Thanks go to tabaqui for agreeing to give this a quick read through 'to make sure it works' before I post. Thanks, babe!
Previous parts can be found here.
This part is dedicated to Shakatany and all the others who wanted to know what was in the bag before Christmas. Sorry it took so long, but I was fighting Dru. Turns out she was right. I was trying to get her to say more and she didn't want to. I should learn to listen.
Now, on with the fic...
They're halfway up the staircase when they hear the screaming start, the eardrum-piercing shriek that cuts the air. They're barely on the landing, Xander towed along by Spike, before the agonising cry becomes a moan and then is gone. A laugh, as cold as crystal, and as sharp, rings out in glee. Spike flinches at the sound and turns his back.
"You wait here in my room, Pet. Take a shower, take a nap." He opens up the door and looks inside. "Your bag's there on the bed but don't be opening it without me here to see. A little wait won't hurt you none and I insist. I have to see to Dru, she's sounding bored and that's not good, but promise me you'll stay behind this door. A minion gets a hold of you, you're vamp food, understood? I need to know you're in here, safe and sound."
A wide-eyed nervous nod greets his demands, and moments later Xander's safely in the room, the door shut tight. The holdall on the bed sends out a siren call he's helpless to resist. He has to touch this solid, oh-so-very-real reminder of the swiftly fraying fabric of his life.
Standing just outside the door, Spike hears him cross the room. He listens for a sound that never comes. The boy is on the bed, the springs squeak gently, then are still, but he doesn't pull the zipper, not one click. Spike lets out a sigh and turns to face the task at hand. His dark princess will want to play a game...
There's a body, disembowelled, beside the bed that cradles Dru. She lies, festooned in coils of small intestine, serpentine and slightly steaming in the coolness of the room. She claps her hands.
"Your kitten drew first blood today, I bet he tasted sweet. He must be even sweeter than the cherries in the pie."
Spike nods and tries to find an unstained patch of hand-stitched quilt, but gives up when his princess starts to pout. He sinks into the pillows by her head and lets her snuggle close. Her fingers, drenched in gore, caress his cheek.
"Nobody likes the games I play, 'cept you, my darlin' Spike. Play with me a little before the kitten calls you back? He's very nearly yours but never ours; must taste you, blood and bone. You have to pluck the other from his heart and take his place. He'll bleed for you when she tries to steal him back."
Once the screaming starts anew Xander quickly moves into the shower, hoping water in his ears will drown the cries Drusilla makes as she begs for more. He lathers up and scrubs from head to toe and then again, convinced the alley's dirt is somehow trapped beneath his skin. His bruises and abrasions throb a strident plea for mercy but he doesn't stop until the water is threatening to run cold.
Then he dries off slowly, soft towels coarse against his shiny pink new skin. Each darkening purple bloom a rich new note in the symphony of quiet discomfort that plays out its mournful hymn inside his head.
It almost, but not quite, blocks out the squeals of pain and ecstasy that leave him feeling nauseous and weak. His bag, still sitting squarely on the bed, makes whispered promises to chase away the pain, the thoughts, the shrill discordant cries that keep him twisted up as tightly as a spring. And he gives in.
Xander doesn't notice when Spike steps inside and shuts the door. He's curled up on the bed around his bag, loud music blaring through the tiny little speakers in his ears. The first he knows is when Spike grabs the wires and pulls them free, the unexpected silence screaming louder then than Dru had ever done. He swallows, hard.
The yellow-eyed, ridged demon in his face is dressed in nothing but a pair of undone jeans and smears of blood, not all his own. The alabaster flesh is scored with livid, raised striations, the claw marks of a she-cat spawned in hell. Here and there are sharper, cleaner slices through the skin and deeper, oozing out a drop or two of blood - she'd used a knife. And over and around these marks are scattered perforations, ragged, part-sealed eyelets made by vicious fangs.
Strong fingers, pressing hard on half-formed bruises on his jaw, remind him once again of who's in charge.
"I gave you just one order, Pet, I thought you understood. I told you not to touch, and yet you did; you'll have to pay for that. Any final words before we start?"
Xander takes a breath and tries to organise his thoughts, but linear progression won't be had. Instead, what tumbles out are fractured phrases, mixed with memories, and Spike is gifted with another clue about his pet.
"The screams. So loud, so... Hate it. Hate it always. Wouldn't stop... It never stops. He just keeps on and..." Xander swallows hard once more and tries again.
"I didn't really open it, you know, not how you meant it. The player's in the pocket on the end. The zip was open, just a bit, and I pulled the headphones free. I poked around until I hit on 'play'."
Golden eyes flick down between their knees to where the bag lies waiting, follow slender wires to their source and then return.
"Clever little puppy, aren't you? Never break the rules? I'll have to keep the sharpest eye on you."
Spike takes a small step back and really looks at what he's chosen for his own, all shining eyes and hot pink skin, and earnest honesty that makes the demon want to sink his fangs in deep and suck out every drop. He really hopes that Dru's not raving when she says they need to keep this boy alive, and sweet, and firmly on their side, because he knows temptation is the only thing he's never learned to fight. But he will try.
"I need a shower but I don't think I trust you on your own. You come and keep me company while I wash." And locking fingers round a skinny wrist, Spike hauls them both onto their feet and leads the way into the bathroom where the air's still warm and damp.
"If you've used up all the hot I'll have you lick me clean from head to foot, and don't think I won't use the scented stuff, because I will."
As Xander pales, Spike twists the hot tap on and moans as scalding water starts to fall onto his aching skin.
"Put the loo seat down, luv. Take a pew, I won't be long."
He grins as he's obeyed without a pause, and starts to bathe, his every move designed to catch the eye. His pretty pet is staring, watching every soapy, slow caress, his mouth half open, panting in the steam. A tongue peeks out and slides along dry lips and Spike's hand drops down to his crotch and starts to lather up in haste. He wants to feel that warm, abrasive pad against his cock; he needs to feel those lips around his shaft. His hand moves faster, tighter, and he spies his pretty's blush and the thought of all that blood near gets him off.
Frustration rears its ugly head and Spike turns down the heat. He shivers as cold water hits his flesh. In moments he is rinsed and out and holding up a towel.
"C'mon, Pet. Dry me off before I freeze."
Xander takes the towel and without thought begins to dry, his mind still focussed on the sight he'd seen. A hand, a cock, mass of soapy bubbles and a face that's drawn in ecstasy and creased with self-denial... because of him?
The thought that he's the cause, to blame, is worthy of that look is quite enough to keep him totally distracted as he dries. He only halts when fingers snatch the towel away and lock around his wrist to lead him back towards the bed.
They settle on the mattress with the bag sitting between them, both clad in nothing but a towel apiece.
"Let's see just what you think is so important, shall we Pet? You got the Crown Jewels stashed inside your socks?"
Not waiting for an answer, Spike grabs hold and yanks the zip, delighting in the flinch the harsh noise brings. Without a pause he's folding back the flap and digging in, socks and tee shirts tossed out of the way. And then he slows, a look of disbelief upon his face. One hand lifts up a stake and holds it out.
"Is this what's so important, luv? This worth the fuss you made?" But no, his pet's still focussed on the bag.
One flex of bicep, triceps, bone and cartilage and what was once a stake is now a scattering of splinters. Spike reaches in again and grabs a battered tin designed to hold tobacco, though he doubts from pretty's face that what's inside is quite as innocent as that.
"Brought your stash along, eh, Pet? That's thoughtful, that is; hope you'll let me share."
Ignoring shaking hands that try to wrest the tin away, Spike uses black, chipped nails to pry the lid. He hardly even registers the monotonic 'nonononono' as the lid resists his attempts to ease it free.
And then it pops.
A tiny cloud of dust and ash flies up and tumbles back down to the quilt, and then he realises that what had been inside the tin was what his pet had made the focus of his sorry life.
The boy is scrabbling, trying to catch each flake, each dusty smear, and all Spike hears is 'Jesse. Jesse. Oh Gods, Jesse, no. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry...'
ETA: Just realised the last four paragraphs were in the wrong tense, so a little minor editing has been done. I could kick Grunge!muse for making me do this in present tense. I'm just not wired that way. *g*
And it looks like the title 'Grungefic' stays, though I will work on a summary to post with each chapter so that the story is easily recognised. *smooch*