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Running On Empty

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Summary: Dean is a broken man who is plagued not only by memories of the horrific things he's done, but also by lingering dark needs that he can't control. For him, there is no hope, until he meets the vampire Spike under circumstances that could finish them both.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Supernatural > Spike-Centered(Past Donor)CasFR1819157,38473014,04827 Jan 1127 Oct 12Yes

Chapter 10

Dean yawned and opened his eyes. Glancing at the clock he saw he had slept for a couple hours. Spike was sprawled on top of him. At least he never had to worry about Spike snoring, he thought with amusement. Crap, he was starved, his stomach rumbling in agreement at the idea of food. And he needed to shower. Again.

He kissed Spike's neck, nipping lightly. "Dude. Lemme up."

"Like you under me," Spike answered, rolling off and sitting up, cursing when the handcuff chaining only one of his wrists made it a bit difficult. He'd told Dean he wouldn't fall asleep, and if he felt the onset of any issues, he'd let him know. Dean had the deadman's blood ready too, the dagger just beyond Spike's reach. "It's the middle of the night, you should sleep more. Didn't I tire you out enough?" Reaching over to the night stand, he turned the light on and looked back at Dean.

"I'm hungry," Dean said. "You seriously worked up my appetite is what you did. I'm gonna get a quick shower, since I seem to need one again," he gave Spike a mild glare, "then I'm gonna run to the diner and get a burger and some onion rings." He smacked his lips in anticipation. "And after that? You and me, we're gonna curl up and I'll get some real sleep."

"Order a pizza."

"Too late for pizza. Besides, I want a burger. I'll call ahead and get it to go. You wanna come?" Dean asked, stretching, then walking toward the bathroom.

Spike's mouth flattened into a line. "I can't let you do that. Not until tomorrow, unless you want to..." he lifted his cuffed hand up, "be chained to me."

Dean frowned, pausing at the bathroom door. One look at Spike told him Spike was completely serious. "Why the hell not?" Concern suddenly filled his eyes. "Are you having trouble?" he asked stepping toward Spike. "Does it feel like the bloodlust is coming back? Being cuffed to you wouldn't exactly be an A-1 idea. I can use the ropes on you again. I won't be gone more than fifteen minutes. I swear."

"No, it's not me Dean." He paused, wishing Dean would have slept through the night. "It's you. It wouldn't be a problem if I hadn't changed into this, whatever sort of vampire I am."

Still, Dean looked at Spike blankly.

"You licked my blood off your hand," Spike said finally. Though Spike found it difficult to believe, Dean himself had told him that the type of vampire he seemed to be changing into had highly infectious blood and could turn someone just by feeding them a few drops of it.

Dean stared at Spike, the memory of tasting Spike's sweet blood filtering through the bloodlust, sex-filled haze of everything they'd done. He gave a brief nod. "I'm going to shower," he said quietly and walked into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him.

He'd vamped himself. He'd fucking vamped himself. It wasn't bad enough he had all the memories of what he had done in Hell, but now, now he was going to be a danger to everyone around him. He had little doubt he would kill. All that anger and pain still in him from Hell? He'd rip people to shreds after he fed on them. Maybe torture them like Spike used to do.

Almost mechanically he turned on the shower and as soon as it was warm enough he stepped inside and quickly washed himself off. Spike couldn't eat real food, not much anyhow. He wanted a cheeseburger and onion rings dammit. If that was the last thing he was going to ever be able to eat, that's what Dean wanted.

Drying himself off, he came out and dressed, then called information to get the "Betsy's Grille" phone number. He called and placed the order, telling them where he was driving from. Retrieving the key to the cuffs, he freed Spike, then took one of the cuffs and placed it on his own wrist. "Get dressed. I'll drive. You cuff me to the steering wheel when we get there. All you gotta do is go in and pay for it. If I start to turn, use the dagger on me. I'll keep a dagger with me in case you start to have trouble. Think you can get back to the car if you feel like you're having trouble?" Dean said coolly as he dipped the dagger into some more deadman's blood.

Immediately getting up, Spike nodded. "We'll manage." In silence, he dressed quickly and put his boots on. Then he slapped Dean on the back and headed for the door, sensing anything he said now would be too much. That the hunter wanted or needed quiet. Besides, whatever he said would be supposition, and if he told Dean he had a feeling everything would be fine, he was likely to get his head snapped off. He'd risk it, but really, he didn't think his words would comfort. The truth of it was, they just had to make it until morning. If only Dean didn't have worms in his stomach and had slept through the bleedin' night.

Spike got in the car, stole a glance at a very stoic looking Dean, then looked out the window. If it did happen, he'd help Dean deal with it. It was one of the reason's Dean's answer about their relationship had been so important to him. If there was nothing between them, then a vamped Dean might have nothing, no one to hold onto. Now, now Spike would and could be there for him. He didn't know what the sire/child relationship was like for these different vampires, but he couldn't feel closer to Dean if Dean were his child.

They were going at a high speed and covering a lot of ground. Spike knew there were many places they could have stopped but again, he made no comment. This might be what the hunter needed to clear his head. He'd let him have it, have whatever he needed.

Dean finally pulled in to the diner. He had originally planned to just go to the one they'd eaten at before, but a long while back he'd eaten at a Betsy's Grill one town over and remembered they'd had awesome burgers and onion rings and this kick ass strawberry pie, and that their chocolate shakes were just fantastic. And maybe, he just needed to drive and not think about his future as a vamp. He didn't have a fucking clue what he was going to do. He was really kinda surprised he hadn't already turned. From what he had seen, it usually didn't take all that long. He should already be getting the hearing and vision like he was on the best high of his life, but he didn't feel any different.

Wordlessly he handed Spike forty dollars, the car keys, and key to the cuffs. He put the cuff on the steering wheel and closed it. As Spike was getting ready to get out he finally said, "Make sure to get ketchup. A lot of ketchup. And make sure they put a fork in there for the pie. And a spoon and straw for the shake."

"And onions, right." Spike understood the ritual. Dean was saying goodbye to food, among other things. "I'll only be a moment." With that, he got out of the car and headed right for the entrance, turning once to see Dean slumped over the wheel. Mouth tightening, he walked inside and made bloody sure he got the order right and so did the staff.

When he returned, he knocked on Dean's window and waited for the hunter to roll it down. "There are tables," he said nodding toward the outside seating that was free of people due to the hour and the chill in the air. "Have your hamburger while it's hot, there or in the car."

Dean gave Spike a grateful if shaky smile. "The tables. Unlock me. Gimme my keys and I'll get a coat out of the trunk. And get us some coffee since we'll be sitting outside. You want one?"

"Yeah, I'll have one." Reaching inside, Spike unlocked the cuff that was attached to the steering wheel. He didn't say anything but a look passed between them, Dean understanding that he'd have to cuff him to the table if he was going to leave him outside alone while he got the coffees.

A few moment later, Spike found himself cuffing Dean to the umbrella pole in the center of the table. "Remind me to talk to you about role-playing with me as the cop, yeah?" Leaving Dean with that thought, he walked to the diner to put in the orders for coffee.

* * *

Dean awoke in Spike's arms, seeing the golden light frame the drawn drapes and a glance at the clock telling him it was mid-morning. He shifted and felt the metal of the cuff bite into his left wrist. Spike wasn't the one cuffed this time, he was. He didn't think he would have the control Spike had shown and insisted on being cuffed. He did have a sheathed dagger on the bed under a pillow with deadman's blood on it, just in case Spike lost it. They both knew it was far more likely that Dean would be the dangerous one though.

Running his tongue over his gum line, nothing felt different. He reached up with his free hand and pressed and prodded, hunting for fangs. Nothing. He was still human! Exhaling in relief, he looked up to see Spike watching him and suddenly felt self conscious and pulled his fingers out of his mouth.

"No fangs," Dean said. "I think I'm safe. Craving donuts and coffee, not blood."

Spike hid a grin. "No fangs. I'd have released you earlier but you look..." He didn't have to tell Dean how tempting he looked. Running his hand up along Dean's, to the cuff, he unlocked it, freeing him. "Once you fell asleep, you slept like the dead. No dreams," he noted.

"You've got a real bondage kink, don't you?" Dean smirked. He thought for a moment. "You're right, I don't remember having any dreams. Huh, maybe I need to sleep in cuffs every night..." he let his voice trail off and after looking at Spike he shook his head. "No, uh-uh, no way, I was joking."

"No, I've got a Dean kink," Spike drawled. "You must be happy this morning, yeah? Which means one of those grand slam breakfasts of yours with triple bacon and six eggs and pancakes, yeah? Pancakes," he nodded, "donuts and fruit, must have something healthy with it. I make great pancakes," he added. "You'd never guess, right? Made them for Bit all the time because the Slayer's cooking," he gave a woeful shake of his head.

Dean chuckled at Spike. "Dean kinks are good. And yeah, I guess I am. Well, actually that sounds better than donuts. Two eggs though. And toast. And skip the fruit. I'll do orange juice..." His mind flashed back to the orange juice they were served after assembly and the vampire house. "No, strike that. No juice. I'll just stick with coffee."

After giving Spike a short kiss, he sat up, swung his legs off the bed and stretched, then rubbed his wrist that had been bound. "No, I wouldn't expect a vampire that doesn't eat to be able to cook worth a damned. Bit? What's a Bit?"

"Eh? I just told you, Buffy's little sister. Her name is Dawn but she's a small thing, or was when I first met her so I called her Bit. Your little brother plays his cards right and I might make some for him." He rubbed Dean's back and neck, watching his profile. "We're not driving for miles before you find the perfect breakfast place, are we?" He recalled the long trek for a burger the night before and what was definitely not funny then was funny to him now.

"The Slayer has a sister? No, you never told me," Dean said, closing his eyes, enjoying the massage. "Ah, little brother is the health nut. He'd probably want all wheat pancakes or something." He jabbed Spike lightly in the ribs with his elbow. "It wasn't that far away. We'll just go to the local diner. Then I think we oughta hit the hospital or blood bank or whatever is closest and see if you can do doggie bags. You got a preference on blood type? And don't say Dean."

"De--" He snapped his mouth shut when Dean called him on what would have been his answer. Spike would rather joke than think about feeding at the moment, or rather feeding on anything other than live human blood, preferably the hunter's. As the thought crossed his mind, his middle and ring finger fingers paused over Dean's pulse point on the side of his throat. Yeah, Dean was right, he should feed, it would be safer that way. "I don't think they label 'virgin' as a type."

Dean chuckled but with Spike's two fingers on his pulse, he knew what Spike desired. "And I bet you can't taste a difference between virgin and not. C'mon get dressed. Unless you tell me I need a shower," Dean said, twisting his head and engaging Spike in a slow loving kiss. He slapped Spike's hand away from his groin. "I want to get to the diner before suppertime," he murmured but knew it wouldn't take a lot of encouragement on Spike's part to keep him in bed for a few more hours. He could always order a pizza later he supposed...

Immediately, Spike closed one arm around Dean's waist to prevent him from getting up, held him there for a moment before his hand drifted right back down over Dean's shorts, biting his lip when he felt Dean start to get hard. He slid his other hand over Dean's shoulder to his throat, then up to his face, pulling lightly to bring him closer. "Won't take long. Then you'll need a shower," he whispered, moving his mouth over Dean's ear and nipping his ear lobe.

In this position, Spike had all the access he needed while it was awkward for Dean to try to touch him. He squeezed and rubbed Dean's cock in gentle rolling motions. "And good morning to you."

"Oh, fuck," Dean murmured, Spike's touch eliciting an immediate reaction from his body. He tried to reach back to return the favor but the way Spike held him, he couldn't do anything. He wrapped his arm over top of the one Spike had at his waist. His other hand went overhead to run his fingers through Spike's hair. Dean moaned and tried to press his hips up so Spike's hand put more pressure on his cock, but Spike's hold was absolute iron.

"Ungh...harder, more," Dean groaned, feeling frustration at not being able to do anything but tug on Spike's hair.

A sharp thrill ran through Spike. He teased a little more, moving his hand lower, to Dean's inner thigh, then sweeping it back up, this time under Dean's shorts through the pant leg. "What was it you said? My game. My rules?" Smirking, he started to play Dean's body like an instrument, touching him in all the places, all the ways he'd learned turned the hunter on the most. His thumb teased Dean's nipples, then he pinched, and rubbed it better again. He kissed his ear again and again, briefly invading Dean's mouth or licking across it but refusing to either engage or accept Dean's tongue into his own mouth. "If you had turned, you know you could fight me over this, human," he taunted. "Bloody hell... the sounds you make," he groaned as Dean thrashed in his arms and let out those low sounds that drove Spike insane.

Spike's words barely penetrated Dean's mind as Spike worked him over. Damn, what the vampire could to do him. It annoyed the hell out of him that he was weaker than Spike, that he couldn't take control. Maybe it bothered him a little too, because he'd had no control in Hell, but he'd also never had these sorts of pleasures in Hell.

"Just wait...until I...lay my hands on...deadman's blood," Dean panted, trying to arch against Spike's maddening touches and unable to do anything. "Ngh," he moaned as coherent thought pretty much left him. He couldn't do anything but react and respond to the vampire's touches.

Making a sound that reflected his dislike of that solution, Spike redoubled his efforts, pulling Dean closer suddenly and turning onto his side so that he could press his cock up against Dean's arse and lower back. Each time Dean jerked or raised his hips or thrashed, he ground against Spike's cock, making Spike grow hard, his cock throbbing with need. As desire pulsed through his body, he finally kissed Dean, moaning at the way Dean's tongue moved furiously in his mouth, signaling the hunter's frustration and igniting Spike's blood.

Practically snarling, Spike pulled his hand out of Dean's shorts, tugged the material roughly down to his thighs and dragged Dean's body completely over his own as he rolled onto his back. With preternatural speed, he'd pushed his own shorts down so his rock hard cock was nestled between Dean's ass cheeks. Closing his hand around Dean's cock, he started to stroke up and down, his own feet flat on the bed so that when he raised his hips, both of them lifted up off the bed.

Dean almost expected Spike to just shove into him, taking what he wanted, but Spike didn't. The way Spike lifted them both and stroked him turned him on in ways he didn't expect. Feeling Spike's hard cock between his ass cheeks, feeling the pre-cum make it slide easier, inflamed his desires. He suddenly wished Spike was in him, but he knew without lube it would be difficult and painful and there was no way in hell they were stopping. The desire to feel Spike's teeth in his flesh was growing but he had already given up a lot of blood to Spike and wasn't sure how much more he could safely give him. Fuck it. He didn't care, it felt so damned good.

Between his grunts and groans of pleasure and desire, Dean finally panted out, "Take what you want." He realized then that he would do anything for Spike. Anything Spike wanted, he would give him. Spike was like an addiction and filled his soul up in ways he never imagined could ever be filled again.

Spike's eyes closed against the raw need Dean's offer provoked. His teeth ached, his body raged with hunger and his mind was a swirl of the color red. He gritted his teeth together and spoke through them. "Don't. Endanger. Yourself." Anger fueled his need. He started moving harder, faster, lifting both of them, groaning as drops of pre-cum dripped over his fingers and made his hand glide more smoothly over Dean's shaft. To take his mind off the darker needs Dean had stirred, he concentrated harder on caressing and touching the hunter in ways that would push him closer to the edge. A part of him feared losing control, feared it so much he wanted to bring them to completion as quickly as he could.

Endanger himself. Dean was so used to being used, to no one thinking of his own 'well-being' in Hell, the words surprised and touched him. He wasn't in Hell anymore. He was alive, free from Alistair and Lilith and all the others. The way Spike was working him, he actually felt alive on the outside and the way he knew Spike loved him, made him feel alive on the inside. He felt as if he could go on and fight whatever it was he had to fight so long as Spike was with him.

Spike's hand moved up to Dean's throat, stroking and touching, groaning at the strong pulse under his palm. Moving his thumb back and forth over Dean's lips, he pushed it inside his mouth, weaving in and out, groaning again as Dean sucked on it. "Come," he demanded, milking Dean's cock, forcing him to give him what he wanted now, right now.

Spike's moving thumb was almost like he was battling Spike's tongue. The vampire's demand to come made him suck on the thumb like he had Spike's cock in his mouth. He began thrusting harder, more erratically until his thrusts were counter to Spike's lifting, pressing back when Spike lifted and thrusting forward when Spike fell. The vampire's touch was sheer fire everywhere their skin touched. Dean grunted and groaned and practically whimpered as Spike increased the pace and pressure on his cock. It was sudden, it was explosive, as cum shot free of him in thick ropes and he groaned around Spike's thumb with pleasure. He felt the warm liquid coat his back and Spike whispered his name, that one word filled with such need as to touch his soul.

Spike continued to pump him through his orgasm, milking every last drop from him as the waves of pleasure shook his body. "Jesus," Dean panted.

"Spike. Name's Spike. Don't like it when you're thinking of other men when you're with me," Spike rasped, his hand moving gently over Dean's softening cock, then rolling both of them onto their sides so he could rock more firmly against Dean's ass, riding the last waves of his own release. "Now you need a shower," he smirked. "Me too." Even though his body would quickly absorb their spunk, he decided not to forgo the opportunity to mess around a bit more. "But you have to promise to be a smart hamburger and not tempt the vampire." He'd lost his anger, but wanted to make sure he got his point across.

Dean gave a breathless laugh. "If I didn't tempt you, you wouldn't have stayed," Dean said. He turned in Spike's arms, glad Spike finally let him move. "And just remember, it's gonna be tit-for-tat. You played hunter this time. Next time it's my turn, my game, or I'll deadman's blood your ass. Or maybe," even with the haze of post sex, Dean's eyes sparkled, "I just won't let you drink from me anymore."

He rolled Spike over on his back and ran his tongue slowly up Spike's abs and chest, right through the cum. He decided he rather liked the flavor. There was a salty tang to it that he hadn't tasted before. "You taste different," Dean murmured as he licked away at Spike's chest, pausing teasingly over his nipples, running his tongue around and around it until he latched on and sucked. His fingers went to Spike's other nipple and toyed with it. He realized that the cum was disappearing, being absorbed by Spike's body.

"That's not fair," Dean groused and crawled up to kiss Spike. It was a slow kiss as he toyed with Spike's nipple with one hand, while his tongue thrust into Spike's mouth and tangled with Spike's. When Spike tried to take control, Dean pulled away. "Anyone ever tell you you're a control freak?"

Planting a final light kiss on Spike's lips he crawled off the man and stood up and looking down at himself, chuckled. "You're right. I do need a shower. Wanna join me?" When Spike took his offered hand Dean yanked him out of bed and to his feet, right into Dean's arms. Looking down into those beautiful blue eyes, a small but genuine smile played on his lips. "Now don't go taking this the wrong way or anything but," he leaned in and whispered in Spike's ear, "I think I love you."

Like. Care for. Friend. Want to be with. Those were the words and phrases Spike expected from Dean. Not love, not yet, maybe not ever. He stilled, swallowing, knowing he couldn't have heard wrong but prevent himself from questioning his sense of hearing nevertheless. He pulled back, so he could look into Dean's face and make sure he wasn't being teased.

"There isn't one. A wrong way of taking that," Spike finally responded, covering Dean's mouth with his and kissing him breathless as he molded Dean's body close, so bleeding close that his body might be imprinted on Dean's. Only the realization that Dean needed to breathe had him breaking the kiss. "Love you too, and you can take that any way you choose," he said, backing Dean slowly toward the bathroom but unable to take his hands off him.

* * *

The manager at the diner directed them to a hospital a town over when Dean asked, though there was a clinic in town. They figured they might as well check the clinic out since it was the closest. Dean told Spike he would keep the staff busy and Spike could check out whether they had blood on hand. Dean realized, having a new body and all, that he probably could use a tetanus shot, considering all the wounds he ended up with in his line of work. He sweet-talked the nurse and caught the doctor's attention while Spike used his vampiric speed to get by them and back to the supplies.

Dean shrugged out of his coat and his flannels, just leaving his t-shirt on, to make it easy for the doctor to give him the tetanus shot. He winced when he saw the still healing bite Spike had put on his arm.

Dr. Jergens was a man in his mid-fifties. After he gave Dean the shot, he examined the bite on Dean's arm wordlessly then his gaze went up to Dean's neck. After he pushed the shirt aside, he found another bite wound there and shook his head. "So you're one a them," he drawled in a thick Southern accent.

"One of them what?" Dean asked starting to pull his flannels back on and eyeing the doctor with a cross between suspicion and curiosity.

The doctor stopped Dean. "Lemme give you a shot of iron, boy, if you're gonna be foolish enough to go down to Evans Lane and let them drink ya."

Dean frowned a little. He debated about playing along but then decided not to because he really wanted to know what the doctor knew. "What's on Evans Lane?"

The doctor pulled out another filled syringe. "This has vitamins and iron in it. Iffen you're gonna be one of them, what do they call them? Yeah, 'blood dolls,' that's it, then you need to come in weekly or at least every couple weeks to get a supplement shot."

Dean's eyes narrowed, remembering Spike using that term. "You've got vampires here?" he asked bluntly.

The doctor shrugged. "Yeah, they run that antique shop down on Baker, but I don't understand y'alls fascination with letting them drink from ya. And what are you gettin' yer boxers in a twist fer, boy? I know vampire bites when I see 'em."

Dean was a little speechless at first, but decided if the doctor knew about vampires maybe he could tell Dean something that might help Spike. "I haven't been down there. This is from...someone else. Those vamps, they ever drink blood like from a blood bank, or animal blood?"

The doctor frowned as he put bandaids over the places he had given Dean the shots. "They've been here a long time. I know they keep cows, but that's their alternative to feeding on 'dolls' as far as I know. They haven't come knocking on my door for blood donations, so I'd be guessing they only take blood from the living." The doctor paused and gave Dean a hard look. The man didn't look like a blood doll. He looked more like...but then why did he have vampire bites? "Iffen you got any ideas about hurtin' them, the town will take exception to you being a hunter, boy. They're part of the town and we protect our own. They've done a lot for the town through the years, found lost kids, rescued folk from fires, helped clean up when mother nature roars through our town like she's wont to do at times."

*

By the time Dean came out to the hall outside the waiting room, Spike was wearing down the tile floors with his impatient pacing. "Bonding with the GP?" He gave Dean a surly look and strode out, more disturbed by the knowledge that he was about to have to drink the blood. What was once an easy thing, something he looked forward to, was now distasteful and tore up his insides.

He barely spared Dean a look until they reached the car and he was at the door, on the passenger side, looking at the hunter over the roof. "It's not going to work, I already feel..." his expression made it clear how much he didn't want to do this.

Dean met Spike's gaze. "You have to try. This is human blood, Spike. Not animal. Just like you'd get from anyone if you bit them. Maybe this type of vampire just needs the biting part to make it okay. If that's the case, I know you can beat that. C'mon, let's go back to the motel and I'm just asking you to try to drink this blood. For me. We both know I don't have enough blood in me to keep you going. We've got to find you something to supplement it in between times. We have to."

With an encouraging nod Dean slid behind the wheel of the car and waited for Spike to get in. Spike looked pissy as hell and Dean sighed. Maybe he ought to get the vampire pink ribbons if he was going to have mood swings like a chick. He knew Spike was just hungry though so he kept the wisecrack to himself.

*

When they reached the motel Dean asked, "Want me to heat some up for you?"

"No." Storming inside, Spike pulled the bags of blood out from inside pockets of his trench coat, slapped them onto the nightstand, then sat down on the unmade bed. "Don't bother," he amended, "and don't mind me, yeah." He raised a hand up to say he was fine and to just leave him alone for a moment. Was he hungry? He didn't even know anymore whether the gnawing in the pit of his stomach was hunger or disgust. It was all the same, except when he was taking human blood, fresh. And he couldn't ask Dean for it again.

He let a few moments pass before grabbing one of the bags, and bringing the corner to his mouth. His gaze went to Dean's for a moment as his fangs extended over the plastic and he clamped his teeth town tearing it open. A thick musty scent had his stomach roiling, right off the bat.

Dean didn't know what to say to Spike. His own need, his 'addiction' to hurting others wasn't the same as Spike's. Spike needed blood to live. If everything Spike drank that wasn't from a live human made him sick, he couldn't expect Spike to drink it. But dammit, other vamps had learned to live on cow blood. Spike had lived on it for a decade. But if this didn't work, he didn't know what they were going to do. He felt deep jealousy well up in him at the thought of Spike feeding from anyone else. Spike just had to keep trying. Maybe if his body saw it wasn't going to get fresh blood, if he got hungry enough, it would adjust. Faith. I just have to have faith Spike can get through this, can make this work.

Dean practically held his breath as he watched Spike.

Lips pressed together so tight that only a thin ribbon of blood entered his mouth, Spike squeezed the bag and swallowed a little at a time. Wrong texture, wrong temperature, wrong everything. His eyes darkened with rebellion, the same rebellion he felt building in his gut. Still, he swallowed more, for Dean. He swallowed and swallowed until pain flared in his stomach, like acids mixing and burning, about to explode. Pulling it away from his mouth, he dropped the three quarters full bag into the trash and stood up.

As blood fought against blood inside him, he felt his blood vessels expand. Shoving past Dean, he reached the bathroom and looked into the mirror, telling himself he had to keep it in, that whatever it was doing to his insides, he wouldn't... couldn't die. Time would heal him. A soft sound of pain broke from him. He slammed his palm against the wall next to the mirror and told himself if he expected Dean to control his blood lust, then he bloody well better do the same for the hunter.

With pain-filled eyes, Dean had watched as Spike drank for him and could see it tasted no better to Spike than the animal blood. This was human blood God dammit, why the hell not? Why did it have to be fresh? Because Winchester luck sucked ass. Because Spike was no longer the drac-type vampire that apparently could drink animal blood. But he'd help Spike through this. He'd find a way, dammit. He had to.

He pulled out his knife and cut a small gash on his arm, filling the bottom of a coffee cup with a couple swallows worth of his own blood. He bandaged his wound and using the arm that didn't have the gash on it, opened the bathroom door and held out the coffee cup to Spike. "Here. This helped last time," he said quietly. "I'm proud of you for trying. We'll find something that works. I promise. Somehow we will."

"No." And yet the scent drew him so hard a wild look entered Spike's eyes. Cupping his nose and mouth with his hand and giving Dean a look that said the hunter was crazy for playing with his life again, he shoved past him and went out the sliding doors to the patio. He took deep breaths, trying to clear Dean's scent, then gripped the edge of the metal table and slowly lowered onto a chair. Immediately, he lit up and took a long drag, trying to distract himself and hoping Dean had his dagger ready if he couldn't keep it together. He blew out a tendril of smoke, and sucked on the cigarette again, eyes staring through the open door.

Dean saw immediately that he had made a mistake, that Spike was hungry enough to be close to bloodlust. He picked up the dagger and then dumped the blood into the toilet and flushed it a couple times, rinsed out the cup as best he could, then tossed it out the front door. He sat down on the bed farthest from the patio.

"Sorry," Dean gritted out.

He failed his dad and failed Sam, failed himself even, so why should he expect that he wouldn't fuck up and fail Spike too? He stood up and shouted, "Cas, get your fucking feathered ass down here now God dammit!" He waited, listening for that faint rustle of feathers, waiting to see that stoic angel. Nothing. "Fucking dicks! You're all fucking dicks!" he yelled and sank back onto the bed, bowing his head. Tears stung his eyes and fell in slow drops from his eyelashes onto his hands.

Closing his eyes, Spike forced himself to stay put. Right now, apart was better, at least until he was sure he had a hold of himself. His hand shook slightly as he brought the cigarette to his mouth again. They would beat this. Divine intervention be fucked, they were going to do this.

* * *

It was hours later that Spike woke and found himself alone in the room with sunlight streaming in from the open courtyard window. He was surprised that Dean had left him alone and uncuffed. Then again, he'd been dead to the world and hadn't even heard the hunter go. Dean might just be at the lobby or on a run for food.

Food.

Pushing off the bed, he reached for his duster and put it on. He needed blood. Needed it before he succumbed to bloodlust. It wasn't just Dean he had to protect, it was everyone else. That's how he justified what he was going to do as he walked out the door and pulled it shut behind him.

*

It didn't take long to find the old rundown mansion on Evans Lane. If there hadn't been a vamp brothel here, he'd have sought one out in one of the nearby towns. But he'd known there was a demon bar around, and getting directions from the patrons, vague as they were, was easy business. Even from a distance, Spike knew exactly what went on in that place.

His teeth started to ache even as he leapt over the porch stairs and reached the large door. A vampire stood guard, though he appeared casual about it.

"What's your business?"

"Same as your business. Hungry, out of the way, yeah?"

"Look bud, you've got it wrong. I don't care how much change you have in your pocket, we don't make new ones, not here. Get your food elsewhere and sell yourself after, that's the deal."

Frowning, Spike realized the vampire couldn't tell he was one of them. Sure, the ones at the nest that had imprisoned him hadn't known either but now that he'd been infected by their blood, changed, he thought they'd sense him just as he sensed them. A second and third vampire came out in a show of force that was completely unnecessary if they thought he was human. Tilting his head back, he allowed his fangs to extend. "Hungry, now move out of my bleeding way," he said, ready to display his own show of force if they kept him away from what he needed.

Looking puzzled, they let him through.

Inside the dark, dilapidated old home, there were big stuffed sofas and bean bags. Alcoves were nestled in several corners, some covered with dead flowers, others with spider webs. Bodies were strewn everywhere. Cash exchanged. There were humans laying on the cushions and being partially drained from their throats, their arms, and their inner thighs. Sometimes selling themselves to two vampires for twice the bang for their buck.

The sound of sex, some real, some imagined, permeated the air as sharply as the scent of clean, fresh human blood. Spike took a deep breath as a human approached him. The man had long brown hair, but his scent didn't appeal to him. Waving him off and stumbled to a stop as a blonde with a pixie cut approached him.

She was gaunt, her eyes sunk into their sockets, but her scent reminded him of Dean's a bit. He allowed her to see his teeth and saw the flash of need in her otherwise dead eyes.

"Ten bucks. It's all I have she said," desperation tingeing her tone.

"Get out of the way," another woman, one that looked a lot fresher... more alive, shoved the waif away. "One hundred, and make it last," she said, pulling the cash out of her tight jeans and shoving it under Spike's belt.

He pulled the bill out, handed it back to her and followed the surprised waif. One hand on her lower back, he guided her to a sofa and sat down. When she started to hand him her money, he pushed her hand away and leaned in. He moved his mouth over her throat, hearing the sound of her blood, drawing in her scent and imagining she'd taste just like Dean. He moved his head, sniffed his own leather duster, then he moved in again and heard her gasp.

She smelled right. Would taste right, he knew it. But all he saw in his mind was Dean's accusing eyes. She's volunteering, Spike mentally saw him shouting at the hunter, explaining, but the expression in those jade eyes never changed. It was true, she was volunteering, paying in fact, but she was an addict. That's all Dean would see, all he'd need to know. Maybe it would even destroy the love he'd admitted to today.

Pulling away before his teeth cut her, Spike got up and pulled some bills from his wallet, dropping them on her lap when she made no move to take them. As he turned, he heard her crying after him, it wasn't his money she wanted, it was his bite.

Suddenly, her need, her sounds, the sounds of all the other humans and the sound of feeding, of sucking, of swallowing their blood echoed in his head. Spike ran, flung the door open and jumped off the porch down to the street level, stumbling to a stop when he saw the Impala and Dean making his way toward the mansion. "How'd you...." he asked, meeting hard, angry green eyes as the hunter approached.

The fury inside Dean approached that of when he'd been in Hell and began to enjoy shredding people. Sam wasn't straight with him, God expected him to stop the fucking Apocalypse and now, the first person he'd connected with, felt something for, didn't have the decency to talk to him before pulling this crap? Dean got it. Spike was hungry. But this, it felt like Spike was cheating on him. If Spike had told him, asked him, talked to him about it, Dean could have maybe agreed to it, but sneaking off like Spike did? Probably only to sneak back and tell Dean he had beat his bloodlust, and simply sneak off again the next time he needed to feed, lying to him, just like Sam. And from what he learned from the vamps at the antique shop, the people here, they paid for it. They were addicts, they couldn't help themselves. It gave them a euphoria, a high, and they just couldn't stop coming back. They might as well be in chains like at the blood dealers' place.

Dean punched Spike across the jaw with every ounce of strength in him, knocking him to ground. He looked at Spike with disgust. Seeing the bouncer at the door start to head his way, he raised his hands. "Done here. Don't worry," he said and turned to walk back to the car.

Cupping his jaw, Spike looked behind him then followed Dean. "Dean, hold on. Sodding hell..." Catching up near the car, he grabbed Dean's shoulder, wheeling him around. Looking the hunter square in the eyes and not flinching from the animosity he saw there, he spoke. "It's not what you think. I didn't hurt anyone, yeah? I swear."

"I know. They're all volunteers," Dean snarled at him, pushing him away. "They're addicts, Spike! How much money did they pay you? How many of them did you do?" he demanded.

"I didn't take money. I'm an addict too..." he took a step back, trying to gather his wits in the face of Dean's anger. "And what do you mean 'do,' I didn't come here for sex. Hunter, I didn't... I didn't do anything. Come on, let's get coffee, talk. Please," he added with desperation in his voice. He couldn't afford to get angry or emotional, not now, not when he was this hungry still. "I'll drink the hospital blood, I'll do it," he promised, not knowing exactly how, but if it was what he had to promise to keep Dean from walking away, he'd do it.

"You didn't drink from anyone in there?" Dean asked. "Don't lie to me. Whatever the fucking answer is, don't lie to me."

"No," he shook his head. "And I wouldn't lie, not about this. It's too important." It was a fact. It was one of the things that tied them together, but might tear them apart. His gaze dropped to the pulse at the base of Dean's throat, but he dragged it back up by sheer force of will. "Don't be angry," he said softly.

Dean exhaled and looked off into the treeline for a moment. He finally gave a nod. "You should have talked to me about it." His gaze came back to Spike. Closing his eyes, he sighed. "If you...if you..." Dean dry scrubbed his face. He didn't like. Fuck he hated it, but he couldn't stand the thought he was starving Spike. He met Spike's gaze square on. "Look if you need it, this one time, until we can get you able to drink something, go back in. You don't take any money and you only take enough to get you through. I'll...wait."

Spike stared at Dean for a long time. He wanted to do it, wanted to say yes. But the anger, the disgust, the disappointment that had been in the hunter's eyes and expression, in his very posture told Spike what Spike already knew. "You're just like her. You'd never get over it. I'd see it in your eyes for always. Don't lie to me," he said in Dean's own tone, knowing he was right. It's why he'd lead Buffy to the vampire nest to see how her boy Riley had turned into a blood doll. Even if Riley hadn't left that night, Spike knew she'd never have looked at her lover the same and it had been exactly what Spike wanted back then. "I'll meet you in the room."

Even as he started to walk, he closed his eyes, unsure whether Dean would stick with him after this. "It's why I didn't... why I couldn't do it," he said, over his shoulder, then turned away again, knowing he had to get to the room, and maybe cuff his own wrist and toss the key away.

Dean caught up with him and spun Spike to face him. He kissed Spike hard but with passion, not anger. "I don't want to starve you, but we can get through this. I know we can. We'll come up with some solution, something we both can live with. Until we do, I...I don't get what I want during sex, you biting me, or me...using the knife. I'll even eat salads," he made a face at the thought, "instead of pizza and burgers. I know it's not the same, hella different as night and day, but it's the best I can offer. Deal?"

"No deal," Spike answered promptly, holding Dean as if his life depended on it. "I don't need you to suffer, to stop yourself from living your life as you should. We're both a little broken, makes no sense to break ourselves more, yeah?" He pressed his palm against Dean's face. "I want you. Love you. But right now, you have to let me get to the motel before you ... not sure I can hold on right now. Trying. Trying hard," he said, though he flicked his tongue out over Dean's throat, and followed up by tracing his artery before pushing him away. "And you, you're my addiction."

Dean gave a small smile. "I'm making you suffer. Seems only right I get a taste of my own medicine. We can be bitchy together. Get in the car. I can get you to the motel faster. You start to lose it, I've got deadman's blood. Got fresh rope too."

Pressing his tongue against the back of his teeth, Spike gave a nod and headed for the car. "Ropes. You're trying to distract me. It's working," he said without looking back at Dean as he opened the door. His fingers closed around the door handle and he had to remind himself not to grip too tightly or Dean would have another reason to be furious with him.

As soon as they reached the motel, Dean got the fresh ropes set up, Spike's help making it go a helluva lot faster than last time. This time Dean put gauze around Spike's wrists and ankles to offer a little padding. Although Spike wanted his arms down to his side more Dean refused.

"Gives you too much leverage," he told him apologetically.

Spike stripped and let Dean tie him down.

"I bought a thermometer while I was out, so I can get the blood temperature perfect," he told Spike, caressing his face. "I'm going to go heat some up, I'll bring the same blood type as mine. Maybe that'll help." He leaned down and kissed Spike, but not wanting to tease him, kept it short.

After covering Spike up to his waist, he pulled one of the bags out of the cooler and put some in a coffee cup. Taking it up to the lobby he heated it, checking it repeatedly until he achieved a perfect ninety-eight point six. Since no one was around but the clerk, he discreetly pulled out his knife and took the bandage off his arm carefully and cut the wound open again, hissing. It hurt less to make a new wound, he decided. He stirred what was probably about a tablespoon of his own blood into the crimson liquid then re-bandaged his wrist, cleaning the knife and thermometer off with a napkin that he wadded it up and tossed it in the trash.

The day had been pretty but now the sun was setting. Dean paused outside the motel room to admire it for a minute. They had to try this for a few more days, but after that, if it still didn't work, Dean was just going to have to accept Spike would need to feed from blood dolls. He'd give Spike the same terms he had at Evan's Lane. No money. Spike would not whore himself out. He'd feed, nothing more. It sucked, he hated it, but he was not going to let Spike starve. He'd even go in with him, staying with him just to prove to Spike he could deal with it and accept it no matter how much it killed his soul. Yeah Spike was an addict, but only as much of an addict as Dean was to food. Better taking from volunteers than Spike losing it and hurting some innocent. It was obvious Spike didn't want to feed from people and he was trying so damned hard, it only made Dean love him that much more. Spike had walked out of that place. Starving, he had still pushed himself away from the table that Dean didn't want him to eat at. If that wasn't love, Dean didn't know what was. But he would make it perfectly clear Spike wasn't to sneak off. No lies. He couldn't take any more lies.

"Dinner," Dean said, walking into the room. "Hopefully, anyhow."

Grabbing a straw he slid it into the cup and carried it over to Spike. "Let's give this a try. My own special vampire mix."

"Mmm, aged bloodshake, can't wait." But with the hunger gnawing at him, Spike almost thought the pain of ingestion would be worth the price of the peace it brought him later, if he could drink enough of it. As Dean brought the mug closer, he sensed the liquid inside had been warmed. The pungent scent was there but instead of pulling away from them, he took a deep breath, trying to isolate the undertones.

His gaze shifted up to meet the jade eyes intently watching him. "Do I have Dean sprinkles in this concoction?"

"I put in a little something to sweeten it for you," Dean said. "Thought you might like a little sugar with your coffee." Seeing Spike's concerned look he told him, "It wasn't more than a spoonful. I swear. Thought maybe if my blood helped when you had that bad reaction to animal blood, maybe a little mixed in with the human stuff would be enough that you could get it down. So come on, suck it up and try it." He gave Spike a slight smirk, mentally keeping his fingers crossed.

"Suck it up... you're quite funny," he answered, extending his fangs and snapping them at Dean before retracting them again. "Does make it smell better than an air biscuit," he added, lifting his head and opening his mouth to accept the straw.
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