Part Six

The guard in the booth remained sitting while the tall one took him to the last door on the left. Xander grabbed hold of his arm, willing him to look at him. ”And you know what I paid for. You’ll make sure to tell that guy that I want privacy for two hours straight, right?”

“He’s been told that already. Don’t worry, pirate. You’ll get your privacy”. He inserted a key, unlocked the door and swung it open.

“There. Tools are on the shelves. Be a good boy and put them back where you took them from when you’re done”. The man’s grey eyes bore into Xander’s. An arrogant smile was playing on his lips. He obviously wasn’t impressed by the eye patch. Or the leather pants. Could easily tell that Xander was afraid. He probably believed that Xander was scared shitless from the prospect of going in to an actual vampire.

He was right, of course. Xander was afraid. In fact he was scared out of his mind right now but not from the reason, this guy thought. Xander nodded, braced himself and entered the cell. The door swung shut and he heard the key being turned. He was locked inside... with Spike.

Okay! It’s okay! I’m here. I’m here…. and those fucking assholes are watching, no doubt. How long would they want to watch? After all they had seen it all before. Five minutes? Ten? More? Who could tell?

Shit, shit, shit! I’m sorry, Spike, I’m so sorry but there’s just no other way, man. Just no other way if I don’t want to cock this up… Pun very much non intended. Please don’t kill me!

Xander slowly approached the stretched out vampire in the middle of the room. Spike was placed on some kind of horseshoe shaped elevated platform. His legs were strapped on to the platform with each foot hanging out over the ends. If a man were to step up behind Spike, he would have very easy access to Spike’s behind. Fuck!

As Xander came nearer, he could see that Spike was trembling. Though Spike didn’t lift or turn his head to see who was coming, Xander could hear him trying to take steadying openmouthed breaths in a miserably failed effort to control his tremors. Every time, he brokenly exhaled, the tremors returned in full force.

Spike’s dark hair was short and curly. It made him look vulnerable and more human. And he was so thin. Lash marks, mostly healed, covered his once beautiful back, ass, and thighs. His feet were covered in lacerations. Apparently, somebody had forgotten the rule of no cutting.


Xander steeled himself and went around the platform and stepped out to the right in front of Spike. He didn’t ascend the platform but stayed down at near eye level with the vampire. Spike kept his head bent low.

Biting his lip to keep from screaming his outrage, Xander stood still. Noticed the purple bruises, cuts and marks on the front of Spike’s body. Saw the finger shaped bruises on his hips and arms. The damaged wrists. Spike seemed to be every bit as thrashed as he had been at that time with Glory. Worse than that time.

He couldn’t see Spikes face properly, but he could see a vertical deep cut that ran along Spike’s cheek and across his nose. And there were black bruises on his forehead and left upper cheek. Xander had to fight down the nausea threatening to surface.

Spike’s nostrils suddenly seemed to flare. He inhaled sharply once through his nose, stopped, exhaled and then slowly raised his slightly shaking head to look at the man before him. Xander did his best not to flinch at the sight of Spike’s clear blue eyes boring right into Xander’s one eye. Xander watched those globes of blue ice widen in shock and recognition and he couldn’t look away from the gaze which was so full of pain and desperation… and something devastatingly akin to hope.

“Harris?” Spike’s once deep and resonant voice had been reduced to a whispery, dried out wheeze. “Harris, that you?”

Xander looked on in horror and dismay as Spike’s eyes filled with tears. Saw Spike blink rapidly and rub his face against one of his suspended arms. It didn’t work. The tears were still there when he looked back up and Xander had to look away to keep himself steady. The chains rattled from Spike’s tremors.

“Please, god, Xander, is that you?” Spike repeated, a desperate note entering his tone of voice.

Xander swallowed and looked away. Clenched his jaw and looked back at the trembling man in front of him.

“Hello Spike.” Xander put as much sneer in his voice as he could muster and did his best to look indifferent to Spike’s present, humiliating situation. He pursed his lips, and ran his gaze slowly and menacingly down Spike’s displayed nude body, lingered a bit at the poor abused cock, noticed how that made Spike shiver, and returned his gaze to Spike’s face.

Spike’s eyes seemed to have grown even bigger. They were bright with unshed tears and the rims around them had become very red. The skin beneath them was hollow and dark. Spike had stopped breathing and Xander’s heart felt like shattering right then and there.

Christ, he didn’t want to hurt Spike! But he couldn’t let his emotions show. There would be time for reassuring and comforting Spike later. And by then, Xander swore to himself, yes, by then Xander would personally hold Spike, and comfort him. He would even kiss his tears away if that’s what it took to get that haunted look of betrayal off of Spike’s face. Xander would rock Spike and cradle Spike and run his fingers through Spike’s curly hair, and make it all better. And wasn’t that strange? But there it was. Right this very moment, Xander Harris wanted to help Spike more than anything he'd ever wanted in his entire life. He wanted to see Spike full of snark, banter, and cocksure confidence. Anything, anything but watching this tortured version of Spike and anything rather than being forced to add to Spike’s torment. But unfortunately, right now, Xander didn’t have a choice in the matter.

“Yeah, it’s me, Fangless. Guess you tricked us all with the Hero act back in Sunnydale. Do you know how much Buffy mourned you? Dawn? God, you disgust me, you bastard! At least you ended up where you belong! Christ, I’ve been dreaming about this moment since we heard how you wounded up miraculously undead after the big Sacrifice stunt. And don’t even get me started on Anya. Who did die in the Hellmouth, by the way!” At this Xander’s voice quavered a little at the memory. He took a deep breath to steady himself. “So, yeah, Spike, it’s me and I think you and I have an old debt to settle, don’t you agree?”

Spike stared at him. Big unblinking eyes, full of tears, disbelief, and horror. He opened his mouth. Closed it shut. Opened it again. Drew in a shuddering open mouthed breath. And then he seemed to come to some kind of understanding.

All hope, if there was any left, vanished completely from his eyes and he seemed to shrink in front of Xander, curling in on himself as much as his bondage would allow him. A strange keening sound from the back of his throat escaped his lips. His eyes became unfocused, shell shocked and drifted off to stare distantly behind Xander. Then he closed his eyes, and his lips, and bowed his head in supplication and defeat, taking in some more unneeded shuddering breaths.

“Yes… Harris, s’pose we do at that,” he whispered, his voice barely audible, and cracking slightly. A single tear gave way to gravity and dropped to the floor with a small insignificant sounding plop.

Xander had to blink furiously. He hated that he couldn’t let Spike know he was there to help him, not hurt him. But the guards were undoubtedly watching and he needed them to believe that he would do what he came here to do. Which meant assaulting Spike. He needed them to turn off the god damn camera! His eye caught a red blinking light on the damn thing. It was on all right. Perverts.

He began unbuttoning his shirt with slightly shaky hands. When the garment hit the floor in front of Spike, Spike drew in a breath sounding like a hitched sob. Spike’s trembling had intensified and he turned his head away from where Xander was standing, trying to hide his face in his arm. His eyes remained tightly shut and tears kept running down his cheeks.

Xander had to get naked. The spell wouldn’t work if either of them wore clothes, Willow had said so specifically. Doing his best to ignore the crying vampire in front of him, Xander put his mind into concentrating on the task at hand. He worried about the iron cuffs around Spike’s wrists. Did they count as clothes? Would they ruin the spell somehow? And how did he draw a circle of salt when Spike was elevated on a freaking platform? Should the platform be included in the circle? Best not think about that right now. He couldn’t very well open the linked cuffs and he would deal with the salt when they got there. He might be able to do something about the straps on Spike’s legs, though. They appeared to be of the ordinary kind, made of thick leather and closed shut tightly with two simple heavy metal buckles on each of them.

He undid the button on his leather pants and pulled down the fly. He had powdered the pants with talcum before he put them on but his nerves, the hours spent traveling aboard the train and the humidity once he got out in Philly made them somewhat difficult to pull off. He swore a little, noticing how Spike’s body flinched at the angry sound. Spike oozed of terror, hurt, and betrayal and Xander wanted to throw up.

Finally, he had stripped out of the rest of his clothes, and stood naked in front of Spike.

Once upon a time, he would have felt self-conscious at having to show himself off like this in front of Spike. Spike’s body had always been perfect, and Xander’s had always been, well full of baby, and donut fat. But his body had changed since Sunnydale. He had lost the extra pounds. Gained some muscles. There were no traces left of his boyhood or adolescence apart from the lost eye. Which, oh, yeah, the eye pad. Had to remove that as well. Besides, the situation they were in right now, didn’t exactly call for modesty or shyness if one was able to dismiss the two psychopaths watching them out in the hallway. Spike wasn’t allowed any so Xander didn’t need any either. And Spike sure as hell wasn’t in a position to begin making degrading remarks about Xander anyway.

The eye patch removed, the next step was to – as Willow called it – anoint their bodies. He got out the small can of lube from his pants pocket. He had been smart enough to buy this can, rinse it out and refill it with the spell induced gel. Willow hadn’t told him where to anoint Spike only that Xander had to use half of it on Spike’s body and half of it on his own.

Well, if they were still being watched, and the red blinking dot on the camera in the corner behind Spike’s back, strongly indicated that they were, there were only a few spots that would make any sense. He gritted his teeth. Damn. This was going to be tough.

Spike, he thought. I’m gonna help you. I won’t hurt you and I’m not here to rape you, God! Never that! This will all be over soon, and then we are out of here, you and me! So, please forgive me for leading you on like this and for having to do this to you. Please!

He stepped behind Spike, grateful to be away from Spike’s face even though Spike still hadn’t opened his eyes, and scooped up a handful of the translucent gel-like substance. Then he grabbed hold of Spike’s hip to keep him steady and moved his other hand towards Spike’s abused crack. Spike was still silently crying and it was all that Xander could do not to break down and cry right there along with him for having to do this to him. To appear to get Spike ready for a fuck.

Spike had always been the most, sexy being whom Xander had ever laid eyes on. Spike equaled Sex. There was nothing else to it. Of course, back in Sunnydale, Xander had perceived himself as a purely heterosexual “normal” guy but somewhere in his mid-twenties, he had finally admitted to himself that he had been in denial since puberty. Admitting that he had been doing more than just manly admiring Spike’s body, had been the beginning of his coming out as a proud, though mostly lonely bi-sexual male.

In fact, after he came out both mentally and in the open, he'd often fantasized about having sex with Spike. Several times, actually. But never had any of those fantasies involved Spike being chained up, crying and shaking, and expecting Xander to rape him.

Xander touched Spike’s back tentatively biting the inside of his mouth hard when Spike flinched. Spike’s skin felt cool and soft and it trembled beneath Xander's hand like it belonged to a frightened dog at the vet. Steeling himself, Xander carefully worked his way down between the two globes, and began applying the gel as tenderly as he could without giving himself away as an obvious fraud. He didn’t breach Spike, only gently lathered the abused area with the cool ointment, gliding his fingers up and down and around the – surprisingly – small puckered hole to make what he was doing look real without hurting Spike.

Tears and small cuts were eminent down there but Spike’s vampire healing had made sure that he was nearly healed up and probably tight as ever. Xander bit his lip pushing away a sudden and very much unwelcome sensation of arousal. He moved his hand away to lather more of the stuff on Spike’s buttocks. His thumb on Spike’s hip began making small soothing circles, matching those his hand were doing on the buttocks and Xander continued his careful ministrations until he realized that Spike had tensed up.

He wasn’t trembling as much anymore. Instead he was lightly panting, sometimes, a small noise sounding like a sob or a gasp escaped from his mouth. Xander leaned in to touch his lips to Spike’s soft hair as he continued caressing Spike’s behind. Seemingly of its own volition, his other hand moved slowly forward, traveling along Spike’s hip bone, down his abdomen and over the curly hair at Spike’s crotch. He hesitated, then took Spike’s cock in hand and rubbed it soothingly up and down. A shudder went through Spike. Xander squeezed a little in what he hoped was a reassuring way and to his astonishment, Spike threw his head back, while uttering an anguished moan of clear frustration as his cock began to harden and fill out in Xander’s hand.

Part Seven

As Xander’s clothes landed on the floor, Spike felt something irretrievable die within him. He’d thought that they had come to some sort of mutual understanding in those final months before the battle against the First. They had not been close, had never truly trusted one another but Xander hadn’t treated him with hate. In fact, Xander had allowed him to live in his apartment while he was still half mad. Had made sure to heat up blood for him when he forgot it. Had given him clean clothes. It had been clear that they would never become friends, but Spike had thought that they weren’t enemies either.

How could he have been so stupid? So blind? Clearly the boy, no, the man, had never gotten over Spike’s past actions before the soul. Or after. Had probably never believed it when the First had played mind games causing Spike to kill again and knock Harris unconscious. Hadn’t understood nor forgiven what went on between Spike and Anya that night at the Magic Box. And just a second ago, he’d suggested that Spike had expected to come out alive after entering the Hellmouth wearing that sodding amulet. That Spike had led them all on intentionally.

Spike knew he should have contacted Buffy when he got his body back but he had never found the right time, or the right occasion. Honestly, didn’t have the guts to do it. And after Rome, after seeing her with the bloody Immortal, he’d decided that Angel was right. That it were better for the lot of them if she was allowed to move on with her life. She would be happier for it. Of course, Xander would never understand that, either. Would never believe him. And now he had come to take his revenge.

Maybe he was right. Maybe Spike did deserve this. He had caused so much pain in his unlife. Killed so many people. And he had attacked Buffy. He knew that was his worst crime in Xander’s opinion. He had never meant to cross the line that night but he understood why Buffy had feared him for a long time afterwards because he had hurt her, hadn’t he? And if she hadn’t kicked him away, who knew how far his demon would have gone before realizing what it was he was about to do to her? Not that, but close enough. Much too close. And that was why he’d left, wasn’ it? He couldn’t bear the thought of what he had nearly done. He had needed to step away from that part of him and try to become a better person. A better man. A sodding vampire with a soul. But Xander didn’t know that and would never believe that either. Yes, there were many reasons why Xander hated him.

It was just so hard to take because he knew the boy. Even if they didn’t like one another, Spike had never expected for something like this to happen. But it was and he couldn’t bear it.

It made him feel more afraid and more terrified than ever because after this there would be nothing left of him. But clearly, that didn’t matter to Xander. All he ever saw was the demon. A thing.

It broke what was left of Spike’s dead heart and he began to cry in earnest. Like the sorry ponce, he was. It felt so goddamn devastating and shameful not even to be able to hide his fear.

Xander grabbed his hip and his body jerked from the touch. Xander placed his palm on Spike’s back, slowly sliding his hand down to Spike's entrance. A violent tremble coursed through Spike’s body. Oh no, it’s happening. And he won’t care, won’t care at all about what it’ll do to me. Tears trickled down his eyes and into his mouth.

The lube on Xander’s fingers felt cool. Xander rubbed his fingers against his hole and Spike couldn’t help but tense up in a terrified sensation of dread. It would hurt. In just a second, Xander would thrust his fingers deep inside him and make him hurt.

But it didn’t happen.

Instead, Xander’s fingers felt… gentle. Non-intrusive ... The touches were soft and probing but he merely stroked Spike’s entrance instead of pushing in and Spike shuddered in helpless confusion. What was this? Why was Xander drawing it out?

Xander’s fingers were running up and down his crack, now. The area became more and more sensitive, and slippery. Xander’s fingers felt warm and callused and they didn’t jab or pinch or stretch or push. Instead, it felt like he was treating Spike with care. And wasn’t that a laugh?

Xander’s other hand began to move on his hip. Up and down. Drawing slow circles. Again, gentle, soothing. It felt… it almost felt nice and Spike wanted to scream. He hadn’t been treated gently in all the time he had been a prisoner. He was starved for tenderness and his stupid body couldn’t help but respond to the soft touches. His breathing shifted, became panting. He didn’t want to respond! But the hands felt so careful, so tender, and warm.

As Xander’s left hand glided around him to travel to his belly and downwards to his cock, his betraying body welcomed it, and though he wished he could stop it, his cock began to fill out. He gasped in horror. When Xander’s big hand closed around his shaft and began stroking it, it became hard with instant want and Spike cried out in anguished desperation. Oh, god, he didn’t want this!

He became aware of Xander’s ever rising arousal mixing with his own unwanted one.

Xander hadn’t been aroused before. In fact, the only sensations Spike had caught onto were Xander’s disgust, and anger, and pity…

Spike hesitated.


Part Eight

Xander leaned his forehead against the back of Spike’s neck, trying to fight back his surge of arousal. Shit, his head was a mess and he felt disgusted with himself. He hated the fact that touching Spike like this felt mind-blowingly erotic. Despite the bondage, despite the bruises, despite Spike having no say what so ever, him being on display like this, splayed out for Xander, was still very much with the sexy.

And Spike’s skin was smooth and soft where it hadn’t been damaged. It still had that beautiful, almost translucent look to it that Xander had secretly admired whenever he’d caught a glimpse of it.

Muscles rippled when Spike shifted. Held like he was, Spike couldn’t move much, but the sight of the slightest tension in Spike’s arms, or the feel of his back against Xander’s chest was incredible. Feeling Spike’s tensed abs had sent Xander’s head spinning. How many times had he admired those stomach muscles? Admired that torso that ought to belong on a Greek statue of… of a Greek god and not on somebody actually walking around in Xander’s apartment, careless of whoever might see them. Those abs were a wonder. As were Spike’s hip bones, his chest, his ass, his perfect small nipples placed just right... The man was perfect. Simple as that. Feeling Spike’s shaft fill out didn’t help Xander fighting off his own hard on. Spike felt so goddamn right in Xander’s hand. Silky, smooth, long. Gah, stop, pal! Don’t go there! Have a job to do. Have to finish this. Get a grip on yourself!

Xander released Spike and stepped around him. He went up the few stairs and knelt down facing Spike.

Spike’s mouth was hanging open, panting. His eyes were half closed and unfocused. There were tears on his cheeks. Xander cast a quick glance towards the camera on the wall. Red light still blinking. Fuck!

He scooped up the rest of the gel from the can and closed his sticky hand around his own cock. Began stroking it up and down. Up and down. He looked and saw how Spike’s erection nearly touched his own. He couldn’t help it. He lifted his other hand and continued where he had left off. Stroking Spike in a slow firm gentle manner and stroking himself in the same way.

As he glanced up again to check on the camera, he saw that Spike was now silently looking at Xander’s hands running up and down both of their lengths. Spike blinked slowly and lifted his heavy lidded gaze to Xander’s.

“What… Why?” Spike whispered. “Why are you doing this… like…?” He didn’t finish the question but kept staring into Xander’s eye. Again, a heavy shudder ran over him and Xander felt a shiver run through his own body as well. As Xander didn’t answer, Spike’s head dipped again.

The sound of an electronic device shutting down reached Xander’s ears dimly through the storm currently taking up most of his hearing. It was a roaring storm, sounding like the ocean surf crashing against rocks and caused by his hammering heart. But he shook his head in order to clear it as soon as his mind belatedly managed to process what the click had meant. He looked back behind Spike. The red light had turned off. Finally! Thank god!

He didn’t waste time but instantly grabbed Spike by the shoulders. “Spike, look at me!”

Spike didn’t. He kept staring at their cocks, tips touching. Panting. Shaking.

“Spike, I said look at me!” Spike’s head snapped up and his eyes were full of confused fear.

“Spike, I am not here to harm you. I know what this looks like but I had to do it! The camera. They were watching us!” Xander shook his head in sorrow. “Look, I… I had to make you believe that I would… But it was just a hoax, Spike. I would never hurt you. Never! You have to believe me.”

Spike didn’t seem to understand him. He kept staring at Xander, though. Probably not daring to look away from the way his eyebrows came together in a worried frown.

“I’m going to help you get out of here. Willow’s made this spell that’ll get us to my apartment. I need you to remain calm while I prepare it, okay?”

Spike blinked. Still no outward reaction showing on his face or in his eyes to indicate that he had understood anything of what Xander’d just told him.

All right. Spike didn’t have to do anything and he couldn’t get away. There would be time to explain it all later. Or so he hoped. Xander got up, took out the salt shaker and after a quick decision poured the content out in a circle on the floor around the platform. Then he loosened the straps around Spike’s legs. The vampire didn’t move at all.

The removed straps exposed darkened rings around the ankles and shins. The skin was sunken, and black where the straps had been strapped on. The legs looked too thin like they’d simply wasted away. Xander gathered that Spike wouldn’t be able to move them even if he'd wanted to. Well, he didn’t have to move and if they got out, Xander could easily pick him up and carry him if it came to that.

He left the shaker on the floor next to his clothes and stepped back up on the platform, placing his hands below Spike’s arms like he would have if he were to comfort a small child while he slowly knelt down once more to stay in eye contact with the vampire.

“Spike, I’ll do a… a spell induced chant now. We have to touch each other while I’m doing it. I’m going to put my arms around you and touch the salve I put on your…on your behind. And you’ll have to touch me as well where I… on my front. Do you understand? It’s important that we do this right because Willow’s going to hone in on us via that gel and you touching me touching the spell and vice versa will enable her to do that. She’ll locate our exact position and get a feel of our bodies that way, all right? We don’t want to end up being only partially moved, okay buddy?”

Spike’s eyes seemed to clear a little. He didn’t say anything but he looked down on Xander’s now flaccid cock, glittering with the magic gel. Then he seemed to reach a quick decision because he arched his body forward as much as he could, and pressed himself tight up against Xander. Xander sighed in relief and smiled at Spike. Spike had understood. Thank god. Xander put his arms fully around Spike and held him tight for a moment fighting a big lump in his throat. He cleared it and whispered into Spike’s hair “It’s gonna be alright, Spike. Just you wait and see”. To his immense relief, he felt a small nod on his shoulder and bit his lip. Any second now, he would end up crying his eye out if he didn’t pull himself together. Spike’s small puffy breaths felt cool and timid against his chest. He seemed so damn fragile. Oh, Wills, this better work. I don’t know what I’ll do if it doesn’t.

Xander sniffled a little, loosened his grip and took hold of Spike’s bottom with one hand, making sure to touch the smeared area. He felt Spike push forward even more pressing his crotch hard against Xander’s.

Xander closed his eye and began the chant. He didn’t understand a word of it, but it was something about calling the Goddess of Flight, and the Ruler of Particles as well as a number of other deities and magical beings. By doing the chant, he mentally and magically reached out to Willow who was in her home outside London. He repeated the same words over and over and began to feel tingly and lightheaded. The words seemed to become harder to pronounce, more difficult to form with his lips, and he had to concentrate on making each carefully rehearsed syllable come out exactly the same as before. Apart from the sensation of being restrained in his speech, nothing seemed to happen. But he kept on chanting and chanting and suddenly he felt the gel begin to liquefy and move of its own accord and he opened his eye.

Tendrils of the now oil-like clingy substance spread out and moved from his cock and crotch and from Spike’s backside to slowly expand and cover the rest of their meshed up bodies. It felt cool and warm all at the same time and he got the chills. It reached his arms and legs and idly moved up towards his neck, his face, and his hair and he had to fight back a sudden sense of suffocating when it traveled up over his mouth and nose. Transfixed, he watched as Spike’s back was leisurely covered in the oily mixture. Watched how it trailed up Spike’s neck, and into his hair. He turned his head a little and saw the substance trail upwards towards Spike’s arms and hands. When it reached the chains which were clamped tightly around Spike’s wrists, it seemed to stop, seemingly puzzled over the unexpected obstacle. Then thankfully, it did a double take and continued upwards squeezing below the cuffs until finally, after what seemed like forever, both Spike and Xander were covered in magical oily goo from top to toe.

The substance began to change and congeal as it seemed to press in on them hard. It felt like Xander's skin was suddenly too tight and he gripped a little harder around Spike’s body in order to try and soothe them both.

The spell was now thrumming with Willow’s built up power. Dimly he became aware of Spike’s whispered litany of “please, please, please, please…”

Suddenly there was heat, a bright flash and a ponderous boom and then Xander flew apart.

Part Nine

He was lying on top of Spike. His mind felt hungover and fuzzy but there was no mistaking the slim cool naked body pressed up against his with anybody else’s. Xander’s own body in contrast felt warm and relaxed in that heavy sort of way your body gets when you wake up after a good night’s sleep or if you’ve had too much to drink. The latter seemed to be the case. He shifted just slightly, still feeling a little woozy and drew in a contented little sigh all the same. This was nice. Yeah, he decided I’ll stay here and rest for a little while longer. He smiled, feeling drunk and happy and tired. They fit well together lying like this, he and Spike and he snuggled closer. He opened his eye. Shockingly, the mind fog lifted at the same time and he took in a sharp breath of air. Hey! He was alive! He was whole! And Spike wasn’t dust! A thrill of joy made his heart jump. Whoa, he was lying on top of Spike? With that realization, Xander also became instantly aware of the fact that Spike wasn’t breathing. He stirred for a second, feeling panicky before remembering that Spike didn’t need oxygen. Still, Xander lying on top of him probably wasn’t exactly helpful when considering the condition Spike had been in before they got magically disassembled and put together again.

Carefully lifting his head, which seemed to weigh a ton, in order to check out the surroundings, Xander was more than just a little bit relieved as he saw that they were no longer in the brothel but were in fact lying on the floor in the living room inside his apartment. The street lamp outside his curtained window illuminated the room with a faint greyish light. Apparently, it was still the middle of the night. And it had worked! He had rescued Spike!

It wasn’t until that very moment that Xander realized, just how terrified he had been of screwing up. He was Xander Harris after all. He wasn’t the one you would call when something bad was about to happen. No, if you were a sane person, you would call his friends, which were made of entirely different stuff, and Xander’s contribution would be to be the one standing in the background getting whacked on the head. Only this time, it really had depended on whether or not he too would be able to do things right. Of course without Willow’s magic touch (and he really needed to give her a big kiss for that) this would never have worked out. But still, Xander’s part had been crucial, and he had pulled through. He had chanted the chant, smeared the smear, and saved the day. Saved Spike!

Xander wanted to sing and do a happy dance. But first, he had to get his numb feeling limbs moving and get up! He hoisted himself up on his elbows with some difficulty, giving room for Spike to breathe. Or rather begin to breathe.

Their noses were practically touching, as Xander studied the face of the man he had saved. Spike appeared to be unconscious. Or maybe he was sleeping as Xander had been. It was hard to tell with vampires. His closed eyes looked sunken. The skin below them bruised, dark and fragile. His cheek bones stood out starkly against the hollows of his cheeks. His face was covered all over in cuts and bruises, the worst one still being the long cut across his nose. His mouth looked chapped but still very appealing. Spike had that really lush, pouty lower lip and the curves on the upper lip were… okay, there was nothing wrong with Spike’s mouth either! His dark hair too was… was nearly burned off! Xander’s eye widened. Ashes lay on the floor around Spike’s head and the curls had partially been burned away. What?

Xander immediately reached up and touched his own hair gingerly. Remnants of burnt hair and flakes of ashes fell down and landed on Spike’s face and chest in small snow-like motions. Xander anxiously examined his skull further. On his left side, he still had most of his long hair but on his right... the hair had burned down nearly to the roots same as Spike’s.

There had been a fire? They had been on fire? What the…

He cautiously put his hands to the floor on either side of Spike’s head and began to push himself off of the man. Straddling Spike in a kneeling position, Xander looked down his arms and hands, checking for further signs of damage. There weren’t any as far as he could tell. They still had goldenbrown hairs on them and there were no burns. They seemed just fine. Not like his burnt off hair. He did a quick check of Spike’s arms which were flung out in the same position they had been in while he had been chained up. They seemed all right too, thank god. Spike’s fingers, and hands, they all looked fine apart from his previous injuries. Which was damn good, because vampires and fire did absolutely not go well together. Had Willow known that there would be flames?

Xander rose and nearly slipped in doing so. He had completely forgotten that he was still covered in the oily, magical stuff. He managed not to fall down on Spike by turning sideways as he slipped and catching his weight by one hand on the floor, grunting as he did so. The impact jarred his arm and made him wince. He used the involuntary pause, and the Twister like position, to inspect his feet and his legs which also seemed okay. So did Spike’s. Or more to the point, Spike’s legs were as wasted as they'd been before the spell kicked in.

Taking more care the second time around, Xander managed to awkwardly crawl entirely off of Spike’s supine body, lifting one foot at a time. That done, he got up and tiptoed over to the door to the hallway and turned on a small pendant in the far corner of the living room. He had to squint a little before his eye got used to the bright light.

God, Spike looked horrible! Definitely more dead than alive. Xander bit his thumb worriedly. He was a long way from getting Spike back to his old shape. A long, long way. But he would try. Whatever it would take, Xander was gonna try.

Blood! Spike needed food. Minding his slippery feet, Xander all but ran out into his kitchen. He’d filled up the fridge with enough bags of blood to keep a ravenous vampire content for at least a couple of weeks, maybe more. He knew a demon who had helped him find a reliable supplier of bagged blood in Boston. There weren’t many. It was pig but he didn’t think that Spike would mind. Spike was used to drinking that stuff back in Sunnydale. And Xander had the feeling that Spike would be thankful for any kind of blood right now. Well, hopefully not human blood, but he honestly didn’t think that would be an issue. The poor guy looked starved.

He grabbed a kitchen towel from behind the door and quickly managed to scrub off most of the sticky goo on his body. A shower would have been good but now wasn’t the time. He took out one of the blood bags from the fridge, and heated it in the microwave. He still remembered exactly how long it took to heat up a bag of blood to just the right amount of degrees in order to please a hungry vampire. He poured out the content in a mug. Shit, he didn’t have any straws. Well, they’d just have to manage without them. Then he went back into the living room.

Spike hadn’t moved but he was clearly no longer unconscious. His chest was moving up and down as it always did when he was awake, and he was staring blankly up into the ceiling, slowly blinking his eyes. His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed. He didn’t turn his head towards Xander although he’d no doubt heard Xander coming in.

Xander walked quietly over to him and knelt down beside him. “Hey,” he said quietly.

Spike slowly turned his eyes towards Xander.

“Xander?” he croaked.

“Yes, Spike. It’s me. We did it, Spike! We got out of there.” Xander smiled warmly at Spike, gesturing around with his free hand. “You’re in my home, now. And I’ve got some blood for you. I bet you’re hungry, right?”

Spike blinked. He still seemed a little out of it. “Yeah,” he whispered. “Yes, please.”

“Okay, I’ll help you get up a little and then I’m gonna carry you over to the couch. This is a great carpet but I’m pretty sure it isn’t too comfy to lie on. So couch it is.” Xander sat the mug down and slid his arm under Spike’s upper back and shoulders and the other one below Spike’s knees and began lifting him, when Spike gasped and cried out in pain.

“Whoa, does it hurt?” Xander asked stupidly, as he quickly lowered the vampire to the floor. Spike’s arms were still flung out to either side. “Yes,” Spike managed to gasp. “Hurts. My shoulders. M’sorry.” Spike glanced up at Xander, his eyes looking afraid. “I don’t think I can get my arms down. When I was… when I was chained up, both of my shoulders popped. And I think… I think they’re stuck. Sorry,” he whispered.

Spike’s shoulders had become dislocated from the chains holding him upright? What had the bastards tried to do? See if they could tear him apart? And his arms felt stuck? How long exactly had Spike’s arms been held up like that? Not the entire time, right? Because that would mean that he’d been kept in that position for nearly ten fucking years. Surely, nobody would have…But Xander knew the answer to his unspoken question, already. Yes, at that place, they would have. Those mother fucking sons of…. The taste of bile filled his mouth and he clenched his jaw, swallowing to try and get the bitter flavor away from his throat. He noticed Spike flinching. And swore a little inside his head for upsetting Spike. No doubt, Xander’s anger had been wafting out of him like billows of thick black smoke. He wasn’t angry at Spike, for Christ’s sake. That Spike would even think that was just… All right, he had to take it easy. He had to calm down. Make Spike feel safe and secure again.

He looked closely at Spike’s shoulders. Yup, both of them had to be reset. Xander knew how to do that from his time spent in Africa. Where Xander and his little band of Slayers had gone, doctors, as a general rule, weren’t close by. Xander, being the only one without superpowers, had decided to become helpful anyhow by putting an effort into learning all the basic first aid tricks that existed. Plus a little bit extra. Even Slayers needed help from time to time, and a broken arm or a deep cut in a thigh was dangerous to any one of them. On the black market, he’d acquired a doctor’s suitcase, complete with syringes, bandages, painkillers, needles, shears, exam gloves, retractors, pliers, as well as a stethoscope, which Xander’d thought was pretty cool. There’d also been a number of sterile hand wipes in the bag and Xander had made sure to always have a lot of those at hand. Infections thrived in Africa, and you had to make sure you were as sterile as possible under those conditions before attempting to help anyone. Anyway, although a shoulder pulled out of its socket without a doubt was one of the most painful conditions for the one suffering from the injury, it was in fact a piece of cake to fix. Of course, when dealing with your average human being, you had to reset a dislocated shoulder pretty soon after the bone had been forced out of its socket if you wanted to avoid any permanent damage. He could only hope that wasn’t the case for vampires as well.

“Kay, buddy. No need to apologize. It’s not your fault. I’m gonna go fetch a bunch of pillows and blankets. And then we’ll try and see if we can manage to get you up in a more upright position without causing you any more pain. Not gonna move you anywhere. I just need you to sit up a little in order to give you something to eat. Then later, we’ll deal with your shoulders. And get you away from this floor. Sound like a plan?”

“I don’t know,” came the whispered reply. “Yeah, I guess. Thank you, Xander.”

Spike the Polite. Who’d have thought it possible?

“Xander?” Spike continued hesitatingly. ”Where are you gonna go? Will you have to leave?” Spike sounded lost and afraid.

“No! No. I have all the stuff I need right here. I’m just gonna go out into the hallway and into my bedroom. You’ll be able to hear me the entire time. Don’t worry. I’ll be back with you in a flash.”


Spike’s wary eyes and his scared hushed tone cut Xander’s heart. Spike had never seemed afraid of anything and certainly not of being left alone. Xander got up in a hurry, rubbing his eye furiously as soon as he reached the hallway in order to be able to see what he was doing.

Spike was so goddamn weak. Looked so goddamn lost. If Xander ever got a chance to take down that damn brothel, he would. He would personally kill those sons of bitches for having done this to his old f… well, for doing this to Spike.

Part Ten

Xander was on his knees behind Spike’s head. Around him were pillows and blankets of different sizes and textures. He’d chosen three that would fit the purpose of getting Spike up in a position to be able to drink. It didn’t do to use the biggest ones as he’d first thought. Spike would be in too much pain before Xander would have finished arranging the other two and Xander could not bear the thought of causing Spike any more pain at all. And the couple of cylinder shaped throw pillows seemed too soft to give enough leverage. He had to settle with the three medium sized ones taken from his bed covers. They were throw pillows too, but they felt more solid. They should work.

“I’m gonna lift up your right arm now, and place a pillow under it, all right?” Spike nodded.

Gently, he lifted Spike’s arm, supporting lower and upper arm with his hands while carefully pushing a pillow into position using his knee. Spike grunted a bit but didn’t say anything else. As Xander let go of Spike’s arm, Spike exhaled the breath he had obviously been holding.

“Are you okay?” Xander asked.

“Yes. Doesn’t hurt.”

Knowing that statement had to be stretching the truth, Xander was still pleased with the fact, that the action hadn’t seemed to cause Spike any unbearable pain. He told Spike to brace himself, and repeated the procedure with the other arm. He grabbed the last pillow. “And now it’s time for your head and back. Are you ready?”

“Yes,” Spike replied and clenched his jaw, breathing in through his nose obviously preparing himself for the unwanted painful movement.

Xander began to lift Spike’s back up, all the while saying stuff like “I’ve got you. Getting there. Just a little bit further,” and finally “There!” Xander felt triumphant as he managed to slide the pillow in under Spike’s straining back. He lowered Spike slowly, and shifted the pillow a bit until Spike looked comfortable.

“You still okay, Spike?”

“I’m fine. It’s good. Better. Thank you.”

Xander scooted around Spike’s arm and picked up the mug. Dammit, it wasn’t warm anymore.

“Umm, Spike, this has gone cold, you want me to heat another one for you?”

Spike groaned before giving a barely visible shake of his head. “No, it’s fine. Please…. Please just give it to me, yeah?” He all but pleaded.

“Of course.” Xander felt like an idiot for having asked in the first place even if it had been the polite thing to do. He lifted the mug to Spike’s mouth and tilted it slightly. As soon as the blood hit Spike’s lips, Spike let out a groan of pure hunger. “Oh god,” he said and began to drink in earnest. Xander watched in mesmerized fascination as Spike swallowed mouthful after mouthful of blood, looking for all the world, like he was a drowning man who’d just hit surface. The mug was empty in mere seconds. Xander removed it, feeling oddly embarrassed at having witnessed Spike in such a desperate need. He turned back to look at Spike and saw the vampire’s exhausted eyes staring back, his expression so grateful that Xander felt his face heat. Spike sighed and closed his eyes.

Xander swallowed with some difficulty. His throat had become very dry. “I’ll go get some more,” Xander’s voice came out in a hush.

Spike’s eyes fluttered open. “Would you? That’d be… lovely, pet. Thanks.” His eyelids fell shut again.

Xander heated up three more bags and poured the content into a thermo this time. When he got back, Spike appeared to have fallen asleep although his chest was still moving up and down. Xander placed the thermo next to the mug on the floor and picked up a thick fleece blanket. He’d forgotten that the two of them were still naked, his only focus having been to get Spike something to eat. He began draping the blanket over Spike’s body and the motion caused Spike’s eyes to flutter open. “A blanket,” he whispered in wonder. “So bloody soft,” before closing his eyes yet again.

Xander’s eye blurred. He managed to whisper “Yeah, only the best for you, pal,” before his voice broke and he had to blink rapidly, as he finished tucking Spike in. Clearing his throat, he whispered “Are you ready for some more food?”

Spike smiled but his eyes never opened. “Yeah. T’is such a nice dream, pet. Such a nice…” His voice trailed off never finishing the sentence. The ghost of a small smile lingered on his lips.

Xander reached out and touched Spike’s forehead. Spike made a low content noise of approval. His eyes moved slightly behind his closed lids. Xander leaned down close to Spike’s ear and whispered. “It’s not a dream, Spike. It’s true. You are safe and I’ll take care of you.” Spike didn’t reply. He was already caught deeply in the much needed sleep that his body had finally been allowed to give itself over to. Xander briefly rested his head against Spike’s feeling tears in his eye. Before he leaned back up, he placed a small kiss just above Spike’s ear.

He remained sitting next to Spike for a long time, watching him as he slept, stroking his short burnt hair, his thumb every once in a while quietly smoothing over a frown of worry, still etched on Spike’s brow.

In the very early morning, Xander got up. Spike hadn’t stirred. Checking that the blinds were down properly before leaving the room, Xander went out into his bathroom and took a quick shower. He was feeling bone weary. The adrenaline rush of the escape and the after effects of the spell combined with his hours spent in quiet contemplation while watching Spike sleep, had taken their toll. He all but fell on his bed, instantly falling asleep.

The sound of his cell phone ringing woke him up only a few hours later. “Xander!” Willow’s voice rang out incredibly loud and he could practically feel her disappointment through the line. “You didn’t call, Mister and you had me worried! Are you all right, did it work?”

“Sorry,” he answered. “I forgot. It was all pretty intense and I… yeah, it worked. Spike is here with me. He's sleeping in the living room. We’re both pretty worn out right now, Wills.”

A squeal of delight from Willow caused him to wince. “It worked! That’s wonderful, Xander! I sort of knew it anyway. I mean, I could feel the two of you through the link the whole time. It’s just… It’s such a relief to hear you tell me that you’re okay. I have to admit I was feeling pretty nervous but it worked out and that’s what’s important. I mean, I knew that it would, and… It’s just so great that you are okay!”

Xander heard what Willow didn’t want to say. “Yeah… You know, Will, there was a fire. We aren’t hurt exactly, but we don’t have the same haircuts that we used to have. In fact, we kind of lost most of our hair because it burned off. Did you know that something like this would happen?” He couldn’t quite leave out the accusing tone in his voice.

“Oh. Well… I knew there would be some…. heat. Removing two bodies from that amount of distance takes up a lot of magical and natural energy. And energy is, well warm. That’s why the main ingredient in the gel was a fire-retardant and…”

“A fire-retardant? Will, Spike could have burned up and it would all have been for nothing! I could have been severely injured. We could have died! Dammit, Willow. Don’t you think that you should at least have warned me that something like this could happen?”

“I know, I’m sorry. Maybe you’re right and I should have told you that there was a minor risk of a little bit of fire. But you have to understand Xander that I knew you wouldn’t get hurt. Seriously! I knew this spell would work and I guess I just didn’t want you to worry when it really wasn’t necessary. I figured you would have enough on your mind already?”

Xander rubbed his tired eye. Sometimes, Willow could be so goddamn frustrating to deal with. But she was right. He probably wouldn’t have been able to focus the way he had, had he known about this potential risk of going up in flames. And she had a point. Losing your hair wasn’t serious. It would grow back. And it was too damn late anyway to change what had happened.

“Yeah, all right, Willow. It’s okay, I mean. We did get out of there mostly intact and it’s no big deal, I guess. And Willow, I got to say. I am happier than words can ever express that we did this. That place… What they’d done to Spike was…”

His voice broke. “I can’t even begin to describe it,” he whispered .

“It was that bad, Sweetie?”

“Yeah, it really was, Wills,” he replied brokenly. “He is… he’s in a really bad shape. He´s covered in wounds from multiple beatings, his shoulders are dislocated, he is so fucking thin and… it’s. It was hell, Willow! I’d never imagined how… how much he’s been through. Torture… Rapes… I… I just can’t. ” He was crying now. Couldn’t hold it back any longer and he simply sobbed into the telephone.

“Oh baby, I am so sorry. It must have been so hard to witness. I am so sorry, Sweetie. Do you want me to come over? I know I’m really busy right now but maybe I could find the time to…”

“No.” He cleared his throat. “No, Wills, it’s all right. I don’t think there’s anything you can do. Besides, I don’t think Spike would like you to see him right now. I think what he needs is lots and lots of food and rest. And I can take care of that. I want to take care of that.”

“Are you sure, honey?”

“Yeah, I am sure. Look, I’m beat. I’m gonna go back to bed now, okay Will?”

“Okay, Xander. Sleep tight. I love you.”

“Love you too. Bye.”

He put the phone down. He really was tired. But he wanted to check on Spike before going back to bed.

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