Spike stomped into the castle so recently constructed on the outskirts of town. The torch lit castle. Fucking Dracula and his overblown sense of drama.
“Dracula!” he bellowed into the stone halls. Pausing a moment, he listened. Moaning and skittering to the left. The brides. No passage to the right. So straight ahead it was.
“Give him back, you bloody welsher.” Spike continued bellowing similar commands as he moved further into the stone monstrosity. Yesh, the halls were lit with torches and candles. About as practical for vampires as that idiot house Angelus moved them into. Predictably, Spike made it halfway through the main hall, towards the dramatic stairs swooping to the second story balcony, when the hairs on the back of his neck stood up.
“Really, William. What has you all worked up?” Dracula purred from the doorway behind Spike. Even vampires shouldn’t be that pale. Berk was still painting himself with white lead for better effect.
“You stole my pet. Bad enough to welsh on a bet, but minion theft?” Spike countered. He planted his feet in the middle of the room and crossed his arms. Coming home from a night’s hunting to find Xander in the early throws of bug eating had not been a pleasant surprise. Spike had been more than willing to race the dawn to sort this out now. Bloody slayer not protecting her minions properly.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. If you’re laying some claim to the slayer….”
“Poof,” Spike spat under his breath. “Don’t care about the slayer. She can handle herself or not as need be. The boy’s mine and you’ve gone an thralled him.”
“Oh, the minion? I suppose I can let you have him after he brings me the slayer tonight. Would this settle our supposed debt?” Dracula began to circle the outside of the room.
“Can’t settle a debt with something that ain’t yours.” Spike turned slightly to keep Dracula in sight, shifting his feet only enough to keep his eye on his target. But he didn’t let himself tune out the sounds around him. The brides were still out there somewhere, and had nothing against a rear attack.
“I saw no mark of ownership on the boy.”
“Doesn’t change the fact that he’s a sire’s gift.”
Dracula smirked. “Oh, I’d heard you were on the outs with your sire… both of them.”
It was a struggle not to snarl, but Spike smirked back. And ran his fingers over the stake he had tucked up his sleeve. “Was a present when I first came to town, from Angelus. And if you’d bothered to get close instead of thralling him from across the green, you’d have noticed the scent markers. But your sense of smell was always lacking. Perhaps all that gypsy incense did some olfactory damage.”
“I rather got the impression he was the Slayer’s minion.” Dracula took two steps closer. “I wouldn’t think Angelus had the right to make such a gift.”
“You’re new here, so I’ll explain how things work in Sunnyhell,” Spike drawled. His shoulders tightened as well. Someone was coming up the hall that was no behind him. “Slayer runs the town, and anyone who thinks otherwise usually finds out the truth rather quick. Angelus made hisself a place at the slayer’s side. Nice gig, consort to the slayer. Cushy spot in town, control over her minions. I can see you’re somewhat interested in it yourself.” Spike ran his eyes up and down the overdressed fop’s outfit and sniffed. Oh yeah, pheromones. Ol’ Drac had used the mist and feed tonight. Maybe Spike’d call Angel and let him know who’d been snacking on his slayer.
“She will be my consort, not I hers,” Dracula said, pouting. Gods, pouting. Spike wanted to laugh.
“We’ll see about that. Still, Angelus was in a position to gift the boy, and the boy is mine. Cut the thrall, I’ll take him home and stay out of your way with the slayer.”
“Let’s see if he agrees.” Dracula’s eyes looked past Spike to the hall beyond. Rather than turn his back on the ponce, Spike turned and stepped back so he no longer stood between Dracula and the hall, allowing him to view both.
“Master, I felt… you summoned me,” Xander said. The boy was bouncing as though he’d had twice his usual sugar allotment. “How can I assist you, oh master, my master.”
Spike snarled, but the boy didn’t even look at him.
“It seems Spike here believes he has a prior claim on you. Do you agree?”
Now Xander looked over at Spike. For all of a second. “Prior claim, master?”
“He says you were a gift from his sire. Angelus.”
Xander frowned, thinking very, very hard. Then he smiled and lit up like the sun. Almost smelled as good as his cousin just then. “Yes, Parent/Teacher night. Angel offered me up as a snack pack.”
It was Dracula’s turn to frown. “Did he have the right to do so? I took you for the slayer’s minion.”
Eagerly grinning, Xander nodded. “Slayer’s minion. That’s me. We were all on the same team, Angel, me, Buffy.”
“Yes, boy’s mine. Now pull that wretched thrall off him and we’ll be off,” Spike said.
“You say he was a gift, and he agrees. But have you truly claimed him?” Dracula mused, walking across the room to Xander. Idiot trusted in his magics to protect him and didn’t even flinch when he presented his back to Spike.
Dracula circled Xander, sniffing, looking closely. “No fang scars, no markers. Can you truly say you accepted?”
“Just because I prefer to be subtle….” Spike sighed and rolled his eyes dramatically. “Left wrist, one taste, and if you leave a big scar I will kill you, unpaid debt or no.”
Dracula raised an eyebrow, but stepped behind Xander and raised the boy’s left wrist to his fangs. The thrall must have faded, or fear of vampire fangs was a deep enough default to push through Dracula’s thrall, because uncertainty entered Xander’s eyes, and the bouncing stopped.
“One taste,” Spike said. The words were as much for Xander as Dracula, and he held the boy’s brown eyes, his normal warmth beginning to leech past the Renfield mania.
Delicately, Dracula sank his fangs into Xander, and he took one pull of blood. And held it, eyes closing in momentary bliss.
“I see,” Dracula said once he finally swallowed. “I tasted a slayer tonight, but this comes close to comparing. What a fascinating find.”
“And?” Spike growled, taking two steps closer. He knew what had to be in that blood flavor profile.
“A sex toy.” Dracula smiled before running his tongue over the wound his fangs had left. The wounds vanished. “Your sex toy. I don’t suppose you’d be willing to part with him for a reasonable fee?”
“Not for two slayers,” Spike spat.
“Hmm, which reminds me. I still need to collect my slayer.”
“I’ll send her your way at sunset,” Spike said. “If you return my minion, pay your debt, and provide me two grand wear, tear, and suffering.”
“Suffering?” Dracula purred, but stepped away from Xander. “And how have you suffered for one evening without your minion?”
Spike snorted. “Not my suffering. His.” He nodded towards Xander, who was beginning to look confused as the thrall continued to fade. “He’s a natural chocolate eater, not a bug eater. The trauma will be intense. In fact, make it five grand.”
“You always did pander to your companions.” Dracula sighed and turned, waving his hand towards the front door. “Very well, five grand and eleven pounds—”
“Compounded over one hundred and three years…”
“Yes, yes. And you’ll send the slayer this evening.”
As Spike let Dracula lead them down the hall, he held Xander tightly, urging him silently to keep his mouth shut. By the door, which was unpleasantly open to the now fully risen sun, was a chest dripping with a few items of gold jewelry.
“Home, pet,” Spike ordered, releasing Xander to scoop up the chest. He bolted for Xander’s car, fortunately left parked in the drive, door open. Xander followed and soon they were on their way, Dracula’s reminder about the slayer ringing in their ears.
Xander didn’t speak until they were safely inside their apartment. With the gold.
“What just happened?” The boy was staring at his now unmarked wrist, and shaking.
“Dracula decided to turn you into his bug eater and I protested.” Hot chocolate. That would settle the boy. Spike set the chest on the coffee table and moved into the kitchen.
“You said you own me.”
Interesting, not quite an angry outburst. Good sign.
“You let him drink my blood.”
Ah, there was the white hat anger. Spike turned from the stove and pressed a warm mug full of chocolaty goodness into Xander’s hands, the human having come closer to bellow properly.
“It worked didn’t it?” Spike said. When Xander didn’t move, the vampire walked around him and grabbed the marshmallows from the cabinet. After dropping three in his own mug, he offered the bag to Xander. Good, the boy was still aware enough to grab four.
“He let you go, and paid us well.” Spike was looking forward to going through that chest. If Dracula had gypped him in the slightest, the gypsy lover would get his comeuppance. Somehow.
“You said you’d give him Buffy.”
Spike smirked as he sipped his hot chocolate. “I said I’d point Buffy his direction. Do you really think the girl who fought Adam, who stopped Mayor Wilkins, who disrupted every plan of the Auralius clan is going to be stopped by a little thrall and some gypsy magic?”
“You go tell her where Dracula is today, let her know about his thrall and tricks. Ripper might even find a counter spell this afternoon.”
Xander sipped his hot chocolate, and shuddered as he swallowed. “He called me your sex toy.”
Spike raised a pointed eyebrow. The boy was reaching now.
He shivered again, and huffed. “Alright, but how did he know?”
“What you eat affects your blood.”
Xander stared blankly for a moment, until Spike shot a suggestive smirk towards the boy’s groin. “Ah…. Right. What you eat. Does that mean any vampire who…?”
“You gonna let vampires snack from you often?” Oh, Spike had to watch that jealous tone. No use scaring off the boy when things were going so well. A little sex, a little company. No use pushing for more.
“No.” At least that reply was appropriately vehement.
“It’d fade after a few weeks apart.”
“Huh.” Xander looked thoughtful as he wandered back into the living room and collapsed into the couch. “What are you going to do with that?” He nodded at the chest.
Spike followed and flipped the chest open. Oh yeah, that ruby in the middle chain was the real thing. “Get a big screen telly and some surround sound,” he proposed. “Pay rent a few months.”
“So you’re not leaving with your new fortune?”
Oh, he wasn’t the only one reining in his emotions. Promising. “Nah.” Spike slouched into the recliner, spreading his legs temptingly and sipping his chocolate. He’d get some blood next, maybe add some whiskey. Maybe then he’d dare sleep.
“I’m still missing one of the series of Babylon 5 collective plates.”
“Might be able to do something about that too.” And blood and smokes. Maybe save some for a trip to a jeweler. Something simple and subtle the boy might be willing to wear that could save them problems like Dracula. Just a small mark of ownership.
Xander drained his mug and stood, stripping off his shirt. “I need a shower.”
“You had one before bed.” Spike looked carefully for any marks on the exposed skin. Good of Dracula to seal the cuts with his magic. Would have been tough to explain those to the slayer, even on a wrist.
“I have just been completely traumatized,” Xander said, staring down at Spike. “He made me eat bugs.”
Spike laughed, and Xander joined him.
“You want the syrup of Ipecac or a slug of whiskey when you get out?”