A/N: More dubious sex times lie ahead in this chapter.

Additional warning: rape is mentioned in this chapter. Not a detailed encounter, but could still trigger someone sensitive to the topic. Use your own discretion.

He had to keep Spike on a shorter leash after that. For the next two days, he made the vampire clean the house, cook the food, and in moments of down time, made him lay on the floor, in the corner. To his credit, Spike did all he was asked without a word of protest. Still, Giles could sense the disappointment and lingering humiliation coloring the air around the vampire. He couldn't let himself feel sorry for the vampire. He buried himself in anger at first, and then in a sense of self-righteousness. Spike needed a firm hand to keep him from straying into those perversions the Initiative had apparently taught him.

Giles returned home one afternoon with groceries in hand. Spike immediately perked, coming to silently greet him.

"Make yourself useful," Giles said, indicating the bags as he set them down.

There were definite benefits to having company at home. Giles began to boil a kettle of water while the vampire moved around him, placing groceries away as carefully as possible. When the last bag was emptied, Spike began to head back to the living room and make himself scarce as usual, but Giles stopped him with a light touch.

"I'm going to bring you by the shop tonight," Giles told him. "It's time that you get used to being around the others. You are not to touch them or stare at them. You are not to linger near my side. You are not to interfere, or speak without being spoken to. Essentially, if you embarrass me in any way, I'll do things to you that the Initiative would have considered too cruel. Is that understood?"

Spike nodded. "Yes, sir."

"You've done very well," Giles added quietly, and then dismissed him.

When the time came, Giles made Spike as presentable as possible, and then decided it was time to see what would happen.

Giles entered the shop first, as if uncaring whether or not the vampire followed him. In truth, he was nervous, worried that he had overestimated Spike's loyalty. To his hidden relief, the vampire followed him without turning tail. The vampire, not daring to cling to Giles's side and "bother" him, hovered uncertainly in the middle of the shop.

"A customer?" Anya asked brightly, taking a step towards Spike. Giles gave her a sharp look and shook her head, and she frowned, now completely disinterested. "Oh. Giles' pet."

"Wow," Xander said. "No leash or anything. Giles has some big brass-"

"Xander," Buffy admonished. She watched Spike for a while, and folded her arms protectively across herself. "He looks better than last time."

The vampire looked at her, and then at Giles with confused, questioning eyes.

"What, no declaration of undying gratitude to the woman who saved your pale backside?" Xander snorted.

"Err, I rather think that he doesn't remember that," Giles explained, "and since I've not let you visit, it didn't come up. Sorry."

"Oh," Buffy said.

"Spike," Giles said, pleased when the vampire immediately gave him full attention. "Buffy, and Xander... they were the ones who brought you to me. If not for them, you'd have been burned to death by the Initiative's lovely personnel."

Spike blinked, clearly trying to process this information, and turned back to Buffy. "Thank you," he said politely. He actually itched to – to hug her? – and express his thanks more appropriately, but his master had forbidden it.

"You're welcome," Buffy said.

He shuffled awkwardly for a moment and then decided it was time to make himself scarce – a skill he'd learned well even in Giles' small apartment.

"He really has changed," Buffy commented, actually a little unnerved by the change in behavior. "This was how he came to?"

"No. He was a little worse then."


Giles didn't reply, but seemed to think that the one little word surmised the entire situation quite well.

A few hours later, Willow and Tara stopped by the shop. They entered hand-in-hand, with shy smiles that lightened up the room, as always, and gave their friends happy greetings. They seemed to visibly radiate with an intimate happiness between them. It was obvious that they'd been enjoying some "spells" together, as Xander put it.

"How goes it?" Willow asked, finding a seat at the table for herself, and pulling another chair alongside for Tara.

"It goes," Buffy answered, mirroring her friend's perky attitude. "Oh, so you know, Spike's here. Giles brought him by. Where'd he go?"

Willow tensed a little, looking around the shop with wary eyes.

For a moment, Giles had forgotten too about the vampire's existence. He remembered giving the vampire a nod when he saw Spike looking at the stairs up to the loft. He glanced up the to book shelves, and saw a peek of blue eyes and fuzzy head as the vampire reacted curiously to his name being mentioned.

"He's up in the stacks," Giles said, and the vampire disappeared again.

"Oh. Yeah, but it's cool," Buffy said to the witches, trying to put them at ease. "If Giles trusts him enough, then so do I. He's chipped, anyway, and besides all that-" she reached into her back pocket and brandished a stake within a blink of an eye. "Tada." She wiggled it between two fingers. "He'd go poof before you could say 'eek, a vampire!'"

Giles snorted a little, amused by but also proud of his slayer's confidence in herself. And in him, he supposed.

"Okay," Willow put on a smile, trusting her friend to protect her, at the very least.

"I was waiting for you guys to get here," Buffy said, changing the subject. "There's been some big nasties lately. Stuff I haven't seen before. I ran into one a few nights ago and didn't think much of it, but last night there were a lot more."

"They're... multiplying?" Tara asked hesitantly.

"You think that would explain the jump in deaths in the last few days?" Xander spoke up.

Giles frowned. "I suppose we'd best identify them, then." He went to a nearby shelf that he kept stocked with his most useful books, and found one that contained a wide variety of demon species, practically cataloging them. He thumbed open the book, refreshing himself on the contents for a moment.

"I actually killed one," Buffy added conversationally. "Typical slice-and-dice seemed to do just fine. But, I dunno, it might not be helping much if they start showing up by the truck-full."

"How would you describe the skin?" Giles asked, starting with a base question to immediately narrow down the search. "Scaly? Furry? Slimy?"

"Uh... leathery, I guess," Buffy said. "A bit armored, even. But not like real knight-in-shining-armor kind of armor. I mean like an armadillo."

"Tough skin," Giles simplified, flipping through more pages of the book. He sighed a little. "We really should compile these into a database," he admitted, referring to an idea that Willow had long ago introduced.

"Working on it," Willow said. "The, um, search function just isn't working right. But I'll fix it soon." She rose up and grabbed a book to help in the search.

"How many claws?" Giles asked.

Buffy pursed her lips. "Um. I dunno, Giles."

"Other distinguishing features, then?"

"I got this one. They moved on all fours. They were like, people-shaped, though, but they moved on all fours. It was really creepy. And they had really long arms. Oh, and they were this brown-red color. It was dark and stuff, but... yeah, they were that color. Also, they had no mouths. Or, at least not human mouths."

Giles tried to imagine the creature, and remained puzzled. "I've not heard of a demon like that before." He flipped through the book a little more, considering consulting a different text. "Perhaps if we-"


They all looked up, and saw the vampire standing at the side of the balcony, looking at them all.

Giles blinked and shook his head, unsure if he'd actually heard Spike speak. "Excuse me?"

"S-sorry," the vampire suddenly disappeared into the stacks again.

"He knows what it is?" Buffy asked Giles.

The watcher adjusted his glasses and began to flip through the book, looking at names. "What did you say?" he called to the vampire.

A low whine seemed to return to his ears from the stacks. "I'm sorry! You said, 'don't speak out of turn' an I meant to obey, you, I did. I didn't do my best, I'm sorry-"

"For God's sake, don't mumble. Get down here this instant," Giles said. He waited for the slow footfall on the stairs, and was surprised when instead, Spike leapt off the balcony, landing almost silently and with ease on the ground. "Err... you were saying? The demon?"

"Lh'egyam," Spike repeated, and spelled it for Giles as best as it would translate into English.

"Nothing," Giles said after looking through the book five times. He snapped it shut in annoyance, and looked at Willow, who gave him the same message with a shake of her head.

"Useful after all," Buffy commented. "Okay, Spike... tell us what you know about this... Leggy-yam demon thingy."

"Yes," Giles said. "How is it we've never seen this before?"

"'Cause it doesn't live in America. The soldier-types brought it in for testing," Spike explained. "Heard they shipped it in from some place in Congo. They're strong, and brutal, but not hard to kill."

"You actually fought one of these before?" Giles asked, intrigued.

"'Course not. I mean I could've, but I weren't allowed. That weren't what I was being tested for."

"Right," Giles said, feeling blithe. "Endurance testing."

Spike nodded, pleased.

"Okay, then," Buffy said, clapping her hands together. "Sounds like easy slaying. I'll just bring a big, trusty axe and get to work."

"Wait," Spike said. "You gotta be careful, okay? And you gotta get 'em all quick. They're bloody rapists, and they reproduce like flies."

Buffy's eyes widened, and then she shook her head, clearly displeased. "Great. Invasive species."

"We'd all better go with you tonight," Giles said, knowing that at each moment the danger was growing.

"No way. I draw the line at vampire on patrol," Buffy said. "Sorry, but I don't trust him the way you do yet, Giles."

Her words surprised him. Did she really think that he trusted Spike with his life? By far, that was the last thing on his mind.

"Of course not," Giles said. "I'll simply return him to the house."

"He can stay here," Anya offered cheerily. "I'll mind the shop, and watch him while you're gone. In fact, I don't mind if you bring him by more often. You can just chain him up by the stairs... ooh, and leave him shirtless. Nothing like a little eye candy to make the day go by faster."

Xander coughed violently. "So, Giles, let me help you get Spike back to your place."

The night went horribly.

Giles walked back to his home, carrying a handful of weapons – small axes and some stakes. He felt himself covered in the stench of those foul, lecherous demons.

He could not shake the ghastly image of those creatures. They were so unnatural, so unsettling, although a far cry from the ugliest monsters he'd ever seen. It was unclear what he found so repulsive about them, until the demons had gotten closer, and seemed to get a whiff of their human smell.

Their... Christ... their deformed erections were enormous, and revolting. The only saving grace had been the mocking comments from Buffy, her loud "ew"s and quips only slightly breaking the offensive sight of them.

They made quick work of those demons, only taking special care to guard Willow and Tara from the foul things.

Buffy made a loud noise of disgust by the time the massacre was done. Indeed, it had been a fairly easy kill, aside from the mental scarring. The only "wound" any of them received was to Buffy's blouse, which was nearly ripped in two by one demon who "got lucky", to quote the slayer. None of them particularly wanted to think about what had been on that demon's mind when it attacked Buffy. Surely, it hadn't wanted to kill her.

She hoped aloud that they had gotten all of the ugly things, and Giles made note that if Spike was correct, even one surviving demon meant they could have another hoard to wipe out the next night. They then agreed to regroup the following evening, and walked home in protective groups.

Spike. Giles was furious with him. No... he fumbled with his keys, trying to keep his weapons from falling out of his hand as he unlocked the door. He wasn't furious with Spike. He'd told them the truth, after all. He was furious with... Giles opened the door, trying to avoid bringing back the image of those obscene things and their jutting... claws. Spike had encountered all of that first-hand.

He set the weapons down on the kitchen table, and looked about silently for the vampire in question. He found the blue eyes peering at him from the living room, but the vampire did not move. He hadn't been called for yet. Giles cursed aloud, remembering what Spike had said. He hadn't been allowed to fight the demons. That wasn't what the Initiative had tested him for.

The vampire shivered at the swearing, and attempted to disappear altogether.

"Spike," Giles said, forcing stillness into his voice. "Come here," he ordered, even as he himself walked to meet the vampire. Spike didn't actually get so far as standing from his spot on the floor, before he found himself staring at Giles' knees.

Giles crouched down, bringing himself to Spike's level, like a parent to a child. He cupped the face in his hands for a moment, to express his intent, and then petted the vampire's hair as he hadn't done in far too long.

"You were good tonight," Giles said in a soft voice. The vampire blinked and then closed his eyes, half smiling, and tried to nuzzle into his master's touch. "Spike," he said again, bringing the creature back to serious focus. "You remember our game? You promise to answer my questions fully and honestly, and I will reward you?"

Spike nodded quickly, eager to play another round. He waited for his master to ask, and then started to try nuzzling closer again. "What do you wanna know?" he asked quietly. "Go ahead."

Giles swallowed, the words stuck in his throat. He wasn't sure he wanted to know anything. "Did they...?" he trailed off, finding his face heating red. Damn! He was too old to be blushing about this, when he should just be blunt with the vampire. It has nothing to do with him, after all, and after forcing his 'pet' – as Anya had put it – to jerk himself off merely as punishment, they were beyond this awkwardness of words.

"The Initiative soldiers allowed the Lh'egyam demons to rape you, didn't they?"

Spike blinked, and Giles thought that the vampire was ashamed as well, until he heard a surprising, "'Course they did" that attempted to be matter-of-fact. "They wanted to see how much I could take. I did very well. I heal very well, see?"

The pale, slim man lifted his shirt to show off his nearly-healed wounds. Giles immediately pulled the shirt back down, his hand brushing against the hard muscles as he hid them from view. "Why do you prostrate yourself this way?"

"I... you're the nicest master I've ever had," Spike said. "I wanna make you happy," he added, his breath on Giles' lips as he spoke.

Giles moved just before the kiss could come, but still felt the brush of Spike's lips on his own. He left, as if unfazed, and went to the kitchen. When he returned with a hot mug of blood in his hands, he could have sworn he caught the vampire wiping tears away from his eyes.

"What's wrong?" Giles knelt down in front of Spike, setting the mug to the side. "You promised to answer me, always."

"I don't know what you want," Spike said, wiping away a fresh set of tears with his wrist. "You don' wanna cut me up. You don' want me to kiss you or touch you. You just want to ask me all sorts of questions and leave me confused."

"I'm sorry," Giles said. "You frighten me when you offer your body so willingly. I simply couldn't..." he couldn't take advantage of him. The thought actually rattled him. It wasn't wrong because Spike was a vampire, or because he was a killer, or because he was a man. It was wrong because he was a broken being, trying to seek approval without heed of the consequences. He did not, could not possibly want this.

"I'm not stupid, you know," Spike said, as if able to hear Giles' thoughts. "I can choose what I like."

"Can you? You've been beaten and subjugated for over a year. Even if I were to concede that you're in the right frame of mind to make any consent, you're still doing this for all the wrong reasons."

"Just 'cause I want you?" Spike asked, his words giving Giles more than a moment's pause. "Just because I don't want you to sell me. 'Cause I want you to be my master. I choose that."

Giles resisted the need to sigh and shake his head. The very fact that Spike was convinced he needed a master was proof of his point. He couldn't point that out, however, or risk this precarious relationship between them. He needed an edge of power over the vampire, and Spike's willingness to be held underneath him was just as unsettling as it was useful. Already he was a little weary of this power and the responsibility it held. He wasn't sure if he could ever rehabilitate Spike and get the vampire self-reliant without the entire experience crashing down on his head. Capture, torture, abuse, and rape, and on top of that, being treated as a thing, an object for study. All of the cards were stacked against him. For now, the vampire seemed fine, even blissful half of the time, but Giles wondered when the day would come that the ugly memories came back to haunt him.

That was the nagging issue. If he continued like this, using Spike, treating him as less, would the house of cards finally topple on top of him? Would he be damned in his own abuses? Or could he somehow navigate this treacherous path, somehow lead the vampire out of the trappings of all his pain? Giles knew he'd be walking a knife's edge. He knew that he would be going against his own strong beliefs. And ultimately, he could not foresee how this would end, good or bad. All he knew was that he'd be damning his soul, whether or not Spike ever gained the senses to rightfully blame him for this.

Giles closed the short distance between them, putting a hand to the side of Spike's face as he kissed him. The action was chaste at first, and then Giles felt the vampire's mouth part, and a cool tongue flicking at his lips. He let the vampire in, and claimed in turn, licking the very depths of Spike's cool mouth.

When he finally had to stop for breath, the vampire whined, shifting his weight on the floor. Giles did not have to look down to know the reason behind Spike's action - he could smell his own arousal in the charged air. It was necessary, he reasoned to himself while he still had the capability to think straight.

He must have encouraged Spike – didn't remember what he did or said, exactly, only that the vampire suddenly crawled over his lap, and that was exactly what he wanted. The slim, lithe body rocked against him, back arching and hips rolling in all the right ways – fuck! He was not thinking about this. He was not thinking about how incredibly erotic this young man was, hard and whimpering in his lap. It was wrong. This was a vampire, a demon, the bane of his existence – and shit, that did not make him even more turned on in the slightest. No. This was just going through the motions, like giving Spike blood to drink. He was just taking care of a need. Giles slipped his hand beneath the waist of Spike's jeans, and swore aloud, realizing all at once that he was fucking kidding himself.

The vampire shuddered against his master, keening and digging his fingers at Giles' shoulders. Giles' hand was so hot against his cool skin, and seemed to stroke him so intently, Spike could do nothing but melt against him. He leaned his head in the crook of Giles' neck, taking comfort and pleasure in the heat and the sound of blood rushing just under the skin. So much blood, and the dark smell of his master. He almost felt alive. Almost wanted.

Spike buried his face against Giles, taking refuge in the darkness of closed eyes. The momentary calm was no good. Giles tested the body under his hands, squeezing even harder as he worked his hand, and was rewarded as the vampire made a loud noise and his hips bucked. His orgasm came with violent shudders. Spike felt the urge to bite down on the warm neck, but couldn't – instead he sucked hard at the skin until he could taste the blood welling up through the skin.

Giles held the vampire while he came, tensing as the vampire latched onto his neck. He expected a bite, and was a bit taken back to feel no pain come. The shudders finally stilled, and Giles stopped Spike from licking at his neck, making him sit back. Giles was still hard, much to his discomfort, but he took vicarious relief through Spike's release.

He carefully extracted his hand from Spike's pants, shivering at the cool wetness on his hand. Giles stared at the viscous fluid that covered him. His sin.

"Go to bed, Spike," he ordered. It was amazing, how calm his voice managed to be, when his head was full of noise.

Spike eased off of his master's lap, allowing Giles to stand up and leave. Bed for Spike was now, anywhere in the living room that was out of the way. As his master left, Spike retired himself to a corner, nearly under a table, and lay down.

Giles didn't linger long enough to see or care where Spike placed himself. He went to the bathroom, washed his hands, and then forcibly retired himself to bed. He changed out of the day's clothes, ignoring his unmet need, slipped under the covers, and began trying to will his arousal away, focusing on his guilt. There was plenty of that, after all.

He was lying at his deepest foundation. Lying to Spike by allowing the vampire to prostrate himself so lowly. Lying to Buffy and the others by pretending that he had nothing more to tell them of the vampire's history, and that Spike might prove useful. Lying to himself that he could rehabilitate this broken creature, or that he really wanted to. He was drowning in his sins, and... and he could still smell Spike's scent on his hand.

Sleep didn't come easily.