Part Eleven

The sound of a phone ringing jolted Spike out of his sleep. As he opened his eyes he was momentarily confused to discover that he was looking at a ceiling instead of a wall as if his world had somehow tipped backwards by ninety degrees. Then he remembered. He was no longer in his cell. Xander Harris of all people had come to save him. There had been a spell and a flash of bright light. And Harris had fed him and covered him in a soft blanket. And to top it off, when Spike had begun to fall asleep, Xander bloody Harris had stroked his hair and kissed him. Spike would have wept had he had the strength to do it.

It was too bloody unbelievable was what it was. Still, he didn’t rightly think he had lost his mind as he had so often prayed he would. It all felt so real. Could it be true that in a minute or so, there wouldn’t be another client standing behind him, zipping down? That nobody would come in and beat the crap out of him or force him to suck them off? God! How long had he dreamed of this? Of somebody that would be kind to him? It was real, wasn’t it?

But Xander Harris? No, there had to be something wrong. Harris had never cared for him. Couldn’t. Nobody could. He was just some luckless thing, wasn’t he? No, what had went on before the moment when Harris had suddenly stopped his assault and told him about the rescue, now that had felt much more real than what had taken place afterwards. Maybe his mind had simply snapped during Xander’s rape?

He began to pant. Anxiety flowed through him. Maybe Harris had been at the cell. And maybe Harris had succeeded in abducting him. But it had to be because he wanted more time to get his payback done, didn’t it? Here he was, helpless, completely unable to move his arms and legs. Easy pickings for the boy. Oh god, please no! But that had to be it, right? ‘Cause he should know better by now, shouldn’t he? The PTBs never gave him a break.

“Love you too. Bye.”

Oh, bloody hell! He had forgotten to listen in on the telephone conversation, too engulfed in his worries. Whom had Harris been talking to? Somebody he loved, obviously. Somebody who would come and have a go at Spike’s body or simply stand by and watch, cheering Harris on? He began to shiver as he heard the man get up from his bed and move nearer. Spike closed his eyes tightly, desperately trying to block out what was about to happen anytime now. Oh god, no. And his twisted mind had thought up a kiss from Harris? He fought back a giggle that would have come out high pitched and insane. He really had lost his mind! Bugger.

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

Xander stood at the door, frowning at the sight of Spike’s trembling body. Though Spike had closed his eyes, he clearly wasn’t sleeping. Faking it badly, in fact. He seemed terrified. Had he had a nightmare? God knew there would be plenty of bad memories to cook up some nasty dreams to mess up Spike’s sleep.

Still frowning he went over to Spike. “Spike?”

When Spike didn’t reply, he continued, “Did you have a bad dream? It wasn’t real, Spike. You’re still here in my apartment. Open your eyes buddy,” Xander said softly.

“Just shut your gob and get on with it, Harris. I sodding well don’t care. You can’t hurt me more than I’ve already been hurt.”

“Whoa, what are you talking about? Did you forget that I’ve just rescued you? I don’t want to get on with anything but helping you. Look at me, Spike!”

Spike clenched his jaw and his nostrils flared in what looked to Xander like disgust. Xander couldn’t tell if the disgust was directed at Xander or at Spike himself. But he was impressed when Spike did look up at Xander, his eyes full of defiance.

“I’m no fool, Harris. I guess my mind must've gone off to La-La Land for a moment there but I know what you’re on about. You hate me and you always have. So go on, rape me and be done with it. See if I bloody care.”

Though the words were fierce, Spike’s quivering voice sort of ruined the bravado.

Xander shook his head. “You know, Spike. You are a fool. I don’t hate you. I know I used to say a lot of shit to you back in Sunnydale. And I won’t lie to you. I really did think I hated you that night at the Magic Box. I was jealous, okay! And immature, all right? Because the person, I really hated wasn’t you! It was me! So don’t give yourself credit when it isn’t due!”

He got up and left. Went back into the kitchen. Swore. Grabbed a clean mug and swore some more, clenching the mug hard before returning to Spike. He didn’t look at Spike, just poured up some blood from the thermos. Dammit, he just wanted to help.

“Here. You need to get your strength back. And who knows, maybe your brain’ll begin working again and you’ll be able to believe that this is real. And I’m really sorry to disappoint you but there won’t be any raping, either!”

He sat holding the mug up close to Spike’s nose. Spike’s eyes were still fixed at him. When Xander didn’t move or flinch, they began to flicker and finally, Spike looked away. He was still shaking, Xander noticed. He looked utterly defeated.

Spike’s tongue flicked out. He licked his lips. Glanced back up at Xander and then at the mug before him.

“Okay,” he whispered. “Okay. Please, I’m ready to eat now. Sorry about… sorry.”

“Look, I don’t blame you. I know this is hard to take in. But all I wanna do is make you well again. I don’t have any hidden agenda going on. Now drink this and try to rest a little more. We need to fix those shoulders but I want you to feel well fed and rested before we give it a try.”

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

Spike drank the mug full of blood. It tasted and felt just as wonderful as the one Xander had given him previously. Better even. It was warm! And he could easily drink the second mug too, which Xander wordlessly handed him when the first one was empty. So bloody warm. He felt his permanent sense of hunger begin to dissipate.

Some of what the boy had said made sense. He had the chance to rest some more so he better well take it. A third mug was consumed as he lay pensive. Finally, his stomach was full. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt anything like it. He shook his head, when Xander asked if he wanted more.

Xander left without saying good night but he looked worn out and sad as he did so. Spike didn’t know what to make of that. Still didn’t know what to think of any of it.

He lay awake until he heard Xander’s bed creak and Xander’s breathing gradually change into the deep relaxed breaths of a man fully asleep. Finally, he too drifted off.

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

It was late in the afternoon when Xander woke up. He got out of bed as quietly as he could, checked on Spike who slept for real this time and went out into the kitchen to make some coffee and some toast. He hadn’t had anything to eat since last night at the train station where he’d bought a coke and a couple of warm pretzels before getting the cab. Today was Friday but he had taken the day and the next week off.

He ate in silence contemplating the situation. It was a mess. Spike obviously didn’t trust him and though he hated it, he couldn’t blame him. Xander’s fake assault had overstepped the boundary of any trust by far. His face heated in shame as he remembered how turned on he’d been touching Spike in the cell. His old attraction to the vampire had all but exploded when he’d actually laid hands on that body. He hadn’t been able to control it. And it had been so fucking wrong! He remembered Spike’s panting breaths, the tears on his cheeks, his terror and defeated and beaten body.

The last thing Spike would ever want was to be touched like that by any man, let alone him. The whole idea of having been turned on in front of Spike in that room was sickening. He’d had a hard on while groping a chained up rape victim, for Christ’s sake.

Xander stopped chewing. In all ways but one, he really had kind of raped Spike. The toast seemed to swell up to triple its size in his mouth. He had to spit it out in the trashcan, nearly throwing up doing so.

Christ, he loathed himself! There was no way he could explain what had happened without sounding gross, but he had to make Spike understand that rape had never been on his mind. That Spike could trust him. He just had to.

After another quick shower, he dressed in a t-shirt and some old jeans and went back into the living room. Spike was still sleeping. Xander was relieved to see that Spike looked better than he had before. His checks weren’t quite as hollow, his skin not quite as sickly pale and some of the wounds were showing signs of healing. The long gash on his face was red with blood and looked like a recent injury. Even though it kind of made it look worse, it was still a good thing.

Xander decided that when Spike woke up, he would act as if their last conversation hadn’t taken place and get him something more to eat and then he would reset Spike’s shoulders. Hopefully, the fresh blood flowing in Spike’s veins had loosened up the muscles and tendons enough to make it possible. Either way, he had to give it a try. Not until Spike’s shoulders were set, would Xander be able to pick him up. Spike needed a bath to get the magical goo off and some of the wounds needed dressing now that they were bleeding. Xander sat down on the couch and waited. Explaining what had happened in that cell would have to wait. Xander wasn’t sure he could anyway.

Maybe it was best forgotten.

Part Twelve

Spike stirred and Xander rose from the couch and quietly approached him. Spike drew in a short breath, almost like a gasp. His blue eyes blinked up at Xander almost instantly. They had a wary look to them.

“Hi again,” Xander said softly. “Sleep well?”

Spike turned his gaze to the ceiling and cleared his throat. “Yeah, did. Feel better.” He shifted a bit, the muscles in his shoulders visibly tensing as he did so. The slight motion made him grimace with pain. “Still can’t move my bloody arms,” he muttered and cast a worried glance at Xander before looking away.

“Then don’t try to. They need to be put back in place and I’m gonna do that for you in a few minutes. First you gotta have another meal. I figure this thing’ll only work if you’re full of blood – and wow did that not sound pretty?” He smiled at Spike to let him know that he was joking. Spike didn’t smile. Great, you’re a fucking idiot, Xander. He cleared his throat. “So anyway, you just stay right where you are… Well, I mean, you’ll be here and I’m gonna go heat up some more blood for you. And then we’ll get those shoulders back where they belong.”

He came back a couple of minutes later and knelt down. “Here you go.” He held out the mug, letting it touch Spike’s lips and once again watched as Spike drank the life giving fluid. A little spill trickled down the side of Spike’s mouth and he instinctively reached out to wipe it off with his fingertip. The drop of blood clung to the digit as Spike finished drinking the rest of the blood in the mug. Not wanting to wipe the blood off in his pants, he held his hand slightly up in the air as he sat the mug down.

“I can clean it off for you,” Spike offered quietly.

“Huh? Oh… thanks” Xander said dumbstruck. He extended his finger towards Spike and watched in awe as Spike touched his cool tongue to his fingertip and caught the drop of blood. It was over in a second, but Xander’s heart did a little jump at the sensation that simple touch caused in him, and he immediately pulled back his hand, feeling ashamed. Fuck, why did Spike have that effect on him? It was not okay. It was so not okay.

“More?” he managed to say, trying to make his voice sound normal and getting his mind back on track which was to help Spike, not ogle him.

“No.” Spike replied in a hushed tone of voice, not looking at Xander. “I can’t. Haven’t had this much to eat since… I don’t know, really. I don’t know how long I was…” He drew in a shuddering breath and looked at Xander. “What’s the date?”

Xander paled. Oh no. Spike wouldn’t want to hear this but now he’d asked and Xander had to tell him. “The Hellmouth collapsed in 2003,” he began slowly. “That’s more than ten years ago now. Today it’s August 31, 2013.”

He couldn’t bring himself to look at Spike’s expression at this news just yet. Still, he wanted to know the truth about the length of Spike’s captivity himself so he continued in a calm and steady voice, “A few years ago, I was told by Willow that you didn’t survive in LA. That you died there along with Angel in the early spring of 2004…. Was that when you were captured?” He looked back down at Spike.

The look of shocked horror on Spike’s face answered his question and he blinked. He watched in equally shocked horror as Spike’s eyes began to fill with the wet sheen of tears. Watched how Spike tried to hold his emotions in check. Watched how trying to do so seemed to choke Spike. Xander’s own vision began to blur in sympathy. He couldn’t even begin to understand what this information did to Spike but all he wanted to do himself was curl up in a ball and cry his eye out. He guessed Spike wanted to, no needed to do the same but of course, he couldn’t. Frowning in worry, Xander reached out and placed a hand, palm down, on Spike’s forehead. Spike’s lips quivered at the touch and he locked eyes with Xander. As they stared into each other’s eyes, a stifled sob tore through Spike’s frame and Xander bit his lower lip hard in order not to break down as well. He stroked Spike’s head softly and whispered, “Schhh… Don’t hold back, Spike. Just let it out, buddy.”

He watched as the last of Spike’s defenses crumbled and Spike began to cry in earnest. God, Xander had never felt so helpless in his life. No words could make up for what Spike had been through. Nothing could make up so many years of suffering. Xander wanted to gather Spike in his arms, and rock him to and fro but knew he couldn’t without causing Spike a severe amount of pain. Not knowing what else to do, he gently cupped Spike’s cheek with his other hand. He ran his fingers soothingly over Spike’s face and bristled hair, murmuring comforting nonsense. He wiped tears off Spike’s wet face and neck as the vampire shook with pent up grief. Tried vainly to wipe off tears of his own on the t-shirt. His chest burned and his throat ached. It took all he had in him to stay in position and just be there for Spike, trying to give him some sort of comfort.

Gradually, Spike’s sobbing subsided. He continued to cry quietly and that was nearly more heartbreaking to watch because Spike looked so goddamn desolate lying there, tears streaming down his thin and battered face. Xander wiped the tears away and stroked his face and hair. Finally, Spike stopped crying but his breaths still came out hitched and uneven sounding. Xander kept stroking his face softly, offering the only consolation he could think of. He didn’t talk. There really weren’t any words to say. He bowed his head and sighed, as he listened to Spike’s breathing slowly begin to calm down.

“Xander?” Spike’s whispered voice sounded raw. “I don’t know… why you came for me. But I’m glad you did.” Xander looked at Spike and tried to smile a little. His own voice wasn’t exactly steady but he managed to reply, “Me too, Spike. Me too.”

He shook his head and continued, “I wish I’d known about you sooner. I wish I could have spared you some of those years in that hellhole but I just didn’t know. I found out that you were alive last month when Willow told me. She hadn’t known before either and it was pure luck that she did find out. When she told me, we both figured that you were simply living somewhere and I don’t know... I just wanted to meet you. Wanted to get to know you better. And then I… as soon as we figured out that you were being held somewhere, we did everything we could to find a way to get to you and get you out. I wish we’d been quicker but… But now you’re here. And there’s a whole future lying out there waiting for you.” He took a deep breath. “And we’ll start it off by fixing those shoulders. No more putting things off, okay? What d’you say? Ready to give it a try?”

Spike looked at Xander, an unreadable expression on his face. He nodded. Xander rose and knelt behind Spike’s head. He rolled his head to get some of the tension out of his neck. “Right, we need to remove the pillows again. This thing’s best done when you’re lying flat on your back. And Spike? I won’t lie to you. This is gonna hurt like a bitch. But once it’s done, you’ll feel much better. I promise. Okay! I’ll remove the pillows now. I’m doing it one at a time, same as I did when I propped you up to begin with.”

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

Spike had become exhausted from all that crying. He hadn’t wanted to cry but Xander’s empathic look and his sodding hand on his head had broken something and he hadn’t been able to hold back. He’d cried for all those years spent in torment, for his humiliation, for his lost self that would never return, for Angel, for everything, really. Now, all he felt was being completely worn out and it didn’t seem like all that senseless bawling had helped any. When did it ever? But maybe the numbness it had caused did help a little. It nearly didn’t hurt when Xander got the pillows out from under him.

Xander told him that he had to brace himself. Glumly he thought to himself And when don’t I ever? But he did as he was told and took in a couple of steadying breaths.

Xander wanted to start with his right arm. He would push it down using force if necessary so that it would end up lying flat along Spike’s body. Then he would lift Spike’s underarm up in a ninety degree angle perpendicular to Spike’s body, making it point up towards the ceiling. When that was done, he would set the shoulder right.

It sounded easy. It hurt like bloody hell.

Spike roared from the agony lancing through his right side. It felt like Xander was trying to bleeding wrench his bloody arm right off its hinge. God! And that was only the getting the arm down part. He wanted to pass out but it didn't happen. Xander quickly got up and straddled his thighs. Spike could only look blearily up at him. Christ, but he ached! When Xander took hold of his arm again and bent it at the elbow, he wanted to arch his body and get away somehow but of course he couldn’t. Xander kept him firmly in place, and told him to make a fist which he shakily managed to do. Xander’s hand closed around it to make it tighter and then Xander pushed the underarm outwards away from his body and then back inwards. He screamed as his shoulder creaked loudly in protest but then something clicked and settled in the joint, and abruptly the terrible burning pain simply disappeared. He lay gasping and panting, feeling utterly spent. It had hurt like hell a few seconds ago but now there was no discernible pain worth mentioning. Xander was a bloody miracle maker!

He saw the satisfaction on Xander’s face and felt Xander’ hand squeeze around his fist and give it a little shake as if Spike’d just won a bloody competition or something and he couldn’t help but smile a bit up at the man. Then he sobered and his smile withered away. Because now, of course, he would have to go through the same ordeal with the other arm. Bloody hell!

Part Thirteen

Spike was utterly and completely knackered.

He barely managed to respond when Xander asked him if he wanted a bath. But he nodded the affirmative and Xander left. The thought of his aching, damaged limbs, submerged in delicious, hot water made him practically moan in longing. As he waited while Xander got the bath ready, he gingerly flexed his fingers below the blanket. He could feel his fingertips move against his thighs. His skin felt odd and cool to the touch after so many years of not having been able to reach any part of his own body. But it was a good odd. With some difficulty, he managed to pull his hands up on his stomach, using every bit of the depressingly weak power he had left in his arms. A very small move for a man but a bloody big step for a vampire who’d been chained up for a decade. He moved his hands, feeling the ridges along his lower ribs. Each bone stood out starkly against the thin papery sheet that was his present sorry excuse for skin. Felt his hipbones. It was a sodding wonder they hadn’t plain and simple cut right through it. His skull began to itch and he haphazardly tried to lift his hand and scratch at it but the movement hurt like hell. He got as far as placing his left hand on his chest. Still a way to go yet, he reckoned tiredly. But if Xander kept feeding him and tending to him the way he’d been so far, it wouldn’t be long before he could scratch any damn itch he sodding well wanted to. What were the wait of a few days or weeks compared to years when he hadn’t been able to do even that?

Xander came back. Spike watched as the man seemed to stop too abruptly, a slightly uncomfortable look to his face. Right, Xander was embarrassed about having to bathe him? Spike would have laughed in the old days. Not like he had any virtue left to lose, was it? But that was then. Being naked in front of another male had caused him nothing but pain and humiliation those past many years and he didn’t exactly welcome the idea. But he’d be damned if he were to feel ashamed about it. And right now, Spike honestly didn’t care one way or the other. He was so tired and he wanted that bath so badly. “Just pick me up already, Harris,” he said somewhat gruffly in order to get the boy to move.

“Okay,” Xander replied, a little flushed. “Let’s get you out into the bathroom.” He bent and easily lifted Spike like he was nothing but a sodding bag of feathers. The blanket glided off and despite himself, Spike tensed a little from a pang of unreasonable fear at being exposed. It was stupid. Xander wouldn’t hurt him. And to be honest, he would much rather have Xander touch him than any other man. At least, Xander acted as if Spike were a person, rather than a fuck toy. Sod all else.

As Xander maneuvered him down into the tub, he let out a groan of approval. God, it felt bloody marvelous. Xander had lined the tub with towels, even on the bottom and everything was hot and soft and wonderful. He relaxed and felt his arms float and move about in miniscule wavy motions. He leaned his head back and let out a long, contented, moaning sigh. The scented soapy water smelled like milk and honey. This was bloody heaven.

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

Xander picked up the washcloth. He decided he would begin with Spike’s head and simply work his way down, one limb at a time. From his own experience, he knew that the oily substance was anything but easy to get rid of but if he took his time, he should be able to get most of it off. He started gently scrubbing Spike’s scalp. The oil was stuck in the stubble that was still left of Spike’s hair. He placed the cloth on the edge of the tub, and grabbed some shampoo. He squeezed out a good dollop on his hand and began working the soap into Spike’s scalp. Spike’s skull felt small and delicate in his hands. As he worked in the shampoo, he had to smile a little at the small humming sounds of pleasure Spike let out. He massaged the scalp a little longer than necessary just for good measure and to please Spike. When the scalp felt smooth and non-clingy, he reached out and picked up the practical hand shower his bathroom had come with. He gently rinsed off the shampoo with warm water and put the shower head back in place, smiling crookedly at Spike’s small sound of disapproval. Then he tilted Spike’s head forward and cleaned his ears and the back of his neck and shoulders, marveling in silence at a Spike that seemed to have been turned into a compliant rag doll. Xander dipped the cloth and wrung it, tilted Spike’s head back and washed Spike’s face. Spike’s eyes were closed and he looked utterly pleased. Xander carefully dabbed along the gash on his nose and cheek. Despite his gentle touches, the wound had opened up a bit, and looked generally nasty.

As he dipped the cloth in the tub water again, he noticed with some dismay that the water had gotten an orange tinge to it. Not from the wash cloth as such but more from the various wounds covering most of Spike’s body. Small tendrils of blood coiled from each and every one of them. He grimaced. It looked unsanitary but there was nothing he could do about it. Besides, he would refill the tub with clean water when he was done.

Face done, Xander cleaned off Spike’s arms. They didn’t have nearly as many cuts and bruises as Spike’s back and front had, but the wrists looked awful and they were bleeding a lot. He glanced up at Spike’s face as he dabbed along the sore looking ridges, checking to make sure the vampire wasn’t silently suffering. But Spike looked relaxed and almost placid. Even the frown of worry on his forehead was smoothed out completely. Xander got a warm happy feeling inside. It felt so good to do something like this for Spike. And lying like that, Spike looked almost as beautiful as he had back when Xander hadn’t allowed himself to fully acknowledge and appreciate it.

When he got to Spike’s legs however, his happy feeling disappeared, and he frowned in concerned worry as he got a closer look at the damage done to the skeletal like shins. There didn’t seem to be any working muscle tissue left beneath the skin at all. The skin itself looked slack and was covered in dark grey bruises. It looked as if those fucking tight straps were still strapped on. From under Spike’s feet, blood spiraled lazily upwards. Xander fought back a surge of anger at the sight of those molested legs and feet. Had Spike been human, his legs wouldn’t have stood a chance. They would have been amputated clean off. But Spike being a vampire hopefully meant that eventually with plenty of blood, massage and rehabilitation, they’d be able to carry his weight again. Patience, Xander, he told himself. Patience and care is all it’s gonna take.

He held on to that thought as he moved to push Spike gently forward to be able to wash his back. Spike had seemed so content when he’d done his head and shoulders that he hadn’t had it in him to make him move at that time. “Can you move forward a little more?” he asked in a low voice and Spike stirred, sighed and did as he was told. Spike’s back was a mess. There were clear marks from lashes, some of them seemingly done with a fucking chain, for crying out loud. At least judging from the link shaped bruises and wounds. Christ! A clear print from a boot stood out in a deep purple tone. Assholes! He washed off as much as he could. Wasn’t much if he wanted to avoid making Spike cry out in pain. He immediately decided that he would leave Spike’s crotch alone. The area had been a bluish tainted red and swollen when he’d stood in front of Spike in the cell. Probably someone had kicked it hard or worse. When Spike got his strength and dexterity back, he could clean it off himself. Until then the soak would have to do.

“I’m changing the water now, Spike.” Spike briefly looked up at him. He didn’t look happy anymore. In fact, he looked like he was ashamed. Xander nodded his understanding. “It’s bad but you never stood a chance, Spike. That you’re still around is a fucking miracle. Anybody else would have died long ago, vampire or not, you know that, right?” Spike’s jaw muscles flexed and he looked away. After a few seconds, he gave a short nod but he didn’t exactly look convinced. In fact, he looked like he didn’t believe a word of what Xander had just said. Xander felt miserable as he emptied the tub and filled it up with fresh hot water. Spike leaned back and closed his eyes. The frown was back in place and Xander had to force himself not to reach out and touch it to smooth it away. Spike wouldn’t want that. Not now.

He left, letting Spike have some privacy. In the meantime, he would change his bedding. His bed was big and comfy and perfect for Spike.

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

Spike lay in the tub. For a moment, he’d almost been able to forget what had been done to him. What he had allowed himself to become. But as Xander examined his legs and he’d gotten a peek at them too, it had all come rushing back. He was a wreck was what he was. His body looked as if it belonged in a horror movie or in a concentration camp, and the sight of it made him feel vulnerable and weak as hell. He became aware of his old longtime companion, Pain again. The warm water had dulled the sensation somewhat, and Xander’s bloody perfect head massage had made him practically come in the water from the sheer pleasure of it. For a moment, he’d almost felt good. But now, all the aches were back in full swing. Especially those on his legs, and his back, and his sodding crotch. Not to mention the burn in his bloody anus! He remembered the kicks, and the lashes. Recalled the laughter from the heartless bastard who’d been cutting the soles of his feet. That had been only a few days ago. Spike had screamed and begged for mercy, acting like the sorry ponce, he was.

No, he was no sodding miracle. He was a whoring coward who’d begged and pleaded and done what he could do to please any of those sodding bastards whenever he’d gotten the chance. Offering blowjobs to all and any and even pretending that he was enjoying getting cocks up his sore and abused arse whenever he’d sussed out that that was what would get the wankers off quicker. He’d panted and moaned and clenched down on their fucking cocks of his own bloody volition, hadn’t he? Making them believe that he enjoyed their rapes. He’d done and said anything if it meant that they would stop hurting him. He was beyond pathetic.

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

Spike didn’t say anything as Xander dried him off after having emptied the tub, and given him a thorough rinse with the hand shower. He seemed to be deep in thought and Xander didn’t want to interrupt whatever was on his mind. Silently, he gathered Spike up in his arms and carried him into his bedroom. Placing Spike on the left side of the bed to better be able to feed him, he noticed a little belatedly that Spike’s brows were lifted and his eyes had become wide and uncertain looking. He looked scared. Xander shook his head in a placating manner. “I’m letting you sleep in my bed while you’re healing. It’s much comfier than the couch and the height is better for me when I tend to you,” he calmly explained to the vampire. “Right now, I’m gonna patch you up a bit. Put some bandages around your wrists and your back and so forth. I think we need as much blood in you as we can.” He turned and picked up the remedies already laid out on the floor. He looked up at Spike as he reached out to lift Spike’s wrist to get started. Spike looked like he wanted to break down in tears again and Xander didn’t think he could handle any more crying. He turned his head away and simply set to work, gnawing at his lip.

It took a while to cover up all the wounds on Spike’s body. He’d managed to push Spike over on his stomach and done up the back pretty quick. Spike’s ass had been shining up on him, pale and dotted with black and blue spots same as any other part of his body. Those damn fingerprints were still evident on his hips. Christ, he’d wanted to cry his eye out again at the sight. But he hadn’t. He’d simply clenched his jaw so tight that it had actually hurt and finished the job, before turning Spike on his back again. Spike had been staring up at the ceiling with empty eyes, not saying a word. He had looked embarrassed. But was he ashamed of the injuries that had been inflicted on him because he’d been unable to fight back? Or was he ashamed at the fact that his body so blatantly showed that he had been sexually assaulted? Whatever it was, it made Xander ache for him. Fuck it was so unfair! The only ones who should feel ashamed were those motherfuckers who’d done this to Spike in the first place!

When he was done, he tucked the soft down comforter around Spike and asked him if he wanted something more to eat but Spike shook his head and continued staring at nothing. Xander picked up the first aid kit and left. Going back into his living room, he went to pick up the blanket left on the floor. It was stained with blood. So was his carpet. What was it Buffy always used to use to get rid of blood stains? Oh yeah, mineral water. He’d have to get some of that. And crutches. Not that they were needed any time soon. And some clothes for Spike. And he would have to talk to Willow again to tell her how Spike was doing. She’d probably wanna know.

He went out into the bathroom to leave the bloodied blanket in the cupboard which was handily concealing the laundry basket. It was a nice bathroom. It had cream colored tiles, a big tub, and a laundry machine and a dryer in the corner.

Hard to be feeling cheerful about something as banal as a laundry machine and a dryer, though. He knew that Spike felt like hell. He felt like hell. He wished he could just get it through that thick head of Spike’s that Spike wasn’t to blame for any of the things he’d been subjected to. He just had to, somehow. He wanted to see Spike smiling again. He wanted to hear Spike’s laughter. He wanted Spike to talk back to him. Wanted it so badly. Things were gonna get better. He knew that. It was just a matter of time and convincing a stubborn, hurt vampire not to be so goddamn hard on himself.

Part Fourteen

Spike had had four more mugs of blood after the bath that afternoon. It was close to midnight now and the bedroom felt very quiet. Was a nice bedroom, though. Smelled nice too. Comforting. Funny that. That the smell of Xander Harris would make him feel safe. But it did. Which just went to show how far he’d fallen.

Unhappy, he pulled the down comforter a little closer to his body. His arms weren’t really working but he wiggled his body a little and used his fingers as sort of hooks and managed. The comforter felt good. It wasn’t warm of course, since he didn’t have any body heat of his own. But it was still nice to be covered up in softness.

Xander’s bedroom was quite big. The walls were the color of lilacs. A sissy choice but combined with the African war spears, ditto shields and masks decorating the walls, it actually looked quite manly. The floor was polished wood in a warm tone. The wooden planks were wide. Obviously, this was an old apartment building. Had some atmosphere to it. Xander’s bed was made of dark wood in a simple mission style design. It was comfortable, big, and sturdy. A few African handmade rag rugs matching the masks on the wall were scattered around the floor. So yeah, all in all, a really nice bedroom. Only he’d been staring at it for a long time now and was beginning to feel a little restless. He was the one who’d wanted to be left alone in the first place so it was his own bloody fault. And he hadn’t been in the mood for company for the first couple of hours or so. At some point, he had drifted off feeling sorry for himself but now he was wide awake. And bored. He could hear Xander watching telly set on low volume in the living room. Would be quite all right to watch a bit of telly wouldn’t it? He snorted at the thought. Must be all that blood being poured down his gullet. Made his foolish body and brain think that he was gonna be alright again and start doing ordinary stuff. Watching telly! Spike snorted once more derisively and drummed his fingers or rather would have, had he been able to, on the mattress all the same.

Still, he wouldn’t have minded lying on the couch. He wasn’t good at being all by himself and the quiet hours in Xander’s bedroom had reminded him of that fact. And seeing how he actually had a choice again, he’d much rather be around someone. Someone of his own choosing that was. One he could trust. Such as Harris. He’d been alone for so long and he hated it. Always had. Wasn’t in his nature. Didn’t use to be, anyway.

Of course, the only one who’d let him stay for anywhere near as long as he’d wanted, was Drusilla. And she hadn’t exactly been a steady companion. But he’d liked to pretend that she was and that she loved him and needed him just as much as he needed her. Wonder where she was now, the dark insane princess of his? The soul set them apart and it had been years since he fell out of love with her. But she would always be a part of him, no matter what. If it hadn’t been for Angelus, she would have been a right saint. A naïve, kindhearted, extraordinarily gifted woman. T’was still in her somewhere every now and then and he’d always loved that. Made him want to protect her and take care of her. Of course, if she could see him now, she would simply stake him and be done with it.

Harmony. He didn’t really like her company but at least, she’d been willing and wanting and sort of lovely that way. And Buffy… He’d loved her. Needed her. Changed for her. But she’d never really felt the same and who could blame her? Once he’d gotten his soul, he understood how they could never be. He’d seen her as the woman she was instead of the object of desire and fanciful speculation that he had been drawn to. Gotten to see her flaws and understood her better. Not that it made him love her any less but it had changed into something else. He would always love her too but he wasn’t in love with her anymore. That trip to Rome had been an eye opener… And Angel… Angel. Poor, big, silly, stupid dead poofter. God, how he missed him!

130 something years of depressing dysfunctional relationships. And a decade of torture and sexual abuse. He’d really known how to make use of the gift of immortality, hadn’t he? An’ here he was, in the shining new future, Xander had been talking about. Alone as ever and completely worthless to top it off. Not even half the man he’d been before being turned. Sure, William would’ve whined and cried and begged same as he had. Probably died from blood loss or infection after a week in the hands of the guards and clients at the brothel, but William wasn’t no bloody vampire, was he? You couldn’t expect anything from that poor sod. It hurt to know that you couldn’t expect anything from him either. He’d always thought of himself as a somewhat Big Bad. Well, he knew better now. No wonder he hadn’t been able to hold on to anything good in his entire existence. He was a sodding poncy loser and anybody but him must have been able to see right to the thick of it…

Christ, he hated being all by himself.

Xander would go to bed pretty soon, he reckoned. On the couch. Which was bloody stupid when you thought about it. His bed was more than big enough for the two of them. Maybe he should ask him to sleep in here instead? Spike wouldn’t mind. As a matter of fact it would be sort of comfortable. Oh, who was he fooling? It would be so bloody nice not to be alone. Would Xander go all flustered at the idea? Would he finally realize that he was wasting his time on a pathetic wanker? He probably would. Best not mention it.

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

He came to with a start and realized that he was blindfolded and gagged. A thick triangular metal bit cut into the corners of his mouth, the apex pressing his tongue down. Drool trickled down his chin. The man behind him reeked of dark brutal desire. The kind of desire that was bordering on insanity and could get him really, really hurt. He couldn’t plead for mercy or try to lure the man into forgetting his violent ideas with the gag tied so firmly in place. Could only smell that evilness rolling up against him, suffocating him.

A sting from a horsewhip fell over his buttock. He grunted. Another one. Two, three. More. Again and again, the whip whistled through the air and landed with a smack on his bum. He arched and tried to twist his body away but couldn’t. The whip continued hitting him. It was excruciating and he could feel his skin rip and the blood run. He yelped and moaned and grunted his pain out, trying to bear down, trying to get through this but it was nearly impossible. Suddenly, the whip was thrown clattering to the floor. For a few seconds, all was quiet except for the wheezing sounds of his own labored breathing. Then a big hand cupped one of his arse cheeks, squeezing it. It stung and he gasped and groaned around the gag. A low laughter rang out behind him. The hand let go and came back only a split second later with a resounding hard slap. More slaps followed. Each one harder than the previous one. The man behind him was spanking him now in a furious tempo. Over and over and the blows felt like being clobbered with a brick. He whimpered, and cried out and jerked in his bonds. Christ, it stung. And felt devastatingly humiliating.

The slaps continued raining over his buttocks for several long minutes. Then the man stopped and murmured in a voice, hoarse and strained from arousal and exhaustion, “Oh, how pretty you look with that red ass smiling at me… It likes the attention, I think. Begs for more, the way it quivers.”

Spike moaned in pain and distress. More hard slaps followed and Spike was sobbing now, biting down on the bit, tears of pain and humiliation running down his cheeks. The man laughed. “You’re such a greedy little cunt, aren’t you? Can’t get enough of my hand.” He leaned in, pressing his chest against Spike’s back and Spike shuddered. The man’s crotch scratched against his bum and it burned. The man reached up and deftly removed the wet blindfold from Spike’s eyes and threw it on the floor. Spike blinked and tried to get used to the light. The man reached around and grabbed Spike’s balls. Rolled them with that big hand, still hot from the slapping and slick from Spike’s blood. Ground his balls hard against each other. Spike whimpered helplessly. Oh god, it hurt, it hurt, it hurt…

“You like to watch my hand doing this to you, don’t you? You want it on you all the time, isn’t that right, you filthy little slut? I know it. I can feel it. I can feel how you want my hand buried deep inside you.” Spike helplessly shook his head. The man was heedless. “Well, you’re lucky. I’ll give you what you want, you greedy little bitch!” The man pulled at his scrotum one last time and stood back. Spike sobbed in horror. No, no, no. Not that! He couldn’t… Not that, please not that.

He bucked and screamed as long fingers shoved into him, stretching him. The hand jabbed further in and the fingers spread, forcing his tissue to tear and bleed. “Hungry for me now, aren’t you? I can tell.” The words were spoken in a harsh, lecherous growl and the man was panting and Spike’s cries of refusal came out like muffled, torn Os. “You won’t be anymore, cunt,” and Spike felt the man draw his fingers out. Blood ran down his thighs. “Stop”, he tried to scream through the gag. But as the fist pressed into him, he knew there would be no stopping. The knuckles breached him horribly and his body shook so forcibly that the chains were humming in a metallic tight ringing sound. Then the hand itself got shoved in and he felt the ring muscle tear completely. His cry of pure horrified agony rang through the room. The man kept pushing upwards, until Spike felt his intestines rupture and then he couldn’t even scream anymore. The agony was too overwhelming. He heard the man pant and moan, smelled his arousal, and felt how the man’s fist was pulled back until just the knuckles remained inside him. Then the man pushed up again. And again. And again. Spike gurgled and groaned, thick bloody foam running down his mouth and neck, dripping onto his chest. His eyes rolled back and everything began to blur and blacken…

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

“Spike?” Xander stood in the doorway looking anxious. He was wearing boxers. Had obviously been sleeping. Spike couldn’t manage to form a reply. His face was wet and he was gasping with remembered pain and horror.

Xander walked over to the bed and Spike shook violently and took in shuddering lungfuls of air. A nightmare. T’was all it was. He was here. And Xander was here. It was all in the past. All in the past. A heavy tremor of terror ran through him and he gasped as once again the nightmare grabbed hold of his mind and abused his senses, filling him with despair. Oh god, it wouldn’t go away! He couldn’t make it. It wouldn’t go.

“Please Xander?” he croaked. “Please, could you… stay here?” He needed someone. Couldn’t get through the night alone. Just couldn’t.

“Of course. Sure.” Xander fists were closed so hard the knuckles had gone white. Spike could feel his emotions. Fear, distress, worry. Xander drew in a deep breath. “I’ll get my pillow and comforter.” Spike nodded, feeling ashamed but much too out of it to change what he’d asked for. He sobbed quietly. It was all too much.

Xander came back in. Crawled under the covers. Lay staring at the ceiling for a minute as Spike silently shook from crying. Then Xander’s arm reached over and around him and turned him onto his side, his face against Xander’s chest. He was pulled into an embrace that felt strong and tight and warm and caring, and he let out a shuddering breath of relief. Xander’s arms tightened further around him and oh, god, it felt so good. He needed this. Needed it so much. He leaned his head forward, burrowing his brow and nose into Xander’s skin and sighed and hiccuped a little from all that bawling. Xander placed a kiss on top of his head and Spike closed his exhausted tear-stained eyes and sighed. Oh yes, this was better. This was so much better. This could chase the nightmare away, he was sure of it. He felt the tremors subside and his breaths quiet down. He wanted to be held like this forever. Nothing had felt so bloody good in his entire unlife.

Part Fifteen

He woke up in a cocoon of warmth, comfort, and safety. It felt so bloody wonderful that he wanted to cry. Taking a deep breath instead, he tried to calm down although his mind was positively reeling from all the pleasantness surrounding him.

Only the day before yesterday, he’d been hanging in his chains, aching, starving and alone, waiting for the next bugger to molest him. Hadn’t honestly thought he’d ever get away from that place unless it would be as a pile of dust. Had never dared to hope that anyone would come for him. Had certainly never imagined that if that were to happen, his rescuer would be Xander Harris. Nor that he would end up in a soft bed, lying next to the very same Xander Harris and feel close to happy.

Xander’s heart beat a steady thrum against his ear and the vibration felt soothing. His slow, deep breaths were warm against Spike’s bristled head. In fact, the entire bed felt snug thanks to Xander’s delicious warmth… He knew he ought to be oblivious to temperatures. Shouldn’t mean one whit to him whether or not he was cold or warm. But he’d always loved being warm. Guess it made him feel more real. But most of all, it was just bloody comfortable. He closed his eyes, savoring the moment.

After a little while of basking, he pulled back to study the man holding him. Xander had grown up. The boyish look was all but gone. Although his face looked relaxed in his sleep, small lines had begun to show. Lines that weren’t there ten years ago. Fan shaped crinkles around the outer corners of his eyes and the beginnings of thin age lines on his forehead and around his mouth.

Spike considered that mouth for a moment and frowned as he watched it, wondering. He remembered the touch of Xander’s lips against his head. They had felt good. And velvety. Xander Harris’ lips were velvety, who’d have known?

He moved his eyes to study Xander’s face again. It was a handsome face now that it had changed into a fully grown man’s. Xander hadn’t been ugly in his youth but there’d been something goofy about him. Not really sexy, although his demon girl certainly had thought so. But now Xander was much leaner and his facial features, as a result, more angular. The sunburnt skin indicated that he spent a lot of time outdoors and it looked good on him. Healthy. He was probably still working on construction sites. Spike didn’t actually know, of course. They hadn’t talked much about anything so far. He’d have to ask him. It felt strange not to know what the man, who’d decided that he was worth rescuing, did for a living. The man who, completely out of the blue, had chosen to take Spike under his wings… arms.

Spike turned his head a bit to study one of those arms, currently draped over his side. It was a strong arm. Sinewy and muscular. Being embraced by it was like a balm to Spike’s battered soul. He sighed again and allowed himself to enjoy the feeling of comfort surrounding him. He’d been starving at that hellhole. For blood, yes but most of all for care and affection. Lying close and being held like this was nothing short of blissful. He touched his forehead gingerly to the crook of Xander’s neck and peeked down at Xander’s chest. The boy was quite a lot fitter than he’d been when they’d been living in Sunnydale. Not a trace of fat to be seen anywhere on that torso.

Spike looked down at his own birdlike chest. Pale, skinny, and mostly hairless. In contrast, Xander’s chest was lightly covered in brown curly hairs that ended in a thin trail of darker hairs working their way down his flat stomach and ending below the hem of his boxer shorts. Demon girl was missing out. But she was dead. At least that’s what Xander had said when he’d been swiftly killing Spike’s last spark of hope with his hateful words and accusations. Or had that been part of tricking him as well? He didn’t know. Couldn’t know. He´d been far too shocked to understand much of anything by then. Had only been able to understand that he was about to be raped by someone he’d once known and who hated him more than anything in the whole world. Only, he wasn’t raped and Xander didn’t hate his guts…

Feeling grateful, Spike settled his head back on their shared pillow. How old was Xander now? He’d told Spike that the year was 2013. That would mean that Xander had to be in his thirties by now. This would make him older than Spike had been when he was turned all those many years ago. Not by a lot but still… it was a strange thought.

He turned his head slightly and looked back up at Xander’s face. A lock of brown hair covered most of the empty eye socket. Spike studied the slightly sunken hollow where Xander’s eye should have been. Wish I could have stopped the Priest sooner, he thought with an old pang of regret. Then his gaze slowly moved up to contemplate the hair. It looked decidedly odd. Something must have happened to it when they were magicked away from the brothel. Xander’s hair looked as if it had been cut by a bloody lawn mower! Or more to the point, as if it had been singed off, the way the ends were looking all frizzy. Unless of course, Xander’s first priority, when he got back had been to go out into his kitchen and hack off bits and pieces of his hair, using a blunt kitchen knife to do the job. Which didn’t seem very likely.

He wondered if his own hair had been subjected to the same treatment as Xander’s had been? He knew his hair would have had to have been short before Xander came to get him. It couldn’t have been more than two, maybe three weeks ago since he’d undergone one of his shavings. What did it look like now?

Cautiously, he tried to maneuver his hand under Xander’s arm without waking Xander up. It was difficult but bit by bit he managed to do it. He lay resting for a little while, quietly panting from the exertion caused by the motion before he was able to lift his hand all the way up to touch his own head.

His hair, or what was left of it, was a mess. There were patches with hair that had grown long enough to curl a little and other patches with nothing more than bristly stubble. At some places, he could feel near bald spots. He grimaced. Moving his hand a little more, it landed on his right ear. He touched it. The bloody thing felt huge sticking out like that! Bloody hell! He had to be looking like he was completely off his trolley!

Xander had fared a little better. For one thing, his hair was longer on the left side. As far as Spike could tell, there didn’t seem to be any bald spots on that side at all. Xander’s right side, or at least the part that Spike was able to see, looked just as short, and singed as his own did. But Xander’s ears were smaller than Spike’s, he noticed wryly. They didn’t protrude like a couple of bleeding satellite dishes… Well… Couldn’t be helped. And it was a bloody waste of time thinking about something as unimportant as his appearance. Who did he want to look good for now or ever again anyway? And his hair would grow back… At least he hoped so.

No, the only thing that mattered was that they must have caught on fire when they’d disintegrated. Sounded bloody dangerous. And completely foolhardy of Xander to risk something like that just to save him. What had the boy been thinking? Bloody magic! S’always something wrong. Although, albeit grudgingly, Spike had to admit that losing patches of hair was one magical side effect that he’d be willing to accept seeing as how it had saved him.

Slowly, he pulled his hand down and placed it below his chin, resting it against Xander’s upper chest. The hairs felt downy against the back of his hand. And Xander smelled good. Safe. Like good old fashioned Virginia pipe tobacco. Or maybe it was more like sandalwood? Whatever it was it was bloody good. He snuggled a bit closer as he waited for Xander to stir and wake up. He knew that when that happened, Xander would get up and leave and he’d be left to himself again. Best enjoy the company while he had the opportunity.

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

Xander blinked and opened his eye. The short hairs on Spike’s scalp tickled and scratched his chin. The vampire was pressed tightly against his body and Xander’s heart gave a small contended leap. His arm was still around Spike’s smaller body.

Spike felt soft despite his skinniness and he was almost warm to the touch. It was a very pleasant way to wake up, Xander decided and smiled. Then he became aware of the fact that Spike was still naked under their covers. In fact, he could feel Spike’s soft cock touching his own through the thin material of his boxers.

Any trace of a happy smile evaporated completely from Xander’s face. Spike was touching his damn cock that was currently rock hard and doing that typical morning greeting, where all cocks happily and stupidly proclaimed that I’m up and I’m big and I’m beautiful! Come have a look! Christ, how awkward and embarrassing was that? So not what Spike needed to feel when he woke up. Jesus! Spike was still asleep, right?

Xander stirred a little to try and get away from him. And was immediately greeted by a quiet whisper of “Morning” from Spike.

Too late to pretend he wasn’t sporting a morning stiffy then.

“Morning,” he replied and eased back a little more, clearing his throat. Not knowing what else to do, he crooked his neck to look Spike in the eye in order to give him a sincere and heartfelt apology and was met by a pair of very bright, and alert looking eyes, staring right up into his own. Apparently Spike had been awake for a while already. Damn.

On the other hand, Xander noticed with some satisfaction that Spike looked healthier already. The blood had put more color to his face and he wasn’t quite as gaunt looking anymore. There were fewer bruises on his face, too. Xander forgot about his silly predicament for a moment and smiled at the sight. He was rewarded with a small hesitant smile from Spike.

“You look great!” Xander announced happily.

Spike frowned and snorted and the smile all but disappeared. He licked his lips and replied quietly “Yeah…I guess. Must’ve been the sleep…“ He looked away and added in a hushed tone of voice, “Must’ve been that, I reckon.” He looked back up at Xander and his gaze was raw and vulnerable. “T’was nice of you to stay in here…It helped.”

“I’m glad I woke up,” Xander replied firmly. “I don’t want you to be alone if you’re, ehr… if you’re not feeling well.”

He decided to risk a rejection. Spike should know that he had the opportunity if nothing else.

“Look. If you want me to, I can sleep in here while you’re getting better. If it helps you, I mean?”

Spike blinked. He didn’t reply right away. Then he whispered “Thanks. I’d like that. It’s…” He chewed on his lip, shaking his head, and turned over to lie on his back and stare at the ceiling not finishing his sentence. As he did so, his left hand accidentally bumped into Xander’s morning woody.

“Ah! Sorry, Spike! It’s not what you think, it’s just… it’s early in the morning and I’ve just woken up and…” Xander face turned beet red. God, where was a rock when you needed one?

“I know,” Spike sighed and continued in a low voice, looking back up at Xander. “We get them too, you know. They’re nothing to feel ashamed about… Besides Xander, I can tell… the difference, I mean. Can smell it on you, you know.” He searched Xander’s face with an earnest expression in his eyes and said, “I don’t feel threatened by you, Xander.”

His words were a giant rock off Xander’s shoulders. Relieved, he exhaled a breath he hadn’t been aware of holding back and smiled his thanks. Spike didn’t smile back but he still had that open, honest look to him. He really did trust Xander. That was good to know.

“Well. Guess, I’m gonna get out of bed now.

“Yeah, guess you do.” Spike turned and looked back up at the ceiling again.

Xander rolled out of bed and despite Spike’s reassuring words he turned away from the bed and walked sort of sideways out of the bedroom. Stupid natural phenomenon making all men look like idiots in the morning and okay, so he didn’t have to feel ashamed about it, but that didn’t change the fact that Spike had had his share of men’s boners to last him a lifetime…

No need to flaunt one more at him.

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