He gazed out over the water, hands loosely closed over the railing as his ship made her way towards the docks. Soon, they would reach land, and the cycle would start anew. It would be a joyful time, his focus on the hunt and seduction. But until then…. Until then, he must face the end of the last cycle.
He turned as unsteady steps approached him, a soft, sad smile spreading across his face as he held out his hand to his bride of the past seven years. His darling one. His lovely one. He pulled her close, the tentacles along his back sliding free from under his shirt to wrap around her in a firm embrace. She sighed as she leaned into him, a tired, fragile sound.
Once, she had been a vibrant woman, full of life. Full of love. Full of loyalty. He pushed her away a little, just enough to see the necklace she’d worn for the past seven years, that she’d willingly placed around her own neck to symbolize her acceptance of him. It was a web of gold scattered with diamond cut brown tourmalines. Once, like her eyes, they had shimmered with an inner fire. Now both gems and eyes had become dull. She had very little left to give.
“Soon, my love,” he murmured. “Soon it will all be over. Do you look forward to it, or dread what’s to come?”
No answer. Just a vacant stare. It was to be expected. He sighed softly and sat on the railing, some of his tentacles securing him in place while the others cradled her against his body. He began to tell her a story as the crew worked, getting ready to dock. A happy tale of nights spent out under the stars. She sighed again and snuggled close, one delicate hand reaching up to rest against his chest.
And then it was time, his ship had docked, and the old cycle came to an end. Sorrow and loss washed through him as he gazed at the woman he held. For seven years, she had been his love. His life. He closed his eyes for a moment as despair washed over him. Never again would he feel her touch. Never again would he hear her voice or feel the warmth of her energy. Gone. All gone. The end had come. He gently lowered her body to the deck and removed the necklace.
It changed in his hands, the yellow gold becoming white and the tourmalines changing to vibrant blue. He gasped at the power of it, his grief fading away as the new cycle began. Oh, yes, an act of magnificent loyalty had been performed in this town, and the necklace had already homed in on it. The pull of the cycle. It always knew where to take him.
He absently stepped over the body as he made his way towards his personal quarters. The crew would deal with the refuse while he prepared to find his new bride.
Pain radiated through Spike in waves, keeping him on the edge of the sleep he so desperately needed. Bruises and broken bones. The memory of a kiss pressed to lips so badly battered and swollen that he’d barely been able to feel it as anything more than added pain. God, he just wanted to sleep, to sink down into oblivion or dreams where there was someone there to hold him. Someone to pet and cuddle him and tell him he’d done good.
Buffy…. That kiss and her words…. He’d finally done good in her eyes. Good enough for her to touch him, no matter how brief. She still didn’t believe his love was real, but she’d appreciated what he’d done for her and Dawn. She’d given him a crumb. Something to curl around for warmth. Something….
A whisper of warm air seemed to stir around him, a quiet sigh that pulled his consciousness down into soothing darkness.
“Oh, you are a lovely one,” a male voice murmured softly.
Lovely? Hardly an apt description at the moment, now was it? Glory had been particularly keen on abusing his face during her little torture fest. Couldn’t see his own reflection, thank god, but he was sure he looked a right mess. All puffy and bruised and caked with blood. Course, they were in the dark, so his mystery admirer probably wasn’t able to actually see him.
Mystery admirer…. He should be on his guard against whoever this was, demanding to know who he was and what the bloody hell was going on. Instead, he just stood there, feeling strangely safe. He’d been on the edge of sleep before this. Maybe he’d finally slipped on over and was having a bit of an odd dream.
“My poor darling,” the man said, his words followed by gentle fingertips brushing Spike’s face. Pain flared, only to be immediately soothed away. “There’s nothing much I can do for you in the physical world, my dear one, but I can at least ease your hurts here.”
Spike took a slow, deep breath, something he’d been avoiding due to cracked ribs. He felt a vague throb of pain from a distance, but it couldn’t fully touch him here. The man with him in the dark smelt of the sea. Of cool salty air and dark depths. Somethin’s not right here, he thought uneasily. Whatever was going on, it wasn’t in the physical world, but this was no dream. At least not an ordinary one.
“Who are you?” he demanded.
There was suddenly light, soft, but enough to illuminate the other man. He was tall with dark eyes and wind-tossed hair and a neatly trimmed beard. There was a rugged look to him that marked him as a man who did a lot of work out of doors. He was also stark naked, as was Spike himself.
“My name has been long lost to the mists of time,” the man said. As he spoke, four tentacles emerged from each side of his spine. A thinner one, free from the suckers on the others and gleaming in the dim light, slid out from his tailbone. That one snaked out to curl about Spike’s hips, warm and wet. “Most simply call me Captain. Or,” his lips curled up into an amused smile, “sometimes the Dutchman, flying or otherwise.”
The Dutchman? Legends, both human and demon, tangled through Spike’s mind as he jerked back. The tentacle held firm for a moment before he was slowly and deliberately let go. One thing most stories had in common was that the Dutchman came to land once every seven years to find someone to take back to his ship. If he thought he’d be taking Spike, he was in for a fight.
The Dutchman chuckled softly and took a step forward. “I only ever take willing brides, my lovely one.”
“You’re barkin’ up the wrong tree, then, mate. I’m not interested.”
There was a small part of him that almost wanted to go. To get away from Sunnydale and all of the confusion and pain. But, no. He’d made this bloody place his home, and he wasn’t going to just leave it. Especially not when Buffy and the little bit needed him.
The Dutchman suddenly let out a soft sigh, his eyes fluttering closed. “Ah, my sweet darling, it’s thick on you. Loyalty fueled by love.” He leaned in close, wrapping two of his thicker tentacles around Spike’s shoulders. “But I sense more than that, lovely one. You haven’t had much loyalty aimed your way, have you? How long has it been? Since someone wanted you just for you? Since someone has wanted to touch you just because of who you are?”
Spike swallowed past a sudden lump in his throat. How long had it been? Buffy had kissed him, but it had just been a crumb of affection thrown his way. A thank you and naught much more than that. The Bot, but she’d been programmed to want him. Harmony would have been just as happy with any strong, good-looking male vampire. Only Drusilla had ever just wanted him for who he was, not what he was or what she could get from him. And she’d gone and bloody well thrown him away.
“I can give you that.” The thin, tail-like tentacle curled back around his hips, the tip dipping down to stroke his ass. “You’ve been hurt so, my darling. Wouldn’t it be nice to be given pleasure instead? From someone who loves you.”
“You don’t even know me.” He’d meant the words to come out harsh and full of scorn, but instead, they were a soft whisper.
Something had shifted. The pain from his injuries still couldn’t touch him, but he was more aware of the fact that it was waiting for him back in the physical world. And pain of another sort was suddenly all too present. Loneliness and despair crashed over him, emotions he was far too familiar with. He tried and he tried, but it was never enough. He was never enough. No one ever wanted to love him. Not enough to keep him.
“I know enough. I know that you are a man of intense passions. A man who is loyal to those he loves. A man who loves deeply and with all his heart.”
It was more than Buffy seemed to know of him. “What do you want?”
“For tonight, just let me touch you. Let me make love to you. No strings attached, beyond allowing me two weeks to court you. If, by the end of that time, you still refuse to be my bride, I’ll leave you be.”
The tentacle slid lower and inward, resting lightly against Spike’s arse, waiting. One little push was all it would take, and it would be inside of him. Warm and wet. A shiver tingled down his spine, and he couldn’t deny a bit of curiosity. It would hardly be the first time he’d taken it up the back way, but that had always been either Angelus or a toy. Always room temperature and never deliciously warm. His thoughts drifted to Buffy. He’d never experienced a warm, living woman, either.
And probably never will. He shuddered and pushed her out of his thoughts as he took a deep breath. He could smell the Dutchman’s arousal. Hell, he could feel it as the man pulled him close. What would it hurt to give in? He wasn’t agreeing to the whole bride thing, and it wasn’t like he was cheating or anything. Buffy didn’t want him, and he’d been with the Bot. Would probably be in her arms right now if they hadn’t taken her away from him. The stark reality of it all was that he was curled up in his crypt right now on a hard sarcophagus, alone and in pain after being tortured. He could use a little comfort.
As if sensing his acceptance, the Dutchman kissed him, his hands and the thicker tentacles roaming over Spike’s body, igniting his own desire. Oh, god, it felt amazing. Not just being touched – he’d had the Bot for that, hadn’t he? – but being wanted.
“My lovely one,” the Dutchman murmured between heated kisses. “My darling one.”
His tongue plunged into Spike’s mouth, mapping out his newly conquered territory, and the thin tentacle…. Oh. Oh, god. It slid inside of him, whatever it was coated in sending sparks of pleasure dancing through the soft tissue. He wanted…. He needed…. He moaned softly as the tentacle pulled out of him, but then it was back, thrusting deep inside as it pulsed, thickening for a moment.
There was a dizzying swirl of light and colors, and Spike suddenly found himself lying on a bed, his hands pinned above his head by a pair of tentacles as the Dutchman explored his body with hands and mouth. The other man nipped and licked at his throat, traveling slowly down to bathe each nipple with his tongue. Warm hands, rough with calluses, stroked his skin. And through it all, the tentacle pulsed inside of him, thickening and stretching and coating him with its fluids, preparing him for….
The tentacle pulled out and moved, wrapped warm and slick about his prick. And then the Dutchman was there, hips between Spike’s thighs as if he’d always been meant to be there. There was no pain. He was open and wet and ready as the Dutchman thrust inside.
Spike cried out, body arching and clenching tight around the other man. Oh god, he’d needed this. He’d got some of it with the Bot, but she’d been just a robot. An automaton programmed to love and want him. He’d no intention of ever becoming the Dutchman’s bride, but this? This he’d take. The Dutchman rode him hard and fast, whispering endearments as he angled himself just right to hit Spike’s prostate with each powerful thrust.
Spike gasped for air he didn’t need, writhing under the solid weight holding him down. The tentacle stroked and caressed him, adding to the whirlpool of pleasure threatening to suck him under. And then it was all too much. He came with an incoherent scream, his thoughts whispering Buffy’s name, wishing she’d been the one he’d shared it with.
For one glorious moment, Spike was caught up in a burst of pleasure so intense that it blocked out all other sensation. Then it began to fade, and the pain from his injuries washed back in. Bloody hell, he thought with a groan as he slowly sat up. What the hell had just happened?
You dreamed of getting your arse pounded by an octopus man, his mind helpfully pointed out, as if he actually needed that spelled out. He wanted to pass it off as the result of torture and too many late-night monster movies, like that time with the wolfman, but something about it seemed all too real.
He shivered and carefully wrapped his arms around himself. He could almost feel the tentacle back inside of him, wriggling and stroking and…. He gasped and nearly fell off the sarcophagus as pleasure exploded through him again. The air was thick with a sudden presence and smelt strongly of the sea.
“Two weeks,” a voice whispered through his thoughts. “Two weeks to court you and make you mine, my lovely one.”
Then the presence was gone, leaving Spike to wonder just what sort of mess he’d got himself into.
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