Chapter One: Singing Silence
Summary: Old Situations and new acquaintances
Time has a way of dulling memories, leaving them faded imaged of what has been. Faces become blurred, touches become ghostly caresses and scents turn to elusive traces on distant breezes.
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Xander turned over to look out the barred window of his cell. It had been nearly four years since his parents had him committed and now he could barely remember the life he’d had before these walls. He had been barely thirteen when he saw IT, and in his panic he had run home to his parents, babbling about IT. For once his parents had listened to him, but they didn’t believe his rambled story and, concerned, they took him to see a psychiatrist, who after a few sessions deemed him unstable and a danger to himself and others. That landed him here, in a psych ward in Los Angeles.
“Harris,” a voice called snidely from the doorway. “Time for walkies.”
With a sigh of resignation, Xander rolled off the bed and walked over to where the orderly waited for him. Trent had become one of Xander’s least favourite people within days of the man joining the hospital’s staff. He was cruel and rude, often treating the patients like children or animals and Xander had become his favourite victim. The added fact that Xander never spoke made the orderly gleeful and brutal in his treatment of the younger man since Xander would never report the abuse. Eyes downcast, Xander followed Trent through the hallways and away from the relative safety of his room.
“We got a newbie here today,” Trent stated as they moved along. “Pretty little bitch, just like you.”
Xander did his best to ignore him as he followed with feigned complacency. He didn’t really care about new patients, he never managed to get along with any of them and preferred to be by himself anyway
“Here we are,” said the orderly, pushing open the doors to the rec room. “Have fun and play nice with others and you just might get a treat later.”
Carefully hiding the shudder of revulsion, he waited until Trent had closed and locked the doors before lifting his eyes to glance around the room. He noticed the new patient right away, and Trent had been right about one thing, she was pretty. She was slender with long dark hair and dark eyes. Even in the pale orange of the hospital clothes, she was beautiful. Glancing around, Xander noticed that all the others were avoiding her, leaving her to sit alone in a corner talking quietly to herself. He moved to his normal spot and curled up on the beanbag chair, watching the woman and wondering exactly what about her scared the other patients so much that they wouldn’t be near her.
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Soft scuffling noises woke Xander from his sleep. Opening his eyes he searched the room, cursing the wan moonlight that was the only source of illumination. He tried not to flinch when he noticed the figure standing at the foot of his bed casting a faint shadow. When his blanket was pulled off he turned his head to the side and closed his eyes, doing his best to block out what was coming next. Forcing his mind back, he let his body be manhandled and positioned on the bed, barely registering his pajama bottoms being pulled off. Time had no meaning as he drifted in his mind and only the sharp sound of the door closing brought him out. Ignoring the pain, he pulled his pants back up and settled back on the bed, waiting for morning to come.
Xander began to shake as he heard his door open and he kept his eyes closed in an attempt to deny the horror of the situation. It wouldn’t be the first time that he came back, but Xander had been hoping that tonight wouldn’t be one of those nights.
“Poor Kitten.” The distinctly female voice startled him and his eyes flew open to see the new patient swaying in the faint light. “The nasty one hurt you, yes he did. But Miss Edith will make it better when Spikey brings her.”
Easing off the bed carefully Xander made his way over to her. Looking deep into her eyes he shook his head, trying to tell her that no one would be coming. A smile crossed her lips and she twirled around him, laughing softly.
“Oh, but Spikey is coming, and if you are a good Kitten we’ll take you with us,” she said laughingly.
He stopped her motions with a hand to her arm, starting at the cold feel of her skin, and once again shook his head in denial. She giggled and nodded before breaking away to dance again, singing softly. A sudden shadow in the doorway made him step back.
“See, I told you my Spikey would come,” she scolded.
“Dru, princess, what the bloody hell have you gotten yourself into this time?” the shadow asked, moving forward to reveal a lean man with blond hair and vividly blue eyes.
“I found us a Kitten.”
Chapter Two: Screaming Shadows
Summary: First impressions and breaking free
Spike moved through the corridors with quiet ease, completely comfortable in the shadows. He wasn’t, however, pleased to be rescuing Dru from yet another situation that the mad woman had gotten into. A few months ago he’d had to break her out of jail after she had been caught stalking a young woman and then attacking her. Before that was the time she was caught breaking into a pet store to free the animals because the bloody stars told her to. This time she had managed to get herself locked up in an asylum for the insane, which while annoying for Spike, was fitting. Part of him was tempted to leave her there, but he wasn’t one to abandon family.
“Oh, but Spikey is coming, and if you are a good Kitten we’ll take you with us,” he heard Dru laugh from inside one of the rooms. Quickly he moved to the open door and looked inside, taking in the scene. His lovely Dru was dancing around a young man, singing a lullaby as she twirled and swayed to music only she could hear. “See, I told you my Spikey would come.”
“Dru, princess, what the bloody hell have you gotten yourself into this time?” Spike asked tiredly.
“I found us a Kitten.”
Spike looked carefully at him, noting the overly long hair and pale skin that spoke of a long stay within the asylum’s walls. Around the boy floated the scent of fear mixed with blood and semen. He wasn’t surprised that Dru had ‘adopted’ him, but the reality of bringing a human along with them was lost on the dark haired woman.
“Dru-luv, we can’t take him with us,” Spike said patiently.
“We have to, or the nasty man will finish the job and the Kitten will fade and the gourd will become hollow,” she countered solemnly. Spike stared at her for a moment before looking back at the young man standing in the centre of the room, arms wrapped around his waist. “He’ll be our Kitten, our little love and if we protect him great things will come.”
“Bloody hell, Dru, you’re making less sense than normal,” he grumbled. He turned back to the boy. “Guess you’re coming with us.”
The young man shook his head and stepped back, his arms tightening around his waist. He glanced between Spike and Dru and shook his head again.
“You have to,” Dru said, standing in front of him. “He’ll come back, and keep coming until there’s nothing left.” Still the boy shook his head. “He wants to hurt you, Kitten. His mind is like flies and maggots, all rotten and over-ripe. He won’t stop until you’re dead.”
“Dru, what are you nattering on about?” Spike snapped impatiently.
“The nasty man does to him like Daddy did to me before he became Daddy.”
“This bloke she’s talking about, he been raping you and you still want to stay?” he asked the young man who looked away. “Right, you really are coming with us then. Not giving you a choice in the matter.”
“We’ll protect you, Kitten” Dru said as she grabbed one of the boy’s hands and pulled him forward. “We’ll keep you safe. Come with us.” The boy looked into her eyes for a moment and then nodded.
“Got anything here you want?” Spike asked, glancing around the almost bare room. The boy shook his head again. “Fine, we’re off. Be quiet, no need to tell them we’re gone. Dru, Miss Edith’s in the car waiting for you.”
The blond headed down the hallway, using all his senses to track security and the two behind him. The trip out was made with relative ease, but Spike didn’t relax until they were safely in the car and driving away. Glancing over his shoulder, he watched as Dru introduced her doll to the young man, all the while calling him ‘Kitten’.
“Hey, Whelp, you got a name?” he asked. The boy looked at him, eyes wide and wild before he turned his gaze to the woman sitting beside him.
“Sh, sh, all’s quiet,” Dru whispered. “The shadows came, sneak sneak, and stole his voice away.”
“Bloody hell!” Spike shouted. “You don’t speak?”
“Not a word, a sound, a peep,” answered Dru. “Just thoughts that circle, round and round like a Ferris wheel.”
He reached under the seat and pulled out a bottle of whiskey, popping the top of he lifted it to his lips and took a long drag. This was turning into a bloody soap opera. “Well, what are we suppose to call you then?”
“His bracelet says his name is Alexander L. Harris,” Dru informed him, sounding oddly sane for the moment.
“So Alex?” Spike tried after another swig of whiskey. The boy shook his head. “Lex? Al?” Again no. “Xander?” That got a nod. “Good, we got a name. Next, we need to get you out of those fucking clothes.”
Chapter Three: Silence Speaking Softly
Summary: Shopping trip and new tortures
A rush of fear flowed through Xander at the blonde’s words. He wondered briefly if he had left one bad situation for another. Beside him, Dru giggled and plucked at his top, making a disgusted face at the colour and texture of the cloth. Realization came and Xander understood that Spike meant to get him new clothing. That was something Xander had no experience with. He had been wearing the hospital clothes for so long; he had forgotten what regular clothing felt like. Smiling in thanks he snuggled down beside Dru and listened as she introduced him to the doll in her arms.
He looked up as the car came to a stop and saw the large mall before them. Glancing down at his clothes he shook his head. There was no way he would be able to walk in there looking like this. Someone would call the cops.
“Knock, knock. Empty eyes and open mouths, we just need the right key,” Dru giggled beside him. Xander looked at her in confusion.
“They ain’t open,” Spike clarified. “And the right key,” he hefted a tire iron from the floor of the front seat. “Come on.”
Xander slipped out of the car and followed behind Spike, the stones scattered across the parking lot digging into the soles of his feet. He stopped when Spike stopped and watched as the blonde lifted the heavy piece of metal and brought it down with a sharp crack. The window in front of them shattered, glass falling to the ground like silvery laughter. He was surprised to not hear an alarm sound, but shrugged his shoulders. Not much made sense to him anymore anyway.
The blonde stalked through the hallways, pausing here and there to peer into darkened stores, occasionally muttering obscenities under his breath. Finally he stopped in front on one store and grinned back at Xander. “Perfect.”
A sharp tug and the gate opened a crack, letting the two slip inside. Xander glanced around the dark store, seeing jeans, leather and mesh. Worried he looked back at the blonde, wondering just what he was going to be dressed in.
“Have faith,” Spike laughed as he moved through the racks, grabbing clothing as he went. “Here, try these on.”
Obediently Xander headed back to the changing rooms and began to try the clothes on, coming out to show the blonde how each article fit. Spike made noises of assent or negation and continued to hand over more clothes. Finally, one outfit caught the blonde’s eye.
“Oh, pet, that is so perfect for you,” he breathed, stepping closer to the younger man.
Xander turned to look into the mirror and stopped when he noticed only his reflection. Despite the fact that he could feel Spike at his back, only he looked back from the shiny surface.
“Turning into Narcissus on me, pet?” Spike laughed. Xander glanced back over his shoulder and then looked pointedly at the mirror. “Oh, I see. Noticed that did ya?”
Xander nodded as a flurry of thoughts began to swarm inside his head. He didn’t think they were going to kill him. One, they would have done it already and two, Spike was getting him new clothing. Not really the acts of someone about to murder you, or so he thought. But still, he couldn’t stop the shiver of fear that wracked his body.
“Relax, pet,” Spike whispered, running his hands over the younger man’s arms. “Not gonna hurt you. You’re ours now. We’ll protect you from everything, even ourselves.”
Spinning back around, Xander met Spike’s eyes, his own full of questions. The vampire nodded in answer to the plea of safety he could see there.
“Come on, before Dru comes in and sees you in the all together.”
With a smile and a nod, Xander went back to try on clothes, handing over those he wanted to keep. Half an hour later, he and Spike left the mall, their arms full of bags stuffed with clothing for all of them and a few treats for Dru. Crawling into the backseat with Dru, Xander curled up with his head on her lap and allowed himself to relax for the first time since that night. He was finally safe.
Chapter Four: Sobbing Shadows
Summary: Discussions and a Chance Encounter
Spike stalked through the night club, watching the sweat slicked bodies on the floor writhe together in parodies of ecstasy. Somewhere in the smoke and din was tonight’s dinner, and he couldn’t wait to find her and a little something for Dru. He caught the eye of one girl, almost too young to be in the club but there anyway. She would do for his Dark Princess, now he only had to find something to satisfy himself.
He slipped through the crowds, rubbing up against lithe young bodies here and there, gauging who would best satisfy his appetites. Lost in his hunt, he didn’t notice the other vampire enter the club until the larger man’s hands wrapped around his neck and pulled him outside. Spike looked up into dark eyes in a pale face topped by darker hair that made his mind flicker to the young man waiting at the hotel with Dru before the man holding him gave him a hard shake.
“What are you doing, Spike?” the man growled as he moved them into a dark alley.
“Getting something to eat, Peaches,” Spike answered, pulling the hands off his neck. “What’s it matter to you?”
“I’m not going to let you eat people in my city.”
“Your city?” laughed Spike. “Sorry, but LA’s always been free territory, Angel. Anyone can feed here.”
“Not while I’m here,” ‘Angel’ said as he lunged.
“Angel, Angel, Angel,” Spike chided as he danced out of reach. “You really need to work on your temper.”
The larger vampire managed to hit him, a blow that would have knocked the breath out of him if he breathed. He grunted at the impact but managed to hit back, a quick riposte that sent Angel stumbling back. The dark haired man rushed forward and they exchanged a flurry of blows that rocked both of them. Finally Spike spun out of the way and stared at the other vampire.
“I don’t have time for this,” he said. “I need to get Dru fed and then get some food for my new pet.”
“Pet?” Angel questioned. “What have you done, Spike?”
“Had to rescue Dru from the loony bin,” Spike shrugged. “Happened to find a sweet morsel there, took him with us.”
“Spike,” growled Angel in warning.
“If I see you again, maybe I’ll introduce the two of you,” Spike laughed as he turned and ran from the alley.
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“Dru, princess, your dinner’s out in the hall,” Spike called as he pushed into the room. “And Xander, this is for you.”
The boy absently took the bag, his eyes on the bruised flesh of Spike’s face. He lifted a hand to carefully touch the edge of one, anger sparking deep inside.
“It’s alright, pet,” the blonde said, catching Xander’s hand. “I’ll be fine in a bit. You need to eat now.”
Xander nodded and sat down, his eyes still watching the vampire. Spike smiled and shook his head before going to check on Dru. He watched as she dabbed lightly at the smear of red marring the corner of her mouth before moving back to the room.
“You shouldn’t provoke Daddy,” she chiding softly, running her fingers over his face. “He’ll take our treasure away and the Kitten will go back to the bad place and be lost in the dark.”
“I’ll behave if I see him again,” Spike promised. “But he won’t take the boy; I’ll make sure of that.”
“Good, then we have time for tea before we leave.”
Chapter Five: Mything Shadows
Summary: A quick trip doesn’t go as planned
“Hey,” a voice interrupted while a long boned hand plucked the book from his fingers. Xander looked up into Spike’s eyes, noting the amused look in them. “Been trying to get your attention for five minutes, mate.”
The dark haired young man shrugged his shoulders sheepishly and reached up to snatch his book back. Carefully marking his place, he turned his attention to the vampire and waited.
“Gotta go out for a bit,” Spike told him. “Need to talk to someone.”
Xander nodded and motioned for him to continue. It wasn’t like the blonde didn’t go out every night anyway. He was very aware of just what the vampire was up to on his jaunts, but he found he didn’t really care. Spike never ate someone in front of him, and he always left Dru’s meal out in the hall. It was those little things that made Xander feel safer in their company.
“– and parade you around in Times Square,” Spike continued. Xander blinked in confusion. “Are you back with me?” He nodded. “Okay, so I’m going to talk to someone but I need to take Dru with me to verify some stuff.”
With his breath stuck in his throat, Xander stared up at Spike in horror. He hadn’t been alone since the night they rescued him and the thought of being by himself for more than a few minutes filled him with terror. He started shaking his head in denial, his heart racing in fear.
“Not abandoning you,” the blonde promised, dropping to his knees. “Just running out for a few, shouldn’t take more than two hours. I promise.” Xander reached out and grabbed a slender hand. “Don’t worry. Keep the door shut and stay inside, you should be safe. I’ll even bring pizza back.”
Taking a deep breath Xander nodded and let go of the hand he had a death grip on. He reached out a shaking hand a picked up his book, hoping the words would distract him enough. Making a little shooing motion, he turned his attention to the pages, trying to ignore the vampire before him.
“Xander,” Spike cajoled. He looked over. “It’ll be alright, don’t worry.”
He nodded again and watched as Spike surged to his feet and went to get Dru. They left with Dru blowing him a kiss and Spike shaking his head in amusement. Alone, the silence of the room quickly weighed down on him and he suddenly realized how much noise Dru’s absent humming made. He also realized how much he missed it. Turning on the TV abolished some of the stifling quiet, but not all of it. Curling up on the couch, he immersed himself in his book and silently wished that they would hurry back soon.
Three chapters later a knock at the door brought Xander out of his book. Looking at the door in panic, he tried to figure out what to do. Spike would be beyond pissed if he opened the door, and he knew there was a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the handle. There was another knock and he huddled down in his seat as arguing voices floated through the door. One was from the desk manager who had checked them in a few days before. The other was deeper, darker and left Xander feeling more than a little afraid. The arguing stopped and the snick of the lock opening sound. Xander got up off the couch and backed away as the handle turned.
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“You’re sure that’ll work, pet?” Spike asked quietly as they headed back to the hotel.
“Like a fancy ball mask, hide, hide, let no one see what’s beneath,” she giggled. “Our kitten will look like a puppy and no one but us will know.”
He glanced at the charm Dru held; praying to whichever god watched over vampires and lost children that the charm would protect the boy. According to the maker, and verified by Dru, the necklace was suppose to change the boy’s look and scent, throwing off both mundane and supernatural means of tracking him.
“Can we go to Argos?” Dru asked suddenly, shattering the silence that had built in the car.
“Why would we want to go back to Greece? We hated it there,” he reminded her.
“Our Kitten should be blessed in the old ways,” she answered, her voice almost lucid.
“The old ways?” he asked in a carefully distracted voice. Spike was aware that if he paid attention to her all her thoughts would be lost and he had a feeling that this was important.
“Hmm, yes. Old and new twined about him, no one could hurt him then,” she mused. “Perhaps Bacchus, or even Asclepius. I could see him as a healer, could you?”
“I suppose I could, pet,” he answered.
“You back with me, Dru?” asked Spike, looking over.
“Of course, silly, I haven’t gone anywhere,” she giggled. “But we need to get back to our Kitten before Daddy gets there.”
“No, not him, the other Daddy.”
“Angel,” Spike snarled, slamming down the gas pedal.
At the hotel Spike was out of the car almost before it stopped, flying up the stairs. He reached their room and shoved the door open with a sharp crack. The room was empty, Xander’s book forgotten on the floor and the scent of his fear filling the air.
“Sir! You are going to have to pay for that door,” a voice shouted as the manager came stomping up the hallway.
“Where is the boy?” Spike asked softly, eyes glittering gold with rage.
“You cannot go about breaking things in my hotel–” the tirade stopped as Spike grabbed the man’s throat, lifting him off the floor.
“Where is the boy?” he asked again.
“A gentleman came and got him earlier,” the bellhop answered timidly from his hiding spot around the corner. “He said the boy belonged in the hospital and he was taking him back.”
Spike dropped the manager after a quick snap of his wrist and turned toward the bellhop. “If you had nothing to do with this then I suggest you leave the building now,” he growled. The young man bolted, running as fast as his legs could carry him out of the hotel and back to his home.
“Are we going to get our Kitten back?” Dru asked.
“Yeah, princess, we are,” he replied. “But first, we need to punish the people here and then go see Angel.”
“Punish? Can I do it?”
“Yeah, you go punish them, I’m gonna go tattoo the word imbecile across the poof’s oversized forehead.”