Title: The End Of The Beginning
Title: 'Til human voices wake us
Pairing: Xander/Spike (eventually)
Overall Rating: NC17
Disclaimer: No money, not mine.
AN: I know it's taken me even longer to get this chapter done than the last one, and I'm really sorry for that guys. Hopefully they'll be coming with some sort of regularity, though no promises. Anyway, please remember my warning from the previous chapter. I've tried to keep everything suggested, but it's still not kid friendly.
It was so much easier when you forgot you knew how to talk. It was one of the first things Xander had discovered. He was sure, in a small corner of his mind, that even Spike would be surprised at how quickly he learnt the spoken word was one of those bad things that you should just stay away from.
The first day he'd threatened, cajoled, maybe even whined a little - though in a completely manly way. The second day he'd learnt what it felt like to have your jaw broken and magically healed. It seemed they wanted him able to talk, so long as he didn't actually do it. There were still questions flying around in his head like evil monkeys, but they never made it past the barricade of his teeth.
By the third day he was mentally counting the ways he was going to mess with a certain blond vampire just as soon as he got out of his current predicament. The fourth was spent thinking up all the ways he was going to have to make his absence up to Dawn. On the fifth he was almost glad for the change of scenery.
The demons were the same, the humiliation of peeing in a bucket in the corner was the same, but outside the cell had changed. Instead of walls he couldn't quite see that smelled of mildew and despair, his cell sat in the corner of a wood panelled room, pieces of leather, metal and rubber lining the walls like twisted flower arrangements.
All sense of time had disappeared long ago, there was only the order to eat, drink, sleep. At first he'd passively resisted, making his denials in body language since his mouth had learnt not to let words like those cross his lips. Eventually even that had gone, the need for liquid and sustenance outweighing the fading voice in his mind that told him he wasn't supposed to acquiesce.
He hadn't meant to speak; he'd learnt that lesson remarkably fast, but the words had poured out of him every time his body convulsed. They hadn't asked him questions, but he answered anyway. Gave rambling explanations for anything and everything he could think of. Anything they wanted - except her.
So he learnt to hide, to forget the important things, because it was the only way to make sure they stayed secret. And when they finally began to speak in hissing tones full of dark amusement and promise, he wondered what it was about green eyes that made them so mad.
Blinking to try and force his eyes from watering at the stench coming from the demon holding onto his leash, he waited for an order. Only vaguely registering the impact of a cane against the abused flesh of his ass the grunt he made was only in his mind. The demon seemed happy with his lack of response, and made what seemed to be an affirmative noise to another demon - the one who'd been holding his leash before a bag had changed hands.
He tried to remember when this had all started, when the passing of a leash from one clawed hand to another had become a ritual in and of itself, before a small voice whispered to him that remembering was bad, and he gladly sank back into the familiar routine of command and respond.
The cage was similar to another one he'd been in, though it made no difference. His eyes caught on everything he would be expected to know without conscious thought, cataloguing the space between the bed and the cage and the wall. Equal parts gratitude and terror ran through him in the muted way that all emotions seemed to. Gratitude that this was what he knew - the place was new, but there was no command that he would need to hesitate at. Terror that the leash wouldn't change hands again, when the little voice deep in the back of his mind was still insisting there was something unfinished, someone he needed to know was safe, someone that needed the leash to move just one more time.
The commands were the same, comforting with their normalcy, and he felt himself sink into the knowledge of the expected. The pain was the same, and he dimly counted off the implements that touched him with a detached sense of familiarity. This time crawling into the cage was more difficult; his knees slipping on the blood that snaked its way down his thighs. He ignored the screaming pain in his right ankle and knee, knowing that when the leash changed hands again there would be blessed silence, if only for a while.
He found himself floating, sliding through commands in a daze of sharp words and sharper sensations. He learnt to fear fire, in the subdued way he felt anything - the vague memory of sheer agony and the smell of his own flesh burning causing one of the Holders - as he'd come to call them in his mind - to tut in disgust and teach him not to flinch from the searing pain.
Again and again the leash shifted over his head, and he struggled to hear the now almost silent voice that told him just one more time. The demon that held the worn chain this time was familiar in type but not as an individual. Recalling his last encounter with this particular species had earned him several broken ribs, a few minor internal ruptures, and a fractured hipbone, he made sure to keep his form perfect and his ears open for any hint of a command.