Title: The End of The Beginning
Chapter Title: With a whimper
Overall rating: NC17
Chapter Rating: R
Disclaimer: They're not mine, I just like to hurt them.
Warnings: Abandon all hope ye who enter; this way lies pain.
He knew she'd heard him when she pulled back with a confused look on her young face. But the fragment of himself that had forced its way out long enough to utter those two words was smothered by the need to obey, kneel, focus on Master.
"Xander... What?" There were tears in her eyes again, but his were looking resolutely at his Holder so intently that he couldn't see even the suggestion of anything else.
"Spike?" There was a dying innocence in that voice that made him remember.
"You know I love you, right Xander?"
"You know, sometimes I hate you."
"He's going to be ok, right Spike?"
His body had obviously betrayed him because suddenly there was a hand on him, just below his shoulder blade and he moved without conscious thought, the position coming naturally the second he recognised the command. He didn't hear the broken gasp of the girl-child above him, all his senses focused on Blue Eyes now that he could no longer see them. With his forehead pressed tight to the ground, hands behind his back and ass raised for punishment he felt one of the cuts on his back open, felt the blood run a lazy path up towards his neck. The curse that followed was a low, an inhuman sound that made his stomach tighten. He didn't try to anticipate the pain, just drowned in the demand of obey and receive.
The command, when it came, confused him, but his body was already moving again, "Get up, Harris, you're scaring the Bit."
"Spike... His back..." He heard the gasped out despair, muffled slightly by the never-ending scream of what was left of himself that agonised over her seeing this, seeing him.
"Go get cleaned up." His Holder wasn't looking at him, but the command was obvious, so he went, and felt something small like hate blooming in the back of his throat.
He knew that command, knew what it led to, knew what was next and the anguish was sharp. He struggled to find that dull acknowledgement of movement he’d lived in for what felt like forever but the whisper of just one more time was gone, and he was suffocating. His steps were slightly jerky when he moved in the direction his Holder had pointed. Getting up had pulled on the cuts and he felt another one open just a little, single bead of blood drawing a line to the waistband of his pants.
The shower was hot and stung his back, the pain grounding him for a moment, so he turned the heat up a little higher. The rest of the preparations were done without thought. He blinked, finding himself in front of the mirror getting rid of the last of any unwanted hair. Folding the towel he'd used carefully, he set it back on the towel rack and stepped silently down the hall.
As always he was quiet, unobtrusive, even his heartbeat was a slow thump-thump, and he tried to shake the feeling that this was what it felt like to walk down death row. Sliding to his knees in a practiced glide he looked and saw shock and anger reflected back at him. He heard a hitching sob from somewhere to his right but resolutely ignored it and looked.
Then his Holder was turning away, watching as unsteady innocence ran down the hall, scowling at the sound of a door slamming. Suddenly Blue Eyes were staring at him, something like fury making him want to tremble, though he knew better.
"Bloody hell whelp, you trying to upset her? Why don't you just go stand in a sodding corner or something." The command was hinted at, vague, but his Holder was already up and moving towards the sound of that slammed door, so he got to his feet and stood.
The murmur of conversation down the hall was barely there, like an insect just out of reach, but he ignored it in favour of convincing his knees to stay locked, his gaze unwavering as he stared at the wall in front of him.
He remembered this, remembered shrill laughter that sounded like nails on chalkboard, lines of fire whenever he'd moved. He remembered the cackling crow of triumph when his legs had finally given out, given in to the shrieking agony.
He could feel the night wear on, felt the temperature dip in the pre-dawn hours, and shivered in spite of himself. Wondered vaguely whether just his legs would give out or if he'd slip into merciful darkness like the last time this had happened. Felt a slight scratch in his throat that told him he needed water, and the uncomfortable pressure that said his bladder wasn't going to listen to him for much longer.
He could feel his left knee wobble slightly and terror struck him as he flashed to the look of anger on his Holder's face when he'd given him the command. He could feel his heart pick up slightly as he panicked, unsure whether he could hold out for as long as Blue Eyes demanded. Then he felt sick dread when he realised with a sudden clarity that he was supposed to fail, supposed to fall.
The soft patter of feet was almost drowned out by the buzzing in his ears, but he struggled to pay attention, straining and hoping to hear a command, any command. Soon the steps retreated and he could feel failure sinking into his bones. Then there was the soft-cool touch of his Holder on the top of his shoulder, just enough pressure for him to register the order. He felt muscles try to obey, the buzzing so loud he couldn't hear anything except the sound of his heart, beating too fast. He fell in a graceless sprawl, barely managing to get out a proper apology before he fell further, sliding gratefully into darkness.