change took place, but as the hour approached, Xander begged for his fittings to the point that Spike reattached all the basics, but drew the line at wearing them himself. So as the change happened, for the first time since Angelus had abandoned him post soul, Spike felt *utterly* empty. He was open, exposed, so close to his lover yet unable to move… and the feeling was empty… so empty.
Twelve hours later had them both beginning to move again, but Spike so emotional that their lovemaking was more an act of desperation than tender love. They shared a soul and the feelings… so the frantic rutting was necessary but as both calmed, reassured, they also both resolved that a trip to ‘The Pleasure Palace’ was necessary. Spike needed some fittings.
Xander had made sure his friend was bound and filled appropriately and on the second night of their new change, a rather red faced Willow helped them finish ‘dressing’.
They had already enjoyed the mutual act of fitting identical butt plugs, cuffs, gags and ‘nether tethers’ but needed assistance to shackle their arms around each other after they were lying comfortably, so much so that both gave in to slumber.. Willow watched as the change occurred and realised the reason for the request. Filled and tethered together in such a fashion their time as mannequins was to be spent bound tight with *everything* touching. She noted their auras - blue… registering peaceful, and something else… there was a slight purple pink, the colour older couples usually exuded, the colour of contentment and deep shared love.
She was still determined to pursue D’Hoffran for a cure, but for now the boys seemed… well rather stiff if she were honest… but OK. She double checked the heat dial on the electric blanket, then retired to bed.
The two woke unable to move. Willow true to her word, had indeed shackled them together.
What they perhaps hadn’t thought about was the fact now back to real form, the witch was now asleep, they were both gagged and unable to call for help, their arms were shackled and locked around their partner causing their bound nether regions to touch… *and* for some reason she had accidentally (or, Spike mused later, wickedly) activated the vibrating plugs so snugly fitted in their rears onto ‘Low’, just before they were due to wake.
The result was (as Willow would giggle about for years to come) a desperate writhing pile of… male flesh. Spike, in game face, finally managing to chew through his gag then very carefully (if they were both honest) slicing through his partner’s restraints.
That done, they both rested, foreheads together, so stimulated by the relentless pulsing in their behind that they were both aching but knew that release was impossible while they were so bound below.
“Should we call the witch?”
“Oh Ghod Spike! She can’t see me like this… S#$%!!! I’m… and geez… so are you!”
“No arguments here Pet… so?? Suggestions?”
“Just… can you… I don’t know… slide down enough to… Oh geez, I don’t know… bite through something?!”
It was the resultant squirming, groans and laughter that woke Willow, and she initially worried at the sound, racing to the bedroom in alarm, but looking in on the rather bizarre game of ‘Twister’, a certain blonde vampire spitting torn leather from his mouth with an accompanied, “*Bugger off Red.* We’ll call you when we need you to undo the locks.” A wiggle of a scarred eyebrow and look of such wicked glee later, and she felt almost jealous, she retreated and tried not to listen to the ensuing…fun!
Eventually the two had wriggled back into a position that was *somewhat* respectable before calling to Willow for a little assistance.
She managed to unlock their shackles without looking... 'places' then retreated, rather flushed, but in private, had to smile. They really were rather lovely together – and *definitely* needed a shower.
The week after assuring Willow that all would be well, she rejoined the coven and attempted to address their current predicament, they had increasingly enjoyed each other, and in the end quite lost track of the time as they joined.
Xander had discovered that he most definitely was in need of a new ‘nether tether’ but also that perhaps one that was more ‘tricky’ to remove was the best option as the release process was… in truth the most fun he had had in ages... and he had come so long and hard happily swallowed by a still bound partner… whom he could… feel… on every level that he really thought his brain was oozing out that end!
Unfortunately, they were now both unbound, belatedly realised that if the change occurred, that they would remain gagged by the other’s latex erection, unable to move, until the following morning, and butt vibrators happily working away until the batteries ran dead. The thought was indeed a little too late. At the time of the shift, stiff hands had been stretched down and reciprocally pinching a nipple. This time… the filling was exquisite torture… both so aroused as for it to be excruciatingly frustrating, and twelve hours later as the two returned to their natural forms, their completion caused both to come instantly *so hard*, and swallowing the other's spendings so furiously that they *both* passed out.
There were furtive looks but no apologies as sleepy forms rose later in the afternoon, showered and dressed. Next time they did need to be a little more careful. But more worrying was the urgent thumping on the door of their apartment and the young minion who all but fell into his arms.
“Master Spike! We called you all through the day! We have a problem!” The minion then paused, he could ‘feel’ the human… “Have you taken a Consort, Master?? Oh Master…Please tell your court that we all might rejoice?” At Spike’s rather stunned silence, the Minion immediately fell to his knees, “Oh Master *please*! I am sorry to have spoken my mind Master…I beg of you Master… I was merely expressing the joy that would come with your… taking of a companion… *please* forgive your humble servant, Master!!”
The youngster folded into a fully prostrated position and begn to shuffle forward to kiss his Master’s feet then bared his neck. Spike unable to even answer… pushed the boy away and stormed out. So it was a rather bemused Xander who moved to the very young, extremely upset, minion’s side and calmly asked, “What is your name, son?”
Still with his left cheek firmly planted on the ground the young vampire whimpered “Gareth. Sir… Consort… Sir.”
“Well… Gareth, you have an important job to do don’t you?”
The game faced young vampire, still waiting for punishment, nodded vigorously, “Yes… Yes *Sir*… Umm but that would be?”
“Why. Did. You. Come. Here?”
“Oooo ooh um um… To… um tell um…the Master that there is some problems amongst the clans because of the new trading times and the change in human laws! And-we-need-him-to-sort-out-Jacob-and-Stuart-really-quickly-so-the-end-isn’t-too-dusty!”
Xander paused, trying to think of a plausible message… “Hmm, well let the Court know that the Master will attend them within twenty four hours and that we plan to celebrate his taking a Consort… on the next full moon…. as is… fitting.”
Even though Xander felt less than convinced himself, the young vampire looked up gratefully, “Thank you Consort. I will convey the message.” Then to Xander’s horror the young minion bared his neck before scrambling back toward the wall in a full down kneel as Spike re-entered the room.
In a flash of black, Spike took the boy’s offered neck and pulled enough in two drafts to have the young minion come and pass out. Spike sighed, fed the youngster a small amount of the Master’s potent blood to rouse him then sent him on his way. Other Masters in the region may have thought there was a power vacuum – but the message was very clear, they were wrong.
Through the new soul link Xander felt it all, and had a renewed adoration for the vampire that shared his soul. As the Bay Master Spike could have drained the boy, but Xander knew that compassion and political positioning had played an equal part in the minion returning safely to his nest.
A month later Spike called Willow. They were in trouble… The full moon was coming and their ‘outing’ as Master and Consort was about to happen, but it was also a Sunday…ensouled was one thing but it was unlikely that most demons would take kindly to the Master of the Bay being presented in latex form.
The meeting was (thankfully) finished almost before it started due to an early evening altercation between (of all things) a group of local *human* gang members and the police. When the constabulary decided to push their way into the abandoned building used by the court to set up a temporary base, the meeting was swiftly and quietly adjourned, and the demons melted into the night (via the sewer entrance) to avoid any difficult or dusty finish to proceedings.
The real problem with the shift to unmoving was that the two could now feel the prickle – but only fifteen minutes or so from when it was about to occur and the time was not consistent from Sunday to Sunday. Even though the ruling couple were fairly confident that their change had not started as the meeting was disrupted, they were both still *very pleased* to return to their apartment.
Several hours later Willow used the key she had been sent and let herself in to very quiet apartment.
“HHHmmm…!” She followed the sound and watched in horror as the final stages of the change took hold.
Her two now inanimate friends were, as she remembered, necessarily bound, but now only via comfortable kid leather, phallic gags, and Xander was filled and held in other ways, a newly devised system of intertwining their arms (and other regions) allowing necessary security without the need to be restrained… a technique so effective that… now they lay spooned, Spike embedded in his lover, one hand closed tight over Xander’s latex member and the slow buzz of a vibrating plug taking up the vampire’s ‘empty space’ and bringing mutual pleasure. Both appeared different to when she last saw them so afflicted, gagged yes, but also relaxed, contented, for all the world (and restraints notwithstanding) like two older lovers in a passionate embrace, which Willow suspected, just might be the truth. She pulled up the duvet to cover them completely with one hand and turning off the light looked back and groaned a little… they were beautiful together – even in this guise. She suspected, however, that her task was not to be an easy one…
There was an exquisitely penned note on the sideboard, obviously Spike’s not Xander’s writing. “We suspect you will arrive after our change and therefore apologise in advance for not meeting you at the airport.” Then a scrawled “There are enough dummy’s on the road without us too! :)” obviously from Xander. Followed by, “Please help yourself to anything you need and feel free to use the Net and/or Phone. Should you need the car, the keys are in the fruit bowl, just remember *right side* of the road is recommended over here (bloody colonials!) L S&X”
She grinned at the last bit and picked up her bag again and moved into the lounge, only belatedly noticing that the fold out bed had been made up, complete with fluffy towel and face washer and three tiny chocolates on the pillow. The boys really were taking the whole thoughtful thing to a new level. No wonder Spike worried about his reputation!
Twelve hours later found Willow asleep and Spike frantically moving to complete inside his partner, for hours his vibrator had been passing on its message subtly through his very stiff, very embedded member, and Xander also conscious of the lover’s hand tightly wrapped around his own stiff, room temperature shaft during their ‘day of rest’. As soon as he was able, Spike tore off his gag and did the same for Xander’s, pulled out and turned his lover over so they were face to face. He re-entered his consort, then filled the still recovering mouth with an eager tongue whilst continuing to fist and thrust in time.
It was the shower rather than the joyous shout that woke their guest, but Willow really didn’t mind, just grinned as two obviously sated males wandered out, damp touseled hair, bare chests and clad in comfortable old jeans, and both trying to tiptoe by their house guest.
She sat up, very conscious of her own old T-shirt and ‘bed hair’ but still managed a “Hey, it’s OK guys… And um… Thanks for the five star treatment…” An obviously recently kissed Xander let go his partner’s hand and sat on the guest bed.
“You OK Wills? Just that… well when we rang you sounded a bit… I don’t know… down.” Willow accepted the offered hug then looked at her hands, “Yeah well… Kennedy and I kind of… split up… nobody’s fault, guess we’ve just kind of grown apart with…well we’ve both been kind of travelling… and then I guess with all my coven focus thing… But it was still hard…”
“Oh Wills, I *am* sorry. You should have said! We *never* would have asked you to come!”
Tearful green eyes met one real and one glass brown, “You know what… It’s just what I needed. You are my oldest friend… we’ve seen so much bad stuff together… and… Well now I get to focus on fixing this for you and your… well… your guy.” She smiled shyly over to where Spike was leaning against the frame of the kitchen door with the remains of a mug of warm blood in his hand, and licking off his red ‘moustache’.
The blonde smiled back with genuine affection before moving to sit beside his partner and slid an arm around his Xander’s waist, absently placing the now empty cup on the floor before taking up Willow’s hand to kiss it and address her formally, “High Mistress Willow. We grieve your personal circumstance and truly praise your willingness to attend us for the second time. Even if nothing might come of this… we *will* repay you somehow…”
That night, after a lovely meal at their local Chinese/Demon restaurant, they returned to the flat to consume green tea, laced with vampire blood in Xander’s case and honey Willow’s, Spike’s rather short on the tea and more with the O positive. It was quiet, Willow not failing to notice the uncharacteristic, yet natural stillness that seemed to take over the two as they sat side by side, knees touching.
“You know the only real way to reverse this completely would be to call back Anya from wherever she is.”
Xander’s looked to his hands and swiftly found a cool one joining his and shook his head.
“Can’t bring back a dead demon Pet… And we’re not goin’ ta break her rest, not like Buffy.”
“Then I’m not sure what else… Other than D’Hoffran and I’m pretty sure he’d just say no or worse.”
“Don’t really need him do we… Red…? Just need to be able to control the time of the change, so we’ll know when we’re… you know… gonna be out of action, in the traditional sense of course.”
“Ummm…” Willow suddenly went from contemplative to blushing as she processed the last bit of the sentence… “Well??! I guess we could just try some sort of delaying spell just for special occasions… you know enchant something so that while you hold it you stay whole. It would only work for a few hours not a whole day though. But it could still be useful. The energy needed to hold the shift back for both of you is immense and to put that all into an object means it won’t be able to hold back the change forever, but at least it might, you know, get you out of trouble in a tight spot. There is one catch though, I think you’d have to be touching for it to work.”
“So we just hold hands to cast the mojo and Bob’s your uncle – not like we don’t do that anyway. Or we could make it more fun kind of touching.” He wiggled his eyebrow at her.
“I’ll get the ingredients together this week and we’ll try it Sunday.”
The following evening saw the reconvening of the adjourned meeting and the celebration of the taking of the Consort.
Willow spent much of the week working on her incantation and gathering the magical and non magical ingredients needed. What she wasn’t sure of was whether they would have to both touch the object or just each other; whether they had to remain touching and if it had to be skin to skin; and whether they would have to call the incantation prior to knowing the change was coming or after the tingles began. She kept her worries to herself. One thing she was sure about was that after the stone was used, it would have to be ‘recharged’ again, and it would definitely only shift the time of the change, the duration would remain a mystery too… until they tried it. As the day approached Willow worried but remained outwardly optimistic, reasoning that the worst that could happen was that the change would still occur.
Vampire and Consort relaxed into their usual spot on the king sized bed Sunday evening, this time forgoing any tethers so that they might give Willow feedback without encumbrances, and confident that there would be time to ‘truss up’ later.
Worded up they would try several things: wait for the tingles, then both hold the stone and start the chant, then one holding the stone and only his partner’s hand, then timing how long before the stone ‘ran out’. If all went to plan they would have the parameters established and simply need to recharge the stone for emergencies.
The tingles started and the two began the chant under the watchful eye of Willow their hands joined with the rock in between, it was always a few minutes between the start of the tingles and the change so they waited, and the tingles, though a little unpleasant, continued, but the change did not. Spike had volunteered to let Xander hold the rock and he Xander so took the man’s free hand and let go the stone filled one, and the change continued to be ‘held off’.
After almost three hours, however, tingles became agonizing pain and the two arched off the bed, dropping the stone and changing – not over a minute or so, but within literally a second, caught in whatever writhing position they had landed in, the burning pain continuing through contorted bodies for the same duration as their ‘freedom’. Willow was frantic, but knew none of the pain the men were suffering – just that they had solidified in such contorted positions that there was little she could do to rearrange them, so collected the stone and did what she could to make them more comfortable. She rolled a game faced Spike onto his side and tried to push his left leg down, only to find that the joint was utterly stiff and refused to budge, Xander’s macabre horrified expression and arms in positions that made him look like cerebral palsy victim, had her even more concerned.
During her wait for them to wake, she went over and over the spell. The transition had always been gentle and slow in the past, why would the use of the stone cause the change to be so painful and speedy.
Willow fell asleep at the kitchen bench, her laptop still on and the online link to their coven’s internal mail buzzing with all sorts of bizarre suggestions for the High Mistress.
She heard a whimper from the bedroom and all but flew into the room but was shocked to see the two still inanimate though their forms real. It was another twelve hours before the painfully stiff forms softened enough to straighten out, but both were still hurting as though every muscle effectively been in a state of total seizure for the duration of their entrapment. Spike’s game face slowly fell away and a blood tinged tear of relief tracked down his alabaster cheek. Xander too, was crying silently and now lying on his back, had thrown his arm over his eyes to hide his distress
Finally Spike turned to the utterly horrified Willow and rasped, “Bugger that Luv… coulda warned us it were gonna be like pullin’ your insides out through every bloody orifice then torturin’ you besides. Angelus woulda *love* t’ get his hands on that thing… Let’s not do it again hey? Rather be stiff for a week bein’ used as a dolly at one a Dru’s tea parties than go through that again!”
“I’ve been over and over it, Spike… and there’s nothing we can really change… I don’t know why…” A flash of light and rather pretentious puff of orange smoke later and D’Hoffran stood clapping in the doorway of the bedroom.
“Oh my dear, when you finally *do* join our number you will be *magnificent* - and don’t worry, I’m prepared to wait! But don’t forget my little witch, you are messing with a curse that is *not* yours to play with… Still, I’ve been sent by the Powers this time…”
Spike pushed up painfully then took Xander’s position his arm over his eyes and groaned, “What the F#@k do they want from us *this* time?”
“Oh not *those* Powers – trumped up bunch of nare-do-wells, ruined a perfectly good group of evil doers, still the Senior Partners seemed to have sorted out the balance in that little mess… No, I mean the Demon Interdimensional Higher Beings! Seems they quite approve of your management of this weenie section of your particular planet and dimension, and for a price have been able to alter Anya’s gift.” Xander pulled his arm away and meant to say something but was cut off, “Oh and it *is* a gift… after all, how hard is it to lie in bed for a few hours a week pleasuring one’s partner. Goodness, demons, humans for that matter would *kill* for that… what am I saying … they already do!”
Willow crossed her arms and planted her feet and D’Hoffran (the base of his horn still perpetually red and itchy) realized the need to quickly get to the point. “The point is I am prepared to do a deal as it were… so you can… accumulate your ‘time together’ or even take it separately. It seems that there was some concern of vulnerability.
“But I was compelled to do a little negotiating on your behalf , after our little magically inclined friend here started tampering at your request there really was no option. So I have a deal for you… rather than revoking the previous arrangement, I am allowed to offer you the following… And of course there is a bit of a price for the flexibility… Now it will be a full twenty four hours a week… each of you as a *toy* - open plan orifices for a full earth day so to speak.” He sniggered at his own joke then sobered, “No playing with the duration! No tampering with the revision, but you do take control of the timing of the change. Seems the Powers were concerned for the safety of their Master of the Bay. Oh and one other thing… it will make the change faster once you call for it… and you’d better get used to a bit of… pain.
“And if you want to ‘rest’ together I recommend you are ‘connected’, oh and the twenty four hour stretch is compulsory. Take it or leave it, unless, of course, you Xander want to return to as before? Or your wiccan friend wants to tamper more?!” He looked directly at Willow, daring the witch to reply. “By the way, you’ll need to say the words “I wish for stiffness now” to invoke the change… and given the final form isn’t that just… delicious!”
Xander desperately looked over to Spike then had his hand squeezed under the covers. At least this was one way to keep the other safe, or they could share the time if the circumstances were right.
“Not much of a choice is it Pet.”
“I can’t go back to six days Spike - I really can’t…and I can’t do the rock thing again Wills – I’m sorry… but thanks for trying…”
“You’ve got your bloody answer, mate. What do we have ta do?”
“Say the words - you are already into next week and look like you could do with a break.” D’Hoffran smirked then disappeared.
Twenty minutes later, dressed appropriately the words invoked the change and Vampire and Consort screamed into their gags as the change felt now like they were being squeezed into shells too tight for their bodies. Unlike before it was a toes to head excruciatingly slow process, but finally they settled, their stiff heads on each other’s shoulders, arms hugging the other, and fronts in complete contact. Willow held vigil and they all had time to contemplate the cost of tampering – or was it a reward?
The next few weeks went along rather easily, Willow returned home, and the Master and Consort gave in to several complete days of ‘togetherness’, now vibrators were off in favour of simple comfort, the longer periods of inanimate state lending themselves to honing in on what was… existence, the feel of the other, the smell of outside and the partner, the sounds around them, the changing colours in the room adjacent as the night finished and day began… Somehow, lying together, it gave a sense of … not frustration… peace. And as they took of each other on waking, the bond was simply strengthened, their soul already shared.
Five weeks into their new ‘regime’ Spike was needed interstate for almost a week. It was the first time they had ‘slept solo’ but it seemed for the best. Spike took his twenty four hours mid week before heading off to Chicago. Xander held him close – the soft arms and gentle kisses, the warm body and tender caresses reminding Spike just how special his Consort was, and also that he owed – well at least a reciprocal day. But they both knew that would need to wait. Xander would spend a day inanimate – but well bound – sometime in Spike’s absence of close on six days and when the Master returned they would enjoy a quiet day together.
The apartment was unbelievably empty without him and on the fourth night Xander decided. Unable to sleep he watched mindless advertainment and a rerun of Hogan’s Heroes – actually enjoying Schultz’s ‘I know *nothing*’ and remembering simpler times. But finally, he turned off all the lights except the light over their fish tank. Around four am, he thought of Spike, used all their favourite toys - even bringing himself to completion once - then waiting to ‘rise again’ before binding himself properly and invoking the spell.
He thought it was Spike returning home unexpectedly, but that made no sense he instinctively knew it was daytime. Besides, the noises were all wrong: the slight crunch of their door being breached; the snap of wire cutters and a crunch as their security system was compromised; and the stomp of feet that had none of the finesse or quiet grace of his vampire mate.
Unable to move, his only hope was that he tended to prefer lying completely under the covers (head included) when taking the change alone. And had a habit also, of piling the covers on top of himself, enjoying the weight, when Spike was not home. It had the advantage of making the bed look like a dishevelled heap of bedclothes and now, he hoped, concealed his existence.
He could hear the thieves ransacking the apartment, drawers and cupboards opened and closed, containers being tipped on the floor. Initially he worried that they were demon enemies of Spike’s but swiftly discounted that when he heard a beer being opened then a whoop for joy. They had apparently found Spike’s stash of JD in the hallway cupboard.
“Ho Yeah! Party on tonight!” then the sound of the bottle being cracked open and obviously shared.
“Ahhh F@#k on Carl, we’ll take ‘em at the end… just look for other stuff we can carry would ya. Now come on! Jewellery and cash… remember you dumb f#@#, we talked about this!”
“But the TV?”
“Oh yeah good move! And how the f#$% are we gonna walk out of this building with that f$#%ing huge thing hmmmm? Or are you thinkin’ of stashing it in Danman’s place. Get a f#@$ing clue! Police ‘ll check him first!”
Xander realised that these two knew the building’s maintenance man, but really didn’t think he was in on this… although… anyway, the voices were young, the rest of the conversation juvenile and the ensuing sounds of a scuffle sort of… predictable.
The ‘brains’ of the business ‘KG’ slammed the door of the bedroom open, and yelled to his fellow thief, “Now find some f#$%ing stuff and *let’s* go!”
Xander knew the instant they opened the closet and started rummaging, heard them scrabbling through drawers, felt random items tossed onto the bed and wondered if he were able would he have moved to stop them, the answer was probably yes, but a pointless decision. He was sex toy, voluntarily decked out in bondage, and locked in his sleeping position for another (by his estimate) at least another eighteen hours.
“Hey… hey! KG! Check this out! I found a watch and a bunch of rings – not that much but… oh hey! Two hundred bucks!”
Xander silently thanked the gods that he had left some emergency cash at the bottom of their shared ‘odds ‘n sods’ drawer as Spike liked to call it … and he would pray to any deity if only the vampire would walk in now… before they found…then he heard \3ehe drawer of the bedside table open and wished he could close his eyes and cringe at least a little.
“Sick F#@$ing Queer!! Check. This. Out.!!!”
“*Holy S#$%!!* What the…! C’mon *tip it out*.”
Minutes of giggling and guffawing ensued until finally KG yelled “F#$% *don’t do that* what if this dude has AIDS or somethin’.”
Xander heard the “Holy F@#$” response and a scrambling back mere seconds before his inanimate foot was exposed as ‘Carl’ knocked a pile covers and (courtesy of the thieves) other materials from the bed.
“Oh *F#%$*!!! It’s a dead body! KG!!! F#@$ing let’s *go* it’s a F#@%ing *dead dude*.”
There was an awful pause and Xander just knew. Then all the covers were thrown off.
And then “*F#%$ing Hell* This dude is one *sick* mother F#$%er!!!! KG… KG!!! Let’s just get the *F#$%* out of here !!”
Xander thought that maybe… just maybe, then his heart sank.
“Nahhh, I wanna leave a message for that rich sicko… C’mon…”
Xander remembered ‘Carl’ throwing up at least once in the ensuing half hour, but wondered why the boy was the one throwing up when it was who had been contorted and opened, entered by a human male (who was only rutting to ‘make a point’), and now had a full sized phallus vibrator on ‘high’ shoved into both his mouth and his rear end, nipple clamps biting into both his balls, and just about every device and restraint available inserted, binding, hanging or attached, all without care –the only intent to humiliate the owner of the “F#$%ing *man toy*.” And as a final touch, at least one of them spurted his ejaculate over the macabre figure before pocketing their loot and leaving.
Xander wished he could cry, but it would be another sixteen or seventeen hours for that. He wished Spike would come – but that would be two more days… He wished he could turn off the vibrations and remove the clamps… and stop the pain… stop the pain of the memory… stop the pain he knew he would cause Spike when he was found… stop the pain of the vibrator hitting his prostate again and again… and again.
Twenty four hours came. He coughed out the vibrating monstrosity, then threw up.
He eventually managed to roll over only marginally away from the smell and finally wriggled until he fell onto the bedclothes strewn on the floor the night before.
Arms buckled behind his back and attached to his ankles, his knees also bound, he had landed on his side, and in the process dislodged his glass eye. He cried… and eventually slept on and off, waking cold, desperately needing to urinate but finding that the bindings even cut off that, defecation also virtually impossible, and thirst fast becoming an issue. Six long hours later, found him saying his silent good byes to his beautiful partner and to Willow, and to anyone else who might care. Eight hours later he began panting and ten hours later gave in to unconsciousness.
And then Spike was there. At first he simply thought he had died as he was released and kissed and vampire blood was trickled down his throat, then he was in the shower and his bladder was pressed and he was able to *go*… and his rear was clear so when the nozzle did that… he felt all the poison and the tension go and the smell of them was gone… and then…
His next memories were of doctors checking things - his kidneys particularly but also the injuries to his nether regions and other ‘violations’, then of the police taking pictures of him and the apartment… and he heard them say they would come back to ask questions later because he was so ill…and all the while a very attentive, very worried Spike was there. And he worried for Spike… but then he felt the sting of a needle and his world turned blissfully black.
The doctors filed a report, as did Spike – for the theft and as a result, three days later, they found themselves giving a statement to the police, though the assault on Xander was still ‘undefined’, the evidence was damning. The aging detective who took the statement knew the signs. The man was sitting hand in hand with his obviously distressed same sex lover, and was being compelled to recall the terror of a home invasion followed by the ensuing tortuous hours before being found. Det. Mike Evanic asked matter-of-factly what was taken, then checked his description of the boys. But then “You were ‘violated’ in a number of ways… we know that son… and we’ve got the evidence of that. Did you know them? Friends of yours perhaps?”
Spike held back a growl and let Xander answer – soul or no soul the bastards would pay! “No!!! I didn’t know them… but I think they knew our building…
“Can you describe them?”
“They were I don’t know… white… late teens… Called themselves Carl… and KG… and … Oh I can’t Spike I just… I can’t.”
Despite the protest the detective knew he had to continue “After they tied you up with… ahhh… now don’t get me wrong… seen plenty of kink in my time – but consensual is one thing… what they did was straight wrong… But son we need to know… did either of them penetrate you in the course of their assault? Cause your friend here, ‘n don’t get me wrong Sir… but your friend cleaned you up before you went to hospital…” The older man looked directly at the blonde and spoke quietly “Now son… I know why you would do that and we can get around it… but we do need a statement from your partner here...”
The elderly detective saw the pained look from Xander, noted the tears now tracking down and tried to imagine what it would be like for a partner to hear the whispered ‘Yes, but I think they finished on me, not… in me’.
Xander then became so emotional that the interview was terminated less than a minute later. The sympathetic detective indicated to the couple that a full statement could be made later and *strongly* recommended counselling, adding that “I’m here when you boys feel ready, whenever you’re ready… OK?!”
They headed home in utter silence. What was there to say…
Inside the door of the now clean and tidy home, Spike pointed out the new locking system and security camera. He then pushed his partner to the bedroom, Xander almost panicking until he saw… while they had been away for the evening, the whole thing had been painted in a dark burgundy, the bed replaced and reorientated to a ‘north south’ position. Even the curtains and light fittings were new.
“Spike! But… *how*??”
“Minions Pet…’s what you have ‘em for …”
“Geez Spike this is …. Oh… This is just…” His tone dropped, as two tears also did “Just… Thanks… I’m so sorry… I [hic]… I…[hic]”
Spike simply lifted his beautiful consort onto the bed, kissed and massaged and loved him in the gentlest possible ways, and even though Xander was still upset… stroked him to completion before taking and giving more blood than they had ever done in the past. Spike then cleaned him and presented him with a whole new set of fittings.
“Threw the old ones out Pet… bad memories and all that.”
The pretty kid leather and natural colours were hardly a ‘Master Vampire’ thing, but the Sterling silver cock ring and associated fittings, all engraved with Master’s Consort, certainly were.
“No one gonna mess with us… Let’s just get some shut eye… together- like… C’mon luv, just relax....”
Xander was spooned and stilled for a while, enjoying the safety and the warmth of the blanket and the new black satin covers… but finally had to ask…
“How do we know they won’t come back? Even if I *am* able to…”
Spike simply whispered, “Don’t worry Pet, what goes around comes around… and more besides if you violate the Master’s Consort…”
Xander jerked awake suddenly, “What did you?”
“Me? Nothing Pet… just let the word out… and it seems that when a couple ‘o chaps are given a bit of vamp blood, whilst ‘bound’ and (as happens with the blood) coming as they’re taken, they remain begging for said same… and before you ask… The lads are still alive…Just now volunteered to spend a lot of time at Lady Gillian’s place doin’ ‘public servicing’ instead of robbin’ the innocent. Seems they feel quite compelled to spend their leisure time ‘helping out’ the lonelies of the demon world… Turns out that Carl fellow is *quite* the lap dancer!”
“But what about the police??”
“Don’t worry Luv. Demons in high places… besides… turns out Reggie from the pawn shop is quite good friends with our old detective downtown and a right bugger when it comes to thrall for a good reason… He’ll take care o’ that… I didn’t get a chance to tell him all of it, but since I rewarded him with a bit more than the usual tab for the return of our property and explained we’d sorted the other, he’s just cleared the records so to speak.”
Xander tried to feel sorry for the two boys… but despite his shared soul just… couldn’t.
An hour or two later, Spike had him calm enough and they were bound and cuddling and the spell was being invoked, and in the painful seconds of it taking hold, they began to kiss, resulting in their tongues being intertwined and legs locked together for the next twenty four hours, and Xander really did feel… safe and complete again.
Three weeks later had seen them share their bed each night, share their inanimate state, share blood, and tears… and yet it was still not quite right.
They had been recommended a psychologist by the police, then a demon psychologist by Lorne, who was now officially ‘touring’ with a supporting act ‘boy band’ – though in demon circles that was always a little nebulous – “Adds to the flavour Pumpkin!”. Though did go on to add seriously, “Sweetie… Come on! I’ll have Chrissie Email you the details… gotta go, we’re on in five…”
But Spike thought that the difficulties would dissipate with time and left it.
Sadly things seemed to be getting worse, every time they had to make their change – even though he was tightly bound, entwined, loved and reassured by his lover who was also undertaking the shift, the anxiety and (the last time) holding him, Spike had felt wholesale panic begin as the stiffening began…
The third time, as they recovered and his dearest friend lay changed back but apparently still exhausted and sleeping, he called Willow and for the first time told another person true extent of his worry and admitted his own desperation.
Assuming Xander was asleep, Spike had made his way to the lounge room to make the call, Xander only able to hear one side of the conversation from his position on the bed. He knew Spike’s ‘other talents’ so tried desperately to control his feelings and heartbeat… knowing the vampire was able to detect both.
“Not wantin’ to use you as our agony Aunt… but he’s wanin’.”
“I know but I don’t reckon the average shrink is equipped to deal with the…”
“He’s not a bloody invalid! I just can’t…”
“Alright… yeah…. Yeah… hang on – just need a crayon… OK… Yeah… got it… yup magical…shrink… insight into…. Yup… and… Listen thanks Pet… Boy’s the owner of not just our soul, but has my heart as well – and a string ‘round me little finger truth be known…
“Bloody hell Red! ‘Course I will!! I just want him… *us*… to have a happy life! Is that so much to ask do ya reckon? ‘Specially for the boy!!”
“Hey… Hey… Hey! Please don’t cry!”
Then a strange switch and it was the original William speaking, “Oh Mistress… I had no intention of upsetting you… and sincerely apologise. Please! Understand that your advice and help, and more particularly your continuing friendship is tantamount to our dear Xander’s happiness… You are dear to us both and I am dreadfully sorry to have upset…”
This time Xander made out part of the reply as Spike put down the phone and went for a bag of blood, “Oh Goddess! William!… um Spike… You didn’t really need to…apologize! I just needed to…[hic] Can you just tell me when he’s not OK, or get him to ring me … can you? Please! I love him too Spike… I really do!”
A cup of blood was obviously being drained then it was the old Spike back in the room, “Thanks Pet, I guess I knew that... But you have my word Red… Now, let’s us say our goodbyes cause accordin’ to a certain witch I know…seems I’ve got another call to make.”
“Yup… visit anytime… you name the day and the ticket’s yours… we’ve got you a bed…”
“Yeah…Cheers Luv… an’ Hi to the Bit if you’re talkin’.”
Xander felt like a pet with some sort of behavioural disorder. His life long *friend* and his *partner* were conspiring to have him *treated* as though what happened was a sickness of some sort… He heard the consequent call to the doctor’s, heard the booking for a fortnight hence, then was so down for the next two days he wished for the assailants to return and finish him. Spike was utterly at a loss as to what he had done wrong or why things were suddenly so much worse.
As the two bedded down for the evening, Spike finally gave in to his own annoyance as Xander pulled away, unwilling to share his hurt and giving in to the silent tears that had threatened all day. Spike pulled him into a grip that only a vampire could manage. He doubted that seeing ‘this or that counsellor’ would make any difference to his Consort, so gave in to his most basic Master Vampire sensibilities, growling with his worry then part drained Xander to the point of compliance, fitted him out, applied his own then lay down again to hug and invoked the spell.
A full day later, he dared not leave Xander alone, when they had changed back, genuinely fearing for his safety.
Consequently, he rang the doctor’s surgery on his mobile phone again while his Consort was on the land line to Willow and managed (with a very specific note regards his partner’s status as the Bay Master’s Consort) to move the appointment to that afternoon. Still half asleep Xander was all but carried into the offices of Specialist K.M De Arth.
There was no question that this was a case of extreme distress and it took less than five minutes before they were being led into the exclusive, purpose designed, residential rehabilitation rooms at the back of the practice. The medico had seen the file… there was no need to explain.
Xander felt pathetic as they were led to their treatment rooms, and even though he knew Spike had agreed to remain with him for the whole of his stay, he began to silently cry… They entered the room they were to stay in and then he saw it…the bed with its white sheets and red duvet… the exact colours of their old bed, the one he’d been… He began to hyperventilate and shake uncontrollably.
Spike tried to help as he saw his partner begin to sway and the horror on the beloved face, he attempted to make a grab for him, to pull him into a hug… but the panic attack was in full swing.
Xander felt like he was falling backwards, his ears were buzzing and the vertigo made him want to throw up… His assailants were there again, he was falling and helplessness in imagined restraints… and then there were hands… a tight grip… pulling him… he screamed for Spike… his partner who was *right there* but couldn’t be real! He was shaking so hard that his legs gave out completely and he began to beg “I *can’t*… I didn’t… it… Oh G@#! I can’t… !!”
Spike could hear the heart rate elevate to dangerous levels and the panting breaths but as he tried to pull Xander close his Consort began screaming, “Get away!!! Don’t *touch me*!! Don’t touch me!!!” And then looked up to recognize his lover and friend and finally sobbed, “Spike… please…*Just* don’t touch me… I’ll *be* fine… I *just*… Oh *Please*…” Xander collapsed onto the ground completely, curled into a ball and lay shaking violently.
The doctor staid Spike’s hand and tugged him away for just long enough to talk. “You have done the right thing Master Spike. He needs to feel safe… he needs to resolve why this assault was so traumatic… I detect from his past that he has had challenges ‘sexually’ and magically, and don’t get me wrong… Your Consort is quite the champion… but this hurt… is different. We *must* address the panic – or it will only become worse!”
Spike’s inner William had not felt so utterly helpless since Dr Gull had diagnosed his mother all those years ago…
Spike looked over to his friend who was now curled into a foetal position, shaking as though freezing, “And what the *bloody hell* could be worse?”
“That he enters a full anxiety attack and catatonia as you enter your ‘stasis’ – and yes Master Spike I am well aware of that special need… but if he does that then… there will be no coming back, he will have in effect given away control forever and that is indeed what will happen…”
“So what in the King’s English does that bloody well mean?”
“He will have inadvertently relinquished his human form and accepted his ‘out of his control’ hated inanimate form forever, but also, forgoes all feeling. He will be a desperate soul and permanently feeling panic and locked in a plastic form... unable to feel touch, or gain comfort…”
“So how do we *fix this*
“He must address his fear, I will assist you both through that, but also he must become more vampiric. He is your Consort yet it seems… Ahhh I will wait until we have had a few sessions before I give you my full opinion. In the mean time use our facilities… treat him like a day old Childe, spar with him, talk with him of the Laws and your history, share your blood so he might tap into a little your vampire senses. And if you dare, share the memories of the elders of your Bay clans, that he might truly feel the Consort of their leader.
“Lastly I recommend – sooner rather than later, that you take him to observe the two who attacked him as they are now… I hear they are quite the enthusiastic ‘bottoms’ these days, in all senses of the word.” The doctor winked and Spike wondered just how much he knew. “Your decision to change all the bindings and the bedding was an excellent one – but it seems has left him with a measure of denial and as you have seen in here, that is not healthy but will be addressed in our sessions. Oh and one other thing… allow your Consort to invoke the spell rather than you – allow him to feel in control.
“Now I’ll leave you to it, try massage… if he calms, ring through and we’ll book a session today, if not then I will see you at midday tomorrow to discuss the schedule and your required resources.”
With that the doctor withdrew, leaving Spike with a near catatonic partner and hearing the doctor mumble as he closed the door to their suite “*Most* extraordinary, exciting case!!!” He couldn’t help think that he’d rather not be so bloody extraordinary!
As the doctor suggested, he began to massage his distraught lover until the tension left and Xander stretched out. They lay together for almost an hour, Spike just petting his partner gently, until finally Xander slept.
The following four weeks found them with one sometimes two hour long, daily sessions with Dr De Arth, initially together, Spike holding tight to Xander’s hand and on occasion feeding him a little from his wrist (with the doctor’s full approval) but as Xander seemed to improve, the Consort attended solo.
Spike and he sparred and worked out together daily – Xander a quick study as it turned out, and genuinely enjoying increased fitness. Spike increasingly impressed by his Consort and ‘pushing the limit’ of humans, though there was cause to wonder if the increased blood exchange was having an effect as Xander seemed to become quicker and more agile by the day.
They spent long hours talking about Vampire Law – going online via Spike’s cellphone and a laptop to let Xander research for himself… He even found his own name mentioned as ‘Esteemed Consort’ of the latest Master of the Bay. They also spoke frankly of his and William’s human past… and of Spike’s vampire years pre Sunnydale… the *real* story… no editing.
By the end of the second week, the worry was that the panic was *still present*.
Xander finally agreed to hypnosis with ‘the Psych’, and found himself addressing a range of issues that were well and truly from his past. But it was the day he returned to their suite still in tears half way through the third week that seemed to be the real turning point.
Spike was on his cell phone and had a laptop in front of him, grumbling about something to do with the Bay Clans, “Bloody incompetent sods, couldn’t organize a feeding frenzy in a warzone!”
As he saw his partner so visibly upset, however, he finished the call swiftly and moved to catch him but there was no need. Xander simply said, “I’m ready to see them Spike… I need to see them…”
A night later after spending their requisite twenty-four hours locked together, they dressed in silence, alighted a taxi and drove to Lady Gillian’s.
They were greeted with enthusiasm – the ‘lady’ herself seemed of dubious gender with the hands and hips (and obvious bulge) of a male but the breasts, and legs of a female supermodel, and the added addition of a pretty tail, which Xander only noticed as she turned to find the room ‘the boys’ were in. She smiled a knowing smile and offered to lead them to the suite herself, Xander noting, with not a little jealousy, how the demon took his partner’s arm so easily, as she led them off.
Xander watched as the first of his attackers ‘KG’ walked up to a pair of vampires entering Lady Gillian’s ‘blue room’, knelt politely and literally begged to be taken on the spot. The demon madam giggled, “So nice to have them willingly volunteer their services, they’ve been so fun in training too!”
A brothel assistant folded the compliant man over a purpose built bench and shackled his ankles to the posts leaving him pulled wide open.
One vampire dropped his jeans, grabbed the man’s hair, not violently, merely lifting his head to the right angle before his rather impressively sized erection was pushed down a willing throat as the vampire bit down on a now bucking and groaning KG’s wrist. It seemed that the other vampire had bitten into and was taking the right buttock of their ‘friend’, and the fisting had begun.
Xander could not help noticing the ‘Demons’ Bitch’ now tattooed across the back of his neck and the man’s restrained purple erection as he squirmed and pleaded for “just one sip” and release… a dripping wrist raised to the mouth but no release allowed.
Xander was ready ‘not to look’ but staid with his partner’s hand and watched.
As soon as freed from the chair, blood taken but still wanting, his assailant again sat dazed and hopeful by the door, rubbing his bound member with his bound hands and squirmed so the large butt plug that had again been inserted moved ‘just so’.
Then Xander saw the other. ‘Carl’ was ball gagged and straddling a huge vampire seated in a dark corner being entered and bitten, groaning with every thrust before the vampire obviously completed and pulled out.
The vampire then lifted the pale boy onto another figure sitting in an adjacent armchair “OK John … you’re next, that’s what you want, isn’t it boy. And don’t forget what the Lady Gillian said. Give him a swig of your blood afore you start… Hilarious, he’ll crawl, bark, beg – you name it! ”
‘John’ fell into game face, growled and said, “Well… do you want some?” Tearing open his wrist in the process and receiving a willing – even enthusiastic nod.
It was Xander’s epiphany, “They did that to me didn’t they.”
He was safe wrapped in Spike’s arms. “Yeah and no Pet… that’s the point the dear Doc has been trying to make. These boys chose their fate… they all but predicted it… and the hard part is that this don’t hurt them… they crave it … they want it… they get paid for it… Not like you Pet… you never chose it … But I did … I *chose* to spend time… and I need you back. I really do Pet… I love you… and you die… I will take me last draft of the red stuff and ask someone to stake me!”
With a tight grip on Spike’s hand, he had confronted his attackers and found himself with nothing to say even if able. What could one say but some old statement like ‘You reap what you sew’ or some such…” It was, indeed, the turning point, and Xander eventually turned and said, “Take us home… Please. Master Spike – your Consort awaits your attentions... you have done me more honour than I deserve… but … still… Oh Gh#@!!! I love you Spike!”
It was another Xu Pa Lao moment but this time, in essence, for Xander. Both Xander and Spike began crying and exchanging blood… their commitment to each other was sure… and the shift to a strong, competent, wonderful Master’s Consort, in a strange sort of way the original Xander… but now with the beginnings of the true training of a Consort and the skills to match… it was odd, new, wonderful.
They checked out of the De Arth centre with full support of Xander’s doctor and staff and returned home…
A day later their making love was subtly, wonderfully, different.
They remained connected as *Xander* willingly, lovingly, asked if Spike might invoke the spell. Bound, as in days of old, they joyfully joined and Spike felt his dear friend relax as the change, still swift and somewhat painful, took them both as the entwined figures.
The young minion who had originally supplied the ‘gifts’ on that first fateful night, and who was now charged with watching over the pair for the evening, looked across to his fellow ex-mid-thirties divorcee lawyer, now minion guardian, and simply said… “See!!! I *told you*.” Though the Master and Consort would be forever in the dark as to what was ‘told’!
There was nothing to say as they both took their normal forms.
Spike lovingly picked up his dear Consort and bathed him gently, seating him between his own open legs in the huge spa bath and gently washing his dear friend amidst the warm bubbles. What thrilled him was the hand that reached behind to take his own interest gently pressed it in the right direction, a Consort’s behind impaling itself voluntarily on a very enthusiastic Master Vampire.
Xander rode his Master until on the brink of release then found himself lifted off, frustrated, swiftly dried and carried to the bed only to be placed on a fluffy white towel on his back and Spike straddling and sinking down onto his Consort’s erection, at the same time pushing home Xander’s favourite vibrator. Both groaned as ‘that spot’ was struck… Spike rode his Consort to completion, and found his own as he bit down on his dear one’s neck and whispered “If I fill you now will you let me do the change?”
A sated Xander simply said… “Now… Please stay there and … Now.”
Spike relaxed onto his lover’s chest, forewent the butt plug in favour of speed and invoked the spell. Seconds before its hold the two kissed and intertwined tongues.
The next twenty four hours were spent (if anyone had looked) with Spike’s polycarbonate form impaled on his dear one’s plastic member and lips *literally* fused together courtesy of their passion as the change occurred. Were they to be a true shop piece, their combined form would have fallen into the ‘extreme kink’ area.
They lay together for a whole earth day then three hours more in their natural forms… the languid pleasuring something that they both cherished, sometimes even above and beyond lovemaking.
The stranger part now, however, was that they had taken to using the closet for their change (albeit now with mattress and warm covers) occasionally. Spike trying to come to terms with what it must have been like for his dear partner in the first months of his existence in Spike’s presence.
They cried and held each other tight after the first time, Xander with relief and Spike with the shock of understanding his Consort’s torment.
Giles’ visit was a challenge, for both of them. The retired watcher hugging Xander so tight as he exited the customs ramp at the airport that most other patrons grumbled about ‘families!’ and simply pushed past.
The drive home was typically awkward, filled with ‘proper conversation’ and a good deal of uncomfortable silence, or alternatively too much minutia regards Watchers and covens… and anything else.
But finally, ensconced in Spike and Xander’s private apartment and free of the minions that seemed ever present (though Spike would argue fewer than any of the other Bay Masters he ruled over) they all relaxed a little.
Bags were deposited in the only bedroom. Giles like Willow would be sleeping in the lounge-come ‘guest room’ later in the evening, for now he was ushered to the kitchen and stood by the fridge to accept a large glass of very good Glenfiddich on ice. Spike had the same in his hand while Xander grabbed a beer and the leaned against the bench, their legs noticeably touching.
It was Spike who began the conversation. “So, Red told you the goin’s on I imagine? Bay Master, Consort, that sort of thing?”
“Yes, Yes quite… I um…” Giles took another sip from his drink then put it down in favour of taking off his glasses, tugging a handkerchief from the back pocket of his jeans and began to polish them rather enthusiastically. It was such an old, familiar ‘Giles thing’ to do that Xander took an unnecessarily long swig of his beer in favour of a silly grin. “We were all distressed by his disappearance of course – but the serendipitous nature of you finding each other is *most* extraordinary… most extraordinary… If that hadn’t happened…” The older man trailed off in favour of picking up his glass again and staring at the floor.
“Boy wouldn’t have had a handsome bugger like me on ‘is arm, nor the run of the town – and I would’ve been one Consort and lover short. Now, no point worryin’ ‘bout the whys and wherefores… reckon the lad here an’ you need to do some catch up…”
With that Spike downed the rest of his drink, kissed his Consort passionately before whispering “Just goin’ out for an hour or so Pet… things to do.” Xander knew there was no urgent matters to attend to at the moment and squeezed his partner’s hand lovingly before Spike moved to the door of the apartment, grabbed his duster and swept out into the night.
Giles did not fail to note the adoration exchanged nor realize that the act was… exactly that, in order that he and Xander might have some time alone. As always, Spike never ceased to amaze.
As the vampire departed, Xander ushered his old mentor into the lounge room and moved to turn on some quiet background music, selecting a compilation of sixties and seventies ‘soul’, then joining Giles on the couch.
They chatted about the Coven of the Lady, and Willow, and the new Watcher’s Council and Buffy, Dawn and Andrew (who was still inclined to make odd pop culture references in meetings despite his new position as the ‘Head of Southern Europe”, and insisted on wearing tweed!)
They talked of Giles taking over his family’s country home in Berkshire and the consequent renovations and of his renewed interest in riding and ‘tramping’.
But then there was another rather awkward pause, and both taking a swig of their respective drinks.
“But what of you Xander?”
Then the two began together…
“I hope you are..”
“After Anya, I just …”
Giles quickly intonated, “Sorry… Go ahead.”
“No s’fine, I’m sorry… For a lot of things… and I *deserved* everything I got… everything!”
The ex watcher could not help but interject, “*No*… most emphatically *No*. Look what you did after that most traumatic event at the Hellmouth. Consider your actions. What followed was not your…” He was cut off by a touch to his knee and a quiet.
“She did it from love Giles… not from hate. And yes I did deserve it. Please. *Please* listen… My life was without compass, my reason for good works almost selfish, satisfying some inner need, just like when I helped Buffy… and unless I had had all that time to reflect, with virtually no hope of reprieve… It was a gift she gave, Giles, but I really don’t think she meant it to turn out like… well you know… I figure Willow…”
Giles could see the young man becoming more and more upset as he spoke, so reassured the former Scoobie, “Yes, yes… well and I can’t imagine what you went through… *are* going through since the… well the change. But my dear fellow… are you… happy with Spike, I mean, are you treated well, content? And don’t get me wrong – if I might have chosen a more devoted individual, I would have struggled. The council records show his steadfast commitment to those he loves… but do you…?”
“Love him back? Oh… you have *no* idea… We are two parts of one whole… Giles… We *share* a soul.”
The aging human pulled back in rather horrified amazement, “But how?? Why??”
"Willow, D’Hoffran… He paid for my freedom with his… and Willow fixed it so now we *share* mine. But it’s OK… Giles, I *love* him… I *feel* him… and, Giles… *he chose* to share the curse… he was prepared to share the curse… with me just so I could…”
“Walk amongst us once more… I… I did talk briefly to Willow prior to departure… but I must say, I still did not comprehend quite the… No matter – you need not share in an old man’s insecurities. I just… the change?”
Xander then began to explain the effects of the change, the strange consciousness and numbed ability to feel, the wonder of Spike loving him, rescuing him from his fate via Willow and the reasons and consequences of their subsequent attempt to control the change.
At one point Xander stood and moved toward the kitchen, still continuing his story, grabbed a beer for himself and refilled Giles’ scotch and was just about to admit his need for his bindings… their need, when the door slammed open and a blonde vampire in game-face literally fell into the room.
Both Xander and Giles looked on with stunned fascination as Spike pulled a stake from the right hand side of his neck before Xander flew to Spike’s side, catching his partner on the way down and offering his neck.
Giles saw that, despite the pain, Spike still took the time to lick the Consort’s claim mark before gently letting his fangs pierce his beloved’s skin to take two long, very welcome drafts.
Xander then helped the now human faced vampire up and, ignoring their guest for a time, led him to the bathroom to treat the obviously deep, nasty wound.
By the time Giles stood at the doorway Xander had Spike’s trademark boots and duster off and was tending a wound that even the Watcher could see, had hit a major blood vessel, but what didn’t make sense over the next few seconds was that the flow of blood increased rather than stemmed as would be expected with vampire healing.
Xander felt his partner’s distress and pressed a towel hard against the wound trying to stop the bleeding.
“Can you tell me what…?”
Spike managed to whisper, “Assassin, maybe slayer… just comin’ home, never felt… Oh Xan!”
Giles picked up, what he belatedly realised, was a *bone* stake and smelt it… there was a foul acid and apple type smell that he recognised at once, “Piliothorn, demon arsenic, specifically designed for vampires and deadly within minutes if not treated.”
Xander was desperate, and Spike whimpering as the poison coursed through his system, unhealed scratches and cuts beginning to bleed, and bruises augmenting. At Giles’ statement Xander looked up and simply stated, “Is there a cure?”
“Yes but it will take me some time to gather the ingredients… I … um… I would need at least twenty four hours to brew the antidote!”
Xander simply said, “Done”, flung him the address of Xu Li Wa’s herbalist shop and his own friend Santiago’s Magic Shop then, no idea if the strategy would work, lay down with his barely conscious partner, pulled him in tight, and invoked the spell.
Giles watched in horrified fascination as the two forms changed, the bleeding ceased, and the room became… silent.
He felt compelled to throw a blanket over the two, then found the telephone and made several orders ‘to deliver’.
Within hours the rather rank smell of several antidote ingredients brewing permeated the apartment, and Giles had the sinking feeling that… there was still no guarantee.
Giles rang the Willow at the coven. It was critical he had the invocation *and* the proportions correct. Sadly he only managed to get through to an answering service, so rang her cell phone with the same result. Desperate, he sent a text message to Dawn’s mobile phone in the hope that she could contact Willow via Email.
Two minutes later a panicked Dawn rang. Spike and Xander had always been her big brother figures… the wonderful men in her life, if only for a short time. Now they were both in extreme danger – Spike critically injured and Xander as Consort, sure to follow if Spike died. But she *was* Buffy’s sister and truth be known, stronger in her resolve, a strategist and newly inducted wiccan. She guaranteed Giles would receive a call within the hour, one way or the other
Twelve minutes later Willow called. He conveyed the circumstances, the poison and their temporary reprieve.
“Giles are you *sure*? Who would do that sort of thing?”
“I imagine any number of groups who would like the current Master of the Bay ‘replaced’, or it could have been another demon group, or a Slayer trying her best to make her mark. Andrew has informed me of a new ‘incentive’ system for newcomers – ridiculous idea – getting more killed in the field… But this is all beside the point. Whether I agree with vampire culture or not, Spike is the key to keeping this region stable, is *critical* for Xander’s survival… and is… a long time ally.”
“Oh Goddess Giles! He’s more than that, he’s a hero… and a *friend*… and Xander’s partner!!! What do you want me to do?”
“I need to boost the antidote with a spell… it was a bone stake. You know what that means… and if it was taken from the femur of an innocent then we are going to need every bit of magical energy we can access. Do you think the coven would ag…..”
Before Giles had even finished Willow said, “What time? If you we a few more hours I will gather the full coven – and more.”
“Well it seems the change is fairly punctual, so I would think another twenty one hours from now.”
“We’ll be here waiting – just call my cell. Now what is the spell you are proposing?”
Giles read out the spell and in the end realized just how much Willow had grown as Mistress in servitude of the Lady, feeling quite the student, not the worldly wise Watcher and expert in all manner of the occult. She corrected two Latin words, advised him on the timing, and suggested an additional healing incantation he had never before heard of, let alone used.
The conversation ended up with a rather emotional, “My dear, thank you… thank you so much, you must know, just for the record, how very proud I am of you…”
“Oh Giles… thanks… but just save them OK? We’ll be by the phone ready for the boost… Now get those glasses polished and finish the potion, we’ve got some dummies to save.” The last part was said with rather false mirth, but it had the right effect.
A quiet “Thank you… You will hear from me soon.” finished the call.
Less than a minute later a loud banging on the door announced the arrival of a handsome Latino man who introduced himself as Santiago, the address apparently familiar to him, the distressed order to his magic shop ‘to deliver’ unusual, and the ingredients unmistakable. He was brash, charismatic and had a rather distinct Latino accent, but deferred to the older man instinctively. After introductions he was even more reverent.
“So you are *the* Giles?! F@#$ !! You should a’ heard that crazy Xan talk about you Man! He was *devoted* you like a favourite Uncle or somethin’! You are a hero to him and more I’ve heard… Man, it is *such* an honour to meet you, I wish my Mother was here!!”
There was barely enough time to walk to the kitchen to put down the box of purchases when there was another knock on the door. This time it was a strikingly beautiful, petite woman of Chinese origin, who introduced herself as Xu Li Wa - “But you can call me Grace if it’s easier”. Santiago kissed the woman on the hand and obviously had great respect for the lady, who belatedly Giles realized, had blue black eyes with vertical slits, slightly pointed ears and a swiftness of movement that marked definite demon heritage.
They quickly caught Giles up to speed with their connection to the Master of the Bay and his Consort and the old Watcher felt extremely relieved, though he still did not allow them to see the two latex figures under the covers in the bathroom.
He had done his best to mop up Spike’s spilt blood with three towels now soaking in cold water to try to extract the horrid red mess, but in the end the decision to leave the two was a logical one, as soon as the change occurred the bleeding would begin again.
Xander could feel his dear friend along his front, though unusually they were both near fully dressed upon the change. He had hold of Spike in a desperate hug as they changed, the other mannequin still in a vice like hold with head on his Consort’s shoulder. He could hear the phonecalls, the near panic in Gile’s voice then the relief as Willow rang, then heard the arrival of the two dear shop owners, friends of them both. And yet there was nothing he could do but wait and wonder if what he had done would prevent his worst nightmare coming true.
Spike was semi conscious, but was lucid enough to know that the form holding him in a protective grip was his lover, his friend, his soul, his dear Consort. He wished he might have just a few words before he dusted for all time… tell him how wonderful the man was, how much he loved him, how he would like to thank Xander for loving him back, for sharing a soul… for… everything.
There was nothing to do for either inert figure but wait, but at least they could still feel each other through their shared soul, feel that the other was still there… though for how long was a point of contention.
Giles was frantic, though reassured by the presence of two very eccentric individuals who seemed to know their respective trades, and certainly knew the people and the particular ‘condition’ they suffered each week. And beyond all else… were friends committed to producing a cure… *quickly*.
Santiago’s accent and handsome features was a stark contrast to the quiet tones of Li Wa (who was rather pleased when Giles continued to call her by her correct name, perfectly pronounced, and particularly that he continued to refer to her as Xu Li Wa… honouring her family also). But both worked at a furious pace to assist Giles in the preparations. It was only two hours later, as they all stood shoulder to shoulder, or rather, shoulder to elbow for the petite purveyor of herbs, that Li Wa gave in to curiosity.
“You are… respectful to demons… and helping a vampire and Consort…yet… a Watcher… Why??”
“None of us are who we might seem, dear lady, some defy their demon instincts to serve the greater good... while others seem born to serve and suffer for good. My dear, these two are the epitome of all that and more. They have sacrificed *everything* for the greater good, many times over… Xander… He… while still a boy, was fighting the good fight, as a man continued in many different ways.” For the first time, Giles truly gave in to the shock of seeing the curse change the human he had cared deeply for as a student, and grown to love and respect as an older uncle does a man, into a plastic parody of the male form.
He dropped all pretence of being in control, leant on the bench and all but whispered, “And Spike… He never sought atonement, accepted his weaknesses and offered the ultimate sacrifice for those he loved, the world he believed in – only to have to face the same again… And now… He didn’t *ask* for his current role yet he took it willingly. And… he gave up his soul to restore a friend… now his Consort… There is no greater love….” Giles gave in, fell silent and let a tear fall for Xander, and a second for Spike.
He composed himself and returned to stirring the mixture, “Dear Lady, my concern is that I would not have considered that the demon communities have been so dissatisfied by the Master of the Bay’s rule that they would make such a power play?!”
It was Santiago who answered. “This is not about the Bay. This is a Master who shares a soul and bonding with a Consort. A Consort who is a Hellmouth survivor, one who has been possessed several times, and both fought in and survived the worst of the attempted Armagedon’s of the last twenty years… Oh yes I do know about that…This was no normal attempt by the Vampire or even demon courts. If we can reverse the poison, we will have a chance to find the culprit and the intent perhaps maintain the balance. If we cannot I am not willing to think what might…”
Giles stared at the man, “The balance of what, exactly??”
“Why the balance of shared dark and light, soul and demon, Master and Consort, of strength and vulnerability, of intellect and practical ability… these two beings were anticipated.”
“Foretold by name you mean? But I… I have never come across any such prophesy”
It was Li Wa who left stirring and took up the conversation, “There isn’t one… there was something in the air when the two settled in this city and together they are most powerful …”
“But surely? What of the curse?!! They cannot stay like this in perpetuity!”
Santiago shrugged and Li Wa simply turned back to stir the potion. “It is hard to accept. But think of it this way… even the Gods have a day off!” And apparently there ended the lesson.
The following six hours were tortuous and mostly conducted in silence. The smell of the potion bordered on toxic, the company did nothing to quell Giles’ unease, and the inert state of the two in the bedroom led him to feel quite desperate. The potion was ready after two hours. After four Willow was contacted again to confirm that the coven was ready and waiting to boost the spell. A feeding tube was forced down the still vampire’s plastic throat, the perpetual position of the sex toy’s mouth assisting a little but the angle leading Giles to thank the stars that he was unable to really injure the dummy.
There was little else to do then but wait...
They set up in the bathroom potion ready to be administered as quickly as possible phone on redial. Santiago suggested they try to separate the two and after some struggle it was possible fortunately Xander’s arms articulated all the way around at the shoulders; from straight to ninety degrees at elbows, knees and hips (with a little flexibility to allow legs to spread for the comfort of the user); wrists and ankles were fixed, straight at the wrist and ninety degrees at the ankle. His hands like his mouth always took on their sex toy position, hands with fingers curled to make a perfect channel and mouth in the ‘O’ position. Spike was similarly ‘made’ and neither could their heads be moved more than to tilt up and down a few degrees.
Xander had wrapped himself around his lover and had him tight both on their sides. He had hold of the back of Spike’s T-shirt with both hands, but they finally managed to pry the material out, then work out how to untangle the legs. Finally the two came apart and were lying on their backs, Giles belatedly kicking himself for not doing that prior to inserting the feeding tube, a tube which they could clearly see through the gaping hole in the mannequin’s neck, the stake obviously puncturing a hole in Spike’s oesophagus.
Minutes later Giles saw the beginnings of the shift and fast dialled Willow. They would all have to wait until the change was complete to pour in the antidote and begin the chant. It seemed like hours as Xander arched and moaned with the pain, Spike also starting to move a little but was unable to even whimper with the feeding funnel and tube preventing sound escaping. Santiago immediately pushed a towel against his neck. He knew they only had seconds before the final shift but Li Wa didn’t wait, yelled *now* to Giles and poured in the potion.
The chanting began, the phone was on speaker and they could clearly hear the wiccans doing their part on the other side of the world Xander had been aware of the preparations so had quickly moved to hold his partner’s head still as the foul smelling brew was poured into the funnel. Li Wa was careful not to allow the funnel itself to empty and a stop start in flow cause air bubbles, the last thing they wanted was Spike being forced to burp during the process.
It was a relief to see the last of the mixture disappear just as the chanting concluded, Willow finishing their call with a blessing and promise to check in the following day.
The next few hours were terrifying, Santiago still had the towel firmly against the neck but was struggling to keep it there – were it not for Li Wa holding his head fast, he might have failed. They twice tried to move Spike to the bedroom but his body was convulsing so badly that even with four helping as best they could it was nearly impossible. Finally Giles spotted the blanket that had covered the two, they placed it down beside the writhing figure, eventually moving him onto it and wrapping him tight. Li Wa had replaced Santiago holding the towel so Santiago and Xander might do the lifting. They placed him gently on the bed – at least now he would be as comfortable as could be expected in this state – feeding tube still in place.
Now holding his lover’s head still again, with the other three taking turns holding the towel, Xander was becoming more and more concerned as the contorting and thrashing continued. Spike was sweating profusely, jeans and T-shirt soaked and he was constantly in game face. He could feel Spike’s terror and pain through their soul link, but was barely able to send his love in return as he too felt more than a little desperate. “Isn’t there *anything* more we can do… an anti-convulsing spell or a knock-out potion, *anything*?”
Giles answered by putting a quiet hand on the boy’s shoulder, “We really can’t risk altering any of the effects of the spells or the antidote… he’ll,” Spike writhed again this time so badly that he bit the feeding funnel clean off the tube and began bleeding from his nose. “You’ll both have to ride it out I’m afraid, I’m sorry Xander – it is the best we can do.”
Two more extreme convulsions later, suddenly he fell still, simply twitching in odd places occasionally and finally his face fell back into its human guise.
They were all exhausted, Li Wa simply said, “I think we are done here. He still will not be comfortable but perhaps now the healing will begin.”
Giles nodded and moved to assist their wonderful helpers pack up their wares before departing. It left Xander holding the towel against the hopefully now mending neck and stroke his partner’s face softly. Giles stopped at the door and as an afterthought said, “I’ll be back in a minute – we may be able to give him a little blood now but with the funnel gone… Anyway… I’ll just see the others to the door”
Spike’s eyes had been closed since the fitting ceased but now opened the pupils bloodshot as though he had been crying and the expression still desperate and pained. He lifted a weak, shaking hand up to touch first Xander then his own partly open mouth, tube still inserted.
He tried to say something, to swallow properly, felt an excruciating pain where muscles tugged at the injury, then simply let tears track down into his hair.
Xander leaned down and kissed him, “ Oh *please* honey, they had to... they’re pretty sure she put a hole in your oesophagus… they had to get the mixture down somehow… don’t you remember? Do you remember any of it?” Xander hoping the answer would be no.
Spike just shrugged a little.
“Do you remember me taking you to the bathroom and the change?”
Spike blinked slowly then lifted a shaky hand a few centimetres and rocked it to indicate somewhat.
“What about after the change? Just blink once for yes and twice for no.”
Two deliberate blinks.
“And after… the treatment? When you were fitting do you remember that at all?” Xander kept up a mantra of please say no, please say no! but really… already knew, he’d been there and felt it himself, just hoped that Spike might have been ‘out of it’ despite his body registering the sensations. But the eyes blinked once only.
“Oh Spike! All of it?”
Again a single blink.
“The blanket and us holding your head?”
Bloodshot eyes closed once only and it was Xander’s turn to shed tears.
“Oh God, oh God! We couldn’t do anything… just sit and watch and try to stop you bleeding out! I um… oh Spike” Being sure to keep pressure on the towel he leaned down and kissed him on the forehead each bloodshot eye and the lips.
“Are you still in pain? The twitches are still going a bit… do they hurt?” The hand lifted and rocked a little again.
Spike closed his eyes, and Xander was relieved to see Giles return to the room carrying a washed measuring jug, six bags of expired human blood in a large dish of warm water and a sharp knife.
“I think this should suffice. One in the jug, we can pour it in directly into the tube.” The older man looked over to where Xander still held the towel fast. “He should heal enough to remove that in a few hours with this inside him.”
He lifted the first bag but stopped when Xander all but demanded, “He gets mine first Giles… Consort blood is the best… His first blood after all this should be mine.” He thrust out his free arm and looked pointedly at the knife.
Before making the cut however, Giles paused, “This is going to hurt you know – it has none of the finesse nor the healing/anaesthetic saliva. I will just get a bandage before we start – I will need to dress the wound afterwards.”
Xander looked back at his dear tortured lover, “Will be nothing like what Spike’s going through.”
An hour later, vampire fed and though still twitching had finally fallen asleep, Xander beside him arm lovingly slung over the lithe form – the patient still in his clothes of three days previous. Giles was holding the towel.
In the quiet he looked at the two Master and Consort. Life never seemed easy for the pair, and they *still* had to find the perpetrator of the crime against the Master.
Two hours after the first feeding, Giles nudged a snoozing Xander and urged him to hold the towel again while he went for more blood. Spike woke as the brunette moved, only to have his right calf cramp painfully, and twitches that now felt like someone sticking pins into him in random parts of his body. Xander moved swiftly to massage and stretch the limb until the vampire relaxed a little, then took over from Giles.
Five more bags of blood topped up Spike’s system and as Giles emptied the last of the fifth bag down the tube, the vampire moved back into his human guise and begged with sad eyes as he lifted his hand to a still slightly bloodied mouth and tube end.
Giles patted Spike’s shoulder, “I understand Spike but it is best we leave it for the next half hour or so. Just let the blood move around you a little more. Try to relax and sleep a little.” Xander began running his fingers rhythmically through his lover’s hair and the blonde did eventually doze off.
It was actually an hour later, as Spike’s awareness returned again, that Giles brought in a bowl of water and packet of cotton swabs and began to gently separate the towel from the neck it was now attached to by dry blood.
What was revealed was a nasty hole remaining but it seemed to be only skin deep, corded muscles and intact blood vessels barely visible. It would be safe to remove the tube and Spike could feed naturally again.
Towel off and a clean smaller bandage applied, Giles warned, “Spike, the procedure is usually done with something to dull the discomfort, but I will have to do this for you without that luxury. OK?
Spike blinked slowly once and Giles began to slowly tug the tube free. Spike paled and began to sweat after the sliding piece of plastic continually rubbed against his gag reflex, and coughed violently as it finally pulled from his mouth.
He managed, “Taa” then threw up a little of the blood he’d ingested the previous hour, Xander managing to catch most of it in the neck towel he grabbed from the floor.
For the first time since his injury Spike rolled onto his side and slept once more.
The following day showered and cleaned, Spike’s shakes and pins and needles had all but disappeared, and the neck was recovering well. It was time for some serious research – and pulling in some favours.
It seemed extraordinary that Spike had only really been ill for five days. Now Spike called the other Masters in his jurisdiction together, Giles was invited for the specific reason, that he had saved their leader from certain death after the Consort removed the bone stake and stemmed the flow from the gaping hole.
Giles was treated with polite respect, largely as Spike played up his Ripper days, expulsion from the Watchers’ council and his fight against the Initiative on the Hellmouth. The fact that he arrived flanked by the Master of the Bay and his Consort did not hurt either. But it was the other Masters that amazed him. Most wore trendy street wear, though some were in well tailored suits (Giles happy he had taken Spike’s dress code advice of neat casual seriously). They were, with few exceptions, rather good looking, fit and extremely articulate; all, well educated in both human and vampire sense; also obviously rich and would fit in at any after-hours Directors’ meeting in a big company. The Childer attending fitted the same demographic. And all, Giles realised, would therefore be charming, disarming and extremely deadly were they in human company or the company of enemies.
Minions of all present were not permitted in the board room or indeed near it. Body guards and drivers performed their tasks then waited in the purpose built demon bar in the basement of an adjacent building, easily accessible by a walkway from the underground car park. The drinks were paid for by their bosses, with blood running freely, and while other minions were rewarded the occasional treat, the minions at the Masters’ gatherings were always on their best behaviour. As Spike explained the layout of the building and the exodus of drivers and others through the tunnel, he looked across at Xander pointed to the tunnel and mouthed “Spike’s idea?” to which Xander rolled his eyes and nodded with a grin, Giles replied with one of his own.
The rest of the demon clan and family heads were utterly varied in their appearance, and from what Spike had told him, often had to rely on their vampire allies to proxy for them when a ‘human face’ was needed to interact with the general populace. It demonstrated the level to which Spike and the group as a whole had moved forward in terms of trust and the strength of the alliance.
With the general agenda dealt with Spike drew their attention to an agenda item simply marked ‘New Player, Old Game’.
“I would ask that you hold questions and comments until the three of us have concluded, as this is a matter that with impact, I believe, on everyone in this room.
The room fell silent as the Master of the Bay stood and began by saying, “Five days ago an assassin, I believe perhaps a rogue slayer – though that is pure speculation – attacked me in front of the building I called home, managing to stake me in the neck with a bone stake laced with Piliothorn. For those who are unfamiliar, it is specifically designed to cause us to bleed out and dust within minutes, the bone stake vital to complete the dark magic.” There were horrified looks on many of the older faces – though many Childer appreciated the extra information.
“I managed to stagger back to my apartment where my Consort saw that the stake was removed and managed somehow to stem the blood, but it was my Consort and my long time friend and scholar in all things magical, who identified the poison and who’s fast action allowed a coven in England led by the extraordinary, powerful wiccan Mistress Willow to collaborate and come up with a combination of spells and a fast acting antidote. I will invite Mister Giles to continue if you will.”
Giles looked a little surprised but stood at the prompt, “Master Spike - William the Bloody, Consort Alexander, Esteemed Masters of the Bay Region, your Deputies and Family members, I am honoured to be invited to speak. This was a little unexpected, so I hope the delivery is both accurate and succinct.” The vampires and demons alike were most impressed at the formality and inclusiveness of the introduction.”
“Though our actions were swift and the response from the coven, prompt, it was also the assistance of Santiago Montega – proprietor of the Lugar Magico shop - and Xu Li Wa owner of a Chinese Herbalist and of Chinese desert demon heritage.” Many in the audience nodded at the names. “They not only personally delivered the required ingredients and assisted in the preparation of the potion, but also stayed until, hours later when the worst was over. I would also like to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the High Priestess Willow and all members of the Coven of the Lady who chanted the healing spells along with us and without whose energy I am not sure we would have succeeded.”
“The wound itself had severed the carotid artery and the oesophagus rendering a feeding tube necessary for two days. At all times his Consort was by his side and was the first blood the Master took after the poison was reversed.”
“This is no ordinary attack. In my opinion the assassin was just that, but whoever was behind it knew who they were attacking and a great deal about the dark arts. I also postulate that this attack was directed at the Bay Region of clans and families, not merely your ruling Master whom I was honoured to be able to help on this occasion. Thank you for you time.”
With that Giles sat down and the room all but exploded. There was no precedent for such an attack in current memory. When the noise quelled a little Spike stood and all fell silent once more.
“Suggestions and thoughts from the floor … let’s just go around the table shall we, Master Jeremy?”
For the next forty minutes names of warlocks, Masters from other regions, various inter-dimensional demons were tabled, though most did not have the capacity or the motivation to murder a Ruling Master so revered by those in his alliance. The only explanation for the attack it was decided, was the destabilization of the entire region – and perhaps others, though to what end no one could establish, until Xander said almost to himself, “Balance.” Spike looked at him with a trademark puzzled expression. “Beg pardon?”
“You told me that when you first came here, Li Wa said it was predicted it was to restore balance. And it seems we have a highly successful alliance – and our model is being adopted by other regions across the nation. I guess that’s not so helpful to know really, but maybe there’s someone trying to tip it one way or other.”
It was Giles looking worried, spoke for the first time since his formal address. “That means we should not rule out fanatics for the forces of ‘good’ *and* evil.” The comment was considered and deemed valid should Xander’s insightful suggestion prove true.
One thing was not so troubling. Retribution would be swift and vicious was he or she captured by any of them. But in the end it was decided to use the full force of their networks to seek the one behind the threat – particularly those outside the Bay Region – and reconvene in a week if not before should something be found.
Spike focused on his vast number of contacts some in South America, Australia, China and beyond. While Xander concentrated on their network of ex-Scoobies and some of his African contacts.
Giles quietly contacted and researched with people in places that few others – even the Masters had access to. And of course wished he had access to his own private library, in the end he decided to cut his visit short and headed home to “be of more use to you in this ugly turn of event.
At the airport Spike went buy ‘something’ while Xander hugged him soundly and said a very emotional, “Thank you *so* much… for… well… for everything ‘n come back soon… please?”
“Of course Xander – how could I not?. Be careful… both of you. Choose your days inanimate with caution, and keep the two minions who know loyal.” Giles then released him and they found a seat to wait on while Spike apparently ‘shopped as Xander went on to reassure him they were being careful.
“I think Spike takes care of that pays them well in cash and blood and occasionally spikes it with his own as reward (sorry ‘bout the kind of pun there… they seemed pretty happy with that as incentive…” There was a long pause then Xander’s teary brown eye (the other one covered by the patch today – some days the socket ached too much) looked directly into Giles’ baby blue, “I love him Giles, I love him so much it… He really completes me, even inanimate… I can never repay you for what you did… what you are doing… and you need to know that I don’t just respect you Giles – you are the dad I always wanted, you’ve always been there for me, us all and I love you for that.” A single tear tracked from his good eye as Giles pulled the brunette’s head gently forward and kissed him on the forehead, “You really are so very dear to me my boy… so very, very dear.”
The mood was broken by a, “Hey Watcher, hands off the merchandise and get yer own fella!” Spike was in fine form, the original Big Bad persona but as they moved toward the entrance to Customs and security, Spike turned to Xander and said, “Give us a mo’ will you Luv.”
“No problem! If I don’t find a bathroom soon there may be an embarrassing puddle.”
Giles followed the vampire to a slightly less crowded corner, and as he turned to look Giles directly in the eyes, all pretence was gone, and the ex Watcher had the true Spike addressing him in low sincere terms, “I wanted to thank you, Pet, private like, for what you did for me, for the boy, and what you are doing now. This is just a little somethin’ to show our appreciation.”
Giles opened the plain black card with the image of a door half opening and light streaming out. The message was written in Spike’s glorious Victorian handwriting, in ink no less! Giles looked up to see Spike’s wink and a shrug, “Bought me own along so’s I could do a proper job of it.”
Giles snorted a laugh, shook his head, “Why am I not surprised?” then began to read the note.
We are now old friends, and once again comrades in battle. Few could hold a candle to your courage and commitment to the greater good in all its guises. Let us hope that once more we triumph and bring balance.
In this last couple of weeks you have seen both Xander and I at our best and our most desperate, and you saved us both from oblivion… We are indeed in your debt.
You are a remarkable man, Rupert. It is an honour to know you. The boy loves you to bits and I share his soul, so I know how that feels.
Spike and Xander”
Giles tugged off his glasses and wiped his right eye with the back of his hand, “Spike I…”
“Don’t say a bloody word just accept the pressie and let’s get you back to Blighty and sort this sorcerer out. Well come on.”
Giles looked in the envelope there was five hundred pounds in fifty pound notes, and an open ticket voucher for the return flight London to San Francisco.
“Spike! I can’t accept this! Good Lord…”
“You can and you will bit o’ spending money for the return, relyin’ on you for the single malt duty free when ya come back. So you better bloody well stay safe, yeah?” Spike’s words may have been harsh but the sentiments were clear and Giles could not help but pull the vampire into a hug just as Xander joined them.
“You old two timer! Here was me thinking I was your boy!” Xander winked and Giles pulled back a little embarrassed.
“Nah mate, you’re my Consort, your ol’ mentor here was just checkin’ me hug out on your behalf, see if I were doin’ it right.”
Mood broken the farewell was still a little tense but easier than expected.
The drive home was quiet, but once in the door and alone, and well for the first time in what seemed like forever Spike spun his partner, and kicked the door shut with his foot. Back against the wall, Xander was kissed with a passion that had him instantly hard, another jeans clad member and Spike’s hand rubbing insistently on either side of his. The next few minutes were a blur, but somewhere along the line, clothes were taken or torn off, they had made it to the bed and Xander was now straddling his partner, sucking a nipple and rubbing so hard that Spike could swear he was with another vampire.
Lube was applied swiftly by both and Xander sank back onto the hard shaft easily, Spike fulfilling and filling him in every way as tongues tangled and hands caressed.
Sated but in need of calling the change they fitted each other out ready Spike insisting he be on the inside of the spoon, Xander in him. The spell was cast and the change began, but now even the familiar pain seemed arousing. The two mannequins had no external expression change, but both knew the other had a blissful smile on the inside.
After all, it was their day of rest.
Two weeks after farewelling Giles, none of the extensive drive to find intelligence on the illusive Sorcerer was panning out and they weren’t even sure whether he was still in the Bay Region when Lorne rang Spike to report “A poor impression of Christopher Lee’s Saruman in Lord of the Rings – but without that lovely baritone or the stage presence!” Throwing his magic and money around Vegas and generally intimidating or eliminating anyone who dared oppose him. Most demon clans had either capitulated or simply gone to ground.
A meeting of the Masters was called but the day following Lorne’s call, there was a second desperate call made, “He’s turned my PA deep sea blue! And *Just* because the dear protective stud muffin told him I was currently on dimensional jump to Pylea for recuperation from my hectic schedule (always fools the press!) He *must* be stopped – I mean blue? Ramone has *just* bought a whole new wardrobe to suit his lovely coffee colour.”
Spike had just finished the call when another came from Willow and the coven, they had done a locator spell stronger than any used before, seemed to be tracking the drawing of magic and had detected the action in Las Vegas. The only problem was that it needed a spell or curse to be cast before the signature could be traced. And they still didn’t have a name.
The breakthrough came from an unusual source when Li Wa arrived at Spike and Xander’s apartment early evening some four weeks after the initial attack on Spike. They had only just become animate again some hour or so ago, and were washed and rested when she arrived. Spike had never seen her so excited.
“I am so sorry it took this so long… but you know it is difficult to get a message to my father. Spike, your Sorcerer is called Barnardo, a most powerful warlock. He made a vow that he would always work toward disharmony everywhere.” Xi Pa Lau confirmed that Spike was a threat to him – far more than Spike would realize as other Regions were following the Bay Region’s example. Destabilizing the Bay Region would knock all others following their model for six, and cause a domino effect all along the Western seaboard, indeed other Regions looking to go down that track would then be seeking someone who could provide them an alternative.
The Sorcerer had moved to Los Angeles by the time he heard the news and was *furious* when the Ruling Master did not die, screaming at his faithful followers and finally deciding to make an example of the terrified rogue slayer, lifting the girl high into the air with his power but then seemed to have second thoughts and promptly dropped her. Had it not been for Slayer reflexes there would have been serious damage done.
“All the rest of you… out! I want a little time with my black flower here” The grateful audience hurried away – happy it was not they in the firing line. The Slayer lay on the floor shivering with fear.
The Sorcerer’s voice was pure liquid malice, “Now my dear, that is *so* much better… you and I all alone…” He squatted down beside her now prostrated figure and petted her like one would a frightened dog. “You did seem to hit your target – just sad the consort was so… quick, but really my dear, your target was too close to home – those sorts of things make a difference you see… so it really *is* your fault.” He paused mid-stroke, his hand over her neck and the collar she wore and squeezed hard, leaning down and whispering, “I am feeling generous, so I will give you a second chance. Would you like that, hmmm??”
“Please Lord Barnardo, please let me try again.” The pain of the squeezing hand around the girl’s neck was becoming unbearable.
“Good…They won’t expect another attack so soon. This way you can bide your time and choose your moment …*this* time, you *will* get it done.” He pulled her to standing with the hand on her neck, handed her another bone stake sheathed in a special guard. She shakily accepted and was released from the grip.
“Thank you Lord Barnardo, thank you.” She thought that was the end of it and turned to walk away, just in time to hear the words, “Oh and here’s a little reminder of your previous escapades.”
The sorcerer stilled her with a bolt of yellow light and chanted a few phrases. When she was able to move again she felt an increasing pressure in the rear of her jeans. She swiftly pulled them down and was horrified as the slim, muscular, green and black tail of a large reptile continued to grow until almost five feet long, and at the same time felt her back prickle down her spine to meet it… She reached around to touch her lower back and cried out as she felt scales in around a two inch stripe at the back of her neck and the base of her spine where her tail started, and all the way in between. She knew, she would never be mistaken for human again.
“We return my Court to San Francisco tomorrow night where you can try again… and if you make another error – rest assured you will spend the rest of your life as the ‘snake in the grass’! Oh and I suggest you have a few practice runs before you tackle the Ruling Master this time!”
The chocolate skinned girl, now with a striking black and green scaly tail, ran out before anything else could happen.
After she was gone, Barnardo settled down with the list he’d been handed earlier detailing exactly who had assisted in the recovery of the Ruling Master last time.
1. High Priestess of the Coven of the Lady – Mistress Willow Rosenberg and entire coven community – location UK. The Mistress is extraordinarily powerful in white and black magic.
2. Rupert Giles – Mage and Watcher of great repute – scholarly and quite the strategizer – currently in the UK.
3. Santiago Montega – proprietor of the Lugar Magico shop – informed & supports the Ruler.
4. Xu Li Wa – Chinese herbalist and part demon – little is known.
He swiftly ruled out targeting either Mistress Willow or the coven, and since it appeared from all reports that Rupert Giles was currently residing there, he too was off limits. But the other two were fair game.
He called upon three of his most trusted to take out the magic shop owner, and would send a single assassin, armed simply with a sword and instructions to kill, after the petite herbalist. The sorcerer assuming that even if she was part demon, beheading killed most things.
Three nights later, the sorcerer deployed all five killers at the same time: the altered Slayer, the wraith and his three favourites.
The Slayer watched as Spike and Xander moved with purpose through the residential streets in the Oakland area, having just met with a distraught Master Jeremy whose own Childe had been dusted the previous evening, by what he could not tell. The minions with him had scattered, though one did describe ‘something with a tail moving very fast’.
The two were deep in conversation, the attack was too typical of the sorcerer for it not to be related – and if anything the Regional alliance was stronger than it had ever been. Unless there was an outsider taking random shots, it seemed the sorcerer was back in town.
“Let’s just get home and call Wills… she’ll know if he’s here.” But Spike wasn’t listening, his hackles were up and vampire senses detected, Slayer. He said it under his breath a split second before a creature with girl’s body and snake’s tail launched from a first story balcony, bone stake ready to strike. But Spike had seen her coming and stopped abruptly, halting Xander also. She overshot and landed on the concrete in front of them a little dazed, though recovered quickly. Not quickly enough however, Spike did a flying kick, knocking her to the ground, face down and the stake released. Xander pounced on the poisoned object, careful to grab it at the thick end, while Spike subdued the bizarre looking creature. She prickled with the unmistakable signature of a Slayer, but it wasn’t until he saw the sorcerer’s mark on the collar that he knew for sure.
He pinned her to the ground and was about to interrogate her, she cried out in apparent agony, nothing to do with Spike’s position, then writhed around so much that he struggled to stay astride her. Suddenly the arms he had hold of so tightly, shrivelled and disappeared. Astonished he sprang backwards and he and Xander stood looking on in stunned horror as her legs also left her, and her head shape changed. After only a few minutes the somewhat human form was now a large carpet snake. It seemed to pause for a moment then took off into the nearest yard as fast as it could slither.
Spike stood rather stunned, “Bloody Hell!” Xander walked over touched his lover on the shoulder and handed him the deadly weapon.
“I think our friendly sorcerer is in town… Don’t think that slayer will be back, do you?”
The second assassin – a lithe black wraith like figure with raptor like facial features, made its way silently into the herbalists where Li Wa was about to pack up for the night.
Used to ‘special’ customers she smiled at him and offered help. When her query remained unanswered, she simply grumbled to herself a little about rudeness these days and went about her business behind the counter, but the hairs on the back of her neck rose. She could see the demon in the glass of one of her jars despite having her back to him, so knew he was moving gradually and silently toward the counter. It was the act of a predator readying for attack.
In the final rush forward, the killing arc of the demon’s sword was met by the skilled parry of an experienced warrior wielding her favourite – the Samurai sword given to her by a grateful customer. It was followed by two more attempts by the demon who was shocked that there was any defence at all. Li Wa easily shifted aside the second time, leaving the demon open. She brought her own sword down in an elegant arc and sliced through its middle. Once fallen, she sliced off its head in one stroke for good measure. There was a foul odour in the shop then sighing as the demon simply liquefied into a puddle of black ooze on her floor. All that was left was the shrouds it had been wearing, the sword and the telltale collar.
She grabbed a bag of salt from the back and sprinkled it over the foul mess, wiped down her sword, closed the shop and drove her van at top speed to Spike and Xander’s, sword on the seat beside her. If there had been an attempt on her like this, then the sorcerer must be somewhere close.
The same evening, Santiago had been out dancing at a local nightclub. It was a gorgeous full moon on a perfectly still night in San Francisco, who wouldn’t want to walk home!
Four shopfronts from his own, the hairs on the back of his neck stood up and he heard a garbage can tipped over, then the screech of a local cat. He couldn’t help it, two doors from home he ventured a glance over his shoulder and saw what looked like three wolves sprinting toward him in attack mode. He needed no other hint and sprinted for his door, managing to get it open but only as one latched onto his leg. Fortunately his leg was slimmer than the wolf’s head and as he slammed the door in an effort to pull himself inside he jammed its head hard, causing it to release.
Once inside Santiago began to feel extremely nauseous and wondered if it was just the adrenalin and the shock of being bitten, then his internal organs felt like they were starting to move about somehow. He fell to the floor just inside the locked door panting then screaming as his body changed
The sorcerer arrived minutes later with two of his three canine ‘servants’.
The newly made werewolf lay shivering on the ground, but it smelt its own kind and began to bear its teeth and make to move, then a dart hit his rump and his world went black.
“I thought this might happen. You were *supposed* to kill him… but I guess this will have to do. Guard him for a moment, I have a cage to pick up and message to write.”
He woke in his own shop, naked and on his elbows and knees in a tiny cage. He was human again, with a muzzle obviously designed for a different creature but effectively locking his jaw closed. His ankles were locked together as were his wrists and they in turn were fixed to either ends of the cage, and there was a chain from what he knew to be a collar also clipped there.
Xander had not heard from Santiago all day – despite him promising to ‘check in’ just in case the magic shop owner happened to hear of any more leads on where the Sorcerer was based. When the phone at the shop went unanswered, and his friend’s cell phone rang out he began to worry.
Late afternoon, he left Spike snoozing lightly and promised to call if there were any problems, then made his way to the Magic Shop. The shop was locked, and though it was approaching sunset, Santiago usually opened late and finished just after nine most nights – many patrons preferring to visit at night. He peered in the shop window taking in the dark interior, finally he decided to use the spare key he’d been given when they were flatmates (Xander sometimes contacted if his friend had accidentally locked himself out).
He let himself into the dark interior flicked on the switch and was almost ill. There were shreds of the man’s clothes all over the place as though they had been torn off. The handsome male was trussed up in a ridiculously small cage, and whimpered as Xander came close.
“God San! Hang on… I’ll just um…” He saw the ugly, still raw bite on his friend’s leg and wanted to help, but five sturdy padlocks on the long side were preventing him from even getting to his friend, then he saw the envelope taped to one handle at the end of the cage with the words ‘a Gift’ and obviously had the keys within.
Xander tore it off and as he tipped them, a ‘With Compliments’ card fell out.
“Thought you’d like a pet with a bit of bite. I advise keeping his collar on, taking it off will result in the permanent loss of his humanity, also suggest he might be trainable if you keep the muzzle on. Enjoy. Yours Barnardo MW”
Xander unlocked the cage as quickly as he could, unbuckled the muzzle and was about to unlock the manacles when Santiago rasped “*No*! Werewolf… moon!”
Xander then realised that there was only ten minutes or so until sundown, so instead raced to the back of the shop and grabbed a huge tumbler of water and a straw (and thanked fast food vendors everywhere for ‘super-sizing’), wet a tea towel with warm water and moved to help his friend.
Santiago was able, just, to sit back in a down position then raise his head to accept the welcome water, finishing the entire cup by the time he realised that Xander had virtually sponge bathed him. With a pained voice he simply said, “Thank you”.
“Last night around twelve.”
“God. And I really well…”
“I know you can’t Xan, come for me in the morning will you… Please.” Near black begging eyes met Xander’s brown (though the glass eye was a little askew at that moment). “Xan, I need to pee… and we haven’t got enough time…”
Xander looked up at the darkening sky and knew Santiago was right, so pulled the straw from the cup and said, “Kneel up a bit, I’ll put it under and look away OK.”
The soon to be wolf did as instructed but by the time Xander had gently and as matter of factly as possible wiped away any drips, the impossibly long dark lashes were wet with tears. “You need to put the muzzle back on Xan… Please! Then get out of here I… I don’t think you need to see me like this.”
Xander nodded his head sadly and buckled the leather and steel restraint back on, then did up the cage, all the while reassuring the newly made werewolf that one of his best friends in high school was one… and that it wasn’t like his current predicament – they would get him help and a comfortable place to spend his three nights a month.
By the time he had finished his speech the change had begun, limbs distorted nose, and mouth became muzzle, canine ears shifted and fur sprouted. The wolf whimpered to itself, struggled in the restraints for a time then went silent and flopped to the ground.
Xander rang Spike, there certainly was a problem!
Spike was horrified at the news and swiftly joined Xander at the shop. Xander rang Li Wa and minutes later the van from her shop arrived to pick up one large cage and take it back to Spike and Xander’s apartment.
Santiago woke from his change, muzzle and shackle free and crawled painfully from the cage to a waiting pair of arms holding the softest blanket the boys could find in their collection… He immediately burst into uncontrollable sobbing mixed with appeals, all in Spanish, to his mother, his father and the Virgin Mary. Spike suddenly realizing that as Santiago now carried a demon, and had been brought up Catholic, he would of course fear the consequences upon death. But now was not time for that dialogue, nor his thoughts of the possibility of sending him to Xi Pa Lao – Li Wa’s father – so he might learn to accept and be at peace with himself, just he had, and as Oz had so many years ago in Tibet. So he sat and as soon as Xander had removed the cage from sight, a second pair of arms enveloped him, loved him, comforted him and slowly the loud crying gave way to quiet tears and an occasional ‘hic’ and whimper.
They eventually toileted, bathed and carried him to their bed, he refused food but gratefully took the drink bottle as two sets of hands began to massage still stiff arms and legs. By the time he was turned onto his front he was all but asleep, nevertheless the massage was finished and the three slept, Santiago’s near black hair poking out from under the covers between brunette and blonde. The coming evening was not a full moon, so they all slept on well beyond sunset.
Three and a half weeks later with the sorcerer’s threat remaining unresolved, still more and more disenchanted demons poured in (most from other regions or renegades with no existing clan or family) all begging refuge and pledging themselves to the Bay Area Masters in every quarter. Some were treated with suspicion though most were so pathetic that there was little need.
It seemed the Sorcerer Barnardo delighted in using and abusing his ‘followers’ as he called them. Once pledged to him, everyone (even the senior members of families, renegade slayers and one Master vampire) was forced to wear a collar with his name on it and prostrate themselves whenever entering his presence – to the point he set a spell to punish any who forgot, causing them to crawl everywhere until *he* decided they might rise.
The ones who escaped commented on his mood swings, his inconsistent set of rules, of him favouring one person one day and turning on them the next should they not successfully do his bidding. And yet in places destabilized by his ruthless elimination of key moderates, he managed to convince many that he was the only option. Most dissidents fled before they encountered him, others weren’t so lucky.
It was around nine thirty at night, a week before Santiago’s third ever change, when two very young, pretty male vampires (obviously twins), all but fell into the Santiago’s magic shop, to the great surprise of its owner.
They were desperately thin, unwashed, near delirious and conjoined from the elbow down and had a strange arrangement of four malformed hooked fingers or thumbs coming from the end. They prostrated themselves in front Santiago and begged him to tell them how to contact any one of the Masters from the Bay area that might be willing to give them refuge, adding that they were outcasts of Sorcerer Barnardo.
“He did this?” Santiago’s gaze dropped to the odd shared arm. Both sets of desperate, pale green eyes dropped, and one voice whispered, “Yes”.
“Well, you’re safe here… I’m Santiago by the way… but please come and sit on the couch over there where the books are, while I see what I can do.”
The two young vampires were in such bad shape that when asked to rise, one boy’s legs gave out, pulling his brother back down with him.
“Oh Geez! Stay there… just stay there OK… I um…” He noted that the two were kneeling and leaning against each other, eyes closed and with unmistakable looks of pain across otherwise rather androgynous faces as he raced to the back of the shop fast dialled Spike and explained the scene without mentioning the arm. The boys themselves should have a chance to explain.
“…Yeah, here just now… Man, they are in *very* bad shape. I think you should come down. And Spike, maybe pronto…… Thank you”
Santiago then grabbed some of the ‘special beverages’ he sold to some of his more special customers, heated up the out of date ‘O pos’ in two large mugs then walked back to the two. They had not moved except to embrace in a desperate gesture of two who were about to find that they had made the wrong decision. Consequently they looked up in wonder as Santiago squatted down in front of them and held out the mugs and waited for them accept them. But they didn’t move.
Finally he put one down, “C’mon hombre, you need food… this is the best. The Ruling Master of the Bay Region and his Consort are coming. You are safe here.”
He pressed a mug into one man’s hand, then picked up the other and repeated the act with the twin. The two raised the mugs, falling into game face and trying to drink slowly but just unable to contain their demon as the blood slid down their throat. Mugs were empty in seconds, both carefully licking into the mugs to try to catch the last drops.
“Now because it’s still technically business hours for me… why don’t we get you two comfortable in my place upstairs. Master Spike will be along soon.” He smiled, took the mugs and put them and offered his other hand to assist the boy who had collapsed previously. It was gratefully accepted and the two made their way through a rear door and slowly up a set of stairs, Santiago suddenly realizing how difficult life would be for them as they struggled up the spiral staircase awkwardly and very slowly having to twist their combined arm at an almost impossible angle in order to stay one step behind the other, rather than one of them having to tackle the narrow side of the stairs in their weakened state.
Once up, Santiago pointed them at the shower and found two fresh broad towels. “You want I brought some new boxers this week – more than happy you should have them, and I have some track pants they’ll swim on you but … at least you’ll feel clean not sure about your… um… Could do a sweat shirt each I guess – just have to keep your middle arm down I guess… we can sort something better later…”
The boys simply nodded took the towels and wandered into the bathroom in a daze.
Santiago went to the small lounge room and had begun to tidy up a little when he heard the toilet flush and realised that the two blondes would *never* have privacy again – unless the spell could be reversed which he very much doubted, given the sorcerer’s track record and to fuse vampire flesh in that way without it reversing...
Then the shower started and he heard one man crying and the other attempting to comfort but that voice too was tearful. The least he could do was give them some privacy and find the promised clothes, retreating to his bedroom.
He pushed the door open a fraction and placed the clothes just inside the steamy room then headed downstairs for three bags of blood and to turn his sign to closed, it was only half an hour before closing anyway, and it had been a very slow night.
By the time he had a few snacks on the table for Xander, himself, and probably Spike and variety of drinks – including beers and blood and assorted other bits and pieces. The two rather shy men stepped from the shower room dressed in rather too large sweat pants and over sized tops over their boyishly slim forms, but it had the advantage when the middle arm was considered. They were fairly completely covered, Santiago pleased as they had obviously lost their clothes at least the upper ones en route.
The two had only just settled on the couch when he heard a key in the lock and Spike and Xander appeared. The two immediately left the couch to kneel and offer their necks to the powerful Master. It was a formal gesture, made by two well mannered Childer educated in the Laws. Spike returned the gesture equally formally. He bent bared his teeth and merely touched his fangs to the neck of the first blonde then did the same to the second before saying, “I am Master Spike, William the Bloody of the line of Aurelius and this is my Consort Alexander Harris. You are welcome in our Region brothers. What are your names?”
“Master Spike, I am Philip and this is my twin brother Andrew, Childer of Master St John of the line of Teredi. Our Master is no longer Sir, he was dusted almost a month ago.”
That over they all sat and for the first time Spike and Xander noticed the two apparently holding hands but when one scratched gasped at the truth, then was further horrified by their story.
Their Sire had been Master ‘St John’ (pronounced ‘sinjn’) the Ruler of the hugely successful Seattle and surrounding clans and families of demons. Their region also encompassed Olympia and they had modelled their ‘alliance management’ on the Bay Area with great success – and like Spike – found that their territories were no longer in dispute. The Ruling Master had been killed by an assassin using the same poison as that which had nearly dusted Spike.
Andrew and Philip were not with him at the time, but were grabbed as they returned after a night of clubbing and ‘skim feeding’. They would have followed their Sire and minions to a dusty end, but the Sorcerer took rather a fancy to them and decided to convince them to follow him then keep them as his *personal* pets. They refused to ‘join with him’ in any way, even after three weeks of all sorts of coercion, humiliation, imprisonment and a severe whipping. The sorcerer had screamed that they would therefore be joined to *each* other forever and began to chant.
Andrew had apparently grabbed Philip’s hand to pull him out of the way but the bolt of green hit them both. They had recovered consciousness only to find that the connection was irreversible, the sorcerer taking great delight in telling them that the only way to separate was to remove the arm altogether. But then they would need to be careful... the amputation point would *never* heal. He then had then manhandled from the premises, *their* home and they had fled to find refuge, boarding a freight train in the dead of night and making their way to San Francisco in the hope…
Spike stood after they obviously finished, fell into game face and bit his own wrist, offering it first to Andrew then Philip. “I knew your Sire, he was a fine Master and will be sorely missed. I too lost my Sire, and my way for a while, but existence has a strange way of healing and strengthening us.”
The young vampires had taken only a mouthful each but felt the zing of an old vampire’s blood. Spike held his wrist out to Xander who licked the wound as it healed.
“Now let’s sort you somewhere to stay.”
Santiago had been quiet for the entire exchange but now spoke up. “Xander’s old room is still there, and Spike I really need someone here at the shop for three nights a month anyway – otherwise… well you know, and they could keep a check on me too now we’ve put the bars in the cellar. Good job that … anyway… they can work for food and board.”
The twin vampires on the couch were not sure what to make of the cryptic suggestion until Xander turned to them, “Our friend the sorcerer decided to give our dear Santiago a trip to ‘Lycanthrope Land’. He was too hard to kill so they made him a werewolf instead. He’s still new to it, so it’s best he’s contained for those nights… to that end we’ve built a nice strong cage in the basement – but it has comfortable features.”
Both men stared at Santiago’s dark handsome face in wonder then both nodded madly.
Santiago added, “And I have a friend Maria who specialises in demon attire, I’m sure she could easily make you some great stuff, let you dress separate but cuff together.”
At that, the twins stood, wobbled a little despite the now two pints of blood each in two hours, and swiftly moved to soundly hug the werewolf and wonder at their good fortune. They shook hands with Xander and Spike simultaneously, and the ruling couple dismissed themselves while the twins were shown around their new abode.
What followed was three weeks of frantic searching for the sorcerer as more and more stories of his cruelty and ruthlessness toward those resisting him came forward. A team of shape shifting demons scoured Seattle to no avail The demon communities were in disarray after the dusting of the Ruling Master St John and abduction, by force, of his two beautiful Childer. The shape shifters learned that the sorcerer had moved on – with his entourage and a swag of others too confused or distressed to stay. Sadly none of the Seattle Masters of Vampire Clans or demon families could shed light on the sorcerer’s next target.
It was a phonecall from Willow that stunned them all.
They knew that after the attack on Santiago, the sorcerer had moved on. The locator spell showing nothing for almost a month.
The Sorcerer Barnardo’s threat was stopped in its tracks in Los Angeles by, of all things, a combined wish by three vengeance demons Barnardo had bedded, concurrently, during and after one of his soirees for the rich and dangerous. They had a further liaison, the girls flattered by his attentions and adoring their horizontal (most of the time) antics. But at the next ‘Barnardo’s bash’’ his current three girls in attendance, he was standing talking to a fellow sorcerer unaware that they were standing behind him.
He began the conversation as a promiscuous college boy might, graphically describing each girl’s best and worst features and their “average” prowess in the bedroom. He then went on to proclaim that their powers were of little use to anyone, their cause but petty retribution and methods arcane… he only kept them around for the sex. Adding insult to injury he compared D’Hoffran to some doddery doting Uncle with a bunch of catty school girls in tow.
D’Hoffran appeared without announcement as Willow’s walked to collect the mail for the coven. She let out a much younger Willow-like squeak of surprise then composed herself.
“My dear Miss Rosenburg, how lovely to see you looking so radiant, magic suits you, whatever the shade.”
Willow felt distinctly uncomfortable but still managed a, “Well… thanks I think… um… You’re here for…?”
“I have heard from a number of my girls regards a certain Sorcerer Barnardo’s antics here on earth, not that I particularly care regards who is ‘in charge’ as you seem to be. But he has hurt three of my girls, used them and publicly scorned them. He also made a point of insulting me – of course that matters little to me, but for the girls it was insult to injury, I am their elder in our happy family.
“Well a vengeance demon cannot make a wish herself. As a consequence, I wonder if you would mind assisting us?”
“OK I’m listening…Assisting you how?”
“I thought you might oblige us by delivering the wish.”
Willow thought for a moment, they had never come close to defeating the mage, not really.“Well I… But hang on mister, don’t I have to be scorned by him or something?”
“Ohh, I think we can get around that little loophole given the participants, the number involved and the circumstances. You too have been betrayed in your day. We will simply hold hands and you repeat the wish.”
“This isn’t some *trick* to make me one of you is it? Because mister…if you…” Willow’s ire was up and her eyes started to change.
“Oh my dear lady, not at all, not at all. Your magical strength is too much for anything to happen should you not will it. I am merely proposing a win-win situation. I give my girls satisfaction and you rid yourself of that pompous, trumped up schoolboy of a sorcerer.
That evening, standing on the lawn of the coven, far enough away from the wards so as not to set them off, D’Hoffran introduced each girl before the joining hands to form a circle.
D’Hoffran nodded to Willow, “Go ahead my dear.”
Willow simply said, “I wish that the Sorcerer Barnardo knew what it felt like to be…” then waited as each girl added her particular part which Willow would repeat.
A rather dumpy but pretty faced Ellie spoke first, “I wish he knew what it felt like to be laughed at for looking different.” Willow duly repeated the last part then it was the rather elegant brunette, Alice’s turn.
“And that he lost all his magical powers,” Willow added the request before Penny (who reminded Willow of Cordelia somehow) added the last part, “And had to live as some rich lady’s, neutered, small lapdog for the rest of his life.”
As Willow finished, her eyes turned black and all the three girls shifted to their demon faces and along with D’Hoffran said, “Done”. There was a bright flash but the effects were felt half way around the world as on Sorcerer Barnardo disappeared from a meeting in a puff of blue smoke to the annoyance and amazement of the rest of the group.
Stripped of his powers he found himself in a cage waiting for ‘adoption’. He was in the body of a Hairless Chinese Crested dog, bug eyed and tiny, and devoid of hair but for a few odd white tufts on his ears, forehead and tail, and white ‘socks’ on his paws.
He refused to eat for a full day but finally some of the dry food on offer, and barked his distress until only able to whine pathetically, and ceased them too when the large (in comparison) corgi in the next cage growled his disapproval. He eventually curled up on the old towel that served as a bed and on instinct beginning to lick his genitals and realised, to his horror, he had been ‘fixed’! Bald as a badger (and wasn’t that a silly statement considering his predicament) and bereft of balls!
The following day he had refused to cooperate with the handlers when they came to clip on his leash ready for a walk – even nipping at one, and getting a rather hard smack on the nose for his trouble. When the hands came in again he repeated the gesture, receiving the same response and while still in shock from the strike was caught expertly and had a tiny muzzle applied.
After six days as a canine, he was over being giggled at and insulted by the many humans who wandered through seeking a ‘real dog not some freaky thing’, a large woman with expensive jewellery, coiffed bleach blonde hair and an unfortunate case of halitosis, approached his cage. She and ooh and ahhed over him, then called over a handler.
In a distinctly Texan accent, she pointed at his cage, “I want to ask you a few questions about this one?”
“Sure Ma’am. What’s it you want to know?”
“It says here on the cage that he is a one year old; definitely pure bred but has no papers? What were the circumstances of his coming to you?”
“Ma’am, he was handed in by a family who bought him from a pet shop – pretty unusual to find them sold like that really. The breed are usually really sweet natured but apparently this one got a bit nippy with the kids, so they brought him in here. If you ask my opinion Ma’am, he just needs some proper training. Now that he’s neutered it should help also Ma’am, tends to calm ‘em down.”
The ex-sorcerer whimpered at that statement.
“Yes well, he would be a nice addition I think, even matches the new colour scheme perfectly… I went with a slightly oriental look…” She stared hard at the rather forlorn brown eyes, “And health?”
“Oh generally very good Ma’am – just need to watch the sunburn if you’re having him walked – human sunscreen does the trick. And a bit susceptible to skin allergies, but that’s mostly older dogs. If you keep the diet pretty strict and exercise him, he should live to around 15.”
“This all sounds mighty fine, I’ll take him.” Then she leaned down almost pressing her face to the door of the cage and said, “I’m your new Momma pumpkin… and I think we just found you a name, Pumpkin.”
‘Pumpkin’ was lifted into a travel cage, and whisked to Mrs Lorraine Taggerty’s newly redecorated apartment. Her full time house keeper took charge of the pampered pet paraphernalia then on the lady of the house’s request, had plonked the rather surprised little dog into the bath and thoroughly washed him.
What little hair he had was blow dried and a red patent leather collar attached. After being introduced to bed and bowl, he was lifted onto a very ample lap and forced to settle. This was to be his life 15 dog years that was 105 in human terms… no power plays, no magic, no intrigue or… dare he think it, sex. Instead he would be ‘trained’, pampered yes, but no longer was his life his own. He slumped down onto his soft warm owner in utter despair, Lorraine interpreting it as a sign of devotion and petted his newly washed head.
Part 18 & final
News of the apparent disappearance of the mage travelled like wild fire and was greeted with both rejoicing and a strange sense that his essence was still present somewhere. So when a certain Mistress Willow called Spike and Xander to give details of what had transpired, all Spike could do was roar laughing.
“You’re sure? He was pretty strong Pet, I mean, all the people he changed and hurt and controlled – what are the chances of him finding a way back?”
“Spike there were *four* vengeance demons casting the spell! And it was no ordinary spell – I felt his magical energy drained from him as he changed, though I guess we’ll never know exactly where he ended up or what sort of ugly lapdog he has been turned into – the spell was unusually specific though.”
It was cause for celebration, though for Masters who had lost Childer, and Childer who were left taking over the mantle of their dusted Sire, plus the demon clans now devoid of leadership, there was little satisfaction. The vengeance had been someone else’s. Nevertheless, some solace was taken in the knowledge that the ‘illustrious’ Sorcerer Barnardo was not dead – but rather, living a life utterly out of his control.
The efforts the Bay Region had made to stop Barnardo in their region and the assistance they had afforded others, not to mention the price they had paid for their trouble, was recognized across state and national borders and the reputation of the Court and their Ruling Master and his Consort grew.
With many of the West Coast Regions in disarray after their leaders or key family members and staff were eliminated, time and again the Bay Masters, and the Ruling Master in particular, would receive an appeal to simply settle a dispute, or more importantly, offer guidance or provide support while a Region re-established the agreements, partnerships and trust. Many of the Masters of the Bay willingly sent their Childer (or children/hatchlings/pups as the case may be) to assist with the proceedings personally.
Spike and his Consort travelled also, though more to inspire and encourage than to hands on organise – Spike’s time was at a premium, so he tended to let the Masters who had volunteered to help a region get on with it uninterrupted. He made time every day to concentrate on keeping his own Bay Region as well run and balanced as he could manage and increasingly he and Xander were being contacted – or indeed visited – by leaders from further a field.
In the end it seemed obvious. An open summit was to be held in San Francisco within the year. The vast majority of his Masters agreed wholeheartedly – the one thousand, eight hundred or so delegates from one hundred and ninety-one Regions would also spend their money in the city and it also held the possibility of making business relationships cross country and beyond.
There was an enormous team organizing everything from venue, accommodation and transport; to food, other special needs, communications, trade show and tours; and an ‘event’ on every one of the three nights/mornings after the proceedings were over – culminating in a gala dinner.
Forums on trade, small discussion groups regarding specific issues for certain species, opening keynote written by Xi Pa Lao and proudly delivered by Xi Li Wa, plus the many, many other highlights had to be factored in.
The venue was a huge old underground silo, easily decorated and able to be divided into smaller breakout rooms or used as one for the final dinner, and the main theatre was large commercial lecture auditorium accessible by tunnel.
It took nearly seven months to organize - seven months of frustration and triumph; of public spotlight and private calm; of huge crowds of unknowns and a small intimate group of friends – all part demon (or in Xander’s case Consort to one and a changed human) and totally committed to each other.
As the day approached, the number of Emails, phonecalls and meetings increased exponentially, to the point where Xander and Spike forgot the days between their change. They had taken their ‘day’ on the third day of the previous seven, but the but minutes after the seventh day of the next week came to an end and the new week began, and with no change invoked Xander doubled over in pain. He cried out as his form stiffened of its own accord with unprecedented speed and associated pain. Spike was in the spare room, now home office, and similarly afflicted. Luckily they were at least in the apartment – able to feel each other through the soul/Consort link, but sadly in two different rooms with backs arched and limbs contorted – and would inanimate for twenty four hours.
As Xander lay in his twisted form, he worried whether their forgetting and overstepping the time might carry a penalty. And with little else to do but think, Spike worried about his consort and vice versa. They both worried about the soon to happen summit, and about what they should be doing in the next twenty four hours, and how they would explain the various commitments missed, and belatedly how they yearned to be in their comfortable bed, feeling their connection, even though unable to move.
It was just after sunset when the change had occurred. They had always invoked the spell then so no one would miss them in the sunlight hours and effectively they were only unavailable for a single working night. Normally their time was quiet relaxation and a loving embrace, now it was torment with little likelihood of reprieve. Spike had listed all the meetings he could think of in his head, his cell phone went off several times, as did Xander’s, and the home phone was obviously switching through to voicemail also.
Most of the Bay Masters and their teams working toward the Summit, worried little regards the lack of the Ruling Master on site. Spike had given them the right to choose the role they wished to take and respected their right to organize things as per centrally decided timeline. Spike’s main role was that of the CEO – making sure all aspects of the Bay Region, along with the Summit, were continuing to run smoothly. If he missed a meeting he would usually phone through or at very least apologize profusely, if he did not stop by to see how things were going and encourage, then he inevitably came the following day.
But Philip and Andrew were worried. It was the anniversary of them being adopted by their new Sire (at Spike’s insistence and to their joy) and Spike had promised to meet them at the Magic Shop around midnight for a quiet celebration, an exchange of blood “… and a drop o’ the good stuff.” When midnight came and went, then one and two am, and the cell phones rang out, and any of the Masters they rang simply reported not seeing them, they began to worry.
It was only when Santiago came back in around two thirty after a bit of ‘clubbing’ that they found themselves suspecting a possible cause of the sudden absence.
Santiago was pulling back on the jacket he had discarded only minutes ago, “How long since they changed?”
Philip and Andrew both frowned and, as often happened these days, said “What?” at precisely the same moment.
“The change. How long since they invoked it?”
Andrew looked at his brother then back to Santiago and both shrugged looking worried at the same time.
“Come on, let’s just go over to their apartment, we’ll all just worry otherwise.”
The three piled into Santiago’s ancient Fiat, the twins both in the back seat by necessity, and drove the four blocks to Spike and Xander’s building. When there was no answer on the buzzer, Santiago used the spare key Xander had given him and let them all in. The knock on the apartment door got a similar null response but there was music playing quietly in the background and the lights were on, something Santiago knew for a *fact* that neither of them would not have done if they were both out or had invoked the change (the two had lived without for too long to waste like that).
Santiago put the key in the lock, not quite sure what to expect.
There was no indication of life inside – but as they rounded the entry way wall and entered the lounge they saw the macabre contorted Xander shaped figure. Santiago left the boys to search the rest of the apartment – finding Spike half way under his own computer desk, legs tangled around the cords at the back, knees semi bent and one arm stretched over his head as though reaching for the door, the other grabbing for something above him.
“Oh Spike! Andrew… Philip leave Xander for a minute… I need help!” The boys appeared at the door mere seconds later and gasped as they saw their Sire in a position that spelt agony. In the past they had seen the ruling couple changed, but it had always a peaceful, loving scene. This was *entirely* different.
“Help me with his legs first… we have to pull him free… Philip, can you get to the cables under the desk at that end?”
“I… ughh… yep… what now?”
“If you can, at least unplug this thing so we don’t all fry.” A sharp tug from Philip and almost undetectable hum of the computer’s fan ceased. Philip then carefully unplugged anything that seemed to be stopping Santiago from freeing the difficult to manoeuvre mannequin’s legs, but finally they were free (Andrew relieved as he tried his best to reach far enough under the table to help despite their conjoined arm aching in the position that entailed).
Santiago lifted Spike easily and carried him to the bedroom, leaving Andrew and Philip to attend their Sire, who was still in a rather odd position, while he retrieved Xander. By the time he carried the Consort in to lie beside his partner, Andrew and Philip had used their three appendages to great advantage – the combined hand useful to apply pressure where needed as they straightened out whatever they could according to the limits of the mannequin. In the end, both Xander and Spike were naked and lying side by side in the bed, sheets tenting where the sex toys’ plastic erections stood proud for the twenty four hours of their current state.
Andrew turned to Santiago, “Can we put them in an embrace at least – it seems so awful to simply lie on your back beside someone you love, especially when in need of comfort.” Philip felt a tingle in their combined arm and knew it to be his brother’s deep love. He thought of the countless nights since their change – and even before that – when they had cuddled for comfort, now more than ever.
Santiago nodded and the three manoeuvred the Master and Consort so they were facing and touching in as many places as possible.
Spike and Xander both felt the careful treatment, the kindness and concern, and listened as the decision to hold vigil until they recovered was made. The twins would take the first watch while Santiago (who was now looking distinctly tired) slept for a time on the couch. The boys souvenired a couple of large cushions from the lounge room, and took up their position on the chaise lounge against the wall on Spike’s side of the bed.
Xander hoped with all his heart that their current predicament was somehow not made worse by their tardiness in calling the spell. The two pretty vampires, Spike’s twin Childer, deserved to have their Sire whole.
Shortly after sunrise Santiago took over from the boys who volunteered to sleep on the floor of the bedroom – or more strictly speaking on a luxurious white sheepskin rug while Santiago took watch duty.
Eventually Santiago had to return to the shop. Opening time was usually eleven and it was just a little after. The vampires promised to ring him if anything changed.
That evening, as Santiago served a young human who wanted “...some of those totally weird books about 'Shakras ‘n stuff?'” the phone rang. He swiftly convinced her to buy inexpensive introduction to the ‘Spirituality of the body’ and another on ‘History of female spiritual life’, then closed the shop and rang Spike’s home number. Sure enough they had changed back.
By the time Santiago had arrived the ruling couple were showered and dressed. Xander said nothing as the werewolf entered, simply hugged him hard. Spike did likewise and whispered, “We owe you Pet.” to which Santiago replied, “Didn’t think we were keeping score.”
Relieved beyond measure that the worst that happened when they forgot was a forced change, Xander and Spike began addressing things that had been missed the previous evening and attending to pressing matters.
The Summit was a triumph.
Not everyone was completely comfortable with the whole concept of trade agreements, dispute mechanisms for territory squabbles, or the inclusion of certain demon species in the Summit, however it did seem, by the end of the four nights, there was an accord and at least a written commitment from all those present to attempt to strategize for ‘balance’. The mood at the final Gala dinner was one of genuine optimism and an intent to have fun. A wide variety of food requirements were provided for and drinks of all descriptions free flowing.
The minions and servants of those present were also thrown a party, much to the astonishment of the majority of their number. They had already been accommodated in relative luxury for the three nights, in some cases their Masters being somewhat surprised at their enthusiastic approach to their work while in the Bay.
Spike gave the final keynote, announcing several initiatives that had been signed off during the course of the Summit, one of which included a mentoring system for young vampires and demons who were forced into the role of Master of their clan or family due to death or dusting (depending on species). It was a bold but welcome move and would shore up relationships between adjacent Regions.
He opened by addressing a rather malicious article in a local demon paper, published some week before the Summit.
“Fellow Masters of all races, as Ruling Master of the Bay Region and on behalf of our clans and families, I thank you all for attending this inaugural Summit. It was aimed at striking balance and establish broad alliances for mutual benefit throughout our vast network of Regions. And I think we have begun that process in a way I had only hoped would occur.
"But before I give you all an overview of what went on in the many meetings, forums and workshops, I would like to clarify for those of you who asked at the dinner last night… Yes that was a picture of myself and my Consort in the demon magazine – my only complaint being that they didn’t get a clearer view of the toys being used and place the information in the education section! There’s more than one Childe who could do with accurate information!”
It brought a roar of laughter – particularly from the vampire Masters. Said photo had been taken telescopically one night when Xander and Spike accidentally left their curtain open in the height of passion. Consequently it was very fuzzy and the buy line “King of Kink” was supposed to cause uproar. Instead the local Masters thought it hilarious and respected Spike even more when he sent a ball gag to the highly annoyed journalist.
The remainder of the speech was brief and inspiring, organizers were thanked publically and the Summit concluded with a date set for the following March to repeat the process, and the delegations departed satisfied.
The day the Demon Regions from around the country and a significant number of overseas Regions’ attended the Opening Speech by Li Wa at the Summit, Pumpkin had been dressed in a ridiculous rain jacket and booties over his furry paws and taken for a walk by the girl who came every few days. As usual he had been giggled at by passers by, called a pretty cat by a three year old, and growled at by two huge Rottweilers who were also on the trail, frightening him so badly that he whimpered and hid behind his human handler’s legs, so was lifted up and carried for a time.
Mrs Taggerty, his owner, was out when they arrived home. Usually when he’d been out walking, she would make a huge fuss of him, then would order him to sit up and “Ask for your treat Pumpkin”, and when he complied, would fuss some more, then feed him one or two doggy chocolates.
But this time he was shivering with both cold and fear after the encounter. He put up with having his booties removed and knew to lift his chin as his little hood and cape was released, relieved that his ears could return to their proper positions. He had been trained to go to his mat whenever there were no other instructions, but was too upset, so checked the apartment one more time for his owner and gave in to instinct, whimpering a little when he found the rooms empty.
Finally he went to his mat and lay down and, despite being bathed that morning, began to reflexively licked his nether regions feeling, as he did every day, the scar where there should have been… reminding him again of how far he had fallen. He let out a whimper and curled up miserably to wait for the broad lap and the plump ring encrusted hands petting him, the only place he now truly felt safe.
Santiago had met her through Li Wa – she was an extraordinarily pretty girl from Shanghai, well educated and spoke English with an accent. He knew Hong Zu had studied with Li Wa’s father for almost two years to ‘find balance’ and assumed it was simply part of her personal spiritual journey. At the end of their seventh week of dating, Santiago finally plucked up the courage (prompted by Li Wa) to tell the woman he was falling deeper and deeper in love with, that he was ‘not what he seemed’ etc. And so was both thrilled and mortified to learn that she too had been bitten and carried a werewolf within. She loved him all the more for his grief at her plight, but also delighted as he suddenly realised something… They had the moon together too!
Two days after the revelation, Andrew and Philip grinned widely as Hong Xi arrived at the shop, shyly accepted Santiago’s hand, and descended the stairs for their first night together as wolves.
The handsome blondes were constants in the Magic Shop now – well known and liked by clientele without exception – once their particular circumstances were accepted of course. They were attractive, knowledgeable and friendly, and always dressed in the latest of men’s trendy styles (custom made courtesy of Maria).
Over the last three years they had learned to cope with their limitations – using their two good hands as one person might, learning what their ‘other’ hand could do, and had shared so much blood that they all but felt each others thoughts. They also felt Sire to a certain extent, at least monthly receiving Spike’s blood as part of his duty to his adopted Childer.
Andrew did all the writing these days as Philip was naturally right handed, now had to use his left, and was embarrassed by the rather childish scribble. They had even been out on a several double dates with demons and semi-demons a few times – though at the end of the night still found it difficult to go beyond anything but kissing.
Seeing their dear friend disappear with his soon to be mate and wife, their combined hand tingled as it sometimes did when they felt deep happiness these days. The twins had seen the two lovebirds steal a kiss or two before, but were a little unprepared for the several hours of growls and howls from the basement, or the following morning when two young human forms attempted to sneak into the shower together and suppress the sounds of giggles and another round of (this time human) lovemaking. Still, in all the craziness of their lives it felt wonderfully… normal.
A month or so later, Li Wa surprised them all one evening as they sat on the grass looking out to the south end of the Golden Gate and across the bay. Enjoying good company and a picnic fit for… well the Leading Master and friends… it seemed the perfect time.
Santiago and Hong Xu had just finished telling the group of their plans to visit Mongolia, Santiago thanking the twins in advance. He and Hong were to be mated there in the werewolf sense with Xi Pa Lao presiding, stay for three months with him then come back to a small indoor wedding with Santiago’s family and their San Francisco friends (human and otherwise) present.
Glasses were raised in a toast to the happy couple and as their very public passionate kiss concluded and all stared thoughtfully out into the bay, Li Wa spoke quietly to the group, “I too have news... I am with child.”
The other six in her presence were suddenly lost for words until Spike spoke for all of them, “Bloody brilliant Pet!” He moved to hug the wonderful woman/demon, “But if ya don’t mind me askin’… who’s the lucky bloke? He must be pretty bloody special.”
“There is no one… not any more.”
“Oh Luv, you just point us at the bastard and we’ll soon prick ‘is conscience on your behalf!” Spike’s eyes flashed yellow, as did those of his Childer.
“No Spike … No! Our race of demons has the ability to hold the fertilized egg within us until the time is right… until we are settled and happy and are able to bring up a child. My egg was fertilized nearly twenty years ago to a lover, my life partner who was killed soon after we coupled. It is part of the reason I fled China.
“Now she has been freed from her stasis, and is growing in me. She will be born to a world where the demon families and clans, Regions and renegades are all trying to live in harmony with each other. And will grow up knowing all of you… at least that’s what I would… ”
“Just let some ponce try’n hurt her Luv – they’ll have ta go through all the uncles and one pissed of female werewolf to boot.” The twin’s joint arm tingled, Xander kissed his partner soundly, and Hong Xu leaned back against Santiago’s strong chest.
The next ten minutes were spent musing about what the future of the little girl, indeed all their futures, might hold.
Spike saw a sad look exchanged between Philip and Andrew. He moved over to them, knelt down between two sets of legs and pulled them to either side of his neck, encouraging them to drink, petting the identical straight blonde locks and purring loud enough for Xander to hear. The two released after two or three drafts and Spike pulled them in, kissing them on the forehead in turn and simply saying, “Don’t grieve – you are my beautiful, beloved Childer, respected by the Region and beyond, and well liked in the human world. Let us rejoice with our dear friends… B’sides , reckon you’ll be our little demon girl’s favourite uncles right from the outset, whaddya reckon Pet?” Spike turned to Li Wa and she smiled shyly at the two pretty boys and replied, “I have no doubt.”
As three am approached they all adjourned to their various abodes. Santiago and Hong Xu walked in front hand in hand, Simon and Andrew following quietly but relaxed as they contemplated their future. They would go on living at Santiago’s but use the three months he was absent to seek another place to live and give the married couple their space. As it turned out, even before Santiago and Hong departed, the next door shop had a vacant apartment above it available – though dilapidated, it could be renovated inside, and was certainly convenient for work. Perhaps life would work out for them after all…
Spike and Xander drove Li Wa home then returned to their own apartment, they made joyous love for a few hours, slept for some, showered and ate late afternoon then returned to bed, kissing passionately and stimulating each other to hardness, then fitted their vibrators set on low before shifting to a sixty nine position, wrapping loving arms around waists.
Spike swallowed Xander so quickly that he almost forgot to invoke the spell, but managed to do so and at the last minute swiftly took Spike into his mouth. The Ruling Master of the Bay Region and his Consort were mannequins once more and though inanimate, they were completely under the covers, warm, filling and filled, and resting blissfully for the next twenty four hours.
They exchanged love through the soul/Consort link and felt the same thing -Life/Unlife even when forced to stillness once a week - really wasn’t all that bad.