Proper Care

by Adalisa
Part one: Xander & Puppy

Xander walked towards the cell, his face blank. He knew that it was the right time to put his plan on action. No one else was in the Bronze, even the Master had gone to hunt and thus, no one could interrupt him. Puppy was asleep in the cell floor, trembling from time to time. Probably having a nightmare from Willow's last torture. The redhead was his childe, and his best friend when he was human, but she had no idea of how to treat a pet like Puppy.

Ever since Darla, his sire, had shown him Puppy one night, back when he still had a name, Xander had decided that he would make the older vampire his. For that reason only he had made Willow and other five or six girls, to capture him. It had been easier when Puppy killed Darla. The Master had been delighted the day when Xander and Willow brought Puppy to the cell, covered in chains.

The Master wanted Puppy dead, but Xander had interceded. Convincing the Master to keep the souled vampire alive. And Puppy had been aware of that.

That had been eight months ago, and Xander had been waiting for the right moment.

He opened the cage door, kneeling near Puppy's curled form. Carefully not to make any noise, he placed the bucket full of water he had brought in the floor, and touched the other vampire's shoulder, awakening him.

Puppy looked at him, and his features paled. Shivering, he backed away, trying to get as far as possible from the younger vampire, even when he was chained to the wall.

As strong as he had been once, Puppy's spirit had been broken by many constant tortures, mostly from Willow's or the Master's hand. But Xander had never indulged in such pleasures. It wouldn't do for the future training. Still, he always watched, and so Puppy feared him too, knowing that his presence announced Willow's.

"Shh..." Xander whispered, soothingly. "I'm not going to hurt you, and we're alone now." Puppy kept his eyes on him, still shaking, refusing to leave the partial safety of the wall. The younger vampire showed him his open hands, in a peace offering, to prove that he meant no harm. At the same time, he studied Puppy's charred chest, the scars and burns still open. There was one too near to the heart, and Xander had to bite himself not to show his rage. Willow had been too close to break his toy, and that meant she had to be punished. But now was not the time to show such emotions. "Those will never heal if you do not feed yourself," He said, in his most concerned voice.

Puppy blinked, surprised as if he didn't understood Xander's voice. That was possible, Xander mused. The souled vampire hadn't pronounced a word in two or three months. At least, not to another vampire. Without losing his innocent, worried expression, the younger vampire bit his index finger just enough to draw blood. Since he had just feed, it was still warm in his dead body. Slowly, not to startle Puppy, he offered him the scarlet tinted fingertip, as if it were a secret between them. Puppy's eyes flickered them, from the crimson drop to Xander's gaze.

Although Xander relieved himself in being cruel, something that he had learned not only from Darla, but from his human years, he had been careful not to let Puppy see him in those moments. When he watched Willow's tortures, he only made sure that Puppy knew that he was even worse than her, because she feared. Puppy had never seen what Xander was capable to do, but he had heard more than enough. Willow had told him. And everyone in Sunnydale knew that Xander was the Master most vicious and dangerous follower. And in a way, Puppy was even more afraid of Xander than of Willow.

Finally, hunger overcome fear, and Puppy got closer, tempted by the smell of blood. Xander stood silent, waiting for his plan to unfold. "Go ahead... you need the blood."

Shyly, Puppy licked the blood that had gathered in the fingertip, and Xander shivered with pleasure at the cold contact. Sensing the tremor, Puppy backed away immediately, eyes closed and shaking, waiting for the punishment that surely would follow. But instead, Xander took a wet cloth from the bucket and began cleaning Puppy's wounds, carefully not to cause any unnecessary pain. This confused Puppy. The kind touch was nothing like what he would expect from the cruel undead teenager. He stayed completely still, afraid to even blink, not understanding the actions of his captor.

Xander finished cleaning all the marks, burn skin and coagulated tissue in Puppy's chest. Then, although the small wound had healed already, he offered his finger to Puppy again, smiling encouragingly. "A drop won't be enough." He said, slowly to be sure that Puppy understood. "You can drink a little more."

This time, Puppy's face changed as he bite Xander's finger, sucking the crimson liquid that lingered in the vampire's veins, licking the tiny drops that fled from his lips. Xander observed all this with growing pleasure, feeling how the blood that he had taken from a nameless victim passed through his body to Puppy's.

Of course, he couldn't allow it to last for long.

Puppy had only drank more than a sip, when Xander gently retired his hand, keeping it at a short distance. The small wound would heal in no time, but Xander knew that he was close enough for Puppy to attack. Time for test one.

Puppy stayed in his place, kneeling in front of him. Just looking as if they had never meet before.

Without saying a word, Xander left the cage.

Test one had been passed.

* * *

For the next month, Xander kept feeding Puppy from his own blood. It was always an almost pitiable amount of blood, only to make sure that the wounds caused by others would heal. And although he hadn't been able to go every day, at least the hour was constant. The last week, Puppy had been awake, waiting for him, and he didn't trembled under Xander's eyes anymore.

It was time for Puppy to learn the first rule.

Willow and the Master had gone out of town, to meet a demon called Moloch. It was some sort of Hellish computer geek, and was interested in forming an alliance over Hellmouth. Xander didn't care for it, so he stayed behind.

For his quality time with Puppy.

Before leaving his room, he stopped by the birdcage he kept there. The five white doves that he had trained in the same manner as Puppy just looked at him, passively. Of course, they didn't know the two rules, only the first. More than enough to know that it would work with the vampire. He opened the door, and one of them flew to his hand. They trusted him completely, and that was the way Xander liked it.

With the dove on his shoulder, Xander left his room, ready to give Puppy his next lesson.

Once in the cell, he congratulated himself silently when Puppy stayed quiet and motionless as he studied the new wounds. He could touch the open sores, and Puppy wouldn't flinch, because he trusted that Xander wouldn't hurt him. When he finished, Puppy was looking at him expectantly, waiting for the offer of a finger, or his wrist. Instead, Xander caressed the scarred chest lightly.

"This ain't healing fast enough, Puppy " This time, there was no emotion in his voice. "You need live, hot blood."

Although Puppy's eyes grew wide with horror, and a small whine came out of his throat, he didn't move. Xander smiled and touched Puppy's cheek, gently. "Don't worry, Puppy. I won't force you to kill."

Under Puppy's curious gaze, Xander grabbed the dove and pulled out a knife from his jacket. The dove didn't move as Xander cut it's chest open, exposing his pulsing heart. Then he stood up, and placed the bleeding wound right over Puppy's lips. "She's not dead. I'll patch her up later, and she won't even feel it." He said, watching as Puppy licked the drops that fell on his lips, his eager eyes full of gratitude. "I know that you do not like to kill, your soul sees that as a cruel action.... but she..." Xander stopped, licking the open wound, touching the heart with his tongue " She lets me do this because she loves me... and I take proper care of the ones who love me, as long as they play by the rules. Do you want me to take care of you?"

The dove was getting cold, so Xander knew it was time to stop. He placed his hand over Puppy's mouth, putting the dove on the floor. It had it's eyes closed, but it still breathed.

Puppy licked his hand, drinking the remaining blood in the younger vampire's hand. But as his face shifted to game face, he stopped, looking at Xander expectantly. Xander smiled as he shook his head no, and Puppy shifted again, not biting the arm near him. That was rule number one, don't eat unless told to.

Puppy was a fast learner.

* * *

"You are disappointing me, Xander." The Master said as the young vampire entered his chamber, the open dove in one hand. "You are being too kind with the Puppy. He won't fear you."

Xander snickered. Even when the Master was far more powerful than any other vampire, Xander had lost all his respect for the old relic long ago. The man didn't had any sense of style or planning anymore. "Fear is a weak emotion. I feared my parents until I discovered I was stronger." He cradled the dove in his arms, and looked the Master's eyes. "Love, in the other hand... that's impossible to overcome." With a single movement, he snapped the dove's neck, and threw it to the floor. "I'm not interested in making Puppy fear me. That's too easy. I'll make him love me and then... like my other pets... there will be anything that he won't do for me."

The Master looked at his disciple with amazement. He hadn't seen anyone craft his plans with so much patience since... well, since Angelus had made Drusilla, almost a hundred years before. "Do as you will, then. You have the cage key. Keep it. And If I see him grovel to you, no one else will have permission to touch him. Not even me."

Xander grinned, bowing before going away, with the key safely in his jacket.

* * *

For the next five months Xander continued with the same routine, feeding Puppy once every three days, winning the vampire trust easily. He had made a duplicate of the key, returning the original to the Master... As good as it was to have unrestricted access to his new pet, it wouldn't do if Puppy was no longer tortured by the others.

The training was going perfect. Puppy now feed from live animals: doves, cats, dogs. Most important, he had learned to stop when Xander told him to, leaving the animals alive. Feeding without guilt, thankful that Xander was considered enough to stop that suffering, Puppy had learned to trust blindly in the young vampire.

And he always remembered the simple rules: Don't eat unless told to, Never ask for any help from Xander. When he forgot himself and kept draining blood from the animals, they died. That was punishment enough. It was time for lesson three.

The Master had given Willow permission to play with Puppy, after a successful raid that had ended with their troubles with the town's mayor. As always, Xander decided to watch, always relieving in any new torture that his childe invented for Puppy.

"You should help me" Willow said, as she picked up her leather whip, and Puppy whined in the opposite corner. "He'll never fear you if you don't."

She ended each word with a strong crack from the whip, marking red lines in Puppy's already wounded chest. It was fun to see how Puppy cringed and tried to back away from her weapon. For that purpose only, she had given him longer chains, to tease him with the false freedom. Whenever he tried to move around, she kicked him, enjoying his pain, digging her spiked heels in his skin. It was then when Puppy turned his pleading eyes towards Xander, in a silent plea for help, for him to save Puppy from Willow's cruelty.

"Ohh... Now Puppy wants your help!" Willow snickered, and her tone made Xander angry at her. She was mocking _him_ not Puppy. "You look for his weak heart, his noble..."

Willow didn't had any chance to finish her phrase, as a strong hand caught her neck and sent her flying to the other side of the cell. She opened her eyes to see Xander with his game face on, hovering over her. "I am not weak, Will. You learned that."

At first, Willow smiled. She had become addict to rough play, and Xander indulged her. She played with most of the rules, and so he used violence as a prize, not as a punishment. But when he kicked her, breaking her ribs, and grabbed a handful of her red hair, her expression changed to absolute terror. "N... NO! Please! I just... " She begged, understanding that she had broke one of the rules Xander set for her, the simplest rule of them all.

"Just what Willow?" He growled, as he threw her out of the cell "You just thought that he was yours? Just believed that I would forgive you?" "I... I didn't mean I forgot!" Willow was crying, cuddled in a ball, trying to protect herself from the blows. Puppy watched from the corner of his cell, fascinated. He had never seen Xander hit anyone, not since he had been captured... And he had never seen Willow beg.

"You forgot the rules, Will. That's no excuse. " Xander grabbed her from the elbow, and threw her out of Puppy's sight. "You did something wrong, and you have to pay."

Willow crawled away, sobbing apologies. In any other circumstances, Xander would have followed her, and made sure that she couldn't walk in at least 3 days, just from the pain. But it was time to deal with Puppy. He returned to the cell, picking up Willow's forgotten whip in the way. Puppy was looking at him with some curiosity, but still not fear. The training had been well done.

And because of that, he had to explain his actions now.

"She is not the only one who broke the rules, " he began, making the whip crack in the air, still in game face. "If you break the rules, you have to be punished."

Understanding dawned in Puppy's eyes, as the whip hit the floor, dangerously close to his hand. Xander was quite accurate with the whip, although he preferred the one with bared ends. With amazing speed, he made Puppy back to the wall, standing up. The whip always found a target, not even an inch away from Puppy's body, but he didn't move, he just shivered with fear.


Puppy knew he deserved that for begging for Xander's help. With a fast movement of his wrist, Xander made four more runs, marking two red x's in each of Puppy's arms. The vampire was crying, but even so, he didn't make any noise, just bit his own lips to prevent himself from crying out.

Xander smiled, and lowered the whip, cracking it with his hands, to make it more resistant. Puppy closed his eyes, knowing that the last hit would be almost unbearable.

But the hit never came, at least not as he expected. The whip cracked in the air, and Puppy felt the air in front of his face as it thundered with the tip of the weapon, but it never touched his skin. When he opened his eyes, it was to see Xander, now with his normal face, looking at him sadly.

"Your punishment starts now." The younger vampire whispered, and left the cage.

When he came back, he was carrying a wounded blonde girl. He threw her in the floor, and looked at Puppy.

"Eat. " Xander smiled, as Puppy's eyes grew with horror. The shivering vampire looked at Xander, shaking his head in a determinant negative. He was not going to kill a human... He couldn't do that. That made him felt... evil.

But Xander kept smiling, waiting. Puppy backed against the wall, trying to get away from the girl, begging with his eyes for Xander to take her away. "I know you suffer when you kill, Puppy. But you broke the rules." Puppy closed his eyes, shaking his head more fervently. He was not going to eat her, not even if Xander threatened to stop bringing more food. "Very well. Do as you want, Puppy. But this is the last time I'll bring you food." This made Puppy look at him, his eyes pleading. "And I won't come back either. I won't bother with someone who can't remember the rules."

He started to walk towards the cell door, when Puppy grabbed his leg, desperately. He didn't want him to go, and that made Xander smile. And when he heard Puppy's raspy voice, the smile grew into a grin. His control was absolute.

"Don't go..." Puppy whispered, trembling as he grabbed Xander's leather clad leg. "I'll eat."