Title: Protected 1/1
Pairing: Spike/Xander of Buffy
Feedback/Concrit: darkhavens @ slashverse.com
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. No harm, no foul, no money made.
Summary: Xander has protection.
Notes: Written for txrabbit for her birthday, 2005. If you study the demons, sweetie, you might find one named after you (kinda). ;)
For thirty years the boy had been warming his bed, and for thirty years he'd been stealing the damn pillows every night. Spike screwed his right elbow into the mattress and dropped his chin onto his upturned palm. Thirty years, and Xander still looked young enough to card, at least in the stricter clubs and bars.
Xander's chest rose and fell rhythmically as he slept on, unaware of just how closely he was being studied.
Spike reached out his left hand and traced the first glyph - blood red whorls, slightly raised, a thank you gift from a very grateful Karnisch demon and his clan. Good deal, that. Rescue one clutch of demon eggs from a Slayer-sponsored stomping, and get his boy protection against weapons made of iron.
That had been when they'd hatched The Plan.
They'd talked of binding spells before, of tying Xander's life to Spike's, but Xander balked at sacrificing someone else's soul for his. They'd tracked down tales of amulets, and rings, and, once, a pair of horns, but everything was losable, or breakable, or naff. And then the Karnisch offered them the glyph of iron protection - not a whole solution, but an interesting start, and after that they'd hit the books in earnest.
Spike's attention moved to the next mark on the list - a rough, black patch of skin the size and shape of his left thumb. Decorating Xander's Adam's apple, it has caused some pain, but Xander hadn't flinched away, not once. Its counterpoints were hidden in the hair behind Spike's ears - two black circles made when Xander's fingertips had touched his skin.
The Gagarog told Xander it was simply for protection -focus on the mark and think of Spike and he would always hear. While Xander washed the ritualistic soot marks from his skin, the Gagarog told Spike about the dots. The marks were used on mated pairs - the dominant got ear spots. The 'lesser', or the female, got the mark upon her throat, only to be used in times of trouble. The spots allowed the male of the pair to listen in - the left for speech, the right for surface thoughts, but most knew not to use them. Even demon ignorance was bliss, apparently.
Xander often tortured Spike with thoughts of having kinky sex, but always when the time was inappropriate. He'd watch Spike's eyes glaze over as his tongue curled up and round, and once he had his favourite demon panting he would stop.
Spike had used the left dot very sparingly throughout the years, mostly just when Xander had agreed. The right spot he had toyed with only once or twice while insecure - the rush of 'loveSpikemine, crazy vampire, ooh chocolate' always served to make him feel a prat.
The third mark, well, a line of them, ran the length of Xan's left arm - encircling his wrist and winding up to crown his shoulder, then sweeping down to curl beneath his nipple and around his heart. These were minute Kanji symbols, etched by demon hands - tiny little guys the size of hamsters.
Spike had never been to Japan and Xander wanted to see the world, so they'd picked that country as the starting point of their world tour. They'd hopped the islands, stopping for a day or two when interest struck, and then they'd climbed Mount Fuji to the top and found the Ji.
Xander, with his usual knack for being a demon magnet, had reached the summit, sat down for a drink and a bite to eat, and almost managed to flatten half of the resident population. Two dozen tiny figures had poured out from between his feet as he sat, oblivious, on their sacred temple, well, their rock.
Three hours and a tattered phrase book later they had reached a bargain - near-eternal life in return for passage to the nearest city. Passage, it was understood, for every member of their race, including generations of their dead - in all, a hundred. So Xander used his spoon to disinter the tiny graveyard, muttering about the twisted ironies of life.
They spent a couple of weeks in Fujiyoshida City, helping the Ji to settle in before they made repayment. The work had taken twelve long hours - of trying not to wriggle - while the hands and feet of seven Lilliputian demons stroked his skin. But finally the Kanji had been etched with dark inks made of earth, and then they'd led him to the public gardens. Now all he had to do was place his hand wrist-deep in natural earth, focus on the life force of the planet and repeat a prayer. The Ji promised it was just a thank you to their ancestors, and made him say it several dozen times until it stuck.
Xander rolled onto his side and opened bleary eyes, taking in Spike's fondest smile and the hand still on his heart.
"You've been thinking about carrying a hundred demon hamsters down a mountainside again, haven't you?"
Spike grinned and curled his tongue.
"Was just thinking how pretty you looked, all covered in glyphs and runes and moving artwork and the like." As one their gazes moved to check the slowly pulsing palm-sized swirling storm of greens and blues and greys above his solar plexus. "So, still in there then?"
"Yes, Spike, my soul is still firmly anchored, thanks for asking. You know it would take more than death or turning to move it on. The Raseki know their stuff; it's never shown a touch of pink. I'm just as human now as I was before, I'm just more."
Spike leaned in and stole a short sharp kiss, all tongues and teeth, then pulled back and smiled wickedly.
"So, which one's your favourite, luv, out of all these marks? You've got, what, thirty-six different bits of demon art on you?"
"You know, you ask that every single week, more than once, and I know you only do it 'cause you love to hear the answer." Xander's hand moved up to touch the bite mark near his collarbone. One finger stroked the tiny tattooed spike between the scars.
"This mark, Spike, always and forever. And now we have the celebratory sex, yes?"