He didn’t know what possessed him to come to the Hellmouth. It was such an overly populated place for vampires to be in. Of course the vibes from the Hellmouth were pleasant enough, but in reality the place reeked with death and not the fun kind. Not like when it was some big full blown riot kind of death.
It was regular everyday to no end death. Like a body would be found every two point four seconds. It was a stale death that made you want to scrunch your nose up and just leave this stupid town. It was positively disgusting and revolting.
Just the place for a vampire like Spike to drown his sorrows in. It had been over five years since Dru’s untimely death in Prague and yet he still couldn’t let it go. He and Dru hadn’t mated, this was true, but he had been in love with his Dark Princess. She had been his world, his destiny from the time he was turned to the time she died.
All those long years. She had been ripped away from him by a mob in Prague who thought her a monster. Sure they weren’t off their mark, but the beating Dru had taken because of their viciousness was just wrong. Finally one of them had had an enough sense to accidentally plunge a stake in her heart ending her struggle.
Not before Spike had reached where she was and watched as his companion all these years turned to dust before his very eyes. He had howled as he watched her death. The mob had turned to see him standing there, fury radiating off of him and decided to attack. That’s when Spike’s fight or flight instinct kicked in. He took in the huge number of the mob with their crosses and stakes and other weapons and knew it was a loosing battle. Thus, not needing the thrill of seeking to avenge his love because there was no bond that held them together so fiercely to make him stay and fight, he ran. Like a little girl.
And here he was five years later in Sunnydale drunk and smelling of cigarette smoke and leather with the hint of splashed alcohol. What was once the Scourge of England, William the Bloody and any other nickname Spike himself could come up with; stood a broken bad not even stable enough for a good kill. Destruction, yes, Spike thought as he thought back to the battered ‘Welcome to Sunnydale’ sign, but killing required that he actually have the ability to talk or move or walk. No, those weren’t things he could do at this particular moment.
And maybe that’s why he was standing here outside of what could only be described as a demon/vampire whore house. Paying for blood was demeaning, yes, but well worth it if he could get some nice warm blood.
No, there was no way he was going to have sex with whatever human he was given, but he could sure use the blood. He’d probably get a cheap deal to considering he was a Master Vamp and could convince whatever lowlife to give him a deal. It wasn’t like he had money; it was more of a principle thing.
Crushing out his cigarette, Spike stepped inside the place with a slight stumble in his walk from all the alcohol. The smells that evaded Spike’s nose upon stepping into the building almost made him change his mind.
This was definitely a low rent kind of thing, but Spike wasn’t about to go to one of the swanky high priced joints. The blood always tasted funny. The low rent places always had the fresh stuff. The oddness in that didn’t escape Spike, but it was better not to think about how weird it was. Better to just get the blood and go.
Spike took a quick look at the place. It was a dilapidated hotel. These places were usually in hotels and some times the swankier ones had little desk clerks to take your order and show you to a room with a nice human just waiting to be nibbled on lying on a bed. Sort of like a complimentary mint.
There was a desk in the front, but nobody sat next to it. The place was moldy at best and smelled of sex, blood, and a mixture of other foul smells. The place took on a gray feel to it. It was dank and almost dark if it hadn’t been for the little light coming from open door and what Spike assumed to be the ‘managers’ office. There were voices and sounds everywhere. It was obvious that the people in this placed lived here, probably for only a small cut in their wages, and that they were up for sale to a vamp with the highest price.
Spike saw the small bell on the desk and decided that he might as well get this over with and go back to his rather uninviting motel room that wasn’t much better then this place. He rang the lightly and out of the office emerged a slightly balding, beer bellied middle aged man.
He was wearing what could only be described as a sweat suit you see those mobster types on television wear. He was smart enough to have a gold chain with a cross on it around his neck or maybe he was really trying to fit that Tony Soprano look. He certainly looked Italian although Spike wasn’t really qualified to make that kind of assessment.
“So what’ll it be for you tonight, Sir.” The man said. He even had that slight Brooklyn accent although faded.
“Jus’ lookin’ for some blood, mate.” Spike said.
“Well that’ll cost you a pretty penny.” The man said looking over some book on the desk. The desk was to high prevent Spike from seeing what was on it.
“How much?” Spike asked.
“Well for the usual ten minutes it costs around sixty bucks.” The man said.
“Sixty bucks for some measly blood. Might as well fuck whatever it is at that price.” Spike said slightly outraged.
“That’s what most of the customers do. Been awhile since I had a customer that just wanted blood.” The man said not looking up from his book.
“I’ll give you thirty bucks for some blood. Thas’ as far as I go mate.” Spike said.
“That’s half price. I don’t think so. You can just take your ass somewhere else. Try hunting for a change.” The man said. Irritated to no end Spike reached over and grabbed the man’s neck.
“Not in a really bargainin’ mood ‘ere. Thinkin’ your gonna give me the blood for thirty and be lucky I don’t kill you.” Spike said.
“Fifty and we have a deal.” The man chocked out.
“Maybe you didn’t ‘ear me properly. I said I would only go as far as thirty. Know I don’t know ‘bout you, but I would think that someone who runs a place like this would be able to spot a Master when he sees one.” Spike said threateningly.
The man’s eyes went big and he gasped out what sounded like an ‘alright’. Spike let go of his throat and straightened himself out.
“Thought you’d see thins’ my way.” Spike said. The man grumbled something that sounded like ‘Not like I had much of a choice’ and continued flipping the pages of his big book.
“Well seeing as you’re only here for blood you probably don’t care if it’s from a guy or a chick. All the chicks are busy right now. Looks like most of the men are too.” The man mumbled searching through the pages. Just then a vampire came down from the stairs looking quite satisfied, little trances of blood on his mouth and chin.
“Hey Greg, you done with that Smith kid?” The man asked to the vampire.
“Yup.” The vampire said making a popping noise of the p.
“That kid just gets sweeter and sweeter every time I come here. Set me up an appointment for next month.” The vampire, Greg obviously, said.
“Yeah that is if you aren’t stupid enough to get caught by the Slayer.” The owner/pimp of the establishment said.
“Trying to avoid her at all costs. Just do it. If I’m not here send the kid my regards.” The vampire said making his way off out of the front door.
“Slayer in these parts, huh. Sounds like fun.” Spike said.
“Yeah that Slayer’s a real pistol though. Wouldn’t want to be at the other end of her stake.” The pimp said.
“Know a littl’ somethin’ ‘bout killin’ Slayer’s myself. Now, ‘bout the blood.” Spike said become professional again after his little trip down memory lane.
Killing those two Slayer’s had been a real treat. The first one, well she was strictly business and her blood had been satisfying for months afterward. The other Slayer, he hadn’t had the pleasure of tasting, but she was a very worthy advisory.
“Right well the Smith kid is done. You’ll probably be his last for the night. Stupid kid actually goes to school.” The pimp said.
“He’s underage?” Spike asked with just a hint of incredulousness in his voice.
“Yeah, parents sold him to me about three years ago. Fourteen at the time. Poor kid. His parents were lousy so I took him in. Pretty talented that one. Does that bother you or something?” The pimp asked.
“’M evil, mate. Nothing bothers me.” Spike said with conviction.
Truth was Spike could really care less about some little brat’s sob story.
“Well he’s a good kid. Always got the customers saying his blood tastes all sweet. Not do to with innocence mind you, but I guess the taste of kids are better then adults. What do I know? You what him, he’s all yours.” The pimp said.
“Right, mate, lead the way.” Spike said.
The pimp wrote down a little something in his book and held out his hand. Spike handed the man his thirty dollars and the man took it. He put fifteen in one box and fifteen in another.
“Right this way.” The pimp said walking out from behind the desk and walking up the stairs assuming Spike was following him.
Most people didn’t pay for blood and then not follow. Spike followed behind the man always more then a few steps back because of the heavy amount of cologne the man was wearing. He stopped at room number eighteen and knocked lightly on the door.
“Go away, Joe. I’m done for the night.” Came the angry response from the individual on the other side of the door.
“You’re done when I say you’re done and besides it’s just a ten minute bite so open the door, Alan.” The pimp, Joe obviously, said heatedly.
A loud sigh could be heard from inside the room and the door creaked open.
“How much?” the voice said.
“Had to give the guy a discount. Fifteen bucks.” Joe said.
“What’s the guy like a Master or something?” the voice said.
“Actually he is so you better open that fucking door now before he gets angry.” Joe said. There was a moment of hesitation and Spike was about ready to drain the man standing in front of him, when the door opened.
“Fine I guess.” The voice said opening the door.
“Alright then. I expect to see you downstairs in about ten minutes.” Joe said to Spike in a slightly wavering voice as he walked down the hallway Spike and he had gone through.
Spike stepped in front of the door and looked at what was to be his meal.
It was a teenage boy, somewhere around seventeen or sixteen maybe. He was taller then Spike by an inch or so. He was slim, but not to gangly looking. He had golden sun kissed skin that was almost bronze, but a light shade.
His short brown hair was slicked back but slightly tousled and his big brown eyes that were a little lighter then his hair were slightly glazed over. Spike chalked that up to the blood loss he probably sustained from the other vampire. He was wearing what must have been pajamas, which consisted of an undershirt and light blue boxers.
“You going to stand there all night or are you going to come in.” The boy asked.
Spike gave him a smirk and walked inside. The small apartment was dimly lit and not as shabby as the outside of the place. The walls were painted a tan brown color. All the furniture the room contained was a small cot like bed, a coffee table, a TV on a crate like box and a desk and chair set that had a small lamp on it.
Clothes were strewn everywhere along with occasional Twinkie wrapper. The floor was carpeted. The apartment had only two rooms. The room that Spike was currently in and what Spike assumed must have been a bathroom. There were a few books on the desk and some papers along with a backpack on the floor next to the desk.
“Nice place you got ‘ere, mate.” Spike said somewhat sarcastically.
“Yeah well it suits me just fine.” The boy said brushing past Spike and taking a seat on the squeaky bed.
“I guess ‘s cozy enough for what it is. No treatments of a home, but good enough.” Spike said taking another glance around the room.
“Look you didn’t come here to waste ten minutes talking about my place. If you want to just do that, fine by me. Easy fifteen bucks.” The kid said lying down on the bed and putting his hands behind his head in the usually sit-up position.
“My money to waste now innit.” Spike said.
“You always this talkative to your dinner? Look if you’re just going to talk then maybe you could do it with someone else. I kind of have school in the morning and a huge test and its well past two in the morning.” The kid said.
“What’s your name?” Spike asked turning around to face the kid. He didn’t know what possessed him to ask the kid’s name, but something inside of him just begged for him to.
“Alan Smith.” The kid said almost automatically and a little too fast for Spike’s liking.
“No really. Not some name you made up to keep that git off your back.” Spike said.
“I don’t give out my real name to strangers.” The kid said.
“Fair enough.” Spike said walking over to sit on the bed close to the kid.
“Might as well get this over with.” Spike muttered as he lowered his head towards the kid’s neck.
“Not the neck.” The kid said in what should have been a pleading voice but turned out more commanding then necessary.
“No rule that says I can’t, pet.” Spike said.
“Yeah, well, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t bite my neck. Everyone else just goes with it.” The kid said.
“I’m not everyone else.” Spike said beginning to descend again.
“Please, if I show up at school with a bite mark on my neck people are going to notice.” The kid said this time in a begging tone.
“An’ how is that my problem?” Spike asked.
“It’s not, but... ... ... I can give you your fifteen dollars back. Please I’ll do anything if you just don’t bite me on my neck. Joe was supposed to tell you that my neck was off limits. Of course he was so scared by your Master status. Can’t you just bite my arm?” the kid asked in such a pleading tone that Spike almost took pity on him.
The kid was obviously a professional when it came to begging. He offered Spike his money back or just about anything that Spike could ask for and Spike was sure that meant anything.
“How ‘bout you jus’ tell me your name, ducks.” Spike said.
The kid looked hesitant. It puzzled Spike as to why the kid’s name was so important to him.
“You know I don’t tell any of the vamps that come in here my real name. They don’t seem to care. I guess I like to keep it a secret because it’s one of the only things I have left that belongs to me. Joe doesn’t even know my name. I’ve been living here for almost three years and not even Joe knows my name.” The kid said as if he were coming up with reasons for an argument.
Spike could see the wheels in his head working as his face changed in emotion. He was presented with a choice that must have been hard for the boy. His choice was to either let Spike bite him on the neck and watch as his perfect world turned on him or he could let someone inside which was probably something the boy never did.
“Okay then you wanna be that way fine. It’s Alexander LaVelle Harris. Happy now.” The boy said heatedly as he hauled himself to sit up and face Spike.
“Alex, I like it better the Alan. Least you kept the A.” Spike said.
“Nobody actually calls me Alex. It’s mostly Xander or Xand. The occasional Xan-Man and someone once called me Lex, but haven’t been called Alex ... ... ... in awhile.” Xander said as he shifted uncomfortable on the bed.
“Why Xander? It’s longer then Alex.” Spike asked not really knowing why he was starting up a conversation with the dark-haired boy.
All he knew was that he had been lonely over the years and maybe he was just taking that out on the kid.
“I don’t know really. I guess someone called me that and it sort of stuck.” Xander said.
“S’okay I guess. Still like Alex better.” Spike said both men wondering why either would care.
Xander didn’t say anything about it though fearing that if he made Spike mad then he’d spread around that this place was no good and the vamps would stop coming here. Part of him rejoiced in that fact while the other part asked where he would go if this place was taken away from him. He had nowhere else to go. This was his home now.
“So are you going to get on with the biting. Remember you promised no neckage.” Xander said.
Spike stifled the urge to laugh at how desperate the boy was at the mere thought of Spike biting his neck.
“Sure, stick out your arm pet.” Spike said watching, as Xander obliged immediately.
Spike looked up and down the Xander’s arm searching for a spot to sink his teeth into literally. He finally found one and slowly descended his mouth to the spot. At first he just licked at the spot before, after licking his lips, he changed into his vampire visage and bit into the flesh. Instantly a rich taste filled his mouth. It was sweet and tangy with just a hint of salty. It was true what the Joe guy had said. Xander did have nice tasting blood.
It was a rich elixir, full of life and spirit and what seemed to be the tinniest traces of hope. How someone could be hopeful when their life was so totally thrown out of proportion as Xander’s was, was beyond Spike. Blood never lied though. Perhaps that’s what made Xander hopeful. He had a shitty life and just knew exactly what rock bottom was and most likely knowing what it felt like to be on top of the world.
That’s why anyone hoped. They hoped so that they could maybe someday far away feel that filling of being on top. That heady rush it gave to know that your life was good. Humans always let it flow in their blood. Or perhaps that Joe guy was right and it was because of his youth and his ties to the world outside of this dank and dark hotel where he lived and spent his life.
Whatever the reason it made Xander’s blood very sweet and tangy. Spike let the rich liquid flow into his mouth until he heard a tiny gasp escape from Xander’s mouth. Knowing that he couldn’t drain the boy not only because it was sure to bring a mark on his head, but also because it would be such a waste to kill someone like him at such a tender age, Spike detracted his fangs and licked up the wound.
“You know you don’t have to do that.” Xander said as Spike started to like the wound.
“Do what, pet?” Spike asked.
“Lick the wound clean. It’ll heal well enough on it’s on. Most vamps just bite and run, blood still trickling down their mouths.” Xander said with a hint of bitterness in his voice.
“Yeah well I hate to jus’ bite an’ run. Doesn’t seem very proper.” Spike said.
Xander laughed at that and held back a snort.
“Right a proper vampire. You must be old. Most nowadays are all rude. Great now I sound old.” Xander said sighing slightly.
He looked up at Spike and gave him a small smile. His eyes looked droopy and still a little glazed over from the recent loss of blood. The kid could definitely use some sleep before whatever tortures he had to face in the morning.
“Alright then, ‘ll be off.” Spike said after a moment or two of silence.
“Hey how about returning the favor?” Xander said as Spike made a break for the door.
“Huh?” Spike said thoroughly confused.
Xander let out a sleepy laugh and Spike wondered if maybe the loss of blood was getting to him.
“Your name, Blondie.” Xander said.
“Oh,” Spike said his lips forming an O shape.
“It’s Spike.” Spike said.
“No really your parents name you that.” Xander said somewhat sarcastically.
“No, it’s jus’ my name now.” Spike said.
“So I’m guessing that you aren’t going to be telling me your real name.” Xander said.
“Maybe when you’re older.” Spike said walking out of the apartment and closing the door behind him.
Spike silently made his way down to the exit of the hotel. He saw Joe sitting next to the desk and felt the urge to turn to him.
“That was more like fifteen minutes. Hope you didn’t drain the kid dry. Actually feel sort of an attachment to him.” Joe said completely wrapped up in his books again.
“So what time you open tomorrow mate?” Spike asked in something barely above a whisper.
Joe looked up at Spike and grinned.
“Kid has that affect on everyone. Not most people come back the next night though. Got himself a few regulars, which is odd. Only three people I know besides the kid got themselves regulars. You’ll get over the high in awhile and then start coming once a month.” Joe said never letting the grin leave his face.
“Jus’ tell me what time.” Spike said impatiently.
Joe’s grin widened. “Sunset as usual. Not a minute sooner and not a minute later. Would you like me to schedule you an appointment with the kid?” Joe asked in a sickeningly sweet voice.
Spike contemplated that for a second. He knew it was probably a little sick and twisted to go gunning for the boy, but in the short span of time he knew the boy he had instantly liked him. It wasn’t just the taste of his blood that Spike was drawn to. He was drawn to something else deep inside of Xander. Something he couldn’t exactly pinpoint.
“Sure why not.” Spike said thinking sod it all and just going for it.
“Just the ten minutes or longer.” Joe asked with the gleam in his eye that made Spike want to cringe.
“Let’s make it an hour.” Spike said.
Joe grinned again and scribbled something down in his book.
His brows furrowed and then he asked, “Under what name shall I put this little appointment under.”
Spike thought for a minute before answering, “William, see you later mate.” Spike said as he walked through the front doors and back to his DeSoto.