Dime: Whipped

Summery: Another vampire with a soul—but he doesn't know it yet.

A/N: Kind of in a weird mood when I wrote this chapter, and that wireless phone commercial—you know the one—cracked my shit up. And I did a little borrowing, I couldn't help it, I always loved that line.

He hovered over her, the stake clutched tightly in his cold dead hand. The grain of the wood bit hurtfully into his fingers and palm; he hadn't been able to carve the stake as well as he could have, he'd done it during stolen moments and with injured hands. It was a long time in coming, building and building until he was literally mad with the need to get this done with once and for all. Harmony shifted on her bed, under pink and frilly blankets with unicorns printed on them. Unicorns for Christ's sake! God, she deserved to die just for all the damned pink alone, never mind the unicorns! Truth to tell, it wasn't just the pink and the unicorns that drove Xander Harris to this final act of retribution. It was everything she did from the moment she decided to drain him. Man oh man if he wasn't convinced vampires were evil before this horror show, he certainly was now. And Harmony ranked up there with Angelus, in her own dim, overly primped way.

One Month ago…

Xander was lying on his back on a pile of blankets—pink blankets—and assorted pillows in a corner of the crypt when Harmony returned. She carried a bunch of bags in her hands but set them all down before she approached him. Xander knew what was coming and resigned himself. "So, what do you think?" she asked, twirling in front Xander, showing off her new outfit.

The bandages came off his eyes three weeks ago and his vision was vampire perfect. Xander was not happy about it. Blind wasn't so bad really. Blind meant he didn't have to see the dank pit Harmony had him holed up in. Blind meant he didn't have to watch her eat people she randomly snatched off the street. Blind meant he did not have to be subjected to Harmony prancing around while she put on half-baked fashion shows that happened every. Stinking. Day!

She wore a fuzzy pink blouse that was three sizes too small with short sleeves and showed off her bellybutton. It was fuzzier than anything Willow ever wore, and Xander didn't know where Harmony got off critiquing back in high school. But he guessed she thought the tight dark colored jeans and the pink, ankle high, high heel boots offset any and all Willow-ness.

Harmony stopped spinning and faced Xander, smiling, reveling in her fabulous taste. "Well, what do you think this outfit says? You know, besides eat your heart out, boys?"

Xander was too weak to turn away so he opted to glare instead.

He learned to glare really well since getting his sight back. He was pretty good at it before, but now he imagined he could kill a less self-absorbed person with the heat from his glower. Of course the person had to actually pay attention to him for it to work, which automatically meant Harmony was immune. She rarely paid him any mind. Like now, she may have asked for his opinion but the truth was she couldn't give a damn.

She just wanted somebody to prance in front of and the fact Xander was a captive audience suited her vanity fine.

Harmony settled whatever attention she had left on Xander. "Well?" she asked expectantly.

"It says, 'Take me, take me, take me back to the circus,'" he replied.

"Aw, is poor, helpless Xanny feeling testy tonight?"

"Shut up."

"You're so clever with the shut up!" Harmony rejoined cheerfully before bounding over to the shopping bags she brought into the crypt with her, her heels clacking over the crypt's stone floors. Each bag seemed to originate from a half dozen different stores.

"Just kill me. For the love of God, kill me already," Xander said, half moaning and half shouting his plea to the heavens.

"Oh, stop your whining, Xanny! Besides it's your own fault. You could be in a Dustbuster right now if you really wanted. But no, you wanna go on pretending you're better than me."

"Stop calling me Xanny, or I swear I'll--"

"You'll what, Xanny? Give me good snarking to? See how I'm trembling? Please don't hurt me, you big, bad…" Harmony bounded back over to the nest and set several of the bags in front of Xander before tacking on, "Invalid you."

It was taking a long time for Xander to heal, longer than it should have. Harmony said it was because he'd been fresh out of the ground, figuratively speaking, and hadn't a chance to feed before his impromptu and unfortunate sunbathing accident. Implying an older vamp could have healed everything, including melted eyeballs, in weeks. Blood was the key. Without it, it'd take months to fully heal all the damage the sunlight caused. So Xander was basically assed out, and somebody was behind him with perverse intentions. Xander refused to drink one drop of blood. Even if Harmony wanted to bring him the pedigree of plasma Angel and Spike were forced to drink, animal blood, Xander wasn't having any of that either.

At the same time he didn't like (hated it! Hated It! HATED IT!) his current situation. He was helpless, laid out before his arch-nemesis, well, arch-nemesis by default—Cordelia having migrated to the Big City and all. The burns on his face and most of his body hurt so bad, he couldn't move much, so if she wanted to maim or kill Xander it was definitely an option open to her, and there was jack-all he could do to stop her. The bitch of it was he did have the power to save himself. All he had to do was be what he was: a vampire, which to Xander's mind was a form of torture in itself and something he wanted to endure slightly less than the Hellapalooza that is Harmony.

It was the very embodiment of damned if you do, damned if you don't.

"But I'm impressed, you know?" Harmony said.

"I can't imagine what could impress a mind as sophisticated as yours."

"Believe it or not, Xanny, you're impressing me," Harmony replied lowering herself to the floor, folding her leg underneath her and sat on her heels. While Xander marveled at her carelessly sullying up her designer jeans, Harmony reached into one of the bags. "I mean it's been like two months, and you haven't fed. It's gotta be a record or something."

"If not, I'm perfectly willing to die to get into Guinness," Xander said.

Harmony rolled her eyes as she rummaged around inside the bag. A moment later she began pulling out long, thin aerosol cans, next a jar of styling gel and then a pack of hair rollers. "I think I figured out why you and Cordy hooked up, you're both drama queens."

"I am not a drama queen! And bite me! Oh, wait, you already did!"

Harmony rolled her eyes again. "Like I said, your comebacks are like gold." She pulled out what looked and smelled like a brand new hairbrush with a long wooden handle.

Xander grumbled aloud, but silently admitted to himself that his snaps were getting lame—very lame. But he did have an excuse. His mind was not as sharp as it once was… What the hell is she gonna do with all that product? Crap! Did I just call that stuff product? Dear lord, another week of Her and I'm surely lost!

"So… I've decided I'm going to have to move this along, Xanny. 'Cause right now you're no use to me," Harmony said scooting closer.

"What are you talking about now?"

"Look, I turned you to rub it in Miss High and Mighty's face and I can't do that if she doesn't see you in all your vampiric-yet-still-geeky glory."

"I'm still with the 'Huh?' over here."

"I was thinking I'd force you to feed, you know, physically. I'm talking Chinese water torture and wood splinters under your finger and toenails." Before Xander could reply Harmony pressed on in a nonchalant manner, not even looking at him. "Then I thought, yuck! That sounds like an awful lot like work, so uh-uh. Then I asked myself: self? What else would really get Xander's goat? It took me awhile but I finally figured out what would drive you absolutely nutso."

Xander stared at Harmony warily not sure he wanted to find out what she had in store for him. What could possibly be worse than the ol' Spanish Inquisition routine? Harmony watched Xander with a haughty smile, silently waiting for him to give in and ask the question, and finally he did.

"What are you going to do to me?"

"First, I'm gonna do something about your hair. I mean, God it's like totally out of control! It might take awhile so expect me to go through a few dozen styles before I decide what's right. Then after all your icky burns go away, we're going to conceal those…" Harmony brought her right hand up to the right side of her mouth, cupped a little, lowered her voice and said, "problem areas. I mean it's not as bad as when we were in school, thankfully your skin cleared up some, but still… room for improvement.

"Naturally, the clothes have to go," Harmony continued in her normal tone of voice—perky, irritating. "I'm thinking leather. Black jeans—tight, black jeans—red shirt and Doc Martin's." Harmony snapped her fingers. "You know what? I think I figured out what hair-style is perfect for you!"

Xander tried to control his breathing and keep his voice level when he responded. "You are not turning me into a clone of Spike, Harmony."

"How are you going to stop me? Oh, yeah, one more thing." Harmony reached inside another bag and pulled out a small camcorder. "I got this to commemorate your new and improved image!"

"Wait--" Xander started.

"I think we can forego the bleaching for awhile, I'd like to experiment with your hair first. It's grown like two inches since I brought you over. Did you know our hair grows a little faster than normal? Maybe yours will get as long as mine, you think? Anyways, we'll try braids first. You're no Chris Kirkpatrick, but if anyone can make it work for you, I can."

"You can't do this to me, you psycho!"

"Then feed and I'll let you do whatever you want…" Harmony frowned. Looking thoughtful, she bit her lower lip, then said, "Actually you better pass everything you do by me first. I am your sire, it's only proper."

"I can't believe this is happening…"

"Are you going to eat?" Harmony asked.

Xander screwed up his courage and turned a scathing glare at the blonde, his lips pressed together tightly before he ground out, "Do your worst, bimbo, I can take it. But you better believe if I ever get better the first thing I'll do is stake your un-dead ass."

Harmony smiled and picked up the hairbrush. Waving the brush in front of Xander's face she said, "My shapely un-dead ass, is what I'm sure you meant. Okay, let's get started…"

A month went by, some thirty days of playing as Harmony's dress up doll and listening to her inane drivel while she messed with his hair. She even managed to dye his hair blonde, not platinum blonde like Spike's, but Buffy blonde—with frosted tips. Then came Harmony undressing him (and the sooner Xander blocked that out of his short and long-term memory the better!) and redressing him in all manner of gothic vampire crap.

Even now Xander was wearing her latest humiliation: a black mesh tank top and leather pants…

Rage is what gave Xander the will to ignore the agony of crusty, burnt limbs. It made him scratch his way to Harmony's bed with the stake he made out of the hairbrush Harmony bought for him. It took him two weeks to grind the handle of the brush into a point, two weeks and a butt load of pain, but he did it.

Harmony shifted onto her back and unwittingly exposed the front of her pink nightie—and her heart. Xander raised the stake high. Sweat stung his partially healed burns, as the stress of staying on his feet increased.

His right arm was shaking and for some reason he couldn't bring it down. Xander suspected it was because he was weaker than he first thought. That he wasn't in complete control of his motor functions.

But then a minute passed then two.

Five minutes stretched by and the stake didn't come down and the tension in his arm wound up tighter and tighter.

Xander grabbed his right arm's wrist with his left hand and tried to force the stake down, but the limb was stubbornly abstinent. What the hell is going on? Xander wanted to know as he continued his efforts to plunge the stake down into Harmony's chest.

"Hey! You're on your feet! Good for you!"

Xander looked away from his disobedient arm to Harmony, she was staring up at him with a delighted expression but it was more mocking than anything else.

"Grrahhhh!" Xander growled and swung the stake down in one last attempt on Harmony's life. The stake stopped four inches above her heart and would descend no farther.

Harmony yawned. "How many times do I have to tell you, Xanny? I. Am. Your. Sire."

"W-What is… that… supposed… tahh-to mean?" Xander grunted out, pushing down on his right hand with his left again.

"Haven't you learned anything after all the side-kicking you've done for Buffy? I made you so every instinct you have in that scrawny body of yours won't let you hurt me. You are so my minion!"

Letting his arms fall to his sides, Xander gave up trying to deliver the killing blow. "I am not your minion!" he shouted.

"Of course you are, silly!"

Snarling, Xander took another stab with the stake, but his hand came to a complete halt inches from her chest, it almost felt like the tip of the stake bounced off an invisible barrier. Harmony sighed and rolled onto her side and pulled the covers up to her neck. She turned head and said over her shoulder, "And don't think I don't know you were perving my breasts before, Xanny."

Xander tried to plunge the stake into her back and the attempt failed, just like the first two times. "Damn it!" he yelled and threw the stake away. Exhausted and confused, Xander used the last of his strength to turn away from Harmony's bed and slouch back to his nest at the other end of the dark crypt. Xander collapsed and landed on his side, facing away from the open area of the crypt, the last thing he wanted to see right now was Harmony. He stared at the wall with wide, shell-shocked eyes wanting desperately not to believe he had built-in prime directives against killing Harmony.

"Maybe if you were stronger you could overcome it," Harmony said, her voice soft and restful. "Oh, well. Good night, Xanny."