Previous parts can be found here.
“I… Thank you, for the food and all. For… caring, when you…” Xander’s voice broke. “You don’t even know me…”
“I don’t have to, Pet, you’re mine now, that’s what matters.” He waves the waiter over and turns back to place his hand on Xander’s wrist and squeeze it tight.
“Now you stay here and eat the chocolate cake I had them keep for you. Don’t leave this table, Pet, or you’ll be sorry. I’m going to find my own dessert; I’m sure you won’t approve. Stay here and wait and have another milk if you get bored.” Spike presses a violent kiss upon his boy and then is gone.
He saunters through the restaurant and out the door, somehow attracting no attention. He’s left his pet alone and wonders will he still be waiting once the chocolate cake is gone and there’s time to think.
It isn’t such a big risk, really, everything considered. If the boy does make a run for it, he’ll surely go straight home and, well, Sunnydale’s already in their plans, and he can wait, if he must.
Picking up his pace, Spike prowls the streets in search of sustenance. A juicy, camera-laden tourist maybe, or an office drone or two. And then he sees his prize, a muscled lad, about as tall as his new pet, but broader, huskier, and cocky as can be. The swagger in his step sends out a siren call Spike’s demon can’t ignore, and he is off and following like a trout after a lure.
Spike can’t believe his luck when his dessert turns on one heel and disappears down an alley to his right. And then he understands and with a feral grin he follows, unsurprised to feel an arm slip round his throat and see the other holding up a vicious blade to catch the light.
“Who the fuck do you think you’re following, punk? I’ve taken bigger men than you without a knife.”
Spike springs into action. One strong arm comes up to block the weapon hand; the other firmly grips the thumb under his jaw. Then one quick jerk, a snap, a scream, a twist, the knife is on the floor and Spike slips into gameface with a grin.
The cockiness is suddenly a puddle on the floor; the brash voice whimpers pleas for clemency. Spike sucks down adrenalin-spiced blood and gets an atavistic thrill. A hundred years and more and still the taste is like ambrosia on his tongue. It never changes, not by much: modern drugs of choice, a jolt of hormones, and the ever-present taint of modern living typified by a smorgasbord of chemical additives.
A nearby dumpster takes his offering of lifeless flesh, and Spike’s back on the street, spring in his step, and with a near new leather jacket for his pet. Oh, life is good. The only possible ray of sun on the horizon is the thought that maybe Pretty has absconded while Spike’s back is turned.
The cake is rich, the chocolate bittersweet on Xander’s tongue, and yet the first few bites he hardly even tastes. His mind’s still on the kiss, the care, the interest Spike’s shown in him so far. He somehow can’t get past the realisation that this demon, this dead thing, has really looked at him and seen something worth claiming for its own. The knowledge that he’s wanted scares him rigid, for he knows he always fails at stuff like this; he’s such a screw-up. Somehow he always seems to disappoint those who should care for him, and this time disappointment could mean death.
He sips the milk he ordered as Spike said he should, and wonders why the thought that he might die has suddenly gained such great importance in his mind. Yesterday he didn’t give a damn, but now a demon’s made him care and… is that right? Should a creature who, right now, is busy slaughtering at will, should a beast like that be able to touch his heart, not through his chest, but just by word and kiss and deed? His fork ticks on the porcelain and Xander sees he’s finished off the cake and barely noticed it go down. And suddenly he’s full to bursting, stomach unaccustomed to such fare in quite a while. A panicked look around is little help, but the motion draws their waiter to his side.
“W…Washroom, please? I need…” The pale tinge to his skin completes the sentence and he’s helped up from the table and assisted to a door with artful ease. Once inside, the bolt slides home, then Xander’s on his knees and losing everything he’s hardly even noticed himself eat. And finally the tears begin to fall. The grief he’s kept inside, and all the stress and guilt and hurt comes pouring out in wide-mouthed sobs that shake him to his soul.
Spike is fairly bouncing as he slips back through the restaurant, heading for their table on the terrace without pause. Then he sees it, cleared of plates and glasses, no one sitting there, and rage towards himself comes to the fore. He’d known it was too soon to leave his pretty on his lonesome, but no, he had to go and grab a bite, and now it might be weeks before…
A light hand on the arm that’s draped in extra leather makes him spin and snarl, but the waiter simply smiles and nods towards a door and whispers magic words to soothe the beast.
His pet’s not gone, he’s doing… things, that human bodies need, and that’s okay, Spike thinks, but then he hears the sobs. Three great strides and as the door flies open Spike goes stalking in, without a care for who might see his shocking non-reflection in the mirror on the wall. The cubicle the furthest from the sink is where he crosses to, the sounds of misery and sad despair act like a beacon. The door resists his tug and is summarily ejected from it’s frame, is tossed away so Spike might sink down to the floor and pull his crying, shaking pet into his arms.
“I’ve got you, Pretty. There now, hush.” He sets them rocking, joyous as two weakly trembling arms slide round his waist and latch on tight. “I’ll not leave you alone again like this, make no mistake. You’ll never be alone again, I swear. I’ll keep you safe…”