Credence Chapter 13
"You're not wearing that." Spike stared in dismay at Xander and the boy scowled back, chin going up and fists clenching. Little boy on the playground, ready to take on all comers.
"Fuck off. I'll wear what I want," Xander muttered, and turned abruptly away. Oz looked over the back of the couch, his eyes hazy from the morphine, and Spike knew this was something he wouldn't fight about.
"Viv wants you at the club, for what, I don't know. But you can't go in there looking like that. You look like a scarecrow." Xander shot him a sour look, but his fingers plucked nervously at the hem of the flannel shirt he was wearing - the too-large flannel that hung out from under the hoodie.
"Haven't exactly been following the latest fashions, Spike. It's fuckin' cold outside! What the hell am I supposed to wear?" There was a lifetime of hurt in that, and Spike remembered the few times he'd seen the boy in Sunnydale. Always in ill-fitting clothes, stuff that looked like castoffs from Oxfam.
*Hit a nerve, eh rabbit? Gotta learn to keep that sort of thing hidden better.* Although not from him, of course - he'd tease out every insecurity and need and obsession the boy had - tie them all up with pretty red ribbons that he could hold and tug on, just a little, whenever he needed to...wanted to.
"Take that mess off and let's find you something of mine. Viv expects her employees to dress sharp. And it's warm in the club, you don't need all that. You'll sweat through it in an hour." Spike moved over to his wardrobe, opening it and eyeing the clothing inside, mentally sorting and discarding. The boy was a little broader across the shoulders and taller, even if no bulkier. Spike poked at this or that shirt, pushing them aside and finally found something at the back. A shirt he'd stripped off a kill just because the color had attracted him - magpie instincts that had more to do with vampire and Dru's need for lining the nest than his own desires. The shirt was a heavy, silky materiel that felt almost like suede and hung heavy in his hands. It was a dark bronze-brown, like tarnished autumn leaves and Spike knew it would make his rabbit's hair gleam like mahogany - make his eyes more gold than brown.
*Lovely in this - good enough to eat.* Spike smirked to himself. *Good thing I already DID or he'd be snatched up the minute he came in the door.* He turned, the shirt in his hands, to find Xander standing there in his worn black jeans and wife-beater. The hoodie, flannel, and a ratty thermal shirt were in a pile on the floor.
"That comes off too, pet. White won't go with this. Here -" He turned back and pulled another wife-beater out of a drawer - a black one. White would be too distracting, and Xander was too pale. Xander stared at him for a moment and then pulled his undershirt off, tossing it down as well, and Spike let his gaze wander appreciatively over the whipcorded body.
"Look so lovely, rabbit - did I tell you? Look just lovely." Spike stepped up close, letting the hint of a smile curl his mouth - letting his eyes go half-shut and Xander's head went down - shoulders back a little. Preening unconsciously and Spike almost laughed aloud.
*Fuck, he's so good at that - doesn't even know how much he wants it.* "Here -" He handed over the wife-beater and Xander pulled it on. It fit snugly, a size too small for his long torso, but there was just enough length to tuck into the waist of his jeans, and the overshirt was long. Spike handed that over as well and Xander's fingers hesitated over the rich, heavy material before he slid it on, shuddering just a bit at its cool touch. He started to button it but Spike reached out and stopped him.
"No, leave it. It looks better like that." Spike looked him up and down, considering. The jeans were a bit faded - a bit frayed around the button-holes and the pockets, but they were black, at least, and fit well. The boots were perfect - work boots that wanted to be motorcycle boots and had heavy steel toes and laced above his ankle. Good for kicking, good for stomping, and actually pretty clean.
"Right - you'll do. Viv'll give you the final word. It's her standards we're living up to. Now get your coat," he added, grinning when Xander automatically frowned at the order. The boy bent and picked up his discarded clothes, sorting out the thermal and the undershirt and taking them over to the duffle that held his things. He started to pull the flannel on and Spike sighed in frustration.
"Pet - what are you doing? Can't wear that." Xander turned around fast, snarling, hyena out and ready.
"I said, it's cold outside. Maybe you don't feel it but I do, and I'm not gonna walk around freezing to death in this damn thin shirt!" He yanked irritably at the flannel, getting an arm in, and Spike rolled his eyes.
"Fuck, pet - just say, why don't you? Don't have a coat? I've got half a dozen. C'mere."
"Fuck you," Xander muttered, wrestling with the flannel and Spike strode over and yanked it off him - ripped in half for good measure, growling a little himself, now.
"Rabbit, don't talk back to me. Come get a bloody coat!"
"Spike?" Oz's voice, tired-sounding and dull, and they both turned to the werewolf.
"What is it, wolf?" Spike asked, and Xander snarled silently at the vampire, walking over to the couch.
"Just - calm down, okay?" Oz was propped up on pillows, nested in blankets, and his thin face looked ghostly and transparent in the dimness of the flat.
"He's not listening, wolf," Spike snapped, stalking over, and Xander hunched away from him, scowling.
"He is right here, you fuck. Don't order me around. I'm not your pet." Furious eyes, snarling mouth, but please please please with every heartbeat - with the tilt of his head and the sweet musk of the hyena, who was longing to give in.
*Not mine yet, anyway - not quite. Sweet rabbit - kick the cage all you like - run 'til you drop. I'll be right there with your collar and leash...* Spike let that pretty image wash over him and Oz and Xander both stiffened, catching the scent of arousal - of want.
"Xan - let him give you a coat, huh? It is cold. I don't like you going out in just - shirts. You can't get sick on me, you know? Take whatever's offered, remember? Less work for us." A ghost of a smile - a pleading look - and Xander reached out and stroked his hand over Oz's hair - over his cheek.
"Damnit, Oz..." Xander sighed, giving in. "Yeah, okay. Less work for us. Free's always better." Xander smiled a little, diffident, and Oz smiled back.
*Never said anything about free,* Spike thought, but he gave the boy a smirk of triumph and led him over to the other wardrobe, the one where his duster lived when he remembered. There were other coats in there - ones he'd taken from kills, ones he'd just stolen because he liked them for an hour or a day. But he always came back to Nikki's coat, in the end.
"Here - pick what you like," Spike said, and watched as Xander poked through the leather and the wool and the one mackintosh that Spike had never worn but taken for sentimental reasons. Eventually he pulled out a heavy wool pea jacket, regular Navy issue. It still smelled very faintly of blood and Spike saw Xander's nose twitch, but he shrugged it on, pushing his hands into the pockets. It was a good fit, and the boy fought a smile - turned to the werewolf.
"This'll do, you think?" he asked, and Oz grinned.
"Yeah. Nice. Those are great - big pockets." Xander grinned back and Spike shut the wardrobe - snagged his own duster from the end of the bed and pulled it on.
"Let's go, then - don't want to be late."
"Mir isn't here yet," Xander objected, and Spike stopped, considering. He was about to reach for the phone when the elevator rumbled, and Spike saw the tension go out of Xander's shoulders - and out of Oz, as well.
"You'll be okay, yeah Oz?" Xander said softly, going to crouch down beside the couch, hand on Oz's blanket-covered knee.
"Yeah, be fine. Just - tired." Oz yawned and snuggled lower, eyes half-lidded and dark with morphine and illness, and Xander gently stroked his hair away from his forehead.
"'Kay. You need anything -"
"I'll call. You take good care of me," Oz mumbled, and Xander smiled, soft and a little shaky.
"Always do," he whispered, and pushed himself to his feet as Mir knocked on the door. Spike rolled it back and stepped aside to let the demon pass. She came in and heaved her duffle of medical supplies down and nodded to Spike - to Xander. Her whiskers went forward, quivering, and she looked questioningly at Xander.
"Yeah, he - had some. About a half hour ago. He'll be okay." Mir nodded and bobbed her head, sweeping the whiskers back, and Xander sighed and ran his hand back through his hair - darted over to his bag and pulled out the knitted cap and some dark gloves. Half the fingers were out but he pulled them on anyway - snugged the cap down tight over his ears. He transferred a couple other smaller objects to the pockets of the coat and then they left.
They rode the elevator up in silence - sent it back down for Mir to lock. Spike would call her when they wanted back in. Oz had talked him into cell phones so he could stay connected to Wrxl or anyone else and Spike had one of a pair in his inner pocket. Xander had wanted one, too, but Spike had said no, and just grinned at the human's anger.
*Gotta learn, rabbit. What I say goes and my rules are the ones we follow, even if they don't make any sense. Sometimes they're just there to piss you off.* It was spitting down snow outside - had been for an hour, maybe, if the thin covering over the streets was anything to go by, and the six-o'clock traffic moved slowly, headlights spangling in the darkness, cars skidding at intersections and around corners. Xander took deep breaths, a smile hovering in the corners of his mouth. He looked - pleased - almost happy, and Spike wondered why.
"You like the snow, rabbit?" he asked, and Xander glanced at him, his expression still open - relaxed.
"Yeah. It smells good. And - I dunno - it makes things quieter. It's cold, but... I like it." Spike took a deep breath himself, filling his lungs with the cold tang of the briny Sound, the wet earth and bark smells from the trees that were planted along the sidewalk. Even the wet pavement and concrete smelled clean - smelled like water and not so much like oil and exhaust, and Spike had to admit it was nice. The traffic was there but the tire sounds were muffled, and you could hear the hiss of the damp snow as it skidded over the ground and swirled around corners.
"It is nice," Spike agreed, and Xander looked away, grinning. The hyena scent changed - mellowed -it was happiness and longing and contentment - arousal - and Spike felt his eyebrow going up in surprise.
*Never figured it wanted...that. Not as bloody as he'd like, then. Wants to be petted more than scratched. Petting's good, too.* Spike lit a cigarette and they walked on, Xander looking up and around at the snow, hands jammed down in his pockets and coat buttoned up tight. Spike let the duster flare around him, enjoying how it felt as it tugged at his shoulders and caressed his legs. A thought struck him, and he looked over at the boy.
"How'd you keep the wolf in junk, before?" he asked, and Xander looked away for a moment - looked back at him.
"You know Silas Trott?"
"Yeeah," Spike said, thinking. He did. Small-time bookie, small-time dealer. Into everything he could worm his way into, crooked as a dog's leg.
"He was runnin' these bare-knuckle fights. I fought for him for a while. Won some, lost some, but he always came through with some money and the stuff for Oz. I figure he made a lot off'a me but - it got Oz what he needed, so..." Xander shrugged, and Spike couldn't help the grin that came over his face.
Silas's fights were nasty - no rules, no holding back. Once a month he did 'Death Matches', and though few people had ever died he'd got a reputation for that sort of thing, and every wanna-be tough or wise-guy flocked to his fights. Spike considered Xander - his hate and his need - and figured his fights had probably been damn good.
"You lose on cue for him?" Spike asked, and Xander's shoulders hunched a little.
"Sometimes. Always got extra, when I did. It didn't matter - half the guys I fought were on something, or just crazy, you know? Not like the fights were fair, anyway." His tone was casual but his posture screamed shame, and Spike knew he hadn't wanted to throw any fights. But he'd done what he had to do, for the wolf. Spike's respect for the boy ticked up a notch - as did his desire.
"Fightin' a junkie or a nutter's a lot worse than a straight guy - the fucked up guy's always unpredictable. Doin' something you don't expect. You must be pretty good."
*A little petting for taking that slap, rabbit. I don't care if they were rigged, but I'll remember that you did.*
"I did all right. It was for Oz, anyway," Xander said, trying and mostly succeeding in masking his pleasure at the compliment. He blinked up at the sky again, tiny crystals of snow caught in his eyelashes and in the long hair that curled out from under the cap.
*Oh, CAN'T pass that up,* Spike thought, and he stepped forward two fast strides - wheeled and planted himself directly in front of the boy. One hand went around his neck, pulling him close, the other around his back, between his arm and his ribs, pressing the human up tight against him. Xander's mouth was half-open in shock and Spike kissed him hard and slow, leisurely tasting mint and orange juice and honey-sweet; blood, where his poor mouth hadn't healed from down in the tunnels - down with the soldier. After a moment's surprised stiffness Xander pressed eagerly against him, his own arms snaking in under the duster and winding around Spike - his hands digging into Spike's back. Spike got a leg between the boy's - let his hand go lower, to the denim-covered ass and yank Xander closer still, groin to groin, hardness to hardness. Xander was making a soft, crying sound down in his throat - his mouth was soft and open and drawing Spike in - letting him in, letting him take whatever he wanted and Spike growled in delight, threading his hands up into Xander's hair, pushing the cap off and tugging lightly.
Xander's breath hitched - caught - and he shuddered, grinding closer, his nails digging in; little sparks of sweet fire and Spike wanted to take him right there - push him up against a fucking lamppost or wall and swallow his cock - suck him dry and then fuck him so good he'd get hard again. Wanted him to be hard for Spike all night at the club, stumbling around after Tod or somebody, trying to learn his job while his ass throbbed and his cock begged for more.
The mental image was too good to ignore. Spike forced Xander back one step and then another and Xander's back connected with the iron cage surrounding the tree-trunk of a winter-stripped birch. Xander gasped, his hands slipping for a moment and then clutching back fiercely and Spike's hand was digging under the pea jacket, looking for the button and zip of the jeans.
There was something - noise, voices - people coming out of one of the old buildings there that had been chopped up into offices and small businesses. Spike could smell oil and sawdust - wood - and figured it was probably someplace that made furniture, or shipped it. He didn't care, though - Xander was whimpering under him, his hips moving helplessly, his hands burrowing under Spike's shirt and scratching tingling furrows down his back even through the few intact fingers of the wool gloves.
*Fuck, he's fuckin' lovely, he's so - want him, god -*
"Jesus Christ! Everywhere you fuckin' go!" Rough voice, snarling, and Spike felt the demon rise. He pulled away from Xander, not wanting to damage his mouth too much.
"Get the fuck outta here, you sick fucks!" Another voice and Spike let his boy go - saw that his eyes were glittering green in the streetlight and grinned. Xander grinned back. Spike pushed the demon away - it was more fun to spring it on them later - and spun around.
Three men, two in their mid-twenties, one a little older. All of them in padded coveralls and caps, gloves and heavy boots. They looked like they'd spent the day hauling shit around. Ugly expressions, eloquent with the desire to do some damage.
*Oh, let's dance, shall we?* Spike thought, and he stepped towards them, Xander right beside him.
"Fucking faggots," the first man growled, and Xander jerked.
"You got a problem with that?" Spike said, and the man shot a sneering look his way - and then his eyes went wide with surprise as Xander launched himself, silent and hard, straight into him. Right hand flying forward to crunch into the man's nose, left sweeping low, across his belly. The coveralls gaped wide, spilling some sort of insulation and Spike saw the glint of a push-knife sprouting from Xander's left fist.
The man staggered back, his nose running blood, his mouth open in shock and pain and Xander went for the one on his right, same swift, silent attack. Spike grinned and grabbed the third guy - jerked his head over and drank, fast. As the body tumbled to the snow the second man crashed to the ground, clutching his stomach. There was blood on his hands. The third man staggered, pulling at his companion's shoulder and Xander kicked him in the back of the knee - kicked him again when he sprawled to the ground.
Spike hauled the second man up, smelling blood and intestines. Xander's knife had cut deep. He sank his fangs in, drinking fast, and the third man, writhing on the ground, saw him and voiced a wavering, bubbling shriek.
Xander kicked him hard in the ribs - stepped back, panting lightly, his hands out and up, ready. Then he blinked and looked - saw the bodies and saw Spike, and his face went blank with shock.
"What d'ya think, rabbit? Kill him, too? Or leave him to explain about the vampire to the cops." Spike grinned, licking his lips and fangs, cleaning away the last traces of blood.
"Spike! What the fuck? You weren't supposed to kill them! It was just -"
"Just what, rabbit? I don't do fisticuffs. I do death. You think I'm gonna let this garbage walk away? Think again." Spike walked over to Xander - to the last man -and in a swift movement kicked him in the throat, crushing his windpipe and probably fracturing his spine. The man convulsed, strangling, and Xander skipped away from the flailing limbs, a look of horror contrasting oddly with the hyena's glowing eyes and the rising scent of excitement.
"You don't care, rabbit. They're just humans."
"I'm human, Spike," Xander snapped, furious, and Spike laughed, stepping up to him fast and catching the boy's chin in his hand, pinching hard.
"Not hardly, rabbit. C'mon and help me." Spike turned away and leaned down for the third man, hoisting him by his ankles and dragging his still-twitching body into the deep shadow of the corner between building and steps. He went back for another and Xander just stared at him.
"Move it, pet! Want someone to see? I was going to have to eat, anyway." Xander growled, his hands still in fists - the knife glinting dully in the dim light coming from the street light on the corner. He took a hard breath and then bent to the last body - hauled it over and then stood there, his hands hanging down, looking everywhere but at the dead men.
Spike slipped the cell phone out and made a quick call - turned to Xander.
"Right. Tod's sending a couple of his boys. They'll get rid of them. Too close to home, really." He studied the boy a minute - reached out and touched his cheek and Xander jerked away, baring his teeth in a silent snarl.
"Don't fuckin' touch me," he grated out. He shoved the push-knife into his pocket - looked wildly up and down the street and then started walking fast, towards the club. Spike grinned after him - trotted to catch up and fell into step beside him.
"Don't be mean, rabbit. You were brilliant! Took out two of 'em so fast, I didn't even see it!"
"I wasn't going to kill them, Spike!"
"No. But I was. So who cares? You looked amazing, pet." Spike reached out, sliding his hand under Xander's hair, cupping the back of his neck and Xander tried to jerk away - aimed one of those damn fast punches straight at Spike's face and the vampire grinned, jerking aside. He caught Xander's hand - twisted and swung the boy around with his fist up between his shoulder blades, other hand still gripping his neck. He shoved Xander hard into another tree-cage and his breath hissed out of him and he struggled, rattling the cage. Spike twisted his arm higher, knowing it probably felt like it was close to dislocating and Xander froze, a thready whine of pain escaping him.
"Stop it, rabbit," Spike whispered, tugging Xander's arm up, punctuating his words. Xander froze, trembling, and Spike leaned into him - pushed his erection into Xander's ass and buried his face in silky hair - let his hand slip aside enough so that he could kiss and nibble at Xander's throat. The boy's blood was pumping hard, vibrating under Spike's lips and he let his fangs just prickle over the healing marks - licked at them, sucking up a bruise there on his throat.
Xander was panting roughly, shivering, and Spike slowly let his hand glide down from Xander's neck to his groin - rubbed his palm over the still-hard cock.
"You loved it, rabbit - your beast did, and that's the same thing, as far as I'm concerned. It's not going to lie down for tosser like that, and it shouldn't. You're better than that, pet - better than them." Spike kissed Xander's throat - his jaw - let the arm go and got Xander turned around so he could kiss him right, on the mouth. Xander just stared at him, his eyes wide and wet, his breath hitching as if he might cry - or scream.
"I don't want to kill people, Spike. I never did - I never have!"
"And you still haven't. I killed them. Now kiss me, love, and we'll go - you're getting cold." Xander looked bewildered - so sad - and Spike cupped his chin - stroked his hair back from his face. His hat was gone, back in the snow, and his hair was getting damp.
"C'mon, rabbit, be good now," Spike murmured, and Xander leaned forward, hesitant. Kissed him finally, cold lips and warm tongue, taste of blood still and salt, taste of honey and Spike held his face gently in his hands - pulled back finally, smiling.
"You're so good, pet. You're just right," he crooned. "Gonna fuck you tonight...gonna fuck you for so long...'til you can't even think. Won't hurt you, rabbit," he murmured and Xander's eyes closed in a long blink. Then Spike laced their fingers together and set off, pulling Xander gently along towards the club and his new job.
*Lovely way to start an evening. Pretty little rabbit - gonna be hard for me all night. I'll make it so good for him...* The snow hissed down, sparks in the darkness, and Xander's finger-tips were cold against his hand.