Credence Chapter 17
Xander's head was down, held low and still, and he watched Spike from under his lashes, eyes gone the color of a greengage. The honey-musk of the hyena overrode all other scents, and Xander moved with a liquid grace he normally didn't have. His muscles shifted fluidly under his skin, bruises coming up plum-ripe on ribs and shoulders, blood in a thin line down his temple. Xander whipped his head to one side, throwing a spatter of scarlet drops to the canvas. His teeth were bared - a rictus smile that was more a snarl. Spike wiped his taped knuckles across his upper lip, smearing the blood there. Xander was good. His punches were snake-fast and hard as a mule-kick, and the quick one-two blow he favored would have ended in Spike's guts being outside his belly more than once, if the boy'd had his push-knife in his fist. Spike wore his own patina of blood and bruises, and his body was warm and delightfully sore. Robbie, the gym's masseuse, would turn that into a heady glow.
*Oh, my rabbit's going to be the darling of the mob, he is.* Spike grinned and shifted, circling, and Xander followed him easily, dancing on the balls of his bare feet. There was blood across the tape on Xander's own knuckles, and he'd made a little chuckling sound of delight when he'd drawn first blood. Nearly an hour and he showed no real signs of fatigue. The hyena was almost as strong as the vampire - almost as fast - and Spike knew it was only his age and hard-won experience that had kept him from going down so far. *Just needs a few tricks, he does - always somebody stronger or faster, and he needs to know a few nasty moves of his own.*
"Learn this, rabbit - it's a handy trick," Spike said, and moved in. He showed - by demonstration - a twisting move and neck-snapping hold, showing the strength of it very carefully before letting go. Xander turned and did it right back, almost perfect, and Spike kicked his feet out from under him - was yanked down to the canvas hard after when Xander popped the vampire's knee sideways and up, surprise move Spike hadn't expected. They both grappled for a hold, rolling across the worn, sprung pads of the ring. Xander was oiled with sweat and managed to twist himself almost free until Spike finally got him pinned - held him there with leverage and strength that the boy was in no position to counter.
"You're good, rabbit. Viv'll be pleased." Xander panted up at him, straining his shoulders in a hopeless attempt to push Spike off. He legs were trapped as well, pinned between thigh and calf, spread a little. He could arch just right and push his groin into Spike's and he did, deliberate provocation. Spike leaned in closer to kiss him and Xander's teeth snapped, narrowly missing taking a chunk out of his lip. "Settle down, rabbit. Don't want to have to punish you." Xander writhed again, almost growling down in his throat and Spike vamped and growled for real - sank his fingers deep into the muscles of Xander's forearms, hurting him.
"Ssspike..." Xander hissed, and his voice was rough and hoarse and furious. Spike shivered all over in delight.
"Gonna be good, rabbit?" Spike murmured, leaning in close again. He pulled in a deep breath, scenting anger and blood and musk and sweat - scenting desire. Xander lifted his head and snapped his teeth again - turned and sank them into Spike's bicep. Spike hissed in pain - deliberately didn't jerk away and watched the blood well out around Xander's lips - run down his arm and onto Xander's shoulder, where Spike had firmly planted his elbow. Xander was making that growling sound again and then he was struggling a little - swallowing convulsively in an effort not to choke. *You drink that, rabbit - it's good for you. Makes you doubly mine, that does. Do you know that? Might have to tell you some time.*
While Xander was occupied Spike snaked his head around and got his fangs locked over Xander's throat, razoring points sinking in just enough and he felt Xander's hips buck under his - felt the hardening cock against his own and felt the boy shiver. After a moment Xander's jaw relaxed and he slowly let go of Spike's arm - began to clean the blood away with broad, wet licks of his tongue. Spike ground his own hips down, rubbing a little, and just as slowly let Xander go. The boy's whole body was loosening under him - sinking just a little under him - and he eased off a little, himself. With a convulsive heave Xander somehow shoved him >up and over and was on him, hard, driving out the air Spike had taken in to talk with in a hard grunt. Arms pinned under his back and caught in Xander's grip, the whole weight of the boy on his chest and stomach, Spike strained to break free. Xander darted in, his mouth clamping down hard on Spike's throat. Spike tensed, waiting for the teeth to sink in, but after a moment Xander's grip loosened and he began to rub his cheek against Spike's jaw.
*Huh. Didn't bite...wonder why? Have to remember that little move - that was good. Won't catch me out again, but it worked a treat...* "What do you want, rabbit?" he asked softly, and Xander's mouth was soft on his neck - on his jaw - his lips wet and warm, moving steadily up towards Spike's mouth. His grip on Spike's wrists loosened and Spike pulled his arms out from under himself - wrapped them around Xander and rolled them both, propping himself on his elbows. Xander looked up at him, still mostly the hyena, Spike could tell. A little lost, and a lot turned on.
"You said...I was yours." Spike felt himself go still all over - felt a sort of weird calm descend on his mind, and he took a long breath, thinking what he was going to say.
"I did. And so did you. Remember, rabbit?" Xander's eyes were dark - widely dilated and still so very green and strange - so distant. Searching his face while Xander - the hyena - thought.
"You're not...the same," he said finally, confusion in his voice and Spike nodded slowly.
"No, not at all. But you won't find one of your kind anywhere here. You're alone here - except for me."
"And Oz," Xander growled, and Spike dipped his head and ran a series of nibbling kisses down Xander's neck. He felt the shock of each touch through the boy's body - little shivers of lust and fury.
"Wolfling isn't the same, either. He's not your pack." He looked at Xander again, and saw that fury - and saw fear.
"He's mine," the hyena insisted, slightly panicked now.
"No love, he isn't. Isn't anybody's. Doesn't want to be. "
"Need him. Need him. " Xander looked sharply at Spike then, eyes narrowing, his body tensing again. "He's not yours."
"No, rabbit, he's not. He's his own. We'll fix him and then he's going, and we won't stop him. But I'm here." Xander shoved at him suddenly - fought him for a moment and then slumped back, panting. He closed his eyes, and Spike could feel Xander's hands, trembling, resting lightly on his ribs.
"You don't need me, Spike," he said finally, and Spike squirmed a little, easing his hips in the cup of Xander's pelvis. Feeling the hardness that hadn't gone away.
"You know that, do you? How do you know?"
"How can you?" Xander's hand moved slowly, up Spike's ribs to his chest and then up farther, to trace his jaw and cheekbone - to feather lightly over Spike's mouth. "You want...this. Fighter. You want your rabbit to chase and catch and let go for another chase. You want..."
"Want you, love," Spike interrupted softly, and leaned down to kiss him - to kiss as slowly and as sweetly as he was capable of - to kiss the boy like he used to kiss Dru, so many years and miles ago. *Sweet as honeywine, sweet as blood... Mine, my boy, my rabbit...* "Just you," he sighed, and felt Xander quake under him - looked up to see the hyena quite, quite gone.
"Want to go home, Spike," he said, and so they went.
Taking him, in the bed they'd only shared once, was a slow and careful process - a delicate dance of want and wait. He touched every bruise and scrape his hands had put on Xander's body; soothed them with his fingers and his lips and his tongue and his voice - murmured praise and consolation and flattery until Xander was trembling and writhing and crying softly - begging him to stop, to never stop, to please, please, please...
Easing into the slick-tight heat of him, Spike watched Xander arch and go still, eyes wide and deep as the sea, as dark as old, old wine. He'd had this body - had this boy - but it was different now. It was slow and it was nearly gentle and Xander was all heat and willing complicity; moving his hips just so, his hands locked together in the small of Spike's back - his gaze never wavering from Spike's.
Spike breathed in, long and slow and deep, filling his lungs with the scent of his boy - filling his mouth. He kissed over Xander's shoulders and throat - over his face - and his hands curled around Xander's shoulders, pulling him closer. Thighs against his ribs, Xander's heels urging him on and Spike drew back and pushed in, back and in, as slow as he could make himself. Surrounded by the heat and scent his demon settled, finally - turning in him like a dog and lying down, able to wait, for once, for what it wanted.
"Rabbit, pretty rabbit, pretty boy...sweet...mine now... Do you know it, pet? Do you feel me - wanting you? Tell me, rabbit," Spike whispered, and Xander shivered and tightened his arms - lifted his head enough to kiss Spike's mouth.
"Spike...feel you... Can't let me go. Can't ever. Won't - take it. Won't let you, Spike." His voice was shaking with need - with tension and with emotion and Spike kissed him back, pressing in closer, harder - wanting the boy to know without doubt.
"I know, rabbit - I know. I don't take lightly, pet - haven't had anyone, since Dru. Hear me? Haven't wanted anyone. Want you, pretty rabbit... God, you're so warm, pet, you're so...lovely..."
"Spike - Spike -" Xander arched and pulled at him, desperate and writhing and crying - silent tears that Spike had to taste. Forehead to forehead, then, his body moving without thought; Xander's heartbeat shuddering through both of them and at the last moment he slipped aside and let the demon rise - let it bite and taste as lightly as a hummingbird to the blossom. Xander gasped harshly, once - twice - and his body gripped Spike's like velvet and iron, drawing him in and shuddering around him. Spike pressed close and let his fangs slip free - heard the keening wail of his own voice as he came, and hugged the shivering boy close to him while they both panted for air.
After a few minutes Spike raised his head, looking down at the boy and Xander looked back, solemn and still. "You alright, rabbit?" he asked, and wondered why he was asking. Xander blinked and opened his mouth - ended up huffing out a breath and turning his head a little, thinking.
"I'm alright. I wish Wrxl would call."
"He'll call." Spike tasted, one more time, the sweet-salt of Xander's skin and then he pulled himself slowly upright and rolled off the bed. "Let's go shower, then. And I'm going to call Tod, have him bring by something to eat. You hungry?"
"No," Xander said, and followed him into the kitchen. Xander took a long drink of juice while Spike called Tod, and then he started the shower. They washed, bumping elbows and hips, and Spike leaned against the tile and watched Xander rinse his hair - looked with satisfaction and some arousal at the chain of scars, healing marks and bites that made a sort of collar around Xander's neck. *Lovely rabbit. Needs a real collar, though... Nothing big, nothing...obvious. Just something to keep him...aware.* Spike knew what he wanted and he grinned a little, making plans in his head. Xander shook the water out of his eyes and looked at him warily.
"What are you thinking, Spike?"
"Thinking how lovely you are, rabbit." Xander's gaze dropped to Spike's groin and feral sort of grin flitted over his face.
"Is that what you're thinking?" Xander took the two steps that brought him flush with Spike and leaned there, one hand on the tiles, one on Spike's chest. Xander's thigh pushed between his legs and his hand dropped slowly, petting over Spike's belly and then curling lower to cup his balls. "I think you were thinking something else."
"One naturally follows the other. You're too pretty, pet - can't think of you without wanting you," Spike murmured, and Xander leaned in closer, catching his mouth in a hard kiss, all teeth and push and stabbing tongue. Xander's thigh pushed up, rocking, and Spike let one hand drop to the boy's hip - slid the other up into his hair and tangled there, tugging lightly. After a moment Xander's other hand joined the first, slippery with soap and Spike arched against him as Xander's cock - half hard and growing - slid along the length of his own. Then Xander caught them both together in his fist and started a slow, hard pumping that had them both gasping and jerking.
"Fuck - Spike -" Xander gasped, his breath hot on Spike's cheek, and Spike bit lightly at his jaw.
"Yeah - exactly what I was thinkin', rabbit..." Spike spun them around, Xander up against the tile now. He hauled one of the boy's legs up, hooking it over his hip. Xander stared at him and then understanding hit and he slid his hands up and got his forearms on Spike's shoulders - pushed, and Spike lifted, hands under both thighs. Xander's back slid on the wall and he pushed away a little, arching his back and canting his hips. Spike dug his fingers into the solid muscle of his ass and spread him open. It took a minute's maneuvering, and a push or two from Xander's hand but then Spike was sliding into heat again, glorious, tight heat.
It was a little awkward - he couldn't move as much as he wanted - but Xander wrapped around him like a vine and bit at his neck - kissed him like he was drowning, pushing air into his lungs and clawing his back. Spike made more bruises, on hips and thighs, and when he came it was with a hoarse, growling shout. Xander bit hard enough to draw blood, his own hand tight and brutal on his cock.
"Rabbit, that's so good -" Spike eased himself out and Xander down and they both just braced each other in the hot spray for a while, slow kisses and glancing touches until, mindful of Tod coming, Spike shut the water off. They both dressed in jeans; a wife-beater and worn flannel left flapping open for Xander, a thin, baggy sweater for Spike. He thought about lighting the stove but then decided against it. He didn't like it to be lit when he wasn't there, and Wrxl might call at any time. Spike got a drink from the cabinet - checked to be sure his cell was on the charger, and no messages had come in. Xander was in the kitchen, making a grilled-cheese sandwich. "Thought you weren't hungry, pet," Spike said, getting a beer from beside the fridge, and Xander shrugged.
"Guess I changed my mind. That last - bit -" Xander waved the spatula towards the bathroom - "got me kinda...worn out. Need to refuel."
"I like wearing you out, rabbit." Spike nipped at his earlobe, passing behind him and Xander shivered and grinned down at the stove, hiding behind the tendrils of long, damp hair that fell over his face. Spike's cell chirruped and he picked it up - listened briefly.
"Tod's here. No nonsense from you, rabbit," he warned, and Xander shot him a dark look and carried his sandwich to the island. Spike went out to the elevator to let Tod in - waited impatiently for him in the living room, lighting a cigarette. *Only been a couple of hours...nowhere near as long as Mir said it would take... I hate this, waiting... Might have to take the rabbit out, go find a soldier boy or play some pool...* Tod came in, leading an older man by a handful of his quilted jacket. The man seemed dazed, and there was a lump forming on his temple.
"What's this, then?" Spike asked, frowning, and Tod shrugged.
"You wanted something in a hurry - he was closest. Irish good enough for you?" Tod yanked the neck of the jacket back, revealing a priest's collar and shirt, and Spike snorted softly.
"Irish sticks in my teeth, but I'm hungry." Spike put his cigarette in his mouth and pulled the jacket down, trapping the man's arms. Then, with care, he began to undo the collar and shirt-buttons, revealing a white t-shirt underneath. The man blinked at him, then over at Tod.
"He showed me - the face of the devil. He said...I had sinned." Tod chuckled softly and Spike shot a quelling look at him.
"You've all sinned, Father. You've all sinned and you'll all pay. Consider me...your personal psychopomp." Spike let the demon out, grinning fiercely, and with a jerk tore the t-shirt apart at the neck, yanking it down as well. He spun the man around and pinned his arms to his ribs - took his cigarette in his other hand and pulled the priest's head over by a handful of hair. Tod had vamped as well and stood there, eyes bright and fangs bared.
"Oh - my g-god, my god -"
"Why hast he forsaken thee..." Spike whispered. The priest smelled of church incense and musty wood - snow and cigarettes and Scotch. "Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine; et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace," Spike whispered. The priest drew in a moaning, hitching breath and Spike sank his fangs in, drawing slowly. He knew what it felt like to have a vampire take you in this leisurely fashion - Dru had done it, and so had he, many times. It felt like an orgasm that might never end, and it suited Spike to send the priest off to heaven or hell or wherever he might go with that suffusing his body and mind. The best thing this priest had ever felt, given to him by a demon - given to him as he died.
The blood was so hot - spiced with liquor and terror, swimming with helpless arousal and the endorphins of shock. He groaned, his eyes fluttering closed in bliss, and missed Xander walking up to him - standing there, watching the priest die. The man tried to reach out and Spike opened his eyes - watched Xander watching. Xander put his hand out, and touched the man's cheek.
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
*Oh rabbit. Sorry means nothing to him now. Sorry is only a sigh. He's meeting his god or his devils, and you...aren't even there.* The priest's heart slowed and stuttered and finally stopped, and Spike drew the last of the blood into his mouth and drew away. He shoved the corpse towards Tod and licked his fangs - shook the demon away. "Don't fret, rabbit - plenty more where he came from. They breed like mice, you know." Xander's look was shocked and furious and Spike grinned at him, lifting his still-smoldering cigarette to his mouth and taking a long drag.
"You mean I do. I'm what he is, Spike."
"No you're not, rabbit," Spike said, amused, and Xander's eyes sparked green. He snarled silently and advanced, grabbing a handful of sweater and shoving Spike back. Spike's thighs hit the couch-back and he braced there, smirking, watching Xander struggle for control.
"Yes I am! I am not like you." Spike flicked the butt away and took Xander's fist in his hand - squeezed hard enough to hurt him, making him let go his handful of cotton and silk. His other hand darted up to knot in Xander's hair and yank his head forward, inches from Spike's. Xander's free hand clawed at him, trying to pry Spike's grip loose.
"What's that I see then, rabbit? What's that leaping up behind your eyes like the devil himself? You're no more human that I am - than Oz. Time you learned that." Xander stared at him, his mouth working, too angry to form actual words. Spike heard the door sliding shut - the elevator clanking upwards - and knew Tod was gone. Xander went utterly still suddenly and Spike thought *He's going to do something -* and then Xander did, sharp, hard punch straight up into Spike's jaw, knocking his head back with a snap, splitting his lip against his upper teeth and making his head swim for a moment. Spike roared, the demon flashing to the surface. He lunged at Xander and drove him back in rapid, stumbling steps, crashing him into the wall near the bathroom hard enough to make him cry out. His fists were in Xander's shirt, pinning him up too high for him get any leverage and he pushed his thigh between Xander's and ground into him, not letting him move an inch.
"You think you're just some fuckin' boy, rabbit? Think you're just some everyday bloke who's stumbled into something wicked - something rich and strange? You're not." Spike's voice dropped to a rumbling growl. "You've the devil in you, same as we all do, and your devil likes the fight, boy, likes the blood and bones of it. You invited your devil in - same as I did. Oz is the only innocent here and don't think the fucking soldiers didn't beat it out of him!" He lifted Xander a few inches and slammed him back and Xander's hands scrabbled futilely at him, scratching his cheek and snagging his sweater. "Keep your bloody sympathy and your fucking morality and don't you dare try to pretend you're better than me, rabbit, don't ever." He slammed him back again one more time and then dropped him - stalked away to the cabinet and poured a shot with a hand that shook.
*Fucking boy, fucking BASTARD.* Spike wasn't sure why he was so angry but he was. It boiled in him like a hive of bees - like a seething nest of snakes - and he could feel every sting and every strike of poisoned fangs. Out of the corner of his eye he watched Xander slide down the wall - crumple into a heap and tuck down into himself, his head in his hands, his fingers clawing his hair. Spike could smell the misery - the tears - and he wanted to hurt him. He drank the whiskey in his glass in a gulp - poured more and drank it down and then hurled the glass into the wall, shattering it practically into dust. A tiny moan of fear from Xander and he stalked back over - crouched down beside him. The disconnect of the bad times - the maddening strobe of the lights tried to crowd in on him, bringing the noises of the Pit with it in a wash of jangling static. Spike forced it back hard - sucked his bleeding lip and watched Xander's shoulders jerk in ill-concealed shudders as he struggled for his own control.
"Rabbit. Don't do that, rabbit. Don't try and challenge me." Spike lifted his hand and reached out - hesitated for a moment and then let his fingers rest lightly on the bowed curve of Xander's neck. Xander flinched hard, his head coming up sharply. His face was wet and he'd bitten his own lip through and Spike stared at the smear of crimson blood - at the dull-silver tracks of tears.
"Don't say that, please d-don't say that. N-not a devil, not... I was just - just so fucking lonely! Spike, I was so lonely..." He wiped impatiently at his face, the backs of his hands smearing the tears and the blood, sniffing. "I had a family and I wasn't afraid, for the first time in so long, but then they took it away from me! I c-couldn't stand it, I couldn't...couldn't..." He lurched to his knees and held his hands out, pleading, not quite daring to touch Spike and Spike rocked back a little on his heels, hissing. "And it's - it's lonely too, it's got n-nobody like it... Please, Spike, please -" Xander crept forward a few more inches and his fingertips touched Spike's knee, hot through the denim.
"I don't...don't want to kill anyone. I don't. I c-can't, not me. But it does, it will, it - please, I don't want to do that." Xander drew in a ragged, hitching breath and choked - coughed. He wiped his eyes again, staring at Spike, and Spike finally pushed the demon away, taking a breath himself. "I can't not be human, I can't. If I'm not human I'll let it out Spike - let it...go. I can't do that - please help me not do that, please, please..." Xander leaned forward until his forehead touched Spike's knees and then he simply lay there, struggling to slow his breathing, trembling so hard his teeth were chattering. Spike looked down at the bowed head - at the sweep of silken hair and pale bow of his neck - at the blood-smeared hand that was clutching his sleeve. He took another deep breath and sighed - eased slowly forward until he was kneeling as well, and pulled Xander half onto his lap - gathered him close and tucked the dark head up under his chin.
"Now love, shhhhh... Shhhh, rabbit. You can't be afraid of your own soul, pet - you can't do that. Can't be afraid of your heart. That'll kill you, love - that'll make you crazy as my Dru." He stroked his hand in hard, firm sweeps up and down Xander's back, feeling himself rocking his boy, just a little. Xander shivered against him, hands clutching around his ribs as tightly as he could. "When Oz is well we'll talk to him - he can teach you, yeah? Show you that headspace. Once you get in there, you can do anything. We'll learn how to keep your beast under control, yeah? Learn just like he did, love, then you'll be all right, then you'll be fine...shhhhh." He pressed his lips to Xander's hair - pulled him a little closer and Xander sighed out a shuddery breath.
"I don't know - all that stuff. You and Oz know so many...words. I don't have any."
"Now that's not so, pet. You've that song you sang to me, yeah? Songs are easy. And we can find stories for you, rabbit. Listen - here's one for you about El-ahrairah and the god Frith. King of all Rabbits, yeah? Listen, now." Spike closed his eyes and thought, bringin the story back from some long-ago time and place, and murmured it in Xander's ear. As he talked, Xander gradually calmed and uncoiled, and they stretched out on the rug there, Xander's head on his shoulder and Spike's arms loosely around his waist, the words of the Story of the Blessing of El-ahrairah weaving a kind of calm.
"Then," said Dandelion, "Frith felt himself in friendship with El-ahrairah, who would not give up even when he thought the fox and the weasel were coming. And he said, ''Very well, I will bless your bottom as it sticks out of the hole. Bottom, be strength and warning and speed forever and save the life of your master. Be it so!' And as he spoke, El-ahrairah's tail grew shining white and flashed like a star: and his back legs grew long and powerful and he thumped the hillside until the very beetles fell off the grass stems. He came out of the hole and tore across the hill faster than any creature in the world. And Frith called after him, 'El-ahrairah, your people cannot rule the world, for I will not have it so. All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.' And El-ahrairah knew then that although he would net be mocked, yet Frith was his friend. And every evening, when Frith has done his day's work and lies calm and easy in the red sky, El-ahrairah and his children and his children's children come out of their holes and feed and play in his sight, for they are his friends and he has promised them that they can never be destroyed."
Hours later, Xander was asleep and Spike was simply lying there, softly petting his hair. Wrxl called to tell them it was done, and Oz would be waking up soon.