Observed Strategies for Survival

co-written with Wesleysgirl

 

 

Xander went into the Espresso Pump with nothing much on his mind but the strong desire for hot chocolate. He ordered a cup, paid with his last two dollars, and turned around only to catch sight of a familiar face at one of the small tables.

"Huh," Xander said, strolling over and looking the man. "Ethan Rayne. Didn't think we'd see you here again."

Ethan picked up his cup of something -- probably tea, what with him being British and all -- and took a sip. "Ah yes. Xander, isn't it?"

Surprised that Ethan remembered who he was, Xander nodded.

"Would you care to join me?" Ethan asked.

"No," Xander said, but, truth be told, he was curious to see if he could find out what Ethan was doing back in Sunnydale, so he sat down in the chair across from Ethan's, spilling some of his hot chocolate onto the table in the process. "What are you doing here?" he asked, flicking his hand to get the drops off.

"Oh, I had such wonderful memories of the place, I thought I'd come back and do a little sight-seeing," Ethan said, offering Xander a handful of napkins. He seemed to get that Xander might not want to touch his hand and ended up letting go of the napkins too soon -- they fluttered down to the floor.

Xander sighed and leaned down to pick them. When he straightened up again, Ethan was using another napkin to mop at the spill.

Once the table was clean, they sat there looking at each other. Xander drank some of his hot chocolate, watching Ethan warily. "Don't get any ideas," Xander told him.

"I can't imagine why you'd think I would," Ethan said, sitting back in his chair with a forced kind of casualness and sipping his tea.

"Well, for starters, because I know you," Xander told him.

Ethan was really good at looking surprised, even when Xander was pretty sure he wasn't. "Do you?" Ethan asked. "What do you think you know about me?"

"Don't think you can play innocent with me," Xander said, frowning. "Just because you're sharing your table, don't think you can pull the wool over my eyes." He paused briefly to wonder where the hell that phrase had come from, but forced his mind back to the matter at hand.

Ethan's hand.

Ethan's hand was on his knee underneath the table, petting it gently.

It felt nice.

Wait!

Xander jerked his chair a couple of inches to the side, glaring at Ethan. "I remember all that stuff you did. Turning us into our halloween costumes, and putting a spell on those... chocolate bars..." Hot chocolate. "Oh, crap. What did you do?"

Ethan had moved closer again. He opened up his hand to reveal a small -- and empty -- vial with a stopper on top of it.

"I just added a little something to your drinking chocolate," he purred. "Something to make you relax. Don't worry." His hand was on Xander's leg again, only this time it was sliding up the inside of Xander's thigh, stroking his sudden erection through the fabric of his jeans, making him moan softly.

"I... don't..." Xander couldn't say anything else, could only tremble under Ethan's touch and yearn for more.

"Such a lovely boy," Ethan murmured, one fingertip tracing the head of Xander's cock with a light, teasing touch. "We're going to have so much fun, you and I."

"Fun?" Xander took another sip of the hot chocolate to soothe his too-dry throat. The drugged hot chocolate, he remembered after he'd swallowed. "I don't think your definition of fun is the same as mine. In fact, I think they're a couple counties away. So maybe you can stop having 'fun' and let me go?"

To Xander's relief -- because of course it was relief, of course he didn't want Ethan touching him -- Ethan pulled his hand away and sat back in his chair again. The look on his face, if Xander had decided to try to put a label on it, might have been disappointed. "You don't really think I'm about to do that, do you?"

Xander shrugged. "It was worth a try?"

Ethan's smirk grew more pronounced. It wasn't a very nice smirk, but Xander couldn't find the fear he should be feeling. He knew Ethan was dangerous.

"So why did you invite me in? 'Cause if you wanted Ripper Jr, I think you picked the wrong kid."

Ethan's eyes didn't seem to leave him for a second, and okay, that made Xander squirm as much as his unwanted erection did. "I've been waiting 'round here for days," Ethan said, gesturing at the other tables around them. At least, Xander thought, the time of day meant that the Espresso Pump was pretty close to empty. "Not for just anyone, mind. For you." He sipped his tea again, his eyes never leaving Xander's over the top of his cup. "I've had my eye on you."

"And now your hand, too," Xander said. Then he blanched, it immediately turning into a flush as Ethan took his words as an invitation. Which they weren't. "What did you give me?"

Ethan's thumb was rubbing over the inner seam of Xander's pants. Slow and warm; it made him shiver and his eyes want to close in pleasure. "A little of this, a little of that. Are you objecting?"

"No -- I mean yes! I mean -- it's time for me to go." But he didn't move.

"Actually, I agree with you." Xander felt a surge of confused emotion as Ethan pulled his hand back and stood up. "It is time for us to go. Come along like a good boy."

Xander stared, then found himself standing up like his body knew how to follow orders. And wow, did he not like that thought. "Go where?" he managed to ask.

"I've a room not far from here." The look Ethan was giving him was calculating, the older man's eyes lingering on Xander's crotch in a way that made him want to cross his hands over himself, one of those dreams about going to school naked come to life. "Don't worry. I have everything we need."

Need? What exactly where they going to ... need? "You know what, I think I have an appointment I forgot. With Buffy. You remember her, the Slayer? The one who whipped you the last time you were here? Yeah. Her. I'm going to go see her now."

"No, you're not." Ethan's voice was so cool. He walked away from the table, not bothering to glance behind him. "You're going to be a good boy and come with me."

No, no he wasn't. He wasn't. Xander glared at his feet, which traitorously obeyed Ethan instead of him.

If he concentrated, he thought he could feel it -- the magic, running through his veins, just a little bit too warm, or something. Not that it mattered, since it seemed like he couldn't stop himself from doing whatever Ethan told him to do.

Xander followed Ethan several blocks to one of Sunnydale's more rundown motels, watching with his heart beating just a little too quickly as Ethan glanced around, took a key from his pocket, and unlocked the door. "After you," Ethan said, pushing the door open and standing back.

His eyes immediately tracked to the bed, a double covered with blankets that would no doubt be scratchy and uncomfortable. Xander didn't want to be here. He just didn't know how to leave, yet.

There was little evidence of personal items around the room, except for a large black bag on the dresser near the mirror. It looked like an old doctor's bag, the kind on tv shows from the fifties or whenever doctors still made house calls. Maybe there was an antidote inside? Something to hurt Ethan, or break this spell or compulsion or whatever it was?

He could feel Ethan's eyes on him, watching him. It made his skin crawl. And his dick harden. "So what did you give me?"

"I already told you," Ethan said, shutting and -- Xander couldn't help but notice -- bolting the door behind him. "A little of this, a little of that." He stepped closer, seeming bigger than he probably was in the small space. "But we're not going to talk about that. There are other, more important, things that I'd like to discuss with you."

Xander always prided himself on being a pretty big guy. He wasn't tall and lanky like Giles, or football-big like Angel, but he wasn't short, and he knew he was big enough that he didn't have to take shit from anybody. At least, not until the pain started.

Ethan made him feel small. Ethan -- or the drug inside him -- made him almost like feeling small.

"Discuss? You mean we're going to actually talk?" Sarcasm meter on overload, Xander batted his eyelashes and pretended to simper. "Oh, you do love me, don't you?" He wasn't quite sure if he was kidding or not. Magic could make you do wacky things.

Ethan stepped around behind him, resting one hand on Xander's hip and leaning close to say quietly, "At the very least, I fully intend to love what you do for me." Then, while Xander was still shivering with the implication of those words, Ethan moved around in front of him. "And I think I'd like you to start by taking off your shirt."

Xander scoffed. "Oh, yeah -- mmph -- right. No way am I -- you know, you don't have to look so damned smug."

Tossing the shirt onto the bed, Xander shivered in the slightly chilled air of the motel and tried very hard not to cross his arms over his chest. He was a guy. Guys didn't feel weird with their nipples exposed. But Ethan could stop looking like that any time now: predatory and hungry and scary on a level not even vampires could often reach.

"Oh, poor boy. Are you cold?" Ethan reached out a hand and brushed a fingertip over one of Xander's nipples, making his cock twitch in the jeans that, please God, he'd be able to keep on. "But it does do such pretty things to your body." He was so close now that he could have kissed Xander, but he didn't even try. He shook his head, making a little tsk-tsk sound. "No, this won't do at all. You'll have to remove your trousers as well. I need to see all of you."

His hands shook as they lowered, resting his fingertips along the familiar folds of stitched denim. I don't want to do this. I'm not doing this. He mentally repeated that over and over, willing his hands to stop their practiced movements.

His pants puddled around his ankles with a swish.

Ethan gestured at him impatiently to step out of them, and Xander did, awkwardly, trying to resist but not succeeding even slightly. "Everything," Ethan said, and within seconds Xander was naked, his shoes kicked off to one side and his boxers somewhere in the corner of the room.

"Mmm," Ethan said. "Much better. Has anyone ever told you how beautiful you are?"

That was the last thing Xander had expected to be told.

"I'm what?" he asked, voice about an octave higher as Ethan laid a possessive hand over his belly at the same time. He was hovering alongside him now, examining Xander's profile minutely. "You think huh?"

"But that's not the only reason why I wanted you," Ethan continued, stroking his hand over Xander's stomach while Xander tried to silently will his dick to stop liking this so much. "No, it's because I could see it in you. See what you need." He paused. "And I'm going to give it to you. You'll thank me when all's said and done."

"S-see what?"

He hadn't stuttered since he was a child. He'd stood up to Angelus before and hadn't stuttered. But now, with that softly accented voice telling him that he wanted this. . .

"Hm?" Ethan said.

Xander fought back another moan, the softly questioning sound making his dick as happy as the touching. "What'd you s-see in m-me?"

"That you want to obey," Ethan said, one fingertip circling a nipple now with a light touch. "You know, deep down -- don't you, Xander -- that you'll never be alpha male. There'll always be someone stronger, someone smarter... and somewhere, inside, you want that. Want to give up the fight and let someone else take responsibility. Control."

He pinched Xander's nipple without warning, hard, making Xander gasp and his cock jump.

"Good boy," Ethan said, watching him. "Get on your knees."

His head was over-full, hormones and want and drug-magic-whatever making him feel loopy and dizzy. For a second, he did want what Ethan said -- the freedom to just do what as he was told, not having to worry about anything but getting it right.

His knees ached against the crappy carpet. More than just his hands were shaking, now, and his dick was so hard it was starting to hurt. Ethan looked huge -- masterful -- above him.

"No," he croaked. It sounded too much like a lie.

"Yes," Ethan corrected gently. "In any case, right now it doesn't particularly matter what you want." His hand stroked Xander's hair. "Undo my trousers and take out my cock."

He wanted to cry, but the pulsing, aching throb of his cock and the rushing in his ears dried his tears before they could do more than burn his eyes. "No," he lied again. His hands shook from the effort of holding them down. He might be the Zeppo, but he wasn't going to turn into some mindless, mind-controlled toy for a Chaos-worshipper's pleasure.

"It'll be worse for you if you're disobedient," Ethan warned, grabbing hold of Xander's hair and yanking on it so that Xander didn't have any choice but to look up at him. "Is that what you want?"

The pain did bring tears to his eyes. He blinked them away, careful not to move his head even a little. "No," he lied again.

"I won't tell you again," Ethan said, his voice stern and cold now, harsh. "Do it."

It was a whimper, not a moan. A whimper of fear. That was all. Xander's hands rose so suddenly it was like a string had been cut. He fumbled at the buttons of Ethan's pants, the constant tug of his hair a strange sort of ground.

Ethan wasn't wearing any underwear. That made sense, if you were an evil chaos worshipper who prayed on stupidly gullible boys. Trying not to examine the bits of curls that peeked through metal teeth, Xander drew the zipper down.

"That's right," Ethan said, his fingers gentle in Xander's hair again. "Good."

Xander ignored the frisson of something in his belly.

Zipper all the way down, Ethan's cock popped out. It was pale and long and looked strange at the tip. Xander stared at it, almost cross-eyed as it waved in front of him.

"Touch it," Ethan ordered, and, when Xander hesitated, sighed in frustration. "Oh for God's sake, it's no different from giving yourself a wank. Just grab hold."

"I'm not gay." It was probably the most inane thing he could have said, and he deserved the hard yank of his hair. "I'm not."

Pushing the folds of the jeans away, Xander laid gentle fingers against a cock that wasn't his own. Something belligerent kept him from 'grabbing hold' the way he'd been told. Cordelia had done this to him once, teased him with the softest touches imaginable, gently scratching him with red-lacquered nails, leaving him cursing and desperate and helpless.

He couldn't help but feel a little bit pleased when Ethan hissed and shoved that long cock against his hand. "I'm going to offer you a choice," the man said tightly. "With the understanding that sooner or later I'll have both, which would you prefer this first time?" When Xander looked at him blankly, totally uncomprehending, Ethan clarified, "Your mouth or your arse."

That was a choice? His body clenched, absolute denial of either option making him sweat.

Still teasing, Xander concentrated on toying with the oddly shaped tip -- foreskin, he realized belatedly. Like most Americans born in the eighties, he'd been circumcised. He'd never seen this extra bit of skin before.

"Does it have to hurt?"

Ethan seemed to be considering the question, at least. "Being fucked? No. It all depends on how cooperative you are, although it's likely there'll be some discomfort at first." He was watching Xander's hand explore his foreskin. "Men fuck each other all the time, Xander. They wouldn't do it if it didn't feel good. You'll see. But you still haven't answered my question."

"I don't have to answer," he said plaintively. The harder Ethan's cock got, the easier it was to push the foreskin down to expose a reddened head. "The drugs or magic or whatever just makes me. . . " what word to use, "obedient. It doesn't force me to answer either/or questions."

"No, but I can force you to answer," Ethan said with a sigh. "Although I'm not sure it's worth the bother. I suppose I'll just fuck you first, now that you've gone to the trouble of getting me ready for you."

He reached down and moved Xander's hand away from his erection, then gestured at the bed.

"Kneel facing the bed with your arms on the mattress. And spread your legs." Without waiting to see if Xander obeyed, Ethan went over to the dresser and the black bag that was there.

Xander's body moved where he was directed, the bedclothes as scratchy and uncomfortable as he'd suspected. He felt horribly exposed with his legs spread so wide.

He also was in no way feeling good because he'd obeyed without a fight. Or because the humiliation of being so exposed and controlled was arousing. If he was, that was totally the magical whatever-it-was inside him.

He could hear Ethan moving around, rummaging through that bag probably. Then the other man was behind him again and slick, cool fingers were probing between his butt cheeks, and Xander squeezed his eyes shut as tight as he could, wishing fervently to be anywhere but here.

"Relax," Ethan said. "You aren't doing yourself any favors by being tense, believe me."

His body took that as a command and certain muscles went completely lax. That was not a turn on.

A single finger -- at least, he thought it was just one, but how was he supposed to know? -- slid inside him. It hurt. Not like the burning pain he was expecting, just... an intrusion. Uncomfortable. It made him tense back up and squirm slightly.

Ethan swatted him sharply on the ass with the flat of his hand. "Stop it," he said.

Xander bit his tongue instead of pointing out that being hit wasn't on the list of things that would help him relax. His body obeyed anyway, or it mostly did. Ethan's finger pushed deeper, then slid back out, and Xander sighed with relief.

Of course, it was a relief that only lasted a couple of seconds, because then he felt something bigger pressing against him, something warm and smooth and hard, stretching him, and Xander whimpered before he could stop himself.

"Relax," Ethan said, almost soothingly. "I want to show you that this can feel good."

"Aren't you supposed to, uh, do more?" he asked, slightly hysterically as the thing -- Ethan's dick -- pushed further inside his body. "Isn't there like a three finger rule? Or, or, something?"

He felt like he was splitting apart. Ethan was ripping him in two, and Xander couldn't move away.

Ethan's hands were on his hips, holding him steady, waiting for... well, Xander didn't know what, and he wasn't sure he cared, as long as it meant Ethan wasn't pushing his cock further into Xander's ass.

"Shh," Ethan crooned, fingers stroking over Xander's hips gently. "Good boy, that's right. Just relax and let me in."

Xander was quivering, covered with a thin sheen of cold sweat. He thought he might throw up. But then, incredibly, after -- forever -- half a minute or so, he did relax again, and it was... better. Not good, but at least not bad to the wanting-to-scream level, and Ethan eased inside him a little bit more.

"That's right," Ethan continued to tell him. "Relax like a good boy."

"Can you not call me that?" His voice was squeaky and sharp, so cold in his mouth that he almost saw plumes of whitened air.

"What, a good boy?" Ethan slid even further inside, still rubbing Xander's hips. One hand traced upward, sliding between his cock -- still humiliatingly hard -- and Xander's belly. Xander wasn't quite sure how rubbing could be mocking, but this was. "But you are a good boy, aren't you? You like being a very good boy for me."

Xander grunted, trying to ignore the way his blood surged with each repetition.

"This is what I saw in you," Ethan said, pulling his cock out a little bit and then pushing forward again hard, going deep.

Xander made a sound that was something between a gasp and a cry, strangled, desperate. He couldn't feel Ethan's hands on him -- couldn't feel anything but Ethan's dick, huge and impossibly hard and where it didn't belong, making every inch of Xander hurt.

He could still hear Ethan's voice, though. "I knew that you wanted this, and that you'd never let yourself have it, not on your own. You think I don't understand repression? Believe me, I've seen it before."

"Oh, yeah," Xander gritted out. "You were the king of fucking repression." He hated swearing. He tried not to do it often, but this. . . Oh, god, this hurt. His hands opened and shut, his sweat making it harder to dig his nails into tender palms.

Ethan pulled back again, before sliding in deepest still. "Not me," Ethan corrected him, slick palm and fingers creating a tight channel for Xander's dick, which he could suddenly feel again with a vengeance as Ethan's cock pushed him forward. "But I know all about it, and I've lots of experience helping people break free of it."

The head of Ethan's cock rubbed against something inside Xander, drawing a low moan out of him, his balls tightening like they'd been squeezed by an invisible hand.

"That's right," Ethan said, circling his hips and making Xander moan again. "See?"

No, he didn't see. He wasn't supposed to enjoy this. He wasn't --

Ethan hit that place again, his hand tightening simultaneously. Xander cried out, and then started to actually cry. This wasn't supposed to feel good.

"That's right, let it out. Soon I'll have you begging for it."

Xander was begging, all right, but only in his head, where he was the only one who could hear it. At least, as far as he knew. Unless Ethan had more magic working on him than just the spell that was making him bend over and take it up the ass without more than a token protest.

That thought was distracting enough that, for a few seconds, at least, Xander forgot that he didn't want this in a haze of fear that there was more to come, more that he might never even have thought might exist.

But then Ethan shoved in harder and Xander heard himself moan again between the sobs that he was trying to muffle against his forearm. Ethan's hand was tight around him, working the head of his cock with each thrust.

"Good boy," Ethan said again.

"Shut up. Just shut up."

"Oh, how witty. I thought you were the babbler of the group."

Xander gasped as Ethan's thumb flicked something under the head of his cock, again timing it as he thrust in, making that good place inside him feel even gooder. More good. Better. Something. Xander soaked his forearm with his tears the way he soaked Ethan's fingers with pre-come.

Ethan's thumb did that thing again, and Xander felt his cock surge in warning, his breath hitching in his chest painfully as he fought for control.

"It's all right," Ethan said, changing the angle of his thrusts, his cock jabbing deeper. "Come."

No! Not that. Obedience, before, he could justify in his head. Even his own body enjoying what Ethan did to it -- that made a sick kind of sense, too. But not this. Xander wasn't going to let Ethan have this. His body jerked, twisting so his bones creaked, his breath scraping the inside of his throat raw. "No," he panted. "No, no, no."

Ethan just chuckled. "Oh, but you are fun. That's right, Xander, fight me. It's lovely to see you try." He thrust forward deepest yet, hand a vise around Xander's cock. "But you will come."

Xander screamed as his body relented, crying freely.

He felt Ethan come too, one last rough thrust accompanied by a scalding rush of hot fluid inside him, and he sobbed harder. He didn't even try to hold back, just let the tears flow, grateful for the support of the mattress and even for the press of Ethan's thighs against the backs of his own, the two combined holding him up when he wasn't sure he'd have been able to stay upright without them.

Ethan's hand was gentle on his softening cock, and to Xander's surprise, he felt Ethan kiss his shoulder. "There. Good. That was the worst of it, I assure you. After this, it will all be easier."

That made him want to sob harder. Easier? There was going to be more? Not that he'd had much before, but Xander recognized he had nothing left: strength, dignity. Freedom.

"Please," he begged between his tears. "You got what you wanted. Let me go. I won't tell, not even Buffy." You couldn't pay him enough to tell anyone about this. "Just please let me go."

"No," Ethan said. "I have plans for you." The hand that had been holding onto Xander's hip was stroking through his hair now, and it almost felt nice.

The older man pulled back, his dick sliding out of Xander with a roughened feel like sandpaper, making Xander whimper pitifully.

"Come along," Ethan said, standing up. "I want you in the shower now."

The bedspread wasn't soft or the mattress very hard. Xander cataloged these facts as he lay pressed against it, feeling his body ache in ways he didn't want it to. "I won't tell," he repeated hoarsely, almost mindless with his need. "I won't. Won't ever tell."

"Xander, go into the shower now." Ethan's voice was beguiling; Xander wondered why. It wasn't like Ethan needed to sound so coaxing.

He started hiccuping when he stood up, something cooling and sticky leaking down his legs.

He did what Ethan told him to, though, keeping his head down, sniffling, rubbing his knuckles roughly underneath his nose as his breath hitched and caught. Ethan's hand slid down along his back and over the curve of his ass, and Xander couldn't help it -- he tensed and jerked away from the touch.

Ethan sighed. He sounded frustrated, like he expected better of Xander, and Xander wasn't sure how he felt about that.

Confused, mostly.

He didn't bother disguising his red eyes or tear-tracked face as he glared at Ethan. Being confused over this scared him. He wasn't supposed to be slightly dismayed that Ethan was disappointed in him. He was supposed to be angry. "What, you thought I'd just roll over and give it up now?" he demanded. "That now I like it?"

Ethan merely looked at him, tiny little smile turning his belly cold and hard. "Xander. You did like it." He held up his shiny, sticky hand. "Dear me, is this proof I have? So it would seem. Go shower."

Xander kept his chin nearly at his chest as he entered the bathroom. It was as dingy and rundown as everything else in this motel room, but when he turned on the faucet the water came out blessedly hot. Xander turned it as high as it would go.

To Xander's surprise, Ethan left him alone while he showered. He was able to wash himself off, turning slowly under the hot water. He wanted to bend over and let the water rinse away the evidence of what he and Ethan had just done -- no, what Ethan had done to him -- but he was worried that that would be the moment Ethan would yank the shower curtain back and expose him, and the thought of that made his stomach churn, so he did the best he could with a couple of quick handfuls of water.

He stayed under the spray until the water had gone from hot to warm to tepid, then shut it off and stood there.

"I was beginning to wonder if you'd drowned in there," Ethan's voice said mildly. "Which would have been a terrible shame. Come out now."

Xander pushed the curtain back automatically. Ethan was leaning back against the wall, still naked, a wadded up washcloth on the edge of the sink proof that he'd at least cleaned himself off. There was a towel in his hand, and he held it out toward Xander.

Xander grabbed the dangling hem of the towel, not wanting to touch Ethan's skin if he wasn't forced to. He toweled himself off roughly, rubbing and rubbing until his skin turning from pink to red and Ethan gave him a disapproving look.

"Do you honestly think I'm going to allow you to do that?" Ethan asked.

Do what? Towel himself dry? Xander didn't answer since it wasn't something he had to answer. He did stop rubbing, however, and wrapped the towel around his waist. It felt funny to be covered again.

That made the sobs he'd suppressed in the shower want to come back.

"Go back to the bedroom," Ethan said, with that disapproving edge still in his voice, "and lie down on the bed."

He kept the towel firmly around his waist as he laid down. He thought about lying on his back, hands tucked behind his head in defiance. Instead, he found himself on his side, curled up in what was almost a fetal position, facing the door to the bathroom. Trying not to shiver as his still damp body reacted to the cool air.

And it was just the air that made him shiver. Nothing else.

He watched as Ethan came over to the side of the bed and stood there, looking down at him. "Are you cold?"

Xander hesitated, then nodded.

"Well, speak up then," Ethan said exasperatedly, going over to the wall heater and turning it on. It gave a grumble and then started to hum. "This isn't meant to be torture, you know."

"Not torture?" Xander blinked, repeating the words softly. "Not torture?" His laughter was rough and strained sounding, bubbling up from his belly to send peals of giggles that sounded like sobs from his mouth, eyes painfully dry. He didn't look at Ethan, not wanting to see that blank faced tinged with amusement staring down at him. "Not torture," he giggle-sobbed. "Oh, that's great. And what is this supposed to be, then? Other than, you know, rape. A common method of torture."

Ethan went around behind him and sat down on the bed, one hand stroking the length of Xander's side and over his hip, the touch more gentle than Xander would have thought. "Shh," Ethan said. "You'll be thanking me when this is all over, I promise you."

Fingers petted Xander's hair, turning his head so that he had no choice but to look at Ethan.

"You like this," Ethan said, in a voice that held a tinge of command in it.

"Forcing my body to enjoy it doesn't mean I really am." He had to believe that. Ethan's gentle petting felt wonderful, the kind of innocent, affectionate touches he used to share with Willow before they grew up and learned why those touches could be bad. The kind of touch that meant I see you and I like what I see. The kind of touch he ached for, thinking about it only late at night, when no one but him knew about it.

"You like this," Ethan repeated. His voice was softer, coaxing, the way you coaxed a nervous pet or small child. The command in it wrapped up in the softest down blanket and promises of safety.

Xander shivered and lied, "No, I don't."

"You do," Ethan said, but it wasn't arguing, it was just... gentle. Xander thought it had been easier when Ethan wasn't being so gentle and nice. Then Ethan's hands were urging him to turn. "Roll over onto your back, there's a good boy."

Xander obeyed, closing his eyes when Ethan's hands settled on his towel, not taking it off but lifting it up, exposing him.

"That's right. Here, now, spread your legs for me. Good." Ethan moved down, fingertips that felt cool and dry brushing over the hairs on Xander's inner thighs, making him tremble.

Ethan traced pattern after pattern on his skin, his fingers never quite touching where Xander's body wanted to be touched. Humiliation burned Xander's cheeks a fiery red. He knew what Ethan was doing. He also knew he had no way of fighting it.

Did that mean he should just relax into it? Something he'd heard or read or had told to him by Willow unearthed itself from his mind, something that made him sick even as it made sense. He couldn't fight it, so he might as well enjoy it. Right?

He moaned, back arching slightly when Ethan grazed the bottom of his sac.

"Good boy," he heard, satisfaction erasing the disappointment from before. "Such a beautiful boy," Ethan continued, his accent sounding almost disturbingly like Giles' when he spoke in that low voice, the one Xander had mostly heard Giles use with Willow or Buffy. A fingertip traced the crease between Xander's thigh and body, and he couldn't help but moan again and rock his hips. "Has anyone ever sucked your cock, Xander?"

His cock jerked, a tiny bit of pre-come beading on the tip. "N-no."

Ethan's voice was low and seductive. "Would you like me to?"

The tiny bead slipped down over his skin, another already taking its place on the tip. Questions he could lie to. He could lie now and say no, pretend he hadn't given into every male fantasy of wanting a mouth wrapped around him, a tongue busy finding every sensitive spot he had, pleasing him. . .

"Yes." He started when he heard his own voice, barely recognizing it through the strain. Ethan's fingers dipped down to tickle the skin directly behind his balls. He squeaked again.

"Are you sure?" Ethan asked, his eyes dark when Xander looked up into them. "And I want you to think about what you're going to say very carefully before you answer, because that will determine whether or not I agree."

The hint of threat there made Xander truly afraid for the first time. Answer carefully? Yes was the answer, the only answer, so what did Ethan want? He whimpered again, pushing into fingers that never stopped moving. His brain was turning into lust-ridden mush.

"P-please?" he whispered.

"Oh, yes," Ethan said, smiling in a way Xander wasn't sure he liked. "Good boy. Now close your eyes..."

Xander did, every muscle in his body straining with anticipation. He felt Ethan get up off the bed, heard sounds coming from where the dresser was, and shivered. But then Ethan was back, both hands running up the insides of Xander's thighs, spreading them wider.

"Just relax, that's right," Ethan crooned. "Good." Something cold and coated with slick was pressing against the skin behind Xander's balls, sliding, then pushing into him.

Sore muscles protested the intrusion. "What -- what is that?" he asked wildly. "What are you doing? I -- " Ethan had called him a good boy -- didn't that mean he'd answered correctly? That now Ethan was going to --

"Quiet." The single word stilled Xander's body before it could actual thrash. "Relax, Xander. You're being very good for me."

"Wh-what are you doing?" His voice shook and wobbled the way a child's teeter-totter did.

"It's a plug," Ethan said, wriggling it a little bit and making Xander moan and tense. "Shh, relax. It's going to make the experience so much better for you. Trust me."

The man didn't seem to realize how funny that was, but Xander didn't have time to think about it either, because Ethan had bent lower and was blowing warm air across his dribbling cock.

Oh, god. His entire body went rigid, each individual muscle trembling with the effort of not moving, not doing anything that would displease Ethan and make him stop what he was doing.

Ethan's tongue was hot when it licked a wet stripe along Xander's shaft, so slowly that Xander was panting and clutching a handful of damp towel by the time he reached the tip. "I'd like to hear that word again, Xander," Ethan prompted.

"Yes?" he said doubtfully --

-- and arched up off the bed with a pained cry when Ethan twisted the plug in his ass. "I know you're smarter than this, Xander. I may expect a lot from you, but it's because I know you can deliver it."

"Please!" He hadn't been sure, before, but now he understood the game Ethan wanted to play. "Please," he begged again, repetitions of the word crowding against his teeth. Anything to make certain Ethan didn't hurt him, and started doing those amazing things again.

"Good," Ethan said, letting go of the plug and bending over him again, warm breath moving across Xander's skin. "Now ask me nicely. What is it that you'd like me to do?"

"To -- to do what you were doing before?"

For a really long few seconds he thought that Ethan was going to hurt him again -- and maybe he would have deserved it -- but then Ethan pressed his lips to Xander's cock, very lightly, and asked, "You want me to lick your cock?" Lips moved over Xander's twitching dick as Ethan spoke. "Say it."

He wasn't sure he could say it. Begging, it turned out, was actually less humiliating. "Please. Please, do the -- your t-t-tongue and the way you just b-breathed and -- please, god, please."

Ethan licked, quicker than the first time and, somehow, more intense. "Good. Again. I'll only do what you ask me to do, Xander."

"Why? Why're you -- "

Ethan stroked his thigh, rhythmic and soft. "Why am I making you tell me what you want? Or why am I doing this at all?"

"The -- the first one?" Another lick, this time slipping over the tip to find skin that was even more sensitive. "Please!"

Ethan's hand moved higher, rubbing Xander's balls lightly. "I could pretend to be doing it for your sake," he said thoughtfully. "Say that I was trying to show you that you do want this -- prove to you that I'm right. But the truth is a great deal more selfish than that, I'm afraid." Ethan's eyes met Xander's. "It's because I like to hear you asking. Nothing more."

Xander got lost in Ethan's eyes. He'd never understood that phrase before, but now. . . he was floating. Flying through a combination of pain and pleasure he never imagined. "Touch me."

"Like this?" Ethan's smile was cruel as he cupped Xander's balls and squeezed them lightly.

Xander arched, gasping, the head of his cock slick from constant pre-come leaking over it. "Yes, please. Please, E-Ethan."

"I'm happy to touch you, Xander," Ethan said, fondling Xander's balls in a way that made his cock twitch and ache. "And I'd like to do more, if you'll just tell me what it is you want me to do." His voice almost sounded warm, for a few seconds there, anyway. "Do you want me to lick you?" A pause, and the hot wet tip of his tongue flicked just under the head of Xander's cock. "Suck you?"

The need for Ethan to do something built until he felt the pressure weigh on him, as heavy as gravitational forces from a car going too fast. "Yes. B-both of those, please."

Then, thank everything that was holy in every religion everywhere, Ethan's tongue licked up over the head of Xander's cock. Warm lips surrounded him, pulled him into Ethan's mouth, wet and hot like liquid fire.

Every time Xander moved even the slightest amount, he could feel the plug in his ass. It didn't hurt, exactly, just felt... weird, like it didn't belong, but he wasn't sure he cared, not when Ethan was sucking his cock.

Ethan's chuckle made him gasp. Warm lips slid a little bit further down past the head, tickling the shaft -- and then pulled off entirely.

"Hey!"

"I'm giving you something very special, Xander. You should thank me for doing so." He looked so much like Giles when Xander needed an etiquette lecture. The tiny smile, the slightly mocking tilt of his head -- it shouldn't make Xander moan that way. "Or don't you like what I'm doing?"

The unlimited amount of sarcasm and snark that had helped Xander survive high school had vanished out from under him. "I like it," he admitted, voice softer than a whisper. "Th-thank you."

"Good boy," Ethan praised and licked over the head of his cock.

"Oh, god, that feels -- thank you," Xander babbled.

"If you're very good," Ethan said, pausing to swirl his tongue around the flared ridge, making Xander pant and twist, "I just might let you come in my mouth. Wouldn't you like that?"

The sudden rush of lust made him forget his humiliation. "Oh, god," he moaned, his hips working upward -- and working the plug inside him inward. The combination should have hurt. It had hurt, last time.

This time, it felt good. The stretch, the burn, combined with the aching need of his cock, overwhelmed in a way sex never had before.

"Please. Please, I'll do anything you want, tell me how to be good, please."

"Mm, you just keep that up," Ethan said, busy licking again, just quick flicks of his tongue that were driving Xander out of his mind with need. "That's just what I like to hear."

He took all of Xander's throbbing erection into his mouth again, very deeply, sucking hard so that Xander's moans took on a new pitch -- higher, more desperate.

He screamed -- thin and piercing the way only a guy's scream could be -- when fingers nudged the plug inside him to a new direction, just brushing his prostate. Early promises to himself to remain aloof, to only obey when he was forced to -- that vanished.

"Anything," he promised, eyes already raw from tears starting to sting again. "That feels so -- I'll do anything."

"You will," Ethan said, fingers grabbing onto the plug and working it so that it rubbed Xander's prostate mercilessly, making him sob and arch his back. "I want you to say my name when you come." And then Ethan's mouth was on him again, sucking, licking.

Xander didn't know what he was saying anymore. Babble poured out from him as Ethan knowingly worked his body to an intensity he'd never felt before. He'd never known it was possible to feel this way.

When Ethan slid his mouth down lower, taking more and more of Xander inside him, Xander's body went rigid. Fleetingly, he wondered if it was possible to die from orgasm.

But then he was coming, fire streaking through his body until it hurt, howling out Ethan's name.

Ethan pulled back, one gentle hand stroking Xander's dick carefully as the last surges made him whimper and gasp. "That's right," Ethan said. "Good."

The older man let go of him just long enough to move up on the bed, lying down next to Xander and pulling him into a comforting embrace that Xander somehow couldn't manage not to cling to. He was trembling, his eyes burning, his ass still clenched around the butt plug.

"Good, Xander," Ethan said. "Very good." And tangling his fingers in Xander's hair, he tilted Xander's head and kissed him, lips warm and only slightly demanding.

Xander didn't know how to fight anymore. When Ethan asked entrance, Xander opened his mouth. When Ethan counted his teeth and did something with his tongue that made Xander's dick think about taking interest again, Xander gave in to the feeling with a muffled groan. His own return kisses were sloppy and untalented. Ethan didn't seem to mind.

Ethan ran his hand, which was warm and actually felt nice, down to Xander's shoulder, then along his side and down over his hip. It was kind of like he thought Xander was a cat and needed petting.

Then he used that hip to roll Xander onto his side so that he was facing Ethan, which did make kissing him easier, even if it meant that Xander didn't have any choice but to feel Ethan's erection against his thigh.

"Such a lovely boy," Ethan murmured. "You're just what I've been looking for."

Xander ducked his head. He didn't want to see Ethan's expression -- and worse, he didn't want Ethan to see his. No one had ever called him lovely before, or said he was what they needed. No one had ever wanted him before.

It was an effort to remind himself that Ethan had drugged, kidnapped, and then raped him. The smooth touches over his chest and belly, scritching lightly as if he really was a cat, felt so good. As if he could just sink into the gentle affection Ethan offered and forget about all the bad things. Just concentrate on being warm and held near someone else's body, an increasingly passionate mouth on his.

He blinked up lazily when he realized he was fully on his back, Ethan straddling his hips and smiling down at him. "Hi."

"Hello," Ethan said, both hands settling on Xander's chest, thumbs rubbing over Xander's nipples. The edges of Ethan's thumbnails scratched a little bit, and Xander's nipples seemed to like that -- they hardened, sending a tingling sensation down through his body to his dick, which was tired, but obviously not dead.

Of course, in this position it was pretty much impossible to ignore the fact that Ethan's cock was hard and rubbing against Xander's chest too.

"There's something I want you to do for me," Ethan said.

"You don't have to be so sly about it," Xander said calmly. "You removed the 'no' button, remember?"

"I prefer it when you say 'yes,'" Ethan said thoughtfully, pinching one of Xander's nipples lightly. "But you do have a point."

He thrust his hips forward, rubbing his erection over Xander's chest toward his mouth. It looked big and kind of gross, and the thought that it had been inside his ass -- where the butt plug was now -- made Xander feel a little bit sick.

Ethan reached out and ran his thumb along Xander's lower lip. "Open up," he said.

He'd be lying if he said he never thought about this. Every guy thought about it late at night when they pulled on their own, imagining all kinds of things they rarely told their girlfriends. Mrs. Palmer never blabbed secrets.

His tongue flickered out to wet his lips, brushing against Ethan's thumb accidentally. Ethan made a noise. It was a good noise, really, full of air and unspoken wants.

Xander'd never made someone sound like that.

"Open up," Ethan coaxed. He pulled Xander's lower lip down, the jaw following naturally. "Good boy. You know what I want."

Yeah, of course he did. Ethan's cock rocked up Xander's chest to bump against his mouth. He wanted to close his eyes. There'd been a sense of freedom before, when Ethan had turned him against the bed. He couldn't watch and so it'd been a little easier to try and shut everything out of his mind. Pretend the pain was happening to someone else.

His eyes ached from looking down so much.

Xander's mouth opened more as the head of Ethan's cock nudged against his lips, which had suddenly gone dry with nervousness. He licked his lower lip again and the soft skin of Ethan's tip along with it, and the man over him gave a soft sigh of pleasure.

"Yes, good." Ethan must have been able to hear what Xander was thinking, because he said, "Look up at me, Xander."

His eyes moved up to meet Ethan's almost gratefully, even though it was hard to have to see the man's face as Ethan's hips pushed and his cock slid further into Xander's mouth.

It felt weird. Big. Almost squishy. The taste was salty and bitter and he had to fight not to gag -- was that Ethan he was tasting? Or himself? His jaw stretched, the joints twinging a warning while the muscles in his neck started to ache. He was sucking Ethan's cock.

Well, actually, he was kind of holding it and running his tongue against the bulbous head. Feeling around the foreskin and kind of poking at it. He hoped Ethan wasn't expecting a very good blow job.

But from the way Ethan's eyes had crinkled up with concentration, it seemed like he was doing okay, at least.

"Yes, like that." Ethan pushed in further and Xander couldn't help it, he grabbed onto Ethan's hip to stop him from moving in any further, because if he did, Xander was going to either gag or puke, possibly both, and he didn't think that was what Ethan wanted.

Ethan's low chuckle thankfully did not bring back the shivery happy feelings. This one made him feel humiliated and stupid. "Relax your throat. Go slowly."

He didn't try to speak, glaring at instructions he already knew, thanks. He'd watched porn before. He knew all the lines. Such a lovely boy.

Swallowing at the memory, Xander concentrated on relaxing his mouth and throat. His tongue worked convulsively, flooding his mouth with saliva as he tried to do the things Ethan had done to him.

"Good. Very good." Ethan seemed to get that Xander needed the encouragement -- his fingers stroked the side of Xander's face lightly, his other hand resting on Xander's shoulder.

Xander licked around as much of the head as he could, focusing right on the slit. He'd liked that, definitely, when Ethan had --

A sudden rush of bitterness had him scrambling not to gag or choke, eyes boring up to Ethan's in silent question.

Ethan was breathing a little more heavily, the hand that had been on Xander's shoulder at the base of his own cock now, squeezing it. "It's all right," Ethan said tightly, lips twitching. "There, it's all right. Shh."

Xander blinked away tears that he hadn't realized were there until right then, and to his surprise, Ethan moved back, lying down next to Xander again and holding him, kissing him gently.

"You're doing so well, I'm very proud of you."

"You s-stopped?" Xander squeezed his eyes shut and pinched his nose to try to regain control of his body. As soon as he reopened his eyes, though, the tears ran down his cheeks once again.

"There are so many things we're going to do together," Ethan said, wiping Xander's tears away with a gentle brush of fingertips. "We have time. We don't need to do it all at once."

Xander felt Ethan's hand between his legs again, rotating the butt plug, making him gasp.

"And right now, I'd like to fuck you again. So that I can see your face this time."

"Because that'll freak me out?" The pronouncement that he was going to be fucked -- raped -- again should've scared him. There should have been some kind of reaction, not pushing up on his elbows so he could watch Ethan's fingers manipulate the plug inside his body.

He felt numb. He wished it was physical numbness, but all he had was this almost sleepy kind of emotional acceptance. It felt stranger than another man's cock in his mouth had felt. Much stranger.

"That's why you wanted the plug," he realized distantly. "Although, this is the first time I've heard of a guy wanting his partner looser."

"It will be more comfortable for you this way," Ethan said, although his attention seemed to be on what his hand was doing.

As Xander watched, his own cock stirred in reaction to the tip of the plug inside him rubbing over his prostate with repeated nudges. His balls ached, but not really in a bad way.

"It's going to feel so good this time," Ethan promised. "You'll love it."

"I bet you say that to all your kidnapees."

"Oh, but there's never been anyone but you," Ethan said, while the plug moving inside him made Xander harder and harder. "You're special, Xander. I knew it from the moment I first saw you."

"You say 'special', but what you mean is 'easy'." Xander gasped, arching back as the plug was pushed deeper inside him. His cock was fully hard again and starting to leak, all because Ethan had a toy inside his body. No, because Ethan was playing with the toy, deftly manipulating it the way he manipulated Xander's mind.

"No, I mean special," Ethan repeated. "You are special, Xander. And very, very beautiful. You must know that."

The words were so matter of fact. Ethan didn't sound like he was seducing Xander and it would be so easy, so good to just melt into the promises they offered the way his body melted into Ethan's touch. He wanted it, badly.

What he did, though, was snort. "Funny, I thought the sweet-talk came before the sex."

Ethan smiled. "This is before the sex," he said. "That's the thing about becoming sexually aware, you see -- you know that there's always more sex just around the bend."

He spread Xander's thighs wider with his hand and moved down between them, kneeling as he started to ease the plug out of Xander's ass.

Xander whimpered, the slick glide of the plug feeling very good. "Seduction," he panted, "is for people you haven't had sex with at all. Or you haven't drugged into obeying everything you say. The drugging thing is the key, here. You don't need to seduce me."

Maybe if he stopped, Xander could rediscover his anger or fear. Something to help prevent his mind from becoming Ethan's as easily as his body was.

When the plug was free, Xander didn't bother closing his legs. There wasn't much point, really. "So now what?"

Ethan pressed a fingertip against Xander's slick entrance and he whimpered again -- he couldn't help it. Ethan's other hand started playing with Xander's cock, not really stroking it, just touching it, pulling gently at his balls, tracing around the head.

"I want you to ask me," Ethan said.

A spark of defiance made him try to smirk. This was stupid. Ethan had already proved that he was willing to punish Xander for disobedience. But he couldn't stop. "You can want all you want."

"But we both know that in the end you'll do it," Ethan countered. "You're a smart boy, Xander -- I'm sure you'd rather cooperate than be disobedient. It would be such a shame to have to punish you." He really did sound regretful, even though there was a part of Xander that suspected that Ethan wouldn't really mind hurting him.

"Do you get a power trip off of this?" His voice was low and even, while his hips rocked downward with increasing speed, wanting more of Ethan's touch. "I can't refuse and you know it. So why do I have to say it?"

"Because it's what I want," Ethan said, a bit sharply. Something in his tone of voice made Xander wonder what was going on inside the man's head -- okay, not for the first time, but now it was out of curiosity instead of just a sense of self-preservation.

The older man moved forward, using one hand to guide his erection so that the head of it pushed against Xander's opening, which was sore and sensitive and oh God, this shouldn't feel good, it really shouldn't, not even when Ethan was pulling at Xander's cock with the other hand.

"Ask me," Ethan said, calmer now, but it was clear that it was an order.

"Fuck me." He wanted to make the words flat, almost bored, to show that it was only due to the magic that obeyed at all. Instead they came out a breathy, desperate plea.

Ethan's hand on Xander's cock stopped moving, but Xander barely noticed because Ethan was slowly pushing inside him, almost sliding in on all the lube that made everything slippery.

It still hurt, but he could tell Ethan was trying to be gentle this time. Xander stared up at him, knowing that his own eyes were wide, his lips slightly parted as he panted, soft little cries as Ethan slid inside.

"I told you you'd like it," Ethan said.

"Making me like it." Xander gasped as Ethan nudged his prostate and threw his head back. Some time soon, Ethan would tell him not to lie. Xander didn't know what he'd do then, because half of what he said was a lie.

He clenched tighter around Ethan, wanting to feel the burn again.

Ethan chuckled and nudged deeper, leaning down over Xander with a hand on Xander's hip, using the grip to show Xander how to move with him. "Oh, you're a clever boy," Ethan said, and Xander felt his cheeks flush with the praise.

He was still sore from the last time. It made intentionally tightening himself hurt more, so he did it again and again. The burn reminded him that this wasn't really consensual. That what Ethan was doing was wrong and bad and if Buffy didn't kick his ass, he'd go to jail. Some kind of Watchery, Council equivalent? Could a jail even hold a Chaos Wizard?

The burn felt good, too. It mixed with the slick feel of flesh rubbing against his insides, the heat in his cock and balls. Opening his eyes to stare at the wall behind the bed, Xander easily found the rhythm Ethan wanted. "God, please," he murmured.

"That should be 'Ethan, please,'" Ethan corrected him, leaning in and licking one of Xander's nipples, the wet flick of tongue making him gasp. "'Ethan, please fuck me.' 'Ethan, please let me suck your cock.' 'Ethan, please don't stop.'"

The older man gave a twist of his hips, surprising another gasp out of Xander, then lifted his head to look at Xander's face.

It was easy to see the lust, the cruel, almost twisted pleasure in Ethan's eyes, but there were other things, too. Xander didn't know what they were, what they meant, but he... liked them.

"Please," he panted, low and wanting. He sped up their rhythm, his body (mind) desperate for more. "Ethan, please. Fuck me, let me suck your cock. Please." He didn't even know what he was begging for, just that it made Ethan's eyes go bright.

"Oh, yes." Ethan slid his hand around to the back of Xander's thigh and fucked him faster, each thrust making the cheap bed frame squeak underneath them. He brought his mouth down on Xander's and kissed him, pushing his tongue in to trace the roof of Xander's mouth, then got a warm hand between them and grabbed onto Xander's dick, stroking it with each delicious burning thrust.

Xander cried out harshly, biting down on Ethan's lower lip. It felt good, so good, to have cock and mouth and hand on him.

"More," he rasped, lips tickling Ethan's. He was so close, already. He just needed a little bit more -- whether that more was pain or pleasure, he didn't know -- and need made him move faster. His skin shivered under the sweat, goose-bumps standing up all over his body. He didn't know when he'd started to cry again. "Please, fuck me hard, Ethan, please."

"That's right," Ethan said, his breath hot, mingling with Xander's, their mouths almost touching as they moved together and his hand worked Xander's cock. He was forcing Xander open, breaking him in two, fucking him so hard that Xander nearly sobbed. "Lovely, clever boy. Beautiful... My beautiful boy."

Xander shouted himself hoarse, coming so hard he was muzzily certain he'd wrenched something. He lay dazed while Ethan pounded away at him, snarling something Xander didn't understand. It probably wasn't even English.

He could hear himself continue to moan, still enjoying it even though he was certain he wasn't getting hard again for a while. Well, hoping he wasn't. He lifted his legs higher, opening himself further for Ethan. It hurt, doing that, but... it was good, too.

Ethan groaned suddenly, and Xander could feel him tense up. Then Ethan made another sound -- higher-pitched, almost a cry -- and came, jerking his hips forward in short thrusts as his cock twitched in Xander's ass, flooding him with warm fluid and making him whimper just a little bit with each pulse.

Panting, Ethan tossed his hair back out of his eyes and looked at Xander with what was probably satisfaction. The hand that had been gripping Xander's cock let go of it, and Ethan held Xander's eyes as he brought that hand, sticky with come, up to his mouth and licked it. "Such a good boy," Ethan purred.

Xander moaned, open-mouthed and still panting from his prior orgasm. Ethan was trying to kill him, it seemed like. Drive him into a mad, whimpering ball from the constant arousal.

Ethan's tongue was so pink as he cleaned Xander's come from his hand. His eyes... Xander moaned again, his cock hurting from need to harden once more. His tears fell faster. "Please," he begged. "I can't, not anymore."

"Of course you can," Ethan said, leaning down and kissing him with a mouth that tasted salty and bitter. "But I won't ask you to -- not yet."

To Xander's relief, Ethan eased out of him and got up, padding naked and barefoot to the bathroom, where Xander could hear water running. He came back with a damp washcloth and used it to clean Xander, gentle swipes over his belly and cock, then between his legs. Xander tried to stop crying, hitching breaths gradually becoming more regular.

"Here, get up now." Ethan urged him to his feet, pulling down the covers and guiding Xander back into the bed. He got in next to Xander and pulled the blankets up, taking Xander into his arms and holding him in a warm, strangely comforting embrace. "There. Now close your eyes."

His eyes immediately fell shut. "Not wishing you a good night," he muttered petulantly. Ethan's chuckle made him smile, for some reason, and he snuggled a little closer. "Not a good night."

"Sleep," was the last thing he heard.

<center>* * * * *</center>

Xander thought he might have woken up a few times during the night, but each time Ethan's arm tightened around him, and he sighed and drifted back off.

When he woke up for real, Ethan had rolled over and was lying with his back to Xander, breathing evenly, the curve of his shoulder rising and falling just slightly with each breath. Xander shifted on the bed experimentally, trying not to wince, but Ethan didn't move.

Eyes fastening on Ethan's body, Xander struggled to keep his movements slow and steady. No jostling the bed as he got to his feet, hiding the moan as various abused parts of his body protested loudly. He hurt everywhere, like when he'd tried out for track, freshman year. That'd been stupid, but Jesse had tried, so Xander had gone and done everything else the seniors had done -- he'd hardly been able to move after that.

Huh. Come to think of it, it'd been like that when he first started slaying, too. The implications that he could get used to this. . .

No.

Xander pulled on his pants and a shirt, finding his sneakers but not his socks. Whatever. He could walk without socks. Ethan continued to breathe evenly on the bed, oblivious to his 'boy's plans to get the fuck out of there.

Whatever mojo Ethan had given him, Xander prayed it was gone. No way was he going to bend over for this sick fuck anymore. He was leaving.

Xander undid the dead-bolt with trembling hands, so slowly, terrified that there'd be some loud click of metal on metal that would wake Ethan up. He could hardly believe it when he got the door unlocked without a sound, but he turned the handle just as carefully, not wanting to jinx himself by thinking he was home free.

It wasn't until he started to pull the door open that his heart skipped a beat and then sank.

It wouldn't budge.

He knew it was unlocked, he knew it was. Xander pulled harder, still trying to be quiet about it, then gave up on quiet and yanked with all his strength -- with no result.

"You didn't really think I'd take a chance on you walking out of here, did you?" Ethan asked from behind him.

The chilling menace in Ethan's voice made Xander want to whimper. Giles at his angriest -- so cold, so clipped -- Angelus at his most frightening -- the amusement underneath the anger... neither of them had anything on Ethan. He shivered under Ethan's gaze, hand still on the doorknob. "I hoped," he said, voice low.

He hadn't truly expected. He wasn't as stupid as everyone thought, but... he'd hoped.

"The same spell that keeps you from opening the door also soundproofs the room," Ethan said, casually getting up out of bed and stretching, his cock -- Xander's eyes were drawn to it -- hanging heavy and half-swollen between his thighs. "You could call as much as you liked -- no one would hear you."

Another blow, although one he hadn't honestly thought of. He'd screamed loudly enough to attract some kind of attention the night before, even if it was just the motel owner ordering him to knock it off. Besides, the only one who ever came running toward shouts for help was Buffy -- and she wasn't anywhere near a dingy motel on the bad side of town. She was home, safe in her bed, probably exchanging morning gossip with Willow, with no thought at all that he might be in trouble.

He was still standing there near the door, and Ethan frowned, watching him. "I'm very displeased, Xander," he said. "You naughty boy, trying to escape while I was sleeping. That's very ungrateful of you." He sighed. "I think I've no choice but to punish you."

"Oh, please, like that's fooling anybody," Xander snarled, his sarcasm returning with a healthy dose of pure terror. "You'd've found a reason if I breathed wrong."

Ethan moved faster than Xander would have given him credit for -- he found himself pushed up against the door with Ethan right in his face, coldly angry. "Don't make the mistake of thinking that I'll tolerate that sort of talk," Ethan said tightly. Xander could feel his heart pounding in his chest. "Unless you'd like to be beaten to the point where you won't be able to sit for a fortnight." The older man took a step back, turning away. "Now take off your clothes. I don't want to see you wearing them again until I tell you to put them on."

He tried. He really, really tried, mentally ordering his body to freeze, or maybe cross his arms and glare at Ethan triumphantly. Anything, so that he did not do as he was told. The spell was gone, Xander was his own man, and he was getting out of there. Really.

Not a chance.

His shirt was already off by the time he gave up trying to fight. Unbuttoning his jeans, Xander purposefully slowed down his movements to try and buy some time to think. The spell was still there, obviously, so what options did he have? He knew his mind was changing -- he didn't trust magic, or Ethan -- but he couldn't figure out where his mind was changing. That scared him more than the obedience. What else did this spell do? "Do I get to go to the bathroom? Maybe eat? Or are you just gonna fuck me to death?"

Ethan looked back at him over his shoulder. "If you'd behaved, I'd certainly have let you eat breakfast. As it is, I'm being forced to rethink that." He rummaged through the black bag on the dresser, then went and sat down on the side of the bed, setting a couple of things beside him and motioning to Xander to join him. "Across my lap," he ordered.

Adrenaline surged, keeping all but his right foot still. "What?"

Ethan looked at him impatiently. "Lie down across my lap." Xander blinked, still too confused to obey, and Ethan smiled craftily. "Oh, come now, Xander. Don't tell me you've never had a spanking? That's what bad, disobedient boys get, isn't it?"

Xander had a bad, disobedient cock, because it twitched with interest. "No," he said truthfully. "I've never been spanked."

Approaching the bed, Xander tried not to remember what he had had, on a very few occasions. He'd lived through that, and he'd live through this, too. Well, provided Ethan wasn't actually trying to fuck him to death.

"Now, Xander," Ethan said, like he was hesitating too long. Which okay, maybe he was.

He wasn't sure how this was supposed to work -- he was nearly as tall as Ethan, after all -- but he got down kind of awkwardly, half-lying across Ethan's thighs on his ribs and stomach, feeling like an idiot with his ass sticking up in the air.

Ethan put a hand between Xander's legs from behind. "Spread your legs," he said, and when Xander did, he felt cold, wet fingers probing him and then something very hard -- another butt plug? -- pushing into him, making him cry out in surprise. "I was planning on making this feel good," Ethan said, voice heavy with disappointment. Xander only grunted.

Ethan's knees dug into his chest and leg, keeping Xander feeling out of breath and perched almost precariously. He wiggled, trying to get more comfortable.

A sharp slap made him stop. "Don't move, Xander. Now, then. Perhaps I'm being too harsh on you. You are, after all, rather new at this." Ethan pushed his legs open even further before gently tugging on Xander's balls.

Shameful heat flooded through him. Closing his eyes, he buried his face into folded arms while Ethan toyed with his balls and the little strip of skin between balls and hole. Xander knew Ethan smiled every time Xander's cock got just a little bit harder.

Ethan kept it up until Xander was, well, up, his dick aching over the rough curve of Ethan's leg and his balls slick with lube. Then, just as Xander was starting to wriggle in Ethan's lap, unable to remember why he was upset or afraid, brushing the damp head of his cock against the underside of Ethan's thigh, Ethan stopped.

Xander made a small sound of protest, and Ethan's hand caressed his ass gently. "You haven't forgotten that this is your punishment, have you?" Ethan asked, then slapped Xander's ass. Hard. The pain was sharp, startling, and not as fleeting as Xander would have thought. His skin continued to tingle long moments after Ethan had hit him. "Oh, yes, you're going to look lovely with your arse all red and burning."

And Ethan hit him again, even harder, drawing a yelp out of Xander before he could stop himself.

"Feel free to scream," Ethan mocked, stopping long enough to work the plug inside Xander's body. The sudden rush of pleasure confused him, mixing with the burning hand-prints on his buttocks. He knew, or guessed, what Ethan was trying to do now. But he didn't know how to fight it, his cock throbbing to the same beat as the hand-prints on his ass. "I like that."

Ethan's hands were huge. He didn't feel anything but the palm, crashing down again and against over his body, but it felt huge. As big as his head, probably. Over and over Ethan hit him, scattering his attack from the back of Xander's thighs all the way up to his lower back.

He registered at some point that he was howling. And that his dick was still hard.

It was like a constant burn now, with fresh scalding explosions every time Ethan hit him again.

Then, suddenly, it stopped. Ethan's hand rubbed over his skin, feeling like sandpaper, rough. Xander whimpered pitifully, gasping for air. "Do you think you've been punished enough?" Ethan asked.

Xander sniffled, trying desperately to think what the right answer might be. "I don't... I don't know," he said finally, his voice quavering. He honestly didn't know if he wanted the punishment to stop -- or to continue. "Ha-have I?"

"I think you have," Ethan said thoughtfully, pinching Xander's burning ass and making him whimper again. "Get on your knees."

Something surged inside him, anxious to do as he'd been told. His legs trembled too much to accept his weight. Clutching desperately at the bed, Xander lowered himself down to the floor and onto his knees. He sat on his heels for a second, flying back up as his burning skin touched calve and heel. He felt disgusting. Hurting and covered in residue from the night before, his face dripping salt and snot equally. Still hard. Wiping his face, he kept his gaze on the floor. "N-now what?"

"That depends on if you want punishment or reward," Ethan said, his hand touching Xander's hair, playing with it. It made Xander want to cringe away from him, but he didn't. Because it felt good, too. "You see, I can order you to suck my cock, as the last of your punishment for your bad behavior. Or, you can ask me to allow you to suck my cock, as a reward for the fact that you submitted so well to being disciplined. It's up to you."

Xander inhaled shakily, chest and belly jerking from crying so much. "P-please," he stuttered. "C-can I s-suck your cock?"

There wasn't any fight in him anymore: he literally had no options. He wanted to blame the spell for that, but he couldn't. He didn't want to hurt anymore, he wanted to feel good, and Ethan didn't hurt him when he obeyed ɠ And anyway, it didn't matter -- if Ethan wanted him to suck his cock, he'd end up sucking Ethan's cock. Again.

"Of course you may," Ethan said, sitting closer to the edge of the bed and spreading his legs magnanimously, like he was some kind of king or something.

Come to think of it, maybe he was.

Trying to stifle the involuntary gasping, Xander knee-walked closer to the bed. His eyes felt raw and aching but he never once lifted them past Ethan's navel. He just didn't want to see.

Licking around the base of Ethan's cock, Xander tried not to remember the lessons he'd had the night before. He wanted to be bad and sloppy and awful so Ethan would get rid of him -- not that Ethan would. He'd just punish Xander again, until he was better.

Ethan murmured encouragement without words, stroking his hand through Xander's hair, staying still instead of forcing his cock into Xander's mouth, which he definitely could have done. Xander felt stupidly grateful for the fact that Ethan was letting him do this at his own pace, not pushing him.

Ethan tasted funny, and Xander was definitely not thinking about why. He trailed his tongue along the vein throbbing along the length of Ethan's cock -- Ethan really liked that, judging by the increased tightness around his head and the sounds Ethan made. Repeating the action, he tried not to feel pride that he was making Ethan feel so good. He wasn't supposed to be happy that Ethan felt good.

It was difficult, though, what with Ethan's breathing getting quicker, and the occasional murmured, "Yes, good. Good boy." Xander knew it was sick that he liked to hear that, but he did. He wasn't sure he'd ever get tired of hearing it.

He licked around the head of Ethan's cock, and a tiny drop of pre-come formed at the tip, so he licked that, too. It tasted salty, made his mouth suddenly hot with saliva and his own balls draw up. He moaned softly at the sensation, and Ethan groaned in response.

It started a sick cycle. Every one of Xander's moans were matched by Ethan's, a quiet word of praise or the way the head of his cock filled his mouth until his jaw threatened to pop -- it prompted Xander to moan again, restarting it all over again.

Pre-come leaked down his own cock as he made sure that didn't happen to Ethan's. Slowly, nervously, Xander started bobbing his head to try and take more of Ethan's cock. Would it feel good to have the head press against the back of his throat, the way it did to stretch his lips around the shaft? Would he gag? Would Ethan force him?

The back of his tongue was heavy with saliva so he swallowed, and that made Ethan groan again, the thigh underneath Xander's tentative hand trembling with the sound. It made Xander's stomach do a little aching flip thing that wasn't totally unpleasant.

"Harder," Ethan said breathlessly.

Xander sucked hard, the way he would on a straw that was blocked. The pain from his back and butt and thighs hadn't stopped, but it felt... different now. Warm and comforting, it made his balls pulse in time with the rhythm of his blood. The rhythm of his mouth around Ethan's cock. He swallowed again, mouth refilling rapidly. He was starting to feel lightheaded.

Without warning, Ethan's hand slid down to cup the back of his skull and Ethan jerked his hips forward, fucking Xander's mouth as he started to come with a low groan. And it was... Xander couldn't breathe, and he couldn't taste the thick fluid at the back of his throat but he could feel it, and he choked, gagged, but Ethan didn't let go.

Then it was over, and Ethan did let go. Xander gave a great gasp for air as he flung himself backward, forgetting about his punished backside until it made contact with the cheap, rough carpet.

Xander yelped, body convulsing as he tried to twist off his injured parts and inhale without choking at the same time. He somehow got twisted around on to hands and knees, coughing until the blood pounded in his face so hard he thought it might give himself a hernia. Then he coughed some more, praying he wasn't actually going to throw up.

"Really, Xander," he heard Ethan say, with what he dimly thought might be false nonchalance. "And people have said that I'm dramatic."

Xander drew in a ragged but deep breath, coughed a couple more times -- harsh, rattling coughs that hurt -- and tried to ignore the way the coughing seemed to drive the bitter tang of Ethan's come up into his sinuses. "Sorry," he gasped, trying (and failing) for sarcasm. Ethan wasn't pleased, and that made his stomach clench uncomfortably.

When he lifted his head, Ethan was looking down at him with distaste. "Go get yourself cleaned up," he said. "You've thirty minutes, and don't think I won't be watching the clock." He licked his lips and looked pointedly at Xander's still-mostly-erect cock. "And whatever you do, don't come. You belong to me now... and so does that."

Xander snorted, then winced as that made him burn a little more. "Oh, yeah. Totally lacking in melodrama. 'I belong to you'."

Rolling his eyes as much as their continued tearing allowed, Xander tried to get to his feet. After the second try -- and Ethan's quiet amusement -- Xander gave up and crawled into the bathroom. He hauled himself up using the sink for balance.

He wanted to look in the mirror. He didn't, though.

Turning away, Xander fumbled with the taps until hot water started running. The intense heat made his fingers go instantly pink, prickling the way his abused backside did, as if from a burn. Well, this was probably an actual burn, but Xander didn't lower the heat at all.

Stepping under the spray made him wince and cough again, wondering if he was ever going to get the feeling of snorting water up his nose to go away. He'd laughed soda up his nose once, but that had felt different -- acidic and bubbling. This felt slimy, like Ethan's come was invading him from other entrances, taking hold to never let go and --

Okay, so maybe there was melodrama. Melodrama stopped him from thinking about what was going on and how he could feel himself giving in to it. Ignoring the way his skin prickled and started to turn bright pink, Xander started to scrub. Everywhere. Hard.

When he'd done as much as he could and he felt -- not clean, but better, maybe -- he gargled some of the hot water, using it to rinse his mouth and throat out and then spitting it onto the floor of the shower.

Xander's whole body tingled, and he continued to tell himself that it wasn't in a good way. He steadfastly ignored his swollen cock, even though it ached, and got out of the shower. He wrapped a towel gingerly around his waist and sat down on the closed lid of the toilet, wincing as his ass protested.

Then he leaned forward, buried his face in his hands, and tried not to think about anything at all.

The sound of the front door opening pushed him out of his reprieve. Ethan's voice was recognizable, answering a girl's chirping comments. He couldn't make out any words, but -- his stomach growled angrily, prodded into wakefulness by the smell of eggs and toast and some kind of meat.

Xander ignored it. The bathroom had become his safe-place, somehow. He didn't have to think here or remember what waited for him once he opened the door. He could pretend that he was a normal kid, again.

"I'm not going to let you stay in there all day," Ethan said. "Come out and I'll make sure you get fed."

It wasn't a command. The cajoling attitude made that clear -- and worse than a command would've been. Xander rubbed his eyes until spots bloomed, purple and shimmery and fleeting. He was faced with the ultimate decision -- safety vs. food. And his stomach was all in favor of the food.

In the end, he had to go out, of course. He wore the towel in some kind of defiance -- Ethan hadn't actually said he couldn't wear a towel, just clothes -- and slicked his damp hair back with both hands, walking out like his ass and thighs weren't still stinging.

He was also grateful for the fact that the towel helped hide his erection, which was miraculously starting to go away finally, even if it did mean his balls ached.

Ethan's eyes flickered over him and away again, like Xander was pretty uninteresting, and Xander wasn't sure how he felt about that. "Come and eat something," Ethan said.

There had to be some kind of a trap. Xander looked for it while he ate eggs cooked with cheese, buttered toast, and strips of crisp-fried bacon. The food was incredibly good and he fought to eat It slowly. He had no desire to get sick while he was here -- Ethan would probably decide it was willful disobedience.

He completely dismissed the thought that Ethan was allowed to punish him.

Ethan had his own breakfast, concentrating solely on eating that. His movements were so graceful, each gesture perfectly controlled. Xander watched and told himself that he wasn't looking for some sign of attention. It didn't matter that Ethan wasn't focused on him. Xander not existing was a good thing.

After being the sole focus of Ethan's attentions, though, good or bad, for so long, the absence felt like a slap. Xander felt confused. Hurt, though he didn't like that word. Abandoned was even worse.

When he was finished, Ethan cleared their detritus away and produced a bottle of lotion from somewhere. "Turn over."

Xander hesitated for just a second, fighting the feeling of relief that Ethan was at least talking to him again, then turned away.

"And take the towel off," Ethan added, reaching out his other hand for Xander to put the towel into. He did, lying naked on the bed on his stomach.

The first touch of lotion was on the cold side of cool. It made him twitch and give a small gasp of surprise, but Ethan didn't say anything about it. Just smoothed more of it onto the sore skin of Xander's ass, his touch gentle, barely-there, really. He rubbed more lotion onto Xander's thighs, which were less sore. The smell of it was familiar and kind of soothing -- not flowery, just clean.

He didn't want to relax under Ethan's touch, but as Ethan continued to work the lotion in it was getting hard not to. His body couldn't remember how to be afraid when strong fingers went light over the welts that still stung, harder over muscles that needed more pressure. His eyelids drooped and lowered, chin tucked into the crook of his elbow.

Ethan didn't say anything -- just kept massaging the lotion into Xander's skin, eventually moving up to rub Xander's undamaged lower back, warm thumbs digging gently into muscles that Xander hadn't realized were tense. He sighed happily and completely relaxed.

"That's right," Ethan said finally, his lips pressing a kiss to Xander's shoulder blade. It felt nice. "Good boy."

His stomach dropped. There was no other explanation for it. Just four words and he was back to being afraid and angry because he wasn't. If anything he was ... happy. Pleased that Ethan was pleased with him.

"So does this drug, or spell, or... whatever it was... what else does it do?" That had to be why he was so -- so grateful whenever Ethan spoke those words. And maybe why he wasn't moving or trying to hit Ethan, instead remaining still and relaxed under still-moving hands.

"It was rather simple, actually," Ethan said, tracing Xander's spine with a light touch. "Very straightforward obedience spell. A sort of thrall, if you will."

Goose-flesh rose in Ethan's wake. He shivered, almost whimpering as his cock started to harden again. "Just obedience?"

"Mm hmm."

Xander squeezed his eyes shut, counting the blooming images that formed mechanically. There was no spell making him enjoy this. So there was no reason for him to curl into Ethan's touch, wanting it to be a little firmer. And yet he was...

Xander turned suddenly, curling onto his side facing Ethan, arching into the touch with a sort of eager desperation that, he tried to tell himself, he couldn't avoid. None of this was his fault. Spell or not, he hadn't asked for it -- well, except when the spell made him.

Ethan ran his hand over Xander's hip and squeezed it gently. "Such a lovely boy."

How many times did that make now? For nineteen years no one had even called him 'handsome' and now Ethan had repeatedly told him that he was lovely. It did things to a man's mind, being told that. There was probably some kind of chemical reaction Ethan was triggering. Another spell he hadn't told Xander about, or maybe just the same thing girls had, the one that made them crave being told they were pretty. "Let me go?" Xander asked.

"No," Ethan said, almost gently. His hand moved down to fondle Xander's erection, and Xander let out an involuntary moan. "I have such plans for you, Xander. You'll see."

He kept playing with Xander's cock for another minute, waiting until it was hard and leaking before he stopped, stretching out on the bed next to Xander and pulling him in for a kiss.

"Now I want you to touch me," Ethan said.

"Why can't you be a jackass about this?" Xander asked desperately. A jackass he'd hate. A jackass he wouldn't be able to trust. Instead

One hand balled into a fist by his head, Xander let his free hand settle on Ethan's stomach, stroking softly. He didn't look cut the way models in magazines or the tv did, but there was a solid strength under his skin. A lean kind of tension, coiled power stored in muscles that were hard against his fingers.

Ethan smiled, and the expression seemed -- well, more genuine, somehow, like this was real instead of a lie. "That's nice," Ethan said approvingly, and his cock didn't move at all, just lay there soft between his thighs, unthreatening.

"So now you're the dog?" He stroked again, almost massaging up to Ethan's pecs. Nipples fascinated him -- hey, he was still a guy -- and he thumbed the little pink ones he found there.

The small nubs tightened under his touch, one and then the other, and when Xander glanced up at Ethan's face his eyes were dark. "Don't stop," Ethan said, and it was more a request than an order.

The words made his dick throb. Honestly, was there anything that wasn't going to turn him on? Disgusted, Xander still watched interestedly as the nipples grew tighter and harder, the skin around them puckering in a way that looked painful. Daring, remembering something about Anya's one and only night with him, Xander pinched one lightly.

Ethan gasped, and when Xander glanced down he could see that Ethan's cock was swelling. That turned him on more too -- not because of what Ethan might do with that cock once it was erect again, but because he knew so intimately what that felt like. Maybe that was a reason for the guy-guy thing -- the fact that you could understand how another man's body worked in a way you'd never understand a woman's.

"Xander," Ethan said, like his name was honey, sweet. "Please don't stop."

"Okay." The response was tugged from him, Ethan's gasps and slowly filling cock mesmerizing him. He pinched and tugged, shifting so he was sitting so he could reach both nipples at the same time. He liked this -- the feel of Ethan's flesh under his skin, knowing he could hurt if he wanted to. Watching Ethan grow more and more aroused from things Xander did to him.

Ethan's breathing was faster, his body responding to every touch. "You're a natural," Ethan said, chuckling. "I love what you're doing to me, in case there was any question."

Xander could very vaguely remember what it was like to answer questions in class correctly or to get praise from some adult for something he'd done. Ethan telling him so was a hundred, a thousand times better. "Am... am I hurting you?"

"No," Ethan said. But there was something in the tone of his voice, in the look in his eyes, that told Xander that it wasn't that simple.

"Do -- " Xander stopped, shifting so he sat on his heels. The salve Ethan had rubbed in took care of most of the pain, but it still hurt. It was... comforting. "Do you want me to stop?"

"No," Ethan said again. "I like to feel your hands on me. Go back to what you were doing."

"Do you want me to do something else?" His hands worked independently of his mouth, closing around hardened nubs to pinch and twist them harder than before. His eyes darted between Ethan's face and his cock, using both to gauge if he was doing anything wrong.

It didn't seem like he was, if Ethan's dark gaze and hard erection had anything to say about it. "Touch my cock," Ethan said. "Like this." And Ethan's hand reached out to take Xander's long-neglected dick in a gentle grip.

Xander's head fell back with a soft groan, hips working to try and increase the pressure of Ethan's touch. "I hate this," he whispered. He had promised himself he wasn't going to cry more today, but already he could feel his eyes burn and sting from tears waiting to fall. "I hate that you make me feel like this."

His right hand curled around Ethan's cock, trying to match the barely-there feeling Ethan gave him.

"Ah, but at the same time, you love it, don't you," Ethan said, shifting his grip and slicking his thumb over the wet head of Xander's cock, making Xander twitch and tighten his own hand around Ethan's cock.

"No," Xander said.

His punishment for the lie was Ethan's hand stroking his cock fiercely up and down until Xander was moaning, then an abrupt stop and loss of contact right when he was ready to come. "Go ahead, Xander, lie to me again," Ethan suggested. "I can keep you like this for days -- hard, desperate for release."

"I hate you," Xander repeated, because there was nothing else to say. He didn't know how to fight this because Ethan was right. He did love it. He probably already needed it, little hooks of addiction placed with every word Ethan spoke, every gesture he made. Every touch. "I'd kill you, if I could."

He should have known that Ethan would just laugh. "No, you wouldn't," the man said, rolling onto his side toward Xander. "You'll never raise a hand to me. You love me touching you, you love it when I fuck you, and, more importantly, you love it when I praise you."

Ethan moved closer, his head between Xander's thighs, warm breath making Xander that much harder.

"Such a beautiful boy," Ethan breathed, his hot tongue flickering out to lick the head of Xander's cock. "So clever, so strong."

Xander's eyes opened as wide as they could go, craving the dryness the position brought. He wouldn't cry now. He wouldn't react, either, not even with Ethan curling his tongue in a complicated maneuver that made Xander want to gasp and sag into a puddle of horny goo. He didn't, though. "You're right. It's not going to be me that kills you. It's going to be Giles. I've heard the way he talks about you, about Eyghon. He's going to turn you into slivers."

In about two seconds, Xander found himself flat on his back, Ethan's hands on his wrists, pinning him down. "You don't know Rupert at all," Ethan hissed, as Xander arched and struggled, his ass and thighs feeling like they were being rubbed raw against the rough blanket that was tangled underneath him. "But I do. He's why I'm here. He's why..."

Ethan made a sound -- it wasn't a growl, not unless you wanted to call it a pained growl -- and let go, getting up off the bed and going over to the dresser, standing there with his head down and his hands gripping the edge, not saying anything.

Xander panted, frozen where he'd been left. "So that's what this is?" he croaked. "A way to get back at Giles? All that stuff about me being l-lovely," he spat the word out, "all of it's just to piss him off?" He laughed. He couldn't help it. He tried not to hear the hysteria in his voice, laughing until he was breathless and weak. "Wow. Did you miscalculate this one."

"Shut up," Ethan said, not turning around.

But Xander couldn't, or maybe he just didn't want to. He laughed some more. "You definitely picked the wrong person," he said, still chuckling, even though his chest hurt and he wasn't sure why. He broke out into a sweat, as if he fought against something. Maybe he did -- the words sounded flippant but it took work to force them out of his mouth. "I mean, if you wanted to piss Giles off, you should have -- " Finally, thank God, he realized how fucking stupid it would have been to point out to Ethan that taking Willow would have been a better move. "You're really fucked up, do you know that?"

Ethan turned around, eyes blazing. "Shut up," he said again, and this time he flung a hand out toward Xander and an invisible band of... something -- magic, power -- was around Xander's throat, choking him.

Xander flailed, scrabbling at the invisible bonds around his neck. He choked, gagging, and felt his tongue start to loll out of his mouth. He'd been strangled before -- hazards of being friends with a Slayer -- and he knew with sickening certainty that there was no rescue this time. When his vision started to grey, body screaming for air, he knew no Buffy would appear to make Ethan stop, no hands or objects for him to grab onto or struggle against. There was nothing. Just the constant beat of a body trying to breathe, and the pain growing tighter and tighter around his neck.

The edges of his vision got dark, but not enough so that he couldn't see Ethan moving across the room toward him, that hand still outstretched. Then a warm palm touched his chest, and he was still struggling to breathe because his body apparently hadn't got the message that there was no way he could, and then...

Pain

It was like sticking your finger into an electrical socket, only a hundred -- a thousand -- times worse. It was like exploding from the inside out.

The band around his throat loosened, and Xander took in a desperate, wracking lungful of air.

The minute his lungs filled, Xander screamed. The lining of his throat felt ripped and torn as he wailed, as innocent as an infant who only knew hurting and make it not hurt. Shocks pounded into him again and again, each one sending him into convulsions of screaming agony.

He writhed, trying to crawl away. Thoughts stuttered in his mind, telling him to do things he couldn't understand: if he could've begged, if he could've remembered what begging was, he would have. Anything to make it stop.

It paused for a second, just long enough for Xander to draw another gasping, sobbing breath, and then it jolted through him again, even worse than before. He couldn't control his body -- his back arched, his hands curled up. He thought he was still screaming, but the sizzling noise inside him was so loud that he couldn't be sure.

The pain didn't stop when the jolts finally did. Xander sobbed without shame, curling into a tight ball and rocking. The tang of ozone mixed and bled into the singed-sweet smell of burned flesh. He couldn't open his eyes to see how badly he was burned. He couldn't do anything but hurt and pray that he wouldn't be hurt -- punished -- again.

He was waiting for it, though -- waiting for it to start again.

But time passed, and it didn't. His sobs died down, his shudders subsided into trembling, and he blinked and sniffled, raising his head.

The room was empty, but the bathroom door was closed.

He had no idea what to do. Not bring up Giles again, obviously, but... He remained where he was, curled up and gasping. Pain made him feel week, his body fuzzy and useless.

The door remained shut.

"E-Ethan?" he asked. It came out a croaked whisper as Xander was suddenly struck by the absence. The sound of Ethan's breath had been a metronome in the back of his mind, a point of focus he hadn't known he was using until it was gone. The room felt empty, like he was the only person in the entire motel. Alone.

"Ethan?" he asked again, louder and slightly more panicked.

There still wasn't any answer.

Xander heard the shower turned on, the sound of the water pattering down at least a little bit reassuring, but he couldn't help being bothered by the fact that Ethan was ignoring him now. What if Ethan kept him here forever and never talked to him again?

Moving was impossible, so Xander watched the bathroom door. The wood was cracked near the top edge and the paint had thin, broken lines down most of it. He traced them with his eyes, over and over, waiting for some kind of acknowledgment.

The shower turned off.

The dead feeling of being totally alone came back.

"Ethan? Are -- I'm sorry," he tried. He had no idea how long he'd been lying there -- the clock by the bed was behind him and he couldn't roll around to see it. All he could do was watch the bathroom door.

No response.

"Please, I won't do that again. Ethan?"

Panic of a flavor Xander could recognize clawed at him. What if Ethan had some means of leaving that Xander couldn't use? One he wouldn't even be able to see? What if he left Xander here, alone, for good? No one was going to find him. There was probably a spell to hide him, and if not, well, it wasn't like these rooms were thoroughly checked. So long as Ethan kept paying for it... His friends wouldn't find him, either. Xander knew that, deep in his gut. He tossed out their names and abilities whenever he was threatened, but he never trusted that they'd come through for him. It was always a surprise when they did.

So he'd be stuck here for days. Maybe even weeks. Alone. Without anyone in a magically-sealed room. He'd starve to death.

"Ethan, please come out!"

Still nothing.

He heard water run briefly in the sink. That was a relief -- at least it meant Ethan was still there. He had to come out sooner or later, right?

Any minute he'd come out.

Xander counted to sixty once, then again, then a third time, barely realizing that he was rocking back and forth slightly, waiting.

Any minute now.

He counted to sixty at least six times -- after four, he got confused how many times he'd already done it. Then all the numbers started mixing up, twenty five coming after four, and eighty three coming right before fifty nine. It didn't make sense but he kept trying to run the numbers straight, because Ethan had to come out. He had to.

High pitched sounds intruded on his counting. It took him a while to realize that he was making the noise -- whimpering with each short breath. Ethan had to come back out. He had to.

He wanted Xander, right? Okay, so it was to get back at Giles, stupid as that was. But he had to come back out and do things to Xander in order to go through with his plan, right? It never occurred to him that he was already in a position where he could be used to hurt his friends. All he knew was that Ethan had been away from him for way too long.

That was bad. That was scary.

The door opened, the sound flooding Xander's muscles with a hot wash of relief, and Ethan came out. But he didn't look at Xander at all. It was like Xander wasn't even there, like he was invisible.

Ethan moved over to the dresser and, keeping his back to Xander, started to use the towel in his hands to dry his hair.

Was he supposed to be quiet now? Was that what Ethan wanted? Wait, he'd liked it when Xander begged, right?

"I'm sorry," he said quickly, the words tumbling out of his mouth. "Really, I am, I -- it was wrong of me to mention that?" Nothing was right. Everything he thought of was the wrong thing to say and Ethan still wasn't looking at him, sitting on the edge of the bed to put on his socks.

He didn't understand why he was so desperate, only that he was. Ignoring the pain, Xander creaked onto his back and pulled his legs up to expose his lower body. "F-fuck me?" he stuttered. "I-is that what you want?"

Ethan turned his head so that he could have looked at Xander if he'd wanted to, even though he didn't. "Is that what you want, Xander?"

No, no it wasn't. He wanted to be out of this nightmare, to wake up and find himself back in his basement with his sucky life, and he'd do anything if only Ethan would really look at him! "Yes?" he said uncertainly. Ethan's eyebrows twitched, the rest of his face not moving an iota but still somehow exuding skepticism. "I mean, yes! I do. Please, please fuck me. M-make me like it. Like b-b-before."

"Shh," Ethan said. "Be quiet now." He turned and looked at Xander. "Come here."

Xander scrambled onto his knees, sliding to the floor at the last possible second. His body screamed at the quick, jerky movements, but Xander ignored that. Panting, he waited for Ethan to do something to him. Anything.

Ethan's hand smoothed through Xander's hair, and Xander closed his eyes, moving into the touch.

"I know you have it in you to be a good boy," Ethan said gently. "And I've meant everything I've said -- you are beautiful, and very clever. I wouldn't have wasted my time on you otherwise."

This time Xander didn't doubt the words. Ethan had said them and at that moment, everything Ethan told him took on magnified importance. He whimpered, leaning into the hand in his hair. "Thank you."

"But there are certain things I'm afraid we just can't discuss," Ethan said regretfully, running his hand down to the back of Xander's head and then around to cup his chin, lifting Xander's face and making him look up. "Do you understand?"

Xander nodded against Ethan's palm eagerly, and the older man smiled at him.

"Good boy. Is there anything you'd like?"

His whole body shivered as Ethan gave him his ultimate phrase of approval. Xander knew he'd do anything to be called 'good boy' again.

"No." Shaking his head, Xander was careful to never shake it out of Ethan's hold. "Whatever you want."

"I think I'd like to hold you for a while," Ethan said, surprising Xander. "Come along to bed, there's a good lad."

Xander followed him unthinkingly, getting in between the sheets as directed and submitting to Ethan's arms around him. It actually felt good -- the bed was comfortable, considering how much he ached, and Ethan was warm, hands moving over Xander's back and chest idly like he just liked touching.

Xander edged closer and closer, not totally relaxing until his face was pressed against Ethan's chest. There he could finally stop worrying he'd do something else wrong.

"I'm sorry," he whispered into the slight swell of Ethan's pecs.

Ethan's hand slid up to the back of Xander's neck, warm and comforting. "Good," Ethan said softly. "That means you won't do it again." His hand moved back down along Xander's spine, tracing the dip at the bottom, then cupping the curve of his ass. It wasn't threatening or weird or anything, though. It felt... good.

Xander shook his head. No, he wasn't going to do it again. Not anything that was going to make Ethan so angry at him, ever again.

It was so much nicer to be petted.

"Do you forgive me?" he whispered.

"Do you want me to?" Ethan asked, his hand stroking softly over tender skin.

"Please." Forgiveness meant his punishment was over, that there was no lingering issues that would crop up later to hurt him.

"All right, then," Ethan said, pulling back a little bit and looking into Xander's face. "As long as you promise not to do it again. I forgive you."

"I promise," he said fervently, meaning every word. "I won't do it again." He held Ethan's gaze, hoping to prove his sincerity.

Ethan actually looked... kind of happy. "Good boy," he said, sending that little shiver down Xander's spine again, and when he leaned down and pressed his lips to Xander's, it felt like something Xander had been waiting for.

Xander followed Ethan's lead, almost successfully hiding his whimper of dismay when Ethan pulled away. It hadn't been a very long kiss, but Xander still treasured it. He'd heard the hooker's adage to never kiss your john on the mouth -- he'd grown up with Willow, 'Pretty Woman' was inescapable -- but now he understood it.

Ethan kissing him was more meaningful than Ethan fucking him. Far more.

"Was there something you wanted, Xander?" Ethan asked, tracing Xander's lower lip with the edge of a thumb. He sounded bemused.

Answering questions without knowing the answers Ethan wanted was treacherous. He shook his head, hoping that'd be enough.

The tiny flicker of disappointment sent Xander shivering.

"Whatever you want," he said faintly.

"It's all right to tell me, if there is," Ethan said. Xander knew it was a lie, but he nodded anyway because that was the right way to respond. Or at least he hoped it was. "Would you like to kiss me some more?"

"If you want me to." The slight lift at the end of his sentence made him wince; he knew Ethan wasn't going to like that.

Ethan's hand gripped his sore butt cheek hard enough to make him gasp, like a warning, and then resumed its gentle stroking. Xander felt like a puppy that'd been whacked on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and then petted reassuringly. "Kiss me," Ethan said.

"Okay."

He leaned forward slowly, watching Ethan's reactions. He kissed clumsily, so nervous and worried about doing something wrong that he wasn't sure how to do it right. His mouth felt too big and too wet.

But Ethan was surprisingly patient with him -- kissing him back gently, hands moving up and across Xander's back in long, smooth strokes, showing Xander what he wanted without words. The kiss got more controlled, Ethan leading it, taking it from unsure to strong and breath-taking, their tongues tasting each other's mouths.

Xander relaxed as he grew more certain of what Ethan wanted. His hands settled on Ethan's chest, thumbs rubbing softly. The skin was warm and strong, and combined with the arms still around him, Xander felt safe. Protected. Ethan would take care of him and make him feel good.

"We can do this as long as you want to," Ethan said between kisses, weaving the illusion that Xander had some kind of say in the matter. "There's no hurry. No time limit."

One of Ethan's hands slid down the back of Xander's thigh almost to his knee and pulled gently, encouraging Xander to bend his leg up and over Ethan's.

Xander didn't respond except to let Ethan position him where he wanted. There wasn't any hurry because Xander didn't have any place to be. At the moment, he didn't want to be any place else, either. The bed was comfortable and Ethan was strong and tasted of salt and power. He closed his eyes and moved closer, following the direction Ethan had already set.

He could feel himself getting hard again, more quickly this time because it had been so long since he'd come, but he wasn't sure if it was even okay for him to get hard. Not that he knew how to stop that -- hell, if he did, there wouldn't have been that embarrassing incident in science class.

Then Ethan's hand slid further around the back of his thigh and fingertips brushed against Xander's balls.

Electric pleasure shot through him, spine stiffening with a little gasp. "Please," he begged. He didn't know what he was begging for.

"Please?" Ethan echoed against Xander's lips, his breath warm. "I like the sound of that. Please what?"

Xander stretched his leg further, giving Ethan total access. Long fingers scratched lightly over the sensitized skin, sometimes almost pinching. The pain made his dick harder than the pleasure did. "Please," he repeated.

Ethan pushed his hips forward and their dicks rubbed together. Xander's was wet enough at the head for both of them, the slick feel of it making him whimper. "Just tell me what you want, Xander," Ethan said.

He whimpered, confused and aroused. "I don't know! Whatever you want." He'd learned that lesson, wasn't Ethan proud of him? So why did it feel like he was trying to teach Xander a new lesson? He didn't want new lessons. He liked the old ones.

"Oh, good boy." Ethan rolled them over so that Xander was being pressed down into the mattress by the other man's weight, one hand reaching to pinch Xander's nipple lightly as Ethan's tongue pushed into his mouth again, the kiss fierce and possessive.

Xander moaned into the kiss. He'd gotten the answer right! Ethan was happy with him, was praising him! Grateful and relieved, Xander tentatively rubbed his cock up against Ethan's -- not for his pleasure, oh no. He wanted to make Ethan feel good. As good as Ethan made him feel.

Ethan made a hungry, happy sound and kissed him harder. It was such a relief to know that he was doing the right thing -- that he was doing what Ethan wanted him to do -- that Xander made the same kind of sound, rubbing himself against Ethan's cock some more as the ache in his balls intensified.

Then Ethan moved a little bit and wrapped his strong fingers around Xander's cock, stroking it wetly. "You do me," Ethan murmured.

He froze. "Wh-what?"

Ethan looked at him with puzzled eyes, then burst out laughing, letting go of Xander's cock and reaching for his hand instead, guiding it to Ethan's straining erection. "With your hand, Xander," Ethan said, still amused, although he'd stopped laughing at least. "Although the other does hold possibilities, doesn't it."

Possibilities? Possibilities for Xander to do something wrong, yes. Wrong meant punishment and Xander wasn't going to do anything that would make Ethan that mad at him.

Flushing guilty, Xander wrapped his hand around Ethan's cock and began stroking slow and firm. The hard flesh felt so good against his palm. It was hard to remember a time when he hadn't wanted to make Ethan feel good.

That thought struck him as odd. Of course he could remember a time -- yesterday. Yesterday was when... was when... a wave of something fuzzy filled Xander's head and the thought vanished.

Ethan tilted his head back and closed his eyes, rubbing the base of his cock against Xander's cock and balls. "Yes, that's right. Good..." The way he said it, with his voice all rough and gravelly like that, made it obvious that it really did feel good. That he liked it.

The ridge of his own knuckles rubbed against him while he stroked Ethan over and over. It hurt, kind of, but it was a good kind of hurt. It made him hot and heavy, dripping pre-come all over his belly -- although Xander was pretty sure that was due more to Ethan's panting, hungry breaths than the friction their bodies made.

"Yes," Ethan growled, shoving his cock into Xander's fist harder. Xander could actually feel the other man's balls draw up -- could even feel the first pulse as it rippled from the base of Ethan's cock up the shaft. Ethan groaned against his lips and hot fluid shot out onto Xander's stomach, the erection in his hand throbbing, making him shiver.

Ethan's hand on Xander's own cock had pretty much stopped moving until then, but as Ethan's last groan turned into another growl it gave a gentle squeeze.

"Do you want to come like this, Xander?" Ethan asked.

The air felt cold in his throat, icy even though the room was almost too hot. Unable to speak, Xander nodded. Yes, he wanted to come like that. He wanted Ethan to make him come like that.

Ethan's grip on him changed, shifted, rubbing against Xander's stomach, then went back to the way it had been. Only now it was warm and wet, and Xander realized that Ethan was using his come as a lubricant. "Good," Ethan said, stroking hard and fast, licking at Xander's lips. "Come for me."

Xander's hips instantly thrusting up once, twice, three times before he came all over himself.

Afterwards, while the world settled and his heart stopped thudding quite so loudly, Xander said, "Never done that."

Ethan kissed him again, slowly. "Never done what?"

"Come when I was, um, told."

"Without fighting it, you mean?" Ethan smiled as he reminded Xander of the night before, running a hand through the sticky fluid on Xander's stomach, rubbing it into his skin. "Tell me about your sexual experience."

The languid after-glow fled under a wave of shame. "It's, um, not much."

Ethan was still smiling. It wasn't a very nice smile, but it wasn't really mocking, either, and Xander wasn't sure how it made him feel. Ethan's hand never stopped touching him. "Tell me."

"Faith," Xander said. "Twice. It was her thing, both times. Michelle last summer, and Anya a few times since then." It wasn't exactly his sexual experience, but it was the most truthful account of who that he'd ever given. That had to count for something, right?

"Never any boys?" Ethan asked seductively. "Not even a heated little grope in the shower room?"

"No." Larry had offered, though. And Xander, so confused and upset and scared about the potential death by snake had wanted so much to say yes --

But there was never any time. Either he was doing something, or Larry was, or there were too many eyes around. So they'd done nothing, much to Xander's extremely repressed regret.

"But you thought about it, didn't you." From the way Ethan looked at him, Xander couldn't help but worry that maybe Ethan really could read his thoughts.

"Yeah." He wanted to leave it at that -- Ethan didn't need any more hooks into his brain -- but he found himself saying, "There was this guy at school, Larry. He thought I was gay. Like him. We tried to hook up. It just never happened."

Ethan's voice and touch were almost hypnotic. "What would you have liked to have happen? Did you think about touching him?"

The image of Larry formed in his mind: a big guy, but clean cut and friendly once he'd stopped playing the macho asshole. His body... "Yeah," Xander said dreamily. "I wanted to see his cock. To see it get hard, to be the one who made it get hard."

"And what did you think about doing with it, once you'd made it all hard and eager for you?" Ethan asked, rubbing his knuckles gently over Xander's hip. "Did you ever think of letting him put it inside you?"

Ethan's nose was almost touching his cheek. It felt cool, which meant his own cheeks were burning hot just like he'd thought. He ignored it, lost in the spell Ethan's voice and touch created. So easy not to think, just answer the questions. His voice was nearly inaudible as he said, "Yes. At f-first I thought about doing him. A guy. But then ... I wanted to know what it was like. To b-be fucked. To feel him in my m-mouth." Saliva pooled around his tongue and he had to swallow quickly.

"He would have been a lucky boy," Ethan said. He traced the edge of Xander's ear with his tongue, making Xander's skin prickle. "A very lucky boy to have you. So obedient and lovely, so willing to give pleasure. So bright."

Xander shivered and moaned, gasping as Ethan bit down lightly on his earlobe. "No, I'm not." It wasn't self-deprecating. It was true. Xander had always known that he was none of those things.

"Oh, but you are. You're all of those things and more. Just what I've been looking for." Ethan's voice was lower, and Xander could feel him relaxing into the mattress like he was getting sleepy.

Each muscle felt thick and weighted down, like the one time he'd taken muscle relaxants and spent the next twenty four hours unable to even crawl out of bed. His shoulders twitched him slightly closer to Ethan, breath low and even. Sleep could be a thing. Not yet, though. Not while Ethan was saying the things he craved to hear. "You think I'm beautiful?" He could feel hands tracing his hips and the line of his groin.

Ethan chuckled softly. "You are beautiful. I'm sure you must have heard so many, many times." When Xander shook his head, just the slightest shake, Ethan said it again. "You're very beautiful, Xander."

Was that one of the commands he couldn't help obeying? Was he supposed to believe it, now that Ethan said so in that so-final voice? "I'm goofy," he whispered. "Mouth is weird, and my nose..."

God, he was a girl. He'd hung out with girls so long he could itemize his physical problems.

"Shh," Ethan said, even though Xander had already stopped talking. The older man reached down and pulled the comforter up over them, and the warmth settled into Xander. He didn't care that the fabric was scratchy or that he was still sticky with come, as long as Ethan was being nice to him. "You're lovely, Xander. All of you."

"I'm glad you think so."

He flushed dull red as soon as he heard his own words. He wasn't -- this was Ethan and he -- Xander was -- he started shivering, his thoughts too chaotic to pin down. Ethan had done things to him -- bad things, he knew that, even if it was getting hard to remember what those things actually were -- and Xander shouldn't be grateful to Ethan. He couldn't remember why, but he could remember that.

Making a low noise in his throat, Xander rolled onto his side, closer to Ethan. He didn't think about it, just instinctively moved towards that which comforted him.

"There, it's all right." Ethan's hand stroked along Xander's back soothingly, his breath warm and slow. "Go to sleep now. When you wake up, everything will be fine."

The words lay in his mind while he slept, as soothing as the warm presence by his side. When he woke, things would be fine. Ethan had said so, and everything else Ethan had said came true. This wouldn't be any different. And when he slowly started to wake up --

Everything was fine.

Xander smiled, stretching contentedly before placing a kiss on the shoulder next to his head. "Is it morning? You shouldn't have let me sleep so long." He moved so that he was half-draped over Ethan's body, rubbing in a way he knew Ethan enjoyed. "Did you sleep?"

Ethan grumbled softly in a way that told Xander he had, and was just now waking up. "Hmph." Ethan stretched, but since he was underneath Xander it didn't do much more than demonstrate that older guys woke up with erections too. He turned and looked at Xander. "We both slept for a good while, I'd say. But no, it's not morning. Just after dinnertime. How are you feeling?" He was watching Xander carefully.

Xander snaked his hand down to grasp Ethan's cock exactly the way he knew Ethan liked. Not soft, but not demanding either, stroking over skin that grew harder with every pass. He couldn't stop his smile. He felt amazing. Like a cloud of doubt and worry and boundless nervousness had been released. No, not a cloud. A balloon. He'd been popped and there's was nothing left inside but Ethan.

"I'm fine," he said happily. "How are you?"

Ethan was acting like nothing was happening, but Xander could tell from the way his heart was beating that he loved being touched like this. "Fine," Ethan said, reaching out and caressing Xander's hair.

Xander placed another kiss on the curve of Ethan's shoulder, speeding his hand just a little. He didn't want to make Ethan come -- that didn't happen until Ethan told him he was to do so -- just to make him feel good. Because whenever Ethan touched him it was like sparks in the back of his eyes, and warmth laying over his bones. Not the kind of warmth that left him sweaty and icky, but the kind that felt like blankets and heaters that worked instantly on cold nights. Nice.

"I'm glad," he said. "Is this okay? What I'm doing?" He continued to smile, because he knew it was -- he just wanted the reassurance. Craved it, really.

"Mm, of course it is." Ethan moved into his touch slightly, encouraging him.

Xander liked the way Ethan's cock felt in his hand -- hard and twitching, warm -- and he liked making Ethan get that look on his face, the one where his eyes were half-shut with pleasure. He rubbed his thumb over the head; as hard as the shaft could be, the head always felt squishy -- warm and wet and spongy. He liked the way the slit dilated under his touch, allowing more pre-come to coat his fingers.

Ethan liked it, too, his mouth open as he breathed faster.

The cock in Xander's hand gave another twitch and Ethan groaned softly, then laughed. "You're very good at that. A natural."

Xander smiled in pleasure. Flicking his eyes up frequently for permission, he began kissing Ethan's chest. Down over the line of his pec with only the briefest licks over his nipple. Over his sternum to nip lightly at his stomach slowly rising and falling. He kept stroking, even when the angle went awful, twisting his wrist around until it hurt.

He had a goal. He just wasn't sure Ethan would like his goal.

Ethan's cock, on the other hand, seemed to like what he was doing just fine, and Xander liked doing it. He liked the way Ethan's skin tasted -- mostly clean, like soap, but just a little bit salty. He liked how Ethan's stomach was so soft against his lips, and how the skin over Ethan's hip bone was thin, almost transparent, the veins underneath pale blue.

"What do you think you're doing, Xander?" Ethan asked, but his voice was light, playful, not threatening.

Xander ran his tongue over the small trail of hair that started at Ethan's navel, catching a few in his teeth and tugging lightly. "I was going to put my mouth on your cock," he said. "Like this."

Diving down, Xander licked where he'd recently rubbed: right over the tip of Ethan's cock, his tongue dipping into the slit momentarily.

Ethan hissed and tensed, his hand grabbing onto Xander's shoulder firmly, squeezing in a way that Xander could tell meant 'more' and not 'stop.'

The taste of Ethan was mild and not unpleasant. In fact, it was kind of good, in a weird way -- a way that made Xander want to suck harder, to coax more of it out of Ethan. He wanted to hear Ethan make those noises he made, for Ethan to say his name in a strangled voice.

He licked around the head, flicking at the foreskin with his tongue, and Ethan moaned softly. "Clever boy. Clever tongue."

His own cock twitched happily, but Xander didn't smile because he was too busy pursing his lips in tiny kisses down the length of Ethan's cock, hunting for any escaping pre-come.

He remembered, vaguely, that he hadn't really done this before. At least, not exactly like this. But everything he did Ethan seemed to enjoy, so Xander ignored that memory and concentrated on fitting as much of Ethan as he could inside his mouth.

He didn't even blink when Ethan rocked his hips, the head of Ethan's cock going almost to the back of Xander's throat. It felt good, like something he'd done a hundred times and wanted to do again and again, even as he tried not to rub his own erection against the sheets.

Ethan's hand squeezed his shoulder more tightly. "Good. Yes, like that."

Xander made a noise to express his happiness at doing this correctly. He wanted to smile when Ethan quietly inhaled, cock again driving itself into Xander's mouth. He repeated the noise, sucking as well as he could while his tongue traced the vein along the bottom of the shaft.

He could feel tension in Ethan, the kind of tension that told him Ethan was holding back, and he didn't like that. He didn't want Ethan to hold back, because holding back was bad -- he wanted Ethan to feel good. The hand on his shoulder was gripping tighter now, but it didn't hurt, and Xander could tell that Ethan was being gentle, trying to be nice to him. That just made him want Ethan to feel even better... Ethan was so good to him...

He moaned again, and again, trying different pitches and intensities as Ethan's hand clutched tighter and tighter. Xander loved it. He wanted Ethan to come, wanted to make him feel so good his mind exploded with pleasure.

The cock in his mouth kept moving deeper and it became more of a struggle not to choke. Ethan was being so considerate of him, not wanting to push him too far -- but Xander didn't mind that. So long as Ethan felt good... so long as he didn't want to hurt Xander, it wasn't a punishment...

Trying to relax his throat with only partial success, Xander slid down even further.

Ethan's hips bucked and he gave a low cry, but Xander could still feel him trying to hold back. When he opened his eyes, he could see Ethan's other hand fisted in the sheets. "Xander..."

He debated. If he didn't stop, then Ethan would come in his mouth. He was salivating with the need to taste more than just pre-come -- but if he did stop, then Ethan could tell him what he wanted, instead of what Xander thought he might.

Gripping the base of Ethan's cock, Xander slid off, his other hand immediately covering where his mouth had just been. Ethan's foreskin fascinated him and he played with that while looking up. "Yes?"

Ethan's hand on his shoulder pulled at him. "Come up here."

Xander obeyed immediately, without thought, moving up until his mouth was right over Ethan's, his eyes searching the other man's.

"Like this." Ethan guided him until he was straddling Ethan's body, one knee on either side of Ethan's waist. He gasped when Ethan's grip closed around his cock and pulled at it, the wet tip of Ethan's own erection poking at him eagerly. "I'm going to fuck you now," Ethan said.

Xander's mind went white with lust. He started panting with eagerness, wriggling like an anxious puppy -- Ethan was going to fuck him! He wanted that. More than feeling him warm and hard inside his mouth, inside his body was better. It meant he was making Ethan feel good. Really good.

Pushing up so his weight was on his knees, Xander reached down to fumble Ethan's cock into position. He wanted. Ethan's amused laughter stopped him.

"Not right?" Xander asked, suddenly anxious for an entirely different reason.

"I don't want to hurt you," Ethan said, and Xander saw the bottle of lube in his hand, the top already flipped up. "I want to be able to do this again in an hour. And then again after that."

Xander nodded, leaning down to kiss Ethan gratefully, moaning as he felt slick fingers spreading him open and pushing inside. He couldn't stay still, his breath quick as he waited eagerly for more, his own dick leaking down onto Ethan's stomach as he trembled.

"Good boy," Ethan said, the head of his cock finally starting to push into Xander slowly. "So good."

Xander whimpered, his thighs trembling as he held himself up so Ethan had easy access. Hurry, hurry, hurry, chanted through his mind. He loved Ethan for going slow, letting him expand and adjust and only burn a little. And for the promise that they'd be doing this again, soon.

He started rocking when Ethan was halfway in, almost crying with eagerness. He didn't know why this was so important. He didn't know anything except Ethan and Fucking and a tiny, whispering thought of something he couldn't put a word to. It was a feeling of safety and completeness and the familiarity of a beloved home, all wrapped up with lust so strong it wasn't really lust anymore. Lust wasn't a big enough word to encompass it.

"God, I love that you're so eager for it," Ethan murmured, putting his hands on Xander's hips and easing a little bit deeper. "Xander, I need you to listen to me very carefully. Can you do that?"

Xander nodded quickly, wordlessly.

"Good. I don't want you to come until I've given you permission, do you understand?"

Of course he could! He could do anything Ethan asked of him! Ethan slid a little deeper and Xander's cock leaked even harder in reaction. Biting his lip, Xander smiled tremulously. "I understand."

"Good." Ethan pulled out, making Xander whimper again, then shoved inside, hard, and Xander cried out, his arms shaking. "Good. I'm so pleased with you, Xander." Using his grip on Xander's hips to hold Xander still, Ethan started moving faster, fucking him hard and deep, pushing up into him.

It hurt. Not a bad hurt, the one that said run away, vampires will eat you. This was a good hurt, a fantastic hurt. Xander tightened his muscles, wanting more of the burn as Ethan slammed up into him. Fucking him.

Ethan was fucking him.

Xander whimpered, leaning more weight on arms that felt like they were going to collapse soon. He was moving back into Ethan's thrusts, but he could tell that his participation wasn't really necessary.

Ethan was looking up at him as he fucked him, and that just made Xander harder. There was something in Ethan's eyes... something dark and almost ancient, something that said that the only rules that mattered were the ones Ethan made. Ethan felt huge inside him, stretching him, and Xander wouldn't have been able to put into words how he felt. It was like everything had washed away, leaving nothing but this -- Ethan, and fucking, and the faint sounds of his own whimpers.

"You don't understand, do you?" Ethan's voice was soft, contemplative as he pounded into Xander's body. "You've no idea at all."

Xander shook his head, moaning in the back of his throat. All he knew was Ethan: his touch, his words, what he wanted from Xander. Nothing else mattered until Ethan said it did.

Ethan cupped his cheek, smiling when Xander nuzzled into it. "Remind me to find that spell again," he said, the softness of his voice giving way to exertion. "It's too good not to use again."

Trembling, his cock almost hurting it was so hard, Xander arched his back, feeling Ethan's dick shove into him again. Ethan's thumbs rubbed over his hips, pressing the skin tight over the bones, and Xander knew Ethan had just said... something, but he wasn't sure what, and he could only hope it didn't matter because all his concentration was suddenly on trying not to come.

Ethan must have been able to tell -- he slowed down and pulled Xander in for a kiss, licking Xander's lips. "You're doing splendidly, you know. I'm so pleased."

Xander moaned through clenched teeth. Praise made him throb, even more desperate to do what he was not allowed to do. He shivered, air conditioning on sweat chilling his skin to goose-bumps. He almost shivered right out of Ethan's hold and that was wrong.

Xander blinked wet eyes, trying to show how much he wanted to obey. How glad he was Ethan liked it. Him. "Thank you," he whispered.

Ethan stopped moving suddenly, and Xander couldn't help but make a little sound of protest. "Shh," Ethan said. "It's all right. I just want you to do it." He wrapped his fingers around Xander's cock, the wet tip sliding in his loose grip. "Fuck yourself on me."

Xander wasn't sure how he could become more excited, only that he was. Thoughts spiraled through his mind don'tcomedon'tcomedon'tcome mantraing on top of the ever present voice that told him to make it good for Ethan. Push back more on your heels, like that, get enough leverage that you're almost sitting so it's easier to start rising and lowering yourself. Clench your muscles tight, make sure that Ethan likes it. It doesn't matter that clenching makes it hurt more -- anything the comes from Ethan is good, even the pain. Whimper like that, just like that, because Ethan likes to hear you hurting and loving, riding his cock with abandon. Pleasing him.

Xander didn't know when he'd started listening to that voice, only that he couldn't not obey it. He had to make Ethan happy. He had to make Ethan come, because he'd been told to, and not come himself, and god, Ethan's cock was so thick and hard and hot inside him, splitting him in two and driving him mad. He was mad, and that was okay so long as Ethan still liked him. Still wanted him.

Xander tried to move even faster, the delicate touch of Ethan's hand on his cock -- holding steady so each time Xander fucked himself on Ethan's cock, he was fucking himself into Ethan's hand -- painful.

"Good," Ethan said, then groaned, looking up at Xander, his eyes half-shut with pleasure and his other hand sliding around to cup Xander's ass as he rode Ethan's cock. "Oh yes, Xander, just like that. Yes..."

And Ethan groaned again and let go of Xander everywhere, but only long enough to grab onto Xander's hips and pull him down, all the way down, hard, as Ethan started to come.

Xander shouted, volume increasing as Ethan grew eerily silent. His head tipped back and Xander traced the contours of his open lips, noting where the little cracks were, the way they weren't quite pink anymore but had a hint of greyish color to them, as dusky as the rest of Ethan's skin.

He didn't relax his body, clenching tight to help Ethan find his release, until Ethan relaxed his fingers on Xander's hips. Dark bruises bloomed up almost immediately -- Xander treasured each one.

Ethan started to move again, fucking Xander hard and fast, meeting the rhythm Xander had set and increasing it until Xander was whimpering helplessly, his cock so desperate to be touched that he thought he might die. But he couldn't, couldn't come, couldn't touch. Not unless Ethan said so. The head of Ethan's dick rubbed over his prostate again and again and Xander trembled, his hands shaking where he braced himself on Ethan's chest.

He closed his eyes, but Ethan corrected him immediately. "No. Keep them open."

The muscles behind his eyes pulled tight as he obeyed, opening his eyes to their widest point. The dull ache of forcing his eyes so wide offered a counterpoint to the constant bombardment of Ethan fucking him. It was easier to concentrate on the way his eyes were slowly drying out than the need that left him shivering and shaking.

Ethan's hand moved, suddenly, to Xander's wet and aching dick, warm fingers wrapping around the swollen flesh and stroking it quickly. "Now," Ethan said. "I want to see you come."

Xander felt his body start to pulse, his head falling back and his jaw dropping. He wanted to scream. He felt like he was screaming, pain and pleasure mixed to an intensity it seemed like no mere human should be able to survive, pouring out of him as he came and came.

He didn't think he made a sound, though. Not until his body slumped forward, weighing heavily on Ethan's hips, and he started gasping for air. Tears made his cheeks flush. The sight of his come covering Ethan's hands and belly almost -- almost -- hardened his cock again.

"Perfect," Ethan breathed, pulling Xander down for a kiss that Xander returned eagerly, tasting Ethan's salty lips, licking them, wanting more. "I love fucking you. I'll want to do it again in an hour or so."

He spasmed around the cock still inside him, nodding eagerly. "Okay. I'm, um, a little sore, though. Not that I want you to stop," he added hurriedly. He didn't know why he'd mentioned it, just that he was sore, and even an hour wasn't going to stop him from hurting.

"Don't worry," Ethan said, cupping Xander's ass with his hand and rubbing it gently. "I have something that will take care of that."

Before Xander could worry much about what that might be, Ethan was easing him off and pushing him down onto the mattress, kissing him again, deeply. Ethan's tongue pushed into his mouth, slicking over his own, and then just as suddenly, Ethan was gone, getting up out of the bed and crossing the room to the dresser and his black bag.

Xander felt his heart start to beat more quickly.

Ethan turned around with a little white jar in his hand and came back over to the side of the bed, rolling Xander onto his stomach. "This ought to do the trick," Ethan said, unscrewing the cap on the jar and releasing the scent of something sharp and medicinal.

Xander swallowed heavily. "What is that?" He tried not to let his nervousness show through -- he'd do whatever Ethan wanted, of course. But the sharp smell was making him want to cough and he didn't like most medicines -- not since he was a little kid and he'd been misdiagnosed and fed all kinds of pills. He barely even took advil, if he could help it, since then.

Ethan's smile wasn't very reassuring. "Hands and knees, facing the headboard, Xander."

"Okay." Head twisted over his shoulder, Xander positioned himself and tried not to shiver.

He eeped when a finger of cream first touched him, so cold against his sore skin. Then he moaned, head dropping to hang near the bedspread. "That feels good," he whispered as the cream was spread around his sore, damaged hole.

"It's meant to," Ethan said, reassuringly now that Xander had obeyed him. "It will help you heal." That finger disappeared for a few seconds, then came back with more cream, pushing it inside him this time, making him sigh with relief as it did its magic.

Any memory of tension or worry vanished under a wave of tingling warmth that spread from his bottom up. It was okay now, because Ethan was taking care of him. Proving to that one last doubt in Xander's mind that it didn't matter what Ethan did, or how much it hurt Xander to make him feel good -- Ethan would take care of him. Ethan would make him feel good. And in return, Xander would do anything for him.

Two fingers worked inside him, spreading him wide so his sorest places could be soothed. He moaned, though his cock stayed soft and lax between his thighs. It felt good, but not like it had before, when Ethan had touched him here. Now it just felt warm, like blankets and soft pillows and arms that held without squeezing.

All too soon, Ethan was pulling his fingers out and putting the small jar away. "Come shower now," Ethan said, heading into the bathroom without waiting to see if Xander obeyed because obviously Xander was going to obey. That was what he did, after all.

<center>* * * * *</center>

"Xander."

The quiet word had Xander instantly awake, rolling onto his knees and looking up at Ethan anxiously. He hadn't meant to oversleep, but he'd just been so tired after last night. Absently, he fingered the area on his thigh where he'd been punished a few days earlier; the skin was smooth and unmarked, but it still felt tingly and he rubbed at it in what was probably becoming a habit.

For days -- he didn't know how many, only that it was more than three or four -- he'd been good. Ethan had taught him so many new things and ways of acting and he'd worked so hard at getting it exactly right. But then he'd said something -- he couldn't even remember what it was now. Something about his life before, the one that was hazy like there was a wall of translucent glass in his head, preventing him from seeing it. Or caring, really, since he didn't. Whatever he'd said had meant punishment, though, and it was probably why he couldn't remember it. Less chance of repeating.

"Get dressed please, Xander."

Dressed? Confused, but still obedient, Xander shrugged into clothes that he barely recognized. They were freshly laundered and smelled of cheap fabric softener. It felt strange to wear clothes again after so long. Theyc draped oddly around his body and it felt restrictive. Especially the jeans. How was Ethan supposed to access Xander if he was covered in tough, tight denim?

"Here." Ethan pressed a paper-wrapped sandwich, still warm, into his hands. "You can eat this in the car."

Xander wanted to ask what was going on. Car? That meant they were going somewhere. But they hadn't left the room in... a long time. Since he'd stepped through the doorway, actually, and some time since then he'd stopped thinking about ever leaving. He'd just figured they were going to stay there forever, and that was okay with him because Ethan made him feel good. Great, actually.

Ethan already had the door open and was looking at him, waiting.

Xander made it to the doorway before he paused, distrustful of the alien scent of clean, fresh air. Glancing at Ethan for reassurance, Xander swallowed and forced himself to think about it logically:

Ethan had said to follow. So Xander would follow.

Xander stepped over the threshold of the room and docilely followed Ethan over to a small, sporty car.

Ethan unlocked the doors and Xander glanced at him, waiting to be told where to sit. "In the front," Ethan said. "And make sure you eat that."

He got into the passenger seat and shut the door, unwrapping the egg and cheese and bacon sandwich as Ethan got behind the wheel and started up the car.

"We're going to visit someone," Ethan said. "I don't think I have to tell you that I'll expect you to be exceptionally well-behaved."

Xander shook his head, then nodded it just as furiously, not sure which would appease Ethan more. "You don't. I mean, I will. I'll behave."

He knew Ethan didn't mind the babbling, but Xander still did. Shoving the sandwich into his mouth took care of the problem. He ate as they whizzed through streets Xander could only barely remember. He didn't know where they were going -- but then, he didn't need to.

Food finished, Xander smiled his thanks to Ethan. Ethan took such good care of him. "Anything important I should know? Or, um, not do?" he asked. He liked knowing the rules. Ethan had taught him that.

"Just do what I tell you. Don't worry -- you'll enjoy it." Ethan glanced at him. "Do try not to talk too much. I'll take care of that side of things." He pulled the car into a parking space and turned it off. "Let's go."

Did the request not to talk start now? Or when they were wherever Ethan took them? Deciding it started now, Xander exited the car and shut the door behind him. The loud *bang* was startling.

Ethan led him down to a small apartment courtyard, full of trees and small tables. The courtyard felt familiar. He didn't really remember it, just knew that he'd been here at some point. Not that it really mattered, anymore.

They went up to one of the doors -- definitely familiar -- and Ethan knocked. There was kind of a long wait, and Xander could tell from the way Ethan was standing that Ethan was worried, or tense, or something. Usually Ethan was relaxed, confident -- seeing him like this made Xander tense, too.

"This is all going to work out just fine," Ethan muttered, half under his breath.

Xander smiled reassuringly and nodded at Ethan. It was weird, being in the position of him, Xander, calming Ethan. At least, that's what he thought he was doing. Ethan definitely stopped looking as if he was going to start jiggling a limb with nervousness at any moment. He smiled a little more broadly, pleased that he'd been able to do that for Ethan.

"It's very early, can't this please wait until -- dear god." The man was the same age as Ethan and had that same way of holding himself that Xander immediately associated with 'British' in his head. The man gaped, almost dropping his mug, staring from Ethan to Xander and back again. A spark of familiarity told Xander that this man was important -- but not as important as Ethan. He met the man's gaze levelly, waiting for some kind of clue for what he was supposed to do.

"Hello, Ripper," Ethan said pleasantly.

"Xander, thank God! We've been looking everywhere for you." The man ignored Ethan, looking at Xander like he expected something from him, but Xander just looked back at him blankly.

"Yes," Ethan said, "I knew that at some point you'd like him back."

The man -- Ripper -- no, Giles, Xander thought -- glared at Ethan. "Has he been with you all this time? It's been more than a week! What the bloody hell do you think you're playing at?"

Ethan smiled. "That's exactly what I've been doing -- playing."

"Get away from him, Xander. Now." Giles sounded like he was giving Xander an order.

Xander didn't move. Remembering the injunction not to talk, Xander shook his head and continued to stare blankly.

He caught Ethan's pleased smile, though. "Sorry, but I don't think that's going to work, anymore. Then again. . . Xander, get on your knees for me."

It wasn't phrased as a request, but then, it didn't need to have been an order. Xander immediately slid down to his knees, neck muscles trembling with his effort not to look up at Ethan for approval.

"What the hell are you -- Xander, get in here now." Giles' voice was sharp, but Xander didn't respond, just stayed where he was, on his knees, eyes cast downward.

"Don't worry, Ripper," Ethan said. "There's a reason I brought him here, after all."

"Tell me what it is, then," Giles said.

"Aren't you even going to ask us in for tea?" Ethan asked, sounding mildly offended. "It's all right, Xander -- get up and go inside."

Xander's brain, the part that told him he was walking into Giles' apartment, wanted to be nervous. The tension between Ethan and Giles was thick and Xander didn't know if he wanted to flee from it or dive into the middle of it, protecting Ethan.

He wasn't, though. Why should he? Ethan had already told him what to do.

Entering the apartment, Xander moved towards the sofas that smelled of old leather and were permeated with the richness of tea. Turning back to the door, he linked his hands behind his back and waited.

Giles shut the door and focused his attention on Ethan. "What have you done?"

Ethan shrugged. "Brought you a gift."

Staring at Ethan blankly for a minute, Giles opened his mouth and closed it without saying anything. Then he looked at Xander. "Xander? Whatever it is, you know you can trust me."

His chin instantly ducked back into an expression of the purest disbelief. Trust someone who wasn't Ethan, that Ethan had not told him to trust? No chance. Wiping his face clean, he looked back to Ethan, waiting for instructions.

"It's not that simple anymore, Rupert," Ethan said. "Well, actually, it is, very simple, but not until I've told him to do as you say."

Giles stared at Ethan. "What," he said slowly, "have you done?"

Ethan smiled. "I'll show you. Xander?"

"Yes?" Xander answered immediately, just as he was supposed to.

"I'd like you to demonstrate for Rupert what I've taught you." Ethan's eyes caressed Xander, making him feel warm and loved. "Take off your shirt."

"Ethan!"

Xander ignored the outraged shout, shoving down the need to bristle protectively at a man who had no right to sound so censorious to Ethan. He tugged the shirt over his head, absently smoothing his ragged curls down afterwards.

It felt so much better to be without his shirt. He couldn't wait to get rid of the rest of his clothes.

"Good boy," Ethan said, looking from Xander to Giles. "He is, isn't he, Ripper? Such a good boy. You must have noticed. You always did have an eye for the young, pretty ones, didn't you?"

"When I was much younger myself," Giles retorted, then he put a hand over his eyes. "I can't believe I'm defending myself to you. Xander, put your shirt back on. Please."

Xander folded the shirt neatly and held it. Ethan was looking smug and very happy -- that meant Xander was behaving. He beamed at Ethan, then reconstructed his carefully blank mask.

Looking right at Xander, Ethan said, "Now I want you to get on your knees in front of Rupert."

"No!" Giles said, pointing a finger at Ethan.

"Yes," Ethan said. "You know you want him, Ripper. Just think of the things he can do."

This was new. Ethan had spoken to him about it, warning him that there would times when Xander would have to touch people not Ethan. But actually doing it was a new and scary thing.

Not that he would object.

Placing the shirt on a nearby table, Xander walked over to Giles and knelt before him. Giles immediately backed up, so Xander had to knee-walk after him. It was comical, except Xander was frustrated at not being able to obey, and Giles was shouting things at Ethan.

He glanced back at Ethan, expression clearly asking help me?

Ethan gestured at Xander to continue, so he moved forward again. Giles was just about pressed against the wall at that point, but when Xander reached for the front of his trousers, Giles shoved him away.

"I did this for you!" Ethan shouted at Giles.

"You're completely mad if you thought I wanted this," Giles yelled back.

"I know you wanted it," Ethan told him. "You may not want to admit it to yourself, but deep down, you did. I saw the way you looked at him."

Giles stormed forward and grabbed Ethan by the front of his shirt. "Whatever it is you've done, undo it! Now, before I take matters into my own hands!"

Xander didn't think. He didn't remember what he did, either, just that Giles was picking himself up painfully from the wall he'd been shoved or thrown or something against, and Ethan was safely behind Xander.

"Don't touch him," Xander said firmly -- quickly amending in his head, unless Ethan wants it.

Ethan was straightening the front of his shirt and looking at Giles. "Yes, I remember how you like to take matters into your own hands," he said.

"He's just a boy," Giles said. "He's not part of this. Let him go."

Ethan chuckled. "It's really not that simple, old man."

"What do you mean?" Giles asked.

"It was a conditioning spell," Ethan answered. "The effects of it made the end result that much easier to achieve, that's true, but it also means that there's no going back."

Giles' face twisted. "There's always going back, Ethan. Prosaic brainwashing can be deprogrammed. So can this."

Brainwashing? Xander knew that something had been done to him, but he hadn't had the words for it. Brainwashing sounded good -- Ethan had washed away his badness so Xander was clean and beautiful now.

"So naive, Ripper," Ethan said from behind him. "Do you truly believe I'd leave anything to chance? Xander is mine, now. Break the spell and he's still mine."

"No." Giles sounded angry.

"Ask him," Ethan said, stepping closer and running a hand up Xander's arm. "Xander, make sure you're truthful when you answer Rupert."

"Any answer he gives won't be truthful," Giles snapped.

"Oh, no? Xander, will you tell the truth?"

He couldn't help leaning back slightly into Ethan's touch. "Okay."

"There now. Ripper, ask him your questions. Anything you like."

Giles glared at Ethan. "You know that's not what I meant. If you've got him under a spell, then his answers aren't truly his."

"They are," Xander protested, wanting to protect Ethan from this. He didn't like the idea of Giles calling Ethan a liar. "I mean..." He glanced at Ethan for reassurance. "I want to be with Ethan. I do."

"You don't know what you want," Giles said, looking at him seriously. "You're under the influence of magic, Xander. This isn't the real you."

"That's not true!" Angry on behalf of himself, now, Xander turned back to Giles and glared. "Yeah, he used magic to get me to come with him, and to make me not misbehave, but that's because I needed to learn. I was wrong, before. Ethan makes me right."

"He used magic to manipulate you," Giles said.

"I did it for you!" Ethan protested.

"Only because you've completely lost your mind!" Giles said. "Why would you ever think that I'd want something like this?"

"Because I saw how you looked at him, and I know what you like," Ethan stopped, a slow grin spreading across his face. "Maybe you just require a demonstration that's a little less direct?" He gestured at Xander. "Come here and kiss me."

Xander smiled with his eyes, knowing how much Ethan loved it when he did that -- how Xander looked eager and happy and just a little bit wicked. Turning to face Ethan, Xander tilted his head and began peppering kisses along the length of Ethan's lower lip. The skin tasted like Ethan's breakfast and Xander licked more fully, loving the taste of salt and skin mixed.

"You see, Ripper?" Ethan murmured, sliding a hand down to cup Xander's ass. "Isn't he lovely?"

"Take your hands off him," Giles said.

"But he doesn't want me to," Ethan said. "Do you, Xander?"

"No, Ethan," Xander said clearly. He continued to place little kisses on Ethan's cheek and jaw, down the line of his neck. It was nice, being held by someone slightly taller than he was -- it made nuzzling so much easier.

"Good boy," Ethan said, and just like always it made Xander shiver. "Show Rupert how you like to touch me."

Xander recognized that this wasn't a request to make Ethan feel good, although it should do that, as well. Ethan wanted him to put on a show. Something in the back of his mind gibbered about doing this in front of Giles, the closest thing he'd had to an authority figure before Ethan. It told him other things, too, about who he was and who he'd been, and how he'd arrived at this situation. He ignored it.

Shifting so that he was standing almost to the side of Ethan, Xander let his hand trail up Ethan's belly underneath his shirt, through the sparse hair over Ethan's abs and up to his right nipple. Rubbing teasingly, Xander busied himself with more kisses along Ethan's neck, making sure that Giles could see his face.

It didn't last long, though, because the next thing Xander knew, Giles was grabbing onto his upper arm and pulling him away from Ethan. "That's enough," Giles said.

Glancing back at Ethan for permission, Xander let himself be pulled away.

The moment Giles' hold on his arm weakened, Xander darted up against him, one arm wrapping around Giles' waist while the other hand palmed the partial hard-on he felt underneath cotton trousers. "You think Ethan did something I didn't want," Xander murmured, sparing a guilty thought as he broke one of Ethan's rules. "I wanted it, Giles. I know how you used to look at me, too. And it doesn't scare me anymore."

"Stop it," Giles said, pulling away and backing up. "You don't know what you're talking about."

"I think he does," Ethan said. He sounded a little surprised, but not upset at all. Good.

"That's because you're deluded," Giles snapped. "In addition to which, you're clearly not hearing a word that I'm saying. This is unacceptable, Ethan. Not only do I not want it, but I'm certainly not going to allow you to continue with it, either."

"It's not your choice," Ethan said coldly.

Taking quiet for permission, Xander moved towards Giles again, reaching for the swelling erection he knew he could force all the way with little difficulty. He'd felt the jump against his palm.

"It's my choice," he said silkily. "Ethan let me have that choice."

"Xander, Ethan has manipulated you into doing things you don't want."

"But I do. I was too scared to go after them, before. Ethan showed me how good they can feel. Let me make you feel good, Giles? Ethan's taught me all kinds of things."

He thought he felt Giles hesitate, for just a second, anyway, but then Giles shook his head and grabbed onto his upper arm again. "Listen to me, Xander," Giles said, talking like Ethan wasn't in the room. "I don't know what it is he's done, not exactly, but I swear to you I'll find a way to undo it." Then he let go of Xander and strode over toward Ethan determinedly.

"Now, Ripper," Ethan said, sounding nervous. "Let's not be hasty about this. Xander is perfectly willing, perfectly happy... "

"Happy to be a mindless sex-toy?" Giles snapped. "I doubt it. Xander, stay where you are."

No, he definitely would not. Time slowed to a crawl as Giles grabbed Ethan's shoulders, shaking him once before shoving him towards the closed door with enough force to probably knock him out, if Ethan hit his head.

Fortunately, all he hit was Xander, who oophed, cringing as a solid body crashed into him, sending him backward against the door hard enough to see stars.

After they got untangled, Ethan stood up, his expression almost haughty. "Fine. I thought... well, it doesn't matter what I thought. If you don't want me here, I'll go."

"Good," Giles said. "Get out and don't come back."

"Don't fret, Rupert," Ethan said. "Xander?"

"Coming, Ethan," he wheezed. Ethan was heavy and his shoulder had collided with Xander's belly.

Giles' eyes flashed. "No. Xander, you're staying here."

"It's up to him," Ethan said, reaching out a hand to steady Xander, his touch warm and sure before it went away again, leaving Xander to stand on his own.

To make his own decision.

Xander looked from Ethan to Giles and back again. "I won't stay where I'm not wanted," he said simply.

Memories that were still more hazy than not told him those words could be cutting -- and certainly Giles flinched as if Xander had slapped him.

Retrieving his shirt, Xander stood next to Ethan. "Are we going home?"

"Yes," Ethan said, his lips quirking up into an almost-smile. "Wherever that is."

Xander looked back towards Giles. It was like the longer he stayed in this apartment, the more he remembered -- though none of the memories affected his decision at all. Stay where he was loser-boy who'd never go to college, have a decent job, or be anything but a bother? Ethan liked what he did. Ethan called him lovely. "Bye, Giles. Tell Buffy not to look for me. I won't go back."

Ethan opened the door and stepped outside into the California sunshine, and Xander followed as Giles said something like, "But... Xander, I..."

Like a good boy, Xander shut the door behind him.

Neither of them spoke until they were in the car. "I'd hoped you wouldn't remember. The spell wasn't clear." Ethan was quiet.

Xander shrugged. "I kind of didn't, not until we were in Giles' place. Then it just started coming back. All of it."

"And yet, you're still here, with me."

"Yup."

Ethan pulled the car out onto the street, then said, almost cautiously, "Could you tell me why that is?"

Xander thought about that. "Well, the spell did work. And ... " Hesitating, Xander wondered how to explain this. His memories were clear and sharp, true, but he wasn't who he'd been, before. He was what Ethan had made him to be. "You want me," he said finally. "At least, I thought you did?"

"Oh, I do," Ethan said. "It's just that I'd like to know where we stand, so to speak."

His shoulders relaxed. "I want to be with you," he said softly. "Please."

Ethan reached over and patted Xander's thigh. "Of course. You don't have to ask." The older man glanced at him, grinning. "Although I do like that word."

Xander grinned back, then morphed his face into the look he'd spent many days practicing. "Please?" he asked again.

Ethan's grin turned heated, hungry. "I can't say I'm sorry we'll have to stop back at the room before we leave town," he said, reaching for Xander's hand and bringing it to press against the front of his trousers so that Xander could feel the growing hardness underneath.

"We're leaving?" Ethan hadn't liked questions before, but now seemed different. Xander palmed the erection he felt, tickling the base as well as he could with denim in the way. "Leaving town?"

"Yes. Do you have a problem with that?" Ethan's tone dared Xander to disobey.

Xander looked quizzical. "Why would I have a problem with that?"

Continuing to fondle Ethan's cock, Xander snuggled down in the seat. Would Ethan make him his apprentice now? It might be fun, being an apprentice Chaos Wizard, especially since Xander was pretty sure anything resembling 'morals' had disappeared along with his conditioning. But that was okay.

Either way, Xander knew he was where he belonged.

End

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