Credence Chapter 12
Waking up was becoming awfully interesting lately and Spike lay in his bed, eyes closed. He could smell soap and water and blood and he slowly turned his head - opened his eyes. The wolf was sitting up on the kitchen counter, fresh from the bathroom, his hair spiked damply over his head and his skin palely flushed. His jaw was bleeding. Xander was in front of him, between his knees, going through a small first-aid kit, old blue work-shirt unbuttoned and hanging open over ratty jeans, chest bare. He tore open a packet of gauze and then opened a bottle and the sharp, astringent smell of witch hazel filled Spike's nostrils.
"I told you I'd help you, Oz. You're gonna slice open your fuckin' throat," Xander said softly, wetting the gauze with witch hazel and then holding it to the werewolf's face. A healthy werewolf would have healed such a small cut in a few hours. Oz - just couldn't.
"Sick of...being sick. Just wanted to shave," Oz muttered, looking unhappily down at his hands, and Xander put his other hand to Oz's cheek - lifted the narrow, pointed face up until they were looking eye to eye.
"It's not your fault you're sick, Oz, and you know I'd help you. Fuck, at least let me get you some disposable razors! Don't use that cut-throat thing of Spike's anymore, okay?" Spike watched Xander wipe the blood away - carefully apply a band-aid and smooth the tabs. Then Xander's hands were on the werewolf's face again, cupping softly, and he felt a little twist in his belly at that. Jealousy, maybe, or anger.
*For who? At who? The rabbit's mine...the wolf... Is nobody's. What's the boy playing at, then?* Spike inhaled deeply, scenting what he could over the medicinal smells and the fresh soap smells. Want and sorrow, and submission again, but the wolf didn't want it - wouldn't take it. Spike felt himself grinning and curled into the pillow a bit more. This end of the flat was dim - there were only a couple lamps lit, and the two spots in the kitchen. He was hidden, if he kept still.
"What did...he do, Xander? What did you do? I can... He's all over you, Xan," Oz said, and his eyes were dark - sad. Xander's thumbs brushed lightly over Oz's cheekbones, his fingertips curved around the werewolf's skull and ruffling the streaky hair, all rust and amber and blood.
"I - had a nightmare. Bad one. Because of....you know why..." Flush of blood - shame and anger - and Oz's thin hand squeezed Xander's bicep and then rested there, just holding.
"I guess - you couldn't wake me?"
"Spike said you'd had a shot. You didn't - hear us. I - attacked him and he knocked me down and..." Xander stopped again, his voice cracking, and he leaned slowly forward until his forehead was resting on Oz's shoulder, and his hands slipped down to loosely circle his waist, twisting a little in the too-large thermal shirt Oz wore. When he spoke, his voice was a whisper.
"It's not supposed to be like this, Oz, it's not supposed to be... When I was the hyena before, I knew what it wanted. It wanted a pack, it wanted...family. And I almost had it. And...then they locked it up and... I was so fuckin' lonely, Oz...it hurt so much...." Xander's voice wobbled to silence and he breathed into Oz's shoulder, hitching breaths and the smell of tears. Spike felt the growl in his chest and stifled it.
*MY rabbit. Teach it come to ME when it hurts...*
"It wants...blood now, Oz, it wants things I... Please, Oz, please, can't you just - can't you be with me? Please? You're the only - one - it wants, you're - you're the only f-family -" Xander was crying, but trying to be calm - trying to just talk, and Spike could see the misery in Oz's eyes - could see the tears glittering there, unshed.
"You know I can't Xan. I'm not - I'm not going to..." Oz shut his eyes for a moment, his own hands creeping up slowly and pulling Xander in for a long, hard, hug that Xander returned desperately. Finally Oz eased away, stroking his fingertips over Xander's face, wiping away tears.
"I'm going north, when this thing is out of me. I'm - going to be the wolf for as long as it takes and I can't - can't take you, Xan, I can't - do that to you."
"Why not?! We'd do fine!" Xander cried, and Spike could hear the child he still was, deep down - the desperate, lonely child who's heart had pounded out please please please when Spike had hesitated over taking him or taking Angelus down.
*Would have been glorious I'll bet, him turned. But this is better, this beast. Like it when he slips his human skin...makes it so much sweeter to have what's hidden from the rest of the world...*
"We'd - we could have our own family there, we could - find a mate and -"
"No, we couldn't. It won't work, Xander, you know it won't, Giles said -" Xander wrenched himself away with a snarl and Spike saw the hyena there - smelled it, and wanted to whistle it to him; wanted to bite its silken skin and take it again, hard and fast. He rubbed the flat of his hand down his belly to his cock and let his fingers caress, shivery-slick, over the erect, weeping head.
*God, he's lovely... Why won't you take him, wolf?* Spike let his fingers trail off and away, belly rippling with tension. *Later for that. Want it to be with my pretty rabbit again...*
"GILES doesn't know everything, Oz!" Xander paced back and forth, from counter to couch, fists clenched, his shirt flapping. "He thought he got rid of it, but he didn't! He told me - the spell for Buffy would be fine but it - it just fucked me up - fucked us all up. All those things we never should have known - never should have seen..." He stopped, fists cracking down on the counter on either side of Oz's thighs, snarling face right there, but the wolf didn't flinch.
"It's eating me alive, Oz! It let Spike - it wanted Spike to fuck me - to bite me! US. It wanted to just - let him have everything!" His voice had dropped, hoarse and low, honey-sweet of the hyena and desperation, so strong. "Everything. My body, my blood - my fuckin' soul, Oz! I don't want to be his, I want to be yours, be the wolf with you - please -!"
"NO!" Oz's voice was a vicious whisper and Xander recoiled just slightly, green-eyed, snarling. "The hyena doesn't want a soulmate, Xander! It wants a fuckin' lord and master and it wants blood and you know it. You know it." Oz's eyes were strange now - glittering black, shark's eyes without any whites and Spike felt his own demon rising to that - felt the shift and fought it, not wanting to alert the others. Wanting to know.
"It got away from you the first week you had it back and you didn't care and you still don't, down inside." Oz's hands were clenched tight on his knees - he was trembling all over and sweating and Spike realized abruptly that even that tiny shift was causing him pain - that the fuckin' hardware in his head was punishing him. Spike did growl then, catching the fear and hate and misery, the anger and the pain scents that rolled off the wolf. Neither one heard him - reacted at all.
"Yes I do care -"
"You don't! You don't give a fuck any more than I do, Xander, just admit it!" Finally, his voice went to a shout and Xander just stood there, staring at him. Oz shut his eyes, shaking all over, his lips moving in silent words and Spike knew, knew... Searching for that space, searching for calm. Xander took a tentative step towards him - lifted his hand and then let it fall, and after a minute Oz looked at him again, human eyes, the wolf pushed down and away so thoroughly even its scent faded.
"You think I don't fight every minute, Xander?" Oz grated out, teeth clenched. "You think I don't struggle every day? Surrounded by all these fucking humans, think they own the world - think they're the top of the chain? Fucking soldiers, fucking doctors - they think I'm an animal and I am, but I'm the animal that can think, just like they can, and if I let go, Xander..." Oz lifted his head, baring his teeth in something like grin, and Spike's demon snarled to the surface. Oz's eyes flicked over him and then back to Xander and Spike knew he knew, and wasn't going to say.
"I'd make my own pack, Xander - hunt the fucking streets and take what I wanted and bite and I could have a pack a hundred-thousand strong, Xander - take all the north for ourselves..." Oz stopped, shuddering, staring wide-eyed at nothing - at a future he refused to realize. Xander finally stepped in close to him again, head to the side, baring his throat; being the weaker one. Nuzzling into Oz's neck, hands on the werewolf's hips and face hidden and Oz slowly relaxed against him - tipped his head over and opened his jaws - let his teeth just rest on the pale skin that pulsed with breath and blood. Xander shuddered, rocking against him, and Oz bit him lightly, so lightly. Then he slowly pushed him away and Xander moved to the side. Put his elbows on the counter and leaned his head into his hands, fingers tight in his own hair, back stiff.
"You won't ever...let me, will you Oz," he murmured, and Oz shook his head, reached out and tugged the collar of Xander's shirt back and ran his fingers over the bite marks Spike had left. Xander took in a hard breath and Spike could smell the arousal, the need - the hyena, all but dying for a place in some pack - for someone that would take him and keep him.
"It would kill you, Xander, or make you...crazy. You know it would. The hyena would fight it every minute. You may offer me your throat but it doesn't - it knows I won't take what it offers and it can't tolerate not being taken. You know this, Xander." Xander looked sideways at Oz - stood up and wiped his face on his shirtsleeves.
"He'll kill me, Oz. He just wants...he can't...love me," Xander whispered, and Oz sighed, tugging the younger man close, hugging him, rubbing his cheek slowly against Xander's hair. He stared at Spike, while his thin hands made slow, gentle patterns over Xander's back.
"You don't know that, Xan. Giles isn't always right, and demons can love. You just have to find the balance, you know? Find your own headspace. You can fight your beast - if you really want to. You can choose. And I'll help you, Xander, okay? I promise I'll help you. I won't let him take anything you don't want to give." The soft green of the werewolf's eyes flashed black for a moment, and the upper lip lifted in a silent snarl, and Spike knew it for what it was - knew it was a warning, and a threat. One he had better beware of.
Spike leaned up on one elbow and nodded once, acknowledging the message. But he let his own demon do that, because he wanted Oz to know - there were no pretty masks here, and no half-truths, and he'd fight for what he wanted.
Oblivious, Xander sighed into Oz's chest and then pulled away - went slowly to the kitchen and started to make some sort of meal. And Spike lay back on the bed.